The cerebral cortex needs to maintain information for long time periods while at the same time being capable of learning and adapting to changes. The degree of stability of physiological signals in the human brain in response to external stimuli over temporal scales spanning hours to days remains unclear. Here, we quantitatively assessed the stability across sessions of visually selective intracranial field potentials (IFPs) elicited by brief flashes of visual stimuli presented to 27 subjects. The interval between sessions ranged from hours to multiple days. We considered electrodes that showed robust visual selectivity to different shapes; these electrodes were typically located in the inferior occipital gyrus, the inferior temporal cortex, and the fusiform gyrus. We found that IFP responses showed a strong degree of stability across sessions. This stability was evident in averaged responses as well as single-trial decoding analyses, at the image exemplar level as well as at the category level, across different parts of visual cortex, and for three different visual recognition tasks. These results establish a quantitative evaluation of the degree of stationarity of visually selective IFP responses within and across sessions and provide a baseline for studies of cortical plasticity and for the development of brain-machine interfaces.
Aims. Homonymous hemianopia (HH), a severe visual consequence of stroke, causes difficulties in detecting obstacles on the nonseeing (blind) side. We conducted a pilot study to evaluate the effects of oblique peripheral prisms, a novel development in optical treatments for HH, on detection of unexpected hazards when driving. Methods. Twelve people with complete HH (median 49 years, range 29-68) completed road tests with sham oblique prism glasses (SP) and real oblique prism glasses (RP). A masked evaluator rated driving performance along the 25 km routes on busy streets in Ghent, Belgium. Results. The proportion of satisfactory responses to unexpected hazards on the blind side was higher in the RP than the SP drive (80% versus 30%; P = 0.001), but similar for unexpected hazards on the seeing side. Conclusions. These pilot data suggest that oblique peripheral prisms may improve responses of people with HH to blindside hazards when driving and provide the basis for a future, larger-sample clinical trial. Testing responses to unexpected hazards in areas of heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic appears promising as a real-world outcome measure for future evaluations of HH rehabilitation interventions aimed at improving detection when driving.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of topical bevacizumab in the treatment of corneal neovascularization. DESIGN: Prospective, nonrandomized, interventional case series. METHODS: setting: Institutional, multicenter clinical trial. study population: Twenty eyes from 20 patients with stable corneal neovascularization. intervention procedures: Patients were treated with topical 1.0% bevacizumab for 3 weeks and were monitored for a total of 24 weeks. main outcome measures: Primary outcome measures included: neovascular area, defined as the area of the corneal vessels themselves; vessel caliber, defined as the mean corneal vessel diameter; and invasion area, defined as the fraction of the total cornea into which the vessels extended. The occurrence of ocular and systemic adverse events was monitored closely. RESULTS: As compared with the baseline visit, patients exhibited a statistically significant improvement in neovascular area by week 6 (P = .007) and in vessel caliber by week 12 (P = .006). At the final visit, neovascular area, vessel caliber, and invasion area were reduced by 47.5%, 36.2%, and 20%, respectively. The decreases in neovascular area and vessel caliber were statistically significant (P < .001 and P = .003, respectively); however, the reduction in invasion area did not reach statistical significance (P = .06). There were no significant changes in the secondary outcomes, and there were no adverse events. CONCLUSIONS: Short-term topical bevacizumab treatment reduced the extent of stable corneal neovascularization as measured by neovascular area and vessel caliber with no associated adverse events. Interestingly, the degree of treatment efficacy was inversely proportional to the baseline invasion area.
Human corneal endothelial cells (HCEnCs) form a monolayer of hexagonal cells whose main function is to maintain corneal clarity by regulating corneal hydration. HCEnCs are derived from neural crest and are arrested in the post-mitotic state. Thus cell loss due to aging or corneal endothelial disorders leads to corneal edema and blindness-the leading indication for corneal transplantation. Here we show the existence of morphologically distinct subpopulations of HCEnCs that are interspersed among primary cells and exhibit enhanced self-renewal competence and lack of phenotypic signs of cellular senescence. Colonies of these uniform and hexagonal HCEnCs (HCEnC-21) were selectively isolated and demonstrated high proliferative potential that was dependent on endogenous upregulation of telomerase and cyclin D/CDK4. Further transduction of HCEnC-21 with telomerase yielded a highly proliferative corneal endothelial cell line (HCEnT-21T) that was devoid of oncogenic transformation and retained critical corneal endothelial cell characteristics and functionality. This study will significantly impact the fields of corneal cell biology and regenerative medicine.
UNLABELLED: Bacteria and archaea face continual onslaughts of rapidly diversifying viruses and plasmids. Many prokaryotes maintain adaptive immune systems known as clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR-associated genes (Cas). CRISPR-Cas systems are genomic sensors that serially acquire viral and plasmid DNA fragments (spacers) that are utilized to target and cleave matching viral and plasmid DNA in subsequent genomic invasions, offering critical immunological memory. Only 50% of sequenced bacteria possess CRISPR-Cas immunity, in contrast to over 90% of sequenced archaea. To probe why half of bacteria lack CRISPR-Cas immunity, we combined comparative genomics and mathematical modeling. Analysis of hundreds of diverse prokaryotic genomes shows that CRISPR-Cas systems are substantially more prevalent in thermophiles than in mesophiles. With sequenced bacteria disproportionately mesophilic and sequenced archaea mostly thermophilic, the presence of CRISPR-Cas appears to depend more on environmental temperature than on bacterial-archaeal taxonomy. Mutation rates are typically severalfold higher in mesophilic prokaryotes than in thermophilic prokaryotes. To quantitatively test whether accelerated viral mutation leads microbes to lose CRISPR-Cas systems, we developed a stochastic model of virus-CRISPR coevolution. The model competes CRISPR-Cas-positive (CRISPR-Cas+) prokaryotes against CRISPR-Cas-negative (CRISPR-Cas-) prokaryotes, continually weighing the antiviral benefits conferred by CRISPR-Cas immunity against its fitness costs. Tracking this cost-benefit analysis across parameter space reveals viral mutation rate thresholds beyond which CRISPR-Cas cannot provide sufficient immunity and is purged from host populations. These results offer a simple, testable viral diversity hypothesis to explain why mesophilic bacteria disproportionately lack CRISPR-Cas immunity. More generally, fundamental limits on the adaptability of biological sensors (Lamarckian evolution) are predicted. IMPORTANCE: A remarkable recent discovery in microbiology is that bacteria and archaea possess systems conferring immunological memory and adaptive immunity. Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR-associated genes (CRISPR-Cas) are genomic sensors that allow prokaryotes to acquire DNA fragments from invading viruses and plasmids. Providing immunological memory, these stored fragments destroy matching DNA in future viral and plasmid invasions. CRISPR-Cas systems also provide adaptive immunity, keeping up with mutating viruses and plasmids by continually acquiring new DNA fragments. Surprisingly, less than 50% of mesophilic bacteria, in contrast to almost 90% of thermophilic bacteria and Archaea, maintain CRISPR-Cas immunity. Using mathematical modeling, we probe this dichotomy, showing how increased viral mutation rates can explain the reduced prevalence of CRISPR-Cas systems in mesophiles. Rapidly mutating viruses outrun CRISPR-Cas immune systems, likely decreasing their prevalence in bacterial populations. Thus, viral adaptability may select against, rather than for, immune adaptability in prokaryotes.
Pathological neovascularization (NV) is a hallmark of late stage neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy (DR), and retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). There is accumulating evidence that alterations in inflammatory and immune system pathways that arise from genetic differences, injury, and disease can predispose individuals to retinal neovascular eye diseases. Yet the mechanism of disease progression with respect to the complement system in these maladies is not fully understood. Recent studies have implicated the complement system as an emerging player in the etiology of several retinal diseases. We will summarize herein several of the complement system pathways known to be involved in ocular neovascular pathologies. Current treatment for many neovascular eye diseases focuses on suppression of NV with laser ablation, photodynamic therapy, or anti-VEGF angiogenic inhibitors. However, these treatments do not address the underlying cause of many of these diseases. A clear understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms could bring a major shift in our approach to disease treatment and prevention.
Uveal melanoma is the most common primary intraocular malignancy in adults. The disease overwhelmingly affects white populations. Other risk factors include fair skin, light iris color, ancestry from northern latitudes, and ocular/oculodermal melanocytosis. Historically, enucleation was the definitive treatment of uveal melanoma, but brachytherapy and proton beam irradiation are now the most commonly used treatment methods. However, there are still no effective therapies against metastatic uveal melanoma, which is almost always fatal. Continued advances in understanding of the molecular mechanisms of uveal melanoma will facilitate the identification of prognostic markers and therapeutic targets.