The presence of Propionibacterium spp. in the vitreous fluid of uveitis patients with sarcoidosis

Acta Ophthalmol Scand. 2005 Jun;83(3):364-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0420.2005.00449.x.


Purpose: An immunological reaction to a bacterial antigen, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis or Propionibacterium spp., is suspected to be an initial mechanism in the disorder known as sarcoidosis. We investigated whether or not P. acnes, P. granulosum or M. tuberculosis are present in the vitreous fluid of eyes suffering from uveitis with sarcoidosis.

Methods: Using polymerase chain reaction, we analysed the presence of P. acnes, P. granulosum and/or M. tuberculosis DNA in vitreous samples taken from six eyes with sarcoidosis and six control eyes.

Results: Among the six uveitis eyes with sarcoidosis, we detected P. acnes DNA in two eyes, P. granulosum DNA in four eyes, and both P. acnes and P. granulosum DNA in one eye, but no Propionibacterium spp. in the control eyes. M. tuberculosis DNA was not present in any of the patient or control eyes.

Conclusions: This is the first report indicating the presence of Propionibacterium spp. and/or its DNA in the vitreous fluid of sarcoidic eyes with uveitis. This, therefore, supports the idea that Propionibacterium spp. are involved in the aetiology of uveitis in sarcoidosis.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • Eye Infections, Bacterial / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / genetics
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / isolation & purification
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Propionibacterium acnes / genetics
  • Propionibacterium acnes / isolation & purification*
  • Sarcoidosis / microbiology*
  • Uveitis, Posterior / microbiology*
  • Vitreous Body / microbiology*


  • DNA, Bacterial