Primate lens capsule elasticity assessed using Atomic Force Microscopy

Noël M. Ziebarth, Esdras Arrieta, William J. Feuer, Vincent T. Moy, Fabrice Manns, Jean Marie Parel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The purpose of this project is to measure the elasticity of the human and non-human primate lens capsule at the microscopic scale using Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). Elasticity measurements were performed using AFM on the excised anterior lens capsule from 9 cynomolgus monkey (5.9-8.0 years), 8 hamadryas baboon (2.8-10.1 years), and 18 human lenses (33-79 years). Anterior capsule specimens were obtained by performing a 5 mm continuous curvilinear capsulorhexis and collecting the resulting disk of capsular tissue. To remove the lens epithelial cells the specimen was soaked in 0.1% trypsin and 0.02% EDTA for 5 min, washed, and placed on a Petri dish and immersed in DMEM. Elasticity measurements of the capsule were performed with a laboratory-built AFM system custom designed for force measurements of ophthalmic tissues. The capsular specimens were probed with an AFM cantilever tip to produce force-indentation curves for each specimen. Young's modulus was calculated from the force-indentation curves using the model of Sneddon for a conical indenter. Young's modulus of elasticity was 20.1-131 kPa for the human lens capsule, 9.19-117 kPa for the cynomolgus lens capsule, and 13.1-62.4 kPa for the baboon lens capsule. Young's modulus increased significantly with age in humans (p = 0.03). The age range of the monkey and baboon samples was not sufficient to justify an analysis of age dependence. The capsule elasticity of young humans (<45 years) was not statistically different from that of the monkey and baboon. In humans, there is an increase in lens capsule stiffness at the microscale that could be responsible for an increase in lens capsule bulk stiffness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)490-494
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental Eye Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Atomic Force Microscopy
  • Lens capsule
  • Mechanical properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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