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Long-chain lipids could prevent dry eye disease

Japanese researchers study the effect of deleting a gene responsible for encoding an enzyme that elongates fatty acid chains in mice

28 Feb 2018 by Selina Powell

Hokkaido University researchers have uncovered new information about the protective role that very long-chain lipids in preventing patients from developing dry eye.

Around one in every 10 Japanese people suffer from the condition.

As part of research published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal, scientists observed the effect of deleting a gene responsible for encoding an enzyme that elongates fatty acid chains, Elovl1, in mice.

Researchers noticed that the mice blinked frequently and exhibited signs of dry eye when young.

After five months, many of the mice had developed cloudy corneas, believed to have been caused by prolonged dry eye.

Study author, Akio Kihara, said that the research could help to develop new drugs to treat and prevent dry eye disease, such as agents that promote the secretion of very long-chain meibum or eye drops containing these liquids. 

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