Background: Decrease in lacrimal gland secretory function is related to age-induced dry eye disease. Lactoferrin, the main glycoprotein component of tears, has multiple functions, including anti-inflammatory effects and the promotion of cell growth. We investigated how oral administration of lactoferrin affects age-related lacrimal dysfunction. Methods and Findings: Twelve-month-old male C57BL/6Cr Slc mice were randomly divided into a control fed group and an oral lactoferrin treatment group. Tear function was measured at a 6-month time-point. After euthanasia, the lacrimal glands were subjected to histological examination with 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) antibodies, and serum concentrations of 8-OHdG and hexanoyl-lysine adduct (HEL) were evaluated. Additionally, monocyte chemotactic protein-1(MCP-1) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) gene expression levels were determined by real-time PCR. The volume of tear secretion was significantly larger in the treated group than in the control. Lactoferrin administration reduced inflammatory cell infiltration and the MCP-1 and TNF-α expression levels. Serum concentrations of 8-OHdG and HEL in the lactoferrin group were lower than those in the control group and were associated with attenuated 8-OHdG immunostaining of the lacrimal glands. Conclusion: Oral lactoferrin administration preserves lacrimal gland function in aged mice by attenuating oxidative damage and suppressing subsequent gland inflammation.
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