Immunohistochemical study of human pterygium

Histol Histopathol. 2002 Jan;17(1):139-49. doi: 10.14670/HH-17.139.


The purpose of this study has been to evaluate the immunohistochemical characteristics of human pterygial tissues in order to ascertain the possible contribution of an immunological mechanism in the pathogenesis of pterygium and to investigate the presence in the pterygial tissues of some melanoma-associated antigens, in order to evaluate if there may be a small possibility of correlation of the two diseases. Human biopsy specimens of pterygium were obtained by surgery for pterygium excision. Tissue segments were fixed and processed for paraffin embedding. Microtome sections were treated for the immunohistochemical demonstration of IgA, IgM, IgG, CD3, CD20, CD68, HLA-DR, Protein S100, HMB45, and Melan A using the avidin-biotin peroxidase method or the streptavidin biotin-alkaline phosphatase method. The findings suggest that all the effector components of the mucosal immune system are present in the human pterygium and, among the most sensitive markers for melanoma, only S100 shows immunoreactivity. An immunopathogenetic mechanism seems to be responsible for the pathogenesis of pterygium, perhaps being caused by pre-existing conjunctivitis or microtrauma in combination with the patient's predisposition. No correlation between pterygium and melanoma was found.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / biosynthesis
  • Biomarkers
  • Conjunctiva / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin M / immunology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Melanoma / immunology
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraffin Embedding
  • Pterygium / metabolism*
  • Pterygium / pathology
  • S100 Proteins / metabolism
  • Tissue Fixation


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Biomarkers
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • S100 Proteins