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1.  Homozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia: new insights and guidance for clinicians to improve detection and clinical management. A position paper from the Consensus Panel on Familial Hypercholesterolaemia of the European Atherosclerosis Society 
European Heart Journal  2014;35(32):2146-2157.
Homozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia (HoFH) is a rare life-threatening condition characterized by markedly elevated circulating levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and accelerated, premature atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ACVD). Given recent insights into the heterogeneity of genetic defects and clinical phenotype of HoFH, and the availability of new therapeutic options, this Consensus Panel on Familial Hypercholesterolaemia of the European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS) critically reviewed available data with the aim of providing clinical guidance for the recognition and management of HoFH.
Methods and results
Early diagnosis of HoFH and prompt initiation of diet and lipid-lowering therapy are critical. Genetic testing may provide a definitive diagnosis, but if unavailable, markedly elevated LDL-C levels together with cutaneous or tendon xanthomas before 10 years, or untreated elevated LDL-C levels consistent with heterozygous FH in both parents, are suggestive of HoFH. We recommend that patients with suspected HoFH are promptly referred to specialist centres for a comprehensive ACVD evaluation and clinical management. Lifestyle intervention and maximal statin therapy are the mainstays of treatment, ideally started in the first year of life or at an initial diagnosis, often with ezetimibe and other lipid-modifying therapy. As patients rarely achieve LDL-C targets, adjunctive lipoprotein apheresis is recommended where available, preferably started by age 5 and no later than 8 years. The number of therapeutic approaches has increased following approval of lomitapide and mipomersen for HoFH. Given the severity of ACVD, we recommend regular follow-up, including Doppler echocardiographic evaluation of the heart and aorta annually, stress testing and, if available, computed tomography coronary angiography every 5 years, or less if deemed necessary.
This EAS Consensus Panel highlights the need for early identification of HoFH patients, prompt referral to specialized centres, and early initiation of appropriate treatment. These recommendations offer guidance for a wide spectrum of clinicians who are often the first to identify patients with suspected HoFH.
PMCID: PMC4139706  PMID: 25053660
Homozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia; Diagnosis; Genetics; Phenotypic heterogeneity; Statins; Ezetimibe; Lipoprotein apheresis; Lomitapide; Mipomersen
2.  A Shared Founder Mutation Underlies Restrictive Dermopathy in Old Colony (Dutch-German) Mennonite and Hutterite Patients in North America 
PMCID: PMC4247856  PMID: 22495976
restrictive dermopathy; tight skin contracture syndrome; laminopathy; lethal; Hutterite; Mennonite; ZMPSTE24
3.  Clinical and Pharmacogenetic Predictors of Circulating Atorvastatin and Rosuvastatin Concentration in Routine Clinical Care 
A barrier to statin therapy is myopathy associated with elevated systemic drug exposure. Our objective was to examine the association between clinical and pharmacogenetic variables and statin concentrations in patients.
Methods and Results
In total, 299 patients taking atorvastatin or rosuvastatin were prospectively recruited at an outpatient referral center. The contribution of clinical variables and transporter gene polymorphisms to statin concentration was assessed using multiple linear regression. We observed 45-fold variation in statin concentration among patients taking the same dose. After adjustment for gender, age, body mass index, ethnicity, dose, and time from last dose, SLCO1B1 c.521T>C (p < 0.001) and ABCG2 c.421C>A (p < 0.01) were important to rosuvastatin concentration (adjusted R2 = 0.56 for the final model). Atorvastatin concentration was associated with SLCO1B1 c.388A>G (p < 0.01) and c.521T>C (p < 0.05), and 4β-hydroxycholesterol, a CYP3A activity marker (adjusted R2 = 0.47). A second cohort of 579 patients from primary and specialty care databases were retrospectively genotyped. In this cohort, genotypes associated with statin concentration were not differently distributed among dosing groups, implying providers had not yet optimized each patient's risk-benefit ratio. Nearly 50% of patients in routine practice taking the highest doses were predicted to have statin concentrations greater than the 90th percentile.
Interindividual variability in statin exposure in patients is associated with uptake and efflux transporter polymorphisms. An algorithm incorporating genomic and clinical variables to avoid high atorvastatin and rosuvastatin levels is described; further study will determine if this approach reduces incidence of statin-myopathy.
PMCID: PMC3922121  PMID: 23876492
statin therapy; pharmacogenetics; pharmacokinetics; drug transporters
4.  Inheritance of rare functional GCKR variants and their contribution to triglyceride levels in families 
Human Molecular Genetics  2014;23(20):5570-5578.
Significant resources have been invested in sequencing studies to investigate the role of rare variants in complex disease etiology. However, the diagnostic interpretation of individual rare variants remains a major challenge, and may require accurate variant functional classification and the collection of large numbers of variant carriers. Utilizing sequence data from 458 individuals with hypertriglyceridemia and 333 controls with normal plasma triglyceride levels, we investigated these issues using GCKR, encoding glucokinase regulatory protein. Eighteen rare non-synonymous GCKR variants identified in these 791 individuals were comprehensively characterized by a range of biochemical and cell biological assays, including a novel high-throughput-screening-based approach capable of measuring all variant proteins simultaneously. Functionally deleterious variants were collectively associated with hypertriglyceridemia, but a range of in silico prediction algorithms showed little consistency between algorithms and poor agreement with functional data. We extended our study by obtaining sequence data on family members; however, functional variants did not co-segregate with triglyceride levels. Therefore, despite evidence for their collective functional and clinical relevance, our results emphasize the low predictive value of rare GCKR variants in individuals and the complex heritability of lipid traits.
PMCID: PMC4168830  PMID: 24879641
5.  LipidSeq: a next-generation clinical resequencing panel for monogenic dyslipidemias[S] 
Journal of Lipid Research  2014;55(4):765-772.
We report the design of a targeted resequencing panel for monogenic dyslipidemias, LipidSeq, for the purpose of replacing Sanger sequencing in the clinical detection of dyslipidemia-causing variants. We also evaluate the performance of the LipidSeq approach versus Sanger sequencing in 84 patients with a range of phenotypes including extreme blood lipid concentrations as well as additional dyslipidemias and related metabolic disorders. The panel performs well, with high concordance (95.2%) in samples with known mutations based on Sanger sequencing and a high detection rate (57.9%) of mutations likely to be causative for disease in samples not previously sequenced. Clinical implementation of LipidSeq has the potential to aid in the molecular diagnosis of patients with monogenic dyslipidemias with a high degree of speed and accuracy and at lower cost than either Sanger sequencing or whole exome sequencing. Furthermore, LipidSeq will help to provide a more focused picture of monogenic and polygenic contributors that underlie dyslipidemia while excluding the discovery of incidental pathogenic clinically actionable variants in nonmetabolism-related genes, such as oncogenes, that would otherwise be identified by a whole exome approach, thus minimizing potential ethical issues.
PMCID: PMC3966710  PMID: 24503134
next generation sequencing; DNA diagnosis; familial dyslipidemia; Sanger sequencing; mutations; genetic risk score; polygenic dyslipidemia
6.  Mutations in LPL, APOC2, APOA5, GPIHBP1 and LMF1 in patients with severe hypertriglyceridaemia 
Journal of internal medicine  2012;272(2):185-196.
The severe forms of hypertriglyceridaemia (HTG) are caused by mutations in genes that lead to loss of function of lipoprotein lipase (LPL). In most patients with severe HTG (TG >10 mmol/L) it is a challenge to define the underlying cause. We investigated the molecular basis of severe HTG in patients referred to the Lipid Clinic at the Academic Medical Center Amsterdam.
The coding regions of LPL, APOC2, APOA5 and two novel genes, lipase maturation factor 1 (LMF1) and GPI-anchored HDL-binding protein 1 (GPIHBP1), were sequenced in 86 patients with type 1 and type 5 HTG and 327 controls.
In 46 patients (54%) rare DNA sequence variants were identified, comprising variants in LPL (n=19), APOC2 (n=1), APOA5 (n=2), GPIHBP1 (n=3) and LMF1 (n=8). In 22 patients (26%) only common variants in LPL (p.Asp36Asn, p.Asn318Ser and p.Ser474Ter) and APOA5 (p.Ser19Trp) could be identified, whereas no mutations were found in 18 patients (21%). In vitro validation revealed that the mutations in LMF1 were not associated with compromised LPL function. Consistent with this, five of the eight LMF1 variants were also found in controls and therefore cannot account for the observed phenotype.
The prevalence of mutations in LPL was 34% and mostly restricted to patients with type 1 HTG. Mutations in GPIHBP1 (n=3), APOC2 (n=1) and APOA5 (n=2) were rare but the associated clinical phenotype was severe. Routine sequencing of candidate genes in severe HTG has improved our understanding of the molecular basis of this phenotype associated with acute pancreatitis, and may help to guide future individualized therapeutic strategies.
PMCID: PMC3940136  PMID: 22239554
triglycerides; lipoprotein lipase; APOC2; APOA5; LMF1; GPIHBP1
7.  Exome sequencing identifies NFS1 deficiency in a novel Fe-S cluster disease, infantile mitochondrial complex II/III deficiency 
Iron-sulfur (Fe-S) clusters are a class of highly conserved and ubiquitous prosthetic groups with unique chemical properties that allow the proteins that contain them, Fe-S proteins, to assist in various key biochemical pathways. Mutations in Fe-S proteins often disrupt Fe-S cluster assembly leading to a spectrum of severe disorders such as Friedreich's ataxia or iron-sulfur cluster assembly enzyme (ISCU) myopathy. Herein, we describe infantile mitochondrial complex II/III deficiency, a novel autosomal recessive mitochondrial disease characterized by lactic acidemia, hypotonia, respiratory chain complex II and III deficiency, multisystem organ failure and abnormal mitochondria. Through autozygosity mapping, exome sequencing, in silico analyses, population studies and functional tests, we identified c.215G>A, p.Arg72Gln in NFS1 as the likely causative mutation. We describe the first disease in man likely caused by deficiency in NFS1, a cysteine desulfurase that is implicated in respiratory chain function and iron maintenance by initiating Fe-S cluster biosynthesis. Our results further demonstrate the importance of sufficient NFS1 expression in human physiology.
PMCID: PMC3907916  PMID: 24498631
Autozygosity mapping; Fe-S proteins; mitochondrial complex deficiency; NFS1; whole-exome sequencing.
8.  A mutation in the serine protease TMPRSS4 in a novel pediatric neurodegenerative disorder 
To elucidate the genetic basis of a novel neurodegenerative disorder in an Old Order Amish pedigree by combining homozygosity mapping with exome sequencing.
Methods and results
We identified four individuals with an autosomal recessive condition affecting the central nervous system (CNS). Neuroimaging studies identified progressive global CNS tissue loss presenting early in life, associated with microcephaly, seizures, and psychomotor retardation; based on this, we named the condition Autosomal Recessive Cerebral Atrophy (ARCA). Using two unbiased genetic approaches, homozygosity mapping and exome sequencing, we narrowed the candidate region to chromosome 11q and identified the c.995C > T (p.Thr332Met) mutation in the TMPRSS4 gene. Sanger sequencing of additional relatives confirmed that the c.995C > T genotype segregates with the ARCA phenotype. Residue Thr332 is conserved across species and among various ethnic groups. The mutation is predicted to be deleterious, most likely due to a protein structure alteration as demonstrated with protein modelling.
This novel disease is the first to demonstrate a neurological role for a transmembrane serine proteases family member. This study demonstrates a proof-of-concept whereby combining exome sequencing with homozygosity mapping can find the genetic cause of a rare disease and acquire better understanding of a poorly described protein in human development.
PMCID: PMC3765793  PMID: 23957953
Autosomal recessive cerebral atrophy (ARCA) syndrome; Neurodegeneration; Trypsin-like serine protease; Homozygosity; Microarray; Exome sequencing; Autosomal recessive inheritance; Old Order Amish
9.  Familial hypercholesterolaemia is underdiagnosed and undertreated in the general population: guidance for clinicians to prevent coronary heart disease  
European Heart Journal  2013;34(45):3478-3490.
The first aim was to critically evaluate the extent to which familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) is underdiagnosed and undertreated. The second aim was to provide guidance for screening and treatment of FH, in order to prevent coronary heart disease (CHD).
Methods and results
Of the theoretical estimated prevalence of 1/500 for heterozygous FH, <1% are diagnosed in most countries. Recently, direct screening in a Northern European general population diagnosed approximately 1/200 with heterozygous FH. All reported studies document failure to achieve recommended LDL cholesterol targets in a large proportion of individuals with FH, and up to 13-fold increased risk of CHD. Based on prevalences between 1/500 and 1/200, between 14 and 34 million individuals worldwide have FH. We recommend that children, adults, and families should be screened for FH if a person or family member presents with FH, a plasma cholesterol level in an adult ≥8 mmol/L(≥310 mg/dL) or a child ≥6 mmol/L(≥230 mg/dL), premature CHD, tendon xanthomas, or sudden premature cardiac death. In FH, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol targets are <3.5 mmol/L(<135 mg/dL) for children, <2.5 mmol/L(<100 mg/dL) for adults, and <1.8 mmol/L(<70 mg/dL) for adults with known CHD or diabetes. In addition to lifestyle and dietary counselling, treatment priorities are (i) in children, statins, ezetimibe, and bile acid binding resins, and (ii) in adults, maximal potent statin dose, ezetimibe, and bile acid binding resins. Lipoprotein apheresis can be offered in homozygotes and in treatment-resistant heterozygotes with CHD.
Owing to severe underdiagnosis and undertreatment of FH, there is an urgent worldwide need for diagnostic screening together with early and aggressive treatment of this extremely high-risk condition.
PMCID: PMC3844152  PMID: 23956253
Cholesterol; Low-density lipoprotein; Atherosclerosis; Coronary heart disease; Cardiovascular disease
12.  Infantile Sialic Acid Storage Disease: Two Unrelated Inuit Cases Homozygous for a Common Novel SLC17A5 Mutation 
JIMD Reports  2013;12:79-84.
Infantile sialic acid storage disease (ISSD) is a lysosomal storage disease characterized by accumulation of covalently unlinked (free) sialic acid in multiple tissues. ISSD and Salla disease (a predominantly neurological disorder) are allelic disorders caused by recessive mutations of a lysosomal anionic monosaccharide transporter, SLC17A5. While Salla disease is common in Finland due to a founder-effect mutation (p.Arg39Cys), ISSD is comparatively rare in all populations studied.
Here, we describe the clinical and molecular features of two unrelated Canadian Inuit neonates with a virtually identical presentation of ISSD. Both individuals presented antenatally with fetal hydrops, dying shortly following delivery. Urinary free sialic acid excretion was markedly increased in the one case in which urine could be obtained for testing; postmortem examination showed a picture of widespread lysosomal storage in both. Both children were homozygous for a novel splice site mutation (NM_012434:c.526-2A>G) resulting in skipping of exon 4 and an ensuing frameshift. Analysis of a further 129 pan-Arctic Inuit controls demonstrated a heterozygous carrier rate of 1/129 (~0.4 %) in our sample. Interestingly, lysosomal enzyme studies showed an unexplained ninefold increase in neuraminidase activity, with lesser elevations in the activities of several other lysosomal enzymes. Our results raise the possibility of a common founder mutation presenting as hydrops in this population. Furthermore, if confirmed in subsequent cases, the marked induction of neuraminidase activity seen here may prove useful in the clinical diagnosis of ISSD.
PMCID: PMC3897797  PMID: 23900835
13.  Causal Relationship between Adiponectin and Metabolic Traits: A Mendelian Randomization Study in a Multiethnic Population 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66808.
Adiponectin, a secretagogue exclusively produced by adipocytes, has been associated with metabolic features, but its role in the development of the metabolic syndrome remains unclear.
We investigated the association between serum adiponectin level and metabolic traits, using both observational and genetic epidemiologic approaches in a multiethnic population assembled in Canada.
Clinical data and serum adiponectin level were collected in 1,157 participants of the SHARE/SHARE-AP studies. Participants were genotyped for the functional rs266729 and rs1260326 SNPs in ADIPOQ and GCKR genes.
Adiponectin level was positively associated with HDL cholesterol and negatively associated with body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, triglycerides, fasting glucose, fasting insulin, systolic and diastolic pressure (all P<0.002). The rs266729 minor G allele was associated with lower adiponectin and higher HOMA-IR (P = 0.004 and 0.003, respectively). The association between rs266729 SNP and HOMA-IR was no longer significant after adjustment for adiponectin concentration (P = 0.10). The rs266729 SNP was associated with HOMA-IR to an extent that exceeded its effect on adiponectin level (0.15 SD 95% C.I. [0.06, 0.24], P<0.001). There was no significant interaction between rs266729 SNP and ethnicity on adiponectin or HOMA-IR. In contrast, the SNP rs1260326 in GCKR was associated with HOMA-IR (P<0.001), but not with adiponectin level (P = 0.67).
The association of the functional promoter polymorphism rs266729 with lower serum adiponectin and increased insulin resistance in diverse ethnic groups may suggest a causal relationship between adiponectin level and insulin resistance.
PMCID: PMC3691277  PMID: 23826141
14.  Hypertriglyceridemia 
Nutrients  2013;5(3):981-1001.
Hypertriglyceridemia (HTG) is commonly encountered in lipid and cardiology clinics. Severe HTG warrants treatment because of the associated increased risk of acute pancreatitis. However, the need to treat, and the correct treatment approach for patients with mild to moderate HTG are issues for ongoing evaluation. In the past, it was felt that triglyceride does not directly contribute to development of atherosclerotic plaques. However, this view is evolving, especially for triglyceride-related fractions and variables measured in the non-fasting state. Our understanding of the etiology, genetics and classification of HTG states is also evolving. Previously, HTG was considered to be a dominant disorder associated with variation within a single gene. The old nomenclature includes the term “familial” in the names of several hyperlipoproteinemia (HLP) phenotypes that included HTG as part of their profile, including combined hyperlipidemia (HLP type 2B), dysbetalipoproteinemia (HLP type 3), simple HTG (HLP type 4) and mixed hyperlipidemia (HLP type 5). This old thinking has given way to the idea that genetic susceptibility to HTG results from cumulative effects of multiple genetic variants acting in concert. HTG most is often a “polygenic” or “multigenic” trait. However, a few rare autosomal recessive forms of severe HTG have been defined. Treatment depends on the overall clinical context, including severity of HTG, concomitant presence of other lipid disturbances, and the patient's global risk of cardiovascular disease. Therapeutic strategies include dietary counselling, lifestyle management, control of secondary factors, use of omega-3 preparations and selective use of pharmaceutical agents.
PMCID: PMC3705331  PMID: 23525082
dyslipidemia; polygenic; complex trait; mutation; single nucleotide polymorphism
15.  An Increased Burden of Common and Rare Lipid-Associated Risk Alleles Contributes to the Phenotypic Spectrum of Hypertriglyceridemia 
Earlier studies have suggested that a common genetic architecture underlies the clinically heterogeneous polygenic Fredrickson hyperlipoproteinemia (HLP) phenotypes defined by hypertriglyceridemia (HTG). Here, we comprehensively analyzed 504 HLP-HTG patients and 1213 normotriglyceridemic controls and confirmed that a spectrum of common and rare lipid-associated variants underlies this heterogeneity.
Methods and Results
First, we demonstrated that genetic determinants of plasma lipids and lipoproteins, including common variants associated with plasma triglyceride (TG), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) from the Global Lipids Genetics Consortium were associated with multiple HLP-HTG phenotypes. Second, we demonstrated that weighted risk scores composed of common TG-associated variants were distinctly increased across all HLP-HTG phenotypes compared with controls; weighted HDL-C and LDL-C risk scores were also increased, although to a less pronounced degree with some HLP-HTG phenotypes. Interestingly, decomposition of HDL-C and LDL-C risk scores revealed that pleiotropic variants (those jointly associated with TG) accounted for the greatest difference in HDL-C and LDL-C risk scores. The APOE E2/E2 genotype was significantly overrepresented in HLP type 3 versus other phenotypes. Finally, rare variants in 4 genes accumulated equally across HLP-HTG phenotypes.
HTG susceptibility and phenotypic heterogeneity are both influenced by accumulation of common and rare TG-associated variants.
PMCID: PMC3562702  PMID: 21597005
lipoproteins; genetic risk scores; genetic variation; hypertriglyceridemia; pleiotropy
16.  Excess of Rare Variants in Non-GWAS Candidate Genes in Patients with Hypertriglyceridemia 
Rare variant accumulation studies can implicate genes in disease susceptibility when a significant burden is observed in patients versus controls. Such analyses might be particularly useful for candidate genes that are selected based on experiments other than genome-wide association studies (GWAS). We sought to determine whether rare variants in non-GWAS candidate genes identified from mouse models and human Mendelian syndromes of hypertriglyceridemia (HTG) accumulate in patients with polygenic adult-onset HTG.
Methods and Results
We resequenced protein coding regions of 3 genes with established roles (APOC2, GPIHBP1, LMF1) and 2 genes recently implicated (CREB3L3 and ZHX3) in TG metabolism. We identified 41 distinct heterozygous rare variants, including 29 singleton variants, in the combined sample; in total, we observed 47 rare variants in 413 HTG patients versus 16 in 324 controls (OR=2.3; P=0.0050). Post hoc assessment of genetic burden in individual genes using three different tests suggested that the genetic burden was most prominent in the established genes LMF1 and APOC2, and also in the recently identified CREB3L3 gene.
These extensive resequencing studies show a significant accumulation of rare genetic variants in non-GWAS candidate genes among patients with polygenic HTG, and indicate the importance of testing specific hypotheses in large-scale resequencing studies.
PMCID: PMC3288444  PMID: 22135386
hyperlipoproteinemia; genetics; apolipoproteins; lipoproteins; cardiovascular diseases
17.  Hepatic lipase deficiency in a Middle-Eastern-Arabic male 
BMJ Case Reports  2010;2010:bcr1220092589.
Hepatic lipase (HL) deficiency is a rare genetic disorder that has been associated with premature atherosclerosis despite high plasma high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol concentrations in the affected individuals. The authors describe the clinical and biochemical features of HL deficiency in a young male of Middle-Eastern-Arabic origin. This is the first report of cholesterol ester transfer protein (CETP) activity and mass in HL deficiency in a patient from this ethnic group. While the CETP mass was high, its activity was low, a discrepancy likely due to the abnormal composition of patient's HDL particles.
PMCID: PMC3028409  PMID: 22798447
18.  Gene-Centric Meta-Analysis of Lipid Traits in African, East Asian and Hispanic Populations 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e50198.
Meta-analyses of European populations has successfully identified genetic variants in over 100 loci associated with lipid levels, but our knowledge in other ethnicities remains limited. To address this, we performed dense genotyping of ∼2,000 candidate genes in 7,657 African Americans, 1,315 Hispanics and 841 East Asians, using the IBC array, a custom ∼50,000 SNP genotyping array. Meta-analyses confirmed 16 lipid loci previously established in European populations at genome-wide significance level, and found multiple independent association signals within these lipid loci. Initial discovery and in silico follow-up in 7,000 additional African American samples, confirmed two novel loci: rs5030359 within ICAM1 is associated with total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) (p = 8.8×10−7 and p = 1.5×10−6 respectively) and a nonsense mutation rs3211938 within CD36 is associated with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels (p = 13.5×10−12). The rs3211938-G allele, which is nearly absent in European and Asian populations, has been previously found to be associated with CD36 deficiency and shows a signature of selection in Africans and African Americans. Finally, we have evaluated the effect of SNPs established in European populations on lipid levels in multi-ethnic populations and show that most known lipid association signals span across ethnicities. However, differences between populations, especially differences in allele frequency, can be leveraged to identify novel signals, as shown by the discovery of ICAM1 and CD36 in the current report.
PMCID: PMC3517599  PMID: 23236364
19.  Cholesteryl ester transfer protein inhibitors for dyslipidemia: focus on dalcetrapib 
Among the noteworthy recent stories in the management and prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the saga of the development of pharmacological inhibitors of cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP). Inhibiting CETP significantly raises plasma concentrations of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which has long been considered a marker of reduced CVD risk. However, the first CETP inhibitor, torcetrapib, showed a surprising increase in CVD events, despite a dramatic increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. This paradox was explained by putative off-target effects not related to CETP inhibition that were specific to torcetrapib. Subsequently, three newer CETP inhibitors, namely dalcetrapib, anacetrapib, and evacetrapib, were at various phases of clinical development in 2012. Each of these had encouraging biochemical efficacy and safety profiles. Dalcetrapib even had human arterial imaging results that tended to look favorable. However, the dalcetrapib development program was recently terminated, presumably because interim analysis of a large CVD outcome trial indicated no benefit. These events raise important questions regarding the validity of the mechanism of CETP inhibition and the broader issue of whether pharmacological raising of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol itself is a useful strategy for CVD risk reduction.
PMCID: PMC3460676  PMID: 23055695
dalcetrapib; CETP inhbitor; HDL; cardiovascular disease
20.  BRCA2 Variants and cardiovascular disease in a multi-ethnic study 
BMC Medical Genetics  2012;13:56.
Germline mutations of BRCA1/2 are associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Recent data suggests excess mortality in mutation carriers beyond that conferred by neoplasia, and recent in vivo and in vitro studies suggest a modulatory role for BRCA proteins in endothelial and cardiomyocyte function. We therefore tested the association of BRCA2 variants with clinical cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Using data from 1,170 individuals included in two multi-ethnic population-based studies (SHARE and SHARE-AP), the association between BRCA2 variants and CVD was evaluated. 15 SNPs in BRCA2 with minor allele frequencies (MAF) > 0.01 had been previously genotyped using the cardiovascular gene-centric 50 k SNP array. 115 individuals (9.8%) reported a CVD event, defined as myocardial infarction (MI), angina, silent MI, stroke, and angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery. Analyses were adjusted for age and sex. The SNPs rs11571836 and rs1799943 were subsequently genotyped using the MassARRAY platform in 1,045 cases of incident MI and 1,135 controls from the South Asian subset of an international case-control study of acute MI (INTERHEART), and rs11571836 was imputed in 4,686 cases and 4500 controls from the Pakistan Risk of Myocardial Infarction Study (PROMIS).
Two BRCA2 SNPs, rs11571836 and rs1799943, both located in untranslated regions, were associated with lower risk of CVD (OR 0.47 p = 0.01 and OR 0.56 p = 0.03 respectively) in the SHARE studies. Analysis by specific ethnicities demonstrated an association with CVD for both SNPs in Aboriginal People, and for rs11571836 only in South Asians. No association was observed in the European and Chinese subgroups. A non-significant trend towards an association between rs11571836 and lower risk of MI was observed in South Asians from INTERHEART [OR = 0.87 (95% CI: 0.75-1.01) p = 0.068], but was not evident in PROMIS [OR = 0.96 (95% CI: 0.90-1.03) p = 0.230]. Meta-analysis of both case-control studies resulted in a combined OR of 0.94 (95% CI: 0.89-1.004, p = 0.06).
Although there was an association between two SNPs in BRCA2 and CVD in a multi-ethnic population, these results were not replicated in two South Asian case-control studies of incident MI. Future studies exploring the association between BRCA variants and cardiovascular disorders are needed to clarify the role, if any, for BRCA variants in CVD pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3464815  PMID: 22809218
21.  Familial Hypobetalipoproteinemia-Induced Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis 
Case Reports in Gastroenterology  2012;6(2):429-437.
Familial hypobetalipoproteinemia (FHBL) is a rare genetic disorder of lipid metabolism that is associated with abnormally low serum levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and apolipoprotein B. It is an autosomal co-dominant disorder, and depending on zygosity, the clinical manifestations may vary from none to neurological, endocrine, hematological or liver dysfunction. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is common in persons with FHBL, however progression to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is unusual. We describe here a patient with a novel APOB mutation, V703I, which appears to contribute to the severity of the FHBL phenotype. He had liver enzyme abnormalities, increased echogenicity of the liver consistent with steatosis, very low LDL cholesterol at 0.24 mmol/l (normal 1.8–3.5 mmol/l) and an extremely low apolipoprotein B level of 0.16 g/l (normal 0.6–1.2 g/l). APOB gene sequencing revealed him to be a compound heterozygote with two mutations (R463W and V703I). APOB R463W has previously been reported to cause FHBL. Genetic sequencing of his first-degree relatives identified the APOB V703I mutation in his normolipidemic brother and father and the APOB R463W mutation in his mother and sister, both of whom have very low LDL cholesterol levels. These results suggest that the APOB V703I mutation alone does not cause the FHBL phenotype. However, it is possible that it has a contributory role to a more aggressive phenotype in the presence of APOB R463W.
PMCID: PMC3398101  PMID: 22855658
Familial hypobetalipoproteinemia; Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; APOB
22.  The transcription factor cyclic AMP–responsive element–binding protein H regulates triglyceride metabolism 
Nature Medicine  2011;17(7):812-815.
Here we report that the transcription factor CREB-H is required for the maintenance of normal plasma triglyceride (TG) levels. CREB-H deficient mice displayed hypertriglyceridemia (HTG) secondary to inefficient TG clearance catalyzed by lipoprotein lipase (Lpl), partly due to defective expression of the Lpl coactivators, Apoc2, Apoa4, and Apoa5 and concurrent augmentation of the Lpl inhibitor, Apoc3. Multiple nonsynonymous mutations in CREB3L3 that produced hypomorphic or nonfunctional CREB-H protein were identified in patients with extreme HTG, implicating a critical role for CREB-H in human TG metabolism.
PMCID: PMC3374483  PMID: 21666694
lipid metabolism; dyslipidemia; CREB-H; transcription factor
23.  The Oxysterol 24(S),25-Epoxycholesterol Attenuates Human Smooth Muscle–Derived Foam Cell Formation Via Reduced Low-Density Lipoprotein Uptake and Enhanced Cholesterol Efflux 
Foam cell formation by intimal smooth muscle cells (SMCs) inhibits the elaboration of extracellular matrix, which is detrimental to plaque stabilization. In the present study, we examined the lipoproteins and receptors involved in human SMC foam cell formation and investigated the ability of 24(S),25-epoxycholesterol [24(S),25-EC], an oxysterol agonist of the liver X receptor, to attenuate SMC foam cell formation.
Methods and Results
Incubation of human internal thoracic SMCs with atherogenic lipoproteins demonstrated that low-density lipoprotein (LDL), but not oxidized or acetylated LDL, was the primary lipoprotein taken up, resulting in marked cholesteryl ester deposition (6-fold vs 1.8-fold; P<0.05; n=4). Exposure of SMCs to exogenous or endogenously synthesized 24(S),25-EC attenuated LDL uptake (−90% and −47% respectively; P<0.05; n=3) through decreased sterol regulatory element–binding protein-2 expression (−30% and −17%, respectively; P<0.001; n=3), decreased LDL receptor expression (−75% and −40%, respectively; P<0.05; n=3) and increased liver X receptor–mediated myosin regulatory light chain interacting protein expression (7- and 3-fold, respectively; P<0.05; n=4). Furthermore, exogenous 24(S),25-EC increased adenosine triphosphate–binding cassettes A1– and G1–mediated cholesterol efflux to apolipoprotein AI (1.9-fold; P<0.001; n=5) and high-density lipoprotein3 (1.3-fold; P<0.05; n=5). 24(S),25-EC, unlike a nonsteroidal liver X receptor agonist, T0901317, did not stimulate sterol regulatory element–binding protein-1c–mediated fatty acid synthesis or triglyceride accumulation. 24(S),25-EC preserved the assembly of fibronectin and type I collagen by SMCs.
The oxysterol 24(S),25-EC prevented foam cell formation in human SMCs by attenuation of LDL receptor–mediated LDL uptake and stimulation of cholesterol efflux, restoring the elaboration of extracellular matrix. In contrast to T0901317, 24(S),25-EC prevented the development of a triglyceride-rich foam cell phenotype. (J Am Heart Assoc. 2012;1:e000810 doi: 10.1161/JAHA.112.000810.)
PMCID: PMC3487330  PMID: 23130136
vascular smooth muscle cell; lipoproteins; oxysterol; liver X receptor; cholesterol efflux
24.  Transcriptional Profiling of Endocrine Cerebro-Osteodysplasia Using Microarray and Next-Generation Sequencing 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e25400.
Transcriptome profiling of patterns of RNA expression is a powerful approach to identify networks of genes that play a role in disease. To date, most mRNA profiling of tissues has been accomplished using microarrays, but next-generation sequencing can offer a richer and more comprehensive picture.
Methodology/Principal Findings
ECO is a rare multi-system developmental disorder caused by a homozygous mutation in ICK encoding intestinal cell kinase. We performed gene expression profiling using both cDNA microarrays and next-generation mRNA sequencing (mRNA-seq) of skin fibroblasts from ECO-affected subjects. We then validated a subset of differentially expressed transcripts identified by each method using quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Finally, we used gene ontology (GO) to identify critical pathways and processes that were abnormal according to each technical platform. Methodologically, mRNA-seq identifies a much larger number of differentially expressed genes with much better correlation to qRT-PCR results than the microarray (r2 = 0.794 and 0.137, respectively). Biologically, cDNA microarray identified functional pathways focused on anatomical structure and development, while the mRNA-seq platform identified a higher proportion of genes involved in cell division and DNA replication pathways.
Transcriptome profiling with mRNA-seq had greater sensitivity, range and accuracy than the microarray. The two platforms generated different but complementary hypotheses for further evaluation.
PMCID: PMC3181319  PMID: 21980446
25.  The 2010 Canadian Hypertension Education Program recommendations for the management of hypertension: Part 2 – therapy 
To update the evidence-based recommendations for the prevention and treatment of hypertension in adults for 2010.
For lifestyle and pharmacological interventions, randomized trials and systematic reviews of trials were preferentially reviewed. Changes in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality were the primary outcomes of interest. However, for lifestyle interventions, blood pressure lowering was accepted as a primary outcome given the general lack of long-term morbidity and mortality data in this field. Progressive renal impairment was also accepted as a clinically relevant primary outcome among patients with chronic kidney disease.
A Cochrane Collaboration librarian conducted an independent MEDLINE search from 2008 to August 2009 to update the 2009 recommendations. To identify additional studies, reference lists were reviewed and experts were contacted. All relevant articles were reviewed and appraised independently by both content and methodological experts using prespecified levels of evidence.
For lifestyle modifications to prevent and treat hypertension, restrict dietary sodium to 1500 mg (65 mmol) per day in adults 50 years of age or younger, to 1300 mg (57 mmol) per day in adults 51 to 70 years of age, and to 1200 mg (52 mmol) per day in adults older than 70 years of age; perform 30 min to 60 min of moderate aerobic exercise four to seven days per week; maintain a healthy body weight (body mass index 18.5 kg/m2 to 24.9 kg/m2) and waist circumference (less than 102 cm for men and less than 88 cm for women); limit alcohol consumption to no more than 14 standard drinks per week for men or nine standard drinks per week for women; follow a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, dietary and soluble fibre, whole grains and protein from plant sources, and that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol; and consider stress management in selected individuals with hypertension.
For the pharmacological management of hypertension, treatment thresholds and targets should be predicated on the patient’s global atherosclerotic risk, target organ damage and comorbid conditions. Blood pressure should be decreased to less than 140/90 mmHg in all patients, and to less than 130/80 mmHg in patients with diabetes mellitus or chronic kidney disease. Most patients will require more than one agent to achieve these target blood pressures. Antihypertensive therapy should be considered in all adult patients regardless of age (caution should be exercised in elderly patients who are frail). For adults without compelling indications for other agents, considerations for initial therapy should include thiazide diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (in patients who are not black), long-acting calcium channel blockers (CCBs), angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) or beta-blockers (in those younger than 60 years of age). A combination of two first-line agents may also be considered as initial treatment of hypertension if systolic blood pressure is 20 mmHg above target or if diastolic blood pressure is 10 mmHg above target. The combination of ACE inhibitors and ARBs should not be used, unless compelling indications are present to suggest consideration of dual therapy.
Agents appropriate for first-line therapy for isolated systolic hypertension include thiazide diuretics, long-acting dihydropyridine CCBs or ARBs. In patients with coronary artery disease, ACE inhibitors, ARBs or beta-blockers are recommended as first-line therapy; in patients with cerebrovascular disease, an ACE inhibitor/diuretic combination is preferred; in patients with proteinuric nondiabetic chronic kidney disease, ACE inhibitors or ARBs (if intolerant to ACE inhibitors) are recommended; and in patients with diabetes mellitus, ACE inhibitors or ARBs (or, in patients without albuminuria, thiazides or dihydropyridine CCBs) are appropriate first-line therapies. In selected high-risk patients in whom combination therapy is being considered, an ACE inhibitor plus a long-acting dihydropyridine CCB is preferable to an ACE inhibitor plus a thiazide diuretic. All hypertensive patients with dyslipidemia should be treated using the thresholds, targets and agents outlined in the Canadian lipid treatment guidelines. Selected patients with hypertension who do not achieve thresholds for statin therapy, but who are otherwise at high risk for cardiovascular events, should nonetheless receive statin therapy. Once blood pressure is controlled, low-dose acetylsalicylic acid therapy should be considered.
All recommendations were graded according to the strength of the evidence and voted on by the 63 members of the Canadian Hypertension Education Program Evidence-Based Recommendations Task Force. All recommendations reported here achieved at least 80% consensus. These guidelines will continue to be updated annually.
The Canadian Hypertension Education Program process is sponsored by the Canadian Hypertension Society, Blood Pressure Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, the Canadian Pharmacists Association, the Canadian Council of Cardiovascular Nurses, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
PMCID: PMC2886555  PMID: 20485689
Antihypertensive drugs; Blood pressure; Guidelines; High blood pressure; Hypertension; Lifestyle interventions

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