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Anchouche S, Yin J. Severe vernal keratoconjunctivitis complicated by anaesthetic abuse. Can J Ophthalmol 2020;
André C, Durand ML, Buckley T, Cadorette J, Gilmore MS, Ciolino JB, Bispo PJM. A Cluster of Corneal Donor Rim Cultures Positive for Achromobacter Species Associated With Contaminated Eye Solution. Cornea 2021;40(2):223-227.Abstract
PURPOSE: To investigate a cluster of corneoscleral rim cultures positive for Achromobacter species over a 6-month period at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. METHODS: An increased rate of positive corneal donor rim cultures was noted at Massachusetts Eye and Ear between July and December 2017. Positive cultures were subjected to identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing by phenotypic (MicroScan WalkAway) and genotypic (16S rDNA sequencing) methods. Samples of the eye wash solution (GeriCare) used in the eye bank were also evaluated. Antimicrobial activity of Optical-GS against Achromobacter spp. at 4°C and 37°C was assessed by time-kill kinetics assay. RESULTS: Of 99 donor rims cultured, 14 (14.1%) grew bacteria with 11 (78.6%) due to uncommon nonfermenting Gram-negative bacilli. These had been identified by standard automated methods as Achromobacter (n = 3), Alcaligenes (n = 3), Ralstonia (n = 2), Pseudomonas (n = 2), and Stenotrophomonas (n = 1). Eight of these 11 isolates were subsequently available for molecular identification, and all were identified as Achromobacter spp. Six bottles of eyewash solution were evaluated and were positive for abundant Achromobacter spp. (3.4 × 105 ± 1.1 CFU/mL). Optisol-GS had no bactericidal activity against Achromobacter spp. at 4°C after 24-hour incubation but was bactericidal at 37°C. None of the patients who had received the contaminated corneas developed postoperative infection. CONCLUSIONS: An eyewash solution arising from a single lot was implicated in the contamination of donor rims by Achromobacter spp. The isolates were able to survive in the Optisol-GS medium at the recommended storage temperature. This highlights the need to continue improving protocols for tissue preparation and storage.
Andre C, Rouhana J, de Mello SS, da Cunha GR, Van Camp AG, Gilmore MS, Bispo PJM. Population structure of ocular Streptococcus pneumoniae is highly diverse and formed by lineages that escape current vaccines. Microb Genom 2022;8(3)Abstract
Streptococcus pneumoniae is a leading cause of ocular infections including serious and sight-threatening conditions. The use of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) has substantially reduced the incidence of pneumonia and invasive pneumococcal diseases, but has had limited impact on ocular infections. Additionally, widespread vaccine use has resulted in ongoing selective pressure and serotype replacement in carriage and disease. To gain insight into the population structure of pneumococcal isolates causing ocular infections in a post-PCV-13 time period, we investigated the genomic epidemiology of ocular S. pneumoniae isolates (n=45) collected at Massachusetts Eye and Ear between 2014 and 2017. By performing a series of molecular typing methods from draft genomes, we found that the population structure of ocular S. pneumoniae is highly diverse with 27 sequence types (grouped into 18 clonal complexes) and 17 serotypes being identified. Distribution of these lineages diverged according to the site of isolation, with conjunctivitis being commonly caused by isolates grouped in the Epidemic Conjunctivitis Cluster-ECC (60 %), and ST448 (53.3 %) being most frequently identified. Conversely, S. pneumoniae keratitis cases were caused by a highly diverse population of isolates grouping within 15 different clonal complexes. Serotyping inference demonstrated that 95.5 % of the isolates were non-PCV-13 vaccine types. Most of the conjunctivitis isolates (80 %) were unencapsulated, with the remaining belonging to serotypes 15B, 3 and 23B. On the other hand, S. pneumoniae causing keratitis were predominantly encapsulated (95.2 %) with 13 different serotypes identified, mostly being non-vaccine types. Carriage of macrolide resistance genes was common in our ocular S. pneumoniae population (42.2 %), and usually associated with the mefA +msrD genotype (n=15). These genes were located in the Macrolide Efflux Genetic Assembly cassette and were associated with low-level in vitro resistance to 14- and 15-membered macrolides. Less frequently, macrolide-resistant isolates carried an ermB gene (n=4), which was co-located with the tetM gene in a Tn-916-like transposon. Our study demonstrates that the population structure of ocular S. pneumoniae is highly diverse, mainly composed by isolates that escape the PCV-13 vaccine, with patterns of tissue/niche segregation, adaptation and specialization. These findings suggest that the population structure of ocular pneumococcus may be shaped by multiple factors including PCV-13 selective pressure, microbial-related and niche-specific host-associated features.
Andreoli MT, Andreoli CM. Surgical rehabilitation of the open globe injury patient. Am J Ophthalmol 2012;153(5):856-60.Abstract
PURPOSE: To describe the long-term surgical course of patients with open globe injury. DESIGN: Retrospective case series. METHODS: Patients with open globe injuries (848 in total) treated surgically at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary between 2000 and 2009 were retrospectively reviewed. Data from presentation, initial repair, and follow-up surgery were analyzed. RESULTS: Among 848 injuries, 1415 surgical procedures were performed. The mean follow-up time was 19.7 months, including 6017 visits. On average, patients required 1.7 surgeries and 7.1 follow-up visits. Factors predicting follow-up surgery included more severe ocular trauma score, worse prerepair visual acuity, retinal hemorrhage, anterior vitrectomy at primary repair, pars plana vitrectomy at primary repair, and lensectomy at primary repair. Patients with zone II injury, hemorrhagic choroidal detachment, and a history of previous ocular surgery tended to require follow-up surgery less frequently. Patients requiring a second surgery tended to have worse visual acuity at presentation and postrepair. Postoperative visual outcomes were worse for patients who underwent vitreoretinal follow-up surgery, likely because of mechanism of injury. Variables associated with inferior visual outcome were worse prerepair visual acuity, postoperative afferent pupillary defect (APD), old age, scleral laceration, and retinal detachment. CONCLUSION: Open globe injuries require significant surgical follow-up. Patients requiring multiple operations tended to have worse postoperative visual acuity. Patients who underwent vitreoretinal surgery had overall worse visual outcomes. While the first year of surveillance appears to be pivotal in the course of an open globe injury, these patients can expect long-term care from comprehensive and subspecialty ophthalmologists.
Andreoli MT, Yiu G, Hart L, Andreoli CM. B-scan ultrasonography following open globe repair. Eye (Lond) 2014;28(4):381-5.Abstract
PURPOSE: To examine the accuracy and predictive ability of B-scan ultrasonography in the post-repair assessment of an open globe injury. METHODS: In all, 965 open globe injuries treated at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary between 1 January 2000 and 1 June 2010 were retrospectively reviewed. A total of 427 ultrasound reports on 210 patients were analyzed. Ultrasound reports were examined for the following characteristics: vitreous hemorrhage, vitreous tag, retinal tear, RD (including subcategories total RD, partial RD, closed funnel RD, open funnel RD, and chronic RD), vitreous traction, vitreous debris, serous choroidal detachment, hemorrhagic choroidal detachment, kissing choroidal detachment, dislocated crystalline lens, dislocated intraocular lens (IOL), disrupted crystalline lens, intraocular foreign body (IOFB), intraocular air, irregular posterior globe contour, disorganized posterior intraocular contents, posterior vitreous detachment, choroidal vs retinal detachment, vitreal membranes, and choroidal thickening. The main outcome measure was visual outcome at final follow-up. RESULTS: Among 427 B-scan reports, there were a total of 57 retinal detachments, 19 retinal tears, 18 vitreous traction, 59 serous choroidal detachments, 47 hemorrhagic choroidal detachments, and 10 kissing choroidal detachments. Of patients with multiple studies, 26% developed retinal detachments or retinal tears on subsequent scans. Ultrasound had 100% positive predictive value for diagnosing retinal detachment and IOFB. The diagnoses of retinal detachment, disorganized posterior contents, hemorrhagic choroidal detachment, kissing choroidal detachment, and irregular posterior contour were associated with worse visual acuity at final follow-up. Disorganized posterior contents correlated with particularly poor outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: B-scan ultrasonography is a proven, cost-effective imaging modality in the management of an open globe injury. This tool can offer both diagnostic and prognostic information, useful for both surgical planning and further medical management.
Andres-Mateos E, Landegger LD, Unzu C, Phillips J, Lin BM, Dewyer NA, Sanmiguel J, Nicolaou F, Valero MD, Bourdeu KI, Sewell WF, Beiler RJ, McKenna MJ, Stankovic KM, Vandenberghe LH. Choice of vector and surgical approach enables efficient cochlear gene transfer in nonhuman primate. Nat Commun 2022;13(1):1359.Abstract
Inner ear gene therapy using adeno-associated viral vectors (AAV) promises to alleviate hearing and balance disorders. We previously established the benefits of Anc80L65 in targeting inner and outer hair cells in newborn mice. To accelerate translation to humans, we now report the feasibility and efficiency of the surgical approach and vector delivery in a nonhuman primate model. Five rhesus macaques were injected with AAV1 or Anc80L65 expressing eGFP using a transmastoid posterior tympanotomy approach to access the round window membrane after making a small fenestra in the oval window. The procedure was well tolerated. All but one animal showed cochlear eGFP expression 7-14 days following injection. Anc80L65 in 2 animals transduced up to 90% of apical inner hair cells; AAV1 was markedly less efficient at equal dose. Transduction for both vectors declined from apex to base. These data motivate future translational studies to evaluate gene therapy for human hearing disorders.
Andzelm MM, Cherry TJ, Harmin DA, Boeke AC, Lee C, Hemberg M, Pawlyk B, Malik AN, Flavell SW, Sandberg MA, Raviola E, Greenberg ME. MEF2D Drives Photoreceptor Development through a Genome-wide Competition for Tissue-Specific Enhancers. Neuron 2015;86(1):247-63.Abstract

Organismal development requires the precise coordination of genetic programs to regulate cell fate and function. MEF2 transcription factors (TFs) play essential roles in this process but how these broadly expressed factors contribute to the generation of specific cell types during development is poorly understood. Here we show that despite being expressed in virtually all mammalian tissues, in the retina MEF2D binds to retina-specific enhancers and controls photoreceptor cell development. MEF2D achieves specificity by cooperating with a retina-specific factor CRX, which recruits MEF2D away from canonical MEF2 binding sites and redirects it to retina-specific enhancers that lack the consensus MEF2-binding sequence. Once bound to retina-specific enhancers, MEF2D and CRX co-activate the expression of photoreceptor-specific genes that are critical for retinal function. These findings demonstrate that broadly expressed TFs acquire specific functions through competitive recruitment to enhancers by tissue-specific TFs and through selective activation of these enhancers to regulate tissue-specific genes.

Anesi SD, Eggenschwiler L, Ferrara M, Artornsombudh P, Walsh M, Foster SC. Reliability of Conjunctival Biopsy for Diagnosis of Ocular Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid: Redetermination of the Standard for Diagnosis and Outcomes of Previously Biopsy-Negative Patients. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2020;:1-8.Abstract
: To demonstrate the reliability of conjunctival biopsy analyzed by direct immunofluorescence (DIF) and supplemented with avidin-biotin complex immunoperoxidase (ABC) in diagnosing oMMP, and report therapy response in biopsy-positive patients, particularly when previously biopsy-negative elsewhere.: Retrospective outcomes review of 136 consecutive patients after conjunctival biopsy for suspected oMMP.: Among 136 patients, 66% were diagnosed with oMMP by DIF and 13% via supplemental ABC immunoperoxidase. Sensitivity increased from 79.6% with DIF to 95.6% with supplemental ABC. Among 57 biopsy-positive patients, 77% were in remission at 1-year follow-up and 88% after 2 years. Of 34 previous biopsy-negative but now biopsy-positive patients with a 2-year follow-up, 91% achieved remission, including all 16 diagnosed via DIF and ABC.: Conjunctival biopsy analyzed by histopathology and DIF supplemented by ABC has high reliability for diagnosing oMMP and is a useful tool to use before starting long-term immunomodulatory therapy in a patient with suspected oMMP.
Anesi SD, Chang PY, Maleki A, Manhapra A, Look-Why S, Asgari S, Walsh M, Drenen K, Foster SC. Effects of Subcutaneous Repository Corticotropin Gel Injection on Regulatory T Cell Population in Noninfectious Retinal Vasculitis. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2022;:1-10.Abstract
AIM: To evaluate the effect of repository corticotropin injection (RCI) on regulatory T cell population in patients with noninfectious retinal vasculitis. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients with active noninfectious retinal vasculitis were included in a prospective nonrandomized open-label study. RESULTS: Eighteen patients (33 eyes) were included in the study. Eleven (61.1%) patients [20 (60.6%) eyes] and 7 (38.9%) patients [13 (33.3%) eyes] were in the responsive and non-responsive groups, respectively. We did not find any statistically significant difference within the PPP-R group, within the PPP-NR group, or between these two groups in regard to regulatory T cell population. No significant systemic or ocular complications were found. CONCLUSION: RCI may be a complementary treatment in patients with non-infectious retinal vasculitis with or without uveitis. This study did not demonstrate an increase in regulatory T cell population in patients with noninfectious retinal vasculitis.
Annunziata R, Kheirkhah A, Aggarwal S, Hamrah P, Trucco E. A fully automated tortuosity quantification system with application to corneal nerve fibres in confocal microscopy images. Med Image Anal 2016;32:216-32.Abstract

Recent clinical research has highlighted important links between a number of diseases and the tortuosity of curvilinear anatomical structures like corneal nerve fibres, suggesting that tortuosity changes might detect early stages of specific conditions. Currently, clinical studies are mainly based on subjective, visual assessment, with limited repeatability and inter-observer agreement. To address these problems, we propose a fully automated framework for image-level tortuosity estimation, consisting of a hybrid segmentation method and a highly adaptable, definition-free tortuosity estimation algorithm. The former combines an appearance model, based on a Scale and Curvature-Invariant Ridge Detector (SCIRD), with a context model, including multi-range learned context filters. The latter is based on a novel tortuosity estimation paradigm in which discriminative, multi-scale features can be automatically learned for specific anatomical objects and diseases. Experimental results on 140 in vivo confocal microscopy images of corneal nerve fibres from healthy and unhealthy subjects demonstrate the excellent performance of our method compared to state-of-the-art approaches and ground truth annotations from 3 expert observers.

Annunziata R, Kheirkhah A, Aggarwal S, Cavalcanti BM, Hamrah P, Trucco E. Two-Dimensional Plane for Multi-Scale Quantification of Corneal Subbasal Nerve Tortuosity. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2016;57(3):1132-9.Abstract

PURPOSE: To assess the performance of a novel system for automated tortuosity estimation and interpretation. METHODS: A supervised strategy (driven by observers' grading) was employed to automatically identify the combination of tortuosity measures (i.e., tortuosity representation) leading to the best agreement with the observers. We investigated 18 tortuosity measures including curvature and density of inflection points, computed at multiple spatial scales. To leverage tortuosity interpretation, we propose the tortuosity plane (TP) onto which each image is mapped. Experiments were carried out on 140 images of subbasal nerve plexus of the central cornea, covering four levels of tortuosity. Three experienced observers graded each image independently. RESULTS: The best tortuosity representation was the combination of mean curvature at spatial scales 2 and 5. These tortuosity measures were the axes of the proposed TP (interpretation). The system for tortuosity estimation revealed strong agreement with the observers on a global and per-level basis. The agreement with each observer (Spearman's correlation) was statistically significant (αs = 0.05, P < 0.0001) and higher than that of at least one of the other observers in two out of three cases (ρOUR = 0.7594 versus ρObs3 = 0.7225; ρOUR = 0.8880 versus ρObs1 = 0.8017, ρObs3 = 0.7315). Based on paired-sample t-tests, these improvements were significant (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Our automated system stratifies images by four tortuosity levels (discrete scale) matching or exceeding the accuracy of experienced observers. Of importance, the TP allows the assessment of tortuosity on a two-dimensional continuous scale, thus leading to a finer discrimination among images.

Antar H, Tsikata E, Ratanawongphaibul K, Zhang J, Shieh E, Lee R, Freeman M, Papadogeorgou G, Simavli H, Que C, Verticchio Vercellin AC, Khoueir Z, de Boer JF, Chen TC. Analysis of Neuroretinal Rim by Age, Race, and Sex Using High-Density 3-Dimensional Spectral-Domain Optical Coherence Tomography. J Glaucoma 2019;28(11):979-988.Abstract
PRéCIS:: Neuroretinal rim minimum distance band (MDB) thickness is significantly lower in older subjects and African Americans compared with whites. It is similar in both sexes. PURPOSE: To evaluate the relationship between age, race, and sex with the neuroretinal rim using high-density spectral-domain optical coherence tomography optic nerve volume scans of normal eyes. METHODS: A total of 256 normal subjects underwent Spectralis spectral-domain optical coherence tomography optic nerve head volume scans. One eye was randomly selected and analyzed for each subject. Using custom-designed software, the neuroretinal rim MDB thickness was calculated from volume scans, and global and quadrant neuroretinal rim thickness values were determined. The MDB is a 3-dimensional neuroretinal rim band comprised of the shortest distance between the internal limiting membrane and the termination of the retinal pigment epithelium/Bruch's membrane complex. Multiple linear regression analysis was performed to determine the associations of age, race, and sex with neuroretinal rim MDB measurements. RESULTS: The population was 57% female and 69% white with a mean age of 58.4±15.3 years. The mean MDB thickness in the normal population was 278.4±47.5 µm. For this normal population, MDB thickness decreased by 0.84 µm annually (P<0.001). African Americans had thinner MDBs compared with whites (P=0.003). Males and females had similar MDB thickness values (P=0.349). CONCLUSION: Neuroretinal rim MDB thickness measurements decreased significantly with age. African Americans had thinner MDB neuroretinal rims than whites.
Antonetti DA, Silva PS, Stitt AW. Current understanding of the molecular and cellular pathology of diabetic retinopathy. Nat Rev Endocrinol 2021;17(4):195-206.Abstract
Diabetes mellitus has profound effects on multiple organ systems; however, the loss of vision caused by diabetic retinopathy might be one of the most impactful in a patient's life. The retina is a highly metabolically active tissue that requires a complex interaction of cells, spanning light sensing photoreceptors to neurons that transfer the electrochemical signal to the brain with support by glia and vascular tissue. Neuronal function depends on a complex inter-dependency of retinal cells that includes the formation of a blood-retinal barrier. This dynamic system is negatively affected by diabetes mellitus, which alters normal cell-cell interactions and leads to profound vascular abnormalities, loss of the blood-retinal barrier and impaired neuronal function. Understanding the normal cell signalling interactions and how they are altered by diabetes mellitus has already led to novel therapies that have improved visual outcomes in many patients. Research highlighted in this Review has led to a new understanding of retinal pathophysiology during diabetes mellitus and has uncovered potential new therapeutic avenues to treat this debilitating disease.
Antoszyk AN, Glassman AR, Beaulieu WT, Jampol LM, Jhaveri CD, Punjabi OS, Salehi-Had H, Wells JA, Maguire MG, Stockdale CR, Martin DF, Sun JK, Sun JK. Effect of Intravitreous Aflibercept vs Vitrectomy With Panretinal Photocoagulation on Visual Acuity in Patients With Vitreous Hemorrhage From Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA 2020;324(23):2383-2395.Abstract
Importance: Vitreous hemorrhage from proliferative diabetic retinopathy can cause loss of vision. The best management approach is unknown. Objective: To compare initial treatment with intravitreous aflibercept vs vitrectomy with panretinal photocoagulation for vitreous hemorrhage from proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Design, Setting, and Participants: Randomized clinical trial at 39 DRCR Retina Network sites in the US and Canada including 205 adults with vison loss due to vitreous hemorrhage from proliferative diabetic retinopathy who were enrolled from November 2016 to December 2017. The final follow-up visit was completed in January 2020. Interventions: Random assignment of eyes (1 per participant) to aflibercept (100 participants) or vitrectomy with panretinal photocoagulation (105 participants). Participants whose eyes were assigned to aflibercept initially received 4 monthly injections. Both groups could receive aflibercept or vitrectomy during follow-up based on protocol criteria. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was mean visual acuity letter score (range, 0-100; higher scores indicate better vision) over 24 weeks (area under the curve); the study was powered to detect a difference of 8 letters. Secondary outcomes included mean visual acuity at 4 weeks and 2 years. Results: Among 205 participants (205 eyes) who were randomized (mean [SD] age, 57 [11] years; 115 [56%] men; mean visual acuity letter score, 34.5 [Snellen equivalent, 20/200]), 95% (195 of 205) completed the 24-week visit and 90% (177 of 196, excluding 9 deaths) completed the 2-year visit. The mean visual acuity letter score over 24 weeks was 59.3 (Snellen equivalent, 20/63) (95% CI, 54.9 to 63.7) in the aflibercept group vs 63.0 (Snellen equivalent, 20/63) (95% CI, 58.6 to 67.3) in the vitrectomy group (adjusted difference, -5.0 [95% CI, -10.2 to 0.3], P = .06). Among 23 secondary outcomes, 15 showed no significant difference. The mean visual acuity letter score was 52.6 (Snellen equivalent, 20/100) in the aflibercept group vs 62.3 (Snellen equivalent, 20/63) in the vitrectomy group at 4 weeks (adjusted difference, -11.2 [95% CI, -18.5 to -3.9], P = .003) and 73.7 (Snellen equivalent, 20/40) vs 71.0 (Snellen equivalent, 20/40) at 2 years (adjusted difference, 2.7 [95% CI, -3.1 to 8.4], P = .36). Over 2 years, 33 eyes (33%) assigned to aflibercept received vitrectomy and 34 eyes (32%) assigned to vitrectomy received subsequent aflibercept. Conclusions and Relevance: Among participants whose eyes had vitreous hemorrhage from proliferative diabetic retinopathy, there was no statistically significant difference in the primary outcome of mean visual acuity letter score over 24 weeks following initial treatment with intravitreous aflibercept vs vitrectomy with panretinal photocoagulation. However, the study may have been underpowered, considering the range of the 95% CI, to detect a clinically important benefit in favor of initial vitrectomy with panretinal photocoagulation. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02858076.
Arafat SN, Robert M-C, Abud T, Spurr-Michaud S, Amparo F, Dohlman CH, Dana R, Gipson IK. Elevated Neutrophil Elastase in Tears of Ocular Graft-Versus-Host Disease Patients. Am J Ophthalmol 2017;176:46-52.Abstract

PURPOSE: To investigate the levels of neutrophil elastase (NE), matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), and myeloperoxidase (MPO) in tear washes of patients with ocular graft-vs-host disease (oGVHD). DESIGN: Case-control study. METHODS: Based on established criteria, oGVHD patients (n = 14; 28 eyes) and age-/sex-matched healthy controls (n = 14; 28 eyes) were enrolled. Tear washes were collected and analyzed for NE using a single-analyte enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). MMPs (1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 12), MPO, and tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1 were analyzed using multianalyte bead-based ELISA assays. Total MMP activity was measured using a fluorimetric assay. Correlation studies were performed between NE, MMP-8, MMP-9, and MPO within study groups. RESULTS: NE, MMP-8, MMP-9, and MPO levels were elevated in oGVHD tears when compared with controls (P < .0001). NE was the most elevated analyte. MMP activity was higher and TIMP-1 levels were lower in oGVHD than in control (P < .0001). In oGVHD, NE significantly correlated with MMP-8 (r = 0.92), MMP-9 (r = 0.90), and MPO (r = 0.79) (P < .0001). MMP-8 correlated with MMP-9 (r = 0.96, P < .0001), and MPO (r = 0.60, P = .001). MMP-9 correlated with MPO (r = 0.55, P = .002). In controls, NE, MMP-9, and MPO significantly correlated with each other (P < .0001). CONCLUSIONS: The marked increase in NE in oGVHD tears that correlated strongly with elevated MMP-8, MMP-9, and MPO suggests a common neutrophilic source and provides evidence of neutrophil activity on the ocular surface of oGVHD patients.

Arafat SN, Robert M-C, Shukla AN, Dohlman CH, Chodosh J, Ciolino JB. UV cross-linking of donor corneas confers resistance to keratolysis. Cornea 2014;33(9):955-9.Abstract

PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to develop a modified ex vivo corneal cross-linking method that increases stromal resistance to enzymatic degradation for use as a carrier for the Boston keratoprosthesis. METHODS: Ex vivo cross-linking of human corneas was performed using Barron artificial anterior chambers. The corneas were deepithelialized, pretreated with riboflavin solution (0.1% riboflavin/20% dextran), and irradiated with ultraviolet A (UV-A) light (λ = 370 nm, irradiance = 3 mW/cm) for various durations. The combined effect of UV-A and gamma (γ) irradiation was also assessed using the commercially available γ-irradiated corneal donors. The corneas were then trephined and incubated at 37°C with 0.3% collagenase A solution. The time to dissolution of each cornea was compared across treatments. RESULTS: Deepithelialized corneas (no UV light, no riboflavin) dissolved in 5.8 ± 0.6 hours. Cross-linked corneas demonstrated increased resistance to dissolution, with a time to dissolution of 17.8 ± 2.6 hours (P < 0.0001). The corneal tissues' resistance to collagenase increased with longer UV-A exposure, reaching a plateau at 30 minutes. Cross-linking both the anterior and posterior corneas did not provide added resistance when compared with cross-linking the anterior corneas only (P > 0.05). γ-irradiated corneas dissolved as readily as deepithelialized controls regardless of whether they were further cross-linked (5.6 ± 1.2 hours) or not (6.1 ± 0.6 hours) (P = 0.43). CONCLUSIONS: Collagen cross-linking of the deepithelialized anterior corneal surface for 30 minutes conferred optimal resistance to in vitro keratolysis by collagenase A.

Araujo-Alves AV, Kraychete GB, Gilmore MS, Barros EM, Giambiagi-deMarval M. shsA: A novel orthologous of sasX/sesI virulence genes is detected in Staphylococcus haemolyticus Brazilian strains. Infect Genet Evol 2022;97:105189.Abstract
The surface protein SasX, has a key role in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization and pathogenesis, and has been associated with the epidemic success of some MRSA clones. To date, only one SasX homologous protein, named SesI, has been described in Staphylococcus epidermidis. In this work, we analyze the occurrence of the sasX gene and its genetic environment in Staphylococcus haemolyticus S. haemolyticus clinical strains (n = 62) were screened for the presence of the sasX gene and its carrier, the prophage Φ SPβ-like. A deep characterization was done in one strain (MD43), through which we determined the complete nucleotide sequence for the S. haemolitycus sasX-like gene. Whole genome sequencing of strain MD43 was performed, and the gene, termed here because of its unique attributes, shsA, was mapped to the Φ SPβ-like prophage sequence. The shsA gene was detected in 33 out of 62 strains showing an average identity of 92 and 96% with the sasX and sesI genes and at the amino acid level, 88% identity with SasX and 92% identity with SesI. The ~124Kb Φ SPβ-like prophage sequence showed a largely intact prophage compared to its counterpart in S. epidermidis strain RP62A, including the sesI insertion site. In conclusion, we identified a new sasX ortholog in S. haemolyticus (shsA). Its horizontal spread from this reservoir could represent an emergent threat in healthcare facilities since so far, no S. aureus sasX+ strains have been reported in Brazil.
Arboleda-Velasquez JF, Valdez CN, Marko CK, D'Amore PA. From pathobiology to the targeting of pericytes for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy. Curr Diab Rep 2015;15(2):573.Abstract

Pericytes, the mural cells that constitute the capillaries along with endothelial cells, have been associated with the pathobiology of diabetic retinopathy; however, therapeutic implications of this association remain largely unexplored. Pericytes appear to be highly susceptible to the metabolic challenges associated with a diabetic environment, and there is substantial evidence that their loss may contribute to microvascular instability leading to the formation of microaneurysms, microhemorrhages, acellular capillaries, and capillary nonperfusion. Since pericytes are strategically located at the interface between the vascular and neural components of the retina, they offer extraordinary opportunities for therapeutic interventions in diabetic retinopathy. Moreover, the availability of novel imaging methodologies now allows for the in vivo visualization of pericytes, enabling a new generation of clinical trials that use pericyte tracking as clinical endpoints. The recognition of multiple signaling mechanisms involved in pericyte development and survival should allow for a renewed interest in pericytes as a therapeutic target for diabetic retinopathy.

Arboleda-Velasquez JF, Lopera F, O'Hare M, Delgado-Tirado S, Marino C, Chmielewska N, Saez-Torres KL, Amarnani D, Schultz AP, Sperling RA, Leyton-Cifuentes D, Chen K, Baena A, Aguillon D, Rios-Romenets S, Giraldo M, Guzmán-Vélez E, Norton DJ, Pardilla-Delgado E, Artola A, Sanchez JS, Acosta-Uribe J, Lalli M, Kosik KS, Huentelman MJ, Zetterberg H, Blennow K, Reiman RA, Luo J, Chen Y, Thiyyagura P, Su Y, Jun GR, Naymik M, Gai X, Bootwalla M, Ji J, Shen L, Miller JB, Kim LA, Tariot PN, Johnson KA, Reiman EM, Quiroz YT. Resistance to autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease in an APOE3 Christchurch homozygote: a case report. Nat Med 2019;25(11):1680-1683.Abstract
We identified a PSEN1 (presenilin 1) mutation carrier from the world's largest autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease kindred, who did not develop mild cognitive impairment until her seventies, three decades after the expected age of clinical onset. The individual had two copies of the APOE3 Christchurch (R136S) mutation, unusually high brain amyloid levels and limited tau and neurodegenerative measurements. Our findings have implications for the role of APOE in the pathogenesis, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease.
Arboleda-Velasquez JF, Primo V, Graham M, James A, Manent J, D'Amore PA. Notch signaling functions in retinal pericyte survival. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2014;55(8):5191-9.Abstract
PURPOSE: Pericytes, the vascular cells that constitute the outer layer of capillaries, have been shown to have a crucial role in vascular development and stability. Loss of pericytes precedes endothelial cell dysfunction and vascular degeneration in small-vessel diseases, including diabetic retinopathy. Despite their clinical relevance, the cellular pathways controlling survival of retinal pericytes remain largely uncharacterized. Therefore, we investigated the role of Notch signaling, a master regulator of cell fate decisions, in retinal pericyte survival. METHODS: A coculture system of ligand-dependent Notch signaling was developed using primary cultured retinal pericytes and a mesenchymal cell line derived from an inducible mouse model expressing the Delta-like 1 Notch ligand. This model was used to examine the effect of Notch activity on pericyte survival using quantitative PCR (qPCR) and a light-induced cell death assay. The effect of Notch gain- and loss-of-function was analyzed in monocultures of retinal pericytes using antibody arrays to interrogate the expression of apoptosis-related proteins. RESULTS: Primary cultured retinal pericytes differentially expressed key molecules of the Notch pathway and displayed strong expression of canonical Notch/RBPJK (recombination signal-binding protein 1 for J-kappa) downstream targets. A gene expression screen using gain- and loss-of-function approaches identified genes relevant to cell survival as downstream targets of Notch activity in retinal pericytes. Ligand-mediated Notch activity protected retinal pericytes from light-induced cell death. CONCLUSIONS: Our results have identified signature genes downstream of Notch activity in retinal pericytes and suggest that tight regulation of Notch signaling is crucial for pericyte survival.

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