To investigate the expression of the keratinization-related protein, filaggrin, in the lid margin epithelium of contact lens (CL) wearers compared with nonwearers.
This was a cross-sectional study of 100 individuals with different exposures to CL wear: short, moderate, and long experience; previous CL wearers; and nonwearers as controls. Impression cytology samples were collected from the lid wiper (LW) area of the central upper lid margin. After fixing, an equal, random sample was selected from each group (n=13) for immunocytochemistry analysis using antihuman primary anybody (mouse filaggrin), then stained with secondary antibody (fluorescein isothiocyanate–conjugated donkey anti-mouse immunoglobulin G horseradish peroxidase) to detect filaggrin. Imaging was performed with the 3i-Vivo 2-photon microscope equipped with a Zeiss 20×-objective and SlideBook-reader software.
Sixty-five samples from 65 participants (37 women; mean age±SD: 25.1±4.1 years) were collected. Filaggrin was detected in all 65 randomly selected immunostained marginal epithelium samples. All samples were similar in showing patchy areas of filaggrin immunostaining, regardless of CL wear, symptoms or epithelium morphology. Because the filaggrin immunostaining showed similar patterns across almost all the observed samples, comparison between subject groups was impractical. The presence of filaggrin in the healthy LW was additionally confirmed by an independent laboratory.
Filaggrin expression seems to be a normal part of epithelial cell differentiation in the lid margin and may not be a useful keratinization/stress biomarker in the marginal epithelium. Investigating other keratinization biomarkers that are not detected in the normal mucocutaneous junction/LW may help to understand the keratinization nature of LW epithelium changes in CL wearers.