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Bioactive lipids at the ocular surface: from Langmuir surface balance to ophthalmic nanoemulsions

Project description

Uncovering the lipid layer mechanism that keeps our eyes moist

The tear film lipid layer is a microscopically thin film of oils that is key to preventing the tear film from evaporating. Dry eye disease develops when this lipid layer malfunctions. Mixing ophthalmic nanoemulsions with the tear film lipid layer, which has an exceptionally slow turnover rate, could lead to improved treatments for dry eye disease as well as for glaucoma, a major vision-threatening disease. Funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the BioNanoLip project aims to increase our understanding of lipid layer functionality and dry eye disease mechanisms. It also explores molecules and formulations that can enhance lipid layer functionality and lead to new therapies.


Since 2012 the interest to the studies of the tear film lipid layer (TFLL) stabilizing the air/tear surface has dramatically raised. Firstly TFLL related abnormalities may be the main reason for dry eye syndrome (DES), the most prevalent ophthalmic public health disease affecting the quality of life of 10-30% of the human population worldwide and resulting in > €3.5 billion annual cost for EU. Secondly due to TFLL exceptionally slow turnover rate of 0.93 (±0.36)%/min, ophthalmic nanoemulsions mixing favorably with it can gain long residence at the ocular surface allowing for new routes of treatment not only of DES but also of glaucoma, the major vision threatening disease today. Therefore it is important to study the impact of key lipid classes to the micro- and nano-scale structure and to the dynamic surface properties of TFLL films at the air/water interface in health and disease and in vitro and vivo. This is what we will do by employing state of the art Langmuir surface balance, dilatational rheology, fluorescence and Brewster angle microscopy techniques as well as pharmacokinetic methodologies. The action will deliver both, (i) fundamental knowledge on TFLL functionality and DES mechanisms and (ii) molecules and formulations that can enhance TFLL functionality and lead to new therapies. The action will allow to European science and industry to aim for leadership in a field of increasing social importance.


Net EU contribution
€ 159 815,04
1049 001 Lisboa

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Continente Área Metropolitana de Lisboa Área Metropolitana de Lisboa
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 159 815,04