Post-operative recurrent trachomatous trichiasis is associated with increased conjunctival expression of S100A7 (psoriasin)

Burton MJ, Rajak SN, Ramadhani A, Weiss HA, Habtamu E, Abera B, Emerson PM, Khaw PT, Mabey DC, Holland MJ, Bailey RL
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BACKGROUND: Surgery for trachomatous trichiasis (TT) is a key component of the SAFE Strategy for trachoma control. Unfortunately, recurrent TT following surgery is common, probably due to various surgical and disease factors. To develop strategies to reduce recurrence rates it is necessary to understand its pathological basis. In this study we investigated the relationship between recurrent trichiasis and the expression of various cytokines and fibrogenic genes during a two-year follow-up period.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Individuals undergoing surgery for TT were examined at baseline (pre-operative), 6, 12, 18 and 24 months. Conjunctival swab samples were collected from the tarsal conjunctiva for RNA isolation on each occasion. Individuals who developed recurrent TT with at least 3 lashes touching the eye on one or more occasion were designated "cases" and an equal number of "controls" were randomly selected from those without recurrent TT, frequency matched for age and baseline TT severity. The expression of the following genes was measured by quantitative RT-PCR: S100A7, IL1B, CXCL5, TNFA, NOS2A, CTGF, MMP7, MMP9 and MMP12. Thirteen hundred individuals were enrolled and underwent surgery. By two years 122 had developed recurrent TT with at least 3 lashes touching the eye. Recurrent TT was consistently associated across multiple time points with about a 2-fold increase in S100A7 expression (pā€Š=ā€Š0.008). Clinically visible conjunctival inflammation was associated with increased S100A7, IL1B, CXCL5, MMP9 and MMP12 expression.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:  Increased S100A7 expression was associated with trachomatous conjunctival scarring and may be linked to the pathophysiology of recurrent TT. S100A7 expression could be a potential biomarker for this disease process. As part of the epithelial innate immune response S100A7 has multiple actions, potentially contributing to a chronic pro-inflammatory response, which may lead to ongoing tissue damage and increased scarring.