Ms. Rasmussen is a Researcher in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Her research interests focus on the structural correlates of glaucomatous optic neuropathy and ocular gene therapy. She has expertise with clinical retinal diagnostic imaging systems including Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) and custom microscope-based systems designed to document transgene expression in the anterior segment. She has been involved in adapting a number of imaging systems for use with common laboratory species, from rodents to non-human primates.
Effect of intraocular pressure (IOP), volume and location on the distribution of aqueous solutions injected into the suprachoroidal (SC) space
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 63(7), pp.4152-F0144
Ocular distribution and efficacy after suprachoroidal injection of AU-011 for treatment of ocular melanoma
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 61(7), pp.3615-3615
Rapid Development of Glaucoma Via ITV Nonselective ANGPT 1/2 Antibody: A Potential Role for ANGPT/TIE2 Signaling in Primate Aqueous Humor Outflow
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2019 Oct 1;60(13):4097-4108. doi: 10.1167/iovs.18-26349.
PURPOSE: Investigate a significant, dose-related increase in IOP, leading to glaucomatous damage to the neuroretina and optic nerve following intravitreal (ITV) administration of a bispecific F(ab')2 [anti-VEGF/Angiopoietins [ANGPT]F(ab')2] molecule in adult monkeys.
METHODS: ITV ocular tolerability and investigation of anti-VEGF/ANGPT F(ab')2 (blocking both ANGPT1 and ANGPT2) was done in monkeys; mechanistic studies were done in neonatal mice.
RESULTS: Following the second ITV dose of anti-VEGF/ANGPT F(ab')2, all 1.5- and 4-mg/eye treated monkeys developed elevated IOP, which eventually was associated with optic disc cupping and thinning of the neuroretinal rim. Histopathologic examination showed nonreversible axonal degeneration in the optic nerves of animals administered 1.5 mg/eye and higher that was considered secondary to high IOP. Anti-ANGPT Fab also caused elevated IOP in monkeys, but anti-VEGF Fab did not contribute to the IOP increase. In addition, an anti-ANGPT2-selective antibody did not change IOP. In mice simultaneous blockade of ANGPT1 and ANGPT2 impaired the expansion and formation of Schlemm's canal (SC) vessels, similar to genetic ablation of Angpt1/Angpt2 and their receptor TIE2. As previously reported, blocking ANGPT2 alone did not affect SC formation in mice.
CONCLUSIONS: Dual inhibition of ANGPT1/ANGPT2, but not ANGPT2 alone, leads to increased IOP and glaucomatous damage in monkeys. This confirms a role for TIE2/ANGPT signaling in the control of IOP in adults, a finding initially identified in transgenic mice. Dual pharmacologic inhibition of ANGPT1/ANGPT2 may affect aqueous drainage and homeostasis in adult monkeys and may be useful in developing novel models of glaucoma.
Glaucoma Drugs in the Pipeline
Asia Pac J Ophthalmol (Phila). 2018 Sep-Oct;7(5):345-351. doi: 10.22608/APO.2018298. Epub 2018 Sep 17.
Glaucoma is a chronic disease that can be challenging to treat for both patients and physicians. Most patients will require more than 1 medication over time to maintain their intraocular pressure (IOP) at a physiologically benign level. Patients may become refractory to existing compounds and many struggle with adherence to multiple topical drop regimens. The field of glaucoma therapeutics has been advancing rapidly with an emphasis on compounds comprising multiple molecules/mechanisms of action that offer additivity and are complementary to current therapeutics. Several new topical drop compounds directly targeting the trabecular meshwork (TM)/Schlemm canal/conventional outflow pathway to reduce outflow resistance have obtained US Food and Drug Administration approval in the past year. These include rho kinase inhibitors and nitric oxide donating compounds. Alternative therapies that offer long-term IOP lowering while removing the patient from the drug delivery system are moving forward in development. These include gene therapy and stem cell strategies, which could ease or eliminate the burden of topical drop self-administration for several years. Additionally, a variety of novel formulations and devices are in development that aim for controlled, steady state delivery of therapeutics over periods of months. The future of glaucoma therapy is focusing on an increase in specificity for the individual patient: their type of glaucoma; underlying mechanisms; genetic make-up; comorbid conditions; and rate of progression. Maintaining functional vision and improving patient outcomes remains the goal in glaucoma therapeutics. The current collection of novel therapeutics offers an expanded set of tools to achieve that goal.
In vivo evaluation of the cornea and conjunctiva of the normal laboratory beagle using time‐and Fourier‐domain optical coherence tomography and ultrasound pachymetry
Veterinary ophthalmology, 19(1), pp.50-56
Functional and Structural Effects of Subretinal Dose Delivery in Mice
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 56(7), pp.245-245
Exciting directions in glaucoma
Can J Ophthalmol. 2014 Dec;49(6):534-43. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjo.2014.08.007.
Glaucoma is a complex, life-long disease that requires an individualized, multifaceted approach to treatment. Most patients will be started on topical ocular hypotensive eyedrop therapy, and over time multiple classes of drugs will be needed to control their intraocular pressure. The search for drugs with novel mechanisms of action, to treat those who do not achieve adequate intraocular pressure control with, or become refractory to, current therapeutics, is ongoing, as is the search for more efficient, targeted drug delivery methods. Gene-transfer and stem-cell applications for glaucoma therapeutics are moving forward. Advances in imaging technologies improve our understanding of glaucoma pathophysiology and enable more refined patient evaluation and monitoring, improving patient outcomes.
The trabecular meshwork in normal eyes and in exfoliation glaucoma
J Glaucoma. 2014 Oct-Nov;23(8 Suppl 1):S15-9. doi: 10.1097/IJG.0000000000000106.
Trabecular meshwork (TM) and ciliary muscle contraction and relaxation function together to provide control of outflow. The active role the TM plays in the regulation of intraocular pressure (IOP) is mediated by cytoskeletal and contractility mechanisms as well as signal/transduction factors that mediate its response to stressors. This complex system is altered with age and the glaucomas, and it can be difficult to differentiate between the various etiological effects/agents. Factors such as a compromised antioxidant defense system and altered extracellular matrix metabolism are known to contribute to impaired outflow and may be common to primary open-angle glaucoma, exfoliation syndrome, and exfoliation glaucoma (XFG). Genes differentially expressed in diseased ocular tissue or in cultured HTM cell models, and thus implicated in the disease process, include SOD2, ALDH1A1, MGST1, LOX, and LOXL1, elements of the transforming growth factor-β/bone morphogenetic protein/SMAD signaling pathways, connective tissue growth factor, matrix metalloproteinase-2, a tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases also known as TIMP-2, and endothelin-1 (ET-1). In exfoliation syndrome and XFG fibrillar, proteinaceous extracellular material is produced in excess and accumulates in both outflow pathways but does not always lead to elevated IOP. Locally produced material may accumulate in the intertrabecular spaces, juxtacanalicular (JCT) meshwork, and the inner wall of Schlemm's canal as a result of a combination of both excessive synthesis and insufficient degradation. An increase in JCT plaque and decreased cellularity in the TM are thought to contribute to decreased outflow facility in glaucoma patients, but XFG patient specimens show reduced extracellular plaque material in the JCT, and the structural integrity of trabecular endothelial cells is mostly retained and cellularity remains unchanged. The distinctions between causes/effects of structural changes leading to reduced outflow/elevated IOP are important for developing effective, individualized treatment strategies.
Latrunculin B Reduces Intraocular Pressure in Human Ocular Hypertension and Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma
Transl Vis Sci Technol. 2014 Sep 3;3(5):1. doi: 10.1167/tvst.3.5.1. eCollection 2014 Sep.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the safety, tolerability, and intraocular pressure (IOP)-lowering effect of Latrunculin-B (Lat-B), a marine macrolide that disrupts the actin cytoskeleton, in patients with ocular hypertension (OHT) or early primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG).
METHODS: In this Phase I, multicenter, double-masked, randomized, placebo-controlled, ascending-dose study, subjects with bilateral OHT or early POAG (>22 mm Hg) received one of four concentrations of INS115644 (Lat-B ophthalmic solutions, 0.005%, 0.01%, 0.02%, or 0.05%) in one eye over 3 days (5 single-dose instillations, separated by 12 hours). One eye was randomly assigned to active drug, the other to placebo. IOP was measured prior to treatment initiation (day 0) and on days 1 and 3.
RESULTS: Baseline IOPs were 22.9 ± 2.4 mm Hg and 23.5 + 3.1 mm Hg in the 0.02% and 0.05% dose groups, respectively. At 4 hours post instillation of the first dose, 0.02% INS115644 reduced IOP from baseline (mean ± SE) by 3.8 ± 0.7 mm Hg (P = 0.002) and 0.05% by 3.9 ± 1.0 mm Hg (P = 0.004). A maximum IOP decrease of 24% was noted at 4 hours after the fifth instillation of 0.02%. Adjusting for diurnal baseline and IOP in the contralateral, placebo-treated eye, the maximal 12-hour hypotensive effect was 4.0 ± 0.5 mm Hg (adjusted mean ± SE), a 17% decrease, following the fifth instillation of 0.02% (day 3). Adverse events were few and consisted mainly of mild redness, irritation, and a transient, clinically insignificant increase (≤2.5%) in central corneal thickness.
CONCLUSIONS: In OHT or POAG patients, twice daily Lat-B significantly lowered IOP compared with contralateral, placebo-treated eyes, with few and mild ocular adverse events.
TRANSLATIONAL RELEVANCE: Lat-B may be a potential therapeutic agent for glaucoma.
Prospects for lentiviral vector mediated prostaglandin F synthase gene delivery in monkey eyes in vivo
Curr Eye Res. 2014 Sep;39(9):859-70. doi: 10.3109/02713683.2014.884593. Epub 2014 Feb 21.
Currently, the most effective outflow drugs approved for clinical use are prostaglandin F2α analogues, but these require daily topical self-dosing and have various intraocular, ocular surface and extraocular side effects. Lentiviral vector-mediated delivery of the prostaglandin F synthase (PGFS) gene, resulting in long-term reduction of intraocular pressure (IOP), may eliminate off-target tissue effects and the need for daily topical PGF2α self-administration. Lentiviral vector-mediated delivery of the PGFS gene to the anterior segment has been achieved in cats and non-human primates. Although these results are encouraging, our studies have identified a number of challenges that need to be overcome for prostaglandin gene therapy to be translated into the clinic. Using examples from our work in non-human primates, where we were able to achieve a significant reduction in IOP (2 mm Hg) for 5 months after delivery of the cDNA for bovine PGF synthase, we identify and discuss these issues and consider several possible solutions.
Application of canaloplasty in glaucoma gene therapy: where are we?
J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Mar-Apr;30(2-3):277-82. doi: 10.1089/jop.2013.0203. Epub 2014 Feb 10.
PURPOSE: Schlemm's canal (SC) inner wall is adjacent to the juxtacanalicular trabecular meshwork (TM) over their entire circumference. We seek to transfer reporter and therapeutic genes to these outflow-modulating tissues via canaloplasty surgery in live monkeys.
METHODS: A standard canaloplasty surgical approach was performed in cynomolgus monkeys using flexible canaloplasty catheters, modified for monkey eyes with a 175-μm outer diameter and an LED-lighted tip. A 6-0 prolene suture was used for the exact localization of SC. Trypan blue was injected during catheter withdrawal to document catheter placement within SC and to determine ease of injecting fluid into SC. Before, during, and after the injection, the position of the catheter and the anatomic details were video-captured with an externally positioned noncontact endoscopic imaging system and 50 mHz ultrasound biomicroscopy (UBM).
RESULTS: A 360° catheterization and injection of dye into SC was achieved. Suture, catheter, and trypan blue were imaged with the endoscope camera system and the catheter was also visualized with UBM. Trypan blue was seen in the SC over 5 clock hours after a 1 clock-hour insertion of the catheter.
CONCLUSIONS: A modified canaloplasty catheter device might be used for gene delivery to the SC/TM area without circumferential catheterization. Further studies comparing different delivery methods of the vector/transgene into the SC using canaloplasty are needed.
Benzalkonium chloride and glaucoma
J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Mar-Apr;30(2-3):163-9. doi: 10.1089/jop.2013.0174. Epub 2013 Nov 8.
Glaucoma patients routinely take multiple medications, with multiple daily doses, for years or even decades. Benzalkonium chloride (BAK) is the most common preservative in glaucoma medications. BAK has been detected in the trabecular meshwork (TM), corneal endothelium, lens, and retina after topical drop installation and may accumulate in those tissues. There is evidence that BAK causes corneal and conjunctival toxicity, including cell loss, disruption of tight junctions, apoptosis and preapoptosis, cytoskeleton changes, and immunoinflammatory reactions. These same effects have been reported in cultured human TM cells exposed to concentrations of BAK found in common glaucoma drugs and in the TM of primary open-angle glaucoma donor eyes. It is possible that a relationship exists between chronic exposure to BAK and glaucoma. The hypothesis that BAK causes/worsens glaucoma is being tested experimentally in an animal model that closely reflects human physiology.
Emerging Imaging Technologies for Assessing Ocular Toxicity in Laboratory Animals
Molecular and Integrative Toxicology, Springer, New York, pp 53-121 (2013)
Inner Nuclear Layer (INL) Cystoid Spaces (Lacunae) Observed in Experimental Glaucoma and Axotomy in Non-Human Primates (NHPs)
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 54(15), pp.4818-4818
Electrophysiologic Correlates of RNFL Thickness in Experimental Glaucoma
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 54(15), pp.794-794
Optical coherence tomography for the evaluation of retinal and optic nerve morphology in animal subjects: practical considerations
Vet Ophthalmol. 2012 Sep;15 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):13-28. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-5224.2012.01045.x. Epub 2012 Jul 16.
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a noninvasive, noncontact imaging technique capable of producing high-resolution images of the retina and optic nerve. These images provide information that is useful for following the progression and/or resolution of posterior segment disease. Rapid advances in OCT technology allow the acquisition of increasingly detailed images, approaching the original goal of providing in vivo histopathology. Increases in scan acquisition speeds and axial resolution enhance the clinical diagnostic value of this modality. Adapting instrumentation designed for use in human patients for use in animals can be challenging. Each species has a unique set of adjustments that need to be made but it is possible to obtain reproducible, high-quality OCT images in a variety of animals, including rodents, dogs, cats, pigs, and monkeys. Deriving quantitative measurements from OCT instruments is hindered by software algorithm errors in detecting the edges of the distinct retinal layers. These segmentation errors occur in scans of human eyes as well in other species and arise with similar frequency with each of the different OCT instruments. Manual segmentation methods to derive optic nerve head and other structural indices have been developed for several species.
Optical coherence tomography for the evaluation of retinal and optic nerve morphology in animal subjects: practical considerations
Veterinary ophthalmology, 15, pp.13-28
Subretinal Administration of Fluorescent Microspheres in the Minipig
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 52(14), pp.1358-1358.
Effect of nitric oxide compounds on monkey ciliary muscle in vitro
Exp Eye Res. 2011 Sep;93(3):321-7. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2010.12.003. Epub 2010 Dec 10.
The effects of various nitric oxide compounds and their inhibitors on monkey ciliary muscle contraction in vitro were investigated in both the longitudinal and circular vectors. The responses to nitric oxide compounds in carbachol precontracted ciliary muscle consisted of an initial relaxation often followed by recovery to near carbachol precontracted levels while the compound was still present. Sodium nitroprusside produced the greatest relaxation responses (nearly 100% relaxation in both vectors at 10(-3) M). The highest concentrations of isosorbide dinitrate (10(-4) M) and L-arginine (10(-3) M) produced relaxation responses of approximately 50% in both vectors. 8-Bromo cyclic GMP produced the smallest relaxation responses (25-35%). Nitric oxide synthase inhibition enhanced carbachol contraction up to 20% in the longitudinal but not the circular vector. Phosphodiesterase inhibition did not further enhance the relaxation response to L-arginine. Guanylate cyclase inhibition partially attenuated the relaxation response to sodium nitroprusside. Nitric oxide generating compounds were effective in relaxing precontracted monkey ciliary muscle in vitro. Endogenous production of nitric oxide is likely involved in the regulation of the contractile response in monkey ciliary muscle. Nitric oxide generating compounds may have potential value in therapeutic areas where modulation of ciliary muscle tension is desirable.
Spectral domain OCT segmentation accuracy in monkeys
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 51(13), pp.4401-4401
Self-complementary AAV virus (scAAV) safe and long-term gene transfer in the trabecular meshwork of living rats and monkeys
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010 Jan;51(1):236-48. doi: 10.1167/iovs.09-3847. Epub 2009 Aug 13.
PURPOSE: AAV vectors produce stable transgene expression and elicit low immune response in many tissues. AAVs have been the vectors of choice for gene therapy for the eye, in particular the retina. scAAVs are modified AAVs that bypass the required second-strand DNA synthesis to achieve transcription of the transgene. The goal was to investigate the ability of AAV vectors to induce long-term, safe delivery of transgenes to the trabecular meshwork of living animals.
METHODS: Single doses of AAV2.GFP and AAV2.RGD.GFP/Ad5.LacZ were injected intracamerally (IC) into rats (n = 28 eyes). A single dose of scAAV.GFP was IC-injected into rats (n = 72 eyes) and cynomolgus monkeys (n = 3). GFP expression was evaluated by fluorescence, immunohistochemistry, and noninvasive gonioscopy. Intraocular pressure (IOP) was measured with calibrated tonometer (rats) and Goldmann tonometer (monkeys). Differential expression of scAAV-infected human trabecular meshwork cells (HTM) was determined by microarrays. Humoral and cell-mediated immune responses were evaluated by ELISA and peripheral blood proliferation assays.
RESULTS: No GFP transduction was observed on the anterior segment tissues of AAV-injected rats up to 27 days after injection. In contrast, scAAV2 transduced the trabecular meshwork very efficiently, with a fast onset (4 days). Eyes remained clear and no adverse effects were observed. Transgene expression lasted >3.5 months in rats and >2.35 years in monkeys.
CONCLUSIONS: The scAAV viral vector provides prolonged and safe transduction in the trabecular meshwork of rats and monkeys. The stable expression and safe properties of this vector could facilitate the development of trabecular meshwork drugs for gene therapy for glaucoma.
Evaluation of EIAV Based Lentiviral Vectors Following Ocular Delivery in the Nonhuman Primate Model: Development of RetinoStat®
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 49(13), pp.5340-5340