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Charumathi Sabanayagam, Jiemin Liao, Ching-Yu Cheng, Gemmy Chui Ming Cheung, Paul Mitchell, Jie Jin Wang, Sunil Sethi, Tien Y Wong; Higher Serum Leptin Levels Are Protective of Age-related Macular Degeneration. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):6008.
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Leptin, a 167-aminoacid protein secreted by adipocytes has been shown to reduce beta amyloid deposition and intracellular lipid concentration in animal models, two key pathogenic mechanisms underlying aging. Higher serum levels of leptin have recently been shown to be associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease in the clinical studies. We examined serum leptin levels and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in a population-based study.
We conducted a population-based case-control study. AMD cases were Chinese and Indian adults aged 40-80 years who participated in the Singapore Epidemiology of Eye Diseases Study (2007-2011) and had AMD (n=423, early = 387, late=36). Controls (n=927) were selected from the same study cohorts matched for age within a 5-year interval, gender and ethnicity. AMD was graded from retinal photographs according to the Wisconsin Age-Related Maculopathy Grading System. Serum leptin levels were measured using direct sandwich ELISA. Odds ratio of AMD associated with elevated leptin levels were estimated using logistic regression models adjusted for smoking, body mass index, blood pressure, total and HDL cholesterol.
AMD cases had lower levels of leptin compared to controls (mean (SD) = 10.0 (11.5) vs. 12.9 (16.4) ng/mL; p=0.001). Mean levels of leptin were 8.8, 10.1 and 12.9 in late, early AMD cases and controls, respectively (p for trend= 0.005). After adjusting for covariates, persons with the highest quartile of leptin levels were 43% less likely to have AMD than those with leptin in the lowest quartile (odds ratio, OR, 0.57, 95% confidence interval, CI, 0.34-0.94). Each standard deviation (SD, 12 ng/mL) increase in leptin was associated with a 26% lower odds of AMD (OR 0.74, 95% CI, 0.62-0.87). This inverse association between serum leptin and AMD was consistently present in men, women, Chinese, Indians, and those with and without hypertension.
Serum leptin was found inversely associated with odds of AMD in this population-based case-control study. These findings, if confirmed, may provide insights into new pathogenic pathways and possibly therapeutic targets in AMD
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