Background. Chaperone activity of α-crystallin in the lens works to prevent protein aggregation and is important to maintain the lens transparency. This study evaluated the effect of hesperetin on lens chaperone activity in selenite-induced cataracts. Methodology. Thirteen-day-old rats were divided into four groups. Animals were given hesperetin (groups G2 and G4) or vehicle (G1 and G3) on Days 0, 1, and 2. Rats in G3 and G4 were administered selenite subcutaneously 4 hours after the first hesperetin injection. On Days 2, 4, and 6, cataract grades were evaluated using slit-lamp biomicroscopy. The amount of a-crystallin and chaperone activity in water-soluble fraction were measured after animals sacrificed. Results. G3 on day 4 had developed significant cataract, as an average cataract grading of 4.6 ± 0.2. In contrast, G4 had less severe central opacities and lower stage cataracts than G3, as an average cataract grading of 2.4 ± 0.4. The a-crystallin levels in G3 lenses were lower than in G1, but the same as G4. Additionally, chaperone activity was weaker in G3 lenses than G1, but the same as in G4. Conclusions. Our results suggest that hesperetin can prevent the decreasing lens chaperone activity and a-crystallin water solubility by administered of selenite.
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