Differences in the Genetic Susceptibility to Age-Related Macular Degeneration Clinical Subtypes

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2015 Jul;56(8):4290-9. doi: 10.1167/iovs.15-16533.


Purpose: We compared across age-related macular degeneration (AMD) subtypes the effect of AMD risk variants, their predictive power, and heritability.

Methods: The prevalence of AMD was estimated among active non-Hispanic white Kaiser Permanente Northern California members who were at least 65 years of age as of June 2013. The genetic analysis included 5,170 overall AMD cases ascertained from electronic health records (EHR), including 1,239 choroidal neovascularization (CNV) cases and 1,060 nonexudative AMD cases without CNV, and 23,130 controls of non-Hispanic white ancestry from the Kaiser Permanente Genetic Epidemiology Research on Adult Health and Aging (GERA) cohort. Imputation was based on the 1000 Genomes Project reference panel.

Results: The narrow-sense heritability due to common autosomal single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) was 0.37 for overall AMD, 0.19 for AMD unspecified, 0.20 for nonexudative AMD, and 0.60 for CNV. For the 19 previously reported AMD risk loci, the area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was 0.675 for overall AMD, 0.640 for AMD unspecified, 0.678 for nonexudative AMD, and 0.766 for CNV. The individual effects on the risk of AMD for 18 of the 19 SNPs were in a consistent direction with those previously reported, including a protective effect of the APOE ε4 allele. Conversely, the risk of AMD was significantly increased in carriers of the ε2 allele.

Conclusions: These findings provide an independent confirmation of many of the previously identified AMD risk loci, and support a potentially greater role of genetic factors in the development of CNV. The replication of established associations validates the use of EHR in genetic studies of ophthalmologic traits.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alleles
  • California / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / epidemiology
  • Macular Degeneration / genetics*
  • Male
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors