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Brad P. Barnett, Natalie A. Afshari; Dupilumab-Associated Mucin Deficiency (DAMD). Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2020;9(3):29. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.9.3.29.
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Dupilumab, a monoclonal antibody directed against the interleukin-4 receptor subunit α (IL-4Rα) of IL-4 and IL-13, is increasingly being used to control atopic disease. Dupilumab use has been associated with a poorly understood conjunctivitis. In this study, we sought to investigate the hypothesis that dupilumab use and the associated IL-13 blockade causes a relative ocular mucin deficiency.
Tear levels of mucin 5ac (Muc5AC) and total tear protein levels were evaluated from 28 eyes of 14 patients. Bilateral tear samples were acquired from seven patients on dupilumab and seven patients with no exposure to dupilumab. Study subjects were age and gender matched. In addition to tear samples, photographic documentation of ocular surface findings and a questionnaire of ocular surface symptoms were obtained. Between-group mean differences were calculated.
Compared with control, ocular Muc5AC levels normalized to total tear protein was statistically significantly lower. The average Muc5AC levels for persons on dupilumab was 1.54 ± 0.58 ng/mg and that of controls was 7.99 ± 1.16 ng/ mg. Persons on dupilumab reported a statistically increased occurrence of ocular fatigue/eye strain, uncomfortable sensation, pain, red eye, and itching.
This study demonstrates for the first time, a relative deficiency of Muc5AC in patients on dupilumab.
The results of this study support the previously reported role of IL-13 in increasing goblet cell density and associated Muc5AC production. Further efforts are underway to better understand the relative contribution of Muc5AC deficiency in the overall presentation of conjunctivitis associated with dupilumab use.
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