Inflammatory response in the early stages of wound healing after excimer laser keratectomy

Arch Ophthalmol. 1998 Nov;116(11):1470-4. doi: 10.1001/archopht.116.11.1470.


Objective: To evaluate the inflammatory response and its potential role in the early stages of corneal wound healing after excimer laser keratectomy.

Materials and methods: Lewis rats underwent excimer keratectomy using a 193-nm excimer laser. The central corneas were ablated in 3 depths: group A, epithelium; group B, superficial stroma; or group C, deep stroma. Eyes were harvested 1, 12, 24, and 36 hours, and 1 week after the rats were killed. Immunohistochemistry was used to test frozen sections with monoclonal antibodies of various inflammatory cellular markers.

Results: Reepithelialization was observed at 12 hours in group A, and at 24 hours in groups B and C. Regenerated epithelium covered the denuded corneal surface in groups B and C after 1 week. The expression of major histocompatibility complex II antigen was detected in infiltrating cells, corneal epithelial cells, and endothelial cells 1 hour after surgery. Only a few macrophages and Langerhans cells were in the limbus at baseline. Macrophages migrated from the limbus to the corneal ablation zone and increased 2-fold after 36 hours in all 3 groups compared with baseline. Occasional lymphocytic infiltration was identified after 25 to 36 hours.

Conclusion: Macrophages play an active role in the wound healing after laser keratectomy and may contribute to transient corneal haze.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Cell Movement
  • Cornea / chemistry
  • Cornea / immunology*
  • Cornea / pathology
  • Cornea / surgery
  • Epithelium, Corneal / physiology
  • Female
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / immunology
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Langerhans Cells / chemistry
  • Langerhans Cells / immunology*
  • Langerhans Cells / pathology
  • Lasers, Excimer
  • Macrophages / chemistry
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Macrophages / pathology
  • Photorefractive Keratectomy*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Wound Healing / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Biomarkers
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II