We used whole-exome sequencing to identify variants other than APOE associated with the rate of hippocampal atrophy in amnestic mild cognitive impairment. An in-silico predicted missense variant in REST (rs3796529) was found exclusively in subjects with slow hippocampal volume loss and validated using unbiased whole-brain analysis and meta-analysis across 5 independent cohorts. REST is a master regulator of neurogenesis and neuronal differentiation that has not been previously implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. These findings nominate REST and its functional pathways as protective and illustrate the potential of combining next-generation sequencing with neuroimaging to discover novel disease mechanisms and potential therapeutic targets.
More than one hundred loci have been identified for age at menarche by genome-wide association studies (GWAS), but collectively these explain only ~3% of the trait variance. Here, we test two overlooked sources of variation in 192,974 European ancestry women: low-frequency protein-coding variants and X-chromosome variants. Five missense/nonsense variants (in ALMS1/LAMB2/TNRC6A/TACR3/PRKAG1) are associated with age at menarche (minor allele frequencies 0.08%-4.6%; effect sizes 0.08-1.25 years/allele; P<5×10−8). Additionally, we identify common X-chromosome loci at IGSF1 (rs762080, P=9.4×10−13) and FAAH2 (rs5914101, P=4.9×10−10). Highlighted genes implicate cellular energy homeostasis, post-transcriptional gene silencing and fatty acid amide signalling. A frequently reported mutation in TACR3 for idiopathic hypogonatrophic hypogonadism (p.W275X) is associated with 1.25-years later menarche (P=2.8×10−11), illustrating the utility of population studies to estimate the penetrance of reportedly pathogenic mutations. Collectively these novel variants explain ~0.5% variance, indicating these overlooked sources of variation do not substantially explain the ‘missing heritability’ of this complex trait.
The genetic contribution to longevity in humans has been estimated to range from 15% to 25%. Only two genes, APOE and FOXO3, have shown association with longevity in multiple independent studies.
We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies including 6,036 longevity cases, age ≥90 years, and 3,757 controls that died between ages 55 and 80 years. We additionally attempted to replicate earlier identified single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) associations with longevity.
In our meta-analysis, we found suggestive evidence for the association of SNPs near CADM2 (odds ratio [OR] = 0.81; p value = 9.66 × 10−7) and GRIK2 (odds ratio = 1.24; p value = 5.09 × 10−8) with longevity. When attempting to replicate findings earlier identified in genome-wide association studies, only the APOE locus consistently replicated. In an additional look-up of the candidate gene FOXO3, we found that an earlier identified variant shows a highly significant association with longevity when including published data with our meta-analysis (odds ratio = 1.17; p value = 1.85×10−10).
We did not identify new genome-wide significant associations with longevity and did not replicate earlier findings except for APOE and FOXO3. Our inability to find new associations with survival to ages ≥90 years because longevity represents multiple complex traits with heterogeneous genetic underpinnings, or alternatively, that longevity may be regulated by rare variants that are not captured by standard genome-wide genotyping and imputation of common variants.
Longevity; GWAS; FOXO3; APOE.
Circulating interleukin-6 levels increase with advancing age and are a risk factor for various diseases and mortality. The characterization of gene expression profiles associated with interleukin-6 levels might suggest important molecular events underlying its regulation.
Methods and Results
We studied the association of transcriptional profiles with interleukin-6 levels in 2422 participants from Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort using Affymetrix Human Exon 1.0 ST Array. We identified 4139 genes that were significantly associated with interleukin-6 levels (FDR<0.05) after adjusting for age, sex and blood cell components. We then replicated 807 genes in the InCHIANTI study with 694 participants. Many of the top genes are involved in inflammation-related pathways or erythrocyte function, including JAK/Stat signaling pathway and interleukin-10 signaling pathway.
We identified and replicated 807 genes that were associated with circulating interleukin-6 levels. Future characterization of interleukin-6 regulation networks may facilitate the identification of additional potential targets for treating inflammation-related diseases.
Inflammation; gene expression; interleukin-6; epidemiology
Mutations in known causal Alzheimer disease (AD) genes account for only 1% to 3% of patients and almost all are dominantly inherited. Recessive inheritance of complex phenotypes can be linked to long (>1-megabase [Mb]) runs of homozygosity (ROHs) detectable by single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays.
To evaluate the association between ROHs and AD in an African American population known to have a risk for AD up to 3 times higher than white individuals.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS
Case-control study of a large African American data set previously genotyped on different genome-wide SNP arrays conducted from December 2013 to January 2015. Global and locus-based ROH measurements were analyzed using raw or imputed genotype data. We studied the raw genotypes from 2 case-control subsets grouped based on SNP array: Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium data set (871 cases and 1620 control individuals) and Chicago Health and Aging Project–Indianapolis Ibadan Dementia Study data set (279 cases and 1367 control individuals). We then examined the entire data set using imputed genotypes from 1917 cases and 3858 control individuals.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES
The ROHs larger than 1 Mb, 2 Mb, or 3 Mb were investigated separately for global burden evaluation, consensus regions, and gene-based analyses.
The African American cohort had a low degree of inbreeding (F ~ 0.006). In the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium data set, we detected a significantly higher proportion of cases with ROHs greater than 2 Mb (P = .004) or greater than 3 Mb (P = .02), as well as a significant 114-kilobase consensus region on chr4q31.3 (empirical P value 2 = .04; ROHs >2 Mb). In the Chicago Health and Aging Project–Indianapolis Ibadan Dementia Study data set, we identified a significant 202-kilobase consensus region on Chr15q24.1 (empirical P value 2 = .02; ROHs >1 Mb) and a cluster of 13 significant genes on Chr3p21.31 (empirical P value 2 = .03; ROHs >3 Mb). A total of 43 of 49 nominally significant genes common for both data sets also mapped to Chr3p21.31. Analyses of imputed SNP data from the entire data set confirmed the association of AD with global ROH measurements (12.38 ROHs >1 Mb in cases vs 12.11 in controls; 2.986 Mb average size of ROHs >2 Mb in cases vs 2.889 Mb in controls; and 22% of cases with ROHs >3 Mb vs 19% of controls) and a gene-cluster on Chr3p21.31 (empirical P value 2 = .006-.04; ROHs >3 Mb). Also, we detected a significant association between AD and CLDN17 (empirical P value 2 = .01; ROHs >1 Mb), encoding a protein from the Claudin family, members of which were previously suggested as AD biomarkers.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE
To our knowledge, we discovered the first evidence of increased burden of ROHs among patients with AD from an outbred African American population, which could reflect either the cumulative effect of multiple ROHs to AD or the contribution of specific loci harboring recessive mutations and risk haplotypes in a subset of patients. Sequencing is required to uncover AD variants in these individuals.
Less is known about the genetic basis of Alzheimer disease (AD) in African
Americans (AAs) than in non-Hispanic whites.
Whole exome sequencing (WES) was performed on seven AA AD cases. Disease
association with potentially AD-related variants from WES was assessed in an AA
discovery cohort of 422 cases and 394 controls. Replication was sought in an AA sample
of 1,037 cases and 1,869 controls from the Alzheimer Disease Genetics Consortium
Forty-four SNPs from WES passed filtering criteria and were successfully
genotyped, Nominally significant (p<0.05) association to AD was observed with
two African-descent specific AKAP9 SNPs in tight linkage
disequilibrium: rs144662445 (p=0.014) and rs149979685 (p=0.037). These associations were
replicated in the ADGC sample (rs144662445: p=0.0022, odds ratio [OR]=2.75; rs149979685:
Because AKAP9 was not previously linked to AD risk, this study
indicates a potential new disease mechanism.
whole-exome sequencing; late-onset Alzheimer disease; rare variant; genetic association; African American; AKAP9
Atrial fibrillation (AF) affects over 30 million individuals worldwide and is associated with an increased risk of stroke, heart failure, and death. AF is highly heritable, yet the genetic basis for the arrhythmia remains incompletely understood.
Methods & Results
To identify new AF-related genes, we utilized a multifaceted approach, combining large-scale genotyping in two ethnically distinct populations, cis-eQTL mapping, and functional validation. Four novel loci were identified in individuals of European descent near the genes NEURL (rs12415501, RR=1.18, 95%CI 1.13 – 1.23, p=6.5×10−16), GJA1 (rs13216675, RR=1.10, 95%CI 1.06 – 1.14, p=2.2×10−8), TBX5 (rs10507248, RR=1.12, 95%CI 1.08 – 1.16, p=5.7×10−11), and CAND2 (rs4642101, RR=1.10, 95%CI 1.06 – 1.14, p=9.8×10−9). In Japanese, novel loci were identified near NEURL (rs6584555, RR=1.32, 95%CI 1.26–1.39, p=2.0×10−25) and CUX2 (rs6490029, RR=1.12, 95%CI 1.08–1.16, p=3.9×10−9). The top SNPs or their proxies were identified as cis-eQTLs for the genes CAND2 (p=2.6×10−19), GJA1 (p=2.66×10−6), and TBX5 (p=1.36×10−05). Knockdown of the zebrafish orthologs of NEURL and CAND2 resulted in prolongation of the atrial action potential duration (17% and 45%, respectively).
We have identified five novel loci for AF. Our results further expand the diversity of genetic pathways implicated in AF and provide novel molecular targets for future biological and pharmacological investigation.
atrial fibrillation; genetics; epidemiology; expression; functional analysis; zebrafish
More than 100 loci have been identified for age at menarche by genome-wide association studies; however, collectively these explain only ∼3% of the trait variance. Here we test two overlooked sources of variation in 192,974 European ancestry women: low-frequency protein-coding variants and X-chromosome variants. Five missense/nonsense variants (in ALMS1/LAMB2/TNRC6A/TACR3/PRKAG1) are associated with age at menarche (minor allele frequencies 0.08–4.6%; effect sizes 0.08–1.25 years per allele; P<5 × 10−8). In addition, we identify common X-chromosome loci at IGSF1 (rs762080, P=9.4 × 10−13) and FAAH2 (rs5914101, P=4.9 × 10−10). Highlighted genes implicate cellular energy homeostasis, post-transcriptional gene silencing and fatty-acid amide signalling. A frequently reported mutation in TACR3 for idiopathic hypogonatrophic hypogonadism (p.W275X) is associated with 1.25-year-later menarche (P=2.8 × 10−11), illustrating the utility of population studies to estimate the penetrance of reportedly pathogenic mutations. Collectively, these novel variants explain ∼0.5% variance, indicating that these overlooked sources of variation do not substantially explain the ‘missing heritability' of this complex trait.
Previous studies have linked over 100 genomic loci to age-at-menarche but that work was restricted to common autosomal variation. Here, Lunetta et al. identify associations with rare protein-coding and X-linked variants, implicating new mechanisms that regulate puberty timing.
Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 2 distinct regions of the gene for the sortilin-related receptor (SORL1) (bounded by consecutively numbered SNPs 8−10 and 22−25) were shown to be associated with Alzheimer disease (AD) in multiple ethnically diverse samples.
To test the hypothesis that SORL1 is associated with brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measurements of atrophy and/or vascular disease.
Design, Setting, and Patients
We evaluated the association of 30 SNPs spanning SORL1 with MRI measures of general cerebral atrophy, hippocampal atrophy, white matter hyperintensities, and overall cerebrovascular disease in 44 African American and 182 white sibships from the MIRAGE Study. We performed single-and 3-SNP haplotype association analyses using family-based tests. Haplotypes found to be significantly associated with at least 1 MRI trait were tested for association with 6 pathological traits in a separate sample of 69 white patients with autopsy-confirmed AD.
In white patients, white matter hyperintensities were associated with multiple markers in the region encompassing SNPs 6 to 10, whereas cerebral and hippocampal atrophy were associated with markers from the region including SNPs 21 to 26. Examination of specific 3-SNP haplotypes from these 2 regions in the autopsy-confirmed cases of AD revealed association of white matter disease with SNPs 8 to 10 and association of hippocampal atrophy with SNPs 22 to 26. The haplotype CGC at SNPs 8 to 10 was associated with fewer white matter changes in the clinical (P<.001) and autopsy (P=.02) samples.
Variants of SORL1 previously associated with AD are also associated with MRI and neuropathological measures of neurodegenerative and cerebrovascular disease. These findings not only support the hypothesis that multiple areas in SORL1 are of functional importance but also raise the possibility that multiple SORL1 variants influence amyloid precursor protein or endothelial lipoprotein processing or both in different regions of the brain.
Several lines of inquiry point to overlapping molecular mechanisms between late-onset Alzheimer disease (AD) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). We evaluated summarized results from large genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for AD and AMD to test the hypothesis that AD susceptibility loci are also associated with AMD. We observed association of both disorders with genes in a region of chromosome 7 including PILRA, and ZCWPW1 (peak AMD SNP rs7792525, MAF=19%, OR=1.14, p=2.34×10−6), and with ABCA7 (peak AMD SNP rs3752228, MAF=0.054 OR=1.22, p=0.00012). Next, we evaluated association of AMD with genes in AD-related pathways identified by canonical pathway analysis of AD-associated genes. Significant associations were observed with multiple previously identified AMD risk loci and two novel genes: HGS (peak SNP rs8070488, MAF=0.23, OR=0.91, p=7.52×10−5), which plays a role in the clathrin-mediated endocytosis signaling pathway, and TNF (peak SNP rs2071590, MAF=0.34, OR=0.89, p=1.17×10−5), which is a member of the atherosclerosis signaling and the LXR/RXR activation pathways. Our results suggest that AMD and AD share genetic mechanisms.
Alzheimer disease; Age related macular degeneration; genetic association; gene-based test; pathway analysis
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified thousands of genetic variants that influence a variety of diseases and health-related quantitative traits. However, the causal variants underlying the majority of genetic associations remain unknown. The Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Targeted Sequencing Study aims to follow up GWAS signals and identify novel associations of the allelic spectrum of identified variants with cardiovascular related traits.
Methods and Results
The study included 4,231 participants from three CHARGE cohorts: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, the Cardiovascular Health Study, and the Framingham Heart Study. We used a case-cohort design in which we selected both a random sample of participants and participants with extreme phenotypes for each of 14 traits. We sequenced and analyzed 77 genomic loci, which had previously been associated with one or more of 14 phenotypes. A total of 52,736 variants were characterized by sequencing and passed our stringent quality control criteria. For common variants (minor allele frequency ≥1%), we performed unweighted regression analyses to obtain p-values for associations and weighted regression analyses to obtain effect estimates that accounted for the sampling design. For rare variants, we applied two approaches: collapsed aggregate statistics and joint analysis of variants using the Sequence Kernel Association Test.
We sequenced 77 genomic loci in participants from three cohorts. We established a set of filters to identify high-quality variants, and implemented statistical and bioinformatics strategies to analyze the sequence data, and identify potentially functional variants within GWAS loci.
genetics; epidemiology; CHARGE; sampling; targeted sequencing
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia, and a recent genome-wide association study identified HCN4 as a novel AF susceptibility locus. HCN4 encodes for the cardiac pacemaker channel and HCN4 mutations are associated with familial sinus bradycardia and AF.
To determine whether novel variants in the coding region of HCN4 contribute to the susceptibility for AF.
We sequenced the coding region of HCN4 for novel variants from 527 cases with early-onset AF from the Massachusetts General Hospital AF Study and 443 referents from the Framingham Heart Study. We used site-directed mutagenesis, cellular electrophysiology, immunocytochemistry and confocal microscopy to functionally characterize novel variants.
We found the frequency of novel coding HCN4 variants was 2-fold greater for individuals with AF (seven variants) compared to the referents (three variants). We determined that one, (p.Pro257Ser, located in the amino-terminus adjacent to the first transmembrane spanning domain) of the seven novel HCN4 variants in our AF cases did not traffick to cell membrane while the remaining six were not functionally different from wild type. Also, the three novel variants in our referents did not alter function compared to wild type. Co-expression studies showed that the p.Pro257Ser mutant channel failed to co-localize with the wild type HCN4 channel on the cell membrane.
Our findings are consistent with HCN4 haploinsufficiency as the likely mechanism for early-onset AF in the p.Pro257Ser carrier.
HCN4; mutation; atrial fibrillation; electrophysiology
Age at menarche is a marker of timing of puberty in females. It varies widely between individuals, is a heritable trait and is associated with risks for obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and all-cause mortality1. Studies of rare human disorders of puberty and animal models point to a complex hypothalamic-pituitary-hormonal regulation2,3, but the mechanisms that determine pubertal timing and underlie its links to disease risk remain unclear. Here, using genome-wide and custom-genotyping arrays in up to 182,416 women of European descent from 57 studies, we found robust evidence (P<5×10−8) for 123 signals at 106 genomic loci associated with age at menarche. Many loci were associated with other pubertal traits in both sexes, and there was substantial overlap with genes implicated in body mass index and various diseases, including rare disorders of puberty. Menarche signals were enriched in imprinted regions, with three loci (DLK1/WDR25, MKRN3/MAGEL2 and KCNK9) demonstrating parent-of-origin specific associations concordant with known parental expression patterns. Pathway analyses implicated nuclear hormone receptors, particularly retinoic acid and gamma-aminobutyric acid-B2 receptor signaling, among novel mechanisms that regulate pubertal timing in humans. Our findings suggest a genetic architecture involving at least hundreds of common variants in the coordinated timing of the pubertal transition.
Many complex human diseases exhibit sex or age differences in gene expression. However, the presence and the extent of genotype-specific variations in gene regulation are largely unknown. Here, we report results of a comprehensive analysis of expression regulation of genetic variation related to 11 672 complex disease-associated SNPs as a function of sex and age in whole-blood-derived RNA from 5254 individuals. At false discovery rate <0.05, we identified 14 sex- and 10 age-interacting expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs). We show that these eQTLs are also associated with many sex- or age-associated traits. These findings provide important context regarding the regulation of phenotypes by genotype–environment interaction.
To identify non-redundant atrial fibrillation (AF) genetic susceptibility signals and examine their cumulative relations with AF risk.
AF-associated loci span broad genomic regions that may contain multiple susceptibility signals. Whether multiple signals exist at AF loci has not been systematically explored.
We performed association testing conditioned on the most significant, independently associated genetic markers at nine established AF loci using two complementary techniques in 64,683 individuals of European ancestry (3,869 incident and 3,302 prevalent AF cases). Genetic risk scores were created and tested for association with AF in Europeans and an independent sample of 11,309 individuals of Japanese ancestry (7,916 prevalent AF cases).
We observed at least four distinct AF susceptibility signals on chromosome 4q25 upstream of PITX2, but not at the remaining eight AF loci. A multilocus score comprised of 12 genetic markers demonstrated an estimated 5-fold gradient in AF risk. We observed a similar spectrum of risk associated with these markers in Japanese. Regions containing AF signals on chromosome 4q25 displayed a greater degree of evolutionary conservation than the remainder of the locus, suggesting that they may tag regulatory elements.
The chromosome 4q25 AF locus is architecturally complex and harbors at least four AF susceptibility signals in individuals of European ancestry. Similar polygenic AF susceptibility exists between Europeans and Japanese. Future work is necessary to identify causal variants, determine mechanisms by which associated loci predispose to AF, and explore whether AF susceptibility signals classify individuals at risk for AF and related morbidity.
Atrial fibrillation; atrial flutter; genetic; risk; prognosis
Several methods to correct for multiple testing within a gene region have been proposed. These methods are useful for candidate gene studies, and to fine map gene-regions from GWAs. The Bonferroni correction and permutation are common adjustments, but are overly conservative and computationally intensive, respectively. Other options include calculating the effective number of independent single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) or using theoretical approximations. Here, we compare a theoretical approximation based on extreme tail theory with four methods for calculating the effective number of independent SNPs. We evaluate the type-I error rates of these methods using single SNP association tests over 10 gene regions simulated using 1000 Genomes data. Overall, we find that the effective number of independent SNP method by Gao et al, as well as extreme tail theory produce type-I error rates at the or close to the chosen significance level. The type-I error rates for the other effective number of independent SNP methods vary by gene region characteristics. We find Gao et al and extreme tail theory to be efficient alternatives to more computationally intensive approaches to control for multiple testing in gene regions.
correlated; permutation; Bonferroni; type-I error; effective; independent
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified common genetic variants that predispose to atrial fibrillation (AF). It is unclear whether rare and low-frequency variants in genes implicated by such GWAS confer additional risk of AF.
To study the association of genetic variants with AF at GWAS top loci.
In the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Targeted Sequencing Study, we selected and sequenced 77 target gene regions from GWAS loci of complex diseases or traits, including 4 genes hypothesized to be related to AF (PRRX1, CAV1, CAV2, and ZFHX3). Sequencing was performed in participants with (n = 948) and without (n = 3330) AF from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, the Cardiovascular Health Study, the Framingham Heart Study, and the Massachusetts General Hospital.
One common variant (rs11265611; P = 1.70 × 10−6) intronic to IL6R (interleukin-6 receptor gene) was significantly associated with AF after Bonferroni correction (odds ratio 0.70; 95% confidence interval 0.58–0.85). The variant was not genotyped or imputed by prior GWAS, but it is in linkage disequilibrium (r2 = .69) with the single-nucleotide polymorphism, with the strongest association with AF so far at this locus (rs4845625). In the rare variant joint analysis, damaging variants within the PRRX1 region showed significant association with AF after Bonferroni correction (P = .01).
We identified 1 common single-nucleotide polymorphism and 1 gene region that were significantly associated with AF. Future sequencing efforts with larger sample sizes and more comprehensive genome coverage are anticipated to identify additional AF-related variants.
Arrhythmia; Genetics; Atrial fibrillation; Epidemiology
Recent oral contraceptive (OC) use has been consistently associated with increased risk of breast cancer, but evidence on specific breast cancer subtypes is sparse.
We investigated recency and duration of OC use in relation to molecular subtypes of breast cancer in a pooled analysis of data from the African American Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Risk Consortium. The study included 1,848 women with estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer, 1,043 with ER-negative (ER-) breast cancer (including 494 triple negative (TN) tumors, which do not have receptors for estrogen, progesterone, and human epidermal growth factor 2), and 10,044 controls. Multivariable polytomous logistic regression models were used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for exposure categories relative to never use, controlling for potential confounding variables.
OC use within the previous 5 years was associated with increased risk of ER+ (OR 1.46, 95% CI 1.18 to 1.81), ER- (OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.22 to 1.43), and TN (OR 1.78, 95% CI 1.25 to 2.53) breast cancer. The risk declined after cessation of use but was apparent for ER+ cancer for 15 to 19 years after cessation and for ER- breast cancer for an even longer interval after cessation. Long duration of use was also associated with increased risk of each subtype, particularly ER-.
Our results suggest that OC use, particularly recent use of long duration, is associated with an increased risk of ER+, ER-, and TN breast cancer in African American women. Research into mechanisms that explain these findings, especially the association with ER- breast cancer, is needed.
As APOE locus variants contribute to both risk of late-onset Alzheimer disease and differences in age-at-onset, it is important to know if other established late-onset Alzheimer disease risk loci also affect age-at-onset in cases.
To investigate the effects of known Alzheimer disease risk loci in modifying age-at-onset, and to estimate their cumulative effect on age-at-onset variation, using data from genome-wide association studies in the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium (ADGC).
Design, Setting and Participants
The ADGC comprises 14 case-control, prospective, and family-based datasets with data on 9,162 Caucasian participants with Alzheimer’s occurring after age 60 who also had complete age-at-onset information, gathered between 1989 and 2011 at multiple sites by participating studies. Data on genotyped or imputed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) most significantly associated with risk at ten confirmed LOAD loci were examined in linear modeling of AAO, and individual dataset results were combined using a random effects, inverse variance-weighted meta-analysis approach to determine if they contribute to variation in age-at-onset. Aggregate effects of all risk loci on AAO were examined in a burden analysis using genotype scores weighted by risk effect sizes.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Age at disease onset abstracted from medical records among participants with late-onset Alzheimer disease diagnosed per standard criteria.
Analysis confirmed association of APOE with age-at-onset (rs6857, P=3.30×10−96), with associations in CR1 (rs6701713, P=7.17×10−4), BIN1 (rs7561528, P=4.78×10−4), and PICALM (rs561655, P=2.23×10−3) reaching statistical significance (P<0.005). Risk alleles individually reduced age-at-onset by 3-6 months. Burden analyses demonstrated that APOE contributes to 3.9% of variation in age-at-onset (R2=0.220) over baseline (R2=0.189) whereas the other nine loci together contribute to 1.1% of variation (R2=0.198).
Conclusions and Relevance
We confirmed association of APOE variants with age-at-onset among late-onset Alzheimer disease cases and observed novel associations with age-at-onset in CR1, BIN1, and PICALM. In contrast to earlier hypothetical modeling, we show that the combined effects of Alzheimer disease risk variants on age-at-onset are on the scale of, but do not exceed, the APOE effect. While the aggregate effects of risk loci on age-at-onset may be significant, additional genetic contributions to age-at-onset are individually likely to be small.
Alzheimer Disease; Alzheimer Disease Genetics; Alzheimer’s Disease - Pathophysiology; Genetics of Alzheimer Disease; Aging
DNA methylation levels change with age. Recent studies have identified biomarkers of chronological age based on DNA methylation levels. It is not yet known whether DNA methylation age captures aspects of biological age.
Here we test whether differences between people’s chronological ages and estimated ages, DNA methylation age, predict all-cause mortality in later life. The difference between DNA methylation age and chronological age (Δage) was calculated in four longitudinal cohorts of older people. Meta-analysis of proportional hazards models from the four cohorts was used to determine the association between Δage and mortality. A 5-year higher Δage is associated with a 21% higher mortality risk, adjusting for age and sex. After further adjustments for childhood IQ, education, social class, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and APOE e4 status, there is a 16% increased mortality risk for those with a 5-year higher Δage. A pedigree-based heritability analysis of Δage was conducted in a separate cohort. The heritability of Δage was 0.43.
DNA methylation-derived measures of accelerated aging are heritable traits that predict mortality independently of health status, lifestyle factors, and known genetic factors.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13059-015-0584-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
It has been well-established, both by population genetics theory and direct observation in many organisms, that increased genetic diversity provides a survival advantage. However, given the limitations of both sample size and genome-wide metrics, this hypothesis has not been comprehensively tested in human populations. Moreover, the presence of numerous segregating small effect alleles that influence traits that directly impact health directly raises the question as to whether global measures of genomic variation are themselves associated with human health and disease.
We performed a meta-analysis of 17 cohorts followed prospectively, with a combined sample size of 46,716 individuals, including a total of 15,234 deaths. We find a significant association between increased heterozygosity and survival (P = 0.03). We estimate that within a single population, every standard deviation of heterozygosity an individual has over the mean decreases that person’s risk of death by 1.57%.
This effect was consistent between European and African ancestry cohorts, men and women, and major causes of death (cancer and cardiovascular disease), demonstrating the broad positive impact of genomic diversity on human survival.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12863-014-0159-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Heterozygosity; Human; Survival; GWAS
Obesity is of global health concern. There are well-described inverse relationships between female pubertal timing and obesity. Recent genome-wide association studies of age at menarche identified several obesity-related variants. Using data from the ReproGen Consortium, we employed meta-analytical techniques to estimate the associations of 95 a priori and recently identified obesity-related (body mass index (weight (kg)/height (m)2), waist circumference, and waist:hip ratio) single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with age at menarche in 92,116 women of European descent from 38 studies (1970–2010), in order to estimate associations between genetic variants associated with central or overall adiposity and pubertal timing in girls. Investigators in each study performed a separate analysis of associations between the selected SNPs and age at menarche (ages 9–17 years) using linear regression models and adjusting for birth year, site (as appropriate), and population stratification. Heterogeneity of effect-measure estimates was investigated using meta-regression. Six novel associations of body mass index loci with age at menarche were identified, and 11 adiposity loci previously reported to be associated with age at menarche were confirmed, but none of the central adiposity variants individually showed significant associations. These findings suggest complex genetic relationships between menarche and overall obesity, and to a lesser extent central obesity, in normal processes of growth and development.
adiposity; body mass index; genetic association studies; menarche; obesity; waist circumference; waist:hip ratio; women's health
Alzheimer's disease is a common debilitating dementia with known heritability, for which 20 late onset susceptibility loci have been identified, but more remain to be discovered. This study sought to identify new susceptibility genes, using an alternative gene-wide analytical approach which tests for patterns of association within genes, in the powerful genome-wide association dataset of the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project Consortium, comprising over 7 m genotypes from 25,580 Alzheimer's cases and 48,466 controls.
In addition to earlier reported genes, we detected genome-wide significant loci on chromosomes 8 (TP53INP1, p = 1.4×10−6) and 14 (IGHV1-67 p = 7.9×10−8) which indexed novel susceptibility loci.
The additional genes identified in this study, have an array of functions previously implicated in Alzheimer's disease, including aspects of energy metabolism, protein degradation and the immune system and add further weight to these pathways as potential therapeutic targets in Alzheimer's disease.
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.