In the present study we investigated the effects of a long-term treatment with vitamin E, an antioxidant vitamin, insulin or their combination on cataracts of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats fed a high cholesterol diet. Each rat was checked for cataracts at 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 12 and 15 weeks after STZ injection. Cataracts were observed from 8 weeks in the control diabetic rats and their incidence of catarats increased to 100% by 12 weeks. The incidence of cataracts in rats treated with vitamin E, insulin and their combination was first seen at 12 weeks and 56%, 20% and 10%, respectively, at 12 weeks and 78%, 50% and 20%, respectively, at 15 weeks. The preventive effects of either agent alone and their combination on the cataracts were in agreement with those obtained by histopathological evaluation of eyeballs. The combined treatment with both agents markedly improved hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia and increased serum lipid peroxide levels. These results indicate that the combined treatment with vitamin E and insulin is useful in preventing the development and progression of diabetic cataracts.
2004 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan