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MicroRNAs and cataracts: correlation among let-7 expression, age and the severity of lens opacity
  1. Chi-Hsien Peng1,2,3,4,
  2. Jorn-Hon Liu2,5,
  3. Lin-Chung Woung2,6,
  4. Tzu-Jung Lin7,8,
  5. Shih-Hwa Chiou1,2,9,10,
  6. Po-Chen Tseng2,6,
  7. Wen-Yuan Du3,
  8. Cheng-Kuo Cheng3,4,
  9. Chao-Chien Hu3,4,
  10. Ke-Hung Chien11,
  11. Shih-Jen Chen2,9
  1. 1Institute of Clinical Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
  2. 2School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
  3. 3School of Medicine, Fu-Jen Catholic University, Taipei, Taiwan
  4. 4Department of Ophthalmology, Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
  5. 5Department of Ophthalmology, Cheng-Hsin General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
  6. 6Department of Ophthalmology, Taipei City Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
  7. 7The Graduate Institute of Clinical Medical Sciences, Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
  8. 8Department of Ophthalmology, Zuoying Armed Forces General Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
  9. 9Department of Ophthalmology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
  10. 10Department of Medical Research and Education, Taipei, Taiwan
  11. 11Department of Ophthalmology, Tri-Service General Hospital, Taiepi, Taiwan
  1. Correspondence to Dr Shih-Jen Chen, Department of Ophthalmology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, No.201, Sec. 2, Shih-Pai Rd., Taipei 11217, Taiwan, ROC; sjchen{at}


Background Let-7 microRNA is an important regulator of cellular ageing and tissue senescence. The objective of this study is to evaluate the expression of let-7a/let-7b/let-7c microRNAs in human age-related cataracts.

Aim To evaluate the correlation among the severity of lens opacity, the level of let-7a/let-7b/let-7c microRNA expression and patient age in the context of age-related cataracts.

Methods The authors evaluated the mRNA level of let-7a/let-7b/let-7c microRNA in lens epithelia obtained from 174 eyes with age-related cataracts. The authors also recorded the patient age and the severity of lens opacity as classified according to the modified version of the Lens Opacities Classification System version III.

Results Let-7b microRNA expression was demonstrated to be positively associated with patient age (R=0.472; p<0.001). A positive correlation was also observed between higher N, C and P cataract scores and higher expression of let-7b microRNA in patients with age-related cataracts (p<0.001). However, no significant correlation was observed between the let-7a and let-7c microRNA expression levels and either the severity of lens opacity or the patient age.

Conclusion These findings suggest that microRNAs play a role in age-related cataracts. A local let-7b microRNA increase may represent a risk factor in the formation of age-related cataracts.

  • Lens and zonules
  • retina
  • stem cells
  • imaging
  • neovascularisation
  • degeneration
  • eye lids

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  • This paper has not been presented at any conference.

  • Funding This work was assisted in part by the Division of Experimental Surgery of the Department of Surgery, Taipei Veterans General Hospital. This study was supported by the National Science Council (98-2314-B-341-001-MY3, 99-2314-B-075-005- MY3), the Joint Projects of UTVGH (VGHUST VN100-03), Taipei Veterans General Hospital (C1-099/ER3-001), Taipei City Hospital (96/97/98/099XDAA00102/10001-62-042), Shin-Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital (SKH-8302-97-DR-25, SKH-8302-98-DR-26), Zuoying Armed Forces General Hospital (9502/9696/9719), Cheng-Hsin General Hospital (CHGH-100-01, 100-19, 100-20, 100-22, 100-40) and Yen-Tjing Ling Medical Foundation (96/97/98). Taiwan.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by Taipei City Hospital.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.