Background: IgG4-related ophthalmic disease (IgG4ROD) is a phenotype of IgG4-related disease (IgG4RD) with ophthalmic involvement. The pathological IgG4+ plasmacyte count has only been used for diagnosis. We aimed to explore its possible clinical value in the management of IgG4ROD.
Methods: Fifty-five pathologically diagnosed IgG4ROD patients were included, and their clinical, pathological, serological, and radiological findings and treatment outcomes were reviewed and analyzed. The pathological IgG4+ plasmacyte counts in lesions from different anatomic sites were compared, and their association with serum IgG4 concentrations, systemic involvement and relapse risk was analyzed.
Results: The patients were divided into groups according to the anatomic site of their biopsied lesions, namely, the lacrimal gland, extraocular muscle and orbital soft tissue. No significant difference was found in the pathological IgG4+ plasma cell counts among these groups (p=0.975). The pathological IgG4+ plasmacyte count positively correlated with the IgG4 concentration in peripheral blood (R2=0.5469, p<0.001). The serum IgG4 concentration and the pathological infiltrating IgG4+ plasmacyte count were significantly higher in patients with extraophthalmic involvement (p<0.001 and p=0.005, respectively). The areas under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve (AUCs) of the serum IgG4 level and pathological IgG4+ plasmacyte count for identifying systemic involvement were 0.897 (p<0.001) and 0.759 (p=0.015), respectively. The patients with relapse had higher levels of serum IgG4, more germinal centers (GCs), and infiltrating IgG4+ plasmacytes in lesions. Multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed that a pathological IgG4+ plasmacyte count of >150/high-power field (HPF) and an elevated serum IgG4 level of >500 mg/dL were risk factors for relapse after steroid treatment.
Conclusions: Lesions from different ophthalmic sites in IgG4ROD patients have similar counts of IgG4+ and IgG+ plasmacytes. The quantity of pathological IgG4+ plasmacytes corresponded to the serum IgG4 concentration in patients with IgG4ROD and could be meaningful in identifying systemic involvement and predicting subsequent relapse.