August 2015

Aiello LP, Ayala AR, Antoszyk AN, Arnold-Bush B, Baker C, Bressler NM, Elman MJ, Glassman AR, Jampol LM, Melia M, Nielsen J, Wolpert HA, Wolpert HA. Assessing the Effect of Personalized Diabetes Risk Assessments During Ophthalmologic Visits on Glycemic Control: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Ophthalmol 2015;133(8):888-96.Abstract

IMPORTANCE: Optimization of glycemic control is critical to reduce the number of diabetes mellitus-related complications, but long-term success is challenging. Although vision loss is among the greatest fears of individuals with diabetes, comprehensive personalized diabetes education and risk assessments are not consistently used in ophthalmologic settings. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether the point-of-care measurement of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and personalized diabetes risk assessments performed during retinal ophthalmologic visits improve glycemic control as assessed by HbA1c level. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Ophthalmologist office-based randomized, multicenter clinical trial in which investigators from 42 sites were randomly assigned to provide either a study-prescribed augmented diabetes assessment and education or the usual care. Adults with type 1 or 2 diabetes enrolled into 2 cohorts: those with a more-frequent-than-annual follow-up (502 control participants and 488 intervention participants) and those with an annual follow-up (368 control participants and 388 intervention participants). Enrollment was from April 2011 through January 2013. INTERVENTIONS: Point-of-care measurements of HbA1c, blood pressure, and retinopathy severity; an individualized estimate of the risk of retinopathy progression derived from the findings from ophthalmologic visits; structured comparison and review of past and current clinical findings; and structured education with immediate assessment and feedback regarding participant's understanding. These interventions were performed at enrollment and at routine ophthalmic follow-up visits scheduled at least 12 weeks apart. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Mean change in HbA1c level from baseline to 1-year follow-up. Secondary outcomes included body mass index, blood pressure, and responses to diabetes self-management practices and attitudes surveys. RESULTS: In the cohort with more-frequent-than-annual follow-ups, the mean (SD) change in HbA1c level at 1 year was -0.1% (1.5%) in the control group and -0.3% (1.4%) in the intervention group (adjusted mean difference, -0.09% [95% CI, -0.29% to 0.12%]; P = .35). In the cohort with annual follow-ups, the mean (SD) change in HbA1c level was 0.0% (1.1%) in the control group and -0.1% (1.6%) in the intervention group (mean difference, -0.05% [95% CI, -0.27% to 0.18%]; P = .63). Results were similar for all secondary outcomes. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Long-term optimization of glycemic control is not achieved by a majority of individuals with diabetes. The addition of personalized education and risk assessment during retinal ophthalmologic visits did not result in a reduction in HbA1c level compared with usual care over 1 year. These data suggest that optimizing glycemic control remains a substantive challenge requiring interventional paradigms other than those examined in our study. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Identifier:NCT01323348.

Choi HJ, Sun D, Jakobs TC. Isolation of intact astrocytes from the optic nerve head of adult mice. Exp Eye Res 2015;137:103-10.Abstract

The astrocytes of the optic nerve head are a specialized subtype of white matter astrocytes that form the direct cellular environment of the unmyelinated ganglion cell axons. Due to their potential involvement in glaucoma, these astrocytes have become a target of research. Due to the heterogeneity of the optic nerve tissue, which also contains other cell types, in some cases it may be desirable to conduct gene expression studies on small numbers of well-characterized astrocytes or even individual cells. Here, we describe a simple method to isolate individual astrocytes. This method permits obtaining astrocytes with intact morphology from the adult mouse optic nerve and reduces contamination of the isolated astrocytes by other cell types. Individual astrocytes can be recognized by their morphology and collected under microscopic control. The whole procedure can be completed in 2-3 h. We also discuss downstream applications like multiplex single-cell PCR and quantitative PCR (qPCR).

Gupta MP, Lane AM, Deangelis MM, Mayne K, Crabtree M, Gragoudas ES, Kim IK. Clinical Characteristics of Uveal Melanoma in Patients With Germline BAP1 Mutations. JAMA Ophthalmol 2015;133(8):881-7.Abstract

IMPORTANCE: Somatic mutations in BAP1 (BRCA1-associated protein 1 gene) are frequently identified in uveal melanoma. To date, the role of germline BAP1 mutations in uveal melanoma has not been characterized. OBJECTIVE: To characterize the clinical phenotype of uveal melanoma in patients with germline BAP1 mutations. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Retrospective cohort study at an academic ophthalmology referral center among 507 patients with uveal melanoma who consented for collection of blood samples. The study dates were June 22, 1992, to December 14, 2010. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Clinical characteristics of uveal melanoma and the development of metastases. BAP1 gene sequencing from blood samples of patients with uveal melanoma was correlated with clinical characteristics. RESULTS: Of 507 blood samples analyzed, 25 patients (4.9%) exhibited 18 BAP1 polymorphisms, of which 9 were novel. Computational analyses predicted that 8 BAP1 mutations in 8 patients (1.6%) were likely to result in damaged BAP1 protein. Five of these 8 mutations were novel. These 8 patients were compared with 482 patients in whom no BAP1 polymorphisms were identified. In univariate analyses, patients with germline BAP1 mutations exhibited larger tumor diameters (mean, 15.9 vs 12.3 mm; P = .004) and higher rates of ciliary body involvement (75.0% vs 21.6%, P = .002) and metastases (71.4% vs 18.0%, P = .003) compared with control subjects. Patients with germline BAP1 mutations exhibited increased frequency of family history of cancer (100% vs 65.9%, P = .06), particularly cutaneous melanoma (62.5% vs 9.9%, P < .001) and ocular melanoma (25.0% vs 1.9%, P = .01). No differences were identified in age at diagnosis, sex, history of other malignant neoplasm, presenting visual acuity, distance of the tumor from the optic nerve or fovea, iris involvement, extrascleral extension, or tumor pigmentation. Germline BAP1 mutations increased risk of metastasis independent of ciliary body involvement (P = .02). Germline BAP1 mutation approached significance as an independent risk factor for metastasis (P = .09). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: These data suggest that germline BAP1 mutations occur infrequently in uveal melanoma and are associated with larger tumors and higher rates of ciliary body involvement, 2 known risk factors for metastasis.

Ho AC, Humayun MS, Dorn JD, da Cruz L, Dagnelie G, Handa J, Barale P-O, Sahel J-A, Stanga PE, Hafezi F, Safran AB, Salzmann J, Santos A, Birch D, Spencer R, Cideciyan AV, de Juan E, Duncan JL, Eliott D, Fawzi A, Olmos de Koo LC, Brown GC, Haller JA, Regillo CD, Del Priore LV, Arditi A, Geruschat DR, Greenberg RJ, Greenberg RJ. Long-Term Results from an Epiretinal Prosthesis to Restore Sight to the Blind. Ophthalmology 2015;122(8):1547-54.Abstract

PURPOSE: Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of inherited retinal degenerations leading to blindness due to photoreceptor loss. Retinitis pigmentosa is a rare disease, affecting only approximately 100 000 people in the United States. There is no cure and no approved medical therapy to slow or reverse RP. The purpose of this clinical trial was to evaluate the safety, reliability, and benefit of the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System (Second Sight Medical Products, Inc, Sylmar, CA) in restoring some visual function to subjects completely blind from RP. We report clinical trial results at 1 and 3 years after implantation. DESIGN: The study is a multicenter, single-arm, prospective clinical trial. PARTICIPANTS: There were 30 subjects in 10 centers in the United States and Europe. Subjects served as their own controls, that is, implanted eye versus fellow eye, and system on versus system off (native residual vision). METHODS: The Argus II System was implanted on and in a single eye (typically the worse-seeing eye) of blind subjects. Subjects wore glasses mounted with a small camera and a video processor that converted images into stimulation patterns sent to the electrode array on the retina. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome measures were safety (the number, seriousness, and relatedness of adverse events) and visual function, as measured by 3 computer-based, objective tests. RESULTS: A total of 29 of 30 subjects had functioning Argus II Systems implants 3 years after implantation. Eleven subjects experienced a total of 23 serious device- or surgery-related adverse events. All were treated with standard ophthalmic care. As a group, subjects performed significantly better with the system on than off on all visual function tests and functional vision assessments. CONCLUSIONS: The 3-year results of the Argus II trial support the long-term safety profile and benefit of the Argus II System for patients blind from RP. Earlier results from this trial were used to gain approval of the Argus II by the Food and Drug Administration and a CE mark in Europe. The Argus II System is the first and only retinal implant to have both approvals.

Lagali N, Poletti E, Patel DV, McGhee CNJ, Hamrah P, Kheirkhah A, Tavakoli M, Petropoulos IN, Malik RA, Utheim TP, Zhivov A, Stachs O, Falke K, Peschel S, Guthoff R, Chao C, Golebiowski B, Stapleton F, Ruggeri A. Focused Tortuosity Definitions Based on Expert Clinical Assessment of Corneal Subbasal Nerves. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2015;56(9):5102-9.Abstract

PURPOSE: We examined agreement among experts in the assessment of corneal subbasal nerve tortuosity. METHODS: Images of corneal subbasal nerves were obtained from investigators at seven sites (Auckland, Boston, Linköping, Manchester, Oslo, Rostock, and Sydney) using laser-scanning in vivo confocal microscopy. A set of 30 images was assembled and ordered by increasing tortuosity by 10 expert graders from the seven sites. In a first experiment, graders assessed tortuosity without a specific definition and performed grading three times, with at least 1 week between sessions. In a second experiment, graders assessed the same image set using four focused tortuosity definitions. Intersession and intergrader repeatability for the experiments were determined using the Spearman rank correlation. RESULTS: Expert graders without a specific tortuosity definition had high intersession (Spearman correlation coefficient 0.80), but poor intergrader (0.62) repeatability. Specific definitions improved intergrader repeatability to 0.79. In particular, tortuosity defined by frequent small-amplitude directional changes (short range tortuosity) or by infrequent large-amplitude directional changes (long range tortuosity), indicated largely independent measures and resulted in improved repeatability across the graders. A further refinement, grading only the most tortuous nerve in a given image, improved the average correlation of a given grader's ordering of images with the group average to 0.86 to 0.90. CONCLUSIONS: Definitions of tortuosity specifying short or long-range tortuosity and considering only the most tortuous nerve in an image improved the agreement in tortuosity grading among a group of expert observers. These definitions could improve accuracy and consistency in quantifying subbasal nerve tortuosity in clinical studies.

Miyake M, Yamashiro K, Tamura H, Kumagai K, Saito M, Sugahara-Kuroda M, Yoshikawa M, Oishi M, Akagi-Kurashige Y, Nakata I, Nakanishi H, Gotoh N, Oishi A, Matsuda F, Yamada R, Khor C-C, Kurimoto Y, Sekiryu T, Tsujikawa A, Yoshimura N. The Contribution of Genetic Architecture to the 10-Year Incidence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration in the Fellow Eye. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2015;56(9):5353-61.Abstract

PURPOSE: To correlate a genetic risk score based on age-related macular degeneration (AMD) susceptibility genes with the risk of AMD in the second eye. METHODS: This is a retrospective, open cohort study consisting of 891 unilateral AMD patients, who were followed for at least 12 months and recruited from three institutes. DNAs were genotyped using Illumina OmniExpress, HumanOmni2.5-8, and/or HumanExome. Survival analyses and Cox proportional hazard models were used to examine the association between 11 AMD susceptibility genes and the duration until second-eye involvement in 499 samples from Kyoto University, which were replicated in two other cohorts. Genetic risk score (GRS) was also evaluated. RESULTS: The ARMS2 rs10490924 recessive model (hazard ratio [HR]meta = 2.04; Pmeta = 3.4 × 10-3) and CFH rs800292 additive model (HRmeta = 1.77; Pmeta = 0.013) revealed significant associations with second-eye involvement. The dominant model of TNFRSF10A rs13278062, VEGFA rs943080, and CFI rs4698775 showed consistent effects across three datasets (I2 = 0%; HRmeta = 1.46, 1.30, 1.51, respectively). The GRS using these five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) was also significantly associated (HRmeta [per score] = 2.42; P = 2.2 × 10-5; I2 = 0%). After 10 years from the first visit, the patients within the top 10% by GRS showed a 51% hazard rate, in contrast to 2.3% among patients within the lowest 10% by GRS. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated that the GRS using ARMS2, CFH, TNFRSF10A, VEGFA, and CFI was significantly associated with second-eye involvement. Genetic risk has high predictive ability for second-eye involvement of AMD.

Mundell NA, Beier KT, Pan AY, Lapan SW, Göz Aytürk D, Berezovskii VK, Wark AR, Drokhlyansky E, Bielecki J, Born RT, Schier AF, Cepko CL. Vesicular stomatitis virus enables gene transfer and transsynaptic tracing in a wide range of organisms. J Comp Neurol 2015;523(11):1639-63.Abstract

Current limitations in technology have prevented an extensive analysis of the connections among neurons, particularly within nonmammalian organisms. We developed a transsynaptic viral tracer originally for use in mice, and then tested its utility in a broader range of organisms. By engineering the vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) to encode a fluorophore and either the rabies virus glycoprotein (RABV-G) or its own glycoprotein (VSV-G), we created viruses that can transsynaptically label neuronal circuits in either the retrograde or anterograde direction, respectively. The vectors were investigated for their utility as polysynaptic tracers of chicken and zebrafish visual pathways. They showed patterns of connectivity consistent with previously characterized visual system connections, and revealed several potentially novel connections. Further, these vectors were shown to infect neurons in several other vertebrates, including Old and New World monkeys, seahorses, axolotls, and Xenopus. They were also shown to infect two invertebrates, Drosophila melanogaster, and the box jellyfish, Tripedalia cystophora, a species previously intractable for gene transfer, although no clear evidence of transsynaptic spread was observed in these species. These vectors provide a starting point for transsynaptic tracing in most vertebrates, and are also excellent candidates for gene transfer in organisms that have been refractory to other methods.

Pal-Ghosh S, Pajoohesh-Ganji A, Tadvalkar G, Kyne BM, Guo X, Zieske JD, Stepp MA. Topical Mitomycin-C enhances subbasal nerve regeneration and reduces erosion frequency in the debridement wounded mouse cornea. Exp Eye Res 2015;Abstract

Corneal epithelial basement membrane dystrophies and superficial injuries caused by scratches can lead to recurrent corneal erosion syndrome (RCES). Patients and animals with reduced corneal sensory nerve innervation can also develop recurrent erosions. Multiple wild-type mouse strains will spontaneously develop recurrent corneal erosions after single 1.5 mm debridement wounds. Here we show that this wound is accompanied by an increase in corneal epithelial cell proliferation after wound closure but without a commensurate increase in corneal epithelial thickness. We investigated whether excess corneal epithelial cell proliferation contributes to erosion formation. We found that topical application of Mitomycin C (MMC), a drug used clinically to improve healing after glaucoma and refractive surgery, reduces erosion frequency, enhances subbasal axon density to levels seen in unwounded corneas, and prevents excess epithelial cell proliferation after debridement wounding. These results suggest that topically applied MMC, which successfully reduces corneal haze and scarring after PRK, may also function to enhance subbasal nerve regeneration and epithelial adhesion when used to treat RCES.

Patel AV, Rashid A, Jakobiec FA, Lefebvre DR, Yoon MK. Orbital Branch of the Infraorbital Artery: Further Characterization of an Important Surgical Landmark. Orbit 2015;34(4):212-5.Abstract

The orbital branch of the infraorbital artery, a key vascular structure that is not universally noted in orbital textbooks and atlases, is clinically significant, since injury to it can result in perioperative hemorrhage. We conducted a cadaver dissection to document its presence, measure its location, and evaluate it histopathologically. It was present in 8 of 9 orbits and was a mean distance of 16.6 mm (range 10-23) from the inferior orbital rim. In half of the specimens, there were 2 separate structures seen. Histopathology confirmed these structures to be neurovascular bundles.

Qazi Y, Kheirkhah A, Blackie C, Cruzat A, Trinidad M, Williams C, Korb DR, Hamrah P. In vivo detection of clinically non-apparent ocular surface inflammation in patients with meibomian gland dysfunction-associated refractory dry eye symptoms: a pilot study. Eye (Lond) 2015;29(8):1099-110.Abstract

PurposeThe utility of in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) in the investigation of palpebral conjunctival and corneal inflammation in patients with meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD)-associated refractory dry eye symptoms following gland expression, despite objective clinical improvement.MethodsA retrospective, observational pilot study was conducted evaluating five patients with MGD-associated refractory dry eye symptoms and three control groups: symptomatic untreated MGD patients (n=3), treatment-responsive MGD patients with improved symptoms (n=3) and asymptomatic healthy normals (n=11). Ocular surface disease index (OSDI) scores, tear break-up time (TBUT), the number of meibomian glands yielding liquid secretion (MGYLS), palpebral conjunctival epithelial and substantia propria immune cell (EIC, SIC), and corneal dendritic cell (DC) densities were measured.ResultsDespite clinical improvement (TBUT: 6.4±1.2 s to 10.1±2.1 s, P=0.03; MGYLS: 3.5±0.8 glands to 7.0±1.1 glands, P=0.13) and a normal clinical examination post treatment, MGD patients remained symptomatic. IVCM revealed increased immune cells in the palpebral conjunctiva (refractory MGD EIC=592.6±110.1 cells/mm(2); untreated MGD EIC=522.6±104.7 cells/mm(2), P=0.69; responsive MGD EIC=194.9±119.4 cells/mm(2), P<0.01; normals EIC=123.7±19.2 cells/mm(2), P< 0.001), but not the cornea (refractory MGD DC=60.9±28.3 cells/mm(2); normals DC=25.9±6.3 cells/mm(2); P=0.43). EIC did not correlate with TBUT (Rs=-0.26, P=0.33). OSDI scores correlated with both EIC (Rs=0.76, P<0.001) and TBUT (Rs=-0.69, P<0.01) but not SIC. Intraglandular immune cells were also seen.ConclusionMGD-associated refractory symptoms and the symptom-sign disparity may be explained by clinically non-apparent, active inflammation of the palpebral conjunctiva as detected by IVCM. These patients may benefit from anti-inflammatory therapy.

Quiroz YT, Schultz AP, Chen K, Protas HD, Brickhouse M, Fleisher AS, Langbaum JB, Thiyyagura P, Fagan AM, Shah AR, Muniz M, Arboleda-Velasquez JF, Munoz C, Garcia G, Acosta-Baena N, Giraldo M, Tirado V, Ramírez DL, Tariot PN, Dickerson BC, Sperling RA, Lopera F, Reiman EM. Brain Imaging and Blood Biomarker Abnormalities in Children With Autosomal Dominant Alzheimer Disease: A Cross-Sectional Study. JAMA Neurol 2015;72(8):912-9.Abstract

IMPORTANCE: Brain imaging and fluid biomarkers are characterized in children at risk for autosomal dominant Alzheimer disease (ADAD). OBJECTIVE: To characterize and compare structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), resting-state and task-dependent functional MRI, and plasma amyloid-β (Aβ) measurements in presenilin 1 (PSEN1) E280A mutation-carrying and noncarrying children with ADAD. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Cross-sectional measures of structural and functional MRI and plasma Aβ assays were assessed in 18 PSEN1 E280A carriers and 19 noncarriers aged 9 to 17 years from a Colombian kindred with ADAD. Recruitment and data collection for this study were conducted at the University of Antioquia and the Hospital Pablo Tobon Uribe in Medellín, Colombia, between August 2011 and June 2012. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: All participants had blood sampling, structural MRI, and functional MRI during associative memory encoding and resting-state and cognitive assessments. Outcome measures included plasma Aβ1-42 concentrations and Aβ1-42:Aβ1-40 ratios, memory encoding-dependent activation changes, resting-state connectivity, and regional gray matter volumes. Structural and functional MRI data were compared using automated brain mapping algorithms and search regions related to AD. RESULTS: Similar to findings in adult mutation carriers, in the later preclinical and clinical stages of ADAD, mutation-carrying children were distinguished from control individuals by significantly higher plasma Aβ1-42 levels (mean [SD]: carriers, 18.8 [5.1] pg/mL and noncarriers, 13.1 [3.2] pg/mL; P < .001) and Aβ1-42:Aβ1-40 ratios (mean [SD]: carriers, 0.32 [0.06] and noncarriers, 0.21 [0.03]; P < .001), as well as less memory encoding task-related deactivation in parietal regions (eg, mean [SD] parameter estimates for the right precuneus were -0.590 [0.50] for noncarriers and -0.087 [0.38] for carriers; P < .005 uncorrected). Unlike carriers in the later stages, mutation-carrying children demonstrated increased functional connectivity of the posterior cingulate cortex with medial temporal lobe regions (mean [SD] parameter estimates were 0.038 [0.070] for noncarriers and 0.190 [0.057] for carriers), as well as greater gray matter volumes in temporal regions (eg, left parahippocampus; P < . 049, corrected for multiple comparisons). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Children at genetic risk for ADAD have functional and structural brain changes and abnormal levels of plasma Aβ1-42. The extent to which the underlying brain changes are either neurodegenerative or developmental remains to be determined. This study provides additional information about the earliest known biomarker changes associated with ADAD.

Saboo US, Amparo F, Abud TB, Schaumberg DA, Dana R. Vision-Related Quality of Life in Patients with Ocular Graft-versus-Host Disease. Ophthalmology 2015;122(8):1669-74.Abstract

PURPOSE: To assess the vision-related quality of life (QOL) in a cohort of patients with ocular graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). DESIGN: Prospective study. PARTICIPANTS: Eighty-four patients diagnosed with chronic ocular GVHD. METHODS: We assessed the vision-related QOL with the 25-item National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEI-VFQ-25). The symptoms of ocular GVHD were assessed using the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) and Symptom Assessment in Dry Eye (SANDE) questionnaires. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: We assessed vision-related QOL with the NEI-VFQ-25 and compared the scores obtained from patients with ocular GVHD with those from a healthy population. In the ocular GVHD population, we also evaluated the associations between the NEI-VFQ-25 and the dry eye symptoms measured by the OSDI and SANDE questionnaires, age, duration of disease, best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), corneal fluorescein staining (CFS), tear break-up time, and Schirmer test. RESULTS: The mean composite NEI-VFQ-25 score in patients with ocular GVHD was 76.5±17. Compared with healthy subjects, patients with ocular GVHD reported reduced scores on all NEI-VFQ-25 subscales (each P < 0.001) with the exception of color vision (P = 0.11). The NEI-VFQ-25 composite scores significantly correlated with OSDI (R = -0.81, P < 0.001), SANDE (R = -0.56, P < 0.001), CFS (R = -0.36, P = 0.001), and BCVA (R = -0.30, P = 0.004). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with ocular GVHD experience measurable impairment of vision-related QOL. This study highlights the impact of ocular GVHD on the vision-related QOL, and thus the importance of comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of this condition.

Sun Y, Liu C-H, SanGiovanni JP, Evans LP, Tian KT, Zhang B, Stahl A, Pu WT, Kamenecka TM, Solt LA, Chen J. Nuclear receptor RORα regulates pathologic retinal angiogenesis by modulating SOCS3-dependent inflammation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2015;112(33):10401-6.Abstract

Pathologic ocular angiogenesis is a leading cause of blindness, influenced by both dysregulated lipid metabolism and inflammation. Retinoic-acid-receptor-related orphan receptor alpha (RORα) is a lipid-sensing nuclear receptor with diverse biologic function including regulation of lipid metabolism and inflammation; however, its role in pathologic retinal angiogenesis remains poorly understood. Using a mouse model of oxygen-induced proliferative retinopathy, we showed that RORα expression was significantly increased and genetic deficiency of RORα substantially suppressed pathologic retinal neovascularization. Loss of RORα led to decreased levels of proinflammatory cytokines and increased levels of antiinflammatory cytokines in retinopathy. RORα directly suppressed the gene transcription of suppressors of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3), a critical negative regulator of inflammation. Inhibition of SOCS3 abolished the antiinflammatory and vasoprotective effects of RORα deficiency in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, treatment with a RORα inverse agonist SR1001 effectively protected against pathologic neovascularization in both oxygen-induced retinopathy and another angiogenic model of very-low-density lipoprotein receptor (Vldlr)-deficient (Vldlr (-/-) ) mice with spontaneous subretinal neovascularization, whereas a RORα agonist worsened oxygen-induced retinopathy. Our data demonstrate that RORα is a novel regulator of pathologic retinal neovascularization, and RORα inhibition may represent a new way to treat ocular neovascularization.

Zinn E, Pacouret S, Khaychuk V, Turunen HT, Carvalho LS, Andres-Mateos E, Shah S, Shelke R, Maurer AC, Plovie E, Xiao R, Vandenberghe LH. In Silico Reconstruction of the Viral Evolutionary Lineage Yields a Potent Gene Therapy Vector. Cell Rep 2015;12(6):1056-68.Abstract

Adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors have emerged as a gene-delivery platform with demonstrated safety and efficacy in a handful of clinical trials for monogenic disorders. However, limitations of the current generation vectors often prevent broader application of AAV gene therapy. Efforts to engineer AAV vectors have been hampered by a limited understanding of the structure-function relationship of the complex multimeric icosahedral architecture of the particle. To develop additional reagents pertinent to further our insight into AAVs, we inferred evolutionary intermediates of the viral capsid using ancestral sequence reconstruction. In-silico-derived sequences were synthesized de novo and characterized for biological properties relevant to clinical applications. This effort led to the generation of nine functional putative ancestral AAVs and the identification of Anc80, the predicted ancestor of the widely studied AAV serotypes 1, 2, 8, and 9, as a highly potent in vivo gene therapy vector for targeting liver, muscle, and retina.