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BMJ Open. 2012; 2(5): e001330.
Published online 2012 October 11. doi:  10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001330
PMCID: PMC3488701

Expression of prostaglandin E receptor subtype EP4 in conjunctival epithelium of patients with ocular surface disorders: case-control study

Abstract

Objectives

To confirm the downregulation of PTGER4 mRNA in the conjunctiva of Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis (SJS/TEN) and ocular cicatricial pemphigoid (OCP) patients and to examine the expression of its EP4 protein in the conjunctival epithelium of patients with various ocular surface disorders.

Design

Case-control study.

Setting and participants

We performed quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) analysis of PTGER4 mRNA in conjunctival tissue sections from patients with SJS/TEN and OCP to confirm the downregulation of PTGER4 mRNA expression. We also analysed EP4 immunohistologically in other ocular surface disorders. Conjunctival tissues were obtained from patients undergoing surgical reconstruction of the ocular surface due to chemical eye burns, subacute SJS/TEN or chronic SJS/TEN, chronic OCP, severe graft versus host disease (GVHD) and from patients with Mooren's ulcers treated by resection of the inflammatory conjunctiva.

Primary and secondary outcome measures

The expression of PTGER4 mRNA and EP4 protein assessed by quantitative RT-PCR assay and immunohistological methods.

Results

PTGER4 mRNA was significantly lower in conjunctival tissues from SJS and OCP patients than in the control conjunctivochalasis samples. EP4 protein was detected in conjunctival epithelium from patients with chemical eye burn and in control conjunctival epithelium from patients with conjunctivochalasis. Its expression varied in conjunctival epithelium from patients with Mooren's ulcer. We did not detect EP4 immunoreactivity in conjunctival epithelium from patients with subacute SJS/TEN, severe GVHD, chronic SJS/TEN or OCP.

Conclusions

The strong downregulation of EP4 expression in conjunctival epithelium from patients with OCP or SJS/TEN may be attributable to ocular surface inflammation.

Keywords: Ophthalmology

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