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Skin autofluorescence is elevated in neovascular age-related macular degeneration
  1. D J Mulder1,
  2. M Bieze1,
  3. R Graaff2,
  4. A J Smit1,
  5. J M M Hooymans3
  1. 1Department of Medicine, University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Biomedical-Engineering, University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Ophthalmology, University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr DJ Mulder, Department of Medicine, University Medical Center Groningen, PO Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, The Netherlands; udomulder{at}


Background/aims Skin autofluorescence (AF) is a non-invasive marker for advanced glycation endproducts (AGE) in tissues, making use of their characteristic AF pattern. The aim of this study was to investigate whether skin AF is increased in patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) compared with healthy controls.

Methods Skin AF was assessed in 73 consecutive patients with active and documented neovascular AMD without evidence for diabetic or hypertensive retinopathy and in 31 healthy age-matched controls. Exclusion criteria were: known renal disease, current inflammatory or malignant disease, or skin type V or VI. Skin AF was measured on the forearm and was calculated as a ratio of mean intensities detected from the skin between 420–600 and 300–420 nm. Student t test and χ2 test were used to compare differences between groups.

Results Skin AF was increased in neovascular AMD compared with controls (2.57±0.68 vs 2.23±0.63 arbitrary units × 10−2; p=0.018). In patients without vascular risk factors or cardiovascular disease, skin AF was not significantly higher than that of the controls. Skin AF correlated with age in both patients and controls.

Conclusion Skin AF is increased in patients with neovascular AMD, suggesting that AMD is accompanied by enhanced systemic AGE accumulation, which may indicate a role in the pathophysiology of AMD.

  • Advanced glycation endproducts
  • age-related macular degeneration, autofluorescence
  • inflammation
  • oxidative stress

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  • Competing interests R. Graaff and A. J. Smit are founders of DiagnOptics, The Netherlands, which manufactures the AGE Reader, based on the prototype used in the study reported here. The remaining authors have no competing interests to declare.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Medical Ethics Committee of University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.