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1.  Sex-stratified Genome-wide Association Studies Including 270,000 Individuals Show Sexual Dimorphism in Genetic Loci for Anthropometric Traits 
Randall, Joshua C. | Winkler, Thomas W. | Kutalik, Zoltán | Berndt, Sonja I. | Jackson, Anne U. | Monda, Keri L. | Kilpeläinen, Tuomas O. | Esko, Tõnu | Mägi, Reedik | Li, Shengxu | Workalemahu, Tsegaselassie | Feitosa, Mary F. | Croteau-Chonka, Damien C. | Day, Felix R. | Fall, Tove | Ferreira, Teresa | Gustafsson, Stefan | Locke, Adam E. | Mathieson, Iain | Scherag, Andre | Vedantam, Sailaja | Wood, Andrew R. | Liang, Liming | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Dermitzakis, Emmanouil T. | Dimas, Antigone S. | Karpe, Fredrik | Min, Josine L. | Nicholson, George | Clegg, Deborah J. | Person, Thomas | Krohn, Jon P. | Bauer, Sabrina | Buechler, Christa | Eisinger, Kristina | Bonnefond, Amélie | Froguel, Philippe | Hottenga, Jouke-Jan | Prokopenko, Inga | Waite, Lindsay L. | Harris, Tamara B. | Smith, Albert Vernon | Shuldiner, Alan R. | McArdle, Wendy L. | Caulfield, Mark J. | Munroe, Patricia B. | Grönberg, Henrik | Chen, Yii-Der Ida | Li, Guo | Beckmann, Jacques S. | Johnson, Toby | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Teder-Laving, Maris | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Zhao, Jing Hua | Amin, Najaf | Oostra, Ben A. | Kraja, Aldi T. | Province, Michael A. | Cupples, L. Adrienne | Heard-Costa, Nancy L. | Kaprio, Jaakko | Ripatti, Samuli | Surakka, Ida | Collins, Francis S. | Saramies, Jouko | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Jula, Antti | Salomaa, Veikko | Erdmann, Jeanette | Hengstenberg, Christian | Loley, Christina | Schunkert, Heribert | Lamina, Claudia | Wichmann, H. Erich | Albrecht, Eva | Gieger, Christian | Hicks, Andrew A. | Johansson, Åsa | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Kathiresan, Sekar | Speliotes, Elizabeth K. | Penninx, Brenda | Hartikainen, Anna-Liisa | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Gyllensten, Ulf | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Campbell, Harry | Wilson, James F. | Chanock, Stephen J. | Farrall, Martin | Goel, Anuj | Medina-Gomez, Carolina | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Estrada, Karol | Uitterlinden, André G. | Hofman, Albert | Zillikens, M. Carola | den Heijer, Martin | Kiemeney, Lambertus A. | Maschio, Andrea | Hall, Per | Tyrer, Jonathan | Teumer, Alexander | Völzke, Henry | Kovacs, Peter | Tönjes, Anke | Mangino, Massimo | Spector, Tim D. | Hayward, Caroline | Rudan, Igor | Hall, Alistair S. | Samani, Nilesh J. | Attwood, Antony Paul | Sambrook, Jennifer G. | Hung, Joseph | Palmer, Lyle J. | Lokki, Marja-Liisa | Sinisalo, Juha | Boucher, Gabrielle | Huikuri, Heikki | Lorentzon, Mattias | Ohlsson, Claes | Eklund, Niina | Eriksson, Johan G. | Barlassina, Cristina | Rivolta, Carlo | Nolte, Ilja M. | Snieder, Harold | Van der Klauw, Melanie M. | Van Vliet-Ostaptchouk, Jana V. | Gejman, Pablo V. | Shi, Jianxin | Jacobs, Kevin B. | Wang, Zhaoming | Bakker, Stephan J. L. | Mateo Leach, Irene | Navis, Gerjan | van der Harst, Pim | Martin, Nicholas G. | Medland, Sarah E. | Montgomery, Grant W. | Yang, Jian | Chasman, Daniel I. | Ridker, Paul M. | Rose, Lynda M. | Lehtimäki, Terho | Raitakari, Olli | Absher, Devin | Iribarren, Carlos | Basart, Hanneke | Hovingh, Kees G. | Hyppönen, Elina | Power, Chris | Anderson, Denise | Beilby, John P. | Hui, Jennie | Jolley, Jennifer | Sager, Hendrik | Bornstein, Stefan R. | Schwarz, Peter E. H. | Kristiansson, Kati | Perola, Markus | Lindström, Jaana | Swift, Amy J. | Uusitupa, Matti | Atalay, Mustafa | Lakka, Timo A. | Rauramaa, Rainer | Bolton, Jennifer L. | Fowkes, Gerry | Fraser, Ross M. | Price, Jackie F. | Fischer, Krista | KrjutÅ¡kov, Kaarel | Metspalu, Andres | Mihailov, Evelin | Langenberg, Claudia | Luan, Jian'an | Ong, Ken K. | Chines, Peter S. | Keinanen-Kiukaanniemi, Sirkka M. | Saaristo, Timo E. | Edkins, Sarah | Franks, Paul W. | Hallmans, Göran | Shungin, Dmitry | Morris, Andrew David | Palmer, Colin N. A. | Erbel, Raimund | Moebus, Susanne | Nöthen, Markus M. | Pechlivanis, Sonali | Hveem, Kristian | Narisu, Narisu | Hamsten, Anders | Humphries, Steve E. | Strawbridge, Rona J. | Tremoli, Elena | Grallert, Harald | Thorand, Barbara | Illig, Thomas | Koenig, Wolfgang | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Peters, Annette | Boehm, Bernhard O. | Kleber, Marcus E. | März, Winfried | Winkelmann, Bernhard R. | Kuusisto, Johanna | Laakso, Markku | Arveiler, Dominique | Cesana, Giancarlo | Kuulasmaa, Kari | Virtamo, Jarmo | Yarnell, John W. G. | Kuh, Diana | Wong, Andrew | Lind, Lars | de Faire, Ulf | Gigante, Bruna | Magnusson, Patrik K. E. | Pedersen, Nancy L. | Dedoussis, George | Dimitriou, Maria | Kolovou, Genovefa | Kanoni, Stavroula | Stirrups, Kathleen | Bonnycastle, Lori L. | Njølstad, Inger | Wilsgaard, Tom | Ganna, Andrea | Rehnberg, Emil | Hingorani, Aroon | Kivimaki, Mika | Kumari, Meena | Assimes, Themistocles L. | Barroso, Inês | Boehnke, Michael | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Deloukas, Panos | Fox, Caroline S. | Frayling, Timothy | Groop, Leif C. | Haritunians, Talin | Hunter, David | Ingelsson, Erik | Kaplan, Robert | Mohlke, Karen L. | O'Connell, Jeffrey R. | Schlessinger, David | Strachan, David P. | Stefansson, Kari | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Abecasis, Gonçalo R. | McCarthy, Mark I. | Hirschhorn, Joel N. | Qi, Lu | Loos, Ruth J. F. | Lindgren, Cecilia M. | North, Kari E. | Heid, Iris M.
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(6):e1003500.
Given the anthropometric differences between men and women and previous evidence of sex-difference in genetic effects, we conducted a genome-wide search for sexually dimorphic associations with height, weight, body mass index, waist circumference, hip circumference, and waist-to-hip-ratio (133,723 individuals) and took forward 348 SNPs into follow-up (additional 137,052 individuals) in a total of 94 studies. Seven loci displayed significant sex-difference (FDR<5%), including four previously established (near GRB14/COBLL1, LYPLAL1/SLC30A10, VEGFA, ADAMTS9) and three novel anthropometric trait loci (near MAP3K1, HSD17B4, PPARG), all of which were genome-wide significant in women (P<5×10−8), but not in men. Sex-differences were apparent only for waist phenotypes, not for height, weight, BMI, or hip circumference. Moreover, we found no evidence for genetic effects with opposite directions in men versus women. The PPARG locus is of specific interest due to its role in diabetes genetics and therapy. Our results demonstrate the value of sex-specific GWAS to unravel the sexually dimorphic genetic underpinning of complex traits.
Author Summary
Men and women differ substantially regarding height, weight, and body fat. Interestingly, previous work detecting genetic effects for waist-to-hip ratio, to assess body fat distribution, has found that many of these showed sex-differences. However, systematic searches for sex-differences in genetic effects have not yet been conducted. Therefore, we undertook a genome-wide search for sexually dimorphic genetic effects for anthropometric traits including 133,723 individuals in a large meta-analysis and followed promising variants in further 137,052 individuals, including a total of 94 studies. We identified seven loci with significant sex-difference including four previously established (near GRB14/COBLL1, LYPLAL1/SLC30A10, VEGFA, ADAMTS9) and three novel anthropometric trait loci (near MAP3K1, HSD17B4, PPARG), all of which were significant in women, but not in men. Of interest is that sex-difference was only observed for waist phenotypes, but not for height or body-mass-index. We found no evidence for sex-differences with opposite effect direction for men and women. The PPARG locus is of specific interest due to its link to diabetes genetics and therapy. Our findings demonstrate the importance of investigating sex differences, which may lead to a better understanding of disease mechanisms with a potential relevance to treatment options.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003500
PMCID: PMC3674993  PMID: 23754948
2.  Defining the role of common variation in the genomic and biological architecture of adult human height 
Wood, Andrew R | Esko, Tonu | Yang, Jian | Vedantam, Sailaja | Pers, Tune H | Gustafsson, Stefan | Chu, Audrey Y | Estrada, Karol | Luan, Jian’an | Kutalik, Zoltán | Amin, Najaf | Buchkovich, Martin L | Croteau-Chonka, Damien C | Day, Felix R | Duan, Yanan | Fall, Tove | Fehrmann, Rudolf | Ferreira, Teresa | Jackson, Anne U | Karjalainen, Juha | Lo, Ken Sin | Locke, Adam E | Mägi, Reedik | Mihailov, Evelin | Porcu, Eleonora | Randall, Joshua C | Scherag, André | Vinkhuyzen, Anna AE | Westra, Harm-Jan | Winkler, Thomas W | Workalemahu, Tsegaselassie | Zhao, Jing Hua | Absher, Devin | Albrecht, Eva | Anderson, Denise | Baron, Jeffrey | Beekman, Marian | Demirkan, Ayse | Ehret, Georg B | Feenstra, Bjarke | Feitosa, Mary F | Fischer, Krista | Fraser, Ross M | Goel, Anuj | Gong, Jian | Justice, Anne E | Kanoni, Stavroula | Kleber, Marcus E | Kristiansson, Kati | Lim, Unhee | Lotay, Vaneet | Lui, Julian C | Mangino, Massimo | Leach, Irene Mateo | Medina-Gomez, Carolina | Nalls, Michael A | Nyholt, Dale R | Palmer, Cameron D | Pasko, Dorota | Pechlivanis, Sonali | Prokopenko, Inga | Ried, Janina S | Ripke, Stephan | Shungin, Dmitry | Stancáková, Alena | Strawbridge, Rona J | Sung, Yun Ju | Tanaka, Toshiko | Teumer, Alexander | Trompet, Stella | van der Laan, Sander W | van Setten, Jessica | Van Vliet-Ostaptchouk, Jana V | Wang, Zhaoming | Yengo, Loïc | Zhang, Weihua | Afzal, Uzma | Ärnlöv, Johan | Arscott, Gillian M | Bandinelli, Stefania | Barrett, Amy | Bellis, Claire | Bennett, Amanda J | Berne, Christian | Blüher, Matthias | Bolton, Jennifer L | Böttcher, Yvonne | Boyd, Heather A | Bruinenberg, Marcel | Buckley, Brendan M | Buyske, Steven | Caspersen, Ida H | Chines, Peter S | Clarke, Robert | Claudi-Boehm, Simone | Cooper, Matthew | Daw, E Warwick | De Jong, Pim A | Deelen, Joris | Delgado, Graciela | Denny, Josh C | Dhonukshe-Rutten, Rosalie | Dimitriou, Maria | Doney, Alex SF | Dörr, Marcus | Eklund, Niina | Eury, Elodie | Folkersen, Lasse | Garcia, Melissa E | Geller, Frank | Giedraitis, Vilmantas | Go, Alan S | Grallert, Harald | Grammer, Tanja B | Gräßler, Jürgen | Grönberg, Henrik | de Groot, Lisette C.P.G.M. | Groves, Christopher J | Haessler, Jeffrey | Hall, Per | Haller, Toomas | Hallmans, Goran | Hannemann, Anke | Hartman, Catharina A | Hassinen, Maija | Hayward, Caroline | Heard-Costa, Nancy L | Helmer, Quinta | Hemani, Gibran | Henders, Anjali K | Hillege, Hans L | Hlatky, Mark A | Hoffmann, Wolfgang | Hoffmann, Per | Holmen, Oddgeir | Houwing-Duistermaat, Jeanine J | Illig, Thomas | Isaacs, Aaron | James, Alan L | Jeff, Janina | Johansen, Berit | Johansson, Åsa | Jolley, Jennifer | Juliusdottir, Thorhildur | Junttila, Juhani | Kho, Abel N | Kinnunen, Leena | Klopp, Norman | Kocher, Thomas | Kratzer, Wolfgang | Lichtner, Peter | Lind, Lars | Lindström, Jaana | Lobbens, Stéphane | Lorentzon, Mattias | Lu, Yingchang | Lyssenko, Valeriya | Magnusson, Patrik KE | Mahajan, Anubha | Maillard, Marc | McArdle, Wendy L | McKenzie, Colin A | McLachlan, Stela | McLaren, Paul J | Menni, Cristina | Merger, Sigrun | Milani, Lili | Moayyeri, Alireza | Monda, Keri L | Morken, Mario A | Müller, Gabriele | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Musk, Arthur W | Narisu, Narisu | Nauck, Matthias | Nolte, Ilja M | Nöthen, Markus M | Oozageer, Laticia | Pilz, Stefan | Rayner, Nigel W | Renstrom, Frida | Robertson, Neil R | Rose, Lynda M | Roussel, Ronan | Sanna, Serena | Scharnagl, Hubert | Scholtens, Salome | Schumacher, Fredrick R | Schunkert, Heribert | Scott, Robert A | Sehmi, Joban | Seufferlein, Thomas | Shi, Jianxin | Silventoinen, Karri | Smit, Johannes H | Smith, Albert Vernon | Smolonska, Joanna | Stanton, Alice V | Stirrups, Kathleen | Stott, David J | Stringham, Heather M | Sundström, Johan | Swertz, Morris A | Syvänen, Ann-Christine | Tayo, Bamidele O | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Tyrer, Jonathan P | van Dijk, Suzanne | van Schoor, Natasja M | van der Velde, Nathalie | van Heemst, Diana | van Oort, Floor VA | Vermeulen, Sita H | Verweij, Niek | Vonk, Judith M | Waite, Lindsay L | Waldenberger, Melanie | Wennauer, Roman | Wilkens, Lynne R | Willenborg, Christina | Wilsgaard, Tom | Wojczynski, Mary K | Wong, Andrew | Wright, Alan F | Zhang, Qunyuan | Arveiler, Dominique | Bakker, Stephan JL | Beilby, John | Bergman, Richard N | Bergmann, Sven | Biffar, Reiner | Blangero, John | Boomsma, Dorret I | Bornstein, Stefan R | Bovet, Pascal | Brambilla, Paolo | Brown, Morris J | Campbell, Harry | Caulfield, Mark J | Chakravarti, Aravinda | Collins, Rory | Collins, Francis S | Crawford, Dana C | Cupples, L Adrienne | Danesh, John | de Faire, Ulf | den Ruijter, Hester M | Erbel, Raimund | Erdmann, Jeanette | Eriksson, Johan G | Farrall, Martin | Ferrannini, Ele | Ferrières, Jean | Ford, Ian | Forouhi, Nita G | Forrester, Terrence | Gansevoort, Ron T | Gejman, Pablo V | Gieger, Christian | Golay, Alain | Gottesman, Omri | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Gyllensten, Ulf | Haas, David W | Hall, Alistair S | Harris, Tamara B | Hattersley, Andrew T | Heath, Andrew C | Hengstenberg, Christian | Hicks, Andrew A | Hindorff, Lucia A | Hingorani, Aroon D | Hofman, Albert | Hovingh, G Kees | Humphries, Steve E | Hunt, Steven C | Hypponen, Elina | Jacobs, Kevin B | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Jousilahti, Pekka | Jula, Antti M | Kaprio, Jaakko | Kastelein, John JP | Kayser, Manfred | Kee, Frank | Keinanen-Kiukaanniemi, Sirkka M | Kiemeney, Lambertus A | Kooner, Jaspal S | Kooperberg, Charles | Koskinen, Seppo | Kovacs, Peter | Kraja, Aldi T | Kumari, Meena | Kuusisto, Johanna | Lakka, Timo A | Langenberg, Claudia | Le Marchand, Loic | Lehtimäki, Terho | Lupoli, Sara | Madden, Pamela AF | Männistö, Satu | Manunta, Paolo | Marette, André | Matise, Tara C | McKnight, Barbara | Meitinger, Thomas | Moll, Frans L | Montgomery, Grant W | Morris, Andrew D | Morris, Andrew P | Murray, Jeffrey C | Nelis, Mari | Ohlsson, Claes | Oldehinkel, Albertine J | Ong, Ken K | Ouwehand, Willem H | Pasterkamp, Gerard | Peters, Annette | Pramstaller, Peter P | Price, Jackie F | Qi, Lu | Raitakari, Olli T | Rankinen, Tuomo | Rao, DC | Rice, Treva K | Ritchie, Marylyn | Rudan, Igor | Salomaa, Veikko | Samani, Nilesh J | Saramies, Jouko | Sarzynski, Mark A | Schwarz, Peter EH | Sebert, Sylvain | Sever, Peter | Shuldiner, Alan R | Sinisalo, Juha | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Stolk, Ronald P | Tardif, Jean-Claude | Tönjes, Anke | Tremblay, Angelo | Tremoli, Elena | Virtamo, Jarmo | Vohl, Marie-Claude | Amouyel, Philippe | Asselbergs, Folkert W | Assimes, Themistocles L | Bochud, Murielle | Boehm, Bernhard O | Boerwinkle, Eric | Bottinger, Erwin P | Bouchard, Claude | Cauchi, Stéphane | Chambers, John C | Chanock, Stephen J | Cooper, Richard S | de Bakker, Paul IW | Dedoussis, George | Ferrucci, Luigi | Franks, Paul W | Froguel, Philippe | Groop, Leif C | Haiman, Christopher A | Hamsten, Anders | Hayes, M Geoffrey | Hui, Jennie | Hunter, David J. | Hveem, Kristian | Jukema, J Wouter | Kaplan, Robert C | Kivimaki, Mika | Kuh, Diana | Laakso, Markku | Liu, Yongmei | Martin, Nicholas G | März, Winfried | Melbye, Mads | Moebus, Susanne | Munroe, Patricia B | Njølstad, Inger | Oostra, Ben A | Palmer, Colin NA | Pedersen, Nancy L | Perola, Markus | Pérusse, Louis | Peters, Ulrike | Powell, Joseph E | Power, Chris | Quertermous, Thomas | Rauramaa, Rainer | Reinmaa, Eva | Ridker, Paul M | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Rotter, Jerome I | Saaristo, Timo E | Saleheen, Danish | Schlessinger, David | Slagboom, P Eline | Snieder, Harold | Spector, Tim D | Strauch, Konstantin | Stumvoll, Michael | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Uusitupa, Matti | van der Harst, Pim | Völzke, Henry | Walker, Mark | Wareham, Nicholas J | Watkins, Hugh | Wichmann, H-Erich | Wilson, James F | Zanen, Pieter | Deloukas, Panos | Heid, Iris M | Lindgren, Cecilia M | Mohlke, Karen L | Speliotes, Elizabeth K | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Barroso, Inês | Fox, Caroline S | North, Kari E | Strachan, David P | Beckmann, Jacques S. | Berndt, Sonja I | Boehnke, Michael | Borecki, Ingrid B | McCarthy, Mark I | Metspalu, Andres | Stefansson, Kari | Uitterlinden, André G | van Duijn, Cornelia M | Franke, Lude | Willer, Cristen J | Price, Alkes L. | Lettre, Guillaume | Loos, Ruth JF | Weedon, Michael N | Ingelsson, Erik | O’Connell, Jeffrey R | Abecasis, Goncalo R | Chasman, Daniel I | Goddard, Michael E | Visscher, Peter M | Hirschhorn, Joel N | Frayling, Timothy M
Nature genetics  2014;46(11):1173-1186.
Using genome-wide data from 253,288 individuals, we identified 697 variants at genome-wide significance that together explain one-fifth of heritability for adult height. By testing different numbers of variants in independent studies, we show that the most strongly associated ~2,000, ~3,700 and ~9,500 SNPs explained ~21%, ~24% and ~29% of phenotypic variance. Furthermore, all common variants together captured the majority (60%) of heritability. The 697 variants clustered in 423 loci enriched for genes, pathways, and tissue-types known to be involved in growth and together implicated genes and pathways not highlighted in earlier efforts, such as signaling by fibroblast growth factors, WNT/beta-catenin, and chondroitin sulfate-related genes. We identified several genes and pathways not previously connected with human skeletal growth, including mTOR, osteoglycin and binding of hyaluronic acid. Our results indicate a genetic architecture for human height that is characterized by a very large but finite number (thousands) of causal variants.
doi:10.1038/ng.3097
PMCID: PMC4250049  PMID: 25282103
3.  Defining the role of common variation in the genomic and biological architecture of adult human height 
Wood, Andrew R | Esko, Tonu | Yang, Jian | Vedantam, Sailaja | Pers, Tune H | Gustafsson, Stefan | Chu, Audrey Y | Estrada, Karol | Luan, Jian’an | Kutalik, Zoltán | Amin, Najaf | Buchkovich, Martin L | Croteau-Chonka, Damien C | Day, Felix R | Duan, Yanan | Fall, Tove | Fehrmann, Rudolf | Ferreira, Teresa | Jackson, Anne U | Karjalainen, Juha | Lo, Ken Sin | Locke, Adam E | Mägi, Reedik | Mihailov, Evelin | Porcu, Eleonora | Randall, Joshua C | Scherag, André | Vinkhuyzen, Anna AE | Westra, Harm-Jan | Winkler, Thomas W | Workalemahu, Tsegaselassie | Zhao, Jing Hua | Absher, Devin | Albrecht, Eva | Anderson, Denise | Baron, Jeffrey | Beekman, Marian | Demirkan, Ayse | Ehret, Georg B | Feenstra, Bjarke | Feitosa, Mary F | Fischer, Krista | Fraser, Ross M | Goel, Anuj | Gong, Jian | Justice, Anne E | Kanoni, Stavroula | Kleber, Marcus E | Kristiansson, Kati | Lim, Unhee | Lotay, Vaneet | Lui, Julian C | Mangino, Massimo | Leach, Irene Mateo | Medina-Gomez, Carolina | Nalls, Michael A | Nyholt, Dale R | Palmer, Cameron D | Pasko, Dorota | Pechlivanis, Sonali | Prokopenko, Inga | Ried, Janina S | Ripke, Stephan | Shungin, Dmitry | Stancáková, Alena | Strawbridge, Rona J | Sung, Yun Ju | Tanaka, Toshiko | Teumer, Alexander | Trompet, Stella | van der Laan, Sander W | van Setten, Jessica | Van Vliet-Ostaptchouk, Jana V | Wang, Zhaoming | Yengo, Loïc | Zhang, Weihua | Afzal, Uzma | Ärnlöv, Johan | Arscott, Gillian M | Bandinelli, Stefania | Barrett, Amy | Bellis, Claire | Bennett, Amanda J | Berne, Christian | Blüher, Matthias | Bolton, Jennifer L | Böttcher, Yvonne | Boyd, Heather A | Bruinenberg, Marcel | Buckley, Brendan M | Buyske, Steven | Caspersen, Ida H | Chines, Peter S | Clarke, Robert | Claudi-Boehm, Simone | Cooper, Matthew | Daw, E Warwick | De Jong, Pim A | Deelen, Joris | Delgado, Graciela | Denny, Josh C | Dhonukshe-Rutten, Rosalie | Dimitriou, Maria | Doney, Alex SF | Dörr, Marcus | Eklund, Niina | Eury, Elodie | Folkersen, Lasse | Garcia, Melissa E | Geller, Frank | Giedraitis, Vilmantas | Go, Alan S | Grallert, Harald | Grammer, Tanja B | Gräßler, Jürgen | Grönberg, Henrik | de Groot, Lisette C.P.G.M. | Groves, Christopher J | Haessler, Jeffrey | Hall, Per | Haller, Toomas | Hallmans, Goran | Hannemann, Anke | Hartman, Catharina A | Hassinen, Maija | Hayward, Caroline | Heard-Costa, Nancy L | Helmer, Quinta | Hemani, Gibran | Henders, Anjali K | Hillege, Hans L | Hlatky, Mark A | Hoffmann, Wolfgang | Hoffmann, Per | Holmen, Oddgeir | Houwing-Duistermaat, Jeanine J | Illig, Thomas | Isaacs, Aaron | James, Alan L | Jeff, Janina | Johansen, Berit | Johansson, Åsa | Jolley, Jennifer | Juliusdottir, Thorhildur | Junttila, Juhani | Kho, Abel N | Kinnunen, Leena | Klopp, Norman | Kocher, Thomas | Kratzer, Wolfgang | Lichtner, Peter | Lind, Lars | Lindström, Jaana | Lobbens, Stéphane | Lorentzon, Mattias | Lu, Yingchang | Lyssenko, Valeriya | Magnusson, Patrik KE | Mahajan, Anubha | Maillard, Marc | McArdle, Wendy L | McKenzie, Colin A | McLachlan, Stela | McLaren, Paul J | Menni, Cristina | Merger, Sigrun | Milani, Lili | Moayyeri, Alireza | Monda, Keri L | Morken, Mario A | Müller, Gabriele | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Musk, Arthur W | Narisu, Narisu | Nauck, Matthias | Nolte, Ilja M | Nöthen, Markus M | Oozageer, Laticia | Pilz, Stefan | Rayner, Nigel W | Renstrom, Frida | Robertson, Neil R | Rose, Lynda M | Roussel, Ronan | Sanna, Serena | Scharnagl, Hubert | Scholtens, Salome | Schumacher, Fredrick R | Schunkert, Heribert | Scott, Robert A | Sehmi, Joban | Seufferlein, Thomas | Shi, Jianxin | Silventoinen, Karri | Smit, Johannes H | Smith, Albert Vernon | Smolonska, Joanna | Stanton, Alice V | Stirrups, Kathleen | Stott, David J | Stringham, Heather M | Sundström, Johan | Swertz, Morris A | Syvänen, Ann-Christine | Tayo, Bamidele O | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Tyrer, Jonathan P | van Dijk, Suzanne | van Schoor, Natasja M | van der Velde, Nathalie | van Heemst, Diana | van Oort, Floor VA | Vermeulen, Sita H | Verweij, Niek | Vonk, Judith M | Waite, Lindsay L | Waldenberger, Melanie | Wennauer, Roman | Wilkens, Lynne R | Willenborg, Christina | Wilsgaard, Tom | Wojczynski, Mary K | Wong, Andrew | Wright, Alan F | Zhang, Qunyuan | Arveiler, Dominique | Bakker, Stephan JL | Beilby, John | Bergman, Richard N | Bergmann, Sven | Biffar, Reiner | Blangero, John | Boomsma, Dorret I | Bornstein, Stefan R | Bovet, Pascal | Brambilla, Paolo | Brown, Morris J | Campbell, Harry | Caulfield, Mark J | Chakravarti, Aravinda | Collins, Rory | Collins, Francis S | Crawford, Dana C | Cupples, L Adrienne | Danesh, John | de Faire, Ulf | den Ruijter, Hester M | Erbel, Raimund | Erdmann, Jeanette | Eriksson, Johan G | Farrall, Martin | Ferrannini, Ele | Ferrières, Jean | Ford, Ian | Forouhi, Nita G | Forrester, Terrence | Gansevoort, Ron T | Gejman, Pablo V | Gieger, Christian | Golay, Alain | Gottesman, Omri | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Gyllensten, Ulf | Haas, David W | Hall, Alistair S | Harris, Tamara B | Hattersley, Andrew T | Heath, Andrew C | Hengstenberg, Christian | Hicks, Andrew A | Hindorff, Lucia A | Hingorani, Aroon D | Hofman, Albert | Hovingh, G Kees | Humphries, Steve E | Hunt, Steven C | Hypponen, Elina | Jacobs, Kevin B | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Jousilahti, Pekka | Jula, Antti M | Kaprio, Jaakko | Kastelein, John JP | Kayser, Manfred | Kee, Frank | Keinanen-Kiukaanniemi, Sirkka M | Kiemeney, Lambertus A | Kooner, Jaspal S | Kooperberg, Charles | Koskinen, Seppo | Kovacs, Peter | Kraja, Aldi T | Kumari, Meena | Kuusisto, Johanna | Lakka, Timo A | Langenberg, Claudia | Le Marchand, Loic | Lehtimäki, Terho | Lupoli, Sara | Madden, Pamela AF | Männistö, Satu | Manunta, Paolo | Marette, André | Matise, Tara C | McKnight, Barbara | Meitinger, Thomas | Moll, Frans L | Montgomery, Grant W | Morris, Andrew D | Morris, Andrew P | Murray, Jeffrey C | Nelis, Mari | Ohlsson, Claes | Oldehinkel, Albertine J | Ong, Ken K | Ouwehand, Willem H | Pasterkamp, Gerard | Peters, Annette | Pramstaller, Peter P | Price, Jackie F | Qi, Lu | Raitakari, Olli T | Rankinen, Tuomo | Rao, DC | Rice, Treva K | Ritchie, Marylyn | Rudan, Igor | Salomaa, Veikko | Samani, Nilesh J | Saramies, Jouko | Sarzynski, Mark A | Schwarz, Peter EH | Sebert, Sylvain | Sever, Peter | Shuldiner, Alan R | Sinisalo, Juha | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Stolk, Ronald P | Tardif, Jean-Claude | Tönjes, Anke | Tremblay, Angelo | Tremoli, Elena | Virtamo, Jarmo | Vohl, Marie-Claude | Amouyel, Philippe | Asselbergs, Folkert W | Assimes, Themistocles L | Bochud, Murielle | Boehm, Bernhard O | Boerwinkle, Eric | Bottinger, Erwin P | Bouchard, Claude | Cauchi, Stéphane | Chambers, John C | Chanock, Stephen J | Cooper, Richard S | de Bakker, Paul IW | Dedoussis, George | Ferrucci, Luigi | Franks, Paul W | Froguel, Philippe | Groop, Leif C | Haiman, Christopher A | Hamsten, Anders | Hayes, M Geoffrey | Hui, Jennie | Hunter, David J. | Hveem, Kristian | Jukema, J Wouter | Kaplan, Robert C | Kivimaki, Mika | Kuh, Diana | Laakso, Markku | Liu, Yongmei | Martin, Nicholas G | März, Winfried | Melbye, Mads | Moebus, Susanne | Munroe, Patricia B | Njølstad, Inger | Oostra, Ben A | Palmer, Colin NA | Pedersen, Nancy L | Perola, Markus | Pérusse, Louis | Peters, Ulrike | Powell, Joseph E | Power, Chris | Quertermous, Thomas | Rauramaa, Rainer | Reinmaa, Eva | Ridker, Paul M | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Rotter, Jerome I | Saaristo, Timo E | Saleheen, Danish | Schlessinger, David | Slagboom, P Eline | Snieder, Harold | Spector, Tim D | Strauch, Konstantin | Stumvoll, Michael | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Uusitupa, Matti | van der Harst, Pim | Völzke, Henry | Walker, Mark | Wareham, Nicholas J | Watkins, Hugh | Wichmann, H-Erich | Wilson, James F | Zanen, Pieter | Deloukas, Panos | Heid, Iris M | Lindgren, Cecilia M | Mohlke, Karen L | Speliotes, Elizabeth K | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Barroso, Inês | Fox, Caroline S | North, Kari E | Strachan, David P | Beckmann, Jacques S. | Berndt, Sonja I | Boehnke, Michael | Borecki, Ingrid B | McCarthy, Mark I | Metspalu, Andres | Stefansson, Kari | Uitterlinden, André G | van Duijn, Cornelia M | Franke, Lude | Willer, Cristen J | Price, Alkes L. | Lettre, Guillaume | Loos, Ruth JF | Weedon, Michael N | Ingelsson, Erik | O’Connell, Jeffrey R | Abecasis, Goncalo R | Chasman, Daniel I | Goddard, Michael E | Visscher, Peter M | Hirschhorn, Joel N | Frayling, Timothy M
Nature genetics  2014;46(11):1173-1186.
Using genome-wide data from 253,288 individuals, we identified 697 variants at genome-wide significance that together explain one-fifth of heritability for adult height. By testing different numbers of variants in independent studies, we show that the most strongly associated ~2,000, ~3,700 and ~9,500 SNPs explained ~21%, ~24% and ~29% of phenotypic variance. Furthermore, all common variants together captured the majority (60%) of heritability. The 697 variants clustered in 423 loci enriched for genes, pathways, and tissue-types known to be involved in growth and together implicated genes and pathways not highlighted in earlier efforts, such as signaling by fibroblast growth factors, WNT/beta-catenin, and chondroitin sulfate-related genes. We identified several genes and pathways not previously connected with human skeletal growth, including mTOR, osteoglycin and binding of hyaluronic acid. Our results indicate a genetic architecture for human height that is characterized by a very large but finite number (thousands) of causal variants.
doi:10.1038/ng.3097
PMCID: PMC4250049  PMID: 25282103
4.  Complete ascertainment of Parkinson disease in the Swedish Twin Registry 
Neurobiology of aging  2007;29(12):1765-1773.
This report describes the ascertainment of Parkinson disease (PD) in all individuals aged 50 years or older (49,814 individuals) from the Swedish Twin Registry. In phase one of the study, all twins were screened for PD using telephone interviews, with a response rate of 72.7%. In phase two, twins with suspected PD were re-contacted to exclude anyone from follow-up who reported parkinsonian symptoms due to diseases other than PD. In the third phase, in-person clinical evaluations were completed for twins who were still considered PD suspects after phase two and for a sample of co-twins. During the clinical evaluations, we also collected blood samples and information about a variety of environmental exposures. Overall prevalence rate for PD was 496 per 100,000 individuals. Among the 132 PD cases identified, there were only three concordant twin pairs. In total 7.2% of PD cases reported a first degree relative with PD.
doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2007.04.009
PMCID: PMC2662365  PMID: 17532098
Parkinson disease; twin; concordance; prevalence; family history
5.  IGEMS: The Consortium on Interplay of Genes and Environment across Multiple Studies 
The Interplay of Genes and Environment across Multiple Studies (IGEMS) group is a consortium of eight longitudinal twin studies established to explore the nature of social context effects and gene-environment interplay in late-life functioning. The resulting analysis of the combined data from over 17,500 participants aged 25–102 at baseline (including nearly 2,600 monogygotic and 4,300 dizygotic twin pairs and over 1,700 family members) aims to understand why early life adversity, and social factors such as isolation and loneliness, are associated with diverse outcomes including mortality, physical functioning (health, functional ability), and psychological functioning (well-being, cognition), particularly in later life.
doi:10.1017/thg.2012.110
PMCID: PMC3699700  PMID: 23186995
twins; gene-environment interaction; aging; longitudinal
6.  Serum Levels of Human MIC-1/GDF15 Vary in a Diurnal Pattern, Do Not Display a Profile Suggestive of a Satiety Factor and Are Related to BMI 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0133362.
The TGF-b superfamily cytokine MIC-1/GDF15 circulates in the blood of healthy humans. Its levels rise substantially in cancer and other diseases and this may sometimes lead to development of an anorexia/cachexia syndrome. This is mediated by a direct action of MIC-1/GDF15 on feeding centres in the hypothalamus and brainstem. More recent studies in germline gene deleted mice also suggest that this cytokine may play a role in physiological regulation of energy homeostasis. To further characterize the role of MIC-1/GDF15 in physiological regulation of energy homeostasis in man, we have examined diurnal and food associated variation in serum levels and whether variation in circulating levels relate to BMI in human monozygotic twin pairs. We found that the within twin pair differences in serum MIC-1/GDF15 levels were significantly correlated with within twin pair differences in BMI, suggesting a role for MIC-1/GDF15 in the regulation of energy balance in man. MIC-1/GDF15 serum levels altered slightly in response to a meal, but comparison with variation its serum levels over a 24hour period suggested that these changes are likely to be due to bimodal diurnal variation which can alter serum MIC-1/GDF15 levels by about plus or minus 10% from the mesor. The lack of a rapid and substantial postprandial increase in MIC-1/GDF15 serum levels suggests that MIC1/GDF15 is unlikely to act as a satiety factor. Taken together, our findings suggest that MIC-1/GDF15 may be a physiological regulator of energy homeostasis in man, most probably due to actions on long-term regulation of energy homeostasis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0133362
PMCID: PMC4514813  PMID: 26207898
7.  HHEX_23 AA Genotype Exacerbates Effect of Diabetes on Dementia and Alzheimer Disease: A Population-Based Longitudinal Study 
PLoS Medicine  2015;12(7):e1001853.
Background
Research has suggested that variations within the IDE/HHEX gene region may underlie the association of type 2 diabetes with Alzheimer disease (AD). We sought to explore whether IDE genes play a role in the association of diabetes with dementia, AD, and structural brain changes using data from two community-based cohorts of older adults and a subsample with structural MRI.
Methods and Findings
The first cohort, which included dementia-free adults aged ≥75 y (n = 970) at baseline, was followed for 9 y to detect incident dementia (n = 358) and AD (n = 271) cases. The second cohort (for replication), which included 2,060 dementia-free participants aged ≥60 y at baseline, was followed for 6 y to identify incident dementia (n = 166) and AD (n = 121) cases. A subsample (n = 338) of dementia-free participants from the second cohort underwent MRI. HHEX_23 and IDE_9 were genotyped, and diabetes (here including type 2 diabetes and prediabetes) was assessed. In the first cohort, diabetes led to an adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of 1.73 (95% CI 1.19–2.32) and 1.66 (95% CI 1.06–2.40) for dementia and AD, respectively, among all participants. Compared to people carrying the GG genotype without diabetes, AA genotype carriers with diabetes had an adjusted HR of 5.54 (95% CI 2.40–7.18) and 4.81 (95% CI 1.88–8.50) for dementia and AD, respectively. There was a significant interaction between HHEX_23-AA and diabetes on dementia (HR 4.79, 95% CI 1.63–8.90, p = 0.013) and AD (HR 3.55, 95% CI 1.45–9.91, p = 0.025) compared to the GG genotype without diabetes. In the second cohort, the HRs were 1.68 (95% CI 1.04–2.99) and 1.64 (1.02–2.33) for the diabetes–AD and dementia–AD associations, respectively, and 4.06 (95% CI 1.06–7.58, p = 0.039) and 3.29 (95% CI 1.02–8.33, p = 0.044) for the interactions, respectively. MRI data showed that HHEX_23-AA carriers with diabetes had significant structural brain changes compared to HHEX_23-GG carriers without diabetes. No joint effects of IDE_9 and diabetes on dementia were shown. As a limitation, the sample sizes were small for certain subgroups.
Conclusions
A variant in the HHEX_23 gene interacts with diabetes to be associated with a substantially increased risk of dementia and AD, and with structural brain changes among dementia-free elderly people.
In a longitudinal study, Weili Xu and colleagues explore whether variants in two insulin pathway genes modify the association of type 2 diabetes with dementia and AD.
Editors' Summary
Background
Worldwide, about 44 million people have dementia, a group of degenerative, incurable brain disorders that mainly affect older people. Dementia is characterized by an irreversible decline in memory, communication, and other “cognitive” functions. The most common forms of dementia are Alzheimer disease, which is caused by the development of small clumps of proteins (β-amyloid plaques) around brain cells, and vascular dementia, which is caused by reduced blood flow to parts of the brain. Early symptoms of dementia include increasing forgetfulness and losing track of time. As the condition progresses, affected individuals gradually lose the ability to look after themselves and to communicate, and they may become anxious or aggressive. Eventually, affected individuals may lose control of various physical functions and many become totally dependent on specialist nurses and other professional carers for their day-to-day needs.
Why Was This Study Done?
Epidemiological studies (investigations that examine patterns of disease in populations) suggest that, among older individuals, having type 2 diabetes (a condition in which resistance to the hormone insulin leads to high blood sugar levels) is associated with a 50% increased risk of developing dementia. Even prediabetes (a blood sugar level that is high but not high enough to meet the criteria for diabetes) is associated with an increased risk of dementia. Prediabetes and diabetes increase the risk of vascular disease, but it is thought that polymorphisms (naturally occurring genetic variations) in the IDE/HHEX region of the human genome may be involved in the association between diabetes and dementia/Alzheimer disease. IDE encodes insulin-degrading enzyme, which clears insulin from cells but also degrades β-amyloid; HHEX encodes a transcription factor that controls IDE expression. In this population-based longitudinal study, the researchers explore whether two single nucleotide polymorphisms in this region—IDE_9 and HHEX_23—impact the association between diabetes and dementia. Population-based longitudinal studies measure the baseline characteristics of individuals in the general population and determine which individuals subsequently develop specific conditions.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
For their study, the researchers examined data collected from two cohorts (groups) of dementia-free elderly adults living in Stockholm, Sweden. Blood samples taken from 3,030 participants at baseline were used to determine which individuals had diabetes (type 2 diabetes or prediabetes) and to investigate which HHEX_23 and IDE_9 variants each individual carried (genotyping). The researchers also examined the brain structure of a subsample of the second cohort using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). All the participants were followed for several years to see which individuals developed dementia/Alzheimer disease. In both cohorts, having diabetes was associated with a 60% increased risk of dementia/Alzheimer disease after adjusting for other characteristics that affect the development of these conditions. Pooled data from both cohorts indicated that, compared to people without diabetes carrying HHEX_23-GG (the human genome contains two copies [alleles] of each gene, and an individual carrying HHEX_23-GG has the nucleotide guanine at a particular position in both HHEX_23 copies), people with diabetes carrying HHEX_23-AA (adenine at that position in both HHEX_23 copies) had a 5-fold higher risk of developing dementia/Alzheimer disease. Other analyses indicated that the HHEX_23-AA genotype interacted with diabetes to substantially increase the risk of dementia/Alzheimer disease. Finally, MRI showed that, at baseline, HHEX_23-AA carriers with diabetes had structural brain changes compared to HHEX_23-GG carriers without diabetes, even though they were all free of dementia at the time.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These and other findings indicate that polymorphisms in HHEX_23, but not IDE_9, are involved in the association between diabetes, dementia, and structural brain changes. Thus, a genetic variant in HHEX_23 may play an important role in the development of Alzheimer disease and other forms of dementia among people with diabetes or prediabetes. These findings may not apply to younger or rural populations, and their accuracy may be affected by the use of a single blood sugar level reading to diagnose diabetes and prediabetes. Moreover, because some of the genotype/diabetes subgroups contained very few people, these findings need to be confirmed in additional studies. Further studies are also needed to understand the role of HHEX_23 in the association between diabetes and dementia. Importantly, however, these findings highlight the need to control diabetes to prevent the development of Alzheimer disease and other forms of dementia, particularly among HHEX_23-AA carriers.
Additional Information
This list of resources contains links that can be accessed when viewing the PDF on a device or via the online version of the article at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001828.
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information (including personal stories and links to additional resources) about dementia, vascular dementia, Alzheimer disease, and diabetes
The UK not-for-profit organization Alzheimer’s Society provides information for patients and carers about dementia, including personal experiences of dementia
The US not-for-profit organization Alzheimer’s Association also provides information for patients and carers about dementia, personal stories about dementia, and information about the association between diabetes and dementia
Alzheimer’s Disease International is the federation of Alzheimer disease associations around the world; it provides links to individual Alzheimer disease associations, information about dementia, and links to World Alzheimer Reports
MedlinePlus provides links to additional resources about dementia, Alzheimer disease, vascular dementia, and diabetes (in English and Spanish)
More information about the Kungsholmen Project and the Swedish National Study on Aging and Care–Kungsholmen, the projects that enrolled the cohorts used by the researchers for this study, is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001853
PMCID: PMC4501827  PMID: 26173052
8.  Smoking Is Associated with Mosaic Loss of Chromosome Y 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2014;347(6217):81-83.
Tobacco smoking is a risk factor for numerous disorders, including cancers affecting organs outside the respiratory tract. Epidemiological data suggest that smoking is a greater risk factor for these cancers in males compared to females. This observation, together with the fact that males have a higher incidence of, and mortality from, most non-sex-specific cancers, remain unexplained. Loss of chromosome Y (LOY) in blood cells is associated with increased risk of non-hematological tumors. We demonstrate here that smoking is associated with LOY in blood cells in three independent cohorts (TwinGene: odds ratio [OR]=4.3, 95% CI =2.8-6.7; ULSAM: OR=2.4, 95% CI=1.6-3.6; and PIVUS: OR=3.5, 95% CI=1.4-8.4) encompassing a total of 6014 men. The data also suggest that smoking has a transient and dose-dependent mutagenic effect on LOY-status. The finding that smoking induces LOY thus links a preventable risk factor with the most common acquired human mutation.
doi:10.1126/science.1262092
PMCID: PMC4356728  PMID: 25477213
9.  Neuropathologic assessment of dementia markers in identical and fraternal twins 
Twin studies are an incomparable source of investigation to shed light on genetic and non-genetic components of neurodegenerative diseases, as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Detailed clinicopathologic correlations using twin longitudinal data and postmortem examinations are mostly missing. We describe clinical and pathologic findings of 7 monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twin pairs.
Our findings show good agreement between clinical and pathologic diagnoses in the majority of the twin pairs, with greater neuropathologic concordance in MZ than DZ twins. Greater neuropathologic concordance was found for β-amyloid than tau pathology within the pairs. ApoE4 was associated with higher β-amyloid and earlier dementia onset, and importantly, higher frequency of other co-occurring brain pathologies, regardless of the zygosity. Dementia onset, dementia duration, difference between twins in age at dementia onset and at death, did not correlate with AD pathology.
These clinicopathologic correlations of older identical and fraternal twins support the relevance of genetic factors in AD, but not their sufficiency to determine the pathology, and consequently the disease, even in monozygotic twins. It is the interaction among genetic and non-genetic risks which plays a major role in influencing, or probably determining, the degeneration of those brain circuits associated with pathology and cognitive deficits in AD.
doi:10.1111/bpa.12127
PMCID: PMC4065212  PMID: 24450926
AD pathology; aging; ApoE; dementia; monozygotic and dizygotic twins; non-AD co-occurring brain pathologies
10.  Discovery and Fine-Mapping of Glycaemic and Obesity-Related Trait Loci Using High-Density Imputation 
Horikoshi, Momoko | Mӓgi, Reedik | van de Bunt, Martijn | Surakka, Ida | Sarin, Antti-Pekka | Mahajan, Anubha | Marullo, Letizia | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Hӓgg, Sara | Hottenga, Jouke-Jan | Ladenvall, Claes | Ried, Janina S. | Winkler, Thomas W. | Willems, Sara M. | Pervjakova, Natalia | Esko, Tõnu | Beekman, Marian | Nelson, Christopher P. | Willenborg, Christina | Wiltshire, Steven | Ferreira, Teresa | Fernandez, Juan | Gaulton, Kyle J. | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Hamsten, Anders | Magnusson, Patrik K. E. | Willemsen, Gonneke | Milaneschi, Yuri | Robertson, Neil R. | Groves, Christopher J. | Bennett, Amanda J. | Lehtimӓki, Terho | Viikari, Jorma S. | Rung, Johan | Lyssenko, Valeriya | Perola, Markus | Heid, Iris M. | Herder, Christian | Grallert, Harald | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Roden, Michael | Hypponen, Elina | Isaacs, Aaron | van Leeuwen, Elisabeth M. | Karssen, Lennart C. | Mihailov, Evelin | Houwing-Duistermaat, Jeanine J. | de Craen, Anton J. M. | Deelen, Joris | Havulinna, Aki S. | Blades, Matthew | Hengstenberg, Christian | Erdmann, Jeanette | Schunkert, Heribert | Kaprio, Jaakko | Tobin, Martin D. | Samani, Nilesh J. | Lind, Lars | Salomaa, Veikko | Lindgren, Cecilia M. | Slagboom, P. Eline | Metspalu, Andres | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Eriksson, Johan G. | Peters, Annette | Gieger, Christian | Jula, Antti | Groop, Leif | Raitakari, Olli T. | Power, Chris | Penninx, Brenda W. J. H. | de Geus, Eco | Smit, Johannes H. | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Pedersen, Nancy L. | Ingelsson, Erik | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Stefansson, Kari | Ripatti, Samuli | Prokopenko, Inga | McCarthy, Mark I. | Morris, Andrew P.
PLoS Genetics  2015;11(7):e1005230.
Reference panels from the 1000 Genomes (1000G) Project Consortium provide near complete coverage of common and low-frequency genetic variation with minor allele frequency ≥0.5% across European ancestry populations. Within the European Network for Genetic and Genomic Epidemiology (ENGAGE) Consortium, we have undertaken the first large-scale meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS), supplemented by 1000G imputation, for four quantitative glycaemic and obesity-related traits, in up to 87,048 individuals of European ancestry. We identified two loci for body mass index (BMI) at genome-wide significance, and two for fasting glucose (FG), none of which has been previously reported in larger meta-analysis efforts to combine GWAS of European ancestry. Through conditional analysis, we also detected multiple distinct signals of association mapping to established loci for waist-hip ratio adjusted for BMI (RSPO3) and FG (GCK and G6PC2). The index variant for one association signal at the G6PC2 locus is a low-frequency coding allele, H177Y, which has recently been demonstrated to have a functional role in glucose regulation. Fine-mapping analyses revealed that the non-coding variants most likely to drive association signals at established and novel loci were enriched for overlap with enhancer elements, which for FG mapped to promoter and transcription factor binding sites in pancreatic islets, in particular. Our study demonstrates that 1000G imputation and genetic fine-mapping of common and low-frequency variant association signals at GWAS loci, integrated with genomic annotation in relevant tissues, can provide insight into the functional and regulatory mechanisms through which their effects on glycaemic and obesity-related traits are mediated.
Author Summary
Human genetic studies have demonstrated that quantitative human anthropometric and metabolic traits, including body mass index, waist-hip ratio, and plasma concentrations of glucose and insulin, are highly heritable, and are established risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Although many regions of the genome have been associated with these traits, the specific genes responsible have not yet been identified. By making use of advanced statistical “imputation” techniques applied to more than 87,000 individuals of European ancestry, and publicly available “reference panels” of more than 37 million genetic variants, we have been able to identify novel regions of the genome associated with these glycaemic and obesity-related traits and localise genes within these regions that are most likely to be causal. This improved understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying glycaemic and obesity-related traits is extremely important because it may advance drug development for downstream disease endpoints, ultimately leading to public health benefits.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005230
PMCID: PMC4488845  PMID: 26132169
11.  Heritability of Parkinson disease in Swedish twins: a longitudinal study 
Neurobiology of aging  2011;32(10):1923.e1-1923.e8.
Previous twin studies report no heritability of Parkinson disease (PD) based on cross-sectional information. Here, we apply a longitudinal design and re-evaluate cross-sectional data in the population-based Swedish Twin Registry (STR) using clinical as well as hospital discharge and cause of death diagnoses. In the longitudinal analyses (based on 46,436 individuals), we identified 542 twins with PD and 65 twins with parkinsonism. Concordance rates for PD were 11% for monozygotic and 4% for same-sexed dizygotic twin pairs, with a heritability estimate of 34%. Concordance rates for PD or parkinsonism were 13% for monozygotic and 5% for same-sexed dizygotic twin pairs, with a heritability estimate of 40%. In the cross-sectional analyses (based on 49,814 individuals), we identified 287 twins with PD and 79 twins with parkinsonism. Concordance rates for PD were 4% for monozygotic and same-sexed dizygotic twin pairs and zero for opposite-sexed twin pairs. Concordance rates for PD or parkinsonism were somewhat higher but the heritability estimate was non-significant. Our longitudinal analyses demonstrate that PD and parkinsonism are modestly heritable.
doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2011.02.017
PMCID: PMC4452894  PMID: 21482443
Parkinson disease; twin; epidemiology
12.  Natural-Cause Mortality and Long-Term Exposure to Particle Components: An Analysis of 19 European Cohorts within the Multi-Center ESCAPE Project 
Beelen, Rob | Hoek, Gerard | Raaschou-Nielsen, Ole | Stafoggia, Massimo | Andersen, Zorana Jovanovic | Weinmayr, Gudrun | Hoffmann, Barbara | Wolf, Kathrin | Samoli, Evangelia | Fischer, Paul H. | Nieuwenhuijsen, Mark J. | Xun, Wei W. | Katsouyanni, Klea | Dimakopoulou, Konstantina | Marcon, Alessandro | Vartiainen, Erkki | Lanki, Timo | Yli-Tuomi, Tarja | Oftedal, Bente | Schwarze, Per E. | Nafstad, Per | De Faire, Ulf | Pedersen, Nancy L. | Östenson, Claes-Göran | Fratiglioni, Laura | Penell, Johanna | Korek, Michal | Pershagen, Göran | Eriksen, Kirsten Thorup | Overvad, Kim | Sørensen, Mette | Eeftens, Marloes | Peeters, Petra H. | Meliefste, Kees | Wang, Meng | Bueno-de-Mesquita, H. Bas | Sugiri, Dorothea | Krämer, Ursula | Heinrich, Joachim | de Hoogh, Kees | Key, Timothy | Peters, Annette | Hampel, Regina | Concin, Hans | Nagel, Gabriele | Jaensch, Andrea | Ineichen, Alex | Tsai, Ming-Yi | Schaffner, Emmanuel | Probst-Hensch, Nicole M. | Schindler, Christian | Ragettli, Martina S. | Vilier, Alice | Clavel-Chapelon, Françoise | Declercq, Christophe | Ricceri, Fulvio | Sacerdote, Carlotta | Galassi, Claudia | Migliore, Enrica | Ranzi, Andrea | Cesaroni, Giulia | Badaloni, Chiara | Forastiere, Francesco | Katsoulis, Michail | Trichopoulou, Antonia | Keuken, Menno | Jedynska, Aleksandra | Kooter, Ingeborg M. | Kukkonen, Jaakko | Sokhi, Ranjeet S. | Vineis, Paolo | Brunekreef, Bert
Environmental Health Perspectives  2015;123(6):525-533.
Background
Studies have shown associations between mortality and long-term exposure to particulate matter air pollution. Few cohort studies have estimated the effects of the elemental composition of particulate matter on mortality.
Objectives
Our aim was to study the association between natural-cause mortality and long-term exposure to elemental components of particulate matter.
Methods
Mortality and confounder data from 19 European cohort studies were used. Residential exposure to eight a priori–selected components of particulate matter (PM) was characterized following a strictly standardized protocol. Annual average concentrations of copper, iron, potassium, nickel, sulfur, silicon, vanadium, and zinc within PM size fractions ≤ 2.5 μm (PM2.5) and ≤ 10 μm (PM10) were estimated using land-use regression models. Cohort-specific statistical analyses of the associations between mortality and air pollution were conducted using Cox proportional hazards models using a common protocol followed by meta-analysis.
Results
The total study population consisted of 291,816 participants, of whom 25,466 died from a natural cause during follow-up (average time of follow-up, 14.3 years). Hazard ratios were positive for almost all elements and statistically significant for PM2.5 sulfur (1.14; 95% CI: 1.06, 1.23 per 200 ng/m3). In a two-pollutant model, the association with PM2.5 sulfur was robust to adjustment for PM2.5 mass, whereas the association with PM2.5 mass was reduced.
Conclusions
Long-term exposure to PM2.5 sulfur was associated with natural-cause mortality. This association was robust to adjustment for other pollutants and PM2.5.
Citation
Beelen R, Hoek G, Raaschou-Nielsen O, Stafoggia M, Andersen ZJ, Weinmayr G, Hoffmann B, Wolf K, Samoli E, Fischer PH, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ, Xun WW, Katsouyanni K, Dimakopoulou K, Marcon A, Vartiainen E, Lanki T, Yli-Tuomi T, Oftedal B, Schwarze PE, Nafstad P, De Faire U, Pedersen NL, Östenson C-G, Fratiglioni L, Penell J, Korek M, Pershagen G, Eriksen KT, Overvad K, Sørensen M, Eeftens M, Peeters PH, Meliefste K, Wang M, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB, Sugiri D, Krämer U, Heinrich J, de Hoogh K, Key T, Peters A, Hampel R, Concin H, Nagel G, Jaensch A, Ineichen A, Tsai MY, Schaffner E, Probst-Hensch NM, Schindler C, Ragettli MS, Vilier A, Clavel-Chapelon F, Declercq C, Ricceri F, Sacerdote C, Galassi C, Migliore E, Ranzi A, Cesaroni G, Badaloni C, Forastiere F, Katsoulis M, Trichopoulou A, Keuken M, Jedynska A, Kooter IM, Kukkonen J, Sokhi RS, Vineis P, Brunekreef B. 2015. Natural-cause mortality and long-term exposure to particle components: an analysis of 19 European cohorts within the Multi-Center ESCAPE Project. Environ Health Perspect 123:525–533; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1408095
doi:10.1289/ehp.1408095
PMCID: PMC4455583  PMID: 25712504
13.  Genetic and Environmental Mediation of the Associations between Self-Rated Health and Cognitive Abilities 
Experimental aging research  2009;35(2):178-201.
This study first investigated whether common complex diseases mediate the associations between self-rated health and cognitive abilities. Second, the genetic and environmental mediation of these relationships was explored using bivariate quantitative genetic analyses. Slight evidence was found that associations between self-rated health and cognitive test scores were mediated by chronic diseases. In the younger age group (< 67 years) associations between self-rated health and spatial reasoning and perceptual speed were mediated by both genetic and environmental factors. In the oldest age group (≥ 67 years), associations between self-rated health and verbal ability, spatial reasoning, perceptual speed and visual memory were entirely due to genetic factors.
doi:10.1080/03610730902720372
PMCID: PMC4445688  PMID: 19280446
self-rated health; twins; cognitive abilities; genes; environment
14.  Risk of urinary incontinence symptoms in oral contraceptive users: A national cohort study from the Swedish Twin Register 
Fertility and sterility  2008;92(2):428-433.
Objective:
To assess the impact of oral contraceptives on lower urinary tract dysfunction in premenopausal women.
Design-Subjects:
A cohort study of 10,791 women (born 1959-1985) from the population-based Swedish Twin Register who participated in a web-based survey of common diseases.
Setting:
National Register.
Intervention(s):
None.
Main Outcome Measure(s):
Symptoms of urinary incontinence.
Result(s):
For users of oral contraception there was a significantly reduced risk for symptoms of stress urinary incontinence (OR 0.57, 95% CI 0.41- 0.79); mixed urinary incontinence (OR 0.52, 95% CI 0.31-0.89); and urgency urinary incontinence (OR 0.36, 95% CI 0.14-0.92). The reduction remained significant when adjusting for age, body mass index and pregnancy history. A reduced prevalence of symptoms of overactive bladder in oral contraceptive users was also observed although the association was non-significant (OR 0.97, 95% CI 0.79-1.18). There were no significant associations between lower urinary tract symptoms and women using a levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device compared to non-contraceptive users, with the exception of nocturia (OR 0.53, 95% CI 0.32-0.89).
Conclusion(s):
Oral contraceptive use reduces the overall risk for symptoms of urinary incontinence.
doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2008.07.002
PMCID: PMC4442795  PMID: 18706546
contraception; incontinence; overactive bladder; intrauterine device
15.  The Genetic and Environmental Contribution to the Occurrence of Bladder Pain Syndrome: An Empirical Approach in a Nationwide Population Sample 
European urology  2010;59(2):280-285.
Background
The aetiology of bladder pain syndrome (BPS) remains poorly understood, and a number of pathogenic mechanisms have been proposed. The importance of genetic factors for BPS is receiving growing attention, but data so far are of a preliminary nature.
Objective
To empirically assess the genetic and environmental contribution to BPS in a population-based sample of twins.
Design, setting, and participants
The study included >25 000 twins born between 1959 and 1985. Individuals with BPS were identified using latent class cluster analysis (LCCA) based on self-reported symptoms from a nationwide screening for complex diseases in the Swedish Twin Registry. By comparing monozygotic and dizygotic twins, we estimated twin similarity and the relative proportions of phenotypic variance resulting from genetic and environmental factors.
Measurements
Twin similarity was measured.
Results and limitations
The LCCA yielded an overall BPS prevalence of 1.1% and 2.4% for males and females, respectively. In males, the contribution of genetic effects to BPS could not be assessed because of the small number of concordant twin pairs. In women, twin similarity estimates indicated a genetic component for the aetiology of BPS, but genetic factors contributed less than one-third of the total variation in susceptibility to BPS. Nonshared environmental factors accounted for more than two-thirds of the variance, whereas early nongenetic factors shared within the family were of little or no consequence to the risk of developing BPS later in life. Use of self-reported symptoms to define the disease phenotype is a limitation of the study.
Conclusions
The influence of environmental factors in the development of BPS in women is substantial, whereas genetic influences are of only modest importance for the possibility of developing the disease.
doi:10.1016/j.eururo.2010.10.028
PMCID: PMC4442798  PMID: 21056533
Bladder pain syndrome; Environment; Genetic; Interstitial cystitis
16.  Parent-of-origin specific allelic associations among 106 genomic loci for age at menarche 
Perry, John RB | Day, Felix | Elks, Cathy E | Sulem, Patrick | Thompson, Deborah J | Ferreira, Teresa | He, Chunyan | Chasman, Daniel I | Esko, Tõnu | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Albrecht, Eva | Ang, Wei Q | Corre, Tanguy | Cousminer, Diana L | Feenstra, Bjarke | Franceschini, Nora | Ganna, Andrea | Johnson, Andrew D | Kjellqvist, Sanela | Lunetta, Kathryn L | McMahon, George | Nolte, Ilja M | Paternoster, Lavinia | Porcu, Eleonora | Smith, Albert V | Stolk, Lisette | Teumer, Alexander | Tšernikova, Natalia | Tikkanen, Emmi | Ulivi, Sheila | Wagner, Erin K | Amin, Najaf | Bierut, Laura J | Byrne, Enda M | Hottenga, Jouke-Jan | Koller, Daniel L | Mangino, Massimo | Pers, Tune H | Yerges-Armstrong, Laura M | Zhao, Jing Hua | Andrulis, Irene L | Anton-Culver, Hoda | Atsma, Femke | Bandinelli, Stefania | Beckmann, Matthias W | Benitez, Javier | Blomqvist, Carl | Bojesen, Stig E | Bolla, Manjeet K | Bonanni, Bernardo | Brauch, Hiltrud | Brenner, Hermann | Buring, Julie E | Chang-Claude, Jenny | Chanock, Stephen | Chen, Jinhui | Chenevix-Trench, Georgia | Collée, J. Margriet | Couch, Fergus J | Couper, David | Coveillo, Andrea D | Cox, Angela | Czene, Kamila | D’adamo, Adamo Pio | Smith, George Davey | De Vivo, Immaculata | Demerath, Ellen W | Dennis, Joe | Devilee, Peter | Dieffenbach, Aida K | Dunning, Alison M | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Eriksson, Johan G | Fasching, Peter A | Ferrucci, Luigi | Flesch-Janys, Dieter | Flyger, Henrik | Foroud, Tatiana | Franke, Lude | Garcia, Melissa E | García-Closas, Montserrat | Geller, Frank | de Geus, Eco EJ | Giles, Graham G | Gudbjartsson, Daniel F | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Guénel, Pascal | Guo, Suiqun | Hall, Per | Hamann, Ute | Haring, Robin | Hartman, Catharina A | Heath, Andrew C | Hofman, Albert | Hooning, Maartje J | Hopper, John L | Hu, Frank B | Hunter, David J | Karasik, David | Kiel, Douglas P | Knight, Julia A | Kosma, Veli-Matti | Kutalik, Zoltan | Lai, Sandra | Lambrechts, Diether | Lindblom, Annika | Mägi, Reedik | Magnusson, Patrik K | Mannermaa, Arto | Martin, Nicholas G | Masson, Gisli | McArdle, Patrick F | McArdle, Wendy L | Melbye, Mads | Michailidou, Kyriaki | Mihailov, Evelin | Milani, Lili | Milne, Roger L | Nevanlinna, Heli | Neven, Patrick | Nohr, Ellen A | Oldehinkel, Albertine J | Oostra, Ben A | Palotie, Aarno | Peacock, Munro | Pedersen, Nancy L | Peterlongo, Paolo | Peto, Julian | Pharoah, Paul DP | Postma, Dirkje S | Pouta, Anneli | Pylkäs, Katri | Radice, Paolo | Ring, Susan | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Robino, Antonietta | Rose, Lynda M | Rudolph, Anja | Salomaa, Veikko | Sanna, Serena | Schlessinger, David | Schmidt, Marjanka K | Southey, Mellissa C | Sovio, Ulla | Stampfer, Meir J | Stöckl, Doris | Storniolo, Anna M | Timpson, Nicholas J | Tyrer, Jonathan | Visser, Jenny A | Vollenweider, Peter | Völzke, Henry | Waeber, Gerard | Waldenberger, Melanie | Wallaschofski, Henri | Wang, Qin | Willemsen, Gonneke | Winqvist, Robert | Wolffenbuttel, Bruce HR | Wright, Margaret J | Boomsma, Dorret I | Econs, Michael J | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Loos, Ruth JF | McCarthy, Mark I | Montgomery, Grant W | Rice, John P | Streeten, Elizabeth A | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | van Duijn, Cornelia M | Alizadeh, Behrooz Z | Bergmann, Sven | Boerwinkle, Eric | Boyd, Heather A | Crisponi, Laura | Gasparini, Paolo | Gieger, Christian | Harris, Tamara B | Ingelsson, Erik | Järvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Kraft, Peter | Lawlor, Debbie | Metspalu, Andres | Pennell, Craig E | Ridker, Paul M | Snieder, Harold | Sørensen, Thorkild IA | Spector, Tim D | Strachan, David P | Uitterlinden, André G | Wareham, Nicholas J | Widen, Elisabeth | Zygmunt, Marek | Murray, Anna | Easton, Douglas F | Stefansson, Kari | Murabito, Joanne M | Ong, Ken K
Nature  2014;514(7520):92-97.
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.
doi:10.1038/nature13545
PMCID: PMC4185210  PMID: 25231870
17.  A Genome-Wide Association Study of Monozygotic Twin-Pairs Suggests a Locus Related to Variability of Serum High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol 
Genome-wide association analysis on monozygotic twin pairs offers a route to discovery of gene–environment interactions through testing for variability loci associated with sensitivity to individual environment/lifestyle. We present a genome-wide scan of loci associated with intra-pair differences in serum lipid and apolipoprotein levels. We report data for 1,720 monozygotic female twin pairs from GenomEUtwin project with 2.5 million SNPs, imputed or genotyped, and measured serum lipid fractions for both twins. We found one locus associated with intra-pair differences in high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, rs2483058 in an intron of SRGAP2, where twins carrying the C allele are more sensitive to environmental factors (p = 3.98 × 10−8). We followed up the association in further genotyped monozygotic twins (N = 1 261) which showed a moderate association for the variant (p = .002, same direction of an effect). In addition, we report a new association on the level of apolipoprotein A-II (p = 4.03 × 10−8).
doi:10.1017/thg.2012.63
PMCID: PMC4333218  PMID: 23031429
twins; association; lipids; apolipoproteins; interaction
18.  Shared and Unique Genetic and Environmental Influences on Aging-Related Changes in Multiple Cognitive Abilities 
Developmental psychology  2013;50(1):152-166.
Aging-related declines occur in many different domains of cognitive function during later adulthood. However, whether a global dimension underlies individual differences in changes in different domains of cognition, and whether global genetic influences on cognitive changes exist, is less clear. We addressed these issues by applying multivariate growth curve models to longitudinal data from 857 individuals from the Swedish Adoption/Twin Study of Aging, who had been measured on 11 cognitive variables representative of verbal, spatial, memory, and processing speed abilities up to 5 times over up to 16 years between ages 50 and 96 years. Between ages 50 and 65 years scores on different tests changed relatively independently of one another, and there was little evidence for strong underlying dimensions of change. In contrast, over the period between 65 and 96 years of age, there were strong interrelations among rates of change both within and across domains. During this age period, variability in rates of change were, on average, 52% domain-general, 8% domain-specific, and 39% test specific. Quantitative genetic decomposition indicated that 29% of individual differences in a global domain-general dimension of cognitive changes from 65 to 96 years were attributable to genetic influences, but some domain-specific genetic influences were also evident, even after accounting for domain-general contributions. These findings are consistent with a balanced global and domain-specific account of the genetics of cognitive aging.
doi:10.1037/a0032468
PMCID: PMC4135450  PMID: 23586942
Cognitive Aging; Common Cause Hypothesis; Generalist Genes Hypothesis; Behavioral Genetics
19.  Large-scale Metabolomic Profiling Identifies Novel Biomarkers for Incident Coronary Heart Disease 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(12):e1004801.
Analyses of circulating metabolites in large prospective epidemiological studies could lead to improved prediction and better biological understanding of coronary heart disease (CHD). We performed a mass spectrometry-based non-targeted metabolomics study for association with incident CHD events in 1,028 individuals (131 events; 10 y. median follow-up) with validation in 1,670 individuals (282 events; 3.9 y. median follow-up). Four metabolites were replicated and independent of main cardiovascular risk factors [lysophosphatidylcholine 18∶1 (hazard ratio [HR] per standard deviation [SD] increment = 0.77, P-value<0.001), lysophosphatidylcholine 18∶2 (HR = 0.81, P-value<0.001), monoglyceride 18∶2 (MG 18∶2; HR = 1.18, P-value = 0.011) and sphingomyelin 28∶1 (HR = 0.85, P-value = 0.015)]. Together they contributed to moderate improvements in discrimination and re-classification in addition to traditional risk factors (C-statistic: 0.76 vs. 0.75; NRI: 9.2%). MG 18∶2 was associated with CHD independently of triglycerides. Lysophosphatidylcholines were negatively associated with body mass index, C-reactive protein and with less evidence of subclinical cardiovascular disease in additional 970 participants; a reverse pattern was observed for MG 18∶2. MG 18∶2 showed an enrichment (P-value = 0.002) of significant associations with CHD-associated SNPs (P-value = 1.2×10−7 for association with rs964184 in the ZNF259/APOA5 region) and a weak, but positive causal effect (odds ratio = 1.05 per SD increment in MG 18∶2, P-value = 0.05) on CHD, as suggested by Mendelian randomization analysis. In conclusion, we identified four lipid-related metabolites with evidence for clinical utility, as well as a causal role in CHD development.
Author Summary
Non-targeted metabolomic profiling of large population-based studies has become feasible only in the past 1–2 years and this hypothesis-free exploration of the metabolome holds a great potential to fuel the discovery of novel biomarkers for coronary heart disease (CHD). Such biomarkers are not only important for risk stratification and treatment decisions, but can also improve understanding of cardiovascular disease pathophysiology to identify new drug targets. In this study, we investigated the metabolic profiles of more than 3,600 individuals from three population-based studies, and discovered four metabolites that are consistently associated with incident CHD. We integrate genetic and metabolomic analysis to delineate the underlying biological mechanisms and evaluate potential causal effects of the novel biomarkers. Specifically, we found one metabolite to be strongly associated with single nucleotides polymorphisms previously reported for association with CHD, and consistent with a potential causal role in CHD development, as suggested by Mendelian randomization analysis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004801
PMCID: PMC4263376  PMID: 25502724
20.  Playing a Musical Instrument as a Protective Factor against Dementia and Cognitive Impairment: A Population-Based Twin Study 
Increasing evidence supports that playing a musical instrument may benefit cognitive development and health at young ages. Whether playing an instrument provides protection against dementia has not been established. In a population-based cotwin control study, we examined the association between playing a musical instrument and whether or not the twins developed dementia or cognitive impairment. Participation in playing an instrument was taken from informant-based reports of twins' leisure activities. Dementia diagnoses were based on a complete clinical workup using standard diagnostic criteria. Among 157 twin pairs discordant for dementia and cognitive impairment, 27 pairs were discordant for playing an instrument. Controlling for sex, education, and physical activity, playing a musical instrument was significantly associated with less likelihood of dementia and cognitive impairment (odds ratio [OR] = 0.36 [95% confidence interval 0.13–0.99]). These findings support further consideration of music as a modifiable protective factor against dementia and cognitive impairment.
doi:10.1155/2014/836748
PMCID: PMC4269311  PMID: 25544932
21.  Accounting for the relationship between low education and dementia: A twin study 
Physiology & behavior  2007;92(1-2):232-237.
We evaluated whether the association between low education and greater risk of dementia is explained by genetic influences, using three different types of analyses. The HARMONY study (Swedish for “health” (Hälsa), “genes” (ARv), “environment” (Miljö), “and” (Och), and “new” (NY)) includes members of the Swedish Twin Registry who were aged 65 and older and alive in 1998, and who were screened and clinically assessed for dementia. There were 394 cases with dementia and 7786 unrelated controls. Analyses included co-twin control, tests for association between education and a measured genotype, and bivariate twin modeling. Low education was a significant risk factor for dementia both in case-control analyses (odds ratio=1.77, 95% confidence interval 1.38 to 2.28) and co-twin control analyses with monozygotic twin pairs (odds ratio=3.17, 95% confidence interval 1.26 to 7.93). Apolipoprotein E genotype was not associated with education and did not account for the relationship between education and dementia. Bivariate twin modeling showed that the association between education and dementia was not mediated by genetic influences in common between education and dementia. The association was mediated by shared environmental influences that were related to both dementia and to education. Low education is confirmed as a risk factor for dementia. Findings from three different analytic approaches showed that genetic influences did not explain this association.
doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2007.05.042
PMCID: PMC2225456  PMID: 17597169
Dementia; Education; Risk factors; Twin studies
22.  Genetic Pleiotropy Explains Associations between Musical Auditory Discrimination and Intelligence 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e113874.
Musical aptitude is commonly measured using tasks that involve discrimination of different types of musical auditory stimuli. Performance on such different discrimination tasks correlates positively with each other and with intelligence. However, no study to date has explored these associations using a genetically informative sample to estimate underlying genetic and environmental influences. In the present study, a large sample of Swedish twins (N = 10,500) was used to investigate the genetic architecture of the associations between intelligence and performance on three musical auditory discrimination tasks (rhythm, melody and pitch). Phenotypic correlations between the tasks ranged between 0.23 and 0.42 (Pearson r values). Genetic modelling showed that the covariation between the variables could be explained by shared genetic influences. Neither shared, nor non-shared environment had a significant effect on the associations. Good fit was obtained with a two-factor model where one underlying shared genetic factor explained all the covariation between the musical discrimination tasks and IQ, and a second genetic factor explained variance exclusively shared among the discrimination tasks. The results suggest that positive correlations among musical aptitudes result from both genes with broad effects on cognition, and genes with potentially more specific influences on auditory functions.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113874
PMCID: PMC4242709  PMID: 25419664
23.  Germline Genetic Contributions to Risk for Esophageal Adenocarcinoma, Barrett’s Esophagus, and Gastroesophageal Reflux 
Background
Esophageal adenocarcinoma (EA) is an increasingly common cancer with poor survival. Barrett’s esophagus (BE) is the main precursor to EA, and every year 0.12% to 0.5% of BE patients progress to EA. BE typically arises on a background of chronic gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), one of the risk factors for EA.
Methods
We used genome-wide association data to investigate the genetic architecture underlying GERD, BE, and EA. We applied a method to estimate the variance explained (array heritability, h2 g) and the genetic correlation (rg) between GERD, BE, and EA by considering all single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) simultaneously. We also estimated the polygenic overlap between GERD, BE, and EA using a prediction approach. All tests were two-sided, except in the case of variance-explained estimation where one-sided tests were used.
Results
We estimated a statistically significant genetic variance explained for BE (h2 g = 35%; standard error [SE] = 6%; one-sided P = 1 × 10−9) and for EA (h2 g = 25 %; SE = 5%; one-sided P = 2 × 10−7). The genetic correlation between BE and EA was found to be high (rg = 1.0; SE = 0.37). We also estimated a statistically significant polygenic overlap between BE and EA (one-sided P = 1 × 10−6), which suggests, together with the high genetic correlation, that shared genes underlie the development of BE and EA. Conversely, no statistically significant results were obtained for GERD.
Conclusions
We have demonstrated that risk to BE and EA is influenced by many germline genetic variants of small effect and that shared polygenic effects contribute to risk of these two diseases.
doi:10.1093/jnci/djt303
PMCID: PMC3833931  PMID: 24168968
24.  Genetic and Environmental Influences on Mothering of Adolescents: A Comparison of Two Samples 
Developmental psychology  2004;40(3):335-351.
This study examined 2 samples of adolescents and mothers using a child-based design (Nonshared Environment in Adolescent Development [NEAD] project, N = 395 families) and a parent-based design (Twin Moms [TM] project, N = 236 twin family pairs) to compare genetic and environmental influences on mothering. For both samples, the same measures of positivity, negativity, control, and monitoring were used. The use of matched child-based and parent-based samples enabled passive and nonpassive genotype–environment (GE) correlations to be approximated, providing information about process. Passive GE correlations were suggested for mother’s positivity and monitoring. For mother’s negativity and control, primarily nonpassive GE correlations were suggested. In several cases, both types of GE correlation were indicated. Finally, observer ratings of negativity and monitoring were influenced only by environmental factors.
doi:10.1037/0012-1649.40.3.335
PMCID: PMC1226934  PMID: 15122961
25.  Binge Eating, Body Mass Index, and Gastrointestinal Symptoms 
Journal of psychosomatic research  2013;75(5):10.1016/j.jpsychores.2013.08.009.
Objective
Symptoms of both gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are frequently reported by individuals who binge eat. Higher body mass index (BMI) has also been associated with these disorders and with binge eating (BE). However, it is unknown whether BE influences GERD/IBS and how BMI might affect these associations. Thus, we examined the potential associations among BE, GERD, IBS, and BMI.
Methods
Participants were from the Swedish Twin study of Adults: Genes and Environment (STAGE) and provided information on disordered eating behavior, BMI, gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, and commonly comorbid psychiatric and somatic illnesses. Key features of GERD and IBS were identified to create modified definitions of both disorders that were used as primary outcome variables. Logistic regression models were applied to determine the association between BE and each GERD/IBS both independently and in the context of BMI and other commonly comorbid psychiatric and somatic morbidities.
Results
Prevalence estimates for GERD and IBS were higher among women than men (all p-values < .001). Only the association between BE and IBS was significant in both men and women after adjustment for BMI and the psychiatric/somatic morbidities.
Conclusion
BE appears to be an important consideration in the presence of IBS symptoms in both men and women, even when considering the impact of BMI and other commonly comorbid conditions. This association underscores the importance of routine assessment of BE in patients presenting with IBS to effectively manage the concurrent presentation of these problems.
doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2013.08.009
PMCID: PMC3817501  PMID: 24182635
Binge eating; body mass index; gastroesophageal reflux disease; irritable bowel syndrome

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