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D. Kokkinou, H.U. Kasper, P. Szurman, K.–U. Bartz–Schmidt, U. Schraermeyer; Zinc enhancement dependent on pigmentation of the human iris and choroid . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2004;45(13):1801.
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Purpose: Age–related macular degeneration (AMD) is more prevalent among the elderly Caucasian population. A significant association between light iris color, fundus pigmentation and AMD is reported, suggesting a possible correlation with melanin. Zinc is known to bound to melanin in pigmented tissues and to enhance antioxidant capacity. In this study, we investigated the uptake and accumulation of zinc in human irises and choroids. Methods: Irises and choroids of blue and brown human eyes (40 probes) were used to survey the concentration of zinc. The irises and choroids were incubated with 100 µM zinc chloride for 24 hours. After this period, the tissues remained for 3 and 7 days in normal culture medium (DMEM). Identical tissues served as control. The concentration of zinc was measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP–MS) assay. Results: The concentration of zinc of irises and choroids of blue eyes was similar to controls after 24 hours. We did not observe any significant accumulation during time. In contrast, the concentration of zinc of irises and choroids of brown eyes was increased 10 fold after 24 hours and remained at a high level for 7 days. Conclusions: The uptake of zinc is dependent on the amount of pigmentation in human eyes. Therefore, we assume that in patients suffering from AMD an enlargement of fundus pigmentation by gene–therapy and zinc substitution can be considered as a possible therapeutical approach in the future.
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