The Dry Eye Zone

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Abstract: Acidic um....

Couldn't bring myself to type the whole name into the title. Sounds like a rare disease, but I gather it's really an enzyme which seems to be showing up a lot in meibomian gland disease and also in Sjogrens.


Acidic Mammalian Chitinase in Dry Eye Conditions.
Cornea. 2009 May 30. [Epub ahead of print]
Musumeci M, Aragona P, Bellin M, Maugeri F, Rania L, Bucolo C, Musumeci S.
From the *Department of Hematology, Oncology and Molecular Medicine, Italian National Institute of Health, Rome, Italy; daggerDepartment of Surgical Specialities, Section of Ophthalmology, University of Messina, Messina, Italy; double daggerCRIBI Biotechnology Center, University of Padova, Padova, Italy; section signDepartment of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, University of Catania, Catania, Italy; and parallelDepartment of Neurosciences and of Mother and Child Sciences, University of Sassari and Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry, National Research Council, Li Punti, Italy.

PURPOSE:: An acidic mammalian chitinase (AMCase) seems to be implicated in allergic asthma and allergic ocular pathologies. The aim of this work was to investigate the role of AMCase during Sjögren's Syndrome (SS) and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) dry eye diseases.

METHODS:: Six patients with MGD dry eye (20-58 years, median 40) and six patients with dry eye associated to SS (32-60 years, median 47) were enrolled in this study. AMCase activity was measured in tears and AMCase mRNA expression was evaluated by real-time polymerase chain reaction from RNA extracted from epithelial cells of the conjunctiva. Six healthy adult subjects of the same age (34-44 years, median 39) were also studied as the control group.

RESULTS:: AMCase activity was significantly increased in patients affected by MGD dry eye (18.54 +/- 1.5 nmol/ml/h) and SS dry eye (8.94 +/- 1.0 nmol/ml/h) respectively, compared to healthy controls (1.6 +/- 0.2 nmol/ml/h). AMCase activity was higher in the tears of subjects with MGD dry eye (P < 0.001). AMCase mRNA was detected in conjunctival epithelial cells and the expression was significantly higher in MGD dry eye than SS dry eye. A significant correlation between AMCase activity in the tears and mRNA in conjunctival epithelial cells was found.

CONCLUSION:: AMCase may be an important marker in the pathogenesis of dry eye, suggesting the potential role of AMCase as a therapeutic target in these frequent pathologies.
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