Immunology and Uveitis

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

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

Ebrahimiadib N, Modjtahedi BS, Roohipoor R, Anesi SD, Foster SC. Successful Treatment Strategies in Granulomatosis With Polyangiitis-Associated Peripheral Ulcerative Keratitis. Cornea 2016;35(11):1459-1465.Abstract

PURPOSE: Management of granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA)-associated peripheral ulcerative keratitis (PUK) is challenging and lacks definite guidelines. We aimed to summarize our treatment and outcome experience with patients with GPA-PUK. METHODS: The Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institution patient database was searched from 2005 to 2015 to identify patients with diagnosis of PUK who suffered from GPA. Individual patient histories were examined, and treatment strategies and outcomes were summarized. RESULTS: There were 16 patients who started treatment with a mean duration follow-up of 64 months (range: 12-110 mo). Rituximab and cyclophosphamide, either alone or in combination with other agents, were the most successful agents in controlling inflammation. Rituximab was administered in 11 patients with remission being achieved in all. Cyclophosphamide successfully controlled inflammation in 50% (5/10). Two of the patients (2/5, 40%) who had achieved initial control on cyclophosphamide had flares of their PUK. Two of 11 (18%) patients on rituximab had flares of scleritis and orbital inflammation but not PUK. Two patients, one in each treatment group, stopped treatment after achieving remission after 6 months of therapy but suffered disease recurrence within 2 months of treatment cessation. CONCLUSIONS: Rituximab achieved a high rate of disease control in PUK patients with GPA and is the preferred agent in halting disease progression.

Suelves AM, Lamba N, Meese HK, Foster SC, González-Martín JM, Díaz-Llopis M, Christen WG. Nuclear cataract as an early predictive factor for recalcitrant juvenile idiopathic arthritis-associated uveitis. J AAPOS 2016;20(3):232-238.e1.Abstract

PURPOSE: To analyze factors predictive of having treatment-resistant uveitis in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)-associated uveitis. METHODS: The medical records of patients diagnosed with JIA-associated uveitis treated at a single tertiary referral center from October 2005 to March 2013 were reviewed retrospectively. The main outcome measures were demographic characteristics, ocular comorbidity, clinical course, treatments, and baseline risk factors associated with poor response to first-line therapies. RESULTS: A total of 96 patients (175 eyes) were included. Of these, 58 patients (108 eyes) required biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs or alkylating agents for their uveitis during follow-up (recalcitrant group), and 38 patients (67 eyes) did not (nonrecalcitrant group). Eyes of the recalcitrant group tended to have a higher incidence of cataract at baseline (49%; P < 0.0001). In the nonrecalcitrant group, the most frequent complications were cataract (20.9%) and secondary glaucoma (20.9%). The mean number of flares in the recalcitrant group was significantly reduced from 3.7/eye/year prior to cataract surgery to 1.6/eye/year after (P < 0.0001). Nuclear cataract was found to be an independent predictor for a severe course of JIA-associated uveitis. Any other type of cataract, posterior synechiae, male sex, or active uveitis at baseline were not found to be independently associated with recalcitrant uveitis. CONCLUSIONS: Nuclear cataract at baseline evaluation is a risk factor for poor response to first-line therapies in JIA-associated uveitis patients.

Queisi MM, Zein M, Lamba N, Meese H, Foster CS. Update on ocular cicatricial pemphigoid and emerging treatments. Surv Ophthalmol 2016;61(3):314-7.Abstract

Mucous membrane pemphigoid is a systemic disorder that primarily affects mucous membranes. When localized to the conjunctiva, it is known as ocular cicatricial pemphigoid, a potentially blinding disease. Ocular cicatricial pemphigoid is an indication for systemic immunosuppressive treatment to achieve adequate remission. Immunosuppressive agents are selected with a "stepladder" approach, commencing with medications having the fewest side effects. We provide an update of the literature on immunomodulatory agents since 2011 as additional treatment modalities have been explored in the last 4 years.

Oray M, Meese H, Foster SC. Diagnosis and management of non-infectious immune-mediated scleritis: current status and future prospects. Expert Rev Clin Immunol 2016;12(8):827-37.Abstract

Scleritis is an inflammatory process of the sclera and adjacent tissues with a wide spectrum of clinical presentations and co-morbidities. Careful clinical history taking, detailed ocular examination, and appropriate investigation for likelihood of an underlying systemic disease are essential for diagnosis. Treatment can be quite challenging in some cases. Conventional therapy with corticosteroids and immunosuppressive agents may not be sufficient to control ocular inflammation in refractory patients. In such cases new therapeutic agents, which have a more targeted and sustained effect on the immune response, so-called biologic response modifiers, are being used. This review focuses on both diagnosis and therapeutic options including traditional and emerging therapies of non-infectious scleritis.

Silpa-Archa S, Silpa-Archa N, Preble JM, Foster SC. Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome: Perspectives for immunogenetics, multimodal imaging, and therapeutic options. Autoimmun Rev 2016;15(8):809-19.Abstract

Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome (VKH) is a bilateral, diffuse granulomatous uveitis associated with neurological, audiovestibular, and dermatological systems. The primary pathogenesis is T-cell-mediated autoimmune response directed towards melanocyte or melanocyte-associated antigens causing inflammation of the choroidal layer. This phenomenon usually leads to diffuse inflammatory conditions throughout most parts of eye before ocular complications ensue. The diagnosis is achieved mainly by clinical features according to the revised diagnostic criteria of VKH published in 2001, without confirmatory serologic tests as a requirement. However, ancillary tests, especially multimodal imaging, can reliably provide supportive evidence for the diagnosis of early cases, atypical presentations, and evaluation of management. Prompt treatment with systemic corticosteroids and early non-steroidal immunosuppressive drug therapy can lessen visually threatening ocular complications and bring about good visual recovery. Close monitoring warrants visual stabilization from disease recurrence and ocular complications. This article review aims not only to update comprehensive knowledge regarding VKH but also to emphasize three major perspectives of VKH: immunogenetics as the major pathogenesis of the disease, multimodal imaging, and therapeutic options. The role of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor therapy and drug-induced VKH is also provided.

Abusamra K, Valdes-Navarro M, Lee S, Swan R, Foster SC, Anesi SD. A case of bilateral uveitis and papillitis in a patient treated with pembrolizumab. Eur J Ophthalmol 2016;26(3):e46-8.Abstract

PURPOSE: Drug-induced uveitis is a well-known effect of ocular inflammation that has been reported with many medications. Pembrolizumab is a newer generation of the anti-programmed cell death-1 monoclonal antibodies that was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of advanced melanoma. Immune-mediated adverse events involving different organs have been reported in recent literature in association with this drug. We present the first reported case of uveitis in association with pembrolizumab therapy. CASE REPORT: An 82-year-old man with stage IV melanoma was started on pembrolizumab infusion treatment every 3 weeks. Two months after initiating therapy, he presented with bilateral severe anterior uveitis and papillitis with fast and complete recovery after withholding further pembrolizumab infusions and treatment with topical steroid. Uveitis recurred after restarting pembrolizumab therapy. CONCLUSIONS: In current clinical practice, many new drugs are being approved, requiring better characterization of the prevalence, onset, and nature of adverse events in order to aid development of effective management strategies. Ophthalmologists should keep in mind that drugs are always a possible cause of ocular inflammation in patients presenting with uveitis.

Oray M, Khachatryan N, Ebrahimiadib N, Abusamra K, Lee S, Foster SC. Ocular morbidities of juvenile idiopathic arthritis-associated uveitis in adulthood: results from a tertiary center study. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 2016;254(9):1841-9.Abstract

PURPOSE: To describe the clinical and visual outcomes of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)-associated uveitis in adults and to examine risk factors for ongoing inflammation in adulthood. METHODS: Medical records were reviewed for patients with JIA-associated uveitis who were >16 years old at the final visit (the last visit prior to data collection). RESULTS: In total, 135 eyes of 77 patients (70 female, 7 male) were included. The mean age of patients at the final visit was 29.72 ± 11.27 years. The number of eyes with visual acuity of ≤20/50 and ≤20/200 at the final visit was 37 (28 %) and 20 (15 %), respectively; at least one ocular complication was present in 72 % of eyes. Band keratopathy was the most frequent complication (42 %), followed by cataract (25 %), posterior synechiae (22 %), maculopathy (22 %), ocular hypertension (13 %), and hypotony (5 %). At the final visit, patients who were >16 years of age at presentation to the Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institution had more ocular complications and a greater degree of vision loss than patients who were ≤16 years of age. Ongoing inflammation at the final visit was noted in 40 patients (52 %). The presence of posterior synechiae, hypotony, cataract at presentation, and a history of cataract surgery prior to presentation were predictive of ongoing inflammation in adulthood in univariate analysis. The presence of hypotony and posterior synechiae at the initial visit were predictive factors in multivariate analysis. CONCLUSIONS: JIA-associated uveitis may be associated with ongoing inflammation, ocular complications, and severe visual impairment in adulthood. The presence of posterior synechiae and hypotony at the initial visit is predictive of ongoing inflammation.

Silpa-Archa S, Cao JH, Boonsopon S, Lee J, Preble JM, Foster SC. Birdshot Retinochoroidopathy: Differences in Clinical Characteristics between Patients with Early and Late Age of Onset. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2016;:1-7.Abstract

PURPOSE: To describe differences in the clinical characteristics of birdshot retinochoroidopathy (BSRC) patients diagnosed early and later in life. METHODS: This is a retrospective cohort study. Age was primarily analyzed and 50 years of age at diagnosis was selected as a cut-off point. RESULTS: A total of 144 patients (288 eyes) were included; 68 with early-onset and 76 with late-onset BSRC. The younger group had a statistically significant higher rate of more severe iritis (p = 0.04); an average number of non-steroidal immunosuppressants and biologic agents (NSIB) (p = 0.04); and a prolonged time to initiation of NSIB (p = 0.01). There were only four patients (3%) who had >0.5+ cells in the anterior chamber. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with early-onset BSRC carried a higher risk for anterior segment inflammation, had a more prolonged delay to initiation of treatment with NSIB, and required a greater number of NSIBs to achieve remission.

Silpa-Archa S, Oray M, Preble JM, Foster CS. Outcome of tocilizumab treatment in refractory ocular inflammatory diseases. Acta Ophthalmol 2016;94(6):e400-6.Abstract

PURPOSE: To report the outcomes of tocilizumab treatment for refractory ocular inflammatory diseases. METHODS: A retrospective case series of 17 patients (28 eyes) diagnosed with recalcitrant ocular inflammatory diseases including uveitis (10 cases), scleritis (six cases) and orbital pseudotumour (one case), who received tocilizumab between April 2010 and March 2015. All patients were initiated with treatment of 4 mg/kg or 8 mg/kg tocilizumab. The primary outcome was absence of inflammation and achievement of steroid sparing at 6 and 9 months. Secondary outcomes were change in visual acuity and major adverse effects of tocilizumab causing discontinuation of the treatment. RESULTS: Mean age at initiation of tocilizumab was 41 ± 16 years. Prior to tocilizumab treatment, all patients underwent unsuccessful conventional immunosuppressive therapy while 94% of patients (16/17) failed treatment with various biological agents. After tocilizumab administration, control of inflammation and steroid sparing were achieved in 63% and 71% of uveitis patients at 6 and 9 months, while 50% of scleritis patients achieved the primary outcome at 6 and 9 months. Mean duration of tocilizumab therapy was 12.6 ± 10.0 (range, 2-35) months. Three of four patients who had a follow-up of at least 18 (range, 18-35) months experienced quiescent inflammation for up to 32 months of tocilizumab use until last visit. Four patients (24%) discontinued tocilizumab due to serious side effects including neutropenia, unacceptable dizziness and nausea, severe angioedema and severe abdominal pain. CONCLUSION: Our series demonstrated moderate efficacy of tocilizumab in recalcitrant uveitis and scleritis. Serious adverse effects were not uncommon.

Durrani K, Kempen JH, Ying G-S, Kacmaz OR, Artornsombudh P, Rosenbaum JT, Suhler EB, Thorne JE, Jabs DA, Levy-Clarke GA, Nussenblatt RB, Foster SC, Foster SC. Adalimumab for Ocular Inflammation. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2016;:1-8.Abstract

PURPOSE: To evaluate adalimumab as an immunomodulatory treatment for non-infectious ocular inflammatory diseases. METHODS: Characteristics of patients treated with adalimumab were abstracted in a standardized chart review. Main outcomes measured were control of inflammation, corticosteroid-sparing effect, and visual acuity. RESULTS: In total, 32 patients with ocular inflammation were treated with adalimumab. The most common ophthalmic diagnoses were anterior uveitis, occurring in 15 patients (47%), and scleritis, occurring in 9 patients (28%). At 6 months of therapy, among 15 eyes with active inflammation, 7 (47%) became completely inactive, and oral prednisone was reduced to ≤10 mg/day in 2 of 4 patients (50%). On average, visual acuity decreased by 0.13 lines during the first 6 months of treatment. Adalimumab was discontinued because of lack of effectiveness in four patients within 6 months. CONCLUSIONS: Adalimumab was moderately effective in controlling inflammation in a group of highly pre-treated cases of ocular inflammatory disease.

Sainz-de-la-Maza M, Molins B, Mesquida M, Llorenç V, Zarranz-Ventura J, Sala-Puigdollers A, Matas J, Adan A, Foster SC. Interleukin-22 serum levels are elevated in active scleritis. Acta Ophthalmol 2016;Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate serum cytokine profile from patients with active scleritis in a two-centre prospective case-control study. METHODS: The serum of 20 active scleritis patients not treated with any local, periocular, or systemic immunomodulatory therapy (IMT) was analysed with multiplex assay to determine the levels of 11 cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-2, IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-12p40, IL-13, IL-17A, IL-5, TNF-α, and TNF-β, and with ELISA to determine the levels of TGF-β1, IL-22, and IL-23. Twenty-five age-matched healthy volunteers were used as controls. In a subgroup of 13 patients with active disease, a second serum sample was obtained when the disease was inactive and levels of IL-22 were determined. Serum IL-22 levels from patients with active scleritis were correlated with type of scleritis (non-necrotizing and necrotizing), degree of inflammation (0-4+ :≤2+ and >2+), and associated systemic disease. RESULTS: Serum levels of IL-22 were elevated in active scleritis patients compared to controls (6.41 ± 1.52 pg/ml versus 1.93 ± 0.39 pg/ml, p = 0.012) and significantly decreased after scleritis remission with the use of IMT (p = 0.005). There was no statistical association with scleritis type, degree of inflammation, or associated systemic disease. The serum levels of other cytokines were not significantly different from controls. CONCLUSION: In our study cohort, IL-22 serum levels were significantly elevated in active scleritis patients compared to controls and decreased significantly after remission. Our results suggest that IL-22, a T helper (Th) 17- and Th22- derived cytokine, may play a critical role in the physiopathology of scleritis.
Maleki A, Meese H, Sahawneh H, Foster SC. Progress in the understanding and utilization of biologic response modifiers in the treatment of uveitis. Expert Rev Clin Immunol 2016;12(7):775-86.Abstract

Uveitis is the third most common cause of blindness in developed countries. Considering the systemic and local complications of long-term corticosteroid therapy and the intolerance due to side effects and ineffectiveness of conventional chemotherapy, use of biologic response modifiers is a reasonable alternative in the treatment of non-infectious uveitis and persistent uveitic macular edema. The majority of the evidence presented here comes from open uncontrolled analyses. Based on these studies, tumor necrosis factor alpha inhibitors, especially infliximab and adalimumab, have been shown to be effective in the treatment of non-infectious uveitis in numerous studies. More research is necessary, particularly multi-center randomized clinical trials, to address the choice of biologic response modifier agent and the length of treatment as we employ biologic response modifiers in different types of uveitis and persistent uveitic macular edema.

Patel AK, Newcomb CW, Liesegang TL, Pujari SS, Suhler EB, Thorne JE, Foster SC, Jabs DA, Levy-Clarke GA, Nussenblatt RB, Rosenbaum JT, Sen NH, Artornsombudh P, Kothari S, Kempen JH, for Group SITEDR. Risk of Retinal Neovascularization in Cases of Uveitis. Ophthalmology 2016;123(3):646-54.Abstract

PURPOSE: To evaluate the risk of and risk factors for retinal neovascularization (NV) in cases of uveitis. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Patients with uveitis at 4 US academic ocular inflammation subspecialty practices. METHODS: Data were ascertained by standardized chart review. Prevalence data analysis used logistic regression. Incidence data analysis used survival analysis with time-updated covariates where appropriate. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Prevalence and incidence of NV. RESULTS: Among uveitic eyes of 8931 patients presenting for initial evaluation, 106 of 13 810 eyes had NV (prevalence = 0.77%, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.60-0.90). Eighty-eight more eyes developed NV over 26 465 eye-years (incidence, 0.33%/eye-year; 95% CI, 0.27-0.41). Factors associated with incident NV include age <35 years compared with >35 years (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 2.4; 95% CI, 1.5-3.9), current cigarette smoking (aHR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.1-3.4), and systemic lupus erythematosus (aHR, 3.5, 95% CI, 1.1-11). Recent diagnosis of uveitis was associated with an increased incidence of NV (compared with patients diagnosed >5 years ago, aHR, 2.4 [95% CI, 1.1-5.0] and aHR, 2.6 [95% CI, 1.2-6.0] for diagnosis within <1 year vs. 1-5 years, respectively). Compared with anterior uveitis, intermediate uveitis (aHR, 3.1; 95% CI, 1.5-6.6), posterior uveitis (aHR, 5.2; 95% CI, 2.5-11), and panuveitis (aHR, 4.3; 95% CI, 2.0-9.3) were associated with a similar degree of increased NV incidence. Active (aHR, 2.1, 95% CI, 1.2-3.7) and slightly active (aHR, 2.4, 95% CI, 1.3-4.4) inflammation were associated with an increased incidence of NV compared with inactive inflammation. Neovascularization incidence also was increased with retinal vascular occlusions (aHR, 10, 95% CI, 3.0-33), retinal vascular sheathing (aHR, 2.6, 95% CI, 1.4-4.9), and exudative retinal detachment (aHR, 4.1, 95% CI, 1.3-13). Diabetes mellitus was associated with a somewhat increased incidence of retinal NV (aHR, 2.3, 95% CI, 1.1-4.9), and systemic hypertension (aHR 1.5, 95% CI, 0.89-2.4) was associated with nonsignificantly increased NV incidence. Results were similar in sensitivity analyses excluding the small minority of patients with diabetes mellitus. CONCLUSIONS: Retinal NV is a rare complication of uveitis, which occurs more frequently in younger patients, smokers, and those with intermediate/posterior/panuveitis, systemic vasculopathy, retinal vascular disease, or active inflammation. Inflammation and retinal NV likely are linked; additional studies are needed to further elucidate this connection.

Sainz-de-la-Maza M, Molina N, Gonzalez-Gonzalez LA, Doctor PP, Tauber J, Foster SC. Scleritis associated with relapsing polychondritis. Br J Ophthalmol 2016;100(9):1290-4.Abstract

AIMS: To evaluate ocular disease characteristics and successful therapeutic regimens in patients with scleritis associated with relapsing polychondritis (RP). To compare these features with those seen in patients with scleritis associated with other systemic immune-mediated diseases (SIMD). METHODS: Electronic health records of 13 scleritis patients associated with RP were analysed and compared with those of 113 scleritis patients associated with other SIMD seen at two tertiary referral centres. RESULTS: Scleritis in patients with RP was often bilateral (92.3%), diffuse (76.9%), recurrent (84.6%), sometimes with decreased vision (46.2%), anterior uveitis (38.5%), peripheral keratitis (15.4%) and ocular hypertension (30.8%). Patients with scleritis associated with RP more often had bilateral scleritis (p=0.001), necrotising scleritis (23.1%; p=0.02), recurrences (p=0.001) and decreased vision (three of the six with legal blindness; p=0.012), as compared with patients who had scleritis associated with other SIMD. Nine patients (69.2%) had one or more SIMD other than RP, including systemic vasculitis (4) or other autoimmune disease (8); they antedated RP by 9 years (range 2-21 years). Successful therapy included cyclophosphamide (5), methotrexate (3), azathioprine (3), mycophenolate mofetil (2), infliximab (2) and adalimumab (1). CONCLUSIONS: Scleritis may be the first manifestation whose study leads to the diagnosis of RP. Scleritis associated with RP is more often bilateral, necrotising, recurrent and associated with decrease of vision than scleritis associated with other SIMD. About 69.2% of patients will have an additional SIMD disorder. Scleritis associated with RP most often will require immunomodulatory therapy. Occasionally, scleritis with RP may appear while using antitumor necrosis factor α agents.