Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte associated protein 4 (CTLA4) is a negative regulator of T-cell proliferation. Polymorphisms in CTLA4 have been inconsistently associated with susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in populations of European ancestry but have not been examined in African Americans. The prevalence of RA in most populations of European and Asian ancestry is ∼1.0%; RA is purportedly less common in black Africans, with little known about its prevalence in African Americans. We sought to determine if CTLA4 polymorphisms are associated with RA in African Americans. We performed a 2-stage analysis of 12 haplotype tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across CTLA4 in a total of 505 African American RA patients and 712 African American controls using Illumina and TaqMan platforms. The minor allele (G) of the rs231778 SNP was 0.054 in RA patients, compared to 0.209 in controls (4.462×10−26, Fisher's exact). The presence of the G allele was associated with a substantially reduced odds ratio (OR) of having RA (AG+GG genotypes vs. AA genotype, OR 0.19, 95% CI: 0.13–0.26, p = 2.4×10−28, Fisher's exact), suggesting a protective effect. This SNP is polymorphic in the African population (minor allele frequency [MAF] 0.09 in the Yoruba population), but is very rare in other groups (MAF = 0.002 in 530 Caucasians genotyped for this study). Markers associated with RA in populations of European ancestry (rs3087243 [+60C/T] and rs231775 [+49A/G]) were not replicated in African Americans. We found no confounding of association for rs231778 after stratifying for the HLA-DRB1 shared epitope, presence of anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody, or degree of admixture from the European population. An African ancestry-specific genetic variant of CTLA4 appears to be associated with protection from RA in African Americans. This finding may explain, in part, the relatively low prevalence of RA in black African populations.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune condition affecting the synovial membranes of diarthrodial joints. The etiology of RA is unclear but is thought to result from an environmental trigger in the context of genetic predisposition. We report that a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (rs231778) in CTLA4, which encodes a negative regulator of T cell activation, is associated (p = 2.4×10−28) with protection from developing RA among African Americans. rs231778 is only polymorphic in populations of African ancestry. Protective alleles such as this one may contribute to the purported lower prevalence of RA in African Americans. Our finding appears to be independent from confounding by linkage with the HLA-DRB1 shared epitope or by genetic admixture. Furthermore, we did not replicate associations of CTLA4 SNPs with RA or other autoimmune diseases previously reported in Asians and Caucasians, such as rs3087243 (+60C/T) and rs231775 (+49A/G). The associations of different SNPs with RA susceptibility specific to different populations highlight the importance of CTLA4 in the pathogenesis of RA and demonstrate the ethnic-specific genetic background that contributes to its susceptibility.
Genome-wide association studies have identified FGFR2 as a breast cancer (BC) susceptibility gene in populations of European and Asian descent, but a causative variant has not yet been conclusively identified. We hypothesized that the weaker linkage disequilibrium across this associated region in populations of African ancestry might help refine the set of candidate-causal single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) previously identified by our group. Eight candidate-causal SNPs were evaluated in 1253 African American invasive BC cases and 1245 controls. A significant association with BC risk was found with SNP rs2981578 (unadjusted per-allele odds ratio = 1.20, 95% confidence interval 1.03–1.41, Ptrend = 0.02), with the odds ratio estimate similar to that reported in European and Asian subjects. To extend the fine-mapping, genotype data from the African American studies were analyzed jointly with data from European (n = 7196 cases, 7275 controls) and Asian (n = 3901 cases, 3205 controls) studies. In the combined analysis, SNP rs2981578 was the most strongly associated. Five other SNPs were too strongly correlated to be excluded at a likelihood ratio of < 1/100 relative to rs2981578. Analysis of DNase I hypersensitive sites indicated that only two of these map to highly accessible chromatin, one of which, SNP rs2981578, has previously been implicated in up-regulating FGFR2 expression. Our results demonstrate that the association of SNPs in FGFR2 with BC risk extends to women of African American ethnicity, and illustrate the utility of combining association analysis in datasets of diverse ethnic groups with functional experiments to identify disease susceptibility variants.
UBE2L3 is associated with susceptibility to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis in European ancestry populations, and this locus has not been investigated fully in non-European populations. We studied the UBE2L3 risk allele for association with SLE, interferon-α (IFN-α), and autoantibodies in a predominantly African American SLE cohort.
We studied 395 patients with SLE and 344 controls. The UBE2L3 rs5754217 polymorphism was genotyped using Taqman primer-probe sets, and IFN-α was measured using a reporter cell assay.
The UBE2L3 rs5754217 T allele was strongly enriched in African American patients with anti-La antibodies as compared to controls, and a recessive model was the best fit for this association (OR 2.55, p = 0.0061). Serum IFN-α also demonstrated a recessive association with the rs5754217 genotype in African American patients, and the TT/anti-La-positive patients formed a significantly high IFN-α subgroup (p = 0.0040). Similar nonstatistically significant patterns of association were observed in the European American patients with SLE. Case-control analysis did not show large allele frequency differences, supporting the idea that this allele is most strongly associated with anti-La-positive patients.
This pattern of recessive influence within a subgroup of patients may explain why this allele does not produce a strong signal in standard case-control studies, and subphenotypes should be included in future studies of UBE2L3. The interaction we observed between UBE2L3 genotype and autoantibodies upon serum IFN-α suggests a biological role for this locus in patients with SLE in vivo.
SYSTEMIC LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS; GENETICS INTERFERON-α; AUTOANTIBODIES; UBE2L3 GENOTYPE
European population genetic substructure was examined in a diverse set of >1,000 individuals of European descent, each genotyped with >300 K SNPs. Both STRUCTURE and principal component analyses (PCA) showed the largest division/principal component (PC) differentiated northern from southern European ancestry. A second PC further separated Italian, Spanish, and Greek individuals from those of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry as well as distinguishing among northern European populations. In separate analyses of northern European participants other substructure relationships were discerned showing a west to east gradient. Application of this substructure information was critical in examining a real dataset in whole genome association (WGA) analyses for rheumatoid arthritis in European Americans to reduce false positive signals. In addition, two sets of European substructure ancestry informative markers (ESAIMs) were identified that provide substantial substructure information. The results provide further insight into European population genetic substructure and show that this information can be used for improving error rates in association testing of candidate genes and in replication studies of WGA scans.
Ancestry differences corresponding to ethnic groups may be important in determining disease risk factors and optimizing treatment. Our study further defines ancestry relationship among different European ethnic groups by examining over 300 thousand variations in DNA, in over 2,000 individuals. This study allowed a clearer ascertainment of differences that could not be discerned in smaller studies using more limited numbers of DNA variations. We show clear differences among European American participants of different self-identified ethnic affiliation. The analyses showed multiple components of variation. The components showing the largest variations generally corresponded to the grandparental country or region of origin within Europe. We also show the importance of applying this information in determining genetic risk factors for complex diseases. Moreover, the results have enabled a better selection of smaller numbers of DNA variations that can be used in future disease studies to identify more homogenous participant groups and minimize false positive and false negative results in assessing genetic risk factors for disease.
End stage renal disease (ESRD) has a four times higher incidence in African Americans compared to European Americans. This led to the hypothesis that susceptibility alleles for ESRD have a higher frequency in West African than European gene pool. We performed a genome-wide admixture scan in 1,372 ESRD cases and 806 controls and demonstrated a highly significant association between excess African ancestry and non-diabetic ESRD (LOD 5.70) but not diabetic ESRD (LOD 0.47) on chromosome 22q12. Each copy of the European ancestral allele conferred a relative risk of 0.50 (95% credible interval 0.39 – 0.63) compared to African ancestry. Multiple common SNPs (allele frequency ranging from 0.2 to 0.6) in the gene that encodes non-muscle myosin heavy chain type II isoform A (MYH9) were associated with 2-4 times greater risk of non-diabetic ESRD and accounted for a large proportion of the excess risk of ESRD observed in African compared to European Americans.
Genome-wide association studies in cohorts of European descent have identified novel genomic regions as associated with lipids, but their relevance in African Americans remains unclear.
Methods and Results
We genotyped 8 index SNPs and 488 tagging SNPs across 8 novel lipid loci in the Jackson Heart Study, a community-based cohort of 4605 African Americans. For each trait, we calculated residuals adjusted for age, sex, and global ancestry and performed multivariable linear regression to detect genotype-phenotype association with adjustment for local ancestry. To explore admixture effects, we conducted stratified analyses in individuals with a high probability of 2 African ancestral alleles or at least 1 European allele at each locus. We confirmed 2 index SNPs as associated with lipid traits in African Americans, with suggestive association for 3 more. However, the effect sizes for 4 of the 5 associated SNPs were larger in the European local ancestry subgroup compared to the African local ancestry subgroup, suggesting that the replication is driven by European ancestry segments. Through fine-mapping, we discovered 3 new SNPs with significant associations, two with consistent effect on triglyceride levels across ancestral groups: rs636523 near DOCK7/ANGPTL3 and rs780093 in GCKR. African LD patterns did not assist in narrowing association signals.
We confirm that 5 genetic regions associated with lipid traits in European-derived populations are relevant in African Americans. To further evaluate these loci, fine-mapping in larger African American cohorts and/or resequencing will be required.
lipids; genetics; epidemiology; risk factors
Persistently low white blood cell count (WBC) and neutrophil count is a well-described phenomenon in persons of African ancestry, whose etiology remains unknown. We recently used admixture mapping to identify an approximately 1-megabase region on chromosome 1, where ancestry status (African or European) almost entirely accounted for the difference in WBC between African Americans and European Americans. To identify the specific genetic change responsible for this association, we analyzed genotype and phenotype data from 6,005 African Americans from the Jackson Heart Study (JHS), the Health, Aging and Body Composition (Health ABC) Study, and the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. We demonstrate that the causal variant must be at least 91% different in frequency between West Africans and European Americans. An excellent candidate is the Duffy Null polymorphism (SNP rs2814778 at chromosome 1q23.2), which is the only polymorphism in the region known to be so differentiated in frequency and is already known to protect against Plasmodium vivax malaria. We confirm that rs2814778 is predictive of WBC and neutrophil count in African Americans above beyond the previously described admixture association (P = 3.8×10−5), establishing a novel phenotype for this genetic variant.
Many African Americans have white blood cell counts (WBC) that are persistently below the normal range for people of European descent, a condition called “benign ethnic neutropenia.” Because most African Americans have both African and European ancestors, selected genetic variants can be analyzed to assign probable African or European origin to each region of each such person's chromosomes. Previously, we found a region on chromosome 1 where increased local African ancestry completely accounted for differences in WBC between African and European Americans, suggesting the presence of an African-derived variant causing low WBC. Here, we show that low neutrophil count is predominantly responsible for low WBC; that a dominant, European-derived allele contributes to high neutrophil count; and that the frequency of this allele differs in Africans and Europeans by >91%. Across the chromosome 1 locus, only the well-characterized “Duffy” polymorphism was this differentiated. Neutrophil count was more strongly associated to the Duffy variant than to ancestry, suggesting that the variant itself causes benign ethnic neutropenia. The African, or “null,” form of this variant abolishes expression of the “Duffy Antigen Receptor for Chemokines” on red blood cells, perhaps altering the concentrations and distribution of chemokines that regulate neutrophil production or migration.
Genetic variation influences differential vulnerability to addiction within populations. However, it remains unclear whether differences in frequencies of vulnerability alleles contribute to disparities between populations and to what extent ancestry correlates with differential exposure to environmental risk factors, including poverty and trauma.
The authors used 186 ancestry-informative markers to measure African ancestry in 407 addicts and 457 comparison subjects self-identified as African Americans. The reference group was 1,051 individuals from the Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel, which includes 51 diverse populations representing most worldwide genetic diversity.
African Americans varied in degrees of African, European, Middle Eastern, and Central Asian genetic heritage. The overall level of African ancestry was actually smaller among cocaine, opiate, and alcohol addicts (proportion=0.76–0.78) than nonaddicted African American comparison subjects (proportion=0.81). African ancestry was associated with living in impoverished neighborhoods, a factor previously associated with risk. There was no association between African ancestry and exposure to childhood abuse or neglect, a factor that strongly predicted all types of addictions.
These results suggest that African genetic heritage does not increase the likelihood of genetic risk for addictions. They highlight the complex interrelation between genetic ancestry and social, economic, and environmental conditions and the strong relation of those factors to addiction. Studies of epidemiological samples characterized for genetic ancestry and social, psychological, demographic, economic, cultural, and historical factors are needed to better disentangle the effects of genetic and environmental factors underlying interpopulation differences in vulnerability to addiction and other health disparities.
Genome-wide SNP analyses reveal the admixed African genetic ancestry of African Americans.
Accurate, high-throughput genotyping allows the fine characterization of genetic ancestry. Here we applied recently developed statistical and computational techniques to the question of African ancestry in African Americans by using data on more than 450,000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) genotyped in 94 Africans of diverse geographic origins included in the HGDP, as well as 136 African Americans and 38 European Americans participating in the Atherosclerotic Disease Vascular Function and Genetic Epidemiology (ADVANCE) study. To focus on African ancestry, we reduced the data to include only those genotypes in each African American determined statistically to be African in origin.
From cluster analysis, we found that all the African Americans are admixed in their African components of ancestry, with the majority contributions being from West and West-Central Africa, and only modest variation in these African-ancestry proportions among individuals. Furthermore, by principal components analysis, we found little evidence of genetic structure within the African component of ancestry in African Americans.
These results are consistent with historic mating patterns among African Americans that are largely uncorrelated to African ancestral origins, and they cast doubt on the general utility of mtDNA or Y-chromosome markers alone to delineate the full African ancestry of African Americans. Our results also indicate that the genetic architecture of African Americans is distinct from that of Africans, and that the greatest source of potential genetic stratification bias in case-control studies of African Americans derives from the proportion of European ancestry.
A 58kb region on chromosome 9p21.3 has consistently shown strong association with coronary artery disease (CAD) in multiple genome-wide association studies in populations of European and East Asian ancestry. In this study we sought to further characterize the role of genetic variants in 9p21.3 in African American individuals.
Methods and Results
Apparently healthy African American siblings (n=548) of patients with documented CAD <60 years of age were genotyped and followed for incident CAD for up to 17 years. Tests of association for 86 SNPs across the 9p21.3 region in a GEE logistic framework under an additive model adjusting for traditional risk factors, family, follow-up time, and population stratification were performed. A single SNP within the CDKN2B gene met stringent criteria for statistical significance, including permutation-based evaluations. This variant, rs3217989, was common (minor allele [G] frequency 0.242), conveyed protection against CAD (OR=0.19, 95% CI: 0.07 to 0.50, p=0.0008) and was replicated in a combined analysis of two additional case/control studies of prevalent CAD/MI in African Americans (n=990, p=0.024, OR= 0.779, 95% CI: 0.626-0.968).
This is the first report of a CAD association signal in a population of African ancestry with a common variant within the CDKN2B gene, independent from previous findings in European and East Asian ancestry populations. The findings demonstrate a significant protective effect against incident CAD in African American siblings of persons with premature CAD, with replication in a combination of two additional African American cohorts.
African American; CDKN2B; Coronary Artery Disease; Genetics; 9p21
Asthma is a common disease of children with a complex genetic origin. Understanding the genetic basis of asthma susceptibility will allow disease prediction and risk stratification.
We sought to identify asthma susceptibility genes in children.
A nested case-control genetic association study of children of Caucasian European ancestry from a birth cohort was conducted. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, n=116,024) were genotyped in pools of DNA samples from cohort children with physician-diagnosed asthma (n=112) and normal controls (n=165). A genomic region containing the ATPAF1 gene was significantly associated with asthma. Additional SNPs within this region were genotyped in individual samples from the same children and in eight independent study populations consisting of Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, or other ancestries. SNPs were also genotyped or imputed in two consortia control populations. ATPAF1 expression was measured in bronchial biopsies from asthmatics and controls.
Asthma was associated with a cluster of SNPs and SNP haplotypes containing the ATPAF1 gene with two SNPs achieving significance at a genome-wide level (p=2.26×10−5 to 2.2×10−8). Asthma severity was also associated with SNPs and haplotypes in the primary population. SNP and/or gene-level associations were confirmed in the four non-Hispanic populations. Haplotype associations were confirmed in the non-Hispanic populations (p=0.045 to 0.0009). ATPAF1 total RNA expression was significantly (p<0.01) higher in bronchial biopsies from asthmatics than controls.
Genetic variation in the ATPAF1 gene predisposes children of different ancestry to asthma.
asthma; ATPAF1; children; gene; genetic; genome-wide association; purinergic; respiratory; single nucleotide polymorphism; SNP
It is well-known that population substructure may lead to confounding in case-control association studies. Here, we examined genetic structure in a large racially and ethnically diverse sample consisting of 5 ethnic groups of the Multiethnic Cohort study (African Americans, Japanese Americans, Latinos, European Americans and Native Hawaiians) using 2,509 SNPs distributed across the genome. Principal component analysis on 6,213 study participants, 18 Native Americans and 11 HapMap III populations revealed 4 important principal components (PCs): the first two separated Asians, Europeans and Africans, and the third and fourth corresponded to Native American and Native Hawaiian (Polynesian) ancestry, respectively. Individual ethnic composition derived from self-reported parental information matched well to genetic ancestry for Japanese and European Americans. STRUCTURE-estimated individual ancestral proportions for African Americans and Latinos are consistent with previous reports. We quantified the East Asian (mean 27%), European (mean 27%) and Polynesian (mean 46%) ancestral proportions for the first time, to our knowledge, for Native Hawaiians. Simulations based on realistic settings of case-control studies nested in the Multiethnic Cohort found that the effect of population stratification was modest and readily corrected by adjusting for race/ethnicity or by adjusting for top PCs derived from all SNPs or from ancestry informative markers; the power of these approaches was similar when averaged across causal variants simulated based on allele frequencies of the 2,509 genotyped markers. The bias may be large in case-only analysis of gene by gene interactions but it can be corrected by top PCs derived from all SNPs.
AIMs; African American; Native Hawaiian; Latino; admixture; principal component analysis
Gastric cancer is one of the most lethal types of cancer and its incidence varies worldwide, with the Andean region of South America showing high incidence rates. We evaluated the genetic structure of the population from Lima (Peru) and performed a case-control genetic association study to test the contribution of African, European, or Native American ancestry to risk for gastric cancer, controlling for the effect of non-genetic factors. A wide set of socioeconomic, dietary, and clinic information was collected for each participant in the study and ancestry was estimated based on 103 ancestry informative markers. Although the urban population from Lima is usually considered as mestizo (i.e., admixed from Africans, Europeans, and Native Americans), we observed a high fraction of Native American ancestry (78.4% for the cases and 74.6% for the controls) and a very low African ancestry (<5%). We determined that higher Native American individual ancestry is associated with gastric cancer, but socioeconomic factors associated both with gastric cancer and Native American ethnicity account for this association. Therefore, the high incidence of gastric cancer in Peru does not seem to be related to susceptibility alleles common in this population. Instead, our result suggests a predominant role for ethnic-associated socioeconomic factors and disparities in access to health services. Since Native Americans are a neglected group in genomic studies, we suggest that the population from Lima and other large cities from Western South America with high Native American ancestry background may be convenient targets for epidemiological studies focused on this ethnic group.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an inflammatory autoimmune disease with a strong genetic component. African-Americans (AA) are at increased risk of SLE, but the genetic basis of this risk is largely unknown. To identify causal variants in SLE loci in AA, we performed admixture mapping followed by fine mapping in AA and European-Americans (EA). Through genome-wide admixture mapping in AA, we identified a strong SLE susceptibility locus at 2q22–24 (LOD = 6.28), and the admixture signal is associated with the European ancestry (ancestry risk ratio ∼1.5). Large-scale genotypic analysis on 19,726 individuals of African and European ancestry revealed three independently associated variants in the IFIH1 gene: an intronic variant, rs13023380 [Pmeta = 5.20×10−14; odds ratio, 95% confidence interval = 0.82 (0.78–0.87)], and two missense variants, rs1990760 (Ala946Thr) [Pmeta = 3.08×10−7; 0.88 (0.84–0.93)] and rs10930046 (Arg460His) [Pdom = 1.16×10−8; 0.70 (0.62–0.79)]. Both missense variants produced dramatic phenotypic changes in apoptosis and inflammation-related gene expression. We experimentally validated function of the intronic SNP by DNA electrophoresis, protein identification, and in vitro protein binding assays. DNA carrying the intronic risk allele rs13023380 showed reduced binding efficiency to a cellular protein complex including nucleolin and lupus autoantigen Ku70/80, and showed reduced transcriptional activity in vivo. Thus, in SLE patients, genetic susceptibility could create a biochemical imbalance that dysregulates nucleolin, Ku70/80, or other nucleic acid regulatory proteins. This could promote antibody hypermutation and auto-antibody generation, further destabilizing the cellular network. Together with molecular modeling, our results establish a distinct role for IFIH1 in apoptosis, inflammation, and autoantibody production, and explain the molecular basis of these three risk alleles for SLE pathogenesis.
African-Americans (AA) are at increased risk of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), but the genetic basis of this risk increase is largely unknown. We used admixture mapping to localize disease-causing genetic variants that differ in frequency across populations. This approach is advantageous for localizing susceptibility genes in recently admixed populations like AA. Our genome-wide admixture scan identified seven admixture signals, and we followed the best signal at 2q22–24 with fine-mapping, imputation-based association analysis and experimental validation. We identified two independent coding variants and a non-coding variant within the IFIH1 gene associated with SLE. Together with molecular modeling, our results establish a distinct role for IFIH1 in apoptosis, inflammation, and autoantibody production, and explain the molecular basis of these three risk alleles for SLE pathogenesis.
The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) on chromosome 6p21 is a key contributor to the genetic basis of systemic lupus erythemathosus (SLE). Although SLE affects African Americans disproportionately compared to European Americans, there has been no comprehensive analysis of the MHC region in relationship to SLE in African Americans. We conducted a screening of the MHC region for 1,536 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and the deletion of the C4A gene in a SLE case-control study (380 cases, 765 age-matched controls) nested within the prospective Black Women’s Health Study. We also genotyped 1,509 ancestral informative markers throughout the genome to estimate European ancestry in order to control for population stratification due to population admixture. The most strongly associated SNP with SLE was the rs9271366 (odds ratio, OR = 1.70, p = 5.6×10−5) near the HLA-DRB1 gene. Conditional haplotype analysis revealed three other SNPs, rs204890 (OR = 1.86, p = 1.2×10−4), rs2071349 (OR = 1.53, p = 1.0×10−3), and rs2844580 (OR = 1.43, p = 1.3×10−3) to be associated with SLE independent of the rs9271366 SNP. In univariate analysis, the OR for the C4A deletion was 1.38, p = 0.075, but after simultaneous adjustment for the other four SNPs the odds ratio was 1.01, p = 0.98. A genotype score combining the four newly identified SNPs showed an additive risk according to the number of high-risk alleles (OR = 1.67 per high-risk allele, p< 0.0001). Our strongest signal, the rs9271366 SNP, was also associated with higher risk of SLE in a previous Chinese genome-wide association study (GWAS). In addition, two SNPs found in a GWAS of European ancestry women were confirmed in our study, indicating that African Americans share some genetic risk factors for SLE with European and Chinese subjects. In summary, we found four independent signals in the MHC region associated with risk of SLE in African American women.
systemic lupus erythemathosus; African Americans; major histocompatibility complex; single nucleotide polymorphisms
Genome-wide association studies have identified multiple common alleles associated with prostate cancer risk in populations of European ancestry. Testing these variants in other populations is needed to assess the generalizability of the associations, and may guide fine-mapping efforts. We examined 13 of these risk variants in a multiethnic sample of 2,768 incident prostate cancer cases and 2,359 controls from the Multiethnic Cohort (MEC; African Americans, European Americans, Latinos, Japanese Americans and Native Hawaiians). We estimated ethnic-specific and pooled odds ratios and tested for ethnic heterogeneity of effects using logistic regression. In ethnic-pooled analyses, 12 of the 13 variants were positively associated with risk, with statistically significant associations (p<0.05) noted with 6 variants (odds ratio, 95% confidence interval): JAZF1, rs10486567, 1.23(1.12–1.35); Xp11.2, rs5945572, 1.31(1.13–1.51); HNF1B, rs4430796, 1.15(1.06–1.25); MSMB, rs10993994, 1.13(1.04–1.23); 11q13.2, rs7931342, 1.13(1.03–1.23); 3p12.1, rs2660753, 1.11(1.01–1.21); SLC22A3, rs9364554, 1.10(1.00–1.21); CTBP2, rs12769019, 1.11(0.99–1.25); HNF1B, rs11649743, 1.10(0.99–1.22); EHBP1, rs721048, 1.08(0.94–1.25); KLK2/3, rs2735839, 1.06(0.97–1.16); 17q24.3, rs1859962, 1.04(0.96–1.13); and LMTK2, rs6465657, 0.99(0.89–1.09). Significant ethnic heterogeneity of effects was noted for 4 variants (EHBP1, phet = 3.9×10−3; 11q13, phet = 0.023; HNF1B (rs4430796), phet = 0.026; and KLK2/3, phet = 2.0×10−3). Although power was limited in some ethnic/racial groups due to variation in sample size and allele frequencies, these findings suggest that a large fraction of prostate cancer variants identified in populations of European ancestry are global markers of risk. For many of these regions, fine-mapping in non-European samples may help localize causal alleles and better determine their contribution to prostate cancer risk in the population.
Genitourinary Cancers; Prostate; Risk Assessment; Epidemiology; Cancer in minority and underserved populations; Genetics of Risk; Outcome, and Prevention; MEC
The incidence of chronic kidney disease varies by ethnic group in the USA, with African Americans displaying a two-fold higher rate than European Americans. One of the two defining variables underlying staging of chronic kidney disease is the glomerular filtration rate. Meta-analysis in individuals of European ancestry has identified 23 genetic loci associated with the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). We conducted a follow-up study of these 23 genetic loci using a population-based sample of 1,018 unrelated admixed African Americans. We included in our follow-up study two variants in APOL1 associated with end-stage kidney disease discovered by admixture mapping in admixed African Americans. To address confounding due to admixture, we estimated local ancestry at each marker and global ancestry. We performed regression analysis stratified by local ancestry and combined the resulting regression estimates across ancestry strata using an inverse variance-weighted fixed effects model. We found that 11 of the 24 loci were significantly associated with eGFR in our sample. The effect size estimates were not significantly different between the subgroups of individuals with two copies of African ancestry vs. two copies of European ancestry for any of the 11 loci. In contrast, allele frequencies were significantly different at 10 of the 11 loci. Collectively, the 11 loci, including four secondary signals revealed by conditional analyses, explained 14.2% of the phenotypic variance in eGFR, in contrast to the 1.4% explained by the 24 loci in individuals of European ancestry. Our findings provide insight into the genetic basis of variation in renal function among admixed African Americans.
Family history and African-American race are important risk factors for both prostate cancer (CaP) incidence and aggressiveness. When studying complex diseases such as CaP that have a heritable component, chances of finding true disease susceptibility alleles can be increased by accounting for genetic ancestry within the population investigated. Race, ethnicity and ancestry were studied in a geographically diverse cohort of men with newly diagnosed CaP.
Individual ancestry (IA) was estimated in the population-based North Carolina and Louisiana Prostate Cancer Project (PCaP), a cohort of 2,106 incident CaP cases (2063 with complete ethnicity information) comprising roughly equal numbers of research subjects reporting as Black/African American (AA) or European American/Caucasian/Caucasian American/White (EA) from North Carolina or Louisiana. Mean genome wide individual ancestry estimates of percent African, European and Asian were obtained and tested for differences by state and ethnicity (Cajun and/or Creole and Hispanic/Latino) using multivariate analysis of variance models. Principal components (PC) were compared to assess differences in genetic composition by self-reported race and ethnicity between and within states.
Mean individual ancestries differed by state for self-reporting AA (p = 0.03) and EA (p = 0.001). This geographic difference attenuated for AAs who answered “no” to all ethnicity membership questions (non-ethnic research subjects; p = 0.78) but not EA research subjects, p = 0.002. Mean ancestry estimates of self-identified AA Louisiana research subjects for each ethnic group; Cajun only, Creole only and both Cajun and Creole differed significantly from self-identified non-ethnic AA Louisiana research subjects. These ethnicity differences were not seen in those who self-identified as EA.
Mean IA differed by race between states, elucidating a potential contributing factor to these differences in AA research participants: self-reported ethnicity. Accurately accounting for genetic admixture in this cohort is essential for future analyses of the genetic and environmental contributions to CaP.
Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified multiple common genetic risk variants for breast cancer among women of Asian and European ancestry. Investigating these genetic susceptibility loci in other populations would be helpful to evaluate the generalizability of the findings and identify causal variants for breast cancer. We evaluated 11 GWAS-identified genetic susceptibility loci for breast cancer in a study including 2,594 African-American women (810 cases and 1,784 controls). Two single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), rs13387042 (2q35) and rs1219648 (FGFR2 gene), were found to be associated with breast cancer risk. Risk increased nearly linearly with number of affected risk alleles, with a two-fold elevated risk for women homozygous for the risk alleles in both SNPs. No additional significant associations, however, were identified for the other 9 loci evaluated in the study. The results from this study extend some of the recent GWAS findings to African Americans and may guide future efforts to identify causal variants for breast cancer.
Hypertension (HTN) is a devastating disease with a higher incidence in African Americans than European Americans, inspiring searches for genetic variants that contribute to this difference. We report the results of a large-scale admixture scan for genes contributing HTN risk, in which we screened 1,670 African Americans with HTN and 387 control individuals for regions of the genome with elevated proportion of African or European ancestry. No loci were identified that were significantly associated with HTN. We also searched for evidence of an admixture signal at 40 candidate genes and eight previously reported linkage peaks, but none appears to contribute substantially to the differential HTN risk between African and European Americans. Finally, we observed nominal association at one of the loci detected in the admixture scan of Zhu et al. 2005 (p = 0.016 at 6q24.3 correcting for four hypotheses tested), although we caution that the significance is marginal and the estimated odds ratio of 1.19 per African allele is less than what would be expected from the original report; thus, further work is needed to follow up this locus.
High blood pressure is more frequent and severe among African Americans than European Americans. To explore whether there are genetic underpinnings to this pattern, we screened the genomes of 1,670 African Americans, searching for loci at which people with hypertension (HTN) have more than the average proportion of African ancestry (eighty percent). We do not detect any region of clearly significant association. In a previous, smaller admixture scan for HTN genes, Zhu and colleagues (2005) reported two regions of association, which we would have expected to replicate if they were as strong as they initially appeared. While we detect marginal evidence of association at one, the signal is very weak, and much weaker than would have been expected from the previous report, so further work is necessary to understand this region. Our results are consistent with there being no common variants with a strong effect accounting for differences in HTN prevalence between African and European Americans. This increases the weight of evidence that non-genetic causes explain most of the difference in rates across populations.
Type 2 diabetes is more prevalent in US American minority populations of African or Native American descent than it is in European Americans. However, the proportion of this epidemiological difference that can be ascribed to genetic or environmental factors is unknown. To determine whether genetic ancestry is correlated with diabetes risk in Latinos, we estimated the proportion of European ancestry in case-control samples from Mexico and Colombia in whom socioeconomic status had been carefully ascertained.
We genotyped 67 ancestry-informative markers in 499 participants with type 2 diabetes and 197 controls from Medellín (Colombia), as well as in 163 participants with type 2 diabetes and 72 controls from central Mexico. Each participant was assigned a socioeconomic status scale via various measures.
Although European ancestry was associated with lower diabetes risk in Mexicans (OR [95% CI] 0.06 [0.02–0.21], p=2.0 × 10−5) and Colombians (OR 0.26 [0.08–0.78], p=0.02), adjustment for socioeconomic status eliminated the association in the Colombian sample (OR 0.64 [0.19–2.12], p=0.46) and significantly attenuated it in the Mexican sample (OR 0.17 [0.04–0.71], p=0.02). Adjustment for BMI did not change the results.
The proportion of non-European ancestry is associated with both type 2 diabetes and lower socioeconomic status in admixed Latino populations from North and South America. We conclude that ancestry-directed search for genetic markers associated with type 2 diabetes in Latinos may benefit from information involving social factors, as these factors have a quantitatively important effect on type 2 diabetes risk relative to ancestry effects.
Genetic admixture; Genetic association; Latinos; Socioeconomic status; Type 2 diabetes
Lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)) is an important causal cardiovascular risk factor, with serum Lp(a) levels predicting atherosclerotic heart disease and genetic determinants of Lp(a) levels showing association with myocardial infarction. Lp(a) levels vary widely between populations, with African-derived populations having nearly 2-fold higher Lp(a) levels than European Americans. We investigated the genetic basis of this difference in 4464 African Americans from the Jackson Heart Study (JHS) using a panel of up to 1447 ancestry informative markers, allowing us to accurately estimate the African ancestry proportion of each individual at each position in the genome. In an unbiased genome-wide admixture scan for frequency-differentiated genetic determinants of Lp(a) level, we found a convincing peak (LOD = 13.6) at 6q25.3, which spans the LPA locus. Dense fine-mapping of the LPA locus identified a number of strongly associated, common biallelic SNPs, a subset of which can account for up to 7% of the variation in Lp(a) level, as well as >70% of the African-European population differences in Lp(a) level. We replicated the association of the most strongly associated SNP, rs9457951 (p = 6×10−22, 27% change in Lp(a) per allele, ∼5% of Lp(a) variance explained in JHS), in 1,726 African Americans from the Dallas Heart Study and found an even stronger association after adjustment for the kringle(IV) repeat copy number. Despite the strong association with Lp(a) levels, we find no association of any LPA SNP with incident coronary heart disease in 3,225 African Americans from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.
Recent genome-wide association (GWA) studies have provided compelling evidence of association between genetic variants and common complex diseases. These studies have made use of cases and controls almost exclusively from populations of European ancestry and little is known about the frequency of risk alleles in other populations. The present study addresses the transferability of disease associations across human populations by examining levels of population differentiation at disease-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).
We genotyped ~1000 individuals from 53 populations worldwide at 25 SNPs which show robust association with 6 complex human diseases (Crohn's disease, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, coronary artery disease and obesity). Allele frequency differences between populations for these SNPs were measured using Fst. The Fst values for the disease-associated SNPs were compared to Fst values from 2750 random SNPs typed in the same set of individuals.
On average, disease SNPs are not significantly more differentiated between populations than random SNPs in the genome. Risk allele frequencies, however, do show substantial variation across human populations and may contribute to differences in disease prevalence between populations. We demonstrate that, in some cases, risk allele frequency differences are unusually high compared to random SNPs and may be due to the action of local (i.e. geographically-restricted) positive natural selection. Moreover, some risk alleles were absent or fixed in a population, which implies that risk alleles identified in one population do not necessarily account for disease prevalence in all human populations.
Although differences in risk allele frequencies between human populations are not unusually large and are thus likely not due to positive local selection, there is substantial variation in risk allele frequencies between populations which may account for differences in disease prevalence between human populations.
A common allele at the TAGAP gene locus demonstrates a suggestive, but not conclusive association with risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). To fine map the locus, we conducted comprehensive imputation of CEU HapMap single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 5500 RA cases and 22 621 controls (all of European ancestry). After controlling for population stratification with principal components analysis, the strongest signal of association was to an imputed SNP, rs212389 (P=3.9 × 10−8, odds ratio=0.87). This SNP remained highly significant upon conditioning on the previous RA risk variant (rs394581, P=2.2 × 10−5) or on a SNP previously associated with celiac disease and type I diabetes (rs1738074, P=1.7 × 10−4). Our study has refined the TAGAP signal of association to a single haplotype in RA, and in doing so provides conclusive statistical evidence that the TAGAP locus is associated with RA risk. Our study also underscores the utility of comprehensive imputation in large GWAS data sets to fine map disease risk alleles.
TAGAP; genetics; rheumatoid arthritis
A recent, large genome-wide association study (GWAS) of European ancestry individuals has identified multiple genetic variants influencing serum lipids. Studies of the transferability of these associations to African Americans remain few, an important limitation given interethnic differences in serum lipids and the disproportionate burden of lipid-associated metabolic diseases among African Americans.
We attempted to evaluate the transferability of 95 lipid-associated loci recently identified in European ancestry individuals to 887 non-diabetic, unrelated African Americans from a population-based sample in the Washington, DC area. Additionally, we took advantage of the generally reduced linkage disequilibrium among African ancestry populations in comparison to European ancestry populations to fine-map replicated GWAS signals.
We successfully replicated reported associations for 10 loci (CILP2/SF4, STARD3, LPL, CYP7A1, DOCK7/ANGPTL3, APOE, SORT1, IRS1, CETP, and UBASH3B). Through trans-ethnic fine-mapping, we were able to reduce associated regions around 75% of the loci that replicated.
Between this study and previous work in African Americans, 40 of the 95 loci reported in a large GWAS of European ancestry individuals also influence lipid levels in African Americans. While there is now evidence that the lipid-influencing role of a number of genetic variants is observed in both European and African ancestry populations, the still considerable lack of concordance highlights the importance of continued ancestry-specific studies to elucidate the genetic underpinnings of these traits.
Lipids; Genetics; African Americans; Genome-wide association study; Ethnicity