Evaluation of cell harvesting techniques to optimize lipidomic analysis from human meibomian gland epithelial cells in culture

Academic Article


  • The lipidomic analysis of immortalized human meibomian gland epithelial cells (HMGECs) has been proposed as a preclinical model to study meibomian gland dysfunction. An in vitro study was conducted to evaluate neutral lipid recovery following three harvesting techniques and to identify candidate lipid biomarkers of HMGECs. HMGECs were cultured in serum-containing media for two days to promote lipid production. Cells were either harvested by 0.25% trypsin–ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), harvested by 10 mM EDTA, or simultaneously harvested and extracted by 2:1 chloroform–methanol (CM). After extraction by a modified Folch technique, the nonpolar phase was processed and infused into a TripleTOF 5600 mass spectrometer (Sciex, Framingham, MA, USA) with electrospray ionization. MS and MS/MSall spectra were acquired. Nonpolar cholesteryl esters (CEs) were consistently detected in all samples, while wax esters were not. Only small differences in two out of twenty CEs were detected between harvesting methods. CM yielded less CE18:1 than the other methods but greater CE20:4 than the trypsin–EDTA method (p < 0.05 for all). Similar to human meibum, very long-chain CEs with carbon number (nc) ≥ 24 were detected in all samples and may serve as HMGEC lipid biomarkers. Further work is needed to address the absence of wax esters. Overall, the three harvesting methods are reasonably equivalent, though CM promotes much better efficiency and is recommended for higher throughput.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Ziemanski JF; Chen J; Nichols KK
  • Volume

  • 21
  • Issue

  • 9