Di Zazzo A, Gaudenzi D, Yin J, Coassin M, Fernandes M, Dana R, Bonini S. Corneal angiogenic privilege and its failure. Exp Eye Res 2021;204:108457.Abstract
The cornea actively maintains its own avascular status to preserve its ultimate optical function. This corneal avascular state is also defined as "corneal angiogenic privilege", which results from a critical and sensitive balance between anti-angiogenic and pro-angiogenic mechanisms. In our review, we aim to explore the complex equilibrium among multiple mediators which prevents neovascularization in the resting cornea, as well as to unveil the evolutive process which leads to corneal angiogenesis in response to different injuries.
Woodward AM, Senchyna M, Argüeso P. Short-Term Reproducibility of MUC5AC Measurement in Human Tear Fluid. Diagnostics (Basel) 2021;11(1)Abstract
The assessment of tear fluid components is a common and valuable approach to understanding ocular surface disease and testing the efficacy of novel therapeutic strategies. However, the interpretation and utility of the findings can be limited by changes in the composition of the tear film, particularly in studies requiring repetitive patient sampling. Here, tear samples were collected twice within a one-hour interval to evaluate the short-term reproducibility of an immunoassay aimed to measure the amount of MUC5AC mucin. We found no statistical difference in total protein or MUC5AC content between the two consecutive collections of tear fluid, although the inter-individual variability in each group was high, with coefficients of variation exceeding 30% and 50%, respectively. Scatterplots showed a significant correlation in both protein and MUC5AC following collection within a one-hour interval. These data indicate that, regardless of the high inter-individual variability, repeated collection of tear fluid within an hour interval produces reproducible intra-individual data in terms of MUC5AC mucin content, and suggest that the normal mucin composition of the tear fluid can be re-established within an hour of the initial collection.
Vingopoulos F, Koulouri I, Miller JB, Vavvas DG. Anatomical and Functional Recovery Kinetics After Epiretinal Membrane Removal. Clin Ophthalmol 2021;15:175-181.Abstract
Purpose: To investigate the nature of anatomical and functional recovery kinetics after epiretinal membrane (ERM) removal. Methods: The records of 42 patients (45 eyes) with idiopathic ERM treated with pars plana vitrectomy and surgical peeling of the ERM performed by a single surgeon at Massachusetts Eye and Ear between 2012 and 2017 were retrospectively reviewed. Outcome measures included spectral domain optical coherence tomography-measured central macular thickness (CMT) pre-operatively and at post-operative day 1, week 1, months 1, 3, 6, 12 and 24 as well as best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA). Correlations between baseline or early values and final anatomical and functional outcomes were investigated. Results: Improvement in CMT was statistically significant after 1 week, 1, 3, 6, 12 and 24 months ( < 0.01). BCVA improvement was statistically significant after 1, 6, 12 and 24 months follow-up (<0.01). The improvement of BCVA and CMT with time was found to be logarithmic (R =0.96, R =0.84) suggesting that early (<30 days) post-operative functional and anatomical changes may be predictive of long-term outcomes. Preoperative BCVA and CMT revealed a weak positive correlation with the respective BCVA and CMT at 24 months (R=0.13 and R=0.16). When plotted as a percentage of the fellow normal eye CMT, first week proportional improvement in CMT from pre-operative baseline was found to be correlated with final CMT proportional decrease (R=0.72) suggesting that first week postoperative CMT could be predictive of final CMT. Conclusion: There is a logarithmic improvement in CMT and BCVA after ERM peel with BCVA improvement following the CMT improvement. Early (less than 30 days) post-operative anatomical changes can be predictive of long-term anatomical outcomes.
Haque M, Xiong X, Lei F, Das JK, Song J. An optimized protocol for the generation of HBV viral antigen-specific T lymphocytes from pluripotent stem cells. STAR Protoc 2021;2(1):100264.Abstract
In T cell-based cancer immunotherapy, tumor antigen (Ag)-specific CD8 cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) can specifically target tumor Ags on malignant cells. This promising approach drove us to adopt this strategy of T cell transfer (ACT)-based immunotherapy for chronic viral infections. Here, we describe the generation of hepatitis B virus (HBV) Ag-specific CTLs from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), i.e., iPSC-CTLs. Ag-specific iPSC-CTLs can target HBV Ag cells and infiltrate into the liver to suppress HBV replication in a murine model. For complete details on the use and execution of this protocol, please refer to Haque et al. (2020).
Maleki N, Szabo E, Becerra L, Moulton E, Scrivani SJ, Burstein R, Borsook D. Ictal and interictal brain activation in episodic migraine: Neural basis for extent of allodynia. PLoS One 2021;16(1):e0244320.Abstract
In some patients, migraine attacks are associated with symptoms of allodynia which can be localized (cephalic) or generalized (extracephalic). Using functional neuroimaging and cutaneous thermal stimulation, we aimed to investigate the differences in brain activation of patients with episodic migraine (n = 19) based on their allodynic status defined by changes between ictal and interictal pain tolerance threshold for each subject at the time of imaging. In this prospective imaging study, differences were found in brain activity between the ictal and interictal visits in the brainstem/pons, thalamus, insula, cerebellum and cingulate cortex. Significant differences were also observed in the pattern of activation along the trigeminal pathway to noxious heat stimuli in no allodynia vs. generalized allodynia in the thalamus and the trigeminal nucleus but there were no activation differences in the trigeminal ganglion. The functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) findings provide direct evidence for the view that in migraine patients who are allodynic during the ictal phase of their attacks, the spinal trigeminal nucleus and posterior thalamus become hyper-responsive (sensitized)-to the extent that they mediate cephalic and extracephalic allodynia, respectively. In addition, descending analgesic systems seem as "switched off" in generalized allodynia.
Wu DM, Ji X, Ivanchenko MV, Chung M, Piper M, Rana P, Wang SK, Xue Y, West E, Zhao SR, Xu H, Cicconet M, Xiong W, Cepko CL. Nrf2 overexpression rescues the RPE in mouse models of retinitis pigmentosa. JCI Insight 2021;6(2)Abstract
Nrf2, a transcription factor that regulates the response to oxidative stress, has been shown to rescue cone photoreceptors and slow vision loss in mouse models of retinal degeneration (rd). The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is damaged in these models, but whether it also could be rescued by Nrf2 has not been previously examined. We used an adeno-associated virus (AAV) with an RPE-specific (Best1) promoter to overexpress Nrf2 in the RPE of rd mice. Control rd mice showed disruption of the regular array of the RPE, as well as loss of RPE cells. Cones were lost in circumscribed regions within the cone photoreceptor layer. Overexpression of Nrf2 specifically in the RPE was sufficient to rescue the RPE, as well as the disruptions in the cone photoreceptor layer. Electron microscopy showed compromised apical microvilli in control rd mice but showed preserved microvilli in Best1-Nrf2-treated mice. The rd mice treated with Best1-Nrf2 had slightly better visual acuity. Transcriptome profiling showed that Nrf2 upregulates multiple oxidative defense pathways, reversing declines seen in the glutathione pathway in control rd mice. In summary, Nrf2 overexpression in the RPE preserves RPE morphology and survival in rd mice, and it is a potential therapeutic for diseases involving RPE degeneration, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Ambrosio L, Hansen RM, Moskowitz A, Oza A, Barrett D, Manganella J, Medina G, Kawai K, Fulton AB, Kenna M. Dark-adapted threshold and electroretinogram for diagnosis of Usher syndrome. Doc Ophthalmol 2021;143(1):39-51.Abstract
PURPOSE: To determine the utility of ophthalmology evaluation, dark-adapted threshold, and full-field electroretinogram for early detection of Usher syndrome in young patients with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. METHODS: We identified 39 patients with secure genetic diagnoses of Usher Syndrome. Visual acuity, spherical equivalent, fundus appearance, dark-adapted threshold, and full-field electroretinogram results were summarized and compared to those in a group of healthy controls with normal hearing. In those Usher patients with repeated measures, regression analysis was done to evaluate for change in visual acuity and dark-adapted threshold with age. Spherical equivalent and full-field electroretinogram responses from dark- and light-adapted eyes were evaluated as a function of age. RESULTS: The majority of initial visual acuity and spherical equivalent results were within normal limits for age. Visual acuity and dark-adapted threshold worsened significantly with age in Usher type 1 but not in Usher type 2. At initial test, full-field electroretinogram responses from dark- and light-adapted eyes were abnormal in 53% of patients. Remarkably, nearly half of our patients (17% of Usher type 1 and 30% of Usher type 2) would have been missed by tests of retinal function alone if evaluated before age 10. CONCLUSIONS: Although there is an association of abnormal dark-adapted threshold and full-field electroretinogram at young ages in Usher patients, it appears that a small but important proportion of patients would not be detected by tests of retinal function alone. Thus, genetic testing is needed to secure a diagnosis of Usher syndrome.
Bennett CR, Bex PJ, Merabet LB. Assessing visual search performance using a novel dynamic naturalistic scene. J Vis 2021;21(1):5.Abstract
Daily activities require the constant searching and tracking of visual targets in dynamic and complex scenes. Classic work assessing visual search performance has been dominated by the use of simple geometric shapes, patterns, and static backgrounds. Recently, there has been a shift toward investigating visual search in more naturalistic dynamic scenes using virtual reality (VR)-based paradigms. In this direction, we have developed a first-person perspective VR environment combined with eye tracking for the capture of a variety of objective measures. Participants were instructed to search for a preselected human target walking in a crowded hallway setting. Performance was quantified based on saccade and smooth pursuit ocular motor behavior. To assess the effect of task difficulty, we manipulated factors of the visual scene, including crowd density (i.e., number of surrounding distractors) and the presence of environmental clutter. In general, results showed a pattern of worsening performance with increasing crowd density. In contrast, the presence of visual clutter had no effect. These results demonstrate how visual search performance can be investigated using VR-based naturalistic dynamic scenes and with high behavioral relevance. This engaging platform may also have utility in assessing visual search in a variety of clinical populations of interest.
Antonetti DA, Silva PS, Stitt AW. Current understanding of the molecular and cellular pathology of diabetic retinopathy. Nat Rev Endocrinol 2021;17(4):195-206.Abstract
Diabetes mellitus has profound effects on multiple organ systems; however, the loss of vision caused by diabetic retinopathy might be one of the most impactful in a patient's life. The retina is a highly metabolically active tissue that requires a complex interaction of cells, spanning light sensing photoreceptors to neurons that transfer the electrochemical signal to the brain with support by glia and vascular tissue. Neuronal function depends on a complex inter-dependency of retinal cells that includes the formation of a blood-retinal barrier. This dynamic system is negatively affected by diabetes mellitus, which alters normal cell-cell interactions and leads to profound vascular abnormalities, loss of the blood-retinal barrier and impaired neuronal function. Understanding the normal cell signalling interactions and how they are altered by diabetes mellitus has already led to novel therapies that have improved visual outcomes in many patients. Research highlighted in this Review has led to a new understanding of retinal pathophysiology during diabetes mellitus and has uncovered potential new therapeutic avenues to treat this debilitating disease.
Arranz-Romera A, Hernandez M, Checa-Casalengua P, Garcia-Layana A, Molina-Martinez IT, Recalde S, Young MJ, Tucker BA, Herrero-Vanrell R, Fernandez-Robredo P, Bravo-Osuna I. A Safe GDNF and GDNF/BDNF Controlled Delivery System Improves Migration in Human Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells and Survival in Retinal Ganglion Cells: Potential Usefulness in Degenerative Retinal Pathologies. Pharmaceuticals (Basel) 2021;14(1)Abstract
We assessed the sustained delivery effect of poly (lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA)/vitamin E (VitE) microspheres (MSs) loaded with glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) alone (GDNF-MSs) or combined with brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF; GDNF/BDNF-MSs) on migration of the human adult retinal pigment epithelial cell-line-19 (ARPE-19) cells, primate choroidal endothelial (RF/6A) cells, and the survival of isolated mouse retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). The morphology of the MSs, particle size, and encapsulation efficiencies of the active substances were evaluated. In vitro release, 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) cell viability, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) deoxyuridine dUTP nick-end labelling (TUNEL) apoptosis, functional wound healing migration (ARPE-19; migration), and (RF/6A; angiogenesis) assays were conducted. The safety of MS intravitreal injection was assessed using hematoxylin and eosin, neuronal nuclei (NeuN) immunolabeling, and TUNEL assays, and RGC in vitro survival was analyzed. MSs delivered GDNF and co-delivered GDNF/BDNF in a sustained manner over 77 days. The BDNF/GDNF combination increased RPE cell migration, whereas no effect was observed on RF/6A. MSs did not alter cell viability, apoptosis was absent in vitro, and RGCs survived in vitro for seven weeks. In mice, retinal toxicity and apoptosis was absent in histologic sections. This delivery strategy could be useful as a potential co-therapy in retinal degenerations and glaucoma, in line with future personalized long-term intravitreal treatment as different amounts (doses) of microparticles can be administered according to patients' needs.
Ruiz-Lozano RE, Garza-Garza LA, Davila-Cavazos O, Foster SC, Rodriguez-Garcia A. The clinical and pathogenic spectrum of surgically-induced scleral necrosis: A review. Surv Ophthalmol 2021;66(4):594-611.Abstract
The onset of scleral necrosis after ocular surgery may have catastrophic ocular and systemic consequences. The two most frequent surgeries causing surgically-induced scleral necrosis (SISN) are pterygium excision and cataract extraction. Several pathogenic mechanisms are involved in surgically induced scleral necrosis. All of them are poorly understood. Ocular trauma increasing lytic action of collagenases with subsequent collagen degradation, vascular disruption leading to local ischemia, and immune complex deposition activating the complement system represents some of the events that lead to scleral necrosis. The complex cascade of events involving different pathogenic mechanisms and the patient's abnormal immune response frequently leads to delayed wound healing that predisposes the development of scleral necrosis. The management of SISN ranges from short-term systemic anti-inflammatory drugs to aggressive immunosuppressive therapy and surgical repair. Therefore, before performing any ocular surgery involving the sclera, a thorough ophthalmic and systemic evaluation must be done to identify high-risk patients that may develop SISN.
Singh RB, Blanco T, Mittal SK, Alemi H, Chauhan SK, Chen Y, Dana R. Pigment Epithelium-Derived Factor Enhances the Suppressive Phenotype of Regulatory T Cells in a Murine Model of Dry Eye Disease. Am J Pathol 2021;191(4):720-729.Abstract
Pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) is a widely expressed 50-kDa glycoprotein belonging to the serine protease inhibitor family, with well-established anti-inflammatory functions. Recently, we demonstrated the immunoregulatory role played by PEDF in dry eye disease (DED) by suppressing the maturation of antigen-presenting cells at the ocular surface following exposure to the desiccating stress. In this study, we evaluated the effect of PEDF on the immunosuppressive characteristics of regulatory T cells (Tregs), which are functionally impaired in DED. In the presence of PEDF, the in vitro cultures prevented proinflammatory cytokine (associated with type 17 helper T cells)-induced loss of frequency and suppressive phenotype of Tregs derived from normal mice. Similarly, PEDF maintained the in vitro frequency and enhanced the suppressive phenotype of Tregs derived from DED mice. On systemically treating DED mice with PEDF, moderately higher frequencies and significantly enhanced suppressive function of Tregs were observed in the draining lymphoid tissues, leading to the efficacious amelioration of the disease. Our results demonstrate that PEDF promotes the suppressive capability of Tregs and attenuates their type 17 helper T-cell-mediated dysfunction in DED, thereby playing a role in the suppression of DED.
E J-Y, Mihailovic A, Schrack JA, Li T, Friedman DS, West SK, Gitlin LN, Ramulu PY. Characterizing Longitudinal Changes in Physical Activity and Fear of Falling after Falls in Glaucoma. J Am Geriatr Soc 2021;69(5):1249-1256.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Older adults with visual impairments experience a higher risk of falling, and are more vulnerable to adverse health consequences associated with falls than those with normal vision. This study characterizes longitudinal changes in objectively measured physical activity and fear of falling (FoF) occurring after various types of falls in visually impaired older adults. DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. SETTING: Hospital-based enrollment. PARTICIPANTS: People with glaucoma or suspected glaucoma. MEASUREMENTS: Falls were defined as unintentionally coming to rest on the ground or a lower level, and injurious falls were determined though follow-up calls. Study participants were categorized into three groups-fallers with injurious consequences, fallers without injurious consequences, and non-fallers based on fall status in the first year. Physical activity was assessed by waist-bound accelerometer. FoF was evaluated by questionnaire, with Rasch modeling generating FoF scores where higher scores reflected worse FoF. The 3-year longitudinal changes of physical activity and FoF were modeled using mixed-effects models. RESULTS: In linear models fully adjusted for visual field damage and other covariates, physical activity among injurious fallers showed greater annual (per year) declines in daily steps (-425 steps/d, 95% confidence interval (CI) = -793, -57), daily active minutes (-13 min/d, 95% CI = -21, -6), and daily moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA) minutes (-3 MVPA minutes/d, 95% CI = -5, 0) over the 3-year period as compared to non-fallers; however, physical activity did not significantly decline among non-injurious fallers. No longitudinal increases in FoF scores were observed in injurious or non-injurious fallers when compared to non-fallers. CONCLUSION: Among visually impaired older adults, injurious falls identified prospectively over 12 months contributed to a significant decline in physical activity over a 3-year period, while minimal changes were observed in FoF.
Lehky T, Joseph R, Toro C, Wu T, Van Ryzin C, Gropman A, Facio FM, Webb BD, Jabs EW, Barry BS, Engle EC, Collins FS, Manoli I, Manoli I. Differentiating Moebius syndrome and other congenital facial weakness disorders with electrodiagnostic studies. Muscle Nerve 2021;63(4):516-524.Abstract
INTRODUCTION: Congenital facial weakness (CFW) can result from facial nerve paresis with or without other cranial nerve and systemic involvement, or generalized neuropathic and myopathic disorders. Moebius syndrome is one type of CFW. In this study we explored the utility of electrodiagnostic studies (EDx) in the evaluation of individuals with CFW. METHODS: Forty-three subjects enrolled prospectively into a dedicated clinical protocol and had EDx evaluations, including blink reflex and facial and peripheral nerve conduction studies, with optional needle electromyography. RESULTS: MBS and hereditary congenital facial paresis (HCFP) subjects had low-amplitude cranial nerve 7 responses without other neuropathic or myopathic findings. Carriers of specific pathogenic variants in TUBB3 had, in addition, a generalized sensorimotor axonal polyneuropathy with demyelinating features. Myopathic findings were detected in individuals with Carey-Fineman-Ziter syndrome, myotonic dystrophy, other undefined myopathies, or CFW with arthrogryposis, ophthalmoplegia, and other system involvement. DISCUSSION: EDx in CFW subjects can assist in characterizing the underlying pathogenesis, as well as guide diagnosis and genetic counseling.