Current models of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder implicate multiple genes,
however their biological relationships remain elusive. To test the genetic role
of glutamate receptors and their interacting scaffold proteins, the exons of ten
glutamatergic ‘hub’ genes in 1304 individuals were re-sequenced in
case and control samples. No significant difference in the overall number of
non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (nsSNPs) was observed between
cases and controls. However, cluster analysis of nsSNPs identified two exons
encoding the cysteine-rich domain and first transmembrane helix of GRM1 as a
risk locus with five mutations highly enriched within these domains. A new
splice variant lacking the transmembrane GPCR domain of GRM1 was discovered in
the human brain and the GRM1 mutation cluster could perturb the regulation of
this variant. The predicted effect on individuals harbouring multiple mutations
distributed in their ten hub genes was also examined. Diseased individuals
possessed an increased load of deleteriousness from multiple concurrent rare and
common coding variants. Together, these data suggest a disease model in which
the interplay of compound genetic coding variants, distributed among glutamate
receptors and their interacting proteins, contribute to the pathogenesis of
schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.
Good bone and joint health is essential for the physical tasks of daily living and poorer indicators of physical capability in older adults have been associated with increased mortality rates. Genetic variants of indicators of bone and joint health may be associated with measures of physical capability.
As part of the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) programme, men and women aged between 52 and 90 + years from six UK cohorts were genotyped for a polymorphism associated with serum calcium (rs1801725, CASR), two polymorphisms associated with bone mineral density (BMD) (rs2941740, ESR1 and rs9594759, RANKL) and one associated with osteoarthritis risk rs3815148 (COG5). Meta-analysis was used to pool within-study effects of the associations between each of the polymorphisms and measures of physical capability: grip strength, timed walk or get up and go, chair rises and standing balance.
Few important associations were observed among the several tests. We found that carriers of the serum calcium-raising allele had poorer grip strength compared with non-carriers (pooled p = 0.05, n = 11,239) after adjusting for age and sex. Inconsistent results were observed for the two variants associated with BMD and we found no evidence for an association between rs3815148 (COG5) and any of the physical capability measures.
Our findings suggest elevated serum calcium levels may lead to lower grip strength, though this requires further replication. Our results do not provide evidence for a substantial influence of these variants in ESR1, RANKL and COG5 on physical capability in older adults.
► We examined associations between bone-related genotypes and physical capability. ► We conducted a meta-analysis on 12,836 middle-age adults. ► We found CASR may be associated with grip strength. ► No substantial support for specific bone mineral density variants and physical capability.
BMD, bone mineral density; OA, osteoarthritis; BMI, body mass index; SNP, single nucleotide polymorphism; CaPS, Caerphilly Prospective Study; ELSA, English Longitudinal Study of Ageing; HAS, Hertfordshire Ageing Study; HCS, Hertfordshire Cohort Study; LBC1921, The Lothian Birth Cohort 1921; NSHD, National Survey of Health and Development; HWE, Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium; WHR, waist–hip ratio; GWAS, genome-wide association studies; Aging; Grip strength; Calcium; Bone mineral density; Osteoarthritis
Several investigations have observed positive associations between good nutritional status, as indicated by micronutrients, and cognitive measures; however, these associations may not be causal. Genetic polymorphisms that affect nutritional biomarkers may be useful for providing evidence for associations between micronutrients and cognitive measures. As part of the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) program, men and women aged between 44 and 90 y from 6 UK cohorts were genotyped for polymorphisms associated with circulating concentrations of iron [rs4820268 transmembrane protease, serine 6 (TMPRSS6) and rs1800562 hemochromatosis (HFE)], vitamin B-12 [(rs492602 fucosyltransferase 2 (FUT2)], vitamin D ([rs2282679 group-specific component (GC)] and β-carotene ([rs6564851 beta-carotene 15,15'-monooxygenase 1 (BCMO1)]. Meta-analysis was used to pool within-study effects of the associations between these polymorphisms and the following measures of cognitive capability: word recall, phonemic fluency, semantic fluency, and search speed. Among the several statistical tests conducted, we found little evidence for associations. We found the minor allele of rs1800562 was associated with poorer word recall scores [pooled β on Z-score for carriers vs. noncarriers: −0.05 (95% CI: −0.09, −0.004); P = 0.03, n = 14,105] and poorer word recall scores for the vitamin D–raising allele of rs2282679 [pooled β per T allele: −0.03 (95% CI: −0.05, −0.003); P = 0.03, n = 16,527]. However, there was no evidence for other associations. Our findings provide little evidence to support associations between these genotypes and cognitive capability in older adults. Further investigations are required to elucidate whether the previous positive associations from observational studies between circulating measures of these micronutrients and cognitive performance are due to confounding and reverse causality.
Mitochondria are responsible for the production of ATP, which drives cellular metabolic and biosynthetic processes. This is the first study to quantify the mtDNA copy number across all stages of oogenesis in a large monovulatory species, it includes assessment of the activity of mitochondria in germinal vesicle (GV) and metaphase II (MII) oocytes through JC1 staining. Primordial to early antral follicles (n = 249) were isolated from the sheep ovarian cortex following digestion at 37°C for 1 h and all oocytes were disaggregated from their somatic cells. Germinal vesicle oocytes (n = 133) were aspirated from 3- to 5-mm diameter antral follicles, and mature MII oocytes (n = 71) were generated following in vitro maturation (IVM). The mtDNA copy number in each oocyte was quantified using real-time PCR and showed a progressive, but variable increase in the amount of mtDNA in oocytes from primordial follicles (605 ± 205, n = 8) to mature MII oocytes (744 633 ± 115 799, n = 13; P < 0.05). Mitochondrial activity (P > 0.05) was not altered during meiotic progression from GV to MII during IVM. The observed increase in the mtDNA copy number across oogenesis reflects the changing ATP demands needed to orchestrate cytoskeletal and cytoplasmic reorganization during oocyte growth and maturation and the need to fuel the resumption of meiosis in mature oocytes following the pre-ovulatory gonadotrophin surge.
JC1; mitochondria activity; mitochondrial DNA; meiotic maturation; sheep oocyte
Genetic influences have an important role in the ageing process. The genetic factors that influence success in bodily ageing may also contribute to the successful ageing of cognitive abilities. A comparative genomics approach found longevity genes conserved between yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. We hypothesised that these longevity genes influence variance in cognitive ability and age-related cognitive decline in humans. Here, we investigated six of these genes that have human orthologs and show expression in the brain. We tested AFG3L2 (MIM: 604581, AFG3 ATPase family gene 3-like 2 (yeast)), FRAP1 (MIM: 601231, a FK506 binding protein 12-rapamycin associated protein), MAT1A, MAT2A (MIM: 610550 and 601468, methionine adenosyltransferases I alpha and II alpha, respectively), SYNJ1 and SYNJ2 (MIM: 604297 and 609410, synaptojanin-1 and synaptojanin-2, respectively) in approximately 1000 healthy older Scots: the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (LBC1936). They were tested on general cognitive ability at age 11 years. At a mean age of 70 years, they re-sat the same general cognitive ability test and underwent an additional battery of diverse cognitive tests. In all, 70 tag and functional SNPs in the six longevity genes were genotyped and tested for association with cognition and cognitive ageing in LBC1936. Suggestive associations were detected between SNPs in SYNJ2, MAT1A, AFG3L2 and SYNJ1 and a general memory factor and general cognitive ability at age 11 and 70 years. Replication studies for cognitive ability associations were performed in 2506 samples from the Cognitive Ageing Genetics in England and Scotland consortium. A meta-analysis replicated the SYNJ2 association with cognitive abilities (lowest P=0.00077). SYNJ2 is a novel gene in which variation is potentially associated with cognitive abilities.
cognition; cognitive ageing; longevity genes; gene association; SYNJ2
Differences in genomic structure between individuals are ubiquitous features of human genetic variation. Specific copy number variants (CNVs) have been associated with susceptibility to numerous complex psychiatric disorders, including attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder, autism-spectrum disorders and schizophrenia. These disorders often display co-morbidity with low intelligence. Rare chromosomal deletions and duplications are associated with these disorders, so it has been suggested that these deletions or duplications may be associated with differences in intelligence. Here we investigate associations between large (≥500kb), rare (<1% population frequency) CNVs and both fluid and crystallized intelligence in community-dwelling older people. We observe no significant associations between intelligence and total CNV load. Examining individual CNV regions previously implicated in neuropsychological disorders, we find suggestive evidence that CNV regions around SHANK3 are associated with fluid intelligence as derived from a battery of cognitive tests. This is the first study to examine the effects of rare CNVs as called by multiple algorithms on cognition in a large non-clinical sample, and finds no effects of such variants on general cognitive ability.
The ACTN3 R577X (rs1815739) genotype has been associated with athletic status and muscle phenotypes, though not consistently. Our objective was to conduct a meta-analysis of the published literature on athletic status and investigate its associations with physical capability in several new population-based studies. Relevant data were extracted from studies in the literature, comparing genotype frequencies between controls and sprint/power and endurance athletes. For lifecourse physical capability, data were used from two studies of adolescents and seven studies in the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) collaborative research programme, involving individuals aged between 53 and 90+ years. We found evidence from the published literature to support the hypothesis that in Europeans the RR genotype is more common among sprint/power athletes compared with their controls. There is currently no evidence that the X allele is advantageous to endurance athleticism. We found no association between R577X and grip strength (p-value=0.09, n=7672 in males; p-value=0.90, n=7839 in females), standing balance, timed get up and go or chair rises in our studies of physical capability. The ACTN3 R577X genotype is associated with sprint/power athletic status in Europeans, but does not appear to be associated with objective measures of physical capability in the general population.
ACTN3; Actinin-3; athlete; aging; SNP; grip strength
The ACTN3 R577X (rs1815739) genotype has been associated with
athletic status and muscle phenotypes, although not consistently. Our objective
was to conduct a meta-analysis of the published literature on athletic status
and investigate its associations with physical capability in several new
population-based studies. Relevant data were extracted from studies in the
literature, comparing genotype frequencies between controls and sprint/power and
endurance athletes. For life course physical capability, data were used from two
studies of adolescents and seven studies in the Healthy Ageing across the Life
Course (HALCyon) collaborative research program, involving individuals aged
between 53 and 90+ years. We found evidence from the published literature
to support the hypothesis that in Europeans the RR genotype is more common among
sprint/power athletes compared with their controls. There is currently no
evidence that the X allele is advantageous to endurance athleticism. We found no
association between R577X and grip strength (P = 0.09,
n = 7,672 in males; P =
0.90, n = 7,839 in females), standing balance, timed get
up and go, or chair rises in our studies of physical capability. The
ACTN3 R577X genotype is associated with sprint/power
athletic status in Europeans, but does not appear to be associated with
objective measures of physical capability in the general population. Hum Mutat
32:1–11, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
ACTN3; Actinin-3; athlete; aging; SNP; grip strength
Several age-related traits are associated with shorter telomeres, the structures that cap the end of linear chromosomes. A common polymorphism near the telomere maintenance gene TERT has been associated with several cancers, but relationships with other ageing traits such as physical capability have not been reported.
As part of the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) collaborative research programme, men and women aged between 44 and 90 years from 9 UK cohorts were genotyped for the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs401681. We then investigated relationships between the SNP and 30 age-related phenotypes, including cognitive and physical capability, blood lipid levels and lung function, pooling within-study genotypic effects in meta-analyses.
No significant associations were found between the SNP and any of the cognitive performance tests (e.g. pooled beta per T allele for word recall z-score=0.02, 95% CI: -0.01- 0.04, p-value=0.12, n=18,737), physical performance tests (e.g. pooled beta for grip strength=-0.02, 95% CI:-0.045- 0.006, p-value=0.14, n=11,711), blood pressure, lung function or blood test measures. Similarly, no differences in observations were found when considering follow-up measures of cognitive or physical performance after adjusting for its measure at an earlier assessment.
The lack of associations between SNP rs401681 and a wide range of age-related phenotypes investigated in this large multi-cohort study suggests that whilst this SNP may be associated with cancer, it is not an important contributor to other markers of ageing.
Aging; ageing; middle-aged; telomere; cognition; physical
General intelligence is an important human quantitative trait that accounts for much of the variation in diverse cognitive abilities. Individual differences in intelligence are strongly associated with many important life outcomes, including educational and occupational attainments, income, health and lifespan1,2. Data from twin and family studies are consistent with a high heritability of intelligence3, but this inference has been controversial. We conducted a genome-wide analysis of 3511 unrelated adults with data on 549 692 SNPs and detailed phenotypes on cognitive traits. We estimate that 40% of the variation in crystallized-type intelligence and 51% of the variation in fluid-type intelligence between individuals is accounted for by linkage disequilibrium between genotyped common SNP markers and unknown causal variants. These estimates provide lower bounds for the narrow-sense heritability of the traits. We partitioned genetic variation on individual chromosomes and found that, on average, longer chromosomes explain more variation. Finally, using just SNP data we predicted approximately 1% of the variance of crystallized and fluid cognitive phenotypes in an independent sample (P = 0.009 and 0.028, respectively). Our results unequivocally confirm that a substantial proportion of individual differences in human intelligence is due to genetic variation, and are consistent with many genes of small effects underlying the additive genetic influences on intelligence.
Intelligence; genetics; GWAS; quantitative trait
This study investigated the relationship between human preimplantation embryo metabolism and aneuploidy rates during development in vitro. One hundred and eighty-eight fresh and cryopreserved embryos from 59 patients (33.9 ± 0.6 years) were cultured for 2–5 days. The turnover of 18 amino acids was measured in spent media by high-performance liquid chromatography. Embryos were either fixed for interphase fluorescent in situ hybridization analysis of chromosomes 13, 18, 19, 21, X or Y, or were assayed for mitochondrial activity. Amino acid turnover was different (P < 0.05) between stage-matched fresh and cryopreserved embryos due to blastomere loss following warming. The proportion of embryos with aneuploid cells increased as cell division progressed from pronucleate- (23%) to late cleavage stages (50–70%). Asparagine, glycine and valine turnover was significantly different between uniformly genetically normal and uniformly abnormal embryos on Days 2–3 of culture. By Days 3–4, the profiles of serine, leucine and lysine differed between uniformly euploid versus aneuploid embryos. Gender significantly (P < 0.05) affected the metabolism of tryptophan, leucine and asparagine by cleavage-stage embryos. Pronucleate zygotes had a significantly higher proportion of active:inactive mitochondria compared with cleavage-stage embryos. Furthermore, mitochondrial activity was correlated (P < 0.05) with altered aspartate and glutamine turnover. These results demonstrate the association between the metabolism, cytogenetic composition and health of human embryos in vitro.
aneuploidy; mitochondria; metabolomics; embryo development; FISH
Alzheimer's disease patients have deficits in specific cognitive domains, and susceptibility genes for this disease may influence human cognition in nondemented individuals. To evaluate the role of Alzheimer's disease-linked genetic variation on cognition and normal cognitive ageing, we investigated two Scottish cohorts for which assessments in major cognitive domains are available: the Lothian Birth Cohort of 1921 and the Lothian Birth Cohort of 1936, consisting of 505 and 998 individuals, respectively. 158 SNPs from eleven genes were evaluated. Single SNP analyses did not reveal any statistical association after correction for multiple testing. One haplotype from TRAPPC6A was associated with nonverbal reasoning in both cohorts and combined data sets. This haplotype explains a small proportion of the phenotypic variability (1.8%). These findings warrant further investigation as biological modifiers of cognitive ageing.
Epigenetic mechanisms have been implicated in syndromes associated with mental impairment but little is known about the role of epigenetics in determining the normal variation in human intelligence. We measured polymorphisms in four DNA methyltransferases (DNMT1, DNMT3A, DNMT3B and DNMT3L) involved in epigenetic marking and related these to childhood and adult general intelligence in a population (n = 1542) consisting of two Scottish cohorts born in 1936 and residing in Lothian (n = 1075) or Aberdeen (n = 467). All subjects had taken the same test of intelligence at age 11yrs. The Lothian cohort took the test again at age 70yrs. The minor T allele of DNMT3L SNP 11330C>T (rs7354779) allele was associated with a higher standardised childhood intelligence score; greatest effect in the dominant analysis but also significant in the additive model (coefficient = 1.40additive; 95%CI 0.22,2.59; p = 0.020 and 1.99dominant; 95%CI 0.55,3.43; p = 0.007). The DNMT3L C allele was associated with an increased risk of being below average intelligence (OR 1.25additive; 95%CI 1.05,1.51; p = 0.011 and OR 1.37dominant; 95%CI 1.11,1.68; p = 0.003), and being in the lowest 40th (padditive = 0.009; pdominant = 0.002) and lowest 30th (padditive = 0.004; pdominant = 0.002) centiles for intelligence. After Bonferroni correction for the number variants tested the link between DNMT3L 11330C>T and childhood intelligence remained significant by linear regression and centile analysis; only the additive regression model was borderline significant. Adult intelligence was similarly linked to the DNMT3L variant but this analysis was limited by the numbers studied and nature of the test and the association was not significant after Bonferroni correction. We believe that the role of epigenetics in the normal variation in human intelligence merits further study and that this novel finding should be tested in other cohorts.
The genetic basis of variation in human cognitive abilities is poorly understood. RIMS1 encodes a synapse active‐zone protein with important roles in the maintenance of normal synaptic function: mice lacking this protein have greatly reduced learning ability and memory function.
An established paradigm examining the structural and functional effects of mutations in genes expressed in the eye and the brain was used to study a kindred with an inherited retinal dystrophy due to RIMS1 mutation.
Materials and methods
Neuropsychological tests and high‐resolution MRI brain scanning were undertaken in the kindred. In a population cohort, neuropsychological scores were associated with common variation in RIMS1. Additionally, RIMS1 was sequenced in top‐scoring individuals. Evolution of RIMS1 was assessed, and its expression in developing human brain was studied.
Affected individuals showed significantly enhanced cognitive abilities across a range of domains. Analysis suggests that factors other than RIMS1 mutation were unlikely to explain enhanced cognition. No association with common variation and verbal IQ was found in the population cohort, and no other mutations in RIMS1 were detected in the highest scoring individuals from this cohort. RIMS1 protein is expressed in developing human brain, but RIMS1 does not seem to have been subjected to accelerated evolution in man.
A possible role for RIMS1 in the enhancement of cognitive function at least in this kindred is suggested. Although further work is clearly required to explore these findings before a role for RIMS1 in human cognition can be formally accepted, the findings suggest that genetic mutation may enhance human cognition in some cases.
Non-pathological cognitive ageing is a distressing condition affecting an increasing number of people in our 'ageing society'. Oxidative stress is hypothesised to have a major role in cellular ageing, including brain ageing.
Associations between cognitive ageing and 325 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), located in 109 genes implicated in oxidative stress and/or cognition, were examined in a unique cohort of relatively healthy older people, on whom we have cognitive ability scores at ages 11 and 79 years (LBC1921). SNPs showing a significant positive association were then genotyped in a second cohort for whom we have cognitive ability scores at the ages of 11 and 64 years (ABC1936). An intronic SNP in the APP gene (rs2830102) was significantly associated with cognitive ageing in both LBC1921 and a combined LBC1921/ABC1936 analysis (p < 0.01), but not in ABC1936 alone.
This study suggests a possible role for APP in normal cognitive ageing, in addition to its role in Alzheimer's disease.
SIX5 (previously known as myotonic dystrophy associated homeodomain protein-DMAHP) is a member of the SIX [sine oculis homeobox (Drosophila) homologue] gene family which encodes proteins containing a SIX domain adjacent to a homeodomain. To investigate the DNA binding specificities of these two domains in SIX5, they were expressed as GST fusion proteins, both separately and together. Affinity purified recombinant proteins and cell lysates from bacteria expressing the recombinant proteins were used in gel retardation assays with double stranded oligonucleotides representing putative DNA binding sites. The putative sites included two in the promoter region of DMPK (dystrophia myotonica protein kinase) and the previously characterised murine Six4 DNA binding site in the Na+/K+ ATPase α1 subunit gene (ATP1A1) regulatory element (ARE). None of the recombinant proteins showed any affinity for the two putative sites in DMPK. However, the two recombinant proteins containing the homeodomain both formed at least one specific complex with the ARE. The recombinant protein containing both domains formed a second specific complex with the ARE, assumed to be a dimer complex. Finally, a whole genome PCR-based screen was used to identify genomic DNA sequences to which SIX5 binds, as an initial stage in the identification of genes regulated by SIX5.
Several age-related traits are associated with shorter telomeres, the structures that cap the end of linear chromosomes. A common polymorphism near the telomere maintenance gene TERT has been associated with several cancers, but relationships with other aging traits such as physical capability have not been reported. As part of the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) collaborative research programme, men and women aged between 44 and 90 years from nine UK cohorts were genotyped for the single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs401681. We then investigated relationships between the SNP and 30 age-related phenotypes, including cognitive and physical capability, blood lipid levels and lung function, pooling within-study genotypic effects in meta-analyses. No significant associations were found between the SNP and any of the cognitive performance tests (e.g. pooled beta per T allele for word recall z-score = 0.02, 95% CI: −0.01 to 0.04, P-value = 0.12, n = 18 737), physical performance tests (e.g. pooled beta for grip strength = −0.02, 95% CI: −0.045 to 0.006, P-value = 0.14, n = 11 711), blood pressure, lung function or blood test measures. Similarly, no differences in observations were found when considering follow-up measures of cognitive or physical performance after adjusting for its measure at an earlier assessment. The lack of associations between SNP rs401681 and a wide range of age-related phenotypes investigated in this large multicohort study suggests that while this SNP may be associated with cancer, it is not an important contributor to other markers of aging.
aging; cognition; middle-aged; physical; telomere
Telomeres are involved in cellular ageing and shorten with increasing age. If telomere length is a valuable biomarker of ageing, then telomere shortening should be associated with worse physical performance, an ageing trait, but evidence for such an association is lacking. The purpose of this study was to examine whether change in telomere length is associated with physical performance.
Using data from four UK adult cohorts (ages 53–80 years at baseline), we undertook cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. We analysed each study separately and then used meta-analytic methods to pool the results. Physical performance was measured using walking and chair rise speed, standing balance time and grip strength. Telomere length was measured by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in whole blood at baseline and follow-up (time 1, time 2).
Total sample sizes in meta-analyses ranged from 1,217 to 3,707. There was little evidence that telomere length was associated with walking speed, balance or grip strength, though weak associations were seen with chair rise speed and grip strength at baseline (p = 0.02 and 0.01 respectively). Faster chair rise speed at follow-up, was associated with a smaller decline in telomere length between time 1 and time 2 (standardised coefficient per SD increase 0.061, 95% CI 0.006, 0.115, p = 0.03) but this was consistent with chance (p = 0.08) after further adjustment.
Whereas shortening of leukocyte telomeres might be an important measure of cellular ageing, there is little evidence that it is a strong biomarker for physical performance.
The glucokinase regulatory protein encoded by GCKR plays an important role in glucose metabolism and a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs1260326 (P446L) in the gene has been associated with several age-related biomarkers, including triglycerides, glucose, insulin and apolipoproteins. However, associations between SNPs in the gene and other ageing phenotypes such as cognitive and physical capability have not been reported.
As part of the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) collaborative research programme, men and women from five UK cohorts aged between 44 and 90+ years were genotyped for rs1260326. Meta-analysis was used to pool within-study genotypic associations between the SNP and several age-related phenotypes, including body mass index (BMI), blood lipid levels, lung function, and cognitive and physical capability.
We confirm the associations between the minor allele of the SNP and higher triglycerides and lower glucose levels. We also observed a triglyceride-independent association between the minor allele and lower BMI (pooled beta on z-score = −0.04, p-value = 0.0001, n = 16,251). Furthermore, there was some evidence for gene-environment interactions, including physical activity attenuating the effects on triglycerides. However, no associations were observed with measures of cognitive and physical capability.
Findings from middle-aged to older adults confirm associations between rs1260326 GCKR and triglycerides and glucose, suggest possible gene-environment interactions, but do not provide evidence that its relevance extends to cognitive and physical capability.
Human longevity and personality traits are both heritable and are consistently linked at the phenotypic level. We test the hypothesis that candidate genes influencing longevity in lower organisms are associated with variance in the five major dimensions of human personality (measured by the NEO-FFI and IPIP inventories) plus related mood states of anxiety and depression. Seventy single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in six brain expressed, longevity candidate genes (AFG3L2, FRAP1, MAT1A, MAT2A, SYNJ1 and SYNJ2) were typed in over one thousand 70-year old participants from the Lothian Birth Cohort of 1936 (LBC1936). No SNPs were associated with the personality and psychological distress traits at a Bonferroni corrected level of significance (p < 0.0002), but there was an over-representation of nominally significant (p < 0.05) SNPs in the synaptojanin-2 (SYNJ2) gene associated with agreeableness and symptoms of depression. Eight SNPs which showed nominally significant association across personality measurement instruments were tested in an extremely large replication sample of 17 106 participants. SNP rs350292, in SYNJ2, was significant: the minor allele was associated with an average decrease in NEO agreeableness scale scores of 0.25 points, and 0.67 points in the restricted analysis of elderly cohorts (most aged > 60 years). Because we selected a specific set of longevity genes based on functional genomics findings, further research on other longevity gene candidates is warranted to discover whether they are relevant candidates for personality and psychological distress traits.
NEO personality; IPIP personality; anxiety; depressive symptoms; ageing; genetics
Low muscle mass and function have been associated with poorer indicators of physical capability in older people, which are in-turn associated with increased mortality rates. The growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor (GH/IGF) axis is involved in muscle function and genetic variants in genes in the axis may influence measures of physical capability.
As part of the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) programme, men and women from seven UK cohorts aged between 52 and 90 years old were genotyped for six polymorphisms: rs35767 (IGF1), rs7127900 (IGF2), rs2854744 (IGFBP3), rs2943641 (IRS1), rs2665802 (GH1) and the exon-3 deletion of GHR. The polymorphisms have previously been robustly associated with age-related traits or are potentially functional. Meta-analysis was used to pool within-study genotypic effects of the associations between the polymorphisms and four measures of physical capability: grip strength, timed walk or get up and go, chair rises and standing balance.
Few important associations were observed among the several tests. We found evidence that rs2665802 in GH1 was associated with inability to balance for 5 s (pooled odds ratio per minor allele = 0.90, 95% CI: 0.82–0.98, p-value = 0.01, n = 10,748), after adjusting for age and sex. We found no evidence for other associations between the polymorphisms and physical capability traits.
Our findings do not provide evidence for a substantial influence of these common polymorphisms in the GH/IGF axis on objectively measured physical capability levels in older adults.
Fibrin fragment D-dimer is one of several peptides produced when cross-linked fibrin is degraded by plasmin, and is the most widely-used clinical marker of activated blood coagulation. To identity genetic loci influencing D-dimer levels, we performed the first large-scale, genome-wide association search.
Methods and Results
A genome-wide investigation of the genomic correlates of plasma D-dimer levels was conducted among 21,052 European-ancestry adults. Plasma levels of D-dimer were measured independently in each of 13 cohorts. Each study analyzed the association between ~2.6 million genotyped and imputed variants across the 22 autosomal chromosomes and natural-log transformed D-dimer levels using linear regression in additive genetic models adjusted for age and sex. Among all variants, 74 exceeded the genome-wide significance threshold and marked 3 regions. At 1p22, rs12029080 (p-value 6.4×10−52) was 46.0 kb upstream from F3, coagulation factor III (tissue factor). At 1q24, rs6687813 (p-value 2.4×10−14) was 79.7 kb downstream of F5, coagulation factor V. At 4q32, rs13109457 (p-value 2.9×10−18) was located between 2 fibrinogen genes: 10.4 kb downstream from FGG and 3.0 kb upstream from FGA. Variants were associated with a 0.099, 0.096, and 0.061 unit difference, respectively, in natural-log transformed D-dimer and together accounted for 1.8% of the total variance. When adjusted for non-synonymous substitutions in F5 and FGA loci known to be associated with D-dimer levels, there was no evidence of an additional association at either locus.
Three genes were associated with fibrin D-dimer levels, of which the F3 association was the strongest and has not been previously reported.
genome-wide variation; D-dimer; epidemiology; meta-analysis; thrombosis; hemostasis
Human memory and general cognitive abilities are complex functions of high heritability and wide variability in the population. The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an important role in mammalian memory formation.
Methodology / Principal Finding
Based on the identification of genes markedly up-regulated during BDNF-induced synaptic consolidation in the hippocampus, we selected genetic variants that were tested in three independent samples, from Norway and Scotland, of adult individuals examined for cognitive abilities. In all samples, we show that markers in the doublecortin- and calmodulin kinase like 1 (DCLK1) gene, are significantly associated with general cognition (IQ scores) and verbal memory function, resisting multiple testing. DCLK1 is a complex gene with multiple transcripts which vary in expression and function. We show that the short variants are all up-regulated after BDNF treatment in the rat hippocampus, and that they are expressed in the adult human brain (mostly in cortices and hippocampus). We demonstrate that several of the associated variants are located in potential alternative promoter- and cis-regulatory elements of the gene and that they affect BDNF-mediated expression of short DCLK1 transcripts in a reporter system.
These data present DCLK1 as a functionally pertinent gene involved in human memory and cognitive functions.
Intelligence is a highly heritable trait for which it has proven difficult to identify the actual genes. In the past decade, five whole-genome linkage scans have suggested genomic regions important to human intelligence; however, so far none of the responsible genes or variants in those regions have been identified. Apart from these regions, a handful of candidate genes have been identified, although most of these are in need of replication. The recent growth in publicly available data sets that contain both whole genome association data and a wealth of phenotypic data, serves as an excellent resource for fine mapping and candidate gene replication. We used the publicly available data of 947 families participating in the International Multi-Centre ADHD Genetics (IMAGE) study to conduct an in silico fine mapping study of previously associated genomic locations, and to attempt replication of previously reported candidate genes for intelligence. Although this sample was ascertained for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), intelligence quotient (IQ) scores were distributed normally. We tested 667 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within 15 previously reported candidate genes for intelligence and 29451 SNPs in five genomic loci previously identified through whole genome linkage and association analyses. Significant SNPs were tested in four independent samples (4,357 subjects), one ascertained for ADHD, and three population-based samples. Associations between intelligence and SNPs in the ATXN1 and TRIM31 genes and in three genomic locations showed replicated association, but only in the samples ascertained for ADHD, suggesting that these genetic variants become particularly relevant to IQ on the background of a psychiatric disorder. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
genetic association; cognition; candidate genes; ADHD; ALSPAC