Protein, lacrimal, eye, protein analysis
Purpose: The objective of this research project was to identify proteins secreted from human lacrimal fluids onto the extra-ocular surface of the eye that could be later used to predict eye health, disease, and age-related changes. The identification of specific lacrimal proteins in relative quantities and patterns in younger versus older patients may reflect both ocular and extra-ocular disease states.
Methods: This observational study collected samples of lacrimal fluid from 20 subjects between the ages of 18 and 25 years and 20 subjects over the age of 50 years with the use of Schirmer strips. The protein composition of these lacrimal fluid samples was then analyzed to determine specific proteins that evidenced unique patterns among the subject populations.
Results: The protein concentrations between the two age groups (n = 40) was significantly higher in the younger patient group (1408.3 ug/mL versus 1152.5 ug/mL, p = 0.03). No consistent qualitative differences in the protein bands were observed between the two different patient age groups. However, excising and analyzing the outlying protein bands revealed unique proteins within the older patient group (aldehyde dehydrogenase and serotransferrin precursor). Preliminary attempts were made to determine the presence of proteins in lacrimal fluid that may originate from cells lining the ducts and blood vessels associated with the ocular environment.
Conclusion: These preliminary results in age related differences in eye lacrimal fluid will contribute to future research endeavors in order to determine which specific proteins were increased or decreased quantitatively in the younger population, if any, and what role they might have in eye health, disease, and age-related changes.
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