July 2015

Nassi JJ, Cepko CL, Born RT, Beier KT. Neuroanatomy goes viral!. Front Neuroanat 2015;9:80.Abstract

The nervous system is complex not simply because of the enormous number of neurons it contains but by virtue of the specificity with which they are connected. Unraveling this specificity is the task of neuroanatomy. In this endeavor, neuroanatomists have traditionally exploited an impressive array of tools ranging from the Golgi method to electron microscopy. An ideal method for studying anatomy would label neurons that are interconnected, and, in addition, allow expression of foreign genes in these neurons. Fortuitously, nature has already partially developed such a method in the form of neurotropic viruses, which have evolved to deliver their genetic material between synaptically connected neurons while largely eluding glia and the immune system. While these characteristics make some of these viruses a threat to human health, simple modifications allow them to be used in controlled experimental settings, thus enabling neuroanatomists to trace multi-synaptic connections within and across brain regions. Wild-type neurotropic viruses, such as rabies and alpha-herpes virus, have already contributed greatly to our understanding of brain connectivity, and modern molecular techniques have enabled the construction of recombinant forms of these and other viruses. These newly engineered reagents are particularly useful, as they can target genetically defined populations of neurons, spread only one synapse to either inputs or outputs, and carry instructions by which the targeted neurons can be made to express exogenous proteins, such as calcium sensors or light-sensitive ion channels, that can be used to study neuronal function. In this review, we address these uniquely powerful features of the viruses already in the neuroanatomist's toolbox, as well as the aspects of their biology that currently limit their utility. Based on the latter, we consider strategies for improving viral tracing methods by reducing toxicity, improving control of transsynaptic spread, and extending the range of species that can be studied.

Rai R, Jakobiec FA, Fay A. Ocular Metastatic Renal Carcinoma Presenting With Proptosis. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg 2015;31(4):e100-8.Abstract

Metastatic renal carcinoma is the third most common source of ocular and second most common source of orbital metastases. This is the first published case of von Hippel-Lindau (vHL) disease that developed renal cell carcinoma metastatic to an eye with a retinal hemangioblastoma. A 73-year-old woman had a history of vHL disease that included prior retinal hemangioblastomas, 2 cerebellar hemangioblastomas, and bilateral renal cell carcinomas with sacral metastasis. After presenting with progressive, painful proptosis secondary to a large mass observable by ocular CT, an enucleation-orbitotomy was performed, and the surgical specimen was sent for histopathological analysis. The ophthalmic renal metastatic tumor, like the primary tumor, was a clear cell variant that involved both the eyeball and orbit in continuity. The intraocular component was larger than the extraocular portion, which was interpreted as an outward extension of an initial retinal metastasis that probably first settled within a hemangioblastoma. Clusters of ectatic ghost vessels with thickened walls produced by periodic acid Schiff-positive, redundant basement membrane material were partially infiltrated by tumor cells at their periphery, thereby lending some support for this hypothesis. Immunohistochemical positivity for the biomarkers cytokeratin 18, vimentin, carbonic anhydrase IX, PAX2, and PAX 8 confirmed the diagnosis. The patient has refused further treatment. Her anophthalmic socket has comfortably retained a porous polyethylene implant without clinical evidence of local recurrence during 5 months of follow up.

Reddy AK, Gonzalez MA, Henry CR, Yeh S, Sobrin L, Albini TA. Diagnostic Sensitivity of Indocyanine Green Angiography for Birdshot Chorioretinopathy. JAMA Ophthalmol 2015;133(7):840-3.Abstract

IMPORTANCE: To describe a cohort of patients with birdshot chorioretinopathy who did not manifest birdshot lesions on clinical examination but had retinal vasculitis, low-grade to moderate vitritis, and hypocyanescent lesions on indocyanine green angiography (ICGA). OBSERVATIONS: Case series of 3 patients with mild to moderate vitritis and retinal vasculitis without definite birdshot lesions on clinical examination evaluated from January 2007 to December 2014 at 4 academic ophthalmology centers. All patients' results were positive for human leukocyte antigen-A29. All cases had hypocyanescent lesions visible on ICGA but not detectable on fluorescein angiography. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Patients with retinal vasculitis and low-grade vitritis with or without macular edema may have birdshot chorioretinopathy evident on ICGA before lesions are visible on clinical examination or fluorescein angiography. Expanding birdshot chorioretinopathy diagnostic criteria to include the presence of hypocyanescent lesions on ICGA could improve the sensitivity of diagnosis.

Silva PS, Aiello LP. Reply. Retina 2015;35(7):e37-8.
Sun JK, Radwan SH, Soliman AZ, Lammer J, Lin MM, Prager SG, Silva PS, Aiello LB, Aiello LP. Neural Retinal Disorganization as a Robust Marker of Visual Acuity in Current and Resolved Diabetic Macular Edema. Diabetes 2015;64(7):2560-70.Abstract

Despite treatment advances, diabetic eye disease remains a leading cause of visual acuity (VA) loss worldwide. No methods to prospectively determine which patients will gain or lose vision exist, limiting individualized risk assessment and management. We investigated whether noninvasive, readily obtainable spectral domain optical coherence tomography parameters were correlated with VA in eyes with current or resolved center-involved diabetic macular edema (DME). Images were evaluated for disorganization of the retinal inner layers (DRIL), cysts, epiretinal membranes, microaneurysms, subretinal fluid, and outer layer disruption/reflectivity. DRIL affecting ≥50% of the 1-mm central retinal zone was associated with worse VA in all eyes, eyes with current edema, and eyes with resolved edema. Furthermore, early 4-month change in DRIL extent predicted VA change from baseline to 1 year. These data suggest that DRIL is a robust predictor of VA in eyes with present or previous DME and more highly correlated with VA than other widely used measures, such as retinal thickness. If further studies confirm DRIL as a predictive biomarker of future VA, physicians would gain a new tool of substantial clinical and investigative importance that could significantly change the approach to ophthalmic counseling and therapeutic management in patients with diabetes.

Sweigard HJ, Matsumoto H, Smith KE, Kim LA, Paschalis EI, Okonuki Y, Castillejos A, Kataoka K, Hasegawa E, Yanai R, Husain D, Lambris JD, Vavvas D, Miller JW, Connor KM. Inhibition of the alternative complement pathway preserves photoreceptors after retinal injury. Sci Transl Med 2015;7(297):297ra116.Abstract

Degeneration of photoreceptors is a primary cause of vision loss worldwide, making the underlying mechanisms surrounding photoreceptor cell death critical to developing new treatment strategies. Retinal detachment, characterized by the separation of photoreceptors from the underlying retinal pigment epithelium, is a sight-threatening event that can happen in a number of retinal diseases. The detached photoreceptors undergo apoptosis and programmed necrosis. Given that photoreceptors are nondividing cells, their loss leads to irreversible visual impairment even after successful retinal reattachment surgery. To better understand the underlying disease mechanisms, we analyzed innate immune system regulators in the vitreous of human patients with retinal detachment and correlated the results with findings in a mouse model of retinal detachment. We identified the alternative complement pathway as promoting early photoreceptor cell death during retinal detachment. Photoreceptors down-regulate membrane-bound inhibitors of complement, allowing for selective targeting by the alternative complement pathway. When photoreceptors in the detached retina were removed from the primary source of oxygen and nutrients (choroidal vascular bed), the retina became hypoxic, leading to an up-regulation of complement factor B, a key mediator of the alternative pathway. Inhibition of the alternative complement pathway in knockout mice or through pharmacological means ameliorated photoreceptor cell death during retinal detachment. Our current study begins to outline the mechanism by which the alternative complement pathway facilitates photoreceptor cell death in the damaged retina.

Wirostko B, Rafii MJ, Sullivan DA, Morelli J, Ding J. Novel Therapy to Treat Corneal Epithelial Defects: A Hypothesis with Growth Hormone. Ocul Surf 2015;13(3):204-212.e1.Abstract

Impaired corneal wound healing that occurs with ocular surface disease, trauma, systemic disease, or surgical intervention can lead to persistent corneal epithelial defects (PCED), which result in corneal scarring, ulceration, opacification, corneal neovascularization, and, ultimately, visual compromise and vision loss. The current standard of care can include lubricants, ointments, bandage lenses, amniotic membranes, autologous serum eye drops, and corneal transplants. Various inherent problems exist with application and administration of these treatments, which often may not result in a completely healed surface. A topically applicable compound capable of promoting corneal epithelial cell proliferation and/or migration would be ideal to accelerate healing. We hypothesize that human growth hormone (HGH) is such a compound. In a recent study, HGH was shown to activate signal transducer and activators of transcription-5 (STAT5) signaling and promote corneal wound healing by enhancing corneal epithelial migration in a co-culture system of corneal epithelial cells and fibroblasts. These effects require an intact communication between corneal epithelia and fibroblasts. Further, HGH promotes corneal wound healing in a rabbit debridement model, thus demonstrating the effectiveness of HGH in vivo as well. In conclusion, HGH may represent an exciting and effective topical therapeutic to promote corneal wound healing.

Witkin AJ, Shah AR, Engstrom RE, Kron-Gray MM, Baumal CR, Johnson MW, Witkin DI, Leung J, Albini TA, Moshfeghi AA, Batlle IR, Sobrin L, Eliott D. Postoperative Hemorrhagic Occlusive Retinal Vasculitis: Expanding the Clinical Spectrum and Possible Association with Vancomycin. Ophthalmology 2015;122(7):1438-51.Abstract

PURPOSE: To describe a syndrome of hemorrhagic occlusive retinal vasculitis (HORV) that developed after seemingly uncomplicated cataract surgery. DESIGN: Retrospective case series. SUBJECTS: Eleven eyes of 6 patients from 6 different institutions. METHODS: Cases were identified after discussion among retina specialists. The findings on presentation, clinical course, and outcome of a series of 7 eyes of 4 patients were compared with a previous report of 4 eyes of 2 patients, and data from both series were combined for a comprehensive analysis. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Historical data, examination findings, imaging results, systemic evaluation findings, treatment regimens, and visual outcomes. RESULTS: Eleven eyes of 6 patients underwent otherwise uncomplicated cataract surgery, receiving viscoelastic and prophylactic intracameral vancomycin during the procedure. Despite good initial vision on postoperative day 1, between 1 to 14 days after surgery, all eyes demonstrated painless vision loss resulting from HORV. Extensive ocular and systemic evaluations were unrevealing in all patients. All patients were treated with aggressive systemic and topical corticosteroids. Additional treatments included systemic antiviral medication in 4 patients, intravitreal antibiotics in 4 eyes, and pars plana vitrectomy in 4 eyes. Skin testing for vancomycin sensitivity showed negative results in 3 patients and was not performed in the others. Neovascular glaucoma developed in 7 eyes, and all eyes received intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) injection, panretinal photocoagulation, or both for retinal ischemia. Final visual acuity was less than 20/100 in 8 of 11 eyes. CONCLUSIONS: Postoperative HORV is an exceedingly rare and potentially devastating condition that can occur after otherwise uncomplicated cataract surgery. Although the precise cause remains unknown, this disease may represent a delayed immune reaction similar to vancomycin-induced leukocytoclastic vasculitis. Despite treatment with high-dose corticosteroids, antiviral medication, and early vitrectomy in many patients, visual outcomes typically were poor in this series. Early intervention with intravitreal anti-VEGF medication and panretinal photocoagulation may help to prevent additional vision loss resulting from neovascular glaucoma.

Yu D, Zheng J, Zhu R, Wu N, Guan A, Cho K-S, Chen DF, Luo G. Computer-aided analyses of mouse retinal OCT images - an actual application report. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt 2015;35(4):442-9.Abstract

PURPOSE: There is a need for automated retinal optical coherence tomography (OCT) image analysis tools for quantitative measurements in small animals. Some image processing techniques for retinal layer analysis have been developed, but reports about how useful those techniques are in actual animal studies are rare. This paper presents the use of a retinal layer detection method we developed in an actual mouse study that involves wild type and mutated mice carrying photoreceptor degeneration. METHODS: Spectral domain OCT scanning was performed by four experimenters over 12 months on 45 mouse eyes that were wild-type, deficient for ephrin-A2 and ephrin-A3, deficient for rhodopsin, or deficient for rhodopsin, ephrin-A2 and ephrin-A3. The thickness of photoreceptor complex between the outer plexiform layer and retinal pigment epithelium was measured on two sides of the optic disc as the biomarker of retinal degeneration. All the layer detection results were visually confirmed. RESULTS: Overall, 96% (8519 out of 9000) of the half-side images were successfully processed using our technique in a semi-automatic manner. There was no significant difference in success rate between mouse lines (p = 0.91). Based on a human observer's rating of image quality for images successfully and unsuccessfully processed, the odds ratios for 'easily visible' images and 'not clear' images to be successfully processed is 62 and 4, respectively, against 'indistinguishable' images. Thickness of photoreceptor complex was significantly different across the quadrants compared (p < 0.001). It was also found that the average thickness based on 4-point sparse sampling was not significantly different from the full analysis, while the range of differences between the two methods could be up to about 6 μm or 16% for individual eyes. Differences between mouse lines and progressive thickness reduction were revealed by both sampling measures. CONCLUSIONS: Although the thickness of the photoreceptor complex layer is not even, manual sparse sampling may be as sufficiently accurate as full analysis in some studies such as ours, where the error of sparse sampling was much smaller than the effect size of rhodopsin deficiency. It is also suggested that the image processing method can be useful in actual animal studies. Even for images poorly visible to human eyes the image processing method still has a good chance to extract the complex layer.

Zhao J, Zhu T, Chen W, Fan BJ, He L, Yang B, Deng Z. Human Leukocyte Antigens-B and -C Loci Associated with Posner-Schlossman Syndrome in a Southern Chinese Population. PLoS One 2015;10(7):e0132179.Abstract

The etiology of Posner-Schlossman syndrome (PSS) remains unknown. The association of human leukocyte antigens (HLA) allelic diversity with PSS has been poorly investigated. To evaluate the association of allelic polymorphisms of class I HLA-A, -B and -C and class II HLA-DRB1 and -DQB1 with PSS, 100 unrelated patients with PSS and 128 age- and ethnically matched control subjects were recruited from a southern Chinese Han population. Polymorphisms in exons 2-4 for HLA-A, -B, -C loci, exon 2 for HLA-DRB1 and exons 2,3 for HLA-DQB1 were analyzed for association with PSS at allele and haplotype levels. The allele frequency of HLA-C*1402 in PSS patients was significantly higher than that in controls (P = 0.002, OR = 4.12). This association survived the Bonferroni correction (Pc = 0.04). The allele frequency of HLA-B*1301 in PSS patients was lower than that in the control group (P = 0.003, OR = 0.21), although this association did not survive the Bonferroni correction (Pc = 0.16). In PSS patients, the haplotype frequencies of HLA-A*1101~C*1402 and B*5101~C*1402 were higher than that in controls (P = 0.03, OR = 4.44; P = 0.02, OR = 3.20; respectively), while the HLA-B*1301~C*0304 was lower than that in controls (P = 0.007, OR = 0.23), although these associations did not survive the Bonferroni correction (Pc > 0.16). This study for the first time demonstrated that polymorphisms at the HLA-B and HLA-C loci were nominally associated with PSS in the southern Chinese Han population. Our results suggest that HLA-C*1402, A*1101~C*1402 and B*5101~C*1402 might be risk factors for PSS, whereas HLA-B*1301 plus B*1301~C*0304 might be protective factors against PSS, but even larger datasets are required to confirm these findings. Findings from this study provide valuable new clues for investigating the mechanisms and development of new diagnosis and treatment for PSS.