Inflammation plays a central pathogenic role in the pernicious metabolic and end organ sequelae of obesity. Among these sequelae, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become the most common chronic liver disease in the developed world. The twinned observations that obesity is associated with increased activation of the IL-17 axis and that this axis can regulate liver damage in diverse contexts prompted us to address the role of IL-17RA signaling in the progression of NAFLD. We further examined whether microbe-driven IL-17A regulated NAFLD development and progression. We show here that IL-17RA−/− mice respond to high fat diet stress with significantly greater weight gain, visceral adiposity and hepatic steatosis than wild type controls. However, obesity-driven lipid accumulation was uncoupled from its end organ consequences in IL-17RA−/− mice, which exhibited decreased steatohepatitis, NADPH-oxidase enzyme expression and hepatocellular damage. Neutralization of IL-17A significantly reduced obesity-driven hepatocellular damage in wild type mice. Further, colonization of mice with segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB), a commensal that induces IL-17A production, exacerbated obesity-induced hepatocellular damage. In contrast, SFB depletion protected from obesity-induced hepatocellular damage.
These data indicate that obesity-driven activation of the IL-17 axis is central to the development and progression of NAFLD to steatohepatitis and identify the IL-17 pathway as a novel therapeutic target in this condition.
Inflammation; Segmented filamentous bacteria; Microbiome
Genome wide association studies have identified variants in PXK that confer risk for humoral autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus), rheumatoid arthritis and more recently systemic sclerosis. While PXK is involved in trafficking of epidermal growth factor Receptor (EGFR) in COS-7 cells, mechanisms linking PXK to lupus pathophysiology have remained undefined. In an effort to uncover the mechanism at this locus that increases lupus-risk, we undertook a fine-mapping analysis in a large multi-ancestral study of lupus patients and controls. We define a large (257kb) common haplotype marking a single causal variant that confers lupus risk detected only in European ancestral populations and spans the promoter through the 3′ UTR of PXK. The strongest association was found at rs6445972 with P < 4.62 × 10−10, OR 0.81 (0.75–0.86). Using stepwise logistic regression analysis, we demonstrate that one signal drives the genetic association in the region. Bayesian analysis confirms our results, identifying a 95% credible set consisting of 172 variants spanning 202 kb. Functionally, we found that PXK operates on the B-cell antigen receptor (BCR); we confirmed that PXK influenced the rate of BCR internalization. Furthermore, we demonstrate that individuals carrying the risk haplotype exhibited a decreased rate of BCR internalization, a process known to impact B cell survival and cell fate. Taken together, these data define a new candidate mechanism for the genetic association of variants around PXK with lupus risk and highlight the regulation of intracellular trafficking as a genetically regulated pathway mediating human autoimmunity.
lupus; PXK; fine-mapping; B cells; BCR
To explore the potential influence of the polymorphic 8p23.1 inversion on known autoimmune susceptibility risk at or near BLK locus, we validated a new bioinformatics method that utilizes SNP data to enable accurate, high-throughput genotyping of the 8p23.1 inversion in a Caucasian population. Methods: Principal components analysis (PCA) was performed using markers inside the inversion territory followed by k-means cluster analyses on 7416 European derived and 267 HapMaP CEU and TSI samples. A logistic regression conditional analysis was performed. Results: Three subgroups have been identified; inversion homozygous, heterozygous and non-inversion homozygous. The status of inversion was further validated using HapMap samples that had previously undergone Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assays with a concordance rate of above 98%. Conditional analyses based on the status of inversion were performed. We found that overall association signals in the BLK region remain significant after controlling for inversion status. The proportion of lupus cases and controls (cases/controls) in each subgroup was determined to be 0.97 for the inverted homozygous group (1067 cases and 1095 controls), 1.12 for the inverted heterozygous group (1935 cases 1717 controls) and 1.36 for non-inverted subgroups (924 cases and 678 controls). After calculating the linkage disequilibrium between inversion status and lupus risk haplotype we found that the lupus risk haplotype tends to reside on non-inversion background. As a result, a new association effect between non-inversion status and lupus phenotype has been identified ((p = 8.18×10−7, OR = 1.18, 95%CI = 1.10–1.26). Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that both known lupus risk haplotype and inversion status act additively in the pathogenesis of lupus. Since inversion regulates expression of many genes in its territory, altered expression of other genes might also be involved in the development of lupus.
Prolidase deficiency is a rare autosomal recessive disease in which one of the last steps of collagen metabolism, cleavage of proline-containing dipeptides, is impaired. Only about 93 patients have been reported with about 10% also having systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
We studied a large extended Amish pedigree with four prolidase deficiency patients and three heterozygous individuals for lupus-associated autoimmunity. Eight unaffected Amish children served as normal controls. Prolidase genetics and enzyme activity were confirmed. Antinuclear antibodies (ANA) were determined using indirect immunofluorescence and antibodies against extractable nuclear antigens were determined by various methods, including double immunodiffusion, immunoprecipitation and multiplex bead assay. Serum C1q levels were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Two of the four homozygous prolidase deficiency subjects had a positive ANA. One had anti-double-stranded DNA, while another had precipitating anti-Ro. By the simultaneous microbead assay, three of the four had anti-Sm and anti-chromatin. One of the three heterozygous subjects had a positive ANA and immunoprecipitation of a 75 000 molecular weight protein. The unaffected controls had normal prolidase activity and were negative for autoantibodies.
Prolidase deficiency may be associated with the loss of immune tolerance to lupus-associated autoantigens even without clinical SLE.
prolidase deficiency; systemic lupus erythematosus; autoantibodies
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a heterogeneous autoimmune disease with significant immune system aberrations resulting from complex heritable genetics as well as environmental factors. TRAF6 is a candidate gene for SLE, which has a major role in several signaling pathways that are important for immunity and organ development.
Fifteen single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), across TRAF6 were evaluated in 7,490 SLE and 6,780 control subjects from different ancestries. Population-based case-control association analyses and meta-analyses were performed. P values, false discovery rate q values, and odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals were calculated.
Evidence of associations in multiple SNPs was detected. The best overall p values were obtained for SNPs rs5030437 and rs4755453 (p=7.85×10−5 and p=4.73×10−5, respectively) without significant heterogeneity among populations (p=0.67 and p=0.50 in Q-statistic). In addition, rs540386 previously reported to be associated with RA was found to be in LD with these two SNPs (r2= 0.95) and demonstrated evidence of association with SLE in the same direction (meta-analysis p=9.15×10−4, OR=0.89, 95%CI=0.83–0.95). Thrombocytopenia improved the overall results in different populations (meta-analysis p=1.99×10−6, OR=0.57, 95%CI=0.45–0.72, for rs5030470). Finally evidence of family based association in 34 African-American pedigrees with the presence of thrombocytopenia were detected in one available SNP rs5030437 with Z score magnitude of 2.28 (p=0.02) under a dominant model.
Our data indicate the presence of association of TRAF6 with SLE in agreement with the previous report of association with RA. These data provide further support for the involvement of TRAF6 in the pathogenesis of autoimmunity.
TRAF6; polymorphism; systemic lupus erythematosus
Alterations in the gut microbiota have been proposed to modify the development and maintenance of obesity and its sequelae. Definition of underlying mechanisms has lagged, although the ability of commensal gut microbes to drive pathways involved in inflammation and metabolism has generated compelling, testable hypotheses. We studied C57BL/6 mice from two vendors that differ in their obesogenic response and in their colonization by specific members of the gut microbiota having well-described roles in regulating gut immune responses. We confirmed the presence of robust differences in weight gain in mice from these different vendors during high fat diet stress. However, neither specific, highly divergent members of the gut microbiota (Lactobacillus murinus, segmented filamentous bacteria) nor the horizontally transmissible gut microbiota were found to be responsible. Constitutive differences in locomotor activity were observed, however. These data underscore the importance of selecting appropriate controls in this widely used model of human obesity.
Microbiome; Obesity; Inflammation; Metabolism; Nicotinamide nucleotide transhydrogenase
Asthma is a common disease of children with a complex genetic origin. Understanding the genetic basis of asthma susceptibility will allow disease prediction and risk stratification.
We sought to identify asthma susceptibility genes in children.
A nested case-control genetic association study of children of Caucasian European ancestry from a birth cohort was conducted. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, n=116,024) were genotyped in pools of DNA samples from cohort children with physician-diagnosed asthma (n=112) and normal controls (n=165). A genomic region containing the ATPAF1 gene was significantly associated with asthma. Additional SNPs within this region were genotyped in individual samples from the same children and in eight independent study populations consisting of Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, or other ancestries. SNPs were also genotyped or imputed in two consortia control populations. ATPAF1 expression was measured in bronchial biopsies from asthmatics and controls.
Asthma was associated with a cluster of SNPs and SNP haplotypes containing the ATPAF1 gene with two SNPs achieving significance at a genome-wide level (p=2.26×10−5 to 2.2×10−8). Asthma severity was also associated with SNPs and haplotypes in the primary population. SNP and/or gene-level associations were confirmed in the four non-Hispanic populations. Haplotype associations were confirmed in the non-Hispanic populations (p=0.045 to 0.0009). ATPAF1 total RNA expression was significantly (p<0.01) higher in bronchial biopsies from asthmatics than controls.
Genetic variation in the ATPAF1 gene predisposes children of different ancestry to asthma.
asthma; ATPAF1; children; gene; genetic; genome-wide association; purinergic; respiratory; single nucleotide polymorphism; SNP
The gut microbiome has been proposed to play a causal role in obesity. Here, we review the historical context for this hypothesis, highlight recent key findings, and critically discuss issues central to further progress in the field, including the central epistemological problem for the field: how to define causality in the relationship between microbiota and obesity phenotypes. Definition of such will be critical for the field to move forward.
Microbiome; Microbiota; Obesity; Type 2 diabetes; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Innate immunity; Segmented filamentous bacteria
The variant polymorphism in the gene MDM2, SNP309, leads to increased level of mdm2 protein and subsequent downregulation of p53 tumor suppressor pathway. Presence of this single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) has been associated with earlier tumorigenesis in patients with Li-Fraumeni syndrome, as well as decreased survival in patients with CLL. In addition, cells homozygous (G/G) for SNP 309 were found to have ten fold increase resistance to topoisomerase II inhibitors in vitro.
We genotyped children (n=575) with de novo acute myeloid leukemia (AML) treated on three Children’s Oncology Group protocols (CCG 2941/2961/AAML 03P1) for the presence of SNP309. Healthy blood donors were genotyped as control population.
The variant G/G genotype was associated with an increased susceptibility to AML (OR 1.5; p=0.049). However, the presence of the variant allele at SNP309 did not modify disease response or toxicity in children treated on CCG protocols 2941/2961.
The variant SNP 309 influences susceptibility to pediatric AML, but does not impact overall response to therapy.
AML; MDM2; SNP 309; Children’s Oncology Group; susceptibility
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a systemic autoimmune disease characterized by increased type I interferons (IFNs) and multiorgan inflammation frequently targeting the skin. IFN-kappa is a type I IFN expressed in skin. A pooled genome-wide scan implicated the IFNK locus in SLE susceptibility. We studied IFNK single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 3982 SLE cases and 4275 controls, composed of European (EA), African-American (AA), and Asian ancestry. rs12553951C was associated with SLE in EA males (odds ratio = 1.93, P = 2.5 × 10−4), but not females. Suggestive associations with skin phenotypes in EA and AA females were found, and these were also sex-specific. IFNK SNPs were associated with increased serum type I IFN in EA and AA SLE patients. Our data suggest a sex-dependent association between IFNK SNPs and SLE and skin phenotypes. The serum IFN association suggests that IFNK variants could influence type I IFN producing plasmacytoid dendritic cells in affected skin.
Lung disease is the major cause of morbidity and mortality in cystic fibrosis (CF), an autosomal recessive disease caused by mutations in CFTR. In CF, chronic infection and dysregulated neutrophilic inflammation lead to progressive airway destruction. The severity of CF lung disease has significant heritability, independent of CFTR genotype1. To identify genetic modifiers, we performed a genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) scan in one cohort of CF patients, replicating top candidates in an independent cohort. This approach identified IFRD1 as a modifier of CF lung disease severity. IFRD1 is a histone deacetylase (HDAC)-dependent transcriptional co-regulator expressed during terminal neutrophil differentiation. Neutrophils, but not macrophages, from Ifrd1-deficient mice exhibited blunted effector function, associated with decreased NF-κB p65 transactivation. In vivo, IFRD1 deficiency caused delayed bacterial clearance from the airway, but also less inflammation and disease—a phenotype primarily dependent on hematopoietic cell expression, or lack of expression, of IFRD1. In humans, IFRD1 polymorphisms were significantly associated with variation in neutrophil effector function. These data suggest that IFRD1 modulates the pathogenesis of CF lung disease through regulation of neutrophil effector function.
We targeted LYN, a src-tyosine kinase involved in B cell activation, in case-control association studies using populations of European American, African American and Korean subjects. Our combined European-derived population, consisting of 2463 independent cases and 3131 unrelated controls, demonstrates significant association with rs6983130 in a female-only analysis with 2254 cases and 2228 controls (p=1.1 × 10−4, OR=0.81 (95% CI: 0.73 – 0.90)). This SNP is located in the 5′ UTR within the first intron near the transcription initiation site of LYN. Additional SNPs upstream of the first exon also show weak and sporadic association in subsets of the total European American population. Multivariate logistic regression analysis implicates rs6983130 as a protective factor for SLE susceptibility when anti-dsDNA, anti-chromatin, anti-52 kDa Ro or anti-Sm autoantibody status were used as covariates. Subset analysis of the European American female cases by ACR classification criteria reveals a reduction in the risk of hematologic disorder with rs6983130 compared to cases without hematologic disorders (p=1.5 × 10−3, OR=0.75 (95% C.I.=0.62-0.89)). None of the 90 SNPs tested demonstrate significant association with SLE in the African American or Korean populations. These results support an association of LYN with European-derived individuals with SLE, especially within autoantibody or clinical subsets.
systemic lupus erythematosus; association; LYN; SNP
Genome-wide association studies and fine mapping of candidate regions have rapidly advanced our understanding of the genetic basis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus). More than 20 robust associations have now been identified and confirmed, and have provided insights at the molecular level that refine our understanding of the involvement of processes involved in the host immune response. In addition, genes with as yet unknown roles in SLE pathophysiology have been identified. These findings provide new routes toward improved clinical management of this complex disease.
Osteopontin (SPP1) is an important bone matrix mediator found to have key roles in inflammation and immunity. SPP1 genetic polymorphisms and increased osteopontin protein levels have been reported to be associated with SLE in small patient collections. The present study evaluates association between SPP1 polymorphisms and SLE in a large cohort of 1141 unrelated SLE patients [707 European-American (EA) and 434 African-American (AA)], and 2009 unrelated controls (1309 EA and 700 AA). Population-based case-control association analyses were performed. To control for potential population stratification, admixture adjusted logistic regression, genomic control (GC), structured association (STRAT), and principal components analysis (PCA) were applied. Combined analysis of 2 ethnic groups, showed the minor allele of 2 SNPs (rs1126616T and rs9138C) significantly associated with higher risk of SLE in males (P = 0.0005, OR = 1.73, 95% CI = 1.28–2.33), but not in females. Indeed, significant gene-gender interactions in the 2 SNPs, rs1126772 and rs9138, were detected (P = 0.001 and P = 0.0006, respectively). Further, haplotype analysis identified rs1126616T-rs1126772A-rs9138C which demonstrated significant association with SLE in general (P = 0.02, OR = 1.30, 95%CI 1.08–1.57), especially in males (P = 0.0003, OR = 2.42, 95%CI 1.51–3.89). Subgroup analysis with single SNPs and haplotypes also identified a similar pattern of gender-specific association in AA and EA. GC, STRAT, and PCA results within each group showed consistent associations. Our data suggest SPP1 is associated with SLE, and this association is especially stronger in males. To our knowledge, this report serves as the first association of a specific autosomal gene with human male lupus.
Inflammation plays a central pathogenic role in the pernicious metabolic and end-organ sequelae of obesity. Among these sequelae, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become the most common chronic liver disease in the developed world. The twinned observations that obesity is associated with increased activation of the interleukin (IL)-17 axis and that this axis can regulate liver damage in diverse contexts prompted us to address the role of IL-17RA signaling in the progression of NAFLD. We further examined whether microbe-driven IL-17A regulated NAFLD development and progression. We show here that IL-17RA−/− mice respond to high-fat diet stress with significantly greater weight gain, visceral adiposity, and hepatic steatosis than wild-type controls. However, obesity-driven lipid accumulation was uncoupled from its end-organ consequences in IL-17RA−/− mice, which exhibited decreased steatohepatitis, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH)-oxidase enzyme expression, and hepatocellular damage. Neutralization of IL-17A significantly reduced obesity-driven hepatocellular damage in wild-type mice. Further, colonization of mice with segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB), a commensal that induces IL-17A production, exacerbated obesity-induced hepatocellular damage. In contrast, SFB depletion protected from obesity-induced hepatocellular damage. Conclusion: These data indicate that obesity-driven activation of the IL-17 axis is central to the development and progression of NAFLD to steatohepatitis and identify the IL-17 pathway as a novel therapeutic target in this condition. (Hepatology 2014;59:1830–1839)