Aim: To describe clinical and immunological characteristics of human microbial keratitis. Methods. 28 patients with bacterial and fungal keratitis were included. Characteristics of ocular lesions such as size of corneal ulcer (epithelial defect), infiltration, hypopyon, were considered; immunological evaluation included determination of IL-1b, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12 and TNF-a by cytometric bead arrays in samples obtained from infected and non-infected eyes; frequency of CD4, CD8, CD19 and CD56 lymphocytes were also determined on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PMBC). Results. Non-significant differences were observed in area of epithelial defect, stromal infiltration, nor hypopyon, when compared; however, we observed a characteristic immunological profile apparently related to keratitis origin: IL-8 >IL-6 in bacterial keratitis; IL-8>IL-6 with increased frequency of circulating CD3-CD56+ cells in gram-negative keratitis; and IL-8=IL-6 >IL-1b in fungal keratitis. Conclusions. This study is the first in evaluate clinical and immunological characteristics of patients with corneal ulcers, despite we did not observe a clinical profile clearly related with the type of keratitis, characterization of immunological status could aid to understand immune pathophysiological mechanisms underlying each type of keratitis. IL-6 and IL-8 could be a target for therapy in severe microbial keratitis
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