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.

Hellström A, Ley D, Hansen-Pupp I, Hallberg B, Ramenghi LA, Löfqvist C, Smith LEH, Hård A-L. Role of Insulinlike Growth Factor 1 in Fetal Development and in the Early Postnatal Life of Premature Infants. Am J Perinatol 2016;33(11):1067-71.Abstract

The neonatal period of very preterm infants is often characterized by a difficult adjustment to extrauterine life, with an inadequate nutrient supply and insufficient levels of growth factors, resulting in poor growth and a high morbidity rate. Long-term multisystem complications include cognitive, behavioral, and motor dysfunction as a result of brain damage as well as visual and hearing deficits and metabolic disorders that persist into adulthood. Insulinlike growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is a major regulator of fetal growth and development of most organs especially the central nervous system including the retina. Glucose metabolism in the developing brain is controlled by IGF-1 which also stimulates differentiation and prevents apoptosis. Serum concentrations of IGF-1 decrease to very low levels after very preterm birth and remain low for most of the perinatal development. Strong correlations have been found between low neonatal serum concentrations of IGF-1 and poor brain and retinal growth as well as poor general growth with multiorgan morbidities, such as intraventricular hemorrhage, retinopathy of prematurity, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and necrotizing enterocolitis. Experimental and clinical studies indicate that early supplementation with IGF-1 can improve growth in catabolic states and reduce brain injury after hypoxic/ischemic events. A multicenter phase II study is currently underway to determine whether intravenous replacement of human recombinant IGF-1 up to normal intrauterine serum concentrations can improve growth and development and reduce prematurity-associated morbidities.

Gao X, Nannini DR, Corrao K, Torres M, Chen Y-DI, Fan BJ, Wiggs JL, Wiggs JL, Taylor KD, James Gauderman W, Rotter JI, Varma R. Genome-Wide Association Study Identifies WNT7B as a Novel Locus for Central Corneal Thickness in Latinos. Hum Mol Genet 2016;Abstract

The cornea is the outermost layer of the eye and is a vital component of focusing incoming light on the retina. Central corneal thickness (CCT) is now recognized to have a significant role in ocular health and is a risk factor for various ocular diseases, such as keratoconus and primary open angle glaucoma. Most previous genetic studies utilized European and Asian subjects to identify genetic loci associated with CCT. Minority populations, such as Latinos, may aid in identifying additional loci and improve our understanding of the genetic architecture of CCT. In this study, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in Latinos, a traditionally understudied population in genetic research, to further identify loci contributing to CCT. Study participants were genotyped using either the Illumina OmniExpress BeadChip (∼730K markers) or the Illumina Hispanic/SOL BeadChip (∼2.5 million markers). All study participants were 40 years of age and older. We assessed the association between individual single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and CCT using linear regression, adjusting for age, gender, and principal components of genetic ancestry. To expand genomic coverage and to interrogate additional SNPs, we imputed SNPs from the 1000 Genomes Project reference panels. We identified a novel SNP, rs10453441 (P = 6.01E-09), in an intron of WNT7B that is associated with CCT. Furthermore, WNT7B is expressed in the human cornea. We also replicated 11 previously reported loci, including IBTK, RXRA-COL5A1, COL5A1, FOXO1, LRRK1, and ZNF469 (P < 1.25E-3). These findings provide further insight into the genetic architecture of CCT and illustrate that the use of minority groups in GWAS will help identify additional loci.

Davoudi S, Papavasileiou E, Roohipoor R, Cho H, Kudrimoti S, Hancock H, Hoadley S, Andreoli C, Husain D, James M, Penman A, Chen CJ, Sobrin L. OPTICAL COHERENCE TOMOGRAPHY CHARACTERISTICS OF MACULAR EDEMA AND HARD EXUDATES AND THEIR ASSOCIATION WITH LIPID SERUM LEVELS IN TYPE 2 DIABETES. Retina 2016;36(9):1622-9.Abstract

PURPOSE: To determine whether hyperreflective foci (HF) and macular thickness on spectral domain ocular coherence tomography are associated with lipid levels in patients with Type 2 diabetes. METHODS: Two hundred and thirty-eight participants from four sites had fundus photographs and spectral domain ocular coherence tomography images graded for hard exudates and HF, respectively. Regression models were used to determine the association between serum lipid levels and 1) presence of HF and hard exudates and 2) central subfield macular thickness, central subfield macular volume, and total macular volume. RESULTS: All patients with hard exudates on fundus photographs had corresponding HF on spectral domain ocular coherence tomography, but 57% of patients with HF on optical coherence tomography did not have hard exudates detected in their fundus photographs. Presence of HF was associated with higher total cholesterol (odds ratio = 1.13, 95% confidence interval = 1.01-1.27, P = 0.03) and higher low-density lipoprotein levels (odds ratio = 1.17, 95% confidence interval = 1.02-1.35, P = 0.02) in models adjusting for other risk factors. The total macular volume was also associated with higher total cholesterol (P = 0.009) and triglyceride (P = 0.02) levels after adjusting for other risk factors. CONCLUSION: Higher total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol were associated with presence of HF on spectral domain ocular coherence tomography. Total macular volume was associated with higher total cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Van Tyne D, Ciolino JB, Wang J, Durand ML, Gilmore MS. Novel Phagocytosis-Resistant Extended-Spectrum β-Lactamase-Producing Escherichia coli From Keratitis. JAMA Ophthalmol 2016;134(11):1306-1309.Abstract

Importance: Extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli are highly antibiotic resistant, and primary ocular infection by ESBL E coli has rarely been reported. A novel mutation conferring phagocytosis resistance would position a strain well to infect the cornea. Observations: A woman with recurrent keratitis presented with a corneal ulcer, which was culture positive for ESBL E coli. Resistant to nearly all other antimicrobials, the infection was treated with amikacin and polymyxin B-trimethoprim, and the ulcer resolved over 3 weeks. Analysis of the E coli genome showed it to belong to multilocus sequence type 131 (ST131). This isolate was found to possess a novel deletion in yrfF, an essential regulator of bacterial capsule synthesis. Disruption of yrfF, which confers mucoidy and increased virulence, has not been previously observed in ESBL E coli from any infection site. This novel variant was experimentally proven to cause the mucoid phenotype, and corresponding resistance to phagocytic killing. Conclusions and Relevance: Increased resistance to immune clearance in an ESBL E coli lineage already known for its virulence is an unsettling development. This phenotype, which likely positioned it as an unusual cause of corneal ulcer, can be easily recognized in the laboratory, which should help limit its spread.