Human beta crystallins: regional and age related changes

Curr Eye Res. 1988 Apr;7(4):353-9. doi: 10.3109/02713688809031784.


The composition of human beta-crystallins displayed specific changes with age and region of the lens. 27 kD and 29 kD human beta-crystallin subunits were singled out for study. The 29 kD beta-crystallin subunit constituted approximately 10% of the total lens crystallins at 8 months of fetal life. Its accumulation decreased steadily to 3.3% during postnatal year 1, to 0.5% by year 5 and to 0.3% thereafter. At all postnatal ages, however, it persisted mainly in the superficial fibers. Thus in a 17-years old lens it made up 1.3% of the superficial fiber soluble protein but was already absent from deep cortical and nuclear fibers. The 27 kD subunit increased steadily from 3.5% at 8 months fetal to 7% at year 5; it then decreased steadily to 1.2% in the 86-year old lens. It persisted in all regions of the lens but decreased markedly in the deep cortical and nuclear fibers with increasing age beginning at 5-17 years of age. Studies on the oligomeric structure of human beta-crystallin must take into account age-related changing quantitative patterns in the subunit polypeptide composition of this lens protein.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromatography, Gel
  • Crystallins / classification*
  • Crystallins / metabolism
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Fetus
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lens, Crystalline / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Weight
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Crystallins