Many Faces of Renin-angiotensin System - Focus on Eye
Purpose. To evaluate whether development of macular drusen is influenced by experimentally induced chronic arterial hypertension and atherosclerosis. Methods. The prospective experimental study included 93 eyes of 51 elderly rhesus monkeys. The total study group was divided into groups with experimental arterial hypertension (n=22), diet-induced atherosclerosis (n=10), or both arterial hypertension and atherosclerosis (n=29) and a control group without arterial hypertension or atherosclerosis (n=32). Using color wide-angle fundus photographs taken at the beginning and the end of the study, age-related macular degeneration was graded by counting the number and estimating the mean size of drusen in the macular region. Results. In the monkeys with arterial hypertension, the count and area of the macular drusen and the change in number and size of macular drusen during the follow-up period were significantly (P<0.05) higher than in the monkeys of the control group. Correspondingly, the count and size of macular drusen were significantly (P<0.05) correlated with the duration of arterial hypertension. In contrast, monkeys with only atherosclerosis did not vary significantly (P>0.10) from monkeys of the control group in number and size of drusen. The macular drusen parameters were statistically (P>0.20) independent of the duration of atherosclerosis. Similarly, the atherosclerotic monkeys and the monkeys of the control group did not vary significantly (P>0.30) in the change of the macular drusen parameters during the follow-up period. Conclusions. Development of macular drusen as part of age-related macular degeneration in rhesus monkeys may be associated with experimentally induced arterial hypertension. It does not seem to be influenced by diet-induced atherosclerosis.