A paper by Dutch ophthalmologists and researchers from the Department of Ophthalmology, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Department of Clinical Chemistry & Haematology, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands was published in early May.
The research indicates exciting developments in understanding the genetic connection in particularly with Intraocular interkeukin- 17 and Birdshot Chorioretinopathy. It suggests a reason why Birdshot Chorioretinopathy is an auto-immune disease which affects only the eyes and does not include other parts of the body. This is unlike most other auto immune diseases which tend to affect many organs in the body.
The research was done by taking serum samples from 16 patients with Birdshot Chorioretinopathy and measuring 23 immune mediators (triggers such as T-cells, pro-inflammatory and vascular-active mediators) in order to identify and quantify the specific antigen or antibody in the sample. This was compared to samples from people with AMD and cataracts.
The experiment showed that the T-cell mediators interleukin IL2 and IL17 and proinflammatory mediators IL-1β and tumor necrosis factor α were elevated compared with that of the age related cataract control group.
The conclusion that the scientists drew was that Birdshot patients have elevated intraocular levels of proinflammatory and T cell-associated cytokines. The results support the idea that Birdshot is an autoimmune inflammatory disease restricted to the eye and associated with elevated IL-17.
The exciting thing about this research is that if we know in which cells Birdshot is triggered and what response it produces in our cells, we are better placed to develop drugs to treat Birdshot more effectively.
The link below goes to the published article.