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Journal of Ophthalmology
Volume 2011, Article ID 471947, 6 pages
Review Article

Contribution of Cholesterol and Oxysterols in the Physiopathology of Cataract: Implication for the Development of Pharmacological Treatments

1Inserm-CIT 808, CHU de Besançon, 25030 Besançon, France
2Equipe Biochimie Métabolique et Nutritionnelle Centre de Recherche INSERM 866 (Lipides, Nutrition, Cancer), Faculté des Sciences Gabriel, Université de Bourgogne, 6 Boulevard Gabriel, 21000 Dijon, France
3LCME/Département de Chimie, Université Paul Verlaine-Metz, 57012 Metz, France

Received 23 November 2010; Revised 18 January 2011; Accepted 10 February 2011

Academic Editor: Jie Jin Wang

Copyright © 2011 Anne Vejux et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The development of cataract is associated with some lipid changes in human lens fibers, especially with increased accumulation and redistribution of cholesterol inside these cells. Some direct and indirect lines of evidence, also suggest an involvement of cholesterol oxide derivatives (also named oxysterols) in the development of cataract. Oxysterol formation can result either from nonenzymatic or enzymatic processes, and some oxysterols can induce a wide range of cytotoxic effects (overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS); phospholipidosis) which might contribute to the initiation and progression of cataract. Thus, the conception of molecules capable of regulating cholesterol homeostasia and oxysterol levels in human lens fibers can have some interests and constitute an alternative to surgery at least at early stages of the disease.