Rare complement factor H variant associated with age-related macular degeneration in the Amish

Joshua D. Hoffman, Jessica N. Cooke Bailey, Laura D'Aoust, William Cade, Juan Ayala-Haedo, Denise Fuzzell, Renee Laux, Larry D. Adams, Lori Reinhart-Mercer, Laura Caywood, Patrice Whitehead-Gay, Anita Agarwal, Gaofeng Wang, William K. Scott, Margaret A. Pericak-Vance, Jonathan L. Haines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Purpose. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness among the adult population in the developed world. To further the understanding of this disease, we have studied the genetically isolated Amish population of Ohio and Indiana. Methods. Cumulative genetic risk scores were calculated using the 19 known allelic associations. Exome sequencing was performed in three members of a small Amish family with AMD who lacked the common risk alleles in complement factor H (CFH) and ARMS2/HTRA1. Follow-up genotyping and association analysis was performed in a cohort of 973 Amish individuals, including 95 with self-reported AMD. Results. The cumulative genetic risk score analysis generated a mean genetic risk score of 1.12 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.10, 1.13) in the Amish controls and 1.18 (95% CI: 1.13, 1.22) in the Amish cases. This mean difference in genetic risk scores is statistically significant (P = 0.0042). Exome sequencing identified a rare variant (P503A) in CFH. Association analysis in the remainder of the Amish sample revealed that the P503A variant is significantly associated with AMD (P = 9.27 × 10-13). Variant P503A was absent when evaluated in a cohort of 791 elderly non-Amish controls, and 1456 non-Amish cases. Conclusions. Data from the cumulative genetic risk score analysis suggests that the variants reported by the AMDGene consortium account for a smaller genetic burden of disease in the Amish compared with the non-Amish Caucasian population. Using exome sequencing data, we identified a novel missense mutation that is shared among a densely affected nuclear Amish family and located in a gene that has been previously implicated in AMD risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4455-4460
Number of pages6
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 6 2014


  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Exome sequencing
  • Linkage analysis
  • Rare variant
  • Risk score analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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