Real-Time Multiplex PCR Analysis in Infectious Uveitis

Caroline L. Minkus, Paulo J.M. Bispo, George N. Papaliodis, Lucia Sobrin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Infectious uveitis is a serious inflammatory condition that often causes grave ocular morbidity including permanent vision loss and damage to the structures of the eye. The most common causes of infectious uveitis include herpesviruses and Toxoplasma gondii. Traditionally, these infections have been identified and differentiated based on characteristic clinical examination findings; however, there is often overlap between these presentations and the unique cause of a given patient’s infection is not always clear. Therefore, a reliable and fast method for definitively diagnosing infectious uveitis would be helpful and potentially sight-saving. Several groups have recently found experimental success with real-time multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques. Methods: A comprehensive review of the literature was undertaken to further understand the current state of real-time multiplex PCR and its clinical use. Search terms including “real time multiplex PCR”, “infectious uveitis”, and “uveitis diagnosis” were used. Appropriate English-language articles were included in this review. Results: Publications from four main groups (two from the United States, one from Japan, and one from India) citing success with real-time multiplex PCR were compared and contrasted. All four groups used the same technique to develop a highly sensitive and specific multiplex PCR analysis and found that their tests maintained high sensitivity and specificity during validation testing. These tests confirmed clinical suspicions in the majority of cases of infectious uveitis, but there were also cases of clinical misdiagnosis that were corrected based on molecular pathogen detection. These patients were then initiated on appropriate antimicrobial therapy with subsequent clinical improvement. Discussion: Real-time multiplex PCR is a highly sensitive and specific laboratory assay that allows for rapid and reliable molecular diagnosis of causative agents in infectious uveitis. This in turn facilitates swift initiation of effective therapy and prevents long-term ocular damage and vision loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-255
Number of pages4
JournalSeminars in Ophthalmology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 19 2019
Externally publishedYes

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  • infectious uveitis
  • Multiplex PCR
  • ocular inflammation
  • polymerase chain reaction
  • uveitis diagnosis


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