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Mingxia Sun, Sudan Puri, Geraint J. Parfitt, Nadine Mutoji, Vivien J. Coulson-Thomas; Hyaluronan Regulates Eyelid and Meibomian Gland Morphogenesis. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(8):3713-3727. doi: 10.1167/iovs.18-24292.
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The Meibomian gland (MG) produces the lipid layer of the tear film, and changes to the MG that lead to a decrease or alteration in lipid quality/content may lead to MG dysfunction, a major cause of evaporative dry eye disease with prevalence ranging from 39% to 50%. Little is known about the developmental cues that regulate MG morphogenesis and homeostasis. Our study investigates the role of hyaluronan (HA), a major extracellular matrix component, in eyelid formation and MG development and function.
Hyaluronan synthase (Has) knockout mice were used to determine the role of HA in the eyelid and MG. Eyelids were obtained during different developmental stages and MG morphology was analyzed. Tet-off H2B-GFP/K5tTA mice and 5-ethynyl-2′-deoxyurdine (EdU) incorporation were used to determine the role of HA in maintaining slow-cycling and proliferating cells within the MG, respectively. Data were confirmed using an in vitro proliferation assay, differentiation assay and spheroid cultures.
Has knockout mice present precocious MG development, and adult mice present MG hyperplasia and dysmorphic MGs and eyelids, with hyperplastic growths arising from the palpebral conjunctiva. Our data show that a highly organized HA network encompasses the MG, and basal cells are embedded within this HA matrix, which supports the proliferating cells. Spheroid cultures showed that HA promotes acini formation.
HA plays an important role in MG and eyelid development. Our findings suggest that Has knockout mice have abnormal HA synthesis, which in turn leads to precocious and exacerbated MG morphogenesis culminating in dysmorphic eyelids and MGs.
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