Lipid Saturation and the Rheology of Human Tear Lipids.

Research paper by Georgi As GA Georgiev, Douglas D Borchman, Petar P Eftimov, Norihiko N Yokoi

Indexed on: 30 Jun '20Published on: 25 Jul '19Published in: International journal of molecular sciences


Elevated levels of acyl chain saturation of meibomian lipids are associated with enhanced tear film (TF) stability in infants to shortened TF breakup time with meibomian gland dysfunction. Thus, the effect of saturation on the surface properties of human TF lipids (TFLs) using a Langmuir surface balance and Brewster angle microscopy was studied. Lipid phase transitions were measured using infrared spectroscopy. The raise in the % of saturation resulted in thicker, and more elastic films at π = 12 mN/m, with the effects being proportional to the saturation level. At the same time, at lower (≤10 mN/m) π, the raise in saturation resulted in an altered spreading and modified structure of TFL layers. The strong impact of saturation on TFL surface properties correlated with a saturation induced increase of the TFL acyl chain order, phase transition temperature, and lipid-lipid interactions. The native TFL order and π were significantly greater, compared with native meibum collected from the same individual. Aggregation of lipids on the tear surface due to saturation was not as significant as it was for meibum. Although the surface pressure/area isotherms for TFL were similar for meibum, differences in rheology and phase transition parameters warrant the study of both.