Purpose: To evaluate the association between human leukocyte antigen (HLA-DR15) specificity and intermediate uveitis.
Methods: Eighteen patients diagnosed with intermediate uveitis underwent HLA-DR15 serotyping. Additionally, DNA-based phenotyping for a specific HLA-DR15 allele was performed in four patients. The clinical features of HLA-DR15-positive intermediate uveitis were compared with those of HLA-DR15-negative intermediate uveitis.
Results: Thirteen of 18 patients (72%) were positive for HLA-DR15. The frequency of the HLA-DR15 specificity in intermediate uveitis patients was significantly higher than in the control subjects (relative risk, 6.36; P < .001). Each of four patients tested carried the specific allele, DR beta 1*1501, which has been associated with multiple sclerosis. In the HLA-DR15-positive group were four patients (31%) with coexisting multiple sclerosis or optic neuritis, one patient with coexisting narcolepsy, and three patients (23%) with a family history of multiple sclerosis. Retinal periphlebitis, especially if bilateral, was a frequent ophthalmoscopic finding in HLA-DR15-positive intermediate uveitis.
Conclusions: This study identifies a significant association between intermediate uveitis and the HLA-DR15 specificity. Patients who are HLA-DR15-positive and have intermediate uveitis may have systemic findings of another HLA-DR15-related disorder. Intermediate uveitis may belong to a constellation of HLA-DR15-related disorders, which includes multiple sclerosis, optic neuritis, and narcolepsy.