[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
April 1983

Photoreceptor DegenerationPossible Autoimmune Disorder

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Ophthalmology (Drs Keltner and Roth), Pathology (Dr Roth), Neurology and Neurological Surgery (Dr Keltner), and Medical Microbiology and Immunology (Dr Chang), University of California School of Medicine, Davis.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1983;101(4):564-569. doi:10.1001/archopht.1983.01040010564006

• A 61-year-old woman with progressive blindness, initially responsive to steroid therapy, was found to have an undifferentiated neoplasm in the cervix uteri. Visual fields demonstrated ring scotomas and the electroretinographic pattern eventually became flat. The interval from onset of visual symptoms to blindness was 19 months. Eye pathologic findings included loss of retinal photoreceptors, a macular hole, and normal optic nerves. Antibodies were demonstrated in the patient's serum to normal fresh human retinal photoreceptors. An autoimmune mechanism may have been responsible for the retinal degeneration in this patient, and such a hypothesis raises questions about (1) autoimmune mechanisms in patients with retinitis pigmentosa and other retinal degenerative diseases and (2) autoimmune mechanisms in other cases of remote effects of carcinoma.

Sawyer RA, Selhorst JB, Zimmerman LE, et al:  Blindness caused by photoreceptor degeneration as a remote effect of cancer . Am J Ophthalmol 1976;81:606-613.
Henle G, Henle W:  Immunofluorescence in cells derived from Burkitt's lymphoma . J Bacteriol 1966;91:1248-1256.
Reedman BM, Klein G:  Cellular localization of an EB virus-associated complement-fixing antigen in producer and non-producer lymphoblastoid cell lines . Int J Cancer 1973;11:499-520.Article
Chang RS, Lewis JP, Reynolds RD, et al:  Oropharyngeal excretion of Epstein-Barr virus by patients with lymphoproliferative disorders and by recipients of renal homografts . Ann Intern Med 1978;88:34-40.Article
Chang RS: Infectious Mononucleosis . Boston, GK Hall Medical Publishers, 1980, pp 40-41.
Denny-Brown D:  Primary sensory neuropathy with muscular changes associated with carcinoma . J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 1948; 11:73-87.Article
Brain L, Norris FH: The Remote Effects of Cancer on the Nervous System . New York, Grune & Stratton Inc, 1965, p 24.
Greenfield JG: The Spino-Cerebellar Degenerations . Oxford, England, Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1954, p 72.
Walsh RB, Hoyt WF: Clinical Neuro-ophthalmology . Baltimore, Williams & Wilkins Co, 1969, vols 1 and 2, pp 627-628 and 1192-1195.
Johnson PC, Rolak LA, Hamilton RH, et al:  Paraneoplastic vasculitis of nerve: A remote effect of cancer . Ann Neurol 1979;5:437-444.Article
Schold SC, Cho ES, Somasundaram M, et al:  Subacute motor neuronopathy: A remote effect of lymphoma . Ann Neurol 1979;5:271-287.Article
Hawley RJ, Cowen MH, Saini N, et al:  The carcinomatous neuromyopathy of oat cell lung cancer . Ann Neurol 1980;7:65-72.Article
Corsellis JAN, Goldberg GJ, Norton AR:  'Limbic encephalitis' and its association with carcinoma . Brain 1968;91:481-496.Article
Lojek MA, Fer MF, Kasselberg AG, et al:  Cushing's syndrome with small carcinoma of the uterine cervix . Am J Med 1980;69:140-144.Article
Johannessen JV, Capella C, Solcia E, et al:  Endocrine cell carcinoma of the uterine cervix . Diagn Gynecol Obstet 1980;2:127-133.
Wong VG, Green WR, Kuwabara T, et al:  Homologous retinal outer segment immunization in primates . Arch Ophthalmol 1975;93:509-513.Article
Corwin JM, Weiter JJ:  Immunology of chorioretinal disorders . Surv Ophthalmol 1981; 25:287-305.Article
Fessel WJ:  Serum protein disturbance in retinitis pigmentosa . Am J Ophthalmol 1962; 53:640-642.
Rahi AHS:  Autoimmunity and the retina: II. Raised IgM in retinitis pigmentosa . Br J Ophthalmol 1973;57:904-909.Article
Jain IS, Singh KP, Dhir SP:  Serum ceruloplasmin and immunoglobulins in retinitis pigmentosa patients . Ann Ophthalmol 1981;13:733-734.
Brinkman CJJ, Pinckers AG, Broekhuyse RM:  Immune reactivity to different retinal antigens in patients suffering from retinitis pigmentosa . Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 1980;19:743-750.