Purpose: To clarify the distinct molecular pathogenesis of central serous chorioretinopathy (CSC) and pachychoroid neovasculopathy (PNV).
Methods: Aqueous humor (AH) was collected from 18 acute CSC, 20 chronic CSC, and 20 PNV patients. Concentrations of 30 cytokines in the AH were analyzed using a multiplex bead immunoassay, and the cytokine profiles were compared among these three groups of patients. The areas of choroidal vascular hyperpermeability (CVH) and choroidal thickness (CT), including measurement of the vascular layers, were investigated to analyze the features of choroidal abnormality in acute CSC, chronic CSC, and PNV. Additionally, associations between cytokine profiles and choroidal abnormalities were analyzed.
Results: Proinflammatory cytokines, IL-6 and IL-8 were significantly upregulated in the chronic CSC group compared with the acute CSC or PNV groups. Angiogenic cytokines and VEGF-A were upregulated at levels that almost reached significance along with disease progression from acute to chronic CSC, whereas the upregulation was not significant from chronic CSC to PNV. In the chronic CSC group, strong positive correlations were confirmed between VEGF-A and placental growth factor (PlGF) (r = 0.75, P < 0.001) and IL-6 and VEGF-A (r = 0.74, P < 0.001), and angiogenesis-related cytokines were positively correlated with the typical choroidal abnormalities, areas of CVH, mean CT, and mean large choroidal vessel layer thickness. However, there was no association between these choroidal abnormality parameters and AH cytokines in the PNV group.
Conclusions: The results suggest that choroidal abnormalities in chronic CSC may be associated with upregulated angiogenesis.