Objective: To study the local and systemic behavior of the tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) in patients with active uveitis.
Methods: TNF-alpha levels were measured in aqueous humor and peripheral blood samples using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay from 23 patients with uveitis and 16 control patients who had been operated on for uncomplicated cataracts.
Results: Aqueous humor and sera of patients with uveitis showed higher levels of TNF-alpha than those of controls (p < 0.001). A comparison of cytokine levels between aqueous humor and sera showed significantly higher levels of TNF-alpha in serum than aqueous humor (p < 0.001). Correlation studies using the regression test for successive steps showed that serum TNF-alpha levels correlated with recurrent uveitis (r = 0.4150; p = 0.0489).
Conclusions: TNF-alpha is a cytokine that participates actively in the pathogenesis of clinical uveitis. Our data emphasize the greater systemic than local participation of TNF-alpha. Finally, an elevated serum TNF-alpha seems to be associated with a recurrent pattern of uveitis.
Copyright 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel