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Estrogen Receptor Gene Variants Raise Glaucoma Risk

Risk only elevated in men, not women

FRIDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Single-nucleotide polymorphisms in an estrogen receptor gene more than triple the risk of developing open-angle glaucoma in men, but do not affect the risk in women, according to a report published in the January issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Simone de Voogd, M.D., Ph.D., of Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and colleagues performed ophthalmic screening examinations on 3,842 men and women aged 55 and older participating in the population-based Rotterdam Study, in order to investigate the association between polymorphisms in the estrogen receptor alpha (ESR1) and beta (ESR2) genes and the risk of open-angle glaucoma. The researchers used an algorithm including optic disc measures and visual field loss to diagnose open-angle glaucoma.

Over a mean follow-up of 6.5 years, 87 individuals (2.3 percent) were diagnosed with new open-angle glaucoma. There was no association between ESR1 polymorphisms and risk of open-angle glaucoma, but haplotype 1 of ESR2 in men was associated with a 3.6-fold increase in the risk of open-angle glaucoma. No similar association was noted in women.

"In conclusion, we found an association with ESR2 polymorphisms and open-angle glaucoma in men. We could not detect any associations with ESR1 or ESR2 in women. The exact mechanism of why there is a sex difference in open-angle glaucoma remains to be elucidated," the authors conclude.

The study received support from Merck Sharp & Dohme.

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