Acute and Subacute Effect of Rheopheresis on Microvascular Endothelial Function in Patients Suffering From Age-related Macular Degeneration

Authors


Professor Marco Rossi, Dipartimento di Medicina Interna, Università di Pisa, Via Roma 67, 56100 Pisa, Italia. Email: mrossi@int.med.unipi.it

Abstract

This study was performed on seven patients affected by the atrophic form of age-related macular degeneration (AF-ARMD). The patients under investigation belonged to a larger study aimed at evaluating the efficacy of rheopheresis treatment (RT) on the visual function of AF-ARMD patients. Following the protocol of the larger study, patients received RT twice a week, every two weeks, for a total of ten treatments, as well as high-dose supplementation with zinc and vitamins A, E and beta-carotene. Recruited patients underwent skin laser Doppler flowmetry coupled with skin iontophoresis of the endothelium-dependent vasodilator acetylcholine (ACh) and a test of skin post-ischemic reactive hyperemia, before and after the first RT (time 1: all seven patients) and the fifth RT (time 2: six patients). A significantly higher absolute (anova for repeated measures) and relative (percentage change from the baseline) skin blood flux response (SBFR) to ACh iontophoresis was observed after RT, compared to before RT at time 1 (679 ± 43% and 436 ± 78%, respectively; P < 0.05), as well as before RT at time 2 compared to before RT at time 1 (683 ± 74% and 436 ± 78%, respectively; P < 0.05). Absolute and relative SBFR to ischemia did not differ either after RT compared to before RT at time 1, or before RT at time 2 compared to before RT at time 1. These findings are consistent with an acute and subacute beneficial effect of RT on skin microvascular endothelial function in the studied AF-ARMD patients.

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