Patients with early age-related macular degeneration exhibit signs of macro- and micro-vascular disease and abnormal blood glutathione levels

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Background: This pilot study aimed to investigate systemic and retinal vascular function and their relationship to circulatory markers of cardiovascular risk in early age-related macular degeneration (AMD) patients without any already diagnosed systemic vascular pathologies. Methods: Fourteen patients diagnosed with early AMD and 14 age- and gender-matched healthy controls underwent blood pressure, carotid intima-media thickness (C-IMT) and peripheral arterial stiffness measurements. Retinal vascular reactivity was assessed by means of dynamic retinal vessel analysis (DVA) using a modified protocol. Blood analyses were conducted for glutathione levels and plasma levels of total cholesterol (CHOL), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglycerides (TG). Results: The AMD patients showed significantly greater C-IMT (p = 0.029) and augmentation index (AIx) (p = 0.042) than the age-matched controls. In addition, they demonstrated a shallower retinal arterial dilation slope (Slope AD) (p = 0.005) and a longer retinal venous reaction time (RT) to flickering light (p = 0.026). Blood analyses also revealed that AMD patients exhibited higher oxidized glutathione (GSSG) (p = 0.024), lower redox index (p = 0.043) and higher LDL-C (p = 0.033) levels than the controls. Venous RT parameter correlated positively with blood GSSG levels (r = 0.58, p = 0.038) in AMD subjects, but not in the controls (p > 0.05). Conclusions: Patients diagnosed with early AMD exhibit signs of systemic and retinal vascular alterations that correlated with known risk markers for future cardiovascular morbidity. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-30
Number of pages8
JournalGraefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number1
Early online date11 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2014


  • age-related macular degeneration, cardiovascular risk, oxidative stress, retinal vascular function

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