Purpose To determine whether vitreal concentrations of MCP-1, IL-6 and IL-8 are altered after vitrectomy in patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) and to investigate whether the altered levels of these cytokines are associated with postoperative macular oedema. Methods Vitreous samples were collected from 36 eyes of 33 patients with PDR before pars plana vitrectomy without intraocular lens (IOL) implantation, and also from the same 36 eyes during IOL implantation surgery approximately 7 months after the initial vitrectomy. Levels of MCP-1, IL-6, IL-8 and vascular endothelial growth factor were measured by flow cytometry using cytometric bead array (CBA) technology. Results The mean vitreous levels of MCP-1, IL-6 and IL-8 in the samples collected before vitrectomy were significantly higher in patients with PDR than in control patients (p<0.0001). The levels of MCP-1 and IL-6 in the samples collected at the time of IOL implantation were significantly higher than those collected before vitrectomy ( p<0.05). In contrast, the level of IL-8 was significantly lower after vitrectomy ( p<0.05). The levels of IL-6 and IL-8, but not MCP-1, in the vitreous from eyes with PDR were inversely correlated with the interval between the initial vitrectomy and the time of implantation surgery. Among the vitrectomised patients, the mean vitreous level of MCP-1 in eyes with diabetic macular oedema (DME) was significantly higher than in those without DME ( p=0.028). Conclusions The elevated levels of MCP-1 and IL-6 may indicate prolonged inflammation even after successful vitrectomy, which can cause postoperative DME.
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