Lipids in Bruch's membrane may affect the evolution of age-related macular disease. To determine whether these show differences in regional distribution, we analyzed lipid deposits in Bruch's membrane at macular and peripheral sites.
Thin-layer chromatography was used to measure different lipid classes extracted from macular and peripheral Bruch's membrane of 32 eye bank eyes.
The quantity of lipid extracted was consistently higher in the macula than in the periphery of human eyes. The total from both sites and the difference between the sites increased with age. The extracted lipids consisted largely of phospholipids, triglycerides, fatty acids, and free cholesterol. There was little cholesterol ester.
Accumulation of lipids with age appears to be greater in the central than in the peripheral region of the fundus, indicating that lesions in age-related macular degeneration and Bruch's membrane lipid deposits share a common spatial distribution. The composition is consistent with the lipids being of cellular origin.