In Vitro Growth of Lens Epithelial Cells from Cataract Patients - Association with Possible Risk Factors for Posterior Capsule Opacification

Karin Sundelin 1, Anne Petersen 1, Yalda Soltanpour 2, Madeleine Zetterberg*, 1
1 Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Section of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation/Ophthalmology
2 Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Medical Chemistry and Cell Biology, Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden

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© Sundelin et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation/ Ophthalmology, the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, SE-431 80 Mölndal, Sweden; Tel: +46-31-786 33 94; Fax: +46-31-41 29 04; E-mail:


Aim :

Inter-individual differences in intrinsic proliferative capacity of lens epithelial cells may have importance for the risk of developing posterior capsule opacification (PCO) after cataract surgery. The purpose of the present study was to determine growth of human lens epithelial cells (HLEC) in culture and investigate possible associations with clinical characteristics of the donors, such as age, sex, pseudoexfoliation, uveitis and diabetes.

Methods :

Pieces of lens capsule and adhering lens epithelial cells were obtained through capsulorhexis at cataract surgery. Specimens were cultured in a humidified CO2-incubator using standard culture medium and 5% fetal calf serum for two weeks after which cultured cells were stained with carboxy-fluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester. Image processing software was used to determine the area of the confluent epithelial cell layer in relation to the size of the original capsule specimen.

Results :

The increase in area of confluent HLEC showed a negative correlation with diabetes at the first week after surgery. Lower age and female sex showed border-line significant associations with a higher rate of cell proliferation. The presence of pseudoexfoliation in vivo did not significantly affect cell growth in culture postoperatively. Nor did installation of xylocain in the anterior chamber during surgery.

Conclusion :

Diabetes is associated with lower rate of proliferation of lens epithelial cells in culture. The lack of strong correlations between in vitro growth and known risk factors for PCO in the donors suggest that other factors than the proliferative capacity of the cells per se are important for PCO formation.

Keywords: Cataract, lens, posterior capsule opacification, primary cell culture, risk factors.