PURPOSE: This study sought to determine factors involved in nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) regulation and their response to oxidative stress in Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) and normal corneal endothelial cells (CECs). METHODS: FECD corneal buttons were obtained from transplantations and normal human corneas from tissue banks. Oxidative stress was induced by tert-butyl hydroperoxide (tBHP). Protein and mRNA levels of Nrf2, DJ-1, p53, and Kelch-like ECH-associated protein1 (Keap1) were investigated using Western blotting and real-time PCR. Immunoprecipitation was used to detect levels of oxidized DJ-1 protein and Cullin 3- (Cul3)-regulated degradation of DJ-1 in immortalized FECD (FECDi) and normal CEC (HCECi) cell lines. Nrf2 subcellular localization was assessed by immunocytochemistry. RESULTS: Nrf2 protein stabilizer, DJ-1, decreased significantly in FECD CECs compared with normal, whereas Nrf2 protein repressor, Keap1, was unchanged at baseline but increased under oxidative stress. Under oxidative stress, normal CECs upregulated DJ-1 protein synthesis, whereas FECD CECs did not. DJ-1 decline correlated with increased DJ-1 oxidative modification and carbonylation in FECDi as compared with HCECi. Increased labeling of immunoprecipitated DJ-1 protein with anti-Cul3 antibody indicated enhanced DJ-1 degradation in FECDi as compared with HCECi. Following tBHP treatment, Nrf2 translocated from cytoplasm to nuclei in normal CECs, whereas Nrf2 nuclear localization was not observed in FECD. CONCLUSIONS: Decreased levels of DJ-1 in FECD at baseline and under oxidative stress correlate with impaired Nrf2 nuclear translocation and heightened cell susceptibility to apoptosis. Targeting the DJ-1/Nrf2 axis could yield a mechanism to slow CEC degeneration in FECD.
In 1994, The American Journal of Pathology published a key article reporting that hypoxic retina produces vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), suggesting a role for VEGF in ocular neovascularization. Subsequent developments in anti-VEGF treatment for neovascular eye disease have improved visual outcomes and changed the standard of care in retinal medicine and ophthalmology.
Mutations in the retinitis pigmentosa 1 (RP1) gene are a common cause of autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (adRP), and have also been found to cause autosomal recessive RP (arRP) in a few families. The 33 dominant mutations and 6 recessive RP1 mutations identified to date are all nonsense or frameshift mutations, and almost exclusively (38 out of 39) are located in the 4(th) and final exon of RP1. To better understand the underlying disease mechanisms of and help develop therapeutic strategies for RP1 disease, we performed a series of human genetic and animal studies using gene targeted and transgenic mice. Here we report that a frameshift mutation in the 3(rd) exon of RP1 (c.686delC; p.P229QfsX35) found in a patient with recessive RP1 disease causes RP in the homozygous state, whereas the heterozygous carriers are unaffected, confirming that haploinsufficiency is not the causative mechanism for RP1 disease. We then generated Rp1 knock-in mice with a nonsense Q662X mutation in exon 4, as well as Rp1 transgenic mice carrying a wild-type BAC Rp1 transgene. The Rp1-Q662X allele produces a truncated Rp1 protein, and homozygous Rp1-Q662X mice experience a progressive photoreceptor degeneration characterized disorganization of photoreceptor outer segments. This phenotype could be prevented by expression of a normal amount of Rp1 protein from the BAC transgene without removal of the mutant Rp1-Q662X protein. Over-expression of Rp1 protein in additional BAC Rp1 transgenic lines resulted in retinal degeneration. These findings suggest that the truncated Rp1-Q662X protein does not exert a toxic gain-of-function effect. These results also imply that in principle gene augmentation therapy could be beneficial for both recessive and dominant RP1 patients, but the levels of RP1 protein delivered for therapy will have to be carefully controlled.
Inflammation in the eye is tightly regulated by multiple mechanisms that together contribute to ocular immune privilege. Many studies have shown that it is very difficult to abrogate the immune privileged mechanism called anterior chamber-associated immune deviation (ACAID). Previously, we showed that retinal laser burn (RLB) to one eye abrogated immune privilege (ACAID) bilaterally for an extended period of time. In an effort to explain the inflammation in the nonburned eye, we postulated that neuronal signals initiated inflammation in the contralateral eye. In this study, we test the role of substance P, a neuroinflamatory peptide, in RLB-induced loss of ACAID. Histological examination of the retina with and without RLB revealed an increase of the substance P-inducible neurokinin 1 receptor (NK1-R) in the retina of first, the burned eye, and then the contralateral eye. Specific antagonists for NK1-R, given locally with Ag within 24 h, but not 3, 5, or 7 d post-RLB treatment, prevented the bilateral loss of ACAID. Substance P knockout (KO) mice retained their ability to develop ACAID post-RLB. These data support the postulate that substance P transmits early inflammatory signals from the RLB eye to the contralateral eye to induce changes to ocular immune privilege and has a central role in the bilateral loss of ACAID. The possibility is raised that blocking of the substance P pathway with NK1-R antagonists postocular trauma may prevent unwanted and perhaps extended consequences of trauma-induced inflammation in the eye.
The plasma level of LPA (lysophosphatidic acid) (200-600 nM) is well within the range that promotes proliferation and migration of vascular ECs (endothelial cells), yet vessels are quiescent and stable. In this report, we considered one explanation for this paradox: that ECs secrete agents that attenuate responsiveness to LPA. Indeed, we observed that CM (conditioned medium) from confluent, quiescent cultures of primary HUVECs (human umbilical vein ECs) contained an agent that inhibited LPA-mediated signalling events and cellular responses. The putative inhibitor, which we tentatively call ILMR (inhibitor of LPA-mediated responsiveness) seemed to act on cells (instead of at the level of LPA) by suppressing the ability of LPA receptor 1 to signal. The amount and/or activity of ILMR was regulated by growth factors; exposing HUVECs to VEGF-A (vascular endothelial growth factor A), but not bFGF (basic fibroblast growth factor), reduced the amount and/or activity of ILMR in CM. We conclude that in addition to promoting angiogenesis directly, VEGF-A can also act indirectly by modulating the bioactivity of angiomodulators such as LPA.
Proliferative vitreoretinopathy is a disease process that follows the proliferation of ectopic cell sheets in the vitreous and/or periretinal area, causing periretinal membrane formation and traction, in patients with rhegmatogenous retinal detachments. Currently, vitreous surgery is the standard treatment; however, the results aren't satisfactory given the vision loss that ensues and that redetachment is relatively common. It is becoming clearer that there exists an interplay between various cytokines/growth factors, matrix proteins, and the different cell types that drive the undesirable formation of periretinal membranes. This fundamental understanding is aiding in identifying different adjunct agents that can block the cellular events intrinsic to proliferative vitreoretinopathy. In this review, we describe the current understanding on the pathogenesis and discuss how the fundamental understanding of the biochemical/molecular events is instrumental in developing the novel treatment strategies that are also highlighted.
PURPOSE: To determine if central corneal thickness (CCT) impacts the intraocular pressure (IOP)-lowering effect of selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) in patients with ocular hypertension (OHT) and primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). METHODS: A retrospective chart review of consecutive patients, who underwent SLT as primary treatment for OHT and POAG, between 2002 and 2005, was performed. Partial correlation analysis was performed to correlate the CCT to the percentage of IOP reduction at 3 to 30 months after SLT. Independent samples t test was performed to compare mean percentage of IOP reduction in eyes with CCT less than 555 μm versus CCT 555 μm or greater. RESULTS: Eighty eyes of 47 patients were identified. The partial correlation coefficient value between the CCT and percentage of IOP reduction after SLT at 3 months was -0.253 (P = 0.025), at 12 months it was -0.22 (P = 0.049), and at 30 months it was 0.301 (P = 0.007). Independent samples t test showed that the mean percentage of IOP reduction in eyes with thinner corneas (CCT < 555 μm) was greater than that in thicker corneas (CCT ≥ 555 μm) at 3-, 6-, 9-, 12-, and 30-month post-SLT (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: In patients with POAG and OHT, percentage of IOP reduction after SLT was significantly greater in eyes with thinner corneas (CCT < 555 μm). These findings indicate that patients treated with SLT as primary therapy who had thinner corneas demonstrated better IOP control for at least 30 months after SLT.
Landmark experiments in the 1920s showed that capsule switching is critical for Streptococcus pneumonia survival. Further studies demonstrated that capsule "transformation" occurs via DNA uptake. In this issue of Cell Host and Microbe, Bikard et al. (2012) show that CRISPR-Cas systems inhibit DNA uptake, selecting for the outgrowth of CRISPR-defective pneumococci.
OBJECTIVE: To assess WINROP (https://winrop.com), an algorithm using postnatal weight measurements, as a tool for the prediction of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) in a large geographically and racially diverse study population. METHODS: WINROP analysis was performed retrospectively on conventionally at-risk infants from 10 neonatal intensive careunits.Weight measurements were entered into WINROP, which signals an alarm for an abnormal weight gain rate. Infants were classified into categories of no alarm (unlikely to develop type 1ROP)and alarm (at risk for developing type 1ROP).Use of WINROP requires that an infant has (1) gestational age less than 32 weeks at birth, (2) weekly weight measurements,(3) physiologic weight gain,and(4)absence of other pathologic retinal vascular disease. RESULTS: A total of 1706 infants with a median gestational age of 28 weeks (range, 22-31 weeks) and median birth weight of 1016 g (range, 378-2240 g) were included in the study analysis. An alarm occurred in 1101 infants (64.5%), with a median time from birth to alarm of 3 weeks (range, 0-12 weeks) and from alarm to treatment of 8 weeks (range, 1 day to 22 weeks). The sensitivity of WINROP was 98.6% and the negative predictive value was 99.7%. Two infants with type 1 ROP requiring treatment after 40 weeks' postmenstrual age did not receive an alarm. CONCLUSION: The WINROP system is a useful adjunct for ROP screening that identifies high-risk infants early to optimize care and potentially reduce the overall number of diagnostic ROP examinations.
In our effort to understand genetic disorders of the photoreceptor cells of the retina, we have focused on intraflagellar transport in photoreceptor sensory cilia. From previous mouse proteomic data we identified a cilia protein Ttc26, orthologue of dyf-13 in Caenorhabditis elegans, as a target. We localized Ttc26 to the transition zone of photoreceptor and to the transition zone of cilia in cultured murine inner medullary collecting duct 3 (mIMCD3) renal cells. Knockdown of Ttc26 in mIMCD3 cells produced shortened and defective primary cilia, as revealed by immunofluorescence and scanning electron microscopy. To study Ttc26 function in sensory cilia in vivo, we utilized a zebrafish vertebrate model system. Morpholino knockdown of ttc26 in zebrafish embryos caused ciliary defects in the pronephric kidney at 27 h postfertilization and distension/dilation of pronephros at 5 d postfertilization (dpf). In the eyes, the outer segments of photoreceptor cells appeared shortened or absent, whereas cellular lamination appeared normal in retinas at 5 dpf. This suggests that loss of ttc26 function prevents normal ciliogenesis and differentiation in the photoreceptor cells, and that ttc26 is required for normal development and differentiation in retina and pronephros. Our studies support the importance of Ttc26 function in ciliogenesis and suggest that screening for TTC26 mutations in human ciliopathies is justified.