Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)-derived products have traditionally been used as food and medicinal ingredients in Eastern countries. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of oral intake of sea buckthorn oil products on tear secretion using a murine dry eye model. Orally administered sea buckthorn pulp oil (not seed oil) restored aqueous tear secretion to its normal value under a dry eye condition. Palmitoleate (C16:1), a fatty acid present in sea buckthorn pulp oil, preserved tear secretion and suppressed inflammatory cytokines in the lacrimal gland to the same extent as that by pulp oil. These results suggest that an oral intake of sea buckthorn pulp oil has a potency to preserve tear secretion capacity in the dry eye state and palmitoleate, its main constituent fatty acid, is an active component of the oil. This effect may enable a potent diet-based treatment for the prevention of dry eye.
Keywords: dry eye; fatty acid; ophthalmology.