Meibum lipids form a lipid layer on the outermost side of the tear film and function to prevent water evaporation and reduce surface tension. (O-Acyl)-w-hydroxy fatty acids (OAHFAs), a subclass of these lipids, are thought to be involved in connecting the lipid and aqueous layers in tears, although their actual function and synthesis pathway have to date remained unclear. Here, we reveal that the fatty acid w-hydroxylase Cyp4f39 is involved in OAHFA production. Cyp4f39- deficient mice exhibited damaged corneal epithelium and shortening of tear film break-up time, both indicative of dry eye disease. In addition, tears accumulated on the lower eyelid side, indicating increased tear surface tension. In Cyp4f39-deficient mice, the production of wax diesters (type 1ω and 2ω) and cholesteryl OAHFAs was also impaired. These OAHFA derivatives show intermediate polarity among meibum lipids, suggesting that OAHFAs and their derivatives contribute to lipid polarity gradient formation for tear film stabilization.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)