Parenteral administration of the purine antimetabolite azathioprine has been shown to be capable of suppressing experimental corneal graft reactions.1,2 However, the potential toxicity of this agent has thus far prevented its routine use in healthy human subjects with scarred, vascularized corneas, who require penetrating keratoplasty for visual restoration.
Thus, our recent investigations have focused on methods of circumventing the toxic side effects associated with systemic azathioprine therapy while making use of its immunosuppressive properties. An earlier paper of this series reported the success of a combined therapeutic regimen in achieving this purpose. This regimen consisted of the initial use of parenteral azathioprine for ten days; thereafter, immunosuppression was maintained by topical corticosteriods.3
This report deals with another attempt to avoid the toxicity associated with systemic azathioprine administration. In these experiments, topical azathioprine was used in two concentrations in a fat-soluble as well as in a water-soluble ointment base.
ELLIOTT JH, LEIBOWITZ HM. Chemotherapeutic Immunosuppression of the Corneal Graft Reaction: III. Topical Azathioprine. Arch Ophthalmol. 1966;76(5):709–711. doi:10.1001/archopht.1966.03850010711016
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