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    Tear film lipid layer (TFLL) is the outmost layer of the tear film. It plays a crucial role in stabilizing the tear film by reducing surface tension and retarding evaporation of the aqueous layer. Dysfunction of the TFLL leads to dysfunctional tear syndrome, with dry eye disease (DED) being the most prevalent eye disease, affecting 10%-30% of the world population. To date, except for treatments alleviating dry eye symptoms, effective therapeutic interventions in treating DED are still lacking. Therefore, there is an urgent need to understand the biophysical properties of the TFLL with the long-term goal to develop translational solutions in effectively managing DED. Here, we studied the composition-function correlations of an artificial TFLL, under physiologically relevant conditions, using a novel experimental methodology called constrained drop surfactometry. This artificial TFLL was composed of 40% behenyl oleate and 40% cholesteryl oleate, representing the most abundant wax ester and cholesteryl ester in the natural TFLL, respectively, and 15% phosphatidylcholine and 5% palmitic-acid-9-hydroxy-stearic-acid (PAHSA), which represent the two predominant polar lipid classes in the natural TFLL. Our study suggests that the major biophysical function of phospholipids in the TFLL is to reduce the surface tension, whereas the primary function of PAHSA is to optimize the rheological properties of the TFLL. These findings have novel implications in better understanding the physiological and biophysical functions of the TFLL and may offer new translational insight to the treatment of DED. Copyright © 2021 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    Xiaojie Xu, Guangle Li, Yi Y Zuo. Biophysical properties of tear film lipid layer I. Surface tension and surface rheology. Biophysical journal. 2022 Feb 01;121(3):439-450

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    PMID: 34958775

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