The importance of the epithelial fibre cell interface to lens regeneration in an in vivo rat model and in a human bag-in-the-lens (BiL) sample

Weiju Wu, Noemi Lois, Alan R. Prescott, Adrian P. Brown, Veerle Van Gerwen, Marie-José Tassignon, Shane A. Richards, Christopher Saunter, Miguel Jarrin, Roy A. Quinlan (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Human lens regeneration and the Bag-in-the-Lens (BIL) surgical treatment for cataract both depend upon lens capsule closure for their success. Our studies suggest that the first three days after surgery are critical to their long-term outcomes. Using a rat model of lens regeneration, we evidenced lens epithelial cell (LEC) proliferation increased some 50 fold in the first day before rapidly declining to rates observed in the germinative zone of the contra-lateral, un-operated lens. Cell multi-layering at the lens equator occurred on days 1 and 2, but then reorganised into two discrete layers by day 3. E- and N-cadherin expression preceded cell polarity being re-established during the first week. Aquaporin 0 (AQP0) was first detected in the elongated cells at the lens equator at day 7. Cells at the capsulotomy site, however, behaved very differently expressing the epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers fibronectin and alpha-smooth muscle actin (SMA) from day 3 onwards. The physical interaction between the apical surfaces of the anterior and posterior LECs from day 3 after surgery preceded cell elongation. In the human BIL sample fibre cell formation was confirmed by both histological and proteome analyses, but the cellular response is less ordered and variable culminating in Soemmerring's ring (SR) formation and sometimes Elschnig's pearls. This we evidence for lenses from a single patient. No bow region or recognisable epithelial-fibre cell interface (EFI) was evident and consequently the fibre cells were disorganised. We conclude that lens cells require spatial and cellular cues to initiate, sustain and produce an optically functional tissue in addition to capsule integrity and the EFI.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108808
Number of pages21
JournalExperimental Eye Research
Early online date9 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • AQP0
  • Bag in the lens
  • Cadherin
  • Cataract surgery
  • Epithelial mesenchymal transition
  • Lens regeneration
  • Posterior capsule opacification
  • Tubulin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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