Publications

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    ABSTRACT: Primary glaucoma is one of the most common causes of irreversible blindness both in humans and in dogs. Glaucoma is an optic neuropathy affecting the retinal ganglion cells and optic nerve, and elevated intraocular pressure is commonly associated with the disease. Glaucoma is broadly classified into primary open angle (POAG), primary closed angle (PCAG) and primary congenital glaucoma (PCG). Human glaucomas are genetically heterogeneous and multiple loci have been identified. Glaucoma affects several dog breeds but only three loci and one gene have been implicated so far. We have investigated the genetics of primary glaucoma in the Norwegian Elkhound (NE). We established a small pedigree around the affected NEs collected from Finland, US and UK and performed a genome-wide association study with 9 cases and 8 controls to map the glaucoma gene to 750 kb region on canine chromosome 20 (praw = 4.93×10-6, pgenome = 0.025). The associated region contains a previously identified glaucoma gene, ADAMTS10, which was subjected to mutation screening in the coding regions. A fully segregating missense mutation (p.A387T) in exon 9 was found in 14 cases and 572 unaffected NEs (pFisher = 3.5×10-27) with a high carrier frequency (25.3%). The mutation interrupts a highly conserved residue in the metalloprotease domain of ADAMTS10, likely affecting its functional capacity. Our study identifies the genetic cause of primary glaucoma in NEs and enables the development of a genetic test for breeding purposes. This study establishes also a new spontaneous canine model for glaucoma research to study the ADAMTS10 biology in optical neuropathy.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(11):e111941. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Inherited retinal degenerations, such as retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), represent leading causes of incurable blindness in humans. This is also true in dogs, where the term progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is used to describe inherited photoreceptor degeneration resulting in progressive vision loss. Because of the similarities in ocular anatomy, including the presence of a cone photoreceptor-rich central retinal region, and the close genotype-phenotype correlation, canine models contribute significantly to the understanding of retinal disease mechanisms and the development of new therapies. The screening of the pure-bred dog population for new forms of PRA represents an important strategy to establish new large animal models. By examining 324 dogs of the Swedish vallhund breed in seven countries and across three continents, we were able to describe a new and unique form of PRA characterized by the multifocal appearance of red and brown discoloration of the tapetal fundus followed over time by thinning of the retina. We propose three stages of the disease based on the appearance of the ocular fundus and associated visual deficits. Electroretinography revealed a gradual loss of both rod and cone photoreceptor-mediated function in Stages 2 and 3 of the disease. In the few dogs that suffered from pronounced vision loss, night-blindness occurred first in late Stage 2, followed by decreased day-vision in Stage 3. Histologic examinations confirmed the loss of photoreceptor cells at Stage 3, which was associated with the accumulation of autofluorescent material in the adjacent retinal pigment epithelium. Pedigree analysis was suggestive of an autosomal-recessive mode of inheritance. Mutations in six known canine retinal degeneration genes as well as hypovitaminosis E were excluded as causes of the disease. The observed variability in the age of disease onset and rate of progression suggest the presence of genetic and/or environmental disease modifiers.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(9):e106610. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cone cyclic nucleotide-gated channels are tetramers formed by CNGA3 and CNGB3 subunits; CNGA3 subunits function as homotetrameric channels but CNGB3 exhibits channel function only when co-expressed with CNGA3. An aspartatic acid (Asp) to asparagine (Asn) missense mutation at position 262 in the canine CNGB3 (D262N) subunit results in loss of cone function (daylight blindness), suggesting an important role for this aspartic acid residue in channel biogenesis and/or function. Asp 262 is located in a conserved region of the second transmembrane segment containing three Asp residues designated the Tri-Asp motif. This motif is conserved in all CNG channels. Here we examine mutations in canine CNGA3 homomeric channels using a combination of experimental and computational approaches. Mutations of these conserved Asp residues result in the absence of nucleotide-activated currents in heterologous expression. A fluorescent tag on CNGA3 shows mislocalization of mutant channels. Co-expressing CNGB3 Tri-Asp mutants with wild type CNGA3 results in some functional channels, however, their electrophysiological characterization matches the properties of homomeric CNGA3 channels. This failure to record heteromeric currents suggests that Asp/Asn mutations affect heteromeric subunit assembly. A homology model of S1-S6 of the CNGA3 channel was generated and relaxed in a membrane using molecular dynamics simulations. The model predicts that the Tri-Asp motif is involved in non-specific salt bridge pairings with positive residues of S3/S4. We propose that the D262N mutation in dogs with CNGB3-day blindness results in the loss of these inter-helical interactions altering the electrostatic equilibrium within in the S1-S4 bundle. Because residues analogous to Tri-Asp in the voltage-gated Shaker potassium channel family were implicated in monomer folding, we hypothesize that destabilizing these electrostatic interactions impairs the monomer folding state in D262N mutant CNG channels during biogenesis.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(2):e88768. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The full-field, flash electroretinogram (ERG) is now a widely used test of canine retinal function for the clinical diagnosis of hereditary retinal dystrophies and other causes of retinal degeneration, assessment of retinal function in patients with opaque media, ruling out of generalized retinal diseases in patients with sudden loss of vision and in ophthalmological research, as well as in pharmaceutical and toxicological screening for deleterious side effects of drugs and other chemical compounds. In 2002, the first guidelines for clinical ERGs in this species adopted by the European College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists were published. This work provides an update of these guidelines.
    Documenta Ophthalmologica 06/2013; · 1.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Achromatopsia is an autosomal recessive disease characterized by the loss of cone photoreceptor function that results in day-blindness, total colorblindness, and decreased central visual acuity. The most common causes for the disease are mutations in the CNGB3 gene, coding for the beta subunit of the cyclic nucleotide-gated channels in cones. CNGB3-achromatopsia, or cone degeneration (cd), is also known to occur in two canine breeds, the Alaskan malamute (AM) and the German shorthaired pointer. RESULTS: Here we report an in-depth characterization of the achromatopsia phenotype in a new canine breed, the miniature Australian shepherd (MAS). Genotyping revealed that the dog was homozygous for a complete genomic deletion of the CNGB3 gene, as has been previously observed in the AM. Identical breakpoints on chromosome 29 were identified in both the affected AM and MAS with a resulting deletion of 404,820 bp. Pooled DNA samples of unrelated purebred Australian shepherd, MAS, Siberian husky, Samoyed and Alaskan sled dogs were screened for the presence of the affected allele; one Siberian husky and three Alaskan sled dogs were identified as carriers. The affected chromosomes from the AM, MAS, and Siberian husky were genotyped for 147 SNPs in a 3.93 Mb interval within the cd locus. An identical shared affected haplotype, 0.5 Mb long, was observed in all three breeds and defined the minimal linkage disequilibrium (LD) across breeds. This supports the idea that the mutated allele was identical by descent (IBD). CONCLUSION: We report the occurrence of CNGB3-achromatopsia in a new canine breed, the MAS. The CNGB3-deletion allele previously described in the AM was also observed in a homozygous state in the affected MAS, as well as in a heterozygous carrier state in a Siberian husky and Alaskan sled dogs. All affected alleles were shown to be IBD, strongly suggesting an affected founder effect. Since the MAS is not known to be genetically related to the AM, other breeds may potentially carry the same cd-allele and be affected by achromatopsia.
    BMC Genetics 04/2013; 14(1):27. · 2.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Achromatopsia is a genetic disorder of cones, and one of the most common forms is a channelopathy caused by mutations in the β-subunit, CNGB3, of the cone cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) channel. Recombinant adeno-associated virus of serotype 5 (rAAV5)-mediated gene transfer of human CNGB3 cDNA to mutant dog cones results in functional and structural rescue in dogs <0.5 years of age, but treatment is minimally effective in dogs >1 year. We now test a new therapeutic concept by combining gene therapy with the administration of ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF). Intravitreal CNTF causes transient dedifferentiation of photoreceptors, a process called deconstruction, whereby visual cells become immature with short outer segments, and decreased retinal function and gene expression that subsequently return to normal. Cone function was successfully rescued in all mutant dogs treated between 14 and 42 months of age with this strategy. CNTF-mediated deconstruction and regeneration of the photoreceptor outer segments prepares the mutant cones optimally for gene augmentation therapy.Molecular Therapy (2013); doi:10.1038/mt.2013.50.
    Molecular Therapy 04/2013; · 7.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: SignificanceThe first retinal gene therapy in human blindness from RPE65 mutations has focused on safety and efficacy, as defined by improved vision. The disease component not studied, however, has been the fate of photoreceptors in this progressive retinal degeneration. We show that gene therapy improves vision for at least 3 y, but photoreceptor degeneration progresses unabated in humans. In the canine model, the same result occurs when treatment is at the disease stage equivalent to humans. The study shows the need for combinatorial therapy to improve vision in the short term but also slow retinal degeneration in the long term.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in the BEST1 gene constitute an underlying cause of juvenile macular dystrophies, a group of retinal disorders commonly referred to as bestrophinopathies and usually diagnosed in early childhood or adolescence. The disease primarily affects macular and paramacular regions of the eye leading to major declines in central vision later in life. Currently, there is no cure or surgical management for BEST1-associated disorders. The recently characterized human disease counterpart, canine multifocal retinopathy (cmr), recapitulates a full spectrum of clinical and molecular features observed in human bestrophinopathies and offers a valuable model system for development and testing of therapeutic strategies. In this study, the specificity, efficiency and safety of rAAV-mediated transgene expression driven by the human VMD2 promoter were assessed in wild-type canine retinae. While the subretinal delivery of rAAV2/1 vector serotype was associated with cone damage in the retina when BEST1 and GFP were co-expressed, the rAAV2/2 vector serotype carrying either GFP reporter or BEST1 transgene under control of human VMD2 promoter was safe, and enabled specific transduction of the RPE cell monolayer that was stable for up to 6 months post injection. These encouraging studies with the rAAV2/2 vector lay the groundwork for development of gene augmentation therapy for human bestrophinopathies.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(10):e75666. · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Biophysical Journal 01/2013; 104(2):280-. · 3.67 Impact Factor
  • Biophysical Journal 01/2013; 104(2):280-. · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    Shelby L Reinstein, Stephen L Gross, András M Komáromy
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    ABSTRACT: A 2-year-old male castrated Domestic Short-haired cat presented to the Ophthalmology Service at the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania for evaluation of chronic bilateral ocular discharge and blepharospasm. Initial ophthalmic examination revealed severe conjunctivitis and keratitis and the presence of upper eyelid distichiae bilaterally. Initial therapy for suspected feline herpesviral infection provided moderate, but not complete, resolution of the clinical signs. Over the subsequent year, the cat suffered from recurrent, severe, ulcerative keratitis in both eyes despite appropriate medical therapy. Approximately 13 months after the initial presentation, the distichiae were surgically removed using transconjunctival electrocautery, which resulted in complete resolution of the clinical signs. This report documents bilateral distichiasis in a cat, a condition that is considered rare in this species.
    Veterinary Ophthalmology 09/2011; 14 Suppl 1:130-4. · 0.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To describe the clinical phenotype and genetics of equine Multiple Congenital Ocular Anomalies (MCOA) syndrome in PMEL17 (Silver) mutant ponies. Five presumably unrelated ponies. The ponies were examined under field conditions in their barn by slit lamp biomicroscopy, indirect ophthalmoscopy, and applanation tonometry. Blood was collected and genomic DNA extracted for MCOA genotyping using the PMEL17ex11 marker. One pony solely presented with temporal ciliary body cysts, suggestive of the less severe Cyst phenotype of MCOA; the animal was heterozygous at the MCOA locus. Multiple bilateral anterior segment anomalies were identified in four ponies, consistent with the more severe MCOA phenotype characterized by cornea globosa, iris hypoplasia, encircling granula iridica along the pupillary ruff, and cataracts. These animals were homozygous for the mutant MCOA allele. Four of the ponies had a silver dapple or chocolate coat color with white or flaxen manes and tails. Silver dappling was masked by the palomino coloring of a 5th pony that was homozygous at the MCOA locus. The MCOA syndrome can be seen in ponies. The results of both clinical evaluation and genotyping resembled the previously described MCOA of both Rocky Mountain and Kentucky Mountain Saddle horses.
    Veterinary Ophthalmology 09/2011; 14(5):313-20. · 0.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This report describes a unique case of presumed migration of Parelaphastrongylus tenuis through the spinal cord into the eye of a llama where it survived and matured within the ocular environment. Blindness of the eye was most likely attributable to migration of the parasite through the central nervous tissue.
    The Canadian veterinary journal. La revue veterinaire canadienne 02/2011; 52(2):181-3. · 0.77 Impact Factor
  • Biophysical Journal 01/2011; 100. · 3.67 Impact Factor
  • Biophysical Journal 01/2011; 100(3). · 3.67 Impact Factor
  • András M Komáromy
    The Veterinary Journal 09/2010; 185(3):241-2. · 2.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To determine the long-term efficacy, complications, and duration of effect of a cyclosporine (CsA) suprachoroidal implant (CSI) in horses with equine recurrent uveitis (ERU). Horses with ERU were treated with a 6-mm diameter, 25 mg, reservoir matrix CsA implant in the deep sclera adjacent to the suprachoroidal space. Horses with follow-up >1 year were examined for frequency of uveitis episodes, complications, and vision at last recheck. Data from 151 eyes of 133 horses from the USA and Europe that had CsA devices implanted for ERU were reviewed. Follow-up time ranged from 13 to 85 months after surgery, with a mean and median follow-up time of 28.9 and 26.3 months, respectively. Overall, at last follow-up 78.8% of eyes were considered visual and the overall mean frequency of uveitis episodes after CSI was 0.09 ± SD 0.08 episodes per month. The most common complications leading to vision loss at last follow-up were persistent uveitis episodes (54%), glaucoma (22%), mature cataracts (16%), and retinal detachment (6%). Persistent uveitis episodes tended to be the highest cause of vision loss in horses with <24 months and >48 months of follow-up. This study demonstrated the long-term maintenance of vision of horses with ERU implanted with a CSI. The increased vision loss related to uveitis episode of inflammation in eyes after the likely depletion of CsA from the CSI suggests that a repeat CSI may be required at or before 48 months after surgery.
    Veterinary Ophthalmology 09/2010; 13(5):294-300. · 0.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An adult, presumed intact female Umbrella Cockatoo (Cacatua alba), presented with acute hemorrhage from an intraocular mass that perforated through the right cornea. Computed tomography scanning revealed a large soft tissue mass in the right orbit, invading and displacing the globe laterally, and destroying the scleral ossicles. There was no evidence of bony changes of the orbit or extension of the mass into the optic nerve or brain. Exenteration and mass removal were performed, and osteosarcoma was diagnosed via histopathology. Radiotherapy was delivered with an orthovoltage unit to a total dose of 68 Gray delivered in 17 fractions over 6 weeks. The bird recovered well from treatment, but died 2 months after the last radiation session with neurological signs. Necropsy was not performed. To our knowledge, this is the first case of an intraocular osteosarcoma reported in a bird, and the first case of attempted treatment of osteosarcoma in a bird by a combination of surgery and radiation therapy.
    Veterinary Ophthalmology 08/2010; 13(s1):103 - 108. · 0.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The successful restoration of visual function with recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV)-mediated gene replacement therapy in animals and humans with an inherited disease of the retinal pigment epithelium has ushered in a new era of retinal therapeutics. For many retinal disorders, however, targeting of therapeutic vectors to mutant rods and/or cones will be required. In this study, the primary cone photoreceptor disorder achromatopsia served as the ideal translational model to develop gene therapy directed to cone photoreceptors. We demonstrate that rAAV-mediated gene replacement therapy with different forms of the human red cone opsin promoter led to the restoration of cone function and day vision in two canine models of CNGB3 achromatopsia, a neuronal channelopathy that is the most common form of achromatopsia in man. The robustness and stability of the observed treatment effect was mutation independent, but promoter and age dependent. Subretinal administration of rAAV5-hCNGB3 with a long version of the red cone opsin promoter in younger animals led to a stable therapeutic effect for at least 33 months. Our results hold promise for future clinical trials of cone-directed gene therapy in achromatopsia and other cone-specific disorders.
    Human Molecular Genetics 04/2010; 19(13):2581-93. · 7.69 Impact Factor

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