gms | German Medical Science

102. Jahrestagung der DOG

Deutsche Ophthalmologische Gesellschaft e. V.

23. bis 26.09.2004, Berlin

In-vivo confocal microscopic evaluation of Langerhans cell density and distribution in the corneal epithelium of healthy volunteers and contact lens wearers

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author A. Zhivov - University Eye Clinic, Rostock
  • J. Stave - University Eye Clinic, Rostock
  • B. Vollmar - Department of the Experimental Surgery, University of Rostock, Rostock
  • G. Bischoff - Private practice, Hamburg
  • R. F. Guthoff - University Eye Clinic, Rostock

Evidenzbasierte Medizin - Anspruch und Wirklichkeit. 102. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Ophthalmologischen Gesellschaft. Berlin, 23.-26.09.2004. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2004. Doc04dogDO.16.01

Die elektronische Version dieses Artikels ist vollständig und ist verfügbar unter:

Veröffentlicht: 22. September 2004

© 2004 Zhivov et al.
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To examine and compare the density and distribution of Langerhans cells (LCs) in the corneal epithelium of healthy volunteers and contact lens wearers.


225 eyes of 129 healthy volunteers (age: 16-81 years) without history of ocular inflammation or surgery and 99 eyes of 59 contact lens wearers (age: 13-76 years) were examined in vivo with the combination of the Heidelberg Retina Tomograph II and the Rostock Cornea Module. The confocal microscopy was made after the slit lamp investigation. The identification of the LCs was performed immunohistochemically on enucleated eyes.


In healthy volunteers, in vivo confocal microscopy revealed 70 eyes with LCs including 55 eyes presenting with both central and peripheral LC location. LC densities averaged 30±3 cells/mm2 (range 0-64 cells/mm2) in the central part and 89±6 cells/mm2 (range 0-240 cells/mm2) in the periphery of the cornea. The group of contact lens wearers comprised 59 eyes with LCs including 24 eyes with both central and peripheral LC location. In contact lens wearers, density of LCs varied from 60±16 cells/mm2 (range 0-600 cells/mm2) in the central to 159±18 cells/mm2 (range 0-700 cells/mm2) in the peripheral part of the cornea. LC densities significantly differed between healthy volunteers and contact lens wearers both in the central (p=0.03) and the peripheral cornea (=0.001), while the gradient of LC density from peripheral to central was found almost identical in both groups. LCs were located at the depth of 35-55μm, i.e. the level of intermediate cells, basal cells and subepithelial nervous plexus. Moreover, LCs presented as either large cells bearing long processes or smaller cells lacking cell dendrites, most supposedly indicating mature and immature phenotype, respectively. The localisation of the LCs was proved immunohistochemically.


The Heidelberg Retina Tomograph II in combination with the Rostock Cornea Module enables in vivo assessment of density and distribution of LCs in the corneal epithelium, providing insight into human eye immunology.