PURPOSE: To investigate the effect of VEGF-C and VEGF-D blockade via soluble VEGFR-3 (sVEGFR-3) on T cell allosensitization, corneal neovascularization, and transplant survival. METHODS: Corneal intrastromal suture placement and allogeneic transplantation were performed on BALB/c mice to evaluate the effect of sVEGFR-3 on corneal neovascularization. Soluble VEGFR-3 trap was injected intraperitoneally to block VEGF-C/D (every other day starting the day of surgery). Immunohistochemical staining of corneal whole mounts was performed using anti-CD31 (PECAM-1) and anti-LYVE-1 antibodies to quantify the levels of hem- and lymphangiogenesis, respectively. Mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) was performed to assess indirect and direct host T cell allosensitization and the frequencies of IFN-γ-producing T cells in the draining lymph nodes were assessed using flow cytometry. Graft opacity and survival was evaluated by slit-lamp biomicroscopy. RESULTS: Treatment with sVEGFR-3 resulted in a significant blockade of lymphangiogenesis 2 weeks post-transplantation and significantly prolonged corneal allograft survival compared to the control group at 8 weeks post-transplantation (87.5 % vs. 50 %), and this was associated with significant reduction in the frequencies of allosensitized T cells and decreased frequencies of IFN-γ-producing CD4 T cells. CONCLUSIONS: Soluble VEGFR-3 suppresses corneal lymphangiogenesis and allograft rejection and may offer a viable therapeutic modality for corneal neovascularization and corneal transplantation.
Specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPM), e.g. Resolvin D1, Protectin D1, Lipoxin A₄, and Resolvin E1 have each shown to be active in ocular models reducing inflammation. In general, SPMs have specific agonist functions that stimulate resolution of infection and inflammation in animal disease models. The presence and quantity of SPM in human emotional tears is of interest. Here, utilizing a targeted LC-MS-MS metabololipidomics based approach we document the identification of pro-inflammatory (Prostaglandins and Leukotriene B₄) and pro-resolving lipid mediators (D-series Resolvins, Protectin D1, and Lipoxin A₄) in human emotional tears from 12 healthy individuals. SPMs from the Maresin family (Maresin 1 and Maresin 2) were not present in these samples. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) revealed gender differences in the production of specific mediators within these tear samples as the SPMs were essentially absent in these female donors. These results indicate that specific SPM signatures are present in human emotional tears at concentrations known to be bioactive. Moreover, they will help to further appreciate the mechanisms of production and action of SPMs in the eye, as well as their physiologic roles in human ocular disease resolution.
Erickson S, Sullivan AG, Barabino S, Begovic E, Benitez-Del-Castillo JM, Bonini S, Borges JS, Brzheskiy V, Bulat N, Cerim A, Craig P, Cușnir V, Cușnir V, Cușnir V, Doan S, Dülger E, Farrant S, Geerling G, Goldblum D, Golubev S, Gomes JAP, González-Méijome JM, Grupcheva CN, Gündüz UÖmür, Horwath-Winter J, Källmark F, Karanadze N, Karcic HH, Karcic S, Kontadakis G, Messmer EM, Mrugacz M, Murphy C, O'Leary OE, Procopciuc V, Pult H, Raus P, Şahin A, Setälä N, Stanila A, Stanila DM, Utheim TP, Vehof J, Versura P, Villani E, Willcox MDP, Wolffsohn JS, Zagórski Z, Zoega GMár, Sullivan DA, Sullivan DA, Gomes JAP, Versura P, Willcox MDP. TFOS European ambassador meeting: Unmet needs and future scientific and clinical solutions for ocular surface diseases. Ocul Surf 2020;Abstract
The mission of the Tear Film & Ocular Surface Society (TFOS) is to advance the research, literacy, and educational aspects of the scientific field of the tear film and ocular surface. Fundamental to fulfilling this mission is the TFOS Global Ambassador program. TFOS Ambassadors are dynamic and proactive experts, who help promote TFOS initiatives, such as presenting the conclusions and recommendations of the recent TFOS DEWS II™, throughout the world. They also identify unmet needs, and propose future clinical and scientific solutions, for management of ocular surface diseases in their countries. This meeting report addresses such needs and solutions for 25 European countries, as detailed in the TFOS European Ambassador meeting in Rome, Italy, in September 2019.
Macrophages are crucial drivers of inflammatory corneal neovascularization and thus are potential targets for immunomodulatory therapies. We hypothesized that therapeutic use of cornea-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (cMSCs) may alter the function of macrophages. We found that cMSCs can modulate the phenotype and angiogenic function of macrophages. In vitro, cMSCs induce apoptosis of macrophages while preferentially promoting a distinct CD14 CD16 CD163 CD206 immunophenotype that has significantly reduced angiogenic effects based on in vitro angiogenesis assays. In vivo, application of cMSCs to murine corneas after injury leads to reduced macrophage infiltration and higher expression of CD206 in macrophages. Macrophages cocultured ("educated") by cMSCs express significantly higher levels of anti-angiogenic and anti-inflammatory factors compared with control macrophages. In vivo, injured corneas treated with cMSC-educated macrophages demonstrate significantly less neovascularization compared with corneas treated with control macrophages. Knocking down the expression of pigment epithelial derived factor (PEDF) in cMSCs significantly abrogates its modulating effects on macrophages, as shown by the reduced rate of apoptosis, decreased expression of sFLT-1/PEDF, and increased expression of vascular endothelial growth factor-A in the cocultured macrophages. Similarly, cMSCs isolated from PEDF knockout mice are less effective compared with wild-type cMSCs at inhibiting macrophage infiltration when applied to wild-type corneas after injury. Overall, these results demonstrate that cMSCs therapeutically suppress the angiogenic capacity of macrophages and highlight the role of cMSC secreted PEDF in the modulation of macrophage phenotype and function. Stem Cells 2018;36:775-784.
As many patients with severe corneal disease are not even considered as candidates for a human graft due to their high risk of rejection, it is essential to find ways to reduce the chance of rejection. One of the options is proper matching of the cornea donor and recipient for the Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA), a subject of much debate. Currently, patients receiving their first corneal allograft are hardly ever matched for HLA and even patients undergoing a regraft usually do not receive an HLA-matched graft. While anterior and posterior lamellar grafts are not immune to rejection, they are usually performed in low risk, non-vascularized cases. These are the cases in which the immune privilege due to the avascular status and active immune inhibition is still intact. Once broken due to infection, sensitization or trauma, rejection will occur. There is enough data to show that when proper DNA-based typing techniques are being used, even low risk perforating corneal transplantations benefit from matching for HLA Class I, and high risk cases from HLA Class I and probably Class II matching. Combining HLA class I and class II matching, or using the HLAMatchmaker could further improve the effect of HLA matching. However, new techniques could be applied to reduce the chance of rejection. Options are the local or systemic use of biologics, or gene therapy, aiming at preventing or suppressing immune responses. The goal of all these approaches should be to prevent a first rejection, as secondary grafts are usually at higher risk of complications including rejections than first grafts.
Corneal cross-linking was approved by United States Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of progressive keratoconus in April 2016. As this approach becomes more widely used for the treatment of keratoconus and post-laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) ectasia, the medical community is becoming more familiar with potential complications associated with this procedure. This article aims to review the reported complications of collagen cross-linking for the treatment of keratoconus and post-LASIK ectasia.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the resistance to degradation by collagenase A of corneas that have been crosslinked with Rose Bengal and green light (RGX). Methods: The ex vivo crosslinking procedure was performed on enucleated rabbit corneas. Corneas were deepithelialized after applying 30% alcohol. Corneas were stained with Rose Bengal (RB, 0.1%) for 2 minutes and then exposed to green light (532 nm) at 0.25 W/cm2 for times to deliver doses of 50, 100, 150, or 200 J/cm2 (n = 5 per group). Five corneas were pretreated with riboflavin solution (0.1% riboflavin) for 15 minutes and irradiated with ultraviolet A (UVA) light (370 nm, 3 mW/cm2) for 30 minutes. Five corneas underwent only de-epithelialization and were otherwise untreated. Five corneas were stained with RB without light exposure. The central corneas of each group was removed with a 8.5-mm trephine and incubated at 37°C in 0.3% collagenase A solution. Time to dissolution of each cornea was compared across treatments. Results: Corneas treated with RGX were treated with light fluences of 50, 100, 150, and 200 J/cm2; these corneas dissolved completely at 8.3 ± 1.2, 11.1 ± 1.4, 12.4 ± 1.7, and 15.7 ± 1.8 hours, respectively. Corneas treated by riboflavin and UVA light dissolved at 15.7 ± 1.7 hours, and nontreated corneas dissolved at 6.1 ± 1.3 hours. Corneas treated with only RB (no green light) dissolved at 9.3 ± 1.7 hours. Compared with the untreated corneas, all of the RB groups and the riboflavin-UVA-treated group of corneas degraded statistically significantly slower than untreated corneas (P < 0.05). Conclusions: Crosslinking with RGX increased corneal resistance to digestion by collagenase comparable to that produced by riboflavin and UVA treatment.
Purpose: To identify genetic risk factors contributing to central corneal thickness (CCT) in individuals from South India, a population with a high prevalence of ocular disorders. Methods: One hundred ninety-five individuals from 15 large South Indian pedigrees were genotyped using the Omni2.5 bead array. Family-based association for CCT was conducted using the score test in MERLIN. Results: Genome-wide association study (GWAS) identified strongest association for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the first intron of WNT7B and CCT (top SNP rs9330813; β = -0.57, 95% confidence interval [CI]: -0.78 to -0.36; P = 1.7 × 10-7). We further investigated rs9330813 in a Latino cohort and four independent European cohorts. A meta-analysis of these data sets demonstrated statistically significant association between rs9330813 and CCT (β = -3.94, 95% CI: -5.23 to -2.66; P = 1.7 × 10-9). WNT7B SNPs located in the same genomic region that includes rs9330813 have previously been associated with CCT in Latinos but with other ocular quantitative traits related to myopia (corneal curvature and axial length) in a Japanese population (rs10453441 and rs200329677). To evaluate the specificity of the observed WNT7B association with CCT in the South Indian families, we completed an ocular phenome-wide association study (PheWAS) for the top WNT7B SNPs using 45 ocular traits measured in these same families including corneal curvature and axial length. The ocular PheWAS results indicate that in the South Indian families WNT7B SNPs are primarily associated with CCT. Conclusions: The results indicate robust evidence for association between WNT7B SNPs and CCT in South Indian pedigrees, and suggest that WNT7B SNPs can have population-specific effects on ocular quantitative traits.
Th17 cells have been implicated in the pathogenesis of numerous inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. At the ocular surface, Th17 cells have been identified as key effector cells in chronic ocular surface disease. Evidence from murine studies indicates that following differentiation and expansion, Th17 cells migrate from the lymphoid tissues to the eye, where they release inflammatory cytokines including, but not limited to, their hallmark cytokine IL-17A. As the acute phase subsides, a population of long-lived memory Th17 cells persist, which predispose hosts both to chronic inflammation and severe exacerbations of disease; of great interest is the small subset of Th17/1 cells that secrete both IL-17A and IFN-γ in acute-on-chronic disease exacerbation. Over the past decade, substantial progress has been made in deciphering how Th17 cells interact with the immune and neuroimmune pathways that mediate chronic ocular surface disease. Here, we review (i) the evidence for Th17 immunity in chronic ocular surface disease, (ii) regulatory mechanisms that constrain the Th17 immune response, and (iii) novel therapeutic strategies targeting Th17 cells.
PURPOSE: To provide current estimates of the prevalence of diagnosed dry eye disease (DED) and associated demographics among US adults aged ≥18 years. DESIGN: Cross-sectional, population-based survey. METHODS: Data were analyzed from 75,000 participants in the 2013 National Health and Wellness Survey to estimate prevalence/risk of diagnosed DED overall, and by age, sex, insurance, and other demographic factors. We weighted the observed DED prevalence to project estimates to the US adult population and examined associations between demographic factors and DED using multivariable logistic regression. RESULTS: Based on weighted estimates, 6.8% of the US adult population was projected to have diagnosed DED (∼16.4 million people). Prevalence increased with age (18-34 years: 2.7%; ≥75 years: 18.6%) and was higher among women (8.8%; ∼11.1 million) than men (4.5%; ∼5.3 million). After adjustment, there were no substantial differences in prevalence/risk of diagnosed DED by race, education, or US census region. However, there was higher risk of diagnosed DED among those aged 45-54 years (odds ratio [OR]: 1.95; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.74-2.20) and ≥75 years (OR: 4.95; 95% CI: 4.26-5.74), vs those aged 18-34 years. Risk was also higher among women vs men (OR: 2.00; 95% CI: 1.88-2.13) and insured vs uninsured participants (OR: 2.12; 95% CI: 1.85-2.43 for those on government and private insurance vs none). CONCLUSIONS: We estimate that >16 million US adults have diagnosed DED. Prevalence is higher among women than men, increases with age, and is notable among those aged 18-34 years.
Measuring intraocular pressure (IOP) is the cornerstone of a comprehensive glaucoma exam. In babies or small children, however, IOP measurements are problematic, cannot often be done at the slit lamp, and are sometimes require general anesthesia. Therefore, it is essential for an ophthalmologist who examines a pediatric patient to be aware of the different tonometers used in children, as well as the effects of central corneal thickness (CCT) and anesthesia on IOP measurements. Goldmann applanation tonometry is the gold standard for IOP assessment. Most alternative tonometers tend to give higher IOP readings compared to the Goldmann applanation tonometer, and readings between different tonometers are often not interchangeable. Like Goldmann tonometry, many of these alternative tonometers are affected by CCT, with thicker corneas having artifactually high IOP readings and thinner corneas having artifactually lower IOP readings. Although various machines can be used to compensate for corneal factors (e.g. the dynamic contour tonometer and ocular response analyzer), it is important to be aware that certain ocular diseases can be associated with abnormal CCT values and that their IOP readings need to be interpreted accordingly. Because induction and anesthetics can affect IOP, office IOPs taken in awake patients are always the most accurate.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the regulatory cross-talk of the vascular and neural networks in the cornea. METHODS: b-FGF micropellets (80 ng) were implanted in the temporal side of the cornea of healthy C57Bl/6 mice. On day 7, blood vessels (hemangiogenesis) and nerves were observed by immunofluorescence staining of corneal flat mounts. The next group of mice underwent either trigeminal stereotactic electrolysis (TSE), or sham operation, to ablate the ophthalmic branch of the trigeminal nerve. Blood vessel growth was detected by immunohistochemistry for PECAM-1 (CD31) following surgery. In another set of mice following TSE or sham operation, corneas were harvested for ELISA (VEGFR3 and pigment epithelium-derived factor [PEDF]) and for quantitative RT-PCR (VEGFR3, PEDF, and CD45). PEDF, VEGFR3, beta-3 tubulin, CD45, CD11b, and F4/80 expression in the cornea were evaluated using immunostaining. RESULTS: No nerves were detected in the areas subject to corneal neovascularization, whereas they persisted in the areas that were neovessel-free. Conversely, 7 days after denervation, significant angiogenesis was detected in the cornea, and this was associated with a significant decrease in VEGFR3 (57.5% reduction, P = 0.001) and PEDF protein expression (64% reduction, P < 0.001). Immunostaining also showed reduced expression of VEGFR3 in the corneal epithelial layer. Finally, an inflammatory cell infiltrate, including macrophages, was observed. CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that sensory nerves and neovessels inhibit each other in the cornea. When vessel growth is stimulated, nerves disappear and, conversely, denervation induces angiogenesis. This phenomenon, here described in the eye, may have far-reaching implications in understanding angiogenesis.
The mucosal glycocalyx of the ocular surface constitutes the point of interaction between the tear film and the apical epithelial cells. Membrane-associated mucins (MAMs) are the defining molecules of the glycocalyx in all mucosal epithelia. Long recognized for their biophysical properties of hydration, lubrication, anti-adhesion and repulsion, MAMs maintain the wet ocular surface, lubricate the blink, stabilize the tear film and create a physical barrier to the outside world. However, it is increasingly appreciated that MAMs also function as cell surface receptors that transduce information from the outside to the inside of the cell. A number of excellent review articles have provided perspective on the field as it has progressed since 1987, when molecular cloning of the first MAM was reported. The current article provides an update for the ocular surface, placing it into the broad context of findings made in other organ systems, and including new genes, new protein functions and new biological roles. We discuss the epithelial tissue-equivalent with mucosal differentiation, the key model system making these advances possible. In addition, we make the first systematic comparison of MAMs in human and mouse, establishing the basis for using knockout mice for investigations with the complexity of an in vivo system. Lastly, we discuss findings from human genetics/genomics, which are providing clues to new MAM roles previously unimagined. Taken together, this information allows us to generate hypotheses for the next stage of investigation to expand our knowledge of MAM function in intracellular signaling and roles unique to the ocular surface.
The purpose of the study was to investigate if xerostomia (dry mouth) is associated with symptoms and signs of dry eye disease (DED). At the Norwegian Dry Eye Clinic, patients with symptomatic DED with different etiologies were consecutively included in the study. The patients underwent a comprehensive ophthalmological work-up and completed self-questionnaires on symptoms of ocular dryness (Ocular Surface Disease Index [OSDI] and McMonnies Dry Eye Questionnaire) and the Sjögren's syndrome (SS) questionnaire (SSQ). Three hundred and eighteen patients (52% women and 48% men) with DED were included. Patient demographics were: 0 to 19 years (1%), 20 to 39 (25%), 40 to 59 (34%), 60 to 79 (35%) and 80 to 99 (5%). Xerostomia, defined as "daily symptoms of dry mouth the last three months" (as presented in SSQ) was reported by 23% of the patients. Female sex was more common among patients with xerostomia (81%) than among non-xerostomia patients (44%; P<0.001). Patients with xerostomia (60 ± 15 years) were older than those without xerostomia (51 ± 17; P<0.001). The use of prescription drugs was more prevalent among xerostomia patients (65%) than among non-xerostomia patients (35%; P<0.021; adjusted for age and sex). Patients with xerostomia had a higher OSDI score (19.0 ± 10.0) than those without xerostomia (12.9 ± 8.0; P<0.001). Moreover, xerostomia patients had more pathological meibum expressibility (0.9 ± 0.7) than those without xerostomia (0.7 ± 0.8; P = 0.046). Comparisons of OSDI and ocular signs were performed after controlling for the effects of sex, age and the number of systemic prescription drugs used. In conclusion, xerostomia patients demonstrated a higher DED symptom load and had poorer meibum expressibility than non-xerostomia patients.
The purpose of the study was to investigate if the number of goblet cells expanded ex vivo from a conjunctival explant is affected by the biopsy harvesting site on the conjunctiva and the distance from the explant. Conjunctival explants from six regions: superior and inferior bulbus, fornix, and tarsus of male Sprague-Dawley rats were grown in RPMI 1640 with 10% fetal bovine serum on coverslips for eight days. Histochemical and immunofluorescent staining of goblet (CK-7/UEA-1/MUC5AC), stratified squamous, non-goblet (CK-4), proliferating (PCNA) and progenitor (ABCG2) cells were analyzed by epifluorescence and laser confocal microscopy. Outgrowth was measured with NIH ImageJ. For statistical analysis the Mann-Whitney test and Spearman's rank-order correlation test were used. Cultures from superior and inferior fornix contained the most goblet cells as indicated by the presence of CK-7+, UEA-1+ and MUC5AC+ cells. Superior and inferior forniceal cultures displayed 60.8% ± 9.2% and 64.7% ± 6.7% CK-7+ cells, respectively, compared to the superior tarsal (26.6% ± 8.4%; P < 0.05), superior bulbar (31.0% ± 4.0%; P < 0.05), inferior bulbar (38.5% ± 9.3%; P < 0.05) and inferior tarsal cultures (27.7% ± 8.3%; P < 0.05). While 28.4% ± 6.3% of CK-7+ goblet cells co-labeled with PCNA, only 7.4% ± 1.6% of UEA-1+ goblet cells did (P < 0.01). CK-7+ goblet cells were located at a lower concentration close to the explant (39.8% ± 3.1%) compared to near the leading edge (58.2% ± 4.5%; P < 0.05). Both markers for goblet cell secretory product (UEA-1 and MUC5AC), however, displayed the opposite pattern with a higher percentage of positive cells close to the explant than near the leading edge (P < 0.05). The percentage of CK-4+ cells was higher near the explant compared to near the leading edge (P < 0.01). The percentage of CK-7+ goblet cells in the cultures did not correlate with the outgrowth size (r(s) = -0.086; P = 0.435). The percentage of UEA-1+ goblet cells correlated negatively with outgrowth size (r(s) = -0.347; P < 0.01), whereas the percentage of CK-4+ cells correlated positively with the outgrowth size (r(s) = 0.473; P < 0.05). We conclude that forniceal explants yield the highest number of goblet cells ex vivo and thereby seem to be optimal for goblet cell transplantation. We also suggest that CK-7+/UEA-1- cells represent highly proliferative immature goblet cells. These cells could be important during conjunctival migration as they are mostly located close to the leading edge and their density does not decrease with increasing outgrowth size.
The prevalence as well as the severity of dry eye disease increase with age. Memory T helper 17 (Th17) cells (CD4IL-17ACD44) drive the chronic and relapsing course of dry eye disease. Here, we investigated the contribution of memory Th17 cells to age-related dry eye disease, and evaluated memory Th17 cell depletion with anti-IL-15 antibody as a strategy to abrogate the severe exacerbations of dry eye disease observed in aged mice. After initial exposure to desiccating stress, aged mice maintained higher frequencies of memory Th17 cells in the draining lymph nodes relative to young mice. Upon secondary exposure to desiccating stress, aged mice developed more severe corneal epitheliopathy than young mice, which is associated with increased local frequencies of Th17 cells (CD4IL-17A). Treatment with anti-IL-15 antibody decreased the enlarged memory Th17 pool in aged mice to frequencies comparable with young mice. Furthermore, anti-IL-15-treated mice showed significantly reduced conjunctival infiltration of Th17 cells and lower corneal fluorescein staining scores compared with saline-treated control mice. Our data suggest that age-related increases in the memory Th17 compartment predispose aged mice toward the development of severe corneal epithelial disease after exposure to a dry environment. Selectively targeting memory Th17 cells may be a viable therapeutic approach in the treatment of age-related dry eye disease.
The ocular surface is a unique mucosal immune compartment in which anatomical, physiological, and immunological features act in concert to foster a particularly tolerant microenvironment. These mechanisms are vital to the functional competence of the eye, a fact underscored by the devastating toll of excessive inflammation at the cornea - blindness. Recent data have elucidated the contributions of specific anatomical components, immune cells, and soluble immunoregulatory factors in promoting homeostasis at the ocular surface. We highlight research trends at this distinctive mucosal barrier and identify crucial gaps in our current knowledge.
Thrombospondin 1 (TSP-1) is an extracellular matrix protein that interacts with a wide array of ligands including cell receptors, growth factors, cytokines and proteases to regulate various physiological and pathological processes. Constitutively expressed by certain ocular surface tissues (e.g. corneal and conjunctival epithelium), TSP-1 expression is modulated during ocular surface inflammation. TSP-1 is an important activator of latent TGF-β, serving to promote the immunomodulatory and wound healing functions of TGF-β. Mounting research has deepened our understanding of how TSP-1 expression (and lack thereof) contributes to ocular surface homeostasis and disease. Here, we review current knowledge of the function of TSP-1 in dry eye disease, ocular allergy, angiogenesis/lymphangiogenesis, corneal transplantation, corneal wound healing and infectious keratitis.
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are critical modulators of immune homeostasis. Tregs maintain peripheral tolerance to self-antigens, thereby preventing autoimmune disease. Furthermore, Tregs suppress excessive immune responses deleterious to the host. Recent research has deepened our understanding of how Tregs function at the ocular surface. This manuscript describes the classification, the immunosuppressive mechanisms, and the phenotypic plasticity of Tregs. We review the contribution of Tregs to ocular surface autoimmune disease, as well as the function of Tregs in allergy and infection at the ocular surface. Finally, we review the role of Tregs in promoting allotolerance in corneal transplantation.