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1.  Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies in five cohorts reveals common variants in RBFOX1, a regulator of tissue-specific splicing, associated with refractive error 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;22(13):2754-2764.
Visual refractive errors (REs) are complex genetic traits with a largely unknown etiology. To date, genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of moderate size have identified several novel risk markers for RE, measured here as mean spherical equivalent (MSE). We performed a GWAS using a total of 7280 samples from five cohorts: the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS); the KORA study (‘Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg’); the Framingham Eye Study (FES); the Ogliastra Genetic Park-Talana (OGP-Talana) Study and the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Genotyping was performed on Illumina and Affymetrix platforms with additional markers imputed to the HapMap II reference panel. We identified a new genome-wide significant locus on chromosome 16 (rs10500355, P = 3.9 × 10−9) in a combined discovery and replication set (26 953 samples). This single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) is located within the RBFOX1 gene which is a neuron-specific splicing factor regulating a wide range of alternative splicing events implicated in neuronal development and maturation, including transcription factors, other splicing factors and synaptic proteins.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddt116
PMCID: PMC3674806  PMID: 23474815
2.  Education influences the role of genetics in myopia 
Myopia is a complex inherited ocular trait resulting from an interplay of genes and environmental factors, most of which are currently unknown. In two independent population-based cohorts consisting of 5,256 and 3,938 individuals from European descent, we tested for biological interaction between genetic predisposition and level of education on the risk of myopia. A genetic risk score was calculated based on 26 myopia-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms recently discovered by the Consortium for Refractive Error and Myopia. Educational level was obtained by questionnaire and categorized into primary, intermediate, and higher education. Refractive error was measured during a standardized ophthalmological examination. Biological interaction was assessed by calculation of the synergy index. Individuals at high genetic risk in combination with university-level education had a remarkably high risk of myopia (OR 51.3; 95 % CI 18.5–142.6), while those at high genetic risk with only primary schooling were at a much lower increased risk of myopia (OR 7.2, 95 % CI 3.1–17.0). The combined effect of genetic predisposition and education on the risk of myopia was far higher than the sum of these two effects (synergy index 4.2, 95 % CI 1.9–9.5). This epidemiological study provides evidence of a gene-environment interaction in which an individual’s genetic risk of myopia is significantly affected by his or her educational level.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10654-013-9856-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s10654-013-9856-1
PMCID: PMC3898347  PMID: 24142238
Myopia; Refractive error; GxE; Gene-environment; Environmental factors
3.  Optimizing the Information Yield of 3-D OCT in Glaucoma 
Purpose.
To determine, first, which regions of 3-D optical coherence tomography (OCT) volumes can be segmented completely in the majority of subjects and, second, the relationship between analyzed area and thickness measurement test–retest variability.
Methods.
Three-dimensional OCT volumes (6 × 6 mm) centered around the fovea and optic nerve head (ONH) of 925 Rotterdam Study participants were analyzed; 44 participants were scanned twice. Volumes were segmented into 10 layers, and we determined the area where all layers could be identified in at least 95% (macula) or 90% (ONH) of subjects. Macular volumes were divided in 2 × 2, 4 × 4, 6 × 6, 8 × 8, or 68 blocks. We placed two circles around the ONH; the ONH had to fit into the smaller circle, and the larger circle had to fit into the segmentable part of the volume. The area between the circles was divided in 3 to 12 segments. We determined the test–retest variability (coefficient of repeatability) of the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) and ganglion cell layer (RGCL) thickness measurements as a function of size of blocks/segments.
Results.
Eighty-two percent of the macular volume could be segmented in at least 95% of subjects; for the ONH, this was 65% in at least 90%. The radii of the circles were 1.03 and 1.84 mm. Depending on the analyzed area, median test–retest variability ranged from 8% to 15% for macular RNFL, 11% to 22% for macular RGCL, 5% to 11% for the two together, and 18% to 22% for ONH RNFL.
Conclusions.
Test–retest variability hampers a detailed analysis of 3-D OCT data. Combined macular RNFL and RGCL thickness averaged over larger areas had the best test–retest variability.
Population-based OCT data were used to unravel the relationship between detail and test–retest variability of 3-D OCT volumes from the macula and optic nerve head.
doi:10.1167/iovs.12-10551
PMCID: PMC3522440  PMID: 23154462
4.  Evidence of association of APOE with age-related macular degeneration - a pooled analysis of 15 studies 
Human mutation  2011;32(12):1407-1416.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of incurable visual impairment in high-income countries. Previous studies report inconsistent associations between AMD and apolipoprotein E (APOE), a lipid transport protein involved in low-density cholesterol modulation. Potential interaction between APOE and sex, and smoking status, has been reported. We present a pooled analysis (n=21,160) demonstrating associations between late AMD and APOε4 (OR=0.72 per haplotype; CI: 0.65–0.74; P=4.41×10−11) and APOε2 (OR=1.83 for homozygote carriers; CI: 1.04–3.23; P=0.04), following adjustment for age-group and sex within each study and smoking status. No evidence of interaction between APOE and sex or smoking was found. Ever smokers had significant increased risk relative to never smokers for both neovascular (OR=1.54; CI: 1.38–1.72; P=2.8×10−15) and atrophic (OR=1.38; CI: 1.18–1.61; P=3.37×10−5) AMD but not early AMD (OR=0.94; CI: 0.86–1.03; P=0.16), implicating smoking as a major contributing factor to disease progression from early signs to the visually disabling late forms. Extended haplotype analysis incorporating rs405509 did not identify additional risks beyondε2 and ε4 haplotypes. Our expanded analysis substantially improves our understanding of the association between the APOE locus and AMD. It further provides evidence supporting the role of cholesterol modulation, and low-density cholesterol specifically, in AMD disease etiology.
doi:10.1002/humu.21577
PMCID: PMC3217135  PMID: 21882290
age-related macular degeneration; AMD; apolipoprotein E; APOE; case-control association study
5.  Variations in Apolipoprotein E Frequency With Age in a Pooled Analysis of a Large Group of Older People 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2011;173(12):1357-1364.
Variation in the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE) has been reported to be associated with longevity in humans. The authors assessed the allelic distribution of APOE isoforms ε2, ε3, and ε4 among 10,623 participants from 15 case-control and cohort studies of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in populations of European ancestry (study dates ranged from 1990 to 2009). The authors included only the 10,623 control subjects from these studies who were classified as having no evidence of AMD, since variation within the APOE gene has previously been associated with AMD. In an analysis stratified by study center, gender, and smoking status, there was a decreasing frequency of the APOE ε4 isoform with increasing age (χ2 for trend = 14.9 (1 df); P = 0.0001), with a concomitant increase in the ε3 isoform (χ2 for trend = 11.3 (1 df); P = 0.001). The association with age was strongest in ε4 homozygotes; the frequency of ε4 homozygosity decreased from 2.7% for participants aged 60 years or less to 0.8% for those over age 85 years, while the proportion of participants with the ε3/ε4 genotype decreased from 26.8% to 17.5% across the same age range. Gender had no significant effect on the isoform frequencies. This study provides strong support for an association of the APOE gene with human longevity.
doi:10.1093/aje/kwr015
PMCID: PMC3145394  PMID: 21498624
aged; apolipoprotein E2; apolipoprotein E3; apolipoprotein E4; apolipoproteins E; longevity; meta-analysis; multicenter study
6.  Cone-rod dystrophy can be a manifestation of Danon disease 
Background
Danon disease is a neuromuscular disorder with variable expression in the eye. We describe a family with Danon disease and cone-rod dystrophy (CRD).
Methods
Affected males of one family with Danon were invited for an extensive ophthalmologic examination, including color vision testing, fundus photography, Goldmann perimetry, full-field electroretinogram (ERG), and SD-OCT. Previous ophthalmologic data were retrieved from medical charts. The LAMP2 and RPGR gene were analyzed by direct sequencing.
Results
Two siblings had no ocular phenotype. The third sibling and a cousin developed CRD leading to legal blindness. Visual acuity deteriorated progressively over time, color vision was severely disturbed, and ERG showed reduced photopic and scotopic responses. SD-OCT revealed thinning of the photoreceptor and RPE layer. Visual fields demonstrated central scotoma. The causal mutation was p.Gly384Arg in LAMP2; no mutations were found in RPGR.
Conclusions
This is the first description of CRD in Danon disease. The retinal phenotype was a late onset but severe dystrophy characterized by loss of photoreceptors and RPE cells. With this report, we highlight the importance of a comprehensive ophthalmologic examination in the clinical work-up of Danon disease.
doi:10.1007/s00417-011-1857-8
PMCID: PMC3332371  PMID: 22290069
Cone-rod dystrophy; LAMP2 gene; Genotype–phenotype correlations; RPE pathology; Danon disease; Medicine & Public Health; Ophthalmology
7.  The Rotterdam Study: 2012 objectives and design update 
European Journal of Epidemiology  2011;26(8):657-686.
The Rotterdam Study is a prospective cohort study ongoing since 1990 in the city of Rotterdam in The Netherlands. The study targets cardiovascular, endocrine, hepatic, neurological, ophthalmic, psychiatric, dermatological, oncological, and respiratory diseases. As of 2008, 14,926 subjects aged 45 years or over comprise the Rotterdam Study cohort. The findings of the Rotterdam Study have been presented in over a 1,000 research articles and reports (see www.erasmus-epidemiology.nl/rotterdamstudy). This article gives the rationale of the study and its design. It also presents a summary of the major findings and an update of the objectives and methods.
doi:10.1007/s10654-011-9610-5
PMCID: PMC3168750  PMID: 21877163
Biomarkers; Cardiovascular diseases; Cohort study; Dermatological diseases; Endocrine diseases; Epidemiologic methods; Genetic epidemiology; Liver diseases; Neurological diseases; Oncology; Ophthalmic diseases; Pharmacoepidemiology; Renal diseases; Psychiatric diseases; Respiratory diseases
8.  Clinical course of cone dystrophy caused by mutations in the RPGR gene 
Background
Mutations in the RPGR gene predominantly cause rod photoreceptor disorders with a large variability in clinical course. In this report, we describe two families with mutations in this gene and cone involvement.
Methods
We investigated an X-linked cone dystrophy family (1) with 25 affected males, 25 female carriers, and 21 non-carriers, as well as a small family (2) with one affected and one unaffected male. The RPGR gene was analyzed by direct sequencing. All medical records were evaluated, and all available data on visual acuity, color vision testing, ophthalmoscopy, fundus photography, fundus autofluorescence, Goldmann perimetry, SD-OCT, dark adaptation, and full-field electroretinography (ERG) were registered. Cumulative risks of visual loss were studied with Kaplan–Meier product-limit survival analysis.
Results
Both families had a frameshift mutation in ORF15 of the RPGR gene; family 1 had p.Ser1107ValfsX4, and family 2 had p.His1100GlnfsX10. Mean follow up was 13 years (SD 10). Virtually all affected males showed reduced photopic and normal scotopic responses on ERG. Fifty percent of the patients had a visual acuity of <0.5 at age 35 years (SE 2.2), and 75% of the patients was legally blind at age 60 years (SE 2.3). Female carriers showed no signs of ocular involvement.
Conclusions
This report describes the clinical course and visual prognosis in two families with cone dystrophy due to RPGR mutations in the 3’ terminal region of ORF15. Remarkable features were the consistent, late-onset phenotype, the severe visual outcome, and the non-expression in female carriers. Expression of RPGR mutations in this particular region appears to be relatively homogeneous and predisposed to cones.
doi:10.1007/s00417-011-1789-3
PMCID: PMC3178018  PMID: 21866333
RPGR gene; Cone dystrophy; ERG; Clinical course; ORF15; Novel mutation
9.  Comprehensive Analysis of the Candidate Genes CCL2, CCR2, and TLR4 in Age-Related Macular Degeneration 
PURPOSE
To determine whether variants in the candidate genes TLR4, CCL2, and CCR2 are associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
METHODS
This study was performed in two independent Caucasian populations that included 357 cases and 173 controls from the Netherlands and 368 cases and 368 controls from the United States. Exon 4 of the TLR4 gene and the promoter, all exons, and flanking intronic regions of the CCL2 and CCR2 genes were analyzed in the Dutch study and common variants were validated in the U.S. study. Quantitative (q)PCR reactions were performed to evaluate expression of these genes in laser-dissected retinal pigment epithelium from 13 donor AMD and 13 control eyes.
RESULTS
Analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the TLR4 gene did not show a significant association between D299G or T399I and AMD, nor did haplotypes containing these variants. Univariate analyses of the SNPs in CCL2 and CCR2 did not demonstrate an association with AMD. For CCR2, haplotype frequencies were not significantly different between cases and controls. For CCL2, one haplotype containing the minor allele of C35C was significantly associated with AMD (P = 0.03), but this did not sustain after adjustment for multiple testing (q = 0.30). Expression analysis did not demonstrate altered RNA expression of CCL2 and CCR2 in the retinal pigment epithelium from AMD eyes (for CCL2 P = 0.62; for CCR2 P = 0.97).
CONCLUSIONS
No evidence was found of an association between TLR4, CCR2, and CCL2 and AMD, which implies that the common genetic variation in these genes does not play a significant role in the etiology of AMD.
doi:10.1167/iovs.07-0656
PMCID: PMC2754756  PMID: 18172114
10.  Macrophages feel their age in macular degeneration 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2007;117(11):3182-3184.
Macular degeneration, during which the posterior part of the eye known as the macula suffers from thinning, atrophy, and bleeding caused by abnormal angiogenesis (blood vessel formation), predominantly affects elderly adults and results in the loss of central vision. In this issue of the JCI, Kelly et al. investigate the regulation of innate immune cells, specifically macrophages, in ocular neovascularization following eye injury in mice (see the related article beginning on page 3421). They found that, as the mice aged, increased expression of IL-10 by senescent macrophages and changes in their expression of other cytokines altered the ability of these cells to restrain trauma-induced angiogenesis in the eye. These data provide insight into the effect of senescence on macrophage function and angiogenesis and have important implications for age-related diseases such as macular degeneration.
doi:10.1172/JCI34070
PMCID: PMC2045629  PMID: 17975664
11.  Reduced Secretion of Fibulin 5 in Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Cutis Laxa 
Human mutation  2006;27(6):568-574.
Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is the leading cause of irreversible visual loss in the Western world, affecting approximately 25 million people worldwide. The pathogenesis is complex and missense mutations in FBLN5 have been reported in association with ARMD. We have investigated the role of fibulin 5 in ARMD by completing the first European study of the gene FBLN5 in ARMD (using 2 European cohorts of 805 ARMD patients and 279 controls) and by determining the functional effects of the missense mutations on fibulin 5 expression. We also correlated the FBLN5 genotype with the ARMD phenotype. We found two novel sequence changes in ARMD patients that were absent in controls and expressed these and the other nine reported FBLN5 mutations associated with ARMD and two associated with the autosomal recessive disease cutis laxa. Fibulin 5 secretion was significantly reduced (P<0.001) for four ARMD (p.G412E, p.G267S, p.I169 T, and p.Q124P) and two cutis laxa (p.S227P, p.C217R) mutations. These results suggest that some missense mutations associated with ARMD lead to decreased fibulin 5 secretion with a possible corresponding reduction in elastinogenesis. This study confirms the previous work identifying an association between FBLN5 mutations and ARMD and for the first time suggests a functional mechanism by which these mutations can lead to ARMD. It further demonstrates that FBLN5 mutations can be associated with different phenotypes of ARMD (not limited to the previously described cuticular drusen type). Such knowledge may ultimately lead to the development of novel therapies for this common disease.
doi:10.1002/humu.20344
PMCID: PMC1828612  PMID: 16652333
age-related macular degeneration; ARMD; fibulin 5; FBLN5; cutis laxa; genotype–phenotype correlation; elastinogenesis
12.  High Bone Mineral Density and Fracture Risk in Type 2 Diabetes as Skeletal Complications of Inadequate Glucose Control 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(6):1619-1628.
OBJECTIVE
Individuals with type 2 diabetes have increased fracture risk despite higher bone mineral density (BMD). Our aim was to examine the influence of glucose control on skeletal complications.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Data of 4,135 participants of the Rotterdam Study, a prospective population-based cohort, were available (mean follow-up 12.2 years). At baseline, 420 participants with type 2 diabetes were classified by glucose control (according to HbA1c calculated from fructosamine), resulting in three comparison groups: adequately controlled diabetes (ACD; n = 203; HbA1c <7.5%), inadequately controlled diabetes (ICD; n = 217; HbA1c ≥7.5%), and no diabetes (n = 3,715). Models adjusted for sex, age, height, and weight (and femoral neck BMD) were used to test for differences in bone parameters and fracture risk (hazard ratio [HR] [95% CI]).
RESULTS
The ICD group had 1.1–5.6% higher BMD, 4.6–5.6% thicker cortices, and −1.2 to −1.8% narrower femoral necks than ACD and ND, respectively. Participants with ICD had 47–62% higher fracture risk than individuals without diabetes (HR 1.47 [1.12–1.92]) and ACD (1.62 [1.09–2.40]), whereas those with ACD had a risk similar to those without diabetes (0.91 [0.67–1.23]).
CONCLUSIONS
Poor glycemic control in type 2 diabetes is associated with fracture risk, high BMD, and thicker femoral cortices in narrower bones. We postulate that fragility in apparently “strong” bones in ICD can result from microcrack accumulation and/or cortical porosity, reflecting impaired bone repair.
doi:10.2337/dc12-1188
PMCID: PMC3661786  PMID: 23315602
13.  Analysis of Rare Variants in the C3 Gene in Patients with Age-Related Macular Degeneration 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94165.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive retinal disorder affecting over 33 million people worldwide. Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) for AMD identified common variants at 19 loci accounting for 15–65% of the heritability and it has been hypothesized that the missing heritability may be attributed to rare variants with large effect sizes. Common variants in the complement component 3 (C3) gene have been associated with AMD and recently a rare C3 variant (Lys155Gln) was identified which exerts a large effect on AMD susceptibility independent of the common variants. To explore whether additional rare variants in the C3 gene are associated with AMD, we sequenced all coding exons in 84 unrelated AMD cases. Subsequently, we genotyped all identified variants in 1474 AMD cases and 2258 controls. Additionally, because of the known genetic overlap between AMD and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), we genotyped two recurrent aHUS-associated C3 mutations in the entire cohort. Overall, we identified three rare variants (Lys65Gln (P = 0.04), Arg735Trp (OR = 17.4, 95% CI = 2.2–136; P = 0.0003), and Ser1619Arg (OR = 5.2, 95% CI = 1.0–25; P = 0.05) at the C3 locus that are associated with AMD in our EUGENDA cohort. However, the Arg735Trp and Ser1619Arg variants were not found to be associated with AMD in the Rotterdam Study. The Lys65Gln variant was only identified in patients from Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and thus may represent a region-specific AMD risk variant.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094165
PMCID: PMC3988049  PMID: 24736606
14.  Heritability and Genome-wide Association Study To Assess Genetic Differences Between Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration Subtypes  
Ophthalmology  2012;119(9):1874-1885.
Purpose
To investigate whether the two subtypes of advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD), choroidal neovascularization (CNV) and geographic atrophy (GA), segregate separately in families and to identify which genetic variants are associated with these two subtypes.
Design
Sibling correlation study and genome-wide association study (GWAS)
Participants
For the sibling correlation study, we included 209 sibling pairs with advanced AMD. For the GWAS, we included 2594 participants with advanced AMD subtypes and 4134 controls. Replication cohorts included 5383 advanced AMD participants and 15,240 controls.
Methods
Participants had AMD grade assigned based on fundus photography and/or examination. To determine heritability of advanced AMD subtypes, we performed a sibling correlation study. For the GWAS, we conducted genome-wide genotyping and imputed 6,036,699 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs). We then analyzed SNPs with a generalized linear model controlling for genotyping platform and genetic ancestry. The most significant associations were evaluated in independent cohorts.
Main Outcome Measures
Concordance of advanced AMD subtypes in sibling pairs and associations between SNPs with GA and CNV advanced AMD subtypes.
Results
The difference between the observed and expected proportion of siblings concordant for the same subtype of advanced AMD was different to a statistically significant degree (P=4.2 x 10−5) meaning that siblings of probands with CNV or GA are more likely to develop CNV or GA, respectively. In the analysis comparing participants with CNV to those with GA, we observed a statistically significant association at the ARMS2/HTRA1 locus [rs10490924, odds ratio (OR)=1.47, P=4.3 ×10−9] which was confirmed in the replication samples (OR=1.38, P=7.4 x 10−14 for combined discovery and replication analysis).
Conclusions
Whether a patient with AMD develops CNV vs. GA is determined in part by genetic variation. In this large GWAS meta-analysis and replication analysis, the ARMS2/HTRA1 locus confers increased risk for both advanced AMD subtypes but imparts greater risk for CNV than for GA. This locus explains a small proportion of the excess sibling correlation for advanced AMD subtype. Other loci were detected with suggestive associations which differ for advanced AMD subtypes and deserve follow-up in additional studies.
doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2012.03.014
PMCID: PMC3899891  PMID: 22705344
15.  Identification of a Candidate Gene for Astigmatism 
Purpose.
Astigmatism is a common refractive error that reduces vision, where the curvature and refractive power of the cornea in one meridian are less than those of the perpendicular axis. It is a complex trait likely to be influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Twin studies of astigmatism have found approximately 60% of phenotypic variance is explained by genetic factors. This study aimed to identify susceptibility loci for astigmatism.
Methods.
We performed a meta-analysis of seven genome-wide association studies that included 22,100 individuals of European descent, where astigmatism was defined as the number of diopters of cylinder prescription, using fixed effect inverse variance-weighted methods.
Results.
A susceptibility locus was identified with lead single nucleotide polymorphism rs3771395 on chromosome 2p13.3 (meta-analysis, P = 1.97 × 10−7) in the VAX2 gene. VAX2 plays an important role in the development of the dorsoventral axis of the eye. Animal studies have shown a gradient in astigmatism along the vertical plane, with corresponding changes in refraction, particularly in the ventral field.
Conclusions.
This finding advances the understanding of refractive error, and provides new potential pathways to be evaluated with regard to the development of astigmatism.
We identified a new susceptibility locus in the VAX2 gene, which is involved in the development of the ventral eye. This finding may allow new insights into astigmatism and advance the understanding of refractive error.
doi:10.1167/iovs.12-10463
PMCID: PMC3576051  PMID: 23322567
16.  Are C-Reactive Protein Associated Genetic Variants Associated with Serum Levels and Retinal Markers of Microvascular Pathology in Asian Populations from Singapore? 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e67650.
Introduction
C-reactive protein (CRP) levels are associated with cardiovascular disease and systemic inflammation. We assessed whether CRP-associated loci were associated with serum CRP and retinal markers of microvascular disease, in Asian populations.
Methods
Genome-wide association analysis (GWAS) for serum CRP was performed in East-Asian Chinese (N = 2,434) and Malays (N = 2,542) and South-Asian Indians (N = 2,538) from Singapore. Leveraging on GWAS data, we assessed, in silico, association levels among the Singaporean datasets for 22 recently identified CRP-associated loci. At loci where directional inconsistencies were observed, quantification of inter-ethnic linkage disequilibrium (LD) difference was determined. Next, we assessed association for a variant at CRP and retinal vessel traits [central retinal artery equivalent (CRAE) and central retinal vein equivalent (CRVE)] in a total of 24,132 subjects of East-Asian, South-Asian and European ancestry.
Results
Serum CRP was associated with SNPs in/near APOE, CRP, HNF1A and LEPR (p-values ≤4.7×10−8) after meta-analysis of Singaporean populations. Using a candidate-SNP approach, we further replicated SNPs at 4 additional loci that had been recently identified to be associated with serum CRP (IL6R, GCKR, IL6 and IL1F10) (p-values ≤0.009), in the Singaporean datasets. SNPs from these 8 loci explained 4.05% of variance in serum CRP. Two SNPs (rs2847281 and rs6901250) were detected to be significant (p-value ≤0.036) but with opposite effect directions in the Singaporean populations as compared to original European studies. At these loci we did not detect significant inter-population LD differences. We further did not observe a significant association between CRP variant and CRVE or CRAE levels after meta-analysis of all Singaporean and European datasets (p-value >0.058).
Conclusions
Common variants associated with serum CRP, first detected in primarily European studies, are also associated with CRP levels in East-Asian and South-Asian populations. We did not find a causal link between CRP and retinal measures of microvascular disease.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067650
PMCID: PMC3699653  PMID: 23844046
17.  Insights into the Genetic Architecture of Early Stage Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Genome-Wide Association Study Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53830.
Genetic factors explain a majority of risk variance for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). While genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for late AMD implicate genes in complement, inflammatory and lipid pathways, the genetic architecture of early AMD has been relatively under studied. We conducted a GWAS meta-analysis of early AMD, including 4,089 individuals with prevalent signs of early AMD (soft drusen and/or retinal pigment epithelial changes) and 20,453 individuals without these signs. For various published late AMD risk loci, we also compared effect sizes between early and late AMD using an additional 484 individuals with prevalent late AMD. GWAS meta-analysis confirmed previously reported association of variants at the complement factor H (CFH) (peak P = 1.5×10−31) and age-related maculopathy susceptibility 2 (ARMS2) (P = 4.3×10−24) loci, and suggested Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) polymorphisms (rs2075650; P = 1.1×10−6) associated with early AMD. Other possible loci that did not reach GWAS significance included variants in the zinc finger protein gene GLI3 (rs2049622; P = 8.9×10−6) and upstream of GLI2 (rs6721654; P = 6.5×10−6), encoding retinal Sonic hedgehog signalling regulators, and in the tyrosinase (TYR) gene (rs621313; P = 3.5×10−6), involved in melanin biosynthesis. For a range of published, late AMD risk loci, estimated effect sizes were significantly lower for early than late AMD. This study confirms the involvement of multiple established AMD risk variants in early AMD, but suggests weaker genetic effects on the risk of early AMD relative to late AMD. Several biological processes were suggested to be potentially specific for early AMD, including pathways regulating RPE cell melanin content and signalling pathways potentially involved in retinal regeneration, generating hypotheses for further investigation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053830
PMCID: PMC3543264  PMID: 23326517
18.  Retinal Phenotypes in Patients Homozygous for the G1961E Mutation in the ABCA4 Gene 
Purpose.
We evaluated the pathogenicity of the G1961E mutation in the ABCA4 gene, and present the range of retinal phenotypes associated with this mutation in homozygosity in a patient cohort with ABCA4-associated phenotypes.
Methods.
Patients were enrolled from the ABCA4 disease database at Columbia University or by inquiry from collaborating physicians. Only patients homozygous for the G1961E mutation were enrolled. The entire ABCA4 gene open reading frame, including all exons and flanking intronic sequences, was sequenced in all patients. Phenotype data were obtained from clinical history and examination, fundus photography, infrared imaging, fundus autofluorescence, fluorescein angiography, and spectral domain-optical coherence tomography. Additional functional data were obtained using the full-field electroretinogram, and static or kinetic perimetry.
Results.
We evaluated 12 patients homozygous for the G1961E mutation. All patients had evidence of retinal pathology consistent with the range of phenotypes observed in ABCA4 disease. The latest age of onset was recorded at 64 years, in a patient diagnosed initially with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Of 6 patients in whom severe structural (with/without functional) fundus changes were detected, 5 had additional, heterozygous or homozygous, variants detected in the ABCA4 gene.
Conclusions.
Homozygous G1961E mutation in ABCA4 results in a range of retinal pathology. The phenotype usually is at the milder end of the disease spectrum, with severe phenotypes linked to the presence of additional ABCA4 variants. Our report also highlights that milder, late-onset Stargardt disease may be confused with AMD.
There is still debate as to the pathogenicity of homozygous G1961E mutation in the ABCA4 gene. We present 12 patients, homozygous for G1961E mutation, with retinal disease. In 6 cases, additional mutations were detected in ABCA4 and tended to yield more severe disease phenotypes.
doi:10.1167/iovs.11-9166
PMCID: PMC3394687  PMID: 22661473
19.  Multicenter cohort association study of SLC2A1 single nucleotide polymorphisms and age-related macular degeneration 
Molecular Vision  2012;18:657-674.
Purpose
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a major cause of blindness in older adults and has a genetically complex background. This study examines the potential association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the glucose transporter 1 (SLC2A1) gene and AMD. SLC2A1 regulates the bioavailability of glucose in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), which might influence oxidative stress–mediated AMD pathology.
Methods
Twenty-two SNPs spanning the SLC2A1 gene were genotyped in 375 cases and 199 controls from an initial discovery cohort (the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Netherlands study). Replication testing was performed in The Rotterdam Study (the Netherlands) and study populations from Würzburg (Germany), the Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS; United States), Columbia University (United States), and Iowa University (United States). Subsequently, a meta-analysis of SNP association was performed.
Results
In the discovery cohort, significant genotypic association between three SNPs (rs3754219, rs4660687, and rs841853) and AMD was found. Replication in five large independent (Caucasian) cohorts (4,860 cases and 4,004 controls) did not yield consistent association results. The genotype frequencies for these SNPs were significantly different for the controls and/or cases among the six individual populations. Meta-analysis revealed significant heterogeneity of effect between the studies.
Conclusions
No overall association between SLC2A1 SNPs and AMD was demonstrated. Since the genotype frequencies for the three SLC2A1 SNPs were significantly different for the controls and/or cases between the six cohorts, this study corroborates previous evidence that population dependent genetic risk heterogeneity in AMD exists.
PMCID: PMC3324365  PMID: 22509097
20.  Common variants near FRK/COL10A1 and VEGFA are associated with advanced age-related macular degeneration 
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;20(18):3699-3709.
Despite significant progress in the identification of genetic loci for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), not all of the heritability has been explained. To identify variants which contribute to the remaining genetic susceptibility, we performed the largest meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies to date for advanced AMD. We imputed 6 036 699 single-nucleotide polymorphisms with the 1000 Genomes Project reference genotypes on 2594 cases and 4134 controls with follow-up replication of top signals in 5640 cases and 52 174 controls. We identified two new common susceptibility alleles, rs1999930 on 6q21-q22.3 near FRK/COL10A1 [odds ratio (OR) 0.87; P = 1.1 × 10−8] and rs4711751 on 6p12 near VEGFA (OR 1.15; P = 8.7 × 10−9). In addition to the two novel loci, 10 previously reported loci in ARMS2/HTRA1 (rs10490924), CFH (rs1061170, and rs1410996), CFB (rs641153), C3 (rs2230199), C2 (rs9332739), CFI (rs10033900), LIPC (rs10468017), TIMP3 (rs9621532) and CETP (rs3764261) were confirmed with genome-wide significant signals in this large study. Loci in the recently reported genes ABCA1 and COL8A1 were also detected with suggestive evidence of association with advanced AMD. The novel variants identified in this study suggest that angiogenesis (VEGFA) and extracellular collagen matrix (FRK/COL10A1) pathways contribute to the development of advanced AMD.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddr270
PMCID: PMC3159552  PMID: 21665990
21.  The Complement Component 5 gene and Age-related Macular Degeneration 
Ophthalmology  2009;117(3):500-511.
Objective
To investigate the association between variants in the complement component 5 (C5) gene and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Design
Separate and combined data from three large AMD case-control studies and a prospective population-based study (The Rotterdam Study).
Participants
A total of 2599 AMD cases and 3458 ethnically matched controls.
Methods
Fifteen single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) spanning the C5 gene were initially genotyped in 375 cases and 199 controls from the Netherlands (The AMRO-NL study population). Replication testing of selected SNPs was performed in the Rotterdam Study (NL) and study populations from Southampton, United Kingdom (UK) and New York, United States (US).
Main Outcome Measures
Early and late stages of prevalent and incident AMD, graded according to (a modification of) the international grading and classification system of AMD.
Results
Significant allelic or genotypic associations between eight C5 SNPs and AMD were found in the AMRO-NL study and this risk appeared independently of CFH Y402H, LOC387715 A69S, age and gender. None of these findings could be confirmed consistently in three replication populations.
Conclusions
Although the complement pathway, including C5, plays a crucial role in AMD, and the C5 protein is present in drusen, no consistent significant associations between C5 SNPs and AMD were found in all studies. The implications for genetic screening of AMD are discussed.
doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2009.08.032
PMCID: PMC2830367  PMID: 20022638
22.  The ERCC6 Gene and Age-Related Macular Degeneration 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(11):e13786.
Background
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible visual loss in the developed countries and is caused by both environmental and genetic factors. A recent study (Tuo et al., PNAS) reported an association between AMD and a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (rs3793784) in the ERCC6 (NM_000124) gene. The risk allele also increased ERCC6 expression. ERCC6 is involved in DNA repair and mutations in ERCC6 cause Cockayne syndrome (CS). Amongst others, photosensitivity and pigmentary retinopathy are hallmarks of CS.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Separate and combined data from three large AMD case-control studies and a prospective population-based study (The Rotterdam Study) were used to analyse the genetic association between ERCC6 and AMD (2682 AMD cases and 3152 controls). We also measured ERCC6 mRNA levels in retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells of healthy and early AMD affected human donor eyes. Rs3793784 conferred a small increase in risk for late AMD in the Dutch population (The Rotterdam and AMRO-NL study), but this was not replicated in two non-European studies (AREDS, Columbia University). In addition, the AMRO-NL study revealed no significant association for 9 other variants spanning ERCC6. Finally, we determined that ERCC6 expression in the human RPE did not depend on rs3793784 genotype, but, interestingly, on AMD status: Early AMD-affected donor eyes had a 50% lower ERCC6 expression than healthy donor eyes (P = 0.018).
Conclusions/Significance
Our meta-analysis of four Caucasian cohorts does not replicate the reported association between SNPs in ERCC6 and AMD. Nevertheless, our findings on ERCC6 expression in the RPE suggest that ERCC6 may be functionally involved in AMD. Combining our data with those of the literature, we hypothesize that the AMD-related reduced transcriptional activity of ERCC6 may be caused by diverse, small and heterogeneous genetic and/or environmental determinants.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013786
PMCID: PMC2967476  PMID: 21072178
23.  A Genome-Wide Association Study of Optic Disc Parameters 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(6):e1000978.
The optic nerve head is involved in many ophthalmic disorders, including common diseases such as myopia and open-angle glaucoma. Two of the most important parameters are the size of the optic disc area and the vertical cup-disc ratio (VCDR). Both are highly heritable but genetically largely undetermined. We performed a meta-analysis of genome-wide association (GWA) data to identify genetic variants associated with optic disc area and VCDR. The gene discovery included 7,360 unrelated individuals from the population-based Rotterdam Study I and Rotterdam Study II cohorts. These cohorts revealed two genome-wide significant loci for optic disc area, rs1192415 on chromosome 1p22 (p = 6.72×10−19) within 117 kb of the CDC7 gene and rs1900004 on chromosome 10q21.3-q22.1 (p = 2.67×10−33) within 10 kb of the ATOH7 gene. They revealed two genome-wide significant loci for VCDR, rs1063192 on chromosome 9p21 (p = 6.15×10−11) in the CDKN2B gene and rs10483727 on chromosome 14q22.3-q23 (p = 2.93×10−10) within 40 kbp of the SIX1 gene. Findings were replicated in two independent Dutch cohorts (Rotterdam Study III and Erasmus Rucphen Family study; N = 3,612), and the TwinsUK cohort (N = 843). Meta-analysis with the replication cohorts confirmed the four loci and revealed a third locus at 16q12.1 associated with optic disc area, and four other loci at 11q13, 13q13, 17q23 (borderline significant), and 22q12.1 for VCDR. ATOH7 was also associated with VCDR independent of optic disc area. Three of the loci were marginally associated with open-angle glaucoma. The protein pathways in which the loci of optic disc area are involved overlap with those identified for VCDR, suggesting a common genetic origin.
Author Summary
Morphologic characteristics of the optic nerve head are involved in many ophthalmic diseases. Its size, called the optic disc area, is an important measure and has been associated with e.g. myopia and open-angle glaucoma (OAG). Another important and clinical parameter of the optic disc is the vertical cup-disc ratio (VCDR). Although studies have shown a high heritability of optic disc area and VCDR, its genetic determinants are still undetermined. We therefore conducted a genome-wide association (GWA) study on these quantitative traits, using data of over 11,000 Caucasian participants, and related the findings to myopia and OAG. We found evidence for association of three loci with optic disc area: CDC7/TGFBR3 region, ATOH7, and SALL1; and six with VCDR: CDKN2B, SIX1, SCYL1, CHEK2, ATOH7, and DCLK1; and additionally one borderline significant locus: BCAS3. None of the loci could be related to myopia. There was marginal evidence for association of ATOH7, CDKN2B, and SIX1 with OAG, which remains to be confirmed. The present study reveals new insights into the physiological development of the optic nerve and may shed light on the pathophysiological protein pathways leading to (neuro-) ophthalmologic diseases such as OAG.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000978
PMCID: PMC2883590  PMID: 20548946

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