Neutrophils cause obstruction of eyelid sebaceous glands in inflammatory eye disease in mice

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Abstract

Meibomian glands (MGs) are sebaceous glands of the eyelid margin that secrete lipids needed to avert tear evaporation and to help maintain ocular surface homeostasis. Obstruction of MGs or other forms of MG dysfunction can promote chronic diseases of the ocular surface. Although chronic eyelid inflammation, such as allergic eye disease, is an associated risk factor for obstructive MG dysfunction, it is not clear whether inflammatory processes contribute to the pathophysiology of MG obstruction. We show that polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) promoted MG obstruction in a chronic inflammatory model of allergic eye disease in mice. Analysis of leukocytes in tears of patients with MG dysfunction showed an increase in PMN numbers compared to healthy subjects. Moreover, PMN numbers in tears positively correlated with clinical severity of MG dysfunction. Our findings point to a role for PMNs in the pathogenesis and progression of MG dysfunction.

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