Clinical Implications of Goblet Cells in Dacryoadenosis and Normal Human Lacrimal Glands


Jakobiec FA, Eagle RC, Selig M, Ma L, Shields C. Clinical Implications of Goblet Cells in Dacryoadenosis and Normal Human Lacrimal Glands. Am J Ophthalmol 2020;213:267-282.

Date Published:

2020 May


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate an enlarged dacryoadenotic lacrimal gland and normal lacrimal glands for the presence of goblet cells (mucocytes). DESIGN: Retrospective clinicopathologic series. METHODS: An enlarged lacrimal gland (dacryoadenosis) without obvious histopathologic alterations was extensively evaluated histochemically, immunohistochemically, and ultrastructurally to detect the presence of goblet cells and to compare the findings with those in five normal lacrimal glands. RESULTS: Granular, zymogen-rich pyramidal acinar cells in normal glands predominated over a previously not reported subpopulation of nongranular, pale-staining cells in both dacryoadenotic and normal lacrimal glands. These cells histochemically stained positively with mucicarmine and Alcian blue. Immunohistochemical and electron microscopic evaluations established that there was a displacement or replacement of cytoplasmic gross cystic disease fluid protein-15 and CK 7-positive tonofilaments in the pale acinar cells by myriad mucus granules. The goblet cells constituted approximately 2% of the normal acinar cells and 5% of dacryoadenotic acinar cells. A depletion of myoepithelial cells and ectopic intra-acinar ductular cells were also observed in dacryoadenosis. CONCLUSION: Dacryoadenosis is caused by an increase in the number of acini without individual acinar cell hyperplasia. A normal cytologic feature of the lacrimal gland is the presence of acinar goblet cells that had been long overlooked; they are increased in number in dacryoadenosis. Intra-acinar ductular cells and the scattered loss of myoepithelial cells are other abnormalities in dacryoadenosis. The presence of lacrimal gland goblet cells may have physiologic implications for the precorneal tear film and its derangements as well as for the histogenesis of mucus-producing carcinomas.

Last updated on 05/31/2020