FGF-2 counteracts loss of TGFbeta affected cells from rat lens explants: implications for PCO (after cataract).
PURPOSE To determine whether lens epithelial cells (LECs) undergo apoptosis during healing after cataract surgery to further characterize the healing process of the postoperative lens capsule. SETTING Department of Ophthalmology, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama, Japan. METHODS Apoptotic cells were detected in human postoperative lens capsules using the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase deoxy-UTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) method. The effect of exogenous transforming growth factor-beta2 (TGF-beta2) on mouse LEC apoptosis was also examined in an organ-culture system. RESULTS Three of 17 postoperative specimens contained TUNEL-positive cells. In 2 lens capsules obtained earlier than 10 days, many TUNEL-positive cells, presumably apoptotic LECs, were observed beneath the residual anterior capsule. In cell multilayers in capsule opacification extracted later than 10 days, a few TUNEL-positive cells were seen in 1 specimen; most cells remained negative. In mouse lenses organ-cultured with 1.0 ng/mL TGF-beta2 for 48 hours, TUNEL-positive cells were detected beneath the lens capsule. CONCLUSIONS Lens epithelial cells undergo apoptosis during healing after cataract surgery, especially in the early phase. Transforming growth factor-beta2 may be a factor inducing apoptosis in in vivo LECs.