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Open Access Case report

Autoantibody against transient receptor potential M1 cation channels of retinal ON bipolar cells in paraneoplastic vitelliform retinopathy

Yujuan Wang12, Mones S Abu-Asab1, Wei Li3, Mary E Aronow4, Arun D Singh4 and Chi-Chao Chan1*

Author Affiliations

1 Section of Immunopathology, Laboratory of Immunology, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, 10 Center Dr., 10/10N103, NIH/NEI, Bethesda, MD, 20892-1857, USA

2 Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China

3 Unit on Retinal Neurophysiology, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA

4 Department of Ophthalmic Oncology, Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA

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BMC Ophthalmology 2012, 12:56  doi:10.1186/1471-2415-12-56

Published: 13 November 2012

Abstract

Background

Paraneoplastic retinopathy is caused by the cross-reaction of neoplasm-directed autoantibodies against retinal antigens and results in retinal damage. Paraneoplastic vitelliform retinopathy, a presumed paraneoplastic retinopathy with features of atypical melanoma-associated retinopathy, has recently been reported in patients with metastatic melanoma. Ocular ultrastructure and its autoantibody localization of paraneoplastic vitelliform retinopathy are still indefinable. This is the first report of anti-transient receptor potential M1 antibody directly against human retinal bipolar dendritic tips in a melanoma patient with paraneoplastic vitelliform retinopathy.

Case presentation

We present a pair of postmortem eyes of an 80-year-old male with metastatic cutaneous melanoma, who developed paraneoplastic vitelliform retinopathy. The autopsied eyes were examined with light microscopy, immunohistochemistry, and transmission electron microscopy. Microscopically, the inner nuclear layer and outer plexiform layer were the most affected retinal structures, with local thinning. The lesions extended to the outer nuclear layer, resulting in focal retinal degeneration, edema, and atrophy. No active inflammation or melanoma cells were observed. Immunohistochemistry showed tightly compact bipolar cell nuclei (protein kinase C alpha/calbindin positive) with blur/loss of ON bipolar cell dendritic tips (transient receptor potential M1 positive) in diffusely condensed outer plexiform layer. The metastatic melanoma cells in his lung also showed immunoreactivity against transient receptor potential M1 antibody. Transmission electron microscopy illustrated degenerated inner nuclear layer with disintegration of cells and loss of cytoplasmic organelles. These cells contained many lysosomal and autophagous bodies and damaged mitochondria. Their nuclei appeared pyknotic and fragmentary. The synapses in the outer plexiform layer were extensively degenerated and replaced with empty vacuoles and disintegrated organelles.

Conclusion

This case provides a convincing histological evidence of melanoma-associated autoantibodies directly against transient receptor potential M1 channels that target the ON bipolar cell structures in the inner nuclear and outer plexiform layers in paraneoplastic vitelliform retinopathy.

Keywords:
Paraneoplastic vitelliform retinopathy; Autoimmune retinopathy; Transient receptor potential channel; Bipolar cell; Melanoma-associated retinopathy; Autoantibody