April 2017

Adini A, Adini I, Chi Z-L, Derda R, Birsner AE, Matthews BD, D'Amato RJ. A novel strategy to enhance angiogenesis in vivo using the small VEGF-binding peptide PR1P. Angiogenesis 2017;Abstract

Therapeutic angiogenesis is an experimental frontier in vascular biology that seeks to deliver angiogenic growth factors to ischemic or injured tissues to promote targeted formation of new blood vessels as an alternative approach to surgical revascularization procedures. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent angiogenic signal protein that is locally upregulated at sites of tissue injury. However, therapies aimed at increasing VEGF levels experimentally by injecting VEGF gene or protein failed to improve outcomes in human trials in part due to its short half-life and systemic toxicity. We recently designed a novel 12-amino acid peptide (PR1P) whose sequence was derived from an extracellular VEGF-binding domain of the pro-angiogenic glycoprotein prominin-1. In this study, we characterized the molecular binding properties of this novel potential therapeutic for targeted angiogenesis and provided the foundation for its use as an angiogenic molecule that can potentiate endogenous VEGF. We showed that PR1P bound VEGF directly and enhanced VEGF binding to endothelial cells and to VEGF receptors VEGFR2 and neuropilin-1. PR1P increased angiogenesis in the murine corneal micropocket assay when combined with VEGF, but had no activity without added VEGF. In addition, PR1P also enhanced angiogenesis in murine choroidal neovascularization and wound-healing models and augmented reperfusion in a murine hind-limb ischemia model. Together our data suggest that PR1P enhanced angiogenesis by potentiating the activity of endogenous VEGF. In so doing, this novel therapy takes advantage of endogenous VEGF gradients generated in injured tissues and may improve the efficacy of and avoid systemic toxicity seen with previous VEGF therapies.

Alkharashi M, Dagi AF, Dagi LR. Pericardial patch graft repair of severe localized scleral thinning encountered during strabismus surgery. J AAPOS 2017;21(2):156-156.e1.Abstract

This article presents a surgical technique using a pericardial patch for the permanent repair of severe scleral thinning encountered during strabismus surgery. In the present case scleral thinning resulted from buckle removal. Familiarity with this technique may prove important for the strabismus surgeon treating patients with a history of surface ocular hardware or disease-induced scleral thinning. This video article may be viewed atjaapos.org.

Amphornphruet A, Silpa-Archa S, Preble JM, Foster SC. Endogenous Cryptococcal Endophthalmitis in Immunocompetent Host: Case Report and Review of Multimodal Imaging Findings and Treatment. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2017;:1-5.Abstract

PURPOSE: To describe a case of bilateral endogenous cryptococcal endophthalmitis in an immunocompetent host and to review adjunctive ophthalmic imaging patterns and treatment. METHODS: A retrospective case report. RESULTS: A 45-year-old female patient with two distinct presentations of endogenous cryptococcal endophthalmitis in each eye presented initially with progressive blurred vision in the left eye, beginning more than 10 years after a craniotomy with ventriculoperitoneal shunt. Complete ophthalmic imaging was conducted and compared with data from previous literature. Administration of amphotericin-B had poorly responded; however, consolidation of fluconazole resulted in disease stabilization. CONCLUSIONS: Bilateral intraocular cryptococcal infection can present with two distinct patterns of posterior segment findings. A review of ophthalmic imaging patterns found consistency in some characteristics of A-scan ultrasonogram and fundus fluorescein angiogram. Besides conventional treatment, voriconazole is likely to play an important role in the management of cryptococcal endophthalmitis.

Arafat SN, Robert M-C, Abud T, Spurr-Michaud S, Amparo F, Dohlman CH, Dana R, Gipson IK. Elevated Neutrophil Elastase in Tears of Ocular Graft-Versus-Host Disease Patients. Am J Ophthalmol 2017;176:46-52.Abstract

PURPOSE: To investigate the levels of neutrophil elastase (NE), matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), and myeloperoxidase (MPO) in tear washes of patients with ocular graft-vs-host disease (oGVHD). DESIGN: Case-control study. METHODS: Based on established criteria, oGVHD patients (n = 14; 28 eyes) and age-/sex-matched healthy controls (n = 14; 28 eyes) were enrolled. Tear washes were collected and analyzed for NE using a single-analyte enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). MMPs (1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 12), MPO, and tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1 were analyzed using multianalyte bead-based ELISA assays. Total MMP activity was measured using a fluorimetric assay. Correlation studies were performed between NE, MMP-8, MMP-9, and MPO within study groups. RESULTS: NE, MMP-8, MMP-9, and MPO levels were elevated in oGVHD tears when compared with controls (P < .0001). NE was the most elevated analyte. MMP activity was higher and TIMP-1 levels were lower in oGVHD than in control (P < .0001). In oGVHD, NE significantly correlated with MMP-8 (r = 0.92), MMP-9 (r = 0.90), and MPO (r = 0.79) (P < .0001). MMP-8 correlated with MMP-9 (r = 0.96, P < .0001), and MPO (r = 0.60, P = .001). MMP-9 correlated with MPO (r = 0.55, P = .002). In controls, NE, MMP-9, and MPO significantly correlated with each other (P < .0001). CONCLUSIONS: The marked increase in NE in oGVHD tears that correlated strongly with elevated MMP-8, MMP-9, and MPO suggests a common neutrophilic source and provides evidence of neutrophil activity on the ocular surface of oGVHD patients.

Brodowska K, Stryjewski TP, Papavasileiou E, Chee YE, Eliott D. Validation of the Retinal Detachment after Open Globe Injury (RD-OGI) Score as an Effective Tool for Predicting Retinal Detachment. Ophthalmology 2017;124(5):674-678.Abstract

PURPOSE: The Retinal Detachment after Open Globe Injury (RD-OGI) Score is a clinical prediction model that was developed at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary to predict the risk of retinal detachment (RD) after open globe injury (OGI). This study sought to validate the RD-OGI Score in an independent cohort of patients. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: The predictive value of the RD-OGI Score was evaluated by comparing the original RD-OGI Scores of 893 eyes with OGI that presented between 1999 and 2011 (the derivation cohort) with 184 eyes with OGI that presented from January 1, 2012, to January 31, 2014 (the validation cohort). METHODS: Three risk classes (low, moderate, and high) were created and logistic regression was undertaken to evaluate the optimal predictive value of the RD-OGI Score. A Kaplan-Meier survival analysis evaluated survival experience between the risk classes. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Time to RD. RESULTS: At 1 year after OGI, 255 eyes (29%) in the derivation cohort and 66 eyes (36%) in the validation cohort were diagnosed with an RD. At 1 year, the low risk class (RD-OGI Scores 0-2) had a 3% detachment rate in the derivation cohort and a 0% detachment rate in the validation cohort, the moderate risk class (RD-OGI Scores 2.5-4.5) had a 29% detachment rate in the derivation cohort and a 35% detachment rate in the validation cohort, and the high risk class (RD-OGI scores 5-7.5) had a 73% detachment rate in the derivation cohort and an 86% detachment rate in the validation cohort. Regression modeling revealed the RD-OGI to be highly discriminative, especially 30 days after injury, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.939 in the validation cohort. Survival experience was significantly different depending upon the risk class (P < 0.0001, log-rank chi-square). CONCLUSIONS: The RD-OGI Score can reliably predict the future risk of developing an RD based on clinical variables that are present at the time of the initial evaluation after OGI.

Cai S, Elze T, Bex PJ, Wiggs JL, Pasquale LR, Shen LQ. Clinical Correlates of Computationally Derived Visual Field Defect Archetypes in Patients from a Glaucoma Clinic. Curr Eye Res 2017;42(4):568-574.Abstract

PURPOSE: To assess the clinical validity of visual field (VF) archetypal analysis, a previously developed machine learning method for decomposing any Humphrey VF (24-2) into a weighted sum of clinically recognizable VF loss patterns. MATERIALS AND METHODS: For each of 16 previously identified VF loss patterns ("archetypes," denoted AT1 through AT16), we screened 30,995 reliable VFs to select 10-20 representative patients whose VFs had the highest decomposition coefficients for each archetype. VF global indices and patient ocular and demographic features were extracted retrospectively. Based on resemblances between VF archetypes and clinically observed VF patterns, hypotheses were generated for associations between certain VF archetypes and clinical features, such as an association between AT6 (central island, representing severe VF loss) and large cup-to-disk ratio (CDR). Distributions of the selected clinical features were compared between representative eyes of certain archetypes and all other eyes using the two-tailed t-test or Fisher exact test. RESULTS: 243 eyes from 243 patients were included, representative of AT1 through AT16. CDR was more often ≥ 0.7 among eyes representative of AT6 (central island; p = 0.002), AT10 (inferior arcuate defect; p = 0.048), AT14 (superior paracentral defect; p = 0.016), and AT16 (inferior paracentral defect; p = 0.016) than other eyes. CDR was more often < 0.7 among eyes representative of AT1 (no focal defect; p < 0.001) and AT2 (superior defect; p = 0.027), which was also associated with ptosis (p < 0.001). AT12 (temporal hemianopia) was associated with history of stroke (p = 0.022). AT11 (concentric peripheral defect) trended toward association with trial lens correction > 6D (p = 0.069). CONCLUSIONS: Shared clinical features between computationally derived VF archetypes and clinically observed VF patterns support the clinical validity of VF archetypal analysis.

Choi CJ, Oropesa S, Callahan AB, Glass LR, Teo L, Cestari DM, Kazim M, Freitag SK. Patterns of visual field changes in thyroid eye disease. Orbit 2017;:1-7.Abstract

This article provides a systematic description of visual field changes in thyroid eye disease-compressive optic neuropathy (TED-CON). A retrospective, non-comparative chart review of patients with TED-CON and documented Humphrey Visual Field 24-2 or 30-2 testing was conducted with IRB approval. Ninety-six visual fields in 68 patients were classified into 7 broad categories (superior, inferior, diffuse, temporal, nasal, central/paracentral, enlarged blind spot) and 17 mutually exclusive patterns from the Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study (OHTS) or "other." Fifty-three of 96 visual fields (55%) showed an inferior defect using the broad categories, with the remaining 6 categories ranging from 2% to 14%. The five most common OHTS patterns were other (28%), partial arcuate (28%), partial peripheral rim (9%), arcuate (8%) and altitudinal (7%). Further sub-classification showed a predominance of inferior visual field defects, ranging from 33% to 93% of each category. Of the 78 visual fields in these five categories combined, 52 (67%) were inferior defects. Inferior defect is the most typical TED-CON-associated visual field change. While the OHTS categories are geared toward classification of glaucomatous patterns, the overall predominance of inferior field defects in TED-CON was clearly demonstrated. These "other" visual field changes showing central inferior defect up to but not crossing the horizontal meridian and not contiguous from blind spot to nasal meridian should be designated as "TED-CON pattern." The high proportion of visual fields falling under the "other" category, however, does demonstrate the need for a more specific and tailored visual field classification system for TED-CON.

Daniel E, Pistilli M, Kothari S, Khachatryan N, Kaçmaz OR, Gangaputra SS, Sen NH, Suhler EB, Thorne JE, Foster SC, Jabs DA, Nussenblatt RB, Rosenbaum JT, Levy-Clarke GA, Bhatt NP, Kempen JH, for Group SITEDR. Risk of Ocular Hypertension in Adults with Noninfectious Uveitis. Ophthalmology 2017;Abstract

PURPOSE: To describe the risk and risk factors for ocular hypertension (OHT) in adults with noninfectious uveitis. DESIGN: Retrospective, multicenter, cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Patients aged ≥18 years with noninfectious uveitis seen between 1979 and 2007 at 5 tertiary uveitis clinics. METHODS: Demographic, ocular, and treatment data were extracted from medical records of uveitis cases. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Prevalent and incident OHT with intraocular pressures (IOPs) of ≥21 mmHg, ≥30 mmHg, and increase of ≥10 mmHg from documented IOP recordings (or use of treatment for OHT). RESULTS: Among 5270 uveitic eyes of 3308 patients followed for OHT, the mean annual incidence rates for OHT ≥21 mmHg and OHT ≥30 mmHg are 14.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 13.4-15.5) and 5.1% (95% CI, 4.7-5.6) per year, respectively. Statistically significant risk factors for incident OHT ≥30 mmHg included systemic hypertension (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.29); worse presenting visual acuity (≤20/200 vs. ≥20/40, aHR, 1.47); pars plana vitrectomy (aHR, 1.87); history of OHT in the other eye: IOP ≥21 mmHg (aHR, 2.68), ≥30 mmHg (aHR, 4.86) and prior/current use of IOP-lowering drops or surgery in the other eye (aHR, 4.17); anterior chamber cells: 1+ (aHR, 1.43) and ≥2+ (aHR, 1.59) vs. none; epiretinal membrane (aHR, 1.25); peripheral anterior synechiae (aHR, 1.81); current use of prednisone >7.5 mg/day (aHR, 1.86); periocular corticosteroids in the last 3 months (aHR, 2.23); current topical corticosteroid use [≥8×/day vs. none] (aHR, 2.58); and prior use of fluocinolone acetonide implants (aHR, 9.75). Bilateral uveitis (aHR, 0.69) and previous hypotony (aHR, 0.43) were associated with statistically significantly lower risk of OHT. CONCLUSIONS: Ocular hypertension is sufficiently common in eyes treated for uveitis that surveillance for OHT is essential at all visits for all cases. Patients with 1 or more of the several risk factors identified are at particularly high risk and must be carefully managed. Modifiable risk factors, such as use of corticosteroids, suggest opportunities to reduce OHT risk within the constraints of the overriding need to control the primary ocular inflammatory disease.

Di Zazzo A, Tahvildari M, Subbarayal B, Yin J, Dohlman TH, Inomata T, Mashaghi A, Chauhan SK, Dana R. Proangiogenic Function of T Cells in Corneal Transplantation. Transplantation 2017;101(4):778-785.Abstract

BACKGROUND: Corneal neovascularization increases the risk of T cell-mediated allograft rejection. Here, we investigate whether T cells promote angiogenesis in transplantation. METHODS: Conventional effector T cells were collected from draining lymph nodes of allogeneic or syngeneic corneal transplanted BALB/c mice. T cells were either cocultured with vascular endothelial cells (VECs) to assess VEC proliferation or used in a mixed lymphocyte reaction assay. Messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A, -C, and VEGF receptor 2 (VEGF-R2) in VECs was assessed by real-time PCR. VEGF-A protein expression was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Flow cytometry was used to analyze VEGF-R2 expression in corneal CD31 cells, and VEGF-A and IFNγ expression in corneal CD4 T cells. RESULTS: Allogeneic T cells from high-risk (HR) grafted mice induced more VEC proliferation than those from syngeneic transplant recipients (P = 0.03). Vascular endothelial growth factor-A mRNA and protein expression were higher in T cells from draining lymph nodes (P = 0.03 and P = 0.04, respectively) and cornea (protein; P = 0.04) of HR compared with low-risk (LR) grafted hosts. Vascular endothelial growth factor-A, VEGF-C, and VEGF-R2 mRNA expression were increased in VECs when cocultured with T cells from HR transplants compared with LR transplants and naive mice. In addition, IFNγ blockade in T cell/VEC coculture increased VEC proliferation and VEGF-A protein expression, whereas blocking VEGF-A significantly reduced VEC proliferation (P = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Allogeneic T cells from corneal transplant hosts promote VEC proliferation, probably via VEGF-A signaling, whereas IFNγ shows an antiangiogenic effect. Our data suggest that T cells are critical mediators of angiogenesis in transplantation.

Durand ML. Bacterial and Fungal Endophthalmitis. Clin Microbiol Rev 2017;30(3):597-613.Abstract

Endophthalmitis is a severe eye infection that may result in permanent loss of useful vision in the affected eye. Most cases are exogenous and occur as a complication of cataract surgery, an intravitreal injection, or penetrating ocular trauma. Endogenous endophthalmitis results from hematogenous seeding of the eye by bacteria or fungi, but bacteremia or fungemia may be transient and patients may present without symptoms of systemic infection. Nearly all endophthalmitis patients present with decreased vision, and some also have eye pain. Eye examination usually reveals a hypopyon and intraocular inflammation. Diagnosis is clinical, supported by cultures of the vitreous and/or aqueous or by blood cultures in some endogenous cases. Molecular diagnostic techniques have been used in research laboratories for pathogen identification in endophthalmitis and offer the possibility of rapid diagnosis, including in culture-negative cases. Intravitreal injection of antibiotics is the most important component of treatment; some cases also benefit from surgical debridement of the vitreous by a vitrectomy. The visual outcome depends partly on the pathogen: coagulase-negative staphylococcal endophthalmitis has a better prognosis than does streptococcal endophthalmitis, for example. Endophthalmitis is a medical emergency, and prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential for saving vision.

Fan KC, Tsikata E, Khoueir Z, Simavli H, Guo R, A de Luna R, Pandit S, Que CJ, de Boer JF, Chen TC. Enhanced Diagnostic Capability for Glaucoma of 3-Dimensional Versus 2-Dimensional Neuroretinal Rim Parameters Using Spectral Domain Optical Coherence Tomography. J Glaucoma 2017;26(5):450-458.Abstract

PURPOSE: To compare the diagnostic capability of 3-dimensional (3D) neuroretinal rim parameters with existing 2-dimensional (2D) neuroretinal and retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness rim parameters using spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) volume scans. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Design: Institutional prospective pilot study. STUDY POPULATION: 65 subjects (35 open-angle glaucoma patients, 30 normal patients). OBSERVATION PROCEDURES: One eye of each subject was included. SD-OCT was used to obtain 2D RNFL thickness values and 5 neuroretinal rim parameters [ie, 3D minimum distance band (MDB) thickness, 3D Bruch's membrane opening-minimum rim width (BMO-MRW), 3D rim volume, 2D rim area, and 2D rim thickness]. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Area under the receiver operating characteristic curve values, sensitivity, and specificity. RESULTS: Comparing all 3D with all 2D parameters, 3D rim parameters (MDB, BMO-MRW, rim volume) generally had higher area under the receiver operating characteristic curve values (range, 0.770 to 0.946) compared with 2D parameters (RNFL thickness, rim area, rim thickness; range, 0.678 to 0.911). For global region analyses, all 3D rim parameters (BMO-MRW, rim volume, MDB) were equal to or better than 2D parameters (RNFL thickness, rim area, rim thickness; P-values from 0.023 to 1.0). Among the three 3D rim parameters (MDB, BMO-MRW, and rim volume), there were no significant differences in diagnostic capability (false discovery rate >0.05 at 95% specificity). CONCLUSIONS: 3D neuroretinal rim parameters (MDB, BMO-MRW, and rim volume) demonstrated better diagnostic capability for primary and secondary open-angle glaucomas compared with 2D neuroretinal parameters (rim area, rim thickness). Compared with 2D RNFL thickness, 3D neuroretinal rim parameters have the same or better diagnostic capability.

Gaier ED, Miller JB, Loewenstein JI. Combined Central Retinal Vein Occlusion and Central Retinal Arterial Obstruction with Cilioretinal Artery Sparing. Ophthalmology 2017;124(4):576.
Gilbert AL, Hunter DG. Duane syndrome with prominent oculo-auricular phenomenon. J AAPOS 2017;21(2):165-167.Abstract

Duane syndrome is a congenital cranial dysinnervation disorder involving absent or anomalous innervation of the lateral and medial rectus muscles that is sometimes associated with other manifestations of dysinnervation. We describe a patient with right esotropic Duane syndrome with a long-standing retroauricular tugging sensation in right gaze who was noted to have prominent ipsilateral oculo-auricular phenomenon, representing either abnormal enhancement of existing innervation or an uncommon dysinnervation. After successful strabismus surgery the tugging sensation improved but the phenomenon could still be elicited.

Gradstein L, Hansen RM, Cox GF, Altschwager P, Fulton AB. Progressive retinal degeneration in a girl with Knobloch syndrome who presented with signs of ocular albinism. Doc Ophthalmol 2017;134(2):135-140.Abstract

PURPOSE: We report for the first time electroretinographic (ERG) evidence of progressive retinal abnormalities in a girl who presented in infancy with ocular features of albinism and gradually developed choroidal sclerosis and patchy retinal atrophy leading to a diagnosis of Knobloch syndrome (KS, OMIM 267750, COL18A1). METHODS: At age 2 months, nystagmus and esotropia prompted ophthalmic evaluation. The appearance of choroidal sclerosis and atrophic retinal patches led to further evaluation at age 8 years. Genetics consultation was obtained in infancy and again at age 8 years as retinal findings evolved. Full field ERG responses in both scotopic and photopic conditions were recorded at both ages and compared to those in healthy control subjects. RESULTS: At age 2 months ERG response parameters were within normal limits for age and tyrosinase (TYR) gene sequencing revealed one novel mutation, p.S466F, and the temperature-sensitive polymorphism, p.R402Q, suggesting the diagnosis of oculocutaneous albinism type 1 (OCA1). At age 8 years, there was significant attenuation of both scotopic and photopic ERG responses. Genetic re-analysis led to the identification of a homozygous mutation, c.3213dupC, in the COL18A1 gene, thus confirming the diagnosis of Knobloch syndrome. CONCLUSIONS: Our patient with Knobloch syndrome developed abnormal ERG responses similar to those found in col18a1 knockout mice. Thus, we have documented progressive attenuation of the scotopic and photopic responses in KS.

Houston KE, Paschalis EI, Angueira DC, Bronstad MP, Barrett AM, Iaccarino MA. Restoration of Vision After Brain Injury Using Magnet Glasses. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2017;96(4):e70-e74.Abstract

Visual impairments are common after traumatic brain injury (TBI) and negatively affect quality of life. We describe a 39-year-old woman with a severe TBI who was evaluated by the inpatient optometry and vision rehabilitation service with findings of complete right homonymous hemianopia and right cranial nerve III palsy with 30-degree right exotropia (eye turn out) and complete right ptosis (eyelid will not open). The 30-degree exotropia advantageously generated 30 degrees of right visual field expansion when the right ptosis was treated with a magnetic levator prosthesis, which restores eyelid opening. Once opened, the patient used visual field expansion derived from a right exotropia to overcome functional impairments caused by right hemianopia. Field expansion improved the patient's wheelchair mobility and reaching tasks during inpatient therapy. This is the first report of visual field expansion by strabismus facilitated by correction of ptosis. Strabismus should be considered for its potential field expansion benefits when homonymous visual deficits are present, before considering patching. A multidisciplinary vision rehabilitation team is well suited to make this determination.

Inomata T, Mashaghi A, Di Zazzo A, Lee S-M, Chiang H, Dana R. Kinetics of Angiogenic Responses in Corneal Transplantation. Cornea 2017;36(4):491-496.Abstract

PURPOSE: To delineate and compare the kinetics of corneal angiogenesis after high-risk (HR) versus low-risk (LR) corneal transplantation. METHODS: In mice, intrastromal sutures were placed in the recipient graft bed 2 weeks before allogeneic transplantation to induce angiogenesis and amplify the risk of graft rejection. Control (LR) graft recipients did not undergo suture placement, and thus the host bed remained avascular at the time of transplantation. Graft hemangiogenesis and opacity scores were evaluated for 8 weeks by slit-lamp biomicroscopy. Immunohistochemistry was used to measure CD31 (blood vessels) and LYVE-1 (lymphatic vessels) cells. RESULTS: Biphasic kinetics were observed for hemangiogenesis in both HR and LR transplant recipients using clinical and immunohistochemical assessments. The biphasic kinetics were composed of a rise-fall (phase 1) followed by a second rise (phase 2) in the degree of vessels. Compared with LR recipients, HR recipients showed higher hemangiogenesis (whole cornea and graft) throughout 8 weeks. Analyzing grafts revealed sustained presence of lymphatic vessels in HR recipients; however, lymphatic neovessels regressed in LR recipients 2 weeks posttransplantation. In contrast to HR host beds, the LR host bed microenvironment cannot sustain the growth of lymphatic neovessels in allografts, whereas it can sustain continued hemangiogenesis. CONCLUSIONS: The sustained presence of lymphatic vessels in HR host beds can facilitate host immunity against allografts and is likely associated with ongoing higher risk of rejection of these grafts in the long term, suggesting that therapeutic interventions targeting inflammation and lymphatic vessels need to be sustained long term in the HR corneal transplant setting.

Islam R, Eidet JR, Badian RA, Lippestad M, Messelt E, Griffith M, Dartt DA, Utheim TP. Tissue Harvesting Site and Culture Medium Affect Attachment, Growth, and Phenotype of Ex Vivo Expanded Oral Mucosal Epithelial Cells. Sci Rep 2017;7(1):674.Abstract

Transplantation of cultured oral mucosal epithelial cells (OMECs) is a promising treatment strategy for limbal stem cell deficiency. In order to improve the culture method, we investigated the effects of four culture media and tissue harvesting sites on explant attachment, growth, and phenotype of OMECs cultured from Sprague-Dawley rats. Neither choice of media or harvesting site impacted the ability of the explants to attach to the culture well. Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium/Ham's F12 (DMEM) and Roswell Park Memorial Institute 1640 medium (RPMI) supported the largest cellular outgrowth. Fold outgrowth was superior from LL explants compared to explants from the buccal mucosa (BM), HP, and transition zone of the lower lip (TZ) after six-day culture. Putative stem cell markers were detected in cultures grown in DMEM and RPMI. In DMEM, cells from TZ showed higher colony-forming efficiency than LL, BM, and HP. In contrast to RPMI, DMEM both expressed the putative stem cell marker Bmi-1 and yielded cell colonies. Our data suggest that OMECs from LL and TZ cultured in DMEM give rise to undifferentiated cells with high growth capacity, and hence are the most promising for treatment of limbal stem cell deficiency.

Jamuar SS, Schmitz-Abe K, D'Gama AM, Drottar M, Chan W-M, Peeva M, Servattalab S, Lam A-TN, Delgado MR, Clegg NJ, Zayed ZA, Dogar MA, Alorainy IA, Jamea AA, Abu-Amero K, Griebel M, Ward W, Lein ES, Markianos K, Barkovich JA, Robson CD, Grant EP, Bosley TM, Engle EC, Walsh CA, Yu TW. Biallelic mutations in human DCC cause developmental split-brain syndrome. Nat Genet 2017;49(4):606-612.Abstract

Motor, sensory, and integrative activities of the brain are coordinated by a series of midline-bridging neuronal commissures whose development is tightly regulated. Here we report a new human syndrome in which these commissures are widely disrupted, thus causing clinical manifestations of horizontal gaze palsy, scoliosis, and intellectual disability. Affected individuals were found to possess biallelic loss-of-function mutations in the gene encoding the axon-guidance receptor 'deleted in colorectal carcinoma' (DCC), which has been implicated in congenital mirror movements when it is mutated in the heterozygous state but whose biallelic loss-of-function human phenotype has not been reported. Structural MRI and diffusion tractography demonstrated broad disorganization of white-matter tracts throughout the human central nervous system (CNS), including loss of all commissural tracts at multiple levels of the neuraxis. Combined with data from animal models, these findings show that DCC is a master regulator of midline crossing and development of white-matter projections throughout the human CNS.

Kheirkhah A, Di Zazzo A, Satitpitakul V, Fernandez M, Magilavy D, Dana R. A Pilot Randomized Trial on Safety and Efficacy of a Novel Topical Combined Inhibitor of Janus Kinase 1/3 and Spleen Tyrosine Kinase for GVHD-Associated Ocular Surface Disease. Cornea 2017;Abstract

PURPOSE: Janus kinase (JAK) and spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) play critical functions in T-cell activation and in inflammation. Because of their antiinflammatory effects, JAK and SYK inhibitors have recently been evaluated in several immunopathogenic disorders. This pilot study was designed to assess the safety and efficacy of a topical combined JAK/SYK inhibitor, R348, ophthalmic solution for treatment of ocular surface disease in graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). METHODS: This phase 2, double-masked, randomized, pilot trial included 30 patients with ocular surface disease due to GVHD who were randomized to receive topical 0.5% R348, 0.2% R348, or vehicle, twice daily for 12 weeks. Before and after treatment, a comprehensive ophthalmic evaluation was performed, which included Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) questionnaire, Ocular Comfort Index questionnaire, corneal fluorescein staining, conjunctival lissamine green staining, and Schirmer test with anesthesia. Changes in these parameters were compared between the 3 groups. RESULTS: The mean decrease in total corneal fluorescein staining at 12 weeks after treatment was higher in the 0.5% R348 group (-6.0 ± 3.9, NEI scoring) compared with the vehicle (-2.1 ± 2.6, P = 0.045) or the 0.2% R348 group (-4.1 ± 3.6, P = 0.34). However, there were no significant differences among the groups in terms of treatment-induced changes in OSDI, Ocular Comfort Index, conjunctival lissamine green staining, or Schirmer scores. R348 eye drops were well tolerated. CONCLUSIONS: This pilot study indicates that 0.5% R348 JAK/SYK inhibitor ophthalmic solution is well tolerated and may have some therapeutic efficacy in treating ocular GVHD. Larger trials are required to derive more definitive data.

Konstantinou EK, Notomi S, Kosmidou C, Brodowska K, Al-Moujahed A, Nicolaou F, Tsoka P, Gragoudas E, Miller JW, Young LH, Vavvas DG. Verteporfin-induced formation of protein cross-linked oligomers and high molecular weight complexes is mediated by light and leads to cell toxicity. Sci Rep 2017;7:46581.Abstract

Verteporfin (VP) was first used in Photodynamic therapy, where a non-thermal laser light (689 nm) in the presence of oxygen activates the drug to produce highly reactive oxygen radicals, resulting in local cell and tissue damage. However, it has also been shown that Verteporfin can have non-photoactivated effects such as interference with the YAP-TEAD complex of the HIPPO pathway, resulting in growth inhibition of several neoplasias. More recently, it was proposed that, another non-light mediated effect of VP is the formation of cross-linked oligomers and high molecular weight protein complexes (HMWC) that are hypothesized to interfere with autophagy and cell growth. Here, in a series of experiments, using human uveal melanoma cells (MEL 270), human embryonic kidney cells (HEK) and breast cancer cells (MCF7) we showed that Verteporfin-induced HMWC require the presence of light. Furthermore, we showed that the mechanism of this cross-linking, which involves both singlet oxygen and radical generation, can occur very efficiently even after lysis of the cells, if the lysate is not protected from ambient light. This work offers a better understanding regarding VP's mechanisms of action and suggests caution when one studies the non-light mediated actions of this drug.