The retina is a light-sensing ocular tissue that sends information to the brain to enable vision. The blood-retinal barrier (BRB) contributes to maintaining homeostasis in the retinal microenvironment by selectively regulating flux of molecules between systemic circulation and the retina. Maintaining such physiological balance is fundamental to visual function by facilitating the delivery of nutrients and oxygen and for protection from blood-borne toxins. The inner BRB (iBRB), composed mostly of inner retinal vasculature, controls substance exchange mainly via transportation processes between (paracellular) and through (transcellular) the retinal microvascular endothelium. Disruption of iBRB, characterized by retinal edema, is observed in many eye diseases and disturbs the physiological quiescence in the retina's extracellular space, resulting in vision loss. Consequently, understanding the mechanisms of iBRB formation, maintenance, and breakdown is pivotal to discovering potential targets to restore function to compromised physiological barriers. These unraveled targets can also inform potential drug delivery strategies across the BRB and the blood-brain barrier into retinas and brain tissues, respectively. This review summarizes mechanistic insights into the development and maintenance of iBRB in health and disease, with a specific focus on the Wnt signaling pathway and its regulatory role in both paracellular and transcellular transport across the retinal vascular endothelium.
Corneal fibrosis (or scarring) occurs in response to ocular trauma or infection, and by reducing corneal transparency, it can lead to visual impairment and blindness. Studies highlight important roles for transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 and -β3 as modulators in corneal wound healing and fibrosis, leading to increased extracellular matrix (ECM) components and expression of α-smooth muscle actin (αSMA), a myofibroblast marker. In this study, human corneal fibroblasts (hCF) were cultured as a monolayer culture (2D) or on poly-transwell membranes to generate corneal stromal constructs (3D) that were treated with TGF-β1, TGF-β3, or TGF-β1 + FAK inhibitor (FAKi). Results show that hCF 3D constructs treated with TGF-β1 or TGF-β3 impart distinct effects on genes involved in wound healing and fibrosis-ITGAV, ITGB1, SRC and ACTA2. Notably, in the 3D construct model, TGF-β1 enhanced αSMA and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) protein expression, whereas TGF-β3 did not. In addition, in both the hCF 2D cell and 3D construct models, we found that TGF-β1 + FAKi attenuated TGF-β1-mediated myofibroblast differentiation, as shown by abrogated αSMA expression. This study concludes that FAK signaling is important for the onset of TGF-β1-mediated myofibroblast differentiation, and FAK inhibition may provide a novel beneficial therapeutic avenue to reduce corneal scarring.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Immune rejection after corneal transplantation is a major risk for graft failure. We aim to summarize recent advances in the understanding and management of graft rejection. RECENT FINDINGS: Immune rejection remains the leading cause of graft failure in penetrating keratoplasty (PKP). While ABO blood type and sex match between donor and recipient may reduce rejection, human leucocyte antigens class II matching in a randomized study did not reduce the risk of rejection in high-risk PKP. Compared with PKP, deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty, descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty, and descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty have lower immune rejection rates of 1.7-13%, 5-11.4%, and 1.7-2.8%, respectively, based on long-term (5 years and more) studies. Whether immune rejection is a major risk factor for graft failure in these lamellar keratoplasties is unclear. While there have not been major advances in the systemic management of graft rejection, topical nonsteroid agents such as tacrolimus and anti-vascular endothelial growth factor have shown promise in high-risk cases. SUMMARY: Immune rejection remains the leading cause of graft failure in PKP. Lamellar keratoplasties have significantly lower rejection rates compared with PKP. The significance of rejection in the failure of lamellar grafts warrants further investigation.
A 10-month-old girl presented with eyelid edema and erythema that did not improve with systemic antibiotics. Due to a lack of improvement, MRI was performed to avoid ionizing radiation from CT. An orbital abscess was recognized and drained. However, the abscess recurred 2 times. CT scan was performed and a tract in the sphenoid bone helped to diagnose a congenital dural sinus tract with dermoid. Definitive surgery was performed with neurosurgery to remove the entire tract including cutaneous connection. CT scan proved critical to diagnosis and should be considered in infants in select cases despite the concern for ionizing radiation in this vulnerable age group.
Ultraviolet (UV) is one of the most energetic radiations in the solar spectrum that can result in various tissue injury disorders. Previous studies demonstrated that UVA, which represents 95% of incident photovoltaic radiation, induces corneal endothelial cells (CECs) death. Programmed cell death (PCD) has been implicated in numerous ophthalmologic diseases. Here, we investigated receptor-interacting protein 3 kinase (RIPK3), a key signaling molecule of PCD, in UVA-induced injury using a short-term corneal endothelium (CE) culture model. UVA irradiation activated RIPK3 and mediated necroptosis both in mouse CE and primary human CECs (pHCECs). UVA irradiation was associated with upregulation of key necroptotic molecules (DAI, TRIF, and MLKL) that lie downstream of RIPK3. Moreover, RIPK3 inhibition or silencing in primary corneal endothelial cells suppresses UVA-induced cell death, along with downregulation of MLKL in pHCECs. In addition, genetic inhibition or knockout of RIPK3 in mice (RIPK3K51A and RIPK3-/- mice) similarly attenuates cell death and the levels of necroptosis in ex vivo UVA irradiation experiments. In conclusion, these results identify RIPK3, not RIPK1, as a critical regulator of UVA-induced cell death in CE and indicate its potential as a future protective target.
This study investigated neurologic changes in patients with dry eye (DE) by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and to used regional homogeneity (ReHo) analysis to clarify the relationship between these changes and clinical features of DE. A total of 28 patients with DE and 28 matched healthy control (HC) subjects (10 males and 18 females in each group) were enrolled. fMRI scans were performed in both groups. We carried out ReHo analysis to assess differences in neural activity between the 2 groups, and receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC) analysis was performed to evaluate the performance of ReHo values of specific brain areas in distinguishing DE patients from HCs. The relationship between average ReHo values and clinical characteristics was assessed by correlation analysis. ReHo values of the middle frontal gyrus, inferior frontal gyrus, and superior frontal gyrus were significantly lower in DE patients compared to HCs. The ROC analysis showed that ReHo value had high accuracy in distinguishing between DE patients and HCs (P < 0.0001). The ReHo values of the middle frontal gyrus and dorsolateral superior frontal gyrus were correlated to disease duration (P < 0.05). Symptoms of ocular surface injury in DE patients are associated with dysfunction in specific brain regions, which may underlie the cognitive impairment, psychiatric symptoms, and depressive mood observed in DE patients. The decreased ReHo values of some brain gyri in this study may provide a reference for clinical diagnosis and determination of treatment efficacy.
Background: Neovascular glaucoma (NVG) is a serious eye disease that causes irreversible damage to the eye. It can significantly increase intraocular pressure and cause severe pain, as well as abnormal activity in the cortical and pre-cortical visual systems. However, there are few studies in this area. This trial assessed the altered regional brain activity in patients with NVG using the percentage of fluctuation amplitude (PerAF) method. Methods: Resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) scans were conducted in 18 individuals with NVG and 18 healthy controls (HCs), matched for education level, gender, and age. The PerAF method was applied to assess brain activity. Mean PerAF values of brain regions in NVG and HCs were compared using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves. Results: Lower PerAF values were found in the NVG group than in controls in the right anterior cingulate and paracingulate gyri (ACG.R), right superior occipital gyrus (SOG.R) and left superior frontal gyrus (orbital part) (ORBsup.L) (p < 0.001). In contrast, PerAF value was higher in NVG patients than in controls in the left inferior temporal gyrus (ITG.L) (p < 0.001). The hospital anxiety and depression scale (HADS) and visual analog score (VAS) were significantly and positively correlated with PerAF in ITG.L (r = 0.9331, p < 0.0001; and r = 0.7816, p = 0.0001, respectively). Conclusion: Abnormal activity in the patient's brain regions further confirms that the NVG affects the entire brain, not just the visual pathways and posterior retinal mechanisms (including the hypothalamic lateral geniculate nucleus and the primary visual cortex). This strengthens our understanding of the NVG and provides potential diagnostic and therapeutic support for patients who are difficult to diagnose and treat early.
OBJECTIVE: To optimize the flanged belt-loop technique of scleral fixation through biomechanical testing and report clinical outcomes of resultant modifications. DESIGN: Experimental study. METHODS: The force to disinsert flanged polypropylene suture from human cadaveric sclera was assessed using a tensile testing machine and compared to the breaking strengths of 9-0 and 10-0 polypropylene. The effects of modifying suture gauge (5-0, 6-0, 7-0 or 8-0), amount of suture cauterized (0.5 or 1.0mm), and sclerotomy size (27-, 30-, 32-, 33-gauge) were investigated. Belt-loop intrascleral fixation using 6-0 and 7-0 polypropylene with 30- and 32-gauge needles respectively was performed in 5 patients. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Flanged suture disinsertion force in cadaveric sclera. RESULTS: The average force to disinsert a flange created by melting 1.0mm of 5-0, 6-0, 7-0 and 8-0 polypropylene suture from human cadaveric sclera via 27-, 30-, 32- and 33-gauge needle sclerotomies was 3.0 ± 0.5N, 2.1 ± 0.3N, 0.9 ± 0.2N and 0.4 ± 0.1N respectively. The disinsertion forces for flanges formed by melting 0.5mm of the same gauges were 72-79% lower (p < 0.001). In comparison, the breaking strengths of 9-0 and 10-0 polypropylene were 1.0 ± 0.2N and 0.5 ± 0.0N. Belt-loop fixation using 6-0 and 7-0 polypropylene with 30- and 32-gauge sclerotomies demonstrated good outcomes at 6 months. CONCLUSIONS: The flanged belt-loop technique is a biomechanically sound method of scleral fixation using 1.0mm flanges of 5-0 to 7-0 polypropylene paired with 27-, 30- and 32- gauge sclerotomies. In contrast, 8-0 polypropylene and 0.5 mm flanges of any suture gauge will likely be unstable with this technique.
Zabaleta N, Dai W, Bhatt U, Hérate C, Maisonnasse P, Chichester JA, Sanmiguel J, Estelien R, Michalson KT, Diop C, Maciorowski D, Dereuddre-Bosquet N, Cavarelli M, Gallouët A-S, Naninck T, Kahlaoui N, Lemaitre J, Qi W, Hudspeth E, Cucalon A, Dyer CD, Pampena BM, Knox JJ, LaRocque RC, Charles RC, Li D, Kim M, Sheridan A, Storm N, Johnson RI, Feldman J, Hauser BM, Contreras V, Marlin R, Tsong Fang RH, Chapon C, van der Werf S, Zinn E, Ryan A, Kobayashi DT, Chauhan R, McGlynn M, Ryan ET, Schmidt AG, Price B, Honko A, Griffiths A, Yaghmour S, Hodge R, Betts MR, Freeman MW, Wilson JM, Le Grand R, Vandenberghe LH. An AAV-based, room-temperature-stable, single-dose COVID-19 vaccine provides durable immunogenicity and protection in non-human primates. Cell Host Microbe 2021;29(9):1437-1453.e8.Abstract
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has affected more than 185 million people worldwide resulting in over 4 million deaths. To contain the pandemic, there is a continued need for safe vaccines that provide durable protection at low and scalable doses and can be deployed easily. Here, AAVCOVID-1, an adeno-associated viral (AAV), spike-gene-based vaccine candidate demonstrates potent immunogenicity in mouse and non-human primates following a single injection and confers complete protection from SARS-CoV-2 challenge in macaques. Peak neutralizing antibody titers are sustained at 1 year and complemented by functional memory T cell responses. The AAVCOVID vector has no relevant pre-existing immunity in humans and does not elicit cross-reactivity to common AAVs used in gene therapy. Vector genome persistence and expression wanes following injection. The single low-dose requirement, high-yield manufacturability, and 1-month stability for storage at room temperature may make this technology well suited to support effective immunization campaigns for emerging pathogens on a global scale.
PURPOSE: MYOC (myocilin) mutations account for 3% to 5% of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) cases. We aimed to understand the true population-wide penetrance and characteristics of glaucoma among individuals with the most common MYOC variant (p.Gln368Ter) and the impact of a POAG polygenic risk score (PRS) in this population. DESIGN: Cross-sectional population-based study. PARTICIPANTS: Individuals with the p.Gln368Ter variant among 77 959 UK Biobank participants with fundus photographs (FPs). METHODS: A genome-wide POAG PRS was computed, and 2 masked graders reviewed FPs for disc-defined glaucoma (DDG). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Penetrance of glaucoma. RESULTS: Two hundred individuals carried the p.Gln368Ter heterozygous genotype, and 177 had gradable FPs. One hundred thirty-two showed no evidence of glaucoma, 45 (25.4%) had probable/definite glaucoma in at least 1 eye, and 19 (10.7%) had bilateral glaucoma. No differences were found in age, race/ethnicity, or gender among groups (P > 0.05). Of those with DDG, 31% self-reported or had International Classification of Diseases codes for glaucoma, whereas 69% were undiagnosed. Those with DDG had higher medication-adjusted cornea-corrected intraocular pressure (IOPcc) (P < 0.001) vs. those without glaucoma. This difference in IOPcc was larger in those with DDG with a prior glaucoma diagnosis versus those not diagnosed (P < 0.001). Most p.Gln368Ter carriers showed IOP in the normal range (≤21 mmHg), although this proportion was lower in those with DDG (P < 0.02) and those with prior glaucoma diagnosis (P < 0.03). Prevalence of DDG increased with each decile of POAG PRS. Individuals with DDG demonstrated significantly higher PRS compared with those without glaucoma (0.37 ± 0.97 vs. 0.01 ± 0.90; P = 0.03). Of those with DDG, individuals with a prior diagnosis of glaucoma had higher PRS compared with undiagnosed individuals (1.31 ± 0.64 vs. 0.00 ± 0.81; P < 0.001) and 27.5 times (95% confidence interval, 2.5-306.6) adjusted odds of being in the top decile of PRS for POAG. CONCLUSIONS: One in 4 individuals with the MYOC p.Gln368Ter mutation demonstrated evidence of glaucoma, a substantially higher penetrance than previously estimated, with 69% of cases undetected. A large portion of p.Gln368Ter carriers, including those with DDG, have IOP in the normal range, despite similar age. Polygenic risk score increases disease penetrance and severity, supporting the usefulness of PRS in risk stratification among MYOC p.Gln368Ter carriers.
BACKGROUND: Optic nerve astrocytomas (ONAs) are neurological neoplasms in the central nervous system (CNS), and they have the highest incidence rate among all the tumor types in the visual pathway. In this study, we conducted a Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) -based research to explore the demographic, survival, and prognostic factors of patients diagnosed with ONAs. METHODS: Utilizing the SEER database, we retrospectively evaluated data of patients diagnosed with ONAs of all ages from 1984 to 2016. We used the Student's t distribution to test variables of patients and various characteristics, and Kaplan-Meier curve to illustrate overall survival (OS) with 95.0% confidence intervals (CIs). We also performed univariate and multivariate analyses to evaluate various variables' validity on overall survival. RESULTS: A total of 1004 cases were analyzed, and revealed that age (P<0.001, hazard ratio (HR) = 8.830, 95% CI: 4.088-19.073), tumor grade (P<0.001, HR = 1.927, 95% CI: 1.516-2.450), diagnostic confirmation (P<0.001, HR = 2.444, 95% CI: 1.632-3.660), and histology type (P = 0.046, HR = 1.563, 95% CI: 1.008-2.424) of the tumor were associated with decreased survival. CONCLUSIONS: From this large, comparative study of ONAs, we found that younger age may be considered as a protective indicator, while high-grade astrocytic tumors have a worse prognosis. We also found that diagnostic confirmation and tumor grade were independent prognostic factors in this patient population.
WNT2B is a member of the Wnt family, a group of signal transduction proteins involved in embryologic development and stem cell renewal and maintenance. We recently reported homozygous nonsense variants in WNT2B in three individuals with severe, neonatal-onset diarrhea, and intestinal failure. Here we present a fourth case, from a separate family, with neonatal diarrhea associated with novel compound heterozygous WNT2B variants. One of the two variants was a frameshift variant (c.423del [p.Phe141fs]), while the other was a missense change (c.722 G > A [p.G241D]) that we predict through homology modeling to be deleterious, disrupting post-translational acylation. This patient presented as a neonate with severe diet-induced (osmotic) diarrhea and growth failure resulting in dependence on parenteral nutrition. Her gastrointestinal histology revealed abnormal cellular architecture particularly in the stomach and colon, including oxyntic atrophy, abnormal distribution of enteroendocrine cells, and a paucity of colonic crypt glands. In addition to her gastrointestinal findings, she had bilateral corneal clouding and atypical genital development later identified as a testicular 46,XX difference/disorder of sexual development. Upon review of the previously reported cases, two others also had anterior segment ocular anomalies though none had atypical genital development. This growing case series suggests that variants in WNT2B are associated with an oculo-intestinal (and possibly gonadal) syndrome, due to the protein's putative involvement in multiple developmental and stem cell maintenance pathways.
Nanomedicine is seen as a potential central player in the delivery of personalized medicine. Biocompatibility issues of nanoparticles have largely been resolved over the past decade. Despite their tremendous progress, less than 1% of applied nanosystems can hit their intended target location, such as a solid tumor, and this remains an obstacle to their full ability and potential with a high translational value. Therefore, achieving immune-tolerable, blood-compatible, and biofriendly nanoparticles remains an unmet need. The translational success of nanoformulations from bench to bedside involves a thorough assessment of their design, compatibility beyond cytotoxicity such as immune toxicity, blood compatibility, and immune-mediated destruction/rejection/clearance profile. Here, we report a one-pot process-engineered synthesis of ultrasmall gold nanoparticles (uGNPs) suitable for better body and renal clearance delivery of their payloads. We have obtained uGNP sizes of as low as 3 nm and have engineered the synthesis to allow them to be accurately sized (almost nanometer by nanometer). The synthesized uGNPs are biocompatible and can easily be functionalized to carry drugs, peptides, antibodies, and other therapeutic molecules. We have performed in vitro cell viability assays, immunotoxicity assays, inflammatory cytokine analysis, a complement activation study, and blood coagulation studies with the uGNPs to confirm their safety. These can help to set up a long-term safety-benefit framework of experimentation to reveal whether any designed nanoparticles are immune-tolerable and can be used as payload carriers for next-generation vaccines, chemotherapeutic drugs, and theranostic agents with better body clearance ability and deep tissue penetration.
Müller cells (MC) are considered dormant retinal progenitor cells in mammals. Previous studies demonstrated ephrin-As act as negative regulators of neural progenitor cells in the retina and brain. It remains unclear whether the lack of ephrin-A2/A3 is sufficient to promote the neurogenic potential of MC. Here we investigated whether the MC is the primary retinal cell type expressing ephrin-A2/A3 and their role on the neurogenic potential of Müller cells. In this study, we showed that ephrin-A2/A3 and their receptor EphA4 were expressed in retina and especially enriched in MC. The level of ephrinAs/EphA4 expression increased as the retina matured that is correlated with the reduced proliferative and progenitor cell potential of MC. Next, we investigated the proliferation in primary MC cultures isolated from wild-type and A2-/- A3-/- mice by 5-ethynyl-2'-deoxyuridine (EdU) incorporation. We detected a significant increase of EdU+ cells in MC derived from A2-/- A3-/- mice. Next, we investigated the role of ephrin-A2/A3 in mice undergoing photoreceptor degeneration such as Rhodopsin knockout (Rho-/-) mice. To further evaluate the role of ephrin-A2/A3 in MC proliferation in vivo, EdU was injected intraperitoneally to adult wild-type, A2-/- A3-/- , Rho-/- and Rho-/- A2-/- A3-/- mice and the numbers of EdU+ cells distributed among different layers of the retina. EphrinAs/EphA4 expression was upregulated in the retina of Rho-/- mice compared to the wild-type mice. In addition, cultured MC derived from ephrin-A2-/- A3-/- mice also expressed higher levels of progenitor cell markers and exhibited higher proliferation potential than those from wild-type mice. Interestingly, we detected a significant increase of EdU+ cells in the retinas of adult ephrin-A2-/- A3-/- mice mainly in the inner nuclear layer; and these EdU+ cells were co-localized with MC marker, cellular retinaldehyde-binding protein, suggesting some proliferating cells are from MC. In Rhodopsin knockout mice (Rho-/- A2-/- A3-/- mice), a significantly greater amount of EdU+ cells were located in the ciliary body, retina and RPE than that of Rho-/- mice. Comparing between 6 and 12 weeks old Rho-/- A2-/- A3-/- mice, we recorded more EdU+ cells in the outer nuclear layer in the 12-week-old mice undergoing severe retinal degeneration. Taken together, Ephrin-A2/A3 are negative regulators of the proliferative and neurogenic potentials of MC. Absence of ephrin-A2/A3 promotes the migration of proliferating cells into the outer nuclear layer and may lead to retinal cell regeneration. All experimental procedures were approved by the Animal Care and Use Committee at Schepens Eye Research Institute, USA (approval No. S-353-0715) on October 24, 2012.