Time-dependent degenerative transformations in the lipidome of chalazia

Jadwiga C. Wojtowicz, Igor A. Butovich, Anne McMahon, Robert N. Hogan, Kamel M. Itani, Ronald Mancini, Mike Molai, Emily Linsenbardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The aim of this prospective study was to conduct histopathologic and lipidomic analyses of chalazia, in order to evaluate time-dependent changes in the lesion. Samples of surgically excised chalazia were collected over a period of 12months from 10patients (mean age 41years; range, 23-58) with clinically diagnosed chalazia, who underwent scheduled surgery. The ages of chalazia varied from 2 to 28weeks. To confirm the clinical diagnoses, the morphology of collected tissue samples was evaluated histologically after hematoxylin and eosin staining. The lipids from individual chalazia were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and compared with authentic lipid standards and with the lipids of meibum collected from normal controls. We observed gradual, lesion age-dependent transformation of the lipidome of chalazia from an almost normal meibum-like composition to a very different kind of lipidome. A rapid initial increase in the free cholesterol content was followed by a gradual replacement of extremely long chain meibomian-type lipids with a mixture of shorter-chain cholesteryl esters of the C14-C18 family, triacylglycerols, ceramides, phospholipids and sphingomyelins. In addition, a rapid disappearance of wax esters and cholesteryl esters of (1-O)-acyl-omega-hydroxy fatty acids from the lipidome of aging chalazia was observed. Our results are indicative of dramatic, time-dependent changes in the lesion that may involve cholesterol as a trigger and/or a marker of subsequent degeneration of the meibomian lipidome. We hypothesize that early inhibition of these transformations may be useful in reversing the course of the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-269
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Eye Research
StatePublished - Oct 2014


  • Chalazion
  • Cholesterol
  • HPLC
  • Inflammation
  • Lipidomics
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Meibomian gland
  • Statins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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