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


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.

  • IL-17
  • IL-23
  • IL-27
  • Vogt–Koyanagi–Harada disease
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