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1.  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study designs, participant ancestry and AMD grade and to investigate effect modification by smoking, we report two unpublished genetic association studies (n = 2759) combined with data from 24 published studies (26 studies, 26 494 individuals, including 14 174 cases of AMD) of European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.
PMCID: PMC3304526  PMID: 22253316
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD); Complement factor H gene; meta-ananlysis
2.  A comprehensive analysis of deletions, multiplications, and copy number variations in PARK2 
Neurology  2010;75(13):1189-1194.
To perform a comprehensive population genetic study of PARK2. PARK2 mutations are associated with juvenile parkinsonism, Alzheimer disease, cancer, leprosy, and diabetes mellitus, yet ironically, there has been no comprehensive study of PARK2 in control subjects; and to resolve controversial association of PARK2 heterozygous mutations with Parkinson disease (PD) in a well-powered study.
We studied 1,686 control subjects (mean age 66.1 ± 13.1 years) and 2,091 patients with PD (mean onset age 58.3 ± 12.1 years). We tested for PARK2 deletions/multiplications/copy number variations (CNV) using semiquantitative PCR and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification, and validated the mutations by real-time quantitative PCR. Subjects were tested for point mutations previously. Association with PD was tested as PARK2 main effect, and in combination with known PD risk factors: SNCA, MAPT, APOE, smoking, and coffee intake.
A total of 0.95% of control subjects and 0.86% of patients carried a heterozygous CNV mutation. CNV mutations found in 16 control subjects were all in exons 1–4, sparing exons that encode functionally critical protein domains. Thirteen patients had 2 CNV mutations, 5 had 1 CNV and 1 point mutation, and 18 had 1 CNV mutation. Mutations found in patients spanned exons 2–9. In whites, having 1 CNV was not associated with increased risk (odds ratio 1.05, p = 0.89) or earlier onset of PD (64.7 ± 8.6 heterozygous vs 58.5 ± 11.8 normal).
This comprehensive population genetic study in control subjects fills the void for a PARK2 reference dataset. There is no compelling evidence for association of heterozygous PARK2 mutations, by themselves or in combination with known risk factors, with PD.
= autosomal recessive juvenile parkinsonism;
= confidence interval;
= copy number variation;
= moving average plots;
= multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification;
= NeuroGenetics Research Consortium;
= odds ratio;
= Parkinson disease.
PMCID: PMC3013490  PMID: 20876472
3.  Distinct Signature of Altered Homeostasis in Aging Rod Photoreceptors: Implications for Retinal Diseases 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(11):e13885.
Advanced age contributes to clinical manifestations of many retinopathies and represents a major risk factor for age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of visual impairment and blindness in the elderly. Rod photoreceptors are especially vulnerable to genetic defects and changes in microenvironment, and are among the first neurons to die in normal aging and in many retinal degenerative diseases. The molecular mechanisms underlying rod photoreceptor vulnerability and potential biomarkers of the aging process in this highly specialized cell type are unknown.
Methodology/Principal Findings
To discover aging-associated adaptations that may influence rod function, we have generated gene expression profiles of purified rod photoreceptors from mouse retina at young adult to early stages of aging (1.5, 5, and 12 month old mice). We identified 375 genes that showed differential expression in rods from 5 and 12 month old mouse retina compared to that of 1.5 month old retina. Quantitative RT-PCR experiments validated expression change for a majority of the 25 genes that were examined. Macroanalysis of differentially expressed genes using gene class testing and protein interaction networks revealed overrepresentation of cellular pathways that are potentially photoreceptor-specific (angiogenesis and lipid/retinoid metabolism), in addition to age-related pathways previously described in several tissue types (oxidative phosphorylation, stress and immune response).
Our study suggests a progressive shift in cellular homeostasis that may underlie aging-associated functional decline in rod photoreceptors and contribute to a more permissive state for pathological processes involved in retinal diseases.
PMCID: PMC2975639  PMID: 21079736
4.  Primary open angle glaucoma in a Caucasian population is associated with the p53 codon 72 polymorphism 
Molecular Vision  2009;15:1939-1944.
Apoptosis has been implicated as the mechanism for retinal ganglion cell death in primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), a complex neurodegenerative disease. There have been inconsistent reports regarding increased risk of POAG and a polymorphism (Arg72Pro) within the tumor suppressor gene, p53. The goal of this study was to examine the role of this polymorphism in susceptibility to POAG in a Caucasian population from the United States.
We generated genotypes in 191 unrelated Caucasian POAG patients and 167 unrelated Caucasian controls for the following polymorphisms within p53: rs1042522 (Arg72Pro), rs17878362 (16 bp Ins/Del), and rs1800371 (Pro47Ser) by PCR amplification followed by restriction digestion and sequence analysis.
There was a significant difference in genotypic frequencies for rs1042522 (Arg72Pro) between POAG patients and controls (χ2= 9.56, p=0.008). Individuals who were homozygous for the arginine allele have a 1.9 fold significantly increased risk of developing glaucoma (95%CI: 1.16-2.82, p=0.01). Interestingly, we found that the frequency of the arginine allele was even higher in the normal-tension glaucoma (NTG) subtype compared to high-tension POAG (0.81 versus 0.76).
Our preliminary results indicate that the arginine variant of rs1042522 within p53 is associated with increased risk of POAG. This variant has increased apoptotic potential, thus the retinal ganglion cells in carriers of the arginine allele may have greater susceptibility to apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC2751801  PMID: 19784392
5.  CFH haplotypes without the Y402H coding variant show strong association with susceptibility to age-related macular degeneration 
Nature genetics  2006;38(9):1049-1054.
In developed countries, age-related macular degeneration is a common cause of blindness in the elderly. A common polymorphism, encoding the sequence variation Y402H in complement factor H (CFH), has been strongly associated with disease susceptibility. Here, we examined 84 polymorphisms in and around CFH in 726 affected individuals (including 544 unrelated individuals) and 268 unrelated controls. In this sample, 20 of these polymorphisms showed stronger association with disease susceptibility than the Y402H variant. Further, no single polymorphism could account for the contribution of the CFH locus to disease susceptibility. Instead, multiple polymorphisms defined a set of four common haplotypes (of which two were associated with disease susceptibility and two seemed to be protective) and multiple rare haplotypes (associated with increased susceptibility in aggregate). Our results suggest that there are multiple disease susceptibility alleles in the region and that noncoding CFH variants play a role in disease susceptibility.
PMCID: PMC1941700  PMID: 16936733

Results 1-5 (5)