BACKGROUND. Noninvasive detection of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) with high specificity and sensitivity can greatly facilitate identification of at-risk populations for earlier, more effective intervention. AD patients exhibit a myriad of retinal pathologies, including hallmark amyloid β-protein (Aβ) deposits. METHODS. Burden, distribution, cellular layer, and structure of retinal Aβ plaques were analyzed in flat mounts and cross sections of definite AD patients and controls (n = 37). In a proof-of-concept retinal imaging trial (n = 16), amyloid probe curcumin formulation was determined and protocol was established for retinal amyloid imaging in live patients. RESULTS. Histological examination uncovered classical and neuritic-like Aβ deposits with increased retinal Aβ42 plaques (4.7-fold; P = 0.0063) and neuronal loss (P = 0.0023) in AD patients versus matched controls. Retinal Aβ plaque mirrored brain pathology, especially in the primary visual cortex (P = 0.0097 to P = 0.0018; Pearson’s r = 0.84–0.91). Retinal deposits often associated with blood vessels and occurred in hot spot peripheral regions of the superior quadrant and innermost retinal layers. Transmission electron microscopy revealed retinal Aβ assembled into protofibrils and fibrils. Moreover, the ability to image retinal amyloid deposits with solid-lipid curcumin and a modified scanning laser ophthalmoscope was demonstrated in live patients. A fully automated calculation of the retinal amyloid index (RAI), a quantitative measure of increased curcumin fluorescence, was constructed. Analysis of RAI scores showed a 2.1-fold increase in AD patients versus controls (P = 0.0031). CONCLUSION. The geometric distribution and increased burden of retinal amyloid pathology in AD, together with the feasibility to noninvasively detect discrete retinal amyloid deposits in living patients, may lead to a practical approach for large-scale AD diagnosis and monitoring. FUNDING. National Institute on Aging award (AG044897) and The Saban and The Marciano Family Foundations.
Yosef Koronyo, David Biggs, Ernesto Barron, David S. Boyer, Joel A. Pearlman, William J. Au, Shawn J. Kile, Austin Blanco, Dieu-Trang Fuchs, Adeel Ashfaq, Sally Frautschy, Gregory M. Cole, Carol A. Miller, David R. Hinton, Steven R. Verdooner, Keith L. Black, Maya Koronyo-Hamaoui
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. Physicians often use surrogate endpoints to monitor the progression of glaucomatous neurodegeneration. These approaches are limited in their ability to quantify disease severity and progression due to inherent subjectivity, unreliability, and limitations of normative databases. Therefore, there is a critical need to identify specific molecular markers that predict or measure glaucomatous neurodegeneration. Here, we demonstrate that growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) is associated with retinal ganglion cell death.
Norimitsu Ban, Carla J. Siegfried, Jonathan B. Lin, Ying-Bo Shui, Julia Sein, Wolfgang Pita-Thomas, Abdoulaye Sene, Andrea Santeford, Mae Gordon, Rachel Lamb, Zhenyu Dong, Shannon C. Kelly, Valeria Cavalli, Jun Yoshino, Rajendra S. Apte
Zika virus (ZIKV) is an important pathogen that causes not only neurologic, but also ocular, abnormalities. Thus, it is imperative that models to study ZIKV pathogenesis in the eye are developed to identify potential targets for interventions. Here, we studied ZIKV interactions with human retinal cells and evaluated ZIKV’s pathobiology in mouse eyes. We showed that cells lining the blood-retinal barrier (BRB), the retinal endothelium, and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) were highly permissive and susceptible to ZIKV-induced cell death. Direct inoculation of ZIKV in eyes of adult C57BL/6 and IFN-stimulated gene 15 (ISG15) KO mice caused chorioretinal atrophy with RPE mottling, a common ocular manifestation of congenital ZIKV infection in humans. This response was associated with induced expression of multiple inflammatory and antiviral (IFNs) response genes in the infected mouse retina. Interestingly, ISG15 KO eyes exhibited severe chorioretinitis, which coincided with increased retinal cell death and higher ZIKV replication. Collectively, our study provides the first evidence to our knowledge that ZIKV causes retinal lesions and infects the cells lining the BRB and that ISG15 plays a role in retinal innate defense against ZIKV infection. Our mouse model can be used to study mechanisms underlying ZIKV-induced chorioretinitis and to gauge ocular antiviral therapies.
Pawan Kumar Singh, John-Michael Guest, Mamta Kanwar, Joseph Boss, Nan Gao, Mark S. Juzych, Gary W. Abrams, Fu-Shin Yu, Ashok Kumar
In the central nervous system, endothelial cells (ECs) and pericytes (PCs) of blood vessel walls cooperatively form a physical and chemical barrier to maintain neural homeostasis. However, in diabetic retinopathy (DR), the loss of PCs from vessel walls is assumed to cause breakdown of the blood-retina barrier (BRB) and subsequent vision-threatening vascular dysfunctions. Nonetheless, the lack of adequate DR animal models has precluded disease understanding and drug discovery. Here, by using an anti-PDGFRβ antibody, we show that transient inhibition of the PC recruitment to developing retinal vessels sustained EC-PC dissociations and BRB breakdown in adult mouse retinas, reproducing characteristic features of DR such as hyperpermeability, hypoperfusion, and neoangiogenesis. Notably, PC depletion directly induced inflammatory responses in ECs and perivascular infiltration of macrophages, whereby macrophage-derived VEGF and placental growth factor (PlGF) activated VEGFR1 in macrophages and VEGFR2 in ECs. Moreover, angiopoietin-2 (Angpt2) upregulation and Tie1 downregulation activated FOXO1 in PC-free ECs locally at the leaky aneurysms. This cycle of vessel damage was shut down by simultaneously blocking VEGF, PlGF, and Angpt2, thus restoring the BRB integrity. Together, our model provides new opportunities for identifying the sequential events triggered by PC deficiency, not only in DR, but also in various neurological disorders.
Shuntaro Ogura, Kaori Kurata, Yuki Hattori, Hiroshi Takase, Toshina Ishiguro-Oonuma, Yoonha Hwang, Soyeon Ahn, Inwon Park, Wataru Ikeda, Sentaro Kusuhara, Yoko Fukushima, Hiromi Nara, Hideto Sakai, Takashi Fujiwara, Jun Matsushita, Masatsugu Ema, Masanori Hirashima, Takashi Minami, Masabumi Shibuya, Nobuyuki Takakura, Pilhan Kim, Takaki Miyata, Yuichiro Ogura, Akiyoshi Uemura
Oxidative stress is implicated in various neurodegenerative disorders, including retinitis pigmentosa (RP), an inherited disease that causes blindness. The biological and cellular mechanisms by which oxidative stress mediates neuronal cell death are largely unknown. In a mouse model of RP (rd10 mice), we show that oxidative DNA damage activates microglia through MutY homolog–mediated (MUYTH-mediated) base excision repair (BER), thereby exacerbating retinal inflammation and degeneration. In the early stage of retinal degeneration, oxidative DNA damage accumulated in the microglia and caused single-strand breaks (SSBs) and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase activation. In contrast,
Shunji Nakatake, Yusuke Murakami, Yasuhiro Ikeda, Noriko Morioka, Takashi Tachibana, Kohta Fujiwara, Noriko Yoshida, Shoji Notomi, Toshio Hisatomi, Shigeo Yoshida, Tatsuro Ishibashi, Yusaku Nakabeppu, Koh-Hei Sonoda
Mucous membrane pemphigoid (MMP) is a systemic mucosal scarring disease, commonly causing blindness, for which there is no antifibrotic therapy. Aldehyde dehydrogenase family 1 (ALDH1) is upregulated in both ocular MMP (OMMP) conjunctiva and cultured fibroblasts. Application of the ALDH metabolite, retinoic acid (RA), to normal human conjunctival fibroblasts in vitro induced a diseased phenotype. Conversely, application of ALDH inhibitors, including disulfiram, to OMMP fibroblasts in vitro restored their functionality to that of normal controls. ALDH1 is also upregulated in the mucosa of the mouse model of scarring allergic eye disease (AED), used here as a surrogate for OMMP, in which topical application of disulfiram decreased fibrosis in vivo. These data suggest that progressive scarring in OMMP results from ALDH/RA fibroblast autoregulation, that the ALDH1 subfamily has a central role in immune-mediated ocular mucosal scarring, and that ALDH inhibition with disulfiram is a potential and readily translatable antifibrotic therapy.
Sarah D. Ahadome, David J. Abraham, Suryanarayana Rayapureddi, Valerie P. Saw, Daniel R. Saban, Virginia L. Calder, Jill T. Norman, Markella Ponticos, Julie T. Daniels, John K. Dart
Fibrosis is a shared end-stage pathway to lung, liver, and heart failure. In the ocular mucosa (conjunctiva), fibrosis leads to blindness in trachoma, pemphigoid, and allergy. The indirect fibrogenic role of DCs via T cell activation and inflammatory cell recruitment is well documented. However, here we demonstrate that DCs can directly induce fibrosis. In the mouse model of allergic eye disease (AED), classical CD11b+ DCs in the ocular mucosa showed increased activity of aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), the enzyme required for retinoic acid synthesis. In vitro, CD11b+ DC–derived ALDH was associated with 9-
Sarah D. Ahadome, Rose Mathew, Nancy J. Reyes, Priyatham S. Mettu, Scott W. Cousins, Virginia L. Calder, Daniel R. Saban
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