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.
red blood cell (RBC) traits; genome-wide association study; African-Americans; natural selection; informatics; electronic medical record
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.
Mouse Genetic Resource; Mouse Collaborative Cross; hematology; hemoglobin β; mean red cell volume; QTL; mouse genetics; complex traits; shared ancestry
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Our results demonstrate feasibility of using the EMR to conduct high throughput genomic studies of medically relevant quantitative traits.
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.
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).
We show that refined HDL phenotyping by NMR spectroscopy can detect known genes of HDL metabolism better than analyses on HDL-C.
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
Our study findings provide evidence in support of using hematological markers for early detection of individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease.
. 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.
. 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.
Genetics; lipids; diabetes; blood pressure; epidemiology
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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−).
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.
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.
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).
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.
ABO; GWAS; CNV; Hematological trait; Korean
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.
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.
Hematotoxicity; mycotoxins; Sprague-Dawley rats
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.
Hematology; East African; Zebu; Calves; Longitudinal study
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.
Clozapine use has been notably lower in African American patients than in Caucasians. It has been suggested that lower normal ranges for white blood cell (WBC) counts in African Americans, known as benign ethnic neutropenia, may account partially for the disparity. We examined the rates of leucopenia and agranulocytosis as reasons for discontinuation of clozapine in a sample of 1875 patients with schizophrenia treated in the State of Maryland. Between 1989 and 1999, 5.3% (31/588) of African Americans and 2.4% (31/1287) of Caucasians discontinued clozapine treatment due to leucopenia (chi square = 10.35, df = 1, P = 0.001). No African American patients developed agranulocytosis while 8 Caucasian patients (0.62%) developed this blood dyscrasia. Discontinuations due to leucopenia occurred throughout treatment. Discontinuations due to agranulocytosis occurred primarily in the first 18 weeks (7/8; 87.5% patients with agranulocytosis). It is likely that African Americans had clozapine discontinued unnecessarily due to benign ethnic neutropenia. We concur with recent recommendations to acknowledge differences in WBC values in African Americans and to modify prescribing guidelines or formally acknowledge benign ethnic leucopenia like in other countries in order to facilitate greater use of clozapine in these patients.
clozapine; white blood cells; eucopenia; agranulocytosis; benign ethnic neutropenia; race
Total white blood cell (WBC) and neutrophil counts are lower among individuals of African descent due to the common African-derived “null” variant of the Duffy Antigen Receptor for Chemokines (DARC) gene. Additional common genetic polymorphisms were recently associated with total WBC and WBC sub-type levels in European and Japanese populations. No additional loci that account for WBC variability have been identified in African Americans. In order to address this, we performed a large genome-wide association study (GWAS) of total WBC and cell subtype counts in 16,388 African-American participants from 7 population-based cohorts available in the Continental Origins and Genetic Epidemiology Network. In addition to the DARC locus on chromosome 1q23, we identified two other regions (chromosomes 4q13 and 16q22) associated with WBC in African Americans (P<2.5×10−8). The lead SNP (rs9131) on chromosome 4q13 is located in the CXCL2 gene, which encodes a chemotactic cytokine for polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Independent evidence of the novel CXCL2 association with WBC was present in 3,551 Hispanic Americans, 14,767 Japanese, and 19,509 European Americans. The index SNP (rs12149261) on chromosome 16q22 associated with WBC count is located in a large inter-chromosomal segmental duplication encompassing part of the hydrocephalus inducing homolog (HYDIN) gene. We demonstrate that the chromosome 16q22 association finding is most likely due to a genotyping artifact as a consequence of sequence similarity between duplicated regions on chromosomes 16q22 and 1q21. Among the WBC loci recently identified in European or Japanese populations, replication was observed in our African-American meta-analysis for rs445 of CDK6 on chromosome 7q21 and rs4065321 of PSMD3-CSF3 region on chromosome 17q21. In summary, the CXCL2, CDK6, and PSMD3-CSF3 regions are associated with WBC count in African American and other populations. We also demonstrate that large inter-chromosomal duplications can result in false positive associations in GWAS.
Although recent genome-wide association studies have identified common genetic variants associated with total white blood cell (WBC) and WBC sub-type counts in European and Japanese ancestry populations, whether these or other loci account for differences in WBC count among African Americans is unknown. By examining >16,000 African Americans, we show that, in addition to the previously identified Duffy Antigen Receptor for Chemokines (DARC) locus on chromosome 1, another variant, rs9131, and other nearby variants on human chromosome 4 are associated with total WBC count in African Americans. The variants span the CXCL2 gene, which encodes an inflammatory mediator involved in WBC production and migration. We show that the association is not restricted to African Americans but is also present in independent samples of European Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Japanese. This finding is potentially important because WBC mediate or have altered counts in a variety of acute and chronic disorders.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) has a significant genetic contribution that is incompletely characterized. To complement genome-wide association (GWA) studies, we conducted a large and systematic candidate gene study of CAD susceptibility, including analysis of many uncommon and functional variants. We examined 49,094 genetic variants in ∼2,100 genes of cardiovascular relevance, using a customised gene array in 15,596 CAD cases and 34,992 controls (11,202 cases and 30,733 controls of European descent; 4,394 cases and 4,259 controls of South Asian origin). We attempted to replicate putative novel associations in an additional 17,121 CAD cases and 40,473 controls. Potential mechanisms through which the novel variants could affect CAD risk were explored through association tests with vascular risk factors and gene expression. We confirmed associations of several previously known CAD susceptibility loci (eg, 9p21.3:p<10−33; LPA:p<10−19; 1p13.3:p<10−17) as well as three recently discovered loci (COL4A1/COL4A2, ZC3HC1, CYP17A1:p<5×10−7). However, we found essentially null results for most previously suggested CAD candidate genes. In our replication study of 24 promising common variants, we identified novel associations of variants in or near LIPA, IL5, TRIB1, and ABCG5/ABCG8, with per-allele odds ratios for CAD risk with each of the novel variants ranging from 1.06–1.09. Associations with variants at LIPA, TRIB1, and ABCG5/ABCG8 were supported by gene expression data or effects on lipid levels. Apart from the previously reported variants in LPA, none of the other ∼4,500 low frequency and functional variants showed a strong effect. Associations in South Asians did not differ appreciably from those in Europeans, except for 9p21.3 (per-allele odds ratio: 1.14 versus 1.27 respectively; P for heterogeneity = 0.003). This large-scale gene-centric analysis has identified several novel genes for CAD that relate to diverse biochemical and cellular functions and clarified the literature with regard to many previously suggested genes.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) has a strong genetic basis that remains poorly characterised. Using a custom-designed array, we tested the association with CAD of almost 50,000 common and low frequency variants in ∼2,000 genes of known or suspected cardiovascular relevance. We genotyped the array in 15,596 CAD cases and 34,992 controls (11,202 cases and 30,733 controls of European descent; 4,394 cases and 4,259 controls of South Asian origin) and attempted to replicate putative novel associations in an additional 17,121 CAD cases and 40,473 controls. We report the novel association of variants in or near four genes with CAD and in additional studies identify potential mechanisms by which some of these novel variants affect CAD risk. Interestingly, we found that these variants, as well as the majority of previously reported CAD variants, have similar associations in Europeans and South Asians. Contrary to prior expectations, many previously suggested candidate genes did not show evidence of any effect on CAD risk, and neither did we identify any novel low frequency alleles with strong effects amongst the genes tested. Discovery of novel genes associated with heart disease may help to further understand the aetiology of cardiovascular disease and identify new targets for therapeutic interventions.
This study was conducted to provide basic data on physiological and hematological characteristics, and organ weights of beagle dogs. A total of 237 beagle dogs were used to determine differences in physiological and hematological parameters, and organ weights depending on sex and age. The respiratory rate of both sexes tended to increase as they grew older and the female heart rate was slightly higher than that of males. Male and female body weights increased rapidly to 33 weeks old followed by a gradual increase to 41-weeks-old. The relative weight of the brain was negatively correlated with body weight, whereas the weight of reproductive organs was positively correlated with body weight. The platelet count of female dogs was slightly higher than that of males. The red blood cell, hemoglobin, and hematocrit of both sexes increased non-significantly with age. In the leukocyte differential count, the neutrophils, and eosinophils of both sexes tended to increase as they grew older, whereas basophils, lymphocytes, and monocytes decreased. In the serum biochemical profiles, alkaline phosphatase was slightly higher in males than females, while the total cholesterol of female dogs at 9-months-old was higher than that of males at the same age. Other biochemical components, including alanine aminotransferase, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, triglyceride, and total protein increased non-significantly with age in both sexes. To conclude, we observe no significant physiological or hematological differences with sex or age, although decreasing and increasing trends were detected with some parameters. These data provide valuable reference indices of the normal physiological and hematological characteristics of beagle dogs, which should prove useful in toxicological and pharmacological studies.
Physiology; hematology; serum biochemistry; age; organ weight; beagle dog
The role of inflammation is being considered in chronic diseases. Previous studies have examined SNPs in a few key inflammatory genes and have included small numbers of African American participants. Variation in the frequencies of inflammatory pathway SNPs may help to explain racial disparities in disease risk. Through a population-based study of 103 African American and 380 Caucasian unrelated, healthy women, we examined the relationships between race and allele frequencies of 70 cytokine and cytokine receptor SNPs. The associations between genotypic and haplotype frequencies and race were also analyzed. Allelic frequencies for 52 out of the 70 SNPs meeting criteria for analysis differed significantly by race. Of the 32 pro-inflammatory and 20 anti-inflammatory SNPs for which the allele frequencies varied significantly by race, variant allele frequency differences between Caucasians and African Americans ranged between 6%–37% and 7%–53% for pro-inflammatory SNPs and anti-inflammatory SNPs, respectively. Our findings suggest that while allele frequencies do vary by race, racial groups are not simplistically represented by a pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory genetic profile. Given the racial variability in allele frequencies in inflammatory gene SNPs, studies examining the association between these SNPs and disease should at least incorporate self-reported race in their analyses.
Cytokines; SNPs; Racial Differences; Women
Nitric oxide (NO) is highly reactive, produced in endothelial cells by endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) and has been implicated in sickle cell pathophysiology. We evaluated the distribution of functionally significant eNOS variants (the T786C variant in the promoter region, the Glu298Asp variant in exon 7, and the variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) in intron 4) in Africans, African Americans and Caucasians. The C-786 variant was more common in Caucasians than in Africans and African Americans. Consistent with other findings, the Asp-298 variant had the highest frequency in Caucasians followed by African Americans, but was completely absent in Africans. The very rare intron 4 allele, eNOS 4c, was found in some Africans and African Americans, but not in Caucasians. eNOS 4d allele was present in 2 Africans. These findings suggest a consistent and widespread genomic diversity in the distribution of eNOS variants in Africans, comparative to African Americans and Caucasians.
polymorphisms; ethnicity; endothelial nitric oxide synthase; haplotypes
Widespread and persistent organochlorine (OC) contaminants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and pesticides, are known to have broad-ranging toxicities in wildlife. In this study we investigated, for the first time, their possible health effects on loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta). Nonlethal fat biopsies and blood samples were collected from live turtles for OC contaminant analysis, and concentrations were compared with clinical health assessment data, including hematology, plasma chemistry, and body condition. Concentrations of total PCBs (∑PCBs), ∑DDTs, ∑chlordanes, dieldrin, and mirex were determined in 44 fat biopsies and 48 blood samples. Blood concentrations of ∑chlordanes were negatively correlated with red blood cell counts, hemoglobin, and hematocrit, indicative of anemia. Positive correlations were observed between most classes of OC contaminants and white blood cell counts and between mirex and ∑TCDD-like PCB concentrations and the heterophil:lymphocyte ratio, suggesting modulation of the immune system. All classes of OCs in the blood except dieldrin were correlated positively with aspartate aminotransferase (AST) activity, indicating possible hepatocellular damage. Mirex and ∑TCDD-like PCB blood concentrations were negatively correlated with alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity. Significant correlations to levels of certain OC contaminant classes also suggested possible alteration of protein (↑blood urea nitrogen, ↓albumin:globulin ratio), carbohydrate (↓glucose), and ion (↑sodium, ↓magnesium) regulation. These correlations suggest that OC contaminants may be affecting the health of loggerhead sea turtles even though sea turtles accumulate lower concentrations of OCs compared with other wildlife.
health assessment; hematology; organochlorine contaminants; PCBs; persistent organic pollutants; pesticides; plasma chemistries; polychlorinated biphenyls; reptile; white blood cell counts; wildlife