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1.  Genome-wide association analysis identifies six new loci associated with forced vital capacity 
Loth, Daan W. | Artigas, María Soler | Gharib, Sina A. | Wain, Louise V. | Franceschini, Nora | Koch, Beate | Pottinger, Tess | Smith, Albert Vernon | Duan, Qing | Oldmeadow, Chris | Lee, Mi Kyeong | Strachan, David P. | James, Alan L. | Huffman, Jennifer E. | Vitart, Veronique | Ramasamy, Adaikalavan | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Kaprio, Jaakko | Wang, Xin-Qun | Trochet, Holly | Kähönen, Mika | Flexeder, Claudia | Albrecht, Eva | Lopez, Lorna M. | de Jong, Kim | Thyagarajan, Bharat | Alves, Alexessander Couto | Enroth, Stefan | Omenaas, Ernst | Joshi, Peter K. | Fall, Tove | Viňuela, Ana | Launer, Lenore J. | Loehr, Laura R. | Fornage, Myriam | Li, Guo | Wilk, Jemma B. | Tang, Wenbo | Manichaikul, Ani | Lahousse, Lies | Harris, Tamara B. | North, Kari E. | Rudnicka, Alicja R. | Hui, Jennie | Gu, Xiangjun | Lumley, Thomas | Wright, Alan F. | Hastie, Nicholas D. | Campbell, Susan | Kumar, Rajesh | Pin, Isabelle | Scott, Robert A. | Pietiläinen, Kirsi H. | Surakka, Ida | Liu, Yongmei | Holliday, Elizabeth G. | Schulz, Holger | Heinrich, Joachim | Davies, Gail | Vonk, Judith M. | Wojczynski, Mary | Pouta, Anneli | Johansson, Åsa | Wild, Sarah H. | Ingelsson, Erik | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Völzke, Henry | Hysi, Pirro G. | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Morrison, Alanna C. | Rotter, Jerome I. | Gao, Wei | Postma, Dirkje S. | White, Wendy B. | Rich, Stephen S. | Hofman, Albert | Aspelund, Thor | Couper, David | Smith, Lewis J. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Lohman, Kurt | Burchard, Esteban G. | Uitterlinden, André G. | Garcia, Melissa | Joubert, Bonnie R. | McArdle, Wendy L. | Musk, A. Bill | Hansel, Nadia | Heckbert, Susan R. | Zgaga, Lina | van Meurs, Joyce B.J. | Navarro, Pau | Rudan, Igor | Oh, Yeon-Mok | Redline, Susan | Jarvis, Deborah | Zhao, Jing Hua | Rantanen, Taina | O’Connor, George T. | Ripatti, Samuli | Scott, Rodney J. | Karrasch, Stefan | Grallert, Harald | Gaddis, Nathan C. | Starr, John M. | Wijmenga, Cisca | Minster, Ryan L. | Lederer, David J. | Pekkanen, Juha | Gyllensten, Ulf | Campbell, Harry | Morris, Andrew P. | Gläser, Sven | Hammond, Christopher J. | Burkart, Kristin M. | Beilby, John | Kritchevsky, Stephen B. | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Hancock, Dana B. | Williams, O. Dale | Polasek, Ozren | Zemunik, Tatijana | Kolcic, Ivana | Petrini, Marcy F. | Wjst, Matthias | Kim, Woo Jin | Porteous, David J. | Scotland, Generation | Smith, Blair H. | Viljanen, Anne | Heliövaara, Markku | Attia, John R. | Sayers, Ian | Hampel, Regina | Gieger, Christian | Deary, Ian J. | Boezen, H. Marike | Newman, Anne | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Wilson, James F. | Lind, Lars | Stricker, Bruno H. | Teumer, Alexander | Spector, Timothy D. | Melén, Erik | Peters, Marjolein J. | Lange, Leslie A. | Barr, R. Graham | Bracke, Ken R. | Verhamme, Fien M. | Sung, Joohon | Hiemstra, Pieter S. | Cassano, Patricia A. | Sood, Akshay | Hayward, Caroline | Dupuis, Josée | Hall, Ian P. | Brusselle, Guy G. | Tobin, Martin D. | London, Stephanie J.
Nature genetics  2014;46(7):669-677.
Forced vital capacity (FVC), a spirometric measure of pulmonary function, reflects lung volume and is used to diagnose and monitor lung diseases. We performed genome-wide association study meta-analysis of FVC in 52,253 individuals from 26 studies and followed up the top associations in 32,917 additional individuals of European ancestry. We found six new regions associated at genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8) with FVC in or near EFEMP1, BMP6, MIR-129-2/HSD17B12, PRDM11, WWOX, and KCNJ2. Two (GSTCD and PTCH1) loci previously associated with spirometric measures were related to FVC. Newly implicated regions were followed-up in samples of African American, Korean, Chinese, and Hispanic individuals. We detected transcripts for all six newly implicated genes in human lung tissue. The new loci may inform mechanisms involved in lung development and pathogenesis of restrictive lung disease.
doi:10.1038/ng.3011
PMCID: PMC4140093  PMID: 24929828
2.  No Evidence for Genome-Wide Interactions on Plasma Fibrinogen by Smoking, Alcohol Consumption and Body Mass Index: Results from Meta-Analyses of 80,607 Subjects 
Baumert, Jens | Huang, Jie | McKnight, Barbara | Sabater-Lleal, Maria | Steri, Maristella | Chu, Audrey Y. | Trompet, Stella | Lopez, Lorna M. | Fornage, Myriam | Teumer, Alexander | Tang, Weihong | Rudnicka, Alicja R. | Mälarstig, Anders | Hottenga, Jouke-Jan | Kavousi, Maryam | Lahti, Jari | Tanaka, Toshiko | Hayward, Caroline | Huffman, Jennifer E. | Morange, Pierre-Emmanuel | Rose, Lynda M. | Basu, Saonli | Rumley, Ann | Stott, David J. | Buckley, Brendan M. | de Craen, Anton J. M. | Sanna, Serena | Masala, Marco | Biffar, Reiner | Homuth, Georg | Silveira, Angela | Sennblad, Bengt | Goel, Anuj | Watkins, Hugh | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Rückerl, Regina | Taylor, Kent | Chen, Ming-Huei | de Geus, Eco J. C. | Hofman, Albert | Witteman, Jacqueline C. M. | de Maat, Moniek P. M. | Palotie, Aarno | Davies, Gail | Siscovick, David S. | Kolcic, Ivana | Wild, Sarah H. | Song, Jaejoon | McArdle, Wendy L. | Ford, Ian | Sattar, Naveed | Schlessinger, David | Grotevendt, Anne | Franzosi, Maria Grazia | Illig, Thomas | Waldenberger, Melanie | Lumley, Thomas | Tofler, Geoffrey H. | Willemsen, Gonneke | Uitterlinden, André G. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Räikkönen, Katri | Chasman, Daniel I. | Folsom, Aaron R. | Lowe, Gordon D. | Westendorp, Rudi G. J. | Slagboom, P. Eline | Cucca, Francesco | Wallaschofski, Henri | Strawbridge, Rona J. | Seedorf, Udo | Koenig, Wolfgang | Bis, Joshua C. | Mukamal, Kenneth J. | van Dongen, Jenny | Widen, Elisabeth | Franco, Oscar H. | Starr, John M. | Liu, Kiang | Ferrucci, Luigi | Polasek, Ozren | Wilson, James F. | Oudot-Mellakh, Tiphaine | Campbell, Harry | Navarro, Pau | Bandinelli, Stefania | Eriksson, Johan | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Dehghan, Abbas | Clarke, Robert | Hamsten, Anders | Boerwinkle, Eric | Jukema, J. Wouter | Naitza, Silvia | Ridker, Paul M. | Völzke, Henry | Deary, Ian J. | Reiner, Alexander P. | Trégouët, David-Alexandre | O'Donnell, Christopher J. | Strachan, David P. | Peters, Annette | Smith, Nicholas L.
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e111156.
Plasma fibrinogen is an acute phase protein playing an important role in the blood coagulation cascade having strong associations with smoking, alcohol consumption and body mass index (BMI). Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified a variety of gene regions associated with elevated plasma fibrinogen concentrations. However, little is yet known about how associations between environmental factors and fibrinogen might be modified by genetic variation. Therefore, we conducted large-scale meta-analyses of genome-wide interaction studies to identify possible interactions of genetic variants and smoking status, alcohol consumption or BMI on fibrinogen concentration. The present study included 80,607 subjects of European ancestry from 22 studies. Genome-wide interaction analyses were performed separately in each study for about 2.6 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the 22 autosomal chromosomes. For each SNP and risk factor, we performed a linear regression under an additive genetic model including an interaction term between SNP and risk factor. Interaction estimates were meta-analysed using a fixed-effects model. No genome-wide significant interaction with smoking status, alcohol consumption or BMI was observed in the meta-analyses. The most suggestive interaction was found for smoking and rs10519203, located in the LOC123688 region on chromosome 15, with a p value of 6.2×10−8. This large genome-wide interaction study including 80,607 participants found no strong evidence of interaction between genetic variants and smoking status, alcohol consumption or BMI on fibrinogen concentrations. Further studies are needed to yield deeper insight in the interplay between environmental factors and gene variants on the regulation of fibrinogen concentrations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111156
PMCID: PMC4281156  PMID: 25551457
3.  Rare and low-frequency coding variants in CXCR2 and other genes are associated with hematological traits 
Nature genetics  2014;46(6):629-634.
Hematological traits are important clinical parameters. To test the role of rare and low-frequency coding variants on hematological traits, we analyzed hemoglobin, hematocrit, white blood cell (WBC) and platelet count in 31,340 individuals genotyped on an exome array. We identified several missense variants of CXCR2 associated with reduced WBC count (gene-based P=2.6×10−13). In a separate family-based re-sequencing study, we identified a novel loss-of-function CXCR2 frameshift mutation in a pedigree with congenital neutropenia that abolished ligand-induced CXCR2 signal transduction and chemotaxis. We also identified novel missense or splice site variants in key hematopoiesis regulators (EPO, TRF2, HBB, TUBB1, SH2B3) associated with blood cell traits. Finally, we were able to detect associations between the rare somatic JAK2 p.Val617Phe mutation and platelet count (P=3.9×10−22) as well as hemoglobin (P=0.002), hematocrit (P=9.5×10−7) and WBC (P=3.1×10−5). In conclusion, exome arrays complement GWAS in identifying new variants that contribute to complex human traits.
doi:10.1038/ng.2962
PMCID: PMC4050975  PMID: 24777453
4.  A Level Set Based Framework for Quantitative Evaluation of Breast Tissue Density from MRI Data 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112709.
Breast density is a risk factor associated with the development of breast cancer. Usually, breast density is assessed on two dimensional (2D) mammograms using the American College of Radiology (ACR) classification. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a non-radiation based examination method, which offers a three dimensional (3D) alternative to classical 2D mammograms. We propose a new framework for automated breast density calculation on MRI data. Our framework consists of three steps. First, a recently developed method for simultaneous intensity inhomogeneity correction and breast tissue and parenchyma segmentation is applied. Second, the obtained breast component is extracted, and the breast-air and breast-body boundaries are refined. Finally, the fibroglandular/parenchymal tissue volume is extracted from the breast volume. The framework was tested on 37 randomly selected MR mammographies. All images were acquired on a 1.5T MR scanner using an axial, T1-weighted time-resolved angiography with stochastic trajectories sequence. The results were compared to manually obtained groundtruth. Dice's Similarity Coefficient (DSC) as well as Bland-Altman plots were used as the main tools for evaluation of similarity between automatic and manual segmentations. The average Dice's Similarity Coefficient values were and for breast and parenchymal volumes, respectively. Bland-Altman plots showed the mean bias () standard deviation equal for breast volumes and for parenchyma volumes. The automated framework produced sufficient results and has the potential to be applied for the analysis of breast volume and breast density of numerous data in clinical and research settings.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112709
PMCID: PMC4244105  PMID: 25422942
5.  Regional Differences of Undiagnosed Type 2 Diabetes and Prediabetes Prevalence Are Not Explained by Known Risk Factors 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e113154.
Background
We have previously found regional differences in the prevalence of known type 2 diabetes between northeastern and southern Germany. We aim to also provide prevalence estimates for prediabetes (isolated impaired fasting glucose (i-IFG), isolated glucose intolerance (i-IGT), combined IFG and IGT) and unknown type 2 diabetes for both regions.
Methods
Prevalence (95%CI) of prediabetes (i-IFG: fasting glucose 5.6–6.9 mmol/l; i-IGT: 2 h postchallenge gluose 7.8–11.0 mmol/l, oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), ≥8 h overnight fasting) and unknown diabetes were analyzed in two regional population-based surveys (age group 35–79 years): SHIP-TREND (Study of Health in Pomerania (northeast), 2008–2012) and KORA F4 (Cooperative Health Research in the region of Augsburg (south), 2006–2008). Both studies used similar methods, questionnaires, and identical protocols for OGTT. Overall, 1,980 participants from SHIP-TREND and 2,617 participants from KORA F4 were included.
Results
Age-sex-standardized prevalence estimates (95%CI) of prediabetes and unknown diabetes were considerably higher in the northeast (SHIP-TREND: 43.1%; 40.9–45.3% and 7.1%; 5.9–8.2%) than in the south of Germany (KORA F4: 30.1%; 28.4–31.7% and 3.9%; 3.2–4.6%), respectively. In particular, i-IFG (26.4%; 24.5–28.3% vs. 17.2%; 15.7–18.6%) and IFG+IGT (11.2%; 9.8–12.6% vs. 6.6%; 5.7–7.5%) were more frequent in SHIP-TREND than in KORA. In comparison to normal glucose tolerance, the odds of having unknown diabetes (OR, 95%CI: 2.59; 1.84–3.65) or prediabetes (1.98; 1.70–2.31) was higher in the northeast than in the south after adjustment for known risk factors (obesity, lifestyle).
Conclusions
The regional differences of prediabetes and unknown diabetes are in line with the geographical pattern of known diabetes in Germany. The higher prevalences in the northeast were not explained by traditional risk factors.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113154
PMCID: PMC4234669  PMID: 25402347
6.  A Multi-Ethnic Meta-Analysis of Genome-Wide Association Studies in Over 100,000 Subjects Identifies 23 Fibrinogen-Associated Loci but no Strong Evidence of a Causal Association between Circulating Fibrinogen and Cardiovascular Disease 
Sabater-Lleal, Maria | Huang, Jie | Chasman, Daniel | Naitza, Silvia | Dehghan, Abbas | Johnson, Andrew D | Teumer, Alexander | Reiner, Alex P | Folkersen, Lasse | Basu, Saonli | Rudnicka, Alicja R | Trompet, Stella | Mälarstig, Anders | Baumert, Jens | Bis, Joshua C. | Guo, Xiuqing | Hottenga, Jouke J | Shin, So-Youn | Lopez, Lorna M | Lahti, Jari | Tanaka, Toshiko | Yanek, Lisa R | Oudot-Mellakh, Tiphaine | Wilson, James F | Navarro, Pau | Huffman, Jennifer E | Zemunik, Tatijana | Redline, Susan | Mehra, Reena | Pulanic, Drazen | Rudan, Igor | Wright, Alan F | Kolcic, Ivana | Polasek, Ozren | Wild, Sarah H | Campbell, Harry | Curb, J David | Wallace, Robert | Liu, Simin | Eaton, Charles B. | Becker, Diane M. | Becker, Lewis C. | Bandinelli, Stefania | Räikkönen, Katri | Widen, Elisabeth | Palotie, Aarno | Fornage, Myriam | Green, David | Gross, Myron | Davies, Gail | Harris, Sarah E | Liewald, David C | Starr, John M | Williams, Frances M.K. | Grant, P.J. | Spector, Timothy D. | Strawbridge, Rona J | Silveira, Angela | Sennblad, Bengt | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Uitterlinden, Andre G | Franco, Oscar H | Hofman, Albert | van Dongen, Jenny | Willemsen, G | Boomsma, Dorret I | Yao, Jie | Jenny, Nancy Swords | Haritunians, Talin | McKnight, Barbara | Lumley, Thomas | Taylor, Kent D | Rotter, Jerome I | Psaty, Bruce M | Peters, Annette | Gieger, Christian | Illig, Thomas | Grotevendt, Anne | Homuth, Georg | Völzke, Henry | Kocher, Thomas | Goel, Anuj | Franzosi, Maria Grazia | Seedorf, Udo | Clarke, Robert | Steri, Maristella | Tarasov, Kirill V | Sanna, Serena | Schlessinger, David | Stott, David J | Sattar, Naveed | Buckley, Brendan M | Rumley, Ann | Lowe, Gordon D | McArdle, Wendy L | Chen, Ming-Huei | Tofler, Geoffrey H | Song, Jaejoon | Boerwinkle, Eric | Folsom, Aaron R. | Rose, Lynda M. | Franco-Cereceda, Anders | Teichert, Martina | Ikram, M Arfan | Mosley, Thomas H | Bevan, Steve | Dichgans, Martin | Rothwell, Peter M. | Sudlow, Cathie L M | Hopewell, Jemma C. | Chambers, John C. | Saleheen, Danish | Kooner, Jaspal S. | Danesh, John | Nelson, Christopher P | Erdmann, Jeanette | Reilly, Muredach P. | Kathiresan, Sekar | Schunkert, Heribert | Morange, Pierre-Emmanuel | Ferrucci, Luigi | Eriksson, Johan G | Jacobs, David | Deary, Ian J | Soranzo, Nicole | Witteman, Jacqueline CM | de Geus, Eco JC | Tracy, Russell P. | Hayward, Caroline | Koenig, Wolfgang | Cucca, Francesco | Jukema, J Wouter | Eriksson, Per | Seshadri, Sudha | Markus, Hugh S. | Watkins, Hugh | Samani, Nilesh J | Wallaschofski, Henri | Smith, Nicholas L. | Tregouet, David | Ridker, Paul M. | Tang, Weihong | Strachan, David P. | Hamsten, Anders | O’Donnell, Christopher J.
Circulation  2013;128(12):10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.002251.
Background
Estimates of the heritability of plasma fibrinogen concentration, an established predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD), range from 34 to 50%. Genetic variants so far identified by genome-wide association (GWA) studies only explain a small proportion (< 2%) of its variation.
Methods and Results
We conducted a meta-analysis of 28 GWA studies, including more than 90,000 subjects of European ancestry, the first GWA meta-analysis of fibrinogen levels in 7 African Americans studies totaling 8,289 samples, and a GWA study in Hispanic-Americans totaling 1,366 samples. Evaluation for association of SNPs with clinical outcomes included a total of 40,695 cases and 85,582 controls for coronary artery disease (CAD), 4,752 cases and 24,030 controls for stroke, and 3,208 cases and 46,167 controls for venous thromboembolism (VTE). Overall, we identified 24 genome-wide significant (P<5×10−8) independent signals in 23 loci, including 15 novel associations, together accounting for 3.7% of plasma fibrinogen variation. Gene-set enrichment analysis highlighted key roles in fibrinogen regulation for the three structural fibrinogen genes and pathways related to inflammation, adipocytokines and thyrotrophin-releasing hormone signaling. Whereas lead SNPs in a few loci were significantly associated with CAD, the combined effect of all 24 fibrinogen-associated lead SNPs was not significant for CAD, stroke or VTE.
Conclusion
We identify 23 robustly associated fibrinogen loci, 15 of which are new. Clinical outcome analysis of these loci does not support a causal relationship between circulating levels of fibrinogen and CAD, stroke or VTE.
doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.002251
PMCID: PMC3842025  PMID: 23969696
Fibrinogen; cardiovascular disease; genome-wide association study
7.  Serum thyroid-stimulating hormone levels are not associated with exercise capacity and lung function parameters in two population-based studies 
BMC Pulmonary Medicine  2014;14:145.
Background
Thyroid dysfunction has been described to be linked to a variety of cardiovascular morbidities. Through this pathway thyroid function might also be associated with cardiorespiratory function and exercise capacity. So far only few patient-studies with small study populations investigated the association between thyroid dysfunction and exercise capacity. Thus, the aim of our study was to investigate the association of serum thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels with lung function and cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) in the general population.
Methods
Data from the two independent cross-sectional population-based studies (Study of Health in Pomerania [SHIP] and SHIP-Trend-0) were pooled. SHIP was conducted between 2002 and 2006 and SHIP-Trend-0 between 2008 and 2012. Participants were randomly selected from population registries. In total, 4206 individuals with complete data were available for the present analysis. Thyroid function was defined based on serum TSH levels. Lung function was evaluated by forced expiratory volume in 1 s and forced vital capacity. CPET was based on symptom limited exercise tests on a bicycle in a sitting position according to a modified Jones protocol. Associations of serum TSH levels with lung function and CPET parameters were analysed by multivariable quantile regression adjusted for age, sex, height, weight, use of beta blockers, smoking status, and physical activity.
Results
Serum TSH levels, used as continuously distributed variable and categorized according to the clinical cut-offs 0.3 and 3.0 mIU/L or according to quintiles, were not consistently associated with parameters of lung function or CPET.
Conclusions
Our results suggest that thyroid dysfunction is not associated with lung function and cardiopulmonary exercise capacity in the general population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2466-14-145
PMCID: PMC4236747  PMID: 25182209
TSH; Hyperthyroidism; Hypothyroidism; Exercise capacity; Lung function; Oxygen uptake; Spirometry; Population-based study; Epidemiology
8.  Genome-wide analysis of BMI in adolescents and young adults reveals additional insight into the effects of genetic loci over the life course 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;22(17):3597-3607.
Genetic loci for body mass index (BMI) in adolescence and young adulthood, a period of high risk for weight gain, are understudied, yet may yield important insight into the etiology of obesity and early intervention. To identify novel genetic loci and examine the influence of known loci on BMI during this critical time period in late adolescence and early adulthood, we performed a two-stage meta-analysis using 14 genome-wide association studies in populations of European ancestry with data on BMI between ages 16 and 25 in up to 29 880 individuals. We identified seven independent loci (P < 5.0 × 10−8) near FTO (P = 3.72 × 10−23), TMEM18 (P = 3.24 × 10−17), MC4R (P = 4.41 × 10−17), TNNI3K (P = 4.32 × 10−11), SEC16B (P = 6.24 × 10−9), GNPDA2 (P = 1.11 × 10−8) and POMC (P = 4.94 × 10−8) as well as a potential secondary signal at the POMC locus (rs2118404, P = 2.4 × 10−5 after conditioning on the established single-nucleotide polymorphism at this locus) in adolescents and young adults. To evaluate the impact of the established genetic loci on BMI at these young ages, we examined differences between the effect sizes of 32 published BMI loci in European adult populations (aged 18–90) and those observed in our adolescent and young adult meta-analysis. Four loci (near PRKD1, TNNI3K, SEC16B and CADM2) had larger effects and one locus (near SH2B1) had a smaller effect on BMI during adolescence and young adulthood compared with older adults (P < 0.05). These results suggest that genetic loci for BMI can vary in their effects across the life course, underlying the importance of evaluating BMI at different ages.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddt205
PMCID: PMC3736869  PMID: 23669352
9.  High Serum Thyrotropin Levels Are Associated with Current But Not with Incident Hypertension 
Thyroid  2013;23(8):955-963.
Background
Recent data from a population-based study in children and adolescents suggest that serum thyrotropin (TSH) levels are associated with arterial blood pressure and hypertension. These results are in agreement with some but not all population-based studies in adults. Discrepancies in results might be explained by drug intake, different iodine supplies, and sizes of populations investigated. In addition, it is not clear whether an association between TSH and hypertension exists longitudinally or only cross-sectionally. Thus, our aim was to investigate cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between thyroid function and arterial blood pressure in a large consortium of cohort studies in adults.
Methods
Data from five population-based studies were pooled resulting in 17,023 individuals being available for cross-sectional and 10,048 individuals for longitudinal analyses. Associations of baseline TSH with baseline blood pressure or hypertension were analyzed by multivariable median or logistic regression models. Multivariable median or Poisson regression models were used to investigate associations of baseline TSH with five-year change in arterial blood pressure or incident hypertension.
Results
There was a cross-sectional positive association of TSH with arterial blood pressure (p<0.001) and hypertension (odds ratio [OR]=1.76 [confidence interval (CI) 1.24–2.50], p=0.002). Likewise, hypothyroidism was associated with systolic (β=1.1 [CI 0.1–2.1], p=0.040) and diastolic blood pressure (β=1.4 [CI 0.7–2.0], p<0.001). TSH, however, was not consistently associated with a five-year change in blood pressure or incident hypertension.
Conclusions
High serum TSH levels were associated with current hypertension and blood pressure but not with a five-year change in blood pressure and incident hypertension. This argues for only a short-term effect of thyroid hormone levels on arterial blood pressure or a spurious association that needs further evaluation in population-based studies.
doi:10.1089/thy.2012.0626
PMCID: PMC3752519  PMID: 23427935
10.  Novel Approach Identifies SNPs in SLC2A10 and KCNK9 with Evidence for Parent-of-Origin Effect on Body Mass Index 
Hoggart, Clive J. | Venturini, Giulia | Mangino, Massimo | Gomez, Felicia | Ascari, Giulia | Zhao, Jing Hua | Teumer, Alexander | Winkler, Thomas W. | Tšernikova, Natalia | Luan, Jian'an | Mihailov, Evelin | Ehret, Georg B. | Zhang, Weihua | Lamparter, David | Esko, Tõnu | Macé, Aurelien | Rüeger, Sina | Bochud, Pierre-Yves | Barcella, Matteo | Dauvilliers, Yves | Benyamin, Beben | Evans, David M. | Hayward, Caroline | Lopez, Mary F. | Franke, Lude | Russo, Alessia | Heid, Iris M. | Salvi, Erika | Vendantam, Sailaja | Arking, Dan E. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Chambers, John C. | Fiorito, Giovanni | Grallert, Harald | Guarrera, Simonetta | Homuth, Georg | Huffman, Jennifer E. | Porteous, David | Moradpour, Darius | Iranzo, Alex | Hebebrand, Johannes | Kemp, John P. | Lammers, Gert J. | Aubert, Vincent | Heim, Markus H. | Martin, Nicholas G. | Montgomery, Grant W. | Peraita-Adrados, Rosa | Santamaria, Joan | Negro, Francesco | Schmidt, Carsten O. | Scott, Robert A. | Spector, Tim D. | Strauch, Konstantin | Völzke, Henry | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Yuan, Wei | Bell, Jordana T. | Chakravarti, Aravinda | Kooner, Jaspal S. | Peters, Annette | Matullo, Giuseppe | Wallaschofski, Henri | Whitfield, John B. | Paccaud, Fred | Vollenweider, Peter | Bergmann, Sven | Beckmann, Jacques S. | Tafti, Mehdi | Hastie, Nicholas D. | Cusi, Daniele | Bochud, Murielle | Frayling, Timothy M. | Metspalu, Andres | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Scherag, André | Smith, George Davey | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Rousson, Valentin | Hirschhorn, Joel N. | Rivolta, Carlo | Loos, Ruth J. F. | Kutalik, Zoltán
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(7):e1004508.
The phenotypic effect of some single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) depends on their parental origin. We present a novel approach to detect parent-of-origin effects (POEs) in genome-wide genotype data of unrelated individuals. The method exploits increased phenotypic variance in the heterozygous genotype group relative to the homozygous groups. We applied the method to >56,000 unrelated individuals to search for POEs influencing body mass index (BMI). Six lead SNPs were carried forward for replication in five family-based studies (of ∼4,000 trios). Two SNPs replicated: the paternal rs2471083-C allele (located near the imprinted KCNK9 gene) and the paternal rs3091869-T allele (located near the SLC2A10 gene) increased BMI equally (beta = 0.11 (SD), P<0.0027) compared to the respective maternal alleles. Real-time PCR experiments of lymphoblastoid cell lines from the CEPH families showed that expression of both genes was dependent on parental origin of the SNPs alleles (P<0.01). Our scheme opens new opportunities to exploit GWAS data of unrelated individuals to identify POEs and demonstrates that they play an important role in adult obesity.
Author Summary
Large genetic association studies have revealed many genetic factors influencing common traits, such as body mass index (BMI). These studies assume that the effect of genetic variants is the same regardless of whether they are inherited from the mother or the father. In our study, we have developed a new approach that allows us to investigate variants whose impact depends on their parental origin (parent-of-origin effects), in unrelated samples when the parental origin cannot be inferred. This is feasible because at genetic markers at which such effects occur there is increased variability of the trait among individuals who inherited different genetic codes from their mother and their father compared to individuals who inherited the same genetic code from both parents. We applied this methodology to discover genetic markers with parent-of-origin effects (POEs) on BMI. This resulted in six candidate markers showing strong POE association. We then attempted to replicate the POE effects of these markers in family studies (where one can infer the parental origin of the inherited variants). Two of our candidates showed significant association in the family studies, the paternal and maternal effects of these markers were in the opposite direction.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004508
PMCID: PMC4117451  PMID: 25078964
11.  Association of Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease with Chronic Kidney Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(7):e1001680.
In a systematic review and meta-analysis, Giovanni Musso and colleagues examine the association between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and chronic kidney disease.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a frequent, under-recognized condition and a risk factor for renal failure and cardiovascular disease. Increasing evidence connects non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) to CKD. We conducted a meta-analysis to determine whether the presence and severity of NAFLD are associated with the presence and severity of CKD.
Methods and Findings
English and non-English articles from international online databases from 1980 through January 31, 2014 were searched. Observational studies assessing NAFLD by histology, imaging, or biochemistry and defining CKD as either estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) <60 ml/min/1.73 m2 or proteinuria were included. Two reviewers extracted studies independently and in duplicate. Individual participant data (IPD) were solicited from all selected studies. Studies providing IPD were combined with studies providing only aggregate data with the two-stage method. Main outcomes were pooled using random-effects models. Sensitivity and subgroup analyses were used to explore sources of heterogeneity and the effect of potential confounders. The influences of age, whole-body/abdominal obesity, homeostasis model of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), and duration of follow-up on effect estimates were assessed by meta-regression. Thirty-three studies (63,902 participants, 16 population-based and 17 hospital-based, 20 cross-sectional, and 13 longitudinal) were included. For 20 studies (61% of included studies, 11 cross-sectional and nine longitudinal, 29,282 participants), we obtained IPD. NAFLD was associated with an increased risk of prevalent (odds ratio [OR] 2.12, 95% CI 1.69–2.66) and incident (hazard ratio [HR] 1.79, 95% CI 1.65–1.95) CKD. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) was associated with a higher prevalence (OR 2.53, 95% CI 1.58–4.05) and incidence (HR 2.12, 95% CI 1.42–3.17) of CKD than simple steatosis. Advanced fibrosis was associated with a higher prevalence (OR 5.20, 95% CI 3.14–8.61) and incidence (HR 3.29, 95% CI 2.30–4.71) of CKD than non-advanced fibrosis. In all analyses, the magnitude and direction of effects remained unaffected by diabetes status, after adjustment for other risk factors, and in other subgroup and meta-regression analyses. In cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, the severity of NAFLD was positively associated with CKD stages. Limitations of analysis are the relatively small size of studies utilizing liver histology and the suboptimal sensitivity of ultrasound and biochemistry for NAFLD detection in population-based studies.
Conclusion
The presence and severity of NAFLD are associated with an increased risk and severity of CKD.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Chronic kidney disease (CKD)—the gradual loss of kidney function—is becoming increasingly common. In the US, for example, more than 10% of the adult population (about 26 million people) and more than 25% of individuals older than 65 years have CKD. Throughout life, the kidneys perform the essential task of filtering waste products (from the normal breakdown of tissues and from food) and excess water from the blood to make urine. CKD gradually destroys the kidneys' filtration units, the rate of blood filtration decreases, and dangerous amounts of waste products build up in the blood. Symptoms of CKD, which rarely occur until the disease is very advanced, include tiredness, swollen feet, and frequent urination, particularly at night. There is no cure for CKD, but progression of the disease can be slowed by controlling high blood pressure and diabetes (two risk factors for CKD), and by adopting a healthy lifestyle. The same interventions also reduce the chances of CKD developing in the first place.
Why Was This Study Done?
CKD is associated with an increased risk of end-stage renal (kidney) disease and of cardiovascular disease. These life-threatening complications are potentially preventable through early identification and treatment of CKD. Because early recognition of CKD has the potential to reduce its health-related burden, the search is on for new modifiable risk factors for CKD. One possible new risk factor is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which, like CKD is becoming increasingly common. Healthy livers contain little or no fat but, in the US, 30% of the general adult population and up to 70% of patients who are obese or have diabetes have some degree of NAFLD, which ranges in severity from simple fatty liver (steatosis), through non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), to NASH with fibrosis (scarring of the liver) and finally cirrhosis (extensive scarring). In this systematic review and meta-analysis, the researchers investigate whether NAFLD is a risk factor for CKD by looking for an association between the two conditions. A systematic review identifies all the research on a given topic using predefined criteria, meta-analysis uses statistical methods to combine the results of several studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 33 studies that assessed NAFLD and CKD in nearly 64,000 participants, including 20 cross-sectional studies in which participants were assessed for NAFLD and CKD at a single time point and 13 longitudinal studies in which participants were assessed for NAFLD and then followed up to see whether they subsequently developed CKD. Meta-analysis of the data from the cross-sectional studies indicated that NAFLD was associated with a 2-fold increased risk of prevalent (pre-existing) CKD (an odds ratio [OR]of 2.12; an OR indicates the chance that an outcome will occur given a particular exposure, compared to the chance of the outcome occurring in the absence of that exposure). Meta-analysis of data from the longitudinal studies indicated that NAFLD was associated with a nearly 2-fold increased risk of incident (new) CKD (a hazard ratio [HR] of 1.79; an HR indicates often a particular event happens in one group compared to how often it happens in another group, over time). NASH was associated with a higher prevalence and incidence of CKD than simple steatosis. Similarly, advanced fibrosis was associated with a higher prevalence and incidence of CKD than non-advanced fibrosis.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that NAFLD is associated with an increased prevalence and incidence of CKD and that increased severity of liver disease is associated with an increased risk and severity of CKD. Because these associations persist after allowing for established risk factors for CKD, these findings identify NAFLD as an independent CKD risk factor. Certain aspects of the studies included in this meta-analysis (for example, only a few studies used biopsies to diagnose NAFLD; most used less sensitive tests that may have misclassified some individuals with NAFLD as normal) and the methods used in the meta-analysis may limit the accuracy of these findings. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that individuals with NAFLD should be screened for CKD even in the absence of other risk factors for the disease, and that better treatment of NAFLD may help to prevent CKD.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001680.
The US National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse provides information about all aspects of kidney disease; the US National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse provides information about non-alcoholic liver disease
The US National Kidney Disease Education Program provides resources to help improve the understanding, detection, and management of kidney disease (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information for patients on chronic kidney disease, including some personal stories, and information on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
The US National Kidney Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, provides information about chronic kidney disease (in English and Spanish)
The not-for-profit UK National Kidney Federation provides support and information for patients with kidney disease and for their carers
The British Liver Trust, a not-for-profit organization, provides information about non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, including a patient story
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001680
PMCID: PMC4106719  PMID: 25050550
12.  Testosterone, Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin and the Metabolic Syndrome in Men: An Individual Participant Data Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e100409.
Background
Low total testosterone (TT) and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) concentrations have been associated with the metabolic syndrome (MetS) in men, but the reported strength of association varies considerably.
Objectives
We aimed to investigate whether associations differ across specific subgroups (according to age and body mass index (BMI)) and individual MetS components.
Data sources
Two previously published meta-analyses including an updated systematic search in PubMed and EMBASE.
Study Eligibility Criteria
Cross-sectional or prospective observational studies with data on TT and/or SHBG concentrations in combination with MetS in men.
Methods
We conducted an individual participant data meta-analysis of 20 observational studies. Mixed effects models were used to assess cross-sectional and prospective associations of TT, SHBG and free testosterone (FT) with MetS and its individual components. Multivariable adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and hazard ratios (HRs) were calculated and effect modification by age and BMI was studied.
Results
Men with low concentrations of TT, SHBG or FT were more likely to have prevalent MetS (ORs per quartile decrease were 1.69 (95% CI 1.60-1.77), 1.73 (95% CI 1.62-1.85) and 1.46 (95% CI 1.36-1.57) for TT, SHBG and FT, respectively) and incident MetS (HRs per quartile decrease were 1.25 (95% CI 1.16-1.36), 1.44 (95% 1.30-1.60) and 1.14 (95% 1.01-1.28) for TT, SHBG and FT, respectively). Overall, the magnitude of associations was largest in non-overweight men and varied across individual components: stronger associations were observed with hypertriglyceridemia, abdominal obesity and hyperglycaemia and associations were weakest for hypertension.
Conclusions
Associations of testosterone and SHBG with MetS vary according to BMI and individual MetS components. These findings provide further insights into the pathophysiological mechanisms linking low testosterone and SHBG concentrations to cardiometabolic risk.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100409
PMCID: PMC4096400  PMID: 25019163
13.  Large-Scale Genome-Wide Association Studies and Meta-Analyses of Longitudinal Change in Adult Lung Function 
Tang, Wenbo | Kowgier, Matthew | Loth, Daan W. | Soler Artigas, María | Joubert, Bonnie R. | Hodge, Emily | Gharib, Sina A. | Smith, Albert V. | Ruczinski, Ingo | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Mathias, Rasika A. | Harris, Tamara B. | Hansel, Nadia N. | Launer, Lenore J. | Barnes, Kathleen C. | Hansen, Joyanna G. | Albrecht, Eva | Aldrich, Melinda C. | Allerhand, Michael | Barr, R. Graham | Brusselle, Guy G. | Couper, David J. | Curjuric, Ivan | Davies, Gail | Deary, Ian J. | Dupuis, Josée | Fall, Tove | Foy, Millennia | Franceschini, Nora | Gao, Wei | Gläser, Sven | Gu, Xiangjun | Hancock, Dana B. | Heinrich, Joachim | Hofman, Albert | Imboden, Medea | Ingelsson, Erik | James, Alan | Karrasch, Stefan | Koch, Beate | Kritchevsky, Stephen B. | Kumar, Ashish | Lahousse, Lies | Li, Guo | Lind, Lars | Lindgren, Cecilia | Liu, Yongmei | Lohman, Kurt | Lumley, Thomas | McArdle, Wendy L. | Meibohm, Bernd | Morris, Andrew P. | Morrison, Alanna C. | Musk, Bill | North, Kari E. | Palmer, Lyle J. | Probst-Hensch, Nicole M. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Rotter, Jerome I. | Schulz, Holger | Smith, Lewis J. | Sood, Akshay | Starr, John M. | Strachan, David P. | Teumer, Alexander | Uitterlinden, André G. | Völzke, Henry | Voorman, Arend | Wain, Louise V. | Wells, Martin T. | Wilk, Jemma B. | Williams, O. Dale | Heckbert, Susan R. | Stricker, Bruno H. | London, Stephanie J. | Fornage, Myriam | Tobin, Martin D. | O′Connor, George T. | Hall, Ian P. | Cassano, Patricia A.
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e100776.
Background
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified numerous loci influencing cross-sectional lung function, but less is known about genes influencing longitudinal change in lung function.
Methods
We performed GWAS of the rate of change in forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) in 14 longitudinal, population-based cohort studies comprising 27,249 adults of European ancestry using linear mixed effects model and combined cohort-specific results using fixed effect meta-analysis to identify novel genetic loci associated with longitudinal change in lung function. Gene expression analyses were subsequently performed for identified genetic loci. As a secondary aim, we estimated the mean rate of decline in FEV1 by smoking pattern, irrespective of genotypes, across these 14 studies using meta-analysis.
Results
The overall meta-analysis produced suggestive evidence for association at the novel IL16/STARD5/TMC3 locus on chromosome 15 (P  =  5.71 × 10-7). In addition, meta-analysis using the five cohorts with ≥3 FEV1 measurements per participant identified the novel ME3 locus on chromosome 11 (P  =  2.18 × 10-8) at genome-wide significance. Neither locus was associated with FEV1 decline in two additional cohort studies. We confirmed gene expression of IL16, STARD5, and ME3 in multiple lung tissues. Publicly available microarray data confirmed differential expression of all three genes in lung samples from COPD patients compared with controls. Irrespective of genotypes, the combined estimate for FEV1 decline was 26.9, 29.2 and 35.7 mL/year in never, former, and persistent smokers, respectively.
Conclusions
In this large-scale GWAS, we identified two novel genetic loci in association with the rate of change in FEV1 that harbor candidate genes with biologically plausible functional links to lung function.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100776
PMCID: PMC4077649  PMID: 24983941
14.  Blood cis-eQTL Analysis Fails to Identify Novel Association Signals among Sub-Threshold Candidates from Genome-Wide Association Studies in Restless Legs Syndrome 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98092.
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a common neurologic disorder characterized by nightly dysesthesias affecting the legs primarily during periods of rest and relieved by movement. RLS is a complex genetic disease and susceptibility factors in six genomic regions have been identified by means of genome-wide association studies (GWAS). For some complex genetic traits, expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) are enriched among trait-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). With the aim of identifying new genetic susceptibility factors for RLS, we assessed the 332 best-associated SNPs from the genome-wide phase of the to date largest RLS GWAS for cis-eQTL effects in peripheral blood from individuals of European descent. In 740 individuals belonging to the KORA general population cohort, 52 cis-eQTLs with pnominal<10−3 were identified, while in 976 individuals belonging to the SHIP-TREND general population study 53 cis-eQTLs with pnominal<10−3 were present. 23 of these cis-eQTLs overlapped between the two cohorts. Subsequently, the twelve of the 23 cis-eQTL SNPs, which were not located at an already published RLS-associated locus, were tested for association in 2449 RLS cases and 1462 controls. The top SNP, located in the DET1 gene, was nominally significant (p<0.05) but did not withstand correction for multiple testing (p = 0.42). Although a similar approach has been used successfully with regard to other complex diseases, we were unable to identify new genetic susceptibility factor for RLS by adding this novel level of functional assessment to RLS GWAS data.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0098092
PMCID: PMC4038519  PMID: 24875634
15.  Cohort profile: Greifswald approach to individualized medicine (GANI_MED) 
Background
Individualized Medicine aims at providing optimal treatment for an individual patient at a given time based on his specific genetic and molecular characteristics. This requires excellent clinical stratification of patients as well as the availability of genomic data and biomarkers as prerequisites for the development of novel diagnostic tools and therapeutic strategies. The University Medicine Greifswald, Germany, has launched the “Greifswald Approach to Individualized Medicine” (GANI_MED) project to address major challenges of Individualized Medicine. Herein, we describe the implementation of the scientific and clinical infrastructure that allows future translation of findings relevant to Individualized Medicine into clinical practice.
Methods/design
Clinical patient cohorts (N > 5,000) with an emphasis on metabolic and cardiovascular diseases are being established following a standardized protocol for the assessment of medical history, laboratory biomarkers, and the collection of various biosamples for bio-banking purposes. A multi-omics based biomarker assessment including genome-wide genotyping, transcriptome, metabolome, and proteome analyses complements the multi-level approach of GANI_MED. Comparisons with the general background population as characterized by our Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP) are performed. A central data management structure has been implemented to capture and integrate all relevant clinical data for research purposes. Ethical research projects on informed consent procedures, reporting of incidental findings, and economic evaluations were launched in parallel.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-12-144
PMCID: PMC4040487  PMID: 24886498
Personalized Medicine; Individualized Medicine; Epidemiology
16.  Incidence of All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Predicted by Symmetric Dimethylarginine in the Population-Based Study of Health in Pomerania 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96875.
Background
L-Arginine and its dimethylated derivatives asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) and symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA) have been associated with cardiovascular (CV) and all-cause mortality in populations at risk. The present study aimed to investigate the prognostic value of L-arginine and its derivatives in the general population.
Methods and Results
We evaluated 3,952 individuals (1,936 men and 2,016 women) aged 20–81 (median (IQR) 51 (37; 64) years) from the population-based Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP). Associations of continuous [per standard deviation (SD) increase] and categorized (age- and sex-specific tertiles) serum L-arginine, ADMA, and SDMA concentrations with all-cause and cause-specific mortality were analysed. During a median (IQR) follow-up period of 10.1 (9.3; 10.8) years (38,476 person-years), 426 deaths (10.8%) were observed, including 139 CV deaths (3.5%), and 150 cancer deaths (3.8%). After multivariable adjustment, we revealed a positive association of SDMA with all-cause [hazard ratio (HR) per SD increase: 1.16, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.07–1.25] and CV mortality [HR: 1.19, 95% CI: 1.05–1.35]. In contrast, we did not observe any association of SDMA with cancer mortality. Neither L-arginine nor ADMA were associated with all-cause or CV mortality.
Conclusion
SDMA, but not ADMA, is an independent predictor of all-cause and CV mortality in a large population-based cohort of European ancestry.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096875
PMCID: PMC4018357  PMID: 24819070
17.  Mitochondrial DNA Variants in Obesity 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e94882.
Heritability estimates for body mass index (BMI) variation are high. For mothers and their offspring higher BMI correlations have been described than for fathers. Variation(s) in the exclusively maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) might contribute to this parental effect. Thirty-two to 40 mtDNA single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were available from genome-wide association study SNP arrays (Affymetrix 6.0). For discovery, we analyzed association in a case-control (CC) sample of 1,158 extremely obese children and adolescents and 435 lean adult controls. For independent confirmation, 7,014 population-based adults were analyzed as CC sample of n = 1,697 obese cases (BMI≥30 kg/m2) and n = 2,373 normal weight and lean controls (BMI<25 kg/m2). SNPs were analyzed as single SNPs and haplogroups determined by HaploGrep. Fisher's two-sided exact test was used for association testing. Moreover, the D-loop was re-sequenced (Sanger) in 192 extremely obese children and adolescents and 192 lean adult controls. Association testing of detected variants was performed using Fisher's two-sided exact test. For discovery, nominal association with obesity was found for the frequent allele G of m.8994G/A (rs28358887, p = 0.002) located in ATP6. Haplogroup W was nominally overrepresented in the controls (p = 0.039). These findings could not be confirmed independently. For two of the 252 identified D-loop variants nominal association was detected (m.16292C/T, p = 0.007, m.16189T/C, p = 0.048). Only eight controls carried the m.16292T allele, five of whom belonged to haplogroup W that was initially enriched among these controls. m.16189T/C might create an uninterrupted poly-C tract located near a regulatory element involved in replication of mtDNA. Though follow-up of some D-loop variants still is conceivable, our hypothesis of a contribution of variation in the exclusively maternally inherited mtDNA to the observed larger correlations for BMI between mothers and their offspring could not be substantiated by the findings of the present study.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094882
PMCID: PMC4008486  PMID: 24788344
18.  Mapping the Genetic Architecture of Gene Regulation in Whole Blood 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e93844.
Background
We aimed to assess whether whole blood expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) with effects in cis and trans are robust and can be used to identify regulatory pathways affecting disease susceptibility.
Materials and Methods
We performed whole-genome eQTL analyses in 890 participants of the KORA F4 study and in two independent replication samples (SHIP-TREND, N = 976 and EGCUT, N = 842) using linear regression models and Bonferroni correction.
Results
In the KORA F4 study, 4,116 cis-eQTLs (defined as SNP-probe pairs where the SNP is located within a 500 kb window around the transcription unit) and 94 trans-eQTLs reached genome-wide significance and overall 91% (92% of cis-, 84% of trans-eQTLs) were confirmed in at least one of the two replication studies. Different study designs including distinct laboratory reagents (PAXgene™ vs. Tempus™ tubes) did not affect reproducibility (separate overall replication overlap: 78% and 82%). Immune response pathways were enriched in cis- and trans-eQTLs and significant cis-eQTLs were partly coexistent in other tissues (cross-tissue similarity 40–70%). Furthermore, four chromosomal regions displayed simultaneous impact on multiple gene expression levels in trans, and 746 eQTL-SNPs have been previously reported to have clinical relevance. We demonstrated cross-associations between eQTL-SNPs, gene expression levels in trans, and clinical phenotypes as well as a link between eQTLs and human metabolic traits via modification of gene regulation in cis.
Conclusions
Our data suggest that whole blood is a robust tissue for eQTL analysis and may be used both for biomarker studies and to enhance our understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying gene-disease associations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093844
PMCID: PMC3989189  PMID: 24740359
20.  A Genome-Wide Association Study of Depressive Symptoms 
Hek, Karin | Demirkan, Ayse | Lahti, Jari | Terracciano, Antonio | Teumer, Alexander | Cornelis, Marilyn C. | Amin, Najaf | Bakshis, Erin | Baumert, Jens | Ding, Jingzhong | Liu, Yongmei | Marciante, Kristin | Meirelles, Osorio | Nalls, Michael A. | Sun, Yan V. | Vogelzangs, Nicole | Yu, Lei | Bandinelli, Stefania | Benjamin, Emelia J. | Bennett, David A. | Boomsma, Dorret | Cannas, Alessandra | Coker, Laura H. | de Geus, Eco | De Jager, Philip L. | Diez-Roux, Ana V. | Purcell, Shaun | Hu, Frank B. | Rimma, Eric B. | Hunter, David J. | Jensen, Majken K. | Curhan, Gary | Rice, Kenneth | Penman, Alan D. | Rotter, Jerome I. | Sotoodehnia, Nona | Emeny, Rebecca | Eriksson, Johan G. | Evans, Denis A. | Ferrucci, Luigi | Fornage, Myriam | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Hofman, Albert | Illig, Thomas | Kardia, Sharon | Kelly-Hayes, Margaret | Koenen, Karestan | Kraft, Peter | Kuningas, Maris | Massaro, Joseph M. | Melzer, David | Mulas, Antonella | Mulder, Cornelis L. | Murray, Anna | Oostra, Ben A. | Palotie, Aarno | Penninx, Brenda | Petersmann, Astrid | Pilling, Luke C. | Psaty, Bruce | Rawal, Rajesh | Reiman, Eric M. | Schulz, Andrea | Shulman, Joshua M. | Singleton, Andrew B. | Smith, Albert V. | Sutin, Angelina R. | Uitterlinden, André G. | Völzke, Henry | Widen, Elisabeth | Yaffe, Kristine | Zonderman, Alan B. | Cucca, Francesco | Harris, Tamara | Ladwig, Karl-Heinz | Llewellyn, David J. | Räikkönen, Katri | Tanaka, Toshiko | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Grabe, Hans J. | Launer, Lenore J. | Lunetta, Kathryn L. | Mosley, Thomas H. | Newman, Anne B. | Tiemeier, Henning | Murabito, Joanne
Biological psychiatry  2013;73(7):10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.09.033.
Background
Depression is a heritable trait that exists on a continuum of varying severity and duration. Yet, the search for genetic variants associated with depression has had few successes. We exploit the entire continuum of depression to find common variants for depressive symptoms.
Methods
In this genome-wide association study, we combined the results of 17 population-based studies assessing depressive symptoms with the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. Replication of the independent top hits (p < 1 × 10−5) was performed in five studies assessing depressive symptoms with other instruments. In addition, we performed a combined meta-analysis of all 22 discovery and replication studies.
Results
The discovery sample comprised 34,549 individuals (mean age of 66.5) and no loci reached genome-wide significance (lowest p = 1.05 × 10−7). Seven independent single nucleotide polymorphisms were considered for replication. In the replication set (n = 16,709), we found suggestive association of one single nucleotide polymorphism with depressive symptoms (rs161645, 5q21, p = 9.19 × 10−3). This 5q21 region reached genome-wide significance (p = 4.78 × 10−8) in the overall meta-analysis combining discovery and replication studies (n = 51,258).
Conclusions
The results suggest that only a large sample comprising more than 50,000 subjects may be sufficiently powered to detect genes for depressive symptoms.
doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.09.033
PMCID: PMC3845085  PMID: 23290196
Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale; CHARGE consortium; depression; depressive symptoms; genetics; genome-wide association study; meta-analysis
21.  Aldosterone and glomerular filtration – observations in the general population 
BMC Nephrology  2014;15:44.
Background
Increasing evidence suggests that aldosterone promotes renal damage. Since data on the association between aldosterone and renal function in the general population are sparse, we chose to address this issue. We investigated the associations between the plasma aldosterone concentration (PAC) or the aldosterone-to-renin ratio (ARR) and the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) in a sample of adult men and women from Northeast Germany.
Methods
A study population of 1921 adult men and women who participated in the first follow-up of the Study of Health in Pomerania was selected. None of the subjects used drugs that alter PAC or ARR. The eGFR was calculated according to the four-variable Modification of Diet in Renal Disease formula. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) was defined as an eGFR <60 ml/min/1.73 m2.
Results
Linear regression models, adjusted for sex, age, waist circumference, diabetes mellitus, smoking status, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, serum triglyceride concentrations and time of blood sampling revealed inverse associations of PAC or ARR with eGFR (ß-coefficient for log-transformed PAC −3.12, p < 0.001; ß-coefficient for log-transformed ARR −3.36, p < 0.001). Logistic regression models revealed increased odds for CKD with increasing PAC (odds ratio for a one standard deviation increase in PAC: 1.35, 95% confidence interval: 1.06-1.71). There was no statistically significant association between ARR and CKD.
Conclusion
Our study demonstrates that PAC and ARR are inversely associated with the glomerular filtration rate in the general population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-15-44
PMCID: PMC3975288  PMID: 24612948
Aldosterone; Aldosteronism; Epidemiology; Glomerular Filtration; Renal function
22.  Distinct Loci in the CHRNA5/CHRNA3/CHRNB4 Gene Cluster Are Associated With Onset of Regular Smoking 
Stephens, Sarah H. | Hartz, Sarah M. | Hoft, Nicole R. | Saccone, Nancy L. | Corley, Robin C. | Hewitt, John K. | Hopfer, Christian J. | Breslau, Naomi | Coon, Hilary | Chen, Xiangning | Ducci, Francesca | Dueker, Nicole | Franceschini, Nora | Frank, Josef | Han, Younghun | Hansel, Nadia N. | Jiang, Chenhui | Korhonen, Tellervo | Lind, Penelope A. | Liu, Jason | Lyytikäinen, Leo-Pekka | Michel, Martha | Shaffer, John R. | Short, Susan E. | Sun, Juzhong | Teumer, Alexander | Thompson, John R. | Vogelzangs, Nicole | Vink, Jacqueline M. | Wenzlaff, Angela | Wheeler, William | Yang, Bao-Zhu | Aggen, Steven H. | Balmforth, Anthony J. | Baumeister, Sebastian E. | Beaty, Terri H. | Benjamin, Daniel J. | Bergen, Andrew W. | Broms, Ulla | Cesarini, David | Chatterjee, Nilanjan | Chen, Jingchun | Cheng, Yu-Ching | Cichon, Sven | Couper, David | Cucca, Francesco | Dick, Danielle | Foroud, Tatiana | Furberg, Helena | Giegling, Ina | Gillespie, Nathan A. | Gu, Fangyi | Hall, Alistair S. | Hällfors, Jenni | Han, Shizhong | Hartmann, Annette M. | Heikkilä, Kauko | Hickie, Ian B. | Hottenga, Jouke Jan | Jousilahti, Pekka | Kaakinen, Marika | Kähönen, Mika | Koellinger, Philipp D. | Kittner, Stephen | Konte, Bettina | Landi, Maria-Teresa | Laatikainen, Tiina | Leppert, Mark | Levy, Steven M. | Mathias, Rasika A. | McNeil, Daniel W. | Medland, Sarah E. | Montgomery, Grant W. | Murray, Tanda | Nauck, Matthias | North, Kari E. | Paré, Peter D. | Pergadia, Michele | Ruczinski, Ingo | Salomaa, Veikko | Viikari, Jorma | Willemsen, Gonneke | Barnes, Kathleen C. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Caporaso, Neil | Edenberg, Howard J. | Francks, Clyde | Gelernter, Joel | Grabe, Hans Jörgen | Hops, Hyman | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Johannesson, Magnus | Kendler, Kenneth S. | Lehtimäki, Terho | Magnusson, Patrik K.E. | Marazita, Mary L. | Marchini, Jonathan | Mitchell, Braxton D. | Nöthen, Markus M. | Penninx, Brenda W. | Raitakari, Olli | Rietschel, Marcella | Rujescu, Dan | Samani, Nilesh J. | Schwartz, Ann G. | Shete, Sanjay | Spitz, Margaret | Swan, Gary E. | Völzke, Henry | Veijola, Juha | Wei, Qingyi | Amos, Chris | Cannon, Dale S. | Grucza, Richard | Hatsukami, Dorothy | Heath, Andrew | Johnson, Eric O. | Kaprio, Jaakko | Madden, Pamela | Martin, Nicholas G. | Stevens, Victoria L. | Weiss, Robert B. | Kraft, Peter | Bierut, Laura J. | Ehringer, Marissa A.
Genetic epidemiology  2013;37(8):846-859.
Neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) genes (CHRNA5/CHRNA3/CHRNB4) have been reproducibly associated with nicotine dependence, smoking behaviors, and lung cancer risk. Of the few reports that have focused on early smoking behaviors, association results have been mixed. This meta-analysis examines early smoking phenotypes and SNPs in the gene cluster to determine: (1) whether the most robust association signal in this region (rs16969968) for other smoking behaviors is also associated with early behaviors, and/or (2) if additional statistically independent signals are important in early smoking. We focused on two phenotypes: age of tobacco initiation (AOI) and age of first regular tobacco use (AOS). This study included 56,034 subjects (41 groups) spanning nine countries and evaluated five SNPs including rs1948, rs16969968, rs578776, rs588765, and rs684513. Each dataset was analyzed using a centrally generated script. Meta-analyses were conducted from summary statistics. AOS yielded significant associations with SNPs rs578776 (beta = 0.02, P = 0.004), rs1948 (beta = 0.023, P = 0.018), and rs684513 (beta = 0.032, P = 0.017), indicating protective effects. There were no significant associations for the AOI phenotype. Importantly, rs16969968, the most replicated signal in this region for nicotine dependence, cigarettes per day, and cotinine levels, was not associated with AOI (P = 0.59) or AOS (P = 0.92). These results provide important insight into the complexity of smoking behavior phenotypes, and suggest that association signals in the CHRNA5/A3/B4 gene cluster affecting early smoking behaviors may be different from those affecting the mature nicotine dependence phenotype.
doi:10.1002/gepi.21760
PMCID: PMC3947535  PMID: 24186853
CHRNA5; CHRNA3; CHRNB4; meta-analysis; nicotine; smoke
23.  R2* Estimation using “In-Phase” Echoes in the Presence of Fat: The Effects of Complex Spectrum of Fat 
Purpose
To investigate R2* mapping robustness in the presence of fat using in-phase echoes, without and with spectral modeling of fat (single-peak and multi-peak models, respectively), using varying numbers of echoes.
Materials and Methods
Data from 88 volunteers (men/women: 52/36, ages: 55.4±12.2) were randomly chosen according to MRI liver fat-fraction (%), and classified into 6 fat-fraction groups (1: 20 cases, 0–<10%; 2: 20 cases, 10–<20%; 3: 20 cases, 20–<30%; 4: 20 cases, 30–<40%; 5: 8 cases >40% liver fat; 6: subcutaneous fat from all cases). R2* maps obtained from 5 in-phase echoes (echo times: 4.8–23.8ms) were retrospectively reconstructed using single-peak and multi-peak fat modeling. R2* maps were also calculated using different numbers (2–5) of echoes.
Results
Multi-peak fat corrected R2* mapping is feasible from in-phase echoes, with noise performance comparable to single-peak R2* when using ≥4 echoes. Single-peak R2* showed poor robustness to varying echo time combinations in the presence of fat, where using few echoes resulted in large errors. These errors can be reduced using more echoes, or fully corrected using multi-peak fat modeling. The mean R2* increased significantly with increasing fat-fraction when using single-peak R2* for any TE combination (p<0.001), but did not vary when using multi-peak R2* for any TE combination (p≥0.158).
Conclusion
R2* mapping uncorrected for spectral complexity of fat contains protocol and fat-dependent errors (lack of robustness) in tissues with high fat content. Accounting for complex fat spectrum improves robustness and accuracy of signal fitting, with modest noise performance loss.
doi:10.1002/jmri.23851
PMCID: PMC3578028  PMID: 23055408
R2*; liver; in-phase; fat; multi-peak
24.  Identification of Novel Genetic Loci Associated with Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies and Clinical Thyroid Disease 
Medici, Marco | Porcu, Eleonora | Pistis, Giorgio | Teumer, Alexander | Brown, Suzanne J. | Jensen, Richard A. | Rawal, Rajesh | Roef, Greet L. | Plantinga, Theo S. | Vermeulen, Sita H. | Lahti, Jari | Simmonds, Matthew J. | Husemoen, Lise Lotte N. | Freathy, Rachel M. | Shields, Beverley M. | Pietzner, Diana | Nagy, Rebecca | Broer, Linda | Chaker, Layal | Korevaar, Tim I. M. | Plia, Maria Grazia | Sala, Cinzia | Völker, Uwe | Richards, J. Brent | Sweep, Fred C. | Gieger, Christian | Corre, Tanguy | Kajantie, Eero | Thuesen, Betina | Taes, Youri E. | Visser, W. Edward | Hattersley, Andrew T. | Kratzsch, Jürgen | Hamilton, Alexander | Li, Wei | Homuth, Georg | Lobina, Monia | Mariotti, Stefano | Soranzo, Nicole | Cocca, Massimiliano | Nauck, Matthias | Spielhagen, Christin | Ross, Alec | Arnold, Alice | van de Bunt, Martijn | Liyanarachchi, Sandya | Heier, Margit | Grabe, Hans Jörgen | Masciullo, Corrado | Galesloot, Tessel E. | Lim, Ee M. | Reischl, Eva | Leedman, Peter J. | Lai, Sandra | Delitala, Alessandro | Bremner, Alexandra P. | Philips, David I. W. | Beilby, John P. | Mulas, Antonella | Vocale, Matteo | Abecasis, Goncalo | Forsen, Tom | James, Alan | Widen, Elisabeth | Hui, Jennie | Prokisch, Holger | Rietzschel, Ernst E. | Palotie, Aarno | Feddema, Peter | Fletcher, Stephen J. | Schramm, Katharina | Rotter, Jerome I. | Kluttig, Alexander | Radke, Dörte | Traglia, Michela | Surdulescu, Gabriela L. | He, Huiling | Franklyn, Jayne A. | Tiller, Daniel | Vaidya, Bijay | de Meyer, Tim | Jørgensen, Torben | Eriksson, Johan G. | O'Leary, Peter C. | Wichmann, Eric | Hermus, Ad R. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Ittermann, Till | Hofman, Albert | Bosi, Emanuele | Schlessinger, David | Wallaschofski, Henri | Pirastu, Nicola | Aulchenko, Yurii S. | de la Chapelle, Albert | Netea-Maier, Romana T. | Gough, Stephen C. L. | Meyer zu Schwabedissen, Henriette | Frayling, Timothy M. | Kaufman, Jean-Marc | Linneberg, Allan | Räikkönen, Katri | Smit, Johannes W. A. | Kiemeney, Lambertus A. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Uitterlinden, André G. | Walsh, John P. | Meisinger, Christa | den Heijer, Martin | Visser, Theo J. | Spector, Timothy D. | Wilson, Scott G. | Völzke, Henry | Cappola, Anne | Toniolo, Daniela | Sanna, Serena | Naitza, Silvia | Peeters, Robin P.
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(2):e1004123.
Autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD) are common, affecting 2-5% of the general population. Individuals with positive thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAbs) have an increased risk of autoimmune hypothyroidism (Hashimoto's thyroiditis), as well as autoimmune hyperthyroidism (Graves' disease). As the possible causative genes of TPOAbs and AITD remain largely unknown, we performed GWAS meta-analyses in 18,297 individuals for TPOAb-positivity (1769 TPOAb-positives and 16,528 TPOAb-negatives) and in 12,353 individuals for TPOAb serum levels, with replication in 8,990 individuals. Significant associations (P<5×10−8) were detected at TPO-rs11675434, ATXN2-rs653178, and BACH2-rs10944479 for TPOAb-positivity, and at TPO-rs11675434, MAGI3-rs1230666, and KALRN-rs2010099 for TPOAb levels. Individual and combined effects (genetic risk scores) of these variants on (subclinical) hypo- and hyperthyroidism, goiter and thyroid cancer were studied. Individuals with a high genetic risk score had, besides an increased risk of TPOAb-positivity (OR: 2.18, 95% CI 1.68–2.81, P = 8.1×10−8), a higher risk of increased thyroid-stimulating hormone levels (OR: 1.51, 95% CI 1.26–1.82, P = 2.9×10−6), as well as a decreased risk of goiter (OR: 0.77, 95% CI 0.66–0.89, P = 6.5×10−4). The MAGI3 and BACH2 variants were associated with an increased risk of hyperthyroidism, which was replicated in an independent cohort of patients with Graves' disease (OR: 1.37, 95% CI 1.22–1.54, P = 1.2×10−7 and OR: 1.25, 95% CI 1.12–1.39, P = 6.2×10−5). The MAGI3 variant was also associated with an increased risk of hypothyroidism (OR: 1.57, 95% CI 1.18–2.10, P = 1.9×10−3). This first GWAS meta-analysis for TPOAbs identified five newly associated loci, three of which were also associated with clinical thyroid disease. With these markers we identified a large subgroup in the general population with a substantially increased risk of TPOAbs. The results provide insight into why individuals with thyroid autoimmunity do or do not eventually develop thyroid disease, and these markers may therefore predict which TPOAb-positives are particularly at risk of developing clinical thyroid dysfunction.
Author Summary
Individuals with thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAbs) have an increased risk of autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD), which are common in the general population and associated with increased cardiovascular, metabolic and psychiatric morbidity and mortality. As the causative genes of TPOAbs and AITD remain largely unknown, we performed a genome-wide scan for TPOAbs in 18,297 individuals, with replication in 8,990 individuals. Significant associations were detected with variants at TPO, ATXN2, BACH2, MAGI3, and KALRN. Individuals carrying multiple risk variants also had a higher risk of increased thyroid-stimulating hormone levels (including subclinical and overt hypothyroidism), and a decreased risk of goiter. The MAGI3 and BACH2 variants were associated with an increased risk of hyperthyroidism, and the MAGI3 variant was also associated with an increased risk of hypothyroidism. This first genome-wide scan for TPOAbs identified five newly associated loci, three of which were also associated with clinical thyroid disease. With these markers we identified a large subgroup in the general population with a substantially increased risk of TPOAbs. These results provide insight into why individuals with thyroid autoimmunity do or do not eventually develop thyroid disease, and these markers may therefore predict which individuals are particularly at risk of developing clinical thyroid dysfunction.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004123
PMCID: PMC3937134  PMID: 24586183
25.  Carotid intima-media thickness progression to predict cardiovascular events in the general population (the PROG-IMT collaborative project): a meta-analysis of individual participant data 
Lancet  2012;379(9831):2053-2062.
Summary
Background
Carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) is related to the risk of cardiovascular events in the general population. An association between changes in cIMT and cardiovascular risk is frequently assumed but has rarely been reported. Our aim was to test this association.
Methods
We identified general population studies that assessed cIMT at least twice and followed up participants for myocardial infarction, stroke, or death. The study teams collaborated in an individual participant data meta-analysis. Excluding individuals with previous myocardial infarction or stroke, we assessed the association between cIMT progression and the risk of cardiovascular events (myocardial infarction, stroke, vascular death, or a combination of these) for each study with Cox regression. The log hazard ratios (HRs) per SD difference were pooled by random effects meta-analysis.
Findings
Of 21 eligible studies, 16 with 36 984 participants were included. During a mean follow-up of 7·0 years, 1519 myocardial infarctions, 1339 strokes, and 2028 combined endpoints (myocardial infarction, stroke, vascular death) occurred. Yearly cIMT progression was derived from two ultrasound visits 2–7 years (median 4 years) apart. For mean common carotid artery intima-media thickness progression, the overall HR of the combined endpoint was 0·97 (95% CI 0·94–1·00) when adjusted for age, sex, and mean common carotid artery intima-media thickness, and 0·98 (0·95–1·01) when also adjusted for vascular risk factors. Although we detected no associations with cIMT progression in sensitivity analyses, the mean cIMT of the two ultrasound scans was positively and robustly associated with cardiovascular risk (HR for the combined endpoint 1·16, 95% CI 1·10–1·22, adjusted for age, sex, mean common carotid artery intima-media thickness progression, and vascular risk factors). In three studies including 3439 participants who had four ultrasound scans, cIMT progression did not correlate between occassions (reproducibility correlations between r=−0·06 and r=−0·02).
Interpretation
The association between cIMT progression assessed from two ultrasound scans and cardiovascular risk in the general population remains unproven. No conclusion can be derived for the use of cIMT progression as a surrogate in clinical trials.
Funding
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.
doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60441-3
PMCID: PMC3918517  PMID: 22541275

Results 1-25 (112)