In an attempt to understand the pathogenesis of corneal changes and conjunctival scarring in trachoma, which are responsible for blindness in some 7 million people worldwide, the surface expression of major histocompatibility complex class II antigens on conjunctival epithelial cells was sought in patients with different clinical features of the disease. Class II expression was significantly associated with active (inflammatory) trachoma, but an independent association with corneal pannus or conjunctival scarring could not be shown. Longitudinal data suggest that class II expression may antedate clinically active disease and persist after it has resolved.
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