Br J Ophthalmol 94:1078-1082 doi:10.1136/bjo.2009.169052
  • Laboratory science

Elevated serum IL-23 correlates with intraocular inflammation after cataract surgery in patients with Vogt–Koyanagi–Harada disease

  1. Yizhi Liu1
  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
  2. 2The First Affiliated Hospital of Inner Mongolia Medical College, Huhehot, China
  1. Correspondence to Professor Yizhi Liu, State Key Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510060, People's Republic of China; Yizhi_Liu{at}
  1. Contributors SJ and YL designed this study and all co-authors were involved in the acquisition of data or analysis and interpretation of data, as well as drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content. All the co-authors have been involved in the final approval of the version published.

  • Accepted 7 October 2009
  • Published Online First 11 November 2009


Purpose Patients with Vogt–Koyanagi–Harada (VKH) disease are known to have severe inflammation after cataract surgery. This study was designed to investigate the role of IL-17-producing T helper (Th17) cell-related pro-inflammatory cytokines on postoperative inflammation in VKH patients.

Methods Serum from nine VKH patients and nine controls with age-related or congenital cataract was collected before and 1, 7, 30 and 90 days after surgery, and aqueous humor (AqH) at the commencement of surgery. Protein levels of IL-23, IL-27, IL-17 and IFN-γ in serum and AqH were measured by ELISA. A laser flare-cell photometer was used to quantify intraocular inflammation.

Results Serum IL-23 levels were significantly increased in VKH compared with control patients and peaked at 1 day postoperative, decreased rapidly in the first week, then attenuated gradually. In VKH patients, serum levels of IFN-γ were elevated in the first week after surgery and IL-27 was upregulated in the first month. Importantly, serum IL-23 levels were strongly correlated with aqueous flare value (r=0.689; p=0.007) and cell counts (r=0.671; p=0.01) in VKH compared with control patients.

Conclusions The data indicate that serum IL-23 levels are significantly elevated in VKH compared with control patients and are strongly associated with postoperative intraocular inflammation.


  • Funding This study was supported in part by the Fund of Project of Science and Technology of Guangdong Province (2005B30901007).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient content Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Clinical Ethical Research Committee of Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed

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