Immunology and Uveitis

Roldan AM, Zebardast N, Pistilli M, Khachatryan N, Payal A, Begum H, Artornsombudh P, Pujari SS, Rosenbaum JT, Sen NH, Suhler EB, Thorne JE, Bhatt NP, Foster SC, Jabs DA, Levy-Clarke GA, Nussenblatt RB, Buchanich JM, Kempen JH, for Group SITED (SITE) CSR. Corneal Endothelial Transplantation in Uveitis: Incidence and Risk Factors. Am J Ophthalmol 2021;Abstract
PURPOSE: To estimate the incidence of corneal endothelial transplantation and identify risk factors among patients with non-infectious ocular inflammation. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. METHODS: Adult patients attending United States tertiary uveitis care facilities diagnosed with non-infectious ocular inflammation were identified from the Systemic Immunosuppressive Therapy for Eye Diseases Cohort Study. Time-to-event analysis was used to estimate the incidence of corneal endothelial transplantation (CET), including penetrating keratoplasty, Descemet stripping endothelial keratoplasty, or Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty procedures. The incidence of CET was calculated; potential risk factors for CET were also evaluated using Cox regression, accounting for correlation between eyes of the same patient. RESULTS: Overall, 14,264 eyes met eligibility criteria for this analysis with a median follow-up 1.8 eye-years. The Kaplan-Meier estimated incidence of CET within 10 years was 1.10% (95% CI, 0.68%-1.53%). Risk factors for CET included age >60 years vs. <40 years (aHR 16.5; 95% CI,4.70-57.9), anterior uveitis and scleritis vs. other types (aHR 2.97; 95% CI, 1.46-6.05 and aHR 4.14; 95% CI,1.28-13.4, respectively), topical corticosteroid treatment (aHR 2.84; 95% CI, 1.32-6.13), cataract surgery (aHR 4.44; 95% CI, 1.73-11.4), tube shunt surgery (aHR 11.9; 95% CI, 5.30-26.8), band keratopathy (aHR 5.12; 95% CI, 2.34-11.2), and hypotony (aHR 7.38; 95% CI, 3.14-17.4). Duration of uveitis, trabeculectomy, PAS, and ocular hypertension had no significant association after multivariate adjustment. CONCLUSIONS: In patients with ocular inflammation, CET occurred infrequently. Tube shunt surgery, hypotony, band keratopathy, cataract surgery, and anterior segment inflammation were associated with increased risk of undergoing corneal endothelial transplantation; these factors likely are associated with endothelial cell damage.
Betzler BK, Gunasekeran DV, Kempen J, Smith JR, McCluskey P, Nguyen QD, Pavesio C, Gupta V, Agrawal R. The Historical Evolution of Ocular Tuberculosis: Past, Present, and Future. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2021;:1-7.Abstract
Ocular involvement is a rare manifestation of tuberculosis. Four key issues historically faced by clinicians when diagnosing and treating ocular tuberculosis - diagnostic uncertainty, naturally heterogeneous presentations, limitations of existing laboratory diagnostic tools, and non-uniform treatment guidelines - continue to test today's physicians. Unparalleled scientific and clinical developments over the past century have greatly expanded the knowledge surrounding this challenging ophthalmic condition. Experience with large volumes of cases at tuberculosis-endemic centres has led to recent growth in knowledge and physician experience, perhaps more so in developing countries. Looking forward, the role of diverse new technologies, including artificial intelligence and proteomics, will advance ocular tuberculosis research. Efforts have been made to address the lack of standardized nomenclature, diagnostic uncertainty, and unvalidated, geographically variable treatment guidelines.
McKay MK, Apostolopoulos N, Dahrouj M, Nguyen HV, Reddy A, Blazes M, Lacy M, Pepple KL, Lee AY, Lee CS. Assessing the Uniformity of Uveitis Clinical Concepts and Associated ICD-10 Codes Across Health Care Systems Sharing the Same Electronic Health Records System. JAMA Ophthalmol 2021;Abstract
Importance: Big data studies may allow for the aggregation of patients with rare diseases such as uveitis to answer important clinical questions. Standardization of uveitis-related variables will be necessary, including the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes used to identify patients of interest. There are currently limited data on the uniformity of diagnosis mapping to ICD-10 codes for uveitis diagnoses among different health systems. Objective: To assess the degree of uniformity in mapping of uveitis clinical concepts to ICD-10 codes across health care systems using the same electronic health record (EHR) system. Design, Setting, and Participants: This multicenter survey study was conducted between September 14 and October 9, 2020, at 5 academic health care systems that use the Epic EHR. Researchers from the University of Washington, Harvard University, Stanford University, Yale University, and the University of California, San Francisco queried 54 uveitis-related diagnostic terms and recorded the associated ICD-10 codes. Main Outcomes and Measures: The degree of uniformity for uveitis clinical concepts and associated ICD-10 codes. Results: Fifty-four uveitis-related diagnostic terms were queried within the Epic EHR at 5 different health care systems. There was perfect agreement among all 5 centers for 52 of the 54 diagnostic terms. Two diagnostic terms had differences in ICD-10 coding: juvenile idiopathic arthritis associated chronic uveitis and intermediate uveitis. Intermediate uveitis was associated with codes H20.1x (ICD-10 description: chronic iridocyclitis) or H20.9 (ICD-10 description: unspecified iridocyclitis) in 3 centers while being associated with code H30.2x (ICD-10 description: posterior cyclitis) at the 2 remaining centers. The discrepancies appear to be related to a recent update in diagnostic mapping in the Epic EHR. Conclusions and Relevance: This study suggests that ICD-10 code mapping to uveitis diagnostic terminology appears to be highly uniform at different centers with the Epic EHR. However, temporal changes in diagnosis mapping to ICD-10 codes and a lack of 1-to-1 mapping of diagnosis to ICD-10 code add additional sources of complexity to the interpretation of big data studies in uveitis.
Maleki A, Look-Why S, Asgari S, Manhapra A, Gomez S, Foster SC. Acquired Vitelliform-Like Lesion in Uveitis: A case-series. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2021;:1-10.Abstract
PURPOSE: To study acquired vitelliform-like lesions (AVLL) and their diagnostic and prognostic values in uveitis. PATIENTS AND METHODS: This was a retrospective case series. The clinical course, diagnostic value, and prognostic significance of AVLL were compared between uveitic patients with AVLL and uveitic patients without AVLL. RESULTS: Twelve patients (21 eyes) with both uveitis and AVLL (study group) and thirteen patients (24 eyes) without AVLL (control group) were included in the study. Macular leakage (p = .005), the presence of vasculitis (p = .01), the presence of active choroiditis (p = .01), and the presence of CME on OCT (p = .008) were significantly higher in the AVLL group compared to the control group. Best-corrected visual acuity was significantly lower at presentation (p < .001) and the last follow-up visit (p = .014) in the AVLL group. CONCLUSION: The presence of acquired vitelliform-like lesion can have both a diagnostic (uveitis as a differential diagnosis) and prognostic value in patients with different types of uveitis.
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.
Sobrin L, Yu Y, Han S, Susarla G, Kempen JH, Hubbard RA, VanderBeek BL. Decreased risk of non-infectious anterior uveitis with statin therapy in a large healthcare claims database. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 2021;259(9):2783-2793.Abstract
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to determine if statin therapy decreases the incidence of non-infectious uveitis (NIU) using a retrospective cohort study. METHODS: Patients enrolled in a national insurance plan who initiated statin (n = 711,734, statin cohort) or other lipid-lowering therapy (n = 148,044, non-statin cohort) were observed for NIU development. Incident NIU in the primary analysis was defined as a new diagnosis code for NIU followed by a second instance of a NIU code within 120 days. For the secondary outcome definition, 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. Estimation of NIU incidence used multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression. The proportional hazards assumption was satisfied by creating two time periods of analysis, ≤ 150 and > 150 days. Subanalyses were performed by anatomic subtype. RESULTS: Overall, the primary outcome occurred 541 times over 690,465 person-years in the statin cohort and 103 times over 104,301 person-years in the non-statin cohort. No associations were seen in the ≤ 150-day analyses (p > 0.20 for all comparisons). However, after 150 days, the statin cohort was less likely to develop any uveitis [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.70, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.51-0.97, P = 0.03] in the primary outcome analysis, but did not meet significance for the secondary outcome (HR = 0.85, 95% CI: 0.63-1.15, P = 0.30). Similarly, in the anatomic subtype analysis, after 150 days, the statin cohort was less likely to develop anterior uveitis (HR = 0.67, 95% CI: 0.47-0.97, P = 0.03) in the primary analysis, but the association did not reach significance for the secondary outcome (HR = 0.82, 95% CI: 0.56-1.20, P = 0.31). CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that statin therapy for > 150 days decreases the incidence of NIU.
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;99(6):669-678.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.

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