Date: 05 May 2009

Efficacy of a 2-month dietary supplementation with polyunsaturated fatty acids in dry eye induced by scopolamine in a rat model

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Abstract

Background

This study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of dietary n-6 and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in dry eye in a rat model.

Methods

Female Lewis rats were fed with diets containing (1) γ-linolenic acid (GLA), (2) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) + docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), or (3) GLA + EPA + DHA, for 2 months before the induction of dry eye using a continuous delivery of scopolamine and during scopolamine treatment. Two, 10 and 28 days after dry-eye induction, clinical signs of corneal dryness were evaluated in vivo using fluorescein staining. MHC II expression and mucin rMuc5AC production in the conjunctival epithelium were evaluated by immunostaining. Lipids and prostaglandins (PGs) E1 and E2 were analysed from the exorbital lacrimal gland (LG).

Results

Dietary PUFAs minimised the occurrence of corneal keratitis 28 days after induction of dry eye. The decrease in mucin production observed on the conjunctival epithelium was partially prevented by EPA + DHA supplementation after 2 days of scopolamine treatment, as well as by GLA and GLA + EPA + DHA diets after 10 days of treatment. The overexpression of MHC II in the conjunctival epithelium caused by dry eye induction was significantly reduced only with the GLA + EPA + DHA diet after 28 days of treatment. Dietary PUFAs were incorporated into phospholipids of the exorbital LG. Induction of dry eye was associated with a significant increase in PGE1 and PGE2 levels in the exorbital LG, which was inhibited by dietary EPA + DHA at 10 days (for PGE2) and 28 days (for PGE1).

Conclusions

Dietary GLA, EPA and DHA significantly interfered with lipid homeostasis in the exorbital LG and partially prevented the course of dry eye. In particular, our results demonstrate the efficacy of the combination of n-6 and n-3 PUFAs.

Support: Regional Council of Burgundy (Dijon, France) for S. Viau (PhD fellowship) and C. Joffre (Grant no 29000026) The Nutrition, Chemical Food Safety and Consumer Behaviour Division from INRA (Dijon, France) for S. Viau (BTH01698) Horus Pharma (Saint Laurent du Var, France) for C. Joffre (research contract no 29000144)