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Oestradiol levels and superoxide dismutase activity in age-related cataract: a case-control study.

Journal article
Authors Dragana Skiljic
Staffan Nilsson
Anne Petersen
Jan-Olof Karlsson
Anders Behndig
Lada Kalaboukhova
Madeleine Zetterberg
Published in BMC ophthalmology
Volume 16
Issue 1
Pages 210
ISSN 1471-2415
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Mathematical Sciences
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Pages 210
Language en
Subject categories Ophthalmology


It has been suggested that the higher prevalence of cataract in women is caused by a withdrawal effect of oestrogen at menopause. In vitro studies have demonstrated protection of serum oestradiol (E2) against oxidative stress through upregulation of antioxidant enzymes, including superoxide dismutase (SOD). The purpose of the present study was to investigate E2 levels and SOD erythrocyte activity in patients with age-related cataract.The studied subjects consisted of 103 patients with age-related cataract and 22 controls. Cataracts were classified as nuclear, cortical, or posterior subcapsular. Blood samples were collected and data on smoking, hormonal use, diabetes and age at menarche/menopause was obtained for all individuals. Serum oestradiol analyses were performed with radioimmunoassay (RIA) and SOD activity was measured in erythrocyte lysates.A negative correlation between age and E2 concentration was seen in a linear regression analysis. No correlation was seen between SOD activity and age or gender and no correlation between E2 levels and SOD activity was found using multiple linear regression. The mean level of E2 for all male subjects was 50.1 ± 16.3 pmol/L, significantly higher compared to 13.8 ± 11.8 pmol/L for postmenopausal women.The present study does not support a role for E2-induced effects on SOD in cataract formation. The findings of higher E2 levels in men than in postmenopausal women may suggest that decreased oestrogen at menopause is partially responsible for the gender-related difference in cataract prevalence. However, the latter can only be verified through prospective randomized trials using hormonal replacement therapy.

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