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.
Exciting directions in glaucoma.
Can J Ophthalmol. 2014 Dec;49(6):534-43
Authors: Rasmussen CA, Kaufman PL
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.
PMID: 25433744 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Latrunculin B Reduces Intraocular Pressure in Human Ocular Hypertension and Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma.
Transl Vis Sci Technol. 2014 Sep;3(5):1
Authors: Rasmussen CA, Kaufman PL, Ritch R, Haque R, Brazzell RK, Vittitow JL
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.
PMID: 25237590 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Application of canaloplasty in glaucoma gene therapy: where are we?
J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Mar-Apr;30(2-3):277-82
Authors: Aktas Z, Tian B, McDonald J, Yamamato R, Larsen C, Kiland J, Kaufman PL, Rasmussen CA
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.
PMID: 24512297 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Benzalkonium chloride and glaucoma.
J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Mar-Apr;30(2-3):163-9
Authors: Rasmussen CA, Kaufman PL, Kiland JA
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.
PMID: 24205938 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Structural and functional effects of hemiretinal endodiathermy axotomy in cynomolgus macaques.
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 May;54(5):3479-92
Authors: Dashek RJ, Kim CB, Rasmussen CA, Hennes-Beean EA, Ver Hoeve JN, Nork TM
PURPOSE: Outer retinal injury has been well described in glaucoma. To better understand the source of this injury, we wanted to develop a reliable model of partial retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axotomy.
METHODS: Endodiathermy spots were placed along the inferior 180° adjacent to the optic nerve margin in the right eyes of four cynomolgus monkeys. Fluorescein angiography, spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT), and multifocal electroretinography (mfERG) were performed at various intervals. Two animals were sacrificed at 3 months. Two animals were sacrificed at 4 months, at which time they underwent an injection of fluorescent microspheres to measure regional choroidal blood flow. Retinal immunohistochemistry for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), rhodopsin, S-cone opsin, and M/L-cone opsin were performed, as were axon counts of the optic nerves.
RESULTS: At 3 months, there was marked thinning of the inferior nerve fiber layer on SD-OCT. The mfERG waveforms were consistent with inner but not outer retinal injury. Greater than 95% reduction in axons was seen in the inferior optic nerves but no secondary degeneration superiorly. There was marked thinning of the nerve fiber and ganglion cell layers in the inferior retinas. However, the photoreceptor histology was similar in the axotomized and nonaxotomized areas. Regional choroidal blood flow was not affected by the axotomy.
CONCLUSIONS: Unlike experimental glaucoma, hemiretinal endodiathermy axotomy (HEA) of the RGCs produces no apparent anatomic, functional, or blood flow effects on the outer retina and choroid.
PMID: 23620427 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Optical coherence tomography for the evaluation of retinal and optic nerve morphology in animal subjects: practical considerations.
Vet Ophthalmol. 2012 Sep;15 Suppl 2:13-28
Authors: McLellan GJ, Rasmussen CA
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.
PMID: 22805095 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Structure/function studies and the effects of memantine in monkeys with experimental glaucoma.
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012 Apr;53(4):2368-76
Authors: Gabelt BT, Rasmussen CA, Tektas OY, Kim CB, Peterson JC, Nork TM, Ver Hoeve JN, Lütjen-Drecoll E, Kaufman PL
Purpose. The scanning laser polarimetry with variable corneal compensation (GDx VCC) methodology was established and verified in monkeys with experimental glaucoma (ExpG). Terminal GDx parameters were correlated with axon counts and electrophysiologic measures. The effects of memantine on these parameters were investigated. Methods. ExpG was induced in monkeys and intraocular pressure monitored weekly. Some monkeys received memantine in their diet before and after ExpG induction (1-10 months). GDx VCC scans, stereophotographs, and multifocal visual evoked potential (mfVEP) data were collected at baseline and every 6 to 8 weeks until euthanasia. Optic nerves were prepared for axon counting and other morphologic analysis. Results. There was no difference in IOP elevation exposure between memantine-treated and no-memantine-treated monkeys. The percentage of the optic nerve area composed of connective tissue septa was significantly greater in ExpG eyes than in Fellow eyes. There was a strong positive correlation between axon counts and terminal GDx parameter measures. Animals not receiving memantine exhibited significantly lower mfVEP amplitudes in ExpG eyes compared with the ipsilateral baseline or the final value in the Fellow eye. ExpG eyes from memantine-treated animals had higher overall mean amplitudes that were not significantly different relative to the ipsilateral baseline and final amplitudes in the Fellow eye. Conclusions. The authors' studies confirm that GDx VCC can be utilized in monkey ExpG studies to detect early retinal structural changes and that these changes are highly correlated with optic nerve axon counts. These structural changes may or may not lead to central functional changes as shown by the mfVEP in response to investigational therapies.
PMID: 22427549 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Effect of nitric oxide compounds on monkey ciliary muscle in vitro.
Exp Eye Res. 2011 Sep;93(3):321-7
Authors: Gabelt BT, Kaufman PL, Rasmussen CA
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.
PMID: 21147103 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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
Authors: Buie LK, Rasmussen CA, Porterfield EC, Ramgolam VS, Choi VW, Markovic-Plese S, Samulski RJ, Kaufman PL, Borrás T
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.
PMID: 19684004 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]