Antineurofilament and antiretinal antibodies in AIDS patients with cytomegalovirus retinitis
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
Sera obtained from AIDS patients with cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis before and after treatment with foscarnet, AIDS patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) retinopathy, AIDS patients without retinal disease, and normal healthy controls with and without positive CMV serologies were assayed for the presence of antibodies against the 200-kDa outer, 160-kDa middle, and 68-kDa core subunits of the neurofilament triplet. Additional studies were performed to determine the presence of antibodies reactive with proteins extracted from crude human retinal antigen preparations. Antibodies against the 200-, 260-, and 68-kDa proteins of the neurofilament triplet were detected in 15 of 15 AIDS patients with CMV retinitis. The expression of these antibodies was unaffected, qualitatively, by successful treatment with foscarnet. In contrast, only 30% of patients with HIV retinopathy unrelated to CMV, fewer than 35% of AIDS patients with positive CMV titers but without evident retinitis, and fewer than 25% of healthy controls with positive or negative CMV titers possessed antibodies against any of the triplet proteins (P < 0.001). Antibodies against several clusters of retinal antigens were also identified in the sera of patients with CMV retinitis. In summary, the data indicate that retinal elements damaged by CMV infection induce an antibody response against the 200-, 160-, and 68kDa components of the neurofilament triplet as well as other, as yet undefined retinal antigens.