To investigate whether high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and other biomarkers of inflammation predict age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
We measured hsCRP, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1), and fibrinogen levels in baseline plasma samples from 27 687 participants with a mean age of 54.6 years and initially free of AMD in the Women's Health Study. We prospectively ascertained 150 cases of AMD with vision loss of 20/30 or worse in the affected eye by self-report confirmed with review of medical records during 275 852 person-years of follow-up (mean = 10 years) and used proportional hazards models to examine the relationship between these biomarkers and AMD.
After adjustment for multiple risk factors, the hazard ratio (HR) (95% confidence interval [CI]) of AMD, contrasting the highest vs lowest quintile of hsCRP, was 3.09 (1.39-6.88) (P trend = .02). In similar models, the HR (95% CI) for sICAM-1 was 1.87 (0.97-3.58) (P trend = .07). The relationship between fibrinogen and AMD was J-shaped, with an HR (95% CI) of 2.01 (1.07-3.75) for women in the highest fifth vs second fifth.
Elevated circulating levels of hsCRP, sICAM-1, and fibrinogen precede the development of visually significant AMD in women, providing further support for the hypothesis that inflammation may play a role in AMD.