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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2000 Jun;41(7):1840-5.

Overexpression of the transforming growth factor-beta-inducible gene betaig-h3 in anterior polar cataracts.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea.



In anterior polar cataracts and the fibrosis that can occur after cataract surgery, lens epithelial cells synthesize abundant extracellular matrix molecules and transdifferentiate into myofibroblast-like cells. Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta has been implicated as a key player in these cataractous changes. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the TGF-beta-inducible gene h3 (betaig-h3) is expressed in lens epithelial cells from patients with anterior polar cataracts and to test whether betaig-h3 is induced by TGF-beta in cultured lens epithelial cells.


Lens epithelial cells attached to the anterior capsules of human cataractous lenses and noncataractous lenses were examined for the expression of betaig-h3 mRNA and protein using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemical analyses. The effect of TGF-beta on betaig-h3 gene expression was also tested in human lens epithelial B-3 cells using Northern and Western blot analyses.


betaig-h3 mRNA was not detected in lens epithelial cells from patients with clear lenses or patients with nuclear cataracts. Significant expression of mRNA for betaig-h3 was observed in lens epithelial cells from patients with anterior polar cataracts. Immunohistochemical analysis using anti-betaig-h3 antiserum indicated that betaig-h3 protein was present within the subcapsular plaques of anterior polar cataracts. Treatment of human lens epithelial B-3 cells with TGF-beta1 led to an increase in betaig-h3 mRNA and the secretion of betaig-h3 protein into the culture medium.


betaig-h3 may serve as a marker for anterior polar cataracts in addition to previously known proteins, fibronectin, type I collagen, and alpha-smooth muscle actin. The functions of this protein in lens pathology need to be further investigated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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