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Andrea Leonardi, Paola Brun, Marco Tavolato, Giovanni Abatangelo, Mario Plebani, Antonio G. Secchi; Growth Factors and Collagen Distribution in Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2000;41(13):4175-4181.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
purpose. To study the extracellular composition of giant papillae in vernal
keratoconjunctivitis (VKC) and the expression of growth factors that
may stimulate fibrosis.
methods. Upper conjunctival specimens were obtained by biopsy in 9 patients
affected by active tarsal VKC (14 eyes) and 10 normal control subjects.
Immunohistochemistry was performed on tissue sections using monoclonal
antibodies (mAbs) for collagens I, III, and VII; tumor necrosis factor
(TNF)-α; transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1; basic fibroblast
growth factor (bFGF); and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF). The
mAbs anti-tryptase, anti-CD4, anti-CD68, and anti-EG2 were used as
markers for mast cells, T-helper lymphocytes, macrophages, and
eosinophils, respectively. Immunofluorescent double-staining for growth
factors and cell markers was performed in VKC tissues.
results. Immunostaining was highly positive for collagens I, III, and VII in the
subepithelium of VKC conjunctiva. Image analysis showed a significant
increase of staining per tissue area for both collagens I and VII and
increased basal membrane length. The number of cells positive for
TNF-α, TGF-β, bFGF, or PDGF was significantly higher in VKC tissue
than in control samples. Double staining showed that eosinophils and
macrophages were the main sources of PDGF and that FGF was expressed by
46% of mast cells. Significant PDGF and FGF staining was observed in
the conjunctival epithelium and vascular endothelium of all VKC
conclusions. In giant papillae of VKC, the extracellular matrix is characterized by
overproduction of collagens. Expression of growth factors in the
conjunctiva by resident cells (mast cells, epithelial cells,
endothelial cells) and inflammatory cells (macrophages, eosinophils)
may contribute to papillae formation and fibrosis evolution in chronic
ocular allergic diseases.
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