Immunology and Uveitis

Immunology and Uveitis Publications

Daniel E, Pistilli M, Kothari S, Khachatryan N, Kaçmaz OR, Gangaputra SS, Sen NH, Suhler EB, Thorne JE, Foster SC, Jabs DA, Nussenblatt RB, Rosenbaum JT, Levy-Clarke GA, Bhatt NP, Kempen JH, for Group SITEDR. Risk of Ocular Hypertension in Adults with Noninfectious Uveitis. Ophthalmology 2017;Abstract

PURPOSE: To describe the risk and risk factors for ocular hypertension (OHT) in adults with noninfectious uveitis. DESIGN: Retrospective, multicenter, cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Patients aged ≥18 years with noninfectious uveitis seen between 1979 and 2007 at 5 tertiary uveitis clinics. METHODS: Demographic, ocular, and treatment data were extracted from medical records of uveitis cases. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Prevalent and incident OHT with intraocular pressures (IOPs) of ≥21 mmHg, ≥30 mmHg, and increase of ≥10 mmHg from documented IOP recordings (or use of treatment for OHT). RESULTS: Among 5270 uveitic eyes of 3308 patients followed for OHT, the mean annual incidence rates for OHT ≥21 mmHg and OHT ≥30 mmHg are 14.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 13.4-15.5) and 5.1% (95% CI, 4.7-5.6) per year, respectively. Statistically significant risk factors for incident OHT ≥30 mmHg included systemic hypertension (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.29); worse presenting visual acuity (≤20/200 vs. ≥20/40, aHR, 1.47); pars plana vitrectomy (aHR, 1.87); history of OHT in the other eye: IOP ≥21 mmHg (aHR, 2.68), ≥30 mmHg (aHR, 4.86) and prior/current use of IOP-lowering drops or surgery in the other eye (aHR, 4.17); anterior chamber cells: 1+ (aHR, 1.43) and ≥2+ (aHR, 1.59) vs. none; epiretinal membrane (aHR, 1.25); peripheral anterior synechiae (aHR, 1.81); current use of prednisone >7.5 mg/day (aHR, 1.86); periocular corticosteroids in the last 3 months (aHR, 2.23); current topical corticosteroid use [≥8×/day vs. none] (aHR, 2.58); and prior use of fluocinolone acetonide implants (aHR, 9.75). Bilateral uveitis (aHR, 0.69) and previous hypotony (aHR, 0.43) were associated with statistically significantly lower risk of OHT. CONCLUSIONS: Ocular hypertension is sufficiently common in eyes treated for uveitis that surveillance for OHT is essential at all visits for all cases. Patients with 1 or more of the several risk factors identified are at particularly high risk and must be carefully managed. Modifiable risk factors, such as use of corticosteroids, suggest opportunities to reduce OHT risk within the constraints of the overriding need to control the primary ocular inflammatory disease.

You C, Lamba N, Lasave AF, Ma L, Diaz MH, Foster SC. Rituximab in the treatment of ocular cicatricial pemphigoid: a retrospective cohort study. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 2017;Abstract

PURPOSE: The purpose was to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of rituximab (RTX) for the treatment of patients with aggressive ocular cicatricial pemphigoid (OCP). METHODS: A review of patient records at a tertiary referral center with biopsy confirmed OCP who presented between 2006 and 2016. Sixty-one eyes of 32 patients with symptomatic OCP who received treatment with RTX monotherapy or RTX in combination with additional immunomodulatory treatment (IMT) were evaluated. Main outcomes included clinically evident remission of disease, the percentage of corticosteroid sparing patients, stage of OCP (Foster), best corrected visual acuity, and treatment complications. Remission was defined as absence of progressive scarring and active ocular inflammation for ≥ 2 months. Partial remission/responding was defined as disease control and clinical improvement for ≥ 2 months. RESULTS: Mean age at the initiation of RTX treatment was 59.1 years (range, 24-80 years) with a median follow-up time after RTX initiation of 32 months (range, 14 to 127 months). Twenty-six patients achieved clinical remission with an average sustained remission of 24.5 months (from 9 months to 84 months). RTX monotherapy was used in six patients, RTX in combination with intravenous immunoglobulin in 14 patients, and RTX with intravenous immunoglobulin and/or with other IMT agent in six patients. Seven eyes (11.5%) of six patients had favorable response to RTX and achieved response and partial remission, while inflammation remained active in the other seven eyes (11.5%) of four patients though there was no progressive scarring. At the last visit, three patients (9.4%) were on topical corticosteroid, three patients (9.4%) were treated with systemic corticosteroid treatments, and the other 26 patients (81.2%) achieved corticosteroid sparing therapy. Five eyes (8.2%) progressed one Foster stage. No other cicatrization progression or worsening of LogMAR visual acuity (p = 0.641) was observed during the follow-up period. Adverse events included leukopenia in three patients (9.4%), anemia in two patients (6.2%), liver enzyme elevation in three patients (9.4%) who were also on another concomitant IMT drug, and Epstein-Barr Virus infection and sinus infection in one patient each (3.1%). No other severe adverse events were noted during the follow-up period. CONCLUSIONS: These retrospective data suggest that RTX is efficacious and well tolerated when included for the treatment of OCP. Controlled studies are necessary to identify the role of this IMT agent in the therapeutic arsenal, especially its optimum dose and duration of administration.


PURPOSE: To assess long-term effectiveness of rituximab therapy for refractory noninfectious uveitis affecting the posterior segment. METHODS: Retrospective case series. Patients diagnosed with recalcitrant noninfectious posterior uveitis who were treated with rituximab intravenous infusions between 2010 and 2015 were included. Patients underwent best-corrected visual acuity testing and fluorescein angiography evidence of disk or vascular staining at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months. Patients had at least 24 months of follow-up. RESULTS: Eleven patients (21 eyes) with refractory posterior uveitis treated with intravenous rituximab were included. Nine (81.8%) patients were female. Mean follow-up was 29.3 ± 7.8 months. rituximab was administered as complementary therapy because of previous inefficacy of other therapies in 7 (63.7%) patients, and it was the only treatment in four (36.3%) patients who did not tolerate other drugs. Inflammation signs by fluorescein angiography were controlled in nine (81.8%) patients at the end of follow-up. Baseline best-corrected visual acuity was 20/80 (logarithm of the minimal angle of resolution 0.6 ± 0.4), and final best-corrected visual acuity was 20/40 (0.3 ± 0.5) (P = 0.005). No significant side effects were reported. CONCLUSION: Rituximab therapy was associated with stability and remission of recalcitrant noninfectious posterior uveitis in patients who did not tolerate or did not respond to other therapies.

Grotting LA, Davoudi S, Palenzuela D, Papaliodis GN, Sobrin L. Association of Low Vitamin D Levels With Noninfectious Anterior Uveitis. JAMA Ophthalmol 2016;Abstract

Importance: Vitamin D plays an important role in both the innate and adaptive immune systems. It has been shown to contribute to the etiology of T-cell-mediated autoimmune diseases through the upregulation of type 2 anti-inflammatory T helper cells and the suppression of type 1 T helper cells. Noninfectious uveitis is postulated to be caused by immune dysfunction. Objective: To determine whether there is an association between vitamin D levels and noninfectious anterior uveitis. Design, Setting, and Participants: This was a case-control study. We identified patients with and without noninfectious uveitis using the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Ocular Inflammation Database and electronic medical records from March 1, 2008, to December 12, 2015, at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Uveitis and Comprehensive Ophthalmology Clinics. One hundred patients with noninfectious anterior uveitis and 100 patients without uveitis were recruited. Patients with noninfectious uveitis were diagnosed by fellowship-trained uveitis specialists after exclusion of infectious causes and neoplastic masquerades of uveitis. All patients included had a total 25-hydroxyvitamin D level recorded. Multivariate regression models were constructed to determine the association between vitamin D levels and the presence of uveitis. Main Outcome and Measure: Presence of noninfectious anterior uveitis. Results: We identified 100 patients (64 white, 8 African American, 25 Asian, and 3 Hispanic) with a mean (SD) age of 51.8 (15.9) years (26 men) and 100 control individuals (58 white, 23 African American, 8 Asian, and 11 Hispanic) with a mean (SD) age of 53.6 (16.2) years (27 men). Hypovitaminosis D was associated with noninfectious uveitis in the univariate analysis (odds ratio, 2.53; 95% CI, 1.42-4.51; P = .002). The association in multivariate regression after adjusting for age, sex, and race/ethnicity was 2.96 (95% CI, 1.60-5.50; P = .001) The odds of developing uveitis were 4% lower for every 1-ng/mL increase in vitamin D level (odds ratio, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.93-0.99; P = .01) in the main multivariate analysis. Conclusions and Relevance: In this retrospective study, lower vitamin D levels were associated with an increased risk of noninfectious anterior uveitis. However, this does not confirm a causal effect.

Lee DJ, Preble J, Lee S, Foster SC, Taylor AW. MC5r and A2Ar Deficiencies During Experimental Autoimmune Uveitis Identifies Distinct T cell Polarization Programs and a Biphasic Regulatory Response. Sci Rep 2016;6:37790.Abstract

Autoantigen-specific regulatory immunity emerges in the spleen of mice recovering from experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU), a murine model for human autoimmune uveoretinitis. This regulatory immunity provides induced tolerance to ocular autoantigen, and requires melanocortin 5 receptor (MC5r) expression on antigen presenting cells with adenosine 2 A receptor (A2Ar) expression on T cells. During EAU it is not well understood what roles MC5r and A2Ar have on promoting regulatory immunity. Cytokine profile analysis during EAU revealed MC5r and A2Ar each mediate distinct T cell responses, and are responsible for a functional regulatory immune response in the spleen. A2Ar stimulation at EAU onset did not augment this regulatory response, nor bypass the MC5r requirement to induce regulatory immunity. The importance of this pathway in human autoimmune uveitis was assayed. PBMC from uveitis patients were assayed for MC5r expression on monocytes and A2Ar on T cells, and comparison between uveitis patients and healthy controls had no significant difference. The importance for MC5r and A2Ar expression in EAU to promote the induction of protective regulatory immunity, and the expression of MC5r and A2Ar on human immune cells, suggests that it may be possible to utilize the melanocortin-adenosinergic pathways to induce protective immunity in uveitic patients.


PURPOSE: To describe the clinical course, visual outcome, and prognosis of isolated, idiopathic retinal vasculitis. METHODS: Eighty patients (150 eyes) with isolated, idiopathic retinal vasculitis were included. Demographic data, clinical data, complications at the initial visit and during follow-up, fluorescein angiography, and optical coherence tomography findings were collected from the Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institution (MERSI) database from September 2005 to February 2015. RESULTS: Seventy-five (93.7%) patients required treatment with immunomodulatory therapy. Of those 75 patients, 60 (75%) patients were able to achieve durable remission. Factors which were independently significant predictive of poor visual outcome were lower initial visual acuity (OR: 3.78; 95% CI: 1.75-8.16; P = 0.001), cystoid macular edema (OR: 5.54; 95% CI: 1.81-16.99; P = 0.003), and macular ischemia (OR: 5.12; 95% CI: 1.12-23.04; P = 0.036). CONCLUSION: The majority (67.25%) of our patients enjoyed a good visual outcome (most recent visit best-corrected visual acuity equal to or better than 20/40 and within one line or better from the baseline) with immunomodulatory therapy. We found that cystoid macular edema, macular ischemia, and lower best-corrected visual acuity during the first consultation visit were significant independent risk factors for poor visual outcome.

Ebrahimiadib N, Modjtahedi BS, Davoudi S, Foster SC. Treatment of Serpiginous Choroiditis with Chlorambucil: A Report of 17 Patients. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2016;:1-11.Abstract

PURPOSE: To evaluate the efficacy of chlorambucil in the treatment of serpiginous choroiditis. METHODS: Patient records from the Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institution (MERSI) were reviewed from over the past 10 years. In total, 17 patients with the diagnosis of serpiginous choroiditis treated with chlorambucil were identified. QuantiFERON gold was negative in all of them. Chlorambucil was started at 0.15 mg/kg and dosage was titrated up using weekly white blood cell (WBC) count to achieve a target cell number of 3.0-4.5 × 10(9) cells/L. The goal of therapy was to maintain this value for at least 6-9 months. Adverse effects, recurrence, rate of new choroidal neovascularization (CNVM), and visual acuity before and after treatment were recorded. RESULTS: The mean age of the 17 patients with the diagnosis of serpiginous choroiditis treated with chlorambucil was 46 years, and six patients (35%) were male. The mean duration of treatment for chlorambucil was 8.4 months. None of them developed cancer or persistent side-effects, with a mean follow-up of 53 months. Of the patients, 12 (71%) achieved an average of 45 (5-120) months drug-free remission in their last follow-up. Visual acuity of 33 treated eyes remained within two lines of Snellen acuity in 27 eyes (82%), improved in one eye (3%), and deteriorated in five eyes (15%). Leukopenia was the most common side-effect, which was reversible in all cases. CONCLUSIONS: Chlorambucil in a relatively short duration of time, with an escalating dose guided by weekly WBC was well tolerated, as well as effective in preventing recurrence and maintaining vision in patients with serpiginous choroiditis.

Satoh M, Namba K-I, Kitaichi N, Endo N, Kitamei H, Iwata D, Ohno S, Ishida S, Onoé K, Watarai H, Taniguchi M, Ishibashi T, Stein-Streilein J, Sonoda K-H, Van Kaer L, Iwabuchi K. Invariant natural killer T cells play dual roles in the development of experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis. Exp Eye Res 2016;153:79-89.Abstract

Experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis (EAU) represents an experimental model for human endogenous uveitis, which is caused by Th1/Th17 cell-mediated inflammation. Natural killer T (NKT) cells recognize lipid antigens and produce large amounts of cytokines upon activation. To examine the role of NKT cells in the development of uveitis, EAU was elicited by immunization with a peptide from the human interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein (hIRBP1-20) in complete Freund's adjuvant and histopathology scores were evaluated in C57BL/6 (WT) and NKT cell-deficient mice. NKT cell-deficient mice developed more severe EAU pathology than WT mice. When WT mice were treated with ligands of the invariant subset of NKT cells (α-GalCer or RCAI-56), EAU was ameliorated in mice treated with RCAI-56 but not α-GalCer. IRBP-specific Th1/Th17 cytokines were reduced in RCAI-56-treated compared with vehicle-treated mice. Although the numbers of IRBP-specific T cells detected by hIRBP3-13/I-A(b) tetramers in the spleen and the draining lymph node were the same for vehicle and RCAI-56 treatment groups, RORγt expression by tetramer-positive cells in RCAI-56-treated mice was lower than in control mice. Moreover, the eyes of RCAI-56-treated mice contained fewer IRBP-specific T cells compared with control mice. These results suggest that invariant NKT (iNKT) cells suppress the induction of Th17 cells and infiltration of IRBP-specific T cells into the eyes, thereby reducing ocular inflammation. However, in sharp contrast to the ameliorating effects of iNKT cell activation during the initiation phase of EAU, iNKT cell activation during the effector phase exacerbated disease pathology. Thus, we conclude that iNKT cells exhibit dual roles in the development of EAU.


PURPOSE: To describe changes in three-dimensional choroidal volume and thickness with full raster scans of enhanced depth imaging optical coherence tomography in patients with birdshot retinochoroidopathy. METHODS: This prospective case series collected spectral domain optical coherence tomography images with the enhanced depth imaging technique from eight eyes of eight patients with birdshot retinochoroidopathy including four active patients (four eyes) and four quiet patients (four eyes). Fifty scans of each patient were manually segmented before automated built-in calibration software was used. RESULTS: Of all active patients, there were no statistically significant differences in the total choroidal volume and mean central choroidal thickness between the active and inactive phase over 6 months of follow-up. Alterations in choroidal parameters were evident and consistent after amelioration of inflammation, whereas the retinal volume and thickness remained stable. Regarding the eight inactive eyes at 6 months, the mean total choroidal volume and mean central choroidal thickness were significantly less than historical controls (P = 0.03 and P < 0.001, respectively). Persistent suprachoroidal hyporeflective space in two patients was noted despite the fact that clinical inflammation completely subsided at 6 months. CONCLUSION: Choroidal volume and thickness changes were consistent with inflammation in patients with birdshot retinochoroidopathy. Patients with inactive birdshot retinochoroidopathy have significant reduction in choroidal volume and thickness than do normal patients.

Cho H, Shin YU, Siegel NH, Yu HG, Sobrin L, Patel A, Durand ML, Miller JW, Husain D. Endogenous Endophthalmitis in the American and Korean Population: An 8-year Retrospective Study. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2016;:1-8.Abstract

PURPOSE: To study the clinical features of endogenous endophthalmitis (EE) in sample patient populations from the USA and South Korea over an 8-year period. METHODS: We reviewed data from 128 eyes of 60 American and 48 Korean patients diagnosed with EE and compared their clinical characteristics. RESULTS: Fungemia and liver abscess were the most common extraocular infection sources among American (26.7%) and Korean patients (33.3%), respectively. Klebsiella pneumoniae and Candida species were the most common pathogens of EE in the Korean and the American patients, respectively. Endophthalmitis caused by fungi had a better visual prognosis than that caused by bacteria (p = 0.001). Vitrectomy was beneficial for eyes with EE due to virulent bacteria presenting with worse than counting finger vision. CONCLUSIONS: The predisposing conditions and responsible organisms for EE vary in different regions of the world. The visual prognosis was strongly influenced by the underlying pathogen.

Ebrahimiadib N, Abusamra K, Domina AM, Stiles ER, Ewer R, Bocian CP, Foster SC. A Novel NOD2-associated Mutation and Variant Blau Syndrome: Phenotype and Molecular Analysis. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2016;:1-8.Abstract

PURPOSE: To describe the clinical and molecular implications of a novel mutation in the NOD2/CARD15 gene on a family and its seven affected members. METHODS: We reviewed the clinical presentations of family members who came to our center for refractory uveitis. Genetic testing and molecular testing was performed. RESULTS: All affected members had adult onset recurrent non-granulomatous panuveitis. The inheritance pattern suggested an autosomal dominant disease and genetic analysis identified a novel mutation in the NOD2 gene that converted amino acid 600 from glutamate to alanine (E600A). Transfection of the E600A NOD2 into human embryonic kidney-293 (HEK293) cells revealed constitutive activation and a reduced ability to respond to the NOD2 ligand, muramyl dipeptide (MDP) as compared with wild-type NOD2. CONCLUSIONS: The E600A mutation in the NOD2 gene may confer a higher penetrance of uveitis but a later onset of milder forms of non-ocular involvement.

Abusamra K, Oray M, Ebrahimiadib N, Lee S, Anesi S, Foster SC. Intraocular Lymphoma: Descriptive Data of 26 Patients Including Clinico-pathologic Features, Vitreous Findings, and Treatment Outcomes. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2016;:1-6.Abstract

PURPOSE: To describe clinical manifestations, diagnostic approaches, therapy, and outcomes of biopsy-proven intraocular lymphoma. METHODS: Review of tertiary referral center records between 2005 and 2015. RESULTS: A total of 51 eyes of 26 patients were included; mean age of onset was 60.42 years. Common ocular complaints included floaters (42%) and blurred vision (35%); 62% of patients had ocular and central nervous system involvement; 11% had systemic lymphoma; and 27% had only ocular involvement. Vitreous analysis was positive for malignant cells in 77% of patients on initial biopsy, and in 100% of patients on repeat biopsy. In total, 20/26 patients received systemic and topical treatment before IOL diagnosis was made; 25 patients received intravitreal methotrexate and/or rituximab; one patient received intracameral rituximab. All patients achieved remission by their final visit. CONCLUSIONS: Intraocular lymphoma often masquerades as intraocular inflammation, resulting in delayed or misdiagnosis with subsequent inappropriate management. Optimal therapy is a challenge for oncologists and ophthalmologists.

Cocho L, Gonzalez-Gonzalez LA, Molina-Prat N, Doctor P, Sainz-de-la-Maza M, Foster SC. Scleritis in patients with granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener). Br J Ophthalmol 2016;100(8):1062-5.Abstract

AIMS: To describe and compare clinical features, complications and outcomes in patients with granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA)-associated scleritis with those seen in idiopathic and other autoimmune-associated scleritis, and to further describe the features that may serve as an indicator of life-threatening systemic disease. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed electronic health records of all patients with scleritis seen at two tertiary care centres. Of 500 patients, 14 had GPA-associated scleritis and were included in this analysis. Measures included were age, gender, laterality, visual acuity and underlying systemic or ocular diseases. Clinical features (location, pain, inflammation) and ocular complications of these patients (decrease of vision, concomitant anterior uveitis and ocular hypertension) were studied and correlated. RESULTS: Fourteen of 500 patients with scleritis were GPA associated. Most of the patients with GPA-associated scleritis presented with sudden onset, bilateral, diffuse anterior scleral inflammation, with moderate-or-severe pain. Vision loss was not significantly different, and pain was more severe in these patients than in those with idiopathic scleritis. When compared with patients with other underlying autoimmune diseases, there were no significant differences found in epidemiological or clinical signs. Necrotising scleritis and corneal involvement were more commonly observed in GPA than in idiopathic scleritis and other autoimmune diseases and are often the presenting feature of the disease. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of necrotising changes or corneal involvement in the setting of scleral inflammation is highly suggestive of an underlying systemic vasculitis, of which GPA is the most common. These features should alert the doctor/optometrist and prompt a thorough diagnostic approach and an aggressive treatment given that it could reveal a life-threatening disease.

Fox AR, Gordon LK, Heckenlively JR, Davis JL, Goldstein DA, Lowder CY, Nussenblatt RB, Butler NJ, Dalal M, Jayasundera T, Smith WM, Lee RW, Adamus G, Chan C-C, Hooks JJ, Morgans CW, Detrick B, Sen NH. Consensus on the Diagnosis and Management of Nonparaneoplastic Autoimmune Retinopathy Using a Modified Delphi Approach. Am J Ophthalmol 2016;168:183-90.Abstract

PURPOSE: To develop diagnostic criteria for nonparaneoplastic autoimmune retinopathy (AIR) through expert panel consensus and to examine treatment patterns among clinical experts. DESIGN: Modified Delphi process. METHODS: A survey of uveitis specialists in the American Uveitis Society, a face-to-face meeting (AIR Workshop) held at the National Eye Institute, and 2 iterations of expert panel surveys were used in a modified Delphi process. The expert panel consisted of 17 experts, including uveitis specialists and researchers with expertise in antiretinal antibody detection. Supermajority consensus was used and defined as 75% of experts in agreement. RESULTS: There was unanimous agreement among experts regarding the categorization of autoimmune retinopathies as nonparaneoplastic and paraneoplastic, including cancer-associated retinopathy and melanoma-associated retinopathy. Diagnostic criteria and tests essential to the diagnosis of nonparaneoplastic AIR and multiple supportive criteria reached consensus. For treatment, experts agreed that corticosteroids and conventional immunosuppressives should be used (prescribed) as first- or second-line treatments, though a consensus agreed that biologics and intravenous immunoglobulin were considered appropriate in the treatment of nonparaneoplastic AIR patients regardless of the stage of disease. Experts agreed that more evidence is needed to treat nonparaneoplastic AIR patients with long-term immunomodulatory therapy and that there is enough equipoise to justify randomized, placebo-controlled trials to determine if nonparaneoplastic AIR patients should be treated with long-term immunomodulatory therapy. Regarding antiretinal antibody detection, consensus agreed that a standardized assay system is needed to detect serum antiretinal antibodies. Consensus agreed that an ideal assay should have a 2-tier design and that Western blot and immunohistochemistry should be the methods used to identify antiretinal antibodies. CONCLUSIONS: Consensus was achieved using a modified Delphi process to develop diagnostic criteria for nonparaneoplastic AIR. There is enough equipoise to justify randomized, placebo-controlled trials to determine whether patients with nonparaneoplastic AIR should be treated with long-term immunomodulatory therapy. Efforts to develop a standardized 2-tier assay system for the detection of antiretinal antibodies have been initiated as a result of this study.