Leucocyte telomere length in age-related macular degeneration

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Abstract

Purpose:

To evaluate the association between telomere length and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Methods:

Circulating leucocyte telomere length and the proportion of telomeres <5 kb were analysed in blood DNA samples taken from 121 patients with exudative AMD (83%), large drusen (14%) or central geographic atrophy (3%). Controls consisted of 77 age-matched subjects without AMD. The AMD status was assessed by a masked analysis of fundus photographs or angiographs. Telomere length was measured by Southern blotting.

Results:

Mean (SD) telomere length was 7.76 kb (0.68) in AMD patients and 7.83 (0.69) in controls (p = 0.485). The corresponding proportions of telomeres <5 kb were 10.60 (2.76) and 10.05 (2.64) (p = 0.197). In this material, there was no correlation between telomere length and age, gender or smoking status. There were no differences between the major AMD risk single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the CFH, HTRA1 or C3 genes, expect for somewhat longer telomeres in controls with the C3 risk SNP. There were no differences in telomere length between patients with drusen or exudative AMD.

Conclusions:

Telomere length is not associated with exudative AMD or high-risk drusen.

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