Ocular and systemic vascular function in human ageing

  • Lu Qin

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The importance of vascular risk factors in various age-related pathologies has been extensively researched. Nevertheless, the haemodynamic disturbance occurring in various ocular and systemic vascular beds to impact upon ocular function remained largely unknown. The purpose of the following studies was to explore the presence and impact of both ocular and systemic vascular dysregulation as well as biochemical vascular risk factors in healthy elderly individuals and patients with age-related macular degeneration. Furthermore, the possible role was played by circulatory oxidative stress and its relationship with endothelial dysfunction at both ocular and systemic levels has also been investigated. There were four principal sections to the present work:
1. To assess the relationship between ocular and systemic anti-oxidative defence in healthy individuals
The principal findings of this work were:
-It has been shown that MPOD significantly and positively related with circulatory GSH levels.
2. To investigate macro- and microcirculation and oxidative stress in early AMD patients without overt systemic disease
The principal findings of this work were:
-AMD patients exhibit abnormal macrocirculation compared to the controls.
-Blood GSSG level was significantly higher in early AMD patients than controls.
-AMD patients showed abnormal microcirculation at retinal level compared.
-In early AMD patients, retinal venous RT positively correlated with blood GSSG levels.
3. To assess the relationship between ocular vascular function and circulatory markers of endothelial dysfunction and CVD risk
The principal findings of this work were:
-Age had a positive effect on ET-1, vWF and slope of retinal arterial constriction in otherwise healthy individuals.
-Even in otherwise healthy individuals, retinal arterial vascular function showed a significant correlation with circulatory markers of endothelial dysfunction and CVD risk.
4. To assess age-related changes in ANS and vascular function, and their relationship to retinal vascular function parameters
The principal findings of this work were:
-Elderly individuals demonstrated abnormal circadian changes of PSNS activity compared to middle-aged group.
-Elderly groups showed higher ET-1 and vWF level as well as C-IMT and AIx, and also impaired retinal vascular function compared to the middle-aged group.
-In the elderly group, impaired retinal vascular function significantly correlated with the dysregulation of PSNS activity.
Date of Award30 May 2012
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorDoina Gherghel (Supervisor)


  • retinal vascular function
  • oxidative stress
  • endothelial function
  • age-related macular degeneration

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