Publications by authors named "Amirfarbod Yazdanyar"

10 Publications

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Effects of intravitreal injection of human CD34 bone marrow stem cells in a murine model of diabetic retinopathy.

Exp Eye Res 2020 01 1;190:107865. Epub 2019 Nov 1.

Department of Ophthalmology & Vision Science, University of California Davis Eye Center, Sacramento, CA, United States. Electronic address:

Human CD34  stem cells are mobilized from bone marrow to sites of tissue ischemia and play an important role in tissue revascularization. This study used a murine model to test the hypothesis that intravitreal injection of human CD34  stem cells harvested from bone marrow (BMSCs) can have protective effects in eyes with diabetic retinopathy. Streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice (C57BL/6J) were used as a model for diabetic retinopathy. Subcutaneous implantation of Alzet pump, loaded with Tacrolimus and Rapamycin, 5 days prior to intravitreal injection provided continuous systemic immunosuppression for the study duration to avoid rejection of human cells. Human CD34  BMSCs were harvested from the mononuclear cell fraction of bone marrow from a healthy donor using magnetic beads. The CD34  cells were labeled with enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) using a lentiviral vector. The right eye of each mouse received an intravitreal injection of 50,000 EGFP-labeled CD34  BMSCs or phosphate buffered saline (PBS). Simultaneous multimodal in vivo retinal imaging system consisting of fluorescent scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (enabling fluorescein angiography), optical coherence tomography (OCT) and OCT angiography was used to confirm the development of diabetic retinopathy and study the in vivo migration of the EGFP-labeled CD34  BMSCs in the vitreous and retina following intravitreal injection. After imaging, the mice were euthanized, and the eyes were removed for immunohistochemistry. In addition, microarray analysis of the retina and retinal flat mount analysis of retinal vasculature were performed. The development of retinal microvascular changes consistent with diabetic retinopathy was visualized using fluorescein angiography and OCT angiography between 5 and 6 months after induction of diabetes in all diabetic mice. These retinal microvascular changes include areas of capillary nonperfusion and late leakage of fluorescein dye. Multimodal in vivo imaging and immunohistochemistry identified EGFP-labeled cells in the superficial retina and along retinal vasculature at 1 and 4 weeks following intravitreal cell injection. Microarray analysis showed changes in expression of 162 murine retinal genes following intravitreal CD34  BMSC injection when compared to PBS-injected control. The major molecular pathways affected by intravitreal CD34  BMSC injection in the murine retina included pathways implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy including Toll-like receptor, MAP kinase, oxidative stress, cellular development, assembly and organization pathways. At 4 weeks following intravitreal injection, retinal flat mount analysis showed preservation of the retinal vasculature in eyes injected with CD34  BMSCs when compared to PBS-injected control. The study findings support the hypothesis that intravitreal injection of human CD34  BMSCs results in retinal homing and integration of these human cells with preservation of the retinal vasculature in murine eyes with diabetic retinopathy.
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January 2020

Long-term natural history of idiopathic epiretinal membranes with good visual acuity.

Eye (Lond) 2019 05 19;33(5):714-723. Epub 2019 Apr 19.

Department of Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences, University of California, Davis, Sacramento, CA, USA.

Background/objectives: To evaluate the long-term progression of idiopathic epiretinal membranes (iERMs) with good baseline visual acuity, and to identify predictors of visual decline.

Design: Retrospective case series SUBJECTS METHODS: We reviewed records of 145 eyes with iERM and best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) of 20/40 or greater at presentation, including BCVA, lens status, and central macular thickness (CMT) at yearly visits; as well as anatomic biomarkers including vitreomacular adhesion, pseudohole, lamellar hole, intraretinal cysts, disorganization of the inner retinal layers (DRIL), and disruption of outer retinal layers. Linear mixed effects and mixed-effects Cox proportional hazards models were used to identify clinical and anatomic predictors of vision change and time to surgery.

Results: At presentation, mean BCVA was 0.17 ± 0.10 logMAR units (Snellen 20/30) and mean CMT was 353.3 ± 75.4 μm. After a median follow-up of 3.7 years (range 1-7 years), BCVA declined slowly at 0.012 ± 0.003 logMAR units/year, with phakic eyes declining more rapidly than pseudophakic eyes (0.019 ± 0.003 vs. 0.010 ± 0.004 logMAR units/year). Metamorphopsia, phakic lens status, lamellar hole, and inner nuclear layer cysts were associated with faster visual decline. Cumulative rates of progression to surgery were 2.9, 5.6, 12.2, and 21.1% at years 1-4. Visual symptoms, metamorphopsia, greater CMT, and disruption of outer retinal layers were associated with greater hazard for surgery.

Conclusion: Eyes with iERM and visual acuity ≥ 20/40 experience slow visual decline, with 21% of eyes requiring surgery after 4 years. Clinical and anatomic predictors of vision loss may be distinct from factors associated with earlier surgical intervention.
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May 2019

Association Between the Cilioretinal Artery and Choroidal Neovascularization in Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Secondary Analysis From the Age-Related Eye Disease Study.

JAMA Ophthalmol 2018 09;136(9):1008-1014

Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, University of California, Davis, Sacramento.

Importance: A hemodynamic role in the pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has been proposed, but to our knowledge, an association between retinal vasculature and late AMD has not been investigated.

Objective: To determine whether the presence and location of a cilioretinal artery may be associated with the risk of late AMD in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS).

Design, Setting, And Participants: Retrospective analysis of prospective, randomized clinical trial data from 3647 AREDS participants. Fundus photographs of AREDS participants were reviewed by 2 masked graders for the presence or absence of a cilioretinal artery and whether any branch extended within 500 μm of the central macula. Multivariate regressions were used to determine the association of the cilioretinal artery and vessel location, adjusted for age, sex, and smoking status, with the prevalence of choroidal neovascularization (CNV) or central geographic atrophy (CGA) and AMD severity score for eyes at randomization and progression at 5 years.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Association of cilioretinal artery with prevalence and 5-year incidence of CNV or CGA.

Results: Among AREDS participants analyzed, mean (SD) age was 69.0 (5.0) years, with 56.3% female, 46.6% former smokers, and 6.9% current smokers. A total of 26.9% of patients had a cilioretinal artery in 1 eye, and 8.4% had the vessel bilaterally. At randomization, eyes with a cilioretinal artery had a lower prevalence of CNV (5.0% vs 7.6%; OR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.51-0.85; P = .001) but no difference in CGA (1.1% vs 0.8%; OR, 1.33; 95% CI, 0.76-2.32; P = .31). In eyes without late AMD, those with a cilioretinal artery also had a lower mean (SD) AMD severity score (3.00 [2.35] vs 3.19 [2.40]; P = .02). At 5 years, eyes at risk with a cilioretinal artery had lower rates of progression to CNV (4.1% vs 5.5%; OR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.56-1.00; P = .05) but no difference in developing CGA (2.2% vs 2.7%; OR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.56-1.23; P = .35) or change in AMD severity score (0.65 [1.55] vs 0.73 [1.70]; P = .11). In patients with a unilateral cilioretinal artery, eyes with the vessel showed a lower prevalence of CNV than fellow eyes (4.7% vs 7.2%; P = .01).

Conclusions And Relevance: The presence of a cilioretinal artery is associated with a lower risk of developing CNV, but not CGA, suggesting a possible retinal hemodynamic contribution to the pathogenesis of neovascular AMD.

Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT00000145.
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September 2018

Gout Keratitis: A Case of Peripheral Ulcerative Keratitis Secondary to Gout With a Review of the Literature.

Cornea 2018 Mar;37(3):379-381

Department of Ophthalmology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY.

Purpose: To report a case of peripheral ulcerative keratitis secondary to gout.

Methods: A 41-year-old man with a history of severe gout disease presented with pain and redness of the right eye. Physical examination revealed 2 areas of peripheral corneal thinning with overlying epithelial defects. Adjacent to these areas, reflective crystals were identified in the corneal stroma. Anterior segment optical coherence tomography demonstrated stromal corneal deposits.

Results: Systemic workup was negative aside from an elevated serum uric acid level. The patient was administered oral prednisone, allopurinol, and colchicine. At his 2-month follow-up visit, the patient was asymptomatic and his corneal thinning had significantly improved.

Conclusions: Gout is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis in adults with rising incidence and prevalence. Ocular findings in gout are common, but patients are usually asymptomatic. Monosodium urate crystal deposition has been reported to occur in various parts of the eye, with and without ocular inflammation. Crystal deposition in the cornea is extremely rare and may be a cause of peripheral ulcerative keratitis.
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March 2018

All members in the sphingomyelin synthase gene family have ceramide phosphoethanolamine synthase activity.

J Lipid Res 2015 Mar 20;56(3):537-545. Epub 2015 Jan 20.

School of Pharmacy, Fudan University, China; Department of Cell Biology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY; Molecular and Cellular Cardiology Program, VA New York Harbor Healthcare System, Brooklyn, NY. Electronic address:

Sphingomyelin synthase-related protein (SMSr) synthesizes the sphingomyelin analog ceramide phosphoethanolamine (CPE) in cells. Previous cell studies indicated that SMSr is involved in ceramide homeostasis and is crucial for cell function. To further examine SMSr function in vivo, we generated Smsr KO mice that were fertile and had no obvious phenotypic alterations. Quantitative MS analyses of plasma, liver, and macrophages from the KO mice revealed only marginal changes in CPE and ceramide as well as other sphingolipid levels. Because SMS2 also has CPE synthase activity, we prepared Smsr/Sms2 double KO mice. We found that CPE levels were not significantly changed in macrophages, suggesting that CPE levels are not exclusively dependent on SMSr and SMS2 activities. We then measured CPE levels in Sms1 KO mice and found that Sms1 deficiency also reduced plasma CPE levels. Importantly, we found that expression of Sms1 or Sms2 in SF9 insect cells significantly increased not only SM but also CPE formation, indicating that SMS1 also has CPE synthase activity. Moreover, we measured CPE synthase Km and Vmax for SMS1, SMS2, and SMSr using different NBD ceramides. Our study reveals that all mouse SMS family members (SMSr, SMS1, and SMS2) have CPE synthase activity. However, neither CPE nor SMSr appears to be a critical regulator of ceramide levels in vivo.
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March 2015

Adipocyte phospholipid transfer protein and lipoprotein metabolism.

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2015 Feb 4;35(2):316-22. Epub 2014 Dec 4.

From the Department of Cell Biology, State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn (H.J., A.Y., Y.C., X.Z., R.L., Z.L., W.J., X.C.J.); Fudan University, Shanghai, China (B.L., Y.C.); Molecular and Cellular Cardiology Program, VA New York Harbor Healthcare System, New York (Z.L., X.C.J); Institute of Atherosclerosis, Taishan Medical University, Taian, China (X.Z., S.Q.); Lilly Research Laboratories, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN (H.H.B., M.S.K.); and Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA (M.N.).

Objective: Phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP) is highly expressed in adipose tissues. Thus, the effect of adipose tissue PLTP on plasma lipoprotein metabolism was examined.

Approach And Results: We crossed PLTP-Flox-ΔNeo and adipocyte protein 2 (aP2)-Cre recombinase (Cre) transgenic mice to create PLTP-Flox-ΔNeo/aP2-Cre mice that have a 90 and a 60% reduction in PLTP mRNA in adipose tissue and macrophages, respectively. PLTP ablation resulted in a significant reduction in plasma PLTP activity (22%), high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (21%), high-density lipoprotein-phospholipid (20%), and apolipoprotein A-I (33%) levels, but had no effect on nonhigh-density lipoprotein levels in comparison with those of PLTP-Flox-ΔNeo controls. To eliminate possible effects of PLTP ablation by macrophages, we lethally irradiated PLTP-Flox-ΔNeo/aP2-Cre mice and PLTP-Flox-ΔNeo mice, and then transplanted wild-type mouse bone marrow into them to create wild-type→PLTP-Flox-ΔNeo/aP2-Cre and wild-type→PLTP-Flox-ΔNeo mice. Thus, we constructed a mouse model (wild-type→PLTP-Flox-ΔNeo/aP2-Cre) with PLTP deficiency in adipocytes but not in macrophages. These knockout mice also showed significant decreases in plasma PLTP activity (19%) and cholesterol (18%), phospholipid (17%), and apolipoprotein A-I (26%) levels. To further investigate the mechanisms behind the reduction in plasma apolipoprotein A-I and high-density lipoprotein lipids, we measured apolipoprotein A-I-mediated cholesterol efflux in adipose tissue explants and found that endogenous and exogenous PLTP significantly increased cholesterol efflux from the explants.

Conclusions: Adipocyte PLTP plays a small but significant role in plasma PLTP activity and promotes cholesterol efflux from adipose tissues.
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February 2015

Liver-specific phospholipid transfer protein deficiency reduces high-density lipoprotein and non-high-density lipoprotein production in mice.

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2013 Sep 11;33(9):2058-64. Epub 2013 Jul 11.

Department of Cell Biology, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY 11203, USA.

Objective: The liver is one of the critical organs for lipoprotein metabolism and a major source for phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP) expression. The effect of liver-specific PLTP deficiency on plasma lipoprotein production and metabolism in mice was investigated.

Approach And Results: We created a liver-specific PLTP-deficient mouse model. We measured plasma high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and apolipoprotein B (apoB)-containing lipoprotein (or non-HDL) levels and their production rates. We found that hepatic ablation of PLTP leads to a significant decrease in plasma PLTP activity, HDL lipids, non-HDL lipids, apoAI, and apoB levels. In addition, nuclear magnetic resonance examination of lipoproteins showed that the deficiency decreases HDL and apoB-containing lipoprotein particle numbers, as well as very low-density lipoprotein particle size, which was confirmed by electron microscopy. Moreover, HDL particles from the deficient mice are lipid-poor ones. To unravel the mechanism, we evaluated the apoB and triglyceride production rates. We found that hepatic PLTP deficiency significantly decreases apoB and triglyceride secretion rates. To investigate the role of liver PLTP on HDL production, we set up primary hepatocyte culture studies and found that the PLTP-deficient hepatocytes produce less nascent HDL. Furthermore, we found that exogenous PLTP promotes nascent HDL production through an ATP-binding cassette A 1-mediated pathway.

Conclusions: Liver-specific PLTP deficiency significantly reduces plasma HDL and apoB-containing lipoprotein levels. Reduction of production rates of both particles is one of the mechanisms.
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September 2013

Ezetimibe inhibits hepatic Niemann-Pick C1-Like 1 to facilitate macrophage reverse cholesterol transport in mice.

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2013 May 7;33(5):920-5. Epub 2013 Mar 7.

Department of Biochemistry, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.

Objective: Controversies have arisen from recent mouse studies about the essential role of biliary sterol secretion in reverse cholesterol transport (RCT). The objective of this study was to examine the role of biliary cholesterol secretion in modulating macrophage RCT in Niemann-Pick C1-Like 1 (NPC1L1) liver only (L1(LivOnly)) mice, an animal model that is defective in both biliary sterol secretion and intestinal sterol absorption, and determine whether NPC1L1 inhibitor ezetimibe facilitates macrophage RCT by inhibiting hepatic NPC1L1.

Approach And Results: L1(LivOnly) mice were generated by crossing NPC1L1 knockout (L1-KO) mice with transgenic mice overexpressing human NPC1L1 specifically in liver. Macrophage-to-feces RCT was assayed in L1-KO and L1(LivOnly) mice injected intraperitoneally with [(3)H]-cholesterol-labeled peritoneal macrophages isolated from C57BL/6 mice. Inhibition of biliary sterol secretion by hepatic overexpression of NPC1L1 substantially reduced transport of [(3)H]-cholesterol from primary peritoneal macrophages to the neutral sterol fraction in bile and feces in L1(LivOnly) mice without affecting tracer excretion in the bile acid fraction. Ezetimibe treatment for 2 weeks completely restored both biliary and fecal excretion of [(3)H]-tracer in the neutral sterol fraction in L1(LivOnly) mice. High-density lipoprotein kinetic studies showed that L1(LivOnly) mice compared with L1-KO mice had a significantly reduced fractional catabolic rate without altered hepatic and intestinal uptake of high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol ether.

Conclusions: In mice lacking intestinal cholesterol absorption, macrophage-to-feces RCT depends on efficient biliary sterol secretion, and ezetimibe promotes macrophage RCT by inhibiting hepatic NPC1L1 function.
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May 2013

Liver phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP) expression with a PLTP-null background promotes very low-density lipoprotein production in mice.

Hepatology 2012 Aug 11;56(2):576-84. Epub 2012 Jun 11.

Department of Cell Biology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY 11203, USA.

Unlabelled: It is known that plasma phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP) activity influences lipoprotein metabolism. The liver is one of the major sites of lipoprotein production and degradation, as well as of PLTP expression. To address the impact of liver-expressed PLTP on lipoprotein metabolism, we created a mouse model that expresses PLTP in the liver acutely and specifically, with a PLTP-null background. This approach in mouse model preparations can also be used universally for evaluating the function of many other genes in the liver. We found that liver PLTP expression dramatically increases plasma levels of non-high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (2.7-fold, P < 0.0001), non-HDL phospholipid (2.5-fold, P < 0.001), and triglyceride (51%, P < 0.01), but has no significant influence on plasma HDL lipids compared with controls. Plasma apolipoprotein (apo)B levels were also significantly increased in PLTP-expressing mice (2.2-fold, P < 0.001), but those of apoA-I were not. To explore the mechanism involved, we examined the lipidation and secretion of nascent very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), finding that liver PLTP expression significantly increases VLDL lipidation in hepatocyte microsomal lumina, and also VLDL secretion into the plasma.

Conclusion: It is possible to prepare a mouse model that expresses the gene of interest only in the liver, but not in other tissues. Our results suggest, for the first time, that the major function of liver PLTP is to drive VLDL production and makes a small contribution to plasma PLTP activity.
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August 2012

Role of phospholipid transfer protein in high-density lipoprotein- mediated reverse cholesterol transport.

Curr Atheroscler Rep 2011 Jun;13(3):242-8

Department of cell Biology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, 450 Clarkson Ave. Box 5, Brooklyn, NY 11203, USA.

Reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) describes the process whereby cholesterol in peripheral tissues is transported to the liver where it is ultimately excreted in the form of bile. Given the atherogenic role of cholesterol accumulation within the vessel intima, removal of cholesterol through RCT is considered an anti-atherogenic process. The major constituents of RCT include cell membrane- bound lipid transporters, plasma lipid acceptors, plasma proteins and enzymes, and lipid receptors of liver cell membrane. One major cholesterol acceptor in RCT is high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Both the characteristics and level of HDL are critical determinants for RCT. It is known that phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP) impacts both HDL cholesterol level and biological quality of the HDL molecule. Recent data suggest that PLTP has a site-specific variation in its function. Moreover, the RCT pathway also has multiple steps both in the peripheral tissues and circulation. Therefore, PLTP may influence the RCT pathway at multiple levels. In this review, we focus on the potential role of PLTP in RCT through its impact on HDL homeostasis. The relationship between PLTP and RCT is expected to be an important area in finding novel therapies for atherosclerosis.
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June 2011