2013

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Khandelwal P, Blanco-Mezquita T, Emami P, Lee HS, Reyes NJ, Mathew R, Huang R, Saban DR. Ocular mucosal CD11b+ and CD103+ mouse dendritic cells under normal conditions and in allergic immune responses. PLoS One 2013;8(5):e64193.Abstract
Steady state dendritic cells (DC) found in non-lymphoid tissue sites under normal physiologic conditions play a pivotal role in triggering T cell responses upon immune provocation. CD11b+ and CD103+ DC have received considerable attention in this regard. However, still unknown is whether such CD11b+ and CD103+ DC even exist in the ocular mucosa, and if so, what functions they have in shaping immune responses. We herein identified in the ocular mucosa of normal wild-type (WT) and Flt3-/- mice the presence of a CD11b+ DC (i.e., CD11c+ MHCII+ CD11b+ CD103- F4/80+ Sirp-a+). CD103+ DC (i.e. CD11c+ MHCII+ CD11b low CD103+ CD8a+ DEC205+ Langerin+) were also present in WT, but not in Flt3-/- mice. These CD103+ DC expressed high levels of Id2 and Flt3 mRNA; whereas CD11b+ DC expressed high Irf4, Csfr, and Cx3cr1 mRNA. Additionally, the functions of these DC differed in response to allergic immune provocation. This was assessed utilizing a previously validated model, which includes transferring specific populations of exogenous DC into the ocular mucosa of ovalbumin (OVA)/alum-primed mice. Interestingly, in such mice, topical OVA instillation following engraftment of exogenous CD11b+ DC led to dominant allergic T cell responses and clinical signs of ocular allergy relative to those engrafted with CD103+ DC. Thus, although CD11b+ and CD103+ DC are both present in the normal ocular mucosa, the CD11b+ DC subset plays a dominant role in a mouse model of ocular allergy.
Kim DY, Mukai S. X-linked juvenile retinoschisis (XLRS): a review of genotype-phenotype relationships. Semin Ophthalmol 2013;28(5-6):392-6.Abstract
X-linked juvenile retinoschisis (XLRS) is one of the most common genetic causes of juvenile progressive retinal-vitreal degeneration in males. To date, more than 196 different mutations of the RS1 gene have been associated with XLRS. The mutation spectrum is large and the phenotype variable. This review will focus on the clinical features of XLRS and examine the relationship between phenotype and genotype.
Kruger JM, Mansouri B, Cestari DM. An update on the genetics of comitant strabismus. Semin Ophthalmol 2013;28(5-6):438-41.Abstract
Genetics play a significant role in the development of comitant strabismus and elucidating the relevant mechanisms that cause it may lead to the development of new therapeutic options. The genetics of strabismus are complex and involve the interactions of multiple genes. This article reviews the progress that has been made in the understanding of the genetic causes of comitant strabismus including linkage studies that have identified a variety of candidate sites, RNA and protein studies that have identified genes with altered regulation, and a study that establishes a role for genetic imprinting in comitant strabismus.
Kurimoto T, Yin Y, Habboub G, Gilbert H-Y, Li Y, Nakao S, Hafezi-Moghadam A, Benowitz LI. Neutrophils express oncomodulin and promote optic nerve regeneration. J Neurosci 2013;33(37):14816-24.Abstract
Although neurons are normally unable to regenerate their axons after injury to the CNS, this situation can be partially reversed by activating the innate immune system. In a widely studied instance of this phenomenon, proinflammatory agents have been shown to cause retinal ganglion cells, the projection neurons of the eye, to regenerate lengthy axons through the injured optic nerve. However, the role of different molecules and cell populations in mediating this phenomenon remains unclear. We show here that neutrophils, the first responders of the innate immune system, play a central role in inflammation-induced regeneration. Numerous neutrophils enter the mouse eye within a few hours of inducing an inflammatory reaction and express high levels of the atypical growth factor oncomodulin (Ocm). Immunodepletion of neutrophils diminished Ocm levels in the eye without altering levels of CNTF, leukemia inhibitory factor, or IL-6, and suppressed the proregenerative effects of inflammation. A peptide antagonist of Ocm suppressed regeneration as effectively as neutrophil depletion. Macrophages enter the eye later in the inflammatory process but appear to be insufficient to stimulate extensive regeneration in the absence of neutrophils. These data provide the first evidence that neutrophils are a major source of Ocm and can promote axon regeneration in the CNS.
Kwon MY, Nandy AS, Tjan BS. Rapid and persistent adaptability of human oculomotor control in response to simulated central vision loss. Curr Biol 2013;23(17):1663-9.Abstract
The central region of the human retina, the fovea, provides high-acuity vision. The oculomotor system continually brings targets of interest into the fovea via ballistic eye movements (saccades). Thus, the fovea serves both as the locus for fixations and as the oculomotor reference for saccades. This highly automated process of foveation is functionally critical to vision and is observed from infancy. How would the oculomotor system adjust to a loss of foveal vision (central scotoma)? Clinical observations of patients with central vision loss suggest a lengthy adjustment period, but the nature and dynamics of this adjustment remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that the oculomotor system can spontaneously and rapidly adopt a peripheral locus for fixation and can rereference saccades to this locus in normally sighted individuals whose central vision is blocked by an artificial scotoma. Once developed, the fixation locus is retained over weeks in the absence of the simulated scotoma. Our data reveal a basic guiding principle of the oculomotor system that prefers control simplicity over optimality. We demonstrate the importance of a visible scotoma on the speed of the adjustment and suggest a possible rehabilitation regimen for patients with central vision loss.
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Lebreton F, Valentino MD, Duncan LB, Zeng Q, McGuire AM, Earl AM, Gilmore MS. High-Quality Draft Genome Sequence of Vagococcus lutrae Strain LBD1, Isolated from the Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides. Genome Announc 2013;1(6)Abstract
Vagococci are usually isolated from marine hosts and occasionally from endodontic infections. Using 16S rRNA gene comparison, the closest relatives are members of the genera Enterococcus and Carnobacterium. A draft sequence of Vagococcus lutrae was generated to clarify the relationship of Vagococcus to these and other related low-G+C Gram-positive bacteria.
Lebreton F, van Schaik W, McGuire AM, Godfrey P, Griggs A, Mazumdar V, Corander J, Cheng L, Saif S, Young S, Zeng Q, Wortman J, Birren B, Willems RJL, Earl AM, Gilmore MS. Emergence of epidemic multidrug-resistant Enterococcus faecium from animal and commensal strains. MBio 2013;4(4)Abstract
UNLABELLED: Enterococcus faecium, natively a gut commensal organism, emerged as a leading cause of multidrug-resistant hospital-acquired infection in the 1980s. As the living record of its adaptation to changes in habitat, we sequenced the genomes of 51 strains, isolated from various ecological environments, to understand how E. faecium emerged as a leading hospital pathogen. Because of the scale and diversity of the sampled strains, we were able to resolve the lineage responsible for epidemic, multidrug-resistant human infection from other strains and to measure the evolutionary distances between groups. We found that the epidemic hospital-adapted lineage is rapidly evolving and emerged approximately 75 years ago, concomitant with the introduction of antibiotics, from a population that included the majority of animal strains, and not from human commensal lines. We further found that the lineage that included most strains of animal origin diverged from the main human commensal line approximately 3,000 years ago, a time that corresponds to increasing urbanization of humans, development of hygienic practices, and domestication of animals, which we speculate contributed to their ecological separation. Each bifurcation was accompanied by the acquisition of new metabolic capabilities and colonization traits on mobile elements and the loss of function and genome remodeling associated with mobile element insertion and movement. As a result, diversity within the species, in terms of sequence divergence as well as gene content, spans a range usually associated with speciation. IMPORTANCE: Enterococci, in particular vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium, recently emerged as a leading cause of hospital-acquired infection worldwide. In this study, we examined genome sequence data to understand the bacterial adaptations that accompanied this transformation from microbes that existed for eons as members of host microbiota. We observed changes in the genomes that paralleled changes in human behavior. An initial bifurcation within the species appears to have occurred at a time that corresponds to the urbanization of humans and domestication of animals, and a more recent bifurcation parallels the introduction of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture. In response to the opportunity to fill niches associated with changes in human activity, a rapidly evolving lineage emerged, a lineage responsible for the vast majority of multidrug-resistant E. faecium infections.
Lee NG, Kim LA, Freitag SK. The role of genetics in the pathogenesis of periocular cutaneous neoplasms: implications for targeted therapy. Semin Ophthalmol 2013;28(5-6):267-74.Abstract
In the past, cutaneous malignancies of the periocular region were primarily treated surgically with few other options. As the genetic bases of these tumors have become elucidated, targeted therapies aimed specifically at pathways that are felt to be responsible for cellular proliferation and uncontrolled growth have emerged with new promise. This review contains a summary of the various genetic implications of cutaneous neoplasms as well as their corresponding targeted systemic therapies.
Lee HJ, Colby KA. A review of the clinical and genetic aspects of aniridia. Semin Ophthalmol 2013;28(5-6):306-12.Abstract
Aniridia classically presents with a bilateral congenital absence or malformation of the irides, foveal hypoplasia, and nystagmus, and patients tend to develop visually significant pre-senile cataracts and keratopathy. Additionally, they are at high risk for developing glaucoma. Classic aniridia can be genetically defined as the presence of a PAX6 gene deletion or loss-of-function mutation that results in haploinsufficiency. Variants of aniridia, which include a condition previously referred to as autosomal dominant keratitis, are likely due to PAX6 mutations that lead to partial loss of PAX6 function. Aniridia-associated keratopathy (AAK) is a progressive and potentially debilitating problem affecting aniridic patients. The current treatments for AAK are to replace the limbal stem cells through keratolimbal allograft (KLAL) with or without subsequent keratoplasty for visual rehabilitation, or to implant a Boston type 1 keratoprosthesis. Future therapies for AAK may be aimed at the genetic modification of corneal limbal stem cells.
Lee HS, Schlereth S, Khandelwal P, Saban DR. Ocular allergy modulation to hi-dose antigen sensitization is a Treg-dependent process. PLoS One 2013;8(9):e75769.Abstract
A reproducible method to inhibit allergic immune responses is accomplished with hi-dose Ag sensitization, via intraperitoneal (IP) injection. However, the role of CD4+ CD25+ FoxP3+ T regulatory cells (Treg) in this process is unknown, as is whether such modulation extends to ocular allergy. We therefore determined herein whether hi-dose sensitization modulates ocular allergy, and whether CD4+ CD25+ FoxP3+ Treg are involved. C57BL/6 mice were IP sensitized via low-dose (100 µg) versus hi-dose (1000 µg) ovalbumin (OVA), in aluminum hydroxide (1 mg) and pertussis-toxin (300 ng). Other mice received anti-CD25 Ab (PC61) to ablate Treg during sensitization. In another experiment, Treg from hi-dose sensitized mice were adoptively transferred into low-dose sensitized mice. Once daily OVA challenges were administered. Clinical signs, IgE, T cell cytokines, and eosinophils were assessed. Data revealed that hi-dose, but not low-dose, sensitization led to allergy modulation, indicated by decreased clinical signs, serum IgE levels, Th2 recall responses, and eosinophil recruitment. T cells from hi-dose sensitized mice showed a robust increase in TGF-b production, and Treg from these mice were able to efficiently suppress effector T cell proliferation in vitro. In addition, in vivo Treg ablation in hi-dose sensitized mice revoked allergy modulation. Lastly, Treg from hi-dose sensitized mice were able to adoptively transfer allergy modulation to their low-dose sensitized counterparts. Collectively, these findings indicate that modulation to hi-dose sensitization, which is extended to ocular allergy, occurs in a Treg-dependent manner. In addition, our data suggest that hi-dose sensitization may henceforth facilitate the further examination of CD4+ CD25+ FoxP3+ Treg in allergic disease.
Lei H, Kazlauskas A. Detection of H2O2-mediated phosphorylation of kinase-inactive PDGFRα. Methods Enzymol 2013;528:189-94.Abstract
Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) receptor α (PDGFRα) belongs to the 58-member family of receptor tyrosine kinases and contributes to a variety of physiological and pathological settings. Activation of PDGFRα proceeds by at least two mechanisms. The traditional route involves PDGF-dependent dimerization and activation of the receptor's intrinsic kinase activity. The second mechanism proceeds intracellularly and involves reactive oxygen species and Src family kinases, which activate monomeric PDGFRα. Herein we describe an assay to investigate reactive oxygen species-mediated phosphorylation of PDGFRα that is independent of the receptor's intrinsic kinase activity.
Li D, Shatos MA, Hodges RR, Dartt DA. Role of PKCα activation of Src, PI-3K/AKT, and ERK in EGF-stimulated proliferation of rat and human conjunctival goblet cells. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2013;54(8):5661-74.Abstract
PURPOSE: To determine the order and components of the signaling pathway utilized by epidermal growth factor (EGF) to stimulate conjunctival goblet cell proliferation. METHODS: Goblet cells from rat bulbar and forniceal conjunctiva and human bulbar conjunctiva were grown in organ culture. Goblet cells (GCs) were serum starved for 24 hours and preincubated with inhibitors for 30 minutes or small interfering RNA (siRNA) for 48 hours prior to addition of EGF. Proliferation was then measured or Western blot analysis was performed using antibodies against phosphorylated protein kinase B (AKT), extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2), or the non-receptor tyrosine kinase Src. Rat GCs were also incubated with adenoviruses expressing dominant negative protein kinase Cα (DNPKCα) or constitutively activated protein kinase Cα (myrPKCα), and activation of AKT and ERK1/2 was determined by Western blot analysis. RESULTS: Inhibitors of phosphoinositol-3 kinase (PI-3K)/AKT pathway blocked EGF-stimulated ERK1/2 activation and GC proliferation. Inhibitors of EGF-stimulated ERK1/2 activity did not inhibit AKT activation but blocked proliferation. DNPKCα blocked EGF-stimulated activation of AKT and ERK1/2 while myrPKCα increased activation of these kinases. Inhibitors of PI-3K, ERK1/2, and protein kinase C (PKC) blocked myrPKCα-stimulated GC proliferation. EGF and myrPKCα increased phosphorylation of Src, and inhibition of Src with the chemical inhibitor PP1 or siRNA inhibited EGF-stimulated GC proliferation. CONCLUSIONS: We found that EGF activates a major pathway to stimulate goblet cell proliferation. This pathway consists of induction of phospholipase C (PLC)γ to activate PKCα. Active PKCα phosphorylates Src to induce PI-3K to phosphorylate AKT that subsequently activates the ERK1/2 cascade to stimulate goblet cell proliferation.
Li D, Jiao J, Shatos MA, Hodges RR, Dartt DA. Effect of VIP on intracellular [Ca2+], extracellular regulated kinase 1/2, and secretion in cultured rat conjunctival goblet cells. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2013;54(4):2872-84.Abstract
PURPOSE: To determine the intracellular signaling pathways that vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) uses to stimulate high molecular weight glycoconjugate secretion from cultured rat conjunctival goblet cells. METHODS: Goblet cells from rat bulbar and forniceal conjunctiva were grown in organ culture. Presence and localization of VIP receptors (VPAC1 and 2) were determined by RT-PCR, immunofluorescence microscopy and Western blot analysis. Intracellular [Ca(2+)] ([Ca(2+)]i) was measured using fura-2. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)-1/2 activity was determined by Western blot analysis. High molecular weight glycoconjugate secretion was measured with an enzyme-linked lectin assay on cultured goblet cells that were serum-starved for 2 hours before stimulation with VIP, VPAC1-, or VPAC2-specific agonists. Inhibitors were added 30 minutes prior to VIP. Activation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) was measured by immunoprecipitation using an antibody against pTyr followed by Western blot analysis with an antibody against EGFR. RESULTS: Both VIP receptors were present in rat conjunctiva and cultured goblet cells. VIP- and VPAC-specific agonists increased [Ca(2+)]i and secretion in a concentration-dependent manner. VIP also increased ERK1/2 activity, VIP-stimulated increase in [Ca(2+)]i. Secretion, but not ERK1/2 activity, was inhibited by the protein kinase A inhibitor, H89. VIP-stimulated secretion was inhibited by siRNA for ERK2 but not by siRNA for EGFR. VIP did not increase the phosphorylation of the EGFR. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, in cultured rat conjunctival goblet cells, VPAC1 and 2 receptors are functional. VIP stimulates a cAMP-dependent increase in [Ca(2+)]i and glycoconjugate secretion, but not ERK1/2 activation. VIP does not activate with EGFR.
Li D, Hodges RR, Jiao J, Carozza RB, Shatos MA, Chiang N, Serhan CN, Dartt DA. Resolvin D1 and aspirin-triggered resolvin D1 regulate histamine-stimulated conjunctival goblet cell secretion. Mucosal Immunol 2013;6(6):1119-30.Abstract
Resolution of inflammation is an active process mediated by pro-resolution lipid mediators. As resolvin (Rv) D1 is produced in the cornea, pro-resolution mediators could be effective in regulating inflammatory responses to histamine in allergic conjunctivitis. Two key mediators of resolution are the D-series resolvins RvD1 or aspirin-triggered RvD1 (AT-RvD1). We used cultured conjunctival goblet cells to determine whether histamine actions can be terminated during allergic responses. We found cross-talk between two types of G protein-coupled receptors (GPRs), as RvD1 interacts with its receptor GPR32 to block histamine-stimulated H1 receptor increases in intracellular [Ca(2+)] ([Ca(2+)]i) preventing H1 receptor-mediated responses. In human and rat conjunctival goblet cells, RvD1 and AT-RvD1 each block histamine-stimulated secretion by preventing its increase in [Ca(2+)]i and activation of extracellular regulated-protein kinase (ERK)1/2. We suggest that D-series resolvins regulate histamine responses in the eye and offer new treatment approaches for allergic conjunctivitis or other histamine-dependent pathologies.
Liu Y, Yang X, Utheim TP, Guo C, Xiao M, Liu Y, Yin Z, Ma J. Correlation of cytokine levels and microglial cell infiltration during retinal degeneration in RCS rats. PLoS One 2013;8(12):e82061.Abstract
Microglial cells, which are immunocompetent cells, are involved in all diseases of the central nervous system. During their activation in various diseases, a variety of soluble factors are released. In the present study, the correlation between cytokine levels and microglial cell migration in the course of retinal degeneration of Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) rats was evaluated. MFG-E8 and CD11b were used to confirm the microglial cells. In the retina of RCS rats, the mRNA expression of seven genes (MFG-E8 and its integrins αυ and ß5, CD11b and the cytokines TNF-α, IL-1ß, and MCP-1) formed almost similar bimodal peak distributions, which were centred at P7 and P45 to P60. In contrast, in rdy rats, which comprised the control group, a unimodal peak distribution centred at P14 was observed. The gene expression accompanied the activation and migration of microglial cells from the inner to the outer layer of the retina during the process of degeneration. Principal component analysis and discriminant function analysis revealed that the expression of these seven genes, especially TNF-α and CD11b, positively correlated with retinal degeneration and microglial activity during retinal degeneration in RCS rats, but not in the control rats. Furthermore, linear regression analysis demonstrated a significant correlation between the expression of these genes and the activation of microglial cells in the dystrophic retina. Our findings suggest that the suppression of microglial cells and the blockade of their cytotoxic effects may constitute a novel therapeutic strategy for treating photoreceptor death in various retinal disorders.
Liu Y, Rhee DJ. Acute bilateral angle closure. JAMA Ophthalmol 2013;131(9):1231-2.
Lye-Barthel M, Sun D, Jakobs TC. Morphology of astrocytes in a glaucomatous optic nerve. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2013;54(2):909-17.Abstract
PURPOSE: To establish the morphologic changes of astrocytes in the glial lamina of glaucomatous mice. METHODS: A strain of mice that expresses GFP in individual astrocytes (hGFAPpr-GFP) was crossed into the DBA/2J strain that develops glaucoma. In the resulting strain (D2.hGFAPpr-GFP) we assessed the severity of glaucoma by staining the retina for neurofilaments and counting the neurons of the retinal ganglion cell layer. We observed the morphology of astrocytes in the glial lamina of the optic nerves. RESULTS: D2.hGFAPpr-GFP mice developed glaucoma in an age-dependent manner. Astrocytes in the glial lamina showed morphologic changes that correlated with the severity of glaucoma. The cells showed thickening of processes from 1.3 ± 0.28 μm in nondiseased animals to 1.71 ± 0.46 μm in eyes with moderate glaucoma and 2.1 ± 0.42 μm in those with severe glaucoma. Their spatial coverage, as determined by their convex polygon area, was reduced in eyes with severe glaucoma. The astrocytes in severely glaucomatous optic nerves also showed simplification of their processes. In 6-month-old mice with no obvious signs of degeneration in the retina, we found astrocytes with appendages growing out of primary astrocyte processes into the axon bundles. This localized hypertrophy of processes was never observed in the hGFAPpr-GFP strain. CONCLUSIONS: Confirming results after optic nerve crush, astrocytes in glaucomatous optic nerves had thickened and simplified processes, and reduced spatial coverage. We also found evidence of localized sprouting of new processes in early stages of the disease, before detectable changes in ganglion cell number.
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MacKinnon S, Proctor MR, Rogers GF, Meara JG, Whitecross S, Dagi LR. Improving ophthalmic outcomes in children with unilateral coronal synostosis by treatment with endoscopic strip craniectomy and helmet therapy rather than fronto-orbital advancement. J AAPOS 2013;17(3):259-65.Abstract
PURPOSE: To compare long-term ophthalmic outcomes in infants treated for unilateral coronal synostosis (UCS) by endoscopic strip craniectomy (ESC) and helmet therapy with those treated by fronto-orbital advancement (FOA). METHODS: Consecutive patients with UCS, uncomplicated by other suture synostosis, were identified by a retrospective review of medical records. Assessment of presence of amblyopia, cycloplegic refraction, strabismus, and strabismus surgical intervention at all visits was recorded. RESULTS: Between 2004 and 2010, 22 patients were treated by FOA (mean follow-up, 21.5 months) and 21 patients with ESC and helmet therapy (mean follow-up, 23.5 months). The mean aniso-astigmatism was equal; however, the SD was greater for those treated by FOA (P < 0.05). A more severe pattern of strabismus developed in those treated by FOA (P < 0.0001). Those treated by FOA were more likely to have amblyopia (P = 0.0015) and to undergo surgical correction of their strabismus (odds ratio, 6.3:1). CONCLUSIONS: Children with UCS treated with ESC and helmeting had less severe overelevation in adduction, amblyopia, extremes of astigmatism, and less need for strabismus surgery than those treated by FOA. Although the reason for these more favorable outcomes remains uncertain, we speculate that the earlier timing of ESC or differences in the anatomical changes resulting from the two procedures may play a role.
Mansouri B, Stacy RC, Kruger J, Cestari DM. Deprivation amblyopia and congenital hereditary cataract. Semin Ophthalmol 2013;28(5-6):321-6.Abstract
Amblyopia is a neurodevelopmental disorder of vision associated with decreased visual acuity, poor or absent stereopsis, and suppression of information from one eye.(1,2) Amblyopia may be caused by strabismus (strabismic amblyopia), refractive error (anisometropic amblyopia), or deprivation from obstructed vision (deprivation amblyopia). 1 In the developed world, amblyopia is the most common cause of childhood visual impairment, 3 which reduces quality of life 4 and also almost doubles the lifetime risk of legal blindness.(5, 6) Successful treatment of amblyopia greatly depends on early detection and treatment of predisposing disorders such as congenital cataract, which is the most common cause of deprivational amblyopia. Understanding the genetic causes of congenital cataract leads to more effective screening tests, early detection and treatment of infants and children who are at high risk for hereditary congenital cataract.
Marko CK, Menon BB, Chen G, Whitsett JA, Clevers H, Gipson IK. Spdef null mice lack conjunctival goblet cells and provide a model of dry eye. Am J Pathol 2013;183(1):35-48.Abstract
Goblet cell numbers decrease within the conjunctival epithelium in drying and cicatrizing ocular surface diseases. Factors regulating goblet cell differentiation in conjunctival epithelium are unknown. Recent data indicate that the transcription factor SAM-pointed domain epithelial-specific transcription factor (Spdef) is essential for goblet cell differentiation in tracheobronchial and gastrointestinal epithelium of mice. Using Spdef(-/-) mice, we determined that Spdef is required for conjunctival goblet cell differentiation and that Spdef(-/-) mice, which lack conjunctival goblet cells, have significantly increased corneal surface fluorescein staining and tear volume, a phenotype consistent with dry eye. Microarray analysis of conjunctival epithelium in Spdef(-/-) mice revealed down-regulation of goblet cell-specific genes (Muc5ac, Tff1, Gcnt3). Up-regulated genes included epithelial cell differentiation/keratinization genes (Sprr2h, Tgm1) and proinflammatory genes (Il1-α, Il-1β, Tnf-α), all of which are up-regulated in dry eye. Interestingly, four Wnt pathway genes were down-regulated. SPDEF expression was significantly decreased in the conjunctival epithelium of Sjögren syndrome patients with dry eye and decreased goblet cell mucin expression. These data demonstrate that Spdef is required for conjunctival goblet cell differentiation and down-regulation of SPDEF may play a role in human dry eye with goblet cell loss. Spdef(-/-) mice have an ocular surface phenotype similar to that in moderate dry eye, providing a new, more convenient model for the disease.

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