Neuro-ophthalmology

Dohlman JC, Cestari DM, Freitag SK. Orbital disease in neuro-ophthalmology. Curr Opin Ophthalmol 2020;31(6):469-474.Abstract
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Orbital disease represents a diverse spectrum of pathology and can result in a variety of neuro-ophthalmic manifestations. The aim of this review is to provide updates on recent advances in our understanding of orbital disease secondary to thyroid eye disease, myositis, IgG4-related disease, sarcoidosis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis and various tumours. RECENT FINDINGS: With regards to thyroid eye disease, there have been recent advances in the development of steroid-sparing therapies, new modalities for objectively monitoring disease activity and increased understanding of the role of environmental risk factors. There has been interest in characterizing the clinical course and underlying mechanism of optic nerve disease secondary to orbital disorders, which has led to advances in how we monitor for and prevent permanent vision loss. Increased knowledge of orbital tumour subtype histopathology and the development of novel classification systems has had prognostic value and aided medical decision-making. SUMMARY: Orbital disease occurs secondary to a wide variety of diseases and can lead to neuro-ophthalmic manifestations with significant morbidity. Advances in our understanding of different subtypes of orbital disease have improved our ability to treat these potentially debilitating conditions.
Venkatraman P, Mills-Henry I, Padmanabhan KR, Pascuzzi P, Hassan M, Zhang J, Zhang X, Ma P, Pang CP, Dowling JE, Zhang M, Leung YF. Rods Contribute to Visual Behavior in Larval Zebrafish. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2020;61(12):11.Abstract
Purpose: Although zebrafish rods begin to develop as early as 2 days postfertilization (dpf), they are not deemed anatomically mature and functional until 15 to 21 dpf. A recent study detected a small electroretinogram (ERG) from rods in a cone mutant called no optokinetic response f (nof) at 5 dpf, suggesting that young rods are functional. Whether they can mediate behavioral responses in larvae is unknown. Methods: We first confirmed rod function by measuring nof ERGs under photopic and scotopic illumination at 6 dpf. We evaluated the role of rods in visual behaviors using two different assays: the visual-motor response (VMR) and optokinetic response (OKR). We measured responses from wild-type (WT) larvae and nof mutants under photopic and scotopic illuminations at 6 dpf. Results: Nof mutants lacked a photopic ERG. However, after prolonged dark adaptation, they displayed scotopic ERGs. Compared with WT larvae, the nof mutants displayed reduced VMRs. The VMR difference during light onset gradually diminished with decreased illumination and became nearly identical at lower light intensities. Additionally, light-adapted nof mutants did not display an OKR, whereas dark-adapted nof mutants displayed scotopic OKRs. Conclusions: Because the nof mutants lacked a photopic ERG but displayed scotopic ERGs after dark adaptation, the mutants clearly had functional rods. WT larvae and the nof mutants displayed comparable scotopic light-On VMRs and scotopic OKRs after dark adaptation, suggesting that these responses were driven primarily by rods. Together, these observations indicate that rods contribute to zebrafish visual behaviors as early as 6 dpf.
Wang J, He X, Meng H, Li Y, Dmitriev P, Tian F, Page JC, Lu RQ, He Z. Robust Myelination of Regenerated Axons Induced by Combined Manipulations of GPR17 and Microglia. Neuron 2020;108(5):876-886.e4.Abstract
Myelination facilitates rapid axonal conduction, enabling efficient communication across different parts of the nervous system. Here we examined mechanisms controlling myelination after injury and during axon regeneration in the central nervous system (CNS). Previously, we discovered multiple molecular pathways and strategies that could promote robust axon regrowth after optic nerve injury. However, regenerated axons remain unmyelinated, and the underlying mechanisms are elusive. In this study, we found that, in injured optic nerves, oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) undergo transient proliferation but fail to differentiate into mature myelination-competent oligodendrocytes, reminiscent of what is observed in human progressive multiple sclerosis. Mechanistically, we showed that OPC-intrinsic GPR17 signaling and sustained activation of microglia inhibit different stages of OPC differentiation. Importantly, co-manipulation of GPR17 and microglia led to extensive myelination of regenerated axons. The regulatory mechanisms of stage-dependent OPC differentiation uncovered here suggest a translatable strategy for efficient de novo myelination after CNS injury.
Duarte D, Bauer CCC, Pinto CB, Saleh Velez FG, Estudillo-Guerra MA, Pacheco-Barrios K, Gunduz ME, Crandell D, Merabet L, Fregni F. Cortical plasticity in phantom limb pain: A fMRI study on the neural correlates of behavioral clinical manifestations. Psychiatry Res Neuroimaging 2020;304:111151.Abstract
The neural mechanism of phantom limb pain (PLP) is related to the intense brain reorganization process implicating plasticity after deafferentation mostly in sensorimotor system. There is a limited understanding of the association between the sensorimotor system and PLP. We used a novel task-based functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) approach to (1) assess neural activation within a-priori selected regions-of-interested (motor cortex [M1], somatosensory cortex [S1], and visual cortex [V1]), (2) quantify the cortical representation shift in the affected M1, and (3) correlate these changes with baseline clinical characteristics. In a sample of 18 participants, we found a significantly increased activity in M1 and S1 as well as a shift in motor cortex representation that was not related to PLP intensity. In an exploratory analyses (not corrected for multiple comparisons), they were directly correlated with time since amputation; and there was an association between increased activity in M1 with a lack of itching sensation and V1 activation was negatively correlated with PLP. Longer periods of amputation lead to compensatory changes in sensory-motor areas; and itching seems to be a protective marker for less signal changes. We confirmed that PLP intensity is not associated with signal changes in M1 and S1 but in V1.
Li Y, He X, Kawaguchi R, Zhang Y, Wang Q, Monavarfeshani A, Yang Z, Chen B, Shi Z, Meng H, Zhou S, Zhu J, Jacobi A, Swarup V, Popovich PG, Geschwind DH, He Z. Microglia-organized scar-free spinal cord repair in neonatal mice. Nature 2020;587(7835):613-618.Abstract
Spinal cord injury in mammals is thought to trigger scar formation with little regeneration of axons. Here we show that a crush injury to the spinal cord in neonatal mice leads to scar-free healing that permits the growth of long projecting axons through the lesion. Depletion of microglia in neonatal mice disrupts this healing process and stalls the regrowth of axons, suggesting that microglia are critical for orchestrating the injury response. Using single-cell RNA sequencing and functional analyses, we find that neonatal microglia are transiently activated and have at least two key roles in scar-free healing. First, they transiently secrete fibronectin and its binding proteins to form bridges of extracellular matrix that ligate the severed ends of the spinal cord. Second, neonatal-but not adult-microglia express several extracellular and intracellular peptidase inhibitors, as well as other molecules that are involved in resolving inflammation. We transplanted either neonatal microglia or adult microglia treated with peptidase inhibitors into spinal cord lesions of adult mice, and found that both types of microglia significantly improved healing and axon regrowth. Together, our results reveal the cellular and molecular basis of the nearly complete recovery of neonatal mice after spinal cord injury, and suggest strategies that could be used to facilitate scar-free healing in the adult mammalian nervous system.
Ospina C, Arboleda-Velasquez JF, Aguirre-Acevedo DC, Zuluaga-Castaño Y, Velilla L, Garcia GP, Quiroz YT, Lopera F. Genetic and nongenetic factors associated with CADASIL: A retrospective cohort study. J Neurol Sci 2020;419:117178.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: To explore the role of cardiovascular risk factors and the different NOTCH-3 mutations to explain the variability observed in the clinical presentation of CADASIL. METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study of 331 individuals, 90 were carriers of four mutations in the NOTCH3 gene. These four mutations are the ones identified in our region from the genetic evaluation of probands. Cox proportional hazards models were fitted to estimate the effect of genetic and cardiovascular factors on the onset of migraine, first stroke, and dementia. Competing risk regression models considered death as risk. RESULTS: Noncarriers (healthy controls from the same families without NOTCH3 mutations) and NOTCH3 mutation carriers had similar frequencies for all cardiovascular risk factors. Diabetes (SHR 2.74, 95% CI 1.52-4.94) was associated with a younger age at onset of strokes among carriers. Additionally, a genotype-phenotype relationship was observed among C455R mutation carriers, with higher frequency of migraines (100%), younger age at onset of migraine (median age 7 years, IQR 8) and strokes (median age 30.5 years, IQR 26). Moreover, fewer carriers of the R141C mutation exhibited migraines (20%), and it was even lower than the frequency observed in the noncarrier group (44.8%). CONCLUSIONS: This study characterizes extended family groups, allowing us a comparison in the genotype-phenotype. The results suggest a complex interplay of genetic and cardiovascular risk factors that may help explain the variability in the clinical presentation and severity of CADASIL.
Rinaldi L, Ciricugno A, Merabet LB, Vecchi T, Cattaneo Z. The Effect of Blindness on Spatial Asymmetries. Brain Sci 2020;10(10)Abstract
The human cerebral cortex is asymmetrically organized with hemispheric lateralization pervading nearly all neural systems of the brain. Whether the lack of normal visual development affects hemispheric specialization subserving the deployment of visuospatial attention asymmetries is controversial. In principle, indeed, the lack of early visual experience may affect the lateralization of spatial functions, and the blind may rely on a different sensory input compared to the sighted. In this review article, we thus present a current state-of-the-art synthesis of empirical evidence concerning the effects of visual deprivation on the lateralization of various spatial processes (i.e., including line bisection, mirror symmetry, and localization tasks). Overall, the evidence reviewed indicates that spatial processes are supported by a right hemispheric network in the blind, hence, analogously to the sighted. Such a right-hemisphere dominance, however, seems more accentuated in the blind as compared to the sighted as indexed by the greater leftward bias shown in different spatial tasks. This is possibly the result of the more pronounced involvement of the right parietal cortex during spatial tasks in blind individuals compared to the sighted, as well as of the additional recruitment of the right occipital cortex, which would reflect the cross-modal plastic phenomena that largely characterize the blind brain.
Molinaro A, Micheletti S, Rossi A, Gitti F, Galli J, Merabet LB, Fazzi EM. Autistic-Like Features in Visually Impaired Children: A Review of Literature and Directions for Future Research. Brain Sci 2020;10(8)Abstract
There remains great interest in understanding the relationship between visual impairment (VI) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) due to the extraordinarily high prevalence of ASD in blind and visually impaired children. The broad variability across individuals and assessment methodologies have made it difficult to understand whether autistic-like symptoms shown by some children with VI might reflect the influence of the visual deficit, or represent a primary neurodevelopmental condition that occurs independently of the VI itself. In the absence of a valid methodology adapted for the visually impaired population, diagnosis of ASD in children with VI is often based on non-objective clinical impression, with inconclusive prevalence data. In this review, we discuss the current state of knowledge and suggest directions for future research.
Xiao W, Kreiman G. XDream: Finding preferred stimuli for visual neurons using generative networks and gradient-free optimization. PLoS Comput Biol 2020;16(6):e1007973.Abstract
A longstanding question in sensory neuroscience is what types of stimuli drive neurons to fire. The characterization of effective stimuli has traditionally been based on a combination of intuition, insights from previous studies, and luck. A new method termed XDream (EXtending DeepDream with real-time evolution for activation maximization) combined a generative neural network and a genetic algorithm in a closed loop to create strong stimuli for neurons in the macaque visual cortex. Here we extensively and systematically evaluate the performance of XDream. We use ConvNet units as in silico models of neurons, enabling experiments that would be prohibitive with biological neurons. We evaluated how the method compares to brute-force search, and how well the method generalizes to different neurons and processing stages. We also explored design and parameter choices. XDream can efficiently find preferred features for visual units without any prior knowledge about them. XDream extrapolates to different layers, architectures, and developmental regimes, performing better than brute-force search, and often better than exhaustive sampling of >1 million images. Furthermore, XDream is robust to choices of multiple image generators, optimization algorithms, and hyperparameters, suggesting that its performance is locally near-optimal. Lastly, we found no significant advantage to problem-specific parameter tuning. These results establish expectations and provide practical recommendations for using XDream to investigate neural coding in biological preparations. Overall, XDream is an efficient, general, and robust algorithm for uncovering neuronal tuning preferences using a vast and diverse stimulus space. XDream is implemented in Python, released under the MIT License, and works on Linux, Windows, and MacOS.
Schoemaker D, Zuluaga Y, Viswanathan A, Shrimer M, Torrico-Teave H, Velilla L, Ospina C, Ospina GG, Lopera F, Arboleda-Velasquez JF, Quiroz YT. The INECO Frontal Screening for the Evaluation of Executive Dysfunction in Cerebral Small Vessel Disease: Evidence from Quantitative MRI in a CADASIL Cohort from Colombia. J Int Neuropsychol Soc 2020;26(10):1006-1018.Abstract
OBJECTIVES: Executive dysfunction is a predominant cognitive symptom in cerebral small vessel disease (SVD). The Institute of Cognitive Neurology Frontal Screening (IFS) is a well-validated screening tool allowing the rapid assessment of multiple components of executive function in Spanish-speaking individuals. In this study, we examined performance on the IFS in subjects with cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL), an inherited condition leading to the early onset of SVD. We further explored associations between performance on the IFS and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) markers of SVD. METHODS: We recruited 24 asymptomatic CADASIL subjects and 23 noncarriers from Colombia. All subjects underwent a research MRI and a neuropsychological evaluation, including the IFS. Structural MRI markers of SVD were quantified in each subject, together with an SVD Sum Score representing the overall burden of cerebrovascular alterations. General linear model, correlation, and receiver operating characteristic curve analyses were used to explore group differences on the IFS and relationships with MRI markers of SVD. RESULTS: CADASIL subjects had a significantly reduced performance on the IFS Total Score. Performance on the IFS correlated with all quantified markers of SVD, except for brain atrophy and perivascular spaces enlargement. Finally, while the IFS Total Score was not able to accurately discriminate between carriers and noncarriers, it showed adequate sensitivity and specificity in detecting the presence of multiple MRI markers of SVD. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that the IFS may be a useful screening tool to assess executive function and disease severity in the context of SVD.
Chwalisz BK, Douglas VP, Douglas KA, Martinez-Lage M, Kelly HR, Cestari DM. Episodic Visual Distortions and Stroke-Like Symptoms in a 56-Year-Old Man With Intravascular Lymphoma. J Neuroophthalmol 2020;40(2):265-270.Abstract
A healthy 56-year-old man presented with vision changes and left upper extremity motor and sensory changes. MRI of the brain without contrast was significant for multifocal areas of restricted diffusion in multiple vascular territories. Neuro-Ophthalmic evaluation revealed an inferonasal visual field defect in the left eye, thickened choroid on optical coherence tomography, and bilateral delayed arteriovenous and choroidal filling on fluorescein angiogram. Repeat MRI demonstrated interval enlargement of many of the same foci of abnormal diffusion-weighted imaging signal. Computed tomography of the abdomen and pelvis revealed 3 distinct lobulated retroperitoneal masses that were biopsied and found to be consistent with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Brain biopsy specimens showed intravascular lymphocytes, confirming a diagnosis of intravascular lymphoma (IVL). In this diagnostically challenging case, a link was established between the presence of multiple strokes (some of which showed slow evolution over time) and retinochoroidal hypoperfusion, which provided a critical clue to the ultimate diagnosis of IVL.
Chen JJ, Flanagan EP, Bhatti TM, Jitprapaikulsan J, Dubey D, Lopez Chiriboga ASS, Fryer JP, Weinshenker BG, McKeon A, Tillema J-M, Lennon VA, Lucchinetti CF, Kunchok A, McClelland CM, Lee MS, Bennett JL, Pelak VS, Van Stavern G, Adesina O-OO, Eggenberger ER, Acierno MD, Wingerchuk DM, Lam BL, Moss H, Beres S, Gilbert AL, Shah V, Armstrong G, Heidary G, Cestari DM, Stiebel-Kalish H, Pittock SJ. Steroid-sparing maintenance immunotherapy for MOG-IgG associated disorder. Neurology 2020;95(2):e111-e120.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-immunoglobulin G (MOG-IgG) associated disorder (MOGAD) often manifests with recurrent CNS demyelinating attacks. The optimal treatment for reducing relapses is unknown. To help determine the efficacy of long-term immunotherapy in preventing relapse in patients with MOGAD, we conducted a multicenter retrospective study to determine the rate of relapses on various treatments. METHODS: We determined the frequency of relapses in patients receiving various forms of long-term immunotherapy for MOGAD. Inclusion criteria were history of ≥1 CNS demyelinating attacks, MOG-IgG seropositivity, and immunotherapy for ≥6 months. Patients were reviewed for CNS demyelinating attacks before and during long-term immunotherapy. RESULTS: Seventy patients were included. The median age at initial CNS demyelinating attack was 29 years (range 3-61 years; 33% <18 years), and 59% were female. The median annualized relapse rate (ARR) before treatment was 1.6. On maintenance immunotherapy, the proportion of patients with relapse was as follows: mycophenolate mofetil 74% (14 of 19; ARR 0.67), rituximab 61% (22 of 36; ARR 0.59), azathioprine 59% (13 of 22; ARR 0.2), and IV immunoglobulin (IVIG) 20% (2 of 10; ARR 0). The overall median ARR on these 4 treatments was 0.3. All 9 patients treated with multiple sclerosis (MS) disease-modifying agents had a breakthrough relapse on treatment (ARR 1.5). CONCLUSION: This large retrospective multicenter study of patients with MOGAD suggests that maintenance immunotherapy reduces recurrent CNS demyelinating attacks, with the lowest ARR being associated with maintenance IVIG therapy. Traditional MS disease-modifying agents appear to be ineffective. Prospective randomized controlled studies are required to validate these conclusions.
Xiao S, Gaier ED, Mazow ML, Stout AU, Travers DA, Angjeli E, Wu HC, Binenbaum G, Hunter DG. Improved adherence and treatment outcomes with an engaging, personalized digital therapeutic in amblyopia. Sci Rep 2020;10(1):8328.Abstract
Given the prevalence of poor adherence to therapy and the biases of self-reporting across healthcare, we hypothesized that an engaging, personalized therapy may improve adherence and treatment outcomes in the home. We tested this hypothesis in the initial indication of amblyopia, a neurodevelopmental disorder for which available treatments are limited by low adherence. We designed a novel digital therapeutic that modifies patient-selected cinematic content in real-time into therapeutic visual input, while objectively monitoring adherence. The therapeutic design integrated a custom-designed headset that delivers precise visual input to each eye, computational algorithms that apply real-time therapeutic modifications to source content, a cloud-based content management system that enables treatment in the home, and a broad library of licensed content. In a proof-of-concept human study on the therapeutic, we found that amblyopic eye vision improved significantly after 12 weeks of treatment, with higher adherence than that of available treatments. These initial results support the utility of personalized therapy in amblyopia and may have broader relevance for improving treatment outcomes in additional indications.
Chauhan MZ, Arcuri J, Park KK, Zafar MK, Fatmi R, Hackam AS, Yin Y, Benowitz L, Goldberg JL, Samarah M, Bhattacharya SK. Multi-Omic Analyses of Growth Cones at Different Developmental Stages Provides Insight into Pathways in Adult Neuroregeneration. iScience 2020;23(2):100836.Abstract
Growth cones (GCs) are structures associated with growing neurons. GC membrane expansion, which necessitates protein-lipid interactions, is critical to axonal elongation in development and in adult neuritogenesis. We present a multi-omic analysis that integrates proteomics and lipidomics data for the identification of GC pathways, cell phenotypes, and lipid-protein interactions, with an analytic platform to facilitate the visualization of these data. We combine lipidomic data from GC and adult axonal regeneration following optic nerve crush. Our results reveal significant molecular variability in GCs across developmental ages that aligns with the upregulation and downregulation of lipid metabolic processes and correlates with distinct changes in the lipid composition of GC plasmalemma. We find that these processes also define the transition into a growth-permissive state in the adult central nervous system. The insight derived from these analyses will aid in promoting adult regeneration and functional innervation in devastating neurodegenerative diseases.

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