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Unzu C, Planet E, Brandenberg N, Fusil F, Cassano M, Perez-Vargas J, Friedli M, Cosset F-L, Lutolf MP, Wildhaber BE, Trono D. Pharmacological Induction of a Progenitor State for the Efficient Expansion of Primary Human Hepatocytes. Hepatology 2019;69(5):2214-2231.Abstract
The liver is an organ with strong regenerative capacity, yet primary hepatocytes have a low amplification potential in vitro, a major limitation for the cell-based therapy of liver disorders and for ex vivo biological screens. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) may help to circumvent this obstacle but often harbor genetic and epigenetic abnormalities, limiting their potential. Here, we describe the pharmacological induction of proliferative human hepatic progenitor cells (HPCs) through a cocktail of growth factors and small molecules mimicking the signaling events involved in liver regeneration. Human HPCs from healthy donors and pediatric patients proliferated vigorously while maintaining their genomic stability and could be redifferentiated in vitro into metabolically competent cells that supported the replication of hepatitis B and delta viruses. Redifferentiation efficiency was boosted by three-dimensional culture. Finally, transcriptome analysis showed that HPCs were more closely related to mature hepatocytes than iPSC-derived hepatocyte-like cells were. Conclusion: HPC induction holds promise for a variety of applications such as ex vivo disease modeling, personalized drug testing or metabolic studies, and development of a bioartificial liver.
Morthen MK, Tellefsen S, Richards SM, Lieberman SM, Rahimi Darabad R, Kam WR, Sullivan DA. Testosterone Influence on Gene Expression in Lacrimal Glands of Mouse Models of Sjögren Syndrome. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2019;60(6):2181-2197.Abstract
Purpose: Sjögren syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that occurs almost exclusively in women and is associated with extensive inflammation in lacrimal tissue, an immune-mediated destruction and/or dysfunction of glandular epithelial cells, and a significant decrease in aqueous tear secretion. We discovered that androgens suppress the inflammation in, and enhance the function of, lacrimal glands in female mouse models (e.g., MRL/MpJ-Tnfrsf6lpr [MRL/lpr]) of Sjögren syndrome. In contrast, others have reported that androgens induce an anomalous immunopathology in lacrimal glands of nonobese diabetic/LtJ (NOD) mice. We tested our hypothesis that these hormone actions reflect unique, strain- and tissue-specific effects, which involve significant changes in the expression of immune-related glandular genes. Methods: Lacrimal glands were obtained from age-matched, adult, female MRL/lpr and NOD mice after treatment with vehicle or testosterone for up to 3 weeks. Tissues were processed for analysis of differentially expressed mRNAs using CodeLink Bioarrays and Affymetrix GeneChips. Data were analyzed with bioinformatics and statistical software. Results: Testosterone significantly influenced the expression of numerous immune-related genes, ontologies, and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways in lacrimal glands of MRL/lpr and NOD mice. The nature of this hormone-induced immune response was dependent upon the autoimmune strain, and was not duplicated within lacrimal tissues of nonautoimmune BALB/c mice. The majority of immune-response genes regulated by testosterone were of the inflammatory type. Conclusions: Our findings support our hypothesis and indicate a major role for the lacrimal gland microenvironment in mediating androgen effects on immune gene expression.
Kang JH, Boumenna T, Stein JD, Khawaja A, Rosner BA, Wiggs JL, Pasquale LR. Association of Statin Use and High Serum Cholesterol Levels With Risk of Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma. JAMA Ophthalmol 2019;Abstract
Importance: The use of statins (hydroxymethylglutaryl coenzyme A inhibitors) has been associated with a lower risk of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG); however, results have been conflicting, and little is known about the association between high cholesterol levels and POAG. Objective: To assess the association of elevated cholesterol levels and statin use with incident POAG. Design, Setting, and Participants: This study used data collected biennially from participants aged 40 years or older who were free of glaucoma and reported eye examinations, within 3 population-based cohorts: the Nurses' Health Study (N = 50 710; followed up from 2000 to 2014), the Nurses' Health Study 2 (N = 62 992; 1999-2015), and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (N = 23 080; 2000-2014). Incident cases of POAG were confirmed by medical record review. The analyses were performed in January 2019. Exposures: Biennially updated self-reported information on elevated cholesterol level status, serum cholesterol levels, and duration of statin use. Main Outcomes and Measures: Multivariable-adjusted relative risks (RRs) and 95% CIs were estimated using Cox proportional hazards regression models on pooled data, with stratification by cohort. Results: Among the 136 782 participants in the 3 cohorts (113 702 women and 23 080 men), 886 incident cases of POAG were identified. Every 20-mg/dL increase in total serum cholesterol was associated with a 7% increase in risk of POAG (RR, 1.07 [95% CI, 1.02-1.11]; P = .004). Any self-reported history of elevated cholesterol was also associated with a higher risk of POAG (RR, 1.17 [95% CI, 1.00-1.37]). A history of any statin use was associated with a 15% lower risk of POAG (RR, 0.85 [95% CI, 0.73-0.99]). Use of statins for 5 or more years vs never use of statins was associated with a 21% lower risk of POAG (RR, 0.79 [95% CI, 0.65-0.97]; P = .02 for linear trend). The association between use of statins for 5 or more years vs never use of statins and risk of POAG was more inverse in those who were older (≥65 years: RR, 0.70 [95% CI, 0.56-0.87] vs <65 years: RR, 1.05 [95% CI, 0.68-1.63]; P = .01 for interaction). Conclusions and Relevance: Among adults aged 40 years or older, higher serum cholesterol levels were associated with higher risk of POAG, while 5 or more years of statin use compared with never use of statins was associated with a lower risk of POAG.
Cheung CS, VanderVeen DK. Intraocular Lens Techniques in Pediatric Eyes with Insufficient Capsular Support: Complications and Outcomes. Semin Ophthalmol 2019;:1-10.Abstract
Intraocular lens (IOL) implantation in pediatric eyes with insufficient capsular support is challenging and there are multiple IOL options. These include placement of an IOL within the capsular bag with a capsular tension ring, a scleral-fixated posterior-chamber IOL (PCIOL) with or without capsular tension segment or ring, an intra-scleral fixated IOL, an iris-sutured PCIOL, or an anterior chamber iris-fixated IOL. We reviewed 48 articles and 1 published abstract describing the surgical techniques, complications and visual outcomes of different IOL options in the management of aphakic pediatric eyes with insufficient capsular support. The present review found that the visual acuity outcomes of various IOLs are comparable. Furthermore, each .
Shu DY, Hutcheon AEK, Zieske JD, Guo X. Epidermal Growth Factor Stimulates Transforming Growth Factor-Beta Receptor Type II Expression In Corneal Epithelial Cells. Sci Rep 2019;9(1):8079.Abstract
We previously demonstrated that inhibition of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) slowed corneal epithelial migration. Here we examine the effect of EGF on transforming growth factor-beta receptor II (TGF-βRII) in a corneal wound-healing model and primary human corneal epithelial cells (pHCE). Corneal debridement wounds were made and allowed to heal ± Tyrphostin AG1478 (EGFR inhibitor), and assayed for EGFR activation and EGFR and TGF-βRII localization. Primary HCE were treated with EGF ± U0126 (MEK inhibitor) and assayed for TGF-βRII expression. EGFR activation was maximal 15 minutes after wounding and localized in the migrating epithelial cells. TGF-βRII localization was also observed in the migrating epithelium and was reduced when EGFR was blocked. When pHCE were treated with EGF for 6 hours, the cells produced enhanced levels of TGF-βRII, which was blocked by U0126. Downstream signaling pathways of MEK (p38 and ERK1/2) were then examined, and TGF-β1 and EGF were found to have differential effects on the phosphorylation of p38 and ERK1/2, with TGF-β1 upregulating p-p38 but not pERK1/2 and EGF upregulating pERK1/2 but not p-p38. Taken together, these data indicate that EGF stimulates TGF-βRII through ERK1/2 and EGFR signaling, suggesting interplay between EGF- and TGF-β-signaling pathways during corneal wound repair.
LeBlanc ME, Saez-Torres KL, Cano I, Hu Z, Saint-Geniez M, Ng Y-S, D'Amore PA. Glycocalyx regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 activity. FASEB J 2019;33(8):9362-9373.Abstract
We have previously shown that knockdown of endomucin (EMCN), an integral membrane glycocalyx glycoprotein, prevents VEGF-induced proliferation, migration, and tube formation and angiogenesis . In the endothelium, VEGF mediates most of its angiogenic effects through VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2). To understand the role of EMCN, we examined the effect of EMCN depletion on VEGFR2 endocytosis and activation. Results showed that although VEGF stimulation promoted VEGFR2 internalization in control endothelial cells (ECs), loss of EMCN prevented VEGFR2 endocytosis. Cell surface analysis revealed a decrease in VEGFR2 following VEGF stimulation in control but not siRNA directed against EMCN-transfected ECs. EMCN depletion resulted in heightened phosphorylation following VEGF stimulation with an increase in total VEGFR2 protein. These results indicate that EMCN modulates VEGFR2 endocytosis and activity and point to EMCN as a potential therapeutic target.-LeBlanc, M. E., Saez-Torres, K. L., Cano, I., Hu, Z., Saint-Geniez, M., Ng, Y.-S., D'Amore, P. A. Glycocalyx regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 activity.
Fayed M, Chen TC. Pediatric Intraocular Pressure Measurements: Tonometers, Central Corneal Thickness, and Anesthesia. Surv Ophthalmol 2019;Abstract
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.
Aronow ME, Wiley HE, Gaudric A, Krivosic V, Gorin MB, Shields CL, Shields JA, Jonasch EW, Singh AD, Chew EY. VON HIPPEL-LINDAU DISEASE: Update on Pathogenesis and Systemic Aspects. Retina 2019;39(12):2243-2253.Abstract
PURPOSE: To provide an update summarizing the biologic pathways governing von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease pathogenesis and to provide an overview of systemic manifestations as well as screening recommendations. METHODS: A PubMed search of the English language literature was reviewed using the following search terms: von Hippel-Lindau, von Hippel-Lindau disease, and VHL. Of 6,696 publications, the most current and pertinent information related to the pathogenesis and systemic aspects of VHL disease were included in this review. RESULTS: von Hippel-Lindau disease is one of the most frequently occurring multisystem familial cancer syndromes. The disease results from germline mutation in the VHL tumor suppressor gene on the short arm of chromosome 3. Mutation in the VHL gene affects multiple cellular processes including transcriptional regulation, extracellular matrix formation, apoptosis, and, in particular, the cellular adaptive response to hypoxia. As a result, there is widespread development of vascular tumors affecting the retina, brain, and spine, as well as a spectrum of benign and malignant tumors and/or cysts in visceral organs. CONCLUSION: The ophthalmologist plays a key role in VHL disease diagnosis, as retinal hemangioblastoma is frequently the first disease manifestation. Screening guidelines for individuals with known VHL disease, and those at risk of VHL disease, help to ensure early detection of potentially vision-threatening and life-threatening disease.
Szczotka-Flynn LB, Maguire MG, Ying G-S, Lin MC, Bunya VY, Dana R, Asbell PA, and Group DEAM (DREAM) SR. Impact of Dry Eye on Visual Acuity and Contrast Sensitivity: Dry Eye Assessment and Management Study. Optom Vis Sci 2019;96(6):387-396.Abstract
SIGNIFICANCE: Identification of the association of specific signs of dry eye disease with specific visual function deficits may allow for more targeted approaches to treatment. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to explore the association of dry eye signs and symptoms with visual acuity (VA) and contrast sensitivity in the Dry Eye Assessment and Management study. METHODS: Baseline data from participants in the Dry Eye Assessment and Management study were used in this secondary cross-sectional analysis. Standardized procedures were used to obtain results on the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI), high-contrast logMAR VA, contrast sensitivity, tear film debris, tear breakup time (TBUT), corneal fluorescein staining, meibomian gland evaluation, conjunctival lissamine green staining, and Schirmer test scores. Generalized linear models that included age, refractive error status, and cataract status were used to assess the association between VA and contrast sensitivity with OSDI score and each dry eye sign. The Hochberg procedure was used to account for multiple comparisons. RESULTS: Among 487 participants (974 eyes), worse VA was associated with worse mean score on the OSDI vision subscale (39.4 for VA 20/32 or worse vs. 32.4 for VA 20/16 or better; adjusted linear trend, P = .02); scores were not associated with contrast sensitivity. Severe meibomian gland plugging and abnormal secretions were associated with worse mean log contrast sensitivity (1.48 for severe vs. 1.54 for not plugged [P = .04] and 1.49 for obstructed vs. 1.57 for clear [P = .002], respectively). Longer TBUT was associated with better mean log contrast sensitivity (1.57 for TBUT >5 seconds and 1.51 for TBUT ≤2 seconds, P < .0001). CONCLUSIONS: Worse VA rather than worse contrast sensitivity drives vision-related symptoms in dry eye. Greater tear film instability was associated with worse contrast sensitivity.
Okunuki Y, Mukai R, Nakao T, Tabor SJ, Butovsky O, Dana R, Ksander BR, Connor KM. Retinal microglia initiate neuroinflammation in ocular autoimmunity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2019;116(20):9989-9998.Abstract
Autoimmune uveitis is a sight-threatening ocular inflammatory condition in which the retina and uveal tissues become a target of autoreactive immune cells. While microglia have been studied extensively in autoimmune uveitis, their exact function remains uncertain. The objective of the current study was to determine whether resident microglia are necessary and sufficient to initiate and amplify retinal inflammation in autoimmune uveitis. In this study, we clearly demonstrate that microglia are essential for initiating infiltration of immune cells utilizing a murine model of experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis (EAU) and the recently identified microglia-specific marker P2ry12. Initiating disease is the primary function of microglia in EAU, since eliminating microglia during the later stages of EAU had little effect, indicating that the function of circulating leukocytes is to amplify and sustain destructive inflammation once microglia have triggered disease. In the absence of microglia, uveitis does not develop, since leukocytes cannot gain entry through the blood-retinal barrier, illustrating that microglia play a critical role in regulating infiltration of inflammatory cells into the retina.
Haque M, Lei F, Xiong X, Das JK, Ren X, Fang D, Salek-Ardakani S, Yang J-M, Song J. Stem cell-derived tissue-associated regulatory T cells suppress the activity of pathogenic cells in autoimmune diabetes. JCI Insight 2019;4(7)Abstract
The autoantigen-specific Tregs from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), i.e., PSC-Tregs, have the ability to suppress autoimmunity. PSC-Tregs can be programmed to be tissue associated and to infiltrate into local inflamed tissues to suppress autoimmune responses after adoptive transfer. Nevertheless, the mechanisms by which the autoantigen-specific PSC-Tregs suppress the autoimmune response remain to be fully elucidated. In this study, we generated functional autoantigen-specific Tregs from the induced PSC (iPSCs), i.e., iPSC-Tregs, and investigated the underlying mechanisms of autoimmunity suppression by these Tregs in a type 1 diabetes (T1D) murine model. A double-Tg mouse model of T1D was established in F1 mice, in which the first generation of RIP-mOVA Tg mice that were crossed with OT-I T cell receptor (TCR) Tg mice was challenged with vaccinia viruses expressing OVA (VACV-OVA). We show that adoptive transfer of OVA-specific iPSC-Tregs greatly suppressed autoimmunity in the animal model and prevented the insulin-secreting pancreatic β cells from destruction. Further, we demonstrate that the adoptive transfer significantly reduced the expression of ICAM-1 in the diabetic pancreas and inhibited the migration of pathogenic CD8+ T cells and the production of the proinflammatory IFN-γ in the pancreas. These results indicate that the stem cell-derived tissue-associated Tregs can robustly accumulate in the diabetic pancreas, and, through downregulating the expression of ICAM-1 in the local inflamed tissues and inhibiting the production of proinflammatory cytokine IFN-γ, suppress the migration and activity of the pathogenic immune cells that cause T1D.
Coco G, Amparo F, Patel SP, Foulsham W, Carreno-Galeano JT, Stockslager SG, Ciolino JB, Yin J, Dana R. Oral guaifenesin for treatment of filamentary keratitis: A pilot study. Ocul Surf 2019;Abstract
PURPOSE: Pilot study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of oral guaifenesin in reducing the signs and symptoms of filamentary keratitis. METHODS: Prospective, uncontrolled open-label pilot study. Twelve patients with non-Sjögren dry eye disease (DED) and secondary filamentary keratitis received treatment with oral guaifenesin 600 mg twice a day (total dose of 1.2 g/day) for 4 weeks. Adverse events, change in the number of corneal filaments, corneal fluorescein staining (CFS; NEI grading system), and symptoms (Ocular Surface Disease Index) were assessed. RESULTS: Before starting oral guaifenesin, all patients were on topical medical therapy for their condition. At baseline, the mean number of filaments was 5.8 ± 2.9, CFS score 7.3 ± 3.2, and OSDI score 55.6 ± 25. After 4 weeks of treatment, the number of filaments was 2.1 ± 2.2 (p = 0.04 vs. baseline), CFS score 6.5 ± 3.1 (p = 0.5), and OSDI score 46.1 ± 30.9 (p = 0.2). One patient discontinued the medication due to gastrointestinal side effects. CONCLUSIONS: Oral guaifenesin was safe and generally well tolerated, and demonstrated modest efficacy in reducing the severity of filamentary keratitis. These results should be considered preliminary; however, placebo-controlled investigations would be justified to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of oral guaifenesin as a mucolytic in treatment of filamentary keratitis.

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