Purpose: We sought to determine whether big data from social media might reveal seasonal trends of conjunctivitis, most forms of which are nonreportable. Methods: Social media posts (from Twitter, and from online forums and blogs) were classified by age and by conjunctivitis type (allergic or infectious) using Boolean and machine learning methods. Based on spline smoothing, we estimated the circular mean occurrence time (a measure of central tendency for occurrence) and the circular variance (a measure of uniformity of occurrence throughout the year, providing an index of seasonality). Clinical records from a large tertiary care provider were analyzed in a similar way for comparison. Results: Social media posts machine-coded as being related to infectious conjunctivitis showed similar times of occurrence and degree of seasonality to clinical infectious cases, and likewise for machine-coded allergic conjunctivitis posts compared to clinical allergic cases. Allergic conjunctivitis showed a distinctively different seasonal pattern than infectious conjunctivitis, with a mean occurrence time later in the spring. Infectious conjunctivitis for children showed markedly greater seasonality than for adults, though the occurrence times were similar; no such difference for allergic conjunctivitis was seen. Conclusions: Social media posts broadly track the seasonal occurrence of allergic and infectious conjunctivitis, and may be a useful supplement for epidemiologic monitoring.
MYF5 is member of the Myc-like basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor family and, in cooperation with other myogenic regulatory factors MYOD and MYF5, is a key regulator of early stages of myogenesis. Here, we report three consanguineous families with biallelic homozygous loss-of-function mutations in MYF5 who define a clinical disorder characterized by congenital ophthalmoplegia with scoliosis and vertebral and rib anomalies. The clinical phenotype overlaps strikingly with that reported in several Myf5 knockout mouse models. Affected members of two families share a haploidentical region that contains a homozygous 10 bp frameshift mutation in exon 1 of MYF5 (c.23_32delAGTTCTCACC [p.Gln8Leufs86]) predicted to undergo nonsense-mediated decay. Affected members of the third family harbor a homozygous missense change in exon 1 of MYF5 (c.283C>T [p.Arg95Cys]). Using in vitro assays, we show that this missense mutation acts as a loss-of-function allele by impairing MYF5 DNA binding and nuclear localization. We performed whole-genome sequencing in one affected individual with the frameshift mutation and did not identify additional rare variants in the haploidentical region that might account for differences in severity among the families. These data support the direct role of MYF5 in rib, spine, and extraocular muscle formation in humans.
Purpose: To evaluate the deeper choroidal vasculature in eyes with various ocular disorders using spectral domain (SD) optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) and swept source (SS) OCTA. Methods: Patients underwent OCTA imaging with either SD-OCTA (Zeiss Cirrus Angioplex or Optovue AngioVue) or SS-OCTA (Topcon Triton). Retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) integrity, structural visualization of deep choroidal vessels on en face imaging, and OCTA of deep choroidal blood flow signal were analyzed. Choroidal blood flow was deemed present if deeper choroidal vessels appeared bright after appropriate segmentation. Results: Structural visualization of choroidal vessels was feasible in all eyes by en face imaging. In both SD-OCTA and SS-OCTA, choroidal blood flow signal was present in all eyes with overlying RPE atrophy (100% of eyes with RPE atrophy, 28.6% of all imaged eyes, P < .001). Conclusions: While choroidal vessels can be visualized anatomically in all eyes by en face imaging, choroidal blood flow detection in deep choroidal vessel is largely restricted to areas with overlying RPE atrophy. Intact RPE acts as a barrier for reliable detection of choroidal flow using current OCTA technology, inhibiting evaluation of flow in deeper choroidal vessels in most eyes.
Background: It is unknown whether dietary quality modifies genetic association with body mass index (BMI). Objective: This study examined whether dietary quality modifies genetic association with BMI. Design: We calculated 3 diet quality scores including the Alternative Healthy Eating Index 2010 (AHEI-2010), the Alternative Mediterranean Diet score (AMED), and the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet score. We examined the interactions of a genetic risk score (GRS) based on 97 BMI-associated variants with the 3 diet quality scores on BMI in 30,904 participants from 3 large cohorts. Results: We found significant interactions between total GRS and all 3 diet scores on BMI assessed after 2-3 y, with an attenuated genetic effect observed in individuals with healthier diets (AHEI: P-interaction = 0.003; AMED: P = 0.001; DASH: P = 0.004). For example, the difference in BMI (kg/m2) per 10-unit increment of the GRS was smaller among participants in the highest tertile of AHEI score compared with those in the lowest tertile (0.84; 95% CI: 0.72, 0.96 compared with 1.14; 95% CI: 0.99, 1.29). Results were consistent across the 3 cohorts with no significant heterogeneity. The interactions with diet scores on BMI appeared more significant for central nervous system GRSs (P < 0.01 for 3 diet scores) than for non-central nervous system GRSs (P > 0.05 for 3 diet scores). Conclusions: A higher diet quality attenuated genetic predisposition to obesity. These findings underscore the importance of maintaining a healthful diet for the prevention of obesity, particularly for those individuals with a strong genetic predisposition to obesity. This trial was registered with the Clinical Trial Registry as NCT03577639.
To date, mutations in 15 actin- or microtubule-associated genes have been associated with the cortical malformation lissencephaly and variable brainstem hypoplasia. During a multicenter review, we recognized a rare lissencephaly variant with a complex brainstem malformation in three unrelated children. We searched our large brain-malformation databases and found another five children with this malformation (as well as one with a less severe variant), analyzed available whole-exome or -genome sequencing data, and tested ciliogenesis in two affected individuals. The brain malformation comprised posterior predominant lissencephaly and midline crossing defects consisting of absent anterior commissure and a striking W-shaped brainstem malformation caused by small or absent pontine crossing fibers. We discovered heterozygous de novo missense variants or an in-frame deletion involving highly conserved zinc-binding residues within the GAR domain of MACF1 in the first eight subjects. We studied cilium formation and found a higher proportion of mutant cells with short cilia than of control cells with short cilia. A ninth child had similar lissencephaly but only subtle brainstem dysplasia associated with a heterozygous de novo missense variant in the spectrin repeat domain of MACF1. Thus, we report variants of the microtubule-binding GAR domain of MACF1 as the cause of a distinctive and most likely pathognomonic brain malformation. A gain-of-function or dominant-negative mechanism appears likely given that many heterozygous mutations leading to protein truncation are included in the ExAC Browser. However, three de novo variants in MACF1 have been observed in large schizophrenia cohorts.
Objective: Otologic methicillin-resistant (MRSA) infection has historically been rare, but given the rise in community-acquired MRSA carriage and infection at other body sites, prevalence rates may be changing. The goal of this study was to determine the prevalence of MRSA in recent otologic cultures from patients with acute otitis externa (AOE). Study design: Retrospective review of an institutional microbiologic database. Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed on serial culture isolates taken from the ear at a quaternary care hospital from January 2014 to April 2016. The causative pathogen and antibiotic sensitivity was determined by culture isolation and end point mean inhibitory concentration (MIC) testing. Medical records were reviewed to document patient characteristics, chronicity of infection, symptomatology, and previous treatments. Results: Over the study period, 173 patients were diagnosed with AOE and underwent otologic cultures of the ear. Fifty-three (30.6%) of cultures grew (SA). Of SA infections, 15 (28.3%) were identified as MRSA. MRSA patients were typically older than patients with methicillin-sensitive SA (MSSA) (mean age 46.7 ± 17.9 29 ± 19.4, = 0.003) and had more medical comorbidities (4 1.7, = 0.001). Compared to patients with MSSA, patients with MRSA were significantly more likely to have had prior ototopical antibiotic exposure (37% 73%, = 0.019). Conclusion: Contemporary ear culture isolates at quaternary care center show higher rates of MRSA compared to historical reports in the literature. Clinicians should consider ear cultures to identify MRSA AOE. Level of Evidence: IV.
Determinants and mechanisms of cell attachment and entry steer adeno-associated virus (AAV) in its utility as a gene therapy vector. Thus far, a systematic assessment of how diverse AAV serotypes engage their proteinaceous receptor AAVR (KIAA0319L) to establish transduction has been lacking, despite potential implications for cell and tissue tropism. Here, a large set of human and simian AAVs as well as -reconstructed ancestral AAV capsids were interrogated for AAVR usage. We identified a distinct AAV capsid lineage comprised of AAV4 and AAVrh32.33 that can bind and transduce cells in the absence of AAVR, independent of the multiplicity of infection. Virus overlay assays and rescue experiments in nonpermissive cells demonstrate that these AAVs are unable to bind to or use the AAVR protein for entry. Further evidence for a distinct entry pathway was observed , as AAVR knockout mice were equally as permissive to transduction by AAVrh32.33 as wild-type mice upon systemic injection. We interestingly observe that some AAV capsids undergo a low level of transduction in the absence of AAVR, both and , suggesting that some capsids may have a multimodal entry pathway. In aggregate, our results demonstrate that AAVR usage is conserved among all primate AAVs except for those of the AAV4 lineage, and a non-AAVR pathway may be available to other serotypes. This work furthers our understanding of the entry of AAV, a vector system of broad utility in gene therapy. Adeno-associated virus (AAV) is a nonpathogenic virus that is used as a vehicle for gene delivery. Here, we have identified several situations in which transduction is retained in both cell lines and a mouse model in the absence of a previously defined entry receptor, AAVR. Defining the molecular determinants of the infectious pathway of this highly relevant viral vector system can help refine future applications and therapies with this vector.
PURPOSE: To characterize the clinical features of patients with ocular inflammatory diseases (OID) who tested positive for atypical perinuclear anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (P-ANCA). METHODS: Retrospective case series of patients with OID seen at the Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institute (MERSI) from April 2014 to April 2016. RESULTS: 813 patients were tested for ANCA with 34 patients (4%) being positive for atypical P-ANCA. Among those with positive atypical P-ANCA, the most frequent diagnoses were anterior uveitis in 62% (n = 21) followed by scleritis in 20% (n = 7). Only one patient had an episode of recurrent disease flare-up. All but one patient, who had concomitant C-ANCA seropositivity and granulomatosis with polyangiitis, had a favorable disease course with controlled inflammation using topical and/or systemic immunomodulatory therapy. CONCLUSION: In contrast to typical C-ANCA and P-ANCA, atypical P-ANCA seropositivity was not associated with severe vasculitis or poor prognosis in patients with the OID.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the presence of atopy in patients with ocular cicatricial pemphigoid (OCP).
METHOD: Patient encounters between August 2005 and November 2016 at the Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institute (MERSI) were searched to identify those with biopsy-proven OCP who had concurrent evidence of atopy.
RESULTS: There were 230 patients with biopsy-proven OCP. Thirty-three of them were found to have clinical symptoms of atopy (asthma, hay fever, and eczema) and of these, 23 had evidence of atopy in their conjunctival biopsy specimens. All patients were administered immunomodulatory therapy for treatment of their OCP with 20 patients requiring additional antiallergy treatment to control residual atopic ocular symptoms. Among patients who used antiallergy medications, 80% showed improvement in residual symptoms. Rituximab and/or intravenous immunoglobulin is a preferred OCP medication for patients with OCP with some evidence of atopy.
CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians should consider the coexistence of atopy in patients with OCP, especially in those with persistent symptoms after initiation of immunomodulatory therapy.
PURPOSE: Alternative splice isoforms of TCF4, a gene implicated in Fuchs corneal dystrophy, have been identified in multiple human tissues outside of the eye. The aim of this study was to identify the transcriptional profile of TCF4 in the corneal endothelium. METHODS: We extracted RNA from the donor corneal endothelium and performed rapid amplification of cDNA ends. We tested the expression pattern of 1 newly identified isoform (7b) in a panel of cDNA derived from multiple human tissues and included cDNA from corneal endothelial (CE) and retinal pigment epithelial cell lines. To further delineate differential expression of TCF4 splice variants that span CTG18.1, we analyzed expression of 6 alternative splice isoforms that are transcribed from either exon 2 or 3 in RNA extracted from the corneal endothelium of 3 normal donors and a CE cell line. RESULTS: We identified 11 different isoforms in control CE tissue, including 1 isoform (7b) not reported previously. This isoform is enriched specifically in the corneal endothelium and placenta compared with other tissues in a panel of human cDNA. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate the complex expression profile of TCF4 in the human corneal endothelium and reveal expression of alternative splice variants of TCF4.
Macrophages are crucial drivers of inflammatory corneal neovascularization and thus are potential targets for immunomodulatory therapies. We hypothesized that therapeutic use of cornea-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (cMSCs) may alter the function of macrophages. We found that cMSCs can modulate the phenotype and angiogenic function of macrophages. In vitro, cMSCs induce apoptosis of macrophages while preferentially promoting a distinct CD14 CD16 CD163 CD206 immunophenotype that has significantly reduced angiogenic effects based on in vitro angiogenesis assays. In vivo, application of cMSCs to murine corneas after injury leads to reduced macrophage infiltration and higher expression of CD206 in macrophages. Macrophages cocultured ("educated") by cMSCs express significantly higher levels of anti-angiogenic and anti-inflammatory factors compared with control macrophages. In vivo, injured corneas treated with cMSC-educated macrophages demonstrate significantly less neovascularization compared with corneas treated with control macrophages. Knocking down the expression of pigment epithelial derived factor (PEDF) in cMSCs significantly abrogates its modulating effects on macrophages, as shown by the reduced rate of apoptosis, decreased expression of sFLT-1/PEDF, and increased expression of vascular endothelial growth factor-A in the cocultured macrophages. Similarly, cMSCs isolated from PEDF knockout mice are less effective compared with wild-type cMSCs at inhibiting macrophage infiltration when applied to wild-type corneas after injury. Overall, these results demonstrate that cMSCs therapeutically suppress the angiogenic capacity of macrophages and highlight the role of cMSC secreted PEDF in the modulation of macrophage phenotype and function. Stem Cells 2018;36:775-784.
Purpose: To identify genetic risk factors contributing to central corneal thickness (CCT) in individuals from South India, a population with a high prevalence of ocular disorders. Methods: One hundred ninety-five individuals from 15 large South Indian pedigrees were genotyped using the Omni2.5 bead array. Family-based association for CCT was conducted using the score test in MERLIN. Results: Genome-wide association study (GWAS) identified strongest association for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the first intron of WNT7B and CCT (top SNP rs9330813; β = -0.57, 95% confidence interval [CI]: -0.78 to -0.36; P = 1.7 × 10-7). We further investigated rs9330813 in a Latino cohort and four independent European cohorts. A meta-analysis of these data sets demonstrated statistically significant association between rs9330813 and CCT (β = -3.94, 95% CI: -5.23 to -2.66; P = 1.7 × 10-9). WNT7B SNPs located in the same genomic region that includes rs9330813 have previously been associated with CCT in Latinos but with other ocular quantitative traits related to myopia (corneal curvature and axial length) in a Japanese population (rs10453441 and rs200329677). To evaluate the specificity of the observed WNT7B association with CCT in the South Indian families, we completed an ocular phenome-wide association study (PheWAS) for the top WNT7B SNPs using 45 ocular traits measured in these same families including corneal curvature and axial length. The ocular PheWAS results indicate that in the South Indian families WNT7B SNPs are primarily associated with CCT. Conclusions: The results indicate robust evidence for association between WNT7B SNPs and CCT in South Indian pedigrees, and suggest that WNT7B SNPs can have population-specific effects on ocular quantitative traits.
PURPOSE: To report a case of Ahmed glaucoma valve-induced hypotony that was successfully managed with postoperative intraluminal stenting of the aqueous shunt tube.
PATIENT AND METHODS: We describe a 68-year-old man with advanced uveitic glaucoma with an intraocular pressure (IOP) of 25 mm Hg in the left eye. The patient initially responded well to an Ahmed glaucoma valve implant, but at 10 weeks postimplantation, the patient underwent cataract surgery and developed persistent hypotony, choroidal folds, and decreased vision.
RESULTS: Before partial occlusion of the aqueous shunt tube, the patient had an IOP of 3 mm Hg and a best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) of 20/60. Following intraluminal stenting of the aqueous shunt tube with 4-0 polypropylene suture (Prolene; Ethican), IOP rose from 7 to 10 mm Hg, BCVA improved to 20/30, and the choroidal folds resolved; IOP and BCVA remained stable through 1 year of follow-up and no additional surgical or pharmacological interventions were required.
CONCLUSIONS: Aqueous shunt-induced hypotony can be successfully managed with intraluminal stenting and should be considered before tubal ligation or shunt removal.
The design of efficient therapies for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is limited by our understanding of the pathogenesis of basal deposits, which form between retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and Bruch's membrane (BrM) early in disease, and involve activation of the complement system. To investigate the roles of BrM, RPE and complement in an AMD, we generated abnormal extracellular matrix (ECM) using CRISPR-edited ARPE-19 cells. We introduced to these cells the p.R345W mutation in EFEMP1, which causes early-onset macular degeneration. The abnormal ECM binds active complement C3 and causes the formation of basal deposits by normal human fetal (hf)RPE cells. Human fetal RPE (hfRPE) cells grown on abnormal ECM or BrM explants from AMD donors show chronic activation of the alternative complement pathway by excessive deposition of C3b. This process is exacerbated by impaired ECM turnover via increased matrix metalloproteinase-2 activity. The local cleavage of C3 via convertase-independent mechanisms can be a new therapeutic target for early AMD.
The mechanisms that connect complement system activation and basal deposit formation in early stages of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are insufficiently understood, which complicates the design of efficient therapies to prevent disease progression. Using human fetal (hf) retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells, we have established an in vitro model to investigate the effect of complement C3a on RPE cells and its role in the formation of sub-RPE deposits. The results of these studies revealed that C3a produced after C3 activation is sufficient to induce the formation of sub-RPE deposits via complement-driven proteasome inhibition. C3a binds the C3a receptor (C3aR), stimulates deposition of collagens IV and VI underneath the RPE, and impairs the extracellular matrix (ECM) turnover by increased MMP-2 activity, all mediated by downregulation of the ubiquitin proteasome pathway (UPP). The formation of basal deposits can be prevented by the addition of a C3aR antagonist, which restores the UPP activity and ECM turnover. These findings indicate that the cell-based model can be used to test potential therapeutic agents in vitro. The data suggest that modulation of C3aR-mediated events could be a therapeutic approach for treatment of early AMD.
PURPOSE: To describe the distribution, clinical findings, visual outcomes, treatment, and complications of children with uveitis at a tertiary referral ophthalmic center. METHODS: Retrospective cohort study. We reviewed the medical records of all patients ≤16 years with uveitis referred to Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institution from March 2005 to July 2016. RESULTS: Of 286 included children, 62.24% were female. Mean age of onset was 8.4 years. The uveitis was mainly anterior (61.9%), recurrent (68.53%), bilateral (81.82%), and noninfectious (96.5%). Idiopathic cases accounted for 51.4%. The most frequent systemic association was juvenile idiopathic arthritis (34.96%). The majority of patients (78.32%) experienced complications. All patients, except one, needed systemic therapy. CONCLUSION: Pediatric uveitis is challenging to diagnose and manage, with frequent and potentially severe complications. Most cases were bilateral, recurrent, and idiopathic. Prompt referral to uveitis-specialized centers and an appropriate systemic therapy are mandatory for good visual outcomes.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease that commonly affects the palpebral and extraocular muscles. Ocular myasthenia gravis (OMG) is a variant of the disease that is confined to the ocular muscles but frequently becomes generalized over time. The diagnosis of OMG is often challenging but both clinical and laboratory findings are helpful in confirming the clinical suspicion. This review provides an update on the diagnostic approach and therapeutic options for OMG. RECENT FINDINGS: Antimuscle-specific tyrosine kinase and LDL-related receptor-related protein 4 are newly available serologic testing for myasthenia gravis that can help in increasing the diagnostic sensitivity of OMG. They should be included to the diagnostic algorithm of OMG in appropriate clinical situations. SUMMARY: OMG remains a primarily clinical diagnosis, but recent advances in laboratory testing can improve the diagnostic accuracy and should be used in appropriate clinical settings. The mainstay of treatment for OMG has not significantly changed over the past years, but the increasing availability of steroid-sparing agents improved the disease control while minimizing steroid-induced complications.