PURPOSE: To evaluate long-term ocular surface clinical signs and symptoms response to therapy in patients with chronic ocular GVHD. METHODS: Retrospective review and data modeling. We reviewed the records of post-bone marrow transplantation patients who were newly diagnosed with ocular GVHD and initiated therapy, and analyzed changes in symptoms (Ocular Surface Disease Index [OSDI]; Symptom Assessment in Dry Eye [SANDE]) and signs (corneal fluorescein staining [CFS]; Schirmer test). We used a LOESS technique to fit a model in function of data variations and obtain a predictive value of the scores progression over time. RESULTS: The records of 123 patients who were followed-up for over 2 years (up to 62 months) were reviewed. The median baseline scores recorded were: OSDI 52 units, SANDE 62.2 units, CFS 2.0 Oxford units, and Schirmer 4 mm. After six months of follow up, scores improved for OSDI (-18.6 units, p = 0.007), SANDE (23.7 units, p = 0.01), and CFS (-0.7 Oxford units, p < 0.001). Data analysis showed that after a 2-year follow up the three parameters continued to improve: OSDI -13.67 units (27% reduction), SANDE -17.55 units (28%), CFS -1.1 units (54%), but Schirmer test scores progressively worsened -1.2 mm (22%). CONCLUSION: In patients with ocular GVHD symptoms and corneal fluorescein staining improved after initiation of treatment, meanwhile Schirmer scores declined progressively. This indicates that appropriate treatment in chronic ocular GVHD can lead to mid- and long-term improvements in symptoms and corneal epitheliopathy; however, sustained reduction in Schirmer test scores suggests chronic tear production impairment.
The purpose of this study is to determine neural, vascular, protein secretion, and cellular signaling changes with disease progression in lacrimal glands of the thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) mouse model of dry eye compared to C57BL/6 wild-type (WT) mice. Neural innervation was reduced in TSP-1 lacrimal glands compared to WT controls, whereas the number of blood vessels was increased. Intracellular Ca stores and the amount of lysosomes, mitochondria, and secretory granules, but not the endoplasmic reticulum, were reduced in TSP-1 compared to WT acini at 12 weeks of age. Ex vivo high KCl-evoked secretion was decreased in TSP-1 compared to WT lacrimal gland tissue pieces. The α-adrenergic agonist-stimulated response was increased in TSP-1 at 4 and 24 weeks but decreased at 12 weeks, and the ATP and MeSATP-stimulated peak [Ca] responses were decreased at 24 weeks. These changes were observed prior to the appearance of mononuclear infiltrates. We conclude that in the lacrimal gland the absence of TSP-1: injures peripheral nerves; blocks efferent nerve activation; decreases protein secretion; and alters intracellular Ca stores. Through these effects the absence of TSP-1 leads to disruption of ocular surface homeostasis and development of dry eye.
Gene therapy is a promising approach in the treatment of inherited and common complex disorders of the retina. Preclinical and clinical studies have validated the use of adeno-associated viral vectors (AAV) as a safe and efficient delivery vehicle for gene transfer. Retinal pigment epithelium and rods-and to a lesser extent, cone photoreceptors-can be efficiently targeted with AAV. Other retinal cell types however are more challenging targets. The aim of this study was to characterize the transduction profile and efficiency of in silico designed, synthetic Anc80 AAVs for retinal gene transfer. Three Anc80 variants were evaluated for retinal targeting in mice and primates following subretinal delivery. In the murine retina Anc80L65 demonstrated high level of retinal pigment epithelium and photoreceptor targeting with comparable cone photoreceptor affinity compared to other AAVs. Remarkably, Anc80L65 enhanced transduction kinetics with visible expression as early as day 1 and steady state mRNA levels at day 3. Inner retinal tropism of Anc80 variants demonstrated distinct transduction patterns of Müller glia, retinal ganglion cells and inner nuclear layer neurons. Finally, murine findings with Anc80L65 qualitatively translated to the Rhesus macaque in terms of cell targets, levels and onset of expression. Our findings support the use of Anc80L65 for therapeutic subretinal gene delivery.
PURPOSE: To compare the postoperative vertical drift in patients with thyroid eye disease (TED) with hypotropia who underwent vertical rectus recession alone versus recession combined with horizontal rectus recession. METHODS: The medical records of patients with TED who underwent strabismus surgery for hypotropia between 2006 and 2015 were reviewed retrospectively. Patients were divided into two groups: group 1 underwent vertical rectus recession only; group 2 underwent vertical rectus recession plus horizontal rectus recession. Data collection included pre- and postoperative deviation measurements and amount of surgical recession performed. The amount of postoperative vertical drift between groups was compared. RESULTS: Of 67 patients who underwent surgery during the study period, 18 met inclusion criteria, 9 in each group. Mean postoperative hypotropia was 24.2 in group 1 and 24.5 in group 2 (P = 0.82). Mean vertical deviations were 0.3 and -2.2 (P = 0.134) on postoperative day 1 -0.9 and -8.0 (P = 0.043) at final follow-up for groups 1 and 2. Mean postoperative vertical drift toward hypertropia was 1.2 in group 1 and 6.8 in group 2 (P = 0.048). The surgical success rate for group 1 was superior to that for group 2 (89% vs 67% [P = 0.024]). CONCLUSIONS: There was a significantly larger postoperative vertical drift in TED patients with hypotropia who had combined vertical rectus and horizontal rectus recessions compared with those who underwent vertical rectus recession alone.
PURPOSE: Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a bacterial endotoxin, is known to stimulate leuokotriene B4 (LTB4) secretion by human corneal (HCECs), conjunctival (HConjECs) and meibomian gland (HMGECs) epithelial cells. We hypothesize that this LTB4 effect represents an overall induction of proinflammatory gene expression in these cells. Our objective was to test this hypothesis. METHODS: Immortalized HCECs, HConjECs and HMGECs were cultured in the presence or absence of LPS (15 μg/ml) and ligand binding protein (LBP; 150 ng/ml). Cells were then processed for RNA isolation and the analysis of gene expression by using Illumina BeadChips, background subtraction, cubic spline normalization and GeneSifter software. RESULTS: Our findings show that LPS induces a striking increase in proinflammatory gene expression in HCECs and HConjECs. These cellular reactions are associated with a significant up-regulation of genes associated with inflammatory and immune responses (e.g. IL-1β, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor), including those related to chemokine and Toll-like receptor signaling pathways, cytokine-cytokine receptor interactions, and chemotaxis. In contrast, with the exception of Toll-like signaling and associated innate immunity pathways, almost no proinflammatory ontologies were upregulated by LPS in HMGECs. CONCLUSIONS: Our results support our hypothesis that LPS stimulates proinflammatory gene expression in HCECs and HConjECs. However, our findings also show that LPS does not elicit such proinflammatory responses in HMGECs.
MYF5 is member of the Myc-like basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor family and, in cooperation with other myogenic regulatory factors MYOD and MYF5, is a key regulator of early stages of myogenesis. Here, we report three consanguineous families with biallelic homozygous loss-of-function mutations in MYF5 who define a clinical disorder characterized by congenital ophthalmoplegia with scoliosis and vertebral and rib anomalies. The clinical phenotype overlaps strikingly with that reported in several Myf5 knockout mouse models. Affected members of two families share a haploidentical region that contains a homozygous 10 bp frameshift mutation in exon 1 of MYF5 (c.23_32delAGTTCTCACC [p.Gln8Leufs86]) predicted to undergo nonsense-mediated decay. Affected members of the third family harbor a homozygous missense change in exon 1 of MYF5 (c.283C>T [p.Arg95Cys]). Using in vitro assays, we show that this missense mutation acts as a loss-of-function allele by impairing MYF5 DNA binding and nuclear localization. We performed whole-genome sequencing in one affected individual with the frameshift mutation and did not identify additional rare variants in the haploidentical region that might account for differences in severity among the families. These data support the direct role of MYF5 in rib, spine, and extraocular muscle formation in humans.
PURPOSE: Alternative splice isoforms of TCF4, a gene implicated in Fuchs corneal dystrophy, have been identified in multiple human tissues outside of the eye. The aim of this study was to identify the transcriptional profile of TCF4 in the corneal endothelium. METHODS: We extracted RNA from the donor corneal endothelium and performed rapid amplification of cDNA ends. We tested the expression pattern of 1 newly identified isoform (7b) in a panel of cDNA derived from multiple human tissues and included cDNA from corneal endothelial (CE) and retinal pigment epithelial cell lines. To further delineate differential expression of TCF4 splice variants that span CTG18.1, we analyzed expression of 6 alternative splice isoforms that are transcribed from either exon 2 or 3 in RNA extracted from the corneal endothelium of 3 normal donors and a CE cell line. RESULTS: We identified 11 different isoforms in control CE tissue, including 1 isoform (7b) not reported previously. This isoform is enriched specifically in the corneal endothelium and placenta compared with other tissues in a panel of human cDNA. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate the complex expression profile of TCF4 in the human corneal endothelium and reveal expression of alternative splice variants of TCF4.
We apply integrative approaches to expression quantitative loci (eQTLs) from 44 tissues from the Genotype-Tissue Expression project and genome-wide association study data. About 60% of known trait-associated loci are in linkage disequilibrium with a cis-eQTL, over half of which were not found in previous large-scale whole blood studies. Applying polygenic analyses to metabolic, cardiovascular, anthropometric, autoimmune, and neurodegenerative traits, we find that eQTLs are significantly enriched for trait associations in relevant pathogenic tissues and explain a substantial proportion of the heritability (40-80%). For most traits, tissue-shared eQTLs underlie a greater proportion of trait associations, although tissue-specific eQTLs have a greater contribution to some traits, such as blood pressure. By integrating information from biological pathways with eQTL target genes and applying a gene-based approach, we validate previously implicated causal genes and pathways, and propose new variant and gene associations for several complex traits, which we replicate in the UK BioBank and BioVU.
PURPOSE: To make the Boston keratoprosthesis (B-KPro), together with its carrier corneal graft, more easily procured, transported and stored, as well as less expensive, easier for the surgeon to implant and safer for the patient, it is proposed that the B-KPro-graft combination be pre-assembled by an expert technician, followed by sterilization with gamma ray irradiation (GI) allowing long-term storage at room temperature. For this to be possible, it must be shown that the B-KPro itself (not only the graft) remains unharmed by the irradiation. METHODS: Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) discs and B-KPros were submitted to either ethylene oxide sterilization or different doses of GI. Cell biocompatibility, mechanical strength and optical quality were evaluated. The feasibility of assembling the B-KPro to a corneal graft, and gamma-radiate afterwards, was also assessed. RESULTS: There were no differences in cell biocompatibility between the samples. The optical evaluation showed high levels of transparency for all the groups. The absorbance of ultraviolet was higher for the groups treated with GI. The mechanical evaluation by nanoindentation showed no alterations of the PMMA discs after GI. The flexure test revealed a similar mechanical behavior. Technically, pre-assembly and GI of the B-KPro revealed no problems. CONCLUSIONS: Sterilization of B-KPro using GI has no detrimental influence on the device. The pre-assembly of B-KPro to a donor cornea, followed by gamma sterilization, emerges as an efficient and safe procedure.
Purpose: Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) isoform 1 (T1) is involved in corneal fibrotic wound healing by stimulating myofibroblast transformation and altering fibrotic gene expression. In this study, two specific inhibitors were used to dissect the relationship between myofibroblast generation and the TGF-β/Smad- or TGF-β/p38-signaling pathway in human corneal fibroblasts (HCF). Methods: In HCF, Trx-SARA (Smad-pathway inhibitor) was used to block the TGF-β/Smad-signaling pathway, and the p38 inhibitor (p38inh, SB202190) was used to inhibit p38MAPK, thus blocking the TGF-β/p38-signaling pathway. HCF ± Trx-SARA or Trx-GA (SARA control) were serum starved overnight in Eagle's minimum essential medium (EMEM) ± p38inh, grown in EMEM ± T1 ± p38inh for 24 hours, and then processed for indirect-immunofluorescence, Western blot, or quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction to examine α-smooth muscle actin (αSMA) and other fibrotic genes, such as fibronectin, thrombospondin1, and type III collagen. In addition, the morphology and the effect of p38inh on myofibroblast phenotype after myofibroblast formation were examined. Results: We observed that Trx-SARA had little effect on αSMA expression, indicating that blocking the Smad pathway did not significantly inhibit myofibroblast formation. However, p38inh did significantly inhibit αSMA and other fibrotic genes, thus efficiently preventing the transition of HCFs to myofibroblasts. In addition, morphology changed and αSMA decreased in myofibroblasts exposed to p38inh medium, as compared with controls. Conclusions: HCF transition to myofibroblasts was mainly through the p38 pathway. Therefore, blocking the p38 pathway may be a potential therapeutic tool for human corneal fibrosis prevention/treatment, because it controls myofibroblast formation in human corneal cells, while leaving other functions of T1 unaffected.
BACKGROUND: Posterior ischemic optic neuropathy results from ischemia of the retrobulbar aspect of the optic nerve. It presents as acute loss of vision without optic disc swelling. This is rare in children, with only seven cases reported to date. Neuroimaging is frequently used to aid in the diagnosis of acute visual complaints in children; however, none of the cases described to date delineate the neuroimaging findings of this entity in children. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed the electronic medical record. RESULTS: We describe the MRI findings in a 10-month-old boy with posterior ischemic optic neuropathy after intraophthalmic artery injection of chemotherapy for retinoblastoma. CONCLUSIONS: As targeted therapies for retinoblastoma and other diseases amenable to intravascular treatment delivery are more frequently used, the risk of grave vision-related side effects increases. Posterior ischemic optic neuropathy should be considered in the differential diagnosis of any child presenting with acute loss of vision. Dedicated imaging of the orbits can elucidate specific findings that may aid in the diagnosis of this entity in children.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine if histamine receptors interact with the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in cultured rat conjunctival goblet cells. Methods: Goblet cells from rat conjunctiva were grown in organ culture. First-passage goblet cells were used in all experiments. Phosphorylated (active) and total EGFR, AKT, and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 were measured by Western blot analysis. Cells were preincubated with the EGFR antagonist AG1478 for 30 minutes or small interfering RNA specific to the EGFR for 3 days prior to stimulation with histamine or agonists specific for histamine receptor subtypes for 2 hours. Goblet cell secretion was measured using an enzyme-linked lectin assay. Goblet cells were incubated for 1 hour with the calcium indicator molecule fura-2/AM, and intracellular [Ca2+] ([Ca2+]i) was determined. Data were collected in real time and presented as the actual [Ca2+]i with time and as the change in peak [Ca2+]i. Results: Histamine increased the phosphorylation of the EGFR. Mucin secretion and increase in [Ca2+]i stimulated by histamine, and agonists specific for each histamine receptor subtype were blocked by inhibition of the EGFR. Increase in [Ca2+]i stimulated by histamine and specific agonists for each histamine receptor was also inhibited by TAPI-1, a matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibitor. The histamine-stimulated increase in activation of AKT, but not ERK1/2, was blocked by AG1478. Conclusions: In conjunctival goblet cells, histamine, using all four receptor subtypes, transactivates the EGFR via an MMP. This in turn phosphorylates AKT to increase [Ca2+]i and stimulate mucin secretion.
Itch and pain are refractory symptoms of many ocular conditions. Ocular itch is generated mainly in the conjunctiva and is absent from the cornea. In contrast, most ocular pain arises from the cornea. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Using genetic axonal tracing approaches, we discover distinct sensory innervation patterns between the conjunctiva and cornea. Further genetic and functional analyses in rodent models show that a subset of conjunctival-selective sensory fibers marked by MrgprA3 expression, rather than corneal sensory fibers, mediates ocular itch. Importantly, the actions of both histamine and nonhistamine pruritogens converge onto this unique subset of conjunctiva sensory fibers and enable them to play a key role in mediating itch associated with allergic conjunctivitis. This is distinct from skin itch, in which discrete populations of sensory neurons cooperate to carry itch. Finally, we provide proof of concept that selective silencing of conjunctiva itch-sensing fibers by pruritogen-mediated entry of sodium channel blocker QX-314 is a feasible therapeutic strategy to treat ocular itch in mice. Itch-sensing fibers also innervate the human conjunctiva and allow pharmacological silencing using QX-314. Our results cast new light on the neural mechanisms of ocular itch and open a new avenue for developing therapeutic strategies.
PURPOSE: To assess systemic vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A levels after treatment with intravitreous aflibercept, bevacizumab, or ranibizumab. DESIGN: Comparative-effectiveness trial with participants randomly assigned to 2 mg aflibercept, 1.25 mg bevacizumab, or 0.3 mg ranibizumab after a re-treatment algorithm. PARTICIPANTS: Participants with available plasma samples (N = 436). METHODS: Plasma samples were collected before injections at baseline and 4-week, 52-week, and 104-week visits. In a preplanned secondary analysis, systemic-free VEGF levels from an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay were compared across anti-VEGF agents and correlated with systemic side effects. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Changes in the natural log (ln) of plasma VEGF levels. RESULTS: Baseline free VEGF levels were similar across all 3 groups. At 4 weeks, mean ln(VEGF) changes were -0.30±0.61 pg/ml, -0.31±0.54 pg/ml, and -0.02±0.44 pg/ml for the aflibercept, bevacizumab, and ranibizumab groups, respectively. The adjusted differences between treatment groups (adjusted confidence interval [CI]; P value) were -0.01 (-0.12 to +0.10; P = 0.89), -0.31 (-0.44 to -0.18; P < 0.001), and -0.30 (-0.43 to -0.18; P < 0.001) for aflibercept-bevacizumab, aflibercept-ranibizumab, and bevacizumab-ranibizumab, respectively. At 52 weeks, a difference in mean VEGF changes between bevacizumab and ranibizumab persisted (-0.23 [-0.38 to -0.09]; P < 0.001); the difference between aflibercept and ranibizumab was -0.12 (P = 0.07) and between aflibercept and bevacizumab was +0.11 (P = 0.07). Treatment group differences at 2 years were similar to 1 year. No apparent treatment differences were detected at 52 or 104 weeks in the cohort of participants not receiving injections within 1 or 2 months before plasma collection. Participants with (N = 9) and without (N = 251) a heart attack or stroke had VEGF levels that appeared similar. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that decreases in plasma free-VEGF levels are greater after treatment with aflibercept or bevacizumab compared with ranibizumab at 4 weeks. At 52 and 104 weeks, a greater decrease was observed in bevacizumab versus ranibizumab. Results from 2 subgroups of participants who did not receive injections within at least 1 month and 2 months before collection suggest similar changes in VEGF levels after stopping injections. It is unknown whether VEGF levels return to normal as the drug is cleared from the system or whether the presence of the drug affects the assay's ability to accurately measure free VEGF. No significant associations between VEGF concentration and systemic factors were noted.
BACKGROUND: Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) retinopathy may be more common than previously recognized; recent ophthalmology guidelines have revised recommendations from ideal body weight (IBW)-based dosing to actual body weight (ABW)-based dosing. However, contemporary HCQ prescribing trends in the UK remain unknown. METHODS: We examined a UK general population database to investigate HCQ dosing between 2007 and 2016. We studied trends of excess HCQ dosing per ophthalmology guidelines (defined by exceeding 6.5 mg/kg of IBW and 5.0 mg/kg of ABW) and determined their independent predictors using multivariable logistic regression analyses. RESULTS: Among 20,933 new HCQ users (78% female), the proportions of initial HCQ excess dosing declined from 40% to 36% using IBW and 38% to 30% using ABW, between 2007 and 2016. Among these, 47% of women were excess-dosed (multivariable OR 12.52; 95% CI 10.99-14.26) using IBW and 38% (multivariable OR 1.98; 95% CI,1.81-2.15) using ABW. Applying IBW, 37% of normal and 44% of obese patients were excess-dosed; however, applying ABW, 53% of normal and 10% of obese patients were excess-dosed (multivariable ORs = 1.61 and 0.1 (reference = normal); both p < 0.01). Long-term HCQ users showed similar excess dosing. CONCLUSION: A substantial proportion of HCQ users in the UK, particularly women, may have excess HCQ dosing per the previous or recent weight-based guidelines despite a modest decline in recent years. Over half of normal-BMI individuals were excess-dosed per the latest guidelines. This implies the potential need to reduce dosing for many patients but also calls for further research to establish unifying evidence-based safe and effective dosing strategies.
PURPOSE: To determine the factors that influence the sensitivity and specificity of laser-scanning in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) for diagnosing Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK). METHODS: This retrospective, controlled study included 28 eyes of 27 patients with AK and 34 eyes of 34 patients with bacterial keratitis (as the control group). All patients had undergone corneal imaging with a laser-scanning IVCM (Heidelberg Retina Tomograph 3 with the Rostock Cornea Module). The IVCM images were independently evaluated by 2 experienced and 2 inexperienced masked observers. Sensitivity and specificity of IVCM for diagnosing AK and the effects of various clinical and imaging parameters on the sensitivity were then investigated. RESULTS: Overall, IVCM had average sensitivity and specificity of 69.7% ± 2.5% and 97.1% ± 4.2% for experienced observers and 59.0% ± 7.6% and 92.7% ± 10.4% for inexperienced observers, respectively. However, the sensitivity did not show any significant association with the duration of disease, size of ulcer, depth of involvement, culture results, or cyst morphology. Although interobserver agreement was good (κ = 0.60, P < 0.001) for the experienced observers, it was only at a moderate level (κ = 0.48, P < 0.001) for the inexperienced observers. CONCLUSIONS: IVCM has a moderate sensitivity and a high specificity for diagnosis of AK. Although clinical parameters do not affect this diagnostic accuracy, a higher sensitivity is seen when images are interpreted by experienced observers.
Laíns I, Kelly RS, Miller JB, Vavvas DG, Kim IK, Lasky-Su J, Miller JW, Husain D. Reply. Ophthalmology 2018;125(7):e46-e47.
Hearing loss, the most common neurological disorder and the fourth leading cause of years lived with disability, can have profound effects on quality of life. The impact of this "invisible disability," with significant consequences, economic and personal, is most substantial in low- and middle-income countries, where >80% of affected people live. Given the importance of hearing for communication, enjoyment, and safety, with up to 500 million affected globally at a cost of nearly $800 billion/year, research on new approaches toward prevention and treatment is attracting increased attention. The consequences of noise pollution are largely preventable, but irreversible hearing loss can result from aging, disease, or drug side effects. Once damage occurs, treatment relies on hearing aids and cochlear implants. Preventing, delaying, or reducing some degree of hearing loss may be possible by avoiding excessive noise and addressing major contributory factors such as cardiovascular risk. However, given the magnitude of the problem, these interventions alone are unlikely to be sufficient. Recent advances in understanding principal mechanisms that govern hearing function, together with new drug discovery paradigms designed to identify efficacious therapies, bode well for pharmaceutical intervention. This review surveys various causes of loss of auditory function and discusses potential neurological underpinnings, including mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitochondria mitigate cell protection, survival, and function and may succumb to cumulative degradation of energy production and performance; the end result is cell death. Energy-demanding neurons and vestibulocochlear hair cells are vulnerable to mitochondrial dysfunction, and hearing impairment and deafness are characteristic of neurodegenerative mitochondrial disease phenotypes. Beyond acting as cellular powerhouses, mitochondria regulate immune responses to infections, and studies of this phenomenon have aided in identifying nuclear factor kappa B and nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2/antioxidant response element signaling as targets for discovery of otologic drugs, respectively, suppressing or upregulating these pathways. Treatment with free radical scavenging antioxidants is one therapeutic approach, with lipoic acid and corresponding carnitine esters exhibiting improved biodistribution and other features showing promise. These compounds are also histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, adding epigenetic modulation to the mechanistic milieu through which they act. These data suggest that new drugs targeting mitochondrial dysfunction and modulating epigenetic pathways via HDAC inhibition or other mechanisms hold great promise.