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1.  Predicting Survival with Good Neurological Outcome Within 24 Hours Following Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest:The Application and Validation of a Novel Clinical Score 
Despite 50 years of research, prognostication post cardiac arrest traditionally occurs at 72 hours. We tested the accuracy of a novel bedside score within 24 hours of hospital admission, in predicting neurologically intact survival.
We studied 192 adults following non-traumatic out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. In a 50% random modeling sample, a model for survival to discharge with good neurological outcome was developed using univariate analysis and stepwise multivariate logistic regression for predictor selection. The diagnostic efficiency of this modeled score was assessed in the remaining 50% sample using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis.
In this study, 20% of patients survived to discharge with good neurological outcome. The final logistic regression model in the modeling sample retained three predictors: initial rhythm Ventricular Fibrillation, Return of Spontaneous Circulation ≤ 20 minutes from collapse, and Brainstem Reflex Score ≥ 3 within 24 hours. These variables were used to develop a three-point Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest score. The area under the (ROC) curve was 0.84 [95% CI, 0.75–0.93] in the modeling sample and 0.92 [95% CI, 0.87–0.98] in the validation sample. A score ≥ 2 predicted good neurological outcome with a sensitivity of 79%, a specificity of 92%, and a negative predictive value of 93%. A score ≥1 had a sensitivity of 100% and a negative predictive value of 100%; however, the specificity was only 55%.
This study demonstrates that a score based on clinical and easily accessible variables within 24 hours can predict neurologically intact survival following cardiac arrest.
PMCID: PMC4550201  PMID: 26322336
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation; Heart arrest; Sudden death; Prognosis; Survival
2.  Association of Parity with Carotid Diameter and Distensibility: Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Hypertension  2014;64(2):253-258.
Pregnancy and childbirth are associated with hemodynamic changes and vascular remodeling. It is not known whether parity is associated with later adverse vascular properties such as larger arterial diameter, wall thickness and lower distensibility.
We used baseline data from 3283 women free of cardiovascular disease aged 45-84 years enrolled in the population based Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Participants self-reported parity status. Ultrasound derived carotid artery lumen diameters and brachial artery blood pressures were measured at peak-systole and end-diastole. Common carotid intima media thickness (cIMT) was also measured. Regression models to determine the association of carotid distensibility coefficient, lumen diameter, and cIMT with parity were adjusted for age, race, height, weight, diabetes, current smoking, BP medication use, total and high density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.
The prevalence of nulliparity was 18%. In adjusted models, carotid distensibility coefficient was 0.09 × 10−5Pa−1 lower (p = 0.009) in parous vs. nulliparous women. Among parous women, there was a nonlinear association with the greatest carotid DC seen in women with 2 live births, and significantly lower distensibility seen in primiparas (p=0.04) or with higher parity > 2 (p=0.005). No such pattern of association with parity was found for lumen diameter or cIMT.
Parity is associated with lower carotid artery distensibility, suggesting arterial remodeling that lasts beyond childbirth. These long-term effects on the vasculature may explain the association of parity with cardiovascular events later in life.
PMCID: PMC4184976  PMID: 24842921
common carotid artery; arterial stiffness; carotid intima-media thickness; women; pregnancy
3.  Pleiotropic genes for metabolic syndrome and inflammation 
Molecular genetics and metabolism  2014;112(4):317-338.
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) has become a health and financial burden worldwide. The MetS definition captures clustering of risk factors that predict higher risk for diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. Our study hypothesis is that additional to genes influencing individual MetS risk factors, genetic variants exist that influence MetS and inflammatory markers forming a predisposing MetS genetic network. To test this hypothesis a staged approach was undertaken. (a) We analyzed 17 metabolic and inflammatory traits in more than 85,500 participants from 14 large epidemiological studies within the Cross Consortia Pleiotropy Group. Individuals classified with MetS (NCEP definition), versus those without, showed on average significantly different levels for most inflammatory markers studied. (b) Paired average correlations between 8 metabolic traits and 9 inflammatory markers from the same studies as above, estimated with two methods, and factor analyses on large simulated data, helped in identifying 8 combinations of traits for follow-up in meta-analyses, out of 130,305 possible combinations between metabolic traits and inflammatory markers studied. (c) We performed correlated meta-analyses for 8 metabolic traits and 6 inflammatory markers by using existing GWAS published genetic summary results, with about 2.5 million SNPs from twelve predominantly largest GWAS consortia. These analyses yielded 130 unique SNPs/genes with pleiotropic associations (a SNP/gene associating at least one metabolic trait and one inflammatory marker). Of them twenty-five variants (seven loci newly reported) are proposed as MetS candidates. They map to genes MACF1, KIAA0754, GCKR, GRB14, COBLL1, LOC646736-IRS1, SLC39A8, NELFE, SKIV2L, STK19, TFAP2B, BAZ1B, BCL7B, TBL2, MLXIPL, LPL, TRIB1, ATXN2, HECTD4, PTPN11, ZNF664, PDXDC1, FTO, MC4R and TOMM40. Based on large data evidence, we conclude that inflammation is a feature of MetS and several gene variants show pleiotropic genetic associations across phenotypes and might explain a part of MetS correlated genetic architecture. These findings warrant further functional investigation.
PMCID: PMC4122618  PMID: 24981077
4.  Low-frequency and rare exome chip variants associate with fasting glucose and type 2 diabetes susceptibility 
Wessel, Jennifer | Chu, Audrey Y. | Willems, Sara M. | Wang, Shuai | Yaghootkar, Hanieh | Brody, Jennifer A. | Dauriz, Marco | Hivert, Marie-France | Raghavan, Sridharan | Lipovich, Leonard | Hidalgo, Bertha | Fox, Keolu | Huffman, Jennifer E. | An, Ping | Lu, Yingchang | Rasmussen-Torvik, Laura J. | Grarup, Niels | Ehm, Margaret G. | Li, Li | Baldridge, Abigail S. | Stančáková, Alena | Abrol, Ravinder | Besse, Céline | Boland, Anne | Bork-Jensen, Jette | Fornage, Myriam | Freitag, Daniel F. | Garcia, Melissa E. | Guo, Xiuqing | Hara, Kazuo | Isaacs, Aaron | Jakobsdottir, Johanna | Lange, Leslie A. | Layton, Jill C. | Li, Man | Zhao, Jing Hua | Meidtner, Karina | Morrison, Alanna C. | Nalls, Mike A. | Peters, Marjolein J. | Sabater-Lleal, Maria | Schurmann, Claudia | Silveira, Angela | Smith, Albert V. | Southam, Lorraine | Stoiber, Marcus H. | Strawbridge, Rona J. | Taylor, Kent D. | Varga, Tibor V. | Allin, Kristine H. | Amin, Najaf | Aponte, Jennifer L. | Aung, Tin | Barbieri, Caterina | Bihlmeyer, Nathan A. | Boehnke, Michael | Bombieri, Cristina | Bowden, Donald W. | Burns, Sean M. | Chen, Yuning | Chen, Yii-Der I. | Cheng, Ching-Yu | Correa, Adolfo | Czajkowski, Jacek | Dehghan, Abbas | Ehret, Georg B. | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Escher, Stefan A. | Farmaki, Aliki-Eleni | Frånberg, Mattias | Gambaro, Giovanni | Giulianini, Franco | III, William A. Goddard | Goel, Anuj | Gottesman, Omri | Grove, Megan L. | Gustafsson, Stefan | Hai, Yang | Hallmans, Göran | Heo, Jiyoung | Hoffmann, Per | Ikram, Mohammad K. | Jensen, Richard A. | Jørgensen, Marit E. | Jørgensen, Torben | Karaleftheri, Maria | Khor, Chiea C. | Kirkpatrick, Andrea | Kraja, Aldi T. | Kuusisto, Johanna | Lange, Ethan M. | Lee, I.T. | Lee, Wen-Jane | Leong, Aaron | Liao, Jiemin | Liu, Chunyu | Liu, Yongmei | Lindgren, Cecilia M. | Linneberg, Allan | Malerba, Giovanni | Mamakou, Vasiliki | Marouli, Eirini | Maruthur, Nisa M. | Matchan, Angela | McKean, Roberta | McLeod, Olga | Metcalf, Ginger A. | Mohlke, Karen L. | Muzny, Donna M. | Ntalla, Ioanna | Palmer, Nicholette D. | Pasko, Dorota | Peter, Andreas | Rayner, Nigel W. | Renström, Frida | Rice, Ken | Sala, Cinzia F. | Sennblad, Bengt | Serafetinidis, Ioannis | Smith, Jennifer A. | Soranzo, Nicole | Speliotes, Elizabeth K. | Stahl, Eli A. | Stirrups, Kathleen | Tentolouris, Nikos | Thanopoulou, Anastasia | Torres, Mina | Traglia, Michela | Tsafantakis, Emmanouil | Javad, Sundas | Yanek, Lisa R. | Zengini, Eleni | Becker, Diane M. | Bis, Joshua C. | Brown, James B. | Cupples, L. Adrienne | Hansen, Torben | Ingelsson, Erik | Karter, Andrew J. | Lorenzo, Carlos | Mathias, Rasika A. | Norris, Jill M. | Peloso, Gina M. | Sheu, Wayne H.-H. | Toniolo, Daniela | Vaidya, Dhananjay | Varma, Rohit | Wagenknecht, Lynne E. | Boeing, Heiner | Bottinger, Erwin P. | Dedoussis, George | Deloukas, Panos | Ferrannini, Ele | Franco, Oscar H. | Franks, Paul W. | Gibbs, Richard A. | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Hamsten, Anders | Harris, Tamara B. | Hattersley, Andrew T. | Hayward, Caroline | Hofman, Albert | Jansson, Jan-Håkan | Langenberg, Claudia | Launer, Lenore J. | Levy, Daniel | Oostra, Ben A. | O'Donnell, Christopher J. | O'Rahilly, Stephen | Padmanabhan, Sandosh | Pankow, James S. | Polasek, Ozren | Province, Michael A. | Rich, Stephen S. | Ridker, Paul M | Rudan, Igor | Schulze, Matthias B. | Smith, Blair H. | Uitterlinden, André G. | Walker, Mark | Watkins, Hugh | Wong, Tien Y. | Zeggini, Eleftheria | Scotland, Generation | Laakso, Markku | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Chasman, Daniel I. | Pedersen, Oluf | Psaty, Bruce M. | Tai, E. Shyong | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Waterworth, Dawn M. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Kao, WH Linda | Florez, Jose C. | Loos, Ruth J.F. | Wilson, James G. | Frayling, Timothy M. | Siscovick, David S. | Dupuis, Josée | Rotter, Jerome I. | Meigs, James B. | Scott, Robert A. | Goodarzi, Mark O.
Nature communications  2015;6:5897.
Fasting glucose and insulin are intermediate traits for type 2 diabetes. Here we explore the role of coding variation on these traits by analysis of variants on the HumanExome BeadChip in 60,564 non-diabetic individuals and in 16,491 T2D cases and 81,877 controls. We identify a novel association of a low-frequency nonsynonymous SNV in GLP1R (A316T; rs10305492; MAF=1.4%) with lower FG (β=-0.09±0.01 mmol L−1, p=3.4×10−12), T2D risk (OR[95%CI]=0.86[0.76-0.96], p=0.010), early insulin secretion (β=-0.07±0.035 pmolinsulin mmolglucose−1, p=0.048), but higher 2-h glucose (β=0.16±0.05 mmol L−1, p=4.3×10−4). We identify a gene-based association with FG at G6PC2 (pSKAT=6.8×10−6) driven by four rare protein-coding SNVs (H177Y, Y207S, R283X and S324P). We identify rs651007 (MAF=20%) in the first intron of ABO at the putative promoter of an antisense lncRNA, associating with higher FG (β=0.02±0.004 mmol L−1, p=1.3×10−8). Our approach identifies novel coding variant associations and extends the allelic spectrum of variation underlying diabetes-related quantitative traits and T2D susceptibility.
PMCID: PMC4311266  PMID: 25631608
5.  PoopMD, a Mobile Health Application, Accurately Identifies Infant Acholic Stools 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0132270.
Biliary atresia (BA) is the leading cause of pediatric end-stage liver disease in the United States. Education of parents in the perinatal period with stool cards depicting acholic and normal stools has been associated with improved time-to-diagnosis and survival in BA. PoopMD is a mobile application that utilizes a smartphone’s camera and color recognition software to analyze an infant’s stool and determine if additional follow-up is indicated. PoopMD was developed using custom HTML5/CSS3 and wrapped to work on iOS and Android platforms. In order to define the gold standard regarding stool color, seven pediatricians were asked to review 45 photographs of infant stool and rate them as acholic, normal, or indeterminate. Samples for which 6+ pediatricians demonstrated agreement defined the gold standard, and only these samples were included in the analysis. Accuracy of PoopMD was assessed using an iPhone 5s with incandescent lighting. Variability in analysis of stool photographs as acholic versus normal with intermediate rating weighted as 50% agreement (kappa) was compared between three laypeople and one expert user. Variability in output was also assessed between an iPhone 5s and a Samsung Galaxy S4, as well as between incandescent lighting and compact fluorescent lighting. Six-plus pediatricians agreed on 27 normal and 7 acholic photographs; no photographs were defined as indeterminate. The sensitivity was 7/7 (100%). The specificity was 24/27 (89%) with 3/27 labeled as indeterminate; no photos of normal stool were labeled as acholic. The Laplace-smoothed positive likelihood ratio was 6.44 (95% CI 2.52 to 16.48) and the negative likelihood ratio was 0.13 (95% CI 0.02 to 0.83). kappauser was 0.68, kappaphone was 0.88, and kappalight was 0.81. Therefore, in this pilot study, PoopMD accurately differentiates acholic from normal color with substantial agreement across users, and almost perfect agreement across two popular smartphones and ambient light settings. PoopMD may be a valuable tool to help parents identify acholic stools in the perinatal period, and provide guidance as to whether additional evaluation with their pediatrician is indicated. PoopMD may improve outcomes for children with BA.
PMCID: PMC4519295  PMID: 26221719
6.  Platelet Response to Serotonin in Patients with Stable Coronary Heart Disease 
The American journal of cardiology  2014;114(2):181-186.
Patients with heart disease and depression have an increased mortality rate. Both behavioral and biologic factors have been proposed as potential etiologic mechanisms. Given that the pathophysiology of depression is thought to involve disruption in brain serotonergic signaling, we investigated platelet response to serotonin stimulation in patients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD). We enrolled 92 patients with stable CAD. Platelet response to increasing concentrations of serotonin (5HT), epinephrine-augmented 5HT, and ADP was measured by optical aggregation and flow cytometry. As concentrations of 5HT and ADP increased, so did the activation and aggregation of the platelets. However, upon addition of the highest concentration of 5HT (30 uM), a significant decrease in platelet activation (p = 0.005) was detected by flow cytometry. This contrasts the increase in platelet activation seen with the addition of the highest concentration of ADP. In conclusion, we found increased platelet activation and aggregation with increased concentrations of ADP; however, when platelets are stimulated with a high concentration of 5HT (30 uM), there is decreased platelet activation. The data demonstrate unique patterns of platelet activation by 5HT in patients with stable CAD. The cause of this phenomenon is unclear. Our study sheds light on the in-vitro response of platelet function to serotonin in patients with stable CAD which may further the mechanistic understanding of heart disease and depression.
PMCID: PMC4130397  PMID: 24952926
Platelets; Serotonin; Depression; Heart Disease
7.  The Association of Brachial Artery Diameter with Noncalcified Coronary Plaque Burden in Apparently Healthy Individuals 
Coronary artery disease  2013;24(8):657-662.
Coronary atherosclerosis has been associated with systemic arterial remodeling even in non-atherosclerotic vessels. However it is not known whether systemic remodeling is differentially associated with the cumulative atherosclerotic process, reflected by putatively quiescent calcified plaque (CP) or with active atherosclerosis consisting of non-calcified plaque (NCP). We thus examined the association of brachial artery diameter (BAD), an artery which does not suffer clinical atherosclerosis, with the presence and the extent of coronary CP and NCP.
We studied 688 apparently healthy, asymptomatic participants from 350 families with a history of early-onset coronary artery disease (<60 years of age) measuring CAD risk factors and coronary plaque using dual-source CT angiography. Plaque volumes were quantified using a validated automated method. BAD was measured during diastole using B-mode ultrasound. The association of resting BAD with any detectable plaque, and log-transformed CP and NCP volumes if detectable, was tested using Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE) adjusted for age, sex, race, current smoking, diabetes, hypertension, body mass index, non-HDL and HDL-cholesterol.
Higher quintiles of BAD were associated with greater age and male sex (both p <0.001). In fully adjusted analysis, CP volume was not associated with BAD (p=0.65) but 1 ml greater NCP volume was associated with 0.65 mm larger BAD (p=0.027).
Our results suggest that systemic arterial remodeling of non-atherosclerotic arteries is a dynamic process that is correlated with the extent of putatively active atherosclerotic processes in distant beds, but not inactive accumulated plaque burden.
PMCID: PMC4476290  PMID: 24077324
Brachial Artery; Remodeling; CT Angiography
8.  A Test of Biological and Behavioral Explanations for Gender Differences in Telomere Length: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Biodemography and social biology  2014;60(2):156-173.
The purpose of this study was to examine biological and behavioral explanations for gender differences in leukocyte telomere length (LTL), a biomarker of cell aging that has been hypothesized to contribute to women’s greater longevity. Data are from a subsample (n = 851) of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a population-based study of women and men aged 45 to 84. Mediation models were used to examine study hypotheses. We found that women had longer LTL than men, but the gender difference was smaller at older ages. Gender differences in smoking and processed meat consumption partially mediated gender differences in telomere length, whereas gender differences in estradiol, total testosterone, oxidative stress, and body mass index did not. Neither behavioral nor biological factors explained why the gender difference in LTL was smaller at older ages. Longitudinal studies are needed to assess gender differences in the rate of change in LTL over time; to identify the biological, behavioral, and psychosocial factors that contribute to these differences throughout the life course; and to determine whether gender differences in LTL explain the gender gap in longevity.
PMCID: PMC4460606  PMID: 25343364
9.  Noncalcified Coronary Plaque Volumes in Healthy People with a Family History of Early-Onset Coronary Artery Disease 
Although age and sex distributions of calcified plaque (CCP) have been well described in the general population, noncalcified plaque (NCP) distributions remain unknown. This is important because NCP is a putative precursor for clinical CAD and could serve as a sentinel for aggressive primary prevention, especially in higher risk populations. We examined the distributions of NCP and CCP in healthy 30-74 year old individuals from families with early-onset coronary artery disease (CAD).
Methods and Results
Participants in the GeneSTAR family study (N=805), mean age 51.1 ± 10.8 years, 56% female, were screened for CAD risk factors and for coronary plaque using dual-source CT angiography. Plaque volumes (mm3) were quantified using a validated automated method. The prevalence of coronary plaque was 57.8% in males and 35.8% in females (p<0.0001). NCP volume increased with age (p<0.001) and was higher in males than females (p<0.001). Although NCP, as a percent of total plaque, was inversely related to age (p<0.01), NCP accounted for most of the total plaque volume at all ages, especially in males and females <55 years (>70% and >80%, respectively). Higher Framingham risk was associated with the number of affected vessels (p<0.01) but 44% of males and 20.8% of females considered intermediate risk had left main and/or 3-vessel disease involvement.
The majority of coronary plaque was noncalcified, particularly in younger individuals. These findings support the importance of assessing family history and suggest that early primary prevention interventions may be warranted at younger ages in families with early onset CAD.
PMCID: PMC4419782  PMID: 24577355
atherosclerosis; plaque distribution; CT angiography; family study; asymptomatic
10.  Incident stroke is associated with common carotid artery diameter and not common carotid artery intima-media thickness 
Background and Purpose
The common carotid artery (CCA) inter-adventitial diameter (IAD) is measured on ultrasound images as the distance between the media-adventitia interfaces of the near and far walls. It is associated with common carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and left ventricular mass and might therefore also have an association with incident stroke.
We studied 6255 individuals free of coronary heart disease and stroke at baseline with mean age of 62.2 years (47.3% men), members of a multi-ethnic community based cohort of whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Chinese. Ischemic stroke events were centrally adjudicated. CCA IAD and IMT were measured. Cases with incident atrial fibrillation (n = 385) were excluded. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards models were generated with time to ischemic event as outcome, adjusting for risk factors.
There were 115 first time ischemic strokes at 7.8 years of follow-up. CCA IAD was a significant predictor of ischemic stroke (Hazard ratio: 1.86; 95%CI 1.59, 2.17 per mm) and remained so after adjustment for risk factors and common carotid IMT with a hazard ratio of 1.52 per mm (95% CI: 1.22, 1.88). Common carotid IMT was not an independent predictor after adjustment (hazard ratio 0.14; 95% CI: 0.14, 1.19).
While common carotid IMT is not associated with stroke, inter-adventitial diameter of the common carotid artery is independently associated with first time incident ischemic stroke even after adjusting for IMT. Our hypothesis that this is in part due to the effects of exposure to blood pressure needs confirmation by other studies.
PMCID: PMC4270293  PMID: 24643408
11.  Extreme Deep White Matter Hyperintensity Volumes Are Associated with African American Race 
African Americans (AAs) have a higher prevalence of extreme ischemic white matter hyperintesities (WMH) on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) than do European Americans based on the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) score. Ischemic white matter disease, limited to the deep white matter, may be biologically distinct from disease in other regions and may reflect a previously observed trend toward increased risk of subcortical lacunar infarcts in AA. We hypothesized that extreme deep WMH volume (DWMV) or periventricular volume (PV) may also have higher prevalence in AAs. Thus, we studied extreme CHS scores and extreme DWMV and PV in a healthy population enriched for cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors.
We imaged the brains of 593 subjects who were first degree relatives of probands with early onset coronary disease prior to 60 years of age. WMHs were manually delineated on 3T cranial MRI by a trained radiology reader the location and volume of lesions were characterized using automated software. DWMV and PV were measured directly with automated software and the CHS score was determined by a Neuro-radiologist. Volumes were characterized as being in the upper 25% versus lower 75% of total lesion volume. Volumes in the upper quartile vs. the remaining were examined for AA versus European American (EA) race using multiple logistic regression (GEE adjusted for family relatedness) and adjusted for major vascular disease risk factors including age ≥ 55 years vs. younger than 55, sex, current smoking, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and LDL>160.
Participants were 58% women and 37% AA, with a mean age of 51.5±11.0 years (range, 29-74 years). AAs had significantly higher odds of having extreme DWMV (OR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.2-2.9; p=0.0076) independent of age, sex, hypertension, and all other risk factors. AAs also had significantly higher odds of having extreme CHS scores ≥3 (OR, 1.3; 95% CI, 1.1-3.6; p=0.025). Extreme PV was not significantly associated with AA race (OR, 1.3; 95% CI, 0.81-2.1; p=0.26).
AAs from families with early-onset CVD are more likely to have extreme DWMV (a subclinical form of cerebrovascular disease) and an extreme CHS score, but not extreme PV, independent of age and other CVD risk factors. These findings suggest that this AA population is at increased risk for DWMV and may be at increased risk for future subcortical stroke. Longitudinal studies are required to see if DWMV is predictive of symptomatic subcortical strokes in this population.
PMCID: PMC4054819  PMID: 24686322
white matter disease; women and minorities; coronary; imaging; risk factors; (2) all cerebrovascular disease and stroke; (59) Risk factors in epidemiology; (32) vascular dementia; (12) stroke prevention; (56) prevalence studies
12.  Low-frequency and rare exome chip variants associate with fasting glucose and type 2 diabetes susceptibility 
Wessel, Jennifer | Chu, Audrey Y | Willems, Sara M | Wang, Shuai | Yaghootkar, Hanieh | Brody, Jennifer A | Dauriz, Marco | Hivert, Marie-France | Raghavan, Sridharan | Lipovich, Leonard | Hidalgo, Bertha | Fox, Keolu | Huffman, Jennifer E | An, Ping | Lu, Yingchang | Rasmussen-Torvik, Laura J | Grarup, Niels | Ehm, Margaret G | Li, Li | Baldridge, Abigail S | Stančáková, Alena | Abrol, Ravinder | Besse, Céline | Boland, Anne | Bork-Jensen, Jette | Fornage, Myriam | Freitag, Daniel F | Garcia, Melissa E | Guo, Xiuqing | Hara, Kazuo | Isaacs, Aaron | Jakobsdottir, Johanna | Lange, Leslie A | Layton, Jill C | Li, Man | Hua Zhao, Jing | Meidtner, Karina | Morrison, Alanna C | Nalls, Mike A | Peters, Marjolein J | Sabater-Lleal, Maria | Schurmann, Claudia | Silveira, Angela | Smith, Albert V | Southam, Lorraine | Stoiber, Marcus H | Strawbridge, Rona J | Taylor, Kent D | Varga, Tibor V | Allin, Kristine H | Amin, Najaf | Aponte, Jennifer L | Aung, Tin | Barbieri, Caterina | Bihlmeyer, Nathan A | Boehnke, Michael | Bombieri, Cristina | Bowden, Donald W | Burns, Sean M | Chen, Yuning | Chen, Yii-DerI | Cheng, Ching-Yu | Correa, Adolfo | Czajkowski, Jacek | Dehghan, Abbas | Ehret, Georg B | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Escher, Stefan A | Farmaki, Aliki-Eleni | Frånberg, Mattias | Gambaro, Giovanni | Giulianini, Franco | Goddard, William A | Goel, Anuj | Gottesman, Omri | Grove, Megan L | Gustafsson, Stefan | Hai, Yang | Hallmans, Göran | Heo, Jiyoung | Hoffmann, Per | Ikram, Mohammad K | Jensen, Richard A | Jørgensen, Marit E | Jørgensen, Torben | Karaleftheri, Maria | Khor, Chiea C | Kirkpatrick, Andrea | Kraja, Aldi T | Kuusisto, Johanna | Lange, Ethan M | Lee, I T | Lee, Wen-Jane | Leong, Aaron | Liao, Jiemin | Liu, Chunyu | Liu, Yongmei | Lindgren, Cecilia M | Linneberg, Allan | Malerba, Giovanni | Mamakou, Vasiliki | Marouli, Eirini | Maruthur, Nisa M | Matchan, Angela | McKean-Cowdin, Roberta | McLeod, Olga | Metcalf, Ginger A | Mohlke, Karen L | Muzny, Donna M | Ntalla, Ioanna | Palmer, Nicholette D | Pasko, Dorota | Peter, Andreas | Rayner, Nigel W | Renström, Frida | Rice, Ken | Sala, Cinzia F | Sennblad, Bengt | Serafetinidis, Ioannis | Smith, Jennifer A | Soranzo, Nicole | Speliotes, Elizabeth K | Stahl, Eli A | Stirrups, Kathleen | Tentolouris, Nikos | Thanopoulou, Anastasia | Torres, Mina | Traglia, Michela | Tsafantakis, Emmanouil | Javad, Sundas | Yanek, Lisa R | Zengini, Eleni | Becker, Diane M | Bis, Joshua C | Brown, James B | Adrienne Cupples, L | Hansen, Torben | Ingelsson, Erik | Karter, Andrew J | Lorenzo, Carlos | Mathias, Rasika A | Norris, Jill M | Peloso, Gina M | Sheu, Wayne H.-H. | Toniolo, Daniela | Vaidya, Dhananjay | Varma, Rohit | Wagenknecht, Lynne E | Boeing, Heiner | Bottinger, Erwin P | Dedoussis, George | Deloukas, Panos | Ferrannini, Ele | Franco, Oscar H | Franks, Paul W | Gibbs, Richard A | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Hamsten, Anders | Harris, Tamara B | Hattersley, Andrew T | Hayward, Caroline | Hofman, Albert | Jansson, Jan-Håkan | Langenberg, Claudia | Launer, Lenore J | Levy, Daniel | Oostra, Ben A | O'Donnell, Christopher J | O'Rahilly, Stephen | Padmanabhan, Sandosh | Pankow, James S | Polasek, Ozren | Province, Michael A | Rich, Stephen S | Ridker, Paul M | Rudan, Igor | Schulze, Matthias B | Smith, Blair H | Uitterlinden, André G | Walker, Mark | Watkins, Hugh | Wong, Tien Y | Zeggini, Eleftheria | Laakso, Markku | Borecki, Ingrid B | Chasman, Daniel I | Pedersen, Oluf | Psaty, Bruce M | Shyong Tai, E | van Duijn, Cornelia M | Wareham, Nicholas J | Waterworth, Dawn M | Boerwinkle, Eric | Linda Kao, W H | Florez, Jose C | Loos, Ruth J.F. | Wilson, James G | Frayling, Timothy M | Siscovick, David S | Dupuis, Josée | Rotter, Jerome I | Meigs, James B | Scott, Robert A | Goodarzi, Mark O
Nature Communications  2015;6:5897.
Fasting glucose and insulin are intermediate traits for type 2 diabetes. Here we explore the role of coding variation on these traits by analysis of variants on the HumanExome BeadChip in 60,564 non-diabetic individuals and in 16,491 T2D cases and 81,877 controls. We identify a novel association of a low-frequency nonsynonymous SNV in GLP1R (A316T; rs10305492; MAF=1.4%) with lower FG (β=−0.09±0.01 mmol l−1, P=3.4 × 10−12), T2D risk (OR[95%CI]=0.86[0.76–0.96], P=0.010), early insulin secretion (β=−0.07±0.035 pmolinsulin mmolglucose−1, P=0.048), but higher 2-h glucose (β=0.16±0.05 mmol l−1, P=4.3 × 10−4). We identify a gene-based association with FG at G6PC2 (pSKAT=6.8 × 10−6) driven by four rare protein-coding SNVs (H177Y, Y207S, R283X and S324P). We identify rs651007 (MAF=20%) in the first intron of ABO at the putative promoter of an antisense lncRNA, associating with higher FG (β=0.02±0.004 mmol l−1, P=1.3 × 10−8). Our approach identifies novel coding variant associations and extends the allelic spectrum of variation underlying diabetes-related quantitative traits and T2D susceptibility.
Both rare and common variants contribute to the aetiology of complex traits such as type 2 diabetes (T2D). Here, the authors examine the effect of coding variation on glycaemic traits and T2D, and identify low-frequency variation in GLP1R significantly associated with these traits.
PMCID: PMC4311266  PMID: 25631608
13.  Sex Differences in Diabetes and Risk of Incident Coronary Artery Disease in Healthy Young and Middle-Aged Adults 
Diabetes Care  2014;37(3):830-838.
Controversy exists about the coronary artery disease (CAD) risk conveyed by diabetes in young and middle-aged women. We investigated sex differences in CAD by diabetes status among healthy individuals with different underlying risks of heart disease.
We examined subjects aged <60 years without CAD at enrollment in the high-risk GeneSTAR Study (n = 1,448; follow-up ∼12 years), Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA; n = 3,072; follow-up ∼7 years), and National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (NHANES III) Mortality Follow-up Study (n = 6,997; follow-up ∼15 years). Diabetes was defined by report, hypoglycemic use, and/or fasting glucose ≥126 mg/dL. The outcome was any CAD event during follow-up (fatal CAD in NHANES).
In the absence of diabetes, CAD rates were lower among women in GeneSTAR, MESA, and NHANES (4.27, 1.66, and 0.40/1,000 person-years, respectively) versus men (11.22, 5.64, and 0.88/1,000 person-years); log-rank P < 0.001 (GeneSTAR/MESA) and P = 0.07 (NHANES). In the presence of diabetes, CAD event rates were similar among women (17.65, 7.34, and 2.37/1,000 person-years) versus men (12.86, 9.71, and 1.83/1,000 person-years); all log-rank P values > 0.05. Adjusting for demographics, diabetes was associated with a significant four- to fivefold higher CAD rate among women in each cohort, without differences in men. In meta-analyses of three cohorts, additionally adjusted for BMI, smoking, hypertension, HDL, and non-HDL cholesterol, antihypertensive and cholesterol-lowering medication use, the hazard ratio of CAD in men versus women among nondiabetes was 2.43 (1.76–3.35) and diabetes was 0.89 (0.43–1.83); P = 0.013 interaction by diabetes status.
Though young and middle-aged women are less likely to develop CAD in the absence of diabetes, the presence of diabetes equalizes the risk by sex. Our findings support aggressive CAD prevention strategies in women with diabetes and at similar levels to those that exist in men.
PMCID: PMC3931379  PMID: 24178997
14.  Late Systolic Central Hypertension as a Predictor of Incident Heart Failure: The Multi‐Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Experimental studies demonstrate that high aortic pressure in late systole relative to early systole causes greater myocardial remodeling and dysfunction, for any given absolute peak systolic pressure.
Methods and Results
We tested the hypothesis that late systolic hypertension, defined as the ratio of late (last one third of systole) to early (first two thirds of systole) pressure–time integrals (PTI) of the aortic pressure waveform, independently predicts incident heart failure (HF) in the general population. Aortic pressure waveforms were derived from a generalized transfer function applied to the radial pressure waveform recorded noninvasively from 6124 adults. The late/early systolic PTI ratio (L/ESPTI) was assessed as a predictor of incident HF during median 8.5 years of follow‐up. The L/ESPTI was predictive of incident HF (hazard ratio per 1% increase=1.22; 95% CI=1.15 to 1.29; P<0.0001) even after adjustment for established risk factors for HF (HR=1.23; 95% CI=1.14 to 1.32: P<0.0001). In a multivariate model that included brachial systolic and diastolic blood pressure and other standard risk factors of HF, L/ESPTI was the modifiable factor associated with the greatest improvements in model performance. A high L/ESPTI (>58.38%) was more predictive of HF than the presence of hypertension. After adjustment for each other and various predictors of HF, the HR associated with hypertension was 1.39 (95% CI=0.86 to 2.23; P=0.18), whereas the HR associated with a high L/E was 2.31 (95% CI=1.52 to 3.49; P<0.0001).
Independently of the absolute level of peak pressure, late systolic hypertension is strongly associated with incident HF in the general population.
PMCID: PMC4392425  PMID: 25736440
arterial hemodynamics; heart failure; late systolic load; left ventricular afterload
15.  Effect of Positive Well-Being on Incidence of Symptomatic Coronary Artery Disease 
The American journal of cardiology  2013;112(8):1120-1125.
While negative emotions and psychiatric morbidity have often been found to increase incident coronary artery disease (CAD) risk, fewer studies have shown positive emotions to be protective against CAD; none have been performed in high-risk healthy populations, taking risk factors into account. Thus, we examined the impact of positive well-being on incident CAD in both a high-risk initially healthy population and in a national probability sample. We screened healthy siblings of probands with documented early-onset CAD from 1985 to 2007 in the GeneSTAR (Genetic Study of Atherosclerosis Risk) population and examined sociodemographics, risk factors, and positive well-being using the General Well Being Schedule (GWBS). We further classified siblings into high, intermediate and low risk strata based on the Framingham Risk Score (FRS) and followed them for 5 to 25 years. Siblings (n=1483) with higher baseline GWBS total scores were significantly less likely to develop CAD (hazard ratio [HR]=0.67, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.58–0.79), independent of age, sex, race, and traditional risk factors. Protection was strongest in the high FRS stratum (HR=0.52, 95% CI 0.30–0.90). Findings were replicated in the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and Epidemiologic Follow-up Study (n=5992; HR=0.87, 95% CI 0.83–0.93). In conclusion, positive well-being was associated with nearly a third reduction in CAD in a high-risk population with family history, a nearly 50% reduction in incident CAD in the highest risk stratum in those with family history, and a 13% reduction in incident CAD in a national probability sample, independent of traditional CAD risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3788860  PMID: 23810324
coronary artery disease; epidemiology; cardiovascular risk factors; psychosocial factors
16.  Relation of Subclinical Coronary Artery Atherosclerosis to Cerebral White Matter Disease in Healthy Individuals from Families with Early-Onset Coronary Artery Disease 
The American journal of cardiology  2013;112(6):747-752.
White matter disease (WMD) of the brain is associated with incident stroke. Similarly subclinical calcified coronary artery plaque has been associated with incident coronary artery disease (CAD) events. Although atherogenesis in both vascular beds may share some common mechanisms, the extent to which subclinical CAD is associated with WMD across age ranges in individuals with a family history of early onset CAD remains unknown. We screened 405 apparently healthy participants in the Genetic Study of Atherosclerotic Risk (GeneSTAR) for CAD risk factors, and for the presence of noncalcified and calcified coronary plaque using dual-source multi-detector cardiac CT angiography. The presence and volumes of WMD were assessed by 3 Tesla brain MRI. Participants were 60% female, 36% African American; mean age 51.6 ± 10.6 years. The prevalence of coronary plaque overall was 43.0%. Individuals with coronary plaque had significantly higher WMD volumes (median 1222 mm3, IQR [448 to 3871]) compared to those without coronary plaque (median 551 mm3, IQR [105 to 1523], p<0.001). In multivariable regression analysis, adjusting for age, sex, race, traditional risk factors, total brain volume, and intrafamilial correlations, the presence of coronary plaque was independently associated with WMD volume (p=0.05). This study shows a significant association between WMD and noncalcified and calcified coronary plaque in healthy individuals, independent of age and risk factors. In conclusion, these findings support the premise of possible shared causal pathways in two vascular beds in families at increased risk for early-onset vascular disease.
PMCID: PMC3759559  PMID: 23742943
coronary artery disease; brain white matter disease; subclinical
17.  Meta-Analysis of Genome-Wide Association Studies in African Americans Provides Insights into the Genetic Architecture of Type 2 Diabetes 
Ng, Maggie C. Y. | Shriner, Daniel | Chen, Brian H. | Li, Jiang | Chen, Wei-Min | Guo, Xiuqing | Liu, Jiankang | Bielinski, Suzette J. | Yanek, Lisa R. | Nalls, Michael A. | Comeau, Mary E. | Rasmussen-Torvik, Laura J. | Jensen, Richard A. | Evans, Daniel S. | Sun, Yan V. | An, Ping | Patel, Sanjay R. | Lu, Yingchang | Long, Jirong | Armstrong, Loren L. | Wagenknecht, Lynne | Yang, Lingyao | Snively, Beverly M. | Palmer, Nicholette D. | Mudgal, Poorva | Langefeld, Carl D. | Keene, Keith L. | Freedman, Barry I. | Mychaleckyj, Josyf C. | Nayak, Uma | Raffel, Leslie J. | Goodarzi, Mark O. | Chen, Y-D Ida | Taylor, Herman A. | Correa, Adolfo | Sims, Mario | Couper, David | Pankow, James S. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Adeyemo, Adebowale | Doumatey, Ayo | Chen, Guanjie | Mathias, Rasika A. | Vaidya, Dhananjay | Singleton, Andrew B. | Zonderman, Alan B. | Igo, Robert P. | Sedor, John R. | Kabagambe, Edmond K. | Siscovick, David S. | McKnight, Barbara | Rice, Kenneth | Liu, Yongmei | Hsueh, Wen-Chi | Zhao, Wei | Bielak, Lawrence F. | Kraja, Aldi | Province, Michael A. | Bottinger, Erwin P. | Gottesman, Omri | Cai, Qiuyin | Zheng, Wei | Blot, William J. | Lowe, William L. | Pacheco, Jennifer A. | Crawford, Dana C. | Grundberg, Elin | Rich, Stephen S. | Hayes, M. Geoffrey | Shu, Xiao-Ou | Loos, Ruth J. F. | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Peyser, Patricia A. | Cummings, Steven R. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Fornage, Myriam | Iyengar, Sudha K. | Evans, Michele K. | Becker, Diane M. | Kao, W. H. Linda | Wilson, James G. | Rotter, Jerome I. | Sale, Michèle M. | Liu, Simin | Rotimi, Charles N. | Bowden, Donald W.
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(8):e1004517.
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is more prevalent in African Americans than in Europeans. However, little is known about the genetic risk in African Americans despite the recent identification of more than 70 T2D loci primarily by genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in individuals of European ancestry. In order to investigate the genetic architecture of T2D in African Americans, the MEta-analysis of type 2 DIabetes in African Americans (MEDIA) Consortium examined 17 GWAS on T2D comprising 8,284 cases and 15,543 controls in African Americans in stage 1 analysis. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) association analysis was conducted in each study under the additive model after adjustment for age, sex, study site, and principal components. Meta-analysis of approximately 2.6 million genotyped and imputed SNPs in all studies was conducted using an inverse variance-weighted fixed effect model. Replications were performed to follow up 21 loci in up to 6,061 cases and 5,483 controls in African Americans, and 8,130 cases and 38,987 controls of European ancestry. We identified three known loci (TCF7L2, HMGA2 and KCNQ1) and two novel loci (HLA-B and INS-IGF2) at genome-wide significance (4.15×10−94
Author Summary
Despite the higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in African Americans than in Europeans, recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) were examined primarily in individuals of European ancestry. In this study, we performed meta-analysis of 17 GWAS in 8,284 cases and 15,543 controls to explore the genetic architecture of T2D in African Americans. Following replication in additional 6,061 cases and 5,483 controls in African Americans, and 8,130 cases and 38,987 controls of European ancestry, we identified two novel and three previous reported T2D loci reaching genome-wide significance. We also examined 158 loci previously reported to be associated with T2D or regulating glucose homeostasis. While 56% of these loci were shared between African Americans and the other populations, the strongest associations in African Americans are often found in nearby single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) instead of the original SNPs reported in other populations due to differential genetic architecture across populations. Our results highlight the importance of performing genetic studies in non-European populations to fine map the causal genetic variants.
PMCID: PMC4125087  PMID: 25102180
There traditional lipid profile differs by sex hormone levels. However, associations of sex hormones with lipoprotein subfractions, which may more accurately represent metabolic pathways to atherosclerosis, are not well studied. We quantified the cross-sectional associations of endogenous sex hormones with lipoprotein subfractions in 3143 men and 2038 postmenopausal women who were not on hormone replacement therapy, aged 45–84 years, in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis baseline examination. Particle sizes and numbers of Very Low Density (VLDL), Low Density (LDL) and High Density (HDL) Lipoproteins were measured by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. In both men and women, after multivariable adjustment, higher Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) levels are associated with smaller, fewer VLDL, larger, fewer LDL, and larger, more numerous HDL particles; while higher endogenous estradiol levels are associated with smaller VLDL, and smaller, more numerous HDL and LDL particles (all p < 0.05). Testosterone (adjusted for SHBG) is associated with a smaller VLDL particles in men but not women (sex difference p = 0.040). Higher dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels are associated with more numerous, smaller VLDL particles only in women (sex difference p = 0.030, 0.004, respectively). In conclusion, we found sex differences in the association of endogenous androgens with lipoprotein particle sizes and numbers. Higher endogenous estradiol, but lower SHBG is associated with a more atherogenic lipoprotein particle profile. These findings highlight the potential to improve the lipoprotein profile with sex hormones, but emphasize the intricacies of the interactions.
PMCID: PMC4017356  PMID: 18502260
In single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) scans, SNP-phenotype association hypotheses are tested, however there is biological interpretation only for genes that span multiple SNPs. We demonstrate and validate a method of combining gene-wide evidence using data for high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLC).
In a family based study (N=1782 from 482 families), we used 1000 phenotype-permuted datasets to determine the correlation of z-test statistics for 592 SNP-HDLC association tests comprising 14 genes previously reported to be associated with HDLC. We generated gene-wide p-values using the distribution of the sum of correlated z-statistics.
Of the 14 genes, CETP was significant (p=4.0×10−5 <0.05/14), while PLTP was significant at the borderline (p=6.7×10−3 <0.1/14). These p-values were confirmed using empirical distributions of the sum of χ2 association statistics as a gold standard (2.9×10−6 and 1.8×10−3, respectively). Genewide p-values were more significant than Bonferroni-corrected p-value for the most significant SNP in 11 of 14 genes (p=0.023). Genewide p-values calculated from SNP correlations derived for 20 simulated normally distributed phenotypes reproduced those derived from the 1000 phenotype-permuted datasets were correlated with the empirical distributions (Spearman correlation = 0.92 for both).
We have validated a simple scalable method to combine polymorphism-level evidence into gene-wide statistical evidence. High-throughput gene-wide hypothesis tests may be used in biologically interpretable genomewide association scans. Genewide association tests may be used to meaningfully replicate findings in populations with different linkage disequilibrium structure, when SNP-level replication is not expected.
PMCID: PMC3969754  PMID: 24688980
Bonferroni; hypothesis tests; combining evidence
Dietary guidelines support intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in fish and vegetable oils. However, some controversy remains about benefits of PUFAs, and most prior studies have relied on self‐reported dietary assessment in relatively homogeneous populations.
Methods and Results
In a multiethnic cohort of 2837 US adults (whites, Hispanics, African Americans, Chinese Americans), plasma phospholipid PUFAs were measured at baseline (2000–2002) using gas chromatography and dietary PUFAs estimated using a food frequency questionnaire. Incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) events (including coronary heart disease and stroke; n=189) were prospectively identified through 2010 during 19 778 person‐years of follow‐up. In multivariable‐adjusted Cox models, circulating n‐3 eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid were inversely associated with incident CVD, with extreme‐quartile hazard ratios (95% CIs) of 0.49 for eicosapentaenoic acid (0.30 to 0.79; Ptrend=0.01) and 0.39 for docosahexaenoic acid (0.22 to 0.67; Ptrend<0.001). n‐3 Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) was inversely associated with CVD in whites and Chinese, but not in other race/ethnicities (P‐interaction=0.01). No significant associations with CVD were observed for circulating n‐3 alpha‐linolenic acid or n‐6 PUFA (linoleic acid, arachidonic acid). Associations with CVD of self‐reported dietary PUFA were consistent with those of the PUFA biomarkers. All associations were similar across racial‐ethnic groups, except those of docosapentaenoic acid.
Both dietary and circulating eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, but not alpha‐linolenic acid or n‐6 PUFA, were inversely associated with CVD incidence. These findings suggest that increased consumption of n‐3 PUFA from seafood may prevent CVD development in a multiethnic population.
PMCID: PMC3886748  PMID: 24351702
cardiovascular disease prevention; cardiovascular risk factors; diet; fatty acids
Human heredity  2012;74(1):17-26.
Variance-component analysis (VCA), the traditional method for handling correlations within families in genetic association studies, is computationally intensive for genome-wide analyses, and the computational burden of VCA, a likelihood-based test, increases with family size and the number of genetic markers. Alternative approaches that do not require the computation of familial correlations is preferable, provided that they do not inflate type I error or decrease power. We performed a simulation study to evaluate practical alternatives to VCA that use regression with generalized estimating equations (GEE) in extended family data. We compared the properties of linear regression with GEE applied to an entire extended family structure (GEE-EXT) and GEE applied to nuclear family structures split from these extended families (GEE-SPL) to variance-components likelihood-based methods (FastAssoc). GEE-EXT was evaluated with and without robust variance estimators to estimate the standard errors. We observed similar average type I error rates from GEE-EXT and FastAssoc compared to GEE-SPL. Type I error rates for the GEE-EXT method with a robust variance estimator were marginally higher than the nominal rate when the MAF was < 0.1, but were close to nominal rate when MAF ≥ 0.2. All methods gave consistent effect estimates and had similar power. In summary, the GEE framework with the robust variance estimator, the computationally fastest and least data management intensive, appears to work well in extended families and thus provides a reasonable alternative to full variance components approaches for extended pedigrees in the GWAS setting.
PMCID: PMC3736986  PMID: 23038411
Generalized estimating equation; Variance components analysis; Family-based association study; Genome-wide scan
Menopause (New York, N.Y.)  2012;19(10):1081-1087.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women. Identifying women at risk of cardiovascular disease has tremendous public health importance. Early menopause is associated with increased cardiovascular disease events in some predominantly white populations, but not consistently. Our objective was to determine if a self-reported early menopause (menopause at an age <46) identifies women as at risk for future coronary heart disease or stroke.
The study population came from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a longitudinal, ethnically diverse cohort study of US men and women aged 45 to 84 years enrolled in 2000–2002 and followed up until 2008. The association between a personal history of early menopause (either natural menopause or surgical removal of ovaries at an age <46) and future coronary heart disease and stroke was assessed in 2509 women (ages 45–84, 987 White, 331 Chinese, 641 Black, 550 Hispanic) from the Multi-Ethnic Study Atherosclerosis, who were free of cardiovascular disease at baseline.
693/2509 (28%) of women reported either surgical or natural early menopause. In survival curves, women with early menopause had worse coronary heart disease and stroke-free survival (log rank p=<0.008 and 0.0158). In models adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, Multi-Ethnic Study Atherosclerosis site and traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors, this risk for coronary heart disease and stroke remained (HR 2.08, 95% CI 1.17, 3.70 and 2.19, 95% CI 1.11, 4.32, respectively).
Early menopause is positively associated with coronary heart disease and stroke in a multiethnic cohort, independent of traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3443540  PMID: 22692332
Early Menopause; Coronary Heart Disease; Stroke
Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is strongly associated with prevalent atherosclerosis. We analyzed the associations of baseline serum levels of testosterone (T), estradiol (E2), sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) with WHR in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) cohort.
Baseline data was available for 3144 men and 2038 postmenopausal women, who were non-users of hormone therapy, who were 45–84 years of age, and of White, Chinese, Black or Hispanic racial/ethnic groups. Of these, 2708 men and 1678 women also had longitudinal measurements of WHR measured at the second and/or the third study visits (median follow-up 578 days, and 1135 days, respectively).
In cross-sectional analyses adjusted for age, race, and cardiovascular disease risk factors, T was negatively associated with baseline WHR in men, while in both sexes, E2 was positively associated and SHBG was negatively associated with WHR (all p<0.001). In longitudinal analyses, further adjusted for follow-up time and baseline WHR, baseline T was negatively associated with WHR at follow-up (p=0.001) in men, while in both sexes, E2 was positively associated (p=0.004), and SHBG was negatively associated with WHR (p<0.001). The longitudinal association of E2, but not T, was independent of SHBG. In both cross-sectional or longitudinal analyses, there were no associations between DHEA and WHR in either men or women.
Sex hormones are associated with WHR at baseline and also during follow-up above and beyond their baseline association. Future research is needed to determine if manipulation of hormones is associated with changes in central obesity.
PMCID: PMC3342434  PMID: 22270378
Sex Hormones; epidemiology; waist to hip ratio
Journal of Women's Health  2012;21(5):516-520.
Older women have a higher prevalence of systolic hypertension than do men; however, whether or not this relates to arterial properties, such as distensibility coefficient (DC), is not known. We examined whether the association of carotid artery DC with age differed by sex in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
B-mode ultrasound-measured carotid diameters and brachial pressures were obtained from 6359 participants (53% female, 38% white, 12% Chinese, 27% black, 22% Hispanic, aged 45–85 years) of the MESA baseline examination. The within-individual slopes of 2log(diameter) vs. blood pressure fit using mixed models (MM) are interpreted as the DC, and interaction terms are interpreted as differences in DC. The MM calculation allows for correction of the confounding caused by the association of age, sex, and race with blood pressure, the denominator in the calculation of DC.
DC was associated with age, sex, and race (all p<0.001). Women had a greater age-related lowering of DC compared to men (2.52×10−5 vs. 2.16×10−5/mm Hg lower DC per year of age, p=0.006). Mean diameter of carotid arteries was greater with age (p<0.001); this association also was significantly stronger in women compared to men (0.24% vs. 0.14% larger mean carotid diameter per year of age, p<0.001).
Greater stiffening and enlargement of arteries are seen in older women compared to older men. This implies that the afterload on the heart of older women is likely to be greater than that among older men.
PMCID: PMC3353825  PMID: 22393881
Circulation research  2001;88(3):333-339.
Cardiac arrhythmia is a common and often lethal manifestation of many forms of heart disease. Gap junction remodeling has been postulated to contribute to the increased propensity for arrhythmogenesis in diseased myocardium, although a causative role in vivo remains speculative. By generating mice with cardiac-restricted knockout of connexin43 (Cx43), we have circumvented the perinatal lethal developmental defect associated with germline inactivation of this gap junction channel gene and uncovered an essential role for Cx43 in the maintenance of electrical stability. Mice with cardiac-specific loss of Cx43 have normal heart structure and contractile function, and yet they uniformly (28 of 28 conditional Cx43 knockout mice observed) develop sudden cardiac death from spontaneous ventricular arrhythmias by 2 months of age. Optical mapping of the epicardial electrical activation pattern in Cx43 conditional knockout mice revealed that ventricular conduction velocity was significantly slowed by up to 55% in the transverse direction and 42% in the longitudinal direction, resulting in an increase in anisotropic ratio compared with control littermates (2.1±0.13 versus 1.66±0.06; P<0.01). This novel genetic murine model of primary sudden cardiac death defines gap junctional abnormalities as a key molecular feature of the arrhythmogenic substrate.
PMCID: PMC3630465  PMID: 11179202
gap junction; connexin43; arrhythmia; conduction

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