Korean J Ophthalmol.  2021 Apr;35(2):120-129. 10.3341/kjo.2020.0138.

Association with Corneal Remodeling Related Genes, ALDH3A1, LOX, and SPARC Genes Variations in Korean Keratoconus Patients

  • 1CK St. Mary’s Eye Center, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Ophthalmology, Yeouido St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea


To determine whether the cornea remodeling-related genes aldehyde dehydrogenase 3A1 (ALDH3A1), lysyl oxidase (LOX), and secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC) were potential susceptibility candidate genes for keratoconus in Korean patients, we investigated the associations of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in these three genes in Korean patients with keratoconus.

Genomic DNA was extracted from blood samples of unrelated patients with keratoconus and healthy control individuals. For screening of genetic variations, all exons from the entire coding regions of the ALDH3A1, LOX, and SPARC genes were directly sequenced to determine the presence of mutations. Control individuals were selected from the general population without keratoconus.

In this study, we detected nine SNPs in ALDH3A1, four SNPs in LOX, and 18 SNPs in SPARC. rs116992290, IVS3-62c>t, rs116962241, and rs2228100 in ALDH3A1 and rs2956540 and rs1800449 in LOX were significantly different between patient and control groups. In the SPARC gene, the distribution of the *G allele of EX10+225 T>G (p = 0.018; odds ratio, 1.869) was strongly associated with the risk of keratoconus in the Korean population. In haplotype analysis, C-G of rs2956540-rs2288393 in LOX(p = 0.046) and C-C-G and G-G-G of rs60610024-rs2228100-rs57555435 (p = 0.021 and p < 0.001), G-A of IVS3-62 a>g - rs116962241 in ALDH3A1(p = 0.048) predisposed significantly to keratoconus. After cross-validation consistency and permutation tests, two locus model was the best SNP variations interaction pattern.

Our results suggested that genetic variations in ALDH3A1, LOX, and SPARC genes were associated with a predisposition for keratoconus in Korean individuals. Moreover, variations in ALDH3A1 and LOX may serve as strong biomarkers for keratoconus.


Keratoconus; Multifactor dimensional reduction
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