Understanding tears and regulation of lacrimal gland secretions

December 30, 2016

The lacrimal gland of the eye secretes a major component of tears, yet surprisingly little is still understood about the signaling pathways that activate lacrimal gland secretions. The most current knowledge of how purinergic receptors affect the function of the lacrimal gland and interact with neurotransmitters is presented in a review article published in the Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Robin Hodges and Darlene Dartt, Schepens Eye Research Institute/Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA are coauthors of the article entitled "Signaling Pathways of Purinergic Receptors and Their Interactions with Cholinergic and Adrenergic Pathways in the Lacrimal Gland." They discuss and interpret recent research findings on the signaling pathways activated by the purinergic present on the lacrimal gland. Other key topics include the regulation of lacrimal gland secretion, the potential role this regulatory activity could play in normal and pathological responses of the lacrimal gland, and mechanisms of crosstalk between purinergic and other types of receptors.

"This is a well-written, comprehensive review that nicely summarizes a complex and important area of research relevant to dry-eye disease," says Editor-in-Chief W. Daniel Stamer, PhD, Joseph A. C. Wadsworth Professor of Ophthalmology and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC.

Explore further: Scientists find potential treatment for 'painful blindness' form of dry eye

More information: Robin R. Hodges et al. Signaling Pathways of Purinergic Receptors and Their Interactions with Cholinergic and Adrenergic Pathways in the Lacrimal Gland, Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics (2016). DOI: 10.1089/jop.2016.0008

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1 / 5 (1) Jan 02, 2017
To remain entirely ignorant of the biological function of the lacrymal glands opens these researchers to condemnation and ridicule. Emotional tears differ from irritant induced tears in the appearance of dissolved proteins and unusual salts, both of which are of obvious biological benefit to the body. Given the emission of protein & ion bearing tears at farewells, welcomes, funerals, weddings, victories, and defeats, it is clear that theirs is a pheromone reception function. The dissolved proteins sequester the ions, releasing them upon pheromone exposure by their suddenly changing conformation, to change the potential difference/voltage across a nearby receptor membrane to signal the brain of the pheromone's presence.
We see that the susceptibility to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome at six weeks of age and the appearance of emotional tears at that same age can explain SIDS deaths. When SIDS cases stop under oscillating fans, pheromone plume disruption is the only answer.

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