Square arrays and their role in ridge formation in human lens fibers

J Ultrastruct Res. 1984 Mar;86(3):228-45. doi: 10.1016/s0022-5320(84)90103-5.


Square arrays in human lens fibers were studied with freeze-fracture and thin-section TEM. In superficial fibers a number of patches of square array particles in the P face and pits in the E face are found in the smooth membrane. In the deeper cortex and the nucleus, fiber cells have undulating membranes and many ridges. Numerous patches of the particles (P face) are distributed in the concave regions, and the pits (E face) in the convex areas of the bumpy membrane. In most ridges, patches of the particles occur at regular intervals in the "valley" portion, while the pits are on the "crest" portion of ridges. Also, continuous square arrays having the same "valley" location as the regularly arranged patches are found in areas with extensive ridge patterns. The overlapping of the outer portions of two adjacent square arrays is found on the sides between the "crest" and the "valley" of the ridges. Structurally, square arrays are located in a nonjunctional part of the membrane; in an orthogonal crystalline arrangement; and with a particle size of about 6 nm and center-center spacing about 6.4 nm. They are structurally different from gap junctions found in the lens fibers. Thin-section studies reveal two types of cellular contacts: thin pentalamellar structures (about 12-13 nm in overall thickness) associated with the ridge patterns are believed to be square arrays; thick heptalamellar structures (about 16-17 nm in overall thickness) with a narrow gap in between the two central laminae are believed to be gap junctions. This study strongly suggests that square arrays are specifically involved in ridge formation in human lens fibers.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cataract / pathology
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Freeze Fracturing
  • Humans
  • Lens Cortex, Crystalline / ultrastructure
  • Lens Nucleus, Crystalline / ultrastructure
  • Lens, Crystalline / ultrastructure*
  • Microscopy, Electron