Mullins Lab Publications
Age-Related Macular Degeneration Masquerade: A Review of Pentosan Polysulfate Maculopathy and Implications for Clinical Practice
Asia Pac J Ophthalmol (Phila). 2022 Mar-Apr 01;11(2):100-110. doi: 10.1097/APO.0000000000000504.
Pentosan polysulfate (PPS) sodium (Elmiron) is the only Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved oral medication to treat interstitial cystitis, also known as bladder pain syndrome. A symptomatic pigmentary maculopathy associated with PPS was reported in 2018. Since then, recognition of this unique drug toxicity has increased rapidly. This potentially sight-threatening side effect prompted the FDA in June 2020 to update the label for PPS to warn about "retinal pigmentary changes." A challenging feature of pentosan maculopathy is its ability to mimic many other retinal conditions, including inherited retinal dystrophies such as pattern dystrophy, mitochondrially inherited diabetes and deafness, and Stargardt disease, and age-related macular degeneration. In this review, we discuss the history of PPS maculopathy and its implications for thousands of at-risk interstitial cystitis patients. We use published literature and an illustrative case from our institution to highlight the importance of diagnosing PPS maculopathy. We also compare PPS maculopathy to age-related macular degeneration, explain why differentiating between the 2 is clinically important, and highlight avenues for further research. Finally, we highlight the paucity of data on patients of color and why this lack of understanding may impact patient care.
Choroidal Endothelial and Macrophage Gene Expression in Atrophic and Neovascular Macular Degeneration
Hum Mol Genet. 2022 Feb 19:ddac043. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddac043. Online ahead of print.
The human choroid is a heterogeneous, highly vascular connective tissue that dysfunctions in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In this study, we performed single-cell RNA sequencing on twenty-one human choroids, eleven of which were derived from donors with early atrophic or neovascular AMD. Using this large donor cohort, we identified new gene expression signatures and immunohistochemically characterized discrete populations of resident macrophages, monocytes/inflammatory macrophages, and dendritic cells. These three immune populations demonstrated unique expression patterns for AMD genetic risk factors, with dendritic cells possessing the highest expression of the neovascular AMD-associated MMP9 gene. Additionally, we performed trajectory analysis to model transcriptomic changes across the choroidal vasculature, and we identified expression signatures for endothelial cells from choroidal arterioles and venules. Finally, we performed differential expression analysis between control, early atrophic AMD, and neovascular AMD samples, and we observed that early atrophic AMD samples had high expression of SPARCL1, a gene that has been shown to increase in response to endothelial damage. Likewise, neovascular endothelial cells harbored gene expression changes consistent with endothelial cell damage and demonstrated increased expression of the sialomucins CD34 and ENCM, which were also observed at the protein level within neovascular membranes. Overall, this study characterizes the molecular features of new populations of choroidal endothelial cells and mononuclear phagocytes in a large cohort of AMD and control human donors.