Taub DG, Liu Q. The Role of Intraflagellar Transport in the Photoreceptor Sensory Cilium. Adv Exp Med Biol 2016;854:627-33.Abstract

The photoreceptor is a complex specialized cell in which a major component responsible for visual transduction is the photoreceptor sensory cilium (PSC). Building and maintenance of the PSC requires the transport of large proteins along microtubules that extend from the inner segments to the outer segments. A key process, termed intraflagellar transport (IFT), has been recognized as an essential phenomenon for photoreceptor development and maintenance, and exciting new studies have highlighted its importance in retinal and cilia related diseases. This review focuses on the important roles of IFT players, including motor proteins, IFT proteins, and photoreceptor-specific cargos in photoreceptor sensory cilium. In addition, specific IFT components that are involved in inherited human diseases are discussed.

Carvalho LS, Vandenberghe LH. Understanding Cone Photoreceptor Cell Death in Achromatopsia. Adv Exp Med Biol 2016;854:231-6.Abstract

Colour vision is only achieved in the presence of healthy and functional cone photoreceptors found in the retina. It is an essential component of human vision and usually the first complaint patients undergoing vision degeneration have is the loss of daylight colour vision. Therefore, an understanding of the biology and basic mechanisms behind cone death under the degenerative state of retinal dystrophies and how the activation of the apoptotic pathway is triggered will provide valuable knowledge. It will also have broader applications for a spectrum of visual disorders and will be critical for future advances in translational research.

Taibbi G, Kim JD, Bakir BH, Shenoy SR, Pearce WA, Taroyan G, Birdsong OC, Loucks EK, Vizzeri G. Correlation and Agreement Between Cirrus HD-OCT "RNFL Thickness Map" and Scan Circle Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Thickness Measurements. J Glaucoma 2016;25(2):208-16.Abstract

PURPOSE: To evaluate the correlation and agreement between optical coherence tomography (Cirrus HD-OCT) retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness map and scan circle RNFL thickness measurements. METHODS: ImageJ and custom Perl scripts were used to derive RNFL thickness measurements from RNFL thickness maps of optic disc scans of healthy and glaucomatous eyes. Average, quadrant, and clock-hour RNFL thickness of the map, and RNFL thickness of the areas inside/outside the scan circle were obtained. Correlation and agreement between RNFL thickness map and scan circle RNFL thickness measurements were evaluated using R and Bland-Altman plots, respectively. RESULTS: A total of 104 scans from 26 healthy eyes and 120 scans from 30 glaucomatous eyes were analyzed. RNFL thickness map and scan circle measurements were highly reproducible (eg, in healthy eyes, average RNFL thickness coefficients of variation were 2.14% and 2.52% for RNFL thickness map and scan circle, respectively) and highly correlated (0.55≤R≤0.98). In general, the scan circle provided greater RNFL thickness than the RNFL thickness map in corresponding sectors and the differences tended to increase as RNFL thickness increased. The width of the 95% limits of agreement ranged between 5.28 and 36.80 μm in healthy eyes, and between 11.69 and 42.89 μm in glaucomatous eyes. CONCLUSIONS: Despite good correlation between RNFL thickness map and scan circle measurements, agreement was generally poor, suggesting that RNFL thickness assessment over the entire scan area may provide additional clinically relevant information to the conventional scan circle analysis. In the absence of available measurements from the entire peripapillary region, the RNFL thickness maps can be used to investigate localized RNFL thinning in areas not intercepted by the scan circle.

Matsumoto H, Murakami Y, Kataoka K, Notomi S, Mantopoulos D, Trichonas G, Miller JW, Gregory MS, Ksander BR, Marshak-Rothstein A, Vavvas DG. Membrane-bound and soluble Fas ligands have opposite functions in photoreceptor cell death following separation from the retinal pigment epithelium. Cell Death Dis 2015;6:e1986.Abstract

Fas ligand (FasL) triggers apoptosis of Fas-positive cells, and previous reports described FasL-induced cell death of Fas-positive photoreceptors following a retinal detachment. However, as FasL exists in membrane-bound (mFasL) and soluble (sFasL) forms, and is expressed on resident microglia and infiltrating monocyte/macrophages, the current study examined the relative contribution of mFasL and sFasL to photoreceptor cell death after induction of experimental retinal detachment in wild-type, knockout (FasL-/-), and mFasL-only knock-in (ΔCS) mice. Retinal detachment in FasL-/- mice resulted in a significant reduction of photoreceptor cell death. In contrast, ΔCS mice displayed significantly more apoptotic photoreceptor cell death. Photoreceptor loss in ΔCS mice was inhibited by a subretinal injection of recombinant sFasL. Thus, Fas/FasL-triggered cell death accounts for a significant amount of photoreceptor cell loss following the retinal detachment. The function of FasL was dependent upon the form of FasL expressed: mFasL triggered photoreceptor cell death, whereas sFasL protected the retina, indicating that enzyme-mediated cleavage of FasL determines, in part, the extent of vision loss following the retinal detachment. Moreover, it also indicates that treatment with sFasL could significantly reduce photoreceptor cell loss in patients with retinal detachment.

Kundu J, Michaelson A, Talbot K, Baranov P, Young MJ, Carrier RL. Decellularized retinal matrix: natural platforms for human retinal progenitor cell culture. Acta Biomater 2015;Abstract

Tissue decellularization strategies have enabled engineering of scaffolds that preserve native extracellular matrix (ECM) structure and composition. In this study, we developed decellularized retina (decell-retina) thin films. We hypothesized that these films, mimicking the retina niche, would promote human retinal progenitor cell (hRPC) attachment, proliferation and differentiation. Retinas isolated from bovine eyes were decellularized using 1% w/v sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and pepsin digested. The resulting decell-retina was biochemically assayed for composition and cast dried to develop thin films. Attachment, viability, morphology, proliferation and gene expression of hRPC cultured on the films were studied in vitro. Biochemical analyses of decell-retina compared to native retina indicated the bulk of DNA (94%) was removed, while the majority of sulfated GAGs (55%), collagen (83%), hyaluronic acid (87%), and key growth factors were retained. The decell-retina films supported hRPC attachment and growth, with cell number increasing 1.5-fold over a week. RT-PCR analysis revealed hRPC expression of rhodopsin, rod outer membrane, neural retina-specific leucine zipper neural and cone-rod homeobox gene on decell-retina films, indicating photoreceptor development. In conclusion, novel decell-retina films show promise as potential substrates for culture and/or transplantation of retinal progenitor cells to treat retinal degenerative disorders.

Miller JB, Yonekawa Y, Eliott D, Kim IK, Kim LA, Loewenstein JI, Sobrin L, Young LH, Mukai S, Vavvas DG. Long-term Follow-up and Outcomes in Traumatic Macular Holes. Am J Ophthalmol 2015;160(6):1255-1258.e1.Abstract

PURPOSE: To review presenting characteristics, clinical course, and long-term visual and anatomic outcomes of patients with traumatic macular holes at a tertiary referral center. DESIGN: Retrospective case series. METHODS: Twenty-eight consecutive patients with traumatic macular holes at a single tertiary referral center were reviewed. In addition to visual acuities and treatments throughout the clinical course, specific dimensions of the macular hole, including diameters, height, configuration, shape, and the presence of a cuff of fluid, were examined using spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT). RESULTS: Twenty-eight patients were identified with a mean initial visual acuity (VA) of logMAR 1.3 (20/400) and a mean follow-up of 2.2 years. Eleven holes (39.3%) closed spontaneously in median 5.7 weeks. Eleven underwent vitrectomy with a median time to intervention of 35.1 weeks. Median time to surgery for the 5 eyes with successful hole closure was 11.0 weeks vs 56.3 weeks for the 6 eyes that failed to close (P = .02). VA improved in closed holes (P < .01), whether spontaneously (P < .01) or via vitrectomy (P = .04), but VA did not improve in holes that did not close (P = .22). There was no relation between initial OCT dimensions and final hole closure status, although there was a trend, which did not reach statistical significance, toward small dimensions for those that closed spontaneously. CONCLUSIONS: A fairly high spontaneous closure rate was observed, with a trend toward smaller OCT dimensions. We found no relationship between hole closure and the OCT characteristics of the hole. Surgical intervention was less successful at hole closure when elected after 3 months.

Thanos S, Böhm MRR, Meyer Zu Hörste M, Schmidt P-F. Retinal damage induced by mirror-reflected light from a laser pointer. BMJ Case Rep 2015;2015Abstract

The safety of laser pointers is a major public health issue since class I and II laser pointers are available worldwide and used as toys by children despite several reports cautioning such use. Here we present the first case of retinal injury caused by the laser beam of a toy laser pointer operated by a school boy and directed via the rear-view mirror of a bus into the eye of the driver. This case emphasises the great importance of cautious and appropriate use of low-energy laser pointers. Laser pointers of any class should not be made available to children because they are unlikely to understand the risks of such lasers when using them in play.

Sun Y, Ju M, Lin Z, Fredrick TW, Evans LP, Tian KT, Saba NJ, Morss PC, Pu WT, Chen J, Stahl A, Joyal J-S, Smith LEH. SOCS3 in retinal neurons and glial cells suppresses VEGF signaling to prevent pathological neovascular growth. Sci Signal 2015;8(395):ra94.Abstract

Neurons and glial cells in the retina contribute to neovascularization, or the formation of abnormal new blood vessels, in proliferative retinopathy, a condition that can lead to vision loss or blindness. We identified a mechanism by which suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3) in neurons and glial cells prevents neovascularization. We found that Socs3 expression was increased in the retinal ganglion cell and inner nuclear layers after oxygen-induced retinopathy. Mice with Socs3 deficiency in neuronal and glial cells had substantially reduced vaso-obliterated retinal areas and increased pathological retinal neovascularization in response to oxygen-induced retinopathy, suggesting that loss of neuronal/glial SOCS3 increased both retinal vascular regrowth and pathological neovascularization. Furthermore, retinal expression of Vegfa (which encodes vascular endothelial growth factor A) was higher in these mice than in Socs3 flox/flox controls, indicating that neuronal and glial SOCS3 suppressed Vegfa expression during pathological conditions. Lack of neuronal and glial SOCS3 resulted in greater phosphorylation and activation of STAT3, which led to increased expression of its gene target Vegfa, and increased endothelial cell proliferation. In summary, SOCS3 in neurons and glial cells inhibited the STAT3-mediated secretion of VEGF from these cells, which suppresses endothelial cell activation, resulting in decreased endothelial cell proliferation and angiogenesis. These results suggest that neuronal and glial cell SOCS3 limits pathological retinal angiogenesis by suppressing VEGF signaling.

Kovacs K, Marra KV, Yu G, Wagley S, Ma J, Teague GC, Nandakumar N, Lashkari K, Arroyo JG. Angiogenic and Inflammatory Vitreous Biomarkers Associated With Increasing Levels of Retinal Ischemia. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2015;56(11):6523-30.Abstract

PURPOSE: To characterize the angiogenic and inflammatory vitreous biomarker profiles in a spectrum of ischemic retinopathies, including neovascular glaucoma. METHODS: This institutional review board-approved study retrospectively analyzed 80 undiluted vitreous samples obtained during pars vitrectomy. The specimens were frozen (-80°C) and sent for concentration analysis of 34 proteins by Bio-Plex Pro assays. Specimens were divided into four groups: patients undergoing epiretinal membrane (ERM) peeling and/or macular hole (MH) surgery with no history of diabetes (non-DM group), patients undergoing ERM peeling, and/or MH surgery with a history of diabetes (DM group), patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR group), and patients with neovascular glaucoma (NVG group). Parametric and nonparametric analyses of demographics and cytokine levels were performed using SPSS. RESULTS: There were no significant differences in demographics among cohorts. Numerous proteins were significantly elevated between non-DM and DM (G-CSF, sCD40L, Endoglin, IL-6, placental growth factor [PlGF], VEGF-D), DM and PDR (leptin, IL-8, PlGF, VEGF-A), and PDR and NVG (G-CSF, leptin, TIE-2, sCD40L, EGF, HB-EGF, IL-6, IL-8, PlGF, TNF-α). Only PlGF was significantly elevated between each successive cohort. The most potent drivers of NVG were PlGF, VEGF-A, IL-6, and IL-8. CONCLUSIONS: While the role of angioproliferative growth factors is well documented in ischemic retinopathy, our study delineates the importance of inflammatory and previously underreported angiogenic proteins. It also demonstrates a significant incremental increase in certain factors with increasing levels of ischemia. Both of these findings may guide the development of future therapies for ischemic retinopathies.

Hellgren G, Löfqvist C, Hård A-L, Hansen-Pupp I, Gram M, Ley D, Smith LE, Hellström A. Serum concentrations of vascular endothelial growth factor in relation to retinopathy of prematurity. Pediatr Res 2015;Abstract

BACKGROUND: The role of VEGF in the pathogenesis of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) has been clearly established. However, little is known about temporal changes in circulating VEGF concentrations in the preterm infant. The objective was to determine the longitudinal serum concentrations of VEGF in relation to ROP. METHODS: This study included 52 infants born at <31 weeks gestational age (non-ROP n=33, non-proliferative ROP n=10, treated for ROP n=9). VEGF concentrations were analyzed in blood samples collected at birth, at 3 days postnatal age, and then weekly until at least a gestational age of 35 weeks. RESULTS: VEGF concentrations at birth did not differ between groups, independent of later ROP status. In contrast, VEGF serum concentrations were significantly higher at first detection of ROP in infants who were later treated for ROP compared to infants without ROP. At the time of laser therapy, serum VEGF concentrations did not differ between groups. CONCLUSION: Circulatory concentrations of VEGF, in infants who later developed severe ROP, were elevated at the time when ROP first was detected but not at the time when current treatment most often occurred. This supports the need for further studies of circulating VEGF in relation to the timing of ROP treatment.Pediatric Research (2015); doi:10.1038/pr.2015.181.

Liu Y, Magro C, Loewenstein JI, Makar RS, Stowell CP, Dzik WH, Hochberg EP, Oaklander AL, Sobrin L. A Man with Paraneoplastic Retinopathy plus Small Fiber Polyneuropathy Associated with Waldenström Macroglobulinemia (Lymphoplasmacytic Lymphoma): Insights into Mechanisms. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2015;23(5):405-9.Abstract
PURPOSE: To report a well-characterized Waldenström's macroglobulinemia (WM) case that provides insight into the mechanisms of two paraneoplastic complications -- cancer-associated retinopathy (CAR) and small fiber polyneuropathy (SFPN). METHODS: Retrospective medical chart review. RESULTS: A 58-year old man with WM developed vision loss and bilateral lower extremity pain. CAR was diagnosed by history, a depressed electroretinogram (ERG) and positive anti-retinal antibodies. SFPN diagnosis was based on abnormal autonomic nerve function testing and a distal-leg skin biopsy that demonstrated absent epidermal small-fiber innervation, IgM and complement deposition and microvasculopathy. Plasma exchange (PLEX) led to dramatic pain relief and subjective improvement in eye symptoms along with improvement of some ERG parameters. Repeat skin biopsy after treatment showed less microvascular abnormalities and decreased complement deposition. CONCLUSIONS: The concurrence of CAR and SFPN in this patient suggest that both were complications of WM and their common response to PLEX suggests co-mediation by humoral factors that accessed target antigens through IgM-triggered, complement-mediated vascular damage.