Comparison of Collection Methods for the Measure of Human Meibum and Tear Film-Derived Lipids Using Mass Spectrometry

Academic Article


  • Purpose/aim: To assess the effectiveness of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) tubes in the collection of human tears and meibum. Materials and methods: This was a prospective study that enrolled 10 healthy human subjects. Both the tear film and meibum were sampled using PTFE tubes in the right eye of all subjects. In the left eyes, either 5-µL or 1-µL glass microcapillary tubes were used to collect tears, and 0.5-µL glass microcapillary tubes were used to collect meibum. The lipids from the samples were extracted and analyzed using mass spectrometry (SCIEX TripleTOF 5600, Framingham, MA, USA). The absolute peak intensities of the omega-acyl hydroxy fatty acids (OAHFA), cholesterol esters (CE), and wax esters (WE) obtained for both methods were summed and compared between collection methods. Results: A total of 10 subjects completed the study (five female, mean age: 35.7 ± 7.9 years). Using the mass spectrometer output, the median (first quartile, third quartile) summed intensity units of OAHFA, CE, and WE collected associated with tears using PTFE were 516 (125, 1315), 7946 (2571, 19,915), and 38,892 (139,630, 174,082), all of which were significantly higher (all p ≤ 0.04) than those collected from glass microcapillaries (91 (41, 408), 2463 (1389, 6042), and 11,109 (7465, 37,371), respectively). The median summed intensity units of OAHFA, CE, and WE associated with meibum (1958 (1417, 3502), 11,726 (8434, 87,691), and 84,771 (52,657, 206,050), respectively) using PTFE were not significantly different (all p ≥ 0.13) than those associated with glass microcapillaries (1502 (699, 4407), 10,781 (3287, 38,205), and 77,381 (26,590, 178,213), respectively). Conclusions: PTFE tubes, which are thought to be lipophilic, were associated with more measurable lipids from the tear film than glass microcapillaries. There was no difference between collection methods in lipid profiles when used with meibum.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Ngo W; Chen J; Panthi S; Nichols KK; Nichols JJ
  • Start Page

  • 1244
  • End Page

  • 1252
  • Volume

  • 43
  • Issue

  • 10