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Mol Vis. 2009;15:60-9. Epub 2009 Jan 14.

Multiplex immunoassay analysis of biomarkers in clinically accessible quantities of human aqueous humor.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, University of Florida, College of Medicine, Jacksonville, FL 32209, USA.



Aqueous humor is intimately related to the cells of the anterior and posterior chambers, which affect its composition. Aqueous analysis provides useful information regarding physiological and pathophysiological processes in the eye. Human aqueous samples are typically less than 100 microl, limiting the usefulness of the analysis with traditional Enzyme-Linked immunoSorbant Assay (ELISA) techniques. The specific aim of this study was to investigate if whether large numbers of analytes can be identified in clinically available samples of aqueous humor and to document the detectability of certain biomarkers in the aqueous.


We used a technology developed by Luminex xMAP to analyze hundreds of analytes in a small sample. Aqueous from eight normal and two diabetic patients was analyzed.


Of the 90 analytes evaluated, 52 (57%) were detectable in the normal aqueous. To place these results in biological context, we analyzed the list of expressed analytes using the MetaCore database. The functional pathways, networks, biological processes, and disease processes that these analytes represented were identified. Several ocular pathology-related processes were represented in the aqueous. The detected analytes represented biomarkers of several relevant disease processes including vascular diseases, arteriosclerosis, ischemia, necrosis, and inflammation. To provide the proof of principle that the aqueous profile could offer useful information about the pathophysiological processes, we analyzed two aqueous samples from diabetic patients. These limited samples showed the differences between normal and diabetic samples, including those relevant to diabetic retinopathy such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), C reactive protein, glutathione, and cytokines. Several biomarker groups for disease processes relevant to diabetes were perturbed.


These results demonstrate that multiplex analysis of the aqueous can be a useful tool in screening for any pathophysiological changes of the ocular environment. Moreover, ocular pathology/pathophysiology-specific Multi-analyte profiles MAPs can be developed and used to analyze the aqueous.

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