Official website of GRiPPA - Research Group for the Prevention of Environmental Disease - edited by Giancarlo Ugazio

Gruppo di Ricerca per la Prevenzione

della Patologia Ambientale

Research Group for the Prevention of Environmental Disease

Italiano

DYNAMICS  OF  ENVIRONMENTAL  DISEASE  THROUGHOUT  MAN'S  LIFESPAN



 

CD-7

EARLY CATARACT BROUGHT ON BY A COCKTAIL OF CATARACT

INDUCING  FACTORS

 Movie2

CONTENT

01

BIOCHEMICAL BASIS FOR THE CRYSTALLINE LENS BECOMING OPAQUE DUE TO DENATURATION OF THE REDUCED PROTEIC MOLECULES

02

COMMON FOOD SOURCES OF MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE

03

TIME EVOLUTION OF THE SPONTANEOUS CATARACT

04

NAPHTHALENE AS A MOTH KILLER: PRODUCTION, SALE AND USE

05

METABOLISM CHART OF NAPHTHALENE AND THE RECIRCULATION OF METABOLITES

06

EVOLUTION AND ACCELERATED KINETICS OF THE CATARACT BROUGHT ON EARLY FOR THE SYNERGISM OF CATARACT-  INDUCING  AGENTS

 

 
 
 

 

Summary

  The human body, like that of other mammals, has certain structures which are particularly susceptible to wear or damage by  environmental conditions or  a certain number of  harmful physical or chemical agents, especially in the presence of synergism which enhances the harmful effects. The nervous system is the system which is at the top of this hierarchical scale both for its vital importance and its susceptibility to harmful agents. Alongside this we find two particularly important sense organs, the eye and the inner ear, which allow us to communicate with the outside world. All the individual components of both these structures are indispensable and highly susceptible to lesions caused by environmental disease.

In the eye, apart from retina lesions described as complications of  diabetic hyperglycemia, the crystalline lens is particularly prone to environmentally-induced damage. The lens is located behind the diaphragm formed by the iris and the anterior chamber of the eye which contains aqueous humour, and in front of  the posterior chamber containing vitreous humour. This wonderful structure performs a function which can be compared with that of a camera lens, allowing us to focus images, by making the lens more or less flat using the ciliary muscles. As in all good lenses, when we start out in life, the lens is completely transparent. This fundamental principle depends on the reduced state of the SH functional groups found in the protein molecules that make up the crystalline lens. The chemical and physical properties of the lens proteins allow us to see and focus on the retina images of observed objects, then these are transmitted to the brain by the optical nerve. When all this functions correctly, at the beginning of our lifespan, and throughout our younger days, these functions are perfectly satisfactory. However, with ageing,  as we approach old age or senility, as a result of a long sequence of oxidative or peroxidative phenomena, the transparent proteins of the crystalline lens lose their chemical and physical properties, for the transformation of the reduced SH groups into oxidised disulfide bridges. This somewhat arid biochemical term explains the phenomenon which is the cause of the increasing opaqueness of the crystalline lens that leads to a cataract and which can be compared to what happens to the albumen of a egg when it is cooked. As always occurs in the development of many forms of environmental disease, it is rare that only one harmful agent acts at a time. In effect the harmful agents attack as a team with a perverse cocktail-like synergism, which worsens and/or anticipates considerably the natural evolution of the cataract. In the scientific literature we find that the development of cataracts has been attributed to ultraviolet radiation, ionising radiation, oxidative stress, diabetic hyperglycemia and monosodium glutamate which is used as a taste enhancer.

Among the agents which cause cataracts, one stands out for the direct harm it causes and for the specificity of its disease-causing mechanisms and this is naphthalene, a molecule used in mothballs. The risk of exposure to the vapours of this poison not only involves the working environment, during production, packing or storage or use, but in everyday life in that a person who puts on a woollen garment that has been protected with mothballs can inhale varying quantities of the harmful compound. The naphthalene vapours enter the body though the respiratory system and  then are taken up  in the bloodstream which conveys them to the liver. Here the moth poison is transformed by the microsomal enzymatic system into di-hydrodiol naphthalene .

This first metabolite leaves the liver and is transported by the bloodstream, past the pulmonary vasculature to the eye. Here it undergoes the crucial metabolic transformation becoming naphthalene epoxide, the real molecular poison for the natural proteins of  the crystalline lens. The lens loses its transparency irremediably as a result of these molecular alterations.

This particular manifestation of environmental disease, the cataract, appears in many individuals generally in late old age when it is due to so-called natural causes. Another evolution and one that occurs much more quickly is  the one which depends on a synergism between various cataract-causing agents, having a cocktail effect.

If we wish to really prevent cataracts then we must avoid or at least limit as much as possible 1) exposure to UVA  radiation ionising radiation (X-rays) 2) the choice of dishes in Chinese restaurants which are particularly rich in monosodium glutamate, as well as soup cubes which are based on it there are alternative non monosodium glutamate cubes available, 3) the consumption of food with a high sugar content to spare the pancreas from overwork.

 

 

 

 

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