98th Annual Meeting DOG 2000

P 268

Age-related macular degeneration, experimental atherosclerosis and experimental arterial hypertension in rhesus monkeys

J. B. Jonas1, S. S. Hayreh2

Objective: To prospectively evaluate whether development of age-related macular degeneration is influenced by experimentally induced chronic ar-terial hypertension and atherosclerosis in elderly rhesus monkeys.

Animals: The study included 93 eyes of 51 rhesus monkeys. The total study group was divided into groups with experimental arterial hypertension (n=22), diet induced atherosclerosis (n=10), or with both arterial hy-pertension and atherosclerosis (n=29), and into the control group without arterial hypertension or atherosclerosis (n=32). Mean monkey age at the end of the study was 19.6 ± 3.0 years (range, 13 to 24 years). Using color wide-angle fundus photographs taken at start and at end of the study, age-related macular degeneration was graded by counting number and estimating mean size of drusen in the macular region.

Results: In the monkeys with arterial hypertension, 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, count and size of macular drusen were significantly (P<0.05) correlated with the duration of arterial hypertension. In contrast, monkeys with atherosclerosis did not vary signi-ficantly (P>0.10) from monkeys of the control group in number and size of drusen. The macular drusen parameters were statistically (P>0.20) inde-pendent of the duration of atherosclerosis. Correspondingly, the athero-sclerotic monkeys and the monkeys of the control group did not vary signi-ficantly (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 experi-mentally induced arterial hypertension. It may not be markedly influenced by diet-induced atherosclerosis.

Department of Ophthalmology and Eye Hospital, Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg in Erlangen, Schwabachanlage 6, D-91054 Erlangen, Germany1
Departments of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences2, College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA