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Jacobo SMP, Deangelis MM, Kim IK, Kazlauskas A. Age-related macular degeneration-associated silent polymorphisms in HtrA1 impair its ability to antagonize insulin-like growth factor 1. Mol Cell Biol 2013;33(10):1976-90.Abstract
Synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within a transcript's coding region produce no change in the amino acid sequence of the protein product and are therefore intuitively assumed to have a neutral effect on protein function. We report that two common variants of high-temperature requirement A1 (HTRA1) that increase the inherited risk of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (NvAMD) harbor synonymous SNPs within exon 1 of HTRA1 that convert common codons for Ala34 and Gly36 to less frequently used codons. The frequent-to-rare codon conversion reduced the mRNA translation rate and appeared to compromise HtrA1's conformation and function. The protein product generated from the SNP-containing cDNA displayed enhanced susceptibility to proteolysis and a reduced affinity for an anti-HtrA1 antibody. The NvAMD-associated synonymous polymorphisms lie within HtrA1's putative insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) binding domain. They reduced HtrA1's abilities to associate with IGF-1 and to ameliorate IGF-1-stimulated signaling events and cellular responses. These observations highlight the relevance of synonymous codon usage to protein function and implicate homeostatic protein quality control mechanisms that may go awry in NvAMD.
Hamrah P, Cruzat A, Dastjerdi MH, Prüss H, Zheng L, Shahatit BM, Bayhan HA, Dana R, Pavan-Langston D. Unilateral herpes zoster ophthalmicus results in bilateral corneal nerve alteration: an in vivo confocal microscopy study. Ophthalmology 2013;120(1):40-7.Abstract
PURPOSE: Herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO), thought to be a unilateral disease, results in loss of corneal sensation, leading to neurotrophic keratopathy. This study aimed to analyze bilateral corneal nerve changes in patients with HZO by in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) and their correlation with corneal sensation as a measure of nerve function. DESIGN: Prospective, cross-sectional, controlled, single-center study. PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-seven eyes with the diagnosis of HZO and their contralateral clinically unaffected eyes were studied and compared with normal controls (n = 15). METHODS: In vivo confocal microscopy (Confoscan 4; Nidek Technologies, Gamagori, Japan) and corneal esthesiometry (Cochet-Bonnet; Luneau Ophthalmologie, Chartres, France) of the central cornea were performed bilaterally in all patients and controls. Patients were grouped into normal (>5.5 cm), mild (>2.5-5.5 cm), and severe (<2.5 cm) loss of sensation. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Changes in corneal nerve density, total nerve number, main nerve trunks, branching, and tortuosity were evaluated after IVCM and were correlated to corneal sensation, disease duration, and number of recurrences. RESULTS: Eyes with herpes zoster ophthalmicus had a significant (P<0.001) decrease in total nerve length (595.8±358.1 vs. 2258.4±989.0 μm/frame), total number of nerves (5.4±2.8 vs. 13.1±3.8), number of main nerve trunks (2.3±1.1 vs. 4.7±1.2), and number of nerve branches (3.2±2.3 vs. 8.4±3.7) as compared with controls. In the contralateral clinically unaffected eyes, total nerve length (1053.1±441.4 μm/frame), total number of nerves (8.3±2.9), and main nerve trunks (3.1±1.0) also were decreased significantly as compared with controls (P<0.01). Reduced nerve density, total nerve count, main trunks, and tortuosity was correlated significantly with corneal sensation across all subgroups (P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with unilateral HZO demonstrated a profound and significant bilateral loss of the corneal nerve plexus as compared with controls, demonstrating bilateral changes in a clinically unilateral disease. Loss of corneal sensation strongly correlated with subbasal nerve plexus alterations as shown by IVCM. FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE(S): The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.
Marko CK, Menon BB, Chen G, Whitsett JA, Clevers H, Gipson IK. Spdef null mice lack conjunctival goblet cells and provide a model of dry eye. Am J Pathol 2013;183(1):35-48.Abstract
Goblet cell numbers decrease within the conjunctival epithelium in drying and cicatrizing ocular surface diseases. Factors regulating goblet cell differentiation in conjunctival epithelium are unknown. Recent data indicate that the transcription factor SAM-pointed domain epithelial-specific transcription factor (Spdef) is essential for goblet cell differentiation in tracheobronchial and gastrointestinal epithelium of mice. Using Spdef(-/-) mice, we determined that Spdef is required for conjunctival goblet cell differentiation and that Spdef(-/-) mice, which lack conjunctival goblet cells, have significantly increased corneal surface fluorescein staining and tear volume, a phenotype consistent with dry eye. Microarray analysis of conjunctival epithelium in Spdef(-/-) mice revealed down-regulation of goblet cell-specific genes (Muc5ac, Tff1, Gcnt3). Up-regulated genes included epithelial cell differentiation/keratinization genes (Sprr2h, Tgm1) and proinflammatory genes (Il1-α, Il-1β, Tnf-α), all of which are up-regulated in dry eye. Interestingly, four Wnt pathway genes were down-regulated. SPDEF expression was significantly decreased in the conjunctival epithelium of Sjögren syndrome patients with dry eye and decreased goblet cell mucin expression. These data demonstrate that Spdef is required for conjunctival goblet cell differentiation and down-regulation of SPDEF may play a role in human dry eye with goblet cell loss. Spdef(-/-) mice have an ocular surface phenotype similar to that in moderate dry eye, providing a new, more convenient model for the disease.
Gipson IK. Age-related changes and diseases of the ocular surface and cornea. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2013;54(14):ORSF48-53.Abstract
Aging of the ocular surface and corneal tissues, major components of the visual system, causes major eye disease and results in substantial cost in medical and social terms. These diseases include the highly prevalent dry eye disease that affects the ocular surface and its glands, leading to tear film alterations, discomfort, and decreased vision. Studies show that 14.4% of the population in the United States older than 50 years have dry eye disease and demonstrate that it is particularly prevalent among women. Annual medical costs per patient with dry eye in the United States are estimated at $783 per year, with an overall medical cost adjusted to prevalence of $3.84 billion per year. Societal costs, which include loss of productivity, are estimated per patient at $11,302 per year, with overall costs adjusted to prevalence of $55.4 billion per year. Because there are few effective treatments for the disease, more research on its etiology and mechanisms is warranted and needed. Increased public education about risk factors for the disease is also required. Another major age-related eye disease of the cornea that leads to vision impairment and potentially blindness if left untreated is Fuchs' endothelial corneal dystrophy. This disease leads to loss of the endothelial cells on the internal side of the cornea that are responsible for keeping the cornea in the proper hydration state to ensure its transparency to light. The mechanism of cell loss is unknown, and the only treatment available to date is surgical transplantation of the cornea or inner part of the cornea. These medically costly procedures require donor corneas, eye banking, and medical follow-up, with accrued costs. Fuchs' endothelial corneal dystrophy is a major cause of corneal transplantation in the United States; therefore, research support is needed to determine the mechanism of this age-related disease, to develop medical, nonsurgical methods for treatment.
Lee NG, Kim LA, Freitag SK. The role of genetics in the pathogenesis of periocular cutaneous neoplasms: implications for targeted therapy. Semin Ophthalmol 2013;28(5-6):267-74.Abstract
In the past, cutaneous malignancies of the periocular region were primarily treated surgically with few other options. As the genetic bases of these tumors have become elucidated, targeted therapies aimed specifically at pathways that are felt to be responsible for cellular proliferation and uncontrolled growth have emerged with new promise. This review contains a summary of the various genetic implications of cutaneous neoplasms as well as their corresponding targeted systemic therapies.
Kwon MY, Nandy AS, Tjan BS. Rapid and persistent adaptability of human oculomotor control in response to simulated central vision loss. Curr Biol 2013;23(17):1663-9.Abstract
The central region of the human retina, the fovea, provides high-acuity vision. The oculomotor system continually brings targets of interest into the fovea via ballistic eye movements (saccades). Thus, the fovea serves both as the locus for fixations and as the oculomotor reference for saccades. This highly automated process of foveation is functionally critical to vision and is observed from infancy. How would the oculomotor system adjust to a loss of foveal vision (central scotoma)? Clinical observations of patients with central vision loss suggest a lengthy adjustment period, but the nature and dynamics of this adjustment remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that the oculomotor system can spontaneously and rapidly adopt a peripheral locus for fixation and can rereference saccades to this locus in normally sighted individuals whose central vision is blocked by an artificial scotoma. Once developed, the fixation locus is retained over weeks in the absence of the simulated scotoma. Our data reveal a basic guiding principle of the oculomotor system that prefers control simplicity over optimality. We demonstrate the importance of a visible scotoma on the speed of the adjustment and suggest a possible rehabilitation regimen for patients with central vision loss.
Karamichos D, Rich CB, Zareian R, Hutcheon AEK, Ruberti JW, Trinkaus-Randall V, Zieske JD. TGF-β3 stimulates stromal matrix assembly by human corneal keratocyte-like cells. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2013;54(10):6612-9.Abstract
PURPOSE: We have previously shown that TGF-β3 (T3) stimulates extracellular matrix (ECM) assembly while maintaining antifibrotic characteristics in a model using human corneal fibroblasts (HCFs). This model, however, requires non-physiological levels of serum. In the current study, we tested whether T3 could stimulate human corneal keratocytes (HCKs) in vitro to assemble a functional ECM, while maintaining their characteristics. METHODS: Human corneal keratocytes and HCFs were isolated and cultured using 1% or 10% serum, respectively ±T3. The constructs were processed for indirect immunofluorescence (IF), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and qRT-PCR, analyzing for keratocyte marker, keratocan, and ECM components, collagen (col) types I, III, and V. RESULTS: Quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR data showed that keratocan, col I, and V were all upregulated in HCKs compared with HCFs, whereas col III was expressed at low levels in HCKs. Transforming growth factor beta 3 stimulation further enhanced the level of change. Without T3, HCK constructs were very thin, approximately 5 μm; however, as with HCFs, upon stimulation with T3, HCK constructs increased in thickness by approximately 5-fold. Cell counts and ECM production revealed that HCKs assembled more ECM per unit area compared with HCFs, and IF revealed downregulation of fibrotic markers, col III, and thrombospondin-1, with T3 stimulation. Transmission electron microscopy data revealed aligned ECM with long fibrils for all conditions except HCK Controls. Human corneal keratocytes+T3 also showed denser collagen fibrils with more consistent fibril diameter. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, the data suggests that it is possible to stimulate matrix secretion and assembly by HCKs in vitro by using a single growth factor, T3.
Jakobiec FA, Zakka FR, Yoon MK. Complex orbital angiomyoma with features of a lymphangiohemangioma. Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg 2013;29(2):e61-5.Abstract
A 31-year-old woman developed left frontal headache and retrobulbar pain with exotropia and mild limitation of upgaze without proptosis. Imaging studies disclosed a circumscribed mass measuring 1.5 cm in the greatest diameter. At surgery, the lesion was adherent to the surrounding normal orbital tissues, making for a difficult and dangerous resection. Histopathologically and immunohistochemically, the lesion was a mixed cavernous angiomatous (CD31-positive) and lymphangiomatous (D2-40-positive) tumor with abundant interstitial smooth muscle. Such lesions can present significant surgical challenges due to incomplete pseudoencapsulation.
Matsumoto H, Miller JW, Vavvas DG. Retinal detachment model in rodents by subretinal injection of sodium hyaluronate. J Vis Exp 2013;(79)Abstract
Subretinal injection of sodium hyaluronate is a widely accepted method of inducing retinal detachment (RD). However, the height and duration of RD or the occurrence of subretinal hemorrhage can affect photoreceptor cell death in the detached retina. Hence, it is advantageous to create reproducible RDs without subretinal hemorrhage for evaluating photoreceptor cell death. We modified a previously reported method to create bullous and persistent RDs in a reproducible location with rare occurrence of subretinal hemorrhage. The critical step of this modified method is the creation of a self-sealing scleral incision, which can prevent leakage of sodium hyaluronate after injection into the subretinal space. To make the self-sealing scleral incision, a scleral tunnel is created, followed by scleral penetration into the choroid with a 30 G needle. Although choroidal hemorrhage may occur during this step, astriction with a surgical spear reduces the rate of choroidal hemorrhage. This method allows a more reproducible and reliable model of photoreceptor death in diseases that involve RD such as rhegmatogenous RD, retinopathy of prematurity, diabetic retinopathy, central serous chorioretinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). [corrected].
Gupta M, Shah AS, Vergilio J-A, Chou J, Elliott A. Orbital follicular hyperplasia in common variable immune deficiency syndrome. Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg 2013;29(6):e160-2.Abstract
Common variable immune deficiency (CVID) is characterized by reduced serum immune globulins and impaired or absent antibody responses. Patients become more susceptible to infections and to lymphoproliferation and granulomatous inflammation. Ophthalmic manifestations of CVID are rare. The authors describe a case of orbital follicular hyperplasia in a 15-year-old girl with CVID syndrome causing proptosis and exposure keratopathy.
Lye-Barthel M, Sun D, Jakobs TC. Morphology of astrocytes in a glaucomatous optic nerve. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2013;54(2):909-17.Abstract
PURPOSE: To establish the morphologic changes of astrocytes in the glial lamina of glaucomatous mice. METHODS: A strain of mice that expresses GFP in individual astrocytes (hGFAPpr-GFP) was crossed into the DBA/2J strain that develops glaucoma. In the resulting strain (D2.hGFAPpr-GFP) we assessed the severity of glaucoma by staining the retina for neurofilaments and counting the neurons of the retinal ganglion cell layer. We observed the morphology of astrocytes in the glial lamina of the optic nerves. RESULTS: D2.hGFAPpr-GFP mice developed glaucoma in an age-dependent manner. Astrocytes in the glial lamina showed morphologic changes that correlated with the severity of glaucoma. The cells showed thickening of processes from 1.3 ± 0.28 μm in nondiseased animals to 1.71 ± 0.46 μm in eyes with moderate glaucoma and 2.1 ± 0.42 μm in those with severe glaucoma. Their spatial coverage, as determined by their convex polygon area, was reduced in eyes with severe glaucoma. The astrocytes in severely glaucomatous optic nerves also showed simplification of their processes. In 6-month-old mice with no obvious signs of degeneration in the retina, we found astrocytes with appendages growing out of primary astrocyte processes into the axon bundles. This localized hypertrophy of processes was never observed in the hGFAPpr-GFP strain. CONCLUSIONS: Confirming results after optic nerve crush, astrocytes in glaucomatous optic nerves had thickened and simplified processes, and reduced spatial coverage. We also found evidence of localized sprouting of new processes in early stages of the disease, before detectable changes in ganglion cell number.
Li D, Hodges RR, Jiao J, Carozza RB, Shatos MA, Chiang N, Serhan CN, Dartt DA. Resolvin D1 and aspirin-triggered resolvin D1 regulate histamine-stimulated conjunctival goblet cell secretion. Mucosal Immunol 2013;6(6):1119-30.Abstract
Resolution of inflammation is an active process mediated by pro-resolution lipid mediators. As resolvin (Rv) D1 is produced in the cornea, pro-resolution mediators could be effective in regulating inflammatory responses to histamine in allergic conjunctivitis. Two key mediators of resolution are the D-series resolvins RvD1 or aspirin-triggered RvD1 (AT-RvD1). We used cultured conjunctival goblet cells to determine whether histamine actions can be terminated during allergic responses. We found cross-talk between two types of G protein-coupled receptors (GPRs), as RvD1 interacts with its receptor GPR32 to block histamine-stimulated H1 receptor increases in intracellular [Ca(2+)] ([Ca(2+)]i) preventing H1 receptor-mediated responses. In human and rat conjunctival goblet cells, RvD1 and AT-RvD1 each block histamine-stimulated secretion by preventing its increase in [Ca(2+)]i and activation of extracellular regulated-protein kinase (ERK)1/2. We suggest that D-series resolvins regulate histamine responses in the eye and offer new treatment approaches for allergic conjunctivitis or other histamine-dependent pathologies.

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