Immunology and Uveitis

Immunology and Uveitis Publications

Mazzarino RC. Targeting Future Pandemics, a Case for De Novo Purine Synthesis and Basic Research. Front Immunol 2021;12:694300.Abstract
We are currently experiencing a deadly novel viral pandemic with no efficacious, readily available anti-viral therapies to SARS-CoV-2. Viruses will hijack host cellular machinery, including metabolic processes. Here, I provide theory and evidence for targeting the host de novo purine synthetic pathway for broad spectrum anti-viral drug development as well as the pursuit of basic science to mitigate the risks of future novel viral outbreaks.
Maleki A, Anesi SD, Look-Why S, Manhapra A, Foster SC. Pediatric uveitis: A comprehensive review. Surv Ophthalmol 2021;Abstract
Pediatric uveitis accounts for 5-10% of all uveitis. Uveitis in children differs from adult uveitis in that it is commonly asymptomatic and can become chronic and cause chronic damage to ocular structures. The diagnosis might be delayed for multiple reasons, including the preverbal age and difficulties in examining young children. Pediatric uveitis may be infectious or non-infectious in etiology. The etiology of non-infectious uveitis is presumed to be autoimmune or autoinflammatory. The most common causes of uveitis in this age group are idiopathic and juvenile idiopathic arthritis-associated uveitis. The stepladder approach for the treatment of pediatric uveitis is based on expert opinion and algorithms proposed by multidisciplinary panels. Uveitis morbidities in pediatric patients include cataract, glaucoma, and amblyopia. Pediatric patients with uveitis should be frequently examined until remission is achieved. Once in remission, the interval between follow-up visits can be extended; however, it is recommended that even after remission the child should be seen every 8-12 weeks depending on the history of uveitis and the medications used. Close follow up is also necessary as uveitis can flare up during immunomodulatory therapy. It is crucial to measure the impact of uveitis, it's treatment, and it's complications on the child and the child's family. Visual acuity can be considered as an acceptable criterion for assessing visual function. Additionally, the number of cells in the anterior chamber can be a measure of disease activity. We review different aspects of pediatric uveitis. We discuss the mechanisms of noninfectious uveitis, including autoimmune and autoinflammatory etiologies, and the risks of developing uveitis in children with systemic rheumatologic diseases. We address the risk factors for developing morbidities, the Standardization of Uveitis Nomenclature (SUN) criteria for timing and anatomical classifications and describe a stepladder approach in the treatment of pediatric uveitis based on expert opinion and algorithms proposed by multi-disciplinary panels. We describe the most common entities for each type of anatomical classification and complications of uveitis for the pediatric population. Additionally, we address monitoring of children with uveitis and evaluation of Quality of Life.
Sharon Y, Anesi SD, Martinez CE, Huang AJW, Foster CS, Chu DS. Repository Corticotropin Injection as an Alternative Treatment for Refractory Ocular Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid. Cornea 2021;Abstract
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to report the clinical course and outcome of patients with refractory ocular mucous membrane pemphigoid (MMP) treated by repository corticotropin injection (RCI). METHODS: Patients with biopsy-proven ocular MMP treated with RCI from 3 tertiary medical centers were evaluated. Medical records between January 2013 and January 2021 were reviewed and deidentified to retrieve relevant disease-related data. Primary outcome measures included conjunctival inflammatory activity, change in Foster clinical conjunctival scarring staging after RCI treatment, and the development of ocular and systemic complications. RESULTS: Included were 15 patients (10 women and 5 men; 36-95 yrs of age) with a mean follow-up of 4.5 years. Most of the patients (80%) had Foster stage 3 at presentation, and all patients had active MMP. Each patient had failed to respond to at least 1 immunomodulatory drug during the follow-up, and 9 (60%) patients had treatment failure of at least 2 other agents before the use of RCI. The mean duration of RCI treatment was 21 months (range, 3-54 mo). Foster stage did not change in any of the 15 patients at the last follow-up. Nine patients continued RCI therapy at the last follow-up, and in all of them, the disease activity of MMP was well controlled. No serious adverse events because of RCI were documented during the follow-up in any treated patient. CONCLUSIONS: RCI may serve as an alternative or an adjunctive treatment in patients with severe and refractory ocular MMP. Treatment with RCI seems to be safe and well-tolerated.
Sobrin L, Yu Y, Han S, Susarla G, Kempen JH, Hubbard RA, VanderBeek BL. Risk of Non-infectious Uveitis with Metformin Therapy in a Large Healthcare Claims Database. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2021;:1-7.Abstract
PURPOSE: To determine if metformin is associated with noninfectious uveitis (NIU). METHODS: Patients in an insurance claims database who initiated metformin (n = 359,139) or other oral anti-diabetic medications (n = 162,847) were followed for NIU development. Both cohort and case-control analyses were performed to assess differing exposure lengths using Cox and conditional logistic regression, respectively. RESULTS: The hazard ratio (HR) for incident NIU was not significantly different between the metformin and non-metformin cohorts [HR = 1.19, 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.92-1.54, = .19]. The case control analysis similarly showed no association between any metformin use 2 years before the outcome date and NIU [odds ratio (OR) = 0.64, 95% CI: 0.39-1.04, = .07]. However, there was a protective 20 association between cumulative metformin duration [(445-729 days) adjusted OR (aOR) = 0.49, 95% CI: 0.27-0.90, = .02] and dosage (>390,000 mg aOR = 0.44, 95% CI: 0.25-0.78, = .001) compared with no metformin use. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest metformin use for longer durations may be protective of NIU onset.
Nguyen QD, Anesi SD, Chexal S, Chu DS, Dayani PN, Leng T, Meleth AD, Sallam AA, Sheppard JD, Silverstein SM, Toyos M, Wang RC, Foster CS. Management of repository corticotropin injection therapy for non-infectious uveitis: a Delphi study. Acta Ophthalmol 2021;Abstract
PURPOSE: Diagnosis and management of non-infectious uveitis (NIU), a major cause of blindness worldwide, are challenging. Corticosteroids, the cornerstone of therapy, are not appropriate for long-term use, and while non-biologic and biologic immunomodulators may be used for some patients, data on their efficacy and safety in this population are limited. Repository corticotropin injection (RCI), believed to affect uveitis by multiple mechanisms, has received regulatory approval for treatment of ophthalmic diseases including posterior uveitis, but is not widely used or discussed in guidelines for the management of uveitis and ocular inflammatory diseases. METHODS: The index study employed a modified Delphi process with a panel of 14 US-based ophthalmologists. Consensus recommendations were developed through a series of three questionnaires. Panellists rated statements on a Likert scale from -5 (strongly disagree) to +5 (strongly agree). RESULTS: The Delphi panel provided consensus recommendations on examinations and testing needed for diagnosis, treatment goals, and the use of corticosteroids, as well as the use of non-biologic and biologic immunomodulators. The panel reached consensus that RCI may be considered for posterior and pan-uveitis, and dosing should be individualized for each patient. Dose reduction/discontinuation should be considered for excessive RCI-related toxicity, hyperglycaemia and/or diabetic complications, excessive costs, or remission ≥ 2 years. Patients should be weaned from RCI if uveitis is stable and well controlled. Adverse events during RCI therapy can be managed by appropriate interventions, with dose reduction/discontinuation considered if events are severe or recurrent. CONCLUSIONS: Expert consensus suggests RCI may be an appropriate treatment option for some patients with uveitis when other therapies are ineffective or intolerable.
Maleki A, Garcia CM, Asgari S, Manhapra A, Foster CS. Response to the Second TNF-α Inhibitor (Adalimumab or Infliximab) after Failing the First One in Refractory Idiopathic Inflammatory Retinal Vascular Leakage. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2021;:1-10.Abstract
: To determine the response to the second TNF-α inhibitor (adalimumab and infliximab) after failing the first agent in idiopathic inflammatory retinal vascular leakage.: This was a retrospective observational case series. Patients with the diagnosis of idiopathic inflammatory retinal vascular leakage who had received both infliximab and adalimumab were included in the study.: Twelve and 15 patients received adalimumab (Group one) and infliximab (Group two) as the first treatment, respectively. The remission rates between Group one (58.3%) and Group two (66.7%) were not statistically significant. ( = .4) As the second agent, adalimumab was more effective in younger patients (27.5 ± 20.6) compared to older patients (48.75 ± 10.2). ( = .03). Moreover, patients with lower vision responded marginally better to infliximab as the second treatment ( = .06).: Either TNF-α inhibitor, adalimumab and infliximab, can be employed in the treatment of the patients with idiopathic inflammatory retinal vascular leakage who fail one of these agents.
Brill D, Papaliodis G. Uveitis Specialists Harnessing Disruptive Technology during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond. Semin Ophthalmol 2021;36(4):296-303.Abstract
Spurred by the coronavirus disease pandemic and shortage of eye care providers, telemedicine is transforming the way ophthalmologists care for their patients. Video conferencing, ophthalmic imaging, hybrid visits, intraocular inflammation quantification, and portable technology are evolving areas that may allow more uveitis patients to be evaluated via telemedicine. Despite these promising disruptive technologies, there remain significant technological limitations, legal barriers, variable insurance coverage for virtual visits, and lack of clinical trials for uveitis specialists to embrace telemedicine.
Minkus CL, Pistilli M, Dreger KA, Fitzgerald TD, Payal AR, Begum H, Kaçmaz OR, Jabs DA, Nussenblatt RB, Rosenbaum JT, Levy-Clarke GA, Sen NH, Suhler EB, Thorne JE, Bhatt NP, Foster SC, Buchanich JM, Kempen JH, for Group SITED (SITE) CSR. Risk of Cataract in Intermediate Uveitis. Am J Ophthalmol 2021;Abstract
PURPOSE: To determine the incidence of and predictive factors for cataract in intermediate uveitis. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study METHODS: Patients were identified from the Systemic Immunosuppressive Therapy for Eye Diseases (SITE) Cohort Study, in which medical records were reviewed to determine demographic and clinical data of every eye/patient at every visit at five participating United States tertiary care uveitis centers. The primary outcome was development of vision-compromising cataract as defined by a decrease in visual acuity to 20/40 or less, or requiring cataract surgery. Survival analysis assessed visually defined cataract to avoid bias due to timing of surgery vis-à-vis inflammatory status. RESULTS: Among 2,190 eyes of 1,302 patients with intermediate uveitis the cumulative incidence of cataract formation was 7.6% by one year (95% CI=6.2-9.1%), increasing to 36.6% by ten years (95% CI=31.2-41.6%). Increased cataract risk was observed in eyes with concurrent anterior uveitis causing posterior synechiae (HR=2.68, 95% CI=2.00-3.59, p<0.001), and in eyes with epiretinal membrane formation (HR=1.54, 95% CI=1.15-2.07, p=0.004). Higher dose corticosteroid therapy was associated with significantly higher incidence of cataract, especially time-updated use of topical corticosteroids ≥2 times/day or ≥4 periocular corticosteroid injections. Low dose corticosteroid medications (oral prednisone 7.5mg daily or less, or topical corticosteroid drops <2 times/day) were not associated with increased cataract risk. CONCLUSIONS: Our study found that the incidence of clinically important cataract in intermediate uveitis is moderate. The risk is higher with markers of severity, and with higher doses of corticosteroid medications, the latter being potentially modifiable.
Agrawal R, Testi I, Bodaghi B, Barisani-Asenbauer T, McCluskey P, Agarwal A, Kempen JH, Gupta A, Smith JR, De Smet MD, Yuen YS, Mahajan S, Kon OM, Nguyen QD, Pavesio C, Gupta V, Gupta V. Collaborative Ocular Tuberculosis Study Consensus Guidelines on the Management of Tubercular Uveitis-Report 2: Guidelines for Initiating Antitubercular Therapy in Anterior Uveitis, Intermediate Uveitis, Panuveitis, and Retinal Vasculitis. Ophthalmology 2021;128(2):277-287.Abstract
TOPIC: The Collaborative Ocular Tuberculosis Study (COTS), supported by the International Ocular Inflammation Society, International Uveitis Study Group, and Foster Ocular Immunological Society, set up an international, expert-led consensus project to develop evidence- and experience-based guidelines for the management of tubercular uveitis (TBU). CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The absence of international agreement on the use of antitubercular therapy (ATT) in patients with TBU contributes to a significant heterogeneity in the approach to the management of this condition. METHODS: Consensus statements for the initiation of ATT in TBU were generated using a 2-step modified Delphi technique. In Delphi step 1, a smart web-based survey based on background evidence from published literature was prepared to collect the opinion of 81 international experts on the use of ATT in different clinical scenarios. The survey included 324 questions related to tubercular anterior uveitis (TAU), tubercular intermediate uveitis (TIU), tubercular panuveitis (TPU), and tubercular retinal vasculitis (TRV) administered by the experts, after which the COTS group met in November 2019 for a systematic and critical discussion of the statements in accordance with the second round of the modified Delphi process. RESULTS: Forty-four consensus statements on the initiation of ATT in TAU, TIU, TPU, and TRV were obtained, based on ocular phenotypes suggestive of TBU and corroborative evidence of tuberculosis, provided by several combinations of immunologic and radiologic test results. Experts agreed on initiating ATT in recurrent TAU, TIU, TPU, and active TRV depending on the TB endemicity. In the presence of positive results for any 1 of the immunologic tests along with radiologic features suggestive of past evidence of tuberculosis infection. In patients with a first episode of TAU, consensus to initiate ATT was reached only if both immunologic and radiologic test results were positive. DISCUSSION: The COTS consensus guidelines were generated based on the evidence from published literature, specialists' opinions, and logic construction to address the initiation of ATT in TBU. The guidelines also should inform public policy by adding specific types of TBU to the list of conditions that should be treated as tuberculosis.
Sobrin L, Yu Y, Li A, Kempen JH, Hubbard RA, VanderBeek BL. Angiotensin Converting Enzyme-Inhibitors and Incidence of Non-infectious Uveitis in a Large Healthcare Claims Database. Ophthalmic Epidemiol 2021;:1-6.Abstract
: To determine if angiotensin converting enzyme-inhibitors (ACE-I) alter the incidence of non-infectious uveitis (NIU). Patients in a large healthcare claims database who initiated ACE-I (n = 695,557) were compared to patients who initiated angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB, n = 354,295). A second comparison was also made between patients who initiated ACE-I (n = 505,958) and those who initiated beta-blockers (BB, n = 538,109). The primary outcome was incident NIU defined as a first diagnosis code for NIU followed by a second instance of a NIU code within 120 days. For the secondary outcome, a corticosteroid prescription or code for an ocular corticosteroid injection within 120 days of the NIU diagnosis code was used instead of the second NIU diagnosis code. Data were analyzed using Cox regression modeling with inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW). Sub-analyses were performed by anatomic subtype. When comparing ACE-I to ARB initiators, the hazard ratio (HR) for incident NIU was not significantly different for the primary outcome [HR = 0.95, 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.85-1.07, = .41] or secondary outcome [HR = 0.96, 95% CI: 0.86-1.07, = .44]. Similarly, in the ACE-I and BB initiators comparison, the HR for incident NIU was not significantly different comparing ACE-I and BB initiators for either outcome definition or any of the NIU anatomical subtypes. Our results suggest there is no evidence that ACE-I have a protective effect on NIU.
Pistilli M, Gangaputra SS, Pujari SS, Jabs DA, Levy-Clarke GA, Nussenblatt RB, Rosenbaum JT, Sen NH, Suhler EB, Thorne JE, Bhatt NP, Foster SC, Begum H, Fitzgerald TD, Dreger KA, Kempen JH. Contemporaneous Risk Factors for Visual Acuity in Non-Infectious Uveitis. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2021;:1-8.Abstract
INTRODUCTION: We evaluated the associations of clinical and demographic characteristics with visual acuity (VA) with over 5 years in a subspecialty noninfectious uveitis population. METHODS: Retrospective data from 5,530 noninfectious uveitis patients were abstracted by expert reviewers, and contemporaneous associations of VA with demographic and clinical factors were modeled. RESULTS: Patients were a median of 41 years old, 65% female, and 73% white. Eyes diagnosed ≥5 years prior to cohort entry had worse VA (-1.2 lines) than those diagnosed <6 months prior, and eyes with cataract surgery performed prior to entry had worse VA (-5.9 lines) than those performed during follow-up. Vitreous haze (-4.2 lines for 3+ vs quiet), hypotony (-2.5 lines for ≤5 mm Hg vs 6-23 mm Hg), and CNV (-1.8 lines) all were strongly associated with reduced VA. CONCLUSION: Factors associated with reduced VA included well-known structural complications, and lack of subspecialty care during cataract surgery.
Agrawal R, Testi I, Mahajan S, Yuen YS, Agarwal A, Kon OM, Barisani-Asenbauer T, Kempen JH, Gupta A, Jabs DA, Smith JR, Nguyen QD, Pavesio C, Gupta V, Gupta V. Collaborative Ocular Tuberculosis Study Consensus Guidelines on the Management of Tubercular Uveitis-Report 1: Guidelines for Initiating Antitubercular Therapy in Tubercular Choroiditis. Ophthalmology 2021;128(2):266-276.Abstract
TOPIC: An international, expert-led consensus initiative organized by the Collaborative Ocular Tuberculosis Study (COTS), along with the International Ocular Inflammation Society and the International Uveitis Study Group, systematically developed evidence- and experience-based recommendations for the treatment of tubercular choroiditis. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The diagnosis and management of tubercular uveitis (TBU) pose a significant challenge. Current guidelines and literature are insufficient to guide physicians regarding the initiation of antitubercular therapy (ATT) in patients with TBU. METHODS: An international expert steering subcommittee of the COTS group identified clinical questions and conducted a systematic review of the published literature on the use of ATT for tubercular choroiditis. Using an interactive online questionnaire, guided by background knowledge from published literature, 81 global experts (including ophthalmologists, pulmonologists, and infectious disease physicians) generated preliminary consensus statements for initiating ATT in tubercular choroiditis, using Oxford levels of medical evidence. In total, 162 statements were identified regarding when to initiate ATT in patients with tubercular serpiginous-like choroiditis, tuberculoma, and tubercular focal or multifocal choroiditis. The COTS group members met in November 2018 to refine these statements by a 2-step modified Delphi process. RESULTS: Seventy consensus statements addressed the initiation of ATT in the 3 subtypes of tubercular choroiditis, and in addition, 10 consensus statements were developed regarding the use of adjunctive therapy in tubercular choroiditis. Experts agreed on initiating ATT in tubercular choroiditis in the presence of positive results for any 1 of the positive immunologic tests along with radiologic features suggestive of tuberculosis. For tubercular serpiginous-like choroiditis and tuberculoma, positive results from even 1 positive immunologic test were considered sufficient to recommend ATT, even if there were no radiologic features suggestive of tuberculosis. DISCUSSION: Consensus guidelines were developed to guide the initiation of ATT in patients with tubercular choroiditis, based on the published literature, expert opinion, and practical experience, to bridge the gap between clinical need and available medical evidence.
Ruiz-Lozano RE, Garza-Garza LA, Cavazos-Davila O, Foster SC, Rodriguez-Garcia A. The Clinical and Pathogenic Spectrum of Surgically-Induced Scleral Necrosis. A Review. Surv Ophthalmol 2021;Abstract
The onset of scleral necrosis after ocular surgery can have catastrophic ocular and systemic consequences. The two most frequent surgeries causing surgically-induced scleral necrosis (SISN) are pterygium excision and cataract extraction. Several pathogenic mechanisms are involved in SISN. All of them are poorly understood. Ocular trauma increasing lytic action of collagenases with subsequent collagen degradation, vascular disruption leading to local ischemia, and immune complex deposition activating the complement system represents some of the events that lead to scleral necrosis. The complex cascade of events involving different pathogenic mechanisms and the patient's abnormal immune response frequently leads to delayed wound healing that predisposes the development of scleral necrosis. The management of SISN ranges from short-term systemic anti-inflammatory drugs to aggressive immunosuppressive therapy and surgical repair. Therefore, before performing any ocular surgery involving the sclera, a thorough ophthalmic and systemic evaluation must be done to identify high-risk patients that may develop SISN.
Ebrahimiadib N, Maleki A, Fadakar K, Manhapra A, Ghassemi F, Foster SC. Vascular Abnormalities in Uveitis. Surv Ophthalmol 2021;Abstract
Inflammation can involve several ocular structures, including the sclera, retina, uvea, and cause vascular changes in these tissues. Although retinal vasculitis is the most common finding associated with uveitis involving the posterior segment, other vascular abnormalities may be seen in the retina. These include capillary non perfusion and ischemia, vascular occlusions, pre-retinal neovascularization, micro- and macro-aneurysms, and telangiectasia. Moreover, vasoproliferative tumors and subsequent Coat-like response can develop secondary to uveitis. Fluorescein angiography is ideal for the investigation of retinal vascular leakage and neovascularization, while optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) can provide depth resolved images from the superficial and deep capillary plexus and can demonstrate vascular remodeling. Choroidal vascular abnormalities primarily develop in the choriocapillaris or in the choroidal stroma, and can appear as flow void in OCTA and filling defect and vascular leakage in indocyanine green angiography. Extensive choriocapillaris non-perfusion in the presence of choroidal inflammation can increase the risk of choroidal neovascular membrane development. Iris vascular changes may manifest as dilation of vessels in stroma due to inflammation or rubeosis that is usually from ischemia in retinal periphery secondary to chronic inflammation. More severe forms of scleral inflammation, such as necrotizing scleritis, are associated with vascular occlusion in the deep episcleral plexus, which can lead to necrosis of sclera layer and uveal exposure.

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