Immunology and Uveitis

Ebrahimiadib N, Abusamra K, Domina AM, Stiles ER, Ewer R, Bocian CP, Foster SC. A Novel NOD2-associated Mutation and Variant Blau Syndrome: Phenotype and Molecular Analysis. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2016;:1-8.Abstract

PURPOSE: To describe the clinical and molecular implications of a novel mutation in the NOD2/CARD15 gene on a family and its seven affected members. METHODS: We reviewed the clinical presentations of family members who came to our center for refractory uveitis. Genetic testing and molecular testing was performed. RESULTS: All affected members had adult onset recurrent non-granulomatous panuveitis. The inheritance pattern suggested an autosomal dominant disease and genetic analysis identified a novel mutation in the NOD2 gene that converted amino acid 600 from glutamate to alanine (E600A). Transfection of the E600A NOD2 into human embryonic kidney-293 (HEK293) cells revealed constitutive activation and a reduced ability to respond to the NOD2 ligand, muramyl dipeptide (MDP) as compared with wild-type NOD2. CONCLUSIONS: The E600A mutation in the NOD2 gene may confer a higher penetrance of uveitis but a later onset of milder forms of non-ocular involvement.

Abusamra K, Oray M, Ebrahimiadib N, Lee S, Anesi S, Foster SC. Intraocular Lymphoma: Descriptive Data of 26 Patients Including Clinico-pathologic Features, Vitreous Findings, and Treatment Outcomes. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2016;:1-6.Abstract

PURPOSE: To describe clinical manifestations, diagnostic approaches, therapy, and outcomes of biopsy-proven intraocular lymphoma. METHODS: Review of tertiary referral center records between 2005 and 2015. RESULTS: A total of 51 eyes of 26 patients were included; mean age of onset was 60.42 years. Common ocular complaints included floaters (42%) and blurred vision (35%); 62% of patients had ocular and central nervous system involvement; 11% had systemic lymphoma; and 27% had only ocular involvement. Vitreous analysis was positive for malignant cells in 77% of patients on initial biopsy, and in 100% of patients on repeat biopsy. In total, 20/26 patients received systemic and topical treatment before IOL diagnosis was made; 25 patients received intravitreal methotrexate and/or rituximab; one patient received intracameral rituximab. All patients achieved remission by their final visit. CONCLUSIONS: Intraocular lymphoma often masquerades as intraocular inflammation, resulting in delayed or misdiagnosis with subsequent inappropriate management. Optimal therapy is a challenge for oncologists and ophthalmologists.

Cocho L, Gonzalez-Gonzalez LA, Molina-Prat N, Doctor P, Sainz-de-la-Maza M, Foster SC. Scleritis in patients with granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener). Br J Ophthalmol 2016;100(8):1062-5.Abstract

AIMS: To describe and compare clinical features, complications and outcomes in patients with granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA)-associated scleritis with those seen in idiopathic and other autoimmune-associated scleritis, and to further describe the features that may serve as an indicator of life-threatening systemic disease. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed electronic health records of all patients with scleritis seen at two tertiary care centres. Of 500 patients, 14 had GPA-associated scleritis and were included in this analysis. Measures included were age, gender, laterality, visual acuity and underlying systemic or ocular diseases. Clinical features (location, pain, inflammation) and ocular complications of these patients (decrease of vision, concomitant anterior uveitis and ocular hypertension) were studied and correlated. RESULTS: Fourteen of 500 patients with scleritis were GPA associated. Most of the patients with GPA-associated scleritis presented with sudden onset, bilateral, diffuse anterior scleral inflammation, with moderate-or-severe pain. Vision loss was not significantly different, and pain was more severe in these patients than in those with idiopathic scleritis. When compared with patients with other underlying autoimmune diseases, there were no significant differences found in epidemiological or clinical signs. Necrotising scleritis and corneal involvement were more commonly observed in GPA than in idiopathic scleritis and other autoimmune diseases and are often the presenting feature of the disease. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of necrotising changes or corneal involvement in the setting of scleral inflammation is highly suggestive of an underlying systemic vasculitis, of which GPA is the most common. These features should alert the doctor/optometrist and prompt a thorough diagnostic approach and an aggressive treatment given that it could reveal a life-threatening disease.

Fox AR, Gordon LK, Heckenlively JR, Davis JL, Goldstein DA, Lowder CY, Nussenblatt RB, Butler NJ, Dalal M, Jayasundera T, Smith WM, Lee RW, Adamus G, Chan C-C, Hooks JJ, Morgans CW, Detrick B, Sen NH. Consensus on the Diagnosis and Management of Nonparaneoplastic Autoimmune Retinopathy Using a Modified Delphi Approach. Am J Ophthalmol 2016;168:183-90.Abstract

PURPOSE: To develop diagnostic criteria for nonparaneoplastic autoimmune retinopathy (AIR) through expert panel consensus and to examine treatment patterns among clinical experts. DESIGN: Modified Delphi process. METHODS: A survey of uveitis specialists in the American Uveitis Society, a face-to-face meeting (AIR Workshop) held at the National Eye Institute, and 2 iterations of expert panel surveys were used in a modified Delphi process. The expert panel consisted of 17 experts, including uveitis specialists and researchers with expertise in antiretinal antibody detection. Supermajority consensus was used and defined as 75% of experts in agreement. RESULTS: There was unanimous agreement among experts regarding the categorization of autoimmune retinopathies as nonparaneoplastic and paraneoplastic, including cancer-associated retinopathy and melanoma-associated retinopathy. Diagnostic criteria and tests essential to the diagnosis of nonparaneoplastic AIR and multiple supportive criteria reached consensus. For treatment, experts agreed that corticosteroids and conventional immunosuppressives should be used (prescribed) as first- or second-line treatments, though a consensus agreed that biologics and intravenous immunoglobulin were considered appropriate in the treatment of nonparaneoplastic AIR patients regardless of the stage of disease. Experts agreed that more evidence is needed to treat nonparaneoplastic AIR patients with long-term immunomodulatory therapy and that there is enough equipoise to justify randomized, placebo-controlled trials to determine if nonparaneoplastic AIR patients should be treated with long-term immunomodulatory therapy. Regarding antiretinal antibody detection, consensus agreed that a standardized assay system is needed to detect serum antiretinal antibodies. Consensus agreed that an ideal assay should have a 2-tier design and that Western blot and immunohistochemistry should be the methods used to identify antiretinal antibodies. CONCLUSIONS: Consensus was achieved using a modified Delphi process to develop diagnostic criteria for nonparaneoplastic AIR. There is enough equipoise to justify randomized, placebo-controlled trials to determine whether patients with nonparaneoplastic AIR should be treated with long-term immunomodulatory therapy. Efforts to develop a standardized 2-tier assay system for the detection of antiretinal antibodies have been initiated as a result of this study.

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.

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