Genetic determinants of macular pigments in women the carotenoids in age-related eye disease study

Kristin J. Meyers, Elizabeth J. Johnson, Paul S. Bernstein, Sudha K. Iyengar, Corinne D. Engelman, Chitra K. Karki, Zhe Liu, Robert P. Igo, Barbara Truitt, Michael L. Klein, D. Max Snodderly, Barbara A. Blodi, Karen M. Gehrs, Gloria E. Sarto, Robert B. Wallace, Jennifer Robinson, Erin S. LeBlanc, Gregory Hageman, Lesley Tinker, Julie A. Mares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. To investigate genetic determinants of macular pigment optical density in women from the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study (CAREDS), an ancillary study of the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study. METHODS. 1585 of 2005 CAREDS participants had macular pigment optical density (MPOD) measured noninvasively using customized heterochromatic flicker photometry and blood samples genotyped for 440 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 26 candidate genes related to absorption, transport, binding, and cleavage of carotenoids directly, or via lipid transport. SNPs were individually tested for associations with MPOD using least-squares linear regression. RESULTS. Twenty-one SNPs from 11 genes were associated with MPOD (P ≤ 0.05) after adjusting for dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin. This includes variants in or near genes related to zeaxanthin binding in the macula (GSTP1), carotenoid cleavage (BCMO1), cholesterol transport or uptake (SCARB1, ABCA1, ABCG5, and LIPC), long-chain omega-3 fatty acid status (ELOVL2, FADS1, and FADS2), and various maculopathies (ALDH3A2 and RPE65). The strongest association was for rs11645428 near BCMO1 (bA=0.029, P=2.2 3 10*4). Conditional modeling within genes and further adjustment for other predictors of MPOD, including waist circumference, diabetes, and dietary intake of fiber, resulted in 13 SNPs from 10 genes maintaining independent association with MPOD. Variation in these single gene polymorphisms accounted for 5% of the variability in MPOD (P=3.5 3 10*11). CONCLUSIONS. Our results support that MPOD is a multi-factorial phenotype associated with variation in genes related to carotenoid transport, uptake, and metabolism, independent of known dietary and health influences on MPOD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2333-2345
Number of pages13
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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