Area 1

Ocular Inflammation: Clinical and Experimental Studies

Team leader

  • Alfredo Adán Civera

Strategic objectives

The research of the Ocular Inflammation Group focuses on how the retina responds to injury, inflammation and degeneration. Our main goal is to promote the investigation on ocular inflammatory diseases such as uveitis, and scleritis with special interest in the study of pathological mechanisms, immune response, and development of new therapies. We are also interested in high prevalent ocular diseases in which inflammation plays a key role, such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and agerelated macular degeneration.

Main lines of research

  1. Prognostic factors (clinical, immunogenetic, and imaging) in patients with macular edema associated with non-infectious uveitis. This research theme seeks the assessment of the clinical, biological and imaging factors involved in the pathogenesis of macular edema and its response to treatment. Objectives include the analysis of cytokine profiles and regulatory T cell levels as biomarkers for uveitic macular edema, as well as the study of optical coherence tomography imaging patterns in these patients.
  2. New biologic therapies for the treatment of non-infectious uveitis. To assess the efficacy and safety of new biologic therapies including antiTNF-alpha, anti-IL-1beta, and anti-IL-6 receptor monoclonal antibodies for treating patients with sight-threatening non-infectious ocular inflammatory diseases (uveitis, scleritis).
  3. Genetic polymorphisms predisposing to uveitis. To investigate genetic polymorphisms as potential risk factors for developing uveitis and its complications. Our uveitis unit has participated in a multicentric study that has yielded interesting results, such as the identification of the IRF5 genetic region in the development of macular edema in patients with noninfectious uveitis.
  4. Ocular Behçet's disease. Despite being considered as a rare disease in the developed world, Behçet's uveitis is quite common in our environment and our institution has been recognized as the principal referral hospital in Spain for those patients. The main objectives of this theme are to characterize our cohort of patients with Behçet's uveitis, to identify serologic biomarkers of disease activity, severity, and response to immunomodulatory therapies (conventional immunosuppressives vs. new biologic agents).
  5. Ocular toxoplasmosis. Ocular toxoplasmosis is the most frequent cause of infectious uveitis in our environment. The objectives of this research line include the clinical characterization of patients with toxoplasma-related uveitis as well as the identification of potential biomarkers related with disease severity and rate of recurrence of the ocular infection.
  6. Tuberculosis-related uveitis. Ocular tuberculosis is one of the most sight-threatening uveitis and constitutes both a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge. The goals in this field are to carry out both epidemiological and clinical studies, as well as the development of in vitro experimental models of TB infection in the retinal pigment epithelium.
  7. Macular pathology in diabetic patients. Macular edema is the main cause of visual loss in diabetic patients. Our research interests include the development of clinical and experimental studies to investigate the pathogenesis of diabetic macular edema as well as its response to different therapeutic approaches.