PURPOSE To detect the expression of integrin subunits in lens epithelial cells (LECs) of human cataracts. SETTING Research Laboratory, International Intraocular Implant Training Centre, Tianjin Medical University, China. METHODS The circular sections of the anterior capsules with attached LECs were obtained during cataract surgery from 100 patients. The LECs were stained with an avidin-biotin-complex immunohistochemical technique using 5 monoclonal antibodies specific for alpha subunits 2, 3, 5 and beta subunits 1, 2. RESULTS All integrin subunits studied were found to varying degrees in specimens. The positive percentages were 70%, 65%, 75%, 70%, and 80%, respectively. CONCLUSION Integrin subunits were present in LECs of human cataracts. These molecules may serve in the adhesion of LECs to the lens capsule and play a role in cell-posterior capsule interaction after cataract surgery.