Purpose: To evaluate the phenotypic spectrum of autosomal recessive associated retinal dystrophies and assess genotypic associations. Methods: A retrospective multicenter study was performed of patients with biallelic -associated retinal dystrophies. Data including presenting symptoms and age, visual acuity, kinetic perimetry, full field electroretinogram, fundus examination, multimodal retinal imaging, and genotype were evaluated. Results: Nineteen eligible patients from 17 families were identified and ranged in age from 10 to 56 years at the most recent evaluation. Ten of the 21 unique variants identified were novel, and mutations within exon 2 accounted for nearly half of alleles across the cohort. Patients had clinical diagnoses of retinitis pigmentosa (13), cone-rod dystrophy (3), Leber congenital amaurosis (1), early-onset severe retinal dystrophy (1), and macular dystrophy (1). Macular atrophy was a common feature across the cohort. Symptom onset occurred between 4 and 30 years of age (mean 14.9 years, median 13 years), but there were clusters of onset age that correlated with the effects of mutations at a protein level. Patients with later-onset disease, including retinitis pigmentosa, had at least one missense variant in an exon 2 DCX domain. Conclusions: Biallelic mutations cause a broad spectrum of retinal disease. Exon 2 missense mutations are a significant contributor to disease and can be associated with a considerably later onset of retinitis pigmentosa than that typically associated with biallelic mutations.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of irreversible vision loss among the elderly population. Genetic studies in susceptible individuals have linked this ocular disease to deregulated complement activity that culminates in increased C3 turnover, retinal inflammation and photoreceptor loss. Therapeutic targeting of C3 has therefore emerged as a promising strategy for broadly intercepting the detrimental proinflammatory consequences of complement activation in the retinal tissue. In this regard, a PEGylated second-generation derivative of the compstatin family of C3-targeted inhibitors is currently in late-stage clinical development as a treatment option for geographic atrophy, an advanced form of AMD which lacks approved therapy. While efficacy has been strongly suggested in phase 2 clinical trials, crucial aspects still remain to be defined with regard to the ocular bioavailability, tissue distribution and residence, and dosing frequency of such inhibitors in AMD patients. Here we report the intraocular distribution and pharmacokinetic profile of the fourth-generation compstatin analog, Cp40-KKK in cynomolgus monkeys following a single intravitreal injection. Using a sensitive surface plasmon resonance (SPR)-based competition assay and ELISA, we have quantified both the amount of inhibitor and the concentration of C3 retained in the vitreous of Cp40-KKK-injected animals. Cp40-KKK displays prolonged intraocular residence, being detected at C3-saturating levels for over 3 months after a single intravitreal injection. Moreover, we have probed the distribution of Cp40-KKK within the ocular tissue by means of immunohistochemistry and highly specific anti-Cp40-KKK antibodies. Both C3 and Cp40-KKK were detected in the retinal tissue of inhibitor-injected animals, with prominent co-localization in the choroid one-month post intravitreal injection. These results attest to the high retinal tissue penetrance and target-driven distribution of Cp40-KKK. Given its subnanomolar binding affinity and prolonged ocular residence, Cp40-KKK constitutes a promising drug candidate for ocular pathologies underpinned by deregulated C3 activation.
Artificial cornea is an effective treatment of corneal blindness. Yet, intraocular pressure (IOP) measurements for glaucoma monitoring remain an urgent unmet need. Here, we present the integration of a fiber-optic Fabry-Perot pressure sensor with an FDA-approved keratoprosthesis for real-time IOP measurements using a novel strategy based on optical-path self-alignment with micromagnets. Additionally, an alternative noncontact sensor-interrogation approach is demonstrated using a bench-top optical coherence tomography system. We show stable pressure readings with low baseline drift (<2.8 mm Hg) for >4.5 years in vitro and efficacy in IOP interrogation in vivo using fiber-optic self-alignment, with good initial agreement with the actual IOP. Subsequently, IOP drift in vivo was due to retroprosthetic membrane (RPM) formation on the sensor secondary to surgical inflammation (more severe in the current pro-fibrotic rabbit model). This study paves the way for clinical adaptation of optical pressure sensors with ocular implants, highlighting the importance of controlling RPM in clinical adaptation.
Purpose: To benchmark the optical performance of Boston Keratoprosthesis (B-KPro). Methods: Back focal lengths (BFL) of B-KPros for various eye axial lengths were measured using an optical bench, International Organization for Standardization-certified for intraocular lens characterization, and compared against manufacturer's specification. The modulation transfer function (MTF) and the resolution efficiencies were measured. The theoretical geometry-dependent higher-order aberrations (HOA) were calculated. The devices were characterized with optical profilometry for estimating the surface scattering. Aberration correction and subsequent image quality improvement were simulated in CODE-V. Natural scene-imaging was performed in a mock ocular environment. Retrospective analysis of 15 B-KPro recipient eyes were presented to evaluate the possibility of achieving 20/20 best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA). Results: BFL measurements were in excellent agreement with the manufacturer-reported values (r = 0.999). The MTF specification exceeded what is required for achieving 20/20 visual acuity. Astigmatism and field curvature, correctable in simulations, were the primary aberrations limiting imaging performance. Profilometry of the anterior surface revealed nanoscale roughness (root-mean-square amplitude, 30-50 nm), contributing negligibly to optical scattering. Images of natural scenes obtained with a simulated B-KPro eye demonstrated good central vision, with 10/10 visual acuity (equivalent to 20/20). Full restoration of 20/20 BCVA was obtainable for over 9 years in some patients. Conclusions: Theoretical and experimental considerations demonstrate that B-KPro has the optical capacity to restore 20/20 BCVA in patients. Further image quality improvement can be anticipated through correction of HOAs. Translational Relevance: We establish an objective benchmark to characterize the optics of the B-KPro and other keratoprosthesis and propose design changes to allow improved vision in B-KPro patients.
Refractive errors, in particular myopia, are a leading cause of morbidity and disability worldwide. Genetic investigation can improve understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie abnormal eye development and impaired vision. We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) that involved 542,934 European participants and identified 336 novel genetic loci associated with refractive error. Collectively, all associated genetic variants explain 18.4% of heritability and improve the accuracy of myopia prediction (area under the curve (AUC) = 0.75). Our results suggest that refractive error is genetically heterogeneous, driven by genes that participate in the development of every anatomical component of the eye. In addition, our analyses suggest that genetic factors controlling circadian rhythm and pigmentation are also involved in the development of myopia and refractive error. These results may enable the prediction of refractive error and the development of personalized myopia prevention strategies in the future.
Disruption of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) barrier integrity and RPE migration are hallmark features in neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD), but the underlying causes and pathophysiology are not completely well-defined. Herein, we aimed to evaluate the effect of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) on the barrier function and migration of RPE. In particular, we investigated the role of BMP2 and BMP4 in these processes as our analysis of RNA-sequencing (seq) data from human donor eyes demonstrated that they are highly differentially expressed BMP members in macular RPE/choroid versus macular retina. We used electrical cell-substrate impedance sensing (ECIS) system to monitor precisely in real time the barrier integrity and migration of ARPE-19 after treatment with various concentrations of BMP2 or BMP4. Immunofluorescence was also used to assess the changes in the expression and the organization of the key tight junction protein, zona occludens (ZO)-1, in ARPE-19 cells under BMP2 or BMP4 treatment. This was followed by measuring the activity of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Finally, RNA-seq and ELISA were used to determine the local and circulating levels of BMP2 and BMP4 in retinas and serum samples from nAMD donors. Our ECIS results showed that BMP4 but not BMP2 decreased the transcellular electrical resistance (TER) of ARPE-19 and increased their migration in comparison with control (vehicle-treated cells). Furthermore, immunofluorescence showed a disorganization of ZO-1 in BMP4-treated ARPE-19 not in BMP2-treated cells or vehicle-treated controls. This effect of BMP4 was associated with significant increases in the activity of MMPs, specifically MMP2. Lastly, these results were corroborated by additional findings that circulating but not local BMP4 levels were significantly higher in nAMD donor samples compared to controls. Collectively, our results demonstrated unreported effects of BMP4 on inducing RPE dysfunction and suggest that BMP4 but not BMP2 may represent a potential therapeutic target in nAMD.
BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused much morbidity and mortality to patients but also health care providers. AIMS: We tabulated the cases of physician deaths from COVID-19 associated with front-line work in hopes of mitigating future events. METHODS: On 15 April 2020, a Google internet search was performed using the keywords 'doctor', 'physician', 'death', 'COVID' and 'coronavirus' in English and Farsi, and Chinese using the Baidu search engine. The age, sex and medical speciality of physicians who died from COVID-19 in the line of duty were recorded. Individuals greater than 90 years of age were excluded. RESULTS: We found 278 physicians who died with COVID-19 infection, but complete details were missing for 108 individuals. The average age of the physicians was 63.7 years with a median age of 66 years, and 90% were male (235/261). General practitioners and emergency room doctors (108/254), respirologists (5/254), internal medicine specialists (13/254) and anaesthesiologists (6/254) comprised 52% of those dying. Two per cent of the deceased were epidemiologists (5/254), 2% were infectious disease specialists (4/254), 6% were dentists (16/254), 4% were ENT (9/254) and 3% were ophthalmologists (8/254). The countries with the most reported physician deaths were Italy (121/278; 44%), Iran (43/278; 15%), Philippines (21/278; 8%), Indonesia (17/278; 6%), China (16/278; 6%), Spain (12/278; 4%), USA (12/278; 4%) and UK (11/278;4%). CONCLUSIONS: Physicians from all specialities may die from COVID. Lack of personal protective equipment was cited as a common cause of death. Consideration should be made to exclude older physicians from front-line work.
BACKGROUND: Discontinuation of contact lens use is mainly caused by contact lens-associated dry eye. It is crucial to delineate contact lens-associated dry eye's multifaceted nature to tailor treatment to each patient's individual needs for future personalized medicine. OBJECTIVE: This paper aims to quantify and stratify individual subjective symptoms of contact lens-associated dry eye and clarify its risk factors for future personalized medicine using the smartphone app DryEyeRhythm (Juntendo University). METHODS: This cross-sectional study included iPhone (Apple Inc) users in Japan who downloaded DryEyeRhythm. DryEyeRhythm was used to collect medical big data related to contact lens-associated dry eye between November 2016 and January 2018. The main outcome measure was the incidence of contact lens-associated dry eye. Univariate and multivariate adjusted odds ratios of risk factors for contact lens-associated dry eye were determined by logistic regression analyses. The t-distributed Stochastic Neighbor Embedding algorithm was used to depict the stratification of subjective symptoms of contact lens-associated dry eye. RESULTS: The records of 4454 individuals (median age 27.9 years, SD 12.6), including 2972 female participants (66.73%), who completed all surveys were included in this study. Among the included participants, 1844 (41.40%) were using contact lenses, and among those who used contact lenses, 1447 (78.47%) had contact lens-associated dry eye. Multivariate adjusted odds ratios of risk factors for contact lens-associated dry eye were as follows: younger age, 0.98 (95% CI 0.96-0.99); female sex, 1.53 (95% CI 1.05-2.24); hay fever, 1.38 (95% CI 1.10-1.74); mental illness other than depression or schizophrenia, 2.51 (95% CI 1.13-5.57); past diagnosis of dry eye, 2.21 (95% CI 1.63-2.99); extended screen exposure time >8 hours, 1.61 (95% CI 1.13-2.28); and smoking, 2.07 (95% CI 1.49-2.88). The t-distributed Stochastic Neighbor Embedding analysis visualized and stratified 14 groups based on the subjective symptoms of contact lens-associated dry eye. CONCLUSIONS: This study identified and stratified individuals with contact lens-associated dry eye and its risk factors. Data on subjective symptoms of contact lens-associated dry eye could be used for prospective prevention of contact lens-associated dry eye progression.
PURPOSE: Dry eye (DE) disease and depression are increasing in modern times. We investigated the association between DE and depressive symptoms using the iPhone application, DryEyeRhythm. METHODS: This large-scale crowdsourced observational study was conducted within iPhone users in Japan who downloaded DryEyeRhythm. Participants with a Zung Self-rating Depression Scale (SDS) score ≥ 40 were defined as having depressive symptoms, and those with an Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) score ≥ 13 were defined as having DE symptoms (mild, 13-22; moderate, 23-32; and severe, 33-100). We compared SDS scores between participants with normal eye and mild, moderate, and severe OSDI-based DE symptoms. Logistic regression analyses were used to determine the association between DE severity and depressive symptoms after adjustment for demographic characteristics, medical history, and lifestyle habits. RESULTS: This study included 4454 participants (mean age, 27.9 ± 12.6 years; female, 66.7%). Participants with SDS scores ≥40 accounted for 58.2%, 70.9%, 79.4%, and 85.0% of normal controls and participants with mild, moderate, and severe DE symptoms, respectively (P trend < 0.001). The adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence interval) for depressive symptoms (SDS score of ≥40) were 1.62 (1.35-1.95) for mild, 2.39 (1.92-2.97) for moderate, and 3.29 (2.70-4.00) for severe DE symptoms. CONCLUSION: This large-scale crowdsourced clinical study using DryEyeRhythm suggests that depressive symptoms are more common in individuals with more severe DE symptoms. DryEyeRhythm could play a role in earlier prevention or future prospective interventions for depressive symptoms in individuals with DE symptoms.
Purpose: This systematic review aimed to determine currently reported clinical and prodromal ocular symptoms in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Methods: An online article search was performed in PubMed and EMBASE. Altogether 15 studies (retrospective, prospective, or case studies) involving 1533 patients with COVID-19, reporting on ocular symptoms, and with outcome data available were identified. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses reporting guidelines were followed. Study-specific estimates (incidence rates of ocular symptoms in patients with COVID-19) of cases were combined using one-group meta-analysis in a random-effects model. Results: Of all included studies, 11.2% (95% confidence interval, 5.5-16.9; 78/1526 cases) reported ocular symptoms. The most common ocular finding was conjunctivitis. Prodromal ocular symptoms occurred in 12.5% (13/104 cases) of patients with COVID-19. Positive real-time polymerase chain reaction results were obtained for 16.7% (10/60 cases) of conjunctival samples and 0% (0/17 cases) of tear samples. Twelve ocular conjunctival swab samples tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Ten cases were from subjects showing ocular symptoms (16.7%, 10/60 cases), and the remaining two cases were from subjects without ocular manifestation (1.8%, 2/113 cases). Limitations included the short study period, small sample size, findings were limited to the Asian population, only seven articles included ophthalmologic examination details, and there is currently no consensus on COVID-19 management. Conclusions: Ocular symptoms may occur in the presymptomatic phase as a prodromal symptom (12.5%, 13/104 cases), suggesting the possibility of viral transmission from the conjunctiva.
Damage to limbal stem cells as a result of injury or disease can lead to limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD). This disease is characterized by decreased vision that is often painful and may progress to blindness. Clinical features include inflammation, neovascularization, and persistent cornea epithelial defects. Successful strategies for treatment involve transplantation of grafts harvested from the limbus of the alternate healthy eye, called conjunctival-limbal autograft (CLAU) and transplantation of limbal cell sheets cultured from limbal biopsies, termed cultured limbal epithelial transplantation (CLET). In 2012, Sangwan and colleagues presented simple limbal epithelial transplantation (SLET), a novel transplantation technique that combines the benefits of CLAU and CLET and avoids the challenges associated with both. In SLET a small biopsy from the limbus of the healthy eye is divided and distributed over human amniotic membrane, which is placed on the affected cornea. Outgrowth occurs from each small explant and a complete corneal epithelium is typically formed within 2 weeks. Advantages of SLET include reduced risk of iatrogenic LSCD occurring in the healthy cornea at harvest; direct transfer circumventing the need for cell culture; and the opportunity to perform biopsy harvest and transplantation in one operation. Success so far using SLET is comparable with CLAU and CLET. Of note, 336 of 404 (83%) operations using SLET resulted in restoration of the corneal epithelium, whereas visual acuity improved in 258 of the 373 (69%) reported cases. This review summarizes the results of 31 studies published on SLET since 2012. Progress, advantages, challenges, and suggestions for future studies are presented.
Viral vectors have a great potential for gene delivery, but manufacturing at a pharmaceutical scale is a big challenge for the industry. The baculovirus-insect cell system is one of the most scalable platforms to produce clinical-grade recombinant Adeno-Associated Virus (rAAV) vectors. The standard procedure to generate recombinant baculovirus is based on Tn7 transposition which is time-consuming and still suffers technical constraints. Moreover, werecently showed that baculoviral sequences adjacent to the AAV ITRs are preferentially encapsidated into the rAAV vector particles. This observation raised concerns about safety for clinical applications due to the presence of bacterial and antibiotic resistance coding sequences with a Tn7-mediated system for the construction of baculoviruses reagents. Here, weinvestigated a faster and safer method based on homologous recombination (HR). First, weconfirmed the functionality of the inserted cassette and the absence of undesirable genes into HR-derived baculoviral genomes. Strikingly, wefound that the exogenous cassette showed increased stability over passages when using the HR system. Finally, wetested these materials to produce rAAV vectors. The baculoviruses originated from both systems lead to high rAAV vector genome yields, with the advantage of the HR system being exempted from undesirable bacterial genes which provides an additional level of safety for the manufacturing of rAAV vectors. Overall, this study highlights the importance of the upstream process and starting biologic materials to generate safer rAAV biotherapeutic products. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease that leads to irreversible blindness over time. Its defining feature is the loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in the eye and their axons in the optic nerve. Increased intraocular pressure (IOP) is a major risk factor for the development of glaucoma, but is neither necessary nor sufficient for the disease and its progression; this motivates research and development of new strategies for the detection and treatment of glaucoma that focus on neuroprotection - protection of RGCs from dying. In addition, for diagnosis and treatment by reducing IOP, new approaches have been developed in recent years. This article reviews current theories of pathophysiological mechanisms underlying glaucoma and recent research - with a focus on neuroprotection and current preclinical and clinical studies to improve the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Imaging is essential in the diagnostic work-up of patients with orbital lesions. The position of an orbital lesion relative to the inferomedial muscular trunk of the ophthalmic artery determines endoscopic resectability, anticipated technical difficulty, and patient morbidity. Although the inferomedial muscular trunk is not readily identifiable on preoperative imaging, we hypothesize that it is spatially approximate to the location where the ophthalmic artery crosses the optic nerve. Our aim was to determine whether the ophthalmic artery-optic nerve crosspoint anatomically approximates the inferomedial muscular trunk in a cadaver study and can be appreciated on imaging of known posteromedial orbital lesions. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Dissection was performed on 17 fresh-frozen cadaver orbits to assess the relationship between the inferomedial muscular trunk and ophthalmic artery-optic nerve crosspoint. Retrospective review of imaging in 9 patients with posteromedial orbital lesions assessed posteromedial orbital compartment characteristics and the ability to locate the ophthalmic artery-optic nerve crosspoint. RESULTS: In our cadaver study, the mean distance between the ophthalmic artery-optic nerve crosspoint and the inferomedial muscular trunk was 1.21 ± 0.64 mm. Retrospectively, the ophthalmic artery-optic nerve crosspoint was identifiable in 9/9 patients, whereas the inferomedial muscular trunk was not identifiable in any patient. Total or partial effacement of the posteromedial intraconal fat triangle was observed in 9/9 patients. CONCLUSIONS: This study of neurovascular relationships within the posteromedial orbit demonstrates that the ophthalmic artery-optic nerve crosspoint closely approximates the inferomedial muscular trunk and can be seen in patients with posteromedial orbital lesions. Posteromedial intraconal fat effacement may help to localize these lesions. These findings may facilitate multidisciplinary communication and help predict lesion resectability and patient outcomes.
Many of the risk factors for developing severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are also risk factors for eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). During the past decades, macrophages and the complement pathway (as a part of the innate immune system) have been identified as important contributors to the development of AMD, and we suggest that these mechanisms are of similar importance for the clinical course of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections. Based on the experience with AMD, we discuss how behavioral factors such as diet, smoking and higher body mass index, as well as genetic determinants such as the complement and immune pathway genes may lead to the overactive inflammatory phenotypes seen in some patients with COVID-19, and may in part explain the heterogeneity of disease manifestations and outcomes. Based on this experience, we discuss potential genetic research projects and elaborate on preventive and treatment approaches related to COVID-19.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate an enlarged dacryoadenotic lacrimal gland and normal lacrimal glands for the presence of goblet cells (mucocytes). DESIGN: Retrospective clinicopathologic series. METHODS: An enlarged lacrimal gland (dacryoadenosis) without obvious histopathologic alterations was extensively evaluated histochemically, immunohistochemically, and ultrastructurally to detect the presence of goblet cells and to compare the findings with those in five normal lacrimal glands. RESULTS: Granular, zymogen-rich pyramidal acinar cells in normal glands predominated over a previously not reported subpopulation of nongranular, pale-staining cells in both dacryoadenotic and normal lacrimal glands. These cells histochemically stained positively with mucicarmine and Alcian blue. Immunohistochemical and electron microscopic evaluations established that there was a displacement or replacement of cytoplasmic gross cystic disease fluid protein-15 and CK 7-positive tonofilaments in the pale acinar cells by myriad mucus granules. The goblet cells constituted approximately 2% of the normal acinar cells and 5% of dacryoadenotic acinar cells. A depletion of myoepithelial cells and ectopic intra-acinar ductular cells were also observed in dacryoadenosis. CONCLUSION: Dacryoadenosis is caused by an increase in the number of acini without individual acinar cell hyperplasia. A normal cytologic feature of the lacrimal gland is the presence of acinar goblet cells that had been long overlooked; they are increased in number in dacryoadenosis. Intra-acinar ductular cells and the scattered loss of myoepithelial cells are other abnormalities in dacryoadenosis. The presence of lacrimal gland goblet cells may have physiologic implications for the precorneal tear film and its derangements as well as for the histogenesis of mucus-producing carcinomas.