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1.  Alpha-1-antichymotrypsin (ACT or SERPINA3) polymorphism may affect age-at-onset and disease duration of Alzheimer’s disease 
Neurobiology of aging  2005;27(10):1435-1439.
In addition to genetic effects on disease risk, age-at-onset (AAO) of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is also genetically controlled. Using AAO as a covariate, a linkage signal for AD has been detected on chromosome 14q32 near the a1-antichymotrypsin (ACT) gene. Previously, a signal peptide polymorphism (codon -17A>T) in the ACT gene has been suggested to affect AD risk, but with inconsistent findings. Given that a linkage signal for AAO has been detected near ACT, we hypothesized that ACT genetic variation affects AAO rather than disease risk and this may explain the previous inconsistent findings between ACT genetic variation and AD risk. We examined the impact of the ACT signal peptide polymorphism on mean AAO in 909 AD cases. The ACT polymorphism was significantly associated with AAO and this effect was independent of the APOE polymorphism. Mean AAO among ACT/AA homozygotes was significantly lower than that in the combined AT+TT genotype group (p=0.019) and this difference was confined to male AD patients (p=0.002). Among male AD patients, the ACT/AA genotype was also associated with shorter disease duration before death as compared to the ACT/AT + TT genotypes (p=0.012). These data suggest that the ACT gene may affect AAO and disease duration of AD.
PMCID: PMC1609963  PMID: 16137793
2.  Revealing the role of Glutathione S-Transferase Omega in age at onset of Alzheimer and Parkinson Diseases 
Neurobiology of aging  2005;27(8):1087-1093.
We previously reported a linkage region on chromosome 10q for age-at-onset (AAO) of Alzheimer (AD) and Parkinson (PD) diseases. Glutathione S-transferase, Omega-1 (GSTO1) and the adjacent gene GSTO2, located in this linkage region, were then reported to associate with AAO of AD and PD. To examine whether GSTO1 and GSTO2 (hereafter referred to as GSTO1h) are responsible for the linkage evidence, we identified 39 families in AD that lead to our previous linkage and association findings. The evidence of linkage and association was markedly diminished after removing these 39 families from the analyses, thus providing support that GSTO1h drives the original linkage results. The maximum average AAO delayed by GSTO1h SNP 7-1 (rs4825, A nucleotide) was 6.8 (± 4.41) years for AD and 8.6(± 5.71) for PD, respectively. This is comparable to the magnitude of AAO difference by APOE-4 in these same AD and PD families. These findings suggest the presence of genetic heterogeneity for GSTO1h’s effect on AAO, and support GSTO1h’s role in modifying AAO in these two disorders.
PMCID: PMC1482739  PMID: 15985314
Alzheimer disease; GSTO1; Age at onset; Association; Linkage
3.  A Genomic Scan for Age at Onset of Alzheimer’s Disease in 437 Families From the NIMH Genetic Initiative 
We performed linkage analysis for age at onset (AAO) in the total Alzheimer’s disease (AD) NIMH sample (N = 437 families). Families were subset as late-onset (320 families, AAO ≥65) and early/ mixed (117 families, at least 1 member with 50< AAO <65). Treating AAO as a censored trait, we obtained the gender and APOE adjusted residuals in a parametric survival model and analyzed the residuals as the quantitative trait (QT) in variance-component linkage analysis. For comparison, AAO–age at exam (AAE) was analyzed as the QT adjusting for affection status, gender, and APOE. Heritabilities for residual and AAO–AAE outcomes were 66.3% and 74.0%, respectively for the total sample, 56.0% and 57.0% in the late-onset sample, and 33.0% for both models in the early/mixed sample. The residual model yielded the largest peaks onchromosome1 with LOD = 2.0 at 190 cM in the total set, LOD = 1.7 at 116 cM on chromosome 3 in the early/mixed subset, and LOD = 1.4 at 71 and 86 cM, respectively, on chromosome 6 in the late-onset subset. For the AAO–AAE outcome model the largest peaks were identified on chromosome 1 at 137 cM (LOD = 2.8) and chromosome 6 at 69 cM (LOD = 2.3) and 86 cM (LOD = 2.2) all in the late-onset subset. Additional peaks with LOD ≥1 were identified on chromosomes 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10, and 12 for the total sample and each subset. Results replicate previous findings, but identify additional suggestive peaks indicating the genetics of AAO in AD is complex with many chromosomal regions potentially containing modifying genes.
PMCID: PMC2661765  PMID: 18189239
Alzhiemer’s disease; censored quantitative trait; variance-component linkage analysis
4.  APOE mRNA and Protein Expression in Postmortem Brain are Modulated by an extended Haplotype Structure 
Currently the ε4 allele of the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE) is the strongest genetic risk factor for late onset Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, inheritance of the APOE ε 4 allele is not necessary or sufficient for the development of AD. Genetic evidence suggests that multiple loci in a 70 kb region surrounding APOE are associated with AD risk. Even though these loci could represent surrogate markers in linkage disequilibrium with APOE ε4 allele, they could also contribute biological effects independent of the APOE ε4 allele. Our previous study identified multiple SNPs upstream from APOE that are associated with cerebrospinal fluid apoE levels, suggesting that a haplotype structure proximal to APOE can influence apoE expression. In this study, we examined apoE expression in human post-mortem brain (PMB), and constructed chromosome-phase-separated haplotypes of the APOE proximal region to evaluate their effect on PMB apoE expression. ApoE protein expression was found to differ among AD brain regions and to differ between AD and control hippocampus. In addition, an extended APOE proximal haplotype structure, spanning from the TOMM40 gene to the APOE promoter, may modulate apoE expression in a brain region-specific manner and may influence AD disease status. In conclusion, this haplotype-phenotype analysis of apoE expression in PMB suggests that either; (1) the cis-regulation of APOE expression levels extends far upstream of the APOE promoter or (2) an APOE ε4 allele independent mechanism involving the TOMM40 gene plays a role in the risk of AD.
PMCID: PMC2829359  PMID: 19554612
Alzheimer's disease; APOE; post-mortem brain; TOMM40
5.  The effect of linkage disequilibrium on linkage analysis of incomplete pedigrees 
BMC Genetics  2005;6(Suppl 1):S6.
Dense SNP maps can be highly informative for linkage studies. But when parental genotypes are missing, multipoint linkage scores can be inflated in regions with substantial marker-marker linkage disequilibrium (LD). Such regions were observed in the Affymetrix SNP genotypes for the Genetic Analysis Workshop 14 (GAW14) Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA) dataset, providing an opportunity to test a novel simulation strategy for studying this problem. First, an inheritance vector (with or without linkage present) is simulated for each replicate, i.e., locations of recombinations and transmission of parental chromosomes are determined for each meiosis. Then, two sets of founder haplotypes are superimposed onto the inheritance vector: one set that is inferred from the actual data and which contains the pattern of LD; and one set created by randomly selecting parental alleles based on the known allele frequencies, with no correlation (LD) between markers. Applying this strategy to a map of 176 SNPs (66 Mb of chromosome 7) for 100 replicates of 116 sibling pairs, significant inflation of multipoint linkage scores was observed in regions of high LD when parental genotypes were set to missing, with no linkage present. Similar inflation was observed in analyses of the COGA data for these affected sib pairs with parental genotypes set to missing, but not after reducing the marker map until r2 between any pair of markers was ≤ 0.05. Additional simulation studies of affected sib pairs assuming uniform LD throughout a marker map demonstrated inflation of significance levels at r2 values greater than 0.05. When genotypes are available only from two affected siblings in many families in a sample, trimming SNP maps to limit r2 to 0–0.05 for all marker pairs will prevent inflation of linkage scores without sacrificing substantial linkage information. Simulation studies on the observed pedigree structures and map can also be used to determine the effect of LD on a particular study.
PMCID: PMC1866723  PMID: 16451672
6.  Genome-Wide Association of Familial Late-Onset Alzheimer's Disease Replicates BIN1 and CLU and Nominates CUGBP2 in Interaction with APOE 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(2):e1001308.
Late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) is the most common form of dementia in the elderly. The National Institute of Aging-Late Onset Alzheimer's Disease Family Study and the National Cell Repository for Alzheimer's Disease conducted a joint genome-wide association study (GWAS) of multiplex LOAD families (3,839 affected and unaffected individuals from 992 families plus additional unrelated neurologically evaluated normal subjects) using the 610 IlluminaQuad panel. This cohort represents the largest family-based GWAS of LOAD to date, with analyses limited here to the European-American subjects. SNPs near APOE gave highly significant results (e.g., rs2075650, p = 3.2×10−81), but no other genome-wide significant evidence for association was obtained in the full sample. Analyses that stratified on APOE genotypes identified SNPs on chromosome 10p14 in CUGBP2 with genome-wide significant evidence for association within APOE ε4 homozygotes (e.g., rs201119, p = 1.5×10−8). Association in this gene was replicated in an independent sample consisting of three cohorts. There was evidence of association for recently-reported LOAD risk loci, including BIN1 (rs7561528, p = 0.009 with, and p = 0.03 without, APOE adjustment) and CLU (rs11136000, p = 0.023 with, and p = 0.008 without, APOE adjustment), with weaker support for CR1. However, our results provide strong evidence that association with PICALM (rs3851179, p = 0.69 with, and p = 0.039 without, APOE adjustment) and EXOC3L2 is affected by correlation with APOE, and thus may represent spurious association. Our results indicate that genetic structure coupled with ascertainment bias resulting from the strong APOE association affect genome-wide results and interpretation of some recently reported associations. We show that a locus such as APOE, with large effects and strong association with disease, can lead to samples that require appropriate adjustment for this locus to avoid both false positive and false negative evidence of association. We suggest that similar adjustments may also be needed for many other large multi-site studies.
Author Summary
Genetic factors are well-established to play a role in risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, it has been difficult to find genes that are involved in AD susceptibility, other than a small number of genes that play a role in early-onset, high-penetrant disease risk, and the APOE ε4 allele, which increases risk of late-onset disease. Here we use a European-American family-based sample to examine the role of common genetic variants on late-onset AD. We show that variants in CUGBP2 on chromosome 10p, along with nearby variants, are associated with AD in those highest-risk APOE ε4 homozygotes. We have replicated this interaction in an independent sample. CUGBP2 has one isoform that is expressed predominantly in neurons, and identification of such a new risk locus is important because of the severity of AD. We also provide support for recently proposed associated variants (BIN1, CLU, and partly CR1) and show that there are markers throughout the genome that are correlated with APOE. This emphasizes the need to adjust for APOE for such markers to avoid false associations and suggests that there may be confounding for other diseases with similar strong risk loci.
PMCID: PMC3040659  PMID: 21379329
7.  Linkage analysis of alcohol dependence using both affected and discordant sib pairs 
BMC Genetics  2005;6(Suppl 1):S36.
The basic idea of affected-sib-pair (ASP) linkage analysis is to test whether the inheritance pattern of a marker deviates from Mendelian expectation in a sample of ASPs. The test depends on an assumed Mendelian control distribution of the number of marker alleles shared identical by descent (IBD), i.e., 1/4, 1/2, and 1/4 for 2, 1, and 0 allele(s) IBD, respectively. However, Mendelian transmission may not always hold, for example because of inbreeding or meiotic drive at the marker or a nearby locus. A more robust and valid approach is to incorporate discordant-sib-pairs (DSPs) as controls to avoid possible false-positive results. To be robust to deviation from Mendelian transmission, here we analyzed Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism data by modifying the ASP LOD score method to contrast the estimated distribution of the number of allele(s) shared IBD by ASPs with that by DSPs, instead of with the expected distribution under the Mendelian assumption. This strategy assesses the difference in IBD sharing between ASPs and the IBD sharing between DSPs. Further, it works better than the conventional LOD score ASP linkage method in these data in the sense of avoiding false-positive linkage evidence.
PMCID: PMC1866749  PMID: 16451646
8.  Genome-wide scan for genes involved in bipolar affective disorder in 70 European families ascertained through a bipolar type I early-onset proband: supportive evidence for linkage at 3p14 
Molecular Psychiatry  2006;11(7):685-694.
Preliminary studies suggested that age at onset (AAO) may help to define homogeneous bipolar affective disorder (BPAD) subtypes. This candidate symptom approach might be useful to identify vulnerability genes. Thus, the probability of detecting major disease-causing genes might be increased by focusing on families with early-onset BPAD type I probands. This study was conducted as part of the European Collaborative Study of Early Onset BPAD (France, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland, England, Slovenia). We performed a genome-wide search with 384 microsatellite markers using non parametric linkage analysis in 87 sib-pairs ascertained through an early-onset BPAD type I proband (age at onset of 21 years or below). Non parametric multi-point analysis suggested eight regions of linkage with p-values <0.01 (2p21, 2q14.3, 3p14, 5q33, 7q36, 10q23, 16q23 and 20p12). The 3p14 region showed the most significant linkage (genome-wide p-value estimated over 10.000 simulated replicates of 0.015 [0.01–0.02]). After genome-wide search analysis, we performed additional linkage analyses with increase marker density using markers in four regions suggestive for linkage and having an information contents lower than 75% (3p14, 10q23, 16q23 and 20p12). For these regions, the information content improved by about 10%. In chromosome 3, the non parametric linkage score increased from 3.51 to 3.83. This study is the first to use early onset bipolar type I probands in an attempt to increase sample homogeneity. These preliminary findings require confirmation in independent panels of families.
PMCID: PMC1959341  PMID: 16534504
Adolescent; Adult; Age of Onset; Bipolar Disorder; classification; epidemiology; genetics; Child; Chromosome Mapping; Chromosomes, Human; genetics; Chromosomes, Human, Pair 3; genetics; Europe; Female; Genome, Human; Genomic Imprinting; genetics; Humans; Lod Score; Male; Microsatellite Repeats; Phenotype; Statistics, Nonparametric
9.  Replication Study of Genome-Wide Associated SNPs with Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease 
Late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) is a multifactorial disease with the potential involvement of multiple genes. Four recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have found variants showing significant association with LOAD on chromosomes 6, 10, 11, 12, 14, 18, 19 and on the X chromosome. We examined a total of 12 significant SNPs from these studies to determine if the results could be replicated in an independent large case-control sample. We genotyped these 12 SNPs as well the E2/E3/E4 APOE polymorphisms in up to 993 Caucasian Americans with LOAD and up to 976 age-matched healthy Caucasian Americans. We found no statistically significant associations between the 12 SNPs and the risk of AD. Stratification by APOE*4 carrier status also failed to reveal statistically significant associations. Additional analyses were performed to examine potential associations between the 12 SNPs and age-at-onset (AAO) and disease duration among AD cases. Significant associations were observed between AAO and ZNF224/rs3746319 (p=0.002) and KCNMA1/rs16934131 (p=0.0066). KCNMA1/rs16934131 also demonstrated statistically significant association with disease duration (p=0.0002). Although we have been unable to replicate the reported GWAS association with AD risk in our sample, we have identified two new associations with AAO and disease duration that need to be confirmed in additional studies.
PMCID: PMC3082594  PMID: 21480501
Alzheimer’s disease; association; genome-wide association studies; replication; age-at-onset; disease duration
10.  Genome-wide linkage and follow-up association study of postpartum mood symptoms 
The American journal of psychiatry  2009;166(11):1229-1237.
Family studies have suggested that postpartum mood symptoms might have a partly genetic etiology. The authors used a genome-wide linkage analysis to search for chromosomal regions that harbor genetic variants conferring susceptibility for such symptoms. The authors then fine-mapped their best linkage regions, assessing single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for genetic association with postpartum symptoms.
Subjects were ascertained from two studies: the NIMH Genetics Initiative Bipolar Disorder project and the Genetics of Recurrent Early-Onset Depression. Subjects included women with a history of pregnancy, any mood disorder, and information about postpartum symptoms. In the linkage study, 1,210 women met criteria (23% with postpartum symptoms), and 417 microsatellite markers were analyzed in multipoint allele sharing analyses. For the association study, 759 women met criteria (25% with postpartum symptoms), and 16,916 SNPs in the regions of the best linkage peaks were assessed for association with postpartum symptoms.
The maximum linkage peak for postpartum symptoms occurred on chromosome 1q21.3-q32.1, with a chromosome-wide significant likelihood ratio Z score (ZLR) of 2.93 (permutation p=0.02). This was a significant increase over the baseline ZLR of 0.32 observed at this locus among all women with a mood disorder (permutation p=0.004). Suggestive linkage was also found on 9p24.3-p22.3 (ZLR=2.91). In the fine-mapping study, the strongest implicated gene was HMCN1 (nominal p=0.00017), containing four estrogen receptor binding sites, although this was not region-wide significant.
This is the first study to examine the genetic etiology of postpartum mood symptoms using genome-wide data. The results suggest that genetic variations on chromosomes 1q21.3-q32.1 and 9p24.3-p22.3 may increase susceptibility to postpartum mood symptoms.
PMCID: PMC3665341  PMID: 19755578
11.  Apolipoprotein A1/C3/A5 haplotypes and serum lipid levels 
The association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the apolipoprotein (Apo) A1/C3/A4/A5 gene cluster and serum lipid profiles is inconsistent. The present study was undertaken to detect the association between the ApoA1/C3/A5 gene polymorphisms and their haplotypes with serum lipid levels in the general Chinese population.
A total of 1030 unrelated subjects (492 males and 538 females) aged 15-89 were randomly selected from our previous stratified randomized cluster samples. Genotyping of the ApoA1 -75 bp G>A, ApoC3 3238C>G, ApoA5 -1131T>C, ApoA5 c.553G>T and ApoA5 c.457G>A was performed by polymerse chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism combined with gel electrophoresis, and then confirmed by direct sequencing. Pair-wise linkage disequilibria and haplotype analysis among the five SNPs were estimated.
The levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and ApoA1 were lower in males than in femailes (P < 0.05 for each). The allelic and genotypic frequencies of the SNPs were no significant difference between males and females except ApoC3 3238C>G. There were 11 haplotypes with a frequency >1% identified in the cluster in our population. At the global level, the haplotypes comprised of all five SNPs were significantly associated with all seven lipid traits. In particular, haplotype G-G-C-C-A (6%; in the order of ApoA5 c.553G>T, ApoA5 c.457G>A, ApoA5 -1131T>C, ApoC3 3238C>G, and ApoA1 -75bp G>A) and G-A-T-C-G (4%) showed consistent association with total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), ApoA1, ApoB, and the ApoA1/ApoB ratio. In addition, carriers of haplotype G-G-T-C-G (26%) had increased serum concentration of HDL-C and ApoA1, whereas carriers of G-G-C-G-G (15%) had high concentrations of TC, triglyceride (TG) and ApoB. We also found that haplotypes with five SNPs explain much more serum lipid variation than any single SNP alone, especially for TG (4.4% for haplotype vs. 2.4% for -1131T>C max based on R-square) and HDL-C (5.1% for haplotype vs. 0.9% for c.553G>T based on R-square). Serum lipid parameters were also correlated with genotypes and several environment factors.
Several common SNPs and their haplotypes in the ApoA1/C3/A5 gene cluster are closely associated with modifications of serum lipid parameters in the general Chinese population.
PMCID: PMC3170230  PMID: 21854571
12.  Genome-wide association analysis of age-at-onset in Alzheimer’s disease 
Molecular psychiatry  2011;17(12):1340-1346.
The risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is strongly determined by genetic factors and recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified several genes for the disease risk. In addition to the disease risk, age-at-onset (AAO) of AD has also strong genetic component with an estimated heritability of 42%. Identification of AAO genes may help to understand the biological mechanisms that regulate the onset of the disease. Here we report the first GWAS focused on identifying genes for the AAO of AD. We performed a genome-wide meta analysis on 3 samples comprising a total of 2,222 AD cases. A total of ~2.5 million directly genotyped or imputed SNPs were analyzed in relation to AAO of AD. As expected, the most significant associations were observed in the APOE region on chromosome 19 where several SNPs surpassed the conservative genome-wide significant threshold (P<5E-08). The most significant SNP outside the APOE region was located in the DCHS2 gene on chromosome 4q31.3 (rs1466662; P=4.95E-07). There were 19 additional significant SNPs in this region at P<1E-04 and the DCHS2 gene is expressed in the cerebral cortex and thus is a potential candidate for affecting AAO in AD. These findings need to be confirmed in additional well-powered samples.
PMCID: PMC3262952  PMID: 22005931
Genome-wide association study; age-at-onset; Alzheimer’s disease; single-nucleotide polymorphisms; meta analysis
13.  Genetic variation in the choline acetyltransferase (CHAT) gene may be associated with the risk of Alzheimer’s disease 
Neurobiology of aging  2005;27(10):1440-1444.
Several independent linkage studies have mapped a broad susceptibility region for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) on the long arm of chromosome 10. There are several biological candidate genes in this region, including choline acetyltransferase (CHAT). A number of studies have examined the role of CHAT genetic variants with AD risk and age-at-onset (AAO), but the results are equivocal. We examined the association of three Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in the CHAT gene in 1001 white sporadic late-onset AD (LOAD) cases and 708 white controls. We also examined the role of these three SNP with quantitative traits of AD including AAO, disease duration, and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score. We observed both allelic and genotypic associations of the intron 9 SNP with AD risk in the total sample (p=0.029 for genotype and p=0.028 for allele frequency differences) as well as among non-APOE*4 carriers (p=0.007 for genotype and p=0.006 for allele frequency differences). Three-site haplotype analysis confirmed that haplotypes determined by the intron 9 SNP were associated with either risk (p=0.0009) or protective (p=0.0082) effects among non-APOE*4 carriers. The three CHAT SNPs also showed a modest association with MMSE score. Our data suggest that genetic variation in the CHAT gene may be associated with AD risk and quantitative traits related to AD.
PMCID: PMC1609962  PMID: 16223550
Alzheimer’s Disease; Genetics; CHAT; Age-at-onset; MMSE
14.  Novel Susceptibility Locus at 22q11 for Diabetic Nephropathy in Type 1 Diabetes 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e24053.
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) affects about 30% of patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and contributes to serious morbidity and mortality. So far only the 3q21–q25 region has repeatedly been indicated as a susceptibility region for DN. The aim of this study was to search for new DN susceptibility loci in Finnish, Danish and French T1D families.
Methods and Results
We performed a genome-wide linkage study using 384 microsatellite markers. A total of 175 T1D families were studied, of which 94 originated from Finland, 46 from Denmark and 35 from France. The whole sample set consisted of 556 individuals including 42 sib-pairs concordant and 84 sib-pairs discordant for DN. Two-point and multi-point non-parametric linkage analyses were performed using the Analyze package and the MERLIN software. A novel DN locus on 22q11 was identified in the joint analysis of the Finnish, Danish and French families by genome-wide multipoint non-parametric linkage analysis using the Kong and Cox linear model (NPLpairs LOD score 3.58). Nominal or suggestive evidence of linkage to this locus was also detected when the three populations were analyzed separately. Suggestive evidence of linkage was found to six additional loci in the Finnish and French sample sets.
This study identified a novel DN locus at chromosome 22q11 with significant evidence of linkage to DN. Our results suggest that this locus may be of importance in European populations. In addition, this study supports previously indicated DN loci on 3q21–q25 and 19q13.
PMCID: PMC3164698  PMID: 21909410
15.  Linkage and association of the glutamate receptor 6 gene with autism 
Molecular Psychiatry  2002;7(3):302-310.
A genome scan was previously performed and pointed to chromosome 6q21 as a candidate region for autism. This region contains the glutamate receptor 6 (GluR6 or GRIK2) gene, a functional candidate for the syndrome. Glutamate is the principal excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and is directly involved in cognitive functions such as memory and learning. We used two different approaches, the affected sib-pair (ASP) method and the transmission disequilibrium test (TDT), to investigate the linkage and association between GluR6 and autism. The ASP method, conducted with additional markers on the 51 original families and in 8 new sibling pairs, showed a significant excess of allele sharing, generating an elevated multipoint maximum LOD score (ASPEX MLS = 3.28). TDT analysis, performed in the ASP families and in an independent data set of 107 parent-offspring trios, indicated a significant maternal transmission disequilibrium (TDTall P = 0.0004). Furthermore, TDT analysis (with only one affected proband per family) showed significant association between GluR6 and autism (TDT association P = 0.008). In contrast to maternal transmission, paternal transmission of GluR6 alleles was as expected in the absence of linkage, suggesting a maternal effect such as imprinting. Mutation screening was performed in 33 affected individuals, revealing several nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), including one amino acid change (M867I) in a highly conserved domain of the intracytoplasmic C-terminal region of the protein. This change is found in 8% of the autistic subjects and in 4% of the control population and seems to be more maternally transmitted than expected to autistic males (P = 0.007). Taken together, these data suggest that GluR6 is in linkage disequilibrium with autism.
PMCID: PMC2547854  PMID: 11920157
Amino Acid Sequence; Autistic Disorder; genetics; Brain; physiopathology; Child; Chromosome Mapping; Chromosomes; Human; Pair 6; Exons; Family; Female; Genetic Markers; Genotype; Glutamic Acid; physiology; Humans; Linkage (Genetics); Male; Molecular Sequence Data; Open Reading Frames; Receptors; Kainic Acid; genetics; Restriction Mapping; autistic disorder; GluR6; GRIK2; mutation screening; affected sib-pair method; TDT; linkage disequilibrium; single nucleotide polymorphism; editing; isoforms
16.  Evidence of linkage of the inflammatory bowel disease susceptibility locus on chromosome 16 (IBD1) to ulcerative colitis. 
Journal of Medical Genetics  1998;35(3):218-221.
Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) are inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) of unknown aetiology which are characterised by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Epidemiological studies suggest the presence of a genetic component in the aetiology of both CD and UC. A susceptibility gene for Crohn's disease has recently been mapped to the pericentromeric region of chromosome 16 (IBD1), and this finding has been replicated in two subsequent studies. Although CD and UC are distinct clinical entities, the fact that both disorders occur in a significant proportion of families with multiple cases of IBD suggests that overlapping sets of susceptibility genes may be involved. We have addressed this question for IBD1 by typing eight microsatellite markers from the locus in 70 kindreds affected with either UC only or with both UC and CD and analysing the data for linkage by both non-parametric and parametric methods. Evidence for linkage was detected in families affected with only UC, with a mean proportion of 0.70 affected sib pairs sharing alleles identical by descent at D16S3136 (p=0.01), and a peak non-parametric linkage score of 2.02 at D16S3120 with the GENEHUNTER program (p=0.02). The estimated sib relative risk attributable to IBD1 in these families was 1.46. Surprisingly, no evidence of linkage was detected in the families affected with both UC and CD (p>0.2). The data suggest that IBD1 may also contribute to susceptibility to ulcerative colitis, and that it is likely to be located in the 12 cM interval between D16S419 and D16S409.
PMCID: PMC1051245  PMID: 9541106
17.  Further analysis of previously implicated linkage regions for Alzheimer's disease in affected relative pairs 
BMC Medical Genetics  2009;10:122.
Genome-wide linkage studies for Alzheimer's disease have implicated several chromosomal regions as potential loci for susceptibility genes.
In the present study, we have combined a selection of affected relative pairs (ARPs) from the UK and the USA included in a previous linkage study by Myers et al. (Am J Med Genet, 2002), with ARPs from Sweden and Washington University. In this total sample collection of 397 ARPs, we have analyzed linkage to chromosomes 1, 9, 10, 12, 19 and 21, implicated in the previous scan.
The analysis revealed that linkage to chromosome 19q13 close to the APOE locus increased considerably as compared to the earlier scan. However, linkage to chromosome 10q21, which provided the strongest linkage in the previous scan could not be detected.
The present investigation provides yet further evidence that 19q13 is the only chromosomal region consistently linked to Alzheimer's disease.
PMCID: PMC2791756  PMID: 19951422
18.  Apolipoprotein E levels in cerebrospinal fluid and the effects of ABCA1 polymorphisms 
Animal studies suggest that brain apolipoprotein E (apoE) levels influence amyloid-β (Aβ) deposition and thus risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD). We have previously demonstrated that deletion of the ATP-binding cassette A1 transporter (ABCA1) in mice causes dramatic reductions in brain and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) apoE levels and lipidation. To examine whether polymorphisms in ABCA1 affect CSF apoE levels in humans, we measured apoE in CSF taken from 168 subjects who were 43 to 91 years old and were either cognitively normal or who had mild AD. We then genotyped the subjects for ten previously identified ABCA1 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).
In all subjects, the mean CSF apoE level was 9.09 μg/ml with a standard deviation of 2.70 μg/ml. Levels of apoE in CSF samples taken from the same individual two weeks apart were strongly correlated (r2 = 0.93, p < 0.01). In contrast, CSF apoE levels in different individuals varied widely (coefficient of variation = 46%). CSF apoE levels did not vary according to AD status, APOE genotype, gender or race. Average apoE levels increased with age by ~0.5 μg/ml per 10 years (r2 = 0.05, p = 0.003). We found no significant associations between CSF apoE levels and the ten ABCA1 SNPs we genotyped. Moreover, in a separate sample of 1225 AD cases and 1431 controls, we found no association between the ABCA1 SNP rs2230806 and AD as has been previously reported.
We found that CSF apoE levels vary widely between individuals, but are stable within individuals over a two-week interval. AD status, APOE genotype, gender and race do not affect CSF apoE levels, but average CSF apoE levels increase with age. Given the lack of association between CSF apoE levels and genotypes for the ABCA1 SNPs we examined, either these SNPs do not affect ABCA1 function or if they do, they do not have strong effects in the CNS. Finally, we find no evidence for an association between the ABCA1 SNP rs2230806 and AD in a large sample set.
PMCID: PMC1857699  PMID: 17430597
19.  TMEM106B gene polymorphism is associated with age at onset in granulin mutation carriers and plasma granulin protein levels 
Archives of neurology  2011;68(5):581-586.
A recent genome-wide association study for frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TAR DNA-binding protein inclusions (FTLD-TDP), identified rs1990622 (TMEM106B) as a risk factor for FTLD-TDP. In this study we tested whether rs1990622 is associated with age at onset (AAO) in granulin (GRN) mutation carriers and with plasma GRN levels in mutation carriers and healthy elderly individuals.
Rs1990622 was genotyped in GRN mutation carriers and tested for association with AAO using the Kaplan-Meier and a Cox proportional hazards model.
We analyzed 50 affected and unaffected GRN mutation carriers from four previously reported FTLD-TDP families (HDDD1, FD1, HDDD2 and the Karolinska family). GRN plasma levels were also measured in 73 healthy, elderly individuals.
The risk allele of rs1990622 is associated with a mean decrease of the age at onset of thirteen years (p=9.9×10−7), with lower plasma granulin levels in both healthy older adults (p = 4×10−4) and GRN mutation carriers (p=0.0027). Analysis of the HAPMAP database identified a non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphism, rs3173615 (T185S) in perfect linkage disequilibrium with rs1990622.
The association of rs1990622 with AAO explains, in part, the wide range in the age at onset of disease among GRN mutation carriers. We hypothesize that rs1990622 or another variant in linkage disequilibrium could act in a manner similar to APOE in Alzheimer’s disease, increasing risk for disease in the general population and modifying AAO in mutation carriers. Our results also suggest that genetic variation in TMEM106B may influence risk for FTLD-TDP by modulating secreted levels of GRN.
PMCID: PMC3090529  PMID: 21220649
20.  Genomewide scan for real-word reading subphenotypes of dyslexia: Novel chromosome 13 locus and genetic complexity 
Dyslexia is a common learning disability exhibited as a delay in acquiring reading skills despite adequate intelligence and instruction. Reading single real words (real-word reading, RWR) is especially impaired in many dyslexics. We performed a genome scan, using variance-components (VC) linkage analysis and Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) joint segregation and linkage analysis, for three quantitative measures of RWR in 108 multigenerational families, with followup of the strongest signals with parametric LOD score analyses. We used single-word reading efficiency (SWE) to assess speed and accuracy of RWR, and word identification (WID) to assess accuracy alone. Adjusting SWE for WID provided a third measure of RWR efficiency.
All three methods of analysis identified a strong linkage signal for SWE on chromosome 13q. Based on multipoint analysis with 13 markers we obtained a MCMC intensity ratio of 53.2 (chromosome-wide p < 0.004), a VC LOD score of 2.29, and a parametric LOD score of 2.94, based on a quantitative-trait model from MCMC segregation analysis. A weaker signal for SWE on chromosome 2q occurred in the same location as a significant linkage peak seen previously in a scan for phonological decoding. MCMC oligogenic segregation analysis identified three models of transmission for WID, which could be assigned to two distinct linkage peaks on chromosomes 12 and 15. Taken together, these results indicate a locus for efficiency and accuracy of RWR on chromosome 13, and a complex model for inheritance of RWR accuracy with loci on chromosomes 12 and 15.
PMCID: PMC2556979  PMID: 16331673
reading disability; linkage analysis; complex disorder; chromosome 13
21.  Comprehensive Search for Alzheimer Disease Susceptibility Loci in the APOE Region 
Archives of neurology  2012;69(10):1270-1279.
To evaluate the association of risk and age at onset (AAO) of Alzheimer disease (AD) with single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the chromosome 19 region including apolipoprotein E (APOE) and a repeat-length polymorphism in TOMM40 (poly-T, rs10524523).
Conditional logistic regression models and survival analysis.
Fifteen genome-wide association study data sets assembled by the Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium.
Eleven thousand eight hundred forty AD cases and 10 931 cognitively normal elderly controls.
Main Outcome Measures
Association of AD risk and AAO with genotyped and imputed SNPs located in an 800-Mb region including APOE in the entire Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium data set and with the TOMM40 poly-T marker genotyped in a subset of 1256 cases and 1605 controls.
In models adjusting for APOE ε4, no SNPs in the entire region were significantly associated with AAO at P<.001. Rs10524523 was not significantly associated with AD or AAO in models adjusting for APOE genotype or within the subset of ε3/ε3 subjects.
APOE alleles ε2, ε3, and ε4 account for essentially all the inherited risk of AD associated with this region. Other variants including a poly-T track in TOMM40 are not independent risk or AAO loci.
PMCID: PMC3579659  PMID: 22869155
22.  Genome-Wide Scan for Linkage to Type 1 Diabetes in 2,496 Multiplex Families From the Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium 
Diabetes  2009;58(4):1018-1022.
Type 1 diabetes arises from the actions of multiple genetic and environmental risk factors. Considerable success at identifying common genetic variants that contribute to type 1 diabetes risk has come from genetic association (primarily case-control) studies. However, such studies have limited power to detect genes containing multiple rare variants that contribute significantly to disease risk.
The Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium (T1DGC) has assembled a collection of 2,496 multiplex type 1 diabetic families from nine geographical regions containing 2,658 affected sib-pairs (ASPs). We describe the results of a genome-wide scan for linkage to type 1 diabetes in the T1DGC family collection.
Significant evidence of linkage to type 1 diabetes was confirmed at the HLA region on chromosome 6p21.3 (logarithm of odds [LOD] = 213.2). There was further evidence of linkage to type 1 diabetes on 6q that could not be accounted for by the major linkage signal at the HLA class II loci on chromosome 6p21. Suggestive evidence of linkage (LOD ≥2.2) was observed near CTLA4 on chromosome 2q32.3 (LOD = 3.28) and near INS (LOD = 3.16) on chromosome 11p15.5. Some evidence for linkage was also detected at two regions on chromosome 19 (LOD = 2.84 and 2.54).
Five non–HLA chromosome regions showed some evidence of linkage to type 1 diabetes. A number of previously proposed type 1 diabetes susceptibility loci, based on smaller ASP numbers, showed limited or no evidence of linkage to disease. Low-frequency susceptibility variants or clusters of loci with common alleles could contribute to the linkage signals observed.
PMCID: PMC2661598  PMID: 19136655
23.  Evidence for Three Loci Modifying Age-at-Onset of Alzheimer’s Disease in Early-Onset PSEN2 Families 
Families with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (AD) sharing a single PSEN2 mutation exhibit a wide range of age-at-onset, suggesting that modifier loci segregate within these families. While APOE is known to be an age-at-onset modifier, it does not explain all of this variation. We performed a genome scan within nine such families for loci influencing age-at-onset, while simultaneously controlling for variation in the primary PSEN2 mutation (N141I) and APOE. We found significant evidence of linkage between age-at-onset and chromosome 1q23.3 (P < 0.001) when analysis included all families, and to chromosomes 1q23.3 (P < 0.001), 17p13.2 (P = 0.0002), 7q33 (P = 0.017), and 11p14.2 (P = 0.017) in a single large pedigree. Simultaneous analysis of these four chromosomes maintained strong evidence of linkage to chromosomes 1q23.3 and 17p13.2 when all families were analyzed, and to chromosomes 1q23.3, 7q33, and 17p13.2 within the same single pedigree. Inclusion of major gene covariates proved essential to detect these linkage signals, as all linkage signals dissipated when PSEN2 and APOE were excluded from the model. The four chromosomal regions with evidence of linkage all coincide with previous linkage signals, associated SNPs, and/or candidate genes identified in independent AD study populations. This study establishes several candidate regions for further analysis and is consistent with an oligogenic model of AD risk and age-at-onset. More generally, this study also demonstrates the value of searching for modifier loci in existing datasets previously used to identify primary causal variants for complex disease traits.
PMCID: PMC3022037  PMID: 20333730
genome-scan; modifier scan; quantitative trait; complex disease; dementia
24.  Identity-by-descent genomic selection using selective and sparse genotyping 
Genomic selection methods require dense and widespread genotyping data, posing a particular challenge if both sexes are subject to intense selection (e.g., aquaculture species). This study focuses on alternative low-cost genomic selection methods (IBD-GS) that use selective genotyping with sparse marker panels to estimate identity-by-descent relationships through linkage analysis. Our aim was to evaluate the potential of these methods in selection programs for continuous traits measured on sibs of selection candidates in a typical aquaculture breeding population.
Phenotypic and genomic data were generated by stochastic simulation, assuming low to moderate heritabilities (0.10 to 0.30) for a Gaussian trait measured on sibs of the selection candidates in a typical aquaculture breeding population that consisted of 100 families (100 training animals and 20 selection candidates per family). Low-density marker genotype data (~ 40 markers per Morgan) were used to trace genomic identity-by-descent relationships. Genotyping was restricted to selection candidates from 30 phenotypically top-ranking families and varying fractions of their phenotypically extreme training sibs. All phenotypes were included in the genetic analyses. Classical pedigree-based and IBD-GS models were compared based on realized genetic gain over one generation of selection.
Genetic gain increased substantially (13 to 32%) with IBD-GS compared to classical selection and was greatest with higher heritability. Most of the extra gain from IBD-GS was obtained already by genotyping the 5% phenotypically most extreme sibs within the pre-selected families. Additional genotyping further increased genetic gains, but these were small when going from genotyping 20% of the extremes to all phenotyped sibs. The success of IBD-GS with sparse and selective genotyping can be explained by the fact that within-family haplotype blocks are accurately traced even with low-marker densities and that most of the within-family variance for normally distributed traits is captured by a small proportion of the phenotypically extreme sibs.
IBD-GS was substantially more effective than classical selection, even when based on very few markers and combined with selective genotyping of small fractions of the population. The study shows that low-cost GS programs can be successful by combining sparse and selective genotyping with pedigree and linkage information.
PMCID: PMC3909298  PMID: 24444432
25.  Apolipoprotein-E forms dimers in human frontal cortex and hippocampus 
BMC Neuroscience  2010;11:23.
Apolipoprotein-E (apoE) plays important roles in neurobiology and the apoE4 isoform increases risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD). ApoE3 and apoE2 are known to form disulphide-linked dimers in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid whereas apoE4 cannot form these dimers as it lacks a cysteine residue. Previous in vitro research indicates dimerisation of apoE3 has a significant impact on its functions related to cholesterol homeostasis and amyloid-beta peptide degradation. The possible occurrence of apoE dimers in cortical tissues has not been examined and was therefore assessed. Human frontal cortex and hippocampus from control and AD post-mortem samples were homogenised and analysed for apoE by western blotting under both reducing and non-reducing conditions.
In apoE3 homozygous samples, ~12% of apoE was present as a homodimer and ~2% was detected as a 43 kDa heterodimer. The level of dimerisation was not significantly different when control and AD samples were compared. As expected, these dimerised forms of apoE were not detected in apoE4 homozygous samples but were detected in apoE3/4 heterozygotes at a level approximately 60% lower than seen in the apoE3 homozygous samples. Similar apoE3 dimers were also detected in lysates of SK-N-SH neuroblastoma cells and in freshly prepared rabbit brain homogenates. The addition of the thiol trapping agent, iodoacetamide, to block reactive thiols during both human and rabbit brain sample homogenisation and processing did not reduce the amount of apoE homodimer recovered. These data indicate that the apoE dimers we detected in the human brain are not likely to be post-mortem artefacts.
The identification of disulphide-linked apoE dimers in human cortical and hippocampal tissues represents a distinct structural difference between the apoE3 and apoE4 isoforms that may have functional consequences.
PMCID: PMC2837047  PMID: 20170526

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