98th Annual Meeting DOG 2000

P 236

Eosinophil granule major basic protein deposition in corneal ulcers associated with atopic keratoconjunctivitis

E. M. Messmer1, C. A. May2, F. H. Stefani1, A. Kampik1

Purpose: To demonstrate the deposition of eosinophil granule major basic protein as a possible pathogenetic factor involved in corneal ulceration in atopic keratoconjunctivitis.

Methods: Three corneal buttons obtained during perforating keratoplasty for corneal ulceration and scarring associated with atopic keratoconjunctivitis were examined by light microscopy and indirect immunofluorescence using antibodies against "eosinophil major basic protein" (Harlan Sera-Lab). Three eosinophilic granulomas were used as positive controls. Negative controls consisted of three normal corneal buttons.

Results: Light microscopy revealed a band of eosinophil, granular substance subepithelially above Bowman’s membrane in all three corneal specimens associated with atopic keratoconjunctivitis. This finding was not limited to the area of ulceration. Multiple eosinophils were present in the upper corneal stroma. Indirect immunofluorescence detected the deposition of eosinophil granule major basic protein extracellularly below the epithelium in these specimens. Positive controls showed specific staining of single cells identified as eosinophils. Negative controls only revealed minimal nonspecific staining at the surface of the epithelium.

Discussion: Eosinophil granule major basic protein is known to inhibit epithelial migration and protein synthesis. It may be responsible for persistent corneal epithelial defects and corneal ulcerations in patients with atopic keratoconjunctivitis.

1Department of Ophthalmology, Ludwig Maximilians University, Mathildenstr. 8, D – 80336 Munich, Germany
Institute of Anatomy II, Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuernberg, Universitätsstr. 19, D – 91054 Erlangen, Germany