Purpose: Both granular and lattice deposits are present in Avellino corneal dystrophy (ACD), primarily associated with the R124H mutation of transforming growth factor-β-induced (TGFBIp). We investigated the presence of these deposits in other TGFBI mutations and the use of Thioflavin-T (ThT), a fluorescent amyloid stain for characterizing corneal amyloid deposits.
Methods: Surgical corneal specimens of 3 unrelated patients clinically diagnosed with ACD were studied. Corneal sections from normal individuals and patients with prior lattice corneal dystrophy (LCD) were used as controls. Histochemical studies were performed with Congo red and Masson trichrome stains, and fluorescent imaging with scanning laser confocal microscopy was performed for ThT and anti-TGFBIp antibody staining.
Results: Clinical and histopathological findings supported the diagnoses of ACD in these 3 cases in whom granular deposits stained with Masson trichrome and lattice deposits stained with ThT and Congo red showed birefringence and dichroism as expected. However, genotyping revealed a heterozygous R124C mutation in each case. In addition to classical stromal deposits, unique subepithelial TGFBIp aggregates, which stain with neither ThT nor trichrome, were observed. In control LCD sections, stromal deposits were stained with ThT but not with trichrome, confirming lack of granular deposits.
Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that both granular and lattice corneal deposits can be associated with R124C mutation in addition to the more common R124H mutation. An additional feature of nonhyaline, nonamyloid, TGFBIp subepithelial deposits might substantiate the categorization of such cases as a variant form of ACD. This study further validates ThT staining for detection of amyloid TGFBIp deposits.