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. 2012 Dec 1;21(23):5229-36.
doi: 10.1093/hmg/dds364. Epub 2012 Aug 29.

Can Genetic Associations Change With Age? CFH and Age-Related Macular Degeneration


Can Genetic Associations Change With Age? CFH and Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Madeleine K M Adams et al. Hum Mol Genet. .


Genetic variation in the gene encoding complement factor H (CFH) on chromosome 1q31 has repeatedly been associated with an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD); however, previous studies have had inadequate numbers of participants across a sufficiently wide age range to determine whether the association varies by age. We conducted a genetic case-control study using data from 2294 cases and 2294 controls selected from the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study, matched on age, sex and region of origin. Four consistently replicated CFH single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped: rs1061170 (Y402H), rs2274700, rs393955 and rs800292; their relationship with AMD prevalence was determined across the age range 48-86. A difference in genotype frequencies was seen across age groups, where the low-risk homozygote prevalence rose with each increasing age group. Associations with early AMD were strongly modified by age for three of the four SNPs (interaction P-value: 0.01-0.00003). An inverse association between the high-risk homozygote for each SNP and early AMD was observed in the younger age groups [odds ratios (OR) range 0.37-0.48 for age <55], reversing to a positive association with increasing age (OR 1.87-2.8 for age >75). The direction of associations for this gene change was from inverse to risk with increasing age. These findings have important implications for predictive models for AMD and potentially other age-related diseases which extrapolate risks from older cohorts, as they assume homogeneity of association by age, which might not exist.

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