Ocular surface injuries in autoimmune dry eye. The severity of microscopical disturbances goes parallel with the severity of sym
Posted Dec 20 2009 11:15pm
Autoimmune dry eye (Sjögren's syndrome, SS) is a chronic systemic disease characterized by salivary and lacrimal gland inflammation and tissue damage leading to keratoconjunctivitis sicca and xerostomia. In this review attention has been devoted to the cause of the development of oxidative injuries of the ocular surface of patients suffering from SS. It was shown that lacrimal glands and diseased conjunctival epithelium reveal increased expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines which are released into the tear fluid.
A high amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines highly induce the elevated expression and activity of enzymatic systems that generate reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. An abundant amount of these toxic products leads to a decrease in antioxidants and to the formation of cytotoxic related oxidants, such as peroxynitrite.
All these factors, together with reactive oxygen species from polymorphonuclear leukocytes, contribute to the development of oxidative injuries at the ocular surface. From the clinical point of view it is important that the level of severity of the above described microscopical disturbances found in conjunctival epithelial cells goes parallel with the level of severity of dry eye symptoms.