Optical properties of the human lens constituents

Ekaterina A. Zelentsova, Lyudmila V. Yanshole, Anjella Zh Fursova, Yuri P. Tsentalovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The absorption and fluorescence properties of the metabolomic (MET), water-soluble and urea-soluble protein fractions from the middle-age, aged, and cataractous human lenses have been measured. At 280 nm and 300 nm the major lens absorbers are crystallins, which absorb more than 90% of light in the UV-B region (280–315 nm). In middle-aged lenses, the absorption at 360 nm is mostly provided by UV filters contained in the MET fraction. With aging, and especially with the cataract development, the absorption of MET fraction in UV-A region (315–400 nm) decreases due to the drop of the UV filter concentration, while the absorption of protein fractions increases due to the accumulation of post-translational modifications. Consequently, the contribution of the MET fraction into the total lens absorption at 360 nm decays from 63% in middle-aged lenses to 25% in aged lenses to 3% in cataractous lenses. The fluorescence yield of the MET fraction from cataractous lenses also significantly increases. Therefore, the protection of the lens tissue against UV radiation in aged and cataractous lenses weakens: the absorption of UV-A light is mostly provided by modified crystallins and non-UV-filter metabolites, which are photochemically more active than the UV filters. The obtained data indicate that the aged and cataractous human lenses are more vulnerable to UV-A light than the middle-aged lenses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-324
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • Absorption
  • Cataract
  • Fluorescence
  • Human lens
  • Aging/metabolism
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Optical Phenomena
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cataract/metabolism
  • Lens, Crystalline/metabolism
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Aged
  • Ultraviolet Rays/adverse effects

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