Using 31P–nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, we have identified elevated concentrations of sedoheptulose-7-phosphate (S-7-P) in lenses from three animal models of hyperglycemia: streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats, galactose-fed rats, and xylose-fed rats. This observation provides a unique and independent confirmation of the activation of the hexose monophosphate shunt (HMPS) pathway in the hyperglycemic lens in vivo. While the elevation in concentration of S-7-P was very dramatic, the other HMPS metabolites in these tissues were below the threshold of detection, as expected for the HMPS pathway near equilibrium. In terms of nonenzymatic glycation, these results suggest that the only HMPS metabolite of importance in the hyperglycemic rat lens is S-7-P. Although in the diabetic lens its role appears to be relatively minor, in the galactosemic lens this compound may be an important contributor to the increased production of advanced glycosylation end products.

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