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1.  Ethnicity and Sex Modify the Association of Serum C-Reactive Protein with Microalbuminuria 
Ethnicity & disease  2008;18(3):324-329.
To study the association between serum C-reactive protein (CRP) and urinary albumin excretion in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and to assess whether the association is modified by ethnicity, sex, or systolic blood pressure.
This was a cross-sectional study of 6675 participants who were free from macro albuminuria and clinical cardiovascular disease (mean age 62.1 years, 53% female; 39% White, 27% African American, 22% Hispanic, and 12% Chinese). Urinary albumin excretion was measured by spot urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR). Effect modifications were tested after adjusting for age, diabetes, body mass index, smoking, use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor or angiotensin-receptor blocker, other antihypertensive drugs, estrogens, statins, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
The association between CRP and ACR was modified by ethnicity (P=.01) and sex (P<.001), but not by systolic blood pressure. After multivariate adjustment, the association remained in Chinese, African American, and Hispanic men and African American women (P<.02 for African American men, and P<.04 for the other subgroups).
The association between CRP and ACR was modified by ethnicity and sex; it was stronger in non-White men and African American women. These interactions have not been reported before, and future studies should consider them.
PMCID: PMC4089959  PMID: 18785447
Albuminuria; C-Reactive Protein; Ethnicity; Gender
2.  Associations of Inflammatory Markers with Coronary Artery Calcification: Results from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Atherosclerosis  2009;209(1):226-229.
Inflammatory markers predict coronary heart disease (CHD). However, associations with coronary artery calcium (CAC), a marker of subclinical CHD, are not established.
We examined cross-sectional associations of C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and fibrinogen with CAC presence (Agatston score > 0 by computed tomography) in 6,783 Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) participants.
In all participants, those in the highest, compared to lowest, quartile of CRP had a relative risk (RR, 95% confidence interval) of 1.13 (1.06-1.19; p<0.01) for CAC in age, sex and ethnicity adjusted models. For highest versus lowest quartiles, relative risks were 1.22 (1.15-1.30; p<0.01) for IL-6 and 1.18 (1.11-1.24; p<0.01) for fibrinogen. Adjusting for CHD risk factors (smoking, diabetes, blood pressure, obesity and dyslipidemia) attenuated RRs. RRs for CAC were 1.05 (0.99-1.12; p=0.63) for CRP, 1.12 (1.06-1.20; p<0.01) for IL-6 and 1.09 (1.02-1.16; p=0.01) for fibrinogen in multivariable adjusted models. Results were similar for men and women and across ethnic groups.
Inflammatory markers were weakly associated with CAC presence and burden in MESA. Our data support the hypothesis that inflammatory biomarkers and CAC reflect distinct pathophysiology.
PMCID: PMC2830357  PMID: 19766217
Atherosclerosis; Calcium; Inflammation; Population
3.  Genome-wide linkage scans for type 2 diabetes mellitus in four ethnically diverse populations; significant evidence for linkage on chromosome 4q in African Americans: the Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes (FIND) Research Group 
Previous studies have shown that, in addition to environmental influences, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has a strong genetic component. The goal of the current study is to identify regions of linkage for T2DM in ethnically diverse populations.
Phenotypic and genotypic data were obtained from African American (AA; total number of individuals (N)=1004), American Indian (AI; N=883), European American (EA; N=537), and Mexican American (MA; N=1634) individuals from the Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes. Nonparametric linkage analysis, using an average of 4,404 SNPs, was performed in relative pairs affected with T2DM in each ethnic group. In addition, family-based tests were performed to detect association with T2DM.
Statistically significant evidence for linkage was observed on chromosomes 4q21.1 (LOD=3.13; genome-wide p=0.04) in AA. In addition, a total of eleven regions showed suggestive evidence for linkage (estimated at LOD>1.71), with the highest LOD scores on chromosomes 12q21.31 (LOD=2.02) and 22q12.3 (LOD=2.38) in AA, 2p11.1 (LOD=2.23) in AI, 6p12.3 (LOD=2.77) in EA, and 13q21.1 (LOD=2.24) in MA. While no region overlapped across all ethnic groups, at least five loci showing LOD>1.71 have been identified in previously published studies.
The results from this study provide evidence for the presence of genes affecting T2DM on chromosomes 4q, 12q, and 22q in AA, 6p in EA, 2p in AI, and 13q in MA. The strong evidence for linkage on chromosome 4q in AA provides important information given the paucity of diabetes genetic studies in this population.
PMCID: PMC2783577  PMID: 19795399
FIND; Type 2 Diabetes; linkage analysis; ethnicity
4.  Inflammation, Complement Factor H, and Age-Related Macular Degeneration: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Ophthalmology  2008;115(10):1742-1749.
To describe the relationship of systemic inflammatory disease, complement factor H (CFH) Y402H (1277T→C) genotype status and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) prevalence in a multiethnic population of whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Chinese.
Population-based, cross-sectional study.
We included 5887 persons aged 45 to 84 years with gradable AMD.
Digital fundus photographs were used to measure AMD. Two years earlier, biomarkers of inflammation were measured and history of inflammatory disease and use of antiinflammatory agents obtained.
Main Outcome Measure
Prevalence of AMD.
While controlling for age, gender, race/ethnicity, and study site, there were no associations between systemic inflammatory factors and AMD severity. Higher levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (odds ratio [OR] per standard deviation [SD] increase in natural log [ln] units, 2.34; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.33–4.13) and interleukin-6 (OR per SD in ln, 2.06; 95% CI, 1.21–3.49) were associated with geographic atrophy but not other AMD end points. History of periodontal disease (OR, 1.68; 95% CI, 1.14–2.47) was related to increased retinal pigment. A history of arthritis was associated with soft distinct drusen (OR, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.06–1.46). A history of oral steroid use was related to large drusen (OR, 2.13; 95% CI, 1.14–3.97) and soft distinct drusen (OR, 1.76; 95% CI, 1.00–3.10) and history of cyclooxygenase 2 inhibitor use were associated with large drusen (OR, 1.50; 95% CI, 1.10–2.04), soft indistinct drusen (OR, 1.84; 95% CI, 1.09–3.10), and large drusen area (OR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.02–2.71). Whites, blacks, and Hispanics with CFH Y402H CC variant genotype had the highest frequency of early AMD compared with those with wild TT genotype. The frequency of CFH did explain some of the difference in AMD prevalence between Chinese and Hispanics compared with whites, but did not explain the difference in prevalence between whites and blacks.
This study confirmed associations of the Y402H CFH gene variant with AMD in nonwhite populations, but neither explained the lack of association between inflammatory factors and AMD in the cohort nor the basis for the observed differences in AMD prevalence across ethnic groups.
PMCID: PMC2936447  PMID: 18538409
5.  Heritability of the Severity of Diabetic Retinopathy: The FIND-Eye Study 
Diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic nephropathy (DN) are serious microvascular complications of diabetes mellitus. Correlations between severity of DR and DN and computed heritability estimates for DR were determined in a large, multiethnic sample of diabetic families. The hypothesis was that (1) the severity of DR correlates with the presence and severity of nephropathy in individuals with diabetes mellitus, and (2) the severity of DR is under significant familial influence in members of multiplex diabetic families.
The Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes (FIND) was designed to evaluate the genetic basis of DN in American Indians, European Americans, African Americans, and Mexican Americans. FIND enrolled probands with advanced DN, along with their diabetic siblings who were concordant and discordant for nephropathy. These diabetic family members were invited to participate in the FIND-Eye study to determine whether inherited factors underlie susceptibility to DR and its severity. FIND-Eye participants underwent eye examinations and had fundus photographs taken. The severity of DR was graded by using the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study Classification (ETDRS). Sib–sib correlations were calculated with the SAGE 5.0 program FCOR, to estimate heritability of retinopathy severity.
This report summarizes the results for the first 2368 diabetic subjects from 767 families enrolled in FIND-Eye; nearly 50% were Mexican American, the largest single ethnicity within FIND. The overall prevalence of DR was high; 33.4% had proliferative DR; 7.5%, 22.8%, and 9.5% had severe, moderate, and mild nonproliferative DR, respectively; 26.6% had no DR. The severity of DR was significantly associated with severity of DN, both by phenotypic category and by increasing serum creatinine concentration (χ2 = 658.14, df = 20; P < 0.0001). The sib–sib correlation for DR severity was 0.1358 in the total sample and 0.1224 when limited to the Mexican-American sample. Broad sense heritabilities for DR were 27% overall and 24% in Mexican-American families. The polygenic heritability of liability for proliferative DR approximated 25% in this FIND-Eye sample.
These data confirm that the severity of DR parallels the presence and severity of nephropathy in individuals with diabetes mellitus. The severity of DR in members of multiplex diabetic families appears to have a significant familial connection.
PMCID: PMC2583147  PMID: 18765632
6.  Ethnic Differences in the Relationship of Carotid Atherosclerosis to Coronary Calcification: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Atherosclerosis  2007;197(1):132-138.
Ethnic differences in non-invasive measures of atherosclerosis are increasingly being reported, but the relationship of these measures to each other has not been widely explored. Carotid ultrasonographic and computed cardiac tomographic findings were compared in 6,814 participants of White, Black, Hispanic, and Chinese ethnicities free of overt cardiovascular disease. Coronary calcium and carotid atherosclerosis were strongly related to each other in all ethnic groups. Associations of coronary calcium prevalence and common carotid intimal-medial thickness (IMT) differed by ethnicity in women, being weakest among Black women (0.07 mm IMT difference between those with and without coronary calcium) compared to the other three groups (0.10–0.12 mm difference, p = 0.007). Estimated percent increments in internal carotid IMT per 10% increment in coronary calcium score were highest in Hispanics (18.5%) and lowest in Blacks (6.1%, p < 0.01).
Coronary calcium may be less strongly associated with carotid atherosclerosis in Blacks, particularly Black women, than in other ethnic groups. These differences should be pursued for relationships to coronary events to determine whether coronary calcium carries the same risk information in other ethnic groups as it does in Whites.
PMCID: PMC2314669  PMID: 17412347
atherosclerosis; calcium; carotid arteries; epidemiology
7.  The uncoupling protein 1 gene, UCP1, is expressed in mammalian islet cells and associated with acute insulin response to glucose in African American families from the IRAS Family Study 
Variants of uncoupling protein genes UCP1 and UCP2 have been associated with a range of traits. We wished to evaluate contributions of known UCP1 and UCP2 variants to metabolic traits in the Insulin Resistance and Atherosclerosis (IRAS) Family Study.
We genotyped five promoter or coding single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 239 African American (AA) participants and 583 Hispanic participants from San Antonio (SA) and San Luis Valley. Generalized estimating equations using a sandwich estimator of the variance and exchangeable correlation to account for familial correlation were computed for the test of genotypic association, and dominant, additive and recessive models. Tests were adjusted for age, gender and BMI (glucose homeostasis and lipid traits), or age and gender (obesity traits), and empirical P-values estimated using a gene dropping approach.
UCP1 A-3826G was associated with AIRg in AA (P = 0.006) and approached significance in Hispanic families (P = 0.054); and with HDL-C levels in SA families (P = 0.0004). Although UCP1 expression is reported to be restricted to adipose tissue, RT-PCR indicated that UCP1 is expressed in human pancreas and MIN-6 cells, and immunohistochemistry demonstrated co-localization of UCP1 protein with insulin in human islets. UCP2 A55V was associated with waist circumference (P = 0.045) in AA, and BMI in SA (P = 0.018); and UCP2 G-866A with waist-to-hip ratio in AA (P = 0.016).
This study suggests a functional variant of UCP1 contributes to the variance of AIRg in an AA population; the plausibility of this unexpected association is supported by the novel finding that UCP1 is expressed in islets.
PMCID: PMC1852562  PMID: 17397545

Results 1-7 (7)