Immunology and Uveitis

Sheppard J, Garg S, Lievens C, Brandano L, Wirostko B, Korenfeld M, Raizman M, Foster SC. Iontophoretic Dexamethasone Phosphate Compared to Topical Prednisolone Acetate 1% for Noninfectious Anterior Segment Uveitis. Am J Ophthalmol 2019;Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of dexamethasone phosphate ophthalmic solution (EGP-437) delivered by transscleral iontophoresis using the EyeGate® II Drug Delivery System, compared to topical prednisolone acetate 1% (PA 1%), in subjects with noninfectious anterior uveitis. DESIGN: Prospective, randomized, double-masked, parallel-group, non-inferiority clinical trial METHODS: A total of 193 subjects with active noninfectious anterior uveitis (anterior chamber [AC] cell count ≥11 cells) were randomized to EGP-437 delivered via iontophoresis (Days 0 and 7) or self-administered PA 1% daily (tapered schedule, Days 0-28). Masking was maintained with placebo iontophoresis/eyedrops. The primary efficacy endpoint was the proportion of subjects with an AC cell count of zero on Day 14; noninferiority of EGP-437 was defined if the lower limit of the confidence interval for the difference (EGP-437 minus PA 1%) was less than -10%. RESULTS: At Day 14, 32/96 (33.3%) EGP-437 subjects and 32/97 (33.0%) PA 1% subjects had an AC cell count of zero (difference [95% confidence interval], 0.34 [-12.94, 13.63]; P=0.064). Efficacy trended better with EGP-437 among patients with more severe baseline uveitis (AC cell count >25). Safety and tolerability were good with both treatments. EGP-437 subjects experienced fewer IOP elevations ≥6 mm Hg versus PA 1% subjects (13 vs 24 incidents through Day 28). CONCLUSIONS: Despite clinically similar response rates, statistical noninferiority of EGP-437 versus a tapered regimen of PA 1% was not achieved. Numerical trends suggesting fewer IOP elevations with EGP-437, similar efficacy overall, and possibly better efficacy in more severe disease warrant further study.
Muhammad F, Wang D, Montieth A, Lee S, Preble J, Foster SC, Larson TA, Ding K, Dvorak JD, Lee DJ. PD-1 melanocortin receptor dependent-Treg cells prevent autoimmune disease. Sci Rep 2019;9(1):16941.Abstract
Experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis (EAU) is a mouse model of human autoimmune uveitis marked by ocular autoantigen-specific regulatory immunity in the spleen. The melanocortin 5 receptor (MC5r) and adenosine 2 A receptor (A2Ar) are required for induction of post-EAU regulatory T cells (Tregs) which provide resistance to EAU. We show that blocking the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway prevented suppression of EAU by post-EAU Tregs. A2Ar induction of PD-1FoxP3 Tregs in uveitis patients was similar compared to healthy controls, but was significantly reduced with melanocortin stimulation. Further, lower body mass index correlated with responsiveness to stimulation of this pathway. These observations indicate an importance of the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway to provide resistance to relapsing uveitis and shows a reduced capacity of uveitis patients to induce Tregs when stimulated through melanocortin receptors, but that it is possible to bypass this part of the pathway through direct stimulation of A2Ar.
Neumann R, Nguyen QD, Kramer M, Zierhut M, Kempen JH, DeSmet M, Wickstrom K. ISOPT Hot Topic Panel Discussion on Uveitis and Inflammation. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther 2019;35(8):433-440.Abstract
For this "hot topic" session in uveitis we selected first and foremost an issue that puts our clinical work and research in "holding pattern." The issue is our method of evaluating the severity of uveitis. We posed the following questions to our esteemed panelists: 1.The relative significance of cells vs. flare in following uveitis patients 2.Cells/flare measurements 3.A glance into the future and the relevance of endpoints in clinical studies and their methodologies While there are different opinions in managing and monitoring uveitis patients, there seems to be an agreement on the high need of improving objective mode/s of reliably measuring both cells and flare and better understand their significance.
You C, Lasave AF, Kubaisi B, Syeda S, Ma L, Wai KCK, Diaz MH, Walsh M, Stephenson A, Montieth A, Foster SC. Long-term outcomes of systemic corticosteroid-sparing immunomodulatory therapy for Birdshot Retinochoroidopathy. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2019;:1-9.Abstract
: To report the visual prognosis, electroretinography (ERG) and perimetry outcomes of systemic corticosteroid-sparing immunomodulatory treatment (IMT) for birdshot retinochoroidopathy (BSRC). : Retrospective non-comparative case series of 132 patients (264 eyes) with BSRC treated with IMT from Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institution. : The average follow-up time was 60.1 months. After one year on IMT, 39.4% showed no clinically active inflammation. After 5 years of IMT, 78.0% had no signs of clinical inflammation. No significant differences were observed on best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), ERG parameters, and perimetry parameters between baseline and subsequent visits on IMT. : Long-term systemic corticosteroid-sparing IMT was associated with a low rate of BSRC disease exacerbation. While differences were seen on testing parameters, they were not consistent trends and difference were attributed to variability of testing or fluctuation of inflammation that may be expected in the course of the disease.
Uchi S-H, Yanai R, Kobayashi M, Hatano M, Kobayashi Y, Yamashiro C, Nagai T, Tokuda K, Connor KM, Sonoda K-H, Kimura K. Dendritic cells mediate the anti-inflammatory action of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in experimental autoimmune uveitis. PLoS One 2019;14(7):e0219405.Abstract
We previously showed that dietary omega (ω)-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) suppress inflammation in mice with experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU). We have now investigated the role of antigen presenting cells (APCs) in this action of ω-3 LCPUFAs. C57BL/6 mice were fed a diet supplemented with ω-3 or ω-6 LCPUFAs for 2 weeks, after which splenocytes were isolated from the mice and cocultured with CD4+ T cells isolated from mice with EAU induced by injection of a human interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein peptide together with complete Freund's adjuvant. The proliferation of and production of interferon-γ and interleukin-17 by T cells from EAU mice in vitro were attenuated in the presence of splenocytes from ω-3 LCPUFA-fed mice as compared with those from mice fed ω-6 LCPUFAs. Splenocyte fractionation by magnetic-activated cell sorting revealed that, among APCs, dendritic cells (DCs) were the target of ω-3 LCPUFAs. Adoptive transfer of DCs from mice fed ω-3 LCPUFAs attenuated disease progression in EAU mice as well as the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by T cells isolated from these latter animals. The proliferation of T cells from control Balb/c mice was also attenuated in the presence of DCs from ω-3 LCPUFA-fed mice as compared with those from ω-6 LCPUFA-fed mice. Furthermore, T cell proliferation in such a mixed lymphocyte reaction was inhibited by prior exposure of DCs from mice fed an ω-6 LCPUFA diet to ω-3 LCPUFAs in vitro. Our results thus suggest that DCs mediate the anti-inflammatory action of dietary ω-3 LCPUFAs in EAU.
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.
Okunuki Y, Mukai R, Nakao T, Tabor SJ, Butovsky O, Dana R, Ksander BR, Connor KM. Retinal microglia initiate neuroinflammation in ocular autoimmunity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2019;116(20):9989-9998.Abstract
Autoimmune uveitis is a sight-threatening ocular inflammatory condition in which the retina and uveal tissues become a target of autoreactive immune cells. While microglia have been studied extensively in autoimmune uveitis, their exact function remains uncertain. The objective of the current study was to determine whether resident microglia are necessary and sufficient to initiate and amplify retinal inflammation in autoimmune uveitis. In this study, we clearly demonstrate that microglia are essential for initiating infiltration of immune cells utilizing a murine model of experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis (EAU) and the recently identified microglia-specific marker P2ry12. Initiating disease is the primary function of microglia in EAU, since eliminating microglia during the later stages of EAU had little effect, indicating that the function of circulating leukocytes is to amplify and sustain destructive inflammation once microglia have triggered disease. In the absence of microglia, uveitis does not develop, since leukocytes cannot gain entry through the blood-retinal barrier, illustrating that microglia play a critical role in regulating infiltration of inflammatory cells into the retina.
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.
Noble CW, Gangaputra SS, Thompson IA, Yuan A, Apolo AB, Lee J-M, Papaliodis GN, Kodati S, Bishop R, Magone TM, Sobrin L, Sen NH. Ocular Adverse Events following Use of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors for Metastatic Malignancies. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2019;:1-6.Abstract
PURPOSE: To report the clinical features, severity, and management of ocular immune-related adverse events (irAEs) in the setting of immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy for metastatic malignancies. METHODS: Retrospective chart review at three tertiary ophthalmology clinics. Electronic medical records were reviewed between 2000 and 2017 for patients with new ocular symptoms while undergoing checkpoint inhibition therapy. RESULTS: Eleven patients were identified. Ocular irAEs ranged from keratoconjunctivitis sicca to Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada-like findings. Average timing of irAEs from starting checkpoint inhibitor therapy was 15.7 weeks. Ocular inflammation was successfully controlled with corticosteroids in most cases, however three patients discontinue treatment as a result of ocular inflammation with decreased visual acuity, two discontinued due to progression of metastatic disease, and one discontinued due to severe systemic irAEs. CONCLUSION: We found a wide spectrum of ocular irAEs associated with immune checkpoint inhibitors. In most cases, ocular AEs did not limit ongoing cancer treatment.
Thorne JE, Sugar EA, Holbrook JT, Burke AE, Altaweel MM, Vitale AT, Acharya NR, Kempen JH, Jabs DA, Jabs DA. Periocular Triamcinolone vs. Intravitreal Triamcinolone vs. Intravitreal Dexamethasone Implant for the Treatment of Uveitic Macular Edema: The PeriOcular vs. INTravitreal corticosteroids for uveitic macular edema (POINT) Trial. Ophthalmology 2019;126(2):283-295.Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate the comparative effectiveness of 3 regional corticosteroid injections for uveitic macular edema (ME): periocular triamcinolone acetonide (PTA), intravitreal triamcinolone acetonide (ITA), and the intravitreal dexamethasone implant (IDI). DESIGN: Multicenter, randomized clinical trial. PARTICIPANTS: Patients with uveitic ME. METHODS: Patients were randomized 1:1:1 to receive 1 of the 3 therapies. Patients with bilateral ME were assigned the same treatment for both eyes. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome was the proportion of baseline (PropBL) central subfield thickness (CST) at 8 weeks (CST at 8 weeks/CST at baseline) assessed with OCT by masked readers. Secondary outcomes included ≥20% improvement and resolution of ME, best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), and intraocular pressure (IOP) events over 24 weeks. RESULTS: All treatment groups demonstrated improved CST during follow-up. At 8 weeks, each group had clinically meaningful reductions in CST relative to baseline (PropBL: 0.77, 0.61, and 0.54, respectively, which translates to reductions of 23%, 39%, and 46% for PTA, ITA, and IDI, respectively). Intravitreal triamcinolone acetonide (PropBL ITA/PropBL PTA, hazard ratio [HR], 0.79; 99.87% confidence interval [CI], 0.65-0.96) and IDI (PropBL IDI/PropBL PTA, HR, 0.69; 99.87% CI, 0.56-0.86) had larger reductions in CST than PTA (P < 0.0001). Intravitreal dexamethasone implant was noninferior to ITA at 8 weeks (PropBL IDI/PropBL ITA, HR, 0.88; 99.87% CI, 0.71-1.08). Both ITA and IDI treatments also were superior to PTA treatment in improving and resolving uveitic ME. All treatment groups demonstrated BCVA improvement throughout follow-up. Both ITA and IDI groups had improvements in BCVA that was 5 letters greater than in the PTA group at 8 weeks (P < 0.004). The risk of having IOP ≥24 mmHg was higher in the intravitreal treatment groups compared with the periocular group (HR, 1.83; 95% CI, 0.91-3.65 and HR, 2.52; 95% CI, 1.29-4.91 for ITA and IDI, respectively); however, there was no significant difference between the 2 intravitreal treatment groups. CONCLUSIONS: Intravitreal triamcinolone acetonide and the IDI were superior to PTA for treating uveitic ME with modest increases in the risk of IOP elevation. This risk did not differ significantly between intravitreal treatments.
Chen X, Lei F, Wang L, Xiong X, Song J. Generation of Tumor Antigen-Specific Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes from Pluripotent Stem Cells. Methods Mol Biol 2019;1884:43-55.Abstract
Immunotherapy is a developing but very promising arsenal to treat cancer. Acquiring a more potent and effective approach in cancer immunotherapy is always the ultimate pursuance. CTL-based therapies are highly acclaimed recently due to its direct killing property. However, difficulty in obtaining adequate number of CTLs is still a major obstacle. In previous studies, it is shown that pluripotent stem cell-derived cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL)-especially the genetically engineered tumor antigen-specific CTLs-may serve as a good candidate for this goal. Here we introduce a novel approach in generating tumor antigen-specific CTLs from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by using both in vitro and in vivo priming mechanisms for the tumor management in a murine melanoma model.
Ebrahimiadib N, Ma L, Modjtahedi BS, Davoudi S, Rahmani S, Syeda S, Stephenson A, Foster CS. Atypical Perinuclear Anti-Neutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibodies in Ocular Inflammatory Diseases. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2018;:1-5.Abstract
PURPOSE: To characterize the clinical features of patients with ocular inflammatory diseases (OID) who tested positive for atypical perinuclear anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (P-ANCA). METHODS: Retrospective case series of patients with OID seen at the Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institute (MERSI) from April 2014 to April 2016. RESULTS: 813 patients were tested for ANCA with 34 patients (4%) being positive for atypical P-ANCA. Among those with positive atypical P-ANCA, the most frequent diagnoses were anterior uveitis in 62% (n = 21) followed by scleritis in 20% (n = 7). Only one patient had an episode of recurrent disease flare-up. All but one patient, who had concomitant C-ANCA seropositivity and granulomatosis with polyangiitis, had a favorable disease course with controlled inflammation using topical and/or systemic immunomodulatory therapy. CONCLUSION: In contrast to typical C-ANCA and P-ANCA, atypical P-ANCA seropositivity was not associated with severe vasculitis or poor prognosis in patients with the OID.
Agarwal A, Invernizzi A, Singh RB, Foulsham W, Aggarwal K, Handa S, Agrawal R, Pavesio C, Gupta V. An update on inflammatory choroidal neovascularization: epidemiology, multimodal imaging, and management. J Ophthalmic Inflamm Infect 2018;8(1):13.Abstract
Inflammatory choroidal neovascular membranes are challenging to diagnose and manage. A number of uveitic entities may be complicated by the development of choroidal neovascularization leading to a decrease in central visual acuity. In conditions such as punctate inner choroidopathy, development of choroidal neovascularization is extremely common and must be suspected in all cases. On the other hand, in patients with conditions such as serpiginous choroiditis, and multifocal choroiditis, it may be difficult to differentiate between inflammatory choroiditis lesions and choroidal neovascularization. Multimodal imaging analysis, including the recently introduced technology of optical coherence tomography angiography, greatly aid in the diagnosis and management of inflammatory choroidal neovascularization. Management of these neovascular membranes consists of anti-vascular growth factor agents, with or without concomitant anti-inflammatory and/or corticosteroid therapy.
Agrawal R, Gunasekeran DV, Agarwal A, Carreño E, Aggarwal K, Gupta B, Raje D, Murthy SI, Westcott M, Chee SP, McCluskey P, Ling HS, Teoh S, Cimino L, Biswas J, Narain S, Agarwal M, Mahendradas P, Khairallah M, Jones N, Tugal-Tutkun I, Babu K, Basu S, Lee R, Al-Dhibi H, Bodaghi B, Invernizzi A, Goldstein DA, Herbort CP, Barisani-Asenbauer T, González-López JJ, Androudi S, Bansal R, Moharana B, Mahajan S, Esposti S, Tasiopoulou A, Nadarajah S, Agarwal M, Abraham S, Vala R, Lord J, Singh R, Sharma A, Sharma K, Zierhut M, Kon OM, Kempen J, Cunningham ET, Rousselot A, Nguyen QD, Pavesio C, Gupta V. The Collaborative Ocular Tuberculosis Study (COTS)-1: A Multinational Description of the Spectrum of Choroidal Involvement in 245 Patients with Tubercular Uveitis. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2018;:1-11.Abstract
PURPOSE: To contribute a global description of the spectrum of choroidal involvement in tubercular uveitis (TBU). METHODS: Retrospective cohort study of TBU patients with choroidal involvement from 25 centers between January 2004 and December 2014. Medical records of patients with a minimum follow-up of 1 year were reviewed. RESULTS: 245 patients were included. The phenotypic variations included serpiginous-like choroiditis (SLC) (46%), tuberculoma (13.5%), multifocal choroiditis (MFC) (9.4%), ampiginous choroiditis (9%), among others. 219 patients were treated with anti-tubercular therapy (ATT) (n = 219/245, 89.38%), 229 patients with steroids (n = 229/245, 93.47%) and 28 patients with immunosuppressive agents (n = 28/245, 11.42%). Treatment failure was noted in 38 patients (n = 38/245, 15.5%). Patients with SLC and ampiginous choroiditis appeared to have superior outcomes on survival analysis (p = 0.06). CONCLUSION: This study provides a comprehensive description of choroidal involvement in TBU. Patients with SLC and ampiginous choroiditis may have better clinical outcomes.
Chen X, Yao X, Chi Y, Guo C, Zhang J, Li J, Zhang S, Rong X, Pasquale LR, Yang L. A Cross-Sectional Observational Study of Nailfold Capillary Morphology in Uveitis. Curr Eye Res 2018;43(11):1342-1350.Abstract
PURPOSE: We performed nailfold capillary microscopy to explore microvasculature abnormalities in uveitis overall and uveitis stratified in various ways. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional, case-control, observational study. One hundred and seven uveitis patients and 130 control subjects were included. We used a JH-1004 capillaroscope to perform nailfold capillary video microscopy on the fourth and fifth digits of each subject's nondominant hand. Videos were evaluated for hemorrhages, dilated capillary loops > 25 µm, and avascular zones > 200 µm. Univariate analyses were used for the assessment of case-control morphological differences and multivariate analyses were performed to assess the relation between nailfold capillaroscopic findings and uveitis subgroups. RESULTS: In univariate analysis, uveitis patients were more likely to have higher tortuosity ratings and reduced capillary density compared to controls (p < 0.001 for both); furthermore, dilated capillary loops, avascular zone and hemorrhages were more frequent in uveitis versus control subjects (p < 0.001 for all). Among cases, every unit increase in capillary density (vessels/mm) was associated with active uveitis (n = 72 cases) versus inactive disease (n = 35 cases; odds ratio (OR) = 1.7; (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.2-2.5) in multivariate analysis. Furthermore, the presence of any nailfold hemorrhage versus the absence of hemorrhage was more likely to be associated with posterior and panuveitis (n = 41 cases combined) compared to anterior and intermediate uveitis (n = 66 cases combined; OR = 5.8; 95% CI, 2.3-14.2). Moreover, we found a positive correlation between peripheral retinal leakage and nailfold capillaries dilation (r = 0.33; p = 0.015) that was not strictly significant based on the number of comparisons made. CONCLUSIONS: Our study provides support for non-ocular capillary bed abnormalities in uveitis, with interesting correlations based on disease stage and anatomical classification.

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