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Douglas VP, Douglas KA, Reinshagen KL, Chwalisz BK. Case 292: Lyme Neuroborreliosis. Radiology 2021;300(2):484-488.Abstract
History A 24-year-old right-handed woman presented to a neuro-ophthalmology clinic in Massachusetts in the summer with acute binocular diplopia when looking down and to the left, which started about 1 month earlier. Her medical history was notable for Raynaud syndrome, recurrent streptococcal pharyngitis, and an allergy to amoxicillin. Three days prior to developing diplopia, she presented to an outside emergency department due to fever, chills, and back pain. She received ciprofloxacin for presumed urinary tract infection based on urinalysis, which demonstrated few bacteria and was negative for leukocyte esterase, nitrites, and white blood cells. She then presented again to an outside emergency department for diplopia evaluation. Initial MRI and MR angiography of the brain at that time did not demonstrate any relevant findings, and the patient was referred to our department for neuro-ophthalmic evaluation, where she was seen 4 weeks later. Neuro-ophthalmic examination revealed 20/20 visual acuity in both eyes, and a right hypertropia in left gaze, downgaze and right head tilt, with right eye excyclotorsion. There were no ocular signs of myasthenia gravis or thyroid eye disease, nor did the patient report ocular or systemic symptoms. She denied recent travel. High-spatial-resolution MRI of the brain and orbit were performed.
Pamir Z, Bauer CM, Bennett CR, Kran BS, Merabet LB. Visual perception supported by verbal mediation in an individual with cerebral visual impairment (CVI). Neuropsychologia 2021;160:107982.Abstract
Cerebral visual impairment (CVI) often presents with deficits associated with higher order visual processing. We report a case of an individual with CVI who uses a verbal mediation strategy to perceive and interact with his visual surroundings. Visual perceptual performance was assessed using a virtual reality based visual search task combined with eye tracking. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was employed to identify the neural correlates associated with this strategy. We found that when using verbal mediation, the individual could readily detect and track the target within the visual scene which was associated with robust activation within a network of occipito-parieto-temporal visual cortical areas. In contrast, when not using verbal mediation, the individual was completely unable to perform the task, and this was associated with dramatically reduced visual cortical activation. This unique compensatory strategy may be related to the individual's use of verbal working memory for the purposes of understanding complex visual information.
Huang X, Sun J, Majoor J, Vermeer KA, Lemij H, Elze T, Wang M, Boland MV, Pasquale LR, Mohammadzadeh V, Nouri-Mahdavi K, Johnson C, Yousefi S. Estimating the Severity of Visual Field Damage From Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Thickness Measurements With Artificial Intelligence. Transl Vis Sci Technol 2021;10(9):16.Abstract
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess the accuracy of artificial neural networks (ANN) in estimating the severity of mean deviation (MD) from peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness measurements derived from optical coherence tomography (OCT). Methods: Models were trained using 1796 pairs of visual field and OCT measurements from 1796 eyes to estimate visual field MD from RNFL data. Multivariable linear regression, random forest regressor, support vector regressor, and 1D convolutional neural network (CNN) models with sectoral RNFL thickness measurements were examined. Three independent subsets consisting of 698, 256, and 691 pairs of visual field and OCT measurements were used to validate the models. Estimation errors were visualized to assess model performance subjectively. Mean absolute error (MAE), root mean square error (RMSE), median absolute error, Pearson correlation, and R-squared metrics were used to assess model performance objectively. Results: The MAE and RMSE of the ANN model based on the testing dataset were 4.0 dB (95% confidence interval = 3.8-4.2) and 5.2 dB (95% confidence interval = 5.1-5.4), respectively. The ranges of MAE and RMSE of the ANN model on independent datasets were 3.3-5.9 dB and 4.4-8.4 dB, respectively. Conclusions: The proposed ANN model estimated MD from RNFL measurements better than multivariable linear regression model, random forest, support vector regressor, and 1-D CNN models. The model was generalizable to independent data from different centers and varying races. Translational Relevance: Successful development of ANN models may assist clinicians in assessing visual function in glaucoma based on objective OCT measures with less dependence on subjective visual field tests.
Wagner A, Wang C, Fessler J, DeTomaso D, Avila-Pacheco J, Kaminski J, Zaghouani S, Christian E, Thakore P, Schellhaass B, Akama-Garren E, Pierce K, Singh V, Ron-Harel N, Douglas VP, Bod L, Schnell A, Puleston D, Sobel RA, Haigis M, Pearce EL, Soleimani M, Clish C, Regev A, Kuchroo VK, Yosef N. Metabolic modeling of single Th17 cells reveals regulators of autoimmunity. Cell 2021;184(16):4168-4185.e21.Abstract
Metabolism is a major regulator of immune cell function, but it remains difficult to study the metabolic status of individual cells. Here, we present Compass, an algorithm to characterize cellular metabolic states based on single-cell RNA sequencing and flux balance analysis. We applied Compass to associate metabolic states with T helper 17 (Th17) functional variability (pathogenic potential) and recovered a metabolic switch between glycolysis and fatty acid oxidation, akin to known Th17/regulatory T cell (Treg) differences, which we validated by metabolic assays. Compass also predicted that Th17 pathogenicity was associated with arginine and downstream polyamine metabolism. Indeed, polyamine-related enzyme expression was enhanced in pathogenic Th17 and suppressed in Treg cells. Chemical and genetic perturbation of polyamine metabolism inhibited Th17 cytokines, promoted Foxp3 expression, and remodeled the transcriptome and epigenome of Th17 cells toward a Treg-like state. In vivo perturbations of the polyamine pathway altered the phenotype of encephalitogenic T cells and attenuated tissue inflammation in CNS autoimmunity.
Peterson SL, Li Y, Sun CJ, Wong KA, Leung KS, de Lima S, Hanovice NJ, Yuki K, Stevens B, Benowitz LI. Retinal Ganglion Cell Axon Regeneration Requires Complement and Myeloid Cell Activity within the Optic Nerve. J Neurosci 2021;41(41):8508-8531.Abstract
Axon regenerative failure in the mature CNS contributes to functional deficits following many traumatic injuries, ischemic injuries, and neurodegenerative diseases. The complement cascade of the innate immune system responds to pathogen threat through inflammatory cell activation, pathogen opsonization, and pathogen lysis, and complement is also involved in CNS development, neuroplasticity, injury, and disease. Here, we investigated the involvement of the classical complement cascade and microglia/monocytes in CNS repair using the mouse optic nerve injury (ONI) model, in which axons arising from retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) are disrupted. We report that central complement C3 protein and mRNA, classical complement C1q protein and mRNA, and microglia/monocyte phagocytic complement receptor CR3 all increase in response to ONI, especially within the optic nerve itself. Importantly, genetic deletion of C1q, C3, or CR3 attenuates RGC axon regeneration induced by several distinct methods, with minimal effects on RGC survival. Local injections of C1q function-blocking antibody revealed that complement acts primarily within the optic nerve, not retina, to support regeneration. Moreover, C1q opsonizes and CR3+ microglia/monocytes phagocytose growth-inhibitory myelin debris after ONI, a likely mechanism through which complement and myeloid cells support axon regeneration. Collectively, these results indicate that local optic nerve complement-myeloid phagocytic signaling is required for CNS axon regrowth, emphasizing the axonal compartment and highlighting a beneficial neuroimmune role for complement and microglia/monocytes in CNS repair.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Despite the importance of achieving axon regeneration after CNS injury and the inevitability of inflammation after such injury, the contributions of complement and microglia to CNS axon regeneration are largely unknown. Whereas inflammation is commonly thought to exacerbate the effects of CNS injury, we find that complement proteins C1q and C3 and microglia/monocyte phagocytic complement receptor CR3 are each required for retinal ganglion cell axon regeneration through the injured mouse optic nerve. Also, whereas studies of optic nerve regeneration generally focus on the retina, we show that the regeneration-relevant role of complement and microglia/monocytes likely involves myelin phagocytosis within the optic nerve. Thus, our results point to the importance of the innate immune response for CNS repair.
Avraham D, Jung J-H, Yitzhaky Y, Peli E. Retinal prosthetic vision simulation: temporal aspects. J Neural Eng 2021;18(4)Abstract
Objective. The perception of individuals fitted with retinal prostheses is not fully understood, although several retinal implants have been tested and commercialized. Realistic simulations of perception with retinal implants would be useful for future development and evaluation of such systems.Approach.We implemented a retinal prosthetic vision simulation, including temporal features, which have not been previously simulated. In particular, the simulation included temporal aspects such as persistence and perceptual fading of phosphenes and the electrode activation rate.Main results.The simulated phosphene persistence showed an effective reduction in flickering at low electrode activation rates. Although persistence has a positive effect on static scenes, it smears dynamic scenes. Perceptual fading following continuous stimulation affects prosthetic vision of both static and dynamic scenes by making them disappear completely or partially. However, we showed that perceptual fading of a static stimulus might be countered by head-scanning motions, which together with the persistence revealed the contours of the faded object. We also showed that changing the image polarity may improve simulated prosthetic vision in the presence of persistence and perceptual fading.Significance.Temporal aspects have important roles in prosthetic vision, as illustrated by the simulations. Considering these aspects may improve the future design, the training with, and evaluation of retinal prostheses.
Saldaris J, Weisenberg J, Pestana-Knight E, Marsh ED, Suter B, Rajaraman R, Heidary G, Olson HE, Devinsky O, Price D, Jacoby P, Leonard H, Benke TA, Demarest S, Downs J. Content Validation of Clinician-Reported Items for a Severity Measure for CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder. J Child Neurol 2021;36(11):998-1006.Abstract
CDKL5 deficiency disorder (CDD) results in early-onset seizures and severe developmental impairments. A CDD clinical severity assessment (CCSA) was previously developed with clinician and parent-report items to capture information on a range of domains. Consistent with US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines, content validation is the first step in evaluating the psychometric properties of an outcome measure. The aim of this study was to validate the content of the clinician-reported items in the CCSA (CCSA-Clinician). Eight neurologists leading the USA CDD Center of Excellence clinics were interviewed using the "think aloud" technique to critique 26 clinician-reported items. Common themes were aggregated, and a literature search of related assessments informed item modifications. The clinicians then participated in 2 consensus meetings to review themes and finalize the items. A consensus was achieved for the content of the CCSA-Clinician. Eight of the original items were omitted, 11 items were added, and the remaining 18 items were revised. The final 29 items were classified into 2 domains: functioning and neurologic impairments. This study enabled refinement of the CCSA-Clinician and provided evidence for its content validity. This preliminary validation is essential before field testing and further validation, in order to advance the instrument toward clinical trial readiness.
Zhang M, Chen T, Zhong Y. Demographic and prognostic factors of optic nerve astrocytoma: a retrospective study of surveillance, epidemiology, and end results (SEER). BMC Cancer 2021;21(1):976.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Optic nerve astrocytomas (ONAs) are neurological neoplasms in the central nervous system (CNS), and they have the highest incidence rate among all the tumor types in the visual pathway. In this study, we conducted a Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) -based research to explore the demographic, survival, and prognostic factors of patients diagnosed with ONAs. METHODS: Utilizing the SEER database, we retrospectively evaluated data of patients diagnosed with ONAs of all ages from 1984 to 2016. We used the Student's t distribution to test variables of patients and various characteristics, and Kaplan-Meier curve to illustrate overall survival (OS) with 95.0% confidence intervals (CIs). We also performed univariate and multivariate analyses to evaluate various variables' validity on overall survival. RESULTS: A total of 1004 cases were analyzed, and revealed that age (P<0.001, hazard ratio (HR) = 8.830, 95% CI: 4.088-19.073), tumor grade (P<0.001, HR = 1.927, 95% CI: 1.516-2.450), diagnostic confirmation (P<0.001, HR = 2.444, 95% CI: 1.632-3.660), and histology type (P = 0.046, HR = 1.563, 95% CI: 1.008-2.424) of the tumor were associated with decreased survival. CONCLUSIONS: From this large, comparative study of ONAs, we found that younger age may be considered as a protective indicator, while high-grade astrocytic tumors have a worse prognosis. We also found that diagnostic confirmation and tumor grade were independent prognostic factors in this patient population.
Putra I, Shen X, Anwar KN, Rabiee B, Samaeekia R, Almazyad E, Giri P, Jabbehdari S, Hayat MR, Elhusseiny AM, Ghassemi M, Mahmud N, Edward DP, Joslin CE, Rosenblatt MI, Dana R, Eslani M, Hematti P, Djalilian AR. Preclinical Evaluation of the Safety and Efficacy of Cryopreserved Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stromal Cells for Corneal Repair. Transl Vis Sci Technol 2021;10(10):3.Abstract
Purpose: Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) have been shown to enhance tissue repair as a cell-based therapy. In preparation for a phase I clinical study, we evaluated the safety, dosing, and efficacy of bone marrow-derived MSCs after subconjunctival injection in preclinical animal models of mice, rats, and rabbits. Methods: Human bone marrow-derived MSCs were expanded to passage 4 and cryopreserved. Viability of MSCs after thawing and injection through small-gauge needles was evaluated by vital dye staining. The in vivo safety of human and rabbit MSCs was studied by subconjunctivally injecting MSCs in rabbits with follow-up to 90 days. The potency of MSCs on accelerating wound healing was evaluated in vitro using a scratch assay and in vivo using 2-mm corneal epithelial debridement wounds in mice. Human MSCs were tracked after subconjunctival injection in rat and rabbit eyes. Results: The viability of MSCs after thawing and immediate injection through 27- and 30-gauge needles was 93.1% ± 2.1% and 94.9% ± 1.3%, respectively. Rabbit eyes demonstrated mild self-limiting conjunctival inflammation at the site of injection with human but not rabbit MSCs. In scratch assay, the mean wound healing area was 93.5% ± 12.1% in epithelial cells co-cultured with MSCs compared with 40.8% ± 23.1% in controls. At 24 hours after wounding, all MSC-injected murine eyes had 100% corneal wound closure compared with 79.9% ± 5.5% in controls. Human MSCs were detectable in the subconjunctival area and peripheral cornea at 14 days after injection. Conclusions: Subconjunctival administration of MSCs is safe and effective in promoting corneal epithelial wound healing in animal models. Translational Relevance: These results provide preclinical data to support a phase I clinical study.
Halawa OA, Friedman DS, Roldan AM, Zebardast N. Changing trends in ocular trauma during the COVID-19 pandemic in the USA. Br J Ophthalmol 2021;Abstract
BACKGROUND/AIMS: The COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with a decline in emergency department (ED) presentations for trauma. The purpose of this study is to compare the estimated number and characteristics of eye injuries in 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, to those in 2011-2019. METHODS: A stratified probability sample of US ED-treated eye injuries was used to calculate the estimated annual number and incidence of these injuries in 2020, the year of the pandemic, and 2011-2019 (prepandemic years). Two-sample t-tests and Pearson χ2 were used to assess differences in demographics and injury characteristics. For multiple comparisons, Bonferroni correction was applied. RESULTS: The estimated number of ED-treated eye injuries per year was 152 957 (95% CI 132 637 to 176 153) in 2020 and 194 142 (95% CI 191 566 to 196 401) in 2011-2019. The annual incidence of ED-treated eye injuries was lower in 2020, at 46 per 100 000 population than in 2011-2019, at 62 per 100 000 per year (p<0.001). In 2020 vs 2011-2019, there was a higher incidence of ruptured globes (0.5 per 100 000 vs 0.3 per 100 000 per year, p<0.001), hyphemas (0.6 per 100 000 vs 0.4 per 100 000 per year, p<0.001), lacerations (1.0 per 100 000 in 2020 vs 0.8 per 100 000 per year, p<0.001) and orbital fractures (0.3 per 100 000 vs 0.03). CONCLUSION: The estimated incidence of eye injuries presenting to the ED was significantly lower in 2020 than in 2011-2019, but there was a higher estimated incidence of severe eye injuries. Changes in living and work environments due to the COVID-19 pandemic were likely associated with the differences in ocular trauma presentations observed in this study.
Ludwig CA, Vail D, Rajeshuni NA, Al-Moujahed A, Rosenblatt T, Callaway NF, Pasricha MV, Ji MH, Moshfeghi DM. Statins and the progression of age-related macular degeneration in the United States. PLoS One 2021;16(8):e0252878.Abstract
PURPOSE: To study the effect of statin exposure on the progression from non-exudative to exudative age-related macular degeneration (AMD). METHODS: Retrospective cohort study of commercially insured patients diagnosed with non-exudative AMD (n = 231,888) from 2007 to 2015. Time-to-event analysis of the association between exposure to lipid-lowering medications and time from non-exudative AMD to exudative AMD diagnosis was conducted. Outcome measures included progression to exudative AMD, indicated by diagnosis codes for exudative AMD or procedural codes for intravitreal injections. RESULTS: In the year before and after first AMD diagnosis, 11,330 patients were continuously prescribed lipid-lowering medications and 31,627 patients did not take any lipid-lowering medication. Of those taking statins, 21 (1.6%) patients were on very-high-dose lipophilic statins, 644 (47.6%) on high-dose lipophilic statins, and 689 (50.9%) on low-dose lipophilic statins. We found no statistically significant relationship between exposure to low (HR 0.89, 95% CI 0.83 to 1.38) or high-dose lipophilic statins (HR 1.12, 95% CI 0.86 to 1.45) and progression to exudative AMD. No patients taking very-high-dose lipophilic statins converted from non-exudative to exudative AMD, though this difference was not statistically significant due to the subgroup size (p = .23, log-rank test). CONCLUSIONS: No statistically significant relationship was found between statin exposure and risk of AMD progression. Interestingly, no patients taking very-high-dose lipophilic statins progressed to exudative AMD, a finding that warrants further exploration.
Coyle S, Khan MN, Chemaly M, Callaghan B, Doyle C, Willoughby CE, Atkinson SD, Gregory-Ksander M, McGilligan V. Targeting the NLRP3 Inflammasome in Glaucoma. Biomolecules 2021;11(8)Abstract
Glaucoma is a group of optic neuropathies characterised by the degeneration of retinal ganglion cells, resulting in damage to the optic nerve head (ONH) and loss of vision in one or both eyes. Increased intraocular pressure (IOP) is one of the major aetiological risk factors in glaucoma, and is currently the only modifiable risk factor. However, 30-40% of glaucoma patients do not present with elevated IOP and still proceed to lose vision. The pathophysiology of glaucoma is therefore not completely understood, and there is a need for the development of IOP-independent neuroprotective therapies to preserve vision. Neuroinflammation has been shown to play a key role in glaucoma and, specifically, the NLRP3 inflammasome, a key driver of inflammation, has recently been implicated. The NLRP3 inflammasome is expressed in the eye and its activation is reported in pre-clinical studies of glaucoma. Activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome results in IL-1β processing. This pro inflammatory cytokine is elevated in the blood of glaucoma patients and is believed to drive neurotoxic inflammation, resulting in axon degeneration and the death of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). This review discusses glaucoma as an inflammatory disease and evaluates targeting the NLRP3 inflammasome as a therapeutic strategy. A hypothetical mechanism for the action of the NLRP3 inflammasome in glaucoma is presented.
Cox SM, Kheirkhah A, Aggarwal S, Abedi F, Cavalcanti BM, Cruzat A, Hamrah P. Alterations in corneal nerves in different subtypes of dry eye disease: An in vivo confocal microscopy study. Ocul Surf 2021;22:135-142.Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate corneal subbasal nerve alterations in evaporative and aqueous-deficient dry eye disease (DED) as compared to controls. METHODS: In this retrospective, cross-sectional, controlled study, eyes with a tear break-up time of less than 10 s were classified as DED. Those with an anesthetized Schirmer's strip of less than 5 mm were classified as aqueous-deficient DED. Three representative in vivo confocal microscopy images were graded for each subject for total, main, and branch nerve density and numbers. RESULTS: Compared to 42 healthy subjects (42 eyes), the 70 patients with DED (139 eyes) showed lower total (18,579.0 ± 687.7 μm/mm2 vs. 21,014.7 ± 706.5, p = 0.026) and main (7,718.9 ± 273.9 vs. 9,561.4 ± 369.8, p < 0.001) nerve density, as well as lower total (15.5 ± 0.7/frame vs. 20.5 ± 1.3, p = 0.001), main (3.0 ± 0.1 vs. 3.8 ± 0.2, p = 0.001) and branch (12.5 ± 0.7 vs. 16.5 ± 1.2, p = 0.004) nerve numbers. Compared to the evaporative DED group, the aqueous-deficient DED group showed reduced total nerve density (19,969.9 ± 830.7 vs. 15,942.2 ± 1,135.7, p = 0.006), branch nerve density (11,964.9 ± 749.8 vs. 8,765.9 ± 798.5, p = 0.006), total nerves number (16.9 ± 0.8/frame vs. 13.0 ± 1.2, p = 0.002), and branch nerve number (13.8 ± 0.8 vs. 10.2 ± 1.1, p = 0.002). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with DED demonstrate compromised corneal subbasal nerves, which is more pronounced in aqueous-deficient DED. This suggests a role for neurosensory abnormalities in the pathophysiology of DED.

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