Alteration of cadherin in dexamethasone-induced cataract organ-cultured rat lens

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2003 May;44(5):2034-40. doi: 10.1167/iovs.02-0602.


Purpose: A side effect associated with long-term treatment of various diseases with steroids is a high incidence of posterior subcapsular cataracts (PSC). To understand the mechanism underlying steroid-induced cataract, the cultured lens model was developed, and the expression of potential candidate proteins during opacity formation was examined.

Method: Rat lenses were carefully dissected from the surrounding ocular tissue and incubated in medium 199. Dexamethasone was then added to the medium. The lenses were cultured for 7 days and photographed daily to record the development of opacity. Differential expression of candidate proteins was examined by Western blot analysis.

Result: Various degrees of opacity were observed on the posterior subcapsular region as early as 5 days after incubation with dexamethasone. The expression of E-cadherin and N-cadherin decreased in the cultured rat lenses during the development of opacity.

Conclusions: The pattern of opacity that developed in cultured rat lenses closely resembled that observed in patients with PSC. The results suggest that the decrease in E-cadherin plays a role in the formation of steroid-induced cataract.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cadherins / metabolism*
  • Cataract / chemically induced*
  • Cataract / metabolism*
  • Cataract / pathology
  • Cataract / prevention & control
  • Dexamethasone / toxicity*
  • Glucocorticoids / toxicity*
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Hormone Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Lens, Crystalline / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Mifepristone / pharmacology
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Cadherins
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Hormone Antagonists
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid
  • Mifepristone
  • Dexamethasone
  • Glutathione