Marker Found for Severity of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

The presence of hyper-reflective foci (HF) is related to the level of severity of age-related macular degeneration.

A pilot study has concluded that the presence of hyper-reflective foci (HF) is related to the level of severity of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, the study was conducted by Lebriz Altay, of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University Hospital of Cologne in Germany, and colleagues.

The researchers begin by saying that AMD has a “broad spectrum of phenotypic varieties,” and go on to add that “in recent years, AMD diagnosis was facilitated by the wide use of noninvasive high-resolution spectral domain optical coherence tomography and even different pathologic morphologic features including hyper-reflective foci could be identified.” HF have been associated with both central geographic atrophy (GA) and with fundus photographs (FP).

“The purpose of this study was to analyze associations of HF and AMD severity and known AMD-related genetic risk polymorphisms,” state the researchers. They recruited participants for the study from 2007 through 2014 from two studies. There were 518 subjects.

The researchers report that they “found a strong association between HF and intermediate AMD in our cohort.” They go on to say, “Furthermore, the data suggested an association of genetic variants in the genes ARMS2/HTR1, CHF, APOE, and VEGFA genes with the presence of HF.”

There were several limitations to this study, including the fact that a limited number, just 63 out of the total 518, had HF. The researchers say, “Nevertheless, this is a pilot study to evaluate the association of HF with AMD risk alleles,” adding, “Thus, our results are suggestive and should be validated in an independent cohort.”

They conclude by suggesting further studies to investigate the relationships between various “polymorphisms, inflammatory cells and the HF phenotype.”

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