Glycative stress as a cause of macular degeneration (New Paper)

It sounds like drugs like Acarbose and SGLT2 inhibitors (and yes, metformin) might help prevent, or lower the risk, of macular degeneration…

People are living longer and rates of age-related diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are accelerating, placing enormous burdens on patients and health care systems. The quality of carbohydrate foods consumed by an individual impacts health. The glycemic index (GI) is a kinetic measure of the rate at which glucose arrives in the blood stream after consuming various carbohydrates. Consuming diets that favor slowly digested carbohydrates releases sugar into the bloodstream gradually after consuming a meal (low glycemic index). This is associated with reduced risk for major age-related diseases including AMD, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. In comparison, consuming the same amounts of different carbohydrates in higher GI diets, releases glucose into the blood rapidly, causing glycative stress as well as accumulation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Such AGEs are cytotoxic by virtue of their forming abnormal proteins and protein aggregates, as well as inhibiting proteolytic and other protective pathways that might otherwise selectively recognize and remove toxic species. Using in vitro and animal models of glycative stress, we observed that consuming higher GI diets perturbs metabolism and the microbiome, resulting in a shift to more lipid-rich metabolomic profiles. Interactions between aging, diet, eye phenotypes and physiology were observed. A large body of laboratory animal and human clinical epidemiologic data indicates that consuming lower GI diets, or lower glycemia diets, is protective against features of early AMD (AMDf) in mice and AMD prevalence or AMD progression in humans. Drugs may be optimised to diminish the ravages of higher glycemic diets. Human trials are indicated to determine if AMD progression can be retarded using lower GI diets. Here we summarized the current knowledge regarding the pathological role of glycative stress in retinal dysfunction and how dietary strategies might diminish retinal disease.