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1.  Prediction of Age-related Macular Degeneration in the General Population 
Ophthalmology  2013;120(12):2644-2655.
Prediction models for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) based on case-control studies have a tendency to overestimate risks. The aim of this study is to develop a prediction model for late AMD based on data from population-based studies.
Three population-based studies: the Rotterdam Study (RS), the Beaver Dam Eye Study (BDES), and the Blue Mountains Eye Study (BMES) from the Three Continent AMD Consortium (3CC).
People (n = 10106) with gradable fundus photographs, genotype data, and follow-up data without late AMD at baseline.
Features of AMD were graded on fundus photographs using the 3CC AMD severity scale. Associations with known genetic and environmental AMD risk factors were tested using Cox proportional hazard analysis. In the RS, the prediction of AMD was estimated for multivariate models by area under receiver operating characteristic curves (AUCs). The best model was validated in the BDES and BMES, and associations of variables were re-estimated in the pooled data set. Beta coefficients were used to construct a risk score, and risk of incident late AMD was calculated using Cox proportional hazard analysis. Cumulative incident risks were estimated using Kaplan–Meier product-limit analysis.
Main Outcome Measures
Incident late AMD determined per visit during a median follow-up period of 11.1 years with a total of 4 to 5 visits.
Overall, 363 participants developed incident late AMD, 3378 participants developed early AMD, and 6365 participants remained free of any AMD. The highest AUC was achieved with a model including age, sex, 26 single nucleotide polymorphisms in AMD risk genes, smoking, body mass index, and baseline AMD phenotype. The AUC of this model was 0.88 in the RS, 0.85 in the BDES and BMES at validation, and 0.87 in the pooled analysis. Individuals with low-risk scores had a hazard ratio (HR) of 0.02 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.01–0.04) to develop late AMD, and individuals with high-risk scores had an HR of 22.0 (95% CI, 15.2–31.8). Cumulative risk of incident late AMD ranged from virtually 0 to more than 65% for those with the highest risk scores.
Our prediction model is robust and distinguishes well between those who will develop late AMD and those who will not. Estimated risks were lower in these population-based studies than in previous case-control studies.
PMCID: PMC3986722  PMID: 24120328
2.  Comprehensive Analysis of the Candidate Genes CCL2, CCR2, and TLR4 in Age-Related Macular Degeneration 
To determine whether variants in the candidate genes TLR4, CCL2, and CCR2 are associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
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.
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).
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.
PMCID: PMC2754756  PMID: 18172114
3.  Genome-Wide Meta-Analysis of Myopia and Hyperopia Provides Evidence for Replication of 11 Loci 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e107110.
Refractive error (RE) is a complex, multifactorial disorder characterized by a mismatch between the optical power of the eye and its axial length that causes object images to be focused off the retina. The two major subtypes of RE are myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness), which represent opposite ends of the distribution of the quantitative measure of spherical refraction. We performed a fixed effects meta-analysis of genome-wide association results of myopia and hyperopia from 9 studies of European-derived populations: AREDS, KORA, FES, OGP-Talana, MESA, RSI, RSII, RSIII and ERF. One genome-wide significant region was observed for myopia, corresponding to a previously identified myopia locus on 8q12 (p = 1.25×10−8), which has been reported by Kiefer et al. as significantly associated with myopia age at onset and Verhoeven et al. as significantly associated to mean spherical-equivalent (MSE) refractive error. We observed two genome-wide significant associations with hyperopia. These regions overlapped with loci on 15q14 (minimum p value = 9.11×10−11) and 8q12 (minimum p value 1.82×10−11) previously reported for MSE and myopia age at onset. We also used an intermarker linkage- disequilibrium-based method for calculating the effective number of tests in targeted regional replication analyses. We analyzed myopia (which represents the closest phenotype in our data to the one used by Kiefer et al.) and showed replication of 10 additional loci associated with myopia previously reported by Kiefer et al. This is the first replication of these loci using myopia as the trait under analysis. “Replication-level” association was also seen between hyperopia and 12 of Kiefer et al.'s published loci. For the loci that show evidence of association to both myopia and hyperopia, the estimated effect of the risk alleles were in opposite directions for the two traits. This suggests that these loci are important contributors to variation of refractive error across the distribution.
PMCID: PMC4169415  PMID: 25233373
4.  A genome-wide association study for myopia and refractive error identifies a susceptibility locus at 15q25 
Nature genetics  2010;42(10):902-905.
Myopia and hyperopia are at opposite ends of the continuum of refraction, the measure of the eye’s ability to focus light, which is an important cause of visual impairment (when aberrant) and is a highly heritable trait. We conducted a genome-wide association study for refractive error in 4,270 individuals from the TwinsUK cohort. We identified SNPs on 15q25 associated with refractive error (rs8027411, P = 7.91 × 10−8). We replicated this association in six adult cohorts of European ancestry with a combined 13,414 individuals (combined P = 2.07 × 10−9). This locus overlaps the transcription initiation site of RASGRF1, which is highly expressed in neurons and retina and has previously been implicated in retinal function and memory consolidation. Rasgrf1−/− mice show a heavier average crystalline lens (P = 0.001). The identification of a susceptibility locus for refractive error on 15q25 will be important in characterizing the molecular mechanism responsible for the most common cause of visual impairment.
PMCID: PMC4115148  PMID: 20835236
5.  A genome-wide association study identifies a susceptibility locus for refractive errors and myopia at 15q14 
Nature genetics  2010;42(10):897-901.
Refractive errors are the most common ocular disorders worldwide and may lead to blindness. Although this trait is highly heritable, identification of susceptibility genes has been challenging. We conducted a genome-wide association study for refractive error in 5,328 individuals from a Dutch population-based study with replication in four independent cohorts (combined 10,280 individuals in the replication stage). We identified a significant association at chromosome 15q14 (rs634990, P = 2.21 × 10−14). The odds ratio of myopia compared to hyperopia for the minor allele (minor allele frequency = 0.47) was 1.41 (95% CI 1.16–1.70) for individuals heterozygous for the allele and 1.83 (95% CI 1.42–2.36) for individuals homozygous for the allele. The associated locus is near two genes that are expressed in the retina, GJD2 and ACTC1, and appears to harbor regulatory elements which may influence transcription of these genes. Our data suggest that common variants at 15q14 influence susceptibility for refractive errors in the general population.
PMCID: PMC4115149  PMID: 20835239
6.  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.
PMCID: PMC3674806  PMID: 23474815
7.  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.
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.
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]).
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]).
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.
PMCID: PMC3661786  PMID: 23315602
8.  Identification of a Rare Coding Variant in Complement 3 Associated with Age-related Macular Degeneration 
Nature genetics  2013;45(11):10.1038/ng.2758.
Macular degeneration is a common cause of blindness in the elderly. To identify rare coding variants associated with a large increase in risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), we sequenced 2,335 cases and 789 controls in 10 candidate loci (57 genes). To increase power, we augmented our control set with ancestry-matched exome sequenced controls. An analysis of coding variation in 2,268 AMD cases and 2,268 ancestry matched controls revealed two large-effect rare variants; previously described R1210C in the CFH gene (fcase = 0.51%, fcontrol = 0.02%, OR = 23.11), and newly identified K155Q in the C3 gene (fcase = 1.06%, fcontrol = 0.39%, OR = 2.68). The variants suggest decreased inhibition of C3 by Factor H, resulting in increased activation of the alternative complement pathway, as a key component of disease biology.
PMCID: PMC3812337  PMID: 24036949
9.  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.
PMCID: PMC3988049  PMID: 24736606
10.  Genome-wide association analyses identify multiple loci associated with central corneal thickness and keratoconus 
Lu, Yi | Vitart, Veronique | Burdon, Kathryn P | Khor, Chiea Chuen | Bykhovskaya, Yelena | Mirshahi, Alireza | Hewitt, Alex W | Koehn, Demelza | Hysi, Pirro G | Ramdas, Wishal D | Zeller, Tanja | Vithana, Eranga N | Cornes, Belinda K | Tay, Wan-Ting | Tai, E Shyong | Cheng, Ching-Yu | Liu, Jianjun | Foo, Jia-Nee | Saw, Seang Mei | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Stefansson, Kari | Dimasi, David P | Mills, Richard A | Mountain, Jenny | Ang, Wei | Hoehn, René | Verhoeven, Virginie J M | Grus, Franz | Wolfs, Roger | Castagne, Raphaële | Lackner, Karl J | Springelkamp, Henriët | Yang, Jian | Jonasson, Fridbert | Leung, Dexter Y L | Chen, Li J | Tham, Clement C Y | Rudan, Igor | Vatavuk, Zoran | Hayward, Caroline | Gibson, Jane | Cree, Angela J | MacLeod, Alex | Ennis, Sarah | Polasek, Ozren | Campbell, Harry | Wilson, James F | Viswanathan, Ananth C | Fleck, Brian | Li, Xiaohui | Siscovick, David | Taylor, Kent D | Rotter, Jerome I | Yazar, Seyhan | Ulmer, Megan | Li, Jun | Yaspan, Brian L | Ozel, Ayse B | Richards, Julia E | Moroi, Sayoko E | Haines, Jonathan L | Kang, Jae H | Pasquale, Louis R | Allingham, R Rand | Ashley-Koch, Allison | Mitchell, Paul | Wang, Jie Jin | Wright, Alan F | Pennell, Craig | Spector, Timothy D | Young, Terri L | Klaver, Caroline C W | Martin, Nicholas G | Montgomery, Grant W | Anderson, Michael G | Aung, Tin | Willoughby, Colin E | Wiggs, Janey L | Pang, Chi P | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Lotery, Andrew J | Hammond, Christopher J | van Duijn, Cornelia M | Hauser, Michael A | Rabinowitz, Yaron S | Pfeiffer, Norbert | Mackey, David A | Craig, Jamie E | Macgregor, Stuart | Wong, Tien Y
Nature genetics  2013;45(2):155-163.
Central corneal thickness (CCT) is associated with eye conditions including keratoconus and glaucoma. We performed a meta-analysis on >20,000 individuals in European and Asian populations that identified 16 new loci associated with CCT at genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8). We further showed that 2 CCT-associated loci, FOXO1 and FNDC3B, conferred relatively large risks for keratoconus in 2 cohorts with 874 cases and 6,085 controls (rs2721051 near FOXO1 had odds ratio (OR) = 1.62, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.4–1.88, P = 2.7 × 10−10, and rs4894535 in FNDC3B had OR = 1.47, 95% CI = 1.29–1.68, P = 4.9 × 10−9). FNDC3B was also associated with primary open-angle glaucoma (P = 5.6 × 10−4; tested in 3 cohorts with 2,979 cases and 7,399 controls). Further analyses implicate the collagen and extracellular matrix pathways in the regulation of CCT.
PMCID: PMC3720123  PMID: 23291589
11.  Heritability and Genome-wide Association Study To Assess Genetic Differences Between Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration Subtypes  
Ophthalmology  2012;119(9):1874-1885.
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.
Sibling correlation study and genome-wide association study (GWAS)
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.
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.
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).
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.
PMCID: PMC3899891  PMID: 22705344
12.  Education influences the role of genetics in myopia 
European Journal of Epidemiology  2013;28(12):973-980.
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.
PMCID: PMC3898347  PMID: 24142238
Myopia; Refractive error; GxE; Gene-environment; Environmental factors
13.  Genome-wide meta-analyses of multi-ethnic cohorts identify multiple new susceptibility loci for refractive error and myopia 
Verhoeven, Virginie J.M. | Hysi, Pirro G. | Wojciechowski, Robert | Fan, Qiao | Guggenheim, Jeremy A. | Höhn, René | MacGregor, Stuart | Hewitt, Alex W. | Nag, Abhishek | Cheng, Ching-Yu | Yonova-Doing, Ekaterina | Zhou, Xin | Ikram, M. Kamran | Buitendijk, Gabriëlle H.S. | McMahon, George | Kemp, John P. | St. Pourcain, Beate | Simpson, Claire L. | Mäkelä, Kari-Matti | Lehtimäki, Terho | Kähönen, Mika | Paterson, Andrew D. | Hosseini, S. Mohsen | Wong, Hoi Suen | Xu, Liang | Jonas, Jost B. | Pärssinen, Olavi | Wedenoja, Juho | Yip, Shea Ping | Ho, Daniel W. H. | Pang, Chi Pui | Chen, Li Jia | Burdon, Kathryn P. | Craig, Jamie E. | Klein, Barbara E. K. | Klein, Ronald | Haller, Toomas | Metspalu, Andres | Khor, Chiea-Chuen | Tai, E-Shyong | Aung, Tin | Vithana, Eranga | Tay, Wan-Ting | Barathi, Veluchamy A. | Chen, Peng | Li, Ruoying | Liao, Jiemin | Zheng, Yingfeng | Ong, Rick T. | Döring, Angela | Evans, David M. | Timpson, Nicholas J. | Verkerk, Annemieke J.M.H. | Meitinger, Thomas | Raitakari, Olli | Hawthorne, Felicia | Spector, Tim D. | Karssen, Lennart C. | Pirastu, Mario | Murgia, Federico | Ang, Wei | Mishra, Aniket | Montgomery, Grant W. | Pennell, Craig E. | Cumberland, Phillippa M. | Cotlarciuc, Ioana | Mitchell, Paul | Wang, Jie Jin | Schache, Maria | Janmahasathian, Sarayut | Igo, Robert P. | Lass, Jonathan H. | Chew, Emily | Iyengar, Sudha K. | Gorgels, Theo G.M.F. | Rudan, Igor | Hayward, Caroline | Wright, Alan F. | Polasek, Ozren | Vatavuk, Zoran | Wilson, James F. | Fleck, Brian | Zeller, Tanja | Mirshahi, Alireza | Müller, Christian | Uitterlinden, Andre’ G. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Vingerling, Johannes R. | Hofman, Albert | Oostra, Ben A. | Amin, Najaf | Bergen, Arthur A.B. | Teo, Yik-Ying | Rahi, Jugnoo S. | Vitart, Veronique | Williams, Cathy | Baird, Paul N. | Wong, Tien-Yin | Oexle, Konrad | Pfeiffer, Norbert | Mackey, David A. | Young, Terri L. | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Saw, Seang-Mei | Wilson, Joan E. Bailey | Stambolian, Dwight | Klaver, Caroline C. | Hammond, Christopher J.
Nature genetics  2013;45(3):314-318.
Refractive error is the most common eye disorder worldwide, and a prominent cause of blindness. Myopia affects over 30% of Western populations, and up to 80% of Asians. The CREAM consortium conducted genome-wide meta-analyses including 37,382 individuals from 27 studies of European ancestry, and 8,376 from 5 Asian cohorts. We identified 16 new loci for refractive error in subjects of European ancestry, of which 8 were shared with Asians. Combined analysis revealed 8 additional loci. The new loci include genes with functions in neurotransmission (GRIA4), ion channels (KCNQ5), retinoic acid metabolism (RDH5), extracellular matrix remodeling (LAMA2, BMP2), and eye development (SIX6, PRSS56). We also confirmed previously reported associations with GJD2 and RASGRF1. Risk score analysis using associated SNPs showed a tenfold increased risk of myopia for subjects with the highest genetic load. Our results, accumulated across independent multi-ethnic studies, considerably advance understanding of mechanisms involved in refractive error and myopia.
PMCID: PMC3740568  PMID: 23396134
14.  Identification of a Candidate Gene for Astigmatism 
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3576051  PMID: 23322567
15.  Genome-wide association study of intraocular pressure identifies the GLCCI1/ICA1 region as a glaucoma susceptibility locus 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;22(22):4653-4660.
To discover quantitative trait loci for intraocular pressure, a major risk factor for glaucoma and the only modifiable one, we performed a genome-wide association study on a discovery cohort of 2175 individuals from Sydney, Australia. We found a novel association between intraocular pressure and a common variant at 7p21 near to GLCCI1 and ICA1. The findings in this region were confirmed through two UK replication cohorts totalling 4866 individuals (rs59072263, Pcombined = 1.10 × 10−8). A copy of the G allele at this SNP is associated with an increase in mean IOP of 0.45 mmHg (95%CI = 0.30–0.61 mmHg). These results lend support to the implication of vesicle trafficking and glucocorticoid inducibility pathways in the determination of intraocular pressure and in the pathogenesis of primary open-angle glaucoma.
PMCID: PMC3904806  PMID: 23836780
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
PMCID: PMC3699653  PMID: 23844046
17.  Optimizing the Information Yield of 3-D OCT in Glaucoma 
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3522440  PMID: 23154462
18.  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.
PMCID: PMC3543264  PMID: 23326517
19.  Retinal Phenotypes in Patients Homozygous for the G1961E Mutation in the ABCA4 Gene 
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3394687  PMID: 22661473
20.  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.
PMCID: PMC3217135  PMID: 21882290
age-related macular degeneration; AMD; apolipoprotein E; APOE; case-control association study
21.  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.
PMCID: PMC3145394  PMID: 21498624
aged; apolipoprotein E2; apolipoprotein E3; apolipoprotein E4; apolipoproteins E; longevity; meta-analysis; multicenter study
22.  Large scale international replication and meta-analysis study confirms association of the 15q14 locus with myopia. The CREAM consortium 
Verhoeven, Virginie J. M. | Hysi, Pirro G. | Saw, Seang-Mei | Vitart, Veronique | Mirshahi, Alireza | Guggenheim, Jeremy A. | Cotch, Mary Frances | Yamashiro, Kenji | Baird, Paul N. | Mackey, David A. | Wojciechowski, Robert |  Ikram, M. Kamran | Hewitt, Alex W. | Duggal, Priya | Janmahasatian, Sarayut | Khor, Chiea-Chuen | Fan, Qiao | Zhou, Xin | Young, Terri L. | Tai, E-Shyong | Goh, Liang-Kee | Li, Yi-Ju | Aung, Tin | Vithana, Eranga | Teo, Yik-Ying | Tay, Wanting | Sim, Xueling | Rudan, Igor | Hayward, Caroline | Wright, Alan F. | Polasek, Ozren | Campbell, Harry | Wilson, James F. | Fleck, Brian W. | Nakata, Isao | Yoshimura, Nagahisa | Yamada, Ryo | Matsuda, Fumihiko | Ohno-Matsui, Kyoko | Nag, Abhishek | McMahon, George | Pourcain, Beate St. | Lu, Yi | Rahi, Jugnoo S. | Cumberland, Phillippa M. | Bhattacharya, Shomi | Simpson, Claire L. | Atwood, Larry D. | Li, Xiaohui | Raffel, Leslie J. | Murgia, Federico | Portas, Laura | Despriet, Dominiek D. G. | van Koolwijk, Leonieke M. E. | Wolfram, Christian | Lackner, Karl J. | Tönjes, Anke | Mägi, Reedik | Lehtimäki, Terho | Kähönen, Mika | Esko, Tõnu | Metspalu, Andres | Rantanen, Taina | Pärssinen, Olavi | Klein, Barbara E. | Meitinger, Thomas | Spector, Timothy D. | Oostra, Ben A. | Smith, Albert V. | de Jong, Paulus T. V. M. | Hofman, Albert | Amin, Najaf | Karssen, Lennart C. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Vingerling, Johannes R. | Eiríksdóttir, Guðný | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Döring, Angela | Bettecken, Thomas | Uitterlinden, André G. | Williams, Cathy | Zeller, Tanja | Castagné, Raphaële | Oexle, Konrad | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Iyengar, Sudha K. | Mitchell, Paul | Wang, Jie Jin | Höhn, René | Pfeiffer, Norbert | Bailey-Wilson, Joan E. | Stambolian, Dwight | Wong, Tien-Yin | Hammond, Christopher J. | Klaver, Caroline C. W.
Human Genetics  2012;131(9):1467-1480.
Myopia is a complex genetic disorder and a common cause of visual impairment among working age adults. Genome-wide association studies have identified susceptibility loci on chromosomes 15q14 and 15q25 in Caucasian populations of European ancestry. Here, we present a confirmation and meta-analysis study in which we assessed whether these two loci are also associated with myopia in other populations. The study population comprised 31 cohorts from the Consortium of Refractive Error and Myopia (CREAM) representing 4 different continents with 55,177 individuals; 42,845 Caucasians and 12,332 Asians. We performed a meta-analysis of 14 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on 15q14 and 5 SNPs on 15q25 using linear regression analysis with spherical equivalent as a quantitative outcome, adjusted for age and sex. We calculated the odds ratio (OR) of myopia versus hyperopia for carriers of the top-SNP alleles using a fixed effects meta-analysis. At locus 15q14, all SNPs were significantly replicated, with the lowest P value 3.87 × 10−12 for SNP rs634990 in Caucasians, and 9.65 × 10−4 for rs8032019 in Asians. The overall meta-analysis provided P value 9.20 × 10−23 for the top SNP rs634990. The risk of myopia versus hyperopia was OR 1.88 (95 % CI 1.64, 2.16, P < 0.001) for homozygous carriers of the risk allele at the top SNP rs634990, and OR 1.33 (95 % CI 1.19, 1.49, P < 0.001) for heterozygous carriers. SNPs at locus 15q25 did not replicate significantly (P value 5.81 × 10−2 for top SNP rs939661). We conclude that common variants at chromosome 15q14 influence susceptibility for myopia in Caucasian and Asian populations world-wide.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00439-012-1176-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3418496  PMID: 22665138
23.  Common Genetic Determinants of Intraocular Pressure and Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(5):e1002611.
Intraocular pressure (IOP) is a highly heritable risk factor for primary open-angle glaucoma and is the only target for current glaucoma therapy. The genetic factors which determine IOP are largely unknown. We performed a genome-wide association study for IOP in 11,972 participants from 4 independent population-based studies in The Netherlands. We replicated our findings in 7,482 participants from 4 additional cohorts from the UK, Australia, Canada, and the Wellcome Trust Case-Control Consortium 2/Blue Mountains Eye Study. IOP was significantly associated with rs11656696, located in GAS7 at 17p13.1 (p = 1.4×10−8), and with rs7555523, located in TMCO1 at 1q24.1 (p = 1.6×10−8). In a meta-analysis of 4 case-control studies (total N = 1,432 glaucoma cases), both variants also showed evidence for association with glaucoma (p = 2.4×10−2 for rs11656696 and p = 9.1×10−4 for rs7555523). GAS7 and TMCO1 are highly expressed in the ciliary body and trabecular meshwork as well as in the lamina cribrosa, optic nerve, and retina. Both genes functionally interact with known glaucoma disease genes. These data suggest that we have identified two clinically relevant genes involved in IOP regulation.
Author Summary
Glaucoma is a major eye disease in the elderly and is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. The numerous familial glaucoma cases, as well as evidence from epidemiological and twin studies, strongly support a genetic component in developing glaucoma. However, it has proven difficult to identify the specific genes involved. Intraocular pressure (IOP) is the major risk factor for glaucoma and the only target for the current glaucoma therapy. IOP has been shown to be highly heritable. We investigated the role of common genetic variants in IOP by performing a genome-wide association study. Discovery analyses in 11,972 participants and subsequent replication analyses in a further 7,482 participants yielded two common genetic variants that were associated with IOP. The first (rs11656696) is located in GAS7 at chromosome 17, the second (rs7555523) in TMCO1 at chromosome 1. Both variants were associated with glaucoma in a meta-analysis of 4 case-control studies. GAS7 and TMCO1 are expressed in the ocular tissues that are involved in glaucoma. Both genes functionally interact with the known glaucoma disease genes. These data suggest that we have identified two genes involved in IOP regulation and glaucomatous neuropathy.
PMCID: PMC3342933  PMID: 22570627
24.  Cone-rod dystrophy can be a manifestation of Danon disease 
Danon disease is a neuromuscular disorder with variable expression in the eye. We describe a family with Danon disease and cone-rod dystrophy (CRD).
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3332371  PMID: 22290069
Cone-rod dystrophy; LAMP2 gene; Genotype–phenotype correlations; RPE pathology; Danon disease; Medicine & Public Health; Ophthalmology
25.  Multicenter cohort association study of SLC2A1 single nucleotide polymorphisms and age-related macular degeneration 
Molecular Vision  2012;18:657-674.
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.
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.
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.
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

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