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PurposeTo examine the relation among serum cholesterol, apolipoprotein E genotype (APOE), and the risk of early and late age-related macular degeneration (AMD).DesignThe Rotterdam Study, a population based prospective cohort study.MethodsSerum levels of total and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol as well as APOE genotype were determined at baseline. Of 3,944 subjects, 400 were diagnosed with incident early and late AMD after a mean follow-up of 5.2 years.ResultsSerum HDL, but not total, cholesterol was associated with an increased risk of AMD (odds ratio/SD, 1.20; 95% confidence interval; 1.06-1.35). The association remained unchanged after adjustment for APOE genotype. When stratifying for APOE genotype, the association was strongest in persons with the e 4 allele; an inverse association seemed to be present for e 2 carriers.ConclusionElevated HDL but not total cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of AMD. Apolipoprotein E genotype does not explain this association but may be an effect modifier.

Original publication




Journal article


American journal of ophthalmology

Publication Date





750 - 752


Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Humans, Macular Degeneration, Cholesterol, Apolipoproteins E, Risk Factors, Prospective Studies, Genotype, Middle Aged, Cholesterol, HDL