PURPOSE: Pterygium is composed of proliferating fibrovascular tissue, and its formation and progression require neovascularization. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a specific mitogen for vascular endothelial cells and is essential for neovascularization. Recently, the VEGF-460 polymorphism was reported to be associated with increased VEGF basal promoter activity and with several fibrovascular diseases, such as proliferative diabetic retinopathy, endometriosis, and chronic renal disease. Therefore, this study evaluated the potential association between pterygium formation and VEGF-460 polymorphism. METHODS: One hundred twenty-seven pterygium patients and 102 volunteers without pterygium were enrolled in this study. Polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis was used to resolve the VEGF-460 genotypes of pterygium patients and normal controls. RESULTS: There were no significant differences between pterygium and control groups in age, sex, and distribution of genotype and allelic frequency of VEGF-460 polymorphism. However, when results were stratified by sex, there were significant differences between female patients and controls in the distribution of genotype and allelic frequency of VEGF-460 polymorphism. Females who carried at least 1 C allele (C/C and C/T genotypes) had about a 2.5-fold increased risk of developing pterygium compared with those who carried the T/T genotype, and there was a significantly higher frequency of C/C and C/T genotypes in younger female patients than in older female patients. There were no differences between male patients and controls in the distribution of genotype and allelic frequency of the VEGF-460 polymorphism. CONCLUSIONS: VEGF-460C polymorphism is associated with pterygium formation in female patients. Females who carried the C allele have increased risk of developing pterygium at a younger age.
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