Systemic immune response to Acanthamoeba keratitis in the Chinese hamster

F. Van Klink, H. Leher, M. J. Jager, H. Alizadeh, W. Taylor, J. Y. Niederkorn

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41 Scopus citations


Recrudescence is a common and troubling feature of Acanthamoeba keratitis and suggests that corneal infection with this organism fails to stimulate the systemic immune apparatus. The present study examined the cell-mediated and humoral immune responses to Acanthamoeba keratitis in the Chinese hamster. Corneal infection with A. castellanii failed to induce either delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) or serum IgG antibody against parasite antigens. The failure to induce cell-mediated and humoral immunity did not result in anergy or tolerance since subsequent intramuscular (IM) immunization with parasite antigens elicited robust DTH and IgG antibody responses. The inability of corneal infections to induce primary cell-mediated immune responses was due to the absence of resident antigen-presenting cells in the central cornea because induction of Langerhans cell (LC) migration into the central cornea prior to infection with Acanthamoeba promoted the development of parasite-specific DTH. Although the presence of resident LC did not promote the development of a primary humoral immune response, subsequent IM immunization elicited heightened parasite-specific IgG antibody production which was indicative of an anamnestic response. Collectively, the results indicate that in the absence of resident antigen-presenting cells, corneal infection with Acanthamoeba fails to stimulate primary cell-mediated or humoral immunity. Induction of peripheral LC into the central corneal epithelium promotes the development of parasite-specific DTH, but does not exacerbate corneal disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-244
Number of pages10
JournalOcular Immunology and Inflammation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997


  • Acanthamoeba
  • Antibody
  • Immunology
  • Keratitis
  • Langerhans cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Ophthalmology


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