Dye transfer between cells of the lens

J Membr Biol. 1996 Mar;150(1):89-103. doi: 10.1007/s002329900033.


Dye transfer between lens fiber cells and between lens epithelial cells and underlying fiber cells was studied using a wide dynamic range-cooled CCD camera, H2O immersion objectives and image analysis techniques. Each lens was decapsulated by a new technique which leaves the epithelial cells adherent to the lens fiber mass. Lucifer Yellow CH was injected into either single epithelial cells or single fiber cells using the standard whole cell configuration of the patch voltage clamp technique. The results demonstrate extensive dye communication between fiber cells at the lens posterior surface, anterior surface, and equatorial surface. Dye transfer between deep fiber cells was also observed. Dye transfer between approximately 10% of epithelial cells and their underlying fiber cells was apparent when care was taken to yield wide dynamic range images. This was required because the relatively high concentration of dye in the epithelial cell masks the presence of much lower dye concentrations in the underlying fiber cell. A mathematical model which includes dye concentration, time, and spatial spread suggests that those epithelial cells that are coupled to an underlying fiber cell are about as well dye coupled as the epithelial cells themselves. The relatively low dye concentration in a fiber cell is due to its larger volume and diffusion of the dye along the axis of the fiber away from the fiber/epithelial junction.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport, Active
  • Cell Communication
  • Chick Embryo
  • Electrophysiology
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Dyes / pharmacokinetics*
  • Gap Junctions / metabolism
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Isoquinolines / pharmacokinetics*
  • Lens, Crystalline / cytology*
  • Lens, Crystalline / metabolism*
  • Lens, Crystalline / physiology
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Isoquinolines
  • lucifer yellow