Immunology and Uveitis

Kothari S, Foster SC, Pistilli M, Liesegang TL, Daniel E, Sen NH, Suhler EB, Thorne JE, Jabs DA, Levy-Clarke GA, Nussenblatt RB, Rosenbaum JT, Lawrence SD, Kempen JH, for Eye Diseases Group SITR. The Risk of Intraocular Pressure Elevation inPediatric Noninfectious Uveitis. Ophthalmology 2015;122(10):1987-2001.Abstract

PURPOSE: To characterize the risk and risk factors for intraocular pressure (IOP) elevation in pediatric noninfectious uveitis. DESIGN: Multicenter retrospective cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Nine hundred sixteen children (1593 eyes) younger than 18 years at presentation with noninfectious uveitis followed up between January 1978 and December 2007 at 5 academic uveitis centers in the United States. METHODS: Medical records review by trained, certified experts. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Prevalence and incidence of IOP of 21 mmHg or more and 30 mmHg or more and incidence of a rise in IOP by 10 mmHg or more. To avoid underascertainment, outcomes were counted as present when IOP-lowering therapies were in use. RESULTS: Initially, 251 (15.8%) and 46 eyes (2.9%) had IOP ≥21 mmHg and ≥30 mmHg, respectively. Factors significantly associated with presenting IOP elevation included age of 6 to 12 years (versus other pediatric ages), prior cataract surgery, pars plana vitrectomy, duration of uveitis ≥6 months, contralateral IOP elevation, presenting visual acuity worse than 20/40, and topical corticosteroid use (in a dose-response relationship). The median follow-up was 1.25 years (interquartile range, 0.4-3.66). The estimated incidence of any observed IOP elevation to ≥21 mmHg, to ≥30 mmHg, and increase in IOP by ≥10 mmHg was 33.4%, 14.8%, and 24.4%, respectively, within 2 years. Factors associated with IOP elevation included pars plana vitrectomy, contralateral IOP elevation (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], up to 9.54; P < 0.001), and the use of topical (aHR, up to 8.77 that followed a dose-response relationship; P < 0.001), periocular (aHR, up to 7.96; P < 0.001), and intraocular (aHR, up to 19.7; P < 0.001) corticosteroids. CONCLUSIONS: Intraocular pressure elevation affects a large minority of children with noninfectious uveitis. Statistically significant risk factors include IOP elevation or use of IOP-lowering treatment in the contralateral eye and local corticosteroid use that demonstrated a dose-and route of administration-dependent relationship. In contrast, use of immunosuppressive drug therapy did not increase such risk. Pediatric eyes with noninfectious uveitis should be followed up closely for IOP elevation, especially when strong risk factors such as the use of local corticosteroids and contralateral IOP elevation are present.

Cordero-Coma M, Sobrin L. Anti-tumor necrosis factor-α therapy in uveitis. Surv Ophthalmol 2015;60(6):575-89.Abstract

Since the first reported use in 2001 of an anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) agent, infliximab, for the treatment of uveitis, several new anti-TNF-α agents have emerged for the treatment of refractory noninfectious uveitides, although their use remains off-label in the US. These agents have demonstrated remarkable clinical antiinflammatory efficacy and a potential immunoregulatory role in selected uveitis patients, but it is currently unclear whether they can modify the natural history of disease. We review the rationale and clinical indications for this therapy, the differences between agents, how to manage dosing and intervals, and how to screen for and identify potential side effects. We also present a summary of the science behind the use of anti-TNF-α agents in ocular inflammation and the evidence for their efficacy.

Hsu S-M, Mathew R, Taylor AW, Stein-Streilein J. Ex-vivo tolerogenic F4/80⁺ antigen-presenting cells (APC) induce efferent CD8⁺ regulatory T cell-dependent suppression of experimental autoimmune uveitis. Clin Exp Immunol 2014;176(1):37-48.Abstract
It is known that inoculation of antigen into the anterior chamber (a.c.) of a mouse eye induces a.c.-associated immune deviation (ACAID), which is mediated in part by antigen-specific local and peripheral tolerance to the inciting antigen. ACAID can also be induced in vivo by intravenous (i.v.) inoculation of ex-vivo-generated tolerogenic antigen-presenting cells (TolAPC). The purpose of this study was to test if in-vitro-generated retinal antigen-pulsed TolAPC suppressed established experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU). Retinal antigen-pulsed TolAPC were injected i.v. into mice 7 days post-induction of EAU. We observed that retinal antigen-pulsed TolAPC suppressed the incidence and severity of the clinical expression of EAU and reduced the expression of associated inflammatory cytokines. Moreover, extract of whole retina efficiently replaced interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein (IRBP) in the preparation of TolAPC used to induce tolerance in EAU mice. Finally, the suppression of EAU could be transferred to a new set of EAU mice with CD8⁺ but not with CD4⁺ regulatory T cells (T(reg)). Retinal antigen-pulsed TolAPC suppressed ongoing EAU by inducing CD8⁺ T(reg) cells that, in turn, suppressed the effector activity of the IRBP-specific T cells and altered the clinical symptoms of autoimmune inflammation in the eye. The ability to use retinal extract for the antigen raises the possibility that retinal extract could be used to produce autologous TolAPC and then used as therapy in human uveitis.
Kruh JN, Yang P, Suelves AM, Foster SC. Infliximab for the treatment of refractory noninfectious Uveitis: a study of 88 patients with long-term follow-up. Ophthalmology 2014;121(1):358-364.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: To establish the safety and efficacy of infliximab for the treatment of refractory noninfectious uveitis. DESIGN: Retrospective, interventional, noncomparative cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Eighty-eight patients from a single-center private practice. METHODS: Patients with chronic, recalcitrant uveitis treated with infliximab (Remicade; Janssen Biotech, Inc., Titusville, NJ) were identified through an electronic medical record database. All charts were reviewed for sex, diagnosis, location of inflammation, presence of vasculitis, prior immunomodulatory treatments, duration of infliximab treatment, dose received, secondary side effects, and other medications continued while receiving treatment with infliximab. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome measures were the rate of remission, time to remission, relapse rate, failure rate, and patient tolerance. Additional analysis aimed to identity risk factors that would predict a higher success rate of infliximab to treat various types of noninfectious uveitis. RESULTS: Of the 72 patients (81.8%) who achieved clinical remission while being treated with infliximab, 42 (58.3%) required additional immunomodulatory medications. At 7, 18.1, and 44.7 weeks, 25%, 50%, and 75% of patients, respectively, achieved clinical remission off all corticosteroids. Thirty-two patients (36.4%) experienced at least 1 side effect while on infliximab therapy, and 17 patients (19.3%) discontinued treatment secondary to 1 or more intolerable side effects. The most common adverse effects were skin rash (9.1%) and fatigue (8%). Factors associated with a higher chance to achieve clinical remission were nonidiopathic uveitis (P < 0.001), intermediate or panuveitis (P < 0.001), absence of vasculitis (P < 0.001), and a starting dose ≥5 mg/kg (P < 0.011). CONCLUSIONS: Infliximab induces a high rate of complete clinical remission in recalcitrant uveitis and is well tolerated by most patients.
Wentworth BA, Freitas-Neto CA, Foster SC. Management of pediatric uveitis. F1000Prime Rep 2014;6:41.Abstract
Pediatric uveitis is a topic of special interest not only because of the unique diagnostic and therapeutic challenges but also because of the lifetime burden of vision loss if the problem is not adequately treated, as well as the economic and psychological toll on the family. Often, uveitis in children is discovered as part of a routine eye exam; this silent, insidious inflammation can be difficult to treat and can lead to further complications if not handled skillfully. Corticosteroids have long been the mainstay of therapy; however, the significant associated side effects mandate a corticosteroid-sparing therapeutic regimen in pursuit of remission. In this review, we cover the therapeutic options for pediatric uveitis, specifically focusing on the most common non-infectious varieties, juvenile idiopathic arthritis-associated uveitis and pars planitis.
Suelves AM, Siddique SS, Schurko B, Foster SC. Anterior chamber intraocular lens implantation in patients with a history of chronic uveitis: five-year follow-up. J Cataract Refract Surg 2014;40(1):77-81.Abstract
PURPOSE: To compare the incidence of long-term complications after cataract surgery with primary anterior chamber intraocular lens (AC IOL) implantation in uveitic patients and patients without a history of intraocular inflammation (control group). SETTING: Single-center private practice. DESIGN: Retrospective clinical study. METHODS: The study comprised patients who between November 2005 and August 2010 had cataract extraction followed by AC IOL implantation because conventional placement was not possible. Outcome measures were the incidence of intraoperative and postoperative complications, preoperative corrected distance visual acuity (CDVA), and CDVA after 1 year. RESULTS: Of the 39 patients identified through electronic medical records, 17 (17 eyes) had a history of chronic uveitis and 22 (23 eyes) had no intraocular inflammatory disease. There were no significant differences in the incidence of intraoperative and postoperative complications between the 2 groups during follow-up (range 12 to 68 months) (P=.702). Although uveitic eyes had a greater risk for epiretinal membrane formation, the incidence of uveitis flareups attributed to the IOL and deposits on IOL surfaces was comparable to that in the control group (P<.001). The CDVA improved significantly in both groups 1 year after surgery (P<.01 and P<.001, respectively). CONCLUSION: In uveitic eyes with inadequate capsule support, AC IOL implantation restored visual function without a significant increase in long-term postoperative complications compared with eyes that had no history of uveitis.
Levin MH, Pistilli M, Daniel E, Gangaputra SS, Nussenblatt RB, Rosenbaum JT, Suhler EB, Thorne JE, Foster SC, Jabs DA, Levy-Clarke GA, Kempen JH. Incidence of visual improvement in uveitis cases with visual impairment caused by macular edema. Ophthalmology 2014;121(2):588-95.e1.Abstract
PURPOSE: Among cases of visually significant uveitic macular edema (ME), to estimate the incidence of visual improvement and identify predictive factors. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Eyes with uveitis, seen at 5 academic ocular inflammation centers in the United States, for which ME was documented to be currently present and the principal cause of reduced visual acuity (<20/40). METHODS: Data were obtained by standardized chart review. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Decrease of ≥ 0.2 base 10 logarithm of visual acuity decimal fraction-equivalent; risk factors for such visual improvement. RESULTS: We identified 1510 eyes (of 1077 patients) with visual impairment to a level <20/40 attributed to ME. Most patients were female (67%) and white (76%), and had bilateral uveitis (82%). The estimated 6-month incidence of ≥ 2 lines of visual acuity improvement in affected eyes was 52% (95% confidence interval [CI], 49%-55%). Vision reduced by ME was more likely to improve by 2 lines in eyes initially with poor visual acuity (≤ 20/200; adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 1.5; 95% CI, 1.3-1.7), active uveitis (HR, 1.3; 95% CI, 1.1-1.5), and anterior uveitis as opposed to intermediate (HR, 1.2), posterior (HR, 1.3), or panuveitis (HR, 1.4; overall P = 0.02). During follow-up, reductions in anterior chamber or vitreous cellular activity or in vitreous haze each led to significant improvements in visual outcome (P <0.001 for each). Conversely, snowbanking (HR, 0.7; 95% CI, 0.4-0.99), posterior synechiae (HR, 0.8; 95% CI, 0.6-0.9), and hypotony (HR, 0.2; 95% CI, 0.06-0.5) each were associated with lower incidence of visual improvement with respect to eyes lacking each of these attributes at a given visit. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that many, but not all, patients with ME causing low vision in a tertiary care setting will enjoy meaningful visual recovery in response to treatment. Evidence of significant ocular damage from inflammation (posterior synechiae and hypotony) portends a lower incidence of visual recovery. Better control of anterior chamber or vitreous activity is associated with a greater incidence of visual improvement, supporting an aggressive anti-inflammatory treatment approach for ME cases with active inflammation.
Artornsombudh P, Pistilli M, Foster SC, Pujari SS, Gangaputra SS, Jabs DA, Levy-Clarke GA, Nussenblatt RB, Rosenbaum JT, Suhler EB, Thorne JE, Kempen JH. Factors predictive of remission of new-onset anterior uveitis. Ophthalmology 2014;121(3):778-84.Abstract
PURPOSE: To identify factors predictive of remission of inflammation in new-onset anterior uveitis cases treated at tertiary uveitis care facilities. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Patients seeking treatment at participating academic uveitis clinics within 90 days of initial diagnosis of anterior uveitis. METHODS: Retrospective cohort study based on standardized chart review. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Factors predictive of remission (no disease activity without corticosteroid or immunosuppressive treatments at all visits during a 90-day period). RESULTS: Nine hundred ninety eyes (687 patients) had a first-ever diagnosis of anterior uveitis within 90 days before initial presentation and had follow-up visits thereafter. The median follow-up time was 160 days. Systemic diagnoses with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA; adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.38; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.19-0.74) and Behçet's disease (aHR, 0.10; 95% CI, 0.01-0.85) were associated with a lower incidence of uveitis remission. Cases of bilateral uveitis (aHR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.54-0.87) and those with a history of cataract surgery before presentation (aHR, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.29-0.87) also had a lower incidence of remission. Regarding clinical findings at the initial visit, a high degree of vitreous cells at initial presentation was associated with a lower incidence of remission (for 1+ or more vs. none: aHR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.55-0.95). An initial visual acuity of 20/200 or worse, with respect to 20/40 or better, also was predictive of a lower incidence of remission (aHR, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.32-0.86). CONCLUSIONS: Factors associated with a lower incidence of remission among new-onset anterior uveitis cases included diagnosis with JIA, Behçet's disease, bilateral uveitis, history of cataract surgery, findings of 1+ or more vitreous cells at presentation, and an initial visual acuity of 20/200 or worse. Patients with these risk factors seem to be at higher risk of persistent inflammation; reciprocally, patients lacking these factors would be more likely to experience remission. Patients with risk factors for nonremission of uveitis should be managed taking into account the higher probability of a chronic inflammatory course.
Sen NH, Vitale S, Gangaputra SS, Nussenblatt RB, Liesegang TL, Levy-Clarke GA, Rosenbaum JT, Suhler EB, Thorne JE, Foster SC, Jabs DA, Kempen JH. Periocular corticosteroid injections in uveitis: effects and complications. Ophthalmology 2014;121(11):2275-86.Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate the benefits and complications of periocular depot corticosteroid injections in patients with ocular inflammatory disorders. DESIGN: Multicenter, retrospective cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 914 patients (1192 eyes) who had received ≥ 1 periocular corticosteroid injection at 5 tertiary uveitis clinics in the United States. METHODS: Patients were identified from the Systemic Immunosuppressive Therapy for Eye Diseases Cohort Study. Demographic and clinical characteristics were obtained at every visit via medical record review by trained reviewers. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Control of inflammation, improvement of visual acuity (VA) to ≥ 20/40, improvement of VA loss attributed to macular edema (ME), incident cataract affecting VA, cataract surgery, ocular hypertension, and glaucoma surgery. RESULTS: Among 914 patients (1192 eyes) who received ≥ 1 periocular injection during follow-up, 286 (31.3%) were classified as having anterior uveitis, 303 (33.3%) as intermediate uveitis, and 324 (35.4%) as posterior or panuveitis. Cumulatively by ≤ 6 months, 72.7% (95% CI, 69.1-76.3) of the eyes achieved complete control of inflammation and 49.7% (95% CI, 45.5-54.1) showed an improvement in VA from <20/40 to ≥ 20/40. Among the subset with VA <20/40 attributed to ME, 33.1% (95% CI, 25.2-42.7) improved to ≥ 20/40. By 12 months, the cumulative incidence of ≥ 1 visits with an intraocular pressure of ≥ 24 mmHg and ≥ 30 mmHg was 34.0% (95% CI, 24.8-45.4) and 15.0% (95% CI, 11.8-19.1) respectively; glaucoma surgery was performed in 2.4% of eyes (95% CI, 1.4-3.9). Within 12 months, among phakic eyes initially ≥ 20/40, the incidence of a reduction in VA to <20/40 attributed to cataract was 20.2% (95% CI, 15.9-25.6); cataract surgery was performed within 12 months in 13.8% of the initially phakic eyes (95% CI, 11.1-17.2). CONCLUSIONS: Periocular injections were effective in treating active intraocular inflammation and in improving reduced VA attributed to ME in a majority of patients. The response pattern was similar across anatomic locations of uveitis. Overall, VA improved in one half of the patients at some point within 6 months. However, cataract and ocular hypertension occurred in a substantial minority.
Baxter SL, Pistilli M, Pujari SS, Liesegang TL, Suhler EB, Thorne JE, Foster SC, Jabs DA, Levy-Clarke GA, Nussenblatt RB, Rosenbaum JT, Kempen JH. Risk of choroidal neovascularization among the uveitides. Am J Ophthalmol 2013;156(3):468-477.e2.Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate the risk, risk factors, and visual impact of choroidal neovascularization (CNV) in uveitis cases. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. METHODS: Standardized medical record review at 5 tertiary centers. RESULTS: Among 15,137 uveitic eyes (8868 patients), CNV was rare in the cases of anterior or intermediate uveitis. Among the 4041 eyes (2307 patients) with posterior uveitis or panuveitis, 81 (2.0%) had CNV at presentation. Risk factors included posterior uveitis in general and specific uveitis syndromes affecting the outer retina-retinal pigment epithelium-choroid interface. Among the 2364 eyes (1357 patients) with posterior uveitis or panuveitis and free of CNV at the time of cohort entry, the cumulative 2-year incidence of CNV was 2.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.8% to 3.5%). Risk factors for incident CNV included currently active inflammation (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 2.13; 95% CI, 1.26 to 3.60), preretinal neovascularization (aHR, 3.19; 95% CI, 1.30 to 7.80), and prior diagnosis of CNV in the contralateral eye (aHR, 5.79; 95% CI, 2.77 to 12.09). Among specific syndromes, the incidence was greater in Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome (aHR, 3.37; 95% CI, 1.52 to 7.46) and punctate inner choroiditis (aHR, 8.67; 95% CI, 2.83 to 26.54). Incident CNV was associated with a 2-line loss of visual acuity (+0.19 logarithm of the minimal angle of resolution units; 95% CI, 0.079 to 0.29) from the preceding visit. CONCLUSIONS: CNV is an uncommon complication of uveitis associated with visual impairment that occurs more commonly in forms affecting the outer retina-retinal pigment epithelium-choroid interface, during periods of inflammatory activity, in association with preretinal neovascularization, and in second eyes of patients with unilateral CNV. Because CNV is treatable, a systematic approach to early detection in high-risk patients may be appropriate.
Stein-Streilein J. Mechanisms of immune privilege in the posterior eye. Int Rev Immunol 2013;32(1):42-56.Abstract
Immune privilege protects vital organs and their functions from the destructive interference of inflammation. Because the eye is easily accessible for surgical manipulation and for assessing and imaging the outcomes, the eye has been a major tissue for the study of immune privilege. Here, we focus on the immune regulatory mechanisms in the posterior eye, in part, because loss of immune privilege may contribute to development of certain retinal diseases in the aging population. We begin with a background in immune privilege and then focus on the select regulatory mechanisms that have been studied in the posterior eye. The review includes a description of the immunosuppressive environment, regulatory surface molecules expressed by cells in the eye, types of cells that participate in immune regulation and finally, discusses animal models of retinal laser injury in the context of mechanisms that overcome immune privilege.

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