Apoptosis in lens development and pathology

Qin Yan, Jin Ping Liu, David Wan-Cheng Li

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


The ocular lens is a distinct system to study cell death for the following reasons. First, during animal development, the ocular lens is crafted into its unique shape. The crafting processes include cell proliferation, cell migration, and apoptosis. Moreover, the lens epithelial cells differentiate into lens fiber cells through a process, which utilizes the same regulators as those in apoptosis at multiple signaling steps. In addition, introduction of exogenous wild-type or mutant genes or knock-out of the endogenous genes leads to apoptosis of the lens epithelial cells followed by absence of the ocular lens or formation of abnormal lens. Finally, both in vitro and in vivo studies have shown that treatment of adult lens with stress factors induces apoptosis of lens epithelial cells, which is followed by cataractogenesis. The present review summarizes the current knowledge on apoptosis in the ocular lens with emphasis on its role in lens development and pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-211
Number of pages17
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Apoptosis
  • Cataract
  • Development
  • Differentiation
  • Lens
  • Proliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research

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