Anatomy and histopathology of human meibomian gland

Cornea. 2002 Oct;21(7 Suppl):S70-4. doi: 10.1097/01.ico.0000263122.45898.09.


Purpose: To investigate histopathologic changes in human meibomian gland.

Methods: Human meibomian gland samples were obtained at autopsy from 50 men and 33 women aged from 17 to 87 years with a mean age (+/- SD) of 61 +/- 13 years. Pieces of tarsal plate measuring 3 x 3 mm including meibomian glands were excised from the center of both upper eyelids, then fixed and embedded in paraffin. Sections 4-microm thick were stained with hematoxylin and eosin and periodic acid-Schiff. Light microscopy was used to observe any histopathologic changes.

Results: The following histopathologic changes were observed: (1) cystic dilatation of acini and/or ducts, (2) atrophy of acini, (3) basement membrane thickening of acini, (4) granulation tissue, and (5) lipogranulomatous inflammation.

Conclusion: Various histopathologic changes were observed in the human meibomian gland. Hyperkeratinization of ductal epithelium and atrophy of acinar cells may cause meibomian gland dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Eyelid Diseases / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meibomian Glands / anatomy & histology*
  • Meibomian Glands / pathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Rabbits