Occelli V, Lacey S, Stephens C, Merabet LB, Sathian K. Enhanced verbal abilities in the congenitally blind. Exp Brain Res 2017;235(6):1709-1718.Abstract
Numerous studies have found that congenitally blind individuals have better verbal memory than their normally sighted counterparts. However, it is not known whether this reflects superiority of verbal or memory abilities. In order to distinguish between these possibilities, we tested congenitally blind participants and normally sighted control participants, matched for age and education, on a range of verbal and spatial tasks. Congenitally blind participants were significantly better than sighted controls on all the verbal tasks but the groups did not differ significantly on the spatial tasks. Thus, the congenitally blind appear to have superior verbal, but not spatial, abilities. This may reflect greater reliance on verbal information and the involvement of visual cortex in language processing in the congenitally blind.
Schuerch K, Woods RL, Lee W, Duncker T, Delori FC, Allikmets R, Tsang SH, Sparrow JR. Quantifying Fundus Autofluorescence in Patients With Retinitis Pigmentosa. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2017;58(3):1843-1855.Abstract

Purpose: Using quantitative fundus autofluorescence (qAF), we analyzed short-wavelength autofluorescent (SW-AF) rings in RP. Methods: Short-wavelength autofluorescent images (486 nm excitation) of 40 patients with RP (69 eyes) were acquired with a confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscope equipped with an internal fluorescent reference. Mean qAF was measured in eight preset segments (qAF8) and in region of interest (ROI)-qAF (200-700 μm) within and external to the borders of the rings at superior, temporal, and inferior sites relative to the ring. For both groups, qAF in patients with RP was compared to age-similar and race/ethnicity-matched healthy eyes at equivalent retinal locations. Results: In 71% of eyes of RP patients, qAF8 acquired internal to the inner border of the ring, was within the 95% confidence interval (CI) for healthy eyes, while in the remaining RP eyes qAF8 was either higher or lower than the CI. Measured external to the ring, qAF8 values were within the CI in 47% of RP eyes with the other eyes being higher or lower. In 28% of sites measured by ROI-qAF within the SW-AF ring, values were above the 95% CI of healthy controls. Region of interest-qAF measured just external to the ring was within the CI of healthy eyes in 74% of locations. The average local elevation in qAF within the ring was approximately 15%. In SD-OCT scans, photoreceptor-attributable reflectivity bands were thinned within and external to the ring. Conclusions: Increased fluorophore production may be a factor in the formation of the SW-AF rings in RP.

Silva PS, El-Rami H, Barham R, Gupta A, Fleming A, van Hemert J, Cavallerano JD, Sun JK, Aiello LP. Hemorrhage and/or Microaneurysm Severity and Count in Ultrawide Field Images and Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study Photography. Ophthalmology 2017;124(7):970-976.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate detection of hemorrhage and/or microaneurysm (H/Ma) using ultrawide field (UWF) retinal imaging as compared with standard Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) 7-field photographs (ETDRS photos). DESIGN: Single-site comparative study of UWF images and ETDRS photos. PARTICIPANTS: One hundred twenty-six eyes of 69 patients with no diabetic retinopathy (DR) or mild or moderate nonproliferative DR (NPDR). METHODS: Stereoscopic 200° UWF images and stereoscopic 35mm 30° 7-field color photographs were acquired on the same visit. Images were graded for severity and distribution of H/Ma. H/Mas were counted in ETDRS fields 2 to 7 in both ETDRS photos and UWF images. H/Mas in the UWF peripheral fields were also counted. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Kappa (κ) and weighted κ statistics for agreement. Number of H/Ma within and outside ETDRS fields identified in UWF images and ETDRS photos. RESULTS: Distribution of DR severity by ETDRS photos was 24 (19.0%) no DR, 48 (38.1%) mild NPDR, and 54 (42.9%) moderate NPDR. A total of 748 of 756 fields (98.9%) were gradable for H/Mas on ETDRS photos and UWF images. Simple κ/weighted κ statistics for severity of H/Ma: all fields 0.61/0.69, field 2 0.70/0.77, field 3 0.62/0.73, field 4 0.50/0.62, field 5 0.54/0.65, field 6 0.64/0.70, and field 7 0.58/0.63 with overall exact agreement in 81.3% and within 1 step in 97.9% of fields. A greater proportion of fields was graded a more severe H/Ma level in UWF images than in the corresponding ETDRS photos (UWF: 12.7% vs. ETDRS: 6.5%). Evaluating comparable areas in UWF images and ETDRS photos (fields 2-7), a mean of 42.8 H/Mas were identified using ETDRS photos and 48.8 in UWF images (P = 0.10). An additional mean of 21.3 H/Mas (49.8% increase, P < 0.0001) were identified in the peripheral fields of the UWF images. CONCLUSIONS: There is good to excellent agreement between UWF images and ETDRS photos in determining H/Ma severity, with excellent correlation of H/Ma counts within ETDRS photo fields. UWF peripheral fields identified 49.8% more H/Ma, suggesting a more severe H/Ma in 12.7% of eyes. Given the additional lesions detected in peripheral fields and the known risks associated with H/Ma and peripheral lesions, quantification of H/Ma using UWF images may provide a more accurate representation of DR disease activity and potential greater accuracy in predicting DR progression.
Lindström S, Loomis S, Turman C, Huang H, Huang J, Aschard H, Chan AT, Choi H, Cornelis M, Curhan G, De Vivo I, Eliassen HA, Fuchs C, Gaziano M, Hankinson SE, Hu F, Jensen M, Kang JH, Kabrhel C, Liang L, Pasquale LR, Rimm E, Stampfer MJ, Tamimi RM, Tworoger SS, Wiggs JL, Hunter DJ, Kraft P. A comprehensive survey of genetic variation in 20,691 subjects from four large cohorts. PLoS One 2017;12(3):e0173997.Abstract

The Nurses' Health Study (NHS), Nurses' Health Study II (NHSII), Health Professionals Follow Up Study (HPFS) and the Physicians Health Study (PHS) have collected detailed longitudinal data on multiple exposures and traits for approximately 310,000 study participants over the last 35 years. Over 160,000 study participants across the cohorts have donated a DNA sample and to date, 20,691 subjects have been genotyped as part of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of twelve primary outcomes. However, these studies utilized six different GWAS arrays making it difficult to conduct analyses of secondary phenotypes or share controls across studies. To allow for secondary analyses of these data, we have created three new datasets merged by platform family and performed imputation using a common reference panel, the 1,000 Genomes Phase I release. Here, we describe the methodology behind the data merging and imputation and present imputation quality statistics and association results from two GWAS of secondary phenotypes (body mass index (BMI) and venous thromboembolism (VTE)). We observed the strongest BMI association for the FTO SNP rs55872725 (β = 0.45, p = 3.48x10-22), and using a significance level of p = 0.05, we replicated 19 out of 32 known BMI SNPs. For VTE, we observed the strongest association for the rs2040445 SNP (OR = 2.17, 95% CI: 1.79-2.63, p = 2.70x10-15), located downstream of F5 and also observed significant associations for the known ABO and F11 regions. This pooled resource can be used to maximize power in GWAS of phenotypes collected across the cohorts and for studying gene-environment interactions as well as rare phenotypes and genotypes.

Oke I, Alkharashi M, Petersen RA, Ashenberg A, Shah AS. Treatment of Ocular Pyogenic Granuloma With Topical Timolol. JAMA Ophthalmol 2017;135(4):383-385.Abstract

Importance: Pyogenic granulomas, acquired vascular lesions, form on the ocular or palpebral surface related to inflammation from chalazia, trauma, or surgery. They can be unsightly, spontaneously bleed, and cause irritation to patients. Observations: A case series is presented of 4 consecutive children with acquired ocular surface pyogenic granulomas treated at Boston Children's Hospital from 2014 to 2016 with only topical timolol, 0.5%, twice daily for a minimum of 21 days. In all cases, complete resolution occurred within the treatment period with no recurrence for at least 3 months. There were no adverse effects from the timolol during follow-up. Conclusions and Relevance: This case series of 4 children, while limited to no greater than 12 weeks of follow-up and without control children, suggests that ocular surface pyogenic granulomas respond to topical timolol treatment, which has a lower adverse-effect profile than conventional topical steroid treatments or other medical or surgical therapies. If confirmed in larger studies with longer follow-up and controls, this may be the desired treatment modality.

Dagi LR, MacKinnon S, Zurakowski D, Prabhu SP. Rectus muscle excyclorotation and V-pattern strabismus: a quantitative appraisal of clinical relevance in syndromic craniosynostosis. Br J Ophthalmol 2017;101(11):1560-1565.Abstract
PURPOSE: V-pattern strabismus observed with syndromic craniosynostosis has been attributed to disparate causes. We compared severity of V pattern with degree of excyclorotation of rectus muscles to appraise significance of this proposed aetiology. METHODS: 43 patients with Apert, Crouzon or Pfeiffer syndrome referred to Boston Children's Hospital Department of Ophthalmology were identified. 28 met inclusion criteria for retrospective cohort study, specifically: (1) sensorimotor measurements in minimum of seven cardinal gazes, (2) quantified fundus torsion and (3) orbital CT imaging sufficient to measure rectus muscle cyclorotation in coronal and quasicoronal planes, posteriorly (near orbital apex) and anteriorly (near pulleys). Patients were placed in one of four V-pattern severity groups. The most severe group demonstrated inability to elevate abducted eye above midline with characteristic 'seesaw' misalignment during horizontal saccades. Rectus muscle cyclorotation was measured by paediatric neuroradiologist blinded to group placement. Primary outcome was correlation of severity of V pattern with degree of excyclorotation. Secondary outcome was correlation of severity with craniosynostosis syndrome. RESULTS: Increasing severity of V pattern correlated with greater excyclorotation in anterior coronal (p=0.009), anterior quasicoronal (p=0.021), posterior coronal (p=0.014) and posterior quasicoronal (p=0.040) planes for moderate-to-severe V pattern. Even greater excyclorotation was associated with seesaw V pattern in anterior quasicoronal (p=0.004) and posterior quasicoronal (p=0.001) views. Highly significant association was found between Apert syndrome and severity of V pattern (p=0.004). CONCLUSIONS: Severity of V pattern is associated with magnitude of excyclorotation. More severe V pattern and seesaw strabismus noted with Apert syndrome may relate to distinctive orbital morphology.
Jiménez-Pérez JC, Jakobiec FA, Zakka FR, Yoon MK. Dacryoadenitis as the Initial Presentation of a Natural Killer T-Cell Lymphoma. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg 2017;33(6):e147-e150.Abstract
Primary orbital natural killer T-cell lymphoma (NKTCL) is a rare condition with only a few published cases in the literature. Over 1 month, an 81-year-old man developed progressive left periocular inflammation unresponsive to treatment. Clinical examination and imaging studies demonstrated a left lacrimal gland enlargement. Bilateral anterior uveitis and erythematous nontender cutaneous lesions were also found. Biopsies of the skin and lacrimal gland on the back revealed histopathologic and immunohistochemical findings confirming Epstein-Barr virus-positive NKTCL. Metastatic work up disclosed multifocal involvement in the pancreas, stomach, and chest wall. Palliative treatment consisting of nonanthracycline-based chemotherapy and radiation was instituted, but the patient died 5 months after the onset of symptoms. This is the first example of acute dacryoadenitis, and the second of bilateral anterior uveitis, in the setting of NKTCL. Absence of naso-sinus involvement in the current case is rare in NKTCL. Despite treatment, the prognosis remains dismal. Orbital specialists should include NKTCL in the differential diagnosis of lacrimal gland/orbital masses and perform an incisional biopsy if the clinical scenario so dictates.
Gouveia RM, González-Andrades E, Cardona JC, González-Gallardo C, Ionescu AM, Garzon I, Alaminos M, González-Andrades M, Connon CJ. Controlling the 3D architecture of Self-Lifting Auto-generated Tissue Equivalents (SLATEs) for optimized corneal graft composition and stability. Biomaterials 2017;121:205-219.Abstract

Ideally, biomaterials designed to play specific physical and physiological roles in vivo should comprise components and microarchitectures analogous to those of the native tissues they intend to replace. For that, implantable biomaterials need to be carefully designed to have the correct structural and compositional properties, which consequently impart their bio-function. In this study, we showed that the control of such properties can be defined from the bottom-up, using smart surface templates to modulate the structure, composition, and bio-mechanics of human transplantable tissues. Using multi-functional peptide amphiphile-coated surfaces with different anisotropies, we were able to control the phenotype of corneal stromal cells and instruct them to fabricate self-lifting tissues that closely emulated the native stromal lamellae of the human cornea. The type and arrangement of the extracellular matrix comprising these corneal stromal Self-Lifting Analogous Tissue Equivalents (SLATEs) were then evaluated in detail, and was shown to correlate with tissue function. Specifically, SLATEs comprising aligned collagen fibrils were shown to be significantly thicker, denser, and more resistant to proteolytic degradation compared to SLATEs formed with randomly-oriented constituents. In addition, SLATEs were highly transparent while providing increased absorption to near-UV radiation. Importantly, corneal stromal SLATEs were capable of constituting tissues with a higher-order complexity, either by creating thicker tissues through stacking or by serving as substrate to support a fully-differentiated, stratified corneal epithelium. SLATEs were also deemed safe as implants in a rabbit corneal model, being capable of integrating with the surrounding host tissue without provoking inflammation, neo-vascularization, or any other signs of rejection after a 9-months follow-up. This work thus paves the way for the de novo bio-fabrication of easy-retrievable, scaffold-free human tissues with controlled structural, compositional, and functional properties to replace corneal, as well as other, tissues.

Chen Q, Qiu F, Zhou K, Matlock GH, Takahashi Y, Rajala RVS, Yang Y, Moran E, Ma J-X. Pathogenic Role of MicroRNA-21 in Diabetic Retinopathy Through Down-Regulation of PPARα. Diabetes 2017;Abstract

Fenofibrate, a specific agonist of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα), displays robust therapeutic effects on diabetic retinopathy (DR) in type 2 diabetic patients. Our recent studies have shown that PPARα is down-regulated in the diabetic retina, which contributes to the pathogenesis of DR. However, the mechanism for diabetes-induced down-regulation of PPARα remains unknown. We investigated the role of microRNA-21 (miR-21) in regulating PPARα in DR. MiR-21 was over-expressed, while PPARα levels were decreased in the retina of db/db mice, a type 2 diabetic model. Such alterations were also observed in palmitate-treated retinal endothelial cells. MiR-21 targeted PPARα by inhibiting its mRNA translation. Knockout of miR-21 prevented the decrease of PPARα, alleviated microvascular damage, ameliorated inflammation and reduced cell apoptosis in the retina of db/db mice. Intravitreal injection of miR-21 inhibitor attenuated PPARα down-regulation and ameliorated retinal inflammation in db/db mice. Further, retinal miR-21 levels were increased, while PPARα levels were decreased in oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR). Knockout of miR-21 prevented PPARα down-regulation and ameliorated retinal neovascularization and inflammation in OIR retinas. In conclusion, diabetes-induced over-expression of miR-21 in the retina is responsible, at least in part, for PPARα down-regulation in DR. Targeting miR-21 may represent a novel therapeutic strategy for DR.

Amouzegar A, Mittal SK, Sahu A, Sahu SK, Chauhan SK. Mesenchymal Stem Cells Modulate Differentiation of Myeloid Progenitor Cells During Inflammation. Stem Cells 2017;35(6):1532-1541.Abstract
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) possess distinct immunomodulatory properties and have tremendous potential for use in therapeutic applications in various inflammatory diseases. MSCs have been shown to regulate pathogenic functions of mature myeloid inflammatory cells, such as macrophages and neutrophils. Intriguingly, the capacity of MSCs to modulate differentiation of myeloid progenitors (MPs) to mature inflammatory cells remains unknown to date. Here, we report the novel finding that MSCs inhibit the expression of differentiation markers on MPs under inflammatory conditions. We demonstrate that the inhibitory effect of MSCs is dependent on direct cell-cell contact and that this intercellular contact is mediated through interaction of CD200 expressed by MSCs and CD200R1 expressed by MPs. Furthermore, using an injury model of sterile inflammation, we show that MSCs promote MP frequencies and suppress infiltration of inflammatory cells in the inflamed tissue. We also find that downregulation of CD200 in MSCs correlates with abrogation of their immunoregulatory function. Collectively, our study provides unequivocal evidence that MSCs inhibit differentiation of MPs in the inflammatory environment via CD200-CD200R1 interaction. Stem Cells 2017;35:1532-1541.