Immunology and Uveitis

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FCRS AMDR, MBBS BB, MD TI, MBBS MS, MS AA, MD GDV, PhD RD, MS AK, DNB MSI, FRCSOphth WM, FRCSEd CSP, MD MP, FRCSGlasg HSL, FRCSEd TS, MD CL, MS BJ, MD NS, MS AM, DNB MP, MD KM, FRCSOphth JN, MD T-TI, DNB BK, MS BS, MD CE, PhD LR, MD A-DH, MD BB, MD IA, MD GDA, MD HCP, PhD B-AT, PhD G-LJJ, MD AS, MS BR, MS MB, MD ES, MD TA, MD NS, DNB AM, MD AS, MD VR, MS SR, MD SA, PhD SK, PhD ZM, MRCP KOM, PhD CET, PhD KJH, PhD NQD, FRCSOphth PC, MS GV. The Collaborative Ocular Tuberculosis Study (COTS)-1: A Multinational Review of 165 Patients with Tubercular Anterior Uveitis. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2020;:1-10.
Ferrara M, Eggenschwiler L, Stephenson A, Montieth A, Nakhoul N, Araùjo-Miranda R, Foster SC. The Challenge of Pediatric Uveitis: Tertiary Referral Center Experience in the United States. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2018;:1-8.Abstract
PURPOSE: To describe the distribution, clinical findings, visual outcomes, treatment, and complications of children with uveitis at a tertiary referral ophthalmic center. METHODS: Retrospective cohort study. We reviewed the medical records of all patients ≤16 years with uveitis referred to Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institution from March 2005 to July 2016. RESULTS: Of 286 included children, 62.24% were female. Mean age of onset was 8.4 years. The uveitis was mainly anterior (61.9%), recurrent (68.53%), bilateral (81.82%), and noninfectious (96.5%). Idiopathic cases accounted for 51.4%. The most frequent systemic association was juvenile idiopathic arthritis (34.96%). The majority of patients (78.32%) experienced complications. All patients, except one, needed systemic therapy. CONCLUSION: Pediatric uveitis is challenging to diagnose and manage, with frequent and potentially severe complications. Most cases were bilateral, recurrent, and idiopathic. Prompt referral to uveitis-specialized centers and an appropriate systemic therapy are mandatory for good visual outcomes.
Foster SC, Kothari S, Anesi SD, Vitale AT, Chu D, Metzinger JL, Cerón O. The Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Foundation preferred practice patterns of uveitis management. Surv Ophthalmol 2016;61(1):1-17.Abstract

Ocular inflammatory disease is a leading cause of vision loss worldwide. Uveitis encompasses a wide spectrum of pathology, both with respect to its etiology and the anatomic location within the eye. Inflammation can be confined to the eye and may also be seen systemically. The cornerstone of management of ocular inflammatory disease historically has been corticosteroids, which are invaluable in the immediate control of inflammation; however, corticosteroids are inappropriate for long-term use as they are associated with a wide array of toxic side effects. As we continue to learn more about the various etiologies and elucidate the basic science pathways and mechanisms of action that cause intraocular inflammation, new therapeutic approaches have evolved. They include employment of immunomodulatory agents (corticosteroid-sparing therapies) that have expanded our treatment options for these vision-threatening diseases. These pharmacologics provide therapy for ocular and systemic inflammation in an individualized, patient-tailored, stepladder approach with the ultimate goal of durable, corticosteroid-free remission. We review the preferred practice patterns of a tertiary care center specializing in ocular inflammatory 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.

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Gangaputra SS, Newcomb CW, Joffe MM, Dreger K, Begum H, Artornsombudh P, Pujari SS, Daniel E, Sen NH, Suhler EB, Thorne JE, Bhatt NP, Foster SC, Jabs DA, Nussenblatt RB, Rosenbaum JT, Levy-Clarke GA, Kempen JH, Kempen JH. Comparison Between Methotrexate and Mycophenolate Mofetil Monotherapy for the Control of Noninfectious Ocular Inflammatory Diseases. Am J Ophthalmol 2019;208:68-75.Abstract
PURPOSE: To compare mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) to methotrexate (MTX) as corticosteroid-sparing therapy for ocular inflammatory diseases. DESIGN: Retrospective analysis of cohort study data. METHODS: Participants were identified from the Systemic Immunosuppressive Therapy for Eye Diseases Cohort Study. Demographic and clinical characteristics were obtained via medical record review. The study included 352 patients who were taking single-agent immunosuppression with MTX or MMF at 4 tertiary uveitis clinics. Marginal structural models (MSM)-derived statistical weighting created a virtual population with covariates and censoring patterns balanced across alternative treatments. With this methodological approach, the results estimate what would have happened had none of the patients stopped their treatment. Survival analysis with stabilized MSM-derived weights simulated a clinical trial comparing MMF vs MTX for noninfectious inflammatory eye disorders. The primary outcome was complete control of inflammation on prednisone ≤10 mg/day, sustained for ≥30 days. RESULTS: The time to success was shorter (more favorable) for MMF than MTX (hazard ratio = 0.68, 95% confidence interval: 0.46-0.99). Adjusting for covariates, the proportion achieving success was higher at every point in time for MMF than MTX from 2 to 8 months, then converges at 9 months. The onset of corticosteroid-sparing success took more than 3 months for most patients in both groups. Outcomes of treatment (MMF vs MTX) were similar across all anatomic sites of inflammation. The incidence of stopping therapy for toxicity was similar in both groups. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that, on average, MMF may be faster than MTX in achieving corticosteroid-sparing success in ocular inflammatory diseases.
Grotting LA, Davoudi S, Uchiyama E, Lobo A-M, Papaliodis GN, Sobrin L. Pre-papillary vitreous opacities associated with Behçet's disease: a case series and review of the literature. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 2017;Abstract
PURPOSE: To present pre-papillary vitreous opacity as an uncommon manifestation of inflammation in Behçet's disease that may be specific to this uveitic entity. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed the charts of 67 patients with Behçet's disease examined at our clinic between 2005 and 2016. Behçet's disease was diagnosed based on established clinical criteria of inflammation involving the eyes, mucocutaneous junctions, and skin. Patients with Behçet's disease who presented with papillitis and a pre-papillary vitreous opacity were identified. Response to anti-inflammatory treatment on examination and optical coherence tomography imaging were evaluated. PubMed searches were performed for (1) other cases with pre-papillary vitreous opacities in uveitic entities and (2) reports of optic nerve involvement specifically in Behçet's disease. RESULTS: We identified three patients with Behçet's disease who presented with unilateral papillitis and a pre-papillary vitreous opacity. The pre-papillary vitreous opacity had a funnel-shaped appearance on optical coherence tomography. All patients were initially treated with steroids, which led to resolution of the opacity clinically and on imaging. We identified one previous report of such a pre-papillary opacity in a patient with Behçet's disease, and no reports of this finding in other uveitic entities. CONCLUSION: This study expands the number of Behçet's disease cases presenting with a pre-papillary vitreous opacity and demonstrates novel optical coherence imaging of this finding. This finding may be specific to Behçet's disease as it was not identified in other uveitic entities in a review of the existing literature.
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.

for the and Group WCMUST (MUST) TF-up SR, Kempen JH, Altaweel MM, Holbrook JT, Sugar EA, Thorne JE, Jabs DA. Association Between Long-Lasting Intravitreous Fluocinolone Acetonide Implant vs Systemic Anti-inflammatory Therapy and Visual Acuity at 7 Years Among Patients With Intermediate, Posterior, or Panuveitis. JAMA 2017;317(19):1993-2005.Abstract
Importance: A randomized clinical trial comparing fluocinolone acetonide implant vs systemic corticosteroids and immunosuppression for treatment of severe noninfectious intermediate, posterior, and panuveitides did not result in a significant difference in visual acuity at 2 and 4.5 years; longer-term outcomes are not known. Objective: To compare the association between intravitreous fluocinolone acetonide implant vs systemic therapy and long-term visual and other outcomes in patients with uveitis. Design, Setting, and Participants: Nonprespecified 7-year observational follow-up of the Multicenter Uveitis Steroid Treatment (MUST) randomized clinical trial comparing the alternative treatments. Follow-up was conducted in tertiary uveitis subspecialty practices in the United States (21), the United Kingdom (1), and Australia (1). Of 255 patients 13 years or older with intermediate, posterior, or panuveitis (active within ≤60 days) enrolled in the MUST trial between December 6, 2005, and December 9, 2008, 215 consented to ongoing follow-up through at least 7 years postrandomization (last visit, February 10, 2016). Interventions: Participants had been randomized to receive a surgically placed intravitreous fluocinolone acetonide implant or systemic corticosteroids supplemented by immunosuppression. When both eyes required treatment, both eyes were treated. Main Outcomes and Measures: Primary outcome was change from baseline in best-corrected visual acuity in uveitic eyes (5 letters = 1 visual acuity chart line; potential range of change in letters read, -121 to +101; minimal clinically important difference, 7 letters), analyzed by treatment assignment accounting for nonindependence of eyes when patients had 2 uveitic eyes. Secondary outcomes included potential systemic toxicities of corticosteroid and immunosuppressive therapy and death. Results: Seven-year data were obtained for 161 uveitic eyes (70% of 90 patients assigned to implant) and 167 uveitic eyes (71% of 90 patients assigned to systemic therapy) (77% female; median age at enrollment, 48 [interquartile range, 36-56] years). Change in mean visual acuity from baseline (implant, 61.7; systemic therapy, 65.0) through 7 years (implant, 55.8; systemic therapy, 66.2) favored systemic therapy by 7.2 (95% CI, 2.1-12) letters. Among protocol-specified, prospectively collected systemic adverse outcomes, the cumulative 7-year incidence in the implant and systemic therapy groups, respectively, was less than 10%, with the exceptions of hyperlipidemia (6.1% vs 11.2%), hypertension (9.8% vs 18.4%), osteopenia (41.5% vs 43.1%), fractures (11.3% vs 18.6%), hospitalization (47.6% vs 42.3%), and antibiotic-treated infection (57.4% vs 72.3%). Conclusions and Relevance: In 7-year extended follow-up of a randomized trial of patients with severe intermediate, posterior, or panuveitis, those randomized to receive systemic therapy had better visual acuity than those randomized to receive intravitreous fluocinolone acetonide implants. Study interpretation is limited by loss to follow-up. Trial Registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00132691.
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Hsu S-M, Mathew R, Taylor AW, Stein-Streilein J. Ex-vivo tolerogenic F4/80⁺ antigen-presenting cells (APC) induce efferent CD8⁺ regulatory T cell-dependent suppression of experimental autoimmune uveitis. Clin Exp Immunol 2014;176(1):37-48.Abstract
It is known that inoculation of antigen into the anterior chamber (a.c.) of a mouse eye induces a.c.-associated immune deviation (ACAID), which is mediated in part by antigen-specific local and peripheral tolerance to the inciting antigen. ACAID can also be induced in vivo by intravenous (i.v.) inoculation of ex-vivo-generated tolerogenic antigen-presenting cells (TolAPC). The purpose of this study was to test if in-vitro-generated retinal antigen-pulsed TolAPC suppressed established experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU). Retinal antigen-pulsed TolAPC were injected i.v. into mice 7 days post-induction of EAU. We observed that retinal antigen-pulsed TolAPC suppressed the incidence and severity of the clinical expression of EAU and reduced the expression of associated inflammatory cytokines. Moreover, extract of whole retina efficiently replaced interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein (IRBP) in the preparation of TolAPC used to induce tolerance in EAU mice. Finally, the suppression of EAU could be transferred to a new set of EAU mice with CD8⁺ but not with CD4⁺ regulatory T cells (T(reg)). Retinal antigen-pulsed TolAPC suppressed ongoing EAU by inducing CD8⁺ T(reg) cells that, in turn, suppressed the effector activity of the IRBP-specific T cells and altered the clinical symptoms of autoimmune inflammation in the eye. The ability to use retinal extract for the antigen raises the possibility that retinal extract could be used to produce autologous TolAPC and then used as therapy in human uveitis.
Hua J, Inomata T, Chen Y, Foulsham W, Stevenson W, Shiang T, Bluestone JA, Dana R. Pathological conversion of regulatory T cells is associated with loss of allotolerance. Sci Rep 2018;8(1):7059.Abstract
CD4CD25Foxp3 Regulatory T cells (Tregs) play a critical role in immune tolerance. The plasticity and functional adaptability of Tregs in an inflammatory microenvironment has been demonstrated in autoimmunity. Here, using a double transgenic mouse model that permits Foxp3 lineage tracing, we investigated the phenotypic plasticity of Foxp3 Tregs in a well-characterized murine model of corneal transplantation. In order to subvert the normal immune privilege of the cornea and foster an inflammatory milieu, host mice were exposed to desiccating stress prior to transplantation. Treg frequencies and function were decreased following desiccating stress, and this corresponded to decreased graft survival. A fraction of Tregs converted to IL-17 or IFNγ 'exFoxp3' T cells that were phenotypically indistinguishable from effector Th17 or Th1 cells, respectively. We investigated how Foxp3 expression is modulated in different Treg subsets, demonstrating that neuropilin-1 peripherally-derived Tregs are particularly susceptible to conversion to IL-17/IFNγ exFoxp3 cells in response to cues from their microenvironment. Finally, we show that IL-6 and IL-23 are implicated in the conversion of Tregs to exFoxp3 cells. This report demonstrates that the pathological conversion of Tregs contributes to the loss of corneal immune privilege.
Hunter RS, Skondra D, Papaliodis G, Sobrin L. Role of OCT in the diagnosis and management of macular edema from uveitis. Semin Ophthalmol 2012;27(5-6):236-41.Abstract
Uveitis is a potentially visually threatening disease accounting for 10% of vision loss in the developed world. The most common cause of vision loss in patients with uveitis has been shown to be macular edema (ME). The early detection and management of ME is critical to preserve vision in these patients. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a valuable tool in the management of many ocular diseases. The use of OCT has revolutionized the diagnosis and management of macular edema from a wide variety of ophthalmological diseases, including uveitis. In this review, we evaluate the role of OCT in the diagnosis and management of uveitic macular edema.
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Jaffe GJ, Foster SC, Pavesio CE, Paggiarino DA, Riedel GE. Effect of an Injectable Fluocinolone Acetonide Insert on Recurrence Rates in Chronic Noninfectious Uveitis Affecting the Posterior Segment: Twelve-Month Results. Ophthalmology 2019;126(4):601-610.Abstract
PURPOSE: To assess the safety and efficacy of an intravitreal fluocinolone acetonide (FA) insert to manage inflammation associated with chronic noninfectious posterior uveitis. DESIGN: Multicenter, randomized, prospective, doubled-masked, sham-controlled, 3-year phase 3 clinical trial. PARTICIPANTS: One hundred twenty-nine participants with recurrent noninfectious posterior uveitis were assigned randomly to FA insert (n = 87) or sham injection (n = 42). The more severely affected eye in participants with bilateral disease was designated as the study eye. METHODS: The insert (FA, 0.18 mg) was injected into the vitreous cavity; sham injection mimicked the insert delivery procedure. Ophthalmic examinations, OCT, and ocular tolerability and discomfort assessments were conducted; study visits were on days 7 and 28 and months 2, 3, 6, 9, and 12. Uveitis recurrence was treated as needed. The 6-month recurrence rate was the primary outcome measure. RESULTS: The 6-month (28% and 91%) and 12-month (38% and 98%) uveitis recurrence rates were significantly lower (P < 0.001) with FA insert vs. sham, respectively. Fewer recurrences per study eye (mean, 0.7 vs. 2.5), lower incidence of 15-letter or more decrease in best-corrected visual acuity (14% vs. 31%), and reduced systemic (19% vs. 40%) and local (7% vs. 62%) uveitis adjunctive treatments were observed with FA insert vs. sham, respectively. The FA insert group showed higher rates of cataract. Intraocular pressure-lowering treatment use was similar between groups. No deaths, treatment-related study discontinuations, or unanticipated safety signals were observed through 12 months. CONCLUSIONS: Chronic noninfectious posterior uveitis was managed successfully in this study population; FA insert eyes experienced fewer uveitis recurrence episodes, required fewer adjunctive treatments, and demonstrated less visual acuity loss compared with sham eyes. The FA insert treatment group showed higher rates of cataract; delivery by injection was not associated with an increase in ocular adverse events or any other safety measures not typically associated with local steroid use, suggesting the procedure is appropriate for an office setting.
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Kempen JH, Pistilli M, Begum H, Fitzgerald TD, Liesegang TL, Payal A, Zebardast N, Bhatt NP, Foster SC, Jabs DA, Levy-Clarke GA, Nussenblatt RB, Rosenbaum JT, Sen NH, Suhler EB, Thorne JE, for Group SITED (SITE) CSR. Remission of Non-Infectious Anterior Scleritis: Incidence and Predictive Factors. Am J Ophthalmol 2021;223:377-395.Abstract
PURPOSE: To assess how often non-infectious anterior scleritis remits and identify predictive factors. METHODS: Our retrospective cohort study at four ocular inflammation subspecialty centers collected data for each affected eye/patient at every visit from center inception (1978, 1978, 1984, 2005) until 2010. Remission was defined as inactivity of disease off all suppressive medications at all visits spanning at least three consecutive months or at all visits up to the last visit (to avoid censoring patients stopping follow-up after remission). Factors potentially predictive of remission were assessed using Cox regression models. RESULTS: During 1,906 years' aggregate follow-up of 832 affected eyes, remission occurred in 214 (170 of 584 patients). Median time-to-remission of scleritis = 7.8 years (95% confidence interval [CI]: 5.7, 9.5). More remissions occurred earlier than later during follow-up. Factors predictive of less scleritis remission included scleritis bilaterality (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] = 0.46, 95% CI: 0.32-0.65); and diagnosis with any systemic inflammatory disease (aHR = 0.36, 95% CI: 0.23-0.58), or specifically with Rheumatoid Arthritis (aHR = 0.22), or Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (aHR = 0.08). Statin treatment (aHR = 1.53, 95% CI: 1.03-2.26) within ≤90 days was associated with more remission incidence. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest scleritis remission occurs more slowly in anterior scleritis than in newly diagnosed anterior uveitis or chronic anterior uveitis, suggesting that attempts at tapering suppressive medications is warranted after long intervals of suppression. Remission is less frequently achieved when systemic inflammatory diseases are present. Confirmatory studies of whether adjunctive statin treatment truly can enhance scleritis remission (as suggested here) are needed.
Kempen JH, Van Natta ML, Friedman DS, Altaweel MM, Ansari H, Dunn JP, Elner SG, Holbrook JT, Lim LL, Sugar EA, Jabs DA, and Group MUST (MUST) TF-up SR. Incidence and Outcome of Uveitic Glaucoma in Eyes With Intermediate, Posterior, or Panuveitis Followed up to 10 Years After Randomization to Fluocinolone Acetonide Implant or Systemic Therapy. Am J Ophthalmol 2020;219:303-316.Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate long-term risk and outcomes of glaucoma in eyes with intermediate, posterior, and panuveitis managed with systemic or fluocinolone acetonide (0.59 mg, "implant") therapy. DESIGN: Prospective Follow-up of the Multicenter Uveitis Steroid Treatment (MUST) Clinical Trial Cohort. METHODS: Patients with intermediate, posterior, or panuveitis randomized to implant or systemic therapy (corticosteroid plus immunosuppression in >90%) were followed prospectively for glaucoma incidence and outcome. RESULTS: Among 405 uveitic at-risk eyes of 232 patients (median follow-up = 6.9 years), 40% (79/196) of eyes assigned and treated with implant and 8% (17/209) of eyes assigned and treated with systemic therapy (censoring eyes receiving an implant on implantation) developed glaucoma (hazard ratio [HR] = 5.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.2, 10.8; P < .001). Adjustment for intraocular pressure (IOP) elevation during follow-up only partially mitigated the association of implant treatment with glaucoma incidence: HR = 3.1 (95% CI 1.6, 6.0); P = .001. Among 112 eyes of 83 patients developing glaucoma, the 5-year cumulative incidence following diagnosis of sustained (2 or more consecutive visits) worsening of mean deviation by ≥6 dB was 20% (95% CI 12%, 33%); 5-year cumulative incidence of sustained worsening of cup-to-disc ratio by ≥0.2 was 26% (95% CI 17%, 39%). CONCLUSIONS: The implant has substantially higher risk of glaucoma than systemic therapy, a difference not entirely explained by posttreatment IOP elevation. Management of IOP elevation was effective in preventing worsening of glaucoma for the large majority of cases, but even under expert clinical management, some glaucoma worsened. Uveitis cases should be monitored carefully for IOP elevation and glaucoma indefinitely.
Kempen JH, Gewaily DY, Newcomb CW, Liesegang TL, Kaçmaz OR, Levy-Clarke GA, Nussenblatt RB, Rosenbaum JT, Sen NH, Suhler EB, Thorne JE, Foster SC, Jabs DA, Payal A, Fitzgerald TD, for Group SITED (SITE) R. Remission of Intermediate Uveitis: Incidence and Predictive Factors. Am J Ophthalmol 2016;164:110-117.e2.Abstract

PURPOSE: To evaluate the incidence of remission among patients with intermediate uveitis; to identify factors potentially predictive of remission. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. METHODS: Involved eyes of patients with primary noninfectious intermediate uveitis at 4 academic ocular inflammation subspecialty practices, followed sufficiently long to meet the remission outcome definition, were studied retrospectively by standardized chart review data. Remission of intermediate uveitis was defined as a lack of inflammatory activity at ≥2 visits spanning ≥90 days in the absence of any corticosteroid or immunosuppressant medications. Factors potentially predictive of intermediate uveitis remission were evaluated using survival analysis. RESULTS: Among 849 eyes (of 510 patients) with intermediate uveitis followed over 1934 eye-years, the incidence of intermediate uveitis remission was 8.6/100 eye-years (95% confidence interval [CI], 7.4-10.1). Factors predictive of disease remission included prior pars plana vitrectomy (PPV) (hazard ratio [HR] [vs no PPV] = 2.39; 95% CI, 1.42-4.00), diagnosis of intermediate uveitis within the last year (HR [vs diagnosis >5 years ago] =3.82; 95% CI, 1.91-7.63), age ≥45 years (HR [vs age <45 years] = 1.79; 95% CI, 1.03-3.11), female sex (HR = 1.61; 95% CI, 1.04-2.49), and Hispanic race/ethnicity (HR [vs white race] = 2.81; 95% CI, 1.23-6.41). Presence/absence of a systemic inflammatory disease, laterality of uveitis, and smoking status were not associated with differential incidence. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that intermediate uveitis is a chronic disease with an overall low rate of remission. Recently diagnosed patients and older, female, and Hispanic patients were more likely to remit. With regard to management, pars plana vitrectomy was associated with increased probability of remission.

Kothari S, Foster SC, Pistilli M, Liesegang TL, Daniel E, Sen NH, Suhler EB, Thorne JE, Jabs DA, Levy-Clarke GA, Nussenblatt RB, Rosenbaum JT, Lawrence SD, Kempen JH, for Eye Diseases Group SITR. The Risk of Intraocular Pressure Elevation inPediatric Noninfectious Uveitis. Ophthalmology 2015;122(10):1987-2001.Abstract

PURPOSE: To characterize the risk and risk factors for intraocular pressure (IOP) elevation in pediatric noninfectious uveitis. DESIGN: Multicenter retrospective cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Nine hundred sixteen children (1593 eyes) younger than 18 years at presentation with noninfectious uveitis followed up between January 1978 and December 2007 at 5 academic uveitis centers in the United States. METHODS: Medical records review by trained, certified experts. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Prevalence and incidence of IOP of 21 mmHg or more and 30 mmHg or more and incidence of a rise in IOP by 10 mmHg or more. To avoid underascertainment, outcomes were counted as present when IOP-lowering therapies were in use. RESULTS: Initially, 251 (15.8%) and 46 eyes (2.9%) had IOP ≥21 mmHg and ≥30 mmHg, respectively. Factors significantly associated with presenting IOP elevation included age of 6 to 12 years (versus other pediatric ages), prior cataract surgery, pars plana vitrectomy, duration of uveitis ≥6 months, contralateral IOP elevation, presenting visual acuity worse than 20/40, and topical corticosteroid use (in a dose-response relationship). The median follow-up was 1.25 years (interquartile range, 0.4-3.66). The estimated incidence of any observed IOP elevation to ≥21 mmHg, to ≥30 mmHg, and increase in IOP by ≥10 mmHg was 33.4%, 14.8%, and 24.4%, respectively, within 2 years. Factors associated with IOP elevation included pars plana vitrectomy, contralateral IOP elevation (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], up to 9.54; P < 0.001), and the use of topical (aHR, up to 8.77 that followed a dose-response relationship; P < 0.001), periocular (aHR, up to 7.96; P < 0.001), and intraocular (aHR, up to 19.7; P < 0.001) corticosteroids. CONCLUSIONS: Intraocular pressure elevation affects a large minority of children with noninfectious uveitis. Statistically significant risk factors include IOP elevation or use of IOP-lowering treatment in the contralateral eye and local corticosteroid use that demonstrated a dose-and route of administration-dependent relationship. In contrast, use of immunosuppressive drug therapy did not increase such risk. Pediatric eyes with noninfectious uveitis should be followed up closely for IOP elevation, especially when strong risk factors such as the use of local corticosteroids and contralateral IOP elevation are present.

Kruh JN, Yang P, Suelves AM, Foster SC. Infliximab for the treatment of refractory noninfectious Uveitis: a study of 88 patients with long-term follow-up. Ophthalmology 2014;121(1):358-364.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: To establish the safety and efficacy of infliximab for the treatment of refractory noninfectious uveitis. DESIGN: Retrospective, interventional, noncomparative cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Eighty-eight patients from a single-center private practice. METHODS: Patients with chronic, recalcitrant uveitis treated with infliximab (Remicade; Janssen Biotech, Inc., Titusville, NJ) were identified through an electronic medical record database. All charts were reviewed for sex, diagnosis, location of inflammation, presence of vasculitis, prior immunomodulatory treatments, duration of infliximab treatment, dose received, secondary side effects, and other medications continued while receiving treatment with infliximab. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome measures were the rate of remission, time to remission, relapse rate, failure rate, and patient tolerance. Additional analysis aimed to identity risk factors that would predict a higher success rate of infliximab to treat various types of noninfectious uveitis. RESULTS: Of the 72 patients (81.8%) who achieved clinical remission while being treated with infliximab, 42 (58.3%) required additional immunomodulatory medications. At 7, 18.1, and 44.7 weeks, 25%, 50%, and 75% of patients, respectively, achieved clinical remission off all corticosteroids. Thirty-two patients (36.4%) experienced at least 1 side effect while on infliximab therapy, and 17 patients (19.3%) discontinued treatment secondary to 1 or more intolerable side effects. The most common adverse effects were skin rash (9.1%) and fatigue (8%). Factors associated with a higher chance to achieve clinical remission were nonidiopathic uveitis (P < 0.001), intermediate or panuveitis (P < 0.001), absence of vasculitis (P < 0.001), and a starting dose ≥5 mg/kg (P < 0.011). CONCLUSIONS: Infliximab induces a high rate of complete clinical remission in recalcitrant uveitis and is well tolerated by most patients.
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Lasave AF, You C, Ma L, Abusamra K, Lamba N, Valdes Navarro M, Meese H, Foster SC. LONG-TERM OUTCOMES OF RITUXIMAB THERAPY IN PATIENTS WITH NONINFECTIOUS POSTERIOR UVEITIS REFRACTORY TO CONVENTIONAL IMMUNOSUPPRESSIVE THERAPY. Retina 2018;38(2):395-402.Abstract
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.
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.

Levin MH, Pistilli M, Daniel E, Gangaputra SS, Nussenblatt RB, Rosenbaum JT, Suhler EB, Thorne JE, Foster SC, Jabs DA, Levy-Clarke GA, Kempen JH. Incidence of visual improvement in uveitis cases with visual impairment caused by macular edema. Ophthalmology 2014;121(2):588-95.e1.Abstract
PURPOSE: Among cases of visually significant uveitic macular edema (ME), to estimate the incidence of visual improvement and identify predictive factors. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Eyes with uveitis, seen at 5 academic ocular inflammation centers in the United States, for which ME was documented to be currently present and the principal cause of reduced visual acuity (<20/40). METHODS: Data were obtained by standardized chart review. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Decrease of ≥ 0.2 base 10 logarithm of visual acuity decimal fraction-equivalent; risk factors for such visual improvement. RESULTS: We identified 1510 eyes (of 1077 patients) with visual impairment to a level <20/40 attributed to ME. Most patients were female (67%) and white (76%), and had bilateral uveitis (82%). The estimated 6-month incidence of ≥ 2 lines of visual acuity improvement in affected eyes was 52% (95% confidence interval [CI], 49%-55%). Vision reduced by ME was more likely to improve by 2 lines in eyes initially with poor visual acuity (≤ 20/200; adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 1.5; 95% CI, 1.3-1.7), active uveitis (HR, 1.3; 95% CI, 1.1-1.5), and anterior uveitis as opposed to intermediate (HR, 1.2), posterior (HR, 1.3), or panuveitis (HR, 1.4; overall P = 0.02). During follow-up, reductions in anterior chamber or vitreous cellular activity or in vitreous haze each led to significant improvements in visual outcome (P <0.001 for each). Conversely, snowbanking (HR, 0.7; 95% CI, 0.4-0.99), posterior synechiae (HR, 0.8; 95% CI, 0.6-0.9), and hypotony (HR, 0.2; 95% CI, 0.06-0.5) each were associated with lower incidence of visual improvement with respect to eyes lacking each of these attributes at a given visit. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that many, but not all, patients with ME causing low vision in a tertiary care setting will enjoy meaningful visual recovery in response to treatment. Evidence of significant ocular damage from inflammation (posterior synechiae and hypotony) portends a lower incidence of visual recovery. Better control of anterior chamber or vitreous activity is associated with a greater incidence of visual improvement, supporting an aggressive anti-inflammatory treatment approach for ME cases with active inflammation.

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