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Martha Dietzel, Meike Zeimer, Britta Heimes, Birte Claes, Daniel Pauleikhoff, Hans-Werner Hense; Determinants of Macular Pigment Optical Density and Its Relation to Age-Related Maculopathy: Results from the Muenster Aging and Retina Study (MARS). Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(6):3452-3457. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.10-6713.
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The controversial protective effect of macular pigment (MP), consisting of lutein (L) and zeaxantin (Z), in age-related maculopathy (ARM) and its late-stage, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is discussed. Determinants of MP optical density (MPOD) and its relation to ARM were investigated.
MPOD was accessed at eccentricities of 0.5° and 2.0° from the fovea in 369 participants in the 2.6-year follow-up examination of the prospective Muenster Aging and Retina Study using dual-wavelength analysis of autofluorescence images. ARM was graded from standardized fundus photographs according to the International Classification System.
MPOD at 0.5° and 2.0° between pairs and within single eyes was strongly correlated (P < 0.001). Smoking and body mass index showed moderately inverse associations with MPOD at 2.0°, and age was positively related to MPOD at both eccentricities. Serum L, measured at the baseline examination, was significantly associated with MPOD measured at follow-up. Likewise, use of L/Z-containing supplements raised MPOD. Crude mean MPOD increased with ascending stage of ARM. However, adjustment for influential factors and exclusion of L supplement users removed differences of mean MPOD between ARM stages. Considering further the accompanying eye, study eyes with ARM had significantly higher MPOD when the contralateral eye had AMD.
MPOD levels showed a high degree of intraindividual concordance and interindividual variability. Long-standing serum L levels, and in particular L supplementation, were the strongest determinants of MPOD. The hypothetical inverse association between MPOD and ARM stage was not confirmed.
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