Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common cause of irreversible visual loss and the disease burden is rising world-wide as the population ages. Both environmental and genetic factors contribute to the development of this disease. Among environmental factors, smoking, obesity and dietary factors including antioxidants and dietary fat intake influence onset and progression of AMD. There are also several lines of evidence that link cardiovascular, immune and inflammatory biomarkers to AMD. The genetic etiology of AMD has been and continues to be an intense and fruitful area of investigation. Genome-wide association studies have revealed numerous common variants associated with AMD and sequencing is increasing our knowledge of how rare genetic variants strongly impact disease. Evidence for interactions between environmental, therapeutic and genetic factors is emerging and elucidating the mechanisms of this interplay remains a major challenge in the field. Genotype-phenotype associations are evolving. The knowledge of non-genetic, modifiable risk factors along with information about heritability and genetic risk variants for this disease acquired over the past 25 years have greatly improved patient management and our ability to predict which patients will develop or progress to advanced forms of AMD. Personalized medicine and individualized prevention and treatment strategies may become a reality in the near future.
PURPOSE: We hypothesize that culturing immortalized human meibomian gland epithelial cells in serum-containing medium will induce their differentiation. The purpose of this investigation was to begin to test our hypothesis, and explore the impact of serum on gene expression and lipid accumulation in human meibomian gland epithelial cells. METHODS: Immortalized and primary human meibomian gland epithelial cells were cultured in the presence or absence of serum. Cells were evaluated for lysosome and lipid accumulation, polar and neutral lipid profiles, and gene expression. RESULTS: Our results support our hypothesis that serum stimulates the differentiation of human meibomian gland epithelial cells. This serum-induced effect is associated with a significant increase in the expression of genes linked to cell differentiation, epithelium development, the endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, vesicles, and lysosomes, and a significant decrease in gene activity related to the cell cycle, mitochondria, ribosomes, and translation. These cellular responses are accompanied by an accumulation of lipids within lysosomes, as well as alterations in the fatty acid content of polar and nonpolar lipids. Of particular importance, our results show that the molecular and biochemical changes of immortalized human meibomian gland epithelial cells during differentiation are analogous to those of primary cells. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, our findings indicate that immortalized human meibomian gland epithelial cells may serve as an ideal preclinical model to identify factors that control cellular differentiation in the meibomian gland.
A 24-year-old woman underwent excision of a slowly growing mass located in the right superomedial orbit that had histopathologic and immunohistochemical findings consistent with a choristomatous respiratory cyst. This rare condition may either arise primarily from embryologic respiratory epithelium rests in the orbit or develop secondarily as the result of trauma or chronic sinus disease complicated by mucocele formation.
Schlemm's canal is an important structure of the conventional aqueous humor outflow pathway and is critically involved in regulating the intraocular pressure. In this study, we report a novel finding that prospero homeobox protein 1 (Prox-1), the master control gene for lymphatic development, is expressed in Schlemm's canal. Moreover, we provide a novel in vivo method of visualizing Schlemm's canal using a transgenic mouse model of Prox-1-green fluorescent protein (GFP). The anatomical location of Prox-1⁺ Schlemm's canal was further confirmed by in vivo gonioscopic examination and ex vivo immunohistochemical analysis. Additionally, we show that the Schlemm's canal is distinguishable from typical lymphatic vessels by lack of lymphatic vessel endothelial hyaluronan receptor (LYVE-1) expression and absence of apparent sprouting reaction when inflammatory lymphangiogenesis occurred in the cornea. Taken together, our findings offer new insights into Schlemm's canal and provide a new experimental model for live imaging of this critical structure to help further our understanding of the aqueous humor outflow. This may lead to new avenues toward the development of novel therapeutic intervention for relevant diseases, most notably glaucoma.