Antibiotic May Treat Dry Eye Disorder

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Yang Liu MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Yang Liu
Preceptor and

David A. Sullivan, MS, PhD, FARVO Senior Scientist, Schepens Eye Research Institute Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology Harvard Medical School Boston, MA, USA 02114 Founder, Tear Film & Ocular Surface SocietyDr. David A. Sullivan, MS, PhD, FARVO
Senior Scientist, Schepens Eye Research Institute, Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA, USA 02114

MedicalResearch.com: What is the main finding of the study?

Answer:We discovered that azithromycin (AZM) can directly stimulate the function of human meibomian gland epithelial cells. Given this finding, it is possible that this antibiotic may prove beneficial as a treatment for meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), which is the leading cause of dry eye disease in the world.

MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Answer: No. We hypothesized that azithromycin could act directly on human meibomian gland epithelial cells to stimulate their differentiation, enhance the quality and quantity of their lipid production, and promote their holocrine secretion.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Answer: The ability of AZM to stimulate the differentiation, and apparently secretion, of human meibomian gland epithelial cells is clinically very significant. This action could explain why the off-label use of topical AZM is the most commonly used pharmaceutical treatment for MGD in the United States. This antibiotic’s efficacy has been presumed to be due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial actions, which may suppress the MGD-associated posterior blepharitis and growth of lid bacteria. However, our data indicate that AZM also has the capability to enhance directly the function of human meibomian gland epithelial cells, and thereby possibly ameliorate the pathophysiology of MGD.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Answer: This study was made possible by our previous immortalization of human meibomian gland epithelial cells. This cell line is an ideal human preclinical model to permit the discovery of drugs to treat MGD. Such research in the future will allow the creation of a portfolio of therapeutic options to treat the underlying disease and improve the quality of life of MGD patients.

Citation:

Effect of Azithromycin on Lipid Accumulation in Immortalized Human Meibomian

Liu Y, Kam WR, Ding J, Sullivan DA. Effect of Azithromycin on Lipid Accumulation in Immortalized Human Meibomian Gland Epithelial Cells. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2013;():. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2013.6030. Gland Epithelial Cells

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