July 1993
Volume 34, Issue 8
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Articles  |   July 1993
Retinoic acid inhibits formation of mesenchyme from lens epithelium in collagen gels.
Author Affiliations
  • R M Mattern
    Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.
  • A Zuk
    Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.
  • E D Hay
    Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science July 1993, Vol.34, 2526-2537. doi:
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      R M Mattern, A Zuk, E D Hay; Retinoic acid inhibits formation of mesenchyme from lens epithelium in collagen gels.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1993;34(8):2526-2537.

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Abstract

PURPOSE: To examine the possibility that retinoic acid (RA), a stabilizer of the epithelial phenotype, would inhibit formation of mesenchymal cells from avian lens epithelium in three-dimensional collagen. METHODS: Lens epithelia from 11-day-old chick embryos were cultured for 6 days in collagen gels in the presence of RA. The number of mesenchymal cells emigrating into the gels was quantitatively compared with control cultures to which RA was not added. RESULTS: It was found that few fibroblast-like cells form at the highest dose used (10(-5) M RA) and outgrowth approaches control levels at lower doses of RA. The mesenchymal cells that form after RA treatment are not ultrastructurally different from those of controls. Many have well-developed rough endoplasmic reticulum and undoubtedly produce the collagen fibrils that accumulate around the cells. Others, although spindle-shaped, still exhibit lenslike cytoplasm. New basement membrane is deposited on the former free surface of RA-treated lens epithelium, but is not present at the former free surface of control epithelium. CONCLUSIONS: It is possible that RA inhibition of lens transformation to fibroblast-like cells is at least partly due to the ability of RA to stimulate production of basement membrane components by epithelia. More studies of RA action on epithelial-mesenchymal transformation in collagen gels may reveal additional mechanisms. It is also suggested that mesenchymal genes similar to those activated in lens epithelium by suspension in collagen may turn on in pathologic transformations (ie, in anterior capsular cataract, fibroblast-like cells arise from lens epithelium.

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