The serum of 893 uveitis patients was examined for various non-ocular specific autoantibodies. Overall 40.8% of patients had detectable levels of autoantibodies in their sera. These comprised antibodies to smooth muscle (23.1%), nuclear material (12.7%), gastric parietal cell (3.0%), reticulin (1.8%), and mitochondria (0.2%). When the patients were distributed into nine selected categories of uveitis, only patients with one distinct clinical entity showed a statistically significant difference in the presence of the above serum autoantibodies as compared with healthy individuals. They were patients with uveitis associated with juvenile chronic arthritis, among whom antinuclear antibody was detected in 77% (p less than 0.001). Testing for the presence of circulating non-ocular specific autoantibodies appears to be of little or no value in the routine screening of uveitis patients, but it may be helpful in the diagnosis and management of certain individual cases, such as juvenile chronic arthritis, or as a research tool to advance understanding of pathogenetic mechanisms.
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