May 2008
Volume 49, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   May 2008
The Initiation of Suture Branch Formation in Rat Lenses
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • S. T. Donohue
    Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois
    Anatomy and Cell Biology,
  • K. J. Al-Ghoul
    Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois
    Anatomy and Cell Biology,
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  S.T. Donohue, None; K.J. Al-Ghoul, None.
  • Footnotes
    Support  NIH Grant EY14902 and The Doctor Bernard and Jennie M. Nelson Fund, Chicago, IL.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science May 2008, Vol.49, 2799. doi:
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      S. T. Donohue, K. J. Al-Ghoul; The Initiation of Suture Branch Formation in Rat Lenses. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(13):2799. doi:

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose: : To evaluate fiber end arrangement both between and within growth shells during the formation of secondary suture branches in a non-primate lens.

Methods: : Normal (non-cataractous) adult Sprague-Dawley rats (n=12) were utilized. Lenses were examined under a dissecting scope to locate forming suture branches then fixed and vibratome sectioned parallel to the equatorial axis. Sections were labeled with either phalloidin or wheat germ agglutinin conjugated to a fluorescent tag and examined via laser scanning confocal microscopy. Through focus z series’ were utilized to assess fiber organization during the initial stages of suture branch formation.

Results: : Grossly, secondary suture branch formation was initiated either at proximal ends of primary branches or along their lateral extent. In the latter case, this generally occurred at a preexisting bend. Both F-actin and wheat germ agglutinin effectively delineated fibers along their length and demonstrated the interdigitation of their non-uniform ends at lens sutures. Initiation of suture branches typically involved 16-20 fibers per growth shell and occurred over a depth of 10-12 µm (i.e. corresponding to approximately 5-6 growth shells of fibers). These parameters were consistent for both anterior and posterior suture branch formation. Established branches develop at variable rates of up to 4 µm displacement per growth shell and their elongation also involves rearrangement of fibers from opposing quadrants.

Conclusions: : In rats, both anterior and posterior secondary suture branches form in a similar (proximal to distal) fashion. This contrasts with primate studies that show distinct anterior-posterior differences in this process. Additionally, the placement of secondary branches in rat lenses is not predictable, leading to the development of variable suture patterns within the model.

Keywords: development • microscopy: confocal/tunneling • immunohistochemistry 

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