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1.  Genetic Analysis of Adiponectin Variation and its Association with Type 2 Diabetes in African Americans 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2013;21(12):10.1002/oby.20419.
Objective
Adiponectin is an adipocytokine that has been implicated in a variety of metabolic disorders, including T2D and cardiovascular disease. Studies evaluating genetic variants in ADIPOQ have been contradictory when testing association with T2D in different ethnic groups.
Design and Methods
In this study, 18 SNPs in ADIPOQ were tested for association with plasma adiponectin levels and diabetes status. SNPs were examined in two independent African-American cohorts (nmax=1116) from the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study (IRASFS) and the African American-Diabetes Heart Study (AA-DHS).
Results
Five polymorphisms were nominally associated with plasma adiponectin levels in the meta-analysis (p=0.035–1.02x10−6) including a low frequency arginine to cysteine mutation (R55C) which reduced plasma adiponectin levels to <15% of the mean. Variants were then tested for association with T2D in a meta-analysis of these and the Wake Forest T2D Case-Control study (n=3233 T2D, 2645 non-T2D). Association with T2D was not observed (p≥0.08), suggesting limited influence of ADIPOQ variants on T2D risk.
Conclusions
Despite identification of variants associated with adiponectin levels, a detailed genetic analysis of ADIPOQ revealed no association with T2D risk. This puts into question the role of adiponectin in T2D pathogenesis: whether low adiponectin levels are truly causal for or rather a consequence.
doi:10.1002/oby.20419
PMCID: PMC3690163  PMID: 23512866
2.  ESTIMATING THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF RARE AND COMMON GENETIC VARIATIONS AND CLINICAL MEASURES TO A MODEL TRAIT: ADIPONECTIN 
Genetic epidemiology  2012;37(1):13-24.
Common genetic variation frequently accounts for only a modest amount of inter-individual variation in quantitative traits and complex disease susceptibility. Circulating adiponectin, an adipocytokine implicated in metabolic disease, is a model for assessing the contribution of genetic and clinical factors to quantitative trait variation. The adiponectin locus, ADIPOQ, is the primary source of genetically-mediated variation in plasma adiponectin levels. This study sought to define the genetic architecture of ADIPOQ in the comprehensively phenotyped Hispanic (n=1151) and African American (n=574) participants from the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study (IRASFS). Through resequencing and bioinformatic analysis, rare/low frequency (<5% MAF) and common variants (>5% MAF) in ADIPOQ were identified. Genetic variants and clinical variables were assessed for association with adiponectin levels and contribution to adiponectin variance in the Hispanic and African American cohorts. Clinical traits accounted for the greatest proportion of variance (POV) at 31% (p=1.16×10−47) and 47% (p=5.82×10−20), respectively. Rare/low frequency variants contributed more than common variants to variance in Hispanics: POV=18% (p= 6.40×10−15) and POV=5% (p=0.19), respectively. In African Americans, rare/low frequency and common variants both contributed approximately equally to variance: POV=6% (p=5.44×10−12) and POV=9% (P=1.44×10−10), respectively. Importantly, single low frequency alleles in each ethnic group were as important as, or more important than, common variants in explaining variation in adiponectin. Cumulatively, these clinical and ethnicity-specific genetic contributors explained half or more of the variance in Hispanic and African Americans and provide new insight into the sources of variation for this important adipocytokine.
doi:10.1002/gepi.21685
PMCID: PMC3736586  PMID: 23032297
adiponectin; proportion of variation; rare variants; common variants; clinical traits
3.  ASSOCIATION BETWEEN ADIPOQ SNPS WITH PLASMA ADIPONECTIN AND GLUCOSE HOMEOSTASIS AND ADIPOSITY PHENOTYPES IN THE IRAS FAMILY STUDY 
Molecular genetics and metabolism  2012;107(4):721-728.
Context
Adiponectin is an adipocytokine associated with a variety of metabolic traits. These associations in human studies, in conjunction with functional studies in model systems, have implicated adiponectin in multiple metabolic processes.
Objective
We hypothesize that genetic variants associated with plasma adiponectin would also be associated with glucose homeostasis and adiposity phenotypes.
Design and Setting
The Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study was designed to identify the genetic and environmental basis of insulin resistance and adiposity in the Hispanic- (n=1,424) and African-American (n=604) population.
Main Outcome Measures
High quality metabolic phenotypes, e.g. insulin sensitivity (SI), acute insulin response (AIR), disposition index (DI), fasting glucose, body mass index (BMI), visceral adipose tissue (VAT), subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), and waist circumference, were explored.
Results
Based on association analysis of more than 40 genetic polymorphisms in the adiponectin gene (ADIPOQ), we found no consistent association of ADIPOQ variants with plasma adiponectin levels and adiposity phenotypes. However, there were two promoter variants, rs17300539 and rs822387, associated with plasma adiponectin levels (P=0.0079 and 0.021, respectively) in the Hispanic-American cohort that were also associated with SI (P=0.0067 and 0.013, respectively). In contrast, there was only a single promoter SNP, rs17300539, associated with plasma adiponectin levels (P=0.0018) and fasting glucose (P=0.042) in the African-American cohort. Strikingly, high impact coding variants did not show evidence of association.
Conclusions
The lack of consistent patterns of association between variants, adiponectin levels, glucose homeostasis, and adiposity phenotypes suggests a reassessment of the influence of adiponectin in these pathways.
doi:10.1016/j.ymgme.2012.10.003
PMCID: PMC3504195  PMID: 23102667
adiponectin; single nucleotide polymorphisms; glucose homeostasis; adiposity; African Americans; Hispanic Americans
4.  Two Independent Functional Risk Haplotypes in TNIP1 are Associated with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2012;64(11):3695-3705.
Objective
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease characterized by autoantibody production and altered type I interferon expression. Genetic surveys and genome-wide association studies have identified more than 30 SLE susceptibility genes. One of these genes, TNIP1, encodes the ABIN1 protein. ABIN1 functions in the immune system by restricting the NF-κB signaling. In order to better understand the genetic factors that influence association with SLE in genes that regulate the NF-κB pathway, we analyzed a dense set of genetic markers spanning TNIP1 and TAX1BP1, as well as the TNIP1 homolog, TNIP2, in case-control sets of diverse ethnic origins.
Methods
We fine-mapped TNIP1, TNIP2, and TAX1BP1 in a total of 8372 SLE cases and 7492 healthy controls from European-ancestry, African-American, Hispanic, East Asian, and African-American Gullah populations. Levels of TNIP1 mRNA and ABIN1 protein were analyzed using quantitative RT-PCR and Western blotting, respectively, in EBV-transformed human B cell lines.
Results
We found significant associations between genetic variants within TNIP1 and SLE but not in TNIP2 or TAX1BP1. After resequencing and imputation, we identified two independent risk haplotypes within TNIP1 in individuals of European-ancestry that were also present in African-American and Hispanic populations. These risk haplotypes produced lower levels of TNIP1 mRNA and ABIN1 protein suggesting they harbor hypomorphic functional variants that influence susceptibility to SLE by restricting ABIN1 expression.
Conclusion
Our results confirmed the association signals between SLE and TNIP1 variants in multiple populations and provide new insight into the mechanism by which TNIP1 variants may contribute to SLE pathogenesis.
doi:10.1002/art.34642
PMCID: PMC3485412  PMID: 22833143
5.  Association ofPNPLA3 with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in a minority cohort: the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study 
Background
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a highly prevalent condition, particularly among Hispanic Americans. A genetic variant in PNPLA3 (rs738409) has been identified as a strong predictor of hepatic fat content.
Aims
To confirm the association of this variant with NAFLD in two minority cohorts, Hispanic Americans and African Americans, in whom liver density was quantified by computed tomography (CT).
Methods
This analysis was conducted in the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis (IRAS) Family Study. Participants were recruited from the general community and included 843 Hispanic American and 371 African American adults aged 18–81 years. A single variant in PNPLA3 (rs738409) was genotyped. Liver density was calculated in Hounsfield Units from abdominal CT scans.
Results
Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs738409 was strongly associated with reduced liver density (i.e. NAFLD) in Hispanic Americans (1.18 × 10−9) and in African Americans (P = 4.99 × 10−6). The association followed an additive genetic model with the G allele conferring risk. The allele was two times more common in Hispanic Americans than in African Americans (40 vs 19%), consistent with the greater prevalence of NAFLD in Hispanic Americans (24 vs 9%). The SNP explained 4.4 and 5.6% of the variance of the adjusted liver density outcome in Hispanic Americans and African Americans, respectively.
Conclusions
We confirmed the association of a PNPLA3 variant with NAFLD in Hispanic Americans and African Americans, suggesting that PNPLA3 contributes to the variation in NAFLD across multiple ethnicities. This study adds to the growing evidence that some of the ethnic variation in NAFLD is genetic.
doi:10.1111/j.1478-3231.2010.02444.x
PMCID: PMC3703938  PMID: 21281435
African Americans; computed tomography; genetic epidemiology; hepatic steatosis; Hispanic Americans; non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; PNPLA3
6.  Relationship between genetic variants in myocardial sodium and potassium channel genes and QT interval duration in diabetics: the Diabetes Heart Study 
Background
Genetic variants in myocardial sodium and potassium channel genes are associated with prolonged QT interval and increased risk of sudden death. It is unclear whether these genetic variants remain relevant in subjects with underlying conditions such as diabetes that are associated with prolonged QT interval.
Methods
We tested single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in five candidate genes for association with QT interval in a family-based study of subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Thirty-six previously reported SNPs were genotyped in KCNQ1, HERG, SCN5A, KCNE1, and KCNE2 in 901 European Americans from 366 families. The heart rate-corrected (QTc) durations were determined using the Marquette 12SL program. Associations between the QTc interval and the genotypes were evaluated using SOLAR adjusting for age, gender, T2DM status, and body mass index.
Results
Within KCNQ1 there was weak evidence for association between the minor allele of IVS12+14T>C and increased QTc (p=0.02). The minor allele of rs2236609 in KCNE1 trended toward significance with longer QTc (p=0.06), while the minor allele of rs1805123 in HERG trended toward significance with shorter QTc (p=0.07). However, no statistically significant associations were observed between the remaining SNPs and QTc variation.
Conclusions
We found weak evidence of association between three previously-reported SNPs and QTc interval duration. While it appears as though genetic variants in previously identified candidate genes may be associated with QT duration in subjects with diabetes, the clinical implications of these associations in diabetic subjects at high risk for sudden death remains to be determined.
doi:10.1111/j.1542-474X.2008.00276.x
PMCID: PMC3650725  PMID: 19149796
QT interval; diabetes; association study; genetics; ion channels
7.  Fine Mapping of Xq28: Both MECP2 and IRAK1 Contribute to Risk for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in Multiple Ancestral Groups 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2012;72(3):437-444.
Objectives
The Xq28 region containing IRAK1 and MECP2 has been identified as a risk locus for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in previous genetic association studies. However, due to the strong linkage disequilibrium between IRAK1 and MECP2, it remains unclear which gene is affected by the underlying causal variant(s) conferring risk of SLE.
Methods
We fine-mapped ≥136 SNPs in a ~227kb region on Xq28, containing IRAK1, MECP2 and 7 adjacent genes (L1CAM, AVPR2, ARHGAP4, NAA10, RENBP, HCFC1 and TMEM187), for association with SLE in 15,783 case-control subjects derived from 4 different ancestral groups.
Results
Multiple SNPs showed strong association with SLE in European Americans, Asians and Hispanics at P<5×10−8 with consistent association in subjects with African ancestry. Of these, 6 SNPs located in the TMEM187-IRAK1-MECP2 region captured the underlying causal variant(s) residing in a common risk haplotype shared by all 4 ancestral groups. Among them, rs1059702 best explained the Xq28 association signals in conditional testings and exhibited the strongest P value in trans-ancestral meta-analysis (Pmeta=1.3×10−27, OR=1.43), and thus was considered to be the most-likely causal variant. The risk allele of rs1059702 results in the amino acid substitution S196F in IRAK1 and had previously been shown to increase NF-κB activity in vitro. We also found that the homozygous risk genotype of rs1059702 was associated with lower mRNA levels of MECP2, but not IRAK1, in SLE patients (P=0.0012) and healthy controls (P=0.0064).
Conclusion
These data suggest contributions of both IRAK1 and MECP2 to SLE susceptibility.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-201851
PMCID: PMC3567234  PMID: 22904263
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; Gene Polymorphism; Xq28; IRAK1; MECP2
8.  A functional haplotype of UBE2L3 confers risk for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Genes and immunity  2012;13(5):380-387.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease with diverse clinical manifestations characterized by the development of pathogenic autoantibodies manifesting in inflammation of target organs such as the kidneys, skin and joints. Genome-wide association studies have identified genetic variants in the UBE2L3 region that are associated with SLE in subjects of European and Asian ancestry. UBE2L3 encodes an ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme, UBCH7, involved in cell proliferation and immune function. In this study, we sought to further characterize the genetic association in the region of UBE2L3 and use molecular methods to determine the functional effect of the risk haplotype. We identified significant associations between variants in the region of UBE2L3 and SLE in individuals of European and Asian ancestry that exceeded a Bonferroni corrected threshold (P < 1 × 10−4). A single risk haplotype was observed in all associated populations. Individuals harboring the risk haplotype display a significant increase in both UBE2L3 mRNA expression (P = 0.0004) and UBCH7 protein expression (P = 0.0068). The results suggest that variants carried on the SLE associated UBE2L3 risk haplotype influence autoimmunity by modulating UBCH7 expression.
doi:10.1038/gene.2012.6
PMCID: PMC3411915  PMID: 22476155
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; UBE2L3; Multi Ethnic Association Study; UBCH7 Expression
9.  Differences in Arachidonic Acid Levels and Fatty Acid Desaturase (FADS) Gene Variants in African Americans and European Americans with Diabetes/Metabolic Syndrome 
The British journal of nutrition  2011;107(4):547-555.
Over the past 50 years, increases in dietary n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), such as linoleic acid, have been hypothesized to cause or exacerbate chronic inflammatory diseases. This study examines an individual’s innate capacity to synthesize n-6-long chain PUFAs (LC-PUFAs), with respect to the fatty acid desaturase (FADS) locus in Americans of African and European descent with diabetes/metabolic syndrome. Compared to European Americans (EAm), African Americans (AfAm) exhibited markedly higher serum levels of arachidonic acid (AA) (EAm 7.9±2.1; AfAm 9.8±1.9 % of total fatty acids, mean ± sd; p<2.29×10−9) and the AA to n-6-precursor fatty acid ratio, which estimates FADS1 activity (EAm 5.4±2.2, AfAm 6.9±2.2; p=1.44×10−5). Seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) mapping to the FADS locus revealed strong association with AA, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and dihomogamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) in the EAm. Importantly, EAm homozygous for the minor allele (T) had significantly lower AA levels (TT: 6.3±1.0; GG: 8.5±2.1; p=3.0×10−5) and AA/DGLA ratios (TT: 3.4±0.8; GG: 6.5±2.3; p=2.2×10−7) but higher DGLA levels (TT: 1.9±0.4; GG: 1.4±0.4; p=3.3×10−7) compared to those homozygous for the major allele (GG). Allele frequency patterns suggest that the GG genotype at rs174537 (associated with higher circulating levels of AA) is much higher in AfAm (0.81) compared to EAm (0.46). Similarly, marked differences in rs174537 genotypic frequencies were observed in HapMap populations. These data suggest that there are likely important differences in the capacity of different populations to synthesize LC-PUFAs. These differences may provide a genetic mechanism contributing to health disparities between populations of African and European descent.
doi:10.1017/S0007114511003230
PMCID: PMC3494092  PMID: 21733300
SNP; FADS; arachidonic acid synthesis
10.  Identification of ATPAF1 as a novel candidate gene for asthma in children 
Background
Asthma is a common disease of children with a complex genetic origin. Understanding the genetic basis of asthma susceptibility will allow disease prediction and risk stratification.
Objective
We sought to identify asthma susceptibility genes in children.
Methods
A nested case-control genetic association study of children of Caucasian European ancestry from a birth cohort was conducted. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, n=116,024) were genotyped in pools of DNA samples from cohort children with physician-diagnosed asthma (n=112) and normal controls (n=165). A genomic region containing the ATPAF1 gene was significantly associated with asthma. Additional SNPs within this region were genotyped in individual samples from the same children and in eight independent study populations consisting of Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, or other ancestries. SNPs were also genotyped or imputed in two consortia control populations. ATPAF1 expression was measured in bronchial biopsies from asthmatics and controls.
Results
Asthma was associated with a cluster of SNPs and SNP haplotypes containing the ATPAF1 gene with two SNPs achieving significance at a genome-wide level (p=2.26×10−5 to 2.2×10−8). Asthma severity was also associated with SNPs and haplotypes in the primary population. SNP and/or gene-level associations were confirmed in the four non-Hispanic populations. Haplotype associations were confirmed in the non-Hispanic populations (p=0.045 to 0.0009). ATPAF1 total RNA expression was significantly (p<0.01) higher in bronchial biopsies from asthmatics than controls.
Conclusion
Genetic variation in the ATPAF1 gene predisposes children of different ancestry to asthma.
doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2011.04.058
PMCID: PMC3185108  PMID: 21696813
asthma; ATPAF1; children; gene; genetic; genome-wide association; purinergic; respiratory; single nucleotide polymorphism; SNP
11.  Phenotypic associations of genetic susceptibility loci in systemic lupus erythematosus 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2011;70(10):1752-1757.
Objective
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a clinically heterogeneous autoimmune disease. A number of genetic loci that increase lupus susceptibility have been established. This study examines if these genetic loci also contribute to the clinical heterogeneity in lupus.
Materials and methods
4001 European-derived, 1547 Hispanic, 1590 African-American and 1191 Asian lupus patients were genotyped for 16 confirmed lupus susceptibility loci. Ancestry informative markers were genotyped to calculate and adjust for admixture. The association between the risk allele in each locus was determined and compared in patients with and without the various clinical manifestations included in the ACR criteria.
Results
Renal disorder was significantly correlated with the lupus risk allele in ITGAM (p=5.0×10−6, OR 1.25, 95% CI 1.12 to 1.35) and in TNFSF4 (p=0.0013, OR 1.14, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.25). Other significant findings include the association between risk alleles in FCGR2A and malar rash (p=0.0031, OR 1.11, 95% CI 1.17 to 1.33), ITGAM and discoid rash (p=0.0020, OR 1.20, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.33), STAT4 and protection from oral ulcers (p=0.0027, OR 0.89, 95% CI 0.83 to 0.96) and IL21 and haematological disorder (p=0.0027, OR 1.13, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.22). All these associations are significant with a false discovery rate of <0.05 and pass the significance threshold using Bonferroni correction for multiple testing.
Conclusion
Significant associations were found between lupus clinical manifestations and the FCGR2A, ITGAM, STAT4, TNSF4 and IL21 genes. The findings suggest that genetic profiling might be a useful tool to predict disease manifestations in lupus patients in the future.
doi:10.1136/ard.2011.154104
PMCID: PMC3232181  PMID: 21719445
12.  Association of PPP2CA polymorphisms with SLE susceptibility in multiple ethnic groups 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2011;63(9):2755-2763.
Objective
T cells from patients with SLE express increased amounts of PP2Ac which contribute to decreased production of IL-2. Because IL-2 is important in the regulation of several aspects of the immune response, it has been proposed that PP2Ac contributes to the expression of SLE. This study was designed to determine whether genetic variants of PPP2AC are linked to the expression of SLE and specific clinical manifestations and account for the increased expression of PP2Ac.
Methods
We conducted a trans-ethnic study consisting of 8,695 SLE cases and 7,308 controls from four different ancestries. Eighteen single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the PPP2CA were genotyped using an Illumina custom array. PPP2CA expression in SLE and control T cells was analyzed by real-time PCR.
Results
A 32-kb haplotype comprised of multiple SNPs of PPP2CA showed significant association with SLE in Hispanic Americans (HA), European Americans (EA) and Asians but not in African-Americans (AA). Conditional analyses revealed that SNP rs7704116 in intron 1 showed consistently strong association with SLE across Asian, EA and HA populations (pmeta=3.8×10−7, OR=1.3[1.14–1.31]). In EA, the largest ethnic dataset, the risk A allele of rs7704116 was associated with the presence of renal disease, anti-dsDNA and anti-RNP antibodies. PPP2CA expression was approximately 2-fold higher in SLE patients carrying the rs7704116 AG genotype than those carrying GG genotype (p = 0.008).
Conclusion
Our data provide the first evidence for an association between PPP2CA polymorphisms and elevated PP2Ac transcript levels in T cells, which implicates a new molecular pathway for SLE susceptibility in EA, HA and Asians.
doi:10.1002/art.30452
PMCID: PMC3163110  PMID: 21590681
13.  Genetic Analyses of Interferon Pathway-Related Genes Reveals Multiple New Loci Associated with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2011;63(7):2049-2057.
Objective
The overexpression of interferon (IFN)-inducible genes is a prominent feature of SLE, serves as a marker for active and more severe disease, and is also observed in other autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. The genetic variations responsible for sustained activation of IFN responsive genes are unknown.
Methods
We systematically evaluated association of SLE with a total of 1,754 IFN-pathway related genes, including IFN-inducible genes known to be differentially expressed in SLE patients and their direct regulators. We performed a three-stage design where two cohorts (total n=939 SLE cases, 3,398 controls) were analyzed independently and jointly for association with SLE, and the results were adjusted for the number of comparisons.
Results
A total of 16,137 SNPs passed all quality control filters of which 316 demonstrated replicated association with SLE in both cohorts. Nine variants were further genotyped for confirmation in an average of 1,316 independent SLE cases and 3,215 independent controls. Association with SLE was confirmed for several genes, including the transmembrane receptor CD44 (rs507230, P = 3.98×10−12), cytokine pleiotrophin (PTN) (rs919581, P = 5.38×10−04), the heat-shock DNAJA1 (rs10971259, P = 6.31×10−03), and the nuclear import protein karyopherin alpha 1 (KPNA1) (rs6810306, P = 4.91×10−02).
Conclusion
This study expands the number of candidate genes associated with SLE and highlights the potential of pathway-based approaches for gene discovery. Identification of the causal alleles will help elucidate the molecular mechanisms responsible for activation of the IFN system in SLE.
doi:10.1002/art.30356
PMCID: PMC3128183  PMID: 21437871
14.  Fine mapping and trans-ethnic genotyping establish IL2/IL21 genetic association with lupus and localize this genetic effect to IL21 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2011;63(6):1689-1697.
Objective
Genetic association of the IL2/IL21 region at 4q27 has been previously reported in lupus and a number of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Herein, using a very large cohort of lupus patients and controls, we localize this genetic effect to the IL21 gene.
Methods
We genotyped 45 tag SNPs across the IL2/IL21 locus in two large independent lupus sample sets. We studied a European-derived set consisting of 4,248 lupus patients and 3,818 healthy controls, and an African-American set of 1,569 patients and 1,893 healthy controls. Imputation in 3,004 WTCCC additional control individuals was also performed. Genetic association between the genotyped markers was determined, and pair-wise conditional analysis was performed to localize the independent genetic effect in the IL2/IL21 locus in lupus.
Results
We established and confirmed the genetic association between IL2/IL21 and lupus. Using conditional analysis and trans-ethnic mapping, we localized the genetic effect in this locus to two SNPs in high linkage disequilibrium; rs907715 located within IL21 (OR=1.16 (1.10–1.22), P= 2.17 ×10−8), and rs6835457 located in the 3’-UTR flanking region of IL21 (OR= 1.11 (1.05–1.17), P= 9.35×10−5).
Conclusion
We have established the genetic association between lupus and IL2/IL21 with a genome-wide level of significance. Further, we localized this genetic association within the IL2/IL21 linkage disequilibrium block to IL21. If other autoimmune IL2/IL21 genetic associations are similarly localized, then the IL21 risk alleles would be predicted to operate in a fundamental mechanism that influences the course of a number of autoimmune disease processes.
doi:10.1002/art.30320
PMCID: PMC3106139  PMID: 21425124
15.  Role of MYH9 and APOL1 in African and non-African populations with Lupus Nephritis 
Genes and Immunity  2011;13(3):232-238.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex autoimmune disease characterized by autoantibody production and organ damage. Lupus nephritis (LN) is one of the most severe manifestations of SLE. Multiple studies reported associations between renal diseases and variants in the non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 (MYH9) and the neighboring apolipoprotein L 1 (APOL1) genes. We evaluated 167 variants spanning MYH9 for association with LN in a multiethnic sample. The two previously identified risk variants in APOL1 were also tested for association with LN in European-Americans (EAs) (N = 579) and African-Americans (AAs) (N = 407). Multiple peaks of association exceeding a Bonferroni corrected p-value of p < 2.03 × 10−3 were observed between LN and MYH9 in EAs (N=4620), with the most pronounced association at rs2157257 (p = 4.7 × 10−4; odds ratio [OR]=1.205). A modest effect with MYH9 was also detected in Gullah (rs8136069, p = 0.0019, OR = 2.304). No association between LN and MYH9 was found in AAs, Asians, Amerindians or Hispanics. This study provides the first investigation of MYH9 in LN in non-Africans and of APOL1 in LN in any population and presents novel insight into the potential role of MYH9 in LN in EAs.
doi:10.1038/gene.2011.82
PMCID: PMC3330160  PMID: 22189356
MYH9; APOL1; lupus nephritis; systemic lupus erythematosus; multiethnic association study
16.  Genetic Mapping of Vascular Calcified Plaque Loci on Chromosome 16p in European Americans from the Diabetes Heart Study 
Annals of human genetics  2011;75(2):222-235.
SUMMARY
A carotid artery calcified plaque (CarCP) linkage peak on chromosome 16p (LOD 4.39 at 8.4cM) in European American (EA) families with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) from the Diabetes Heart Study (DHS) has been refined by fine-mapping and candidate genes and SNPs evaluated for association with subclinical CVD. Fine-mapping was based on 104 SNPs in 937 subjects from 315 families, including 45 SNPs in six candidate genes (CACNA1H, SEPX1, ABCA3, IL32, SOCS1, and KIAA0350). Linkage and association analyses using variance components analysis (SOLAR; adjusting for age, gender, BMI, and T2DM status) refined the original CarCP linkage into two distinct linkage regions (LOD scores: 3.89 at 6.9cM and 4.86 at 16.0cM). Evidence of linkage for coronary calcified plaque (LOD: 2.27 at 19cM) and a vascular calcification principle component (LOD: 3.71 at 16.0cM) was also observed. The strongest evidence for association with CarCP was observed with SNPs in the A2BP1 gene region (rs4337300 p=0.005) with modest evidence of association with SNPs in CACNA1H (p=0.010–0.033). Bayesian Quantitative Trait Nucleotide analysis identified a SNP, rs1358489, with either a functional effect on CarCP or in linkage disequilibrium with a functional SNP. This study refined the 16p region contributing to vascular calcification. Although the causal variants remain to be identified the results are consistent with a linkage peak which is due to multiple common variants, though rare variants cannot be excluded.
doi:10.1111/j.1469-1809.2010.00632.x
PMCID: PMC3074504  PMID: 21309755
type 2 diabetes; subclinical cardiovascular disease; fine mapping
17.  A Genome-Wide Association Search for Type 2 Diabetes Genes in African Americans 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e29202.
African Americans are disproportionately affected by type 2 diabetes (T2DM) yet few studies have examined T2DM using genome-wide association approaches in this ethnicity. The aim of this study was to identify genes associated with T2DM in the African American population. We performed a Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) using the Affymetrix 6.0 array in 965 African-American cases with T2DM and end-stage renal disease (T2DM-ESRD) and 1029 population-based controls. The most significant SNPs (n = 550 independent loci) were genotyped in a replication cohort and 122 SNPs (n = 98 independent loci) were further tested through genotyping three additional validation cohorts followed by meta-analysis in all five cohorts totaling 3,132 cases and 3,317 controls. Twelve SNPs had evidence of association in the GWAS (P<0.0071), were directionally consistent in the Replication cohort and were associated with T2DM in subjects without nephropathy (P<0.05). Meta-analysis in all cases and controls revealed a single SNP reaching genome-wide significance (P<2.5×10−8). SNP rs7560163 (P = 7.0×10−9, OR (95% CI) = 0.75 (0.67–0.84)) is located intergenically between RND3 and RBM43. Four additional loci (rs7542900, rs4659485, rs2722769 and rs7107217) were associated with T2DM (P<0.05) and reached more nominal levels of significance (P<2.5×10−5) in the overall analysis and may represent novel loci that contribute to T2DM. We have identified novel T2DM-susceptibility variants in the African-American population. Notably, T2DM risk was associated with the major allele and implies an interesting genetic architecture in this population. These results suggest that multiple loci underlie T2DM susceptibility in the African-American population and that these loci are distinct from those identified in other ethnic populations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029202
PMCID: PMC3251563  PMID: 22238593
18.  Genome-wide association study of vitamin D concentrations in Hispanic Americans: The IRAS Family Study 
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with many adverse health outcomes. There are several well established environmental predictors of vitamin D concentrations, yet studies of the genetic determinants of vitamin D concentrations are in their infancy. Our objective was to conduct a pilot genome-wide association (GWA) study of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25[OH]2D) concentrations in a subset of 229 Hispanic subjects, followed by replication genotyping of 50 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the entire sample of 1,190 Hispanics from San Antonio, Texas and San Luis Valley, Colorado. Of the 309,200 SNPs that met all quality control criteria, three SNPs in high linkage disequilibrium (LD) with each other were significantly associated with 1,25[OH]2D (rs6680429, rs9970802, and rs10889028) at a Bonferroni corrected P-value threshold of 1.62 × 10−7, however none met the threshold for 25[OH]D. Of the 50 SNPs selected for replication genotyping, five for 25[OH]D (rs2806508, rs10141935, rs4778359, rs1507023, and rs9937918) and eight for 1,25[OH]2D (rs6680429, rs1348864, rs4559029, rs12667374, rs7781309, rs10505337, rs2486443, and rs2154175) were replicated in the entire sample of Hispanics (P < 0.01). In conclusion, we identified several SNPs that were associated with vitamin D metabolite concentrations in Hispanics. These candidate polymorphisms merit further investigation in independent populations and other ethnicities.
doi:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2010.06.013
PMCID: PMC2949505  PMID: 20600896
Vitamin D; 25-hydroxyvitamin D; 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D; genome-wide association study; Hispanic
19.  Association of Genetic Variants in Complement Factor H and Factor H-Related Genes with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Susceptibility 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(5):e1002079.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a complex polygenic autoimmune disease, is associated with increased complement activation. Variants of genes encoding complement regulator factor H (CFH) and five CFH-related proteins (CFHR1-CFHR5) within the chromosome 1q32 locus linked to SLE, have been associated with multiple human diseases and may contribute to dysregulated complement activation predisposing to SLE. We assessed 60 SNPs covering the CFH-CFHRs region for association with SLE in 15,864 case-control subjects derived from four ethnic groups. Significant allelic associations with SLE were detected in European Americans (EA) and African Americans (AA), which could be attributed to an intronic CFH SNP (rs6677604, in intron 11, Pmeta = 6.6×10−8, OR = 1.18) and an intergenic SNP between CFHR1 and CFHR4 (rs16840639, Pmeta = 2.9×10−7, OR = 1.17) rather than to previously identified disease-associated CFH exonic SNPs, including I62V, Y402H, A474A, and D936E. In addition, allelic association of rs6677604 with SLE was subsequently confirmed in Asians (AS). Haplotype analysis revealed that the underlying causal variant, tagged by rs6677604 and rs16840639, was localized to a ∼146 kb block extending from intron 9 of CFH to downstream of CFHR1. Within this block, the deletion of CFHR3 and CFHR1 (CFHR3-1Δ), a likely causal variant measured using multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification, was tagged by rs6677604 in EA and AS and rs16840639 in AA, respectively. Deduced from genotypic associations of tag SNPs in EA, AA, and AS, homozygous deletion of CFHR3-1Δ (Pmeta = 3.2×10−7, OR = 1.47) conferred a higher risk of SLE than heterozygous deletion (Pmeta = 3.5×10−4, OR = 1.14). These results suggested that the CFHR3-1Δ deletion within the SLE-associated block, but not the previously described exonic SNPs of CFH, might contribute to the development of SLE in EA, AA, and AS, providing new insights into the role of complement regulators in the pathogenesis of SLE.
Author Summary
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex autoimmune disease, associated with increased complement activation. Previous studies have provided evidence for the presence of SLE susceptibility gene(s) in the chromosome 1q31-32 locus. Within 1q32, genes encoding complement regulator factor H (CFH) and five CFH-related proteins (CFHR1-CFHR5) may contribute to the development of SLE, because genetic variants of these genes impair complement regulation and predispose to various human diseases. In this study, we tested association of genetic variants in the region containing CFH and CFHRs with SLE. We identified genetic variants predisposing to SLE in European American, African American, and Asian populations, which might be attributed to the deletion of CFHR3 and CFHR1 genes but not previously identified disease-associated exonic variants of CFH. This study provides the first evidence for consistent association between CFH/CFHRs and SLE across multi-ancestral SLE datasets, providing new insights into the role of complement regulators in the pathogenesis of SLE.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002079
PMCID: PMC3102741  PMID: 21637784
20.  The impact of FADS genetic variants on ω6 polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolism in African Americans 
BMC Genetics  2011;12:50.
Background
Arachidonic acid (AA) is a long-chain omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) synthesized from the precursor dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) that plays a vital role in immunity and inflammation. Variants in the Fatty Acid Desaturase (FADS) family of genes on chromosome 11q have been shown to play a role in PUFA metabolism in populations of European and Asian ancestry; no work has been done in populations of African ancestry to date.
Results
In this study, we report that African Americans have significantly higher circulating levels of plasma AA (p = 1.35 × 10-48) and lower DGLA levels (p = 9.80 × 10-11) than European Americans. Tests for association in N = 329 individuals across 80 nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the Fatty Acid Desaturase (FADS) locus revealed significant association with AA, DGLA and the AA/DGLA ratio, a measure of enzymatic efficiency, in both racial groups (peak signal p = 2.85 × 10-16 in African Americans, 2.68 × 10-23 in European Americans). Ancestry-related differences were observed at an upstream marker previously associated with AA levels (rs174537), wherein, 79-82% of African Americans carry two copies of the G allele compared to only 42-45% of European Americans. Importantly, the allelic effect of the G allele, which is associated with enhanced conversion of DGLA to AA, on enzymatic efficiency was similar in both groups.
Conclusions
We conclude that the impact of FADS genetic variants on PUFA metabolism, specifically AA levels, is likely more pronounced in African Americans due to the larger proportion of individuals carrying the genotype associated with increased FADS1 enzymatic conversion of DGLA to AA.
doi:10.1186/1471-2156-12-50
PMCID: PMC3118962  PMID: 21599946
21.  Evaluation of DLG2 as a Positional Candidate for Disposition Index in African Americans from the IRAS Family Study 
Summary
Aims
Evaluate discs large homolog 2 (DLG2) as a positional candidate gene for disposition index (DI) in the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study (IRAS-FS) African-American sample.
Methods
SNPs (n=193) were selected for genotyping in 580 African-American individuals using a modified tagging algorithm. Follow-up genotyping was carried out within regions associated with DI. A subset of highly associated, uncorrelated SNPs were used as covariates in the linkage analysis to assess their contribution to linkage.
Results
Evidence of association with DI was observed at the DLG2 locus (admixture-adjusted P=0.050-8.7×10-5) with additional signals observed in follow-up genotyping of 17 SNPs (P=0.033-0.0012). Inclusion of highly associated, uncorrelated SNPs as covariates in the linkage analysis explained linkage at the DLG2 locus (90.8cM) and reduced the maximal LOD score (72.0cM) from 4.37 to 3.71.
Conclusions
Evidence of association and an observed contribution to evidence for linkage to DI was observed for SNPs in DLG2 genotyped on the African-American individuals from the IRAS-FS. Although not the only gene in the region, these results suggest that variation at the DLG2 locus contributes to maintenance of glucose homeostasis through regulation of insulin sensitivity and β-cell function as measured by DI.
doi:10.1016/j.diabres.2009.10.015
PMCID: PMC2818538  PMID: 19931931
African Americans; Glucose Homeostasis; Disposition Index; SNPs; Linkage; Association
22.  INSIG2 SNPS ASSOCIATED WITH OBESITY & GLUCOSE HOMEOSTASIS TRAITS IN HISPANICS: THE IRAS FAMILY STUDY 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2009;17(8):1554-1562.
The genome-wide association study by Herbert and colleagues identified the INSIG2 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs7566605 as contributing to increased BMI in ethnically distinct cohorts. The present study sought to further clarify by testing whether SNPs of INSIG2 influenced quantitative adiposity or glucose homeostasis traits in Hispanics of the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study (IRASFS). Using a tagging SNP approach, rs7566605 and 31 additional SNPs were genotyped in 1425 IRASFS Hispanics. SNPs were tested for association with six adiposity measures: BMI, waist circumference (WAIST), waist to hip ratio (WHR), subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), visceral adipose tissue (VAT), and VAT to SAT ratio (VSR). SNPs were also tested for association with fasting glucose (GFAST), fasting insulin (FINS), and three measures obtained from the frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test: insulin sensitivity (SI), acute insulin response (AIR), and disposition index (DI). Most prominent association was observed with direct CT-measured adiposity phenotypes, including VAT, SAT, and VSR (P-values range from 0.007 to 0.044 for rs17586756, rs17047718, rs17047731, rs9308762, rs12623648, and rs11673900). Multiple SNP associations were observed with all glucose homeostasis traits (P-values range from 0.001 to 0.031 for rs17047718, rs17047731, rs2161829, rs10490625, rs889904, and rs12623648). Using BMI as a covariate in evaluation of glucose homeostasis traits slightly reduced their association. However, association with adiposity and glucose homeostasis phenotypes is not significant following multiple comparisons adjustment. Trending association after multiple comparisons adjustment remains suggestive of a role for genetic variation of INSIG2 in obesity, but these results require validation.
doi:10.1038/oby.2009.94
PMCID: PMC2916685  PMID: 19360016
Insulin-induced gene 2; single nucleotide polymorphism; genetic association; adiposity; glucose homeostasis
23.  A polymorphism within interleukin-21 receptor (IL21R) confers risk for systemic lupus erythematosus 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2009;60(8):2402-2407.
Objective
Interleukin (IL) 21 is a member of the type I cytokine superfamily that exerts a variety of effects on the immune system including B cell activation, plasma cell differentiation, and immunoglobulin production. The expression of IL21R is reduced in B cells from lupus patients, while IL21 serum levels are increased in both lupus patients and some lupus-murine models. We recently reported that polymorphisms within the IL21 gene are associated with increased susceptibility to lupus. Herein, we examined the genetic association between SNPs within IL21R and lupus.
Methods
We genotyped 17 SNPs in the IL21R gene in two large cohorts of lupus patients and ethnically-matched healthy controls. Genotyping was performed with the Illumina BeadStation 500GX instrument using Illumina Infinum II genotyping assays.
Results
We identified and confirmed the association between rs3093301 within the IL21R gene and lupus in two independent European-derived and Hispanic cohorts (meta analysis odds ratio= 1.16, 95% CI= 1.08-1.25, meta analysis p=1.0×10-4).
Conclusion
We identified IL21R as a novel susceptibility gene for lupus.
doi:10.1002/art.24658
PMCID: PMC2782592  PMID: 19644854
24.  Association of SSTR2 Polymorphisms and Glucose Homeostasis Phenotypes 
Diabetes  2009;58(6):1457-1462.
OBJECTIVE
This study evaluated the influence of somatostatin receptor type 2 (SSTR2) polymorphisms on measures of glucose homeostasis in the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study (IRASFS). SSTR2 is a G-protein–coupled receptor that, in response to somatostatin, mediates inhibition of insulin, glucagon, and growth hormone release and thus may affect glucose homeostasis.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Ten single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) spanning the gene were chosen using a SNP density selection algorithm and genotyped on 1,425 Hispanic-American individuals from 90 families in the IRASFS. These families comprised two samples (set 1 and set 2), which were analyzed individually and as a combined set. Single SNP tests of association were performed for four glucose homeostasis measures—insulin sensitivity (SI), acute insulin response (AIR), disposition index (DI), and fasting blood glucose (FBG)—using generalized estimating equations.
RESULTS
The SSTR2 locus was encompassed by a single linkage disequilibrium (LD) block (D′ = 0.91–1.00; r2 = 0.09–0.97) that contained four of the ten SNPs evaluated. Within the SSTR2-containing LD block, evidence of association was observed in each of the two sets and in a combined analysis with decreased SI(βhomozygous = −0.16; Pmeta-analysis = 0.0024–0.0030), decreased DI (βhomozygous = −0.35 to −5.16; Pmeta-analysis = 0.0075–0.027), and increased FBG (βhomozygous = 2.30; Pmeta-analysis = 0.045). SNPs outside the SSTR2-containing LD block were not associated with measures of glucose homeostasis.
CONCLUSIONS
We observed evidence for association of SSTR2 polymorphisms with measures of glucose homeostasis. Thus, variants in SSTR2 may influence pathways of SIto modulate glucose homeostasis.
doi:10.2337/db08-0189
PMCID: PMC2682669  PMID: 19324939
25.  Analysis of FTO Gene Variants with Measures of Obesity and Glucose Homeostasis in the IRAS Family Study 
Human genetics  2009;125(5-6):615-626.
Multiple studies have identified FTO gene variants associated with measures of adiposity in European-derived populations. The study objective was to determine whether FTO variants were associated with adiposity, including visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue (VAT; SAT), and glucose homeostasis measures in the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study (IRASFS). A total of 27 SNPs in FTO intron 1, including SNPs prominent in the literature (rs9939609, rs8050136, rs1121980, rs17817449, rs1421085, and rs3751812), were genotyped in 1,424 Hispanic Americans and 604 African Americans. Multiple SNPs were associated with BMI and SAT (p-values ranging from 0.001 to 0.033), and trending or associated with waist circumference (p-values ranging from 0.008 to 0.099) in the Hispanic Americans. No association was observed with VAT, illustrating that FTO variants are associated with overall fat mass instead of specific fat depots. For the glucose homeostasis measures, variants were associated with fasting insulin but, consistent with other studies, after BMI adjustment, no evidence of association remained. The lack of association of FTO SNPs with insulin sensitivity is consistent with the lack of association with VAT, since these traits are strongly correlated. In the African Americans, only rs8050136 and rs9939609 were associated with BMI and WAIST (p-values of 0.011 and 0.034), and associated or trending towards association with SAT (p-values of 0.038 and 0.058). These results confirm that FTO variants are associated with adiposity measures, predisposing individuals to obesity by increasing overall fat mass in Hispanic Americans and to a lesser degree in African Americans.
doi:10.1007/s00439-009-0656-3
PMCID: PMC2792578  PMID: 19322589
fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) gene; single nucleotide polymorphism; genetic association; adiposity; glucose homeostasis

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