To identify novel genes and pathways associated with AMD, we performed microarray gene expression and linkage analysis which implicated the candidate gene, retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor alpha (RORA, 15q). Subsequent genotyping of 159 RORA single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a family-based cohort, followed by replication in an unrelated case-control cohort, demonstrated that SNPs and haplotypes located in intron 1 were significantly associated with neovascular AMD risk in both cohorts. This is the first report demonstrating a possible role for RORA, a receptor for cholesterol, in the pathophysiology of AMD. Moreover, we found a significant interaction between RORA and the ARMS2/HTRA1 locus suggesting a novel pathway underlying AMD pathophysiology.
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