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Fiore E, Van Tyne D, Gilmore MS. Pathogenicity of Enterococci. Microbiol Spectr 2019;7(4)Abstract
Enterococci are unusually well adapted for survival and persistence in a variety of adverse environments, including on inanimate surfaces in the hospital environment and at sites of infection. This intrinsic ruggedness undoubtedly played a role in providing opportunities for enterococci to interact with other overtly drug-resistant microbes and acquire additional resistances on mobile elements. The rapid rise of antimicrobial resistance among hospital-adapted enterococci has rendered hospital-acquired infections a leading therapeutic challenge. With about a quarter of a genome of additional DNA conveyed by mobile elements, there are undoubtedly many more properties that have been acquired that help enterococci persist and spread in the hospital setting and cause diseases that have yet to be defined. Much remains to be learned about these ancient and rugged microbes, particularly in the area of pathogenic mechanisms involved with human diseases.
Fine RL, Manfredo Vieira S, Gilmore MS, Kriegel MA. Mechanisms and consequences of gut commensal translocation in chronic diseases. Gut Microbes 2019;:1-14.Abstract
Humans and other mammalian hosts have evolved mechanisms to control the bacteria colonizing their mucosal barriers to prevent invasion. While the breach of barriers by bacteria typically leads to overt infection, increasing evidence supports a role for translocation of commensal bacteria across an impaired gut barrier to extraintestinal sites in the pathogenesis of autoimmune and other chronic, non-infectious diseases. Whether gut commensal translocation is a cause or consequence of the disease is incompletely defined. Here we discuss factors that lead to translocation of live bacteria across the gut barrier. We expand upon our recently published demonstration that translocation of the gut pathobiont can induce autoimmunity in susceptible hosts and postulate on the role of species as instigators of chronic, non-infectious diseases.
Uchi S-H, Yanai R, Kobayashi M, Hatano M, Kobayashi Y, Yamashiro C, Nagai T, Tokuda K, Connor KM, Sonoda K-H, Kimura K. Dendritic cells mediate the anti-inflammatory action of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in experimental autoimmune uveitis. PLoS One 2019;14(7):e0219405.Abstract
We previously showed that dietary omega (ω)-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) suppress inflammation in mice with experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU). We have now investigated the role of antigen presenting cells (APCs) in this action of ω-3 LCPUFAs. C57BL/6 mice were fed a diet supplemented with ω-3 or ω-6 LCPUFAs for 2 weeks, after which splenocytes were isolated from the mice and cocultured with CD4+ T cells isolated from mice with EAU induced by injection of a human interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein peptide together with complete Freund's adjuvant. The proliferation of and production of interferon-γ and interleukin-17 by T cells from EAU mice in vitro were attenuated in the presence of splenocytes from ω-3 LCPUFA-fed mice as compared with those from mice fed ω-6 LCPUFAs. Splenocyte fractionation by magnetic-activated cell sorting revealed that, among APCs, dendritic cells (DCs) were the target of ω-3 LCPUFAs. Adoptive transfer of DCs from mice fed ω-3 LCPUFAs attenuated disease progression in EAU mice as well as the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by T cells isolated from these latter animals. The proliferation of T cells from control Balb/c mice was also attenuated in the presence of DCs from ω-3 LCPUFA-fed mice as compared with those from ω-6 LCPUFA-fed mice. Furthermore, T cell proliferation in such a mixed lymphocyte reaction was inhibited by prior exposure of DCs from mice fed an ω-6 LCPUFA diet to ω-3 LCPUFAs in vitro. Our results thus suggest that DCs mediate the anti-inflammatory action of dietary ω-3 LCPUFAs in EAU.
Papadopoulos Z. Aflibercept: A review of its effect on the treatment of exudative age-related macular degeneration. Eur J Ophthalmol 2019;29(4):368-378.Abstract
Considerable improvement has been achieved in the way in which exudative age-related macular degeneration is conventionally treated and in the associated visual outcomes and prognosis, thanks to the agents with effects against vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF). By comparison to earlier treatment approaches that involved the use of lasers, the anti-VEGF agents have made it possible to accomplish more positive visual and anatomical outcomes in cases of exudative age-related macular degeneration. Indeed, owing to their positive effects, anti-VEGF agents have quickly come to be considered the gold standard for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration. Aflibercept, the most recently approved intravitreally administered anti-VEGF, seems to mark another milestone in the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration. This anti-VEGF agent presents a series of singular pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic attributes that provide it a number of biological benefits in relation to the treatment of choroidal neovascularization compared to other agents. These attributes include high level of affinity for the VEGF-A factor, an intravitreal half-life of great length, as well as the ability to serve as an antagonist for other growth factors besides VEGF. The impact of Aflibercept on the manner in which exudative age-related macular degeneration is managed was demonstrated by thoroughly reviewing the related literature. The present review article highlights the pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, safety and effectiveness of this anti-VEGF agent as well as the landmark clinical studies that have been carried out to establish this drug as a gold standard in the therapy of neovascular age-related macular degeneration. In addition, studies regarding the outcomes and effectiveness of the various dosage regimens, either as monotherapy or in combination with other agents, are also reviewed.
Peter VG, Quinodoz M, Pinto-Basto J, Sousa SB, Di Gioia SA, Soares G, Ferraz Leal G, Silva ED, Pescini Gobert R, Miyake N, Matsumoto N, Engle EC, Unger S, Shapiro F, Superti-Furga A, Rivolta C, Campos-Xavier B. The Liberfarb syndrome, a multisystem disorder affecting eye, ear, bone, and brain development, is caused by a founder pathogenic variant in thePISD gene. Genet Med 2019;21(12):2734-2743.Abstract
PURPOSE: We observed four individuals in two unrelated but consanguineous families from Portugal and Brazil affected by early-onset retinal degeneration, sensorineural hearing loss, microcephaly, intellectual disability, and skeletal dysplasia with scoliosis and short stature. The phenotype precisely matched that of an individual of Azorean descent published in 1986 by Liberfarb and coworkers. METHODS: Patients underwent specialized clinical examinations (including ophthalmological, audiological, orthopedic, radiological, and developmental assessment). Exome and targeted sequencing was performed on selected individuals. Minigene constructs were assessed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and Sanger sequencing. RESULTS: Affected individuals shared a 3.36-Mb region of autozygosity on chromosome 22q12.2, including a 10-bp deletion (NM_014338.3:c.904-12_904-3delCTATCACCAC), immediately upstream of the last exon of the PISD (phosphatidylserine decarboxylase) gene. Sequencing of PISD from paraffin-embedded tissue from the 1986 case revealed the identical homozygous variant. In HEK293T cells, this variant led to aberrant splicing of PISD transcripts. CONCLUSION: We have identified the genetic etiology of the Liberfarb syndrome, affecting brain, eye, ear, bone, and connective tissue. Our work documents the migration of a rare Portuguese founder variant to two continents and highlights the link between phospholipid metabolism and bone formation, sensory defects, and cerebral development, while raising the possibility of therapeutic phospholipid replacement.
Islam MM, Sharifi R, Mamodaly S, Islam R, Nahra D, AbuSamra DB, Hui PC, Adibnia Y, Goulamaly M, Paschalis EI, Cruzat A, Kong J, Nilsson PH, Argüeso P, Mollnes TE, Chodosh J, Dohlman CH, Gonzalez-Andrades M. Effects of gamma radiation sterilization on the structural and biological properties of decellularized corneal xenografts. Acta Biomater 2019;96:330-344.Abstract
To address the shortcomings associated with corneal transplants, substantial efforts have been focused on developing new modalities such as xenotransplantion. Xenogeneic corneas are anatomically and biomechanically similar to the human cornea, yet their applications require prior decellularization to remove the antigenic components to avoid rejection. In the context of bringing decellularized corneas into clinical use, sterilization is a crucial step that determines the success of the transplantation. Well-standardized sterilization methods, such as gamma irradiation (GI), have been applied to decellularized porcine corneas (DPC) to avoid graft-associated infections in human recipients. However, little is known about the effect of GI on decellularized corneal xenografts. Here, we evaluated the radiation effect on the ultrastructure, optical, mechanical and biological properties of DPC. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that gamma irradiated decellularized porcine cornea (G-DPC) preserved its structural integrity. Moreover, the radiation did not reduce the optical properties of the tissue. Neither DPC nor G-DPC led to further activation of complement system compared to native porcine cornea when exposed to plasma. Although, DPC were mechanically comparable to the native tissue, GI increased the mechanical strength, tissue hydrophobicity and resistance to enzymatic degradation. Despite these changes, human corneal epithelial, stromal, endothelial and hybrid neuroblastoma cells grew and differentiated on DPC and G-DPC. Thus, GI may achieve effective tissue sterilization without affecting critical properties that are essential for corneal transplant survival.
Sangaré LO, Yang N, Konstantinou EK, Lu D, Mukhopadhyay D, Young LH, Saeij JPJ. GRA15 Activates the NF-κB Pathway through Interactions with TNF Receptor-Associated Factors. MBio 2019;10(4)Abstract
The protozoan parasite secretes proteins from specialized organelles, the rhoptries, and dense granules, which are involved in the modulation of host cell processes. Dense granule protein GRA15 activates the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) pathway, which plays an important role in cell death, innate immunity, and inflammation. Exactly how GRA15 activates the NF-κB pathway is unknown. Here we show that GRA15 interacts with tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factors (TRAFs), which are adaptor proteins functioning upstream of the NF-κB transcription factor. We identified several TRAF binding sites in the GRA15 amino acid sequence and showed that these are involved in NF-κB activation. Furthermore, a TRAF2 knockout cell line has impaired GRA15-mediated NF-κB activation. Thus, we determined the mechanism for GRA15-dependent NF-κB activation. The parasite can cause birth defects and severe disease in immunosuppressed patients. Strain differences in pathogenicity exist, and these differences are due to polymorphic effector proteins that secretes into the host cell to coopt host cell functions. The effector protein GRA15 of some strains activates the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) pathway, which plays an important role in cell death, innate immunity, and inflammation. We show that GRA15 interacts with TNF receptor-associated factors (TRAFs), which are adaptor proteins functioning upstream of the NF-κB transcription factor. Deletion of TRAF-binding sites in GRA15 greatly reduces its ability to activate the NF-κB pathway, and TRAF2 knockout cells have impaired GRA15-mediated NF-κB activation. Thus, we determined the mechanism for GRA15-dependent NF-κB activation.
Handa JT, Bowes Rickman C, Dick AD, Gorin MB, Miller JW, Toth CA, Ueffing M, Zarbin M, Farrer LA. A systems biology approach towards understanding and treating non-neovascular age-related macular degeneration. Nat Commun 2019;10(1):3347.Abstract
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of blindness among the elderly in the developed world. While treatment is effective for the neovascular or "wet" form of AMD, no therapy is successful for the non-neovascular or "dry" form. Here we discuss the current knowledge on dry AMD pathobiology and propose future research directions that would expedite the development of new treatments. In our view, these should emphasize system biology approaches that integrate omic, pharmacological, and clinical data into mathematical models that can predict disease onset and progression, identify biomarkers, establish disease causing mechanisms, and monitor response to therapy.
Bulka CM, Dammann O, Santos HP, VanderVeen DK, Smeester L, Fichorova R, O'Shea MT, Fry RC. Placental CpG Methylation of Inflammation, Angiogenic, and Neurotrophic Genes and Retinopathy of Prematurity. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2019;60(8):2888-2894.Abstract
Purpose: Extremely preterm infants are at increased risk for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). We previously identified several inflammatory proteins that were expressed early in life and are associated with an increased risk of ROP and several angiogenic and neurotrophic growth factors in the neonatal systemic circulation that are associated with a lower risk of ROP. In this paper, we report the results of a set of analyses designed to test the hypothesis that placental CpG methylation levels of 12 inflammation-, angiogenic-, and neurotrophic-associated genes predict the occurrence of prethreshold ROP in extremely preterm newborns. Methods: We used placental CpG methylation data from 395 newborns from the Extremely Low Gestational Age Newborns study. Results: Multivariable regression models revealed that placental DNA methylation of 16 CpG sites representing 8 genes were associated with prethreshold ROP. Specifically, CpG methylation in the serum amyloid A SAA1 and SAA2, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), myeloperoxidase (MPO), C-reactive protein (CRP), angiopoietin 1 (ANGPT1), and tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 1B (TNFRSF1B) genes was associated with a lower risk of prethreshold ROP. Conversely, CpG methylation at three probes within tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 1A (TNFRSF1A) and in two alternative probes within the BDNF and ANGPT1 genes was associated with an increased risk of ROP. Conclusions: CpG methylation may be a useful marker for improving ROP prediction, opening the opportunity for early intervention to lessen disease severity.
Sauvage F, Fraire JC, Remaut K, Sebag J, Peynshaert K, Harrington M, Van de Velde FJ, Xiong R, Tassignon M-J, Brans T, Braeckmans K, De Smedt SC. Photoablation of Human Vitreous Opacities by Light-Induced Vapor Nanobubbles. ACS Nano 2019;13(7):8401-8416.Abstract
Myopia, diabetes, and aging are the main causes of progressive vitreous collagen aggregation, resulting in vitreous opacities, which can significantly disturb vision. As vitreous opacities, which induce the visual phenomenon of "floaters", are accessible with nanomaterials and light, we propose a nanotechnology-based approach to locally ablate them with highly reduced light energy compared to the more traditional YAG laser therapy. Our strategy relies on the plasmon properties of gold nanoparticles that generate vapor nanobubbles upon pulsed-laser illumination whose mechanical force can ablate vitreous opacities. We designed gold nanoparticles coated with hyaluronic acid (HA), which have excellent diffusional mobility in human vitreous, an essential requirement to reach the vitreous opacities. In addition, we found that HA-coated gold nanoparticles can accumulate extensively on human vitreous opacities that were obtained by vitrectomy from patients with vision-degrading myodesopsia. When subsequently applying nanosecond laser pulses, the collagen aggregates were efficiently destroyed with ∼1000 times less light energy than typically used in YAG laser therapy. This low-energy "floater-specific destruction", which is due to the accumulation of the small gold nanoparticles on the opacities, is attractive, as it may be safer to the surrounding ocular tissues while at the same time being easier and faster to apply compared to YAG laser therapy, where the opacities need to be ablated piece by piece by a tightly focused laser beam. Gold nanoparticle-assisted photoablation may therefore provide a safer, faster, and more reliable destruction of vitreous opacities in the treatment of ophthalmologic diseases.
Chen N, Hu Z, Yang Y, Han H, Lei H. Inactive Cas9 blocks vitreous-induced expression of Mdm2 and proliferation and survival of retinal pigment epithelial cells. Exp Eye Res 2019;186:107716.Abstract
Mouse double minute (MDM)2 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) 309G allele in the second promoter of MDM2 enhances vitreous-induced expression of Mdm2 and degradation of the tumor suppressor protein p53. This MDM2 contributes to certain cancer development and experimental proliferative vitreoretinopathy. The goal of this study is to discover a novel strategy to only block vitreous-induced expression of Mdm2 for preventing vitreous-induced cell proliferation and survival and thus find a potential novel strategy to treat proliferation-related diseases. We created two mutations (D10A and H840A) in Streptococcus pyogenes (Sp)Cas9 within the nuclease domains (RuvC1 and HNH, respectively) to render this SpCas9 nuclease dead named as dCas9 in a lentiCRISPR v2 vector. Then an MDM2-sgRNA targeting the second promoter of human MDM2 gene was cloned into this vector for producing lentivirus to infect human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells with, which carry a heterozygous genotype of MDM2. lacZ-sgRNA was used as a control. As a result, we discovered that vitreous from experimental rabbits induced a 1.9 ± 0.2 fold increase in Mdm2 and a 2.0 ± 0.2 fold decrease in p53 in the RPE cells with dCas9/lacZ-sgRNA compared to those with dCas9/MDM2-sgRNA, suggesting that dCas9 under the guidance of the MDM2-sgRNA prevented RV-stimulated increase in Mdm2. In addition, we found that the rabbit vitreous significantly enhanced cell proliferation (1.5 ± 0.2 fold), survival against apoptosis (2.2 ± 0.2 fold), migration (10 ± 1.5%) and contraction (112.7 ± 14.1 mm) of the cells with dCas9/lacZ-sgRNA compared with those with dCas9/MDM2-sgRNA. These results indicated that application of the dCas9 targeted to the P2 of MDM2 is a potential therapeutic approach to diseases due to the P2-driven aberrant expression of Mdm2 - such as proliferative vitreoretinopathy.
Gaca AO, Lemos JA. Adaptation to Adversity: the Intermingling of Stress Tolerance and Pathogenesis in Enterococci. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev 2019;83(3)Abstract
SUMMARY is a diverse and rugged genus colonizing the gastrointestinal tract of humans and numerous hosts across the animal kingdom. Enterococci are also a leading cause of multidrug-resistant hospital-acquired infections. In each of these settings, enterococci must contend with changing biophysical landscapes and innate immune responses in order to successfully colonize and transit between hosts. Therefore, it appears that the intrinsic durability that evolved to make enterococci optimally competitive in the host gastrointestinal tract also ideally positioned them to persist in hospitals, despite disinfection protocols, and acquire new antibiotic resistances from other microbes. Here, we discuss the molecular mechanisms and regulation employed by enterococci to tolerate diverse stressors and highlight the role of stress tolerance in the biology of this medically relevant genus.
Kheirkhah A, Coco G, Satitpitakul V, Pham TT, Dana R. Limbal and Conjunctival Epithelial Thickness in Ocular Graft-Versus-Host Disease. Cornea 2019;38(10):1286-1290.Abstract
PURPOSE: To compare the thickness of the limbal epithelium (LE) and the bulbar conjunctival epithelium (BCE) between patients with dry eye disease (DED) with and without ocular graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). METHODS: This cross-sectional study enrolled 40 patients with moderate to severe DED including 20 with and 20 without chronic ocular GVHD. All patients had a comprehensive clinical ophthalmic assessment. Moreover, the thickness of the LE and BCE in both nasal and temporal regions of both eyes was measured using spectral domain optical coherence tomography. RESULTS: The average LE thickness in all patients with dry eye (GVHD and non-GVHD) was 65.8 ± 11.9 μm temporally and 69.7 ± 11.1 μm nasally (P = 0.02). The average BCE thickness was 55.8 ± 11.4 μm temporally and 60.1 ± 11.0 μm nasally (P = 0.03). There were no statistically significant differences between GVHD and non-GVHD groups in LE thickness (69.6 ± 11.7 vs. 66.1 ± 6.2 μm, respectively, P = 0.31) or BCE thickness (58.9 ± 9.6 vs. 57.3 ± 9.8 μm, respectively, P = 0.82). There was a significant correlation between LE thickness and BCE thickness (P = 0.01, Rs = 0.41). A statistically significant negative correlation was also observed between LE thickness and age (P = 0.002, Rs = -0.35). There were no significant correlations between the thickness of the LE or BCE and other clinical parameters. CONCLUSIONS: No difference exists in the thickness of the ocular surface epithelia between dry eyes with and without ocular GVHD, which would suggest that these epithelial changes may be independent of the underlying etiology and possibly only reflect the disease severity. Furthermore, there are regional variations in the thickness of the ocular surface epithelia in patients with DED.
Gangaputra SS, Newcomb CW, Joffe MM, Dreger K, Begum H, Artornsombudh P, Pujari SS, Daniel E, Sen NH, Suhler EB, Thorne JE, Bhatt NP, Foster SC, Jabs DA, Nussenblatt RB, Rosenbaum JT, Levy-Clarke GA, Kempen JH, Kempen JH. Comparison Between Methotrexate and Mycophenolate Mofetil Monotherapy for the Control of Noninfectious Ocular Inflammatory Diseases. Am J Ophthalmol 2019;208:68-75.Abstract
PURPOSE: To compare mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) to methotrexate (MTX) as corticosteroid-sparing therapy for ocular inflammatory diseases. DESIGN: Retrospective analysis of cohort study data. METHODS: Participants were identified from the Systemic Immunosuppressive Therapy for Eye Diseases Cohort Study. Demographic and clinical characteristics were obtained via medical record review. The study included 352 patients who were taking single-agent immunosuppression with MTX or MMF at 4 tertiary uveitis clinics. Marginal structural models (MSM)-derived statistical weighting created a virtual population with covariates and censoring patterns balanced across alternative treatments. With this methodological approach, the results estimate what would have happened had none of the patients stopped their treatment. Survival analysis with stabilized MSM-derived weights simulated a clinical trial comparing MMF vs MTX for noninfectious inflammatory eye disorders. The primary outcome was complete control of inflammation on prednisone ≤10 mg/day, sustained for ≥30 days. RESULTS: The time to success was shorter (more favorable) for MMF than MTX (hazard ratio = 0.68, 95% confidence interval: 0.46-0.99). Adjusting for covariates, the proportion achieving success was higher at every point in time for MMF than MTX from 2 to 8 months, then converges at 9 months. The onset of corticosteroid-sparing success took more than 3 months for most patients in both groups. Outcomes of treatment (MMF vs MTX) were similar across all anatomic sites of inflammation. The incidence of stopping therapy for toxicity was similar in both groups. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that, on average, MMF may be faster than MTX in achieving corticosteroid-sparing success in ocular inflammatory diseases.
El Rassi E, Adappa ND, Battaglia P, Castelnuovo P, Dallan I, Freitag SK, Gardner PA, Lenzi R, Lubbe D, Metson R, Moe KS, Muscatello L, Mustak H, Nogueira JF, Palmer JN, Prepageran N, Ramakirshnan VR, Sacks R, Snyderman CH, Stefko TS, Turri-Zanoni M, Wang EW, Zhou B, Bleier BS. Development of the international orbital Cavernous Hemangioma Exclusively Endonasal Resection (CHEER) staging system. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol 2019;9(7):804-812.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Orbital cavernous hemangiomas (OCH) are the most common adult orbital tumor and represent an ideal index lesion for endonasal orbital tumor surgery. In order to standardize outcomes reporting, an anatomic-based staging system was developed. METHODS: An international, multidisciplinary panel of 23 experts in orbital tumor surgery was formed. A modified Delphi method was used to develop the cavernous hemangioma exclusively endonasal resection (CHEER) staging system with a total of 2 rounds being completed. RESULTS: Tumors medial to a plane along the long axis of the optic nerve may be considered amenable for an exclusively endonasal resection. In select cases, tumors may extend inferolaterally if the tumor remains below a plane from the contralateral naris through the long axis of the optic nerve (ie, plane of resectability [POR]). This definition reached consensus with 91.3% of panelists in agreement. Five stages were designed based on increasing technical resection difficulty and potential for morbidity. Stages were based on the relationship of the tumor to the extraocular muscles, the inferomedial muscular trunk of the ophthalmic artery (IMT), and orbital foramina. Staging by anatomic location also reached consensus with 87.0% of panelists in agreement. Size was not included in the staging system due to the lack of agreement on the contribution of size to resection difficulty. CONCLUSION: Endoscopic orbital tumor surgery is a nascent field with a growing, yet heterogeneous, body of literature. The CHEER staging system is designed to facilitate international, high-quality, standardized studies establishing the safety, efficacy, and outcomes of endonasal resection of OCH.

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