Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a complex and heritable eating disorder characterized by dangerously low body weight. Neither candidate gene studies nor an initial genome wide association study (GWAS) have yielded significant and replicated results. We performed a GWAS in 2,907 cases with AN from 14 countries (15 sites) and 14,860 ancestrally matched controls as part of the Genetic Consortium for AN (GCAN) and the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 3 (WTCCC3). Individual association analyses were conducted in each stratum and meta-analyzed across all 15 discovery datasets. Seventy-six (72 independent) SNPs were taken forward for in silico (two datasets) or de novo (13 datasets) replication genotyping in 2,677 independent AN cases and 8,629 European ancestry controls along with 458 AN cases and 421 controls from Japan. The final global meta-analysis across discovery and replication datasets comprised 5,551 AN cases and 21,080 controls. AN subtype analyses (1,606 AN restricting; 1,445 AN binge-purge) were performed. No findings reached genome-wide significance. Two intronic variants were suggestively associated: rs9839776 (P=3.01×10-7) in SOX2OT and rs17030795 (P=5.84×10-6) in PPP3CA. Two additional signals were specific to Europeans: rs1523921 (P=5.76×10-6) between CUL3 and FAM124B and rs1886797 (P=8.05×10-6) near SPATA13. Comparing discovery to replication results, 76% of the effects were in the same direction, an observation highly unlikely to be due to chance (P=4×10-6), strongly suggesting that true findings exist but that our sample, the largest yet reported, was underpowered for their detection. The accrual of large genotyped AN case-control samples should be an immediate priority for the field.
anorexia nervosa; eating disorders; GWAS; genome-wide association study; body mass index; metabolic
Schizophrenia is a highly heritable disorder. Genetic risk is conferred by a large number of alleles, including common alleles of small effect that might be detected by genome-wide association studies. Here, we report a multi-stage schizophrenia genome-wide association study of up to 36,989 cases and 113,075 controls. We identify 128 independent associations spanning 108 conservatively defined loci that meet genome-wide significance, 83 of which have not been previously reported. Associations were enriched among genes expressed in brain providing biological plausibility for the findings. Many findings have the potential to provide entirely novel insights into aetiology, but associations at DRD2 and multiple genes involved in glutamatergic neurotransmission highlight molecules of known and potential therapeutic relevance to schizophrenia, and are consistent with leading pathophysiological hypotheses. Independent of genes expressed in brain, associations were enriched among genes expressed in tissues that play important roles in immunity, providing support for the hypothesized link between the immune system and schizophrenia.
MIR137; miR-137; mouse; knockout; schizophrenia
In the United States, a substantial proportion of HIV transmissions among men who have sex with men (MSM) arise from main sex partners. Couples voluntary HIV testing and counseling (CHTC) is used in many parts of the world with male-female couples, but CHTC has historically not been available in the U.S. and few data exist about the extent of HIV serodiscordance among U.S. male couples. We tested partners in 95 Atlanta male couples (190 men) for HIV. Eligible men were in a relationship for ≥ 3 months and were not known to be HIV-positive. We calculated the prevalence of couples that were seroconcordant HIV-negative, seroconcordant HIV-positive, or HIV serodiscordant. We evaluated differences in the prevalence of HIV serodiscordance by several dyadic characteristics (e.g., duration of relationship, sexual agreements, and history of anal intercourse in the relationship). Overall, among 190 men tested for HIV, 11% (n = 20) were newly identified as HIV-positive. Among the 95 couples, 81% (n = 77) were concordant HIV-negative, 17% (n = 16) were HIV serodiscordant, and 2% (n=2) were concordant HIV-positive. Serodiscordance was not significantly associated with any evaluated dyadic characteristic. The prevalence of undiagnosed HIV serodiscordance among male couples in Atlanta is high. Offering testing to male couples may attract men with a high HIV seropositivity rate to utilize testing services. Based on the global evidence base for CHTC with heterosexual couples and the current evidence of substantial undiagnosed HIV serodiscordance among U.S. MSM, we recommend scale-up of CHTC services for MSM, with ongoing evaluation of acceptability and couples’ serostatus outcomes.
HIV; men who have sex with men; HIV testing; male couples; sexual orientation
Schizophrenia is a highly heritable neuropsychiatric disorder of complex genetic etiology. Previous genome-wide surveys have revealed a greater burden of large, rare CNVs in schizophrenia cases and identified multiple rare recurrent CNVs that increase risk of schizophrenia although with incomplete penetrance and pleiotropic effects. Identification of additional recurrent CNVs and biological pathways enriched for schizophrenia CNVs requires greater sample sizes. We conducted a genome-wide survey for CNVs associated with schizophrenia using a Swedish national sample (4,719 cases and 5,917 controls). High-confidence CNV calls were generated using genotyping array intensity data and their effect on risk of schizophrenia was measured. Our data confirm increased burden of large, rare CNVs in schizophrenia cases as well as significant associations for recurrent 16p11.2 duplications, 22q11.2 deletions and 3q29 deletions. We report a novel association for 17q12 duplications (odds ratio=4.16, P=0.018), previously associated with autism and mental retardation but not schizophrenia. Intriguingly, gene set association analyses implicate biological pathways previously associated with schizophrenia through common variation and exome sequencing (calcium channel signaling and binding partners of the fragile X mental retardation protein). We found significantly increased burden of the largest CNVs (>500Kb) in genes present in the post-synaptic density, in genomic regions implicated via schizophrenia genome-wide association studies, and in gene products localized to mitochondria and cytoplasm. Our findings suggest that multiple lines of genomic inquiry – genome-wide screens for CNVs, common variation, and exonic variation – are converging on similar sets of pathways and/or genes.
schizophrenia; genetics; genomics; copy number variation; structural variation
The second-generation antipsychotic olanzapine is effective in reducing psychotic symptoms but can cause extreme weight gain in human patients. We investigated the role of the gut microbiota in this adverse drug effect using a mouse model. First, we used germ-free C57BL/6J mice to demonstrate that gut bacteria are necessary and sufficient for weight gain caused by oral delivery of olanzapine. Second, we surveyed fecal microbiota before, during, and after treatment and found that olanzapine potentiated a shift towards an “obesogenic” bacterial profile. Finally, we demonstrated that olanzapine has antimicrobial activity in vitro against resident enteric bacterial strains. These results collectively provide strong evidence for a mechanism underlying olanzapine-induced weight gain in mouse and a hypothesis for clinical translation in human patients.
We developed an iPad-based application to administer an HIV risk assessment tool in a clinical setting. We conducted focus group discussions (FGDs) with gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) to assess their opinions about using such a device to share risk behavior information in a clinical setting. Participants were asked about their current assessment of their risk or any risk reduction strategies that they discussed with their healthcare providers. Participants were then asked to provide feedback about the iPad-based risk assessment, their opinions about using it in a clinic setting, and suggestions on how the assessment could be improved. FGD participants were generally receptive to the idea of using an iPad-based risk assessment during healthcare visits. Based on the results of the FGDs, an iPad-based risk assessment is a promising method for identifying those patients at highest risk for HIV transmission.
HIV risk; Pre-exposure prophylaxis; HIV risk assessment; Men who have sex with men
Perinatal depression (PND) is a common complication of pregnancy and postpartum associated with significant morbidity.
We had three goals: 1) to explore the performance of a new lifetime version of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS-Lifetime) to assess lifetime prevalence of PND; 2) to assess prevalence of lifetime PND in women with prior histories of MDD; and 3) to evaluate risk factors for PND.
Subjects were from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA). The EPDS was modified by adding lifetime PND screening questions, assessing worst episode and symptom timing of onset.
Of 682 women with lifetime MDD and a live birth, 276 (40.4%) had a positive EPDS score of ≥12 consistent with PND. Women with PND more often sought professional help (p <0.001), and received treatment (p =0.001). Independent risk indicators for PND included younger age, higher education, high neuroticism, childhood trauma, and sexual abuse.
We found that two in five parous women with a history of MDD had lifetime PND and that the PND episodes were more severe than MDD occurring outside of the perinatal period. The EPDS-Lifetime shows promise as a tool for assessing lifetime histories of PND in clinical and research settings.
The typical antipsychotic haloperidol is a highly effective treatment for schizophrenia but its use is limited by a number of serious, and often irreversible, motor side effects. These adverse drug reactions, termed extrapyramidal syndromes (EPS), result from an unknown pathophysiological mechanism. One theory relates to the observation that the haloperidol metabolite HPP+ (4-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-[4-(4-fluorophenyl)-4-oxobutyl]-pyridinium) is structurally similar to MPP+ (1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium), a neurotoxin responsible for an irreversible neurodegenerative condition similar to Parkinson's disease. To determine whether HPP+ contributes to haloperidol-induced EPS, we measured brain HPP+ and haloperidol levels in strains of mice at high (C57BL/6J and NZO/HILtJ) and low (BALB/cByJ and PWK/PhJ) liability to haloperidol-induced EPS following chronic treatment (7–10 adult male mice per strain). Brain levels of HPP+ and the ratio of HPP+ to haloperidol were not significantly different between the haloperidol-sensitive and haloperidol-resistant strain groups (P = 0.50). Within each group, however, strain differences were seen (P < 0.01), indicating that genetic variation regulating steady-state HPP+ levels exists. Since the HPP+ levels that we observed in mouse brain overlap the range of those detected in post-mortem human brains following chronic haloperidol treatment, the findings from this study are physiologically relevant to humans. The results suggest that strain differences in steady-state HPP+ levels do not explain sensitivity to haloperidol-induced EPS in the mice we studied.
haloperidol; adverse drug reaction; tardive dyskinesia; mouse; HPTP; HPP+
The human APOE4 allele is associated with an early age of onset and increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Apolipoprotein E is secreted as part of a high-density lipoprotein-like particle by glial cells in the brain for the primary purpose of transport of lipophilic compounds involved in the maintenance of synapses. Previous studies examining synaptic integrity in the amygdala of human apoE targeted replacement (TR) mice showed a decrease in spontaneous excitatory synaptic activity, dendritic arbor, and spine density associated with apoE4 compared with apoE3 and apoE2 in adult male mice. In the present study, we assessed how APOE genotype affects synaptic integrity of amygdala neurons by comparing electrophysiological and morphometric properties in human apoE3, E4, and E2/4 TR mice at the age of 18–20 months. In contrast to adult mice, we found that aged apoE4 TR mice exhibited the highest level of excitatory synaptic activity compared with other cohorts. Additionally, apoE4 mice had significantly greater spontaneous inhibitory activity than all other cohorts. Taken together, there was a significant interaction between genotypes when comparing inhibition relative to excitation; there was a simple main effect of frequency type with an imbalance toward inhibition in apoE4 mice but not in apoE3 or apoE2/4 mice. These results suggest that apoE isoforms differentially influence synaptic transmission throughout the life span, where aging coupled with apoE4 expression, results in an imbalance in maintaining integrity of synaptic transmission.
Apolipoprotein E; Synaptic; Amygdala; Alzheimer’s dementia
Functional impairment is one of the most enduring, intractable consequences of psychiatric disorders and is both familial and heritable. Previous studies have suggested that variation in functional impairment can be independent of symptom severity. Here we report the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) of functional impairment in the context of major mental illness. Participants of European-American descent (N=2,246) were included from three large treatment studies of bipolar disorder (STEP-BD) (N=765), major depressive disorder (STAR*D) (N=1091), and schizophrenia (CATIE) (N=390). At study entry, participants completed the SF-12, a widely-used measure of health-related quality of life. We performed a GWAS and pathway analysis of the mental and physical components of health-related quality of life across diagnosis (~1.6 million single nucleotide polymorphisms), adjusting for psychiatric symptom severity. Psychiatric symptom severity was a significant predictor of functional impairment, but it accounted for less than one-third of the variance across disorders. After controlling for diagnostic category and symptom severity, the strongest evidence of genetic association was between variants in ADAMTS16 and physical functioning (p=5.87 × 10−8). Pathway analysis did not indicate significant enrichment after correction for gene clustering and multiple testing. This study illustrates a phenotypic framework for examining genetic contributions to functional impairment across psychiatric disorders.
SF-12; health-related quality of life; disability; genetics; ADAMTS16
We examined gene expression in the blood of six females with anorexia nervosa (AN) before and after weight restoration using RNAseq. AN cases (aged 19-39) completed clinical assessments and had blood drawn for RNA at hospital admission (T1, < ~75% ideal body weight, IBW) and again at discharge (T2, ≥ ~85% IBW). To examine the relationship between weight restoration and differential gene expression, normalized gene expression levels were analyzed using a paired design. We found 564 genes whose expression was nominally significantly different following weight restoration (p < 0.01, 231 increased and 333 decreased). With a more stringent significance threshold (false discovery rate q < 0.05), 67 genes met criteria for differential expression. Of the top 20 genes, CYP11A1, C16orf11, LINC00235, and CPA3 were down-regulated more than two-fold after weight restoration while multiple olfactory receptor genes (OR52J3, OR51L1, OR51A4, OR51A2) were up-regulated more than two-fold after weight restoration. Pathway analysis revealed up-regulation of two broad pathways with largely overlapping genes, one related to protein secretion and signaling and the other associated with defense response to bacterial regulation. Although results are preliminary secondary to a small sample size, these data provide initial evidence of transcriptional alterations during weight restoration in AN.
biomarkers; renourishment; transcriptome; eating disorder; genetic; genome
Hypercholesterolemia is a risk factor for estrogen receptor (ER) positive breast cancers and is associated with a decreased response of tumors to endocrine therapies. Here we show that 27-Hydroxycholesterol (27HC), a primary metabolite of cholesterol and an ER and Liver X receptor (LXR) ligand, increases ER-dependent growth and LXR-dependent metastasis in mouse models of breast cancer. The effects of cholesterol on tumor pathology required its conversion to 27HC by the cytochrome P450 oxidase CYP27A1, and were attenuated by treatment with CYP27A1 inhibitors. In human breast cancer specimens, CYP27A1 expression levels correlated with tumor grade. In high-grade tumors, both tumor cells and tumor-associated macrophages exhibited high expression levels of the enzyme. Thus, lowering circulating cholesterol levels or interfering with its conversion to 27HC may be a useful strategy to prevent and/or treat breast cancer.
In the United States, human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) continues to have a heavy impact on men who have sex with men (MSM). Among MSM, black men under the age of 30 are at the most risk for being diagnosed with HIV. The US National HIV/AIDS strategy recommends intensifying efforts in communities that are most heavily impacted; to do so requires new methods for identifying and targeting prevention resources to young MSM, especially young MSM of color.
We piloted a methodology for using the geolocation features of social and sexual networking applications as a novel approach to calculating the local population density of sex-seeking MSM and to use self-reported age and race from profile postings to highlight areas with a high density of minority and young minority MSM in Atlanta, Georgia.
We collected data from a geographically systematic sample of points in Atlanta. We used a sexual network mobile phone app and collected application profile data, including age, race, and distance from each point, for either the 50 closest users or for all users within a 2-mile radius of sampled points. From these data, we developed estimates of the spatial density of application users in the entire city, stratified by race. We then compared the ratios and differences between the spatial densities of black and white users and developed an indicator of areas with the highest density of users of each race.
We collected data from 2666 profiles at 79 sampled points covering 883 square miles; overlapping circles of data included the entire 132.4 square miles in Atlanta. Of the 2666 men whose profiles were observed, 1563 (58.63%) were white, 810 (30.38%) were black, 146 (5.48%) were another race, and 147 (5.51%) did not report a race in their profile. The mean age was 31.5 years, with 591 (22.17%) between the ages of 18-25, and 496 (18.60%) between the ages of 26-30. The mean spatial density of observed profiles was 33 per square mile, but the distribution of profiles observed across the 79 sampled points was highly skewed (median 17, range 1-208). Ratio, difference, and distribution outlier measures all provided similar information, highlighting areas with higher densities of minority and young minority MSM.
Using a limited number of sampled points, we developed a geospatial density map of MSM using a social-networking sex-seeking app. This approach provides a simple method to describe the density of specific MSM subpopulations (users of a particular app) for future HIV behavioral surveillance and allow targeting of prevention resources such as HIV testing to populations and areas of highest need.
Internet; HIV; MSM; sampling, location services
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of major depressive disorder (MDD) have yet to identify variants that surpass the threshold for genome-wide significance. A recent study reported that runs of homozygosity (ROH) are associated with schizophrenia, reflecting a novel genetic risk factor resulting from increased parental relatedness and recessive genetic effects. Here we undertake an analysis of ROH for MDD using the 9,238 MDD cases and 9,521 controls reported in a recent mega-analysis of 9 GWAS. Since evidence for association with ROH could reflect a recessive mode of action at loci, we also conducted a genome-wide association analyses under a recessive model.
The genome-wide association analysis using a recessive model found no significant associations. Our analysis of ROH suggested that there was significant heterogeneity of effect across studies in effect (p=0.001), and it was associated with genotyping platform and country of origin. The results of the ROH analysis show that differences across studies can lead to conflicting systematic genome-wide differences between cases and controls that are unaccounted for by traditional covariates. They highlight the sensitivity of the ROH method to spurious associations, and the need to carefully control for potential confounds in such analyses. We found no strong evidence for a recessive model underlying MDD.
HIV prevention trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of a number of behavioral and biomedical interventions. HIV prevention packages are combinations of interventions and offer potential to significantly increase the effectiveness of any single intervention. Estimates of the effectiveness of prevention packages are important for guiding the development of prevention strategies and for characterizing effect sizes before embarking on large scale trials. Unfortunately, most research to date has focused on testing single interventions rather than HIV prevention packages. Here we report the results from agent-based modeling of the effectiveness of HIV prevention packages for men who have sex with men (MSM) in South Africa. We consider packages consisting of four components: antiretroviral therapy for HIV infected persons with CD4 count <350; PrEP for high risk uninfected persons; behavioral interventions to reduce rates of unprotected anal intercourse (UAI); and campaigns to increase HIV testing. We considered 163 HIV prevention packages corresponding to different intensity levels of the four components. We performed 2252 simulation runs of our agent-based model to evaluate those packages. We found that a four component package consisting of a 15% reduction in the rate of UAI, 50% PrEP coverage of high risk uninfected persons, 50% reduction in persons who never test for HIV, and 50% ART coverage over and above persons already receiving ART at baseline, could prevent 33.9% of infections over 5 years (95% confidence interval, 31.5, 36.3). The package components with the largest incremental prevention effects were UAI reduction and PrEP coverage. The impact of increased HIV testing was magnified in the presence of PrEP. We find that HIV prevention packages that include both behavioral and biomedical components can in combination prevent significant numbers of infections with levels of coverage, acceptance and adherence that are potentially achievable among MSM in South Africa.
This study addresses the underlying spatial distribution of oak mistletoe, Phoradendron villosum, a hemi-parasitic plant that provides a continuous supply of berries for frugivorous birds overwintering the oak savanna habitat of California's outer coast range. As the winter community of birds consuming oak mistletoe varies from group-living territorial species to birds that roam in flocks, we asked if mistletoe volume was spatially autocorrelated at the scale of persistent territories or whether the patterns predicted by long-term territory use by western bluebirds are overcome by seed dispersal by more mobile bird species. The abundance of mistletoe was mapped on trees within a 700 ha study site in Carmel Valley, California. Spatial autocorrelation of mistletoe volume was analyzed using the variogram method and spatial distribution of oak mistletoe trees was analyzed using Ripley's K and O-ring statistics. On a separate set of 45 trees, mistletoe volume was highly correlated with the volume of female, fruit-bearing plants, indicating that overall mistletoe volume is a good predictor of fruit availability. Variogram analysis showed that mistletoe volume was spatially autocorrelated up to approximately 250 m, a distance consistent with persistent territoriality of western bluebirds and philopatry of sons, which often breed next door to their parents and are more likely to remain home when their parents have abundant mistletoe. Using Ripley's K and O-ring analyses, we showed that mistletoe trees were aggregated for distances up to 558 m, but for distances between 558 to 724 m the O-ring analysis deviated from Ripley's K in showing repulsion rather than aggregation. While trees with mistletoe were aggregated at larger distances, mistletoe was spatially correlated at a smaller distance, consistent with what is expected based on persistent group territoriality of western bluebirds in winter and the extreme philopatry of their sons.
An abundance of evidence has firmly established the familial aggregation of schizophrenia. The aim of this study was to examine how age at onset, parental characteristics and season of birth modify the familiality in schizophrenia.
A population-based cohort was created by linking the Swedish Multi-Generation and Hospital Discharge Registers. Among 5 075 998 full siblings born between 1932 through 1990, 16 346 cases of schizophrenia were identified. Familial aggregation was measured by the sibling recurrence-risk ratio, defined as the risk of schizophrenia among full siblings of schizophrenia patients compared with the risk among siblings of unaffected subjects.
We found a statistically significantly lower recurrence-risk ratio in siblings of later onset cases (7.2; 95%CI 6.7-7.9) than of early onset cases (10.8; 95%CI 9.4-12.2). A lower recurrence-risk ratio was observed among offspring to fathers above 40 years (6.3; 95%CI 5.3-7.3) as compared with offspring of younger fathers (8.6; 95%CI 8.0-9.3). Further, among offspring to parents born outside Sweden the recurrence-risk ratio was statistically significantly lower (maternal immigrants 4.8; 95%CI 4.0-5.7, paternal immigrants 5.7; 95%CI 4.6-6.9) than among offspring to parents born in Sweden.
The familial aggregation of schizophrenia was reduced by higher age at onset, advancing paternal age and immigrant status of parents.
schizophrenia; familial aggregation; recurrence-risk ratio; age at onset; paternal age; migration
Identification of genes contributing to alcohol dependence will improve our understanding of the mechanisms underlying this disorder.
To identify susceptibility genes for alcohol dependence through a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and follow-up study in a population of German male inpatients with an early age at onset.
The GWAS included 487 male inpatients with DSM-IV alcohol dependence with an age at onset below 28 years and 1,358 population based control individuals. The follow-up study included 1,024 male inpatients and 996 age-matched male controls. All subjects were of German descent. The GWAS tested 524,396 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). All SNPs with p<10-4 were subjected to the follow-up study. In addition, nominally significant SNPs from those genes that had also shown expression changes in rat brains after chronic alcohol consumption were selected for the follow-up step.
The GWAS produced 121 SNPs with nominal p<10-4. These, together with 19 additional SNPs from homologs of rat genes showing differential expression, were genotyped in the follow-up sample. Fifteen SNPs showed significant association with the same allele as in the GWAS. In the combined analysis, two closely linked intergenic SNPs met genome-wide significance (rs7590720 p=9.72×10-9; rs1344694 p=1.69×10-8). They are located on chromosome 2q35, a region which has been implicated in linkage studies for alcohol phenotypes. Nine SNPs were located in genes, including CDH13 and ADH1C genes which have been reported to be associated with alcohol dependence.
This is the first GWAS and follow-up study to identify a genome-wide significant association in alcohol dependence. Further independent studies are required to confirm these findings.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) are the most affected risk group in the United States’ human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic. Sexual concurrency, the overlapping of partnerships in time, accelerates HIV transmission in populations and has been documented at high levels among MSM. However, concurrency is challenging to measure empirically and variations in assessment techniques used (primarily the date overlap and direct question approaches) and the outcomes derived from them have led to heterogeneity and questionable validity of estimates among MSM and other populations.
The aim was to evaluate a novel Web-based and interactive partnership-timing module designed for measuring concurrency among MSM, and to compare outcomes measured by the partnership-timing module to those of typical approaches in an online study of MSM.
In an online study of MSM aged ≥18 years, we assessed concurrency by using the direct question method and by gathering the dates of first and last sex, with enhanced programming logic, for each reported partner in the previous 6 months. From these methods, we computed multiple concurrency cumulative prevalence outcomes: direct question, day resolution / date overlap, and month resolution / date overlap including both 1-month ties and excluding ties. We additionally computed variants of the UNAIDS point prevalence outcome. The partnership-timing module was also administered. It uses an interactive month resolution calendar to improve recall and follow-up questions to resolve temporal ambiguities, combines elements of the direct question and date overlap approaches. The agreement between the partnership-timing module and other concurrency outcomes was assessed with percent agreement, kappa statistic (κ), and matched odds ratios at the individual, dyad, and triad levels of analysis.
Among 2737 MSM who completed the partnership section of the partnership-timing module, 41.07% (1124/2737) of individuals had concurrent partners in the previous 6 months. The partnership-timing module had the highest degree of agreement with the direct question. Agreement was lower with date overlap outcomes (agreement range 79%-81%, κ range .55-.59) and lowest with the UNAIDS outcome at 5 months before interview (65% agreement, κ=.14, 95% CI .12-.16). All agreements declined after excluding individuals with 1 sex partner (always classified as not engaging in concurrency), although the highest agreement was still observed with the direct question technique (81% agreement, κ=.59, 95% CI .55-.63). Similar patterns in agreement were observed with dyad- and triad-level outcomes.
The partnership-timing module showed strong concurrency detection ability and agreement with previous measures. These levels of agreement were greater than others have reported among previous measures. The partnership-timing module may be well suited to quantifying concurrency among MSM at multiple levels of analysis.
HIV; sexual networks; questionnaires; concurrency; MSM; sexual network measurement; online questionnaire
Serosorting is increasingly assessed in studies of MSM. Most research studies have measured serosorting by combining reported unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) and the occurrence of participant and partner same HIV status (seroconcordance). The CDC definition of serosorting also incorporates intent to be in such a partnership, although few studies incorporate both intent and behavior into their measures.
Using data from a national, online survey of 3,519 US MSM, we assessed the role of intention in seroconcordant partnerships, as measured by participant rating of the importance of shared serostatus when selecting a sex partner.
For HIV+ men, 30% of partnerships were seroconcordant; of these, 48% reported intent to be in such a partnership (intentional seroconcordance). For HIV− men, 64% of partnerships were seroconcordant; of these, 80% reported intentional seroconcordance. Intentional seroconcordance was associated with UAI for HIV+ partnerships (OR 1.9; CI: 1.3, 2.9), but not significant for HIV− partnerships (OR 1.1; CI: 0.99, 1.3). In separate models where intent was not considered, seroconcordance was associated with UAI for HIV+ partnerships (odds ratio (OR) 3.2; 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.2, 4.6) and for HIV− partnerships (OR 1.2; CI: 1.0, 1.3; p = 0.03).
Regardless of intentionality, seroconcordance was strongly associated with UAI for HIV+ men and weakly associated with UAI for HIV− men. Intentional seroconcordance was not associated with UAI more strongly than was seroconcordance in absence of consideration of intent. Intentionality may not be a critical element of the relationship between seroconcordance and UAI.
HIV prevention; MSM; serosorting; measurement
We assessed gene expression profiles in 2,752 twins, using a classic twin design to quantify expression heritability and quantitative trait loci (eQTL) in peripheral blood. The most highly heritable genes (~777) were grouped into distinct expression clusters, enriched in gene-poor regions, associated with specific gene function/ontology classes, and strongly associated with disease designation. The design enabled a comparison of twin-based heritability to estimates based on dizygotic IBD sharing and distant genetic relatedness. Consideration of sampling variation suggests that previous heritability estimates have been upwardly biased. Genotyping of 2,494 twins enabled powerful identification of eQTLs, which were further examined in a replication set of 1,895 unrelated subjects. A large number of local eQTLs (6,988) met replication criteria, while a relatively small number of distant eQTLs (165) met quality control and replication standards. Our results provide an important new resource toward understanding the genetic control of transcription.
gene expression; peripheral blood; twin study; heritability; expression quantitative trait loci; eQTL
Genetic variation in a population can be summarized through principal component analysis (PCA) on genome-wide data. PCs derived from such analyses are valuable for genetic association studies, where they can correct for population stratification. We investigated how to capture the genetic population structure in a well-characterized sample from the Netherlands and in a worldwide data set and examined whether (1) removing long-range linkage disequilibrium (LD) regions and LD-based SNP pruning significantly improves correlations between PCs and geography and (2) whether genetic differentiation may have been influenced by migration and/or selection. In the Netherlands, three PCs showed significant correlations with geography, distinguishing between: (1) North and South; (2) East and West; and (3) the middle-band and the rest of the country. The third PC only emerged with minimized LD, which also significantly increased correlations with geography for the other two PCs. In addition to geography, the Dutch North–South PC showed correlations with genome-wide homozygosity (r=0.245), which may reflect a serial-founder effect due to northwards migration, and also with height (♂: r=0.142, ♀: r=0.153). The divergence between subpopulations identified by PCs is partly driven by selection pressures. The first three PCs showed significant signals for diversifying selection (545 SNPs - the majority within 184 genes). The strongest signal was observed between North and South for the functional SNP in HERC2 that determines human blue/brown eye color. Thus, this study demonstrates how to increase ancestry signals in a relatively homogeneous population and how those signals can reveal evolutionary history.
PCA; linkage disequilibrium; population structure; migration; diversifying selection; Netherlands
The effects of inbreeding on the health of offspring can be studied by measuring genome-wide autozygosity as the proportion of the genome in runs of homozygosity (Froh) and relate Froh to outcomes such as psychiatric phenotypes. To successfully conduct these studies, the main patterns of variation for genome-wide autozygosity between and within populations should be well understood and accounted for. Within population variation was investigated in the Dutch population by comparing autozygosity between religious and non-religious groups. The Netherlands have a history of societal segregation and assortment based on religious affiliation, which may have increased parental relatedness within religious groups. Religion has been associated with several psychiatric phenotypes, such as major depressive disorder (MDD). We investigated whether there is an association between autozygosity and MDD, and the extent to which this association can be explained by religious affiliation. All Froh analyses included adjustment for ancestry-informative principal components (PCs) and geographic factors.
Religious affiliation was significantly associated with autozygosity, showing that Froh has the ability to capture within population differences that are not captured by ancestry-informative PCs or geographic factors. The non-religious group had significantly lower Froh values and significantly more MDD cases, leading to a nominally significant negative association between autozygosity and depression. After accounting for religious affiliation, MDD was not associated with Froh, indicating that the relation between MDD and inbreeding was due to stratification.
This study shows how past religious assortment and recent secularization can have genetic consequences in a relatively small country. This warrants accounting for the historical social context and its effects on genetic variation in association studies on psychiatric and other related traits.
autozygosity; runs of homozygosity; major depressive disorder; religion; population stratification; assortative mating
Behavioral sensitization has been widely studied in animal models and is theorized to reflect neural modifications associated with human psychostimulant addiction. While the mesolimbic dopaminergic pathway is known to play a role, the neurochemical mechanisms underlying behavioral sensitization remain incompletely understood. In the present study, we conducted the first metabolomics analysis to globally characterize neurochemical differences associated with behavioral sensitization. Methamphetamine-induced sensitization measures were generated by statistically modeling longitudinal activity data for eight inbred strains of mice. Subsequent to behavioral testing, nontargeted liquid and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry profiling was performed on 48 brain samples, yielding 301 metabolite levels per sample after quality control. Association testing between metabolite levels and three primary dimensions of behavioral sensitization (total distance, stereotypy and margin time) showed four robust, significant associations at a stringent metabolome-wide significance threshold (false discovery rate < 0.05). Results implicated homocarnosine, a dipeptide of GABA and histidine, in total distance sensitization, GABA metabolite 4-guanidinobutanoate and pantothenate in stereotypy sensitization, and myo-inositol in margin time sensitization. Secondary analyses indicated that these associations were independent of concurrent methamphetamine levels and, with the exception of the myo-inositol association, suggest a mechanism whereby strain-based genetic variation produces specific baseline neurochemical differences that substantially influence the magnitude of MA-induced sensitization. These findings demonstrate the utility of mouse metabolomics for identifying novel biomarkers, and developing more comprehensive neurochemical models, of psychostimulant sensitization.
addiction; sensitization; metabolomics; homocarnosine; myo-inositol; stimulant