bFGF suppresses serum-deprivation-induced apoptosis in a human lens epithelial cell line

Yiqun Wang, Haiying He, J. Samuel Zigler, Takeshi Iwata, Nobuhiro Ibaraki, Venkat N. Reddy, Deborah Carper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


There is increasing evidence that basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) plays an important role in cell proliferation, differentiation, and survival in various systems. In the eye, although a truncated, dominant negative bFGF receptor in transgenic mice induced defective lens development and caused lens fiber cells to display characteristics of apoptosis, there is little direct evidence of the effect of bFGF on lens epithelial cell apoptosis. Our study examines the effects of bFGF on programmed cell death induced by serum deprivation using a human lens epithelial cell line. Cells supplemented with 20% fetal bovine serum were used as normal controls. Over a period of 7 days, the addition of 100 ng/ml bFGF effectively suppressed serum-deprived apoptosis. The expression of γ-crystallin and major intrinsic protein, which are markers of lens cell differentiation, was not detected. Also there was no significant difference in cell proliferation between serum-deprived cells with or without bFGF. ICE (caspase-1) was expressed under both the conditions, but the level of expression between the two groups was not substantially different, bcl-2 and c-myc were upregulated only in bFGF- treated cells. Thus we speculate that the inhibitory effect of bFGF on apoptosis is through the upregulation of the inhibitor of apoptosis, instead of downregulation of the initiator. This effect appears to be independent of lens cell differentiation and proliferation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-130
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental cell research
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 25 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Bcl-2
  • Lens
  • Serum deprivation
  • bFGF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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