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1.  Renal Artery Calcium, Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Indices of Renal Function 
The American journal of cardiology  2013;113(1):10.1016/j.amjcard.2013.09.036.
Vascular calcium is well studied in the coronary and peripheral arteries although there is limited data focusing on calcium deposits specific to renal arteries. The associations between renal artery calcium (RAC), cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, and indices of renal function are unknown. We examined 2699 Framingham Heart Study participants who were part of a multidetector computed tomography substudy from 2008–2011. RAC was measured as a calcified plaque of >130 Hounsfield units and an area of >3 contiguous pixels. Detectable RAC was defined as an Agatston score >0. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) was defined as an eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73m2. Microalbuminuria was defined as ACR ≥17 mg/g for men and ≥25 mg/g for women. Multivariable adjusted logistic regression models were used to evaluate the associations between RAC, CVD risk factors, and renal function. The associations were secondarily adjusted for coronary artery calcium (CAC) that was used as a marker of non-renal systemic vascular calcium. The prevalence of RAC was 28.2%; this was similar in women (28.8%) and men (27.5%). Individuals with RAC had a higher odds of microalbuminuria (OR 1.79, 95% CI 1.22–2.61, p=0.003), hypertension (OR 2.11, 95% CI 1.69–2.64, p<0.001) and diabetes (OR 1.60, 95% CI 1.14–2.24, p=0.01) but not CKD (OR 0.87, 95% CI 0.58–1.32). After adjustment for CAC, the association with microalbuminuria and hypertension persisted but the association with diabetes became non-significant. In conclusion, RAC is common and independently associated with microalbuminuria and hypertension after adjustment for non-renal vascular calcium. RAC may be uniquely associated with these markers of renal end-organ damage.
PMCID: PMC3882167  PMID: 24210678
cardiovascular risk factors; microalbuminuria; renal artery calcium
2.  Sequence Analysis of Six Blood Pressure Candidate Regions in 4,178 Individuals: The Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Targeted Sequencing Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109155.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) identified multiple loci for blood pressure (BP) and hypertension. Six genes – ATP2B1, CACNB2, CYP17A1, JAG1, PLEKHA7, and SH2B3 – were evaluated for sequence variation with large effects on systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), pulse pressure (PP), and mean arterial pressure (MAP).
Methods and Results
Targeted genomic sequence was determined in 4,178 European ancestry participants from the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Consortium. Common variants (≥50 minor allele copies) were evaluated individually and rare variants (minor allele frequency, MAF≤1%) were aggregated by locus. 464 common variants were identified across the 6 genes. An upstream CYP17A1 variant, rs11191416 (MAF = 0.09), was the most significant association for SBP (P = 0.0005); however the association was attenuated (P = 0.0469) after conditioning on the GWAS index single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). A PLEKHA7 intronic variant was the strongest DBP association (rs12806040, MAF = 0.007, P = 0.0006) and was not in LD (r2 = 0.01) with the GWAS SNP. A CACNB2 intronic SNP, rs1571787, was the most significant association with PP (MAF = 0.27, P = 0.0003), but was not independent from the GWAS SNP (r2 = 0.34). Three variants (rs6163 and rs743572 in the CYP17A1 region and rs112467382 in PLEKHA7) were associated with BP traits (P<0.001). Rare variation, aggregately assessed in the 6 regions, was not significantly associated with BP measures.
Six targeted gene regions, previously identified by GWAS, did not harbor novel variation with large effects on BP in this sample.
PMCID: PMC4183565  PMID: 25275628
3.  Protein Biomarkers of New-Onset Cardiovascular Disease: A Prospective Study from the Systems Approach to Biomarker Research in Cardiovascular Disease (SABRe CVD) Initiative 
Incorporation of novel plasma protein biomarkers may improve current models for prediction of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk.
Approach and Results
We utilized discovery mass spectrometry (MS) to determine plasma concentrations of 861 proteins in 135 myocardial infarction (MI) cases and 135 matched controls. We then measured 59markers by targeted MS in 336 ASCVD case-control pairs. Associations with MI or ASCVD were tested in single marker and multimarker analyses adjusted for established ASCVD risk factors.
Twelve single markers from discovery MS were associated with MI incidence (at p<0.01) adjusting for clinical risk factors. Seven proteins in aggregate (cyclophilin A, CD5 antigen-like, cell surface glycoprotein MUC18, collagen-alpha 1 [XVIII] chain, salivary alpha-amylase 1, C-reactive protein, and multimerin-2) were highly associated with MI (p<0.0001) and significantly improved its prediction compared to a model with clinical risk factors alone (C-statistic of 0.71 vs. 0.84). Through targeted MS, twelve single proteins were predictors of ASCVD (at p<0.05) after adjusting for established risk factors. In multimarker analyses, four proteins in combination (alpha-1-acid glycoprotein 1, paraoxonase 1, tetranectin, and CD5 antigen-like, predicted incident ASCVD (p<0.0001) and moderately improved the C-statistic from the model with clinical covariates alone (C-statistic of 0.69 vs. 0.73).
Proteomics profiling identified single and multimarker protein panels that are associated with new onset ASCVD and may lead to a better understanding of underlying disease mechanisms. Our findings include many novel protein biomarkers that, if externally validated, may improve risk assessment for MI and ASCVD.
PMCID: PMC4061732  PMID: 24526693
Biomarker; cardiovascular disease; epidemiology; myocardial infarction; proteomics
4.  Identification of heart rate–associated loci and their effects on cardiac conduction and rhythm disorders 
den Hoed, Marcel | Eijgelsheim, Mark | Esko, Tõnu | Brundel, Bianca J J M | Peal, David S | Evans, David M | Nolte, Ilja M | Segrè, Ayellet V | Holm, Hilma | Handsaker, Robert E | Westra, Harm-Jan | Johnson, Toby | Isaacs, Aaron | Yang, Jian | Lundby, Alicia | Zhao, Jing Hua | Kim, Young Jin | Go, Min Jin | Almgren, Peter | Bochud, Murielle | Boucher, Gabrielle | Cornelis, Marilyn C | Gudbjartsson, Daniel | Hadley, David | Van Der Harst, Pim | Hayward, Caroline | Heijer, Martin Den | Igl, Wilmar | Jackson, Anne U | Kutalik, Zoltán | Luan, Jian’an | Kemp, John P | Kristiansson, Kati | Ladenvall, Claes | Lorentzon, Mattias | Montasser, May E | Njajou, Omer T | O’Reilly, Paul F | Padmanabhan, Sandosh | Pourcain, Beate St. | Rankinen, Tuomo | Salo, Perttu | Tanaka, Toshiko | Timpson, Nicholas J | Vitart, Veronique | Waite, Lindsay | Wheeler, William | Zhang, Weihua | Draisma, Harmen H M | Feitosa, Mary F | Kerr, Kathleen F | Lind, Penelope A | Mihailov, Evelin | Onland-Moret, N Charlotte | Song, Ci | Weedon, Michael N | Xie, Weijia | Yengo, Loic | Absher, Devin | Albert, Christine M | Alonso, Alvaro | Arking, Dan E | de Bakker, Paul I W | Balkau, Beverley | Barlassina, Cristina | Benaglio, Paola | Bis, Joshua C | Bouatia-Naji, Nabila | Brage, Søren | Chanock, Stephen J | Chines, Peter S | Chung, Mina | Darbar, Dawood | Dina, Christian | Dörr, Marcus | Elliott, Paul | Felix, Stephan B | Fischer, Krista | Fuchsberger, Christian | de Geus, Eco J C | Goyette, Philippe | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Harris, Tamara B | Hartikainen, Anna-liisa | Havulinna, Aki S | Heckbert, Susan R | Hicks, Andrew A | Hofman, Albert | Holewijn, Suzanne | Hoogstra-Berends, Femke | Hottenga, Jouke-Jan | Jensen, Majken K | Johansson, Åsa | Junttila, Juhani | Kääb, Stefan | Kanon, Bart | Ketkar, Shamika | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Knowles, Joshua W | Kooner, Angrad S | Kors, Jan A | Kumari, Meena | Milani, Lili | Laiho, Päivi | Lakatta, Edward G | Langenberg, Claudia | Leusink, Maarten | Liu, Yongmei | Luben, Robert N | Lunetta, Kathryn L | Lynch, Stacey N | Markus, Marcello R P | Marques-Vidal, Pedro | Leach, Irene Mateo | McArdle, Wendy L | McCarroll, Steven A | Medland, Sarah E | Miller, Kathryn A | Montgomery, Grant W | Morrison, Alanna C | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Navarro, Pau | Nelis, Mari | O’Connell, Jeffrey R | O’Donnell, Christopher J | Ong, Ken K | Newman, Anne B | Peters, Annette | Polasek, Ozren | Pouta, Anneli | Pramstaller, Peter P | Psaty, Bruce M | Rao, Dabeeru C | Ring, Susan M | Rossin, Elizabeth J | Rudan, Diana | Sanna, Serena | Scott, Robert A | Sehmi, Jaban S | Sharp, Stephen | Shin, Jordan T | Singleton, Andrew B | Smith, Albert V | Soranzo, Nicole | Spector, Tim D | Stewart, Chip | Stringham, Heather M | Tarasov, Kirill V | Uitterlinden, André G | Vandenput, Liesbeth | Hwang, Shih-Jen | Whitfield, John B | Wijmenga, Cisca | Wild, Sarah H | Willemsen, Gonneke | Wilson, James F | Witteman, Jacqueline C M | Wong, Andrew | Wong, Quenna | Jamshidi, Yalda | Zitting, Paavo | Boer, Jolanda M A | Boomsma, Dorret I | Borecki, Ingrid B | Van Duijn, Cornelia M | Ekelund, Ulf | Forouhi, Nita G | Froguel, Philippe | Hingorani, Aroon | Ingelsson, Erik | Kivimaki, Mika | Kronmal, Richard A | Kuh, Diana | Lind, Lars | Martin, Nicholas G | Oostra, Ben A | Pedersen, Nancy L | Quertermous, Thomas | Rotter, Jerome I | van der Schouw, Yvonne T | Verschuren, W M Monique | Walker, Mark | Albanes, Demetrius | Arnar, David O | Assimes, Themistocles L | Bandinelli, Stefania | Boehnke, Michael | de Boer, Rudolf A | Bouchard, Claude | Caulfield, W L Mark | Chambers, John C | Curhan, Gary | Cusi, Daniele | Eriksson, Johan | Ferrucci, Luigi | van Gilst, Wiek H | Glorioso, Nicola | de Graaf, Jacqueline | Groop, Leif | Gyllensten, Ulf | Hsueh, Wen-Chi | Hu, Frank B | Huikuri, Heikki V | Hunter, David J | Iribarren, Carlos | Isomaa, Bo | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Jula, Antti | Kähönen, Mika | Kiemeney, Lambertus A | van der Klauw, Melanie M | Kooner, Jaspal S | Kraft, Peter | Iacoviello, Licia | Lehtimäki, Terho | Lokki, Marja-Liisa L | Mitchell, Braxton D | Navis, Gerjan | Nieminen, Markku S | Ohlsson, Claes | Poulter, Neil R | Qi, Lu | Raitakari, Olli T | Rimm, Eric B | Rioux, John D | Rizzi, Federica | Rudan, Igor | Salomaa, Veikko | Sever, Peter S | Shields, Denis C | Shuldiner, Alan R | Sinisalo, Juha | Stanton, Alice V | Stolk, Ronald P | Strachan, David P | Tardif, Jean-Claude | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Tuomilehto, Jaako | van Veldhuisen, Dirk J | Virtamo, Jarmo | Viikari, Jorma | Vollenweider, Peter | Waeber, Gérard | Widen, Elisabeth | Cho, Yoon Shin | Olsen, Jesper V | Visscher, Peter M | Willer, Cristen | Franke, Lude | Erdmann, Jeanette | Thompson, John R | Pfeufer, Arne | Sotoodehnia, Nona | Newton-Cheh, Christopher | Ellinor, Patrick T | Stricker, Bruno H Ch | Metspalu, Andres | Perola, Markus | Beckmann, Jacques S | Smith, George Davey | Stefansson, Kari | Wareham, Nicholas J | Munroe, Patricia B | Sibon, Ody C M | Milan, David J | Snieder, Harold | Samani, Nilesh J | Loos, Ruth J F
Nature genetics  2013;45(6):621-631.
Elevated resting heart rate is associated with greater risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality. In a 2-stage meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies in up to 181,171 individuals, we identified 14 new loci associated with heart rate and confirmed associations with all 7 previously established loci. Experimental downregulation of gene expression in Drosophila melanogaster and Danio rerio identified 20 genes at 11 loci that are relevant for heart rate regulation and highlight a role for genes involved in signal transmission, embryonic cardiac development and the pathophysiology of dilated cardiomyopathy, congenital heart failure and/or sudden cardiac death. In addition, genetic susceptibility to increased heart rate is associated with altered cardiac conduction and reduced risk of sick sinus syndrome, and both heart rate–increasing and heart rate–decreasing variants associate with risk of atrial fibrillation. Our findings provide fresh insights into the mechanisms regulating heart rate and identify new therapeutic targets.
PMCID: PMC3696959  PMID: 23583979
5.  A Systems Biology Framework Identifies Molecular Underpinnings of Coronary Heart Disease 
Genetic approaches have identified numerous loci associated with coronary heart disease (CHD). The molecular mechanisms underlying CHD gene-disease associations, however, remain unclear. We hypothesized that genetic variants with both strong and subtle effects drive gene subnetworks that in turn affect CHD.
Approach and Results
We surveyed CHD-associated molecular interactions by constructing coexpression networks using whole blood gene expression profiles from 188 CHD cases and 188 age- and sex-matched controls. 24 coexpression modules were identified including one case-specific and one control-specific differential module (DM). The DMs were enriched for genes involved in B-cell activation, immune response, and ion transport. By integrating the DMs with altered gene expression associated SNPs (eSNPs) and with results of GWAS of CHD and its risk factors, the control-specific DM was implicated as CHD-causal based on its significant enrichment for both CHD and lipid eSNPs. This causal DM was further integrated with tissue-specific Bayesian networks and protein-protein interaction networks to identify regulatory key driver (KD) genes. Multi-tissue KDs (SPIB and TNFRSF13C) and tissue-specific KDs (e.g. EBF1) were identified.
Our network-driven integrative analysis not only identified CHD-related genes, but also defined network structure that sheds light on the molecular interactions of genes associated with CHD risk.
PMCID: PMC3752786  PMID: 23539213
Gene expression; coronary heart disease; systems biology; coexpression network
6.  Biomarkers Of Cardiovascular Stress And Incident Chronic Kidney Disease 
Clinical chemistry  2013;59(11):1613-1620.
Growth differentiation factor-15 (GDF-15), soluble ST2 (sST2), and high-sensitivity troponin I (hsTnI) are emerging predictors of adverse clinical outcomes. We sought to examine whether circulating concentrations are related to the development of kidney disease in the community.
Plasma GDF-15, sST2, and hsTnI concentrations were measured in 2,614 Framingham Offspring cohort participants (mean age 57 years, 54% women) at the sixth examination cycle (1995–1998). Associations of biomarkers with incident chronic kidney disease (CKD, eGFR<60 ml/min/1.73m2, n=276), microalbuminuria (urinary albumin to creatinine ratio ≥ 25 mg/g in women and 17 mg/g in men, n=191), and rapid decline in renal function (decline in eGFR ≥ 3 ml/min/1.73m2 per year, n=237), were evaluated using multivariable logistic regression; P<0.006 was considered statistically significant in primary analyses.
Participants were followed over a mean of 9.5 years. Higher plasma GDF-15 was associated with incident CKD (multivariable-adjusted OR 1.9 per 1-unit increase in log-GDF-15, 95% CI 1.6–2.3, P<0.0001) and rapid decline in renal function (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.3–1.8, P<0.0001). GDF-15, sST2, and hsTnI had suggestive associations with incident microalbuminuria but did not meet the pre-specified P-value threshold after multivariable adjustment. Adding plasma GDF-15 to clinical covariates improved risk prediction of incident CKD: the c-statistic increased from 0.826 to 0.845 (P=0.0007), and categorical net reclassification was 6.3% (95% CI 2.7–9.9%).
Higher circulating GDF-15 is associated with incident renal outcomes, and improves risk prediction of incident CKD. These findings may provide insights into mechanisms of renal injury.
PMCID: PMC3972213  PMID: 23873716
Kidney; Risk Factors; Epidemiology
7.  Low Ankle Brachial Index and the Development of Rapid Estimated GFR Decline and CKD 
Low ankle brachial index (ABI) is associated with increases in serum creatinine. Whether low ABI is associated with the development of rapid estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) decline, stage 3 chronic kidney disease (CKD), or microalbuminuria is uncertain.
Study Design
Prospective cohort study.
Setting & Participants
Framingham Offspring cohort participants who attended the sixth (1995-98) and eighth (2005-08) exams.
ABI, categorized as normal (>1.1 to <1.4), low-normal (>0.9 to 1.1), and low (≤0.9).
Rapid eGFR decline (eGFR decline ≥3mL/min/1.73m2 per year), incident stage 3 CKD (eGFR<60mL/min/1.73m2), incident microalbuminuria.
GFR was estimated using the serum creatinine-based CKD-EPI (CKD Epidemiology Collaboration) equation. Urinary albumin-creatinine ratio (UACR) was determined based on spot urine samples.
Over 9.5 years, 9.0% (232 of 2592) experienced rapid eGFR decline and 11.1% (270 of 2426) developed stage 3 CKD. Compared to a normal ABI, low ABI was associated with a 5.73-fold increased odds of rapid eGFR decline (95% CI, 2.77-11.85; p<0.001) after age, sex, and baseline eGFR adjustment; this persisted after multivariable adjustment for standard CKD risk factors (OR, 3.60; 95% CI, 1.65-7.87; p=0.001). After adjustment for age, sex, and baseline eGFR, low ABI was associated with a 2.51-fold increased odds of stage 3 CKD (OR, 2.51; 95% CI, 1.16-5.44; p=0.02), although this was attenuated after multivariable adjustment (OR, 1.68; 95% CI, 0.75-3.76; p=0.2). Among 1902 free of baseline microalbuminuria, low ABI was associated with an increased odds of microalbuminuria after adjustment for age, sex, and baseline UACR (OR, 2.81; 95% CI, 1.07-7.37; p=0.04), with attenuation upon further adjustment (OR, 1.88; p=0.1).
Limited number of events with a low ABI. Outcomes based on single serum creatinine and UACR measurements at each exam.
Low ABI is associated with an increased risk of rapid eGFR decline, suggesting that systemic atherosclerosis predicts decline in kidney function.
PMCID: PMC3517695  PMID: 22901770
8.  Integration of genome-wide association studies with biological knowledge identifies six novel genes related to kidney function 
Chasman, Daniel I. | Fuchsberger, Christian | Pattaro, Cristian | Teumer, Alexander | Böger, Carsten A. | Endlich, Karlhans | Olden, Matthias | Chen, Ming-Huei | Tin, Adrienne | Taliun, Daniel | Li, Man | Gao, Xiaoyi | Gorski, Mathias | Yang, Qiong | Hundertmark, Claudia | Foster, Meredith C. | O'Seaghdha, Conall M. | Glazer, Nicole | Isaacs, Aaron | Liu, Ching-Ti | Smith, Albert V. | O'Connell, Jeffrey R. | Struchalin, Maksim | Tanaka, Toshiko | Li, Guo | Johnson, Andrew D. | Gierman, Hinco J. | Feitosa, Mary F. | Hwang, Shih-Jen | Atkinson, Elizabeth J. | Lohman, Kurt | Cornelis, Marilyn C. | Johansson, Åsa | Tönjes, Anke | Dehghan, Abbas | Lambert, Jean-Charles | Holliday, Elizabeth G. | Sorice, Rossella | Kutalik, Zoltan | Lehtimäki, Terho | Esko, Tõnu | Deshmukh, Harshal | Ulivi, Sheila | Chu, Audrey Y. | Murgia, Federico | Trompet, Stella | Imboden, Medea | Coassin, Stefan | Pistis, Giorgio | Harris, Tamara B. | Launer, Lenore J. | Aspelund, Thor | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Mitchell, Braxton D. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Schmidt, Helena | Cavalieri, Margherita | Rao, Madhumathi | Hu, Frank | Demirkan, Ayse | Oostra, Ben A. | de Andrade, Mariza | Turner, Stephen T. | Ding, Jingzhong | Andrews, Jeanette S. | Freedman, Barry I. | Giulianini, Franco | Koenig, Wolfgang | Illig, Thomas | Meisinger, Christa | Gieger, Christian | Zgaga, Lina | Zemunik, Tatijana | Boban, Mladen | Minelli, Cosetta | Wheeler, Heather E. | Igl, Wilmar | Zaboli, Ghazal | Wild, Sarah H. | Wright, Alan F. | Campbell, Harry | Ellinghaus, David | Nöthlings, Ute | Jacobs, Gunnar | Biffar, Reiner | Ernst, Florian | Homuth, Georg | Kroemer, Heyo K. | Nauck, Matthias | Stracke, Sylvia | Völker, Uwe | Völzke, Henry | Kovacs, Peter | Stumvoll, Michael | Mägi, Reedik | Hofman, Albert | Uitterlinden, Andre G. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Aulchenko, Yurii S. | Polasek, Ozren | Hastie, Nick | Vitart, Veronique | Helmer, Catherine | Wang, Jie Jin | Stengel, Bénédicte | Ruggiero, Daniela | Bergmann, Sven | Kähönen, Mika | Viikari, Jorma | Nikopensius, Tiit | Province, Michael | Ketkar, Shamika | Colhoun, Helen | Doney, Alex | Robino, Antonietta | Krämer, Bernhard K. | Portas, Laura | Ford, Ian | Buckley, Brendan M. | Adam, Martin | Thun, Gian-Andri | Paulweber, Bernhard | Haun, Margot | Sala, Cinzia | Mitchell, Paul | Ciullo, Marina | Kim, Stuart K. | Vollenweider, Peter | Raitakari, Olli | Metspalu, Andres | Palmer, Colin | Gasparini, Paolo | Pirastu, Mario | Jukema, J. Wouter | Probst-Hensch, Nicole M. | Kronenberg, Florian | Toniolo, Daniela | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Shuldiner, Alan R. | Coresh, Josef | Schmidt, Reinhold | Ferrucci, Luigi | Siscovick, David S. | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Kardia, Sharon L.R. | Liu, Yongmei | Curhan, Gary C. | Rudan, Igor | Gyllensten, Ulf | Wilson, James F. | Franke, Andre | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Rettig, Rainer | Prokopenko, Inga | Witteman, Jacqueline | Hayward, Caroline | Ridker, Paul M | Parsa, Afshin | Bochud, Murielle | Heid, Iris M. | Kao, W.H. Linda | Fox, Caroline S. | Köttgen, Anna
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;21(24):5329-5343.
In conducting genome-wide association studies (GWAS), analytical approaches leveraging biological information may further understanding of the pathophysiology of clinical traits. To discover novel associations with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a measure of kidney function, we developed a strategy for integrating prior biological knowledge into the existing GWAS data for eGFR from the CKDGen Consortium. Our strategy focuses on single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) in genes that are connected by functional evidence, determined by literature mining and gene ontology (GO) hierarchies, to genes near previously validated eGFR associations. It then requires association thresholds consistent with multiple testing, and finally evaluates novel candidates by independent replication. Among the samples of European ancestry, we identified a genome-wide significant SNP in FBXL20 (P = 5.6 × 10−9) in meta-analysis of all available data, and additional SNPs at the INHBC, LRP2, PLEKHA1, SLC3A2 and SLC7A6 genes meeting multiple-testing corrected significance for replication and overall P-values of 4.5 × 10−4–2.2 × 10−7. Neither the novel PLEKHA1 nor FBXL20 associations, both further supported by association with eGFR among African Americans and with transcript abundance, would have been implicated by eGFR candidate gene approaches. LRP2, encoding the megalin receptor, was identified through connection with the previously known eGFR gene DAB2 and extends understanding of the megalin system in kidney function. These findings highlight integration of existing genome-wide association data with independent biological knowledge to uncover novel candidate eGFR associations, including candidates lacking known connections to kidney-specific pathways. The strategy may also be applicable to other clinical phenotypes, although more testing will be needed to assess its potential for discovery in general.
PMCID: PMC3607468  PMID: 22962313
9.  Relations of Long-Term and Contemporary Lipid Levels and Lipid Genetic Risk Scores with Coronary Artery Calcium in the Framingham Heart Study 
This study evaluated the association of timing of lipid levels and lipid genetic risk score (GRS) with subclinical atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a slowly progressive disorder influenced by suboptimal lipid levels. Long-term versus contemporary lipid levels may more strongly impact the development of coronary artery calcium (CAC).
Framingham Heart Study (FHS) Offspring Cohort participants (n=1156, 44%M, 63±9 years) underwent serial fasting lipids [low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein, and triglycerides], Exam 1 (1971–1975) – Exam 7 (1998–2001). FHS Third Generation Cohort participants (n=1954, 55%M, 45±6 years) had fasting lipid profiles assessed, 2002–2005. Computed tomography (2002–2005) measured CAC. Lipid GRSs were computed from significantly associated single nucleotide polymorphisms. The association between early, long-term average, and contemporary lipids, and lipid GRS, with elevated CAC was assessed using logistic regression.
In FHS Offspring, Exam 1 and long-term average versus Exam 7 lipid measurements, including untreated lipid levels, were strongly associated with elevated CAC. In the FHS Third Generation, contemporary lipids were associated with CAC. The LDL-C GRS was associated with CAC (age/sex-adjusted OR 1.14, 95%CI 1.00–1.29, p=0.04). However, addition of the GRS to the lipid models did not result in a significant increase in the OR or C-statistic for any lipid measure.
Early and long-term average lipid levels, as compared with contemporary measures, are more strongly associated with elevated CAC. Lipid GRS was associated with lipid levels but did not predict elevated CAC. Adult early and long-term average lipid levels provide important information when assessing subclinical atherosclerosis and cardiovascular risk.
PMCID: PMC3702262  PMID: 23141485
Lipids; Genetic risk score; Coronary artery calcium
10.  A Meta-Analysis of Genome-Wide Association Studies of the Electrocardiographic Early Repolarization Pattern 
The early repolarization pattern (ERP) is common and associated with risk of sudden cardiac death. ERP is heritable and mutations have been described in syndromatic cases.
To conduct a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to identify common genetic variants influencing ERP.
We ascertained ERP based on electrocardiograms in three large community-based cohorts from Europe and the US: the Framingham Heart Study, the Health 2000 Study, and the KORA F4 Study. We analyzed GWAS in participants with and without ERP by logistic regression assuming an additive genetic model and meta-analyzed individual cohort results. We then sought to strengthen support for findings that reached p≤1×10−5 in independent individuals by direct genotyping or in-silico analysis of genome-wide data. We meta-analyzed the results from both stages.
Of 7482 individuals in the discovery stage, 452 showed ERP (ERP positive: mean age 46.9±8.9 years, 30.3% women; ERP negative: 47.5±9.4 years, 54.2% women). After meta-analysis, eight single nucleotide polymorphisms reached p≤1×10−5: The most significant finding was intergenic rs11653989 (odds ratio 0.47; 95% confidence interval 0.36–0.61; p=6.9×10−9). The most biologically relevant finding was intronic to KCND3: rs17029069 (odds ratio 1.46; 95% confidence interval 1.25–1.69; p=8.5×10−7). In the replication step (7151 individuals), none of the eight variants replicated, and combined meta-analysis results failed to reach genome-wide significance.
In a GWAS, we were not able to reliably identify genetic variants predisposing to ERP, presumably due to insufficient statistical power and phenotype heterogeneity. The reported heritability of ERP warrants continued investigation in larger well-phenotyped populations.
PMCID: PMC3459269  PMID: 22683750
Early repolarization; Sudden cardiac death; Arrhythmia; GWAS; Meta-analysis; Electrocardiogram
11.  QT interval and long-term mortality risk in the Framingham Heart Study 
The association between QT interval and mortality has been demonstrated in large, prospective population-based studies, but the strength of the association varies considerably based on the method of heart rate correction. We examined the QT-mortality relationship in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS).
Participants in the first (original cohort, n = 2,365) and second generation (offspring cohort, n = 4,530) cohorts were included in this study with a mean follow up of 27.5 years. QT interval measurements were obtained manually using a highly reproducible digital caliper technique.
Using Cox proportional hazards regression adjusting for age and sex, a 20 msec increase in QTC (using Bazett’s correction; QT/RR1/2 interval) was associated with a modest increase in risk of all-cause mortality (HR 1.14, 95% CI 1.10–1.18, p<0.0001), coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality (HR 1.15, 95% CI 1.05–1.26, p = 0.003), and sudden cardiac death (SCD, HR 1.19, 95% CI 1.03–1.37, p = 0.02). However, adjustment for heart rate using RR interval in linear regression attenuated this association. The association of QT interval with all-cause mortality persisted after adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors, but associations with CHD mortality and SCD were no longer significant.
In FHS, there is evidence of a graded relation between QTC and all-cause mortality, CHD death, and SCD; however, this association is attenuated by adjustment for RR interval. These data confirm that using Bazett’s heart rate correction, QTC, overestimates the association with mortality. An association with all-cause mortality persists despite a more complete adjustment for heart rate and known cardiovascular risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3481183  PMID: 23094880
Heart rate; Mortality; QT interval; Sudden cardiac death
12.  Association of Genetic Variation in the Mitochondrial Genome with Blood Pressure and Metabolic Traits 
Hypertension  2012;60(4):949-956.
Elevated blood pressure (BP) is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Several studies have noted a consistent maternal effect on BP; consequently, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation has become an additional target of investigation of the missing BP heritability. Analyses of common mtDNA polymorphisms, however, have not found evidence of association with hypertension. To explore associations of relatively rare (frequency < 5%) mtDNA variants with BP, we identified uncommon/rare variants through sequencing the entire mitochondrial genome in 32 unrelated individuals with extreme-high BP in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) and genotyped 40 mtSNPs in 7,219 FHS participants. The nonsynonymous mtSNP 5913G>A (Asp4Asn) in the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 of Complex IV demonstrated significant associations with BP and fasting blood glucose (FBG) levels. Individuals with the rare 5913A allele had, on average, 7 mm Hg higher systolic BP at baseline (Pempirical = 0.05) and 17 mg/dL higher mean FBG over 25 years of follow up (Pempirical = 0.009). Significant associations with FBG levels were also detected for nonsynonymous mtSNP 3316G>A (Ala4Thr) in the NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 of Complex I. On average, individuals with rare allele 3316A had 17 and 25 mg/dL higher FBG at baseline (Pempirical = 0.01) and over 25 years of follow up (Pempirical = 0.007). Our findings provide the first evidence of putative association of variants in the mitochondrial genome with SBP and FBG in the general population. Replication in independent samples, however, is needed to confirm these putative associations.
PMCID: PMC3753106  PMID: 22949535
Mitochondrial genome; Association study; Genetics; Hypertension; Diabetes
13.  Genetic Associations with Valvular Calcification and Aortic Stenosis 
The New England journal of medicine  2013;368(6):503-512.
Limited information is available regarding genetic contributions to valvular calcification, which is an important precursor of clinical valve disease.
We determined genomewide associations with the presence of aorticvalve calcification (among 6942 participants) and mitral annular calcification (among 3795 participants), as detected by computed tomographic (CT) scanning; the study population for this analysis included persons of white European ancestry from three cohorts participating in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology consortium (discovery population). Findings were replicated in independent cohorts of persons with either CT-detected valvular calcification or clinical aortic stenosis.
One SNP in the lipoprotein(a) (LPA) locus (rs10455872) reached genomewide significance for the presence of aorticvalve calcification (odds ratio per allele, 2.05; P = 9.0×10−10), a finding that was replicated in additional white European, African-American, and Hispanic-American cohorts (P<0.05 for all comparisons). Genetically determined Lp(a) levels, as predicted by LPA genotype, were also associated with aorticvalve calcification, supporting a causal role for Lp(a). In prospective analyses, LPA genotype was associated with incident aortic stenosis (hazard ratio per allele, 1.68; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.32 to 2.15) and aortic-valve replacement (hazard ratio, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.05 to 2.27) in a large Swedish cohort; the association with incident aortic stenosis was also replicated in an independent Danish cohort. Two SNPs (rs17659543 and rs13415097) near the proinflammatory gene IL1F9 achieved genomewide significance for mitral annular calcification (P = 1.5×10−8 and P = 1.8×10−8, respectively), but the findings were not replicated consistently.
Genetic variation in the LPA locus, mediated by Lp(a) levels, is associated with aorticvalve calcification across multiple ethnic groups and with incident clinical aortic stenosis. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and others.)
PMCID: PMC3766627  PMID: 23388002
14.  Genetics of coronary artery calcification among African Americans, a meta-analysis 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:75.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the major cause of death in the United States. Coronary artery calcification (CAC) scores are independent predictors of CHD. African Americans (AA) have higher rates of CHD but are less well-studied in genomic studies. We assembled the largest AA data resource currently available with measured CAC to identify associated genetic variants.
We analyzed log transformed CAC quantity (ln(CAC + 1)), for association with ~2.5 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and performed an inverse-variance weighted meta-analysis on results for 5,823 AA from 8 studies. Heritability was calculated using family studies. The most significant SNPs among AAs were evaluated in European Ancestry (EA) CAC data; conversely, the significance of published SNPs for CAC/CHD in EA was queried within our AA meta-analysis.
Heritability of CAC was lower in AA (~30%) than previously reported for EA (~50%). No SNP reached genome wide significance (p < 5E-08). Of 67 SNPs with p < 1E-05 in AA there was no evidence of association in EA CAC data. Four SNPs in regions previously implicated in CAC/CHD (at 9p21 and PHACTR1) in EA reached nominal significance for CAC in AA, with concordant direction. Among AA, rs16905644 (p = 4.08E-05) had the strongest association in the 9p21 region.
While we observed substantial heritability for CAC in AA, we failed to identify loci for CAC at genome-wide significant levels despite having adequate power to detect alleles with moderate to large effects. Although suggestive signals in AA were apparent at 9p21 and additional CAC and CAD EA loci, overall the data suggest that even larger samples and an ethnic specific focus will be required for GWAS discoveries for CAC in AA populations.
PMCID: PMC3733595  PMID: 23870195
Atherosclerosis; Coronary artery calcium; Genetics; Meta-analysis; African-American
15.  Phylloquinone and Vitamin D Status: Associations with Incident Chronic Kidney Disease in the Framingham Offspring Cohort 
American journal of nephrology  2012;36(1):68-77.
Cardiovascular risk factors are associated with the development of chronic kidney disease (CKD), and CKD and vascular disease are etiologically linked. Evidence suggests deficiencies of vitamins D and K may adversely affect the cardiovascular system, but data from longitudinal studies are lacking. We hypothesized that deficiencies of vitamins D and K may be associated with incident CKD and/or incident albuminuria amongst members of the general population.
We analyzed 1442 Framingham Heart Study participants (mean age 58 years; 50.5% women), free of CKD (eGFR<60 ml/min/1.732), with a mean follow-up of 7.8 years in 2005–2008. Incident albuminuria was defined using sex-specific cutoffs of urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (≥17 mg/g men and ≥25 mg/g women). Baseline log plasma phylloquinone (vitamin K1) and 25(OH)D levels, analyzed as continuous variables and by quartile, were related to risk of incident CKD (n=108) and incident albuminuria (n=106) using logistic regression models adjusted for standard risk factors.
Participants in the highest phylloquinone quartile (≥1.78 nmol/L) had an increased risk of CKD (multivariable-adjusted OR Q4 vs. Q1 2.39; p=0.006) and albuminuria at follow-up (multivariable-adjusted OR Q4 vs. Q1 1.95; p=0.05), whereas no association was observed with continuous phylloquinone levels for either endpoint. Deficiency of 25(OH)D was not associated with incident CKD or albuminuria in either analysis.
Contrary to our hypothesis, higher plasma phylloquinone levels are associated with an increased risk of incident CKD. Whether plasma phylloquinone is a marker for another unmeasured risk factor requires further study. External validation is necessary given the unexpected nature of these results.
PMCID: PMC3435876  PMID: 22722822
Chronic kidney disease; vitamin K; vitamin D
16.  Resequencing and clinical associations of the 9p21.3 region: a comprehensive investigation in the Framingham Heart Study 
Circulation  2013;127(7):799-810.
9p21.3 is among the most strongly replicated regions for cardiovascular disease (CVD). There are few reports of sequencing the associated 9p21.3 interval. We set out to sequence the 9p21.3 region followed by a comprehensive study of genetic associations with clinical and subclinical CVD and its risk factors, and with copy number variation and gene expression, in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS).
Methods and Results
We sequenced 281 individuals (n=94 with myocardial infarction, n=94 with high coronary artery calcium levels, and n=93controls free of elevated coronary artery calcium or myocardial infarction) followed by genotyping and association in >7,000 additional FHS individuals. We assessed genetic associations with clinical and subclinical CVD, risk factor phenotypes, and gene expression levels of protein-coding genes CDKN2A and CDKN2B as well as the non-coding gene ANRIL in freshly harvested leukocytes and platelets. Within this large sample we found strong associations of 9p21.3 variants with increased risk for myocardial infarction, higher coronary artery calcium levels, and larger abdominal aorta diameters, and no evidence for association with traditional CVD risk factors. No common protein-coding variation, variants in splice donor or acceptor sites, or CNV events were observed. By contrast, strong associations were observed between genetic variants and gene expression, particularly for a short isoform of ANRIL and for CDKN2B.
Our thorough genomic characterization of 9p21.3 suggests common variants likely account for observed disease associations, and provide further support for the hypothesis that complex regulatory variation affecting ANRIL and CDKN2B gene expression may contribute to increased risk for clinically apparent and subclinical coronary artery disease and aortic disease.
PMCID: PMC3686634  PMID: 23315372
genetics; myocardial infarction; risk factors; atherosclerosis; calcium
17.  Genetic determinants of the ankle-brachial index: A meta-analysis of a cardiovascular candidate gene 50K SNP panel in the candidate gene association resource (CARe) consortium 
Atherosclerosis  2012;222(1):138-147.
Candidate gene association studies for peripheral artery disease (PAD), including subclinical disease assessed with the ankle-brachial index (ABI), have been limited by the modest number of genes examined. We conducted a two stage meta-analysis of ~50,000 SNPs across ~2100 candidate genes to identify genetic variants for ABI.
Methods and results
We studied subjects of European ancestry from 8 studies (n = 21,547, 55% women, mean age 44–73 years) and African American ancestry from 5 studies (n = 7267, 60% women, mean age 41–73 years) involved in the candidate gene association resource (CARe) consortium. In each ethnic group, additive genetic models were used (with each additional copy of the minor allele corresponding to the given beta) to test each SNP for association with continuous ABI (excluding ABI > 1.40) and PAD (defined as ABI < 0.90) using linear or logistic regression with adjustment for known PAD risk factors and population stratification. We then conducted a fixed-effects inverse-variance weighted meta-analyses considering a p < 2 × 10−6 to denote statistical significance.
In the European ancestry discovery meta-analyses, rs2171209 in SYTL3 (β = −0.007, p = 6.02 × 10−7) and rs290481 in TCF7L2 (β = −0.008, p = 7.01 × 10−7) were significantly associated with ABI. None of the SNP associations for PAD were significant, though a SNP in CYP2B6 (p = 4.99 × 10−5) was among the strongest associations. These 3 genes are linked to key PAD risk factors (lipoprotein(a), type 2 diabetes, and smoking behavior, respectively). We sought replication in 6 population-based and 3 clinical samples (n = 15,440) for rs290481 and rs2171209. However, in the replication stage (rs2171209, p = 0.75; rs290481, p = 0.19) and in the combined discovery and replication analysis the SNP–ABI associations were no longer significant (rs2171209, p = 1.14 × 10−3; rs290481, p = 8.88 × 10−5). In African Americans, none of the SNP associations for ABI or PAD achieved an experiment-wide level of significance.
Genetic determinants of ABI and PAD remain elusive. Follow-up of these preliminary findings may uncover important biology given the known gene-risk factor associations. New and more powerful approaches to PAD gene discovery are warranted.
PMCID: PMC3596171  PMID: 22361517
Ankle brachial index; Peripheral artery disease; Genetics; Candidate gene array; Meta-analysis; Ethnicity
18.  A Genetic Risk Score is Associated with Incident Cardiovascular Disease and Coronary Artery Calcium - The Framingham Heart Study 
Limited data exist regarding the use of a genetic risk score for predicting risk of incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) in US based samples.
Methods and Results
Using findings from recent GWAS, we constructed genetic risk scores (GRS) comprised of 13 genetic variants associated with myocardial infarction (MI) or other manifestations of CHD and 102 genetic variants associated with CHD or its major risk factors. We also updated the 13 SNP GRS with 16 SNPs recently discovered by GWAS. We estimated the association, discrimination and risk reclassification of each GRS for incident cardiovascular events and for prevalent coronary artery calcium (CAC).
In analyses adjusted for age, sex, CVD risk factors and parental history of CVD, the 13 SNP GRS was significantly associated with incident hard CHD (HR 1.07, 95% CI 1.00-1.15, p=0.04), CVD (hazard ratio [HR] per-allele 1.05, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01-1.09; p=0.03), and high CAC (defined as >75th age and sex-specific percentile; odds ratio [OR] per-allele 1.18, 95% CI 1.11-1.26, p=3.4 × 10-7). The GRS did not improve discrimination for incident CHD or CVD but led to modest improvements in risk reclassification. However, significant improvements in discrimination and risk reclassification were observed for the prediction of high CAC. The addition of 16 newly discovered SNPs to the 13 SNP GRS did not significantly modify these results.
A GRS comprised of 13 SNPs associated with coronary disease is an independent predictor of cardiovascular events and of high CAC, modestly improves risk reclassification for incident CHD and significant improves discrimination for high CAC. The addition of recently discovered SNPs did not significantly improve the performance of this GRS.
PMCID: PMC3292865  PMID: 22235037
Genetics; single nucleotide polymorphisms; cardiovascular disease; coronary heart disease; risk prediction; reclassification
19.  Association Between Chromosome 9p21 Variants and the Ankle-Brachial Index Identified by a Meta-Analysis of 21 Genome-Wide Association Studies 
Murabito, Joanne M. | White, Charles C. | Kavousi, Maryam | Sun, Yan V. | Feitosa, Mary F. | Nambi, Vijay | Lamina, Claudia | Schillert, Arne | Coassin, Stefan | Bis, Joshua C. | Broer, Linda | Crawford, Dana C. | Franceschini, Nora | Frikke-Schmidt, Ruth | Haun, Margot | Holewijn, Suzanne | Huffman, Jennifer E. | Hwang, Shih-Jen | Kiechl, Stefan | Kollerits, Barbara | Montasser, May E. | Nolte, Ilja M. | Rudock, Megan E. | Senft, Andrea | Teumer, Alexander | van der Harst, Pim | Vitart, Veronique | Waite, Lindsay L. | Wood, Andrew R. | Wassel, Christina L. | Absher, Devin M. | Allison, Matthew A. | Amin, Najaf | Arnold, Alice | Asselbergs, Folkert W. | Aulchenko, Yurii | Bandinelli, Stefania | Barbalic, Maja | Boban, Mladen | Brown-Gentry, Kristin | Couper, David J. | Criqui, Michael H. | Dehghan, Abbas | Heijer, Martin den | Dieplinger, Benjamin | Ding, Jingzhong | Dörr, Marcus | Espinola-Klein, Christine | Felix, Stephan B. | Ferrucci, Luigi | Folsom, Aaron R. | Fraedrich, Gustav | Gibson, Quince | Goodloe, Robert | Gunjaca, Grgo | Haltmayer, Meinhard | Heiss, Gerardo | Hofman, Albert | Kieback, Arne | Kiemeney, Lambertus A. | Kolcic, Ivana | Kullo, Iftikhar J. | Kritchevsky, Stephen B. | Lackner, Karl J. | Li, Xiaohui | Lieb, Wolfgang | Lohman, Kurt | Meisinger, Christa | Melzer, David | Mohler, Emile R | Mudnic, Ivana | Mueller, Thomas | Navis, Gerjan | Oberhollenzer, Friedrich | Olin, Jeffrey W. | O’Connell, Jeff | O’Donnell, Christopher J. | Palmas, Walter | Penninx, Brenda W. | Petersmann, Astrid | Polasek, Ozren | Psaty, Bruce M. | Rantner, Barbara | Rice, Ken | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Rotter, Jerome I. | Seldenrijk, Adrie | Stadler, Marietta | Summerer, Monika | Tanaka, Toshiko | Tybjaerg-Hansen, Anne | Uitterlinden, Andre G. | van Gilst, Wiek H. | Vermeulen, Sita H. | Wild, Sarah H. | Wild, Philipp S. | Willeit, Johann | Zeller, Tanja | Zemunik, Tatijana | Zgaga, Lina | Assimes, Themistocles L. | Blankenberg, Stefan | Boerwinkle, Eric | Campbell, Harry | Cooke, John P. | de Graaf, Jacqueline | Herrington, David | Kardia, Sharon L. R. | Mitchell, Braxton D. | Murray, Anna | Münzel, Thomas | Newman, Anne | Oostra, Ben A. | Rudan, Igor | Shuldiner, Alan R. | Snieder, Harold | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Völker, Uwe | Wright, Alan F. | Wichmann, H.-Erich | Wilson, James F. | Witteman, Jacqueline C.M. | Liu, Yongmei | Hayward, Caroline | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Ziegler, Andreas | North, Kari E. | Cupples, L. Adrienne | Kronenberg, Florian
Genetic determinants of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) remain largely unknown. To identify genetic variants associated with the ankle-brachial index (ABI), a noninvasive measure of PAD, we conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association study data from 21 population-based cohorts.
Methods and Results
Continuous ABI and PAD (ABI≤0.9) phenotypes adjusted for age and sex were examined. Each study conducted genotyping and imputed data to the ~2.5 million SNPs in HapMap. Linear and logistic regression models were used to test each SNP for association with ABI and PAD using additive genetic models. Study-specific data were combined using fixed-effects inverse variance weighted meta-analyses. There were a total of 41,692 participants of European ancestry (~60% women, mean ABI 1.02 to 1.19), including 3,409 participants with PAD and with GWAS data available. In the discovery meta-analysis, rs10757269 on chromosome 9 near CDKN2B had the strongest association with ABI (β= −0.006, p=2.46x10−8). We sought replication of the 6 strongest SNP associations in 5 population-based studies and 3 clinical samples (n=16,717). The association for rs10757269 strengthened in the combined discovery and replication analysis (p=2.65x10−9). No other SNP associations for ABI or PAD achieved genome-wide significance. However, two previously reported candidate genes for PAD and one SNP associated with coronary artery disease (CAD) were associated with ABI : DAB21P (rs13290547, p=3.6x10−5); CYBA (rs3794624, p=6.3x10−5); and rs1122608 (LDLR, p=0.0026).
GWAS in more than 40,000 individuals identified one genome-wide significant association on chromosome 9p21 with ABI. Two candidate genes for PAD and 1 SNP for CAD are associated with ABI.
PMCID: PMC3303225  PMID: 22199011
cohort study; genetic association; genome-wide association study; meta-analysis; peripheral vascular disease
20.  Performance of a Genetic Risk Score for CKD Stage 3 in the General Population 
Recent genome-wide association studies have identified multiple genetic loci that increase the risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the general population. We hypothesized that knowledge of these loci might permit improved CKD risk prediction beyond that provided by traditional phenotypic risk factors.
Study design
Observational cohort study
Setting and participants
Participants who attended the 15th (1977–1979) and 24th (1995–1998) examination cycles of the Original cohort or the 6th (1995–1998) and 8th cycles (2005–2008) of the Offspring cohort of the Framingham Heart Study (n=2,489).
Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at 16 stage 3 CKD loci were genotyped and used to construct a genetic risk score. Standard clinical predictors of incident stage 3 CKD were also used.
Outcomes and Measurements
Incident stage 3 CKD was defined as eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73m2 at follow-up. Participants with baseline stage 3 CKD were excluded. Logistic regression was used to generate C statistics, which measured the power of the genetic risk score to discriminate risk of incident CKD stage 3 with and without traditional risk factors.
There were 270 new stage 3 CKD cases during an average of 10.8 years follow-up. The mean (±SD) genetic risk score was 17.5±2.8 among those who developed stage 3 CKD and 17.3±2.6 among those who did not (P-value for genotype score difference=0.2). The odds ratio for stage 3 CKD was 1.06 (95% CI, 1.01–1.11; p=0.03) per additional risk allele, adjusting for age and sex. In the age and sex-adjusted model, the C statistic was 0.748 without the genotype score and 0.751 with the score (P-value for difference=0.3). The risk score was not statistically significant in a multivariable model adjusted for standard stage 3 CKD risk factors (p=0.07).
Participants all of European ancestry; genotype score may not be valid in different ancestral groups.
A genetic score generated from 16 known CKD risk alleles did not predict new cases of stage 3 CKD in the community beyond knowledge of common, clinical risk factors alone.
PMCID: PMC3242901  PMID: 21995970
21.  Genome-wide Association Study for Coronary Artery Calcification with Follow-up in Myocardial Infarction 
Circulation  2011;124(25):2855-2864.
Coronary artery calcification (CAC) detected by computed tomography is a non-invasive measure of coronary atherosclerosis, that underlies most cases of myocardial infarction (MI). We aimed to identify common genetic variants associated with CAC and further investigate their associations with MI.
Methods and Results
Computed tomography was used to assess quantity of CAC. A meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for CAC was carried out in 9,961 men and women from five independent community-based cohorts, with replication in three additional independent cohorts (n=6,032). We examined the top single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with CAC quantity for association with MI in multiple large genome-wide association studies of MI. Genome-wide significant associations with CAC for SNPs on chromosome 9p21 near CDKN2A and CDKN2B (top SNP: rs1333049, P=7.58×10−19) and 6p24 (top SNP: rs9349379, within the PHACTR1 gene, P=2.65×10−11) replicated for CAC and for MI. Additionally, there is evidence for concordance of SNP associations with both CAC and with MI at a number of other loci, including 3q22 (MRAS gene), 13q34 (COL4A1/COL4A2 genes), and 1p13 (SORT1 gene).
SNPs in the 9p21 and PHACTR1 gene loci were strongly associated with CAC and MI, and there are suggestive associations with both CAC and MI of SNPs in additional loci. Multiple genetic loci are associated with development of both underlying coronary atherosclerosis and clinical events.
PMCID: PMC3397173  PMID: 22144573
cardiac computed tomography; coronary artery calcification; coronary atherosclerosis; genome-wide association studies; myocardial infarction
Hypertension  2011;58(5):784-790.
Ectopic fat depots may mediate local and systemic disease. Animal models of diet-induced obesity demonstrate increased fat accumulation in the renal sinus. The association of renal sinus fat with hypertension, chronic kidney disease (CKD), and other metabolic disorders has not been studied in a large, community-based sample. Participants from the Framingham Heart Study (n=2923, mean age 54 years, 51% women) underwent quantification of renal sinus fat area using computed tomography. High renal sinus fat (“fatty kidney”) was defined using sex-specific 90th percentiles in a healthy referent sub-sample. Multivariable linear and logistic regression was used to model metabolic risk factors as a function of fatty kidney and log-transformed renal sinus fat. Multivariable models were adjusted for age, sex, outcome-specific covariates, and then additionally adjusted for body mass index (BMI) or abdominal visceral adipose tissue (VAT). The prevalence of fatty kidney was 30.1% (n=879). Individuals with fatty kidney had a higher odds ratio (OR) of hypertension (OR 2.12, p<0.0001), which persisted after adjustment for BMI (OR 1.49, p<0.0001) and VAT (OR 1.24, p=0.049). Fatty kidney was also associated with an increased odds ratio for CKD (OR 2.30, p=0.005), even after additionally adjusting for BMI (OR 1.86, p=0.04) or VAT (OR 1.86, p=0.05). We observed no association between fatty kidney and diabetes after adjusting for VAT. In conclusion, fatty kidney is a common condition that is associated with an increased risk of hypertension and chronic kidney disease. Renal sinus fat may play a role in blood pressure regulation and CKD.
PMCID: PMC3204377  PMID: 21931075
renal sinus fat; hypertension; chronic kidney disease; blood pressure; computed tomography; epidemiology
23.  Genome-wide association study for serum urate concentrations and gout among African Americans identifies genomic risk loci and a novel URAT1 loss-of-function allele 
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;20(20):4056-4068.
Serum urate concentrations are highly heritable and elevated serum urate is a key risk factor for gout. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of serum urate in African American (AA) populations are lacking. We conducted a meta-analysis of GWAS of serum urate levels and gout among 5820 AA and a large candidate gene study among 6890 AA and 21 708 participants of European ancestry (EA) within the Candidate Gene Association Resource Consortium. Findings were tested for replication among 1996 independent AA individuals, and evaluated for their association among 28 283 EA participants of the CHARGE Consortium. Functional studies were conducted using 14C-urate transport assays in mammalian Chinese hamster ovary cells. In the discovery GWAS of serum urate, three loci achieved genome-wide significance (P< 5.0 × 10−8): a novel locus near SGK1/SLC2A12 on chromosome 6 (rs9321453, P= 1.0 × 10−9), and two loci previously identified in EA participants, SLC2A9 (P= 3.8 × 10−32) and SLC22A12 (P= 2.1 × 10−10). A novel rare non-synonymous variant of large effect size in SLC22A12, rs12800450 (minor allele frequency 0.01, G65W), was identified and replicated (beta −1.19 mg/dl, P= 2.7 × 10−16). 14C-urate transport assays showed reduced urate transport for the G65W URAT1 mutant. Finally, in analyses of 11 loci previously associated with serum urate in EA individuals, 10 of 11 lead single-nucleotide polymorphisms showed direction-consistent association with urate among AA. In summary, we identified and replicated one novel locus in association with serum urate levels and experimentally characterize the novel G65W variant in URAT1 as a functional allele. Our data support the importance of multi-ethnic GWAS in the identification of novel risk loci as well as functional variants.
PMCID: PMC3177647  PMID: 21768215
24.  Trefoil Factor 3 Predicts Incident Chronic Kidney Disease: A Case-Control Study Nested within the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study 
American Journal of Nephrology  2011;34(4):291-297.
Early detection of individuals at high risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD) may aid prevention. Urinary levels of trefoil factor 3 (TFF3) are associated with acute kidney injury in animal models, but the association of TFF3 levels with incident CKD in humans is unknown.
We conducted a case-control study nested within the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study and the ARIC Carotid MRI Study to determine whether urinary TFF3 levels predict incident CKD over 8.6 years of follow-up. A total of 143 participants with incident CKD (eGFR decreasing by ≥25% to <60 ml/min/1.73 m2) were matched on age, sex and race to 143 non-cases.
Higher TFF3 levels at baseline were strongly associated with Black race, diabetes (both p = 0.002), and antihypertensive medication use (p = 0.02). Compared to participants with TFF3 levels in the lowest quartile, the odds ratio (OR) of incident CKD was 1.84 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.80, 4.22) for individuals with TFF3 levels in the second quartile, 2.43 (95% CI: 1.06, 5.53) for the third quartile, and 2.77 (95% CI: 1.22, 6.28) for the fourth quartile (p trend = 0.02). Adjustment for covariates, including urinary albumin: creatinine ratio, did not markedly change the associations. Twofold higher TFF3 levels were strongly associated with incident CKD after adjustment for CKD risk factors (adjusted OR = 1.35; 95% CI: 1.11, 1.64).
Higher urinary TFF3 levels may indicate ongoing repair of damage in the kidney. Additional studies are needed to confirm whether TFF3 can be useful as a marker of increased risk for CKD.
PMCID: PMC3169359  PMID: 21829008
Kidney disease; Tubulointerstitual disease; Biomarkers
25.  Genome-wide meta-analysis points to CTC1 and ZNF676 as genes regulating telomere homeostasis in humans 
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;21(24):5385-5394.
Leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is associated with a number of common age-related diseases and is a heritable trait. Previous genome-wide association studies (GWASs) identified two loci on chromosomes 3q26.2 (TERC) and 10q24.33 (OBFC1) that are associated with the inter-individual LTL variation. We performed a meta-analysis of 9190 individuals from six independent GWAS and validated our findings in 2226 individuals from four additional studies. We confirmed previously reported associations with OBFC1 (rs9419958 P = 9.1 × 10−11) and with the telomerase RNA component TERC (rs1317082, P = 1.1 × 10−8). We also identified two novel genomic regions associated with LTL variation that map near a conserved telomere maintenance complex component 1 (CTC1; rs3027234, P = 3.6 × 10−8) on chromosome17p13.1 and zinc finger protein 676 (ZNF676; rs412658, P = 3.3 × 10−8) on 19p12. The minor allele of rs3027234 was associated with both shorter LTL and lower expression of CTC1. Our findings are consistent with the recent observations that point mutations in CTC1 cause short telomeres in both Arabidopsis and humans affected by a rare Mendelian syndrome. Overall, our results provide novel insights into the genetic architecture of inter-individual LTL variation in the general population.
PMCID: PMC3510758  PMID: 23001564

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