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Jpn J Ophthalmol. 2006 May-Jun;50(3):195-204.

Antibody array-generated cytokine profiles of tears of patients with vernal keratoconjunctivitis or giant papillary conjunctivitis.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Nihon University School of Medicine, Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan.



To investigate differences in the cytokine and chemokine profiles of patients with vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC) or giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC).


The study included six patients (six eyes) with VKC, five patients (five eyes) with GPC, and five healthy volunteers (five eyes) as controls. None of the patients had received any anti-allergic treatment prior to this study. One patient with VKC was given a tear examination to evaluate the effect of anti-inflammatory treatment with a steroid on the tear cytokine profile about the treatment. Tear samples were collected with the Schirmer I method, using filter paper. Tear samples were eluted and analyzed by an antibody array system for inflammation-related factors, including cytokines and chemokines.


In the patients with VKC, four inflammation-related factors, eotaxin, interleukin (IL)-11, monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1, and macrophage-colony stimulating factor (M-CSF) increased to four times the values in the control group, and seven inflammation-related factors, eotaxin-2, IL-4, IL-6, interleukin-6 soluble receptor (IL-6sR), IL-7, macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1delta, and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP)-2, increased to eight times the control values. In the patients with GPC, three inflammation-related factors, IL-6, M-CSF, and monokine-induced gamma interferon (MIG), increased to four times those in the control group, and five inflammation-related factors, eotaxin-2, IL-6sR, IL-11, MIP-1delta, and TIMP-2, increased to eight times the control values. The increase in IL-6sR relative to the controls was statistically significant in both the VKC and GPC groups. The increase in eotaxin-2 was significant only in the VKC group, and that in TIMP-2 was significant only in the GPC group, compared with the controls.


The present study demonstrated the presence of crucial cytokines, soluble cytokine receptors, and chemokines in tears of patients with VKC and GPC. In particular, IL-6sR increased significantly in both the VKC and GPC groups, whereas eotaxin-2 increased significantly only in the VKC group. Thus, IL-6sR may play an important pathophysiological role in giant papillary proliferation in VKC and GPC, and eotaxin-2 may play an important role in eosinophilic inflammation in VKC.

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