Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 187, Issue 1, pp 212–223 | Cite as

Zinc Supplementation Ameliorates Diabetic Cataract Through Modulation of Crystallin Proteins and Polyol Pathway in Experimental Rats

  • Susmita Barman
  • Krishnapura Srinivasan


Non-enzymatic glycation of lens proteins and elevated polyol pathway in the eye lens have been the characteristic features of a diabetic condition. We have previously reported the benefits of zinc supplementation in reducing hyperglycemia and associated metabolic abnormalities and oxidative stress in diabetic rats. The current study explored whether zinc supplementation protects against cataractogenesis through modulation of glycation of lens proteins, elevated polyol pathway, oxidative stress, and proportion of different heat shock proteins in the eye lens of diabetic rats. Streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats were fed with a zinc-enriched diet (5 and 10 times of normal) for 6 weeks. Supplemental zinc alleviated the progression and maturation of diabetes-induced cataract. Zinc was also effective in preventing the reduced content of total and imbalanced proportion of soluble proteins in the lens. Supplemental zinc also alleviated cross-linked glycation and concomitant expression of the receptor of glycated products and oxidative stress indicators in the eye lens. Zinc supplementation further induced the concentration of heat shock protein in the eye lens of diabetic rats, specifically α-crystallin. Zinc supplementation counteracted the elevated activity and expression of polyol pathway enzymes and molecules in the lens. The results of this animal study endorsed the advantage of zinc supplementation in exerting the antiglycating influence and downregulating polyol pathway enzymes to defer cataractogenesis in diabetic rats.


Diabetic cataract Zinc supplementation Crystallin proteins Polyol pathway Advanced glycation end products Oxidative stress 



The first author (SB) is grateful to the University Grants Commission, Government of India, New Delhi, for the award of Senior Research Fellowship.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The experimental protocol in this animal study was legitimated with due authorization from the Institutional Animal Ethics Committee (CSIR-CFTRI, Mysore, India) and precautions were taken to lessen pain and discomfort to the animals.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

12011_2018_1373_MOESM1_ESM.doc (2 mb)
ESM 1 (DOC 2031 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryCSIR – Central Food Technological Research InstituteMysoreIndia

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