Serum Cholesterol Efflux Capacity in Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Polypoidal Choroidal Vasculopathy

Yasuo Yanagi, Richard M.C. Yu, Waseem Ahamed, Marco Yu, Kelvin Yi Chong Teo, Anna C.S. Tan, Ching Yu Cheng, Tien Yin Wong, Rajendra S. Apte, Chui Ming Gemmy Cheung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To investigate serum cholesterol efflux capacity (the ability of the serum to accept cholesterol) and factors that regulate it using nuclear magnetic resonance-quantified measures of lipoprotein particle composition and size and apolipoproteins metrics in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Design: Case-control study. Participants: Four hundred two serum samples from 80 patients with early AMD (eAMD), and 212 patients with neovascular AMD (nAMD), including 80 with typical nAMD (tAMD) and 132 with polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy (PCV), and 110 age- and gender matched control participants. Methods: Serum from participants showed cholesterol efflux capacity measured using in vitro cell assays and lipoprotein subfractions measured using nuclear magnetic resonance (Nightingale, Ltd). Associations between cholesterol efflux capacity (measured in percentage) and lipid subfractions were investigated in the patients and control participants. Main Outcome Measures: Cholesterol efflux capacity and lipid subfractions in control, eAMD, and nAMD. Associations between HDL subfractions and cholesterol efflux capacity. Results: Cholesterol efflux capacity was higher in patients with eAMD (68.0 ± 11.3% [mean ± standard deviation]) and nAMD (75.9 ± 27.7%) than in the control participants (56.9 ± 16.7%) after adjusting for age, gender, and use of lipid-lowering drug (P < 0.0001). Nuclear magnetic resonance lipidomics demonstrated that the mean diameter of HDL was larger both in eAMD (9.96 ± 0.27 mm [mean ± standard deviation]) and PCV (9.97 ± 0.23 mm) compared with that of the control participants (9.84 ± 0.24 mm; P = 0.0001 for both). Among the 28 HDL subfractions, most of the small, medium, and large HDLs, but none of the 7 extra large HDLs fractions, were associated moderately with cholesterol efflux capacity in eAMD and PCV (R = 0.149–0.277). Conclusions: Serum cholesterol efflux capacity was increased in eAMD and PCV, but not tAMD, possibly reflecting differential underlying pathophysiologic features of lipid dysregulation in tAMD and PCV. Further studies should be directed toward investigating the diverse biological activities of HDL in AMD, including macular pigment transport, regulation of inflammation, and local cholesterol transport system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100142
JournalOphthalmology Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Cholesterol efflux
  • Drusen
  • Lipoprotein
  • Polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy


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