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    Cataracts are the major cause of blindness worldwide, largely resulting from aging and diabetes mellitus. Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) have been identified as major contributors in cataract formation because they alter lens protein structure and stability and induce covalent cross-linking, aggregation, and insolubilization of lens crystallins. We investigated the potential of the deglycating enzyme fructosamine-3-kinase (FN3K) in the disruption of AGEs in cataractous lenses. Macroscopic changes of equine lenses were evaluated after ex vivo intravitreal FN3K injection. The mechanical properties of an equine lens pair were evaluated after treatment with saline and FN3K. AGE-type autofluorescence (AF) was measured to assess the time-dependent effects of FN3K on glycolaldehyde-induced AGE-modified porcine lens fragments and to evaluate its actions on intact lenses after in vivo intravitreal FN3K injection of murine eyes. A potential immune response after injection was evaluated by analysis of IL-2, TNFα, and IFNγ using an ELISA kit. Dose- and time-dependent AF kinetics were analyzed on pooled human lens fragments. Furthermore, AF measurements and a time-lapse of macroscopic changes were performed on intact cataractous human eye lenses after incubation with an FN3K solution. At last, AF measurements were performed on cataractous human eyes after crossover topical treatment with either saline- or FN3K-containing drops. While the lenses of the equine FN3K-treated eyes appeared to be clear, the saline-treated lenses had a yellowish-brown color. Following FN3K treatment, color restoration could be observed within 30 min. The extension rate of the equine FN3K-treated lens was more than twice the extension rate of the saline-treated lens. FN3K treatment induced significant time-dependent decreases in AGE-related AF values in the AGE-modified porcine lens fragments. Furthermore, in vivo intravitreal FN3K injection of murine eyes significantly reduced AF values of the lenses. Treatment did not provoke a systemic immune response in mice. AF kinetics of FN3K-treated cataractous human lens suspensions revealed dose- and time-dependent decreases. Incubation of cataractous human eye lenses with FN3K resulted in a macroscopic lighter color of the cortex and a decrease in AF values. At last, crossover topical treatment of intact human eyes revealed a decrease in AF values during FN3K treatment, while showing no notable changes with saline. Our study suggests, for the first time, a potential additional role of FN3K as an alternative treatment for AGE-related cataracts.


    Sander De Bruyne, Loes van Schie, Jonas Himpe, Filip De Somer, Inge Everaert, Wim Derave, Caroline Van den Broecke, Manon Huizing, Nezahat Bostan, Marijn Speeckaert, Nico Callewaert, Elisabeth Van Aken, Joris R Delanghe. A Potential Role for Fructosamine-3-Kinase in Cataract Treatment. International journal of molecular sciences. 2021 Apr 07;22(8)

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    PMID: 33917258

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