Age-related Macular Degeneration

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Hughes S, Gumas J, Lee R, Rumano M, Berger N, Gautam AK, Sfyroera G, Chan AL, Gnanaguru G, Connor KM, Kim BJ, Dunaief JL, Ricklin D, Hajishengallis G, Yancopoulou D, Reis ES, Mastellos DC, Lambris JD. Prolonged intraocular residence and retinal tissue distribution of a fourth-generation compstatin-based C3 inhibitor in non-human primates. Clin Immunol 2020;214:108391.Abstract
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of irreversible vision loss among the elderly population. Genetic studies in susceptible individuals have linked this ocular disease to deregulated complement activity that culminates in increased C3 turnover, retinal inflammation and photoreceptor loss. Therapeutic targeting of C3 has therefore emerged as a promising strategy for broadly intercepting the detrimental proinflammatory consequences of complement activation in the retinal tissue. In this regard, a PEGylated second-generation derivative of the compstatin family of C3-targeted inhibitors is currently in late-stage clinical development as a treatment option for geographic atrophy, an advanced form of AMD which lacks approved therapy. While efficacy has been strongly suggested in phase 2 clinical trials, crucial aspects still remain to be defined with regard to the ocular bioavailability, tissue distribution and residence, and dosing frequency of such inhibitors in AMD patients. Here we report the intraocular distribution and pharmacokinetic profile of the fourth-generation compstatin analog, Cp40-KKK in cynomolgus monkeys following a single intravitreal injection. Using a sensitive surface plasmon resonance (SPR)-based competition assay and ELISA, we have quantified both the amount of inhibitor and the concentration of C3 retained in the vitreous of Cp40-KKK-injected animals. Cp40-KKK displays prolonged intraocular residence, being detected at C3-saturating levels for over 3 months after a single intravitreal injection. Moreover, we have probed the distribution of Cp40-KKK within the ocular tissue by means of immunohistochemistry and highly specific anti-Cp40-KKK antibodies. Both C3 and Cp40-KKK were detected in the retinal tissue of inhibitor-injected animals, with prominent co-localization in the choroid one-month post intravitreal injection. These results attest to the high retinal tissue penetrance and target-driven distribution of Cp40-KKK. Given its subnanomolar binding affinity and prolonged ocular residence, Cp40-KKK constitutes a promising drug candidate for ocular pathologies underpinned by deregulated C3 activation.
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Iacovelli J, Rowe GC, Khadka A, Diaz-Aguilar D, Spencer C, Arany Z, Saint-Geniez M. PGC-1α Induces Human RPE Oxidative Metabolism and Antioxidant Capacity. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2016;57(3):1038-51.Abstract

PURPOSE: Oxidative stress and metabolic dysregulation of the RPE have been implicated in AMD; however, the molecular regulation of RPE metabolism remains unclear. The transcriptional coactivator, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator 1α (PGC-1α) is a powerful mediator of mitochondrial function. This study examines the ability of PGC-1α to regulate RPE metabolic program and oxidative stress response. METHODS: Primary human fetal RPE (hfRPE) and ARPE-19 were matured in vitro using standard culture conditions. Mitochondrial mass of RPE was measured using MitoTracker staining and citrate synthase activity. Expression of PGC-1 isoforms, RPE-specific genes, oxidative metabolism proteins, and antioxidant enzymes was analyzed by quantitative PCR and Western blot. Mitochondrial respiration and fatty-acid oxidation were monitored using the Seahorse extracellular flux analyzer. Expression of PGC-1α was increased using adenoviral delivery. ARPE-19 were exposed to hydrogen peroxide to induce oxidative stress. Reactive oxygen species were measured by CM-H2DCFDA fluorescence. Cell death was analyzed by LDH release. RESULTS: Maturation of ARPE-19 and hfRPE was associated with significant increase in mitochondrial mass, expression of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) genes, and PGC-1α gene expression. Overexpression of PGC-1α increased expression of OXPHOS and fatty-acid β-oxidation genes, ultimately leading to the potent induction of mitochondrial respiration and fatty-acid oxidation. PGC-1α gain of function also strongly induced numerous antioxidant genes and, importantly, protected RPE from oxidant-mediated cell death without altering RPE functions. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides important insights into the metabolic changes associated with RPE functional maturation and identifies PGC-1α as a potent driver of RPE mitochondrial function and antioxidant capacity.

Ibrahim AS, Hussein K, Wang F, Wan M, Saad N, Essa M, Kim I, Shakoor A, Owen LA, Deangelis MM, Al-Shabrawey M. Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP)4 But Not BMP2 Disrupts the Barrier Integrity of Retinal Pigment Epithelia and Induces Their Migration: A Potential Role in Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration. J Clin Med 2020;9(7)Abstract
Disruption of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) barrier integrity and RPE migration are hallmark features in neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD), but the underlying causes and pathophysiology are not completely well-defined. Herein, we aimed to evaluate the effect of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) on the barrier function and migration of RPE. In particular, we investigated the role of BMP2 and BMP4 in these processes as our analysis of RNA-sequencing (seq) data from human donor eyes demonstrated that they are highly differentially expressed BMP members in macular RPE/choroid versus macular retina. We used electrical cell-substrate impedance sensing (ECIS) system to monitor precisely in real time the barrier integrity and migration of ARPE-19 after treatment with various concentrations of BMP2 or BMP4. Immunofluorescence was also used to assess the changes in the expression and the organization of the key tight junction protein, zona occludens (ZO)-1, in ARPE-19 cells under BMP2 or BMP4 treatment. This was followed by measuring the activity of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Finally, RNA-seq and ELISA were used to determine the local and circulating levels of BMP2 and BMP4 in retinas and serum samples from nAMD donors. Our ECIS results showed that BMP4 but not BMP2 decreased the transcellular electrical resistance (TER) of ARPE-19 and increased their migration in comparison with control (vehicle-treated cells). Furthermore, immunofluorescence showed a disorganization of ZO-1 in BMP4-treated ARPE-19 not in BMP2-treated cells or vehicle-treated controls. This effect of BMP4 was associated with significant increases in the activity of MMPs, specifically MMP2. Lastly, these results were corroborated by additional findings that circulating but not local BMP4 levels were significantly higher in nAMD donor samples compared to controls. Collectively, our results demonstrated unreported effects of BMP4 on inducing RPE dysfunction and suggest that BMP4 but not BMP2 may represent a potential therapeutic target in nAMD.
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Jacobo SMP, Kazlauskas A. Focus on molecules: HtrA1 and neovascular AMD. Exp Eye Res 2012;94(1):4-5.
Jacobo SMP, Deangelis MM, Kim IK, Kazlauskas A. Age-related macular degeneration-associated silent polymorphisms in HtrA1 impair its ability to antagonize insulin-like growth factor 1. Mol Cell Biol 2013;33(10):1976-90.Abstract
Synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within a transcript's coding region produce no change in the amino acid sequence of the protein product and are therefore intuitively assumed to have a neutral effect on protein function. We report that two common variants of high-temperature requirement A1 (HTRA1) that increase the inherited risk of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (NvAMD) harbor synonymous SNPs within exon 1 of HTRA1 that convert common codons for Ala34 and Gly36 to less frequently used codons. The frequent-to-rare codon conversion reduced the mRNA translation rate and appeared to compromise HtrA1's conformation and function. The protein product generated from the SNP-containing cDNA displayed enhanced susceptibility to proteolysis and a reduced affinity for an anti-HtrA1 antibody. The NvAMD-associated synonymous polymorphisms lie within HtrA1's putative insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) binding domain. They reduced HtrA1's abilities to associate with IGF-1 and to ameliorate IGF-1-stimulated signaling events and cellular responses. These observations highlight the relevance of synonymous codon usage to protein function and implicate homeostatic protein quality control mechanisms that may go awry in NvAMD.
Jaffe GJ, Eliott D, Wells JA, Prenner JL, Papp A, Patel S. A Phase 1 Study of Intravitreous E10030 in Combination with Ranibizumab in Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Ophthalmology 2016;123(1):78-85.Abstract

PURPOSE: To assess the safety and tolerability of E10030 (Fovista; Ophthotech, New York, NY), a platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) antagonist, when administered in combination with an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) agent, ranibizumab (Lucentis; Genentech, South San Francisco, CA) 0.5 mg, by intravitreal injection in participants with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (NVAMD). DESIGN: Prospective phase 1 clinical trial. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 23 participants diagnosed with NVAMD and aged 50 years or older were enrolled. METHODS: Part 1 included 15 participants. Three participants received a single intravitreal E10030 (0.03 mg) injection and were subsequently given intravitreal ranibizumab (0.5 mg) injections at weeks 2, 6, and 10. Twelve participants (3 per group) received E10030 (0.03, 0.3, 1.5, or 3.0 mg) in combination with ranibizumab (0.5 mg) at day 0, month 1, and month 2 in an ascending manner. In Part 2 (8 participants), E10030 (0.3, 1.5, or 3.0 mg) in combination with ranibizumab (0.5 mg) was injected at day 0, month 1, and month 2. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Safety at week 12 was the primary outcome and included assessment of vital signs, laboratory tests, and serial eye examinations. Other safety metrics included assessment through week 24 of Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) visual acuity (VA) and biomarker changes evaluated by optical coherence tomography (OCT) and fluorescein angiography (FA). RESULTS: All doses of intravitreal E10030 administered in combination with ranibizumab were well tolerated. No dose-limiting toxicities or relevant safety events were noted at any dose level during the study. Investigators did not report adverse events related to E10030 or ranibizumab. Mean VA change was a gain of 14 letters, and 59% of participants gained ≥15 letters from baseline at week 12. On FA at week 12, there was an 85.5% mean reduction from baseline in choroidal neovascularization (CNV) size. On OCT at the week 12 visit, there was a mean decrease in center point thickness and central subfield thickness of 38.9% and 33.7%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Intravitreal E10030 administered at doses up to 3 mg in combination with ranibizumab was well tolerated without evidence of systemic or ocular toxicity in participants with NVAMD. The changes in both mean VA and imaging biomarkers suggest a favorable short-term safety profile for the combination therapy of E10030 and ranibizumab.

Ji MH, Callaway NF, Ludwig CA, Vail D, Al-Moujahed A, Rosenblatt TR, Leng T, Sanislo SR, Moshfeghi DM. Visual acuity and progression of macular atrophy in patients receiving intravitreal anti-VEGF for age-related macular degeneration. Eur J Ophthalmol 2022;32(1):429-435.Abstract
PURPOSE: Whether intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs) cause retinal atrophy is still a subject of debate. We reported 13 eyes that received several injections of anti-VEGF for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) with good visual acuity despite geographic atrophy on imaging. METHODS: This is a case series study conducted at Byers Eye Institute at Stanford University. Patients of three retina specialists with wet AMD who received six or more intravitreal injection of anti-VEGFs with visual acuity of 20/60 or better and incomplete RPE and outer retina atrophy (iRORA) or complete RPE and outer retinal atrophy (cRORA) were enrolled in this case series. Different imaging modalities were reviewed by three retina specialists comparing the baseline with the most recent exam. RESULTS: About 13 eyes of 10 patients met the selection criteria. Eleven eyes were classified as iRORA and 2 as cRORA. Despite the development of macular atrophy on imaging after an average of 38.1 injections, eyes maintained stable visual acuity. CONCLUSION: The discrepancy between structural and functional findings in this cohort suggests that patients treated by anti-VEGF drugs exhibit divergent clinical outcomes for currently unknown reasons. The authors propose anti-VEGF may affect melanosomes within RPE without disrupting RPE and photoreceptors function completely. This requires further investigation.
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Kang JH, Wu J, Cho E, Ogata S, Jacques P, Taylor A, Chiu C-J, Wiggs JL, Seddon JM, Hankinson SE, Schaumberg DA, Pasquale LR. Contribution of the Nurses' Health Study to the Epidemiology of Cataract, Age-Related Macular Degeneration, and Glaucoma. Am J Public Health 2016;106(9):1684-9.Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To review the contribution of the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) to understanding the genetic and lifestyle factors that influence the risk of cataract, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma. METHODS: We performed a narrative review of the publications of the NHS between 1976 and 2016. RESULTS: The NHS has helped to elucidate the roles of genetics, lifestyle factors (e.g., cigarette smoking associated with cataract extraction and age-related macular degeneration), medical conditions (e.g., diabetes associated with cataract extraction and glaucoma), and dietary factors (e.g., greater carotenoid intake and lower glycemic diet associated with lower risk of age-related macular degeneration) in the etiology of degree and progression of lens opacities, cataract extraction, age-related macular degeneration, primary open-angle glaucoma, and exfoliation glaucoma. CONCLUSIONS: The findings from the NHS, combined with those of other studies, have provided compelling evidence to support public health recommendations for helping to prevent age-related eye diseases: abstinence from cigarette smoking, maintenance of healthy weight and diabetes prevention, and a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

Kanoff J, Miller J. Pharmacogenetics of the treatment response of age-related macular degeneration with ranibizumab and bevacizumab. Semin Ophthalmol 2013;28(5-6):355-60.Abstract
INTRODUCTION: Age-related macular degeneration is a major cause of blindness among people aged 50 and older in industrialized countries. Anti-VEGF therapy has been tremendously successful in the treatment of neovascular macular degeneration. Examining the pharmacogenetics of patients' response to the anti-VEGF molecules could allow for a tailored treatment strategy based on patients' underlying genetics rather than the "one-size fits all" approach currently used. METHODS: Review of the English literature for papers examining the pharmacogenetics of treatment response of neovascular macular degeneration to either ranibizumab or bevacizumab. Polymorphisms in CFH, ARMS2, HTRA1 and VEGF A were examined and reviewed. RESULTS: Patients with the high-risk CC genotype in complement factor H (CFH) had a worse response to therapy with ranibizumab and bevacizumab. No clear trends were found with ARMS2, HTRA1 and VEGF A. CONCLUSIONS: The goal of personalized medicine is to craft a treatment program that is ideally suited to an individual patient's disease and genetic make-up rather than simply what works for a large population who share similar disease characteristics. Continued research is needed to achieve this goal for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration.
Kim LA, Amarnani D, Gnanaguru G, Tseng WA, Vavvas DG, D'Amore PA. Tamoxifen toxicity in cultured retinal pigment epithelial cells is mediated by concurrent regulated cell death mechanisms. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2014;55(8):4747-58.Abstract

PURPOSE: To evaluate the mechanism of tamoxifen-induced cell death in human cultured RPE cells, and to investigate concurrent cell death mechanisms including pyroptosis, apoptosis, and necroptosis. METHODS: Human RPE cells were cultured until confluence and treated with tamoxifen; cell death was measured by detecting LDH release. Tamoxifen-induced cell death was further confirmed by 7-aminoactinomycin D (7-AAD) and annexin V staining. Lysosomal destabilization was assessed using lysosomal-associated membrane protein-1 (LAMP-1) and acridine orange staining. The roles of lysosomal enzymes cathepsin B and L were examined by blocking their activity. Caspase activity was evaluated by caspase-1, -3, -8, and -9 specific inhibition. Cells were primed with IL-1α and treated with tamoxifen; mature IL-1β production was quantified via ELISA. Caspase activity was verified with the fluorochrome-labeled inhibitor of caspases (FLICA) probe specific for each caspase. Regulated cell necrosis or necroptosis was examined with 7-AAD and inhibition of receptor-interacting protein 1 (RIP1) kinase using necrostatin-1 (Nec-1). RESULTS: Cell death occurred within 2 hours of tamoxifen treatment of confluent RPE cells and was accompanied by lysosomal membrane permeabilization. Blockade of cathepsin B and L activity led to a significant decrease in cell death, indicating that lysosomal destabilization and cathepsin release occur prior to regulated cell death. Tamoxifen-induced toxicity was shown to occur through both caspase-dependent and caspase-independent cell death pathways. Treatment of RPE cells with caspase inhibitors and Nec-1 resulted in a near complete rescue from cell death. CONCLUSIONS: Tamoxifen-induced cell death occurs through concurrent regulated cell death mechanisms. Simultaneous inhibition of caspase-dependent and caspase-independent cell death pathways is required to protect cells from tamoxifen. Inhibition of upstream activators, such as the cathepsins, may represent a novel approach to block multiple cell death pathways.

Kosmidou C, Efstathiou NE, Hoang MV, Notomi S, Konstantinou EK, Hirano M, Takahashi K, Maidana DE, Tsoka P, Young L, Gragoudas ES, Olsen TW, Morizane Y, Miller JW, Vavvas DG. Issues with the Specificity of Immunological Reagents for NLRP3: Implications for Age-related Macular Degeneration. Sci Rep 2018;8(1):461.Abstract
Contradictory data have been presented regarding the implication of the NACHT, LRR and PYD domains-containing protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss in the Western world. Recognizing that antibody specificity may explain this discrepancy and in line with recent National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines requiring authentication of key biological resources, the specificity of anti-NLRP3 antibodies was assessed to elucidate whether non-immune RPE cells express NLRP3. Using validated resources, NLRP3 was not detected in human primary or human established RPE cell lines under multiple inflammasome-priming conditions, including purported NLRP3 stimuli in RPE such as DICER1 deletion and Alu RNA transfection. Furthermore, NLRP3 was below detection limits in ex vivo macular RPE from AMD patients, as well as in human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived RPE from patients with overactive NLRP3 syndrome (Chronic infantile neurologic cutaneous and articulate, CINCA syndrome). Evidence presented in this study provides new data regarding the interpretation of published results reporting NLRP3 expression and upregulation in RPE and addresses the role that this inflammasome plays in AMD pathogenesis.
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Laíns I, Chung W, Kelly RS, Gil J, Marques M, Barreto P, Murta JN, Kim IK, Vavvas DG, Miller JB, Silva R, Lasky-Su J, Liang L, Miller JW, Husain D. Human Plasma Metabolomics in Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Meta-Analysis of Two Cohorts. Metabolites 2019;9(7)Abstract
The pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness worldwide, remains only partially understood. This has led to the current lack of accessible and reliable biofluid biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis, and absence of treatments for dry AMD. This study aimed to assess the plasma metabolomic profiles of AMD and its severity stages with the ultimate goal of contributing to addressing these needs. We recruited two cohorts: Boston, United States ( = 196) and Coimbra, Portugal ( = 295). Fasting blood samples were analyzed using ultra-high performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry. For each cohort, we compared plasma metabolites of AMD patients versus controls (logistic regression), and across disease stages (permutation-based cumulative logistic regression considering both eyes). Meta-analyses were then used to combine results from the two cohorts. Our results revealed that 28 metabolites differed significantly between AMD patients versus controls (false discovery rate (FDR) -value: 4.1 × 10-1.8 × 10), and 67 across disease stages (FDR -value: 4.5 × 10-1.7 × 10). Pathway analysis showed significant enrichment of glycerophospholipid, purine, taurine and hypotaurine, and nitrogen metabolism (-value ≤ 0.04). In conclusion, our findings support that AMD patients present distinct plasma metabolomic profiles, which vary with disease severity. This work contributes to the understanding of AMD pathophysiology, and can be the basis of future biomarkers and precision medicine for this blinding condition.
Laíns I, Miller JB, Mukai R, Mach S, Vavvas D, Kim IK, Miller JW, Husain D. HEALTH CONDITIONS LINKED TO AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION ASSOCIATED WITH DARK ADAPTATION. Retina 2018;38(6):1145-1155.Abstract
PURPOSE: To determine the association between dark adaption (DA) and different health conditions linked with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). METHODS: Cross-sectional study, including patients with AMD and a control group. Age-related macular degeneration was graded according to the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) classification. We obtained data on medical history, medications, and lifestyle. Dark adaption was assessed with the extended protocol (20 minutes) of AdaptDx (MacuLogix). For analyses, the right eye or the eye with more advanced AMD was selected. Multivariate linear and logistic regressions were performed, accounting for age and AMD stage. RESULTS: Seventy-eight subjects (75.6% AMD; 24.4% controls) were included. Multivariate assessments revealed that body mass index (BMI; β = 0.30, P = 0.045), taking AREDS vitamins (β = 5.51, P < 0.001), and family history of AMD (β = 2.68, P = 0.039) were significantly associated with worse rod intercept times. Abnormal DA (rod intercept time ≥ 6.5 minutes) was significantly associated with family history of AMD (β = 1.84, P = 0.006), taking AREDS supplements (β = 1.67, P = 0.021) and alcohol intake (β = 0.07, P = 0.017). CONCLUSION: Besides age and AMD stage, a higher body mass index, higher alcohol intake, and a family history of AMD seem to impair DA. In this cohort, the use of AREDS vitamins was also statistically linked with impaired DA, most likely because of an increased severity of disease in subjects taking them.
Laíns I, Kelly RS, Miller JB, Vavvas DG, Kim IK, Lasky-Su J, Miller JW, Husain D. Reply. Ophthalmology 2018;125(7):e46-e47.
Lains I, Mendez KM, Gil JQ, Miller JB, Kelly RS, Barreto P, Kim IK, Vavvas DG, Murta JN, Liang L, Silva R, Miller JW, Lasky-Su J, Husain D. Urinary Mass Spectrometry Profiles in Age-Related Macular Degeneration. J Clin Med 2022;11(4)Abstract
We and others have shown that patients with different severity stages of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) have distinct plasma metabolomic profiles compared to controls. Urine is a biofluid that can be obtained non-invasively and, in other fields, urine metabolomics has been proposed as a feasible alternative to plasma biomarkers. However, no studies have applied urinary mass spectrometry (MS) metabolomics to AMD. This study aimed to assess urinary metabolomic profiles of patients with different stages of AMD and a control group. We included two prospectively designed, multicenter, cross-sectional study cohorts: Boston, US (n = 185) and Coimbra, Portugal (n = 299). We collected fasting urine samples, which were used for metabolomic profiling (Ultrahigh Performance Liquid chromatography-Mass Spectrometry). Multivariable logistic and ordinal logistic regression models were used for analysis, accounting for gender, age, body mass index and use of AREDS supplementation. Results from both cohorts were then meta-analyzed. No significant differences in urine metabolites were seen when comparing patients with AMD and controls. When disease severity was considered as an outcome, six urinary metabolites differed significantly (p < 0.01). In particular, two of the metabolites identified have been previously shown by our group to also differ in the plasma of patients of AMD compared to controls and across severity stages. While there are fewer urinary metabolites associated with AMD than plasma metabolites, this study identified some differences across stages of disease that support previous work performed with plasma, thus highlighting the potential of these metabolites as future biomarkers for AMD.
Laíns I, Park DH, Mukai R, Silverman R, Oellers P, Mach S, Kim IK, Vavvas DG, Miller JW, Miller JB, Husain D. Peripheral Changes Associated With Delayed Dark Adaptation in Age-related Macular Degeneration. Am J Ophthalmol 2018;190:113-124.Abstract
PURPOSE: To study the association between peripheral changes in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and dark adaptation (DA). DESIGN: Prospective, cross-sectional study. METHODS: We recruited patients with AMD and a control group (>50 years) without any vitreoretinal disease. Ultra-widefield (UWF) pseudocolor and fundus autofluorescence (FAF) were obtained, and were assessed by 2 graders for the presence of several peripheral changes in perimacular, midperipheral, and far-peripheral zones. All participants were also imaged with 7-field color fundus photographs used for AMD staging (Age-Related Eye Disease Study classification system). Both eyes of study participants were tested with a dark adaptation (DA) extended protocol (20 minutes). Multilevel mixed-effect models (accounting for correlated outcomes between 2 eyes) were used for analyses. RESULTS: We included 128 eyes (n = 72 patients), 75% with AMD and the remainder controls. The presence of reticular pigmentary changes in the midperipheral (ß = 4.3, P = .012) and far-peripheral zones (ß = 8.4, P < .001) was associated with delayed rod-intercept times (RITs), even after adjusting for confounding factors. The presence, number, and extent of peripheral classic drusen did not show a similar association (P ≥ .148). The presence of a mottled decreased FAF pattern in the midperipheral zone was also associated with prolonged RITs (β = 4.4, P = .031). CONCLUSION: Our results suggest an association between DA and the presence of peripheral reticular pigmentary changes, as well as the presence of a peripheral mottled decreased FAF pattern. This provides new insights on the clinical significance of peripheral changes in AMD, and their contribution to impairments on DA.
Lains I, Mendez K, Nigalye A, Katz R, Douglas VP, Kelly RS, Kim IK, Miller JB, Vavvas DG, Liang L, Lasky-Su J, Miller JW, Husain D. Plasma Metabolomic Profiles Associated with Three-Year Progression of Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Metabolites 2022;12(1)Abstract
Plasma metabolomic profiles have been shown to be associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and its severity stages. However, all studies performed to date have been cross-sectional and have not assessed progression of AMD. This prospective, longitudinal, pilot study analyzes, for the first time, the association between plasma metabolomic profiles and progression of AMD over a 3-year period. At baseline and 3 years later, subjects with AMD (n = 108 eyes) and controls (n = 45 eyes) were imaged with color fundus photos for AMD staging and tested for retinal function with dark adaptation (DA). Fasting plasma samples were also collected for metabolomic profiling. AMD progression was considered present if AMD stage at 3 years was more advanced than at baseline (n = 26 eyes, 17%). Results showed that, of the metabolites measured at baseline, eight were associated with 3-year AMD progression (p < 0.01) and 19 (p < 0.01) with changes in DA. Additionally, changes in the levels (i.e., between 3 years and baseline) of 6 and 17 metabolites demonstrated significant associations (p < 0.01) with AMD progression and DA, respectively. In conclusion, plasma metabolomic profiles are associated with clinical and functional progression of AMD at 3 years. These findings contribute to our understanding of mechanisms of AMD progression and the identification of potential therapeutics for this blinding disease.
Laíns I, Wang J, Providência J, Mach S, Gil P, Gil J, Marques M, Armstrong G, Garas S, Barreto P, Kim IK, Vavvas DG, Miller JW, Husain D, Silva R, Miller JB. Choroidal Changes Associated With Subretinal Drusenoid Deposits in Age-related Macular Degeneration Using Swept-source Optical Coherence Tomography. Am J Ophthalmol 2017;180:55-63.Abstract
PURPOSE: To compare choroidal vascular features of eyes with and without subretinal drusenoid deposits (SDD), using swept-source optical coherence tomography (SS OCT). DESIGN: Multicenter, cross-sectional study. METHODS: We prospectively recruited patients with intermediate age-related macular degeneration (AMD), without other vitreoretinal pathology. All participants underwent complete ophthalmic examination, color fundus photography (used for AMD staging), and spectral-domain OCT (to evaluate the presence of SDD). SS OCT was used to obtain automatic macular choroidal thickness (CT) maps, according to the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) sectors. For data analysis, we considered mean choroidal thickness as the arithmetic mean value of the 9 ETDRS sectors. SS OCT en face images of choroidal vasculature were also captured and converted to binary images. Choroidal vascular density (CVD) was calculated as a percent area occupied by choroidal vessels in a 6-mm-diameter submacular circular. Choroidal vessel volume was calculated by multiplying the average CVD by macular area and CT. Multilevel mixed linear models (to account for the inclusion of 2 eyes of same subject) were performed for analysis. RESULTS: We included 186 eyes (n = 118 subjects), 94 (50.5%) presenting SDD. Multiple regression analysis revealed that, controlling for age, eyes with SDD presented a statistically thinner mean CT (ß = -21.9, P = .006) and CT in all the individual ETDRS fields (ß ≤ -18.79, P ≤ .026). Mean choroidal vessel volume was also significantly reduced in eyes with SDD (ß = -0.003, P = .007). No significant associations were observed with mean CVD. CONCLUSION: In subjects with intermediate AMD, choroidal thickness and vessel volume are reduced in the presence of subretinal drusenoid deposits.
Laíns I, Duarte D, Barros AS, Martins AS, Gil J, Miller JB, Marques M, Mesquita T, Kim IK, da Cachulo ML, Vavvas D, Carreira IM, Murta JN, Silva R, Miller JW, Husain D, Gil AM. Human plasma metabolomics in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. PLoS One 2017;12(5):e0177749.Abstract
PURPOSE: To differentiate the plasma metabolomic profile of patients with age related macular degeneration (AMD) from that of controls, by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. METHODS: Two cohorts (total of 396 subjects) representative of central Portugal and Boston, USA phenotypes were studied. For each cohort, subjects were grouped according to AMD stage (early, intermediate and late). Multivariate analysis of plasma NMR spectra was performed, followed by signal integration and univariate analysis. RESULTS: Small changes were detected in the levels of some amino acids, organic acids, dimethyl sulfone and specific lipid moieties, thus providing some biochemical information on the disease. The possible confounding effects of gender, smoking history and age were assessed in each cohort and found to be minimal when compared to that of the disease. A similar observation was noted in relation to age-related comorbidities. Furthermore, partially distinct putative AMD metabolite fingerprints were noted for the two cohorts studied, reflecting the importance of nutritional and other lifestyle habits in determining AMD metabolic response and potential biomarker fingerprints. Notably, some of the metabolite changes detected were noted as potentially differentiating controls from patients diagnosed with early AMD. CONCLUSION: For the first time, this study showed metabolite changes in the plasma of patients with AMD as compared to controls, using NMR. Geographical origins were seen to affect AMD patients´ metabolic profile and some metabolites were found to be valuable in potentially differentiating controls from early stage AMD patients. Metabolomics has the potential of identifying biomarkers for AMD, and further work in this area is warranted.
Lains I, Pundlik SJ, Nigalye A, Katz R, Luo G, Kim IK, Vavvas DG, Miller JW, Miller JB, Husain D. BASELINE PREDICTORS ASSOCIATED WITH 3-YEAR CHANGES IN DARK ADAPTATION IN AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION. Retina 2021;41(10):2098-2105.Abstract
PURPOSE: To assess the relationship between baseline age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and disease stage, as well as optical coherence tomography features seen in AMD, with 3-year changes in dark adaptation (DA). METHODS: Prospective longitudinal study including patients with AMD and a comparison group (n = 42 eyes, 27 patients). At baseline and 3 years, we obtained color fundus photographs, spectral-domain optical coherence tomography, and rod-mediated DA (20 minutes protocol). Multilevel mixed-effect models were used for analyses, with changes in rod intercept time at 3 years as the primary outcome. As some eyes (n = 11) reached the DA testing ceiling value at baseline, we used 3-year changes in area under the DA curve as an additional outcome. RESULTS: Baseline AMD, AMD stage, and hyperreflective foci on optical coherence tomography were associated with larger changes in rod intercept time at 3 years. When change in area under the DA curve was used as an outcome, in addition to these features, the presence of retinal atrophy and drusenoid pigment epithelial detachment had significant associations. New subretinal drusenoid deposits at 3 years were also associated with more pronounced changes in rod intercept time and area under the DA curve. CONCLUSION: Specific optical coherence tomography features are associated with DA impairments over time, which supports that structural changes predict functional loss over 3 years.

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