Advances in lipid research. Vol.22, 1987 by Rodolfo Paoletti; David Kritchevsky

By Rodolfo Paoletti; David Kritchevsky

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The only fatty alcohols detected were a-C27 and a-C29, in proportions supporting the earlier suggestion of C2 chain elongation of fatty acids during reduction in the rabbit (Tiffany and Simpson, 1983; see below). In addition to isoleucine as a primer for anteiso chains, leucine, valine, and propionate were added as chain primers. Leucine and propionate showed little incorporation (<5% of isoleucine level), but valine was incorporated to almost the same extent as isoleucine; this suggests that in rabbit the fatty acid synthase preferentially recognizes the α-methyl-branched structure for fatty acid chain initiation.

In diesters, type I indicates the presence of a hydroxy fatty acid linking two other groups, one a fatty acid and the other an alcohol (alkanol or sterol). Type II contains two fatty acids linked through a diol. Triesters have a similar structure except that they also contain an additional a- or ω-hydroxy fatty acid. Even more complicated structures are theoretically possible, but have not yet been isolated. The scheme shown in Fig. 2 illustrates the possible complexity of structures in meibomian secretion; Nicolaides and Santos (1985) also indicate that, on the basis of random esterification of fatty acids and alcohols, some 2760 different species of wax monoesters could be found in human material, and up to hundreds of thousands of species if all the combinations of diesters and triesters containing fatty acids or diols are allowed.

These authors also (Brown and Dervichian, 1969b) devised a model system to simulate reforming of the tear film following a blink, by sliding an agar plunger up a vertical agar slab. Using saline only as the model tear fluid, a rather unstable aqueous film was formed which broke up into dry spots. Adding an indicator oil (a nonspreading hydrocarbon oil with just sufficient polar lipid to give a thick duplex film) to coat the water gave a much more stable and thicker film. Rapid movement of the plunger first raised a thin aqueous layer, and the oil could be seen to spread upwards on this, at the same time as the film behind the lipid front thickened.

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