Restoration of the retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells to prevent further loss of vision in patients with age-related macular degeneration represents a promising novel treatment modality. Development of RPE transplants, however, requires up to 3 months of cell differentiation. We explored whether the silk protein sericin can induce maturation of primary human retinal pigment epithelial (hRPE) cells. Microarray analysis demonstrated that sericin up-regulated RPE-associated transcripts (RPE65 and CRALBP). Upstream analysis identified the NF-κB pathway as one of the top sericin-induced regulators. ELISA confirmed that sericin stimulates the main NF-κB pathway. Increased levels of RPE-associated proteins (RPE65 and the pigment melanin) in the sericin-supplemented cultures were confirmed by western blot, spectrophotometry and transmission electron microscopy. Sericin also increased cell density and reduced cell death following serum starvation in culture. Inclusion of NF-κB agonists and antagonists in the culture medium showed that activation of the NF-κB pathway appears to be necessary, but not sufficient, for sericin-induced RPE pigmentation. We conclude that sericin promotes pigmentation of cultured primary hRPE cells by activating the main NF-κB pathway. Sericin's potential role in culture protocols for rapid differentiation of hRPE cells derived from embryonic or induced pluripotent stem cells should be investigated.
Advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly, with limited therapeutic options. Here we report on a study of >12 million variants, including 163,714 directly genotyped, mostly rare, protein-altering variants. Analyzing 16,144 patients and 17,832 controls, we identify 52 independently associated common and rare variants (P < 5 × 10(-8)) distributed across 34 loci. Although wet and dry AMD subtypes exhibit predominantly shared genetics, we identify the first genetic association signal specific to wet AMD, near MMP9 (difference P value = 4.1 × 10(-10)). Very rare coding variants (frequency <0.1%) in CFH, CFI and TIMP3 suggest causal roles for these genes, as does a splice variant in SLC16A8. Our results support the hypothesis that rare coding variants can pinpoint causal genes within known genetic loci and illustrate that applying the approach systematically to detect new loci requires extremely large sample sizes.
Endomucin is a membrane-bound glycoprotein expressed luminally by endothelial cells that line postcapillary venules, a primary site of leukocyte recruitment during inflammation. Here we show that endomucin abrogation on quiescent endothelial cells enables neutrophils to adhere firmly, via LFA-1-mediated binding to ICAM-1 constitutively expressed by endothelial cells. Moreover, TNF-α stimulation downregulates cell surface expression of endomucin concurrent with increased expression of adhesion molecules. Adenovirus-mediated expression of endomucin under inflammatory conditions prevents neutrophil adhesion in vitro and reduces the infiltration of CD45(+) and NIMP-R14(+) cells in vivo. These results indicate that endomucin prevents leukocyte contact with adhesion molecules in non-inflamed tissues and that downregulation of endomucin is critical to facilitate adhesion of leukocytes into inflamed tissues.
PURPOSE: To evaluate treatment options for vitreomacular traction (VMT). METHODS: A retrospective, consecutive case series and a literature search with Boolean search logic. A random-effects meta-analysis was conducted to combine the rates of VMT resolution per treatment. Patients from studies analyzed were placed into cohorts based on the treatment received. RESULTS: CASE SERIES: Zero of 10 control, 3 of 7 intravitreal ocriplasmin (IVO, P = 0.10), 7 of 8 intravitreal expansile gas (pneumatic vitreolysis, PV, P < 0.01), and 10 of 10 pars plana vitrectomy (P < 0.01)-treated eyes experienced VMT release (VMTr) at Day 28. No patients developed retinal tears or detachment. One PV-treated (12.5%) eye developed a macular hole. Meta-analysis: Twenty-three of 131 prospective or retrospective and consecutive articles were included. Sixty-three eyes were treated with PV, 726 eyes were treated with intravitreal ocriplasmin, and 253 eyes were characterized as the control group (saline injection). The weighted rate of VMT resolution for the control group was 0.09 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.06-0.13), PV was 0.84 (95% CI: 0.76-0.92), and intravitreal ocriplasmin was 0.26 (95% CI: 0.23-0.29). CONCLUSION: Our analysis found that PV releases VMT in most patients and suggest that PV may be as effective or superior to nonsurgical options for VMTr at Day 28 with a similar risk profile.
Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is the primary cause of vision loss in the western world (Friedman et al., Arch Ophthalmol 122:564-572, 2004). The first clinical indication of AMD is the presence of drusen. However, with age and prior to the formation of drusen, extracellular basal deposits accumulate between the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and Bruch's membrane (BrM). Many studies on the molecular composition of the basal deposits and drusen have demonstrated the presence of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, complement components and cellular debris. The evidence reviewed here suggests that alteration in RPE cell function might be the primary cause for the accumulation of ECM and cellular debri found in basal deposits. Further studies are obviously needed in order to unravel the specific pathways that lead to abnormal formation of ECM and complement activation.
PURPOSE: To assess the safety and tolerability of E10030 (Fovista; Ophthotech, New York, NY), a platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) antagonist, when administered in combination with an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) agent, ranibizumab (Lucentis; Genentech, South San Francisco, CA) 0.5 mg, by intravitreal injection in participants with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (NVAMD). DESIGN: Prospective phase 1 clinical trial. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 23 participants diagnosed with NVAMD and aged 50 years or older were enrolled. METHODS: Part 1 included 15 participants. Three participants received a single intravitreal E10030 (0.03 mg) injection and were subsequently given intravitreal ranibizumab (0.5 mg) injections at weeks 2, 6, and 10. Twelve participants (3 per group) received E10030 (0.03, 0.3, 1.5, or 3.0 mg) in combination with ranibizumab (0.5 mg) at day 0, month 1, and month 2 in an ascending manner. In Part 2 (8 participants), E10030 (0.3, 1.5, or 3.0 mg) in combination with ranibizumab (0.5 mg) was injected at day 0, month 1, and month 2. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Safety at week 12 was the primary outcome and included assessment of vital signs, laboratory tests, and serial eye examinations. Other safety metrics included assessment through week 24 of Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) visual acuity (VA) and biomarker changes evaluated by optical coherence tomography (OCT) and fluorescein angiography (FA). RESULTS: All doses of intravitreal E10030 administered in combination with ranibizumab were well tolerated. No dose-limiting toxicities or relevant safety events were noted at any dose level during the study. Investigators did not report adverse events related to E10030 or ranibizumab. Mean VA change was a gain of 14 letters, and 59% of participants gained ≥15 letters from baseline at week 12. On FA at week 12, there was an 85.5% mean reduction from baseline in choroidal neovascularization (CNV) size. On OCT at the week 12 visit, there was a mean decrease in center point thickness and central subfield thickness of 38.9% and 33.7%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Intravitreal E10030 administered at doses up to 3 mg in combination with ranibizumab was well tolerated without evidence of systemic or ocular toxicity in participants with NVAMD. The changes in both mean VA and imaging biomarkers suggest a favorable short-term safety profile for the combination therapy of E10030 and ranibizumab.
PURPOSE: To describe the clinical course of uveitis-associated inflammatory papillitis and evaluate the utility and reproducibility of optic nerve spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT). METHODS: Data on 22 eyes of 14 patients with uveitis-related papillitis and optic nerve imaging were reviewed. SD-OCT measure reproducibility was determined and parameters were compared in active vs. inactive uveitis. RESULTS: Papillitis resolution lagged behind uveitis resolution in three patients. For SD-OCT measures, the intraclass correlation coefficients were 99.1-100% and 86.9-100% for intraobserver and interobserver reproducibility, respectively. All SD-OCT optic nerve measures except inferior and nasal peripapillary retinal thicknesses were significantly higher in active vs. inactive uveitis after correction for multiple hypotheses testing. Mean optic nerve central thickness decreased from 545.1 to 362.9 µm (p = 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Resolution of inflammatory papillitis can lag behind resolution of uveitis. SD-OCT assessment of papillitis is reproducible and correlates with presence vs. resolution of uveitis.
Importance: Despite strong biological plausibility, evidence from epidemiologic studies and clinical trials on the relations between intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has been inconsistent. The roles of other carotenoids are less thoroughly investigated. Objective: To investigate the associations between intakes of carotenoids and AMD. Design, Setting, and Participants: Prospective cohort study, with cohorts from the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study in the United States. A total of 63 443 women and 38 603 men were followed up, from 1984 until May 31, 2010, in the Nurses' Health Study and from 1986 until January 31, 2010, in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. All participants were aged 50 years or older and were free of diagnosed AMD, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and cancer at baseline. Main Outcomes and Measures: Predicted plasma carotenoid scores were computed directly from food intake, assessed by repeated food frequency questionnaires at baseline and follow-up, using validated regression models to account for bioavailability and reporting validity of different foods, and associations between predicted plasma carotenoid scores and AMD were determined. Results: We confirmed 1361 incident intermediate and 1118 advanced AMD cases (primarily neovascular AMD) with a visual acuity of 20/30 or worse by medical record review. Comparing extreme quintiles of predicted plasma lutein/zeaxanthin score, we found a risk reduction for advanced AMD of about 40% in both women and men (pooled relative risk comparing extreme quintiles = 0.59; 95% CI, 0.48-0.73; P for trend < .001). Predicted plasma carotenoid scores for other carotenoids, including β-cryptoxanthin, α-carotene, and β-carotene, were associated with a 25% to 35% lower risk of advanced AMD when comparing extreme quintiles. The relative risk comparing extreme quintiles for the predicted plasma total carotenoid index was 0.65 (95% CI, 0.53-0.80; P for trend < .001). We did not identify any associations of carotenoids, either as predicted plasma score or calculated intake, with intermediate AMD. Conclusions and Relevance: Higher intake of bioavailable lutein/zeaxanthin is associated with a long-term reduced risk of advanced AMD. Given that some other carotenoids are also associated with a lower risk, a public health strategy aimed at increasing dietary consumption of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables rich in carotenoids may reduce the incidence of advanced AMD.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the elderly of industrialized nations, and there is increasing evidence to support a role for chronic inflammation in its pathogenesis. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has been recently reported to be pro-inflammatory in various diseases such as Alzheimer's and heart failure. Here, we report that intracellular mtDNA induces ARPE-19 cells to secrete inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IL-8, which have been consistently associated with AMD onset and progression. The induction was dependent on the size of mtDNA, but not on specific sequence. Oxidative stress plays a major role in the development of AMD, and our findings indicate that mtDNA induces IL-6 and IL-8 more potently when oxidized. Cytokine induction was mediated by STING (Stimulator of Interferon Genes) and NF-κB as evidenced by abrogation of the cytokine response with the use of specific inhibitors (siRNA and BAY 11-7082, respectively). Finally, mtDNA primed the NLRP3 inflammasome. This study contributes to our understanding of the potential pro-inflammatory role of mtDNA in the pathogenesis of AMD.
PURPOSE: To correlate a genetic risk score based on age-related macular degeneration (AMD) susceptibility genes with the risk of AMD in the second eye. METHODS: This is a retrospective, open cohort study consisting of 891 unilateral AMD patients, who were followed for at least 12 months and recruited from three institutes. DNAs were genotyped using Illumina OmniExpress, HumanOmni2.5-8, and/or HumanExome. Survival analyses and Cox proportional hazard models were used to examine the association between 11 AMD susceptibility genes and the duration until second-eye involvement in 499 samples from Kyoto University, which were replicated in two other cohorts. Genetic risk score (GRS) was also evaluated. RESULTS: The ARMS2 rs10490924 recessive model (hazard ratio [HR]meta = 2.04; Pmeta = 3.4 × 10-3) and CFH rs800292 additive model (HRmeta = 1.77; Pmeta = 0.013) revealed significant associations with second-eye involvement. The dominant model of TNFRSF10A rs13278062, VEGFA rs943080, and CFI rs4698775 showed consistent effects across three datasets (I2 = 0%; HRmeta = 1.46, 1.30, 1.51, respectively). The GRS using these five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) was also significantly associated (HRmeta [per score] = 2.42; P = 2.2 × 10-5; I2 = 0%). After 10 years from the first visit, the patients within the top 10% by GRS showed a 51% hazard rate, in contrast to 2.3% among patients within the lowest 10% by GRS. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated that the GRS using ARMS2, CFH, TNFRSF10A, VEGFA, and CFI was significantly associated with second-eye involvement. Genetic risk has high predictive ability for second-eye involvement of AMD.
Inherited and age-related macular degenerations (AMDs) are important causes of vision loss. An early hallmark of these disorders is the formation of sub-retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) basal deposits. A role for the complement system in MDs was suggested by genetic association studies, but direct functional connections between alterations in the complement system and the pathogenesis of MD remain to be defined. We used primary RPE cells from a mouse model of inherited MD due to a p.R345W mutation in EGF-containing fibulin-like extracellular matrix protein 1 (EFEMP1) to investigate the role of the RPE in early MD pathogenesis. Efemp1(R345W) RPE cells recapitulate the basal deposit formation observed in vivo by producing sub-RPE deposits in vitro. The deposits share features with basal deposits, and their formation was mediated by EFEMP1(R345W) or complement component 3a (C3a), but not by complement component 5a (C5a). Increased activation of complement appears to occur in response to an abnormal extracellular matrix (ECM), generated by the mutant EFEMP1(R345W) protein and reduced ECM turnover due to inhibition of matrix metalloproteinase 2 by EFEMP1(R345W) and C3a. Increased production of C3a also stimulated the release of cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-1B, which appear to have a role in deposit formation, albeit downstream of C3a. These studies provide the first direct indication that complement components produced locally by the RPE are involved in the formation of basal deposits. Furthermore, these results suggest that C3a generated by RPE is a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of EFEMP1-associated MD as well as AMD.
We observed that the third leading cause of blindness in the world, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), occurs at a very low documented frequency in a population-based cohort from Timor-Leste. Thus, we determined a complete catalog of the ancestry of the Timorese by analysis of whole exome chip data and haplogroup analysis of SNP genotypes determined by sequencing the Hypervariable I and II regions of the mitochondrial genome and 17 genotyped YSTR markers obtained from 535 individuals. We genotyped 20 previously reported AMD-associated SNPs in the Timorese to examine their allele frequencies compared to and between previously documented AMD cohorts of varying ethnicities. For those without AMD (average age > 55 years), genotype and allele frequencies were similar for most SNPs with a few exceptions. The major risk allele of HTRA1 rs11200638 (10q26) was at a significantly higher frequency in the Timorese, as well as 3 of the 5 protective CFH (1q32) SNPs (rs800292, rs2284664, and rs12066959). Additionally, the most commonly associated AMD-risk SNP, CFH rs1061170 (Y402H), was also seen at a much lower frequency in the Korean and Timorese populations than in the assessed Caucasian populations (C ~7 vs. ~40%, respectively). The difference in allele frequencies between the Timorese population and the other genotyped populations, along with the haplogroup analysis, also highlight the genetic diversity of the Timorese. Specifically, the most common ancestry groupings were Oceanic (Melanesian and Papuan) and Eastern Asian (specifically Han Chinese). The low prevalence of AMD in the Timorese population (2 of 535 randomly selected participants) may be due to the enrichment of protective alleles in this population at the 1q32 locus.
The mouse model of laser-induced choroidal neovascularization (CNV) has been used in studies of the exudative form of age-related macular degeneration using both the conventional slit lamp and a new image-guided laser system. A standardized protocol is needed for consistent results using this model, which has been lacking. We optimized details of laser-induced CNV using the image-guided laser photocoagulation system. Four lesions with similar size were consistently applied per eye at approximately double the disc diameter away from the optic nerve, using different laser power levels, and mice of various ages and genders. After 7 days, the mice were sacrificed and retinal pigment epithelium/choroid/sclera was flat-mounted, stained with Isolectin B4, and imaged. Quantification of the area of the laser-induced lesions was performed using an established and constant threshold. Exclusion criteria are described that were necessary for reliable data analysis of the laser-induced CNV lesions. The CNV lesion area was proportional to the laser power levels. Mice at 12-16 weeks of age developed more severe CNV than those at 6-8 weeks of age, and the gender difference was only significant in mice at 12-16 weeks of age, but not in those at 6-8 weeks of age. Dietary intake of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid reduced laser-induced CNV in mice. Taken together, laser-induced CNV lesions can be easily and consistently applied using the image-guided laser platform. Mice at 6-8 weeks of age are ideal for the laser-induced CNV model.
We conducted a nested candidate gene study and pathway-based enrichment analysis on data from a multi-national 77,000-person project on the molecular genetics of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to identify AMD-associated DNA-sequence variants in genes encoding constituents of a netrin-1 (NTN1)-based signaling pathway that converges on DNA-binding transcription complexes through a 3'-5'-cyclic adenosine monophosphate-calcineurin (cAMP-CN)-dependent axis. AMD-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) existed in 9 linkage disequilibrium-independent genomic regions; these included loci overlapping NTN1 (rs9899630, P ≤ 9.48 x 10-5), DCC (Deleted in Colorectal Cancer)-the gene encoding a primary NTN1 receptor (rs8097127, P ≤ 3.03 x 10-5), and 6 other netrin-related genes. Analysis of the NTN1-DCC pathway with exact methods demonstrated robust enrichment with AMD-associated SNPs (corrected P-value = 0.038), supporting the idea that processes driven by NTN1-DCC signaling systems operate in advanced AMD. The NTN1-DCC pathway contains targets of FDA-approved drugs and may offer promise for guiding applied clinical research on preventive and therapeutic interventions for AMD.
BACKGROUND: Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a vision-threatening disease in premature infants. Serum adiponectin (APN) concentrations positively correlate with postnatal growth and gestational age, important risk factors for ROP development. Dietary ω-3 (n-3) long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 LCPUFAs) suppress ROP and oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR) in a mouse model of human ROP, but the mechanism is not fully understood. OBJECTIVE: We examined the role of APN in ROP development and whether circulating APN concentrations are increased by dietary ω-3 LCPUFAs to mediate the protective effect in ROP. DESIGN: Serum APN concentrations were correlated with ROP development and serum ω-3 LCPUFA concentrations in preterm infants. Mouse OIR was then used to determine whether ω-3 LCPUFA supplementation increases serum APN concentrations, which then suppress retinopathy. RESULTS: We found that in preterm infants, low serum APN concentrations positively correlate with ROP, and serum APN concentrations positively correlate with serum ω-3 LCPUFA concentrations. In mouse OIR, serum total APN and bioactive high-molecular-weight APN concentrations are increased by ω-3 LCPUFA feed. White adipose tissue, where APN is produced and assembled in the endoplasmic reticulum, is the major source of serum APN. In mouse OIR, adipose endoplasmic reticulum stress is increased, and APN production is suppressed. ω-3 LCPUFA feed in mice increases APN production by reducing adipose endoplasmic reticulum stress markers. Dietary ω-3 LCPUFA suppression of neovascularization is reduced from 70% to 10% with APN deficiency. APN receptors localize in the retina, particularly to pathologic neovessels. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that increasing APN by ω-3 LCPUFA supplementation in total parental nutrition for preterm infants may suppress ROP.