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      Antecedents of Soft Drusen, the Specific Deposits of Age-Related Macular Degeneration, in the Biology of Human Macula

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          Abstract

          AMD pathobiology was irreversibly changed by the recent discovery of extracellular cholesterol-containing deposits in the subretinal space, between the photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), called subretinal drusenoid deposits (SDDs). SDDs strikingly mirror the topography of rod photoreceptors in human macula, raising the question of whether an equivalent process results in a deposition related to foveal cones. Herein we propose that AMD's pathognomonic lesion—soft drusen and basal linear deposit (BLinD, same material, diffusely distributed)—is the leading candidate. Epidemiologic, clinical, and histologic data suggest that these deposits are most abundant in the central macula, under the fovea. Strong evidence presented in a companion article supports the idea that the dominant ultrastructural component is large apolipoprotein B,E–containing lipoproteins, constitutively secreted by RPE. Lipoprotein fatty acids are dominated by linoleate (implicating diet) rather than docosahexaenoate (implicating photoreceptors); we seek within the retina cellular relationships and dietary drivers to explain soft druse topography. The delivery of xanthophyll pigments to highly evolved and numerous Müller cells in the human fovea, through RPE, is one strong candidate, because Müller cells are the main reservoir of these pigments, which replenish from diet. We propose that the evolution of neuroglial relations and xanthophyll delivery that underlie exquisite human foveal vision came with a price, that is, soft drusen and sequela, long after our reproductive years.

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          Most cited references 193

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          Grading diabetic retinopathy from stereoscopic color fundus photographs--an extension of the modified Airlie House classification. ETDRS report number 10. Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study Research Group.

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          The modified Airlie House classification of diabetic retinopathy has been extended for use in the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS). The revised classification provides additional steps in the grading scale for some characteristics, separates other characteristics previously combined, expands the section on macular edema, and adds several characteristics not previously graded. The classification is described and illustrated and its reproducibility between graders is assessed by calculating percentages of agreement and kappa statistics for duplicate gradings of baseline color nonsimultaneous stereoscopic fundus photographs. For retinal hemorrhages and/or microaneurysms, hard exudates, new vessels, fibrous proliferations, and macular edema, agreement was substantial (weighted kappa, 0.61 to 0.80). For soft exudates, intraretinal microvascular abnormalities, and venous beading, agreement was moderate (weighted kappa, 0.41 to 0.60). A double grading system, with adjudication of disagreements of two or more steps between duplicate gradings, led to some improvement in reproducibility for most characteristics.
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            Exome-wide association study of plasma lipids in >300,000 individuals

            We screened DNA sequence variants on an exome-focused genotyping array in >300,000 participants with replication in >280,000 participants and identified 444 independent variants in 250 loci significantly associated with total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and/or triglycerides (TG). At two loci (JAK2 and A1CF), experimental analysis in mice revealed lipid changes consistent with the human data. We utilized mapped variants to address four clinically relevant questions and found the following: (1) beta-thalassemia trait carriers displayed lower TC and were protected from coronary artery disease; (2) outside of the CETP locus, there was not a predictable relationship between plasma HDL-C and risk for age-related macular degeneration; (3) only some mechanisms of lowering LDL-C seemed to increase risk for type 2 diabetes; and (4) TG-lowering alleles involved in hepatic production of TG-rich lipoproteins (e.g., TM6SF2, PNPLA3) tracked with higher liver fat, higher risk for type 2 diabetes, and lower risk for coronary artery disease whereas TG-lowering alleles involved in peripheral lipolysis (e.g., LPL, ANGPTL4) had no effect on liver fat but lowered risks for both type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease.
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              Genetic variants near TIMP3 and high-density lipoprotein-associated loci influence susceptibility to age-related macular degeneration.

              We executed a genome-wide association scan for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in 2,157 cases and 1,150 controls. Our results validate AMD susceptibility loci near CFH (P < 10(-75)), ARMS2 (P < 10(-59)), C2/CFB (P < 10(-20)), C3 (P < 10(-9)), and CFI (P < 10(-6)). We compared our top findings with the Tufts/Massachusetts General Hospital genome-wide association study of advanced AMD (821 cases, 1,709 controls) and genotyped 30 promising markers in additional individuals (up to 7,749 cases and 4,625 controls). With these data, we identified a susceptibility locus near TIMP3 (overall P = 1.1 x 10(-11)), a metalloproteinase involved in degradation of the extracellular matrix and previously implicated in early-onset maculopathy. In addition, our data revealed strong association signals with alleles at two loci (LIPC, P = 1.3 x 10(-7); CETP, P = 7.4 x 10(-7)) that were previously associated with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) levels in blood. Consistent with the hypothesis that HDL metabolism is associated with AMD pathogenesis, we also observed association with AMD of HDL-c-associated alleles near LPL (P = 3.0 x 10(-3)) and ABCA1 (P = 5.6 x 10(-4)). Multilocus analysis including all susceptibility loci showed that 329 of 331 individuals (99%) with the highest-risk genotypes were cases, and 85% of these had advanced AMD. Our studies extend the catalog of AMD associated loci, help identify individuals at high risk of disease, and provide clues about underlying cellular pathways that should eventually lead to new therapies.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci
                Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci
                iovs
                Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci
                IOVS
                Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science
                The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
                0146-0404
                1552-5783
                March 2018
                : 59
                : 4
                : AMD182-AMD194
                Affiliations
                [1]Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, United States
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Christine A. Curcio, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, EyeSight Foundation of Alabama Vision Research Laboratories, 1670 University Boulevard Room 360, University of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham, AL 35294-0019, USA; christinecurcio@ 123456uabmc.edu .
                Article
                iovs-59-04-18 IOVS-18-24883
                10.1167/iovs.18-24883
                6733529
                30357337
                912e88ce-09fb-43ed-8baa-75b3dc1bdfe3
                Copyright 2018 The Authors

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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