It has been suggested that increasing obesity levels in young women lead to intrauterine environments that, in turn, stimulate increased obesity among their offspring, generating an intergenerational acceleration of obesity levels. If this mechanism is important, the association of maternal body mass index (BMI) with offspring BMI should be stronger than the association of paternal with offspring BMI.
To compare the relative strengths of association of maternal and paternal BMI with offspring BMI at age 7.5, taking into account the possible effect of non‐paternity.
We compared strength of association for maternal–offspring and paternal–offspring BMI for 4654 complete parent–offspring trios in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), using unstandardised and standardised regression analysis. We carried out a sensitivity analysis to investigate the influence of non‐paternity on these associations.
The strength of association between parental BMI and offspring BMI at age 7.5 was similar for both parents. Taking into account correlations between maternal and paternal BMI, performing standardised rather than unstandardised regression and carrying out a sensitivity analysis for non‐paternity emphasised the robustness of the general similarity of the associations. The associations between high parental BMI (top decile) and offspring BMI are also similar for both parents.
Comparison of mother–offspring and father–offspring associations for BMI suggests that intergenerational acceleration mechanisms do not make an important contribution to levels of childhood BMI within the population. Associations at later ages and for different components of body composition now require study.
We need a clear definition of CFS/ME in children and sample sizes for genetic studies need to be much larger
To assess the impact of childhood and adulthood socioeconomic position (SEP) across 20 causes of death in a large population‐wide sample of Norwegian men and women.
Census data on parental occupational class from 1960 and data from the tax register on household income in 1990 were linked to the death register for 1990–2001, and 20 causes of death were studied. Relative indices of inequalities were computed. Norwegians in the age group 0–20 years in 1960 and still alive in 1990 were followed for deaths in 1990 to 2001. This follow up involved 795 324 individuals (78%) and 20 887 deaths.
In men most support for an effect of childhood socioeconomic position was found for stomach cancer, lung cancer, coronary heart disease, “other violent death”, and all causes of death. In women similar effects were found for lung cancer, cervical cancer, coronary heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and all causes of death.
The effect of childhood socioeconomic position relative to adulthood varies by cause of death. Although there are some exceptions, the patterns in men and women are generally similar.
life course epidemiology; social inequality; cause‐specific mortality
To use data from the Glasgow Alumni Cohort to investigate whether oral health in young adulthood is independently associated with later life cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer mortality.
Methods and results
Of the original cohort (n = 15 322), 12 631 subjects were traced through the National Health Service Central Register. Of these, 9569 men and 2654 women were 30 years or younger at baseline. During up to 57 years of follow‐up, 1432 deaths occurred among subjects with complete data, including 509 deaths from CVD and 549 from cancer. After adjusting for potential confounders, no substantial association was found between the number of missing teeth (as a continuous variable) and all‐cause mortality (hazard ratio (HR) for each extra missing tooth = 1.01; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.00 to 1.02), CVD mortality (HR = 1.01; 95% CI 0.99 to 1.03) or cancer mortality (HR = 1.00; 95% CI 0.98 to 1.02). When the number of missing teeth was treated as a categorical variable, there was evidence that students with nine or more missing teeth at baseline had an increased risk of CVD (HR = 1.35; 95% CI 1.03 to 1.77) compared with those with fewer than five missing teeth. When the number of missing teeth was transformed using fractional polynomials, there seemed to be a non‐linear relation between missing teeth and CVD mortality.
Although some evidence was found to support the relation between tooth loss and CVD mortality, causal mechanisms underlying this association remain uncertain.
tooth loss; cardiovascular diseases; stroke; coronary heart diseases; mortality
To assess the value of psychosocial risk factors in discriminating between individuals at higher and lower risk of coronary heart disease, using risk prediction equations.
Prospective observational study.
5191 employed men aged 35 to 64 years and free of coronary heart disease at study enrolment
Main outcome measures
Area under receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves for risk prediction equations including different risk factors for coronary heart disease.
During the first 10 years of follow up, 203 men died of coronary heart disease and a further 200 were admitted to hospital with this diagnosis. Area under the ROC curve for the standard Framingham coronary risk factors was 74.5%. Addition of “vital exhaustion” and psychological stress led to areas under the ROC curve of 74.5% and 74.6%, respectively. Addition of current social class and lifetime social class to the standard Framingham equation gave areas under the ROC curve of 74.6% and 74.9%, respectively. In no case was there strong evidence for improved discrimination of the model containing the novel risk factor over the standard model.
Consideration of psychosocial risk factors, including those that are strong independent predictors of heart disease, does not substantially influence the ability of risk prediction tools to discriminate between individuals at higher and lower risk of coronary heart disease.
cardiovascular disease; risk assessment; Framingham risk score; primary prevention; psychosocial factors
To quantify measurement error in the estimation of family diet intakes using 7‐day household food inventories and to investigate the effect of measurement‐error adjustment on diet–disease associations.
Design and setting
Historical cohort study in 16 districts in England and Scotland, between 1937 and 1939.
4999 children from 1352 families in the Carnegie Survey of Diet and Health. 86.6% of these children were traced as adults and form the Boyd Orr cohort. The reproducibility analysis was based on 195 families with two assessments of family diet recorded 3–15 months apart.
Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were calculated for a variety of nutrients and food groups. Diet–cancer associations reported previously in the Boyd Orr cohort were reassessed using two methods: (a) the ICC and (b) the regression calibration.
The ICCs for the dietary intakes ranged from 0.44 (β carotene) to 0.85 (milk and milk products). The crude fully adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for cancer mortality per 1 MJ/day increase in energy intake was 1.15 (95% CI 1.06 to 1.24). After adjustment using the ICC for energy (0.80) the HR (95% CI) increased to 1.19 (1.08 to 1.31), and the estimate from regression calibration was 1.14 (0.98 to 1.32). The crude fully adjusted odds ratio (OR) for cancer incidence per 40 g/day increase in fruit intake was 0.84 (95% CI 0.73 to 0.97). After adjustment using the fruit ICC (0.78) it became 0.81 (0.67 to 0.96) and the OR derived from regression calibration was 0.81 (0.59 to 1.10).
The diet–disease relationships for the dietary intakes with low measurement error were robust to adjustment for measurement error.
To investigate how loss of a spouse affects mortality risk in the bereaved partner.
Design and setting
Prospective cohort study in Renfrew and Paisley in Scotland.
4395 married couples aged 45–64 years when the study was carried out between 1972 and 1976.
The date of bereavement for the bereaved spouse was the date of death of his or her spouse. Bereavement could occur at any time during the follow‐up period, so it was considered as a time‐dependent exposure variable and the Cox proportional hazards model for time‐dependent variables was used. The relative rate (RR) of mortality was calculated for bereaved versus non‐bereaved spouses and adjusted for confounding variables.
Main outcome measures
Causes of death to 31 March 2004.
Bereaved participants were at higher risk than non‐bereaved participants of dying from any cause (RR 1.27; 95% CI 1.2 to 1.35). These risks remained but were attenuated after adjustment for confounding variables. There were raised RRs for bereaved participants dying of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, stroke, all cancer, lung cancer, smoking‐related cancer, and accidents or violence. After adjustment for confounding variables, RRs remained higher for bereaved participants for all these causes except for mortality from lung cancer. There was no strong statistical evidence that the increased risks of death associated with bereavement changed with time after bereavement.
Conjugal bereavement, in addition to existing risk factors, is related to mortality risk for major causes of death.
To assess the association of having been breast fed with social class mobility between childhood and adulthood.
Historical cohort study with a 60‐year follow‐up from childhood into adulthood.
16 urban and rural centres in England and Scotland.
3182 original participants in the Boyd Orr Survey of Diet and Health in Pre‐War Britain (1937–39) were sent follow‐up questionnaires between 1997 and 1998. Analyses are based on 1414 (44%) responders with data on breast feeding measured in childhood and occupational social class in both childhood and adulthood.
Odds of moving from a lower to a higher social class between childhood and adulthood in those who were ever breast fed versus those who were bottle fed.
The prevalence of breast feeding varied by survey district (range 45–86%) but not with household income (p = 0.7), expenditure on food (p = 0.3), number of siblings (p = 0.7), birth order (p = 0.5) or social class (p = 0.4) in childhood. Participants who had been breast fed were 41% (95% CI 10% to 82%) more likely to move up a social class in adulthood (p = 0.007) than bottle‐fed infants. Longer breastfeeding duration was associated with greater odds of upward social mobility in fully adjusted models (p for trend = 0.003). Additionally controlling for survey district, household income and food expenditure in childhood, childhood height, birth order or number of siblings did not attenuate these associations. In an analysis comparing social mobility among children within families with discordant breastfeeding histories, the association was somewhat attenuated (OR 1.16; 95% CI 0.74 to 1.8).
Breast feeding was associated with upward social mobility. Confounding by other measured childhood predictors of social class in adulthood did not explain this effect, but we cannot exclude the possibility of residual or unmeasured confounding.
Depression is a prevalent health problem among women during the childbearing years. To obtain a more accurate global picture of maternal postnatal depression, studies that explore maternal depression with comparable measurements are needed. The aims of the study are: (1) to compare the prevalence of maternal depression in the first and second year postpartum between a UK and Brazilian birth cohort study; (2) to explore the extent to which variations in the rates were explained by maternal and infant characteristics, and (3) to investigate income-related inequalities in maternal depression after childbirth in both settings.
Population-based birth cohort studies were carried out in Avon, UK in 1991 (ALSPAC) and in the city of Pelotas, Brazil in 2004, where 13 798 and 4109 women were analysed, respectively. Self-completion questionnaires were used in the ALSPAC study while questionnaires completed by interviewers were used in the Pelotas cohort study. Three repeated measures of maternal depression were obtained using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale in the first and second year after delivery in each cohort. Unadjusted and adjusted analyses were carried out. The Relative index of Inequality was used for the analysis of income-relate inequalities so that results were comparable between cohorts.
At both the second and third time assessments, the likelihood of being depressed was higher among women from the Pelotas cohort study. These differences were not completely explained by differences in maternal and infant characteristics. Income-related inequalities in maternal depression after childbirth were high and of similar magnitude in both cohort studies at the three time assessments.
The burden of maternal depression after childbirth varies between and within populations. Strategies to reduce income-related inequalities in maternal depression should be targeted to low-income women in both developed and developing countries.
Developed and developing countries are facing rapid increases in overweight and obesity among children and adolescents. The patterns of overweight/obesity differ by age, sex, rural or urban residence and socioeconomic position (SEP) and vary between and within countries.
We investigated patterns of SEP – overweight status association among adolescents from the UK (ALSPAC) and Brazil (the 1982 and 1993 Pelotas birth cohort studies).
All analyses were performed separately for males and females. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the relationships between overweight status and two SEP indicators – family income and maternal education.
A strong positive association was observed in 11-year-old boys from the 1993 Pelotas cohort, with higher prevalence of overweight among the least poor and among those whose mothers had more years of schooling (x2 for linear trend p < 0.001). In ALSPAC study higher prevalence of overweight was seen among boys whose mothers had lower educational achievement (x2 for linear trend p = 0.006). Among 11 year-old girls from 1993 Pelotas cohort study there was a positive association (higher prevalence of overweight in the higher socioeconomic and educational strata, x2 for linear trend p < 0.001 and p = 0.01, respectively) while an inverse association was found in the ALSPAC study (x2 for linear trend p < 0.001). Among males from the 1982 cohort study, overweight at 18 years of age showed a positive association with both SEP indicators while among females, the reverse association was found.
The results of this study demonstrate that the social patterning of overweight varies between and within populations over time. Specific approaches should be developed within populations in order to contain the obesity epidemic and reduce disparities.
In this paper we seek to tease out differences in socioeconomic position between ethnic groups. There are 3 main reasons why conventional socioeconomic indicators and asset based measures may not be equally applicable to all ethnic groups:
1) Differences in response rate to conventional socioeconomic indicators
2) Cultural and social differences in economic priorities/opportunities
3) Differences in housing quality, assets and debt within socioeconomic strata
The sample consisted of White (n = 227), African-Caribbean (n = 213) and Indian and Pakistani (n = 233) adults aged between 18 and 59 years living in Leeds as measured in a stratified population survey. Measures included income, education, employment, car ownership, home ownership, housing quality, household assets, investments, debt, perceived ability to obtain various sums and perceived level of financial support given and received.
Response rates to education and income questions were similar for the different ethnic groups. Overall response rates for income were much lower than those for education and biased towards wealthier people. There were differences between ethnic groups in economic priorities/opportunities particularly in relation to car ownership, home ownership, investment and debt. Differences in living conditions, household assets and debt between ethnic groups were dependent on differences in education; however differences in car ownership, home ownership, ability to obtain £10 000, and loaning money to family/friends and income from employment/self employment persisted after adjustment for education.
In the UK, education appears to be an effective variable for measuring variation in SEP across ethnic groups but the ability to account for SEP differences may be improved by the addition of car and home ownership, ability to obtain £10 000, loaning money to family/friends and income from employment/self employment. Further research is required to establish the degree to which results of this study are generalisable.
High bone mass (HBM), detected in 0.2% of dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans, is characterized by raised body mass index, the basis for which is unclear.
To investigate why body mass index is elevated in individuals with HBM, we characterized body composition and examined whether differences could be explained by bone phenotypes, eg, bone mass and/or bone turnover.
Design, Setting, and Participants
We conducted a case-control study of 153 cases with unexplained HBM recruited from 4 UK centers by screening 219 088 DXA scans. A total of 138 first-degree relatives (of whom 51 had HBM) and 39 spouses were also recruited. Unaffected individuals served as controls.
Main Outcome Measures
We measured fat mass, by DXA, and bone turnover markers.
Among women, fat mass was inversely related to age in controls (P=.01), but not in HBM cases (P=.96) in whom mean fat mass was 8.9 [95% CI 4.7, 13.0] kg higher compared with controls (fully adjusted mean difference, P<.001). Increased fat mass in male HBM cases was less marked (gender interaction P=.03). Compared with controls, lean mass was also increased in female HBM cases (by 3.3 [1.2,5.4] kg; P<.002); however, lean mass increases were less marked than fat mass increases, resulting in 4.5% lower percentage lean mass in HBM cases (P<.001). Osteocalcin was also lower in female HBM cases compared with controls (by 2.8 [0.1, 5.5] μg/L; P=.04). Differences in fat mass were fully attenuated after hip bone mineral density (BMD) adjustment (P = .52) but unchanged after adjustment for bone turnover (P < .001), whereas the greater hip BMD in female HBM cases was minimally attenuated by fat mass adjustment (P<.001).
HBM is characterized by a marked increase in fat mass in females, statistically explained by their greater BMD, but not by markers of bone turnover.
We aimed to examine the association of gestational weight gain (GWG) and pre-pregnancy weight with offspring adiposity and cardiovascular risk factors.
Methods and results
Data from 5,154 (for adiposity and blood pressure) and 3,457 (for blood assays) mother-offspring pairs from a UK prospective pregnancy cohort were used. Random effects multilevel models were used to assess incremental GWG (median and range of repeat weight measures per woman: 10 (1, 17)). Women who exceeded the 2009 Institute of Medicine recommended GWG were more likely to have offspring with greater body mass index, waist, fat mass, leptin, systolic blood pressure, CRP and IL-6 levels, and lower HDLc and Apolipoprotein A1 levels. Children of women who gained less than the recommended amounts had lower levels of adiposity, but other cardiovascular risk factor tended to be similar in this group to offspring of women gaining recommended amounts. When examined in more detail greater pre-pregnancy weight was associated with greater offspring adiposity and more adverse cardiovascular risk factors at age 9. GWG in early pregnancy (0 to 14 weeks) was positively associated with offspring adiposity across the entire distribution, but strengthened in women gaining more than 500g/week. By contrast, between 14 and 36 weeks GWG was only associated with offspring adiposity in women gaining at least 500g/week. GWG between 14-36 weeks was positively and linearly associated with adverse lipid and inflammatory profiles with these associations largely mediated by the associations with offspring adiposity.
Greater maternal pre-pregnancy weight and GWG up to 36 weeks gestation are associated with greater offspring adiposity and adverse cardiovascular risk factors. Before implementing any GWG recommendations, the balance of risks and benefits of attempts to control GWG for short- and long-term outcomes in mother and child should be ascertained.
Pregnancy; Gestational Weight Gain; Offspring cardiovascular risk factors; ALSPAC
The ACTN3 R577X (rs1815739) genotype has been associated with athletic status and muscle phenotypes, though not consistently. Our objective was to conduct a meta-analysis of the published literature on athletic status and investigate its associations with physical capability in several new population-based studies. Relevant data were extracted from studies in the literature, comparing genotype frequencies between controls and sprint/power and endurance athletes. For lifecourse physical capability, data were used from two studies of adolescents and seven studies in the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) collaborative research programme, involving individuals aged between 53 and 90+ years. We found evidence from the published literature to support the hypothesis that in Europeans the RR genotype is more common among sprint/power athletes compared with their controls. There is currently no evidence that the X allele is advantageous to endurance athleticism. We found no association between R577X and grip strength (p-value=0.09, n=7672 in males; p-value=0.90, n=7839 in females), standing balance, timed get up and go or chair rises in our studies of physical capability. The ACTN3 R577X genotype is associated with sprint/power athletic status in Europeans, but does not appear to be associated with objective measures of physical capability in the general population.
ACTN3; Actinin-3; athlete; aging; SNP; grip strength
Raised blood pressure (BP) is the world’s leading mortality risk factor. Childhood BP substantially predicts adult levels, and although both prenatal and postnatal growth influence it, their relative importance is debated. In a longitudinal study (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children) of 12 962 healthy children, we aimed to assess the relative contribution of different growth periods and of standardized measures of height versus weight-for-height (an adiposity marker) to BP at age 10 years. Conditional growth modeling was used in the 3230 boys and 3346 girls with BP measurements. Systolic BP was inversely associated with birth weight and weight-for-height but not length (−0.33, −0.27, and −0.12 mm Hg · SD−1; P=0.003, 0.035, and 0.35, respectively). In infancy, weight, weight-for-height, and height gains were all positively associated with systolic BP (0.90, 0.41, and 0.82 mm Hg · SD−1, respectively; all P<0.001). After infancy, all of the growth modalities were positively associated with systolic BP (weight, 1.91; weight-for-height, 1.56; height, 1.20 mm Hg · SD−1; all P<0.001). Similar but weaker associations were found with diastolic BP. Although BP at 10 years was associated with both prenatal and early postnatal growth, their influence was small compared with that of later growth. Because BP ranking relative to the population is substantially determined in the first decade of life, a focus on strategies to reduce the development of adiposity from infancy onward, rather than an emphasis on the nutrition and weight of mothers and infants, should bring greater reductions in population BP.
blood pressure; childhood growth; hypertension; obesity; population
The ACTN3 R577X (rs1815739) genotype has been associated with
athletic status and muscle phenotypes, although not consistently. Our objective
was to conduct a meta-analysis of the published literature on athletic status
and investigate its associations with physical capability in several new
population-based studies. Relevant data were extracted from studies in the
literature, comparing genotype frequencies between controls and sprint/power and
endurance athletes. For life course physical capability, data were used from two
studies of adolescents and seven studies in the Healthy Ageing across the Life
Course (HALCyon) collaborative research program, involving individuals aged
between 53 and 90+ years. We found evidence from the published literature
to support the hypothesis that in Europeans the RR genotype is more common among
sprint/power athletes compared with their controls. There is currently no
evidence that the X allele is advantageous to endurance athleticism. We found no
association between R577X and grip strength (P = 0.09,
n = 7,672 in males; P =
0.90, n = 7,839 in females), standing balance, timed get
up and go, or chair rises in our studies of physical capability. The
ACTN3 R577X genotype is associated with sprint/power
athletic status in Europeans, but does not appear to be associated with
objective measures of physical capability in the general population. Hum Mutat
32:1–11, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
ACTN3; Actinin-3; athlete; aging; SNP; grip strength
Earlier menarche and irregular periods, among other markers of sex-hormone levels, have been associated with a higher risk of asthma and allergic diseases. This has suggested an etiologic role of sex hormones in the development of these conditions. The authors investigated the association of age at menarche, irregular periods, duration of menstruation, and acne with reported medical history of asthma and/or atopy (hay fever and/or eczema/urticaria) in a historical cohort of students born before the rise in asthma prevalence in the United Kingdom and attending university in 1948–1968. Finding consistent associations in a cohort that has experienced different life-course exposures and has different confounding structure can help to identify causal associations. In the Glasgow Alumni Cohort, irregular periods were associated with atopic asthma (multinomial odds ratio (MOR) = 2.79, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.33, 5.83) and atopy alone (MOR = 1.40, 95% CI: 1.06, 1.84) but not with nonatopic asthma (MOR = 1.02, 95% CI: 0.45, 2.30), compared with students reporting no asthma and no atopy. The authors found no association with acne, a marker of high testosterone levels, that they hypothesized could point to polycystic ovary syndrome underpinning these associations. In summary, the authors found evidence for a potentially etiologic role of irregular menstruations with some specific asthma phenotypes, namely, atopic asthma and atopy, but not with nonatopic asthma.
acne; age at menarche; asthma; atopy; irregular menstruation
Circulating insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) has been studied extensively in prostate cancer, but there is still little information about IGFs and IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs) in cancers detected by the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. Here we report the findings of a United Kingdom-based case-control study to investigate circulating IGFs and IGFBPs in PSA-detected prostate cancer with regard to their potential associations with different cancer stages or grades. PSA testing was offered to 110,000 men aged 50-69 years from 2002-2009. Participants with an elevated level of PSA (≥ 3.0 ng/ml) underwent prostate biopsy and measurements of blood serum IGF-I, IGF-II, IGFBP-2 and IGFBP-3 obtained at recruitment. We found that serum levels of IGF-II (OR per standard deviation increase: 1.16; 95%CI 1.08,1.24;ptrend<0.001), IGFBP-2 (1.18;1.06,1.31;ptrend<0.01) and IGFBP-3 (1.27;1.19,1.36;ptrend<0.001), but not IGF-I (0.99;0.93,1.04;ptrend=0.62), were associated with PSA-detected prostate cancer. After controlling for IGFBP-3, IGF-II was no longer associated (0.99;0.91,1.08;ptrend=0.62) and IGF-I was inversely associated (0.85;0.79,0.91;ptrend<0.001) with prostate cancer. In addition, no strong associations existed with cancer stage or grade. Overall, these findings suggest potentially important roles for circulating IGF-II, IGFBP-2 and IGFBP-3 in PSA-detected prostate cancer, in support of recent in vitro evidence. While our findings for IGF-I agree with previous results from PSA-screening trials, they contrast with positive associations in routinely-detected disease, suggesting that reducing levels of circulating IGF-I might not prevent the initiation of prostate cancer but might nonetheless prevent its progression.
case-control study; insulin-like growth factors; insulin-like growth factor binding proteins; prostate cancer
Maternal smoking during pregnancy is associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in offspring. It is assumed by many that this association is causal. Others suggest that observed associations are due to unmeasured genetic factors or other confounding factors. The authors compared risks of maternal smoking during pregnancy with those of paternal smoking during pregnancy. With a causal intrauterine effect, no independent association should be observed between paternal smoking and offspring ADHD. If the association is due to confounding factors, risks of offspring ADHD should be of similar magnitudes regardless of which parent smokes. This hypothesis was tested in 8,324 children from a well-characterized United Kingdom prospective cohort study, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (data from 1991–2000). Associations between offspring ADHD and maternal and paternal smoking during pregnancy were compared using regression analyses. Offspring ADHD symptoms were associated with exposure to both maternal and paternal smoking during pregnancy (mothers: β = 0.25, 95% confidence interval: 0.18, 0.32; fathers: β = 0.21, 95% confidence interval: 0.15, 0.27). When paternal smoking was examined in the absence of maternal smoking, associations remained and did not appear to be due to passive smoking exposure in utero. These findings suggest that associations between maternal smoking during pregnancy and child ADHD may be due to genetic or household-level confounding rather than to causal intrauterine effects.
attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity; causality; confounding factors (epidemiology); maternal exposure; paternal exposure; pregnancy; prenatal exposure delayed effects; smoking
HP and HPR are related and contiguous genes in strong linkage disequilibrium (LD), encoding haptoglobin and haptoglobin-related protein. These bind and chaperone free Hb for recycling, protecting against oxidation. A copy number variation (CNV) within HP (Hp1/Hp2) results in different possible haptoglobin complexes which have differing properties. HPR rs2000999 (G/A), identified in meta-GWAS, influences total cholesterol (TC) and LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C). We examined the relationship between HP CNV, HPR rs2000999, Hb, red cell count (RCC), LDL-C and TC in the British Women's Heart and Health Study (n = 2779 for samples having CNV, rs2000999, and phenotypes). Analysing single markers by linear regression, rs2000999 was associated with LDL-C (β = 0.040 mmol/L, p = 0.023), TC (β = − 0.040 mmol/L, p = 0.019), Hb (β = − 0.044 g/dL, p = 0.028) and borderline with RCC (β = − 0.032 × 1012/L, p = 0.066). Analysis of CNV by linear regression revealed an association with Hb (Hp1 vs Hp2, β = 0.057 g/dL, p = 0.004), RCC (β = 0.045 × 1012/L, p = 0.014), and showed a trend with LDL-C and TC. There were 3 principal haplotypes (Hp1-G 36%; Hp2-G 45%; Hp2-A 18%). Haplotype comparisons showed that LDL-C and TC associations were from rs2000999; Hb and RCC associations derived largely from the CNV. Distinct genotype–phenotype effects are evident at the genetic epidemiological level once LD has been analysed, perhaps reflecting HP–HPR functional biology and evolutionary history. The derived Hp2 allele of the HP gene has apparently been subject to malaria-driven positive selection. Haptoglobin-related protein binds Hb and apolipoprotein-L, i.e. linking HPR to the cholesterol system; and the HPR/apo-L complex is specifically trypanolytic. Our analysis illustrates the complex interplay between functions and haplotypes of adjacent genes, environmental context and natural selection, and offers insights into potential use of haptoglobin or haptoglobin-related protein as therapeutic agents.
► HP CNV/HPR SNP haplotype analysis shows association of HP CNV with Hb levels/RCC. ► HP CNV/HPR SNP haplotype analysis shows association of HPR SNP with LDL-C/TC. ► The HP CNV/Hb-related association may be via Hp2 allele advantage in malaria zones. ► The HPR SNP/cholesterol association is likely via apolipoproteins in TLF-1 and -2. ► We infer that HP CNV duplication preceded HPR SNP mutation.
HP, haptoglobin gene; HPR, haptoglobin-related protein gene; LD, linkage disequilibrium; Hb, haemoglobin; CNV, copy number variant; GWAS, genome-wide association study; TC, total cholesterol; LDL-C, low density lipoprotein cholesterol; HDL-C, high density lipoprotein cholesterol; RCC, red cell count; Apo-L, apolipoprotein-L; Apo-A, apolipoprotein-A; SNP, single nucleotide polymorphism; K-EDTA, potassium ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid; ARCS, amplification ratiometry control system; PCR, polymerase chain reaction; HW, Hardy Weinberg; HTR, haplotype trend regression; EM, expectation maximization; PASW, a statistical software package by the company SPSS Inc; PLINK, open-source software for whole genome data analysis; TLF-1, trypanosome lytic factor-1; TLF-2, trypanosome lytic factor-2; kD, kilo Daltons; CHD, coronary heart disease; HP; HPR; Haemoglobin; Cholesterol; Malaria; Trypanosome
While several plausible biological mechanisms have been advanced for the association between greater physical stature and lower coronary heart disease (CHD) risk in prospective cohort studies, the importance of one of the principal artifactua explanations – reverse causality due to shrinkage – remains unresolved. To explore this issue, studies with repeat measurements of height are required, however, to date, such data have been lacking.
We analysed data from the Whitehall II prospective cohort study of 3802 men and 1615 women who participated in a physical examination in 1985/88, had their height re-measured in 1997/99, and were then followed for fatal and non-fatal CHD.
A mean follow-up of 7.4 years after the second height measurement gave rise to 69 CHD events in men (18 in women). After adjustment for baseline CHD risk factors, greater loss of physical stature between survey and resurvey was associated with an increased risk of CHD in men (hazard ratio; 95% CI for a one SD increase: 1.24; 1.00, 1.53) but not women (0.93; 0.58, 1.50).
It is possible that reverse causality due to shrinkage may contribute to the inverse association between a single measurement of height and later CHD in other studies.
The genetic basis of gene expression variation has long been studied with the aim to understand the landscape of regulatory variants, but also more recently to assist in the interpretation and elucidation of disease signals. To date, many studies have looked in specific tissues and population-based samples, but there has been limited assessment of the degree of inter-population variability in regulatory variation. We analyzed genome-wide gene expression in lymphoblastoid cell lines from a total of 726 individuals from 8 global populations from the HapMap3 project and correlated gene expression levels with HapMap3 SNPs located in cis to the genes. We describe the influence of ancestry on gene expression levels within and between these diverse human populations and uncover a non-negligible impact on global patterns of gene expression. We further dissect the specific functional pathways differentiated between populations. We also identify 5,691 expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) after controlling for both non-genetic factors and population admixture and observe that half of the cis-eQTLs are replicated in one or more of the populations. We highlight patterns of eQTL-sharing between populations, which are partially determined by population genetic relatedness, and discover significant sharing of eQTL effects between Asians, European-admixed, and African subpopulations. Specifically, we observe that both the effect size and the direction of effect for eQTLs are highly conserved across populations. We observe an increasing proximity of eQTLs toward the transcription start site as sharing of eQTLs among populations increases, highlighting that variants close to TSS have stronger effects and therefore are more likely to be detected across a wider panel of populations. Together these results offer a unique picture and resource of the degree of differentiation among human populations in functional regulatory variation and provide an estimate for the transferability of complex trait variants across populations.
Variation among individuals in the degree to which genes are expressed (i.e. turned on or off) is a characteristic exhibited by all species, and studies have identified regions of the genome harboring genetic variation affecting gene expression levels. To assess the degree of human inter-population variability in regulatory variation, we describe mapping of regions of the genome that have functional effects on gene expression levels. We analyzed genome-wide gene expression in human cell lines derived from 726 unrelated individuals representing 8 global populations that have been genetically well-characterized by the International HapMap Project. We describe the influence of ancestry on gene expression levels within and between these diverse human populations and uncover a non-negligible impact on global patterns of gene expression. We identify ∼5,700 genes whose expression levels are associated with genetic variation located physically close to the gene, and we observe significant sharing of associations that is partially dependent on population genetic relatedness, among Asians, European-admixed, and African subpopulations. We identify biological functions affected by regulatory variation and describe common and unique characteristics of population-specific and population-shared associations. These results offer a unique picture and resource of the degree of differentiation among human populations in functional regulatory variation.
Background: Socio-economic differences in the prevalence of overweight/obesity may be one factor through which health inequalities arise and may vary by the population studied. Methods: Analysing a cohort of 13 889 children born in Belarus between June 1996 and December 1997, the authors investigated associations of parental educational attainment and highest household occupation with: (i) measured body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and skinfold thicknesses at age 6.5 years and (ii) the parents’ reported BMI. Results: Overall, 10% of children, 37% of mothers and 53% of fathers were either overweight or obese. Children from non-manual households were 27% [95% confidence interval (CI): 10%, 47%] more likely to be overweight/obese (based on BMI) than those from manual households. They also had larger waist circumferences and higher percentage body fat (calculated from subscapular and triceps skinfolds). Similar associations for being overweight/obese were seen for fathers [odds ratio (OR), 1.10; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.18], but mothers from non-manual households were less likely to be overweight/obese: (OR, 0.84; 95% CI: 0.79, 0. 90). Associations of childhood and parental overweight/obesity with higher educational status of either parent were similar to those observed for non-manual households. Conclusion: We observed socio-economic differentials in overweight/obesity prevalence among children and their parents in Belarus. More affluent children and their fathers were more likely to be overweight/obese but the reverse was found for mothers.
body fat; obesity; overweight; socio-economic factors; waist circumference
Background Maternal smoking during pregnancy is associated with reduced offspring birth length and has been postulated as a risk factor for obesity. Causality for obesity is not established. Causality is well-supported for birth length, but evidence on persistence of height deficits is inconsistent.
Methods We examined the association between maternal smoking during pregnancy and trajectories of offspring height (0–10 years, N = 9424), ponderal index (PI) (0–2 years, N = 9321) and body mass index (BMI) (2–10 years, N = 8887) in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. To strengthen inference, measured confounders were controlled for, maternal and partner smoking associations were compared, dose–response and associations with post-natal smoking were examined.
Results Maternal smoking during pregnancy was associated with shorter birth length, faster height growth in infancy and slower growth in later childhood. By 10 years, daughters of women who smoke during pregnancy are on average 1.11 cm (SE = 0.27) shorter after adjustment for confounders and partner smoking; the difference is 0.22 cm (SE = 0.22) for partner's smoking. Maternal smoking was associated with lower PI at birth, faster PI increase in infancy, but not with BMI changes 2–10 years. Associations were stronger for maternal than partner smoking for PI at birth and PI changes in infancy, but not for BMI changes after 2 years. A similar dose–response in both maternal and partner smoking was seen for BMI change 2–10 years.
Conclusion Maternal smoking during pregnancy has an intrauterine effect on birth length, and possibly on adiposity at birth and changes in height and adiposity in infancy. We do not find evidence of a specific intrauterine effect on height or adiposity changes after the age of 2 years.
Smoking; growth; obesity; pregnancy; child; ALSPAC