We have explored human aqueous tear fluid lipidome with an emphasis to identify the major lipids. We also address the physiological significance of the lipidome. The tears were analysed using thin layer chromatographic, enzymatic and mass spectrometric techniques. To emphasize the physiological aspect of the lipidome, we modelled the spreading of the non-polar tear fluid lipids at air-water interface in macroscopic scale with olive oil and egg yolk phosphatidylcholine. Based on enzymatic analysis the respective concentrations of choline-containing lipids, triglycerides, and cholesteryl esters were 48±14, 10±0, and 21±18 µM. Ultra performance liquid chromatography quadrupole time of flight mass spectrometry analysis showed that phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine were the two most common polar lipids comprising 88±6% of all identified lipids. Triglycerides were the only non-polar lipids detected in mass spectrometric analysis i.e. no cholesteryl or wax esters were identified. The spreading experiments show that the presence of polar lipids is an absolute necessity for a proper spreading of non-polar tear fluid lipids. We provide evidence that polar lipids are the most common lipid species. Furthermore, we provide a physiological rationale for the observed lipid composition. The results open insights into the functional role of lipids in the tear fluid and also aids in providing new means to understand and treat diseases of the ocular surface.
Rantamäki, A. H., Seppänen-Laakso, T., Orešič, M., Jauhiainen, M., & Holopainen, J. M. (2011). Human tear fluid lipidome: From composition to function. PLoS ONE, 6(5), [e19553]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0019553