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1.  Genetic Association of CD247 (CD3ζ) with SLE in a Large-Scale Multiethnic Study 
Genes and immunity  2015;16(2):142-150.
A classic T-cell phenotype in Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the downregulation and replacement of the CD3ζ chain that alters TCR signaling. However, genetic associations with SLE in the human CD247 locus that encodes CD3ζ are not well established and require replication in independent cohorts. Our aim was therefore to examine, localize and validate CD247-SLE association in a large multi-ethnic population. We typed 44 contiguous CD247 SNPs in 8 922 SLE patients and 8 077 controls from four ethnically distinct populations. The strongest associations were found in the Asian population (11 SNPs in intron 1, 4.99×10−4
PMCID: PMC4371129  PMID: 25569266
Lupus nephritis (LN) is a severe manifestation of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) that exhibits familial aggregation and may progress to end-stage renal disease (ESRD). LN is more prevalent among African Americans than among European Americans. This study was undertaken to investigate the hypothesis that the apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) nephropathy risk alleles G1/G2, common in African Americans and rare in European Americans, contribute to the ethnic disparity in risk.
APOL1 G1 and G2 nephropathy alleles were genotyped in 855 African American SLE patients with LN-ESRD (cases) and 534 African American SLE patients without nephropathy (controls) and tested for association under a recessive genetic model, by logistic regression.
Ninety percent of the SLE patients were female. The mean ± SD age at SLE diagnosis was significantly lower in LN-ESRD cases than in SLE non-nephropathy controls (27.3 ± 10.9 years versus 39.5 ± 12.2 years). The mean ± SD time from SLE diagnosis to development of LN-ESRD in cases was 7.3 ± 7.2 years. The G1/G2 risk alleles were strongly associated with SLE-ESRD, with 25% of cases and 12% of controls having 2 nephropathy alleles (odds ratio [OR] 2.57, recessive model P = 1.49 × 10−9), and after adjustment for age, sex, and ancestry admixture (OR 2.72, P = 6.23 × 10−6). The age-, sex-, and admixture-adjusted population attributable risk for ESRD among patients with G1/G2 polymorphisms was 0.26, compared to 0.003 among European American patients. The mean time from SLE diagnosis to ESRD development was ~2 years earlier among individuals with APOL1 risk genotypes (P = 0.01).
APOL1 G1/G2 alleles strongly impact the risk of LN-ESRD in African Americans, as well as the time to progression to ESRD. The high frequency of these alleles in African Americans with near absence in European Americans explains an important proportion of the increased risk of LN-ESRD in African Americans.
PMCID: PMC4002759  PMID: 24504811
Genetic epidemiology  2012;36(2):99-106.
Complex genetic disorders are a result of a combination of genetic and non-genetic factors, all potentially interacting. Machine learning methods hold the potential to identify multi-locus and environmental associations thought to drive complex genetic traits. Decision trees, a popular machine learning technique, offer a computationally low complexity algorithm capable of detecting associated sets of SNPs of arbitrary size, including modern genome-wide SNP scans. However, interpretation of the importance of an individual SNP within these trees can present challenges.
We present a new decision tree algorithm denoted as Bagged Alternating Decision Trees (BADTrees) that is based on identifying common structural elements in a bootstrapped set of ADTrees. The algorithm is order nk2, where n is the number of SNPs considered and k is the number of SNPs in the tree constructed. Our simulation study suggests that BADTrees have higher power and lower type I error rates than ADTrees alone and comparable power with lower type I error rates compared to logistic regression. We illustrate the application of these data using simulated data as well as from the Lupus Large Association Study 1 (7822 SNPs in 3548 individuals). Our results suggest that BADTrees holds promise as a low computational order algorithm for detecting complex combinations of SNP and environmental factors associated with disease.
PMCID: PMC3769952  PMID: 22851473
Machine Learning; Genetic Association; Gene-Gene Interaction; Multi-locus Models
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2014;29(7):1409-1414.
Mutations in the complement factor H gene (CFH) region associate with renal-limited mesangial proliferative forms of glomerulonephritis including IgA nephropathy (IgAN), dense deposit disease (DDD) and C3 glomerulonephritis (C3GN). Lack of kidney biopsies could lead to under diagnosis of CFH-associated end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) in African Americans (AAs), with incorrect attribution to other causes. A prior genome-wide association study in AAs with non-diabetic ESKD implicated an intronic CFH single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP).
Thirteen CFH SNPs (8 exonic, 2 synonymous, 2 3′UTR, and the previously associated intronic variant rs379489) were tested for association with common forms of non-diabetic and type 2 diabetes-associated (T2D) ESKD in 3770 AAs (1705 with non-diabetic ESKD, 1305 with T2D-ESKD, 760 controls). Most cases lacked kidney biopsies; those with known IgAN, DDD or C3GN were excluded.
Adjusting for age, gender, ancestry and apolipoprotein L1 gene risk variants, single SNP analyses detected 6 CFH SNPs (5 exonic and the intronic variant) as significantly associated with non-diabetic ESKD (P = 0.002–0.01), three of these SNPs were also associated with T2D-ESKD. Weighted CFH locus-wide Sequence Kernel Association Testing (SKAT) in non-diabetic ESKD (P = 0.00053) and T2D-ESKD (P = 0.047) confirmed significant evidence of association.
CFH was associated with commonly reported etiologies of ESKD in the AA population. These results suggest that a subset of cases with ESKD clinically ascribed to the effects of hypertension or glomerulosclerosis actually have CFH-related forms of mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis. Genetic testing may prove useful to identify the causes of renal-limited kidney disease in patients with ESKD who lack renal biopsies.
PMCID: PMC4081633  PMID: 24586071
African Americans; CFH; end-stage kidney disease; genetics; kidney disease
Kidney international  2014;87(1):176-181.
Albuminuria and reduced eGFR associate with two apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) variants in non-diabetic African Americans. Whether APOL1 associates with subclinical atherosclerosis and survival remains unclear. To determine this, 717 African American-Diabetes Heart Study participants underwent computed tomography to determine coronary artery, carotid artery, and aorta calcified atherosclerotic plaque mass scores in addition to the urine albumin:creatinine ratio (UACR), eGFR, and C-reactive protein. Associations between mass scores and APOL1 were assessed adjusting for age, gender, African ancestry, BMI, HbA1c, smoking, hypertension, use of statins and ACE inhibitors, albuminuria, and eGFR. Participants were 58.9% female with mean age 56.5 years, eGFR 89.5 ml/min/1.73m2, UACR 169.6 mg/g, coronary artery, carotid artery and aorta calcified plaque mass scores of 610, 171 and 5378, respectively. In fully adjusted models, APOL1 risk variants were significantly associated with lower levels of carotid artery calcified plaque (β −0.42, SE 0.18, dominant model), and marginally lower coronary artery plaque (β −0.36, SE 0.21; dominant model), but not with aorta calcified plaque, C-reactive protein, UACR, or eGFR. After a mean follow-up of 5.0 years, 89 participants died. APOL1 nephropathy risk variants were significantly associated with improved survival (hazard ratio 0.67 for 1 copy; 0.44 for 2 copies). Thus, APOL1 nephropathy variants associate with lower levels of subclinical atherosclerosis and reduced risk of death in African Americans with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
PMCID: PMC4281283  PMID: 25054777
African Americans; apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1); atherosclerosis; calcified atherosclerotic plaque; diabetes mellitus; kidney disease
Kidney international  2014;87(1):169-175.
Apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) G1 and G2 coding variants are strongly associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD) in African Americans. Here APOL1 association was tested with baseline estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), urine albumin:creatinine ratio (UACR), and prevalent cardiovascular disease (CVD) in 2,571 African Americans from the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT), a trial assessing effects of systolic blood pressure reduction on renal and CVD outcomes. Logistic regression models that adjusted for potentially important confounders tested for association between APOL1 risk variants and baseline clinical CVD (myocardial infarction, coronary or carotid artery revascularization) and CKD (eGFR under 60 ml/min/1.73m2 and/or UACR over 30 mg/g). African American SPRINT participants were 45.3% female with mean (median) age of 64.3 (63) years, mean arterial pressure 100.7 (100) mmHg, eGFR 76.3 (77.1) ml/min/1.73m2, UACR 49.9 (9.2) mg/g, and 8.2% had clinical CVD. APOL1 (recessive inheritance) was positively associated with CKD (odds ratio 1.37, 95% confidence interval 1.08–1.73) and log UACR estimated slope [β] 0.33) and negatively associated with eGFR (β −3.58), all significant. APOL1 risk variants were not significantly associated with prevalent CVD (1.02, 0.82–1.27). Thus, SPRINT data show that APOL1 risk variants are associated with mild CKD but not prevalent CVD in African American with a UACR under 1000 mg/g.
PMCID: PMC4281289  PMID: 25029429
African Americans; albuminuria; APOL1; cardiovascular disease; chronic kidney disease; SPRINT
Genes and immunity  2014;16(1):15-23.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disorder characterized by inflammation of multiple organ systems and dysregulated interferon responses. SLE is both genetically and phenotypically heterogeneous, greatly reducing the power of case-control studies in SLE. Elevated circulating interferon alpha (IFN-α) is a stable, heritable trait in SLE, which has been implicated in primary disease pathogenesis. 40–50% of patients have high IFN-α, and high levels correspond with clinical differences. To study genetic heterogeneity in SLE, we performed a case-case study comparing patients with high vs. low IFN-α in over 1550 SLE cases, including GWAS and replication cohorts. In meta-analysis, the top associations in European ancestry were PRKG1 rs7897633 (PMeta=2.75 × 10−8) and PNP rs1049564 (PMeta=1.24 × 10−7). We also found evidence for cross-ancestral background associations with the ANKRD44 and PLEKHF2 loci. These loci have not been previously identified in case-control SLE genetic studies. Bioinformatic analyses implicated these loci functionally in dendritic cells and natural killer cells, both of which are involved in IFN-α production in SLE. As case-control studies of heterogeneous diseases reach a limit of feasibility with respect to subject number and detectable effect size, the study of informative pathogenic subphenotypes becomes an attractive strategy for genetic discovery in complex disease.
PMCID: PMC4305028  PMID: 25338677
Human genetics  2014;133(6):769-779.
Prior studies have identified common genetic variants influencing diabetic and non-diabetic nephropathy, diseases which disproportionately affect African Americans. Recently, exome sequencing techniques have facilitated identification of coding variants on a genome-wide basis in large samples. Exonic variants in known or suspected end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) or nephropathy genes can be tested for their ability to identify association either singly or in combination with known associated common variants. Coding variants in genes with prior evidence for association with ESKD or nephropathy were identified in the NHLBI-ESP GO database and genotyped in 5045 African Americans (3324 cases with type 2 diabetes associated nephropathy [T2D-ESKD] or non-T2D ESKD, and 1721 controls) and 1465 European Americans (568 T2D-ESKD cases and 897 controls). Logistic regression analyses were performed to assess association, with admixture and APOL1 risk status incorporated as covariates. Ten of 31 SNPs were associated in African Americans; four replicated in European Americans. In African Americans, SNPs in OR2L8, OR2AK2, C6orf167 (MMS22L), LIMK2, APOL3, APOL2, and APOL1 were nominally associated (P=1.8×10−4-0.044). Haplotype analysis of common and coding variants increased evidence of association at the OR2L13 and APOL1 loci (P=6.2×10−5 and 4.6×10−5, respectively). SNPs replicating in European Americans were in OR2AK2, LIMK2, and APOL2 (P=0.0010-0.037). Meta-analyses highlighted four SNPs associated in T2DESKD and all-cause ESKD. Results from this study suggest a role for coding variants in the development of diabetic, non-diabetic, and/or all-cause ESKD in African Americans and/or European Americans.
PMCID: PMC4024071  PMID: 24385048
African Americans; Association; European Americans; Exonic Variants; Type 2 Diabetes; Nephropathy
American journal of epidemiology  2007;166(3):340-347.
The extent of shared risk factors for calcified atherosclerotic plaque (CAP) of the coronary, carotid, and abdominal aortic arteries is unknown. CAP was measured by computed tomography in 1,125 individuals in families affected with diabetes. Statistical methods adjusted for the lack of independence between observations. CAP scores were standardized, and tests of interaction were conducted to compare risk factor relations across vascular beds. The average age of the cohort was 61 years, and 84% had diabetes. The correlation in CAP scores across vascular beds ranged from 0.59 to 0.72. Age, albumin/creatinine ratio, hemoglobin A1c, diabetes, hypertension, and lipid-lowering therapy were correlated with quantity of CAP in all vascular beds (all p < 0.05); no differences in the strength of these relations were noted. In contrast, other significant correlates differed in the strength of their relations with CAP. The risk factor pack-years of smoking was most strongly correlated with CAP in the abdominal aorta (p < 0.005). Male gender, previous myocardial infarction, and coronary revascularization were most strongly correlated with CAP in the coronary arteries (p < 0.0001). In summary, CAPs of the coronary, carotid, and abdominal aortic arteries generally share common risk factors, even though several of these factors have a greater impact on CAP in one vascular bed than another.
PMCID: PMC4450101  PMID: 17493948
atherosclerosis; calcification; physiologic; diabetes mellitus; type 2; North Carolina; risk factors; siblings
Neurobiology of aging  2014;35(8):1958.e3-1958.e12.
Cognitive performance is an important component of healthy aging. Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is associated with negative outcomes for the brain and cognition, although causal mechanisms have not been definitely determined. Genetic risk factors warrant further consideration in this context. This study examined the heritability of cognitive function as assessed by (1) the Digit Symbol Substitution Task; (2) the Modified Mini-Mental State Examination; (3) the Stroop Task; (4) the Rey Auditory-Verbal Learning Task; and (5) the Controlled Oral Word Association Task for Phonemic and Semantic Fluency, in the family-based, T2D-enriched, Diabetes Heart Study sample (n = 550 participants from 257 families). The genetic basis of these cognitive measures was further evaluated by association analysis with candidate single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and genome-wide SNP data. Measures of cognitive function were significantly heritable (ĥ2 = 0.28–0.62) following adjustment for age, gender, and education. A total of 31 SNPs (from 26 genes/regions) selected to form an a priori set of candidate SNPs showed limited evidence of association with cognitive function when applying conservative metrics of significance. Genome-wide assessment of both noncoding and coding variants revealed suggestive evidence of association for several coding variants including rs139509083 in CNST (p = 4.9 × 10−9), rs199968569 in PLAA (p = 4.9 × 10−9) and rs138487371 in PCDH8 (p = 3.7 × 10−8). The identification of a heritable component to cognitive performance in T2D suggests a role for genetic contributors to cognitive performance even in the presence of metabolic disease and other associated comorbidities and is supported by the identification of genetic association signals in functionally plausible candidates.
PMCID: PMC4418030  PMID: 24684796
Cognitive function; Heritability; Genetics; Type 2 diabetes
Fogh, Isabella | Ratti, Antonia | Gellera, Cinzia | Lin, Kuang | Tiloca, Cinzia | Moskvina, Valentina | Corrado, Lucia | Sorarù, Gianni | Cereda, Cristina | Corti, Stefania | Gentilini, Davide | Calini, Daniela | Castellotti, Barbara | Mazzini, Letizia | Querin, Giorgia | Gagliardi, Stella | Del Bo, Roberto | Conforti, Francesca L. | Siciliano, Gabriele | Inghilleri, Maurizio | Saccà, Francesco | Bongioanni, Paolo | Penco, Silvana | Corbo, Massimo | Sorbi, Sandro | Filosto, Massimiliano | Ferlini, Alessandra | Di Blasio, Anna M. | Signorini, Stefano | Shatunov, Aleksey | Jones, Ashley | Shaw, Pamela J. | Morrison, Karen E. | Farmer, Anne E. | Van Damme, Philip | Robberecht, Wim | Chiò, Adriano | Traynor, Bryan J. | Sendtner, Michael | Melki, Judith | Meininger, Vincent | Hardiman, Orla | Andersen, Peter M. | Leigh, Nigel P. | Glass, Jonathan D. | Overste, Daniel | Diekstra, Frank P. | Veldink, Jan H. | van Es, Michael A. | Shaw, Christopher E. | Weale, Michael E. | Lewis, Cathryn M. | Williams, Julie | Brown, Robert H. | Landers, John E. | Ticozzi, Nicola | Ceroni, Mauro | Pegoraro, Elena | Comi, Giacomo P. | D'Alfonso, Sandra | van den Berg, Leonard H. | Taroni, Franco | Al-Chalabi, Ammar | Powell, John | Silani, Vincenzo | Brescia Morra, Vincenzo | Filla, Alessandro | Massimo, Filosto | Marsili, Angela | Viviana, Pensato | Puorro, Giorgia | La Bella, Vincenzo | Logroscino, Giancarlo | Monsurrò, Maria Rosaria | Quattrone, Aldo | Simone, Isabella Laura | Ahmeti, Kreshnik B. | Ajroud-Driss, Senda | Armstrong, Jennifer | Birve, Anne | Blauw, Hylke M. | Bruijn, Lucie | Chen, Wenjie | Comeau, Mary C. | Cronin, Simon | Soraya, Gkazi Athina | Grab, Josh D. | Groen, Ewout J. | Haines, Jonathan L. | Heller, Scott | Huang, Jie | Hung, Wu-Yen | Jaworski, James M. | Khan, Humaira | Langefeld, Carl D. | Marion, Miranda C. | McLaughlin, Russell L. | Miller, Jack W. | Mora, Gabriele | Pericak-Vance, Margaret A. | Rampersaud, Evadnie | Siddique, Nailah | Siddique, Teepu | Smith, Bradley N. | Sufit, Robert | Topp, Simon | Vance, Caroline | van Vught, Paul | Yang, Yi | Zheng, J.G.
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;23(8):2220-2231.
Identification of mutations at familial loci for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has provided novel insights into the aetiology of this rapidly progressing fatal neurodegenerative disease. However, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of the more common (∼90%) sporadic form have been less successful with the exception of the replicated locus at 9p21.2. To identify new loci associated with disease susceptibility, we have established the largest association study in ALS to date and undertaken a GWAS meta-analytical study combining 3959 newly genotyped Italian individuals (1982 cases and 1977 controls) collected by SLAGEN (Italian Consortium for the Genetics of ALS) together with samples from Netherlands, USA, UK, Sweden, Belgium, France, Ireland and Italy collected by ALSGEN (the International Consortium on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Genetics). We analysed a total of 13 225 individuals, 6100 cases and 7125 controls for almost 7 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We identified a novel locus with genome-wide significance at 17q11.2 (rs34517613 with P = 1.11 × 10−8; OR 0.82) that was validated when combined with genotype data from a replication cohort (P = 8.62 × 10−9; OR 0.833) of 4656 individuals. Furthermore, we confirmed the previously reported association at 9p21.2 (rs3849943 with P = 7.69 × 10−9; OR 1.16). Finally, we estimated the contribution of common variation to heritability of sporadic ALS as ∼12% using a linear mixed model accounting for all SNPs. Our results provide an insight into the genetic structure of sporadic ALS, confirming that common variation contributes to risk and that sufficiently powered studies can identify novel susceptibility loci.
PMCID: PMC3959809  PMID: 24256812
Diabetes Care  2014;37(4):1157-1164.
Given the high rates of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and associated mortality in individuals with type 2 diabetes, identifying and understanding predictors of CVD events and mortality could help inform clinical management in this high-risk group. Recent large-scale genetic studies may provide additional tools in this regard.
Genetic risk scores (GRSs) were constructed in 1,175 self-identified European American (EA) individuals comprising the family-based Diabetes Heart Study based on 1) 13 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 2) 30 SNPs with previously documented associations with CVD in genome-wide association studies. Associations between each GRS and a self-reported history of CVD, coronary artery calcified plaque (CAC) determined by noncontrast computed tomography scan, all-cause mortality, and CVD mortality were examined using marginal models with generalized estimating equations and Cox proportional hazards models.
The weighted 13-SNP GRS was associated with prior CVD (odds ratio [OR] 1.51 [95% CI 1.22–1.86]; P = 0.0002), CAC (β-coefficient [β] 0.22 [0.02–0.43]; P = 0.04) and CVD mortality (hazard ratio [HR] 1.35 [1.10–1.81]; P = 0.04) when adjusting for the other known CVD risk factors: age, sex, type 2 diabetes affection status, BMI, current smoking status, hypertension, and dyslipidemia. The weighted 30-SNP GRS was also associated with prior CVD (OR 1.33 [1.08–1.65]; P = 0.008), CAC (β 0.29 [0.08–0.50]; P = 0.006), all-cause mortality (HR 1.28 [1.05–1.56]; P = 0.01), and CVD mortality (HR 1.46 [1.08–1.96]; P = 0.01).
These findings support the utility of two simple GRSs in examining genetic associations for adverse outcomes in EAs with type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC4178326  PMID: 24574349
Two APOL1 nephropathy variants confer substantial risk for non-diabetic end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) in African Americans (AAs). Since not all genetically high-risk individuals develop ESKD, modifying factors likely contribute. Forty-two potentially interactive single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from a genome-wide association study in non-diabetic ESKD were tested for interaction with APOL1 to identify genes modifying risk for non-diabetic nephropathy.
SNPs were examined in an expanded sample of 1367 AA non-diabetic ESKD cases and 1504 AA non-nephropathy controls, with validation in an independent family-based cohort containing 608 first-degree relatives of index cases with non-diabetic ESKD. Logistic regression and mixed models were fitted to test for interaction effects with APOL1 on ESKD, estimated kidney function and albuminuria.
Among ESKD samples, 14 of 42 SNPs demonstrated suggestive APOL1 interaction with P-values <0.05. After Bonferroni correction, significant interactions with APOL1 were seen with SNPs in podocin (rs16854341; NPHS2, P = 8.0 × 10−4), in SDCCAG8 (rs2802723; P = 5.0 × 10−4) and near BMP4 (rs8014363; P = 1.0 × 10−3); with trends for ENOX1 (rs9533534; P = 2.2 × 10−3) and near TRIB1 (rs4457349; P = 5.7 × 10−3). The minor allele in NPHS2 markedly changed the APOL1-ESKD association odds ratio (OR) from 7.03 to 1.76 (∼50% reduction in effect per copy of the minor allele), rs2802723 changed the OR from 5.1 to 10.5, and rs8014363 increased the OR from 4.8 to 9.5. NPHS2 (P = 0.05) and SDCCAG8 (P = 0.03) SNPs demonstrated APOL1 interaction with albuminuria in independent family-based samples.
Variants in NPHS2, SDCCAG8 and near BMP4 appear to interact with APOL1 to modulate the risk for non-diabetic ESKD in AAs.
PMCID: PMC3938297  PMID: 24157943
African American; APOL1; bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4); kidney disease; podocin (NPHS2); serologically defined colon cancer antigen 8 (SDCCAG8)
Genes and immunity  2014;15(6):347-354.
In a Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) of individuals of European ancestry afflicted with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) the extensive utilization of imputation, stepwise multiple regression, lasso regularization, and increasing study power by utilizing False Discovery Rate (FDR) instead of a Bonferroni multiple test correction enabled us to identify 13 novel non-human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes and confirmed the association of 4 genes previously reported to be associated. Novel genes associated with SLE susceptibility included two transcription factors (EHF, and MED1), two components of the NFκB pathway (RASSF2 and RNF114), one gene involved in adhesion and endothelial migration (CNTN6), and two genes involved in antigen presentation (BIN1 and SEC61G). In addition, the strongly significant association of multiple single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the HLA region was assigned to HLA alleles and serotypes and deconvoluted into four primary signals. The novel SLE-associated genes point to new directions for both the diagnosis and treatment of this debilitating autoimmune disease.
PMCID: PMC4156543  PMID: 24871463
Inverse relationships have been reported between bone mineral density (BMD) and calcified atherosclerotic plaque (CP). This suggests these processes may be related. We examined relationships between BMD and CP in 753 African Americans with type 2 diabetes from 664 families, accounting for the effects of modifiable cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. Association analyses were performed using generalized estimating equations (GEEs) to assess cross-sectional relationships between computed tomography–determined measures of thoracic and lumbar vertebral volumetric BMD (vBMD) and CP in the coronary and carotid arteries and infrarenal aorta. Significant inverse associations were seen between thoracic and lumbar vBMD and CP in all three vascular beds in unadjusted analyses. A fully adjusted model accounting for age, sex, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, C-reactive protein, hemoglobin A1c, smoking, and hormone-replacement therapy revealed significant inverse associations between thoracic vBMD and CP in coronary and carotid arteries and aorta, whereas lumbar vBMD was associated with CP in coronary artery and aorta. Inverse associations exist between vertebral BMD and calcified atherosclerotic plaque in African-American men and women with type 2 diabetes. This relationship was independent of conventional CVD risk factors and supports the hypothesis that bone metabolism and atherosclerotic plaque mineralization are related processes.
PMCID: PMC4341826  PMID: 21437982
Genes and immunity  2009;10(4):350-355.
The ATP-binding cassette transporter (TAP) proteins are functionally relevant candidates for predisposition to Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) by virtue of their role in autoantigen presentation and location in the MHC. We tested if variation in the TAP genes (TAP1 and TAP2) is associated with SLE. We genotyped tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and performed family-based association analysis on 390 Caucasian pedigrees. We found significant evidence of association between TAP2 and SLE (rs241453, P = 1.33 × 10-6). Conditional logistic regression analysis suggests that this TAP2 effect is separate from the HLA-DRB1 alleles. Our analyses show that both rs241453 (P = 1.6 × 10-4) and HLA-DRB1*03xx (P = 2.3 × 10-4) have significant autonomous effects not due to linkage disequilibrium. Moreover, these loci exhibit a significant statistical interaction (P < 1.0 × 10-6), demonstrated by an increase in the odds ratio for the TAP2 association from OR = 2.00 (CI=1.17-3.42) in HLA-DRB1*03xx-negative subjects to OR = 4.29 (CI=1.88-9.76) in the subjects with at least one HLA-DRB1*03xx allele group. We report the largest association study of the TAP genes with SLE to date, and the first to test for its separate effect and interaction with the HLA alleles consistently associated with SLE.
PMCID: PMC2927958  PMID: 19387463
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; TAP2; HLA-DRB1; family-based association analysis; conditional logistic regression analysis; interaction analysis
Gene  2013;534(1):10.1016/j.gene.2013.10.035.
Insulin resistance is not fully explained on a molecular level, though several genes and proteins have been tied to this defect. Knockdowns of the SEPP1 gene, which encodes the Selenoprotein P (SeP) protein, have been shown to increase insulin sensitivity in mice. SeP is a liver-derived plasma protein and a major supplier of selenium, which is a proposed insulin mimetic and antidiabetic agent.
SEPP1 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were selected for analysis with glucometabolic measures.
Participants and Measures
1424 Hispanics from families in the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study (IRASFS). Additionally, the multi-ethnic Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study was used. A frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test was used to obtain precise measures of acute insulin response (AIR) and the insulin sensitivity index (SI).
21 SEPP1 SNPs (tagging SNPs (n=12) from HapMap, 4 coding variants and 6 SNPs in the promoter region) were genotyped and analyzed for association.
Two highly correlated (r2=1) SNPs showed association with AIR (rs28919926; Cys368Arg; p=0.0028 and rs146125471; Ile293Met; p=0.0026) while rs16872779 (intronic) was associated with fasting insulin levels (p=0.0097). In the smaller IRAS Hispanic cohort, few of the associations seen in the IRASFS were replicated, but meta-analysis of IRASFS and all 3 IRAS cohorts (N= 2446) supported association of rs28919926 and rs146125471 with AIR (p=0.013 and 0.0047, respectively) as well as rs7579 with SI (p=0.047).
Overall, these results in a human sample are consistent with the literature suggesting a role for SEPP1 in insulin resistance.
PMCID: PMC3856675  PMID: 24161883
Acute Insulin Response (AIR); Selenium; Selenoproteins; Insulin Resistance; Fibrinogen; Hispanic Americans
Frontiers in Genetics  2015;5:450.
Genome wide association studies have identified variants in PXK that confer risk for humoral autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus), rheumatoid arthritis and more recently systemic sclerosis. While PXK is involved in trafficking of epidermal growth factor Receptor (EGFR) in COS-7 cells, mechanisms linking PXK to lupus pathophysiology have remained undefined. In an effort to uncover the mechanism at this locus that increases lupus-risk, we undertook a fine-mapping analysis in a large multi-ancestral study of lupus patients and controls. We define a large (257kb) common haplotype marking a single causal variant that confers lupus risk detected only in European ancestral populations and spans the promoter through the 3′ UTR of PXK. The strongest association was found at rs6445972 with P < 4.62 × 10−10, OR 0.81 (0.75–0.86). Using stepwise logistic regression analysis, we demonstrate that one signal drives the genetic association in the region. Bayesian analysis confirms our results, identifying a 95% credible set consisting of 172 variants spanning 202 kb. Functionally, we found that PXK operates on the B-cell antigen receptor (BCR); we confirmed that PXK influenced the rate of BCR internalization. Furthermore, we demonstrate that individuals carrying the risk haplotype exhibited a decreased rate of BCR internalization, a process known to impact B cell survival and cell fate. Taken together, these data define a new candidate mechanism for the genetic association of variants around PXK with lupus risk and highlight the regulation of intracellular trafficking as a genetically regulated pathway mediating human autoimmunity.
PMCID: PMC4288052  PMID: 25620976
lupus; PXK; fine-mapping; B cells; BCR
Genetic epidemiology  2014;38(4):345-352.
Linkage analysis of complex traits has had limited success in identifying trait-influencing loci. Recently, coding variants have been implicated as the basis for some biomedical associations. We tested whether coding variants are the basis for linkage peaks of complex traits in 42 African-American (n = 596) and 90 Hispanic (n = 1,414) families in the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study (IRASFS) using Illumina HumanExome Beadchips. A total of 92,157 variants in African Americans (34%) and 81,559 (31%) in Hispanics were polymorphic and tested using two-point linkage and association analyses with 37 cardiometabolic phenotypes. In African Americans 77 LOD scores greater than 3 were observed. The highest LOD score was 4.91 with the APOE SNP rs7412 (MAF = 0.13) with plasma apolipoprotein B (ApoB). This SNP was associated with ApoB (P-value = 4 × 10−19) and accounted for 16.2% of the variance in African Americans. In Hispanic families, 104 LOD scores were greater than 3. The strongest evidence of linkage (LOD = 4.29) was with rs5882 (MAF = 0.46) in CETP with HDL. CETP variants were strongly associated with HDL (0.00049 < P-value <4.6 × 10−12), accounting for up to 4.5% of the variance. These loci have previously been shown to have effects on the biomedical traits evaluated here. Thus, evidence of strong linkage in this genome wide survey of primarily coding variants was uncommon. Loci with strong evidence of linkage was characterized by large contributions to the variance, and, in these cases, are common variants. Less compelling evidence of linkage and association was observed with additional loci that may require larger family sets to confirm.
PMCID: PMC4281959  PMID: 24719370
Hispanic; African American; genetic variance
Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation  2013;44(11):10.1161/STROKEAHA.113.001304.
Background and Purpose
Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) genotypes have been associated with lobar intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). Although HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) have been associated with an increased risk of ICH, meta-analyses have not consistently shown a statin-induced risk of ICH. Here, we test whether hypercholesterolemia and ApoE polymorphisms affect the risk with ICH by statin use.
The Genetic and Environmental Risk Factors for Hemorrhagic Stroke study is a prospective, demographically-matched case-control study of ICH. A similar study of ICH, Genetic Risks for Medication-Related Hemorrhagic Stroke study, was used as a replication cohort. Subjects were classified as normocholesterolemia (NC), hypercholesterolemia without statin (HC-NS), and hypercholesterolemia with statin use (HC-S). Statistical comparisons were performed using Fisher’s Exact Test, chi-square tests, and the Breslow-Day test.
The discovery cohort consisted of 558 ICH cases and 1,444 controls, and the replication cohort consisted of 1,020 ICH cases and 382 controls. The association of lower risk for hypercholesterolemia was not attenuated by statin use. Statin use was observed to confer a higher risk for lobar ICH in those carrying ApoE4/E4 and ApoE2/E4 genotypes in both discovery and replication cohorts and combined, showed a trend towards significance (p=0.11 for Statin vs. ApoE4/E4).
Statin use does not appear to attenuate the association of hypercholesterolemia with decreased risk for non-lobar ICH. Our data support a gene-by-drug effect for lobar ICH, but larger sample sizes are needed to confirm the association before any clinical change is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3873717  PMID: 24008570
Intracerebral hemorrhage [7]; Apolipoprotein E; Hypercholesterolemia; Statins; Case control studies [53]; Risk factors in epidemiology [59]
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2014;22(4):1157-1164.
We describe the GUARDIAN (Genetics UndeRlying DIAbetes in HispaNics) consortium, along with heritability estimates and genetic and environmental correlations of insulin sensitivity and metabolic clearance rate of insulin (MCRI).
Design and Methods
GUARDIAN is comprised of seven cohorts, consisting of 4336 Mexican-American individuals in 1346 pedigrees. Insulin sensitivity (SI), MCRI, and acute insulin response (AIRg) were measured by frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test in four cohorts. Insulin sensitivity (M, M/I) and MCRI were measured by hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp in three cohorts. Heritability and genetic and environmental correlations were estimated within the family cohorts (totaling 3925 individuals) using variance components.
Across studies, age and gender-adjusted heritability of insulin sensitivity (SI, M, M/I) ranged from 0.23–0.48 and of MCRI from 0.35–0.73. The ranges for the genetic correlations were 0.91 to 0.93 between SI and MCRI; and −0.57 to −0.59 for AIRg and MCRI (all P<0.0001). The ranges for the environmental correlations were 0.54 to 0.74 for SI and MCRI (all P<0.0001); and −0.16 to −0.36 for AIRg and MCRI (P <0.0001−0.06).
These data support a strong familial basis for insulin sensitivity and MCRI in Mexican Americans. The strong genetic correlations between MCRI and SI suggest common genetic determinants.
PMCID: PMC3968231  PMID: 24124113
insulin sensitivity; insulin clearance; heritability; genetic correlation; environmental correlation
Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation  2013;44(10):10.1161/STROKEAHA.113.002332.
Background and Purpose
Epidemiologic studies of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) have consistently demonstrated variation in incidence, location, age at presentation, and outcomes among non-Hispanic white, black, and Hispanic populations. We report here the design and methods for this large, prospective, multi-center case-control study of ICH.
The ERICH study is a multi-center, prospective case-control study of ICH. Cases are identified by hot-pursuit and enrolled using standard phenotype and risk factor information and include neuroimaging and blood sample collection. Controls are centrally identified by random digit dialing to match cases by age (+/−5 years), race, ethnicity, gender and metropolitan region.
As of March 22, 2013, 1,655 cases of ICH had been recruited into the study which is 101.5% of the target for that date and 851 controls had been recruited which is 67.2% of the target for that date (1,267 controls) for a total of 2,506 subjects which is 86.5% of the target for that date (2,897 subjects). Of the 1,655 cases enrolled, 1,640 cases had the case interview entered into the database of which 628 (38%) were non-Hispanic black, 458 (28%) were non-Hispanic white and 554 (34%) were Hispanic. Of the 1,197 cases with imaging submitted, 876 (73.2%) had a 24 hour follow-up CT available In addition to CT imaging, 607 cases have had MRI evaluation.
The ERICH study is a large, case-control study of ICH with particular emphasis on recruitment of minority populations for the identification of genetic and epidemiologic risk factors for ICH and outcomes after ICH.
PMCID: PMC3873723  PMID: 24021679
Stroke; Intracerebral Hemorrhage; Risk Factors; Hypertension; Minorities; Genetics; Genomics
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2013;58(3):966-975.
Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is an obesity-related condition affecting over 50% of individuals in some populations and is expected to become the number one cause of liver disease worldwide by 2020. Common, robustly associated genetic variants in/near five genes were identified for hepatic steatosis, a quantifiable component of NAFLD, in European-ancestry individuals. Here we tested whether these variants were associated with hepatic steatosis in African and/or Hispanic Americans and fine-mapped the observed association signals. We measured hepatic steatosis using computed tomography in five African-American (n=3124) and one Hispanic-American (n=849) cohorts. All analyses controlled for variation in age, age2, gender, alcoholic drinks, and population substructure. Heritability of hepatic steatosis was estimated in three cohorts. Variants in/near PNPLA3, NCAN, LYPLAL1, GCKR, and PPP1R3B were tested for association with hepatic steatosis using a regression framework in each cohort and meta-analyzed. Fine-mapping across African-American cohorts was conducted using meta-analysis. African- and Hispanic-American cohorts were 33.9/37.5% male, with average age of 58.6/42.6 years and body mass index of 31.8/28.9kg/m2, respectively. Hepatic steatosis was 0.20–0.34 heritable in African-and Hispanic-American families (p<0.02 in each cohort). Variants in or near PNPLA3, NCAN, GCKR, PPP1R3B in African Americans and PNPLA3 and PPP1R3B in Hispanic Americans were significantly associated with hepatic steatosis; however, allele frequency and effect size varied across ancestries. Fine-mapping in African Americans highlighted missense variants at PNPLA3 and GCKR and redefined the association region at LYPLAL1.
We show for the first time that multiple genetic variants are associated with hepatic steatosis across ancestries and explain a substantial proportion of the genetic predisposition in African and Hispanic Americans. Missense variants in PNPLA3 and GCKR are likely functional across multiple ancestries.
PMCID: PMC3782998  PMID: 23564467
liver steatosis; single nucleotide polymorphisms; obesity; meta-analysis; genetic variance
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

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