The 22-kDa antigen in optic nerve and retinal diseases

John L. Keltner, Charles E. Thirkill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objective: Patients with unexplained visual loss were evaluated for the possibility of immunologic involvement. Antibody reactions were sought that might identify a common indication of retinal hypersensitivity. Methods: The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and Western blot analysis were used to identify autoantibody reactions with retina and optic nerve components. Comparisons were made with the autoantibody reaction of normal subjects and patients with recognized forms of retinal decay: macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy, and paraneoplastic retinopathy. Results: Eight patients, one man and seven women, were found to produce an autoantibody reaction with retina and optic nerve, including a novel 22-kDa neuronal antigen present within the retina and optic nerve. One of the eight had retinopathy associated with melanoma (MAR Syndrome). Seven of the eight patients had electroretinogram abnormalities, varying from mild to severe. Six displayed features of optic atrophy. One patient with progressive visual loss had visual function stabilized after immunosuppressive therapy. Conclusions: In the eight cases described, unexplained visual loss was associated with autoantibody reactions with retina and optic nerve, including a common antibody reaction with a 22-kDa neuronal antigen found in the retina and optic nerve. All the patients had either an abnormal electroretinogram or optic atrophy. Six patients had both. The 22-kDa immunologic marker may not be directly involved in the patient’s vision loss, but rather may be related to a nonspecific destruction of retina and optic nerve. However, the marker may be useful in identifying a specific subgroup of patients for further analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-83
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuro-Ophthalmology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • 22-kDa Antigen
  • Autoantibody
  • Non-cancer-associated retinopathy
  • Optic neuropathy
  • Retinopathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Clinical Neurology


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