Kim EC, Toyono T, Berlinicke CA, Zack DJ, Jurkunas U, Usui T, Jun AS. Screening and Characterization of Drugs That Protect Corneal Endothelial Cells Against Unfolded Protein Response and Oxidative Stress. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2017;58(2):892-900.Abstract

Purpose: To screen for and characterize compounds that protect corneal endothelial cells against unfolded protein response (UPR) and oxidative stress. Methods: Bovine corneal endothelial cells (BCECs) were treated for 48 hours with 640 compounds from a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drug library and then challenged with thapsigargin or H2O2 to induce UPR or oxidative stress, respectively. Cell viability was measured using the CellTiter-Glo survival assay. Selected "hits" were subjected to further dose-response testing, and their ability to modulate expression of UPR and oxidative stress markers was assessed by RT-PCR, Western blot, and measurement of protein carbonyl and 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) adducts in immortalized human corneal endothelial cells (iHCECs). Results: Forty-one drugs at 20 μM and 55 drugs at 100 μM increased survival of H2O2-challenged cells, and 8 drugs at 20 μM and 2 drugs at 100 μM increased survival of thapsigargin-challenged cells, compared with untreated control cells. Nicergoline, ergothioneine, nimesulide, oxotremorine, and mefenamic acid increased survival of both H2O2- and thapsigargin-challenged cells. Oxotremorine altered DNA damage inducible 3 (CHOP) gene expression, glucose-regulated protein 78 kDa (GRP78) and activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) protein expression, and protein carbonyl and 8-OHdG levels. Mefenamic acid altered GRP78 protein expression and protein carbonyl and 8-OHdG levels. Conclusions: Oxotremorine and mefenamic acid are potential survival factors for corneal endothelial cells under UPR and oxidative stress. The described assay can be further expanded to screen additional drugs for potential therapeutic effect in corneal endothelial diseases such as Fuchs' endothelial corneal dystrophy.

Huang X, Zhou G, Wu W, Ma G, D'Amore PA, Mukai S, Lei H. Editing VEGFR2 Blocks VEGF-Induced Activation of Akt and Tube Formation. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2017;58(2):1228-1236.Abstract

Purpose: Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) plays a key role in VEGF-induced angiogenesis. The goal of this project was to test the hypothesis that editing genomic VEGFR2 loci using the technology of clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-associated DNA endonuclease (Cas)9 in Streptococcus pyogenes (SpCas9) was able to block VEGF-induced activation of Akt and tube formation. Methods: Four 20 nucleotides for synthesizing single-guide RNAs based on human genomic VEGFR2 exon 3 loci were selected and cloned into a lentiCRISPR v2 vector, respectively. The DNA fragments from the genomic VEGFR2 exon 3 of transduced primary human retinal microvascular endothelial cells (HRECs) were analyzed by Sanger DNA sequencing, surveyor nuclease assay, and next-generation sequencing (NGS). In the transduced cells, expression of VEGFR2 and VEGF-stimulated signaling events (e.g., Akt phosphorylation) were determined by Western blot analyses; VEGF-induced cellular responses (proliferation, migration, and tube formation) were examined. Results: In the VEGFR2-sgRNA/SpCas9-transduced HRECs, Sanger DNA sequencing indicated that there were mutations, and NGS demonstrated that there were 83.57% insertion and deletions in the genomic VEGFR2 locus; expression of VEGFR2 was depleted in the VEGFR2-sgRNA/SpCas9-transduced HRECs. In addition, there were lower levels of Akt phosphorylation in HRECs with VEGFR2-sgRNA/SpCas9 than those with LacZ-sgRNA/SpCas9, and there was less VEGF-stimulated Akt activation, proliferation, migration, or tube formation in the VEGFR2-depleted HRECs than those treated with aflibercept or ranibizumab. Conclusions: The CRISPR-SpCas9 technology is a potential novel approach to prevention of pathologic angiogenesis.

Lin S-C, Wang SY, Pasquale LR, Singh K, Lin SC. The relation between exercise and glaucoma in a South Korean population-based sample. PLoS One 2017;12(2):e0171441.Abstract

PURPOSE: To investigate the association between exercise and glaucoma in a South Korean population-based sample. DESIGN: Population-based, cross-sectional study. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 11,246 subjects, 40 years and older who underwent health care assessment as part of the 2008-2011 Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. METHODS: Variables regarding the duration (total minutes per week), frequency (days per week), and intensity of exercise (vigorous, moderate exercise and walking) as well as glaucoma prevalence were ascertained for 11,246 survey participants. Demographic, comorbidity, and health-related behavior information was obtained via interview. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to determine the association between the exercise-related parameters and odds of a glaucoma diagnosis. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Glaucoma defined by International Society for Geographical and Epidemiological Ophthalmology criteria. RESULTS: Overall, 336 (2.7%) subjects met diagnostic criteria for glaucomatous disease. After adjustment for potential confounding variables, subjects engaged in vigorous exercise 7 days per week had higher odds of having glaucoma compared with those exercising 3 days per week (Odds Ratio [OR] 3.33, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.16-9.54). High intensity of exercise, as categorized by the guidelines of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), was also associated with greater glaucoma prevalence compared with moderate intensity of exercise (OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.03-2.33). There was no association between other exercise parameters including frequency of moderate exercise, walking, muscle strength exercise, flexibility training, or total minutes of exercise per week, and the prevalence of glaucoma. In sub-analyses stratifying by gender, the association between frequency of vigorous exercise 7 days per week and glaucoma diagnosis remained significant in men (OR 6.05, 95% CI 1.67-21.94) but not in women (OR 0.96 95% CI: 0.23-3.97). A U-shaped association between exercise intensity and glaucoma prevalence was noted in men (OR 1.71, 95% CI 1.09-2.69 for low intensity versus moderate intensity; OR 2.19, 95% CI 1.25-3.85 for high intensity versus moderate intensity). CONCLUSION: In a South Korean population sample, daily vigorous exercise was associated with higher glaucoma prevalence. In addition, the intensity of exercise was positively associated with glaucoma diagnosis in men but not women.

Homer N, Jakobiec FA, Stagner A, Cunnane ME, Freitag SK, Fay A, Yoon MK. Periocular breast carcinoma metastases: correlation of clinical, radiologic and histopathologic features. Clin Exp Ophthalmol 2017;Abstract

IMPORTANCE: To describe presenting patterns of breast cancer metastases to the orbit and eyelids BACKGROUND: To provide clinical, radiographic, and pathologic correlations of breast metastases to the orbit or eyelids and evaluate radiographic volumetric orbital changes DESIGN: Retrospective review in an academic center PARTICIPANTS: Ten female patients with periocular metastatic breast carcinoma who were seen at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Oculoplastics Clinic METHODS: Retrospective review of patient records, imaging and pathology findings. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Presenting clinical characteristics, radiographic findings, and histopathological features were assessed and correlated to discover distinctive presenting patterns. Volumetric measurements of the tumors and orbital soft tissue structures were made on magnetic resonance imaging studies. RESULTS: The breast metastases included 9 orbital and 1 eyelid lesions. Two distinct clinical presentations were observed. The first consisted of seven patients who had either enophthalmos or euphthalmos in the setting of a retrobulbar lesion, a radiographically indistinct lesion, and a classic microscopic invasive lobular breast carcinoma (ILBC) with a prominent fibrotic stroma. The second group consisted of two proptotic patients with mass lesions on imaging and an atypical ILBC pathological subtype (pleomorphic or alveolar). One patient had diffusely indurated eyelid fullness. Volumetric analyses demonstrated variable tumor sizes with an inconsistent impact on the orbital volume and fat. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: This correlative study provides the clinical-radiographic-histopathologic basis for separating two overarching phenotypic presentations of metastatic breast carcinoma to the orbit. Previously postulated mechanisms for the distinctive finding of tumor-induced enophthalmos are re-examined in the light of the foregoing conclusions.

English JT, Norris PC, Hodges RR, Dartt DA, Serhan CN. Identification and Profiling of Specialized Pro-Resolving Mediators in Human Tears by Lipid Mediator Metabolomics. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2017;117:17-27.Abstract

Specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPM), e.g. Resolvin D1, Protectin D1, Lipoxin A₄, and Resolvin E1 have each shown to be active in ocular models reducing inflammation. In general, SPMs have specific agonist functions that stimulate resolution of infection and inflammation in animal disease models. The presence and quantity of SPM in human emotional tears is of interest. Here, utilizing a targeted LC-MS-MS metabololipidomics based approach we document the identification of pro-inflammatory (Prostaglandins and Leukotriene B₄) and pro-resolving lipid mediators (D-series Resolvins, Protectin D1, and Lipoxin A₄) in human emotional tears from 12 healthy individuals. SPMs from the Maresin family (Maresin 1 and Maresin 2) were not present in these samples. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) revealed gender differences in the production of specific mediators within these tear samples as the SPMs were essentially absent in these female donors. These results indicate that specific SPM signatures are present in human emotional tears at concentrations known to be bioactive. Moreover, they will help to further appreciate the mechanisms of production and action of SPMs in the eye, as well as their physiologic roles in human ocular disease resolution.

Fu Z, Gong Y, Liegl R, Wang Z, Liu C-H, Meng SS, Burnim SB, Saba NJ, Fredrick TW, Morss PC, Hellstrom A, Talukdar S, Smith LEH. FGF21 Administration Suppresses Retinal and Choroidal Neovascularization in Mice. Cell Rep 2017;18(7):1606-1613.Abstract

Pathological neovascularization, a leading cause of blindness, is seen in retinopathy of prematurity, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration. Using a mouse model of hypoxia-driven retinal neovascularization, we find that fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) administration suppresses, and FGF21 deficiency worsens, retinal neovessel growth. The protective effect of FGF21 against neovessel growth was abolished in adiponectin (APN)-deficient mice. FGF21 administration also decreased neovascular lesions in two models of neovascular age-related macular degeneration: very-low-density lipoprotein-receptor-deficient mice with retinal angiomatous proliferation and laser-induced choroidal neovascularization. FGF21 inhibited tumor necrosis α (TNF-α) expression but did not alter Vegfa expression in neovascular eyes. These data suggest that FGF21 may be a therapeutic target for pathologic vessel growth in patients with neovascular eye diseases, including retinopathy of prematurity, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration.

PURPOSE: To investigate choroidal involvement in acute posterior multifocal placoid pigment epitheliopathy (APMPPE). METHODS: A retrospective observational case series using multimodal imaging including optical coherence tomography (OCT) angiography. RESULTS: Five patients with APMPPE were included. In most acute lesions, OCT angiography revealed outer retinal and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) hyperreflective lesions with attenuated OCT signal in the underlying choroid, but careful examination allowed us to identify a single lesion with decreased choriocapillaris flow outside the signal attenuation. Optical coherence tomography angiography obtained after healing of lesions revealed areas of hypointense circular flow voids clustered in groups surrounded by either isointense or hyperintense signal background. Point-by-point evaluation revealed these flow voids did not correspond to areas of RPE thickening or focal pigmentary changes. Larger hypointense lesions were observed and did correlate with pigmentary changes. CONCLUSION: Our case series demonstrates choriocapillaris flow abnormalities in acute APMPPE extending beyond the OCT lesions, and distinct residual vascular abnormalities in healed APMPPE lesions on OCT angiography. Our findings support a primary ischemic insult to the photoreceptors and RPE, but choriocapillaris flow abnormalities could be secondary to (OCT invisible) retinal and RPE involvement. The lack of understanding of the etiology along with the inability to visualize most of the choroid in acute lesions precludes definite conclusions about the true pathogenesis of APMPPE.
Dagher Z, Gerhardinger C, Vaz J, Goodridge M, Tecilazich F, Lorenzi M. The Increased Transforming Growth Factor-β Signaling Induced by Diabetes Protects Retinal Vessels. Am J Pathol 2017;187(3):627-638.Abstract

The roles of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β in extracellular matrix production and vascular remodeling, coupled with increased TGF-β expression and signaling in diabetes, suggest TGF-β as an important contributor to the microangiopathy of diabetic retinopathy and nephropathy. To investigate whether increased TGF-β signaling could be a therapeutic target for preventing retinopathy, we used a pharmacologic approach (SM16, a selective inhibitor of the type 1 TGF-β receptor activin receptor-like kinase 5, orally active) to inhibit the increased, but not the basal, Tgf-β signaling in retinal vessels of diabetic rats. At the level of vascular gene expression, 3.5 months' diabetes induced minimal changes. Diabetes + SM16 for 3 weeks caused widespread changes in gene expression poised to enhance vascular inflammation, thrombosis, leakage, and wall instability; these changes were not observed in control rats given SM16. The synergy of diabetes and SM16 in altering gene expression was not observed in the lung. At the level of vascular network morphology, 7 months' diabetes induced no detectable changes. Diabetes + SM16 for 3 weeks caused instead distorted morphology and decreased density. Thus, in diabetes, retinal vessels become dependent on a small increase in TGF-β signaling via activin receptor-like kinase 5 to maintain early integrity. The increased TGF-β signaling may protect against rapid retinopathy progression and should not be a target of inhibitory interventions.

Fan KC, Tsikata E, Khoueir Z, Simavli H, Guo R, A de Luna R, Pandit S, Que CJ, de Boer JF, Chen TC. Enhanced Diagnostic Capability for Glaucoma of 3-Dimensional Versus 2-Dimensional Neuroretinal Rim Parameters Using Spectral Domain Optical Coherence Tomography. J Glaucoma 2017;26(5):450-458.Abstract
PURPOSE: To compare the diagnostic capability of 3-dimensional (3D) neuroretinal rim parameters with existing 2-dimensional (2D) neuroretinal and retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness rim parameters using spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) volume scans. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Design: Institutional prospective pilot study. STUDY POPULATION: 65 subjects (35 open-angle glaucoma patients, 30 normal patients). OBSERVATION PROCEDURES: One eye of each subject was included. SD-OCT was used to obtain 2D RNFL thickness values and 5 neuroretinal rim parameters [ie, 3D minimum distance band (MDB) thickness, 3D Bruch's membrane opening-minimum rim width (BMO-MRW), 3D rim volume, 2D rim area, and 2D rim thickness]. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Area under the receiver operating characteristic curve values, sensitivity, and specificity. RESULTS: Comparing all 3D with all 2D parameters, 3D rim parameters (MDB, BMO-MRW, rim volume) generally had higher area under the receiver operating characteristic curve values (range, 0.770 to 0.946) compared with 2D parameters (RNFL thickness, rim area, rim thickness; range, 0.678 to 0.911). For global region analyses, all 3D rim parameters (BMO-MRW, rim volume, MDB) were equal to or better than 2D parameters (RNFL thickness, rim area, rim thickness; P-values from 0.023 to 1.0). Among the three 3D rim parameters (MDB, BMO-MRW, and rim volume), there were no significant differences in diagnostic capability (false discovery rate >0.05 at 95% specificity). CONCLUSIONS: 3D neuroretinal rim parameters (MDB, BMO-MRW, and rim volume) demonstrated better diagnostic capability for primary and secondary open-angle glaucomas compared with 2D neuroretinal parameters (rim area, rim thickness). Compared with 2D RNFL thickness, 3D neuroretinal rim parameters have the same or better diagnostic capability.
Han K-Y, Tran JA, Chang J-H, Azar DT, Zieske JD. Potential role of corneal epithelial cell-derived exosomes in corneal wound healing and neovascularization. Sci Rep 2017;7:40548.Abstract

Specific factors from the corneal epithelium underlying the stimulation of stromal fibrosis and myofibroblast formation in corneal wound healing have not been fully elucidated. Given that exosomes are known to transfer bioactive molecules among cells and play crucial roles in wound healing, angiogenesis, and cancer, we hypothesized that corneal epithelial cell-derived exosomes may gain access to the underlying stromal fibroblasts upon disruption of the epithelial basement membrane and that they induce signaling events essential for corneal wound healing. In the present study, exosome-like vesicles were observed between corneal epithelial cells and the stroma during wound healing after corneal epithelial debridement. These vesicles were also found in the stroma following anterior stromal keratectomy, in which surgical removal of the epithelium, basement membrane, and anterior stroma was performed. Exosomes secreted by mouse corneal epithelial cells were found to fuse to keratocytes in vitro and to induce myofibroblast transformation. In addition, epithelial cell-derived exosomes induced endothelial cell proliferation and ex vivo aortic ring sprouting. Our results indicate that epithelial cell-derived exosomes mediate communication between corneal epithelial cells and corneal keratocytes as well as vascular endothelial cells. These findings demonstrate that epithelial-derived exosomes may be involved in corneal wound healing and neovascularization, and thus, may serve as targets for potential therapeutic interventions.

Chen Y, Chauhan SK, Tan X, Dana R. Interleukin-7 and -15 maintain pathogenic memory Th17 cells in autoimmunity. J Autoimmun 2017;77:96-103.Abstract

Th17 cells are principal mediators of many autoimmune conditions. Recently, memory Th17 cells have been revealed as crucial in mediating the chronicity of various refractory autoimmune disorders; however, the underlying mechanisms maintaining memory Th17 cells have remained elusive. Here, using a preclinical model of ocular autoimmune disease we show that both IL-7 and IL-15 are critical for maintaining pathogenic memory Th17 cells. Neutralization of these cytokines leads to substantial reduction of memory Th17 cells; both IL-7 and IL-15 provide survival signals via activating STAT5, and IL-15 provides additional proliferation signals via activating both STAT5 and Akt. Topical neutralization of ocular IL-7 or IL-15 effectively reduces memory Th17 cells at the inflammatory site and draining lymphoid tissues, while topical neutralization of IL-17 alone, the major pathogenic cytokine secreted by Th17 cells, does not diminish memory Th17 cells at the draining lymphoid tissues. Our results suggest that the effective removal of pathogenic memory Th17 cells via abolishing environmental IL-7 or IL-15 is likely to be a novel strategy in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

Zhou C, Robert M-C, Kapoulea V, Lei F, Stagner AM, Jakobiec FA, Dohlman CH, Paschalis EI. Sustained Subconjunctival Delivery of Infliximab Protects the Cornea and Retina Following Alkali Burn to the Eye. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2017;58(1):96-105.Abstract

Purpose: Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α is upregulated in eyes following corneal alkali injury and contributes to corneal and also retinal damage. Prompt TNF-α inhibition by systemic infliximab ameliorates retinal damage and improves corneal wound healing. However, systemic administration of TNF-α inhibitors carries risk of significant complications, whereas topical eye-drop delivery is hindered by poor ocular bioavailability and the need for patient adherence. This study investigates the efficacy of subconjunctival delivery of TNF-α antibodies using a polymer-based drug delivery system (DDS). Methods: The drug delivery system was prepared using porous polydimethylsiloxane/polyvinyl alcohol composite fabrication and loaded with 85 μg of infliximab. Six Dutch-belted pigmented rabbits received ocular alkali burn with NaOH. Immediately after the burn, subconjunctival implantation of anti-TNF-α DDS was performed in three rabbits while another three received sham DDS (without antibody). Rabbits were followed with photography for 3 months. Results: After 3 months, the device was found to be well tolerated by the host and the eyes exhibited less corneal damage as compared to eyes implanted with a sham DDS without drug. The low dose treatment suppressed CD45 and TNF-α expression in the burned cornea and inhibited retinal ganglion cell apoptosis and optic nerve degeneration, as compared to the sham DDS treated eyes. Immunolocalization revealed drug penetration in the conjunctiva, cornea, iris, and choroid, with residual infliximab in the DDS 3 months after implantation. Conclusions: This reduced-risk biologic DDS improves corneal wound healing and provides retinal neuroprotection, and may be applicable not only to alkali burns but also to other inflammatory surgical procedures such as penetrating keratoplasty and keratoprosthesis implantation.

Wolkow N, Jakobiec FA, Stagner AM, Cunnane ME, Piantadosi AL, Basgoz N, Lefebvre D. Chronic orbital and calvarial fungal infection with Apophysomyces variabilis in an immunocompetent patient. Surv Ophthalmol 2017;62(1):70-82.Abstract

Apophysomyces is a rare fungal organism causing rhino-orbito-cerebral mycotic infections with high morbidity and mortality, typically in immunocompetent individuals. Several cases of Apophysomyces elegans orbital disease have been reported. Herein, we report a case of Apophysomyces variabilis infection involving the orbit, sinuses, and calvarium in an immunocompetent 74-year-old woman, with a review of the literature. Unlike prior cases of A. elegans classic rhino-orbito-cerebral infection, our case included diffuse calvarial lytic lesions and overlying soft tissue nodules, but without parenchymal intracranial involvement. There was radiographic and clinical evidence of infarction of the orbital contents and cavernous sinus thrombosis. Anastomoses between the superior orbital (ophthalmic) vein and diploic veins of the calvarium are believed to be primarily responsible for the unusual mode of spread on the extradural surface of the brain. Although the patient stabilized without definitive surgical intervention, her disease slowly and intermittently progressed for over a year after presentation, requiring multiple courses of antifungal treatment.