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Diabetic cataract is one of the major ocular complications in diabetes mellitus, including cortical cataract, nuclear cataract, subcapsular cataract and mixed cataract, and different cataractogenesis may be associated with lens epithelial cells (LECs). Subcapsular cataract is one of diabetic cataracts.Studying the biological behavior of LECs in subcapsular cataract is crucial for prevention and treatment.
This study was to investigate the effects of Src-family tyrosine kinases (SFKs) on apoptosis and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of human LECs cultured by high glucose.
Human LECs (HLE-B3) were cultured for 24 hours with DMEM containing 5.5 mmol/L glucose (normal control group), DMEM containing 35.5 mmol/L glucose (high glucose group) and DMEM containing 35.5 mmol/L glucose + 10 μmol/L PP1, a specific inhibitor of SFKs (PP1 group). In 3, 6, 12 and 24 hours after culture, the apoptosis of human LECs was detected by flow cytometry assay; morphological change of human LECs was observed under the inverted microscope, and the expressions of the markers of EMT, E-cadherin and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), in the cells were detected by immnofluorescence staining.In addition, the alternations of p-Src418 (active c-Src), bcl-xl, survivin, caspase-3, E-cadherin and α-SMA proteins were assayed by Western blot analysis.
An elevated expression level of p-Src418 was found in LECs in the high glucose group and peaked 6 hours after cultured.The expressions of p-Src418 (grey levels) were 0.125±0.036 in the high glucose group, and which was significantly higher than 0.042±0.011 in the normal control group and 0.035±0.018 in the PP1 group, respectively (both at P<0.01). No remarkable differences were seen in the apoptotic rates between the high glucose group and normal control group in 6, 12 and 24 hours after culture (all at P>0.05). The apoptotic rates of human LECs were(6.433±2.084)%, (10.333±2.610)% and (8.033±2.967)% in the PP1 group, which were higher than (3.233±1.320)%, (3.533±1.159)%, (5.733±0.230)% in the high glucose group and (3.133±1.170)%, (2.833±0.751)%, (3.333±1.201)% in the normal control group (all at P<0.05), however, there were significant differences in the apoptosis between the high glucose group and the normal control group (all at P>0.05). In 6 hours and 12 hours after cell culture, the expression levels of bcl-xl and survivin (grey values) in human LECs were significantly declined, but the expression of caspase-3 was increased in the PP1 group compared with the the high glucose group and the normal control group (all at P<0.05). The LECs showed slender in shape 24 hours after culture in the high glucose group, but the cell shape was close to the normal in the PP1 group.Western blot and immunofluorescence assay revealed that the expression of E-cadherin in human LECs was significantly reduced and that of α-SMA was significantly increased 6 hours after culture in the high glucose group compared with the PP1 group and the normal control group (all at P<0.05).
High glucose activates c-Src kinase of LECs in high glucose environment and therefore induces EMT and inhibits apoptosis.However, PP1 impedes the biological process of EMT and apoptosis of LECs to maintain the epithelial characteristics even under the stress of high glucose.