While mean intraocular pressure (IOP) has long been known to correlate with glaucomatous damage, the role of IOP fluctuation is less clearly defined. There is extensive evidence in the literature for and against the value of short-term and long-term IOP fluctuation in the evaluation and prognosis of patients with glaucoma. We present here the arguments made by both sides, as well as a discussion of the pitfalls of prior research and potential directions for future studies. Until a reliable method is developed that allows for constant IOP monitoring, many variables will continue to hinder us from drawing adequate conclusions regarding the significance of IOP variation.
Variants in LOXL1 are significantly associated with exfoliation syndrome (XFS), however the impact of the associated variants on disease development is not yet understood. Initially the associated missense changes, R141L and G153D, were considered to be pathogenic alleles. Flipping of the risk allele in certain populations for both missense variants provided strong evidence that these missense changes are not biologically significant and suggest that other LOXL1 variant(s), in linkage disequilibrium with these missense variants, predispose to exfoliation syndrome by affecting gene expression or protein function. Several lines of evidence support dysregulation of LOXL1 gene expression as a contributing factor to disease development. First, in the German population the R141L (rs1048661) risk allele reduced LOXL1 expression by 20%. Second, haplotype analysis identified a risk haplotype that includes including R141L, G153D, as well as a LOXL1 promoter region variant previously shown to reduce gene expression (rs16958477). Third, the LOXL1 risk haplotype influences gene expression induced by disease-associated factors TGF-B1, oxidative stress, UV light and hypoxia. Finally, a LOXL1 null mouse has some features of XFS suggesting that decreased enzyme activity contributes to predisposition to the disease. Collectively, these results suggest that dysregulation of LOXL1 expression is a contributing factor to exfoliation disease development.
Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is a major cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. We performed a genome-wide association study in an Australian discovery cohort comprising 1,155 cases with advanced POAG and 1,992 controls. We investigated the association of the top SNPs from the discovery stage in two Australian replication cohorts (932 cases and 6,862 controls total) and two US replication cohorts (2,616 cases and 2,634 controls total). Meta-analysis of all cohorts identified three loci newly associated with development of POAG. These loci are located upstream of ABCA1 (rs2472493[G], odds ratio (OR) = 1.31, P = 2.1 × 10(-19)), within AFAP1 (rs4619890[G], OR = 1.20, P = 7.0 × 10(-10)) and within GMDS (rs11969985[G], OR = 1.31, P = 7.7 × 10(-10)). Using RT-PCR and immunolabeling, we show that these genes are expressed within human retina, optic nerve and trabecular meshwork and that ABCA1 and AFAP1 are also expressed in retinal ganglion cells.
Glaucoma is characterized by irreversible optic nerve degeneration and is the most frequent cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Here, the International Glaucoma Genetics Consortium conducts a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of vertical cup-disc ratio (VCDR), an important disease-related optic nerve parameter. In 21,094 individuals of European ancestry and 6,784 individuals of Asian ancestry, we identify 10 new loci associated with variation in VCDR. In a separate risk-score analysis of five case-control studies, Caucasians in the highest quintile have a 2.5-fold increased risk of primary open-angle glaucoma as compared with those in the lowest quintile. This study has more than doubled the known loci associated with optic disc cupping and will allow greater understanding of mechanisms involved in this common blinding condition.
The characterization of genes responsible for glaucoma is the critical first step toward the development of gene-based diagnostic and screening tests, which could identify individuals at risk for disease before irreversible optic nerve damage occurs. Early-onset forms of glaucoma affecting children and young adults are typically inherited as Mendelian autosomal dominant or recessive traits whereas glaucoma affecting older adults has complex inheritance. In this report, we present a comprehensive overview of the genes and genomic regions contributing to inherited glaucoma.