Objectives: Central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) and central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO) are common disorders associated with risk factors for atherosclerosis. Protein Z is a cofactor for the inactivation of activated factor X (Xa) by the protein Z dependent protease inhibitor. Protein Z deficiency was recently linked to increased risk of arterial thrombosis. We investigated whether CRVO and CRAO are associated with low protein Z levels. Patients and methods: Patients with CRVO, CRAO or recurrent branch retinal vein occlusion were recruited to the study. Protein Z level, lupus anticoagulant (LAC), anticardiolipin antibodies (ACA) and activated protein C resistance (APCR) were determined in plasma from patients (n = 36) and healthy controls (n = 42). Results: Thirty patients in the study group had traditional risk factors for retinal vessel occlusion and six patients had none. There was no significant difference in protein Z levels between the whole study group patients and controls (1995 ± 810 vs. 2010 ± 603 ng/mL, P = 0.922). However, patients with no risk factors for retinal vessel occlusion had significantly lower protein Z levels than controls (1379 ± 682 vs. 2010 ± 603 ng/mL, P = 0.022). Positive LAC was found in six patients and one control subject (P = 0.04). There were three patients and one control subject with abnormal APCR (P = 0.3) and none with positive ACA. Low protein Z level (lower than fifth percentile of control) was not associated with the presence of LAC or APCR. Conclusion: Low protein Z level may be another risk factor for retinal vessel occlusion in patients without traditional risk factors for these disorders.
- Central retinal artery occlusion
- Central retinal vein occlusion
- Protein Z