2012

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Luo G, Satgunam PN, Peli E. Visual search performance of patients with vision impairment: effect of JPEG image enhancement. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt 2012;32(5):421-8.Abstract
PURPOSE: To measure natural image search performance in patients with central vision impairment. To evaluate the performance effect for a JPEG based image enhancement technique using the visual search task. METHODS: One hundred and fifty JPEG images were presented on a touch screen monitor in either an enhanced or original version to 19 patients (visual acuity 0.4-1.2 logMAR, 6/15 to 6/90, 20/50 to 20/300) and seven normally sighted controls (visual acuity -0.12 to 0.1 logMAR, 6/4.5 to 6/7.5, 20/15 to 20/25). Each image fell into one of three categories: faces, indoors, and collections. The enhancement was realized by moderately boosting a mid-range spatial frequency band in the discrete cosine transform (DCT) coefficients of the image luminance component. Participants pointed to an object in a picture that matched a given target displayed at the upper-left corner of the monitor. Search performance was quantified by the percentage of correct responses, the median search time of correct responses, and an 'integrated performance' measure - the area under the curve of cumulative correct response rate over search time. RESULTS: Patients were able to perform the search tasks but their performance was substantially worse than the controls. Search performances for the three image categories were significantly different (p <= 0.001) for all the participants, with searching for faces being the most difficult. When search time and correct response were analyzed separately, the effect of enhancement led to increase in one measure but decrease in another for many patients. Using the integrated performance, it was found that search performance declined with decrease in acuity (p = 0.005). An improvement with enhancement was found mainly for the patients whose acuity ranged from 0.4 to 0.8 logMAR (6/15 to 6/38, 20/50 to 20/125). Enhancement conferred a small but significant improvement in integrated performance for indoor and collection images (p = 0.025) in the patients. CONCLUSION: Search performance for natural images can be measured in patients with impaired vision to evaluate the effect of image enhancement. Patients with moderate vision loss might benefit from the moderate level of enhancement used here.
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Maker MP, Noble J, Silva PS, Cavallerano JD, Murtha TJ, Sun JK, Aiello LM, Bursell S-E, Aiello LP. Automated Retinal Imaging System (ARIS) compared with ETDRS protocol color stereoscopic retinal photography to assess level of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes Technol Ther 2012;14(6):515-22.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) seven-standard-field color stereoscopic retinal photography (ETDRS photos) has been a gold standard for determining diabetic retinopathy (DR) severity. The Automated Retinal Imaging System (ARIS™, model 110, Visual Pathways, Inc., Prescott, AZ) acquires seven-sequential color stereoscopic digital images (ARIS images) by a semiautomated technician-run process generally corresponding to ETDRS photos. We assessed the correlation between a single semiautomated ARIS imaging session without any re-imaging and ETDRS photos performed by a certified photographer for the determination of DR severity. METHODS: Two independent masked readers graded mydriatic ARIS images and ETDRS photos. A third masked retinal specialist adjudicated discrepancies. Correlation between the two modalities was compared using weighted-κ statistics. RESULTS: We evaluated 211 eyes of 106 patients with varying levels of DR. Partially ungradable images were present in 3.4% of ETDRS photos versus 31.8% of ARIS images. Exact agreement and agreement within one level between ETDRS photos and ARIS images using only completely gradable image sets occurred in 69% (κ=0.81) and 90% of cases, respectively. Exact agreement for clinically significant macular edema was 92.1% (κ=0.59). There was 100% agreement for eyes with high-risk proliferative DR. Within one level of DR severity, 100% agreement occurred for the following: questionable nonproliferative DR (NPDR), moderate NPDR, and severe NPDR. CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that semiautomated ARIS images compare favorably with ETDRS photos when full image sets can be obtained; however, partially ungradable image sets occurred almost 10 times more frequently with ARIS images than with ETDRS photos. In the two-thirds of cases where ARIS images can be utilized, ARIS can obtain retinal images comparable to ETDRS photos while requiring less highly trained personnel than generally needed for standard ETDRS photos.
Makino CL. Easy does it when bleaching isolated mouse rods. J Physiol 2012;590(11):2551-2.
Makino CL, Wen X-H, Olshevskaya EV, Peshenko IV, Savchenko AB, Dizhoor AM. Enzymatic relay mechanism stimulates cyclic GMP synthesis in rod photoresponse: biochemical and physiological study in guanylyl cyclase activating protein 1 knockout mice. PLoS One 2012;7(10):e47637.Abstract
Regulation of cGMP synthesis by retinal membrane guanylyl cyclase isozymes (RetGC1 and RetGC2) in rod and cone photoreceptors by calcium-sensitive guanylyl cyclase activating proteins (GCAP1 and GCAP2) is one of the key molecular mechanisms affecting the response to light and is involved in congenital retinal diseases. The objective of this study was to identify the physiological sequence of events underlying RetGC activation in vivo, by studying the electrophysiological and biochemical properties of mouse rods in a new genetic model lacking GCAP1. The GCAP1(-/-) retinas expressed normal levels of RetGC isozymes and other phototransduction proteins, with the exception of GCAP2, whose expression was elevated in a compensatory fashion. RetGC activity in GCAP1(-/-) retinas became more sensitive to Ca(2+) and slightly increased. The bright flash response in electroretinogram (ERG) recordings recovered quickly in GCAP1(-/-), as well as in RetGC1(-/-)GCAP1(-/-), and RetGC2(-/-)GCAP1(-/-) hybrid rods, indicating that GCAP2 activates both RetGC isozymes in vivo. Individual GCAP1(-/-) rod responses varied in size and shape, likely reflecting variable endogenous GCAP2 levels between different cells, but single-photon response (SPR) amplitude and time-to-peak were typically increased, while recovery kinetics remained faster than in wild type. Recovery from bright flashes in GCAP1(-/-) was prominently biphasic, because rare, aberrant SPRs producing the slower tail component were magnified. These data provide strong physiological evidence that rod photoresponse recovery is shaped by the sequential recruitment of RetGC isozyme activation by GCAPs according to the different GCAP sensitivities for Ca(2+) and specificities toward RetGC isozymes. GCAP1 is the 'first-response' sensor protein that stimulates RetGC1 early in the response and thus limits the SPR amplitude, followed by activation of GCAP2 that adds stimulation of both RetGC1 and RetGC2 to speed-up photoreceptor recovery.
Makino CL, Wen X-H, Michaud NA, Covington HI, DiBenedetto E, Hamm HE, Lem J, Caruso G. Rhodopsin expression level affects rod outer segment morphology and photoresponse kinetics. PLoS One 2012;7(5):e37832.Abstract
BACKGROUND: The retinal rod outer segment is a sensory cilium that is specialized for the conversion of light into an electrical signal. Within the cilium, up to several thousand membranous disks contain as many as a billion copies of rhodopsin for efficient photon capture. Disks are continually turned over, requiring the daily synthesis of a prodigious amount of rhodopsin. To promote axial diffusion in the aqueous cytoplasm, the disks have one or more incisures. Across vertebrates, the range of disk diameters spans an order of magnitude, and the number and length of the incisures vary considerably, but the mechanisms controlling disk architecture are not well understood. The finding that transgenic mice overexpressing rhodopsin have enlarged disks lacking an incisure prompted us to test whether lowered rhodopsin levels constrain disk assembly. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The structure and function of rods from hemizygous rhodopsin knockout (R+/-) mice with decreased rhodopsin expression were analyzed by transmission electron microscopy and single cell recording. R+/- rods were structurally altered in three ways: disk shape changed from circular to elliptical, disk surface area decreased, and the single incisure lengthened to divide the disk into two sections. Photocurrent responses to flashes recovered more rapidly than normal. A spatially resolved model of phototransduction indicated that changes in the packing densities of rhodopsin and other transduction proteins were responsible. The decrease in aqueous outer segment volume and the lengthened incisure had only minor effects on photon response amplitude and kinetics. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Rhodopsin availability limits disk assembly and outer segment girth in normal rods. The incisure may buffer the supply of structural proteins needed to form larger disks. Decreased rhodopsin level accelerated photoresponse kinetics by increasing the rates of molecular collisions on the membrane. Faster responses, together with fewer rhodopsins, combine to lower overall sensitivity of R+/- rods to light.
McIlreavy L, Fiser J, Bex PJ. Impact of simulated central scotomas on visual search in natural scenes. Optom Vis Sci 2012;89(9):1385-94.Abstract
PURPOSE: In performing search tasks, the visual system encodes information across the visual field at a resolution inversely related to eccentricity and deploys saccades to place visually interesting targets upon the fovea, where resolution is highest. The serial process of fixation, punctuated by saccadic eye movements, continues until the desired target has been located. Loss of central vision restricts the ability to resolve the high spatial information of a target, interfering with this visual search process. We investigate oculomotor adaptations to central visual field loss with gaze-contingent artificial scotomas. METHODS: Spatial distortions were placed at random locations in 25° square natural scenes. Gaze-contingent artificial central scotomas were updated at the screen rate (75 Hz) based on a 250 Hz eye tracker. Eight subjects searched the natural scene for the spatial distortion and indicated its location using a mouse-controlled cursor. RESULTS: As the central scotoma size increased, the mean search time increased [F(3,28) = 5.27, p = 0.05], and the spatial distribution of gaze points during fixation increased significantly along the x [F(3,28) = 6.33, p = 0.002] and y [F(3,28) = 3.32, p = 0.034] axes. Oculomotor patterns of fixation duration, saccade size, and saccade duration did not change significantly, regardless of scotoma size. CONCLUSIONS: There is limited automatic adaptation of the oculomotor system after simulated central vision loss.
Merabet LB, Connors EC, Halko MA, Sánchez J. Teaching the blind to find their way by playing video games. PLoS One 2012;7(9):e44958.Abstract
Computer based video games are receiving great interest as a means to learn and acquire new skills. As a novel approach to teaching navigation skills in the blind, we have developed Audio-based Environment Simulator (AbES); a virtual reality environment set within the context of a video game metaphor. Despite the fact that participants were naïve to the overall purpose of the software, we found that early blind users were able to acquire relevant information regarding the spatial layout of a previously unfamiliar building using audio based cues alone. This was confirmed by a series of behavioral performance tests designed to assess the transfer of acquired spatial information to a large-scale, real-world indoor navigation task. Furthermore, learning the spatial layout through a goal directed gaming strategy allowed for the mental manipulation of spatial information as evidenced by enhanced navigation performance when compared to an explicit route learning strategy. We conclude that the immersive and highly interactive nature of the software greatly engages the blind user to actively explore the virtual environment. This in turn generates an accurate sense of a large-scale three-dimensional space and facilitates the learning and transfer of navigation skills to the physical world.
Moskowitz A, Hansen RM, Eklund SE, Fulton AB. Electroretinographic (ERG) responses in pediatric patients using vigabatrin. Doc Ophthalmol 2012;124(3):197-209.Abstract
The antiepileptic drug vigabatrin is known to cause retinal and visual dysfunction, particularly visual field defects, in some patients. Electroretinography (ERG) is used in an attempt to identify adverse effects of vigabatrin (VGB) in patients who are not candidates for conventional perimetry. We report data from 114 pediatric patients taking VGB referred for clinical evaluation; median age at test was 22.9 (2.4 to 266.1) months, and median duration of VGB use was 9.7 (0.3 to 140.7) months. Twenty-seven of them were tested longitudinally (3 to 12 ERG tests). ERG responses to full-field stimuli were recorded in scotopic and photopic conditions, and results were compared to responses from healthy control subjects. We found that abnormalities of photoreceptor and post-receptor ERG responses are frequent in these young patients. The most frequently abnormal scotopic parameter was post-receptor sensitivity, log σ, derived from the b-wave stimulus-response function; the most frequently abnormal photopic parameter was the implicit time of the OFF response (d-wave) to a long (150 ms) flash. Abnormal 30-Hz flicker response amplitude, previously reported to be a predictor of visual field loss, occurred infrequently. For the group as a whole, none of the ERG parameters changed significantly with increasing duration of VGB use. Four of the 27 patients tested longitudinally showed systematic worsening of log σ with duration of VGB use. In a subset of patients who underwent perimetry (N = 39), there was no significant association of any ERG parameter with visual field defects. We cannot determine whether the ERG abnormalities we found were due solely to the effects of VGB. We caution against over-reliance on the ERG to monitor pediatric patients for VGB toxicity and recommend further development of a reliable test of peripheral vision to supplant ERG testing.
Moysidis SN, Thanos A, Vavvas DG. Mechanisms of inflammation in proliferative vitreoretinopathy: from bench to bedside. Mediators Inflamm 2012;2012:815937.Abstract
Proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) is a vision-threatening disease and a common complication of surgery to correct rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD). Several models of the pathogenesis of this disease have been described with some of these models focusing on the role of inflammatory cells and other models focusing on the role of growth factors and cytokines in the vitreous which come into contact with intraretinal and retinal pigment epithelial cells. New experiments have shed light on the pathogenesis of PVR and offer promising avenues for clinical intervention before PVR develops. One such target is the indirect pathway of activation of platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGRα), which plays an important role in PVR. Clinical trials assessing the efficacy of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH), daunorubicin, and 13-cis-retinoic acid, among other therapies, have yielded mixed results. Here we review inflammatory and other mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of PVR, we highlight important clinical trials, and we discuss how findings at the bench have the potential to be translated to the bedside.
Murakami Y, Matsumoto H, Roh M, Suzuki J, Hisatomi T, Ikeda Y, Miller JW, Vavvas DG. Receptor interacting protein kinase mediates necrotic cone but not rod cell death in a mouse model of inherited degeneration. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2012;109(36):14598-603.Abstract
Retinitis pigmentosa comprises a group of inherited retinal photoreceptor degenerations that lead to progressive loss of vision. Although in most cases rods, but not cones, harbor the deleterious gene mutations, cones do die in this disease, usually after the main phase of rod cell loss. Rod photoreceptor death is characterized by apoptotic features. In contrast, the mechanisms and features of subsequent nonautonomous cone cell death remain largely unknown. In this study, we show that receptor-interacting protein (RIP) kinase mediates necrotic cone cell death in rd10 mice, a mouse model of retinitis pigmentosa caused by a mutation in a rod-specific gene. The expression of RIP3, a key regulator of programmed necrosis, was elevated in rd10 mouse retinas in the phase of cone but not rod degeneration. Although rd10 mice lacking Rip3 developed comparable rod degeneration to control rd10 mice, they displayed a significant preservation of cone cells. Ultrastructural analysis of rd10 mouse retinas revealed that a substantial fraction of dying cones exhibited necrotic morphology, which was rescued by Rip3 deficiency. Additionally, pharmacologic treatment with a RIP kinase inhibitor attenuated histological and functional deficits of cones in rd10 mice. Thus, necrotic mechanisms involving RIP kinase are crucial in cone cell death in inherited retinal degeneration, suggesting the RIP kinase pathway as a potential target to protect cone-mediated central and peripheral vision loss in patients with retinitis pigementosa.
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Oliveira C, Cestari DM, Rizzo JF. The use of fourth-generation optical coherence tomography in multiple sclerosis: a review. Semin Ophthalmol 2012;27(5-6):187-91.Abstract
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) has been routinely used to obtain high spatial resolution images of the retina and choroid non-invasively. Within the past decade, a fourth-generation OCT device using Fourier domain (FD) analysis has been developed that provides higher velocity and higher axial resolution images with better reproducibility than the previous generation time domain (TD) OCT technology. This review addresses the use of fourth-generation, FD ocular OCT in patients with multiple sclerosis.
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Palmer KL, Godfrey P, Griggs A, Kos VN, Zucker J, Desjardins C, Cerqueira G, Gevers D, Walker S, Wortman J, Feldgarden M, Haas B, Birren B, Gilmore MS. Comparative genomics of enterococci: variation in Enterococcus faecalis, clade structure in E. faecium, and defining characteristics of E. gallinarum and E. casseliflavus. MBio 2012;3(1):e00318-11.Abstract
The enterococci are Gram-positive lactic acid bacteria that inhabit the gastrointestinal tracts of diverse hosts. However, Enterococcus faecium and E. faecalis have emerged as leading causes of multidrug-resistant hospital-acquired infections. The mechanism by which a well-adapted commensal evolved into a hospital pathogen is poorly understood. In this study, we examined high-quality draft genome data for evidence of key events in the evolution of the leading causes of enterococcal infections, including E. faecalis, E. faecium, E. casseliflavus, and E. gallinarum. We characterized two clades within what is currently classified as E. faecium and identified traits characteristic of each, including variation in operons for cell wall carbohydrate and putative capsule biosynthesis. We examined the extent of recombination between the two E. faecium clades and identified two strains with mosaic genomes. We determined the underlying genetics for the defining characteristics of the motile enterococci E. casseliflavus and E. gallinarum. Further, we identified species-specific traits that could be used to advance the detection of medically relevant enterococci and their identification to the species level.
Park EY, Kazlauskas A. Primary human endothelial cells secrete agents that reduce responsiveness to lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). Biosci Rep 2012;32(4):393-400.Abstract
The plasma level of LPA (lysophosphatidic acid) (200-600 nM) is well within the range that promotes proliferation and migration of vascular ECs (endothelial cells), yet vessels are quiescent and stable. In this report, we considered one explanation for this paradox: that ECs secrete agents that attenuate responsiveness to LPA. Indeed, we observed that CM (conditioned medium) from confluent, quiescent cultures of primary HUVECs (human umbilical vein ECs) contained an agent that inhibited LPA-mediated signalling events and cellular responses. The putative inhibitor, which we tentatively call ILMR (inhibitor of LPA-mediated responsiveness) seemed to act on cells (instead of at the level of LPA) by suppressing the ability of LPA receptor 1 to signal. The amount and/or activity of ILMR was regulated by growth factors; exposing HUVECs to VEGF-A (vascular endothelial growth factor A), but not bFGF (basic fibroblast growth factor), reduced the amount and/or activity of ILMR in CM. We conclude that in addition to promoting angiogenesis directly, VEGF-A can also act indirectly by modulating the bioactivity of angiomodulators such as LPA.
Pemberton JD, Fay A. Idiopathic sclerosing orbital inflammation: a review of demographics, clinical presentation, imaging, pathology, treatment, and outcome. Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg 2012;28(1):79-83.Abstract
PURPOSE: To characterize clinical features, diagnostics studies, treatments, and outcomes of patients with histologically proven idiopathic sclerosing orbital inflammation (ISOI), to define optimal management for this recalcitrant disease, and to determine changes in characterization and management by comparing our results with the last significant literature review. METHODS: A search of the U.S. National Library of Medicine: National Institutes of Health's electronic database for cases and case series in the English literature of biopsy-proven ISOI published between March 1994 and September 2010 was conducted. A cross-literature review was performed to tabulate demographics, clinical findings, studies, treatments, and outcomes, which were compared with the ISOI data published by Rootman et al. (1994). RESULTS: Sixty-one cases, 71 eyes from 17 published reports, met inclusion criteria. No ethnic, sex, or comorbidity predilection was established. Patients typically presented in the fourth decade with proptosis (73%), pain (49%), and normal vision (44%). Orbital imaging and histopathology were sparsely reported. Most common treatments involved systemic corticosteroids either alone (34%) or combined with other modalities (51%). CONCLUSIONS: Characteristics of the disease remain unchanged, and best management was not determined due to inconsistent reporting methods across the literature. Collaboration with established groups (i.e., European Group On Graves Orbitopathy (EUGOGO), International Thyroid Eye Disease Society (ITEDS)) or the formation of a new group of physicians and scientists to help develop a systematic approach for future reporting and evaluation was proposed.
Pennock S, Kazlauskas A. Vascular endothelial growth factor A competitively inhibits platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-dependent activation of PDGF receptor and subsequent signaling events and cellular responses. Mol Cell Biol 2012;32(10):1955-66.Abstract
Certain platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) isoforms are associated with proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR), a sight-threatening complication that develops in a subset of patients recovering from retinal reattachment surgery. Although these PDGF isoforms are abundant in the vitreous of patients and experimental animals with PVR, they make only a minor contribution to activating PDGF receptor α (PDGFRα) and driving experimental PVR. Rather, growth factors outside of the PDGF family are the primary (and indirect) agonists of PDGFRα. These observations beg the question of why vitreal PDGFs fail to activate PDGFRα. We report here that vitreous contains an inhibitor of PDGF-dependent activation of PDGFRα and that a major portion of this inhibitory activity is due to vascular endothelial cell growth factor A (VEGF-A). Furthermore, recombinant VEGF-A competitively blocks PDGF-dependent binding and activation of PDGFR, signaling events, and cellular responses. These findings unveil a previously unappreciated relationship between distant members of the PDGF/VEGF family that may contribute to pathogenesis of a blinding eye disease.
Perry LPJ. The evaluation of patients with traumatic cataracts by ultrasound technologies. Semin Ophthalmol 2012;27(5-6):121-4.Abstract
Surgery for traumatic cataracts is a potentially complex procedure. Clinically, traumatic cataracts may be difficult to thoroughly assess due to the presence of other significant ocular damage including corneal scars, posterior synechiae, and vitreous hemorrhage. Frequently, surgery involves surprises regarding the integrity of the posterior capsule and zonular structure. Careful ophthalmic imaging using ultrasound technologies may result in finer pre-operative detail regarding lens support structures, and may therefore give the surgeon the advantage when planning surgery. Imaging techniques most applicable to pre-operative evaluation include B scan ultrasound, 20MHz ultrasound, and ultrasound biomicroscopy. Important modifications to technique that can be made depending on the integrity of lens support structures include adjustment of wound location, adjustment in the technique for cataract removal, and possible use of a capsular tension ring.
Perry LJP, Jakobiec FA, Zakka FR, Rubin PAD. Giant dacryocystomucopyocele in an adult: a review of lacrimal sac enlargements with clinical and histopathologic differential diagnoses. Surv Ophthalmol 2012;57(5):474-85.Abstract
Dacryocystocele is an umbrella term that refers to any diffuse, centrifugal enlargement of the lacrimal sac that results from combined proximal and distal obstructions in the tear drainage system. In adults, the presence of mucus in the cyst's contents leads to the modified term of dacryocystomucocele. If infection supervenes, which almost always occurs in protracted cases and adds the clinical dimension of a dacryocystitis, then a dacryocystomucopyocele is created. Dacryocystocele and its congeners are much rarer in adults than in children. We describe a 95-year-old woman with an acquired, enormous dacryocystomucopyocele, larger than any previously reported, that developed over 25 years and produced globe displacement with an associated conspicuous enlargement of the nasolacrimal duct. The aspirated sac fluid was mucopurulent and harbored low-virulence bacterial organisms of the Prevotella and Petosteptococcus species. In infants, dacryocystoceles are transitory as the result of spontaneously reversible factors. In adults, secondary proximal irreversible fibrotic strictures or bony changes around the nasolacrimal duct typically arise from chronic inflammation or low grade infection. Other possible causations of duct obstruction, in addition to florid mucosal edema, include encroachment on the duct by enlarged contiguous ethmoid air cells; a sinus mucocele or sinusitis; idiopathic, post-traumatic or dysplastic bony remodeling of the wall of the duct; and a neoplasm-all of which require some form of surgical intervention, typically dacryocystorhinostomy. The differential diagnosis of medial canthal swellings centered on the lacrimal sac spans malformations, diverticula, dermoid/epidermoid cysts, sac inflammations/infections causing swelling without generalized sac enlargement, encephaloceles and primary epithelial tumors, as well as extrinsic tumors impinging on the sac.
Perry LPJ, Jakobiec FA, Zakka FR. Bacterial and mucopeptide concretions of the lacrimal drainage system: an analysis of 30 cases. Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg 2012;28(2):126-33.Abstract
PURPOSE: To demonstrate the histopathologic characteristics of different types of lacrimal drainage system concretions with clinical correlations. METHODS: Thirty lacrimal drainage system concretions submitted to the Cogan Eye Pathology Laboratory at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary over a 2-year period were reviewed. Concretions were studied in detail using their histopathologic staining features as revealed with hematoxylin and eosin, Gomori methenamine silver, periodic acid-Schiff, iron stain, and Brown-Hopps tissue gram stain. A separate retrospective chart review was conducted for each patient to identify any clinical correlations. RESULTS: Two major forms of concretions were identified histopathologically: mucopeptide (7) and bacterial (20). Mucopeptide concretions were found exclusively within the lacrimal sac, while bacterial concretions were found chiefly in the canaliculus. A third category of "mixed" concretions with substantial mucopeptide and bacterial characteristics comprised 3 specimens. Bacterial concretions consisted of large matted masses of filamentous, presumed Actinomyces organisms that were easily identified with the Grocott's methenamine silver stain; they were frequently cocolonized at their edges with coccal bacterial forms. Mucopeptide concretions were generally devoid of cellular elements and were composed of broad bland whorls of diffusely eosinophilic, acellular, periodic acid-Schiff-positive material punctuated by lacunae. They were often cocolonized by small numbers of bacterial cocci and occasional fungi. Culture results disclosed low virulence species. All 3 types of concretions predominated in women. Patients with bacterial concretions frequently had dry eye symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: The 2 major types of lacrimal system concretions differ in their primary location and histopathologic composition. Further characterization may lead to an understanding of the mechanisms for their formation. Mucopeptide concretion is more appropriate than terms such as "dacryolith" and "mucolith," and bacterial concretion is a more appropriate term than "canaliculith," because of the absence of significant calcium or stone-like density in these masses.
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Qu J, Matsouaka R, Betensky RA, Hyman BT, Grosskreutz CL. Calcineurin activation causes retinal ganglion cell degeneration. Mol Vis 2012;18:2828-38.Abstract
PURPOSE: We previously reported that calcineurin, a Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent serine/threonine phosphatase, is activated and proposed that it participates in retinal ganglion cell (RGC) apoptosis in two rodent ocular hypertension models. In this study, we tested whether calcineurin activation by itself, even in the absence of ocular hypertension, is sufficient to cause RGC degeneration. METHODS: We compared RGC and optic nerve morphology after adeno-associated virus serotype 2 (AAV2)-mediated transduction of RGCs with constitutively active calcineurin (CaNCA) or unactivated, wild-type calcineurin (CaNwt). Retinas and optic nerves were harvested 7-16 weeks after injection of the AAV into mouse vitreous. In flatmounted retinas, the transduced RGCs were identified with immunohistochemistry. The morphology of the RGCs was revealed by immunostaining for neurofilament SMI32 or by using GFP-M transgenic mice. A modified Sholl analysis was applied to analyze the RGC dendritic morphology. Optic nerve damage was assessed with optic nerve grading according to the Morrison standard. RESULTS: CaNwt and CaNCA were highly expressed in the injected eyes. Compared to the CaNwt-expressing RGCs, the CaNCA-expressing RGCs had smaller somas, smaller dendritic field areas, shorter total dendrite lengths, and simpler dendritic branching patterns. At 16 weeks, the CaNCA-expressing eyes had greater optic nerve damage than the CaNwt-expressing eyes. CONCLUSIONS: Calcineurin activation is sufficient to cause RGC dendritic degeneration and optic nerve damage. These data support the hypothesis that calcineurin activation is an important mediator of RGC degeneration, and are consistent with the hypothesis that calcineurin activation may contribute to RGC neurodegeneration in glaucoma.
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Rajaiya J, Yousuf MA, Singh G, Stanish H, Chodosh J. Heat shock protein 27 mediated signaling in viral infection. Biochemistry 2012;51(28):5695-702.Abstract
Heat shock proteins (HSPs) play a critical role in many intracellular processes, including apoptosis and delivery of other proteins to intracellular compartments. Small HSPs have been shown previously to participate in many cellular functions, including IL-8 induction. Human adenovirus infection activates intracellular signaling, involving particularly the c-Src and mitogen-activated protein kinases [Natarajan, K., et al. (2003) J. Immunol. 170, 6234-6243]. HSP27 and MK2 are also phosphorylated, and c-Src, and its downstream targets, p38, ERK1/2, and c-Jun-terminal kinase (JNK), differentially mediate IL-8 and MCP-1 expression. Specifically, activation and translocation of transcription factor NFκB-p65 occurs in a p38-dependent fashion [Rajaiya, J., et al. (2009) Mol. Vision 15, 2879-2889]. Herein, we report a novel role for HSP27 in an association of p38 with NFκB-p65. Immunoprecipitation assays of virus-infected but not mock-infected cells revealed a signaling complex including p38 and NFκB-p65. Transfection with HSP27 short interfering RNA (siRNA) but not scrambled RNA disrupted this association and reduced the level of IL-8 expression. Transfection with HSP27 siRNA also reduced the level of nuclear localization of NFκB-p65 and p38. By use of tagged p38 mutants, we found that amino acids 279-347 of p38 are necessary for the association of p38 with NFκB-p65. These studies strongly suggest that HSP27, p38, and NFκB-p65 form a signalosome in virus-infected cells and influence downstream expression of pro-inflammatory mediators.

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