Neuro-ophthalmology

Jamuar SS, Schmitz-Abe K, D'Gama AM, Drottar M, Chan W-M, Peeva M, Servattalab S, Lam A-TN, Delgado MR, Clegg NJ, Zayed ZA, Dogar MA, Alorainy IA, Jamea AA, Abu-Amero K, Griebel M, Ward W, Lein ES, Markianos K, Barkovich JA, Robson CD, Grant EP, Bosley TM, Engle EC, Walsh CA, Yu TW. Biallelic mutations in human DCC cause developmental split-brain syndrome. Nat Genet 2017;49(4):606-612.Abstract

Motor, sensory, and integrative activities of the brain are coordinated by a series of midline-bridging neuronal commissures whose development is tightly regulated. Here we report a new human syndrome in which these commissures are widely disrupted, thus causing clinical manifestations of horizontal gaze palsy, scoliosis, and intellectual disability. Affected individuals were found to possess biallelic loss-of-function mutations in the gene encoding the axon-guidance receptor 'deleted in colorectal carcinoma' (DCC), which has been implicated in congenital mirror movements when it is mutated in the heterozygous state but whose biallelic loss-of-function human phenotype has not been reported. Structural MRI and diffusion tractography demonstrated broad disorganization of white-matter tracts throughout the human central nervous system (CNS), including loss of all commissural tracts at multiple levels of the neuraxis. Combined with data from animal models, these findings show that DCC is a master regulator of midline crossing and development of white-matter projections throughout the human CNS.

Bouffard MA, Caplan LR, Torun N. Divergence Palsy due to Divalproex and Oxcarbazepine. Clin Neuropharmacol 2017;Abstract

OBJECTIVE: This case series is the first to describe divergence palsy as an adverse effect of antiepileptic drug use. Diplopia is a common adverse effect of antiepileptic drugs, but no explanatory motility deficit has ever been reported. METHODS: We present 2 patients, 1 on oxcarbazepine and 1 on divalproex, each with a normal examination result between spells and divergency palsy when symptomatic. RESULTS: Discontinuation of the antiepileptic medication led to resolution of the episodes in both cases. Rechallenge with the offending agent after washout in one patient resulted in recurrence of diplopia and divergence palsy, both resolving after subsequent withdrawal of the antiepileptic. CONCLUSIONS: Antiepileptic drugs may cause divergence palsy.

Li Y, Andereggen L, Yuki K, Omura K, Yin Y, Gilbert H-Y, Erdogan B, Asdourian MS, Shrock C, de Lima S, Apfel U-P, Zhuo Y, Hershfinkel M, Lippard SJ, Rosenberg PA, Benowitz L. Mobile zinc increases rapidly in the retina after optic nerve injury and regulates ganglion cell survival and optic nerve regeneration. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2017;114(2):E209-E218.Abstract

Retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), the projection neurons of the eye, cannot regenerate their axons once the optic nerve has been injured and soon begin to die. Whereas RGC death and regenerative failure are widely viewed as being cell-autonomous or influenced by various types of glia, we report here that the dysregulation of mobile zinc (Zn(2+)) in retinal interneurons is a primary factor. Within an hour after the optic nerve is injured, Zn(2+) increases several-fold in retinal amacrine cell processes and continues to rise over the first day, then transfers slowly to RGCs via vesicular release. Zn(2+) accumulation in amacrine cell processes involves the Zn(2+) transporter protein ZnT-3, and deletion of slc30a3, the gene encoding ZnT-3, promotes RGC survival and axon regeneration. Intravitreal injection of Zn(2+) chelators enables many RGCs to survive for months after nerve injury and regenerate axons, and enhances the prosurvival and regenerative effects of deleting the gene for phosphatase and tensin homolog (pten). Importantly, the therapeutic window for Zn(2+) chelation extends for several days after nerve injury. These results show that retinal Zn(2+) dysregulation is a major factor limiting the survival and regenerative capacity of injured RGCs, and point to Zn(2+) chelation as a strategy to promote long-term RGC protection and enhance axon regeneration.

Benowitz LI, He Z, Goldberg JL. Reaching the brain: Advances in optic nerve regeneration. Exp Neurol 2017;287(Pt 3):365-373.Abstract

The optic nerve has been widely used to investigate factors that regulate axon regeneration in the mammalian CNS. Although retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), the projection neurons of the eye, show little capacity to regenerate their axons following optic nerve damage, studies spanning the 20(th) century showed that some RGCs can regenerate axons through a segment of peripheral nerve grafted to the optic nerve. More recently, some degree of regeneration has been achieved through the optic nerve itself by factors associated with intraocular inflammation (oncomodulin) or by altering levels of particular transcription factors (Klf-4, -9, c-myc), cell-intrinsic suppressors of axon growth (PTEN, SOCS3), receptors to cell-extrinsic inhibitors of axon growth (Nogo receptor, LAR, PTP-σ) or the intracellular signaling pathway activated by these receptors (RhoA). Other regulators of regeneration and cell survival continue to be identified in this system at a rapid pace. Combinatorial treatments that include two or more of these factors enable some retinal ganglion cells to regenerate axons from the eye through the entire length of the optic nerve and across the optic chiasm. In some cases, regenerating axons have been shown to innervate the appropriate central target areas and elicit postsynaptic responses. Many discoveries made in this system have been found to enhance axon regeneration after spinal cord injury. Thus, progress in optic nerve regeneration holds promise not only for visual restoration but also for improving outcome after injury to other parts of the mature CNS.

Thon OR, Gittinger JW. Medication-Related Pseudotumor Cerebri Syndrome. Semin Ophthalmol 2017;32(1):134-143.Abstract

Pseudotumor cerebri syndrome refers to elevated intracranial pressure associated with papilledema without an identified etiology for intracranial hypertension. Over the past few decades, several medications have been described to be associated with this syndrome. We searched the literature for those case reports and series and evaluated the evidence for the association of such medications with pseudotumor cerebri syndrome.

Bouffard MA, Nathavitharana RR, Yassa DS, Torun N. Re-Treatment With Ethambutol After Toxic Optic Neuropathy. J Neuroophthalmol 2017;37(1):40-42.Abstract

There are no data in the literature regarding the safety of re-treatment with ethambutol for recurrent mycobacterial infection after prior ethambutol-induced optic neuropathy. We describe a patient who developed optic neuropathy attributed to ethambutol, recovered fully after drug withdrawal, and tolerated a 14-month long re-treatment 10 years later without developing recurrent optic neuropathy.

Cestari DM, Gaier ED, Bouzika P, Blachley TS, De Lott LB, Rizzo JF, Wiggs JL, Kang JH, Pasquale LR, Stein JD. Demographic, Systemic, and Ocular Factors Associated with Nonarteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. Ophthalmology 2016;123(12):2446-2455.Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) is a devastating ocular condition causing permanent vision loss. Little is known about risk factors for developing this disease. We assessed demographic, systemic, and ocular factors associated with NAION. DESIGN: Retrospective longitudinal cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Beneficiaries between 40 and 75 years old without NAION at baseline enrolled in a large U.S. managed care network. METHODS: Enrollees were monitored continuously for ≥2 years between 2001 and 2014 to identify those newly diagnosed with NAION (International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification [ICD-9-CM] code 377.41). All persons were under ophthalmic surveillance and all cases had ≥1 confirmatory ICD-9-CM code for NAION during follow-up. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Multivariable Cox regression modeling was used to generate hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to describe the statistical relationship between selected demographic characteristics, systemic and ocular conditions, and the hazard of developing NAION. RESULTS: Of 1 381 477 eligible enrollees, 977 (0.1%) developed NAION during a mean ± standard deviation (SD) follow-up of 7.8±3.1 years. The mean ± SD age for NAION cases at the index date was 64.0±9.2 years vs. 58.4±9.4 years for the remainder of the beneficiaries. After adjustment for confounding factors, each additional year older was associated with a 2% increased hazard of NAION (HR = 1.02; 95% CI: 1.01-1.03). Female subjects had a 36% decreased hazard of developing NAION (HR = 0.64; 95% CI: 0.55-0.74) compared with male subjects. Compared with whites, Latinos had a 46% decreased hazard of developing NAION (HR = 0.54; 95% CI: 0.36-0.82), whereas African ancestry was not significantly associated with NAION (HR = 0.91; 95% CI: 0.72-1.15). Systemic diseases associated with NAION included hypertension (HR = 1.62; 95% CI: 1.26-2.07) and hypercoagulable states (HR = 2.46; 95% CI: 1.51-4.00). Although diabetes mellitus (DM) was not significantly associated with NAION compared with those without DM (P = 0.45), patients with end-organ involvement from DM had a 27% increased hazard of NAION relative to those with uncomplicated DM (HR = 1.27; 95% CI: 1.01-1.59). Ocular diseases associated with NAION were age-related macular degeneration (HR = 1.29; 95% CI: 1.08-1.54) and retinal vein occlusion (HR = 3.94; 95% CI: 3.11-4.99). CONCLUSIONS: Our study identified several modifiable risk factors that may be associated with NAION. Should future studies confirm these findings, they may offer opportunities to prevent or treat this debilitating condition.

Chun BY, Rizzo JF. Dominant optic atrophy: updates on the pathophysiology and clinical manifestations of the optic atrophy 1 mutation. Curr Opin Ophthalmol 2016;Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Review recent advances in clinical and experimental studies of dominant optic atrophy (DOA) to better understand the complexities of pathophysiology caused by the optic atrophy 1 (OPA1) mutation. RECENT FINDINGS: DOA is the most commonly diagnosed inherited optic atrophy, causing progressive bilateral visual loss that begins early in life. During the past 25 years, there has been substantial progress in the understanding of the clinical, genetic, and pathophysiological basis of this disease. The histopathological hallmark of DOA is the primary degeneration of retinal ganglion cells, preferentially in the papillomacular bundle, which results temporal optic disc pallor and cecocentral scotomata in patients with DOA. Loss of OPA1 protein function by OPA1 gene mutations causes mitochondrial dysfunction because of the loss of mitochondrial fusion, impaired mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, increases in reactive oxygen species, and altered calcium homeostasis. These factors lead to apoptosis of retinal ganglion cells by a haploinsufficiency mechanism. SUMMARY: Improved understanding of the pathophysiology of DOA provides insights that can be used to develop therapeutic approaches to the DOA.

Gaier ED, Torun N. The enigma of nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy: an update for the comprehensive ophthalmologist. Curr Opin Ophthalmol 2016;Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) is the most common cause of acute optic nerve injury, and frequently presents to comprehensive ophthalmologists. We review the typical and atypical clinical features and current literature on various treatment modalities for NAION. RECENT FINDINGS: The epidemiology and clinical presentation of this disease can be variable, making a definitive diagnosis difficult in many cases. In addition, the differential diagnoses for this disorder, although comprising much less prevalent entities, are quite broad and can have substantial systemic implications if these alternatives go unrecognized. NAION has many systemic associations and comorbidities that deserve inquiry when the diagnosis is made. There are currently no widely accepted, evidence-based treatments for NAION. All recommendations made to patients to reduce their risk of sequential eye involvement, including avoidance of potential nocturnal hypotension, erectile dysfunction medication, and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, have theoretical bases. SUMMARY: NAION is a common cause of acute vision loss in adult and older patients, and thus, comprehensive ophthalmologists need to be able to diagnose and appropriately manage this disorder. We anticipate fruitful results from current and future trials aimed at neuroprotection in the affected eye and prevention of sequential eye involvement.

Gómez-Laberge C, Smolyanskaya A, Nassi JJ, Kreiman G, Born RT. Bottom-Up and Top-Down Input Augment the Variability of Cortical Neurons. Neuron 2016;91(3):540-7.Abstract

Neurons in the cerebral cortex respond inconsistently to a repeated sensory stimulus, yet they underlie our stable sensory experiences. Although the nature of this variability is unknown, its ubiquity has encouraged the general view that each cell produces random spike patterns that noisily represent its response rate. In contrast, here we show that reversibly inactivating distant sources of either bottom-up or top-down input to cortical visual areas in the alert primate reduces both the spike train irregularity and the trial-to-trial variability of single neurons. A simple model in which a fraction of the pre-synaptic input is silenced can reproduce this reduction in variability, provided that there exist temporal correlations primarily within, but not between, excitatory and inhibitory input pools. A large component of the variability of cortical neurons may therefore arise from synchronous input produced by signals arriving from multiple sources.

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