Glucocorticoid Receptor-α and MKP-1 as Candidate Biomarkers for Treatment Response and Disease Activity in Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Disease

Cristhian A. Urzua*, Ping Chen, Benjamin Chaigne-Delalande, Baoying Liu, Rodrigo Anguita, Julia Guerrero, Pablo Sabat, Victor Velasquez, H. Nida Sen, Richard W.J. Lee, Annelise Goecke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Purpose: To investigate the potential of utilizing the expression of genes for glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase-1 (MKP-1) as biomarkers of corticosteroid (CS) refractoriness and disease activity in patients with Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada (VKH) disease. Design: Prospective cohort study. Methods: Twenty VKH patients receiving their first cycle of CS treatment in the absence of additional systemic immunosuppressive therapy and a control group of fifteen healthy volunteers were recruited from the University of Chile (Santiago, Chile) and US National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, United States). Intraocular inflammation was clinically quantified at enrolment and all follow-up visits. CS refractoriness was defined as an ocular reactivation of VKH upon CS withdrawal at a daily oral prednisone dose of 10 mg or more. Quantitative Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was performed to measure the mRNA levels of the alpha (α) and beta (β) isoforms of GR and MKP-1 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) after in vitro stimulation with either anti-CD3/anti-CD28 antibodies, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), or phytohemagglutinin (PHA), in the presence or absence of dexamethasone (Dex). Results: After 6 hours of stimulation in the presence of Dex, PBMC from CS-refractory VKH patients had an impaired elevation in GRα expression (P =.03). Furthermore, inactive patients showed a significant Dex-induced upregulation of MKP-1 (P =.005). Conclusions: In this pilot study, the expression of GR isoforms and MKP-1 corresponded with patients' clinical response to systemic CS treatment and disease activity, respectively. Hence, these candidate biomarkers have potential clinical utility in the early identification of CS refractoriness and subclinical inflammation in patients with VKH disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-325
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Ophthalmology
Early online date16 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019

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