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A. Wei, J. Hong, J. Xu, Y. Wang, W. Zhu; Age-Related Variations of Human Meibomian Gland on in vivo Confocal Microscopy. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):5662.
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To analyze age-related variations of human meibomian glands (MGs) by in vivo laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM).
86 healthy subjects with no ocular symptoms or ocular surface disorders were enrolled and divided into 4 groups according to age: A(0~20 years),B(21~40 years),C(41~60 years)and D(over 60 years).In vivo LSCM was performed on 5mm away from the subjects’ palpebral conjunctiva margin which the images were recorded. The morphology and densities of palpebral conjunctival epithelial cells, goblet cells (GCs), dendritic cells (DCs), meibomian gland (MG) acinar units were analyzed. The diameters of MG acinar units in each group were measured as well.
The morphology and the densities of palpebral conjunctival epithelial cells, GCs manifested no apparent differences with age. The mean DC densities in group A, B, C, D were (29±15), (30±4), (41±9), (36±5) cells/mm2, presenting no significant age-related differences. Significant age-related changes were observed in both morphology and the density of MG acinar units were (92±26), (86±27), (62±20), (56±16) cells/mm2 in each group (P=0.000). The diameters of MG acinar units showing no significantly reduced with age.
The age-related changes of MG included decreasing densities of MG acinar units as well as the degeneration of MG structures. Even though no significant changes in diameters of MG acinar units could be seen in the different age groups, it also could promise new parameters of in vivo LSCM, which is significantly related to the clinical ocular surface and establishment of normal MG model. The observations may provide useful supplementary anatomical information of age relating to MGs.
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