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1.  Prediction of Age-related Macular Degeneration in the General Population 
Ophthalmology  2013;120(12):2644-2655.
Purpose
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.
Design
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).
Participants
People (n = 10106) with gradable fundus photographs, genotype data, and follow-up data without late AMD at baseline.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2013.07.053
PMCID: PMC3986722  PMID: 24120328
2.  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
3.  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
4.  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
5.  ABCC6 mutations in pseudoxanthoma elasticum: an update including eight novel ones 
Molecular Vision  2008;14:118-124.
Purpose
Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) is an autosomal recessive disorder of connective tissue, affecting the retina, the skin, and the cardiovascular system. PXE is caused by mutations in ABCC6. Up to now, the literature reports that there are 180 different ABCC6 mutations in PXE. The purpose of this paper is to report eight novel mutations in ABCC6 and to update the spectrum and frequency of ABCC6 mutations in PXE patients.
Methods
Eye, skin, and DNA examinations were performed using standard methodologies. We newly investigated the gene in 90 probands by denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (dHPLC) and direct sequencing. We examined a total of 166 probands.
Results
Eight novel ABCC6 mutations (c.1685T>C, p.Met562Thr; c.2477T>C, p.Leu826Pro; c.2891G>C, p.Arg964Pro; c.3207C>A, p.Tyr1069X; c.3364delT, p.Ser1122fs; c.3717T>G, p.Tyr1293X; c.3871G>A, p.Ala1291Thr; c.4306_4312del, p.Thr1436fs) were found in seven unrelated patients. Currently, our mutation detection score is at least one ABCC6 mutation in 87% of patients with a clinical diagnosis of PXE.
Conclusions
Our results support that ABCC6 is the most important, and probably the only, causative gene of PXE. In total, 188 different ABCC6 mutations have now been reported in PXE in the literature.
PMCID: PMC2254972  PMID: 18253096
6.  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.
doi:10.1038/ng.663
PMCID: PMC4115149  PMID: 20835239
7.  Genetic Loci for Retinal Arteriolar Microcirculation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65804.
Narrow arterioles in the retina have been shown to predict hypertension as well as other vascular diseases, likely through an increase in the peripheral resistance of the microcirculatory flow. In this study, we performed a genome-wide association study in 18,722 unrelated individuals of European ancestry from the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology consortium and the Blue Mountain Eye Study, to identify genetic determinants associated with variations in retinal arteriolar caliber. Retinal vascular calibers were measured on digitized retinal photographs using a standardized protocol. One variant (rs2194025 on chromosome 5q14 near the myocyte enhancer factor 2C MEF2C gene) was associated with retinal arteriolar caliber in the meta-analysis of the discovery cohorts at genome-wide significance of P-value <5×10−8. This variant was replicated in an additional 3,939 individuals of European ancestry from the Australian Twins Study and Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (rs2194025, P-value = 2.11×10−12 in combined meta-analysis of discovery and replication cohorts). In independent studies of modest sample sizes, no significant association was found between this variant and clinical outcomes including coronary artery disease, stroke, myocardial infarction or hypertension. In conclusion, we found one novel loci which underlie genetic variation in microvasculature which may be relevant to vascular disease. The relevance of these findings to clinical outcomes remains to be determined.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065804
PMCID: PMC3680438  PMID: 23776548
8.  Genome-Wide Association Study of Retinopathy in Individuals without Diabetes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e54232.
Background
Mild retinopathy (microaneurysms or dot-blot hemorrhages) is observed in persons without diabetes or hypertension and may reflect microvascular disease in other organs. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of mild retinopathy in persons without diabetes.
Methods
A working group agreed on phenotype harmonization, covariate selection and analytic plans for within-cohort GWAS. An inverse-variance weighted fixed effects meta-analysis was performed with GWAS results from six cohorts of 19,411 Caucasians. The primary analysis included individuals without diabetes and secondary analyses were stratified by hypertension status. We also singled out the results from single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) previously shown to be associated with diabetes and hypertension, the two most common causes of retinopathy.
Results
No SNPs reached genome-wide significance in the primary analysis or the secondary analysis of participants with hypertension. SNP, rs12155400, in the histone deacetylase 9 gene (HDAC9) on chromosome 7, was associated with retinopathy in analysis of participants without hypertension, −1.3±0.23 (beta ± standard error), p = 6.6×10−9. Evidence suggests this was a false positive finding. The minor allele frequency was low (∼2%), the quality of the imputation was moderate (r2 ∼0.7), and no other common variants in the HDAC9 gene were associated with the outcome. SNPs found to be associated with diabetes and hypertension in other GWAS were not associated with retinopathy in persons without diabetes or in subgroups with or without hypertension.
Conclusions
This GWAS of retinopathy in individuals without diabetes showed little evidence of genetic associations. Further studies are needed to identify genes associated with these signs in order to help unravel novel pathways and determinants of microvascular diseases.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054232
PMCID: PMC3564946  PMID: 23393555
9.  Complement factor H genetic variant and age-related macular degeneration: effect size, modifiers and relationship to disease subtype 
Background Variation in the complement factor H gene (CFH) is associated with risk of late age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Previous studies have been case–control studies in populations of European ancestry with little differentiation in AMD subtype, and insufficient power to confirm or refute effect modification by smoking.
Methods To precisely quantify the association of the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP rs1061170, ‘Y402H’) with risk of AMD among studies with differing study designs, participant ancestry and AMD grade and to investigate effect modification by smoking, we report two unpublished genetic association studies (n = 2759) combined with data from 24 published studies (26 studies, 26 494 individuals, including 14 174 cases of AMD) of European ancestry, 10 of which provided individual-level data used to test gene–smoking interaction; and 16 published studies from non-European ancestry.
Results In individuals of European ancestry, there was a significant association between Y402H and late-AMD with a per-allele odds ratio (OR) of 2.27 [95% confidence interval (CI) 2.10–2.45; P = 1.1 x 10−161]. There was no evidence of effect modification by smoking (P = 0.75). The frequency of Y402H varied by ancestral origin and the association with AMD in non-Europeans was less clear, limited by paucity of studies.
Conclusion The Y402H variant confers a 2-fold higher risk of late-AMD per copy in individuals of European descent. This was stable to stratification by study design and AMD classification and not modified by smoking. The lack of association in non-Europeans requires further verification. These findings are of direct relevance for disease prediction. New research is needed to ascertain if differences in circulating levels, expression or activity of factor H protein explain the genetic association.
doi:10.1093/ije/dyr204
PMCID: PMC3304526  PMID: 22253316
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD); Complement factor H gene; meta-ananlysis
10.  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.
doi:10.1007/s00439-012-1176-0
PMCID: PMC3418496  PMID: 22665138
11.  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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002611
PMCID: PMC3342933  PMID: 22570627
12.  Nutrient intake and risk of open-angle glaucoma: the Rotterdam Study 
European Journal of Epidemiology  2012;27(5):385-393.
Open-angle glaucoma (OAG) is the commonest cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Apart from an increased intraocular pressure (IOP), oxidative stress and an impaired ocular blood flow are supposed to contribute to OAG. The aim of this study was to determine whether the dietary intake of nutrients that either have anti-oxidative properties (carotenoids, vitamins, and flavonoids) or influence the blood flow (omega fatty acids and magnesium) is associated with incident OAG. We investigated this in a prospective population-based cohort, the Rotterdam Study. A total of 3502 participants aged 55 years and older for whom dietary data at baseline and ophthalmic data at baseline and follow-up were available and who did not have OAG at baseline were included. The ophthalmic examinations comprised measurements of the IOP and perimetry; dietary intake of nutrients was assessed by validated questionnaires and adjusted for energy intake. Cox proportional hazard regression analysis was applied to calculate hazard ratios of associations between the baseline intake of nutrients and incident OAG, adjusted for age, gender, IOP, IOP-lowering treatment, and body mass index. During an average follow-up of 9.7 years, 91 participants (2.6%) developed OAG. The hazard ratio for retinol equivalents (highest versus lowest tertile) was 0.45 (95% confidence interval 0.23–0.90), for vitamin B1 0.50 (0.25–0.98), and for magnesium 2.25 (1.16–4.38). The effects were stronger after the exclusion of participants taking supplements. Hence, a low intake of retinol equivalents and vitamin B1 (in line with hypothesis) and a high intake of magnesium (less unambiguous to interpret) appear to be associated with an increased risk of OAG.
doi:10.1007/s10654-012-9672-z
PMCID: PMC3374099  PMID: 22461101
Glaucoma; Nutrition; Magnesium; Vitamin A; Vitamin B1; Population-based; Dietary intake
13.  Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs and Incident Open-Angle Glaucoma: A Population-Based Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e29724.
Background
Open-angle glaucoma (OAG) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that may lead to blindness. An elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) is its major risk factor. OAG treatment is currently exclusively directed towards the lowering of the IOP. IOP lowering does not prevent disease progression in all patients and thus other treatment modalities are needed. Earlier studies reported cholesterol-lowering drugs to have neuroprotective properties. The aim of this study was to determine the associations between the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs and incident OAG.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Participants in a prospective population-based cohort study underwent ophthalmic examinations, including IOP measurements and perimetry, at baseline and follow-up. The use of statins and non-statin cholesterol-lowering drugs was monitored continuously during the study. Associations between the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs and incident OAG were analyzed with Cox regression; associations between cholesterol-lowering drugs and IOP at follow-up were analyzed with multiple linear regression. During a mean follow-up of 9.8 years, 108 of 3939 eligible participants (2.7%) developed OAG. The hazard ratio for statin use was 0.54 (95% confidence interval 0.31–0.96; P = 0.034) and for non-statin cholesterol-lowering drugs 2.07 (0.81–5.33; P = 0.13). The effect of statins was more pronounced with prolonged use (hazard ratio 0.89 [0.41–1.94; P = 0.77] for use two years or less; 0.46 [0.23–0.94; P = 0.033] for use more than two years; P-value for trend 0.10). The analyzes were adjusted for age and gender, baseline IOP and IOP-lowering treatment, the family history of glaucoma, and myopia. There was no effect of statins on the IOP.
Conclusions/Significance
Long-term use of statins appears to be associated with a reduced risk of OAG. The observed effect was independent of the IOP. These findings are in line with the idea that statins have neuroprotective properties and may open a way to a new OAG treatment modality.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029724
PMCID: PMC3251600  PMID: 22238644
14.  Prediction of Incident Stroke Events Based on Retinal Vessel Caliber: A Systematic Review and Individual-Participant Meta-Analysis 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2009;170(11):1323-1332.
The caliber of the retinal vessels has been shown to be associated with stroke events. However, the consistency and magnitude of association, and the changes in predicted risk independent of traditional risk factors, are unclear. To determine the association between retinal vessel caliber and the risk of stroke events, the investigators combined individual data from 20,798 people, who were free of stroke at baseline, in 6 cohort studies identified from a search of the Medline (National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland) and EMBASE (Elsevier B.V., Amsterdam, the Netherlands) databases. During follow-up of 5–12 years, 945 (4.5%) incident stroke events were recorded. Wider retinal venular caliber predicted stroke (pooled hazard ratio = 1.15, 95% confidence interval: 1.05, 1.25 per 20-μm increase in caliber), but the caliber of retinal arterioles was not associated with stroke (pooled hazard ratio = 1.00, 95% confidence interval: 0.92, 1.08). There was weak evidence of heterogeneity in the hazard ratio for retinal venular caliber, which may be attributable to differences in follow-up strategies across studies. Inclusion of retinal venular caliber in prediction models containing traditional stroke risk factors reassigned 10.1% of people at intermediate risk into different, mostly lower, risk categories.
doi:10.1093/aje/kwp306
PMCID: PMC2800263  PMID: 19884126
cohort studies; meta-analysis; retinal vessels; risk; stroke
15.  Correction: Four Novel Loci (19q13, 6q24, 12q24, and 5q14) Influence the Microcirculation In Vivo 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(11):10.1371/annotation/841bfadf-85d1-4059-894f-2863d73fa963.
doi:10.1371/annotation/841bfadf-85d1-4059-894f-2863d73fa963
PMCID: PMC2988687
16.  Risk of bilateral visual impairment in individuals with amblyopia: the Rotterdam study 
The British Journal of Ophthalmology  2007;91(11):1450-1451.
Background
The excess risk of bilateral visual impairment (BVI; bilateral visual acuity <0.5) among individuals with amblyopia is an argument for screening for amblyopia, but data are scarce.
Methods
The risk was estimated by determining the incidence of BVI in the Rotterdam Study, a population‐based cohort of subjects aged 55 years or over (n  =  5220), including 192 individuals with amblyopia (3.7%). Using a multistate lifetable, the lifetime risk and excess period spent with BVI were determined.
Results
The relative risk of BVI for amblyopes was 2.6 (95% confidence interval 1.4–4.5). For individuals with amblyopia, the lifetime risk of BVI was 18%, whereas they lived on average 7.2 years with BVI. For non‐amblyopic individuals, these figures were 10% and 6.7 years, respectively.
Conclusion
Amblyopia nearly doubles the lifetime risk of BVI and affected individuals spent an extra six months with BVI. This study provides data for future cost‐effectiveness analyses.
doi:10.1136/bjo.2006.113670
PMCID: PMC2095419  PMID: 17522151
amblyopia; lifetime risk; visual impairment
17.  Four Novel Loci (19q13, 6q24, 12q24, and 5q14) Influence the Microcirculation In Vivo 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(10):e1001184.
There is increasing evidence that the microcirculation plays an important role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases. Changes in retinal vascular caliber reflect early microvascular disease and predict incident cardiovascular events. We performed a genome-wide association study to identify genetic variants associated with retinal vascular caliber. We analyzed data from four population-based discovery cohorts with 15,358 unrelated Caucasian individuals, who are members of the Cohort for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) consortium, and replicated findings in four independent Caucasian cohorts (n = 6,652). All participants had retinal photography and retinal arteriolar and venular caliber measured from computer software. In the discovery cohorts, 179 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) spread across five loci were significantly associated (p<5.0×10−8) with retinal venular caliber, but none showed association with arteriolar caliber. Collectively, these five loci explain 1.0%–3.2% of the variation in retinal venular caliber. Four out of these five loci were confirmed in independent replication samples. In the combined analyses, the top SNPs at each locus were: rs2287921 (19q13; p = 1.61×10−25, within the RASIP1 locus), rs225717 (6q24; p = 1.25×10−16, adjacent to the VTA1 and NMBR loci), rs10774625 (12q24; p = 2.15×10−13, in the region of ATXN2,SH2B3 and PTPN11 loci), and rs17421627 (5q14; p = 7.32×10−16, adjacent to the MEF2C locus). In two independent samples, locus 12q24 was also associated with coronary heart disease and hypertension. Our population-based genome-wide association study demonstrates four novel loci associated with retinal venular caliber, an endophenotype of the microcirculation associated with clinical cardiovascular disease. These data provide further insights into the contribution and biological mechanisms of microcirculatory changes that underlie cardiovascular disease.
Author Summary
The microcirculation plays an important role in the development of cardiovascular diseases. Retinal vascular caliber changes reflect early microvascular disease and predict incident cardiovascular events. In order to identify genetic variants associated with retinal vascular caliber, we performed a genome-wide association study and analyzed data from four population-based discovery cohorts with 15,358 unrelated Caucasian individuals, who are members of the Cohort for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) consortium, and replicated findings in four independent Caucasian cohorts (n = 6,652). We found evidence for association of four loci with retinal venular caliber: on chromosomes 19q13 within the RASIP1 locus, 6q24 adjacent to the VTA1 and NMBR loci, 12q24 in the region of ATXN2,SH2B3 and PTPN11 loci, and 5q14 adjacent to the MEF2C locus. In two independent samples, locus 12q24 was also associated with coronary heart disease and hypertension. In the present study, we demonstrate that four novel loci were associated with retinal venular caliber, an endophenotype of the microcirculation associated with clinical cardiovascular disease. Our findings will help focus research on novel genes and pathways involving the microcirculation and its role in the development of cardiovascular disease.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1001184
PMCID: PMC2965750  PMID: 21060863
18.  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
19.  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
21.  Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies identifies novel loci that influence cupping and the glaucomatous process 
Springelkamp, Henriët. | Höhn, René | Mishra, Aniket | Hysi, Pirro G. | Khor, Chiea-Chuen | Loomis, Stephanie J. | Bailey, Jessica N. Cooke | Gibson, Jane | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Janssen, Sarah F. | Luo, Xiaoyan | Ramdas, Wishal D. | Vithana, Eranga | Nongpiur, Monisha E. | Montgomery, Grant W. | Xu, Liang | Mountain, Jenny E. | Gharahkhani, Puya | Lu, Yi | Amin, Najaf | Karssen, Lennart C. | Sim, Kar-Seng | van Leeuwen, Elisabeth M. | Iglesias, Adriana I. | Verhoeven, Virginie J. M. | Hauser, Michael A. | Loon, Seng-Chee | Despriet, Dominiek D. G. | Nag, Abhishek | Venturini, Cristina | Sanfilippo, Paul G. | Schillert, Arne | Kang, Jae H. | Landers, John | Jonasson, Fridbert | Cree, Angela J. | van Koolwijk, Leonieke M. E. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Souzeau, Emmanuelle | Jonsson, Vesteinn | Menon, Geeta | Weinreb, Robert N. | de Jong, Paulus T. V. M. | Oostra, Ben A. | Uitterlinden, André G. | Hofman, Albert | Ennis, Sarah | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Burdon, Kathryn P. | Spector, Timothy D. | Mirshahi, Alireza | Saw, Seang-Mei | Vingerling, Johannes R. | Teo, Yik-Ying | Haines, Jonathan L. | Wolfs, Roger C. W. | Lemij, Hans G. | Tai, E-Shyong | Jansonius, Nomdo M. | Jonas, Jost B. | Cheng, Ching-Yu | Aung, Tin | Viswanathan, Ananth C. | Klaver, Caroline C. W. | Craig, Jamie E. | Macgregor, Stuart | Mackey, David A. | Lotery, Andrew J. | Stefansson, Kari | Bergen, Arthur A. B. | Young, Terri L. | Wiggs, Janey L. | Pfeiffer, Norbert | Wong, Tien-Yin | Pasquale, Louis R. | Hewitt, Alex W. | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Hammond, Christopher J.
Nature Communications  2014;5:4883.
Glaucoma is characterized by irreversible optic nerve degeneration and is the most frequent cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Here, the International Glaucoma Genetics Consortium conducts a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of vertical cup-disc ratio (VCDR), an important disease-related optic nerve parameter. In 21,094 individuals of European ancestry and 6,784 individuals of Asian ancestry, we identify 10 new loci associated with variation in VCDR. In a separate risk-score analysis of five case-control studies, Caucasians in the highest quintile have a 2.5-fold increased risk of primary open-angle glaucoma as compared with those in the lowest quintile. This study has more than doubled the known loci associated with optic disc cupping and will allow greater understanding of mechanisms involved in this common blinding condition.
Glaucoma is the most common cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Here, the authors carry out a large meta-analysis of genetic data from individuals of European and Asian ancestry and identify 10 new loci associated with vertical cup-disc ratio, a key factor in the clinical assessment of patients with glaucoma.
doi:10.1038/ncomms5883
PMCID: PMC4199103  PMID: 25241763

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