Yuan A, Ma K, Sharifi S, Pineda R. Biomechanical testing of flanged polypropylene sutures in scleral fixation. Am J Ophthalmol 2021;Abstract
OBJECTIVE: To optimize the flanged belt-loop technique of scleral fixation through biomechanical testing and report clinical outcomes of resultant modifications. DESIGN: Experimental study. METHODS: The force to disinsert flanged polypropylene suture from human cadaveric sclera was assessed using a tensile testing machine and compared to the breaking strengths of 9-0 and 10-0 polypropylene. The effects of modifying suture gauge (5-0, 6-0, 7-0 or 8-0), amount of suture cauterized (0.5 or 1.0mm), and sclerotomy size (27-, 30-, 32-, 33-gauge) were investigated. Belt-loop intrascleral fixation using 6-0 and 7-0 polypropylene with 30- and 32-gauge needles respectively was performed in 5 patients. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Flanged suture disinsertion force in cadaveric sclera. RESULTS: The average force to disinsert a flange created by melting 1.0mm of 5-0, 6-0, 7-0 and 8-0 polypropylene suture from human cadaveric sclera via 27-, 30-, 32- and 33-gauge needle sclerotomies was 3.0 ± 0.5N, 2.1 ± 0.3N, 0.9 ± 0.2N and 0.4 ± 0.1N respectively. The disinsertion forces for flanges formed by melting 0.5mm of the same gauges were 72-79% lower (p < 0.001). In comparison, the breaking strengths of 9-0 and 10-0 polypropylene were 1.0 ± 0.2N and 0.5 ± 0.0N. Belt-loop fixation using 6-0 and 7-0 polypropylene with 30- and 32-gauge sclerotomies demonstrated good outcomes at 6 months. CONCLUSIONS: The flanged belt-loop technique is a biomechanically sound method of scleral fixation using 1.0mm flanges of 5-0 to 7-0 polypropylene paired with 27-, 30- and 32- gauge sclerotomies. In contrast, 8-0 polypropylene and 0.5 mm flanges of any suture gauge will likely be unstable with this technique.
Zareian R, Susilo ME, Paten JA, McLean JP, Hollmann J, Karamichos D, Messer CS, Tambe DT, Saeidi N, Zieske JD, Ruberti JW. Human Corneal Fibroblast Pattern Evolution and Matrix Synthesis on Mechanically Biased Substrates. Tissue Eng Part A 2016;22(19-20):1204-1217.Abstract

In a fibroblast colony model of corneal stromal development, we asked how physiological tension influences the patterning dynamics of fibroblasts and the orientation of deposited extracellular matrix (ECM). Using long-term live-cell microscopy, enabled by an optically accessible mechanobioreactor, a primary human corneal fibroblast colony was cultured on three types of substrates: a mechanically biased, loaded, dense, disorganized collagen substrate (LDDCS), a glass coverslip, and an unloaded, dense, disorganized collagen substrate (UDDCS). On LDDCS, fibroblast orientation and migration along a preferred angle developed early, cell orientation was correlated over long distances, and the colony pattern was stable. On glass, fibroblast orientation was poorly correlated, developed more slowly, and colony patterns were metastable. On UDDCS, cell orientation was correlated over shorter distances compared with LDDCS specimens. On all substrates, the ECM pattern reflected the cell pattern. In summary, mechanically biasing the collagen substrate altered the early migration behavior of individual cells, leading to stable emergent cell patterning, which set the template for newly synthesized ECM.

Zhang Y, Kam WR, Liu Y, Chen X, Sullivan DA. Influence of Pilocarpine and Timolol on Human Meibomian Gland Epithelial Cells. Cornea 2017;36(6):719-724.Abstract
PURPOSE: Investigators have discovered that topical antiglaucoma drugs may induce meibomian gland dysfunction. This response may contribute to the dry eye disease commonly found in patients with glaucoma taking such medications. We hypothesize that drug action involves a direct effect on human meibomian gland epithelial cells (HMGECs). To test this hypothesis, we examined the influence of the antiglaucoma drugs, pilocarpine and timolol, on the morphology, survival, proliferation, and differentiation of HMGECs. METHODS: Immortalized (I) HMGECs (n = 2-3 wells/treatment/experiment) were cultured with multiple concentrations of pilocarpine or timolol for up to 7 days. Experiments included positive controls for proliferation (epidermal growth factor and bovine pituitary extract) and differentiation (azithromycin). Cells were enumerated using a hemocytometer and evaluated for morphology, neutral lipid staining, and lysosome accumulation. RESULTS: Our results demonstrate that pilocarpine and timolol cause a dose-dependent decrease in the survival of IHMGECs. The clinically used concentrations are toxic and lead to cell atrophy, poor adherence, or death. By contrast, drug levels that are known to accumulate within the conjunctiva, adjacent to the meibomian glands, do not influence IHMGEC survival. These latter concentrations also have no effect on IHMGEC proliferation or differentiation, and they do not interfere with the ability of azithromycin to stimulate cellular neutral lipid and lysosome accumulation. This dose of pilocarpine, though, did suppress the epidermal growth factor+bovine pituitary extract-induced proliferation of IHMGECs. CONCLUSIONS: Our results support our hypothesis and demonstrate that these antiglaucoma drugs, pilocarpine and timolol, have direct effects on HMGECs that may influence their morphology, survival, and proliferative capacity.
Zhou C, Robert M-C, Kapoulea V, Lei F, Stagner AM, Jakobiec FA, Dohlman CH, Paschalis EI. Sustained Subconjunctival Delivery of Infliximab Protects the Cornea and Retina Following Alkali Burn to the Eye. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2017;58(1):96-105.Abstract

Purpose: Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α is upregulated in eyes following corneal alkali injury and contributes to corneal and also retinal damage. Prompt TNF-α inhibition by systemic infliximab ameliorates retinal damage and improves corneal wound healing. However, systemic administration of TNF-α inhibitors carries risk of significant complications, whereas topical eye-drop delivery is hindered by poor ocular bioavailability and the need for patient adherence. This study investigates the efficacy of subconjunctival delivery of TNF-α antibodies using a polymer-based drug delivery system (DDS). Methods: The drug delivery system was prepared using porous polydimethylsiloxane/polyvinyl alcohol composite fabrication and loaded with 85 μg of infliximab. Six Dutch-belted pigmented rabbits received ocular alkali burn with NaOH. Immediately after the burn, subconjunctival implantation of anti-TNF-α DDS was performed in three rabbits while another three received sham DDS (without antibody). Rabbits were followed with photography for 3 months. Results: After 3 months, the device was found to be well tolerated by the host and the eyes exhibited less corneal damage as compared to eyes implanted with a sham DDS without drug. The low dose treatment suppressed CD45 and TNF-α expression in the burned cornea and inhibited retinal ganglion cell apoptosis and optic nerve degeneration, as compared to the sham DDS treated eyes. Immunolocalization revealed drug penetration in the conjunctiva, cornea, iris, and choroid, with residual infliximab in the DDS 3 months after implantation. Conclusions: This reduced-risk biologic DDS improves corneal wound healing and provides retinal neuroprotection, and may be applicable not only to alkali burns but also to other inflammatory surgical procedures such as penetrating keratoplasty and keratoprosthesis implantation.

Zhu H, Alt C, Webb RH, Melki S, Kochevar IE. Corneal Crosslinking With Rose Bengal and Green Light: Efficacy and Safety Evaluation. Cornea 2016;35(9):1234-41.Abstract

PURPOSE: To evaluate crosslinking of cornea in vivo using green light activation of Rose Bengal (RGX) and assess potential damaging effects of the green light on retina and iris. METHODS: Corneas of Dutch belted rabbits were de-epithelialized, then stained with Rose Bengal and exposed to green light, or not further treated. Corneal stiffness was measured by uniaxial tensiometry. Re-epithelialization was assessed by fluorescein fluorescence. Keratocytes were counted on hematoxylin and eosin (H&E)-stained sections, and iris cell damage was assessed by lactate dehydrogenase staining. Thermal effects on the blood-retinal barrier (BRB) were assessed by fluorescein angiography and those on photoreceptors, retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), and choriocapillaris by light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. RESULTS: RGX (10-min irradiation; 150 J/cm) increased corneal stiffness 1.9-fold on day 1 (1.25 ± 0.21 vs. 2.38 ± 0.59 N/mm; P = 0.036) and 2.8-fold compared with controls on day 28 (1.70 ± 0.74 vs. 4.95 ± 1.86 N/mm; P = 0.003). Keratocytes decreased only in the anterior stroma on day 1 (24.0 ± 3.0 vs. 3.67 ± 4.73, P = 0.003) and recovered by day 28 (37.7 ± 8.9 vs. 34.5 ± 2.4, P = 0.51). Iris cells were not thermally damaged. No evidence of BRB breakdown was detected on days 1 or 28. Retina from RGX-treated eyes seemed normal with RPE cells showing intact nuclei shielded apically by melanosomes, morphologically intact photoreceptor outer segments, normal outer nuclear layer thickness, and choriocapillaris containing intact erythrocytes. CONCLUSIONS: The substantial corneal stiffening produced by RGX together with the lack of significant effects on keratocytes and no evidence for retina or iris damage suggest that RGX-initiated corneal crosslinking may be a safe, rapid, and effective treatment.

Ziaei A, Schmedt T, Chen Y, Jurkunas UV. Sulforaphane decreases endothelial cell apoptosis in fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy: a novel treatment. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2013;54(10):6724-34.Abstract
PURPOSE: Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) is an oxidative stress disorder that leads to age-related and gradual loss of corneal endothelial cells resulting in corneal edema and loss of vision. To date, other than surgical intervention, there are no treatment options for patients with FECD. We have shown that in FECD, there is a deficiency in nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2)-regulated antioxidant defense due to decreased Nrf2 nuclear translocation and activation of antioxidant response element (ARE). In this study, we used sulforaphane (SFN) and D3T to investigate a strategy of targeting Nrf2-ARE in FECD. METHODS: FECD and normal ex vivo corneas and human corneal endothelial cell lines were pretreated with SFN or D3T and exposed to oxidative stress with tert-Butyl hydroperoxide (tBHP). Apoptosis was detected with TUNEL. Cellular localization of Nrf2 and p53 was assessed by immunohistochemistry. Effect of SFN was determined by using DCFDA assay, Western blot and real-time PCR. RESULTS: After pretreatment with SFN, oxidative stress was induced with tBHP. In ex vivo FECD specimens, SFN decreased CEC apoptosis by 55% in unstressed group and by 43% in tBHP-treated specimens. SFN enhanced nuclear translocation of Nrf2 in FECD specimens and decreased p53 staining under oxidative stress. Pretreatment with SFN enhanced cell viability by decreasing intracellular reactive oxygen species production. Upregulation of Nrf2 levels led to increased synthesis of DJ-1, heme oxygenase 1, and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide quinone oxidoreductase-1. SFN significantly upregulated major ARE-dependent antioxidants and ameliorated oxidative stress-induced apoptosis in FECD. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that targeting Nrf2-ARE pathway may arrest degenerative cell loss seen in FECD.
Zieske JD, Hutcheon AEK, Guo X. Extracellular Vesicles and Cell-Cell Communication in the Cornea. Anat Rec (Hoboken) 2020;303(6):1727-1734.Abstract
One question that has intrigued cell biologists for many years is, "How do cells interact to influence one another's activity?" The discovery of extracellular vesicles (EVs) and the fact that they carry cargo, which directs cells to undergo changes in morphology and gene expression, has revolutionized this field of research. Little is known regarding the role of EVs in the cornea; however, we have demonstrated that EVs isolated from corneal epithelial cells direct corneal keratocytes to initiate fibrosis. Intriguingly, our data suggest that EVs do not penetrate epithelial basement membrane (BM), perhaps providing a mechanism explaining the importance of BM in the lack of scarring in scrape wounds. Since over 100-million people worldwide suffer from visual impairment as a result of corneal scarring, the role of EVs may be vital to understanding the mechanisms of wound repair. Therefore, we investigated EVs in ex vivo and in vivo-like three-dimensional cultures of human corneal cells using transmission electron microscopy. Some of the major findings were all three major cell types (epithelial, fibroblast, and endothelial cells) appear to release EVs, EVs can be identified using TEM, and EVs appeared to be involved in cell-cell communication. Interestingly, while our previous publication suggests that EVs do not penetrate the epithelial BM, it appears that EVs penetrate the much thicker endothelial BM (Descemet's membrane). These findings indicate the huge potential of EV research in the cornea and wound healing, and suggest that during homeostasis the endothelium and stromal cells are in communication. Anat Rec, 2019. © 2019 The Authors. The Anatomical Record published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of American Association of Anatomists.
van Zyl T, Yan W, McAdams AM, Monavarfeshani A, Hageman GS, Sanes JR. Cell atlas of the human ocular anterior segment: Tissue-specific and shared cell types. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2022;119(29):e2200914119.Abstract
The anterior segment of the eye consists of the cornea, iris, ciliary body, crystalline lens, and aqueous humor outflow pathways. Together, these tissues are essential for the proper functioning of the eye. Disorders of vision have been ascribed to defects in all of them; some disorders, including glaucoma and cataract, are among the most prevalent causes of blindness in the world. To characterize the cell types that compose these tissues, we generated an anterior segment cell atlas of the human eye using high-throughput single-nucleus RNA sequencing (snRNAseq). We profiled 195,248 nuclei from nondiseased anterior segment tissues of six human donors, identifying >60 cell types. Many of these cell types were discrete, whereas others, especially in the lens and cornea, formed continua corresponding to known developmental transitions that persist in adulthood. Having profiled each tissue separately, we performed an integrated analysis of the entire anterior segment, revealing that some cell types are unique to a single structure, whereas others are shared across tissues. The integrated cell atlas was then used to investigate cell type-specific expression patterns of more than 900 human ocular disease genes identified through either Mendelian inheritance patterns or genome-wide association studies.