Elevated levels of substance P in tears of patients with allergic conjunctivitis and vernal keratoconjunctivitis

H. Fujishima, M. Takeyama, T. Takeuchi, I. Saito, K. Tsubota

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72 Citations (Scopus)


Background - Recent studies have suggested that the nervous system may participate in inflammatory processes. Substance P (SP) acts as a chemical mediator as well as a neurotransmitter. Objective - In order to clarify the pathogenesis of ocular allergic diseases, we assessed the concentration of SP in tears. Methods - Using a highly sensitive and specific double-antibody enzyme immunoassay (EIA), we determined the SP concentration in tears of 10 patients with seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, 10 with atopic dermatitis without keratoconjunctivitis (AD), 13 with vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC) and 65 normal controls. Giemsa's staining for brush cytology samples and histocytological study by immunocytochemical staining of giant papillary conjunctival cells from VKC and normal controls was conducted. Results - The mean SP level was low in the normal controls anti AD, whereas patients with seasonal allergic conjunctivitis and VKC showed significant elevation of SP (P < 0.01). Brush cytology samples showed conjunctival epithelial cells with lymphocytes, neutrophils and eosinophils that were not seen in normal subjects. Histocytological examination demonstrated SP positive cells in the conjunctiva of patients with VKC, but not in normal controls. Conclusion - This study suggests that the increased level of SP in tears may contribute to the pathogenesis and severity of ocular allergic diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-378
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Experimental Allergy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Enzyme immunoassay
  • Ocular allergic disease
  • Substance P
  • Tears

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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