Purpose: Alpha-B crystallin (αB-crystallin) is a molecular chaperone, and one of the small heat shock proteins (sHSPs). αB-crystallin has been shown to have neuroprotective properties. The purpose of this study was to determine the level of αB-crystallin in eyes with a rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD).
Methods: Vitreous samples were collected before vitrectomy from 32 eyes of 32 consecutive patients with RRD. The concentration of αB-crystallin was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Vitreous samples were also collected before vitrectomy from 16 patients with an idiopathic macular hole and epiretinal membrane, and used as controls.
Results: The mean age was 56 years (range, 31-67 years) in the RRD cases and 66 years (range, 49-77 years) in the controls. The mean level of αB-crystallin was significantly higher in the RRD cases (36.7 ± 37.4 ng/ml) than that in controls (8.5 ± 12.2 ng/ml; P = 0.0028).
Conclusions: The increased level of αB-crystallin suggests that αB-crystallin may play a neuroprotective role by lessening retinal cell death after a retinal detachment.