Oral Selumetinib Does Not Negatively Impact Photoreceptor Survival in Murine Experimental Retinal Detachment.
ABSTRACT: Purpose:Mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (MAPK/ERK) signaling is neuroprotective in some retinal damage models but its role in neuronal survival during retinal detachment (RD) is unclear. In addition, serous RDs are a prevalent side effect of MEK inhibitors (MEKi), blocking MAPK/ERK signaling for treatment of certain cancers. We tested the hypothesis that MEKi treatment in experimental RD would increase photoreceptor death. Methods:The MEKi selumetinib was delivered daily to C57BL/6 mice at a clinically relevant dose (10 mg/mL) starting 1 day prior to creating RD with subretinal hyaluronic acid injection. Photoreceptor TUNEL and outer nuclear layer (ONL) thickness were analyzed. Phospho-ERK1/2 (pERK) distribution, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) accumulation, and Iba-1 (microglia/macrophages) were evaluated with immunofluorescence. Results:pERK accumulated in the Müller glia in detached retinas, but this was effectively blocked by selumetinib. Selumetinib did not induce serous RDs at day 1 and did not increase TUNEL positive photoreceptors or further decrease ONL thickness compared to controls. Retinal gliosis was not altered, but selumetinib did block the increase in intraretinal microglia/macrophage Iba-1 fluorescence intensity and acquisition of amoeboid morphology. Conclusions:MAPK/ERK is neuroprotective in some retinal damage models; in RD, selumetinib blocked Müller pERK accumulation and changed the retinal microglia/macrophage phenotype but did not alter photoreceptor survival. This is consistent with the relatively good visual acuity seen in patients developing transient retinal detachments on MEK inhibitor therapy. Compensation by other neuroprotective pathways in the retina during retinal detachment may occur in the presence of MEK inhibition.
Project description:Photoreceptor death and retinal gliosis underlie the majority of vision threatening retinal diseases including retinal detachment (RD). Although the underlying pathobiology of vision limiting processes in RD is not fully understood, inflammation is known to play a critical role. We conducted an iTRAQ proteomic screen of up- and down-regulated proteins in a murine model of RD to identify potential targetable candidates. Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) was identified and evaluated for neurotoxic and pro-gliotic effects during RD. Systemic administration of the MIF inhibitor ISO-1 significantly blocked photoreceptor apoptosis, outer nuclear layer (ONL) thinning, and retinal gliosis. ISO-1 and MIF knockout (MIFKO) had greater accumulation of Müller glia pERK expression in the detached retina, suggesting that Müller survival pathways might underlie the neuroprotective response. Our data show the feasibility of the MIF-inhibitor ISO-1 to block pathological damage responses in retinal detachment and provide a rationale to explore MIF inhibition as a potential therapeutic option for RD.
Project description:<b>Background: </b>Aiming to improve treatment options for BRAF wild-type melanoma, we previously conducted the DOC-MEK study of docetaxel with MEK inhibitor (MEKi) selumetinib or placebo, revealing trends to prolongation of progression-free survival (hazard ratio 0.75, P?=?0.130), and improved response rates (32% vs 14%, P?=?0.059) with docetaxel plus selumetinib. NRAS status did not associate with outcome. Here, the aim was to identify novel biomarkers of response to MEKi.<br><br><b>Methods: </b>A MEK 6 gene signature was quantified using NanoString and correlated with clinical outcomes. Two components of the gene signature were investigated by gene silencing in BRAF/NRAS wild-type melanoma cells.<br><br><b>Results: </b>In melanomas of patients on the selumetinib but not the placebo arm, two gene signature components, dual-specificity protein phosphatase 4 (DUSP4) and ETS translocation variant 4 (ETV4), were expressed more highly in responders than non-responders. In vitro, ETV4 depletion inhibited cell survival but did not influence sensitivity to MEKi selumetinib or trametinib. In contrast, DUSP4-depleted cells showed enhanced cell survival and increased resistance to both selumetinib and trametinib.<br><br><b>Conclusions: </b>ETV4 and DUSP4 associated with clinical response to docetaxel plus selumetinib. DUSP4 depletion induced MEKi resistance, suggesting that DUSP4 is not only a biomarker but also a mediator of MEKi sensitivity.<br><br><b>Clinical trial registration: </b>DOC-MEK (EudraCT no: 2009-018153-23).
Project description:Retinal detachment (RD) is a sight-threatening complication common in many highly prevalent retinal disorders. RD rapidly leads to photoreceptor cell death beginning within 12 h following detachment. In patients with sustained RD, progressive visual decline due to photoreceptor cell death is common, leading to significant and permanent loss of vision. Microglia are the resident immune cells of the central nervous system, including the retina, and function in the homeostatic maintenance of the neuro-retinal microenvironment. It is known that microglia become activated and change their morphology in retinal diseases. However, the function of activated microglia in RD is incompletely understood, in part because of the lack of microglia-specific markers. Here, using the newly identified microglia marker P2ry12 and microglial depletion strategies, we demonstrate that retinal microglia are rapidly activated in response to RD and migrate into the injured area within 24 h post-RD, where they closely associate with infiltrating macrophages, a population distinct from microglia. Once in the injured photoreceptor layer, activated microglia can be observed to contain autofluorescence within their cell bodies, suggesting they function to phagocytose injured or dying photoreceptors. Depletion of retinal microglia results in increased disease severity and inhibition of macrophage infiltration, suggesting that microglia are involved in regulating neuroinflammation in the retina. Our work identifies that microglia mediate photoreceptor survival in RD and suggests that this effect may be due to microglial regulation of immune cells and photoreceptor phagocytosis.
Project description:Photoreceptor apoptosis is a major cause of visual loss in retinal detachment (RD) and several other visual disorders, but the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. Recently, increased expression of monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) was reported in vitreous humor samples of patients with RD and diabetic retinopathy as well as in the brain tissues of patients with neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis. Here we report that MCP-1 plays a critical role in mediating photoreceptor apoptosis in an experimental model of RD. RD led to increased MCP-1 expression in the Müller glia and increased CD11b+ macrophage/microglia in the detached retina. An MCP-1 blocking antibody greatly reduced macrophage/microglia infiltration and RD-induced photoreceptor apoptosis. Confirming these results, MCP-1 gene-deficient mice showed significantly reduced macrophage/microglia infiltration after RD and very little photoreceptor apoptosis. In primary retinal mixed cultures, MCP-1 was cytotoxic for recoverin+ photoreceptors, and this toxicity was eliminated through immunodepleting macrophage/microglia from the culture. In vivo, deletion of the gene encoding CD11b/CD18 nearly eliminated macrophage/microglia infiltration to the retina after RD and the loss of photoreceptors. Thus, MCP-1 expression and subsequent macrophage/microglia infiltration and activation are critical for RD-induced photoreceptor apoptosis. This pathway may be an important therapeutic target for preventing photoreceptor apoptosis in RD and other CNS diseases that share a common etiology.
Project description:In patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), color fundus photography and fundus autofluorescence (FAF) have been used to estimate the disease progression. To understand the origin and the diagnostic interpretation of the fundus color and FAF, we performed in vivo imaging of fundus color and FAF together with histological analyses of the retinal degeneration process using the RP model mice, rd10. FAF partly represented the accumulation of microglia in the photoreceptor outer segments. Fundus whitening suggested the presence of apoptotic cells, which spatiotemporally preceded increase in FAF. We observed two patterns of FAF localization, arcuate and diffuse, each indicating different pattern of apoptosis, wavy and diffuse, respectively. Diffuse pattern of apoptosis was suppressed in dark-raised rd10 mice, in which outer nuclear layer (ONL) loss was significantly suppressed. The occupancy of FAF correlated with the thinning rate of the ONL. Fractalkine, a microglia chemotactic factor, was detected in apoptotic photoreceptors, suggesting chemokine-induced recruitment of microglia into the ONL, which paralleled with accelerated ONL loss and increased FAF occupancy. Thus, we propose that the degree of photoreceptor apoptosis and the rate of ONL thinning in RP patients might be read from the fundus color and the FAF.
Project description:Retinal degeneration (RD) is one of the most common causes of visual impairment and blindness and is characterized by progressive degeneration of photoreceptors. Transplantation of neural stem/progenitor cells (NPCs) is a promising treatment for RD, although the mechanisms underlying the efficacy remain unclear. Accumulated evidence supports the notion that paracrine effects of transplanted stem cells is likely the major approach to rescuing early degeneration, rather than cell replacement. NPC-derived exosomes (NPC-exos), a type of extracellular vesicles (EVs) released from NPCs, are thought to carry functional molecules to recipient cells and play therapeutic roles. In present study, we found that grafted human NPCs (hNPCs) secreted EVs and exosomes in the subretinal space (SRS) of RCS rats, an RD model. And direct administration of mouse neural progenitor cell-derived exosomes (mNPC-exos) delayed photoreceptor degeneration, preserved visual function, prevented thinning of the outer nuclear layer (ONL), and decreased apoptosis of photoreceptors in RCS rats. Mechanistically, mNPC-exos were specifically internalized by retinal microglia and suppressed their activation in vitro and in vivo. RNA sequencing and miRNA profiling revealed a set of 17 miRNAs contained in mNPC-exos that markedly inhibited inflammatory signal pathways by targeting TNF-?, IL-1?, and COX-2 in activated microglia. The exosomes derived from hNPC (hNPC-exos) contained similar miRNAs to mNPC-exos that inhibited microglial activation. We demonstrated that NPC-exos markedly suppressed microglial activation to protect photoreceptors from apoptosis, suggesting that NPC-exos and their contents may be the mechanism of stem cell therapy for treating RD.
Project description:To investigate in vivo inner and outer retinal microstructure and effects of structural abnormalities on visual function in patients with retinal degeneration caused by ABCA4 mutations (ABCA4-RD).Patients with ABCA4-RD (n = 45; age range, 9-71 years) were studied by spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) scans extending from the fovea to 30° eccentricity along horizontal and vertical meridians. Thicknesses of outer and inner retinal laminae were analyzed. Serial OCT measurements available over a mean period of 4 years (range, 2-8 years) allowed examination of the progression of outer and inner retinal changes. A subset of patients had dark-adapted chromatic static threshold perimetry.There was a spectrum of photoreceptor layer thickness changes from localized central retinal abnormalities to extensive thinning across central and near midperipheral retina. The inner retina also showed changes. There was thickening of the inner nuclear layer (INL) that was mainly associated with regions of photoreceptor loss. Serial data documented only limited change in some patients while others showed an increase in outer nuclear layer (ONL) thinning accompanied by increased INL thickening in some regions imaged. Visual function in regions both with and without INL thickening was describable with a previously defined model based on photoreceptor quantum catch.Inner retinal laminar abnormalities, as in other human photoreceptor diseases, can be a feature of ABCA4-RD. These changes are likely due to the retinal remodeling that accompanies photoreceptor loss. Rod photoreceptor-mediated visual loss in retinal regionswith inner laminopathy at the stages studied did not exceed the prediction from photoreceptor loss alone.
Project description:Although 67% of high-grade serous ovarian cancers (HGSOC) express the estrogen receptor (ER), most fail antiestrogen therapy. Because MAPK activation is frequent in ovarian cancer, we investigated if estrogen regulates MAPK and if MEK inhibition (MEKi) reverses antiestrogen resistance.Effects of MEKi (selumetinib), antiestrogen (fulvestrant), or both were assayed in ER-positive HGSOC in vitro and in xenografts. Response biomarkers were investigated by gene expression microarray and reverse phase protein array (RPPA). Genes differentially expressed in two independent primary HGSOC datasets with high versus low pMAPK by RPPA were used to generate a "MAPK-activated gene signature." Gene signature components that were reversed by MEKi were then identified.High intratumor pMAPK independently predicts decreased survival (HR, 1.7; CI > 95%,1.3-2.2; P = 0.0009) in 408 HGSOC from The Cancer Genome Atlas. A differentially expressed "MAPK-activated" gene subset was also prognostic. "MAPK-activated genes" in HGSOC differ from those in breast cancer. Combined MEK and ER blockade showed greater antitumor effects in xenografts than monotherapy. Gene set enrichment analysis and RPPA showed that dual therapy downregulated DNA replication and cell-cycle drivers, and upregulated lysosomal gene sets. Selumetinib reversed expression of a subset of "MAPK-activated genes" in vitro and/or in xenografts. Three of these genes were prognostic for poor survival (P = 0.000265) and warrant testing as a signature predictive of MEKi response.High pMAPK is independently prognostic and may underlie antiestrogen failure. Data support further evaluation of fulvestrant and selumetinib in ER-positive HGSOC. The MAPK-activated HGSOC signature may help identify MEK inhibitor responsive tumors.
Project description:COVID-19 affects vulnerable populations including elderly individuals and patients with cancer. Natural Killer (NK) cells and innate-immune TRAIL suppress transformed and virally-infected cells. ACE2, and TMPRSS2 protease promote SARS-CoV-2 infectivity, while inflammatory cytokines IL-6, or G-CSF worsen COVID-19 severity. We show MEK inhibitors (MEKi) VS-6766, trametinib and selumetinib reduce ACE2 expression in human cells. In some human cells, remdesivir increases ACE2-promoter luciferase-reporter expression, ACE2 mRNA and protein, and ACE2 expression is attenuated by MEKi. In serum-deprived and stimulated cells treated with remdesivir and MEKi we observed correlations between pRB, pERK, and ACE2 expression further supporting role of proliferative state and MAPK pathway in ACE2 regulation. We show elevated cytokines in COVID-19-(+) patient plasma (<i>N</i> = 9) versus control (<i>N</i> = 11). TMPRSS2, inflammatory cytokines G-CSF, M-CSF, IL-1?, IL-6 and MCP-1 are suppressed by MEKi alone or with remdesivir. We observed MEKi stimulation of NK-cell killing of target-cells, without suppressing TRAIL-mediated cytotoxicity. Pseudotyped SARS-CoV-2 virus with a lentiviral core and SARS-CoV-2 D614 or G614 SPIKE (S) protein on its envelope infected human bronchial epithelial cells, small airway epithelial cells, or lung cancer cells and MEKi suppressed infectivity of the pseudovirus. We show a drug class-effect with MEKi to stimulate NK cells, inhibit inflammatory cytokines and block host-factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection leading also to suppression of SARS-CoV-2-S pseudovirus infection of human cells. MEKi may attenuate SARS-CoV-2 infection to allow immune responses and antiviral agents to control disease progression.
Project description:PURPOSE:To assess the potential ocular toxicity of a combined BRAF inhibition (BRAFi) + MEK inhibition (MEKi) + hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) regime used to treat metastatic BRAF mutant melanoma. METHODS:Patients with stage IV metastatic melanoma and BRAF V600E mutations (n = 11, 31-68 years of age) were included. Treatment was with oral dabrafenib, 150 mg bid, trametinib, 2 mg/day, and HCQ, 400 mg to 600 mg bid. An ophthalmic examination, spectral domain optical coherence tomography, near-infrared and short-wavelength fundus autofluorescence, and static perimetry were performed at baseline, 1 month, and q/6 months after treatment. RESULTS:There were no clinically significant ocular events; there was no ocular inflammation. The only medication-related change was a separation of the photoreceptor outer segment tip from the apical retinal pigment epithelium that could be traced from the fovea to the perifoveal retina noted in 9/11 (82%) of the patients. There were no changes in retinal pigment epithelium melanization or lipofuscin content by near-infrared fundus autofluorescence and short-wavelength fundus autofluorescence, respectively. There were no inner retinal or outer nuclear layer changes. Visual acuities and sensitivities were unchanged. CONCLUSION:BRAFi (trametinib) + MEKi (dabrafenib) + HCQ causes very frequent, subclinical separation of the photoreceptor outer segment from the apical retinal pigment epithelium without inner retinal changes or signs of inflammation. The changes suggest interference with the maintenance of the outer retinal barrier and/or phagocytic/pump functions of the retinal pigment epithelium by effective MEK inhibition.