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      Regression of Some High-risk Features of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) in Patients Receiving Intensive Statin Treatment

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          Abstract

          Importance

          Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) remains the leading cause of blindness in developed countries, and affects more than 150 million worldwide. Despite effective anti-angiogenic therapies for the less prevalent neovascular form of AMD, treatments are lacking for the more prevalent dry form. Similarities in risk factors and pathogenesis between AMD and atherosclerosis have led investigators to study the effects of statins on AMD incidence and progression with mixed results. A limitation of these studies has been the heterogeneity of AMD disease and the lack of standardization in statin dosage.

          Objective

          We were interested in studying the effects of high-dose statins, similar to those showing regression of atherosclerotic plaques, in AMD.

          Design

          Pilot multicenter open-label prospective clinical study of 26 patients with diagnosis of AMD and the presence of many large, soft drusenoid deposits. Patients received 80 mg of atorvastatin daily and were monitored at baseline and every 3 months with complete ophthalmologic exam, best corrected visual acuity (VA), fundus photographs, optical coherence tomography (OCT), and blood work (AST, ALT, CPK, total cholesterol, TSH, creatinine, as well as a pregnancy test for premenopausal women).

          Results

          Twenty-three subjects completed a minimum follow-up of 12 months. High-dose atorvastatin resulted in regression of drusen deposits associated with vision gain (+ 3.3 letters, p = 0.06) in 10 patients. No subjects progressed to advanced neovascular AMD.

          Conclusions

          High-dose statins may result in resolution of drusenoid pigment epithelial detachments (PEDs) and improvement in VA, without atrophy or neovascularization in a high-risk subgroup of AMD patients. Confirmation from larger studies is warranted.

          Highlights

          • High dose lipophilic statin administration was associated with regression of large soft drusen and vision gain in 10/23 AMD patients.

          • Duration of treatment before a positive response was observed was usually 1–1.5 years.

          • Patients on high-dose statin appeared to be protected from progression to “wet” neovascular-AMD.

          There is a lack of effective therapies for dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the leading causes of blindness affecting millions. Although AMD shares similarities with atherosclerosis, prior studies on statins and AMD have failed to show improvement. A limitation of these studies has been the heterogeneity of AMD disease and the lack of standardization in statin dosage. Here, we present for the first time evidence that treatment with high-dose atorvastatin (80 mg) is associated with regression of lipid deposits and improvement in visual acuity, without atrophy or neovascularization, in high-risk AMD patients.

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          Most cited references 65

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          Drusen proteome analysis: an approach to the etiology of age-related macular degeneration.

          Drusen are extracellular deposits that accumulate below the retinal pigment epithelium on Bruch's membrane and are risk factors for developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The progression of AMD might be slowed or halted if the formation of drusen could be modulated. To work toward a molecular understanding of drusen formation, we have developed a method for isolating microgram quantities of drusen and Bruch's membrane for proteome analysis. Liquid chromatography tandem MS analyses of drusen preparations from 18 normal donors and five AMD donors identified 129 proteins. Immunocytochemical studies have thus far localized approximately 16% of these proteins in drusen. Tissue metalloproteinase inhibitor 3, clusterin, vitronectin, and serum albumin were the most common proteins observed in normal donor drusen whereas crystallin was detected more frequently in AMD donor drusen. Up to 65% of the proteins identified were found in drusen from both AMD and normal donors. However, oxidative protein modifications were also observed, including apparent crosslinked species of tissue metalloproteinase inhibitor 3 and vitronectin, and carboxyethyl pyrrole protein adducts. Carboxyethyl pyrrole adducts are uniquely generated from the oxidation of docosahexaenoate-containing lipids. By Western analysis they were found to be more abundant in AMD than in normal Bruch's membrane and were found associated with drusen proteins. Carboxymethyl lysine, another oxidative modification, was also detected in drusen. These data strongly support the hypothesis that oxidative injury contributes to the pathogenesis of AMD and suggest that oxidative protein modifications may have a critical role in drusen formation.
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            Effect of very high-intensity statin therapy on regression of coronary atherosclerosis: the ASTEROID trial.

            Prior intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) trials have demonstrated slowing or halting of atherosclerosis progression with statin therapy but have not shown convincing evidence of regression using percent atheroma volume (PAV), the most rigorous IVUS measure of disease progression and regression. To assess whether very intensive statin therapy could regress coronary atherosclerosis as determined by IVUS imaging. Prospective, open-label blinded end-points trial (A Study to Evaluate the Effect of Rosuvastatin on Intravascular Ultrasound-Derived Coronary Atheroma Burden [ASTEROID]) was performed at 53 community and tertiary care centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. A motorized IVUS pullback was used to assess coronary atheroma burden at baseline and after 24 months of treatment. Each pair of baseline and follow-up IVUS assessments was analyzed in a blinded fashion. Between November 2002 and October 2003, 507 patients had a baseline IVUS examination and received at least 1 dose of study drug. After 24 months, 349 patients had evaluable serial IVUS examinations. All patients received intensive statin therapy with rosuvastatin, 40 mg/d. Two primary efficacy parameters were prespecified: the change in PAV and the change in nominal atheroma volume in the 10-mm subsegment with the greatest disease severity at baseline. A secondary efficacy variable, change in normalized total atheroma volume for the entire artery, was also prespecified. The mean (SD) baseline low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) level of 130.4 (34.3) mg/dL declined to 60.8 (20.0) mg/dL, a mean reduction of 53.2% (P<.001). Mean (SD) high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) level at baseline was 43.1 (11.1) mg/dL, increasing to 49.0 (12.6) mg/dL, an increase of 14.7% (P<.001). The mean (SD) change in PAV for the entire vessel was -0.98% (3.15%), with a median of -0.79% (97.5% CI, -1.21% to -0.53%) (P<.001 vs baseline). The mean (SD) change in atheroma volume in the most diseased 10-mm subsegment was -6.1 (10.1) mm3, with a median of -5.6 mm3 (97.5% CI, -6.8 to -4.0 mm3) (P<.001 vs baseline). Change in total atheroma volume showed a 6.8% median reduction; with a mean (SD) reduction of -14.7 (25.7) mm3, with a median of -12.5 mm3 (95% CI, -15.1 to -10.5 mm3) (P<.001 vs baseline). Adverse events were infrequent and similar to other statin trials. Very high-intensity statin therapy using rosuvastatin 40 mg/d achieved an average LDL-C of 60.8 mg/dL and increased HDL-C by 14.7%, resulting in significant regression of atherosclerosis for all 3 prespecified IVUS measures of disease burden. Treatment to LDL-C levels below currently accepted guidelines, when accompanied by significant HDL-C increases, can regress atherosclerosis in coronary disease patients. Further studies are needed to determine the effect of the observed changes on clinical outcome. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00240318.
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              Effect of intensive compared with moderate lipid-lowering therapy on progression of coronary atherosclerosis: a randomized controlled trial.

              Statin drugs reduce both atherogenic lipoproteins and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. However, the optimal strategy and target level for lipid reduction remain uncertain. To compare the effect of regimens designed to produce intensive lipid lowering or moderate lipid lowering on coronary artery atheroma burden and progression. Double-blind, randomized active control multicenter trial (Reversal of Atherosclerosis with Aggressive Lipid Lowering [REVERSAL]) performed at 34 community and tertiary care centers in the United States comparing the effects of 2 different statins administered for 18 months. Intravascular ultrasound was used to measure progression of atherosclerosis. Between June 1999 and September 2001, 654 patients were randomized and received study drug; 502 had evaluable intravascular ultrasound examinations at baseline and after 18 months of treatment. Patients were randomly assigned to receive a moderate lipid-lowering regimen consisting of 40 mg of pravastatin or an intensive lipid-lowering regimen consisting of 80 mg of atorvastatin. The primary efficacy parameter was the percentage change in atheroma volume (follow-up minus baseline). Baseline low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level (mean, 150.2 mg/dL [3.89 mmol/L] in both treatment groups) was reduced to 110 mg/dL (2.85 mmol/L) in the pravastatin group and to 79 mg/dL (2.05 mmol/L) in the atorvastatin group (P<.001). C-reactive protein decreased 5.2% with pravastatin and 36.4% with atorvastatin (P<.001). The primary end point (percentage change in atheroma volume) showed a significantly lower progression rate in the atorvastatin (intensive) group (P =.02). Similar differences between groups were observed for secondary efficacy parameters, including change in total atheroma volume (P =.02), change in percentage atheroma volume (P<.001), and change in atheroma volume in the most severely diseased 10-mm vessel subsegment (P<.01). For the primary end point, progression of coronary atherosclerosis occurred in the pravastatin group (2.7%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.2% to 4.7%; P =.001) compared with baseline. Progression did not occur in the atorvastatin group (-0.4%; CI -2.4% to 1.5%; P =.98) compared with baseline. For patients with coronary heart disease, intensive lipid-lowering treatment with atorvastatin reduced progression of coronary atherosclerosis compared with pravastatin. Compared with baseline values, patients treated with atorvastatin had no change in atheroma burden, whereas patients treated with pravastatin showed progression of coronary atherosclerosis. These differences may be related to the greater reduction in atherogenic lipoproteins and C- reactive protein in patients treated with atorvastatin.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                EBioMedicine
                EBioMedicine
                EBioMedicine
                Elsevier
                2352-3964
                04 February 2016
                March 2016
                04 February 2016
                : 5
                : 198-203
                Affiliations
                Retina Service, Department of Ophthalmology, Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
                Retina Service, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Crete, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding authors at: 243 Charles St., Boston, MA 02114, USA.243 Charles St.BostonMA02114USA vavvas@ 123456meei.harvard.edu joan_miller@ 123456meei.harvard.edu
                Article
                S2352-3964(16)30029-9
                10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.01.033
                4816836
                27077128
                © 2016 The Authors

                This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

                Categories
                Research Paper

                amd, statins, high-dose, reversal, soft-drusen, vision gain

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