To investigate the role of lipid peroxidation in diabetic cataractogenesis, malondialdehyde, a breakdown product of lipid peroxidation, was measured in lenses with incipient opacities and in retinas from diabetic rats and in clear lenses and in retinas from normal rats. The malondialdehyde mean values obtained in the transparent and cataractous lenses showed non-significant differences, while non-diabetic rat retinas had a significantly lower mean level of malondialdehyde compared with diabetic rat retinas (p less than 0.01). This indicates that, in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats, lipid peroxidation is apparently not involved in the development of cataract, but it is quite probably involved in retinal damage. The retina, richer in polyunsaturated fatty acids than other ocular structures, is the elective site of lipid peroxidation and from this membrane peroxidation products might probably diffuse and damage other ocular tissues.
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