Polymerase chain reaction and Goldmann-Witmer coefficient analysis are complimentary for the diagnosis of infectious uveitis

Am J Ophthalmol. 2006 Feb;141(2):313-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2005.09.017.


Purpose: To determine the relative contribution of the analysis of intraocular antibody production and the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in aqueous humor (AH) to the diagnosis of infectious uveitis.

Design: Retrospective case-control study.

Methods: Paired AH and serum samples from 230 patients suspected of infectious uveitis were examined for intraocular antibody production against herpes simplex virus (HSV), varicella zoster virus (VZV), and Toxoplasma gondii by calculating the Goldmann-Witmer coefficient (GWC). In addition, AH samples were investigated by real-time PCR to determine the presence of microbial DNA.

Results: Positive results were obtained in 54 cases (23%): 13 HSV (24%), 16 VZV (30%), and 25 T gondii (46%). Of these, 23 (43%) were positive for both GWC and PCR, 26 (48%) only for GWC, and 5 (9%) only for PCR. With PCR as the sole diagnostic approach, a correct diagnosis of the infectious etiology would have been missed in 34% of cases for the herpes viruses and in 64% for T gondii. Analysis of the relationship between a positive laboratory diagnosis and the time of sampling after onset of ocular disease demonstrated that intraocular antibody production was found throughout the course of the diseases. Viral DNA was more readily detected early in infection. In contrast, T gondii nucleic acid was not detected until 3 weeks after onset of ocular disease.

Conclusions: Analysis of intraocular antibody production contributed considerably to the etiological diagnosis of infectious uveitis, most notably of ocular toxoplasmosis early after onset of disease. Therefore, both PCR and GWC determination might be performed for comprehensive diagnosis of intraocular infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / analysis
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis
  • Aqueous Humor / immunology*
  • Aqueous Humor / parasitology
  • Aqueous Humor / virology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • DNA, Protozoan / analysis
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods*
  • Eye Infections, Parasitic / diagnosis*
  • Eye Infections, Parasitic / parasitology
  • Eye Infections, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Eye Infections, Viral / virology
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human / genetics
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human / immunology
  • Humans
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Simplexvirus / genetics
  • Simplexvirus / immunology
  • Toxoplasma / genetics
  • Toxoplasma / immunology
  • Uveitis / diagnosis*
  • Uveitis / parasitology
  • Uveitis / virology


  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • DNA, Protozoan
  • DNA, Viral