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MDPI, Journal of Personalized Medicine, 12(11), p. 1256, 2021

DOI: 10.3390/jpm11121256



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Semi-Quantitative Multiplex Profiling of the Complement System Identifies Associations of Complement Proteins with Genetic Variants and Metabolites in Age-Related Macular Degeneration

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a major cause of vision loss among the elderly in the Western world. The complement system has been identified as one of the main AMD disease pathways. We performed a comprehensive expression analysis of 32 complement proteins in plasma samples of 255 AMD patients and 221 control individuals using mass spectrometry-based semi-quantitative multiplex profiling. We detected significant associations of complement protein levels with age, sex and body-mass index (BMI), and potential associations of C-reactive protein, factor H related-2 (FHR-2) and collectin-11 with AMD. In addition, we confirmed previously described associations and identified new associations of AMD variants with complement levels. New associations include increased C4 levels for rs181705462 at the C2/CFB locus, decreased vitronectin (VTN) levels for rs11080055 at the TMEM97/VTN locus and decreased factor I levels for rs10033900 at the CFI locus. Finally, we detected significant associations between AMD-associated metabolites and complement proteins in plasma. The most significant complement-metabolite associations included increased high density lipoprotein (HDL) subparticle levels with decreased C3, factor H (FH) and VTN levels. The results of our study indicate that demographic factors, genetic variants and circulating metabolites are associated with complement protein components. We suggest that these factors should be considered to design personalized treatment approaches and to increase the success of clinical trials targeting the complement system.