Autofluorescence fundus imaging using an adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscope (AOSLO) allows for imaging of individual retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells in vivo. In this study, the potential of retinal damage was investigated by using radiant exposure levels that are 2 to 150 times those used for routine imaging.
Macaque retinas were imaged in vivo with a fluorescence AOSLO. The retina was exposed to 568- or 830-nm light for 15 minutes at various intensities over a square ½° per side. Pre-and immediate postexposure images of the photoreceptors and RPE cells were taken over a 2° field. Long-term AOSLO imaging was performed intermittently from 5 to 165 days after exposure. Exposures delivered over a uniform field were also investigated.
Exposures to 568-nm light caused an immediate decrease in autofluorescence of RPE cells. Follow-up imaging revealed either full recovery of autofluorescence or long-term damage in the RPE cells at the exposure. The outcomes of AOSLO exposures and uniform field exposures of equal average power were not significantly different. No effects from 830-nm exposures were observed.
The study revealed a novel change in RPE autofluorescence induced by 568-nm light exposure. Retinal damage occurred as a direct result of total average power, independent of the light-delivery method. Because the exposures were near or below permissible levels in laser safety standards, these results suggest that caution should be used with exposure of the retina to visible light and that the safety standards should be re-evaluated for these exposure conditions.
Retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells are critical for the health of the retina, especially the photoreceptors. A recent study demonstrated that individual RPE cells could be imaged in macaque in vivo by detecting autofluorescence with an adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscope (AOSLO). The current study extended this method to image RPE cells in fixating humans in vivo and to quantify the RPE mosaic characteristics in the central retina of normal humans and macaques.
The retina was imaged simultaneously with two light channels in a fluorescence AOSLO; one channel was used for reflectance imaging of the cones while the other detected RPE autofluorescence. The excitation light was 568 nm, and emission was detected over a 40-nm range centered at 624 nm. Reflectance frames were registered to determine interframe eye motion, the motion was corrected in the simultaneously recorded autofluorescence frames, and the autofluorescence frames were averaged to give the final RPE mosaic image.
In vivo imaging demonstrated that with increasing eccentricity, RPE cell density, and mosaic regularity decreased, whereas RPE cell size and spacing increased. Repeat measurements of the same retinal location 42 days apart showed the same RPE cells and distribution.
The RPE cell mosaic has been resolved for the first time in alert fixating human subjects in vivo using AOSLO. Mosaic analysis provides a quantitative database for studying normal and diseased RPE in vivo. This technique will allow longitudinal studies to track disease progression and assess treatment efficacy in patients and animal models of retinal disease.
The retina exhibits an inherent autofluorescence that is imaged ophthalmoscopically as fundus autofluorescence. In clinical settings, fundus autofluorescence examination aids in the diagnosis and follow-up of many retinal disorders. Fundus autofluorescence originates from the complex mixture of bisretinoid fluorophores that are amassed by retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells as lipofuscin. Unlike the lipofuscin found in other cell-types, this material does not form as a result of oxidative stress. Rather, the formation is attributable to non-enzymatic reactions of vitamin A aldehyde in photoreceptor cells; transfer to RPE occurs upon phagocytosis of photoreceptor outer segments. These fluorescent pigments accumulate even in healthy photoreceptor cells and are generated as a consequence of the light capturing function of the cells. Nevertheless, the formation of this material is accelerated in some retinal disorders including recessive Stargardt disease and ELOVL-4-related retinal degeneration. As such, these bisretinoid side-products are implicated in the disease processes that threaten vision. In this article, we review our current understanding of the composition of RPE lipofuscin, the structural characteristics of the various bisretinoids, their related spectroscopic features and the biosynthetic pathways by which they form. We will revisit factors known to influence the extent of the accumulation and therapeutic strategies being used to limit bisretinoid formation. Given their origin from vitamin A aldehyde, an isomer of the visual pigment chromophore, it is not surprising that the bisretinoids of retina are light sensitive molecules. Accordingly, we will discuss recent findings that implicate the photodegradation of bisretinoid in the etiology of age-related macular degeneration.
A2E; all-trans-retinal; bisretinoid; retinal pigment epithelium; macular degeneration; retina
The photoreceptor/RPE complex must maintain a delicate balance between maximizing the absorption of photons for vision and retinal image quality while simultaneously minimizing the risk of photodamage when exposed to bright light. We review the recent discovery of two new effects of light exposure on the photoreceptor/RPE complex in the context of current thinking about the causes of retinal phototoxicity. These effects are autofluorescence photobleaching in which exposure to bright light reduces lipofuscin autofluorescence and, at higher light levels, RPE disruption in which the pattern of autofluorescence is permanently altered following light exposure. Both effects occur following exposure to visible light at irradiances that were previously thought to be safe. Photopigment, retinoids involved in the visual cycle, and bisretinoids in lipofuscin have been implicated as possible photosensitizers for photochemical damage. The mechanism of RPE disruption may follow either of these paths. On the other hand, autofluorescence photobleaching is likely an indicator of photooxidation of lipofuscin. The permanent changes inherent in RPE disruption might require modification of the light safety standards. AF photobleaching recovers after several hours although the mechanisms by which this occurs are not yet clear. Understanding the mechanisms of phototoxicity is all the more important given the potential for increased susceptibility in the presence of ocular diseases that affect either the visual cycle and/or lipofuscin accumulation. In addition, knowledge of photochemical mechanisms can improve our understanding of some disease processes that may be influenced by light exposure, such as some forms of Leber’s congenital amaurosis, and aid in the development of new therapies. Such treatment prior to intentional light exposures, as in ophthalmic examinations or surgeries, could provide an effective preventative strategy.
Phototoxicity; Photochemical; Retina; Retinal pigment epithelium; Autofluorescence; Visual cycle; Lipofuscin; Bisretinoids
Lipofuscin results from digestion of photoreceptor outer segments by the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and is the principal compound that causes RPE fluorescence during autofluorescence imaging. Absorption of the 488-nanometer blue light by macular pigments, especially by the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, causes normal macular hypo-autofluorescence. Fundus autofluorescence imaging is being increasingly employed in ophthalmic practice to diagnose and monitor patients with a variety of retinal disorders. In macular edema for example, areas of hyper-autofluorescence are usually present which are postulated to be due to dispersion of macular pigments by pockets of intraretinal fluid. For this reason, the masking effect of macular pigments is reduced and the natural autofluorescence of lipofuscin can be observed without interference. In cystic types of macular edema, e.g. cystoid macular edema due to retinal vein occlusion, diabetic macular edema and post cataract surgery, hyper-autofluorescent regions corresponding to cystic spaces of fluid accumulation can be identified. In addition, the amount of hyper-autofluorescence seems to correspond to the severity of edema. Hence, autofluorescence imaging, as a noninvasive technique, can provide valuable information on cystoid macular edema in terms of diagnosis, follow-up and efficacy of treatment.
Autofluorescence; Cystoid Macular Edema; Lipofuscin
Daily phagocytosis by the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) of spent photoreceptor outer segment fragments is critical for vision. In the retina, early morning circadian photoreceptor rod shedding precedes synchronized uptake of shed photoreceptor particles by RPE cells. In vitro, RPE cells use the integrin receptor αvβ5 for particle binding. Here, we tested RPE phagocytosis and retinal function in β5 integrin–deficient mice, which specifically lack αvβ5 receptors. Retinal photoresponses severely declined with age in β5−/− mice, whose RPE accumulated autofluorescent storage bodies that are hallmarks of human retinal aging and disease. β5−/− RPE in culture failed to take up isolated photoreceptor particles. β5−/− RPE in vivo retained basal uptake levels but lacked the burst of phagocytic activity that followed circadian photoreceptor shedding in wild-type RPE. Rhythmic activation of focal adhesion and Mer tyrosine kinases that mediate wild-type retinal phagocytosis was also completely absent in β5−/− retina. These results demonstrate an essential role for αvβ5 integrin receptors and their downstream signaling pathways in synchronizing retinal phagocytosis. Furthermore, they identify the β5−/− integrin mouse strain as a new animal model of age-related retinal dysfunction.
circadian rhythm; knockout; photoreceptors; retinal pigment; epithelium; vision
Chorioretinal folds typically involve the choroid, Bruch membrane, retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), and sometimes overlying neurosensory retina. von Winning hypothesized that the alternate banding pattern of choroidal folds shown by fluorescein angiography is explained by RPE density. To our knowledge, autofluorescence imaging of chorioretinal folds has not been previously described.
A 47-year-old healthy hyperopic man had best-corrected visual acuity of 20/30 in the right eye and 20/25 in the left eye. Posterior segment examination revealed bilateral chorioretinal folds with subtle streaks of RPE hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation emanating from both optic nerve heads.
Early-phase fluorescein angiography revealed the characteristic pattern of alternating light and dark bands. Autofluorescence imaging disclosed a similar pattern as well as peripapillary mottling. The alternating patterns of light and dark bands observed using autofluorescence imaging and fluorescein angiography were found to be precisely in register but inverted.
Autofluorescence imaging noninvasively demonstrates the pathognomonic pattern of alternating light and dark bands shown by fluorescein angiography diagnostic of choroidal folds but in an inverse fashion. This observation provides independent support of von Winning’s hypothesis regarding the etiopathogenesis of the banding pattern.
chorioretinal folds; autofluorescence; fluorescein angiography; hyperopia; retinal pigment epithelium
The health of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) can be estimated with autofluorescence (AF) imaging of lipofuscin, which accumulates as a byproduct of retinal exposure to light. Lipofuscin may be toxic to the RPE, and its toxicity may be enhanced by short-wavelength (SW) illumination. The high-intensity and SW excitation light used in conventional AF imaging could, at least in principle, increase the rate of lipofuscin accumulation and/or increase its toxicity. We considered two reduced-illuminance AF imaging (RAFI) methods as alternatives to conventional AF imaging. RAFI methods use either near-infrared (NIR) light or reduced-radiance SW illumination for excitation of fluorophores. We quantified the distribution of RAFI signals in relation to retinal structure and function in patients with the prototypical lipofuscin accumulation disease caused by mutations in ABCA4. There was evidence for two subclinical stages of macular ABCA4 disease involving hyperautofluorescence of both SW- and NIR-RAFI with and without associated loss of visual function. Use of RAFI methods and microperimetry in future clinical trials involving lipofuscinopathies should allow quantification of subclinical disease expression and progression without subjecting the diseased retina/RPE to undue light exposure.
We measured the bleaching and regeneration kinetics of rhodopsin in the living human eye with two-wavelength, wide-field scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (SLO), and investigated the effect of rhodopsin bleaching on autofluorescence intensity.
The retina was imaged with an Optos P200C SLO by its reflectance of 532 and 633 nm light, and its autofluorescence excited by 532 nm light, before and after exposure to lights calibrated to bleach rhodopsin substantially. Bleaching was confined to circular retinal regions of 4.8° visual angle located approximately 16° superotemporal and superonasal to fixation. Images were captured as 12-bit tiff files and postprocessed to extract changes in reflectance and autofluorescence.
At the locus of bleaching transient increases in reflectance of the 532 nm, but not the 633 nm beam were observed readily and quantified. A transient increase in autofluorescence also occurred. The action spectrum, absolute sensitivity, and recovery of the 532 nm reflectance increase were consistent with previous measurements of human rhodopsin's spectral sensitivity, photosensitivity, and regeneration kinetics. The autofluorescence changes closely tracked the changes in rhodopsin density.
The bleaching and regeneration kinetics of rhodopsin can be measured locally in the human retina with a widely available SLO. The increased autofluorescence excited by 532 nm light upon bleaching appears primarily due to transient elimination of rhodopsin's screening of autofluorescent fluorochromes in the RPE. The spatially localized measurement with a widely available SLO of rhodopsin, the most abundant protein in the retina, could be a valuable adjunct to retinal health assessment.
Rhodopsin was measured locally in the retina with a widely available, dual wavelength scanning laser ophthalmoscope that does not require pupil dilation. Increased autofluorescence attendant bleaching arises largely from transient removal of rhodopsin's screening of autofluorescent fluorochromes.
Light-induced damage can be a problem after surgery or sun exposure. Short-duration, intense light causes preferential photoreceptor death in the superior central retina of albino mice and rats and serves as a model of oxidation-induced neurodegeneration. Previous work on retinal ischemia-induced neuronal death suggests the involvement of zinc (Zn2+) toxicity in the death and collapse of many retinal cell layers and demonstrates the protective efficacy of pyruvate. Retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells were shown to be sensitive to oxidative stress, and zinc, causing loss of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) and adenine triphosphate (ATP), which was prevented by pyruvate and nicotinamide. We previously showed similar results in cortical neurons exposed to oxidative stress or Zn2+. In vivo, Zn2+ is normally present in the inner and outer segments (associated with rhodopsin), Bruch’s membrane and sclera (elastin), RPE, and the outer plexiform layer of the eye (synaptic). In this study, we examine the role of Zn2+ in oxidative stress and light-induced damage in vitro and in vivo.
We modeled retinal toxicity in cell-culture lines derived from retinal tissue: Müller and human retinal pigment epithelial (ARPE-19) cells and a cone photoreceptor-derived line (661W). These cultures were exposed to Zn2+ and OS, and the therapeutic efficacy of pyruvate, nicotinamide, and NAD+ was determined. Sprague Dawley albino rats were exposed to 18 kLux of white fluorescent light for 1–4 h in the presence and absence of pyruvate, nicotinamide, lactate, and cyclic light. The intracellular free zinc concentration ([Zn2+]i) and cell damage were assessed 0.5 and 7 days later, respectively.
We show that Zn2+ and oxidative stress results in increased [Zn2+]i and that Zn2+ therapeutic compounds (pyruvate, nicotinamide, and NAD+) and inhibitors of previously implicated pathways (sirtuin) are efficacious in vitro. Exposure to 18 kLux of cool white fluorescent light for 1 h induced a large increase in Zn2+ staining 4–14 h later, particularly in the superior outer nuclear layer and RPE of dark-maintained Sprague Dawley albino rats; 4 h of light was required to induce similar damage in cyclic light-maintained rats. Photoreceptors and RPE cells died in untreated animals at 3–7 days. However, nicotinamide and pyruvate (intraperitoneal), but not lactate, attenuated this death in treated animals, as measured using optical coherence tomography and confirmed by counting photoreceptor nuclei.
Zn2+ plays a role in this injury, as suggested by the increased Zn2+ staining and the efficacy of Zn2+ therapeutics. These results suggest that cyclic light maintenance, Zn2+ chelation, pyruvate, and nicotinamide promote RPE and photoreceptor survival after injury and could be effective for various forms of retinal neurodegeneration. These results could have immediate clinical applications in surgery- or sun exposure- induced light damage to the retina.
In the classic retinoid cycle, 11-cis retinol is synthesized in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) by two enzymes: Isomerase I (RPE65) and lecithin:retinol acyltransferase (LRAT). The purpose of this study is to provide experimental evidence for two active isomerases in the cone-dominated chicken eye: an LRAT-dependent Isomerase I in the RPE and an ARAT (acyl CoA:retinol acyltransferase)-dependent isomerase (Isomerase II) in the retina. First, we show that whole chicken retina in vitro, removed from the RPE/choroid and sclera, produces 11-cis retinoids upon light exposure, indicating the existence of RPE-independent isomerase (Isomerase II) activity in the retina. RT-PCR studies show high levels of RPE65 expression in the RPE, low levels in the retina, and none in primary Müller cell cultures, indicating the presence of Isomerase I in the RPE and a minimal amount in the retina. Activities of the RPE and retina isomerases were then measured by enzyme assays with specific enzyme inhibitors. 2,2′-Bipyridine, a known Isomerase I inhibitor, and N-ethyl-maleimide (NEM), a known LRAT inhibitor, significantly reduced Isomerase I activity but not Isomerase II activity. Progesterone, a known ARAT inhibitor, completely blocked Isomerase II activity but not Isomerase I activity. Thus the present study reports novel results to distinguish the biochemical properties of Isomerase I from Isomerase II, as well a difference in their locations in the chicken eye. Based on these differences, the cone-dominated chicken eye must contain two retinoid cycles: a classic visual cycle for retinoid exchange between the RPE and the retina supported by Isomerase I in the RPE, and an additional visual cycle for retinoid processing in the retina supported by Isomerase II.
Retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cell dysfunction plays a central role in various retinal degenerative diseases, but knowledge is limited regarding the pathways responsible for adult RPE stress responses in vivo. RPE mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated in the pathogenesis of several forms of retinal degeneration. Here we have shown that postnatal ablation of RPE mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in mice triggers gradual epithelium dedifferentiation, typified by reduction of RPE-characteristic proteins and cellular hypertrophy. The electrical response of the retina to light decreased and photoreceptors eventually degenerated. Abnormal RPE cell behavior was associated with increased glycolysis and activation of, and dependence upon, the hepatocyte growth factor/met proto-oncogene pathway. RPE dedifferentiation and hypertrophy arose through stimulation of the AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin (AKT/mTOR) pathway. Administration of an oxidant to wild-type mice also caused RPE dedifferentiation and mTOR activation. Importantly, treatment with the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin blunted key aspects of dedifferentiation and preserved photoreceptor function for both insults. These results reveal an in vivo response of the mature RPE to diverse stressors that prolongs RPE cell survival at the expense of epithelial attributes and photoreceptor function. Our findings provide a rationale for mTOR pathway inhibition as a therapeutic strategy for retinal degenerative diseases involving RPE stress.
Aim: Selective retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) laser treatment is a new technique which selectively damages the RPE while sparing the neural retina. One difficulty is the inability to visualise the laser lesions. The aim of the study was to investigate whether fundus autofluorescence (AF) is changed because of the RPE damage, and thus might be used for treatment control. Additionally, the clinical course of patients with various macular diseases was evaluated.
Methods: 26 patients with macular diseases (diabetic maculopathy (DMP), soft drusen maculopathy (AMD), and central serous retinopathy (CSR)) were treated and followed up for at least 6 months. Treatment was performed with a train of repetitive short laser pulses (800 ns) of a frequency doubled Nd:YAG laser (parameters: 532 nm, 50 and 500 pulses at 100 and 500 Hz, retinal spot diameter 200 μm, pulse energies 75–175 μJ). AF was excited by 488 nm and detected by a barrier filter at 500 nm (HRA, Heidelberg Engineering, Germany). Patients were examined by ophthalmoscopy, fluorescein angiography, and autofluorescence measurements at various times after treatment (10 minutes, 1 hour, 1 and 6 weeks, 3, 6, and 12 months).
Results: Fluorescein angiography showed leakage from the irradiated areas for about 1 week after treatment. None of the laser lesions was ophthalmoscopically visible during treatment. Identification of the lesions was possible by AF imaging showing an intensity decay in the irradiated area in 22 out of 26 patients, predominantly in patients with CSR and AMD. Lesions could be identified 10 minutes after treatment as hypoautofluorescent spots, which were more pronounced 1 hour later. During follow up the laser spots became hyperautofluorescent. In patients with DMP some AF images were less helpful because of diffuse oedema and larger retinal thickness. In these cases ICG angiography was able to confirm therapeutic success very well. Most of the patients have had benefit from the treatment, with best results obtained for CSR patients.
Conclusion: Imaging of non-visible selective RPE laser effects can be achieved by AF measurements predominantly in patients without retinal oedema. Therefore, AF may replace invasive fluorescein angiography in many cases to verify therapeutic laser success. Selective laser treatment has the potential to improve the prognosis of macular diseases without the risk of laser scotomas.
retinal pigment epithelium; laser photocoagulation; microphotocoagulation; autofluorescence; diabetic maculopathy; drusen; central serous retinopathy
Though in vivo two-photon imaging has been demonstrated in non-human primates, improvements in the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) would greatly improve its scientific utility. In this study, extrinsic fluorophores, expressed in otherwise transparent retinal ganglion cells, were imaged in the living mouse eye using a two-photon fluorescence adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscope. We recorded two orders of magnitude greater signal levels from extrinsically labeled cells relative to previous work done in two-photon autofluorescence imaging of primates. Features as small as single dendrites in various layers of the retina could be resolved and predictions are made about the feasibility of measuring functional response from cells. In the future, two-photon imaging in the intact eye may allow us to monitor the function of retinal cell classes with infrared light that minimally excites the visual response.
(330.4460) Ophthalmic optics and devices; (180.4315) Nonlinear microscopy; (170.0110) Imaging systems
Background: With the advent of confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscopes (cSLO), fundus autofluorescence (FAF) resulting mainly from lipofuscin accumulation on the level of the retinal pigment epithelium can be visualised in vivo. Various cSLOs are available to document FAF. The authors analysed and compared results of FAF using three different instruments.
Methods: Eight eyes of eight normal volunteers and 18 eyes of 12 patients with different retinal diseases (age related macular degeneration, macular dystrophy, central serous retinopathy) were examined. FAF images were recorded from each subject with the Heidelberg retina angiograph (HRA), the Rodenstock cSLO (RcSLO) and the Zeiss Prototype SM 30-4024 (ZcSLO). For excitation an argon laser (488 nm) was used (barrier filter: HRA 500 nm; RcSLO 515 nm; ZcSLO 521 nm). 32 FAF images were aligned and averaged using the same software for all cSLOs. FAF distribution was measured and grey scale values as well as root mean square (RMS) contrast were compared.
Results: Mean age of all subjects was 55.5 (SD 21.4) years. The maximum grey scale value averaged across all eyes was 76.19 (39.34) for the HRA, 61.44 (22.12) for the ZcSLO and 37.0 (9.97) for the RcSLO. The RMS contrast was 0.46 (0.20) for the ZcSLO, 0.40 (0.12) for the HRA, and 0.13 (0.05) for the RcSLO. The differences between the cSLOs were statistically significant with higher grey scale levels and more contrast for the HRA and ZcSLO than the RcSLO (repeated measures ANOVA; p<0.0001). The differences between the HRA and the ZcSLO were not significant (post hoc comparisons; p<0.05).
Conclusions: All cSLOs allow clinically useful FAF imaging in retinal diseases. However, grey scale levels and contrast were much lower on the RcSLO. Therefore, RcSLO images appear much darker than HRA or ZcSLO images. Furthermore, not all cSLOs have a fixed photodetector gain and a standardised value for the argon laser amplification, which is mandatory for an absolute comparison of FAF imaging results.
scanning laser ophthalmoscope; fundus autofluorescence; lipofuscin; retinal pigment epithelium; macular degeneration
Light toxicity is suspected to enhance certain retinal degenerative processes such as age-related macular degeneration. Death of photoreceptors can be induced by their exposure to the visible light, and although cellular processes within photoreceptors have been characterized extensively, the role of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) in this model is less well understood. We demonstrate that exposition to intense light causes the immediate breakdown of the outer blood–retinal barrier (BRB). In a molecular level, we observed the slackening of adherens junctions tying up the RPE and massive leakage of albumin into the neural retina. Retinal pigment epithelial cells normally secrete vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) at their basolateral side; light damage in contrast leads to VEGF increase on the apical side – that is, in the neuroretina. Blocking VEGF, by means of lentiviral gene transfer to express an anti-VEGF antibody in RPE cells, inhibits outer BRB breakdown and retinal degeneration, as illustrated by functional, behavioral and morphometric analysis. Our data show that exposure to high levels of visible light induces hyperpermeability of the RPE, likely involving VEGF signaling. The resulting retinal edema contributes to irreversible damage to photoreceptors. These data suggest that anti-VEGF compounds are of therapeutic interest when the outer BRB is altered by retinal stresses.
neurodegeneration; photoreceptor; VEGF; retina; gene therapy
BACKGROUND--Variation of fluorescence derived from lipofuscin in the retinal pigment epithelium has been recorded with age and in retinal diseases. Studies have been based largely on in vitro observations on eye bank eyes which has placed severe limitations on the data available. METHODS--A technique is described whereby in vivo imaging of autofluorescence of the fundus was achieved using a scanning laser ophthalmoscope. RESULTS--The optical characteristics, distribution, and variation with disease imply that the fluorescence is derived from lipofuscin in the pigment epithelium. Autofluorescence is shown to be abnormally high in certain inherited diseases, and low in the presence of retinal atrophy. CONCLUSION--This technique may be useful both in clinical practice and research. It may allow the detection of the abnormal phenotype in genetically determined disease at a time when other techniques may not. Longitudinal studies of age related macular disease would permit correlation between changes in the pigment epithelium and Bruch's membrane to be established.
High oxygen tension, exposure to light, and the biochemical events of vision generate significant oxidative stress in the retina and the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Understanding the mechanisms and basis of susceptibility to progressive retinal diseases involving oxidative damage such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) remains a major challenge. Here microsomal glutathione S-transferase (MGST1) is shown to be a dominant, highly expressed enzyme in bovine and mouse RPE microsomes that displays significant reduction activity toward synthetic peroxides, oxidized RPE lipids, and oxidized retinoids. This enzymatic reduction activity (GPx) can be partially neutralized with a monoclonal anti-MGST1 antibody developed in this study. MGST1-transfected HEK293 cells exhibited greater viability (70 ± 4% survival) compared with untransfected control cells (46 ± 4% survival) when challenged with 20μM H2O2, and greater viability of MGST1-transfected cells following challenge with oxidized docosahexaenoic acid was also observed. Cultured ARPE19 cells transfected with silencing MGST1 siRNAs exhibited lower expression of MGST1 (12% and 26% of the controls) and significantly lower GPx activity (44 ± 13%) and, thus, were more susceptible to oxidative damage. Immunoblotting revealed that the in vivo expression of MGST1 in mouse RPE decreases 3–4-fold with age, to trace levels in 18-month-old mice. GPx activity in the RPE was also found to be reduced in 12-month-old mice to ~67%. These results support an important protective function for MGST1 against oxidative insult in the RPE that decreases with age and suggest that this enzyme may play a role in the development of age-related diseases such as AMD.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT), MP-1 microperimetry, and fundus autofluorescence imaging for planning surgical procedures in combined hamartomas of the retina and retinal pigment epithelium (CHR-RPE) and following epiretinal membrane removal.
In an interventional retrospective case series, six consecutive subjects with CHR-RPE underwent vitrectomy and epiretinal membrane peeling, with 4 years of follow-up. Each underwent complete ophthalmic examination, including best corrected visual acuity, fundus examination, fundus fluorescein angiography, SD-OCT, MP-1, and fundus autofluorescence at one, 6, 12, and 48 months.
Six eyes from six subjects with CHR-RPE were studied (mean age 31 ± 14 years). All patients were phakic and five were male (83.3%). Lesions were unilateral, ie, three macular, two juxtapapillary and macular, and one pericentral. Preoperative best corrected visual acuity was 0.3 ± 0.08 Snellen, with significant improvement to 0.9 ± 0.17 Snellen (P = 0.001) at 4 years of follow-up. Mean retinal sensitivity within the central 20° field improved from 16.6 ± 1.84 dB to 18.8 ± 0.96 dB (P = 0.07). There was also a statistically significant reduction in the visual defect (P = 0.04). SD-OCT demonstrated that the epiretinal membranes were completely removed in all but one patient, with significantly decreased macular edema on follow-up at one, 6, 12, and 48 months (P = 0.001). A positive correlation was shown between preoperative macular sensitivity and postoperative best corrected visual acuity. Fundus autofluorescence demonstrated a block in background autofluorescence at the site of the lesion, and hyperautofluorescence at the edematous retina overlain by the epiretinal membrane.
Surgery is an effective treatment for CHR-RPE. SD-OCT, fundus autofluorescence, and MP-1 are valuable and noninvasive tools to guide surgical procedures for CHR-RPE. To the best of our knowledge, this study represents the first use of MP-1 in CHR-RPE in conjunction with SD-OCT and fundus autofluorescence imaging for better guided surgery as well as anatomical and functional prognosis.
vitrectomy; epiretinal membrane; combined hamartoma of the retina and retinal pigment epithelium
We have examined the effects of changes in extracellular ionic composition on cone and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) retinomotor movements in cultured isolated teleost retinas. In vivo, the myoid portion of teleost cones contracts in the light and elongates in the dark; RPE pigment disperses in the light and aggregates in the dark. In vitro, cones of dark-adapted (DA) retinas cultured in constant darkness contracted spontaneously to their light-adapted (LA) positions if the culture medium contained greater than or equal to 10(-3)M Cao++. DA cones retained their long DA positions in a medium containing less than or equal to 10(-6)M Cao++. Low [Ca++]o (10(-5)-10(-7)M) also permitted darkness to induce cone elongation and RPE pigment aggregation. Light produced cone contraction even in the absence of Cao++, but the extent of contraction was reduced if [Ca++]o was less than 10(-3) M. Thus, full contraction appeared to require the presence of external Ca++. High [K+]o (greater than or equal to 27 mM) inhibited both light- induced and light-independent Ca++-induced cone contraction. However, low [Na+]o (3.5 mM) in the presence of less than or equal to 10(-6)M Cao++ did not mimic light onset by inducing cone contraction in the dark. High [K+]o also promoted dark-adaptive cone and RPE movements in LA retinas cultured in the light. All results obtained in high [K+]o were similar to those observed when DA or LA retinas were exposed to treatments that elevate cytoplasmic cyclic 3',5'-adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) content.
We aimed to evaluate technical aspects and the clinical relevance of a simultaneous confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscope and a high-speed, high-resolution, spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SDOCT) device for retinal imaging. The principle of confocal scanning laser imaging provides a high resolution of retinal and choroidal vasculature with low light exposure. Enhanced contrast, details, and image sharpness are generated using confocality. The real-time SDOCT provides a new level of accuracy for assessment of the angiographic and morphological correlation. The combined system allows for simultaneous recordings of topographic and tomographic images with accurate correlation between them. Also it can provide simultaneous multimodal imaging of retinal pathologies, such as fluorescein and indocyanine green angiographies, infrared and blue reflectance (red-free) images, fundus autofluorescence images, and OCT scans (Spectralis HRA + OCT; Heidelberg Engineering, Heidelberg, Germany). The combination of various macular diagnostic tools can lead to a better understanding and improved knowledge of macular diseases.
AIM—To describe a new method of evaluating the topographic distribution of fundus autofluorescence in eyes with retinal disease.
METHODS—Images of fundus autofluorescence were obtained in five patients and 34 normal volunteers using a confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscope (cSLO). To evaluate the topographic distribution of fundus autofluorescence throughout the posterior pole a rectangular box, 10 × 750 pixels, was used as the area of analysis. The box was placed, horizontally, across the macular region. The intensity of fundus autofluorescence of each pixel within the rectangular box was plotted against its degree of eccentricity. Profiles of fundus autofluorescence from patients were compared with those obtained from the age matched control group and with cSLO images.
RESULTS—Profiles of fundus autofluorescence appeared to represent the topographic distribution of fundus autofluorescence throughout the posterior pole appreciated in the cSLO images, and allowed rapid identification and quantification of areas of increased or decreased fundus autofluorescence.
CONCLUSIONS—Fundus autofluorescence profiles appear to be useful to study the spatial distribution of fundus autofluorescence in eyes with retinal disease.
AIM—To demonstrate the usefulness of a recently developed technique of imaging fundus autofluorescence and to compare it with the results of fluorescein angiography in the diagnosis and staging of macular holes.
METHODS—The intensity and distribution of fundus autofluorescence was studied in 51 patients with idiopathic macular holes and pseudoholes using a confocal laser scanning ophthalmoscope (cLSO) and the images were compared with those obtained by fundus fluorescein angiography.
RESULTS—Autofluorescence imaging demonstrated bright fluorescence of macular holes with appearance similar to that obtained by fluorescein angiography. In contrast macular pseuodoholes showed no such autofluorescence. The attached operculum in stage 2 macular holes and the preretinal operculum in stage 3 macular holes showed focal decreased autofluorescence. The associated retinal elevation and the cuff of subretinal fluid were less fluorescent compared with the background autofluorescence of the normal fellow eyes. Following successful surgical treatment the autofluorescence of the macular holes was no longer visible.
CONCLUSION—Autofluorescence imaging with the cLSO makes the assessment of macular holes possible with an accuracy comparable with that of fluorescein angiography. Being non-invasive and rapid, autofluorescence imaging may become a useful alternative to fluorescein angiography in the assessment and the differential diagnosis of full thickness macular holes.
Keywords: fundus autofluorescence; macular hole; lipofuscin; retinal pigment epithelium; laser scanning ophthalmoscope
Usher syndrome (USH) is a genetically heterogeneous disease with autosomal recessive deafness and blindness. Gene therapy is under development for use in the most common genetic variant of USH1, USH1B, which is caused by mutations in the MYO7A gene. This study was undertaken to identify an imaging method for noninvasively monitoring the RPE component of the USH1B disease.
NIR-autofluorescence (NIR-AF) was examined in USH1B patients with scanning laser ophthalmoscopy, and retinal thickness with spectral-domain optical coherence tomography. Myo7a-null mouse retinas and purified RPE melanosomes were analyzed by spectral deconvolution confocal microscopy.
In USH1B patients, NIR-AF was normal in regions of retained photoreceptors and abnormal in regions lacking photoreceptors. Subtle changes in NIR-AF were associated with intermediate photoreceptor loss. In ex vivo mouse retinas, the NIR-AF source was traced to the melanosomes in the RPE and choroid. Purified RPE melanosomes emitted the same signal. Fluorophores, excited by long-wavelength light, were evident throughout the apical RPE of WT mouse eyecups. In Myo7a-null eyecups, these fluorophores had a more restricted distribution. They were absent from the apical processes of the RPE, thus correlating with the melanosome localization defects described previously by conventional microscopy.
The data indicate that melanosomes in the RPE and choroid are the dominant source of NIR-AF from the posterior region of the eye. NIR-AF is a novel tool that provides sensitive and label-free imaging of the retina and RPE and is currently the only melanosome-specific, noninvasive technique for monitoring RPE disease in new therapeutic initiatives for retinal degenerations.
To correlate the degree of functional loss with structural changes in patients with Stargardt disease.
Eighteen eyes of 10 Stargardt patients were studied. Scanning laser ophthalmoscope (SLO) infrared images were compared to corresponding spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) scans. Additionally, SLO microperimetry was performed and results were superimposed on SLO infrared images and in selected cases on fundus autofluorescence (FAF) images.
Seventeen of 18 eyes showed a distinct hypo-reflective foveal and/or perifoveal area with distinct borders on SLO-infrared images which was less evident on funduscopy and incompletely depicted in FAF images. This hypo-reflective zone corresponded to areas of significantly elevated psychophysical thresholds on microperimetry testing, in addition to thinning of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), disorganization or loss of the photoreceptor cell inner-outer segment (IS-OS) junction and external limiting membrane (ELM) on SD-OCT.
SLO-infrared fundus images are useful for depicting retinal structural changes in Stargardt patients. An SD-OCT/SLO microperimetry device allows for a direct correlation of structural abnormalities with functional defects that will likely be applicable for the determination of retinal areas for potential improvement of retinal function in these patients during future clinical trials and for the monitoring of the diseases' natural history.
microperimetry; SLO infrared imaging; Stargardt disease; fundus autofluorescence imaging