Meibomian Gland Dysfunction: A Route of Ocular Graft-Versus-Host Disease Progression That Drives a Vicious Cycle of Ocular Surface Inflammatory Damage.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

PURPOSE: To investigate the role of aggressive meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) in the immune pathogenesis of ocular graft-vs-host disease (GVHD). METHODS: In mice, an allogeneic GVHD model was established by transferring bone marrow (BM) and purified splenic T cells from C57BL/6J mice into irradiated C3-SW.H2b mice (BM+T). Control groups received BM only. Mice were scored clinically across the post-transplantation period. MGD severity was categorized using the degree of atrophy on harvested lids. Immune disease was analyzed using flow cytometry of tissues along with fluorescent tracking of BM cells onto the ocular surface. In humans, parameters from 57 patients with ocular GVHD presenting to the Duke Eye Center were retrospectively reviewed. MGD was categorized using the degree of atrophy on meibographs. Immune analysis was done using high-parameter flow cytometry on tear samples. RESULTS: Compared with BM only, BM+T mice had higher systemic disease scores that correlated with tear fluid loss and eyelid edema. BM+T had higher immune cell infiltration in the ocular tissues and higher CD4+-cell cytokine expression in draining lymph nodes. BM+T mice with worse MGD scores had significantly worse corneal staining. In patients with ocular GVHD, 96% had other organs affected. Patients with ocular GVHD had abnormal parameters on dry eye testing, high matrix metalloproteinase-9 positivity (92%), and abundance of immune cells in tear samples. Ocular surface disease signs were worse in patients with higher MGD severity scores. CONCLUSIONS: Ocular GVHD is driven by a systemic, T-cell-dependent process that causes meibomian gland damage and induces a robust form of ocular surface disease that correlates with MGD severity. NOTE: Publication of this article is sponsored by the American Ophthalmological Society.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Perez, VL; Mousa, HM; Soifer, M; Beatty, C; Sarantopoulos, S; Saban, DR; Levy, RB

Published Date

  • March 2023

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 247 /

Start / End Page

  • 42 - 60

PubMed ID

  • 36162534

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-1891

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.ajo.2022.09.009


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States