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Diabetic and non-diabetic human cornea and tear γ-glutamyl transpeptidase activity

Authors Burnham JM, Sakhalkar M, Langford MP, Liang C, Redens TB, Jain SK

Received 31 August 2012

Accepted for publication 23 October 2012

Published 10 January 2013 Volume 2013:7 Pages 99—107


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Jordan M Burnham,1 Monali Sakhalkar,1 Marlyn P Langford,1 Chanping Liang,1 Thomas B Redens,1 Sushil K Jain2

1Department of Ophthalmology, 2Department of Pediatrics, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, LA, USA

Background: Diabetes-related eye disease is due in part to oxidative stress. Gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) is a γ-glutamyl cycle enzyme that protects against oxidative stress via glutathione recapture. This study investigates corneal and Schirmer tears GGT activity in diabetic and non-diabetic adults aged 50 to 83 years old.
Methods: GGT activity was determined by colorimetric assay on 50 corneas from 14 diabetic (without keratopathy) and 20 non-diabetic donors and on Schirmer type 1 test strips (no anesthesia) of 14 diabetic and 14 non-diabetic subjects.
Results: Type 1 (T1) diabetic cornea GGT activity was 40% lower than Type 2 (T2) diabetic cornea GGT activity (P = 0.04), but GGT activity was similar for corneas (without keratopathy) from diabetic and non-diabetic donors (P ≥ 0.44 for all). The number of endothelial cells/unit of GGT activity in diabetic corneas was 22% higher (P = 0.1) than in non-diabetic corneas. GGT activity per Schirmer strip and GGT activity per mm of tears were 36% and 50% higher (P ≤ 0.008 for all) for non-diabetic (tear volume dependent) than diabetic donors (tear volume independent), respectively. GGT activity per mm was 50% lower in T1 than T2 diabetics (P = 0.02). Higher tear GGT activity in non-diabetic than diabetic females (P ≤ 0.05) was due to higher GGT activity in the African American females.
Conclusion: GGT activity was less in T1 than T2 diabetics, but comparable to non-diabetic corneas. Schirmer tear GGT activity in diabetic eyes was tear volume independent, less in T1 than T2, lower than in tear volume dependent, non-diabetic female eyes. Low cornea and tear GGT activity suggests loss of antioxidant potential and supports ocular antioxidant therapy for diabetic patients.

Keywords: cornea, diabetes, endothelium, epithelium, eye, γ-glutamyl transpeptidase, tear, oxidative stress

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