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J Bond, C Green, P Donaldson, J Kistler; Liquefaction of cortical tissue in diabetic and galactosemic rat lenses defined by confocal laser scanning microscopy.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1996;37(8):1557-1565.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
PURPOSE: To investigate whether a histologic link exists between osmotic fiber cell swelling and cortical tissue liquefaction in experimentally induced diabetic and galactosemic cataractogenesis of the rat lens. METHODS: Confocal laser scanning microscopy, in conjunction with specific membrane labels and correlative transmission electron microscopy, was used to image large cortical areas with precise definition of the individual cells. RESULTS: In both cataract models, tissue liquefaction--defined as the disintegration of tissue and the appearance of large fluid-filled spaces--typically was limited to a discrete zone in the lens cortex. The borders of the liquefaction zone were characterized by transitions between normal-appearing cells and swollen cells, which gained in size as plasma membranes ruptured and cytoplasmic contents fused and ultimately burst, thereby contributing to the formation of large fluid-filled spaces. During cataractogenesis, before tissue liquefaction became evident, selected fiber cells appeared swollen and accumulated specifically in the zone destined for tissue liquefaction. With increasing duration of diabetes or galactosemia, swollen fiber cells in this zone became more frequent and enlarged, resulting first in tissue disorder and then in tissue disintegration and the formation of large fluid-filled spaces. CONCLUSIONS: New imaging protocols strongly support a direct involvement of lens fiber cell swelling in the liquefaction of cortical tissue. The appearance of swollen fiber cells in the lens cortex, therefore, can be used as an early indicator of the histopathology of sugar cataractogenesis.
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