Cornea

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Hu K, Harris DL, Yamaguchi T, von Andrian UH, Hamrah P. A Dual Role for Corneal Dendritic Cells in Herpes Simplex Keratitis: Local Suppression of Corneal Damage and Promotion of Systemic Viral Dissemination. PLoS One 2015;10(9):e0137123.Abstract

The cornea is the shield to the foreign world and thus, a primary site for peripheral infections. However, transparency and vision are incompatible with inflammation and scarring that may result from infections. Thus, the cornea is required to perform a delicate balance between fighting infections and preserving vision. To date, little is known about the specific role of antigen-presenting cells in viral keratitis. In this study, utilizing an established murine model of primary acute herpes simplex virus (HSV)-1 keratitis, we demonstrate that primary HSV keratitis results in increased conventional dendritic cells (cDCs) and macrophages within 24 hours after infection. Local depletion of cDCs in CD11c-DTR mice by subconjuntival diphtheria toxin injections, led to increased viral proliferation, and influx of inflammatory cells, resulting in increased scarring and clinical keratitis. In addition, while HSV infection resulted in significant corneal nerve destruction, local depletion of cDCs resulted in a much more severe loss of corneal nerves. Further, local cDC depletion resulted in decreased corneal nerve infection, and subsequently decreased and delayed systemic viral transmission in the trigeminal ganglion and draining lymph node, resulting in decreased mortality of mice. In contrast, sham depletion or depletion of macrophages through local injection of clodronate liposomes had neither a significant impact on the cornea, nor an effect on systemic viral transmission. In conclusion, we demonstrate that corneal cDCs may play a primary role in local corneal defense during viral keratitis and preserve vision, at the cost of inducing systemic viral dissemination, leading to increased mortality.

Hua J, Inomata T, Chen Y, Foulsham W, Stevenson W, Shiang T, Bluestone JA, Dana R. Pathological conversion of regulatory T cells is associated with loss of allotolerance. Sci Rep 2018;8(1):7059.Abstract
CD4CD25Foxp3 Regulatory T cells (Tregs) play a critical role in immune tolerance. The plasticity and functional adaptability of Tregs in an inflammatory microenvironment has been demonstrated in autoimmunity. Here, using a double transgenic mouse model that permits Foxp3 lineage tracing, we investigated the phenotypic plasticity of Foxp3 Tregs in a well-characterized murine model of corneal transplantation. In order to subvert the normal immune privilege of the cornea and foster an inflammatory milieu, host mice were exposed to desiccating stress prior to transplantation. Treg frequencies and function were decreased following desiccating stress, and this corresponded to decreased graft survival. A fraction of Tregs converted to IL-17 or IFNγ 'exFoxp3' T cells that were phenotypically indistinguishable from effector Th17 or Th1 cells, respectively. We investigated how Foxp3 expression is modulated in different Treg subsets, demonstrating that neuropilin-1 peripherally-derived Tregs are particularly susceptible to conversion to IL-17/IFNγ exFoxp3 cells in response to cues from their microenvironment. Finally, we show that IL-6 and IL-23 are implicated in the conversion of Tregs to exFoxp3 cells. This report demonstrates that the pathological conversion of Tregs contributes to the loss of corneal immune privilege.
Huang C-C, Yang W, Guo C, Jiang H, Li F, Xiao M, Davidson S, Yu G, Duan B, Huang T, Huang AJW, Liu Q. Anatomical and functional dichotomy of ocular itch and pain. Nat Med 2018;Abstract
Itch and pain are refractory symptoms of many ocular conditions. Ocular itch is generated mainly in the conjunctiva and is absent from the cornea. In contrast, most ocular pain arises from the cornea. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Using genetic axonal tracing approaches, we discover distinct sensory innervation patterns between the conjunctiva and cornea. Further genetic and functional analyses in rodent models show that a subset of conjunctival-selective sensory fibers marked by MrgprA3 expression, rather than corneal sensory fibers, mediates ocular itch. Importantly, the actions of both histamine and nonhistamine pruritogens converge onto this unique subset of conjunctiva sensory fibers and enable them to play a key role in mediating itch associated with allergic conjunctivitis. This is distinct from skin itch, in which discrete populations of sensory neurons cooperate to carry itch. Finally, we provide proof of concept that selective silencing of conjunctiva itch-sensing fibers by pruritogen-mediated entry of sodium channel blocker QX-314 is a feasible therapeutic strategy to treat ocular itch in mice. Itch-sensing fibers also innervate the human conjunctiva and allow pharmacological silencing using QX-314. Our results cast new light on the neural mechanisms of ocular itch and open a new avenue for developing therapeutic strategies.
Hui P-C, Pereira LA, Dore R, Chen S, Taniguchi E, Chodosh J, Dohlman CH, Paschalis EI. Intrinsic Optical Properties of Boston Keratoprosthesis. Transl Vis Sci Technol 2020;9(12):10.Abstract
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.
Hui P-C, Shtyrkova K, Zhou C, Chen X, Chodosh J, Dohlman CH, Paschalis EI. Implantable self-aligning fiber-optic optomechanical devices for in vivo intraocular pressure-sensing in artificial cornea. J Biophotonics 2020;13(7):e202000031.Abstract
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.
Hutcheon AEK, Zieske JD, Guo X. 3D in vitro model for human corneal endothelial cell maturation. Exp Eye Res 2019;184:183-191.Abstract
Corneal endothelium is a cellular monolayer positioned on the Descemet's membrane at the anterior cornea, and it plays a critical role in maintaining corneal clarity. Our present study examines the feasibility of utilizing our 3-dimensional (3D) corneal stromal construct, which consists of human corneal fibroblasts (HCF) and their self-assembled matrix, to observe the development and maturation of human corneal endothelial cells (HCEndoCs) in a co-culture model. Three-dimensional HCF constructs were created by growing the HCFs on Transwell membranes in Eagles' minimum essential medium (EMEM) + 10% FBS + 0.5 mM Vitamin C (VitC) for about 4 weeks. HCEndoCs, either primary (pHCEndoC) or cell line (HCEndoCL), were either seeded in chamber slides, directly on the Transwell membranes, or on the 3D HCF constructs and cultivated for 5 days or 2 weeks. The HCEndoCs that were seeded directly on the Transwell membranes were exposed indirectly to HCF by culturing the HCF on the plate beneath the membrane. Cultures were examined for morphology and ultrastructure using light and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). In addition, indirect-immunofluorescence microscopy (IF) was used to examine tight junction formation (ZO-1), maturation (ALDH1A1), basement membrane formation (Laminin), cell proliferation (Ki67), cell death (caspase-3), and fibrotic response (CTGF). As expected, both pHCEndoCs and HCEndoCLs formed monolayers on the constructs; however, the morphology of the HCEndoCLs appeared to be similar to that seen in vivo, uniform and closely packed, whereas the pHCEndoCs remained elongated. The IF data showed that laminin localization was present in the HCEndoCs' cytoplasm as cell-cell contact increased, and when they were grown in the 3D co-culture, the beginnings of what appears to be a continuous DM-like structure was observed. In addition, in co-cultures, ALDH1A1-positive HCEndoCs were present, ZO-1 expression localized within the tight junctions, minimal numbers of HCEndoCs were Ki67-or Caspase-3-positive, and CTGF was positive in both the HCEndoCs cytoplasm and the matrix of the co-culture. Also, laminin localization was stimulated in HCEndoCs upon indirect stimuli secreted by HCF. The present data suggests our 3D co-culture model is useful for studying corneal endothelium maturation in vitro since the co-culture promotes new DM-like formation, HCEndoCs develop in vivo-like characteristics, and the fibrotic response is activated. Our current findings are applicable to understanding the implications of corneal endothelial injection therapy, such as if the abnormal DM has to be removed from the patient, the newly injected endothelial cells will seed onto the wound area and deposit a new DM-like membrane. However, caution should be observed and as much of the normal DM should be left intact since removal of the DM can cause a posterior stromal fibrotic response.
Hynnekleiv L, Magno M, Vernhardsdottir RR, Moschowits E, Tønseth KA, Dartt DA, Vehof J, Utheim TP. Hyaluronic acid in the treatment of dry eye disease. Acta Ophthalmol 2022;Abstract
Dry eye disease (DED) is a highly prevalent and debilitating condition affecting several hundred million people worldwide. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a naturally occurring glycosaminoglycan commonly used in the treatment of DED. This review aims to critically evaluate the literature on the safety and efficacy of artificial tears containing HA used in DED treatment. Literature searches were conducted in PubMed, including MEDLINE, and in Embase via Ovid with the search term: "(hyaluronic acid OR hyaluronan OR hyaluronate) AND (dry eye OR sicca)". A total of 53 clinical trials are included in this review, including eight placebo-controlled trials. Hyaluronic acid concentrations ranged from 0.1% to 0.4%. Studies lasted up to 3 months. A broad spectrum of DED types and severities was represented in the reviewed literature. No major complications or adverse events were reported. Artificial tears containing 0.1% to 0.4% HA were effective at improving both signs and symptoms of DED. Two major gaps in the literature have been identified: 1. no study investigated the ideal drop frequency for HA-containing eyedrops, and 2. insufficient evidence was presented to recommend any specific HA formulation over another. Future investigations assessing the optimal drop frequency for different concentrations and molecular weights of HA, different drop formulations, including tonicity, and accounting for DED severity and aetiology are essential for an evidence-based, individualized approach to DED treatment.
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Iglesias AI, Mishra A, Vitart V, Bykhovskaya Y, Höhn R, Springelkamp H, Cuellar-Partida G, Gharahkhani P, Bailey JCN, Willoughby CE, Li X, Yazar S, Nag A, Khawaja AP, Polašek O, Siscovick D, Mitchell P, Tham YC, Haines JL, Kearns LS, Hayward C, Shi Y, van Leeuwen EM, Taylor KD, Taylor KD, Bonnemaijer P, Rotter JI, Martin NG, Zeller T, Mills RA, Staffieri SE, Jonas JB, Schmidtmann I, Boutin T, Kang JH, Lucas SEM, Wong TY, Beutel ME, Wilson JF, Wilson JF, Wilson JF, Uitterlinden AG, Vithana EN, Foster PJ, Hysi PG, Hewitt AW, Khor CC, Pasquale LR, Montgomery GW, Klaver CCW, Aung T, Pfeiffer N, Mackey DA, Hammond CJ, Cheng C-Y, Craig JE, Rabinowitz YS, Wiggs JL, Burdon KP, van Duijn CM, Macgregor S. Cross-ancestry genome-wide association analysis of corneal thickness strengthens link between complex and Mendelian eye diseases. Nat Commun 2018;9(1):1864.Abstract
Central corneal thickness (CCT) is a highly heritable trait associated with complex eye diseases such as keratoconus and glaucoma. We perform a genome-wide association meta-analysis of CCT and identify 19 novel regions. In addition to adding support for known connective tissue-related pathways, pathway analyses uncover previously unreported gene sets. Remarkably, >20% of the CCT-loci are near or within Mendelian disorder genes. These included FBN1, ADAMTS2 and TGFB2 which associate with connective tissue disorders (Marfan, Ehlers-Danlos and Loeys-Dietz syndromes), and the LUM-DCN-KERA gene complex involved in myopia, corneal dystrophies and cornea plana. Using index CCT-increasing variants, we find a significant inverse correlation in effect sizes between CCT and keratoconus (r = -0.62, P = 5.30 × 10) but not between CCT and primary open-angle glaucoma (r = -0.17, P = 0.2). Our findings provide evidence for shared genetic influences between CCT and keratoconus, and implicate candidate genes acting in collagen and extracellular matrix regulation.
Iglesias AI, Mishra A, Vitart V, Bykhovskaya Y, Höhn R, Springelkamp H, Cuellar-Partida G, Gharahkhani P, Bailey JCN, Willoughby CE, Li X, Yazar S, Nag A, Khawaja AP, Polašek O, Siscovick D, Mitchell P, Tham YC, Haines JL, Kearns LS, Hayward C, Shi Y, van Leeuwen EM, Taylor KD, Taylor KD, Bonnemaijer P, Rotter JI, Martin NG, Zeller T, Mills RA, Souzeau E, Staffieri SE, Jonas JB, Schmidtmann I, Boutin T, Kang JH, Lucas SEM, Wong TY, Beutel ME, Wilson JF, Wilson JF, Wilson JF, Uitterlinden AG, Vithana EN, Foster PJ, Hysi PG, Hewitt AW, Khor CC, Pasquale LR, Montgomery GW, Klaver CCW, Aung T, Pfeiffer N, Mackey DA, Hammond CJ, Cheng C-Y, Craig JE, Rabinowitz YS, Wiggs JL, Burdon KP, van Duijn CM, Macgregor S. Author Correction: Cross-ancestry genome-wide association analysis of corneal thickness strengthens link between complex and Mendelian eye diseases. Nat Commun 2019;10(1):155.Abstract
Emmanuelle Souzeau, who contributed to analysis of data, was inadvertently omitted from the author list in the originally published version of this Article. This has now been corrected in both the PDF and HTML versions of the Article.
Inomata T, Mashaghi A, Hong J, Nakao T, Dana R. Scaling and maintenance of corneal thickness during aging. PLoS One 2017;12(10):e0185694.Abstract
Corneal thickness is tightly regulated by its boundary endothelial and epithelial layers. The regulated set-point of corneal thickness likely shows inter-individual variations, changes by age, and response to stress. Using anterior segment-optical coherence tomography, we measure murine central corneal thickness and report on body size scaling of murine central corneal thickness during aging. For aged-matched mice, we find that corneal thickness depends on sex and strain. To shed mechanistic insights into these anatomical changes, we measure epithelial layer integrity and endothelial cell density during the life span of the mice using corneal fluorescein staining and in vivo confocal microscopy, respectively and compare their trends with that of the corneal thickness. Cornea thickness increases initially (1 month: 114.7 ± 3.0 μm, 6 months: 126.3 ± 1.6 μm), reaches a maximum (9 months: 129.3 ± 4.4 μm) and then reduces (12 months: 127 ± 2.9 μm, 13 months: 119.5 ± 7.6 μm, 14 months: 110.6 ± 10.6 μm), while the body size (weight) increases with age. We find that endothelial cell density reduces from 2 months old to 8 months old as the mice age and epithelial layer accumulates damages within this time frame. Finally, we compare murine corneal thickness with those of several other mammals including humans and show that corneal thickness has an allometric scaling with body size. Our results have relevance for organ size regulation, translational pharmacology, and veterinary medicine.
Inomata T, Hua J, Nakao T, Shiang T, Chiang H, Amouzegar A, Dana R. Corneal Tissue From Dry Eye Donors Leads to Enhanced Graft Rejection. Cornea 2018;37(1):95-101.Abstract
PURPOSE: To assess the effect of dry eye disease (DED) in graft donors on dendritic cell (DC) maturation, host T-cell sensitization, and corneal allograft rejection. METHODS: Corneas of control (healthy donor) and DED mice (C57BL/6) were transplanted onto fully allogeneic naive BALB/c recipients (n = 10 mice/group). Long-term allograft survival was evaluated for 8 weeks. Corneas and draining lymph nodes (dLNs) were harvested at posttransplantation day 14 (n = 5 mice/group). The frequencies of MHCII CD11c DCs in the donor corneas and host dLNs and the frequencies of interferon (IFN)-γ and IL-17 CD4 T cells and Foxp3 expression by Tregs in host dLNs were investigated using flow cytometry. The enzyme-linked immunospot assay was used to assess host T-cell allosensitization through direct and indirect pathways (n = 3/group). RESULTS: Recipients of DED donor corneas showed significantly reduced graft survival (10%) compared with control mice (50% survival, P = 0.022), and had significantly increased frequencies of mature DCs in the grafted cornea (DED donor 44.0% ± 0.36% vs. healthy donor 35.4 ± 0.5%; P < 0.0001) and host dLNs (DED donor 25.1% ± 0.66% vs. healthy donor 13.7% ± 1.6%; P = 0.005). Frequencies of IFN-γ and IL-17 T cells were increased in the dLNs of recipients of DED corneas, whereas the expression (mean fluorescence intensity) of Foxp3 in Tregs was decreased significantly in these mice (DED donor 6004 ± 193 vs. healthy donor 6806 ± 81; P = 0.0002). Enzyme-linked immunospot analysis showed that the direct pathway of allosensitization was significantly amplified in recipients of grafts with DED (P = 0.0146). CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that DED in the donor is a significant risk factor for subsequent corneal allograft rejection.
Inomata T, Mashaghi A, Di Zazzo A, Lee S-M, Chiang H, Dana R. Kinetics of Angiogenic Responses in Corneal Transplantation. Cornea 2017;36(4):491-496.Abstract

PURPOSE: To delineate and compare the kinetics of corneal angiogenesis after high-risk (HR) versus low-risk (LR) corneal transplantation. METHODS: In mice, intrastromal sutures were placed in the recipient graft bed 2 weeks before allogeneic transplantation to induce angiogenesis and amplify the risk of graft rejection. Control (LR) graft recipients did not undergo suture placement, and thus the host bed remained avascular at the time of transplantation. Graft hemangiogenesis and opacity scores were evaluated for 8 weeks by slit-lamp biomicroscopy. Immunohistochemistry was used to measure CD31 (blood vessels) and LYVE-1 (lymphatic vessels) cells. RESULTS: Biphasic kinetics were observed for hemangiogenesis in both HR and LR transplant recipients using clinical and immunohistochemical assessments. The biphasic kinetics were composed of a rise-fall (phase 1) followed by a second rise (phase 2) in the degree of vessels. Compared with LR recipients, HR recipients showed higher hemangiogenesis (whole cornea and graft) throughout 8 weeks. Analyzing grafts revealed sustained presence of lymphatic vessels in HR recipients; however, lymphatic neovessels regressed in LR recipients 2 weeks posttransplantation. In contrast to HR host beds, the LR host bed microenvironment cannot sustain the growth of lymphatic neovessels in allografts, whereas it can sustain continued hemangiogenesis. CONCLUSIONS: The sustained presence of lymphatic vessels in HR host beds can facilitate host immunity against allografts and is likely associated with ongoing higher risk of rejection of these grafts in the long term, suggesting that therapeutic interventions targeting inflammation and lymphatic vessels need to be sustained long term in the HR corneal transplant setting.

Inomata T, Iwagami M, Nakamura M, Shiang T, Fujimoto K, Okumura Y, Iwata N, Fujio K, Hiratsuka Y, Hori S, Tsubota K, Dana R, Murakami A. Association between dry eye and depressive symptoms: Large-scale crowdsourced research using the DryEyeRhythm iPhone application. Ocul Surf 2020;18(2):312-319.Abstract
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.
Inomata T, Nakamura M, Sung J, Midorikawa-Inomata A, Iwagami M, Fujio K, Akasaki Y, Okumura Y, Fujimoto K, Eguchi A, Miura M, Nagino K, Shokirova H, Zhu J, Kuwahara M, Hirosawa K, Dana R, Murakami A. Smartphone-based digital phenotyping for dry eye toward P4 medicine: a crowdsourced cross-sectional study. NPJ Digit Med 2021;4(1):171.Abstract
Multidimensional integrative data analysis of digital phenotyping is crucial for elucidating the pathologies of multifactorial and heterogeneous diseases, such as the dry eye (DE). This crowdsourced cross-sectional study explored a novel smartphone-based digital phenotyping strategy to stratify and visualize the heterogenous DE symptoms into distinct subgroups. Multidimensional integrative data were collected from 3,593 participants between November 2016 and September 2019. Dimension reduction via Uniform Manifold Approximation and Projection stratified the collected data into seven clusters of symptomatic DE. Symptom profiles and risk factors in each cluster were identified by hierarchical heatmaps and multivariate logistic regressions. Stratified DE subgroups were visualized by chord diagrams, co-occurrence networks, and Circos plot analyses to improve interpretability. Maximum blink interval was reduced in clusters 1, 2, and 5 compared to non-symptomatic DE. Clusters 1 and 5 had severe DE symptoms. A data-driven multidimensional analysis with digital phenotyping may establish predictive, preventive, personalized, and participatory medicine.
Inomata T, Iwagami M, Nakamura M, Shiang T, Yoshimura Y, Fujimoto K, Okumura Y, Eguchi A, Iwata N, Miura M, Hori S, Hiratsuka Y, Uchino M, Tsubota K, Dana R, Murakami A. Characteristics and Risk Factors Associated With Diagnosed and Undiagnosed Symptomatic Dry Eye Using a Smartphone Application. JAMA Ophthalmol 2019;Abstract
Importance: The incidence of dry eye disease has increased; the potential for crowdsource data to help identify undiagnosed dry eye in symptomatic individuals remains unknown. Objective: To assess the characteristics and risk factors associated with diagnosed and undiagnosed symptomatic dry eye using the smartphone app DryEyeRhythm. Design, Setting, and Participants: A cross-sectional study using crowdsourced data was conducted including individuals in Japan who downloaded DryEyeRhythm and completed the entire questionnaire; duplicate users were excluded. DryEyeRhythm was released on November 2, 2016; the study was conducted from November 2, 2016, to January 12, 2018. Exposures: DryEyeRhythm data were collected on demographics, medical history, lifestyle, subjective symptoms, and disease-specific symptoms, using the Ocular Surface Disease Index (100-point scale; scores 0-12 indicate normal, healthy eyes; 13-22, mild dry eye; 23-32, moderate dry eye; 33-100, severe dry eye symptoms), and the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale (total of 20 items, total score ranging from 20-80, with ≥40 highly suggestive of depression). Main Outcomes and Measures: Multivariate-adjusted logistic regression analysis was used to identify risk factors for symptomatic dry eye and to identify risk factors for undiagnosed symptomatic dry eye. Results: A total of 21 394 records were identified in our database; 4454 users, included 899 participants (27.3%) with diagnosed and 2395 participants (72.7%) with undiagnosed symptomatic dry eye, completed all questionnaires and their data were analyzed. A total of 2972 participants (66.7%) were women; mean (SD) age was 27.9 (12.6) years. The identified risk factors for symptomatic vs no symptomatic dry eye included younger age (odds ratio [OR], 0.99; 95% CI, 0.987-0.999, P = .02), female sex (OR, 1.99; 95% CI, 1.61-2.46; P < .001), pollinosis (termed hay fever on the questionnaire) (OR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.18-1.55; P < .001), depression (OR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.18-2.69; P = .006), mental illnesses other than depression or schizophrenia (OR, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.24-2.82; P = .003), current contact lens use (OR, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.09-1.48; P = .002), extended screen exposure (OR, 1.55; 95% CI, 1.25-1.91; P < .001), and smoking (OR, 1.65; 95% CI, 1.37-1.98; P < .001). The risk factors for undiagnosed vs diagnosed symptomatic dry eye included younger age (OR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.95-0.97; P < .001), male sex (OR, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.42-0.72; P < .001), as well as absence of collagen disease (OR, 95% CI, 0.23; 0.09-0.60; P = .003), mental illnesses other than depression or schizophrenia (OR, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.36-0.69; P < .001), ophthalmic surgery other than cataract surgery and laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (OR, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.27-0.64; P < .001), and current (OR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.54-0.77; P < .001) or past (OR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.34-0.58; P < .001) contact lens use. Conclusions and Relevance: This study's findings suggest that crowdsourced research identified individuals with diagnosed and undiagnosed symptomatic dry eye and the associated risk factors. These findings could play a role in earlier prevention or more effective interventions for dry eye disease.
Inomata T, Nakamura M, Iwagami M, Midorikawa-Inomata A, Sung J, Fujimoto K, Okumura Y, Eguchi A, Iwata N, Miura M, Fujio K, Nagino K, Hori S, Tsubota K, Dana R, Murakami A. Stratification of Individual Symptoms of Contact Lens-Associated Dry Eye Using the iPhone App DryEyeRhythm: Crowdsourced Cross-Sectional Study. J Med Internet Res 2020;22(6):e18996.Abstract
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.
Inomata T, Nakamura M, Iwagami M, Shiang T, Yoshimura Y, Fujimoto K, Okumura Y, Eguchi A, Iwata N, Miura M, Hori S, Hiratsuka Y, Uchino M, Tsubota K, Dana R, Murakami A. Risk Factors for Severe Dry Eye Disease: Crowdsourced Research Using DryEyeRhythm. Ophthalmology 2019;126(5):766-768.
Inomata T, Hua J, Di Zazzo A, Dana R. Impaired Function of Peripherally Induced Regulatory T Cells in Hosts at High Risk of Graft Rejection. Sci Rep 2016;6:39924.Abstract

Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are crucial for allograft survival. Tregs can be divided into thymus-derived natural Tregs (tTregs) and peripherally-derived induced Tregs (pTregs). Here, we determine whether the suppressive function of Treg subsets is hampered in hosts who are at high risk for rejecting their graft. To induce graft beds that promote high risk of transplant rejection, intrastromal corneal sutures were placed two weeks prior to the transplant procedure in mice. We demonstrate that in high-risk recipients the frequencies and function of pTregs (but not tTregs) are suppressed. Reduced function of pTregs correlated with decreased expression of CTLA-4, interleukin-10, and transforming growth factor-β. Adoptive transfer of pTregs from mice at low risk of subsequent graft rejection is able to rescue graft survival in recipients that are at high risk of rejecting their grafts. Our data suggest that impaired function of pTregs, but not tTregs, mediates the loss of immune tolerance and promotes allograft rejection.

Islam MM, Chivu A, AbuSamra DB, Saha A, Chowdhuri S, Pramanik B, Dohlman CH, Das D, Argüeso P, Rajaiya J, Patra HK, Chodosh J. Crosslinker-free collagen gelation for corneal regeneration. Sci Rep 2022;12(1):9108.Abstract
Development of an artificial cornea can potentially fulfil the demand of donor corneas for transplantation as the number of donors is far less than needed to treat corneal blindness. Collagen-based artificial corneas stand out as a regenerative option, having promising clinical outcomes. Collagen crosslinked with chemical crosslinkers which modify the parent functional groups of collagen. However, crosslinkers are usually cytotoxic, so crosslinkers need to be removed from implants completely before application in humans. In addition, crosslinked products are mechanically weak and susceptible to enzymatic degradation. We developed a crosslinker free supramolecular gelation strategy using pyrene conjugated dipeptide amphiphile (PyKC) consisting of lysine and cysteine; in which collagen molecules are intertwined inside the PyKC network without any functional group modification of the collagen. The newly developed collagen implants (Coll-PyKC) are optically transparent and can effectively block UV light, are mechanically and enzymatically stable, and can be sutured. The Coll-PyKC implants support the growth and function of all corneal cells, trigger anti-inflammatory differentiation while suppressing the pro-inflammatory differentiation of human monocytes. Coll-PyKC implants can restrict human adenovirus propagation. Therefore, this crosslinker-free strategy can be used for the repair, healing, and regeneration of the cornea, and potentially other damaged organs of the body.
Islam R, Islam MM, Nilsson PH, Mohlin C, Hagen KT, Paschalis EI, Woods RL, Bhowmick SC, Dohlman CH, Espevik T, Chodosh J, Gonzalez-Andrades M, Mollnes TE. Combined blockade of complement C5 and TLR co-receptor CD14 synergistically inhibits pig-to-human corneal xenograft induced innate inflammatory responses. Acta Biomater 2021;127:169-179.Abstract
Inadequate supplies of donor corneas have evoked an escalating interest in corneal xenotransplantation. However, innate immune responses contribute significantly to the mechanism of xenograft rejection. We hypothesized that complement component C5 and TLR co-receptor CD14 inhibition would inhibit porcine cornea induced innate immune responses. Therefore, we measured cytokine release in human blood, induced by three forms of corneal xenografts with or without inhibitors. Native porcine cornea (NPC) induced interleukins (IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, IL-1ra), chemokines (MCP-1, MIP-1α, MIP-1β) and other cytokines (TNF, G-CSF, INF-γ, FGF-basic). Decellularized (DPC) and gamma-irradiated cornea (g-DPC) elevated the release of those cytokines. C5-blockade by eculizumab inhibited all the cytokines except G-CSF when induced by NPC. However, C5-blockade failed to reduce DPC and g-DPC induced cytokines. Blockade of CD14 inhibited DPC-induced cytokines except for IL-8, MCP-1, MIP-1α, and G-CSF, while it inhibited all of them when induced by g-DPC. Combined blockade of C5 and CD14 inhibited the maximum number of cytokines regardless of the xenograft type. Finally, by using the TLR4 specific inhibitor Eritoran, we showed that TLR4 activation was the basis for the CD14 effect. Thus, blockade of C5, when combined with TLR4 inhibition, may have therapeutic potential in pig-to-human corneal xenotransplantation. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Bio-engineered corneal xenografts are on the verge of becoming a viable alternative to allogenic human-donor-cornea, but the host's innate immune response is still a critical barrier for graft acceptance. By overruling this barrier, limited graft availability would no longer be an issue for treating corneal diseases. We showed that the xenograft induced inflammation is initiated by the complement system and toll-like receptor activation. Intriguingly, the inflammatory response was efficiently blocked by simultaneously targeting bottleneck molecules in the complement system (C5) and the TLR co-receptor CD14 with pharmaceutical inhibitors. We postulate that a combination of C5 and CD14 inhibition could have a great therapeutic potential to overcome the immunologic barrier in pig-to-human corneal xenotransplantation.

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