Regulation of biological processes occurs through complex, synergistic mechanisms. In this study, we discovered the synergistic orchestration of multiple mechanisms regulating the normal and diseased state (age related macular degeneration, AMD) in the retina. We uncovered gene networks with overlapping feedback loops that are modulated by nuclear hormone receptors (NHR), miRNAs, and epigenetic factors. We utilized a comprehensive filtering and pathway analysis strategy comparing miRNA and microarray data between three mouse models and human donor eyes (normal and AMD). The mouse models lack key NHRS (Nr2e3, RORA) or epigenetic (Ezh2) factors. Fifty-four total miRNAs were differentially expressed, potentially targeting over 150 genes in 18 major representative networks including angiogenesis, metabolism, and immunity. We identified sixty-eight genes and 5 miRNAS directly regulated by NR2E3 and/or RORA. After a comprehensive analysis, we discovered multimodal regulation by miRNA, NHRs, and epigenetic factors of three miRNAs (miR-466, miR1187, and miR-710) and two genes (Ell2 and Entpd1) that are also associated with AMD. These studies provide insight into the complex, dynamic modulation of gene networks as well as their impact on human disease, and provide novel data for the development of innovative and more effective therapeutics.
PURPOSE: To review the available evidence on the ocular safety and efficacy of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) agents for the treatment of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) compared with laser photocoagulation therapy. METHODS: A literature search of the PubMed and Cochrane Library databases was conducted last on September 6, 2016, with no date restrictions and limited to articles published in English. This search yielded 311 citations, of which 37 were deemed clinically relevant for full-text review. Thirteen of these were selected for inclusion in this assessment. The panel methodologist assigned ratings to the selected articles according to the level of evidence. RESULTS: Of the 13 citations, 6 articles on 5 randomized clinical trials provided level II evidence supporting the use of anti-VEGF agents, either as monotherapy or in combination with laser therapy. The primary outcome for these articles included recurrence of ROP and the need for retreatment (3 articles), retinal structure (2 articles), and refractive outcome (1 article). Seven articles were comparative case series that provided level III evidence. The primary outcomes included the effects of anti-VEGF treatment on development of peripheral retinal vessels (1 article), refractive outcomes (1 article), or both structural and refractive or visual outcomes (5 articles). CONCLUSIONS: Current level II and III evidence indicates that intravitreal anti-VEGF therapy is as effective as laser photocoagulation for achieving regression of acute ROP. Although there are distinct ocular advantages to anti-VEGF pharmacotherapy for some cases (such as eyes with zone I disease or aggressive posterior ROP), the disadvantages are that the ROP recurrence rate is higher, and vigilant and extended follow-up is needed because retinal vascularization is usually incomplete. After intravitreal injection, bevacizumab can be detected in serum within 1 day, and serum VEGF levels are suppressed for at least 8 to 12 weeks. The effects of lowering systemic VEGF levels on the developing organ systems of premature infants are unknown, and there are limited long-term data on potential systemic and neurodevelopmental effects after anti-VEGF use for ROP treatment. Anti-VEGF agents should be used judiciously and with awareness of the known and unknown or potential side effects.
Purpose: Using quantitative fundus autofluorescence (qAF), we analyzed short-wavelength autofluorescent (SW-AF) rings in RP. Methods: Short-wavelength autofluorescent images (486 nm excitation) of 40 patients with RP (69 eyes) were acquired with a confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscope equipped with an internal fluorescent reference. Mean qAF was measured in eight preset segments (qAF8) and in region of interest (ROI)-qAF (200-700 μm) within and external to the borders of the rings at superior, temporal, and inferior sites relative to the ring. For both groups, qAF in patients with RP was compared to age-similar and race/ethnicity-matched healthy eyes at equivalent retinal locations. Results: In 71% of eyes of RP patients, qAF8 acquired internal to the inner border of the ring, was within the 95% confidence interval (CI) for healthy eyes, while in the remaining RP eyes qAF8 was either higher or lower than the CI. Measured external to the ring, qAF8 values were within the CI in 47% of RP eyes with the other eyes being higher or lower. In 28% of sites measured by ROI-qAF within the SW-AF ring, values were above the 95% CI of healthy controls. Region of interest-qAF measured just external to the ring was within the CI of healthy eyes in 74% of locations. The average local elevation in qAF within the ring was approximately 15%. In SD-OCT scans, photoreceptor-attributable reflectivity bands were thinned within and external to the ring. Conclusions: Increased fluorophore production may be a factor in the formation of the SW-AF rings in RP.
Purpose: Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) plays a key role in VEGF-induced angiogenesis. The goal of this project was to test the hypothesis that editing genomic VEGFR2 loci using the technology of clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-associated DNA endonuclease (Cas)9 in Streptococcus pyogenes (SpCas9) was able to block VEGF-induced activation of Akt and tube formation. Methods: Four 20 nucleotides for synthesizing single-guide RNAs based on human genomic VEGFR2 exon 3 loci were selected and cloned into a lentiCRISPR v2 vector, respectively. The DNA fragments from the genomic VEGFR2 exon 3 of transduced primary human retinal microvascular endothelial cells (HRECs) were analyzed by Sanger DNA sequencing, surveyor nuclease assay, and next-generation sequencing (NGS). In the transduced cells, expression of VEGFR2 and VEGF-stimulated signaling events (e.g., Akt phosphorylation) were determined by Western blot analyses; VEGF-induced cellular responses (proliferation, migration, and tube formation) were examined. Results: In the VEGFR2-sgRNA/SpCas9-transduced HRECs, Sanger DNA sequencing indicated that there were mutations, and NGS demonstrated that there were 83.57% insertion and deletions in the genomic VEGFR2 locus; expression of VEGFR2 was depleted in the VEGFR2-sgRNA/SpCas9-transduced HRECs. In addition, there were lower levels of Akt phosphorylation in HRECs with VEGFR2-sgRNA/SpCas9 than those with LacZ-sgRNA/SpCas9, and there was less VEGF-stimulated Akt activation, proliferation, migration, or tube formation in the VEGFR2-depleted HRECs than those treated with aflibercept or ranibizumab. Conclusions: The CRISPR-SpCas9 technology is a potential novel approach to prevention of pathologic angiogenesis.
Pathological neovascularization, a leading cause of blindness, is seen in retinopathy of prematurity, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration. Using a mouse model of hypoxia-driven retinal neovascularization, we find that fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) administration suppresses, and FGF21 deficiency worsens, retinal neovessel growth. The protective effect of FGF21 against neovessel growth was abolished in adiponectin (APN)-deficient mice. FGF21 administration also decreased neovascular lesions in two models of neovascular age-related macular degeneration: very-low-density lipoprotein-receptor-deficient mice with retinal angiomatous proliferation and laser-induced choroidal neovascularization. FGF21 inhibited tumor necrosis α (TNF-α) expression but did not alter Vegfa expression in neovascular eyes. These data suggest that FGF21 may be a therapeutic target for pathologic vessel growth in patients with neovascular eye diseases, including retinopathy of prematurity, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration.
PURPOSE: To expand understanding of presentation, diagnosis, and outcomes of hemorrhagic occlusive retinal vasculitis (HORV). DESIGN: Retrospective case series. PARTICIPANTS: Thirty-six eyes of 23 patients. METHODS: The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) and the American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS) formed a joint task force to define clinical characteristics of HORV and to study its prevalence, cause, treatment, and outcomes. An online registry was established on both societies' web sites. Surveys were e-mailed to members of both societies soliciting cases of suspected HORV. A literature search was performed to uncover additional cases. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Historical data including intraoperative characteristics, images, treatment regimens, and visual and anatomic outcomes. RESULTS: Characteristic findings of HORV included unremarkable postoperative day 1 undilated examination, delayed-onset painless vision loss, mild anterior chamber and vitreous inflammation, sectoral retinal hemorrhages in areas of ischemia, and predilection for venules and peripheral involvement. Based on predetermined diagnostic criteria, 36 eyes of 23 patients were diagnosed with HORV. All eyes received intraocular vancomycin via intracameral bolus (33/36), via intravitreal injection (1/36), or through the irrigation bottle (2/36). Patients sought treatment with HORV 1 to 21 days after surgery or intravitreal injection. Visual results usually were poor: 22 of 36 eyes (61%) had 20/200 or worse visual acuity and 8 of 36 eyes (22%) had no light perception (NLP). Neovascular glaucoma developed in 20 of 36 eyes (56%). Seven eyes received additional intravitreal vancomycin after surgery; 5 of these 7 eyes had NLP visual acuity at the most recent examination. Three eyes received intravitreal corticosteroids and had final visual acuities of 20/40, 20/70, and hand movements. CONCLUSIONS: Hemorrhagic occlusive retinal vasculitis is a rare, potentially devastating condition that can develop after cataract surgery or intraocular injection. All cases in this series were associated with intraocular vancomycin. Disease course and findings suggest that HORV is caused by a delayed hypersensitivity reaction to vancomycin. Early treatment with corticosteroids likely is beneficial. Subsequently, anti-vascular endothelial growth factor injections and panretinal photocoagulation are important to prevent neovascular glaucoma, a common complication. Avoidance of additional intravitreal vancomycin is recommended if HORV is suspected.
PURPOSE: To report a novel presentation of dyskeratosis congenita masquerading as familial exudative vitreoretinopathy. METHODS: Observational case series involving single family and literature review. RESULTS: A brother and sister were diagnosed with familial exudative vitreoretinopathy at ages 4 and 2, respectively. Both patients were managed with laser photocoagulation. Eight years after the initial presentation, both siblings developed pancytopenia secondary to bone marrow failure. Laboratory work-up revealed severely shortened telomere length in both patients, and genetic testing revealed a missense mutation in the gene that encodes the reverse transcriptase component of telomerase, confirming the diagnosis of dyskeratosis congenita. The father of both children was a carrier of the same mutation, who exhibited marked retinal vascular tortuosity of the second-order vessels. CONCLUSION: Dyskeratosis congenita is a severe multisystem disorder, which should be considered in cases of pediatric exudative retinopathies with concurrent signs and/or symptoms of bone marrow failure.
BACKGROUND: Biomarker", a merged word of "biological marker", refers to a broad subcategory of medical signs that objectively indicate the state of health, and well-being of an individual. Biomarkers hold great promise for personalized medicine as information gained from diagnostic or progression markers can be used to tailor treatment to the individual for highly effective intervention in the disease process. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) has proved useful in identifying various biomarkers in ocular and systemic diseases. MAIN BODY: Spectral domain optical coherence tomography imaging-based biomarkers provide a valuable tool for detecting the earlier stages of the disease, tracking progression, and monitoring treatment response. The aim of this review article is to analyze various OCT based imaging biomarkers and their potential to be considered as surrogate endpoints for diabetic retinopathy, age related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and vitreomacular interface disorder. These OCT based surrogate markers have been classified as retinal structural alterations (macular central subfield thickness and cube average thickness); retinal ultrastructural alterations (disruption of external limiting membrane and ellipsoid zone, thinning of retinal nerve fiber layer and ganglion cell layer); intraretinal microangiopathic changes; choroidal surrogate endpoints; and vitreoretinal interface endpoints. CONCLUSION: OCT technology is changing very quickly and throughout this review there are some of the multiple possibilities that OCT based imaging biomarkers will be more useful in the near future for diagnosis, prognosticating disease progression and as endpoint in clinical trials.
BACKGROUND: Revesz syndrome is a telomere disorder in the dyskeratosis congenita (DKC) spectrum characterized by exudative retinopathy, bone marrow failure, neuroradiographic abnormalities, and integumentary findings. MATERIALS/METHODS: We report the ophthalmologic findings, documented by examinations under anesthesia with clinical photography and fluorescein angiography, as well as the systemic manifestations and genetic and molecular testing, in identical twins with Revesz syndrome, and compare and contrast these features to those of other pediatric retinal vasculopathies. RESULTS: Both twins exhibited widespread avascularity and anomalous vasculature of the retinal periphery, retinal telangiectasias, and exudation. One twin developed a combination exudative/tractional/rhegmatogenous retinal detachment, while the other exhibited a focal collection of buds of retinal neovascularization. Both twins developed bone marrow failure and were found to have cerebellar hypoplasia and widespread cerebral calcifications. Telomere testing in lymphocytes and granulocytes revealed telomere length less than the 1st percentile for age, and gene sequencing revealed a novel mutation in the TINF2 gene, resulting in the T284P TIN2 protein variant. CONCLUSIONS: We report ophthalmic findings in twins with Revesz syndrome due to a previously unreported mutation in TINF2 and propose that phenotypic and molecular overlaps between DKC spectrum disorders and pediatric retinal vasculopathies may reflect a shared pathophysiologic basis.
Vitreomacular adhesion (VMA) describes the adhesion of the posterior hyaloid face to the inner retina in any part of the macula. This can arise after incomplete separation of the posterior vitreous cortex from the macula during vitreous liquefaction. While the VMA may resolve spontaneously, a strong and persistent adhesion can lead to a variety of anatomical changes, including vitreomacular traction (VMT) and macular hole (MH). Both conditions can present with metamorphopsia and decreased vision. In cases of symptomatic VMT and full-thickness macular hole, pars plana vitrectomy has long been the standard of care. However, due to the possible surgical complications and need for postoperative care, many have searched for non-surgical options via pharmacologic vitreolysis. Ocriplasmin (Jetrea, Thrombogenics USA, Alcon/Novartis EU) is a recombinant protease approved in October 2012 for the treatment of symptomatic vitreomacular adhesion (VMA). There have been conflicting views on the safety of Ocriplasmin with changes in the ellipsoid zone seen on OCT and changes seen on ERG indicating photoreceptor damage. This publication reviews the efficacy and safety of ocriplasmin injection for VMA based on previously published data.