June 2022
Volume 63, Issue 7
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2022
Do vernal keratoconjunctivitis and allergic conjunctivitis have a different immune response at the ocular surface?
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Zahra Tajbakhsh
    School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Blanka Golebiowski
    School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Fiona Stapleton
    School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Ramin Salouti
    Salouti Cornea Research Center, Salouti Eye Clinic, Shiraz, Iran (the Islamic Republic of)
    Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Fars, Iran (the Islamic Republic of)
  • Mohammad H Nowrozzadeh
    Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Fars, Iran (the Islamic Republic of)
  • Mohammad Zamani
    Salouti Cornea Research Center, Salouti Eye Clinic, Shiraz, Iran (the Islamic Republic of)
  • Nancy Briggs
    Stats Central, Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Isabelle Jalbert
    School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Zahra Tajbakhsh None; Blanka Golebiowski None; Fiona Stapleton None; Ramin Salouti None; Mohammad H Nowrozzadeh None; Mohammad Zamani None; Nancy Briggs None; Isabelle Jalbert None
  • Footnotes
    Support  None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2022, Vol.63, 953 – A0422. doi:
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      Zahra Tajbakhsh, Blanka Golebiowski, Fiona Stapleton, Ramin Salouti, Mohammad H Nowrozzadeh, Mohammad Zamani, Nancy Briggs, Isabelle Jalbert; Do vernal keratoconjunctivitis and allergic conjunctivitis have a different immune response at the ocular surface?. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2022;63(7):953 – A0422.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Purpose : Dendritic cells (DC) density is increased in vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC) and allergic conjunctivitis (AC), and we have also shown altered morphology of DC in AC. This study compared the distribution of corneal and conjunctival epithelial DC in VKC, AC, and healthy controls to examine if allergy type causes differences in immune cell activation.

Methods : In vivo confocal microscopy (HRT III) was performed on the right eye of 60 participants (mean age 22.4±8.1 years, 70% male) based in Shiraz, Iran: 20 with limbal VKC, 20 with AC, and 20 healthy controls. Locations scanned included: corneal centre, corneal periphery (1mm inside limbus), corneal limbus, and bulbar conjunctiva (2-3 mm temporal to limbus). DC were counted manually, and corneal morphology was graded for cell body size, presence of dendrites, and dendrite appearance. Differences between groups and between locations were examined using linear mixed model analysis (density), Chi-Square test, Kruskal-Wallis test (morphology).

Results : DC density was higher in VKC, and AC compared to controls, at all locations (p≤0.001). DC density was significantly higher at the limbus of VKC participants compared to AC (p<0.001), but there was no difference at other locations (p≥0.08). In all groups, DC density was highest at the limbus than at other locations (p≤0.001), with the fewest DC observed at the conjunctiva (p<0.01). DC cell bodies were larger in VKC than AC at the corneal centre only (p=0.01). DC cell bodies were larger in VKC, and AC compared to controls, at all corneal locations (p≤0.001). Dendrites were present on more DC in VKC, and AC compared to the controls, at the corneal centre and periphery (p≤0.001). VKC and AC groups had more long dendrites compared to the controls at the corneal periphery and limbus (p≤0.001). The VKC group had more long dendrites compared to controls at the corneal centre (p=0.04) and more thick dendrites at the limbus (p=0.048).

Conclusions : Increased DC density and altered morphology at the ocular surface were evident in both VKC and AC, a marker of the upregulated immune response. Greater DC density in both forms of ocular surface allergy, but higher density at the limbus may be a marker of the more severe VKC. Larger DC cell bodies and more with long dendrites could help to differentiate allergy from non-allergy and more severe forms of allergy from milder forms.

This abstract was presented at the 2022 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Denver, CO, May 1-4, 2022, and virtually.

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