Paraproteinemic crystalloidal keratopathy: an ultrastructural study of two cases, including immunoelectron microscopy.

The ultrastructural appearances of corneal crystalloidal deposits are described in two patients with an IgG-kappa paraproteinemia of uncertain pathogenesis. The crystalloids in one patient were overwhelmingly intracellular and were found mainly in stromal keratocytes, but also in basal corneal epithelial cells and the limbal vascular endothelium. Four types of crystalloid or immunoprotein-containing granules were recognizable in this case: 1) fibrillary crystalloids with a curvilinear filamentous substructure; 2) angulated geometric crystalloids that often had a linear filamentous substructure and transverse or oblique periodicity; 3) cordlike crystalloids; and 4) lysosomelike granules with amorphous contents. Immunoelectron microscopy demonstrated that all of these structures labeled for kappa-light chains, and rectangular type 2 crystalloids showed approximately a twofold greater concentration of the colloidal gold probe than the type 1 fibrillary crystalloids. The evidence suggested development of the crystalloids within lysosomes, with a progression from the granules containing amorphous material, through fibrillary crystalloids, to the geometric structures. The circumferential distribution of the corneal deposits, as well as the presence of vascular endothelial crystalloids and reduplication of external laminae around limbal blood vessels, suggests that the crystalloids originated predominantly or entirely from the blood, with transport of immunoprotein across damaged limbal microvasculature. The abnormal vasculature may also have contributed to corneal edema, which in turn may have exacerbated corneal opacification. The crystalloidal deposits in the other case were exclusively extracellular; they were located beneath and between corneal basal epithelial cells, and predominantly as a mantle around individual keratocytes. The crystalloids in this case consisted overwhelmingly of thick-walled tubules about 40 nm in diameter that labeled for both kappa-light chains and gamma chains with the colloidal gold immunoprobe. In addition, lucent vesicles within keratocytes were found only in sections labeled for kappa-light chains and were positive. The factors that might contribute to the formation of corneal crystalloidal deposits in immunoproliferative disorders are discussed, and include: 1) an inherent propensity for crystallization of some immunoglobulins or kappa-light chains, perhaps because of abnormal molecular structure; and 2) local factors in the cornea that might promote deposition and crystallization of immunoprotein, such as temperature, pH, the water content, and extracellular matrix components.
AuthorsD W Henderson, J W Stirling, J Lipsett, M A Rozenbilds, P J Roberts-Thomson, D J Coster
JournalUltrastructural pathology (Ultrastruct Pathol) 1993 Nov-Dec Vol. 17 Issue 6 Pg. 643-68 ISSN: 0191-3123 [Print] UNITED STATES
PMID8122330 (Publication Type: Case Reports, Journal Article, Review)
Chemical References
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin kappa-Chains
  • Aged
  • Cornea (immunology, ultrastructure)
  • Corneal Diseases (immunology, pathology)
  • Crystallization
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G (analysis)
  • Immunoglobulin kappa-Chains (analysis)
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Immunoelectron
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraproteinemias (complications, pathology)

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