ABSTRACT: Infectious uveitis is a sight-threatening infection commonly caused by herpesviruses. Vitreous humor is often collected for molecular confirmation of the causative agent during vitrectomy and mixed in large volumes of buffered saline, diluting the pathogen load. Here, we explore affinity-capture hydrogel particles (Nanotrap®) to concentrate low abundant herpesviruses from diluted vitreous. Simulated samples were prepared using porcine vitreous spiked with HSV-1, HSV-2, VZV and CMV at 105 copies/mL. Pure undiluted samples were used to test capturing capability of three custom Nanotrap particles (red, white and blue) in a vitreous matrix. We found that all particles demonstrated affinity to the herpesviruses, with the Red Particles having both good capture capability and ease of handling for all herpesviruses. To mimic diluted vitrectomy specimens, simulated-infected vitreous were then serially diluted in 7 mL TE buffer. Diluted samples were subjected to an enrichment protocol using the Nanotrap Red particles. Sensitivity of pathogen detection by qPCR in diluted vitreous increased anywhere between 2.3 to 26.5 times compared to non-enriched specimens. This resulted in a 10-fold increase in the limit of detection for HSV-1, HSV-2 and VZV. These data demonstrated that Nanotrap particles can capture and concentrate HSV-1, HSV-2, VZV and CMV in a vitreous matrix.
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