Circulating cornea-specific antibodies in corneal disease and cornea transplantation

Research paper by Martine J. Jager, Albert Vos, Suzan Pasmans, Rick Hoekzema, Lidy Broersma, Ruth van der Gaag

Indexed on: 01 Feb '94Published on: 01 Feb '94Published in: Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology


In order to establish the significance of circulating corneaspecific antibodies, we determined the presence of anti-corneal antibodies in the serum of 100 patients with corneal disease and in 50 healthy controls, and subsequently followed the pattern of antibody reactivity in 46 patients who underwent corneal transplantation. An indirect immunofluorescence test on cryostat sections of rabbit corneas was used for screening. The reactivity against two known bovine corneal epithelial proteins was also tested: a 54-kD protein (BCP 54) and an 11-kD protein (BCP 11/24). No significant difference in the presence and specificity of anti-corneal antibodies was observed between the group of patients with corneal disease, taken as a whole, and the healthy controls. Patients with keratoconus or non-immunological graft failure, however, were significantly more often positive for anti-corneal antibodies. Neither the presence of antibodies prior to corneal transplantation nor their appearance post-transplantation had a predictive value for corneal graft survival.