Ocular surface inflammation, and nerve growth factor level in tears in active thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy

Jin Sook Yoon, Soo Hyun Choi, Joon H. Lee, Sung Jun Lee, Sang Yeul Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To measure tear nerve growth factor (NGF) concentrations in cases of active thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy (TAO) before and after glucocorticoid treatment, and to correlate NGF levels with disease inflammatory activity and thyroid autoantibody concentration. Methods: The study involved 20 patients with active TAO and 20 age- and gender-matched controls. Tear break-up time (BUT) was obtained, the Schirmer test was performed, and tear NGF/total protein ratio was measured in control subjects and patients with active TAO before, and 2 and 4 weeks after, steroid treatment. Results: Tear BUT and Schirmer values significantly increased after 2 and 4 weeks of steroid treatment (p < 0.001 and p = 0.004 respectively). Baseline tear NGF/total protein ratio was higher in patients with active TAO than in control subjects, and the ratio significantly decreased after 2 and 4 weeks of steroid treatment (p < 0.001). Tear NGF/total protein ratio did not correlate with inflammatory activity score, exophthalmos value and thyroid binding inhibiting immunoglobulin (TBII) level (p > 0.05). Conclusions: Tear NGF may have a specific role in ocular surface inflammation, which protects against ocular surface damage in patients with active TAO. Anti-inflammatory treatment significantly reduced the level of NGF in tears, increased tear film stability and production, and decreased congestive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-276
Number of pages6
JournalGraefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jan 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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