Kobashi H, Kamiya K, Shimizu K. Dry Eye After Small Incision Lenticule Extraction and Femtosecond Laser-Assisted LASIK: Meta-Analysis. Cornea 2017;36(1):85-91.Abstract

PURPOSE: To compare postoperative ocular surface integrity and innervation between small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE) and femtosecond laser-assisted laser in situ keratomileusis (FS-LASIK). METHODS: The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PubMED, and EMBASE were searched for prospective comparative studies. Trials meeting the selection criteria were quality appraised, and the data were extracted by 2 independent authors. The weighted mean differences (WMDs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were used to compare dry eye examinations and corneal subbasal nerve density (SMILE-FS-LASIK). RESULTS: The study covered 5 trials. No significant difference was found in the Schirmer test score between both groups (WMD = -1.91 and 0.27; 95% CI, -5.02 to 1.20 and -0.99 to 1.54; P = 0.23 and 0.67 at 1- and 6-month follow-ups, respectively). Tear breakup time in the SMILE group significantly exceeded that in the FS-LASIK group (WMD = 0.65 and 1.14; 95% CI, 0.20-1.10 and 0.18-2.10; P = 0.004 and 0.02, at 1- and 6-month follow-ups, respectively). Ocular surface disease index scores were significantly better in the SMILE group 6 months postoperatively (WMD = -10.12, 95% CI, -16.07 to -4.18, P = 0.0008). No significant difference was found in tear osmolarity between both groups (WMD = -5.19 and -6.37; 95% CI, -17.15 to 6.76 and -22.74 to 10.00; P = 0.39 and 0.45 at 1- and 6-month follow-ups, respectively). Higher corneal sensitivity was observed in the SMILE group 1 and 6 months postoperatively (WMD = 11.35 and 3.49; 95% CI, 7.29-15.40 and 1.76-5.21; P < 0.00001 and <0.0001, at 1- and 6-month follow-ups, respectively). Corneal subbasal nerve density was also significantly higher in SMILE-treated eyes than it was in FS-LASIK-treated eyes 1 month postoperatively (WMD = 4.72, 95% CI, 1.10-8.34, P = 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: According to this meta-analysis, the SMILE procedure has fewer negative impacts on the ocular surface and corneal innervation than does FS-LASIK. Furthermore, SMILE shows superiority over FS-LASIK by a exhibiting a lower risk of postoperative dry eye.

Di Zazzo A, Tahvildari M, Subbarayal B, Yin J, Dohlman TH, Inomata T, Mashaghi A, Chauhan SK, Dana R. Proangiogenic Function of T Cells in Corneal Transplantation. Transplantation 2017;101(4):778-785.Abstract

BACKGROUND: Corneal neovascularization increases the risk of T cell-mediated allograft rejection. Here, we investigate whether T cells promote angiogenesis in transplantation. METHODS: Conventional effector T cells were collected from draining lymph nodes of allogeneic or syngeneic corneal transplanted BALB/c mice. T cells were either cocultured with vascular endothelial cells (VECs) to assess VEC proliferation or used in a mixed lymphocyte reaction assay. Messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A, -C, and VEGF receptor 2 (VEGF-R2) in VECs was assessed by real-time PCR. VEGF-A protein expression was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Flow cytometry was used to analyze VEGF-R2 expression in corneal CD31 cells, and VEGF-A and IFNγ expression in corneal CD4 T cells. RESULTS: Allogeneic T cells from high-risk (HR) grafted mice induced more VEC proliferation than those from syngeneic transplant recipients (P = 0.03). Vascular endothelial growth factor-A mRNA and protein expression were higher in T cells from draining lymph nodes (P = 0.03 and P = 0.04, respectively) and cornea (protein; P = 0.04) of HR compared with low-risk (LR) grafted hosts. Vascular endothelial growth factor-A, VEGF-C, and VEGF-R2 mRNA expression were increased in VECs when cocultured with T cells from HR transplants compared with LR transplants and naive mice. In addition, IFNγ blockade in T cell/VEC coculture increased VEC proliferation and VEGF-A protein expression, whereas blocking VEGF-A significantly reduced VEC proliferation (P = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Allogeneic T cells from corneal transplant hosts promote VEC proliferation, probably via VEGF-A signaling, whereas IFNγ shows an antiangiogenic effect. Our data suggest that T cells are critical mediators of angiogenesis in transplantation.

Birnbaum FA, Hamrah P, Jacobs DS, Song BJ. Acquired Corneal Neuropathy and Photoallodynia Associated With Malposition of an Ex-PRESS Shunt. J Glaucoma 2017;26(1):e19-e21.Abstract

PURPOSE: Corneal neuropathy is a recently described disease process that is not well understood and is likely underdiagnosed as a result. This is the first reported case of an acquired corneal neuropathy associated with malposition of an Ex-PRESS shunt. METHODS: A single case report. RESULTS: We report the case of a 50-year-old man with a history of multiple procedures for glaucoma who subsequently developed photoallodynia and corneal neuropathy in association with malposition of an Ex-PRESS shunt in the peripheral cornea. Laser confocal microscopy (HRT3/RCM) of the cornea showed the presence of neuromas, decreased nerve density, and a significant increase of dendritiform immune cells consistent with our diagnosis. Initial treatment with steroid pulse therapy did not result in decreased inflammation or symptomatic improvement leading to surgical explantation of the shunt. One month after surgery, there was noticeable improvement in the patient's pain and photoallodynia (approximately 40%) as well as the abnormalities seen on confocal microscopy. CONCLUSIONS: We hypothesize that poor Ex-PRESS shunt positioning can act as a nidus for corneal inflammation, resulting in corneal neuropathy and lowering of the nociception threshold.

Aggarwal S, Yamaguchi T, Dana R, Hamrah P. Exophiala phaeomuriformis Fungal Keratitis: Case Report and In Vivo Confocal Microscopy Findings. Eye Contact Lens 2017;43(2):e4-e6.Abstract

PURPOSE: Corneal infections, particularly fungal keratitis due to rare fungal species, pose a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge because of difficulty in identification and varying susceptibility profiles. In this study, we report the first case of fungal keratitis because of Exophiala phaeomuriformis. METHODS: We report the clinical findings and microbial identification techniques of a case of fungal keratitis due to E. phaeomuriformis. An 84-year-old woman presented with redness, pain, and itching in the left eye for 2 weeks. Slit-lamp biomicroscopy revealed one broken suture from previous penetrating keratoplasty (PKP), black infiltrates at the 4-o'clock position, without an overlying epithelial defect and hypopyon. Microbial identification was based cultures on Sabouraud dextrose agar and DNA sequencing and correlations to laser in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM; Heidelberg Retinal Tomograph 3/Rostock Cornea Module, Heidelberg Engineering) and multiphoton microscopy (Ultima Microscope; Prairie Technologies) images. RESULTS: Slit-lamp biomicroscopy revealed one broken suture from previous PKP, black infiltrates at the 4-o'clock position, without an overlying epithelial defect and hypopyon. Based on a clinical suspicion of fungal keratitis, antifungals and fortified antibiotics were started. However, the patient did not respond to therapy and required urgent PKP. After surgery, the patient was maintained on topical and systemic voriconazole and also topical 2% cyclosporine for 5 months because of possibility of scleral involvement noticed during surgery. At the end of the treatment period, her vision improved from hand motion to 20/40, with no recurrence observed in a follow-up period of 1 year. Results of diagnostic tests were supported by fungal elements in stroma on IVCM. Culture from the infiltrate grew black yeast. DNA sequencing led to the diagnosis of E. phaeomuriformis keratitis. Antifungal susceptibility testing revealed sensitivity to voriconazole. CONCLUSION: This is, to our knowledge, the first reported case of E. phaeomuriformis fungal keratitis. Diagnostic testing included slit-lamp biomicroscopy, which revealed pigmented infiltrates, culture plates grew black yeast, microscopy showed branched fungal hyphae with budding conidia, and physiological features showed tolerance to high temperatures, nitrate assimilation, and ribosomal DNA sequencing. Collectively, these tests demonstrate unique features seen for this microorganism. High suspicion should be kept with pigmented infiltrates and with dark yeast on culture plates. Prompt and aggressive medical management with voriconazole or therapeutic PKP in nonresponsive cases is essential to prevent irreversible loss of vision.

Di Zazzo A, Kheirkhah A, Abud TB, Goyal S, Dana R. Management of High-risk Corneal Transplantation. Surv Ophthalmol 2016;Abstract

The cornea is the most commonly transplanted tissue in medicine. The main cause of corneal graft failure is allograft rejection. The incidence of graft rejection depends on the presence of high-risk characteristics, most notably corneal neovascularization. Although corneal grafting has a high success rates in the absence of these risk factors, high-risk keratoplasty is associated with low success rates because of a high incidence of immune-mediated graft rejection. To improve the survival of high-risk corneal transplantation, various preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative measures can be considered.; however, the key step in the management of these grafts is the long-term use of local and/or systemic immunosuppressive agents. Although a number of immunosuppressive agents have been employed for this purpose, the results vary significantly across different studies. This is partly due to the lack of an optimized method for their use, as well as the lack of a precise stratification of the degree of risk in each individual patient. New targeted biologic treatments, as well as tolerance-inducing methods, show promising horizons in the management of high-risk corneal transplantation in near future.

Inomata T, Hua J, Di Zazzo A, Dana R. Impaired Function of Peripherally Induced Regulatory T Cells in Hosts at High Risk of Graft Rejection. Sci Rep 2016;6:39924.Abstract

Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are crucial for allograft survival. Tregs can be divided into thymus-derived natural Tregs (tTregs) and peripherally-derived induced Tregs (pTregs). Here, we determine whether the suppressive function of Treg subsets is hampered in hosts who are at high risk for rejecting their graft. To induce graft beds that promote high risk of transplant rejection, intrastromal corneal sutures were placed two weeks prior to the transplant procedure in mice. We demonstrate that in high-risk recipients the frequencies and function of pTregs (but not tTregs) are suppressed. Reduced function of pTregs correlated with decreased expression of CTLA-4, interleukin-10, and transforming growth factor-β. Adoptive transfer of pTregs from mice at low risk of subsequent graft rejection is able to rescue graft survival in recipients that are at high risk of rejecting their grafts. Our data suggest that impaired function of pTregs, but not tTregs, mediates the loss of immune tolerance and promotes allograft rejection.

Fadlallah A, Zhu H, Arafat S, Kochevar I, Melki S, Ciolino JB. Corneal Resistance to Keratolysis After Collagen Crosslinking With Rose Bengal and Green Light. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2016;57(15):6610-6614.Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the resistance to degradation by collagenase A of corneas that have been crosslinked with Rose Bengal and green light (RGX). Methods: The ex vivo crosslinking procedure was performed on enucleated rabbit corneas. Corneas were deepithelialized after applying 30% alcohol. Corneas were stained with Rose Bengal (RB, 0.1%) for 2 minutes and then exposed to green light (532 nm) at 0.25 W/cm2 for times to deliver doses of 50, 100, 150, or 200 J/cm2 (n = 5 per group). Five corneas were pretreated with riboflavin solution (0.1% riboflavin) for 15 minutes and irradiated with ultraviolet A (UVA) light (370 nm, 3 mW/cm2) for 30 minutes. Five corneas underwent only de-epithelialization and were otherwise untreated. Five corneas were stained with RB without light exposure. The central corneas of each group was removed with a 8.5-mm trephine and incubated at 37°C in 0.3% collagenase A solution. Time to dissolution of each cornea was compared across treatments. Results: Corneas treated with RGX were treated with light fluences of 50, 100, 150, and 200 J/cm2; these corneas dissolved completely at 8.3 ± 1.2, 11.1 ± 1.4, 12.4 ± 1.7, and 15.7 ± 1.8 hours, respectively. Corneas treated by riboflavin and UVA light dissolved at 15.7 ± 1.7 hours, and nontreated corneas dissolved at 6.1 ± 1.3 hours. Corneas treated with only RB (no green light) dissolved at 9.3 ± 1.7 hours. Compared with the untreated corneas, all of the RB groups and the riboflavin-UVA-treated group of corneas degraded statistically significantly slower than untreated corneas (P < 0.05). Conclusions: Crosslinking with RGX increased corneal resistance to digestion by collagenase comparable to that produced by riboflavin and UVA treatment.

He M, Storr-Paulsen T, Wang AL, Ghezzi CE, Wang S, Fullana M, Karamichos D, Utheim TP, Islam R, Griffith M, Islam MM, Hodges RR, Wnek GE, Kaplan DL, Dartt DA. Artificial Polymeric Scaffolds as Extracellular Matrix Substitutes for Autologous Conjunctival Goblet Cell Expansion. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2016;57(14):6134-6146.Abstract

Purpose: We fabricated and investigated polymeric scaffolds that can substitute for the conjunctival extracellular matrix to provide a substrate for autologous expansion of human conjunctival goblet cells in culture. Methods: We fabricated two hydrogels and two silk films: (1) recombinant human collagen (RHC) hydrogel, (2) recombinant human collagen 2-methacryloylxyethyl phosphorylcholine (RHC-MPC) hydrogel, (3) arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD) modified silk, and (4) poly-D-lysine (PDL) coated silk, and four electrospun scaffolds: (1) collagen, (2) poly(acrylic acid) (PAA), (3) poly(caprolactone) (PCL), and (4) poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA). Coverslips and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) were used for comparison. Human conjunctival explants were cultured on scaffolds for 9 to 15 days. Cell viability, outgrowth area, and the percentage of cells expressing markers for stratified squamous epithelial cells (cytokeratin 4) and goblet cells (cytokeratin 7) were determined. Results: Most of cells grown on all scaffolds were viable except for PCL in which only 3.6 ± 2.2% of the cells were viable. No cells attached to PVA scaffold. The outgrowth was greatest on PDL-silk and PET. Outgrowth was smallest on PCL. All cells were CK7-positive on RHC-MPC while 84.7 ± 6.9% of cells expressed CK7 on PDL-silk. For PCL, 87.10 ± 3.17% of cells were CK7-positive compared to PET where 67.10 ± 12.08% of cells were CK7-positive cells. Conclusions: Biopolymer substrates in the form of hydrogels and silk films provided for better adherence, proliferation, and differentiation than the electrospun scaffolds and could be used for conjunctival goblet cell expansion for eventual transplantation once undifferentiated and stratified squamous cells are included. Useful polymer scaffold design characteristics have emerged from this study.

Kheirkhah A, Satitpitakul V, Hamrah P, Dana R. Patients With Dry Eye Disease and Low Subbasal Nerve Density Are at High Risk for Accelerated Corneal Endothelial Cell Loss. Cornea 2016;Abstract

PURPOSE: To evaluate changes in corneal endothelial cell density over time in patients with dry eye disease (DED) and to correlate endothelial cell loss with corneal subbasal nerve density. METHODS: This retrospective study included 40 eyes of 20 patients with DED. Laser in vivo confocal microscopy had been performed in the central cornea of both eyes at an initial visit and repeated after a mean follow-up of 33.2 ± 10.2 months. The densities of corneal endothelial cells and subbasal nerves were measured in both visits and compared with 13 eyes of 13 normal age-matched controls. RESULTS: At the initial visit, the DED group had lower densities of corneal endothelial cells (2620 ± 386 cells/mm) and subbasal nerves (17.8 ± 7.5 mm/mm) compared with the control group (2861 ± 292 cells/mm and 22.8 ± 3.0 mm/mm, with P = 0.08 and P = 0.01, respectively). At the end of follow-up, although there was no significant change in subbasal nerve density (16.7 ± 7.2 mm/mm, P = 0.43), the mean corneal endothelial cell density significantly decreased to 2465 ± 391 cells/mm (P = 0.01), with a mean corneal endothelial cell loss of 2.1 ± 3.6% per year. The endothelial cell loss showed a statistically significant negative correlation with the initial subbasal nerve density (Rs = -0.55, P = 0.02). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with DED have an accelerated corneal endothelial cell loss compared with that reported in the literature for normal aging. Those with lower subbasal nerve density, in particular, are at a higher risk for endothelial cell loss over time.

Shatos MA, Hodges RR, Morinaga M, McNay DE, Islam R, Bhattacharya S, Li D, Turpie B, Makarenkova HP, Masli S, Utheim TP, Dartt DA. Alteration in cellular turnover and progenitor cell population in lacrimal glands from thrombospondin 1(-/-) mice, a model of dry eye. Exp Eye Res 2016;153:27-41.Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the changes that occur in the lacrimal glands (LGs) in female thrombospondin 1 knockout (TSP1(-/-)) mice, a mouse model of the autoimmune disease Sjogren's syndrome. The LGs of 4, 12, and 24 week-old female TSP1(-/-) and C57BL/6J (wild type, WT) mice were used. qPCR was performed to measure cytokine expression. To study the architecture, LG sections were stained with hematoxylin and eosin. Cell proliferation was measured using bromo-deoxyuridine and immunohistochemistry. Amount of CD47 and stem cell markers was analyzed by western blot analysis and location by immunofluorescence microscopy. Expression of stem cell transcription factors was performed using Mouse Stem Cell Transcription Factors RT(2) Profiler PCR Array. Cytokine levels significantly increased in LGs of 24 week-old TSP1(-/-) mice while morphological changes were detected at 12 weeks. Proliferation was decreased in 12 week-old TSP1(-/-) mice. Three transcription factors were overexpressed and eleven underexpressed in TSP1(-/-) compared to WT LGs. The amount of CD47, Musashi1, and Sox2 was decreased while the amount of ABCG2 was increased in 12 week-old TSP1(-/-) mice. We conclude that TSP1 is necessary for maintaining normal LG homeostasis. Absence of TSP1 alters cytokine levels and stem cell transcription factors, LG cellular architecture, decreases cell proliferation, and alters amount of stem cell markers.

Hodges RR, Li D, Shatos MA, Serhan CN, Dartt DA. Lipoxin A4 Counter-regulates Histamine-stimulated Glycoconjugate Secretion in Conjunctival Goblet Cells. Sci Rep 2016;6:36124.Abstract

Conjunctival goblet cells synthesize and secrete mucins which play an important role in protecting the ocular surface. Pro-resolution mediators, such as lipoxin A4 (LXA4), are produced during inflammation returning the tissue to homeostasis and are also produced in non-inflamed tissues. The purpose of this study was to determine the actions of LXA4 on cultured human conjunctival goblet cell mucin secretion and increase in intracellular [Ca(2+)] ([Ca(2+)]i) and on histamine-stimulated responses. LXA4 increased mucin secretion and [Ca(2+)]i, and activated ERK1/2 in human goblet cells. Addition of LXA4 before resolvin D1 (RvD1) decreased RvD1 responses though RvD1 did not block LXA4 responses. LXA4 inhibited histamine-stimulated increases in mucin secretion, [Ca(2+)]i, and ERK1/2 activation through activation of β-adrenergic receptor kinase 1. We conclude that conjunctival goblet cells respond to LXA4 through the ALX/FPR2 receptor to maintain homeostasis of the ocular surface and regulate histamine responses and could provide a new therapeutic approach for allergic conjunctivitis and dry eye diseases.

Mittal SK, Omoto M, Amouzegar A, Sahu A, Rezazadeh A, Katikireddy KR, Shah DI, Sahu SK, Chauhan SK. Restoration of Corneal Transparency by Mesenchymal Stem Cells. Stem Cell Reports 2016;7(4):583-590.Abstract

Transparency of the cornea is indispensable for optimal vision. Ocular trauma is a leading cause of corneal opacity, leading to 25 million cases of blindness annually. Recently, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have gained prominence due to their inflammation-suppressing and tissue repair functions. Here, we investigate the potential of MSCs to restore corneal transparency following ocular injury. Using an in vivo mouse model of ocular injury, we report that MSCs have the capacity to restore corneal transparency by secreting high levels of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). Interestingly, our data also show that HGF alone can restore corneal transparency, an observation that has translational implications for the development of HGF-based therapy.

Besner S, Scarcelli G, Pineda R, Yun S-H. In Vivo Brillouin Analysis of the Aging Crystalline Lens. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2016;57(13):5093-5100.Abstract

Purpose: To analyze the age dependence of the longitudinal modulus of the crystalline lens in vivo using Brillouin scattering data in healthy subjects. Methods: Brillouin scans were performed along the crystalline lens in 56 eyes from 30 healthy subjects aged from 19 to 63 years. Longitudinal elastic modulus was acquired along the sagittal axis of the lens with a transverse and axial resolution of 4 and 60 μm, respectively. The relative lens stiffness was computed, and correlations with age were analyzed. Results: Brillouin axial profiles revealed nonuniform longitudinal modulus within the lens, increasing from a softer periphery toward a stiffer central plateau at all ages. The longitudinal modulus at the central plateau showed no age dependence in a range of 19 to 45 years and a slight decrease with age from 45 to 63 years. A significant intersubject variability was observed in an age-matched analysis. Importantly, the extent of the central stiff plateau region increased steadily over age from 19 to 63 years. The slope of change in Brillouin modulus in the peripheral regions were nearly age-invariant. Conclusions: The adult human lens showed no measurable age-related increase in the peak longitudinal modulus. The expansion of the stiff central region of the lens is likely to be the major contributing factor to age-related lens stiffening. Brillouin microscopy may be useful in characterizing the crystalline lens for the optimization of surgical or pharmacological treatments aimed at restoring accommodative power.

Uchino Y, Woodward AM, Argüeso P. Differential effect of rebamipide on transmembrane mucin biosynthesis in stratified ocular surface epithelial cells. Exp Eye Res 2016;153:1-7.Abstract

Mucins are a group of highly glycosylated glycoproteins responsible for the protection of wet-surfaced epithelia. Recent data indicate that transmembrane mucins differ in their contribution to the protective function of the ocular surface, with MUC16 being the most effective barrier on the apical surface glycocalyx. Here, we investigated the role of the mucoprotective drug rebamipide in the regulation of transmembrane mucin biosynthesis using stratified cultures of human corneal and conjunctival epithelial cells. We find that the addition of rebamipide to corneal, but not conjunctival, epithelial cells increased MUC16 protein biosynthesis. Rebamipide did not affect the levels of MUC1, 4 and 20 compared to control. In these experiments, rebamipide had no effect on the expression levels of Notch intracellular domains, suggesting that the rebamipide-induced increase in MUC16 biosynthesis in differentiated corneal cultures is not regulated by Notch signaling. Overall these findings indicate that rebamipide induces the differential upregulation of MUC16 in stratified cultures of human corneal epithelial cells, which may have implications to the proper restoration of barrier function in ocular surface disease.

Katikireddy KR, Schmedt T, Price MO, Price FW, Jurkunas UV. Existence of Neural Crest-Derived Progenitor Cells in Normal and Fuchs Endothelial Dystrophy Corneal Endothelium. Am J Pathol 2016;186(10):2736-50.Abstract

Human corneal endothelial cells are derived from neural crest and because of postmitotic arrest lack competence to repair cell loss from trauma, aging, and degenerative disorders such as Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD). Herein, we identified a rapidly proliferating subpopulation of cells from the corneal endothelium of adult normal and FECD donors that exhibited features of neural crest-derived progenitor (NCDP) cells by showing absence of senescence with passaging, propensity to form spheres, and increased colony forming efficacy compared with the primary cells. The collective expression of stem cell-related genes SOX2, OCT4, LGR5, TP63 (p63), as well as neural crest marker genes PSIP1 (p75(NTR)), PAX3, SOX9, AP2B1 (AP-2β), and NES, generated a phenotypic footprint of endothelial NCDPs. NCDPs displayed multipotency by differentiating into microtubule-associated protein 2, β-III tubulin, and glial fibrillary acidic protein positive neurons and into p75(NTR)-positive human corneal endothelial cells that exhibited transendothelial resistance of functional endothelium. In conclusion, we found that mitotically incompetent ocular tissue cells contain adult NCDPs that exhibit a profile of transcription factors regulating multipotency and neural crest progenitor characteristics. Identification of normal NCDPs in FECD-affected endothelium holds promise for potential autologous cell therapies.