Purpose: To evaluate circulating endothelial and circulating progenitor cells as biomarkers in age-related macular degeneration patients (both exudative and atrophic forms) in order to establish the possible clinical implication of their assessment. Methods: We have enrolled 44 age-related macular degeneration patients: 22 patients with a recently diagnosed exudative (neovascular) form (Group A) and 22 patients with an atrophic (dry) form (Group B). The control group consisted of 22 age and sex-matched healthy subjects (Group C). The number of circulating endothelial progenitor cells (CD34+/KDR+, CD133+/KDR+, and CD34+/KDR+/CD133+), circulating progenitor cells (CD34+, CD133+, and CD34+/CD133+), and circulating endothelial cells were determined in the peripheral venous blood samples by flow cytometry. Neovascular age-related macular degeneration patients were evaluated at baseline and 4 weeks after a loading phase of three consequent intravitreal injections of ranibizumab. Results: Comparing age-related macular degeneration patients with the control group, endothelial progenitor cell and circulating progenitor cell levels were not significantly different, while age-related macular degeneration patients showed significantly higher levels of circulating endothelial cells (p = 0.001). Anti–vascular endothelial growth factor treatment with intravitreal ranibizumab was associated with a significant reduction of endothelial progenitor cell levels, with no significant influence on circulating progenitor cells and circulating endothelial cells. Conclusion: We reported higher levels of circulating endothelial cells in age-related macular degeneration patients in comparison with the control group, thereby supporting the hypothesis of an involvement of endothelial dysregulation in the age-related macular degeneration and a reduction of the endothelial progenitor cell level in neovascular age-related macular degeneration patients after three intravitreal injections of ranibizumab.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.
Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- Age-related macular degeneration
- circulating endothelial cells
- endothelial progenitor cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas