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Argüeso P. Human ocular mucins: The endowed guardians of sight. Adv Drug Deliv Rev 2022;180:114074.Abstract
Mucins are an ancient group of glycoproteins that provide viscoelastic, lubricating and hydration properties to fluids bathing wet surfaced epithelia. They are involved in the protection of underlying tissues by forming a barrier with selective permeability properties. The expression, processing and spatial distribution of mucins are often determined by organ-specific requirements that in the eye involve protecting against environmental insult while allowing the passage of light. The human ocular surface epithelia have evolved to produce an extremely thin and watery tear film containing a distinct soluble mucin product secreted by goblet cells outside the visual axis. The adaptation to the ocular environment is notably evidenced by the significant contribution of transmembrane mucins to the tear film, where they can occupy up to one-quarter of its total thickness. This article reviews the tissue-specific properties of human ocular mucins, methods of isolation and detection, and current approaches to model mucin systems recapitulating the human ocular surface mucosa. This knowledge forms the fundamental basis to develop applications with a promising biological and clinical impact.
Roldan AM, De Arrigunaga S, Ciolino JB. Effect of Autologous Serum Eye Drops on Corneal Haze after Corneal Cross-linking. Optom Vis Sci 2022;99(2):95-100.Abstract
SIGNIFICANCE: Corneal haze remains a frequent post-operative finding in patients undergoing corneal cross-linking. It has been shown that autologous serum tears promote epithelial healing and reduce post-operative pain; however, the role in the prevention of corneal haze has not been reported. PURPOSE: This study aimed to compare the effect of autologous serum tears versus preservative-free artificial tears on the prevention and resolution of post-cross-linking corneal haze. METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was conducted in a sample population from one surgeon at a tertiary eye center from 2016 to 2019. Seventy-six eyes of consecutive patients who underwent cross-linking were included. Records were reviewed for corneal Scheimpflug densitometry values and maximum keratometry, epithelial healing time, and the use of either autologous serum tears or preservative-free artificial tears. Corneal densitometry values, expressed in standardized grayscale units (GSU), were recorded for the anterior 150-μm corneal stroma and in the 0.0 to 2.0 mm and 2.0 to 6.0 mm zones. RESULTS: Forty-four eyes received autologous serum tears, whereas 32 eyes received preservative-free artificial tears. The baseline GSU of the anterior stromal 0 to 2 mm annulus and the 2 to 6 mm annulus did not significantly differ between groups (P = .50 and P = .40, respectively). There was a statistically significant increase in mean GSU for both anterior 0 to 2 mm and 2 to 6 mm zones between baseline and 1 month (P < .001) and 3 months (P < .001). When comparing the two groups, no statistically significant difference was found post-operatively between the mean GSU at 1 month for the anterior 0 to 2 mm (P = .38) nor the 2 to 6 mm zone (P = .12), or for the third month (P = .60 and P = .44, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Using Scheimpflug densitometry, we did not find a significant difference in the post-cross-linking corneal haze at 1 and 3 post-operative months between patients who use autologous serum tears and those who use preservative-free artificial tears.
Guzman Aparicio MA, Chen TC. New views on three-dimensional imaging technologies for glaucoma: an overview. Curr Opin Ophthalmol 2022;33(2):103-111.Abstract
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To summarize the literature on three-dimensional (3D) technological advances in ophthalmology, the quantitative methods associated with this, and their improved ability to help detect glaucoma disease progression. RECENT FINDINGS: Improvements in measuring glaucomatous structural changes are the result of dual innovations in optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging technology and in associated quantitative software. SUMMARY: Compared with two-dimensional (2D) OCT parameters, newer 3D parameters provide more data and fewer artifacts.
Collantes ERA, Delfin MS, Fan BJ, Torregosa JMR, Siguan-Bell C, de Florcruz NVG, Martinez JMD, Masna-Hidalgo BJ, Guzman VPT, Anotado-Flores JF, Levina FD, Hernandez SRC, Collantes AA, Sibulo MC, Rong SS, Wiggs JL. EFEMP1 rare variants cause familial juvenile-onset open-angle glaucoma. Hum Mutat 2022;43(2):240-252.Abstract
Juvenile open-angle glaucoma (JOAG) is a severe type of glaucoma with onset before age 40 and dominant inheritance. Using exome sequencing we identified 3 independent families from the Philippines with novel EFEMP1 variants (c.238A>T, p.Asn80Tyr; c.1480T>C, p.Ter494Glnext*29; and c.1429C>T, p.Arg477Cys) co-segregating with disease. Affected variant carriers (N = 34) exhibited severe disease with average age of onset of 16 years and with 76% developing blindness. To investigate functional effects, we transfected COS7 cells with vectors expressing the three novel EFEMP1 variants and showed that all three variants found in JOAG patients caused significant intracellular protein aggregation and retention compared to wild type and also compared to EFEMP1 variants associated with other ocular phenotypes including an early-onset form of macular degeneration, Malattia Leventinese/Doyne's Honeycomb retinal dystrophy. These results suggest that rare EFEMP1 coding variants can cause JOAG through a mechanism involving protein aggregation and retention, and that the extent of intracellular retention correlates with disease phenotype. This is the first report of EFEMP1 variants causing JOAG, expanding the EFEMP1 disease spectrum. Our results suggest that EFEMP1 mutations appear to be a relatively common cause of JOAG in Filipino families, an ethnically diverse population.
Gnanaguru G, Mackey A, Choi EY, Arta A, Rossato FA, Gero TW, Urquhart AJ, Scott DA, D'Amore PA, Ng YSE. Discovery of sterically-hindered phenol compounds with potent cytoprotective activities against ox-LDL-induced retinal pigment epithelial cell death as a potential pharmacotherapy. Free Radic Biol Med 2022;178:360-368.Abstract
Late-stage dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or geographic atrophy (GA) is an irreversible blinding condition characterized by degeneration of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and the associated photoreceptors. Clinical and genetic evidence supports a role for dysfunctional lipid processing and accumulation of harmful oxidized lipids in the pathogenesis of GA. Using an oxidized low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL)-induced RPE death assay, we screened and identified sterically-hindered phenol compounds with potent protective activities for RPE. The phenol-containing PPARγ agonist, troglitazone, protected against ox-LDL-induced RPE cell death, whereas other more potent PPARγ agonists did not protect RPE cells. Knockdown of PPARγ did not affect the protective activity of troglitazone in RPE, confirming the protective function is not due to the thiazolidine (TZD) group of troglitazone. Prototypical hindered phenol trolox and its analogs potently protected against ox-LDL-induced RPE cell death whereas potent antioxidants without the phenol group failed to protect RPE. Hindered phenols preserved lysosomal integrity against ox-LDL-induced damage and FITC-labeled trolox was localized to the lysosomes in RPE cells. Analogs of trolox inhibited reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation induced by ox-LDL uptake in a dose-dependent fashion and were effective at sub-micromolar concentrations. Treatment with trolox analog 2,2,5,7,8-pentamethyl-6-chromanol (PMC) significantly induced the expression of the lysosomal protein NPC-1 and reduced intracellular cholesterol level upon ox-LDL uptake. Our data indicate that the lysosomal-localized hindered phenols are uniquely potent in protecting the RPE against the toxic effects of ox-LDL, and may represent a novel pharmacotherapy to preserve the vision in patients with GA.
Kenyon KR. Comment on "Cornea Classic Article: Kim JC and Tseng SCG: Transplantation of Preserved Amniotic Membrane for Surface Reconstruction in Severely Damaged Rabbit Corneas (Cornea 1995;14:473-484)". Cornea 2022;41(2):135-136.Abstract
ABSTRACT: Following identification of limbal stem cells, efforts have been devoted to restore and/or replace these essential progenitors of the corneal epithelium. Limbal stem cell deficiency, commonly a consequence of ocular chemical injury, results in clinically compromised vision consequent to corneal conjunctivalization. The insight of Kim and Tseng provided experimental proof of the concept that even in the presence of total limbal stem cell deficiency, amnion membrane overlay grafts can promote limbal recovery as a means of ocular surface reconstruction.
Lužnik Marzidovšek Z, Blanco T, Sun Z, Alemi H, Ortiz G, Nakagawa H, Chauhan SK, Taylor AW, Jurkunas UV, Yin J, Dana R. The Neuropeptide Alpha-Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone Is Critical for Corneal Endothelial Cell Protection and Graft Survival after Transplantation. Am J Pathol 2022;192(2):270-280.Abstract
Corneal transplantation is the most common form of tissue transplantation. The success of corneal transplantation mainly relies on the integrity of corneal endothelial cells (CEnCs), which maintain tissue transparency by pumping out excess water from the cornea. After transplantation, the rate of CEnC loss far exceeds that seen with normal aging, which can threaten sight. The underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) is a neuropeptide that is constitutively found in the aqueous humor with both cytoprotective and immunomodulatory effects. The curent study found high expression of melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), the receptor for α-MSH, on CEnCs. The effect of α-MSH/MC1R signaling on endothelial function and allograft survival in vitro and in vivo was investigated using MC1R signaling-deficient mice (Mc1re/e mice with a nonfunctional MC1R). Herein, the results indicate that in addition to its well-known immunomodulatory effect, α-MSH has cytoprotective effects on CEnCs after corneal transplantation, and the loss of MC1R signaling significantly decreases long-term graft survival in vivo. In conclusion, α-MSH/MC1R signaling is critical for CEnC function and graft survival after corneal transplantation.
Scott HA, Larson A, Rong SS, Mehrotra S, Butcher R, Chao KR, Wiggs JL, Place EM, Pierce EA, Bujakowska KM. A hidden structural variation in a known IRD gene: a cautionary tale of two new disease candidate genes. Cold Spring Harb Mol Case Stud 2022;8(2)Abstract
Rod-cone dystrophy (RCD), also known as retinitis pigmentosa, is an inherited condition leading to vision loss, affecting 1 in 3500 people. More than 270 genes are known to be implicated in the inherited retinal degenerations (IRDs), yet genetic diagnosis for ∼30% of IRD of patients remains elusive despite advances in sequencing technologies. The goal of this study was to determine the genetic causality in a family with RCD. Family members were given a full ophthalmic exam at the Retinal Service at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and consented to genetic testing. Whole-exome sequencing (WES) was performed and variants of interest were Sanger-validated. Functional assays were conducted in zebrafish along with splicing assays in relevant cell lines to determine the impact on retinal function. WES identified variants in two potential candidate genes that segregated with disease: GNL3 (G Protein Nucleolar 3) c.1187 + 3A > C and c.1568-8C > A; and PDE4DIP (Phosphodiester 4D Interacting Protein) c.3868G > A (p.Glu1290Lys) and c.4603G > A (p.Ala1535Thr). Both genes were promising candidates based on their retinal involvement (development and interactions with IRD-associated proteins); however, the functional assays did not validate either gene. Subsequent WES reanalysis with an updated bioinformatics pipeline and widened search parameters led to the detection of a 94-bp duplication in PRPF31 (pre-mRNA Processing Factor 31) c.73_266dup (p.Asp56GlyfsTer33) as the causal variant. Our study demonstrates the importance of thorough functional characterization of new disease candidate genes and the value of reanalyzing next-generation sequencing sequence data, which in our case led to identification of a hidden pathogenic variant in a known IRD gene.
Xu J, Emmermann B, Bowers AR. Auditory Reminder Cues to Promote Proactive Scanning on Approach to Intersections in Drivers With Homonymous Hemianopia: Driving With Hemianopia, IX. JAMA Ophthalmol 2022;140(1):75-78.Abstract
Importance: Individuals with homonymous hemianopia (HH) are permitted to drive in some jurisdictions. They could compensate for their hemifield vision loss by scanning toward the blind side. However, some drivers with HH do not scan adequately well to the blind side when approaching an intersection, resulting in delayed responses to hazards. Objective: To evaluate whether auditory reminder cues promoted proactive scanning on approach to intersections. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cross-sectional, single-visit driving simulator study was conducted from October 2018 to May 2019 at a vision rehabilitation research laboratory. A volunteer sample of individuals with HH without visual neglect are included in this analysis. This post hoc analysis was completed in July and August 2020. Main Outcomes and Measures: Participants completed drives with and without scanning reminder cues (a single tone from a speaker on the blind side). Scanning was quantified by the percentage of intersections at which an early large scan was made (a scan with a head movement of at least 20° made before 30 m from the intersection). Responses to motorcycle hazards at intersections were quantified by the time to the first fixation and the time to the horn-press response. Results: Sixteen individuals were recruited and completed the study. Two were subsequently excluded from analyses. Thus, data from 14 participants (median [IQR] age, 54 [36-66] years; 13 men [93%]) were included. Stroke was the primary cause of the HH (10 participants [71%]). Six (43%) had right-sided HH. Participants were more likely to make an early large scan to the blind side in drives with vs without cues (65% vs 45%; difference, 20% [95% CI, 5%-37%]; P < .001). When participants made an early large scan to the blind side, they were faster to make their first fixation on blind-side motorcycles (mean [SD], 1.77 [1.34] vs 3.88 [1.17] seconds; difference, -2.11 [95% CI, -2.46 to -1.75] seconds; P < .001) and faster to press the horn (mean [SD], 2.54 [1.19] vs 4.54 [1.37] seconds; difference, -2.00 [95% CI, -2.38 to -1.62] seconds; P < .001) than when they did not make an early scan. Conclusions and Relevance: This post hoc analysis suggests that auditory reminder cues may promote proactive scanning, which may be associated with faster responses to hazards. This hypothesis should be considered in future prospective studies.
Zekavat SM, Raghu VK, Trinder M, Ye Y, Koyama S, Honigberg MC, Yu Z, Pampana A, Urbut S, Haidermota S, O'Regan DP, Zhao H, Ellinor PT, Segrè AV, Elze T, Wiggs JL, Martone J, Adelman RA, Zebardast N, Del Priore L, Wang JC, Natarajan P. Deep Learning of the Retina Enables Phenome- and Genome-Wide Analyses of the Microvasculature. Circulation 2022;145(2):134-150.Abstract
BACKGROUND: The microvasculature, the smallest blood vessels in the body, has key roles in maintenance of organ health and tumorigenesis. The retinal fundus is a window for human in vivo noninvasive assessment of the microvasculature. Large-scale complementary machine learning-based assessment of the retinal vasculature with phenome-wide and genome-wide analyses may yield new insights into human health and disease. METHODS: We used 97 895 retinal fundus images from 54 813 UK Biobank participants. Using convolutional neural networks to segment the retinal microvasculature, we calculated vascular density and fractal dimension as a measure of vascular branching complexity. We associated these indices with 1866 incident International Classification of Diseases-based conditions (median 10-year follow-up) and 88 quantitative traits, adjusting for age, sex, smoking status, and ethnicity. RESULTS: Low retinal vascular fractal dimension and density were significantly associated with higher risks for incident mortality, hypertension, congestive heart failure, renal failure, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, anemia, and multiple ocular conditions, as well as corresponding quantitative traits. Genome-wide association of vascular fractal dimension and density identified 7 and 13 novel loci, respectively, that were enriched for pathways linked to angiogenesis (eg, vascular endothelial growth factor, platelet-derived growth factor receptor, angiopoietin, and WNT signaling pathways) and inflammation (eg, interleukin, cytokine signaling). CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that the retinal vasculature may serve as a biomarker for future cardiometabolic and ocular disease and provide insights into genes and biological pathways influencing microvascular indices. Moreover, such a framework highlights how deep learning of images can quantify an interpretable phenotype for integration with electronic health record, biomarker, and genetic data to inform risk prediction and risk modification.
Warkad VU, Hunter DG, Dagi AF, MacKinnon S, Kazlas MA, Heidary G, Staffa SJ, Dagi LR. Impact of Adding Augmented Superior Rectus Transpositions to Medial Rectus Muscle Recessions When Treating Esotropic Moebius Syndrome. Am J Ophthalmol 2022;237:83-90.Abstract
PURPOSE: To describe outcomes after treatment of Moebius syndrome (MBS) esotropia by adjustable bilateral medial rectus recession (BMR) with and without augmented superior rectus transposition (SRT). DESIGN: Retrospective case series. METHODS: Patients meeting 2014 diagnostic criteria for MBS and treated at Boston Children's Hospital between 2003 and 2019 were identified via billing records and chart review. Visual acuity, sensorimotor evaluations, strabismus procedures, and other clinical features were recorded. Surgical outcomes for patients treated with strabismus surgery (excluding those with prior surgery elsewhere) were evaluated. The primary outcome measure was postoperative alignment comparing treatment by adjustable BMR vs adjustable BMR+SRT. RESULTS: A total of 20 patients had MBS, and 12 of these (60%) were male. Fifteen patients (75%) had primary position esotropia, and all had bilateral abduction deficit. Eight of 20 patients met inclusion criteria for primary strabismus surgery outcome. Five had undergone adjustable BMR ranging from 4.5 to 6.5 mm. Three had undergone adjustable BMR+SRT, all with 4-mm medial rectus muscle recessions. Mean preoperative esotropia before treatment by BMR was 39.5 PD (± 15 PD) with mean postoperative esotropia 9 PD (± 7.9 PD) at 6 months. Mean preoperative esotropia before treatment by BMR+SRT was 70.8 PD (± 5.9 PD) with mean postoperative esotropia 2.5 PD (± 3.5 PD) at 6 months. Significantly greater reduction in esotropia resulted from BMR+SRT than from BMR (P = .036). CONCLUSIONS: BMR proved sufficient to treat esotropia <50 PD and BMR+SRT for greater esotropia in patients with MBS-associated abduction limitation.

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