Th17 cells are principal mediators of many autoimmune conditions. Recently, memory Th17 cells have been revealed as crucial in mediating the chronicity of various refractory autoimmune disorders; however, the underlying mechanisms maintaining memory Th17 cells have remained elusive. Here, using a preclinical model of ocular autoimmune disease we show that both IL-7 and IL-15 are critical for maintaining pathogenic memory Th17 cells. Neutralization of these cytokines leads to substantial reduction of memory Th17 cells; both IL-7 and IL-15 provide survival signals via activating STAT5, and IL-15 provides additional proliferation signals via activating both STAT5 and Akt. Topical neutralization of ocular IL-7 or IL-15 effectively reduces memory Th17 cells at the inflammatory site and draining lymphoid tissues, while topical neutralization of IL-17 alone, the major pathogenic cytokine secreted by Th17 cells, does not diminish memory Th17 cells at the draining lymphoid tissues. Our results suggest that the effective removal of pathogenic memory Th17 cells via abolishing environmental IL-7 or IL-15 is likely to be a novel strategy in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.
Th17 cells are critical effectors mediating the ocular surface autoimmunity in dry eye disease (DED). Increased IFN-γ has also been implicated in DED; however, it remains unclear to what extent Th1 cells contribute to DED pathogenesis. In this study, we investigated the cellular source of IFN-γ and assessed its contribution to corneal epitheliopathy in DED mice. We discovered a significant IL-17A(+)IFN-γ(+) (Th17/1) population and determined that these cells are derived from Th17 precursors. Adoptive transfer of Th17/1, but not Th1, cells confers the disease to naive recipients as effectively as do Th17 cells alone. DED-induced IL-12 and IL-23 are required for in vivo transition of pathogenic Th17 cells to IFN-γ producers. Furthermore, using IFN-γ-deficient Th17 cells, we demonstrate the disease-amplifying role of Th17-derived IFN-γ in DED pathogenesis. These results clearly demonstrate that Th17 cells mediate ocular surface autoimmunity through both IL-17A and IFN-γ.
PURPOSE: Infestation with demodex mites has been linked to the development of chalazion, meibomian gland dysfunction, and blepharitis. An effective treatment is the eyelid application of terpinen-4-ol (T4O), a tea tree oil component. However, T4O is also known to be toxic to nonocular epithelial cells. We hypothesize that T4O toxicity also extends to human meibomian gland epithelial cells (HMGECs). METHODS: Immortalized (I) HMGECs were cultured with varying concentrations (1.0%-0.001%) of T4O under proliferating or differentiating conditions up to 5 days. Experimental procedures included analyses of cell appearance, survival, P-Akt signaling, lysosome accumulation, and neutral lipid content. RESULTS: Our findings show that T4O causes a dose- and time-dependent decrease in the cell survival of IHMGECs. After 15 minutes of exposure to 1% T4O, IHMGECs exhibited rounding, atrophy, and poor adherence. Within 90 minutes of such treatment, almost all cells died. Reducing the T4O concentration to 0.1% also led to a marked decrease in P-Akt signaling and cell survival of IHMGECs. Decreasing the T4O amount to 0.01% caused a slight, but significant, reduction in the IHMGEC number after 5 days of culture and did not influence the ability of these cells to differentiate. CONCLUSIONS: T4O, even at levels 10-fold to 100-fold lower than demodicidal concentrations, is toxic to HMGECs in vitro.
PURPOSE: In humans, loss-of-function mutations in the gene encoding Chordin-like 1 (CHRDL1) cause X-linked megalocornea (MGC1), characterized by bilateral corneal enlargement, decreased corneal thickness, and increased anterior chamber depth (ACD). We sought to determine whether Chrdl1 knockout (KO) mice would recapitulate the ocular findings found in patients with MGC1. METHODS: We generated mice with a Chrdl1 KO allele and confirmed that male Chrdl1 hemizygous KO mice do not express Chrdl1 mRNA. We examined the eyes of male mice that were hemizygous for either the wild-type (WT) or KO allele and measured corneal diameter, corneal area, corneal thickness, endothelial cell density, ACD, tear volume, and intraocular pressure. We also harvested retinas and counted retinal ganglion cell numbers. Eye segregation pattern in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus were also compared between male Chrdl1 KO and WT mice. RESULTS: Male Chrdl1 KO mice do not have larger cornea diameters than WT mice. KO mice have significantly thicker central corneas (116.5 ± 3.9 vs. 100.9 ± 4.2 μm, P = 0.013) and smaller ACD (325.7 ± 5.7 vs. 405.6 ± 6.3 μm, P < 0.001) than WT mice, which is the converse of what occurs in patients who lack CHRDL1. Retinal-thalamic projections and other ocular measurements did not significantly differ between KO and WT mice. CONCLUSIONS: Male Chrdl1 KO mice do not have the same anterior chamber abnormalities seen in humans with CHRDL1 mutations. Therefore, Chrdl1 KO mice do not recapitulate the human MGC1 phenotype. Nevertheless, Chrdl1 plays a role during mouse ocular development because corneas in KO mice differ from those in WT mice.
BACKGROUND: A compelling feature of dry eye disease is that it occurs predominantly in women. We hypothesize that this female prevalence is linked to sex-related differences in the meibomian gland (MG). This gland plays a critical role in maintaining the tear film, and its dysfunction is a major cause of dry eye disease. To understand the factors that underlie MG sexual dimorphism and promote dry eye in women, we seek to identify an optimal model for the human MG. Our goal was to determine whether a murine MG is such a model. Toward that end, we examined whether sex differences in MG gene expression are the same in BALB/c mice and humans. METHODS: Eyelid tissues were collected from humans (n = 5-7/sex) and BALB/c mice (n = 9/sex). MGs were isolated and processed for the evaluation of gene expression by using microarrays and bioinformatics software. RESULTS: Our analysis of the 500 most highly expressed genes from human and mouse MGs showed that only 24.4% were the same. Our comparison of 100 genes with the greatest sex-associated differences in human and mouse MGs demonstrated that none were the same. Sex also exerted a significant impact on numerous ontologies, Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathways, and chromosomes, but these effects were primarily species-specific. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that BALB/c mice are not optimal models for understanding sex-related differences in gene expression of the human MG.
Cosmetic products, such as mascara, eye shadow, eyeliner and eye makeup remover are used extensively to highlight the eyes or clean the eyelids, and typically contain preservatives to prevent microbial growth. These preservatives include benzalkonium chloride (BAK) and formaldehyde (FA)-releasing preservatives. We hypothesize that these preservatives, at concentrations (BAK = 1 mg/ml; FA = 0.74 mg/ml) approved for consumer use, are toxic to human ocular surface and adnexal cells. Accordingly, we tested the influence of BAK and FA on the morphology, survival, and proliferation and signaling ability of immortalized human meibomian gland (iHMGECs), corneal (iHCECs) and conjunctival (iHConjECs) epithelial cells. iHMGECs, iHCECs and iHConjECs were cultured with different concentrations of BAK (5 μg/ml to 0.005 μg/ml) or FA (1 mg/ml to 1 μg/ml) under basal, proliferating or differentiating conditions up to 7 days. We used low BAK levels, because we found that 0.5 mg/ml and 50 μg/ml BAK killed iHMGECs within 1 day after a 15 min exposure. Experimental procedures included analyses of cell appearance, cell number, and neutral lipid content (LipidTox), lysosome accumulation (LysoTracker) and AKT signaling in all 3 cell types. Our results demonstrate that BAK and FA cause dose-dependent changes in the morphology, survival, proliferation and AKT signaling of iHMGECs, iHCECs and iHConjECs. Many of the concentrations tested induced cell atrophy, poor adherence, decreased proliferation and death, after 5 days of exposure. Cellular signaling, as indicated by AKT phosphorylation after 15 (FA) or 30 (BAK) minutes of treatment, was also reduced in a dose-dependent fashion in all 3 cell types, irrespective of whether cells had been cultured under proliferating or differentiating conditions. Our results support our hypothesis and demonstrate that the cosmetic preservatives, BAK and FA, exert many toxic effects on cells of the ocular surface and adnexa.
Long-lived memory T-helper 17 (Th17) cells actively mediate the chronic inflammation in autoimmune disorders, including dry eye disease (DED). The mechanisms responsible for the maintenance and reactivation of these cells in autoimmunity have been subject of investigation. However, the process through which memory Th17 are generated from their effector precursors remains to be elucidated. Herein, using our murine model of DED, we detect a linear transition from effector-to-memory Th17 cells during the abatement phase of acute inflammation, which is accompanied by persistently high levels of IL-23 and diminished levels of IL-2. In addition, in vitro culture of effector Th17 cells derived from the DED animals with IL-23, but not IL-2, leads to significant generation of memory Th17 cells, along with upregulated expression levels of IL-7R and IL-15R by these cells. Furthermore, supplementation of IL-2 abolishes and blockade of IL-2 enhances IL-23-induced generation of memory Th17 cells in vitro. Finally, in vivo blockade of IL-23 signaling during the contraction phase of primary response inhibits the generation of memory Th17 cells from their effector precursors. Together, our data demonstrate a new dichotomy between IL-23 and IL-2 in driving effector Th17 cells into the memory pool in autoimmune-mediated ocular surface inflammation.
PURPOSE: A majority of experimental data on dry eye disease (DED) immunopathogenesis have been derived from a murine model of DED that combines desiccating environmental stress with systemic muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (mAChR) inhibition. However, to our knowledge the effects of pharmacologic mAChR blockade on the pathogenesis of experimental DED have not been evaluated systemically. The purpose of our study was to investigate the differential effects of desiccating environmental stress and mAChR inhibition on the pathogenesis of DED. METHODS: DED was induced in female C57BL/6 mice by exposure to a desiccating environment in the controlled-environment chamber or to systemic scopolamine, or by performing extraorbital lacrimal gland excision. Clinical disease was assessed using corneal fluorescein staining (CFS) and the cotton thread test (CTT). Corneal CD11b(+) and conjunctival CD3(+) T-cell infiltration were evaluated by flow cytometry. T-cells from draining cervical lymph nodes (CLN) and distant inguinal lymph nodes (ILN) were analyzed for Th1, Th2, Th17, and Treg responses by flow cytometry and ELISA. RESULTS: Desiccating environmental stress and systemic mAChR blockade induced similar clinical signs of DED. However, desiccating environmental stress imparted higher conjunctival CD3(+) T-cell infiltration, and greater Th17-cell activity and Treg dysfunction than mAChR blockade, while mAChR blockade decreased tear secretion to a greater extent than desiccating environmental stress. Systemic mAChR blockade attenuated Th17 activity and enhanced Th2 and Treg responses without affecting Th1 activity. CONCLUSIONS: In vivo inhibition of mAChRs variably affects CD4(+) T-cell subsets, and desiccating environmental stress and systemic mAChR blockade induce DED through different primary pathogenic mechanisms.
Recent experimental and clinical data suggest that there is a link between dry eye disease (DED) and T-cell-mediated immunity. However, whether these immune responses are a consequence or cause of ocular surface inflammation remains to be determined. Thus far, only models of acute DED have been used to derive experimental data. This is in contrast to clinical DED which usually presents as a chronic disease. In the present study, using a murine model of chronic DED, it was established that the chronic phase of the disease is accompanied by T helper type 17 (Th17) responses at the ocular surface and that a significant memory T-cell population can be recovered from chronic DED. This memory response is predominantly mediated by Th17 cells. Moreover, adoptive transfer of this memory T-cell population was shown to induce more severe and rapidly progressing DED than did the adoptive transfer of its effector or naive counterparts. Not only do these results clearly demonstrate that effector memory Th17 cells are primarily responsible for maintaining the chronic and relapsing course of DED, but they also highlight a potentially novel therapeutic strategy for targeting memory immune responses in patients with DED.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of topical bevacizumab in the treatment of corneal neovascularization. DESIGN: Prospective, nonrandomized, interventional case series. METHODS: setting: Institutional, multicenter clinical trial. study population: Twenty eyes from 20 patients with stable corneal neovascularization. intervention procedures: Patients were treated with topical 1.0% bevacizumab for 3 weeks and were monitored for a total of 24 weeks. main outcome measures: Primary outcome measures included: neovascular area, defined as the area of the corneal vessels themselves; vessel caliber, defined as the mean corneal vessel diameter; and invasion area, defined as the fraction of the total cornea into which the vessels extended. The occurrence of ocular and systemic adverse events was monitored closely. RESULTS: As compared with the baseline visit, patients exhibited a statistically significant improvement in neovascular area by week 6 (P = .007) and in vessel caliber by week 12 (P = .006). At the final visit, neovascular area, vessel caliber, and invasion area were reduced by 47.5%, 36.2%, and 20%, respectively. The decreases in neovascular area and vessel caliber were statistically significant (P < .001 and P = .003, respectively); however, the reduction in invasion area did not reach statistical significance (P = .06). There were no significant changes in the secondary outcomes, and there were no adverse events. CONCLUSIONS: Short-term topical bevacizumab treatment reduced the extent of stable corneal neovascularization as measured by neovascular area and vessel caliber with no associated adverse events. Interestingly, the degree of treatment efficacy was inversely proportional to the baseline invasion area.
UNLABELLED: We present a case of corneal perforation secondary to an intrastromal astigmatic keratotomy performed with an optical coherence tomography-guided femtosecond laser. The keratotomy was concomitant with cataract surgery and resulted in a flat anterior chamber prior to the start of lens extraction. Interrupted nylon sutures were placed to seal the keratotomy prior to phacoemulsification. Escape of cavitation bubbles into the anterior chamber or the liquid interface can alert the surgeon to the possibility of unintended perforation of the endothelium or the epithelium, respectively. FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: Neither author has a financial or proprietary interest in any material or method mentioned.
PURPOSE: Diagnosis of graft rejection is based on patient symptoms and on clinical signs detected by slit-lamp biomicroscopy. This study investigated whether laser in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) can aid in the diagnosis of corneal graft rejection by detecting cellular corneal changes that take place after transplantation. DESIGN: Prospective case-control study. SUBJECTS: Thirty-eight eyes of 38 patients with penetrating keratoplasty (15 eyes with corneal graft rejection, 23 eyes without rejection) and 9 age-matched normal controls. METHODS: Laser IVCM was performed in the corneal grafts centrally. The density of immune cells (IC) was assessed for epithelial, sub-epithelial, stromal, and endothelial layers by 2 masked observers. IC density was compared among different groups and correlated to clinical signs and symptoms of corneal graft rejection. MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: Outcome measurement was the IC density in the corneal layers and its associations with the presence of clinical signs and symptoms of corneal graft rejection. RESULTS: The IC density was significantly different between rejected and non-rejected grafts (P = 0.004) and different from that of normal controls (P = 0.001). Among corneal layers, IC density was significantly higher in rejected grafts than in non-rejected grafts in only the sub-basal (611.54 ± 573.74 vs. 340.61 ± 268.60 cells/mm, respectively; P = 0.049) and endothelial layers (250.62 ± 267.13 vs. 103.47 ± 81.91 cells/mm, respectively; P = 0.001). Patients with decreased best corrected visual acuity, Khodadoust line, and anterior chamber cells demonstrated a significant increase in total IC density (P < 0.05), whereas patients with symptoms of irritation, light sensitivity, and pain revealed a specific increase in IC density in the sub-basal layer (P < 0.05). Patients with ocular pain had higher IC density in the epithelial layer than those without pain (P = 0.03). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with corneal graft rejection demonstrate a significant increase in corneal immune cells, particularly, in the sub-basal and endothelial layers compared to patients with non-rejected grafts and controls. Although symptoms associated with endothelial rejection demonstrate a general increase in IC, pain, irritation, and light sensitivity are associated with increased IC in the sub-basal layer. Assessment of patients with corneal graft rejection by IVCM may serve as an adjunctive tool in the diagnosis and management of corneal graft rejection.
AIMS: To evaluate the impact of herpes simplex virus (HSV)-induced scar location on bilateral corneal nerve alterations using laser in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM). METHODS: Central and peripheral corneal subbasal nerve density (CSND) were assessed bilaterally in 39 patients with unilateral HSV-induced corneal scars (21 central scars (CS), 18 peripheral scars (PS)) using IVCM. Results were compared between patients and 24 age-matched controls. CSND was correlated to corneal sensation for all locations. RESULTS: Overall patients revealed significant decrease of CSND in the central and peripheral cornea (9.13±0.98 and 6.26±0.53 mm/mm2, p<0.001), compared with controls (22.60±0.77 and 9.88±0.49 mm/mm2). CS group showed a decrease in central (8.09±1.30 mm/mm2) and total peripheral nerves (5.15±0.62 mm/mm2) of the affected eyes, whereas PS group demonstrated a decrease in central (10.34±1.48 mm/mm2) and localised peripheral nerves only in the scar area (4.22±0.77 mm/mm2) (all p<0.001). In contralateral eyes, CSND decreased in the central cornea of the CS group (16.88±1.27, p=0.004), and in the peripheral area, mirroring the scar area in the affected eyes of the PS group (7.20±0.87, p=0.032). Corneal sensation significantly decreased in the whole cornea of the affected, but not in contralateral eyes (p<0.001). A positive correlation between CSND and corneal sensation was found in all locations (p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with HSV scar demonstrate bilateral CSND decrease as shown by IVCM. CSND and corneal sensation decrease in both central and peripheral cornea in affected eyes, although only in the scar area in PS group. Interestingly, diminishment of CSND was found locally in the contralateral eyes, corresponding and mirroring the scar location in the affected eyes.
Herpes simplex keratitis, caused primarily by human herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), remains the most common infectious cause of unilateral blindness and vision impairment in the industrialized world. Major advances in the care of HSV keratitis have been driven in large part by the landmark Herpetic Eye Disease Study randomized clinical trials, which were among the first in ophthalmology to reflect emerging trial conventions, including multicenter subject enrollment, double-masking, placebo controls, and a priori sample size determinations. The results of these trials now form much of the evidence basis for the management of this disease. However, management patterns in clinical practice often deviate from evidence-based care. These perceived quality gaps have given rise to the evolving field of implementation science, which is concerned with the methods of promoting the application of evidence-based medicine within routine care. To overcome variations in the quality and consistency of care for HSV keratitis, a range of clinical- and technology-based innovations are proposed. The most pressing needs include the following: a rational and tractable disease classification scheme that provides an immediate link between the anatomical localization of disease (corneal epithelial, stromal, or endothelial) and the appropriate treatment, and the actualization of an electronic medical record system capable of providing evidence-based treatment algorithms at relevant points of care. The latter would also input data to population-wide disease registries to identify implementation-rich targets for quality improvement, education, and research. These innovations may allow us to reduce the human and economic burdens of this highly morbid, and often blinding, disease.
Although corneal allotransplantation is performed in the immune-privileged cornea, many grafts are still rejected after transplantation. This study examined the role of chemokine receptor D6 expression in a corneal allograft rejection, investigated the modulation of D6 expression in cells, and determined the effect of D6 on graft survival. Interestingly, D6 was highly expressed in CD45 -: cells and the corneal epithelium of accepted corneal allografts. From the mouse corneal allograft model, TGF-β was found to play a key role in D6 up-regulation, leading to reduced CCL2, CCL5, and CCL3. To modulate D6 chemokine binding, a D6MT was developed and showed effective chemokine trapping through SPR and FACS assays. By treating corneal allografts with D6MT, the allograft survival rate was improved, and (lymph) angiogenesis was reduced. Direct allosensitization and DC LN homing was drastically reduced in the mouse corneal allograft model. These findings suggest that TGF-β is a positive regulator of D6 expression, and it is a potential therapeutic target to enhance the survival of corneal allografts.
Importance: Results of several small randomized clinical trials have suggested that supplements of marine ω-3 fatty acids may be beneficial in treating signs and symptoms of dry eye disease (DED). However, randomized clinical trial data to examine whether ω-3 fatty acid supplements can prevent DED are lacking. Objective: To evaluate whether long-term daily supplementation with marine ω-3 fatty acids prevents the development of DED. Design, Setting, and Participants: This was a prespecified ancillary study of the Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial (VITAL), a nationwide randomized double-blind placebo-controlled 2 × 2 factorial trial of vitamin D and marine ω-3 fatty acids in the primary prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Participants in this ancillary study were 23 523 US adults (men 50 years and older and women 55 years and older) who at study entry were free of a previous diagnosis of DED and were not experiencing severe dry eye symptoms. Participants were enrolled from November 2011 to March 2014, and treatment and follow-up ended on December 31, 2017. Data were analyzed from January 2020 to August 2021. Interventions: Marine ω-3 fatty acids, 1 g per day. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary end point was incident clinically diagnosed DED confirmed by review of the medical records. The secondary end point was a composite of all confirmed incident clinically diagnosed DED cases plus all incident reports of severe DED symptoms. Results: The mean (SD) age of the 23 523 participants included in the analysis was 67.0 (7.0) years, and 11 349 participants (48.3%) were women. The cohort included 4610 participants (20.0%) who self-identified as Black, 16 481 (71.6%) who self-identified as non-Hispanic White, and 1927 (8.4%) of other racial or ethnic groups or who declined to respond, consolidated owing to small numbers, including American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Hispanic or Latino, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. During a median (range) 5.3 (3.8-6.1) years of treatment and follow-up, 472 of 23 523 participants (2.0%) experienced a medical record-confirmed diagnosis of DED. There was no difference in diagnosed DED by randomized ω-3 fatty acid assignment (232 of 11 757 participants [2.0%] with end points in the treated group vs 240 of 11 766 [2.0%] with end points in the placebo group; hazard ratio, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.81-1.16). Similarly, there was no difference between groups for the secondary end point of diagnosed DED plus incident severe DED symptoms (1044 participants [8.9%] with end points in the treated group vs 1074 [9.1%] with end points in the placebo group; hazard ratio, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.89-1.06). Conclusions and Relevance: In this randomized clinical trial, long-term supplementation with 1 g per day of marine ω-3 fatty acids for a median (range) of 5.3 (3.8-6.1) years did not reduce the incidence of diagnosed DED or a combined end point of diagnosed DED or incident severe DED symptoms. These results do not support recommending marine ω-3 fatty acid supplementation to reduce the incidence of DED. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01880463.
OBJECTIVE: To report the retention rate of the Boston keratoprosthesis type 1 and to identify risk factors for keratoprosthesis loss. DESIGN: Cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 300 eyes of 300 patients who underwent implantation of the Boston keratoprosthesis type I device between January 2003 and July 2008 by 19 surgeons at 18 medical centers. METHODS: Forms reporting preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative parameters were prospectively collected and subsequently analyzed at a central data collection site. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Keratoprosthesis retention. RESULTS: A total cumulative number of 422 life-years of device implantation are included in this analysis. The average duration of follow-up was 17.1 ± 14.8 months, with a range of 1 week to >6.1 years. Ninety-three percent of the 300 Boston keratoprosthesis implants were retained at their last follow-up, corresponding to a retention time of 396 patient-years or 1.42 years/keratoprosthesis. The probability of retention after 1 year and 2 years was 94% and 89%, respectively. During the study period, 21 (7%) eyes failed to retain the device; the reasons for keratoprosthesis loss include sterile keratolysis (9), fungal infections (8), dense retroprosthetic membranes (3), and bacterial endophthalmitis (1). Multivariate analysis demonstrated 3 independent risk factors for keratoprosthesis loss: autoimmune cause (hazard ratio [HR], 11.94; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.31-43.11), ocular surface exposure requiring a concomitant tarsorrhaphy (HR, 3.43; 95% CI, 1.05-11.22), and number of prior failed penetrating keratoplasties (HR, 1.64; 95% CI, 1.18-2.28). CONCLUSIONS: The Boston keratoprosthesis type 1 seems to be a viable option for eyes that are not candidates for penetrating keratoplasty (PK). Ocular surface disease due to an autoimmune cause demonstrated the lowest retention rate. FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE(S): The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.
The functional competence of corneal endothelial cells (CEnCs) is critical for survival of corneal allografts, but these cells are often targets of the immune response mediated by graft-attacking effector T cells. Although regulatory T cells (Tregs) have been studied for their role in regulating the host's alloimmune response towards the graft, the cytoprotective function of these cells on CEnCs has not been investigated. The aim of this study was to determine whether Tregs suppress effector T cell-mediated and inflammatory cytokine-induced CEnC death, and to elucidate the mechanism by which this cytoprotection occurs. Using 2 well-established models of corneal transplantation (low-risk and high-risk models), we show that Tregs derived from low-risk graft recipients have a superior capacity in protecting CEnCs against effector T cell-mediated and interferon-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α-induced cell death compared to Tregs derived from high-risk hosts. We further demonstrate that the cytoprotective function of Tregs derived from low-risk hosts occurs independently of direct cell-cell contact and is mediated by the immunoregulatory cytokine IL-10. Our study is the first to report that Tregs provide cytoprotection for CEnCs through secretion of IL-10, indicating potentially novel therapeutic targets for enhancing CEnC survival following corneal transplantation.
PURPOSE: Pilot study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of oral guaifenesin in reducing the signs and symptoms of filamentary keratitis. METHODS: Prospective, uncontrolled open-label pilot study. Twelve patients with non-Sjögren dry eye disease (DED) and secondary filamentary keratitis received treatment with oral guaifenesin 600 mg twice a day (total dose of 1.2 g/day) for 4 weeks. Adverse events, change in the number of corneal filaments, corneal fluorescein staining (CFS; NEI grading system), and symptoms (Ocular Surface Disease Index) were assessed. RESULTS: Before starting oral guaifenesin, all patients were on topical medical therapy for their condition. At baseline, the mean number of filaments was 5.8 ± 2.9, CFS score 7.3 ± 3.2, and OSDI score 55.6 ± 25. After 4 weeks of treatment, the number of filaments was 2.1 ± 2.2 (p = 0.04 vs. baseline), CFS score 6.5 ± 3.1 (p = 0.5), and OSDI score 46.1 ± 30.9 (p = 0.2). One patient discontinued the medication due to gastrointestinal side effects. CONCLUSIONS: Oral guaifenesin was safe and generally well tolerated, and demonstrated modest efficacy in reducing the severity of filamentary keratitis. These results should be considered preliminary; however, placebo-controlled investigations would be justified to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of oral guaifenesin as a mucolytic in treatment of filamentary keratitis.