In numerous epidemiological studies, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been associated with a decreased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Beyond their structural, functional and neuroprotective roles, omega-3 PUFAs may favour the retinal accumulation of lutein and zeaxanthin and thus increase macular pigment optical density (MPOD). We examined the associations of MPOD with plasma omega-3 PUFAs in subjects with family history of AMD.
The Limpia study is a double-blind, placebo-controlled, prospective randomized clinical trial performed in 120 subjects. Subjects with at least one parent treated for neovascular AMD, aged 40-70, with a best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) >20/25, free of late AMD and other major eye conditions and with no use of supplement containing lutein or zeaxanthin the preceding year were recruited in Bordeaux and Dijon, France. At baseline, MPOD within 1° of eccentricity was measured by modified Heidelberg retinal analyser (Heidelberg, Germany) and plasma omega-3 PUFAs by gas chromatography. Medical history and lifestyle data were collected from a standardized questionnaire. Associations of MPOD with plasma omega-3 PUFAs were assessed at the baseline examination, using mixed linear models adjusted for age, gender, centre, body mass index, smoking, plasma high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and lutein+zeaxanthin.
After multivariate adjustment, high MPOD was significantly associated with higher level of plasma docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) (β = 0.029, 95% CI: 0.003, 0.055; p = 0.03). Plasma alpha linolenic, eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids were not significantly associated with MPOD.
In the Limpia study, high MPOD within 1° was significantly associated with higher plasma levels of omega-3 DPA.