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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A novel method of tear collection: comparison of glass capillary micropipettes with porous polyester rods.

PURPOSE: To develop a rapid, user-friendly method of tear collection to facilitate tear-protein analysis. METHODS: Tears were collected from a total of 19 normal volunteers without evidence of ocular-surface disease with either porous polyester rods or glass-capillary micropipettes. Tear-collection rate and recovery of two tear proteins, epidermal growth factor ( EGF, low abundance) and lactoferrin (LFR, high abundance) were compared between polyester rods and glass-capillary micropipettes. The recovery of LFR and EGF and the stability of these proteins after storage at -70 degrees C were quantitated by specific monoclonal enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). RESULTS: Polyester rods collected tears an average of 3.9-fold faster than glass-capillary micropipettes (p < 0.001). Both methods were comparable in efficacy of protein recovery. The polyester rods demonstrated a trend toward enhanced recovery, but this difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.12, LFR; p = 0.055, EGF). Analysis of the reliability and reproducibility of the tear-collection assay system revealed that ELISA analysis is highly reproducible, but there is significant day-to-day variation in tear-protein levels of both LFR and EGF for a given volunteer. Both LFR and EGF displayed a trend toward enhanced detection by ELISA shortly after freezing at -70 degrees C and slow decay after storage at -70 degrees C for up to 72 and 105 days, respectively. After stimulation of reflex tearing via the nasolacrimal reflex, LFR levels remained relatively constant, whereas EGF levels for most patients declined and then plateaued. CONCLUSIONS: Polyester rods provide a more rapid, user-friendly alternative to glass-capillary micropipettes for the collection and analysis of tear fluid and tear proteins. Polyester rods may have greater clinical utility, facilitating routine analysis of the preocular tear film.[1]


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