Specimens of the anterior lens capsule with an attached monolayer of lens epithelial cells (LECs) were obtained from patients (𝑛=52) undergoing cataract surgery. Specimens were divided into three groups based on the type of cataract: nuclear cataract, cortical cataract and posterior subcapsular cataract (PSC). Clear lenses (𝑛=11) obtained from donor eyes were used as controls. Expression was studied by immunofluorescence, real-time PCR and Western blot. Statistical analysis was done using the student’s 𝑡-test. Immunofluorescence results showed punctate localization of Cx43 at the cell boundaries in controls, nuclear cataract and PSC groups. In the cortical cataract group, cytoplasmic pools of Cx43 without any localization at the cell boundaries were observed. Real-time PCR results showed significant up-regulation of Cx43 in nuclear and cortical cataract groups. Western blot results revealed significant increase in protein levels of Cx43 and significant decrease of ZO-1 in all three cataract groups. Protein levels of alpha-catenin were decreased significantly in nuclear and cortical cataract group. There was no significant change in expression of beta-catenin in the cataractous groups. Our findings suggest that ZO-1 and alpha-catenin are important for gap junctions containing Cx43 in the LECs. Alterations in cell junction proteins may play a role during formation of different types of cataract.
Volume 45, 2020
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