Evidence for apoptosis in the selenite rat model of cataract

Y. Tamada, C. Fukiage, Y. Nakamura, M. Azuma, Y. H. Kim, T. R. Shearer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


The purposes of this experiment were (1) to determine if apoptosis was accelerated during formation of selenite cataract, and (2) to determine the role of calpains and caspases in lens apoptosis. Evidence for apoptosis in selenite-injected rats included: approximately 7-8% of epithelial cells in germinative zone were positive, disappearance of the nuclear membrane, condensation of the chromatin, and breakdown of PARP. Activation of calpains was indicated by characteristic limited proteolysis of crystallins, breakdown of α-spectrin to 150/145 kDa fragments, hydrolysis of vimentin, and autolytic breakdown of m-calpain. Selenite cataract did not have an appreciable effect on the mRNA levels for caspase-3, calpains, and calpastatin. This indicated the increased enzyme activity of m-calpain and caspase-3 in selenite cataract occurred at the enzyme level rather than by upregulation of mRNAs. Increased calpain and caspase activity may be linked to the selenite-induced apoptosis. Such data are important because they indicate that apoptosis may be a fairly early event in selenite cataract. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-306
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 28 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Calpain
  • Caspase-3
  • Cataract
  • Selenite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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