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Shinsuke Umeda, Radha Ayyagari, Rando Allikmets, Michihiro T. Suzuki, Athancios J. Karoukis, Rajesh Ambasudhan, Jana Zernant, Haru Okamoto, Fumiko Ono, Keiji Terao, Atsushi Mizota, Yasuhiro Yoshikawa, Yasuhiko Tanaka, Takeshi Iwata; Early-Onset Macular Degeneration with Drusen in a Cynomolgus Monkey (Macaca fascicularis) Pedigree: Exclusion of 13 Candidate Genes and Loci. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2005;46(2):683-691. doi: 10.1167/iovs.04-1031.
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purpose. To describe hereditary macular degeneration observed in the cynomolgus monkey (Macaca fascicularis), which shares phenotypic features with age-related macular degeneration in humans, and to test the involvement of candidate gene loci by mutation screening and linkage analysis.
methods. Ophthalmic examinations with fundus photography, fluorescein angiography (FA), indocyanine green angiography (IA), electroretinography (ERG), and histologic studies were performed on both affected and unaffected monkeys in the pedigree. The monkey orthologues of the human ABCA4, VMD2, EFEMP1, TIMP3, and ELOVL4 genes were cloned and screened for mutations by single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis or denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) and direct sequencing in six affected and five unaffected monkeys from the pedigree and in six unrelated, unaffected monkeys. Subsequently, 13 human macular degeneration loci including these five genes were analyzed to test for linkage with the disease. Nineteen affected and seven unaffected monkeys in the pedigree were analyzed by using human microsatellite markers linked to the 13 loci.
results. Yellowish white spots were observed in the macula and fovea centralis, and in some cases the spots scattered to the peripheral retina along the blood vessels. FA showed hyperfluorescence corresponding to the dots except in the foveola. No anomalies were found by IA and ERG. Histologic studies demonstrated that the spots were drusen. Mutation analysis of the ABCA4, VMD2, EFEMP1, TIMP3, and ELOVL4 genes identified a few sequence variants, but none of them segregated with the disease. Linkage analysis with markers linked to these five genes and an additional eight human macular degeneration loci failed to establish linkage. Haplotype analysis excluded the involvement of the 13 candidate loci for harboring the gene associated with macular degeneration in the monkeys.
conclusions. Significant homology was identified between monkey and human orthologues of the five macular degeneration genes. Thirteen loci associated with macular degeneration in humans or harboring macular degeneration genes were excluded as causal of early-onset macular degeneration in the monkeys. It is likely that none of these loci, but rather a novel gene, is involved in causing the observed phenotype in this monkey pedigree.
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