Sorbitol

  • An alternative method of trapping glucose in the cell is to convert it to its alcohol counterpart, sorbitol, via aldose reductase. Some tissues then convert sorbitol to fructose using sorbitol dehydrogenase; tissues with an insufficient amount/activity of this enzyme are at risk of intracellular sorbitol accumulation, causing osmotic damage (eg, cataracts, retinopathy, and peripheral neuropathy seen with chronic hyperglycemia in diabetes).
  • High blood levels of galactose also result in conversion to the osmotically active galactitol via aldose reductase.
  • Liver, Ovaries, and Seminal vesicles have both enzymes (they LOSe sorbitol).
  • Lens has primarily aldose reductase. Retina, Kidneys, and Schwann cells have only aldose reductase (LuRKS).

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