This study utilizes a recently developed cytochemical staining technique to identify B- and T-lymphocytes in epithelial samples of virus infected conjunctivae. The alpha naphthyl acetate esterase (ANAE) stain has been used to differentiate lymphocyte subpopulations in tonsil, spleen, lymph nodes and other tissues. Due to the frequency of lymphocytic infiltration in conjunctiva of patients with presumed viral conjunctivitis, we performed the epithelial sampling and subsequent staining on five patients with indicative signs and symptoms of the disease. The results indicated that the stain is useful in conjunctival epithelial samples, and that B- and T-lymphocytes were simultaneously present in about equal numbers in our patients. This data confirms that of Belfort and Mendes who indentified both cell types in inflamed conjunctiva by sheep erythrocyte rosetting techniques. The ANAE stain is more easily performed, requires inexpensive substrates, and uses common lab equipment as opposed to rosetting; and therefore deserves strong consideration in future studies.
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