Summary of Utah Project on Exfoliation Syndrome (UPEXS): using a large database to identify systemic comorbidities

BMJ Open Ophthalmol. 2021 Oct 27;6(1):e000803. doi: 10.1136/bmjophth-2021-000803. eCollection 2021.


The purpose of the Utah Project on Exfoliation Syndrome (UPEXS) is to identify associations between exfoliation syndrome (XFS) and other diseases that share the commonality of abnormalities in elastin and Lysyl Oxidase-Like 1 gene regulation. The UPEXS is unique because it uses the Utah Population Database, which is linked to the Utah genealogy, that contains a compilation of large pedigrees of most families in the state of Utah that go back multiple generations (3 to ≥11). The health and medical records of these family members are linked to vital records and can be used effectively in studies focused on genetic disorders like XFS, where familial clustering of a disorder is a trend. There is increasing evidence that patients with XFS have a higher risk of certain systemic disorders that reflect the systemic tissue abnormalities of XFS. Epidemiological studies focused on patients with XFS have shown that there is an increased risk of these individuals developing other pathologies that have abnormalities in extracellular matrix metabolism and repair. UPEXS has focused on suspected comorbidities that involve abnormalities in elastin maintenance, a protein that plays a role in the makeup of the extracellular matrix. In this paper, the results from the analysis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, inguinal hernias, pelvic organ prolapse, obstructive sleep apnoea and atrial fibrillation are summarised along with the utility of using such a large dataset.

Keywords: glaucoma.

Publication types

  • Review