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Vascular Findings in the Choriocapillaris in a Case of Radiation Retinopathy Secondary to Choroidal Melanoma

Mon, 2022-09-26 05:00

Case Rep Ophthalmol. 2022 Aug 15;13(2):589-598. doi: 10.1159/000525568. eCollection 2022 May-Aug.


The effects of radiation retinopathy on the retinal vasculature have been well established; however, the literature describing the pathologic changes in the choriocapillaris is relatively lacking. In this report, we describe the histologic findings of a donor eye with a choroidal melanoma with special attention to the choriocapillaris. Clinical and histological findings, including immunohistochemistry and transmission electron microscopy, are described for the retina and choroid of a donor eye affected by radiation retinopathy secondary to treatment of choroidal melanoma. Cells within the tumor exhibited an epithelioid structure and balloon melanosomes. Notable infiltration of macrophages with elongated morphology was also observed. Atrophy of photoreceptors, retinal pigmented epithelium, and choriocapillaris was observed on the inferior edge of the lesion and extending past the tumor. The choriocapillaris endothelium showed more severe dropout at the periphery of the lesion where loss of fenestration, thickened cytosol, and degenerated pericytes were observed. Morphologic analysis revealed choriocapillaris loss with pronounced degeneration of choroidal pericytes. Understanding the differences in sensitivity to radiation injury between different cell types and different patients will provide better insight into radiation retinopathy.

PMID:36160486 | PMC:PMC9459633 | DOI:10.1159/000525568

Systems genomics in age-related macular degeneration

Thu, 2022-09-15 05:00

Exp Eye Res. 2022 Sep 12:109248. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2022.109248. Online ahead of print.


Genomic studies in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) have identified genetic variants that account for the majority of AMD risk. An important next step is to understand the functional consequences and downstream effects of the identified AMD-associated genetic variants. Instrumental for this next step are 'omics' technologies, which enable high-throughput characterization and quantification of biological molecules, and subsequent integration of genomics with these omics datasets, a field referred to as systems genomics. Single cell sequencing studies of the retina and choroid demonstrated that the majority of candidate AMD genes identified through genomic studies are expressed in non-neuronal cells, such as the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), glia, myeloid and choroidal cells, highlighting that many different retinal and choroidal cell types contribute to the pathogenesis of AMD. Expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) studies in retinal tissue have identified putative causal genes by demonstrating a genetic overlap between gene regulation and AMD risk. Linking genetic data to complement measurements in the systemic circulation has aided in understanding the effect of AMD-associated genetic variants in the complement system, and supports that protein QTL (pQTL) studies in plasma or serum samples may aid in understanding the effect of genetic variants and pinpointing causal genes in AMD. A recent epigenomic study fine-mapped AMD causal variants by determing regulatory regions in RPE cells differentiated from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC-RPE). Another approach that is being employed to pinpoint causal AMD genes is to produce synthetic DNA assemblons representing risk and protective haplotypes, which are then delivered to cellular or animal model systems. Pinpointing causal genes and understanding disease mechanisms is crucial for the next step towards clinical translation. Clinical trials targeting proteins encoded by the AMD-associated genomic loci C3, CFB, CFI, CFH, and ARMS2/HTRA1 are currently ongoing, and a phase III clinical trial for C3 inhibition recently showed a modest reduction of lesion growth in geographic atrophy. The EYERISK consortium recently developed a genetic test for AMD that allows genotyping of common and rare variants in AMD-associated genes. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) were applied to quantify AMD genetic risk, and may aid in predicting AMD progression. In conclusion, genomic studies represent a turning point in our exploration of AMD. The results of those studies now serve as a driving force for several clinical trials. Expanding to omics and systems genomics will further decipher function and causality from the associations that have been reported, and will enable the development of therapies that will lessen the burden of AMD.

PMID:36108770 | DOI:10.1016/j.exer.2022.109248

The Essential Role of the Choriocapillaris in Vision: Novel Insights from Imaging and Molecular Biology

Thu, 2022-09-15 05:00

Annu Rev Vis Sci. 2022 Sep 15;8:33-52. doi: 10.1146/annurev-vision-100820-085958.


The choriocapillaris, a dense capillary network located at the posterior pole of the eye, is essential for supporting normal vision, supplying nutrients, and removing waste products from photoreceptor cells and the retinal pigment epithelium. The anatomical location, heterogeneity, and homeostatic interactions with surrounding cell types make the choroid complex to study both in vivo and in vitro. Recent advances in single-cell RNA sequencing, in vivo imaging, and in vitro cell modeling are vastly improving our knowledge of the choroid and its role in normal health and in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Histologically, loss of endothelial cells (ECs) of the choriocapillaris occurs early in AMD concomitant with elevated formation of the membrane attack complex of complement. Advanced imaging has allowed us to visualize early choroidal blood flow changes in AMD in living patients, supporting histological findings of loss of choroidal ECs. Single-cell RNA sequencing is being used to characterize choroidal cell types transcriptionally and discover their altered patterns of gene expression in aging and disease. Advances in induced pluripotent stem cell protocols and 3D cultures will allow us to closely mimic the in vivo microenvironment of the choroid in vitro to better understand the mechanism leading to choriocapillaris loss in AMD.

PMID:36108103 | DOI:10.1146/annurev-vision-100820-085958

Biocompatibility of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Retinal Progenitor Cell Grafts in Immunocompromised Rats

Mon, 2022-06-27 05:00

Cell Transplant. 2022 Jan-Dec;31:9636897221104451. doi: 10.1177/09636897221104451.


Loss of photoreceptor cells is a primary feature of inherited retinal degenerative disorders including age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. To restore vision in affected patients, photoreceptor cell replacement will be required. The ideal donor cells for this application are induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) because they can be derived from and transplanted into the same patient obviating the need for long-term immunosuppression. A major limitation for retinal cell replacement therapy is donor cell loss associated with simple methods of cell delivery such as subretinal injections of bolus cell suspensions. Transplantation with supportive biomaterials can help maintain cellular integrity, increase cell survival, and encourage proper cellular alignment and improve integration with the host retina. Using a pig model of retinal degeneration, we recently demonstrated that polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds fabricated with two photon lithography have excellent local and systemic tolerability. In this study, we describe rapid photopolymerization-mediated production of PCL-based bioabsorbable scaffolds, a technique for loading iPSC-derived retinal progenitor cells onto the scaffold, methods of surgical transplantation in an immunocompromised rat model and tolerability of the subretinal grafts at 1, 3, and 6 months of follow-up (n = 150). We observed no local or systemic toxicity, nor did we observe any tumor formation despite extensive clinical evaluation, clinical chemistry, hematology, gross tissue examination and detailed histopathology. Demonstrating the local and systemic compatibility of biodegradable scaffolds carrying human iPSC-derived retinal progenitor cells is an important step toward clinical safety trials of this approach in humans.

PMID:35758274 | DOI:10.1177/09636897221104451

Inflammatory adipose activates a nutritional immunity pathway leading to retinal dysfunction

Wed, 2022-06-15 05:00

Cell Rep. 2022 Jun 14;39(11):110942. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2022.110942.


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of irreversible blindness among Americans over 50, is characterized by dysfunction and death of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells. The RPE accumulates iron in AMD, and iron overload triggers RPE cell death in vitro and in vivo. However, the mechanism of RPE iron accumulation in AMD is unknown. We show that high-fat-diet-induced obesity, a risk factor for AMD, drives systemic and local inflammatory circuits upregulating interleukin-1β (IL-1β). IL-1β upregulates RPE iron importers and downregulates iron exporters, causing iron accumulation, oxidative stress, and dysfunction. We term this maladaptive, chronic activation of a nutritional immunity pathway the cellular iron sequestration response (CISR). RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis of choroid and retina from human donors revealed that hallmarks of this pathway are present in AMD microglia and macrophages. Together, these data suggest that inflamed adipose tissue, through the CISR, can lead to RPE pathology in AMD.

PMID:35705048 | DOI:10.1016/j.celrep.2022.110942