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1.  Interaction between adolescent obesity and HLA risk genes in the etiology of multiple sclerosis 
Neurology  2014;82(10):865-872.
Objective:
We investigated potential interactions between human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genotype and body mass index (BMI) status in relation to the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS).
Methods:
We used 2 case-control studies, one with incident cases (1,510 cases, 2,017 controls) and one with prevalent cases (937 cases, 609 controls). Subjects with different genotypes and BMI were compared with regard to incidence of MS by calculating odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) employing logistic regression. Potential interactions between genotypes and BMI were evaluated by calculating the attributable proportion due to interaction.
Results:
In both cohorts, a significant interaction was observed between HLA-DRB1*15 and obesity, regardless of HLA-A*02 status. Similarly, there was a significant interaction between absence of A*02 and obesity, regardless of DRB1*15 status. In the incident cohort, obese subjects with the most susceptible genotype (carriage of DRB1*15 and absence of A*02) had an OR of 16.2 (95% CI 7.5–35.2) compared to nonobese subjects without the genetic risk factors. The corresponding OR in the prevalent study was 13.8 (95% CI 4.1–46.8).
Conclusions:
We observed striking interactions between BMI status and HLA genotype with regard to MS risk. Hypothetically, a low-grade inflammatory response inherent to obesity synergizes with the adaptive, HLA molecule–restricted arm of the immune system, causing MS. Prevention of adolescent obesity may thus lower the risk of developing MS, predominantly among people with a genetic susceptibility to the disease.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000000203
PMCID: PMC3959752  PMID: 24500647
2.  Study protocol for examining job strain as a risk factor for severe unipolar depression in an individual participant meta-analysis of 14 European cohorts 
F1000Research  2014;2:233.
Background: Previous studies have shown that gainfully employed individuals with high work demands and low control at work (denoted “job strain”) are at increased risk of common mental disorders, including depression. Most existing studies have, however, measured depression using self-rated symptom scales that do not necessarily correspond to clinically diagnosed depression. In addition, a meta-analysis from 2008 indicated publication bias in the field.
 
Methods: This study protocol describes the planned design and analyses of an individual participant data meta-analysis, to examine whether job strain is associated with an increased risk of clinically diagnosed unipolar depression based on hospital treatment registers.  The study will be based on data from approximately 120,000 individuals who participated in 14 studies on work environment and health in 4 European countries. The self-reported working conditions data will be merged with national registers on psychiatric hospital treatment, primarily hospital admissions. Study-specific risk estimates for the association between job strain and depression will be calculated using Cox regressions. The study-specific risk estimates will be pooled using random effects meta-analysis.
 
Discussion: The planned analyses will help clarify whether job strain is associated with an increased risk of clinically diagnosed unipolar depression. As the analysis is based on pre-planned study protocols and an individual participant data meta-analysis, the pooled risk estimates will not be influenced by selective reporting and publication bias. However, the results of the planned study may only pertain to severe cases of unipolar depression, because of the outcome measure applied.
doi:10.12688/f1000research.2-233.v2
PMCID: PMC3938244  PMID: 24627793
3.  Job Strain and the Risk of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: Individual-Participant Meta-Analysis of 95 000 Men and Women 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88711.
Background and Aims
Many clinicians, patients and patient advocacy groups believe stress to have a causal role in inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. However, this is not corroborated by clear epidemiological research evidence. We investigated the association between work-related stress and incident Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis using individual-level data from 95 000 European adults.
Methods
We conducted individual-participant data meta-analyses in a set of pooled data from 11 prospective European studies. All studies are a part of the IPD-Work Consortium. Work-related psychosocial stress was operationalised as job strain (a combination of high demands and low control at work) and was self-reported at baseline. Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis were ascertained from national hospitalisation and drug reimbursement registers. The associations between job strain and inflammatory bowel disease outcomes were modelled using Cox proportional hazards regression. The study-specific results were combined in random effects meta-analyses.
Results
Of the 95 379 participants who were free of inflammatory bowel disease at baseline, 111 men and women developed Crohn's disease and 414 developed ulcerative colitis during follow-up. Job strain at baseline was not associated with incident Crohn's disease (multivariable-adjusted random effects hazard ratio: 0.83, 95% confidence interval: 0.48, 1.43) or ulcerative colitis (hazard ratio: 1.06, 95% CI: 0.76, 1.48). There was negligible heterogeneity among the study-specific associations.
Conclusions
Our findings suggest that job strain, an indicator of work-related stress, is not a major risk factor for Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088711
PMCID: PMC3928274  PMID: 24558416
4.  Epidemiology of Environmental Exposures and Human Autoimmune Diseases: Findings from a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Expert Panel Workshop 
Journal of autoimmunity  2012;39(4):259-271.
Autoimmune diseases (AID) are a collection of many complex disorders of unknown etiology resulting in immune responses to self-antigens and are thought to result from interactions between genetic and environmental factors. Here we review the epidemiologic evidence for the role of environmental factors in the development of human AID, the conclusions that can be drawn from the existing data, critical knowledge gaps, and research needed to fill these gaps and to resolve uncertainties. We specifically summarize the state of knowledge and our levels of confidence in the role of specific agents in the development of autoimmune diseases, and we define the areas of greatest impact for future investigations. Among our consensus findings we are confident that: 1) crystalline silica exposure can contribute to the development of several AID; 2) solvent exposure can contribute to the development of systemic sclerosis; 3) smoking can contribute to the development of seropositive rheumatoid arthritis; and 4) an inverse association exists between ultraviolet radiation exposure and the risk of development of multiple sclerosis. We suggest that more studies of phenotypes, genotypes, and multiple exposures are needed. Additional knowledge gaps needing investigation include: defining important windows in the timing of exposures and latencies relating to age, developmental state, and hormonal changes; understanding dose-response relationships; and elucidating mechanisms for disease development. Addressing these essential issues will require more resources to support research, particularly of rare AID, but knowledge of the risks conferred by environmental factors in specific genetic contexts could pave the way for prevention of AID in the future.
doi:10.1016/j.jaut.2012.05.002
PMCID: PMC3496812  PMID: 22739348
autoimmune disease; environmental risk factors; biologic agents; chemical agents; physical factors; research priorities
5.  Study protocol for examining job strain as a risk factor for severe unipolar depression in an individual participant meta-analysis of 14 European cohorts 
F1000Research  2013;2:233.
Background: Previous studies have shown that gainfully employed individuals with high work demands and low control at work (denoted “job strain”) are at increased risk of common mental disorders, including depression. Most existing studies have, however, measured depression using self-rated symptom scales that do not necessarily correspond to clinically diagnosed depression. In addition, a meta-analysis from 2008 indicated publication bias in the field.
 
Methods: This study protocol describes the planned design and analyses of an individual participant data meta-analysis, to examine whether job strain is associated with an increased risk of clinically diagnosed unipolar depression based on hospital treatment registers.  The study will be based on data from approximately 120,000 individuals who participated in 14 studies on work environment and health in 4 European countries. The self-reported working conditions data will be merged with national registers on psychiatric hospital treatment, primarily hospital admissions. Study-specific risk estimates for the association between job strain and depression will be calculated using Cox regressions. The study-specific risk estimates will be pooled using random effects meta-analysis.
 
Discussion: The planned analyses will help clarify whether job strain is associated with an increased risk of clinically diagnosed unipolar depression. As the analysis is based on pre-planned study protocols and an individual participant data meta-analysis, the pooled risk estimates will not be influenced by selective reporting and publication bias. However, the results of the planned study may only pertain to severe cases of unipolar depression, because of the outcome measure applied.
doi:10.12688/f1000research.2-233.v1
PMCID: PMC3938244  PMID: 24627793
6.  Smoking and multiple sclerosis susceptibility 
Smoking is one of the most established risk factors for multiple sclerosis (MS). The aim of this study was to investigate how age at smoking debut, duration, intensity and cumulative dose of smoking, and smoking cessation influence the association between smoking and MS risk. In two Swedish population-based case–control studies (7,883 cases, 9,264 controls), subjects with different smoking habits were compared regarding MS risk, by calculating odds ratios with 95 % confidence intervals. We observed a clear dose response association between cumulative dose of smoking and MS risk (p value for trend <10−35). Both duration and intensity of smoking contributed independently to the increased risk of MS. However, the detrimental effect of smoking abates a decade after smoking cessation regardless of the cumulative dose of smoking. Age at smoking debut did not affect the association between smoking and MS. Smoking increases the risk of MS in a dose response manner. However, in contrary to several other risk factors for MS that seem to affect the risk only if the exposure takes place during a specific period in life, smoking affects MS risk regardless of age at exposure, and the detrimental effect slowly abates after smoking cessation.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10654-013-9853-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s10654-013-9853-4
PMCID: PMC3898140  PMID: 24146047
Multiple sclerosis; Smoking; Case–control study
7.  Epigenome-wide association data implicate DNA methylation as an intermediary of genetic risk in Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Nature biotechnology  2013;31(2):142-147.
Epigenetic mechanisms integrate genetic and environmental causes of disease. Comprehensive genome-wide analyses of epigenetic modifications have not demonstrated robust association with common diseases. Using Illumina HumanMethylation450 arrays on 354 ACPA positive rheumatoid arthritis (RA) cases and 337 controls, we identified two clusters within the MHC region whose differential methylation potentially mediates genetic risk for RA. To reduce confounding hampering previous epigenome-wide studies, we corrected for cellular heterogeneity by estimating and adjusting for cell-type proportions and used mediation analysis to filter out associations likely consequential to disease. Four CpGs also showed association between genotype and variance of methylation in addition to mean. The associations for both clusters replicated at least one CpG (p<0.01), with the rest showing suggestive association, in monocytes in an independent 12 cases and 12 controls. Thus, DNA methylation is a potential mediator of genetic risk.
doi:10.1038/nbt.2487
PMCID: PMC3598632  PMID: 23334450
8.  Job Strain and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: Meta-Analysis of Individual-Participant Data from 47,000 Men and Women 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e67323.
Background
Job strain is associated with an increased coronary heart disease risk, but few large-scale studies have examined the relationship of this psychosocial characteristic with the biological risk factors that potentially mediate the job strain – heart disease association.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We pooled cross-sectional, individual-level data from eight studies comprising 47,045 participants to investigate the association between job strain and the following cardiovascular disease risk factors: diabetes, blood pressure, pulse pressure, lipid fractions, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, obesity, and overall cardiovascular disease risk as indexed by the Framingham Risk Score. In age-, sex-, and socioeconomic status-adjusted analyses, compared to those without job strain, people with job strain were more likely to have diabetes (odds ratio 1.29; 95% CI: 1.11–1.51), to smoke (1.14; 1.08–1.20), to be physically inactive (1.34; 1.26–1.41), and to be obese (1.12; 1.04–1.20). The association between job strain and elevated Framingham risk score (1.13; 1.03–1.25) was attributable to the higher prevalence of diabetes, smoking and physical inactivity among those reporting job strain.
Conclusions
In this meta-analysis of work-related stress and cardiovascular disease risk factors, job strain was linked to adverse lifestyle and diabetes. No association was observed between job strain, clinic blood pressure or blood lipids.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067323
PMCID: PMC3688665  PMID: 23840664
9.  Associations of job strain and lifestyle risk factors with risk of coronary artery disease: a meta-analysis of individual participant data 
Background:
It is unclear whether a healthy lifestyle mitigates the adverse effects of job strain on coronary artery disease. We examined the associations of job strain and lifestyle risk factors with the risk of coronary artery disease.
Methods:
We pooled individual-level data from 7 cohort studies comprising 102 128 men and women who were free of existing coronary artery disease at baseline (1985–2000). Questionnaires were used to measure job strain (yes v. no) and 4 lifestyle risk factors: current smoking, physical inactivity, heavy drinking and obesity. We grouped participants into 3 lifestyle categories: healthy (no lifestyle risk factors), moderately unhealthy (1 risk factor) and unhealthy (2–4 risk factors). The primary outcome was incident coronary artery disease (defined as first nonfatal myocardial infarction or cardiac-related death).
Results:
There were 1086 incident events in 743 948 person-years at risk during a mean follow-up of 7.3 years. The risk of coronary artery disease among people who had an unhealthy lifestyle compared with those who had a healthy lifestyle (hazard ratio [HR] 2.55, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.18–2.98; population attributable risk 26.4%) was higher than the risk among participants who had job strain compared with those who had no job strain (HR 1.25, 95% CI 1.06–1.47; population attributable risk 3.8%). The 10-year incidence of coronary artery disease among participants with job strain and a healthy lifestyle (14.7 per 1000) was 53% lower than the incidence among those with job strain and an unhealthy lifestyle (31.2 per 1000).
Interpretation:
The risk of coronary artery disease was highest among participants who reported job strain and an unhealthy lifestyle; those with job strain and a healthy lifestyle had half the rate of disease. A healthy lifestyle may substantially reduce disease risk among people with job strain.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.121735
PMCID: PMC3680555  PMID: 23670152
10.  High density genetic mapping identifies new susceptibility loci for rheumatoid arthritis 
Nature genetics  2012;44(12):1336-1340.
Summary
Using the Immunochip custom single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array, designed for dense genotyping of 186 genome wide association study (GWAS) confirmed loci we analysed 11,475 rheumatoid arthritis cases of European ancestry and 15,870 controls for 129,464 markers. The data were combined in meta-analysis with GWAS data from additional independent cases (n=2,363) and controls (n=17,872). We identified fourteen novel loci; nine were associated with rheumatoid arthritis overall and 5 specifically in anti-citrillunated peptide antibody positive disease, bringing the number of confirmed European ancestry rheumatoid arthritis loci to 46. We refined the peak of association to a single gene for 19 loci, identified secondary independent effects at six loci and association to low frequency variants (minor allele frequency <0.05) at 4 loci. Bioinformatic analysis of the data generated strong hypotheses for the causal SNP at seven loci. This study illustrates the advantages of dense SNP mapping analysis to inform subsequent functional investigations.
doi:10.1038/ng.2462
PMCID: PMC3605761  PMID: 23143596
11.  Short and Long Term Mortality after Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) Is Influenced by Socioeconomic Position but Not by Migration Status in Sweden, 1995–2007 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63877.
Background
There are no nationwide studies on mortality after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) among foreign-born populations that include detailed information about country of birth and information about socioeconomic position. The objective was to investigate the risk of mortality after CABG considering socioeconomic position, sex and country of birth.
Material and Methods
We included all 72 333 patients undergoing a first isolated CABG in Sweden, during 1995 - 2007 of whom 12.7% were foreign-born. The patients were classified according to educational level, sex, and country of birth and were followed up to December 2007. We estimated the risk of short and long term mortality after CABG in a multivariable model adjusted for age, calendar year of surgery, diabetes, educational level, and waiting time for surgery. Hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated based on the Cox proportional hazard model.
Findings
There were 15,284 deaths during the follow-up, 10.4% of whom were foreign-born. The foreign-born patients were 3 to 4 years younger than Sweden-born patients at the time of CABG surgery. There were no significant differences in overall early or late mortality between foreign-born and Sweden-born men and women after CABG. All-cause mortality differed in between regions and was highest in foreign-born men from Eastern Africa (HR 3.80, 95% CI 1.58–9.17), China (HR 3.61, 95% CI 1.50–8.69), and in Chile (HR 2.12, 95% CI 1.01–4.47). Patients with low level of education had worse survival compared to those with longer than 12 years of education irrespective of sex and country of birth. This difference was more pronounced among foreign-born women (HR 1.50, 95% CI 1.00–2.33).
Conclusion
This national study showed higher CABG mortality in patients from lower socioeconomic position. Early and late mortality did not differ after isolated CABG in foreign-born and Sweden-born patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063877
PMCID: PMC3661557  PMID: 23717501
12.  Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk Allele PTPRC Is Also Associated With Response to Anti–Tumor Necrosis Factor α Therapy 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2010;62(7):1849-1861.
Objective
Anti–tumor necrosis factor α (anti-TNF) therapy is a mainstay of treatment in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The aim of the present study was to test established RA genetic risk factors to determine whether the same alleles also influence the response to anti-TNF therapy.
Methods
A total of 1,283 RA patients receiving etanercept, infliximab, or adalimumab therapy were studied from among an international collaborative consortium of 9 different RA cohorts. The primary end point compared RA patients with a good treatment response according to the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) response criteria (n = 505) with RA patients considered to be nonresponders (n = 316). The secondary end point was the change from baseline in the level of disease activity according to the Disease Activity Score in 28 joints (ΔDAS28). Clinical factors such as age, sex, and concomitant medications were tested as possible correlates of treatment response. Thirty-one single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with the risk of RA were genotyped and tested for any association with treatment response, using univariate and multivariate logistic regression models.
Results
Of the 31 RA-associated risk alleles, a SNP at the PTPRC (also known as CD45) gene locus (rs10919563) was associated with the primary end point, a EULAR good response versus no response (odds ratio [OR] 0.55, P = 0.0001 in the multivariate model). Similar results were obtained using the secondary end point, the ΔDAS28 (P = 0.0002). There was suggestive evidence of a stronger association in autoantibody-positive patients with RA (OR 0.55, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.39–0.76) as compared with autoantibody-negative patients (OR 0.90, 95% CI 0.41–1.99).
Conclusion
Statistically significant associations were observed between the response to anti-TNF therapy and an RA risk allele at the PTPRC gene locus. Additional studies will be required to replicate this finding in additional patient collections.
doi:10.1002/art.27457
PMCID: PMC3652476  PMID: 20309874
13.  Likelihood of Treatment in a Coronary Care Unit for a First-Time Myocardial Infarction in Relation to Sex, Country of Birth and Socioeconomic Position in Sweden 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e62316.
Objective
To examine the relationship between sex, country of birth, level of education as an indicator of socioeconomic position, and the likelihood of treatment in a coronary care unit (CCU) for a first-time myocardial infarction.
Design
Nationwide register based study.
Setting
Sweden.
Patients
199 906 patients (114 387 men and 85,519 women) of all ages who were admitted to hospital for first-time myocardial infarction between 2001 and 2009.
Main outcome measures
Admission to a coronary care unit due to myocardial infarction.
Results
Despite the observed increasing access to coronary care units over time, the proportion of women treated in a coronary care unit was 13% less than for men. As compared with men, the multivariable adjusted odds ratio among women was 0.80 (95% confidence interval 0.77 to 0.82). This lower proportion of women treated in a CCU varied by age and year of diagnosis and country of birth. Overall, there was no evidence of a difference in likelihood of treatment in a coronary care unit between Sweden-born and foreign-born patients. As compared with patients with high education, the adjusted odds ratio among patients with a low level of education was 0.93 (95% confidence interval 0.89 to 0.96).
Conclusions
Foreign-born and Sweden-born first-time myocardial infarction patients had equal opportunity of being treated in a coronary care unit in Sweden; this is in contrast to the situation in many other countries with large immigrant populations. However, the apparent lower rate of coronary care unit admission after first-time myocardial infarction among women and patients with low socioeconomic position warrants further investigation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062316
PMCID: PMC3636189  PMID: 23638036
14.  Cigarette smoking and smoking cessation in relation to risk of rheumatoid arthritis in women 
Introduction
Whereas the overall association between smoking and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) must be regarded as established, considerably less is known about how much smoking is needed to increase the risk of RA, that is, the effect of smoking intensity, duration and cessation.
Methods
The Swedish Mammography Cohort, including 34,101 women aged 54 to 89 years, was followed up from January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2010 (219 RA cases identified). Relative risks (RR) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated as rate ratios using Cox proportional hazards model.
Results
There was a statistically significant association between smoking intensity (RR comparing 1 to 7 cigarettes/day vs never smoking 2.31 (95% CI: 1.59, 3.36)) as well as duration of smoking (comparing 1 to 25 years vs never smoking RR = 1.60 (95% CI: 1.07, 2.38)) and risk of RA. Compared to never smokers, the risk was still significantly elevated 15 years after smoking cessation (RR = 1.99 (95% CI: 1.23, 3.20)). However, among former smokers, the risk of RA seemed to be decreasing over time since stopping smoking: women who stopped smoking 15 years before the start of the follow-up had 30% lower risk of RA compared to those who stopped only a year before start of the follow-up (RR = 0.70 (95% CI: 0.24,2.02)).
Conclusions
This prospective study highlights that even light cigarette smoking is associated with increased risk of RA in women and that smoking cessation may reduce, though not remove, this risk.
doi:10.1186/ar4218
PMCID: PMC3672738  PMID: 23607815
15.  Oligoclonal Band Status in Scandinavian Multiple Sclerosis Patients Is Associated with Specific Genetic Risk Alleles 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58352.
The presence of oligoclonal bands (OCB) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a typical finding in multiple sclerosis (MS). We applied data from Norwegian, Swedish and Danish (i.e. Scandinavian) MS patients from a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to search for genetic differences in MS relating to OCB status. GWAS data was compared in 1367 OCB positive and 161 OCB negative Scandinavian MS patients, and nine of the most associated SNPs were genotyped for replication in 3403 Scandinavian MS patients. HLA-DRB1 genotypes were analyzed in a subset of the OCB positive (n = 2781) and OCB negative (n = 292) MS patients and compared to 890 healthy controls. Results from the genome-wide analyses showed that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from the HLA complex and six other loci were associated to OCB status. In SNPs selected for replication, combined analyses showed genome-wide significant association for two SNPs in the HLA complex; rs3129871 (p = 5.7×10−15) and rs3817963 (p = 5.7×10−10) correlating with the HLA-DRB1*15 and the HLA-DRB1*04 alleles, respectively. We also found suggestive association to one SNP in the Calsyntenin-2 gene (p = 8.83×10−7). In HLA-DRB1 analyses HLA-DRB1*15∶01 was a stronger risk factor for OCB positive than OCB negative MS, whereas HLA-DRB1*04∶04 was associated with increased risk of OCB negative MS and reduced risk of OCB positive MS. Protective effects of HLA-DRB1*01∶01 and HLA-DRB1*07∶01 were detected in both groups. The groups were different with regard to age at onset (AAO), MS outcome measures and gender. This study confirms both shared and distinct genetic risk for MS subtypes in the Scandinavian population defined by OCB status and indicates different clinical characteristics between the groups. This suggests differences in disease mechanisms between OCB negative and OCB positive MS with implications for patient management, which need to be further studied.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0058352
PMCID: PMC3589422  PMID: 23472185
16.  Polymorphisms in peptidylarginine deiminase associate with rheumatoid arthritis in diverse Asian populations: evidence from MyEIRA study and meta-analysis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2012;14(6):R250.
Introduction
The majority of our knowledge regarding disease-related mechanisms of uncontrolled citrullination and anti-citrullinated protein antibody development in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was investigated in Caucasian populations. However, peptidylarginine deiminase (PADI) type 4 gene polymorphisms are associated with RA in East Asian populations and weak or no association was found in Caucasian populations. This study explores the association between the PADI4 polymorphisms and RA risk in a multiethnic population residing in South East Asia with the goal of elucidating generalizability of association in non-Caucasian populations.
Methods
A total of 320 SNPs from the PADI locus (including PADI1, PADI2, PADI3, PADI4 and PADI6 genes) were genotyped in 1,238 RA cases and 1,571 control subjects from the Malaysian Epidemiological Investigation of Rheumatoid Arthritis (MyEIRA) case-control study. Additionally, we conducted meta-analysis of our data together with the previously published studies of RA from East Asian populations.
Results
The overall odds ratio (ORoverall) for the PADI4 (rs2240340) allelic model was 1.11 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.00 to 1.23, P = 0.04) and for the genotypic model was 1.20 (95% CI = 1.01 to 1.44, P = 0.04). Haplotype analysis for four selected PADI4 SNPs revealed a significant association of one with susceptibility (P = 0.001) and of another with a protective effect (P = 0.02). The RA susceptibility was further confirmed when combined meta-analysis was performed using these data together with data from five previously published studies from Asia comprising 5,192 RA cases and 4,317 control subjects (ORoverall = 1.23 (95% CI = 1.16 to 1.31, Pheterogeneity = 0.08) and 1.31 (95% CI = 1.20 to 1.44, Pheterogeneity = 0.32) in allele and genotype-based models, respectively). In addition, we also detected a novel association of PADI2 genetic variant rs1005753 with RA (ORoverall = 0.87 (95% CI = 0.77 to 0.99)).
Conclusion
Our study demonstrates an association between PADI4 and RA in the multiethnic population from South East Asia and suggests additional association with a PADI2 gene. The study thus provides further support for the notion that polymorphisms in genes for enzymes responsible for citrullination contribute to RA development in multiple populations of Asian descent.
doi:10.1186/ar4093
PMCID: PMC3674620  PMID: 23164236
17.  Job strain as a risk factor for coronary heart disease: a collaborative meta-analysis of individual participant data 
Lancet  2012;380(9852):1491-1497.
Summary
Background
Published work assessing psychosocial stress (job strain) as a risk factor for coronary heart disease is inconsistent and subject to publication bias and reverse causation bias. We analysed the relation between job strain and coronary heart disease with a meta-analysis of published and unpublished studies.
Methods
We used individual records from 13 European cohort studies (1985–2006) of men and women without coronary heart disease who were employed at time of baseline assessment. We measured job strain with questions from validated job-content and demand-control questionnaires. We extracted data in two stages such that acquisition and harmonisation of job strain measure and covariables occurred before linkage to records for coronary heart disease. We defined incident coronary heart disease as the first non-fatal myocardial infarction or coronary death.
Findings
30 214 (15%) of 197 473 participants reported job strain. In 1·49 million person-years at risk (mean follow-up 7·5 years [SD 1·7]), we recorded 2358 events of incident coronary heart disease. After adjustment for sex and age, the hazard ratio for job strain versus no job strain was 1·23 (95% CI 1·10–1·37). This effect estimate was higher in published (1·43, 1·15–1·77) than unpublished (1·16, 1·02–1·32) studies. Hazard ratios were likewise raised in analyses addressing reverse causality by exclusion of events of coronary heart disease that occurred in the first 3 years (1·31, 1·15–1·48) and 5 years (1·30, 1·13–1·50) of follow-up. We noted an association between job strain and coronary heart disease for sex, age groups, socioeconomic strata, and region, and after adjustments for socioeconomic status, and lifestyle and conventional risk factors. The population attributable risk for job strain was 3·4%.
Interpretation
Our findings suggest that prevention of workplace stress might decrease disease incidence; however, this strategy would have a much smaller effect than would tackling of standard risk factors, such as smoking.
Funding
Finnish Work Environment Fund, the Academy of Finland, the Swedish Research Council for Working Life and Social Research, the German Social Accident Insurance, the Danish National Research Centre for the Working Environment, the BUPA Foundation, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, and the US National Institutes of Health.
doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60994-5
PMCID: PMC3486012  PMID: 22981903
18.  Five amino acids in three HLA proteins explain most of the association between MHC and seropositive rheumatoid arthritis 
Nature genetics  2012;44(3):291-296.
The genetic association of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) to rheumatoid arthritis risk has commonly been attributed to HLA-DRB1 alleles. Yet controversy persists about the causal variants in HLA-DRB1 and the presence of independent effects elsewhere in the MHC. Using existing genome-wide SNP data in 5,018 seropositive cases and 14,974 controls, we imputed and tested classical alleles and amino acid polymorphisms for HLA-A, B, C, DPA1, DPB1, DQA1, DQB1, and DRB1 along with 3,117 SNPs across the MHC. Conditional and haplotype analyses reveal that three amino acid positions (11, 71 and 74) in HLA-DRβ1, and single amino acid polymorphisms in HLA-B (position 9) and HLA-DPβ1 (position 9), all located in the peptide-binding grooves, almost completely explain the MHC association to disease risk. This study illustrates how imputation of functional variation from large reference panels can help fine-map association signals in the MHC.
doi:10.1038/ng.1076
PMCID: PMC3288335  PMID: 22286218
19.  Variants of gene for microsomal prostaglandin E2 synthase show association with disease and severe inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis 
Microsomal PGE synthase 1 (mPGES-1) is the terminal enzyme in the induced state of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) synthesis and constitutes a therapeutic target for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment. We examined the role of the prostaglandin E synthase (PTGES) gene polymorphism in susceptibility to and severity of RA and related variations in the gene to its function. The PTGES gene polymorphism was analyzed in 3081 RA patients and 1900 controls from two study populations: Swedish Epidemiological Investigation of Rheumatoid Arthritis (EIRA) and the Leiden Early Arthritis Clinic (Leiden EAC). Baseline disease activity score (DAS28) was employed as a disease severity measure. mPGES-1 expression was analyzed in synovial tissue from RA patients with known genotypes using immunohistochemistry. In the Swedish study population, among women a significant association with risk for RA was observed for PTGES single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in univariate analysis and for the distinct haplotype. These results were substantiated by meta-analysis of data from EIRA and Leiden EAC studies with overall OR 1.31 (95% confidence interval 1.11–1.56). Several PTGES SNPs were associated with earlier onset of disease or with higher DAS28 in women with RA. Patients with the genotype associated with higher DAS28 exhibited significantly higher mPGES-1 expression in synovial tissue. Our data reveal a possible influence of PTGES polymorphism on the pathogenesis of RA and on disease severity through upregulation of mPGES-1 at the sites of inflammation. Genetically predisposed individuals may develop earlier and more active disease owing to this mechanism.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2011.50
PMCID: PMC3172931  PMID: 21448233
mPGES-1; gene polymorphism; rheumatoid arthritis; gender
20.  Job Strain and Tobacco Smoking: An Individual-Participant Data Meta-Analysis of 166 130 Adults in 15 European Studies 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e35463.
Background
Tobacco smoking is a major contributor to the public health burden and healthcare costs worldwide, but the determinants of smoking behaviours are poorly understood. We conducted a large individual-participant meta-analysis to examine the extent to which work-related stress, operationalised as job strain, is associated with tobacco smoking in working adults.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We analysed cross-sectional data from 15 European studies comprising 166 130 participants. Longitudinal data from six studies were used. Job strain and smoking were self-reported. Smoking was harmonised into three categories never, ex- and current. We modelled the cross-sectional associations using logistic regression and the results pooled in random effects meta-analyses. Mixed effects logistic regression was used to examine longitudinal associations. Of the 166 130 participants, 17% reported job strain, 42% were never smokers, 33% ex-smokers and 25% current smokers. In the analyses of the cross-sectional data, current smokers had higher odds of job strain than never-smokers (age, sex and socioeconomic position-adjusted odds ratio: 1.11, 95% confidence interval: 1.03, 1.18). Current smokers with job strain smoked, on average, three cigarettes per week more than current smokers without job strain. In the analyses of longitudinal data (1 to 9 years of follow-up), there was no clear evidence for longitudinal associations between job strain and taking up or quitting smoking.
Conclusions
Our findings show that smokers are slightly more likely than non-smokers to report work-related stress. In addition, smokers who reported work stress smoked, on average, slightly more cigarettes than stress-free smokers.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035463
PMCID: PMC3391192  PMID: 22792154
21.  Job Strain and Alcohol Intake: A Collaborative Meta-Analysis of Individual-Participant Data from 140 000 Men and Women 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40101.
Background
The relationship between work-related stress and alcohol intake is uncertain. In order to add to the thus far inconsistent evidence from relatively small studies, we conducted individual-participant meta-analyses of the association between work-related stress (operationalised as self-reported job strain) and alcohol intake.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We analysed cross-sectional data from 12 European studies (n = 142 140) and longitudinal data from four studies (n = 48 646). Job strain and alcohol intake were self-reported. Job strain was analysed as a binary variable (strain vs. no strain). Alcohol intake was harmonised into the following categories: none, moderate (women: 1–14, men: 1–21 drinks/week), intermediate (women: 15–20, men: 22–27 drinks/week) and heavy (women: >20, men: >27 drinks/week). Cross-sectional associations were modelled using logistic regression and the results pooled in random effects meta-analyses. Longitudinal associations were examined using mixed effects logistic and modified Poisson regression. Compared to moderate drinkers, non-drinkers and (random effects odds ratio (OR): 1.10, 95% CI: 1.05, 1.14) and heavy drinkers (OR: 1.12, 95% CI: 1.00, 1.26) had higher odds of job strain. Intermediate drinkers, on the other hand, had lower odds of job strain (OR: 0.92, 95% CI: 0.86, 0.99). We found no clear evidence for longitudinal associations between job strain and alcohol intake.
Conclusions
Our findings suggest that compared to moderate drinkers, non-drinkers and heavy drinkers are more likely and intermediate drinkers less likely to report work-related stress.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040101
PMCID: PMC3391232  PMID: 22792218
22.  Importance of Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) Class I and II Alleles on the Risk of Multiple Sclerosis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36779.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex disease of the central nervous system of unknown etiology. The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) locus on chromosome 6 confers a considerable part of the susceptibility to MS, and the most important factor is the class II allele HLA-DRB1*15:01. In addition, we and others have previously established a protective effect of HLA-A*02. Here, we genotyped 1,784 patients and 1,660 healthy controls from Scandinavia for the HLA-A, HLA-B, HLA-C and HLA-DRB1 genes and investigated their effects on MS risk by logistic regression. Several allele groups were found to exert effects independently of DRB1*15 and A*02, in particular DRB1*01 (OR = 0.82, p = 0.034) and B*12 (including B*44/45, OR = 0.76, p = 0.0028), confirming previous reports. Furthermore, we observed interaction between allele groups: DRB1*15 and DRB1*01 (multiplicative: OR = 0.54, p = 0.0041; additive: AP = 0.47, p = 4×10−06), DRB1*15 and C*12 (multiplicative: OR = 0.37, p = 0.00035; additive: AP = 0.58, p = 2.6×10−05), indicating that the effect size of these allele groups varies when taking DRB1*15 into account. Analysis of inferred haplotypes showed that almost all DRB1*15 bearing haplotypes were risk haplotypes, and that all A*02 bearing haplotypes were protective as long as they did not carry DRB1*15. In contrast, we found one class I haplotype, carrying A*02-C*05-B*12, which abolished the risk of DRB1*15. In conclusion, these results confirms a complex role of HLA class I and II genes that goes beyond DRB1*15 and A*02, in particular by including all three classical HLA class I genes as well as functional interactions between DRB1*15 and several alleles of DRB1 and class I genes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036779
PMCID: PMC3346735  PMID: 22586495
23.  Smoking interacts with HLA-DRB1 shared epitope in the development of anti-citrullinated protein antibody-positive rheumatoid arthritis: results from the Malaysian Epidemiological Investigation of Rheumatoid Arthritis (MyEIRA) 
Introduction
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a multifactorial autoimmune disease in which genetic and environmental factors interact in the etiology. In this study, we investigated whether smoking and HLA-DRB1 shared-epitope (SE) alleles interact differently in the development of the two major subgroups of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), anti-citrullinated proteins antibody (ACPA)-positive and ACPA-negative disease, in a multiethnic population of Asian descent.
Methods
A case-control study comprising early diagnosed RA cases was carried out in Malaysia between 2005 and 2009. In total, 1,076 cases and 1,612 matched controls participated in the study. High-resolution HLA-DRB1 genotyping was performed for shared-epitope (SE) alleles. All participants answered a questionnaire on a broad range of issues, including smoking habits. The odds ratio (OR) of developing ACPA-positive and ACPA-negative disease was calculated for smoking and the presence of any SE alleles separately. Potential interaction between smoking history (defined as "ever" and "never" smoking) and HLA-DRB1 SE alleles also was calculated.
Results
In our multiethnic study, both the SE alleles and smoking were associated with an increased risk of developing ACPA-positive RA (OR SE alleles, 4.7; 95% confidence interval (CI), 3.6 to 6.2; OR smoking, 4.1; 95% CI, 1.9 to 9.2). SE-positive smokers had an odds ratio of ACPA-positive RA of 25.6 (95% CI, 10.4 to 63.4), compared with SE-negative never-smokers. The interaction between smoking and SE alleles was significant (attributable proportion due to interaction (AP) was 0.7 (95% CI, 0.5 to 1.0)). The HLA-DRB1*04:05 SE allele, which is common in Asian populations, but not among Caucasians, was associated with an increased risk of ACPA-positive RA, and this allele also showed signs of interaction with smoking (AP, 0.4; 95% CI, -0.1 to 0.9). Neither smoking nor SE alleles nor their combination was associated with an increased risk of ACPA-negative RA.
Conclusions
The risk of developing ACPA-positive RA is associated with a strong gene-environment interaction between smoking and HLA-DRB1 SE alleles in a Malaysian multiethnic population of Asian descent. This interaction seems to apply also between smoking and the specific HLA-DRB1*04:05 SE allele, which is common in Asian populations but not in Caucasians.
doi:10.1186/ar3813
PMCID: PMC3446463  PMID: 22537824
24.  Interaction Analysis between HLA-DRB1 Shared Epitope Alleles and MHC Class II Transactivator CIITA Gene with Regard to Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e32861.
HLA-DRB1 shared epitope (SE) alleles are the strongest genetic determinants for autoantibody positive rheumatoid arthritis (RA). One of the key regulators in expression of HLA class II receptors is MHC class II transactivator (CIITA). A variant of the CIITA gene has been found to associate with inflammatory diseases.
We wanted to explore whether the risk variant rs3087456 in the CIITA gene interacts with the HLA-DRB1 SE alleles regarding the risk of developing RA. We tested this hypothesis in a case-control study with 11767 individuals from four European Caucasian populations (6649 RA cases and 5118 controls).
We found no significant additive interaction for risk alleles among Swedish Caucasians with RA (n = 3869, attributable proportion due to interaction (AP) = 0.2, 95%CI: −0.2–0.5) or when stratifying for anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA) presence (ACPA positive disease: n = 2945, AP = 0.3, 95%CI: −0.05–0.6, ACPA negative: n = 2268, AP = −0.2, 95%CI: −1.0–0.6). We further found no significant interaction between the main subgroups of SE alleles (DRB1*01, DRB1*04 or DRB1*10) and CIITA. Similar analysis of three independent RA cohorts from British, Dutch and Norwegian populations also indicated an absence of significant interaction between genetic variants in CIITA and SE alleles with regard to RA risk.
Our data suggest that risk from the CIITA locus is independent of the major risk for RA from HLA-DRB1 SE alleles, given that no significant interaction between rs3087456 and SE alleles was observed. Since a biological link between products of these genes is evident, the genetic contribution from CIITA and class II antigens in the autoimmune process may involve additional unidentified factors.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032861
PMCID: PMC3312880  PMID: 22461888
25.  Smoking is a major preventable risk factor for Rheumatoid arthritis Estimations of risks after various exposures to cigarette smoke 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2010;70(3):508-511.
Background
Earlier studies have demonstrated that smoking and genetic risk factors interact in providing an increased risk for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Less is known on how smoking contributes to RA in the context of genetic variability, and what proportion of RA that may be caused by smoking.
Objectives
To determine the association between amount of smoking and risk of RA in the context of different HLA-DRB1 shared epitope (SE) alleles, and to estimate proportions of RA cases attributed to smoking.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Data from the Swedish Epidemiological Investigation of Rheumatoid Arthritis (EIRA) case-control study encompassing 1204 cases and 871 controls were analysed.
Main Outcome Measure
Estimated odds ratio to develop RA and excess fraction of cases attributable to smoking according to amount of smoking and genotype.
Results
Smoking was estimated to be responsible for 35 % of the ACPA+ cases. For each HLA-DRB1 SE genotype, smoking was dose-dependently associated with increased risk of ACPA+ RA (p-trend<0.001). In individuals carrying two copies of the HLA-DRB1 shared epitope, 55 % of ACPA-positive RA were attributable to smoking.
Conclusions
Smoking is a preventable risk factor for RA. The increased risk due to smoking is dependent on amount of smoking and genotype.
doi:10.1136/ard.2009.120899
PMCID: PMC3033966  PMID: 21149499
Rheumatoid Arthritis; Smoking; HLA-DRB1; Case-control studies; Epidemiology

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