DNA repair and survival in human lens epithelial cells with extended lifespan

Usha P. Andley, Zheng Song, David L. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Purpose. Ultraviolet-B radiation (290-320 nm) produces cataracts in animals and has been associated with human cataract formation in several epidemiological studies. UVB radiation decreases the long-term cell survival and changes the pattern of protein synthesis in cultured lens epithelial cells. However, the relationship between DNA photoproduct formation and long term cell survival in human lens epithelial cells is not known. In the present work, we used human lens epithelial cells with extended lifespan (HLE B-3 cells) to examine the kinetics of DNA repair and cell survival after UVB exposure. Methods. Cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers and pyrimidine-pyrimidone (6-4) photoproducts were analyzed by radioimmunoassay. Long-term survival of the cells was determined by measuring their ability form colonies when plated at low density. Results. HLE B-3 cells were repair competent after UVB (302 nm) exposure. Excision repair of the (6-4) photoproduct was more efficient than that of the cyclobutane dimer. Ninety five percent of the (6-4) photoproducts were repaired 24 h after 400 J/m2 UVB exposure, whereas 50% of the cyclobutane dimers were repaired during this time. When cells were split for the clonogenic assay immediately after irradiation, only 10% of the cells formed colonies following 7 days of culture in the serum-containing medium. When cells were split for the clonogenic assay after a 48 hour incubation in serum-containing medium, the colony-forming ability of the irradiated cells increased to 60% following culture in a serum-containing medium. Conclusions. These results indicate a close correlation between the repair of cyclobutane dimers and the increase in the long-term survival of the cells as measured by their colony-forming ability. The extended lifespan human lens epithelial cells HLE B-3 may be a useful model to investigate the mechanism and regulation of UVB-induced DNA repair in human lens cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-230
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Eye Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1999


  • Colony-forming ability
  • DNA repair
  • Human lens epithelial cells
  • Survival
  • Ultraviolet


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