Genes linked to development of glaucoma

September 11, 2014

An international study led by King's College London has identified genetic links to glaucoma.

An international study led by King's College London has identified genetic links to glaucoma.

In a study published in Nature Genetics, researchers conducted a meta-analysis of more than 35,000 people from 7 countries, including subjects of Asian and European descent, with data drawn from the International Glaucoma Genetics Consortium (IGGC).

They found four new genes associated with high intraocular pressure and glaucoma. One of the genes is the ABO gene, which determines blood group, and higher eye pressure appears to be linked to blood group B.

The study also found that a genetic change in the ABCA1 gene is associated with an increased risk of developing both high inner eye pressure and glaucoma. ABCA1 is a major regulator of cellular cholesterol and lipid levels.

The researchers point out that, in the future, it may be possible to provide intensive screening to those identified as being at higher genetic risk.

Treatments could be targeted at reducing the amount of ABCA1 in the eye either by using chemicals to block the proteins produced by the gene or by altering the gene's expression.

To read the abstract of the study, click here.