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The Conjunctiva-Associated Lymphoid Tissue in Chronic Ocular Surface Diseases

By Rodolfo Mastropasqua, Luca Agnifili, Vincenzo Fasanella, Mario Nubile, Agbeanda A. Gnama, Gennaro Falconio, Paolo Perri, Silvio Di Staso and Cesare Mariotti

Abstract

Ocular surface diseases (OSDs) represent a widely investigated field of research given their growing incidence and the negative impact on quality of life. During OSDs, cytokines generated by damaged epithelia trigger and deregulate the lymphoid cells composing the eye-associated lymphoid tissues, inducing an immune-mediated chronic inflammation that amplifies and propagates the disease during time. The conjunctiva-associated lymphoid tissue (CALT), given its particular position that permits immune cells covering the cornea, might play a crucial role in the development of OSDs. Despite the recognized inflammatory role of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissues in other stations taking contact with the external environment (gut or bronchus), CALT did not gain the deserved consideration. In the last years, the diffusion of the in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) stimulated the interest to CALT, especially in dry eye, ocular allergy, and glaucoma. Though the initial stimuli were different, IVCM documented similar changes, represented by increased lymphoid cells within the diffuse layer, follicles and interfollicular spaces. These findings, which need to be validated by immunohistology, support the CALT stimulation during OSDs. However, while an involvement of the CALT in OSDs is hypothesizable, the exact role of this structure in their pathogenesis remains unclear and warrants further investigations

Topics: conjunctiva-associated lymphoid tissue, glaucoma therapy dry eye disease, in vivo confocal microscopy, ocular allergy, ocular surface disease, Instrumentation
Year: 2017
DOI identifier: 10.1017/S1431927617000538
OAI identifier: oai:iris.unife.it:11392/2373930
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