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Woodward AM, Feeley MN, Rinaldi J, Argüeso P. CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing reveals an essential role for basigin in maintaining a nonkeratinized squamous epithelium in cornea. FASEB Bioadv 2021;3(11):897-908.Abstract
One of the primary functions of nonkeratinized stratified squamous epithelia is to protect underlying tissues against chemical, microbial, and mechanical insult. Basigin is a transmembrane matrix metalloproteinase inducer commonly overexpressed during epithelial wound repair and cancer but whose physiological significance in normal epithelial tissue has not been fully explored. Here we used a CRISPR/Cas9 system to study the effect of basigin loss in a human cornea model of squamous epithelial differentiation. We find that epithelial cell cultures lacking basigin change shape and fail to produce a flattened squamous layer on the apical surface. This process is associated with the abnormal expression of the transcription factor SPDEF and the decreased biosynthesis of MUC16 and involucrin necessary for maintaining apical barrier function and structural integrity, respectively. Expression analysis of genes encoding tight junction proteins identified a role for basigin in promoting physiological expression of occludin and members of the claudin family. Functionally, disruption of basigin expression led to increased epithelial cell permeability as evidenced by the decrease in transepithelial electrical resistance and increase in rose bengal flux. Overall, these results suggest that basigin plays a distinct role in maintaining the normal differentiation of stratified squamous human corneal epithelium and could have potential implications to therapies targeting basigin function.
Gárriz A, Aubry S, Wattiaux Q, Bair J, Mariano M, Hatzipetrou G, Bowman M, Morokuma J, Ortiz G, Hamrah P, Dartt DA, Zoukhri D. Role of the Phospholipase C Pathway and Calcium Mobilization in Oxytocin-Induced Contraction of Lacrimal Gland Myoepithelial Cells. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2021;62(14):25.Abstract
Purpose: We reported that oxytocin (OXT), added to freshly prepared lacrimal gland lobules, induced myoepithelial cell (MEC) contraction. In other systems, OXT activates phospholipase C (PLC) generating Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3) which increases intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) causing contraction. The aim of the current study was to investigate the role of this pathway in OXT-induced contraction of MEC. Methods: Tear volume was measured using the cotton thread method. Lacrimal gland MEC were isolated and propagated from α-smooth muscle actin (SMA)-green fluorescent protein (GFP) mice, in which MEC express GFP making them easily identifiable. RNA and protein samples were prepared for RT-PCR and Western blotting for G protein expression. Changes in [Ca2+]i were measured in Fura-2 loaded MEC using a ratio imaging system. MEC contraction was monitored in real time and changes in cell size were quantified using ImageJ software. Results: OXT applied either topically to surgically exposed lacrimal glands or delivered subcutaneously resulted in increased tear volume. OXT stimulated lacrimal gland MEC contraction in a dose-dependent manner, with a maximum response at 10-7 M. MEC express the PLC coupling G proteins, Gαq and Gα11, and their activation by OXT resulted in a concentration-dependent increase in [Ca2+]i with a maximum response at 10-6 M. Furthermore, the activation of the IP3 receptor to increase [Ca2+]i is crucial for OXT-induced MEC contraction since blocking the IP3 receptor with 2-APB completely abrogated this response. Conclusions: We conclude that OXT uses the PLC/Ca2+ pathway to stimulate MEC contraction and increase lacrimal gland secretion.
Fonda SJ, Bursell S-E, Lewis DG, Clary D, Shahon D, Silva PS. Prevalence of Diabetic Eye Diseases in American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) as Identified by the Indian Health Service's National Teleophthalmology Program Using Ultrawide Field Imaging (UWFI). Ophthalmic Epidemiol 2021;:1-9.Abstract
PURPOSE: Estimates of diabetic eye disease in American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) vary over time, region, and methods. This article reports recent prevalence of diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic macular edema (DME) in AI/AN served by the Indian Health Services' (IHS) teleophthalmology program, as identified using ultrawide field imaging (UWFI). METHODS: This was a retrospective analysis of 2016-2019 clinical data (n = 53,900). UWF images were acquired by certified imagers using a validated protocol, and graded by licensed, certified optometrists supervised by an ophthalmologist. Graders evaluated the extent/severity of retinal lesions in comparison to standard photographs. DR lesions predominantly in any peripheral field were considered "predominantly peripheral lesions" (PPL). The analyses calculated prevalence of any DR, any DME, DR and DME severity, sight-threatening disease, and PPL. RESULTS: Patients averaged 56 years of age with a 68 mmol/mol A1c and 55% had had diabetes for 5+ years. Prevalence of any DR, any DME, and sight-threatening disease was 28.6%, 3.0%, and 3.0%. In patients with mild nonproliferative DR, PPL was seen in 25.3%. PPL suggested a more severe level of DR in 8.7% of patients. DR increased with age. DME decreased with age. Males and patients in the Nashville IHS area had more diabetic eye disease. CONCLUSION: AI/AN have a high burden of diabetes and its complications. The IHS is resource-constrained, making accurate disease estimates necessary for resource allocation and budget justifications to Congress. These data update the estimates of diabetic eye disease in Indian Country and suggest that UWFI identifies early DR.
Sharifi S, Islam MM, Sharifi H, Islam R, Koza D, Reyes-Ortega F, Alba-Molina D, Nilsson PH, Dohlman CH, Mollnes TE, Chodosh J, Gonzalez-Andrades M. Tuning gelatin-based hydrogel towards bioadhesive ocular tissue engineering applications. Bioact Mater 2021;6(11):3947-3961.Abstract
Gelatin based adhesives have been used in the last decades in different biomedical applications due to the excellent biocompatibility, easy processability, transparency, non-toxicity, and reasonable mechanical properties to mimic the extracellular matrix (ECM). Gelatin adhesives can be easily tuned to gain different viscoelastic and mechanical properties that facilitate its ocular application. We herein grafted glycidyl methacrylate on the gelatin backbone with a simple chemical modification of the precursor, utilizing epoxide ring-opening reactions and visible light-crosslinking. This chemical modification allows the obtaining of an elastic protein-based hydrogel (GELGYM) with excellent biomimetic properties, approaching those of the native tissue. GELGYM can be modulated to be stretched up to 4 times its initial length and withstand high tensile stresses up to 1.95 MPa with compressive strains as high as 80% compared to Gelatin-methacryloyl (GeIMA), the most studied derivative of gelatin used as a bioadhesive. GELGYM is also highly biocompatible and supports cellular adhesion, proliferation, and migration in both 2 and 3-dimensional cell-cultures. These characteristics along with its super adhesion to biological tissues such as cornea, aorta, heart, muscle, kidney, liver, and spleen suggest widespread applications of this hydrogel in many biomedical areas such as transplantation, tissue adhesive, wound dressing, bioprinting, and drug and cell delivery.
Douglas VP, Flores C, Douglas KA, Strominger MB, Kasper E, Torun N. OCULOMOTOR NERVE SCHWANNOMA: CASE SERIES AND LITERATURE REVIEW. Surv Ophthalmol 2021;Abstract
Oculomotor nerve schwannomas (ONS) are rare benign cranial nerve tumors. There are only a limited number of reports on this pathology in the literature, and there is currently no established management guidelines that aid providers in deciding on surgical versus non-surgical management. We assess the published literature on the topic to identify indications for treatment as well as outcome measures (e.g., local control rates, survival rates, and complication rates) that have been reported as associated with the various treatment modalities. We attempt to develop an algorithm for evaluation and treatment of ONS in order to establish consensus on how these tumors should be treated.
Yu Z, Efstathiou NE, Correa VSMC, Chen XH, Ishihara K, Iesato Y, Narimatsu T, Ntentakis D, Chen Y, Vavvas DG. Receptor interacting protein 3 kinase, not 1 kinase, through MLKL-mediated necroptosis is involved in UVA-induced corneal endothelium cell death. Cell Death Discov 2021;7(1):366.Abstract
Ultraviolet (UV) is one of the most energetic radiations in the solar spectrum that can result in various tissue injury disorders. Previous studies demonstrated that UVA, which represents 95% of incident photovoltaic radiation, induces corneal endothelial cells (CECs) death. Programmed cell death (PCD) has been implicated in numerous ophthalmologic diseases. Here, we investigated receptor-interacting protein 3 kinase (RIPK3), a key signaling molecule of PCD, in UVA-induced injury using a short-term corneal endothelium (CE) culture model. UVA irradiation activated RIPK3 and mediated necroptosis both in mouse CE and primary human CECs (pHCECs). UVA irradiation was associated with upregulation of key necroptotic molecules (DAI, TRIF, and MLKL) that lie downstream of RIPK3. Moreover, RIPK3 inhibition or silencing in primary corneal endothelial cells suppresses UVA-induced cell death, along with downregulation of MLKL in pHCECs. In addition, genetic inhibition or knockout of RIPK3 in mice (RIPK3K51A and RIPK3-/- mice) similarly attenuates cell death and the levels of necroptosis in ex vivo UVA irradiation experiments. In conclusion, these results identify RIPK3, not RIPK1, as a critical regulator of UVA-induced cell death in CE and indicate its potential as a future protective target.
Greiner JV, Glonek T. Intracellular ATP Concentration and Implication for Cellular Evolution. Biology (Basel) 2021;10(11)Abstract
Crystalline lens and striated muscle exist at opposite ends of the metabolic spectrum. Lens is a metabolically quiescent tissue, whereas striated muscle is a mechanically dynamic tissue with high-energy requirements, yet both tissues contain millimolar levels of ATP (>2.3 mM), far exceeding their underlying metabolic needs. We explored intracellular concentrations of ATP across multiple cells, tissues, species, and domains to provide context for interpreting lens/striated muscle data. Our database revealed that high intracellular ATP concentrations are ubiquitous across diverse life forms including species existing from the Precambrian Era, suggesting an ancient highly conserved role for ATP, independent of its widely accepted view as primarily "metabolic currency". Our findings reinforce suggestions that the primordial function of ATP was non-metabolic in nature, serving instead to prevent protein aggregation.
Kuang L, Ross AE, Kanu LN, Romanowski EG, Kowalski RP, Kohane DS, Ciolino JB. A novel, sensitive, and widely accessible besifloxacin quantification method by HPLC-fluorescence: Application to an ocular pharmacokinetic study. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci 2021;1185:123010.Abstract
Besifloxacin has been embraced for the treatment of ocular bacterial infections. While LC-MS/MS has been used in investigating BSF pharmacokinetics, those costly instruments are not universally available and have complicated requirements for operation and maintenance. Additionally, pharmacokinetics of besifloxacin in dose-intense regimens are still unknown. Herein, a new quantification method was developed employing the widely accessible HPLC with fluorescence detection and applied to an ocular pharmacokinetic study with an intense regimen. Biosamples were pre-treated using protein precipitation. Chromatographic separation was achieved on a C18 column using mobile phase of 0.1% trifluoroacetic acid and acetonitrile. To address the weak fluorescence issue of besifloxacin, effects of detection parameters, elution pattern, pH of mobile phase, and reconstitution solvents were investigated. The method was fully validated per US-FDA guidelines and demonstrated precision (<13%), accuracy (91-112%), lower limit of quantification (5 ng/mL), linearity over clinically relevant concentrations (R2 > 0.999), matrix-effects (93-105%), recoveries (95-106%), and excellent selectivity. The method showed agreement with agar disk diffusion assays for in vitro screening and comparable in vivo performance to LC-MS/MS (Deming Regression, y = 1.010x + 0.123, r = 0.997; Bland-Altman analysis, mean difference was -6.3%; n = 21). Pharmacokinetic parameters suggested superior surface-retentive properties of besifloxacin. Maximum concentrations were 1412 ± 1910 and 0.15 ± 0.12 μg/mL; area under the curve was 1,637 and 1.08 µg·h/g; and half-life was 4.9 and 4.1 h; and pharmacokinetic-to-pharmacodynamic ratios were ≥ 409 and ≤ 17.8 against ocular pathogens in tears and aqueous humor, respectively. This readily available method is sensitive for biosamples and practical for routine use, facilitating besifloxacin therapy development.
Yeung V, Sriram S, Tran JA, Guo X, Hutcheon AEK, Zieske JD, Karamichos D, Ciolino JB. FAK Inhibition Attenuates Corneal Fibroblast Differentiation In Vitro. Biomolecules 2021;11(11)Abstract
Corneal fibrosis (or scarring) occurs in response to ocular trauma or infection, and by reducing corneal transparency, it can lead to visual impairment and blindness. Studies highlight important roles for transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 and -β3 as modulators in corneal wound healing and fibrosis, leading to increased extracellular matrix (ECM) components and expression of α-smooth muscle actin (αSMA), a myofibroblast marker. In this study, human corneal fibroblasts (hCF) were cultured as a monolayer culture (2D) or on poly-transwell membranes to generate corneal stromal constructs (3D) that were treated with TGF-β1, TGF-β3, or TGF-β1 + FAK inhibitor (FAKi). Results show that hCF 3D constructs treated with TGF-β1 or TGF-β3 impart distinct effects on genes involved in wound healing and fibrosis-ITGAV, ITGB1, SRC and ACTA2. Notably, in the 3D construct model, TGF-β1 enhanced αSMA and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) protein expression, whereas TGF-β3 did not. In addition, in both the hCF 2D cell and 3D construct models, we found that TGF-β1 + FAKi attenuated TGF-β1-mediated myofibroblast differentiation, as shown by abrogated αSMA expression. This study concludes that FAK signaling is important for the onset of TGF-β1-mediated myofibroblast differentiation, and FAK inhibition may provide a novel beneficial therapeutic avenue to reduce corneal scarring.
Roldan AM, Zebardast N, Pistilli M, Khachatryan N, Payal A, Begum H, Artornsombudh P, Pujari SS, Rosenbaum JT, Sen NH, Suhler EB, Thorne JE, Bhatt NP, Foster SC, Jabs DA, Levy-Clarke GA, Nussenblatt RB, Buchanich JM, Kempen JH, for Group SITED (SITE) CSR. Corneal Endothelial Transplantation in Uveitis: Incidence and Risk Factors. Am J Ophthalmol 2021;Abstract
PURPOSE: To estimate the incidence of corneal endothelial transplantation and identify risk factors among patients with non-infectious ocular inflammation. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. METHODS: Adult patients attending United States tertiary uveitis care facilities diagnosed with non-infectious ocular inflammation were identified from the Systemic Immunosuppressive Therapy for Eye Diseases Cohort Study. Time-to-event analysis was used to estimate the incidence of corneal endothelial transplantation (CET), including penetrating keratoplasty, Descemet stripping endothelial keratoplasty, or Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty procedures. The incidence of CET was calculated; potential risk factors for CET were also evaluated using Cox regression, accounting for correlation between eyes of the same patient. RESULTS: Overall, 14,264 eyes met eligibility criteria for this analysis with a median follow-up 1.8 eye-years. The Kaplan-Meier estimated incidence of CET within 10 years was 1.10% (95% CI, 0.68%-1.53%). Risk factors for CET included age >60 years vs. <40 years (aHR 16.5; 95% CI,4.70-57.9), anterior uveitis and scleritis vs. other types (aHR 2.97; 95% CI, 1.46-6.05 and aHR 4.14; 95% CI,1.28-13.4, respectively), topical corticosteroid treatment (aHR 2.84; 95% CI, 1.32-6.13), cataract surgery (aHR 4.44; 95% CI, 1.73-11.4), tube shunt surgery (aHR 11.9; 95% CI, 5.30-26.8), band keratopathy (aHR 5.12; 95% CI, 2.34-11.2), and hypotony (aHR 7.38; 95% CI, 3.14-17.4). Duration of uveitis, trabeculectomy, PAS, and ocular hypertension had no significant association after multivariate adjustment. CONCLUSIONS: In patients with ocular inflammation, CET occurred infrequently. Tube shunt surgery, hypotony, band keratopathy, cataract surgery, and anterior segment inflammation were associated with increased risk of undergoing corneal endothelial transplantation; these factors likely are associated with endothelial cell damage.
Bennett CR, Bauer CM, Bex PJ, Bottari D, Merabet LB. Visual search performance in cerebral visual impairment is associated with altered alpha band oscillations. Neuropsychologia 2021;161:108011.Abstract
Individuals with cerebral visual impairment (CVI) often present with deficits related to visuospatial processing. However, the neurophysiological basis underlying these higher order perceptual dysfunctions have not been clearly identified. We assessed visual search performance using a novel virtual reality based task paired with eye tracking to simulate the exploration of a naturalistic scene (a virtual toy box). This was combined with electroencephalography (EEG) recordings and an analysis pipeline focusing on time frequency decomposition of alpha oscillatory activity. We found that individuals with CVI showed an overall impairment in visual search performance (as indexed by decreased success rate, as well as increased reaction time, visual search area, and gaze error) compared to controls with neurotypical development. Analysis of captured EEG activity following stimulus onset revealed that in the CVI group, there was a distinct lack of strong and well defined posterior alpha desynchronization; an important signal involved in the coordination of neural activity related to visual processing. Finally, an exploratory analysis revealed that in CVI, the magnitude of alpha desynchronization was associated with impaired visual search performance as well as decreased volume of specific thalamic nuclei implicated in visual processing. These results suggest that impairments in visuospatial processing related to visual search in CVI are associated with alterations in alpha band oscillations as well as early neurological injury at the level of visual thalamic nuclei.
E J-Y, Mihailovic A, Schrack JA, Garzon C, Li T, Friedman DS, West SK, Gitlin LN, Ramulu PY. Longitudinal changes in daily patterns of objectively measured physical activity after falls in older adults with varying degrees of glaucoma. EClinicalMedicine 2021;40:101097.Abstract
Background: Visually impaired older adults have a greater risk of falling, making them particularly susceptible to fall-related health consequences and restricted physical activity. Unclear however, is the relationship between having falls and longitudinal changes in daily patterns of objectively measured physical activity in older adults with visual impairments. Methods: We created a three-year prospective cohort study (Falls in Glaucoma Study) of older adults with primary or suspected glaucoma at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute from 2013 to 2015. Cumulative incidence of falls was determined through self-reported fall calendars over 12 months. Participants were then classified into one of three groups: multiple fallers (≥2 falls), single fallers (1 fall), and non-fallers (0). Daily physical activity was measured over 1 week using a waist-bound accelerometer during baseline and three-year follow-ups. Activity fragmentation was defined as the reciprocal of the mean activity bout length, with higher fragmentation reflecting shorter, more fractured bouts of continuous activity. Multivariate linear mixed-effects models were used to assess three-year longitudinal changes in: 1) activity fragmentation, and 2) accumulation of activity across six three-hour intervals from 5 AM to 11 PM. Findings: In adjusted models accounting for visual field damage and other factors, multiple fallers demonstrated greater annual declines (per year) in daily active bouts (-1.79 bouts/day, 95% confidence interval [CI]: -3.35, -0.22), daily active minutes (-17.15 min/day, 95% CI: -26.35, -7.94), and increased fragmentation (1%, 95% CI: 0, 2%) over the three-year follow-up period as compared to non-fallers; no such changes were seen when comparing single fallers and non-fallers. In time-of-day analyses, multiple fallers experienced greater annual declines in average hourly steps over all periods of the day, though the rate of decline was only significant between 5 PM and 8 PM (-27.07 steps/hour, 95% CI: -51.15, -2.99) compared to non-fallers. Interpretation: In an older population with visual impairment, multiple falls over 12 months were associated with more transient and fragmented activity over a subsequent three-year period, and activity declines during evening hours, compared to non-fallers. These findings suggest that multiple fallers with visual impairment may be at high risk for a decline in physical capacity and endurance, warranting clinical interventions. Funding: The research was supported in part by National Institutes of Health Grant EY022976.

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