The Spectrophotometric Sulfo-Phospho-Vanillin Assessment of Total Lipids in Human Meibomian Gland Secretions
Lipids | 25 Jan 2013
A McMahon, H Lu and IA Butovich
Human meibomian gland secretions (meibum) are the major lipid component of the human preocular tear film. The predominant lipid classes found in meibum include waxes (WE), cholesteryl esters (CE), and varying amounts of cholesterol (Chl). The classical sulfo-phospho-vanillin assay (SPVA), adapted for a microplate reader, was used to quantitate lipids in meibum. To account for varying reactivities of different lipids in SPVA, a model meibomian lipid mixture (MMx) that approximated the WE/CE/Chl composition of meibum was developed and used to quantitate meibomian lipids. The overall SPV responses of MMx and meibum were found to be close, with similar intermediate and final reaction products for both. Saturated WE that had not been expected to be reactive were found to be SPV-positive. A reaction mechanism for these compounds in SPVA which involves the formation of alkenyl ethers is proposed and discussed. Tested proteins were non-reactive in SPVA. Thus, by comparing the results of gravimetric analyses of meibum samples with the results of a properly calibrated SPVA, it was estimated that the SPV-reactive lipid content of dry meibum in tested samples was about 78 % (w/w). The SPV method can also be adopted for analyzing other types of complex lipids secretions, such as sebum, as well as whole lipid extracts from other lipid-enriched organs and tissues, if proper standards are chosen.
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