PRECIS: In open-angle glaucoma, when neuroretinal rim tissue measured by volumetric optical coherence tomography (OCT) scans is below a third of the normal value, visual field (VF) damage becomes detectable. PURPOSE: To determine the amount of neuroretinal rim tissue thickness below which VF damage becomes detectable. METHODS: In a retrospective cross-sectional study, 1 eye per subject (of 57 healthy and 100 open-angle glaucoma patients) at an academic institution had eye examinations, VF testing, spectral-domain OCT retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness measurements, and optic nerve volumetric scans. Using custom algorithms, the minimum distance band (MDB) neuroretinal rim thickness was calculated from optic nerve scans. "Broken-stick" regression was performed for estimating both the MDB and RNFL thickness tipping-point thresholds, below which were associated with initial VF defects in the decibel scale. The slopes for the structure-function relationship above and below the thresholds were computed. Smoothing curves of the MDB and RNFL thickness covariates were evaluated to examine the consistency of the independently identified tipping-point pairs. RESULTS: Plots of VF total deviation against MDB thickness revealed plateaus of VF total deviation unrelated to MDB thickness. Below the thresholds, VF total deviation decreased with MDB thickness, with the associated slopes significantly greater than those above the thresholds (P<0.014). Below 31% of global MDB thickness, and 36.8% and 43.6% of superior and inferior MDB thickness, VF damage becomes detectable. The MDB and RNFL tipping points were in good accordance with the correlation of the MDB and RNFL thickness covariates. CONCLUSIONS: When neuroretinal rim tissue, characterized by MDB thickness in OCT, is below a third of the normal value, VF damage in the decibel scale becomes detectable.
We describe here a case report of a novel technique for tube erosion repair, which modifies and utilizes the commercially available tube extender (Model TE). The modification of the tube extender makes the commercially available tube extender more compact and is useful in cases where conjunctival mobility and space are limited. This debulking of the tube extender may reduce the risk of future tube exposure and dellen formation.
BACKGROUND/AIMS: To assess the effect of partial posterior vitreous detachment (pPVD) on spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) peripapillary retinal nerve fibre layer thickness (RNFL) measurements. METHODS: Spectral-domain OCT RNFL thickness measurements were obtained from 684 consecutive patients who were seen in the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Glaucoma Service. Of these patients, we compared RNFL thickness measurements between 101 eyes of 101 glaucoma suspects who met inclusion criteria (55 eyes with and 46 eyes without pPVD). RESULTS: Among all 684 patients, 253 (37%) had pPVD in at least one eye. Among a subset of 101 eyes of 101 glaucoma suspects, average RNFL thickness was greater in eyes with compared to eyes without pPVD (p=0.02). Measurements were significantly greater in the inferior (p=0.004) and superior quadrants (p=0.008), but not in the nasal (p=0.10) and temporal quadrants (p=0.25). The difference in average RNFL thickness remained significant (p=0.05) even when corrected for expected age-related decline in RNFL thickness. CONCLUSION: Over a third of patients were found on peripapillary spectral-domain OCT to have a pPVD, which was associated with greater RNFL thickness measurements. Judicious clinical interpretation of this finding on spectral-domain OCT RNFL thickness scans should be factored into the assessment of glaucoma suspects.
The coordination of metabolic signals among different cellular components in pathological retinal angiogenesis is poorly understood. Here, we showed that in the pathological angiogenic vascular niche, retinal myeloid cells, particularly macrophages/microglia that are spatially adjacent to endothelial cells (ECs), are highly glycolytic. We refer to these macrophages/microglia that exhibit a unique angiogenic phenotype with increased expression of both M1 and M2 markers and enhanced production of both proinflammatory and proangiogenic cytokines as pathological retinal angiogenesis-associated glycolytic macrophages/microglia (PRAGMs). The phenotype of PRAGMs was recapitulated in bone marrow-derived macrophages or retinal microglia stimulated by lactate that was produced by hypoxic retinal ECs. Knockout of 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2, 6-bisphosphatase (; for rodents), a glycolytic activator in myeloid cells, impaired the ability of macrophages/microglia to acquire an angiogenic phenotype, rendering them unable to promote EC proliferation and sprouting and pathological neovascularization in a mouse model of oxygen-induced proliferative retinopathy. Mechanistically, hyperglycolytic macrophages/microglia produced large amount of acetyl-coenzyme A, leading to histone acetylation and PRAGM-related gene induction, thus reprogramming macrophages/microglia into an angiogenic phenotype. These findings reveal a critical role of glycolytic metabolites as initiators of reciprocal activation of macrophages/microglia and ECs in the retinal angiogenic niche and suggest that strategies targeting the metabolic communication between these cell types may be efficacious in the treatment of pathological retinal angiogenesis.
Since the discovery of the first microRNA (miRNA) decades ago, studies of miRNA biology have expanded in many biomedical research fields, including eye research. The critical roles of miRNAs in normal development and diseases have made miRNAs useful biomarkers or molecular targets for potential therapeutics. In the eye, ocular neovascularization (NV) is a leading cause of blindness in multiple vascular eye diseases. Current anti-angiogenic therapies, such as anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) treatment, have their limitations, indicating the need for investigating new targets. Recent studies established the roles of various miRNAs in the regulation of pathological ocular NV, suggesting miRNAs as both biomarkers and therapeutic targets in vascular eye diseases. This review summarizes the biogenesis of miRNAs, and their functions in the normal development and diseases of the eye, with a focus on clinical and experimental retinopathies in both human and animal models. Discovery of novel targets involving miRNAs in vascular eye diseases will provide insights for developing new treatments to counter ocular NV.
Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) is a leading cause of corneal endothelial (CE) degeneration resulting in impaired visual acuity. It is a genetically complex and age-related disorder, with higher incidence in females. In this study, we established a nongenetic FECD animal model based on the physiologic outcome of CE susceptibility to oxidative stress by demonstrating that corneal exposure to ultraviolet A (UVA) recapitulates the morphological and molecular changes of FECD. Targeted irradiation of mouse corneas with UVA induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in the aqueous humor, and caused greater CE cell loss, including loss of ZO-1 junctional contacts and corneal edema, in female than male mice, characteristic of late-onset FECD. UVA irradiation caused greater mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and nuclear DNA (nDNA) damage in female mice, indicative of the sex-driven differential response of the CE to UVA, thus accounting for more severe phenotype in females. The sex-dependent effect of UVA was driven by the activation of estrogen-metabolizing enzyme CYP1B1 and formation of reactive estrogen metabolites and estrogen-DNA adducts in female but not male mice. Supplementation of -acetylcysteine (NAC), a scavenger of reactive oxygen species (ROS), diminished the morphological and molecular changes induced by UVA in vivo. This study investigates the molecular mechanisms of environmental factors in FECD pathogenesis and demonstrates a strong link between UVA-induced estrogen metabolism and increased susceptibility of females for FECD development.
BACKGROUND: Schizophrenia (SZ) and bipolar disorder (BD) are characterized by reductions in gray matter and white matter. Limitations in brain imaging have led researchers to use optical coherence tomography (OCT) to explore retinal imaging biomarkers of brain pathology. We examine the retinal layers that may be associated with SZ or BD. METHODS: Articles identified using PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane Database. Twelve studies met inclusion for acutely/chronically ill patients. We used fixed or random effects meta-analysis for probands (SZ and BD), SZ or BD eyes vs healthy control (HC) eyes. We adjusted for sources of bias, cross-validated results, and report standardized mean differences (SMD). Statistical analysis performed using meta package in R. RESULTS: Data from 820 proband eyes (SZ = 541, BD = 279) and 904 HC eyes were suitable for meta-analysis. The peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) showed significant thinning in SZ and BD eyes compared to HC eyes (n = 12, SMD = -0.74, -0.51, -1.06, respectively). RNFL thinning was greatest in the nasal, temporal, and superior regions. The combined peripapillary ganglion cell layer and inner plexiform layer (GCL-IPL) showed significant thinning in SZ and BD eyes compared to HC eyes (n = 4, SMD = -0.39, -0.44, -0.28, respectively). No statistically significant differences were identified in other retinal or choroidal regions. Clinical variables were unrelated to the RNFL or GCL-IPL thickness by meta-regression. CONCLUSION: The observed retinal layer thinning is consistent with the classic gray- and white-matter atrophy observed on neuroimaging in SZ and BD patients. OCT may be a useful biomarker tool in studying the neurobiology of psychosis.
BACKGROUND: The CAV1-CAV2 locus has been associated with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and intraocular pressure. However, its association with normal-tension glaucoma (NTG) was inconclusive. Therefore, we evaluated this association in Chinese and Japanese. METHODS: Two single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, rs4236601 and rs1052990) from previous genome-wide association studies of POAG were genotyped in a total of 2220 study subjects: a Hong Kong Chinese cohort of 537 NTG patients and 490 controls, a Shantou Chinese cohort of 102 NTG and 731 controls and an Osaka Japanese cohort of 153 NTG and 207 controls. Subgroup analysis by gender was conducted. Outcomes from different cohorts were combined using meta-analysis. RESULTS: SNP rs4236601 was significantly associated with NTG in the two Chinese cohorts (P = .0019, OR = 4.55, I = 0). In contrast, rs4236601 was monomorphic in the Osaka cohort. The association of rs1052990 was insignificant in a meta-analysis combining Chinese and Japanese cohorts (P = .81, OR = 1.05; I = 64%), and the OR tended towards opposite directions between Chinese (OR = 1.26) and Japanese (OR = 0.69). Gender-specific effects of the SNPs were not statistically significant in the logistic regression or Breslow-day tests of ORs (P > .05), although rs4236601 was significant in males (P = .0068; OR = 10.30) but not in females (P = .14; OR = 2.65) in the meta-analysis of Chinese subjects. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we confirmed the association of rs4236601 at the CAV1-CAV2 locus with NTG in Chinese. SNP rs4236601 is monomorphic, and rs1052990 tends towards a different direction in the Japanese cohort. Further studies are warranted to verify the ethnic difference and gender-specific effects of this locus.
Lu Y, Brommer B, Tian X, Krishnan A, Meer M, Wang C, Vera DL, Zeng Q, Yu D, Bonkowski MS, Yang J-H, Zhou S, Hoffmann EM, Karg MM, Schultz MB, Kane AE, Davidsohn N, Korobkina E, Chwalek K, Rajman LA, Church GM, Hochedlinger K, Gladyshev VN, Horvath S, Levine ME, Gregory-Ksander MS, Ksander BR, He Z, Sinclair DA. Reprogramming to recover youthful epigenetic information and restore vision. Nature 2020;588(7836):124-129.Abstract
Ageing is a degenerative process that leads to tissue dysfunction and death. A proposed cause of ageing is the accumulation of epigenetic noise that disrupts gene expression patterns, leading to decreases in tissue function and regenerative capacity. Changes to DNA methylation patterns over time form the basis of ageing clocks, but whether older individuals retain the information needed to restore these patterns-and, if so, whether this could improve tissue function-is not known. Over time, the central nervous system (CNS) loses function and regenerative capacity. Using the eye as a model CNS tissue, here we show that ectopic expression of Oct4 (also known as Pou5f1), Sox2 and Klf4 genes (OSK) in mouse retinal ganglion cells restores youthful DNA methylation patterns and transcriptomes, promotes axon regeneration after injury, and reverses vision loss in a mouse model of glaucoma and in aged mice. The beneficial effects of OSK-induced reprogramming in axon regeneration and vision require the DNA demethylases TET1 and TET2. These data indicate that mammalian tissues retain a record of youthful epigenetic information-encoded in part by DNA methylation-that can be accessed to improve tissue function and promote regeneration in vivo.
AIMS: To compare the efficacy of diabetic retinal neovascularisation (NV) detection using the widefield swept-source optical coherence tomography angiography (WF SS-OCTA) vitreoretinal interface (VRI) Angio slab and SS-OCT VRI Structure slab. METHODS: A prospective, observational study was performed at Massachusetts Eye and Ear from January 2019 to June 2020. Patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), patients with non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy and patients with diabetes but without diabetic retinopathy were included. All patients were imaged with WF SS-OCTA using the 12×12 mm Angio scan protocol centred on the fovea and optic disc. The en-face SS-OCTA VRI Angio slab and SS-OCT VRI Structure slab were evaluated for the presence or absence of NV. SS-OCTA B-scan was used to classify NV according to cross-sectional morphology (forward, tabletop or flat). All statistical analyses were performed using SPSS V.26.0. RESULTS: One hundred and forty-two eyes of 89 participants were included in the study. VRI Angio detected NV at higher rates compared with VRI Structure (p<0.05). Combining VRI Angio and Structure improved detection rates compared with VRI Angio alone (p<0.05). Due to segmentation errors of the internal limiting membrane, NV with flat morphological classification had lower rates of detection on VRI Angio compared with NV with forward and tabletop morphology (p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: WF SS-OCTA 12×12 mm VRI Angio and SS-OCT VRI Structure imaging centred on the fovea and optic disc detected NV with high sensitivity and low false positives. The VRI slab may be useful to diagnose and monitor PDR in clinical practice.
PURPOSE: Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease is a hereditary disorder that can lead to ophthalmic manifestations, including retinal capillary hemangioma (RCH). The diagnosis of RCH is often guided by wide-field fluorescein angiography. In some cases, optical coherence tomography angiography (OCT-A) serves as a non-invasive alternative to FA. Herein, we used OCT-A to examine the macular microvasculature in patients with VHL disease. SUBJECTS: Subjects were selected from patients with a diagnosis of VHL. The control group included eyes without retinal diagnosis from patients with an episode of unilateral retinal detachment or trauma and age ≤ 50 years old. METHODS: Subjects were scanned on the Optovue RTVue-XR device to acquire 3mm x 3mm OCT-A images of the superficial (SCP) and deep capillary plexus (DCP). SCP and DCP vessel density (VD) were calculated after the images were binarized. Furthermore, for subjects with RCH, each OCT-A image was divided equally into four quadrants. SCP and DCP VD of quadrants with RCH were compared to those without RCH. T-tests were performed for statistical analysis. RESULTS: 67 eyes with a history of VHL disease were included as study subjects, while 16 eyes were included as controls. Significant increases in VD were found in patients with VHL disease for both the SCP (p = 0.0441) and DCP (p = 0.0344). When comparing quadrants with associated RCH development to those without, we found no significant difference in SCP VD (p = 0.160) or DCP VD (p = 0.484). CONCLUSIONS: OCT-A can detect changes in the retinal microvasculature in the macula of patients with VHL disease. OCT-A imaging may be an additional tool for screening and early detection of patients at risk of developing ocular complications of VHL disease. Future studies should explore subtle progression on OCT-A associated with the pathogenesis and development of RCH, particularly with larger scan patterns.
Why ocular mucosa is paucibacterial is unknown. Many different mechanisms have been suggested but the comprehensive experimental studies are sparse. We found that a deficiency in L-plastin (LCP1), an actin bundling protein, resulted in an ocular commensal overgrowth, characterized with increased presence of conjunctival spp. The commensal overgrowth correlated with susceptibility to -induced keratitis. L-plastin knock-out (KO) mice displayed elevated bacterial burden in the -infected corneas, altered inflammatory responses, and compromised bactericidal activity. Mice with ablation of LPL under the LysM Cre ( ) and S100A8 Cre ( ) promoters had a similar phenotype to the LPL KOs mice. In contrast, infected mice did not display elevated susceptibility to infection, implicating the myeloid L-plastin-sufficient cells (e.g., macrophages and neutrophils) in maintaining ocular homeostasis. Mechanistically, the elevated commensal burden and the susceptibility to infection were linked to defects in neutrophil frequencies at steady state and during infection and compromised bactericidal activities upon priming. Macrophage exposure to commensal organisms primed neutrophil responses to , augmenting PMN bactericidal capacity in an L-plastin dependent manner. Cumulatively, our data highlight the importance of neutrophils in controlling ocular paucibacteriality, reveal molecular and cellular events involved in the process, and suggest a link between commensal exposure and resistance to infection.
Purpose: To evaluate the performance of a deep learning algorithm in the detection of referral-warranted diabetic retinopathy (RDR) on low-resolution fundus images acquired with a smartphone and indirect ophthalmoscope lens adapter. Methods: An automated deep learning algorithm trained on 92,364 traditional fundus camera images was tested on a dataset of smartphone fundus images from 103 eyes acquired from two previously published studies. Images were extracted from live video screenshots from fundus examinations using a commercially available lens adapter and exported as a screenshot from live video clips filmed at 1080p resolution. Each image was graded twice by a board-certified ophthalmologist and compared to the output of the algorithm, which classified each image as having RDR (moderate nonproliferative DR or worse) or no RDR. Results: In spite of the presence of multiple artifacts (lens glare, lens particulates/smudging, user hands over the objective lens) and low-resolution images achieved by users of various levels of medical training, the algorithm achieved a 0.89 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.83-0.95) area under the curve with an 89% sensitivity (95% CI 81%-100%) and 83% specificity (95% CI 77%-89%) for detecting RDR on mobile phone acquired fundus photos. Conclusions: The fully data-driven artificial intelligence-based grading algorithm herein can be used to screen fundus photos taken from mobile devices and identify with high reliability which cases should be referred to an ophthalmologist for further evaluation and treatment. Translational Relevance: The implementation of this algorithm on a global basis could drastically reduce the rate of vision loss attributed to DR.
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are crucial mediators of immune homeostasis. They regulate immune response by suppressing inflammation and promoting self-tolerance. In addition to their immunoregulatory role, a growing body of evidence highlights the dynamic role of Tregs in angiogenesis, the process of forming new blood vessels. Although angiogenesis is critically important for normal tissue regeneration, it is also a hallmark of pathological processes, including malignancy and chronic inflammation. Interestingly, the role of Tregs in angiogenesis has been shown to be highly tissue- and context-specific and as a result can yield either pro- or antiangiogenic effects. For these reasons, there is considerable interest in determining the molecular underpinnings of Treg-mediated modulation of angiogenesis in different disease states. The present review summarizes the role of Tregs in angiogenesis and mechanisms by which Tregs regulate angiogenesis and discusses how these mechanisms differ in homeostatic and pathological settings.
Importance: Corneal endothelial cell (CEnC) damage and loss are major issues in eye banking and transplantation. The underlying mechanisms for CEnC loss are incompletely understood, and cytoprotective strategies that enhance CEnC viability could have a major effect on donor tissue quality and graft survival. Objective: To investigate the cytoprotective role of neuropeptide α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) in preventing CEnC loss in eye bank cold-stored corneas under oxidative and inflammatory cytokine-induced stress. Design, Setting, and Participants: This single-center comparative research study conducted ex vivo experiments using 16 pairs of research-grade human donor corneas (courtesy of Eversight Eye Bank). Data were collected from June 2018 to November 2019, and data were analyzed from December 2019 to January 2020. Exposures: Two corneas from the same donor were randomized to either control or 0.1 mmol/L of α-MSH treatment and then subjected to oxidative stress (1.4 mmol/L of hydrogen peroxide-phosphate-buffered saline for 15 minutes at 37 °C; n = 8 pairs) or cytokine-induced stress (100 ng/mL of tumor necrosis factor-α and 100 ng/mL of interferon γ for 18 hours at 37 °C; n = 8 pairs). Corneas were then stored at 4 °C. Specular images were taken at baseline and repeated twice per week using a calibrated wide-field specular microscope. CEnC viability was assessed using a fluorescent live/dead viability assay. Main Outcome and Measures: Endothelial morphometry analysis, central corneal thickness measurements, and percentage of dead cells at day 11. Results: Of 16 donors who provided corneas, 9 (56%) were male, and the mean (SD) age was 57.9 (12.4) years. Corneas were paired, and baseline parameters were comparable between all groups. At all time points, CEnC loss was lower in the α-MSH groups compared with the control groups. This difference was statistically significant after cytokine-induced stress (20.2% vs 35.2%; sample estimate of median, -14.9; 95% CI, -23.6 to -6.3; P = .008). Compared with the control group, α-MSH treatment resulted in a smaller increase in central corneal thickness (cytokine-induced stress: 89.3 μm vs 169.8 μm; sample estimate of median, -84.9; 95% CI, -131.5 to -41.6; P = .008; oxidative stress: 43.6 μm vs 111.9 μm; sample estimate of median, -68.8; 95% CI, -100.0 to -34.5; P = .008) and a smaller proportion of cell death (cytokine-induced stress: 2.7% vs 10.4%; difference, -7.7; 95% CI, -13.1 to -2.4; P = .01; oxidative stress: 2.9% vs 12.4%; difference, 9.5; 95% CI, 5.1 to 13.9; P = .006). Conclusions and Relevance: In this study, α-MSH treatment attenuated CEnC loss during cold storage after acute oxidative and cytokine-induced stress in human eye bank cold-stored corneas. These data suggest that supplementation of corneal storage solution with α-MSH may positively affect CEnC survival after transplant and protect the endothelium from proinflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress after full-thickness or endothelial keratoplasty, which is particularly valuable in patients at high risk of graft failure.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Central retinal artery occlusion results in sudden, painless, usually permanent loss of vision in the affected eye. There is no proven, effective treatment to salvage visual acuity and a clear, unmet need for an effective therapy. In this work, we evaluated the efficacy of intravenous tissue-type plasminogen activator (IV alteplase) in a prospective cohort study and an updated systematic review and meta-analysis. METHODS: We enrolled consecutive patients with acute central retinal artery occlusion within 48 hours of symptoms onset and with a visual acuity of <20/200 from January 2009 until May 2019. The primary outcomes were safety and functional visual acuity recovery. We compared rates of visual recovery between those treated with alteplase within 4.5 hours of symptom onset to those who did not receive alteplase (including an analysis restricted to untreated patients presenting within the window for treatment). We incorporated these results into an updated systematic review and patient-level meta-analysis. RESULTS: We enrolled 112 patients, of whom 25 (22.3% of the cohort) were treated with IV alteplase. One patient had an asymptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage after IV alteplase treatment. Forty-four percent of alteplase-treated patients had recovery of visual acuity when treated within 4.5 hours versus 13.1% of those not treated with alteplase (=0.003) and 11.6% of those presenting within 4 hours who did not receive alteplase (=0.03). Our updated patient-level meta-analysis of 238 patients included 67 patients treated with alteplase within 4.5 hours since time last known well with a recovery rate of 37.3%. This favorably compares with a 17.7% recovery rate in those without treatment. In linear regression, earlier treatment correlated with a higher rate of visual recovery (=0.01). CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that the administration of intravenous alteplase within 4.5 hours of symptom onset is associated with a higher likelihood of a favorable visual outcome for acute central retinal artery occlusion. Our results strongly support proceeding to a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial.
To develop an automated retina layer thickness measurement tool for the ImageJ platform, to quantitate nuclear layers following the retina contour. We developed the ThicknessTool (TT), an automated thickness measurement plugin for the ImageJ platform. To calibrate TT, we created a calibration dataset of mock binary skeletonized mask images with increasing thickness masks and different rotations. Following, we created a training dataset and performed an agreement analysis of thickness measurements between TT and two masked manual observers. Finally, we tested the performance of TT measurements in a validation dataset of retinal detachment images. In the calibration dataset, there were no differences in layer thickness between measured and known thickness masks, with an overall coefficient of variation of 0.00%. Training dataset measurements of immunofluorescence retina nuclear layers disclosed no significant differences between TT and any observer's average outer nuclear layer (ONL) (p = 0.998), inner nuclear layer (INL) (p = 0.807), and ONL/INL ratio (p = 0.944) measurements. Agreement analysis showed that bias between TT vs. observers' mean was lower than between any observers' mean against each other in the ONL (0.77 ± 0.34 µm vs 3.25 ± 0.33 µm) and INL (1.59 ± 0.28 µm vs 2.82 ± 0.36 µm). Validation dataset showed that TT can detect significant and true ONL thinning (p = 0.006), more sensitive than manual measurement capabilities (p = 0.069). ThicknessTool can measure retina nuclear layers thickness in a fast, accurate, and precise manner with multi-platform capabilities. In addition, the TT can be customized to user preferences and is freely available to download.