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Sena D.F.,Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) | Year: 2013

Glaucoma is a heterogeneous group of conditions involving progressive damage to the optic nerve, deterioration of retinal ganglion cells and ultimately visual field loss. It is a leading cause of blindness worldwide. Open angle glaucoma (OAG), the commonest form of glaucoma, is a chronic condition that may or may not present with increased intraocular pressure (IOP). Neuroprotection for glaucoma refers to any intervention intended to prevent optic nerve damage or cell death. The objective of this review was to systematically examine the evidence regarding the effectiveness of neuroprotective agents for slowing the progression of OAG in adults. We searched CENTRAL (which contains the Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group Trials Register) (The Cochrane Library 2012, Issue 9), Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, Ovid MEDLINE Daily, Ovid OLDMEDLINE, (January 1950 to October 2012), EMBASE (January 1980 to October 2012), Latin American and Caribbean Literature on Health Sciences (LILACS) (January 1982 to October 2012), the metaRegister of Controlled Trials (mRCT) (www.controlled-trials.com), ClinicalTrials.gov (www.clinicaltrials.gov) and the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) (www.who.int/ictrp/search/en). We did not use any date or language restrictions in the electronic searches for trials. The electronic databases were last searched on 16 October 2012. We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in which topical or oral treatments were used for neuroprotection in adults with OAG. Minimum follow up time was four years. Two review authors independently reviewed titles and abstracts from the literature searches. Full-text copies of potentially relevant studies were obtained and re-evaluated for inclusion. Two review authors independently extracted data related study characteristics, risk of bias, and outcome data. One trial was identified for this review, thus we performed no meta-analysis. Two studies comparing memantine to placebo are currently awaiting classification until additional study details are provided. We documented reasons for excluding studies from the review. We included one multi-center RCT of adults with low-pressure glaucoma (Low-pressure Glaucoma Treatment Study, LoGTS) conducted in the USA. The primary outcome was visual field progression after four years of treatment with either brimonidine or timolol. Of the 190 adults enrolled in the study, 12 (6.3%) were excluded after randomization and 77 (40.5%) did not complete four years of follow up. The rate of attrition was unbalanced between groups with more participants dropping out of the brimonidine group (55%) than the timolol group (29%). Of those remaining in the study at four years, participants assigned to brimonidine showed less visual field progression than participants assigned to timolol (5/45 participants in the brimonidine group compared with 18/56 participants in the timolol group). Since no information was available for the 12 participants excluded from the study, or the 77 participants who dropped out of the study, we cannot draw any conclusions from these results as the participants for whom data are missing may or may not have progressed. The mean IOP was similar in both groups at the four-year follow up among those for whom data were available: 14.2 mmHg (standard deviation (SD) = 1.9) among the 43 participants in the brimonidine group and 14.0 mmHg (SD = 2.6) among the 48 participants in the timolol group. Among the participants who developed progressive visual field loss, IOP reduction of 20% or greater was not significantly different between groups: 4/9 participants in the brimonidine group and 12/31 participants in the timolol group. The study authors did not report data for visual acuity or vertical cup-disc ratio. The most frequent adverse event was ocular allergy to study drug, which occurred more frequently in the brimonidine group (20/99 participants) than the timolol group (3/79 participants). Although neuroprotective agents are intended to act as pharmacological antagonists to prevent cell death, this trial did not provide evidence that they are effective in preventing retinal ganglion cell death, and thus preserving vision in people with OAG. Further clinical research is needed to determine whether neuroprotective agents may be beneficial for individuals with OAG. Such research should focus outcomes important to patients, such as preservation of vision, and how these outcomes relate to cell death and optic nerve damage. Since OAG is a chronic, progressive disease with variability in symptoms, RCTs designed to measure the effectiveness of neuroprotective agents would require long-term follow up (more than four years) in order to detect clinically meaningful effects.


Jakobs T.C.,Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine | Year: 2014

In glaucoma, regardless of its etiology, retinal ganglion cells degenerate and eventually die. Although age and elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) are the main risk factors, there are still many mysteries in the pathogenesis of glaucoma. The advent of genome-wide microarray expression screening together with the availability of animal models of the disease has allowed analysis of differential gene expression in all parts of the eye in glaucoma. This review will outline the findings of recent genome-wide expression studies and discuss their commonalities and differences. A common finding was the differential regulation of genes involved in inflammation and immunity, including the complement system and the cytokines transforming growth factor b (TGFp) and tumor necrosis factor a (TNFa). Other genes of interest have roles in theextracellular matrix, cell-matrix interactions and adhesion, the cell cycle, and the endothelin system. © 2014 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; all rights reserved.


Masland R.H.,Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Visual Neuroscience | Year: 2012

Their unique patterns of size, numbers, and stratification indicate that amacrine cells have diverse functions. These are mostly unknown, as studies using imaging and electrophysiological methods have only recently begun. However, some of the events that occur within the amacrine cell population-and some important unresolved puzzles-can be stated purely from structural reasoning. © Copyright Cambridge University Press 2012.


Yang J.,Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
PLoS genetics | Year: 2010

Mutations in whirlin cause either Usher syndrome type II (USH2), a deafness-blindness disorder, or nonsyndromic deafness. The molecular basis for the variable disease expression is unknown. We show here that only the whirlin long isoform, distinct from a short isoform by virtue of having two N-terminal PDZ domains, is expressed in the retina. Both long and short isoforms are expressed in the inner ear. The N-terminal PDZ domains of the long whirlin isoform mediates the formation of a multi-protein complex that includes usherin and VLGR1, both of which are also implicated in USH2. We localized this USH2 protein complex to the periciliary membrane complex (PMC) in mouse photoreceptors that appears analogous to the frog periciliary ridge complex. The latter is proposed to play a role in photoreceptor protein trafficking through the connecting cilium. Mice carrying a targeted disruption near the N-terminus of whirlin manifest retinal and inner ear defects, reproducing the clinical features of human USH2 disease. This is in contrast to mice with mutations affecting the C-terminal portion of whirlin in which the phenotype is restricted to the inner ear. In mice lacking any one of the USH2 proteins, the normal localization of all USH2 proteins is disrupted, and there is evidence of protein destabilization. Taken together, our findings provide new insights into the pathogenic mechanism of Usher syndrome. First, the three USH2 proteins exist as an obligatory functional complex in vivo, and loss of one USH2 protein is functionally close to loss of all three. Second, defects in the three USH2 proteins share a common pathogenic process, i.e., disruption of the PMC. Third, whirlin mutations that ablate the N-terminal PDZ domains lead to Usher syndrome, but non-syndromic hearing loss will result if they are spared.


Miller J.W.,Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
American Journal of Ophthalmology | Year: 2013

Purpose: To present the current understanding of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) pathogenesis, based on clinical evidence, epidemiologic data, histopathologic examination, and genetic data; to provide an update on current and emerging therapies; and to propose an integrated model of the pathogenesis of AMD. Design: Review of published clinical and experimental studies. Methods: Analysis and synthesis of clinical and experimental data. Results: We are closer to a complete understanding of the pathogenesis of AMD, having progressed from clinical observations to epidemiologic observations and clinical pathologic correlation. More recently, modern genetic and genomic studies have facilitated the exploration of molecular pathways. It seems that AMD is a complex disease that results from the interaction of genetic susceptibility with aging and environmental factors. Disease progression also seems to be driven by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Conclusions: Therapies based on pathophysiologic features have changed the paradigm for treating neovascular AMD. With improved understanding of the underlying genetic susceptibility, we can identify targets to halt early disease and to prevent progression and vision loss. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

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