Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is frequent with aging and is the primary cause of dry eye disease, the most prevalent ocular complaint. We used a novel 3-D reconstruction technique, immunofluorescent computed tomography (ICT), to characterize meibomian gland keratinization and cell proliferation in a mouse model of age-related meibomian gland dysfunction (ARMGD). To visualize the changes associated with ARMGD, 5-month and 2-year old mouse eyelids were 3-D reconstructed by ICT using antibodies to cytokeratin (CK) 1, 5 and 6 and the proliferation marker Ki67. We quantified total gland, ductal and lipid volume from the reconstructions, observing a dramatic decrease in old glands. In young glands, proliferative ductules suggest a potential site of acinar progenitors that were found to be largely absent in aged, atrophic glands. In the aged mouse, we observed an anterior migration of the mucocutaneous junction (MCJ) and an absence of hyper-keratinization with meibomian gland atrophy. Thus, we propose that changes in the MCJ and glandular atrophy through a loss of meibocyte progenitors are most likely responsible for ARMGD and not ductal hyper-keratinization and gland obstruction.
Parfitt, G. J., Xie, Y., Geyfman, M., Brown, D. J., & Jester, J. V. (2013). Absence of ductal hyper-keratinization in mouse age-related meibomian gland dysfunction (ARMGD). Aging, 5(11), 825–834. https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.100615