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  • Exploring choroidal angioarchitecture in health and disease using choroidal vascularity index
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2020-01-10
    Rupesh Agrawal; Jianbin Ding; Parveen Sen; Andres Rousselot; Amy Chan; Lisa Nivison-Smith; Xin Wei; Sarakshi Mahajan; Ramasamy Kim; Chitaranjan Mishra; Manisha Agarwal; Min Hee Suh; Saurabh Luthra; Marion R. Munk; Carol Y. Cheung; Vishali Gupta

    The choroid is one of the most vascularized structures of the human body and plays an irreplaceable role in nourishing photoreceptors. As such, choroidal dysfunction is implicated in a multitude of ocular diseases. Studying the choroid can lead to a better understanding of disease pathogenesis, progression and discovery of novel management strategies. However, current research has produced inconsistent findings, partly due to the physical inaccessibility of the choroid and the lack of reliable biomarkers. With the advancements in optical coherence tomography technology, our group has developed a novel quantitative imaging biomarker known as the choroidal vascularity index (CVI), defined as the ratio of vascular area to the total choroidal area. CVI is a potential tool in establishing early diagnoses, monitoring disease progression and prognosticating patients. CVI has been reported in existing literature as a robust marker in numerous retinal and choroidal diseases. In this review, we will discuss the current role of CVI with reference to existing literature, and make postulations about its potential and future applications.

  • Interpretation of OCT and OCTA images from a histological approach: clinical and experimental implications.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2020-01-03
    Nicolás Cuenca; Isabel Ortuño-Lizarán; Xavier Sánchez-Sáez; Oksana Kutsyr; Henar Albertos-Arranz; Laura Fernández-Sánchez; Natalia Martínez-Gil; Agustina Noailles; José Antonio López-Garrido; Maribel López-Gálvez; Pedro Lax; Victoria Maneu; Isabel Pinilla

    Optical coherence tomography (OCT) and OCT angiography (OCTA) have been a technological breakthrough in the diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of many retinal diseases, thanks to its resolution and its ability to inform of the retinal state in seconds, which gives relevant information about retinal degeneration. In this review, we present an immunohistochemical description of the human and mice retina and we correlate it with the OCT bands in health and pathological conditions. Here, we propose an interpretation of the four outer hyperreflective OCT bands with a correspondence to retinal histology: the first and innermost band as the external limiting membrane (ELM), the second band as the cone ellipsoid zone (EZ), the third band as the outer segment tips phagocytosed by the pigment epithelium (PhaZ), and the fourth band as the mitochondria in the basal portion of the RPE (RPEmitZ). The integrity of these bands would reflect the health of photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelium. Moreover, we describe how the vascular plexuses vary in different regions of the healthy human and mice retina, using OCTA and immunohistochemistry. In humans, four, three, two or one plexuses can be observed depending on the distance from the fovea. Also, specific structures such as vascular loops in the intermediate capillary plexus, or spider-like structures of interconnected capillaries in the deep capillary plexus are found. In mice, three vascular plexuses occupy the whole retina, except in the most peripheral retina where only two plexuses are found. These morphological issues should be considered when assessing a pathology, as some retinal diseases are associated with structural changes in blood vessels. Therefore, the analysis of OCT bands and OCTA vascular plexuses may be complementary for the diagnosis and prognosis of retinal degenerative processes, useful to assess therapeutic approaches, and it is usually correlated to visual acuity.

  • Age-related macular degeneration: A two-level model hypothesis
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-12-30
    Maarten P. Rozing; Jon A. Durhuus; Marie Krogh Nielsen; Yousif Subhi; Thomas BL. Kirkwood; Rudi GJ. Westendorp; Torben Lykke Sørensen

    Age-related diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), are of growing importance in a world where population ageing has become a dominant global trend. Although a wide variety of risk factors for AMD have been identified, age itself remains by far the most important risk factor, making it an urgent priority to understand the connections between underlying ageing mechanisms and pathophysiology of AMD. Ageing is both multicausal and variable, so that differences between individuals in biological ageing processes are the focus of a growing number of pathophysiological studies seeking to explain how ageing contributes to chronic, age-related conditions. The aim of this review is to integrate the available knowledge on the pathophysiology of AMD within the framework of the biology of ageing. One highly significant feature of biological ageing is systemic inflammation, which arises as a second-level response to a first level of molecular damage involving oxidative stress, mutations etc. Combining these insights, the various co-existing pathophysiological explanations in AMD arrange themselves according to a two-level hypothesis. Accordingly, we describe how AMD can be considered the consequence of age-related random accumulation of molecular damage at the ocular level and the subsequent systemic inflammatory host response thereof. We summarize evidence and provide original data to enlighten where evidence is lacking. Finally, we discuss how this two-level hypothesis provides a foundation for thoughts and future studies in prevention, prognosis, and intervention.

  • Progress in treating inherited retinal diseases: Early subretinal gene therapy clinical trials and candidates for future initiatives
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-12-30
    Alexandra V. Garafalo; Artur V. Cideciyan; Elise Heon; Rebecca Sheplock; Alexander Pearson; Caberry WeiYang Yu; Alexander Sumaroka; Gustavo D. Aguirre; Samuel G. Jacobson

    Due to improved phenotyping and genetic characterization, the field of ‘incurable’ and ‘blinding’ inherited retinal diseases (IRDs) has moved substantially forward. Decades of ascertainment of IRD patient data from Philadelphia and Toronto centers illustrate the progress from Mendelian genetic types to molecular diagnoses. Molecular genetics have been used not only to clarify diagnoses and to direct counseling but also to enable the first clinical trials of gene-based treatment in these diseases. An overview of the recent reports of gene augmentation clinical trials by subretinal injections is used to reflect on the reasons why there has been limited success in this early venture into therapy. These first-in human experiences have taught that there is a need for advancing the techniques of delivery of the gene products - not only for refining further subretinal trials, but also for evaluating intravitreal delivery. Candidate IRDs for intravitreal gene delivery are then suggested to illustrate some of the disorders that may be amenable to improvement of remaining central vision with the least photoreceptor trauma. A more detailed understanding of the human IRDs to be considered for therapy and the calculated potential for efficacy should be among the routine prerequisites for initiating a clinical trial.

  • Mystery Eye: Human Adenovirus and the Enigma of Epidemic Keratoconjunctivitis
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-12-28
    Rahul A. Jonas; Lawson Ung; Jaya Rajaiya; James Chodosh

    Known to occur in widespread outbreaks, epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC) is a severe ocular surface infection with a strong historical association with human adenovirus (HAdV). While the conjunctival manifestations can vary from mild follicular conjunctivitis to hyper-acute, exudative conjunctivitis with formation of conjunctival membranes, EKC is distinct as the only form of adenovirus conjunctivitis in which the cornea is also involved, likely due to specific corneal epithelial tropism of its causative viral agents. The initial development of a punctate or geographic epithelial keratitis may herald the later formation of stromal keratitis, and manifest as subepithelial infiltrates which often persist or recur for months to years after the acute infection has resolved. The chronic keratitis in EKC is associated with foreign body sensation, photophobia, glare, and reduced vision. However, over a century since the first clinical descriptions of EKC, and over 60 years since the first causative agent, human adenovirus type 8, was identified, our understanding of this disorder remains limited. This is underscored by a current lack of effective diagnostic tools and treatments. In part, stasis in our knowledge base has been encouraged by the continued acceptance, and indeed propagation of, inaccurate paradigms pertaining to disease etiology and pathogenesis, particularly with regard to mechanisms of innate and adaptive immunity within the cornea. Owing to its often persistent and medically refractory visual sequelae, reconsideration of key aspects of EKC disease biology is warranted to identify new treatment targets to curb its worldwide socioeconomic burden.

    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-12-14
    Iqbal Ahmad; Pooja Teotia; Helen Erickson; Xiaohuan Xia

    Degeneration of specific retinal neurons in diseases like glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and retinitis pigmentosa is the leading cause of irreversible blindness. Currently, there is no therapy to modify the disease-associated degenerative changes. With the advancement in our knowledge about the mechanisms that regulate the development of the vertebrate retina, the approach to treat blinding diseases through regenerative medicine appears a near possibility. Recapitulation of developmental mechanisms is critical for reproducibly generating cells in either 2D or 3D culture of pluripotent stem cells for retinal repair and disease modeling. It is the key for unlocking the neurogenic potential of Müller glia in the adult retina for therapeutic regeneration. Here, we examine the current status and potential of the regenerative medicine approach for the retina in the backdrop of developmental mechanisms.

  • Evolution of the genes mediating phototransduction in rod and cone photoreceptors
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-11-29
    Trevor D. Lamb

    This paper reviews current knowledge of the evolution of the multiple genes encoding proteins that mediate the process of phototransduction in rod and cone photoreceptors of vertebrates. The approach primarily involves molecular phylogenetic analysis of phototransduction protein sequences, combined with analysis of the syntenic arrangement of the genes. At least 35 of these phototransduction genes appear to reside on no more than five paralogons – paralogous regions that each arose from a common ancestral region. Furthermore, it appears that such paralogs arose through quadruplication during the two rounds of genome duplication (2R WGD) that occurred in a chordate ancestor prior to the vertebrate radiation, probably around 600 millions years ago. For several components of the phototransduction cascade, it is shown that distinct isoforms already existed prior to WGD, with the likely implication that separate classes of scotopic and photopic photoreceptor cells had already evolved by that stage. The subsequent quadruplication of the entire genome then permitted the refinement of multiple distinct protein isoforms in rods and cones. A unified picture of the likely pattern and approximate timing of all the important gene duplications is synthesised, and the implications for our understanding of the evolution of rod and cone phototransduction are presented.

  • Contact lens-related corneal infection: Intrinsic resistance and its compromise
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-11-20
    Suzanne M.J. Fleiszig, Abby R. Kroken, Vincent Nieto, Melinda R. Grosser, Stephanie J. Wan, Matteo M.E. Metruccio, David J. Evans

    Contact lenses represent a widely utilized form of vision correction with more than 140 million wearers worldwide. Although generally well-tolerated, contact lenses can cause corneal infection (microbial keratitis), with an approximate annualized incidence ranging from ∼2 to ∼20 cases per 10,000 wearers, and sometimes resulting in permanent vision loss. Research suggests that the pathogenesis of contact lens-associated microbial keratitis is complex and multifactorial, likely requiring multiple conspiring factors that compromise the intrinsic resistance of a healthy cornea to infection. Here, we outline our perspective of the mechanisms by which contact lens wear sometimes renders the cornea susceptible to infection, focusing primarily on our own research efforts during the past three decades. This has included studies of host factors underlying the constitutive barrier function of the healthy cornea, its response to bacterial challenge when intrinsic resistance is not compromised, pathogen virulence mechanisms, and the effects of contact lens wear that alter the outcome of host-microbe interactions. For almost all of this work, we have utilized the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa because it is the leading cause of lens-related microbial keratitis. While not yet common among corneal isolates, clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa have emerged that are resistant to virtually all currently available antibiotics, leading the United States CDC (Centers for Disease Control) to add P. aeruginosa to its list of most serious threats. Compounding this concern, the development of advanced contact lenses for biosensing and augmented reality, together with the escalating incidence of myopia, could portent an epidemic of vision-threatening corneal infections in the future. Thankfully, technological advances in genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and imaging combined with emerging models of contact lens-associated P. aeruginosa infection hold promise for solving the problem - and possibly life-threatening infections impacting other tissues.

  • Deep learning in ophthalmology: The technical and clinical considerations
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-04-29
    Daniel S.W. Ting, Lily Peng, Avinash V. Varadarajan, Pearse A. Keane, Philippe M. Burlina, Michael F. Chiang, Leopold Schmetterer, Louis R. Pasquale, Neil M. Bressler, Dale R. Webster, Michael Abramoff, Tien Y. Wong

    The advent of computer graphic processing units, improvement in mathematical models and availability of big data has allowed artificial intelligence (AI) using machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL) techniques to achieve robust performance for broad applications in social-media, the internet of things, the automotive industry and healthcare. DL systems in particular provide improved capability in image, speech and motion recognition as well as in natural language processing. In medicine, significant progress of AI and DL systems has been demonstrated in image-centric specialties such as radiology, dermatology, pathology and ophthalmology. New studies, including pre-registered prospective clinical trials, have shown DL systems are accurate and effective in detecting diabetic retinopathy (DR), glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), retinopathy of prematurity, refractive error and in identifying cardiovascular risk factors and diseases, from digital fundus photographs. There is also increasing attention on the use of AI and DL systems in identifying disease features, progression and treatment response for retinal diseases such as neovascular AMD and diabetic macular edema using optical coherence tomography (OCT). Additionally, the application of ML to visual fields may be useful in detecting glaucoma progression. There are limited studies that incorporate clinical data including electronic health records, in AL and DL algorithms, and no prospective studies to demonstrate that AI and DL algorithms can predict the development of clinical eye disease. This article describes global eye disease burden, unmet needs and common conditions of public health importance for which AI and DL systems may be applicable. Technical and clinical aspects to build a DL system to address those needs, and the potential challenges for clinical adoption are discussed. AI, ML and DL will likely play a crucial role in clinical ophthalmology practice, with implications for screening, diagnosis and follow up of the major causes of vision impairment in the setting of ageing populations globally.

  • Immune privilege in corneal transplantation
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-04-20
    Junko Hori, Takefumi Yamaguchi, Hiroshi Keino, Pedram Hamrah, Kazuichi Maruyama

    Corneal transplantation is the most successful solid organ transplantation performed in humans. The extraordinary success of orthotopic corneal allografts, in both humans and experimental animals, is related to the phenomenon of “immune privilege”. Inflammation is self-regulated to preserve ocular functions because the eye has immune privilege. At present, three major mechanisms are considered to provide immune privilege in corneal transplantation: 1) anatomical, cellular, and molecular barriers in the cornea; 2) tolerance related to anterior chamber-associated immune deviation and regulatory T cells; and 3) an immunosuppressive intraocular microenvironment. This review describes the mechanisms of immune privilege that have been elucidated from animal models of ocular inflammation, especially those involving corneal transplantation, and its relevance for the clinic. An update on molecular, cellular, and neural interactions in local and systemic immune regulation is provided. Therapeutic strategies for restoring immune privilege are also discussed.

  • Neoplasia and intraocular inflammation: From masquerade syndromes to immunotherapy-induced uveitis
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-05-12
    Sara Touhami, Isabelle Audo, Céline Terrada, Alain Gaudric, Phuc LeHoang, Valérie Touitou, Bahram Bodaghi

    Masquerade syndromes represent a large set of ophthalmological entities that mimic inflammatory conditions. Any delay in their diagnosis may be correlated with systemic dissemination or worsening of the causal disease and, therefore, with poor prognosis. One of the disadvantages of the new potent treatments of uveitis is the delay that they can induce in the diagnosis of neoplastic intraocular infiltrations. Thorough and careful clinical examination of all patients referred for uveitis, especially when they are Caucasian, over 50 years of age, and with posterior segment involvement, is of paramount importance in this context. Ancillary investigations and often-invasive histo-pathologic evaluation of tissue specimens or ocular fluids are regularly required in these situations. The most common masquerade syndrome is primary vitreoretinal lymphoma (PVRL). New molecular diagnostic tools may be helpful in challenging cases lacking cytological confirmation. Therapeutic strategies targeting tumoral cells in the eye and also in the central nervous system can improve the life expectancy of affected patients. In this review, we discuss diagnostic strategies and current therapies in PVRL and provide an overview of other conditions that can mimic primary ocular inflammation, especially in the field of oncology and its new therapeutic armamentarium.

  • Human vitreous in proliferative diabetic retinopathy: Characterization and translational implications
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-04-02
    Imtiaz M. Nawaz, Sara Rezzola, Anna Cancarini, Andrea Russo, Ciro Costagliola, Francesco Semeraro, Marco Presta

    Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is one of the leading causes of visual impairment in the working-age population. DR is a progressive eye disease caused by long-term accumulation of hyperglycaemia-mediated pathological alterations in the retina of diabetic patients. DR begins with asymptomatic retinal abnormalities and may progress to advanced-stage proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), characterized by neovascularization or preretinal/vitreous haemorrhages. The vitreous, a transparent gel that fills the posterior cavity of the eye, plays a vital role in maintaining ocular function. Structural and molecular alterations of the vitreous, observed during DR progression, are consequences of metabolic and functional modifications of the retinal tissue. Thus, vitreal alterations reflect the pathological events occurring at the vitreoretinal interface. These events are caused by hypoxic, oxidative, inflammatory, neurodegenerative, and leukostatic conditions that occur during diabetes. Conversely, PDR vitreous can exert pathological effects on the diabetic retina, resulting in activation of a vicious cycle that contributes to disease progression. In this review, we recapitulate the major pathological features of DR/PDR, and focus on the structural and molecular changes that characterize the vitreal structure and composition during DR and progression to PDR. In PDR, vitreous represents a reservoir of pathological signalling molecules. Therefore, in this review we discuss how studying the biological activity of the vitreous in different in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo experimental models can provide insights into the pathogenesis of PDR. In addition, the vitreous from PDR patients can represent a novel tool to obtain preclinical experimental evidences for the development and characterization of new therapeutic drug candidates for PDR therapy.

  • Voltage- and calcium-gated ion channels of neurons in the vertebrate retina
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-05-10
    Matthew J. Van Hook, Scott Nawy, Wallace B. Thoreson

    In this review, we summarize studies investigating the types and distribution of voltage- and calcium-gated ion channels in the different classes of retinal neurons: rods, cones, horizontal cells, bipolar cells, amacrine cells, interplexiform cells, and ganglion cells. We discuss differences among cell subtypes within these major cell classes, as well as differences among species, and consider how different ion channels shape the responses of different neurons. For example, even though second-order bipolar and horizontal cells do not typically generate fast sodium-dependent action potentials, many of these cells nevertheless possess fast sodium currents that can enhance their kinetic response capabilities. Ca2+ channel activity can also shape response kinetics as well as regulating synaptic release. The L-type Ca2+ channel subtype, CaV1.4, expressed in photoreceptor cells exhibits specific properties matching the particular needs of these cells such as limited inactivation which allows sustained channel activity and maintained synaptic release in darkness. The particular properties of K+ and Cl− channels in different retinal neurons shape resting membrane potentials, response kinetics and spiking behavior. A remaining challenge is to characterize the specific distributions of ion channels in the more than 100 individual cell types that have been identified in the retina and to describe how these particular ion channels sculpt neuronal responses to assist in the processing of visual information by the retina.

  • Cellular mechanisms of hereditary photoreceptor degeneration – Focus on cGMP
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-07-30
    Michael Power, Soumyaparna Das, Karin Schütze, Valeria Marigo, Per Ekström, François Paquet-Durand

    The cellular mechanisms underlying hereditary photoreceptor degeneration are still poorly understood, a problem that is exacerbated by the enormous genetic heterogeneity of this disease group. However, the last decade has yielded a wealth of new knowledge on degenerative pathways and their diversity. Notably, a central role of cGMP-signalling has surfaced for photoreceptor cell death triggered by a subset of disease-causing mutations. In this review, we examine key aspects relevant for photoreceptor degeneration of hereditary origin. The topics covered include energy metabolism, epigenetics, protein quality control, as well as cGMP- and Ca2+-signalling, and how the related molecular and metabolic processes may trigger photoreceptor demise. We compare and integrate evidence on different cell death mechanisms that have been associated with photoreceptor degeneration, including apoptosis, necrosis, necroptosis, and PARthanatos. A special focus is then put on the mechanisms of cGMP-dependent cell death and how exceedingly high photoreceptor cGMP levels may cause activation of Ca2+-dependent calpain-type proteases, histone deacetylases and poly-ADP-ribose polymerase. An evaluation of the available literature reveals that a large group of patients suffering from hereditary photoreceptor degeneration carry mutations that are likely to trigger cGMP-dependent cell death, making this pathway a prime target for future therapy development. Finally, an outlook is given into technological and methodological developments that will with time likely contribute to a comprehensive overview over the entire metabolic complexity of photoreceptor cell death. Building on such developments, new imaging technology and novel biomarkers may be used to develop clinical test strategies, that fully consider the genetic heterogeneity of hereditary retinal degenerations, in order to facilitate clinical testing of novel treatment approaches.

  • Cholinergic nervous system and glaucoma: From basic science to clinical applications
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-06-23
    Muneeb A. Faiq, Gadi Wollstein, Joel S. Schuman, Kevin C. Chan

    The cholinergic system has a crucial role to play in visual function. Although cholinergic drugs have been a focus of attention as glaucoma medications for reducing eye pressure, little is known about the potential modality for neuronal survival and/or enhancement in visual impairments. Citicoline, a naturally occurring compound and FDA approved dietary supplement, is a nootropic agent that is recently demonstrated to be effective in ameliorating ischemic stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, cerebrovascular diseases, memory disorders and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in both humans and animal models. The mechanisms of its action appear to be multifarious including (i) preservation of cardiolipin, sphingomyelin, and arachidonic acid contents of phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine, (ii) restoration of phosphatidylcholine, (iii) stimulation of glutathione synthesis, (iv) lowering glutamate concentrations and preventing glutamate excitotoxicity, (v) rescuing mitochondrial function thereby preventing oxidative damage and onset of neuronal apoptosis, (vi) synthesis of myelin leading to improvement in neuronal membrane integrity, (vii) improving acetylcholine synthesis and thereby reducing the effects of mental stress and (viii) preventing endothelial dysfunction. Such effects have vouched for citicoline as a neuroprotective, neurorestorative and neuroregenerative agent. Retinal ganglion cells are neurons with long myelinated axons which provide a strong rationale for citicoline use in visual pathway disorders. Since glaucoma is a form of neurodegeneration involving retinal ganglion cells, citicoline may help ameliorate glaucomatous damages in multiple facets. Additionally, trans-synaptic degeneration has been identified in humans and experimental models of glaucoma suggesting the cholinergic system as a new brain target for glaucoma management and therapy.

  • Persistent remodeling and neurodegeneration in late-stage retinal degeneration
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-07-26
    Rebecca L. Pfeiffer, Robert E. Marc, Bryan William Jones

    Retinal remodeling is a progressive series of negative plasticity revisions that arise from retinal degeneration, and are seen in retinitis pigmentosa, age-related macular degeneration and other forms of retinal disease. These processes occur regardless of the precipitating event leading to degeneration. Retinal remodeling then culminates in a late-stage neurodegeneration that is indistinguishable from progressive central nervous system (CNS) proteinopathies. Following long-term deafferentation from photoreceptor cell death in humans, and long-lived animal models of retinal degeneration, most retinal neurons reprogram, then die. Glial cells reprogram into multiple anomalous metabolic phenotypes. At the same time, survivor neurons display degenerative inclusions that appear identical to progressive CNS neurodegenerative disease, and contain aberrant α-synuclein (α-syn) and phosphorylated α-syn. In addition, ultrastructural analysis indicates a novel potential mechanism for misfolded protein transfer that may explain how proteinopathies spread. While neurodegeneration poses a barrier to prospective retinal interventions that target primary photoreceptor loss, understanding the progression and time-course of retinal remodeling will be essential for the establishment of windows of therapeutic intervention and appropriate tuning and design of interventions. Finally, the development of protein aggregates and widespread neurodegeneration in numerous retinal degenerative diseases positions the retina as a ideal platform for the study of proteinopathies, and mechanisms of neurodegeneration that drive devastating CNS diseases.

  • Central serous chorioretinopathy: Towards an evidence-based treatment guideline
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-07-15
    Thomas J. van Rijssen, Elon H.C. van Dijk, Suzanne Yzer, Kyoko Ohno-Matsui, Jan E.E. Keunen, Reinier O. Schlingemann, Sobha Sivaprasad, Giuseppe Querques, Susan M. Downes, Sascha Fauser, Carel B. Hoyng, Felice Cardillo Piccolino, Jay K. Chhablani, Timothy Y.Y. Lai, Andrew J. Lotery, Michael Larsen, Frank G. Holz, K. Bailey Freund, Camiel J.F. Boon

    Central serous chorioretinopathy (CSC) is a common cause of central vision loss, primarily affecting men 20–60 years of age. To date, no consensus has been reached regarding the classification of CSC, and a wide variety of interventions have been proposed, reflecting the controversy associated with treating this disease. The recent publication of appropriately powered randomised controlled trials such as the PLACE trial, as well as large retrospective, non-randomised treatment studies regarding the treatment of CSC suggest the feasibility of a more evidence-based approach when considering treatment options. The aim of this review is to provide a comprehensive overview of the current rationale and evidence with respect to the variety of interventions available for treating CSC, including pharmacology, laser treatment, and photodynamic therapy. In addition, we describe the complexity of CSC, the challenges associated with treating CSC, and currently ongoing studies. Many treatment strategies such as photodynamic therapy using verteporfin, oral mineralocorticoid antagonists, and micropulse laser treatment have been reported as being effective. Currently, however, the available evidence suggests that half-dose (or half-fluence) photodynamic therapy should be the treatment of choice in chronic CSC, whereas observation may be the preferred approach in acute CSC. Nevertheless, exceptions can be considered based upon patient-specific characteristics.

  • Axon injury signaling and compartmentalized injury response in glaucoma
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-07-10
    Stephanie B. Syc-Mazurek, Richard T. Libby

    Axonal degeneration is an active, highly controlled process that contributes to beneficial processes, such as developmental pruning, but also to neurodegeneration. In glaucoma, ocular hypertension leads to vision loss by killing the output neurons of the retina, the retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Multiple processes have been proposed to contribute to and/or mediate axonal injury in glaucoma, including: neuroinflammation, loss of neurotrophic factors, dysregulation of the neurovascular unit, and disruption of the axonal cytoskeleton. While the inciting injury to RGCs in glaucoma is complex and potentially heterogeneous, axonal injury is ultimately thought to be the key insult that drives glaucomatous neurodegeneration. Glaucomatous neurodegeneration is a complex process, with multiple molecular signals contributing to RGC somal loss and axonal degeneration. Furthermore, the propagation of the axonal injury signal is complex, with injury triggering programs of degeneration in both the somal and axonal compartment. Further complicating this process is the involvement of multiple cell types that are known to participate in the process of axonal and neuronal degeneration after glaucomatous injury. Here, we review the axonal signaling that occurs after injury and the molecular signaling programs currently known to be important for somal and axonal degeneration after glaucoma-relevant axonal injuries.

  • Immune reactions after modern lamellar (DALK, DSAEK, DMEK) versus conventional penetrating corneal transplantation
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-07-03
    Deniz Hos, Mario Matthaei, Felix Bock, Kazuichi Maruyama, Maria Notara, Thomas Clahsen, Yanhong Hou, Viet Nhat Hung Le, Ann-Charlott Salabarria, Jens Horstmann, Bjoern O. Bachmann, Claus Cursiefen

    In the past decade, novel lamellar keratoplasty techniques such as Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty (DALK) for anterior keratoplasty and Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK)/Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK) for posterior keratoplasty have been developed. DALK eliminates the possibility of endothelial allograft rejection, which is the main reason for graft failure after penetrating keratoplasty (PK). Compared to PK, the risk of endothelial graft rejection is significantly reduced after DSAEK/DMEK. Thus, with modern lamellar techniques, the clinical problem of endothelial graft rejection seems to be nearly solved in the low-risk situation. However, even with lamellar grafts there are epithelial, subepithelial and stromal immune reactions in DALK and endothelial immune reactions in DSAEK/DMEK, and not all keratoplasties can be performed in a lamellar fashion. Therefore, endothelial graft rejection in PK is still highly relevant, especially in the “high-risk” setting, where the cornea's (lymph)angiogenic and immune privilege is lost due to severe inflammation and pathological neovascularization. For these eyes, currently available treatment options are still unsatisfactory. In this review, we will describe currently used keratoplasty techniques, namely PK, DALK, DSAEK, and DMEK. We will summarize their indications, provide surgical descriptions, and comment on their complications and outcomes. Furthermore, we will give an overview on corneal transplant immunology. A specific focus will be placed on endothelial graft rejection and we will report on its incidence, clinical presentation, and current/future treatment and prevention options. Finally, we will speculate how the field of keratoplasty and prevention of corneal allograft rejection will develop in the future.

  • The transcription factor MITF in RPE function and dysfunction
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-06-23
    Xiaoyin Ma, Huirong Li, Yu Chen, Juan Yang, Huaicheng Chen, Heinz Arnheiter, Ling Hou

    Dysfunction and loss of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) are hallmarks of retinal degenerative diseases in mammals. A critical transcription factor for RPE development and function is the microphthalmia-associated transcription factor MITF and its germline mutations are associated with clinically distinct disorders, including albinism, microphthalmia, retinal degeneration, and increased risk of developing melanoma. Many studies have revealed new insights into central roles of MITF in RPE cell physiology, including melanogenesis, regulation of trophic factor expression, cell proliferation, anti-oxidant functions, and the visual cycle. In this review, we discuss the complex functional roles of MITF in RPE development, homeostasis, and retinal degeneration and touch upon key questions and challenges in neuroprotective strategies for retinal degenerative disorders associated with deficiencies in MITF or its many target genes.

  • Visual loss and recovery in chiasmal compression
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-06-14
    Helen V. Danesh-Meyer, Jinny J. Yoon, Mitchell Lawlor, Peter J. Savino

    Compression of the optic chiasm causes an optic neuropathy that may be associated with reversible visual loss often immediately following surgical decompression. While the precise pathogenesis of retinal ganglion cell impairment and eventual death remains poorly understood, a number of putative mechanisms may play a role. In this article we review the evidence supporting various stages of visual loss and recovery in chiasmal compression. These include conduction block, demyelination, ischemic insult, and retrograde and anterograde degeneration. We also describe novel advances in magnetic resonance imaging with specialized modalities such as diffusion tensor imaging have provided further information to explain the underlying mechanism of visual loss. Functional measures including electrophysiology are time-consuming but have shown moderate prognostic ability. Optical coherence tomography has provided novel new biomarkers for predicting outcome following surgical decompression. Both retinal nerve fiber layer thickness and ganglion cell complex thicknesses have shown to have excellent predictive power. Such advances serve to inform patients and clinicians of pre-operative factors that predict the extent of visual recovery following medical or surgical treatment of para-chiasmal lesions.

  • Conservative management of retinoblastoma: Challenging orthodoxy without compromising the state of metastatic grace. “Alive, with good vision and no comorbidity”
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-06-05
    Francis L. Munier, Maja Beck-Popovic, Guillermo L. Chantada, David Cobrinik, Tero T. Kivelä, Dietmar Lohmann, Philippe Maeder, Annette C. Moll, Angel Montero Carcaboso, Alexandre Moulin, Paula Schaiquevich, Ciara Bergin, Paul J. Dyson, Susan Houghton, Francesco Puccinelli, Yvan Vial, Marie-Claire Gaillard, Christina Stathopoulos

    Retinoblastoma is lethal by metastasis if left untreated, so the primary goal of therapy is to preserve life, with ocular survival, visual preservation and quality of life as secondary aims. Historically, enucleation was the first successful therapeutic approach to decrease mortality, followed over 100 years ago by the first eye salvage attempts with radiotherapy. This led to the empiric delineation of a window for conservative management subject to a “state of metastatic grace” never to be violated. Over the last two decades, conservative management of retinoblastoma witnessed an impressive acceleration of improvements, culminating in two major paradigm shifts in therapeutic strategy. Firstly, the introduction of systemic chemotherapy and focal treatments in the late 1990s enabled radiotherapy to be progressively abandoned. Around 10 years later, the advent of chemotherapy in situ, with the capitalization of new routes of targeted drug delivery, namely intra-arterial, intravitreal and now intracameral injections, allowed significant increase in eye preservation rate, definitive eradication of radiotherapy and reduction of systemic chemotherapy. Here we intend to review the relevant knowledge susceptible to improve the conservative management of retinoblastoma in compliance with the “state of metastatic grace”, with particular attention to (i) reviewing how new imaging modalities impact the frontiers of conservative management, (ii) dissecting retinoblastoma genesis, growth patterns, and intraocular routes of tumor propagation, (iii) assessing major therapeutic changes and trends, (iv) proposing a classification of relapsing retinoblastoma, (v) examining treatable/preventable disease-related or treatment-induced complications, and (vi) appraising new therapeutic targets and concepts, as well as liquid biopsy potentiality.

  • Targets of immunomodulation in bacterial endophthalmitis
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-05-28
    Frederick C. Miller, Phillip S. Coburn, Mursalin Md Huzzatul, Austin L. LaGrow, Erin Livingston, Michelle C. Callegan

    Bacterial infection of the posterior segment of the eye (endophthalmitis) leads to a robust host response that often results in irreversible damage to the layers of the retina, significant vision loss, and in some patients, enucleation of the globe. While a great deal of effort has gone into understanding the role of bacterial virulence factors in disease initiation and propagation, it is becoming increasingly clear that the host response to infection plays a major role in causing the damage associated with endophthalmitis. Researchers have identified the host receptors which detect infecting organisms and initiate the cascade of events that result in inflammation. This inflammation may damage nonregenerative tissues of the eye while attempting to clear the infection. Both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria can cause endophthalmitis. These organisms initiate an immune response by activating toll-like receptor (TLR) pathways. Once an inflammatory response is initiated, the expression of immunomodulators, such as proinflammatory chemokines and cytokines, affect the recruitment of PMNs and other inflammatory cells into the eye. We and others have reported that knockout mice that do not express specific inflammatory pathways and molecules have an attenuated response to infection and retain significant retinal function. These findings suggest that host immune mediators are important components of the response to infections in the posterior segment of the eye, and the timing and level of their production may be related to the severity of the damage and the ultimate visual outcome. If that is the case, a better understanding of the complex and often redundant role of these pathways and inflammatory mediators may identify host molecules as potential anti-inflammatory therapeutic targets. This review highlights potential anti-inflammatory targets during acute inflammation in endophthalmitis, compares and contrasts those with findings in other models of ocular inflammation, and translates current immunomodulatory strategies for other types of infection and inflammation to this blinding disease. Given the poor visual outcomes seen in patients treated with antibiotics alone or in combination with corticosteroids, immunomodulation in addition to antibiotic therapy might be more effective in preserving vision than current regimens.

  • Corneal nerves in health and disease
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-05-07
    Mouhamed A. Al-Aqaba, Virinder K. Dhillon, Imran Mohammed, Dalia G. Said, Harminder S. Dua

    The cornea is the most sensitive structure in the human body. Corneal nerves adapt to maintain transparency and contribute to corneal health by mediating tear secretion and protective reflexes and provide trophic support to epithelial and stromal cells. The nerves destined for the cornea travel from the trigeminal ganglion in a complex and coordinated manner to terminate between and within corneal epithelial cells with which they are intricately integrated in a relationship of mutual support involving neurotrophins and neuromediators. The nerve terminals/receptors carry sensory impulses generated by mechanical, pain, cold and chemical stimuli. Modern imaging modalities have revealed a range of structural abnormalities such as attrition of nerves in neurotrophic keratopathy and post-penetrating keratoplasty; hyper-regeneration in keratoconus; decrease of sub-basal plexus with increased stromal nerves in bullous keratopathy and changes such as thickening, tortuosity, coiling and looping in a host of conditions including post corneal surgery. Functionally, symptoms of hyperaesthesia, pain, hypoaesthesia and anaesthesia dominate. Morphology and function do not always correlate. Symptoms can dominate in the absence of any visible nerve pathology and vice-versa. Sensory and trophic functions too can be dissociated with pre-ganglionic lesions causing sensory loss despite preservation of the sub-basal nerve plexus and minimal neurotrophic keratopathy. Structural and/or functional nerve anomalies can be induced by corneal pathology and conversely, nerve pathology can drive inflammation and corneal pathology. Improvements in accuracy of assessing sensory function and imaging nerves in vivo will reveal more information on the cause and effect relationship between corneal nerves and corneal diseases.

  • Spatiotemporal changes in the human lens proteome: critical insights into long-lived proteins
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-11-06
    Kevin L. Schey, Zhen Wang, Michael Friedrich, Donita L. Garland, Roger J.W. Truscott

    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.

  • Interactions of the choroid, Bruch’s membrane, retinal pigment epithelium, and neurosensory retina collaborate to form the outer blood-retinal-barrier
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-11-05
    Mark Fields, Lucian V. Del Priore, Ron A. Adelman, Lawrence J. Rizzolo

    The three interacting components of the outer blood-retinal barrier are the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), choriocapillaris, and Bruch’s membrane, the extracellular matrix that lies between them. Although previously reviewed independently, this review integrates these components into a more wholistic view of the barrier and discusses reconstitution models to explore the interactions among them. After updating our understanding of each component’s contribution to barrier function, we discuss recent efforts to examine how the components interact. Recent studies demonstrate that claudin-19 regulates multiple aspects of RPE’s barrier function and identifies a barrier function whereby mutations of claudin-19 affect retinal development. Co-culture approaches to reconstitute components of the outer blood-retinal barrier are beginning to reveal two-way interactions between the RPE and choriocapillaris. These interactions affect barrier function and the composition of the intervening Bruch’s membrane. Normal or disease models of Bruch’s membrane, reconstituted with healthy or diseased RPE, demonstrate adverse effects of diseased matrix on RPE metabolism. A stumbling block for reconstitution studies is the substrates typically used to culture cells are inadequate substitutes for Bruch’s membrane. Together with human stem cells, the alternative substrates that have been designed offer an opportunity to engineer second-generation culture models of the outer blood-retinal barrier.

  • Beyond Intraocular Pressure: Optimizing Patient-Reported Outcomes In Glaucoma
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2019-10-31
    Eva Fenwick, Ryan Man, Tin Aung, Pradeep Ramulu, Ecosse Lamoureux

    Glaucoma, an irreversible blinding condition affecting 3-4% adults aged above 40 years worldwide, is set to increase with a rapidly aging global population. Raised intraocular pressure (IOP) is a major risk factor for glaucoma where the treatment paradigm is focused on managing IOP using medications, laser, or surgery regimens. However, notwithstanding IOP and other clinical parameters, patient-reported outcomes, including daily functioning, emotional well-being, symptoms, mobility, and social life, remain the foremost concerns for people being treated for glaucoma. These outcomes are measured using objective patient-centred outcome measures (PCOMs) and subjective patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs). Studies using PCOMs have shown that people with glaucoma have several mobility, navigational and coordination challenges; reading and face recognition deficits; and are slower in adapting to multiple real-world situations when compared to healthy controls. Similarly, studies have consistently demonstrated, using PROMs, that glaucoma substantially and negatively impacts on peoples’ self-reported visual functioning, mobility, independence, emotional well-being, self-image, and confidence in healthcare, compared to healthy individuals, particularly in those with late-stage disease undergoing a heavy treatment regimen. The patient-centred effectiveness of current glaucoma treatment paradigms is equivocal due to a lack of well-designed randomized controlled trials; short post-treatment follow-up periods; an inappropriate selection or availability of PROMs; or an insensitivity of currently available PROMs to monitor changes especially in patients with newly diagnosed early-stage glaucoma. We provide a comprehensive, albeit non-systematic, critique of the psychometric properties, limitations, and recent advances of currently available glaucoma-specific PCOMs and PROMs. Finally, we propose that item banking and computerized adaptive testing methods can address the multiple limitations of paper-pencil PROMs; customize their administration; and have the potential to improve healthcare outcomes for people with glaucoma.

  • The effects of antiglaucoma and systemic medications on ocular blood flow.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-10-25
    Vital P Costa,Alon Harris,Einar Stefánsson,Josef Flammer,Gunter K Krieglstein,Nicola Orzalesi,Anders Heijl,Jean-Paul Renard,Luis Metzner Serra

    Based on the body of evidence implicating ocular blood flow disturbances in the pathogenesis of glaucoma, there is great interest in the investigation of the effects of antiglaucoma drugs and systemic medications on the various ocular vascular beds. The primary aim of this article was to review the current data available on the effects of antiglaucoma drugs and systemic medications on ocular blood flow. We performed a literature search in November 2002, which consisted of a textword search in MEDLINE for the years 1968-2002. The results of this review suggest that there is a severe lack of well-designed long-term studies investigating the effects of antiglaucoma and systemic medications on ocular blood flow in glaucomatous patients. However, among the 136 articles dealing with the effect of antiglaucoma drugs on ocular blood flow, only 36 (26.5%) investigated the effects of medications on glaucoma patients. Among these 36 articles, only 3 (8.3%) were long-term studies, and only 16 (44.4%) were double-masked, randomized, prospective trials. Among the 33 articles describing the effects of systemic medications on ocular blood flow, only 11 (33.3%) investigated glaucoma patients, of which only one (9.1%) was a double-masked, randomized, prospective trial. Based on this preliminary data, we would intimate that few antiglaucoma medications have the potential to directly improve ocular blood flow. Unoprostone appears to have a reproducible antiendothelin-1 effect, betaxolol may exert a calcium-channel blocker action, apraclonidine consistently leads to anterior segment vasoconstriction, and carbonic anhydrase inhibitors seem to accelerate the retinal circulation. Longitudinal, prospective, randomized trials are needed to investigate the effects of vasoactive substances with no hypotensive effect on the progression of glaucoma.

  • Mechanical properties of the human lens capsule.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-10-25
    Susanne Krag,Troels T Andreassen

    The human lens capsule has recently been the subject of much attention in an attempt to understand its physiological function in relation to the accommodative function, its functional reserve in the elderly population, and its potential in relation to cataract surgery. This overview presents our current knowledge of the mechanical properties of the human lens capsule, discussed on basis of its structure and its role in accommodation and cataract surgery.

  • Retinal and choroidal angiogenesis: pathophysiology and strategies for inhibition.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-10-25
    Arup Das,Paul G McGuire

    Retinal angiogenesis and choroidal angiogenesis are major causes of vision loss, and the pathogenesis of this angiogenesis process is still uncertain. However, several key steps of the angiogenic cascade have been elucidated. In retinal angiogenesis, hypoxia is the initial stimulus that causes up regulation of growth factors, integrins and proteinases, which result in endothelial cell proliferation and migration that are critical steps in this process. Once the endothelial tube is formed from the existing blood vessels, maturation starts with recruitment of mural cell precursors and formation of the basement membrane. Normally, there is a tight balance between angiogenic factors and endogenous angiogenesis inhibitors that help to keep the angiogenic process under control. Although the steps of choroidal angiogenesis seem to be similar to those of retinal angiogenesis, there are some major differences between these two processes. Several anti-angiogenic approaches are being developed in animal models to prevent ocular angiogenesis by blocking the key steps of the angiogenic cascade. Based on these pre-clinical studies, several anti-angiogenic clinical trials are ongoing in patients with diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration. This review discusses the pathogenesis of retinal and choroidal angiogenesis, and alternative pharmacological approaches to inhibit angiogenesis in ocular diseases.

  • Adeno-associated viral vectors for retinal gene transfer.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-10-25
    Enrico M Surace,Alberto Auricchio

    Vectors derived from adeno-associated viruses (AAV) represent a promising tool for retinal gene transfer in pre-clinical and clinical settings. AAV vectors efficiently transduce dividing and non-dividing cells, escape cellular immunity and result in long-non-term transduction. In addition, they may be targeted to specific retinal cell types by taking advantage of surface proteins from various AAV serotypes thus limiting transfer of therapeutic genes to those cells requiring correction. This review will provide an overview of the properties of AAV vectors followed by a detailed report of their use in retinal gene transfer for mendelian and non-mendelian disorders.

  • Vitamin A metabolism in the retinal pigment epithelium: genes, mutations, and diseases.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-08-02
    Debra A Thompson,Andreas Gal

    Mutations in the genes necessary for the metabolism of vitamin A (all-trans retinol) and cycling of retinoids between the photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) (the visual cycle) have recently emerged as an important class of genetic defects responsible for retinal dystrophies and dysfunctions. Research into the causes and treatment of diseases resulting from defects in retinal vitamin A metabolism is currently the subject of intense interest, since disorders affecting the RPE are, in principle, more accessible to therapeutic intervention than those affecting the proteins of photoreceptor cells. This chapter presents an overview of the visual cycle, as well as the function of the RPE genes involved in the conversion of vitamin A to 11-cis retinal, the chromophore of the visual pigments. The identification of disease-causing mutations in this group of genes is described as well as the associated phenotypes that range from stationary night blindness to childhood-onset severe visual handicap. Consideration is also given to alternative genetic paradigms potentially relevant to defects in vitamin A metabolism, including a discussion of the relationship of this pathway to age-related macular degeneration, a non-Mendelian disease of late onset. Finally, progress and prospects for targeted therapeutic intervention in vitamin A metabolism are presented, including retinoid and gene replacement therapy. On the basis of early successes in animal models, and plans underway for Phase I/II clinical trials, it is hoped that the near future will bring effective therapies for many retinal dystrophy patients with defects in vitamin A metabolism.

  • Redox regulation in the lens.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-08-02
    Marjorie F Lou

    The high content of glutathione (GSH) in the lens is believed to protect thiols in structural proteins and enzymes for proper biological functions. The lens has both biosynthetic and regenerating systems for GSH to maintain its large pool size. However, ageing lenses or lenses under oxidative stress show an extensively diminished size of GSH pool with some protein thiols being S-thiolated by oxidized non-protein thiols to form protein-thiol mixed disulfides, either as protein-S-S-glutathione (PSSG) or protein-S-S-cysteine (PSSC) or protein-S-S-gamma-glutamylcysteine. It was shown in an H(2)O(2)-induced cataract model that PSSG formation precedes a cascade of events before cataract formation, starting with protein disulfide crosslinks, protein solubility loss and high molecular weight aggregation. Furthermore, this early oxidative damage in protein thiols can be spontaneously reversed in H(2)O(2) pretreated lenses if the oxidant is removed in time. This dethiolation process appears to have mediated through a redox-regulating enzyme, thioltransferase (TTase), which is ubiquitously present in microbial, plant and animal tissues, including the lens. The GSH-dependent, low molecular weight (11.8 kDa) cytosolic enzyme plays an important role in oxidative defense and can modulate key metabolic enzymes in the glycolytic pathway. The enzyme repairs oxidatively damaged proteins/enzymes through its unique catalytic site with a vicinal cysteine moiety, which can specifically dethiolate protein-S-S-glutathione and restore protein free SH groups for proper enzymatic or protein functions. Most importantly, it has been demonstrated that thioltransferase has a remarkable resistance to oxidation (H(2)O(2)) in cultured human and rabbit lens epithelial cells under oxidative stress conditions when other oxidation defense systems of GSH peroxidase and GSH reductase are severely inactivated. A second repair enzyme, thioredoxin (TRx), which is NADPH-dependent, is widely found in many lower and higher life forms of life. It can dethiolate protein disulfides and thus is an extremely important regulator for redox homeostasis in the cells. Thioredoxin has been recently found in the lens and has been shown to participate in the repair process of oxidatively damaged lens proteins/enzymes. These two enzymes may work synergistically to regulate and repair thiols in lens proteins and enzymes, keeping a balanced redox potential to maintain the function of the lens.

  • Neural remodeling in retinal degeneration.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-08-02
    Robert E Marc,Bryan W Jones,Carl B Watt,Enrica Strettoi

    Mammalian retinal degenerations initiated by gene defects in rods, cones or the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) often trigger loss of the sensory retina, effectively leaving the neural retina deafferented. The neural retina responds to this challenge by remodeling, first by subtle changes in neuronal structure and later by large-scale reorganization. Retinal degenerations in the mammalian retina generally progress through three phases. Phase 1 initiates with expression of a primary insult, followed by phase 2 photoreceptor death that ablates the sensory retina via initial photoreceptor stress, phenotype deconstruction, irreversible stress and cell death, including bystander effects or loss of trophic support. The loss of cones heralds phase 3: a protracted period of global remodeling of the remnant neural retina. Remodeling resembles the responses of many CNS assemblies to deafferentation or trauma, and includes neuronal cell death, neuronal and glial migration, elaboration of new neurites and synapses, rewiring of retinal circuits, glial hypertrophy and the evolution of a fibrotic glial seal that isolates the remnant neural retina from the surviving RPE and choroid. In early phase 2, stressed photoreceptors sprout anomalous neurites that often reach the inner plexiform and ganglion cell layers. As death of rods and cones progresses, bipolar and horizontal cells are deafferented and retract most of their dendrites. Horizontal cells develop anomalous axonal processes and dendritic stalks that enter the inner plexiform layer. Dendrite truncation in rod bipolar cells is accompanied by revision of their macromolecular phenotype, including the loss of functioning mGluR6 transduction. After ablation of the sensory retina, Müller cells increase intermediate filament synthesis, forming a dense fibrotic layer in the remnant subretinal space. This layer invests the remnant retina and seals it from access via the choroidal route. Evidence of bipolar cell death begins in phase 1 or 2 in some animal models, but depletion of all neuronal classes is evident in phase 3. As remodeling progresses over months and years, more neurons are lost and patches of the ganglion cell layer can become depleted. Some survivor neurons of all classes elaborate new neurites, many of which form fascicles that travel hundreds of microns through the retina, often beneath the distal glial seal. These and other processes form new synaptic microneuromas in the remnant inner nuclear layer as well as cryptic connections throughout the retina. Remodeling activity peaks at mid-phase 3, where neuronal somas actively migrate on glial surfaces. Some amacrine and bipolar cells move into the former ganglion cell layer while other amacrine cells are everted through the inner nuclear layer to the glial seal. Remodeled retinas engage in anomalous self-signaling via rewired circuits that might not support vision even if they could be driven anew by cellular or bionic agents. We propose that survivor neurons actively seek excitation as sources of homeostatic Ca(2+) fluxes. In late phase 3, neuron loss continues and the retina becomes increasingly glial in composition. Retinal remodeling is not plasticity, but represents the invocation of mechanisms resembling developmental and CNS plasticities. Together, neuronal remodeling and the formation of the glial seal may abrogate many cellular and bionic rescue strategies. However, survivor neurons appear to be stable, healthy, active cells and given the evidence of their reactivity to deafferentation, it may be possible to influence their emergent rewiring and migration habits.

  • The assessment of L- and M-cone specific electroretinographical signals in the normal and abnormal human retina.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-08-02
    Jan Kremers

    Electroretinography (ERG) is a non-invasive method that can contribute to a description of the functional organization of the human retina under normal and pathological circumstances. The physiological and pathophysiological processes leading to an ERG signal can be better understood when the cellular origins of the ERG are identified. The ERG signal recorded at the cornea is initiated by light absorption in the photoreceptors which leads to activity in the photoreceptors and in their post-receptoral pathways. Light absorption in distinct photoreceptor types may lead to different ERG responses caused either by differences between the photoreceptors or between their post-receptoral pathways. The description of contributions of the different photoreceptor types to the ERG may therefore give more detailed insight in the origins of the ERG. Such a description can be obtained by isolating the responses of a single photoreceptor type. Nowadays, careful control of differently colored light sources together with the relatively well-known cone and rod fundamentals enables a precise description and control of photoreceptor excitation. Theoretically, any desired combination of photoreceptor excitation modulation can be achieved, including conditions in which the activity in only one photoreceptor type is modulated (silent substitution). In this manner the response of one photoreceptor type is isolated without changing the state of adaptation. This stimulus technique has been used to study the contribution of signals originating in the different photoreceptor types to the human ERG. Furthermore, by stimulating two or more photoreceptor types simultaneously, the interaction between the different signals can be studied. With these new techniques results of measurements in healthy subjects and patients with retinal diseases can be compared. This approach should ultimately help to develop better diagnostic tools and result in a fuller description of the changes and the pathophysiological mechanisms in retinal disorder. Finally, data obtained with cone and rod specific stimuli may lead to a reinterpretation of the standard ERG used in a clinical setting.

  • Transcriptional control of neuronal diversification in the retina.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-08-02
    Till Marquardt

    During embryonic development, the array of vastly different neuronal types that are incorporated into the functional architecture of the mature neuroretina derives from a common population of multipotent retinal progenitor cells (RPCs). Retinogenesis proceeds in a precise chronological order, with the seven principal cell classes generated in successive phases. Cell biological experiments established that this histogenetic order, at least in part, reflects intrinsic changes within the RPC pool. In recent years a number of molecules controlling various aspects of cell fate specification from RPCs have been identified. However, few attempts have been made to integrate previous concepts that emerged from cell biological studies and more recent results based on molecular genetic experiments. This review aims at providing an overview of recent advances in our understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying retinal neuronal diversification, with a particular focus on cell-intrinsic factors.

  • The ocular humoral immune response in health and disease.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-07-11
    Bob Meek,Dave Speijer,Paulus T V M de Jong,Marc D de Smet,Ron Peek

    This review focuses on several aspects of humoral immunologic defence of the ocular surface and intraocular compartment. Secretory IgA (sIgA) is a major component of lacrimal fluid and contributes to the first line of defence against infection of the ocular surface. Recent findings show that part of the lacrimal gland (LG) IgA repertoire consists of so-called natural IgA antibodies. How B cells responsible for these natural IgA antibodies are distributed to effector mucosal sites like the LG is not known. Extensive data are now available on the regionalization of mucosal IgA responses in murine gut, involving peritoneal B cells, the prototypic natural antibody producing cells. By comparing elaborate experiments done in mice with the much less extensive data on the LG, it becomes clear that this gland is a unique, but poorly investigated effector organ of the mucosal immune system. In addition to the humoral immune response at the surface of the eye, the production of antibodies within the ocular compartment also has several fascinating features. The detection of pathogen-specific antibodies in intraocular fluid (IOF) of uveitis patients is accepted as a diagnostic tool, but the specificity of these intraocular antibodies was not investigated in much detail. Recent data however, demonstrate that even antibodies recognizing the same antigen in both serum and IOF still differ in the epitopes they recognize. This reveals that the intraocular compartment largely determines its own antibody profile in the defence against intra-ocular pathogens. Several models as to how an exclusive intra-ocular B cell repertoire may be generated are presented.

  • Proliferative capacity of the corneal endothelium.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-07-11
    Nancy C Joyce

    Corneal endothelium is the single layer of cells forming a boundary between the corneal stroma and anterior chamber. The barrier and "pump" functions of the endothelium are responsible for maintaining corneal transparency by regulating stromal hydration. Morphological studies have demonstrated an age-related decrease in endothelial cell density and indicate that the endothelium in vivo either does not proliferate at all or proliferates at a rate that does not keep pace with the rate of cell loss. Lack of a robust proliferative response to cell loss makes the endothelium, at best, a fragile tissue. As a result of excessive cell loss due to accidental or surgical trauma, dystrophy, or disease, the endothelium may no longer effectively act as a barrier to fluid flow from the aqueous humor to the stroma. This loss of function can cause corneal edema, decreased corneal clarity, and loss of visual acuity, thus requiring corneal transplantation to restore normal vision. Studies from this and other laboratories indicate that corneal endothelium in vivo DOES possess proliferative capacity, but is arrested in G1-phase of the cell cycle. It appears that several intrinsic and extrinsic factors together contribute to maintain the endothelium in a non-replicative state. Ex vivo studies comparing cell cycle kinetics in wounded endothelium of young (< 30 years old) and older donors ( > 50 years old) provide evidence that cells from older donors can enter and complete the cell cycle; however, the length of G1-phase appears to be longer and the cells require stronger mitogenic stimulation than cells from younger donors. In vivo conditions per se also contribute to maintenance of a non-replicative monolayer. Endothelial cells are apparently unable to respond to autocrine or paracrine stimulation even though they express mRNA and protein for a number of growth factors and their receptors. Exogenous transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) and TGF-beta in aqueous humor suppress S-phase entry in cultured endothelial cells, suggesting that this cytokine could inhibit proliferation in vivo. In addition, cell-cell contact appears to inhibit endothelial cell proliferation during corneal development and to help maintain the mature endothelial monolayer in a non-proliferative state, in part, via the activity of p27kip1, a known G1-phase inhibitor. The fact that human corneal endothelium retains proliferative capacity has led to recent efforts to induce division and increase the density of these important cells. For example, recent studies have demonstrated that adult human corneal endothelial cells can be induced to grow in culture and then transplanted to recipient corneas ex vivo. The laboratory work that has been conducted up to now opens an exciting new door to the future. The time is right to apply the knowledge that has been gained regarding corneal endothelial cell proliferative capacity and regulation of its cell cycle to develop new therapies to treat patients at risk for vision loss due to low endothelial cells counts.

  • In vivo confocal microscopy for evaluation of wound healing following corneal refractive surgery.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-07-11
    Timo Tervo,Jukka Moilanen

    Understanding of corneal wound healing plays an important role, not only in management of corneal infections, but especially in refractive surgery. A better control of wound healing mechanisms might improve the results of such resculpturing techniques and help to avoid complications arising from these procedures. While studies have been focused in different aspects of corneal wound healing, our knowledge has increased greatly during the last years. Many problems associated with corneal healing also contribute to clinical pathology following corneal surgery. Understanding of such conditions has been augmented by the continuously developing corneal imaging techniques. We have used in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) for assessing corneas subjected to refractive surgery as well as corneas with common complications resulting from such procedures. IVCM has become a powerful tool for examining corneal cells, nerves, inflammations and infections. It allows information to be acquired repeatedly and at subbiomicroscopic levels that earlier had been obtainable only by invasive microscopic methods. Pre-examining corneas preoperatively by IVCM in order to reveal diseases or conditions in which elective refractive surgical procedures should not be undertaken or to select the ideal operation technique may help to avoid complications in the future. Measurement of the thickness of corneal sublayers or estimation of the thickness of a laser in situ keratomileusis flap or wound bed are other applications in which confocal microscopy may be valuable. In this article we attempt to describe the in vivo confocal findings of common refractive procedures and their complications, and discuss their biology in light of the existing knowledge on wound healing phenomena.

  • Role of the sclera in the development and pathological complications of myopia.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-07-11
    Neville A McBrien,Alex Gentle

    Myopia is one of the most prevalent ocular conditions and is the result of a mismatch between the power of the eye and axial length of the eye. As a result images of distant objects are brought to a focus in front of the retina resulting in blurred vision. In the vast majority of cases the structural cause of myopia is an excessive axial length of the eye, or more specifically the vitreous chamber depth. In about 2% of the general population, the degree of myopia is above 6 dioptres (D) and is termed high myopia. The prevalence of sight-threatening ocular pathology is markedly increased in eyes with high degrees of myopia ( > -6 D). This results from the excessive axial elongation of the eye which, by necessity, must involve the outer coat of the eye, the sclera. Consequently, high myopia is reported as a leading cause of registered blindness and partial sight. Current theories of refractive development acknowledge the pivotal role of the sclera in the control of eye size and the development of myopia. This review considers the major biochemical mechanisms that underlie the normal development of the mammalian sclera and how the scleral structure influences the rate of eye growth during development. The review will characterise the aberrant mechanisms of scleral remodelling which underlie the development of myopia. In describing these mechanisms we highlight how certain critical events in both the early and later stages of myopia development lead to scleral thinning, the loss of scleral tissue, the weakening of the scleral mechanical properties and, ultimately, to the development of posterior staphyloma. This review aims to build on existing models to illustrate that the prevention of aberrant scleral remodelling must be the goal of any long-term therapy for the amelioration of the permanent vision loss associated with high myopia.

  • Cellular mechanisms in retinal vascular development.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-07-11
    Ray F Gariano

    Since the pioneering work of Ashton and others, the primate retina has been thought to vascularize by a vasculogenic linkage of endothelial precursor cells. Recent investigations using specific histologic and morphologic criteria question the contribution of vasculogenesis to retinal development. Instead, in primates and mice cells previously designated as retinal angioblasts have been identified as astrocytes that form a vascular-like plexus preceding vessel invasion. Further, in primates and mice retinal vascularization proceeds via angiogenic sprouting from pre-existing vessels in all regions and stages. However, the developing retinal vasculature may utilize novel sources of endothelial cells, such as recruitment of circulating stem cells and redeployment of mural cells from regressing vessel segments. These results provide a framework for study of retinal vascular development, validate the common use of perinatal retinal models in angiogenesis research, and clarify the cellular basis of retinopathy of prematurity.

  • Gene therapy in immune-mediated diseases of the eye.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-07-11
    Uwe Pleyer,Thomas Ritter

    Therapy of ocular immune-mediated diseases has changed dramatically over the past two decades. Although a variety of non-specific immunosuppressive agents are introduced, with advances in cell biology a number of more specific therapeutic options will become available. Gene therapy has the potential to interfere with the immune response at different steps modulating the microenvironment of the eye. In this chapter we focus attention on the most promising candidate genes for gene therapy in ocular immune diseases. Furthermore, we outline the current techniques for delivering genes of interest with their potential merits and drawbacks in the field of ophthalmology. Many of these approaches are still in early phases of study for the treatment of clinical relevant immune-mediated diseases.

  • Why is glaucoma associated with exfoliation syndrome?
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-07-11
    Robert Ritch,Ursula Schlötzer-Schrehardt,Anastasios G P Konstas

    Exfoliation syndrome (XFS) is an age-related, generalized disorder of the extracellular matrix characterized by production and progressive accumulation of a fibrillar material in tissues throughout the anterior segment and also in connective tissue portions of various visceral organs. Mature exfoliation fibrils are composed of 8-10 nm microfibrils resembling elastic microfibrils. The exact chemical composition of exfoliation material (XFM) remains unknown. It appears to consist of a complex glycoprotein/ proteoglycan structure composed of a protein core surrounded by abundant glycoconjugates. The protein components include both non-collagenous basement membrane components and epitopes of the elastic fiber system, particularly components of elastic microfibrils. Overall, XFS is the most common identifiable cause of glaucoma, accounting for the majority of cases in some countries, and causing both open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. Iridolenticular friction leads to loss of XFM from the anterior lens surface and disruption of the iris pigment epithelium, resulting in pigment deposition in the trabecular meshwork, which also produces XFM locally. The primary cause of chronic pressure elevation appears to be the active involvement of trabecular cells and Schlemm's canal cells in particular, in the generalized pathologic matrix process with subsequent degenerative changes of Schlemm's canal and adjacent tissues. Narrow angles and angle-closure are common in XFS. Pupillary block may be caused by a combination of posterior synechiae, increased iris thickness or rigidity, or anterior lens movement secondary to zonular weakness or dialysis. Enlargement of the lens due to cataract formation and relative pupillary constriction are additional factors.

  • Functions of insulin and insulin receptor signaling in retina: possible implications for diabetic retinopathy.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-05-14
    Chad E N Reiter,Thomas W Gardner

    Insulin action regulates the metabolic functions of the classically insulin-responsive tissues: liver, adipose, and skeletal muscle. Evidence also suggests that insulin acts on neural tissue and can modulate neural metabolism, synapse activity, and feeding behaviors. Insulin receptors are expressed on both the vasculature and neurons of the retina, but their functions are not completely defined. Insulin action stimulates neuronal development, differentiation, growth, and survival, rather than stimulating nutrient metabolism, e.g., glucose uptake as in skeletal muscle. Insulin receptors from retinal neurons and blood vessels share many similar properties with insulin receptors from other peripheral tissues, and retinal neurons express numerous proteins that are attributed to the insulin signaling cascade as in other tissues. However, undefined neuron-specific signals downstream of the insulin receptor are likely to also exist. This review compares retinal insulin action to that of peripheral tissues, and demonstrates that the retina is an insulin-sensitive tissue. The review also addresses the hypothesis that dysfunctional insulin receptor signaling in the retina contributes to cell dysfunction and death in retinal diseases.

  • Molecular determinants of retinal ganglion cell development, survival, and regeneration.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-05-14
    Stefan Isenmann,Alexandra Kretz,Alessandro Cellerino

    The retina is an easily accessible part of the CNS with a well-defined cytological architecture. It allows for detailed study of the regulation of neurogenesis, determinants of cell fate specification, and signals for cell survival versus programmed cellular death during development. Within the retina, retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) are the only neurons connecting to the brain. Their axonal projection to the midbrain targets, the superior colliculus (SC), and the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) has been subject of a number of investigations, and led to the identification of molecular signals directing topographic information for precise wiring during development. Transcription factors, guidance molecules, extracellular matrix proteins, neurotrophic factors, and cell death-regulating factors of the Bcl-2 family and caspases, have all been reported to be involved in the processes of formation of a precise retino-collicular map, and regulation of developmental cell death.During adulthood, RGCs and their projection have to be maintained, since-to our current knowledge-they cannot be replaced following injury. On the other hand, insults of various kinds can be potentially hazardous to RGCs. Therefore, much work has been directed towards understanding of the molecular regulation of RGC degeneration following insults such as retinal ischaemia, axonal lesion, or in optic neuropathy. Experimental strategies are being devised towards protection of lesioned RGCs. Since following axonal lesion, these cells not only need to survive, but also have to reconnect in order to be functionally relevant, efforts are directed towards not only survival, but also axonal regeneration and proper rewiring of injured RGCs. This paper reviews the molecular determinants of RGC fate determination and the development of the retino-tectal projection. We summarize what is known (and hypothesized) on the determinants of RGC survival during normal adulthood, and the mechanisms of RGC degeneration in the injured retina. We also try to develop perspectives towards neuroprotection and regeneration of adult lesioned RGCs that may be applicable to lesioned CNS neurons in vertebrates in a broader sense.

  • Effects of retinal ganglion cell loss on magno-, parvo-, koniocellular pathways in the lateral geniculate nucleus and visual cortex in glaucoma.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-05-14
    Yeni H Yücel,Qiang Zhang,Robert N Weinreb,Paul L Kaufman,Neeru Gupta

    Glaucoma is a leading cause of world blindness, and retinal ganglion cell death is its pathological hallmark. There is accumulating evidence that glaucomatous damage extends from retinal ganglion cells to vision centers in the brain. In an experimental primate model of unilateral glaucoma, degenerative changes are observed in magnocellular, parvocellular, and koniocellular pathways in the lateral geniculate nucleus, and these changes are presented in relation to intraocular pressure and the severity of optic nerve damage. Neuropathological findings are also present in lateral geniculate nucleus layers driven by the unaffected fellow eye. Finally, there is information on changes in the visual cortex in relation to varying degrees of retinal ganglion cell loss. The implications of these findings for refining concepts regarding the pathobiology of progression, and the detection and treatment of glaucoma, are discussed.

  • Gene expression in the trabecular meshwork and the influence of intraocular pressure.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-05-14
    Teresa Borrás

    The trabecular meshwork (TM) tissue is responsible for maintaining the physiologic intraocular pressure (IOP) of the ocular globe. To perform this function the TM must rely on a variety of mechanisms. These mechanisms, acting either independently or in a coordinated manner, are governed by the expression of TM genes. Expression profiles of TM from adult intact tissue and infant cultured cells revealed the high level of diversity of the TM transcriptome, with only about 1% of its genes represented by more than 4 clones in any of the libraries. The profiles also revealed genes whose presence is associated with previously undescribed TM functions such the one that protects the TM tissue against calcification. These findings support the existence of numerous regulatory mechanisms in the TM and may help explaining the low percentage of glaucoma patients associated with each mutated glaucoma gene. Failure to maintain a physiological pressure can result in elevated IOP, a condition often associated with the development of glaucoma. Experimentally, different time-periods of an elevated pressure insult lead to the altered expression of distinct sets of genes. Thus, the ability of the TM to respond to mechanical and biochemical insults is possibly driven by induction or repression of a number of genes that, most likely, are different from those involved in regulation of normal IOP. None of the genes currently linked to glaucoma was present in the expression profile libraries whereas their expression in the TM was highly induced by effectors known to be causative of glaucomatous conditions. This analysis leads to the speculation that glaucoma candidate genes might be more related to genes responding to insults than to those involved in the maintenance of normal TM physiology. A recent study implicating the common stress mediator NF-kappaB in glaucoma would support this notion. Future library profiles utilizing distinct RNA sources together with differential expression studies between normal and glaucoma-triggering conditions and individual characterization of selected genes will help elucidate the relevant mechanisms for the regulation of IOP.

  • Rhodopsin phosphorylation: 30 years later.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-05-14
    Tadao Maeda,Yoshikazu Imanishi,Krzysztof Palczewski

    Phototransduction in vertebrate photoreceptor cells mediated by rhodopsin is one of the most comprehensively examined G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling pathways. The signal transduction pathway can be mapped from the initial absorption of light to conformational changes within rhodopsin, through activation of the G protein transducin, and to the ultimate closure of the cation cGMP-gated channels in the plasma membrane. Furthermore, phototransduction has become an intensely studied model system for understanding the desensitizing processes that allow reduced non-linear responses of photoreceptor cells to increasing levels of illumination. Although some general themes appear to occur in GPCR systems, the details of these desensitizing processes are likely to be specific to each of the receptors. These differences are attributed to the fact that each receptor has unique kinetic constraints, amplification levels, tolerance to basal constitutive activity, intracellular internalization and recycling, redundancy of isoforms, and morphologies of the cell of their expression. One of the biochemical processes that are believed to be a common part of this desensitization of the GPCR-mediated cascade is receptor phosphorylation catalyzed by members of a small family of the GPCR kinases. The enzymatic, physiological and genetic aspects of rhodopsin phosphorylation and rhodopsin kinase have been characterized extensively over the last 30 yr. However, new structurally based approaches to examining rhodopsin kinase and rhodopsin phosphorylation are still awaiting further investigations. We present here a summary of the current understanding of rhodopsin phosphorylation and the properties of rhodopsin kinase, along with some expectations of future investigations into these topics.

  • Multifocal VEP and ganglion cell damage: applications and limitations for the study of glaucoma.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-02-27
    Donald C Hood,Vivienne C Greenstein

    With the multifocal technique, visual evoked potentials (VEPs) can be recorded simultaneously from many regions of the visual field in a matter of minutes. Recently, the multifocal visual evoked potential technique (mfVEP) has generated considerable interest, especially among those seeking objective measures of glaucomatous damage. It is well accepted that significant ganglion cell damage can occur before functional deficits are detected with static automated achromatic perimetry, the "gold standard" for detecting and monitoring glaucomatous damage. In this article, we ask the following questions: What are the potential applications of the mfVEP technique? What are its limitations? To what extent will it replace or augment static automated achromatic perimetry? To answer these questions requires an understanding of the mfVEP technique, as well as techniques needed to relate its results to those of automated perimetry. describes how the mfVEP is elicited, recorded, derived and displayed. If both eyes of an individual are normal, then mfVEPs recorded for monocular stimulation of each eye are essentially identical. However, the amplitude and waveform of the mfVEP responses vary across individuals, as well as across the visual field within an individual. These variations in the normal mfVEPs are described in Section 3. In, these variations are related to cortical anatomy, and to the cortical sources contributing to the mfVEP. The mfVEP is predominantly generated in V1. Although there are undoubtedly extrastriate contributions, these contributions are probably smaller for the mfVEP than for the conventional VEP. The mfVEP is not a small version of the conventional VEP. To detect ganglion cell damage with the mfVEP requires methods for analyzing the responses and for displaying the results. In, a method for detecting ganglion cell damage is described. This method compares the monocular responses from the two eyes of an individual and produces a map of the defects. This map is in the form of a probability plot similar to the one used to display visual field defects measured with automated perimetry. Procedures are described for directly comparing these mfVEP probability plots to the probability plots for Humphrey visual fields (HVFs). The interocular mfVEP test described in will not be sensitive to bilateral damage. describes a test based upon monocular mfVEPs. The statistical basis of the monocular mfVEP test is relatively complex (see ). In any case, under many conditions the interocular test will be more sensitive and this is discussed in. summarizes a number of clinical applications of the mfVEP and concludes that the mfVEP has a place in the clinical management of glaucoma. To understand the limitations of the mfVEP, a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) approach is described in. Using the techniques described in, the relationship between the amplitude of the mfVEP and the sensitivity loss of the HVF is discussed in. The evidence supports a simple model in which the amplitude of the signal portion, but not the noise portion, of the mfVEP response is proportional to HVF loss where HVF loss is expressed in linear, not dB, units. It is hypothesized that both the signal in the mfVEP, and the sensitivity of the HVF, are linearly related to ganglion cell loss. A theoretical approach, developed in, allows a direct comparison of the efficacy of the mfVEP and HVF in detecting glaucomatous damage. In short, when the mfVEP has a large SNR it will often be superior to the HVF in detecting damage. On the other hand, when the mfVEP has a small SNR, the HVF will probably be superior. summarizes the relative advantages of the HVF and the mfVEP. In summary, the mfVEP does have a place in the clinical management of glaucoma, although it is not likely to replace static automated achromatic perimetry in the near future. However, this is an evolving technology and the future will undoubtedly see major improvements in the mfVEP technique.

  • Fundus reflectance--historical and present ideas.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-02-27
    Tos T J M Berendschot,Peter Jaap DeLint,Dirk van Norren

    In 1851 Helmholtz introduced the ophthalmoscope. The instrument allowed the observation of light reflected at the fundus. The development of this device was one of the major advancements in ophthalmology. Yet ophthalmoscopy allows only qualitative observation of the eye. Since 1950 attempts were made to address the challenging, quantitative assessment of the amount of light reflected by the fundus. At first, only comparative measurements were possible, applied in the study of macular and visual pigments. With improvements in light detecting techniques, and with the advent of microprocessors, the measurement of spectral and spatial distribution of the reflectance became feasible. This led to the development of models that explained the observed wavelength dependence and the directional behavior of light reflected from the fovea. The models allowed a quantitative assessment of many parameters on absorption and reflection by structures in the human eye. This paper provides a review of both the experimental and theoretical progress, and summarizes the results of fundamental and clinical research using fundus reflectometry.

  • Isolated preparations of ocular vasculature and their applications in ophthalmic research.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-02-27
    Dao-Yi Yu,Er-Ning Su,Stephen J Cringle,Paula K Yu

    The purpose of this review is to outline the techniques and applications for isolated ocular vascular preparations and their significance to ophthalmic research. Various isolated ocular vascular preparations have been utilized in studies of ocular vascular biology, physiology and pharmacology, including work in both normal and diseased conditions. However, there is still significant potential for further studies to improve our understanding of the ocular circulation and its regulation. Experience has shown that there is no single preparation capable of addressing all of the questions that must be answered if a complete understanding of mechanisms of vascular regulation in the eye is to be achieved. Rather, it is necessary to select the appropriate preparation and techniques to address each individual question in the most appropriate manner. In this review, particular emphasis is placed on the applications for isolated ocular preparations and the relevance of such studies to our understanding of the pathogenesis of eye diseases involving the vasculature. Examples are given where therapeutic approaches in diabetes and glaucoma are assessed in terms of their impact on the vasoactive properties of the ocular vasculature.A significant heterogeneity is present in the different parts of the ocular vasculature, not only in the structural and functional properties of vessel itself, but also in terms of the tissue environment and innervation. A single vasoactive agent may also have different effects when applied to the inside or the outside of the same region of a vessel. The vasoactive response of the vascular system as a whole is what determines the rate of blood flow through the system, but this is regulated by a multitude of factors in different regions of the vascular network. Isolating individual components of the ocular vasculature is readily achievable for the extraocular vessels such as the ophthalmic or ophthalmocilliary arteries, which can be studied in myograph type systems measuring the mechanical vasoactive force generated by the vessel. Retinal vessels from very large animals can also be studied in this way, but the small diameter of the retinal vessels in most species requires a perfusion rather than myograph based technique. Perfusion based studies of vessel diameter in response to vasoactive stimuli can be applied to individual retinal arteries and their branches. Perfusion of more complex elements of the ocular vasculature such as isolated segments of the retina or ciliary body, or whole isolated perfused eyes may use the perfusate pressure as the determinant of vasoactive state. However, when several components of the ocular vasculature are being perfused simultaneously it may be difficult to separate out the contribution from the different vascular elements. The advantage of isolated preparations is that systemic influences can be eliminated, and vascular components can be studied that are inaccessible in vivo. The disadvantage is that no matter how well controlled the in vitro environment may be, it will always be a relatively poor mimic of the in vivo conditions. However, such in vitro work has certainly improved our understanding of the vasoactive properties of different regions of the ocular vasculature in both health and disease.

  • Cell-matrix and cell-cell interactions during corneal epithelial wound healing.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-02-27
    Katsuyoshi Suzuki,Jun Saito,Ryoji Yanai,Naoyuki Yamada,Tai-ichiro Chikama,Keisuke Seki,Teruo Nishida

    The corneal epithelium serves as a barrier and contributes to the maintenance of corneal transparency and rigidity. In most instances, corneal epithelial defects caused by simple injury are resurfaced promptly. However, in individuals with certain clinical conditions, such as herpes simplex virus infection, neurotrophic keratopathy or diabetic keratopathy, corneal epithelial defects persist and do not respond to conventional treatment regimens because of delayed epithelial wound healing. After the corneal epithelium is removed by injury, the remaining epithelial cells migrate over the denuded surface of the cornea in a manner that is dependent both on the interaction of the cells with the underlying substrate and on cell-cell adhesion. In this review, we describe the specific roles of cell-matrix and cell-cell interactions during the course of corneal epithelial wound healing. The clinical implications of the basic research findings are also discussed.

  • Retinal vascular development and oxygen-induced retinopathy: a role for adenosine.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-02-25
    Gerard A Lutty,D Scott McLeod

    Adenosine is a ubiquitous molecule that is produced predominantly by catabolism of adenosine triphosphate. Levels of this nucleoside increase dramatically with ischemia and elevated tissue activity. Adenosine levels are high in inner retina during retinal vascular development in postnatal dog. The source appears to be the ectoenzyme 5' nucleotidase, which is prominent at this time in the innermost process of Muller cells. One of the adenosine receptors, A(2A), is present on endothelial cell precursors, angioblasts, and endothelial cells in formed blood vessels in neonatal dog. These observations suggest that adenosine is important in retinal vascular development. Oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR) is a model for human retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). The initial event in OIR is induced by exposure of the developing retina to high oxygen. Vascular development is halted and over 60% of the retinal vasculature is lost during this stage of the disease in dog, which is called vaso-obliteration. 5' nucleotidase is dramatically reduced during vaso-obliteration, resulting in a sharp decline in adenosine. When animals are returned to room air, the retina is hypoxic because of the lack of blood vessels, oxygen consumption is increased due to neuronal development, and systemic levels of oxygen have returned to normal. At this time, 5' nucleotidase activity and adenosine levels are elevated well beyond normal levels. This stage of OIR is the vasoproliferative stage and A(2A) expression and endothelial cell proliferation are very elevated compared to control animals. Florid preretinal neovascularization forms, which has high levels of adenosine and A(2A) receptors. Therefore, adenosine and its A(2A) receptor appear to be important in canine OIR. This work suggests that adenosine and its receptors may be a therapeutic target in OIR. This hypothesis is supported by recent studies in mouse (Mino et al., Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 42(13) (2001) 3320), which demonstrated that targeting one of the A(2) receptors can inhibit formation of neovascularization in OIR.

  • Identity and regulation of ion transport mechanisms in the corneal endothelium.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-02-25
    Joseph A Bonanno

    Corneal transparency is dependent on regulation of the hydration of the corneal stroma. Water is driven into the cornea across the epithelial and endothelial cell layers by the stromal swelling pressure. This fluid leak into the cornea is counterbalanced by the corneal fluid pump, which is predominantly attributed to the ion and fluid transport capacity of the endothelial cell layer. Primary and secondary active transport mechanisms are responsible for generating a net ion flux from the stromal to anterior chamber side of the endothelium; however, the identity and location of all the components of this transport system are not known. The endothelial fluid pump is dependent on the presence of Cl(-) and HCO(3)(-), and can be slowed by carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. A number of anion transport mechanisms have been identified and characterized in the endothelium, including basolateral Na(+)/2HCO(3)(-) cotransport, Na(+)/K(+)/2Cl(-) cotransport, Cl(-)/HCO(3)(-) exchange, and apical anion channels permeable to both Cl(-) and HCO(3)(-). Furthermore, there is evidence for a carbonic anhydrase mediated CO(2)-diffusive mode of apical HCO(3)(-) flux. These findings are incorporated into a new model of transendothelial anion transport, which suggests that there are a number of alternate pathways for anion transport. There have been few studies on activation of signal transduction pathways that could stimulate endothelial fluid transport. Interestingly, recent studies show that multiple autocrine signaling pathways are in place that could be upregulated during physical stimulation and may be responsible for maintaining basal levels of fluid secretion.

  • Color opponency in horizontal cells of the vertebrate retina.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-02-25
    Gilad Twig,Hanna Levy,Ido Perlman

    Chromaticity (C-type) horizontal cells have been studied extensively for more than 40 years since the first recording of such units in the fish retina. C-type horizontal cells are seen in almost every retina of cold-blooded species that contains at least two different spectral types of cone. These cells are characterized by photoresponses of polarity that depends upon the wavelength of the stimulating light. There are two basic varieties of chromaticity horizontal cells, biphasic or triphasic cells. Biphasic cells are characterized by one wavelength in which response polarity reverses and triphasic cells have two wavelengths where response polarity reverses. The neuronal network underlying the genesis of color opponency in C-type horizontal cells has been the subject of debate for many years. It is generally accepted now that cones feed-forward excitatory inputs to horizontal cells which in turn exert inhibitory effects on the cones by negative feedback pathways. C-type horizontal cells belonging to the same class are interconnected via gap junctions to form a tight syncytium. However, the spatial properties of these cells depend upon the polarity of the photoresponse because the membrane resistances of the syncytium change with different inputs. Thus, color opponency in C-type horizontal cells depends on the spatial properties of the stimulating light in addition to its dependence upon wavelength, intensity and ambient illumination. The functional role of C-type horizontal cells is to influence the spatial-chromatic organization of the receptive fields of proximal neurons. Thus, the responsiveness of bipolar cells and ganglion cells to surround illumination depend to a great extent upon the horizontal cells. However, the exact mode whereby horizontal cells can affect the organization of the proximal neurons has yet to be elucidated.

  • Vascular endothelial growth factors and angiogenesis in eye disease.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2003-02-25
    A N Witmer,G F J M Vrensen,C J F Van Noorden,R O Schlingemann

    The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) family of growth factors controls pathological angiogenesis and increased vascular permeability in important eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy (DR) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The purpose of this review is to develop new insights into the cell biology of VEGFs and vascular cells in angiogenesis and vascular leakage in general, and to provide the rationale and possible pitfalls of inhibition of VEGFs as a therapy for ocular disease. From the literature it is clear that overexpression of VEGFs and their receptors VEGFR-1, VEGFR-2 and VEGFR-3 is causing increased microvascular permeability and angiogenesis in eye conditions such as DR and AMD. When we focus on the VEGF receptors, recent findings suggest a role of VEGFR-1 as a functional receptor for placenta growth factor (PlGF) and vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF)-A in pericytes and vascular smooth muscle cells in vivo rather than in endothelial cells, and strongly suggest involvement of pericytes in early phases of angiogenesis. In addition, the evidence pointing to distinct functions of VEGFs in physiology in and outside the vasculature is reviewed. The cellular distribution of VEGFR-1, VEGFR-2 and VEGFR-3 suggests various specific functions of the VEGF family in normal retina, both in the retinal vasculature and in neuronal elements. Furthermore, we focus on recent findings that VEGFs secreted by epithelia, including the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), are likely to mediate paracrine vascular survival signals for adjacent endothelia. In the choroid, derailment of this paracrine relation and overexpression of VEGF-A by RPE may explain the pathogenesis of subretinal neovascularisation in AMD. On the other hand, this paracrine relation and other physiological functions of VEGFs may be endangered by therapeutic VEGF inhibition, as is currently used in several clinical trials in DR and AMD.

  • Oral tolerance for treating uveitis - new hope for an old immunological mechanism.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2002-11-16
    Stephan R Thurau,Gerhild Wildner

    Oral tolerance induction has evolved as an attractive approach for the treatment of autoimmune uveitis. This approach is effective and generally void of the side effects associated with conventional immunosuppression. Following uptake of soluble antigen via the gut mucosa a specific systemic tolerance is generated. Experimental autoimmune diseases such as uveitis can efficiently be treated when autoantigens are fed to animals. The immunological mechanisms of oral tolerance are not well understood but are thought to involve the recognition of tolerogenic epitopes, generation of suppressor T cells and altered regulation of selected cytokines. The dose, purity of the antigen (tissue extract vs. single peptide) and concomitant treatment with cytokines were evaluated with the aim to enhance oral tolerance. Immunomodulatory drugs can abrogate oral tolerance. This requires careful evaluation with respect to therapeutic approaches in patients. The first clinical trials for treatment of uveitis with oral retinal autoantigen or an HLA-peptide crossreactive with S-Antigen show a promising therapeutic effect and confirmed the safety of this approach.

  • Regulation of mucin and fluid secretion by conjunctival epithelial cells.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2002-11-16
    Darlene A Dartt

    Tears play a vital role in the health and protection of the cornea and conjunctiva. The tear film consists of multiple layers and different glands secrete each layer. Because of many and varied requirements of the ocular surface cells, the volume, composition and structure of the tear film must be exquisitely controlled. If any layer of the tear film is disrupted or altered, the entire tear film is affected, often with deleterious effects. This chapter reviews the current knowledge of the neural and growth factor regulation of electrolyte, water and protein secretion from the goblet and stratified squamous cells of the conjunctiva as well as the mechanisms used for fluid secretion. The evidence presented in this review suggests that parasympathetic nerves stimulate goblet, but not stratified squamous, cell secretion. Sympathetic nerves stimulate stratified squamous, but not goblet, cell secretion, while P2Y(2) agonists stimulate secretion from both cell types. Growth factors regulate goblet cell secretion, but their effects on stratified squamous cell secretion are unknown.

  • Survival and axonal regeneration of retinal ganglion cells in adult cats.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2002-11-16
    Masami Watanabe,Yutaka Fukuda

    Axotomized retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in adult cats offer a good experimental model to understand mechanisms of RGC deteriorations in ophthalmic diseases such as glaucoma and optic neuritis. Alpha ganglion cells in the cat retina have higher ability to survive axotomy and regenerate their axons than beta and non-alpha or beta (NAB) ganglion cells. By contrast, beta cells suffer from rapid cell death by apoptosis between 3 and 7 days after axotomy. We introduced several methods to rescue the axotomized cat RGCs from apoptosis and regenerate their axons; transplantation of the peripheral nerve (PN), intraocular injections of neurotrophic factors, or an antiapoptotic drug. Apoptosis of beta cells can be prevented with intravitreal injections of BDNF+CNTF+forskolin or a caspase inhibitor. The injection of BDNF+CNTF+forskolin also increases the numbers of regenerated beta and NAB cells, but only slightly enhances axonal regeneration of alpha cells. Electrical stimulation to the cut end of optic nerve is effective for the survival of axotomized RGCs in cats as well as in rats. To recover function of impaired vision in cats, further studies should be directed to achieve the following goals: (1). substantial number of regenerating RGCs, (2). reconstruction of the retino-geniculo-cortical pathway, and (3). reconstruction of retinotopy in the target visual centers.

  • Non-rod, non-cone photoreception in the vertebrates.
    Prog. Retin. Eye. Res. (IF 11.768) Pub Date : 2002-11-16
    Russell G Foster,Mark W Hankins

    When reflected from a surface, light can provide a representation of the spatial environment, whilst gross changes in environment light can signal the time of day. The differing sensory demands of using light to detect environmental space and time appear to have provided the selection pressures for the evolution of different photoreceptor systems in the vertebrates, and probably all animals. This point has been well recognised in the non-mammals, which possess multiple opsin/vitamin A-based photoreceptor populations in a variety of sites distributed both within and outside the CNS. By contrast, eye loss in mammals abolishes all responses to light, and as a result, all photoreception was attributed to the rods and cones of the retina. However, studies over the past decade have provided overwhelming evidence that the mammalian eye contains a novel photoreceptor system that does not depend upon the input from the rods and cones. Mice with eyes but lacking rod and cone photoreceptors can still detect light to regulate their circadian rhythms, suppress pineal melatonin, modify locomotor activity, and modulate pupil size. Furthermore, action spectra for some of these responses in rodents and humans have characterised at least one novel opsin/vitamin A-based photopigment, and molecular studies have identified a number of candidate genes for this photopigment. Parallel studies in fish showing that VA opsin photopigment is expressed within sub-sets of inner retina neurones, demonstrates that mammals are not alone in having inner retinal photoreceptors. It therefore seems likely that inner retinal photoreception will be a feature of all vertebrates. Current studies are directed towards an understanding of their mechanisms, determining the extent to which they contribute to physiology and behaviour in general, and establishing how they may interact with other photoreceptors, including the rods and cones. Progress on each of these topics is moving very rapidly. As a result, we hope this review will serve as an introduction to the cascade of papers that will emerge on these topics in the next few years. We also hope to convince the more casual reader that there is much more to vertebrate photoreceptors than the study of retinal rods and cones.

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