Shikari H, Amparo F, Saboo U, Dana R. Onset of ocular graft-versus-host disease symptoms after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Cornea 2015;34(3):243-7.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: To study the factors affecting the time to onset of ocular graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT). METHODS: A retrospective chart review of 200 patients with ocular GVHD was performed to evaluate the association between various donor-recipient characteristics and the time to onset of ocular GVHD after allo-HSCT. RESULTS: The median time to onset of chronic ocular GVHD after allo-HSCT was 293 days (range, 26-2308 days). Patients receiving fully human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched transplants had a delayed onset of ocular GVHD (median, 294 days) compared with mismatched transplants (219 days; P = 0.029). HLA-matched transplants from related donors had delayed onset of ocular GVHD (307 days) compared with HLA-matched (286 days; P = 0.168) and HLA-mismatched (231 days; P = 0.015) transplants from unrelated donors. Ocular GVHD followed systemic GVHD in 76% of patients but preceded systemic disease in 7%, occurred concurrently in 15%, and was not associated with systemic GVHD in 2% of patients. The time elapsed between the occurrence of systemic and ocular GVHD was significantly longer in matched-related transplants (250 days) than in matched-unrelated transplants (120 days; P = 0.004). CONCLUSIONS: The onset of ocular GVHD after allo-HSCT is variable and is influenced by donor-recipient matching characteristics. In the majority of patients with GVHD, ocular involvement follows the occurrence of systemic manifestations; however, importantly, it can also precede or develop independently of systemic disease in a minority of patients. Regular ophthalmic follow-up is recommended after allo-HSCT regardless of concurrent systemic GVHD status.
de Waard NE, Cao J, McGuire SP, Kolovou PE, Jordanova ES, Ksander BR, Jager MJ. A murine model for metastatic conjunctival melanoma. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2015;Abstract

Purpose: Conjunctival melanoma (CM) is an ocular malignancy with a high rate of local recurrences after treatment, and can give rise to deadly metastases. The establishment of a murine model will further our understanding of this disease and allows in vivo testing of new therapies. We therefore analyzed the ability of three CM cell lines to grow orthotopically and spread to distant sites. Furthermore, we determined the characteristics of the xenografts and their metastases. Methods: Orthotopic xenografts of human CM were established by subconjunctival injection of three different CM cell lines into NOD/SCID IL2 rγnull mice. Singe cell suspensions were generated from the primary tumors and placed subconjunctivally in another set of mice, which were then screened for metastases. The presence of melanoma markers were determined on the cell lines and during tumor development. Results: Subconjunctival injection of cultured CM cells into immunodeficient mice led to excellent subconjunctival tumor growth in all inoculated mice (n=101) within two weeks; however, no metastases were found at the time of autopsy. Serial in vivo passage of primary tumor cells resulted in metastatic tumors in the draining lymph nodes (n=21). The CM cell lines as well as the tumor xenografts and their metastases were positive for the melanoma markers HMB-45, S100B, and MART-1. Two cell lines and their corresponding xenografts carried a BRAF mutation, the third showed an NRAS mutation. Conclusions: We established a murine model for CM which shows excellent the formation of metastases in a pattern that accurately resembles metastatic human CM following in vivo passaging.

Uchino Y, Mauris J, Woodward AM, Dieckow J, Amparo F, Dana R, Mantelli F, Argüeso P. Alteration of galectin-3 in tears of patients with dry eye disease. Am J Ophthalmol 2015;159(6):1027-1035.e3.Abstract
PURPOSE: To investigate the expression, release, and proteolytic degradation of galectin-3 in patients with dry eye disease. DESIGN: Observational case series with a comparison group. METHODS: Tear washes and conjunctival impression cytology specimens were collected through standard procedures from 16 patients with dry eye and 11 age-matched healthy subjects. Galectin-3 content in tears was analyzed by quantitative Western blot, using recombinant galectin-3 protein to generate a calibration curve. The relative expression of galectin-3 and matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) was evaluated by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The cleavage of galectin-3 was studied in vitro using activated recombinant MMP9 and protease inhibitors. RESULTS: The concentration of galectin-3 protein in tears, but not galectin-3 expression in conjunctival epithelium, was significantly higher in tears of patients with dry eye (0.38 ng/μg total protein, range 0.04-1.36) compared to healthy subjects (0.12 ng/μg total protein, range 0.00-0.41) (P < .01). By Western blot, an intact (∼28.0 kDa) galectin-3 band was identified in tear samples from healthy subjects, whereas 50% of the dry eye samples were characterized by the additional presence of a partially degraded form (∼25.4 kDa). In our experiments, elevated expression of MMP9 in dry eye subjects correlated with the ability of active MMP9 to cleave galectin-3 from recombinant origin. Interestingly, cleavage of endogenous galectin-3 in tear samples was impaired using a broad-spectrum proteinase inhibitor cocktail, but not the pan-specific MMP inhibitor GM6001, suggesting the presence of proteases other than MMPs in promoting galectin-3 degradation in dry eye. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that release of cellular galectin-3 into tears is associated with epithelial dysfunction in dry eye, and that galectin-3 proteolytic cleavage may contribute to impaired ocular surface barrier function.
Pemberton JD, MacIntosh PW, Zeglam A, Fay A. Naphazoline as a confounder in the diagnosis of carotid artery dissection. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg 2015;31(2):e33-5.Abstract

Diagnosing Horner Syndrome can be difficult in the setting of an incomplete triad. A 27-year-old man presented with unilateral eyelid droop and intermittent ipsilateral headaches, having already seen 7 physicians. Physical examination revealed unilateral ptosis but no pupillary miosis or facial anhidrosis. Inspection of his clinical photographs revealed elevation of the ipsilateral lower eyelid, suggesting sympathetic dysfunction. On further questioning, he admitted to naphazoline dependence. Reexamination after ceasing the naphazoline unveiled the anisocoria. Vascular imaging subsequently revealed carotid dissection, and the patient was started on anticoagulant and antiplatelet therapy. The ptosis persisted after conjunctival Müllerectomy. External levator resection was recommended, but patient declined. This case underscores the importance of clinical photography, meticulous medical record review, and complete medication history including over-the-counter preparations. Clinicians should meticulously inspect the lower eyelid in cases of atypical blepharoptosis and consider the effects of eye drops when inspecting pupils for miosis.

Singer JM, Madsen JR, Anderson WS, Kreiman G. Sensitivity to timing and order in human visual cortex. J Neurophysiol 2015;113(5):1656-69.Abstract

Visual recognition takes a small fraction of a second and relies on the cascade of signals along the ventral visual stream. Given the rapid path through multiple processing steps between photoreceptors and higher visual areas, information must progress from stage to stage very quickly. This rapid progression of information suggests that fine temporal details of the neural response may be important to the brain's encoding of visual signals. We investigated how changes in the relative timing of incoming visual stimulation affect the representation of object information by recording intracranial field potentials along the human ventral visual stream while subjects recognized objects whose parts were presented with varying asynchrony. Visual responses along the ventral stream were sensitive to timing differences as small as 17 ms between parts. In particular, there was a strong dependency on the temporal order of stimulus presentation, even at short asynchronies. From these observations we infer that the neural representation of complex information in visual cortex can be modulated by rapid dynamics on scales of tens of milliseconds.

Lefebvre DR, Yoon MK. CT-Based Measurements of the Sphenoid Trigone in Different Sex and Race. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg 2015;31(2):155-8.Abstract

PURPOSE: In thyroid orbitopathy, surgical treatment of exophthalmos and compressive optic neuropathy is orbital decompression. Deep lateral wall decompression has been advocated alone or combined with the medial wall for a "balanced" decompression. The degree of lateral decompression is dependent on the volume of the sphenoid trigone comprising the deep lateral orbital wall. This study aims to compare the volume of the trigone in various races in men and women. METHODS: After Institutional Review Board approval, patients with normal sinus CT scans (Siemens Somatom 40-slice) were retrospectively reviewed. Inclusion criteria were men and women aged 30 to 60 years, no orbital disease or surgery, normal orbital CT scans, and self-reported race (Asian, black/African American, white). Scans were measured with imaging software (Synapse, Fujifilm USA). The superior and inferior extents of the measured trigone were the superior and inferior orbital fissures, respectively. In the axial CT plane, the areas of each slice of the right and left trigone were manually outlined with the software and volume subsequently calculated based on the slice thickness (2 mm). Comparisons between groups were made via repeated measures analysis of variance. RESULTS: One hundred twenty subjects were included, 20 from each subgroup, yielding 240 measured orbits. The overall volume of the sphenoid trigone for all groups combined was 1.53 cm (standard deviation 0.72 cm). Mean male volume was significantly larger than mean female volume (1.71 ± 0.83 cm vs. 1.35 ± 0.55 cm; p = 0.004). Average left side volume was larger than paired right side volume (1.58 ± 0.74 cm vs. 1.49 ± 0.71 cm; p = 0.02). There were no significant differences in average volumes between races (p = 0.17). CONCLUSIONS: The mean sphenoid trigone volume was larger in men than in women. There were no significant differences in volume between racial groups. The data showed significant interindividual and intraindividual variability. When analyzing these data for the purposes of orbital decompression, planning should be based on each side of each patient, as the expected degree of lateral decompression may vary greatly.

Hamrah P, Sahin A, Dastjerdi MH, Shahatit BM, Bayhan HA, Dana R, Pavan-Langston D. InVivo confocal microscopic changes of the corneal epithelium and stroma in patients with herpes zoster ophthalmicus. Am J Ophthalmol 2015;159(6):1036-1044.e1.Abstract

PURPOSE: To analyze the density and morphology of corneal epithelial cells and keratocytes by in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) in patients with herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO) as associated with corneal innervation. DESIGN: Prospective, controlled and masked cross-sectional study. METHODS: setting: Single-center study. PATIENTS: Thirty eyes with the diagnosis HZO and their contralateral clinically unaffected eyes, 15 eyes of 15 normal controls. intervention procedures: In vivo confocal microscopy and corneal esthesiometry of the central cornea. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Changes in morphology and density of the superficial and basal epithelial cells and stromal keratocytes, and correlation with corneal sensation. RESULTS: The density of superficial epithelial cells in HZO eyes with severe sensation loss (766.5 ± 25.2 cells/mm(2)) was significantly lower than both healthy control eyes (1450.23 ± 150.83 cells/mm(2)) and contralateral unaffected eyes (1974.13 ± 298.24 cells/mm(2)) (P = .003). Superficial epithelial cell size (1162.5 μm(2)) was significantly larger in HZO eyes with severe loss of sensation, as compared to contralateral (441.46 ± 298.14) or healthy eyes (407.4 ± 47.2μm(2); all P < .05). The density of basal epithelial cells, anterior keratocytes, and posterior keratocytes did not show statistical significance between patients, controls, and contralateral unaffected eyes. Changes in superficial epithelial cell density and morphology correlated strongly with corneal sensation. CONCLUSIONS: In vivo confocal microscopy reveals profound HZO-induced changes in the superficial epithelium, as demonstrated by increase in cell size, decrease in cell density, and squamous metaplasia. We demonstrate that these changes strongly correlate with changes in corneal innervation in eyes affected by HZO.

Zandi S, Nakao S, Chun K-H, Fiorina P, Sun D, Arita R, Zhao M, Kim E, Schueller O, Campbell S, Taher M, Melhorn MI, Schering A, Gatti F, Tezza S, Xie F, Vergani A, Yoshida S, Ishikawa K, Yamaguchi M, Sasaki F, Schmidt-Ullrich R, Hata Y, Enaida H, Yuzawa M, Yokomizo T, Kim Y-B, Sweetnam P, Ishibashi T, Hafezi-Moghadam A. ROCK-Isoform-Specific Polarization of Macrophages Associated with Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Cell Rep 2015;10(7):1173-86.Abstract

Age is a major risk factor in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), but the underlying cause is unknown. We find increased Rho-associated kinase (ROCK) signaling and M2 characteristics in eyes of aged mice, revealing immune changes in aging. ROCK isoforms determine macrophage polarization into M1 and M2 subtypes. M2-like macrophages accumulated in AMD, but not in normal eyes, suggesting that these macrophages may be linked to macular degeneration. M2 macrophages injected into the mouse eye exacerbated choroidal neovascular lesions, while M1 macrophages ameliorated them, supporting a causal role for macrophage subtypes in AMD. Selective ROCK2 inhibition with a small molecule decreased M2-like macrophages and choroidal neovascularization. ROCK2 inhibition upregulated M1 markers without affecting macrophage recruitment, underlining the plasticity of these macrophages. These results reveal age-induced innate immune imbalance as underlying AMD pathogenesis. Targeting macrophage plasticity opens up new possibilities for more effective AMD treatment.

Schwartz SD, Regillo CD, Lam BL, Eliott D, Rosenfeld PJ, Gregori NZ, Hubschman J-P, Davis JL, Heilwell G, Spirn M, Maguire J, Gay R, Bateman J, Ostrick RM, Morris D, Vincent M, Anglade E, Del Priore LV, Lanza R. Human embryonic stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelium in patients with age-related macular degeneration and Stargardt's macular dystrophy: follow-up of two open-label phase 1/2 studies. Lancet 2015;385(9967):509-16.Abstract

BACKGROUND: Since they were first derived more than three decades ago, embryonic stem cells have been proposed as a source of replacement cells in regenerative medicine, but their plasticity and unlimited capacity for self-renewal raises concerns about their safety, including tumour formation ability, potential immune rejection, and the risk of differentiating into unwanted cell types. We report the medium-term to long-term safety of cells derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESC) transplanted into patients. METHODS: In the USA, two prospective phase 1/2 studies were done to assess the primary endpoints safety and tolerability of subretinal transplantation of hESC-derived retinal pigment epithelium in nine patients with Stargardt's macular dystrophy (age >18 years) and nine with atrophic age-related macular degeneration (age >55 years). Three dose cohorts (50,000, 100,000, and 150,000 cells) were treated for each eye disorder. Transplanted patients were followed up for a median of 22 months by use of serial systemic, ophthalmic, and imaging examinations. The studies are registered with, numbers NCT01345006 (Stargardt's macular dystrophy) and NCT01344993 (age-related macular degeneration). FINDINGS: There was no evidence of adverse proliferation, rejection, or serious ocular or systemic safety issues related to the transplanted tissue. Adverse events were associated with vitreoretinal surgery and immunosuppression. 13 (72%) of 18 patients had patches of increasing subretinal pigmentation consistent with transplanted retinal pigment epithelium. Best-corrected visual acuity, monitored as part of the safety protocol, improved in ten eyes, improved or remained the same in seven eyes, and decreased by more than ten letters in one eye, whereas the untreated fellow eyes did not show similar improvements in visual acuity. Vision-related quality-of-life measures increased for general and peripheral vision, and near and distance activities, improving by 16-25 points 3-12 months after transplantation in patients with atrophic age-related macular degeneration and 8-20 points in patients with Stargardt's macular dystrophy. INTERPRETATION: The results of this study provide the first evidence of the medium-term to long-term safety, graft survival, and possible biological activity of pluripotent stem cell progeny in individuals with any disease. Our results suggest that hESC-derived cells could provide a potentially safe new source of cells for the treatment of various unmet medical disorders requiring tissue repair or replacement. FUNDING: Advanced Cell Technology.

Lei H, Qian CX, Lei J, Haddock LJ, Mukai S, Kazlauskas A. RasGAP Promotes Autophagy and Thereby Suppresses Platelet-Derived Growth Factor Receptor-Mediated Signaling Events, Cellular Responses, and Pathology. Mol Cell Biol 2015;35(10):1673-85.Abstract
Platelet-derived growth factors (PDGFs) and their receptors (PDGFRs) make profound contributions to both physiology and pathology. While it is widely believed that direct (PDGF-mediated) activation is the primary mode of activating PDGFRs, the discovery that they can also be activated indirectly begs the question of the relevance of the indirect mode of activating PDGFRs. In the context of a blinding eye disease, indirect activation of PDGFRα results in persistent signaling, which suppresses the level of p53 and thereby promotes viability of cells that drive pathogenesis. Under the same conditions, PDGFRβ fails to undergo indirect activation. In this paper, we report that RasGAP (GTPase-activating protein of Ras) prevented indirect activation of PDGFRβ. RasGAP, which associates with PDGFRβ but not PDGFRα, reduced the level of mitochondrion-derived reactive oxygen species, which are required for enduring activation of PDGFRs. Furthermore, preventing PDGFRβ from associating with RasGAP allowed it to signal enduringly and drive pathogenesis of a blinding eye disease. These results indicate a previously unappreciated role of RasGAP in antagonizing indirect activation of PDGFRβ, define the underlying mechanism, and raise the possibility that PDGFRβ-mediated diseases involve indirect activation of PDGFRβ.
Utheim O, Islam R, Lyberg T, Roald B, Eidet JR, de la Paz MF, Dartt DA, Raeder S, Utheim TP. Serum-free and xenobiotic-free preservation of cultured human limbal epithelial cells. PLoS One 2015;10(3):e0118517.Abstract

AIM/PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: To develop a one-week storage method, without serum and xenobiotics, that would maintain cell viability, morphology, and phenotype of cultured human limbal epithelial sheets. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Human limbal explants were cultured on intact human amniotic membranes for two weeks. The sheets were stored in a hermetically sealed container at 23°C in either a serum-free medium with selected animal serum-derived compounds (Quantum 286) or a xenobiotic-free medium (Minimal Essential Medium) for 4 and 7 days. Stored and non-stored cultures were analyzed for cell viability, amniotic membrane and epithelial sheet thickness, and a panel of immunohistochemical markers for immature cells (ΔNp63α, p63, Bmi-1, C/EBP∂, ABCG2 and K19), differentiated cells (K3 and Cx43), proliferation (PCNA), and apoptosis (Caspase-3). RESULTS: The cell viability of the cultures was 98 ± 1% and remained high after storage. Mean central thickness of non-stored limbal epithelial sheets was 23 ± 3 μm, and no substantial loss of cells was observed after storage. The non-stored epithelial sheets expressed a predominantly immature phenotype with ΔNp63α positivity of more than 3% in 9 of 13 cultures. After storage, the expression of ABCG2 and C/EBP∂ was reduced for the 7 day Quantum 286-storage group; (P = 0.04), and Bmi-1 was reduced after 4 day Quantum 286-storage; (P = 0.02). No other markers varied significantly. The expression of differentiation markers was unrelated to the thickness of the epithelia and amniotic membrane, apart from ABCG2, which correlated negatively with thickness of limbal epithelia (R = -0.69, P = 0.01) and ΔNp63α, which correlated negatively with amniotic membrane thickness (R = -0.59, P = 0.03). CONCLUSION: Limbal epithelial cells cultured from explants on amniotic membrane can be stored at 23°C in both serum-free and xenobiotic-free media, with sustained cell viability, ultrastructure, and ΔNp63α-positivity after both 4 and 7 days.

Mundell NA, Beier KT, Pan AY, Lapan SW, Göz Aytürk D, Berezovskii VK, Wark AR, Drokhlyansky E, Bielecki J, Born RT, Schier AF, Cepko CL. Vesicular stomatitis virus enables gene transfer and transsynaptic tracing in a wide range of organisms. J Comp Neurol 2015;523(11):1639-63.Abstract

Current limitations in technology have prevented an extensive analysis of the connections among neurons, particularly within nonmammalian organisms. We developed a transsynaptic viral tracer originally for use in mice, and then tested its utility in a broader range of organisms. By engineering the vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) to encode a fluorophore and either the rabies virus glycoprotein (RABV-G) or its own glycoprotein (VSV-G), we created viruses that can transsynaptically label neuronal circuits in either the retrograde or anterograde direction, respectively. The vectors were investigated for their utility as polysynaptic tracers of chicken and zebrafish visual pathways. They showed patterns of connectivity consistent with previously characterized visual system connections, and revealed several potentially novel connections. Further, these vectors were shown to infect neurons in several other vertebrates, including Old and New World monkeys, seahorses, axolotls, and Xenopus. They were also shown to infect two invertebrates, Drosophila melanogaster, and the box jellyfish, Tripedalia cystophora, a species previously intractable for gene transfer, although no clear evidence of transsynaptic spread was observed in these species. These vectors provide a starting point for transsynaptic tracing in most vertebrates, and are also excellent candidates for gene transfer in organisms that have been refractory to other methods.

Jakobiec FA, Callahan AB, Stagner AM, Lee GN, Rashid A, Mendoza P, Grove A, Freitag SK. Malignant rhabdoid transformation of a longstanding, aggressive, and recurrent orbital angiomyxoma. Surv Ophthalmol 2015;60(2):166-76.Abstract

A 47-year-old woman presented with a medial orbital tumor initially diagnosed as either a myxoid neurofibroma or myoepithelioma. Over 30 years the tumor recurred seven times and was serially debulked. Careful histopathologic analysis coupled with immunohistochemical studies performed on the last two biopsies established the rare diagnosis of a locally aggressive angiomyxoma (because of its local infiltrative growth) with myofibroblastic features (smooth muscle actin and calponin positivity and desmin negativity). The last recurrence manifested at a shorter interval than the earlier ones, suggesting an accelerating clinical course. By this late stage there was complete blindness, a frozen globe, and extreme, unmeasurable proptosis accompanied by massive chemosis and eyelid fullness. An exenteration was performed, and the orbital contents contained a persistent angiomyxoma, but additionally, another cellular population had emerged-mitotically active cells with a malignant rhabdoid phenotype (round shape, cytoplasmic hyaline/globoid inclusions composed of whorls of compact vimentin filaments as well as epithelial membrane antigen and focal cytokeratin positivity). This is the first orbital case of a rhabdoid transformation of a benign orbital mesenchymal tumor. Shortly after the exenteration, multifocal metastases, notably to the lungs, were found, leading to the introduction of chemotherapy, which was discontinued because of non-responsiveness of the tumor and patient intolerance. After 1 year of follow up, the patient is still alive, but has persistent active disease with widespread metastases and a guarded prognosis.