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Ophthalmic Genet. 2004 Jun;25(2):111-9.

Evaluation of the ARMD1 locus on 1q25-31 in patients with age-related maculopathy: genetic variation in laminin genes and in exon 104 of HEMICENTIN-1.

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Department of Ophthalmology Columbia University Eye Institute Research, Rm. 715 630 West 168th Street New York, NY 10032 USA.


The age-related maculopathy (ARM) genetics program at Columbia University utilizes comprehensive genetic analysis of candidate genes in large case-control studies to determine genotypes associated with the ARM complex trait. Genes encoding laminins, a class of extracellular matrix proteins, represent attractive candidates for two reasons. First, the presence of laminins in the basal lamina of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), Bruch's membrane, and choriocapillaris suggests a possible role in the pathophysiology of ARM. Second, three laminin genes, LAMC1, LAMC2, and LAMB3, are located in the 1q25-31 region, within the previously mapped ARMD1 locus. The entire open reading frame of the three laminin genes was screened for variants by denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) and direct sequencing in at least 92, and up to 368 ARM patients and matched unaffected controls. Sixty-nine sequence variants were detected in the 69 exons of the LAMC1, LAMC2, and LAMB3 genes. Screening of exon 104 of the recently proposed ARMD1 gene, HEMICENTIN-1, residing in the 1q25-31 locus, did not detect the suggested causal variant, Q5345R, in 632 study subjects. Overall, we did not find statistically significant differences in the frequency of variants between ARM-affected individuals and age-matched controls. Four rare, non-synonymous, variants were detected in single cases of ARM patients. Our data on relatively limited numbers of study subjects do not suggest a significant role for genetic variation in the three laminin genes and in exon 104 of HEMICENTIN-1 in predisposing individuals to ARM. However, as in many instances in similar studies, involvement of rare amino acid-changing variants in a fraction of ARM cannot be ruled out.

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