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1.  Genes Linked to Energy Metabolism and Immunoregulatory Mechanisms are Associated with Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue Distribution in HIV-infected Men 
Pharmacogenetics and genomics  2011;21(12):798-807.
Genetic studies may help explain abnormalities of fat distribution in HIV-infected patients treated with antiretroviral therapy (ARV).
Subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) volume measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in leg, lower trunk, upper trunk, and arm was examined in 192 HIV-infected Caucasian men, ARV-treated from the Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV infection (FRAM) study. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were assayed using the Illumina HumanCNV370-quad beadchip. Multivariate and univariate genome wide association analyses of the four SAT depots were implemented in PLINK software adjusted for age and ARV duration. Functional annotation analysis (FAA) using Ingenuity Systems Pathway Analysis tool (IPA) was carried out for markers with P<10-3 near known genes identified by multivariate analysis.
Loci (rs10504906, rs13267998, rs921231) in or near the anion exchanger solute carrier family 26, member 7 isoform a (SLC26A7) were strongly associated with upper trunk and arm SAT (9.8*10-7≤P<7.8*10-6). Loci (rs193139, rs7523050, rs1761621) in and near a gene rich region including G-protein-signaling modulator 2 (GPSM2) and syntaxin binding protein 3 (STXBP3) were significantly associated with lower body SAT depots (9.9*10-7≤P<9.5*10-6). GPSM2 is associated with cell division and cancer while STXBP3 is associated with glucose metabolism in adipoctyes. IPA identified atherosclerosis, mitochondrial function and T-Cell mediated apoptosis as processes related to SAT volume in HIV-infected individuals (P<5*10-3).
Our results are limited by the small sample size and replication is needed, however this genomic scan uncovered new genes associated with metabolism and inflammatory pathways that may affect SAT volume in ARV-treated HIV-infected patients.
PMCID: PMC3210910  PMID: 21897333
HIV; HAART; GWAS; Subcutaneous Fat; SAT
2.  Reduced Kidney Function and Preclinical Atherosclerosis in HIV-Infected Individuals: The Study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM) 
American Journal of Nephrology  2011;33(5):453-460.
Reduced kidney function and albuminuria are associated with higher risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality in HIV-infected individuals. We investigated whether reduced estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and albuminuria are associated with subclinical vascular disease, as assessed by carotid intima-medial thickness (cIMT).
Cross-sectional analysis of 476 HIV-infected individuals without clinical evidence of CVD enrolled in the Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV infection (FRAM) study, using multivariable linear regression. eGFRCys and eGFRCr were calculated from cystatin C and creatinine levels. Albuminuria was defined as a positive urine dipstick (≥1+) or urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio ≥30 mg/g. Common and internal cIMT were measured by high-resolution B-mode ultrasound.
In unadjusted analyses, eGFRCys and eGFRCr were strongly associated with common and internal cIMT. Each 10 ml/min/1.73 m2 decrease in eGFRCys and eGFRCr was associated with a 0.008 mm higher common cIMT (p = 0.003, p = 0.01) and a 0.024 and 0.029 mm higher internal cIMT (p = 0.003), respectively. These associations were eliminated after adjustment for age, gender, and race. Albuminuria showed little association with common or internal cIMT in all models.
In HIV-infected individuals without prior CVD, reduced kidney function and albuminuria were not independently associated with subclinical vascular disease, as assessed by cIMT. These results suggest that research should focus on searching for novel mechanisms by which kidney disease confers cardiovascular risk in HIV-infected individuals.
PMCID: PMC3100378  PMID: 21508633
Cystatin C; Intima-medial thickness; HIV; Atherosclerosis; Cardiovascular disease; Kidney
3.  Associations of antiretroviral drug use and HIV-specific risk factors with carotid intima–media thickness 
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(14):2201-2209.
Previous research has demonstrated an increase in carotid intima–media thickness (cIMT) in HIV-infected individuals compared to controls. However, the reason for this increased level of subclinical vascular disease is unknown.
To identify HIV-related risk factors for increased cIMT.
We evaluated the relationship between HIV-related characteristics (including markers of HIV disease severity and use of antiretroviral therapy) and cIMT measurements in the internal/bulb and common carotid regions among 538 HIV-infected participants from the Study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM). We used Bayesian model averaging to estimate the posterior probability of candidate HIV and non-HIV-related risk factors being true predictors of increased cIMT. Variables with a posterior probability of more than 50% were used to develop a selected regression model for each of the anatomic regions.
For common cIMT, the Bayesian model selection process identified age, African-American race, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure with probability more than 95%, HDL cholesterol with probability 85% and Hispanic ethnicity with probability 51%. Among the HIV-related factors included in the analysis, only tenofovir use was selected (51% probability). In the selected model, duration of tenofovir use was associated with lower common cIMT (−0.0094 mm/year of use; 95% confidence interval: −0.0177 to −0.0010). For internal cIMT, no HIV-related risk factors were above the 50% posterior probability threshold.
We observed an inverse association between duration of tenofovir use and common carotid cIMT. Whether this association is causal or due to confounding by indication needs further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3224487  PMID: 20671544
atherosclerosis; carotid intima–media thickness; HIV; tenofovir
4.  Effect of inter-reader variability on outcomes in studies using carotid intima media thickness quantified by carotid ultrasonography 
European journal of epidemiology  2010;25(6):385-392.
Systematic differences between readers or equipment in imaging studies are not uncommon; failure to account for such differences when using Carotid Ultrasonography may introduce bias into associations between carotid intima media thickness (cIMT) and outcomes. We demonstrate the impact of this source of systematic measurement error (SME) using data on 5,521 participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) and 661 participants from the Study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM). Participants were between 37 and 78 years old. Two outcomes were considered: (1) the effect of HIV infection on cIMT (between study) and (2) the association of cIMT with cardiovascular events (within study). All estimates were adjusted for demographics (age, gender, and ethnicity) and for traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors (smoking, blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol). When comparing the FRAM and MESA cohorts to estimate the association of HIV infection on common cIMT, accounting for machine and reader variability (between study variability) reduced the difference associated with HIV infection from +0.080 mm (95% Confidence Interval (CI):0.065–0.095) to +0.037 mm (95% CI:0.003 to 0.072) while internal cIMT declined from +0.254 mm (95% CI:0.205–0.303) to +0.192 mm (95% CI:0.076–0.308). Attenuation of the association between cIMT and cardiovascular endpoints occurred when within study reader variability was not accounted for. The effect of SME due to use of multiple readers or machines is most important when comparisons are made between two different study populations. Within-cohort measurement error dilutes the association with events.
PMCID: PMC3161119  PMID: 20309612
Carotid intima media thickness; Measurement error; Bias; Carotid ultrasonography
5.  Pre-Clinical Atherosclerosis due to HIV Infection: Carotid Intima-Medial Thickness Measurements from the FRAM Study 
AIDS (London, England)  2009;23(14):1841-1849.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is an increasing cause of morbidity and mortality in HIV-infected patients. However, it is controversial whether HIV infection contributes to accelerated atherosclerosis independent of traditional CVD risk factors.
Cross-sectional study of HIV-infected and control subjects without pre-existing CVD from the study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM) and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Pre-clinical atherosclerosis was assessed by carotid intima-medial thickness (IMT) measurements in the internal/bulb and common regions in HIV-infected and control subjects after adjusting for traditional CVD risk factors.
For internal carotid, mean IMT was 1.17±0.50mm for HIV-infected participants and 1.06±0.58mm for controls (p<0.0001). After multivariable adjustment for demographic characteristics, the mean difference of HIV-infected vs. controls was +0.188mm (95%CI 0.113-0.263, p<0.0001). Further adjustment for traditional CVD risk factors modestly attenuated the HIV association (+0.148mm, 95%CI 0.072-0.224, p=0.0001). For the common carotid, HIV infection was independently associated with greater IMT (+0.033mm, 95%CI 0.010, 0.056, p=0.005). The association of HIV infection with IMT was similar to that of smoking which was also associated with greater IMT (internal +0.173mm, common +0.020mm).
Even after adjustment for traditional CVD risk factors, HIV infection was accompanied by more extensive atherosclerosis measured by IMT. The stronger association of HIV infection with IMT in the internal/bulb region compared to the common carotid may explain previous discrepancies in the literature. The association of HIV infection with IMT was similar to that of traditional CVD risk factors, such as smoking.
PMCID: PMC3156613  PMID: 19455012
HIV; carotid IMT; smoking; cholesterol; diabetes; atherosclerosis
6.  SMAD3 rs17228212 Gene Polymorphism Is Associated with Reduced Risk to Cerebrovascular Accidents and Subclinical Atherosclerosis in Anti-CCP Negative Spanish Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77695.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a complex polygenic inflammatory disease associated with accelerated atherosclerosis and increased risk of cardiovascular (CV) disease. Previous genome-wide association studies have described SMAD3 rs17228212 polymorphism as an important signal associated with CV events. The aim of the present study was to evaluate for the first time the relationship between this gene polymorphism and the susceptibility to CV manifestations and its potential association with the presence of subclinical atherosclerosis assessed by the evaluation of carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) in patients with RA.
One thousand eight hundred and ninety-seven patients fulfilling classification criteria for RA were genotyped for SMAD3 rs17228212 gene polymorphism through TaqMan genotyping assay. Also, subclinical atherosclerosis determined by the assessment of cIMT was analyzed in a subgroup of these patients by carotid ultrasonography.
No statistically significant differences were observed when allele frequencies of RA patients with or without CV events were compared. Nevertheless, when RA patients were stratified according to anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) status, we found that in RA patients who were negative for anti-CCP antibodies, the presence of C allele of SMAD3 rs17228212 polymorphism conferred a protective effect against the risk of cerebrovascular accident (CVA) after adjustment for demographic and classic CV risk factors (HR [95%CI]=0.36 [0.14–0.94], p=0.038) in a Cox regression model. Additionally, correlation between the presence of C allele of SMAD3 rs17228212 polymorphism and lower values of cIMT was found after adjustment for demographic and classic CV risk factors (p-value=0.0094) in the anti-CCP negative RA patients.
Our results revealed that SMAD3 rs17228212 gene variant is associated with lower risk of CVA and less severe subclinical atherosclerosis in RA patients negative for anti-CCP antibodies. These findings may have importance to establish predictive models of CV disease in RA patients according to anti-CCP status.
PMCID: PMC3804609  PMID: 24204921
7.  Potential cardiovascular disease risk markers among HIV-infected women initiating antiretroviral treatment 
Inflammation and hemostasis perturbation may be involved in vascular complications of HIV infection. We examined atherogenic biomarkers and subclinical atherosclerosis in HIV-infected adults before and after beginning highly-active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).
In the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), 127 HIV-infected women studied pre- and post-HAART were matched to HIV-uninfected controls. Six semi-annual measurements of soluble CD14, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, soluble interleukin (IL)-2 receptor, IL-6, IL-10, monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1, D-dimer, and fibrinogen were obtained. Carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) was measured by B-mode ultrasound.
Relative to HIV-uninfected controls, HAART-naïve HIV-infected women had elevated levels of soluble CD14 (1945 vs 1662 ng/mL, Wilcoxon signed rank P<0.0001), TNF-alpha (6.3 vs 3.4 pg/mL, P<0.0001), soluble IL-2 receptor (1587 vs 949 pg/mL, P<0.0001), IL-10 (3.3 vs 1.9 pg/mL, P<0.0001), MCP-1 (190 vs 163 pg/mL, P<0.0001) and D-dimer (0.43 vs 0.31 µg/mL, P<0.01). Elevated biomarker levels declined after HAART. While most biomarkers normalized to HIV-uninfected levels, in women on effective HAART, TNF-alpha levels remained elevated compared to HIV-uninfected women (+0.8 pg/mL, P=0.0002). Higher post-HAART levels of soluble IL-2 receptor (P=0.02), IL-6 (P=0.05), and D-dimer (P=0.03) were associated with increased CIMT.
Untreated HIV infection is associated with abnormal hemostasis (e.g., D-dimer), and pro-atherogenic (e.g., TNF-alpha) and anti-atherogenic (e.g., IL-10) inflammatory markers. HAART reduces most inflammatory mediators to HIV-uninfected levels. Increased inflammation and hemostasis are associated with subclinical atherosclerosis in recently treated women. These findings have potential implications for long-term risk of cardiovascular disease in HIV-infected patients, even with effective therapy.
PMCID: PMC3400505  PMID: 22592585
antiretroviral therapy; cardiovascular diseases; cytokines; hemostasis; HIV; inflammation
8.  Clinical Factors Associated with Carotid Plaque and Intima-Medial Thickness in HIV-Infected Patients 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2013;54(4):990-998.
HIV-infected patients are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, which may be mediated in part by inflammation. This study aimed to evaluate the risk factors of carotid plaque, and clinical factors associated with carotid atherosclerosis measured by carotid intima-medial thickness (cIMT) in HIV patients.
Materials and Methods
Clinical and cardiometabolic factors as well as cIMT were prospectively measured in 145 HIV-infected participants who had received combined antiretroviral therapy for ≥6 months. The mean value of the bilateral average cIMT level was used as Mean-IMT in the analysis, and the greatest value among the measured cIMT levels was used as Max-IMT.
Among 145 patients, 34 (23.4%) had carotid plaque. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed three independent risk factors of carotid plaque: old age [odds ratio (OR) 6.16, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.09-34.88; p=0.040], hypertension (OR 12.62, 95% CI 1.72-92.49; p=0.013) and higher low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) (OR 1.08, 95% CI 1.01-1.16; p=0.039). Levels of estimated glomerular filtration rate were inversely associated with Mean-IMT (r=-0.379, p<0.001) and Max-IMT (r=-0.389, p<0.001). Stepwise multivariate regression analyses revealed that age, total cholesterol and fasting glucose were positively correlated with cIMT, independent of other risk factors.
The presence of hypertension, old age and a higher level of LDL-C were independent risk factors of carotid plaque among HIV-infected subjects.
PMCID: PMC3663240  PMID: 23709436
Carotid plaque; carotid artery intima-media thickness; atherosclerosis; combined antiretroviral therapy; HIV infection
9.  Low CD4+ T cell count as a major atherosclerosis risk factor in HIV-infected women and men 
AIDS (London, England)  2008;22(13):1615-1624.
To assess the association of HIV infection, HIV disease parameters (including CD4+ T-cell counts, HIV viral load, and AIDS) and antiretroviral medication use with subclinical carotid artery atherosclerosis.
Cross-sectional study nested within a prospective cohort study
Among participants in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (1,331 HIV-infected women, 534 HIV-uninfected women) and Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (600 HIV-infected men, 325 HIV-uninfected men), we measured subclinical carotid artery lesions and common carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) using B-mode ultrasound. We estimated adjusted mean CIMT differences and prevalence ratios (PRs) for carotid lesions associated with HIV-related disease and treatments, with multivariate adjustment to control for possible confounding variables.
Among HIV-infected individuals, a low CD4+ T cell count was independently associated with an increased prevalence of carotid lesions. Compared to the reference group of HIV-uninfected individuals, the adjusted PR for lesions among HIV-infected individuals with CD4+ T-cell count <200 cells/mm3 was 2.00 (95% confidence interval 1.22, 3.28) in women and 1.74 (95% confidence interval 1.04, 2.93) in men. No consistent association of antiretroviral medications with carotid atherosclerosis was observed, except for a borderline significant association between protease inhibitor use and carotid lesions in men (with no association among women). History of clinical AIDS and HIV viral load were not significantly associated with carotid atherosclerosis.
Beyond traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors, low CD4+ T-cell count is the most robust risk factor for increased subclinical carotid atherosclerosis in HIV-infected women and men.
PMCID: PMC2624572  PMID: 18670221
10.  Ultrasound measurements of carotid intima-media thickness and plaque in HIV-infected patients on the Mediterranean diet 
Croatian Medical Journal  2013;54(4):330-338.
To evaluate the influence of food habits, specifically adherence to the Mediterranean diet, on carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) and the presence of plaques in HIV-infected patients taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) and non-HIV-infected participants and to determine if HIV infection contributes independently to subclinical atherosclerosis.
We conducted a cross-sectional study of 110 HIV-infected patients on ART and 131 non-HIV-infected participants at the University Hospital for Infectious Diseases in Zagreb, Croatia, from 2009-2011. CIMT measurement and determination of carotid plaque presence was detected by ultrasound. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was assessed by a 14-point food-item questionnaire. Subclinical atherosclerosis was defined by CIMT≥0.9 mm or ≥1 carotid plaque.
In HIV-infected patients, subclinical atherosclerosis was associated with older age (P < 0.001; Mann-Whitney test), higher body mass index (P = 0.051; Mann-Whitney test), hypertension (P < 0.001; χ2 test), and a lower Mediterranean diet score (P = 0.035; Mann-Whitney test), and in non-HIV-infected participants with older age (P < 0.001; Mann-Whitney test) and hypertension (P = 0.006; χ2 test). Multivariate analysis showed that decreased adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with higher odds of subclinical atherosclerosis (odds ratio [OR] 2.28, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.10-4.72, P = 0.027) as was current smoking (OR 2.86, 95% CI 1.28-6.40), hypertension (OR 3.04, 95% CI 1.41-6.57), and male sex (OR 2.35, 95% CI 0.97-5.70). There was a significant interaction of age and HIV status, suggesting that older HIV-infected patients had higher odds of subclinical atherosclerosis than controls (OR 3.28, 95% CI 1.24-8.71, P = 0.017 at the age of 60 years).
We confirmed the association between lower adherence to the Mediterranean diet and increased risk of subclinical atherosclerosis and found that treated HIV infection was a risk factor for subclinical atherosclerosis in older individuals.
PMCID: PMC3763244  PMID: 23986273
11.  Analysis of copy number variants by three detection algorithms and their association with body size in horses 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:487.
Copy number variants (CNVs) have been shown to play an important role in genetic diversity of mammals and in the development of many complex phenotypic traits. The aim of this study was to perform a standard comparative evaluation of CNVs in horses using three different CNV detection programs and to identify genomic regions associated with body size in horses.
Analysis was performed using the Illumina Equine SNP50 genotyping beadchip for 854 horses. CNVs were detected by three different algorithms, CNVPartition, PennCNV and QuantiSNP. Comparative analysis revealed 50 CNVs that affected 153 different genes mainly involved in sensory perception, signal transduction and cellular components. Genome-wide association analysis for body size showed highly significant deleted regions on ECA1, ECA8 and ECA9. Homologous regions to the detected CNVs on ECA1 and ECA9 have also been shown to be correlated with human height.
Comparative analysis of CNV detection algorithms was useful to increase the specificity of CNV detection but had certain limitations dependent on the detection tool. GWAS revealed genome-wide associated CNVs for body size in horses.
PMCID: PMC3720552  PMID: 23865711
Body size; Copy number variation
12.  Evaluation of endothelial function and subclinical atherosclerosis in association with hepatitis C virus in HIV-infected patients: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2011;11:265.
Relationship of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in HIV-infected patients remains controversial. We evaluated endothelial function and subclinical atherosclerosis in HIV-infected patients with and without HCV.
Flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) of the brachial artery and circulating levels of cell adhesion molecules (CAM) were measured in HCV/HIV-coinfected and HIV-monoinfected patients. Subclinical atherosclerosis was assessed by carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT).
63 (31%) HCV/HIV-coinfected and 138 (69%) HIV-monoinfected patients were included. Median soluble vascular CAM-1 (sVCAM-1) and intercellular CAM-1 (sICAM-1) levels were significantly higher in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients (P < 0.001 for both cases). Median (interquartile range) FMD was 6.21% (2.86-9.62) in HCV/HIV-coinfected and 5.54% (2.13-9.13) in HIV-monoinfected patients (P = 0.37). Adjustment for variables associated with HCV and FMD disclosed similar results. FMD correlated inversely with cIMT and age. Carotid IMT did not differ between HCV/HIV-coinfected and HIV-monoinfected patients in unadjusted (0.61 [0.55-0.65] mm vs 0.60 [0.53-0.72] mm; P = 0.39) or adjusted analyses.
HCV infection was associated with higher levels of sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1, but no evidence of increased subclinical atherosclerosis was found when endothelial function was evaluated through FMD, or when assessing the cIMT.
PMCID: PMC3198698  PMID: 21967471
13.  The Genetic Effect of Copy Number Variations on the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in a Korean Population 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(4):e19091.
Unlike Caucasian populations, genetic factors contributing to the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are not well studied in Asian populations. In light of this, and the fact that copy number variation (CNV) is emerging as a new way to understand human genomic variation, the objective of this study was to identify type 2 diabetes–associated CNV in a Korean cohort.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Using the Illumina HumanHap300 BeadChip (317,503 markers), genome-wide genotyping was performed to obtain signal and allelic intensities from 275 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and 496 nondiabetic subjects (Total n = 771). To increase the sensitivity of CNV identification, we incorporated multiple factors using PennCNV, a program that is based on the hidden Markov model (HMM). To assess the genetic effect of CNV on T2DM, a multivariate logistic regression model controlling for age and gender was used. We identified a total of 7,478 CNVs (average of 9.7 CNVs per individual) and 2,554 CNV regions (CNVRs; 164 common CNVRs for frequency>1%) in this study. Although we failed to demonstrate robust associations between CNVs and the risk of T2DM, our results revealed a putative association between several CNVRs including chr15:45994758–45999227 (P = 8.6E-04, Pcorr = 0.01) and the risk of T2DM. The identified CNVs in this study were validated using overlapping analysis with the Database of Genomic Variants (DGV; 71.7% overlap), and quantitative PCR (qPCR). The identified variations, which encompassed functional genes, were significantly enriched in the cellular part, in the membrane-bound organelle, in the development process, in cell communication, in signal transduction, and in biological regulation.
We expect that the methods and findings in this study will contribute in particular to genome studies of Asian populations.
PMCID: PMC3081314  PMID: 21526130
14.  Risk factors for subclinical atherosclerosis in HIV-infected patients under and over 40 years: a case–control study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:274.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are a major cause of death in people with AIDS. Factors contributing to atherosclerosis include traditional risk factors, antiretrovirals and inflammatory factors related to HIV infection. This study set out to compare risk factors associated with subclinical atherosclerosis in individuals under and over 40 years of age.
Case–control study with 697 HIV/AIDS individuals without HAART or who remain on their first antiretroviral regimen. Of the total, 351 individuals under 40 years and 346 over 40 years were analyzed separately. Subclinical atherosclerosis was assessed by carotid intima-media thickness, using B-mode ultrasound. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to find predictors of subclinical atherosclerosis in the entire group. Subsequent analysis excluded patients with major risk factors for CVD. Magnitudes of associations were expressed by odds ratio (OR) statistical significance, using a 95% confidence interval and p-value <0.05.
In the <40 years group subclinical atherosclerosis was associated with male gender (OR: 2.77, 95% CI: 1.43–5.34), nonwhite race (OR: 3.01, 95% CI: 1.23-6.53), obesity (OR: 5.13, 95% CI: 1.79–14.7) and metabolic syndrome (OR: 3.30, 95% CI: 1.44–7.58). In the group ≥40 years predictors of subclinical atherosclerosis were overweight and obesity (OR = 2.53, 95% CI, 0.85–7.54), current CD4 ≥350 cells/mL (OR: 2.81, 95% CI: 1.22–6.47) and NNRTI use ≥ 5 years (OR: 2.65, 95% CI: 1.10-6.37) or PI use >5 years (OR: 1.81, 95% CI: 0.38-8.59). In the multivariate model excluding patients with major risk factors for CVD, age, male sex and nonwhite race were associated with subclinical atherosclerosis in the <40 y group, while in the ≥40 y group, age, HIV viral load >10,000 copies and the use of NNRTI (OR: 7.60, 95% CI: 1.61-35.8) or PI ≥5 years (OR: 3.62, 95% CI: 0.48-26.8) were associated with subclinical atherosclerosis.
In young people the fight against obesity and metabolic syndrome is the main aim in the prevention of CVD. In individuals aged ≥40 y, the prevention of obesity is also of great importance. Moreover, the effects of uncontrolled viremia and the prolonged use of HAART appear to be more harmful in the older group.
PMCID: PMC3686657  PMID: 23773229
HIV; Risk factors; Atherosclerosis
15.  Genome-Wide Copy Number Variation in Sporadic Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in the Turkish Population: Deletion of EPHA3 Is a Possible Protective Factor 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72381.
The genome-wide presence of copy number variations (CNVs), which was shown to affect the expression and function of genes, has been recently suggested to confer risk for various human disorders, including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). We have performed a genome-wide CNV analysis using PennCNV tool and 733K GWAS data of 117 Turkish ALS patients and 109 matched healthy controls. Case-control association analyses have implicated the presence of both common (>5%) and rare (<5%) CNVs in the Turkish population. In the framework of this study, we identified several common and rare loci that may have an impact on ALS pathogenesis. None of the CNVs associated has been implicated in ALS before, but some have been reported in different types of cancers and autism. The most significant associations were shown for 41 kb and 15 kb intergenic heterozygous deletions (Chr11: 50,545,009–50,586,426 and Chr19: 20,860,930–20,875,787) both contributing to increased risk for ALS. CNVs in coding regions of the MAP4K3, HLA-B, EPHA3 and DPYD genes were detected however, after validation by Log R Ratio (LRR) values and TaqMan CNV genotyping, only EPHA3 deletion remained as a potential protective factor for ALS (p = 0.0065024). Based on the knowledge that EPHA4 has been previously shown to rescue SOD1 transgenic mice from ALS phenotype and prolongs survival, EPHA3 may be a promising candidate for therepuetic interventions.
PMCID: PMC3753249  PMID: 23991104
16.  A comprehensive survey of copy number variation in 18 diverse pig populations and identification of candidate copy number variable genes associated with complex traits 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:733.
Copy number variation (CNV) is a major source of structural variants and has been commonly identified in mammalian genome. It is associated with gene expression and may present a major genetic component of phenotypic diversity. Unlike many other mammalian genomes where CNVs have been well annotated, studies of porcine CNV in diverse breeds are still limited.
Here we used Porcine SNP60 BeadChip and PennCNV algorithm to identify 1,315 putative CNVs belonging to 565 CNV regions (CNVRs) in 1,693 pigs from 18 diverse populations. Total 538 out of 683 CNVs identified in a White Duroc × Erhualian F2 population fit Mendelian transmission and 6 out of 7 randomly selected CNVRs were confirmed by quantitative real time PCR. CNVRs were non-randomly distributed in the pig genome. Several CNV hotspots were found on pig chromosomes 6, 11, 13, 14 and 17. CNV numbers differ greatly among different pig populations. The Duroc pigs were identified to have the most number of CNVs per individual. Among 1,765 transcripts located within the CNVRs, 634 genes have been reported to be copy number variable genes in the human genome. By integrating analysis of QTL mapping, CNVRs and the description of phenotypes in knockout mice, we identified 7 copy number variable genes as candidate genes for phenotypes related to carcass length, backfat thickness, abdominal fat weight, length of scapular, intermuscle fat content of logissimus muscle, body weight at 240 day, glycolytic potential of logissimus muscle, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, mean corpuscular volume and humerus diameter.
We revealed the distribution of the unprecedented number of 565 CNVRs in pig genome and investigated copy number variable genes as the possible candidate genes for phenotypic traits. These findings give novel insights into porcine CNVs and provide resources to facilitate the identification of trait-related CNVs.
PMCID: PMC3543711  PMID: 23270433
Copy number variation; Copy number variable gene; Complex trait; QTL; Pig
17.  Associations of SNPs in ADIPOQ and subclinical cardiovascular disease in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2010;19(4):840-847.
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.
PMCID: PMC3510267  PMID: 20930713
18.  Copy Number Variation in Familial Parkinson Disease 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e20988.
Copy number variants (CNVs) are known to cause Mendelian forms of Parkinson disease (PD), most notably in SNCA and PARK2. PARK2 has a recessive mode of inheritance; however, recent evidence demonstrates that a single CNV in PARK2 (but not a single missense mutation) may increase risk for PD. We recently performed a genome-wide association study for PD that excluded individuals known to have either a LRRK2 mutation or two PARK2 mutations. Data from the Illumina370Duo arrays were re-clustered using only white individuals with high quality intensity data, and CNV calls were made using two algorithms, PennCNV and QuantiSNP. After quality assessment, the final sample included 816 cases and 856 controls. Results varied between the two CNV calling algorithms for many regions, including the PARK2 locus (genome-wide p = 0.04 for PennCNV and p = 0.13 for QuantiSNP). However, there was consistent evidence with both algorithms for two novel genes, USP32 and DOCK5 (empirical, genome-wide p-values<0.001). PARK2 CNVs tended to be larger, and all instances that were molecularly tested were validated. In contrast, the CNVs in both novel loci were smaller and failed to replicate using real-time PCR, MLPA, and gel electrophoresis. The DOCK5 variation is more akin to a VNTR than a typical CNV and the association is likely caused by artifact due to DNA source. DNA for all the cases was derived from whole blood, while the DNA for all controls was derived from lymphoblast cell lines. The USP32 locus contains many SNPs with low minor allele frequency leading to a loss of heterozygosity that may have been spuriously interpreted by the CNV calling algorithms as support for a deletion. Thus, only the CNVs within the PARK2 locus could be molecularly validated and associated with PD susceptibility.
PMCID: PMC3149037  PMID: 21829596
19.  Increased Carotid Intima-Media Thickness Associated with Antibody Responses to Varicella-Zoster Virus and Cytomegalovirus in HIV-Infected Patients 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64327.
We investigated the relationship of the Herpesviridiae with inflammation and subclinical atherosclerosis in HIV-infected patients.
Prospective study including virologically suppressed HIV-infected patients. IgG antibodies against herpesviruses, carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT), endothelial function through flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) of the brachial artery, and blood atherosclerosis biomarkers (hsCRP, TNF-α, IL-6, MCP-1, MDA, sCD14, sCD163, VCAM-1, ICAM-1, D-dimer, and PAI-1) were measured.
136 patients with HIV viral load <200 copies/ml were included. 93.4% patients were infected with herpes simplex virus type-1, 55.9% with herpes simplex virus type-2, 97.1% with varicella-zoster virus, 65.4% with human herpesvirus-6, 91.2% with cytomegalovirus, and 99.3% with Epstein-Barr virus. Previous AIDS diagnosis was associated with higher cytomegalovirus IgG titers (23,000 vs 17,000 AU, P = 0.011) and higher varicella-zoster virus IgG titers (3.19 vs 2.88 AU, P = 0.047), and there was a positive correlation of the Framingham risk score with IgG levels against cytomegalovirus (Spearman's Rho 0.216, P = 0.016) and Herpes simplex virus-2 (Spearman's Rho 0.293, P = 0.001). IgG antibodies against cytomegalovirus correlated in adjusted analysis with the cIMT (P = 0.030). High seropositivity for varicella-zoster virus (OR 2.91, 95% CI 1.05–8.01, P = 0.039), and for cytomegalovirus (OR 3.79, 95% CI 1.20–11.97, P = 0.023) were predictors for the highest quartile of the cIMT in adjusted analyses. PAI-1 levels were independently associated with cytomegalovirus IgG titers (P = 0.041), IL-6 and ICAM-1 levels with varicella-zoster virus IgG (P = 0.046 and P = 0.035 respectively), and hsCRP levels with Herpes simplex virus-2 IgG (P = 0.035).
In virologically suppressed HIV-infected patients, antibody responses against herpesviruses are associated with subclinical atherosclerosis, and with increased inflammation and coagulation biomarkers.
PMCID: PMC3662719  PMID: 23717597
20.  A Genome-Wide Investigation of Copy Number Variation in Patients with Sporadic Brain Arteriovenous Malformation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e71434.
Brain arteriovenous malformations (BAVM) are clusters of abnormal blood vessels, with shunting of blood from the arterial to venous circulation and a high risk of rupture and intracranial hemorrhage. Most BAVMs are sporadic, but also occur in patients with Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia, a Mendelian disorder caused by mutations in genes in the transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) signaling pathway.
To investigate whether copy number variations (CNVs) contribute to risk of sporadic BAVM, we performed a genome-wide association study in 371 sporadic BAVM cases and 563 healthy controls, all Caucasian. Cases and controls were genotyped using the Affymetrix 6.0 array. CNVs were called using the PennCNV and Birdsuite algorithms and analyzed via segment-based and gene-based approaches. Common and rare CNVs were evaluated for association with BAVM.
A CNV region on 1p36.13, containing the neuroblastoma breakpoint family, member 1 gene (NBPF1), was significantly enriched with duplications in BAVM cases compared to controls (P = 2.2×10−9); NBPF1 was also significantly associated with BAVM in gene-based analysis using both PennCNV and Birdsuite. We experimentally validated the 1p36.13 duplication; however, the association did not replicate in an independent cohort of 184 sporadic BAVM cases and 182 controls (OR = 0.81, P = 0.8). Rare CNV analysis did not identify genes significantly associated with BAVM.
We did not identify common CNVs associated with sporadic BAVM that replicated in an independent cohort. Replication in larger cohorts is required to elucidate the possible role of common or rare CNVs in BAVM pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3789669  PMID: 24098321
21.  A High Ankle Brachial Index is Associated with Greater Left Ventricular Mass: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
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.
PMCID: PMC2837506  PMID: 20117440
vascular stiffness; medial arterial calcification; left ventricular mass; heart failure; cardiovascular disease
22.  Comparison of intima-media thickness and ophthalmic artery resistance index for assessing subclinical atherosclerosis in HIV-1-infected patients 
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and antiretroviral treatment are associated with metabolic and cardiovascular complications that potentially increase the risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease in this population. Measurement of arterial wall thickness has been used as a surrogate of extent, severity and progression of atherosclerosis. A cross-sectional cohort study was performed to compare the validity of two non-invasive arterial measures: carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), a parameter of atherosclerosis, and ophthalmic artery resistance index (OARI), an index of occlusive carotid artery disease.
A total of 95 patients receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for more than 12 months were consecutively enrolled. IMT and OARI were measured by 7.5 MHz linear probe.
There was a significant linear increase in IMT and OARI values as the grade of cardiovascular risk (0.70 and 0.69 for very low risk, 0.86 and 0.72 for low risk and 0.98 and 0.74 for medium/high risk, p < 0.001). A IMT > 0.83 and an OARI > 0.72 were the most discriminatory values for predicting a cardiovascular risk ≥ 10% (sensibility 89.6% and 75.8%; sensitivity 70.5% and 68.4%; p < 0.001).
Our data indicate that OARI may have a potential as a new precocious marker of subclinical atherosclerosis in HIV-1-infected patients.
PMCID: PMC3079602  PMID: 21457540
HIV; cardiovascular risk; atherosclerosis; intima-media thickness; ophthalmic artery resistance index
23.  Relation of Framingham Risk Score to Subclinical Atherosclerosis Evaluated Across Three Arterial Sites 
The American journal of cardiology  2008;102(7):825-830.
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.
PMCID: PMC2648859  PMID: 18805105
Subclinical atherosclerosis; Framingham risk score; Carotid IMT; Coronary artery calcium; Aortic calcium
24.  Genome-Wide Identification of Copy Number Variations in Chinese Holstein 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48732.
Recent studies of mammalian genomes have uncovered the vast extent of copy number variations (CNVs) that contribute to phenotypic diversity. Compared to SNP, a CNV can cover a wider chromosome region, which may potentially incur substantial sequence changes and induce more significant effects on phenotypes. CNV has been becoming an alternative promising genetic marker in the field of genetic analyses. Here we firstly report an account of CNV regions in the cattle genome in Chinese Holstein population. The Illumina Bovine SNP50K Beadchips were used for screening 2047 Holstein individuals. Three different programes (PennCNV, cnvPartition and GADA) were implemented to detect potential CNVs. After a strict CNV calling pipeline, a total of 99 CNV regions were identified in cattle genome. These CNV regions cover 23.24 Mb in total with an average size of 151.69 Kb. 52 out of these CNV regions have frequencies of above 1%. 51 out of these CNV regions completely or partially overlap with 138 cattle genes, which are significantly enriched for specific biological functions, such as signaling pathway, sensory perception response and cellular processes. The results provide valuable information for constructing a more comprehensive CNV map in the cattle genome and offer an important resource for investigation of genome structure and genomic variation underlying traits of interest in cattle.
PMCID: PMC3492429  PMID: 23144949
To evaluate the association between carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) and the presence of aortic arch plaques (AP) in a community-based cohort.
Large AP are associated with ischemic stroke. CIMT is a marker of subclinical atherosclerosis and a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease and stroke. The association between CIMT and AP has been studied in stroke patients, but not in the general population. Aim of this study was to investigate this association in an elderly asymptomatic cohort, and the possibility to use CIMT to predict the presence or absence of large AP.
Stroke-free control subjects from the Aortic Plaque and Risk of Ischemic Stroke (APRIS) Study underwent transesophageal echocardiography and high-resolution B-mode ultrasound of the carotid arteries. CIMT was measured at the common carotid artery, bifurcation and internal carotid artery. The association between CIMT and AP was analyzed by multivariate regression models. Positive and negative predictive values of CIMT for large (≥ 4 mm) AP were calculated.
Among 138 subjects, large AP was present in 35 (25.4%) subjects. Only CIMT at the bifurcation was associated with large AP after adjustment for atherosclerotic risk factors (p=0.007). Positive and negative predictive value for AP ≥ 4 mm of CIMT at the bifurcation above the 75th percentile (≥ 0.95 mm) were 42% and 80%, respectively. Negative predictive value increased to 87% when the median CIMT value (0.82 mm) was used.
CIMT at the bifurcation is independently associated with AP ≥ 4 mm. Its strong negative predictive value for large arch plaque indicates that CIMT may be used as an initial screening test to exclude severe arch atherosclerosis in the general population.
PMCID: PMC2908509  PMID: 20510582

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