Abud TB, Amparo F, Saboo US, Di Zazzo A, Dohlman TH, Ciolino JB, Hamrah P, Dana R. A Clinical Trial Comparing the Safety and Efficacy of Topical Tacrolimus versus Methylprednisolone in Ocular Graft-versus-Host Disease. Ophthalmology 2016;123(7):1449-57.Abstract

PURPOSE: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of topical tacrolimus 0.05% versus topical methylprednisolone 0.5% in patients with ocular graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). DESIGN: Phase 1/2 prospective, randomized, double-masked clinical trial. PARTICIPANTS: Eighty eyes of 40 patients diagnosed with chronic ocular GVHD were enrolled. METHODS: Forty patients with ocular GVHD were randomized; 24 patients were treated with topical tacrolimus 0.05% and 16 patients were treated with topical methylprednisolone 0.5% twice daily for 10 weeks, in addition to continuing their baseline treatment regimen. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Safety was evaluated based on occurrence of adverse events. Tolerability was assessed based on subject reports of discomfort after drop instillation. Intraocular pressure (IOP) was monitored. The main efficacy end points were corneal fluorescein staining (CFS), tear film break-up time (TBUT), Schirmer test results, and expression of the ocular surface inflammatory markers human leukocyte antigen-DR (HLA-DR) and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1). Symptoms were evaluated using the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI). RESULTS: After 10 weeks of treatment, no major adverse events occurred in either treatment group, and there was no significant difference in the composite tolerability scores between the 2 groups (P = 0.06). However, burning sensation was more pronounced with tacrolimus (P = 0.002). Topical tacrolimus was more effective than methylprednisolone in reducing the CFS score at week 10 (55% vs. 23% reduction, respectively; P = 0.01) and achieved significant improvement in TBUT when compared with baseline (P < 0.001). Reduction in OSDI score achieved statistical significance with tacrolimus (27% reduction; P = 0.02), but was marginal with methylprednisolone (32% reduction; P = 0.06). Expression of ICAM-1 by ocular surface epithelium decreased significantly in both groups (tacrolimus, P = 0.003; methylprednisolone, P = 0.008), whereas HLA-DR expression decreased significantly only in the tacrolimus group (P = 0.03). Schirmer test scores did not change significantly in either group during the study; IOP increased significantly with methylprednisolone at week 10 (P = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Topical tacrolimus 0.05% is safe, generally well tolerated, and effective for the treatment of ocular GVHD without the hypertensive effects of topical corticosteroids.

Crnej A, Omoto M, Dohlman TH, Gonzalez-Andrades M, Paschalis EI, Cruzat A, Vu KTH, Doorenbos M, Chen DF, Dohlman CH, Dana R. Effect of Penetrating Keratoplasty and Keratoprosthesis Implantation on the Posterior Segment of the Eye. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2016;57(4):1643-8.Abstract

PURPOSE: To compare the effects of post-penetrating keratoplasty (PK) and post-keratoprosthesis (KPro) surgery-related inflammation on the posterior segment of the eye and to assess inhibition of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) on these effects. METHODS: BALB/C (syngeneic) or C57BL/6 (allogeneic) corneas were transplanted onto BALB/C host beds as part of PK or miniature KPro (m-KPro) implantation. Intraocular pressure (IOP) was measured via an intracameral pressure sensor; tissues were harvested and analyzed 8 weeks after surgery. Expression of TNFα and IL-1β in the retina was analyzed using real-time quantitative (q)PCR. Optic nerve degeneration (axon count, circularity, and area) was assessed quantitatively using ImageJ software. After m-KPro implantation, mice were treated with saline, anti-TNFα, or anti-IL-1β antibody, and axonal loss was assessed after 10 weeks. RESULTS: Mean IOP was within normal limits in the operated and fellow eyes in all groups. The mRNA expression of TNFα and IL-1β was highest in m-KPro groups with either syngeneic or an allogeneic carrier. We observed optic nerve degeneration in both allogeneic PK and m-KPro implanted eyes with an allogeneic carrier. However, TNFα blockade significantly reduced axonal loss by 35%. CONCLUSIONS: Allogeneic PK and m-KPro implants with an allogeneic carrier lead to chronic inflammation in the posterior segment of the eye, resulting in optic nerve degeneration. In addition, blockade of TNFα prevents axonal degeneration in this preclinical model of allogeneic m-KPro (alloKPro) implantation.

Salvador-Culla B, Kolovou PE, Arzeno L, Martínez S, López MA. Boston Keratoprosthesis Type 1 in Chemical Burns. Cornea 2016;35(6):911-6.Abstract

PURPOSE: To describe and further analyze the long-term results in visual acuity (VA), anatomical retention, and rate of complications from patients who underwent Boston keratoprosthesis (B-Kpro) type 1 after ocular chemical burns in the Dominican Republic. METHODS: A retrospective review of 42 eyes (22 OD:20 OS) of 36 patients who underwent B-Kpro type 1 implantation after severe ocular burn at Hospital Elías Santana in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, between April 2006 and October 2014, were included. RESULTS: Demographics, VA, anatomical retention, and the rates of postoperative complications and concurrent surgeries were evaluated. CONCLUSIONS: The excellent anatomical retention rates and visual outcomes presented in this study support the remarkable capability of B-Kpro type 1 to restore functional VA in eyes with severe chemical injuries. However, strict control of the postoperative complications is necessary for long-term success. In conclusion, the use of a B-Kpro type 1 after severe chemical burn is a viable option in patients otherwise condemned to the high risk of failure associated with conventional corneal grafts.

Robert M-C, Črnej A, Shen LQ, Papaliodis GN, Dana R, Foster SC, Chodosh J, Dohlman CH. Infliximab after Boston Keratoprosthesis in Stevens-Johnson Syndrome: An Update. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2016;:1-5.Abstract

PURPOSE: To report our experience using intravenous infliximab for the treatment of tissue melt after Boston keratoprosthesis (B-KPro) types I and II in patients with autoimmune disease. METHODS: Case series. RESULTS: We identified four patients who were treated with intravenous infliximab in the context of tissue melt after B-KPro. Stevens-Johnson syndrome-associated corneal blindness was the primary surgical indication for B-KPro implantation in all patients. Two patients received a B-KPro type I and two patients received a B-KPro type II. The patients received intravenous infliximab for skin retraction around B-KPro type II, melting of the carrier graft or leak. Treatment resulted in a dramatic decrease in inflammation and, in some cases, arrest of the melting process. Cost and patient adherence were limiting factors to pursuing infliximab therapy. In addition, one patient developed infusion reactions. CONCLUSIONS: Intravenous infliximab may be considered as globe- and sight-saving therapy for tissue melt after B-KPro.

Tahvildari M, Omoto M, Chen Y, Emami-Naeini P, Inomata T, Dohlman TH, Kaye AE, Chauhan SK, Dana R. In Vivo Expansion of Regulatory T Cells by Low-Dose Interleukin-2 Treatment Increases Allograft Survival in Corneal Transplantation. Transplantation 2016;100(3):525-32.Abstract

BACKGROUND: Corneal allograft survival dramatically decreases in hosts with inflamed or vascularized recipient beds. We have previously shown that in rejected corneal allografts regulatory T cells (Treg) demonstrate diminished Foxp3 expression and immunoregulatory function. Treatment with low doses of IL-2 selectively expands Treg and has been proposed for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. In this study, we investigated the effect of low-dose IL-2 administration on Treg function and corneal allograft survival. METHODS: Allogeneic corneal transplantation was performed on inflamed host beds. Low-dose systemic IL-2 was administered starting 3 days before grafting until 6 weeks after transplantation. Frequencies of Treg and their immunosuppressive function and antigen specificity were assessed using flow cytometry, in vitro proliferation assays, and adoptive transfer experiments. Frequencies of effector T cells (Teff) and graft infiltrating immune cells were measured at 2 weeks posttransplantation. Long-term allograft survival was evaluated for up to 9 weeks using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. RESULTS: Treatment with low-dose IL-2 significantly increased frequencies of CD4CD25Foxp3 Treg and their immunosuppressive function. It also suppressed alloimmune response as shown by the decreased CD4 IFNγ T cell frequencies and graft infiltration of CD45 and CD4 cells. Clinical evaluation of the grafts showed significant improvement in long-term corneal allograft survival in the IL-2 treated group compared with controls. CONCLUSIONS: Our study is the first to report that treatment with low-dose IL-2 increases survival of corneal allografts. We propose that IL-2-mediated Treg expansion can be an effective tool to prevent alloimmunity and to improve long-term allograft survival in transplantation.

Saboo US, Amparo F, Shikari H, Dana R. Prevalence of ocular hypertension and glaucoma in patients with chronic ocular graft-versus-host disease. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 2016;254(5):923-8.Abstract

PURPOSE: To evaluate the prevalence of ocular hypertension (OHT) and glaucoma in patients with chronic ocular graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). METHODS: We performed a retrospective chart review of 218 patients diagnosed with chronic ocular GVHD. Ocular hypertension was defined as intraocular pressure (IOP) ≥ 24 mmHg in either eye without any glaucomatous optic disc changes. Glaucoma suspect was defined as optic disc changes with a cup-to-disc ratio ≥ 0.7 in either eye or asymmetry of ≥ 0.3 between the two eyes. Glaucoma was defined by glaucomatous optic disc changes plus glaucomatous visual field defects in two consecutive reliable visual field tests. The number of cases of ocular hypertension, glaucoma, and glaucoma suspects was evaluated. RESULTS: Thirty-three patients (15 %) were diagnosed with OHT, eight patients (3.6 %) with suspicion of glaucoma, and one patient (0.4 %) with glaucoma. OHT occurred within 6 months of developing ocular GVHD in 60 % of the cases and within the first year in 76 %. High IOP normalized in 67 % of patients when the dosage of topical or systemic corticosteroids was lowered, and 27 % of patients required anti-glaucoma therapy. CONCLUSIONS: Ocular hypertension is a common complication in patients with ocular GVHD, with a prevalence of 15 %. The rise in intraocular pressure is often transient and resolves with management of corticosteroids in most cases. However, clinicians should be aware that nearly one-third of the patients with OHT might require anti-glaucoma treatment. The prevalences of glaucoma and suspicion of glaucoma were not higher than in the general population.

Annunziata R, Kheirkhah A, Aggarwal S, Cavalcanti BM, Hamrah P, Trucco E. Two-Dimensional Plane for Multi-Scale Quantification of Corneal Subbasal Nerve Tortuosity. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2016;57(3):1132-9.Abstract

PURPOSE: To assess the performance of a novel system for automated tortuosity estimation and interpretation. METHODS: A supervised strategy (driven by observers' grading) was employed to automatically identify the combination of tortuosity measures (i.e., tortuosity representation) leading to the best agreement with the observers. We investigated 18 tortuosity measures including curvature and density of inflection points, computed at multiple spatial scales. To leverage tortuosity interpretation, we propose the tortuosity plane (TP) onto which each image is mapped. Experiments were carried out on 140 images of subbasal nerve plexus of the central cornea, covering four levels of tortuosity. Three experienced observers graded each image independently. RESULTS: The best tortuosity representation was the combination of mean curvature at spatial scales 2 and 5. These tortuosity measures were the axes of the proposed TP (interpretation). The system for tortuosity estimation revealed strong agreement with the observers on a global and per-level basis. The agreement with each observer (Spearman's correlation) was statistically significant (αs = 0.05, P < 0.0001) and higher than that of at least one of the other observers in two out of three cases (ρOUR = 0.7594 versus ρObs3 = 0.7225; ρOUR = 0.8880 versus ρObs1 = 0.8017, ρObs3 = 0.7315). Based on paired-sample t-tests, these improvements were significant (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Our automated system stratifies images by four tortuosity levels (discrete scale) matching or exceeding the accuracy of experienced observers. Of importance, the TP allows the assessment of tortuosity on a two-dimensional continuous scale, thus leading to a finer discrimination among images.

Halilovic A, Schmedt T, Benischke A-S, Hamill C, Chen Y, Santos JH, Jurkunas UV. Menadione-Induced DNA Damage Leads to Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Fragmentation During Rosette Formation in Fuchs Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy. Antioxid Redox Signal 2016;24(18):1072-83.Abstract

AIMS: Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD), a leading cause of age-related corneal edema requiring transplantation, is characterized by rosette formation of corneal endothelium with ensuing apoptosis. We sought to determine whether excess of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species leads to chronic accumulation of oxidative DNA damage and mitochondrial dysfunction, instigating cell death. RESULTS: We modeled the pathognomonic rosette formation of postmitotic corneal cells by increasing endogenous cellular oxidative stress with menadione (MN) and performed a temporal analysis of its effect in normal (HCEnC, HCECi) and FECD (FECDi) cells and ex vivo specimens. FECDi and FECD ex vivo specimens exhibited extensive mtDNA and nDNA damage as detected by quantitative PCR. Exposure to MN triggered an increase in mitochondrial superoxide levels and led to mtDNA and nDNA damage, while DNA amplification was restored with NAC pretreatment. Furthermore, MN exposure led to a decrease in ΔΨm and adenosine triphosphate levels in normal cells, while FECDi exhibited mitochondrial dysfunction at baseline. Mitochondrial fragmentation and cytochrome c release were detected in FECD tissue and after MN treatment of HCEnCs. Furthermore, cleavage of caspase-9 and caspase-3 followed MN-induced cytochrome c release in HCEnCs. INNOVATION: This study provides the first line of evidence that accumulation of oxidative DNA damage leads to rosette formation, loss of functionally intact mitochondria via fragmentation, and subsequent cell death during postmitotic cell degeneration of ocular tissue. CONCLUSION: MN induced rosette formation, along with mtDNA and nDNA damage, mitochondrial dysfunction, and fragmentation, leading to activation of the intrinsic apoptosis via caspase cleavage and cytochrome c release. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 24, 1072-1083.

Dohlman TH, Di Zazzo A, Omoto M, Hua J, Ding J, Hamrah P, Chauhan SK, Dana R. E-Selectin Mediates Immune Cell Trafficking in Corneal Transplantation. Transplantation 2016;100(4):772-80.Abstract

BACKGROUND: Immune rejection continues to threaten all tissue transplants. Here we sought to determine whether platelet (P)- and endothelial (E)-selectin mediate T cell recruitment in corneal transplantation and whether their blockade can reduce T cell graft infiltration and improve long-term corneal allograft survival. METHODS: In a murine model of allogeneic corneal transplantation, we used PCR and immunohistochemistry to investigate expression of P- and E-selectin in rejected versus accepted allografts and lymph node flow cytometry to assess expression of selectin ligands by effector T cells. Using P- and E-selectin neutralizing antibodies, we evaluated the effect of blockade on CD4 T cell recruitment, as well as the effect of anti-E-selectin on long-term allograft survival. RESULTS: The P- (93.3-fold, P < 0.05) and E-selectin (17.1-fold, P < 0.005) are upregulated in rejected versus accepted allogeneic transplants. Type 1 T helper cells from hosts with accepted and rejected grafts express high levels of P-selectin glycoprotein ligand 1 and glycosylated CD43. In vivo blockade of P (0.47 ± 0.03, P < 0.05) and E selectin (0.49 ± 0.1, P < 0.05) reduced the number of recruited T cells compared with IgG control (0.98 ± 0.1). Anti-E-selectin reduced the number of mature antigen-presenting cells trafficking to lymphoid tissue compared with control (6.96 ± 0.9 vs 12.67 ± 0.5, P < 0.05). Anti-E-selectin treatment delayed graft rejection and increased survival compared with control, although this difference did not reach statistical significance. CONCLUSIONS: In a model of corneal transplantation, P- and E-selectin mediate T cell recruitment to the graft, E-selectin mediates APC trafficking to lymphoid tissue, and blockade of E-selectin has a modest effect on improving long-term graft survival.

Jee D, Kang S, Yuan C, Cho E, Arroyo JG, of the Society ESCKO. Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels and Dry Eye Syndrome: Differential Effects of Vitamin D on Ocular Diseases. PLoS One 2016;11(2):e0149294.Abstract

PURPOSE: To investigate associations between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and dry eye syndrome (DES), and to evaluate the differential effect of vitamin D on ocular diseases including age-related macular disease (AMD), diabetic retinopathy (DR), cataract, and DES. METHODS: A total of 16,396 participants aged >19 years were randomly selected from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. All participants participated in standardized interviews, blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D level evaluations, and comprehensive ophthalmic examinations. DES was defined by a history of clinical diagnosis of dry eyes by a physician. The association between vitamin D and DES was compared to the associations between vitamin D and AMD, DR, cataract, and DES from our previous studies. RESULTS: The odds of DES non-significantly decreased as the quintiles of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels increased (quintile 5 versus 1, OR = 0.85, 95%CI: 0.55-1.30, P for trend = 0.076) after adjusting for potential confounders including age, sex, hypertension, diabetes, smoking status, and sunlight exposure times. The relative odds of DES (OR = 0.70, 95% CI: 0.30-1.64) and cataract (OR = 0.76, 95% CI: 0.59-0.99) were relatively high, while those of DR (OR = 0.37, 95% CI: 0.18-0.76) and late AMD (OR = 0.32, 95% CI: 0.12-0.81) were lower in men. CONCLUSIONS: The present study does not support an association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and DES. The preventive effect of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D may be more effective for DR and late AMD than it is for cataract and DES.

Naseripour M, Aghaei H, Sedaghat A, Kheirkhah A, Jaberi R, Azma Z. Corneal Patch Graft: A New Approach for Scleral Necrosis Secondary to Plaque Radiotherapy. Cornea 2016;35(4):565-8.Abstract

PURPOSE: To evaluate the anatomical outcomes of corneal patch grafts in patients with progressive scleral necrosis secondary to plaque radiotherapy used for uveal malignant melanoma management. METHODS: In this case series, 4 patients with progressive scleral necrosis after Ru-106 plaque radiotherapy underwent corneal patch grafts with the anterior corneal button from Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty donor tissue to strengthen the sclera and to improve appearance of the eye. RESULTS: Ciliary body involvement was evident in all cases. All 4 patients had received radiation doses of 400 Gy or more to the tumor base. The mean time interval between plaque radiotherapy and scleral necrosis was 24.5 ± 7.5 months (range, 18-34 months). Successful results were achieved in all patients with tectonic graft. No patients experienced graft thinning, rejection, infection, or tumor recurrence in a mean follow-up of 28.5 ± 7.9 months (range, 20-39 months). CONCLUSIONS: Corneal patch graft by anterior corneal button from Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty donor tissue results in successful restoration of globe integrity and satisfactory cosmetic appearance in patients with scleral necrosis secondary to plaque radiotherapy.

Kim YJ, Payal AR, Daly MK. Effects of tear gases on the eye. Surv Ophthalmol 2016;61(4):434-42.Abstract

Chemical agents that target the eyes have been a popular choice for law enforcement during riots and for military training for nearly a century. The most commonly used agents are chloroacetophenone (formerly sold as Mace), o-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile, and oleoresin capsicum (OC or pepper spray, current ingredient for Mace). Initially, most severe ocular injuries were caused by the explosive force rather than the chemical itself. The development of sprays reduced the mechanical severity of ocular injuries, but resulted in a variety of chemical injuries. The effects on eyes include conjunctival injection, complete corneal epithelial defects, pseudopterygium, corneal neovascularization, persistent conjunctivalization, corneal opacities, and reduced visual acuity. Current management, based on limited human studies, emphasizes decontamination and symptomatic treatment. We review the literature related to clinical and histopathologic effects of tear gas agents on the eye and their management.

Vazirani J, Ali MH, Sharma N, Gupta N, Mittal V, Atallah M, Amescua G, Chowdhury T, Abdala-Figuerola A, Ramirez-Miranda A, Navas A, Graue-Hernández EO, Chodosh J. Autologous simple limbal epithelial transplantation for unilateral limbal stem cell deficiency: multicentre results. Br J Ophthalmol 2016;100(10):1416-20.Abstract

PURPOSE: To report outcomes of autologous simple limbal epithelial transplantation (SLET) performed for unilateral limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD) at multiple centres worldwide. METHODS: In this retrospective, multicentre, interventional case series, records of patients who had undergone autologous SLET for unilateral LSCD, with a minimum of 6 months of follow-up, were reviewed. The primary outcome measure was clinical success, defined as a completely epithelised, avascular corneal surface. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were constructed and survival probability was calculated. A Cox proportional hazards analysis was done to assess association of preoperative characteristics with risk of failure. Secondary outcome measures included the percentage of eyes achieving visual acuity of 20/200 or better, percentage of eyes gaining two or more Snellen lines and complications encountered. RESULTS: 68 eyes of 68 patients underwent autologous SLET, performed across eight centres in three countries. Clinical success was achieved in 57 cases (83.8%). With a median follow-up of 12 months, survival probability exceeded 80%. Presence of symblepharon (HR 5.8) and simultaneous keratoplasty (HR 10.8) were found to be significantly associated with a risk of failure. 44 eyes (64.7%) achieved a visual acuity of 20/200 or better, and 44 eyes (64.7%) gained two or more Snellen lines. Focal recurrences of pannus were noted in 21 eyes (36.8%) with clinical success. CONCLUSION: Autologous SLET is an effective and safe modality for treatment of unilateral LSCD. Clinical success rates and visual acuity improvement are equal to or better than those reported with earlier techniques.

Le H-G, Saeed H, Mantagos IS, Mitchell CM, Goverman J, Chodosh J. Burn unit care of Stevens Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis: A survey. Burns 2016;42(4):830-5.Abstract

Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis (SJS/TEN) is a systemic disease that can be associated with debilitating acute and chronic complications across multiple organ systems. As patients with acute SJS/TEN are often treated in a burn intensive care unit (BICU), we surveyed burn centers across the United States to determine their approach to the care of these patients. The goal of our study was to identify best practices and possible variations in the care of patients with acute SJS/TEN. We demonstrate that the method of diagnosis, use of systemic therapies, and involvement of subspecialists varied significantly between burn centers. Beyond supportive care provided to every patient, our data highlights a lack of standardization in the acute care of patients with SJS/TEN. A comprehensive guideline for the care of patients with acute SJS/TEN is indicated.

Gonzalez-Andrades M, Alonso-Pastor L, Mauris J, Cruzat A, Dohlman CH, Argüeso P. Establishment of a novel in vitro model of stratified epithelial wound healing with barrier function. Sci Rep 2016;6:19395.Abstract

The repair of wounds through collective movement of epithelial cells is a fundamental process in multicellular organisms. In stratified epithelia such as the cornea and skin, healing occurs in three steps that include a latent, migratory, and reconstruction phases. Several simple and inexpensive assays have been developed to study the biology of cell migration in vitro. However, these assays are mostly based on monolayer systems that fail to reproduce the differentiation processes associated to multilayered systems. Here, we describe a straightforward in vitro wound assay to evaluate the healing and restoration of barrier function in stratified human corneal epithelial cells. In this assay, circular punch injuries lead to the collective migration of the epithelium as coherent sheets. The closure of the wound was associated with the restoration of the transcellular barrier and the re-establishment of apical intercellular junctions. Altogether, this new model of wound healing provides an important research tool to study the mechanisms leading to barrier function in stratified epithelia and may facilitate the development of future therapeutic applications.