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Increased High Density Lipoprotein-levels associated with Age-related Macular degeneration. Evidence from the EYE-RISK and E3 Consortia

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J.M. Colijn, A.I den Hollander, A. Demirkan, A. Cougnard-Grégoire, T. Verzijden, E. Kersten, M.A. Meester, B.M.J. Merle, G. Papageorgiou, S. Ahmad, M.T. Mulder, M.A. Costa, P. Benlian, G. Bertelsen, A. Bron, B. Claes, C. Creuzot-Garcher, M.G. Erke, S. Fauser, P.J. Foster & 13 more C.J. Hammond, H.W. Hense, C.B. Hoyng, A.P. Khawaja, J. Korobelnik, S. Piermarocchi, T. Segato, R. Silva, E.H. Souied, K.M. Williams, C.M. van Duijn, C. Delcourt, C.C.W. Klaver

Original languageEnglish
Early online date10 Oct 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Oct 2018


King's Authors


Purpose Genetic and epidemiologic studies have shown that lipid genes and High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) are implicated in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). We studied circulating lipid levels in relation to AMD in a large European dataset, and investigated whether this relationship is driven by certain sub fractions. Design (Pooled) analysis of cross-sectional data. Participants 30,953 individuals aged 50+ participating in the E3 consortium; and 1530 individuals from the Rotterdam Study with lipid sub fraction data. Methods In E3, AMD features were graded per eye on fundus photographs using the Rotterdam Classification. Routine blood lipid measurements were available from each participant. Data on genetics, medication and confounders such as body mass index, were obtained from a common database. In a subgroup of the Rotterdam Study, lipid sub fractions were identified by the Nightingale biomarker platform. Random-intercepts mixed-effects models incorporating confounders and study site as a random-effect were used to estimate the associations. Main Outcome Measures early, late or any AMD, phenotypic features of early AMD, lipid measurements. Results HDL was associated with an increased risk of AMD, corrected for potential confounders (Odds Ratio (OR) 1.21 per 1mmol/L increase (95% confidence interval[CI] 1.14-1.29); while triglycerides were associated with a decreased risk (OR 0.94 per 1mmol/L increase [95%CI 0.91-0.97]). Both were associated with drusen size, higher HDL raises the odds of larger drusen while higher triglycerides decreases the odds. LDL-cholesterol only reached statistical significance in the association with early AMD (p=0.045). Regarding lipid sub fractions: the concentration of extra-large HDL particles showed the most prominent association with AMD (OR 1.24 [95%CI 1.10-1.40]). The CETP risk variant (rs17231506) for AMD was in line with increased-HDL levels (p=7.7x10-7); but LIPC risk variants (rs2043085, rs2070895) were associated in an opposite way (p=1.0x10-6 and 1.6x10-4). Conclusions Our study suggests that HDL-cholesterol is associated with increased risk of AMD and triglycerides negatively associated. Both show the strongest association with early AMD and drusen. Extra-large HDL sub fractions seem to be drivers in the relation with AMD, variants in lipid genes play a more ambiguous role in this association. Whether systemic lipids directly influence AMD or represent lipid metabolism in the retina remains a question to be answered.

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