Originally published in Contact Lens Today.
The purpose of this work was to identify potential tear-film based proteins expressed in keratoconus.
Recruited subjects were normal GP contact lens wearers, keratoconus subjects wearing GP contact lenses, and keratoconus subjects without contact lenses. Subjects wearing soft lenses or having previous ocular surgeries were excluded from participating. Approximately 5 microliters of tears were sampled from both eyes of each subject using glass microcapillaries. Additional testing included a brief history, visual acuity, slit lamp examination, and topography. Proteomic analyses used to compare samples included Bradford assays, cytokine arrays, SDS-PAGE, and mass spectrometry.
Forty-four subjects were enrolled in the study including 20 normals (GP wearers-controls), 18 with keratoconus and wearing GPs, and six with keratoconus (non-lens wearers). Across all proteomic approaches, several proteins were identified as possibly being unique to keratoconus. Increased expression of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) was found in keratoconus subjects with and without GP contact lenses (p=0.02). Unique proteins more associated with keratoconus included several keratins, immunoglobulins alpha and kappa, precursors to prolactin, lysozyme C, and lipocalin.
Initial analyses indicate that keratoconus may be associated with the differential expression of several proteins. Further testing is needed to determine any causal relationship or correlation with the etiology of this condition.
Pannebaker C, Chandler HL, Nichols JJ. Tear proteomics in keratoconus. Mol Vis. 2010;16:1949-57