A Deep Phenotype Association Study Reveals Specific Phenotype Associations with Genetic Variants in Age-related Macular Degeneration: Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) Report No. 14

Publication Type
Journal Article
Year of Publication
van Asten, Freekje; Simmons, Michael; Singhal, Ayush; Keenan, Tiarnan D; Ratnapriya, Rinki; Agrón, Elvira; Clemons, Traci E; Swaroop, Anand; Lu, Zhiyong; Chew, Emily Y; Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 Research Group
Date Published
Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 Research Group; age-related macular degeneration; AMD; AREDS2

PURPOSE: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a multifactorial disease with variable phenotypic presentation, was associated with 52 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at 34 loci in a genome-wide association study (GWAS). These genetic variants could modulate different biological pathways involved in AMD, contributing to phenotypic variability. To better understand the effects of these SNPs, we performed a deep phenotype association study (DeePAS) in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2), followed by replication using AREDS participants, to identify genotype associations with AMD and non-AMD ocular and systemic phenotypes.

DESIGN: Cohort study.

PARTICIPANTS: AREDS and AREDS2 participants.

METHODS: AREDS2 participants (discovery cohort) had detailed phenotyping for AMD; other eye conditions; cardiovascular, neurologic, gastrointestinal, and endocrine disease; cognitive function; serum nutrient levels; and others (total of 139 AMD and non-AMD phenotypes). Genotypes of the 52 GWAS SNPs were obtained. The DeePAS was performed by correlating the 52 SNPs to all phenotypes using logistic and linear regression models. Associations that reached Bonferroni-corrected statistical significance were replicated in AREDS.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Genotype-phenotype associations.

RESULTS: A total of 1776 AREDS2 participants had 5 years follow-up; 1435 AREDS participants had 10 years. The DeePAS revealed a significant association of the rs3750846 SNP at the ARMS2/HTRA1 locus with subretinal/sub-retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) hemorrhage related to neovascular AMD (odds ratio 1.55 [95% confidence interval 1.31-1.84], P = 2.67 × 10-7). This novel association remained significant after conditioning on participants with neovascular AMD (P = 2.42 × 10-4). Carriers of rs3750846 had poorer visual acuity during follow-up (P = 6.82 × 10-7) and were more likely to have a first-degree relative with AMD (P = 5.38 × 10-6). Two SNPs at the CFH locus, rs10922109 and rs570618, were associated with the drusen area in the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study Report (ETDRS) grid (P = 2.29 × 10-11 and P = 3.20 × 10-9, respectively) and the center subfield (P = 1.24 × 10-9 and P = 6.68 × 10-8, respectively). SNP rs570618 was additionally associated with the presence of calcified drusen (P = 5.38 × 10-6). Except for positive family history of AMD with rs3750846, all genotype-phenotype associations were significantly replicated in AREDS. No pleiotropic associations were identified.

CONCLUSIONS: The association of the SNP at the ARMS2/HTRA1 locus with subretinal/sub-RPE hemorrhage and poorer visual acuity and of SNPs at the CFH locus with drusen area may provide new insights in pathophysiological pathways underlying different stages of AMD.