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Joel Ernest Schechter, PhD
Professor of Cell & Neurobiology
Integrative Anatomical Sciences
BMT 11-H 1333 San Pablo Street Health Sciences Campus Los Angeles
+1 323 442 1862


Research in Dr. Schechter's laboratory emphasizes the functional roles of Prolactin as an immunomodulator, and its interactions with various growth factors, in the lacrimal gland. There is a very high incidence of dry eye conditions which affect women, and these conditions are the leading cause that brings women to see ophthalmologists. The highest incidence is associated with menopause, i.e., it is related to an altered hormonal state. Evidence from studies by the USC Lacrimal Research Group indicates that androgens are a critical factor in the development of menopausal-related dry

eye disease. Dry eye syndromes can furthermore develop into an autoimmune disease called Sj?gren's Syndrome. These dry eye conditions appear to result from the changing hormonal milieu in aging and postmenopausal females (decreased androgens below a minimal critical level). Studies in Dr.Schechter?s laboratory are defining specific pathways and mechanisms by which growth factors, various cytokines, and Prolactin, participate in the etiology of these conditions, as well as in the secretory and immune functions of the normal lacrimal gland. We have recently completed studies

that establish that pregnancy and lactation are additional physiological states in which the lacrimal gland becomes more vulnerable to disturbances of the ocular surface. This research has the potential for direct applicability to treatment methods for dry eye conditions.


Hepatitis C virus has a genetically determined lymphotropism through co-receptor B7. 2. Nat Commun. 2017 Jan 09; 8:13882. View in: PubMed

Multiple Natural and Experimental Inflammatory Rabbit Lacrimal Gland Phenotypes. Ocul Surf. 2016 Oct; 14(4):460-483. e3. View in: PubMed

Potentially pathogenic immune cells and networks in apparently healthy lacrimal glands. Ocul Surf. 2015 Jan; 13(1):47-81. View in: PubMed

Autoimmune dacryoadenitis and sialadenitis induced in rabbits by intravenous injection of autologous lymphocytes activated ex vivo against lacrimal antigens. Cornea. 2012 Jun; 31(6):693-701. View in: PubMed

Rab27b regulates exocytosis of secretory vesicles in acinar epithelial cells from the lacrimal gland. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2011 Aug; 301(2):C507-21. View in: PubMed

Adeno-associated virus-mediated IL-10 gene transfer suppresses lacrimal gland immunopathology in a rabbit model of autoimmune dacryoadenitis. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010 Oct; 51(10):5137-44. View in: PubMed

Distinct dacryoadenitides autoadoptively transferred to rabbits by different subpopulations of lymphocytes activated ex vivo. Cornea. 2010 Oct; 29(10):1153-62. View in: PubMed

A lacrimal gland is a lacrimal gland, but rodent's and rabbit's are not human. Ocul Surf. 2010 Jul; 8(3):111-34. View in: PubMed

Microporous poly(L-lactic acid) membranes fabricated by polyethylene glycol solvent-cast/particulate leaching technique. Tissue Eng Part C Methods. 2009 Sep; 15(3):463-74. View in: PubMed

Cytopathology and exocrine dysfunction induced in ex vivo rabbit lacrimal gland acinar cell models by chronic exposure to histamine or serotonin. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2009 Jul; 50(7):3164-75. View in: PubMed

Long-term topical cyclosporine treatment improves tear production and reduces keratoconjunctivitis in rabbits with induced autoimmune dacryoadenitis. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Jun; 25(3):285-92. View in: PubMed

The class V myosin motor, myosin 5c, localizes to mature secretory vesicles and facilitates exocytosis in lacrimal acini. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2008 Jul; 295(1):C13-28. View in: PubMed

A novel, local technique for studying rabbit lacrimal gland secretion in situ. Ophthalmic Res. 2008; 40(1):49-52. View in: PubMed

Traffic of endogenous, transduced, and endocytosed prolactin in rabbit lacrimal acinar cells. Exp Eye Res. 2007 Dec; 85(6):749-61. View in: PubMed

Transepithelial bioelectrical properties of rabbit acinar cell monolayers on polyester membrane scaffolds. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2007 Oct; 293(4):C1412-9. View in: PubMed

Elevated prolactin redirects secretory vesicle traffic in rabbit lacrimal acinar cells. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Apr; 292(4):E1122-34. View in: PubMed

Tissue-engineered tear secretory system: functional lacrimal gland acinar cells cultured on matrix protein-coated substrata. J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2007 Jan; 80(1):192-200. View in: PubMed

Current status of gene delivery and gene therapy in lacrimal gland using viral vectors. Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2006 Nov 15; 58(11):1243-57. View in: PubMed

Molecular mechanisms of lacrimal acinar secretory vesicle exocytosis. Exp Eye Res. 2006 Jul; 83(1):84-96. View in: PubMed

Interacting influences of pregnancy and corneal injury on rabbit lacrimal gland immunoarchitecture and function. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2006 Apr; 47(4):1368-75. View in: PubMed

Male NOD mouse external lacrimal glands exhibit profound changes in the exocytotic pathway early in postnatal development. Exp Eye Res. 2006 Jan; 82(1):33-45. View in: PubMed

Unique ultrastructure of exorbital lacrimal glands in male NOD and BALB/c mice. Curr Eye Res. 2006 Jan; 31(1):13-22. View in: PubMed

Actin and non-muscle myosin II facilitate apical exocytosis of tear proteins in rabbit lacrimal acinar epithelial cells. J Cell Sci. 2005 Oct 15; 118(Pt 20):4797-812. View in: PubMed

Mucosal immunity and self-tolerance in the ocular surface system. Ocul Surf. 2005 Oct; 3(4):182-92. View in: PubMed

Expression of TNF inhibitor gene in the lacrimal gland promotes recovery of tear production and tear stability and reduced immunopathology in rabbits with induced autoimmune dacryoadenitis. J Autoimmune Dis. 2005 Jun 28; 2:6. View in: PubMed

Prophylactic effect of IL-10 gene transfer on induced autoimmune dacryoadenitis. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2004 May; 45(5):1375-81. View in: PubMed

Impairing actin filament or syndapin functions promotes accumulation of clathrin-coated vesicles at the apical plasma membrane of acinar epithelial cells. Mol Biol Cell. 2003 Nov; 14(11):4397-413. View in: PubMed

Estrogen prevention of lacrimal gland cell death and lymphocytic infiltration. Exp Eye Res. 2003 Sep; 77(3):347-54. View in: PubMed

Tumor necrosis factor inhibitor gene expression suppresses lacrimal gland immunopathology in a rabbit model of autoimmune dacryoadenitis. Cornea. 2003 May; 22(4):343-51. View in: PubMed

Lacrimal histopathology and ocular surface disease in a rabbit model of autoimmune dacryoadenitis. Cornea. 2003 Jan; 22(1):25-32. View in: PubMed

Expression of IL-10 and TNF-inhibitor genes in lacrimal gland epithelial cells suppresses their ability to activate lymphocytes. Cornea. 2002 Mar; 21(2):210-4. View in: PubMed

Growth of purified lacrimal acinar cells in Matrigel raft cultures. Exp Eye Res. 2002 Mar; 74(3):349-60. View in: PubMed

IL-2 immunoreactive proteins in lacrimal acinar cells. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2002; 506(Pt B):795-9. View in: PubMed

A new model system for studying lacrimal physiology using cultured lacrimal gland acinar cells on Matrigel rafts. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2002; 506(Pt A):159-63. View in: PubMed

Potential role of disrupted lacrimal acinar cells in dry eye during pregnancy. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2002; 506(Pt A):153-7. View in: PubMed

Effect of anti-inflammatory cytokines on the activation of lymphocytes by lacrimal gland acinar cells in an autologous mixed cell reaction. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2002; 506(Pt B):789-94. View in: PubMed

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