Cornea

Seminario-Vidal L, Kroshinsky D, Malachowski SJ, Sun J, Markova A, Beachkofsky TM, Kaffenberger BH, Ergen EN, Mauskar M, Bridges A, Calhoun C, Cardones AR, Chen ST, Chodosh J, Cotliar J, Davis MDP, DeNiro KL, Dominguez AR, Eljure-Téllez J, Femia A, Fox LP, Guda A, Mitchell C, Mostaghimi A, Ortega-Loayza AG, Owen C, Pasieka H, Rahnama-Moghadam S, Saeed HN, Saunderson RB, Shanbhag S, Sharon VR, Strowd L, Venkatesh S, Wanat KA, Wetter DA, Worswick S, Micheletti RG. Society of Dermatology Hospitalists supportive care guidelines for the management of Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis in adults. J Am Acad Dermatol 2020;82(6):1553-1567.Abstract
Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) are life-threatening conditions with high morbidity and mortality. Supportive care management of SJS/TEN is highly variable. A systematic review of the literature was performed by dermatologists, ophthalmologists, intensivists, and gynecologists with expertise in SJS/TEN to generate statements for supportive care guideline development. Members of the Society of Dermatology Hospitalists with expertise in SJS/TEN were invited to participate in a modified, online Delphi-consensus. Participants were administered 9-point Likert scale questionnaires regarding 135 statements. The RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method was used to evaluate and select proposed statements for guideline inclusion; statements with median ratings of 6.5 to 9 and a disagreement index of ≤1 were included in the guideline. For the final round, the guidelines were appraised by all of the participants. Included are an evidence-based discussion and recommendations for hospital setting and care team, wound care, ocular care, oral care, urogenital care, pain management, infection surveillance, fluid and electrolyte management, nutrition and stress ulcer prophylaxis, airway management, and anticoagulation in adult patients with SJS/TEN.
Sahin A, Liu Y, Kam WR, Rahimi Darabad R, Sullivan DA. Dihydrotestosterone suppression of proinflammatory gene expression in human meibomian gland epithelial cells. Ocul Surf 2020;18(2):199-205.Abstract
PURPOSE: We discovered that dihydrotestosterone (DHT) decreases the ability of lipopolysaccharide, a bacterial toxin, to stimulate the secretion of leukotriene B4, a potent proinflammatory mediator, by immortalized human meibomian gland epithelial cells (IHMGECs). We hypothesize that this hormone action reflects an androgen suppression of proinflammatory gene activity in these cells. Our goal was to test this hypothesis. For comparison, we also examined whether DHT treatment elicits the same effect in immortalized human corneal (IHC) and conjunctival (IHConj) ECs. METHODS: Differentiated cells were cultured in media containing vehicle or 10 nM DHT. Cells (n = 3 wells/treatment group) were then processed for RNA isolation and the analysis of gene expression by using Illumina BeadChips, background subtraction, cubic spline normalization and Geospiza software. RESULTS: Our results demonstrate that DHT significantly suppressed the expression of numerous immune-related genes in HMGECs, such as those associated with antigen processing and presentation, innate and adaptive immune responses, chemotaxis, and cytokine production. DHT also enhanced the expression of genes for defensin β1, IL-1 receptor antagonist, and the anti-inflammatory serine peptidase inhibitor, Kazal type 5. In contrast, DHT had no effect on proinflammatory gene expression in HCECs, and significantly increased 33 gene ontologies linked to the immune system in HConjECs. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support our hypothesis that androgens suppress proinflammatory gene expression in IHMGECs. This hormone effect may contribute to the typical absence of inflammation within the human meibomian gland.
Woodward AM, Di Zazzo A, Bonini S, Argüeso P. Endoplasmic reticulum stress promotes inflammation-mediated proteolytic activity at the ocular surface. Sci Rep 2020;10(1):2216.Abstract
A growing body of evidence implicates endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in the pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. Here, we demonstrate that the proinflammatory cytokine TNFα stimulates matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) at the ocular surface through a c-Fos-dependent mechanism of ER stress. We found positive reactivity of the molecular chaperone BiP/GRP78 in conjunctival epithelium of patients with ocular cicatricial pemphigoid and increased levels of BiP/GRP78, sXBP1 and GRP94 in human corneal epithelial cells treated with TNFα. Pharmacological blockade of ER stress in vitro using dexamethasone or the chemical chaperones TUDCA and 4PBA attenuated MMP9 expression and secretion in the presence of TNFα. Moreover, expression analysis of genes associated with inflammation and autoimmunity identified the c-Fos proto-oncogene as a mediator of ER stress responses in epithelial cells. Substantially less TNFα-induced MMP9 expression occurred when c-Fos signaling was suppressed with a function-blocking antibody. Taken together, these results indicate that activation of ER stress contributes to promote inflammation-mediated proteolytic activity and uncovers a target for restoring tissue homeostasis in ocular autoimmune disease.
Kitamoto K, Taketani Y, Fujii W, Inamochi A, Toyono T, Miyai T, Yamagami S, Kuroda M, Usui T, Ouchi Y. Generation of mouse model of TGFBI-R124C corneal dystrophy using CRISPR/Cas9-mediated homology-directed repair. Sci Rep 2020;10(1):2000.Abstract
Mutations in transforming growth factor-beta-induced (TGFBI) gene cause clinically distinct types of corneal dystrophies. To delineate the mechanisms driving these dystrophies, we focused on the R124C mutation in TGFBI that causes lattice corneal dystrophy type1 (LCD1) and generated novel transgenic mice harbouring a single amino acid substitution of arginine 124 with cysteine in TGFBI via ssODN-mediated base-pair substitution using CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Eighty percent of homozygous and 9.1% of heterozygous TGFBI-R124C mice developed a corneal opacity at 40 weeks of age. Hematoxylin and eosin and Masson trichrome staining showed eosinophilic deposits in subepithelial corneal stroma that stained negative for Congo-red. Although amyloid deposition was not observed in TGFBI-R124C mice, irregular amorphous deposits were clearly observed via transmission electron microscopy near the basement membrane. Interestingly, we found that the corneal deposition of TGFBI protein (TGFBIp) was significantly increased in homozygous TGFBI-R124C mice, suggesting a pathogenic role for the mutant protein accumulation. Furthermore, as observed in the LCD1 patients, corneal epithelial wound healing was significantly delayed in TGFBI-R124C mice. In conclusion, our novel mouse model of TGFBI-R124C corneal dystrophy reproduces features of the human disease. This mouse model will help delineate the pathogenic mechanisms of human corneal dystrophy.
Jamali A, Harris DL, Blanco T, Lopez MJ, Hamrah P. Resident plasmacytoid dendritic cells patrol vessels in the naïve limbus and conjunctiva. Ocul Surf 2020;18(2):277-285.Abstract
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) constitute a unique population of bone marrow-derived cells that play a pivotal role in linking innate and adaptive immune responses. While peripheral tissues are typically devoid of pDCs during steady state, few tissues do host resident pDCs. In the current study, we aim to assess presence and distribution of pDCs in naïve murine limbus and bulbar conjunctiva. Immunofluorescence staining followed by confocal microscopy revealed that the naïve bulbar conjunctiva of wild-type mice hosts CD45 CD11c PDCA-1 pDCs. Flow cytometry confirmed the presence of resident pDCs in the bulbar conjunctiva through multiple additional markers, and showed that they express maturation markers, the T cell co-inhibitory molecules PD-L1 and B7-H3, and minor to negligible levels of T cell co-stimulatory molecules CD40, CD86, and ICAM-1. Epi-fluorescent microscopy of DPE-GFP×RAG1 transgenic mice with GFP-tagged pDCs indicated lower density of pDCs in the bulbar conjunctiva compared to the limbus. Further, intravital multiphoton microscopy revealed that resident pDCs accompany the limbal vessels and patrol the intravascular space. In vitro multiphoton microscopy showed that pDCs are attracted to human umbilical vein endothelial cells and interact with them during tube formation. In conclusion, our study shows that the limbus and bulbar conjunctiva are endowed with resident pDCs during steady state, which express maturation and classic T cell co-inhibitory molecules, engulf limbal vessels, and patrol intravascular spaces.
Greiner JV, Glonek T, Korb DR, Lindsay ME, Oliver PJ. Corneal absorption of glycerylphosphorylcholine. Exp Eye Res 2020;192:107932.Abstract
This study documents the absorption of glycerylphosphorylcholine (GPC) into corneas ex vivo. Corneas in quadruplicate were incubated in preservation medium containing 30 mM GPC, which is used as a reference marker. The GPC reference marker is used to calibrate P nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectral chemical-shift positions for identification of phosphatic metabolites and to calculate intracorneal pH in intact tissues ex vivo. Following baseline NMR ex vivo analysis, corneas were stored in eye bank chambers in preservation medium containing 30 mM GPC at 4 °C overnight for 8 h. After returning to room temperature, NMR analysis was repeated on the same corneas in fresh GPC-free preservation medium. NMR analysis also was performed on the 30 mM GPC preservation medium alone from the eye bank chambers for detection of the GPC signal. The elevated GPC signal unexpectedly persisted in corneas incubated at 4 °C overnight even though GPC was not present in the fresh GPC-free preservation medium. In fact, the concentration of GPC in the intact cornea was many times higher than that found in the cornea endogenously. The levels of phosphatic metabolites and the energy modulus, after subtracting the spectral contribution of the 30 mM exogenous GPC, as well as the intracorneal pH remained unchanged from pre-refrigeration analyses. Corneas also retained transparency through the time-course of this study irrespective of temperature or change in temperature. The GPC signal in the NMR analysis of the preservation medium from the eye bank chambers was nearly undetectable. GPC was unexpectedly absorbed into the corneal tissue without detectable metabolic or physical toxicity. The intracorneal uptake of GPC at reduced temperatures parallels the increase in GPC that occurs naturally in muscle tissue in animals during wintering periods and the very high concentration of GPC in sperm, a cryogenically compatible cell, suggestive of a potential role for GPC in cryopreservation.
Greiner JV, Glonek T. Hydrotropic function of ATP in the crystalline lens. Exp Eye Res 2020;190:107862.Abstract
The hypothesis proposed herein is presented to explain the unexpectedly high concentration of ATP and provide evidence to support its hydrotropic function in the crystalline lens determined using P NMR. The lens, historically considered to be a metabolically quiescent organ, has the requisite machinery to synthesize ATP, such that the homeostatic level is maintained at about 3 mM. This relatively high concentration of ATP has been found to be consistent among multiple mammalian species including humans. This millimolar quantity is many times greater than the micromolar amounts required for the other known functions of ATP. The recent postulation that ATP at millimolar concentrations functions as a hydrotrope in various cell/tissue homogenates preventing protein aggregation coupled with observations presented herein, provide support for extending the hypothesis that ATP functions as a hydrotrope not only in homogenates but in an intact functioning organ, the crystalline lens. Concentrations of ATP of this magnitude are hypothesized to be required to maintain protein solubility and effectively prevent protein aggregation. This concept is important considering protein aggregation is the etiology for age-related cataractogenesis. ATP is a common ubiquitous intracellular molecule possessing the requisite hydrotropic properties for maintaining intracellular proteins in a fluid, non-aggregated state. It is proposed that the amphiphilic ATP molecule shields the hydrophobic regions on intralenticular fiber cell protein molecules and provides a hydrophilic interfacial surface comprised of the ATP negatively charged triphosphate side chain. Evidence is presented that this side chain is exposed to and has been reported to organize intracellular interstitial water to form an interfacial rheologically dynamic water layer. Such organization of water is substantiated with the effect of deuterium oxide (heavy water) on ATP line widths of the side chain phosphates measured ex vivo by P NMR. A novel model is presented to propose how this water layer separates adjacent lens fiber cell proteins, keeping them from aggregating. This hypothesis proposes that ATP can prevent protein aggregation in normal intact lenses, and with declining concentrations can be related to the disease process in age-related cataractogenesis, an affliction that affects every older human being.
Riau AK, Lwin NC, Gelfand L, Hu H, Liedberg B, Chodosh J, Venkatraman SS, Mehta JS. Surface modification of corneal prosthesis with nano-hydroxyapatite to enhance in vivo biointegration. Acta Biomater 2020;107:299-312.Abstract
The majority of clinical corneal prostheses (KPros) adopt a core-skirt configuration. This configuration is favored owing to the optic core (generally a cylindrical, acrylic-based material, such as PMMA), that not only provides a clear window for the patients' vision, but also confers resistance to biodegradability. The surrounding skirt (typically a biological material, such as corneal tissue) allows for host tissue integration. However, due to poor biointegration between the dissimilar core and skirt materials, it results in a weak adhesion at the interface, giving rise to clinical complications, such as bacterial infections in the tissue-PMMA interface and device extrusion. Here, we physically immobilized nano-hydroxyapatite (nHAp) on a PMMA cylinder via a dip-coating technique, to create a bioactive surface that improved biointegration in vivo. We established that the nHAp coating was safe and stable in the rabbit cornea over five weeks. More importantly, we found that apoptotic, wound healing and inflammatory responses to nHAp-coated PMMA were substantially milder than to non-coated PMMA. More mature collagen, similar to the non-operated cornea, was maintained in the corneal stroma adjacent to the nHAp-coated implant edge. However, around the non-coated cylinder, an abundant new and loose connective tissue formed, similar to bone tissue response to bioinert scaffolds. As a result of superior biointegration, tissue adhesion with nHAp-coated PMMA cylinders was also significantly enhanced compared to non-coated cylinders. This study set a precedent for the future application of the nHAp coating on clinical KPros. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Currently, all clinical corneal prostheses utilize as-manufactured, non-surface modified PMMA optic cylinder. The bioinert cylinder, however, has poor biointegration and adhesion with the surrounding biological tissue, which can give rise to postoperative complications, such as microbial invasion in the tissue-PMMA loose interface and PMMA optic cylinder extrusion. In the current study, we showed that surface modification of the PMMA cylinder with bioactive nano-hydroxyapatite (nHAp) significantly enhanced its biointegration with corneal stromal tissue in vivo. The superior biointegration of the nHAp-coated PMMA was signified by a more attenuated corneal wound healing, inflammatory and fibrotic response, and better tissue apposition, as well as a significantly improved corneal stromal tissue adhesion when compared to the non-coated PMMA.
Yu M, Lee S-M, Lee HS, Amouzegar A, Nakao T, Chen Y, Dana R. Neurokinin-1 Receptor Antagonism Ameliorates Dry Eye Disease by Inhibiting Antigen-Presenting Cell Maturation and T Helper 17 Cell Activation. Am J Pathol 2020;190(1):125-133.Abstract
Neuroinflammation plays an important role in the pathogenesis of ocular surface disease, including dry eye disease (DED), but little is known about the contribution of substance P (SP) to DED. In this study, we investigated the expression of SP at the ocular surface and evaluated its effect on maturation of antigen-presenting cells (APCs), the key cell component involved in the induction of type 17 helper T-cell (Th17) response in DED. The effect of topical blockade of SP signaling was further investigated using neurokinin-1 receptor (NK1R) inhibitors on APC maturation, Th17 cell activation, and disease severity in a mouse model of DED. The results demonstrate that SP is constitutively expressed at the ocular surface, and trigeminal ganglion neurons are the major source of SP in DED. SP derived from trigeminal ganglion enhanced the expression of major histocompatibility complex class II maturation marker by bone marrow-derived dendritic cells, an effect that is abrogated by blockade of SP signaling using NK1R antagonist spantide. Finally, using a well-established murine model of DED, topical treatment of DED mice with NK1R antagonists CP-99,994 and L-733,060 suppressed APC acquisition of major histocompatibility complex class II, reduced Th17 cell activity, and ameliorated DED severity. These findings are of translational value, as they suggest that antagonizing NK1R-mediated SP signaling may be an effective strategy in suppressing Th17-mediated ocular surface disease.
Pflugfelder SC, Massaro-Giordano M, Perez VL, Hamrah P, Deng SX, Espandar L, Foster SC, Affeldt J, Seedor JA, Afshari NA, Chao W, Allegretti M, Mantelli F, Dana R. Topical Recombinant Human Nerve Growth Factor (Cenegermin) for Neurotrophic Keratopathy: A Multicenter Randomized Vehicle-Controlled Pivotal Trial. Ophthalmology 2020;127(1):14-26.Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of topical cenegermin (recombinant human nerve growth factor) in patients with neurotrophic keratopathy. DESIGN: Multicenter, randomized, double-masked, vehicle-controlled trial. PARTICIPANTS: Patients with neurotrophic persistent epithelial defect with or without stromal thinning. METHODS: The NGF0214 trial, conducted among 11 sites in the United States, randomized 48 patients 1:1 to cenegermin 20 μg/ml or vehicle eye drops, 6 drops daily for 8 weeks of masked treatment. Follow-up was 24 weeks. Safety was assessed in all patients who received study drug. Efficacy was assessed by intention to treat. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary end point was healing of the neurotrophic lesion (persistent epithelial defect or corneal ulcer) after 8 weeks of masked treatment. Masked central readers measured neurotrophic lesions in randomized clinical pictures, then assessed healing status conventionally (<0.5 mm of fluorescein staining in the greatest dimension of the lesion area) and conservatively (0-mm lesion staining and no other residual staining). Secondary variables included corneal healing at 4 weeks of masked treatment (key secondary end point), overall changes in lesion size, rates of disease progression, and changes in visual acuity and corneal sensitivity from baseline to week 8. RESULTS: Conventional assessment of corneal healing showed statistically significant differences at week 8: compared to 7 of 24 vehicle-treated patients (29.2%), 16 of 23 cenegermin-treated patients (69.6%) achieved less than 0.5 mm of lesion staining (+40.4%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 14.2%-66.6%; P = 0.006). Conservative assessment of corneal healing also reached statistical significance at week 8: compared to 4 of 24 vehicle-treated patients (16.7%), 15 of 23 cenegermin-treated patients (65.2%) achieved 0 mm of lesion staining and no other residual staining (+48.6%; 95% CI, 24.0%-73.1%; P < 0.001). Moreover, the conservative measure of corneal healing showed statistical significance at week 4 (key secondary end point). Compared to vehicle, cenegermin-treated patients showed statistically significant reductions in lesion size and disease progression rates during masked treatment. Cenegermin was well tolerated; adverse effects were mostly local, mild, and transient. CONCLUSIONS: Cenegermin treatment showed higher rates of corneal healing than vehicle in neurotrophic keratopathy associated with nonhealing corneal defects.
McKay TB, Hutcheon AEK, Zieske JD. Biology of corneal fibrosis: soluble mediators, integrins, and extracellular vesicles. Eye (Lond) 2020;34(2):271-278.Abstract
Corneal fibrosis develops in response to injury, infection, postsurgical complications, or underlying systemic disease that disrupts the homeostasis of the tissue leading to irregular extracellular matrix deposition within the stroma. The mechanisms that regulate corneal scarring are focused heavily on the canonical transforming growth factor-β pathway and relevant activators, and their role in promoting myofibroblast differentiation. In this paper, we discuss the biochemical pathways involved in corneal fibrosis in the context of different injury models-epithelial debridement, superficial keratectomy, and penetrating incision. We elaborate on the interplay of the major pro-fibrotic factors involved in corneal scar development (e.g., transforming growth factor-β1, thrombospondin-1, and ανβ6), and explore a novel role for extracellular vesicles secreted by the wounded epithelium and the importance of the basement membrane.
Jackson CJ, Myklebust Ernø IT, Ringstad H, Tønseth KA, Dartt DA, Utheim TP. Simple limbal epithelial transplantation: Current status and future perspectives. Stem Cells Transl Med 2020;9(3):316-327.Abstract
Damage to limbal stem cells as a result of injury or disease can lead to limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD). This disease is characterized by decreased vision that is often painful and may progress to blindness. Clinical features include inflammation, neovascularization, and persistent cornea epithelial defects. Successful strategies for treatment involve transplantation of grafts harvested from the limbus of the alternate healthy eye, called conjunctival-limbal autograft (CLAU) and transplantation of limbal cell sheets cultured from limbal biopsies, termed cultured limbal epithelial transplantation (CLET). In 2012, Sangwan and colleagues presented simple limbal epithelial transplantation (SLET), a novel transplantation technique that combines the benefits of CLAU and CLET and avoids the challenges associated with both. In SLET a small biopsy from the limbus of the healthy eye is divided and distributed over human amniotic membrane, which is placed on the affected cornea. Outgrowth occurs from each small explant and a complete corneal epithelium is typically formed within 2 weeks. Advantages of SLET include reduced risk of iatrogenic LSCD occurring in the healthy cornea at harvest; direct transfer circumventing the need for cell culture; and the opportunity to perform biopsy harvest and transplantation in one operation. Success so far using SLET is comparable with CLAU and CLET. Of note, 336 of 404 (83%) operations using SLET resulted in restoration of the corneal epithelium, whereas visual acuity improved in 258 of the 373 (69%) reported cases. This review summarizes the results of 31 studies published on SLET since 2012. Progress, advantages, challenges, and suggestions for future studies are presented.
Liu C, Miyajima T, Melangath G, Miyai T, Vasanth S, Deshpande N, Kumar V, Ong Tone S, Gupta R, Zhu S, Vojnovic D, Chen Y, Rogan EG, Mondal B, Zahid M, Jurkunas UV. Ultraviolet A light induces DNA damage and estrogen-DNA adducts in Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy causing females to be more affected. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2020;117(1):573-583.Abstract
Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) is a leading cause of corneal endothelial (CE) degeneration resulting in impaired visual acuity. It is a genetically complex and age-related disorder, with higher incidence in females. In this study, we established a nongenetic FECD animal model based on the physiologic outcome of CE susceptibility to oxidative stress by demonstrating that corneal exposure to ultraviolet A (UVA) recapitulates the morphological and molecular changes of FECD. Targeted irradiation of mouse corneas with UVA induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in the aqueous humor, and caused greater CE cell loss, including loss of ZO-1 junctional contacts and corneal edema, in female than male mice, characteristic of late-onset FECD. UVA irradiation caused greater mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and nuclear DNA (nDNA) damage in female mice, indicative of the sex-driven differential response of the CE to UVA, thus accounting for more severe phenotype in females. The sex-dependent effect of UVA was driven by the activation of estrogen-metabolizing enzyme CYP1B1 and formation of reactive estrogen metabolites and estrogen-DNA adducts in female but not male mice. Supplementation of -acetylcysteine (NAC), a scavenger of reactive oxygen species (ROS), diminished the morphological and molecular changes induced by UVA in vivo. This study investigates the molecular mechanisms of environmental factors in FECD pathogenesis and demonstrates a strong link between UVA-induced estrogen metabolism and increased susceptibility of females for FECD development.

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