Australia's Leading Ophthalmic Magazine Since 1975

     Free Sign Up     

Australia's Leading Ophthalmic Magazine Since 1975

     Free Sign Up     
Research

Tree shrew has potential to accelerate dry eye research

02/07/2019
Share:
Scientists have discovered that the tree shrew – a mammal with a highly similar genetic make-up to humans – might have the potential to help unlock new understandings of dry eye disease (DED).

In an attempt to identify the underlying mechanism of DED, researchers from the School of Optometry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) have found the lipid profile of the tree shrew’s meibum is very similar to that of humans. This research on DED with the three shrews is the first of its kind, although tree shrews have been extensively studied as a model for myopia and glaucoma.

The study was published in the journal Chemistry and Physics of Lipids and the research headed by lead investigator Dr Jianzhong Chen, an assistant professor of optometry at UAB.

Meibum lipids are produced by glands within the eyelid and form the outermost lipid layer of a thin tear film that covers the surface of the cornea. The tear film keeps the cornea lubricated to support normal eye function, with the lipid layer slowing the evaporation of the tear film.

However, in DED an abnormal change occurs in the meibum lipid composition and the lipid layer that allows tears to evaporate too rapidly to keep the eye lubricated.

The researchers found that the lipid profile of a tree shrew’s meibum was very similar to that of a human, which made for viable comparisons in the study of DED.

After studying the lipid profile of the shrew’s meibum using a newly developed MS/MS all shotgun lipidomic method, slight differences from human meibum were detected.

The differences could be related to the much lower blink frequency of tree shrews and were used to identify components potentially important for inhibiting evaporation.

AFT Pharmaceuticals
advertisement





rectangle
advertisement
Editor's Suggestion
Hot Stories

rectangle
advertisement


OR
 

Subscribe for Insight in your Inbox

Get Insight with the latest in industry news, trends, new products, services and equipment!