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Cristhian A. Urzua, Julia Guerrero, Hector Gatica, Victor Velasquez, Annelise Goecke; Evaluation of the Glucocorticoid Receptor as a Biomarker of Treatment Response in Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Disease. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(2):974-980. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.16-20783.
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This study is aimed to investigate the role of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) isoforms in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) as biomarkers of glucocorticoid (GC) resistance and to validate a set of clinical predictive factors in patients with Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada (VKH) disease.
This was a prospective cohort study that included a total of 21 patients with VKH. A complete ophthalmologic evaluation was carried out at baseline that recorded the presence of any clinical predictive factors (visual acuity ≤ 20/200, tinnitus, chronic disease, and fundus depigmentation). Real-time quantitative PCR was performed to measure the mRNA levels of GR alpha (GRα) and beta (GRβ) isoforms at baseline and at 2 weeks after prednisone therapy initiation.
There were no differences between GRα and GRβ levels in GC-sensitive and GC-resistant patients at baseline before treatment initiation. After 2 weeks of prednisone treatment, GC-sensitive patients had a median 5.5-fold increase in levels of GRα, whereas GC-resistant patients had a median 0.7-fold decrease in levels of this isoform (P = 0.003). Similarly, GRβ increased in GC-sensitive patients, in comparison with GR-resistant patients (6.49-fold versus 1.01 fold, respectively, I = 0.04). The mRNA levels of GR isoforms were independent of disease activity. Fundus depigmentation and chronic disease at diagnosis were associated with GC resistance (P = 0.03, odds ratio = 21.0; and P = 0.008, odds ratio = 37.8, respectively). However, associations with visual acuity or tinnitus were not confirmed in this study.
The evaluation of clinical predictive factors and determination of the change in expression of GR isoforms as potential biomarkers can contribute to the early identification of GC-resistant patients with VKH.
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