Crosslinking and corneal cryotherapy in acanthamoeba keratitis -- a histological study.

Research paper by Tobias T Hager, A A Hasenfus, T T Stachon, B B Seitz, N N Szentmáry

Indexed on: 21 Oct '15Published on: 21 Oct '15Published in: Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology


Acanthamoeba keratitis is rare, but difficult to treat. Penetrating keratoplasty is performed in therapy-resistant cases. Nevertheless, subsequent recurrences occur in 40 % of the cases. In addition to triple-topical therapy (polyhexamid, propamidinisoethionat, neomycin), treatment alternatives are corneal cryotherapy and/or crosslinking (CXL). The aim of our present histological study was to analyze the persistence of acanthamoebatrophozoites and cysts, the persistence of bacteria, and activation of keratocytes in corneas of acanthamoeba keratitis patients following corneal cryotherapy and/or CXL.We analyzed histologically corneal buttons (from penetrating keratoplasties) of nine patients with acanthamoeba keratitis, following corneal cryotherapy (two patients) or a combination of crosslinking and corneal cryotherapy (seven patients), using haematoxilin–eosin, periodic acid Schiff (PAS), Gram and alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA) stainings.Acanthamoeba trophozoites persisted in three corneas after cryotherapy and CXL. Cysts persisted in one of two corneas following corneal cryotherapy and in six of seven corneas after a combination of CXL and cryotherapy. One cornea showed positive Gram staining, but there were no alpha-SMA positive keratocytes in any of the corneas.Crosslinking and corneal cryotherapy have only limited impact on killing of acanthamoeba trophozoites, cysts, or bacteria. Corneal cryotherapy and CXL did not stimulate myofibroblastic transformation of keratocytes.