Retina

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.
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;218:279-287.Abstract
PURPOSE: This study evaluated the risk and risk factors for exudative retinal detachment (ERD) in ocular inflammatory diseases. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. METHODS: Patients with noninfectious ocular inflammation had been followed longitudinally between 1978 and 2007 at 4 US subspecialty uveitis centers. The main outcome measurements were occurrences of ERD and predictive factors. RESULTS: A total of 176 of 14,612 eyes with ocular inflammation presented with ERD. Among uveitis cases, Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome (VKH) (odds ratio [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, 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 the prevalence and incidence of ERD were observed for AC cells and vitreous cell activity. African Americans had significantly higher prevalence and incidence of ERD. CONCLUSIONS: Other ocular inflammatory conditions in addition to VKH syndrome and posterior scleritis were associated with increased risk of ERD, indicating that ERD does not necessarily dictate a diagnosis of VKH or posterior scleritis. In addition, the relationship between ERD and inflammatory severity factors implies that inflammation is a key predictive factor associated with developing ERD and requires early and vigorous control.
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.
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 .
Xue Y, Razafsky D, Hodzic D, Kefalov VJ. Mislocalization of cone nuclei impairs cone function in mice. FASEB J 2020;Abstract
The nuclei of cone photoreceptors are located on the apical side of the outer nuclear layer (ONL) in vertebrate retinas. However, the functional role of this evolutionarily conserved localization of cone nuclei is unknown. We previously showed that Linkers of the Nucleoskeleton to the Cytoskeleton (LINC complexes) are essential for the apical migration of cone nuclei during development. Here, we developed an efficient genetic strategy to disrupt cone LINC complexes in mice. Experiments with animals from both sexes revealed that disrupting cone LINC complexes resulted in mislocalization of cone nuclei to the basal side of ONL in mouse retina. This, in turn, disrupted cone pedicle morphology, and appeared to reduce the efficiency of synaptic transmission from cones to bipolar cells. Although we did not observe other developmental or phototransduction defects in cones with mislocalized nuclei, their dark adaptation was impaired, consistent with a deficiency in chromophore recycling. These findings demonstrate that the apical localization of cone nuclei in the ONL is required for the timely dark adaptation and efficient synaptic transmission in cone photoreceptors.
Costela FM, Pesudovs K, Sandberg MA, Weigel-DiFranco C, Woods RL. Validation of a vision-related activity scale for patients with retinitis pigmentosa. Health Qual Life Outcomes 2020;18(1):196.Abstract
PURPOSE: There have been few systematic reports of vision-related activity limitations of people with retinitis pigmentosa (RP). We report a merging of data from the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEI-VFQ) obtained in five previous studies. We asked whether the Vision Function Scale (VFS; Pesudovs et al., 2010) which was developed for cataract patients would apply in this new population (condition). METHODS: Five hundred ninety-four individuals completed a total of 1753 questionnaires, with 209 participants providing responses over at least 4 years. Rasch analysis showed that the 15-item VFS was poorly targeted. A new instrument created by adding four driving-related items to the VFS had better targeting. As an indirect validation, VFS-plus person scores were compared to visual field area measured using a Goldmann perimeter, to the summed score for the combined 30-2 and 30/60-1 Humphrey Field Analyzer programs (HFA), to 30-Hz full-field cone electroretinogram (ERG) amplitude, and to ETDRS visual acuity. Changes in VFS-plus person scores with age and between four common heredity groups were also examined. RESULTS: The Rasch model of responses to the 19 VFS-plus items had person and item separation of 2.66 and 24.43 respectively. The VFS-plus person scores were related to each vision measure (p < 0.001). Over a five-year period, there was a reduction in person scores of 0.5 logits (p < 0.001). Person scores fell by an average of 0.34 logits per decade (p < 0.0001). Participants with an X-linked hereditary pattern had, on average, lower person scores (p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The VFS-plus instrument quantified a highly-significant annual reduction in perceived vision-related ability over a five-year period. The outcome was consistent with clinical measures of vision, and detected lower perceived vision-related ability in participants with X-linked disease. It may be of use in future studies, but this needs to be tested in a representative population sample.
Li LH, Lee JC-Y, Leung HH, Lam WC, Fu Z, Lo ACY. Lutein Supplementation for Eye Diseases. Nutrients 2020;12(6)Abstract
Lutein is one of the few xanthophyll carotenoids that is found in high concentration in the macula of human retina. As synthesis of lutein within the human body is impossible, lutein can only be obtained from diet. It is a natural substance abundant in egg yolk and dark green leafy vegetables. Many basic and clinical studies have reported lutein's anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties in the eye, suggesting its beneficial effects on protection and alleviation of ocular diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinopathy of prematurity, myopia, and cataract. Most importantly, lutein is categorized as Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS), posing minimal side-effects upon long term consumption. In this review, we will discuss the chemical structure and properties of lutein as well as its application and safety as a nutritional supplement. Finally, the effects of lutein consumption on the aforementioned eye diseases will be reviewed.
Mac Grory B, Nackenoff A, Poli S, Spitzer MS, Nedelmann M, Guillon B, Preterre C, Chen CS, Lee AW, Yaghi S, Stretz C, Azher I, Paddock J, Bakaeva T, Greer DM, Shulman JG, Kowalski RG, Lavin P, Mistry E, Espaillat K, Furie K, Kirshner H, Schrag M. Intravenous Fibrinolysis for Central Retinal Artery Occlusion: A Cohort Study and Updated Patient-Level Meta-Analysis. Stroke 2020;51(7):2018-2025.Abstract
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Central retinal artery occlusion results in sudden, painless, usually permanent loss of vision in the affected eye. There is no proven, effective treatment to salvage visual acuity and a clear, unmet need for an effective therapy. In this work, we evaluated the efficacy of intravenous tissue-type plasminogen activator (IV alteplase) in a prospective cohort study and an updated systematic review and meta-analysis. METHODS: We enrolled consecutive patients with acute central retinal artery occlusion within 48 hours of symptoms onset and with a visual acuity of <20/200 from January 2009 until May 2019. The primary outcomes were safety and functional visual acuity recovery. We compared rates of visual recovery between those treated with alteplase within 4.5 hours of symptom onset to those who did not receive alteplase (including an analysis restricted to untreated patients presenting within the window for treatment). We incorporated these results into an updated systematic review and patient-level meta-analysis. RESULTS: We enrolled 112 patients, of whom 25 (22.3% of the cohort) were treated with IV alteplase. One patient had an asymptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage after IV alteplase treatment. Forty-four percent of alteplase-treated patients had recovery of visual acuity when treated within 4.5 hours versus 13.1% of those not treated with alteplase (=0.003) and 11.6% of those presenting within 4 hours who did not receive alteplase (=0.03). Our updated patient-level meta-analysis of 238 patients included 67 patients treated with alteplase within 4.5 hours since time last known well with a recovery rate of 37.3%. This favorably compares with a 17.7% recovery rate in those without treatment. In linear regression, earlier treatment correlated with a higher rate of visual recovery (=0.01). CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that the administration of intravenous alteplase within 4.5 hours of symptom onset is associated with a higher likelihood of a favorable visual outcome for acute central retinal artery occlusion. Our results strongly support proceeding to a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial.
Huckfeldt RM, Grigorian F, Place E, Comander JI, Vavvas D, Young LH, Yang P, Shurygina M, Pierce EA, Pennesi ME. Biallelic -associated retinal dystrophies: Expanding the mutational and clinical spectrum. Mol Vis 2020;26:423-433.Abstract
Purpose: To evaluate the phenotypic spectrum of autosomal recessive associated retinal dystrophies and assess genotypic associations. Methods: A retrospective multicenter study was performed of patients with biallelic -associated retinal dystrophies. Data including presenting symptoms and age, visual acuity, kinetic perimetry, full field electroretinogram, fundus examination, multimodal retinal imaging, and genotype were evaluated. Results: Nineteen eligible patients from 17 families were identified and ranged in age from 10 to 56 years at the most recent evaluation. Ten of the 21 unique variants identified were novel, and mutations within exon 2 accounted for nearly half of alleles across the cohort. Patients had clinical diagnoses of retinitis pigmentosa (13), cone-rod dystrophy (3), Leber congenital amaurosis (1), early-onset severe retinal dystrophy (1), and macular dystrophy (1). Macular atrophy was a common feature across the cohort. Symptom onset occurred between 4 and 30 years of age (mean 14.9 years, median 13 years), but there were clusters of onset age that correlated with the effects of mutations at a protein level. Patients with later-onset disease, including retinitis pigmentosa, had at least one missense variant in an exon 2 DCX domain. Conclusions: Biallelic mutations cause a broad spectrum of retinal disease. Exon 2 missense mutations are a significant contributor to disease and can be associated with a considerably later onset of retinitis pigmentosa than that typically associated with biallelic mutations.

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