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Papers of the Week

Papers: 28 Oct 2023 - 3 Nov 2023

2023 Oct 22

Int J Mol Sci




Disrupted Neural Regeneration in Dry Eye Secondary to Ankylosing Spondylitis-With a Theoretical Link between Piezo2 Channelopathy and Gateway Reflex, WDR Neurons, and Flare-Ups.


Sonkodi B, Marsovszky L, Csorba A, Balog A, Kopper B, Keller-Pintér A, Nagy ZZ, Resch MD


This study aimed at analyzing the corneal neural regeneration in ankylosing spondylitis patients using in vivo corneal confocal microscopy in correlation with Langerhans cell density, morphology, and dry eye parameters. Approximately 24 ankylosing spondylitis subjects and 35 age- and gender-matched control subjects were enrolled. Data analysis showed that all corneal nerve-fiber descriptives were lower in the ankylosing spondylitis group, implicating disrupted neural regeneration. Peripheral Langerhans cell density showed a negative correlation with nerve fiber descriptions. A negative correlation between tear film break-up time and corneal nerve fiber total branch density was detected. The potential role of somatosensory terminal Piezo2 channelopathy in the pathogenesis of dry eye disease and ankylosing spondylitis is highlighted in our study, exposing the neuroimmunological link between these diseases. We hypothesized earlier that spinal neuroimmune-induced sensitization due to this somatosensory terminal primary damage could lead to Langerhans cell activation in the cornea, in association with downregulated Piezo1 channels on these cells. This activation could lead to a Th17/Treg imbalance in dry eye secondary to ankylosing spondylitis. Hence, the corneal Piezo2 channelopathy-induced impaired Piezo2-Piezo1 crosstalk could explain the disrupted neural regeneration. Moreover, the translation of our findings highlights the link between Piezo2 channelopathy-induced gateway to pathophysiology and the gateway reflex, not to mention the potential role of spinal wide dynamic range neurons in the evolution of neuropathic pain and the flare-ups in ankylosing spondylitis and dry eye disease.