Purpose: Although multiple serum antiretinal autoantibodies (ARAs) have been reported in patients with paraneoplastic and non-paraneoplastic autoimmune retinopathy ((n)pAIR), not all retinal antigens involved in (n)pAIR are specified. This study aims to serologically identify patients with presumed (n)pAIR through determination of both known and unknown ARAs by autoantibody profiling.
Methods: An antigen suspension bead array using 188 different antigens representing 97 ocular proteins was performed to detect ARAs in serum samples of patients with presumed (n)pAIR (n = 24), uveitis (n = 151) and cataract (n = 21). Logistic regressions were used to estimate the associations between ocular antigens and diagnosis. Validation of interphotoreceptor matrix proteoglycan 2 (IMPG2) and recoverin antigens was performed by immunohistochemistry and immunoblot, respectively.
Results: Samples of patients with presumed (n)pAIR exhibited a broad spectrum of ARAs. We identified retinal antigens that have already been described previously (e.g. recoverin), but also identified novel ARA targets. Most ARAs were not specific for (n)pAIR since their presence was also observed in patients with cataract or uveitis. High titers of autoantibodies directed against photoreceptor-specific nuclear receptor and retinol-binding protein 3 were more common in patients with presumed (n)pAIR compared to uveitis (p = 0.015 and p = 0.018, respectively). The presence of all other ARAs did not significantly differ between groups. In patients with presumed (n)pAIR, anti-recoverin autoantibodies were the most prevalent ARAs. Validation of bead array results by immunohistochemistry (anti-IMPG2) and immunoblot (anti-recoverin) showed concordant results in (n)pAIR patients.
Conclusions: Patients with (n)pAIR are characterized by the presence of a broad spectrum of ARAs. The diagnosis of (n)pAIR cannot be based on the mere presence of serum ARAs, as these are also commonly present in uveitis as well as in age-related cataract patients.