Regenerated tear glands
Wednesday, October 16 2013 | 00 h 00 min | News
Scientists from Japan have successfully regenerated fully functioning bioengineered tear glands.
A team of researchers from the Tokyo University of Science, led by professor Takashi Tsuji, has successfully recreated functional tear and harderian glands in vivo in mice that had disorders similar to dry eye disease in humans. These glands were able to secrete tears in response to nervous stimulation to the eye and protect the eye’s surface.
“This study is the first to demonstrate the potential for bioengineered organ replacement to functionally restore the lacrimal gland,” said professor Tsuji. “In addition, we provided proof-of-concept for lipid secretory organ regeneration by regenerating the harderian gland, which secretes lipids that are critical for tear function.”
The researchers are now looking at clinical applications, but admit that several problems must be solved before this method can be used in humans. One thing is to identify the suitable cell sources.