Importance: To better characterize posterior uveitis, vitreous samples from 15 patients were subjected to antibody arrays, and the expression levels of 200 human cytokines were evaluated. Expression was analyzed by 1-way analysis of variance (significance at P < .01), unsupervised cluster algorithm, and pathway analysis.
Observations: Unbiased clustering of patients, based on their cytokine expression profile, suggested that particular protein networks and molecular pathways are altered in various forms of uveitis. Expression of interleukin 23 (IL-23), IL-1 receptor I (IL-1RI), IL-17R, tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase 1 and 2 (TIMP-1 and TIMP-2), insulinlike growth factor-binding protein 2 (IGFBP-2), nerve growth factor (b-NGF), platelet-derived growth factor receptor β polypeptide (PDGFRb), bone morphogenic protein 4 (BMP-4), and stem cell factor (SCF) constituted a common cytokine signature in the vitreous of patients with uveitis. In 1 patient with progressive, idiopathic visual loss, this last-line analysis implicated retinal autoimmunity, a diagnosis that was validated when her serum sample was found to contain antibodies to S-arrestin, a retinal protein and potent cause of autoimmune retinal degeneration.
Conclusions and relevance: The analysis identifies a common cytokine signature for posterior uveitis and guides the diagnosis of a patient with idiopathic uveitis. Personalized treatment reversed the visual loss, illustrating how proteomic tools may individualize therapy.