This study investigated the effect of a natural tomato extract (TE) on cataract formation in two animal models. ATE containing 5% lycopene was included in the diet of diabetic sand rats at 0.2%, and Sprague Dawley rats were fed a high-galactose diet (30 g/100 g of diet), supplemented with either the lycopene-rich extract at concentrations of 0.2, 0.4, and 0.8% or BHT (0.2%). TE had no significant effect on plasma glucose levels or cataract development in sand rats; however, in rats maintained on a diet rich in galactose, both BHT and TE decreased cataract incidence, and grades were lower than in control animals. In addition, lens protein and reduced glutathione levels were higher and aldose reductase activity was lower than in the control group. The results suggest that antioxidants act as protective agents when oxidative stress is a primary cause of cataract formation but may be less effective in preventing cataracts in hyperglycemic animals.
- Aldose reductase
- Sand rats