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Curr Eye Res. 1996 Jun;15(6):605-14.

Transforming growth factor beta-1 and beta-2 in human tear fluid.

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Ocular Surface and Tear Center, Bascom Palmer Eye Insitute, Department of Ophthalmolgy, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Florida 33136, USA.



To evaluate human tear fluid for transforming growth factor beta isoforms 1 and 2 (TGF-beta1 and TGF-beta2).


To accomplish this, human tears were evaluated for TGF-betas by quantitative antibody sandwich ELISA (sELISA), mink lung epithelial cell (MLEC) growth inhibition bioassay and western blotting. Various physical and chemical treatments were used to activate TGF-beta in these assays.


TGF-betas could not be detected in untreated or heated tears by sELISA; however, mean TGF-beta1 concentrations of 2.32 ng/ml were detected in acid-activated tears by sELISA. Furthermore, 10.54 ng/ml of TGF-beta1 and 2.98 ng/ml of TGF-beta2 were detected in tears treated with the mucolytic agent, acetylcysteine. Total TGF-beta bioactivity in human tears measured by the MLEC assay was found to be 13.04 ng/ml in untreated tears and 24.85 ng/ml in acid-activated tears. Approximately one-half TGF-beta in tear specimens was biologically active (mean = 52%, range 39-71%). Total tear TGF-beta bioactivity could be completely neutralized by recombinant human TGF-beta1 latency associated peptide (rh TGF-beta1 LAP). Mean neutralization of tear TF-beta bioactivity was 83% by TGF-beta1-specific antisera, and was 13% by TBF-beta2-specific antisera. Immunoreactive TBF-beta bands at approximately 12.5 and 95 kD were observed in immunoblots of reduced acidified tears. A high molecular weight (MW) TGF-beta band (>203 dD) was noted in untreated tears; however, this band disappeared following treatment with acetylcysteine.


The results of these studies indicate that TGF-beta1 and TGF-beta2 are present in human tear fluid, and TGF-beta1 is the predominant isoform. There appear to be factors in human tears capable of binding TGF-beta.

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