Morphological and proliferative studies on ex vivo cultured human anterior capsule lens epithelial cells

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Abstract

Purpose

The proliferation and migration of lens epithelial cells (LECs) that remain in the capsular bag after cataract surgery can lead to development of posterior capsule opacification (PCO) - a major cause of post-operative visual loss. The multipotency of anterior lens capsule (LC) LECs is still controversial. We aimed to test the proliferating and migrating potential and to characterize structurally the ex vivo cultured LECs growing out off human anterior LC.

Methods

The explants of LCs were obtained from uneventful cataract surgery and consisted of basal membrane and monolayer of LECs that were cultivated under adherent conditions. The size and shape of the outgrowing cells were recorded by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and their migration and proliferation potential were followed on a daily basis throughout their continued growth using light microscope.

Results

The migration and proliferation of anterior LC LECs filling up the denuded region of the LC could be followed by light microscopy. These cells could also migrate to the opposite side of the capsule as shown by both, light microscopy and SEM. The migration and proliferation of LECs on glass or plastic culture surfaces could be shown by both techniques, while the distribution of the LECs and their morphology could be analyzed in details by SEM.

Conclusion

Classic light microscopy and SEM studies can be used to show that human anterior LC harbors LECs that can migrate and proliferate, suggesting their multipotency and putative stem cell nature. The anterior LC explants can be used to study PCO and the potential of different pharmaceutical or physical treatments against PCO development.

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