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Leidl MC, Choi CJ, Syed ZA, Melki SA. Intraocular pressure fluctuation and glaucoma progression: what do we know?. Br J Ophthalmol 2014;98(10):1315-1319.Abstract

While mean intraocular pressure (IOP) has long been known to correlate with glaucomatous damage, the role of IOP fluctuation is less clearly defined. There is extensive evidence in the literature for and against the value of short-term and long-term IOP fluctuation in the evaluation and prognosis of patients with glaucoma. We present here the arguments made by both sides, as well as a discussion of the pitfalls of prior research and potential directions for future studies. Until a reliable method is developed that allows for constant IOP monitoring, many variables will continue to hinder us from drawing adequate conclusions regarding the significance of IOP variation.

Villarreal G, Chatterjee A, Oh SS, Oh D-J, Kang M-H, Rhee DJ. Canonical Wnt signaling regulates extracellular matrix expression in the trabecular meshwork. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2014;Abstract

PURPOSE. Canonical Wnt signaling has emerged as a critical regulator of aqueous outflow facility and intraocular pressure (IOP). In this study, we examine the role of canonical Wnt signaling on extracellular matrix (ECM) expression in the trabecular meshwork (TM) and explore the molecular mechanisms involved. METHODS. β-catenin localization in human TM tissue was examined using immunofluorescent staining. Primary human TM cells were incubated with lithium chloride (LiCl) and the effect on active β-catenin expression was assessed by immunoblot. Adenovirus expressing a dominant-negative TCF4 mutant that lacks a β-catenin binding domain was used. Changes in the levels of the microRNA-29 (miR-29) family and ECM proteins were determined by real-time quantitative PCR and immunoblot analysis, respectively. RESULTS. β-catenin was expressed throughout the TM, with localization primarily to the plasma membrane. Incubation of TM cells with lithium chloride increased the expression of active β-catenin. Lithium chloride treatment upregulated miR-29b expression, and suppressed the levels of various ECM proteins under both basal and TGF-β2 stimulatory conditions. Infection of TM cells with a dominant-negative TCF4 mutant induced ECM levels without a significant change in the expression of the miR-29 family. CONCLUSIONS. Collectively, our data identify the canonical Wnt signaling pathway as an important modulator of ECM expression in the TM and provide a mechanistic framework for its regulation of outflow facility and IOP.

Samsom ML, Morrison S, Masala N, Sullivan BD, Sullivan DA, Sheardown H, Schmidt TA. Characterization of full-length recombinant human Proteoglycan 4 as an ocular surface boundary lubricant. Exp Eye Res 2014;127:14-9.Abstract
Proteoglycan 4 (PRG4, or lubricin) is a lubricating mucin-like glycoprotein recently discovered at the ocular surface, where it functions as a boundary lubricant and appears to play a protective role. Recent technological advances have enabled abundant expression of full-length recombinant human PRG4 (rhPRG4). The objectives of this study were to 1) biochemically characterize the gross structure and glycosylations of full-length rhPRG4, and 2) assess the ocular surface boundary lubricating ability of rhPRG4 at both human cornea-eyelid and human cornea-polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) biointerfaces. rhPRG4 expressed by a Chinese hamster ovary cell line was characterized and compared to native bovine PRG4 by SDS-PAGE western blotting, and protein identity was assessed by tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). Human corneas were articulated against PDMS or human eyelids, at effective sliding velocities of 0.3-30 mm/s under physiological loads of ∼15 kPa, to assess and compare the ocular lubricating ability of rhPRG4 to PRG4. Samples were tested serially in PRG4, rhPRG4 (both 300 μg/ml), then saline. Western blotting indicated that rhPRG4 had immunoreactivity at the appropriate apparent molecular weight, and possessed O-linked glycosylation consistent with that of PRG4. rhPRG4 protein identity was confirmed by MS/MS. Both PRG4 and rhPRG4 significantly, and similarly, reduced friction compared to saline at both human cornea - PDMS and human cornea-eyelid biointerfaces. In conclusion, the rhPRG4 studied here demonstrated appropriate higher order structure, O-linked glycosylations, and ocular surface boundary lubricating. Purified rhPRG4 may have clinical utility as a topical treatment of dry eye disease or contact lens biomaterial coating to promote more comfortable wear.
Song D, Grieco S, Li Y, Hunter A, Chu S, Zhao L, Song Y, DeAngelis RA, Shi L-Y, Liu Q, Pierce EA, Nishina PM, Lambris JD, Dunaief JL. A murine RP1 missense mutation causes protein mislocalization and slowly progressive photoreceptor degeneration. Am J Pathol 2014;184(10):2721-9.Abstract
Mutations in the RP1 gene can cause retinitis pigmentosa. We identified a spontaneous L66P mutation caused by two adjacent point mutations in the Rp1 gene in a colony of C57BL/6J mice. Mice homozygous for the L66P mutation exhibited slow, progressive photoreceptor degeneration throughout their lifespan. Optical coherence tomography imaging found abnormal photoreceptor reflectivity at 1 month of age. Histology found shortening and disorganization of the photoreceptor inner and outer segments and progressive thinning of the outer nuclear layer. Electroretinogram a- and b-wave amplitudes were decreased with age. Western blot analysis found that the quantity and size of the mutated retinitis pigmentosa 1 (RP1) protein were normal. However, immunohistochemistry found that the mutant Rp1 protein partially mislocalized to the transition zone of the shortened axonemes. This mutation disrupted colocalization with cytoplasmic microtubules in vitro. In conclusion, the L66P mutation in the first doublecortin domain of the Rp1 gene impairs Rp1 protein localization and function, leading to abnormalities in photoreceptor outer segment structure and progressive photoreceptor degeneration. This is the first missense mutation in Rp1 shown to cause retinal degeneration. It provides a unique, slowly progressive photoreceptor degeneration model that mirrors the slow degeneration kinetics in most patients with retinitis pigmentosa.
Sanderson J, Dartt DA, Trinkaus-Randall V, Pintor J, Civan MM, Delamere NA, Fletcher EL, Salt TE, Grosche A, Mitchell CH. Purines in the eye: recent evidence for the physiological and pathological role of purines in the RPE, retinal neurons, astrocytes, Müller cells, lens, trabecular meshwork, cornea and lacrimal gland. Exp Eye Res 2014;127:270-9.Abstract
This review highlights recent findings that describ how purines modulate the physiological and pathophysiological responses of ocular tissues. For example, in lacrimal glands the cross-talk between P2X7 receptors and both M3 muscarinic receptors and α1D-adrenergic receptors can influence tear secretion. In the cornea, purines lead to post-translational modification of EGFR and structural proteins that participate in wound repair in the epithelium and influence the expression of matrix proteins in the stroma. Purines act at receptors on both the trabecular meshwork and ciliary epithelium to modulate intraocular pressure (IOP); ATP-release pathways of inflow and outflow cells differ, possibly permitting differential modulation of adenosine delivery. Modulators of trabecular meshwork cell ATP release include cell volume, stretch, extracellular Ca(2+) concentration, oxidation state, actin remodeling and possibly endogenous cardiotonic steroids. In the lens, osmotic stress leads to ATP release following TRPV4 activation upstream of hemichannel opening. In the anterior eye, diadenosine polyphosphates such as Ap4A act at P2 receptors to modulate the rate and composition of tear secretion, impact corneal wound healing and lower IOP. The Gq11-coupled P2Y1-receptor contributes to volume control in Müller cells and thus the retina. P2X receptors are expressed in neurons in the inner and outer retina and contribute to visual processing as well as the demise of retinal ganglion cells. In RPE cells, the balance between extracellular ATP and adenosine may modulate lysosomal pH and the rate of lipofuscin formation. In optic nerve head astrocytes, mechanosensitive ATP release via pannexin hemichannels, coupled with stretch-dependent upregulation of pannexins, provides a mechanism for ATP signaling in chronic glaucoma. With so many receptors linked to divergent functions throughout the eye, ensuring the transmitters remain local and stimulation is restricted to the intended target may be a key issue in understanding how physiological signaling becomes pathological in ocular disease.
Yamaguchi T, Calvacanti BM, Cruzat A, Qazi Y, Ishikawa S, Osuka A, Lederer JA, Hamrah P. Correlation between Human Tear Cytokine Levels and Cellular Corneal Changes in Patients with Bacterial Keratitis by In Vivo Confocal Microscopy. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2014;Abstract

Purpose: To investigate bilateral tear cytokine levels in patients with unilateral bacterial keratitis (BK) as associated with in vivo confocal microscopic (IVCM) alterations in corneal nerves and dendritiform immune cells (DCs). Methods: Fifty-four (13 BK, 13 contralateral, 28 healthy controls) tear samples were collected prospectively and analyzed by multiplex microbeads assay. IVCM of the central cornea was performed on the same day and assessed for corneal nerve and DC alterations Results: Interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and IL-8 were significantly elevated only in affected eyes (66.6±26.8 ρg/ml, 7,174±2,430, 810±315, P=0.04, P<0.001 and P<0.001), compared to healthy controls (13.0±4.0 ρg/ml, 171.8±32.1, 56.5±33.8). CCL-2, IL-10 and IL-17a were elevated only in contralateral eyes (813±478 ρg/ml, 86.7±38.3, 3,350±881, P=0.02, P=0.01, P=0.04), compared to controls (73.7±25.3 ρg/ml, 17.5 ±4.9, 1,350±337). Triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells (TREM)-1 was significantly elevated in both affected (551±231 ρg/ml, P=0.02) and contralateral unaffected eyes (545±298 ρg/ml, P=0.03), compared to controls (31.3±12.4 ρg/ml). The density of DCs was significantly increased in both affected (226.9±37.3 cells/mm2, P<0.001) and unaffected eyes (122.3±23.7 cells/mm2, P<0.001) compared to controls (22.7±5.9 cells/mm2). Subbasal nerve density significantly decreased in affected eyes (3,337±1,615 μm/mm2, P<0.001) and contralateral eyes (13,230±1,635 μm/mm2, P<0.001) compared to controls (21,200±545 μm/mm2). IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-8 were significantly correlated with DC density (R=0.40, R=0.55 and R=0.31, all P<0.02) and nerve density (R=-0.30, R=-0.53 and R=-0.39, all P<0.01). Conclusions: Pro-inflammatory tear cytokines are elevated bilaterally in patients with unilateral BK, and are correlated strongly with alterations in DCs and nerve density as detected by IVCM.

Ratnapriya R, Zhan X, Fariss RN, Branham KE, Zipprer D, Chakarova CF, Sergeev YV, Campos MM, Othman M, Friedman JS, Maminishkis A, Waseem NH, Brooks M, Rajasimha HK, Edwards AO, Lotery A, Klein BE, Truitt BJ, Li B, Schaumberg DA, Morgan DJ, Morrison MA, Souied E, Tsironi EE, Grassmann F, Fishman GA, Silvestri G, Scholl HPN, Kim IK, Ramke J, Tuo J, Merriam JE, Merriam JC, Park KH, Olson LM, Farrer LA, Johnson MP, Peachey NS, Lathrop M, Baron RV, Igo RP, Klein R, Hagstrom SA, Kamatani Y, Martin TM, Jiang Y, Conley Y, Sahel J-A, Zack DJ, Chan C-C, Pericak-Vance MA, Jacobson SG, Gorin MB, Klein ML, Allikmets R, Iyengar SK, Weber BH, Haines JL, Léveillard T, Deangelis MM, Stambolian D, Weeks DE, Bhattacharya SS, Chew EY, Heckenlively JR, Abecasis GR, Swaroop A. Rare and common variants in extracellular matrix gene Fibrillin 2 (FBN2) are associated with macular degeneration. Hum Mol Genet 2014;23(21):5827-37.Abstract

Neurodegenerative diseases affecting the macula constitute a major cause of incurable vision loss and exhibit considerable clinical and genetic heterogeneity, from early-onset monogenic disease to multifactorial late-onset age-related macular degeneration (AMD). As part of our continued efforts to define genetic causes of macular degeneration, we performed whole exome sequencing in four individuals of a two-generation family with autosomal dominant maculopathy and identified a rare variant p.Glu1144Lys in Fibrillin 2 (FBN2), a glycoprotein of the elastin-rich extracellular matrix (ECM). Sanger sequencing validated the segregation of this variant in the complete pedigree, including two additional affected and one unaffected individual. Sequencing of 192 maculopathy patients revealed additional rare variants, predicted to disrupt FBN2 function. We then undertook additional studies to explore the relationship of FBN2 to macular disease. We show that FBN2 localizes to Bruch's membrane and its expression appears to be reduced in aging and AMD eyes, prompting us to examine its relationship with AMD. We detect suggestive association of a common FBN2 non-synonymous variant, rs154001 (p.Val965Ile) with AMD in 10 337 cases and 11 174 controls (OR = 1.10; P-value = 3.79 × 10(-5)). Thus, it appears that rare and common variants in a single gene-FBN2-can contribute to Mendelian and complex forms of macular degeneration. Our studies provide genetic evidence for a key role of elastin microfibers and Bruch's membrane in maintaining blood-retina homeostasis and establish the importance of studying orphan diseases for understanding more common clinical phenotypes.

Dartt DA, Masli S. Conjunctival epithelial and goblet cell function in chronic inflammation and ocular allergic inflammation. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol 2014;14(5):464-70.Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Although conjunctival goblet cells are a major cell type in ocular mucosa, their responses during ocular allergy are largely unexplored. This review summarizes the recent findings that provide key insights into the mechanisms by which their function and survival are altered during chronic inflammatory responses, including ocular allergy. RECENT FINDINGS: Conjunctiva represents a major component of the ocular mucosa that harbors specialized lymphoid tissue. Exposure of mucin-secreting goblet cells to allergic and inflammatory mediators released by the local innate and adaptive immune cells modulates proliferation, secretory function, and cell survival. Allergic mediators like histamine, leukotrienes, and prostaglandins directly stimulate goblet cell mucin secretion and consistently increase goblet cell proliferation. Goblet cell mucin secretion is also detectable in a murine model of allergic conjunctivitis. Additionally, primary goblet cell cultures allow evaluation of various inflammatory cytokines with respect to changes in goblet cell mucin secretion, proliferation, and apoptosis. These findings in combination with the preclinical mouse models help understand the goblet cell responses and their modulation during chronic inflammatory diseases, including ocular allergy. SUMMARY: Recent findings related to conjunctival goblet cells provide the basis for novel therapeutic approaches, involving modulation of goblet cell mucin production, to improve treatment of ocular allergies.

Kazlauskas A. Plakophilin-2 promotes activation of epidermal growth factor receptor. Mol Cell Biol 2014;34(20):3778-9.Abstract

While growth factor-driven dimerization of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) is a simple and intuitive mechanism of activating RTKs, K.-I. Arimoto et al. (Mol. Cell. Biol. 34:3843-3854, 2014, doi:10.1128/MCB.00758-14) describe a novel means of promoting the activity of RTKs. Namely, plakophilin-2 (PKP2) associates with the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and enhances its ligand-dependent and ligand-independent activity. This discovery suggests that antagonizing PKP2 may be a new therapeutic opportunity to combat tumors in which activation of EGFR contributes to pathogenesis.

Zhu R, Cho K-S, Chen DF, Yang L. Ephrin-A2 and -A3 are negative regulators of the regenerative potential of Möller cells. Chin Med J (Engl) 2014;127(19):3438-42.Abstract
BACKGROUND: In a previous study, we demonstrated that ephrin-A2 and -A3 negatively regulate the growth of neural progenitor cells in the central nervous system. Adult mice deficient in ephrin-A2 and -A3 (A2(-/-)A3(-/-)) displayed active ongoing neurogenesis throughout the brain, and mice deficient in ephrin-A3 alone showed increased proliferation of ciliary epithelium derived retinal stem cells. This study aimed to detect that the increase in proliferation and neurogenic potential of Müller cells is influenced by the absence of ephrin-A2 and -A3. METHODS: We assessed the retinal and Müller cell expression of ephrin-As and their receptor and neural progenitor cell markers by immunostaining and real-time PCR. We cultured purified primary Müller cells derived from wild-type and A2(-/-)A3(-/-) mice in a defined culture medium that enables trans-differentiation of Müller cells into retinal neurons. To evaluate proliferating Müller cells in vivo, we injected 5'-ethylnyl-2'-deoxiuridine (EdU) intraperitoneally to adult mice. RESULTS: Expression of ephrin-A2/A3 and their receptor EphA4 were detected in the retinas of adult mice, with EphA4 expression particularly enriched in Müller cells. Müller cells of A2(-/-)A3(-/-) mice exhibited significantly elevated expression of retinal progenitor cell markers, Pax6 and Chx10, when compared with those from wild-type mice. Moreover, a higher percentage of Müller cells of A2(-/-)A3(-/-) mice trans-differentiated and became recoverin+ and β-III-tublin+ in the culture than those from wild type mice. Strikingly, an increased number of EdU+ retinal cells was detected in the retinas of adult A2(-/-)A3(-/-) mice as compared with wild-type mice. CONCLUSIONS: Ephrin-A2 and -A3 are negative regulators of the proliferative and neurogenic potentials of Müller cells. Manipulating ephrin-A signaling may thus represent a novel strategy for stimulating neuroregeneration from endogenous progenitors to participate in retinal repair in case of disease or damage.
Yonekawa Y, Kim IK. Clinical Characteristics and Current Treatment of Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med 2014;Abstract

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a multifactorial degeneration of photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelium. The societal impact is significant, with more than 2 million individuals in the United States alone affected by advanced stages of AMD. Recent progress in our understanding of this complex disease and parallel developments in therapeutics and imaging have translated into new management paradigms in recent years. However, there are many unanswered questions, and diagnostic and prognostic precision and treatment outcomes can still be improved. In this article, we discuss the clinical features of AMD, provide correlations with modern imaging and histopathology, and present an overview of treatment strategies.

Silva PS, Diala PA, Hamam RN, Arrigg PG, Shah ST, Murtha TL, Schlossman DK, Cavallerano JD, Sun JK, Aiello LP. Visual outcomes from pars plana vitrectomy versus combined pars plana vitrectomy, phacoemulsification, and intraocular lens implantation in patients with diabetes. Retina 2014;34(10):1960-8.Abstract

PURPOSE: To compare visual acuity outcomes and diabetic retinopathy progression after pars plana vitrectomy (PPV) versus combined pars plana vitrectomy and phacoemulsification (PPVCE) in patients with diabetes. METHODS: Retrospective review of 222 consecutive diabetic patients undergoing PPV or PPVCE. RESULTS: A total of 251 eyes of 222 patients were evaluated (PPV = 122, PPVCE = 129). Four-year follow-up was 64% (161 eyes). Overall, patients undergoing PPVCE had better preoperative visual acuity (PPVCE = 20/80, PPV = 20/160, P = 0.03). At 4-year follow-up, visual acuity improved (PPV = +22, PPVCE = +11 letters) compared with baseline in both groups. After correcting for baseline differences in visual acuity, no statistically significant difference in final visual acuity was observed (PPVCE = 20/32, PPV = 20/50, P = 0.09). Results did not differ substantially by surgical indication (vitreous hemorrhage, traction retinal detachment, epiretinal membrane, and/or diabetic macular edema). Cataract progression occurred in 64%, and cataract surgery was performed in 39% of phakic eyes undergoing PPV. Rates of diabetic retinopathy progression, vitreous hemorrhage, and retinal detachment were not statistically different. Neovascular glaucoma developed in 2 patients (2%) after PPV and 6 patients (8%) after PPVCE (P = 0.07). CONCLUSION: In diabetic patients, equivalent visual acuity improvement over 4 years was observed after PPV or PPVCE. Visual outcomes and retinopathy progression rates were not significantly different after either intervention, suggesting that PPVCE may be appropriate when indicated in patients with diabetes.

Werdich XQ, Jakobiec FA, Curtin HD, Fay A. A clinical, radiologic, and immunopathologic study of five periorbital intraosseous cavernous vascular malformations. Am J Ophthalmol 2014;158(4):816-826.e1.Abstract

PURPOSE: To correlate the clinical, radiographic, histopathologic, and immunohistochemical features of 5 primary periorbital intraosseous cavernous vascular malformations. DESIGN: Retrospective interventional case series. METHODS: Clinical and operative records and radiographic images were reviewed. Histopathologic slides were evaluated with hematoxylin-eosin, trichrome, and elastin stains. Immunohistochemical studies were performed with a spectrum of monoclonal antibodies directed at antigens of vascular cells. RESULTS: Three men and 2 women ranged in age from 36 to 64 years. Vision was unaffected and there was no proptosis or globe displacement. The slow-growing lesions measured 13-25 mm in greatest diameter (mean 16.4 mm). Computed tomographic studies revealed that 2 lesions were situated in the maxillary bone, 2 in the frontal, and 1 in the zygoma, all anteriorly and with circumscribed, lucent, honeycombed, or sunburst characteristics. Histopathologically the lesions were composed of cavernous or telangiectatic channels; 1 showed advanced fibrotic vascular involution. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated CD31/34 positivity for vascular endothelium and D2-40 negativity for lymphatic endothelium. A typically thin mural myofibroblastic cuff was smooth muscle actin positive, weakly calponin positive, and desmin negative. Glucose transporter-1 and Ki-67 were negative in the endothelium. CONCLUSIONS: Intraosseous vascular lesions resemble orbital cavernous venous malformations (not true hemangiomas), except that their vascular walls are thinner owing to the constraints imposed by neighboring bone spicules, which limit the amount of interstitium from which mural myofibroblasts can be recruited. The bony trabeculae conferred the honeycomb or sunburst appearances observed radiographically. En bloc excision of these lesions was successful and avoided complications (mean follow-up, 46 months).

Valdez CN, Arboleda-Velasquez JF, Amarnani DS, Kim LA, D'Amore PA. Retinal microangiopathy in a mouse model of inducible mural cell loss. Am J Pathol 2014;184(10):2618-26.Abstract
Diabetes can lead to vision loss because of progressive degeneration of the neurovascular unit in the retina, a condition known as diabetic retinopathy. In its early stages, the pathology is characterized by microangiopathies, including microaneurysms, microhemorrhages, and nerve layer infarcts known as cotton-wool spots. Analyses of postmortem human retinal tissue and retinas from animal models indicate that degeneration of the pericytes, which constitute the outer layer of capillaries, is an early event in diabetic retinopathy; however, the relative contribution of specific cellular components to the pathobiology of diabetic retinopathy remains to be defined. We investigated the phenotypic consequences of pericyte death on retinal microvascular integrity by using nondiabetic mice conditionally expressing a diphtheria toxin receptor in mural cells. Five days after administering diphtheria toxin in these adult mice, changes were observed in the retinal vasculature that were similar to those observed in diabetes, including microaneurysms and increased vascular permeability, suggesting that pericyte cell loss is sufficient to trigger retinal microvascular degeneration. Therapies aimed at preventing or delaying pericyte dropout may avoid or attenuate the retinal microangiopathy associated with diabetes.

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