Analysis of topical cyclosporine treatment of patients with dry eye syndrome: effect on conjunctival lymphocytes

Arch Ophthalmol. 2000 Nov;118(11):1489-96. doi: 10.1001/archopht.118.11.1489.


Objective: To study the effect of topical cyclosporine on lymphocyte activation within the conjunctiva of patients with moderate to severe dry eye syndrome (Sjögren and non-Sjögren).

Methods: Biopsy specimens were obtained at baseline and after 6 months of cyclosporine treatment from eyes of 32 patients with moderate to severe dry eye syndrome; 19 were cyclosporine treated (0.05% cyclosporine, n = 13; 0.1% cyclosporine, n = 6) and 13 were vehicle treated. Within this group there were 12 with Sjögren syndrome and 20 with non-Sjögren syndrome. Biopsy tissue was analyzed using immunohistochemical localization of binding of monoclonal antibodies to lymphocytic markers CD3, CD4, and CD8 as well as lymphocyte activation markers CD11a and HLA-DR.

Results: In cyclosporine-treated eyes, biopsy results of conjunctivae showed decreases in the number of cells positive for CD3, CD4, and CD8, while in vehicle-treated eyes, results showed increases in these markers, although these differences were not statistically significant. Following treatment with 0.05% cyclosporine, there was a significant decrease in the number of cells expressing the lymphocyte activation markers CD11a (P<.05) and HLA-DR (P<.05), indicating less activation of lymphocytes as compared with vehicle treatment. Within the Sjögren patient subgroup, those treated with 0.05% cyclosporine also showed a significant decrease in the number of cells positive for CD11a (P<.001) as well as CD3 (P<.03), indicating a reduction in number of activated lymphocytes.

Conclusion: Treatment of dry eye syndrome with topical cyclosporine significantly reduced the numbers of activated lymphocytes within the conjunctiva. Arch Ophthalmol. 2000;118:1489-1496

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, CD / immunology
  • Biopsy
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Conjunctiva / immunology*
  • Conjunctiva / pathology
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use*
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / drug therapy
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / immunology*
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / pathology
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • HLA-DR Antigens / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Lymphocyte Activation / drug effects*
  • Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmic Solutions / therapeutic use
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology


  • Antigens, CD
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Cyclosporine