Retina

Notomi S, Ishihara K, Efstathiou NE, Lee J-J, Hisatomi T, Tachibana T, Konstantinou EK, Ueta T, Murakami Y, Maidana DE, Ikeda Y, Kume S, Terasaki H, Sonoda S, Blanz J, Young L, Sakamoto T, Sonoda K-H, Saftig P, Ishibashi T, Miller JW, Kroemer G, Vavvas DG. Genetic LAMP2 deficiency accelerates the age-associated formation of basal laminar deposits in the retina. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2019;116(47):23724-23734.Abstract
The early stages of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are characterized by the accumulation of basal laminar deposits (BLamDs). The mechanism for BLamDs accumulating between the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and its basal lamina remains elusive. Here we examined the role in AMD of lysosome-associated membrane protein-2 (LAMP2), a glycoprotein that plays a critical role in lysosomal biogenesis and maturation of autophagosomes/phagosomes. LAMP2 was preferentially expressed by RPE cells, and its expression declined with age. Deletion of the gene in mice resulted in age-dependent autofluorescence abnormalities of the fundus, thickening of Bruch's membrane, and the formation of BLamDs, resembling histopathological changes occurring in AMD. Moreover, LAMP2-deficient mice developed molecular signatures similar to those found in human AMD-namely, the accumulation of APOE, APOA1, clusterin, and vitronectin-adjacent to BLamDs. In contrast, collagen 4, laminin, and fibronectin, which are extracellular matrix proteins constituting RPE basal lamina and Bruch's membrane were reduced in knockout (KO) mice. Mechanistically, retarded phagocytic degradation of photoreceptor outer segments compromised lysosomal degradation and increased exocytosis in LAMP2-deficient RPE cells. The accumulation of BLamDs observed in LAMP2-deficient mice was eventually followed by loss of the RPE and photoreceptors. Finally, we observed loss of LAMP2 expression along with ultramicroscopic features of abnormal phagocytosis and exocytosis in eyes from AMD patients but not from control individuals. Taken together, these results indicate an important role for LAMP2 in RPE function in health and disease, suggesting that LAMP2 reduction may contribute to the formation of BLamDs in AMD.
Ambrosio L, Hansen RM, Kimia R, Fulton AB. Retinal Function in X-Linked Juvenile Retinoschisis. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2019;60(14):4872-4881.Abstract
Purpose: To assess retinal function in young patients with X-linked juvenile retinoschisis (XLRS), a disorder that is known to alter ERG postreceptor retinal components and also possibly photoreceptor components. Methods: ERG responses to full-field stimuli were recorded under scotopic and photopic conditions in 12 XLRS patients aged 1 to 15 (median 8) years. A- and b-wave amplitudes and implicit times were examined over a range of stimulus intensities. Rod and cone photoreceptor (SROD, RROD, SCONE, RCONE) and rod-driven postreceptor (log σ, VMAX) response parameters were calculated from the a- and b-waves. Data from XLRS patients were evaluated for significant change with age. Results: A- and b-wave amplitudes were smaller in XLRS patients compared with controls under both scotopic and photopic conditions. Saturated photoresponse amplitude (RROD), postreceptor b-wave (log σ), and saturated b-wave amplitude (VMAX) were significantly lower in XLRS patients than in controls; SROD did not differ between the two groups. SCONE and RCONE values were normal. In XLRS patients, neither a- and b-wave amplitudes nor calculated parameters (SROD, RROD, log σ, VMAX,SCONE, and RCONE) changed with age. Conclusions: In these young XLRS patients, RROD and a-wave amplitudes were significantly smaller than in controls. Thus, in addition to XLRS causing postreceptor dysfunction, an effect of XLRS on rod photoreceptors cannot be ignored.
Chantarasorn Y, Oellers P, Eliott D. Choroidal Thickness Is Associated with Delayed Subretinal Fluid Absorption after Rhegmatogenous Retinal Detachment Surgery. Ophthalmol Retina 2019;3(11):947-955.Abstract
PURPOSE: To investigate the association between choroidal thickness and persistent subretinal fluid (PSF) after surgery for recent-onset rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD). DESIGN: Case-control study. PARTICIPANTS: Fourteen eyes with macula-off RRD (with fovea on and off) that achieved retinal reattachment on funduscopy and demonstrated PSF after surgery (PSF group) were compared with 62 eyes with macula-off RRD (with fovea on and off) that did not demonstrate PSF after surgery (non-PSF group). METHODS: The diagnosis of PSF was made by the detection of subretinal fluid pockets on OCT beyond 6 weeks after surgery. Covariates included baseline demographics, duration of RRD, area of RRD, foveal status, method of subretinal fluid drainage, retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) changes, and choroidal thickness in both eyes. Multivariate regression analysis was performed by adding gender, age, and pathologic myopia into the model. The secondary outcomes included postoperative vision and time to resolution of PSF. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Subfoveal choroidal thickness in affected eyes, measured by enhanced depth imaging OCT images. RESULTS: The percentage of eyes that underwent vitrectomy, scleral buckle surgery, and pneumatic retinopexy were 71.4%, 14.3%, and 14.3% in the PSF group, respectively, and 87.1%, 11.3%, and 1.6% in the non-PSF group, respectively. Eyes with PSF showed significantly thicker subfoveal choroid than eyes without PSF (305±61 μm vs. 200±70 μm, respectively; adjusted difference, 78.6±19.1 μm; 95% confidence interval [CI], 40.3-116.8 μm; P < 0.001). The PSF group demonstrated a greater proportion of RPE changes in fellow eyes (30.8% vs. 1.7%; P = 0.03) and significantly worse best-corrected visual acuity at the 12-month follow-up (P = 0.03). Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that choroidal thickness of 280 μm or more was a significant factor associated with the presence of PSF (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 13.4; 95% CI, 3.1-34.7 [P = 0.001]. CONCLUSIONS: Persistent subretinal fluid is associated with increased subfoveal choroidal thickness in surgical and fellow eyes and with RPE changes in the fellow eye. This indicates that PSF likely belongs to the pachychoroid spectrum. In affected eyes, PSF tends to persist for more than 1 year and results in delayed visual recovery.
Schey KL, Wang Z, Friedrich MG, Garland DL, Truscott RJW. Spatiotemporal changes in the human lens proteome: Critical insights into long-lived proteins. Prog Retin Eye Res 2019;:100802.Abstract
The ocular lens is a unique tissue that contains an age gradient of cells and proteins ranging from newly differentiated cells containing newly synthesized proteins to cells and proteins that are as old as the organism. Thus, the ocular lens is an excellent model for studying long-lived proteins (LLPs) and the effects of aging and post-translational modifications on protein structure and function. Given the architecture of the lens, with young fiber cells in the outer cortex and the oldest cells in the lens nucleus, spatially-resolved studies provide information on age-specific protein changes. In this review, experimental strategies and proteomic methods that have been used to examine age-related and cataract-specific changes to the human lens proteome are described. Measured spatio-temporal changes in the human lens proteome are summarized and reveal a highly consistent, time-dependent set of modifications observed in transparent human lenses. Such measurements have led to the discovery of cataract-specific modifications and the realization that many animal systems are unsuitable to study many of these modifications. Mechanisms of protein modifications such as deamidation, racemization, truncation, and protein-protein crosslinking are presented and the implications of such mechanisms for other long-lived proteins in other tissues are discussed in the context of age-related neurological diseases. A comprehensive understanding of LLP modifications will enhance our ability to develop new therapies for the delay, prevention or reversal of age-related diseases.
Pivodic A, Hård A-L, Löfqvist C, Smith LEH, Wu C, Bründer M-C, Lagrèze WA, Stahl A, Holmström G, Albertsson-Wikland K, Johansson H, Nilsson S, Hellström A. Individual Risk Prediction for Sight-Threatening Retinopathy of Prematurity Using Birth Characteristics. JAMA Ophthalmol 2019;:1-9.Abstract
Importance: To prevent blindness, repeated infant eye examinations are performed to detect severe retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), yet only a small fraction of those screened need treatment. Early individual risk stratification would improve screening timing and efficiency and potentially reduce the risk of blindness. Objectives: To create and validate an easy-to-use prediction model using only birth characteristics and to describe a continuous hazard function for ROP treatment. Design, Setting, and Participants: In this retrospective cohort study, Swedish National Patient Registry data from infants screened for ROP (born between January 1, 2007, and August 7, 2018) were analyzed with Poisson regression for time-varying data (postnatal age, gestational age [GA], sex, birth weight, and important interactions) to develop an individualized predictive model for ROP treatment (called DIGIROP-Birth [Digital ROP]). The model was validated internally and externally (in US and European cohorts) and compared with 4 published prediction models. Main Outcomes and Measures: The study outcome was ROP treatment. The measures were estimated momentary and cumulative risks, hazard ratios with 95% CIs, area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (hereinafter referred to as AUC), sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV). Results: Among 7609 infants (54.6% boys; mean [SD] GA, 28.1 [2.1] weeks; mean [SD] birth weight, 1119 [353] g), 442 (5.8%) were treated for ROP, including 142 (40.1%) treated of 354 born at less than 24 gestational weeks. Irrespective of GA, the risk for receiving ROP treatment increased during postnatal weeks 8 through 12 and decreased thereafter. Validations of DIGIROP-Birth for 24 to 30 weeks' GA showed high predictive ability for the model overall (AUC, 0.90 [95% CI, 0.89-0.92] for internal validation, 0.94 [95% CI, 0.90-0.98] for temporal validation, 0.87 [95% CI, 0.84-0.89] for US external validation, and 0.90 [95% CI, 0.85-0.95] for European external validation) by calendar periods and by race/ethnicity. The sensitivity, specificity, PPV, and NPV were numerically at least as high as those obtained from CHOP-ROP (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia-ROP), OMA-ROP (Omaha-ROP), WINROP (weight, insulinlike growth factor 1, neonatal, ROP), and CO-ROP (Colorado-ROP), models requiring more complex postnatal data. Conclusions and Relevance: This study validated an individualized prediction model for infants born at 24 to 30 weeks' GA, enabling early risk prediction of ROP treatment based on birth characteristics data. Postnatal age rather than postmenstrual age was a better predictive variable for the temporal risk of ROP treatment. The model is an accessible online application that appears to be generalizable and to have at least as good test statistics as other models requiring longitudinal neonatal data not always readily available to ophthalmologists.
Cui Y, Zhu Y, Wang JC, Lu Y, Zeng R, Katz R, Wu DM, Vavvas DG, Husain D, Miller JW, Kim LA, Miller JB. Imaging Artifacts and Segmentation Errors With Wide-Field Swept-Source Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography in Diabetic Retinopathy. Transl Vis Sci Technol 2019;8(6):18.Abstract
Purpose: To analyze imaging artifacts and segmentation errors with wide-field swept-source optical coherence tomography angiography (SS-OCTA) in diabetic retinopathy (DR). Methods: We conducted a prospective, observational study at Massachusetts Eye and Ear from December 2018 to March 2019. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), diabetic patients with no diabetic retinopathy (DR), and healthy control eyes were included. All patients were imaged with a SS-OCTA and the Montage Angio (15 × 9 mm) was used for analysis. Images were independently evaluated by two graders using the motion artifact score (MAS). All statistical analyses were performed using SPSS 25.0 and R software. Results: One hundred thirty-six eyes in 98 participants with the montage image were included in the study. Patients with more severe stages of DR had higher MAS by trend test analysis ( < 0.05). The occurrence of segmentation error was 0% in the healthy group, 10.53% in the no DR group, 10.00% in the NPDR group, and 50% in the PDR group. Multivariate regression analysis showed that the severity of DR and dry eye were the major factors affecting MAS ( < 0.05). There were some modifiable artifacts that could be corrected to improve image quality. Conclusions: Wide field SS-OCTA assesses retinal microvascular changes by noninvasive techniques, yet distinguishing real alterations from artifacts is paramount to accurate interpretations. DR severity and dry eye correlated with MAS. Translational Relevance: Understanding contributing factors and methods to reduce artifacts is critical to routine use and clinical trial with wide-field SS-OCTA.
Han H, Chen N, Huang X, Liu B, Tian J, Lei H. Phosphoinositide 3-kinase δ inactivation prevents vitreous-induced activation of AKT/MDM2/p53 and migration of retinal pigment epithelial cells. J Biol Chem 2019;294(42):15408-15417.Abstract
Phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) are a family of lipid kinases that play a critical role in transmitting signals from cell-surface molecules to intracellular protein effectors. Key PI3Ks include PI3Kα, PI3Kβ, and PI3Kδ, which are regulated by receptors. The signaling pathway comprising the PI3Ks, along with a Ser/Thr kinase (AKT), a proto-oncogene product (mouse double minute (MDM)2), and a tumor suppressor protein (p53), plays an essential role in experimental proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR), which is a fibrotic blinding eye disorder. However, which PI3K isoforms are involved in PVR is unknown. A major characteristic of PVR is the formation of epi (or sub)-retinal membranes that consist of extracellular matrix and cells, including retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells, glial cells, and macrophages. RPE cells are considered key players in PVR pathogenesis. Using immunoblotting and immunofluorescence analyses, we herein provide the evidence that PI3Kδ is highly expressed in human RPEs when it is primarily expressed in leukocytes. We also found that PI3Kδ inactivation through two approaches, CRISPR/Cas9-mediated depletion and a PI3Kδ-specific inhibitor (idelalisib), not only blocks vitreous-induced activation of AKT and MDM2 but also abrogates a vitreous-stimulated decrease in p53. Furthermore, we demonstrate that PI3Kδ inactivation prevents vitreous-induced proliferation, migration, and contraction of human RPEs. These results suggest that PI3Kδ may represent a potential therapeutic target for RPE-related eye diseases, including PVR.
VanderVeen DK, Cataltepe SU. Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor intravitreal therapy for retinopathy of prematurity. Semin Perinatol 2019;43(6):375-380.Abstract
Retinopathy of prematurity treatment modalities have expanded over the years, from cryotherapy to laser therapy and now, anti-vascular endothelial factor (VEGF) therapy by intravitreal injection. Use of anti-VEGF treatment varies regionally and depends on multiple factors including severity and progression of ROP, availability of alternative treatments, experience of the local ophthalmologists, medical status of the infant, and expectations for long-term follow-up. While the advantages and disadvantages of anti-VEGF intravitreal treatment on the eye are relatively well-described, few studies provide information about potential long-term systemic effects of this treatment, which is known to transiently reduce systemic VEGF concentrations.
Stanwyck LK, Place EM, Comander J, Huckfeldt RM, Sobrin L. Predictive value of genetic testing for inherited retinal diseases in patients with suspected atypical autoimmune retinopathy. Am J Ophthalmol Case Rep 2019;15:100461.Abstract
Purpose: The clinical features of autoimmune retinopathy (AIR) can resemble and be difficult to differentiate from inherited retinal degenerations (IRDs). Misdiagnosis of an IRD as AIR causes unnecessary treatment with immunosuppressive agents. The purpose of this study is to calculate the predictive value of genetic testing for IRDs in patients with suspected AIR and provide clinical examples where genetic testing has been useful. Methods: We identified patients seen at MEEI between April 2013 and January 2017 for whom the differentiation of AIR vs. IRDs was difficult based on clinical assessment alone. All patients had some atypical features for AIR, but tested positive for anti-retinal antibodies. Within this group, we identified six patients who had genetic testing for IRDs with the Genetic Eye Disease panel for retinal genes (GEDi-R). We calculated the positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) of genetic testing in a population with approximately equal numbers of IRD and AIR patients. Results: Six patients had clinical features that made distinguishing between IRDs and AIR on a clinical basis difficult and were sent for genetic testing: four women and two men with a mean age of 59.5 years. In two of these six patients, genetic diagnoses were made based upon the identification of known pathogenic variants in the common IRD genes and . Two patients had variants of unknown significance within genes associated with IRDs, and the other two had no relevant genetic findings. Given the 60% sensitivity and 3% false positive rate for GEDi-R testing and assuming a 50% pre-test probability of having an IRD, the PPV for GEDi-R for detecting IRD is 95.2% and the NPV is 70.8%. Conclusions and Importance: In patients for whom the differential diagnosis of AIR and IRDs is unclear based on clinical information, genetic testing can be a valuable tool when it identifies an IRD, sparing the patient unnecessary immunosuppressive treatment. However, the test has a low NPV so a negative genetic testing result does not confidently exclude IRD as the true diagnosis.
Fu Z, Chen CT, Cagnone G, Heckel E, Sun Y, Cakir B, Tomita Y, Huang S, Li Q, Britton W, Cho SS, Kern TS, Hellström A, Joyal J-S, Smith LEH. Dyslipidemia in retinal metabolic disorders. EMBO Mol Med 2019;11(10):e10473.Abstract
The light-sensitive photoreceptors in the retina are extremely metabolically demanding and have the highest density of mitochondria of any cell in the body. Both physiological and pathological retinal vascular growth and regression are controlled by photoreceptor energy demands. It is critical to understand the energy demands of photoreceptors and fuel sources supplying them to understand neurovascular diseases. Retinas are very rich in lipids, which are continuously recycled as lipid-rich photoreceptor outer segments are shed and reformed and dietary intake of lipids modulates retinal lipid composition. Lipids (as well as glucose) are fuel substrates for photoreceptor mitochondria. Dyslipidemia contributes to the development and progression of retinal dysfunction in many eye diseases. Here, we review photoreceptor energy demands with a focus on lipid metabolism in retinal neurovascular disorders.
Sajdak BS, Salmon AE, Cava JA, Allen KP, Freling S, Ramamirtham R, Norton TT, Roorda A, Carroll J. Noninvasive imaging of the tree shrew eye: Wavefront analysis and retinal imaging with correlative histology. Exp Eye Res 2019;185:107683.Abstract
Tree shrews are small mammals with excellent vision and are closely related to primates. They have been used extensively as a model for studying refractive development, myopia, and central visual processing and are becoming an important model for vision research. Their cone dominant retina (∼95% cones) provides a potential avenue to create new damage/disease models of human macular pathology and to monitor progression or treatment response. To continue the development of the tree shrew as an animal model, we provide here the first measurements of higher order aberrations along with adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmoscopy (AOSLO) images of the photoreceptor mosaic in the tree shrew retina. To compare intra-animal in vivo and ex vivo cone density measurements, the AOSLO images were matched to whole-mount immunofluorescence microscopy. Analysis of the tree shrew wavefront indicated that the optics are well-matched to the sampling of the cone mosaic and is consistent with the suggestion that juvenile tree shrews are nearly emmetropic (slightly hyperopic). Compared with in vivo measurements, consistently higher cone density was measured ex vivo, likely due to tissue shrinkage during histological processing. Tree shrews also possess massive mitochondria ("megamitochondria") in their cone inner segments, providing a natural model to assess how mitochondrial size affects in vivo retinal imagery. Intra-animal in vivo and ex vivo axial distance measurements were made in the outer retina with optical coherence tomography (OCT) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), respectively, to determine the origin of sub-cellular cone reflectivity seen on OCT. These results demonstrate that these megamitochondria create an additional hyper-reflective outer retinal reflective band in OCT images. The ability to use noninvasive retinal imaging in tree shrews supports development of this species as a model of cone disorders.
Lee Kim E, Weiner AJ, Ung C, Roh M, Wang J, Lee IJ, Huang NT, Stem M, Dahrouj M, Eliott D, Vavvas DG, Young LHY, Williams GA, Garretson BR, Kim IK, Hassan TS, Mukai S, Ruby AJ, Faia LJ, Capone A, Comander J, Kim LA, Wu DM, Drenser KA, Woodward MA, Wolfe JD, Yonekawa Y. Characterization of Epiretinal Proliferation in Full-Thickness Macular Holes and Effects on Surgical Outcomes. Ophthalmol Retina 2019;3(8):694-702.Abstract
PURPOSE: Epiretinal proliferation is a distinct clinical entity from epiretinal membrane that classically is associated with lamellar macular holes, but its prevalence and association with full-thickness macular holes (FTMH) have not been well described. We characterized macular hole-associated epiretinal proliferation (MHEP) and its effects on long-term surgical outcomes. DESIGN: Multicenter, interventional, retrospective case-control study. PARTICIPANTS: Consecutive eyes that underwent surgery for FTMH with a minimum of 12 months follow-up. METHODS: All eyes underwent pars plana vitrectomy, removal of any epiretinal membranes, and gas tamponade, with or without internal limiting membrane (ILM) peeling. Spectral-domain OCT imaging was obtained before and after surgery. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Improvement in visual acuity and single-surgery hole closure rates in eyes with, versus without, MHEP at 12 months. RESULTS: Seven hundred twenty-five charts were analyzed, and 113 patients met inclusion criteria. Of 113 eyes with FTMH, 30 (26.5%) showed MHEP. Patients with FTMH and MHEP were older (P < 0.002) and more often men (P = 0.001), and showed more advanced macular hole stages than those without MHEP (P = 0.010). A full posterior vitreous detachment was more common in eyes with MHEP (P < 0.004). Twelve months after surgery, FTMH with MHEP patients showed significantly less improvement in visual acuity (P = 0.019) with higher rates of ellipsoid and external limiting membrane defects (P < 0.05) and with a higher rate of failure to close with 1 surgery compared to FTMH without MHEP (26.7% vs. 4.8%; P = 0.002]). Peeling the ILM was associated with improved rates of hole closure in FTMH with MHEP (P < 0.001). Multivariate testing confirmed that the presence of MHEP was an independent risk factor for less visual improvement (P = 0.031) and for single-surgery nonclosure (P = 0.009) and that ILM peeling improved single-surgery closure rates (P = 0.026). CONCLUSIONS: We found that FTMH with MHEP showed poorer anatomic and visual outcomes after vitrectomy compared with FTMH without MHEP. Internal limiting membrane peeling was associated with improved closure rates and should be considered when MHEP is detected before surgery.
Liu B, Song J, Han H, Hu Z, Chen N, Cui J, Matsubara JA, Zhong J, Lei H. Blockade of MDM2 with inactive Cas9 prevents epithelial to mesenchymal transition in retinal pigment epithelial cells. Lab Invest 2019;99(12):1874-1886.Abstract
Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) plays an important role in the pathogenesis of proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR). We aimed to demonstrate the role of mouse double minute 2 (MDM2) in transforming growth factor-beta 2 (TGF-β2)-induced EMT in human retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPEs). Immunofluorescence was used to assess MDM2 expression in epiretinal membranes (ERMs) from patients with PVR. A single guide (sg)RNA targeting the second promoter of MDM2 was cloned into a mutant lentiviral Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (lentiCRISPR) v2 (D10A and H840A) vector for expressing nuclease dead Cas9 (dCas9)/MDM2-sgRNA in RPEs. In addition, MDM2-sgRNA was also cloned into a pLV-sgRNA-dCas9-Kruppel associated box (KRAB) vector for expressing dCas9 fused with a transcriptional repressor KRAB/MDM2-sgRNA. TGF-β2-induced expression of MDM2 and EMT biomarkers were assessed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (q-PCR), western blot, or immunofluorescence. Wound-healing and proliferation assays were used to evaluate the role of MDM2 in TGF-β2-induced responses in RPEs. As a result, we found that MDM2 was expressed obviously in ERMs, and that TGF-β2-induced expression of MDM2 and EMT biomarkers Fibronectin, N-cadherin and Vimentin in RPEs. Importantly, we discovered that the dCas9/MDM2-sgRNA blocked TGF-β2-induced expression of MDM2 and the EMT biomarkers without affecting their basal expression, whereas the dCas9-KRAB/MDM2-sgRNA suppressed basal MDM2 expression in RPEs. These cells could not be maintained continuously because their viability was greatly reduced. Next, we found that Nutlin-3, a small molecule blocking the interaction of MDM2 with p53, inhibited TGF-β2-induced expression of Fibronectin and N-cadherin but not Vimentin in RPEs, indicating that MDM2 functions in both p53-dependent and -independent pathways. Finally, our experimental data demonstrated that dCas9/MDM2-sgRNA suppressed TGF-β2-dependent cell proliferation and migration without disturbing the unstimulated basal activity. In conclusion, the CRISPR/dCas9 capability for blocking TGF-β2-induced expression of MDM2 and EMT biomarkers can be exploited for a therapeutic approach to PVR.
Koulisis N, Moysidis SN, Yonekawa Y, Dai YL, Burkemper B, Wood EH, Lertjirachai I, Todorich B, Khundkar TZ, Chu Z, Wang RK, Williams GA, Drenser KA, Capone A, Trese MT, Nudleman E. Correlating Changes in the Macular Microvasculature and Capillary Network to Peripheral Vascular Pathologic Features in Familial Exudative Vitreoretinopathy. Ophthalmol Retina 2019;3(7):597-606.Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate the macular microvasculature in patients with familial exudative vitreoretinopathy (FEVR) using OCT angiography (OCTA) and to assess for peripheral vascular changes using widefield fluorescein angiography (WFA). DESIGN: Multicenter, retrospective, comparative, observational case series. PARTICIPANTS: We identified 411 patients with FEVR, examined between September 2014 and June 2018. Fifty-seven patients with FEVR and 60 healthy controls had OCTA images of sufficient quality for analysis. METHODS: Custom software was used to assess for layer-specific, quantitative changes in vascular density and morphologic features on OCTA by way of vessel density (VD), skeletal density (SD), fractal dimension (FD), vessel diameter index (VDI), and foveal avascular zone (FAZ). Widefield fluorescein angiography images were reviewed for peripheral vascular changes including capillary dropout, late-phase angiographic posterior and peripheral vascular leakage (LAPPEL), vascular dragging, venous-venous shunts, and arteriovenous shunts. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Macular microvascular parameters on OCTA and peripheral angiographic findings on WFA. RESULTS: OCT angiography analysis of 117 patients (187 eyes; 92 FEVR patients and 95 control participants) demonstrated significantly reduced VD, SD, and FD and greater VDI in patients with FEVR compared with controls in the nonsegmented retina, superficial retinal layer (SRL), and deep retinal layer (DRL). The FAZ was larger compared with that in control eyes in the DRL (P < 0.0001), but not the SRL (P = 0.52). Subanalysis by FEVR stage showed the same microvascular changes compared with controls for all parameters. Widefield fluorescein angiography analysis of 95 eyes (53 patients) with FEVR demonstrated capillary nonperfusion in all eyes: 47 eyes (49.5%) showed LAPPEL, 32 eyes (33.7%) showed vascular dragging, 30 eyes (31.6%) had venous-venous shunts, and 33 eyes (34.7%) had arteriovenous shunts. Decreasing macular VD on OCTA correlated with increasing peripheral capillary nonperfusion on WFA. Decreasing fractal dimension on OCTA correlated with increasing LAPPEL severity on WFA. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with FEVR demonstrated abnormalities in the macular microvasculature and capillary network, in addition to the peripheral retina. The macular microvascular parameters on OCTA may serve as biomarkers of changes in the retinal periphery on WFA.
Chen N, Hu Z, Yang Y, Han H, Lei H. Inactive Cas9 blocks vitreous-induced expression of Mdm2 and proliferation and survival of retinal pigment epithelial cells. Exp Eye Res 2019;186:107716.Abstract
Mouse double minute (MDM)2 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) 309G allele in the second promoter of MDM2 enhances vitreous-induced expression of Mdm2 and degradation of the tumor suppressor protein p53. This MDM2 contributes to certain cancer development and experimental proliferative vitreoretinopathy. The goal of this study is to discover a novel strategy to only block vitreous-induced expression of Mdm2 for preventing vitreous-induced cell proliferation and survival and thus find a potential novel strategy to treat proliferation-related diseases. We created two mutations (D10A and H840A) in Streptococcus pyogenes (Sp)Cas9 within the nuclease domains (RuvC1 and HNH, respectively) to render this SpCas9 nuclease dead named as dCas9 in a lentiCRISPR v2 vector. Then an MDM2-sgRNA targeting the second promoter of human MDM2 gene was cloned into this vector for producing lentivirus to infect human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells with, which carry a heterozygous genotype of MDM2. lacZ-sgRNA was used as a control. As a result, we discovered that vitreous from experimental rabbits induced a 1.9 ± 0.2 fold increase in Mdm2 and a 2.0 ± 0.2 fold decrease in p53 in the RPE cells with dCas9/lacZ-sgRNA compared to those with dCas9/MDM2-sgRNA, suggesting that dCas9 under the guidance of the MDM2-sgRNA prevented RV-stimulated increase in Mdm2. In addition, we found that the rabbit vitreous significantly enhanced cell proliferation (1.5 ± 0.2 fold), survival against apoptosis (2.2 ± 0.2 fold), migration (10 ± 1.5%) and contraction (112.7 ± 14.1 mm) of the cells with dCas9/lacZ-sgRNA compared with those with dCas9/MDM2-sgRNA. These results indicated that application of the dCas9 targeted to the P2 of MDM2 is a potential therapeutic approach to diseases due to the P2-driven aberrant expression of Mdm2 - such as proliferative vitreoretinopathy.

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