The human melanopsin gene has been reported to mediate risk for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is hypothesized to be caused by decreased photic input during winter when light levels fall below threshold, resulting in differences in circadian phase and/or sleep. However, it is unclear if melanopsin increases risk of SAD by causing differences in sleep or circadian phase, or if those differences are symptoms of the mood disorder. To determine if melanopsin sequence variations are associated with differences in sleep-wake behavior among those not suffering from a mood disorder, the authors tested associations between melanopsin gene polymorphisms and self-reported sleep timing (sleep onset and wake time) in a community sample (N = 234) of non-Hispanic Caucasian participants (age 30–54 yrs) with no history of psychological, neurological, or sleep disorders. The authors also tested the effect of melanopsin variations on differences in preferred sleep and activity timing (i.e., chronotype), which may reflect differences in circadian phase, sleep homeostasis, or both. Daylength on the day of assessment was measured and included in analyses. DNA samples were genotyped for melanopsin gene polymorphisms using fluorescence polarization. P10L genotype interacted with daylength to predict self-reported sleep onset (interaction p < .05). Specifically, sleep onset among those with the TT genotype was later in the day when individuals were assessed on longer days and earlier in the day on shorter days, whereas individuals in the other genotype groups (i.e., CC and CT) did not show this interaction effect. P10L genotype also interacted in an analogous way with daylength to predict self-reported morningness (interaction p < .05). These results suggest that the P10L TT genotype interacts with daylength to predispose individuals to vary in sleep onset and chronotype as a function of daylength, whereas other genotypes at P10L do not seem to have effects that vary by daylength. A better understanding of how melanopsin confers heightened responsivity to daylength may improve our understanding of a broad range of behavioral responses to light (i.e., circadian, sleep, mood) as well as the etiology of disorders with seasonal patterns of recurrence or exacerbation.
Chronotype; Genetics; Melanopsin; Seasonal affective disorder; Sleep
Common genetic variations influence rejection, infection, drug metabolism, and side effect profiles after pediatric heart transplantation. Reports in adults suggest that genetic background may influence post-transplant renal function. In this multicenter study we investigated the association of genetic polymorphisms (GP) in a panel of candidate genes on renal function in 453 pediatric heart transplant recipients.
We performed genotyping for functional GPs in 19 candidate genes. Renal function was determined annually after transplantation by calculation of glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). Mixed effects and Cox proportional hazard models were used to assess recipient characteristics and the effect of GPs on longitudinal eGFR and time to eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73m2.
Mean age at transplantation was 6.2 ± 6.1 years and mean follow-up was 5.1 ± 2.5 years. Older age at transplant and black race were independently associated with post-transplant renal dysfunction. In univariate analyses, FASL (C-843T) T allele (p=0.014) and HO-1 (A326G) G allele (p=0.0017) were associated with decreased renal function. After adjusting for age and race, these associations were attenuated [FASL (p=0.075), HO-1 (p=0.053)]. We found no associations of other GPs, including GPs in TGFβ1, CYP3A5, ABCB1, and ACE, with post-transplant renal function.
In this multicenter, large sample of pediatric heart transplant recipients we found no strong associations between GPs in 19 candidate genes and post-transplant renal function. Our findings contradict reported associations of CYP3A5 and TGFβ1 with renal function and suggest that genotyping for these GPs will not facilitate individualized immunosuppression for the purpose of protecting renal function after pediatric heart transplantation.
Vertebral bone mineral density (BMD) and cross-sectional area (CSA) are important determinants of vertebral bone strength. Little is known about the specific genetic variants that influence these phenotypes in humans. We investigated the potential genetic variants associated with vertebral trabecular volumetric BMD (vBMD) and CSA measured by quantitative computed tomography (QCT). We initially tested for association between these phenotypes and 4608 tagging and potentially functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 383 candidate genes in 862 community-dwelling Caucasian men aged ≥65 years in the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Study (MrOS). The most promising SNP associations (P<0.01) were then validated by genotyping an additional 1,156 randomly sampled men from the same cohort. We identified 11 SNPs in 10 genes (TGFBR3, SOST, KL, CALCR, LEP, CSF1R, PTN, GNRH2, FGFR2, MEPE) that were consistently associated with trabecular vBMD and 5 SNPs in 5 genes (CYP11B1, DVL2, DLX5, WNT4, PAX7) that were consistently associated with CSA in both samples (p<0.005). None of the SNPs associated with trabecular vBMD were associated with CSA. Our findings raise the possibility that at least some of the loci for vertebral trabecular BMD and bone size may be distinct.
Osteoporosis; Genetics; BMD; men; QCT; Polymorphism
Controversy exists regarding mechanisms responsible for sex based outcome differences post-injury. X-chromosome linked immune response pathway polymorphisms represent a potential mechanism resulting in sex based outcome differences post-injury. The prevalences of these variants are known to differ across race. We sought to characterize racial differences and the strength of any sex based dimorphism post-injury.
A retrospective analysis was performed using data derived from the National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB 7.1, 2002–2006). Blunt injured adult (>15yr) patients, surviving > 24hrs, with an injury severity score (ISS) >16 were analyzed (n=244,371). Patients were stratified by race (Caucasian, Black, Hispanic, Asian) and multivariable regression analysis was used to characterize the risk of mortality and the strength of protection associated with sex (Female vs. Male).
When stratified by race, multivariable models demonstrated Caucasian females had an 8.5% lower adjusted risk of mortality (OR 0.91, 95%CI 0.88–0.95, p < 0.001) relative to Caucasian males, with no significant association found for Hispanics or Blacks. An exaggerated survival benefit was afforded to Asian females relative to Asian males, having over a 40% lower adjusted risk of mortality (OR 0.59, 95%CI 0.44–78, p < 0.001). Asian males had over a 75% higher adjusted risk of mortality relative to non-Asian males (OR 1.77, 95%CI 1.5–2.0, p<0.001), while no significant difference in the mortality risk was found for Asian females relative to non-Asian females.
These results suggest that Asian race is associated with sex based outcome differences which are exaggerated, resulting due to worse outcome for Asian males. These racial disparities suggest a negative male X-chromosome linked effect as the mechanism responsible for these sex based outcome differences.
Secondary lymphedema is a frequent complication of breast cancer associated with surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation following breast cancer treatment. The potential contribution of genetic susceptibility to risk of developing secondary lymphedema following surgical trauma, radiation, and other tissue insults has not been studied.
To determine if women with breast cancer and secondary lymphedema had mutations in candidate lymphedema genes, we undertook a case - control study of 188 women diagnosed with breast cancer recruited from the University of Pittsburgh Breast Cancer Program (http://www.upmccancercenter.com/breast/index.cfm) between 2000–2010.
Candidate lymphedema genes, GJC2 (encoding connexin 47 [Cx47]), FOXC2, HGF, MET, and FLT4 (encoding VEGFR3), were sequenced for mutation. Bioinformatics analysis and in vitro functional assays were used to confirm significance of novel mutations.
Cx47 mutations were identified in individuals having secondary lymphedema following breast cancer treatment but not in breast cancer controls or normal women without breast cancer. These novel mutations are dysfunctional as assessed through in vitro assays and bioinformatics analysis, and provide evidence that altered gap junction function leads to lymphedema.
Our findings challenge the view that secondary lymphedema is solely due to mechanical trauma and support the hypothesis that genetic susceptibility is an important risk factor for secondary lymphedema. A priori recognition of genetic risk 1) raises the potential for early detection and intervention for a high risk group, and 2) allows the possibility of altering surgical approach and/or chemo- and radiation therapy, or direct medical treatment of secondary lymphedema with novel connexin modifying drugs.
Secondary lymphedema is a frequent and serious chronic complication of breast cancer treatment. Our finding of four independent mutations in Cx47, including one shared mutation previously reported in primary lymphedema, not only supports these mutations as a genetic risk to the development of secondary lymphedema but raises the likelihood that other genes may contribute to such a genetic risk to secondary lymphedema as well.
Evolutionarily conserved genes and their associated molecular pathways can serve as a translational bridge between human and mouse research, extending our understanding of biological pathways mediating individual differences in behavior and risk for psychopathology.
Comparative gene array analysis in the amygdala and cingulate cortex between the serotonin transporter (SERT) knock-out mouse (SERTKO), a genetic animal model replicating features of human depression, and existing brain transcriptome data from postmortem tissue derived from clinically depressed humans, was conducted to identify gene with similar changes across species (i.e., conserved) that may help explain risk of depressive-like phenotypes. Human neuroimaging analysis was then used to investigate the impact of a common single-nucleotide polymorphism (rs1064448) in a gene with identified conserved human-mouse changes, adenylate cyclase 7 (ADCY7), on threat-associated amygdala reactivity in two large independent samples.
Comparative analysis identified genes with conserved transcript changes in amygdala (n=29) and cingulate cortex (n=19), both critically involved in the generation and regulation of emotion. Selected results were confirmed by real-time quantitative PCR, including upregulation in the amygdala of transcripts for ADCY7, a gene previously implicated in human depression and associated with altered emotional responsiveness in mouse models. Translating these results back to living healthy human subjects, we show that genetic variation (rs1064448) in ADCY7 biases threat-related amygdala reactivity.
This converging cross-species evidence implicates ADCY7 in the modulation of mood regulatory neural mechanisms and, possibly, risk for and pathophysiology of depression, together supporting a continuous dimensional approach to MDD and other affective disorders.
depression; amygdala; serotonin transporter; adenylate cyclase; mouse; human
Severe malarial anemia (SMA) resulting from Plasmodium falciparum infections is one of the leading causes of childhood mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. The innate immune mediator, macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of SMA.
To investigate the influence of MIF genetic variation on susceptibility to SMA, haplotypes of the MIF-173(G/C) and -794CATT5–8 polymorphisms were examined in a cohort of Kenyan children.
A statistically significant relationship between increasing frequencies of longer CATT repeats at -794 and increasing malarial anemia severity was observed. In addition, there was a strong association between lower MIF concentrations and longer CATT repeats. Multivariate logistic regression analyses demonstrated that the MIF-794CATT6/-173G (6G) haplotype was associated with protection against SMA while carriers of 7C or 8C haplotypes had increased risk of developing SMA. Furthermore, carriers of the 7C or 8C haplotypes had reduced plasma MIF levels during acute disease.
The findings demonstrate that variation in the MIF promoter influences susceptibility to SMA and peripheral MIF production. However, the MIF-173 and -794 polymorphisms appear to have both independent, as well as interactive effects on different measures of disease severity, suggesting a complex role for MIF in malarial pathogenesis.
Plasmodium falciparum; severe malaria; anemia; Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF); promoter polymorphisms
Background. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are involved in the innate immune response. We examined whether TLR variants are associated with Chlamydia trachomatis infection among women with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Methods. We tested whether 18 tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (tagSNPs) assayed in 4 TLR genes (TLR1, TLR2, TLR4, TLR6) and 2 adaptor molecules (TIRAP, MyD88) were associated with C. trachomatis among 205 African American women with clinically suspected PID from the PID Evaluation and Clinical Health Study. Logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). An empirical P value of <.004 was considered significant.
Results. Women with PID who carried the TLR4 rs1927911 CC genotype had significantly increased odds of C. trachomatis (OR, 3.7; 95% CI, 1.6–8.8; P = .002). The TLR1 rs5743618TT genotype was also associated with C. trachomatis (OR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.3–6.2; P = .008).
Conclusions. Among African American women with PID, variants in the TLR1 and TLR4 genes, which may increase signaling, were associated with increased C. trachomatis infection.
Background Variation in the complement factor H gene (CFH) is associated with risk of late age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Previous studies have been case–control studies in populations of European ancestry with little differentiation in AMD subtype, and insufficient power to confirm or refute effect modification by smoking.
Methods To precisely quantify the association of the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP rs1061170, ‘Y402H’) with risk of AMD among studies with differing study designs, participant ancestry and AMD grade and to investigate effect modification by smoking, we report two unpublished genetic association studies (n = 2759) combined with data from 24 published studies (26 studies, 26 494 individuals, including 14 174 cases of AMD) of European ancestry, 10 of which provided individual-level data used to test gene–smoking interaction; and 16 published studies from non-European ancestry.
Results In individuals of European ancestry, there was a significant association between Y402H and late-AMD with a per-allele odds ratio (OR) of 2.27 [95% confidence interval (CI) 2.10–2.45; P = 1.1 x 10−161]. There was no evidence of effect modification by smoking (P = 0.75). The frequency of Y402H varied by ancestral origin and the association with AMD in non-Europeans was less clear, limited by paucity of studies.
Conclusion The Y402H variant confers a 2-fold higher risk of late-AMD per copy in individuals of European descent. This was stable to stratification by study design and AMD classification and not modified by smoking. The lack of association in non-Europeans requires further verification. These findings are of direct relevance for disease prediction. New research is needed to ascertain if differences in circulating levels, expression or activity of factor H protein explain the genetic association.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD); Complement factor H gene; meta-ananlysis
Apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 alleles increase the risk for late-onset Alzheimer disease (LOAD) and decrease the age of onset. Recently, sequencing the APOE region in a small sample of LOAD subjects identified a variable length poly-T repeat sequence in the nearby gene, TOMM40, which may affect age of onset. We genotyped the TOMM40 poly-T repeat using a novel statistical approach to refine the identification of allele length in 892 LOAD subjects and evaluated its effects on age of onset. Because psychosis in LOAD is a heritable phenotype which has shown conflicting associations with APOE genotype, we also evaluated the association of poly-T repeat length with psychosis. Poly-T repeat lengths had a trimodal distribution which differed between APOE genotype groups. After accounting for APOE ε4 there was no association of poly-T repeat length with age of onset. Neither APOE ε4 nor poly-T repeat length was associated with psychosis. Our findings do not support the association of poly-T repeat length with age of onset in LOAD. The clinical implications of this repeat length polymorphism remain to be elucidated.
Apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4; late-onset Alzheimer disease (LOAD); psychosis; TOMM40; variable length poly-T repeat sequence
Prostate cancer disparities have been reported in men of African descent who show the highest incidence, mortality, compared with other ethnic groups. Few studies have explored the genetic and environmental factors for prostate cancer in men of African ancestry. The glutathione-S-transferases family conjugates carcinogens before their excretion and is expressed in prostate tissue. This study addressed the role of GSTM1 and GSTT1 deletions on prostate cancer risk in populations of African descent. This multi-institutional case–control study gathered data from the Genetic Susceptibility to Environmental Carcinogens (GSEC) database, the African-Caribbean Cancer Consortium (AC3) and Men of African Descent and Carcinoma of the Prostate Consortium (MADCaP). The analysis included 10 studies (1715 cases and 2363 controls), five in African-Americans, three in African-Caribbean and two in African men. Both the GSTM1 and the GSTT1 deletions showed significant inverse associations with prostate cancer [odds ratio (OR): 0.90, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.83–0.97 and OR 0.88, 95% CI: 0.82–0.96, respectively]. The association was restricted to Caribbean and African populations. A significant positive association was observed between GSTM1 deletion and prostate cancer in smokers in African-American studies (OR: 1.28, 95% CI: 1.01–1.56), whereas a reduced risk was observed in never-smokers (OR: 0.66, 95% CI: 0.46–0.95). The risk of prostate cancer increased across quartiles of pack-years among subjects carrying the deletion of GSTM1 but not among subjects carrying a functional GSTM1. Gene–environment interaction between smoking and GSTM1 may be involved in the etiology of prostate cancer in populations of African descent.
The results of the current analyses present preliminary evidence of an association between putatively functional variation in the prodynorphin (PDYN) gene and a dimensional measure of disinhibited behavior. A 68 bp sequence in the core promoter region of the PDYN gene was genotyped in a community sample of 1021 adults aged 30–54. Participants were interviewed for lifetime history of DSM-IV alcohol dependence and completed two self-report measures of sensation seeking and impulsiveness. Fifteen percent (n=151) of the sample met DSM-IV criteria for alcohol dependence and while results did not support an association between the PDYN polymorphism and the diagnosis of alcohol dependence, we did observe an association between the “low” expressing L allele of the PDYN gene and a preference for engaging in disinhibited behavior. Additionally, people who had both a history of alcohol dependence and higher scores on this Disinhibited Behavior scale were most likely to carry an L allele. These results indicate that variation in the PDYN gene is associated with a dimensional trait or intermediate phenotype that reflects a preference for heavy drinking and engaging in related risky behaviors (e.g., drug use, sexual activity).
Research integrating neuroimaging and molecular genetics has yielded important insights into how variability in brain chemistry predicts individual differences in brain function, behavior and related risk for psychopathology. However, existing studies have been limited by their focus on the independent effects of single polymorphisms with modest impact on brain chemistry. Here, we explored the effects of five functional polymorphisms affecting dopamine (DA) signaling on reward-related ventral striatum (VS) reactivity, measured with BOLD fMRI, in a sample of 69 Caucasians. We also compiled individual multilocus genetic profile scores reflecting the additive effects of alleles conferring relatively increased DA signaling across the five polymorphic loci: DAT1 9-repeat, DRD4 7-repeat, DRD2 -141C Del, DRD2 Taq1A C (A2), and COMT 158Met. These multilocus DA profile scores accounted for 10.9% of the inter-individual variability in reward-related VS reactivity. In contrast, none of the individual polymorphisms accounted for significant variability. Our results show that biologically informed multilocus genetic profiles have unique promise as indices of variability in brain chemistry that may yield advances in mapping individual differences in behaviorally relevant brain function. In turn, such genetic profiles may fuel gene–environment interactions research establishing trajectories of risk for psychopathology.
genetic profile; dopamine; ventral striatum; reward; fMRI; dopamine; neurogenetics; neurotransmitters; biological psychiatry; genetic profile; ventral striatum; reward; fMRI
Atherosclerosis is a heritable trait with little known about specific genetic influences on preclinical measures of plaque formation. Based on relations of parasympathetic-cholinergic function to atherosclerosis and to a choline transporter gene [CHT1 (G/T)] polymorphism, we investigated whether the same allelic variant predicts variation in carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and plaque formation. Carotid IMT and plaque occurrence as well as genotyping for the CHT1 (G/T) variant were measured in a sample (N = 264) of generally healthy adults (age 30–55) of European ancestry. CHT1 GG homozygotes had greater IMT (P < 0.005) and plaque occurrence (P < 0.020) than T allele carriers. This is the first study showing polymorphic variation in the CHT1 gene to predict early, subclinical measures of carotid atherosclerosis which may aid in understanding cholinergic-vagal processes potentially underlying atherosclerotic risk.
Atherosclerosis; Intima-media thickness; Plaque; Cholinergic function; Choline transport; Acetylcholine
The adenosine A2A receptor (ADORA2A) may ameliorate deleterious physiologic effects associated with tissue injury in individuals with diabetes. We explored associations between variants of the ADORA2A gene and proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) in a cohort of patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D).
The participants were from the Pittsburgh Epidemiology of Diabetes Complications prospective study of childhood-onset T1D. Stereoscopic photographs of the retinal fundus taken at baseline, then biennially, for 10 years were used to define PDR according to the modified Airlie House system. Two tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (tSNPs; rs2236624-C/T and rs4822489-G/T) in the ADORA2A gene were selected using the HapMap (haplotype map) reference database.
A significant association was observed between SNP rs2236624 and PDR in the recessive genetic model. Participants homozygous for the T allele displayed a decreased risk of developing prevalent PDR (odds ratio, OR = 0.36; p = 0.04) and incident PDR (hazard ratio = 0.156; p = 0.009), and for all cases of PDR combined (OR = 0.23; p = 0.001). The protective effect of T allele homozygosity remained after adjusting for covariates. Similarly, for SNP rs4822489, an association between PDR and T allele homozygosity was observed following covariate adjustment (OR = 0.55; 95% CI: 0.31–0.92; p = 0.04).
Genetic variants of ADORA2A offer statistically significant protection against PDR development in patients with T1D.
Diabetes; Diabetic retinopathy; Single nucleotide polymorphism; Adenosine receptor
Reward behavior in animals is influenced by circadian genes, including clock-pathway genes such as Period2 (PER2). Several forms of psychiatric illness are associated with both altered reward function and disturbances in circadian function. The PER2 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs2304672 has been associated with psychiatric illnesses involving reward dysfunction. Associations among circadian genes, function in neural reward circuits, and circadian-influenced behavior have not yet been studied in humans, however.
90 healthy adolescents underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging during a guessing task with monetary reward, genotyping for two PER2 SNPs (rs2304672, rs2304674), and actigraphy to measure sleep in their home environments. Weekend sleep midpoint, a behavioral index of circadian function, was derived from actigraphy. Puberty was measured by physical exam.
The rs2304672 SNP predicted blood oxygenation level-dependent response to monetary reward as constrained by sleep midpoint. Later sleep midpoint was associated with reduced activity in a key component of reward circuitry, medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC; Brodmann area 9/10/32), to reward outcome (pcorrected < .05). G allele carriers showed reduced activity in mPFC relative to CC homozygotes.
Our findings are the first to indicate that circadian genes have a significant impact upon circadian-relevant reward circuitry in humans. These findings have the potential to elucidate gene-brain-behavior relationships underlying reward processing and psychopathology.
Brain function; circadian function; clock-pathway genes; development; reward; PER2
Psychotic symptoms occur in approximately 40% of subjects with Alzheimer disease (AD with Psychosis, AD+P) and identify a subgroup with more rapid cognitive decline. We evaluated in 867 AD subjects the association of AD+P with genes which may modify the pathologic process via effects on the accumulation of amyloid beta (Aβ) protein and/or hyperphosphorylated microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT): amyloid precursor protein (APP), beta-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme (BACE1), sortilin-related receptor (SORL1), and MAPT. Each gene was thoroughly interrogated with tag SNPs, and gene-based tests were used to enhance power. We found no association of these genes with AD+P.
Alzheimer's disease; psychosis; amyloid precursor protein (APP); beta-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme (BACE1); sortilin-related receptor (SORL1); microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT); and Apolipoprotein E e4 (APOE e4)
Interferon-α (IFN-α) treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) is complicated by depression and related neurovegetative side effects. Recent genome-wide scans identified IL28B gene polymorphisms that associated with HCV clearance. Whether the IL28B polymorphism is also associated with these adverse effects of IFN-α would affect its clinical usefulness. One hundred thirty-three patients were prospectively examined using the Beck Depression Inventory-II and a Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV (DSM-IV) during IFN-α treatment. The candidate C/T single-nucleotide polymorphism upstream from IL28B (rs1297860) was genotyped and assessed for association with individual items from the Beck Depression Inventory-II. We confirmed that the IL28B polymorphism was associated with differences in sustained viral response (F = 3.38; P < 0.05), with the T/T genotype faring worst. However, the T/T genotype was associated with less appetite (P < 0.05), energy (P < 0.05), and sleep complaints (P < 0.05) during treatment. Only 3.1% of patients with T/T developed major appetite complaints, whereas 10.1% and 8.9% of those with the C/T and C/C genotype did, respectively. Only 10.8% of patients with T/T developed major sleep complaints, whereas 16.1% and 20.7% of those with the C/T and C/C genotype did. However, IL28B genotype did not predict development of major depressive disorder (χ2 = 0.12; P = 0.94). The allele (C) was associated with both better viral clearance and more subjective appetite, energy, and sleep complaints. This has implications for the management of patients with HCV. If genotyping is used to better target therapy, this may co-enrich the population for likelihood of also suffering from these side effects.
Development of interpersonal relationships is a fundamental human motivation, and behaviors facilitating social bonding are prized. Some individuals experience enhanced reward from alcohol in social contexts and may be at heightened risk for developing and maintaining problematic drinking. We employed a 3 (group beverage condition) ×2 (genotype) design (N = 422) to test the moderating influence of the dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4 VNTR) polymorphism on the effects of alcohol on social bonding. A significant gene x environment interaction showed that carriers of at least one copy of the 7-repeat allele reported higher social bonding in the alcohol, relative to placebo or control conditions, whereas alcohol did not affect ratings of 7-absent allele carriers. Carriers of the 7-repeat allele were especially sensitive to alcohol's effects on social bonding. These data converge with other recent gene-environment interaction findings implicating the DRD4 polymorphism in the development of alcohol use disorders, and results suggest a specific pathway by which social factors may increase risk for problematic drinking among 7-repeat carriers. More generally, our findings highlight the potential utility of employing transdisciplinary methods that integrate genetic methodologies, social psychology, and addiction theory to improve theories of alcohol use and abuse.
Age at menarche, a sentinel index of pubertal maturation, was examined in relation to early family relationships (conflict, cohesion) and polymorphic variation in the gene encoding estrogen receptor-α (ESR1) in a midlife sample of 455 European American women. Consistent with prior literature, women who reported being raised in families characterized by close interpersonal relationships and little conflict tended to reach menarche at a later age than participants reared in families lacking cohesion and prone to discord. Moreover, this association was moderated by ESR1 variation, such that quality of the family environment covaried positively with menarcheal age among participants homozygous for minor alleles of the two ESR1 polymorphisms studied here (rs9304799, rs2234693), but not among women of other ESR1 genotypes. In addition, a) family relationship variables were unrelated to ESR1 variation, and b) genotype-dependent effects of childhood environment on age at menarche could not be accounted for by personality traits elsewhere shown to explain heritable variation in reported family conflict and cohesion. These findings are consistent with theories of differential susceptibility to environmental influence, as well as the more specific hypothesis (by Belsky) that girls differ genetically in their sensitivity to rearing effects on pubertal maturation.
Pubertal Timing; Menarche; Family Environment; Estrogen Receptor-α; Gene-Environment Interaction; Differential Susceptibility
Although the etiology of the metabolic syndrome remains unclear, recent evidence suggests that dysregulation of brain serotonergic activity may partly underlie the covariation of risk factors comprising the syndrome. In addition, prior studies have shown polymorphisms in the serotonin 2A receptor (HTR2A) gene to be associated with two syndrome components, hypertension and central adiposity. We conducted a study to confirm associations of HTR2A polymorphisms with elevated blood pressure and central adiposity and tested for association between these polymorphisms and the metabolic syndrome.
The study sample included 934 unrelated individuals of European ancestry. We tested for association of two HTR2A polymorphisms, one in the promoter: (−1438[G/A]) and one in the first intron (2416 [C/T]), individually and as a diplotype, with elevated blood pressure, central adiposity, elevated fasting glucose, triglycerides, high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and presence of the metabolic syndrome, as defined by the American Heart Association/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (AHA/NHLBI) Scientific Statement Executive Summary.
Confirming previous reports, elevated blood pressure (>130/85 mm Hg) was associated with both the −1438 GG and 2416 TT genotypes and the GG/TT diplotype (ORs = 1.39–1.76); high waist circumference was associated with −1438 GG genotype only (OR = 1.57). In addition, both the −1438 GG and 2416 TT genotypes, and the GG/TT diplotype, predicted presence of the metabolic syndrome (ORs = 1.44–1.77). Fasting glucose, triglyceride and HDL cholesterol were not associated with either polymorphism.
Elevated blood pressure, central adiposity, and the metabolic syndrome are associated with polymorphisms in HTR2A gene.
Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) is a key enzyme in regulating endocannabinoid (eCB) signaling. A common single nucleotide polymorphism (C385A) in the human FAAH gene has been associated with increased risk for addiction and obesity.
Using imaging genetics in 82 healthy adult volunteers, we examined the effects of FAAH C385A on threat- and reward-related human brain function.
Carriers of FAAH 385A, associated with reduced enzyme and, possibly, increased eCB signaling, had decreased threat-related amygdala reactivity but increased reward-related ventral striatal reactivity in comparison to C385 homozygotes. Similar divergent effects of FAAH C385A genotype were manifest at the level of brain-behavior relationships. 385A carriers showed decreased correlation between amygdala reactivity and trait anxiety but increased correlation between ventral striatal reactivity and delay discounting, an index of impulsivity.
Our results parallel pharmacologic and genetic dissection of eCB signaling, are consistent with the psychotropic effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and highlight specific neural mechanisms through which variability in eCB signaling impacts complex behavioral processes related to risk for addiction and obesity.
Brown adipose tissue is a highly specialized organ that uses mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation to fuel nonshivering thermogenesis. In mice, mutations in the acyl-CoA dehydrogenase family of fatty acid oxidation genes are associated with sensitivity to cold. Brown adipose tissue function has not previously been characterized in these knockout strains. Short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (SCAD) deficient mice were found to have increased brown adipose tissue mass as well as modest cardiac hypertrophy. Uncoupling protein-1 was reduced by 70% in brown adipose tissue and this was not due to a change in mitochondrial number, nor was it due to decreased signal transduction through protein kinase A which is known to be a major regulator of uncoupling protein-1 expression. PKA activity and in vitro lipolysis were normal in brown adipose tissue, although in white adipose tissue a modest increase in basal lipolysis was seen in SCAD−/ − mice. Finally, an in vivo norepinephrine challenge of brown adipose tissue thermogenesis revealed normal heat production in SCAD−/− mice. These results suggest that reduced brown adipose tissue function is not the major factor causing cold sensitivity in acyl-CoA dehydrogenase knockout strains. We speculate that other mechanisms such as shivering capacity, cardiac function, and reduced hepatic glycogen stores are involved.
brown adipose tissue; fatty acid oxidation; nonshivering thermogenesis; acyl-CoA dehydrogenase; uncoupling protein-1; protein kinase A
DNA sequence variants in genes involved in the innate immune response and secondary response to infection may confer susceptibility to chronic otitis media with effusion and/or recurrent otitis media (COME/ROM). We evaluated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 15 functional candidate genes. A total of 99 SNPs were successfully genotyped on the Sequenom platform in 142 families (618 subjects) from the Minnesota COME/ROM Family Study. Data were analyzed for association with COME/ROM using the Generalized Disequilibrium Test (GDT). Sex and age at exam were adjusted as covariates, relatedness was accounted for, and genotype differences from all phenotypically discordant relative pairs were utilized to measure the evidence of association between COME/ROM and each SNP. SNP rs2735733 in the region of the mucin 5, subtypes A/C gene (MUC5AC) exhibited nominal evidence for association with COME/ROM (P = 0.002). Two additional SNPs from this region had P values<0.05. Other variants exhibiting associations with COME/ROM at P<0.05 included the SCN1B SNP rs8100085 (P = 0.013), SFTPD SNP rs1051246 (P = 0.039) and TLR4 SNP rs2770146 (P = 0.038). However, none of these associations replicated in an independent sample of COME/ROM families. The candidate gene variants examined do not appear to make a major contribution to COME/ROM susceptibility, despite a priori evidence from functional or animal model studies for a role in COME/ROM pathology.
Inflammatory cytokines may influence both labile anger and depression. Both psychiatric conditions can occur during interferon-alpha (IFN–α) based treatments. Evidence also indicates a central nervous system role for TNF-α, whose expression may be increased by IFN-α. A polymorphism in the promoter region of TNF-α has been associated with various inflammatory illnesses. We therefore hypothesized that this TNF-α polymorphism would influence susceptibility to psychiatric symptoms during IFN-α therapy.
105 patients with hepatitis C, initially without active major depression (MDD), were treated with IFN-α and then prospectively monitored using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV, the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI), the Anger Irritability and Assault Questionnaire, and circulating TNF-α levels. The A-308G polymorphism (rs1800629) was determined using the 5′-nuclease assay. Repeated-measure mixed-effect analyses compared changes in symptoms over time.
BDI increased during IFN-α therapy (F = 6.2; p<0.001), with 27% developing MDD. The TNF-α A allele was associated with worsened labile anger (F = 2.5; p<0.05) and fatigue (F = 2.9; p<0.05) during treatment, but not with major depression incidence (X2 = 0.0; p=0.99) or increased BDI (F = 1.2; p=0.31). Labile anger was not predicted by the serotonin transporter polymorphism (F = 0.8; p=0.59).
During treatment with an exogenous cytokine, vulnerability to worsening labile anger -- distinct from major depression -- is associated with genetic variability in TNF-α. This has implications both for patients being treated with IFN-α, as well as our understanding of genetic vulnerability for different subtypes of dysphoric and mood disorders.
Cytokine; inflammation; genetic; polymorphism; anger