Purpose: Various retinal proteins are newly exposed to immune system in a process of tissue destructive endogenous uveitis. Some of such proteins could be autoantigens that extend the ocular inflammation in human endogenous uveitis. In this study, we aimed to investigate the possibility of such spreading of autoantigens in endogenous uveoretinitis using a proteomic approach.
Methods: Experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis (EAU) was induced in mice by inoculation with a peptide consisting of amino acids 1-20 (GPTHLFQPSLVLDMAKVLLP) of interphotoreceptor retinoid binding protein (IRBP). Six weeks after immunization, the presence of autoantibodies against the retinal proteins in mice with EAU were examined by two-dimensional electrophoresis followed by western blotting (2D-WB). Retinal proteins targeted by the autoantibodies were identified by mass spectrometry (MS) and their autoantigenicity in patients with endogenous uveitis, such as Behcet's disease (BD, n=36), Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease (VKH, n=16), and sarcoidosis (n=17) were examined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results: Six new candidate autoantigens, which were detected in mice with EAU using 2D-WD were identified by MS as beta-actin, esterase D (EsteD), tubulin beta-2, brain-type creatine kinase (BB-CK), voltage-dependent anion-selective channel protein, and aspartate aminotransferase. Among the patients with endogenous uveitis, 25% of BD and 25% of VKH patients were positive for anti-EsteD antibody, and 25% of VKH and 38.4% of sarcoidosis patients were positive for anti-BB-CK antibody.
Conclusions: Autoantibodies to EsteD and BB-CK produced in EAU-induced mice were also detected in some endogenous uveitis patients, suggesting that these proteins might be autoantigens spreading in a process of endogenous uveoretinitis.