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    Perinatal events and development of juvenile idiopathic arthritis-associated uveitis
    (Springer Nature, 2023-10-16) Chaudhary, Aysha; Nadeem, Manahil; Townsend, Jack; Miller, Victoria J.; Hajrasouliha, Amir R.; Ophthalmology, School of Medicine
    Uveitis is one of the most common manifestations of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Currently, JIA is associated with decreased gut microbiota diversity. Studies confirm that perinatal events can cause aberrant microbial colonization. The objective of this study is to determine if JIA is associated with perinatal events with a secondary focus on these variables to the development of JIA-uveitis. 369 patients with strabismus (n = 200) or JIA (n = 196) were included in the study. Completed surveys (JIA 37; strabismus 18) collected data about birth route, pregnancy and labor complications, JIA medications, and the presence of eye disorders. Analysis indicates that there is no relationship between JIA development and the perinatal events investigated. Similarly, no significance was found between JIA-uveitis and birth route or labor complications. Pregnancy complications, namely gestational diabetes (GD), were statistically higher in the JIA group with uveitis compared to JIA without uveitis. The data from this survey study showed that JIA-uveitis was highly associated with pregnancy complications, particularly with GD. However, no statistically significant association was found between JIA and route of delivery, labor complications, or pregnancy complications. Further studies are needed to understand the ways that GD interrelates with the development of uveitis in JIA patients.
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    Trabecular Meshwork Movement Controls Distal Valves and Chambers: New Glaucoma Medical and Surgical Targets
    (MDPI, 2023-10-18) Johnstone, Murray; Xin, Chen; Martin, Elizabeth; Wang, Ruikang; Ophthalmology, School of Medicine
    Herein, we provide evidence that human regulation of aqueous outflow is by a pump-conduit system similar to that of the lymphatics. Direct observation documents pulsatile aqueous flow into Schlemm's canal and from the canal into collector channels, intrascleral channels, aqueous veins, and episcleral veins. Pulsatile flow in vessels requires a driving force, a chamber with mobile walls and valves. We demonstrate that the trabecular meshwork acts as a deformable, mobile wall of a chamber: Schlemm's canal. A tight linkage between the driving force of intraocular pressure and meshwork deformation causes tissue responses in milliseconds. The link provides a sensory-motor baroreceptor-like function, providing maintenance of a homeostatic setpoint. The ocular pulse causes meshwork motion oscillations around the setpoint. We document valves entering and exiting the canal using real-time direct observation with a microscope and multiple additional modalities. Our laboratory-based high-resolution SD-OCT platform quantifies valve lumen opening and closing within milliseconds synchronously with meshwork motion; meshwork tissue stiffens, and movement slows in glaucoma tissue. Our novel PhS-OCT system measures nanometer-level motion synchronous with the ocular pulse in human subjects. Movement decreases in glaucoma patients. Our model is robust because it anchors laboratory studies to direct observation of physical reality in humans with glaucoma.
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    Characterizing and quantifying the temporal relationship between structural and functional change in glaucoma
    (Public Library of Science, 2021-04-01) Chu, Fang-I; Racette, Lyne; Ophthalmology, School of Medicine
    Purpose: To characterize and quantify the temporal relationship between structural and functional change in glaucoma. Methods: 120 eyes of 120 patients with ocular hypertension or primary open-angle glaucoma were selected from the Diagnostic Innovations in Glaucoma Study or the African Descent and Glaucoma Evaluation Study. Patients had 11 visits, separated by at least 3 months over 5 to 10 years. Each visit had rim area (RA) and mean sensitivity (MS) measurements taken within a 30-day period. The structure-function (SF) relationship was summarized using conventional and modified cross-correlation functions (CCFs), which identified the strongest absolute and positive correlation, respectively. Patients were categorized in one of the following three groups: RA and MS evolved simultaneously (lag = 0), RA preceded MS (lag<0), and MS preceded RA (lag>0). Lagging regression analysis was used to examine the variations of the SF relationship within groups. Results: The number of participants, mean visit lag, and mean correlation (standard deviation) were, for the conventional and modified CCFs, respectively: lag = 0 [16, 0, 0.53 (0.10) and 16, 0, 0.46 (0.11)]; lag<0 [50, -2.94, 0.51 (0.11) and 55, -3.45, 0.44 (0.12)], and lag>0 [54, 3.35, 0.53 (0.13) and 49, 3.78, 0.45 (0.12)]. A significant difference of the visit lag relation within groups was identified using lagging regression analysis (p<0.0001). Conclusions: The strongest relationship between structure and function was obtained at different visit lags in different patients. This finding also suggests that the SF relationship should be addressed at the subject level when using both measurements jointly to model glaucoma progression.
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    Clinicians’ Use of Quantitative Information when Assessing the Rate of Functional Progression in Glaucoma
    (Elsevier, 2022) Gardiner, Stuart K.; Kinast, Robert M.; De Moraes, Carlos Gustavo; Budenz, Donald L.; Jeoung, Jin Wook; Lind, John T.; Myers, Jonathan S.; Nouri-Mahdavi, Kouros; Rhodes, Lindsay A.; Strouthidis, Nicholas G.; Chen, Teresa C.; Mansberger, Steven L.; Ophthalmology, School of Medicine
    Purpose: Clinicians use both global and point-wise information from visual fields to assess the rate of glaucomatous functional progression. We asked which objective, quantitative measures best correlated with subjective assessment by glaucoma experts. In particular, we aimed to determine how much that judgment was based on localized rates of change vs. on global indices reported by the perimeter. Design: Prospective cohort study. Participants: Eleven academic, expert glaucoma specialists independently scored the rate of functional progression, from 1 (improvement) to 7 (very rapid progression), for a series of 5 biannual clinical printouts from 100 glaucoma or glaucoma suspect eyes of 51 participants, 20 of which were scored twice to assess repeatability. Methods: Regression models were used to predict the average of the 11 clinicians' scores based on objective rates of change of mean deviation (MD), visual field index (VFI), pattern standard deviation (PSD), the Nth fastest progressing location, and the Nth fastest progressing of 10 anatomically defined clusters of locations after weighting by eccentricity. Main outcome measures: Correlation between the objective rates of change and the average of the 11 clinicians' scores. Results: The average MD of the study eyes was -2.4 dB (range, -16.8 to +2.8 dB). The mean clinician score was highly repeatable, with an intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.95. It correlated better with the rate of change of VFI (pseudo-R2 = 0.73, 95% confidence interval [CI, 0.60-0.83]) than with MD (pseudo-R2 = 0.63, 95% CI [0.45-0.76]) or PSD (pseudo-R2 = 0.41, 95% CI [0.26-0.55]). Using point-wise information, the highest correlations were found with the fifth-fastest progressing location (pseudo-R2 = 0.71, 95% CI [0.56-0.80]) and the fastest-progressing cluster after eccentricity weighting (pseudo-R2 = 0.61, 95% CI [0.48-0.72]). Among 25 eyes with an average VFI of > 99%, the highest observed pseudo-R2 value was 0.34 (95% CI [0.16-0.61]) for PSD. Conclusions: Expert academic glaucoma specialists' assessment of the rate of change correlated best with VFI rates, except in eyes with a VFI near the ceiling of 100%. Sensitivities averaged within clusters of locations have been shown to detect change sooner, but the experts' opinions correlated more closely with global VFI. This could be because it is currently the only index for which the perimeter automatically provides a quantitative estimate of the rate of functional progression.
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    Clinicians’ Use of Quantitative Information when Assessing the Rate of Structural Progression in Glaucoma
    (Elsevier, 2022) Gardiner, Stuart K.; Kinast, Robert M.; Chen, Teresa C.; Strouthidis, Nicholas G.; De Moraes, Carlos Gustavo; Nouri-Mahdavi, Kouros; Myers, Jonathan S.; Jeoung, Jin Wook; Lind, John T.; Rhodes, Lindsay A.; Budenz, Donald L.; Mansberger, Steven L.; Ophthalmology, School of Medicine
    Purpose: OCT scans contain large amounts of information, but clinicians often rely on reported layer thicknesses when assessing the rate of glaucomatous progression. We sought to determine which of these quantifications most closely relate to the subjective assessment of glaucoma experts who had all the diagnostic information available. Design: Prospective cohort study. Participants: Eleven glaucoma specialists independently scored the rate of structural progression from a series of 5 biannual clinical OCT printouts. Methods: A total of 100 glaucoma or glaucoma suspect eyes of 51 participants were included; 20 were scored twice to assess repeatability. Scores ranged from 1 (improvement) to 7 (very rapid progression). Generalized estimating equation linear models were used to predict the mean clinician score from the rates of change of retinal nerve fiber layer thickness (RNFLT) or minimum rim width (MRW) globally or in the most rapidly thinning of the 6 sectors. Main outcome measures: The correlation between the objective rates of change and the average of the 11 clinicians' scores. Results: Average RNFLT within the series of study eyes was 79.3 μm (range, 41.4-126.6). Some 95% of individual clinician scores varied by ≤ 1 point when repeated. The mean clinician score was more strongly correlated with the rate of change of RNFLT in the most rapidly changing sector in %/year (pseudo-R2 = 0.657) than the rate of global RNFLT (0.372). The rate of MRW in the most rapidly changing sector had pseudo-R2 = 0.149. Conclusions: The rate of change of RNFLT in the most rapidly changing sector predicted experts' assessment of the rate of structural progression better than global rates or MRW. Sectoral rates may be a useful addition to current clinical printouts.
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    RNA Therapeutics for Retinal Diseases
    (Taylor & Francis, 2021) Gemayel, Michael C.; Bhatwadekar, Ashay D.; Ciulla, Thomas; Ophthalmology, School of Medicine
    Introduction: In the retina, noncoding RNA (ncRNA) plays an integral role in regulating apoptosis, inflammatory responses, visual perception, and photo-transduction, with altered levels reported in diseased states. Areas covered: MicroRNA (miRNA), a class of ncRNA, regulates post-transcription gene expression through the binding of complementary sites of target messenger RNA (mRNA) with resulting translational repression. Small-interfering RNA (siRNA) is a double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) that regulates gene expression, leading to selective silencing of genes through a process called RNA interference (RNAi). Another form of RNAi involves short hairpin RNA (shRNA). In age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy (DR), miRNA has been implicated in the regulation of angiogenesis, oxidative stress, immune response, and inflammation. Expert opinion: Many RNA-based therapies in development are conveniently administered intravitreally, with the potential for pan-retinal effect. The majority of these RNA therapeutics are synthetic ncRNA's and hold promise for the treatment of AMD, DR, and inherited retinal diseases (IRDs). These RNA-based therapies include siRNA therapy with its high specificity, shRNA to 'knock down' autosomal dominant toxic gain of function-mutated genes, antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs), which can restore splicing defects, and translational read-through inducing drugs (TRIDs) to increase expression of full-length protein from genes with premature stop codons.
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    Four-Year Visual Outcomes in the Protocol W Randomized Trial of Intravitreous Aflibercept for Prevention of Vision-Threatening Complications of Diabetic Retinopathy
    (American Medical Association, 2023) Maturi, Raj K.; Glassman, Adam R.; Josic, Kristin; Baker, Carl W.; Gerstenblith, Adam T.; Jampol, Lee M.; Meleth, Annal; Martin, Daniel F.; Melia, Michele; Punjabi, Omar S.; Rofagha, Soraya; Salehi-Had, Hani; Stockdale, Cynthia R.; Sun, Jennifer K.; DRCR Retina Network; Ophthalmology, School of Medicine
    Importance: Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) injections in eyes with nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) without center-involved diabetic macular edema (CI-DME) reduce development of vision-threatening complications from diabetes over at least 2 years, but whether this treatment has a longer-term benefit on visual acuity is unknown. Objective: To compare the primary 4-year outcomes of visual acuity and rates of vision-threatening complications in eyes with moderate to severe NPDR treated with intravitreal aflibercept compared with sham. The primary 2-year analysis of this study has been reported. Design, setting, and participants: Randomized clinical trial conducted at 64 clinical sites in the US and Canada from January 2016 to March 2018, enrolling 328 adults (399 eyes) with moderate to severe NPDR (Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study [ETDRS] severity level 43-53; range, 0 [worst] to 100 [best]) without CI-DME. Interventions: Eyes were randomly assigned to 2.0 mg aflibercept (n = 200) or sham (n = 199). Eight injections were administered at defined intervals through 2 years, continuing quarterly through 4 years unless the eye improved to mild NPDR or better. Aflibercept was given in both groups to treat development of high-risk proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) or CI-DME with vision loss. Main outcomes and measures: Development of PDR or CI-DME with vision loss (≥10 letters at 1 visit or ≥5 letters at 2 consecutive visits) and change in visual acuity (best corrected ETDRS letter score) from baseline to 4 years. Results: Among participants (mean age 56 years; 42.4% female; 5% Asian, 15% Black, 32% Hispanic, 45% White), the 4-year cumulative probability of developing PDR or CI-DME with vision loss was 33.9% with aflibercept vs 56.9% with sham (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.40 [97.5% CI, 0.28 to 0.57]; P < .001). The mean (SD) change in visual acuity from baseline to 4 years was -2.7 (6.5) letters with aflibercept and -2.4 (5.8) letters with sham (adjusted mean difference, -0.5 letters [97.5% CI, -2.3 to 1.3]; P = .52). Antiplatelet Trialists' Collaboration cardiovascular/cerebrovascular event rates were 9.9% (7 of 71) in bilateral participants, 10.9% (14 of 129) in unilateral aflibercept participants, and 7.8% (10 of 128) in unilateral sham participants. Conclusions and relevance: Among patients with NPDR but without CI-DME at 4 years treatment with aflibercept vs sham, initiating aflibercept treatment only if vision-threatening complications developed, resulted in statistically significant anatomic improvement but no improvement in visual acuity. Aflibercept as a preventive strategy, as used in this trial, may not be generally warranted for patients with NPDR without CI-DME.
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    Advancing Nerve Regeneration: Translational Perspectives of Tacrolimus (FK506)
    (MDPI, 2023-08-14) Daeschler, Simeon C.; Feinberg, Konstantin; Harhaus, Leila; Kneser, Ulrich; Gordon, Tessa; Borschel, Gregory H.; Ophthalmology, School of Medicine
    Peripheral nerve injuries have far-reaching implications for individuals and society, leading to functional impairments, prolonged rehabilitation, and substantial socioeconomic burdens. Tacrolimus, a potent immunosuppressive drug known for its neuroregenerative properties, has emerged in experimental studies as a promising candidate to accelerate nerve fiber regeneration. This review investigates the therapeutic potential of tacrolimus by exploring the postulated mechanisms of action in relation to biological barriers to nerve injury recovery. By mapping both the preclinical and clinical evidence, the benefits and drawbacks of systemic tacrolimus administration and novel delivery systems for localized tacrolimus delivery after nerve injury are elucidated. Through synthesizing the current evidence, identifying practical barriers for clinical translation, and discussing potential strategies to overcome the translational gap, this review provides insights into the translational perspectives of tacrolimus as an adjunct therapy for nerve regeneration.
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    Glaucoma Treatment Outcomes in Open-Angle Glaucoma Patients of African Descent
    (World Scientific, 2022) Siesky, Brent; Harris, Alon; Belamkar, Aditya; Zukerman, Ryan; Horn, Avery; Verticchio Vercellin, Alice; Mendoza, Kristen Ann V.; Sidoti, Paul A.; Oddone, Francesco; Ophthalmology, School of Medicine
    Open angle glaucoma (OAG), characterized by structural changes to the optic nerve head and retinal nerve fiber layer, is a progressive multifactorial optic neuropathy and leading cause of irreversible blindness globally. Currently intraocular pressure is the only modifiable risk factor; however, others have been identified including genetics and race. Importantly, OAG is much more prevalent in persons of African descent (AD) compared to those of European descent (ED). OAG patients of AD are also known to have a more severe course of the disease, a finding potentially explained by structural and/or vascular differences within eye tissues. In addition, disparities in treatment outcomes have been identified in OAG patients of AD. Specifically, prostaglandin analogues have been suggested to be more effective in patients of AD than in those ED, while beta-adrenergic receptors have been suggested to be less effective, although the evidence is inconsistent. Being of AD has also been identified as a risk factor for trabeculectomy failure while laser trabeculoplasty, has been conversely found to be very effective in lowering IOP in patients of AD. Alternative surgical options including Ex-Press shunt implantation, viscocanalostomy, and canaloplasty are promising in equivalence but require further research to properly evaluate disparity in outcomes. In addition to treatment outcomes, social disparities affecting clinical care also exist for persons of AD in the form of reduced adherence, access, and choice. Overall, data suggests the need for properly designed prospective trials with AD populations as a primary focus to identify the potential mechanisms driving disparities in treatment and address overall potential bias in glaucoma management.
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    Beyond VEGF: Targeting Inflammation and Other Pathways for Treatment of Retinal Disease
    (American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 2023) Muniyandi, Anbukkarasi; Hartman, Gabriella D.; Song, Yang; Mijit, Mahmut; Kelley, Mark R.; Corson, Timothy W.; Ophthalmology, School of Medicine
    Neovascular eye diseases include conditions such as retinopathy of prematurity, proliferative diabetic retinopathy, and neovascular age-related macular degeneration. Together, they are a major cause of vision loss and blindness worldwide. The current therapeutic mainstay for these diseases is intravitreal injections of biologics targeting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling. Lack of universal response to these anti-VEGF agents coupled with the challenging delivery method underscore a need for new therapeutic targets and agents. In particular, proteins that mediate both inflammatory and proangiogenic signaling are appealing targets for new therapeutic development. Here, we review agents currently in clinical trials and highlight some promising targets in preclinical and early clinical development, focusing on the redox-regulatory transcriptional activator APE1/Ref-1, the bioactive lipid modulator soluble epoxide hydrolase, the transcription factor RUNX1, and others. Small molecules targeting each of these proteins show promise for blocking neovascularization and inflammation. The affected signaling pathways illustrate the potential of new antiangiogenic strategies for posterior ocular disease. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Discovery and therapeutic targeting of new angiogenesis mediators is necessary to improve treatment of blinding eye diseases like retinopathy of prematurity, diabetic retinopathy, and neovascular age-related macular degeneration. Novel targets undergoing evaluation and drug discovery work include proteins important for both angiogenesis and inflammation signaling, including APE1/Ref-1, soluble epoxide hydrolase, RUNX1, and others.