Lens capsule structure assessed with atomic force microscopy

Vivian M. Sueiras, Vincent T. Moy, Noel Marysa Ziebarth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose: To image the ultrastructure of the anterior lens capsule at the nanoscale level using atomic force microscopy (AFM). Methods: Experiments were performed on anterior lens capsules maintained in their in situ location surrounding the lens from six human cadavers (donor age range: 44–88 years), four cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis age range: 4.83–8.92 years), and seven pigs (<6 months). Hydration of all samples was maintained using Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle Medium (DMEM). Whole lenses were removed from the eye and placed anterior side up in agarose gel before gel hardening where only the posterior half of the lens was contained within the gel. After the gel hardened, the Petri dish was filled with DMEM until the point where the intact lens was fully submerged. AFM was used to image the anterior lens surface in contact mode. An integrated analysis program was used to calculate the interfibrillar spacing, fiber diameter, and surface roughness of the samples. Results: The AFM images depict a highly ordered fibrous structure at the surface of the lens capsule in all three species. The interfibrillar spacing for the porcine, cynomolgus monkey, and human lens capsules was 0.68±0.25, 1.80±0.39, and 1.08±0.25 μm, respectively. In the primate, interfibrillar spacing significantly decreased linearly as a function of age. The fiber diameters ranged from 50 to 950 nm. Comparison of the root mean square (RMS) and average deviation demonstrate that the surface of the porcine lens capsule is the smoothest, and that the human and cynomolgus monkey capsules are significantly rougher. Conclusions: AFM was successful in providing high-resolution images of the nanostructure of the lens capsule samples. Species-dependent differences were observed in the overall structure and surface roughness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-323
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Vision
StatePublished - Mar 15 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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