To evaluate the density and distribution of conjunctival goblet cells in mice without clinical evidence of ocular surface diseases.
Immediately after euthanasia of C57BL/6 wild-type mice, the eyes including eyelids were removed and fixed in paraformaldehyde. Entire eyeballs and eyelids were cut in series along the sagittal axis from nasal to temporal on a microtome and then stained with Periodic Acid-Schiff acid to visualize the goblet cells. At each section stained in this way, the conjunctival goblet cells of the entire upper and lower lid conjunctiva were counted by light microscopy. Additional (transmission electron microscopy) (TEM)-Analysis on ultrathin sections was performed to evaluate morphological differences.
The total number of conjunctival goblet cells differs markedly between individual animals. Categorisation into upper eyelid (UL) and lower eyelid (LL) and into regions (nasal, middle, temporal) revealed a significant increase of goblet cells in the UL and a significant decrease from nasal to temporal in the LL.
The distribution of conjunctival goblet cells in mice differs considerably from humans and between individual animals. Therefore, precise selection of sampling and methods are needed to obtain comparable data. We recommend to use the middle region of the conjunctiva of UL/LL for goblet cell studies in mice. These findings are of particular interest for dry eye mouse models as well as pharmacological studies on mice with influence on their goblet cells.

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