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Mitochondrial haplogroup U is associated with a reduced risk to develop exfoliation glaucoma in the German population

Christiane Wolf1, Eugen Gramer2, Bertram Müller-Myhsok3, Francesca Pasutto4, Bernd Wissinger1 and Nicole Weisschuh1*

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Ophthalmology, Institute for Ophthalmic Research, Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Tuebingen, Germany

2 University Eye Hospital, Julius-Maximilians-University, Wuerzburg, Germany

3 Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany

4 Institute of Human Genetics, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany

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BMC Genetics 2010, 11:8  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-11-8

Published: 28 January 2010



Various lines of evidence demonstrate the involvement of mitochondrial dysfunction in the pathogenesis of glaucoma. Therefore, mitochondrial DNA is a promising candidate for genetic susceptibility studies on glaucoma. To test the hypothesis that mitochondrial haplogroups influence the risk to develop glaucoma, we genotyped 12 single-nucleotide polymorphisms that define the European mitochondrial DNA haplogroups in healthy controls and two German patient cohorts with either exfoliation glaucoma or the normal tension subgroup of primary open angle glaucoma.


Mitochondrial haplogroup U was significantly under-represented in patients with exfoliation glaucoma (8.3% compared with 18.9% in controls; p = 0.004).


People with haplogroup U have a lower risk to develop exfoliation glaucoma. Our results substantiate the suggestion that mitochondrial alterations have an impact on the etiology of glaucoma.