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Biochemistry - Ophthalmology - Public Health and Epidemiology

Mitochondrial Haplogroups and Control Region Polymorphisms in Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Case-Control Study
Published: Monday, February 13, 2012
Author: Edith E. Mueller et al.

by Edith E. Mueller, Elena Schaier, Susanne M. Brunner, Waltraud Eder, Johannes A. Mayr, Stefan F. Egger, Christian Nischler, Hannes Oberkofler, Herbert A. Reitsamer, Wolfgang Patsch, Wolfgang Sperl, Barbara Kofler


Onset and development of the multifactorial disease age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are highly interrelated with mitochondrial functions such as energy production and free radical turnover. Mitochondrial dysfunction and overproduction of reactive oxygen species may contribute to destruction of the retinal pigment epithelium, retinal atrophy and choroidal neovascularization, leading to AMD. Consequently, polymorphisms of the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) are postulated to be susceptibility factors for this disease. Previous studies from Australia and the United States detected associations of mitochondrial haplogroups with AMD. The aim of the present study was to test these associations in Middle European Caucasians.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Mitochondrial haplogroups (combinations of mtDNA polymorphisms) and mitochondrial CR polymorphisms were analyzed in 200 patients with wet AMD (choroidal neovascularization, CNV), in 66 patients with dry AMD, and in 385 controls from Austria by means of multiplex primer extension analysis and sequencing, respectively. In patients with CNV, haplogroup H was found to be significantly less frequent compared to controls, and haplogroup J showed a trend toward a higher frequency compared to controls. Five CR polymorphisms were found to differ significantly in the two study populations compared to controls, and all, except one (T152C), are linked to those haplogroups.


It can be concluded that haplogroup J is a risk factor for AMD, whereas haplogroup H seems to be protective for AMD.