Macular Degeneration: Incidence, Susceptibility and Dietary Antioxidants

Jie Jin Wang MMed (Clin Epi) MAppStat PhD Professor Australian NHMRC Senior Research Fellow (Level B) Centre for Vision Research Westmead Millennium Institute University of Sydney C24 Westmead Hospital, NSW 2145 AustraliaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jie Jin Wang MMed (Clin Epi) MAppStat PhD
Professor Australian NHMRC Senior Research Fellow (Level B)
Centre for Vision Research
Westmead Millennium Institute University of Sydney C24
Westmead Hospital, NSW 2145 Australia

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: We documented a consistent association between high dietary intake of lutein/zeaxanthin (LZ) and a reduced long-term risk of early age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in persons who carry ≥2 risk alleles of either or both the complement factor H (CFH-rs1061170) and/or the age-related maculopathy susceptibility gene 2 (ARMS2-rs10490924) in two older population-based cohorts.

MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Answer: These findings are not unexpected. Studies including previous reports from the Blue Mountains Eye Study and the Rotterdam Study cohorts suggested a protective association of antioxidants including L/Z with AMD. A previous systematic review and meta-analysis (1, 2), published in BMJ 2007, showed no protective role of dietary antioxidant vitamins (including L/Z) on primary prevention of AMD, however, studies included in this review did not look at subgroups stratified by genetic risk levels.

1)    Chong EW, Wong TY, Kreis AJ, Simpson JA, Guymer RH. Dietary antioxidants and primary prevention of age related macular degeneration: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ 2007;335(7623):755

2)    Evans J. Primary prevention of age related macular degeneration. BMJ 2007;335(7623):729

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Answer: Our finding suggest a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration associated with higher dietary intakes of lutein/ zeaxanthin in persons carrying 2 or more risk alleles from the CFH (rs1061170) and ARMS2 (rs10490924) variants. The take home message would be that persons carrying high genetic susceptibility to AMD may be able to lower their genetic risk by changing their dietary behaviors.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Answer: The finding showing a protection against AMD from high dietary lutein/ zeaxanthin intake in persons with high genetic risk raises the possibility of personalized preventive interventions. To translate this research finding into prevention practice, one can target subgroups of the population who have high genetic susceptibility to this condition.

Citation:

Genetic Susceptibility, Dietary Antioxidants, and Long-term Incidence of Age-related Macular Degeneration in Two Populations.

Wang JJ, Buitendijk GH, Rochtchina E, Lee KE, Klein BE, van Duijn CM, Flood VM, Meuer SM, Attia J, Myers C, Holliday EG, Tan AG, Smith WT, Iyengar SK, de Jong PT, Hofman A, Vingerling JR, Mitchell P, Klein R, Klaver CC.

Ophthalmology. 2013 Nov 28. pii: S0161-6420(13)00942-1. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2013.10.017. [Epub ahead of print]