Regulation of biological processes occurs through complex, synergistic mechanisms. In this study, we discovered the synergistic orchestration of multiple mechanisms regulating the normal and diseased state (age related macular degeneration, AMD) in the retina. We uncovered gene networks with overlapping feedback loops that are modulated by nuclear hormone receptors (NHR), miRNAs, and epigenetic factors. We utilized a comprehensive filtering and pathway analysis strategy comparing miRNA and microarray data between three mouse models and human donor eyes (normal and AMD). The mouse models lack key NHRS (Nr2e3, RORA) or epigenetic (Ezh2) factors. Fifty-four total miRNAs were differentially expressed, potentially targeting over 150 genes in 18 major representative networks including angiogenesis, metabolism, and immunity. We identified sixty-eight genes and 5 miRNAS directly regulated by NR2E3 and/or RORA. After a comprehensive analysis, we discovered multimodal regulation by miRNA, NHRs, and epigenetic factors of three miRNAs (miR-466, miR1187, and miR-710) and two genes (Ell2 and Entpd1) that are also associated with AMD. These studies provide insight into the complex, dynamic modulation of gene networks as well as their impact on human disease, and provide novel data for the development of innovative and more effective therapeutics.
Corneal injuries are among the major causes of ocular morbidity and vision impairment. Optimal epithelial wound healing is critical for the integrity and transparency of the cornea after injury. Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is a mitogen and motility factor that primarily regulates epithelial cell function. Herein, we investigate the effect of HGF on proliferation of corneal epithelial cells (CECs) in inflamed conditions both in vitro and in vivo. We demonstrate that HGF not only promotes CEC proliferation in homeostatic conditions but also reverses the anti-proliferative effect of the inflammatory environment on these cells. Furthermore, using a mouse model of ocular injury, we show that HGF treatment suppresses ocular inflammation and actively augments CEC proliferation, leading to improved and accelerated corneal epithelial repair. These findings have potential translational implications and could provide a framework for the development of novel HGF-based therapies for corneal epithelial defects.
The many internal and external factors that contribute to the pathophysiology of dry eye disease (DED) create a difficult milieu for its study and complicate its clinical diagnosis and treatment. The controlled adverse environment (CAE®) model has been developed to minimize the variability that arises from exogenous factors and to exacerbate the signs and symptoms of DED by stressing the ocular surface in a safe, standardized, controlled, and reproducible manner. By integrating sensitive, specific, and clinically relevant endpoints, the CAE has proven to be a unique and adaptable model for both identifying study-specific patient populations with modifiable signs and symptoms, and for tailoring the evaluation of interventions in clinical research studies.
Adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors are promising clinical candidates for therapeutic gene transfer, and a number of AAV-based drugs may emerge on the market over the coming years. To insure the consistency in efficacy and safety of any drug vial that reaches the patient, regulatory agencies require extensive characterization of the final product. Identity is a key characteristic of a therapeutic product, as it ensures its proper labeling and batch-to-batch consistency. Currently, there is no facile, fast, and robust characterization assay enabling to probe the identity of AAV products at the protein level. Here, we investigated whether the thermostability of AAV particles could inform us on the composition of vector preparations. AAV-ID, an assay based on differential scanning fluorimetry (DSF), was evaluated in two AAV research laboratories for specificity, sensitivity, and reproducibility, for six different serotypes (AAV1, 2, 5, 6.2, 8, and 9), using 67 randomly selected AAV preparations. In addition to enabling discrimination of AAV serotypes based on their melting temperatures, the obtained fluorescent fingerprints also provided information on sample homogeneity, particle concentration, and buffer composition. Our data support the use of AAV-ID as a reproducible, fast, and low-cost method to ensure batch-to-batch consistency in manufacturing facilities and academic laboratories.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the feasibility of Descemet stripping endothelial keratoplasty using grafts preloaded by an eye bank in a commercially available insertion device. METHODS: In this retrospective case series, a series of 35 eyes in 34 consecutive patients who underwent Descemet stripping endothelial keratoplasty for Fuchs endothelial dystrophy or previously failed full-thickness grafts at a single tertiary care center from March 2013 to March 2014 was included. The donor tissue had undergone pre-lamellar dissection, trephination, and loading into EndoGlide Ultrathin inserters at the Lions Eye Institute for Transplant and Research (Tampa, FL) and was shipped overnight in Optisol GS to the surgeon (K.C.). Surgery was performed within 24 hours from tissue preparation and loading by the eye bank. Donor and recipient characteristics, endothelial cell density (ECD), best-corrected visual acuity, and central corneal thickness were recorded. The main outcome measures were intraoperative and postoperative complications and ECD loss at 3, 6, and 12 months. RESULTS: One primary graft failure (2.8%), 2 rebubblings (5.7%), and 1 graft rejection (2.8%) occurred. Mean preoperative donor ECD was 2821 ± 199 cells/mm. Six months postoperatively, the mean endothelial cell loss was 25.3% ± 17.2% (n = 32), which remained stable at 1 year (31.5% ± 17.9%, n = 32). Mean best-corrected visual acuity improved from 20/100 preoperatively to 20/25 at a mean follow-up of 1 year (n = 32). Mean central corneal thickness was reduced from 711 ± 110 μm to 638 ± 66 μm at the last follow-up visit. CONCLUSIONS: Donor graft tissue preloaded by an eye bank can be used successfully for endothelial keratoplasty. Preloading reduces intraoperative tissue manipulation.
Because there are currently no biological treatments for hearing loss, we sought to advance gene therapy approaches to treat genetic deafness. We focused on Usher syndrome, a devastating genetic disorder that causes blindness, balance disorders and profound deafness, and studied a knock-in mouse model, Ush1c c.216G>A, for Usher syndrome type IC (USH1C). As restoration of complex auditory and balance function is likely to require gene delivery systems that target auditory and vestibular sensory cells with high efficiency, we delivered wild-type Ush1c into the inner ear of Ush1c c.216G>A mice using a synthetic adeno-associated viral vector, Anc80L65, shown to transduce 80-90% of sensory hair cells. We demonstrate recovery of gene and protein expression, restoration of sensory cell function, rescue of complex auditory function and recovery of hearing and balance behavior to near wild-type levels. The data represent unprecedented recovery of inner ear function and suggest that biological therapies to treat deafness may be suitable for translation to humans with genetic inner ear disorders.
Angiogenesis is central to both normal and pathologic processes. Endothelial cells (ECs) express O-glycoproteins that are believed to play important roles in vascular development and stability. Endomucin-1 (EMCN) is a type I O-glycosylated, sialic-rich glycoprotein, specifically expressed by venous and capillary endothelium. Evidence has pointed to a potential role for EMCN in angiogenesis but it had not been directly investigated. In this study, we examined the role of EMCN in angiogenesis by modulating EMCN levels both in vivo and in vitro. Reduction of EMCN in vivo led to the impairment of angiogenesis during normal retinal development in vivo. To determine the cellular basis of this inhibition, gain- and loss-of-function studies were performed in human retinal EC (HREC) in vitro by EMCN over-expression using adenovirus or EMCN gene knockdown by siRNA. We show that EMCN knockdown reduced migration, inhibited cell growth without compromising cell survival, and suppressed tube morphogenesis of ECs, whereas over-expression of EMCN led to increased migration, proliferation and tube formation. Furthermore, knockdown of EMCN suppressed VEGF-induced signaling as measured by decreased phospho-VEGFR2, phospho-ERK1/2 and phospho-p38-MAPK levels. These results suggest a novel role for EMCN as a potent regulator of angiogenesis and point to its potential as a new therapeutic target for angiogenesis-related diseases.
Alkali burns to the eye constitute a leading cause of worldwide blindness. In recent case series, corneal transplantation revealed unexpected damage to the retina and optic nerve in chemically burned eyes. We investigated the physical, biochemical, and immunological components of retinal injury after alkali burn and explored a novel neuroprotective regimen suitable for prompt administration in emergency departments. Thus, in vivo pH, oxygen, and oxidation reduction measurements were performed in the anterior and posterior segment of mouse and rabbit eyes using implantable microsensors. Tissue inflammation was assessed by immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry. The experiments confirmed that the retinal damage is not mediated by direct effect of the alkali, which is effectively buffered by the anterior segment. Rather, pH, oxygen, and oxidation reduction changes were restricted to the cornea and the anterior chamber, where they caused profound uveal inflammation and release of proinflammatory cytokines. The latter rapidly diffuse to the posterior segment, triggering retinal damage. Tumor necrosis factor-α was identified as a key proinflammatory mediator of retinal ganglion cell death. Blockade, by either monoclonal antibody or tumor necrosis factor receptor gene knockout, reduced inflammation and retinal ganglion cell loss. Intraocular pressure elevation was not observed in experimental alkali burns. These findings illuminate the mechanism by which alkali burns cause retinal damage and may have importance in designing therapies for retinal protection.
PURPOSE: The development of a suitable storage method for retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is necessary in the establishment of future RPE replacement therapy, and storage temperature has proven to be pivotal for cell survival. ARPE-19, a widely used model for RPE, has been shown to yield the greatest number of viable cells when stored at 16°C compared to other storage temperatures. In this study, we analyze the gene expression profile of cultured ARPE-19 cells after seven days of storage at different temperatures in an effort to predict the gene-level consequences of storage of RPE transplants. MATERIALS AND METHODS: ARPE-19 cells were cultured until confluence and then stored in minimum essential medium at 4°C, 16°C, and 37°C for seven days. The total RNA was isolated and the gene expression profile was determined using DNA microarrays. The Results were validated using qPCR. RESULTS: Principal component and hierarchical clustering analyses show that the gene expression profiles of cell cultures stored at different temperatures cluster into separate groups. Cultures stored at 4°C cluster closest to the control cultures that were not stored and display the least change in gene expression after storage (157 differentially expressed genes). Cultures stored at 16°C and 37°C display a much larger change in differential gene expression (1787 and 1357 differentially expressed genes, respectively). At 16°C, the expression of several genes with proposed tumor suppressor functions was markedly increased. Changes in regulation of several known signaling pathways and of oxidative stress markers were discovered at both 16°C and 37°C, and activation of the angiogenesis marker vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was discovered at 37°C. There was no evidence of the activation of inflammatory processes in stored cell cultures. CONCLUSION: ARPE-19 cultures stored at 16°C show the greatest propensity to modulate their gene expression profile in a manner that supports cell survival during storage.
OBJECTIVE: Several attributes of female reproductive history, including age at natural menopause (ANM), have been related to primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). We assembled 18 previously reported common genetic variants that predict ANM to determine their association with ANM or POAG. METHODS: Using data from the Nurses' Health Study (7,143 women), we validated the ANM weighted genetic risk score in relation to self-reported ANM. Subsequently, to assess the relation with POAG, we used data from 2,160 female POAG cases and 29,110 controls in the National Eye Institute Glaucoma Human Genetics Collaboration Heritable Overall Operational Database (NEIGHBORHOOD), which consists of 8 datasets with imputed genotypes to 5.6+ million markers. Associations with POAG were assessed in each dataset, and site-specific results were meta-analyzed using the inverse weighted variance method. RESULTS: The genetic risk score was associated with self-reported ANM (P = 2.2 × 10) and predicted 4.8% of the variance in ANM. The ANM genetic risk score was not associated with POAG (Odds Ratio (OR) = 1.002; 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.998, 1.007; P = 0.28). No single genetic variant in the panel achieved nominal association with POAG (P ≥0.20). Compared to the middle 80 percent, there was also no association with the lowest 10 percentile or highest 90 percentile of genetic risk score with POAG (OR = 0.75; 95% CI: 0.47, 1.21; P = 0.23 and OR = 1.10; 95% CI: 0.72, 1.69; P = 0.65, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: A genetic risk score predicting 4.8% of ANM variation was not related to POAG; thus, genetic determinants of ANM are unlikely to explain the previously reported association between the two phenotypes.
PURPOSE: Prisms used for field expansion are limited by the optical scotoma at a prism apex (apical scotoma). For a patient with two functioning eyes, fitting prisms unilaterally allows the other eye to compensate for the apical scotoma. A monocular patient's field loss cannot be expanded with a conventional or Fresnel prism because of the apical scotoma. A newly invented optical device, the multiplexing prism (MxP), was developed to overcome the apical scotoma limitation in monocular field expansion. METHODS: A Fresnel-prism-like device with alternating prism and flat elements superimposes shifted and see-through views, thus creating the (monocular) visual confusion required for field expansion and eliminating the apical scotoma. Several implementations are demonstrated and preliminarily evaluated for different monocular conditions with visual field loss. The field expansion of the MxP is compared with the effect of conventional prisms using calculated and measured perimetry. RESULTS: Field expansion without apical scotomas is shown to be effective for monocular patients with hemianopia or constricted peripheral field. The MxPs are shown to increase the nasal field for a patient with only one eye and for patients with bitemporal hemianopia. The MxPs placed at the far temporal field are shown to expand the normal visual field. The ability to control the contrast ratio between the two images is verified. CONCLUSIONS: A novel optical device is demonstrated to have the potential for field expansion technology in a variety of conditions. The devices may be inexpensive and can be constructed in a cosmetically acceptable format.
Diabetes is a chronic systemic disease that affects nearly one in eight adults worldwide. Ocular complications, such as cataract, can lead to significant visual impairment. Among the worldwide population, cataract is the leading cause of blindness, and patients with diabetes have an increased incidence of cataracts which mature earlier compared to the rest of the population. Cataract surgery is a common and safe procedure, but can be associated with vision-threatening complications in the diabetic population, such as diabetic macular edema, postoperative macular edema, diabetic retinopathy progression, and posterior capsular opacification. This article is a brief review of diabetic cataract and complications associated with cataract extraction in this population of patients.
BACKGROUND: Biomarker", a merged word of "biological marker", refers to a broad subcategory of medical signs that objectively indicate the state of health, and well-being of an individual. Biomarkers hold great promise for personalized medicine as information gained from diagnostic or progression markers can be used to tailor treatment to the individual for highly effective intervention in the disease process. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) has proved useful in identifying various biomarkers in ocular and systemic diseases. MAIN BODY: Spectral domain optical coherence tomography imaging-based biomarkers provide a valuable tool for detecting the earlier stages of the disease, tracking progression, and monitoring treatment response. The aim of this review article is to analyze various OCT based imaging biomarkers and their potential to be considered as surrogate endpoints for diabetic retinopathy, age related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and vitreomacular interface disorder. These OCT based surrogate markers have been classified as retinal structural alterations (macular central subfield thickness and cube average thickness); retinal ultrastructural alterations (disruption of external limiting membrane and ellipsoid zone, thinning of retinal nerve fiber layer and ganglion cell layer); intraretinal microangiopathic changes; choroidal surrogate endpoints; and vitreoretinal interface endpoints. CONCLUSION: OCT technology is changing very quickly and throughout this review there are some of the multiple possibilities that OCT based imaging biomarkers will be more useful in the near future for diagnosis, prognosticating disease progression and as endpoint in clinical trials.
PURPOSE: To study methods and adverse events of postoperative, sedated suture adjustment after strabismus surgery in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). METHODS: We reviewed the postoperative experience of all children ≤18 years of age undergoing adjustable suture strabismus surgery at Boston Children's Hospital over a 3-year period. Time in the hospital, adverse events, and surgical outcomes were reviewed to evaluate safety and healthcare resource utilization. RESULTS: Of 356 patients, 113 required suture adjustment in the PACU, including 24 adjusted while awake and 89 adjusted under sedation. For sedation, sequential boluses of propofol were administered until adjustment was complete. Complete data from the sedated adjustment was available in 76 patients. The median initial bolus was 30 mg; the median total propofol rate was 273 mcg/kg/min. Twelve patients (16%) required only a single bolus of propofol. Of remaining 64 patients, median time from initial to final propofol dose was 7 minutes. Median anesthesiologist time in the PACU was 13 minutes. In the sedated adjustment group, there were no clinically significant adverse events, and the pain score never exceeded 6 (of a possible 10). Median duration of PACU stay was shortest in the group not requiring adjustment. CONCLUSIONS: Sedated suture adjustment allows for fine-tuning of postoperative binocular alignment in children and uncooperative adults. No adverse events were observed in our study group, but the procedure does increase the time patients spend in the hospital. This work will inform disclosure of risks and benefits of sedated adjustment while allowing for more accurate assessment of the cost and quality of adjustable sutures in children.
PURPOSE: To review the published literature on the efficacy of topical atropine for the prevention of myopic progression in children. METHODS: Literature searches were last conducted in December 2016 in the PubMed database with no date restrictions, but were limited to studies published in English, and in the Cochrane Library database without any restrictions. The combined searches yielded 98 citations, 23 of which were reviewed in full text. Of these, 17 articles were deemed appropriate for inclusion in this assessment and subsequently were assigned a level of evidence rating by the panel methodologist. RESULTS: Seventeen level I, II, and III studies were identified. Most of the studies reported less myopic progression in children treated with atropine compared with various control groups. All 8 of the level I and II studies that evaluated primarily myopic progression revealed less myopic progression with atropine (myopic progression ranging from 0.04±0.63 to 0.47±0.91 diopters (D)/year) compared with control participants (myopic progression ranging from 0.38±0.39 to 1.19±2.48 D/year). In studies that evaluated myopic progression after cessation of treatment, a rebound effect was noted. Several studies evaluated the optimal dosage of atropine with regard to myopic progression, rebound after treatment cessation, and minimization of side effects. Lower dosages of atropine (0.5%, 0.1%, and 0.01%) were found to be slightly less effective during treatment periods of 1 to 2 years, but they were associated with less rebound myopic progression (for atropine 0.01%, mean myopic progression after treatment cessation of 0.28±0.33 D/year, compared with atropine 0.5%, 0.87±0.52 D/year), fewer side effects, and similar long-term results for myopic progression after the study period and rebound effect were considered. The most robust and well-designed studies were carried out in Asian populations. Studies involving patients of other ethnic backgrounds failed to provide sufficient evidence of an effect of atropine on myopic progression. CONCLUSIONS: Level I evidence supports the use of atropine to prevent myopic progression. Although there are reports of myopic rebound after treatment is discontinued, this seems to be minimized by using low doses (especially atropine 0.01%).
PURPOSE: To determine what percentage of normal eyes follow the ISNT rule, and whether ISNT rule variants may be more generalizable to the normal population. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. METHODS: Setting: Institutional setting. STUDY POPULATION: Total of 110 normal subjects. OBSERVATION PROCEDURES: Neuroretinal rim assessments from disc photographs and retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness measurements from spectral-domain optical coherence tomography. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The percentages of subjects that obeyed the ISNT rule and its variants. RESULTS: The ISNT rule is only valid for 37.0% of disc photograph rim assessments and 43.8% of RNFL measurements. Deviation of the nasal sector from the expected ISNT pattern was a major cause for the ISNT rule not being obeyed for both rim and RNFL assessments. Specifically, 10.9% of subjects had wider nasal rims than the inferior rims, 29.4% had wider nasal rims than the superior rims, 14.7% had narrower nasal rims than the temporal rims, and 42.9% had thinner nasal RNFLs compared to the temporal quadrant. Exclusion of the nasal quadrant from the ISNT rule significantly increased the validity of ISNT variant rules, with 70.9% and 76.4% of disc photographs following the IST rule and the IS rule, respectively. Similarly, for RNFL thickness, 70.9% and 71.8% of patients followed the IST and IS rule, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The ISNT rule is only valid for about a third of disc photographs and less than half of RNFL measurements in normal patients. ISNT rule variants, such as the IST and IS rule, may be considered, as they are valid in more than 70% of patients.
We describe the surgical technique of endoscopic cyclophotocoagulation in a Boston keratoprosthesis type II patient. This patient with ocular cicatricial pemphigoid had pars plana endoscopic cyclophotocoagula through wounds created in the eyelids.