Found a substance that prevents drying of tears

Found a substance that prevents drying of tears

The researchers found the structure of the extra-lipid, through which tears are long dry. The work may lead to new treatments of diseases such as dry eye disease — dry eye syndrome. Results are presented in the Journal of Lipid Research.

In order for eyes to function properly, its outer surface should be moist. To support this state — one of the functions of tears. The water itself would evaporate quickly, so the tears also contain special organic substances that help to protect eyes. For example, they constantly is the tear film that covers the thin layer of lipids.

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A group of Australian researchers discovered the key structure of this lipid protective layer. Despite the fact that the layer consists of this lipid by only 5%, without this substance protects the eye cover would be like an oil film on a puddle that would have made vision. The study authors were selected from volunteer samples of secretions of the meibomian glands — secretory organ at the edges of the eyelids, which produces protective lipids.

The resulting discharge was not enough for conventional methods of analysis of substances such as nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The authors were able to apply modified method of mass spectroscopy and determine the structure of the most common extra-long lipid. It turned out that it consists of two residues of fatty acids connected in a linear chain. In addition, the researchers were able to synthesize this substance in the laboratory.