Lamont RE, Tan W-H, Innes MA, Parboosingh JS, Schneidman-Duhovny D, Rajkovic A, Pappas J, Altschwager P, DeWard S, Fulton A, Gray KJ, Krall M, Mehta L, Rodan LH, Saller DN, Steele D, Stein D, Yatsenko SA, Bernier FP, Slavotinek AM. Expansion of phenotype and genotypic data in CRB2-related syndrome. Eur J Hum Genet 2016;24(10):1436-44.Abstract

Sequence variants in CRB2 cause a syndrome with greatly elevated maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein and amniotic fluid alpha-fetoprotein levels, cerebral ventriculomegaly and renal findings similar to Finnish congenital nephrosis. All reported patients have been homozygotes or compound heterozygotes for sequence variants in the Crumbs, Drosophila, Homolog of, 2 (CRB2) genes. Variants affecting CRB2 function have also been identified in four families with steroid resistant nephrotic syndrome, but without any other known systemic findings. We ascertained five, previously unreported individuals with biallelic variants in CRB2 that were predicted to affect function. We compiled the clinical features of reported cases and reviewed available literature for cases with features suggestive of CRB2-related syndrome in order to better understand the phenotypic and genotypic manifestations. Phenotypic analyses showed that ventriculomegaly was a common clinical manifestation (9/11 confirmed cases), in contrast to the original reports, in which patients were ascertained due to renal disease. Two children had minor eye findings and one was diagnosed with a B-cell lymphoma. Further genetic analysis identified one family with two affected siblings who were both heterozygous for a variant in NPHS2 predicted to affect function and separate families with sequence variants in NPHS4 and BBS7 in addition to the CRB2 variants. Our report expands the clinical phenotype of CRB2-related syndrome and establishes ventriculomegaly and hydrocephalus as frequent manifestations. We found additional sequence variants in genes involved in kidney development and ciliopathies in patients with CRB2-related syndrome, suggesting that these variants may modify the phenotype.

Besner S, Scarcelli G, Pineda R, Yun S-H. In Vivo Brillouin Analysis of the Aging Crystalline Lens. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2016;57(13):5093-5100.Abstract

Purpose: To analyze the age dependence of the longitudinal modulus of the crystalline lens in vivo using Brillouin scattering data in healthy subjects. Methods: Brillouin scans were performed along the crystalline lens in 56 eyes from 30 healthy subjects aged from 19 to 63 years. Longitudinal elastic modulus was acquired along the sagittal axis of the lens with a transverse and axial resolution of 4 and 60 μm, respectively. The relative lens stiffness was computed, and correlations with age were analyzed. Results: Brillouin axial profiles revealed nonuniform longitudinal modulus within the lens, increasing from a softer periphery toward a stiffer central plateau at all ages. The longitudinal modulus at the central plateau showed no age dependence in a range of 19 to 45 years and a slight decrease with age from 45 to 63 years. A significant intersubject variability was observed in an age-matched analysis. Importantly, the extent of the central stiff plateau region increased steadily over age from 19 to 63 years. The slope of change in Brillouin modulus in the peripheral regions were nearly age-invariant. Conclusions: The adult human lens showed no measurable age-related increase in the peak longitudinal modulus. The expansion of the stiff central region of the lens is likely to be the major contributing factor to age-related lens stiffening. Brillouin microscopy may be useful in characterizing the crystalline lens for the optimization of surgical or pharmacological treatments aimed at restoring accommodative power.

Wang Z, Liu C-H, Sun Y, Gong Y, Favazza TL, Morss PC, Saba NJ, Fredrick TW, He X, Akula JD, Chen J. Pharmacologic Activation of Wnt Signaling by Lithium Normalizes Retinal Vasculature in a Murine Model of Familial Exudative Vitreoretinopathy. Am J Pathol 2016;186(10):2588-600.Abstract

Familial exudative vitreoretinopathy (FEVR) is characterized by delayed retinal vascular development, which promotes hypoxia-induced pathologic vessels. In severe cases FEVR may lead to retinal detachment and visual impairment. Genetic studies linked FEVR with mutations in Wnt signaling ligand or receptors, including low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 5 (LRP5) gene. Here, we investigated ocular pathologies in a Lrp5 knockout (Lrp5(-/-)) mouse model of FEVR and explored whether treatment with a pharmacologic Wnt activator lithium could bypass the genetic defects, thereby protecting against eye pathologies. Lrp5(-/-) mice displayed significantly delayed retinal vascular development, absence of deep layer retinal vessels, leading to increased levels of vascular endothelial growth factor and subsequent pathologic glomeruloid vessels, as well as decreased inner retinal visual function. Lithium treatment in Lrp5(-/-) mice significantly restored the delayed development of retinal vasculature and the intralaminar capillary networks, suppressed formation of pathologic glomeruloid structures, and promoted hyaloid vessel regression. Moreover, lithium treatment partially rescued inner-retinal visual function and increased retinal thickness. These protective effects of lithium were largely mediated through restoration of canonical Wnt signaling in Lrp5(-/-) retina. Lithium treatment also substantially increased vascular tubular formation in LRP5-deficient endothelial cells. These findings suggest that pharmacologic activation of Wnt signaling may help treat ocular pathologies in FEVR and potentially other defective Wnt signaling-related diseases.


PURPOSE: To describe the clinical course, visual outcome, and prognosis of isolated, idiopathic retinal vasculitis. METHODS: Eighty patients (150 eyes) with isolated, idiopathic retinal vasculitis were included. Demographic data, clinical data, complications at the initial visit and during follow-up, fluorescein angiography, and optical coherence tomography findings were collected from the Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institution (MERSI) database from September 2005 to February 2015. RESULTS: Seventy-five (93.7%) patients required treatment with immunomodulatory therapy. Of those 75 patients, 60 (75%) patients were able to achieve durable remission. Factors which were independently significant predictive of poor visual outcome were lower initial visual acuity (OR: 3.78; 95% CI: 1.75-8.16; P = 0.001), cystoid macular edema (OR: 5.54; 95% CI: 1.81-16.99; P = 0.003), and macular ischemia (OR: 5.12; 95% CI: 1.12-23.04; P = 0.036). CONCLUSION: The majority (67.25%) of our patients enjoyed a good visual outcome (most recent visit best-corrected visual acuity equal to or better than 20/40 and within one line or better from the baseline) with immunomodulatory therapy. We found that cystoid macular edema, macular ischemia, and lower best-corrected visual acuity during the first consultation visit were significant independent risk factors for poor visual outcome.

Satoh M, Namba K-I, Kitaichi N, Endo N, Kitamei H, Iwata D, Ohno S, Ishida S, Onoé K, Watarai H, Taniguchi M, Ishibashi T, Stein-Streilein J, Sonoda K-H, Van Kaer L, Iwabuchi K. Invariant natural killer T cells play dual roles in the development of experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis. Exp Eye Res 2016;153:79-89.Abstract

Experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis (EAU) represents an experimental model for human endogenous uveitis, which is caused by Th1/Th17 cell-mediated inflammation. Natural killer T (NKT) cells recognize lipid antigens and produce large amounts of cytokines upon activation. To examine the role of NKT cells in the development of uveitis, EAU was elicited by immunization with a peptide from the human interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein (hIRBP1-20) in complete Freund's adjuvant and histopathology scores were evaluated in C57BL/6 (WT) and NKT cell-deficient mice. NKT cell-deficient mice developed more severe EAU pathology than WT mice. When WT mice were treated with ligands of the invariant subset of NKT cells (α-GalCer or RCAI-56), EAU was ameliorated in mice treated with RCAI-56 but not α-GalCer. IRBP-specific Th1/Th17 cytokines were reduced in RCAI-56-treated compared with vehicle-treated mice. Although the numbers of IRBP-specific T cells detected by hIRBP3-13/I-A(b) tetramers in the spleen and the draining lymph node were the same for vehicle and RCAI-56 treatment groups, RORγt expression by tetramer-positive cells in RCAI-56-treated mice was lower than in control mice. Moreover, the eyes of RCAI-56-treated mice contained fewer IRBP-specific T cells compared with control mice. These results suggest that invariant NKT (iNKT) cells suppress the induction of Th17 cells and infiltration of IRBP-specific T cells into the eyes, thereby reducing ocular inflammation. However, in sharp contrast to the ameliorating effects of iNKT cell activation during the initiation phase of EAU, iNKT cell activation during the effector phase exacerbated disease pathology. Thus, we conclude that iNKT cells exhibit dual roles in the development of EAU.

Kocaba V, Damour O, Auxenfans C, Burillon C. [Limbal stem cell deficiency management. A review]. J Fr Ophtalmol 2016;39(9):791-803.Abstract

Limbal stem cell deficiency is predominantly caused by severe eye burns resulting in a decreased or a complete ablation of the regenerative potential of these stem cells. The inability to reconstruct the corneal epithelium further leads conjunctivalization of the gimbal-epithelial barrier. These abnormalities collectively result in the progressive opacification of the cornea responsible for blindness that is driven by chronic corneal ulceration and neovascularization. The underlying pathology of the cornea affects the homeostasis of the neighboring conjunctiva, eyelids, and tear film. Therefore, the ocular reconstruction to treat limbal stem cell deficiency is quite prolonged and involves a continued treatment plan. The management of limbal stem cell deficiency has undergone a multitude of changes over the past several decades. The understanding of limbal anatomy and physiology, as well as therapeutic advances in the stem cell field have propelled the development of new treatments offering new hope to severely disabled patients. Cultivated limbal epithelial and oral mucosal epithelial transplantations are therefore viable alternatives that could be utilized for the treatment of limbal stem cell deficiency.

Ebrahimiadib N, Modjtahedi BS, Davoudi S, Foster SC. Treatment of Serpiginous Choroiditis with Chlorambucil: A Report of 17 Patients. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2016;:1-11.Abstract

PURPOSE: To evaluate the efficacy of chlorambucil in the treatment of serpiginous choroiditis. METHODS: Patient records from the Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institution (MERSI) were reviewed from over the past 10 years. In total, 17 patients with the diagnosis of serpiginous choroiditis treated with chlorambucil were identified. QuantiFERON gold was negative in all of them. Chlorambucil was started at 0.15 mg/kg and dosage was titrated up using weekly white blood cell (WBC) count to achieve a target cell number of 3.0-4.5 × 10(9) cells/L. The goal of therapy was to maintain this value for at least 6-9 months. Adverse effects, recurrence, rate of new choroidal neovascularization (CNVM), and visual acuity before and after treatment were recorded. RESULTS: The mean age of the 17 patients with the diagnosis of serpiginous choroiditis treated with chlorambucil was 46 years, and six patients (35%) were male. The mean duration of treatment for chlorambucil was 8.4 months. None of them developed cancer or persistent side-effects, with a mean follow-up of 53 months. Of the patients, 12 (71%) achieved an average of 45 (5-120) months drug-free remission in their last follow-up. Visual acuity of 33 treated eyes remained within two lines of Snellen acuity in 27 eyes (82%), improved in one eye (3%), and deteriorated in five eyes (15%). Leukopenia was the most common side-effect, which was reversible in all cases. CONCLUSIONS: Chlorambucil in a relatively short duration of time, with an escalating dose guided by weekly WBC was well tolerated, as well as effective in preventing recurrence and maintaining vision in patients with serpiginous choroiditis.

Uchino Y, Woodward AM, Argüeso P. Differential effect of rebamipide on transmembrane mucin biosynthesis in stratified ocular surface epithelial cells. Exp Eye Res 2016;153:1-7.Abstract

Mucins are a group of highly glycosylated glycoproteins responsible for the protection of wet-surfaced epithelia. Recent data indicate that transmembrane mucins differ in their contribution to the protective function of the ocular surface, with MUC16 being the most effective barrier on the apical surface glycocalyx. Here, we investigated the role of the mucoprotective drug rebamipide in the regulation of transmembrane mucin biosynthesis using stratified cultures of human corneal and conjunctival epithelial cells. We find that the addition of rebamipide to corneal, but not conjunctival, epithelial cells increased MUC16 protein biosynthesis. Rebamipide did not affect the levels of MUC1, 4 and 20 compared to control. In these experiments, rebamipide had no effect on the expression levels of Notch intracellular domains, suggesting that the rebamipide-induced increase in MUC16 biosynthesis in differentiated corneal cultures is not regulated by Notch signaling. Overall these findings indicate that rebamipide induces the differential upregulation of MUC16 in stratified cultures of human corneal epithelial cells, which may have implications to the proper restoration of barrier function in ocular surface disease.

Ramachandran P, Lee V, Wei Z, Song JY, Casal G, Cronin T, Willett K, Huckfeldt R, Morgan JIW, Aleman TS, Maguire AM, Bennett J. Evaluation of dose and safety of AAV7m8 and AAV8BP2 in the non-human primate retina. Hum Gene Ther 2016;Abstract

Within the next decade, we will see many gene therapy clinical trials for eye diseases progress, which may lead to treatments for thousands of visually impaired people around the world. To target retinal diseases that affect specific cell types, several recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) serotypes have been generated and used successfully in pre-clinical mouse studies. Because there are numerous anatomic, and physiologic differences between the eyes of mice and 'men' and because surgical delivery approaches and immunologic responses also differ between these species, we evaluated the transduction characteristics of two promising new serotypes AAV7m8 and AAV8BP2, in retinas of animals that are most similar to those of humans: non-human primates (NHPs). We report that while AAV7m8 efficiently targets a variety of cell types by subretinal injection in NHPs, transduction after intravitreal delivery was mostly restricted to the inner retina at lower doses that did not induce an immune response. AAV8BP2 targets the cone photoreceptors efficiently but bipolar cells inefficiently by subretinal injection. Additionally, we observed transduction of both serotypes in the anterior chamber of the eye and the optic pathway of the brain post intravitreal delivery. Finally, we assessed immunogenicity, keeping in mind that these AAV capsids may be used in future clinical trials. We found that AAV8BP2 had a better safety profile compared to AAV7m8 even at the highest doses administered. Our studies underscore the differences in AAV transduction between mice and primates highlighting the importance of careful evaluation of therapeutic vectors in NHPs prior to moving into clinical trials.

Ianchulev T, Chayet A, Kahook M, Packer M, Pasquale L, Weinreb RN. Pharmacodynamic profile of mydriatic agents delivered by ocular piezo-ejection microdosing compared with conventional eyedropper. Ther Deliv 2016;Abstract

AIM: Eyedroppers deliver medication volumes exceeding conjunctival absorptive capacity, causing spillage and risking ocular/systemic complications. We evaluated piezoelectric microdosing. Results/methodology: Subjects (n = 102) received precision microdroplet delivery of phenylephrine (2.5%) and tropicamide (1.0%): 1 × 1.5 μl, 1 × 6 μl or 2 × 3 μl of each (randomized 1:1:1), into one eye. Contralateral eyes received eyedropper doses of both drugs. Outcomes were pupil dilation (0-60 min) and patient satisfaction. Six-microliter microdosing achieved comparable, and 2 × 3 μl met/exceeded dilation speed and magnitude versus eyedropper. Separately, participants preferred piezoelectric saline self-delivery to eyedroppers, reporting better head-positioning comfort, reduced tearing/overflow and increased likelihood of adhering to ocular medication regimens. CONCLUSION: Piezoelectric microdosing achieves comparable effects as eyedroppers delivering 4-17-fold larger doses. Microdosing may enhance patient adherence to ocular medication regimens while minimizing side effects.

Arno G, Hull S, Carss K, Dev-Borman A, Chakarova C, Bujakowska K, van den Born I, Robson AG, Holder GE, Michaelides M, Cremers FPM, Pierce E, Raymond LF, Moore AT, Webster AR. Reevaluation of the Retinal Dystrophy Due to Recessive Alleles of RGR With the Discovery of a Cis-Acting Mutation in CDHR1. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2016;57(11):4806-13.Abstract

PURPOSE: Mutation of RGR, encoding retinal G-protein coupled receptor was originally reported in association with retinal dystrophy in 1999. A single convincing recessive variant segregated perfectly in one family of five affected and two unaffected siblings. At least one further individual, homozygous for the same variant has since been reported. The aim of this report was to reevaluate the findings in consideration of data from a whole genome sequencing (WGS) study of a large cohort of retinal dystrophy families. METHODS: Whole genome sequencing was performed on 599 unrelated probands with inherited retinal disease. Detailed phenotyping was performed, including clinical evaluation, electroretinography, fundus photography, fundus autofluorescence imaging (FAF) and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT). RESULTS: Overall we confirmed that affected individuals from six unrelated families were homozygous for both the reported RGR p.Ser66Arg variant and a nearby frameshifting deletion in CDHR1 (p.Ile841Serfs119*). All had generalized rod and cone dysfunction with severe macular involvement. An additional proband was heterozygous for the same CDHR1/RGR haplotype but also carried a second null CDHR1 mutation on a different haplotype. A comparison of the clinical presentation of the probands reported here with other CDHR1-related retinopathy patients shows the phenotypes to be similar in presentation, severity, and rod/cone involvement. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that the recessive retinal disorder previously reported to be due to homozygous mutation in RGR is, at least in part, due to variants in CDHR1 and that the true consequences of RGR knock-out on human retinal structure and function are yet to be determined.

Yamaguchi M, Nakao S, Kaizu Y, Kobayashi Y, Nakama T, Arima M, Yoshida S, Oshima Y, Takeda A, Ikeda Y, Mukai S, Ishibashi T, Sonoda K-H. High-Resolution Imaging by Adaptive Optics Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscopy Reveals Two Morphologically Distinct Types of Retinal Hard Exudates. Sci Rep 2016;6:33574.Abstract

Histological studies from autopsy specimens have characterized hard exudates as a composition of lipid-laden macrophages or noncellular materials including lipid and proteinaceous substances (hyaline substances). However, the characteristics of hard exudates in living patients have not been examined due to insufficient resolution of existing equipment. In this study, we used adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (AO-SLO) to examine the characteristics of hard exudates in patients with retinal vascular diseases. High resolution imaging using AO-SLO enables morphological classification of retinal hard exudates into two types, which could not be distinguished either on fundus examination or by spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT). One, termed a round type, consisted of an accumulation of spherical particles (average diameter of particles: 26.9 ± 4.4 μm). The other, termed an irregular type, comprised an irregularly shaped hyper-reflective deposition. The retinal thickness in regions with round hard exudates was significantly greater than the thickness in regions with irregular hard exudates (P = 0.01 →0.02). This differentiation of retinal hard exudates in patients by AO-SLO may help in understanding the pathogenesis and clinical prognosis of retinal vascular diseases.

Subbarayal B, Chauhan SK, Di Zazzo A, Dana R. IL-17 Augments B Cell Activation in Ocular Surface Autoimmunity. J Immunol 2016;197(9):3464-3470.Abstract

Accumulating evidence shows that IL-17 is critically involved in diverse autoimmune diseases. However, its effect on the induction and progression of the humoral immune response is not fully understood. Using a preclinical model of IL-17-mediated dry eye disease, we demonstrate that upon encountering both the BCR and a secondary T cell signal, IL-17 can enhance B cell proliferation and germinal center formation in dry eye disease mice, suggesting that a stable Ag-dependent T-B cell interaction is required. Additionally, IL-17 also promotes the differentiation of B cells into isotype-switched B cells and plasma cells. Furthermore, we show that Th17 cells are more effective than Th1 cells to provide B cell help. Reduced B cell response correlates with significant reduction in clinical disease after in vivo IL-17A neutralization. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate a new role of IL-17 in promoting autoimmunity in part through directly enhancing B cell proliferation, differentiation, and plasma cell generation.