Systemic omega-6 essential fatty acid treatment and pge1 tear content in Sjögren's syndrome patients

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2005 Dec;46(12):4474-9. doi: 10.1167/iovs.04-1394.


Purpose: To determine the effect of oral omega-6 essential fatty acids on PGE(1) tear content and signs and symptoms of ocular discomfort in patients with Sjögren's syndrome (SS).

Methods: This randomized, double-masked, controlled, clinical trial involved 40 patients with primary SS, divided into two groups: group 1: 20 patients (18 women, 2 men; mean age, 36.9 +/- 7.9 years [SD]) treated for 1 month with linoleic acid (LA; 112 mg), and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA; 15 mg) administered twice daily; group 2: 20 patients (19 women, 1 man; mean age, 36.3 +/- 5.5 years) treated twice daily with placebo. Patients underwent three examinations: at baseline (T0), after 1 month of treatment (T1), and 15 days after suspension of treatment (T2). At each examination, the following tests were performed: tear sampling (2 microL) from the inferior meniscus, tear break-up time (BUT), fluorescein stain of the ocular surface, and tear basal secretion. A symptom score was also obtained at each examination. PGE1 was evaluated by enzyme immunoassay. The primary efficacy variable was PGE1 content of tears.

Results: The tear PGE1 levels were significantly increased in group 1 at T1 versus T0 (PGE1 level: T0, 44 +/- 5.4 ng/mL; T1, 58.3 +/- 5.5 ng/mL; P < 0.01 versus T0 and group 2 at T1). At examination T2, a statistically significant reduction of PGE1 levels toward baseline was observed (45.7 +/- 5.2 ng/mL; P < 0.01 versus T1). A statistically significant reduction of symptom score was observed in group 1 at examination T1 (P < 0.01 versus T0 and group 2 score). At examination T2, the symptom score was significantly higher than T1 but remained lower than T0. The corneal fluorescein stain in group 1 showed a statistically significant improvement at examination T1 versus T0 and group 2 (P < 0.01). This improvement was also present at T2 (P < 0.02). No statistically significant differences were found for the other tests. No statistically significant changes were observed in the patients in group 2 at all examination time points.

Conclusions: Omega-6 administration increases the PGE1 levels in tears of patients with SS and improves ocular surface signs and symptoms of ocular discomfort.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Alprostadil / metabolism*
  • Cornea / drug effects
  • Cornea / metabolism
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Fluorescein
  • Fluorophotometry
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Linoleic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / metabolism
  • Tears / chemistry
  • Tears / metabolism*
  • gamma-Linolenic Acid / administration & dosage*


  • gamma-Linolenic Acid
  • Linoleic Acid
  • Alprostadil
  • Fluorescein