FK is the leading cause of unilateral blindness in the developing world. AMPs have been shown to play an important role on human OS during bacterial, viral and protozoan infections. In this study, our aim was to profile a spectrum of AMPs in corneal tissue from patients with FK during the active phase of infection and after healing.

mRNA for all AMPs was shown to be significantly upregulated in FK samples. The levels of HBD-1 and -2 mRNA were found to be elevated in 18/20 FK samples. Whereas mRNA for HBD-3 and S100A7 was upregulated in 11/20 and HBD9 was increased in 15/20 FK samples. LL-37 mRNA showed moderate upregulation in 7/20 FK samples compared with controls. In healed scar samples, mRNA of all AMPs was found to be low and matching the levels in controls.

The study concluded that the AMP expression is a consistent feature of FK, but not all AMPs are equally expressed. HBD-1 and -2 are most consistently expressed and LL-37 the least, suggesting some specificity of AMP expression related to FK.