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1.  New Sequence Variants in HLA Class II/III Region Associated with Susceptibility to Knee Osteoarthritis Identified by Genome-Wide Association Study 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(3):e9723.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common disease that has a definite genetic component. Only a few OA susceptibility genes that have definite functional evidence and replication of association have been reported, however. Through a genome-wide association study and a replication using a total of ∼4,800 Japanese subjects, we identified two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (rs7775228 and rs10947262) associated with susceptibility to knee OA. The two SNPs were in a region containing HLA class II/III genes and their association reached genome-wide significance (combined P = 2.43×10−8 for rs7775228 and 6.73×10−8 for rs10947262). Our results suggest that immunologic mechanism is implicated in the etiology of OA.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009723
PMCID: PMC2841168  PMID: 20305777
2.  Genome-wide association study of coronary artery disease in the Japanese 
A new understanding of the genetic basis of coronary artery disease (CAD) has recently emerged from genome-wide association (GWA) studies of common single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), thus far performed mostly in European-descent populations. To identify novel susceptibility gene variants for CAD and confirm those previously identified mostly in populations of European descent, a multistage GWA study was performed in the Japanese. In the discovery phase, we first genotyped 806 cases and 1337 controls with 451 382 SNP markers and subsequently assessed 34 selected SNPs with direct genotyping (541 additional cases) and in silico comparison (964 healthy controls). In the replication phase, involving 3052 cases and 6335 controls, 12 SNPs were tested; CAD association was replicated and/or verified for 4 (of 12) SNPs from 3 loci: near BRAP and ALDH2 on 12q24 (P=1.6 × 10−34), HLA-DQB1 on 6p21 (P=4.7 × 10−7), and CDKN2A/B on 9p21 (P=6.1 × 10−16). On 12q24, we identified the strongest association signal with the strength of association substantially pronounced for a subgroup of myocardial infarction cases (P=1.4 × 10−40). On 6p21, an HLA allele, DQB1*0604, could show one of the most prominent association signals in an ∼8-Mb interval that encompasses the LTA gene, where an association with myocardial infarction had been reported in another Japanese study. CAD association was also identified at CDKN2A/B, as previously reported in different populations of European descent and Asians. Thus, three loci confirmed in the Japanese GWA study highlight the likely presence of risk alleles with two types of genetic effects – population specific and common – on susceptibility to CAD.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2011.184
PMCID: PMC3283177  PMID: 21971053
coronary artery disease; gene; association study; Japanese
3.  Role of STAT4 polymorphisms in systemic lupus erythematosus in a Japanese population: a case-control association study of the STAT1-STAT4 region 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2008;10(5):R113.
Introduction
Recent studies identified STAT4 (signal transducers and activators of transcription-4) as a susceptibility gene for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). STAT1 is encoded adjacently to STAT4 on 2q32.2-q32.3, upregulated in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from SLE patients, and functionally relevant to SLE. This study was conducted to test whether STAT4 is associated with SLE in a Japanese population also, to identify the risk haplotype, and to examine the potential genetic contribution of STAT1. To accomplish these aims, we carried out a comprehensive association analysis of 52 tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) encompassing the STAT1-STAT4 region.
Methods
In the first screening, 52 tag SNPs were selected based on HapMap Phase II JPT (Japanese in Tokyo, Japan) data, and case-control association analysis was carried out on 105 Japanese female patients with SLE and 102 female controls. For associated SNPs, additional cases and controls were genotyped and association was analyzed using 308 SLE patients and 306 controls. Estimation of haplotype frequencies and an association study using the permutation test were performed with Haploview version 4.0 software. Population attributable risk percentage was estimated to compare the epidemiological significance of the risk genotype among populations.
Results
In the first screening, rs7574865, rs11889341, and rs10168266 in STAT4 were most significantly associated (P < 0.01). Significant association was not observed for STAT1. Subsequent association studies of the three SNPs using 308 SLE patients and 306 controls confirmed a strong association of the rs7574865T allele (SLE patients: 46.3%, controls: 33.5%, P = 4.9 × 10-6, odds ratio 1.71) as well as TTT haplotype (rs10168266/rs11889341/rs7574865) (P = 1.5 × 10-6). The association was stronger in subgroups of SLE with nephritis and anti-double-stranded DNA antibodies. Population attributable risk percentage was estimated to be higher in the Japanese population (40.2%) than in Americans of European descent (19.5%).
Conclusions
The same STAT4 risk allele is associated with SLE in Caucasian and Japanese populations. Evidence for a role of STAT1 in genetic susceptibility to SLE was not detected. The contribution of STAT4 for the genetic background of SLE may be greater in the Japanese population than in Americans of European descent.
doi:10.1186/ar2516
PMCID: PMC2592800  PMID: 18803832
4.  Genetics of Ischaemic Stroke among Persons of Non-European Descent: A Meta-Analysis of Eight Genes Involving ∼ 32,500 Individuals 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(4):e131.
Background
Ischaemic stroke in persons of European descent has a genetic basis, but whether the stroke-susceptibility alleles, the strength of any association, and the extent of their attributable risks are the same in persons of non-European descent remains unanswered. Whether ethnicity itself has a relevant or substantial contribution on those effect estimates is controversial. Comparative analyses between the ethnic groups may allow general conclusions to be drawn about polygenic disorders.
Methods and Findings
We performed a literature-based systematic review of genetic association studies in stroke in persons of non-European descent. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were determined for each gene–disease association using fixed and random effect models. We further performed a comparative genetic analysis across the different ethnic groups (including persons of European descent derived from our previous meta-analysis) to determine if genetic risks varied by ethnicity. Following a review of 500 manuscripts, eight candidate gene variants were analysed among 32,431 individuals (12,883 cases and 19,548 controls), comprising mainly Chinese, Japanese, and Korean individuals. Of the eight candidate genes studied, three were associated with ischaemic stroke: the angiotensin I converting enzyme (ACE) insertion/deletion (I/D) polymorphism with a mean OR of 1.90 (95% CI 1.23–2.93) in the Chinese and 1.74 (95% CI 0.88–3.42) in the Japanese; the summary OR for the C677T variant of 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) was 1.18 (95% CI 0.90–1.56) in Chinese and 1.34 (95% CI 0.87–2.06) in Koreans; and the pooled OR for the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene was 2.18 (95% CI 1.52–3.13) in Chinese and 1.51 (95% CI 0.93–2.45) in Japanese. Comparing the commonly investigated stroke genes among the Asian groups against studies in persons of European descent, we found an absence of any substantial qualitative or quantitative interaction for ORs by ethnicity. However, the number of individuals recruited per study in the studies of persons of non-European descent was significantly smaller compared to studies of persons of European descent, despite a similar number of studies conducted per gene.
Conclusions
These data suggest that genetic associations studied to date for ischaemic stroke among persons of non-European descent are similar to those for persons of European descent. Claims of differences in genetic effects among different ethnic populations for complex disorders such as stroke may be overstated. However, due to the limited number of gene variants evaluated, the relatively smaller number of individuals included in the meta-analyses of persons of non-European descent in stroke, and the possibility of publication bias, the existence of allele variants with differential effects by ethnicity cannot be excluded.
This meta-analysis found that genetic associations so far studied for ischemic stroke among non-Europeans are similar to those found for persons of European descent.
Editors' Summary
Background.
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted, either because a blood vessel supplying the brain becomes blocked or because one ruptures. Strokes are a substantial cause of death and disability worldwide, with most of the burden affecting people living in developed countries. Most strokes fall into a category termed ischemic stroke. This type is caused by blockages in the blood vessels supplying the brain, which can happen when there is a buildup of fatty deposits or clots within the blood vessels. Many of the risk factors for this particular type of stroke are affected by an individual's behavior, including for example smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, inactivity, and so on. In addition, variations in an individual's genetic makeup might affect his or her chance of having a stroke. Previous research studies have shown that variants in many different genes are likely to be involved in determining the overall risk of having a stroke, each variant contributing in a small way to the risk.
Why Was This Study Done?
The group performing this study had previously carried out a systematic review of existing research, looking specifically at the genetics of ischemic stroke among people of European origin (often called “Caucasians”). However, it was not obvious whether the genetic risk factors for stroke they found would be the same for people from a different ethnic background. Therefore the research group wanted to find out what the genetic risk factors were for stroke among people of non-European origin and to compare these findings with those of their previous systematic review. This research might help to find out whether the genetic risk factors for stroke were different in people from different parts of the world.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
As a starting point, these researchers wanted to find all the different studies that had already been carried out examining the effect of genetic risk factors on stroke among people of non-European origin. To do this, searches were carried out of electronic databases using a particular set of terms. All resulting studies that involved genetic research in people of non-European origin and in which strokes were confirmed by brain scanning were then evaluated in more detail. The findings of different studies were combined if at least three studies were available for the same genetic variant. Eventually 60 studies were found that looked at the association between eight specific gene variants and stroke. The only data that could be included in a combined analysis came from Chinese, Japanese, and Korean populations. Three of the eight gene variants were associated with an increased risk of stroke. Those three gene variants were ACE I/D (a variant in the gene coding for angiotensin 1-converting enzyme, which is involved in controlling blood pressure); a variant in MTHFR (which codes for the enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, and which converts certain amino acids within cells); and a variant in the gene APOE, which codes for a protein that plays a role in breaking down fats. The researchers then compared their findings from this study with the findings of a previous systematic review they had carried out among people of European origin. Overall, each gene studied seemed to have a similar effect in the different populations, with the exception of APOE, which seemed to be associated with stroke in the Asian studies but not in the studies from people of non-European origin. The researchers also found that generally the Asian studies suggested a slightly greater effect of each gene variant than the studies in people of non-European origin did.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that, with the possible exception of APOE, similar gene variants play a role in determining stroke risk in people of European origin and Asian populations. Although generally the studies examined here suggested a slightly greater effect of these gene variants in Asian populations, this is not necessarily a real finding. This greater effect may just be due to small-study bias. Small-study bias describes the observation that small research studies are more likely to produce a false positive result than are large research studies. Therefore, future studies that examine the genetic basis of stroke should recruit much larger numbers of participants from populations made up of people of non-European origin than has previously been the case.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040131.
Health Encyclopedia entry on stroke from NHS Direct (UK National Health Service patient information)
Stroke Information page from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (provided by the US National Institutes of Health)
The Stroke Association, a UK charity funding this study
Information from the World Health Organization on the distribution and burden of stroke worldwide
The WHO has a world atlas of heart disease and stroke
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040131
PMCID: PMC1876409  PMID: 17455988
5.  Diversity of Extended HLA-DRB1 Haplotypes in the Finnish Population 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79690.
The Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC, 6p21) codes for traditional HLA and other host response related genes. The polymorphic HLA-DRB1 gene in MHC Class II has been associated with several complex diseases. In this study we focus on MHC haplotype structures in the Finnish population. We explore the variability of extended HLA-DRB1 haplotypes in relation to the other traditional HLA genes and a selected group of MHC class III genes. A total of 150 healthy Finnish individuals were included in the study. Subjects were genotyped for HLA alleles (HLA-A, -B, -DRB1, -DQB1, and -DPB1). The polymorphism of TNF, LTA, C4, BTNL2 and HLA-DRA genes was studied with 74 SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphism). The C4A and C4B gene copy numbers and a 2-bp silencing insertion at exon 29 in C4A gene were analysed with quantitative genomic realtime-PCR. The allele frequencies for each locus were calculated and haplotypes were constructed using both the traditional HLA alleles and SNP blocks. The most frequent Finnish A∼B∼DR -haplotype, uncommon in elsewhere in Europe, was A*03∼B*35∼DRB1*01∶01. The second most common haplotype was a common European ancestral haplotype AH 8.1 (A*01∼B*08∼DRB1*03∶01). Extended haplotypes containing HLA-B, TNF block, C4 and HLA-DPB1 strongly increased the number of HLA-DRB1 haplotypes showing variability in the extended HLA-DRB1 haplotype structures. On the contrary, BTNL2 block and HLA-DQB1 were more conserved showing linkage with the HLA-DRB1 alleles. We show that the use of HLA-DRB1 haplotypes rather than single HLA-DRB1 alleles is advantageous when studying the polymorphisms and LD patters of the MHC region. For disease association studies the HLA-DRB1 haplotypes with various MHC markers allows us to cluster haplotypes with functionally important gene variants such as C4 deficiency and cytokines TNF and LTA, and provides hypotheses for further assessment. Our study corroborates the importance of studying population-specific MHC haplotypes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0079690
PMCID: PMC3836878  PMID: 24278156
6.  High-Density SNP Mapping of the HLA Region Identifies Multiple Independent Susceptibility Loci Associated with Selective IgA Deficiency 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(1):e1002476.
Selective IgA deficiency (IgAD; serum IgA<0.07 g/l) is the most common form of human primary immune deficiency, affecting approximately 1∶600 individuals in populations of Northern European ancestry. The polygenic nature of IgAD is underscored by the recent identification of several new risk genes in a genome-wide association study. Among the characterized susceptibility loci, the association with specific HLA haplotypes represents the major genetic risk factor for IgAD. Despite the robust association, the nature and location of the causal variants in the HLA region remains unknown. To better characterize the association signal in this region, we performed a high-density SNP mapping of the HLA locus and imputed the genotypes of common HLA-B, -DRB1, and -DQB1 alleles in a combined sample of 772 IgAD patients and 1,976 matched controls from 3 independent European populations. We confirmed the complex nature of the association with the HLA locus, which is the result of multiple effects spanning the entire HLA region. The primary association signal mapped to the HLA-DQB1*02 allele in the HLA Class II region (combined P = 7.69×10−57; OR = 2.80) resulting from the combined independent effects of the HLA-B*0801-DRB1*0301-DQB1*02 and -DRB1*0701-DQB1*02 haplotypes, while additional secondary signals were associated with the DRB1*0102 (combined P = 5.86×10−17; OR = 4.28) and the DRB1*1501 (combined P = 2.24×10−35; OR = 0.13) alleles. Despite the strong population-specific frequencies of HLA alleles, we found a remarkable conservation of these effects regardless of the ethnic background, which supports the use of large multi-ethnic populations to characterize shared genetic association signals in the HLA region. We also provide evidence for the location of association signals within the specific extended haplotypes, which will guide future sequencing studies aimed at characterizing the precise functional variants contributing to disease pathogenesis.
Author Summary
The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) locus is robustly associated with many immune-mediated conditions. However, identification of the genetic variants contributing to the disease pathophysiology has been greatly hampered by the extensive chromosomal conservation within this genomic region. To better understand the association of the HLA locus in selective IgA deficiency (IgAD), we used an extensive genotyping database from a recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) to generate a high-density SNP map of this region in a combined sample of >2,700 individuals from 3 independent European populations. In addition, we took advantage of recent methodological advances to impute the more common HLA-B, -DRB1, and -DQB1 alleles in all subjects. We confirmed the strong disease-association of the HLA locus and identified several different signals located in specific conserved HLA haplotypes contributing independent risk or protection for IgAD. Further analysis of the chromosomal sequences associated with the associated HLA alleles allowed us to refine the mapping of the susceptibility variants. These findings represent the most comprehensive high-density SNP mapping of the HLA locus in IgAD to date and provide important new information as to the location of the genetic variants contributing to this common immune deficiency.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002476
PMCID: PMC3266887  PMID: 22291608
7.  SNP-based analysis of the HLA locus in Japanese multiple sclerosis patients 
Genes and Immunity  2011;12(7):523-530.
Although several major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) studies have been performed in populations of European descent, none have been performed in Asian populations. The objective of this study was to identify human leukocyte antigen (HLA) loci associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) in a Japanese population genotyped for 3534 MHC region SNPs. Using a logistic regression model, two SNPs (MHC Class III SNP rs422951 in the NOTCH4 gene and MHC Class II SNP rs3997849, susceptible alleles A and G, respectively) were independently associated with MS susceptibility (204 patients; 280 controls), two (MHC Class II SNP rs660895 and MHC Class I SNP rs2269704 in the NRM gene, susceptible alleles G and G, respectively) with aquaporin-4− (AQP4−) MS susceptibility (149 patients; 280 controls) and a single SNP (MHC Class II SNP rs1694112, susceptible allele G) was significant when contrasting AQP4 + against AQP4− patients. Haplotype analysis revealed a large susceptible association, likely DRB1*04 or a locus included in the DRB1*04 haplotype, with AQP4− MS, which excluded DRB1*15:01. This study is the largest study of the HLA’s contribution to MS in Japanese individuals.
doi:10.1038/gene.2011.25
PMCID: PMC3361962  PMID: 21654846
multiple sclerosis; HLA; Japanese; MHC; AQP4
8.  A cis-eQTL of HLA-DRB1 and a frameshift mutation of MICA contribute to the pattern of association of HLA alleles with cervical cancer 
Cancer Medicine  2014;3(2):445-452.
The association of classic human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles with risk of cervical cancer has been extensively studied, and a protective effect has consistently been found for DRB1*1301, DQA1*0103, and/or DQB1*0603 (these three alleles are in perfect linkage disequilibrium [LD] and often occur on the same haplotype in Europeans), while reports have differed widely with respect to the effect of HLA-B*07, DRB1*1501, and/or DQB1*0602 (the last two alleles are also in perfect LD in Europeans). It is not clear whether the reported HLA alleles are responsible for the differences in cervical cancer susceptibility, or if functional variants at other locations within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region may explain the effect. In order to assess the relative contribution of both classic HLA alleles and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the MHC region to cervical cancer susceptibility, we have imputed classic HLA alleles in 1034 cervical cancer patients and 3948 controls in a Swedish population for an integrated analysis. We found that the protective haplotype DRB1*1301-DQA1*0103-DQB1*0603 has a direct effect on cervical cancer and always occurs together with the C allele of a HLA-DRB1 cis-eQTL (rs9272143), which increases the expression of HLA-DRB1. The haplotype rs9272143C-DRB1*1301-DQA1*0103-DQB1*0603 conferred the strongest protection against cervical cancer (odds ratio [OR] = 0.41, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.32–0.52, P = 6.2 × 10−13). On the other hand, the associations with HLA-B*0702 and DRB1*1501-DQB1*0602 are attributable to the joint effects of both the HLA-DRB1 cis-eQTL (rs9272143) and a frameshift mutation (G inserion of rs67841474, also known as A5.1) of the MHC class I polypeptide-related sequence A gene (MICA). Variation in LD between the classic HLA loci, rs9272143 and rs67841474 between populations may explain the different associations of HLA-B*07 and DRB1*1501-DQB1*0602 with cervical cancer between studies. The mechanism suggested may also explain similar inconsistent results for other HLA-associated diseases.
doi:10.1002/cam4.192
PMCID: PMC3987094  PMID: 24520070
Cervical cancer; cis-eQTL; frameshift mutation; HLA; MICA
9.  Replication of genetic loci for ages at menarche and menopause in the multi-ethnic Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) study 
Human Reproduction (Oxford, England)  2013;28(6):1695-1706.
STUDY QUESTION
Do genetic associations identified in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of age at menarche (AM) and age at natural menopause (ANM) replicate in women of diverse race/ancestry from the Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) Study?
SUMMARY ANSWER
We replicated GWAS reproductive trait single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in our European descent population and found that many SNPs were also associated with AM and ANM in populations of diverse ancestry.
WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY
Menarche and menopause mark the reproductive lifespan in women and are important risk factors for chronic diseases including obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Both events are believed to be influenced by environmental and genetic factors, and vary in populations differing by genetic ancestry and geography. Most genetic variants associated with these traits have been identified in GWAS of European-descent populations.
STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION
A total of 42 251 women of diverse ancestry from PAGE were included in cross-sectional analyses of AM and ANM.
MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS
SNPs previously associated with ANM (n = 5 SNPs) and AM (n = 3 SNPs) in GWAS were genotyped in American Indians, African Americans, Asians, European Americans, Hispanics and Native Hawaiians. To test SNP associations with ANM or AM, we used linear regression models stratified by race/ethnicity and PAGE sub-study. Results were then combined in race-specific fixed effect meta-analyses for each outcome. For replication and generalization analyses, significance was defined at P < 0.01 for ANM analyses and P < 0.017 for AM analyses.
MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE
We replicated findings for AM SNPs in the LIN28B locus and an intergenic region on 9q31 in European Americans. The LIN28B SNPs (rs314277 and rs314280) were also significantly associated with AM in Asians, but not in other race/ethnicity groups. Linkage disequilibrium (LD) patterns at this locus varied widely among the ancestral groups. With the exception of an intergenic SNP at 13q34, all ANM SNPs replicated in European Americans. Three were significantly associated with ANM in other race/ethnicity populations: rs2153157 (6p24.2/SYCP2L), rs365132 (5q35/UIMC1) and rs16991615 (20p12.3/MCM8). While rs1172822 (19q13/BRSK1) was not significant in the populations of non-European descent, effect sizes showed similar trends.
LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION
Lack of association for the GWAS SNPs in the non-European American groups may be due to differences in locus LD patterns between these groups and the European-descent populations included in the GWAS discovery studies; and in some cases, lower power may also contribute to non-significant findings.
WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS
The discovery of genetic variants associated with the reproductive traits provides an important opportunity to elucidate the biological mechanisms involved with normal variation and disorders of menarche and menopause. In this study we replicated most, but not all reported SNPs in European descent populations and examined the epidemiologic architecture of these early reported variants, describing their generalizability and effect size across differing ancestral populations. Such data will be increasingly important for prioritizing GWAS SNPs for follow-up in fine-mapping and resequencing studies, as well as in translational research.
STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S)
The Population Architecture Using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) program is funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), supported by U01HG004803 (CALiCo), U01HG004798 (EAGLE), U01HG004802 (MEC), U01HG004790 (WHI) and U01HG004801 (Coordinating Center), and their respective NHGRI ARRA supplements. The authors report no conflicts of interest.
doi:10.1093/humrep/det071
PMCID: PMC3657124  PMID: 23508249
menopause; menarche; genome-wide association study; race/ethnicity; single nucleotide polymorphism
10.  Genetic Determinants of Lipid Traits in Diverse Populations from the Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) Study 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(6):e1002138.
For the past five years, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified hundreds of common variants associated with human diseases and traits, including high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and triglyceride (TG) levels. Approximately 95 loci associated with lipid levels have been identified primarily among populations of European ancestry. The Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) study was established in 2008 to characterize GWAS–identified variants in diverse population-based studies. We genotyped 49 GWAS–identified SNPs associated with one or more lipid traits in at least two PAGE studies and across six racial/ethnic groups. We performed a meta-analysis testing for SNP associations with fasting HDL-C, LDL-C, and ln(TG) levels in self-identified European American (∼20,000), African American (∼9,000), American Indian (∼6,000), Mexican American/Hispanic (∼2,500), Japanese/East Asian (∼690), and Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian (∼175) adults, regardless of lipid-lowering medication use. We replicated 55 of 60 (92%) SNP associations tested in European Americans at p<0.05. Despite sufficient power, we were unable to replicate ABCA1 rs4149268 and rs1883025, CETP rs1864163, and TTC39B rs471364 previously associated with HDL-C and MAFB rs6102059 previously associated with LDL-C. Based on significance (p<0.05) and consistent direction of effect, a majority of replicated genotype-phentoype associations for HDL-C, LDL-C, and ln(TG) in European Americans generalized to African Americans (48%, 61%, and 57%), American Indians (45%, 64%, and 77%), and Mexican Americans/Hispanics (57%, 56%, and 86%). Overall, 16 associations generalized across all three populations. For the associations that did not generalize, differences in effect sizes, allele frequencies, and linkage disequilibrium offer clues to the next generation of association studies for these traits.
Author Summary
Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and triglyceride (TG) levels are well known independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Lipid-associated genetic variants are being discovered in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in samples of European descent, but an insufficient amount of data exist in other populations. Therefore, there is a strong need to characterize the effect of these GWAS–identified variants in more diverse cohorts. In this study, we selected over forty genetic loci previously associated with lipid levels and tested for replication in a large European American cohort. We also investigated if the effect of these variants generalizes to non-European descent populations, including African Americans, American Indians, and Mexican Americans/Hispanics. A majority of these GWAS–identified associations replicated in our European American cohort. However, the ability of associations to generalize across other racial/ethnic populations varied greatly, indicating that some of these GWAS–identified variants may not be functional and are more likely to be in linkage disequilibrium with the functional variant(s).
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002138
PMCID: PMC3128106  PMID: 21738485
11.  Evaluation of Reported Prostate Cancer Risk-Associated SNPs From Genome-Wide Association Studies of Various Racial Populations in Chinese Men 
The Prostate  2013;73(15):1623-1635.
BACKGROUND
Several genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of prostate cancer (PCa) have identified many single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are significantly associated with PCa risk in various racial groups. The objective of this study is to evaluate which of these SNPs are associated with PCa risk in Chinese men and estimate their strength of association.
METHODS
All SNPs that were reported to be associated with PCa risk in GWAS from populations of European, African American, Japanese, and Chinese descent were evaluated in 1,922 PCa cases and 2,175 controls selected from the Chinese Consortium for Prostate Cancer Genetics (ChinaPCa). A logistic regression analysis was used to estimate allelic odds ratios (ORs) of these SNPs for PCa.
RESULTS
Among the 53 SNPs, 50 were polymorphic in the Chinese population. Of which, 10 and 24 SNPs were significantly associated with PCa risk in Chinese men at P < 0.001 and <0.05, respectively. These 24 significant SNPs included 17, 5, and 2 SNPs that were originally discovered in European, Japanese, and Chinese descent, respectively. The estimated ORs ranged from 1.10 to 1.49 and the direction of association was consistent with previous studies. When ORs were estimated separately for PCa with Gleason score ≤7 and ≥8, a marginally significant difference in ORs was found only for two of the 24 SNPs (P = 0.02 and 0.04).
CONCLUSION
About half of PCa risk-associated SNPs identified in GWAS of various populations are associated with PCa risk in Chinese men. Information on PCa risk-associated SNPs and their ORs may facilitate risk assessment of PCa risk in Chinese men.
doi:10.1002/pros.22629
PMCID: PMC3928594  PMID: 24038036
prostate cancer; SNPs; genome-wide association; Chinese
12.  Host-Specific Adaptation of HIV-1 Subtype B in the Japanese Population 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(9):4764-4775.
ABSTRACT
The extent to which HIV-1 clade B strains exhibit population-specific adaptations to host HLA alleles remains incompletely known, in part due to incomplete characterization of HLA-associated HIV-1 polymorphisms (HLA-APs) in different global populations. Moreover, it remains unknown to what extent the same HLA alleles may drive significantly different escape pathways across populations. As the Japanese population exhibits distinctive HLA class I allele distributions, comparative analysis of HLA-APs between HIV-1 clade B-infected Japanese and non-Asian cohorts could shed light on these questions. However, HLA-APs remain incompletely mapped in Japan. In a cohort of 430 treatment-naive Japanese with chronic HIV-1 clade B infection, we identified 284 HLA-APs in Gag, Pol, and Nef using phylogenetically corrected methods. The number of HLA-associated substitutions in Pol, notably those restricted by HLA-B*52:01, was weakly inversely correlated with the plasma viral load (pVL), suggesting that the transmission and persistence of B*52:01-driven Pol mutations could modulate the pVL. Differential selection of HLA-APs between HLA subtype members, including those differing only with respect to substitutions outside the peptide-binding groove, was observed, meriting further investigation as to their mechanisms of selection. Notably, two-thirds of HLA-APs identified in Japan had not been reported in previous studies of predominantly Caucasian cohorts and were attributable to HLA alleles unique to, or enriched in, Japan. We also identified 71 cases where the same HLA allele drove significantly different escape pathways in Japan versus predominantly Caucasian cohorts. Our results underscore the distinct global evolution of HIV-1 clade B as a result of host population-specific cellular immune pressures.
IMPORTANCE Cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) escape mutations in HIV-1 are broadly predictable based on the HLA class I alleles expressed by the host. Because HLA allele distributions differ among worldwide populations, the pattern and diversity of HLA-associated escape mutations are likely to be somewhat distinct to each race and region. HLA-associated polymorphisms (HLA-APs) in HIV-1 have previously been identified at the population level in European, North American, Australian, and African cohorts; however, large-scale analyses of HIV-1 clade B-specific HLA-APs in Asians are lacking. Differential intraclade HIV-1 adaptation to global populations can be investigated via comparative analyses of HLA-associated polymorphisms across ethnic groups, but such studies are rare. Here, we identify HLA-APs in a large Japanese HIV-1 clade B cohort using phylogenetically informed methods and observe that the majority of them had not been previously characterized in predominantly Caucasian populations. The results highlight HIV's unique adaptation to cellular immune pressures imposed by different global populations.
doi:10.1128/JVI.00147-14
PMCID: PMC3993807  PMID: 24522911
13.  Systematic Fine-Mapping of Association with BMI and Type 2 Diabetes at the FTO Locus by Integrating Results from Multiple Ethnic Groups 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e101329.
Background/Objective
The 16q12.2 locus in the first intron of FTO has been robustly associated with body mass index (BMI) and type 2 diabetes in genome-wide association studies (GWAS). To improve the resolution of fine-scale mapping at FTO, we performed a systematic approach consisting of two parts.
Methods
The first part is to partition the associated variants into linkage disequilibrium (LD) clusters, followed by conditional and haplotype analyses. The second part is to filter the list of potential causal variants through trans-ethnic comparison.
Results
We first examined the LD relationship between FTO SNPs showing significant association with type 2 diabetes in Japanese GWAS and between those previously reported in European GWAS. We could partition all the assayed or imputed SNPs showing significant association in the target FTO region into 7 LD clusters. Assaying 9 selected SNPs in 4 Asian-descent populations—Japanese, Vietnamese, Sri Lankan and Chinese (n≤26,109 for BMI association and n≤24,079 for type 2 diabetes association), we identified a responsible haplotype tagged by a cluster of SNPs and successfully narrowed the list of potential causal variants to 25 SNPs, which are the smallest in number among the studies conducted to date for FTO.
Conclusions
Our data support that the power to resolve the causal variants from those in strong LD increases consistently when three distant populations—Europeans, Asians and Africans—are included in the follow-up study. It has to be noted that this fine-mapping approach has the advantage of applicability to the existing GWAS data set in combination with direct genotyping of selected variants.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101329
PMCID: PMC4076329  PMID: 24978468
14.  Strong Signature of Natural Selection within an FHIT Intron Implicated in Prostate Cancer Risk 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(10):e3533.
Previously, a candidate gene linkage approach on brother pairs affected with prostate cancer identified a locus of prostate cancer susceptibility at D3S1234 within the fragile histidine triad gene (FHIT), a tumor suppressor that induces apoptosis. Subsequent association tests on 16 SNPs spanning approximately 381 kb surrounding D3S1234 in Americans of European descent revealed significant evidence of association for a single SNP within intron 5 of FHIT. In the current study, re-sequencing and genotyping within a 28.5 kb region surrounding this SNP further delineated the association with prostate cancer risk to a 15 kb region. Multiple SNPs in sequences under evolutionary constraint within intron 5 of FHIT defined several related haplotypes with an increased risk of prostate cancer in European-Americans. Strong associations were detected for a risk haplotype defined by SNPs 138543, 142413, and 152494 in all cases (Pearson's χ2 = 12.34, df 1, P = 0.00045) and for the homozygous risk haplotype defined by SNPs 144716, 142413, and 148444 in cases that shared 2 alleles identical by descent with their affected brothers (Pearson's χ2 = 11.50, df 1, P = 0.00070). In addition to highly conserved sequences encompassing SNPs 148444 and 152413, population studies revealed strong signatures of natural selection for a 1 kb window covering the SNP 144716 in two human populations, the European American (π = 0.0072, Tajima's D = 3.31, 14 SNPs) and the Japanese (π = 0.0049, Fay & Wu's H = 8.05, 14 SNPs), as well as in chimpanzees (Fay & Wu's H = 8.62, 12 SNPs). These results strongly support the involvement of the FHIT intronic region in an increased risk of prostate cancer.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003533
PMCID: PMC2568805  PMID: 18953408
15.  Association of single-nucleotide polymorphisms in RHOB and TXNDC3 with knee osteoarthritis susceptibility: two case-control studies in East Asian populations and a meta-analysis 
Introduction
Conflicting findings on the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in RHOB and TXNDC3 with susceptibility to knee osteoarthritis (OA) have been reported in European Caucasians. To examine the associations of these SNPs with OA in East Asian populations and to evaluate their global significance, we conducted two case-control studies in 955 Chinese and 750 Japanese patients.
Methods
We genotyped the previously implicated SNPs rs585017 (in RHOB) and rs4720262 (in TXNDC3) in patients with primary symptomatic knee OA with radiographic confirmation and in matched control individuals, and analyzed their associations. We further conducted a meta-analysis of the study findings together with those of previously reported European studies using the DerSimonian-Laird procedure.
Results
A significant association of RHOB with knee OA was observed in male Chinese patients (P = 0.02). No significant associations were found for RHOB in any other comparisons in the East Asian populations. The association of TXNDC3 was replicated in Chinese female (P = 0.04) and Japanese (P = 0.03) patients, although none of these associations persisted after Bonferroni correction. Significant association (P = 0.02 for the allelic frequency) with nonsignificant heterogeneity was found in the East Asian replication study. No significant association was found in any comparison in the meta-analysis for all studies.
Conclusion
Our study replicates the association, previously reported in European Caucasians, of TXNDC3 with knee OA susceptibility in an East Asian population.
doi:10.1186/ar2423
PMCID: PMC2483443  PMID: 18471322
16.  Dominant Sequences of Human Major Histocompatibility Complex Conserved Extended Haplotypes from HLA-DQA2 to DAXX 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(10):e1004637.
We resequenced and phased 27 kb of DNA within 580 kb of the MHC class II region in 158 population chromosomes, most of which were conserved extended haplotypes (CEHs) of European descent or contained their centromeric fragments. We determined the single nucleotide polymorphism and deletion-insertion polymorphism alleles of the dominant sequences from HLA-DQA2 to DAXX for these CEHs. Nine of 13 CEHs remained sufficiently intact to possess a dominant sequence extending at least to DAXX, 230 kb centromeric to HLA-DPB1. We identified the regions centromeric to HLA-DQB1 within which single instances of eight “common” European MHC haplotypes previously sequenced by the MHC Haplotype Project (MHP) were representative of those dominant CEH sequences. Only two MHP haplotypes had a dominant CEH sequence throughout the centromeric and extended class II region and one MHP haplotype did not represent a known European CEH anywhere in the region. We identified the centromeric recombination transition points of other MHP sequences from CEH representation to non-representation. Several CEH pairs or groups shared sequence identity in small blocks but had significantly different (although still conserved for each separate CEH) sequences in surrounding regions. These patterns partly explain strong calculated linkage disequilibrium over only short (tens to hundreds of kilobases) distances in the context of a finite number of observed megabase-length CEHs comprising half a population's haplotypes. Our results provide a clearer picture of European CEH class II allelic structure and population haplotype architecture, improved regional CEH markers, and raise questions concerning regional recombination hotspots.
Author Summary
The human major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is a gene-dense region highly enriched in immune response genes. MHC genetic variation is among the highest in the human genome and is associated with both tissue transplant compatibility and many genetic disorders. Long-range (1–3 Mb) MHC haplotypes of essentially identical DNA sequence at relatively high (≥0.5%) population frequency (“genetic fixity”), called conserved extended haplotypes (CEHs), comprise roughly half of all European population haplotypes. We sequenced an aggregate of 27 kb over 580 kb in the MHC class II region from HLA-DQA2 to DAXX in 158 European haplotypes to quantify the breakdown of this genetic fixity in the centromeric portion of the MHC and to determine the representative nature within that region of eight previously fully or nearly fully sequenced “common” European haplotypes. We identified the dominant sequences of 13 European CEHs and determined where the “common” sequences did (or did not) represent related CEHs. We found patterns of shared sequence identity among different CEHs surrounded by fixed (for each CEH) but differing sequence. Our direct observational results for population haplotypes explain the mutual occurrence of CEHs and short (5–200 kb) blocks of fixed sequence detected by the statistical measure of linkage disequilibrium.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004637
PMCID: PMC4191933  PMID: 25299700
17.  Association of the RYR3 gene polymorphisms with atherosclerosis in elderly Japanese population 
Background
The Ryanodine receptor 3 gene (RYR3) encodes an intracellular calcium channel that mediates the efflux of Ca2+ from intracellular stores. Two single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the RYR3 gene have been shown to associate with stroke (rs877087) and carotid intima-media thickness (rs2229116) in two independent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in Caucasian. We investigated the effect of these two SNPs as well as the 31.1 kilobases spanning region on atherosclerosis in Japanese population.
Methods
Atherosclerotic severity was assessed by carotid artery (n = 1374) and pathological atherosclerosis index (PAI) (n = 1262), which is a macroscopic examination of the luminal surfaces of 8 systemic arteries in consecutive autopsy samples. 4 tag SNPs in the 31.1 Kb region, rs877087, rs2132207, rs658750 and rs2229116, were genotyped and haplotypes were inferred to study the association with atherosclerotic indices.
Results
rs877087 and rs2229116 were associated with PAI (OR = 2.07 [1.04-4.12] (95% CI), p = 0.038; and OR = 1.38 [1.02-1.86], p = 0.035, respectively). rs2229116 was also associated with common carotid atherosclerosis (OR = 1.45 [1.13-1.86], p = 0.003). The risk allele of rs2229116 was opposite from the original report. The haplotype block of this 31.1 Kb region was different between Caucasian and Japanese. Haplotype analysis revealed that only TAGG haplotype was associated with PAI (OR = 0.67 [0.48-0.94], p = 0.020) and atherosclerosis of common carotid artery (OR = 0.75 [0.58-0.98], p = 0.034).
Conclusion
rs877087 and rs2229116 of RYR3 gene are associated with atherosclerosis severity in Japanese. The functional difference caused by rs2229116 needs to be investigated.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-14-6
PMCID: PMC3898238  PMID: 24423397
Atherosclerosis; Polymorphism; Ryanodine receptor 3; Japanese
18.  Genetic Analysis of Completely Sequenced Disease-Associated MHC Haplotypes Identifies Shuffling of Segments in Recent Human History 
PLoS Genetics  2006;2(1):e9.
The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is recognised as one of the most important genetic regions in relation to common human disease. Advancement in identification of MHC genes that confer susceptibility to disease requires greater knowledge of sequence variation across the complex. Highly duplicated and polymorphic regions of the human genome such as the MHC are, however, somewhat refractory to some whole-genome analysis methods. To address this issue, we are employing a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) cloning strategy to sequence entire MHC haplotypes from consanguineous cell lines as part of the MHC Haplotype Project. Here we present 4.25 Mb of the human haplotype QBL (HLA-A26-B18-Cw5-DR3-DQ2) and compare it with the MHC reference haplotype and with a second haplotype, COX (HLA-A1-B8-Cw7-DR3-DQ2), that shares the same HLA-DRB1, -DQA1, and -DQB1 alleles. We have defined the complete gene, splice variant, and sequence variation contents of all three haplotypes, comprising over 259 annotated loci and over 20,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Certain coding sequences vary significantly between different haplotypes, making them candidates for functional and disease-association studies. Analysis of the two DR3 haplotypes allowed delineation of the shared sequence between two HLA class II–related haplotypes differing in disease associations and the identification of at least one of the sites that mediated the original recombination event. The levels of variation across the MHC were similar to those seen for other HLA-disparate haplotypes, except for a 158-kb segment that contained the HLA-DRB1, -DQA1, and -DQB1 genes and showed very limited polymorphism compatible with identity-by-descent and relatively recent common ancestry (<3,400 generations). These results indicate that the differential disease associations of these two DR3 haplotypes are due to sequence variation outside this central 158-kb segment, and that shuffling of ancestral blocks via recombination is a potential mechanism whereby certain DR–DQ allelic combinations, which presumably have favoured immunological functions, can spread across haplotypes and populations.
Synopsis
A group of genes involved in the human immune system are contained within a surprisingly short section of Chromosome 6 that has long been recognised as the most important genomic region in relation to disease susceptibility. Discerning the actual genes playing a role in disease has proved difficult mainly because the region contains numerous genes and is also the most genetically variable in the genome. Within this jungle of variation, the research reported here has identified and characterised a discrete segment shared by two individuals that is virtually devoid of variation—a polymorphism desert. The conservation of this segment amongst a background of extreme variation suggests both an ancient origin and genetic exchange in early human history. These observations are important in evolutionary terms as they reveal a potential mechanism whereby certain genetic segments associated with favourable immune functions have spread across human populations. Within medical terms this may also explain contrasting disease risks in people from different ethnic backgrounds. Public access to these data will help researchers find specific variants conferring disease susceptibility or resistance and, as in this report, rule out regions for conveying specificity to certain diseases.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0020009
PMCID: PMC1331980  PMID: 16440057
19.  An Investigation of Genome-Wide Studies Reported Susceptibility Loci for Ulcerative Colitis Shows Limited Replication in North Indians 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e16565.
Genome-Wide Association studies (GWAS) of both Crohn's Disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC) have unearthed over 40 risk conferring variants. Recently, a meta-analysis on UC revealed several loci, most of which were either previously associated with UC or CD susceptibility in populations of European origin. In this study, we attempted to replicate these findings in an ethnically distinct north Indian UC cohort. 648 UC cases and 850 controls were genotyped using Infinium Human 660W-quad. Out of 59 meta-analysis index SNPs, six were not in the SNP array used in the study. Of the remaining 53 SNPs, four were found monomorphic. Association (p<0.05) at 25 SNPs was observed, of which 15 were CD specific. Only five SNPs namely rs2395185 (HLA-DRA), rs3024505 (IL10), rs6426833 (RNF186), rs3763313 (BTNL2) and rs2066843 (NOD2) retained significance after Bonferroni correction. These results (i) reveal limited replication of Caucasian based meta-analysis results; (ii) reiterate overlapping molecular mechanism(s) in UC and CD; (iii) indicate differences in genetic architecture between populations; and (iv) suggest that resources such as HapMap need to be extended to cover diverse ethnic populations. They also suggest a systematic GWAS in this terrain may be insightful for identifying population specific IBD risk conferring loci and thus enable cross-ethnicity fine mapping of disease loci.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016565
PMCID: PMC3031575  PMID: 21304977
20.  Variants in KCNQ1 increase type II diabetes susceptibility in South Asians: A study of 3,310 subjects from India and the US 
BMC Medical Genetics  2011;12:18.
Background
Polymorphisms in intron 15 of potassium voltage-gated channel, KQT-like subfamily member 1 (KCNQ1) gene have been associated with type II diabetes (T2D) in Japanese genome-wide association studies (GWAS). More recently a meta-analysis of European GWAS has detected a new independent signal associated with T2D in intron 11 of the KCNQ1 gene. The purpose of this investigation is to examine the role of these variants with T2D in populations of Asian Indian descent from India and the US.
Methods
We examined the association between four variants in the KCNQ1 gene with T2D and related quantitative traits in a total of 3,310 Asian Indian participants from two different cohorts comprising 2,431 individuals of the Punjabi case-control cohort from the Sikh Diabetes Study and 879 migrant Asian Indians living in the US.
Results
Our data confirmed the association of a new signal at the KCNQ1 locus (rs231362) with T2D showing an allelic odds ratio (OR) of 1.24 95%CI [1.08-1.43], p = 0.002 in the Punjabi cohort. A moderate association with T2D was also seen for rs2237895 in the Punjabi (OR 1.14; p = 0.036) and combined cohorts (meta-analysis OR 1.14; p = 0.018). Three-site haplotype analysis of rs231362, rs2237892, rs2237895 exhibited considerably stronger evidence of association of the GCC haplotype with T2D showing OR of 1.24 95%CI [1.00-1.53], p = 0.001, permutation p = 8 × 10-4 in combined cohorts. The 'C' risk allele carriers of rs2237895 had significantly reduced measures of HOMA-B in the US cohort (p = 0.008) as well as in combined cohort in meta-analysis (p = 0.009).
Conclusions
Our investigation has confirmed that the variation within the KCNQ1 locus confers a significant risk to T2D among Asian Indians. Haplotype analysis further suggested that the T2D risk associated with KCNQ1 SNPs may be derived from 'G' allele of rs231362 and 'C' allele of rs2237895 and this appears to be mediated through β cell function.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-12-18
PMCID: PMC3037841  PMID: 21261977
21.  Replication of five prostate cancer loci identified in an Asian population – Results from the NCI Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium (BPC3) 
Background
A recent Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) of prostate cancer in a Japanese population identified five novel regions not previously discovered in other ethnicities. In this study, we attempt to replicate these five loci in a series of nested prostate cancer case-control studies of European ancestry.
Methods
We genotyped five SNPs: rs13385191 (chromosome 2p24), rs12653946 (5p15), rs1983891 (6p21), rs339331 (6p22) and rs9600079 (13q22), in 7,956 prostate cancer cases and 8,148 controls from a series of nested case-control studies within the NCI Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium (BPC3). We tested each SNP for association with prostate cancer risk and assessed if associations differed with respect to disease severity and age of onset.
Results
Four SNPs (rs13385191, rs12653946, rs1983891 and rs339331) were significantly associated with prostate cancer risk (p-values ranging from 0.01 to 1.1×10-5). Allele frequencies and odds ratios were overall lower in our population of European descent compared to the discovery Asian population. SNP rs13385191 (C2orf43) was only associated with low-stage disease (p=0.009, case-only test). No other SNP showed association with disease severity or age of onset. We did not replicate the 13q22 SNP, rs9600079 (p=0.62).
Conclusions
Four SNPs associated with prostate cancer risk in an Asian population are also associated with prostate cancer risk in men of European descent.
Impact
This study illustrates the importance of evaluation of prostate cancer risk markers across ethnic groups.
doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-11-0870-T
PMCID: PMC3253912  PMID: 22056501
22.  Characterization of Genome-Wide Association-Identified Variants for Atrial Fibrillation in African Americans 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e32338.
Background
Despite a greater burden of risk factors, atrial fibrillation (AF) is less common among African Americans than European-descent populations. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for AF in European-descent populations have identified three predominant genomic regions associated with increased risk (1q21, 4q25, and 16q22). The contribution of these loci to AF risk in African American is unknown.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We studied 73 African Americans with AF from the Vanderbilt-Meharry AF registry and 71 African American controls, with no history of AF including after cardiac surgery. Tests of association were performed for 148 SNPs across the three regions associated with AF, and 22 SNPs were significantly associated with AF (P<0.05). The SNPs with the strongest associations in African Americans were both different from the index SNPs identified in European-descent populations and independent from the index European-descent population SNPs (r2<0.40 in HapMap CEU): 1q21 rs4845396 (odds ratio [OR] 0.30, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.13–0.67, P = 0.003), 4q25 rs4631108 (OR 3.43, 95% CI 1.59–7.42, P = 0.002), and 16q22 rs16971547 (OR 8.1, 95% CI 1.46–45.4, P = 0.016). Estimates of European ancestry were similar among cases (23.6%) and controls (23.8%). Accordingly, the probability of having two copies of the European derived chromosomes at each region did not differ between cases and controls.
Conclusions/Significance
Variable European admixture at known AF loci does not explain decreased AF susceptibility in African Americans. These data support the role of 1q21, 4q25, and 16q22 variants in AF risk for African Americans, although the index SNPs differ from those identified in European-descent populations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032338
PMCID: PMC3285683  PMID: 22384221
23.  Association of Genetic Variants Influencing Lipid Levels with Coronary Artery Disease in Japanese Individuals 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e46385.
Background/Objective
In Japanese populations, we performed a replication study of genetic loci previously identified in European-descent populations as being associated with lipid levels and risk of coronary artery disease (CAD).
Methods
We genotyped 48 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 22 candidate loci that had previously been identified by genome-wide association (GWA) meta-analyses for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and/or triglycerides in Europeans. We selected 22 loci with 2 parallel tracks from 95 reported loci: 16 significant loci (p<1×10−30 in Europeans) and 6 other loci including those with suggestive evidence of lipid associations in 1292 GWA-scanned Japanese samples. Genotyping was done in 4990 general population samples, and 1347 CAD cases and 1337 controls. For 9 SNPs, we further examined CAD associations in an additional panel of 3052 CAD cases and 6335 controls.
Principal Findings
Significant lipid associations (one-tailed p<0.05) were replicated for 18 of 22 loci in Japanese samples, with significant inter-ethnic heterogeneity at 4 loci–APOB, APOE-C1, CETP, and APOA5–and allelic heterogeneity. The strongest association was detected at APOE rs7412 for LDL-C (p = 1.3×10−41), CETP rs3764261 for HDL-C (p = 5.2×10−24), and APOA5 rs662799 for triglycerides (p = 5.8×10−54). CAD association was replicated and/or verified for 4 loci: SORT1 rs611917 (p = 1.7×10−8), APOA5 rs662799 (p = 0.0014), LDLR rs1433099 (p = 2.1×10−7), and APOE rs7412 (p = 6.1×10−13).
Conclusions
Our results confirm that most of the tested lipid loci are associated with lipid traits in the Japanese, further indicating that in genetic susceptibility to lipid levels and CAD, the related metabolic pathways are largely common across the populations, while causal variants at individual loci can be population-specific.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0046385
PMCID: PMC3458872  PMID: 23050023
24.  Absence of association of asporin polymorphisms and osteoarthritis susceptibility in US Caucasians 
Objective
An association between osteoarthritis (OA) and functional polymorphisms in the aspartic acid (D) repeat of the asporin (ASPN) gene was reported in Japanese and Han Chinese populations. The aim of this study was to assess the association of variants in the ASPN gene with the presence of radiographic hand and/or knee OA in a US Caucasian population.
Methods
Ten SNPs within the ASPN gene were genotyped in 775 affected siblings with radiographically confirmed hand or knee OA, and the allelic, genotypic and haplotypic association results were examined.
Results
One variant (SNP RS7033979) showed nominal evidence of association with both hand OA (P=0.042) and knee OA (P=0.032). Four additional SNPs showed nominal evidence of association with knee OA only. These associations were only observed with genotypic tests; the corresponding allelic and haplotype tests did not corroborate the single-point association results.
Conclusion
These data suggest that polymorphisms within ASPN are not a major influence in susceptibility to hand or knee OA in US Caucasians.
doi:10.1016/j.joca.2008.03.007
PMCID: PMC3664276  PMID: 18434216
25.  PDLIM5 and susceptibility to bipolar disorder: a family-based association study and meta-analysis 
Psychiatric genetics  2008;18(3):116-121.
Objectives
The postsynaptic density-95/discs large/zone occludens-1 (PDZ) domain and LIM (Lin-11, Isl-1, and Mec-3) domain 5 (PDLIM5) gene has been analyzed as a candidate gene for both schizophrenia (SZ) and bipolar disorder (BP) in Japanese samples. We performed a family-based association study to test the hypothesis that variants in PDLIM5 increase susceptibility to BP in European Americans and a meta-analysis to clarify whether there is a single marker consistently contributing to risk for BP.
Methods
Five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the PDLIM5 gene were genotyped in 290 European American BP families. Programs Sibling-Transmission/Disequilibrium Test (sib_tdt) and PDTPHASE were used for allelic and haplotypic association, respectively. We carried out a meta-analysis combing our family-based data and case-control data from two Japanese sample sets and from two genome-wide association (GWA) studies.
Results
Our association analysis showed no single SNP associated with BP. A rare haplotype consisted of rs10008257 and rs2433320 had nominal association (p = 0.045), which failed to survive correction for multiple tests. The meta-analysis identified a significant allelic association at rs2433320 in all combined samples (excluding overlapped samples in GWA: overall OR = 0.897, 95% CI: 0.838-0.961, adjusted p = 0.012) and in all Caucasian samples (excluding overlapped samples in GWA: overall OR = 0.905, 95% CI: 0.843-0.971, adjusted p = 0.032), but not in the Japanese samples.
Conclusion
PDLIM5 may play a minor effect on susceptibility to bipolar disorder in Caucasians. The findings in Japanese need further confirmation in larger independent samples.
doi:10.1097/YPG.0b013e3282fa184b
PMCID: PMC2572255  PMID: 18496208
PDLIM5; bipolar disorder; association study; haplotype; single nucleotide polymorphism

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