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C Auw-Haedrich, N Feltgen; Estrogen Receptor Expression in Meibomian Glands and Its Correlation With Age and Dry-eye Parameters . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2002;43(13):3030.
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Purpose:To investigate the correlation between the proportion of estrogen receptor positive basal cells of the Meibomian glands of the lower lid with age, subjective, and objective dry-eye parameters. Methods:Sixteen lower lid specimens were collected from 7 female and 9 male patients (age range 22-88 years) during tumor surgery requiring whole thickness excision. Lid specimens from patients with concomitant entropium or ectropion were excluded. Prior to surgery the patients were inquired about the intensity of dry-eye symptoms (score 0-4, 0= no dry-eye symptoms). In addition tear break-up time, Schirmer I- and II-tests were measured. We obtained histological sections from the outer margins of the formalin fixed and paraffin-embedded specimen. The immunohistochemical staining was performed using mouse monoclonal antibodies for estrogen receptors. At least 500 cells were counted per specimen and the proportion of positively stained cells was calculated and correlated to the age and dry eye parameters. Results:All Meibomian glands had positive nuclear staining with antibodies for estrogen receptors in their outer, i.e. basal cell layer. The more mature parts of the Meibomian glands only showed faintly positive or negative cytoplasmic staining, the ducts were completely negative. The proportion of cells expressing estrogen receptors increased with age independent of gender (r=0.67, p<0.005). No correlation was found between estrogen receptor positivity and subjective dry-eye symptoms, tear break-up time, Schirmer I- and II-tests. There was no difference in proportion of cells expressing estrogen receptors between female and male patients (p=0.5). Conclusion:The amount of Meibomian gland cells expressing estrogen receptors in the lower lid seems to increase with age independent of gender and seems to not significantly affect the fat layer and stability of the tear film.
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