Microperimetry (MP) is used to assess visual sensitivity mediated by the central retina. As such, MP performance is a candidate outcome measure for gene therapy trials. Herein, we review MP results in three inherited retinal disorders for which gene therapy trials have been initiated-choroideremia, Stargardt disease, and X-linked juvenile retinoschisis. Each of these disorders typically presents in childhood and each has distinct effects on the central retina. Our review indicates that microperimetry is feasible in each of these conditions. The MP sensitivity maps vary among conditions consistent with known effects of each of the three conditions. There is, however, within each of the three disorders considerable variability in fixation stability and in the pattern of sensitivity loss. Microperimetry is a valuable tool for monitoring functional aspects of central retina in an individual patient, especially in combination with other modalities such as OCT, autofluorescence, and acuity and thus may contribute to evaluating the efficacy of gene treatments. Variability of the MP parameters raises some cautions in application of MP as an outcome measure in treatment trials that may have small sample sizes. Nonetheless, we suspect that MP will continue to have a rightful place in future gene therapy trials.
Intraocular lens (IOL) implantation in pediatric eyes with insufficient capsular support is challenging and there are multiple IOL options. These include placement of an IOL within the capsular bag with a capsular tension ring, a scleral-fixated posterior-chamber IOL (PCIOL) with or without capsular tension segment or ring, an intra-scleral fixated IOL, an iris-sutured PCIOL, or an anterior chamber iris-fixated IOL. We reviewed 48 articles and 1 published abstract describing the surgical techniques, complications and visual outcomes of different IOL options in the management of aphakic pediatric eyes with insufficient capsular support. The present review found that the visual acuity outcomes of various IOLs are comparable. Furthermore, each .
Measuring intraocular pressure (IOP) is the cornerstone of a comprehensive glaucoma exam. In babies or small children, however, IOP measurements are problematic, cannot often be done at the slit lamp, and are sometimes require general anesthesia. Therefore, it is essential for an ophthalmologist who examines a pediatric patient to be aware of the different tonometers used in children, as well as the effects of central corneal thickness (CCT) and anesthesia on IOP measurements. Goldmann applanation tonometry is the gold standard for IOP assessment. Most alternative tonometers tend to give higher IOP readings compared to the Goldmann applanation tonometer, and readings between different tonometers are often not interchangeable. Like Goldmann tonometry, many of these alternative tonometers are affected by CCT, with thicker corneas having artifactually high IOP readings and thinner corneas having artifactually lower IOP readings. Although various machines can be used to compensate for corneal factors (e.g. the dynamic contour tonometer and ocular response analyzer), it is important to be aware that certain ocular diseases can be associated with abnormal CCT values and that their IOP readings need to be interpreted accordingly. Because induction and anesthetics can affect IOP, office IOPs taken in awake patients are always the most accurate.
Mutationally constrained epitopes of variable pathogens represent promising targets for vaccine design but are not reliably identified by sequence conservation. In this study, we employed structure-based network analysis, which applies network theory to HIV protein structure data to quantitate the topological importance of individual amino acid residues. Mutation of residues at important network positions disproportionately impaired viral replication and occurred with high frequency in epitopes presented by protective human leukocyte antigen () class I alleles. Moreover, CD8 T cell targeting of highly networked epitopes distinguished individuals who naturally control HIV, even in the absence of protective alleles. This approach thereby provides a mechanistic basis for immune control and a means to identify CD8 T cell epitopes of topological importance for rational immunogen design, including a T cell-based HIV vaccine.
Importance: The use of statins (hydroxymethylglutaryl coenzyme A inhibitors) has been associated with a lower risk of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG); however, results have been conflicting, and little is known about the association between high cholesterol levels and POAG. Objective: To assess the association of elevated cholesterol levels and statin use with incident POAG. Design, Setting, and Participants: This study used data collected biennially from participants aged 40 years or older who were free of glaucoma and reported eye examinations, within 3 population-based cohorts: the Nurses' Health Study (N = 50 710; followed up from 2000 to 2014), the Nurses' Health Study 2 (N = 62 992; 1999-2015), and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (N = 23 080; 2000-2014). Incident cases of POAG were confirmed by medical record review. The analyses were performed in January 2019. Exposures: Biennially updated self-reported information on elevated cholesterol level status, serum cholesterol levels, and duration of statin use. Main Outcomes and Measures: Multivariable-adjusted relative risks (RRs) and 95% CIs were estimated using Cox proportional hazards regression models on pooled data, with stratification by cohort. Results: Among the 136 782 participants in the 3 cohorts (113 702 women and 23 080 men), 886 incident cases of POAG were identified. Every 20-mg/dL increase in total serum cholesterol was associated with a 7% increase in risk of POAG (RR, 1.07 [95% CI, 1.02-1.11]; P = .004). Any self-reported history of elevated cholesterol was also associated with a higher risk of POAG (RR, 1.17 [95% CI, 1.00-1.37]). A history of any statin use was associated with a 15% lower risk of POAG (RR, 0.85 [95% CI, 0.73-0.99]). Use of statins for 5 or more years vs never use of statins was associated with a 21% lower risk of POAG (RR, 0.79 [95% CI, 0.65-0.97]; P = .02 for linear trend). The association between use of statins for 5 or more years vs never use of statins and risk of POAG was more inverse in those who were older (≥65 years: RR, 0.70 [95% CI, 0.56-0.87] vs <65 years: RR, 1.05 [95% CI, 0.68-1.63]; P = .01 for interaction). Conclusions and Relevance: Among adults aged 40 years or older, higher serum cholesterol levels were associated with higher risk of POAG, while 5 or more years of statin use compared with never use of statins was associated with a lower risk of POAG.
PURPOSE: A genetic correlation is the proportion of phenotypic variance between traits that is shared on a genetic basis. Here we explore genetic correlations between diabetes- and glaucoma-related traits. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. METHODS: We assembled genome-wide association study summary statistics from European-derived participants regarding diabetes-related traits like fasting blood sugar (FBS) and type 2 diabetes (T2D) and glaucoma-related traits (intraocular pressure (IOP), central corneal thickness (CCT), corneal hysteresis (CH), corneal resistance factor (CRF), cup-disc ratio (CDR), and primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG)). We included data from the National Eye Institute Glaucoma Human Genetics Collaboration Heritable Overall Operational Database, the UK Biobank and the International Glaucoma Genetics Consortium. We calculated genetic correlation (r) between traits using linkage disequilibrium score regression. We also calculated genetic correlations between IOP, CCT and selected diabetes-related traits based on individual level phenotype data in two Northern European population-based samples using pedigree information and Sequential Oligogenic Linkage Analysis Routines (SOLAR). RESULTS: Overall, there was little r between diabetes- and glaucoma-related traits. Specifically, we found a non-significant negative correlation between T2D and POAG (r=-0.14; p=0.16). Using SOLAR, the genetic correlations between measured IOP, CCT, FBS, fasting insulin and hemoglobin A1c, were null. In contrast, genetic correlations between IOP and POAG (r ≥0.45; p≤3.0E-04) and between CDR and POAG were high (r =0.57; p=2.8E-10). However, genetic correlations between corneal properties (CCT, CRF and CH) and POAG were low (r range: -0.18 - 0.11) and non-significant (p≥0.07). CONCLUSION: These analyses suggest there is limited genetic correlation between diabetes- and glaucoma-related traits.
PRéCIS:: This retrospective study found that combined phacoemulsification and endocyclophotocoagulation reduced intraocular pressure (IOP) to a greater degree in angle-closure glaucoma versus open-angle glaucoma and was effective for all stages of glaucoma. PURPOSE: Endocyclophotocoagulation (ECP) laser treatment of the ciliary processes is believed to decrease IOP by reducing aqueous production. Anecdotal experience in angle-closure glaucoma suggests that it may also lower IOP by opening the drainage angle to promote aqueous outflow. This study sought to evaluate combined phacoemulsification and ECP (phaco/ECP) in eyes with different types and stages of glaucoma. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A Retrospective chart review of eyes that underwent phaco/ECP between October 2010 and December 2016 at one institution was conducted. RESULTS: In 63 eyes of 63 patients with an average of 3.0±1.7 years of follow-up, the 22 eyes with chronic angle-closure glaucoma (CACG) had greater IOP reduction and medication reduction than the 41 eyes with primary open-angle glaucoma at both 1 year (6.4 vs. 2.1 mm Hg, P=0.01; 0.9 vs. 0.2 medications, P=0.04) and final follow-up (6.2 vs. 2.4 mm Hg, P=0.02; 0.9 vs. 0.3 medications, P=0.05). There was no difference in IOP reduction or medication reduction for eyes with mild, moderate, or advanced glaucoma at both 1 year (3.5, 3.9, 0.5 mm Hg, respectively, P=0.18; 0.3, 0.6, 0.4 medications, P=0.58) and final follow-up (3.3, 4.8, 0.7 mm Hg, P=0.11; 0.1, 0.8, 0.4 medications, P=0.14). CONCLUSIONS: Eyes with CACG were more responsive to phaco/ECP in terms of IOP and medication reduction compared with eyes with primary open-angle glaucoma. This finding could be partially or entirely due to concurrent cataract extraction and greater CACG preoperative IOP. Phaco/ECP was effective in all stages of glaucoma.
Purpose: Sjögren syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that occurs almost exclusively in women and is associated with extensive inflammation in lacrimal tissue, an immune-mediated destruction and/or dysfunction of glandular epithelial cells, and a significant decrease in aqueous tear secretion. We discovered that androgens suppress the inflammation in, and enhance the function of, lacrimal glands in female mouse models (e.g., MRL/MpJ-Tnfrsf6lpr [MRL/lpr]) of Sjögren syndrome. In contrast, others have reported that androgens induce an anomalous immunopathology in lacrimal glands of nonobese diabetic/LtJ (NOD) mice. We tested our hypothesis that these hormone actions reflect unique, strain- and tissue-specific effects, which involve significant changes in the expression of immune-related glandular genes. Methods: Lacrimal glands were obtained from age-matched, adult, female MRL/lpr and NOD mice after treatment with vehicle or testosterone for up to 3 weeks. Tissues were processed for analysis of differentially expressed mRNAs using CodeLink Bioarrays and Affymetrix GeneChips. Data were analyzed with bioinformatics and statistical software. Results: Testosterone significantly influenced the expression of numerous immune-related genes, ontologies, and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways in lacrimal glands of MRL/lpr and NOD mice. The nature of this hormone-induced immune response was dependent upon the autoimmune strain, and was not duplicated within lacrimal tissues of nonautoimmune BALB/c mice. The majority of immune-response genes regulated by testosterone were of the inflammatory type. Conclusions: Our findings support our hypothesis and indicate a major role for the lacrimal gland microenvironment in mediating androgen effects on immune gene expression.
Autoimmune uveitis is a sight-threatening ocular inflammatory condition in which the retina and uveal tissues become a target of autoreactive immune cells. While microglia have been studied extensively in autoimmune uveitis, their exact function remains uncertain. The objective of the current study was to determine whether resident microglia are necessary and sufficient to initiate and amplify retinal inflammation in autoimmune uveitis. In this study, we clearly demonstrate that microglia are essential for initiating infiltration of immune cells utilizing a murine model of experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis (EAU) and the recently identified microglia-specific marker P2ry12. Initiating disease is the primary function of microglia in EAU, since eliminating microglia during the later stages of EAU had little effect, indicating that the function of circulating leukocytes is to amplify and sustain destructive inflammation once microglia have triggered disease. In the absence of microglia, uveitis does not develop, since leukocytes cannot gain entry through the blood-retinal barrier, illustrating that microglia play a critical role in regulating infiltration of inflammatory cells into the retina.
What specific features should visual neurons encode, given the infinity of real-world images and the limited number of neurons available to represent them? We investigated neuronal selectivity in monkey inferotemporal cortex via the vast hypothesis space of a generative deep neural network, avoiding assumptions about features or semantic categories. A genetic algorithm searched this space for stimuli that maximized neuronal firing. This led to the evolution of rich synthetic images of objects with complex combinations of shapes, colors, and textures, sometimes resembling animals or familiar people, other times revealing novel patterns that did not map to any clear semantic category. These results expand our conception of the dictionary of features encoded in the cortex, and the approach can potentially reveal the internal representations of any system whose input can be captured by a generative model.
We previously demonstrated that inhibition of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) slowed corneal epithelial migration. Here we examine the effect of EGF on transforming growth factor-beta receptor II (TGF-βRII) in a corneal wound-healing model and primary human corneal epithelial cells (pHCE). Corneal debridement wounds were made and allowed to heal ± Tyrphostin AG1478 (EGFR inhibitor), and assayed for EGFR activation and EGFR and TGF-βRII localization. Primary HCE were treated with EGF ± U0126 (MEK inhibitor) and assayed for TGF-βRII expression. EGFR activation was maximal 15 minutes after wounding and localized in the migrating epithelial cells. TGF-βRII localization was also observed in the migrating epithelium and was reduced when EGFR was blocked. When pHCE were treated with EGF for 6 hours, the cells produced enhanced levels of TGF-βRII, which was blocked by U0126. Downstream signaling pathways of MEK (p38 and ERK1/2) were then examined, and TGF-β1 and EGF were found to have differential effects on the phosphorylation of p38 and ERK1/2, with TGF-β1 upregulating p-p38 but not pERK1/2 and EGF upregulating pERK1/2 but not p-p38. Taken together, these data indicate that EGF stimulates TGF-βRII through ERK1/2 and EGFR signaling, suggesting interplay between EGF- and TGF-β-signaling pathways during corneal wound repair.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Early detection is of utmost importance as there is abundant evidence that early treatment prevents disease progression, preserves vision, and improves patients' long-term quality of life. The structure and function thresholds that alert to the diagnosis of glaucoma can be obtained entirely via digital means, and as such, screening is well suited to benefit from artificial intelligence and specifically machine learning. This paper reviews the concepts and current literature on the use of machine learning for detection of the glaucomatous disc and visual field.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the durability of diabetic retinopathy (DR) improvements after a change in ranibizumab dosing from monthly to individualized pro re nata (PRN) therapy. DESIGN: Pooled analysis of the open-label extension (OLE) of RIDE and RISE (clinicaltrials.gov identifiers, NCT00473382 and NCT00473330) patients with DR and diabetic macular edema (DME). PARTICIPANTS: Patients who completed 36-month participation in RIDE and RISE and entered the OLE. METHODS: In RIDE and RISE, patients (n = 759) were randomized 1:1:1 to ranibizumab 0.3 mg monthly, 0.5 mg monthly, or monthly sham injections with rescue macular laser available after 6 months, per protocol-specified criteria. After 24 months, sham patients crossed over to ranibizumab 0.5 mg monthly. After 36 months in the core studies, patients in the OLE (n = 500) could receive ranibizumab 0.5 mg PRN based on predefined DME re-treatment criteria. Diabetic retinopathy severity was evaluated photographically using the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study DR severity scale. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Change in DR severity from months 36 to 48 by re-treatment status. RESULTS: Among patients who entered the OLE, 121 of 500 (24%) did not require additional ranibizumab injections. Overall, 367 patients had evaluable DR at months 36 and 48. Among patients not requiring ranibizumab re-treatment from months 36 to 48 (88/367), 57% to 78%, 0% to 7%, and 22% to 36% experienced DR severity stability, 2-step or more improvement, and 2-step or more worsening, respectively. Among patients requiring ranibizumab re-treatment (279/367), 84% to 94%, 2%, and 3% to 14% experienced DR severity stability, 2-step or more improvement, and 2-step or more worsening, respectively. On average, vision improvements were maintained during the OLE regardless of change in DR severity. CONCLUSIONS: Diabetic retinopathy severity improvements with ranibizumab were maintained in over 70% of OLE patients after switching from ranibizumab monthly to an individualized ranibizumab 0.5 mg PRN dosing regimen. Because approximately one third of OLE patients experienced DR worsening, careful monitoring should be part of the long-term management of patients with DR.
The liver is an organ with strong regenerative capacity, yet primary hepatocytes have a low amplification potential in vitro, a major limitation for the cell-based therapy of liver disorders and for ex vivo biological screens. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) may help to circumvent this obstacle but often harbor genetic and epigenetic abnormalities, limiting their potential. Here, we describe the pharmacological induction of proliferative human hepatic progenitor cells (HPCs) through a cocktail of growth factors and small molecules mimicking the signaling events involved in liver regeneration. Human HPCs from healthy donors and pediatric patients proliferated vigorously while maintaining their genomic stability and could be redifferentiated in vitro into metabolically competent cells that supported the replication of hepatitis B and delta viruses. Redifferentiation efficiency was boosted by three-dimensional culture. Finally, transcriptome analysis showed that HPCs were more closely related to mature hepatocytes than iPSC-derived hepatocyte-like cells were. Conclusion: HPC induction holds promise for a variety of applications such as ex vivo disease modeling, personalized drug testing or metabolic studies, and development of a bioartificial liver.
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a disease that initially presents as night blindness due to genetic deficits in the rod photoreceptors of the retina. Rods then die, causing dysfunction and death of cone photoreceptors, the cell type that mediates high acuity and color vision, ultimately leading to blindness. We investigated immune responses in mouse models of RP and found evidence of microglia activation throughout the period of cone degeneration. Using adeno-associated vectors (AAVs), delivery of genes encoding microglial regulatory signals led to the identification of AAV serotype 8 (AAV8) soluble CX3CL1 (sCX3CL1) as a promising therapy for degenerating cones. Subretinal injection of AAV8-sCX3CL1 significantly prolonged cone survival in three strains of RP mice. Rescue of cones was accompanied by improvements in visual function. AAV8-sCX3CL1 did not affect rod survival, microglia localization, or inflammatory cytokine levels in the retina. Furthermore, although RNA sequencing of microglia demonstrated marked transcriptional changes with AAV8-sCX3CL1, pharmacological depletion of up to ∼99% of microglia failed to abrogate the effect of AAV8-sCX3CL1 on cone survival. These findings indicate that AAV8-sCX3CL1 can rescue cones in multiple mouse models of RP via a pathway that does not require normal numbers of microglia. Gene therapy with sCX3CL1 is a promising mutation-independent approach to preserve vision in RP and potentially other forms of retinal degeneration.