Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and its most common manifestations – including coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, heart failure (HF), and atrial fibrillation (AF) – are major causes of morbidity and mortality. In many industrialized countries, cardiovascular disease (CVD) claims more lives each year than any other disease. Heart disease and stroke are the first and third leading causes of death in the United States. Prior investigations have reported several single gene variants associated with CHD, stroke, HF, and AF. We report a community-based genome-wide association study of major CVD outcomes.
In 1345 Framingham Heart Study participants from the largest 310 pedigrees (54% women, mean age 33 years at entry), we analyzed associations of 70,987 qualifying SNPs (Affymetrix 100K GeneChip) to four major CVD outcomes: major atherosclerotic CVD (n = 142; myocardial infarction, stroke, CHD death), major CHD (n = 118; myocardial infarction, CHD death), AF (n = 151), and HF (n = 73). Participants free of the condition at entry were included in proportional hazards models. We analyzed model-based deviance residuals using generalized estimating equations to test associations between SNP genotypes and traits in additive genetic models restricted to autosomal SNPs with minor allele frequency ≥0.10, genotype call rate ≥0.80, and Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium p-value ≥ 0.001.
Six associations yielded p < 10-5. The lowest p-values for each CVD trait were as follows: major CVD, rs499818, p = 6.6 × 10-6; major CHD, rs2549513, p = 9.7 × 10-6; AF, rs958546, p = 4.8 × 10-6; HF: rs740363, p = 8.8 × 10-6. Of note, we found associations of a 13 Kb region on chromosome 9p21 with major CVD (p 1.7 – 1.9 × 10-5) and major CHD (p 2.5 – 3.5 × 10-4) that confirm associations with CHD in two recently reported genome-wide association studies. Also, rs10501920 in CNTN5 was associated with AF (p = 9.4 × 10-6) and HF (p = 1.2 × 10-4). Complete results for these phenotypes can be found at the dbgap website .
No association attained genome-wide significance, but several intriguing findings emerged. Notably, we replicated associations of chromosome 9p21 with major CVD. Additional studies are needed to validate these results. Finding genetic variants associated with CVD may point to novel disease pathways and identify potential targeted preventive therapies.
Numerous studies suggest genetic influences on sleepiness and circadian rhythms. The Sleep Heart Health Study collected questionnaire data on sleep habits and sleepiness from 2848 Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort participants. More than 700 participants were genotyped using the Affymetrix 100K SNP GeneChip, providing a unique opportunity to assess genetic linkage and association of these traits.
Sleepiness (defined as the Epworth Sleepiness Scale score), usual bedtime and usual sleep duration were assessed by self-completion questionnaire. Standardized residual measures adjusted for age, sex and BMI were analyzed. Multipoint variance components linkage analysis was performed. Association of SNPs to sleep phenotypes was analyzed with both population-based and family-based association tests, with analysis limited to 70,987 autosomal SNPs with minor allele frequency ≥10%, call rate ≥80%, and no significant deviation from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (p ≥ 0.001).
Heritability of sleepiness was 0.29, bedtime 0.22, and sleep duration 0.17. Both genotype and sleep phenotype data were available for 749 subjects. Linkage analysis revealed five linkage peaks of LOD >2: four to usual bedtime, one to sleep duration. These peaks include several candidate sleep-related genes, including CSNK2A2, encoding a known component of the circadian molecular clock, and PROK2, encoding a putative transmitter of the behavioral circadian rhythm from the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Association tests identified an association of usual bedtime with a non-synonymous coding SNP in NPSR1 that has been shown to encode a gain of function mutation of the neuropeptide S receptor, whose endogenous ligand is a potent promoter of wakefulness. Each copy of the minor allele of this SNP was associated with a 15 minute later mean bedtime. The lowest p value was for association of sleepiness with a SNP located in an intron of PDE4D, which encodes a cAMP-specific phosphodiesterase widely expressed in human brain. Full association results are posted at .
This analysis confirms prior reports of significant heritability of sleepiness, usual bedtime, and usual sleep duration. Several genetic loci with suggestive linkage to these traits are identified, including linkage peaks containing circadian clock-related genes. Association tests identify NPSR1 and PDE4D as possible mediators of bedtime and sleepiness.
Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass and compromised bone structure, heritable traits that contribute to fracture risk. There have been no genome-wide association and linkage studies for these traits using high-density genotyping platforms.
We used the Affymetrix 100K SNP GeneChip marker set in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) to examine genetic associations with ten primary quantitative traits: bone mineral density (BMD), calcaneal ultrasound, and geometric indices of the hip. To test associations with multivariable-adjusted residual trait values, we used additive generalized estimating equation (GEE) and family-based association tests (FBAT) models within each sex as well as sexes combined. We evaluated 70,987 autosomal SNPs with genotypic call rates ≥80%, HWE p ≥ 0.001, and MAF ≥10% in up to 1141 phenotyped individuals (495 men and 646 women, mean age 62.5 yrs). Variance component linkage analysis was performed using 11,200 markers.
Heritability estimates for all bone phenotypes were 30–66%. LOD scores ≥3.0 were found on chromosomes 15 (1.5 LOD confidence interval: 51,336,679–58,934,236 bp) and 22 (35,890,398–48,603,847 bp) for femoral shaft section modulus. The ten primary phenotypes had 12 associations with 100K SNPs in GEE models at p < 0.000001 and 2 associations in FBAT models at p < 0.000001. The 25 most significant p-values for GEE and FBAT were all less than 3.5 × 10-6 and 2.5 × 10-5, respectively. Of the 40 top SNPs with the greatest numbers of significantly associated BMD traits (including femoral neck, trochanter, and lumbar spine), one half to two-thirds were in or near genes that have not previously been studied for osteoporosis. Notably, pleiotropic associations between BMD and bone geometric traits were uncommon. Evidence for association (FBAT or GEE p < 0.05) was observed for several SNPs in candidate genes for osteoporosis, such as rs1801133 in MTHFR; rs1884052 and rs3778099 in ESR1; rs4988300 in LRP5; rs2189480 in VDR; rs2075555 in COLIA1; rs10519297 and rs2008691 in CYP19, as well as SNPs in PPARG (rs10510418 and rs2938392) and ANKH (rs2454873 and rs379016). All GEE, FBAT and linkage results are provided as an open-access results resource at .
The FHS 100K SNP project offers an unbiased genome-wide strategy to identify new candidate loci and to replicate previously suggested candidate genes for osteoporosis.
The Framingham Heart Study (FHS), founded in 1948 to examine the epidemiology of cardiovascular disease, is among the most comprehensively characterized multi-generational studies in the world. Many collected phenotypes have substantial genetic contributors; yet most genetic determinants remain to be identified. Using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from a 100K genome-wide scan, we examine the associations of common polymorphisms with phenotypic variation in this community-based cohort and provide a full-disclosure, web-based resource of results for future replication studies.
Adult participants (n = 1345) of the largest 310 pedigrees in the FHS, many biologically related, were genotyped with the 100K Affymetrix GeneChip. These genotypes were used to assess their contribution to 987 phenotypes collected in FHS over 56 years of follow up, including: cardiovascular risk factors and biomarkers; subclinical and clinical cardiovascular disease; cancer and longevity traits; and traits in pulmonary, sleep, neurology, renal, and bone domains. We conducted genome-wide variance components linkage and population-based and family-based association tests.
The participants were white of European descent and from the FHS Original and Offspring Cohorts (examination 1 Offspring mean age 32 ± 9 years, 54% women). This overview summarizes the methods, selected findings and limitations of the results presented in the accompanying series of 17 manuscripts. The presented association results are based on 70,897 autosomal SNPs meeting the following criteria: minor allele frequency ≥ 10%, genotype call rate ≥ 80%, Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium p-value ≥ 0.001, and satisfying Mendelian consistency. Linkage analyses are based on 11,200 SNPs and short-tandem repeats. Results of phenotype-genotype linkages and associations for all autosomal SNPs are posted on the NCBI dbGaP website at .
We have created a full-disclosure resource of results, posted on the dbGaP website, from a genome-wide association study in the FHS. Because we used three analytical approaches to examine the association and linkage of 987 phenotypes with thousands of SNPs, our results must be considered hypothesis-generating and need to be replicated. Results from the FHS 100K project with NCBI web posting provides a resource for investigators to identify high priority findings for replication.
Little is known regarding the association of scavenger receptor class B type I (SCARB1) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and subclinical atherosclerosis (SCA), particularly in subjects of different racial/ethnic backgrounds. We examined this relationship in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
Methods and Results
Forty-three SCARB1 tagging SNPs were genotyped. Baseline examinations included fasting lipids and SCA phenotypes (coronary artery calcium [CAC], and common and internal carotid artery thickness [CCIMT and ICIMT]). Examining SNP associations with different SCA phenotypes across multiple racial/ethnic groups with adjustment for multiple covariates, we found the C allele of SNP rs10846744 was associated with higher CCIMT in African American (P=0.03), Chinese (P=0.02), European American (P=0.05), and Hispanic participants (P=0.03), and was strongly associated in pooled analyses (P=0.0002). The results also showed that the association of this SNP with CCIMT was independent of lipids and other well-established cardiovascular risk factors. Stratifying by sex, there appeared to be a strong association of rs10846744 with CCIMT in females, but no genotype-sex interactions were observed.
Variation in SCARB1 at rs10846744 was significantly associated with CCIMT across racial/ethnic groups in MESA.
genetics; atherosclerosis; cholesterol; lipids; prospective cohort study; genetic association
Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and cognitive tests can identify heritable endophenotypes associated with an increased risk of developing stroke, dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD). We conducted a genome-wide association (GWA) and linkage analysis exploring the genetic basis of these endophenotypes in a community-based sample.
A total of 705 stroke- and dementia-free Framingham participants (age 62 +9 yrs, 50% male) who underwent volumetric brain MRI and cognitive testing (1999–2002) were genotyped. We used linear models adjusting for first degree relationships via generalized estimating equations (GEE) and family based association tests (FBAT) in additive models to relate qualifying single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, 70,987 autosomal on Affymetrix 100K Human Gene Chip with minor allele frequency ≥ 0.10, genotypic call rate ≥ 0.80, and Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium p-value ≥ 0.001) to multivariable-adjusted residuals of 9 MRI measures including total cerebral brain (TCBV), lobar, ventricular and white matter hyperintensity (WMH) volumes, and 6 cognitive factors/tests assessing verbal and visuospatial memory, visual scanning and motor speed, reading, abstract reasoning and naming. We determined multipoint identity-by-descent utilizing 10,592 informative SNPs and 613 short tandem repeats and used variance component analyses to compute LOD scores.
The strongest gene-phenotype association in FBAT analyses was between SORL1 (rs1131497; p = 3.2 × 10-6) and abstract reasoning, and in GEE analyses between CDH4 (rs1970546; p = 3.7 × 10-8) and TCBV. SORL1 plays a role in amyloid precursor protein processing and has been associated with the risk of AD. Among the 50 strongest associations (25 each by GEE and FBAT) were other biologically interesting genes. Polymorphisms within 28 of 163 candidate genes for stroke, AD and memory impairment were associated with the endophenotypes studied at p < 0.001. We confirmed our previously reported linkage of WMH on chromosome 4 and describe linkage of reading performance to a marker on chromosome 18 (GATA11A06), previously linked to dyslexia (LOD scores = 2.2 and 5.1).
Our results suggest that genes associated with clinical neurological disease also have detectable effects on subclinical phenotypes. These hypothesis generating data illustrate the use of an unbiased approach to discover novel pathways that may be involved in brain aging, and could be used to replicate observations made in other studies.
About one quarter of adults are hypertensive and high blood pressure carries increased risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and death. Increased arterial stiffness is a key factor in the pathogenesis of systolic hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Substantial heritability of blood-pressure (BP) and arterial-stiffness suggests important genetic contributions.
In Framingham Heart Study families, we analyzed genome-wide SNP (Affymetrix 100K GeneChip) associations with systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) BP at a single examination in 1971–1975 (n = 1260), at a recent examination in 1998–2001 (n = 1233), and long-term averaged SBP and DBP from 1971–2001 (n = 1327, mean age 52 years, 54% women) and with arterial stiffness measured by arterial tonometry (carotid-femoral and carotid-brachial pulse wave velocity, forward and reflected pressure wave amplitude, and mean arterial pressure; 1998–2001, n = 644). In primary analyses we used generalized estimating equations in models for an additive genetic effect to test associations between SNPs and phenotypes of interest using multivariable-adjusted residuals. A total of 70,987 autosomal SNPs with minor allele frequency ≥ 0.10, genotype call rate ≥ 0.80, and Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium p ≥ 0.001 were analyzed. We also tested for association of 69 SNPs in six renin-angiotensin-aldosterone pathway genes with BP and arterial stiffness phenotypes as part of a candidate gene search.
In the primary analyses, none of the associations attained genome-wide significance. For the six BP phenotypes, seven SNPs yielded p values < 10-5. The lowest p-values for SBP and DBP respectively were rs10493340 (p = 1.7 × 10-6) and rs1963982 (p = 3.3 × 10-6). For the five tonometry phenotypes, five SNPs had p values < 10-5; lowest p-values were for reflected wave (rs6063312, p = 2.1 × 10-6) and carotid-brachial pulse wave velocity (rs770189, p = 2.5 × 10-6) in MEF2C, a regulator of cardiac morphogenesis. We found only weak association of SNPs in the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone pathway with BP or arterial stiffness.
These results of genome-wide association testing for blood pressure and arterial stiffness phenotypes in an unselected community-based sample of adults may aid in the identification of the genetic basis of hypertension and arterial disease, help identify high risk individuals, and guide novel therapies for hypertension. Additional studies are needed to replicate any associations identified in these analyses.
The Framingham Heart Study (FHS) recently obtained initial results from the first genome-wide association scan for renal traits. The study of 70,987 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 1,010 FHS participants provides a list of SNPs showing the strongest associations with renal traits which need to be verified in independent study samples.
Sixteen SNPs were selected for replication based on the most promising associations with chronic kidney disease (CKD), estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), and serum cystatin C in FHS. These SNPs were genotyped in 15,747 participants of the Atherosclerosis in Communities (ARIC) Study and evaluated for association using multivariable adjusted regression analyses. Primary outcomes in ARIC were CKD and eGFR. Secondary prospective analyses were conducted for association with kidney disease progression using multivariable adjusted Cox proportional hazards regression. The definition of the outcomes, all covariates, and the use of an additive genetic model was consistent with the original analyses in FHS.
The intronic SNP rs6495446 in the gene MTHFS was significantly associated with CKD among white ARIC participants at visit 4: the odds ratio per each C allele was 1.24 (95% CI 1.09–1.41, p = 0.001). Borderline significant associations of rs6495446 were observed with CKD at study visit 1 (p = 0.024), eGFR at study visits 1 (p = 0.073) and 4 (lower mean eGFR per C allele by 0.6 ml/min/1.73 m2, p = 0.043) and kidney disease progression (hazard ratio 1.13 per each C allele, 95% CI 1.00–1.26, p = 0.041). Another SNP, rs3779748 in EYA1, was significantly associated with CKD at ARIC visit 1 (odds ratio per each T allele 1.22, p = 0.01), but only with eGFR and cystatin C in FHS.
This genome-wide association study provides unbiased information implicating MTHFS as a candidate gene for kidney disease. Our findings highlight the importance of replication to identify common SNPs associated with renal traits.
Family studies and heritability estimates provide evidence for a genetic contribution to variation in the human life span.
We conducted a genome wide association study (Affymetrix 100K SNP GeneChip) for longevity-related traits in a community-based sample. We report on 5 longevity and aging traits in up to 1345 Framingham Study participants from 330 families. Multivariable-adjusted residuals were computed using appropriate models (Cox proportional hazards, logistic, or linear regression) and the residuals from these models were used to test for association with qualifying SNPs (70, 987 autosomal SNPs with genotypic call rate ≥80%, minor allele frequency ≥10%, Hardy-Weinberg test p ≥ 0.001).
In family-based association test (FBAT) models, 8 SNPs in two regions approximately 500 kb apart on chromosome 1 (physical positions 73,091,610 and 73, 527,652) were associated with age at death (p-value < 10-5). The two sets of SNPs were in high linkage disequilibrium (minimum r2 = 0.58). The top 30 SNPs for generalized estimating equation (GEE) tests of association with age at death included rs10507486 (p = 0.0001) and rs4943794 (p = 0.0002), SNPs intronic to FOXO1A, a gene implicated in lifespan extension in animal models. FBAT models identified 7 SNPs and GEE models identified 9 SNPs associated with both age at death and morbidity-free survival at age 65 including rs2374983 near PON1. In the analysis of selected candidate genes, SNP associations (FBAT or GEE p-value < 0.01) were identified for age at death in or near the following genes: FOXO1A, GAPDH, KL, LEPR, PON1, PSEN1, SOD2, and WRN. Top ranked SNP associations in the GEE model for age at natural menopause included rs6910534 (p = 0.00003) near FOXO3a and rs3751591 (p = 0.00006) in CYP19A1. Results of all longevity phenotype-genotype associations for all autosomal SNPs are web posted at .
Longevity and aging traits are associated with SNPs on the Affymetrix 100K GeneChip. None of the associations achieved genome-wide significance. These data generate hypotheses and serve as a resource for replication as more genes and biologic pathways are proposed as contributing to longevity and healthy aging.
The Framingham risk score (FRS) is widely used in clinical practice to identify subjects at high risk for developing coronary heart disease (CHD). However, FRS may not accurately identify subjects at risk. We measured subclinical atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries and aorta with the presence of calcium (CAC and AC, respectively) and in the common carotid artery by intima-media thickness (CIMT) in 498 healthy subjects. The distribution of these subclinical atherosclerosis measures was evaluated across 3 strata of the FRS. CAC, AC and CIMT were significantly independently associated with FRS. The FRS increased with the number of arterial sites with atherosclerosis. Sixty-nine percent of the subjects categorized in the low risk group (FRS<10%), 95% of the intermediate risk group (FRS 10–20%), and 100% of the high risk group (FRS>20%) had 1 or more vascular imaging studies demonstrating subclinical atherosclerosis. Among the low risk group, subjects with atherosclerosis had a longer history of lifetime smoking compared to those without atherosclerosis. In conclusion, subclinical atherosclerosis is prominent across the spectrum of FRS. Evaluation of subclinical atherosclerosis in different arterial sites in addition to FRS may be useful in targeting subjects for lifestyle and other interventions.
Subclinical atherosclerosis; Framingham risk score; Carotid IMT; Coronary artery calcium; Aortic calcium
Obesity is related to multiple cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors as well as CVD and has a strong familial component. We tested for association between SNPs on the Affymetrix 100K SNP GeneChip and measures of adiposity in the Framingham Heart Study.
A total of 1341 Framingham Heart Study participants in 310 families genotyped with the Affymetrix 100K SNP GeneChip had adiposity traits measured over 30 years of follow up. Body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), weight change, height, and radiographic measures of adiposity (subcutaneous adipose tissue, visceral adipose tissue, waist circumference, sagittal height) were measured at multiple examination cycles. Multivariable-adjusted residuals, adjusting for age, age-squared, sex, smoking, and menopausal status, were evaluated in association with the genotype data using additive Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE) and Family Based Association Test (FBAT) models. We prioritized mean BMI over offspring examinations (1–7) and cohort examinations (10, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26) and mean WC over offspring examinations (4–7) for presentation. We evaluated associations with 70,987 SNPs on autosomes with minor allele frequencies of at least 0.10, Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium p ≥ 0.001, and call rates of at least 80%.
The top SNPs to be associated with mean BMI and mean WC by GEE were rs110683 (p-value 1.22*10-7) and rs4471028 (p-values 1.96*10-7). Please see for the complete set of results. We were able to validate SNPs in known genes that have been related to BMI or other adiposity traits, including the ESR1 Xba1 SNP, PPARG, and ADIPOQ.
Adiposity traits are associated with SNPs on the Affymetrix 100K SNP GeneChip. Replication of these initial findings is necessary. These data will serve as a resource for replication as more genes become identified with BMI and WC.
Circulating adiponectin has been associated with both clinical and subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD). Variants of the adiponectin gene (ADIPOQ) are associated with clinical CVD, but little is known about associations with subclinical CVD. We studied the association of 11 ADIPOQ SNPs with common and internal carotid intima media thickness (cIMT), presence of coronary artery calcification (CAC), and CAC scores (in those with CAC) in 2847 participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Participants were Caucasian (n=712), African-American (n=712), Chinese (n=718), and Hispanic (n=705). All models were adjusted for age, sex, and field site, and stratified by race/ethnic group. African-Americans with genotypes AG/GG of rs2241767 had 36% greater (95% CI (16%, 59%), p=0.0001) CAC prevalence; they also had a larger common cIMT (p=0.0043). Also in African-Americans, genotypes AG/AA of rs1063537 were associated with a 35% (95% CI (14%, 59%), p=0.0005) greater CAC prevalence. Hispanics with the AA genotype of rs11711353 had a 37% (95% CI (14%, 66%), p=0.0011), greater CAC prevalence compared to those with the GG genotype. Additional adjustment for ancestry in African-American and Hispanic participants did not change the results. No single SNP was associated with subclinical CVD phenotypes in Chinese or Caucasian participants. There appears to be an association between ADIPOQ SNPs and subclinical CVD in African-American and Hispanics. Replication as well as assessment of other ADIPOQ SNPs appears warranted.
Breast and prostate cancer are two commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States. Prior work suggests that cancer causing genes and cancer susceptibility genes can be identified.
We conducted a genome-wide association study (Affymetrix 100K SNP GeneChip) of cancer in the community-based Framingham Heart Study. We report on 2 cancer traits – prostate cancer and breast cancer – in up to 1335 participants from 330 families (54% women, mean entry age 33 years). Multivariable-adjusted residuals, computed using Cox proportional hazards models, were tested for association with qualifying SNPs (70, 987 autosomal SNPs with genotypic call rate ≥80%, minor allele frequency ≥10%, Hardy-Weinberg test p ≥ 0.001) using generalized estimating equations (GEE) models and family based association tests (FBAT).
There were 58 women with breast cancer and 59 men with prostate cancer. No SNP associations attained genome-wide significance. The top SNP associations in GEE models for each trait were as follows: breast cancer, rs2075555, p = 8.0 × 10-8 in COL1A1; and prostate cancer, rs9311171, p = 1.75 × 10-6 in CTDSPL. In analysis of selected candidate cancer susceptibility genes, two MSR1 SNPs (rs9325782, GEE p = 0.008 and rs2410373, FBAT p = 0.021) were associated with prostate cancer and three ERBB4 SNPs (rs905883 GEE p = 0.0002, rs7564590 GEE p = 0.003, rs7558615 GEE p = 0.0078) were associated with breast cancer. The previously reported risk SNP for prostate cancer, rs1447295, was not included on the 100K chip. Results of cancer phenotype-genotype associations for all autosomal SNPs are web posted at .
Although no association attained genome-wide significance, several interesting associations emerged for breast and prostate cancer. These findings can serve as a resource for replication in other populations to identify novel biologic pathways contributing to cancer susceptibility.
Background and Purpose
Higher plasma concentrations of the endogenous nitric oxides synthase (NOS) inhibitor asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) are associated with increased risk of cardio- and cerebrovascular events and death, presumably by promoting endothelial dysfunction and subclinical atherosclerosis. We hypothesized that plasma ADMA concentrations are positively related to common carotid artery intimal media thickness (CCA-IMT) and to internal carotid (ICA)/bulb-IMT.
We investigated the cross-sectional relations of plasma ADMA with CCA-IMT and ICA/bulb-IMT in 2958 Framingham Heart Study participants (mean age 58 years, 55% women).
In unadjusted analyses, ADMA was positively related to both CCA-IMT (β per SD increment 0.012, p<0.001) and ICA/bulb IMT (β per SD increment 0.059, p<0.001). In multivariable analyses (adjusting for age, sex, systolic blood pressure, antihypertensive treatment, smoking status, diabetes, body mass index (BMI), Total to HDL cholesterol ratio, log C-reactive protein, and serum creatinine), plasma ADMA was not associated with CCA-IMT (p=0.991), but remained significantly and positively related to ICA/bulb IMT (β per SD increment 0.0246, p=0.002).
In our large community-based sample, we observed that higher plasma ADMA concentrations were associated with greater ICA/bulb-IMT but not with CCA-IMT. These data are consistent with the notion that ADMA promotes subclinical atherosclerosis in a site-specific manner, with a greater proatherogenic influence at known vulnerable sites in the arterial tree.
Carotid Intimal Medial Thickness; Endothelium; Epidemiology; Risk Factors; Nitric Oxide
Metabolic syndrome (MS) is associated with increased risks of diabetes and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. However, data on the impact of MS and its individual components on subclinical atherosclerosis (SCA) according to diabetes status are scarce.
Surrogate markers of SCA, brachial–ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV), and carotid intima–medial thickness (IMT) and plaque were assessed in 2,560 subjects (60 ± 8 years, 33% men) who participated in baseline health examinations for a community-based cohort study.
The participants included 2,149 non-diabetics (84%) and 411 diabetics (16%); 667 non-diabetics (31%) and 285 diabetics (69%) had MS, respectively. Diabetics had significantly higher baPWV and carotid IMT, and more plaques than non-diabetics (p < 0.001, respectively). Individuals with MS had significantly higher baPWV and carotid IMT than those without MS only among non-diabetics (p < 0.001, respectively). Among MS components, increased blood pressure was significantly associated with the exacerbation of all SCA markers in non-diabetics. The number of MS components was significantly correlated with both baPWV and carotid IMT in non-diabetics (baPWV: r = 0.302, p < 0.001; carotid IMT: r = 0.217, p < 0.001). Multiple regression showed both MS and diabetes were significantly associated with baPWV (p < 0.001, respectively), carotid IMT (MS: p < 0.001; diabetes: p = 0.005), and the presence of plaque (MS: p = 0.041; diabetes: p = 0.002).
MS has an incremental impact on SCA in conditions without diabetes. The identification of MS and its individual components is more important for the risk stratification of CVD in non-diabetic individuals.
Metabolic syndrome; Diabetes; Atherosclerosis
Prior reports regarding the association between physical activity and subclinical cardiovascular disease have not been consistent. The authors assessed physical activity and walking pace via questionnaire among 6,482 US adults aged 45–84 years without prior clinical cardiovascular disease participating in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis from 2000 to 2002. Ankle-brachial index (ABI), coronary artery calcification, and internal and common carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) were measured. Metabolic equivalent-hours/week of physical activity were calculated. These data were analyzed by using multivariable linear or relative prevalence regression in gender-specific strata. After adjustment for age, race/ethnicity, clinic site, education, income, and smoking (model 1), increasing total, moderate + vigorous, and intentional-exercise physical activity were not associated with IMT or coronary artery calcification in either gender. These factors were associated with increased ABI (P < 0.05) in women only. Walking pace was associated favorably with common carotid IMT, ABI, and coronary artery calcification in men and with common carotid IMT and ABI in women (all P < 0.05) after adjustment for model 1 variables. These associations were attenuated and, for common carotid IMT, no longer significant when lipids, hypertension, diabetes, and body mass index were added to the model. These data suggest that walking pace is associated with less subclinical atherosclerosis; these associations may be mediated by cardiovascular disease risk factors.
atherosclerosis; carotid arteries; coronary vessels; exercise; motor activity; peripheral vascular diseases
To study the utility of risk scores in prediction of subclinical atherosclerosis in young adults.
Methods and results
Participants were 2,204 healthy Finnish adults aged 24–39 years in 2001 from population-based follow-up study Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns. We examined the performance of the Framingham, Reynolds, SCORE (Systematic Coronary Risk Evaluation), PROCAM, and Finrisk cardiovascular risk scores to predict subclinical atherosclerosis, i.e. carotid artery intima-media thickness(IMT) and plaque, carotid artery distensibility (CDist) and brachial artery flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) 6 years later. In 6-year prediction of high IMT (highest decile or plaque), areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUC) for baseline Finrisk (0.733), SCORE (0.726), PROCAM (0.712) and Reynolds (0.729) risk scores were similar as for Framingham risk score (0.728, P always ≥0.15). All risk scores had similar discrimination in predicting low CDist (lowest decile) (0.652, 0.642, 0.639, 0.658, 0.652 respectively, P always ≥0.41). In prediction of low FMD (lowest decile), Finrisk, PROCAM, Reynolds and Framingham scores had similar AUCs (0.578, 0.594, 0.582, 0.568, P always ≥0.08) and SCORE discriminated slightly better (AUC=0.596, P<0.05). Prediction of subclinical outcomes was consistent when estimated from other statistical measures of discrimination, reclassification, and calibration.
CVD risk scores had equal performance in predicting subclinical atherosclerosis measured by IMT and CDist in young adults. SCORE was more accurate at predicting low FMD than Framingham risk score.
cardiovascular risk score; subclinical atherosclerosis; ultrasound
Pulmonary function measures obtained by spirometry are used to diagnose chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and are highly heritable. We conducted genome-wide association (GWA) analyses (Affymetrix 100K SNP GeneChip) for measures of lung function in the Framingham Heart Study.
Ten spirometry phenotypes including percent of predicted measures, mean spirometry measures over two examinations, and rates of change based on forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory flow from the 25th to 75th percentile (FEF25–75), the FEV1/FVC ratio, and the FEF25–75/FVC ratio were examined. Percent predicted phenotypes were created using each participant's latest exam with spirometry. Predicted lung function was estimated using models defined in the set of healthy never-smokers, and standardized residuals of percent predicted measures were created adjusting for smoking status, pack-years, and body mass index (BMI). All modeling was performed stratified by sex and cohort. Mean spirometry phenotypes were created using data from two examinations and adjusting for age, BMI, height, smoking and pack-years. Change in pulmonary function over time was studied using two to four examinations with spirometry to calculate slopes, which were then adjusted for age, height, smoking and pack-years.
Analyses were restricted to 70,987 autosomal SNPs with minor allele frequency ≥ 10%, genotype call rate ≥ 80%, and Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium p-value ≥ 0.001. A SNP in the interleukin 6 receptor (IL6R) on chromosome 1 was among the best results for percent predicted FEF25–75. A non-synonymous coding SNP in glutathione S-transferase omega 2 (GSTO2) on chromosome 10 had top-ranked results studying the mean FEV1 and FVC measurements from two examinations. SNPs nearby the SOD3 and vitamin D binding protein genes, candidate genes for COPD, exhibited association to percent predicted phenotypes.
GSTO2 and IL6R are credible candidate genes for association to pulmonary function identified by GWA. These and other observed associations warrant replication studies. This resource of GWA results for pulmonary function measures is publicly available at .
Background and Purpose
Carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) is a surrogate marker of subclinical atherosclerosis and a strong predictor of stroke and myocardial infarction. The object of this study was to determine the association between carotid IMT and 702 single nucleotide polymorphisms in 145 genes.
B-mode carotid ultrasound was performed among 408 Hispanics from the Northern Manhattan Study. The common carotid artery IMT and bifurcation IMT were phenotypes of interest. Genetic effects were evaluated by the multivariate regression model adjusting for traditional vascular risk factors. For each individual, we calculated a gene risk score (GRS) defined as the total number of the significant single nucleotide polymorphisms in different genes. Subjects were then divided into 3 GRS categories using the 2 cutoff points: mean GRS ±1 SD.
We identified 6 significant single nucleotide polymorphisms in 6 genes for common carotid artery IMT and 7 single nucleotide polymorphisms in 7 genes for bifurcation IMT using the probability value of 0.005 as the significant level. There were no common significant genes for both phenotypes. The most significant genes were the tissue plasminogen activator (P=0.0005 for common carotid artery IMT) and matrix metallopeptidase-12 genes (P=0.0004 for bifurcation IMT). Haplotype analysis did not yield a more significant result. Subjects with GRS ≥9 had significantly increased IMT than those with GRS ≤5 (P<0.001). GRS was an independent predictor of both common carotid artery IMT (P=2.3×10−9) and bifurcation MT (P=7.2×10−8).
Multiple genes contributed to the variation in carotid IMT. IMT in different carotid segments may be regulated by different sets of susceptibility genes.
atherosclerosis; carotid intima-media thickness; genetics; polymorphism
Systemic biomarkers provide insights into disease pathogenesis, diagnosis, and risk stratification. Many systemic biomarker concentrations are heritable phenotypes. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) provide mechanisms to investigate the genetic contributions to biomarker variability unconstrained by current knowledge of physiological relations.
We examined the association of Affymetrix 100K GeneChip single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to 22 systemic biomarker concentrations in 4 biological domains: inflammation/oxidative stress; natriuretic peptides; liver function; and vitamins. Related members of the Framingham Offspring cohort (n = 1012; mean age 59 ± 10 years, 51% women) had both phenotype and genotype data (minimum-maximum per phenotype n = 507–1008). We used Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE), Family Based Association Tests (FBAT) and variance components linkage to relate SNPs to multivariable-adjusted biomarker residuals. Autosomal SNPs (n = 70,987) meeting the following criteria were studied: minor allele frequency ≥ 10%, call rate ≥ 80% and Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium p ≥ 0.001.
With GEE, 58 SNPs had p < 10-6: the top SNPs were rs2494250 (p = 1.00*10-14) and rs4128725 (p = 3.68*10-12) for monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP1), and rs2794520 (p = 2.83*10-8) and rs2808629 (p = 3.19*10-8) for C-reactive protein (CRP) averaged from 3 examinations (over about 20 years). With FBAT, 11 SNPs had p < 10-6: the top SNPs were the same for MCP1 (rs4128725, p = 3.28*10-8, and rs2494250, p = 3.55*10-8), and also included B-type natriuretic peptide (rs437021, p = 1.01*10-6) and Vitamin K percent undercarboxylated osteocalcin (rs2052028, p = 1.07*10-6). The peak LOD (logarithm of the odds) scores were for MCP1 (4.38, chromosome 1) and CRP (3.28, chromosome 1; previously described) concentrations; of note the 1.5 support interval included the MCP1 and CRP SNPs reported above (GEE model). Previous candidate SNP associations with circulating CRP concentrations were replicated at p < 0.05; the SNPs rs2794520 and rs2808629 are in linkage disequilibrium with previously reported SNPs. GEE, FBAT and linkage results are posted at .
The Framingham GWAS represents a resource to describe potentially novel genetic influences on systemic biomarker variability. The newly described associations will need to be replicated in other studies.
Tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI) is an endothelial membrane-associated anticoagulant protein. Higher circulating levels might reflect endothelial damage.
We hypothesized an association of higher total TFPI with subclinical atherosclerosis.
Total TFPI was measured in 1000 participants of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a cohort of 6814 men and women without clinical vascular disease, aged 45–84, from 4 ethnic groups. Subclinical atherosclerosis measures were coronary artery calcium (CAC), carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and ankle-brachial index (ABI).
TFPI was higher with age, male gender, higher LDL-cholesterol, smoking and diabetes, but not ethnicity. Adjusting for risk factors, TFPI in the 4th versus 1st quartile was associated with a 1.2-fold increased risk of detectable CAC (95% CI 1.0–1.4), a 2.1-fold increased risk of CAC >400 Agatston units (95% CI 1.1–4.0) and a 1.6-fold (95% CI 1.1–2.5) increased risk of internal carotid IMT above the 80th percentile, but not with external carotid IMT or low ABI. Findings were consistent across ethnic groups.
In this diverse population, higher total TFPI was associated with prevalent CAC (limited to levels >400 units), and elevated internal carotid IMT, independent of other factors. Higher TFPI may indicate endothelial dysfunction. Further study is needed of TFPI and progression of atherosclerosis.
atherosclerosis; coronary heart disease; tissue factor pathway inhibitor; risk factor
To determine the association of fetuin-A with subclinical CVD in community-living individuals.
Fetuin-A is a hepatic secretory protein that inhibits arterial calcium deposition in vitro. Lower fetuin-A levels are associated with arterial calcification and death in end-stage renal disease populations. The association of fetuin-A with subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the general population is unknown.
Among 1,375 community-living individuals without prevalent clinical CVD, we measured plasma fetuin-A concentrations measured by ELISA. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) was defined by ankle brachial index (ABI) < 0.90, coronary artery calcification (CAC) was measured by computed tomography, and common and internal intima media thickness (cIMT) were measured by carotid ultrasound. PAD was measured concurrent with fetuin-A, and CAC and cIMT was measured 4.6 years (mean) later.
Mean age was 70 ± 11 years and 64% were female. Fetuin-A levels were inversely associated with CAC severity. When evaluated as CAC categories (0, 1–100, 101–300, > 300) using ordinal logistic regression, each standard deviation higher fetuin-A was associated with a 31% lower odds of CAC severity (proportional odds ratio [POR] 0.69; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.46, 0.92; p=0.008) in models adjusted for demographics, lifestyle factors, traditional CVD risk factors and kidney function. In contrast, no association of fetuin-A was observed with PAD or high common or internal cIMT in adjusted models.
Lower fetuin-A levels are independently associated with greater CAC severity, but not PAD or cIMT. If confirmed, fetuin-A may mark calcium deposition within the vasculature, but not atherosclerosis per se.
Fetuin-A; Cardiovascular Disease; Coronary Artery Calcification
Arterial stiffness leads to left ventricular (LV) mass through non-atherosclerotic pathways in mice. In humans, a high ankle brachial index (ABI) indicates stiff peripheral arteries, and is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) events. Whether high ABI is associated with LV mass in humans, and whether this may reflect consequences of arterial stiffness, atherosclerosis, or both is unknown.
Among 4,972 MESA participants without clinical CVD, we used linear regression to evaluate the association of low (< 0.90) and high (>1.40 or incompressible) ABI with LV mass by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Intermediate ABIs served as the reference category. To determine the effect of subclinical atherosclerosis, models were adjusted for common and internal carotid intima media thickness (cIMT) and log-transformed coronary artery calcification (Ln[CAC+1]).
Compared to subjects with intermediate ABI, LV mass was higher with either low (2.70g/m2 higher, 95% CI 0.65–4.75) or high ABI (6.84 g/m2 higher, 95% CI 3.2–10.47) after adjustment for traditional CVD risk factors, kidney function, and CRP. However, further adjustment for cIMT and CAC substantially attenuated the association of low ABI with LVMI (1.24 g/m2 higher, 95% CI −0.84–3.33), whereas the association of high ABI was minimally altered (6.01 g/m2 higher, 95% CI 2.36–9.67).
High ABI is associated with greater LV mass; an association that is not attenuated with adjustment for subclinical atherosclerosis in non-peripheral arterial beds. High ABI may lead to greater LV mass through non-atherosclerotic pathways.
vascular stiffness; medial arterial calcification; left ventricular mass; heart failure; cardiovascular disease
Body fat distribution may be differentially associated with subclinical cardiovascular disease. We sought to examine whether body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), subcutaneous (SAT) and visceral (VAT) adipose tissue are associated with either prevalence of coronary (CAC) or abdominal aortic calcium (AAC) in the Framingham Heart Study. Participants (n=3130, mean age 52 years, 49% women) free of clinical cardiovascular disease from the Framingham Heart Study underwent multidetector computed tomography assessment for quantification of subcutaneous and visceral fat volume and coronary and abdominal aortic calcification. Coronary artery calcification (CAC) and abdominal aortic calcification (AAC) were examined in relation to BMI, WC, SAT, and VAT in age- sex- and multivariable-adjusted models. All measures of adiposity were associated with CAC in age-sex adjusted models (all p-values<0.008). All relations were attenuated in multivariable models (all p-value>0.14). BMI, WC, and VAT (but not SAT) were associated with abdominal aortic calcification in age- sex-adjusted models (all p-values<0.012). However, all relations were attenuated in multivariable models (all p-values>0.23). Similar findings were observed in quartile-based analyses. In conclusion, general measures of obesity and measures of central abdominal fat are related to CAC and AAC. However, these cross-sectional associations are attenuated by cardiovascular disease risk factors, possibly because they may mediate the association between adiposity measures and subclinical cardiovascular disease.
visceral fat; subcutaneous fat; obesity; calcification; epidemiology; risk factors
Leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is relatively short in individuals who have evidence of cardiovascular disease.
To examine the link between LTL and the predisposition to atherosclerosis, as determined by carotid artery intimal medial thickness (IMT) in participants of the Framingham Offspring Study.
LTL was assayed by the mean length of the terminal restriction fragments and carotid artery IMT by B-mode ultrasonography in 1062 individuals (496 men, 566 women) aged 33–86 years,
In the whole sample, there was a significant association of age-and sex-adjusted LTL with internal carotid artery IMT (ICA-IMT)(r= −0.07, p= 0.02). In sex-stratified analysis, this association remained significant for men (r= −0.11, p= 0.02) but not for women (r= −0.04, p= 0.36). After further adjustment for cigarette smoking and BMI, a borderline significant association persisted in men (p= 0.06). In secondary analysis, the age-adjusted LTL was significantly (and negatively) associated with ICA-IMT (r= −0.28, p 0.0006) in obese (BMI > 30kg/m2) men but not in non-obese (BMI ≤ 30 kg/m2) men. In addition, age-adjusted LTL was significantly shorter in men (6.89 ± 0.02 kb) than women (7.02 ± 0.02 kb) (p< 0.0001) and in current cigarette smokers (6.87±0.05 kb) than never smokers (6.99±0.03 kb) (p = 0.02). Although there was no significant association of LTL with common carotid artery-IMT or with carotid artery stenosis, there was a significant inverse association of LTL with common carotid artery IMT in obese men.
In obese men, shortened LTL is a powerful marker of increased carotid IMT. Given the public health impact of atherosclerosis and in particular the current epidemic of obesity, the associations noted in obese men warrant further confirmation.
Telomeres; atherosclerosis; leukocytes; obesity; sex; smoking