Retina Publications

Zucker CL, Bernstein PS, Schalek RL, Lichtman JW, Dowling JE. A connectomics approach to understanding a retinal disease. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2020;117(31):18780-18787.Abstract
Macular telangiectasia type 2 (MacTel), a late-onset macular degeneration, has been linked to a loss in the retina of Müller glial cells and the amino acid serine, synthesized by the Müller cells. The disease is confined mainly to a central retinal region called the MacTel zone. We have used electron microscopic connectomics techniques, optimized for disease analysis, to study the retina from a 48-y-old woman suffering from MacTel. The major observations made were specific changes in mitochondrial structure within and outside the MacTel zone that were present in all retinal cell types. We also identified an abrupt boundary of the MacTel zone that coincides with the loss of Müller cells and macular pigment. Since Müller cells synthesize retinal serine, we propose that a deficiency of serine, required for mitochondrial maintenance, causes mitochondrial changes that underlie MacTel development.
Yamada K, Maeno T, Kusaka S, Arroyo JG, Yamada M. Recalcitrant Macular Hole Closure by Autologous Retinal Transplant Using the Peripheral Retina. Clin Ophthalmol 2020;14:2301-2306.Abstract
Purpose: The peripheral adult human retina has been found to contain neuroepithelial stem cells. In this study, we examined the efficacy of an auto-transplant of peripheral retina into refractory macular holes (MH) from both anatomic and physiologic perspectives. Methods: The population consisted of four female patients aged 72, 82, 65 and 84 years (cases 1-4, respectively) with persistent refractory MH status; internal limiting membrane (ILM) peeling (case 1), ILM transplant (case 2), and inverted ILM (cases 3 and 4 with myopic MH). In all our cases, retinal grafts were harvested beyond the equator from the far retinal periphery using curved horizontal scissors and gently moved toward the MH using a forceps. A 25-G manipulator with a silicone ball tip was used to tuck the trimmed graft into the MH, followed by fluid-air exchange and infusion of silicone oil, which was removed three months later. Results: Partial restoration and integration of the outer retinal layer were confirmed on an OCT-B scan imaging. The visual acuity (VA) was improved in all cases: 1.2 to 1.0 logMAR (case 1), 2.0 to 1.3 logMAR (case 2), 2.3 to 1.4 logMAR (case 3) and 2.0 to 1.0 logMAR (case 4). Microperimetry showed improved retinal sensitivity in every case. No intra- or post-operative complications were observed. Conclusion: Under pathological conditions, the Müller glia reportedly serves as a source of neuronal progenitor cells in regenerating retina, continuing to divide and migrate to the outer nuclear layer thus replacing lost photo-receptors. Although the histological findings remain unknown, the positive anatomic and physiologic outcomes of the auto-transplanted retinal flap in our series suggest that this technique may offer an effective option for treating recalcitrant MH. Further studies are warranted.
Liu Z, Xu J, Ma Q, Zhang X, Yang Q, Wang L, Cao Y, Xu Z, Tawfik A, Sun Y, Weintraub NL, Fulton DJ, Hong M, Dong Z, Smith LEH, Caldwell RB, Sodhi A, Huo Y. Glycolysis links reciprocal activation of myeloid cells and endothelial cells in the retinal angiogenic niche. Sci Transl Med 2020;12(555)Abstract
The coordination of metabolic signals among different cellular components in pathological retinal angiogenesis is poorly understood. Here, we showed that in the pathological angiogenic vascular niche, retinal myeloid cells, particularly macrophages/microglia that are spatially adjacent to endothelial cells (ECs), are highly glycolytic. We refer to these macrophages/microglia that exhibit a unique angiogenic phenotype with increased expression of both M1 and M2 markers and enhanced production of both proinflammatory and proangiogenic cytokines as pathological retinal angiogenesis-associated glycolytic macrophages/microglia (PRAGMs). The phenotype of PRAGMs was recapitulated in bone marrow-derived macrophages or retinal microglia stimulated by lactate that was produced by hypoxic retinal ECs. Knockout of 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2, 6-bisphosphatase (; for rodents), a glycolytic activator in myeloid cells, impaired the ability of macrophages/microglia to acquire an angiogenic phenotype, rendering them unable to promote EC proliferation and sprouting and pathological neovascularization in a mouse model of oxygen-induced proliferative retinopathy. Mechanistically, hyperglycolytic macrophages/microglia produced large amount of acetyl-coenzyme A, leading to histone acetylation and PRAGM-related gene induction, thus reprogramming macrophages/microglia into an angiogenic phenotype. These findings reveal a critical role of glycolytic metabolites as initiators of reciprocal activation of macrophages/microglia and ECs in the retinal angiogenic niche and suggest that strategies targeting the metabolic communication between these cell types may be efficacious in the treatment of pathological retinal angiogenesis.
Maleki A, Ueberroth JA, Manhapra A, Walsh M, Asgari S, Chang PY, Anesi SD, Foster SC. Fixed-Luminance and Multi-Luminance Flicker Electroretinography Parameters in Patients with Early Active Birdshot Chorioretinopathy. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2020;:1-7.Abstract
Purpose To evaluate the parameters of the Fixed-Luminance and Multi-Luminance flicker electroretinography protocol among patients with early active birdshot chorioretinopathy. Methods Fixed-Luminance magnitude, Fixed-Luminance phase, Multi-Luminance magnitude area under the curve, and Multi-Luminance phase area under the curve parameters were compared between early active birdshot chorioretinopathy patients and an age-matched control group. Results There was no statistically significant difference between the Fixed-Luminance flicker magnitude ( = .6), the Fixed-Luminance flicker phase ( = .9), and the Multi-Luminance flicker phase area under the curve ( = .55) when each was compared to the normal population; however, the difference between the mean Multi-Luminance flicker magnitude area under the curve in our patients and the healthy control group was statistically significant. ( = .003) Conclusions Multi-Luminance flicker magnitude area under the curve has been shown to be significantly different from the normal population in the early active course of the disease. Abbreviations BSCR: birdshot chorioretinopathy; cd: Cadmium; ERG: Electroretinography; FA: Fluorescein angiography; FL-: Fixed-luminance; HVF: Humphrey visual field; Hz: Hertz; ICG: Indocyanine green; m: Square meter; ML-: Multi-luminance; ms: millisecond; SITA: Swedish interactive thresholding algorithm; SWAP: Short wave-length automated perimetry.
Chan CSY, Lonfat N, Zhao R, Davis AE, Li L, Wu M-R, Lin C-H, Ji Z, Cepko CL, Wang S. Cell type- and stage-specific expression of Otx2 is regulated by multiple transcription factors and -regulatory modules in the retina. Development 2020;147(14)Abstract
Transcription factors (TFs) are often used repeatedly during development and homeostasis to control distinct processes in the same and/or different cellular contexts. Considering the limited number of TFs in the genome and the tremendous number of events that need to be regulated, re-use of TFs is necessary. We analyzed how the expression of the homeobox TF, orthodenticle homeobox 2 (Otx2), is regulated in a cell type- and stage-specific manner during development in the mouse retina. We identified seven -regulatory modules (CRMs), among which the O5, O7 and O9 CRMs mark three distinct cellular contexts of Otx2 expression. We discovered that Otx2, Crx and Sox2, which are well-known TFs regulating retinal development, bind to and activate the O5, O7 or O9 CRMs, respectively. The chromatin status of these three CRMs was found to be distinct in different retinal cell types and at different stages. We conclude that retinal cells use a cohort of TFs with different expression patterns and multiple CRMs with different chromatin configurations to regulate the expression of Otx2 precisely.
Shah DN, Al-Moujahed A, Newcomb CW, Kaçmaz OR, Daniel E, Thorne JE, Foster SC, Jabs DA, Levy-Clarke GA, Nussenblatt RB, Rosenbaum JT, Sen NH, Suhler EB, Bhatt NP, Kempen JH, for Group SITEDR. Exudative Retinal Detachment in Ocular Inflammatory Diseases: Risk and Predictive Factors. Am J Ophthalmol 2020;Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate the risk/risk factors for exudative retinal detachment (ERD) in ocular inflammatory diseases. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. METHODS: Patients with non-infectious ocular inflammation had been followed longitudinally between 1978-2007 at four US subspecialty uveitis centers. The main outcome measures were ERD occurrence and its predictive factors. RESULTS: One hundred seventy-six of 14,612 eyes with ocular inflammation presented with ERD. Among uveitis cases, Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome (VKH) (OR=109), undifferentiated choroiditis (OR=9.18), sympathetic ophthalmia (OR=8.43), primary or secondary panuveitis (OR=7.09), multifocal choroiditis with panuveitis (OR=4.51), and "other" forms of posterior uveitis (OR=16.9) were associated with a higher prevalence of ERD. Among the 9,209 uveitic or scleritic eyes initially free of ERD and followed-up, 137 incident ERD cases were observed over 28,949 eye-years at risk (incidence rate=0.47% (0.40%-0.56%)/eye-year). VKH (HR=13.2), sympathetic ophthalmia (HR=5.82), undifferentiated choroiditis (HR=6.03), primary or secondary panuveitis (HR=4.21), and rheumatoid arthritis (HR=3.30) were significantly associated with incident ERD. A significant dose-response relationship with ERD prevalence and incidence was observed for anterior chamber cells and vitreous cell activity. African Americans had significantly higher prevalence and incidence of ERD. CONCLUSIONS: Other ocular inflammatory conditions besides VKH and posterior scleritis were associated with increased ERD risk, indicating that ERD does not necessarily dictate a diagnosis of VKH or posterior scleritis. In addition, the relationship of ERD with inflammatory severity factors implies that inflammation is a key predictive factor that is associated with developing ERD and requires early and vigorous control.
Kegeles E, Naumov A, Karpulevich EA, Volchkov P, Baranov P. Convolutional Neural Networks Can Predict Retinal Differentiation in Retinal Organoids. Front Cell Neurosci 2020;14:171.Abstract
We have developed a deep learning-based computer algorithm to recognize and predict retinal differentiation in stem cell-derived organoids based on bright-field imaging. The three-dimensional "organoid" approach for the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells (PSC) into retinal and other neural tissues has become a major strategy to recapitulate development. We decided to develop a universal, robust, and non-invasive method to assess retinal differentiation that would not require chemical probes or reporter gene expression. We hypothesized that basic-contrast bright-field (BF) images contain sufficient information on tissue specification, and it is possible to extract this data using convolutional neural networks (CNNs). Retina-specific Rx-green fluorescent protein mouse embryonic reporter stem cells have been used for all of the differentiation experiments in this work. The BF images of organoids have been taken on day 5 and fluorescent on day 9. To train the CNN, we utilized a transfer learning approach: ImageNet pre-trained ResNet50v2, VGG19, Xception, and DenseNet121 CNNs had been trained on labeled BF images of the organoids, divided into two categories (retina and non-retina), based on the fluorescent reporter gene expression. The best-performing classifier with ResNet50v2 architecture showed a receiver operating characteristic-area under the curve score of 0.91 on a test dataset. A comparison of the best-performing CNN with the human-based classifier showed that the CNN algorithm performs better than the expert in predicting organoid fate (84% vs. 67 ± 6% of correct predictions, respectively), confirming our original hypothesis. Overall, we have demonstrated that the computer algorithm can successfully recognize and predict retinal differentiation in organoids before the onset of reporter gene expression. This is the first demonstration of CNN's ability to classify stem cell-derived tissue .
Yang Y, Huang X, Ma G, Cui J, Matsubara JA, Kazlauskas A, Zhao J, Wang J, Lei H. PDGFRβ plays an essential role in patient vitreous-stimulated contraction of retinal pigment epithelial cells from epiretinal membranes. Exp Eye Res 2020;197:108116.Abstract
Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) is associated with clinical proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR), which is characterized by formation of sub- or epi-retinal membranes that consist of cells including retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells and extracellular matrix. RPE cells play an important role in PVR pathogenesis. Previous findings indicated that PDGF receptor (PDGFR)α was essential in experimental PVR induced by fibroblasts. In RPE cells derived from epiretinal membranes from patients with PVR (RPEMs), Akt was activated by PDGF-B but not PDGF-A, which suggested that PDGFRβ was the predominant PDGFR isoform expressed in RPEMs. Indeed, CRISPR/Cas9-mediated depletion of PDGFRβ in RPEMs attenuated patient vitreous-induced Akt activation and cellular responses intrinsic to PVR including cell proliferation, migration, and contraction. We conclude that PDGFRβ appears to be the PVR relevant PDGFR isoform in RPEMs.
Georgakopoulos CD, Foteini T, Makri OE, Vavvas D. Two-year results of intravitreal injections of aflibercept in Coats' Disease; a case report. Retin Cases Brief Rep 2020;Abstract
PURPOSE: To report long term results of treatment with intravitreal injections of aflibercept in a newly diagnosed case of Coats' disease. CASE REPORT: An 18-year-old man presented to the Retina Clinic of our Hospital complaining of blurred vision in the right eye (OD) for the past 3 months. His past medical and ocular history were unremarkable. Best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) was 20/200 OD and 20/20 in the left eye. Fundoscopy in OD revealed extensive macular edema with a circinate ring of hard exudates in the posterior pole temporally to the macula. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) demonstrated macular edema with subretinal fluid. Peripheral telangiectasias and light bulb aneurysms in the inferior temporal arcade, as well as in the nasal far periphery were found in OD in fluorescein angiography (FA), confirming the diagnosis of stage 2B Coats' disease. The left eye was normal. The original therapeutic strategy proposed was anti-VEGF injections in OD followed by laser photocoagulation. However, the patient did not consent to laser treatment and was treated with aflibercept monotherapy with 8 monthly intravitreal injections of aflibercept followed by 6 injections every 2 months for a total of 14 injections over a period of 2 years. The BCVA in OD improved to 20/25 while OCT imaging revealed significant decrease in retinal thickness with resolution of macular edema and FA demonstrated prominent regression of aneurysms and leakage. CONCLUSION: To our knowledge this is the first case treated with aflibercept monotherapy, suggesting the significant role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in vascular permeability in Coats' and supporting the rationale that anti-VEGFs are a valuable therapeutic option for Coats' disease.
Hamad AE, Moinuddin O, Blair MP, Schechet SA, Shapiro MJ, Quiram PA, Mammo DA, Berrocal AM, Prakhunhungsit S, Cernichiaro-Espinosa LA, Mukai S, Yonekawa Y, Ung C, Holz ER, Harper AC, Young RC, Besirli CG, Nagiel A, Lee TC, Gupta MP, Walsh MK, Khawly JA, Campbell PJ, Kychenthal A, Nudleman ED, Robinson JE, Hartnett ME, Calvo CM, Chang EY. Late-Onset Retinal Findings and Complications in Untreated Retinopathy of Prematurity. Ophthalmol Retina 2020;4(6):602-612.Abstract
PURPOSE: To investigate late retinal findings and complications of eyes with a history of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) that did not meet treatment criteria and did not receive treatment during infancy. DESIGN: Retrospective, nonconsecutive, noncomparative, multicenter case series. PARTICIPANTS: Three hundred sixty-three eyes of 186 patients. METHODS: Data were requested from multiple providers on premature patients with a history of ROP and no treatment during infancy who demonstrated late retinal findings or complications and included age, gender, gestational age and weight, zone and stage at infancy, visual acuity, current retina vascularization status, vitreous character, presence of peripheral retinal findings such as lattice retinal tears and detachments (RDs), retinoschisis, and fluorescein findings. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Rate of RDs and factors conferring a higher risk of RDs. RESULTS: The average age was 34.5 years (range, 7-76 years), average gestational age was 26.6 weeks (range, 23-34 weeks), and average birth weight was 875 g (range, 425-1590 g). Findings included lattice in 196 eyes (54.0%), atrophic holes in 126 eyes (34.7%), retinal tears in 111 eyes (30.6%), RDs in 140 eyes (38.6 %), tractional retinoschisis in 44 eyes (11.9%), and visible vitreous condensation ridge-like interface in 112 eyes (30.5%). Fluorescein angiography (FA) was performed in 113 eyes, of which 59 eyes (52.2%) showed leakage and 16 eyes (14.2%) showed neovascularization. Incomplete vascularization posterior to zone 3 was common (71.6% of eyes). Retinal detachments were more likely in patients with a gestational age of 29 weeks or less (P < 0.05) and in eyes with furthest vascularization to posterior zone 2 eyes compared with zone 3 eyes (P = 0.009). CONCLUSIONS: Eyes with ROP not meeting the treatment threshold during infancy showed various late retinal findings and complications, of which RDs were the most concerning. Complications were seen in all age groups, including patients born after the Early Treatment for Retinopathy of Prematurity Study. Contributing factors to RDs included atrophic holes within peripheral avascular retina, visible vitreous condensation ridge-like interface with residual traction, and premature vitreous syneresis. We recommend regular examinations and consideration of ultra-widefield FA examinations. Prospective studies are needed to explore the frequency of complications and benefit of prophylactic treatment and if eyes treated with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor therapy are at risk of similar findings and complications.