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J Cell Physiol. 1981 Jun;107(3):309-15.

Cell population kinetics of the mouse lens epithelium.


The dividing lens epithelium of 8-week-old CF1 mice consists of a monocellular layer of about 31,000 cells and does not include the postmitotic cells of the meridional rows and another postmitotic zone of seven cell positions' width immediately anterior to the rows. The latter two populations contain approximately 3,600 and 9,000 cells, respectively, for a total of 44,000 cells in the entire lens epithelium. Autoradiographic analysis based upon mitotic index and cell cycle times indicates that the epithelium produces 207 new lens fibers a day. Throughout the 20-day period of study, labeled cells appeared almost entirely as pairs following a single dose of 3H-thymidine and clusters of labeled nuclei were not seen. Moreover, the number of labeled cells dropped only slowly with time, as did the grain counts. These observations indicate that logarithmic division "cascade" does not occur in the lens. The dividing cell population consists largely of a slowly cycling stem cell group, dividing once about every 17-20 days, and consisting of some 5,000 cells. A subpopulation may exist which undergoes two rapid consecutive divisions before becoming postmitotic, but this is too small to make a significant contribution to lens fiber production. Four days are required to transit the postmitotic zone, and an additional 43 or so are needed to transit the meridional rows and differentiate into anucleate lens fibers. Data from other laboratories indicate that the entire process, from mitosis to final differentiation, requires about 4 months. Hence, most of this time is spent in migration of nondividing cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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