Oxidative damage in age-related macular degeneration.

J. K. Shen, A. Dong, S. F. Hackett, W. R. Bell, W. R. Green, P. A. Campochiaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations


Epidemiologic studies have suggested that elderly patients who consumed diets rich in antioxidants throughout their lives are less likely to be afflicted with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This led to the Age-Related Eye Disease Study, which showed that supplements containing antioxidant vitamins and zinc reduce the risk of progression to severe stages of AMD. Despite these data that indirectly implicate oxidative damage in the pathogenesis of AMD, there has not been any direct demonstration of increased oxidative damage in the retinas of patients with AMD. In this study, we used biomarkers of oxidative damage in postmortem eyes from patients with AMD and comparably aged patients without AMD to directly assess for oxidative damage. Sections from 4 eyes with no pathologic features of AMD showed no immunofluorescent staining for markers of oxidative damage, while sections from 8 of 12 eyes with advanced geographic atrophy showed evidence of widespread oxidative damage in both posterior and anterior retina. Only 2 of 8 eyes with choroidal neovascularization and 2 of 16 eyes with diffuse drusen and no other signs of AMD showed evidence of oxidative damage. These data suggest that widespread oxidative damage occurs in the retina of some patients with AMD and is more likely to be seen in patients with advanced geographic atrophy. This does not rule out oxidative damage as a pathogenic mechanism in patients with CNV, but suggests that a subpopulation of patients with geographic atrophy may have a major deficiency in the oxidative defense system that puts the majority of cells in the retina at risk for oxidative damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1301-1308
Number of pages8
JournalHistology and Histopathology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Acrolein
  • Choroidal neovascularization
  • Geographic atrophy
  • Reactive oxygen species


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