Age-related macular degeneration and modification of systemic complement factor H production through liver transplantation

Samir Khandhadia, Svetlana Hakobyan, Ling Z. Heng, Jane Gibson, David H. Adams, Graeme J. Alexander, Jonathan M. Gibson, Keith R. Martin, Geeta Menon, Kathryn Nash, Sobha Sivaprasad, Sarah Ennis, Angela J. Cree, B. Paul Morgan, Andrew J. Lotery*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To investigate whether modification of liver complement factor H (CFH) production, by alteration of liver CFH Y402H genotype through liver transplantation (LT), influences the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Design: Multicenter, cross-sectional study. Participants: We recruited 223 Western European patients ≥55 years old who had undergone LT ≥5 years previously. Methods: We determined AMD status using a standard grading system. Recipient CFH Y402H genotype was obtained from DNA extracted from recipient blood samples. Donor CFH Y402H genotype was inferred from recipient plasma CFH Y402H protein allotype, measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. This approach was verified by genotyping donor tissue from a subgroup of patients. Systemic complement activity was ascertained by measuring levels of plasma complement proteins using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, including substrates (C3, C4), activation products (C3a, C4a, and terminal complement complex), and regulators (total CFH, C1 inhibitor). Main Outcome Measures: We evaluated AMD status and recipient and donor CFH Y402H genotype. Results: In LT patients, AMD was associated with recipient CFH Y402H genotype (P = 0.036; odds ratio [OR], 1.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0-2.4) but not with donor CFH Y402H genotype (P = 0.626), after controlling for age, sex, smoking status, and body mass index. Recipient plasma CFH Y402H protein allotype predicted donor CFH Y402H genotype with 100% accuracy (n = 49). Plasma complement protein or activation product levels were similar in LT patients with and without AMD. Compared with previously reported prevalence figures (Rotterdam Study), LT patients demonstrated a high prevalence of both AMD (64.6% vs 37.1%; OR, 3.09; P<0.001) and the CFH Y402H sequence variation (41.9% vs 36.2%; OR, 1.27; P = 0.014). Conclusions: Presence of AMD is not associated with modification of hepatic CFH production. In addition, AMD is not associated with systemic complement activity in LT patients. These findings suggest that local intraocular complement activity is of greater importance in AMD pathogenesis. The high AMD prevalence observed in LT patients may be associated with the increased frequency of the CFH Y402H sequence variation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1612-1618
Number of pages7
JournalOphthalmology- Journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology
Issue number8
Early online date3 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


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