Could a treatment for keratoconus also reduce the cornea's inflammatory load? A recent study has discovered that significant changes on the inflammatory molecular profile occur at least one month after corneal collagen crosslinking (CXL). Researchers from Mexico found decreases in proinflammatory cytokines, especially metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), c-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-19. The results were presented yesterday in Vancouver at the 2019 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology conference.

The study assessed 40 eyes from 20 patients, of which 20 underwent accelerated CXL. Researchers analyzed patients at one day, one week, one month and three months after the procedure. Tear samples were taken from both eyes (case eye and control eye) at seven days before crosslinking and then one and three months after.

After one month, researchers found significant decreases (more than twofold) in specific cytokines in patient tears. More proinflammatory cytokines also began to decrease by three months. After month three, the study found a significant increase in platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule CD31 and the chemokine RANTES in CXL eyes. Researchers believe that longer studies will help prove whether the inflammatory molecular profile changes last and how they correlate with clinical outcomes.

Mendoza-Garcia DLT, Del Valle CP, Robles-Contreras A, et al. Corneal crosslinking effects on tear inflammatory mediators in patients with keratoconus. ARVO 2019. Abstract 336.