In a recently published study in Ophthalmologythe researchers of the E3 and EYE-RISK consortium find evidence that circulating HDL-cholesterol is associated with increased risk of AMD and negatively associated with triglycerides. Just in the opposite way of the cardiovascular risk profile.
Our objective was to study circulating lipid levels in a large European dataset and investigated if this relationship is driven by certain sub fractions. We included 30,953 individuals aged 50+ participating in the E3 consortium; and 1530 individuals from the Rotterdam Study with lipid sub fraction data.
HDL was associated with an increased risk of AMD, corrected for potential confounders (Odds Ratio (OR) 1.21 per 1mmol/L increase (95% confidence interval[CI] 1.14-1.29); while triglycerides were associated with a decreased risk (OR 0.94 per 1mmol/L increase [95%CI 0.91-0.97]). Both were associated with drusen size, higher HDL raises the odds of larger drusen while higher triglycerides decreases the odds. The concentration of extra-large HDL particles showed the most prominent association with AMD (OR 1.24 [95%CI 1.10-1.40]) Extra-large HDL sub fractions seem to be drivers in the relation with AMD. Whether systemic lipids directly influence AMD or represent lipid metabolism in the retina remains a question to be answered.