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Nadia Zakaria, Siggi Van Grassdorff, Kristien Wouters, Jos Rozema, Nathalie Cools, Viggo Van Tendeloo, Zwi Berneman, Marie-Jose Tassignon; Human Tears Reveal Insights Into Corneal Neovascularization. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):6288.
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The main aim of this study is to identify the factors crucial to the development of corneal neovascularization in humans.
A total of 12 patients were enrolled in this study along with 10 healthy volunteers constituting the control group. Basal tears along with reflex tears from the inferior fornix, superior fornix and diluted corneal tears (using a corneal bath) were collected along with blood serum samples. Ocular surface photographs (OSP) from the vascular group were also taken. Flow cytometry was used to determine levels of Interleukin 6 (IL-6), Interleukin 8 (IL-8), Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), Monocyte Chemoattractant Protein 1 (MCP-1) and Fas Ligand (FasL) levels in blood and tear samples which were then correlated with OSPs.
Our results indicate that pro-angiogenic cytokines are present in tears of normal control subjects at significantly higher levels than in serum(fig.1), with highest concentrations found in basal tears. Localized corneal tear levels displayed a significant rise in IL- 6, IL-8 and VEGF in patients with vascularized corneas (fig.2). Of the five analytes examined, four positively correlated with the percentage area of corneal vascularization, IL-8 being the exception although it was positively correlated up until 10ng/ml. MCP-1 and IL-6 both showed positive correlation with the highly angiogenic VEGF implicating them in its positive feedback loop.
The results are encouraging and this is the first study of its kind which has succeeded in highlighting significantly higher levels of pro-angiogenic cytokines IL-6, IL-8 and VEGF in tears from patients with vascular corneas.
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