Indexed on: 06 May '09Published on: 06 May '09Published in: Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
This study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of dietary n-6 and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in dry eye in a rat model.Female Lewis rats were fed with diets containing (1) gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), (2) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) + docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), or (3) GLA + EPA + DHA, for 2 months before the induction of dry eye using a continuous delivery of scopolamine and during scopolamine treatment. Two, 10 and 28 days after dry-eye induction, clinical signs of corneal dryness were evaluated in vivo using fluorescein staining. MHC II expression and mucin rMuc5AC production in the conjunctival epithelium were evaluated by immunostaining. Lipids and prostaglandins (PGs) E(1) and E(2) were analysed from the exorbital lacrimal gland (LG).Dietary PUFAs minimised the occurrence of corneal keratitis 28 days after induction of dry eye. The decrease in mucin production observed on the conjunctival epithelium was partially prevented by EPA + DHA supplementation after 2 days of scopolamine treatment, as well as by GLA and GLA + EPA + DHA diets after 10 days of treatment. The overexpression of MHC II in the conjunctival epithelium caused by dry eye induction was significantly reduced only with the GLA + EPA + DHA diet after 28 days of treatment. Dietary PUFAs were incorporated into phospholipids of the exorbital LG. Induction of dry eye was associated with a significant increase in PGE(1) and PGE(2) levels in the exorbital LG, which was inhibited by dietary EPA + DHA at 10 days (for PGE(2)) and 28 days (for PGE(1)).Dietary GLA, EPA and DHA significantly interfered with lipid homeostasis in the exorbital LG and partially prevented the course of dry eye. In particular, our results demonstrate the efficacy of the combination of n-6 and n-3 PUFAs.