The ARMS2 A69S Polymorphism Is Associated with Delayed Rod-Mediated Dark Adaptation in Eyes at Risk for Incident Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Academic Article


  • Purpose: To examine the association between sequence variants in genetic risk factors for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and delayed rod-mediated dark adaptation (RMDA), the first functional biomarker for incident AMD, in older adults with normal macular health and early AMD. Design: Cross-sectional. Participants: Adults 60 years of age or older showing normal macular health (defined as both eyes at step 1 on the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 9-step AMD classification system) and those with AMD in one or both eyes (defined as steps 2–9). Methods: Single nucleotide polymorphisms were genotyped in the complement factor H (CFH) and ARMS2 genes using a Taqman assay. Rod-mediated dark adaptation was assessed in 1 eye after photobleach with targets centered at 5° on the inferior vertical meridian. Rate of dark adaptation was defined by rod intercept time (RIT), duration (in minutes) required for sensitivity to reach a criterion sensitivity level in the latter half of the second component of rod recovery. Associations between CFH and ARMS2 polymorphisms and RMDA were adjusted for age and smoking. Main Outcome Measure: Rod intercept time. Results: The sample consisted of 543 participants having both genotype and RIT determination; 408 showed normal macular health and 135 demonstrated AMD, most having early AMD (124 of 135). For the combined sample, higher RIT (slower RMDA) was observed for both the A69S variant in ARMS2 and the Y402H variant in CFH (adjusted P = 0.0001 and P = 0.0023, respectively). For healthy participants, the A69S variant in ARMS2 was associated with higher RIT (adjusted P = 0.0011), whereas the Y402H variant in CFH was not (adjusted P = 0.2175). For AMD patients, the A69S variant of ARMS2 and the Y402H variant of CFH were associated with higher RIT (adjusted P = 0.0182 and P = 0.0222, respectively). Those with a larger number of high-risk ARMS2 and CFH alleles showed higher RIT, in both healthy and AMD groups (adjusted P = 0.0002 and P < 0.0001, respectively). Conclusions: We report a novel association wherein older adults with high-risk ARMS2 and CFH genotypes are more likely to demonstrate delayed RMDA, the first functional biomarker for incident early AMD. Before the AMD clinical phenotype is present, those showing normal macular health with the ARMS2 A69S allele demonstrate delayed RMDA. Understanding ARMS2 function is a research priority.
  • Published In

  • Ophthalmology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Mullins RF; McGwin G; Searcey K; Clark ME; Kennedy EL; Curcio CA; Stone EM; Owsley C
  • Start Page

  • 591
  • End Page

  • 600
  • Volume

  • 126
  • Issue

  • 4