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Melanoma-Associated Retinopathy Biomarkers Found

Antibodies may be useful in diagnosis and determining if there is an autoimmune component

FRIDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- The presence of antibodies to aldolase A and aldolase C proteins may be useful as markers of melanoma-associated retinopathy (MAR), while other antibodies may indicate if the disease has an autoimmune component, according to a study in the December issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.

Ying Lu, M.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues studied 11 patients with MAR and associated vision problems. A variety of tests were performed, including electroretinography, kinetic visual fields, comparative studies of Western blots, indirect immunohistologic examination, and proteomic studies.

The researchers found that the patients generally exhibited rapid onset of photopsias, scotomata, and loss of paracentral or central vision. Ophthalmoscopy did not reveal significant changes early, but electroretinograms were usually abnormal. Western blots and immunohistologic examination sometimes revealed antiretinal antibodies. Nine of the 11 patients had a family history of autoimmune disorders. The researchers identified two new antigenic retinal proteins -- aldolase A and aldolase C -- that could be useful in diagnosis.

"Preliminary evidence suggests that, if present, antibodies to aldolase A and aldolase C may prove to be useful markers of MAR, and several (antirecoverin and α-enolase antibodies) are valuable as specific markers of autoimmune retinopathy. The reliability of each antigen or a combination of them for diagnostic or prognostic evaluation has to be determined by studies that will correlate the presence or absence of these markers with clinical data," the authors write.

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