Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Cytomegalovirus detected by qPCR in iris and ciliary body of immunocompetent corneal donors.

BACKGROUND: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) can cause a wide panel of ocular infections. The involvement of CMV as a cause of anterior uveitis in the immunocompetent patient is recent and remains poorly understood.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the presence of CMV in anterior uveal tissues of immunocompetent corneal donors.

STUDY DESIGN: We collected aqueous humor, iris, and ciliary body from both eyes of 25 donors died at the Limoges University Hospital between January 2020 and July 2021. CMV serology was determined for all patients from post-mortem blood sample. Ocular tissues were split in 2 fragments for qPCR and 2 for histological analysis. CMV genomes copies were quantified by Multiplex qPCR after DNA extraction.

RESULTS: 16 of 25 patients (64%) displayed positive CMV serology, with a median age of 67 years. Viremia was positive in 3 of 16 (19%) CMV-positive patients. No CMV DNA copies were found from the aqueous humor samples. CMV DNA was detected in iris and ciliary body of 28 of 32 eyes of seropositive donors, and 5 of 18 eyes of seronegative donors. The median viral copy number [IQR] was 2.41 × 102 [8.91 × 101 - 1.01 × 103 ] copies/1 × 106 cells in the CMV-positive group and 0.00 [0.00 - 3.54 × 102 ] copies/1 × 106 cells in the CMV-negative group (p<0.001). Histology and immunohistochemistry did not reveal any CMV lesions from any sample.

CONCLUSION: CMV DNA was found in iris and ciliary body of immunocompetent seropositive patients, but also, although less frequently, from seronegative donors. These results highlight mechanisms of infection, latency and reactivation of CMV in ocular tissues.

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