The presence of the enzyme aldose reductase is increasingly being linked to diabetic complications. The distribution of this enzyme in human cornea, lens, retina, and optic nerve has been studied using specific antibodies against purified human placental aldose reductase raised in both rabbit and goat. The antisera from both animals gave equal, specific reactions.
In frozen sections of ocular tissues, significant aldose reductase localization was reproducibly demonstrated in the endothelium and epithelium of the cornea and in the basal cell layers of the conjunctiva. In the lens, staining was observed in the epithelium and superficial lens fibers. In retinal sections, the presence of aldose reductase was demonstrated in the Mueller's cells, especially near the inner limiting membrane. It was also found in some ganglion and cone cells. In the optic nerve, positive staining was observed in the axon. All other cells of the tissues examined revealed Only weak, nonspecific Staining.