Week in review: HIV drug, sugar high, smoke signs

Week in review: HIV drug, sugar high, smoke signs


By Keng Jin Lee and Kanaga Rajan

Neuro-Ophthalmology/Orbit, Retina/Vitreous

A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

A remyelinating drug might improve vision in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a new report published in Brain Pathology. Tested in an MS mouse model, the drug—an estrogen receptor ligand called indazole chloride—induced remyelination and mitigated some damage to the axons, resulting in partial functional improvement in vision. Timely intervention is key, according to lead author Seema Tiwari-Woodruff, PhD. “Our paper stresses that to acquire vision improvement, treatment must start early. Early treatment can recover 75% to 80% of the original function.” University of California, Riverside; Brain Pathology

Could a common HIV treatment help manage dry AMD? A review of more than 100 million patient records has revealed that individuals taking nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) are 40% less likely to develop dry AMD. Jayakrishna Ambati, MD, the study’s primary investigator, previously discovered that NRTIs not only inhibit HIV replication but also prevent dry AMD in mice by limiting inflammasome activation. The team hopes the findings spur further investigation into the use of these drugs and their safer derivatives (kamuvudines) for dry AMD. University of Virginia, Inflammasome Therapeutics, PNAS

It might be time to put down that candy bar: Researchers have unveiled how excess sugar consumptions leads to age-related cellular damage. Mouse studies revealed that p62—a Pac Man-like protein that removes sugar-induced toxic cellular waste—is itself compromised by sugary diets. Investigator Allen Taylor, PhD, dubbed this effect a “double jeopardy.” He hopes they can leverage these findings to discover new therapeutics for age-related diseases like AMD and Alzheimer disease. Tufts University, Aging Cell

Check out this case of a smokestack leak from retinal neovascularization, gracing the latest issue of Ophthalmology Retina. After sudden onset of declining vision in her right eye for 3 months, the hypertensive patient was diagnosed with inferotemporal branch retinal vein occlusion with neovascularization in the macular area. Imaging revealed perifoveal neovascular fonds, neovascularization from the superficial capillary plexus and macular ischemia. The smokestack pattern of the leak was visible by fluorescein angiography and may have been caused by the large size and high flow of the neovascularization as well as feeding by high-flow collaterals. Ophthalmology Retina