PURPOSE: To investigate the relationship between meibomian gland (MG) morphology and clinical dry eye tests in patients with meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SUBJECTS: Total 538 MGD patients and 21 healthy controls. METHODS: MG loss on meibography images of upper (UL) and lower lids (LL) was graded on a scale of 0 (lowest degree of MG loss) to 3. MG length, thickness, and interglandular space in the UL were measured. Clinical tests included meibum expression and quality, tear film break-up time, ocular staining, osmolarity, Schirmer I, blink interval timing, and Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) questionnaire. RESULTS: Mean UL and LL meibogrades were significantly higher in MGD patients compared to controls (P < .001 for UL and LL). The sensitivity and specificity of the meibograde as a diagnostic parameter for MGD was 96.7% and 85%, respectively. Schirmer I was significantly increased in MGD patients with meibograde 1 compared to patients with meibograde 0, 2, and 3 in the UL (P < .05). MG thickness increased with higher meibograde (P < .001). MG morphology correlated significantly but weakly with several clinical parameters (P < .05). OSDI did not correlate with any MG morphologic parameter. CONCLUSIONS: Grading of MG loss using meibograde effectively diagnoses MGD. Compensatory mechanisms such as increased aqueous tear production and dilation of MGs make early detection of MGD difficult by standard clinical measures of dry eye, whereas morphologic analysis of MGs reveals an early stage of MGD, and therefore represents a complementary clinical parameter with diagnostic potential.
Importance: Intravitreous injections of antivascular endothelial growth factor agents are effective for treating diabetic macular edema (DME) involving the center of the macula (center-involved DME [CI-DME]) with visual acuity impairment (20/32 or worse). The best approach to treating patients with CI-DME and good visual acuity (20/25 or better) is unknown. Objective: To compare vision loss at 2 years among eyes initially managed with aflibercept, laser photocoagulation, or observation. Design, Setting, and Participants: Randomized clinical trial conducted at 91 US and Canadian sites among 702 adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Participants had 1 study eye with CI-DME and visual acuity of 20/25 or better. The first participant was randomized on November 8, 2013, and the final date of follow-up was September 11, 2018. Interventions: Eyes were randomly assigned to 2.0 mg of intravitreous aflibercept (n = 226) as frequently as every 4 weeks, focal/grid laser photocoagulation (n = 240), or observation (n = 236). Aflibercept was required for eyes in the laser photocoagulation or observation groups that had decreased visual acuity from baseline by at least 10 letters (≥ 2 lines on an eye chart) at any visit or by 5 to 9 letters (1-2 lines) at 2 consecutive visits. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was at least a 5-letter visual acuity decrease from baseline at 2 years. Antiplatelet Trialists' Collaboration adverse events (defined as myocardial infarction, stroke, or vascular or unknown death) were reported. Results: Among 702 randomized participants (mean age, 59 years; 38% female [n=264]), 625 of 681 (92% excluding deaths) completed the 2-year visit. For eyes with visual acuity that decreased from baseline, aflibercept was initiated in 25% (60/240) and 34% (80/326) in the laser photocoagulation and observation groups, respectively. At 2 years, the percentage of eyes with at least a 5-letter visual acuity decrease was 16% (33/205), 17% (36/212), and 19% (39/208) in the aflibercept, laser photocoagulation, and observation groups, respectively (aflibercept vs laser photocoagulation risk difference, -2% [95% CI, -9% to 5%]; relative risk, 0.88 [95% CI, 0.57-1.35; P = .79]; aflibercept vs observation risk difference, -3% [95% CI, -11% to 4%]; relative risk, 0.83 [95% CI, 0.55-1.27; P = .79]; laser photocoagulation vs observation risk difference, -1% [95% CI, -9% to 6%]; relative risk, 0.95 [95% CI, 0.64-1.41; P = .79]). Antiplatelet Trialists' Collaboration vascular events occurred in 15 (7%), 13 (5%), and 8 (3%) participants in the aflibercept, laser photocoagulation, and observation groups. Conclusions and Relevance: Among eyes with CI-DME and good visual acuity, there was no significant difference in vision loss at 2 years whether eyes were initially managed with aflibercept or with laser photocoagulation or observation and given aflibercept only if visual acuity worsened. Observation without treatment unless visual acuity worsens may be a reasonable strategy for CI-DME. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01909791.
PURPOSE: Severe corneal disease contributes significantly to the global burden of blindness. Corneal allograft surgery remains the most commonly used treatment, but does not succeed long term in every patient, and the odds of success fall with each repeated graft. The Boston keratoprosthesis type I has emerged as an alternative to repeat corneal allograft. However, cost limits its use in resource-poor settings, where most corneal blind individuals reside. METHODS: All aspects of the Boston keratoprosthesis design process were examined to determine areas of potential modification and simplification, with dual goals to reduce cost and improve the cosmetic appearance of the device in situ. RESULTS: Minor modifications in component design simplified keratoprosthesis manufacturing. Proportional machinist time could be further reduced by adopting a single axial length for aphakic eyes, and a single back plate diameter. The cosmetic appearance was improved by changing the shape of the back plate holes from round to radial, with a petaloid appearance, and by anodization of back plate titanium to impute a more natural color. CONCLUSIONS: We have developed a modified Boston keratoprosthesis type I, which we call the "Lucia." The Lucia retains the 2 piece design and ease of assembly of the predicate device, but would allow for manufacturing at a reduced cost. Its appearance should prove more acceptable to implanted patients. Successful keratoprosthesis outcomes require daily medications for the life of the patient and rigorous, frequent, postoperative care. Effective implementation of the device in resource-poor settings will require further innovations in eye care delivery.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Spatial neglect is asymmetric orienting and action after a brain lesion, causing functional disability. It is common after a stroke; however, it is vastly underdocumented and undertreated. This article addresses the implementation gap in identifying and treating spatial neglect, to reduce disability and improve healthcare costs and burden. RECENT FINDINGS: Professional organizations published recommendations to implement spatial neglect care. Physicians can lead an interdisciplinary team: functionally relevant spatial neglect assessment, evidence-based spatial retraining, and integrated spatial and vision interventions can optimize outcomes. Research also strongly suggests spatial neglect adversely affects motor systems. Spatial neglect therapy might thus "kick-start" rehabilitation and improve paralysis recovery. Clinicians can implement new techniques to detect spatial neglect and lead interdisciplinary teams to promote better, integrated spatial neglect care. Future studies of brain imaging biomarkers to detect spatial neglect, and real-world applicability of prism adaptation treatment, are needed.
LOXL1 (lysyl oxidase-like 1) has been identified as the major effect locus in pseudoexfoliation (PEX) syndrome, a fibrotic disorder of the extracellular matrix and frequent cause of chronic open-angle glaucoma. However, all known PEX-associated common variants show allele effect reversal in populations of different ancestry, casting doubt on their biological significance. Based on extensive LOXL1 deep sequencing, we report here the identification of a common noncoding sequence variant, rs7173049A>G, located downstream of LOXL1, consistently associated with a decrease in PEX risk (OR=0.63, p=6.33x10-31) in nine different ethnic populations. We provide experimental evidence for a functional enhancer-like regulatory activity of the genomic region surrounding rs7173049 influencing expression levels of ISLR2 (immunoglobulin superfamily containing leucine-rich repeat protein 2) and STRA6 (stimulated by retinoic acid receptor 6), apparently mediated by allele-specific binding of the transcription factor THRβ (thyroid hormone receptor beta). We further show that the protective rs7173049-G allele correlates with increased tissue expression levels of ISLR2 and STRA6 and that both genes are significantly downregulated in tissues of PEX patients together with other key components of the STRA6 receptor-driven retinoic acid signaling pathway. siRNA-mediated downregulation of retinoic acid signaling induces upregulation of LOXL1 and PEX-associated matrix genes in PEX-relevant cell types. These data indicate that dysregulation of STRA6 and impaired retinoid metabolismare involved in the pathophysiology of PEX syndrome and that the variant rs7173049-G, which represents the first common variant at the broad LOXL1 locus without allele effect reversal, mediates a protective effect through upregulation of STRA6 in ocular tissues.
PURPOSE: To test the effects of an encapsulated cell-based delivery of a neuroprotective agent, ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF), on progression of macular telangiectasia type 2, a neurodegenerative disease with no proven effective therapy. DESIGN: Randomized sham-controlled clinical trial. PARTICIPANTS: Ninety-nine study eyes of 67 eligible participants were enrolled. METHODS: Single-masked randomized clinical trial of 24 months' duration conducted from May 2014 through April 2017 in 11 clinical centers of retinal specialists in the United States and Australia. Participants were randomized 1:1 to surgical implantation of intravitreal sustained delivery of human CNTF versus a sham procedure. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome was the difference in the area of neurodegeneration as measured in the area of the ellipsoid zone disruption (or photoreceptor loss) measured on spectral-domain (SD) OCT images at 24 months from baseline between the treated and untreated groups. Secondary outcomes included comparison of visual function changes between treatment groups. RESULTS: Among the 67 participants who were randomized (mean age, 62±8.9 years; 41 women [61%]; 58 white persons [86%]), 65 (97%) completed the study. Two participants (3 study eyes) died and 3 participants (4 eyes) were found ineligible. The eyes receiving sham treatment had 31% greater progression of neurodegeneration than the CNTF-treated eyes. The difference in mean area of photoreceptor loss was 0.05±0.03 mm (P = 0.04) at 24 months. Retinal sensitivity changes, measured using microperimetry, were correlated highly with the changes in the area of photoreceptor loss (r = 0.86; P < 0.0001). The mean retinal sensitivity loss of the sham group was 45% greater than that of the treated group (decrease, 15.81±8.93 dB; P = 0.07). Reading speed deteriorated in the sham group (-13.9 words per minute) with no loss in the treated group (P = 0.02). Serious adverse ocular effects were found in 2 of 51 persons (4%) in the sham group and 2 of 48 persons (4%) in the treated group. CONCLUSIONS: In participants with macular telangiectasia type 2, a surgical implant that released CNTF into the vitreous cavity, compared with a sham procedure, slowed the progression of retinal degeneration. Further research is needed to assess longer-term clinical outcomes and safety.
Neurodegenerative diseases affect millions of people worldwide. Optic neuropathies are the most commonly occurring neurodegenerative diseases, characterized by progressive retinal ganglion cell (RGC) degeneration. We recently reported that Prominin-1, a protein found on the surface of stem cells, interacts with VEGF and enhances its activity. VEGF is known to have various protective roles in the nervous system. Subsequently, we have developed a 12-mer peptide derived from Prominin-1, named PR1P, and investigated its effects on neuronal survival of damaged RGCs in a rat model of optic nerve crush (ONC). PR1P prevented RGC apoptosis resulting in improvement of retinal function in the rat ONC model. PR1P treatment significantly increased phosphorylation of ERK and AKT and expression its downstream proteins c-fos and Egr-1 in the retina. Additionally, PR1P beneficially increased the MMP-9/TIMP-1 ratio and promoted glial activation in the retina of ONC rats. Thus, PR1P displayed neuroprotective effects through enhanced VEGF-driven neuronal survival and reconstruction of the extracellular environment in ONC model. Our data indicate that PR1P may be a promising new clinical candidate for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
PURPOSE: Pilot study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of oral guaifenesin in reducing the signs and symptoms of filamentary keratitis. METHODS: Prospective, uncontrolled open-label pilot study. Twelve patients with non-Sjögren dry eye disease (DED) and secondary filamentary keratitis received treatment with oral guaifenesin 600 mg twice a day (total dose of 1.2 g/day) for 4 weeks. Adverse events, change in the number of corneal filaments, corneal fluorescein staining (CFS; NEI grading system), and symptoms (Ocular Surface Disease Index) were assessed. RESULTS: Before starting oral guaifenesin, all patients were on topical medical therapy for their condition. At baseline, the mean number of filaments was 5.8 ± 2.9, CFS score 7.3 ± 3.2, and OSDI score 55.6 ± 25. After 4 weeks of treatment, the number of filaments was 2.1 ± 2.2 (p = 0.04 vs. baseline), CFS score 6.5 ± 3.1 (p = 0.5), and OSDI score 46.1 ± 30.9 (p = 0.2). One patient discontinued the medication due to gastrointestinal side effects. CONCLUSIONS: Oral guaifenesin was safe and generally well tolerated, and demonstrated modest efficacy in reducing the severity of filamentary keratitis. These results should be considered preliminary; however, placebo-controlled investigations would be justified to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of oral guaifenesin as a mucolytic in treatment of filamentary keratitis.
Purpose: To assess the ocular surface in volunteers who consider themselves as healthy, in order to evaluate how para-inflammatory mechanisms fail with age, and thus investigate the phenomenon of "InflammAging." Methods: In this observational prospective cohort study, volunteers were categorized into three groups according to age: young (19-40 years), middle-aged (41-60 years), and older adults (61-93 years). Clinical assessments included tear breakup time (T-BUT) and Schirmer test type I. Dry eye symptoms were evaluated by the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) questionnaire. Conjunctival mRNA and protein expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), MUC5AC, and IL-8 were measured by real-time PCR and immunofluorescence. Results: A total of 82 volunteers (38 males and 44 females) were enrolled. T-BUT decreased significantly with increasing age (young: 11.13 ± 0.18 seconds; middle-aged: 10.83 ± 0.56 seconds; older: 9.00 ± 1.00 seconds, P < 0.05). Schirmer test values decreased significantly with age (young: 20.6 ± 1.0 mm; middle-aged: 19.2 ± 1.2 mm; older: 16.0 ± 1.1 mm, P < 0.05). OSDI scores increased with age in both groups, but they were substantially higher in women. Conjunctival expression of inflammatory markers ICAM-1, IL-8, and MUC5AC increased with age. Conclusions: Clinical signs, symptoms, and biomarkers of chronic inflammation increased with age in a cohort of volunteers who considered themselves healthy, indicating an age-related progressive impairment of ocular surface system function.
PURPOSE: To present the process of cultural and psychometric adaptation, and clinical validation of a new version in the Spanish language of the Contact Lens Dry Eye Questionnaire-8 (CLDEQ-8). MATERIALS AND METHODS: The translation-retro-translation method was applied to the CLDEQ-8 questionnaire. Two independent native Spanish-speaking translators adapted the questionnaire from English to Spanish, and then a committee of experienced clinicians (CE) evaluated the semantic equivalence and designed a Spanish version of the CLDEQ-8 questionnaire. The resulting translated version was tested conducting a pilot study in contact lens users and assessing their perception and overall understanding of the terminology. The results were analyzed and a final version was designed. The final version was retro-translated to English by a native English-speaking translator and compared with the original CLDEQ-8 version to confirm there were no meaningful differences. To clinically validate the new instrument, a prospective study was conducted to apply the new Spanish CLDEQ-8 to 50 contact lens users. RESULTS: Fifty patients were studied with an average age of 21.50 ± 1.66 years. The average CLDEQ-8 score was 13.28 ± 6.81 points (range 1-31). The internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha) was 0.89, with a corrected index of homogeneity >0.50 for all evaluated items. CONCLUSIONS: The process of trans-cultural adaptation of the questionnaire CLDEQ-8 resulted in the elaboration of a reliable and much needed instrument capable of measuring frequency and intensity of dry eye symptoms in Spanish-speaking contact lens users.
In vivo delivery of genome-modifying enzymes holds significant promise for therapeutic applications and functional genetic screening. Delivery to endogenous tissue stem cells, which provide an enduring source of cell replacement during homeostasis and regeneration, is of particular interest. Here, we use a sensitive Cre/lox fluorescent reporter system to test the efficiency of genome modification following in vivo transduction by adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) in tissue stem and progenitor cells. We combine immunophenotypic analyses with in vitro and in vivo assays of stem cell function to reveal effective targeting of skeletal muscle satellite cells, mesenchymal progenitors, hematopoietic stem cells, and dermal cell subsets using multiple AAV serotypes. Genome modification rates achieved through this system reached >60%, and modified cells retained key functional properties. This study establishes a powerful platform to genetically alter tissue progenitors within their physiological niche while preserving their native stem cell properties and regulatory interactions.
BACKGROUND: To evaluate changes in image sharpness across ultrawide field (UWF) images and the effect of phase-plate adjustment on image contrast and extent of visible retinal area (VRA). METHODS: This was a single site evaluation of 200° UWF images acquired with phase-plate adjustment (California, Optos, plc) and without (200TX, Optos, plc). Images were acquired using standardized protocol. VRA was manually outlined on each image and quantified using customized software. Mean image sharpness was evaluated using an automated method within the full VRA of each image and within the peripheral region of the VRA. The VRA and image sharpness were evaluated and compared between the two devices. RESULTS: Twenty eyes of 10 healthy volunteers were evaluated. Devices with and without phase-plate adjustment produced a similar extent of VRA. Eye steering increased VRA in devices with and without phase-plate adjustment by 39.3% and 34.3%, respectively. Regardless of gaze direction, mean sharpness of the full VRA was reduced in peripheral area with or without phase-plate adjustment. Compared to images without phase-plate adjustment, use of phase-plate adjustment reduced the loss of peripheral image sharpness in all fields (-4.2 to -26.0%; p < 0.001 all fields). The sharpness of the peripheral area for on-axis images was 61.5% higher with phase-plate adjustment. CONCLUSIONS: The use of phase-plate adjustment does not alter the extent of VRA. However, for on-axis images the loss of sharpness in the periphery is 4.5-fold less with phase-plate adjustment, potentially reducing the need to steer images and improving lesion detection in these areas.
The autoantigen-specific Tregs from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), i.e., PSC-Tregs, have the ability to suppress autoimmunity. PSC-Tregs can be programmed to be tissue associated and to infiltrate into local inflamed tissues to suppress autoimmune responses after adoptive transfer. Nevertheless, the mechanisms by which the autoantigen-specific PSC-Tregs suppress the autoimmune response remain to be fully elucidated. In this study, we generated functional autoantigen-specific Tregs from the induced PSC (iPSCs), i.e., iPSC-Tregs, and investigated the underlying mechanisms of autoimmunity suppression by these Tregs in a type 1 diabetes (T1D) murine model. A double-Tg mouse model of T1D was established in F1 mice, in which the first generation of RIP-mOVA Tg mice that were crossed with OT-I T cell receptor (TCR) Tg mice was challenged with vaccinia viruses expressing OVA (VACV-OVA). We show that adoptive transfer of OVA-specific iPSC-Tregs greatly suppressed autoimmunity in the animal model and prevented the insulin-secreting pancreatic β cells from destruction. Further, we demonstrate that the adoptive transfer significantly reduced the expression of ICAM-1 in the diabetic pancreas and inhibited the migration of pathogenic CD8+ T cells and the production of the proinflammatory IFN-γ in the pancreas. These results indicate that the stem cell-derived tissue-associated Tregs can robustly accumulate in the diabetic pancreas, and, through downregulating the expression of ICAM-1 in the local inflamed tissues and inhibiting the production of proinflammatory cytokine IFN-γ, suppress the migration and activity of the pathogenic immune cells that cause T1D.
PURPOSE: To assess the effect of intravitreal injections of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) agents on immediate and long-term intraocular pressure (IOP) elevation and glaucoma. METHODS: Literature searches of the PubMed and Cochrane databases, last conducted in April 2018, yielded 253 unique citations. Of these, 41 met the inclusion criteria and were rated according to the strength of evidence. Two articles were rated level I, 17 were rated level II, and 15 were rated level III; an additional 7 were excluded because of poor study design and lack of relevance to the topic under evaluation. RESULTS: The studies that reported on short-term IOP elevation (i.e., between 0 and 60 minutes) showed that an immediate increase in IOP is seen in all patients when measured between 0 and 30 minutes of intravitreal injection and that the IOP elevation decreases over time. The data on long-term IOP elevation were mixed; 7 studies reported that between 4% and 15% of patients developed sustained elevation of IOP at 9 to 24 months after injection, whereas 6 studies found no long-term change in IOP from 1 to 36 months after injection. Pretreatment with glaucoma medications, anterior chamber tap, vitreous reflux, longer intervals between injections, and longer axial lengths were associated with lower IOP elevations after injection. Data were mixed on the relationship between IOP increase and the type of intravitreal injection, number of intravitreal injections, preexisting glaucoma, and globe decompression before injection. There were no data on the onset or progression of glaucoma in the studies reviewed in this assessment. CONCLUSIONS: Intravitreal injection of anti-VEGF agents results in an immediate and transient increase in IOP. A long-term increase in IOP also may be seen, and further studies are needed to determine at-risk populations. Although there is some suggestion in the literature, there is currently insufficient data to determine the impact of intravitreal anti-VEGF injections on glaucoma progression. Although pretreatment with glaucoma medications, performing anterior chamber paracentesis, or increasing the interval between injections may reduce the impact of transient IOP elevation, the clinical significance and associated risks of these interventions are unknown.
PURPOSE: To assess the safety and efficacy of an intravitreal fluocinolone acetonide (FA) insert to manage inflammation associated with chronic noninfectious posterior uveitis. DESIGN: Multicenter, randomized, prospective, doubled-masked, sham-controlled, 3-year phase 3 clinical trial. PARTICIPANTS: One hundred twenty-nine participants with recurrent noninfectious posterior uveitis were assigned randomly to FA insert (n = 87) or sham injection (n = 42). The more severely affected eye in participants with bilateral disease was designated as the study eye. METHODS: The insert (FA, 0.18 mg) was injected into the vitreous cavity; sham injection mimicked the insert delivery procedure. Ophthalmic examinations, OCT, and ocular tolerability and discomfort assessments were conducted; study visits were on days 7 and 28 and months 2, 3, 6, 9, and 12. Uveitis recurrence was treated as needed. The 6-month recurrence rate was the primary outcome measure. RESULTS: The 6-month (28% and 91%) and 12-month (38% and 98%) uveitis recurrence rates were significantly lower (P < 0.001) with FA insert vs. sham, respectively. Fewer recurrences per study eye (mean, 0.7 vs. 2.5), lower incidence of 15-letter or more decrease in best-corrected visual acuity (14% vs. 31%), and reduced systemic (19% vs. 40%) and local (7% vs. 62%) uveitis adjunctive treatments were observed with FA insert vs. sham, respectively. The FA insert group showed higher rates of cataract. Intraocular pressure-lowering treatment use was similar between groups. No deaths, treatment-related study discontinuations, or unanticipated safety signals were observed through 12 months. CONCLUSIONS: Chronic noninfectious posterior uveitis was managed successfully in this study population; FA insert eyes experienced fewer uveitis recurrence episodes, required fewer adjunctive treatments, and demonstrated less visual acuity loss compared with sham eyes. The FA insert treatment group showed higher rates of cataract; delivery by injection was not associated with an increase in ocular adverse events or any other safety measures not typically associated with local steroid use, suggesting the procedure is appropriate for an office setting.
Importance: A precise phenotypic characterization of retinal dystrophies is needed for disease modeling as a basis for future therapeutic interventions. Objective: To compare genotype, phenotype, and structural changes in patients with rod-cone dystrophy (RCD) associated with mutations in PDE6A or PDE6B. Design, Setting, and Participants: In a retrospective cohort study conducted in Paris, France, from January 2007 to September 2017, 54 patients from a cohort of 1095 index patients with RCD underwent clinical examination, including personal and familial history, best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), color vision, slitlamp examination, full-field electroretinography, kinetic visual fields (VFs), retinophotography, optical coherence tomography, near-infrared fundus autofluorescence, and short-wavelength fundus autofluorescence imaging. Genotyping was performed using microarray analysis, targeted next-generation sequencing, and Sanger sequencing validation with familial segregation when possible. Data were analyzed from September 1, 2017, to February 1, 2018. Clinical variables were subsequently analyzed in 2018. Main Outcomes and Measures: Phenotype and genotype comparison of patients carrying mutations in PDE6A or PDE6B. Results: Of the 54 patients included in the study, 19 patients of 17 families (11 women [58%]; mean [SD] age at diagnosis, 14.83 [10.63] years) carried pathogenic mutations in PDE6A, and 35 patients of 26 families (17 women [49%]; mean [SD] age at diagnosis, 21.10 [11.56] years) had mutations in PDE6B, accounting for prevalences of 1.6% and 2.4%, respectively. Among 49 identified genetic variants, 14 in PDE6A and 15 in PDE6B were novel. Overall, phenotypic analysis revealed no substantial differences between the 2 groups except for night blindness as a presenting symptom that was noted to be more prevalent in the PDE6A than PDE6B group (80% vs 37%, respectively; P = .005). The mean binocular BCVA and VF decrease over time (measured as mean individual slopes coefficients) was comparable between patients with PDE6A and PDE6B mutations: 0.04 (0.12) vs 0.02 (0.05) for BCVA (P = .89) and 14.33 (7.12) vs 13.27 (6.77) for VF (P = .48). Conclusions and Relevance: Mutations in PDE6A and PDE6B accounted for 1.6% and 2.4%, respectively, in a cohort of French patients with RCD. The functional and structural findings reported may constitute the basis of disease modeling that might be used for better prognostic estimation and candidate selection for photoreceptor therapeutic rescue.
Pigmentary glaucoma (PG) is a common glaucoma subtype that results from release of pigment from the iris, called pigment dispersion syndrome (PDS), and its deposition throughout the anterior chamber of the eye. Although PG has a substantial heritable component, no causative genes have yet been identified. We used whole exome sequencing of two independent pedigrees to identify two premelanosome protein (PMEL) variants associated with heritable PDS/PG. PMEL encodes a key component of the melanosome, the organelle essential for melanin synthesis, storage and transport. Targeted screening of PMEL in three independent cohorts (n = 394) identified seven additional PDS/PG-associated non-synonymous variants. Five of the nine variants exhibited defective processing of the PMEL protein. In addition, analysis of PDS/PG-associated PMEL variants expressed in HeLa cells revealed structural changes to pseudomelanosomes indicating altered amyloid fibril formation in five of the nine variants. Introduction of 11-base pair deletions to the homologous pmela in zebrafish by the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas9 method caused profound pigmentation defects and enlarged anterior segments in the eye, further supporting PMEL's role in ocular pigmentation and function. Taken together, these data support a model in which missense PMEL variants represent dominant negative mutations that impair the ability of PMEL to form functional amyloid fibrils. While PMEL mutations have previously been shown to cause pigmentation and ocular defects in animals, this research is the first report of mutations in PMEL causing human disease.
BACKGROUND: Teleophthalmology is an evidence-based method for diabetic eye screening. It is unclear whether the type of eye care provider performing teleophthalmology interpretation produces significant variability. INTRODUCTION: We assessed grading variability between an optometrist, general ophthalmologist, and retinal specialist using images from an urban, diabetic retinopathy teleophthalmology program. METHODS: Three readers evaluated digital retinal images in 100 cases (178 eyes from 90 patients with type 2 diabetes). Fisher's exact test, percent agreement, and the observed proportion of positive (P) or negative agreement (P) were used to assess variability. RESULTS: Among cases deemed gradable by all three readers (n = 65), there was substantial agreement on absence of any retinopathy (88% ± 4.6%, P = 0.91-0.95), presence of moderate nonproliferative or worse retinopathy (87% ± 3.9%, P = 0.67-1.00), and presence of macular edema (99% ± 0.9%, P = 0.67-1.00). There was limited agreement regarding presence of referable nondiabetic eye pathology (61% ± 11%, P = 0.21-0.59) and early, nonroutine referral for a follow-up clinical eye exam (66% ± 8.1%, P = 0.19-0.54). Among all cases (n = 100), there was acceptable agreement regarding which had gradable images (77% ± 5.0%, P = 0.50-0.90). DISCUSSION: Inclusion of multiple types of eye care providers as teleophthalmology readers is unlikely to produce significant variability in the assessment of diabetic retinopathy among high-quality images. Greater variability was found regarding image gradability, nondiabetic eye pathology, and recommended clinical referral times. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that more extensive training and uniform referral standards are needed to improve consensus on image gradability, referable nondiabetic eye pathology, and recommended clinical referral times.
Conjunctivochalasis (CCH) is a bilateral conjunctival condition characterized by loose, redundant conjunctival folds, typically in the inferior bulbar conjunctiva. It is a common cause of ocular irritation, especially in older age. For asymptomatic CCH, no treatment is necessary. For treatment of symptomatic CCH, however, a variety of medical and surgical approaches are currently available, which will be thoroughly appraised in this review article. The first step in the management is medical therapy, which involves enhanced lubrication and use of anti-inflammatory medications. In refractory cases, a surgical approach may be undertaken for symptom relief. Several techniques have been described for this, with varying success rates. These include conjunctival cauterization, conjunctival excision, scleral fixation of the conjunctiva, conjunctival ligation, laser conjunctivoplasty, and radiowave electrosurgery. Among these, conjunctival cauterization and excision of the redundant conjunctiva, with or without tissue grafting, have gained popularity.
The adeno-associated virus (AAV) serves as a broadly used vector system for gene delivery. The process of AAV capsid assembly remains poorly understood. The viral cofactor assembly-activating protein (AAP) is required for maximum AAV production and has multiple roles in capsid assembly, namely, trafficking of the structural proteins (VP) to the nuclear site of assembly, promoting the stability of VP against multiple degradation pathways, and facilitating stable interactions between VP monomers. The N-terminal 60 amino acids of AAP (AAPN) are essential for these functions. Presumably, AAP must physically interact with VP to execute its multiple functions, but the molecular nature of the AAP-VP interaction is not well understood. Here, we query how structurally related AAVs functionally engage AAP from AAV serotype 2 (AAP2) toward virion assembly. These studies led to the identification of key residues on the lumenal capsid surface that are important for AAP-VP and for VP-VP interactions. Replacing a cluster of glutamic acid residues with a glutamine-rich motif on the conserved VP beta-barrel structure of variants incompatible with AAP2 creates a gain-of-function mutant compatible with AAP2. Conversely, mutating positively charged residues within the hydrophobic region of AAP2 and conserved core domains within AAPN creates a gain-of-function AAP2 mutant that rescues assembly of the incompatible variant. Our results suggest a model for capsid assembly where surface charge/neutrality dictates an interaction between AAPN and the lumenal VP surface to nucleate capsid assembly. Efforts to engineer the AAV capsid to gain desirable properties for gene therapy (e.g., tropism, reduced immunogenicity, and higher potency) require that capsid modifications do not affect particle assembly. The relationship between VP and the cofactor that facilitates its assembly, AAP, is central to both assembly preservation and vector production. Understanding the requirements for this compatibility can inform manufacturing strategies to maximize production and reduce costs. Additionally, library-based approaches that simultaneously examine a large number of capsid variants would benefit from a universally functional AAP, which could hedge against overlooking variants with potentially valuable phenotypes that were lost during vector library production due to incompatibility with the cognate AAP. Studying interactions between the structural and nonstructural components of AAV enhances our fundamental knowledge of capsid assembly mechanisms and the protein-protein interactions required for productive assembly of the icosahedral capsid.