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Correlation of Aqueous, Vitreous, and Plasma Cytokine Levels in Patients With Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy.

  • Author(s): Wu, Frances;
  • Phone, Audrey;
  • Lamy, Ricardo;
  • Ma, Dahui;
  • Laotaweerungsawat, Sawarin;
  • Chen, Yi;
  • Zhao, Tong;
  • Ma, Wei;
  • Zhang, Fuyan;
  • Psaras, Catherine;
  • Stewart, Jay M
  • et al.

Purpose:To investigate the relationship between proangiogenic and inflammatory cytokines in concurrent vitreous, aqueous, and plasma samples from patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). Methods:Vitreous, aqueous, and plasma samples were analyzed using multiplex immunoassay for 10 PDR-related cytokines (IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 [MCP-1], macrophage inflammatory protein-1β [MIP-1β], VEGF receptor 1 [Flt-1], placental growth factor [PlGF], VEGF-A, VEGF-C, VEGF-D). A total of 17 patients with PDR and 7 controls were included. The primary outcome was correlation of cytokines in vitreous, aqueous, and plasma. The secondary outcome was the comparison of cytokine levels in controls and diabetics with and without recent anti-VEGF injection. Results:The following factors were elevated in diabetics compared with controls: vitreous IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α, MCP-1, MIP-1β, PlGF, and VEGF-A; and aqueous IL-6, IL-8, PlGF, and VEGF-C (all P < 0.05). Vitreous and aqueous IL-8, PlGF, and VEGF-A were significantly correlated in patients with PDR (all P < 0.05). Plasma cytokines were not correlated with those in vitreous and aqueous (all P > 0.05). Vitreous and aqueous IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α, PlGF, and VEGF-A differed among controls and diabetics with and without recent anti-VEGF injection (all P < 0.05). In one-to-one comparisons, aqueous VEGF-A levels were lower in diabetic patients who had recent anti-VEGF injection compared with those who did not (P = 0.01). Conclusions:In this proof-of-concept study, IL-8, VEGF-A, and PlGF demonstrated a strong correlation in vitreous and aqueous of patients with PDR. The aqueous may serve as a proxy for vitreous for some cytokines involved in PDR. Recent anti-VEGF injections decreased VEGF-A levels in aqueous, but did not significantly affect other cytokines, suggesting a role for other targeted therapies in PDR management.

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