SUMMARY OF RESEARCH DURING 2014
Significant Scientific Accomplishments
Area 1: Early Changes in Mitochondrial Reserve Capacity (MRC): A Means to Predict Subsequent Photoreceptor Cell Death (Retinal Diseases)
Research: Under normal conditions, mitochondria neutralize harmful oxidants; however, under environmental or genetic abnormality, oxidative stress may exceed mitochondrial antioxidant capacities, leading to cellular degeneration. It was hypothesized that loss in MRC plays a causative role in neuronal degeneration.
Results: Data suggested that loss in MRC is a major contributor in disease pathogenesis. A novel assay for quantifying real-time cellular metabolism was developed to screen agents that protect against loss of MRC.
Significance: Measurement of extracellular flux will be a valuable aide in developing therapeutic treatments for retina and general neurodegenerative pathologies.
Area 2: Fluorescence Identification of Aging Marker in the Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) (AMD)
Research: Lipofuscin is an aging (fluorescent) marker in the RPE associated with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) development. MALDI imaging was used to locate potential molecules responsible for lipofuscin fluorescence in RPE.
Results: Various new, age- and strain-specific targets were found, validating the use of MALDI for specific compound identification and correlation with lipofuscin.
Significance: Mass spectrometric imaging can be used to identify the molecular substructure of clinically-relevant diagnostic information.
Area 3: Comparison of Contact Lens and Intraocular Lens Correction of Monocular Aphakia during Infancy (Cataract)
Research: The efficacy and safety of primary intraocular lens (IOL) implantation during early infancy is unknown. Visual outcomes of patients optically-corrected with a contact lens (CL) were compared to an IOL following unilateral cataract surgery during early infancy.
Results: Significantly more adverse events and additional procedures occurred in the IOL group, suggesting leaving the eye aphakic and focusing the eye with a CL, when operating on an infant younger than 7 months-of-age with a unilateral cataract.
Significance: Primary IOL implantation should be reserved for those infants where the cost and handling of a CL would result in significant periods of uncorrected aphakia.