Effects of Lipid Saturation on the Surface Properties of Human Meibum Films.

Research paper by Yana Y Nencheva, Aparna A Ramasubramanian, Petar P Eftimov, Norihiko N Yokoi, Douglas D Borchman, Georgi As GA Georgiev

Indexed on: 01 Aug '18Published on: 01 Aug '18Published in: International journal of molecular sciences


Elevated levels of acyl chain saturation of meibomian lipids are associated with vastly different effects: from enhanced tear film (TF) stability in infants to shortened TF breakup time in meibomian gland disease patients. Thus it is important to study the effect of saturation on the surface properties of human meibum (MGS). Therefore, MGS films (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 25, 50, 67, and 100% saturation) were spread at the air/water interface of a Langmuir surface balance. The layers' capability to reorganize during dynamic area changes was accessed via the surface pressure (π)-area (A) compression isotherms and step/relaxation dilatational rheology studies. Film structure was monitored with Brewster angle microscopy. The raise in the % (at ≥10%) of saturation resulted in the formation of stiffer, thicker, and more elastic films at π ≥ 12 mN/m with the effects being proportional to the saturation level. At the same time, at low (≤10 mN/m) π the raise in saturation resulted in altered spreading and heterogeneous structure of MGS layers. The strong impact of saturation on MGS surface properties correlates with our recent spectroscopy study, which demonstrated that saturation induced increase of MGS acyl chain order, phase transition temperature, and cooperativity.