Tear film lipids

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Human meibomian gland secretions (MGS, or meibum) are formed from a complex mixture of lipids of different classes such as wax esters, cholesteryl esters, (O-acyl)-ω-hydroxy fatty acids (OAHFA) and their esters, acylglycerols, diacylated diols, free fatty acids, cholesterol, and a smaller amount of other polar and nonpolar lipids, whose chemical nature and the very presence in MGS have been a matter of intense debates. The purpose of this review is to discuss recent results that were obtained using different experimental techniques, estimate limitations of their usability, and discuss their biochemical, biophysical, and physiological implications. To create a lipid map of MGS and tears, the results obtained in the author's laboratory were integrated with available information on chemical composition of MGS andtears. The most informative approaches that are available today to researchers, such as HPLC-MS, GC-MS, and proton NMR, are discussed in details. A map of the meibomian lipidome (as it is seen in reverse phase liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry experiments) is presented. Directions of future efforts in the area are outlined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-27
Number of pages24
JournalExperimental Eye Research
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Chromatography
  • Lipidomics
  • Lipids
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Meibomian gland secretions
  • Meibum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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