Retina

Buskin A, Zhu L, Chichagova V, Basu B, Mozaffari-Jovin S, Dolan D, Droop A, Collin J, Bronstein R, Mehrotra S, Farkas M, Hilgen G, White K, Pan K-T, Treumann A, Hallam D, Bialas K, Chung G, Mellough C, Ding Y, Krasnogor N, Przyborski S, Zwolinski S, Al-Aama J, Alharthi S, Xu Y, Wheway G, Szymanska K, McKibbin M, Inglehearn CF, Elliott DJ, Lindsay S, Ali RR, Steel DH, Armstrong L, Sernagor E, Urlaub H, Pierce E, Lührmann R, Grellscheid S-N, Johnson CA, Lako M. Disrupted alternative splicing for genes implicated in splicing and ciliogenesis causes PRPF31 retinitis pigmentosa. Nat Commun 2018;9(1):4234.Abstract
Mutations in pre-mRNA processing factors (PRPFs) cause autosomal-dominant retinitis pigmentosa (RP), but it is unclear why mutations in ubiquitously expressed genes cause non-syndromic retinal disease. Here, we generate transcriptome profiles from RP11 (PRPF31-mutated) patient-derived retinal organoids and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), as well as Prpf31 mouse tissues, which revealed that disrupted alternative splicing occurred for specific splicing programmes. Mis-splicing of genes encoding pre-mRNA splicing proteins was limited to patient-specific retinal cells and Prpf31 mouse retinae and RPE. Mis-splicing of genes implicated in ciliogenesis and cellular adhesion was associated with severe RPE defects that include disrupted apical - basal polarity, reduced trans-epithelial resistance and phagocytic capacity, and decreased cilia length and incidence. Disrupted cilia morphology also occurred in patient-derived photoreceptors, associated with progressive degeneration and cellular stress. In situ gene editing of a pathogenic mutation rescued protein expression and key cellular phenotypes in RPE and photoreceptors, providing proof of concept for future therapeutic strategies.
Mauschitz MM, Bonnemaijer PWM, Diers K, Rauscher FG, Elze T, Engel C, Loeffler M, Colijn JM, Ikram AM, Vingerling JR, Williams KM, Hammond CJ, Creuzot-Garcher C, Bron AM, Silva R, Nunes S, Delcourt C, Cougnard-Grégoire A, Holz FG, Klaver CCW, Breteler MMB, Finger RP, Finger RP. Systemic and Ocular Determinants of Peripapillary Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Thickness Measurements in the European Eye Epidemiology (E3) Population. Ophthalmology 2018;125(10):1526-1536.Abstract
PURPOSE: To investigate systemic and ocular determinants of peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thickness (pRNFLT) in the European population. DESIGN: Cross-sectional meta-analysis. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 16 084 European adults from 8 cohort studies (mean age range, 56.9±12.3-82.1±4.2 years) of the European Eye Epidemiology (E3) consortium. METHODS: We examined associations with pRNFLT measured by spectral-domain OCT in each study using multivariable linear regression and pooled results using random effects meta-analysis. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Determinants of pRNFLT. RESULTS: Mean pRNFLT ranged from 86.8±21.4 μm in the Rotterdam Study I to 104.7±12.5 μm in the Rotterdam Study III. We found the following factors to be associated with reduced pRNFLT: Older age (β = -0.38 μm/year; 95% confidence interval [CI], -0.57 to -0.18), higher intraocular pressure (IOP) (β = -0.36 μm/mmHg; 95% CI, -0.56 to -0.15), visual impairment (β = -5.50 μm; 95% CI, -9.37 to -1.64), and history of systemic hypertension (β = -0.54 μm; 95% CI, -1.01 to -0.07) and stroke (β = -1.94 μm; 95% CI, -3.17 to -0.72). A suggestive, albeit nonsignificant, association was observed for dementia (β = -3.11 μm; 95% CI, -6.22 to 0.01). Higher pRNFLT was associated with more hyperopic spherical equivalent (β = 1.39 μm/diopter; 95% CI, 1.19-1.59) and smoking (β = 1.53 μm; 95% CI, 1.00-2.06 for current smokers compared with never-smokers). CONCLUSIONS: In addition to previously described determinants such as age and refraction, we found that systemic vascular and neurovascular diseases were associated with reduced pRNFLT. These may be of clinical relevance, especially in glaucoma monitoring of patients with newly occurring vascular comorbidities.
Shen J, Xiao R, Bair J, Wang F, Vandenberghe LH, Dartt D, Baranov P, Ng YSE. Novel engineered, membrane-localized variants of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) protect retinal ganglion cells: a proof-of-concept study. Cell Death Dis 2018;9(10):1018.Abstract
Endogenous vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-A) can protect retinal ganglion cells (RGC) from stress-induced cell death in ocular hypertensive glaucoma. To exploit the neuroprotective function of VEGF-A for therapeutic application in ocular disorders such as glaucoma while minimizing unwanted vascular side effects, we engineered two novel VEGF variants, eVEGF-38 and eVEGF-53. These variants of the diffusible VEGF-A isoform VEGF121 are expressed as dimeric concatamers and remain tethered to the cell membrane, thus restricting the effects of the engineered VEGF to the cells expressing the protein. For comparison, we tested a Myc-tagged version of VEGF189, an isoform that binds tightly to the extracellular matrix and heparan sulfate proteoglycans at the cell surface, supporting only autocrine and localized juxtacrine signaling. In human retinal endothelial cells (hREC), expression of eVEGF-38, eVEGF-53, or VEGF189 increased VEGFR2 phosphorylation without increasing expression of pro-inflammatory markers, relative to VEGF165 protein and vector controls. AAV2-mediated transduction of eVEGF-38, eVEGF-53, or VEGF189 into primary mouse RGC promoted synaptogenesis and increased the average total length of neurites and axons per RGC by ~ 12-fold, an increase that was mediated by VEGFR2 and PI3K/AKT signaling. Expression of eVEGF-38 in primary RGC enhanced expression of genes associated with neuritogenesis, axon outgrowth, axon guidance, and cell survival. Transduction of primary RGC with any of the membrane-associated VEGF constructs increased survival both under normal culture conditions and in the presence of the cytotoxic chemicals HO (via VEGFR2/PI3K/AKT signaling) and N-methyl-D-aspartate (via reduced Ca influx). Moreover, RGC number was increased in mouse embryonic stem cell-derived retinal organoid cultures transduced with the eVEGF-53 construct. The novel, engineered VEGF variants eVEGF-38 and eVEGF-53 show promise as potential therapeutics for retinal RGC neuroprotection when delivered using a gene therapy approach.
Cakir B, Liegl R, Hellgren G, Lundgren P, Sun Y, Klevebro S, Löfqvist C, Mannheimer C, Cho S, Poblete A, Duran R, Hallberg B, Canas J, Lorenz V, Liu Z-J, Sola-Visner MC, Smith LEH, Hellström A. Thrombocytopenia is associated with severe retinopathy of prematurity. JCI Insight 2018;3(19)Abstract
Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is characterized by abnormal retinal neovascularization in response to vessel loss. Platelets regulate angiogenesis and may influence ROP progression. In preterm infants, we assessed ROP and correlated with longitudinal postnatal platelet counts (n = 202). Any episode of thrombocytopenia (<100 × 109/l) at ≥30 weeks postmenstrual age (at onset of ROP) was independently associated with severe ROP, requiring treatment. Infants with severe ROP also had a lower weekly median platelet count compared with infants with less severe ROP. In a mouse oxygen-induced retinopathy model of ROP, platelet counts were lower at P17 (peak neovascularization) versus controls. Platelet transfusions at P15 and P16 suppressed neovascularization, and platelet depletion increased neovascularization. Platelet transfusion decreased retinal of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) mRNA and protein expression; platelet depletion increased retinal VEGFA mRNA and protein expression. Resting platelets with intact granules reduced neovascularization, while thrombin-activated degranulated platelets did not. These data suggest that platelet releasate has a local antiangiogenic effect on endothelial cells to exert a downstream suppression of VEGFA in neural retina. Low platelet counts during the neovascularization phase in ROP is significantly associated with the development of severe ROP in preterm infants. In a murine model of retinopathy, platelet transfusion during the period of neovascularization suppressed retinopathy.
Sun Y, Smith LEH. Retinal Vasculature in Development and Diseases. Annu Rev Vis Sci 2018;4:101-122.Abstract
The retina is one of the most metabolically active tissues in the body, consuming high levels of oxygen and nutrients. A well-organized ocular vascular system adapts to meet the metabolic requirements of the retina to ensure visual function. Pathological conditions affect growth of the blood vessels in the eye. Understanding the neuronal biological processes that govern retinal vascular development is of interest for translational researchers and clinicians to develop preventive and interventional therapeutics for vascular eye diseases that address early drivers of abnormal vascular growth. This review summarizes the current knowledge of the cellular and molecular processes governing both physiological and pathological retinal vascular development, which is dependent on the interaction among retinal cell populations, including neurons, glia, immune cells, and vascular endothelial cells. We also review animal models currently used for studying retinal vascular development.
Strauss RW, Muñoz B, Ahmed MI, Bittencourt M, Schönbach EM, Michaelides M, Birch D, Zrenner E, Ervin A-M, Charbel Issa P, Kong J, Wolfson Y, Shah M, Bagheri S, West S, Scholl HPN, Scholl HPN. The Progression of the Stargardt Disease Type 4 (ProgStar-4) Study: Design and Baseline Characteristics (ProgStar-4 Report No. 1). Ophthalmic Res 2018;:1-10.Abstract
BACKGROUND/AIMS: To describe the design and baseline characteristics of patients enrolled in the multicenter, prospective natural history study of Stargardt disease type 4. METHODS: Fifteen eligible patients aged 6 years and older at baseline, harboring disease-causing variants in the PROM1 gene, and with specified ocular lesions were enrolled. They were examined at baseline using a standard protocol, with 6 monthly follow-up visits for a 2-year period including best-corrected ETDRS visual acuity, spectral-domain optical coherence tomography, fundus autofluorescence (FAF), mesopic and scotopic microperimetry (MP). Areas of definitely decreased FAF (DDAF) and questionably decreased FAF were outlined and quantified on FAF images. RESULTS: Amongst the 15 patients (29 eyes) that were enrolled at 5 centers in the USA and Europe, 10 eyes (34.5%) had areas of DDAF with an average lesion area of 3.2 ± 3.5 mm2 (range 0.36-10.39 mm2) at baseline. The mean retinal sensitivity of the posterior pole derived from mesopic MP was 8.8 ± 5.8 dB. CONCLUSIONS: Data on disease progression in PROM1-related retinopathy from this study will contribute to the characterization of the natural history of disease and the exploration of the utility of several modalities to track progression and therefore to potentially be used in future interventional clinical trials.
Grundy SJ, Tshering L, Wanjala SW, Diamond MB, Audi MS, Prasad S, Shinohara RT, Rogo D, Wangmo D, Wangdi U, Aarayang A, Tshering T, Burke TF, Mateen FJ. Retinal Parameters as Compared with Head Circumference, Height, Weight, and Body Mass Index in Children in Kenya and Bhutan. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2018;99(2):482-488.Abstract
The retina shares embryological derivation with the brain and may provide a new measurement of overall growth status, especially useful in resource-limited settings. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) provides detailed quantification of retinal structures. We enrolled community-dwelling children ages 3-11 years old in Siaya, Kenya and Thimphu, Bhutan in 2016. We measured head circumference (age < 5 years only), height, and weight, and standardized these by age and gender. Research staff performed OCT (; Optovue, Inc., Fremont, CA), measuring the peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) and macular ganglion cell complex (GCC) thicknesses. A neuro-ophthalmologist performed quality control for centration, motion artifact, and algorithm-derived quality scores. Generalized estimating equations were used to determine the relationship between anthropometric and retinal measurements. Two hundred and fifty-eight children (139 females, average age 6.4 years) successfully completed at least one retinal scan, totaling 1,048 scans. Nine hundred and twenty-two scans (88.0%) were deemed usable. Fifty-three of the 258 children (20.5%) were able to complete all six scans. Kenyan children had a thinner average GCC ( < 0.001) than Bhutanese children after adjustment for age and gender, but not RNFL ( = 0.70). In models adjusting for age, gender, and study location, none of standardized height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) were statistically significantly associated with RNFL or GCC. We determined that OCT is feasible in some children in resource-limited settings, particularly those > 4 years old, using the device. We found no evidence for GCC or RNFL as a proxy for height-, weight-, or BMI-for-age. The variation in mean GCC thickness in Asian versus African children warrants further investigation.
Busch C, Zur D, Fraser-Bell S, Laíns I, Santos AR, Lupidi M, Cagini C, Gabrielle P-H, Couturier A, Mané-Tauty V, Giancipoli E, Ricci GD'A, Cebeci Z, Rodríguez-Valdés PJ, Chaikitmongkol V, Amphornphruet A, Hindi I, Agrawal K, Chhablani J, Loewenstein A, Iglicki M, Rehak M, Rehak M. Shall we stay, or shall we switch? Continued anti-VEGF therapy versus early switch to dexamethasone implant in refractory diabetic macular edema. Acta Diabetol 2018;55(8):789-796.Abstract
AIMS: To compare functional and anatomical outcomes of continued anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy versus dexamethasone (DEX) implant in eyes with refractory diabetic macular edema (DME) after three initial anti-VEGF injections in a real-world setting. METHODS: To be included in this retrospective multicenter, case-control study, eyes were required: (1) to present with early refractory DME, as defined by visual acuity (VA) gain ≤ 5 letters or reduction in central subfield thickness (CST) ≤ 20%, after a loading phase of anti-VEGF therapy (three monthly injections) and (2) to treat further with (a) anti-VEGF therapy or (b) DEX implant. Main outcome measures were change in visual acuity (VA) and central subfield thickness (CST) at 12 months. Due to imbalanced baseline characteristics, a matched anti-VEGF group was formed by only keeping eyes with similar baseline characteristics as those in the DEX group. RESULTS: A total of 110 eyes from 105 patients were included (anti-VEGF group: 72 eyes, DEX group: 38 eyes). Mean change in VA at 12 months was - 0.4 ± 10.8 letters (anti-VEGF group), and + 6.1 ± 10.6 letters (DEX group) (P = 0.004). Over the same period, mean change in CST was + 18.3 ± 145.9 µm (anti-VEGF group) and - 92.8 ± 173.6 µm (DEX group) (P < 0.001). Eyes in the DEX group were more likely to gain ≥ 10 letters (OR 3.71, 95% CI 1.19-11.61, P = 0.024) at month 12. CONCLUSIONS: In a real-world setting, eyes with DME considered refractory to anti-VEGF therapy after three monthly injections which were switched to DEX implant and had better visual and anatomical outcomes at 12 months than those that continued treatment with anti-VEGF therapy.
Hoshi S, Okamoto F, Arai M, Hirose T, Sugiura Y, Murakami T, Oshika T. Patching retinal breaks with polyethylene glycol-based synthetic hydrogel sealant for retinal detachment in rabbits. Exp Eye Res 2018;177:117-121.Abstract
The purpose of this study was to evaluate absorbable polyethylene glycol (PEG)-based synthetic hydrogel as a sealant for retinal breaks in rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RD). A three-port, 25-gauge vitrectomy was performed on nine Dutch pigmented rabbit eyes. Subsequently, RD was induced by creating a retinal break. The retina was then reattached by fluid-air exchange. In six of nine eyes (RD-PEG group), PEG sealant was applied to completely cover the retinal breaks, and then photopolymerized with light; thereafter, intravitreous air was replaced with balanced salt solution (BSS). In the remaining three eyes (RD group), PEG sealant was not applied, but the intravitreous air was replaced with BSS. Ophthalmological examinations and intraocular pressure measurements were conducted preoperatively, and at 1 and 7 days, and 1, 3, and 6 months postoperatively. Histological examinations of the eyes were performed after 6 postoperative months. At surgery, retinal reattachment with PEG sealant was achieved in all eyes in the RD-PEG group. Fundoscopic and optical coherence tomographic examinations revealed that the retina remained attached in all the eyes of the RD-PEG group throughout the 6-month observation period. Histological examination revealed no signs of damage in the retinal layers at the edges of the retinal breaks that were in contact with the sealant. In the RD group, the retinas detached in all eyes within 7 days postoperatively. The PEG sealant closed the retinal breaks and maintained retinal reattachment. Intraocular tamponade was not necessary.
Tsoka P, Matsumoto H, Maidana DE, Kataoka K, Naoumidi I, Gravanis A, Vavvas DG, Tsilimbaris MK. Effects of BNN27, a novel C17-spiroepoxy steroid derivative, on experimental retinal detachment-induced photoreceptor cell death. Sci Rep 2018;8(1):10661.Abstract
Retinal detachment (RD) leads to photoreceptor cell death secondary to the physical separation of the retina from the underlying retinal pigment epithelium. Intensifying photoreceptor survival in the detached retina could be remarkably favorable for many retinopathies in which RD can be seen. BNN27, a blood-brain barrier (BBB)-permeable, C17-spiroepoxy derivative of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) has shown promising neuroprotective activity through interaction with nerve growth factor receptors, TrkA and p75. Here, we administered BNN27 systemically in a murine model of RD. TUNEL photoreceptors were significantly decreased 24 hours post injury after a single administration of 200 mg/kg BNN27. Furthermore, BNN27 increased inflammatory cell infiltration, as well as, two markers of gliosis 24 hours post RD. However, single or multiple doses of BNN27 were not able to protect the overall survival of photoreceptors 7 days post injury. Additionally, BNN27 did not induce the activation/phosphorylation of TrkA in the detached retina although the mRNA levels of the receptor were increased in the photoreceptors post injury. Together, these findings, do not demonstrate neuroprotective activity of BNN27 in experimentally-induced RD. Further studies are needed in order to elucidate the paradox/contradiction of these results and the mechanism of action of BNN27 in this model of photoreceptor cell damage.

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