This study examined the effect of an aldose reductase inhibitor (Sorbinil, CP 45634,Pfizer, Sandwich, Kent, United Kingdom) on the metabolite profile of the lens during the first week after induction of diabetes with alloxan. The lens content of sorbitol, fructose, glycerol 3-phosphate, and glucose 6-phosphate was, respectively, 0.33 ± 0.03, 0.55 ± 0.05, 0.10± 0.01, and 0.074 ± 0.006 μmol/g (means ± SEM) in the control group rising to 12.2 ± 0.52, 3.20 ± 0.10, 0.76 ± 0.10, and 0.200 ± 0.009 in lenses from alloxan-diabetic rats. Sorbinil treatment (40 mg/kg) decreased the lens content of sorbitol to 0.60 ± 0.06, fructose to 0.85 ± 0.08, and glycerol 3-phosphate to 0.36 ± 0.03 μmol/g; glucose 6-phosphate remained unchanged. Significantly, the lens content of glutathione was decreased to 60% of the normal value in the diabetic group, but was sustained at normal levels with Sorbinil treatment. The ATP content of the lens was not altered by diabetes or Sorbinil treatment at this time interval. Sorbinil has no significant effect on the above metabolites in the normal rat lens. The effect of Sorbinil in restoring normal levels of glutathione and glycerol 3-phosphate may be a potentially important facet of the action of this drug. The interlocking of metabolic pathways by the redox state of NAD+ /NADH and NADP+/NADPH, their derangement in diabetes, and the wider effects of Sorbinil on the network of reactions in the lens are discussed.

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