Cornea

Ding J, Wirostko B, Sullivan DA. Human growth hormone promotes corneal epithelial cell migration in vitro. Cornea 2015;34(6):686-92.Abstract

PURPOSE: Corneal wound healing is a highly regulated process that requires the proliferation and migration of epithelial cells and interactions between epithelial cells and stromal fibroblasts. Compounds that can be applied topically to the ocular surface and that have the capability of activating corneal epithelial cells to proliferate and/or migrate would be useful to promote corneal wound healing. We hypothesize that human growth hormone (HGH) will activate signal transducers and activators of transcription-5 (STAT5) signaling and promote corneal wound healing by enhancing corneal epithelial cell and fibroblast proliferation and/or migration in vitro. The purpose of this study was to test these hypotheses. METHODS: We studied cell signaling, proliferation, and migration using an immortalized human corneal epithelial cell line and primary human corneal fibroblasts in vitro. We also examined whether insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a hormone known to mediate many of HGH's growth promoting actions, may play a role in this effect. RESULTS: We show that HGH activates STAT5 signaling and promotes corneal epithelial cell migration in vitro. The migratory effect requires an intact communication between corneal epithelia and fibroblasts and is not mediated by IGF-1. CONCLUSIONS: HGH may represent a topical therapeutic to promote corneal epithelial wound healing. This warrants further investigation.

Hamrah P, Sahin A, Dastjerdi MH, Shahatit BM, Bayhan HA, Dana R, Pavan-Langston D. InVivo confocal microscopic changes of the corneal epithelium and stroma in patients with herpes zoster ophthalmicus. Am J Ophthalmol 2015;159(6):1036-1044.e1.Abstract

PURPOSE: To analyze the density and morphology of corneal epithelial cells and keratocytes by in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) in patients with herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO) as associated with corneal innervation. DESIGN: Prospective, controlled and masked cross-sectional study. METHODS: setting: Single-center study. PATIENTS: Thirty eyes with the diagnosis HZO and their contralateral clinically unaffected eyes, 15 eyes of 15 normal controls. intervention procedures: In vivo confocal microscopy and corneal esthesiometry of the central cornea. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Changes in morphology and density of the superficial and basal epithelial cells and stromal keratocytes, and correlation with corneal sensation. RESULTS: The density of superficial epithelial cells in HZO eyes with severe sensation loss (766.5 ± 25.2 cells/mm(2)) was significantly lower than both healthy control eyes (1450.23 ± 150.83 cells/mm(2)) and contralateral unaffected eyes (1974.13 ± 298.24 cells/mm(2)) (P = .003). Superficial epithelial cell size (1162.5 μm(2)) was significantly larger in HZO eyes with severe loss of sensation, as compared to contralateral (441.46 ± 298.14) or healthy eyes (407.4 ± 47.2μm(2); all P < .05). The density of basal epithelial cells, anterior keratocytes, and posterior keratocytes did not show statistical significance between patients, controls, and contralateral unaffected eyes. Changes in superficial epithelial cell density and morphology correlated strongly with corneal sensation. CONCLUSIONS: In vivo confocal microscopy reveals profound HZO-induced changes in the superficial epithelium, as demonstrated by increase in cell size, decrease in cell density, and squamous metaplasia. We demonstrate that these changes strongly correlate with changes in corneal innervation in eyes affected by HZO.

Utheim O, Islam R, Lyberg T, Roald B, Eidet JR, de la Paz MF, Dartt DA, Raeder S, Utheim TP. Serum-free and xenobiotic-free preservation of cultured human limbal epithelial cells. PLoS One 2015;10(3):e0118517.Abstract

AIM/PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: To develop a one-week storage method, without serum and xenobiotics, that would maintain cell viability, morphology, and phenotype of cultured human limbal epithelial sheets. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Human limbal explants were cultured on intact human amniotic membranes for two weeks. The sheets were stored in a hermetically sealed container at 23°C in either a serum-free medium with selected animal serum-derived compounds (Quantum 286) or a xenobiotic-free medium (Minimal Essential Medium) for 4 and 7 days. Stored and non-stored cultures were analyzed for cell viability, amniotic membrane and epithelial sheet thickness, and a panel of immunohistochemical markers for immature cells (ΔNp63α, p63, Bmi-1, C/EBP∂, ABCG2 and K19), differentiated cells (K3 and Cx43), proliferation (PCNA), and apoptosis (Caspase-3). RESULTS: The cell viability of the cultures was 98 ± 1% and remained high after storage. Mean central thickness of non-stored limbal epithelial sheets was 23 ± 3 μm, and no substantial loss of cells was observed after storage. The non-stored epithelial sheets expressed a predominantly immature phenotype with ΔNp63α positivity of more than 3% in 9 of 13 cultures. After storage, the expression of ABCG2 and C/EBP∂ was reduced for the 7 day Quantum 286-storage group; (P = 0.04), and Bmi-1 was reduced after 4 day Quantum 286-storage; (P = 0.02). No other markers varied significantly. The expression of differentiation markers was unrelated to the thickness of the epithelia and amniotic membrane, apart from ABCG2, which correlated negatively with thickness of limbal epithelia (R = -0.69, P = 0.01) and ΔNp63α, which correlated negatively with amniotic membrane thickness (R = -0.59, P = 0.03). CONCLUSION: Limbal epithelial cells cultured from explants on amniotic membrane can be stored at 23°C in both serum-free and xenobiotic-free media, with sustained cell viability, ultrastructure, and ΔNp63α-positivity after both 4 and 7 days.

Uchino Y, Mauris J, Woodward AM, Dieckow J, Amparo F, Dana R, Mantelli F, Argüeso P. Alteration of galectin-3 in tears of patients with dry eye disease. Am J Ophthalmol 2015;159(6):1027-1035.e3.Abstract
PURPOSE: To investigate the expression, release, and proteolytic degradation of galectin-3 in patients with dry eye disease. DESIGN: Observational case series with a comparison group. METHODS: Tear washes and conjunctival impression cytology specimens were collected through standard procedures from 16 patients with dry eye and 11 age-matched healthy subjects. Galectin-3 content in tears was analyzed by quantitative Western blot, using recombinant galectin-3 protein to generate a calibration curve. The relative expression of galectin-3 and matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) was evaluated by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The cleavage of galectin-3 was studied in vitro using activated recombinant MMP9 and protease inhibitors. RESULTS: The concentration of galectin-3 protein in tears, but not galectin-3 expression in conjunctival epithelium, was significantly higher in tears of patients with dry eye (0.38 ng/μg total protein, range 0.04-1.36) compared to healthy subjects (0.12 ng/μg total protein, range 0.00-0.41) (P < .01). By Western blot, an intact (∼28.0 kDa) galectin-3 band was identified in tear samples from healthy subjects, whereas 50% of the dry eye samples were characterized by the additional presence of a partially degraded form (∼25.4 kDa). In our experiments, elevated expression of MMP9 in dry eye subjects correlated with the ability of active MMP9 to cleave galectin-3 from recombinant origin. Interestingly, cleavage of endogenous galectin-3 in tear samples was impaired using a broad-spectrum proteinase inhibitor cocktail, but not the pan-specific MMP inhibitor GM6001, suggesting the presence of proteases other than MMPs in promoting galectin-3 degradation in dry eye. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that release of cellular galectin-3 into tears is associated with epithelial dysfunction in dry eye, and that galectin-3 proteolytic cleavage may contribute to impaired ocular surface barrier function.
Shikari H, Amparo F, Saboo U, Dana R. Onset of ocular graft-versus-host disease symptoms after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Cornea 2015;34(3):243-7.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: To study the factors affecting the time to onset of ocular graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT). METHODS: A retrospective chart review of 200 patients with ocular GVHD was performed to evaluate the association between various donor-recipient characteristics and the time to onset of ocular GVHD after allo-HSCT. RESULTS: The median time to onset of chronic ocular GVHD after allo-HSCT was 293 days (range, 26-2308 days). Patients receiving fully human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched transplants had a delayed onset of ocular GVHD (median, 294 days) compared with mismatched transplants (219 days; P = 0.029). HLA-matched transplants from related donors had delayed onset of ocular GVHD (307 days) compared with HLA-matched (286 days; P = 0.168) and HLA-mismatched (231 days; P = 0.015) transplants from unrelated donors. Ocular GVHD followed systemic GVHD in 76% of patients but preceded systemic disease in 7%, occurred concurrently in 15%, and was not associated with systemic GVHD in 2% of patients. The time elapsed between the occurrence of systemic and ocular GVHD was significantly longer in matched-related transplants (250 days) than in matched-unrelated transplants (120 days; P = 0.004). CONCLUSIONS: The onset of ocular GVHD after allo-HSCT is variable and is influenced by donor-recipient matching characteristics. In the majority of patients with GVHD, ocular involvement follows the occurrence of systemic manifestations; however, importantly, it can also precede or develop independently of systemic disease in a minority of patients. Regular ophthalmic follow-up is recommended after allo-HSCT regardless of concurrent systemic GVHD status.
Weiss JS, Møller HU, Aldave AJ, Seitz B, Bredrup C, Kivelä T, Munier FL, Rapuano CJ, Nischal KK, Kim EK, Sutphin J, Busin M, Labbé A, Kenyon KR, Kinoshita S, Lisch W. IC3D classification of corneal dystrophies--edition 2. Cornea 2015;34(2):117-59.Abstract

PURPOSE: To update the 2008 International Classification of Corneal Dystrophies (IC3D) incorporating new clinical, histopathologic, and genetic information. METHODS: The IC3D reviewed worldwide peer-reviewed articles for new information on corneal dystrophies published between 2008 and 2014. Using this information, corneal dystrophy templates and anatomic classification were updated. New clinical, histopathologic, and confocal photographs were added. RESULTS: On the basis of revisiting the cellular origin of corneal dystrophy, a modified anatomic classification is proposed consisting of (1) epithelial and subepithelial dystrophies, (2) epithelial-stromal TGFBI dystrophies, (3) stromal dystrophies, and (4) endothelial dystrophies. Most of the dystrophy templates are updated. The entity "Epithelial recurrent erosion dystrophies" actually includes a number of potentially distinct epithelial dystrophies (Franceschetti corneal dystrophy, Dystrophia Smolandiensis, and Dystrophia Helsinglandica) but must be differentiated from dystrophies such as TGFBI-induced dystrophies, which are also often associated with recurrent epithelial erosions. The chromosome locus of Thiel-Behnke corneal dystrophy is only located on 5q31. The entity previously designated as a variant of Thiel-Behnke corneal dystrophy on chromosome 10q24 may represent a novel corneal dystrophy. Congenital hereditary endothelial dystrophy (CHED, formerly CHED2) is most likely only an autosomal recessive disorder. The so-called autosomal dominant inherited CHED (formerly CHED1) is insufficiently distinct to continue to be considered a unique corneal dystrophy. On review of almost all of the published cases, the description appeared most similar to a type of posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy linked to the same chromosome 20 locus (PPCD1). Confocal microscopy also has emerged as a helpful tool to reveal in vivo features of several corneal dystrophies that previously required histopathologic examination to definitively diagnose. CONCLUSIONS: This revision of the IC3D classification includes an updated anatomic classification of corneal dystrophies more accurately classifying TGFBI dystrophies that affect multiple layers rather than are confined to one corneal layer. Typical histopathologic and confocal images have been added to the corneal dystrophy templates.

Liu Y, Kam WR, Ding J, Sullivan DA. Can tetracycline antibiotics duplicate the ability of azithromycin to stimulate human meibomian gland epithelial cell differentiation?. Cornea 2015;34(3):342-6.Abstract

PURPOSE: Azithromycin and tetracyclines are commonly prescribed in the United States for the treatment of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). The efficacy of these antibiotics has been believed to be their antiinflammatory and antibacterial actions, which suppress MGD-associated posterior blepharitis and growth of lid bacteria. However, we recently discovered that azithromycin can act directly on human meibomian gland epithelial cells (HMGECs) to stimulate their function. In this study, we sought to determine whether tetracycline antibiotics can duplicate this azithromycin effect. METHODS: Immortalized HMGEC were cultured in the presence of a vehicle, azithromycin, doxycycline, minocycline, or tetracycline for 5 days. Cells were evaluated for cholesterol and neutral lipid staining, and the lipid composition of cellular lysates was analyzed by high-performance thin-layer chromatography. RESULTS: Our results demonstrate that azithromycin's ability to stimulate the differentiation of human meibomian gland cells is unique, and is not duplicated by doxycycline, minocycline, or tetracycline. Azithromycin, but not the other antibiotics, significantly increased the cellular accumulation of cholesterol, cholesterol esters, phospholipids, and lysosomes. These differentiative actions of azithromycin were paralleled by an increased expression of sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings show that the stimulatory effects of azithromycin on HMGEC function are unique and are not duplicated by the antibiotics doxycycline, minocycline, or tetracycline. Our results further suggest that this stimulatory influence of azithromycin may contribute to its beneficial effect in treating MGD and its associated evaporative dry eye disease.

Menon BB, Kaiser-Marko C, Spurr-Michaud S, Tisdale AS, Gipson IK. Suppression of Toll-like receptor-mediated innate immune responses at the ocular surface by the membrane-associated mucins MUC1 and MUC16. Mucosal Immunol 2015;8(5):1000-8.Abstract

Membrane-associated mucins (MAMs) expressed on the ocular surface epithelium form a dense glycocalyx that is hypothesized to protect the cornea and conjunctiva from external insult. In this study, the hypothesis that the MAMs MUC1 and MUC16, expressed on the apical surface of the corneal epithelium, suppress Toll-like receptor (TLR)-mediated innate immune responses was tested. Using an in vitro model of corneal epithelial cells that are cultured to express MAMs, we show that reduced expression of either MUC1 or MUC16 correlates with increased message and secreted protein levels of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) following exposure of cells to the TLR2 and TLR5 agonists, heat-killed Listeria monocytogenes and flagellin, respectively. As mice express Muc1 (but not Muc16) in the corneal epithelium, a Muc1(-/-) mouse model was used to extend in vitro findings. Indeed, IL-6 and TNF-α message levels were increased in the corneal epithelium of Muc1(-/-) mice, in comparison with wild-type mice, following exposure of enucleated eyes to the TLR2 and TLR5 agonists. Our results suggest that the MAMs MUC1 and MUC16 contribute to the maintenance of immune homeostasis at the ocular surface by limiting TLR-mediated innate immune responses.

Saboo US, Amparo F, Shikari H, Jurkunas UV, Dana R. Outcomes of phacoemulsification in patients with chronic ocular graft-versus-host disease. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 2015;253(6):901-7.Abstract

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of phacoemulsification in patients with ocular graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). METHODS: The occurrence of cataracts, cataract surgery, and its outcomes were analyzed in the medical records of 229 patients (458 eyes) with ocular GVHD. Outcome measures included pre- and postoperative corrected distance visual acuity (CDVA) and the rate of postoperative complications. RESULTS: Of the 458 eyes evaluated, 58 were pseudophakic; from the 400 phakic eyes, 238 (59 %) presented with cataracts and 62 (26 %) underwent cataract surgery. Analysis of postoperative complications and visual outcomes at 1 month was performed in 51 eyes in which detailed surgical and immediate postoperative records were available. Preoperatively, the mean CDVA was 0.67 ± 0.57 LogMAR (Snellen 20/93), improving postoperatively to 0.17 ± 0.18 (Snellen 20/29) at 1 month (P < 0.0001), and to 0.13 ± 0.14 (Snellen 20/26) by the final follow-up visit (P < 0.0001). Postoperative complications included corneal epithelial defects (8 %), filamentary keratitis (6 %), worsening of corneal epitheliopathy (16 %), posterior capsular opacification (18 %), and cystoid macular edema (4 %). A corrected distance visual acuity of 20/30 or better was achieved in 87 % of the eyes; suboptimal CDVA improvement was attributable to severe ocular surface disease, pre-existing advanced glaucoma, and prior macular surgery. CONCLUSIONS: Phacoemulsification in patients with chronic ocular GVHD is a safe and efficacious procedure resulting in significant visual improvement. Overall, postoperative adverse events responded well to timely management.

Jakobiec FA, Roh M, Stagner AM, Yoon MK. Caruncular dacryops. Cornea 2015;34(1):107-9.Abstract

PURPOSE: To report a case of caruncular dacryops in a 58-year-old man that was excised in its entirety and to offer an immunohistopathologic analysis. METHODS: Sections stained with hematoxylin and eosin, periodic acid-Schiff, and Grocott methenamine silver (the latter 2 for identification of mucus) were evaluated, and immunohistochemical investigations were performed using cytokeratin (CK) 7, CK14, CK17, and smooth muscle actin. RESULTS: Histopathologic examination revealed a cystic dilation of the lacrimal gland ducts containing secretory globules. The ducts were composed of double-layered cuboidal epithelium with rare scattered goblet cells and interspersed prominent lobules of lacrimal gland tissue, diagnostic of dacryops. Immunohistochemistry of cystic ducts demonstrated a CK profile identical to that of the conjunctiva including the absence of a myoepithelium. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first case of an intact caruncular lacrimal ductal cyst (dacryops). A previous report documented a spontaneously collapsed cyst with extrusion of secretory globoid bodies into extracellular space that elicited a foreign body giant cell response.

van Essen TH, Roelen DL, Williams KA, Jager MJ. Matching for Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA) in corneal transplantation - To do or not to do. Prog Retin Eye Res 2015;46:84-110.Abstract

As many patients with severe corneal disease are not even considered as candidates for a human graft due to their high risk of rejection, it is essential to find ways to reduce the chance of rejection. One of the options is proper matching of the cornea donor and recipient for the Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA), a subject of much debate. Currently, patients receiving their first corneal allograft are hardly ever matched for HLA and even patients undergoing a regraft usually do not receive an HLA-matched graft. While anterior and posterior lamellar grafts are not immune to rejection, they are usually performed in low risk, non-vascularized cases. These are the cases in which the immune privilege due to the avascular status and active immune inhibition is still intact. Once broken due to infection, sensitization or trauma, rejection will occur. There is enough data to show that when proper DNA-based typing techniques are being used, even low risk perforating corneal transplantations benefit from matching for HLA Class I, and high risk cases from HLA Class I and probably Class II matching. Combining HLA class I and class II matching, or using the HLAMatchmaker could further improve the effect of HLA matching. However, new techniques could be applied to reduce the chance of rejection. Options are the local or systemic use of biologics, or gene therapy, aiming at preventing or suppressing immune responses. The goal of all these approaches should be to prevent a first rejection, as secondary grafts are usually at higher risk of complications including rejections than first grafts.

Mukherjee S, Zhou X, Rajaiya J, Chodosh J. Ultrastructure of adenovirus keratitis. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2015;56(1):472-7.Abstract

PURPOSE: We determined the ultrastructure of mouse adenovirus keratitis, a model for human adenovirus keratitis. METHODS: Adenovirus keratitis was induced in C57Bl/6j mice by intrastromal injection of human adenovirus species D type 37 (HAdV-D37) with a heat-pulled, glass, micropipette needle under compressed air. At select time points after infection, mice were euthanized and their corneas removed, fixed, and sectioned at 70-nm thickness for electron microscopy. RESULTS: Injection of HAdV-D37 into the mouse corneal stroma placed virus predominantly in the pericellular corneal stromal matrix. Virus was seen bound to and entering stromal cells at 1 and 2 hours after infection, respectively. Cell membrane transit by virus was seen to involve two distinct structures resembling caveolae and macropinosomes. However, later during infection intracellular virus was not seen within membrane-bound organelles. By 8 hours after infection, intracellular virus had accumulated into densely packed, perinuclear arrays. Virus disassembly was not obvious at any time point after infection. Infiltrating neutrophils seen by one day after infection had engulfed degraded stromal cells by 4 days after infection. CONCLUSIONS: By transmission electron microscopy, injected HAdV-D37 readily enters stromal cells in the C57Bl/6j mouse cornea and induces stromal inflammation, as was shown previously by light microscopy. However, electron microscopy also revealed dense, static arrays of intracytoplasmic virus, suggesting a block in viral capsid disassembly and viral DNA nuclear entry. These findings may explain why human adenoviruses do not replicate in the mouse corneal stroma.

Bron AJ, Argüeso P, Irkec M, Bright FV. Clinical staining of the ocular surface: mechanisms and interpretations. Prog Retin Eye Res 2015;44:36-61.Abstract

In this article we review the mechanism of ocular surface staining. Water-soluble dyes are excluded from the normal epithelium by tight junctions, the plasma membranes and the surface glycocalyx. Shed cells can take up dye. A proportion of normal corneas show sparse, scattered time-dependent, punctate fluorescein uptake, which, we hypothesise, is due to a graded loss of the glycocalyx barrier, permitting transcellular entry into pre-shed cells. In pathological staining, there is little evidence of 'micropooling' at sites of shedding and the term 'punctate erosion' may be a misnomer. It is more likely that the initial event involves transcellular dye entry and, in addition, diffusion across defective tight junctions. Different dye-staining characteristics probably reflect differences in molecular size and other physical properties of each dye, coupled with differences in visibility under the conditions of illumination used. This is most relevant to the rapid epithelial spread of fluorescein from sites of punctate staining, compared to the apparent confinement of dyes to staining cells with dyes such as lissamine green and rose bengal. We assume that fluorescein, with its lower molecular weight, spreads initially by a paracellular route and then by transcellular diffusion. Solution-Induced Corneal Staining (SICS), related to the use of certain contact lens care solutions, may have a different basis, involving the non-pathological uptake of cationic preservatives, such as biguanides, into epithelial membranes and secondary binding of the fluorescein anion. It is transient and may not imply corneal toxicity. Understanding the mechanism of staining is relevant to the standardisation of grading, to monitoring disease and to the conduct of clinical trials.

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