Biomarkers can help unravel mechanisms of disease and identify new targets for therapy. They can also be useful in clinical practice for monitoring disease progression, evaluation of treatment efficacy and risk assessment in multifactorial diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is a highly prevalent progressive retinal disorder for which multiple genetic and environmental risk factors have been described, but the exact etiology is not yet fully understood. Many compounds have been evaluated for their association with AMD. We performed an extensive literature review of all compounds measured in serum, plasma, vitreous, aqueous humor and urine of AMD patients. Over 3600 articles were screened resulting in more than 100 different compounds analyzed in AMD studies, involved in neovascularization, immunity, lipid metabolism, extracellular matrix, oxidative stress, diet, hormones, and comorbidities (such as kidney disease). For each compound we provide a short description of its function and discuss the results of the studies in relation to its usefulness as AMD biomarker. Additionally, biomarkers identified by hypothesis-free techniques, including metabolomics, proteomics and epigenomics, are covered. In summary, compounds belonging to the oxidative stress pathway, the complement system, and lipid metabolism are the most promising biomarker candidates for AMD. We hope that this comprehensive survey of the literature on systemic and ocular fluid compounds as potential biomarkers in AMD will provide a stepping stone for future research and possible implementation in clinical practice.
- Journal Article