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Ophthalmology. 1995 Jan;102(1):145-53.

Serum antibodies reactive with eye muscle membrane antigens are detected in patients with nonspecific orbital inflammation.

Author information

1
Department of Ophthalmology, Allegheny General Hospital and Allegheny-Singer Research Institute, Pittsburgh 15212-4772.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Nonspecific orbital inflammation, also called "orbital pseudotumor," has many of the features of thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy, especially when localized to the eye muscle. The purpose of this study is to test for circulating autoantibodies against eye muscle antigens and features of possible thyroid autoimmunity in patients with nonspecific orbital inflammation.

METHODS:

The authors studied eight patients with diffuse or localized nonspecific orbital inflammation. The presence of autoantibodies reactive with pig eye muscle membrane antigens and 1D, a recombinant 64 kilodaltons (kd) thyroid and eye muscle protein, were tested in sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and Western blotting.

RESULTS:

The most frequently detected antibodies were those reactive with eye muscle membrane proteins of 55 and 64 kd, which were demonstrated in 62.5% and 62.5%, respectively, of patients with nonspecific orbital inflammation; antibodies against 95- and 45-kd proteins were each detected in 50% of patients. In health subjects, antibodies reactive with the 55- and 64-kd proteins were detected in 16% and 20% of patients, respectively; those reactive with the 95-kd protein were detected in 24% of patients and with the 45-kd protein in 20% of patients. On the other hand, antibodies to 1D were demonstrated in only one patient with nonspecific orbital inflammation and not at all in healthy subjects. The prevalence of positive tests were significantly greater in patients with nonspecific orbital inflammation than healthy patients only for antibodies reactive with a 55-kd protein. Of the four antigens, only the 55-kd protein was expressed in other (systemic) skeletal muscle. No patient had overt thyroid disease or detectable serum antibodies reactive with the thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor, and only one had antibodies reactive with the thyroid microsomal antigen.

CONCLUSION:

Serum autoantibodies reactive with eye muscle membrane proteins are demonstrated in the majority of patients with nonspecific orbital inflammation. Although the pathogenesis of this condition is unknown, autoimmunity against eye muscle antigens is a likely mechanism. While antibodies reactive with the thyroid microsomal antigen were detected in only one patient and anti-thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor antibodies in none of the patients, a possible association of nonspecific orbital inflammation with thyroid autoimmunity has not been excluded.

PMID:
7831030
DOI:
10.1016/s0161-6420(95)31066-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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