INTRAOCULAR VIRAL AND IMMUNE PATHOGENESIS OF IMMUNE RECOVERY UVEITIS IN PATIENTS WITH HEALED CYTOMEGALOVIRUS RETINITIS

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Abstract

Purpose:

To investigate immune and viral contributions to the pathogenesis of immune recovery uveitis (IRU), which presents as vitritis, macular edema, or formation of epiretinal membranes, and develops in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) who experienced cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis before antiretroviral treatment (ART) induced immune reconstitution.

Methods:

Aqueous and vitreous fluids from patients with IRU, active CMV retinitis, and control human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-negative, noninflamed eyes were compared for presence of cytokines IL-6, IL12, interferon gamma using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay techniques, and CMV DNA (by polymerase chain reaction).

Results:

IRU eyes (11 patients, 18 samples) had the highest levels of IL-12 (median 48 pg/mL), moderate levels of IL-6 (median 146 pg/mL), and low but significant interferon gamma (median 15 pg/mL), compared to controls (P < 0.01). All uveitis eyes tested (9/9) were CMV DNA negative. In contrast, active CMV retinitis eyes were CMV DNA positive, had higher levels of IL-6 (median 349 pg/mL) (25 patients, 41 samples) than both control (P = 0.0001) and uveitis eyes (P = 0.048), similar levels of interferon gamma (median 27 pg/mL) to uveitis eyes, but less IL-12 (median 0 pg/mL) than uveitis eyes.

Conclusions:

Inflammatory IRU can be differentiated from active CMV retinitis by the presence of IL-12, less IL-6, and absence of detectable CMV replication.

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