International ophthalmology vol:14 issue:4 pages:233-9
The corneal buttons obtained from 4 patients with active epithelial and stromal herpetic keratitis were studied with routine microscopy and immunohistochemistry. We used an immunoperoxidase technique with monoclonal antibodies directed against Langerhans cells, lymphocyte subsets, MHC products and immunoglobulins A, G, M and D. The epithelium and stroma contained an inflammatory infiltrate composed of polymorpho-nuclear leukocytes, dendritic cells, B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes (helper/inducer and suppressor/cytotoxic subsets). The epithelial cells of all the corneal buttons expressed MHC class II antigens. IgM was bound to the membrane of the epithelial cells in 3 specimens. HSV antigenic material was localized in the epithelial cells and in the stromal keratocytes by a direct immunofluorescence technique. Our data suggest that cell-mediated as well as antibody-mediated immune responses are involved, with a possible role for an autoimmune mechanism in the pathogenesis of this condition.