Cornea

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Kocaba V, Damour O, Auxenfans C, Burillon C. [Limbal stem cell deficiency management. A review]. J Fr Ophtalmol 2016;39(9):791-803.Abstract

Limbal stem cell deficiency is predominantly caused by severe eye burns resulting in a decreased or a complete ablation of the regenerative potential of these stem cells. The inability to reconstruct the corneal epithelium further leads conjunctivalization of the gimbal-epithelial barrier. These abnormalities collectively result in the progressive opacification of the cornea responsible for blindness that is driven by chronic corneal ulceration and neovascularization. The underlying pathology of the cornea affects the homeostasis of the neighboring conjunctiva, eyelids, and tear film. Therefore, the ocular reconstruction to treat limbal stem cell deficiency is quite prolonged and involves a continued treatment plan. The management of limbal stem cell deficiency has undergone a multitude of changes over the past several decades. The understanding of limbal anatomy and physiology, as well as therapeutic advances in the stem cell field have propelled the development of new treatments offering new hope to severely disabled patients. Cultivated limbal epithelial and oral mucosal epithelial transplantations are therefore viable alternatives that could be utilized for the treatment of limbal stem cell deficiency.

Kodati S, Chauhan SK, Chen Y, Dohlman TH, Karimian P, Saban D, Dana R. CCR7 is critical for the induction and maintenance of Th17 immunity in dry eye disease. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2014;55(9):5871-7.Abstract

PURPOSE: We characterized antigen-presenting cell (APC)-relevant chemokine receptor expression in dry eye disease (DED), and investigated the effect of topical CC chemokine receptor (CCR)-7 blockade specifically on Th17 cell immunity and dry eye disease severity. METHODS: We induced DED in female C57BL/6 mice. Chemokine receptor expression by corneal APCs was characterized using immunohistochemistry. To determine the functional role of CCR7 in DED, mice were treated topically with either anti-CCR7, a control isotype antibody, or left untreated, and clinical disease severity, Th17 responses, and molecular markers of DED were quantified. RESULTS: Frequencies of CD11b(+) cells and their chemokine expression were increased in the cornea of DED mice. Mice treated topically with anti-CCR7 antibody displayed a significant reduction in clinical disease severity and Th17 response compared to the isotype and untreated groups. Topical CCR7 blockade was effective in ameliorating DED in its acute and chronic stages. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that CCR7-mediated trafficking of APCs drives the induction and maintenance of Th17 immunity in DED and that CCR7 blockade is effective in suppressing the immunopathogenic mechanisms in DED.

Koo EH, Pineda R, Afshari N, Eghrari A. Learning Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty: A Survey of U.S. Corneal Surgeons. Cornea 2020;39(5):590-593.Abstract
PURPOSE: The transition to Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK) is frequently challenging, requiring the adoption of new techniques, skills, and methods. We sought to draw on surgeons' initial experiences with DMEK to characterize the learning curve associated with this procedure and identify factors that could be linked to the frequency of primary graft failure (PGF) in the first 10 cases. METHODS: We invited corneal surgeons based in the United States who started performing the DMEK procedure within the past 2 years to answer a 12-question survey using an online survey platform. We analyzed quantitative and qualitative data. A Fisher exact test was used to determine whether preoperative approaches to preparation were associated with decreased PGF rates. RESULTS: A total of 100 US-based corneal surgeons replied from 34 of 50 states. Of these, 68% reported that DMEK comprised a majority of their endothelial keratoplasty cases. Approximately half of surgeons (52%) had performed more than 20 DMEK cases by the time of the survey, and 51% felt equally comfortable performing DMEK relative to Descemet stripping endothelial keratoplasty. Among the respondents, 37% answered that they had experienced PGF in the first 10 cases. Scrubbing in with an experienced colleague before surgery was associated with a decreased likelihood of at least one case of PGF (31%, P = 0.049), but not participation in a wet lab with an experienced instructor or mentor (38%, P = 0.50), nor having an eye bank representative present in the operating room (43%, P = 0.886). CONCLUSIONS: The collective experience of 100 surgeons beginning DMEK confirms the importance of mentorship and that the accompaniment of an experienced colleague during the learning curve is associated with lower rates of PGF.
Koulouri I, Hellwinkel O, Altenähr S, Spitzer M, Fritz S, Feuerstacke J, Filev F. A new storage solution for the hypothermic preservation of corneal grafts: an experimental study. Cell Tissue Bank 2020;21(3):507-521.Abstract
In this experimental study we used for the first time Tiprotec as a solution for corneal preservation and cold storage. We compared the resultant endothelial cell morphology and viability with this obtained after preservation of the ex-vivo corneas with both usual standard techniques: conventional cold storage (using Eusol-C) and organ culture. This prospective, in vitro, 3-armed parallel study was performed with the use of 90 porcine corneas (examined for their endothelial quality and transparency) randomly selected for preservation in three storage methods (each 30 corneas): organ culture, standard cold storage (Eusol-C) and experimental cold storage (Tiprotec) Endothelium cell quantity and quality as well as corneal opacification were assessed. The degree of endothelial transparency was significantly reduced over time with all preservation media, without any significant difference among the three groups at any point of time. A reduction in endothelial cell density was also observed with all three preservation media after 30 days of storage without statistically significant differences between groups. The number of hexagonal and pentagonal endothelium cells was significantly reduced overtime in all media with significantly more hexagonal and pentagonal in the organ culture group compared to the cold storage groups. We could show that the cryopreservation medium Tiprotec, used until now for the preservation of vascular grafts, was of similar quality compared to the medium Eusol-C for the hypothermic storage of corneal tissue for an extended period of time up to 30 days. In comparison to organic culture with culture medium KII, both Tiprotec and Eusol-C were found less effective in preserving endothelial cell quality, as assessed by the morphometric analysis, and viability, as assessed by the degree of vacuolization at least up to the 30th day of storage. However, both, Tiprotec- and Eusol-C-preserved corneas demonstrated a certain capacity to recover after their submission in organ culture.
Kruh JN, Kruh-Garcia NA, Foster SC. Evaluation of the Effect of N-Acetylcysteine on Protein Deposition on Contact Lenses in Patients with the Boston Keratoprosthesis Type I. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther 2015;31(6):314-22.Abstract

PURPOSE: To establish the efficacy of topical N-acetylcysteine (NAC) as a treatment to reduce protein deposition on the contact lens surface. METHODS: In this prospective, nonrandomized clinical trial, a total of 10 eyes (9 patients) were enrolled from a single center. All patients had a prior ocular history of either a Boston Keratoprosthesis type I or trichiasis from Stevens-Johnson syndrome, which necessitated full-time contact lens wear. Four visits were required to complete the study. During visit 1, a new contact lens was inserted and a baseline examination was performed. Visit 2 served as the control month, whereas visits 3 and 4 were month 1 and 2 on treatment with 20% NAC. At the end of each visit the contact lens was replaced. The lenses from visit 2 (control month-without NAC) and from visit 3 (treatment month-with NAC) were collected for proteomic analysis. The main outcome measures were to quantify protein deposition, as well as to assess the visual acuity and ocular surface symptoms before and after treatment. RESULTS: Topical NAC resulted in a 20% decrease in protein deposition. This correlated with a trend for improvement in visual acuity and increased subjective improvement in vision at month 1 (P=0.0153) and 2 (P=0.0016). CONCLUSIONS: NAC reduced protein deposition, decreased ocular surface symptoms, and improved contact lens transparency, thereby providing increased optical clarity.

Ksander BR, Kolovou PE, Wilson BJ, Saab KR, Guo Q, Ma J, McGuire SP, Gregory MS, Vincent WJB, Perez VL, Cruz-Guilloty F, Kao WWY, Call MK, Tucker BA, Zhan Q, Murphy GF, Lathrop KL, Alt C, Mortensen LJ, Lin CP, Zieske JD, Frank MH, Frank NY. ABCB5 is a limbal stem cell gene required for corneal development and repair. Nature 2014;511(7509):353-7.Abstract
Corneal epithelial homeostasis and regeneration are sustained by limbal stem cells (LSCs), and LSC deficiency is a major cause of blindness worldwide. Transplantation is often the only therapeutic option available to patients with LSC deficiency. However, while transplant success depends foremost on LSC frequency within grafts, a gene allowing for prospective LSC enrichment has not been identified so far. Here we show that ATP-binding cassette, sub-family B, member 5 (ABCB5) marks LSCs and is required for LSC maintenance, corneal development and repair. Furthermore, we demonstrate that prospectively isolated human or murine ABCB5-positive LSCs possess the exclusive capacity to fully restore the cornea upon grafting to LSC-deficient mice in xenogeneic or syngeneic transplantation models. ABCB5 is preferentially expressed on label-retaining LSCs in mice and p63α-positive LSCs in humans. Consistent with these findings, ABCB5-positive LSC frequency is reduced in LSC-deficient patients. Abcb5 loss of function in Abcb5 knockout mice causes depletion of quiescent LSCs due to enhanced proliferation and apoptosis, and results in defective corneal differentiation and wound healing. Our results from gene knockout studies, LSC tracing and transplantation models, as well as phenotypic and functional analyses of human biopsy specimens, provide converging lines of evidence that ABCB5 identifies mammalian LSCs. Identification and prospective isolation of molecularly defined LSCs with essential functions in corneal development and repair has important implications for the treatment of corneal disease, particularly corneal blindness due to LSC deficiency.
Kumar R, Dohlman CH, Chodosh J. Oral acetazolamide after Boston keratoprosthesis in Stevens-Johnson syndrome. BMC Res Notes 2012;5:205.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis (SJS/TEN) is a rare but severe and sometimes fatal condition associated with exposure to medications; sulfamethoxazole is among the most common causes. We sought to address the safety of acetazolamide, a chemically related compound, in patients with prior SJS/TEN and glaucoma. A retrospective case series is described of patients at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary who underwent keratoprosthesis surgery for corneal blindness from SJS/TEN, and later required oral acetazolamide for elevated intraocular pressure. FINDINGS: Over the last 10 years, 17 patients with SJS/TEN received a Boston keratoprosthesis. Of these, 11 developed elevated intraocular pressure that required administration of oral acetazolamide. One of 11 developed a mild allergic reaction, but no patient experienced a recurrence of SJS/TEN or any severe adverse reaction. CONCLUSION: Although an increase in the rate of recurrent SJS/TEN due to oral acetazolamide would not necessarily be apparent after treating only 11 patients, in our series, acetazolamide administration was well tolerated without serious sequela.
Kumar S, Ichhpujani P, Thakur S, Singh RB. Traumatic corneal perforation with exteriorisation of Ahmed glaucoma valve tube. BMJ Case Rep 2018;2018Abstract
We report a rare case of traumatic corneal perforation with Ahmed glaucoma valve (AGV) tube. A 5-year-old female child, diagnosed with refractory glaucoma, had undergone AGV implantation, presented with the posterior migration of AGV tube after trauma to the eye. The detailed ocular history, ophthalmic findings, clinical course and surgical management are discussed.
Kurbanyan K, Hoesl LM, Schrems WA, Hamrah P. Corneal nerve alterations in acute Acanthamoeba and fungal keratitis: an in vivo confocal microscopy study. Eye (Lond) 2012;26(1):126-32.Abstract
PURPOSE: To study sub-basal corneal nerve alterations in patients with acute Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) and fungal keratitis (FK), using laser in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM). METHODS: A retrospective analysis of IVCM (Heidelberg Retina Tomograph 3/Rostock Cornea Module) images of 10 AK corneas and 4 FK corneas was performed, and the results compared with those of 10 normal and 12 acute herpetic keratitis (HK) corneas. Sub-basal corneal nerves were analyzed with respect to total number of nerves, main nerve trunks, branching pattern and total length of nerves per image, as well as tortuosity. For each variable, results for three frames were averaged and analyzed using analysis of variance. RESULTS: Total corneal nerve length was significantly (P < 0.0001) reduced in patients with AK (193.4 ± 124.5 μm) and FK (268.6 ± 257.4 μm) when compared with normal controls (3811.84 ± 911.4 μm). Total nerve counts in patients with AK (3.9 ± 1.2) and FK (3.6 ± 3.2) were significantly (P < 0.0001) decreased in comparison with normal controls (24.7 ± 5.5). The number of main nerve trunks and nerve branching was found to be significantly lower in AK and FK corneas, when compared with controls. There was a statistically significant decrease in the above parameters when compared with HK controls. CONCLUSIONS: The sub-basal corneal nerve plexus is significantly diminished in eyes with AK and FK, as demonstrated by IVCM. These results are more profound than previously reported findings of a diminished nerve plexus in HK.
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Lagali N, Poletti E, Patel DV, McGhee CNJ, Hamrah P, Kheirkhah A, Tavakoli M, Petropoulos IN, Malik RA, Utheim TP, Zhivov A, Stachs O, Falke K, Peschel S, Guthoff R, Chao C, Golebiowski B, Stapleton F, Ruggeri A. Focused Tortuosity Definitions Based on Expert Clinical Assessment of Corneal Subbasal Nerves. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2015;56(9):5102-9.Abstract

PURPOSE: We examined agreement among experts in the assessment of corneal subbasal nerve tortuosity. METHODS: Images of corneal subbasal nerves were obtained from investigators at seven sites (Auckland, Boston, Linköping, Manchester, Oslo, Rostock, and Sydney) using laser-scanning in vivo confocal microscopy. A set of 30 images was assembled and ordered by increasing tortuosity by 10 expert graders from the seven sites. In a first experiment, graders assessed tortuosity without a specific definition and performed grading three times, with at least 1 week between sessions. In a second experiment, graders assessed the same image set using four focused tortuosity definitions. Intersession and intergrader repeatability for the experiments were determined using the Spearman rank correlation. RESULTS: Expert graders without a specific tortuosity definition had high intersession (Spearman correlation coefficient 0.80), but poor intergrader (0.62) repeatability. Specific definitions improved intergrader repeatability to 0.79. In particular, tortuosity defined by frequent small-amplitude directional changes (short range tortuosity) or by infrequent large-amplitude directional changes (long range tortuosity), indicated largely independent measures and resulted in improved repeatability across the graders. A further refinement, grading only the most tortuous nerve in a given image, improved the average correlation of a given grader's ordering of images with the group average to 0.86 to 0.90. CONCLUSIONS: Definitions of tortuosity specifying short or long-range tortuosity and considering only the most tortuous nerve in an image improved the agreement in tortuosity grading among a group of expert observers. These definitions could improve accuracy and consistency in quantifying subbasal nerve tortuosity in clinical studies.

Lambiase A, Sullivan BD, Schmidt TA, Sullivan DA, Jay GD, Truitt ER, Bruscolini A, Sacchetti M, Mantelli F. A Two-Week, Randomized, Double-masked Study to Evaluate Safety and Efficacy of Lubricin (150 μg/mL) Eye Drops Versus Sodium Hyaluronate (HA) 0.18% Eye Drops (Vismed®) in Patients with Moderate Dry Eye Disease. Ocul Surf 2017;15(1):77-87.Abstract

PURPOSE: The objective of this clinical trial (NCT02507934) was to assess the efficacy and safety of recombinant human lubricin as compared to a 0.18% sodium hyaluronate (HA) eye drop in subjects with moderate dry eye disease (DED). METHODS: DEWS Grade 2-3 subjects were randomized to use lubricin (N=19, 51.9 ± 11.8 years) or HA (N=20, 61.8 ± 13.3 years). After a saline washout period, subjects administered BID therapy for 7 days, followed by instillation as needed (2-6 drops per eye) for 7 days. Visual analog scale (VAS) including foreign body sensation, burning/stinging, itching, pain, sticky feeling, blurred vision and photophobia were primary outcomes, with secondary endpoints of corneal fluorescein staining, Schirmer test, tear film breakup time (TFBUT), eyelid and conjunctival erythema and number of instillations compared at day 14. RESULTS: The primary endpoint was met. Lubricin supplementation achieved greater than a 72% reduction from baseline in foreign body sensation (P<.013), burning/stinging, pain, sticky feeling (P<.0432), blurred vision (P<.0013), and photophobia (P<.011) in at least one eye. Lubricin also showed significant improvement in fluorescein staining (OD/OS: 43.8%/50.0%, vs. 26.5%/23.3%, P<.0398, P<.0232), TFBUT (P<.010), SANDE frequency (P<.0435), eyelid erythema (P<.004), conjunctival erythema (P<.0013), and instillations (P<.04) as compared to HA. No treatment-related adverse events occurred during the investigation. CONCLUSIONS: Recombinant human lubricin was shown to produce significant improvement in both signs and symptoms of dry eye disease as compared to HA.

Lan Y, Kodati S, Lee HS, Omoto M, Jin Y, Chauhan SK. Kinetics and function of mesenchymal stem cells in corneal injury. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2012;53(7):3638-44.Abstract
PURPOSE: Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) hold great promise for wound healing and tissue regeneration. In the present study, we investigated the impact of corneal injury on the homeostasis of endogenous MSCs, and the potential of MSCs to home to injured tissue and promote corneal repair. METHODS: Corneal injury in mice was induced by thermal cauterization. Circulating MSCs were quantified by flow cytometric analysis. Ex vivo expanded red Q-dot-labeled or GFP+ bone marrow-derived MSCs were intravenously injected after injury and detected using epifluorescence microscopy. Corneal fluorescein staining was performed to evaluate epithelial regeneration. RESULTS: Following the induction of corneal injury in mice, a 2-fold increase in the frequency of circulating endogenous MSCs was observed within 48 hours of injury, which was accompanied by increased levels of the stem cell chemoattractants, substance P and SDF-1, in both the injured cornea and blood. Systemically administered MSCs homed to the injured cornea, but not to the normal cornea, and showed long-term survival. In addition, in the setting of corneal injury, MSC administration showed significant and rapid corneal epithelial regeneration. CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide novel evidence that corneal injury causes significant mobilization of endogenous MSCs into blood, and that MSCs home specifically to the injured cornea and promote regeneration, highlighting the therapeutic implications of MSC-mediated tissue repair in corneal injury.
Landsend ECS, Pedersen HR, Utheim ØA, Xiao J, Adil MY, Tashbayev B, Lagali N, Dartt DA, Baraas RC, Utheim TP. Meibomian gland dysfunction and keratopathy are associated with dry eye disease in aniridia. Br J Ophthalmol 2019;103(1):119-124.Abstract
AIMS: To investigate the aetiology and characteristics of dry eye disease (DED) in a Nordic cohort of patients with congenital aniridia. METHODS: Thirty-four Norwegian and one Danish subject with congenital aniridia and 21 healthy controls were examined. All subjects underwent an extensive dry eye examination, including evaluation of meibomian glands (MGs) by meibography, measurement of tear production and tear film osmolarity and grading of vital staining of the ocular surface. Moreover, slit-lamp biomicroscopy was undertaken, including grading of aniridia-associated keratopathy (AAK). RESULTS: Mean tear film osmolarity was significantly higher (314±11 mOsmol/L) in patients with aniridia compared with the healthy control group (303±11 mOsmol/L, p=0.002). Vital staining score was higher in the aniridia group (4.3±3.0) compared with healthy controls (2.4±1.6, p=0.02). The degree of staining correlated positively with the stage of AAK (r=0.44, p=0.008) and negatively with corneal sensitivity (r=-0.45, p=0.012). Number of expressible MGs was lower in aniridia subjects (2.9±1.6) than in controls (4.0±1.3, p=0.007). MG loss, staged from 0 to 3, was higher in the aniridia group than in the control group, both in upper eyelid (0.86±0.89 vs 0.10±0.31, p=0.001) and lower eyelid (0.94±0.73 vs 0.30±0.47, p=0.003). Computerised analyses showed thinning (p=0.004) and lower density (p<0.001) of the MGs compared with the healthy population. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with congenital aniridia demonstrate increased tear film osmolarity, ocular surface staining, loss of MGs and lower MG expressibility. We conclude that meibomian gland dysfunction and keratopathy are related to development of DED in aniridia.
Latifi G, Banafshe Afshan A, Houshang Beheshtnejad A, Zarei-Ghanavati M, Mohammadi N, Ghaffari R, Ghassemi H, Mohammadi SS, Kheirkhah A. Changes in Corneal Subbasal Nerves after Punctal Occlusion in Dry Eye Disease. Curr Eye Res 2021;46(6):777-783.Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate corneal subbasal nerve plexus by in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) following punctal occlusion in patients with moderate to severe dry eye disease (DED). MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients with grade 3 or 4 severity of DED based on Delphi Panel dry eye severity grading scheme were enrolled in the study. Permanent inferior punctal occlusion was performed. A comprehensive ophthalmic evaluation, including Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) questionnaire, tear break-up time (TBUT), corneal fluorescein staining, conjunctival Rose bengal staining, Schirmer's test, and corneal sensation by Cochet-Bonnet esthesiometry, were performed at baseline, and 1 and 3 months after punctal occlusion. Furthermore, density and number of corneal subbasal nerves were evaluated by IVCM. RESULTS: Forty-one eyes of 23 patients with a mean age of 46.3 ± 9.0 years were enrolled. Corneal fluorescein staining, Rose bengal staining, and TBUT significantly improved at 3 months following punctal occlusion (p < .015). Corneal esthesiometry significantly increased at both postoperative visits (p < .03), and OSDI scores improved only at 3-month follow-up (p < .005). Nerve density and total number significantly increased 3 months after punctal occlusion (p < .045). Baseline nerve density had significant correlations with TBUT, fluorescein staining, Rose bengal staining (p < .012), but not with esthesiometry, Schirmer scores, or OSDI scores (p > .329). CONCLUSIONS: Corneal subbasal nerve density and total number increased following punctal occlusion in patients with moderate to severe DED. These findings were associated with improvements in corneal sensation, and signs and symptoms of DED. This emphasizes the effect of punctal occlusion in regeneration of corneal subbasal nerve plexus.
Le H-G, Saeed H, Mantagos IS, Mitchell CM, Goverman J, Chodosh J. Burn unit care of Stevens Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis: A survey. Burns 2016;42(4):830-5.Abstract

Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis (SJS/TEN) is a systemic disease that can be associated with debilitating acute and chronic complications across multiple organ systems. As patients with acute SJS/TEN are often treated in a burn intensive care unit (BICU), we surveyed burn centers across the United States to determine their approach to the care of these patients. The goal of our study was to identify best practices and possible variations in the care of patients with acute SJS/TEN. We demonstrate that the method of diagnosis, use of systemic therapies, and involvement of subspecialists varied significantly between burn centers. Beyond supportive care provided to every patient, our data highlights a lack of standardization in the acute care of patients with SJS/TEN. A comprehensive guideline for the care of patients with acute SJS/TEN is indicated.

Lee JS, Mukherjee S, Lee JY, Saha A, Chodosh J, Painter DF, Rajaiya J. Entry of Epidemic Keratoconjunctivitis-Associated Human Adenovirus Type 37 in Human Corneal Epithelial Cells. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2020;61(10):50.Abstract
Purpose: Ocular infection by human adenovirus species D type 37 (HAdV-D37) causes epidemic keratoconjunctivitis, a severe, hyperacute condition. The corneal component of epidemic keratoconjunctivitis begins upon infection of corneal epithelium, and the mechanism of viral entry dictates subsequent proinflammatory gene expression. Therefore, it is important to understand the specific pathways of adenoviral entry in these cells. Methods: Transmission electron microscopy of primary and tert-immortalized human corneal epithelial cells infected with HAdV-D37 was performed to identify the means of viral entry. Confocal microscopy was used to determine intracellular trafficking. The results of targeted small interfering RNA and specific chemical inhibitors were analyzed by quantitative PCR, and Western blot. Results: By transmission electron microscopy, HAdV-D37 was seen to enter by both clathrin-coated pits and macropinocytosis; however, entry was both pH and dynamin 2 independent. Small interfering RNA against clathrin, AP2A1, and lysosome-associated membrane protein 1, but not early endosome antigen 1, decreased early viral gene expression. Ethyl-isopropyl amiloride, which blocks micropinocytosis, did not affect HAdV-D37 entry, but IPA, an inhibitor of p21-activated kinase, and important to actin polymerization, decreased viral entry in a dose-dependent manner. Conclusions: HAdV-D37 enters human corneal epithelial cells by a noncanonical clathrin-mediated pathway involving lysosome-associated membrane protein 1 and PAK1, independent of pH, dynamin, and early endosome antigen 1. We showed earlier that HAdV-D37 enters human keratocytes through caveolae. Therefore, epidemic keratoconjunctivitis-associated viruses enter different corneal cell types via disparate pathways, which could account for a relative paucity of proinflammatory gene expression upon infection of corneal epithelial cells compared with keratocytes, as seen in prior studies.
Lee HS, Schlereth SL, Park EY, Emami-Naeini P, Chauhan SK, Dana R. A novel pro-angiogenic function for interferon-γ-secreting natural killer cells. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2014;55(5):2885-92.Abstract
PURPOSE: To explore the function of natural killer (NK) cells in inflammatory angiogenesis in mice. METHODS: To study ocular angiogenic responses we used the cornea BFGF micropellet and the laser-induced choroidal neovascularization (CNV) mouse models (C57BL/6). To deplete NK cells in these models, we injected an anti-NK1.1 antibody or an isotype antibody as a control. Corneas or choroids were immunohistochemically stained for blood vessels (CD31), macrophages (F4/80), or CNV (isolectin-IB4). Vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF), IFN-γ, or TNF-α levels were measured by real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) or flow cytometry. A coculture assay of macrophages, NK cells, and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) was analyzed morphometrically to examine the ability of NK cells to induce angiogenesis in vitro. RESULTS: Our data demonstrate that in vivo depletion of NK cells leads to a significant reduction of corneal angiogenesis and CNV. Furthermore, NK cell depletion reduces macrophage infiltration into the cornea and mRNA expression levels of VEGF-A, VEGF-C, and VEGFR3 at day 7 after micropellet insertion. In the laser-induced CNV model, our data show that NK cell depletion leads to decreased areas of CNV and significantly reduced mRNA expression of VEGFs and IFN-γ in the choroid. An in vitro coculture assay shows an IFN-γ-dependent increase in VEGF expression levels, thereby increasing endothelial cell proliferation. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate a novel pro-angiogenic function for NK cells, indicating that IFN-γ-secreting NK cells can induce angiogenesis by promoting enhanced VEGF expression by macrophages.
Lee H-S, Hos D, Blanco T, Bock F, Reyes NJ, Mathew R, Cursiefen C, Dana R, Saban DR. Involvement of corneal lymphangiogenesis in a mouse model of allergic eye disease. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2015;56(5):3140-8.Abstract

PURPOSE: The contribution of lymphangiogenesis (LA) to allergy has received considerable attention and therapeutic inhibition of this process via targeting VEGF has been considered. Likewise, certain inflammatory settings affecting the ocular mucosa can trigger pathogenic LA in the naturally avascular cornea. Chronic inflammation in allergic eye disease (AED) impacts the conjunctiva and cornea, leading to sight threatening conditions. However, whether corneal LA is involved is completely unknown. We addressed this using a validated mouse model of AED. METHODS: Allergic eye disease was induced by ovalbumin (OVA) immunization and chronic OVA exposure. Confocal microscopy of LYVE-1-stained cornea allowed evaluation of corneal LA, and qRT-PCR was used to evaluate expression of VEGF-C, -D, and -R3 in these mice. Administration of VEGF receptor (R) inhibitor was incorporated to inhibit corneal LA in AED. Immune responses were evaluated by in vitro OVA recall responses of T cells, and IgE levels in the serum. RESULTS: Confocal microscopy of LYVE-1-stained cornea revealed the distinct presence of corneal LA in AED, and corroborated by increased corneal expression of VEGF-C, -D, and -R3. Importantly, prevention of corneal LA in AED via VEGFR inhibition was associated with decreased T helper two responses and IgE production. Furthermore, VEGFR inhibition led a significant reduction in clinical signs of AED. CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, these data reveal that there is a distinct involvement of corneal LA in AED. Furthermore, VEGFR inhibition prevents corneal LA and consequent immune responses in AED.

Lee CS, Lee AY, Akileswaran L, Stroman D, Najafi-Tagol K, Kleiboeker S, Chodosh J, Magaret A, Wald A, Van Gelder RN, Van Gelder RN. Determinants of Outcomes of Adenoviral Keratoconjunctivitis. Ophthalmology 2018;125(9):1344-1353.Abstract
PURPOSE: To determine host and pathogen factors predictive of outcomes in a large clinical cohort with keratoconjunctivitis. DESIGN: Retrospective analyses of the clinical and molecular data from a randomized, controlled, masked trial for auricloscene for keratoconjunctivitis (NVC-422 phase IIB, NovaBay; clinicaltrials.gov identifier, NCT01877694). PARTICIPANTS: Five hundred participants from United States, India, Brazil, and Sri Lanka with clinical diagnosis of keratoconjunctivitis and positive rapid test results for adenovirus. METHODS: Clinical signs and symptoms and bilateral conjunctival swabs were obtained on days 1, 3, 6, 11, and 18. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis was performed to detect and quantify adenovirus in all samples. Regression models were used to evaluate the association of various variables with keratoconjunctivitis outcomes. Time to resolution of each symptom or sign was assessed by adenoviral species with Cox regression. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The difference in composite scores of clinical signs between days 1 and 18, mean visual acuity change between days 1 and 18, and time to resolution of each symptom or sign. RESULTS: Of 500 participants, 390 (78%) showed evidence of adenovirus by PCR. Among adenovirus-positive participants, adenovirus D species was most common (63% of total cases), but a total of 4 species and 21 different types of adenovirus were detected. Adenovirus D was associated with more severe signs and symptoms, a higher rate of subepithelial infiltrate development, and a slower decline in viral load compared with all other adenovirus species. The clinical courses of all patients with non-adenovirus D species infection and adenovirus-negative keratoconjunctivitis were similar. Mean change in visual acuity between days 1 and 18 was a gain of 1.9 letters; worse visual outcome was associated with older age. CONCLUSIONS: A substantial proportion of keratoconjunctivitis is not associated with a detectable adenovirus. The clinical course of those with adenovirus D keratoconjunctivitis is significantly more severe than those with non-adenovirus D species infections or adenovirus-negative keratoconjunctivitis; high viral load at presentation and non-United States origin of participants is associated with poorer clinical outcome.
Lee A, Karamichos D, Onochie OE, Hutcheon AEK, Rich CB, Zieske JD, Trinkaus-Randall V. Hypoxia modulates the development of a corneal stromal matrix model. Exp Eye Res 2018;170:127-137.Abstract
Deposition of matrix proteins during development and repair is critical to the transparency of the cornea. While many cells respond to a hypoxic state that can occur in a tumor, the cornea is exposed to hypoxia during development prior to eyelid opening and during the diurnal sleep cycle where oxygen levels can drop from 21% to 8%. In this study, we used 2 three-dimensional (3-D) models to examine how stromal cells respond to periods of acute hypoxic states. The first model, a stromal construct model, is a 3-D stroma-like construct that consists of human corneal fibroblasts (HCFs) stimulated by a stable form of ascorbate for 1, 2, and 4 weeks to self-assemble their own extracellular matrix. The second model, a corneal organ culture model, is a corneal wound-healing model, which consists of wounded adult rat corneas that were removed and placed in culture to heal. Both models were exposed to either normoxic or hypoxic conditions for varying time periods, and the expression and/or localization of matrix proteins was assessed. No significant changes were detected in Type V collagen, which is associated with Type I collagen fibrils; however, significant changes were detected in the expression of both the small leucine-rich repeating proteoglycans and the larger heparan sulfate proteoglycan, perlecan. Also, hypoxia decreased both the number of Cuprolinic blue-positive glycosaminoglycan chains along collagen fibrils and Sulfatase 1, which modulates the effect of heparan sulfate by removing the 6-O-sulfate groups. In the stromal construct model, alterations were seen in fibronectin, similar to those that occur in development and after injury. These changes in fibronectin after injury were accompanied by changes in proteoglycans. Together these findings indicate that acute hypoxic changes alter the physiology of the cornea, and these models will allow us to manipulate the conditions in the extracellular environment in order to study corneal development and trauma.

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