Enrichment of IGF-1R and PPARγsignalling pathways in orbital inflammatory diseases: steps toward understanding pathogenesis

Rohan Verma, Dongseok Choi, Allison J. Chen, Christina A. Harrington, David J. Wilson, Hans E. Grossniklaus, Roger A. Dailey, John Ng, Eric A. Steele, Stephen R. Planck, Bobby S. Korn, Don Kikkawa, Craig N. Czyz, Jill A. Foster, Michael Kazim, Gerald J. Harris, Deepak P. Edward, Haila Al-Hussain, Azza M.Y. Maktabi, Chris AlabiadArmando Garcia, James T. Rosenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background Orbital inflammatory disease (OID) encompasses a wide range of pathology including thyroid-associated orbitopathy (TAO), granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA), sarcoidosis and non-specific orbital inflammation (NSOI), accounting for up to 6% of orbital diseases. Understanding the underlying pathophysiology of OID can improve diagnosis and help target therapy. Aims To test the hypothesis that shared signalling pathways are activated in different forms of OID. Methods In this secondary analysis, pathway analysis was performed on the previously reported differentially expressed genes from orbital adipose tissue using patients with OID and healthy controls who were characterised by microarray. For the original publications, tissue specimens were collected from oculoplastic surgeons at 10 international centres representing four countries (USA, Canada, Australia and Saudi Arabia). Diagnoses were independently confirmed by two masked ocular pathologists (DJW, HEG). Gene expression profiling analysis was performed at the Oregon Health & Science University. Eighty-three participants were included: 25 with TAO, 6 with orbital GPA, 7 with orbital sarcoidosis, 25 with NSOI and 20 healthy controls. Results Among the 83 subjects (mean (SD) age, 52.8 (18.3) years; 70% (n=58) female), those with OID demonstrated perturbation of the downstream gene expressions of the IGF-1R (MAPK/RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK and PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathways), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ(PPAR 3), adipocytokine and AMPK signalling pathways compared with healthy controls. Specifically, GPA samples differed from controls in gene expression within the insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R, PI3K-Akt (p=0.001), RAS (p=0.005)), PPARγ(p=0.002), adipocytokine (p=0.004) or AMPK (p=<0.001) pathways. TAO, sarcoidosis and NSOI samples were also found to have statistically significant differential gene expression in these pathways. Conclusions Although OID includes a heterogenous group of pathologies, TAO, GPA, sarcoidosis and NSOI share enrichment of common gene signalling pathways, namely IGF-1R, PPAR 3, adipocytokine and AMPK. Pathway analyses of gene expression suggest that other forms of orbital inflammation in addition to TAO may benefit from blockade of IGF-1R signalling pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1012-1017
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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