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October 1988

Experimental Interstitial Keratitis Induced by Onchocerca volvulus Antigens

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Geographic Medicine, Department of Medicine (Drs Gallin and Greene and Mr Murray), and the Division of Ophthalmology, Department of Surgery (Drs Lass and Grossniklaus), Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals of Cleveland.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1988;106(10):1447-1452. doi:10.1001/archopht.1988.01060140611033

• To elucidate the pathogenic mechanisms involved in onchocercal sclerosing keratitis in humans, we developed a model of onchocercal interstitial keratitis in guinea pigs. Onchocerca volvulus antigens injected intrastromally into corneas of preimmunized Hartley guinea pigs induced an intense stromal keratitis with corneal edema, neovascularization, and infiltration with acute and chronic inflammatory cells. This reaction subsided after two weeks. Repeated intrastromal injection resulted in an exacerbation of the keratitis and ultimately in residual scarring. These findings are consistent clinically and histopathologically with the chronic interstitial keratitis observed in humans. To define which antigens induce the corneal reaction, O volvulus antigens were separated by molecular sieve chromatography and injected intrastromally. The highest activity was shown to reside in the fraction containing molecules of intermediate molecular weight. This model will be useful in defining O volvulus antigens and their role in sclerosing keratitis as well as in elucidating the immune mechanisms involved.

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