Discovery of tear biomarkers in children with chronic non-infectious anterior uveitis: a pilot study

Sheila T. Angeles-Han, Steven Yeh, Purnima Patel, Duc Duong, Kirsten Jenkins, Kelly A. Rouster-Stevens, Mekibib Altaye, Ndate Fall, Sherry Thornton, Sampath Prahalad, Gary N. Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: Biomarkers in easily obtained specimens that accurately predict uveitis in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) are needed. Aqueous humor has been studied for biomarkers, but is not routinely available. We evaluated tears from children with chronic anterior uveitis (CAU) for biomarkers reported in aqueous humor. In this pilot study, we used Schirmer strips to collect tears from seven children (nine eyes); three children had JIA- associated uveitis (JIA-U) and four had idiopathic disease (I-CAU). Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry was used to identify and quantify tear proteins. The Mann-Whitney U test identified differential tear protein expression between children with JIA-U and those with I-CAU. Results: S100A9, LAP3, TTR, MIF, sCD14, S100A8, and SAA1 were detected in tears of all children; the same cytokines have been reported in aqueous humor of children with JIA-U. Tears from children with JIA-U had higher expression of proteins associated with inflammatory arthritis (SEMA3G, TIMP1, HEXB, ERN1, and SAA1) than tears from those with I-CAU. In addition, we found higher expression of sCD14, S100A8, and SAA1, but lower expression of S100A9, LAP3, TTR, and MIF, in tears from children with JIA-U compared to tears from those with I-CAU. Conclusions: Tears contain similar cytokine profiles to aqueous humor in children with CAU and may be a clinically useful source of disease biomarkers. Tears from children with JIA-U also contain cytokines associated with inflammatory arthritis; furthermore, differential expression of other tear proteins as well may provide clues to intrinsic differences between JIA-U and I-CAU, despite their similar clinical phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17
JournalJournal of Ophthalmic Inflammation and Infection
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomarkers
  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • Uveitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Infectious Diseases


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