Allergic airway hyperreactivity increases the risk for corneal allograft rejection

J. Y. Niederkorn, P. W. Chen, J. Mellon, C. Stevens, E. Mayhew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Corneal allografts transplanted into hosts with allergic conjunctivitis experience an increased incidence and swifter tempo of immune rejection compared to corneal allografts transplanted to nonallergic hosts. Previous findings suggested that increased risk for rejection was not a local effect produced by an inflamed eye, but was due to perturbation of the systemic immune responses to alloantigens on the corneal allograft. We tested the hypothesis that another allergic disease, airway hyperreactivity (AHR), would also increase the risk for corneal allograft rejection. Induction of AHR with either ovalbumin (OVA) or short ragweed (SRW) extract prior to keratoplasty resulted in a steep increase in the speed and incidence of corneal allograft rejection. Delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) responses to corneal alloantigens were closely associated with corneal allograft rejection. However, the deleterious effect of AHR on corneal allograft survival was not reflected in a heightened magnitude of allospecific DTH, cytotoxic T lymphocyte and lymphoproliferative responses to the alloantigens on the corneal allograft. Unlike Th2-based immediate hypersensitivity, CD8 + T-cell-based contact hypersensitivity to oxazolone did not increase the risk for corneal allograft rejection. Thus, Th2-based allergic diseases significantly reduce the immune privilege of the corneal allograft and represent important risk factors for consideration in the atopic patient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1017-1026
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009


  • AHR
  • Allergy
  • Atopy
  • Corneal allografts
  • DTH
  • Rejection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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