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Three-dimensional data capture and analysis of intact eye lenses evidences emmetropia-associated changes and strain-dependent differences in epithelial cell organization.

Kalligeraki, Alexia A. and Isted, Archie and Pal, Robert and Saunter, Chris and Girkin, John and Jarrin, Miguel and Uwineza, Alice and Obara, Boguslaw and Quinlan, Roy A. (2020) 'Three-dimensional data capture and analysis of intact eye lenses evidences emmetropia-associated changes and strain-dependent differences in epithelial cell organization.', Scientific reports., 10 . p. 16898.


Organ and tissue development are highly coordinated processes; lens growth and functional integration into the eye (emmetropia) is a robust example. An epithelial monolayer covers the anterior hemisphere of the lens, and its organization is the key to lens formation and its optical properties throughout all life stages. To better understand how the epithelium supports lens function, we have developed a novel whole tissue imaging system using conventional confocal light microscopy and a specialized analysis software to produce three-dimensional maps for the epithelium of intact mouse lenses. The open source software package geometrically determines the anterior pole position, the equatorial diameter, and three-dimensional coordinates for each detected cell in the epithelium. The user-friendly cell maps, which retain global lens geometry, allow us to document age-dependent changes in the C57/BL6J mouse lens cell distribution characteristics. We evidence changes in epithelial cell density and distribution in C57/BL6J mice during the establishment of emmetropia between postnatal weeks 4–6. These epithelial changes accompany a previously unknown spheroid to lentoid shape transition of the lens as detected by our analyses. When combined with key findings from previous mouse genetic and cell biological studies, we suggest a cytoskeleton-based mechanism likely underpins these observations.

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Publisher statement:This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Date accepted:17 September 2020
Date deposited:18 September 2020
Date of first online publication:08 October 2020
Date first made open access:13 October 2020

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