Thousands of frozen, archived tissue samples from the human central nervous system (CNS) are currently available in brain banks. As recent developments in RNA sequencing technologies are beginning to elucidate the cellular diversity present within the human CNS, it is becoming clear that an understanding of this diversity would greatly benefit from deeper transcriptional analyses. Single cell and single nucleus RNA profiling provide one avenue to decipher this heterogeneity. An alternative, complementary approach is to profile isolated, pre-defined cell types and use methods that can be applied to many archived human tissue samples that have been stored long-term. Here, we developed FIN-Seq (Frozen Immunolabeled Nuclei Sequencing), a method that accomplishes these goals. FIN-Seq uses immunohistochemical isolation of nuclei of specific cell types from frozen human tissue, followed by bulk RNA-Sequencing. We applied this method to frozen postmortem samples of human cerebral cortex and retina and were able to identify transcripts, including low abundance transcripts, in specific cell types.
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.
Deficiency in retinoid acid receptor-related orphan receptor alpha (RORα) of staggerer mice results in extensive granule and Purkinje cell loss in the cerebellum as well as in learned motor deficits, cognition impairments and perseverative tendencies that are commonly observed in autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). The effects of RORα on brain lipid metabolism associated with cerebellar atrophy remain unexplored. The aim of this study is to examine the effects of RORα deficiency on brain phospholipid fatty acid concentrations and compositions. Staggerer mice (Rora) and wildtype littermates (Rora) were fed n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) containing diets ad libitum. At 2 months and 7 or more months old, brain total phospholipid fatty acids were quantified by gas chromatography-flame ionization detection. In the cerebellum, all fatty acid concentrations were reduced in 2 months old mice. Since total fatty acid concentrations were significantly different at 2-month-old, we examined changes in fatty acid composition. The composition of ARA was not significantly different between genotypes; though DHA composition remained significantly lowered. Despite cerebellar atrophy at >7-months-old, cerebellar fatty acid concentrations had recovered comparably to wildtype control. Therefore, RORα may be necessary for fatty acid accretions during neurodevelopment. Specifically, the effects of RORα on PUFA metabolisms are region-specific and age-dependent.
Over the last decade, genetic studies, including genome-wide association studies (GWAS), have accelerated the discovery of genes and genomic regions contributing to primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), a leading cause of irreversible vision loss. Here, we review the findings of genetic studies of POAG published in English prior to September 2019. In total, 74 genomic regions have been associated at a genome-wide level of significance with POAG susceptibility. Recent POAG GWAS provide not only insight into global and ethnic-specific genetic risk factors for POAG susceptibility across populations of diverse ancestry, but also important functional insights underlying biological mechanisms of glaucoma pathogenesis. In this review, we also summarize the genetic overlap between POAG, glaucoma endophenotypes, such as intraocular pressure and vertical cup-disc ratio (VCDR), and other eye disorders. We also discuss approaches recently developed to increase power for POAG locus discovery and to predict POAG risk. Finally, we discuss the recent development of POAG gene-based therapies and future strategies to treat glaucoma effectively. Understanding the genetic architecture of POAG is essential for an earlier diagnosis of this common eye disorder, predictive testing of at-risk patients, and design of gene-based targeted medical therapies none of which are currently available.
Dagi LR, Velez FG, Archer SM, Atalay HT, Campolattaro BN, Holmes JM, Kerr NC, Kushner BJ, MacKinnon SE, Paysse EA, Pihlblad MS, Pineles SL, Strominger MB, Stager DR, Stager D, Capo H. Adult Strabismus Preferred Practice Pattern®. Ophthalmology 2020;127(1):P182-P298.
: To describe and distinguish clinical phenotypes with the overlapping feature of optic atrophy caused by distinct mutations in the same gene, OPA3. We report 3 affected siblings in a consanguineous family harboring a novel OPA3 mutation causing 3-methylglutaconic aciduria type III with optic atrophy.: Retrospective case series.: Three siblings (2 male, 1 female) among 6 children in a consanguineous Afghani family developed decreased vision from early childhood. Both parents and all extended family members were unaffected. All 3 affected siblings suffered from severe visual impairment ranging from visual acuities of 20/150 to counting fingers. All had spastic lower extremity weakness and ataxia. Two of the three affected siblings also had a history of seizures, and the female sibling had limited cognition with diffuse atrophic changes on brain MRI. Two of the three individuals also had migraine-like headaches. Urine organic acid analysis revealed mildly elevated 3-methylglutaconic acid for the male siblings. Whole exome sequencing and subsequent PCR confirmation revealed a novel variant in OPA3 (intron1, c.142 + 2_142 + 3dupTG), affecting the consensus sequence of the splice site, for which all 3 clinically affected siblings were homozygous.: Mutations in OPA3 can cause optic atrophy in a dominant pattern of inheritance associated with cataract or in a recessive pattern associated with spastic paresis and ataxia. The novel recessive mutation and clinical presentations described herein further support how different mutation types affecting OPA3 can produce distinct clinical phenotypes and underscore the critical and susceptible role of mitochondrial health in optic nerve function.
Childhood glaucoma is an important cause of blindness world-wide. Eleven genes are currently known to cause inherited forms of glaucoma with onset before age 20. While all the early-onset glaucoma genes cause severe disease, considerable phenotypic variability is observed among mutations carriers. In particular, FOXC1 genetic variants are associated with a broad range of phenotypes including multiple forms of glaucoma and also systemic abnormalities, especially hearing loss. FOXC1 is a member of the forkhead family of transcription factors and is involved in neural crest development necessary for formation of anterior eye structures and also pharyngeal arches that form the middle ear bones. In this study we review the clinical phenotypes reported for known FOXC1 mutations and show that mutations in patients with reported ocular anterior segment abnormalities and hearing loss primarily disrupt the critically important forkhead domain. These results suggest that optimal care for patients affected with anterior segment dysgenesis should include screening for FOXC1 mutations and also testing for hearing loss.
BACKGROUND/AIMS: In clinical trials, participant retention is critical to reduce bias and maintain statistical power for hypothesis testing. Within a multi-center clinical trial of diabetic retinopathy, we investigated whether regular phone calls to participants from the coordinating center improved long-term participant retention. METHODS: Among 305 adults in the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Retina Network Protocol S randomized trial, 152 participants were randomly assigned to receive phone calls at baseline, 6 months, and annually through 3 years (annual contact group) while 153 participants were assigned to receive a phone call at baseline only (baseline contact group). All participants could be contacted if visits were missed. The main outcomes were visit completion, excluding deaths, at 2 years (the primary outcome time point) and at 5 years (the final time point). RESULTS: At baseline, 77% (117 of 152) of participants in the annual contact group and 76% (116 of 153) in the baseline contact group were successfully contacted. Among participants in the annual contact group active at each annual visit (i.e. not dropped from the study or deceased), 85% (125 of 147), 79% (108 of 136), and 88% (110 of 125) were contacted successfully by telephone around the time of the 1-, 2-, and 3-year visits, respectively. In the annual and baseline contact groups, completion rates for the 2-year primary outcome visit were 88% (129 of 147) versus 87% (125 of 144), respectively, with a risk ratio of 1.01 (95% confidence interval: 0.93-1.10, = .81). At 5 years, the final study visit, participant completion rates were 67% (96 of 144) versus 66% (88 of 133) with a risk ratio of 1.01 (95% confidence interval = 0.85-1.19, = .93). At 2 years, the completion rate of participants successfully contacted at baseline was 89% (202 of 226) versus 80% (52 of 65) among those not contacted successfully (risk ratio = 1.12, 95% confidence interval = 0.98-1.27, = .09); at 5 years, the completion percentages by baseline contact success were 69% (148 of 213) versus 56% (36 of 64; risk ratio = 1.24, 95% confidence interval = 0.98-1.56, = .08). CONCLUSION: Regular phone calls from the coordinating center to participants during follow-up in this randomized clinical trial did not improve long-term participant retention.
The hypothesis proposed herein is presented to explain the unexpectedly high concentration of ATP and provide evidence to support its hydrotropic function in the crystalline lens determined using P NMR. The lens, historically considered to be a metabolically quiescent organ, has the requisite machinery to synthesize ATP, such that the homeostatic level is maintained at about 3 mM. This relatively high concentration of ATP has been found to be consistent among multiple mammalian species including humans. This millimolar quantity is many times greater than the micromolar amounts required for the other known functions of ATP. The recent postulation that ATP at millimolar concentrations functions as a hydrotrope in various cell/tissue homogenates preventing protein aggregation coupled with observations presented herein, provide support for extending the hypothesis that ATP functions as a hydrotrope not only in homogenates but in an intact functioning organ, the crystalline lens. Concentrations of ATP of this magnitude are hypothesized to be required to maintain protein solubility and effectively prevent protein aggregation. This concept is important considering protein aggregation is the etiology for age-related cataractogenesis. ATP is a common ubiquitous intracellular molecule possessing the requisite hydrotropic properties for maintaining intracellular proteins in a fluid, non-aggregated state. It is proposed that the amphiphilic ATP molecule shields the hydrophobic regions on intralenticular fiber cell protein molecules and provides a hydrophilic interfacial surface comprised of the ATP negatively charged triphosphate side chain. Evidence is presented that this side chain is exposed to and has been reported to organize intracellular interstitial water to form an interfacial rheologically dynamic water layer. Such organization of water is substantiated with the effect of deuterium oxide (heavy water) on ATP line widths of the side chain phosphates measured ex vivo by P NMR. A novel model is presented to propose how this water layer separates adjacent lens fiber cell proteins, keeping them from aggregating. This hypothesis proposes that ATP can prevent protein aggregation in normal intact lenses, and with declining concentrations can be related to the disease process in age-related cataractogenesis, an affliction that affects every older human being.
Lambert SR, VanderVeen DK, Kim SJ. Reply. Ophthalmology 2020;127(1):e6-e7.
Lysosome-associated membrane protein-2 (LAMP2), is a highly glycosylated lysosomal membrane protein involved in chaperone mediated autophagy. Mutations of LAMP2 cause the classic triad of myopathy, cardiomyopathy and encephalopathy of Danon disease (DD). Additionally, retinopathy has also been observed in young DD patients, leading to vision loss. Emerging evidence show LAMP2-deficiency to be involved in oxidative stress (ROS) but the mechanism remains obscure. In the present study, we found that tert-butyl hydroperoxide or antimycin A induced more cell death in LAMP2 knockdown (LAMP2-KD) than in control ARPE-19 cells. Mechanistically, LAMP2-KD reduced the concentration of cytosolic cysteine, resulting in low glutathione (GSH), inferior antioxidant capability and mitochondrial lipid peroxidation. ROS induced RPE cell death through ferroptosis. Inhibition of glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPx4) increased lethality in LAMP2-KD cells compared to controls. Cysteine and glutamine supplementation restored GSH and prevented ROS-induced cell death of LAMP2-KD RPE cells.
The success of base editors for the study and treatment of genetic diseases depends on the ability to deliver them in vivo to the relevant cell types. Delivery via adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) is limited by AAV packaging capacity, which precludes the use of full-length base editors. Here, we report the application of dual AAVs for the delivery of split cytosine and adenine base editors that are then reconstituted by trans-splicing inteins. Optimized dual AAVs enable in vivo base editing at therapeutically relevant efficiencies and dosages in the mouse brain (up to 59% of unsorted cortical tissue), liver (38%), retina (38%), heart (20%) and skeletal muscle (9%). We also show that base editing corrects, in mouse brain tissue, a mutation that causes Niemann-Pick disease type C (a neurodegenerative ataxia), slowing down neurodegeneration and increasing lifespan. The optimized delivery vectors should facilitate the efficient introduction of targeted point mutations into multiple tissues of therapeutic interest.
Since the discovery of the first microRNA (miRNA) decades ago, studies of miRNA biology have expanded in many biomedical research fields, including eye research. The critical roles of miRNAs in normal development and diseases have made miRNAs useful biomarkers or molecular targets for potential therapeutics. In the eye, ocular neovascularization (NV) is a leading cause of blindness in multiple vascular eye diseases. Current anti-angiogenic therapies, such as anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) treatment, have their limitations, indicating the need for investigating new targets. Recent studies established the roles of various miRNAs in the regulation of pathological ocular NV, suggesting miRNAs as both biomarkers and therapeutic targets in vascular eye diseases. This review summarizes the biogenesis of miRNAs, and their functions in the normal development and diseases of the eye, with a focus on clinical and experimental retinopathies in both human and animal models. Discovery of novel targets involving miRNAs in vascular eye diseases will provide insights for developing new treatments to counter ocular NV.
Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) is a leading cause of corneal endothelial (CE) degeneration resulting in impaired visual acuity. It is a genetically complex and age-related disorder, with higher incidence in females. In this study, we established a nongenetic FECD animal model based on the physiologic outcome of CE susceptibility to oxidative stress by demonstrating that corneal exposure to ultraviolet A (UVA) recapitulates the morphological and molecular changes of FECD. Targeted irradiation of mouse corneas with UVA induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in the aqueous humor, and caused greater CE cell loss, including loss of ZO-1 junctional contacts and corneal edema, in female than male mice, characteristic of late-onset FECD. UVA irradiation caused greater mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and nuclear DNA (nDNA) damage in female mice, indicative of the sex-driven differential response of the CE to UVA, thus accounting for more severe phenotype in females. The sex-dependent effect of UVA was driven by the activation of estrogen-metabolizing enzyme CYP1B1 and formation of reactive estrogen metabolites and estrogen-DNA adducts in female but not male mice. Supplementation of -acetylcysteine (NAC), a scavenger of reactive oxygen species (ROS), diminished the morphological and molecular changes induced by UVA in vivo. This study investigates the molecular mechanisms of environmental factors in FECD pathogenesis and demonstrates a strong link between UVA-induced estrogen metabolism and increased susceptibility of females for FECD development.
BACKGROUND: Schizophrenia (SZ) and bipolar disorder (BD) are characterized by reductions in gray matter and white matter. Limitations in brain imaging have led researchers to use optical coherence tomography (OCT) to explore retinal imaging biomarkers of brain pathology. We examine the retinal layers that may be associated with SZ or BD. METHODS: Articles identified using PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane Database. Twelve studies met inclusion for acutely/chronically ill patients. We used fixed or random effects meta-analysis for probands (SZ and BD), SZ or BD eyes vs healthy control (HC) eyes. We adjusted for sources of bias, cross-validated results, and report standardized mean differences (SMD). Statistical analysis performed using meta package in R. RESULTS: Data from 820 proband eyes (SZ = 541, BD = 279) and 904 HC eyes were suitable for meta-analysis. The peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) showed significant thinning in SZ and BD eyes compared to HC eyes (n = 12, SMD = -0.74, -0.51, -1.06, respectively). RNFL thinning was greatest in the nasal, temporal, and superior regions. The combined peripapillary ganglion cell layer and inner plexiform layer (GCL-IPL) showed significant thinning in SZ and BD eyes compared to HC eyes (n = 4, SMD = -0.39, -0.44, -0.28, respectively). No statistically significant differences were identified in other retinal or choroidal regions. Clinical variables were unrelated to the RNFL or GCL-IPL thickness by meta-regression. CONCLUSION: The observed retinal layer thinning is consistent with the classic gray- and white-matter atrophy observed on neuroimaging in SZ and BD patients. OCT may be a useful biomarker tool in studying the neurobiology of psychosis.