Purpose: Keratoconic corneas exhibit more mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage than do normal corneas and thus mtDNA may represent a potential candidate for genetic susceptibility studies in keratoconus. To test this hypothesis we determined mitochondrial haplogroups in Saudi patients with keratoconus and healthy controls of same ethnicity.
Methods: Mitochondrial haplogrouping was performed by polymerase chain reaction-based automated Sanger sequencing in 114 patients with keratoconus and 552 healthy controls.
Results: Mitochondrial haplogroups H and R were significantly overrepresented in patients with keratoconus (28.9% vs. 8.5%, P < 0.0001 and 17.5% vs. 3.1%, P < 0.0001, respectively) as compared to healthy controls.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that individuals with mitochondrial haplogroups H and R are at increased risk to develop keratoconus. In addition, the results provide further evidence for a plausible role of mtDNA in keratoconus etiology.
Keywords: Arabs; cornea; genetics; haplogroup; keratoconus; mitochondria.