LOXL1 Polymorphisms: Genetic Biomarkers that Presage Environmental Determinants of Exfoliation Syndrome

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Abstract

An agnostic high throughput search of the genome revealed a robust association between LOXL1 genetic polymorphisms and exfoliation syndrome (XFS), a discovery that likely would not have been possible with candidate or family-based gene search strategies. While questions remain regarding how LOXL1 gene variants contribute to XFS pathogenesis, it is clear that the frequencies of disease-related alleles do not track with the varying disease burden throughout the world, prompting a search for environmental risk factors. A geo-medicine approach revealed that disease load seemed to increase as a function of the distance from the equator. The exact reason for this extraequatorial disease distribution pattern remains unclear, but a greater amount of time spent outdoors is a robust risk factor for XFS, suggesting climatic factors such as ocular solar exposure and colder ambient temperature may be involved in disease pathogenesis. Prospective studies have also implicated higher coffee consumption and lower dietary folate intake in association with incident XFS. The discovery of environmental risk factors for XFS suggests that preventive measures may help to reduce ocular morbidity from XFS.

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