Disseminated nontuberculous mycobacterial infection with multifocal retinitis and vasculitis in an immunocompromised patient with anti-IFN-ɣ autoantibodies

J Ophthalmic Inflamm Infect. 2016 Dec;6(1):39. doi: 10.1186/s12348-016-0106-z. Epub 2016 Oct 22.


Background: Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are found ubiquitously in the environment. Since exposure to NTM is universal, infection likely represents underlying host susceptibility factors. Anti-IFN-ɣ autoantibodies have been described previously in patients with NTM. Up to 88 % of patients with disseminated NTM or other opportunistic infections have high-titer anti-IFN-ɣ autoantibodies, compared with 2 % of patients with TB and healthy controls.

Findings: We report a unique presentation of a patient with anti-IFN-ɣ autoantibodies with disseminated NTM infection who presents with panuveitis with multifocal retinitis and vasculitis. Treatment with systemic anti tubercular therapy resulted in complete clinical resolution with good visual recovery.

Conclusions: Patients with anti-IFN-ɣ autoantibodies present with a novel syndrome that links autoimmunity and immunodeficiency. This case emphasizes the importance of testing for anti-IFN-ɣ autoantibodies in patients with disseminated mycobacterial infection.