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1.  Association of SNPs in the UGT1A gene cluster with total bilirubin and mortality in the Diabetes Heart Study 
Atherosclerosis  2013;229(1):155-160.
A negative relationship between total bilirubin concentration (TBili) and CVD risk has been documented in a series of epidemiological studies. In addition, TBili is thought to be under strong genetic regulation via the UGT1A gene family, suggesting it may be a heritable CVD risk factor. However, few studies directly relate TBili-associated UGT1A variants to CVD severity or outcome. This study replicated the genetic association for TBili in the Diabetes Heart Study (DHS), and examined the relationships of TBili-associated SNPs with measures of subclinical CVD and mortality.
This investigation included 1220 self-described European American (EA) individuals from the DHS, a family-based study examining risk for macrovascular complications in type 2 diabetes (T2D). Genetic associations with TBili were examined using the Affymetrix Genome-wide Human SNP Array 5.0 and the Illumina Infinium Human Exome beadchip v1.0. Subsequent analyses assessed the relationships of the top TBili-associated SNPs with measures of vascular calcified plaque and mortality.
A genome-wide association study (GWAS) detected 18 SNPs within the UGT1A gene family associated with TBili at p<5×10-8. The top hit was rs887829 (p=8.67×10-20). There was no compelling evidence of association between the top TBili-associated SNPs and vascular calcified plaque (p=0.05-0.88). There was, however, evidence of association with all-cause mortality (p=0.0004-0.06), the top hit being rs2741034.
These findings support a potential role for UGT1A genetic variants in risk for mortality in T2D. Further quantification of the extent of CVD risk conferred by UGT1A gene family variants in a high risk cohort with T2D is still required.
PMCID: PMC3691283  PMID: 23642732
bilirubin; genetics; cardiovascular disease; vascular calcified plaque
2.  Is Genetic Testing of Value in Predicting and Treating Obesity? 
North Carolina medical journal  2013;74(6):530-533.
Obesity is a multifactorial disease resulting from the interaction between genetic factors and lifestyle. Identification of rare genetic variations with strong effects on obesity has been useful in diagnosing and designing personalized therapy for early-onset or syndromic obesity. However, common variants identified in recent genome-wide association studies have limited clinical value.
PMCID: PMC4073883  PMID: 24316784
3.  Polymorphisms in the Selenoprotein S gene and subclinical cardiovascular disease in the Diabetes Heart Study 
Acta diabetologica  2012;50(3):391-399.
Selenoprotein S (SelS), has previously been associated with a range of inflammatory markers, particularly in the context of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The aim of this study was to examine the role of SELS genetic variants in risk for subclinical CVD and mortality in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The association between 10 polymorphisms tagging SELS and coronary (CAC), carotid (CarCP) and abdominal-aortic calcified plaque (AACP), carotid intima media thickness (IMT) and other known CVD risk factors was examined in 1220 European Americans from the family-based Diabetes Heart Study. The strongest evidence of association for SELS SNPs was observed for CarCP; rs28665122 (5′ region; β=0.329, p=0.044), rs4965814 (intron 5; β=0.329, p=0.036), rs28628459 (3′ region; β=0.331, p=0.039) and rs7178239 (downstream; β=0.375, p=0.016) were all associated. In addition, rs12917258 (intron 5) was associated with CAC (β =−0.230, p=0.032) and rs4965814, rs28628459 and rs9806366 were all associated with self reported history of prior CVD (p=0.020–0.043). These results suggest a potential role for the SELS region in the development subclinical CVD in this sample enriched for T2DM. Further understanding the mechanisms underpinning these relationships may prove important in predicting and managing CVD complications in T2DM.
PMCID: PMC3597768  PMID: 23161441
genetics; atherosclerosis; calcified plaque; diabetes mellitus
4.  Genetic Analysis of Adiponectin Variation and its Association with Type 2 Diabetes in African Americans 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2013;21(12):10.1002/oby.20419.
Adiponectin is an adipocytokine that has been implicated in a variety of metabolic disorders, including T2D and cardiovascular disease. Studies evaluating genetic variants in ADIPOQ have been contradictory when testing association with T2D in different ethnic groups.
Design and Methods
In this study, 18 SNPs in ADIPOQ were tested for association with plasma adiponectin levels and diabetes status. SNPs were examined in two independent African-American cohorts (nmax=1116) from the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study (IRASFS) and the African American-Diabetes Heart Study (AA-DHS).
Five polymorphisms were nominally associated with plasma adiponectin levels in the meta-analysis (p=0.035–1.02x10−6) including a low frequency arginine to cysteine mutation (R55C) which reduced plasma adiponectin levels to <15% of the mean. Variants were then tested for association with T2D in a meta-analysis of these and the Wake Forest T2D Case-Control study (n=3233 T2D, 2645 non-T2D). Association with T2D was not observed (p≥0.08), suggesting limited influence of ADIPOQ variants on T2D risk.
Despite identification of variants associated with adiponectin levels, a detailed genetic analysis of ADIPOQ revealed no association with T2D risk. This puts into question the role of adiponectin in T2D pathogenesis: whether low adiponectin levels are truly causal for or rather a consequence.
PMCID: PMC3690163  PMID: 23512866
5.  JC polyoma virus interacts with APOL1 in African Americans with non-diabetic nephropathy 
Kidney international  2013;84(6):10.1038/ki.2013.173.
Individuals with HIV infection and two apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) risk variants frequently develop nephropathy. Here we tested whether non-HIV viral infections influence nephropathy risk via interactions with APOL1 by assessing APOL1 genotypes and presence of urine JC and BK polyoma virus and plasma HHV6 and CMV by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. We analyzed 300 samples from unrelated and related first-degree relatives of African Americans with non-diabetic nephropathy using linear and non-linear mixed models to account for familial relationships. The four groups evaluated were APOL1 0/1 versus 2 risk alleles, with or without nephropathy. Urine JCV and BKV were detected in 90 and 29 patients while HHV6 and CMV were rare. Adjusting for family age at nephropathy, gender and ancestry, presence of JCV genomic DNA in urine and APOL1 risk alleles were significantly negatively associated with elevated serum cystatin C, albuminuria (albumin to creatinine ratio over 30 mg/g), and kidney disease defined as an eGFR under 60 ml/min per 1.73 m2 and/or albuminuria in an additive (APOL1 plus JCV) model. BK viruria was not associated with kidney disease. Thus, African Americans at increased risk for APOL1-associated nephropathy (two APOL1 risk variants) with JC viruria had a lower prevalence of kidney disease, suggesting that JCV interaction with APOL1 genotype may influence kidney disease risk.
PMCID: PMC3844025  PMID: 23677244
APOL1; BK polyomavirus; HIV; JC polyomavirus; kidney disease; proteinuria
6.  The Challenging Search for Diabetic Nephropathy Genes 
Diabetes  2012;61(8):1923-1924.
PMCID: PMC3402322  PMID: 22826311
7.  Variant in the 3′ Region of the IκBα Gene Associated With Insulin Resistance in Hispanic Americans: The IRAS Family Study 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2009;18(3):555-562.
The IKKβ/NF-κB pathway is known to play an important role in inflammatory response and has also recently been implicated in the process of insulin resistance. We hypothesized that one or more variants in the IκBα gene (NFKBIA) or surrounding untranslated regions would be associated with insulin sensitivity (SI) in Hispanic-American families. We tested for association between 25 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in and near NFKBIA and SI in 981 individuals in 90 Hispanic-American families from the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis (IRAS) Family Study. SNP rs1951276 in the 3′ flanking region of NFKBIA was associated with SI in the San Antonio (SA) sample after adjusting for age, gender, and admixture (uncorrected P = 1.69 × 10−5; conservative Bonferroni correction P = 3.38 × 10−4). Subjects with at least one A allele for NFKBIA rs1951276 had ~29% lower SI compared to individuals homozygous for the G allele in the SA sample. Although not statistically significant, the effect was in the same direction in the San Luis Valley (SLV) sample alone (P = 0.348) and was significant in the combined SA and SLV samples (P = 5.37 × 10−4; presence of A allele associated with ~20% lower SI). In SA, when adjusted for subcutaneous adipose tissue area (SAT, cm2), the association was modestly attenuated (P = 1.25 × 10−3), but the association remained highly significant after adjustment for visceral adipose tissue area (VAT, cm2; P = 4.41 × 10−6). These results provide corroborating evidence that the NF-κB/IKKβ pathway may mediate obesity-induced insulin resistance in humans.
PMCID: PMC3992855  PMID: 19798070
8.  The Role of Copy Number Variation in African Americans with Type 2 Diabetes-Associated End Stage Renal Disease 
This study investigated the association of copy number variants (CNVs) in type 2 diabetes (T2D) and T2D-associated end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in African Americans. Using the Affymetrix 6.0 array, >900,000 CNV probes spanning the genome were interrogated in 965 African Americans with T2D-ESRD and 1029 non-diabetic African American controls. Previously identified and novel CNVs were separately analyzed and were evaluated for insertion/deletion status and then used as predictors in a logistic regression model to test for association. One common CNV insertion on chromosome 1 was significantly associated with T2D-ESRD (p=6.17×10−5, OR=1.63) after multiple comparison correction. This CNV region encompasses the genes AMY2A and AMY2B, which encode amylase isoenzymes produced by the pancreas. Additional common and novel CNVs approaching significance with disease were also detected. These exploratory results require further replication but suggest the involvement of the AMY2A/AMY2B CNV in T2D and/or T2D-ESRD, and indicate that CNVs may contribute to susceptibility for these diseases.
PMCID: PMC3973178  PMID: 24707315
Copy number variation; African Americans; Diabetic nephropathy; End-stage renal disease; Genome-wide association study; Type 2 diabetes
9.  Coronary Calcium Score Predicts Cardiovascular Mortality in Diabetes 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(4):972-977.
In type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), it remains unclear whether coronary artery calcium (CAC) provides additional information about cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality beyond the Framingham Risk Score (FRS) factors.
A total of 1,123 T2DM participants, ages 34–86 years, in the Diabetes Heart Study followed up for an average of 7.4 years were separated using baseline computed tomography scans of CAC (0–9, 10–99, 100–299, 300–999, and ≥1,000). Logistic regression was performed to examine the association between CAC and CVD mortality adjusting for FRS. Areas under the curve (AUC) with and without CAC were compared. Net reclassification improvement (NRI) compared FRS (model 1) versus FRS+CAC (model 2) using 7.4-year CVD mortality risk categories 0% to <7%, 7% to <20%, and ≥20%.
Overall, 8% of participants died of cardiovascular causes during follow-up. In multivariate analysis, the odds ratios (95% CI) for CVD mortality using CAC 0–9 as the reference group were, CAC 10–99: 2.93 (0.74–19.55); CAC 100–299: 3.17 (0.70–22.22); CAC 300–999: 4.41(1.15–29.00); and CAC ≥1,000: 11.23 (3.24–71.00). AUC (95% CI) without CAC was 0.70 (0.67–0.73), AUC with CAC was 0.75 (0.72–0.78), and NRI was 0.13 (0.07–0.19).
In T2DM, CAC predicts CVD mortality and meaningfully reclassifies participants, suggesting clinical utility as a risk stratification tool in a population already at increased CVD risk.
PMCID: PMC3609509  PMID: 23230101
11.  Admixture Mapping of Coronary Artery Calcified Plaque in African Americans with Type 2 Diabetes 
The presence and severity of coronary artery calcified plaque (CAC) differs markedly between individuals of African and European descent, suggesting that admixture mapping (AM) may be informative for identifying genetic variants associated with subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Methods and Results
AM of CAC was performed in 1,040 unrelated African Americans with type 2 diabetes mellitus from the African American-Diabetes Heart Study (AA-DHS), Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), and Family Heart Study (FamHS) using the Illumina custom ancestry informative marker (AIM) panel. All cohorts obtained computed tomography scanning of the coronary arteries using identical protocols. For each AIM, the probability of inheriting 0, 1, and 2 copies of a European-derived allele was determined. Linkage analysis was performed by testing for association between each AIM using these probabilities and CAC, accounting for global ancestry, age, gender and study. Markers on 1p32.3 in the GLIS1 gene (rs6663966, LOD=3.7), 1q32.1 near CHIT1 (rs7530895, LOD=3.1), 4q21.2 near PRKG2 (rs1212373, LOD=3.0) and 11q25 in the OPCML gene (rs6590705, LOD=3.4) had statistically significant LOD scores, while markers on 8q22.2 (rs6994682, LOD=2.7), 9p21.2 (rs439314, LOD=2.7), and 13p32.1 (rs7492028, LOD=2.8) manifested suggestive evidence of linkage. These regions were uniformly characterized by higher levels of European ancestry associating with higher levels or odds of CAC. Findings were replicated in 1,350 AAs without diabetes and 2,497 diabetic European Americans from MESA and the Diabetes Heart Study.
Fine mapping these regions will likely identify novel genetic variants that contribute to CAC and clarify racial differences in susceptibility to subclinical CVD.
PMCID: PMC3578054  PMID: 23233742
ancestry; cardiovascular disease risk factors; type 2 diabetes; admixture mapping
Genetic epidemiology  2012;37(1):13-24.
Common genetic variation frequently accounts for only a modest amount of inter-individual variation in quantitative traits and complex disease susceptibility. Circulating adiponectin, an adipocytokine implicated in metabolic disease, is a model for assessing the contribution of genetic and clinical factors to quantitative trait variation. The adiponectin locus, ADIPOQ, is the primary source of genetically-mediated variation in plasma adiponectin levels. This study sought to define the genetic architecture of ADIPOQ in the comprehensively phenotyped Hispanic (n=1151) and African American (n=574) participants from the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study (IRASFS). Through resequencing and bioinformatic analysis, rare/low frequency (<5% MAF) and common variants (>5% MAF) in ADIPOQ were identified. Genetic variants and clinical variables were assessed for association with adiponectin levels and contribution to adiponectin variance in the Hispanic and African American cohorts. Clinical traits accounted for the greatest proportion of variance (POV) at 31% (p=1.16×10−47) and 47% (p=5.82×10−20), respectively. Rare/low frequency variants contributed more than common variants to variance in Hispanics: POV=18% (p= 6.40×10−15) and POV=5% (p=0.19), respectively. In African Americans, rare/low frequency and common variants both contributed approximately equally to variance: POV=6% (p=5.44×10−12) and POV=9% (P=1.44×10−10), respectively. Importantly, single low frequency alleles in each ethnic group were as important as, or more important than, common variants in explaining variation in adiponectin. Cumulatively, these clinical and ethnicity-specific genetic contributors explained half or more of the variance in Hispanic and African Americans and provide new insight into the sources of variation for this important adipocytokine.
PMCID: PMC3736586  PMID: 23032297
adiponectin; proportion of variation; rare variants; common variants; clinical traits
Molecular genetics and metabolism  2012;107(4):721-728.
Adiponectin is an adipocytokine associated with a variety of metabolic traits. These associations in human studies, in conjunction with functional studies in model systems, have implicated adiponectin in multiple metabolic processes.
We hypothesize that genetic variants associated with plasma adiponectin would also be associated with glucose homeostasis and adiposity phenotypes.
Design and Setting
The Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study was designed to identify the genetic and environmental basis of insulin resistance and adiposity in the Hispanic- (n=1,424) and African-American (n=604) population.
Main Outcome Measures
High quality metabolic phenotypes, e.g. insulin sensitivity (SI), acute insulin response (AIR), disposition index (DI), fasting glucose, body mass index (BMI), visceral adipose tissue (VAT), subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), and waist circumference, were explored.
Based on association analysis of more than 40 genetic polymorphisms in the adiponectin gene (ADIPOQ), we found no consistent association of ADIPOQ variants with plasma adiponectin levels and adiposity phenotypes. However, there were two promoter variants, rs17300539 and rs822387, associated with plasma adiponectin levels (P=0.0079 and 0.021, respectively) in the Hispanic-American cohort that were also associated with SI (P=0.0067 and 0.013, respectively). In contrast, there was only a single promoter SNP, rs17300539, associated with plasma adiponectin levels (P=0.0018) and fasting glucose (P=0.042) in the African-American cohort. Strikingly, high impact coding variants did not show evidence of association.
The lack of consistent patterns of association between variants, adiponectin levels, glucose homeostasis, and adiposity phenotypes suggests a reassessment of the influence of adiponectin in these pathways.
PMCID: PMC3504195  PMID: 23102667
adiponectin; single nucleotide polymorphisms; glucose homeostasis; adiposity; African Americans; Hispanic Americans
14.  Relevance of the ACTN4 gene in African Americans with non-diabetic ESRD 
American journal of nephrology  2012;36(3):252-260.
African Americans (AAs) are predisposed to non-diabetic (non-DM) end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and studies have shown a genetic component to this risk. Rare mutations in ACTN4 (α-actinin-4) an actin binding protein expressed in podocytes cause familial focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.
We assessed the contribution of coding variants in ACTN4 to non-DM ESRD risk in AAs. Nineteen exons, 2800 bases of the promoter and 392 bases of the 3’ untranslated region of ACTN4 were sequenced in 96 AA non-DM ESRD cases and 96 non-nephropathy controls (384 chromosomes). Sixty-seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) including 51 novel SNPs were identified. The SNPs comprised 33 intronic, 21 promoter, 12 exonic, and 1 3’ variant. Sixty-two of the SNPs were genotyped in 296 AA non-DM ESRD cases and 358 non-nephropathy controls.
One SNP, rs10404257, was associated with non-DM ESRD (p<1.0E-4, odds ratio (OR)=0.76, confidence interval (CI)=0.59–0.98; additive model). Forty-seven SNPs had minor allele frequencies less than 5%. These SNPs were segregated into risk and protective SNPs and each category was collapsed into a single marker, designated by the presence or absence of any rare allele. The presence of any rare allele at a risk SNP was significantly associated with non-DM ESRD (p = 0.001, dominant model). The SNPs with the strongest evidence for association (n = 20) were genotyped in an independent set of 467 non-DM ESRD cases and 279 controls. Although, rs10404257 was not associated in this replication sample, when the samples were combined rs10404257 was modestly associated (p=0.032, OR=0.78, CI=0.63–0.98; dominant model). SNPs were tested for interaction with markers in the APOL1 gene, previously associated with non-DM ESRD in AAs and rs10404257 was modestly associated (p = 0.0261, additive model).
This detailed evaluation of ACTN4 variation revealed limited evidence of association with non-DM ESRD in AAs.
PMCID: PMC3510331  PMID: 22965004
ACTN4; non-diabetic ESRD; FSGS; kidney; hypertensive nephrosclerosis; African Americans
15.  Association ofPNPLA3 with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in a minority cohort: the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study 
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a highly prevalent condition, particularly among Hispanic Americans. A genetic variant in PNPLA3 (rs738409) has been identified as a strong predictor of hepatic fat content.
To confirm the association of this variant with NAFLD in two minority cohorts, Hispanic Americans and African Americans, in whom liver density was quantified by computed tomography (CT).
This analysis was conducted in the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis (IRAS) Family Study. Participants were recruited from the general community and included 843 Hispanic American and 371 African American adults aged 18–81 years. A single variant in PNPLA3 (rs738409) was genotyped. Liver density was calculated in Hounsfield Units from abdominal CT scans.
Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs738409 was strongly associated with reduced liver density (i.e. NAFLD) in Hispanic Americans (1.18 × 10−9) and in African Americans (P = 4.99 × 10−6). The association followed an additive genetic model with the G allele conferring risk. The allele was two times more common in Hispanic Americans than in African Americans (40 vs 19%), consistent with the greater prevalence of NAFLD in Hispanic Americans (24 vs 9%). The SNP explained 4.4 and 5.6% of the variance of the adjusted liver density outcome in Hispanic Americans and African Americans, respectively.
We confirmed the association of a PNPLA3 variant with NAFLD in Hispanic Americans and African Americans, suggesting that PNPLA3 contributes to the variation in NAFLD across multiple ethnicities. This study adds to the growing evidence that some of the ethnic variation in NAFLD is genetic.
PMCID: PMC3703938  PMID: 21281435
African Americans; computed tomography; genetic epidemiology; hepatic steatosis; Hispanic Americans; non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; PNPLA3
16.  Apolipoprotein L1 gene variants associate with hypertension-attributed nephropathy and the rate of kidney function decline in African Americans 
Kidney international  2012;83(1):114-120.
Despite intensive anti-hypertensive therapy there was a high incidence of renal end-points in participants of the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK) cohort. To better understand this, coding variants in the apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) and the non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 (MYH9) genes were evaluated for an association with hypertension-attributed nephropathy and clinical outcomes in a case-control study. Clinical data and DNA were available for 675 AASK participant cases and 618 African American non-nephropathy control individuals. APOL1 G1 and G2, and MYH9 E1 variants along with 44 ancestry informative markers were genotyped with allele frequency differences between cases and controls analyzed by logistic regression multivariable models adjusting for ancestry, age, and gender. In recessive models, APOL1 risk variants were significantly associated with kidney disease in all cases compared to controls with an odds ratio of 2.57. In AASK cases with more advanced disease, such as a baseline urine protein to creatinine ratio over 0.6 g/g or a serum creatinine over 3 mg/dL during follow-up, the association was strengthened with odds ratios of 6.29 and 4.61, respectively. APOL1 risk variants were consistently associated with renal disease progression across medication classes and blood pressure targets. Thus, kidney disease in AASK participants was strongly associated with APOL1 renal risk variants.
PMCID: PMC3484228  PMID: 22832513
17.  RGS6 Variants Are Associated With Dietary Fat Intake in Hispanics: The IRAS Family Study 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2011;19(7):1433-1438.
Recently, a genome-wide association scan was completed in the IRAS (Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study) Family Study (IRASFS) Hispanic-American cohort. Multiple single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the G-protein signaling 6 (RGS6) gene were found to be associated with adiposity phenotypes. RGS6 has shown downstream antagonistic interplay with opioid receptors, targets of fatty/sugary food agonists. The possibility that RGS6 promotes tolerance and tachyphylaxis among the opioid receptor is a plausible pathway for overconsuming fat/sugar-laden food. Therefore, we hypothesized that RGS6 variants are associated with intake of fatty/sugary foods. In 932 Hispanics from San Antonio and San Luis Valley, CO, the following dietary intake variables were assessed using the Block Brief 2000 food frequency questionnaire: total calories, total fat, % calories from fat, % calories from saturated fat, protein, % calories from protein, carbohydrates, % calories from carbohydrates, and daily frequency of servings of fats/oils/sweets. We tested for association between 23 SNPs in RGS6 and dietary intake using a variance components measured genotype approach. All models were adjusted for gender, recruitment site, admixture, BMI, and age. Using an additive genetic model, rs1402064 was associated with higher intake of fats/oils/sweets, total calories, total fat and saturated fat (P = 0.0007, 0.026, 0.023, and 0.024). SNPs rs847330 and rs847354 were associated with higher intake of fats/oils/sweets (P = 0.002 and 0.018), total fat (P = 0.040 and 0.048) and saturated fat (P = 0.044 and 0.041). Finally, rs769148 was associated with higher intake of fats/oils/sweets (P = 0.002). RGS6 is a new candidate gene for adiposity traits that may be associated with a behavioral tendency toward fat-laden food intake.
PMCID: PMC3683650  PMID: 21233807
18.  Polymorphisms in MYH9 are associated with diabetic nephropathy in European Americans 
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2011;27(4):1505-1511.
Polymorphisms in the non-muscle myosin IIA gene (MYH9) are associated with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and non-diabetic end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in African Americans and FSGS in European Americans. We tested for association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in MYH9 with T2DM–ESRD in European Americans; additionally, three APOL1 gene variants were evaluated.
Fifteen MYH9 SNPs and two APOL1 SNPs plus a 6-bp deletion were genotyped in 1963 European Americans, 536 cases with T2DM–ESRD and 1427 non-nephropathy controls (467 with T2DM and 960 without diabetes).
Comparing T2DM–ESRD cases with the 467 T2DM non-nephropathy controls, single variant associations trending toward significance were detected with SNPs rs4821480, rs2032487 and rs4281481 comprising part of the major MYH9 E1 risk haplotype [P-values 0.053–0.055 recessive, odds ratio (OR) 6.08–6.14]. Comparing T2DM–ESRD cases to all 1427 non-nephropathy controls, we confirmed evidence of association in these three SNPs as well as in the fourth E1 SNP (rs3752462) (P-values 0.017–0.035, OR 1.41–3.72). APOL1 G1/G2 nephropathy risk variants were rare in individuals of European American heritage, present in 0.28% of chromosomes in T2DM–ESRD cases and 0.32% of controls.
MYH9 SNPs rs4821480, rs2032487, rs4281481 and rs3752462 are associated with T2DM–ESRD susceptibility in European Americans. The APOL1 risk variants are not present at appreciable frequency in this cohort with T2DM–ESRD. Therefore, polymorphisms in MYH9 appear to influence nephropathy risk in this sample.
PMCID: PMC3315672  PMID: 21968013
APOL1; diabetic nephropathy; end-stage renal disease; MYH9; type 2 diabetes mellitus
19.  Association of APOL1 variants with mild kidney disease in first-degree relatives of African American patients with non-diabetic end stage renal disease 
Kidney international  2012;82(7):805-811.
Familial aggregation of non-diabetic end stage renal disease (ESRD) is found in African Americans and variants in the apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) contribute to this risk. To detect genetic associations with milder forms of nephropathy in high-risk families, analyses were performed using generalized estimating equations to assess relationships between kidney disease phenotypes and APOL1 variants in 786 relatives of 470 families. Adjusting for familial correlations, 23.1, 46.7, and 30.2 percent of genotyped relatives possessed two, one, or no APOL1 risk variants, respectively. Relatives with two compared to one or no risk variants had statistically indistinguishable median systolic blood pressure, urine albumin to creatinine ratio, estimated GFR (MDRD equation) and serum cystatin C levels. After adjusting for age, gender, age at ESRD in families, and African ancestry, significant associations were detected between APOL1 with overt proteinuria and estimated GFR (CKD-EPI equation), with a trend toward significance for quantitative albuminuria. Thus, relatives of African Americans with non-diabetic ESRD are enriched for APOL1 risk variants. After adjustment, two APOL1 risk variants weakly predict mild forms of kidney disease. Second hits appear necessary for the initiation of APOL1-associated nephropathy.
PMCID: PMC3443536  PMID: 22695330
African American; APOL1; end-stage renal disease; FSGS; kidney; screening
20.  Genetic analysis of haptoglobin polymorphisms with cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes in the diabetes heart study 
Haptoglobin (HP) is an acute phase protein that binds to freely circulating hemoglobin. HP exists as two distinct forms, HP1 and HP2. The longer HP2 form has been associated with cardiovascular (CVD) events and mortality in individuals with type 2 diabetes (T2DM).
This study examined the association of HP genotypes with subclinical CVD, T2DM risk, and associated risk factors in a T2DM-enriched sample. Haptoglobin genotypes were determined in 1208 European Americans (EA) from 473 Diabetes Heart Study (DHS) families via PCR. Three promoter SNPs (rs5467, rs5470, and rs5471) were also genotyped.
Analyses revealed association between HP2-2 duplication and increased carotid intima-media thickness (IMT; p = 0.001). No association between HP and measures of calcified arterial plaque were observed, but the HP polymorphism was associated with triglyceride concentrations (p = 0.005) and CVD mortality (p = 0.04). We found that the HP2-2 genotype was associated with increased T2DM risk with an odds ratio (OR) of 1.49 (95% CI 1.18-1.86, p = 6.59x10-4). Promoter SNPs were not associated with any traits.
This study suggests association between the HP duplication and IMT, triglycerides, CVD mortality, and T2DM in an EA population enriched for T2DM. Lack of association with atherosclerotic calcified plaque likely reflect differences in the pathogenesis of these CVD phenotypes. HP variation may contribute to the heritable risk for CVD complications in T2DM.
PMCID: PMC3576297  PMID: 23399657
Haptoglobin; Genetic polymorphism; Cardiovascular disease; Type 2 diabetes
21.  Genetic Risk Assessment of Type 2 Diabetes–Associated Polymorphisms in African Americans 
Diabetes Care  2012;35(2):287-292.
Multiple single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with type 2 diabetes (T2D) susceptibility have been identified in predominantly European-derived populations. These SNPs have not been extensively investigated for individual and cumulative effects on T2D risk in African Americans.
Seventeen index T2D risk variants were genotyped in 2,652 African American case subjects with T2D and 1,393 nondiabetic control subjects. Individual SNPs and cumulative risk allele loads were assessed for association with risk for T2D. Cumulative risk was assessed by counting risk alleles and evaluating the difference in cumulative risk scores between case subjects and control subjects. A second analysis weighted risk scores (ln [OR]) based on previously reported European-derived effect sizes.
Frequencies of risk alleles ranged from 8.6 to 99.9%. Eleven SNPs had ORs >1, and 5 from ADAMTS9, WFS1, CDKAL1, JAZF1, and TCF7L2 trended or had nominally significant evidence of T2D association (P < 0.05). Individuals carried between 13 and 29 risk alleles. Association was observed between T2D and increase in risk allele load (unweighted OR 1.04 [95% CI 1.01–1.08], P = 0.010; weighted 1.06 [1.03–1.10], P = 8.10 × 10−5). When TCF7L2 SNP rs7903146 was included as a covariate, the risk score was no longer associated with T2D in either model (unweighted 1.02 [0.98–1.05], P = 0.33; weighted 1.02 [0.98–1.06], P = 0.40).
The trend of increase in risk for T2D with increasing risk allele load is similar to observations in European-derived populations; however, these analyses indicate that T2D genetic risk is primarily mediated through the effect of TCF7L2 in African Americans.
PMCID: PMC3263882  PMID: 22275441
22.  Meta-analysis of genome-wide linkage scans for renal function traits 
Several genome scans have explored the linkage of chronic kidney disease phenotypes to chromosomic regions with disparate results. Genome scan meta-analysis (GSMA) is a quantitative method to synthesize linkage results from independent studies and assess their concordance.
We searched PubMed to identify genome linkage analyses of renal function traits in humans, such as estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR), albuminuria, serum creatinine concentration and creatinine clearance. We contacted authors for numerical data and extracted information from individual studies. We applied the GSMA nonparametric approach to combine results across 14 linkage studies for GFR, 11 linkage studies for albumin creatinine ratio, 11 linkage studies for serum creatinine and 4 linkage studies for creatinine clearance.
No chromosomal region reached genome-wide statistical significance in the main analysis which included all scans under each phenotype; however, regions on Chromosomes 7, 10 and 16 reached suggestive significance for linkage to two or more phenotypes. Subgroup analyses by disease status or ethnicity did not yield additional information.
While heterogeneity across populations, methodologies and study designs likely explain this lack of agreement, it is possible that linkage scan methodologies lack the resolution for investigating complex traits. Combining family-based linkage studies with genome-wide association studies may be a powerful approach to detect private mutations contributing to complex renal phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC3275782  PMID: 21622988
albuminuria; chronic kidney disease; glomerular filtration rate; linkage scans; meta-analysis
23.  Examination of Rare Variants in HNF4 α in European Americans with Type 2 Diabetes 
Journal of diabetes & metabolism  2011;2(145):1000145.
The hepatocyte nuclear factor 4-α (HNF4α) gene codes for a transcription factor which is responsible for regulating gene transcription in pancreatic beta cells, in addition to its primary role in hepatic gene regulation. Mutations in this gene can lead to maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY), an uncommon, autosomal dominant, non-insulin dependent form of diabetes. Mutations in HNF4α have been found in few individuals, and infrequently have they segregated completely with MODY in families. In addition, due to similarity of phenotypes, it is unclear what proportion of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) in the general population is due to MODY or HNF4α mutations specifically. In this study, 27 documented rare and common variants were genotyped in a European American population of 1270 T2DM cases and 1017 controls from review of databases and literature implicating HNF4α variants in MODY and T2DM. Seventeen variants were found to be monomorphic. Two cases and one control subject had one copy of a 6-bp P2 promoter deletion. The intron 1 variant (rs6103716; MAF = 0.31) was not significantly associated with disease status (p>0.8) and the missense variant Thr130Ile (rs1800961; MAF = 0.027) was also not significantly different between cases and controls (p>0.2), but showed a trend consistent with association with T2DM. Four variants were found to be rare as heterozygotes in small numbers of subjects. Since many variants were infrequent, a pooled chi-squared analysis of rare variants was used to assess the overall burden of variants between cases and controls. This analysis revealed no significant difference (P=0.22). We conclude there is little evidence to suggest that HNF4α variants contribute significantly to risk of T2DM in the general population, but a modest contribution cannot be excluded. In addition, the observation of some mutations in controls suggests they are not highly penetrant MODY-causing variants.
PMCID: PMC3515062  PMID: 23227446
Type 2 Diabetes; HNF4A; Rare variants
24.  Relationships between serum MCP-1 and subclinical kidney disease: African American-Diabetes Heart Study 
BMC Nephrology  2012;13:148.
Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) plays important roles in kidney disease susceptibility and atherogenesis in experimental models. Relationships between serum MCP-1 concentration and early nephropathy and subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD) were assessed in African Americans (AAs) with type 2 diabetes (T2D).
Serum MCP-1 concentration, urine albumin:creatinine ratio (ACR), estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), and atherosclerotic calcified plaque (CP) in the coronary and carotid arteries and infrarenal aorta were measured in 479 unrelated AAs with T2D. Generalized linear models were fitted to test for associations between MCP-1 and urine ACR, eGFR, and CP.
Participants were 57% female, with mean ± SD (median) age 55.6±9.5 (55.0) years, diabetes duration 10.3±8.2 (8.0) years, urine ACR 149.7±566.7 (14.0) mg/g, CKD-EPI eGFR 92.4±23.3 (92.0) ml/min/1.73m2, MCP-1 262.9±239.1 (224.4) pg/ml, coronary artery CP 280.1±633.8 (13.5), carotid artery CP 47.1±132.9 (0), and aorta CP 1616.0±2864.0 (319.0). Adjusting for age, sex, smoking, HbA1c, BMI, and LDL, serum MCP-1 was positively associated with albuminuria (parameter estimate 0.0021, P=0.04) and negatively associated with eGFR (parameter estimate −0.0003, P=0.001). MCP-1 remained associated with eGFR after adjustment for urine ACR. MCP-1 levels did not correlate with the extent of CP in any vascular bed, HbA1c or diabetes duration, but were positively associated with BMI. No interaction between BMI and MCP-1 was detected on nephropathy outcomes.
Serum MCP-1 levels are associated with eGFR and albuminuria in AAs with T2D. MCP-1 was not associated with subclinical CVD in this population. Inflammation appears to play important roles in development and/or progression of kidney disease in AAs.
PMCID: PMC3534523  PMID: 23151275
African Americans; Albuminuria; Atherosclerotic calcified plaque; Diabetes; GFR; MCP-1
25.  Differences in Arachidonic Acid Levels and Fatty Acid Desaturase (FADS) Gene Variants in African Americans and European Americans with Diabetes/Metabolic Syndrome 
The British journal of nutrition  2011;107(4):547-555.
Over the past 50 years, increases in dietary n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), such as linoleic acid, have been hypothesized to cause or exacerbate chronic inflammatory diseases. This study examines an individual’s innate capacity to synthesize n-6-long chain PUFAs (LC-PUFAs), with respect to the fatty acid desaturase (FADS) locus in Americans of African and European descent with diabetes/metabolic syndrome. Compared to European Americans (EAm), African Americans (AfAm) exhibited markedly higher serum levels of arachidonic acid (AA) (EAm 7.9±2.1; AfAm 9.8±1.9 % of total fatty acids, mean ± sd; p<2.29×10−9) and the AA to n-6-precursor fatty acid ratio, which estimates FADS1 activity (EAm 5.4±2.2, AfAm 6.9±2.2; p=1.44×10−5). Seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) mapping to the FADS locus revealed strong association with AA, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and dihomogamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) in the EAm. Importantly, EAm homozygous for the minor allele (T) had significantly lower AA levels (TT: 6.3±1.0; GG: 8.5±2.1; p=3.0×10−5) and AA/DGLA ratios (TT: 3.4±0.8; GG: 6.5±2.3; p=2.2×10−7) but higher DGLA levels (TT: 1.9±0.4; GG: 1.4±0.4; p=3.3×10−7) compared to those homozygous for the major allele (GG). Allele frequency patterns suggest that the GG genotype at rs174537 (associated with higher circulating levels of AA) is much higher in AfAm (0.81) compared to EAm (0.46). Similarly, marked differences in rs174537 genotypic frequencies were observed in HapMap populations. These data suggest that there are likely important differences in the capacity of different populations to synthesize LC-PUFAs. These differences may provide a genetic mechanism contributing to health disparities between populations of African and European descent.
PMCID: PMC3494092  PMID: 21733300
SNP; FADS; arachidonic acid synthesis

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