July 2014

Arboleda-Velasquez JF, Primo V, Graham M, James A, Manent J, D'Amore PA. Notch signaling functions in retinal pericyte survival. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2014;55(8):5191-9.Abstract
PURPOSE: Pericytes, the vascular cells that constitute the outer layer of capillaries, have been shown to have a crucial role in vascular development and stability. Loss of pericytes precedes endothelial cell dysfunction and vascular degeneration in small-vessel diseases, including diabetic retinopathy. Despite their clinical relevance, the cellular pathways controlling survival of retinal pericytes remain largely uncharacterized. Therefore, we investigated the role of Notch signaling, a master regulator of cell fate decisions, in retinal pericyte survival. METHODS: A coculture system of ligand-dependent Notch signaling was developed using primary cultured retinal pericytes and a mesenchymal cell line derived from an inducible mouse model expressing the Delta-like 1 Notch ligand. This model was used to examine the effect of Notch activity on pericyte survival using quantitative PCR (qPCR) and a light-induced cell death assay. The effect of Notch gain- and loss-of-function was analyzed in monocultures of retinal pericytes using antibody arrays to interrogate the expression of apoptosis-related proteins. RESULTS: Primary cultured retinal pericytes differentially expressed key molecules of the Notch pathway and displayed strong expression of canonical Notch/RBPJK (recombination signal-binding protein 1 for J-kappa) downstream targets. A gene expression screen using gain- and loss-of-function approaches identified genes relevant to cell survival as downstream targets of Notch activity in retinal pericytes. Ligand-mediated Notch activity protected retinal pericytes from light-induced cell death. CONCLUSIONS: Our results have identified signature genes downstream of Notch activity in retinal pericytes and suggest that tight regulation of Notch signaling is crucial for pericyte survival.
Arnoldner MA, Kheirkhah A, Jakobiec FA, Durand ML, Hamrah P. Successful treatment of Paecilomyces lilacinus keratitis with oral posaconazole. Cornea 2014;33(7):747-9.Abstract

PURPOSE: To report a case of successful medical treatment with oral posaconazole in refractory fungal keratitis caused by Paecilomyces lilacinus. METHODS: Case report. RESULTS: A 57-year-old male, soft contact lens wearer presented with irritation, pain, photophobia, and reduced vision. Slit-lamp examination showed a large corneal epithelial defect with a peripheral infiltrate. The patient did not improve on fortified topical antibiotics. After the diagnosis of P. lilacinus fungal keratitis, oral voriconazole and topical antifungal therapy were started. Despite antifungal therapy, progressive disease required therapeutic penetrating keratoplasty. Postoperatively, because of clinical signs of recurrence and in vivo confocal microscopy findings of presumed hyphae in the cornea, intracameral miconazole was injected and oral posaconazole was started. The patient improved and demonstrated no hyphae 6 weeks after starting posaconazole. When posaconazole was stopped, the cornea remained clear with excellent acuity. However, because of acute graft rejection 2 months after stopping posaconazole, keratoprosthesis was implanted, with no evidence of infection at surgery or during the 3.5-year follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the use of oral posaconazole for Paecilomyces keratitis. Posaconazole might be indicated in the treatment of refractory Paecilomyces keratitis that is resistant to conventional therapy.

Bleier BS, Healy DY, Chhabra N, Freitag S. Compartmental endoscopic surgical anatomy of the medial intraconal orbital space. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol 2014;4(7):587-91.Abstract

BACKGROUND: Surgical management of intraconal pathology represents the next frontier in endoscopic endonasal surgery. Despite this, the medial intraconal space remains a relatively unexplored region, secondary to its variable and technically demanding anatomy. The purpose of this study is to define the neurovascular structures in this region and introduce a compartmentalized approach to enhance surgical planning. METHODS: This study was an institutional review board (IRB)-exempt endoscopic anatomic study in 10 cadaveric orbits. After dissection of the medial intraconal space, the pattern and trajectory of the oculomotor nerve and ophthalmic arterial arborizations were analyzed. The position of all vessels as well as the length of the oculomotor trunk and branches relative to the sphenoid face were calculated. RESULTS: A mean of 1.5 arterial branches were identified (n = 15; range, 1-4) at a mean of 8.8 mm from the sphenoid face (range, 4-15 mm). The majority of the arteries (n = 7) inserted adjacent to the midline of medial rectus. The oculomotor nerve inserted at the level of the sphenoid face and arborized with a large proximal trunk 5.5 ± 1.1 mm in length and multiple branches extending 13.2 ± 2.7 mm from the sphenoid face. The most anterior nerve and vascular pedicle were identified at 17.0 and 15.0 mm from the sphenoid face, respectively. CONCLUSION: The neurovascular supply to the medial rectus muscle describes a varied but predictable pattern. This data allows the compartmentalization of the medial intraconal space into 3 zones relative to the neurovascular supply. These zones inform the complexity of the dissection and provide a guideline for safe medial rectus retraction relative to the fixed landmark of the sphenoid face.

Brodowska K, Al-Moujahed A, Marmalidou A, Meyer Zu Horste M, Cichy J, Miller JW, Gragoudas E, Vavvas DG. The clinically used photosensitizer Verteporfin (VP) inhibits YAP-TEAD and human retinoblastoma cell growth invitro without light activation. Exp Eye Res 2014;124:67-73.Abstract

Verteporfin (VP), a benzoporphyrin derivative, is clinically used in photodynamic therapy for neovascular macular degeneration. Recent studies indicate that VP may inhibit growth of hepatoma cells without photoactivation through inhibition of YAP-TEAD complex. In this study, we examined the effects of VP without light activation on human retinoblastoma cell lines. Verteporfin but not vehicle control inhibited the growth, proliferation and viability of human retinoblastoma cell lines (Y79 and WERI) in a dose-dependent manner and was associated with downregulation of YAP-TEAD associated downstream proto-oncogenes such as c-myc, Axl, and surviving. In addition VP affected signals involved in cell migration and angiogenesis such as CTGF, cyr61, and VEGF-A but was not associated with significant effect on the mTOR/autophagy pathway. Of interest the pluripotency marker Oct4 were downregulated by Verteporfin treatment. Our results indicate that the clinically used photosensitizer VP is a potent inhibitor of cell growth in retinoblastoma cells, disrupting YAP-TEAD signaling and pluripotential marker OCT4. This study highlights for the first time the role of the YAP-TEAD pathway in Retinoblastoma and suggests that VP may be a useful adjuvant therapeutic tool in treating Rb patients.

Chen TC, Chen PP, Francis BA, Junk AK, Smith SD, Singh K, Lin SC. Pediatric glaucoma surgery: a report by the American Academy Of Ophthalmology. Ophthalmology 2014;121(11):2107-15.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: To review the current published literature to evaluate the success rates and long-term problems associated with surgery for pediatric glaucoma. METHODS: Literature searches of the PubMed and Cochrane Library databases were last conducted in May 2012. The search yielded 838 potentially relevant citations, of which 273 were in non-English languages. The titles and abstracts of these articles were reviewed by the authors, and 364 were selected for possible further review. Members of the Ophthalmic Technology Assessment Committee Glaucoma Panel reviewed the full text of these articles and used the 36 that met inclusion and exclusion criteria for this Ophthalmic Technology Assessment. There were no studies on the topic that provided level I evidence. The assessment included only level II and level III studies. RESULTS: Surgeons treat pediatric glaucoma most commonly with goniotomy, trabeculotomy, trabeculectomy, combined trabeculotomy and trabeculectomy, tube shunt surgery, cyclodestruction, and deep sclerectomy. Certain surgical options seem better for specific diagnoses, such as primary congenital glaucoma, aphakic glaucoma, and glaucomas associated with other ocular or systemic anomalies. CONCLUSIONS: There are many surgical options for the treatment of the pediatric glaucomas. The relative efficacy of these various procedures for particular diagnoses and clinical situations should be weighed against the specific risks associated with the procedures for individual patients.
Cherfan DG, Melki SA. Corneal perforation by an astigmatic keratotomy performed with an optical coherence tomography-guided femtosecond laser. J Cataract Refract Surg 2014;40(7):1224-7.Abstract

UNLABELLED: We present a case of corneal perforation secondary to an intrastromal astigmatic keratotomy performed with an optical coherence tomography-guided femtosecond laser. The keratotomy was concomitant with cataract surgery and resulted in a flat anterior chamber prior to the start of lens extraction. Interrupted nylon sutures were placed to seal the keratotomy prior to phacoemulsification. Escape of cavitation bubbles into the anterior chamber or the liquid interface can alert the surgeon to the possibility of unintended perforation of the endothelium or the epithelium, respectively. FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: Neither author has a financial or proprietary interest in any material or method mentioned.

Connell N, Merabet LB. Uncovering the connectivity of the brain in relation to novel vision rehabilitation strategies. Neurology 2014;83(6):484-5.
Contreras-Ruiz L, Ryan DS, Sia RK, Bower KS, Dartt DA, Masli S. Polymorphism in THBS1 gene is associated with post-refractive surgery chronic ocular surface inflammation. Ophthalmology 2014;121(7):1389-97.Abstract

PURPOSE: To determine the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the thrombospondin 1 (THBS1) gene with development of chronic ocular surface inflammation (keratoconjunctivitis) after refractive surgery. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Active duty U.S. Army soldiers (n = 143) who opted for refractive surgery. METHODS: Conjunctival impression cytology samples collected from participants before the surgery were used to harvest DNA for genotyping 5 THBS1 SNPs (rs1478604, rs2228262, rs2292305, rs2228262, and rs3743125) using the Sequenom iPLEX Gold platform (Sequenom, San Diego, CA). Samples collected after surgery were used to harvest RNA for gene expression analysis by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Participants were followed for 1 year after surgery to monitor the status of keratoconjunctivitis. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Genetic basis of the development of chronic keratoconjunctivitis after refractive surgery. RESULTS: Carriers of minor alleles of 3 SNPs each were found to be more susceptible to developing chronic keratoconjunctivitis (rs1478604: odds ratio [OR], 2.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.41-4.47; P = 2.5 × 10(-3); rs2228262 and rs2292305: OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.05-3.51; P = 4.8 × 10(-2)). Carriers of the rs1478604 minor allele expressed significantly reduced levels of thrombospondin 1 (TSP1) (P = 0.042) and increased levels of an inflammatory cytokine associated with keratoconjunctivitis, interleukin-1β (P = 0.025), in their ocular surface epithelial cells compared with homozygous major allele controls. CONCLUSIONS: Genetic variation in the THBS1 gene that results in decreased expression of the encoded glycoprotein TSP1 in ocular surface epithelial cells significantly increases the susceptibility to develop chronic ocular surface inflammation after refractive surgery. Further investigation of THBS1 SNPs in a larger sample size is warranted.

Draschkow D, Wolfe JM, Võ MLH. Seek and you shall remember: scene semantics interact with visual search to build better memories. J Vis 2014;14(8):10.Abstract

Memorizing critical objects and their locations is an essential part of everyday life. In the present study, incidental encoding of objects in naturalistic scenes during search was compared to explicit memorization of those scenes. To investigate if prior knowledge of scene structure influences these two types of encoding differently, we used meaningless arrays of objects as well as objects in real-world, semantically meaningful images. Surprisingly, when participants were asked to recall scenes, their memory performance was markedly better for searched objects than for objects they had explicitly tried to memorize, even though participants in the search condition were not explicitly asked to memorize objects. This finding held true even when objects were observed for an equal amount of time in both conditions. Critically, the recall benefit for searched over memorized objects in scenes was eliminated when objects were presented on uniform, non-scene backgrounds rather than in a full scene context. Thus, scene semantics not only help us search for objects in naturalistic scenes, but appear to produce a representation that supports our memory for those objects beyond intentional memorization.

Feke GT, Bex PJ, Taylor CP, Rhee DJ, Turalba AV, Chen TC, Wand M, Pasquale LR. Effect of brimonidine on retinal vascular autoregulation and short-term visual function in normal tension glaucoma. Am J Ophthalmol 2014;158(1):105-112.e1.Abstract

PURPOSE: To assess whether brimonidine 0.15% alters retinal vascular autoregulation and short-term visual function in normal tension glaucoma patients who demonstrate retinal vascular dysregulation. DESIGN: Nonrandomized clinical trial. METHODS: In this prospective study, 46 normal tension glaucoma patients not previously treated with brimonidine underwent retinal vascular autoregulation testing and visual function assessment using frequency doubling technology perimetry and equivalent noise motion sensitivity testing. We measured blood flow in a major temporal retinal artery with subjects seated and then while reclined for 30 minutes. Patients having a change in retinal blood flow with posture change outside the range previously found in healthy subjects were classified as having retinal vascular dysregulation. They were treated with brimonidine 0.15% for 8 weeks and designated for retesting. RESULTS: Twenty-three patients demonstrated retinal vascular dysregulation at the initial visit. Younger age (P = .050) and diabetes (P = .055) were marginally significant risk factors for retinal vascular dysregulation. After the 8-week course with brimonidine, 14 of the 17 patients who completed the study showed a return of posture-induced retinal blood flow changes to levels consistent with normal retinal vascular autoregulation (P < .0001). We found no significant changes in frequency doubling technology perimetry or in motion detection parameters following treatment with brimondine (P > .09 for all tests performed). CONCLUSIONS: Brimonidine significantly improved impaired retinal vascular autoregulation in normal tension glaucoma patients, but short-term alteration in visual function could not be demonstrated.

Grob SR, Gonzalez-Gonzalez LA, Daly MK. Management of mydriasis and pain in cataract and intraocular lens surgery: review of current medications and future directions. Clin Ophthalmol 2014;8:1281-9.Abstract

The maintenance of mydriasis and the control of postoperative pain and inflammation are critical to the safety and success of cataract and intraocular lens replacement surgery. Appropriate mydriasis is usually achieved by topical and/or intracameral administration of anticholinergic agents, sympathomimetic agents, or both, with the most commonly used being cyclopentolate, tropicamide, and phenylephrine. Ocular inflammation is common after cataract surgery. Topical steroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are widely used because they have been proved effective to control postsurgical inflammation and decrease pain. Topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have also been shown to help maintain dilation. However, use of multiple preoperative drops for pupil dilation, inflammation, and pain control have been shown to be time consuming, resulting in delays to the operating room, and they cause dissatisfaction among perioperative personnel; their use can also be associated with systemic side effects. Therefore, ophthalmologists have been in search of new options to streamline this process. This article will review the current medications commonly used for intraoperative mydriasis, as well as pain and inflammation control. In addition, a new combination of ketorolac, an anti-inflammatory agent, and phenylephrine, a mydriatic agent has recently been designed to maintain intraoperative mydriasis and to reduce postoperative pain and irritation from intraocular lens replacement surgery. Two Phase III clinical trials evaluating this combination have demonstrated statistically significant differences when compared to placebo in maintaining intraoperative mydriasis (P<0.00001) and in reducing pain in the early postoperative period (P=0.0002). This medication may be of benefit for use in cataract and lens replacement surgery in the near future.

Hansen RM. Imaging cone photoreceptor inner segments in the living human eye. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2014;55(7):4252.
Healy DY, Lee GN, Freitag SK, Bleier BS. Endoscopic bimanual approach to an intraconal cavernous hemangioma of the orbital apex with vascularized flap reconstruction. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg 2014;30(4):e104-6.Abstract

The aim of this study was to describe a transnasal endoscopic bimanual technique for the removal of an intraconal orbital apex cavernous hemangioma. Report of a surgical technique. A 39-year-old woman with unilateral visual loss and proptosis was found to have an intraconal orbital apex mass consistent radiographically with cavernous hemangioma. Because of its posteromedial location within the orbit, a transnasal 4-handed endoscopic technique was used with pedicled nasoseptal flap reconstruction. The tumor was excised, and the patient had no complications. The transnasal endoscopic approach to orbital apex cavernous hemangioma excision is a viable surgical approach for these difficult to access lesions. The medial orbital wall may be simultaneously reconstructed to prevent diplopia and enophthalmos.

Hu Y, Lin H, Dib B, Atik A, Bouzika P, Lin C, Yan Y, Tang S, Miller JW, Vavvas DG. Cholesterol crystals induce inflammatory cytokines expression in a human retinal pigment epithelium cell line by activating the NF-κB pathway. Discov Med 2014;18(97):7-14.Abstract

PURPOSE: To investigate the expression of inflammatory cytokines in ARPE-19 cells after stimulation with cholesterol crystals. METHODS: APRE-19 cells were cultured, primed with IL-1α, and treated with cholesterol crystals under different concentrations. Inflammatory cytokines (mature-IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8) in supernatant and inflammatory cytokines (pro-IL-1β, IL-18) in cell lysate were detected by western blot. The NF-κB pathway inhibitor BAY 11-7082 was used to determine the pathway of cytokine expression. RESULTS: Cholesterol crystals did not induce the nucleotide-binding domain leucine-rich repeat containing family, pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome, but did increase pro-IL-1β expression in ARPE-19 cells. Cholesterol crystals increased pro-IL-1β expression by activating the NF-κB pathway. Cholesterol crystal activation of the NF-κB pathway also leads to increased IL-6 and IL-8 expression. CONCLUSION: Cholesterol crystals can induce inflammatory cytokine expression in ARPE-19 cells by activating the NF-κB pathway.

Isayama T, Chen Y, Kono M, Fabre E, Slavsky M, DeGrip WJ, Ma J-X, Crouch RK, Makino CL. Coexpression of three opsins in cone photoreceptors of the salamander Ambystoma tigrinum. J Comp Neurol 2014;522(10):2249-65.Abstract

Although more than one type of visual opsin is present in the retina of most vertebrates, it was thought that each type of photoreceptor expresses only one opsin. However, evidence has accumulated that some photoreceptors contain more than one opsin, in many cases as a result of a developmental transition from the expression of one opsin to another. The salamander UV-sensitive (UV) cone is particularly notable because it contains three opsins (Makino and Dodd [1996] J Gen Physiol 108:27-34). Two opsin types are expressed at levels more than 100 times lower than the level of the primary opsin. Here, immunohistochemical experiments identified the primary component as a UV cone opsin and the two minor components as the short wavelength-sensitive (S) and long wavelength-sensitive (L) cone opsins. Based on single-cell recordings of 156 photoreceptors, the presence of three components in UV cones of hatchlings and terrestrial adults ruled out a developmental transition. There was no evidence for multiple opsin types within rods or S cones, but immunohistochemistry and partial bleaching in conjunction with single-cell recording revealed that both single and double L cones contained low levels of short wavelength-sensitive pigments in addition to the main L visual pigment. These results raise the possibility that coexpression of multiple opsins in other vertebrates was overlooked because a minor component absorbing at short wavelengths was masked by the main visual pigment or because the expression level of a component absorbing at long wavelengths was exceedingly low.

Jakobiec FA, Rashid A, Lane KA, Kazim M. Granulomatous dacryoadenitis in regional enteritis (crohn disease). Am J Ophthalmol 2014;158(4):838-844.e1.Abstract

PURPOSE: To evaluate the clinical and immunopathologic features of 2 patients with bilateral dacryoadenitis associated with regional enteritis. DESIGN: Retrospective, clinicopathologic study. METHODS: Clinical records, photographs, and imaging studies were reviewed and microscopic sections of lacrimal gland biopsy samples were critically re-evaluated. The microscopic slides were stained with hematoxylin and eosin, special stains for organisms, and a range of immunohistochemical biomarkers, including CD3, CD4, CD5, CD8, CD20, CD68, CD138, CD1a, and immunoglobulins Ig G, IgG4, and IgA. RESULTS: Both patients were young women with a well-established diagnosis of regional enteritis. Histopathologic examination of biopsy samples disclosed moderate intraparenchymal fibrosis and lymphoplasmacytic infiltrates without lymphoid follicles. Small to medium intraparenchymal, noncaseating granulomas lacking multinucleated giant cells and, in 1 patient, CD68-positive and CD1a-negative palisading granulomas in widened interlobular fibrous septa were detected. Vasculitis and IgG4 plasma cells were not observed. Additional immunohistochemical studies revealed that CD8 T lymphocytes (suppressor or cytotoxic subset) predominated over CD4-positive T lymphocytes (helper cells) surrounding the necrobiotic foci and were intermixed with the CD68-positive histiocytes in the absence of CD20 B lymphocytes. Special stains for organisms demonstrated negative results. CONCLUSIONS: Dacryoadenitis is the rarest form of ocular adnexal involvement in regional enteritis, which affects the orbit far more frequently than ulcerative colitis. It is a granulomatous process with the possibility of palisading necrobiotic foci. In contrast, ulcerative colitis causes an interstitial lymphocytic and nongranulomatous myositis. Sarcoidosis, Wegener granulomatosis, and pseudorheumatoid nodules must be ruled out. Treatment options entail a wide variety of agents with selection based on empirical considerations and tailored to the patient's symptoms.

Jakobs TC. Differential gene expression in glaucoma. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med 2014;4(7):a020636.Abstract

In glaucoma, regardless of its etiology, retinal ganglion cells degenerate and eventually die. Although age and elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) are the main risk factors, there are still many mysteries in the pathogenesis of glaucoma. The advent of genome-wide microarray expression screening together with the availability of animal models of the disease has allowed analysis of differential gene expression in all parts of the eye in glaucoma. This review will outline the findings of recent genome-wide expression studies and discuss their commonalities and differences. A common finding was the differential regulation of genes involved in inflammation and immunity, including the complement system and the cytokines transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα). Other genes of interest have roles in the extracellular matrix, cell-matrix interactions and adhesion, the cell cycle, and the endothelin system.

Karamichos D, Hutcheon AEK, Zieske JD. Reversal of fibrosis by TGF-β3 in a 3D invitro model. Exp Eye Res 2014;124:31-6.Abstract

Corneal scarring following moderate to severe injury is inevitable. Despite significant advancements in the field, current treatments following these types of injuries are limited, and often, the visual recovery is poor. One of the problems and limitations is that corneal wound healing is a complex process, involving corneal cells, extracellular matrix components and growth factors. Therefore, further understanding is required, along with new treatments and techniques to reduce or prevent corneal scarring following injury. Two isoforms of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β), TGF-β1 and -β3 (T1 and T3, respectively), are associated with corneal wound healing. T1 has been shown to drive the corneal keratocytes to differentiate into myofibroblasts; whereas, T3 has been found to inhibit fibrotic markers. In the current study, we examined whether the fibrotic characteristics expressed by human corneal fibroblasts (HCF) in our 3-dimensional (3D) construct following T1 stimulation could be reversed by introducing T3 to the in vitro system. To do this, HCF were isolated and cultured in 10% serum, and when they reached confluence, the cells were stimulated with a stable Vitamin C (VitC) derivative for 4 weeks, which allowed them to secrete a self-assembled matrix. Three conditions were tested: (1) CONTROL: 10% serum (S) only, (2) T1: 10%S + T1, or (3) Rescue: 10%S + T1 for two weeks and then switched to 10%S + T3 for another two weeks. At the end of 4 weeks, the constructs were processed for analysis by indirect-immunofluorescence (IF) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Different collagens that are normally present in healthy corneas in vivo, such as Type I and V, as well as Type III, which is a fibrotic indicator, were examined. In addition, we examined smooth muscle actin (SMA), a marker of myofibroblasts, and thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1), a multifunctional matrix protein known to activate the latent complex of TGF-β and appear upon wounding in vivo. Our data showed high expression of collagens type I and V under all conditions throughout the 3D constructs; however, type III and SMA expression were higher in the constructs that were stimulated with T1 and reduced to almost nothing in the Rescue samples. A similar pattern was seen with TSP-1, where TSP-1 expression following "rescue" was decreased considerably. Overall, this data is in agreement with our previous observations that T3 has a significant non-fibrotic effect on HCFs, and presents a novel model for the "rescue" of both cellular and matrix fibrotic components with a single growth factor.

Kim LA, Amarnani D, Gnanaguru G, Tseng WA, Vavvas DG, D'Amore PA. Tamoxifen toxicity in cultured retinal pigment epithelial cells is mediated by concurrent regulated cell death mechanisms. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2014;55(8):4747-58.Abstract

PURPOSE: To evaluate the mechanism of tamoxifen-induced cell death in human cultured RPE cells, and to investigate concurrent cell death mechanisms including pyroptosis, apoptosis, and necroptosis. METHODS: Human RPE cells were cultured until confluence and treated with tamoxifen; cell death was measured by detecting LDH release. Tamoxifen-induced cell death was further confirmed by 7-aminoactinomycin D (7-AAD) and annexin V staining. Lysosomal destabilization was assessed using lysosomal-associated membrane protein-1 (LAMP-1) and acridine orange staining. The roles of lysosomal enzymes cathepsin B and L were examined by blocking their activity. Caspase activity was evaluated by caspase-1, -3, -8, and -9 specific inhibition. Cells were primed with IL-1α and treated with tamoxifen; mature IL-1β production was quantified via ELISA. Caspase activity was verified with the fluorochrome-labeled inhibitor of caspases (FLICA) probe specific for each caspase. Regulated cell necrosis or necroptosis was examined with 7-AAD and inhibition of receptor-interacting protein 1 (RIP1) kinase using necrostatin-1 (Nec-1). RESULTS: Cell death occurred within 2 hours of tamoxifen treatment of confluent RPE cells and was accompanied by lysosomal membrane permeabilization. Blockade of cathepsin B and L activity led to a significant decrease in cell death, indicating that lysosomal destabilization and cathepsin release occur prior to regulated cell death. Tamoxifen-induced toxicity was shown to occur through both caspase-dependent and caspase-independent cell death pathways. Treatment of RPE cells with caspase inhibitors and Nec-1 resulted in a near complete rescue from cell death. CONCLUSIONS: Tamoxifen-induced cell death occurs through concurrent regulated cell death mechanisms. Simultaneous inhibition of caspase-dependent and caspase-independent cell death pathways is required to protect cells from tamoxifen. Inhibition of upstream activators, such as the cathepsins, may represent a novel approach to block multiple cell death pathways.

Ksander BR, Kolovou PE, Wilson BJ, Saab KR, Guo Q, Ma J, McGuire SP, Gregory MS, Vincent WJB, Perez VL, Cruz-Guilloty F, Kao WWY, Call MK, Tucker BA, Zhan Q, Murphy GF, Lathrop KL, Alt C, Mortensen LJ, Lin CP, Zieske JD, Frank MH, Frank NY. ABCB5 is a limbal stem cell gene required for corneal development and repair. Nature 2014;511(7509):353-7.Abstract

Corneal epithelial homeostasis and regeneration are sustained by limbal stem cells (LSCs), and LSC deficiency is a major cause of blindness worldwide. Transplantation is often the only therapeutic option available to patients with LSC deficiency. However, while transplant success depends foremost on LSC frequency within grafts, a gene allowing for prospective LSC enrichment has not been identified so far. Here we show that ATP-binding cassette, sub-family B, member 5 (ABCB5) marks LSCs and is required for LSC maintenance, corneal development and repair. Furthermore, we demonstrate that prospectively isolated human or murine ABCB5-positive LSCs possess the exclusive capacity to fully restore the cornea upon grafting to LSC-deficient mice in xenogeneic or syngeneic transplantation models. ABCB5 is preferentially expressed on label-retaining LSCs in mice and p63α-positive LSCs in humans. Consistent with these findings, ABCB5-positive LSC frequency is reduced in LSC-deficient patients. Abcb5 loss of function in Abcb5 knockout mice causes depletion of quiescent LSCs due to enhanced proliferation and apoptosis, and results in defective corneal differentiation and wound healing. Our results from gene knockout studies, LSC tracing and transplantation models, as well as phenotypic and functional analyses of human biopsy specimens, provide converging lines of evidence that ABCB5 identifies mammalian LSCs. Identification and prospective isolation of molecularly defined LSCs with essential functions in corneal development and repair has important implications for the treatment of corneal disease, particularly corneal blindness due to LSC deficiency.