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Flow cytometric analysis of T lymphocytes and cytokines in aqueous humor of patients with varicella zoster virus-mediated acute retinal necrosis




Kang, Hao
Wei, Yunbo
Liu, Ming
Yu, Di
Tao, Yong

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BioMed Central


Background: The purpose of this study is to investigate the aqueous humor (AH) T lymphocyte subsets and cytokines of acute retinal necrosis (ARN) to elucidate the immunologic inflammatory features of this disorder. Methods: Three patients with ARN infected with varicella zoster virus (VZV) who underwent multiple intravitreal injections of ganciclovir were enrolled in this study. The control group consisted of four non-infectious patients with acute anterior uveitis (AAU). Flow cytometric analysis was performed on the lymphocyte subsets from the AH and peripheral blood (PB) samples during the active phase of intraocular inflammation. Five inflammatory cytokines were measured in each AH sample and various clinical characteristics were also assessed. Results: VZV deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was detected by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in AH from all the ARN patients, who showed higher CD8+ T lymphocytes population in AH than the AAU patients (p = 0.006). CD4/CD8 ratios of T lymphocytes and the percentage of CD8 + CD25+ T lymphocytes in AH were significantly lower in ARN than in AAU (p = 0.006; p = 0.012). In the ARN patients, the percentages of CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes in AH were higher than those found in PB. The percentage of CD4 + CD25+ T lymphocytes in AH was significantly higher than the proportion in PB in the AAU patients (p = 0.001). Immunoregulatory cytokine Interleukin-10 in AH was significantly elevated in the ARN patients in comparison with the case of the AAU patients (p = 0.036). In ARN, the copy number of VZV DNA in AH positively correlated with the percentage of CD8+ T lymphocytes in AH and negatively correlated with the CD4/CD8 ratio in AH during the course of disease treatment (p = 0.009, r = 0.92; p = 0.039, r = − 0.834). Conclusion: The ARN patients caused by VZV had different intraocular T lymphocyte subsets and cytokines profile than those of the non-infectious patients. High percentages of CD8+ T lymphocytes and low CD4/CD8 T cell ratios may be a potential biomarker for diagnosis of viral-infectious uveitis. T lymphocytes examination at the inflammatory sites has the potential to become a useful research tool for differentiating viral and non-viral uveitis.



Acute retinal necrosis (ARN), T lymphocytes, Cytokine, Varicella zoster virus (VZV), Aqueous humor (AH)



BMC Ophthalmology


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Open Access

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License



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