Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 26
Safety and Efficacy of Human Wharton's Jelly-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Therapy for Retinal Degeneration
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2015-06-24)
PURPOSE: To investigate the safety and efficacy of subretinal injection of human Wharton's Jelly-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hWJ-MSCs) on retinal structure and function in Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) rats. METHODS: RCS rats were divided into 2 groups: hWJ-MSCs treated group (n = 8) and placebo control group (n = 8). In the treatment group, hWJ-MSCs from healthy donors were injected into the subretinal space in one eye of each rat at day 21. Control group received saline injection of the same volume. Additional 3 animals were injected with nanogold-labelled stem cells for in vivo tracking of cells localisation using a micro-computed tomography (microCT). Retinal function was assessed by electroretinography (ERG) 3 days before the injection and repeated at days 15, 30 and 70 after the injection. Eyes were collected at day 70 for histology, cellular and molecular studies. RESULTS: No retinal tumor formation was detected by histology during the study period. MicroCT scans showed that hWJ-MSCs stayed localised in the eye with no systemic migration. Transmission electron microscopy showed that nanogold-labelled cells were located within the subretinal space. Histology showed preservation of the outer nuclear layer (ONL) in the treated group but not in the control group. However, there were no significant differences in the ERG responses between the groups. Confocal microscopy showed evidence of hWJ-MSCs expressing markers for photoreceptor, Müller cells and bipolar cells. CONCLUSIONS: Subretinal injection of hWJ-MSCs delay the loss of the ONL in RCS rats. hWJ-MSCs appears to be safe and has potential to differentiate into retinal-like cells. The potential of this cell-based therapy for the treatment of retinal dystrophies warrants further studies.
Non-invasive in vivo hyperspectral imaging of the retina for potential biomarker use in Alzheimer's disease
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2019-09-17)
Studies of rodent models of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and of human tissues suggest that the retinal changes that occur in AD, including the accumulation of amyloid beta (Aβ), may serve as surrogate markers of brain Aβ levels. As Aβ has a wavelength-dependent effect on light scatter, we investigate the potential for in vivo retinal hyperspectral imaging to serve as a biomarker of brain Aβ. Significant differences in the retinal reflectance spectra are found between individuals with high Aβ burden on brain PET imaging and mild cognitive impairment (n = 15), and age-matched PET-negative controls (n = 20). Retinal imaging scores are correlated with brain Aβ loads. The findings are validated in an independent cohort, using a second hyperspectral camera. A similar spectral difference is found between control and 5xFAD transgenic mice that accumulate Aβ in the brain and retina. These findings indicate that retinal hyperspectral imaging may predict brain Aβ load.
Amyloid Precursor Protein Mediates Neuronal Protection from Rotenone Toxicity
Mitochondrial complex I dysfunction is the most common respiratory chain defect in human disorders and a hotspot for neurodegenerative diseases. Amyloid precursor protein (APP) and its non-amyloidogenic processing products, in particular soluble APP α (sAPPα), have been shown to provide neuroprotection in models of neuronal injury; however, APP-mediated protection from acute mitochondrial injury has not been previously reported. Here, we use the plant-derived pesticide rotenone, a potent complex I-specific mitochondrial inhibitor, to discover neuroprotective effects of APP and sAPPα in vitro, in neuronal cell lines over-expressing APP, and in vivo, in a retinal neuronal rotenone toxicity mouse model. Our results show that APP over-expression is protective against rotenone toxicity in neurons via sAPPα through an autocrine/paracrine mechanism that involves the Pi3K/Akt pro-survival pathway. APP-/- mice exhibit greater susceptibility to retinal rotenone toxicity, while intravitreal delivery of sAPPα reduces inner retinal neuronal death in wild-type mice following rotenone challenge. We also show a significant decrease in human retinal expression of APP with age. These findings provide insights into the therapeutic potential of non-amyloidogenic processing of APP in complex I-related neurodegeneration.
Home Monitoring of Retinal Sensitivity on a Tablet Device in Intermediate Age-Related Macular Degeneration
(ASSOC RESEARCH VISION OPHTHALMOLOGY INC, 2018-09-01)
Purpose: We determine the feasibility of using a home-based tablet device to monitor retinal sensitivity (RS) in intermediate age-related macular degeneration (iAMD), the benefits of weekly reminders, and the comparison with clinic-based results. Methods: A customized test for tablets was designed to measure RS (within central 2°) in individuals with iAMD at weekly intervals in their home, with remote data collection. Half of the participants were randomized to receive weekly test reminders. Clinic-based microperimetric macular sensitivity results were compared to tablet results. Participation rates were analyzed at 2 months. Results: Of 38 participants (mean age, 70.3 years) with iAMD enrolled in the study, 21 (55%) were using the tablet-based test at 2 months. Common reasons for inactivity were noncompatible devices (41.1%) or other technology access issues (35.3%). Participants with weekly reminders completed tests more regularly (6.6 ± 3.9 vs. 8.7 ± 4.1 days, P = 0.01), but weekly reminders showed no effect on participation rates (P = 0.69). Mean RS from the tablet device (25.03 ± 2.41 dB) was not significantly different from the clinic-based microperimetry performance (25.21 ± 2.20 dB; P = 0.58). Conclusions: Regular monitoring of retinal function on a tablet device in a home setting in individuals with iAMD is feasible with results comparable to those of clinic-based microperimetry. Weekly reminders resulted in more frequent testing. Seamless ability to access technology will be important for higher participation rates. Translational Relevance: The use of home-monitoring on a tablet-device is promising, but adequate support for an older cohort to take up technology is required if such a tool is to be useful for long-term home monitoring.
Progress in the clinical development and utilization of vision prostheses: an update
(DOVE MEDICAL PRESS LTD, 2016-01-01)
Vision prostheses, or "bionic eyes", are implantable medical bionic devices with the potential to restore rudimentary sight to people with profound vision loss or blindness. In the past two decades, this field has rapidly progressed, and there are now two commercially available retinal prostheses in the US and Europe, and a number of next-generation devices in development. This review provides an update on the development of these devices and a discussion on the future directions for the field.
Altered biometal homeostasis is associated with CLN6 mRNA loss in mouse neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis
(COMPANY OF BIOLOGISTS LTD, 2013-06-15)
Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses, the most common fatal childhood neurodegenerative illnesses, share many features with more prevalent neurodegenerative diseases. Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses are caused by mutations in CLN genes. CLN6 encodes a transmembrane endoplasmic reticulum protein with no known function. We characterized the behavioural phenotype of spontaneous mutant mice modeling CLN6 disease, and demonstrate progressive motor and visual decline and reduced lifespan in these mice, consistent with symptoms observed in neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis patients. Alterations to biometal homeostasis are known to play a critical role in pathology in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's and motor neuron diseases. We have previously shown accumulation of the biometals, zinc, copper, manganese and cobalt, in CLN6 Merino and South Hampshire sheep at the age of symptom onset. Here we determine the physiological and disease-associated expression of CLN6, demonstrating regional CLN6 transcript loss, and concurrent accumulation of the same biometals in the CNS and the heart of presymptomatic CLN6 mice. Furthermore, increased expression of the ER/Golgi-localized cation transporter protein, Zip7, was detected in cerebellar Purkinje cells and whole brain fractions. Purkinje cells not only control motor function, an early symptomatic change in the CLN6 mice, but also display prominent neuropathological changes in mouse models and patients with different forms of neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses. Whole brain fractionation analysis revealed biometal accumulation in fractions expressing markers for ER, Golgi, endosomes and lysosomes of CLN6 brains. These data are consistent with a link between CLN6 expression and biometal homeostasis in CLN6 disease, and provide further support for altered cation transporter regulation as a key factor in neurodegeneration.
Single-Cell Profiling Identifies Key Pathways Expressed by iPSCs Cultured in Different Commercial Media
(CELL PRESS, 2018-09-28)
We assessed the pluripotency of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) maintained on an automated platform using StemFlex and TeSR-E8 media. Analysis of transcriptome of single cells revealed similar expression of core pluripotency genes, as well as genes associated with naive and primed states of pluripotency. Analysis of individual cells from four samples consisting of two different iPSC lines each grown in the two culture media revealed a shared subpopulation structure with three main subpopulations different in pluripotency states. By implementing a machine learning approach, we estimated that most cells within each subpopulation are very similar between all four samples. The single-cell RNA sequencing analysis of iPSC lines grown in both media reports the molecular signature in StemFlex medium and how it compares to that observed in the TeSR-E8 medium.
The impact of diabetic retinopathy on quality of life: qualitative findings from an item bank development project
PURPOSE: Assessing the efficacy of treatment modalities for diabetic retinopathy (DR) from the patient's perspective is restricted due to a lack of a comprehensive patient-reported outcome measure. We are developing a DR-specific quality of life (QoL) item bank, and we report here on the qualitative results from the first phase of this project. METHODS: Eight focus groups and 18 semi-structured interviews were conducted with 57 patients with DR. The sessions were transcribed verbatim and iteratively analysed using the constant comparative method and NVIVO software. RESULTS: Participants had a median age of 58 years (range 27-83 years). Twenty-seven (47%) participants had proliferative DR in the better eye, and 14 (25%) had clinically significant macular oedema. Nine QoL domains were identified, namely visual symptoms, ocular surface symptoms, vision-related activity limitation, mobility, emotional well-being, health concerns, convenience, social, and economic. Participants described many vision-related activity limitations, particularly under challenging lighting conditions; however, socioemotional issues were equally important. Participants felt frustrated due to their visual restrictions, concerned about further vision loss and had difficulty coping with this uncertainty. Restrictions on driving were pervasive, affecting transport, social life, relationships, responsibilities, work and independence. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with DR experience many socioemotional issues in addition to vision-related activity limitations. Data from this study will be used to generate data for a DR-specific QoL item bank.
Defined Medium Conditions for the Induction and Expansion of Human Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Retinal Pigment Epithelium
We demonstrate that a combination of Noggin, Dickkopf-1, Insulin Growth Factor 1 and basic Fibroblast Growth Factor, promotes the differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells into retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells. We describe an efficient one-step approach that allows the generation of RPE cells from both human embryonic stem cells and human induced pluripotent stem cells within 40-60 days without the need for manual excision, floating aggregates or imbedded cysts. Compared to methods that rely on spontaneous differentiation, our protocol results in faster differentiation into RPE cells. This pro-retinal culture medium promotes the growth of functional RPE cells that exhibit key characteristics of the RPE including pigmentation, polygonal morphology, expression of mature RPE markers, electrophysiological membrane potential and the ability to phagocytose photoreceptor outer segments. This protocol can be adapted for feeder, feeder-free and serum-free conditions. This method thereby provides a rapid and simplified production of RPE cells for downstream applications such as disease modelling and drug screening.
Enriched retinal ganglion cells derived from human embryonic stem cells
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2016-08-10)
Optic neuropathies are characterised by a loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) that lead to vision impairment. Development of cell therapy requires a better understanding of the signals that direct stem cells into RGCs. Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) represent an unlimited cellular source for generation of human RGCs in vitro. In this study, we present a 45-day protocol that utilises magnetic activated cell sorting to generate enriched population of RGCs via stepwise retinal differentiation using hESCs. We performed an extensive characterization of these stem cell-derived RGCs by examining the gene and protein expressions of a panel of neural/RGC markers. Furthermore, whole transcriptome analysis demonstrated similarity of the hESC-derived RGCs to human adult RGCs. The enriched hESC-RGCs possess long axons, functional electrophysiological profiles and axonal transport of mitochondria, suggestive of maturity. In summary, this RGC differentiation protocol can generate an enriched population of functional RGCs from hESCs, allowing future studies on disease modeling of optic neuropathies and development of cell therapies.
Study of mitochondrial respiratory defects on reprogramming to human induced pluripotent stem cells
(IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2016-05-01)
Reprogramming of somatic cells into a pluripotent state is known to be accompanied by extensive restructuring of mitochondria and switch in metabolic requirements. Here we utilized Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) as a mitochondrial disease model to study the effects of homoplasmic mtDNA mutations and subsequent oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) defects in reprogramming. We obtained fibroblasts from a total of 6 LHON patients and control subjects, and showed a significant defect in complex I respiration in LHON fibroblasts by high-resolution respiratory analysis. Using episomal vector reprogramming, our results indicated that human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) generation is feasible in LHON fibroblasts. In particular, LHON-specific OXPHOS defects in fibroblasts only caused a mild reduction and did not significantly affect reprogramming efficiency, suggesting that hiPSC reprogramming can tolerate a certain degree of OXPHOS defects. Our results highlighted the induction of genes involved in mitochondrial biogenesis (TFAM, NRF1), mitochondrial fusion (MFN1, MFN2) and glycine production (GCAT) during reprogramming. However, LHON-associated OXPHOS defects did not alter the kinetics or expression levels of these genes during reprogramming. Together, our study provides new insights into the effects of mtDNA mutation and OXPHOS defects in reprogramming and genes associated with various aspects of mitochondrial biology.
Retinal Changes in an ATP-Induced Model of Retinal Degeneration
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2016-04-29)
In rodents and felines, intravitreal administration of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) has been shown to induce photoreceptor death providing a tractable model of retinal degeneration in these species. This study investigated the long term effects of photoreceptor loss in an ATP induced feline model of retinal degeneration. Six normal sighted felines were unilaterally blinded using intravitreal ATP injections and assessed using electroretinography (ERG) and optical coherence tomography (OCT). At 30 h (n = 3) or 12 weeks (n = 3) post-injection, the animals were euthanized and the eyes enucleated. Retinae were sectioned and labeled using immunohistochemistry for markers of cell death, neural remodeling and gliosis. Ongoing cell death and retinal degeneration was observed in the outer retina at both 30 h and 12 weeks following unilateral ATP injection. Markers of mid to late-stage retinal remodeling such as cell displacement and aberrant neurite growth were observed in the inner retina at 12 weeks post-injection. Ganglion cells appeared to remain intact in ATP injected eyes. Müller cell gliosis was observed throughout the inner and outer retina, in some parts completely enveloping and/or displacing the surviving neural tissue. Our data suggests that the ATP injected feline retina continues to undergo progressive retinal degeneration and exhibits abnormalities consistent with a description of retinal remodeling commonly seen in other models of retinal degeneration. These findings validate the use of intravitreal ATP injection in feline as a large animal model of retinal degeneration which may aid in development of therapies aiming to restore visual function after photoreceptor degeneration.