The purpose of this study is to develop a relatively simple, accurate method of diagnosing
sarcoidosis. Sarcoidosis is a disease in which granulomas (nodules of inflamed tissue)
develop in various organs, such as the lungs, liver, skin and eyes. Disease symptoms vary
depending on the tissues involved. Many patients develop uveitis (eye inflammation).
Tissue biopsy-often a costly and difficult invasive procedure-is currently the only
definitive diagnostic test for sarcoidosis. Other tests, such as blood and urine tests, do
not provide definitive results.
Patients with uveitis that is 1) known to be due to sarcoidosis; 2) suspected to be due to
sarcoidosis based on specific diagnostic criteria; and 3) known not to be due to sarcoidosis
may be enrolled in this study. Participants will undergo an eye examination, blood tests,
chest X-ray, and skin test for tuberculosis and other infections. Small tissue samples from
the conjunctiva (the thin lining covering the outside of the eye and the inside of the
eyelid) and the lacrimal (tear) gland will be taken after the eye is numbed with anesthetic
drops and injection.
Investigators will examine and compare levels of certain proteins in the biopsied tissues
from the three patient groups to see if elevated levels of these substances may indicate
granuloma formation. Development of a new, relatively simple diagnostic test for
sarcoidosis based on these findings may permit doctors to start appropriate therapy earlier
in the course of disease without invasive biopsy.
The purpose of this study is to develop a method of diagnosing sarcoidosis in patients with
presumed sarcoid uveitis. We plan to test conjunctival and lacrimal gland biopsy specimens
from three groups of patients: patients with known, biopsy proven sarcoidosis, patients
with suspected sarcoidosis, and patients with uveitis of an etiology other than sarcoidosis.
Specimens will be tested for presence of cytokines, cell surface markers, and specific T
cell receptor gene elements with immunohistochemical techniques using monoclonal antibodies.
It has been shown that the diagnostic value of conjunctival and lacrimal gland biopsy
looking for the presence of non-caseating granuloma in the absence of discrete nodules is
low. Assaying for cytokines, cell surface markers, and specific T cell receptor gene
elements may provide a more sensitive and specific diagnostic test for sarcoidosis in
patients with presumed sarcoid eye disease.
- Biopsy proven sarcoidosis with intraocular inflammatory eye disease.
- Intraocular inflammatory eye disease with suspected sarcoidosis based on age, race
and characteristic granulomatous intraocular inflammation.
- Inflammatory eye disease of a known etiology other than sarcoidosis.
- Age greater than 18 years.
- Can not have known bleeding diathesis, ocular infection, known allergy to local
anesthetic agent or current treatment with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, or vision
worse than 20/400 in either eye.