Reactor Publications

By Pilot Grant Project:

Big Ideas, Small Features

Sanchez T, Wang T, Pedro MV, Zhang M, Esencan E, Sakkas D, Needleman D, and Seli E. 12/2018. “Metabolic imaging with the use of fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) accuratelydetects mitochondrial dysfunction in mouse oocytes.” Fertil Steril, 110, 7, Pp. 1387-1397. Publisher's Version
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether metabolic imaging with the use of fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) identifies metabolic differences between normal oocytes and those with metabolic dysfunction. 

DESIGN:

Experimental study.

SETTING:

Academic research laboratories.

PATIENT(S):

None.

INTERVENTION(S):

Oocytes from mice with global knockout of Clpp (caseinolytic peptidase P; n = 52) were compared with wild-type (WT) oocytes (n = 55) as a model of severe oocyte dysfunction. Oocytes from old mice (1 year old; n = 29) were compared with oocytes from young mice (12 weeks old; n = 35) as a model of mild oocyte dysfunction.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):

FLIM was used to measure the naturally occurring nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide dehydrogenase (NADH) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) autofluorescence in individual oocytes. Eight metabolic parameters were obtained from each measurement (4 per fluorophore): short (τ1) and long (τ2) fluorescence lifetime, fluorescence intensity (I), and fraction of the molecule engaged with enzyme (F). Reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels and blastocyst development rates were measured to assess illumination safety.

RESULT(S):

In Clpp-knockout oocytes compared with WT, FAD τ1 and τ2 were longer and I was higher, NADH τ2 was longer, and F was lower. In old oocytes compared with young ones, FAD τ1 was longer and I was lower, NADH τ1 and τ2 were shorter, and I and F were lower. FLIM did not affect ROS levels or blastocyst development rates.

CONCLUSION(S):

FLIM parameters exhibit strong differentiation between Clpp-knockout versus WT, and old versus young oocytes, FLIM could potentially be used as a noninvasive tool to assess mitochondrial function in oocytes. 

Smith KP and Kirby JE. 8/2018. “The Inoculum Effect in the Era of Multidrug Resistance: Minor Differences in Inoculum Have Dramatic Effect on MIC Determination.” Antimicrob Agents Chemother. , 62, 8, Pp. e00433-18. Publisher's Version
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Abstract
The observed MIC may depend on the number of bacteria initially inoculated into the assay. This phenomenon is termed the inoculum effect(IE) and is often most pronounced for β-lactams in strains expressing β-lactamase enzymes. The Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI)-recommended inoculum is 5 × 105 CFU ml-1 with an acceptable range of 2 × 105 to 8 × 105 CFU ml-1 IE testing is typically performed using an inoculum 100-fold greater than the CLSI-recommended inoculum. Therefore, it remains unknown whether the IE influences MICs during testing performed according to CLSI guidelines. Here, we utilized inkjet printing technology to test the IE on cefepime, meropenem, and ceftazidime-avibactam. First, we determined that the inkjet dispense volume correlated well with the number of bacteria delivered to microwells in 2-fold (R2 = 0.99) or 1.1-fold (R2 = 0.98) serial dilutions. We then quantified the IE by dispensing orthogonal titrations of bacterial cells and antibiotics. For cefepime-resistant and susceptible dose-dependent strains, a 2-fold increase in inoculum resulted in a 1.6 log2-fold increase in MIC. For carbapenemase-producing strains, each 2-fold reduction in inoculum resulted in a 1.26 log2-fold reduction in meropenem MIC. At the lower end of the CLSI-allowable inoculum range, minor error rates of 34.8% were observed for meropenem when testing a resistant-strain set. Ceftazidime-avibactam was not subject to an appreciable IE. Our results suggest that IE is sufficiently pronounced for meropenem and cefepime in multidrug-resistant Gram-negative pathogens to affect categorical interpretations during standard laboratory testing.
Sanchez T, Seidler EA, Gardner DK, Needleman D, and Sakkas D. 11/2017. “Will noninvasive methods surpass invasive for assessing gametes and embryos?” Fertility and Sterility, 108, 5, Pp. 730-737. Publisher's Version
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Abstract
The need to identify the most viable embryo following in vitro fertilization (IVF) was established early in the history of human IVF. The stalwart of identifying the best embryos has been morphology. Other techniques have however seen wide acceptance, including the use of preimplantation genetic screening, even though concerns exist over the invasive nature of the technique. Alternatively, noninvasive assessment technologies have tried to determine an embryo's viability through measurements of factors in the media or by imaging of the embryo. We present data showing that the metabolic blueprint of an embryo is linked to viability, and argue that analysis of metabolic function, using either spent medium or by novel microscopies, could provide the basis for selecting the embryo with the highest viability. This review therefore asks, "Will noninvasive methods surpass invasive for assessing gametes and embryos?" We examine the current state of research on noninvasive technologies, including novel optical methods, and conclude noninvasive embryo viability assessment will assist in embryo selection for transfer.
Golestanirad L, Gale JT, Manzoor NF, Park HJ, Glait L, Haer F, Kaltenbach L, and G Bonmassar. 7/2018. “Solenoidal Micromagnetic Stimulation Enables Activation of Axons With Specific Orientation.” Frontiers in Physiology, 9, 724. Publisher's Version
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Abstract
Electrical stimulation of the central and peripheral nervous systems - such as deep brain stimulation, spinal cord stimulation, and epidural cortical stimulation are common therapeutic options increasingly used to treat a large variety of neurological and psychiatric conditions. Despite their remarkable success, there are limitations which if overcome, could enhance outcomes and potentially reduce common side-effects. Micromagnetic stimulation (μMS) was introduced to address some of these limitations. One of the most remarkable properties is that μMS is theoretically capable of activating neurons with specific axonal orientations. Here, we used computational electromagnetic models of the μMS coils adjacent to neuronal tissue combined with axon cable models to investigate μMS orientation-specific properties. We found a 20-fold reduction in the stimulation threshold of the preferred axonal orientation compared to the orthogonal direction. We also studied the directional specificity of μMS coils by recording the responses evoked in the inferior colliculus of rodents when a pulsed magnetic stimulus was applied to the surface of the dorsal cochlear nucleus. The results confirmed that the neuronal responses were highly sensitive to changes in the μMS coil orientation. Accordingly, our results suggest that μMS has the potential of stimulating target nuclei in the brain without affecting the surrounding white matter tracts.
Dewy C van der Valk, Casper FT van der Vem, Mark C Blaser, Joshua M Grolman, Pin-Jou Wu, Owen S Fenton, Lang H Lee, Mark W Tibbitt, Jason L Andresen, Jennifer R Wen, Anna H Ha, Fabrizio Buffolo, Alain van Mil, Carlijn VC Bouten, Simon C Body, David J Mooney, Joost PG Sluijter, Masanori Aikawa, Jesper Hjortnaes, Robert Langer, and Elena Aikawa. 5/2018. “Engineering a 3D-Bioprinted Model of Human Heart Valve Disease Using Nanoindentation-Based Biomechanics.” Nanomaterials, 8, 5, Pp. 296. Publisher's Version
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Abstract
In calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD), microcalcifications originating from nanoscale calcifying vesicles disrupt the aortic valve (AV) leaflets, which consist of three (biomechanically) distinct layers: the fibrosa, spongiosa, and ventricularis. CAVD has no pharmacotherapy and lacks in vitro models as a result of complex valvular biomechanical features surrounding resident mechanosensitive valvular interstitial cells (VICs). We measured layer-specific mechanical properties of the human AV and engineered a three-dimensional (3D)-bioprinted CAVD model that recapitulates leaflet layer biomechanics for the first time. Human AV leaflet layers were separated by microdissection, and nanoindentation determined layer-specific Young’s moduli. Methacrylated gelatin (GelMA)/methacrylated hyaluronic acid (HAMA) hydrogels were tuned to duplicate layer-specific mechanical characteristics, followed by 3D-printing with encapsulated human VICs. Hydrogels were exposed to osteogenic media (OM) to induce microcalcification, and VIC pathogenesis was assessed by near infrared or immunofluorescence microscopy. Median Young’s moduli of the AV layers were 37.1, 15.4, and 26.9 kPa (fibrosa/spongiosa/ventricularis, respectively). The fibrosa and spongiosa Young’s moduli matched the 3D 5% GelMa/1% HAMA UV-crosslinked hydrogels. OM stimulation of VIC-laden bioprinted hydrogels induced microcalcification without apoptosis. We report the first layer-specific measurements of human AV moduli and a novel 3D-bioprinted CAVD model that potentiates microcalcification by mimicking the native AV mechanical environment. This work sheds light on valvular mechanobiology and could facilitate high-throughput drug-screening in CAVD.
Smith KP, Richmond DL, Brennan-Krohn T, Elliott HL, and Kirby JE. 12/22/2017. “Development of MAST: A Microscopy-Based Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing Platform.” SLAS Technol. , 22, 6, Pp. 662-674. Publisher's Version
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Abstract
Antibiotic resistance is compromising our ability to treat bacterial infections. Clinical microbiology laboratories guide appropriate treatment through antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) of patient bacterial isolates. However, increasingly, pathogens are developing resistance to a broad range of antimicrobials, requiring AST of alternative agents for which no commercially available testing methods are available. Therefore, there exists a significant AST testing gap in which current methodologies cannot adequately address the need for rapid results in the face of unpredictable susceptibility profiles. To address this gap, we developed a multicomponent, microscopy-based AST (MAST) platform capable of AST determinations after only a 2 h incubation. MAST consists of a solid-phase microwell growth surface in a 384-well plate format, inkjet printing-based application of both antimicrobials and bacteria at any desired concentrations, automated microscopic imaging of bacterial replication, and a deep learning approach for automated image classification and determination of antimicrobial minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs). In evaluating a susceptible strain set, 95.8% were within ±1 and 99.4% were within ±2, twofold dilutions, respectively, of reference broth microdilution MIC values. Most (98.3%) of the results were in categorical agreement. We conclude that MAST offers promise for rapid, accurate, and flexible AST to help address the antimicrobial testing gap.
Smith KP, Kang AD, and Kirby JE. 11/2017. “Automated Interpretation of Blood Culture Gram Stains using a Deep Convolutional Neural Network.” J Clin Microbiol. Publisher's Version
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Abstract
Microscopic interpretation of stained smears is one of the most operator-dependent and time intensive activities in the clinical microbiology laboratory. Here, we investigated application of an automated image acquisition and convolutional neural network (CNN)-based approach for automated Gram stain classification. Using an automated microscopy platform, uncoverslipped slides were scanned with a 40x dry objective, generating images of sufficient resolution for interpretation. We collected 25,488 images from positive blood culture Gram stains prepared during routine clinical workup. These images were used to generate 100,213 crops containing Gram-positive cocci in clusters, Gram-positive cocci in chains/pairs, Gram-negative rods, or background (no cells). These categories were targeted for proof-of-concept development as they are associated with the majority of bloodstream infections. Our CNN model achieved classification accuracy of 94.9% on a test set of image crops. Receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC) analysis indicated a robust ability to differentiate between categories with area under the curve >0.98 for each. After training and validation, we applied the classification algorithm to new images collected from 189 whole slides without human intervention. Sensitivity/specificity was 98.4/75.0% for Gram-positive cocci in chains/pairs; 93.2/97.2% for Gram-positive cocci in clusters; and 96.3/98.1% for Gram-negative rods. Taken together, our data support proof-of-concept for a fully automated classification methodology for blood-culture Gram-stains. Importantly, the algorithm was highly adept at identifying image crops with organisms and could be used to present prescreened, classified crops to technologists to accelerate smear review. This concept could potentially be extended to all Gram stain interpretive activities in the clinical laboratory.
Saklayen N, Huber M, Madrid M, Nuzzo V, Vulis DI, Shen W, Nelson J, McClelland AA, Heisterkamp A, and Mazur E. 4/25/2017. “Intracellular Delivery Using Nanosecond-Laser Excitation of Large-Area Plasmonic Substrates.” ACS Nano, 11, 4, Pp. 3671-3680. Publisher's Version
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Abstract
Efficiently delivering functional cargo to millions of cells on the time scale of minutes will revolutionize gene therapy, drug discovery, and high-throughput screening. Recent studies of intracellular delivery with thermoplasmonic structured surfaces show promising results but in most cases require time- or cost-intensive fabrication or lead to unreproducible surfaces. We designed and fabricated large-area (14 × 14 mm), photolithography-based, template-stripped plasmonic substrates that are nanosecond laser-activated to form transient pores in cells for cargo entry. We optimized fabrication to produce plasmonic structures that are ultrasmooth and precisely patterned over large areas. We used flow cytometry to characterize the delivery efficiency of cargos ranging in size from 0.6 to 2000 kDa to cells (up to 95% for the smallest molecule) and viability of cells (up to 98%). This technique offers a throughput of 50000 cells/min, which can be scaled up as necessary. This technique is also cost-effective as each large-area photolithography substrate can be used to deliver cargo to millions of cells, and switching to a nanosecond laser makes the setup cheaper and easier to use. The approach we present offers additional desirable features: spatial selectivity, reproducibility, minimal residual fragments, and cost-effective fabrication. This research supports the development of safer genetic and viral disease therapies as well as research tools for fundamental biological research that rely on effectively delivering molecules to millions of living cells.
Saklayen N, Kalies S, Madrid M, Nuzzo V, Huber M, Shen W, Sinanan-Singh J, Heinemann D, Heisterkamp A, and Mazur E. 9/27/2017. “Analysis of poration-induced changes in cells from laser-activated plasmonic substrates.” Biomed Opt Express. , 8, 10, Pp. 4756-4771. Publisher's Version
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Abstract
Laser-exposed plasmonic substrates permeabilize the plasma membrane of cells when in close contact to deliver cell-impermeable cargo. While studies have determined the cargo delivery efficiency and viability of laser-exposed plasmonic substrates, morphological changes in a cell have not been quantified. We porated myoblast C2C12 cells on a plasmonic pyramid array using a 532-nm laser with 850-ps pulse length and time-lapse fluorescence imaging to quantify cellular changes. We obtain a poration efficiency of 80%, viability of 90%, and a pore radius of 20 nm. We quantified area changes in the plasma membrane attached to the substrate (10% decrease), nucleus (5 - 10% decrease), and cytoplasm (5 - 10% decrease) over 1 h after laser treatment. Cytoskeleton fibers show a change of 50% in the alignment, or coherency, of fibers, which stabilizes after 10 mins. We investigate structural and morphological changes due to the poration process to enable the safe development of this technique for therapeutic applications.
G Bonmassar and Golestanirad L. 7/2017. “EM fields comparison between planar vs. solenoidal µMS coil designs for nerve stimulation.” 2017 39th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC). Korea. Publisher's Version
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Abstract
Micro-magnetic stimulation (μMS) is an emerging neurostimulation technology that promises to revolutionize the therapeutic stimulation of the human nervous system. μMS uses sub-millimeter sized coils that can be implemented in the central nervous system to elicit neuronal activation using magnetically induced electric currents. By their microscopic size, μMS coils can be acutely implanted in deep brain structures to deliver therapeutic stimulation with effects analogous to those achieved by state-of-the-art deep brain stimulation (DBS). However, μMS technology has inherent advantages that make it particularly appealing for clinical applications. Specifically, μMS induces a focal electric current in the tissue, limiting the extent of activation to a few hundred microns. We recently demonstrated the feasibility of using μMS to elicit neuronal activation in vitro [1], as well as the possibility of activating neuronal circuitry on the system level in rodents [2]. As μMS is a novel technology, its mechanism(s) of nerve activation, induced field characteristics, and optimum topological features are yet to be explored. In this regard, numerical simulations play a crucially important role, because they provide an insight into spatial distribution of induced electric fields, which in turn, dictate the dynamics of nerve stimulation. Here we report results of numerical simulations to predict the nerve-stimulation performance of different μMS geometries.
Johnson-Buck A and Shih WM. 12/2017. “Single-Molecule Clocks Controlled by Serial Chemical Reactions.” Nano Lett, 17, 12, Pp. 7940-7944. Publisher's Version
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Abstract
Chemical clocks usually achieve well-defined temporal delays through concentration thresholding coupled to the production, degradation, activation, or inhibition of downstream effectors. In this way, the stochastic dynamics of many individual molecules yield essentially deterministic bulk behavior through ensemble averaging. As a result, their temporal evolution is governed by ensemble dynamics rather than by the behavior of an individual molecule or complex. Here, we present a general approach for the design of single-molecule clocks that permits quasi-deterministic control over the lifetime of single molecular interactions without any external synchronization. By coupling the dissociation of a bimolecular complex to a series of irreversible chemical steps, we interpose a well-defined time delay between binding and dissociation. The number and speed of irreversible steps can be varied to systematically tune both the lifetimes of complexes and the precision of the time delay, raising the prospect of localized timekeeping in nanoscale systems and devices.
Van der ven CF, Wu PJ, Tibbitt MW, Mil van A, Sluijter JP, Langer R, and Elena Aikawa. 2/2017. “In vitro 3D model and miRNA drug delivery to target calcific aortic valve disease.” Clin Sci (Lond), 131, 3, Pp. 181-195. Publisher's Version
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Abstract

Calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD) is the most prevalent valvular heart disease in the Western population, claiming 17000 deaths per year in the United States and affecting 25% of people older than 65 years of age. Contrary to traditional belief, CAVD is not a passive, degenerative disease but rather a dynamic disease, where initial cellular changes in the valve leaflets progress into fibrotic lesions that induce valve thickening and calcification. Advanced thickening and calcification impair valve function and lead to aortic stenosis (AS). Without intervention, progressive ventricular hypertrophy ensues, which ultimately results in heart failure and death. Currently, aortic valve replacement (AVR), surgical or transcatheter, is the only effective therapy to treat CAVD. However, these costly interventions are often delayed until the late stages of the disease. Nonetheless, 275000 are performed per year worldwide, and this is expected to triple by 2050. Given the current landscape, next-generation therapies for CAVD are needed to improve patient outcome and quality of life. Here, we first provide a background on the aortic valve (AV) and the pathobiology of CAVD as well as highlight current directions and future outlook on the development of functional 3D models of CAVD in vitro We then consider an often-overlooked aspect contributing to CAVD: miRNA (mis)regulation. Therapeutics could potentially normalize miRNA levels in the early stages of the disease and may slow its progression or even reverse calcification. We close with a discussion of strategies that would enable the use of miRNA as a therapeutic for CAVD. This focuses on an overview of controlled delivery technologies for nucleic acid therapeutics to the valve or other target tissues.

OPTICS: Open Translational Science in Schizophrenia

Bellavia A, Centorrino F, Jackson JW, G Fitzmaurice, and Valeri L. 4/2019. “The role of weight gain in explaining the effects of antipsychotic drugs on positive and negative symptoms: An analysis of the CATIE schizophrenia trial.” Schizophr Res, 206, Apr, Pp. 96-102. Publisher's Version
See also: All, OPTICS
Abstract
Second-generation antipsychotics are associated with moderate benefits in terms of improved schizophrenia symptoms, but also with higher rates of side-effects such as excessive weight gain (WG); a consensus on their efficacy has not been reached. To date, no study has evaluated the interplay of treatments and side-effects in a single framework, which is a critical step to clarify the role of side-effects in explaining the efficacy of these antipsychotics. We used recent methods for mediation and interaction to clarify the role of WG in explaining the effects of second-generation drugs on schizophrenia symptoms. We used data from 1460 participants in the CATIE trial, assigned to either perphenazine (first-generation comparison drug), olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone, or ziprasidone. The primary outcome was an individual's score on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) for symptoms of schizophrenia after 9 months, separately evaluated as positive (PANSS+), negative (PANSS-), and total PANSS score. WG after 6 months was investigated as a potential mediator and effect modifier. Results showed that, by limiting WG, patients would benefit of a considerably better improvement in terms of PANSS symptoms. In the scenario of weight change being controlled between -2% and 1% for all participants, patients assigned to olanzapine would experience the highest significant improvements in both PANSS+ (-2.66 points; 95% CI: -4.98, -0.35), PANSS- (-1.59; 95% CI: -4.31, 1.14), and total PANSS (-6.11; 95% CI: -13.13, 0.92). In conclusion, occurrence of excessive WG hampers the potentially beneficial effects of second-generation antipsychotics, thus suggesting future directions for treatment and interventions.
Marsha A Wilcox, Adam J Savitz, Anjene M Addington, Gary S Gray, Eva C Guinan, John W Jackson, Thomas Lehner, Sharon-Lise Normand, Hardeep Ranu, Geetha Senthil, Jake Spertus, Linda Valeri, and Joseph R Ross. 6/2018. “The Open Translational Science in Schizophrenia (OPTICS) project: an open-science project bringing together Janssen clinical trial and NIMH data.” NPJ Schizophrenia, 4, Pp. 14. Publisher's Version
See also: All, OPTICS
Abstract
Clinical trial data are the gold standard for evaluating pharmaceutical safety and efficacy. There is an ethical and scientific imperative for transparency and data sharing to confirm published results and generate new knowledge. The Open Translational Science in Schizophrenia (OPTICS) Project was an open-science initiative aggregating Janssen clinical trial and NIH/NIMH data from real-world studies and trials in schizophrenia. The project aims were to show the value of using shared data to examine: therapeutic safety and efficacy; disease etiologies and course; and methods development. The success of project investigators was due to collaboration from project applications through analyses, with support from the Harvard Catalyst. Project work was independent of Janssen; all intellectual property was dedicated to the public. Efforts such as this are necessary to gain deeper insights into the biology of disease, foster collaboration, and to achieve the goal of developing better treatments, reducing the overall public health burden of devastating brain diseases.
Jacob Spertus, Marcela Horvitz-Lennon, Haley Abing, and Sharon-Lise Normand. 6/2018. “Risk of weight gain for specific antipsychotic drugs: a meta-analysis .” NPJ Schizophrenia, 4. Publisher's Version
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Abstract
People with schizophrenia are at considerably higher risk of cardiometabolic morbidity than the general population. Second-generation antipsychotic drugs contribute to that risk partly through their weight gain effects, exacerbating an already high burden of disease. While standard ‘as-randomized’ analyses of clinical trials provide valuable information, they ignore adherence patterns across treatment arms, confounding estimates of realized treatment exposure on outcome. We assess the effect of specific second-generation antipsychotics on weight gain, defined as at least a 7% increase in weight from randomization, using a Bayesian hierarchical model network meta-analysis with individual patient level data. Our data consisted of 14 randomized clinical trials contributing 5923 subjects (mean age = 39 [SD = 12]) assessing various combinations of olanzapine (n = 533), paliperidone (n = 3482), risperidone (n = 540), and placebo (n = 1368). The median time from randomization to dropout or trial completion was 6 weeks (range: 0–60 weeks). The unadjusted probability of weight gain in the placebo group was 4.8% across trials. For each 10 g chlorpromazine equivalent dose increase in olanzapine, the odds of weight gain increased by 5 (95% credible interval: 1.4, 5.3); the effect of risperidone (odds ratio = 1.6 [0.25, 9.1]) was estimated with considerable uncertainty but no different from paliperidone (odds ratio = 1.3 [1.2, 1.5]).
Xue Zou, Yiwen Zhu, John W Jackson, Andrea Bellavia, Garrett M Fitzmaurice, Franca Centorrino, and Linda Valeri. 6/2018. “The role of PANSS symptoms and adverse events in explaining the effects of paliperidone on social functioning: a causal mediation analysis approach.” NPJ Schizophrenia, 4, 13. Publisher's Version
See also: All, OPTICS
Abstract
To date, no study has evaluated the joint role of symptoms and adverse events as mediators of the effect of second-generation antipsychotics on patients’ social functioning. We used recently developed methods for mediation analysis with multiple mediators to clarify the interplay of adverse events and symptoms in explaining the effects of paliperidone (R code for implementing the mediation analysis for multiple mediators is provided). We used data from 490 participants in a 6-week randomized dose–response trial that assigned three fixed dosages of ER OROS paliperidone (3, 9, and 15 mg/day). The primary outcome was an individual’s score on the social performance scale assessed after 6 weeks. The sum of Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), weight gain, and extrapyramidal symptoms measured via the Simpson–Angus Scale after 5 weeks were investigated as potential mediators and effect modifiers of treatment effects. Results from mediation analyses showed that the improvements in social functioning are partly explained by reduction in PANSS symptoms. Suggestive evidence that adverse events could play a role as mediators was found. In particular, weight gain displayed a non-linear relationship with social functioning, whereby beneficial effects observed at small levels of weight gain were reduced in the presence of excessive weight gain. In conclusion, we found that the short-term effects of paliperidone on social functioning were dependent on the successful reduction in PANSS symptoms and possibly the occurrence of excessive weight gain, thus suggesting future directions for treatment and interventions.
Bellavia A and Valeri L. 6/2018. “Decomposition of the Total Effect in the Presence of Multiple Mediators and Interactions.” Am J Epidemiol, 187, 6, Pp. 1311-1318. Publisher's Version
See also: All, OPTICS
Abstract
Mediation analysis allows decomposing a total effect into a direct effect of the exposure on the outcome and an indirect effect operating through a number of possible hypothesized pathways. Recent studies have provided formal definitions of direct and indirect effects when multiple mediators are of interest, and have described parametric and semi-parametric methods for their estimation. Investigating direct and indirect effects with multiple mediators, however, can be challenging in the presence of multiple exposure-mediator and mediator-mediator interactions. In this paper we derive a decomposition of the total effect that unifies mediation and interaction when multiple mediators are present. We illustrate the properties of the proposed framework, in a secondary analysis of a pragmatic trial for the treatment of schizophrenia. The decomposition is employed to investigate the interplay of side-effects and psychiatric symptoms in explaining the effect of antipsychotic on quality of life in schizophrenia patients. Our result offers a valuable tool to identify the proportions of total effect due to mediation and interaction when more than one mediator is present, providing the finest decomposition of the total effect that unifies multiple mediators and interactions.

HOMD: Human Oral Microbiome Database

Escapa IF, Chen T, Huang Y, Gajare P, Dewhirst FE, and Lemon KP. 12/2018. “New Insights into Human Nostril Microbiome from the Expanded Human Oral Microbiome Database (eHOMD): a Resource for the Microbiome of the Human Aerodigestive Tract.” mSystems, 3, 6, Pp. e00187-18. Publisher's Version
See also: All, HOMD
Abstract

The expanded Human Oral Microbiome Database (eHOMD) is a comprehensive microbiome database for sites along the human aerodigestive tract that revealed new insights into the nostril microbiome. The eHOMD provides well-curated 16S rRNA gene reference sequences linked to available genomes and enables assignment of species-level taxonomy to most next-generation sequences derived from diverse aerodigestive tract sites, including the nasal passages, sinuses, throat, esophagus, and mouth. Using minimum entropy decomposition coupled with the RDP Classifier and our eHOMD V1-V3 training set, we reanalyzed 16S rRNA V1-V3 sequences from the nostrils of 210 Human Microbiome Project participants at the species level, revealing four key insights. First, we discovered that Lawsonella clevelandensis, a recently named bacterium, and Neisseriaceae [G-1] HMT-174, a previously unrecognized bacterium, are common in adult nostrils. Second, just 19 species accounted for 90% of the total sequences from all participants. Third, 1 of these 19 species belonged to a currently uncultivated genus. Fourth, for 94% of the participants, 2 to 10 species constituted 90% of their sequences, indicating that the nostril microbiome may be represented by limited consortia. These insights highlight the strengths of the nostril microbiome as a model system for studying interspecies interactions and microbiome function. Also, in this cohort, three common nasal species (Dolosigranulum pigrum and two Corynebacterium species) showed positive differential abundance when the pathobiont Staphylococcus aureus was absent, generating hypotheses regarding colonization resistance. By facilitating species-level taxonomic assignment to microbes from the human aerodigestive tract, the eHOMD is a vital resource enhancing clinical relevance of microbiome studies. IMPORTANCE The eHOMD (http://www.ehomd.org) is a valuable resource for researchers, from basic to clinical, who study the microbiomes and the individual microbes in body sites in the human aerodigestive tract, which includes the nasal passages, sinuses, throat, esophagus, and mouth, and the lower respiratory tract, in health and disease. The eHOMD is an actively curated, web-based, open-access resource. eHOMD provides the following: (i) species-level taxonomy based on grouping 16S rRNA gene sequences at 98.5% identity, (ii) a systematic naming scheme for unnamed and/or uncultivated microbial taxa, (iii) reference genomes to facilitate metagenomic, metatranscriptomic, and proteomic studies and (iv) convenient cross-links to other databases (e.g., PubMed and Entrez). By facilitating the assignment of species names to sequences, the eHOMD is a vital resource for enhancing the clinical relevance of 16S rRNA gene-based microbiome studies, as well as metagenomic studies.

ICCB/L: Target Inhibition and Silencing

Lian W, Jang J, Potisopon S, Li PC, Rahmeh A, Wang J, Kwiatkowski NP, Gray NS, and Yang PL. 9/2018. “Discovery of Immunologically Inspired Small Molecules That Target the Viral Envelope Protein.” ACS Infectious Diseases, 4, 9, Pp. 1395-1406. Publisher's Version
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Abstract
Dengue virus is a major human pathogen that infects over 390 million people annually leading to approximately 500 000 hospitalizations due to severe dengue. Since the only marketed vaccine, Dengvaxia, has recently been shown to increase disease severity in those lacking natural immunity, antivirals to prevent or treat dengue  infection represent a large, unmet medical need. Small molecules that target the dengue virus envelope protein, E, on the surface of the virion could act analogously to antibodies by engaging E extracellularly to block infection; however, a shortage of target-based assays suitable for screening and medicinal chemistry studies has limited efforts in this area. Here we demonstrate that the dengue E protein offers a tractable drug target for preventing dengue infection by developing a target-based assay using a recombinantly expressed dengue serotype 2 E protein. We performed a high-throughput screen of ∼20 000 compounds followed by secondary assays to confirm target-binding and antiviral activity and counter-screens to exclude compounds with nonspecific activities. These efforts yielded eight distinct chemical leads that inhibit dengue infection by binding to E and preventing E-mediated membrane fusion with potencies equal to or greater than previously described small molecule inhibitors of E. We show that a subset of these compounds inhibit viruses representative of the other three dengue serotypes and Zika virus. This work provides tools for discovery and optimization of direct-acting antivirals against dengue E and shows that this approach may be useful in developing antivirals with broad-spectrum activity against other flavivirus pathogens.
Clark MJ, Miduturu C, Schmidt AG, Zhu X, Pitts JD, Wang J, Potisopon S, Zhang J, Wojciechowski A, Hann Chu JJ, Gray NS, and Yang PL. 4/2016. “GNF-2 Inhibits Dengue Virus by Targeting Abl Kinases and the Viral E Protein.” Cell Chem Biol, 23, 4, Pp. 443-52. Publisher's Version
See also: All, ICCB
Abstract

Dengue virus infects more than 300 million people annually, yet there is no widely protective vaccine or drugs against the virus. Efforts to develop antivirals against classical targets such as the viral protease and polymerase have not yielded drugs that have advanced to the clinic. Here, we show that the allosteric Abl kinase inhibitor GNF-2 interferes with dengue virus replication via activity mediated by cellular Abl kinases but additionally blocks viral entry via an Abl-independent mechanism. To characterize this newly discovered antiviral activity, we developed disubstituted pyrimidines that block dengue virus entry with structure-activity relationships distinct from those driving kinase inhibition. We demonstrate that biotin- and fluorophore-conjugated derivatives of GNF-2 interact with the dengue glycoprotein, E, in the pre-fusion conformation that exists on the virion surface, and that this interaction inhibits viral entry. This study establishes GNF-2 as an antiviral compound with polypharmacological activity and provides "lead" compounds for further optimization efforts.

 

Li M, Kandror O, Akopian T, Dharkar P, Wlodawer A, Maurizi MR, and Goldberg AL. 4/2016. “Structure and Functional Properties of the Active Form of the Proteolytic Complex, ClpP1P2, from Mycobacterium tuberculosis.” J Biol Chem, 291, 14, Pp. 7465-76. Publisher's Version
See also: All, ICCB
Abstract

The ClpP protease complex and its regulatory ATPases, ClpC1 and ClpX, inMycobacterium tuberculosis(Mtb) are essential and, therefore, promising drug targets. TheMtbClpP protease consists of two heptameric rings, one composed of ClpP1 and the other of ClpP2 subunits. Formation of the enzymatically active ClpP1P2 complex requires binding of N-blocked dipeptide activators. We have found a new potent activator, benzoyl-leucine-leucine (Bz-LL), that binds with higher affinity and promotes 3-4-fold higher peptidase activity than previous activators. Bz-LL-activated ClpP1P2 specifically stimulates the ATPase activity ofMtbClpC1 and ClpX. The ClpC1P1P2 and ClpXP1P2 complexes exhibit 2-3-fold enhanced ATPase activity, peptide cleavage, and ATP-dependent protein degradation. The crystal structure of ClpP1P2 with bound Bz-LL was determined at a resolution of 3.07 Å and with benzyloxycarbonyl-Leu-Leu (Z-LL) bound at 2.9 Å. Bz-LL was present in all 14 active sites, whereas Z-LL density was not resolved. Surprisingly, Bz-LL adopts opposite orientations in ClpP1 and ClpP2. In ClpP1, Bz-LL binds with the C-terminal leucine side chain in the S1 pocket. One C-terminal oxygen is close to the catalytic serine, whereas the other contacts backbone amides in the oxyanion hole. In ClpP2, Bz-LL binds with the benzoyl group in the S1 pocket, and the peptide hydrogen bonded between parallel β-strands. The ClpP2 axial loops are extended, forming an open axial channel as has been observed with bound ADEP antibiotics. Thus occupancy of the active sites of ClpP allosterically alters sites on the surfaces thereby affecting the association of ClpP1 and ClpP2 rings, interactions with regulatory ATPases, and entry of protein substrates.

Famulla K, Sass P, Malik I, Akopian T, Kandror O, Alber M, Hinzen B, Ruebsamen-Schaeff H, Kalscheuer R, Goldberg AL, and Brötz-Oesterhelt H. 7/2016. “Acyldepsipeptide antibiotics kill mycobacteria by preventing the physiological functions of the ClpP1P2 protease.” Mol Microbiol, 101, 2, Pp. 194-209. Publisher's Version
See also: All, ICCB
Abstract

The Clp protease complex in Mycobacterium tuberculosis is unusual in its composition, functional importance and activation mechanism. Whilst most bacterial species contain a single ClpP protein that is dispensable for normal growth, mycobacteria have two ClpPs, ClpP1 and ClpP2, which are essential for viability and together form the ClpP1P2 tetradecamer. Acyldepsipeptide antibiotics of the ADEP class inhibit the growth of Gram-positive firmicutes by activating ClpP and causing unregulated protein degradation. Here we show that, in contrast, mycobacteria are killed by ADEP through inhibition of ClpP function. Although ADEPs can stimulate purified M. tuberculosis ClpP1P2 to degrade larger peptides and unstructured proteins, this effect is weaker than for ClpP from other bacteria and depends on the presence of an additional activating factor (e.g. the dipeptide benzyloxycarbonyl-leucyl-leucine in vitro) to form the active ClpP1P2 tetradecamer. The cell division protein FtsZ, which is a particularly sensitive target for ADEP-activated ClpP in firmicutes, is not degraded in mycobacteria. Depletion of the ClpP1P2 level in a conditional Mycobacterium bovis BCG mutant enhanced killing by ADEP unlike in other bacteria. In summary, ADEPs kill mycobacteria by preventing interaction of ClpP1P2 with the regulatory ATPases, ClpX or ClpC1, thus inhibiting essential ATP-dependent protein degradation.

Akopian T, Kandror O, Tsu C, Lai JH, Wu W, Liu Y, Zhao P, Park A, Wolf L, Dick LR, Rubin EJ, Bachovchin W, and Goldberg AL. 4/2015. “Cleavage Specificity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis ClpP1P2 Protease and Identification of Novel Peptide Substrates and Boronate Inhibitors with Anti-bacterial Activity.” J Biol Chem, 290, 17, Pp. 11008-20. Publisher's Version
See also: All, ICCB
Abstract

The ClpP1P2 protease complex is essential for viability in Mycobacteria tuberculosis and is an attractive drug target. Using a fluorogenic tripeptide library (Ac-X3X2X1-aminomethylcoumarin) and by determining specificity constants (kcat/Km), we show that ClpP1P2 prefers Met ≫ Leu > Phe > Ala in the X1 position, basic residues or Trp in the X2 position, and Pro ≫ Ala > Trp in the X3 position. We identified peptide substrates that are hydrolyzed up to 1000 times faster than the standard ClpP substrate. These positional preferences were consistent with cleavage sites in the protein GFPssrA by ClpXP1P2. Studies of ClpP1P2 with inactive ClpP1 or ClpP2 indicated that ClpP1 was responsible for nearly all the peptidase activity, whereas both ClpP1 and ClpP2 contributed to protein degradation. Substrate-based peptide boronates were synthesized that inhibit ClpP1P2 peptidase activity in the submicromolar range. Some of them inhibited the growth of Mtb cells in the low micromolar range indicating that cleavage specificity of Mtb ClpP1P2 can be used to design novel anti-bacterial agents.

Advanced Microscopy - Zooming in on the Big Idea in Pathology

Hagen SJ, Ang LH, Zheng Y, Karahan SN, Wu J, Wang YE, Caron TJ, Gad AP, Muthupalani S, and Fox JG. 12/2018. “Loss of Tight Junction Protein Claudin 18 Promotes Progressive Neoplasia Development in Mouse Stomach.” Gastroenterology, 155, 6, Pp. 1852-1867. Publisher's Version

BACKGROUND & AIMS:

Loss of claudin 18 (CLDN18), a membrane-spanning tight junction protein, occurs during early stages of development of gastric cancer and associates with shorter survival times of patients. We investigated whether loss of CLDN18 occurs in mice that develop intraepithelial neoplasia with invasive glands due to infection with Helicobacter pylori, and whether loss is sufficient to promote the development of similar lesions in mice with or without H pylori infection.

METHODS:

We performed immunohistochemical analyses in levels of CLDN18 in archived tissues from B6:129 mice infected with H pylori for 6 to 15 months. We analyzed gastric tissues from B6:129S5-Cldn18tm1Lex/Mmucd mice, in which the CLDN18 gene was disrupted in gastric tissues (CLDN18-knockout mice), or from control mice with a full-length CLDN18 gene (CLDN18+/+; B6:129S5/SvEvBrd) or heterozygous disruption of CLDN18 (CLDN18+/-; B6:129S5/SvEvBrd) that were infected with H pylori SS1 or PMSS1 at 6 weeks of age and tissues collected for analysis at 20 and 30 weeks after infection. Tissues from CLDN18-knockout mice and control mice with full-length CLDN18 gene expression were also analyzed without infection at 7 weeks and 2 years after birth. Tissues from control and CLDN18-knockout mice were analyzed by electron microscopy, stained by conventional methods and analyzed for histopathology, prepared by laser capture microdissection and analyzed by RNAseq, and immunostained for lineage markers, proliferation markers, and stem cell markers and analyzed by super-resolution or conventional confocal microscopy.

RESULTS:

CLDN18 had a basolateral rather than apical tight junction localization in gastric epithelial cells. B6:129 mice infected with H pylori, which developed intraepithelial neoplasia with invasive glands, had increasing levels of CLDN18 loss over time compared with uninfected mice. In B6:129 mice infected with H pylori compared with uninfected mice, CLDN18 was first lost from most gastric glands followed by disrupted and reduced expression in the gastric neck and in surface cells. Gastric tissues from CLDN18-knockout mice had low levels of inflammation but increased cell proliferation, expressed markers of intestinalized proliferative spasmolytic polypeptide-expressing metaplasia, and had defects in signal transduction pathways including p53 and STAT signaling by 7 weeks after birth compared with full-length CLDN18 gene control mice. By 20 to 30 weeks after birth, gastric tissues from uninfected CLDN18-knockout mice developed intraepithelial neoplasia that invaded the submucosa; by 2 years, gastric tissues contained large and focally dysplastic polypoid tumors with invasive glands that invaded the serosa.

CONCLUSIONS:

H pylori infection of B6:129 mice reduced the expression of CLDN18 early in gastric cancer progression, similar to previous observations from human gastric tissues. CLDN18 regulates cell lineage differentiation and cellular signaling in mouse stomach; CLDN18-knockout mice develop intraepithelial neoplasia and then large and focally dysplastic polypoid tumors in the absence of H pylori infection.

Onozato ML, Yapp C, Richardson D, Sundaresan T, Chahal V, Lee J, Sullivan JP, Madden MW, Shim MS, Liebers M, Ho Q, Maheswaran S, Haber DA, Zheng Z, Clancy B, Elliott HL, Lennerz JK, and Iafrate AJ. 3/2019. “Highly Multiplexed Fluorescence in Situ Hybridization for in Situ Genomics.” J Mol Diagn, S1525-1578, 18, Pp. 30022-9. Publisher's Version
The quantification of changes in gene copy number is critical to our understanding of tumor biology and for the clinical management of cancer patients. DNA fluorescence in situ hybridization is the gold standard method to detect copy number alterations, but it is limited by the number of genes one can quantify simultaneously. To increase the throughput of this informative technique, a fluorescent bar-code system for the unique labeling of dozens of genes and an automated image analysis algorithm that enabled their simultaneous hybridization for the quantification of gene copy numbers were devised. We demonstrate the reliability of this multiplex approach on normal human lymphocytes, metaphase spreads of transformed cell lines, and cultured circulating tumor cells. It also opens the door to the development of gene panels for more comprehensive analysis of copy number changes in tissue, including the study of heterogeneity and of high-throughput clinical assays that could provide rapid quantification of gene copy numbers in samples with limited cellularity, such as circulating tumor cells.
Bentley K and Chakravartula S. 5/2017. “The temporal basis of angiogenesis.” Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. , 372, 1720. Publisher's Version
The process of new blood vessel growth (angiogenesis) is highly dynamic, involving complex coordination of multiple cell types. Though the process must carefully unfold over time to generate functional, well-adapted branching networks, we seldom hear about the time-based properties of angiogenesis, despite timing being central to other areas of biology. Here, we present a novel, time-based formulation of endothelial cell behaviour during angiogenesis and discuss a flurry of our recent, integrated in silico/in vivo studies, put in context to the wider literature, which demonstrate that tissue conditions can locally adapt the timing of collective cell behaviours/decisions to grow different vascular network architectures. A growing array of seemingly unrelated 'temporal regulators' have recently been uncovered, including tissue derived factors (e.g. semaphorins or the high levels of VEGF found in cancer) and cellular processes (e.g. asymmetric cell division or filopodia extension) that act to alter the speed of cellular decisions to migrate. We will argue that 'temporal adaptation' provides a novel account of organ/disease-specific vascular morphology and reveals 'timing' as a new target for therapeutics. We therefore propose and explain a conceptual shift towards a 'temporal adaptation' perspective in vascular biology, and indeed other areas of biology where timing remains elusive.This article is part of the themed issue 'Systems morphodynamics: understanding the development of tissue hardware'.
Hagen SJ. 5/2017. “Non-canonical functions of claudin proteins: Beyond the regulation of cell-cell adhesions.” Tissue Barriers, 5, 2, Pp. e1327839. Publisher's Version
Tight junctions form a barrier to the diffusion of apical and basolateral membrane proteins thus regulating membrane polarity. They also regulate the paracellular movement of ions and water across epithelial and endothelial cells so that functionally they constitute an important permselective barrier. Permselectivity at tight junctions is regulated by claudins, which confer anion or cation permeability, and tightness or leakiness, by forming several highly regulated pores within the apical tight junction complex. One interesting feature of claudins is that they are, more often than not, localized to the basolateral membrane, in intracellular cytoplasmic vesicles, or in the nucleus rather than to the apical tight junction complex. These intracellular pools of claudin molecules likely serve important functions in the epithelium. This review will address the widespread prevalence of claudins that are not associated with the apical tight junction complex and discuss the important and emerging non-traditional functions of these molecules in health and disease.
Zhao Y, Bucur O, Irshad H, Chen F, Weins A, Stancu AL, Oh EY, DiStasio M, Torous V, Glass B, Stillman IE, Schnitt SJ, Beck AH, and Boyden ES. 8/2017. “Nanoscale imaging of clinical specimens using pathology-optimized expansion microscopy.” Nat Biotechnol. , 35, 8, Pp. 757-764. Publisher's Version
Expansion microscopy (ExM), a method for improving the resolution of light microscopy by physically expanding a specimen, has not been applied to clinical tissue samples. Here we report a clinically optimized form of ExM that supports nanoscale imaging of human tissue specimens that have been fixed with formalin, embedded in paraffin, stained with hematoxylin and eosin, and/or fresh frozen. The method, which we call expansion pathology (ExPath), converts clinical samples into an ExM-compatible state, then applies an ExM protocol with protein anchoring and mechanical homogenization steps optimized for clinical samples. ExPath enables ∼70-nm-resolution imaging of diverse biomolecules in intact tissues using conventional diffraction-limited microscopes and standard antibody and fluorescent DNA in situ hybridization reagents. We use ExPath for optical diagnosis of kidney minimal-change disease, a process that previously required electron microscopy, and we demonstrate high-fidelity computational discrimination between early breast neoplastic lesions for which pathologists often disagree in classification. ExPath may enable the routine use of nanoscale imaging in pathology and clinical research.
Jiang JY, Falcone JL, Curci S, and Hofer AM. 6/2017. “Interrogating cyclic AMP signaling using optical approaches.” Cell Calcium, 64, Pp. 47-56. Publisher's Version
Optical reporters for cAMP represent a fundamental advancement in our ability to investigate the dynamics of cAMP signaling. These fluorescent sensors can measure changes in cAMP in single cells or in microdomains within cells as opposed to whole populations of cells required for other methods of measuring cAMP. The first optical cAMP reporters were FRET-based sensors utilizing dissociation of purified regulatory and catalytic subunits of PKA, introduced by Roger Tsien in the early 1990s. The utility of these sensors was vastly improved by creating genetically encoded versions that could be introduced into cells with transfection, the first of which was published in the year 2000. Subsequently, improved sensors have been developed using different cAMP binding platforms, optimized fluorescent proteins, and targeting motifs that localize to specific microdomains. The most common sensors in use today are FRET-based sensors designed around an Epac backbone. These rely on the significant conformational changes in Epac when it binds cAMP, altering the signal between FRET pairs flanking Epac. Several other strategies for optically interrogating cAMP have been developed, including fluorescent translocation reporters, dimerization-dependent FP based biosensors, BRET (bioluminescence resonance energy transfer)-based sensors, non-FRET single wavelength reporters, and sensors based on bacterial cAMP-binding domains. Other newly described mammalian cAMP-binding proteins such as Popdc and CRIS may someday be exploited in sensor design. With the proliferation of engineered fluorescent proteins and the abundance of cAMP binding targets in nature, the field of optical reporters for cAMP should continue to see rapid refinement in the coming years.
Ward A, Rosen DM, Law CC, Rosen S, and Faulkner-Jones BE. 10/2015. “Oxalate nephropathy: a three-dimensional view.” Kidney Int, 88, 4, Pp. 919. Publisher's Version

A 59 year-old woman with chronic renal disease presented in renal failure with a creatinine of 4.1 mg %. She had had a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass performed 10 years earlier. A diagnosis of oxalate nephropathy was made on renal biopsy. Oxalate nephropathy is a known complication of gastric bypass. Calcium and oxalate in the intestine form calcium oxalate complexes that are then excreted. In the setting of fat malabsorption/enteric hyperoxaluria, enteric free fatty acids are elevated and bind calcium within the intestinal lumen, inhibiting the formation of calcium oxalate. 

Ruiz JL, Weinbaum S, Elena Aikawa, and Joshua D. Hutcheson. 6/2016. “Zooming in on the genesis of atherosclerotic plaque microcalcifications.” J Physiol., 594, 11, Pp. 2915-27. Publisher's Version

Epidemiological evidence conclusively demonstrates that calcium burden is a significant predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality; however, the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. These observations have challenged the previously held notion that calcification serves to stabilize the atherosclerotic plaque. Recent studies have shown that microcalcifications that form within the fibrous cap of the plaques lead to the accrual of plaque-destabilizing mechanical stress. Given the association between calcification morphology and cardiovascular outcomes, it is important to understand the mechanisms leading to calcific mineral deposition and growth from the earliest stages. We highlight the open questions in the field of cardiovascular calcification and include a review of the proposed mechanisms involved in extracellular vesicle-mediated mineral deposition.

Joshua D. Hutcheson, Claudia Goettsch, Bertazzo S, Maldonado N, Ruiz JL, Goh W, Katsumi Yabusaki, Tyler Faits, Bouten C, Quillard T, Libby P, Masanori Aikawa, Weinbaum S, and Elena Aikawa. 3/2016. “Genesis and growth of extracellular-vesicle-derived microcalcification in atherosclerotic plaques.” Nat. Mater. , 15, 3, Pp. 335-43. Publisher's Version

Clinical evidence links arterial calcification and cardiovascular risk. Finite-element modelling of the stress distribution within atherosclerotic plaques has suggested that subcellular microcalcifications in the fibrous cap may promote material failure of the plaque, but that large calcifications can stabilize it. Yet the physicochemical mechanisms underlying such mineral formation and growth in atheromata remain unknown. Here, by using three-dimensional collagen hydrogels that mimic structural features of the atherosclerotic fibrous cap, and high-resolution microscopic and spectroscopic analyses of both the hydrogels and of calcified human plaques, we demonstrate that calcific mineral formation and maturation results from a series of events involving the aggregation of calcifying extracellular vesicles, and the formation of microcalcifications and ultimately large calcification areas. We also show that calcification morphology and the plaque's collagen content-two determinants of atherosclerotic plaque stability-are interlinked.

 

Joshua D. Hutcheson, Maldonado N, and Elena Aikawa. 10/2014. “Small entities with large impact: microcalcifications and atherosclerotic plaque vulnerability.” Curr Opin Lipidol, 25, 5, Pp. 327-32. Publisher's Version

PURPOSE OF REVIEW:

Atherosclerotic plaque rupture and subsequent acute events, such as myocardial infarction and stroke, contribute to the majority of cardiovascular-related deaths. Calcification has emerged as a significant predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, challenging previously held notions that calcifications stabilize atherosclerotic plaques. In this review, we address this discrepancy through recent findings that not all calcifications are equivalent in determining plaque stability.

RECENT FINDINGS:

The risk associated with calcification is inversely associated with calcification density. As opposed to large calcifications that potentially stabilize the plaque, biomechanical modeling indicates that small microcalcifications within the plaque fibrous cap can lead to sufficient stress accumulation to cause plaque rupture. Microcalcifications appear to derive from matrix vesicles enriched in calcium-binding proteins that are released by cells within the plaque. Clinical detection of microcalcifications has been hampered by the lack of imaging resolution required for in-vivo visualization; however, recent studies have demonstrated promising new techniques to predict the presence of microcalcifications.

SUMMARY:

Microcalcifications play a major role in destabilizing atherosclerotic plaques. The identification of critical characteristics that lead to instability along with new imaging modalities to detect their presence in vivo may allow early identification and prevention of acute cardiovascular events.

 

Advanced Imaging

Girard MJ, Dupps MW, Baskaran M, Scarcelli G, Yun SH, Quigley HA, Sigal IA, and Strouthidis NG. 1/2015. “Translating ocular biomechanics into clinical practice: current state and future prospects.” Curr Eye Res, 40, 1, Pp. 1-18. Publisher's Version
Biomechanics – the study of the relationship between forces and function in living organisms – is thought to play a critical role in a significant number of ophthalmic disorders. This is not surprising, as the eye is a pressure vessel that requires a delicate balance of forces to maintain its homeostasis. Over the past few decades, basic science research in ophthalmology mostly confirmed that ocular biomechanics could explain in part the mechanisms involved in almost all major ophthalmic disorders such as optic nerve head neuropathies, angle closure, ametropia, presbyopia, cataract, corneal pathologies, retinal detachment, and macular degeneration. Translational biomechanics in ophthalmology, however, is still in its infancy. It is believed that its use could make significant advances in diagnosis and treatment. Several translational biomechanics strategies are already emerging, such as corneal stiffening for the treatment of keratoconus, and more are likely to follow. This review aims to cultivate the idea that biomechanics plays a major role in ophthalmology and that its clinical translation, lead by collaborative teams of clinicians and biomedical engineers, will benefit our patients. Specifically, recent advances and future prospects in corneal, iris, trabecular meshwork, crystalline lens, scleral and lamina cribrosa biomechanics are discussed.
Alasil T, Wang K, Keane PA, Lee H, Baniasadi N, Boer de JF, and Chen TC. 9/2013. “Analysis of normal retinal nerve fiber layer thickness by age, sex, and race using spectral domain optical coherence tomography.” J Glaucoma, 22, 7, Pp. 532-441. Publisher's Version

Purpose: To determine the effects of age, sex, and race on the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) in the normal human eye as measured by the spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) Spectralis machine (Heidelberg Engineering).

Methods: Peripapillary SD-OCT RNFL thickness measurements were determined in normal subjects seen at a university-based clinic. One randomly selected eye per subject was used for analysis in this cross-sectional study. Multiple regression analysis was applied to assess the effects of age, sex, ethnicity, and mean refractive error on peripapillary RNFL thickness. Results are expressed as means±SD wherever applicable.

Results: The study population consisted of 190 healthy participants from 9 to 86 years of age. Of the 190 participants, 62 (33%) were men, 125 (66%) Caucasians, 26 (14%) African Americans, 14 (7%) Hispanics, 16 (8%) Asians, and 9 (5%) other races. The mean RNFL thickness for the normal population studied was 97.3±9.6 µm. Normal RNFL thickness values follow the ISNT rule with decreasing RNFL thickness values starting from the thickest quadrant inferiorly to the thinnest quadrant temporally: inferior quadrant (126±15.8), superior quadrant (117.2±16.13), nasal quadrant (75±13.9), and temporal quadrant (70.6±10.8 µm). Thinner RNFL measurements were associated with older age (P<0.001); being Caucasian, versus being either Hispanic or Asian (P=0.02 and 0.009, respectively); or being more myopic (P<0.001). For every decade of increased age, mean RNFL thickness measured thinner by approximately 1.5 µm (95% confidence interval, 0.24-0.07). Comparisons between ethnic groups revealed that Caucasians had mean RNFL values (96±9.2 µm) slightly thinner than those of Hispanics (102.9±11 µm; P=0.02) or Asians (100.7±8.5 µm; P=0.009). African Americans RNFL values (99.2±10.2 µm) were not significantly different when compared with Caucasians. There was no relationship between RNFL thickness and sex.

Conclusions: The thickest RNFL measurements were found in the inferior quadrant, followed by the superior, nasal, and temporal quadrants (ISNT rule applied to the RNFL). Thinner RNFL measurements were associated with older age and increasing myopia. Caucasians tend to have thinner RNFL values when compared with Hispanics and Asians. SD-OCT analysis of the normal RNFL showed results similar to time domain OCT studies.

Besner S, Scarcelli G, Pineda R, and Yun SH. 10/1/2016. “In Vivo Brillouin Analysis of the Aging Crystalline Lens.” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci., 57, 13, Pp. 5093-5100. Publisher's Version

PURPOSE:

To analyze the age dependence of the longitudinal modulus of the crystalline lens in vivo using Brillouin scattering data in healthy subjects.

METHODS:

Brillouin scans were performed along the crystalline lens in 56 eyes from 30 healthy subjects aged from 19 to 63 years. Longitudinal elastic modulus was acquired along the sagittal axis of the lens with a transverse and axial resolution of 4 and 60 μm, respectively. The relative lens stiffness was computed, and correlations with age were analyzed.

RESULTS:

Brillouin axial profiles revealed nonuniform longitudinal modulus within the lens, increasing from a softer periphery toward a stiffer central plateau at all ages. The longitudinal modulus at the central plateau showed no age dependence in a range of 19 to 45 years and a slight decrease with age from 45 to 63 years. A significant intersubject variability was observed in an age-matched analysis. Importantly, the extent of the central stiff plateau region increased steadily over age from 19 to 63 years. The slope of change in Brillouin modulus in the peripheral regions were nearly age-invariant.

CONCLUSIONS:

The adult human lens showed no measurable age-related increase in the peak longitudinal modulus. The expansion of the stiff central region of the lens is likely to be the major contributing factor to age-related lens stiffening. Brillouin microscopy may be useful in characterizing the crystalline lens for the optimization of surgical or pharmacological treatments aimed at restoring accommodative power.

Kwok SJJ, Kuznetsov IA, Kim M, Choi M, Scarcelli G, and Yun SH. 5/4/2016. “Selective two-photon collagen crosslinking in situ measured by Brillouin microscopy.” Optica, 3, 5, Pp. 469-472. Publisher's Version
Two-photon polymerization has enabled precise microfabrication of three-dimensional structures with applications spanning from photonic microdevices, drug delivery systems, and cellular scaffolds. We present two-photon collagen crosslinking (2P-CXL) of intact corneal tissue using riboflavin and femtosecond laser irradiation. Collagen fiber orientations and photobleaching were characterized by second harmonic generation and two-photon fluorescence imaging, respectively. Measurement of local changes in longitudinal mechanical moduli with confocal Brillouin microscopy enabled the visualization of the cross-linked pattern without perturbation of the surrounding non-irradiated regions. 2P-CXL induced stiffening was comparable to that achieved with conventional one-photon CXL. Our results demonstrate the ability to selectively stiffen biological tissue in situ at high resolution with broad implications in ophthalmology, laser surgery, and tissue engineering.
Pablo A Valdés, Roberts DW, Lu FK, and Golby AJ. 3/2016. “Optical technologies for intraoperative neurosurgical guidance.” Neurosurg Focus, 2016, 40, Pp. E8. Publisher's Version
Biomedical optics is a broadly interdisciplinary field at the interface of optical engineering, biophysics, computer science, medicine, biology, and chemistry, helping us understand light-tissue interactions to create applications with diagnostic and therapeutic value in medicine. Implementation of biomedical optics tools and principles has had a notable scientific and clinical resurgence in recent years in the neurosurgical community. This is in great part due to work in fluorescence-guided surgery of brain tumors leading to reports of significant improvement in maximizing the rates of gross-total resection. Multiple additional optical technologies have been implemented clinically, including diffuse reflectance spectroscopy and imaging, optical coherence tomography, Raman spectroscopy and imaging, and advanced quantitative methods, including quantitative fluorescence and lifetime imaging. Here we present a clinically relevant and technologically informed overview and discussion of some of the major clinical implementations of optical technologies as intraoperative guidance tools in neurosurgery.
Scarcelli G, Besner S, Pineda R, Kalout P, and Yun SH. 4/2015. “In vivo biomechanical mapping of normal and keratoconus corneas.” JAMA Ophthalmol., 133, 4, Pp. 480-2. Publisher's Version

Corneal mechanical strength is critical to withstanding intraocular pressure and maintaining normal shape.  In keratoconus, the mechanical stability is compromised, which may lead to progressive morphological changes. Therefore, a noninvasive technique capable of accurately measuring the mechanical properties of the cornea may help us understand the mechanism of keratoconus development and improve detection and intervention in keratoconus. We previously developed Brillouin microscopy based on light scattering from inherent acoustic waves in tissues and showed that this technique can provide quantitative estimates of local longitudinal modulus, which correlate to the Young and/or shear moduli of the cornea.  Using a clinically viable instrument, for the first time, to our knowledge, we mapped the elastic modulus of normal and keratoconic corneas in vivo. We found distinctive biomechanical features that differentiate normal and keratoconic corneas and therefore have the potential to serve as diagnostic metrics for keratoconus.

Kling S, Akca IB, Chang EW, Scarcelli G, Bekesi N, Yun SH, and Marcos S. 12/2014. “Numerical model of optical coherence tomographic vibrography imaging to estimate corneal biomechanical properties.” J R Soc Interface., 11, 101, Pp. 20140920. Publisher's Version

Most techniques measuring corneal biomechanics in vivo are biased by side factors. We demonstrate the ability of optical coherence tomographic (OCT) vibrography to determine corneal material parameters, while reducing current prevalent restrictions of other techniques (such as intraocular pressure (IOP) and thickness dependency). Modal analysis was performed in a finite-element (FE) model to study the oscillation response in isolated thin corneal flaps/eye globes and to analyse the dependency of the frequency response function on: corneal elasticity, viscoelasticity, geometry (thickness and curvature), IOP and density. The model was verified experimentally in flaps from three bovine corneas and in two enucleated porcine eyes using sound excitation (100-110 dB) together with a phase-sensitive OCT to measure the frequency response function (range 50-510 Hz). Simulations showed that corneal vibration in flaps is sensitive to both, geometrical and biomechanical parameters, whereas in whole globes it is primarily sensitive to corneal biomechanical parameters only. Calculations based on the natural frequency shift revealed that flaps of the posterior cornea were 0.8 times less stiff than flaps from the anterior cornea and cross-linked corneas were 1.6 times stiffer than virgin corneas. Sensitivity analysis showed that natural vibration frequencies of whole globes were nearly independent from corneal thickness and IOP within the physiological range. OCT vibrography is a promising non-invasive technique to measure corneal elasticity without biases from corneal thickness and IOP.

Scarcelli G, Besner S, Pineda R, and Yun SH. 7/2014. “Biomechanical characterization of keratoconus corneas ex vivo with Brillouin microscopy.” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci., 55, 7, Pp. 4490-5. Publisher's Version

PURPOSE:

Loss of corneal strength is a central feature of keratoconus progression. However, it is currently difficult to measure corneal mechanical changes noninvasively. The objective of this study is to evaluate if Brillouin optical microscopy can differentiate the mechanical properties of keratoconic corneas versus healthy corneas ex vivo.

METHODS:

We obtained eight tissue samples from healthy donor corneas used in Descemet's stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK) and 10 advanced keratoconic corneas from patients undergoing deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK). Within 2 hours after surgery, a confocal Brillouin microscope using a monochromatic laser at 532 nm was used to map the Brillouin frequency shifts of the corneas.

RESULTS:

The mean Brillouin shift in the anterior 200 μm of the keratoconic corneas at the cone was measured to be 7.99 ± 0.10 GHz, significantly lower than 8.17 ± 0.06 GHz of the healthy corneas (P < 0.001). The Brillouin shift in the keratoconic corneas decreased with depth from the anterior toward posterior regions with a steeper slope than in the healthy corneas (P < 0.001). Within keratoconic corneas, the Brillouin shift in regions away from the apex of the cone was significantly higher than within the cone region (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Brillouin measurements revealed notable differences between healthy and keratoconic corneas. Importantly, Brillouin imaging showed that the mechanical loss is primarily concentrated within the area of the keratoconic cone. Outside the cone, the Brillouin shift was comparable with that of healthy corneas. The results demonstrate the potential of Brillouin microscopy for diagnosis and treatment monitoring of keratoconus.

 

Oh JE, Cho YW, Scarcelli G, and Kim YH. 3/2013. “Sub-Rayleigh imaging via speckle illumination.” Opt Lett. , 38, 5, Pp. 682-4. Publisher's Version

We demonstrate sub-Rayleigh limit imaging of an object via speckle illumination. Imaging beyond the conventional Rayleigh limit is achieved by illuminating the object with pseudothermal light that exhibits a random speckle pattern. An object image is reconstructed from the second-order correlation measurement and the resolution of the image, which exceeds the Rayleigh limit, is shown to be related to the size of the speckle pattern that is tied to the lateral coherence length of the pseudothermal light.

Scarcelli G, Kling S, Quijano E, Pineda R, Marcos S, and Yun SH. 2/2013. “Brillouin microscopy of collagen crosslinking: noncontact depth-dependent analysis of corneal elastic modulus.” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci., 54, 2, Pp. 1418-25. Publisher's Version

PURPOSE:

Corneal collagen crosslinking (CXL) is designed to halt the progression of keratoconus and corneal ectasia by inducing corneal stiffening. However, it currently is difficult to monitor and evaluate CXL outcome objectively due to the lack of suitable methods to characterize corneal mechanical properties. We validated noncontact Brillouin microscopy to quantify corneal mechanical properties before and after CXL.

METHODS:

CXL was performed on fresh porcine eyes using various presoaking times and light doses, with or without epithelial debridement. From Brillouin maps of corneal elastic modulus, stiffness and average modulus of anterior, middle, and posterior stroma were analyzed. Corneal stiffening index (CSI) was introduced as a metric to compare the mechanical efficacy of a given CXL protocol with respect to the standard protocol (30-minute riboflavin presoak, 3 mW/cm² ultraviolet illumination for 30 minutes).

RESULTS:

Brillouin corneal stiffness increased significantly (P < 0.001) by epi-off and epi-on CXL. The increase of Brillouin modulus was depth-dependent, indicating that anterior stromal stiffening contributes the most to mechanical outcome. The increase of anterior Brillouin modulus was linearly proportional to the light dose (R² > 0.98). Compared to the standard epi-off procedure, a typical epi-on procedure resulted in a third of stiffness increase in porcine corneas (CSI = 33).

CONCLUSIONS:

Brillouin microscopy allowed imaging and quantifying CXL-induced mechanical changes without contact in a depth-dependent manner at high spatial resolution. This technique may be useful to evaluate the mechanical outcomes of CXL procedures, to compare different crosslinking agents, and for real-time monitoring of CXL in clinical and experimental settings.

 

Loggia ML, Chonde DB, Akeju O, Arabasz G, Catana C, Edwards RR, Hill E, Hsu S, Izquierdo-Garcia D, Ji RR, Riley M, Wasan AD, Zürcher NR, Albrecht DS, Vangel MG, Rosen BR, Napadow V, and Hooker JM. 3/2015. “Evidence for brain glial activation in chronic pain patients.” Brain., 138, 3, Pp. 604-15. Publisher's Version

Although substantial evidence has established that microglia and astrocytes play a key role in the establishment and maintenance of persistent pain in animal models, the role of glial cells in human pain disorders remains unknown. Here, using the novel technology of integrated positron emission tomography-magnetic resonance imaging and the recently developed radioligand (11)C-PBR28, we show increased brain levels of the translocator protein (TSPO), a marker of glial activation, in patients with chronic low back pain. As the Ala147Thr polymorphism in the TSPO gene affects binding affinity for (11)C-PBR28, nine patient-control pairs were identified from a larger sample of subjects screened and genotyped, and compared in a matched-pairs design, in which each patient was matched to a TSPO polymorphism-, age- and sex-matched control subject (seven Ala/Ala and two Ala/Thr, five males and four females in each group; median age difference: 1 year; age range: 29-63 for patients and 28-65 for controls). Standardized uptake values normalized to whole brain were significantly higher in patients than controls in multiple brain regions, including thalamus and the putative somatosensory representations of the lumbar spine and leg. The thalamic levels of TSPO were negatively correlated with clinical pain and circulating levels of the proinflammatory citokine interleukin-6, suggesting that TSPO expression exerts pain-protective/anti-inflammatory effects in humans, as predicted by animal studies. Given the putative role of activated glia in the establishment and or maintenance of persistent pain, the present findings offer clinical implications that may serve to guide future studies of the pathophysiology and management of a variety of persistent pain conditions.

Ji M, Orringer DA, CW Freudiger, Ramkissoon S, Liu X, Lau D, Golby AJ, Norton I, Hayashi M, Agar NY, Young GS, Spino C, Santagata S, Camelo-Piragua S, Ligon KL, Sagher O, and Xie XS. 9/2013. “Rapid, label-free detection of brain tumors with stimulated Raman scattering microscopy.” Sci Transl Med., 5, 201, Pp. 201. Publisher's Version

Surgery is an essential component in the treatment of brain tumors. However, delineating tumor from normal brain remains a major challenge. We describe the use of stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) microscopy for differentiating healthy human and mouse brain tissue from tumor-infiltrated brain based on histoarchitectural and biochemical differences. Unlike traditional histopathology, SRS is a label-free technique that can be rapidly performed in situ. SRS microscopy was able to differentiate tumor from nonneoplastic tissue in an infiltrative human glioblastoma xenograft mouse model based on their different Raman spectra. We further demonstrated a correlation between SRS and hematoxylin and eosin microscopy for detection of glioma infiltration (κ = 0.98). Finally, we applied SRS microscopy in vivo in mice during surgery to reveal tumor margins that were undetectable under standard operative conditions. By providing rapid intraoperative assessment of brain tissue, SRS microscopy may ultimately improve the safety and accuracy of surgeries where tumor boundaries are visually indistinct.

Venugopal V, Park M, Ashitate Y, Neacsu F, Kettenring F, Frangioni JV, Gangadharan SP, and Gioux S. 12/2013. “Design and characterization of an optimized simultaneous color and near-infrared fluorescence rigid endoscopic imaging system.” J Biomed Opt., 18, 12, Pp. 126018. Publisher's Version

We report the design, characterization, and validation of an optimized simultaneous color and near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence rigid endoscopic imaging system for minimally invasive surgery. This system is optimized for illumination and collection of NIR wavelengths allowing the simultaneous acquisition of both color and NIR fluorescence at frame rates higher than 6.8 fps with high sensitivity. The system employs a custom 10-mm diameter rigid endoscope optimized for NIR transmission. A dual-channel light source compatible with the constraints of an endoscope was built and includes a plasma source for white light illumination and NIR laser diodes for fluorescence excitation. A prism-based 2-CCD camera was customized for simultaneous color and NIR detection with a highly efficient filtration scheme for fluorescence imaging of both 700- and 800-nm emission dyes. The performance characterization studies indicate that the endoscope can efficiently detect fluorescence signal from both indocyanine green and methylene blue in dimethyl sulfoxide at the concentrations of 100 to 185 nM depending on the background optical properties. Finally, we performed the validation of this imaging system in vivo during a minimally invasive procedure for thoracic sentinel lymph node mapping in a porcine model.

Chang EW, Cheng JT, Röösli C, Kobler JB, Rosowski JJ, and Yun SH. 10/2013. “Simultaneous 3D imaging of sound-induced motions of the tympanic membrane and middle ear ossicles.” Hear Res, 304, Pp. 49-56. Publisher's Version

Efficient transfer of sound by the middle ear ossicles is essential for hearing. Various pathologies can impede the transmission of sound and thereby cause conductive hearing loss. Differential diagnosis of ossicular disorders can be challenging since the ossicles are normally hidden behind the tympanic membrane (TM). Here we describe the use of a technique termed optical coherence tomography (OCT) vibrography to view the sound-induced motion of the TM and ossicles simultaneously. With this method, we were able to capture three-dimensional motion of the intact TM and ossicles of the chinchilla ear with nanometer-scale sensitivity at sound frequencies from 0.5 to 5 kHz. The vibration patterns of the TM were complex and highly frequency dependent with mean amplitudes of 70-120 nm at 100 dB sound pressure level. The TM motion was only marginally sensitive to stapes fixation and incus-stapes joint interruption; however, when additional information derived from the simultaneous measurement of ossicular motion was added, it was possible to clearly distinguish these different simulated pathologies. The technique may be applicable to clinical diagnosis in Otology and to basic research in audition and acoustics.

Field MG, Alasil T, Baniasadi N, Que C, Simavli H, D Sobeih, D Sola-Del Valle, Best MJ, and Chen TC. 2/2016. “Facilitating Glaucoma Diagnosis With Intereye Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Asymmetry Using Spectral-Domain Optical Coherence Tomography.” J Glaucoma. , 25, 2, Pp. 167-76. Publisher's Version

PURPOSE:

To test whether increased intereye retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) asymmetry may be indicative of glaucoma. To determine the best statistical methods and intereye RNFL cutoffs for differentiating between normal and glaucoma subjects to better alert clinicians to early glaucomatous damage.

METHODS:

Sixty-six primary open-angle glaucoma (OAG) and 40 age-matched normal subjects had both eyes imaged at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary with a commercially available spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) machine. Statistical methodologies were used to find cutoffs that achieved the best sensitivities and specificities for differentiating OAG from normal subjects.

RESULTS:

Intereye RNFL asymmetry for global average, all quadrants, and all sectors was significantly greater in OAG than normal subjects. Intereye RNFL asymmetry for global average showed the greatest statistical difference (P<0.001) between OAG (23.64 ± 14.90 μm) and normal eyes (3.58 ± 3.96 μm), with 6.60 times greater asymmetry in OAG eyes. The inferior quadrant showed the second greatest difference, with 3.91 times greater asymmetry in OAG eyes. Using a statistically determined cutoff of 6.0 μm as abnormal, intereye RNFL asymmetry for global average achieved a sensitivity of 74.24% and specificity of 90% in differentiating between normal and OAG subjects, achieving a better combination of sensitivity and specificity than intereye RNFL asymmetry of any quadrant or sector.

CONCLUSIONS:

Intereye RNFL asymmetry may be a useful clinical OCT measurement to provide quantitative assessment of early glaucomatous damage. Newly developed algorithms for intereye RNFL asymmetry may improve the ability to detect glaucoma.

 

Simavli H, Que CJ, Akduman M, Rizzo JL, Tsikata E, Boer de JF, and Chen TC. 3/2015. “Diagnostic capability of peripapillary retinal thickness in glaucoma using 3D volume scans.” Am J Ophthalmol., 159, 3, Pp. 545-56. Publisher's Version

PURPOSE:

To determine the diagnostic capability of spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD OCT) peripapillary retinal thickness (RT) measurements from 3-dimensional (3D) volume scans for primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG).

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional study.

METHODS:

setting: Institutional. study population: 156 patients (89 POAG and 67 normal subjects). observation procedures: One eye of each subject was included. SD OCT peripapillary RT values from 3D volume scans were calculated for 4 quadrants of 3 different sized annuli. Peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness values were also determined. main outcome measures: Area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) values, sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, and positive and negative likelihood ratios.

RESULTS:

The top 5 RT AUROCs for all glaucoma patients and for a subset of early glaucoma patients were for the inferior quadrant of outer circumpapillary annulus of circular grid (OCA) 1 (0.959, 0.939), inferior quadrant of OCA2 (0.945, 0.921), superior quadrant of OCA1 (0.890, 0.811), inferior quadrant of OCA3 (0.887, 0.854), and superior quadrant of OCA2 (0.879, 0.807). Smaller RT annuli OCA1 and OCA2 consistently showed better diagnostic performance than the larger RT annulus OCA3. For both RNFL and RT measurements, best AUROC values were found for inferior RT OCA1 and OCA2, followed by inferior and overall RNFL thickness.

CONCLUSION:

Peripapillary RT measurements from 3D volume scans showed excellent diagnostic performance for detecting both glaucoma and early glaucoma patients. Peripapillary RT values have the same or better diagnostic capability compared to peripapillary RNFL thickness measurements, while also having fewer algorithm errors.

 

Alasil T, Wang K, Yu F, Field MG, Lee H, Baniasadi N, Boer de JF, Coleman AL, and Chen TC. 5/2014. “Correlation of retinal nerve fiber layer thickness and visual fields in glaucoma: a broken stick model.” Am J Ophthalmol., 157, 5, Pp. 953-9. Publisher's Version

PURPOSE:

To determine the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness at which visual field (VF) damage becomes detectable and associated with structural loss.

DESIGN:

Retrospective cross-sectional study.

METHODS:

Eighty-seven healthy and 108 glaucoma subjects (1 eye per subject) were recruited from an academic institution. All patients had VF examinations (Swedish Interactive Threshold Algorithm 24-2 test of the Humphrey Visual Field Analyzer 750i) and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography RNFL scans. Comparison of RNFL thickness values with VF threshold values showed a plateau of VF threshold values at high RNFL thickness values and then a sharp decrease at lower RNFL thickness values. A broken stick statistical analysis was used to estimate the tipping point at which RNFL thickness values are associated with VF defects. The slope for the association between structure and function was computed for data above and below the tipping point.

RESULTS:

The mean RNFL thickness value that was associated with initial VF loss was 89 μm. The superior RNFL thickness value that was associated with initial corresponding inferior VF loss was 100 μm. The inferior RNFL thickness value that was associated with initial corresponding superior VF loss was 73 μm. The differences between all the slopes above and below the aforementioned tipping points were statistically significant (P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS:

In open-angle glaucoma, substantial RNFL thinning or structural loss appears to be necessary before functional visual field defects become detectable.

 

Akca BI, Chang EW, Kling S, Ramier A, Scarcelli G, Marcos S, and Yun SH. 8/2015. “Observation of sound-induced corneal vibrational modes by optical coherence tomography.” Biomed Opt Express, 6, 9, Pp. 3313-9. Publisher's Version

The mechanical stability of the cornea is critical for maintaining its normal shape and refractive function. Here, we report an observation of the mechanical resonance modes of the cornea excited by sound waves and detected by using phase-sensitive optical coherence tomography. The cornea in bovine eye globes exhibited three resonance modes in a frequency range of 50-400 Hz. The vibration amplitude of the fundamental mode at 80-120 Hz was ~8 µm at a sound pressure level of 100 dB (2 Pa). Vibrography allows the visualization of the radially symmetric profiles of the resonance modes. A dynamic finite-element analysis supports our observation.

Shao P, Besner S, Zhang J, Scarcelli G, and Yun SH. 9/2016. “Etalon filters for Brillouin microscopy of highly scattering tissues.” Opt Express, 24, 19, Pp. 22232-8. Publisher's Version

Brillouin imaging of turbid biological tissues requires an effective rejection of the background noise due to elastic scattering of probe laser light. We have developed a narrowband spectral notch filter based on a pair of a free-space Fabry-Perot etalon and a mirror. The etalon filter in a 4-pass configuration is able to suppress elastically-scattered laser light with a high extinction ratio of > 40 dB and transmit inelastically-scattered light in a frequency shift range of 2-14 GHz with only 2 dB insertion loss. We also describe a simple etalon that enables us to use semiconductor diode laser sources for Brillouin microscopy by removing spontaneous emission noise. Using a clinically-viable Brillouin microscope employing these filters, we demonstrate the first Brillouin confocal imaging of the sclera and conjunctiva of the porcine eye.

Kim M, Besner S, Ramier A, Kwok SJ, An J, Scarcelli G, and Yun SH. 1/2016. “Shear Brillouin light scattering microscope.” Opt Express, 24, 1, Pp. 319-28. Publisher's Version

Brillouin spectroscopy has been used to characterize shear acoustic phonons in materials. However, conventional instruments had slow acquisition times over 10 min per 1 mW of input optical power, and they required two objective lenses to form a 90° scattering geometry necessary for polarization coupling by shear phonons. Here, we demonstrate a confocal Brillouin microscope capable of detecting both shear and longitudinal phonons with improved speeds and with a single objective lens. Brillouin scattering spectra were measured from polycarbonate, fused quartz, and borosilicate in 1-10 s at an optical power level of 10 mW. The elastic constants, phonon mean free path and the ratio of the Pockels coefficients were determined at microscopic resolution.

Lu FK, David Calligaris, Olubiyi OI, Norton I, Yang W, Santagata S, Xie XS, Golby AJ, and Agar NY. 6/2016. “Label-Free Neurosurgical Pathology with Stimulated Raman Imaging.” Cancer Res, 2016, 15, Pp. 3451-62. Publisher's Version

The goal of brain tumor surgery is to maximize tumor removal without injuring critical brain structures. Achieving this goal is challenging as it can be difficult to distinguish tumor from nontumor tissue. While standard histopathology provides information that could assist tumor delineation, it cannot be performed iteratively during surgery as freezing, sectioning, and staining of the tissue require too much time. Stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) microscopy is a powerful label-free chemical imaging technology that enables rapid mapping of lipids and proteins within a fresh specimen. This information can be rendered into pathology-like images. Although this approach has been used to assess the density of glioma cells in murine orthotopic xenografts models and human brain tumors, tissue heterogeneity in clinical brain tumors has not yet been fully evaluated with SRS imaging. Here we profile 41 specimens resected from 12 patients with a range of brain tumors. By evaluating large-scale stimulated Raman imaging data and correlating this data with current clinical gold standard of histopathology for 4,422 fields of view, we capture many essential diagnostic hallmarks for glioma classification. Notably, in fresh tumor samples, we observe additional features, not seen by conventional methods, including extensive lipid droplets within glioma cells, collagen deposition in gliosarcoma, and irregularity and disruption of myelinated fibers in areas infiltrated by oligodendroglioma cells. The data are freely available in a public resource to foster diagnostic training and to permit additional interrogation. Our work establishes the methodology and provides a significant collection of reference images for label-free neurosurgical pathology.

Team Science

Mak RH, Endres MG, Paik JH, Sergeev RA, Aerts H, Williams CL, Lakhani KR, and Guinan EC. 4/2019. “Use of Crowd Innovation to Develop an Artificial Intelligence–Based Solution for Radiation Therapy Targeting .” Jama Oncol. Publisher's Version

IMPORTANCE:

Radiation therapy (RT) is a critical cancer treatment, but the existing radiation oncologist work force does not meet growing global demand. One key physician task in RT planning involves tumor segmentation for targeting, which requires substantial training and is subject to significant interobserver variation.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether crowd innovation could be used to rapidly produce artificial intelligence (AI) solutions that replicate the accuracy of an expert radiation oncologist in segmenting lung tumors for RT targeting.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS:

We conducted a 10-week, prize-based, online, 3-phase challenge (prizes totaled $55 000). A well-curated data set, including computed tomographic (CT) scans and lung tumor segmentations generated by an expert for clinical care, was used for the contest (CT scans from 461 patients; median 157 images per scan; 77 942 images in total; 8144 images with tumor present). Contestants were provided a training set of 229 CT scans with accompanying expert contours to develop their algorithms and given feedback on their performance throughout the contest, including from the expert clinician.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES:

The AI algorithms generated by contestants were automatically scored on an independent data set that was withheld from contestants, and performance ranked using quantitative metrics that evaluated overlap of each algorithm's automated segmentations with the expert's segmentations. Performance was further benchmarked against human expert interobserver and intraobserver variation.

RESULTS:

A total of 564 contestants from 62 countries registered for this challenge, and 34 (6%) submitted algorithms. The automated segmentations produced by the top 5 AI algorithms, when combined using an ensemble model, had an accuracy (Dice coefficient = 0.79) that was within the benchmark of mean interobserver variation measured between 6 human experts. For phase 1, the top 7 algorithms had average custom segmentation scores (S scores) on the holdout data set ranging from 0.15 to 0.38, and suboptimal performance using relative measures of error. The average S scores for phase 2 increased to 0.53 to 0.57, with a similar improvement in other performance metrics. In phase 3, performance of the top algorithm increased by an additional 9%. Combining the top 5 algorithms from phase 2 and phase 3 using an ensemble model, yielded an additional 9% to 12% improvement in performance with a final S score reaching 0.68.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE:

A combined crowd innovation and AI approach rapidly produced automated algorithms that replicated the skills of a highly trained physician for a critical task in radiation therapy. These AI algorithms could improve cancer care globally by transferring the skills of expert clinicians to under-resourced health care settings.

Boudreau K, Brady T, Ganguli I, Gaule P, Guinan EC, Hollenberg T, and Lakhani KR. 2017. “A Field Experiment on Search Costs and the Formation of Scientific Collaborations.” The Review of Economics and Statistics, 99, 4, Pp. 565-576. Publisher's Version
Scientists typically self-organize into teams, matching with others to collaborate in the production of new knowledge. We present the results of a field experiment conducted at Harvard Medical School to understand the extent to which search costs affect matching among scientific collaborators. We generated exogenous variation in search costs for pairs of potential collaborators by randomly assigning individuals to 90-minute structured information-sharing sessions as part of a grant funding opportunity for biomedical researchers. We estimate that the treatment increases the baseline probability of grant co-application of a given pair of researchers by 75% (increasing the likelihood of a pair collaborating from 0.16 percent to 0.28 percent), with effects higher among those in the same specialization. The findings indicate that matching between scientists is subject to considerable frictions, even in the case of geographically-proximate scientists working in the same institutional context with ample access to common information and funding opportunities.
Guinan EC, Boudreau KJ, and Lakhani KR. 3/19/2013. “Experiments in Open Innovation at Harvard Medical School.” MIT Sloan Management Review , 54, 3, Pp. 45-52. Publisher's Version

Harvard Medical School seems an unlikely organization to open up its innovation process. By most measures, the more than 20,000 faculty, research staff and graduate students affiliated with Harvard Medical School are already world class and at the top of the medical research game, with approximately $1.4 billion in annual funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). But in February 2010, Drew Faust, president of Harvard University, sent an email invitation to all faculty, staff and students at the university (more than 40,000 individuals) encouraging them to participate in an ideas challenge that Harvard Medical School had launched to generate research topics in Type 1 diabetes. Eventually, the challenge was shared with more than 250,000 invitees, resulting in 150 research ideas and hypotheses. The goal of opening up idea generation and disaggregating the different stages of the research process was to expand the number and range of people who might participate. Today, seven teams of multi-disciplinary researchers are working on the resulting potential breakthrough ideas. In this article, we describe how leaders of Harvard Catalyst, an organization whose mission is to drive therapies from the lab to patients' bedsides faster and to do so by working across the many silos of Harvard Medical School, chose to implement principles of open and distributed innovation.

Boudreau KJ, Guinan EC, Lakhani KR, and Riedl C. 10/2016. “Looking Across and Looking Beyond the Knowledge Frontier: Intellectual Distance, Novelty, and Resource Allocation in Science.” Manage Sci. , 62, 10, Pp. 2765-2783. Publisher's Version

Selecting among alternative projects is a core management task in all innovating organizations. In this paper, we focus on the evaluation of frontier scientific research projects. We argue that the "intellectual distance" between the knowledge embodied in research proposals and an evaluator's own expertise systematically relates to the evaluations given. To estimate relationships, we designed and executed a grant proposal process at a leading research university in which we randomized the assignment of evaluators and proposals to generate 2,130 evaluator-proposal pairs. We find that evaluators systematically give lower scores to research proposals that are closer to their own areas of expertise and to those that are highly novel. The patterns are consistent with biases associated with boundedly rational evaluation of new ideas. The patterns are inconsistent with intellectual distance simply contributing "noise" or being associated with private interests of evaluators. We discuss implications for policy, managerial intervention, and allocation of resources in the ongoing accumulation of scientific knowledge.

All

Scarcelli G, Kling S, Quijano E, Pineda R, Marcos S, and Yun SH. 2/2013. “Brillouin microscopy of collagen crosslinking: noncontact depth-dependent analysis of corneal elastic modulus.” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci., 54, 2, Pp. 1418-25. Publisher's Version

PURPOSE:

Corneal collagen crosslinking (CXL) is designed to halt the progression of keratoconus and corneal ectasia by inducing corneal stiffening. However, it currently is difficult to monitor and evaluate CXL outcome objectively due to the lack of suitable methods to characterize corneal mechanical properties. We validated noncontact Brillouin microscopy to quantify corneal mechanical properties before and after CXL.

METHODS:

CXL was performed on fresh porcine eyes using various presoaking times and light doses, with or without epithelial debridement. From Brillouin maps of corneal elastic modulus, stiffness and average modulus of anterior, middle, and posterior stroma were analyzed. Corneal stiffening index (CSI) was introduced as a metric to compare the mechanical efficacy of a given CXL protocol with respect to the standard protocol (30-minute riboflavin presoak, 3 mW/cm² ultraviolet illumination for 30 minutes).

RESULTS:

Brillouin corneal stiffness increased significantly (P < 0.001) by epi-off and epi-on CXL. The increase of Brillouin modulus was depth-dependent, indicating that anterior stromal stiffening contributes the most to mechanical outcome. The increase of anterior Brillouin modulus was linearly proportional to the light dose (R² > 0.98). Compared to the standard epi-off procedure, a typical epi-on procedure resulted in a third of stiffness increase in porcine corneas (CSI = 33).

CONCLUSIONS:

Brillouin microscopy allowed imaging and quantifying CXL-induced mechanical changes without contact in a depth-dependent manner at high spatial resolution. This technique may be useful to evaluate the mechanical outcomes of CXL procedures, to compare different crosslinking agents, and for real-time monitoring of CXL in clinical and experimental settings.

 

Golestanirad L, Gale JT, Manzoor NF, Park HJ, Glait L, Haer F, Kaltenbach L, and G Bonmassar. 7/2018. “Solenoidal Micromagnetic Stimulation Enables Activation of Axons With Specific Orientation.” Frontiers in Physiology, 9, 724. Publisher's Version
See also: All, HCBI/CNS
Abstract
Electrical stimulation of the central and peripheral nervous systems - such as deep brain stimulation, spinal cord stimulation, and epidural cortical stimulation are common therapeutic options increasingly used to treat a large variety of neurological and psychiatric conditions. Despite their remarkable success, there are limitations which if overcome, could enhance outcomes and potentially reduce common side-effects. Micromagnetic stimulation (μMS) was introduced to address some of these limitations. One of the most remarkable properties is that μMS is theoretically capable of activating neurons with specific axonal orientations. Here, we used computational electromagnetic models of the μMS coils adjacent to neuronal tissue combined with axon cable models to investigate μMS orientation-specific properties. We found a 20-fold reduction in the stimulation threshold of the preferred axonal orientation compared to the orthogonal direction. We also studied the directional specificity of μMS coils by recording the responses evoked in the inferior colliculus of rodents when a pulsed magnetic stimulus was applied to the surface of the dorsal cochlear nucleus. The results confirmed that the neuronal responses were highly sensitive to changes in the μMS coil orientation. Accordingly, our results suggest that μMS has the potential of stimulating target nuclei in the brain without affecting the surrounding white matter tracts.
Dewy C van der Valk, Casper FT van der Vem, Mark C Blaser, Joshua M Grolman, Pin-Jou Wu, Owen S Fenton, Lang H Lee, Mark W Tibbitt, Jason L Andresen, Jennifer R Wen, Anna H Ha, Fabrizio Buffolo, Alain van Mil, Carlijn VC Bouten, Simon C Body, David J Mooney, Joost PG Sluijter, Masanori Aikawa, Jesper Hjortnaes, Robert Langer, and Elena Aikawa. 5/2018. “Engineering a 3D-Bioprinted Model of Human Heart Valve Disease Using Nanoindentation-Based Biomechanics.” Nanomaterials, 8, 5, Pp. 296. Publisher's Version
See also: All, HCBI/CNS
Abstract
In calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD), microcalcifications originating from nanoscale calcifying vesicles disrupt the aortic valve (AV) leaflets, which consist of three (biomechanically) distinct layers: the fibrosa, spongiosa, and ventricularis. CAVD has no pharmacotherapy and lacks in vitro models as a result of complex valvular biomechanical features surrounding resident mechanosensitive valvular interstitial cells (VICs). We measured layer-specific mechanical properties of the human AV and engineered a three-dimensional (3D)-bioprinted CAVD model that recapitulates leaflet layer biomechanics for the first time. Human AV leaflet layers were separated by microdissection, and nanoindentation determined layer-specific Young’s moduli. Methacrylated gelatin (GelMA)/methacrylated hyaluronic acid (HAMA) hydrogels were tuned to duplicate layer-specific mechanical characteristics, followed by 3D-printing with encapsulated human VICs. Hydrogels were exposed to osteogenic media (OM) to induce microcalcification, and VIC pathogenesis was assessed by near infrared or immunofluorescence microscopy. Median Young’s moduli of the AV layers were 37.1, 15.4, and 26.9 kPa (fibrosa/spongiosa/ventricularis, respectively). The fibrosa and spongiosa Young’s moduli matched the 3D 5% GelMa/1% HAMA UV-crosslinked hydrogels. OM stimulation of VIC-laden bioprinted hydrogels induced microcalcification without apoptosis. We report the first layer-specific measurements of human AV moduli and a novel 3D-bioprinted CAVD model that potentiates microcalcification by mimicking the native AV mechanical environment. This work sheds light on valvular mechanobiology and could facilitate high-throughput drug-screening in CAVD.
Joshua D. Hutcheson, Claudia Goettsch, Bertazzo S, Maldonado N, Ruiz JL, Goh W, Katsumi Yabusaki, Tyler Faits, Bouten C, Quillard T, Libby P, Masanori Aikawa, Weinbaum S, and Elena Aikawa. 3/2016. “Genesis and growth of extracellular-vesicle-derived microcalcification in atherosclerotic plaques.” Nat. Mater. , 15, 3, Pp. 335-43. Publisher's Version

Clinical evidence links arterial calcification and cardiovascular risk. Finite-element modelling of the stress distribution within atherosclerotic plaques has suggested that subcellular microcalcifications in the fibrous cap may promote material failure of the plaque, but that large calcifications can stabilize it. Yet the physicochemical mechanisms underlying such mineral formation and growth in atheromata remain unknown. Here, by using three-dimensional collagen hydrogels that mimic structural features of the atherosclerotic fibrous cap, and high-resolution microscopic and spectroscopic analyses of both the hydrogels and of calcified human plaques, we demonstrate that calcific mineral formation and maturation results from a series of events involving the aggregation of calcifying extracellular vesicles, and the formation of microcalcifications and ultimately large calcification areas. We also show that calcification morphology and the plaque's collagen content-two determinants of atherosclerotic plaque stability-are interlinked.

 

Johnson-Buck A and Shih WM. 12/2017. “Single-Molecule Clocks Controlled by Serial Chemical Reactions.” Nano Lett, 17, 12, Pp. 7940-7944. Publisher's Version
See also: All, HCBI/CNS
Abstract
Chemical clocks usually achieve well-defined temporal delays through concentration thresholding coupled to the production, degradation, activation, or inhibition of downstream effectors. In this way, the stochastic dynamics of many individual molecules yield essentially deterministic bulk behavior through ensemble averaging. As a result, their temporal evolution is governed by ensemble dynamics rather than by the behavior of an individual molecule or complex. Here, we present a general approach for the design of single-molecule clocks that permits quasi-deterministic control over the lifetime of single molecular interactions without any external synchronization. By coupling the dissociation of a bimolecular complex to a series of irreversible chemical steps, we interpose a well-defined time delay between binding and dissociation. The number and speed of irreversible steps can be varied to systematically tune both the lifetimes of complexes and the precision of the time delay, raising the prospect of localized timekeeping in nanoscale systems and devices.
Bellavia A, Centorrino F, Jackson JW, G Fitzmaurice, and Valeri L. 4/2019. “The role of weight gain in explaining the effects of antipsychotic drugs on positive and negative symptoms: An analysis of the CATIE schizophrenia trial.” Schizophr Res, 206, Apr, Pp. 96-102. Publisher's Version
See also: All, OPTICS
Abstract
Second-generation antipsychotics are associated with moderate benefits in terms of improved schizophrenia symptoms, but also with higher rates of side-effects such as excessive weight gain (WG); a consensus on their efficacy has not been reached. To date, no study has evaluated the interplay of treatments and side-effects in a single framework, which is a critical step to clarify the role of side-effects in explaining the efficacy of these antipsychotics. We used recent methods for mediation and interaction to clarify the role of WG in explaining the effects of second-generation drugs on schizophrenia symptoms. We used data from 1460 participants in the CATIE trial, assigned to either perphenazine (first-generation comparison drug), olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone, or ziprasidone. The primary outcome was an individual's score on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) for symptoms of schizophrenia after 9 months, separately evaluated as positive (PANSS+), negative (PANSS-), and total PANSS score. WG after 6 months was investigated as a potential mediator and effect modifier. Results showed that, by limiting WG, patients would benefit of a considerably better improvement in terms of PANSS symptoms. In the scenario of weight change being controlled between -2% and 1% for all participants, patients assigned to olanzapine would experience the highest significant improvements in both PANSS+ (-2.66 points; 95% CI: -4.98, -0.35), PANSS- (-1.59; 95% CI: -4.31, 1.14), and total PANSS (-6.11; 95% CI: -13.13, 0.92). In conclusion, occurrence of excessive WG hampers the potentially beneficial effects of second-generation antipsychotics, thus suggesting future directions for treatment and interventions.
Besner S, Scarcelli G, Pineda R, and Yun SH. 10/1/2016. “In Vivo Brillouin Analysis of the Aging Crystalline Lens.” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci., 57, 13, Pp. 5093-5100. Publisher's Version

PURPOSE:

To analyze the age dependence of the longitudinal modulus of the crystalline lens in vivo using Brillouin scattering data in healthy subjects.

METHODS:

Brillouin scans were performed along the crystalline lens in 56 eyes from 30 healthy subjects aged from 19 to 63 years. Longitudinal elastic modulus was acquired along the sagittal axis of the lens with a transverse and axial resolution of 4 and 60 μm, respectively. The relative lens stiffness was computed, and correlations with age were analyzed.

RESULTS:

Brillouin axial profiles revealed nonuniform longitudinal modulus within the lens, increasing from a softer periphery toward a stiffer central plateau at all ages. The longitudinal modulus at the central plateau showed no age dependence in a range of 19 to 45 years and a slight decrease with age from 45 to 63 years. A significant intersubject variability was observed in an age-matched analysis. Importantly, the extent of the central stiff plateau region increased steadily over age from 19 to 63 years. The slope of change in Brillouin modulus in the peripheral regions were nearly age-invariant.

CONCLUSIONS:

The adult human lens showed no measurable age-related increase in the peak longitudinal modulus. The expansion of the stiff central region of the lens is likely to be the major contributing factor to age-related lens stiffening. Brillouin microscopy may be useful in characterizing the crystalline lens for the optimization of surgical or pharmacological treatments aimed at restoring accommodative power.

Lu FK, David Calligaris, Olubiyi OI, Norton I, Yang W, Santagata S, Xie XS, Golby AJ, and Agar NY. 6/2016. “Label-Free Neurosurgical Pathology with Stimulated Raman Imaging.” Cancer Res, 2016, 15, Pp. 3451-62. Publisher's Version

The goal of brain tumor surgery is to maximize tumor removal without injuring critical brain structures. Achieving this goal is challenging as it can be difficult to distinguish tumor from nontumor tissue. While standard histopathology provides information that could assist tumor delineation, it cannot be performed iteratively during surgery as freezing, sectioning, and staining of the tissue require too much time. Stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) microscopy is a powerful label-free chemical imaging technology that enables rapid mapping of lipids and proteins within a fresh specimen. This information can be rendered into pathology-like images. Although this approach has been used to assess the density of glioma cells in murine orthotopic xenografts models and human brain tumors, tissue heterogeneity in clinical brain tumors has not yet been fully evaluated with SRS imaging. Here we profile 41 specimens resected from 12 patients with a range of brain tumors. By evaluating large-scale stimulated Raman imaging data and correlating this data with current clinical gold standard of histopathology for 4,422 fields of view, we capture many essential diagnostic hallmarks for glioma classification. Notably, in fresh tumor samples, we observe additional features, not seen by conventional methods, including extensive lipid droplets within glioma cells, collagen deposition in gliosarcoma, and irregularity and disruption of myelinated fibers in areas infiltrated by oligodendroglioma cells. The data are freely available in a public resource to foster diagnostic training and to permit additional interrogation. Our work establishes the methodology and provides a significant collection of reference images for label-free neurosurgical pathology.

Clark MJ, Miduturu C, Schmidt AG, Zhu X, Pitts JD, Wang J, Potisopon S, Zhang J, Wojciechowski A, Hann Chu JJ, Gray NS, and Yang PL. 4/2016. “GNF-2 Inhibits Dengue Virus by Targeting Abl Kinases and the Viral E Protein.” Cell Chem Biol, 23, 4, Pp. 443-52. Publisher's Version
See also: All, ICCB
Abstract

Dengue virus infects more than 300 million people annually, yet there is no widely protective vaccine or drugs against the virus. Efforts to develop antivirals against classical targets such as the viral protease and polymerase have not yielded drugs that have advanced to the clinic. Here, we show that the allosteric Abl kinase inhibitor GNF-2 interferes with dengue virus replication via activity mediated by cellular Abl kinases but additionally blocks viral entry via an Abl-independent mechanism. To characterize this newly discovered antiviral activity, we developed disubstituted pyrimidines that block dengue virus entry with structure-activity relationships distinct from those driving kinase inhibition. We demonstrate that biotin- and fluorophore-conjugated derivatives of GNF-2 interact with the dengue glycoprotein, E, in the pre-fusion conformation that exists on the virion surface, and that this interaction inhibits viral entry. This study establishes GNF-2 as an antiviral compound with polypharmacological activity and provides "lead" compounds for further optimization efforts.

 

Scarcelli G, Besner S, Pineda R, and Yun SH. 7/2014. “Biomechanical characterization of keratoconus corneas ex vivo with Brillouin microscopy.” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci., 55, 7, Pp. 4490-5. Publisher's Version

PURPOSE:

Loss of corneal strength is a central feature of keratoconus progression. However, it is currently difficult to measure corneal mechanical changes noninvasively. The objective of this study is to evaluate if Brillouin optical microscopy can differentiate the mechanical properties of keratoconic corneas versus healthy corneas ex vivo.

METHODS:

We obtained eight tissue samples from healthy donor corneas used in Descemet's stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK) and 10 advanced keratoconic corneas from patients undergoing deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK). Within 2 hours after surgery, a confocal Brillouin microscope using a monochromatic laser at 532 nm was used to map the Brillouin frequency shifts of the corneas.

RESULTS:

The mean Brillouin shift in the anterior 200 μm of the keratoconic corneas at the cone was measured to be 7.99 ± 0.10 GHz, significantly lower than 8.17 ± 0.06 GHz of the healthy corneas (P < 0.001). The Brillouin shift in the keratoconic corneas decreased with depth from the anterior toward posterior regions with a steeper slope than in the healthy corneas (P < 0.001). Within keratoconic corneas, the Brillouin shift in regions away from the apex of the cone was significantly higher than within the cone region (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Brillouin measurements revealed notable differences between healthy and keratoconic corneas. Importantly, Brillouin imaging showed that the mechanical loss is primarily concentrated within the area of the keratoconic cone. Outside the cone, the Brillouin shift was comparable with that of healthy corneas. The results demonstrate the potential of Brillouin microscopy for diagnosis and treatment monitoring of keratoconus.

 

Lian W, Jang J, Potisopon S, Li PC, Rahmeh A, Wang J, Kwiatkowski NP, Gray NS, and Yang PL. 9/2018. “Discovery of Immunologically Inspired Small Molecules That Target the Viral Envelope Protein.” ACS Infectious Diseases, 4, 9, Pp. 1395-1406. Publisher's Version
See also: All, ICCB
Abstract
Dengue virus is a major human pathogen that infects over 390 million people annually leading to approximately 500 000 hospitalizations due to severe dengue. Since the only marketed vaccine, Dengvaxia, has recently been shown to increase disease severity in those lacking natural immunity, antivirals to prevent or treat dengue  infection represent a large, unmet medical need. Small molecules that target the dengue virus envelope protein, E, on the surface of the virion could act analogously to antibodies by engaging E extracellularly to block infection; however, a shortage of target-based assays suitable for screening and medicinal chemistry studies has limited efforts in this area. Here we demonstrate that the dengue E protein offers a tractable drug target for preventing dengue infection by developing a target-based assay using a recombinantly expressed dengue serotype 2 E protein. We performed a high-throughput screen of ∼20 000 compounds followed by secondary assays to confirm target-binding and antiviral activity and counter-screens to exclude compounds with nonspecific activities. These efforts yielded eight distinct chemical leads that inhibit dengue infection by binding to E and preventing E-mediated membrane fusion with potencies equal to or greater than previously described small molecule inhibitors of E. We show that a subset of these compounds inhibit viruses representative of the other three dengue serotypes and Zika virus. This work provides tools for discovery and optimization of direct-acting antivirals against dengue E and shows that this approach may be useful in developing antivirals with broad-spectrum activity against other flavivirus pathogens.
Jiang JY, Falcone JL, Curci S, and Hofer AM. 6/2017. “Interrogating cyclic AMP signaling using optical approaches.” Cell Calcium, 64, Pp. 47-56. Publisher's Version
Optical reporters for cAMP represent a fundamental advancement in our ability to investigate the dynamics of cAMP signaling. These fluorescent sensors can measure changes in cAMP in single cells or in microdomains within cells as opposed to whole populations of cells required for other methods of measuring cAMP. The first optical cAMP reporters were FRET-based sensors utilizing dissociation of purified regulatory and catalytic subunits of PKA, introduced by Roger Tsien in the early 1990s. The utility of these sensors was vastly improved by creating genetically encoded versions that could be introduced into cells with transfection, the first of which was published in the year 2000. Subsequently, improved sensors have been developed using different cAMP binding platforms, optimized fluorescent proteins, and targeting motifs that localize to specific microdomains. The most common sensors in use today are FRET-based sensors designed around an Epac backbone. These rely on the significant conformational changes in Epac when it binds cAMP, altering the signal between FRET pairs flanking Epac. Several other strategies for optically interrogating cAMP have been developed, including fluorescent translocation reporters, dimerization-dependent FP based biosensors, BRET (bioluminescence resonance energy transfer)-based sensors, non-FRET single wavelength reporters, and sensors based on bacterial cAMP-binding domains. Other newly described mammalian cAMP-binding proteins such as Popdc and CRIS may someday be exploited in sensor design. With the proliferation of engineered fluorescent proteins and the abundance of cAMP binding targets in nature, the field of optical reporters for cAMP should continue to see rapid refinement in the coming years.
G Bonmassar and Golestanirad L. 7/2017. “EM fields comparison between planar vs. solenoidal µMS coil designs for nerve stimulation.” 2017 39th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC). Korea. Publisher's Version
See also: All, HCBI/CNS
Abstract
Micro-magnetic stimulation (μMS) is an emerging neurostimulation technology that promises to revolutionize the therapeutic stimulation of the human nervous system. μMS uses sub-millimeter sized coils that can be implemented in the central nervous system to elicit neuronal activation using magnetically induced electric currents. By their microscopic size, μMS coils can be acutely implanted in deep brain structures to deliver therapeutic stimulation with effects analogous to those achieved by state-of-the-art deep brain stimulation (DBS). However, μMS technology has inherent advantages that make it particularly appealing for clinical applications. Specifically, μMS induces a focal electric current in the tissue, limiting the extent of activation to a few hundred microns. We recently demonstrated the feasibility of using μMS to elicit neuronal activation in vitro [1], as well as the possibility of activating neuronal circuitry on the system level in rodents [2]. As μMS is a novel technology, its mechanism(s) of nerve activation, induced field characteristics, and optimum topological features are yet to be explored. In this regard, numerical simulations play a crucially important role, because they provide an insight into spatial distribution of induced electric fields, which in turn, dictate the dynamics of nerve stimulation. Here we report results of numerical simulations to predict the nerve-stimulation performance of different μMS geometries.
Kim M, Besner S, Ramier A, Kwok SJ, An J, Scarcelli G, and Yun SH. 1/2016. “Shear Brillouin light scattering microscope.” Opt Express, 24, 1, Pp. 319-28. Publisher's Version

Brillouin spectroscopy has been used to characterize shear acoustic phonons in materials. However, conventional instruments had slow acquisition times over 10 min per 1 mW of input optical power, and they required two objective lenses to form a 90° scattering geometry necessary for polarization coupling by shear phonons. Here, we demonstrate a confocal Brillouin microscope capable of detecting both shear and longitudinal phonons with improved speeds and with a single objective lens. Brillouin scattering spectra were measured from polycarbonate, fused quartz, and borosilicate in 1-10 s at an optical power level of 10 mW. The elastic constants, phonon mean free path and the ratio of the Pockels coefficients were determined at microscopic resolution.

Saklayen N, Huber M, Madrid M, Nuzzo V, Vulis DI, Shen W, Nelson J, McClelland AA, Heisterkamp A, and Mazur E. 4/25/2017. “Intracellular Delivery Using Nanosecond-Laser Excitation of Large-Area Plasmonic Substrates.” ACS Nano, 11, 4, Pp. 3671-3680. Publisher's Version
See also: All, HCBI/CNS
Abstract
Efficiently delivering functional cargo to millions of cells on the time scale of minutes will revolutionize gene therapy, drug discovery, and high-throughput screening. Recent studies of intracellular delivery with thermoplasmonic structured surfaces show promising results but in most cases require time- or cost-intensive fabrication or lead to unreproducible surfaces. We designed and fabricated large-area (14 × 14 mm), photolithography-based, template-stripped plasmonic substrates that are nanosecond laser-activated to form transient pores in cells for cargo entry. We optimized fabrication to produce plasmonic structures that are ultrasmooth and precisely patterned over large areas. We used flow cytometry to characterize the delivery efficiency of cargos ranging in size from 0.6 to 2000 kDa to cells (up to 95% for the smallest molecule) and viability of cells (up to 98%). This technique offers a throughput of 50000 cells/min, which can be scaled up as necessary. This technique is also cost-effective as each large-area photolithography substrate can be used to deliver cargo to millions of cells, and switching to a nanosecond laser makes the setup cheaper and easier to use. The approach we present offers additional desirable features: spatial selectivity, reproducibility, minimal residual fragments, and cost-effective fabrication. This research supports the development of safer genetic and viral disease therapies as well as research tools for fundamental biological research that rely on effectively delivering molecules to millions of living cells.
Zhao Y, Bucur O, Irshad H, Chen F, Weins A, Stancu AL, Oh EY, DiStasio M, Torous V, Glass B, Stillman IE, Schnitt SJ, Beck AH, and Boyden ES. 8/2017. “Nanoscale imaging of clinical specimens using pathology-optimized expansion microscopy.” Nat Biotechnol. , 35, 8, Pp. 757-764. Publisher's Version
Expansion microscopy (ExM), a method for improving the resolution of light microscopy by physically expanding a specimen, has not been applied to clinical tissue samples. Here we report a clinically optimized form of ExM that supports nanoscale imaging of human tissue specimens that have been fixed with formalin, embedded in paraffin, stained with hematoxylin and eosin, and/or fresh frozen. The method, which we call expansion pathology (ExPath), converts clinical samples into an ExM-compatible state, then applies an ExM protocol with protein anchoring and mechanical homogenization steps optimized for clinical samples. ExPath enables ∼70-nm-resolution imaging of diverse biomolecules in intact tissues using conventional diffraction-limited microscopes and standard antibody and fluorescent DNA in situ hybridization reagents. We use ExPath for optical diagnosis of kidney minimal-change disease, a process that previously required electron microscopy, and we demonstrate high-fidelity computational discrimination between early breast neoplastic lesions for which pathologists often disagree in classification. ExPath may enable the routine use of nanoscale imaging in pathology and clinical research.
Akca BI, Chang EW, Kling S, Ramier A, Scarcelli G, Marcos S, and Yun SH. 8/2015. “Observation of sound-induced corneal vibrational modes by optical coherence tomography.” Biomed Opt Express, 6, 9, Pp. 3313-9. Publisher's Version

The mechanical stability of the cornea is critical for maintaining its normal shape and refractive function. Here, we report an observation of the mechanical resonance modes of the cornea excited by sound waves and detected by using phase-sensitive optical coherence tomography. The cornea in bovine eye globes exhibited three resonance modes in a frequency range of 50-400 Hz. The vibration amplitude of the fundamental mode at 80-120 Hz was ~8 µm at a sound pressure level of 100 dB (2 Pa). Vibrography allows the visualization of the radially symmetric profiles of the resonance modes. A dynamic finite-element analysis supports our observation.

Alasil T, Wang K, Keane PA, Lee H, Baniasadi N, Boer de JF, and Chen TC. 9/2013. “Analysis of normal retinal nerve fiber layer thickness by age, sex, and race using spectral domain optical coherence tomography.” J Glaucoma, 22, 7, Pp. 532-441. Publisher's Version

Purpose: To determine the effects of age, sex, and race on the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) in the normal human eye as measured by the spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) Spectralis machine (Heidelberg Engineering).

Methods: Peripapillary SD-OCT RNFL thickness measurements were determined in normal subjects seen at a university-based clinic. One randomly selected eye per subject was used for analysis in this cross-sectional study. Multiple regression analysis was applied to assess the effects of age, sex, ethnicity, and mean refractive error on peripapillary RNFL thickness. Results are expressed as means±SD wherever applicable.

Results: The study population consisted of 190 healthy participants from 9 to 86 years of age. Of the 190 participants, 62 (33%) were men, 125 (66%) Caucasians, 26 (14%) African Americans, 14 (7%) Hispanics, 16 (8%) Asians, and 9 (5%) other races. The mean RNFL thickness for the normal population studied was 97.3±9.6 µm. Normal RNFL thickness values follow the ISNT rule with decreasing RNFL thickness values starting from the thickest quadrant inferiorly to the thinnest quadrant temporally: inferior quadrant (126±15.8), superior quadrant (117.2±16.13), nasal quadrant (75±13.9), and temporal quadrant (70.6±10.8 µm). Thinner RNFL measurements were associated with older age (P<0.001); being Caucasian, versus being either Hispanic or Asian (P=0.02 and 0.009, respectively); or being more myopic (P<0.001). For every decade of increased age, mean RNFL thickness measured thinner by approximately 1.5 µm (95% confidence interval, 0.24-0.07). Comparisons between ethnic groups revealed that Caucasians had mean RNFL values (96±9.2 µm) slightly thinner than those of Hispanics (102.9±11 µm; P=0.02) or Asians (100.7±8.5 µm; P=0.009). African Americans RNFL values (99.2±10.2 µm) were not significantly different when compared with Caucasians. There was no relationship between RNFL thickness and sex.

Conclusions: The thickest RNFL measurements were found in the inferior quadrant, followed by the superior, nasal, and temporal quadrants (ISNT rule applied to the RNFL). Thinner RNFL measurements were associated with older age and increasing myopia. Caucasians tend to have thinner RNFL values when compared with Hispanics and Asians. SD-OCT analysis of the normal RNFL showed results similar to time domain OCT studies.

Oh JE, Cho YW, Scarcelli G, and Kim YH. 3/2013. “Sub-Rayleigh imaging via speckle illumination.” Opt Lett. , 38, 5, Pp. 682-4. Publisher's Version

We demonstrate sub-Rayleigh limit imaging of an object via speckle illumination. Imaging beyond the conventional Rayleigh limit is achieved by illuminating the object with pseudothermal light that exhibits a random speckle pattern. An object image is reconstructed from the second-order correlation measurement and the resolution of the image, which exceeds the Rayleigh limit, is shown to be related to the size of the speckle pattern that is tied to the lateral coherence length of the pseudothermal light.

Van der ven CF, Wu PJ, Tibbitt MW, Mil van A, Sluijter JP, Langer R, and Elena Aikawa. 2/2017. “In vitro 3D model and miRNA drug delivery to target calcific aortic valve disease.” Clin Sci (Lond), 131, 3, Pp. 181-195. Publisher's Version
See also: All, HCBI/CNS
Abstract

Calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD) is the most prevalent valvular heart disease in the Western population, claiming 17000 deaths per year in the United States and affecting 25% of people older than 65 years of age. Contrary to traditional belief, CAVD is not a passive, degenerative disease but rather a dynamic disease, where initial cellular changes in the valve leaflets progress into fibrotic lesions that induce valve thickening and calcification. Advanced thickening and calcification impair valve function and lead to aortic stenosis (AS). Without intervention, progressive ventricular hypertrophy ensues, which ultimately results in heart failure and death. Currently, aortic valve replacement (AVR), surgical or transcatheter, is the only effective therapy to treat CAVD. However, these costly interventions are often delayed until the late stages of the disease. Nonetheless, 275000 are performed per year worldwide, and this is expected to triple by 2050. Given the current landscape, next-generation therapies for CAVD are needed to improve patient outcome and quality of life. Here, we first provide a background on the aortic valve (AV) and the pathobiology of CAVD as well as highlight current directions and future outlook on the development of functional 3D models of CAVD in vitro We then consider an often-overlooked aspect contributing to CAVD: miRNA (mis)regulation. Therapeutics could potentially normalize miRNA levels in the early stages of the disease and may slow its progression or even reverse calcification. We close with a discussion of strategies that would enable the use of miRNA as a therapeutic for CAVD. This focuses on an overview of controlled delivery technologies for nucleic acid therapeutics to the valve or other target tissues.

Kling S, Akca IB, Chang EW, Scarcelli G, Bekesi N, Yun SH, and Marcos S. 12/2014. “Numerical model of optical coherence tomographic vibrography imaging to estimate corneal biomechanical properties.” J R Soc Interface., 11, 101, Pp. 20140920. Publisher's Version

Most techniques measuring corneal biomechanics in vivo are biased by side factors. We demonstrate the ability of optical coherence tomographic (OCT) vibrography to determine corneal material parameters, while reducing current prevalent restrictions of other techniques (such as intraocular pressure (IOP) and thickness dependency). Modal analysis was performed in a finite-element (FE) model to study the oscillation response in isolated thin corneal flaps/eye globes and to analyse the dependency of the frequency response function on: corneal elasticity, viscoelasticity, geometry (thickness and curvature), IOP and density. The model was verified experimentally in flaps from three bovine corneas and in two enucleated porcine eyes using sound excitation (100-110 dB) together with a phase-sensitive OCT to measure the frequency response function (range 50-510 Hz). Simulations showed that corneal vibration in flaps is sensitive to both, geometrical and biomechanical parameters, whereas in whole globes it is primarily sensitive to corneal biomechanical parameters only. Calculations based on the natural frequency shift revealed that flaps of the posterior cornea were 0.8 times less stiff than flaps from the anterior cornea and cross-linked corneas were 1.6 times stiffer than virgin corneas. Sensitivity analysis showed that natural vibration frequencies of whole globes were nearly independent from corneal thickness and IOP within the physiological range. OCT vibrography is a promising non-invasive technique to measure corneal elasticity without biases from corneal thickness and IOP.

Field MG, Alasil T, Baniasadi N, Que C, Simavli H, D Sobeih, D Sola-Del Valle, Best MJ, and Chen TC. 2/2016. “Facilitating Glaucoma Diagnosis With Intereye Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Asymmetry Using Spectral-Domain Optical Coherence Tomography.” J Glaucoma. , 25, 2, Pp. 167-76. Publisher's Version

PURPOSE:

To test whether increased intereye retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) asymmetry may be indicative of glaucoma. To determine the best statistical methods and intereye RNFL cutoffs for differentiating between normal and glaucoma subjects to better alert clinicians to early glaucomatous damage.

METHODS:

Sixty-six primary open-angle glaucoma (OAG) and 40 age-matched normal subjects had both eyes imaged at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary with a commercially available spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) machine. Statistical methodologies were used to find cutoffs that achieved the best sensitivities and specificities for differentiating OAG from normal subjects.

RESULTS:

Intereye RNFL asymmetry for global average, all quadrants, and all sectors was significantly greater in OAG than normal subjects. Intereye RNFL asymmetry for global average showed the greatest statistical difference (P<0.001) between OAG (23.64 ± 14.90 μm) and normal eyes (3.58 ± 3.96 μm), with 6.60 times greater asymmetry in OAG eyes. The inferior quadrant showed the second greatest difference, with 3.91 times greater asymmetry in OAG eyes. Using a statistically determined cutoff of 6.0 μm as abnormal, intereye RNFL asymmetry for global average achieved a sensitivity of 74.24% and specificity of 90% in differentiating between normal and OAG subjects, achieving a better combination of sensitivity and specificity than intereye RNFL asymmetry of any quadrant or sector.

CONCLUSIONS:

Intereye RNFL asymmetry may be a useful clinical OCT measurement to provide quantitative assessment of early glaucomatous damage. Newly developed algorithms for intereye RNFL asymmetry may improve the ability to detect glaucoma.

 

Marsha A Wilcox, Adam J Savitz, Anjene M Addington, Gary S Gray, Eva C Guinan, John W Jackson, Thomas Lehner, Sharon-Lise Normand, Hardeep Ranu, Geetha Senthil, Jake Spertus, Linda Valeri, and Joseph R Ross. 6/2018. “The Open Translational Science in Schizophrenia (OPTICS) project: an open-science project bringing together Janssen clinical trial and NIMH data.” NPJ Schizophrenia, 4, Pp. 14. Publisher's Version
See also: All, OPTICS
Abstract
Clinical trial data are the gold standard for evaluating pharmaceutical safety and efficacy. There is an ethical and scientific imperative for transparency and data sharing to confirm published results and generate new knowledge. The Open Translational Science in Schizophrenia (OPTICS) Project was an open-science initiative aggregating Janssen clinical trial and NIH/NIMH data from real-world studies and trials in schizophrenia. The project aims were to show the value of using shared data to examine: therapeutic safety and efficacy; disease etiologies and course; and methods development. The success of project investigators was due to collaboration from project applications through analyses, with support from the Harvard Catalyst. Project work was independent of Janssen; all intellectual property was dedicated to the public. Efforts such as this are necessary to gain deeper insights into the biology of disease, foster collaboration, and to achieve the goal of developing better treatments, reducing the overall public health burden of devastating brain diseases.
Xue Zou, Yiwen Zhu, John W Jackson, Andrea Bellavia, Garrett M Fitzmaurice, Franca Centorrino, and Linda Valeri. 6/2018. “The role of PANSS symptoms and adverse events in explaining the effects of paliperidone on social functioning: a causal mediation analysis approach.” NPJ Schizophrenia, 4, 13. Publisher's Version
See also: All, OPTICS
Abstract
To date, no study has evaluated the joint role of symptoms and adverse events as mediators of the effect of second-generation antipsychotics on patients’ social functioning. We used recently developed methods for mediation analysis with multiple mediators to clarify the interplay of adverse events and symptoms in explaining the effects of paliperidone (R code for implementing the mediation analysis for multiple mediators is provided). We used data from 490 participants in a 6-week randomized dose–response trial that assigned three fixed dosages of ER OROS paliperidone (3, 9, and 15 mg/day). The primary outcome was an individual’s score on the social performance scale assessed after 6 weeks. The sum of Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), weight gain, and extrapyramidal symptoms measured via the Simpson–Angus Scale after 5 weeks were investigated as potential mediators and effect modifiers of treatment effects. Results from mediation analyses showed that the improvements in social functioning are partly explained by reduction in PANSS symptoms. Suggestive evidence that adverse events could play a role as mediators was found. In particular, weight gain displayed a non-linear relationship with social functioning, whereby beneficial effects observed at small levels of weight gain were reduced in the presence of excessive weight gain. In conclusion, we found that the short-term effects of paliperidone on social functioning were dependent on the successful reduction in PANSS symptoms and possibly the occurrence of excessive weight gain, thus suggesting future directions for treatment and interventions.
Sanchez T, Wang T, Pedro MV, Zhang M, Esencan E, Sakkas D, Needleman D, and Seli E. 12/2018. “Metabolic imaging with the use of fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) accuratelydetects mitochondrial dysfunction in mouse oocytes.” Fertil Steril, 110, 7, Pp. 1387-1397. Publisher's Version
See also: All, HCBI/CNS
Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether metabolic imaging with the use of fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) identifies metabolic differences between normal oocytes and those with metabolic dysfunction. 

DESIGN:

Experimental study.

SETTING:

Academic research laboratories.

PATIENT(S):

None.

INTERVENTION(S):

Oocytes from mice with global knockout of Clpp (caseinolytic peptidase P; n = 52) were compared with wild-type (WT) oocytes (n = 55) as a model of severe oocyte dysfunction. Oocytes from old mice (1 year old; n = 29) were compared with oocytes from young mice (12 weeks old; n = 35) as a model of mild oocyte dysfunction.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):

FLIM was used to measure the naturally occurring nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide dehydrogenase (NADH) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) autofluorescence in individual oocytes. Eight metabolic parameters were obtained from each measurement (4 per fluorophore): short (τ1) and long (τ2) fluorescence lifetime, fluorescence intensity (I), and fraction of the molecule engaged with enzyme (F). Reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels and blastocyst development rates were measured to assess illumination safety.

RESULT(S):

In Clpp-knockout oocytes compared with WT, FAD τ1 and τ2 were longer and I was higher, NADH τ2 was longer, and F was lower. In old oocytes compared with young ones, FAD τ1 was longer and I was lower, NADH τ1 and τ2 were shorter, and I and F were lower. FLIM did not affect ROS levels or blastocyst development rates.

CONCLUSION(S):

FLIM parameters exhibit strong differentiation between Clpp-knockout versus WT, and old versus young oocytes, FLIM could potentially be used as a noninvasive tool to assess mitochondrial function in oocytes. 

Chang EW, Cheng JT, Röösli C, Kobler JB, Rosowski JJ, and Yun SH. 10/2013. “Simultaneous 3D imaging of sound-induced motions of the tympanic membrane and middle ear ossicles.” Hear Res, 304, Pp. 49-56. Publisher's Version

Efficient transfer of sound by the middle ear ossicles is essential for hearing. Various pathologies can impede the transmission of sound and thereby cause conductive hearing loss. Differential diagnosis of ossicular disorders can be challenging since the ossicles are normally hidden behind the tympanic membrane (TM). Here we describe the use of a technique termed optical coherence tomography (OCT) vibrography to view the sound-induced motion of the TM and ossicles simultaneously. With this method, we were able to capture three-dimensional motion of the intact TM and ossicles of the chinchilla ear with nanometer-scale sensitivity at sound frequencies from 0.5 to 5 kHz. The vibration patterns of the TM were complex and highly frequency dependent with mean amplitudes of 70-120 nm at 100 dB sound pressure level. The TM motion was only marginally sensitive to stapes fixation and incus-stapes joint interruption; however, when additional information derived from the simultaneous measurement of ossicular motion was added, it was possible to clearly distinguish these different simulated pathologies. The technique may be applicable to clinical diagnosis in Otology and to basic research in audition and acoustics.

Li M, Kandror O, Akopian T, Dharkar P, Wlodawer A, Maurizi MR, and Goldberg AL. 4/2016. “Structure and Functional Properties of the Active Form of the Proteolytic Complex, ClpP1P2, from Mycobacterium tuberculosis.” J Biol Chem, 291, 14, Pp. 7465-76. Publisher's Version
See also: All, ICCB
Abstract

The ClpP protease complex and its regulatory ATPases, ClpC1 and ClpX, inMycobacterium tuberculosis(Mtb) are essential and, therefore, promising drug targets. TheMtbClpP protease consists of two heptameric rings, one composed of ClpP1 and the other of ClpP2 subunits. Formation of the enzymatically active ClpP1P2 complex requires binding of N-blocked dipeptide activators. We have found a new potent activator, benzoyl-leucine-leucine (Bz-LL), that binds with higher affinity and promotes 3-4-fold higher peptidase activity than previous activators. Bz-LL-activated ClpP1P2 specifically stimulates the ATPase activity ofMtbClpC1 and ClpX. The ClpC1P1P2 and ClpXP1P2 complexes exhibit 2-3-fold enhanced ATPase activity, peptide cleavage, and ATP-dependent protein degradation. The crystal structure of ClpP1P2 with bound Bz-LL was determined at a resolution of 3.07 Å and with benzyloxycarbonyl-Leu-Leu (Z-LL) bound at 2.9 Å. Bz-LL was present in all 14 active sites, whereas Z-LL density was not resolved. Surprisingly, Bz-LL adopts opposite orientations in ClpP1 and ClpP2. In ClpP1, Bz-LL binds with the C-terminal leucine side chain in the S1 pocket. One C-terminal oxygen is close to the catalytic serine, whereas the other contacts backbone amides in the oxyanion hole. In ClpP2, Bz-LL binds with the benzoyl group in the S1 pocket, and the peptide hydrogen bonded between parallel β-strands. The ClpP2 axial loops are extended, forming an open axial channel as has been observed with bound ADEP antibiotics. Thus occupancy of the active sites of ClpP allosterically alters sites on the surfaces thereby affecting the association of ClpP1 and ClpP2 rings, interactions with regulatory ATPases, and entry of protein substrates.