Wang R, Seifert P, Jakobs TC. Astrocytes in the Optic Nerve Head of Glaucomatous Mice Display a Characteristic Reactive Phenotype. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2017;58(2):924-932.Abstract

Purpose: Optic nerve head astrocytes, a subtype of white-matter astrocytes, become reactive early in the course of glaucoma. It was shown recently that in the DBA/2J mouse model of inherited glaucoma optic nerve astrocytes extend new longitudinal processes into the axon bundles before ganglion cell loss becomes apparent. The present study aims at testing whether this behavior of astrocytes is typical of early glaucomatous damage. Methods: Mice expressing green fluorescent protein in individual astrocytes were used to evaluate the early response of astrocytes in the glial lamina of the optic nerve head after increasing the IOP using the microbead occlusion method. Tissue sections from the glial lamina were imaged consecutively by confocal and electron microscopy. Results: Confocal and electron microscope images show that astrocytes close to the myelination transition zone in the hypertensive nerve heads extend new processes that follow the longitudinal axis of the optic nerve and invade axon bundles in the nerve head. Ultrastructurally, the longitudinal processes were largely devoid of subcellular organelles except for degenerating mitochondria. Conclusions: The longitudinal processes are a common feature of glaucomatous optic nerve astrocytes, whereas they are not observed after traumatic nerve injury. Thus, astrocytes appear to fine-tune their responses to the nature and/or timing of the injury to the neurons that they surround.

Pan B, Askew C, Galvin A, Heman-Ackah S, Asai Y, Indzhykulian AA, Jodelka FM, Hastings ML, Lentz JJ, Vandenberghe LH, Holt JR, Géléoc GS. Gene therapy restores auditory and vestibular function in a mouse model of Usher syndrome type 1c. Nat Biotechnol 2017;35(3):264-272.Abstract

Because there are currently no biological treatments for hearing loss, we sought to advance gene therapy approaches to treat genetic deafness. We focused on Usher syndrome, a devastating genetic disorder that causes blindness, balance disorders and profound deafness, and studied a knock-in mouse model, Ush1c c.216G>A, for Usher syndrome type IC (USH1C). As restoration of complex auditory and balance function is likely to require gene delivery systems that target auditory and vestibular sensory cells with high efficiency, we delivered wild-type Ush1c into the inner ear of Ush1c c.216G>A mice using a synthetic adeno-associated viral vector, Anc80L65, shown to transduce 80-90% of sensory hair cells. We demonstrate recovery of gene and protein expression, restoration of sensory cell function, rescue of complex auditory function and recovery of hearing and balance behavior to near wild-type levels. The data represent unprecedented recovery of inner ear function and suggest that biological therapies to treat deafness may be suitable for translation to humans with genetic inner ear disorders.

Syed ZA, Sutula FC. Dynamic Intraductal Meibomian Probing: A Modified Approach to the Treatment of Obstructive Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg 2017;Abstract

PURPOSE: Obstructive meibomian gland dysfunction is a leading cause of ocular morbidity and its treatment remains a challenge. Meibomian gland probing was initially described in 2010. Here, the authors describe a modified technique, dynamic intraductal meibomian probing, which offers several advantages over the traditional approach including increased magnification, greater eyelid stabilization, enhanced anesthesia, and easier identification of gland orifices through the expression of meibum. METHODS: The authors conducted a retrospective chart review of 70 eyelids with treatment-resistant obstructive meibomian gland dysfunction undergoing dynamic intraductal meibomian probing between January 2013 and April 2015. RESULTS: Immediately after the procedure, 91.4% of cases experienced symptomatic improvement, and no complications were noted. CONCLUSIONS: Dynamic intraductal meibomian probing is an effective and safe treatment for obstructive meibomian gland dysfunction that is resistant to traditional therapies.

Van Tyne D, Gilmore MS. Raising the Alarmone: Within-Host Evolution of Antibiotic-Tolerant Enterococcus faecium. MBio 2017;8(1)Abstract

Enterococci are ancient commensal bacteria that recently emerged as leading causes of antibiotic-resistant, hospital-acquired infection. Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) epitomize why drug-resistant enterococcal infections are a problem: VRE readily colonize the antibiotic-perturbed gastrointestinal (GI) tract where they amplify to large numbers, and from there, they infect other body sites, including the bloodstream, urinary tract, and surgical wounds. VRE are resistant to many antimicrobials and host defenses, which facilitates establishment at the site of infection and confounds therapeutic clearance. Having evolved to colonize the GI tract, VRE are comparatively ill adapted to the human bloodstream. A recent study by Honsa and colleagues (E. S. Honsa et al., mBio 8:e02124-16, 2017, found that a strain of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium evolved antibiotic tolerance within the bloodstream of an immunocompromised host by activating the stringent response through mutation of relA Precisely how VRE colonize and infect and the selective pressures that led to the outgrowth of relA mutants are the subjects of ongoing research.

Landegger LD, Pan B, Askew C, Wassmer SJ, Gluck SD, Galvin A, Taylor R, Forge A, Stankovic KM, Holt JR, Vandenberghe LH. A synthetic AAV vector enables safe and efficient gene transfer to the mammalian inner ear. Nat Biotechnol 2017;35(3):280-284.Abstract

Efforts to develop gene therapies for hearing loss have been hampered by the lack of safe, efficient, and clinically relevant delivery modalities. Here we demonstrate the safety and efficiency of Anc80L65, a rationally designed synthetic vector, for transgene delivery to the mouse cochlea. Ex vivo transduction of mouse organotypic explants identified Anc80L65 from a set of other adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors as a potent vector for the cochlear cell targets. Round window membrane injection resulted in highly efficient transduction of inner and outer hair cells in mice, a substantial improvement over conventional AAV vectors. Anc80L65 round window injection was well tolerated, as indicated by sensory cell function, hearing and vestibular function, and immunologic parameters. The ability of Anc80L65 to target outer hair cells at high rates, a requirement for restoration of complex auditory function, may enable future gene therapies for hearing and balance disorders.

Jakobiec FA, Zakka FR, Tu Y, Freitag SK. Dermatofibroma of the Eyelid: Immunohistochemical Diagnosis. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg 2017;33(6):e134-e138.Abstract
A 66-year-old man developed a painless 2 mm to 3 mm recurrent nodule at the left upper eyelid margin. Excision disclosed a spindle cell lesion without frank atypia or mitotic activity growing in a twisted fascicular pattern often referred to as storiform. All the surgical margins were involved with tumor. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated that many of the constituent spindle and dendritic tumor cells were CD34, factor XIIIa, and CD 163, the latter 2 being biomarkers for monocytic lineage. The lesion was diagnosed as a dermatofibroma rather than a fibrous histiocytoma, a term that should be reserved for more aggressive lesions of deeper fascial planes. Facial dermatofibromas are rarer and more likely than those of the extremities to recur and therefore deserve wider local excision at first surgery with careful and frequent clinical follow ups. Eyelid dermatofibroma has probably often been misdiagnosed as another tumor in the past. Immunohistochemistry can supply valuable biomarker criteria for diagnosis.
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.