For nearly half a century, contact lenses have been proposed as a means of ocular drug delivery, but achieving controlled drug release has been a significant challenge. We have developed a drug-eluting contact lens designed for prolonged delivery of latanoprost for the treatment of glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Latanoprost-eluting contact lenses were created by encapsulating latanoprost-poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) films in methafilcon by ultraviolet light polymerization. In vitro and in vivo studies showed an early burst of drug release followed by sustained release for one month. Contact lenses containing thicker drug-polymer films demonstrated released a greater amount of drug after the initial burst. In vivo, single contact lenses were able to achieve, for at least one month, latanoprost concentrations in the aqueous humor that were comparable to those achieved with topical latanoprost solution, the current first-line treatment for glaucoma. The lenses appeared safe in cell culture and animal studies. This contact lens design can potentially be used as a treatment for glaucoma and as a platform for other ocular drug delivery applications.
Glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disorder in which degenerating retinal ganglion cells (RGC) produce significant visual disability. Clinically, glaucoma refers to an array of conditions associated with variably elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) that contributes to RGC loss via mechanical stress, vascular abnormalities, and other mechanisms, such as immune phenomena. The clinical diagnosis of glaucoma requires assessment of the ocular anterior segment with slit lamp biomicroscopy, which allows the clinician to recognize signs of conditions that can produce elevated IOP. After measurement of IOP, a specialized prismatic lens called a gonioscope is used to determine whether the angle is physically open or closed. The structural manifestation of RGC loss is optic nerve head atrophy and excavation of the neuroretinal rim tissue. Treatment is guided by addressing secondary causes for elevated IOP (such as inflammation, infection, and ischemia) whenever possible. Subsequently, a variety of medical, laser, and surgical options are used to achieve a target IOP.
PURPOSE: To investigate biomarker differences in routine preoperative blood tests performed on primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) case and control patients presenting for anterior segment eye surgery. METHODS: POAG cases and age-related cataract surgery patients (controls) who underwent anterior segment surgery at Massachusetts Eye and Ear from January 2009 through March 2012 were identified by retrospective record review. Patients with diabetes mellitus, secondary glaucoma, and cataract due to trauma or steroid exposure were excluded. Data on demographic features, preoperative ophthalmological and medical diagnosis, blood pressure, anthropometric measures, basic metabolic panel, and complete blood count were extracted from the medical records. Univariate differences in lab values between POAG cases and controls were assessed using unpaired t tests. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was completed to determine the independent associations of biomarkers with POAG. RESULTS: A total of 150 cases and 150 age-related controls were included. In multivariate analysis, higher AG was inversely associated with POAG (odds ratio [OR] = 0.90; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.80-1.00), and higher Cl- level was positively associated with POAG (OR = 1.15; 95% CI, 1.02-1.29). The lower AG in POAG patients could be explained by higher IgG levels as the available data in post hoc analysis showed a nonsignificant trend toward higher IgG in cases compared to controls (17 vs 23; 1142 ± 284 mg/dl vs 1028 ± 291 mg/dl; P = 0.22). Furthermore, in multivariable analysis, a higher red blood cell count was also associated with POAG (OR = 1.91; 95% CI, 1.11-3.28). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with POAG presenting for anterior segment surgery had a lower AG compared to age-related cataract surgery patients. The etiology of this reduced gap is unclear but the possible contribution of IgG warrants further exploration. The etiology of higher red blood cell counts in POAG cases is unknown and deserves further exploration.
For profoundly blind individuals, navigating in an unfamiliar building can represent a significant challenge. We investigated the use of an audio-based, virtual environment called Audio-based Environment Simulator (AbES) that can be explored for the purposes of learning the layout of an unfamiliar, complex indoor environment. Furthermore, we compared two modes of interaction with AbES. In one group, blind participants implicitly learned the layout of a target environment while playing an exploratory, goal-directed video game. By comparison, a second group was explicitly taught the same layout following a standard route and instructions provided by a sighted facilitator. As a control, a third group interacted with AbES while playing an exploratory, goal-directed video game however, the explored environment did not correspond to the target layout. Following interaction with AbES, a series of route navigation tasks were carried out in the virtual and physical building represented in the training environment to assess the transfer of acquired spatial information. We found that participants from both modes of interaction were able to transfer the spatial knowledge gained as indexed by their successful route navigation performance. This transfer was not apparent in the control participants. Most notably, the game-based learning strategy was also associated with enhanced performance when participants were required to find alternate routes and short cuts within the target building suggesting that a ludic-based training approach may provide for a more flexible mental representation of the environment. Furthermore, outcome comparisons between early and late blind individuals suggested that greater prior visual experience did not have a significant effect on overall navigation performance following training. Finally, performance did not appear to be associated with other factors of interest such as age, gender, and verbal memory recall. We conclude that the highly interactive and immersive exploration of the virtual environment greatly engages a blind user to develop skills akin to positive near transfer of learning. Learning through a game play strategy appears to confer certain behavioral advantages with respect to how spatial information is acquired and ultimately manipulated for navigation.
For individuals who are blind, navigating independently in an unfamiliar environment represents a considerable challenge. Inspired by the rising popularity of video games, we have developed a novel approach to train navigation and spatial cognition skills in adolescents who are blind. Audio-based Environment Simulator (AbES) is a software application that allows for the virtual exploration of an existing building set in an action video game metaphor. Using this ludic-based approach to learning, we investigated the ability and efficacy of adolescents with early onset blindness to acquire spatial information gained from the exploration of a target virtual indoor environment. Following game play, participants were assessed on their ability to transfer and mentally manipulate acquired spatial information on a set of navigation tasks carried out in the real environment. Success in transfer of navigation skill performance was markedly high suggesting that interacting with AbES leads to the generation of an accurate spatial mental representation. Furthermore, there was a positive correlation between success in game play and navigation task performance. The role of virtual environments and gaming in the development of mental spatial representations is also discussed. We conclude that this game based learning approach can facilitate the transfer of spatial knowledge and further, can be used by individuals who are blind for the purposes of navigation in real-world environments.
PURPOSE: To determine the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the thrombospondin 1 (THBS1) gene with development of chronic ocular surface inflammation (keratoconjunctivitis) after refractive surgery. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Active duty U.S. Army soldiers (n = 143) who opted for refractive surgery. METHODS: Conjunctival impression cytology samples collected from participants before the surgery were used to harvest DNA for genotyping 5 THBS1 SNPs (rs1478604, rs2228262, rs2292305, rs2228262, and rs3743125) using the Sequenom iPLEX Gold platform (Sequenom, San Diego, CA). Samples collected after surgery were used to harvest RNA for gene expression analysis by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Participants were followed for 1 year after surgery to monitor the status of keratoconjunctivitis. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Genetic basis of the development of chronic keratoconjunctivitis after refractive surgery. RESULTS: Carriers of minor alleles of 3 SNPs each were found to be more susceptible to developing chronic keratoconjunctivitis (rs1478604: odds ratio [OR], 2.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.41-4.47; P = 2.5 × 10(-3); rs2228262 and rs2292305: OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.05-3.51; P = 4.8 × 10(-2)). Carriers of the rs1478604 minor allele expressed significantly reduced levels of thrombospondin 1 (TSP1) (P = 0.042) and increased levels of an inflammatory cytokine associated with keratoconjunctivitis, interleukin-1β (P = 0.025), in their ocular surface epithelial cells compared with homozygous major allele controls. CONCLUSIONS: Genetic variation in the THBS1 gene that results in decreased expression of the encoded glycoprotein TSP1 in ocular surface epithelial cells significantly increases the susceptibility to develop chronic ocular surface inflammation after refractive surgery. Further investigation of THBS1 SNPs in a larger sample size is warranted.
PURPOSE: To compare corneal inflammation after syngeneic and allogeneic penetrating keratoplasty (PK) with miniature Keratoprosthesis (m-KPro) implantation in mice. METHODS: BALB/C (syngeneic) or C57BL/6 (allogeneic) corneas were transplanted onto BALB/C host beds as part of PK or m-KPro implantation. Corneal inflammation was assessed by determining the frequencies of CD45(+) leukocytes, CD4(+) T cells, CD11b(+) cells, and Gr-1(+) granulocytes/monocytes by flow cytometry at 2, 4, and 8 weeks post transplantation. In addition, expression levels of the proinflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IL-1β were analyzed using real-time qPCR at 8 weeks post transplantation. RESULTS: Cell frequencies in the syngeneic (syn) and allogeneic (allo) m-KPro groups were higher compared with the syngeneic and allogeneic PK groups, respectively, at all time points. However, after week 4, frequencies of all analyzed immune cells were higher in the alloPK group as compared with synKPro group. At 8 weeks, the expression of TNF-α was higher in synKPro, alloPK, and alloKPro groups compared with the naïve and synPK groups. The expression of IL-1β was significantly higher in both KPro groups as compared with PK groups. CONCLUSIONS: Although the m-KPro device augments the inflammatory response in the cornea after its implantation, allogenicity (of the carrier tissue) is also a significant contributor to corneal inflammation. These data suggest that using syngeneic or decellularized corneal tissue as a Boston-KPro carrier could reduce the postoperative inflammation response.
In this report, we describe the development of a modified adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsid and promoter for transduction of retinal ON-bipolar cells. The bipolar cells, which are post-synaptic to the photoreceptors, are important retinal targets for both basic and preclinical research. In particular, a therapeutic strategy under investigation for advanced forms of blindness involves using optogenetic molecules to render ON-bipolar cells light-sensitive. Currently, delivery of adequate levels of gene expression is a limiting step for this approach. The synthetic AAV capsid and promoter described here achieves high level of optogenetic transgene expression in ON-bipolar cells. This evokes high-frequency (~100 Hz) spiking responses in ganglion cells of previously blind, rd1, mice. Our vector is a promising vehicle for further development toward potential clinical use.
Nuclear hormone receptors play a major role in many important biological processes. Most nuclear hormone receptors are ubiquitously expressed and regulate processes such as metabolism, circadian function, and development. They function in these processes to maintain homeostasis through modulation of transcriptional gene networks. In this study we evaluate the effectiveness of a nuclear hormone receptor gene to modulate retinal degeneration and restore the integrity of the retina. Currently, there are no effective treatment options for retinal degenerative diseases leading to progressive and irreversible blindness. In this study we demonstrate that the nuclear hormone receptor gene Nr1d1 (Rev-Erbα) rescues Nr2e3-associated retinal degeneration in the rd7 mouse, which lacks a functional Nr2e3 gene. Mutations in human NR2E3 are associated with several retinal degenerations including enhanced S cone syndrome and retinitis pigmentosa. The rd7 mouse, lacking Nr2e3, exhibits an increase in S cones and slow, progressive retinal degeneration. A traditional genetic mapping approach previously identified candidate modifier loci. Here, we demonstrate that in vivo delivery of the candidate modifier gene, Nr1d1 rescues Nr2e3 associated retinal degeneration. We observed clinical, histological, functional, and molecular restoration of the rd7 retina. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the mechanism of rescue at the molecular and functional level is through the re-regulation of key genes within the Nr2e3-directed transcriptional network. Together, these findings reveal the potency of nuclear receptors as modulators of disease and specifically of NR1D1 as a novel therapeutic for retinal degenerations.
In hybrid search, observers search for any of several possible targets in a visual display containing distracting items and, perhaps, a target. Wolfe (2012) found that response times (RTs) in such tasks increased linearly with increases in the number of items in the display. However, RT increased linearly with the log of the number of items in the memory set. In earlier work, all items in the memory set were unique instances (e.g., this apple in this pose). Typical real-world tasks involve more broadly defined sets of stimuli (e.g., any "apple" or, perhaps, "fruit"). The present experiments show how sets or categories of targets are handled in joint visual and memory search. In Experiment 1, searching for a digit among letters was not like searching for targets from a 10-item memory set, though searching for targets from an N-item memory set of arbitrary alphanumeric characters was like searching for targets from an N-item memory set of arbitrary objects. In Experiment 2, observers searched for any instance of N sets or categories held in memory. This hybrid search was harder than search for specific objects. However, memory search remained logarithmic. Experiment 3 illustrates the interaction of visual guidance and memory search when a subset of visual stimuli are drawn from a target category. Furthermore, we outline a conceptual model, supported by our results, defining the core components that would be necessary to support such categorical hybrid searches.
BACKGROUND: Detecting and monitoring optic neuropathy in patients with craniosynostosis is a clinical challenge due to limited cooperation, and subjective measures of visual function. The purpose of this study was to appraise the correlation of peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness measured by spectral-domain ocular coherence tomography (SD-OCT) with indication of optic neuropathy based on fundus examination. METHODS: The medical records of all patients with craniosynostosis presenting for ophthalmic evaluation during 2013 were retrospectively reviewed. The following data were abstracted from the record: diagnosis, historical evidence of elevated intracranial pressure, current ophthalmic evaluation and visual field results, and current peripapillary RNFL thickness. RESULTS: A total of 54 patients were included (mean age, 10.6 years [range, 2.4-33.8 years]). Thirteen (24%) had evidence of optic neuropathy based on current fundus examination. Of these, 10 (77%) demonstrated either peripapillary RNFL elevation and papilledema or depression with optic atrophy. Sensitivity for detecting optic atrophy was 88%; for papilledema, 60%; and for either form of optic neuropathy, 77%. Specificity was 94%, 90%, and 83%, respectively. Kappa agreement was substantial for optic atrophy (κ = 0.73) and moderate for papilledema (κ = 0.39) and for either form of optic neuropathy (κ = 0.54). Logistic regression indicated that peripapillary RNFL thickness was predictive of optic neuropathy (P < 0.001). Multivariable analysis demonstrated that RNFL thickness measurements were more sensitive at detecting optic neuropathy than visual field testing (likelihood ratio = 10.02; P = 0.002). Sensitivity and specificity of logMAR visual acuity in detecting optic neuropathy were 15% and 95%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Peripapillary RNFL thickness measured by SD-OCT provides adjunctive evidence for identifying optic neuropathy in patients with craniosynostosis and appears more sensitive at detecting optic atrophy than papilledema.
PURPOSE: The aims of this study were to determine the scleral attenuation of focused neodymium: yttrium-lanthanum-fluoride laser at 1,047 nm applied transsclerally and whether transscleral delivery can close the vascular supply at the base of experimental choroidal melanoma in rabbits. METHODS: Fifty-two New Zealand albino rabbits were included. Scleral laser attenuation was measured across fresh sclera. B16F10 melanomas were established in the subchoroidal space of 49 rabbits. Twenty-one animals were killed immediately after transscleral treatment, 14 were followed for 2 weeks to 4 weeks, and 14 were followed without treatment. Ophthalmoscopy, fundus photographs, and fluorescein angiography were performed before treatment, immediately after, and weekly during the follow-up. Eyes were examined by light microscopy. RESULTS: Sclera attenuated laser energy by 31% ± 7%. Immediately after treatment, angiography showed diffuse hypofluorescence in 71% (15 of 21 rabbits). Light microscopy showed vascular occlusion extending at least two thirds of the tumor thickness from the base. Seven of the 14 tumors followed for 15 days ± 8 days were eradicated. There was no correlation between tumor height and eradication. CONCLUSION: Rabbit sclera attenuated 31% ± 7% of laser energy. A single transscleral treatment causes tumor vascular closure at the base and may serve as an adjuvant therapy to ensure destruction of deep and intrascleral tumor cells.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Although conjunctival goblet cells are a major cell type in ocular mucosa, their responses during ocular allergy are largely unexplored. This review summarizes the recent findings that provide key insights into the mechanisms by which their function and survival are altered during chronic inflammatory responses, including ocular allergy. RECENT FINDINGS: Conjunctiva represents a major component of the ocular mucosa that harbors specialized lymphoid tissue. Exposure of mucin-secreting goblet cells to allergic and inflammatory mediators released by the local innate and adaptive immune cells modulates proliferation, secretory function, and cell survival. Allergic mediators like histamine, leukotrienes, and prostaglandins directly stimulate goblet cell mucin secretion and consistently increase goblet cell proliferation. Goblet cell mucin secretion is also detectable in a murine model of allergic conjunctivitis. Additionally, primary goblet cell cultures allow evaluation of various inflammatory cytokines with respect to changes in goblet cell mucin secretion, proliferation, and apoptosis. These findings in combination with the preclinical mouse models help understand the goblet cell responses and their modulation during chronic inflammatory diseases, including ocular allergy. SUMMARY: Recent findings related to conjunctival goblet cells provide the basis for novel therapeutic approaches, involving modulation of goblet cell mucin production, to improve treatment of ocular allergies.
A rapidly growing, large (horizontal diameter of 3.1 cm) eyebrow lesion in a nonagenarian patient was found on pathologic examination to demonstrate an admixture of islands of anucleated, washed out eosinophilic "ghost" cells with surrounding nucleated, small germinal basaloid cells. Further analysis disclosed adipophilin granular positivity in the necrotic zones, negative nuclear staining for androgen receptor and strong nuclear positivity for Ki67 in the basaloid cells (proliferation index of 50%). These findings are consistent with a highly mitotically active pilomatrixoma. The lesion recurred after initial resection but returned the same histopathologic features as the primary. Several clinical features were notably atypical for pilomatrixoma-specifically, the age of the patient, rapid lesion growth and recurrence, and clinical appearance and large size of the mass. The immunohistochemical findings can help to distinguish this tumor from other skin neoplasms, especially sebaceous carcinoma in an older individual.
IMPORTANCE: A phase 1 study has reported that dry eye disease is the most common adverse effect of human exposure to the antibody figitumumab, an anticancer drug that prevents insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) from binding to its receptor. We hypothesized that the mechanism underlying this effect is the inhibition of IGF-1 action in epithelial cells of the meibomian gland. OBJECTIVES: To test the hypothesis that IGF-1 stimulates meibomian gland function in vitro and to examine whether growth hormone, a closely related hormone of IGF-1, has the same effect. DESIGN, SETTING, AND MATERIAL: Immortalized human meibomian gland epithelial cells were cultured in the presence or the absence of IGF-1, growth hormone, and an IGF-1 receptor-blocking antibody. Signaling pathways, cell proliferation, neutral lipid staining, and a key protein involved in lipid biogenesis were evaluated. INTERVENTION: Application of IGF-1 and growth hormone to human meibomian gland epithelial cells. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Immunoblotting, cell counting, and neutral lipid staining. RESULTS Insulin-like growth factor 1 activated the phosphoinositol 3-kinase/Akt and forkhead box O1 pathways (showing a dose-dependent effect on immunoblotting), stimulated cellular proliferation (about 1.8-fold increase in cell number), increased sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1 expression (about 3-fold increase on immunoblotting), and promoted lipid accumulation in human meibomian gland epithelial cells (about 2-fold increase in lipid staining). These IGF-1 actions, which may be blocked by cotreatment with the anti-IGF-1 antibody, were accompanied by inconsistent effects on extracellular signal-regulated kinase phosphorylation. We were not able to demonstrate activation of Akt, forkhead box O1, extracellular signal-regulated kinase, Janus kinase 2, or signal transducers and activators of transcription 5, induced cell proliferation, or lipid accumulation in these cells by growth hormone application. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Our results support the hypothesis that IGF-1 acts on human meibomian gland epithelial cells and may explain why treatment with figitumumab, the IGF-1 inhibitor, causes dry eye disease. Ophthalmic care for dry eye disease may be needed when patients with cancer undergo treatment with drugs that inhibit IGF-1 action.
Memorizing critical objects and their locations is an essential part of everyday life. In the present study, incidental encoding of objects in naturalistic scenes during search was compared to explicit memorization of those scenes. To investigate if prior knowledge of scene structure influences these two types of encoding differently, we used meaningless arrays of objects as well as objects in real-world, semantically meaningful images. Surprisingly, when participants were asked to recall scenes, their memory performance was markedly better for searched objects than for objects they had explicitly tried to memorize, even though participants in the search condition were not explicitly asked to memorize objects. This finding held true even when objects were observed for an equal amount of time in both conditions. Critically, the recall benefit for searched over memorized objects in scenes was eliminated when objects were presented on uniform, non-scene backgrounds rather than in a full scene context. Thus, scene semantics not only help us search for objects in naturalistic scenes, but appear to produce a representation that supports our memory for those objects beyond intentional memorization.
PURPOSE: To investigate the effect of VEGF-C and VEGF-D blockade via soluble VEGFR-3 (sVEGFR-3) on T cell allosensitization, corneal neovascularization, and transplant survival. METHODS: Corneal intrastromal suture placement and allogeneic transplantation were performed on BALB/c mice to evaluate the effect of sVEGFR-3 on corneal neovascularization. Soluble VEGFR-3 trap was injected intraperitoneally to block VEGF-C/D (every other day starting the day of surgery). Immunohistochemical staining of corneal whole mounts was performed using anti-CD31 (PECAM-1) and anti-LYVE-1 antibodies to quantify the levels of hem- and lymphangiogenesis, respectively. Mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) was performed to assess indirect and direct host T cell allosensitization and the frequencies of IFN-γ-producing T cells in the draining lymph nodes were assessed using flow cytometry. Graft opacity and survival was evaluated by slit-lamp biomicroscopy. RESULTS: Treatment with sVEGFR-3 resulted in a significant blockade of lymphangiogenesis 2 weeks post-transplantation and significantly prolonged corneal allograft survival compared to the control group at 8 weeks post-transplantation (87.5 % vs. 50 %), and this was associated with significant reduction in the frequencies of allosensitized T cells and decreased frequencies of IFN-γ-producing CD4 T cells. CONCLUSIONS: Soluble VEGFR-3 suppresses corneal lymphangiogenesis and allograft rejection and may offer a viable therapeutic modality for corneal neovascularization and corneal transplantation.