Physiological effects of inactivation and the roles of Elovl3/ELOVL3 in maintaining ocular homeostasis

Amber Wilkerson, Nita Bhat, Hoang Quoc Hai Pham, Seher Yuksel, Igor Butovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Recently, elongase of very long chain fatty acids-3 (ELOVL3) was demonstrated to play a pivotal role in physiology and biochemistry of the ocular surface by maintaining a proper balance in the lipid composition of meibum. The goal of this study was to further investigate the effects of ELOVL3 ablation in homozygous Elovl3-knockout mice (E3hom) in comparison with age and sex matched wild-type controls (E3wt). Slit lamp examination of the ocular surface of mice, and histological examination of their ocular tissues, highlighted a severe negative impact of Elovl3 inactivating mutation on the Meibomian glands (MG) and conjunctiva of mice. MG transcriptomes of the E3hom and E3wt mice were assessed and revealed a range of up- and downregulated genes related to lipid biosynthesis, inflammation, and stress response, compared with E3wt mice. Heat stage polarized light microscopy was used to assess melting characteristics of normal and abnormal meibum. The loss of Elovl3 led to a 8°C drop in the melting temperature of meibum in E3hom mice, and increased its fluidity. Also noted were the excessive accumulation of lipid material and tears around the eye and severe ocular inflammation, among other abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere21327
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Elovl3
  • elongase of very long chain fatty acids
  • lipid homeostasis
  • meibogenesis
  • meibomian glands
  • meibum
  • transcriptomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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