Aqueous humor and serum tumor necrosis factor-alpha in clinical uveitis

Ophthalmic Res. 2001 Sep-Oct;33(5):251-5. doi: 10.1159/000055677.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aqueous Humor / metabolism*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism*
  • Uveitis / metabolism*


  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha