High cholesterol levels linked to age-related macular degeneration

Researchers at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences discovered elevated levels of severalĀ  indicators of age-related macular degeneration including cholesterol deposits and amyloid beta formation in rabbits fed a cholesterol-rich diet. The results of the study were published in the BMC Opthalmology journal.

Alzheimer’s and age-related macular degeneration share many of the same biomarkers and beta-amyloid formation is one of these markers. With the knowledge that high plasma cholesterol is tied to an increased incidence of Alzheimer’s, researchers set out to see if there was a link to high cholesterol and macular degeneration. Male New Zealand white rabbits were fed a cholesterol-rich diet for 12 weeks. The eyes of the rabbits were then examined after the death.

The eyes were then compared to control-diet rabbits. What they found was an increase of Abeta levels and reactive oxygen species in the retinas of the rabbits which were on the high-cholesterol diet. They also found evidence that oxysterols may be the link by which cholesterol contributes to the progression of macular degeneration.*

Elise Ervin
Staff Writer

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