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.
Verteporfin (VP), a light-activated drug used in photodynamic therapy for the treatment of choroidal neovascular membranes, has also been shown to be an effective inhibitor of malignant cells. Recently, studies have demonstrated that, even without photo-activation, VP may still inhibit certain tumor cell lines, including ovarian cancer, hepatocarcinoma and retinoblastoma, through the inhibition of the YAP-TEAD complex. In this study, we examined the effects of VP without light activation on human glioma cell lines (LN229 and SNB19). Through western blot analysis, we identified that human glioma cells that were exposed to VP without light activation demonstrated a downregulation of YAP-TEAD-associated downstream signaling molecules, including c-myc, axl, CTGF, cyr61 and survivin and upregulation of the tumor growth inhibitor molecule p38 MAPK. In addition, we observed that expression of VEGFA and the pluripotent marker Oct-4 were also decreased. Verteporfin did not alter the Akt survival pathway or the mTor pathway but there was a modest increase in LC3-IIB, a marker of autophagosome biogenesis. This study suggests that verteporfin should be further explored as an adjuvant therapy for the treatment of glioblastoma.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to develop a method for isolating, culturing, and characterizing cells from patient-derived membranes in proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) to be used for drug testing. Methods: PVR membranes were obtained from six patients with grade C PVR. Membrane fragments were analyzed by gross evaluation, fixed for immunohistologic studies to establish cell identity, or digested with collagenase II to obtain single cell suspensions for culture. PVR-derived primary cultures were used to examine the effects of methotrexate (MTX) on proliferation, migration, and cell death. Results: Gross analysis of PVR membranes showed presence of pigmented cells, indicative of retinal pigment epithelial cells. Immunohistochemistry identified cells expressing α-smooth muscle actin, glial fibrillary acidic protein, Bestrophin-1, and F4/80, suggesting the presence of multiple cell types in PVR. Robust PVR primary cultures (C-PVR) were successfully obtained from human membranes, and these cells retained the expression of cell identity markers in culture. C-PVR cultures formed membranes and band-like structures in culture reminiscent of the human condition. MTX significantly reduced the proliferation and band formation of C-PVR, whereas it had no significant effect on cell migration. MTX also induced regulated cell death within C-PVR as assessed by increased expression of caspase-3/7. Conclusions: PVR cells obtained from human membranes can be successfully isolated, cultured, and profiled in vitro. Using these primary cultures, we identified MTX as capable of significantly reducing growth and inducing cell death of PVR cells in vitro.
Long intervening non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) are increasingly being implicated as important factors in many aspects of cellular development, function, and disease, but remain poorly understood. In this study, we examine the human retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) lincRNA transcriptome using RNA-Seq data generated from human fetal RPE (fRPE), RPE derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS-RPE), and undifferentiated iPS (iPS). In addition, we determine the suitability of iPS-RPE, from a transcriptome standpoint, as a model for use in future studies of lincRNA structure and function. A comparison of gene and isoform expression across the whole transcriptome shows only minimal differences between all sample types, though fRPE and iPS-RPE show higher concordance than either shows with iPS. Notably, RPE signature genes show the highest degree of fRPE to iPS-RPE concordance, indicating that iPS-RPE cells provide a suitable model for use in future studies. An analysis of lincRNAs demonstrates high concordance between fRPE and iPS-RPE, but low concordance between either RPE and iPS. While most lincRNAs are expressed at low levels (RPKM < 10), there is a high degree of concordance among replicates within each sample type, suggesting the expression is consistent, even at levels subject to high variability. Finally, we identified and annotated 180 putative novel genes in the fRPE samples, a majority of which are also expressed in the iPS-RPE. Overall, this study represents the first characterization of lincRNA expression in the human RPE, and provides a model for studying the role lincRNAs play in RPE development, function, and disease.
PURPOSE: To report the phenotypic and genotypic data of a patient with retinitis punctata albescens carrying a novel deletion in the RLBP1 gene. RESULTS: A woman of Iranian descent in her forties with a history of progressive visual deterioration since early childhood exhibited phenotypic features of retinitis punctata albescens with multiple white dots in the posterior pole and macular atrophy in both eyes. The microarray analysis identified a ∼2.160 kb homozygous deletion corresponding to a minimum deletion boundary of chr15q26.1:89,756,882-89,759,041/GRCh37 (hg19), which encompasses exon 6 of the RLBP1 gene. CONCLUSION: We describe a novel large homozygous deletion in the RLBP1 gene encoding the cellular retinaldehyde-binding protein in a patient of Iranian descent with retinitis punctata albescens. Genotype-phenotype studies may provide more information about the functions of the RLBP1 encoding proteins and the disease course, because RLBP1 mutations are associated with high phenotypic variability and are therefore a necessity for future tailored individual therapies.
BACKGROUND: Deterministic diffusion tractography obtained from high angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI) requires user-defined quantitative anisotropy (QA) thresholds. Most studies employ a common threshold across all subjects even though there is a strong degree of individual variation within groups. We sought to explore whether it would be beneficial to use individual thresholds in order to accommodate individual variance. To do this, we conducted two independent experiments. METHOD: First, tractography of the arcuate fasciculus and network connectivity measures were examined in a sample of 14 healthy participants. Second, we assessed the effects of QA threshold on group differences in network connectivity measures between healthy young (n=19) and old (n=14) individuals. RESULTS: The results of both experiments were significantly influenced by QA threshold. Common thresholds set too high failed to produce sufficient reconstructions in most subjects, thus decreasing the likelihood of detecting meaningful group differences. On the other hand, common thresholds set too low resulted in spurious reconstructions, providing deleterious results. COMPARISON WITH EXISTING METHODS: Subject specific thresholds acquired using our QA threshold selection method (QATS) appeared to provide the most meaningful networks while ensuring that data from all subjects contributed to the analyses. CONCLUSIONS: Together, these results support the use of a subject-specific threshold to ensure that data from all subjects are included in the analyses being conducted.
Th17 cells are critical effectors mediating the ocular surface autoimmunity in dry eye disease (DED). Increased IFN-γ has also been implicated in DED; however, it remains unclear to what extent Th1 cells contribute to DED pathogenesis. In this study, we investigated the cellular source of IFN-γ and assessed its contribution to corneal epitheliopathy in DED mice. We discovered a significant IL-17A(+)IFN-γ(+) (Th17/1) population and determined that these cells are derived from Th17 precursors. Adoptive transfer of Th17/1, but not Th1, cells confers the disease to naive recipients as effectively as do Th17 cells alone. DED-induced IL-12 and IL-23 are required for in vivo transition of pathogenic Th17 cells to IFN-γ producers. Furthermore, using IFN-γ-deficient Th17 cells, we demonstrate the disease-amplifying role of Th17-derived IFN-γ in DED pathogenesis. These results clearly demonstrate that Th17 cells mediate ocular surface autoimmunity through both IL-17A and IFN-γ.
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.
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.
PURPOSE: To evaluate clinical and ancillary testing, including adaptive optics, outcomes in autoimmune retinopathy (AIR) patients treated with rituximab. DESIGN: Retrospective, interventional case series. METHODS: patients: Sixteen AIR patients treated with rituximab. OBSERVATION PROCEDURES: All patients were treated with a loading and maintenance dose schedule of intravenous rituximab. Visual acuity (VA), electroretinography (ERG), and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SDOCT) and visual field (VF) results were recorded. A subset of patients was also imaged using adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (AO-SLO). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Rates of VA change before vs after rituximab initiation were compared with mixed-model linear regression. RESULTS: The rate of visual decline was significantly less after rituximab initiation compared with the rate of visual decline prior to rituximab initiation (P = .005). Seventy-seven percent of eyes had stable or improved VA 6 months after rituximab initiation. Amplitudes and implicit times on ERG, mean deviation on VF, central subfield mean thickness, and total macular volume did not decrease to a significant degree over the rituximab treatment period. Six eyes had serial AO-SLO imaging. Cone densities did not change significantly over the treatment period. CONCLUSION: VA was stable or improved in a majority of AIR patients while they were being treated with rituximab. OCT and ERG parameters, as well as AO-SLO cone densities, were stable during treatment. Studies with additional patients and longer follow-up periods are needed to further explore the utility of rituximab in the management of AIR.
Purpose: Neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a major cause of legal blindness in the elderly. Diets with omega3-long-chain-polyunsaturated-fatty-acid (ω3-LCPUFA) correlate with a decreased risk of AMD. Dietary ω3-LCPUFA versus ω6-LCPUFA inhibits mouse ocular neovascularization, but the underlying mechanism needs further exploration. The aim of this study was to investigate if adiponectin (APN) mediated ω3-LCPUFA suppression of neovessels in AMD. Methods: The mouse laser-induced choroidal neovascularization (CNV) model was used to mimic some of the inflammatory aspect of AMD. CNV was compared between wild-type (WT) and Apn-/- mice fed either otherwise matched diets with 2% ω3 or 2% ω6-LCPUFAs. Vldlr-/- mice were used to mimic some of the metabolic aspects of AMD. Choroid assay ex vivo and human retinal microvascular endothelial cell (HRMEC) proliferation assay in vitro was used to investigate the APN pathway in angiogenesis. Western blot for p-AMPKα/AMPKα and qPCR for Apn, Mmps, and IL-10 were used to define mechanism. Results: ω3-LCPUFA intake suppressed laser-induced CNV in WT mice; suppression was abolished with APN deficiency. ω3-LCPUFA, mediated by APN, decreased mouse Mmps expression. APN deficiency decreased AMPKα phosphorylation in vivo and exacerbated choroid-sprouting ex vivo. APN pathway activation inhibited HRMEC proliferation and decreased Mmps. In Vldlr-/- mice, ω3-LCPUFA increased retinal AdipoR1 and inhibited NV. ω3-LCPUFA decreased IL-10 but did not affect Mmps in Vldlr-/- retinas. Conclusions: APN in part mediated ω3-LCPUFA inhibition of neovascularization in two mouse models of AMD. Modulating the APN pathway in conjunction with a ω3-LCPUFA-enriched-diet may augment the beneficial effects of ω3-LCPUFA in AMD patients.
The majority of visual recognition studies have focused on the neural responses to repeated presentations of static stimuli with abrupt and well-defined onset and offset times. In contrast, natural vision involves unique renderings of visual inputs that are continuously changing without explicitly defined temporal transitions. Here we considered commercial movies as a coarse proxy to natural vision. We recorded intracranial field potential signals from 1,284 electrodes implanted in 15 patients with epilepsy while the subjects passively viewed commercial movies. We could rapidly detect large changes in the visual inputs within approximately 100 ms of their occurrence, using exclusively field potential signals from ventral visual cortical areas including the inferior temporal gyrus and inferior occipital gyrus. Furthermore, we could decode the content of those visual changes even in a single movie presentation, generalizing across the wide range of transformations present in a movie. These results present a methodological framework for studying cognition during dynamic and natural vision.
Cultured epidermal cell sheets (CES) containing undifferentiated cells are useful for treating skin burns and have potential for regenerative treatment of other types of epithelial injuries. The undifferentiated phenotype is therefore important for success in both applications. This study aimed to optimize a method for one-week storage of CES for their widespread distribution and use in regenerative medicine. The effect of storage temperatures 4 °C, 8 °C, 12 °C, 16 °C, and 24 °C on CES was evaluated. Analyses included assessment of viability, mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS), membrane damage, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) integrity, morphology, phenotype and cytokine secretion into storage buffer. Lowest cell viability was seen at 4 °C. Compared to non-stored cells, ABCG2 expression increased between temperatures 8-16 °C. At 24 °C, reduced ABCG2 expression coincided with increased mitochondrial ROS, as well as increased differentiation, cell death and mtDNA damage. P63, C/EBPδ, CK10 and involucrin fluorescence combined with morphology observations supported retention of undifferentiated cell phenotype at 12 °C, transition to differentiation at 16 °C, and increased differentiation at 24 °C. Several cytokines relevant to healing were upregulated during storage. Importantly, cells stored at 12 °C showed similar viability and undifferentiated phenotype as the non-stored control suggesting that this temperature may be ideal for storage of CES.
PURPOSE: Patients' perceptions of the effectiveness of a treatment, or perceived treatment effectiveness (PTE), play an important role in medicine. This study aimed to evaluate patients' PTE in dry eye disease (DED) and investigate factors contributing to these patients' perceptions. METHODS: This cross-sectional study included 66 patients with DED. At enrollment, all patients had comprehensive ophthalmic assessment. In addition, to evaluate the patient's PTE, they were asked to use a 10-point scale ranging from "strongly disagree (score 1)" to "strongly agree (score 10)" to score their views on whether their DED treatments had been effective. Changes in clinical parameters of DED over time during their care were also evaluated retrospectively and correlated with the patients' PTE. RESULTS: The mean age of patients was 55.7 years; 79% were women. Regarding patients' PTE, 36.4% strongly (score 10) and 53.0% moderately (scores 6-9) believed that their DED treatment had been effective. However, 10.6% thought that their treatment had not been effective (scores 1-5). Less favorable PTE for the DED treatment was significantly associated with a younger age (P < 0.001), current use of antidepressant medications (P = 0.01), and a higher Ocular Surface Disease Index score (P = 0.01) at enrollment. CONCLUSIONS: A majority of patients with DED have positive perceptions regarding the effectiveness of their treatments. Less favorable perceptions are associated with more severe ocular symptoms and nonocular parameters such as younger age and current antidepressant use. In DED management, assessing patients' PTE should be considered as an important part of clinical practice.
PURPOSE: To compare choroidal vascular features of eyes with and without subretinal drusenoid deposits (SDD), using swept-source optical coherence tomography (SS OCT). DESIGN: Multicenter, cross-sectional study. METHODS: We prospectively recruited patients with intermediate age-related macular degeneration (AMD), without other vitreoretinal pathology. All participants underwent complete ophthalmic examination, color fundus photography (used for AMD staging), and spectral-domain OCT (to evaluate the presence of SDD). SS OCT was used to obtain automatic macular choroidal thickness (CT) maps, according to the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) sectors. For data analysis, we considered mean choroidal thickness as the arithmetic mean value of the 9 ETDRS sectors. SS OCT en face images of choroidal vasculature were also captured and converted to binary images. Choroidal vascular density (CVD) was calculated as a percent area occupied by choroidal vessels in a 6-mm-diameter submacular circular. Choroidal vessel volume was calculated by multiplying the average CVD by macular area and CT. Multilevel mixed linear models (to account for the inclusion of 2 eyes of same subject) were performed for analysis. RESULTS: We included 186 eyes (n = 118 subjects), 94 (50.5%) presenting SDD. Multiple regression analysis revealed that, controlling for age, eyes with SDD presented a statistically thinner mean CT (ß = -21.9, P = .006) and CT in all the individual ETDRS fields (ß ≤ -18.79, P ≤ .026). Mean choroidal vessel volume was also significantly reduced in eyes with SDD (ß = -0.003, P = .007). No significant associations were observed with mean CVD. CONCLUSION: In subjects with intermediate AMD, choroidal thickness and vessel volume are reduced in the presence of subretinal drusenoid deposits.
Cerebral autosomal-dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) is a neurological syndrome characterized by small vessel disease (SVD), stroke, and vascular cognitive impairment and dementia caused by mutations in NOTCH3 No therapies are available for this condition. Loss of mural cells, which encompass pericytes and vascular smooth muscle cells, is a hallmark of CADASIL and other SVDs, including diabetic retinopathy, resulting in vascular instability. Here, we showed that Notch3 signaling is both necessary and sufficient to support mural cell coverage in arteries using genetic rescue in Notch3 knockout mice. Furthermore, we show that systemic administration of an agonist Notch3 antibody prevents mural cell loss and modifies plasma proteins associated with Notch3 activity, including endostatin/collagen 18α1 and Notch3 extracellular domain in mice with the C455R mutation, a CADASIL variant associated with Notch3 loss of function. These findings open opportunities for the treatment of CADASIL and other SVDs by modulating Notch3 signaling.
Maleki A, Swan RT, Lasave AF, Ma L, Foster SC. Reply. Ophthalmology 2017;124(8):e64-e65.
OBJECTIVE: Obstruction of the nasolacrimal duct is a relatively common condition that affects patients of all ages, races, and sexes. The surgical gold standard for complete nasolacrimal duct obstruction and dacryocystitis is dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR). The purpose of this study was to describe a novel, bipedicled interlacing mucosal sparing flap technique for endoscopic DCR (eDCR).
METHODS: A posteriorly based mucosal flap over the fundus is combined with a novel, anteriorly based mucosal flap over the intraosseus portion of the nasolacrimal duct (NLD). This exposes a wide area of the maxillary bone, allowing for exposure and identification of the NLD/sac complex in a safer, more inferior position. The interlacing mucosal flaps may be replaced at the conclusion of the procedure, thereby minimizing bone exposure and maintaining excellent long-term patency.
RESULTS: The authors have utilized this technique in 55 procedures with 100% positive identification of the NLD and lacrimal sac, 0% complication rate, 100% anatomical patency rate, and 96.4% success rate after a minimal follow-up of 6 months.
DISCUSSION: The bipedicled interlacing flap technique for eDCR provides for safe and reproducible identification of the NLD and lacrimal sac while minimizing bone exposure and restenosis rate.
CONCLUSION: The bipedicled interlacing flap technique for eDCR provides for safe and reproducible identification of the NLD and lacrimal sac while minimizing bone exposure and restenosis rate.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: NA. Laryngoscope, 128:794-797, 2018.