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Kang-Kang Xu, Yu-Kan Huang, Xin Liu, Ming-Chang Zhang, Hua-Tao Xie; Organotypic Culture of Mouse Meibomian Gland: A Novel Model to Study Meibomian Gland Dysfunction In Vitro. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(4):30. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.61.4.30.
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Meibomian glands are essential in maintaining the integrity and health of the ocular surface. Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), mainly induced by ductal occlusion, is considered as the major cause of dry eye disease. In this study, a novel in vitro model was established for investigating the role of inflammation in the process of MGD.
Mouse tarsal plates were removed from eyelids after dissection and explants were cultured during various time ranging from 24 to 120 hours. Meibomian gland epithelial cells were further enzymatically digested and dissociated from tarsal plates before culturing. Both explants and cells were incubated in different media with or without serum or azithromycin (AZM). Furthermore, explants were treated with IL-1β or vehicle for 48 hours. Analyses for tissue viability, histology, biomarker expression, and lipid accumulation were performed with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining, immunofluorescence staining, and Western blot.
Higher viability was preserved when explants were cultured on Matrigel with immediate addition of culture medium. The viability, morphology, biomarker expression, and function of meibomian glands were preserved in explants cultured for up to 72 hours. Lipid accumulation and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) expression increased in both explants and cells cultured in media containing serum or AZM. Treatment with IL-1β induced overexpression of Keratin (Krt) 1 in meibomian gland ducts.
Intervention with pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1β induces hyperkeratinization in meibomian gland ducts in vitro. This novel organotypic culture model can be used for investigating the mechanism of MGD.
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