Absolute rates of sterol synthesis estimated from [3H]water for bovine lens epithelial cells in culture

J Lipid Res. 1985 Dec;26(12):1455-63.


All cells of the avascular ocular lens derive from a monolayer of epithelial cells located on only the anterior surface of this organ. The source of the cholesterol required for the growth and division of these cells was studied by using cultures of bovine lens epithelial cells. Cells were in active growth during the third to fourth day of subculture following seeding. Absolute rates of cholesterol synthesis were estimated for the cultured cells from incorporation of [3H]water. Rates were estimated on the assumption that 0.81 atoms of 3H of [3H]water were incorporated into cholesterol per carbon atom of cholesterol, a situation where all of the NADPH would be generated by oxidative enzymatic processes. We tested this assumption by measuring the changes in sterol mass per dish of cells grown in lipoprotein-deficient media over day 3 to 4 of subculture and by simultaneously measuring the rates of incorporation of [3H]water into sterols during this period. In this situation, the increases in sterol mass should be attributable solely to de novo sterol synthesis. We calculated that an average of 0.79 atoms of 3H of [3H]water were incorporated by these cells into cholesterol per carbon atom of cholesterol. Sterol synthesis was only modestly decreased (about 30%) when the cells were cultured in media prepared with whole calf serum. Growth rates of the cells were also little affected by the absence of lipoproteins. In spite of the capacity to furnish its sterol requirements by de novo synthesis, the lens epithelial cells readily degraded 125I-labeled bovine LDL, and LDL greatly decreased sterol synthesis when added to the media at low levels.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aqueous Humor / metabolism
  • Body Water / metabolism
  • Cattle
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Kinetics
  • Lens, Crystalline / metabolism*
  • Lipoproteins / blood
  • Sterols / biosynthesis*


  • Lipoproteins
  • Sterols
  • Cholesterol