The ring of Soemmerring in the rabbit: A scanning electron microscopic study

J P Kappelhof, G F Vrensen, C A Vester, J H Pameyer, P T de Jong, B L Willekens

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleProfessionalpeer-review


    The scanning ultrastructure of the remnants of the lens left in the eye after extracapsular lens extraction was investigated in the rabbit. Extracapsular lens extraction was performed in 25 eyes and the development of after-cataract followed by biomicroscopic examination. After survival times varying between 1 week and 12 months, the eyes were enucleated and the rings of Soemmerring treated for light microscopy and transmission and scanning electron microscopy. Soemmerring's ring consisted of the fused remnants of the dissected anterior and posterior lens capsule, enclosing the equatorial part of the former lens, left behind after the operation. The anterior capsule and, to a lesser extent, also the posterior capsule were multilayered and appeared to be thickened. While the remnant of the anterior capsule was lined by a monolayer of epithelial cells, the posterior part of the capsule was only partly lined by irregularly arranged epithelial cells. All epithelial cells were highly vacuolized. In transection the interior part of the ring consisted of normal fibers, irregularly oriented and irregularly shaped fibers, degenerated fibers, and globular amorphous masses. Many of the normal fibers contained cell nuclei. At the equator and at the posterior side of the fusing anterior and posterior capsule as well, the fiber organization resembled the lens bow region of normal lenses. Frequently, islands of epithelial cells were observed in the center of the ring. The vitreal face of the posterior capsule in the center of the ring (in the optic axis of the eye) seemed to be unchanged and on its pupillary surface, fibers of different size as well as fibroblastlike cells were found. However, clear-cut Elschnig's pearls were absent. Our results are compared with the observations summarized in the literature. It can be concluded that the epithelial cells in Soemmerring's ring retain their capacity for division and differentiation. The newly formed fibers seem to be pushed to the center of the ring and to degenerate.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)111-20
    Number of pages10
    JournalGraefe's archive for clinical and experimental ophthalmology = Albrecht von Graefes Archiv fur klinische und experimentelle Ophthalmologie
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1985


    • Animals
    • Cataract Extraction
    • Lens Capsule, Crystalline/ultrastructure
    • Lens, Crystalline/ultrastructure
    • Microscopy, Electron
    • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
    • Postoperative Period
    • Rabbits
    • Time Factors


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