In Vitro Evaluation of the Effects of Intraocular Lens Material on Lens Epithelial Cell Proliferation, Migration, and Transformation

Curr Eye Res. 2017 Jan;42(1):72-78. doi: 10.3109/02713683.2016.1156133. Epub 2016 Jun 24.


Objective: To investigate the biological effects of different intraocular lens (IOL) materials on the adhesion, migration, morphology, and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of human lens HLEB3 cells.

Materials and methods: Human HLEB3 cells were seeded onto IOLs composed of four different materials (polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), silicone elastomer, hydrophilic acrylic, and hydrophobic acrylic). The levels of cellular adhesion, migration, morphology, and EMT were then quantified using a cell viability assay, scratch test, phase contrast microscopy, and immunofluorescence staining, respectively.

Results: The highest levels of HLEB3 cell adhesion and migration were found for the hydrophobic acrylic IOL cultures, which also had the lowest incidence of EMT (p < 0.01). In contrast, while the PMMA IOLs had a low level of cell adhesion, the percentage of these cells undergoing EMT was the highest compared to the other groups (p < 0.001). The hydrophilic IOLs were also associated with an extremely low level of cellular adhesion, which ultimately prevented any further analysis. Finally, while the HLEB3 cells cultured with silicon IOLs were similar to those cultured with hydrophobic acrylic IOLs in terms of morphology and EMT levels, they had significantly lower adhesion and migration profiles.

Conclusion: Taken together, these data suggest that IOL composition greatly affects lens cell behavior during PCO development, and it appears that hydrophobic IOLs may be the best option to limit the effects of PCO after cataract surgery while also correcting the patient's vision.

Keywords: Cataract surgery; epithelial-mesenchymal transition; hydrophobic acrylic; intraocular lens.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acrylic Resins
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Cell Proliferation / physiology*
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology*
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lens, Crystalline / cytology*
  • Lenses, Intraocular*
  • Polymers*
  • Polymethyl Methacrylate
  • Silicone Elastomers


  • Acrylic Resins
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Polymers
  • Silicone Elastomers
  • Polymethyl Methacrylate