Differential Corneal Sensitivity to Ultraviolet Light Among Inbred Strains of Mice: Correlation of Ultraviolet B Sensitivity with Aldehyde Dehydrogenase Deficiency

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Adult male mice from four inbred albino strains (SJL/J, NZW/BL, BALB/c HeA, and SWR/J) were subjected to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure (302 nm peak wavelength, intensity 398 µW/cm2 for 3.25 min and photographed 4 days postexposure to assess corneal clouding. Corneal extracts from control (unexposed) mice from each strain, were also monitored for aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) and alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) activity and soluble protein content. The SWR/J strain exhibited more extensive corneal clouding after UV exposure than did the other strains, and control SWR/J mice exhibited a low activity variant phenotype for the major ocular ALDH AHD-4, and decreased levels of soluble protein in corneal extracts. These data support earlier proposals for a major role for ALDH in assisting the cornea in protecting the eye against UVR-induced tissue damage.

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