ABSTRACT: Anti-oxidation and exocytosis are important for maintaining exocrine tissue homeostasis. During aging, functional and structural alterations occur in the lacrimal gland (LG), including oxidative damage to proteins, lipids, and DNA. The aims of the present study were to determine in the aging LG: a) the effects of aging on LG structure and secretory activity and b) changes in the expression of oxidative stress markers.
To address these goals, tear secretion composition and corneal impression cytology were compared between male Wistar rats of 2 (control) and 24 (aged) months. LG morphology and the expression levels of vitamin E and malonaldehyde (MDA) were evaluated to determine the anti-oxidant activity and lipid peroxidation, respectively. RT-PCR and western blot analysis were used for the analysis of Ras related in brain GTPase protein (Rab) and soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) proteins of the secretory machinery (i.e.; Rab 3d, Rab 27, vesicle-associated membrane protein-2 (Vamp-2), and syntaxin).
Histological analysis of aged rats revealed a higher frequency of corneal epithelia metaplasia. In the acinar cells, organelles underwent degeneration, and lipofucsin-like material accumulated in the cytoplasm along with declines in the anti-oxidant marker vitamin E. Rab3d and Rab27b mRNA levels fell along with Rab3d protein expression, whereas syntaxin levels increased.
These findings indicate that exocytotic and anti-oxidant mechanisms become impaired with age in the rat LG. In parallel with these structural alterations, functional declines may contribute to the pathophysiology caused by tear film modification in dry eye disease.
Molecular vision 01/2012; 18:194-202. · 2.20 Impact Factor