1. Naphthalene (1g./kg.) was fed daily by stomach tube to rabbits. 2. In more than half of the rabbits opacities in the lens and degeneration of the retina were visible in vivo. 3. Dissection of eye tissues revealed some or all of the following changes: a browning of the lens and eye humours, blue fluorescence of the eye humours and crystals in the retina and vitreous body. 4. The ascorbic acid concentration of the eye humours was decreased. 5. Some metabolites of naphthalene [1,2-dihydro-1,2-dihydroxynaphthalene, 2-hydroxy-1-naphthyl sulphate and (1,2-dihydro-2-hydroxy-1-naphthyl glucosid)uronic acid] are converted enzymically by the tissues of the eye into 1,2-dihydroxynaphthalene. 6. Changes in the eye are consistent with 1,2-dihydroxynaphthalene's being the primary toxic agent. The properties and reactions of this substance are described. 7. 1,2-Dihydroxynaphthalene is readily autoxidizable in neutral solution to form the yellow 1,2-naphthaquinone and hydrogen peroxide. This oxidation is reversed by ascorbate. 8. Ascorbate is oxidized catalytically by 1,2-naphthaquinone. This may account for the disappearance of ascorbate from the aqueous and vitreous humours of the eye after naphthalene feeding. It may also account for the appearance of crystals of calcium oxalate in the eye. 9. The brown colour of the lens of the naphthalene-fed rabbit is due to presence of naphthaquinone-protein compounds.
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Research Article| March 01 1967
The metabolism of naphthalene and its toxic effect on the eye
Biochem J (1967) 102 (3): 842–852.
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R.V. Heyningen, P Antoinette; The metabolism of naphthalene and its toxic effect on the eye. Biochem J 1 March 1967; 102 (3): 842–852. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/bj1020842
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