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1.  Genetic Variants Synthesize to Produce Paneth Cell Phenotypes that Define Subtypes of Crohn’s Disease 
Gastroenterology  2013;146(1):200-209.
Background & Aims
Genetic susceptibility loci for Crohn’s disease (CD) are numerous, complex, and likely interact with undefined components of the environment. It has been a challenge to link the effects of particular loci to phenotypes of cells associated with pathogenesis of CD, such as Paneth cells. We investigated whether specific phenotypes of Paneth cells associated with particular genetic susceptibility loci can be used to define specific subtypes of CD.
Methods
We performed a retrospective analysis of 119 resection specimens collected from patients with CD at 2 separate medical centers. Paneth cell phenotypes were classified as normal or abnormal (with disordered, diminished, diffuse, or excluded granule phenotypes) based on lysozyme-positive secretory granule morphology. To uncover the molecular basis of the Paneth cell phenotypes, we developed methods to determine transcriptional profiles from whole-thickness and laser-capture microdissected, formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections.
Results
The proportion of abnormal Paneth cells was associated with the number of CD-associated NOD2 risk alleles. The cumulative number of NOD2 and ATG16L1 risk alleles had an additive effect on the proportion of abnormal Paneth cells. Unsupervised clustering analysis of demographic and Paneth cell data divided patients into 2 principal subgroups, defined by high and low proportions of abnormal Paneth cells. The disordered and diffuse abnormal Paneth cell phenotypes were associated with an altered transcriptional signature of immune system activation. We observed an inverse correlation between abnormal Paneth cells and the presence of granuloma. Moreover, high proportions of abnormal Paneth cells were associated with shorter time to disease recurrence after surgery.
Conclusions
Histologic analysis of Paneth cell phenotypes can be used to divide patients with CD into subgroups with distinct pathognomonic and clinical features.
doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2013.09.048
PMCID: PMC3899786  PMID: 24076061
pathogenesis; prognostic factor; diagnosis; inflammatory bowel disease
2.  Complex Pedigrees in the Sequencing Era: To Track Transmissions or Decorrelate? 
Genetic epidemiology  2014;38(0 1):S29-S36.
Next-generation sequencing (NGS) studies are becoming commonplace, and the NGS field is continuing to develop rapidly. Analytic methods aimed at testing for the various roles that genetic susceptibility plays in disease are also rapidly being developed and optimized. Studies that incorporate large, complex pedigrees are of particular importance because they provide detailed information about inheritance patterns and can be analyzed in a variety of complementary ways. The nine contributions from our Genetic Analysis Workshop 18 working group on family-based tests of association for rare variants using simulated data examined analytic methods for testing genetic association using whole-genome sequencing data from 20 large pedigrees with 200 phenotype simulation replicates. What distinguishes the approaches explored is how the complexities of analyzing familial genetic data were handled. Here, we explore the methods that either harness inheritance patterns and transmission information or attempt to adjust for the correlation between family members in order to utilize computationally and conceptually simpler statistical testing procedures. Although directly comparing these two classes of approaches across contributions is difficult, we note that the two classes balance robustness to population stratification and computational complexity (the transmission-based approaches) with simplicity and increased power, assuming no population stratification or proper adjustment for it (decorrelation approaches).
doi:10.1002/gepi.21822
PMCID: PMC4272198  PMID: 25112185
Genetic Analysis Workshop 18; family-based association testing; decorrelation strategies; next-generation sequencing
3.  Using Extreme Phenotype Sampling to Identify the Rare Causal Variants of Quantitative Traits in Association Studies 
Genetic epidemiology  2011;35(8):790-799.
Variants identified in recent genome-wide association studies based on the common-disease common-variant hypothesis are far from fully explaining the hereditability of complex traits. Rare variants may, in part, explain some of the missing hereditability. Here, we explored the advantage of the extreme phenotype sampling in rare-variant analysis and refined this design framework for future large-scale association studies on quantitative traits. We first proposed a power calculation approach for a likelihood-based analysis method. We then used this approach to demonstrate the potential advantages of extreme phenotype sampling for rare variants. Next, we discussed how this design can influence future sequencing-based association studies from a cost-efficiency (with the phenotyping cost included) perspective. Moreover, we discussed the potential of a two-stage design with the extreme sample as the first stage and the remaining nonextreme subjects as the second stage. We demonstrated that this two-stage design is a cost-efficient alternative to the one-stage cross-sectional design or traditional two-stage design. We then discussed the analysis strategies for this extreme two-stage design and proposed a corresponding design optimization procedure. To address many practical concerns, for example measurement error or phenotypic heterogeneity at the very extremes, we examined an approach in which individuals with very extreme phenotypes are discarded. We demonstrated that even with a substantial proportion of these extreme individuals discarded, an extreme-based sampling can still be more efficient. Finally, we expanded the current analysis and design framework to accommodate the CMC approach where multiple rare-variants in the same gene region are analyzed jointly.
doi:10.1002/gepi.20628
PMCID: PMC4238184  PMID: 21922541
rare variants; extreme phenotype sampling; next generation sequencing
4.  Association of NOD2 and IL23R with Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Puerto Rico 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e108204.
The Puerto Rico population may be modeled as an admixed population with contributions from three continents: Sub-Saharan Africa, Ancient America, and Europe. Extending the study of the genetics of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to an admixed population such as Puerto Rico has the potential to shed light on IBD genes identified in studies of European populations, find new genes contributing to IBD susceptibility, and provide basic information on IBD for the care of US patients of Puerto Rican and Latino descent. In order to study the association between immune-related genes and Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) in Puerto Rico, we genotyped 1159 Puerto Rican cases, controls, and family members with the ImmunoChip. We also genotyped 832 subjects from the Human Genome Diversity Panel to provide data for estimation of global and local continental ancestry. Association of SNPs was tested by logistic regression corrected for global continental descent and family structure. We observed the association between Crohn’s disease and NOD2 (rs17313265, 0.28 in CD, 0.19 in controls, OR 1.5, p = 9×10−6) and IL23R (rs11209026, 0.026 in CD, 0.0.071 in controls, OR 0.4, p = 3.8×10−4). The haplotype structure of both regions resembled that reported for European populations and “local” continental ancestry of the IL23R gene was almost entirely of European descent. We also observed suggestive evidence for the association of the BAZ1A promoter SNP with CD (rs1200332, 0.45 in CD, 0.35 in controls, OR 1.5, p = 2×10−6). Our estimate of continental ancestry surrounding this SNP suggested an origin in Ancient America for this putative susceptibility region. Our observations underscored the great difference between global continental ancestry and local continental ancestry at the level of the individual gene, particularly for immune-related loci.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0108204
PMCID: PMC4178120  PMID: 25259511
5.  Association of TNF-α, TNFRSF1A and TNFRSF1B Gene Polymorphisms with the Risk of Sporadic Breast Cancer in Northeast Chinese Han Women 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101138.
Background
The interaction of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) with its receptors: TNFRSF1A and TNFRSF1B is critical for the promotion of tumor growth, invasion and metastasis. To better understand the roles of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the TNF-α, TNFRSF1A and TNFRSF1B genes in the development of breast cancer, we explored the associations between SNPs in these three genes and breast cancer susceptibility in northeast Chinese Han women.
Methodology/Principal Findings
This case-control study was conducted among 1016 breast cancer patients and 806 age-matched healthy controls. Seven SNPs in the TNF-α (rs1800629, rs361525), TNFRSF1A (rs767455, rs4149577 and rs1800693) and TNFRSF1B (rs1061622 and rs1061624) genes were genotyped by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) method. In TNFRSF1B, the rs1061622 GT genotype and the G allele conferred a reduced susceptibility to breast cancer (P = 0.000662, OR = 0.706, 95% CI: 0.578–0.863; P = 0.002, OR = 0.769, 95% CI; 0.654–0.905, respectively). Moreover, the AG genotype, the AA genotype and the A allele in rs1061624 conferred an increased risk of breast cancer (P = 0.007, OR = 1.470, 95% CI:1.112–1.943; P = 0.00109, OR = 1.405 95% CI:1.145–1.724; P = 0.001, OR = 1.248 95% CI:1.092–1.426, respectively). These two SNPs also had associations with breast cancer risk under the dominant model. In haplotype analysis, the CTA (rs767455 C-rs4149577 T-rs1800693 A) haplotype in TNFRSF1A and the TA (rs1061622 T-rs1061624 A) haplotype in TNFRSF1B had higher frequencies in breast cancer patients (P = 0.00324; P = 0.000370, respectively), but the frequency of GG (rs1061622 G-rs1061624 G) haplotype in TNFRSF1B was lower in breast cancer patients (P = 0.000251). The associations of the three haplotypes remained significant after correcting for multiple testing. In addition, significant associations were also observed between TNFRSF1A polymorphisms and lymph node metastasis, P53, estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) statuses.
Conclusions
Our results suggest that rs1061622 and rs1061624 in TNFRSF1B may affect breast cancer risk, and SNPs in TNFRSF1A are associated with the clinical features of breast cancer.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101138
PMCID: PMC4091942  PMID: 25010932
6.  A generalized least-squares framework for rare-variant analysis in family data 
BMC Proceedings  2014;8(Suppl 1):S28.
Rare variants may, in part, explain some of the hereditability missing in current genome-wide association studies. Many gene-based rare-variant analysis approaches proposed in recent years are aimed at population-based samples, although analysis strategies for family-based samples are clearly warranted since the family-based design has the potential to enhance our ability to enrich for rare causal variants. We have recently developed the generalized least squares, sequence kernel association test, or GLS-SKAT, approach for the rare-variant analyses in family samples, in which the kinship matrix that was computed from the high dimension genetic data was used to decorrelate the family structure. We then applied the SKAT-O approach for gene-/region-based inference in the decorrelated data. In this study, we applied this GLS-SKAT method to the systolic blood pressure data in the simulated family sample distributed by the Genetic Analysis Workshop 18. We compared the GLS-SKAT approach to the rare-variant analysis approach implemented in family-based association test-v1 and demonstrated that the GLS-SKAT approach provides superior power and good control of type I error rate.
doi:10.1186/1753-6561-8-S1-S28
PMCID: PMC4143681  PMID: 25519378
7.  HVEM Gene Polymorphisms Are Associated with Sporadic Breast Cancer in Chinese Women 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71040.
As a costimulatory molecule, Herpesvirus entry mediator (HVEM) can bind with several costimulatory members, thus HVEM plays different roles in T cell immunity. HVEM and its ligands have been involved in the pathogenesis of various autoimmune, inflammatory diseases and tumors. In the current study, we conducted a case-control study comparing polymorphisms of HVEM and breast cancer. Subjects included 575 females with breast cancer and 604 age-matched healthy controls. Six HVEM SNPs (rs2281852, rs1886730, rs2234163, rs11573979, rs2234165, and rs2234167) were genotyped by PCR-RFLP. The results showed significant differences in genotypes and alleles between rs1886730 and rs2234167 (P<0.05). One haplotype (CTGCGG) that was associated with breast cancer was found via haplotype analysis. Our research also indicated an association between polymorphisms of HVEM and clinicopathologic features, including lymph node metastasis, estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and P53. Our results primarily indicate that polymorphisms of the HVEM gene were associated with the risk of sporadic breast cancer in northeast Chinese females.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071040
PMCID: PMC3745383  PMID: 23976978
8.  Gender Stratified Gene and Gene–Treatment Interactions in Smoking Cessation 
The pharmacogenomics journal  2011;12(6):521-532.
We conducted gender-stratified analyses on a systems-based candidate gene study of 53 regions involved in nicotinic response and the brain-reward pathway in two randomized clinical trials of smoking cessation treatments (placebo, bupropion, transdermal and nasal spray nicotine replacement therapy). We adjusted P-values for multiple correlated tests, and used a Bonferroni corrected α-level of 5 × 10−4 to determine system-wide significance. Four SNPs (rs12021667, rs12027267, rs6702335, rs12039988; r2>0.98) in erythrocyte membrane protein band 4.1 (EPB41) had a significant male-specific marginal association with smoking abstinence (OR=0.5; 95% CI 0.3–0.6) at end of treatment (adjusted P<6 × 10−5). rs806365 in cannabinoid receptor 1 (CNR1) had a significant male-specific gene-treatment interaction at 6-month follow-up (adjusted P=3.9 × 10−5); within males using nasal spray, rs806365 was associated with a decrease in odds of abstinence (OR=0.04; 95% CI 0.01–0.2). While the role of CNR1 in substance abuse has been well studied, we report EPB41 for the first time in the nicotine literature.
doi:10.1038/tpj.2011.30
PMCID: PMC3208134  PMID: 21808284
Genetic association studies; heterogeneity; smoking cessation
9.  Dopamine genes and nicotine dependence in treatment seeking and community smokers 
We utilized a cohort of 828 treatment seeking self-identified white cigarette smokers (50% female) to rank candidate gene single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND), a measure of nicotine dependence which assesses quantity of cigarettes smoked and time- and place-dependent characteristics of the respondent’s smoking behavior. 1123 SNPs at 55 autosomal candidate genes, nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and genes involved in dopaminergic function, were tested for association to baseline FTND scores adjusted for age, depression, education, sex and study site. SNP P values were adjusted for the number of transmission models, the number of SNPs tested per candidate gene, and their intragenic correlation. DRD2, SLC6A3 and NR4A2 SNPs with adjusted P values < 0.10 were considered sufficiently noteworthy to justify further genetic, bioinformatic and literature analyses. Each independent signal among the top-ranked SNPs accounted for ~1% of the FTND variance in this sample. The DRD2 SNP appears to represent a novel association with nicotine dependence. The SLC6A3 SNPs have previously been shown to be associated with SLC6A3 transcription or dopamine transporter density in vitro, in vivo and ex vivo. Analysis of SLC6A3 and NR4A2 SNPs identified a statistically significant gene-gene interaction (P=0.001), consistent with in vitro evidence that the NR4A2 protein product (NURR1) regulates SLC6A3 transcription. A community cohort of N=175 multiplex ever smoking pedigrees (N=423 ever smokers) provided nominal evidence for association with the FTND at these top ranked SNPs, uncorrected for multiple comparisons.
doi:10.1038/npp.2009.52
PMCID: PMC3558036  PMID: 19494806
dopamine transporter; Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence; single nucleotide polymorphism; candidate gene association scan; gene-gene interaction
10.  Investigation of CD28 Gene Polymorphisms in Patients with Sporadic Breast Cancer in a Chinese Han Population in Northeast China 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e48031.
Background
CD28 is one of a number of costimulatory molecules that play crucial roles in immune regulation and homeostasis. Accumulating evidence indicates that immune factors influence breast carcinogenesis. To clarify the relationships between polymorphisms in the CD28 gene and breast carcinogenesis, a case-control study was conducted in women from Heilongjiang Province in northeast of China.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Our research subjects consisted of 565 female patients with sporadic breast cancer and 605 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. In total, 12 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the CD28 gene were successfully determined using the polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) method. The relationship between the CD28 variants and clinical features, including histological grade, tumor size, lymph node metastasis, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (C-erbB2), estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and tumor protein 53 (P53) status were analyzed. A statistically significant association was observed between rs3116496 and breast cancer risk under different genetic models (additive P = 0.0164, dominant P = 0.0042). Different distributions of the rs3116496 ‘T’ allele were found in patients and controls, which remained significant after correcting the P value for multiple testing using Haploview with 10,000 permutations (corrected P = 0.0384). In addition, significant associations were observed between rs3116487/rs3116494 (D’ = 1, r2 = 0.99) and clinicopathological features such as C-erbB2 and ER status, in breast cancer patients.
Conclusions/Significance
Our findings indicate that CD28 gene polymorphisms contribute to sporadic breast cancer risk and have a significant association with clinicopathological features in a northeast Chinese Han population.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048031
PMCID: PMC3485049  PMID: 23133541
11.  Association of the Calcyon Neuron-Specific Vesicular Protein Gene (CALY) With Adolescent Smoking Initiation in China and California 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2011;173(9):1039-1048.
Although previous investigations have indicated a role for genetic factors in smoking initiation, the underlying genetic mechanisms are still unknown. In 2,339 adolescents from a Chinese Han population in the Wuhan Smoking Prevention Trial (Wuhan, China, 1998–1999), the authors explored the association of 57 genes in the dopamine pathway with smoking initiation. Using a conservative approach for declaring significance, positive findings were further examined in an independent sample of 603 Caucasian adolescents followed for up to 10 years as part of the Children's Health Study (Southern California, 1993–2009). The authors identified 1 single nucleotide polymorphism (rs2298122) in the calcyon neuron-specific vesicular protein gene (CALY) that was positively associated with smoking initiation in females (odds ratio = 2.21, 95% confidence interval: 1.49, 3.27; P = 8.4 × 10−5) in the Wuhan Smoking Prevention Trial cohort, and they replicated the association in females from the Children's Health Study cohort (hazard rate ratio = 2.05, 95% confidence interval: 1.27, 3.31; P = 0.003). These results suggest that the CALY gene may influence smoking initiation in adolescents, although the potential roles of underlying psychological characteristics that may be components of the smoking-initiation phenotype, such as impulsivity or novelty-seeking, remain to be explored.
doi:10.1093/aje/kwq471
PMCID: PMC3121219  PMID: 21415033
adolescent; dopamine; genetic association studies; smoking
12.  Variants at 6q21 implicate PRDM1 in the etiology of therapy-induced second malignancies after Hodgkin lymphoma 
Nature medicine  2011;17(8):941-943.
Survivors of pediatric Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) are at significant risk for radiation therapy (RT)-induced second malignant neoplasms (SMNs). We identified two variants at chromosome 6q21 associated with SMNs in HL survivors treated with RT as children but not as adults. The variants comprise a risk locus associated with decreased basal PRDM1 expression and impaired induction of PRDM1 by radiation exposure. These data suggest a novel gene-exposure interaction that may implicate PRDM1 in the etiology of RT-induced SMNs.
doi:10.1038/nm.2407
PMCID: PMC3229923  PMID: 21785431
13.  ICOS gene polymorphisms are associated with sporadic breast cancer: a case-control study 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:392.
Background
Inducible costimulator (ICOS), a costimulatory molecular of the CD28 family, provides positive signal to enhance T cell proliferation. Its abnormal expression can disturb the immune response and entail an increased risk of cancer. To investigate whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the ICOS gene are associated with sporadic breast cancer susceptibility and progression in Chinese women, a case-control study was conducted.
Methods
In the study cohort, we genotyped five SNPs (rs11889031, rs10932029, rs4675374, rs10183087 and rs10932037) in ICOS gene among 609 breast cancer patients and 665 age-matched healthy controls. Furthermore, the positive results were replicated in an independent validation cohort of 619 patients and 682 age-matched healthy controls. Polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) was used to determine the genotypes.
Results
In rs10932029, compared with TT genotype and T allele, the CT genotype and C allele showed a significantly increased risk of breast cancer (P = 0.030, OR = 1.467, 95% CI 1.037-2.077; P = 0.017, OR = 1.481, 95% CI 1.070-2.049, respectively), and the associations were also significant in the validation cohort (P = 0.002, OR = 1.693, 95% CI 1.211-2.357; P = 0.003, OR = 1.607, 95% CI 1.171-2.204, respectively). Haplotype analysis showed that CTCAC haplotype containing rs10932029 T allele had a lower frequency in cases than in controls (P = 0.015), whereas haplotype CCCAC containing rs10932029 C allele was more common in cases than in controls (P = 0.013). In the analysis of clinicopathologic features, rs11889031 CT genotype and T allele were associated with progesterone receptor (PR) status and lymph node metastasis, which were further supported by our validation cohort. Moreover, some haplotypes were associated with estrogen receptor (ER) and PR statuses.
Conclusions
These results indicate that ICOS gene polymorphisms may affect the risk of breast cancer and show that some SNPs are associated with breast cancer characteristics in a northern Chinese population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-392
PMCID: PMC3185281  PMID: 21917182
14.  Efficient Genome-Wide Association Testing of Gene-Environment Interaction in Case-Parent Trios 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2010;172(1):116-122.
Complex trait variation is likely to be explained by the combined effects of genes, environmental factors, and gene × environment (G × E) interaction. The authors introduce a novel 2-step method for detecting a G × E interaction in a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of case-parent trios. The method utilizes 2 sources of G × E information in a trio sample to construct a screening step and a testing step. Across a wide range of models, this 2-step procedure provides substantially greater power to detect G × E interaction than a standard test of G × E interaction applied genome-wide. For example, for a disease susceptibility locus with minor allele frequency of 15%, a binary exposure variable with 50% prevalence, and a GWAS scan of 1 million markers in 1,000 case-parent trios, the 2-step method provides 87% power to detect a G × E interaction relative risk of 2.3, as compared with only 25% power using a standard G × E test. The method is easily implemented using standard software. This 2-step scan for G × E interaction is independent of any prior scan that may have been conducted for genetic main effects, and thus has the potential to uncover new genes in a GWAS that have not been previously identified.
doi:10.1093/aje/kwq097
PMCID: PMC2915477  PMID: 20543031
environmental exposure; epidemiologic methods; genetic association studies; genetics; genome-wide association study; models, genetic
15.  Genetic contribution of the leukotriene pathway to coronary artery disease 
Human genetics  2011;129(6):617-627.
We evaluated the genetic contribution of the leukotriene (LT) pathway to risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) in 4,512 Caucasian and African American subjects ascertained through elective cardiac evaluation. Of the three previously associated variants, the shorter “3” and “4” alleles of a promoter repeat polymorphism in ALOX5 increased risk of CAD in African Americans (OR = 1.4, 95% CI 1.0–1.9; p = 0.04), whereas a haplotype of LTA4H (HapK) was associated with CAD in Caucasians (OR = 1.2, 95% CI 1.01–1.4; p = 0.03). In Caucasians, first-stage analysis of 254 haplotype-tagging SNPs in 15 LT pathway genes with follow-up of 19 variants in stage 2 revealed an LTA4H SNP (rs2540477) that increased risk of CAD (OR = 1.2, 95% CI 1.1–1.5; p = 0.003) and a PLA2G4A SNP (rs12746200) that decreased risk of CAD (OR = 0.7, 95% CI 0.6–0.9; p = 0.0007). The PLA2G4A rs12746200 variant also decreased risk of experiencing a major adverse cardiac event (MACE = myocardial infarction, stroke, or death) over 3 years of follow-up (HR = 0.7, 95% CI 0.5–0.9; p = 0.01), consistent with its cardioprotective effect. Functional experiments demonstrated that stimulated monocytes from carriers of LTA4H variants HapK or rs2540477 had 50% (p = 0.002) and 33% (p = 0.03) higher LTB4 production, respectively, compared to non-carriers. These ex vivo results are consistent with LTB4 being the direct product of the reaction catalyzed by LTA4H and its role in promoting monocyte chemotaxis to sites of inflammation, including the artery wall of atherosclerotic lesions. Taken together, this study provides additional evidence that functional genetic variation of the LT pathway can mediate atherogenic processes and the risk of CAD in humans.
doi:10.1007/s00439-011-0963-3
PMCID: PMC3092945  PMID: 21293878
16.  Genetic contribution of the leukotriene pathway to coronary artery disease 
Human Genetics  2011;129(6):617-627.
We evaluated the genetic contribution of the leukotriene (LT) pathway to risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) in 4,512 Caucasian and African American subjects ascertained through elective cardiac evaluation. Of the three previously associated variants, the shorter “3” and “4” alleles of a promoter repeat polymorphism in ALOX5 increased risk of CAD in African Americans (OR = 1.4, 95% CI 1.0–1.9; p = 0.04), whereas a haplotype of LTA4H (HapK) was associated with CAD in Caucasians (OR = 1.2, 95% CI 1.01–1.4; p = 0.03). In Caucasians, first-stage analysis of 254 haplotype-tagging SNPs in 15 LT pathway genes with follow-up of 19 variants in stage 2 revealed an LTA4H SNP (rs2540477) that increased risk of CAD (OR = 1.2, 95% CI 1.1–1.5; p = 0.003) and a PLA2G4A SNP (rs12746200) that decreased risk of CAD (OR = 0.7, 95% CI 0.6–0.9; p = 0.0007). The PLA2G4A rs12746200 variant also decreased risk of experiencing a major adverse cardiac event (MACE = myocardial infarction, stroke, or death) over 3 years of follow-up (HR = 0.7, 95% CI 0.5–0.9; p = 0.01), consistent with its cardioprotective effect. Functional experiments demonstrated that stimulated monocytes from carriers of LTA4H variants HapK or rs2540477 had 50% (p = 0.002) and 33% (p = 0.03) higher LTB4 production, respectively, compared to non-carriers. These ex vivo results are consistent with LTB4 being the direct product of the reaction catalyzed by LTA4H and its role in promoting monocyte chemotaxis to sites of inflammation, including the artery wall of atherosclerotic lesions. Taken together, this study provides additional evidence that functional genetic variation of the LT pathway can mediate atherogenic processes and the risk of CAD in humans.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00439-011-0963-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s00439-011-0963-3
PMCID: PMC3092945  PMID: 21293878
17.  Detecting Gene-Environment Interactions Using a Combined Case-Only and Case-Control Approach 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2008;169(4):497-504.
The conventional method of detecting gene-environment interactions, the case-control analysis, suffers from low statistical power. In contrast, the case-only analysis/design can be powerful in certain scenarios, although violation of the assumption of independence between the genetic and environmental factors can greatly bias the results. As an alternative, Bayes model averaging may be used to combine the case-control and case-only analyses. This approach first frames the case-control and case-only analyses as variations of a log-linear model. The weighting between these 2 models is then a function of the data and prior beliefs on the independence of the 2 potentially interacting factors. In this paper, the authors demonstrate via simulations that when there is no prior information on the independence of the genetic and environmental factors, this approach tends to be more powerful than the case-control analysis. Additionally, when the genetic and environmental factors are not independent in the population, bias is substantially reduced, with a corresponding reduction in type I error in comparison with the case-only analysis. Increased power or increased robustness to violations of the independence assumption may be obtained with more appropriate prior specification. The authors use an example data analysis to demonstrate the advantages of this approach.
doi:10.1093/aje/kwn339
PMCID: PMC2732970  PMID: 19074774
Bayesian estimation; Bayesian model; case-control studies; epidemiologic methods; interaction
18.  B7-H4 gene polymorphisms are associated with sporadic breast cancer in a Chinese Han population 
BMC Cancer  2009;9:394.
Background
B7-H4, a co-inhibitory molecule of the B7 family, can restrain T cell proliferation, cytokine secretion and the development of cytotoxicity. B7-H4 is expressed in tumor tissues at a higher level than in normal tissues, and has a potential effect to protect tumors from anti-tumor immune responses. This case-control study was carried out to determine the potential influences of B7-H4 gene polymorphisms on the susceptibility and progression of breast cancer in Han women of Northeast China.
Methods
We genotyped three B7-H4 variants (rs10754339, rs10801935 and rs3738414) and tagged all common haplotypes (frequency greater than or equal to 1%) in a Chinese population consisting of 500 breast cancer cases and 504 control individuals matched for age. Polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) technique was used to determine the genotypes.
Results
Our data indicated that, compared with the common genotype and allele of each SNP, the rs10754339 AG genotype and G allele showed a significantly increased risk of breast cancer (OR = 1.455, 95% CI 1.119-1.892; OR = 1.325, 95% CI 1.073-1.637, respectively). The rs10801935 CC genotype, the rs3738414 AA genotype and the rs3738414 A allele were associated with a significantly decreased risk of breast cancer (OR = 0.328, 95% CI 0.145-0.739; OR = 0.412, 95% CI 0.203-0.835; OR = 0.698, 95% CI 0.564-0.864, respectively). Additionally, the rs10754339 GG genotype was significantly associated with lymph node metastasis and PR status, and the G allele and the AG genotype were respectively associated with lymph node metastasis and ER status. In haplotype analysis, we observed that compared with the AAG haplotype, the AAA haplotype showed a significantly decreased risk of breast cancer (OR = 0.689, 95% CI 0.539-0.881), but the GAG haplotype was associated with a significantly increased risk of breast cancer (OR = 1.511, 95% CI 1.125-2.031). And the AAA and the GCG haplotypes also respectively have significant influences on tumor size and ER status.
Conclusion
These results suggest that B7-H4 gene polymorphism may contribute to the sporadic breast cancer risk and prognosis in Chinese Han women.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-394
PMCID: PMC2780456  PMID: 19903360
19.  Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor β2 subunit gene implicated in a systems-based candidate gene study of smoking cessation 
Human Molecular Genetics  2008;17(18):2834-2848.
Although the efficacy of pharmacotherapy for tobacco dependence has been previously demonstrated, there is substantial variability among individuals in treatment response. We performed a systems-based candidate gene study of 1295 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 58 genes within the neuronal nicotinic receptor and dopamine systems to investigate their role in smoking cessation in a bupropion placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial. Putative functional variants were supplemented with tagSNPs within each gene. We used global tests of main effects and treatment interactions, adjusting the P-values for multiple correlated tests. An SNP (rs2072661) in the 3′ UTR region of the β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit (CHRNB2) has an impact on abstinence rates at the end of treatment (adjusted P = 0.01) and after a 6-month follow-up period (adjusted P = 0.0002). This latter P-value is also significant with adjustment for the number of genes tested. Independent of treatment at 6-month follow-up, individuals carrying the minor allele have substantially decreased the odds of quitting (OR = 0.31; 95% CI 0.18–0.55). Effect of estimates indicate that the treatment is more effective for individuals with the wild-type (OR = 2.14, 95% CI 1.20–3.81) compared with individuals carrying the minor allele (OR = 0.83, 95% CI 0.32–2.19), although this difference is only suggestive (P = 0.10). Furthermore, this SNP demonstrated a role in the time to relapse (P = 0.0002) and an impact on withdrawal symptoms at target quit date (TQD) (P = 0.0009). Overall, while our results indicate strong evidence for CHRNB2 in ability to quit smoking, these results require replication in an independent sample.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddn181
PMCID: PMC2525499  PMID: 18593715
20.  Snagger: A user-friendly program for incorporating additional information for tagSNP selection 
BMC Bioinformatics  2008;9:174.
Background
There has been considerable effort focused on developing efficient programs for tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Many of these programs do not account for potential reduced genomic coverage resulting from genotyping failures nor do they preferentially select SNPs based on functionality, which may be more likely to be biologically important.
Results
We have developed a user-friendly and efficient software program, Snagger, as an extension to the existing open-source software, Haploview, which uses pairwise r2 linkage disequilibrium between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to select tagSNPs. Snagger distinguishes itself from existing SNP selection algorithms, including Tagger, by providing user options that allow for: (1) prioritization of tagSNPs based on certain characteristics, including platform-specific design scores, functionality (i.e., coding status), and chromosomal position, (2) efficient selection of SNPs across multiple populations, (3) selection of tagSNPs outside defined genomic regions to improve coverage and genotyping success, and (4) picking of surrogate tagSNPs that serve as backups for tagSNPs whose failure would result in a significant loss of data. Using HapMap genotype data from ten ENCODE regions and design scores for the Illumina platform, we show similar coverage and design score distribution and fewer total tagSNPs selected by Snagger compared to the web server Tagger.
Conclusion
Snagger improves upon current available tagSNP software packages by providing a means for researchers to select tagSNPs that reliably capture genetic variation across multiple populations while accounting for significant genotyping failure risk and prioritizing on SNP-specific characteristics.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-9-174
PMCID: PMC2375134  PMID: 18371222
21.  Association of CTLA-4 gene polymorphisms with sporadic breast cancer in Chinese Han population 
BMC Cancer  2007;7:173.
Background
The host immunogenetic background plays an important role in the development of breast cancer. Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) is a molecule expressed predominantly on activated T cells and is important during the down-regulation of T-cell activation. To evaluate the potential influences of CTLA-4 gene polymorphisms on breast cancer risk, a case-control study was conducted in Han women of Northeast China.
Methods
We genotyped CTLA-4 variants (-1661 G/A, -658 T/C, -318 T/C, +49 G/A and CT60 G/A) to tag all common haplotypes (≥ 1% frequency) in 117 Chinese breast cancer cases and 148 age/sex matched healthy individuals. Genotypes were determined by the polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) method. Data was analyzed using the Chi-square test and Haploview software.
Results
The frequency of CTLA-4 -1661G allele, -318T allele and CT60G allele carriers was significantly higher in patients than in controls (P = 0.0057, OR 1.91, 95% CI 1.21–3.02; P = 0.0031, OR 2.39, 95% CI 1.34–4.27; P = 0.023, OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.06–2.17, respectively). The -658T allele carrier frequency was significantly lower than in controls (P = 0.0000082, OR 0.17, 95% CI 0.08–0.37), whereas the +49A allele was significantly associated with tumor size in patients (P = 0.0033). Two common CTLA-4 haplotypes, ATCGA and ATCAG, were higher in healthy controls than patients (P = 0.0026, OR 0.17, 95% CI 0.05–0.54; P = 0.034, OR 0.12, 95% CI 0.02–0.92, respectively). A strong association was observed between tumor size and the ACCAA, ACCAG and ACCGA haplotypes (P = 0.0032, P = 0.0000031 and P = 0.017).
Conclusion
These results suggest that polymorphisms of the CTLA-4 gene may modify individual susceptibility to and progression of breast cancer in Chinese Han women.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-7-173
PMCID: PMC2001196  PMID: 17825114

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