Genome-Wide Meta-analysis Identifies Risk Loci and Improves Disease Prediction of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Weixiong He, Xikun Han, Jue Sheng Ong, Yeda Wu, Alex W. Hewitt, David A. Mackey, Puya Gharahkhani, Stuart MacGregor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To identify age-related macular degeneration (AMD) risk loci and to establish a polygenic prediction model. Design: Genome-wide association study (GWAS) and polygenic risk score (PRS) construction. Participants: We included 64 885 European patients with AMD and 568 740 control participants (with overlapped samples) in the UK Biobank, Genetic Epidemiology Research on Aging (GERA), International AMD Consortium, FinnGen, and published early AMD GWASs in meta-analyses, as well as 733 European patients with AMD and 20 487 control participants from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) and non-Europeans from the UK Biobank and GERA for polygenic risk score validation. Methods: A multitrait meta-analysis of GWASs comprised 64 885 patients with AMD and 568 740 control participants; the multitrait approach accounted for sample overlap. We constructed a PRS for AMD based on both previously reported as well as unreported AMD loci. We applied the PRS to nonoverlapping data from the CLSA. Main Outcome Measures: We identified several single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with AMD and established a PRS for AMD risk prediction. Results: We identified 63 AMD risk loci alongside the well-established AMD loci CFH and ARMS2, including 9 loci that were not reported in previous GWASs, some of which previously were linked to other eye diseases such as glaucoma (e.g., HIC1). We applied our PRS to nonoverlapping data from the CLSA. A new PRS was constructed using the PRS method, PRS-CS, and significantly improved the prediction accuracy of AMD risk compared with PRSs from previously published datasets. We further showed that even people who carry all the well-known AMD risk alleles at CFH and ARMS2 vary considerably in their AMD risk (ranging from close to 0 in individuals with low PRS to > 50% in individuals with high PRS). Although our PRS was derived in individuals of European ancestry, the PRS shows potential for predicting risk in people of East Asian, South Asian, and Latino ancestry. Conclusions: Our findings improve the knowledge of the genetic architecture of AMD and help achieve better accuracy in AMD prediction. Financial Disclosure(s): Proprietary or commercial disclosure may be found in the Footnotes and Disclosures at the end of this article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-29
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Early online date25 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Cite this