Immunolocalization of TGF-beta1, -beta2, and -beta3, and TGF-beta receptors in human lens capsules with lens implants

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2000 Mar;238(3):283-93. doi: 10.1007/s004170050354.


Purpose: To establish the alteration in expression pattern of transforming growth factor (TGF)-betas and their receptors during repair of lens capsules after cataract surgery, we immunohistochemically located TGF-beta isoforms and their receptors in human lens capsules before and after cataract surgery.

Methods: Ten post-cataract surgery capsular specimens were obtained during vitrectomy. Three sections of the anterior capsules were obtained during cataract surgery. A whole lens capsular bag immediately after lens extraction was obtained during vitrectomy. Cryosections of these specimens were processed for immunohistochemical analysis for TGF-beta1, TGF-beta2, TGF-beta3, TGF-beta receptor type I (TbetaR-I), type II (TbetaR-II) and type III (TbetaR-III), and were observed under light micros-copy.

Results: Lens epithelial cells (LECs) lining the inner surface of the anterior capsules exhibited immunoreactivity for TGF-beta2 and TbetaR-II. Immunoreactivity for TGF-beta1, -beta3, TbetaR-I and TbetaR-III was negative. In the whole capsular bag specimen, equatorial LECs were positive for TGF-beta1 and -beta2, but not for -beta3. In post-cataract surgery specimens, antibodies for each TGF-beta isoform labelled either the LECs or ECM accumulated on the capsules. Post-surgical LECs expressed TbetaR-I and TbetaR-II, and had also TbetaR-III in seven of the nine specimens examined.

Conclusion: Expression pattern of TGF-beta s in quiescent LECs showed regional heterogeneity. Anterior LECs exhibited TGF-beta2 immunoreactivity, while equatorial LECs were positive for TGF-beta1 and -beta2. Quiescent LECs expressed TbetaR-II. LECs proliferating around IOLs expressed proteins of each TGF-beta isoform and each TbetaR. TGF-beta s were also localized in the ECM on capsules undergoing repair. TGF-beta3, TbetaR-I and TbetaR-III are up-regulated in LECs after cataract surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cataract Extraction
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Lens Capsule, Crystalline / metabolism*
  • Lens Implantation, Intraocular*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Receptors, Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*


  • Protein Isoforms
  • Receptors, Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta