Tear eicosanoids in healthy people and ocular surface disease

Sci Rep. 2018 Jul 26;8(1):11296. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-29568-3.


Meibomian gland (MG) dysfunction is the leading cause of evaporative dry eye and it leads to inflammation of the ocular surface. Eicosanoids may be involved in inflammation of dry eye. This study aimed to profile tear eicosanoid levels in healthy individuals and those with MG dysfunction, and to examine if these levels are associated with clinical factors and expressibility of MG. Forty participants with MG dysfunction and 30 healthy controls were recruited in this study. Clinical signs of MG dysfunction were assessed, and tear lactoferrin concentration was evaluated. Tear eicosanoids were extracted from Schirmer's strips and analyzed using mass spectrometry. We were able to quantify 38 tear eicosanoids and levels were increased in older individuals. In participants with MG dysfunction, higher 5-HETE, LTB4, 18-HEPE, 12-HEPE and 14-HDoHE were associated with poorer MG expressibility. The eicosanoids PGF, 18-HEPE, 20-HDoHE and 17-HDoHE were elevated with increased corneal staining; higher 5-HETE, LTB4 were associated with lower tear lactoferrin levels. The receiver-operating-characteristics analysis shows higher levels of 5-HETE, LTB4 and 18-HEPE were able to predict poor expressibility of MGs. In conclusion, tear eicosanoid levels are age-dependent and specific eicosanoids may be indicators of clinical obstruction of MG or the severity of ocular surface damage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / pathology*
  • Eicosanoids / analysis*
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Meibomian Glands / physiopathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Tears / chemistry*
  • Young Adult


  • Eicosanoids