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1.  GWAS of blood cell traits identifies novel associated loci and epistatic interactions in Caucasian and African-American children 
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;22(7):1457-1464.
Hematological traits are important clinical indicators, the genetic determinants of which have not been fully investigated. Common measures of hematological traits include red blood cell (RBC) count, hemoglobin concentration (HGB), hematocrit (HCT), mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), MCH concentration (MCHC), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), platelet count (PLT) and white blood cell (WBC) count. We carried out a genome-wide association study of the eight common hematological traits among 7943 African-American children and 6234 Caucasian children. In African Americans, we report five novel associations of HBE1 variants with HCT and MCHC, the alpha-globin gene cluster variants with RBC and MCHC, and a variant at the ARHGEF3 locus with PLT, as well as replication of four previously reported loci at genome-wide significance. In Caucasians, we report a novel association of variants at the COPZ1 locus with PLT as well as replication of four previously reported loci at genome-wide significance. Extended analysis of an association observed between MCH and the alpha-globin gene cluster variants demonstrated independent effects and epistatic interaction at the locus, impacting the risk of iron deficiency anemia in African Americans with specific genotype states. In summary, we extend the understanding of genetic variants underlying hematological traits based on analyses in African-American children.
doi:10.1093/hmg/dds534
PMCID: PMC3657475  PMID: 23263863
2.  Genome-wide association analysis of red blood cell traits in African Americans: the COGENT Network 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;22(12):2529-2538.
Laboratory red blood cell (RBC) measurements are clinically important, heritable and differ among ethnic groups. To identify genetic variants that contribute to RBC phenotypes in African Americans (AAs), we conducted a genome-wide association study in up to ∼16 500 AAs. The alpha-globin locus on chromosome 16pter [lead SNP rs13335629 in ITFG3 gene; P < 1E−13 for hemoglobin (Hgb), RBC count, mean corpuscular volume (MCV), MCH and MCHC] and the G6PD locus on Xq28 [lead SNP rs1050828; P < 1E − 13 for Hgb, hematocrit (Hct), MCV, RBC count and red cell distribution width (RDW)] were each associated with multiple RBC traits. At the alpha-globin region, both the common African 3.7 kb deletion and common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) appear to contribute independently to RBC phenotypes among AAs. In the 2p21 region, we identified a novel variant of PRKCE distinctly associated with Hct in AAs. In a genome-wide admixture mapping scan, local European ancestry at the 6p22 region containing HFE and LRRC16A was associated with higher Hgb. LRRC16A has been previously associated with the platelet count and mean platelet volume in AAs, but not with Hgb. Finally, we extended to AAs the findings of association of erythrocyte traits with several loci previously reported in Europeans and/or Asians, including CD164 and HBS1L-MYB. In summary, this large-scale genome-wide analysis in AAs has extended the importance of several RBC-associated genetic loci to AAs and identified allelic heterogeneity and pleiotropy at several previously known genetic loci associated with blood cell traits in AAs.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddt087
PMCID: PMC3658166  PMID: 23446634
3.  Genetic Variants That Confer Resistance to Malaria Are Associated with Red Blood Cell Traits in African-Americans: An Electronic Medical Record-based Genome-Wide Association Study 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;3(7):1061-1068.
To identify novel genetic loci influencing interindividual variation in red blood cell (RBC) traits in African-Americans, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 2315 individuals, divided into discovery (n = 1904) and replication (n = 411) cohorts. The traits included hemoglobin concentration (HGB), hematocrit (HCT), RBC count, mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC). Patients were participants in the electronic MEdical Records and GEnomics (eMERGE) network and underwent genotyping of ~1.2 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms on the Illumina Human1M-Duo array. Association analyses were performed adjusting for age, sex, site, and population stratification. Three loci previously associated with resistance to malaria—HBB (11p15.4), HBA1/HBA2 (16p13.3), and G6PD (Xq28)—were associated (P ≤ 1 × 10−6) with RBC traits in the discovery cohort. The loci replicated in the replication cohort (P ≤ 0.02), and were significant at a genome-wide significance level (P < 5 × 10−8) in the combined cohort. The proportions of variance in RBC traits explained by significant variants at these loci were as follows: rs7120391 (near HBB) 1.3% of MCHC, rs9924561 (near HBA1/A2) 5.5% of MCV, 6.9% of MCH and 2.9% of MCHC, and rs1050828 (in G6PD) 2.4% of RBC count, 2.9% of MCV, and 1.4% of MCH, respectively. We were not able to replicate loci identified by a previous GWAS of RBC traits in a European ancestry cohort of similar sample size, suggesting that the genetic architecture of RBC traits differs by race. In conclusion, genetic variants that confer resistance to malaria are associated with RBC traits in African-Americans.
doi:10.1534/g3.113.006452
PMCID: PMC3704235  PMID: 23696099
red blood cell (RBC) traits; genome-wide association study; African-Americans; natural selection; informatics; electronic medical record
4.  Genetic Analysis of Hematological Parameters in Incipient Lines of the Collaborative Cross 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2012;2(2):157-165.
Hematological parameters, including red and white blood cell counts and hemoglobin concentration, are widely used clinical indicators of health and disease. These traits are tightly regulated in healthy individuals and are under genetic control. Mutations in key genes that affect hematological parameters have important phenotypic consequences, including multiple variants that affect susceptibility to malarial disease. However, most variation in hematological traits is continuous and is presumably influenced by multiple loci and variants with small phenotypic effects. We used a newly developed mouse resource population, the Collaborative Cross (CC), to identify genetic determinants of hematological parameters. We surveyed the eight founder strains of the CC and performed a mapping study using 131 incipient lines of the CC. Genome scans identified quantitative trait loci for several hematological parameters, including mean red cell volume (Chr 7 and Chr 14), white blood cell count (Chr 18), percent neutrophils/lymphocytes (Chr 11), and monocyte number (Chr 1). We used evolutionary principles and unique bioinformatics resources to reduce the size of candidate intervals and to view functional variation in the context of phylogeny. Many quantitative trait loci regions could be narrowed sufficiently to identify a small number of promising candidate genes. This approach not only expands our knowledge about hematological traits but also demonstrates the unique ability of the CC to elucidate the genetic architecture of complex traits.
doi:10.1534/g3.111.001776
PMCID: PMC3284323  PMID: 22384394
Mouse Genetic Resource; Mouse Collaborative Cross; hematology; hemoglobin β; mean red cell volume; QTL; mouse genetics; complex traits; shared ancestry
5.  Genome-wide association and linkage analyses of hemostatic factors and hematological phenotypes in the Framingham Heart Study 
BMC Medical Genetics  2007;8(Suppl 1):S12.
Background
Increased circulating levels of hemostatic factors as well as anemia have been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Known associations between hemostatic factors and sequence variants at genes encoding these factors explain only a small proportion of total phenotypic variation. We sought to confirm known putative loci and identify novel loci that may influence either trait in genome-wide association and linkage analyses using the Affymetrix GeneChip 100K single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) set.
Methods
Plasma levels of circulating hemostatic factors (fibrinogen, factor VII, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, von Willebrand factor, tissue plasminogen activator, D-dimer) and hematological phenotypes (platelet aggregation, viscosity, hemoglobin, red blood cell count, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration) were obtained in approximately 1000 Framingham Heart Study (FHS) participants from 310 families. Population-based association analyses using the generalized estimating equations (GEE), family-based association test (FBAT), and multipoint variance components linkage analyses were performed on the multivariable adjusted residuals of hemostatic and hematological phenotypes.
Results
In association analysis, the lowest GEE p-value for hemostatic factors was p = 4.5*10-16 for factor VII at SNP rs561241, a variant located near the F7 gene and in complete linkage disequilibrium (LD) (r2 = 1) with the Arg353Gln F7 SNP previously shown to account for 9% of total phenotypic variance. The lowest GEE p-value for hematological phenotypes was 7*10-8 at SNP rs2412522 on chromosome 4 for mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration. We presented top 25 most significant GEE results with p-values in the range of 10-6 to 10-5 for hemostatic or hematological phenotypes. In relating 100K SNPs to known candidate genes, we identified two SNPs (rs1582055, rs4897475) in erythrocyte membrane protein band 4.1-like 2 (EPB41L2) associated with hematological phenotypes (GEE p < 10-3). In linkage analyses, the highest linkage LOD score for hemostatic factors was 3.3 for factor VII on chromosome 10 around 15 Mb, and for hematological phenotypes, LOD 3.4 for hemoglobin on chromosome 4 around 55 Mb. All GEE and FBAT association and variance components linkage results can be found at
Conclusion
Using genome-wide association methodology, we have successfully identified a SNP in complete LD with a sequence variant previously shown to be strongly associated with factor VII, providing proof of principle for this approach. Further study of additional strongly associated SNPs and linked regions may identify novel variants that influence the inter-individual variability in hemostatic factors and hematological phenotypes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-8-S1-S12
PMCID: PMC1995619  PMID: 17903294
6.  A Genome-Wide Association Study of Red Blood Cell Traits Using the Electronic Medical Record 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(9):e13011.
Background
The Electronic Medical Record (EMR) is a potential source for high throughput phenotyping to conduct genome-wide association studies (GWAS), including those of medically relevant quantitative traits. We describe use of the Mayo Clinic EMR to conduct a GWAS of red blood cell (RBC) traits in a cohort of patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and controls without PAD.
Methodology and Principal Findings
Results for hemoglobin level, hematocrit, RBC count, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration were extracted from the EMR from January 1994 to September 2009. Out of 35,159 RBC trait values in 3,411 patients, we excluded 12,864 values in 1,165 patients that had been measured during hospitalization or in the setting of hematological disease, malignancy, or use of drugs that affect RBC traits, leaving a final genotyped sample of 3,012, 80% of whom had ≥2 measurements. The median of each RBC trait was used in the genetic analyses, which were conducted using an additive model that adjusted for age, sex, and PAD status. We identified four genomic loci that were associated (P<5×10−8) with one or more of the RBC traits (HBLS1/MYB on 6q23.3, TMPRSS6 on 22q12.3, HFE on 6p22.1, and SLC17A1 on 6p22.2). Three of these loci (HBLS1/MYB, TMPRSS6, and HFE) had been identified in recent GWAS and the allele frequencies, effect sizes, and the directions of effects of the replicated SNPs were similar to the prior studies.
Conclusions
Our results demonstrate feasibility of using the EMR to conduct high throughput genomic studies of medically relevant quantitative traits.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013011
PMCID: PMC2946914  PMID: 20927387
7.  Large-Scale Candidate Gene Analysis of HDL Particle Features 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e14529.
Background
HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) is an established marker of cardiovascular risk with significant genetic determination. However, HDL particles are not homogenous, and refined HDL phenotyping may improve insight into regulation of HDL metabolism. We therefore assessed HDL particles by NMR spectroscopy and conducted a large-scale candidate gene association analysis.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We measured plasma HDL-C and determined mean HDL particle size and particle number by NMR spectroscopy in 2024 individuals from 512 British Caucasian families. Genotypes were 49,094 SNPs in >2,100 cardiometabolic candidate genes/loci as represented on the HumanCVD BeadChip version 2. False discovery rates (FDR) were calculated to account for multiple testing. Analyses on classical HDL-C revealed significant associations (FDR<0.05) only for CETP (cholesteryl ester transfer protein; lead SNP rs3764261: p = 5.6*10−15) and SGCD (sarcoglycan delta; rs6877118: p = 8.6*10−6). In contrast, analysis with HDL mean particle size yielded additional associations in LIPC (hepatic lipase; rs261332: p = 6.1*10−9), PLTP (phospholipid transfer protein, rs4810479: p = 1.7*10−8) and FBLN5 (fibulin-5; rs2246416: p = 6.2*10−6). The associations of SGCD and Fibulin-5 with HDL particle size could not be replicated in PROCARDIS (n = 3,078) and/or the Women's Genome Health Study (n = 23,170).
Conclusions
We show that refined HDL phenotyping by NMR spectroscopy can detect known genes of HDL metabolism better than analyses on HDL-C.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014529
PMCID: PMC3024972  PMID: 21283740
8.  A genome-wide meta-analysis identifies 22 loci associated with eight hematological parameters in the HaemGen consortium 
Soranzo, Nicole | Spector, Tim D | Mangino, Massimo | Kühnel, Brigitte | Rendon, Augusto | Teumer, Alexander | Willenborg, Christina | Wright, Benjamin | Chen, Li | Li, Mingyao | Salo, Perttu | Voight, Benjamin F | Burns, Philippa | Laskowski, Roman A | Xue, Yali | Menzel, Stephan | Altshuler, David | Bradley, John R | Bumpstead, Suzannah | Burnett, Mary-Susan | Devaney, Joseph | Döring, Angela | Elosua, Roberto | Epstein, Stephen | Erber, Wendy | Falchi, Mario | Garner, Stephen F | Ghori, Mohammed J R | Goodall, Alison H | Gwilliam, Rhian | Hakonarson, Hakon H | Hall, Alistair S | Hammond, Naomi | Hengstenberg, Christian | Illig, Thomas | König, Inke R | Knouff, Christopher W | McPherson, Ruth | Melander, Olle | Mooser, Vincent | Nauck, Matthias | Nieminen, Markku S | O’Donnell, Christopher J | Peltonen, Leena | Potter, Simon C | Prokisch, Holger | Rader, Daniel J | Rice, Catherine M | Roberts, Robert | Salomaa, Veikko | Sambrook, Jennifer | Schreiber, Stefan | Schunkert, Heribert | Schwartz, Stephen M | Serbanovic-Canic, Jovana | Sinisalo, Juha | Siscovick, David S. | Stark, Klaus | Surakka, Ida | Stephens, Jonathan | Thompson, John R | Völker, Uwe | Völzke, Henry | Watkins, Nicholas A | Wells, George A | Wichmann, H-Erich | Van Heel, David A | Tyler-Smith, Chris | Thein, Swee Lay | Kathiresan, Sekar | Perola, Markus | Reilly, Muredach P | Stewart, Alexandre F R | Erdmann, Jeanette | Samani, Nilesh J | Meisinger, Christa | Greinacher, Andreas | Deloukas, Panos | Ouwehand, Willem H | Gieger, Christian
Nature genetics  2009;41(11):1182-1190.
The number and volume of cells in the blood affect a wide range of disorders including cancer and cardiovascular, metabolic, infectious and immune conditions. We consider here the genetic variation in eight clinically relevant hematological parameters, including hemoglobin levels, red and white blood cell counts and platelet counts and volume. We describe common variants within 22 genetic loci reproducibly associated with these hematological parameters in 13,943 samples from six European population-based studies, including 6 associated with red blood cell parameters, 15 associated with platelet parameters and 1 associated with total white blood cell count. We further identified a long-range haplotype at 12q24 associated with coronary artery disease in 9,479 cases and 10,527 controls. We show that this haplotype demonstrates extensive disease pleiotropy, as it contains known risk loci for type 1 diabetes, hypertension and celiac disease and has been spread by a selective sweep specific to European and geographically nearby populations.
doi:10.1038/ng.467
PMCID: PMC3108459  PMID: 19820697
9.  Fine-Mapping in African Americans of Eight Recently Discovered Genetic Loci for Plasma Lipids: The Jackson Heart Study 
Background
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.109.914267
PMCID: PMC3074173  PMID: 20570916
lipids; genetics; epidemiology; risk factors
10.  Hematological Parameters and Metabolic Syndrome: Findings from an Occupational Cohort in Ethiopia 
Diabetes & metabolic syndrome  2012;6(1):22-27.
Objective
To examine associations between hematological parameters (i.e., hemoglobin, hematocrit, platelet counts, red blood cell (RBC), and white blood cell (WBC) counts) and components of metabolic syndrome (MetS) among working adults in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Methods
Participants were 1,868 (1,131 men and 737 women) working Ethiopian adults. MetS was classified according to the International Diabetes Federation criterion. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) of MetS were calculated using logistic regression procedures.
Results
Hematologic parameters (hemoglobin, hematocrit, and RBC) were positively associated with MetS components (Ptrend<0.05).In both men and women, white blood cell (WBC) counts were positively associated with BMI and waist circumference (P<0.05). RBC counts were associated with diastolic blood pressure in men (P<0.05) and women (P<0.001). Men in the third quartile of hemoglobin concentrations had 2-fold increased odds (OR=1.99; 95% CI) of MetS compared with the lowest reference quartile (Ptrend = 0.031) while women in the fourth hemoglobin quartile had 2.37-fold increased odds of having MetS compared with the reference group (ptrend = 0.003). Both men and women in the fourth quartiles of RBC counts had2.26-fold and 3.44-foldincreased odds of MetS (P=0.002 in men, P <0.001 in women). Among women, those in the fourth quartiles of hematocrit and platelet counts had2.53-fold and 2.01-foldincreased odds of MetS as compared with those in the reference group (Ptrend = 0.004 and 0.065 respectively).
Conclusions
Our study findings provide evidence in support of using hematological markers for early detection of individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease.
doi:10.1016/j.dsx.2012.05.009
PMCID: PMC3460271  PMID: 23014250
11.  Candidate Gene Association Resource (CARe): Design, Methods, and Proof of Concept 
Background
. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Candidate Gene Association Resource (CARe), a planned cross-cohort analysis of genetic variation in cardiovascular, pulmonary, hematological, and sleep-related traits, comprises more than 40,000 participants representing four ethnic groups in nine community-based cohorts. The goals of CARe include the discovery of new variants associated with traits using a candidate gene approach and the discovery of new variants using the genome-wide association mapping approach specifically in African Americans.
Methods and Results
. CARe has assembled DNA samples for more than 40,000 individuals self-identified as European-American, African-American, Hispanic, or Chinese-American, with accompanying data on hundreds of phenotypes that have been standardized and deposited in the CARe Phenotype Database. All participants were genotyped for seven single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) selected based on prior association evidence. We performed association analyses relating each of these SNPs to lipid traits, stratified by gender and ethnicity and adjusted for age and age2. In at least two of the ethnic groups, SNPs near CETP, LIPC, and LPL strongly replicated for association with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations, PCSK9 with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and LPL and APOA5 with serum triglycerides. Notably, some SNPs showed varying effect sizes and significance of association in different ethnic groups.
Conclusions
. The CARe Pilot Study validates the operational framework for phenotype collection, SNP genotyping, and analytical pipeline of the CARe project and validates the planned candidate gene study of ~2,000 biologic candidate loci in all participants and genome-wide association study in ~8,000 African-American participants. CARe will serve as a valuable resource for the scientific community.
doi:10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.109.882696
PMCID: PMC3048024  PMID: 20400780
Genetics; lipids; diabetes; blood pressure; epidemiology
12.  Genetic Loci Implicated in Erythroid Differentiation and Cell Cycle Regulation Are Associated With Red Blood Cell Traits 
Mayo Clinic Proceedings  2012;87(5):461-474.
Objective
To identify common genetic variants influencing red blood cell (RBC) traits.
Patients and Methods
We performed a genomewide association study from June 2008 through July 2011 of hemoglobin, hematocrit, RBC count, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration in 12,486 patients of European ancestry from the electronic MEdical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) network. We developed an electronic medical record–based algorithm that included individuals who had RBC measurements obtained for clinical care and excluded values measured in the setting of hematopoietic disorders, comorbid conditions, or medications known to affect RBC production or a recent history of blood loss.
Results
We identified 4 new genetic loci and replicated 11 loci previously reported to be associated with one or more RBC traits in individuals of European ancestry. Notably, genes present in 3 of the 4 newly identified loci (THRB, PTPLAD1, CDT1) and in 6 of the 11 replicated loci (KLF1, ALDH8A1, CCND3, SPTA1, FBXO7, TFR2/EPO) are implicated in erythroid differentiation and regulation of cell cycle in hematopoietic stem cells.
Conclusion
Genes in the erythroid differentiation and cell cycle regulation pathways influence interindividual variation in RBC indices. Our results provide insights into the molecular basis underlying variation in RBC traits.
doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2012.01.016
PMCID: PMC3538470  PMID: 22560525
eMERGE, electronic MEdical Records and GEnomics; EMMAX, mixed-model association-expedited; EMR, electronic medical record; eQTL, expression quantitative trait locus; GHC, Group Health Cooperative--University of Washington; GWAS, genomewide association study; HCT, hematocrit; HGB, hemoglobin; IBS, identity-by-state; LD, linkage disequilibrium; MC, Marshfield Clinic; MCH, mean corpuscular hemoglobin; MCHC, mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration; MCV, mean corpuscular volume; MIM, Mendelian Inheritance of Man; NU, Northwestern University; RBC, red blood cell; SNP, single-nucleotide polymorphism; VUMC, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
13.  QTLs for murine red blood cell parameters in LG/J and SM/J F2 and advanced intercross lines 
Mammalian Genome  2012;23(5-6):356-366.
Red blood cells are essential for oxygen transport and other physiologic processes. Red cell characteristics are typically determined by complete blood counts which measure parameters such as hemoglobin levels and mean corpuscular volumes; these parameters reflect the quality and quantity of red cells in the circulation at any particular moment. To identify the genetic determinants of red cell parameters, we performed genome-wide association analysis on LG/J × SM/J F2 and F34 advanced intercross lines using single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping and a novel algorithm for mapping in the combined populations. We identified significant quantitative trait loci for red cell parameters on chromosomes 6, 7, 8, 10, 12 and 17; our use of advanced intercross lines reduced the quantitative trait loci interval width from 1.6- to 9.4-fold. Using genomic sequences of LG/J and SM/J mice, we identified non-synonymous coding single nucleotide polymorphisms in candidate genes residing within quantitative trait loci and performed sequence alignments and molecular modeling to gauge the potential impact of amino acid substitutions. These results should aid in the identification of genes critical for red cell physiology and metabolism and demonstrate the utility of advanced intercross lines in uncovering genetic determinants of inherited traits.
doi:10.1007/s00335-012-9393-3
PMCID: PMC3358495  PMID: 22322356
14.  Quantitative trait locus linkage analysis in a large Amish pedigree identifies novel candidate loci for erythrocyte traits 
We characterized a large Amish pedigree and, in 384 pedigree members, analyzed the genetic variance components with covariate screen as well as genome-wide quantitative trait locus (QTL) linkage analysis of red blood cell count (RBC), hemoglobin (HB), hematocrit (HCT), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC), red cell distribution width (RDW), platelet count (PLT), and white blood cell count (WBC) using SOLAR. Age and gender were found to be significant covariates in many CBC traits. We obtained significant heritability estimates for RBC, MCV, MCH, MCHC, RDW, PLT, and WBC. We report four candidate loci with Logarithm of the odds (LOD) scores above 2.0: 6q25 (MCH), 9q33 (WBC), 10p12 (RDW), and 20q13 (MCV). We also report eleven candidate loci with LOD scores between 1.5 and <2.0. Bivariate linkage analysis of MCV and MCH on chromosome 20 resulted in a higher maximum LOD score of 3.14. Linkage signals on chromosomes 4q28, 6p22, 6q25, and 20q13 are concomitant with previously reported QTL. All other linkage signals reported herein represent novel evidence of candidate QTL. Interestingly rs1800562, the most common causal variant of hereditary hemochromatosis in HFE (6p22) was associated with MCH and MCHC in this family. Linkage studies like the one presented here will allow investigators to focus the search for rare variants amidst the noise encountered in the large amounts of data generated by whole-genome sequencing.
doi:10.1002/mgg3.16
PMCID: PMC3775389  PMID: 24058921
Amish; erythrocytes; linkage; QTL
15.  Combined admixture mapping and association analysis identifies a novel blood pressure genetic locus on 5p13: contributions from the CARe consortium 
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;20(11):2285-2295.
Admixture mapping based on recently admixed populations is a powerful method to detect disease variants with substantial allele frequency differences in ancestral populations. We performed admixture mapping analysis for systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP), followed by trait-marker association analysis, in 6303 unrelated African-American participants of the Candidate Gene Association Resource (CARe) consortium. We identified five genomic regions (P< 0.001) harboring genetic variants contributing to inter-individual BP variation. In follow-up association analyses, correcting for all tests performed in this study, three loci were significantly associated with SBP and one significantly associated with DBP (P< 10−5). Further analyses suggested that six independent single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) contributed to the phenotypic variation observed in the admixture mapping analysis. These six SNPs were examined for replication in multiple, large, independent studies of African-Americans [Women's Health Initiative (WHI), Maywood, Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy (GENOA) and Howard University Family Study (HUFS)] as well as one native African sample (Nigerian study), with a total replication sample size of 11 882. Meta-analysis of the replication set identified a novel variant (rs7726475) on chromosome 5 between the SUB1 and NPR3 genes, as being associated with SBP and DBP (P< 0.0015 for both); in meta-analyses combining the CARe samples with the replication data, we observed P-values of 4.45 × 10−7 for SBP and 7.52 × 10−7 for DBP for rs7726475 that were significant after accounting for all the tests performed. Our study highlights that admixture mapping analysis can help identify genetic variants missed by genome-wide association studies because of drastically reduced number of tests in the whole genome.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddr113
PMCID: PMC3090198  PMID: 21422096
16.  DARC alleles and Duffy phenotypes in African Americans 
Transfusion  2011;52(6):1260-1267.
Background
The DARC (Duffy blood group, chemokine receptor) gene encodes for a transmembrane glycoprotein that functions as a chemokine transporter, is a receptor for Plasmodium vivax and knowlesi, and expresses the Duffy blood group antigens (Fy). The Fy(a−b−) phenotype found in people of African descent is typically associated with a −67t>c mutation in the 5′ untranslated region (UTR), which prevents red blood cells being invaded by Plasmodium vivax and knowlesi. The aim of this study was to establish DARC allele frequencies in an African American blood donor cohort, determine a phylogenetic tree for DARC, and compare human and Neandertal DARC genes.
Methods
The DARC nucleotide sequence of 54 African American blood donors was determined from genomic DNA. Heterozygous substitutions were resolved by sequencing of haplotype specific amplifications. A phylogenetic tree for DARC was established using the neighbor-joining method with Pan troglodytes as root.
Results
108 haplotypes of the DARC gene could be unambiguously determined from nucleotide position −300 in the 5′ UTR to +300 in the 3′ UTR. 11 different alleles were found, including the clinically relevant FY*A, FY*B, FY*B-67C, FY*B298A, and FY*X alleles. All phenotype predictions based on genotypes matched exactly the serologically determined phenotypes: 52% Fy(a−b−), 28% Fy(a−b+), and 20% Fy(a+b−).
Conclusions
The nucleotide sequencing approach using one amplicon is a practical genotyping method for DARC and allows the determination of haplotypes even in heterozygous constellations. We developed a phylogenetic tree for DARC alleles and postulated a distinct FY*B allele as ancestral for the extant DARC alleles in humans.
doi:10.1111/j.1537-2995.2011.03431.x
PMCID: PMC3374024  PMID: 22082243
17.  Association between the ABO locus and hematological traits in Korean 
BMC Genetics  2012;13:78.
Background
Recently, genome-wide association studies identified a pleiotropic gene locus, ABO, as being significantly associated with hematological traits. To confirm the effects of ABO on hematological traits, we examined the link between the ABO locus and hematological traits in Korean population-based cohorts.
Results
Six tagging SNPs for ABO were analyzed with regard to their effects on hematological traits [white blood cell count (WBC), red blood cell count (RBC), platelet (Plat), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), and mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration (MCHC)]. Linear regression analyses were performed, controlling for recruitment center, sex, and age as covariates. Of the 6 tagging SNPs, 3 (rs2073823, rs8176720, and rs495828) and 3 (rs2073823, rs8176717, and rs687289) were significantly associated with RBC and MCV, respectively (Bonferroni correction p-value criteria < 0.05/6 = 0.008). rs2073823 and a reported SNP (rs8176746), as well as rs495828 and a reported SNP (rs651007), showed perfect linkage disequilibrium status (r2s = 0.99). Of the remaining 3 SNPs (rs8176720, rs8176717 and rs687289), rs8176717 generated an independent signal with moderate p-value (= 0.045) when it was adjusted for by rs2073823 (the most significant SNP). We also identified a copy number variation (CNV) that was tagged by the SNP rs8176717, the minor allele of which correlated with the deletion allele of CNV. Our haplotype analysis indicated that the haplotype that contained the CNV deletion was significantly associated with MCV (β ± se = 0.363 ± 0.118, p =2.09 × 10-3).
Conclusions
Our findings confirm that ABO is one of the genetic factors that are associated with hematological traits in the Korean population. This result is notable, because GWASs fail to evaluate the link between a CNV and phenotype traits.
doi:10.1186/1471-2156-13-78
PMCID: PMC3472170  PMID: 22963146
ABO; GWAS; CNV; Hematological trait; Korean
18.  On the association of common and rare genetic variation influencing body mass index: a combined SNP and CNV analysis 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):368.
Background
As the architecture of complex traits incorporates a widening spectrum of genetic variation, analyses integrating common and rare variation are needed. Body mass index (BMI) represents a model trait, since common variation shows robust association but accounts for a fraction of the heritability. A combined analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and copy number variation (CNV) was performed using 1850 European and 498 African-Americans from the Study of Addiction: Genetics and Environment. Genetic risk sum scores (GRSS) were constructed using 32 BMI-validated SNPs and aggregate-risk methods were compared: count versus weighted and proxy versus imputation.
Results
The weighted SNP-GRSS constructed from imputed probabilities of risk alleles performed best and was highly associated with BMI (p = 4.3×10−16) accounting for 3% of the phenotypic variance. In addition to BMI-validated SNPs, common and rare BMI/obesity-associated CNVs were identified from the literature. Of the 84 CNVs previously reported, only 21-kilobase deletions on 16p12.3 showed evidence for association with BMI (p = 0.003, frequency = 16.9%), with two CNVs nominally associated with class II obesity, 1p36.1 duplications (OR = 3.1, p = 0.009, frequency 1.2%) and 5q13.2 deletions (OR = 1.5, p = 0.048, frequency 7.7%). All other CNVs, individually and in aggregate, were not associated with BMI or obesity. The combined model, including covariates, SNP-GRSS, and 16p12.3 deletion accounted for 11.5% of phenotypic variance in BMI (3.2% from genetic effects). Models significantly predicted obesity classification with maximum discriminative ability for morbid-obesity (p = 3.15×10−18).
Conclusion
Results show that incorporating validated effect sizes and allelic probabilities improve prediction algorithms. Although rare-CNVs did not account for significant phenotypic variation, results provide a framework for integrated analyses.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-368) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-368
PMCID: PMC4035084  PMID: 24884913
Body mass index; Obesity; Genome-wide association; Copy number variation; Risk prediction; Polygenic score; FTO; MC4R
19.  Influence of host genetics on the severity of coccidioidomycosis. 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  1999;5(5):672-680.
Coccidioidomycosis, a mild flulike illness in approximately 40% of infected persons, progresses to severe pulmonary or disseminated disease in 1% to 10% of symptomatic cases. We examined host genetic influences on disease severity among class II HLA loci and the ABO blood group. Participants included African-American, Caucasian, and Hispanic persons with mild or severe disseminated coccidioidomycosis from Kern County, California. Among Hispanics, predisposition to symptomatic disease and severe disseminated disease is associated with blood types A and B, respectively. The HLA class II DRB1*1301 allele marks a pre-disposition to severe disseminated disease in each of the three groups. Reduced risk for severe disease is associated with DRB1*0301-DQB1*0201 among Caucasians and Hispanics and with DRB1*1501-DQB1*0602 among African-Americans. These data support the hypothesis that host genes, in particular HLA class II and the ABO blood group, influence susceptibility to severe coccidioidomycosis.
PMCID: PMC2627717  PMID: 10511523
20.  Comparative Hematoxicity of Fusirium Mycotoxin in Experimental Sprague-Dawley Rats 
Toxicology International  2013;20(1):25-29.
Mycotoxins are fungal toxin and contaminated to human through food-stuffs. Hematological abnormality, mainly thrombocytopenia and leukopenia are induced after consumption of mycotoxin. Experiments were conducted to evaluate the hematotoxicity of trichothecenes mycotoxins in Sprague-Dawley rats. Hematological parameters viz. Hemoglobin, hematocrit, erythrocyte count (RBC), white blood cell count (WBC), lymphocytes, monocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration, red blood cell distribution width, mean platelet volume, plateletcrit and platelet distribution width were determined at 0, 6, 12 and 24 h after injection of 0.5 ml of T-2, Deoxynivalenol (DON), nivalenol, zearalenone, neosolaniol, ochratoxin-B mycotoxin equivalent to 1 × 10-3 μg/μl to Sprague-Dawley rats. Experiments showed that trichothecenes toxin produces severe hematological alternation. The reductions of RBC and WBC were observed in all Fusarium mycotoxins treated group. T-2 toxin group shows severe toxicity as compared to other mycotoxin treated group. DON is the least hematotoxicity and T-2 the most.
doi:10.4103/0971-6580.111552
PMCID: PMC3702123  PMID: 23833434
Hematotoxicity; mycotoxins; Sprague-Dawley rats
21.  Genetic and Lifestyle Variables Associated with Homocysteine Concentrations and the Distribution of Folate Derivatives in Healthy Premenopausal Women 
Background
Low folate and high homocysteine (Hcy) concentrations are associated with pregnancy-related pathologies such as spina bifida. Polymorphisms in folate/Hcy metabolic enzymes may contribute to this potentially pathogenic biochemical phenotype.
Methods
The study comprised 26 Caucasian and 23 African-American premenopausal women. Subjects gave fasting blood samples for biochemical phenotyping and genotyping. Total Hcy (tHcy) and both plasma and red blood cell (RBC) folate derivatives [i.e. tetrahydrofolate (THF), 5-methylTHF (5-MTHF), and 5,10-methenylTHF (5,10-MTHF)] were measured using stable isotope dilution liquid chromatography, multiple reaction monitoring, mass spectrometry. Eleven polymorphisms from nine folate/Hcy pathway genes were genotyped. Tests of association between genetic, lifestyle, and biochemical variables were applied.
Results
In African American women, tHcy concentrations were associated (p<0.05) with total RBC folate, RBC 5-MTHF, B12, and polymorphisms in methionine synthase (MTR) and thymidylate synthase (TYMS). In Caucasian women, tHcy concentrations were not associated with total folate levels, but were associated (p<0.05) with RBC THF, ratios of RBC 5-MTHF: THF, and polymorphisms in 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) and MTR . In African Americans, folate derivative levels were associated with smoking, B12, and polymorphisms in MTR, TYMS, methionine synthase reductase (MTRR), and reduced folate carrier1 (RFC1). In Caucasians, folate derivative levels were associated with vitamin use, B12, and polymorphisms in MTHFR, TYMS, and RFC1.
Conclusions
Polymorphisms in the folate/Hcy pathway are associated with tHcy and folate derivative levels. In African American and Caucasian women, different factors are associated with folate/Hcy phenotypes and may contribute to race-specific differences in the risks of a range of pregnancy-related pathologies.
doi:10.1002/bdra.20683
PMCID: PMC4051228  PMID: 20544798
Genetics; folate; homocysteine; women; reproductive age; spina bifida risk
22.  Assessment of Iron Status and Red Cell Parameters in Healthy Full Term Small for Gestational Age Neonates at Birth 
Journal of Clinical Neonatology  2013;2(3):121-124.
Background:
Hematological values of the newborn babies vary according to the gestational age and intrauterine growth.
Objective:
The objective of this study is to compare the iron status and red cell parameters in healthy term small for gestational age (SGA) and appropriate for gestational age (AGA) neonates.
Materials and Methods:
A prospective hospital based study was conducted in a tertiary care teaching institution of central India. 50 AGA and 50 SGA neonates were included in the study and serum iron, serum ferritin and red cell parameters (hemoglobin (Hb), red blood cell (RBC) count and hematocrit (Hct), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), means corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) and red cell distribution width (RDW]) were estimated within 24 h of birth.
Results:
Serum ferritin levels were significantly low in SGA neonates as compared with AGA (mean 103 vs. 158 ng/ml; P=0.001) neonates. In SGA neonates, mean values of Hb (P=0.001), RBC count (P=0.018) and Hct (P=0.005) were significantly higher than in AGA neonates. Higher values of RDW and MCV were seen in SGA group in comparison with AGA neonates. Similarly, lower values of serum iron, MCH and MCHC were seen in the same group; although, these were non-significant.
Conclusion:
Despite higher Hb content, SGA neonates are deficient in iron store at birth as indicated by lower serum ferritin levels in them and early iron supplementation should be considered in them.
doi:10.4103/2249-4847.119995
PMCID: PMC3830146  PMID: 24251255
Complete blood count; serum ferritin; serum iron; term appropriate for gestational age neonate; term small for gestational age neonates
23.  Reduced Neutrophil Count in People of African Descent Is Due To a Regulatory Variant in the Duffy Antigen Receptor for Chemokines Gene 
PLoS Genetics  2009;5(1):e1000360.
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.
Author Summary
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000360
PMCID: PMC2628742  PMID: 19180233
24.  Hematological profile of East African short-horn zebu calves from birth to 51 weeks of age 
Comparative Clinical Pathology  2012;22:1029-1036.
This paper is the first attempt to accurately describe the hematological parameters for any African breed of cattle, by capturing the changes in these parameters over the first 12 months of an animal’s life using a population-based sample of calves reared under field conditions and natural disease challenge. Using a longitudinal study design, a stratified clustered random sample of newborn calves was recruited into the IDEAL study and monitored at 5-weekly intervals until 51 weeks of age. The blood cell analysis performed at each visit included: packed cell volume; red cell count; red cell distribution width; mean corpuscular volume; mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration; hemoglobin concentration; white cell count; absolute lymphocyte, eosinophil, monocyte, and neutrophil counts; platelet count; mean platelet volume; and total serum protein. The most significant age-related change in the red cell parameters was a rise in red cell count and hemoglobin concentration during the neonatal period. This is in contrast to what is reported for other ruminants, including European cattle breeds where the neonatal period is marked by a fall in the red cell parameters. There is a need to establish breed-specific reference ranges for blood parameters for indigenous cattle breeds. The possible role of the postnatal rise in the red cell parameters in the adaptability to environmental constraints and innate disease resistance warrants further research into the dynamics of blood cell parameters of these breeds.
doi:10.1007/s00580-012-1522-6
PMCID: PMC3765850  PMID: 24032003
Hematology; East African; Zebu; Calves; Longitudinal study
25.  Association of Variants at BCL11A and HBS1L-MYB with Hemoglobin F and Hospitalization Rates among Sickle Cell Patients in Cameroon 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92506.
Background
Genetic variation at loci influencing adult levels of HbF have been shown to modify the clinical course of sickle cell disease (SCD). Data on this important aspect of SCD have not yet been reported from West Africa. We investigated the relationship between HbF levels and the relevant genetic loci in 610 patients with SCD (98% HbSS homozygotes) from Cameroon, and compared the results to a well-characterized African-American cohort.
Methods and Findings
Socio-demographic and clinical features were collected and medical records reviewed. Only patients >5 years old, who had not received a blood transfusion or treatment with hydroxyurea were included. Hemoglobin electrophoresis and a full blood count were conducted upon arrival at the hospital. RFLP-PCR was used to describe the HBB gene haplotypes. SNaPshot PCR, Capillary electrophoresis and cycle sequencing were used for the genotyping of 10 selected SNPs. Genetic analysis was performed with PLINK software and statistical models in the statistical package R. Allele frequencies of relevant variants at BCL11A were similar to those detected in African Americans; although the relationships with Hb F were significant (p <.001), they explained substantially less of the variance in HbF than was observed among African Americans (∼ 2% vs 10%). SNPs in HBS1L-MYB region (HMIP) likewise had a significant impact on HbF, however, we did not find an association between HbF and the variations in HBB cluster and OR51B5/6 locus on chromosome 11p, due in part to the virtual absence of the Senegal and Indian Arab haplotypes. We also found evidence that selected SNPs in HBS1L-MYB region (HMIP) and BCL11A affect both other hematological indices and rates of hospitalization.
Conclusions
This study has confirmed the associations of SNPs in BCL11A and HBS1L-MYB and fetal haemoglobin in Cameroonian SCA patients; hematological indices and hospitalization rates were also associated with specific allelic variants.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0092506
PMCID: PMC3965431  PMID: 24667352

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