PURPOSE: To investigate the association of body mass index (BMI) with Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) severity and TCF4 CTG18.1 expansion. METHODS: A total of 343 patients with FECD were enrolled from the Mayo Clinic. FECD severity was graded by slit-lamp biomicroscopy. BMI values were obtained from the electronic medical records. DNA extracted from leukocytes was analyzed for CTG18.1 expansion length, with ≥40 repeats considered expanded. Wilcoxon signed-rank tests were used to compare FECD grade and CTG18.1 expansion length in patients by BMI (<25, ≥25 to <30, and ≥30 kg/m2). FECD grade was regressed on age, sex, BMI, and CTG18.1 expansion and, separately, BMI on CTG18.1 expansion. Models were investigated for effect modification by age and sex with an interaction term of P < 0.05 considered statistically significant. RESULTS: When examining the association between BMI and FECD, there was a significant interaction between BMI and sex (P for interaction = 0.004). When controlling for age and CTG18.1 expansion, a positive association was observed between BMI and FECD grade in women, but not in men. In addition, BMI was not associated with CTG18.1 expansion when controlling for age and sex. CONCLUSIONS: BMI was positively associated with FECD severity among women but not men. There was no significant association between BMI and CTG18.1 expansion. These findings suggest that increased BMI is potentially a modifiable risk factor for FECD disease progression among women.
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