Pigment epithelium-derived factor peptide reverses mouse age-related meibomian gland atrophy

Nai Wen Fan, Tsung Chuan Ho, Erh Hsuan Lin, Cheng Wen Wu, Hsin Yu Chien, Yeou Ping Tsao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Age-related meibomian gland (MG) atrophy, characterized by decreased meibocyte proliferation, is one of the causes of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), which leads to dry eye disease. Currently, there is no available treatment effectively preventing or reversing the decreased cell proliferation and acinar tissue atrophy. In this study, we investigated the therapeutic effects of a pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) peptide in treating this condition. We found abundant expression of PEDF in the nucleus of acinar basal cells, but not in mature meibocytes, and that the expression levels were significantly decreased in the aged mice. We next treated the aged mice (15-month old) with atrophic MGs using a synthetic PEDF-derived peptide 29-mer (residues 93–121). We found that 29-mer effectively stimulated acinar basal cell proliferation and the following mature meibocyte proliferation in the atrophied MGs. In addition, the treatment increased ΔNp63 and Lrig1 expressions in acinar basal cells. Finally, the aged mice receiving the treatment showed MG growth and improved tear film break-up time. In conclusion, the 29-mer treatment is effective in promoting MG acinar basal cell proliferation and enlarging the acinar size of MG, as well as improving MG function in aged mice, suggesting a therapeutic potential of the PEDF-derived short peptide in ameliorating age-related MGD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107678
JournalExperimental Eye Research
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • Acinar atrophy
  • Aging
  • Dry eye disease
  • Evaporative dry eye
  • Meibomian gland dysfunction
  • Meibomian glands
  • PEDF
  • Regenerative medicine

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