March 2012
Volume 53, Issue 14
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   March 2012
The Ring Like Distribution Profile Of Macular Pigment Appears Highly Heritable: A Twin Study
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Erik F. van Kuijk
    Ophthalmology, Univ of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • S.H. Melissa Liew
    Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, King's College, London, United Kingdom
  • Stephen Beatty
    Macular Pigment Research Group, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland
  • Clare E. Gilbert
    ICEH / CRU / ITD, London Sch of Hygiene & Tropical Med, London, United Kingdom
  • Christopher J. Hammond
    Ophthalmology, King's College London, London, United Kingdom
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  Erik F. van Kuijk, None; S.H. Melissa Liew, None; Stephen Beatty, None; Clare E. Gilbert, None; Christopher J. Hammond, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  Research to Prevent Blindness
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science March 2012, Vol.53, 3380. doi:
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      Erik F. van Kuijk, S.H. Melissa Liew, Stephen Beatty, Clare E. Gilbert, Christopher J. Hammond; The Ring Like Distribution Profile Of Macular Pigment Appears Highly Heritable: A Twin Study. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):3380.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Macular pigment (MP) protects the retina from damage due to blue light and other oxidative stress. Genetic factors determine the distribution profile of MP, which may also be important in protection from oxidative stress. In addition it has been suggested that the ring pattern (with a "shoulder" in the profile at ~0.5 degrees from the fovea) may be protective of AMD.


322 healthy white female twin volunteers, aged 16-50 years (mean age 40+/-8.7 years) had macular pigment optical density (MPOD) measured by 2-wavelength fundus autofluorescence (AF). The sample consisted of 76 monozygotic twin pairs, and 74 dizygotic twin pairs.


At baseline, mean MPOD by AF was 0.41 density units (SD 0.21; range 0.04 to 1.25) in the central half-degree field, and exhibited a near- normal distribution. The ring like MP distribution profile was observed in 100 subjects (prevalence 0.31, 95% CI 0.26-0.36). Concordance in monozygotic twins was 0.85 (95% CI 0.75-0.95) compared to 0.43 in dizygotic twins (95% CI 0.23-0.63), (p for diff<0.001).


The finding that the monozygotic twin concordance is approximately double the dizygotic concordance suggests that genetic factors are important in determining the MP distribution in the macula  

Keywords: macular pigment • genetics • image processing 

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