To test our hypothesis that pseudophakic inflammation, including the fibrin reaction, may be caused by cytokines, prostaglandins (PG), or both, synthesised by residual lens epithelial cells (LECs), we measured interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1 alpha) and PGE2 in the incubation medium of cultures of human LECs obtained by capsulotomy during cataract surgery. After 1 week radioimmunoassay showed that there were 1.46 (0.62) ng of PGE2/10(6) cells (mean (SD) six cultures), and after 4 weeks, there were 5.50 (2.20) ng of PGE2/10(6) cells (seven cultures). During culture the cells proliferated and underwent fibroblast-like cell changes on exposure to the plastic of the wells. In the medium of control plates to which sodium diclofenac had been added PGE2 was not detected. Some IL-1 alpha was found in four of 10 samples, each of which contained media from 12 cultures; 207 pg/10(6) cells in one of the two pools of 2-week cultures, 120 pg/10(6) cells in one pool and 139 pg/10(6) cells in another of the three pools of 3-week cultures, and 111 pg/10(6) cells in the one pool of 4-week cultures. PGE2 and IL-1 alpha may therefore be produced in vivo by residual LECs after cataract surgery, and may be involved in postoperative inflammation, including the fibrin reaction.
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