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T Arita, Y Murata, L R Lin, T Tsuji, V N Reddy; Synthesis of lens capsule in long-term culture of human lens epithelial cells.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1993;34(2):355-362.
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PURPOSE: This study examined the extent to which human lens epithelial (HLE) cells in tissue culture retain the potential for differentiation, expression of lens-specific marker proteins, and the synthesis of lens capsule, the major characteristics of lens epithelium in vivo. METHODS: Primary cultures of HLE cells were maintained for up to 450 days. Transmission and immunoelectron microscopy were used to study the thickness of the synthesized capsule and the formation of type IV collagen and laminin, two major protein components of the basement membrane of lens capsule in vivo. RESULTS: In a long-term HLE culture system, without subcloning, lens fiber differentiation and capsular synthesis were maintained over a period of 450 days. In these cultures, the cell sheet showed three distinct zones: (1) a central zone with tight monolayer; (2) a mild peripheral zone with irregularly aggregated multilayer; and (3) a peripheral zone with loose monolayer. The basement membrane-like material was synthesized in the central zone and lentoids, which serve as a model for fiber differentiation, developed primarily in the mid peripheral zone. No capsular material or lentoids were observed in the peripheral zone. The capsule-like material was 2 to 2.5 microns thick and showed the presence of type IV collagen and laminin, as detected by antibody reaction. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates for the first time that HLE cells in long-term cultures synthesize a continuous sheet of capsule-like material. The findings also suggest that reformation of a tight cell-to-cell relationship or generation of high cell density similar to that found in vivo may be an important factor for the synthesis of lens capsule.
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