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Paul Owen Phelps, Jonathan McAnulty, Soesiawati R Darjatmoko, Bradley Thuro, Beth Hennes, Paul Van Ginkel, Krishna R Surapaneni, Arthur S Polans, Daniel M Albert; The Role of the Harderian Gland in the Prevention of Dry Eye in Rabbits. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(7 ):316.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Dry eye is a disease that affects millions of people across the globe. We sought to create an experimental animal model of dry eye and determine the relative roles that the Harderian and lacrimal glands play in the lubrication of the rabbit cornea.
Six male New Zealand albino rabbits had either the lacrimal, Harderian gland or both glands surgically removed from their left orbits. The animals were followed by standard methods of phenol red thread (PRT), fluorescein staining, and histological analysis. We compared the control right eyes to the interventional left eyes to evaluate status of corneal wetting and clinical and histologic evidence of corneal changes.
Removal of either the lacrimal gland or Harderian gland results in reduced tear production as measured by PRT. In the unoperated eyes fo the six rabbits, the PRT measurements averaged 30.2 mm (± 0.89, 95% confidence interval) over the 10 weeks of follow up measurments. In the four operated left eyes, the PRT measurements averaged 21.8 mm (± 1.44, 95% confidence interval). Fluorescein staining also demonstrated signs of corneal dryness. In the interventional eyes there were often several area of punctuate epithelial erosions seen diffusely across the conrea. The subjective measurement of epithelial erosions correlated with the decreased tear production in the interventional eyes. Finally, examination of the histopathology of the rabbit corneas revealed a corneal pannus that was increased in rabbits who underwent lacrimal or Harderian gland removal. The finding of corneal pannus was again consistent with persistent dry eye in the operated rabbit eyes.
Severe dry eye results from removal of the Harderian gland or the removal of the lacrimal gland, however, removal of both glands resulted in more severe changes. The Harderian gland plays a major role in the prevention of dry eye in the rabbit.
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