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Studies on vascularization of the cornea. I Sensitization of the cornea of rabbits to bacteria. II. Sensitization of the cornea of rabbits to proteins. III. Sensitization of the cornea of monkeys. IV. The question of passive corneal hypersensitiveness

Studies on vascularization of the cornea. I Sensitization of the cornea of rabbits to bacteria. II. Sensitization of the cornea of rabbits to proteins. III. Sensitization of the cornea of monkeys. IV. The question of passive corneal hypersensitiveness

Jour Immunol 26(4): 267-280, 281-294, 295-302, 303-312

I. The exps. were predicated on the concept that pannus formation in trachoma may be in response to a specific bacterial hypersensitiveness. Several bacteria were studied in this connection, and observations made on the occurrence of corneal hypersensitiveness after repeated administration, by different routes, of heat-killed or living organisms. The data indicated that, of the bacteria utilized, Staphylococcus aureus possesses the most effective sensitizing antigen, and that the most consistent corneal reactivity is obtainable by direct sensitization of the scarified cornea. However, unless sufficient corneal trauma accompanies instillation of bacteria into the conjunctival sac, corneal hvpersensitivity apparently does not occur. It was shown, then, that the cornea of rabbits may be so sensitized as to develop marked clouding and vascularization. While it is not clear that the pannus of trachoma is related to corneal vascularization as here observed, in the beginning stage, these changes resemble so-called pannus tenuis of trachoma, and later are suggestive of pannus crassus. By repeated periodic scarification and instillation of bacteria, pannus may be maintained indefinitely. With cessation of instillations, the corneal changes undergo absorption, so that within wks. or mos. the vascularity is no longer visible under examination by hand-slit lamp. Using micropathoiogical methods, however, it was seen that the blood vessels never actually disappear.[long dash]II. It is shown that corneal clouding and vascularization may be stimulated entirely by a state of hypersensitiveness. Thus, the reactivity of the cornea of normal rabbits to proteins may be increased by repeated periodic inoculations of the protein, either intracutan. or intracorneally. Corneal reactivity follows most consistently the repeated intracorneal injections of protein. While the cornea receiving inoculations always acquires an exquisite reactivity, the cornea of the uninoculated eye may remain non-reactive. Skin reactivity to protein may be absent also, depending on the route of inoculation, so that no relationship is manifested between the sensitivity of either cornea, of the skin or the presence of circulating antibodies. Bacterial proteins (Staphylococcus and Bacterium granulosis) and native proteins (egg-albumin) are equally effective in inducing corneal reaction.[long dash]III. Response of the cornea of monkeys to repeated inoculations (scarification of cornea followed by instillation of conjunctival sac) of Staph. aureus was essentially a clouding and vascularization. Reactivity appeared to be local, since neither the cornea of the non-inoculated eye nor the skin acquired demonstrable increased activity; furthermore, no antibodies were detectable in the sera. Monkeys inoculated repeatedly in one eye with Bact. granulosis apparently did not acquire corneal reactivity, though they received 20 inoculations. This is comparable with previous results in rabbits. It is obvious, then, that conditions promoting corneal vascularization by Staph. aureus, are inadequate and ineffective for Bact. granulosis.[long dash]IV. A study was made, in rabbits, of the passive inducibility of the hypersensitive corneal reaction typified by clouding and vascularization, 3 methods being employed: (a) intravenous or local injection of specific precipitating serum followed later by injection of antigen (albumin), (b) combination of antiserum and antigen, (c) antigen and later antiserum[long dash]reversal of the method of passive anaphylaxis. By all 3 methods it was possible, in certain instances, to cause skin reactivity. Passive establishment of corneal reactivity was unsatisfactory. While the majority of the tests were negative, some were of the irritative variety, rather than typical of hypersensitive corneal reactions. It is not clear, therefore, whether the evidence indicates that corneal reactivity may be passively induced.

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