Objective—To analyze and compare contents of the preocular tear films of llamas and cattle.
Animals—40 llamas and 35 cattle.
Procedure—Tear pH was determined by use of a pH meter. Total protein concentration was determined by use of 2 microtiter methods. Tear proteins were separated by use of electrophoresis and molecular weights of bands were calculated. Western blot immunoassay was used to detect IgA, lactoferrin, transferrin, ceruloplasmin, α1-antitrypsin, α1-amylase, and α2-macroglobulin. Enzyme electrophoresis was used to detect proteases.
Results—The pH of llama and cattle tears were 8.05 ± 0.01 and 8.10 ± 0.01, respectively. For results of both methods, total protein concentration of llama tears was significantly greater than that of cattle tears. Molecular weights of tear protein bands were similar within and between the 2 species, although llama tears had a distinct 13.6-kd band that was not detected in cattle. Lactoferrin, IgA, transferrin, ceruloplasmin, α1-antitrypsin, α1-amylase, α2–macroglobulin, and proteases were detected in both species.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Llama tears have significantly greater total protein concentration than cattle tears, whereas pH is similar between species. Because little variation was detected within species for the number and molecular weight of protein bands, pooling of tears for analysis is justified. Results suggest that lactoferrin, ceruloplasmin, transferrin, α1-antitrypsin, α2-macroglobulin, α1-amylase, and IgA are present in the tears of llamas and cattle. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61:1289–1293)