PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to report the use of intravitreal triamcinolone for treatment of cancer-associated retinopathy (CAR) refractory to systemic therapy. METHODS: This was a retrospective chart review study. RESULTS: A 67-year-old man presented with cancer-associated retinopathy with antibodies against a 46-kDa retinal protein, alpha enolase. There was disease progression despite therapy with mycophenolate and intravenous immunoglobulin. Serial intravitreal injections of triamcinolone resulted in restoration of photoreceptor anatomy on optical coherence tomography and visual improvement. The patient's vision was preserved at 20/40 OD and 20/32 OS until his death from lung cancer 31 months after CAR diagnosis. CONCLUSIONS: Intravitreal triamcinolone may be beneficial for maintenance of vision in patients with CAR.
-associated recessive disease in humans is historically defined by congenital night blinding retinopathy, characterized by an initial increase in short-wavelength (S)-cone sensitivity and progressive loss of rod and cone function. The retinal degeneration 7 () murine model, harboring a recessive mutation in the mouse ortholog of , has been a well-studied disease model and recently evaluated as a therapeutic model for -associated retinal degenerations. This study aims to draw parallels between human and mouse -related disease through examination of spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) imaging between different stage of human disease and its murine counterpart. We propose that SD-OCT is a useful non-invasive diagnostic tool to compare human clinical dystrophy presentation with that of the mouse and make inference that may be of therapeutically relevance. Additionally, a longitudinal assessment of disease progression, utilizing available clinical data from our patients as well as extensive retrospective analysis of visual acuity data from published cases of human -related disease, was curated to identify further valuable correlates between human and mouse disease. Results of this study validate the slow progression of -associated disease in humans and the mice and identify SD-OCT characteristics in patients at or near the vascular arcades that correlate well with the whorls and rosettes that are seen also in the mouse and point to imaging features that appear to be associated with better preserved S-cone mediated retinal function. The correlation of histological findings between mice and human imaging provides a solid foundation for diagnostic use of pathophysiological and prognostic information to further define characteristics and a relevant timeline for therapeutic intervention in the field of -associated retinopathies.
OBJECTIVE: To provide artificially-elicited vision that is temporally dynamic, retinal prosthetic devices will need to repeatedly stimulate retinal neurons. However, given the diversity of physiological types of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) as well as the heterogeneity of their responses to electric stimulation, temporal properties of RGC responses have not been adequately investigated. Here, we explored the cell type dependence of network-mediated RGC responses to repetitive electric stimulation at various stimulation rates. APPROACH: We examined responses of ON and OFF types of RGCs in the rabbit retinal explant to five consecutive stimuli with varying inter-stimulus intervals (10-1000 ms). Each stimulus was a 4 ms long monophasic sinusoidal cathodal current, which was applied epiretinally via a conical electrode. Spiking activity of targeted RGCs was recorded using a cell-attached patch electrode. MAIN RESULTS: ON and OFF cells had distinct responses to repetitive stimuli. Consistent with earlier studies, OFF cells always generated reduced responses to subsequent stimuli compared to responses to the first stimulus. In contrast, a new stimulus to ON cells suppressed all pending/ongoing responses from previous stimuli and initiated its own response that was remarkably similar to the response from a single stimulus in isolation. This previously unreported 'reset' behavior was observed exclusively and consistently in ON cells. These contrasts between ON and OFF cells created a range of stimulation rates (4-7 Hz) that maximized the ratio of the responses arising in ON versus OFF cells. SIGNIFICANCE: Previous clinical testing reported that subjects perceive bright phosphenes (ON responses) and also prefer stimulation rates of 5-7 Hz. Our results suggest that responses of ON cells are weak at high rates of stimulation (> ∼7 Hz) due to the reset while responses of OFF cells are strong at low rates (< ∼4 Hz) due to reduced desensitization, both reducing the ratio of ON to OFF responses. In combination with previous results indicating that responses in ON cells more closely match physiological patterns (Im and Fried 2015 J. Physiol. 593 3577-96), our results offer a potential reason for the user preference of intermediate rates (5-7 Hz).
The mouse is one of the most commonly used mammalian systems to study human diseases. In particular it has been an invaluable tool to model a multitude of ocular pathologies affecting the posterior pole. The aim of this study was to create a comprehensive map of the ultrastructure of the mouse posterior pole using the quick-freeze/deep-etch method (QFDE). QFDE can produce detailed three-dimensional images of tissue structure and macromolecular moieties, without many of the artifacts introduced by structure-altering post-processing methods necessary to perform conventional transmission electron microscopy (cTEM). A total of 18 eyes from aged C57BL6/J mice were enucleated and the posterior poles were processed, either intact or with the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cell layer removed, for imaging by either QFDE or cTEM. QFDE images were correlated with cTEM cross-sections and en face images through the outer retina. Nicely preserved outer retinal architecture was observed with both methods, however, QFDE provided excellent high magnification imaging, with greater detail, of the apical, central, and basal planes of the RPE. Furthermore, key landmarks within Bruch's membrane, choriocapillaris, choroid and sclera were characterized and identified. In this study we developed methods for preparing the outer retina of the mouse for evaluation with QFDE and provide a map of the ultrastructure and cellular composition of the outer posterior pole. This technique should be applicable for morphological evaluation of mouse models, in which detailed visualization of subtle ocular structural changes is needed or in cases where post-processing methods introduce unacceptable artifacts.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the mononuclear cells in the subretinal exudate in Coats' disease. DESIGN: Retrospective case series. METHODS: Five enucleated globes and one cytology sample with Coats' disease and one case of chronic retinal detachment following repair of an open globe injury were examined immunohistochemically to identify the intraretinal and subretinal exudative cells. The two biomarkers were RPE65 for retinal pigment epithelium and CD163 for histiocytes, each tagged with different chromogens, yellow for pigment epithelium and purple for CD163+ monocytes/histiocytes. Expressions were sought of both biomarkers together or singly. A color shift to red in the cells' chromogenic reaction indicated the simultaneous presence of the two biomarkers. RESULTS: The majority of the mononuclear cells in Coats' disease were CD163 (purple) positive, and a minority were RPE65 (yellow) positive. An intermediate number of cells were RPE65/CD163 positive (orange-red). The eye with a chronic retinal detachment had an equal distribution of CD163 positive and RPE65/CD163 positive cells. CONCLUSIONS: The retinal pigment epithelium has several well-delineated phenotypes and functions. In normal visual physiology, the pigment epithelium supports the photoreceptors and participates in their renewal by phagocytosis of the tips of the photoreceptors. The expression of CD163, a feature of hematopoietically derived monocytes, together with RPE65 in the retinal pigment epithelium, supports differentiation toward histiocytes. Yellow staining detached pigment epithelial cells were rare. The presence of histiocytoid pigment epithelium at the level of Bruch's membrane probably also has implications for macular degeneration.
PURPOSE: We sought to characterize the angiofibrotic and apoptotic effects of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-inhibition on fibrovascular epiretinal membranes in eyes with traction retinal detachment because of proliferative diabetic retinopathy. METHODS: Membranes were excised from 20 eyes of 19 patients (10 randomized to intravitreal bevacizumab, 10 controls) at vitrectomy. Membranes were stained with antibodies targeting connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) or VEGF and colabeled with antibodies directed against endothelial cells (CD31), myofibroblasts, or retinal pigment epithelium markers. Quantitative and colocalization analyses of antibody labeling were obtained through immunofluorescence confocal microscopy. Masson trichrome staining, cell counting of hematoxylin and eosin sections, and terminal dUTP nick-end labeling staining were performed. RESULTS: High levels of fibrosis were observed in both groups. Cell apoptosis was higher (P = 0.05) in bevacizumab-treated membranes compared with controls. The bevacizumab group had a nonsignificant reduction in colocalization in CD31-CTGF and cytokeratin-VEGF studies compared with controls. Vascular endothelial growth factor in extracted membranes was positively correlated with vitreous levels of VEGF; CTGF in extracted membranes was negatively correlated with vitreous levels of CTGF. CONCLUSION: Bevacizumab suppresses vitreous VEGF levels, but does not significantly alter VEGF or CTGF in diabetic membranes that may be explained by high baseline levels of fibrosis. Bevacizumab may cause apoptosis within fibrovascular membranes.
Despite advances in therapy for rheumatic diseases, hydroxychloroquine remains almost universally recommended for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and is often used in the management of other rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, the major dose-limiting toxicity of hydroxychloroquine is retinopathy that can lead to loss of vision. New highly sensitive screening methods can identify early stages of retinopathy, and studies that include these modalities have indicated a substantially higher prevalence of hydroxychloroquine retinopathy than was previously recognized, resulting in revisions to ophthalmology guidelines and the recommendation of a low dose of hydroxychloroquine for many patients. However, the efficacy of low-dose hydroxychloroquine for treating SLE and other rheumatic diseases is unknown. Further studies are required to establish the effectiveness and retinal safety of the latest hydroxychloroquine treatment recommendations.
BACKGROUND: Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) retinopathy may be more common than previously recognized; recent ophthalmology guidelines have revised recommendations from ideal body weight (IBW)-based dosing to actual body weight (ABW)-based dosing. However, contemporary HCQ prescribing trends in the UK remain unknown. METHODS: We examined a UK general population database to investigate HCQ dosing between 2007 and 2016. We studied trends of excess HCQ dosing per ophthalmology guidelines (defined by exceeding 6.5 mg/kg of IBW and 5.0 mg/kg of ABW) and determined their independent predictors using multivariable logistic regression analyses. RESULTS: Among 20,933 new HCQ users (78% female), the proportions of initial HCQ excess dosing declined from 40% to 36% using IBW and 38% to 30% using ABW, between 2007 and 2016. Among these, 47% of women were excess-dosed (multivariable OR 12.52; 95% CI 10.99-14.26) using IBW and 38% (multivariable OR 1.98; 95% CI,1.81-2.15) using ABW. Applying IBW, 37% of normal and 44% of obese patients were excess-dosed; however, applying ABW, 53% of normal and 10% of obese patients were excess-dosed (multivariable ORs = 1.61 and 0.1 (reference = normal); both p < 0.01). Long-term HCQ users showed similar excess dosing. CONCLUSION: A substantial proportion of HCQ users in the UK, particularly women, may have excess HCQ dosing per the previous or recent weight-based guidelines despite a modest decline in recent years. Over half of normal-BMI individuals were excess-dosed per the latest guidelines. This implies the potential need to reduce dosing for many patients but also calls for further research to establish unifying evidence-based safe and effective dosing strategies.
Tissues with high metabolic rates often use lipids, as well as glucose, for energy, conferring a survival advantage during feast and famine. Current dogma suggests that high-energy-consuming photoreceptors depend on glucose. Here we show that the retina also uses fatty acid β-oxidation for energy. Moreover, we identify a lipid sensor, free fatty acid receptor 1 (Ffar1), that curbs glucose uptake when fatty acids are available. Very-low-density lipoprotein receptor (Vldlr), which is present in photoreceptors and is expressed in other tissues with a high metabolic rate, facilitates the uptake of triglyceride-derived fatty acid. In the retinas of Vldlr(-/-) mice with low fatty acid uptake but high circulating lipid levels, we found that Ffar1 suppresses expression of the glucose transporter Glut1. Impaired glucose entry into photoreceptors results in a dual (lipid and glucose) fuel shortage and a reduction in the levels of the Krebs cycle intermediate α-ketoglutarate (α-KG). Low α-KG levels promotes stabilization of hypoxia-induced factor 1a (Hif1a) and secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor A (Vegfa) by starved Vldlr(-/-) photoreceptors, leading to neovascularization. The aberrant vessels in the Vldlr(-/-) retinas, which invade normally avascular photoreceptors, are reminiscent of the vascular defects in retinal angiomatous proliferation, a subset of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is associated with high vitreous VEGFA levels in humans. Dysregulated lipid and glucose photoreceptor energy metabolism may therefore be a driving force in macular telangiectasia, neovascular AMD and other retinal diseases.
Photoreceptor loss is a leading cause of blindness, but mechanisms underlying photoreceptor degeneration are not well understood. Treatment strategies would benefit from improved understanding of gene-expression patterns directing photoreceptor development, as many genes are implicated in both development and degeneration. Neural retina leucine zipper (NRL) is critical for rod photoreceptor genesis and degeneration, with NRL mutations known to cause enhanced S-cone syndrome and retinitis pigmentosa. While murine Nrl loss has been characterized, studies of human NRL can identify important insights for human retinal development and disease. We utilized iPSC organoid models of retinal development to molecularly define developmental alterations in a human model of NRL loss. Consistent with the function of NRL in rod fate specification, human retinal organoids lacking NRL develop S-opsin dominant photoreceptor populations. We report generation of two distinct S-opsin expressing populations in NRL null retinal organoids and identify MEF2C as a candidate regulator of cone development.
Retinal laser injuries are often associated with aberrant migration of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), which can cause expansion of the scar beyond the confines of the original laser burn. In this study, we devised a novel method of laser-induced injury to the RPE layer in mouse models and began to dissect the mechanisms associated with pathogenesis and progression of laser-induced RPE injury. We have hypothesized that the proto-oncogene receptor, c-Met, is intimately involved with migration of RPE cells, and may be an early responder to injury. Using transgenic mouse models, we show that constitutive activation of c-Met induces more robust RPE migration into the outer retina of laser-injured eyes, while abrogation of the receptor using a cre-lox method reduces these responses. We also demonstrate that retinal laser injury increases expression of both HGF and c-Met, and activation of c-Met after injury is correlated with RPE cell migration. RPE migration may be responsible for clinically significant anatomic changes observed after laser injury. Abrogation of c-Met activity may be a therapeutic target to minimize retinal damage from aberrant RPE cell migration.
We have developed a deep learning-based computer algorithm to recognize and predict retinal differentiation in stem cell-derived organoids based on bright-field imaging. The three-dimensional "organoid" approach for the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells (PSC) into retinal and other neural tissues has become a major strategy to recapitulate development. We decided to develop a universal, robust, and non-invasive method to assess retinal differentiation that would not require chemical probes or reporter gene expression. We hypothesized that basic-contrast bright-field (BF) images contain sufficient information on tissue specification, and it is possible to extract this data using convolutional neural networks (CNNs). Retina-specific Rx-green fluorescent protein mouse embryonic reporter stem cells have been used for all of the differentiation experiments in this work. The BF images of organoids have been taken on day 5 and fluorescent on day 9. To train the CNN, we utilized a transfer learning approach: ImageNet pre-trained ResNet50v2, VGG19, Xception, and DenseNet121 CNNs had been trained on labeled BF images of the organoids, divided into two categories (retina and non-retina), based on the fluorescent reporter gene expression. The best-performing classifier with ResNet50v2 architecture showed a receiver operating characteristic-area under the curve score of 0.91 on a test dataset. A comparison of the best-performing CNN with the human-based classifier showed that the CNN algorithm performs better than the expert in predicting organoid fate (84% vs. 67 ± 6% of correct predictions, respectively), confirming our original hypothesis. Overall, we have demonstrated that the computer algorithm can successfully recognize and predict retinal differentiation in organoids before the onset of reporter gene expression. This is the first demonstration of CNN's ability to classify stem cell-derived tissue .
X-linked juvenile retinoschisis (XLRS) is one of the most common genetic causes of juvenile progressive retinal-vitreal degeneration in males. To date, more than 196 different mutations of the RS1 gene have been associated with XLRS. The mutation spectrum is large and the phenotype variable. This review will focus on the clinical features of XLRS and examine the relationship between phenotype and genotype.
Proliferative retinopathic diseases often progress in 2 phases: initial regression of retinal vasculature (phase 1) followed by subsequent neovascularization (NV) (phase 2). The immune system has been shown to aid in vascular pruning in such retinopathies; however, little is known about the role of the alternative complement pathway in the initial vascular regression phase. Using a mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR), we observed that alternative complement pathway-deficient mice (Fb(-/-)) exhibited a mild decrease in vascular loss at postnatal day (P)8 compared with age- and strain-matched controls (P = 0.035). Laser capture microdissection was used to isolate the retinal blood vessels. Expression of the complement inhibitors Cd55 and Cd59 was significantly decreased in blood vessels isolated from hyperoxic retinas compared with those from normoxic control mice. Vegf expression was measured at P8 and found to be significantly lower in OIR mice than in normoxic control mice (P = 0.0048). Further examination of specific Vegf isoform expression revealed a significant decrease in Vegf120 (P = 0.00032) and Vegf188 (P = 0.0092). In conjunction with the major modulating effects of Vegf during early retinal vascular development, our data suggest a modest involvement of the alternative complement pathway in targeting vessels for regression in the initial vaso-obliteration stage of OIR.-Kim, C., Smith, K. E., Castillejos, A., Diaz-Aguilar, D., Saint-Geniez, M., Connor, K. M. The alternative complement pathway aids in vascular regression during the early stages of a murine model of proliferative retinopathy.
PURPOSE: To report a rare case of Birt-Hogg-Dubé Syndrome (BHD) with progressive chorioretinopathy. METHODS: Case report. RESULTS: A 55-year-old woman presented with longstanding nyctalopia attributed to a congenital retinal dystrophy, but no prior genetic testing. Her posterior pole examination demonstrated retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) mottling with extensive macular drusen and paracentral chorioretinal atrophy, consistent with a fleck retinopathy. Her past medical history was remarkable for nephrectomy for unilateral renal malignancy, parotid tumors and thyroid nodules. Dark adaptation time was prolonged, and electroretinography (ERG) revealed abnormal waveforms with depressed amplitudes. Genetic testing confirmed a deletion mutation in the folliculin (FLCN) gene and was negative for other relevant mutations, including EFEMP1 responsible for autosomal dominant macular and peripapillary drusen in Doyne honeycomb retinal dystrophy and TIMP3 responsible for Sorsby Fundus Dystrophy. CONCLUSION: BHD is a rare autosomal-dominant disorder with multi-systemic clinical manifestations caused by a mutation in the FLCN gene. Affected individuals are prone to renal and pulmonary cysts, renal cancer, and fibrofolliculomas. Reports on ocular manifestations of BHD include eyelid fibrofolliculomas, flecked chorioretinopathy, choroidal melanoma, choroidal melanoma with sector melanocytosis, and retinal pigment epithelial micro-detachments. In this case of BHD, we note a fleck retinopathy with bilateral chorioretinal atrophy, displaying a phenotype of extensive chorioretinopathy associated with impaired dark adaptation and ERG abnormalities. ABBREVIATIONS: BHD: Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome; FLCN: Folliculin. RPE: retinal pigment epithelium; OD: Oculus dexter (right eye); OS: Oculus sinister (left eye). OU: Oculus uterque (both eyes); ERG: electroretinogram; mfERG: multifocal electroretinography. ffERG: full-field electroretinography; FAF: fundus autofluorescence; OCT: optical coherence tomography; FA: fluorescein angiography; DA: dark-adapted; LA: light-adapted; mTOR: mammalian target of rapamycin; EFEMP1: epithelial growth factor-containing fibulin-like extracellular matrix protein 1; VPS13B: Vacuolar Protein Sorting 13 Homolog B; AGBL5: AATP/GTP-Binding Protein Like 5; ALMS1: Alstrom Syndrome 1; COL1BA1: Collagen Type I Beta, Alpha Chain 1; PDE6A: Rod Phosphodiesterase 6-alpha; USH2A: Usherin 2a; VCAN: Versican; RP: Retinitis pigmentosa; AR: Autosomal recessive.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the macular microvasculature in patients with familial exudative vitreoretinopathy (FEVR) using OCT angiography (OCTA) and to assess for peripheral vascular changes using widefield fluorescein angiography (WFA). DESIGN: Multicenter, retrospective, comparative, observational case series. PARTICIPANTS: We identified 411 patients with FEVR, examined between September 2014 and June 2018. Fifty-seven patients with FEVR and 60 healthy controls had OCTA images of sufficient quality for analysis. METHODS: Custom software was used to assess for layer-specific, quantitative changes in vascular density and morphologic features on OCTA by way of vessel density (VD), skeletal density (SD), fractal dimension (FD), vessel diameter index (VDI), and foveal avascular zone (FAZ). Widefield fluorescein angiography images were reviewed for peripheral vascular changes including capillary dropout, late-phase angiographic posterior and peripheral vascular leakage (LAPPEL), vascular dragging, venous-venous shunts, and arteriovenous shunts. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Macular microvascular parameters on OCTA and peripheral angiographic findings on WFA. RESULTS: OCT angiography analysis of 117 patients (187 eyes; 92 FEVR patients and 95 control participants) demonstrated significantly reduced VD, SD, and FD and greater VDI in patients with FEVR compared with controls in the nonsegmented retina, superficial retinal layer (SRL), and deep retinal layer (DRL). The FAZ was larger compared with that in control eyes in the DRL (P < 0.0001), but not the SRL (P = 0.52). Subanalysis by FEVR stage showed the same microvascular changes compared with controls for all parameters. Widefield fluorescein angiography analysis of 95 eyes (53 patients) with FEVR demonstrated capillary nonperfusion in all eyes: 47 eyes (49.5%) showed LAPPEL, 32 eyes (33.7%) showed vascular dragging, 30 eyes (31.6%) had venous-venous shunts, and 33 eyes (34.7%) had arteriovenous shunts. Decreasing macular VD on OCTA correlated with increasing peripheral capillary nonperfusion on WFA. Decreasing fractal dimension on OCTA correlated with increasing LAPPEL severity on WFA. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with FEVR demonstrated abnormalities in the macular microvasculature and capillary network, in addition to the peripheral retina. The macular microvascular parameters on OCTA may serve as biomarkers of changes in the retinal periphery on WFA.