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Glassman AR, Wells JA, Josic K, Maguire MG, Antoszyk AN, Baker C, Beaulieu WT, Elman MJ, Jampol LM, Sun JK. Five-Year Outcomes after Initial Aflibercept, Bevacizumab, or Ranibizumab Treatment for Diabetic Macular Edema (Protocol T Extension Study). Ophthalmology 2020;127(9):1201-1210.Abstract
PURPOSE: Assess follow-up treatment and clinical outcomes at 5 years in eyes initially treated with anti-VEGF therapy for center-involved diabetic macular edema (CI-DME) in a 2-year randomized clinical trial. DESIGN: Multicenter cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Participants with diabetic macular edema (DME) and visual acuity (VA) 20/32 to 20/320 enrolled in DRCR.net Protocol T with visits 5 years after randomization (3 years after Protocol T completion). METHODS: Participants were assigned randomly to aflibercept, bevacizumab, or ranibizumab with protocol-defined follow-up and re-treatment for 2 years. Thereafter, participants were managed at clinician discretion and recalled for a 5-year visit. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) treatment, VA letter score, and central subfield thickness (CST). RESULTS: Sixty-eight percent (317/463) of eligible participants completed the 5-year visit. Between years 2 and 5, 68% (217/317) of study eyes received at least 1 anti-VEGF treatment (median, 4; interquartile range [IQR], 0-12). At 5 years, mean VA improved from baseline by 7.4 letters (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.9-9.0) but decreased by 4.7 letters (95% CI, 3.3-6.0) between 2 and 5 years. When baseline VA was 20/50 to 20/320, mean 5-year VA was 11.9 letters (95% CI, 9.3-14.5) better than baseline but 4.8 letters (95% CI, 2.5-7.0) worse than 2 years. When baseline VA was 20/32 to 20/40, mean 5-year VA was 3.2 letters (95% CI, 1.4-5.0) better than baseline but 4.6 letters (95% CI, 3.1-6.1) worse than 2 years. Mean CST decreased from baseline to 5 years by 154 μm (95% CI, 142-166) and was stable between 2 and 5 years (-1 μm; 95% CI, -12 to 9). CONCLUSIONS: Among the two-thirds of eligible Protocol T participants who completed a 5-year visit, mean VA improved from baseline to 5 years without protocol-defined treatment after follow-up ended at 2 years. Although mean retinal thickness was similar at 2 and 5 years, mean VA worsened during this period. Additional investigation into strategies to improve long-term outcomes in eyes with DME seems warranted to determine if VA can be better maintained with different management approaches.
Wons J, Kempen J, Garweg JG. HIV-induced Retinitis. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2020;28(8):1259-1268.Abstract
PURPOSE: To provide an overview of the current knowledge on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-associated retinopathies. METHODS: A PubMed search was performed, using the key terms "HIV Retinopathy OR Retinitis" and "HIV AND Retinitis" to find manuscripts published within the last ten years. RESULTS: If left untreated, HIV infection causes a progressive immunodeficiency caused by depletion of CD4-positive T lymphocytes. Noninfectious HIV retinopathy, clinically manifested by cotton wool spots. Once the CD4 count drops below 200 c/μl, immunodeficiency creates a vulnerability for systemic opportunistic infections. Within the posterior segment of the eye, cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis has to be distinguished from infections with other members of the herpes virus family, as well as from toxoplasmosis, tuberculosis, and syphilis. Upon restoration of the immune system, immune recovery uveitis may manifest in one third of CMV affected eyes. CONCLUSION: Targeted antiviral treatment and secondary recurrence prophylaxis prevent vision loss of the retina prior to immune recovery.
Xu L-J, Rong S-S, Xu Y-S, Zheng L-B, Qiu W-Y, Zhang X, Jiang L-J, Duan R-P, Tian T, Yao Y-F. Anti-fibrosis potential of pirarubicin via inducing apoptotic and autophagic cell death in rabbit conjunctiva. Exp Eye Res 2020;200:108215.Abstract
This study investigated the potential efficacy of pirarubicin (THP) in modulating rabbit conjunctival fibrosis both in vitro and in vivo and characterized the underlying mechanisms. Primary rabbit conjunctival fibroblasts (RCF) were cultured and treated with THP or mitomycin C (MMC) for 5 min, followed by assaying for cell viability, cell cycle distribution, apoptotic and autophagic pathways. The production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and chemotaxis of macrophages by RCF were evaluated using 2',7'-dichlorofluorescein diacetate (DCFH-DA) labeling and transwell migration assay, respectively. Limbal stem cell excision in combination with alkali burn was performed on the rabbits to establish a model of limbal deficiency and conjunctival fibro-vascular invasion. After three months, the modeled fibro-vascular tissue was excised combined with topical subconjunctival 5-min exposure to THP compared with MMC intraoperatively. The recurrence of postoperative fibrosis and the expression of apoptosis, autophagy, and inflammation markers were evaluated by immunohistochemistry. All modeled rabbits developed conjunctival fibro-vascular lesions, which were similar to human recurrent pterygium (HRP). Both THP and MMC inhibited RCF proliferation and arrested cell cycle at the G0/G1 phase. In particular, 7.5 μmol/L THP remarkably promoted RCF autophagy by upregulating the levels of Beclin 1, Atg 5/12 conjugate, and LC3B, whereas, 15 μmol/L THP significantly triggered a cascade of mitochondrial-associated RCF apoptosis. THP induced the production of ROS and enhanced the chemoattraction of macrophages by RCF. Similar to 600 μmol/L MMC, both 7.5 μmol/L and 15 μmol/L THP attenuated postoperative conjunctival fibrosis in the models; 7.5 μmol/L THP preferentially enhanced autophagy while causing fewer side effects. THP exerted its antifibrotic action by modulating autophagy in RCF, inducing cell cycle arrest, and mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis. THP at the dose of 7.5 μmol/L prevented postoperative conjunctival fibrosis in an animal model.
Rinaldi L, Ciricugno A, Merabet LB, Vecchi T, Cattaneo Z. The Effect of Blindness on Spatial Asymmetries. Brain Sci 2020;10(10)Abstract
The human cerebral cortex is asymmetrically organized with hemispheric lateralization pervading nearly all neural systems of the brain. Whether the lack of normal visual development affects hemispheric specialization subserving the deployment of visuospatial attention asymmetries is controversial. In principle, indeed, the lack of early visual experience may affect the lateralization of spatial functions, and the blind may rely on a different sensory input compared to the sighted. In this review article, we thus present a current state-of-the-art synthesis of empirical evidence concerning the effects of visual deprivation on the lateralization of various spatial processes (i.e., including line bisection, mirror symmetry, and localization tasks). Overall, the evidence reviewed indicates that spatial processes are supported by a right hemispheric network in the blind, hence, analogously to the sighted. Such a right-hemisphere dominance, however, seems more accentuated in the blind as compared to the sighted as indexed by the greater leftward bias shown in different spatial tasks. This is possibly the result of the more pronounced involvement of the right parietal cortex during spatial tasks in blind individuals compared to the sighted, as well as of the additional recruitment of the right occipital cortex, which would reflect the cross-modal plastic phenomena that largely characterize the blind brain.
Williams PR, Benowitz LI, Goldberg JL, He Z. Axon Regeneration in the Mammalian Optic Nerve. Annu Rev Vis Sci 2020;6:195-213.Abstract
The damage or loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and their axons accounts for the visual functional defects observed after traumatic injury, in degenerative diseases such as glaucoma, or in compressive optic neuropathies such as from optic glioma. By using optic nerve crush injury models, recent studies have revealed the cellular and molecular logic behind the regenerative failure of injured RGC axons in adult mammals and suggested several strategies with translational potential. This review summarizes these findings and discusses challenges for developing clinically applicable neural repair strategies.
Rabe BA, Cepko C. SARS-CoV-2 detection using isothermal amplification and a rapid, inexpensive protocol for sample inactivation and purification. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2020;Abstract
The current severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has had an enormous impact on society worldwide, threatening the lives and livelihoods of many. The effects will continue to grow and worsen if economies begin to open without the proper precautions, including expanded diagnostic capabilities. To address this need for increased testing, we have developed a sensitive reverse-transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) assay compatible with current reagents, which utilizes a colorimetric readout in as little as 30 min. A rapid inactivation protocol capable of inactivating virions, as well as endogenous nucleases, was optimized to increase sensitivity and sample stability. This protocol, combined with the RT-LAMP assay, has a sensitivity of at least 50 viral RNA copies per microliter in a sample. To further increase the sensitivity, a purification protocol compatible with this inactivation method was developed. The inactivation and purification protocol, combined with the RT-LAMP assay, brings the sensitivity to at least 1 viral RNA copy per microliter in a sample. This simple inactivation and purification pipeline is inexpensive and compatible with other downstream RNA detection platforms and uses readily available reagents. It should increase the availability of SARS-CoV-2 testing as well as expand the settings in which this testing can be performed.
Park EA, Tsikata E, Lee JJ, Shieh E, Braaf B, Vakoc BJ, Bouma BE, de Boer JF, Chen TC. Artifact Rates for 2D Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Thickness Versus 3D Neuroretinal Rim Thickness Using Spectral-Domain Optical Coherence Tomography. Transl Vis Sci Technol 2020;9(10):10.Abstract
Purpose: To compare the rates of clinically significant artifacts for two-dimensional peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness versus three-dimensional (3D) neuroretinal rim thickness using spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT). Methods: Only one eye per patient was used for analysis of 120 glaucoma patients and 114 normal patients. For RNFL scans and optic nerve scans, 15 artifact types were calculated per B-scan and per eye. Neuroretinal rim tissue was quantified by the minimum distance band (MDB). Global MDB neuroretinal rim thicknesses were calculated before and after manual deletion of B-scans with artifacts and subsequent automated interpolation. A clinically significant artifact was defined as one requiring manual correction or repeat scanning. Results: Among glaucomatous eyes, artifact rates per B-scan were significantly more common in RNFL scans (61.7%, 74 of 120) compared to B-scans in neuroretinal rim volume scans (20.9%, 1423 of 6820) (95% confidence interval [CI], 31.6-50.0; < 0.0001). For clinically significant artifact rates per eye, optic nerve scans had significantly fewer artifacts (15.8% of glaucomatous eyes, 13.2% of normal eyes) compared to RNFL scans (61.7% of glaucomatous eyes, 25.4% of normal eyes) (glaucoma group: 95% CI, 34.1-57.5, < 0.0001; normal group: 95% CI, 1.3-23.3, = 0.03). Conclusions: Compared to the most commonly used RNFL thickness scans, optic nerve volume scans less frequently require manual correction or repeat scanning to obtain accurate measurements. Translational Relevance: This paper illustrates the potential for 3D OCT algorithms to improve in vivo imaging in glaucoma.
Sudharshan S, Nair N, Curi A, Banker A, Kempen JH. Human immunodeficiency virus and intraocular inflammation in the era of highly active anti retroviral therapy - An update. Indian J Ophthalmol 2020;68(9):1787-1798.Abstract
Intraocular inflammation in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is commonly due to infectious uveitis. Ocular lesions due to opportunistic infections (OI) are the most common and have been described extensively in the pre highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) era. Many eye lesions were classified as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) defining illnesses. HAART-associated improvement in immunity of the individual has changed the pattern of incidence of these hitherto reported known lesions leading to a marked reduction in the occurrence of ocular OI. Newer ocular lesions and newer ocular manifestations of known agents have been noted. Immune recovery uveitis (IRU), the new menace, which occurs as part of immune recovery inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) in the eye, can present with significant ocular inflammation and can pose a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge. Balancing the treatment of inflammation with the risk of reactivation of OI is a task by itself. Ocular involvement in the HAART era can be due to the adverse effects of some systemic drugs used in the management of HIV/AIDS. Drug-associated retinal toxicity and other ocular side effects are being increasingly reported. In this review, we discuss the ocular manifestations in HIV patients and its varied presentations following the introduction of HAART, drug-associated lesions, and the current treatment guidelines.
Begaj T, Marmalidou A, Papakostas TD, Diaz DJ, Kim LA, Wu DM, Miller JB. Outcomes of primary rhegmatogenous retinal detachment repair with extensive scleral-depressed vitreous removal and dynamic examination. PLoS One 2020;15(9):e0239138.Abstract
There are multiple surgical approaches to the repair of rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD). Here, we evaluated the outcomes of small-gauge pars plana vitrectomy (PPV), alone or in combination with scleral buckle (SB-PPV), for RRD repair using a standardized technique by 3 vitreoretinal surgeons: "extensive" removal of the vitreous with scleral depression and dynamic examination of the peripheral retina. One hundred eighty seven eyes of 180 consecutive patients treated for primary RRD by three vitreoretinal surgeons at a tertiary academic medical center from September 2015 to March 2018 were analyzed. Most RRDs occurred in males (134 [71.3%] eyes), affected the left eye (102 [54.3%]), and were phakic (119 [63.3%]). PPV alone was performed in 159 eyes (84.6%), with a combined SB-PPV used in the remaining 29 eyes (15.4%); focal endolaser was used in all (100%) cases. The single surgery anatomic success rate was 186 eyes (99.5%) at 3 months, and 187 (100%) at last follow up. Overall best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) had significantly improved at 3 months ([Snellen 20/47] P<0.00005) and last follow up ([Snellen 20/31] P<0.00005), as compared to day of presentation ([Snellen 20/234]). Our findings suggest that "extensive" removal of the vitreous and dynamic peripheral examination with scleral depression may lead to high single surgery success in primary uncomplicated RRD repair.
Akula JD, Arellano IA, Swanson EA, Favazza TL, Bowe TS, Munro RJ, Ferguson DR, Hansen RM, Moskowitz A, Fulton AB. The Fovea in Retinopathy of Prematurity. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2020;61(11):28.Abstract
Purpose: Because preterm birth and retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) are associated with poor visual acuity (VA) and altered foveal development, we evaluated relationships among the central retinal photoreceptors, postreceptor retinal neurons, overlying fovea, and VA in ROP. Methods: We obtained optical coherence tomograms (OCTs) in preterm born subjects with no history of ROP (none; n = 61), ROP that resolved spontaneously without treatment (mild; n = 51), and ROP that required treatment by laser ablation of the avascular peripheral retina (severe; n = 22), as well as in term born control subjects (term; n = 111). We obtained foveal shape descriptors, measured central retinal layer thicknesses, and demarcated the anatomic parafovea using automated routines. In subsets of these subjects, we obtained OCTs eccentrically through the pupil (n = 46) to reveal the fiber layer of Henle (FLH) and obtained adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmograms (AO-SLOs) of the parafoveal cones (n = 34) and measured their spacing and distribution. Results: Both VA and foveal depth decreased with increasing ROP severity (term, none, mild, severe). In severe subjects, foveae were broader than normal and the parafovea was significantly enlarged compared to every other group. The FLH was thinner than normal in mild (but not severe) subjects. VA was associated with foveal depth more than group. Density of parafoveal cones did not differ significantly among groups. Conclusions: Foveal structure is associated with loss of VA in ROP. The preserved FLH in severe (relative to mild) eyes suggests treatment may help cone axon development. The significantly larger parafovea and increased outer nuclear layer (ONL) thickness in ROP hint that some developmental process affecting the photoreceptors is not arrested in ROP but rather is supranormal.
Taketani Y, Marmalidou A, Dohlman TH, Singh RB, Amouzegar A, Chauhan SK, Chen Y, Dana R. Restoration of Regulatory T-Cell Function in Dry Eye Disease by Antagonizing Substance P/Neurokinin-1 Receptor. Am J Pathol 2020;190(9):1859-1866.Abstract
Substance P (SP) is a tachykinin neuropeptide, implicated in the pathogenesis of various inflammatory conditions and a critical mediator in pain transmission. Recently, the role of SP was described in the pathogenesis of dry eye disease (DED) through its role in the maturation of antigen-presenting cells at the ocular surface after exposure to desiccating stress. However, the effect of SP on regulatory T cells (Tregs), which are functionally impaired in DED, remains unclear. This study examined the phenotypic and functional changes in Tregs in response to SP in DED. The in vitro cultures of normal Tregs in the presence of SP led to a significant reduction in both Treg frequencies and their suppressive function, which was prevented by the addition of an SP receptor (neurokinin-1 receptor) antagonist. Furthermore, in vivo treatment with the neurokinin-1 receptor antagonist in DED mice effectively restored Treg function, suppressed pathogenic T helper 17 response, and significantly ameliorated the disease. Our results show that a significant increase in SP levels promotes Treg dysfunction in DED, and blockade of SP effectively restores Treg function and suppresses DED severity.
Hayashi T, Yasutsugu I, Shimizu T, Kuroki T, Kobashigawa Y, Iijima Y, Yuda K. Pars plana vitrectomy combined with penetrating keratoplasty and transscleral-sutured intraocular lens implantation in complex eyes: a case series. BMC Ophthalmol 2020;20(1):369.Abstract
BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical outcomes of pars plana vitrectomy (PPV) combined with penetrating keratoplasty (PKP) and transscleral-sutured intraocular lens (IOL) implantation (IOL-suture) in complex eyes. METHODS: In this prospective, consecutive interventional case series, patients who underwent PKP combined with PPV and IOL implantation from July 2014 to March 2018 at Yokohama Minami Kyosai Hospital were enrolled. The postoperative best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) (converted to logarithm of the minimal angle of resolution [logMAR] units), intraocular pressure (IOP, mmHg), endothelial cell density (ECD, cells/mm), graft survival, complications, astigmatism, and spherical equivalent (dioptres [D]) were evaluated. RESULTS: This study included 11 eyes of 11 patients (three females and eight males; mean age, 61.8 ± 13.9 years) with an injury (n = 6) or bullous keratopathy (n = 5). The BCVA significantly improved from 1.50 ± 0.66 logMAR preoperatively to 0.78 ± 0.59 logMAR (p < 0.001) postoperatively. The baseline ECD significantly decreased from 2396 ± 238 cells/mm preoperatively to 1132 ± 323 cells/mm (p < 0.001) postoperatively. Despite two rejection episodes, graft survival rates were 100%. The mean follow-up period was 38.0 ± 20.5 months. Two patients required combined glaucoma surgery, and three patients underwent subsequent glaucoma surgery. Postoperative astigmatism and spherical equivalent were 3.9 ± 3.2 D and 0.29 ± 2.18 D, respectively. CONCLUSION: The combination of PKP, PPV, and IOL-suture implantation could be a safe and effective approach for eyes requiring anterior segment surgery; however, these eyes are associated with a higher incidence of glaucoma surgery.
Harris JM, Han IC, Sachdeva MM, Zhang AY, Zebardast N. Post-operative intracranial gas migration with optic nerve infiltration and atrophy following retinal detachment repair. Am J Ophthalmol Case Rep 2020;20:100920.Abstract
Purpose: To report a patient with post-operative gas migration into the optic nerve and lateral ventricles after retinal detachment repair. Observations: A 78-year-old pseudophakic man developed a temporal visual field cut in his non-operative, right eye 3 weeks after repair of a recurrent, shallow, macula-involving retinal detachment with perfluoropropane intraocular gas in the left eye. Visual acuity in the right eye measured 20/40, and static perimetry demonstrated temporal visual field loss that respected the vertical midline. Dilated fundus examination of the right eye was unrevealing for any retinal cause, raising suspicion for an intracranial etiology. An urgent CT scan of the brain demonstrated gas in all segments of the left optic nerve and lateral ventricles, consistent with intracranial gas migration along the optic nerve. Given the absence of systemic neurologic symptoms, cautious observation was advised on consultation with neuroradiology and neurosurgery, and follow-up CT scan 1 week later showed resolution of the intracranial gas. By 10-weeks post-operatively, vision returned to 20/20 in the right eye with persistent temporal field loss, and the left eye was hand motions (20/70 pre-operatively) with evidence of optic nerve atrophy and severe cupping. Conclusions: Intracranial gas migration is a rare complication of retinaldetachment repair with intraocular gas and may occur in the setting of structural defects of the optic nerve and high post-operative intraocular pressure. Clinicians should be alert to this rare but serious complication, which can cause neurologic symptoms and result in vision loss in both the operative and non-operative eyes.
Prichula J, Van Tyne D, Schwartzman J, Sant'Anna FH, Pereira RI, da Cunha GR, Tavares M, Lebreton F, Frazzon J, d'Azevedo PA, Seixas A, Frazzon APG, Gilmore MS. Enterococci from Wild Magellanic Penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) as an Indicator of Marine Ecosystem Health and Human Impact. Appl Environ Microbiol 2020;86(19)Abstract
Enterococci are commensals that proliferated as animals crawled ashore hundreds of millions of years ago. They are also leading causes of multidrug-resistant hospital-acquired infections. While most studies are driven by clinical interest, comparatively little is known about enterococci in the wild or the effect of human activity on them. Pharmaceutical pollution and runoff from other human activities are encroaching widely into natural habitats. To assess their reach into remote habitats, we investigated the identity, genetic relatedness, and presence of specific traits among 172 enterococcal isolates from wild Magellanic penguins. Four enterococcal species, 18 lineage groups, and different colonization patterns were identified. One lineage, sequence type 475 (ST475), was isolated from three different penguins, making it of special interest. Its genome was compared to those of other sequence types (ST116 and ST242) recovered from Magellanic penguins, as well as to an existing phylogeny of isolated from diverse origins over the past 100 years. No penguin-derived strains were closely related to dominant clinical lineages. Most possessed intact CRISPR defenses, few mobile elements, and antibiotic resistances limited to those intrinsic to the species and lacked pathogenic features conveyed by mobile elements. Interestingly, plasmids were identified in penguin isolates that also had been reported for other marine mammals. Enterococci isolated from penguins showed limited anthropogenic impact, indicating that they are likely representative of those naturally circulating in the ecosystem inhabited by the penguins. These findings establish an important baseline for detecting the encroachment of human activity into remote planetary environments. Enterococci are host-associated microbes that have an unusually broad range, from the built hospital environment to the guts of insects and other animals in remote locations. Despite their occurrence in the guts of animals for hundreds of millions of years, we know little about the properties that confer this range or how anthropogenic activities may be introducing new selective forces. Magellanic penguins live at the periphery of human habitation. It was of interest to examine enterococci from these animals for the presence of antibiotic resistance and other markers reflective of anthropogenic selection. Diverse enterococcal lineages found discount the existence of a single well-adapted intrinsic penguin-specific species. Instead, they appear to be influenced by a carnivorous lifestyle and enterococci present in the coastal sea life consumed. These results indicate that currently, the penguin habitat remains relatively free of pollutants that select for adaptation to human-derived stressors.
Kempen JH, Abashawl A, Suga HK, Nigussie Difabachew M, Kempen CJ, Tesfaye Debele M, Menkir AA, Assefa MT, Asfaw EH, Habtegabriel LB, Sitotaw Addisie Y, Nilles EJ, Longenecker JC. SARS-CoV-2 Serosurvey in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2020;103(5):2022-2023.Abstract
In a serosurvey of asymptomatic people from the general population recruited from a clinical laboratory in May 2020 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, three of 99 persons tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 IgG (3.0%, 95% binomial exact confidence interval: 0.6-8.6%). Taking into account pretest probability and the sampling scheme, the range of plausible population prevalence values was approximately 1.0-8.4%. These results suggest that a larger number of people have been infected than the counts detected by surveillance to date; nevertheless, the results suggest the large majority of the general population in Addis Ababa currently is susceptible to COVID-19.

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