Langerhans cells in the cornea of diabetic patients : relevance to diabetic neuropathy

Tavakoli, Mitra, Efron, Nathan, & Malik, Rayaz A. (2010) Langerhans cells in the cornea of diabetic patients : relevance to diabetic neuropathy. Contact Lens & Anterior Eye, 33(6), p. 274.

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The presence of a lymphocytic infiltration in autonomic ganglia and an increased prevalence of autoantibodies and iritis in diabetic patients with autonomic neuropathy suggests a role for autoimmune mechanisms in the development of diabetic and perhaps somatic neuropathy. Corneal Langerhans cells are antigenpresenting cells which can be identified in corneal immunologic conditions using in-vivo confocal microscopy. The aim of this study was to assess the presence and density of Langerhans cells (LCs) in Bowman’s layer of the cornea in diabetic patients with varying degrees of neuropathy compared to healthy control subjects.


128 diabetic patients aged 58±1 years with differing severity of neuropathy (NDS – 4.7±0.28) and 26 control subjects aged 53±3 years were examined with in-vivo corneal confocal microscopy to quantify the density of “Langerhans cells” (LCs).


LCs were observed more often in diabetic patients (73.8%) compared to control subjects (46.1%), P = 0.001. The LC density (number/mm2) was also significantly increased in diabetic patients (17.73±1.45) compared to control subjects (6.94±1.58, P = 0.001). There was a significant correlation between the density of LCs with age (r = 0.162, P = 0.047) and severity of neuropathy assessed by NDS (r =−0.202, P = 0.02).


In vivo corneal confocal microscopy enables quantification of Langerhans cells in Bowman’s layer of the cornea. There is a relationship between density of LCs and the degree of nerve damage. Corneal confocal microscopy could be a valuable tool to establish the role of immune mediated corneal nerve damage and provide insights into the pathogenesis of diabetic neuropathy.

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ID Code: 67975
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Abstracts of the 34th BCLA Annual Clinical Conference, Birmingham, 2010
DOI: 10.1016/j.clae.2010.07.002
ISSN: 1367-0484
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > OPTOMETRY AND OPHTHALMOLOGY (111300)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Optometry & Vision Science
Deposited On: 03 Mar 2014 22:26
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2014 21:59

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