Smad translocation and growth suppression in lens epithelial cells by endogenous TGFbeta2 during wound repair

Exp Eye Res. 2001 Jun;72(6):679-86. doi: 10.1006/exer.2001.1002.


To determine whether endogenous TGFbeta affects lens epithelial cells during repair after an anterior capsule injury in mice, we studied translocation of Smad proteins, which carry the TGFbeta signal from cell surface receptors to promoters in nuclei. We immunolocalized Smads in murine lenses at intervals up to 8 weeks following capsular injury. Effects of injecting TGFbeta neutralizing antibodies on Smad4 location and cell proliferation were examined at 24 hr after injury. Finally, we examined whether exogenous TGFbeta2 induced Smad nuclear translocation in murine lenses in organ culture. Cell proliferation was quantitated by 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) labelling. In uninjured lenses, Smads were located in the cytoplasm. In injured lenses, nuclear localization of Smads was observed in cells next to the capsular break from 8 to 24 hr after the injury, and was observed peripheral to the break at 48 hr. Nuclear Smads then continued to be observed occasionally in a minority of cells. Injection of antibodies neutralizing TGFbeta2, but not TGFbeta1 or TGFbeta3, inhibited Smad4 nuclear translocation and resulted in the appearance of BrdU-positive anterior epithelial cells. With the lenses in culture, transient nuclear localization of Smads occurred between 3 and 24 hr in response to continuous exposure to TGFbeta2. No nuclear translocation was seen at 48 hr. Endogenous TGFbeta2 affects lens cells during wound repair after anterior capsule injury, inhibiting lens cell proliferation during the early phase. Nuclear translocation of Smads in lens epithelial cells is transient even with continuous exposure to TGFbeta2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Division
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology*
  • Lens, Crystalline / cytology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Protein Transport / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Smad2 Protein
  • Smad3 Protein
  • Smad4 Protein
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / physiology*
  • Wound Healing / physiology*


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Smad2 Protein
  • Smad2 protein, mouse
  • Smad3 Protein
  • Smad3 protein, mouse
  • Smad4 Protein
  • Smad4 protein, mouse
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Bromodeoxyuridine