Genetics of ocular allergy
Recently, collecting and optimally processing sufficient RNA from conjunctival surface cells allowed Dr Leonardi’s group to perform a successful transcriptome-wide expression analysis. Factors involved in both innate and adaptive arms of the immune system, including several Toll-like receptors and other pattern-recognition receptors, were found to be overexpressed in VKC samples.11
In addition, they highlighted the increased expression of multiple chemotactic factors for eosinophils and T cells and multiple co-stimulatory signals required for T-cell activation and survival, confirming that VKC is mostly a cell-mediated pathology.
Larger studies including different types and severities of ocular allergy should reveal significant gene expression trends that can be targeted to improve the treatments available for ocular allergy.
Understanding of the role of these different possible mechanisms involved in ocular allergy will open new therapeutic scenarios leading, for example, to the use of specific topical inducers or inhibitors of key proteins in order to prevent the induction of allergic inflammation on the ocular surface and prevent potential severe complications.