To better characterize posterior uveitis, vitreous samples from 15 patients were subjected to antibody arrays, and the expression levels of 200 human cytokines were evaluated. Expression was analyzed by 1-way analysis of variance (significance at P < .01), unsupervised cluster algorithm, and pathway analysis.
Unbiased clustering of patients, based on their cytokine expression profile, suggested that particular protein networks and molecular pathways are altered in various forms of uveitis. Expression of interleukin 23 (IL-23), IL-1 receptor I (IL-1RI), IL-17R, tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase 1 and 2 (TIMP-1 and TIMP-2), insulinlike growth factor–binding protein 2 (IGFBP-2), nerve growth factor (b-NGF), platelet-derived growth factor receptor β polypeptide (PDGFRb), bone morphogenic protein 4 (BMP-4), and stem cell factor (SCF) constituted a common cytokine signature in the vitreous of patients with uveitis. In 1 patient with progressive, idiopathic visual loss, this last-line analysis implicated retinal autoimmunity, a diagnosis that was validated when her serum sample was found to contain antibodies to S-arrestin, a retinal protein and potent cause of autoimmune retinal degeneration.
Conclusions and Relevance
The analysis identifies a common cytokine signature for posterior uveitis and guides the diagnosis of a patient with idiopathic uveitis. Personalized treatment reversed the visual loss, illustrating how proteomic tools may individualize therapy.