The enterococci evolved over eons as highly adapted members of gastrointestinal consortia of a wide variety of hosts, but for reasons that are not entirely clear, emerged in the 1970s as leading causes of multidrug resistant hospital infection. Hospital-adapted pathogenic isolates are characterized by the presence of multiple mobile elements conferring antibiotic resistance, as well as pathogenicity islands, capsule loci and other variable traits. Enterococci may have been primed to emerge among the vanguard of antibiotic resistant strains because of their occurrence in the GI tracts of insects and simple organisms living and feeding on organic matter that is colonized by antibiotic resistant, antibiotic producing micro-organisms. In response to the opportunity to inhabit a new niche--the antibiotic treated hospital patient--the enterococcal genome is evolving in a pattern characteristic of other bacteria that have emerged as pathogens because of opportunities stemming from anthropogenic change.
Aging of the ocular surface and corneal tissues, major components of the visual system, causes major eye disease and results in substantial cost in medical and social terms. These diseases include the highly prevalent dry eye disease that affects the ocular surface and its glands, leading to tear film alterations, discomfort, and decreased vision. Studies show that 14.4% of the population in the United States older than 50 years have dry eye disease and demonstrate that it is particularly prevalent among women. Annual medical costs per patient with dry eye in the United States are estimated at $783 per year, with an overall medical cost adjusted to prevalence of $3.84 billion per year. Societal costs, which include loss of productivity, are estimated per patient at $11,302 per year, with overall costs adjusted to prevalence of $55.4 billion per year. Because there are few effective treatments for the disease, more research on its etiology and mechanisms is warranted and needed. Increased public education about risk factors for the disease is also required. Another major age-related eye disease of the cornea that leads to vision impairment and potentially blindness if left untreated is Fuchs' endothelial corneal dystrophy. This disease leads to loss of the endothelial cells on the internal side of the cornea that are responsible for keeping the cornea in the proper hydration state to ensure its transparency to light. The mechanism of cell loss is unknown, and the only treatment available to date is surgical transplantation of the cornea or inner part of the cornea. These medically costly procedures require donor corneas, eye banking, and medical follow-up, with accrued costs. Fuchs' endothelial corneal dystrophy is a major cause of corneal transplantation in the United States; therefore, research support is needed to determine the mechanism of this age-related disease, to develop medical, nonsurgical methods for treatment.
PURPOSE: To determine the 1-year post-treatment dry eye status of subjects with meibomian gland dysfunction and dry eye symptoms after receiving a single LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System treatment. DESIGN: Single-centre, prospective, observational, open-label, 1-month-registered clinical trial with a 1-year follow-up examination. PARTICIPANTS: Patients with evaporative dry eye disease with meibomian gland dysfunction and dry eye symptoms who had participated in the registered 1-month clinical trial. METHODS: Eighteen of 30 subjects initially enrolled were able to return for a 1-year follow-up. Both eyes of all patients were treated with a single 12-min treatment using the LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System. Meibomian gland function, tear break-up time and dry eye symptoms were measured. Data are presented for pretreatment (baseline), and 1-month and 1-year post-treatment. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Meibomian gland secretion scores, and tear break-up time and dry eye symptoms. RESULTS: Significant improvement in meibomian gland secretion scores from baseline measurements (4.0 ± 3.4) to 1-month post-treatment (11.3 ± 4.7; P < 0.0005) was maintained at 1-year (7.3 ± 4.6; P < 0.05). Baseline tear break-up time (4.9 ± 3.0) was significantly increased at 1-month (9.5 ± 6.9; P < 0.05); however, this improvement was no longer evident at 1-year post-treatment (6.0 ± 4.4). The significant improvement in symptom scores on Ocular Surface Disease Index and Standard Patient Evaluation of Eye Dryness questionnaires observed at 1-month (P < 0.0005) was maintained at 1-year (Ocular Surface Disease Index [P < 0.05]; Standard Patient Evaluation of Eye Dryness [P < 0.0005]). CONCLUSION: A single 12-min treatment with the Lipi Flow Thermal Pulsation System offers an effective treatment for evaporative dry eye and meibomian gland dysfunction resulting in significant and sustained improvement in signs and symptoms for up to 1 year.
Common variable immune deficiency (CVID) is characterized by reduced serum immune globulins and impaired or absent antibody responses. Patients become more susceptible to infections and to lymphoproliferation and granulomatous inflammation. Ophthalmic manifestations of CVID are rare. The authors describe a case of orbital follicular hyperplasia in a 15-year-old girl with CVID syndrome causing proptosis and exposure keratopathy.
Purpose. We describe in detail a relatively simple technique of fundus photography in human and rabbit eyes using a smartphone, an inexpensive app for the smartphone, and instruments that are readily available in an ophthalmic practice. Methods. Fundus images were captured with a smartphone and a 20D lens with or without a Koeppe lens. By using the coaxial light source of the phone, this system works as an indirect ophthalmoscope that creates a digital image of the fundus. The application whose software allows for independent control of focus, exposure, and light intensity during video filming was used. With this app, we recorded high-definition videos of the fundus and subsequently extracted high-quality, still images from the video clip. Results. The described technique of smartphone fundus photography was able to capture excellent high-quality fundus images in both children under anesthesia and in awake adults. Excellent images were acquired with the 20D lens alone in the clinic, and the addition of the Koeppe lens in the operating room resulted in the best quality images. Successful photodocumentation of rabbit fundus was achieved in control and experimental eyes. Conclusion. The currently described system was able to take consistently high-quality fundus photographs in patients and in animals using readily available instruments that are portable with simple power sources. It is relatively simple to master, is relatively inexpensive, and can take advantage of the expanding mobile-telephone networks for telemedicine.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the pharmacogenetic relationship between genotypes of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) known to be associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and response to treatment with ranibizumab (Lucentis; Genentech, South San Francisco, CA) or bevacizumab (Avastin; Genentech) for neovascular AMD. DESIGN: Clinical trial. PARTICIPANTS: Eight hundred thirty-four (73%) of 1149 patients participating in the Comparison of AMD Treatments Trials (CATT) were recruited through 43 CATT clinical centers. METHODS: Each patient was genotyped for SNPs rs1061170 (CFH), rs10490924 (ARMS2), rs11200638 (HTRA1), and rs2230199 (C3), using TaqMan SNP genotyping assays (Applied Biosystems, Foster City, CA). MAIN OUTCOMES MEASURES: Genotypic frequencies were compared with clinical measures of response to therapy at one year, including mean visual acuity (VA), mean change in VA, 15-letter or more increase in VA, retinal thickness, mean change in total foveal thickness, presence of fluid on OCT, presence of leakage on fluorescein angiography (FA), mean change in lesion size, and mean number of injections administered. Differences in response by genotype were evaluated with tests of linear trend calculated from logistic regression models for categorical outcomes and linear regression models for continuous outcomes. To adjust for multiple comparisons, P≤0.01 was considered statistically significant. RESULTS: No statistically significant differences in response by genotype were identified for any of the clinical measures studied. Specifically, there were no high-risk alleles that predicted final VA or change in VA, the degree of anatomic response (fluid on OCT or FA, retinal thickness, change in total foveal thickness, change in lesion size), or the number of injections. Furthermore, a stepwise analysis failed to show a significant epistatic interaction among the variants analyzed; that is, response did not vary by the number of risk alleles present. The lack of association was similar whether patients were treated with ranibizumab or bevacizumab or whether they received monthly or pro re nata dosing. CONCLUSIONS: Although specific alleles for CFH, ARMS2, HTRA1, and C3 may predict the development of AMD, they did not predict response to anti-vascular endothelial growth factor therapy.
PURPOSE: Herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO), thought to be a unilateral disease, results in loss of corneal sensation, leading to neurotrophic keratopathy. This study aimed to analyze bilateral corneal nerve changes in patients with HZO by in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) and their correlation with corneal sensation as a measure of nerve function.
DESIGN: Prospective, cross-sectional, controlled, single-center study.
PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-seven eyes with the diagnosis of HZO and their contralateral clinically unaffected eyes were studied and compared with normal controls (n = 15).
METHODS: In vivo confocal microscopy (Confoscan 4; Nidek Technologies, Gamagori, Japan) and corneal esthesiometry (Cochet-Bonnet; Luneau Ophthalmologie, Chartres, France) of the central cornea were performed bilaterally in all patients and controls. Patients were grouped into normal (>5.5 cm), mild (>2.5-5.5 cm), and severe (<2.5 cm) loss of sensation.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Changes in corneal nerve density, total nerve number, main nerve trunks, branching, and tortuosity were evaluated after IVCM and were correlated to corneal sensation, disease duration, and number of recurrences.
RESULTS: Eyes with herpes zoster ophthalmicus had a significant (P<0.001) decrease in total nerve length (595.8±358.1 vs. 2258.4±989.0 μm/frame), total number of nerves (5.4±2.8 vs. 13.1±3.8), number of main nerve trunks (2.3±1.1 vs. 4.7±1.2), and number of nerve branches (3.2±2.3 vs. 8.4±3.7) as compared with controls. In the contralateral clinically unaffected eyes, total nerve length (1053.1±441.4 μm/frame), total number of nerves (8.3±2.9), and main nerve trunks (3.1±1.0) also were decreased significantly as compared with controls (P<0.01). Reduced nerve density, total nerve count, main trunks, and tortuosity was correlated significantly with corneal sensation across all subgroups (P<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Patients with unilateral HZO demonstrated a profound and significant bilateral loss of the corneal nerve plexus as compared with controls, demonstrating bilateral changes in a clinically unilateral disease. Loss of corneal sensation strongly correlated with subbasal nerve plexus alterations as shown by IVCM.
FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE(S): The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.
The ocular surface including the cornea and conjunctiva and its overlying tear film are the first tissues of the eye to interact with the external environment. The tear film is complex containing multiple layers secreted by different glands and tissues. Each layer contains specific molecules and proteins that not only maintain the health of the cells on the ocular surface by providing nourishment and removal of waste products but also protect these cells from environment. A major protective mechanism that the corneal and conjunctival cells have developed is secretion of the innermost layer of the tear film, the mucous layer. Both the cornea and conjunctiva express membrane spanning mucins, whereas the conjunctiva also produces soluble mucins. The mucins present in the tear film serve to maintain the hydration of the ocular surface and to provide lubrication and anti-adhesive properties between the cells of the ocular surface and conjunctiva during the blink. A third function is to contribute to the epithelial barrier to prevent pathogens from binding to the ocular surface. This review will focus on the different types of mucins produced by the corneal and conjunctival epithelia. Also included in this review will be a presentation of the structure of mucins, regulation of mucin production, role of mucins in ocular surface diseases, and the differences in mucin production by the ocular surface, airways and gastrointestinal tract.
We describe the design and construction of a headlight glare simulator to be used with a driving simulator. The system combines a modified programmable off-the-shelf LED display board and a beamsplitter so that the LED lights, representing the headlights of oncoming cars, are superimposed over the driving simulator headlights image. Ideal spatial arrangement of optical components to avoid misalignments of the superimposed images is hard to achieve in practice and variations inevitably introduce some parallax. Furthermore, the driver's viewing position varies with driver's height and seating position preferences exacerbate such misalignment. We reduce the parallax errors using an intuitive calibration procedure (simple drag-and-drop alignment of nine LED positions with calibration dots on the screen). To simulate the dynamics of headlight brightness changes when two vehicles are approaching, LED intensity control algorithms based on both headlight and LED beam shapes were developed. The simulation errors were estimated and compared to real-world headlight brightness variability.
Synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within a transcript's coding region produce no change in the amino acid sequence of the protein product and are therefore intuitively assumed to have a neutral effect on protein function. We report that two common variants of high-temperature requirement A1 (HTRA1) that increase the inherited risk of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (NvAMD) harbor synonymous SNPs within exon 1 of HTRA1 that convert common codons for Ala34 and Gly36 to less frequently used codons. The frequent-to-rare codon conversion reduced the mRNA translation rate and appeared to compromise HtrA1's conformation and function. The protein product generated from the SNP-containing cDNA displayed enhanced susceptibility to proteolysis and a reduced affinity for an anti-HtrA1 antibody. The NvAMD-associated synonymous polymorphisms lie within HtrA1's putative insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) binding domain. They reduced HtrA1's abilities to associate with IGF-1 and to ameliorate IGF-1-stimulated signaling events and cellular responses. These observations highlight the relevance of synonymous codon usage to protein function and implicate homeostatic protein quality control mechanisms that may go awry in NvAMD.
PURPOSE: To demonstrate the value of a diagnostic biopsy of a fixed episcleral nodule overlying a uveal mass. METHOD: Clinicopathologic report with immunohistochemical investigations. RESULTS: B-scan ultrasonographic biomicroscopy disclosed in a 67-year-old man an asymptomatic placoid ciliary body tumor measuring 1.28 mm in thickness underlying a poorly pigmented, fixed episcleral nodule 0.56 mm in thickness. Biopsy of the episcleral nodule displayed benign nevus-type spindle cells with small nuclei, punctate nucleoli, no mitoses, and scattered melanophages. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated that the tumor cells were Ki67 negative (proliferation index, 0) and MART-1, HMB-45, and microphthalmia-associated transcription factor positive, all melanocytic markers. The melanophages but not the tumor cells were CD68 positive, a histiocytic marker. CONCLUSIONS: The results from biopsying an episcleral nodule can help to select among therapeutic options in managing an associated ciliary body tumor. A 1-year follow-up study and 3 sequential ultrasonographic studies in the current patient have failed to document the growth of the intraocular tumor, further confirming that it is a nevus. The excised epibulbar tumor has not recurred.
PURPOSE: To evaluate clinicopathologically and immunohistochemically a spectrum of conjunctival squamous proliferations. DESIGN: Retrospective clinicopathologic study. METHODS: One large cell acanthoma, 7 epidermoid dysplasias, and 4 squamous papillomas were evaluated with microscopy and biomarkers Ki-67, p53, epithelial membrane antigen (EMA), Ber-EP4, AE1, AE3, and 8 individual cytokeratins. Normal associated conjunctiva served as a baseline for interpretation. RESULTS: The large cell acanthoma recurred 4 times but retained its benign histopathologic features. The cells were 2-3 times larger than the keratinocytes of the normal conjunctiva and did not display atypia. Immunohistochemistry revealed a low Ki-67 proliferation index (PI) in the large cell acanthoma compared with high indices in dysplasias and papillomas. p53 was negative in the nuclei of normal epithelium while positive in all neoplasms, most intensely in the dysplasias. Immunostaining showed similar staining patterns for cytokeratins in large cell acanthoma and normal conjunctiva, except for full-thickness CK14 positivity and CK7 negativity in the lesion. Dysplasias generally lost normal CK7 expression and frequently abnormally expressed CK17. The papillomas displayed a normal cytokeratin pattern but exhibited a higher than normal PI and weak p53 positivity. CONCLUSIONS: Conjunctival large cell acanthoma is a morphologically distinctive clonal entity with clinical and immunohistochemical phenotypic characteristics denoting a dysplasia of minimal severity. Because of recurrences without invasion, it requires treatment. Dysplasias exhibited more deviant biomarker abnormalities including frequent aberrant full-thickness CK17 positivity and CK7 negativity. The absence of major cytokeratin derangements in the squamous papillomas may be of ancillary diagnostic value for lesions displaying borderline cytologic features.
A 31-year-old woman developed left frontal headache and retrobulbar pain with exotropia and mild limitation of upgaze without proptosis. Imaging studies disclosed a circumscribed mass measuring 1.5 cm in the greatest diameter. At surgery, the lesion was adherent to the surrounding normal orbital tissues, making for a difficult and dangerous resection. Histopathologically and immunohistochemically, the lesion was a mixed cavernous angiomatous (CD31-positive) and lymphangiomatous (D2-40-positive) tumor with abundant interstitial smooth muscle. Such lesions can present significant surgical challenges due to incomplete pseudoencapsulation.
PURPOSE: To define the cytologic composition of the double-layered epithelial lining of dacryops (lacrimal duct cyst), improve histopathologic diagnosis, and better understand pathogenesis. DESIGN: Clinicopathologic retrospective study with immunohistochemical studies of 15 lesions compared with normal lacrimal gland. METHODS: Clinical data from 14 patients were reviewed and microscopy was performed with routine stains and immunohistochemical probes for epithelial membrane antigen (EMA), gross cystic disease fluid protein-15 (GCDFP-15), cytokeratin 7 (CK7), and smooth muscle actin (SMA). RESULTS: The major lacrimal gland was involved in 13 lesions; 2 lesions arose in an accessory gland of Krause. One case was bilateral; the average age of the patients was 50.7 years. Neither visual acuity nor motility was disturbed. No lesion was discovered to have recurred after excision. Microscopically, in all dacryops specimens goblet cells and luminal pseudoapocrine apical cytoplasmic projections were identified. Lacrimal acinar cells immunoreacted with GCDFP-15 and CK7, whereas the normal ducts and the epithelium of the dacryops lesions reacted diffusely only with CK7. SMA-positive myoepithelial cells were found in the acini but not in the normal ducts or dacryops epithelium. CONCLUSIONS: Negative GCDFP-15 staining ruled out apocrine metaplasia in dacryops. Normal ducts and dacryops showed no immunohistochemical evidence for the presence of myoepithelial cells. Pathogenetic theories of dacryops that implicate a failure of ductular "neuromuscular" contractility must therefore be revised. A dysfunction of the rich neural plexus around the ductules may play a role in the development of dacryops in conjunction with periductular inflammation and induced scarring.
PURPOSE: An increased aqueous level of TGF-β2 has been found in many primary open-angle glaucoma patients. Secreted Protein, Acidic, and Rich in Cysteine (SPARC)-null mice have a lower intraocular pressure. The mechanistic relationship between SPARC and TGF-β2 in trabecular meshwork (TM) is unknown. We hypothesized that TGF-β2 upregulates SPARC expression in TM. METHODS: Cultured TM cells were incubated with selective inhibitors for p38 MAP kinase (p38), Smad3, p42, JNK, RhoA, PI3K, or TGF-β2 receptor for 2 hours, and then TGF-β2 was added for 24 hours in serum-free media. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and immunoblot analysis were performed. Immunofluorescent microscopy was used to determine nuclear translocation of signaling proteins. Ad5.hSPARC and Lentiviral shRNA for p38 and Smad3 were constructed, and infected human TM cells. RESULTS: SPARC was upregulated by TGF-β2 in the human TM cells (3.8 ± 1.7-fold, n = 6, P = 0.01 for protein and 7.1 ± 3.7-fold, n = 6, P = 0.01 for mRNA), while upregulation of SPARC had no effect on TGF-β2. TGF-β2-induced SPARC expression was suppressed by inhibitors against p38 (-40.3 ± 20.9%, n = 10, P = 0.0001), Smad3 (-56.2 ± 18.9%, n = 10, P = 0.0001), JNK (-49.1 ± 24.6%, n = 10, P = 0.0001), and TGF-β2 receptor (-83.6 ± 14.4%, n = 6, P = 0.003). Phosphorylation and translocation of Smad3, p38, and MAPKAPK2 were detected at 30 minutes and 1 hour, respectively, following TGF-β2 treatment. Phosphorylation of JNK and c-jun was detected before TGF-β2 treatment. SPARC was suppressed 31 ± 13% (n = 5, P < 0.0001) by shRNA-p38 and 41 ± 3% (n = 5, P < 0.0001) by shRNA-Smad3. CONCLUSIONS: TGF-β2 upregulates SPARC expression in human TM through Smad-dependent (Smad2/3) or -independent (p38) signaling pathways. SPARC may be a downstream regulatory node of TGF-β2-mediated IOP elevation.
INTRODUCTION: Age-related macular degeneration is a major cause of blindness among people aged 50 and older in industrialized countries. Anti-VEGF therapy has been tremendously successful in the treatment of neovascular macular degeneration. Examining the pharmacogenetics of patients' response to the anti-VEGF molecules could allow for a tailored treatment strategy based on patients' underlying genetics rather than the "one-size fits all" approach currently used. METHODS: Review of the English literature for papers examining the pharmacogenetics of treatment response of neovascular macular degeneration to either ranibizumab or bevacizumab. Polymorphisms in CFH, ARMS2, HTRA1 and VEGF A were examined and reviewed. RESULTS: Patients with the high-risk CC genotype in complement factor H (CFH) had a worse response to therapy with ranibizumab and bevacizumab. No clear trends were found with ARMS2, HTRA1 and VEGF A. CONCLUSIONS: The goal of personalized medicine is to craft a treatment program that is ideally suited to an individual patient's disease and genetic make-up rather than simply what works for a large population who share similar disease characteristics. Continued research is needed to achieve this goal for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration.
PURPOSE: We have previously shown that TGF-β3 (T3) stimulates extracellular matrix (ECM) assembly while maintaining antifibrotic characteristics in a model using human corneal fibroblasts (HCFs). This model, however, requires non-physiological levels of serum. In the current study, we tested whether T3 could stimulate human corneal keratocytes (HCKs) in vitro to assemble a functional ECM, while maintaining their characteristics. METHODS: Human corneal keratocytes and HCFs were isolated and cultured using 1% or 10% serum, respectively ±T3. The constructs were processed for indirect immunofluorescence (IF), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and qRT-PCR, analyzing for keratocyte marker, keratocan, and ECM components, collagen (col) types I, III, and V. RESULTS: Quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR data showed that keratocan, col I, and V were all upregulated in HCKs compared with HCFs, whereas col III was expressed at low levels in HCKs. Transforming growth factor beta 3 stimulation further enhanced the level of change. Without T3, HCK constructs were very thin, approximately 5 μm; however, as with HCFs, upon stimulation with T3, HCK constructs increased in thickness by approximately 5-fold. Cell counts and ECM production revealed that HCKs assembled more ECM per unit area compared with HCFs, and IF revealed downregulation of fibrotic markers, col III, and thrombospondin-1, with T3 stimulation. Transmission electron microscopy data revealed aligned ECM with long fibrils for all conditions except HCK Controls. Human corneal keratocytes+T3 also showed denser collagen fibrils with more consistent fibril diameter. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, the data suggests that it is possible to stimulate matrix secretion and assembly by HCKs in vitro by using a single growth factor, T3.