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Huang X, Zhou G, Wu W, Duan Y, Ma G, Song J, Xiao R, Vandenberghe L, Zhang F, D'Amore PA, Lei H. Genome editing abrogates angiogenesis in vivo. Nat Commun 2017;8(1):112.Abstract
Angiogenesis, in which vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) 2 plays an essential role, is associated with a variety of human diseases including proliferative diabetic retinopathy and wet age-related macular degeneration. Here we report that a system of adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-associated endonuclease (Cas)9 from Streptococcus pyogenes (SpCas9) is used to deplete VEGFR2 in vascular endothelial cells (ECs), whereby the expression of SpCas9 is driven by an endothelial-specific promoter of intercellular adhesion molecule 2. We further show that recombinant AAV serotype 1 (rAAV1) transduces ECs of pathologic vessels, and that editing of genomic VEGFR2 locus using rAAV1-mediated CRISPR/Cas9 abrogates angiogenesis in the mouse models of oxygen-induced retinopathy and laser-induced choroid neovascularization. This work establishes a strong foundation for genome editing as a strategy to treat angiogenesis-associated diseases.Abnormal angiogenesis causes many ocular diseases. Here the authors employ CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology to silence VEGFR2, a major regulator of angiogenesis, in retinal endothelium and abrogate angiogenesis in the mouse models of oxygen-induced retinopathy and laser-induced choroid neovascularization.
Farrand KF, Fridman M, Stillman IÖ, Schaumberg DA. Prevalence of Diagnosed Dry Eye Disease in the United States Among Adults Aged 18 Years and Older. Am J Ophthalmol 2017;Abstract
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.
Gamond L, Vecchi T, Ferrari C, Merabet LB, Cattaneo Z. Emotion processing in early blind and sighted individuals. Neuropsychology 2017;31(5):516-524.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: Emotion processing is known to be mediated by a complex network of cortical and subcortical regions with evidence of specialized hemispheric lateralization within the brain. In light of prior evidence indicating that lateralization of cognitive functions (such as language) may depend on normal visual development, we investigated whether the lack of prior visual experience would have an impact on the development of specialized hemispheric lateralization in emotional processing. METHOD: We addressed this issue by comparing performance in early blind and sighted controls on a dichotic listening task requiring the detection of specific emotional vocalizations (i.e., suggestive of happiness or sadness) presented independently to either ear. RESULTS: Consistent with previous studies, we found that sighted individuals showed enhanced detection of positive vocalizations when presented in the right ear (i.e., processed within the left hemisphere) and negative vocalizations when presented in the left ear (i.e., right hemisphere). It is interesting to note that although blind individuals were as accurate as sighted controls in detecting the valance of the vocalization, performance was not consistent with any pattern of specialized hemispheric lateralization. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, these results suggest that although the lack of prior visual experience may not lead to impaired emotion processing performance, the underlying neurophysiological substrate (i.e., degree of special hemispheric lateralization) may depend on normal visual development. (PsycINFO Database Record
Baniasadi N, Wang M, Wang H, Mahd M, Elze T. Associations between Optic Nerve Head-Related Anatomical Parameters and Refractive Error over the Full Range of Glaucoma Severity. Transl Vis Sci Technol 2017;6(4):9.Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate the associations between optic disc (OD)-related anatomical parameters (interartery angle [IAA] between superior and inferior temporal retinal arteries, OD tilt [TL], rotation [ROT], and torsion [TO], OD surface curvature [CUR], and central retinal vessel trunk entry point location [CRVTL] on OD) and the spherical equivalent of refractive error (SE), and to assess the impact of glaucoma severity on these relationships. METHODS: Cirrus optical coherence tomography (OCT) fundus images and 24-2 visual fields of 438 patients were included. Ellipses were fitted to OD borders. IAA was calculated between marked retinal artery locations on a circle around OD. Blood vessel entry point on OD was marked to locate CRVTL. TL was measured as the angle between the lines fitted to OD clinical boundary and the Bruch's membrane edges on the horizontal B-scans. Ellipse rotation relative to the vertical axis defined ROT. Angle between the long axis of OD and the interartery line defined TO. CUR was determined by the inner limiting membrane on the horizontal B-scans. Linear regression models evaluated by Bayes Factors (BF) were used to determine the covariance structure between the parameters and SE as well as possible impacts of mean deviation (MD). RESULTS: Our results showed that CRVTL had the strongest relationship with SE, followed by ROT, TL, and IAA (BFs: 3.59 × 10(7), 2645, 1126, and 248, respectively). MD did not significantly modulate the relationship between ONH parameters and SE. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that SE should be considered when interpreting the OD and its circumpapillary region for diagnostic purposes. TRANSLATIONAL RELEVANCE: The reported relationships between OD-related parameters and ametropia may help to decrease false-positive clinical diagnoses of optic neuropathies.
Benischke A-S, Vasanth S, Miyai T, Katikireddy KR, White T, Chen Y, Halilovic A, Price M, Price F, Liton PB, Jurkunas UV. Activation of mitophagy leads to decline in Mfn2 and loss of mitochondrial mass in Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy. Sci Rep 2017;7(1):6656.Abstract
Human corneal endothelial cells (HCEnCs) are terminally differentiated cells that have limited regenerative potential. The large numbers of mitochondria in HCEnCs are critical for pump and barrier function required for corneal hydration and transparency. Fuchs Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy (FECD) is a highly prevalent late-onset oxidative stress disorder characterized by progressive loss of HCEnCs. We previously reported increased mitochondrial fragmentation and reduced ATP and mtDNA copy number in FECD. Herein, carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenyl hydrazone (CCCP)-induced mitochondrial depolarization decreased mitochondrial mass and Mfn2 levels, which were rescued with mitophagy blocker, bafilomycin, in FECD. Moreover, electron transport chain complex (I, V) decrease in FECD indicated deficient mitochondrial bioenergetics. Transmission electron microscopy of FECD tissues displayed an increased number of autophagic vacuoles containing degenerated and swollen mitochondria with cristolysis. An elevation of LC3-II and LAMP1 and downregulation of Mfn2 in mitochondrial fractions suggested that loss of fusion capacity targets fragmented mitochondria to the pre-autophagic pool and upregulates mitophagy. CCCP-induced mitochondrial fragmentation leads to Mfn2 and LC3 co-localization without activation of proteosome, suggesting a novel Mfn2 degradation pathway via mitophagy. These data indicate constitutive activation of mitophagy results in reduction of mitochondrial mass and abrogates cellular bioenergetics during degeneration of post-mitotic cells of ocular tissue.
DeFrancesco AS, Masloboeva N, Syed AK, DeLoughery A, Bradshaw N, Li G-W, Gilmore MS, Walker S, Losick R. Genome-wide screen for genes involved in eDNA release during biofilm formation by Staphylococcus aureus. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2017;114(29):E5969-E5978.Abstract
Staphylococcus aureus is a leading cause of both nosocomial and community-acquired infection. Biofilm formation at the site of infection reduces antimicrobial susceptibility and can lead to chronic infection. During biofilm formation, a subset of cells liberate cytoplasmic proteins and DNA, which are repurposed to form the extracellular matrix that binds the remaining cells together in large clusters. Using a strain that forms robust biofilms in vitro during growth under glucose supplementation, we carried out a genome-wide screen for genes involved in the release of extracellular DNA (eDNA). A high-density transposon insertion library was grown under biofilm-inducing conditions, and the relative frequency of insertions was compared between genomic DNA (gDNA) collected from cells in the biofilm and eDNA from the matrix. Transposon insertions into genes encoding functions necessary for eDNA release were identified by reduced representation in the eDNA. On direct testing, mutants of some of these genes exhibited markedly reduced levels of eDNA and a concomitant reduction in cell clustering. Among the genes with robust mutant phenotypes were gdpP, which encodes a phosphodiesterase that degrades the second messenger cyclic-di-AMP, and xdrA, the gene for a transcription factor that, as revealed by RNA-sequencing analysis, influences the expression of multiple genes, including many involved in cell wall homeostasis. Finally, we report that growth in biofilm-inducing medium lowers cyclic-di-AMP levels and does so in a manner that depends on the gdpP phosphodiesterase gene.
Amparo F, Yin J, Di Zazzo A, Abud T, Jurkunas UV, Hamrah P, Dana R. Evaluating Changes in Ocular Redness Using a Novel Automated Method. Transl Vis Sci Technol 2017;6(4):13.Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate interobserver concordance in measured ocular redness among a group of raters using an objective computer-assisted method (ocular redness index [ORI]) and a group of clinicians using an ordinal comparative scale. METHODS: We conducted a prospective study to evaluate ocular redness in clinical photographs of 12 patients undergoing pterygium surgery. Photographs were acquired preoperatively, and at 1 week and 1 month postoperatively. One group of clinicians graded conjunctival redness in the photographs using an image-based comparative scale. A second group applied the ORI to measure redness in the same photographs. We evaluated redness change between time points, level of agreement among raters, and assessed redness score differences among observers within each group. RESULTS: Interobserver agreement using the image-based redness scale was 0.458 (P < 0.001). Interobserver agreement with the ORI was 0.997 (P < 0.001). We observed statistically significant differences among clinicians' measurements obtained with the image-based redness scale (P < 0.001). There were no significant differences among measurements obtained with the ORI (P = 0.27). We observed a significant change in redness between baseline and follow-up visits with all scoring methods. Detailed analysis of redness change was performed only in the ORI group due to availability of continuous scores. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that the ORI scores provide higher consistency among raters than ordinal scales, and can discriminate redness changes that clinical observers often can miss. TRANSLATIONAL RELEVANCE: The ORI may be a reliable alternative to measure ocular redness objectively in the clinic and in clinical trials.
Belmonte C, Nichols JJ, Cox SM, Brock JA, Begley CG, Bereiter DA, Dartt DA, Galor A, Hamrah P, Ivanusic JJ, Jacobs DS, McNamara NA, Rosenblatt MI, Stapleton F, Wolffsohn JS. TFOS DEWS II pain and sensation report. Ocul Surf 2017;15(3):404-437.Abstract
Pain associated with mechanical, chemical, and thermal heat stimulation of the ocular surface is mediated by trigeminal ganglion neurons, while cold thermoreceptors detect wetness and reflexly maintain basal tear production and blinking rate. These neurons project into two regions of the trigeminal brain stem nuclear complex: ViVc, activated by changes in the moisture of the ocular surface and VcC1, mediating sensory-discriminative aspects of ocular pain and reflex blinking. ViVc ocular neurons project to brain regions that control lacrimation and spontaneous blinking and to the sensory thalamus. Secretion of the main lacrimal gland is regulated dominantly by autonomic parasympathetic nerves, reflexly activated by eye surface sensory nerves. These also evoke goblet cell secretion through unidentified efferent fibers. Neural pathways involved in the regulation of meibomian gland secretion or mucin release have not been identified. In dry eye disease, reduced tear secretion leads to inflammation and peripheral nerve damage. Inflammation causes sensitization of polymodal and mechano-nociceptor nerve endings and an abnormal increase in cold thermoreceptor activity, altogether evoking dryness sensations and pain. Long-term inflammation and nerve injury alter gene expression of ion channels and receptors at terminals and cell bodies of trigeminal ganglion and brainstem neurons, changing their excitability, connectivity and impulse firing. Perpetuation of molecular, structural and functional disturbances in ocular sensory pathways ultimately leads to dysestesias and neuropathic pain referred to the eye surface. Pain can be assessed with a variety of questionaires while the status of corneal nerves is evaluated with esthesiometry and with in vivo confocal microscopy.
Bron AJ, de Paiva CS, Chauhan SK, Bonini S, Gabison EE, Jain S, Knop E, Markoulli M, Ogawa Y, Perez V, Uchino Y, Yokoi N, Zoukhri D, Sullivan DA. TFOS DEWS II pathophysiology report. Ocul Surf 2017;15(3):438-510.Abstract
The TFOS DEWS II Pathophysiology Subcommittee reviewed the mechanisms involved in the initiation and perpetuation of dry eye disease. Its central mechanism is evaporative water loss leading to hyperosmolar tissue damage. Research in human disease and in animal models has shown that this, either directly or by inducing inflammation, causes a loss of both epithelial and goblet cells. The consequent decrease in surface wettability leads to early tear film breakup and amplifies hyperosmolarity via a Vicious Circle. Pain in dry eye is caused by tear hyperosmolarity, loss of lubrication, inflammatory mediators and neurosensory factors, while visual symptoms arise from tear and ocular surface irregularity. Increased friction targets damage to the lids and ocular surface, resulting in characteristic punctate epithelial keratitis, superior limbic keratoconjunctivitis, filamentary keratitis, lid parallel conjunctival folds, and lid wiper epitheliopathy. Hybrid dry eye disease, with features of both aqueous deficiency and increased evaporation, is common and efforts should be made to determine the relative contribution of each form to the total picture. To this end, practical methods are needed to measure tear evaporation in the clinic, and similarly, methods are needed to measure osmolarity at the tissue level across the ocular surface, to better determine the severity of dry eye. Areas for future research include the role of genetic mechanisms in non-Sjögren syndrome dry eye, the targeting of the terminal duct in meibomian gland disease and the influence of gaze dynamics and the closed eye state on tear stability and ocular surface inflammation.
Di Gioia SA, Connors S, Matsunami N, Cannavino J, Rose MF, Gilette NM, Artoni P, de Macena Sobreira NL, Chan W-M, Webb BD, Robson CD, Cheng L, Van Ryzin C, Ramirez-Martinez A, Mohassel P, Leppert M, Scholand MB, Grunseich C, Ferreira CR, Hartman T, Hayes IM, Morgan T, Markie DM, Fagiolini M, Swift A, Chines PS, Speck-Martins CE, Collins FS, Jabs EW, Bönnemann CG, Olson EN, Olson EN, Carey JC, Robertson SP, Manoli I, Engle EC. A defect in myoblast fusion underlies Carey-Fineman-Ziter syndrome. Nat Commun 2017;8:16077.Abstract
Multinucleate cellular syncytial formation is a hallmark of skeletal muscle differentiation. Myomaker, encoded by Mymk (Tmem8c), is a well-conserved plasma membrane protein required for myoblast fusion to form multinucleated myotubes in mouse, chick, and zebrafish. Here, we report that autosomal recessive mutations in MYMK (OMIM 615345) cause Carey-Fineman-Ziter syndrome in humans (CFZS; OMIM 254940) by reducing but not eliminating MYMK function. We characterize MYMK-CFZS as a congenital myopathy with marked facial weakness and additional clinical and pathologic features that distinguish it from other congenital neuromuscular syndromes. We show that a heterologous cell fusion assay in vitro and allelic complementation experiments in mymk knockdown and mymk(insT/insT) zebrafish in vivo can differentiate between MYMK wild type, hypomorphic and null alleles. Collectively, these data establish that MYMK activity is necessary for normal muscle development and maintenance in humans, and expand the spectrum of congenital myopathies to include cell-cell fusion deficits.
Xie H-T, Zhao D, Liu Y, Zhang M-C. Umbilical Cord Patch Transplantation for Corneal Perforations and Descemetoceles. J Ophthalmol 2017;2017:2767053.Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate the clinical outcome of umbilical cord patch (UCP) transplantation for deep corneal ulcers with perforations and descemetoceles. METHODS: In this retrospective, noncomparative, interventional case series, 11 eyes of 11 patients with corneal perforation or descemetocele were included. The thickness and microstructure of UCP were measured. All eyes were treated with UCP and amniotic membrane transplantation for corneal reconstruction. Corneal ulcer healing, corneal thickness, anterior chamber formation, and best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) were recorded and analyzed. RESULTS: The thickness of human UCP is 398.6 ± 102.8 μm (n = 5) with compact aligned fibers. The average age was 56.2 ± 15.8 (ranging from 22 to 75) years. The mean follow-up period was 7.1 ± 1.7 (ranging from 5 to 10) months. Four patients had descemetocele and 7 had perforation. The anterior chambers in all the 7 perforated corneas were formed at postoperative day 1. All patients regained a normal corneal thickness and smooth corneal surface within the first postoperative month. The vision improved in 10 eyes and remained unchanged in 1 eye. No recurrence nor side effects occurred during the follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: UCP can serve as an alternative material in the treatment of corneal perforations and descemetoceles. This treatment option is also beneficial in those countries with limited cornea donors and eye bank services.
Zhang Y, Kam WR, Liu Y, Chen X, Sullivan DA. Influence of Pilocarpine and Timolol on Human Meibomian Gland Epithelial Cells. Cornea 2017;36(6):719-724.Abstract
PURPOSE: Investigators have discovered that topical antiglaucoma drugs may induce meibomian gland dysfunction. This response may contribute to the dry eye disease commonly found in patients with glaucoma taking such medications. We hypothesize that drug action involves a direct effect on human meibomian gland epithelial cells (HMGECs). To test this hypothesis, we examined the influence of the antiglaucoma drugs, pilocarpine and timolol, on the morphology, survival, proliferation, and differentiation of HMGECs. METHODS: Immortalized (I) HMGECs (n = 2-3 wells/treatment/experiment) were cultured with multiple concentrations of pilocarpine or timolol for up to 7 days. Experiments included positive controls for proliferation (epidermal growth factor and bovine pituitary extract) and differentiation (azithromycin). Cells were enumerated using a hemocytometer and evaluated for morphology, neutral lipid staining, and lysosome accumulation. RESULTS: Our results demonstrate that pilocarpine and timolol cause a dose-dependent decrease in the survival of IHMGECs. The clinically used concentrations are toxic and lead to cell atrophy, poor adherence, or death. By contrast, drug levels that are known to accumulate within the conjunctiva, adjacent to the meibomian glands, do not influence IHMGEC survival. These latter concentrations also have no effect on IHMGEC proliferation or differentiation, and they do not interfere with the ability of azithromycin to stimulate cellular neutral lipid and lysosome accumulation. This dose of pilocarpine, though, did suppress the epidermal growth factor+bovine pituitary extract-induced proliferation of IHMGECs. CONCLUSIONS: Our results support our hypothesis and demonstrate that these antiglaucoma drugs, pilocarpine and timolol, have direct effects on HMGECs that may influence their morphology, survival, and proliferative capacity.
Wu W, Tang L, D'Amore PA, Lei H. Application of CRISPR-Cas9 in eye disease. Exp Eye Res 2017;161:116-123.Abstract
The system of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR-associated nuclease (Cas)9 is an effective instrument for revising the genome with great accuracy. This system has been widely employed to generate mutants in genomes from plants to human cells. Rapid improvements in Cas9 specificity in eukaryotic cells have opened great potential for the use of this technology as a therapeutic. Herein, we summarize the recent advancements of CRISPR-Cas9 use in research on human cells and animal models, and outline a basic and clinical pipeline for CRISPR-Cas9-based treatments of genetic eye diseases.
You C, Ma L, Lasave AF, Foster SC. Rituximab Induction and Maintenance Treatment in Patients with Scleritis and Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (Wegener's). Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2017;:1-8.Abstract
AIMS: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of rituximab (RTX) induction and maintenance treatment for patients with scleritis and granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA), Wegener's. METHODS: Nine patients (12 eyes) with scleritis with GPA who did not respond to corticosteroids and more than one immunosuppressive agent who received ongoing maintenance RTX treatment were identified. Demographics and outcome measures were recorded. RESULTS: Median follow-up time of 30 months (range, 15 to 87 months). All 12 eyes achieved remission during the RTX maintenance period with a median time in remission of 14 months (range, 5-76 months), and median interval between RTX initiation and inactive disease of 5 months (range, 2-8 months). Two eyes in two patients relapsed. One received steroid eye drops, and the other received a short-term increased dose of intravenous corticosteroids. CONCLUSIONS: RTX was effective as an induction and maintenance treatment in our small cohort of patients with GPA-associated scleritis.
Zhou EH, Paolucci M, Dryja TP, Manley T, Xiang C, Rice DS, Prasanna G, Chen A. A Compact Whole-Eye Perfusion System to Evaluate Pharmacologic Responses of Outflow Facility. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2017;58(7):2991-3003.Abstract
Purpose: To discover novel therapies that lower IOP by increasing aqueous humor outflow facility, ex vivo ocular perfusion systems provide a valuable tool. However, currently available designs are limited by their throughput. Here we report the development of a compact, scalable perfusion system with improved throughput and its validation using bovine and porcine eyes. Methods: At a fixed IOP of 6 mm Hg, flow rate was measured by flow sensors. We validated the system by measuring the outflow responses to Y-39983 (a Rho kinase inhibitor), endothelin-1 (ET-1), ambrisentan (an antagonist for endothelin receptor A [ETA]), sphigosine-1-phosphate (S1P), JTE-013 (antagonist for S1P receptor 2 [S1P2]), S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine (SNAP, a nitric oxide [NO] donor), and 3-Morpholino-sydnonimine (SIN-1, another NO donor). Results: The instrument design enabled simultaneous measurements of 20 eyes with a footprint of 1 m2. Relative to vehicle control, Y-39983 increased outflow by up to 31% in calf eyes. On the contrary, ET-1 decreased outflow by up to 79%, a response that could be blocked by pretreatment with ambrisentan, indicating a role for ETA receptors. Interestingly, the effect of ET-1 was also inhibited by up to 70% to 80% by pretreatment with NO donors, SNAP and SIN-1. In addition to testing in calf eyes, similar effects of ET-1 and ambrisentan were observed in adult bovine and porcine eyes. Conclusions: The compact eye perfusion platform provides an opportunity to efficiently identify compounds that influence outflow facility and may lead to the discovery of new glaucoma therapies.

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