Although historically considered as junk-DNA, tandemly repeated sequence motifs can affect human phenotype. For example, variable number tandem repeats (VNTR) with embedded enhancers have been shown to regulate gene transcription. The post-zygotic variation is the presence of genetically distinct populations of cells in an individual derived from a single zygote, and this is an understudied aspect of genome biology. We report somatically variable VNTR with sequence properties of an enhancer, located upstream of IFNAR1. Initially, SNP genotyping of 63 monozygotic twin pairs and multiple tissues from 21 breast cancer patients suggested a frequent post-zygotic mosaicism. The VNTR displayed a repeated 32 bp core motif in the center of the repeat, which was flanked by similar variable motifs. A total of 14 alleles were characterized based on combinations of segments, which showed post-zygotic and inter-individual variation, with up to 6 alleles in a single subject. Somatic variation occurred in ∼24% of cases. In this hypervariable region, we found a clustering of transcription factor binding sites with strongest sequence similarity to mouse Foxg1 transcription factor binding motif. This study describes a VNTR with sequence properties of an enhancer that displays post-zygotic and inter-individual genetic variation. This element is within a locus containing four related cytokine receptors: IFNAR2, IL10Rβ, IFNAR1 and IFNGR2, and we hypothesize that it might function in transcriptional regulation of several genes in this cluster. Our findings add another level of complexity to the variation among VNTR-based enhancers. Further work may unveil the normal function of this VNTR in transcriptional control and its possible involvement in diseases connected with these receptors, such as autoimmune conditions and cancer.
Research indicates that apoliprotein E (ApoE) plays a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and possibly in the cognitive decline associated with normative aging. More recently, researchers have shown that ApoE is expressed in olfactory brain structures, and a relationship among ApoE, AD, and olfactory function has been proposed. In the current analyses, we investigated the contribution of ApoE and odor identification in decline trajectories associated with normative cognitive aging in various domains, using longitudinal data on cognitive performance available from the Swedish Adoption/Twin Study of Aging. Data on both ApoE status and olfactory functioning were available from 455 individuals ranging in age from 50 to 88 years at the first measurement occasion. Odor identification was measured via a mailed survey. Cognitive performance was assessed in up to 5 waves of in-person testing covering a period of 16 years. Latent growth curve analyses incorporating odor identification and ApoE status indicated a main effect of odor identification on the performance level in three cognitive domains: verbal, memory, and speed. A main effect of ApoE on rates of decline after age 65 was found for verbal, spatial, and speed factors. The consistency of results across cognitive domains provides support for theories that posit central nervous system-wide origins of the olfaction-cognition-ApoE relationship; however, olfactory errors and APOE ε4 show unique and differential effects on cognitive trajectory features.
cognitive aging; ApoE; odor identification; longitudinal; latent growth curve model
Human aging is associated with decline in cognitive and physical functioning. Although pulmonary function predicts long-term performance (up to 10 years) on measures of cognitive function, recent data suggest the opposite relationship: Cognitive decline predicts self-reported physical limitations. In the study reported here, we utilized dual-change-score models to determine the directional relationship between pulmonary and cognitive function. Our sample consisted of 832 participants (ages 50–85 years at baseline), who were assessed in up to seven waves of testing across 19 years as part of the longitudinal Swedish Adoption/Twin Study of Aging. Changes in pulmonary function led to subsequent changes in fluid cognitive function, specifically, in tasks reflecting psychomotor speed and spatial abilities. There was no evidence that declines in cognitive function led to subsequent declines in pulmonary function. Thus, these data indicate a directional relationship from decreased pulmonary function to decreased cognitive function, a finding that underscores the importance of maintaining pulmonary function to ensure cognitive performance.
pulmonary function; cognitive function; dual-change-score model; longitudinal model; cognitive ability; statistical analysis; aging; health
Longitudinal studies document an association of pulmonary function with cognitive function in middle-aged and older adults. Previous analyses have identified a genetic contribution to the relationship between pulmonary function with fluid intelligence. The goal of the current analysis was to apply the biometric dual change score model to consider the possibility of temporal dynamics underlying the genetic covariance between aging trajectories for pulmonary function and fluid intelligence. Longitudinal data from the Swedish Adoption/Twin Study of Aging were available from 808 twins ranging in age from 50 to 88 years at the first wave. Participants completed up to six assessments covering a 19-year period. Measures at each assessment included spatial and speed factors and pulmonary function. Model-fitting indicated that genetic variance for FEV1 was a leading indicator of variation in age changes for spatial and speed factors. Thus, these data indicate a genetic component to the directional relationship from decreased pulmonary function to decreased function of fluid intelligence.
Pulmonary function; Cognitive function; Dual-change-score model; Longitudinal twin data; Statistical analysis; Aging; Health
Previous analyses have identified a genetic contribution to the correlation between declines with age in processing speed and higher cognitive abilities. The goal of the current analysis was to apply the biometric dual change score model to consider the possibility of temporal dynamics underlying the genetic covariance between aging trajectories for processing speed and cognitive abilities. Longitudinal twin data from the Swedish Adoption/Twin Study of Aging, including up to 5 measurement occasions covering a 16-year period, were available from 806 participants ranging in age from 50 to 88 years at the 1st measurement wave. Factors were generated to tap 4 cognitive domains: verbal ability, spatial ability, memory, and processing speed. Model-fitting indicated that genetic variance for processing speed was a leading indicator of variation in age changes for spatial and memory ability, providing additional support for processing speed theories of cognitive aging.
cognitive aging; longitudinal twin study; behavioral genetics; temporal dynamics; speed–cognition relationship
High midlife body mass index (BMI) has been linked to a greater risk of dementia in late life, but few have studied the effect of BMI across midlife on cognitive abilities and cognitive change in a dementia free sample.
We investigated the association between body mass index (BMI), measured twice across midlife (mean age 40 and 61 years, respectively), and cognitive change in four domains across two decades in the Swedish Adoption/Twin Study of Aging (SATSA).
Latent growth curve models fitted to data from 657 non-demented participants showed that persons who were overweight/obese in early midlife had significantly lower cognitive performance across domains in late life and significantly steeper decline in perceptual speed, adjusting for cardio-metabolic factors. Both underweight and overweight/obesity in late midlife were associated with lower cognitive abilities in late life. However, the association between underweight and low cognitive abilities did not remain significant when weight decline between early and late midlife was controlled for.
There is a negative effect on cognitive abilities later in life related to being overweight/obese across midlife. Moreover, weight decline across midlife rather than low weight in late midlife per se was associated with low cognitive abilities. Weight patterns across midlife may be prodromal markers of late life cognitive health.
Aging; Body Mass Index; Cognition; Cognitive aging; Cognitive decline; Overweight; Obesity; Trajectories; Underweight; Weight changes
The Interplay of Genes and Environment across Multiple Studies (IGEMS) group is a consortium of eight longitudinal twin studies established to explore the nature of social context effects and gene-environment interplay in late-life functioning. The resulting analysis of the combined data from over 17,500 participants aged 25–102 at baseline (including nearly 2,600 monogygotic and 4,300 dizygotic twin pairs and over 1,700 family members) aims to understand why early life adversity, and social factors such as isolation and loneliness, are associated with diverse outcomes including mortality, physical functioning (health, functional ability), and psychological functioning (well-being, cognition), particularly in later life.
twins; gene-environment interaction; aging; longitudinal
We examined the association among current self-reported sleep problems, lifetime binge eating, and current obesity in women from the Swedish Twin study of Adults: Genes and Environment study
Logistic regression analyses were used to evaluate these associations in 3,790 women aged 20-47 years.
Binge eating was reported by 244 (6.4%) women and was positively associated with not getting enough sleep (p < .015), sleeping poorly (p < .001), problems falling asleep (p < .001), feeling sleepy during work or free time (p < .001), and disturbed sleep (p < .001). These same sleep variables, as well as napping and being a night person, were also significantly associated with obesity. The associations between binge eating and sleep remained after accounting for obesity.
This investigation offers empirical support for an independent association between sleep problems and binge eating, which is likely due to complex psychological, biological, neuroendocrine, and metabolic factors.
We assessed the impact of reducing the binge eating frequency and duration thresholds on the diagnostic criteria for bulimia nervosa (BN) and binge eating disorder (BED).
We estimated the lifetime population prevalence of BN and BED in 13,295 female twins from the Swedish Twin study of Adults: Genes and Environment employing a range of frequency and duration thresholds. External validation (risk to co-twin) was used to investigate empirical evidence for an optimal binge eating frequency threshold.
The lifetime prevalence estimates of BN and BED increased linearly as the frequency criterion decreased. As the required duration increased, the prevalence of BED decreased slightly. Discontinuity in co-twin risk was observed in BN between at least four times per month and at least five times per month. This model could not be fit for BED.
The proposed changes to the DSM-5 binge eating frequency and duration criteria would allow for better detection of binge eating pathology without resulting in a markedly higher lifetime prevalence of BN or BED.
Swedish population-based national health registers are widely used data sources in epidemiological research. Register-based diagnoses of Parkinson's disease have not been validated against clinical information.
Parkinson's disease (PD) and other parkinsonian disorder diagnoses were ascertained in two registers, i.e. the National Patient Register (NPR) and the Cause of Death Register (CDR). Diagnoses were validated in terms of accuracy (positive predictive value) and sensitivity against data from a population-based study of PD in 1998–2004 that screened more than 35,000 persons and identified 194 cases of parkinsonian disorders including 132 PD cases (the gold standard for the purposes of this study).
Accuracy for any parkinsonian disorder diagnoses was 88.0% in the NPR and 94.4% in the CDR. Accuracy of PD diagnoses was 70.8% in the NPR and 66.7% in the CDR. Misclassification between differential parkinsonian diagnoses was common. The accuracy of PD diagnoses in the NPR improved to 83.0% by restricting the definition to primary diagnoses only. The sensitivity of PD diagnoses in the NPR and CDR combined was 83.1%, with a mean time to detection of 6.9 years.
Population-based national health registers are valid data sources in epidemiological studies of PD or parkinsonian disorder etiology but are less suitable in studies of incidence or prevalence.
Epidemiological methods; Parkinson disease; Parkinsonian disorders; Registries; Validation studies
Circulating lipids levels, as well as several familial lipid metabolism disorders, are strongly associated with initiation and progression of atherosclerosis and incidence of myocardial infarction (MI).
We hypothesized that genetic variants associated with circulating lipid levels would also be associated with MI incidence, and have tested this in three independent samples.
Setting and Subjects
Using age- and sex-adjusted additive genetic models, we analyzed 554 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 41 candidate gene regions proposed to be involved in lipid-related pathways potentially predisposing to incidence of MI in 2,602 participants of the Swedish Twin Register (STR; 57% women). All associations with nominal P<0.01 were further investigated in the Uppsala Longitudinal Study of Adult Men (ULSAM; N = 1,142).
In the present study, we report associations of lipid-related SNPs with incident MI in two community-based longitudinal studies with in silico replication in a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies. Overall, there were 9 SNPs in STR with nominal P-value <0.01 that were successfully genotyped in ULSAM. rs4149313 located in ABCA1 was associated with MI incidence in both longitudinal study samples with nominal significance (hazard ratio, 1.36 and 1.40; P-value, 0.004 and 0.015 in STR and ULSAM, respectively). In silico replication supported the association of rs4149313 with coronary artery disease in an independent meta-analysis including 173,975 individuals of European descent from the CARDIoGRAMplusC4D consortium (odds ratio, 1.03; P-value, 0.048).
rs4149313 is one of the few amino acid changing variants in ABCA1 known to associate with reduced cholesterol efflux. Our results are suggestive of a weak association between this variant and the development of atherosclerosis and MI.
In specific vole and primate species the neuropeptide Oxytocin (OT) plays a central role in the regulation of pair-bonding behavior. Here we investigate to what extent genetic variants in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) are associated with pair-bonding and related social behaviors in humans.
We first genotyped twelve Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in the Twin and Offspring Study in Sweden (TOSS, N=2309) and the Swedish Twin Study of CHild and Adolescent Development (TCHAD, N=1240) comprising measures of self-reported pair-bonding behavior. In the TOSS-sample we further investigated one the SNPs for measures of marital status and quality. Moreover, in the TCHAD sample we explored the longitudinal relationship between precursors of pair-bonding during childhood and subsequent behavior in romantic relationships. Finally, in TCHAD and in the Child and Adolescent Twin Study of Sweden (CATSS, N=1771) the association between the same SNP and childhood behaviors was investigated.
One SNP (rs7632287) in OXTR was associated with traits reflecting pair-bonding in women in the TOSS and TCHAD samples. In girls the rs7632287 SNP was further associated with childhood social problems, which longitudinally predicted pair-bonding behavior in the TCHAD-sample. This association was replicated in the CATSS-sample in which an association between the same SNP and social interaction deficit symptoms from the autism spectrum was detected.
These results suggest an association between variation in OXTR and human pair-bonding and other social behaviors, possibly indicating that the well described influence of OT on affiliative behavior in voles could also be of importance for humans.
Monogamy; Neuropeptide; Polymorphism; Autism; Affiliative behavior; Social Problems
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) that allow for allelic heterogeneity may facilitate the discovery of novel genes not detectable by models that require replication of a single variant site. One strategy to accomplish this is to focus on genes rather than markers as units of association, and so potentially capture a spectrum of causal alleles that differ across populations. Here, we conducted a GWAS of Alzheimer disease (AD) in 2586 Swedes and performed gene-based meta-analysis with three additional studies from France, Canada, and the United States, in total encompassing 4259 cases and 8284 controls. Implementing a newly designed gene-based algorithm, we identified two loci apart from the region around APOE that achieved study-wide significance in combined samples, the strongest finding being for FRMD6 on chromosome 14q (p = 2.6 × 10−14) and a weaker signal for NARS2 that is immediately adjacent to GAB2 on chromosome 11q (p = 7.8 × 10−9). Ontology-based pathway analyses revealed significant enrichment of genes involved in glycosylation. Results suggest that gene-based approaches that accommodate allelic heterogeneity in GWAS can provide a complementary avenue for gene discovery and may help to explain a portion of the missing heritability not detectable with SNPs derived from marker-specific meta-analysis.
Alzheimer; GWAS; association; gene-based; FRMD6; GAB2
The two genetic polymorphisms, rs7412 and rs429358, that collectively form the ε2, ε3, and ε4 alleles of apolipoprotein E (APOE)are among the most widely studied sequence variants in the genome. The predominant model for testing APOE involves the haplotype combinations of ε2, ε3, and ε4 and has been basis of associations with dementia, atherosclerosis, and serum lipid levels. Here, we demonstrate the functional independence of these two component sites, with rs7412 contributing to the majority of variance in serum LDL (p = 10−20), whereas rs429358 alone influences variance in CSF Aβ42(p = 10 −17). This latter relationship is also reflected in the association of APOE with dementia, where rs429358 strongly influences disease (p = 10−67), but rs7412 does not. Models based upon ε2, ε3, and ε4 explained less variance for both dementia risk and CSF Aβ42 than did rs429358 alone. When adjusted for CSF Aβ42, the association of rs429358 with dementia is greatly reduced but remains significant indicating that APOE polymorphism influences disease by additional mechanisms distinct from Aβ42 metabolism. We reach four principal conclusion from this study; 1) rs429358 alone is responsible for the association of APOE with dementia 2) The association of APOE with dementia is substantially mediated by its effect on CNS Aβ42 levels 3) The association of APOE with dementia is not mediated by its impact on peripheral lipid metabolism 4) The dichotomy of effects of rs429358 and rs7412 represents one of the best examples of genetic pleiotropy for complex traits known and illustrates the importance of allelic heterogeneity in APOE.
LDL; Alzheimer Disease; amyloid; association; CSF
We examined job control, job demands, social support at work, and job strain (ratio of demands to control) in relation to risk of any dementia, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and vascular dementia (VaD).
A cohort study.
The population-based Study of Dementia in Swedish Twins.
A total of 257 dementia cases (167 AD, 46 VaD) and 9,849 non-demented individuals.
Dementia diagnoses were based on telephone screening for cognitive impairment followed by in-person clinical work-up. An established job exposure matrix was matched to main occupation categories to measure work characteristics.
In generalized estimating equations (adjusted for the inclusion of complete twin pairs), lower job control was associated with greater risk of any dementia (odds ratio [OR]=1.17, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.04-1.31) and VaD specifically (OR=1.39, 95% CI 1.07-1.81). Lower social support at work was associated with increased risk of dementia (OR=1.15, 95% CI 1.03-1.28), AD (OR=1.14, 95% CI 1.00-1.31), and VaD (OR=1.28, 95% CI=1.02-1.60). Greater job strain was associated with increased risk of VaD only (OR=1.28, 95% CI 1.02-1.60), especially in combination with low social support (OR=1.35, 95% CI 1.11-1.64). Age, gender, education, and cardiovascular disease were controlled. Results were not explained by work complexity or manual work. No differences in work-related stress scores were observed in the 54 twin pairs discordant for dementia, although only two pairs included a twin with VaD.
Work-related stress including low job control and low social support at work may increase the risk of dementia, particularly VaD. Modification to work environment that includes attention to social context and provision of meaningful roles for the workers may contribute to the efforts to promote cognitive health.
Work-related stress; job strain; dementia; vascular dementia
This study examined 2 samples of adolescents and mothers using a child-based design (Nonshared Environment in Adolescent Development [NEAD] project, N = 395 families) and a parent-based design (Twin Moms [TM] project, N = 236 twin family pairs) to compare genetic and environmental influences on mothering. For both samples, the same measures of positivity, negativity, control, and monitoring were used. The use of matched child-based and parent-based samples enabled passive and nonpassive genotype–environment (GE) correlations to be approximated, providing information about process. Passive GE correlations were suggested for mother’s positivity and monitoring. For mother’s negativity and control, primarily nonpassive GE correlations were suggested. In several cases, both types of GE correlation were indicated. Finally, observer ratings of negativity and monitoring were influenced only by environmental factors.
Flow is a psychological state of high but subjectively effortless attention that typically occurs during active performance of challenging tasks and is accompanied by a sense of automaticity, high control, low self-awareness, and enjoyment. Flow proneness is associated with traits and behaviors related to low neuroticism such as emotional stability, conscientiousness, active coping, self-esteem and life satisfaction. Little is known about the genetic architecture of flow proneness, behavioral inhibition and locus of control – traits also associated with neuroticism – and their interrelation. Here, we hypothesized that individuals low in behavioral inhibition and with an internal locus of control would be more likely to experience flow and explored the genetic and environmental architecture of the relationship between the three variables. Behavioral inhibition and locus of control was measured in a large population sample of 3,375 full twin pairs and 4,527 single twins, about 26% of whom also scored the flow proneness questionnaire. Findings revealed significant but relatively low correlations between the three traits and moderate heritability estimates of .41, .45, and .30 for flow proneness, behavioral inhibition, and locus of control, respectively, with some indication of non-additive genetic influences. For behavioral inhibition we found significant sex differences in heritability, with females showing a higher estimate including significant non-additive genetic influences, while in males the entire heritability was due to additive genetic variance. We also found a mainly genetically mediated relationship between the three traits, suggesting that individuals who are genetically predisposed to experience flow, show less behavioral inhibition (less anxious) and feel that they are in control of their own destiny (internal locus of control). We discuss that some of the genes underlying this relationship may include those influencing the function of dopaminergic neural systems.
Several occupations and occupational exposures have been investigated for associations with Parkinson’s disease. Common findings are increased risk associated with pesticide exposure and no association between Parkinson’s disease and welding.
We explored the association between a broad range of possible occupational risk factors and Parkinson’s disease as well as Parkinson’s disease plus other forms of parkinsonism (referred to as Parkinsonian disorders), using prospectively collected data in the population-based Swedish Twin Registry. A cohort of 14,169 Swedish men was followed for up to 43 years. We identified 234 Parkinsonian disorders cases including 204 Parkinson’s disease cases with complete data. We assessed exposure to 14 chemical and biological compounds through a job exposure matrix. Hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) adjusted for age, smoking, and education were used to estimate the relative risk of disease associated with exposure.
Exposure to inorganic dust was associated with increased risk of Parkinson’s disease and Parkinsonian disorders, HR 1.6 (95% CI 1.1–2.4) and 1.5 (1.0–2.2) respectively. There was no association between Parkinson’s disease or Parkinsonian disorders and occupational exposure to pesticides, welding smoke, metal dust, wood dust, animal handling, stone and concrete dust, chrome and nickel dust, quartz dust, organic dust, oil, asbestos, organic solvents and irritating gas.
Inorganic dust should be explored further as a potential risk factor for Parkinson’s disease. Occupational exposure to pesticides and twelve other compounds explored in this study may not be associated with risk of Parkinson’s disease in Swedish men.
Parkinson disease; Occupational exposure; Prospective studies
Background & Aims
Previous studies indicate an association between sleep problems and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Although both these conditions separately have moderate heritabilities, confounding by genetic factors has not previously been taken into account. This study aimed to reveal the association between sleep problems and GERD, while adjusting for heredity and other potential confounding factors.
This cross-sectional population-based study included all 8,014 same-sexed twins of at least 65 years of age and born in Sweden between 1886 and 1958, who participated in telephone interviews in 1998–2002. Three logistic regression models were used 1) external control analysis, 2) within-pair co-twin analysis with dizygotic (DZ) twin pairs discordant for GERD, and 3) within-pair co-twin analysis with monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs discordant for GERD. Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated and adjusted for established risk factors for GERD, i.e. sex, age, body mass index (BMI), tobacco smoking, and educational level.
A dose-response association was identified between increasing levels of sleep problems and GERD in the external control analysis. Individuals who often experienced sleep problems had a two-fold increased occurrence of GERD compared to those who seldom had sleep problems (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.8–2.4). The corresponding association was of similar strength in the co-twin analysis including 356 DZ pairs (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.6–3.4), and in the co-twin analysis including 210 MZ pairs (OR 1.5, 95% CI 0.9–2.7).
A dose-dependent association between sleep problems and GERD remains after taking heredity and other known risk factors for GERD into account.
We performed a survey of sequence variation in a series of 20 genes involved in inflammation-related pathways for association with dementia risk in twin and unrelated case-control samples consisting in total of 1462 Swedish dementia cases and 1929 controls. For a total of 218 tested genetic markers, strong evidence was obtained implicating a region near AGER and NOTCH4 on chromosome 6p with replication across both samples and maximum combined significance at marker rs1800625 (OR = 1.37, 95% CI 1.19–1.56, p = 1.36 × 10−6). Imputation of the associated genomic interval provided an improved signal at rs8365, near the 3'UTR of AGER (p = 7.34 × 10−7). The associated region extends 120kb encompassing 11 candidate genes. While AGER encodes a key receptor for β-amyloid protein, an analysis of network context based upon genes now confirmed to contribute to dementia risk (APP, PSEN1, PSEN2, CR1, CLU, PICALM, and APOE) suggested strong functional coupling to NOTCH4, with no significant coupling to the remaining candidates. The implicated region occurs in the broad HLA locus on chromosome 6p, but associated markers were not in strong LD with known variants that regulate HLA gene function, suggesting that this may represent a signal distinct from immune-system pathways.
Dementia; NOTCH4; gene; association; inflammation
Symptoms of anxiety and depression are relatively stable over time. Can this stability be explained by genetic influences, or is it caused by the long-lasting effects of accumulating environmental experiences? To address this question, we analyzed longitudinally assessed symptoms of anxiety and depression in eight samples of monozygotic twins of widely varying ages. These samples were drawn from American and European population-based registries. Using hierarchical linear modeling, we examined individual differences and individual changes in the level of symptoms over time. This method enabled us to decompose the variance into the predictable variance shared by both members of each pair of twins, the differences between individuals within pairs, and the residual variance. We then modeled how these components of individual variation changed over time. Within pairs, the twins’ predicted levels of symptoms increasingly diverged from childhood until late adulthood, at which point the divergence ceased. By middle adulthood, environmental experiences contributed substantially to stable and predictable interindividual differences in levels of anxiety and depression.
anxiety; depression; adult development; behavior genetics; emotional development
Serum concentrations of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), triglycerides (TGs) and total cholesterol (TC) are important heritable risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Although genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of circulating lipid levels have identified numerous loci, a substantial portion of the heritability of these traits remains unexplained. Evidence of unexplained genetic variance can be detected by combining multiple independent markers into additive genetic risk scores. Such polygenic scores, constructed using results from the ENGAGE Consortium GWAS on serum lipids, were applied to predict lipid levels in an independent population-based study, the Rotterdam Study-II (RS-II). We additionally tested for evidence of a shared genetic basis for different lipid phenotypes. Finally, the polygenic score approach was used to identify an alternative genome-wide significance threshold before pathway analysis and those results were compared with those based on the classical genome-wide significance threshold. Our study provides evidence suggesting that many loci influencing circulating lipid levels remain undiscovered. Cross-prediction models suggested a small overlap between the polygenic backgrounds involved in determining LDL-C, HDL-C and TG levels. Pathway analysis utilizing the best polygenic score for TC uncovered extra information compared with using only genome-wide significant loci. These results suggest that the genetic architecture of circulating lipids involves a number of undiscovered variants with very small effects, and that increasing GWAS sample sizes will enable the identification of novel variants that regulate lipid levels.
serum lipids; polygenic; genome-wide association; polygenic score; pathway analysis
The relative importance of genetic and environmental factors for the occurrence of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) is poorly understood.
To (1) estimate the prevalence of urinary incontinence (UI), overactive bladder (OAB), and other LUTS and (2) to assess the heritability of these symptoms.
Design, setting, and participants
Cross-sectional survey of LUTS in a national population-based cohort of Swedish twins 20–46 yr of age (n = 42 582) from the Swedish Twin Registry.
Prevalence rates were determined and heritability of LUTS (in female twins) was assessed using indicators of twin similarity.
Results and limitations
A total of 25 364 twins completed the questionnaire (response rate: 59.6%). LUTS were more common in women (UI: 7%; OAB: 9%; nocturia: 61%; micturition frequency: 18%) than in men (UI: 1%; OAB: 5%; nocturia: 40%; micturition frequency: 11%), and prevalence increased with age. The strongest genetic effects were observed for UI, frequency, and nocturia. The lowest estimate for genetic effects was observed for OAB where environmental effects dominated, and more specifically shared family environment accounted for a third or more of the total variation. For stress UI, a fifth of the total variation in susceptibility to the disorder could be attributed to shared environment. Nonshared environmental effects were seen in the range of 45–65% for the various LUTS. The prevalence of LUTS was low in the men, and there were too few male cases to compute measures of similarity or heritability estimates.
This study provides robust evidence of a genetic influence for susceptibility to UI, frequency, and nocturia in women. In contrast, shared environmental factors seem more important for the predisposition to develop OAB, which may reflect familial patterns such as learning from parental behaviours.
To assess the influence of smoking, coffee and tea consumption on the risk for bladder pain syndrome (BPS) using the O'Leary Interstitial Cystitis Symptom Index (ICSI)
In 2005, all twins born 1959–1985 in Sweden (n = 42 852) were invited to participate in a web-based survey to screen for complex diseases including BPS. Analyses were limited to female twins with information regarding bladder pain symptoms (n = 9 349). Women with an ICSI score of 6 or greater with required nocturia and bladder pain were defined as having BPS symptoms. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Environmental and genetic influences were assessed in co-twin control analysis
Tea consumption was associated with an increased risk for BPS (OR 1.26, 95% CI 1.02–1.55 for low tea consumption; OR 1.74, 95% CI 1.24–2.44 for high tea consumption). Coffee consumption was not a risk factor for BPS (OR 1.1, 95% CI 0.84–1.45). Former, and current smoking, were both associated with a higher risk of BPS (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.18–1.89; and OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.16–1.92 respectively) but results from co-twin control analysis suggested that the association between smoking and BPS was confounded by familial factors.
Tea and smoking are environmental risk factors for BPS which are amenable to intervention. The effects of smoking on the risk for BPS may, however, be confounded by familial factors
Bladder pain syndrome; Coffee; Smoking; Tea; Twins
Practical limitations and sample size considerations often lead to broadening of diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa (AN) in research. The current study sought to elucidate the effects of this practice on resultant sample characteristics in terms of eating disorder behaviors, psychiatric comorbidities, temperament and personality characteristics, and heritability point estimates. Three definitions of AN were created: meeting all Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (DSM-IV) criteria for AN (AN-DSM-IV), meeting all DSM-IV criteria except criterion D, amenorrhea, (AN-noD), and broadening DSM-IV AN criteria by allowing a higher body mass index value, eliminating criterion D, and allowing less stringent body weight concerns (AN-Broad). Using data from the Swedish Twin Registry, 473 women fit one of the three definitions of AN. Women with AN-DSM-IV reported significantly more eating disorder behaviors than women with AN-Broad. Women with AN-noD reported more comorbid psychiatric disorders than women with AN-DSM-IV and AN-Broad. Temperament and personality characteristics did not differ across the three groups. Heritability point estimates decreased as AN definition broadened. Broadening the diagnostic criteria for AN results in an increased number of individuals available for participation in research studies. However, broader criteria for AN yield a more heterogeneous sample with regard to eating disorder symptoms and psychiatric comorbidity than a sample defined by narrower criteria.
Anorexia Nervosa; Classification; Diagnostic Criteria; Eating Disorder