Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) - Research Publications

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    Quantitative Assessment of Early Diabetic Retinopathy Using Fractal Analysis
    Cheung, N ; Donaghue, KC ; Liew, G ; Rogers, SL ; Wang, JJ ; Lim, S-W ; Jenkins, AJ ; Hsu, W ; Lee, ML ; Wong, TY (AMER DIABETES ASSOC, 2009-01-01)
    OBJECTIVE: Fractal analysis can quantify the geometric complexity of the retinal vascular branching pattern and may therefore offer a new method to quantify early diabetic microvascular damage. In this study, we examined the relationship between retinal fractal dimension and retinopathy in young individuals with type 1 diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 729 patients with type 1 diabetes (aged 12-20 years) who had seven-field stereoscopic retinal photographs taken of both eyes. From these photographs, retinopathy was graded according to the modified Airlie House classification, and fractal dimension was quantified using a computer-based program following a standardized protocol. RESULTS: In this study, 137 patients (18.8%) had diabetic retinopathy signs; of these, 105 had mild retinopathy. Median (interquartile range) retinal fractal dimension was 1.46214 (1.45023-1.47217). After adjustment for age, sex, diabetes duration, A1C, blood pressure, and total cholesterol, increasing retinal vascular fractal dimension was significantly associated with increasing odds of retinopathy (odds ratio 3.92 [95% CI 2.02-7.61] for fourth versus first quartile of fractal dimension). In multivariate analysis, each 0.01 increase in retinal vascular fractal dimension was associated with a nearly 40% increased odds of retinopathy (1.37 [1.21-1.56]). This association remained after additional adjustment for retinal vascular caliber. CONCLUSIONS: Greater retinal fractal dimension, representing increased geometric complexity of the retinal vasculature, is independently associated with early diabetic retinopathy signs in type 1 diabetes. Fractal analysis of fundus photographs may allow quantitative measurement of early diabetic microvascular damage.
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    Can HMG Co-A reductase inhibitors ("statins") slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration? The Age-Related Maculopathy Statin Study (ARMSS)
    Guymer, RH ; Dimitrov, PN ; Varsamidis, M ; Lim, LL ; Baird, PN ; Vingrys, AJ ; Robman, L (DOVE MEDICAL PRESS LTD, 2008-01-01)
    Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is responsible for the majority of visual impairment in the Western world. The role of cholesterol-lowering medications, HMG Co-A reductase inhibitors or statins, in reducing the risk of AMD or of delaying its progression has not been fully investigated. A 3-year prospective randomized controlled trial of 40 mg simvastatin per day compared to placebo in subjects at high risk of AMD progression is described. This paper outlines the primary aims of the Age-Related Maculopathy Statin Study (ARMSS), and the methodology involved. Standardized clinical grading of macular photographs and comparison of serial macular digital photographs, using the International grading scheme, form the basis for assessment of primary study outcomes. In addition, macular function is assessed at each visit with detailed psychophysical measurements of rod and cone function. Information collected in this study will assist in the assessment of the potential value of HMG Co-A reductase inhibitors (statins) in reducing the risk of AMD progression.
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    Endogenous spartin (SPG20) is recruited to endosomes and lipid droplets and interacts with the ubiquitin E3 ligases AIP4 and AIP5
    Edwards, TL ; Clowes, VE ; Tsang, HTH ; Connell, JW ; Sanderson, CM ; Luzio, JP ; Reid, E (PORTLAND PRESS LTD, 2009-10-01)
    The HSPs (hereditary spastic paraplegias) are genetic conditions in which there is distal degeneration of the longest axons of the corticospinal tract, resulting in spastic paralysis of the legs. The gene encoding spartin is mutated in Troyer syndrome, an HSP in which paralysis is accompanied by additional clinical features. There has been controversy over the subcellular distribution of spartin. We show here that, at steady state, endogenous spartin exists in a cytosolic pool that can be recruited to endosomes and to lipid droplets. Cytosolic endogenous spartin is mono-ubiquitinated and we demonstrate that it interacts via a PPXY motif with the ubiquitin E3 ligases AIP4 [atrophin-interacting protein 4; ITCH (itchy E3 ubiquitin protein ligase homologue] [corrected] and AIP5 (WWP1). Surprisingly, the PPXY motif, AIP4 and AIP5 are not required for spartin's ubiquitination, and so we propose that spartin acts as an adaptor for these proteins. Our results suggest that spartin is involved in diverse cellular functions, which may be of relevance to the complex phenotype seen in Troyer syndrome.
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    The hereditary spastic paraplegia proteins NIPA1, spastin and spartin are inhibitors of mammalian BMP signalling
    Tsang, HTH ; Edwards, TL ; Wang, X ; Connell, JW ; Davies, RJ ; Durrington, HJ ; O'Kane, CJ ; Luzio, JP ; Reid, E (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2009-10-15)
    The hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSPs) are genetic conditions characterized by distal axonopathy of the longest corticospinal tract axons, and so their study provides an important opportunity to understand mechanisms involved in axonal maintenance and degeneration. A group of HSP genes encode proteins that localize to endosomes. One of these is NIPA1 (non-imprinted in Prader-Willi/Angelman syndrome 1) and we have shown recently that its Drosophila homologue spichthyin inhibits bone morphogenic protein (BMP) signalling, although the relevance of this finding to the mammalian protein was not known. We show here that mammalian NIPA1 is also an inhibitor of BMP signalling. NIPA1 physically interacts with the type II BMP receptor (BMPRII) and we demonstrate that this interaction does not require the cytoplasmic tail of BMPRII. We show that the mechanism by which NIPA1 inhibits BMP signalling involves downregulation of BMP receptors by promoting their endocytosis and lysosomal degradation. Disease-associated mutant versions of NIPA1 alter the trafficking of BMPRII and are less efficient at promoting BMPRII degradation than wild-type NIPA1. In addition, we demonstrate that two other members of the endosomal group of HSP proteins, spastin and spartin, are inhibitors of BMP signalling. Since BMP signalling is important for distal axonal function, we propose that dysregulation of BMP signalling could be a unifying pathological component in this endosomal group of HSPs, and perhaps of importance in other conditions in which distal axonal degeneration is found.
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    A Systematic Meta-Analysis of Genetic Association Studies for Diabetic Retinopathy
    Abhary, S ; Hewitt, AW ; Burdon, KP ; Craig, JE (AMER DIABETES ASSOC, 2009-09-01)
    OBJECTIVE: Diabetic retinopathy is a sight-threatening microvascular complication of diabetes with a complex multifactorial pathogenesis. A systematic meta-analysis was undertaken to collectively assess genetic studies and determine which previously investigated polymorphisms are associated with diabetic retinopathy. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: All studies investigating the association of genetic variants with the development of diabetic retinopathy were identified in PubMed and ISI Web of Knowledge. Crude odds ratios (ORs) and 95% CIs were calculated for single nucleotide polymorphisms and microsatellite markers previously investigated in at least two published studies. RESULTS: Twenty genes and 34 variants have previously been studied in multiple cohorts. The aldose reductase (AKR1B1) gene was found to have the largest number of polymorphisms significantly associated with diabetic retinopathy. The z-2 microsatellite was found to confer risk (OR 2.33 [95% CI 1.49-3.64], P = 2 x 10(-4)) in type 1 and type 2 diabetes and z+2 to confer protection (0.58 [0.36-0.93], P = 0.02) against diabetic retinopathy in type 2 diabetes regardless of ethnicity. The T allele of the AKR1B1 promoter rs759853 variant is also significantly protective against diabetic retinopathy in type 1 diabetes (0.5 [0.35-0.71], P = 1.00 x 10(-4)), regardless of ethnicity. These associations were also found in the white population alone (P < 0.05). Polymorphisms in NOS3, VEGF, ITGA2, and ICAM1 are also associated with diabetic retinopathy after meta-analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Variations within the AKR1B1 gene are highly significantly associated with diabetic retinopathy development irrespective of ethnicity. Identification of genetic risk factors in diabetic retinopathy will assist in further understanding of this complex and debilitating diabetes complication.
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    Novel measures of cardiovascular health and its association with prevalence and progression of age-related macular degeneration: the CHARM study
    McCarty, CA ; Dowrick, A ; Cameron, J ; McGrath, B ; Robman, LD ; Dimitrov, P ; Tikellis, G ; Nicolas, C ; McNeil, J ; Guymer, R (BMC, 2008-01-01)
    BACKGROUND: To determine if novel measures of cardiovascular health are associated with prevalence or progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). METHODS: Measures of the cardiovascular system: included intima media thickness (IMT), pulse wave velocity (PWV), systemic arterial compliance (SAC), carotid augmentation index (AI). For the prevalence study, hospital-based AMD cases and population-based age- and gender-matched controls with no signs of AMD in either eye were enrolled. For the progression component, participants with early AMD were recruited from two previous studies; cases were defined as progression in one or both eyes and controls were defined as no progression in either eye. RESULTS: 160 cases and 160 controls were included in the prevalence component. The upper two quartiles of SAC, implying good cardiovascular health, were significantly associated with increased risk of AMD (OR = 2.54, 95% CL = 1.29, 4.99). High PWV was associated with increased prevalent AMD. Progression was observed in 82 (32.3%) of the 254 subjects recruited for the progression component. Higher AI (worse cardiovascular function) was protective for AMD progression (OR = 0.30, 95%CL = 0.13, 0.69). Higher aortic PWV was associated with increased risk of AMD progression; the highest risk was seen with the second lowest velocity (OR = 6.22, 95% CL = 2.35, 16.46). CONCLUSION: The results were unexpected in that better cardiovascular health was associated with increased risk of prevalent AMD and progression. Inconsistent findings between the prevalence and progression components could be due to truly different disease etiologies or to spurious findings, as can occur with inherent biases in case control studies of prevalence. Further investigation of these non-invasive methods of characterizing the cardiovascular system should be undertaken as they may help to further elucidate the role of the cardiovascular system in the etiology of prevalent AMD and progression.
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    Longitudinal association of glucose metabolism with retinopathy - Results from the Australian Diabetes Obesity and Lifestyle (AusDiab) study
    Tapp, RJ ; Tikellis, G ; Wong, TY ; Harper, CA ; Zimmet, PZ ; Shaw, JE (AMER DIABETES ASSOC, 2008-07-01)
    OBJECTIVE: We determined the longitudinal association of glucose metabolism with retinopathy in a sample of the Australian population. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: The Australian Diabetes Obesity and Lifestyle (AusDiab) study is a national, longitudinal study of adults aged > or =25 years from 42 randomly selected areas of Australia. Retinopathy was assessed at baseline in 1999-2000 and 5 years later in 2004-2005 in participants identified as having diabetes (based on self-report and oral glucose tolerance test) and impaired glucose metabolism and in a random sample with normal glucose tolerance. Complete retinal data were available for 1,192 participants. Photographs were graded at two time points according to a simplified version of the Wisconsin grading system. RESULTS: The 5-year incidences of retinopathy were 13.9 and 3.0% among those with known and newly diagnosed diabetes at baseline, respectively. Of those who developed incident newly diagnosed diabetes at follow-up, 11.9% had retinopathy at baseline compared with 5.6% of those who did not progress to incident newly diagnosed diabetes (P = 0.037). After adjustment for factors identified as risk factors for diabetes, individuals with retinopathy signs at baseline were twice as likely to develop incident newly diagnosed diabetes compared with those who did not have retinopathy signs at baseline. CONCLUSIONS: The 5-year incidence of retinopathy was 13.9% among individuals with known diabetes. Nondiabetic individuals with retinopathy signs at baseline had a twofold higher risk of developing incident newly diagnosed diabetes 5 years later. This result provides further evidence that mild retinopathy signs may be a preclinical marker of underlying microvascular disease and future diabetes risk.