• Object recognition in clutter: cortical responses depend on the type of learning

      Hegéd, Jay; Thompson, Serena K.; Brady, Mark; Kersten, Daniel; Department of Ophthalmology; Vision Discovery Institute; Brain & Behavior Discovery Institute (2012-06-19)
      Theoretical studies suggest that the visual system uses prior knowledge of visual objects to recognize them in visual clutter, and posit that the strategies for recognizing objects in clutter may differ depending on whether or not the object was learned in clutter to begin with. We tested this hypothesis using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of human subjects. We trained subjects to recognize naturalistic, yet novel objects in strong or weak clutter. We then tested subjects' recognition performance for both sets of objects in strong clutter. We found many brain regions that were differentially responsive to objects during object recognition depending on whether they were learned in strong or weak clutter. In particular, the responses of the left fusiform gyrus (FG) reliably reflected, on a trial-to-trial basis, subjects' object recognition performance for objects learned in the presence of strong clutter. These results indicate that the visual system does not use a single, general-purpose mechanism to cope with clutter. Instead, there are two distinct spatial patterns of activation whose responses are attributable not to the visual context in which the objects were seen, but to the context in which the objects were learned.
    • Nodular Fasciitis of the Orbit: A Case Report and Brief Review of the Literature

      Riffle, John E.; Prosser, Andrea H.; Lee, Jeffrey R.; Lynn, Julie J.; Department of Ophthalmology (2011-10-19)
      Nodular fasciitis is a benign, reactive, fibroblastic proliferation in which nodules most commonly develop in the subcutaneous or superficial fascia of the extremities. The occurrence of these growths in the orbital region is relatively rare. Our intent is to report another orbital case of this benign fibroproliferative tumor and to provide a brief review of the pertinent medical literature. The salient pathologic features of nodular fasciitis are summarized. The potential for the misdiagnosis of these benign mesenchymal tumors as a malignant sarcomatous neoplasm is discussed. It is important for ophthalmologists to be aware of this pathologic entity and its pseudosarcomatous appearance.
    • Retinal Microglial Activation and Inflammation Induced by Amadori-Glycated Albumin in a Rat Model of Diabetes

      Ibrahim, Ahmed S.; El-Remessy, Azza B.; Matragoon, Suraporn; Zhang, Wenbo; Patel, Yogin; Khan, Sohail; Al-Gayyar, Mohammed M H; El-Shishtawy, Mamdouh M.; Liou, Gregory I.; Department of Ophthalmology; Vision Discovery Institute; Vascular Biology Center; Department of Medicine (2011-03-22)
      OBJECTIVE: During diabetes, retinal microglial cells are activated to release inflammatory cytokines that initiate neuronal loss and bloodâ retinal barrier breakdown seen in diabetic retinopathy (DR). The mechanism by which diabetes activates microglia to release those inflammatory mediators is unclear and was therefore elucidated.
    • Genistein attenuates retinal inflammation associated with diabetes by targeting of microglial activation

      Ibrahim, Ahmed S.; El-Shishtawy, Mamdouh M.; Pena, Alejandro Jr.; Liou, Gregory I.; Department of Ophthalmology; Department of Medicine (2010-10-08)
      Purpose: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is associated with microglial activation and increased levels of inflammatory cytokines. Genistein, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory potential that so far untested in animal models of diabetes. The aims of this study are to evaluate the efficacy of genistein for alleviation of diabetes-induced retinal inflammation and also to gain insight into the molecular mechanisms involved therein by analyzing the effect of genistein on concomitant microglia activation in the diabetic retina and in isolated cells.
    • Cannabidiol protects retinal neurons by preserving glutamine synthetase activity in diabetes.

      El-Remessy, Azza B.; Khalifa, Yousef; Ola, S; Ibrahim, Ahmed S.; Liou, Gregory I.; Department of Ophthalmology; Vision Discovery Institute (2010-08-31)
      PURPOSE: We have previously shown that non-psychotropic cannabidiol (CBD) protects retinal neurons in diabetic rats by inhibiting reactive oxygen species and blocking tyrosine nitration. Tyrosine nitration may inhibit glutamine synthetase (GS), causing glutamate accumulation and leading to further neuronal cell death. We propose to test the hypothesis that diabetes-induced glutamate accumulation in the retina is associated with tyrosine nitration of GS and that CBD treatment inhibits this process. METHODS: Sprague Dawley rats were made diabetic by streptozotocin injection and received either vehicle or CBD (10 mg/kg/2 days). After eight weeks, retinal cell death, M?�ller cell activation, GS tyrosine nitration, and GS activity were determined. RESULTS: Diabetes causes significant increases in retinal oxidative and nitrative stress compared with controls. These effects were associated with M?�ller cell activation and dysfunction as well as with impaired GS activity and tyrosine nitration of GS. Cannabidiol treatment reversed these effects. Retinal neuronal death was indicated by numerous terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end-labeling (TUNEL)-labeled cells in diabetic rats compared with untreated controls or CBD-treated rats. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that diabetes-induced tyrosine nitration impairs GS activity and that CBD preserves GS activity and retinal neurons by blocking tyrosine nitration.
    • Neuroprotective effects of cannabidiol in endotoxin-induced uveitis: critical role of p38 MAPK activation.

      El-Remessy, Azza B.; Tang, Y; Zhu, G; Matragoon, Suraporn; Khalifa, Yousef; Liu, E K; Liu, J-Y; Hanson, E; Mian, S; Fatteh, Nadeem; Liou, Gregory I.; Department of Ophthalmology (2008-12-04)
      PURPOSE: Degenerative retinal diseases are characterized by inflammation and microglial activation. The nonpsychoactive cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), is an anti-inflammatory in models of diabetes and glaucoma. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms are largely unknown. We tested the hypothesis that retinal inflammation and microglia activation are initiated and sustained by oxidative stress and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation, and that CBD reduces inflammation by blocking these processes. METHODS: Microglial cells were isolated from retinas of newborn rats. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha levels were estimated with ELISA. Nitric oxide (NO) was determined with a NO analyzer. Superoxide anion levels were determined by the chemiluminescence of luminol derivative. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) was estimated by measuring the cellular oxidation products of 2', 7'-dichlorofluorescin diacetate. RESULTS: In retinal microglial cells, treatment with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced immediate NADPH oxidase-generated ROS. This was followed by p38 MAPK activation and resulted in a time-dependent increase in TNF-alpha production. At a later phase, LPS induced NO, ROS, and p38 MAPK activation that peaked at 2-6 h and was accompanied by morphological change of microglia. Treatment with 1 microM CBD inhibited ROS formation and p38 MAPK activation, NO and TNF-alpha formation, and maintained cell morphology. In addition, LPS-treated rat retinas showed an accumulation of macrophages and activated microglia, significant levels of ROS and nitrotyrosine, activation of p38 MAPK, and neuronal apoptosis. These effects were blocked by treatment with 5 mg/kg CBD. CONCLUSIONS: Retinal inflammation and degeneration in uveitis are caused by oxidative stress. CBD exerts anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects by a mechanism that involves blocking oxidative stress and activation of p38 MAPK and microglia.
    • Spontaneous autoimmunity prevented by thymic expression of a single self-antigen

      DeVoss, Jason; Hou, Yafei; Johannes, Kellsey; Lu, Wen; Liou, Gregory I.; Rinn, John; Chang, Howard; Caspi, Rachel R.; Fong, Lawrence; Anderson, Mark S.; Department of Ophthalmology (2006-11-27)
      The expression of self-antigen in the thymus is believed to be responsible for the deletion of autoreactive T lymphocytes, a critical process in the maintenance of unresponsiveness to self. The Autoimmune regulator (Aire) gene, which is defective in the disorder autoimmune polyglandular syndrome type 1, has been shown to promote the thymic expression of self-antigens. A clear link, however, between specific thymic self-antigens and a single autoimmune phenotype in this model has been lacking. We show that autoimmune eye disease in aire-deficient mice develops as a result of loss of thymic expression of a single eye antigen, interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein (IRBP). In addition, lack of IRBP expression solely in the thymus, even in the presence of aire expression, is sufficient to trigger spontaneous eye-specific autoimmunity. These results suggest that failure of thymic expression of selective single self-antigens can be sufficient to cause organ-specific autoimmune disease, even in otherwise self-tolerant individuals.
    • Endogenous IRBP can be dispensable for generation of natural CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells that protect from IRBP-induced retinal autoimmunity

      Grajewski, Rafael S.; Silver, Phyllis B.; Agarwal, Rajeev K.; Su, Shao-Bo; Chan, Chi-Chao; Liou, Gregory I.; Caspi, Rachel R.; Department of Ophthalmology (2006-04-17)
      Susceptibility to experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU), a model for human uveitis induced in mice with the retinal antigen interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein (IRBP), is controlled by â naturalâ CD4+CD25+ regulatory T (T reg) cells. To examine whether endogenous expression of IRBP is necessary to generate these T reg cells, we studied responses of IRBP knockout (KO) versus wild-type (WT) mice. Unexpectedly, not only WT but also IRBP KO mice immunized with a uveitogenic regimen of IRBP in complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) exhibited CD25+ regulatory cells that could be depleted by PC61 treatment, which suppressed development of uveitogenic effector T cells and decreased immunological responses to IRBP. These EAU-relevant T reg cells were not IRBP specific, as their activity was not present in IRBP KO mice immunized with IRBP in incomplete Freund's adjuvant (IFA), lacking mycobacteria (whereas the same mice exhibited normal T reg cell activity to retinal arrestin in IFA). We propose that mycobacterial components in CFA activate T reg cells of other specificities to inhibit generation of IRBP-specific effector T cells in a bystander fashion, indicating that effective T reg cells can be antigen nonspecific. Our data also provide the first evidence that generation of specific T reg cells to a native autoantigen in a mouse with a diverse T cell repertoire requires a cognate interaction.
    • An Immunologically Privileged Retinal Antigen Elicits Tolerance

      Avichezer, Dody; Grajewski, Rafael S.; Chan, Chi-Chao; Mattapallil, Mary J.; Silver, Phyllis B.; Raber, James A.; Liou, Gregory I.; Wiggert, Barbara; Lewis, Giavonni M.; Donoso, Larry A.; Caspi, Rachel R.; Department of Ophthalmology (2003-12-1)
      Immunologically privileged retinal antigens can serve as targets of experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU), a model for human uveitis. The tolerance status of susceptible strains, whose target antigen is not expressed in the thymus at detectable levels, is unclear. Here, we address this issue directly by analyzing the consequences of genetic deficiency versus sufficiency of a uveitogenic retinal antigen, interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein (IRBP). IRBP-knockout (KO) and wild-type (WT) mice on a highly EAU-susceptible background were challenged with IRBP. The KO mice had greatly elevated responses to IRBP, an altered recognition of IRBP epitopes, and their primed T cells induced exacerbated disease in WT recipients. Ultrasensitive immunohistochemical staining visualized sparse IRBP-positive cells, undetectable by conventional assays, in thymi of WT (but not of KO) mice. IRBP message was PCR amplified from these cells after microdissection. Thymus transplantation between KO and WT hosts demonstrated that this level of expression is functionally relevant and sets the threshold of immune (and autoimmune) reactivity. Namely, KO recipients of WT thymi generated reduced IRBP-specific responses, and WT recipients of KO thymi developed enhanced responses and a highly exacerbated disease. Repertoire culling and thymus-dependent CD25+ T cells were implicated in this effect. Thus, uveitis-susceptible individuals display a detectable and functionally significant tolerance to their target antigen, in which central mechanisms play a prominent role.
    • Identification of Regulatory Elements in a Conserved Upstream Region of the Gene Encoding Interphotoreceptor Retinoid-Binding Protein (IRBP)

      Lu, Haiyan; Department of Ophthalmology (1999-06)
      (First Paragraph) IRBP is a large, single-subunit extracellular glycolipoprotein found in the interphotoreceptor matrix between the photoreceptor cells and retinal pigment epithelium cell layer (Fig. 1.). The protein is synthesized and secreted by the photoreceptor rods and cones, as well as pinealocytes, of all vertebrates. The molecular weight of human IRBP (1230 residues) is 133,400 daltons. This protein consists of four homologous segments of approximately 300 residues each. Each segment contains highly conserved hydrophobic domains among species. Ligands identified as bound to IRBP include retinoid isomers and fatty acids, and IRBP can also bind cholesterol, a-tocopherol and retinoic acid. The ability of IRBP to bind various retinoid isomers, fatty acids and many other hydrophobic ligands suggests multiple functions in the retina .