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1.  Genome-wide association analysis identifies six new loci associated with forced vital capacity 
Loth, Daan W. | Artigas, María Soler | Gharib, Sina A. | Wain, Louise V. | Franceschini, Nora | Koch, Beate | Pottinger, Tess | Smith, Albert Vernon | Duan, Qing | Oldmeadow, Chris | Lee, Mi Kyeong | Strachan, David P. | James, Alan L. | Huffman, Jennifer E. | Vitart, Veronique | Ramasamy, Adaikalavan | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Kaprio, Jaakko | Wang, Xin-Qun | Trochet, Holly | Kähönen, Mika | Flexeder, Claudia | Albrecht, Eva | Lopez, Lorna M. | de Jong, Kim | Thyagarajan, Bharat | Alves, Alexessander Couto | Enroth, Stefan | Omenaas, Ernst | Joshi, Peter K. | Fall, Tove | Viňuela, Ana | Launer, Lenore J. | Loehr, Laura R. | Fornage, Myriam | Li, Guo | Wilk, Jemma B. | Tang, Wenbo | Manichaikul, Ani | Lahousse, Lies | Harris, Tamara B. | North, Kari E. | Rudnicka, Alicja R. | Hui, Jennie | Gu, Xiangjun | Lumley, Thomas | Wright, Alan F. | Hastie, Nicholas D. | Campbell, Susan | Kumar, Rajesh | Pin, Isabelle | Scott, Robert A. | Pietiläinen, Kirsi H. | Surakka, Ida | Liu, Yongmei | Holliday, Elizabeth G. | Schulz, Holger | Heinrich, Joachim | Davies, Gail | Vonk, Judith M. | Wojczynski, Mary | Pouta, Anneli | Johansson, Åsa | Wild, Sarah H. | Ingelsson, Erik | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Völzke, Henry | Hysi, Pirro G. | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Morrison, Alanna C. | Rotter, Jerome I. | Gao, Wei | Postma, Dirkje S. | White, Wendy B. | Rich, Stephen S. | Hofman, Albert | Aspelund, Thor | Couper, David | Smith, Lewis J. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Lohman, Kurt | Burchard, Esteban G. | Uitterlinden, André G. | Garcia, Melissa | Joubert, Bonnie R. | McArdle, Wendy L. | Musk, A. Bill | Hansel, Nadia | Heckbert, Susan R. | Zgaga, Lina | van Meurs, Joyce B.J. | Navarro, Pau | Rudan, Igor | Oh, Yeon-Mok | Redline, Susan | Jarvis, Deborah | Zhao, Jing Hua | Rantanen, Taina | O’Connor, George T. | Ripatti, Samuli | Scott, Rodney J. | Karrasch, Stefan | Grallert, Harald | Gaddis, Nathan C. | Starr, John M. | Wijmenga, Cisca | Minster, Ryan L. | Lederer, David J. | Pekkanen, Juha | Gyllensten, Ulf | Campbell, Harry | Morris, Andrew P. | Gläser, Sven | Hammond, Christopher J. | Burkart, Kristin M. | Beilby, John | Kritchevsky, Stephen B. | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Hancock, Dana B. | Williams, O. Dale | Polasek, Ozren | Zemunik, Tatijana | Kolcic, Ivana | Petrini, Marcy F. | Wjst, Matthias | Kim, Woo Jin | Porteous, David J. | Scotland, Generation | Smith, Blair H. | Viljanen, Anne | Heliövaara, Markku | Attia, John R. | Sayers, Ian | Hampel, Regina | Gieger, Christian | Deary, Ian J. | Boezen, H. Marike | Newman, Anne | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Wilson, James F. | Lind, Lars | Stricker, Bruno H. | Teumer, Alexander | Spector, Timothy D. | Melén, Erik | Peters, Marjolein J. | Lange, Leslie A. | Barr, R. Graham | Bracke, Ken R. | Verhamme, Fien M. | Sung, Joohon | Hiemstra, Pieter S. | Cassano, Patricia A. | Sood, Akshay | Hayward, Caroline | Dupuis, Josée | Hall, Ian P. | Brusselle, Guy G. | Tobin, Martin D. | London, Stephanie J.
Nature genetics  2014;46(7):669-677.
Forced vital capacity (FVC), a spirometric measure of pulmonary function, reflects lung volume and is used to diagnose and monitor lung diseases. We performed genome-wide association study meta-analysis of FVC in 52,253 individuals from 26 studies and followed up the top associations in 32,917 additional individuals of European ancestry. We found six new regions associated at genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8) with FVC in or near EFEMP1, BMP6, MIR-129-2/HSD17B12, PRDM11, WWOX, and KCNJ2. Two (GSTCD and PTCH1) loci previously associated with spirometric measures were related to FVC. Newly implicated regions were followed-up in samples of African American, Korean, Chinese, and Hispanic individuals. We detected transcripts for all six newly implicated genes in human lung tissue. The new loci may inform mechanisms involved in lung development and pathogenesis of restrictive lung disease.
doi:10.1038/ng.3011
PMCID: PMC4140093  PMID: 24929828
2.  Associations between Multiple Accelerometry-Assessed Physical Activity Parameters and Selected Health Outcomes in Elderly People – Results from the KORA-Age Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e111206.
Introduction
Accelerometry is an important method for extending our knowledge about intensity, duration, frequency and patterns of physical activity needed to promote health. This study has used accelerometry to detect associations between intensity levels and related activity patterns with multimorbidity and disability. Moreover, the proportion of people meeting the physical activity recommendations for older people was assessed.
Methods
Physical activity was measured in 168 subjects (78 males; 65–89 years of age), using triaxial GT3X accelerometers for ten consecutive days. The associations between physical activity parameters and multimorbidity or disability was examined using multiple logistic regression models, which were adjusted for gender, age, education, smoking, alcohol consumption, lung function, nutrition and multimorbidity or disability.
Results
35.7% of the participants met the physical activity recommendations of at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week. Only 11.9% reached these 150 minutes, when only bouts of at least 10 minutes were counted. Differences in moderate to vigorous activity between people with and without multimorbidity or disability were more obvious when shorter bouts instead of only longer bouts were included. Univariate analyses showed an inverse relationship between physical activity and multimorbidity or disability for light and moderate to vigorous physical activity. A higher proportion of long activity bouts spent sedentarily was associated with higher risk for multimorbidity, whereas a high proportion of long bouts in light activity seemed to prevent disability. After adjustment for covariates, there were no significant associations, anymore.
Conclusions
The accumulated time in moderate to vigorous physical activity seems to have a stronger relationship with health and functioning when shorter activity bouts and not only longer bouts were counted. We could not detect an association of the intensity levels or activity patterns with multimorbidity or disability in elderly people after adjustment for covariates.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111206
PMCID: PMC4220984  PMID: 25372399
3.  Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a guideline-based stepped care model for patients with depression: study protocol of a cluster-randomized controlled trial in routine care 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14(1):230.
Background
Depression is a widespread and serious disease often accompanied by a high degree of suffering and burden of disease. The lack of integration between different care providers impedes guideline-based treatment. This constitutes substantial challenges for the health care system and also causes considerable direct and indirect costs. To face these challenges, the aim of this project is the implementation and evaluation of a guideline-based stepped care model for depressed patients with six treatment options of varying intensity and setting, including low-intensity treatments using innovative technologies.
Methods/design
The study is a randomized controlled intervention trial of a consecutive sample of depressive patients from primary care assessed with a prospective survey at four time-standardized measurement points within one year. A cluster randomization at the level of participating primary care units divides the general practitioners into two groups. In the intervention group patients (n = 660) are treated within the stepped care approach in a multiprofessional network consisting of general practitioners, psychotherapists, psychiatrists and inpatient care facilities, whereas patients in the control condition (n = 200) receive routine care. The main research question concerns the effectiveness of the stepped-care model from baseline to t3 (12 months). Primary outcome is the change in depressive symptoms measured by the PHQ-9; secondary outcomes include response, remission and relapse, functional quality of life (SF-12 and EQ-5D-3 L), other clinical and psychosocial variables, direct and indirect costs, and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio. Furthermore feasibility and acceptance of the overall model as well as of the separate treatment components are assessed.
Discussion
This stepped care model integrates all primary and secondary health care providers involved in the treatment of depression; it elaborates innovative and evidence-based treatment elements, follows a stratified approach and is implemented in routine care as opposed to standardized conditions. In case of positive results, its sustainable implementation as a collaborative care model may significantly improve the health care situation of depressive patients as well as the interaction and care delivery of different care providers on various levels.
Trial registration
This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01731717 (date of registration: 24 June 2013).
doi:10.1186/s12888-014-0230-y
PMCID: PMC4243822  PMID: 25182269
Depression; Stepped care; Collaborative care; Complex intervention; Primary care; Secondary care; Low intensity treatments; e-Mental health
4.  Health-related quality of life and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in early stages – longitudinal results from the population-based KORA cohort in a working age population 
BMC Pulmonary Medicine  2014;14:134.
Background
It is widely recognized that health-related quality of life (HRQL) is impaired in patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), but there is a lack of research on longitudinal associations of COPD and HRQL. This study examined the effects of COPD in early stages of disease on HRQL over ten years in a working-age general population setting in Southern Germany while considering the influence of common comorbidities.
Methods
In the population-based KORA F4 study (2006–08) 1,321 participants aged 41–61 years performed spirometry and reported information on HRQL (measured by the generic SF-12) and comorbidities. For the same participants, HRQL information was available seven years before and three years after the lung function test from the previous S4 (1999–2001) and the F4L follow-up study (2010). Using linear mixed models, the physical and mental component summary scores (PCS-12 / MCS-12) of the SF-12 were compared over time between COPD groups.
Results
7.8% of participants were classified as having COPD (according to the LLN definition and the Global Lungs Initiative), 59.4% of them in grade 1. Regression models showed a negative cross-sectional association of COPD grade 2+ with PCS-12 which persisted when comorbidities were considered. Adjusted mean PCS-12 scores for the COPD grade 2+ group were reduced (−3.5 (p = 0.008) in F4, −3.3 (p = 0.014) in S4 and −4.7 (p = 0.003) in F4L) compared to the group without airflow limitation. The size of the COPD effect in grade 2+ was similar to the effect of myocardial infarction and cancer. Over ten years, a small decline in PCS-12 was observed in all groups. This decline was larger in participants with COPD grade 2+, but insignificant. Regarding MCS-12, no significant cross-sectional or longitudinal associations with COPD were found.
Conclusion
Despite small HRQL differences between COPD patients in early disease stages and controls and small changes over ten years, our results indicate that it is important to prevent subjects with airflow limitation from progression to higher grades. Awareness of HRQL impairments in early stages is important for offering early interventions in order to maintain high HRQL in COPD patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2466-14-134
PMCID: PMC4130122  PMID: 25107380
COPD; Health-related quality of life; SF-12; Comorbidities; General population study; Longitudinal
5.  Standardized, systemic phenotypic analysis of Slc12a1I299F mutant mice 
Background
Type I Bartter syndrome is a recessive human nephropathy caused by loss-of-function mutations in the SLC12A1 gene coding for the Na+-K+-2Cl− cotransporter NKCC2. We recently established the mutant mouse line Slc12a1I299F exhibiting kidney defects highly similar to the late-onset manifestation of this hereditary human disease. Besides the kidney defects, low blood pressure and osteopenia were revealed in the homozygous mutant mice which were also described in humans. Beside its strong expression in the kidney, NKCC2 has been also shown to be expressed in other tissues in rodents i.e. the gastrointestinal tract, pancreatic beta cells, and specific compartments of the ear, nasal tissue and eye.
Results
To examine if, besides kidney defects, further organ systems and/or metabolic pathways are affected by the Slc12a1I299F mutation as primary or secondary effects, we describe a standardized, systemic phenotypic analysis of the mutant mouse line Slc12a1I299F in the German Mouse Clinic. Slc12a1I299F homozygous mutant mice and Slc12a1I299F heterozygous mutant littermates as controls were tested at the age of 4–6 months. Beside the already published changes in blood pressure and bone metabolism, a significantly lower body weight and fat content were found as new phenotypes for Slc12a1I299F homozygous mutant mice. Small additional effects included a mild erythropenic anemia in homozygous mutant males as well as a slight hyperalgesia in homozygous mutant females. For other functions, such as immunology, lung function and neurology, no distinct alterations were observed.
Conclusions
In this systemic analysis no clear primary effects of the Slc12a1I299F mutation appeared for the organs other than the kidneys where Slc12a1 expression has been described. On the other hand, long-term effects additional and/or secondary to the kidney lesions might also appear in humans harboring SLC12A1 mutations.
doi:10.1186/s12929-014-0068-0
PMCID: PMC4237776  PMID: 25084970
Animal model; NKCC2; Systematic phenotype analysis
6.  Large-Scale Genome-Wide Association Studies and Meta-Analyses of Longitudinal Change in Adult Lung Function 
Tang, Wenbo | Kowgier, Matthew | Loth, Daan W. | Soler Artigas, María | Joubert, Bonnie R. | Hodge, Emily | Gharib, Sina A. | Smith, Albert V. | Ruczinski, Ingo | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Mathias, Rasika A. | Harris, Tamara B. | Hansel, Nadia N. | Launer, Lenore J. | Barnes, Kathleen C. | Hansen, Joyanna G. | Albrecht, Eva | Aldrich, Melinda C. | Allerhand, Michael | Barr, R. Graham | Brusselle, Guy G. | Couper, David J. | Curjuric, Ivan | Davies, Gail | Deary, Ian J. | Dupuis, Josée | Fall, Tove | Foy, Millennia | Franceschini, Nora | Gao, Wei | Gläser, Sven | Gu, Xiangjun | Hancock, Dana B. | Heinrich, Joachim | Hofman, Albert | Imboden, Medea | Ingelsson, Erik | James, Alan | Karrasch, Stefan | Koch, Beate | Kritchevsky, Stephen B. | Kumar, Ashish | Lahousse, Lies | Li, Guo | Lind, Lars | Lindgren, Cecilia | Liu, Yongmei | Lohman, Kurt | Lumley, Thomas | McArdle, Wendy L. | Meibohm, Bernd | Morris, Andrew P. | Morrison, Alanna C. | Musk, Bill | North, Kari E. | Palmer, Lyle J. | Probst-Hensch, Nicole M. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Rotter, Jerome I. | Schulz, Holger | Smith, Lewis J. | Sood, Akshay | Starr, John M. | Strachan, David P. | Teumer, Alexander | Uitterlinden, André G. | Völzke, Henry | Voorman, Arend | Wain, Louise V. | Wells, Martin T. | Wilk, Jemma B. | Williams, O. Dale | Heckbert, Susan R. | Stricker, Bruno H. | London, Stephanie J. | Fornage, Myriam | Tobin, Martin D. | O′Connor, George T. | Hall, Ian P. | Cassano, Patricia A.
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e100776.
Background
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified numerous loci influencing cross-sectional lung function, but less is known about genes influencing longitudinal change in lung function.
Methods
We performed GWAS of the rate of change in forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) in 14 longitudinal, population-based cohort studies comprising 27,249 adults of European ancestry using linear mixed effects model and combined cohort-specific results using fixed effect meta-analysis to identify novel genetic loci associated with longitudinal change in lung function. Gene expression analyses were subsequently performed for identified genetic loci. As a secondary aim, we estimated the mean rate of decline in FEV1 by smoking pattern, irrespective of genotypes, across these 14 studies using meta-analysis.
Results
The overall meta-analysis produced suggestive evidence for association at the novel IL16/STARD5/TMC3 locus on chromosome 15 (P  =  5.71 × 10-7). In addition, meta-analysis using the five cohorts with ≥3 FEV1 measurements per participant identified the novel ME3 locus on chromosome 11 (P  =  2.18 × 10-8) at genome-wide significance. Neither locus was associated with FEV1 decline in two additional cohort studies. We confirmed gene expression of IL16, STARD5, and ME3 in multiple lung tissues. Publicly available microarray data confirmed differential expression of all three genes in lung samples from COPD patients compared with controls. Irrespective of genotypes, the combined estimate for FEV1 decline was 26.9, 29.2 and 35.7 mL/year in never, former, and persistent smokers, respectively.
Conclusions
In this large-scale GWAS, we identified two novel genetic loci in association with the rate of change in FEV1 that harbor candidate genes with biologically plausible functional links to lung function.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100776
PMCID: PMC4077649  PMID: 24983941
7.  Biokinetics of nanoparticles and susceptibility to particulate exposure in a murine model of cystic fibrosis 
Background
Persons with cystic fibrosis (CF) are at-risk for health effects from ambient air pollution but little is known about the interaction of nanoparticles (NP) with CF lungs. Here we study the distribution of inhaled NP in a murine CF model and aim to reveal mechanisms contributing to adverse effects of inhaled particles in susceptible populations.
Methods
Chloride channel defective CftrTgH (neoim) Hgu mice were used to analyze lung function, lung distribution and whole body biokinetics of inhaled NP, and inflammatory responses after intratracheal administration of NP. Distribution of 20-nm titanium dioxide NP in lungs was assessed on ultrathin sections immediately and 24 h after a one-hour NP inhalation. NP biokinetics was deduced from total and regional lung deposition and from whole body translocation of inhaled 30-nm iridium NP within 24 h after aerosol inhalation. Inflammatory responses were assessed within 7 days after carbon NP instillation.
Results
Cftr mutant females had moderately reduced lung compliance and slightly increased airway resistance compared to wild type mice. We found no genotype dependent differences in total, regional and head deposition or in secondary-organ translocation of inhaled iridium NP. Titanium dioxide inhalation resulted in higher NP uptake by alveolar epithelial cells in Cftr mutants. Instillation of carbon NP induced a comparable acute and transient inflammatory response in both genotypes. The twofold increase of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) neutrophils in Cftr mutant compared to wild type mice at day 3 but not at days 1 and 7, indicated an impaired capacity in inflammation resolution in Cftr mutants. Concomitant to the delayed decline of neutrophils, BAL granulocyte-colony stimulating factor was augmented in Cftr mutant mice. Anti-inflammatory 15-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid was generally significantly lower in BAL of Cftr mutant than in wild type mice.
Conclusions
Despite lacking alterations in lung deposition and biokinetics of inhaled NP, and absence of significant differences in lung function, higher uptake of NP by alveolar epithelial cells and prolonged, acute inflammatory responses to NP exposure indicate a moderately increased susceptibility of lungs to adverse effects of inhaled NP in Cftr mutant mice and provides potential mechanisms for the increased susceptibility of CF patients to air pollution.
doi:10.1186/1743-8977-11-19
PMCID: PMC4008490  PMID: 24758489
Aerosol; Biokinetics; Cystic fibrosis; Energy filtering transmission electron microscopy; Inflammation; Inhalation; Iridium; Lung function; Nanoparticles; Titanium dioxide; Ultrafine particles
8.  Exploring patterns of accelerometry-assessed physical activity in elderly people 
Background
Elderly people obtain significant health benefits from physical activity (PA), but the role of activity patterns has scarcely been researched. The present study aims to describe the patterns of PA among different intensities of activity in elderly people. We assess how patterns differ between more and less active groups (‘rare’, ‘average’, and ‘frequent’), and explore whether and how various PA parameters are associated with functional exercise capacity (FEC).
Methods
PA was measured in 168 subjects (78 males; 65–89 years of age), using a triaxial GT3X accelerometer for ten consecutive days. Subjects were divided into three groups by activity and the groups were compared. A multiple linear regression model was used to predict FEC.
Results
Participants greater than or equal to 80 years are most prone to being sedentary for long periods, while women and the obese are the groups most likely to spend insufficient time in moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA). Rarely active elderly people had a decreased proportion of long bouts of MVPA and light PA and of short bouts in sedentary behavior than frequently active subjects did (p < 0.001). As predictors of FEC, younger age, lower BMI, male sex, better lung function, absence of multimorbidity, longer times and longer bouts of MVPA emerged as significant parameters (r2 = 0.54). Patterns of MVPA explained most of the variance.
Conclusions
PA patterns provide information beyond reports of activity alone. MVPA in elderly people may be increased by increasing the proportion of long bouts, in order to increase FEC as well as average PA. However, health conditions may limit PA. In rarely active people (often with reduced FEC, worse lung function, and diagnosis of multimorbidity or disability), longer periods of time in light PA may be sufficient to increase the overall level of activity.
doi:10.1186/1479-5868-11-28
PMCID: PMC4016218  PMID: 24575796
Elderly; Aged; Older; Physical activity; Exercise; Pattern; Intensity; Movement; Ambulation
9.  A Broad Phenotypic Screen Identifies Novel Phenotypes Driven by a Single Mutant Allele in Huntington’s Disease CAG Knock-In Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80923.
Huntington’s disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder caused by the expansion of a CAG trinucleotide repeat in the HTT gene encoding huntingtin. The disease has an insidious course, typically progressing over 10-15 years until death. Currently there is no effective disease-modifying therapy. To better understand the HD pathogenic process we have developed genetic HTT CAG knock-in mouse models that accurately recapitulate the HD mutation in man. Here, we describe results of a broad, standardized phenotypic screen in 10-46 week old heterozygous HdhQ111 knock-in mice, probing a wide range of physiological systems. The results of this screen revealed a number of behavioral abnormalities in HdhQ111/+ mice that include hypoactivity, decreased anxiety, motor learning and coordination deficits, and impaired olfactory discrimination. The screen also provided evidence supporting subtle cardiovascular, lung, and plasma metabolite alterations. Importantly, our results reveal that a single mutant HTT allele in the mouse is sufficient to elicit multiple phenotypic abnormalities, consistent with a dominant disease process in patients. These data provide a starting point for further investigation of several organ systems in HD, for the dissection of underlying pathogenic mechanisms and for the identification of reliable phenotypic endpoints for therapeutic testing.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080923
PMCID: PMC3838378  PMID: 24278347
10.  Standardized, Systemic Phenotypic Analysis of UmodC93F and UmodA227T Mutant Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e78337.
Uromodulin-associated kidney disease (UAKD) summarizes different clinical features of an autosomal dominant heritable disease syndrome in humans with a proven uromodulin (UMOD) mutation involved. It is often characterized by hyperuricemia, gout, alteration of urine concentrating ability, as well as a variable rate of disease progression inconstantly leading to renal failure and histological alterations of the kidneys. We recently established the two Umod mutant mouse lines UmodC93F and UmodA227T on the C3H inbred genetic background both showing kidney defects analogous to those found in human UAKD patients. In addition, disease symptoms were revealed that were not yet described in other published mouse models of UAKD. To examine if further organ systems and/or metabolic pathways are affected by Umod mutations as primary or secondary effects, we describe a standardized, systemic phenotypic analysis of the two mutant mouse lines UmodA227T and UmodC93F in the German Mouse Clinic. Different genotypes as well as different ages were tested. Beside the already published changes in body weight, body composition and bone metabolism, the influence of the Umod mutation on energy metabolism was confirmed. Hematological analysis revealed a moderate microcytic and erythropenic anemia in older Umod mutant mice. Data of the other analyses in 7-10 month-old mutant mice showed single small additional effects.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078337
PMCID: PMC3813435  PMID: 24205203
12.  Causal and Synthetic Associations of Variants in the SERPINA Gene Cluster with Alpha1-antitrypsin Serum Levels 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(8):e1003585.
Several infrequent genetic polymorphisms in the SERPINA1 gene are known to substantially reduce concentration of alpha1-antitrypsin (AAT) in the blood. Since low AAT serum levels fail to protect pulmonary tissue from enzymatic degradation, these polymorphisms also increase the risk for early onset chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The role of more common SERPINA1 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in respiratory health remains poorly understood.
We present here an agnostic investigation of genetic determinants of circulating AAT levels in a general population sample by performing a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 1392 individuals of the SAPALDIA cohort.
Five common SNPs, defined by showing minor allele frequencies (MAFs) >5%, reached genome-wide significance, all located in the SERPINA gene cluster at 14q32.13. The top-ranking genotyped SNP rs4905179 was associated with an estimated effect of β = −0.068 g/L per minor allele (P = 1.20*10−12). But denser SERPINA1 locus genotyping in 5569 participants with subsequent stepwise conditional analysis, as well as exon-sequencing in a subsample (N = 410), suggested that AAT serum level is causally determined at this locus by rare (MAF<1%) and low-frequent (MAF 1–5%) variants only, in particular by the well-documented protein inhibitor S and Z (PI S, PI Z) variants. Replication of the association of rs4905179 with AAT serum levels in the Copenhagen City Heart Study (N = 8273) was successful (P<0.0001), as was the replication of its synthetic nature (the effect disappeared after adjusting for PI S and Z, P = 0.57). Extending the analysis to lung function revealed a more complex situation. Only in individuals with severely compromised pulmonary health (N = 397), associations of common SNPs at this locus with lung function were driven by rarer PI S or Z variants. Overall, our meta-analysis of lung function in ever-smokers does not support a functional role of common SNPs in the SERPINA gene cluster in the general population.
Author Summary
Low levels of alpha1-antitrypsin (AAT) in the blood are a well-established risk factor for accelerated loss in lung function and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. While a few infrequent genetic polymorphisms are known to influence the serum levels of this enzyme, the role of common genetic variants has not been examined so far. The present genome-wide scan for associated variants in approximately 1400 Swiss inhabitants revealed a chromosomal locus containing the functionally established variants of AAT deficiency and variants previously associated with lung function and emphysema. We used dense genotyping of this genetic region in more than 5500 individuals and subsequent conditional analyses to unravel which of these associated variants contribute independently to the phenotype's variability. All associations of common variants could be attributed to the rarer functionally established variants, a result which was then replicated in an independent population-based Danish cohort. Hence, this locus represents a textbook example of how a large part of a trait's heritability can be hidden in infrequent genetic polymorphisms. The attempt to transfer these results to lung function furthermore suggests that effects of common variants in this genetic region in ever-smokers may also be explained by rarer variants, but only in individuals with hampered pulmonary health.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003585
PMCID: PMC3749935  PMID: 23990791
13.  Metabolomic markers reveal novel pathways of ageing and early development in human populations 
Background Human ageing is a complex, multifactorial process and early developmental factors affect health outcomes in old age.
Methods Metabolomic profiling on fasting blood was carried out in 6055 individuals from the UK. Stepwise regression was performed to identify a panel of independent metabolites which could be used as a surrogate for age. We also investigated the association with birthweight overall and within identical discordant twins and with genome-wide methylation levels.
Results We identified a panel of 22 metabolites which combined are strongly correlated with age (R2 = 59%) and with age-related clinical traits independently of age. One particular metabolite, C-glycosyl tryptophan (C-glyTrp), correlated strongly with age (beta = 0.03, SE = 0.001, P = 7.0 × 10−157) and lung function (FEV1 beta = −0.04, SE = 0.008, P = 1.8 × 10−8 adjusted for age and confounders) and was replicated in an independent population (n = 887). C-glyTrp was also associated with bone mineral density (beta = −0.01, SE = 0.002, P = 1.9 × 10−6) and birthweight (beta = −0.06, SE = 0.01, P = 2.5 × 10−9). The difference in C-glyTrp levels explained 9.4% of the variance in the difference in birthweight between monozygotic twins. An epigenome-wide association study in 172 individuals identified three CpG-sites, associated with levels of C-glyTrp (P < 2 × 10−6). We replicated one CpG site in the promoter of the WDR85 gene in an independent sample of 350 individuals (beta = −0.20, SE = 0.04, P = 2.9 × 10−8). WDR85 is a regulator of translation elongation factor 2, essential for protein synthesis in eukaryotes.
Conclusions Our data illustrate how metabolomic profiling linked with epigenetic studies can identify some key molecular mechanisms potentially determined in early development that produce long-term physiological changes influencing human health and ageing.
doi:10.1093/ije/dyt094
PMCID: PMC3781000  PMID: 23838602
Ageing; metabolomics; epigenetics; twin studies; developmental origins of health and disease; birthweight
14.  Physical Activity in German Adolescents Measured by Accelerometry and Activity Diary: Introducing a Comprehensive Approach for Data Management and Preliminary Results 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65192.
Introduction
Surveillance of physical activity (PA) is increasingly based on accelerometry. However, data management guidelines are lacking. We propose an approach for combining accelerometry and diary based PA information for assessment of PA in adolescents and provide an example of this approach using data from German adolescents.
Methods
The 15-year-old participants comprised a subsample the GINIplus birth cohort (n = 328, 42.4% male). Data on PA was obtained from hip-worn accelerometers (ActiGraph GT3X) for seven consecutive days, combined with a prospective activity diary. Major aspects of data management were validity of wear time, handling of non-wear time and diary comments. After data cleaning, PA and percentage of adolescents meeting the recommendations for moderate-to-vigorous activity (MVPA) per day were determined.
Results
From the 2224 recorded days 493 days (25%) were invalid, mainly due to uncertainties relating to non-wear time (322 days). Ultimately, 269 of 328 subjects (82%) with valid data for at least three weekdays and one weekend day were included in the analysis. Mean MVPA per day was 39.1 minutes (SD ±25.0), with boys being more active than girls (41.8±21.5 minutes vs. 37.1±27.8 minutes, p<0.001). Accordingly, 24.7% of boys and 17.2% of girls (p<0.01) met the WHO recommendations for PA. School sport accounted for only 6% of weekly MVPA. In fact, most MVPA was performed during leisure time, with the majority of adolescents engaging in ball sports (25.4%) and endurance sports (19.7%). Girls also frequently reported dancing and gymnastics (23%).
Conclusion
For assessment of PA in adolescents, collecting both accelerometry and diary-based information is recommended. The diary is vital for the identification of invalid data and non-compliant participants. Preliminary results suggest that four out of five German adolescents do not meet WHO recommendations for PA and that school sport contributes only little to MVPA.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065192
PMCID: PMC3672153  PMID: 23750243
15.  Reference Values of Impulse Oscillometric Lung Function Indices in Adults of Advanced Age 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63366.
Background
Impulse oscillometry (IOS) is a non-demanding lung function test. Its diagnostic use may be particularly useful in patients of advanced age with physical or mental limitations unable to perform spirometry. Only few reference equations are available for Caucasians, none of them covering the old age. Here, we provide reference equations up to advanced age and compare them with currently available equations.
Methods
IOS was performed in a population-based sample of 1990 subjects, aged 45–91 years, from KORA cohorts (Augsburg, Germany). From those, 397 never-smoking, lung healthy subjects with normal spirometry were identified and sex-specific quantile regression models with age, height and body weight as predictors for respiratory system impedance, resistance, reactance, and other parameters of IOS applied.
Results
Women (n = 243) showed higher resistance values than men (n = 154), while reactance at low frequencies (up to 20 Hz) was lower (p<0.05). A significant age dependency was observed for the difference between resistance values at 5 Hz and 20 Hz (R5–R20), the integrated area of low-frequency reactance (AX), and resonant frequency (Fres) in both sexes whereas reactance at 5 Hz (X5) was age dependent only in females. In the healthy subjects (n = 397), mean differences between observed values and predictions for resistance (5 Hz and 20 Hz) and reactance (5 Hz) ranged between −1% and 5% when using the present model. In contrast, differences based on the currently applied equations (Vogel & Smidt 1994) ranged between −34% and 76%. Regarding our equations the indices were beyond the limits of normal in 8.1% to 18.6% of the entire KORA cohort (n = 1990), and in 0.7% to 9.4% with the currently applied equations.
Conclusions
Our study provides up-to-date reference equations for IOS in Caucasians aged 45 to 85 years. We suggest the use of the present equations particularly in advanced age in order to detect airway dysfunction.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063366
PMCID: PMC3655177  PMID: 23691036
16.  Physical activity and its correlates in children: a cross-sectional study (the GINIplus & LISAplus studies) 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:349.
Background
Physical inactivity among children is an increasing problem that adversely affects children’s health. A better understanding of factors which affect physical activity (PA) will help create effective interventions aimed at raising the activity levels of children. This cross-sectional study examined the associations of PA with individual (biological, social, behavioral, psychological) and environmental (East vs. West Germany, rural vs. urban regions) characteristics in children.
Methods
Information on PA and potential correlates was collected from 1843 girls and 1997 boys using questionnaires during the 10-year follow-up of two prospective birth cohort studies (GINIplus and LISAplus). Study regions represent urban and rural sites as well as East and West of Germany. Logistic regression modeling was applied to examine cross-sectional associations between individual as well as environmental factors and PA levels.
Results
Five of fourteen variables were significantly associated with PA. Among children aged 10, girls tended to be less active than boys, especially with respect to vigorous PA (OR = 0.72 for summer). Children who were not a member of a sports club showed a substantially reduced amount of PA in winter (OR = 0.15). Rural environments promote moderate PA, particularly in winter (OR = 1.88), whereas an increased time outdoors primarily promotes moderate PA in summer (OR = 12.41). Children with abnormal emotional symptoms exhibited reduced physical activity, particularly in winter (OR = 0.60). BMI, puberty, parental BMI, parental education, household income, siblings, TV/PC consumption, and method of arriving school, were not associated with PA.
Conclusions
When considering correlates of PA from several domains simultaneously, only few factors (sex, sports club membership, physical environment, time outdoors, and emotional symptoms) appear to be relevant. Although the causality needs to be ascertained in longitudinal studies, variables which cannot be modified should be used to identify risk groups while modifiable variables, such as sports club activities, may be addressed in intervention programs.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-349
PMCID: PMC3641958  PMID: 23587274
Activity; Children; Correlates; Exercise; Inactivity; Determinants; Associations; Behavior; Environment; Social
17.  Comparative psychometric analyses of the SCL-90-R and its short versions in patients with affective disorders 
BMC Psychiatry  2013;13:104.
Background
Despite the widespread application of Symptom Checklist 90-R (SCL-90-R), its psychometric weaknesses have repeatedly been noted. This study aimed to comparatively assess the psychometric properties of the SCL-90-R scales and the scales of its short versions Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), Symptom Checklist-27 (SCL-27), Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18), Symptom Checklist-14 (SCL-14), and Symptom Checklist short version-9 (SCL-K-9) in patients with affective disorders.
Methods
The data of 2,727 patients within the main treatment group of affective disorders were assessed according to the DSM-IV. Patients completed the SCL-90-R and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI).
Results
There were no significant differences regarding the internal consistency of the SCL-90-R scales and the scales of the short versions. The dimensional structure was only supported for the short versions BSI-18, SCL-14 and SCL-K-9. The assessment of convergent validity revealed high correlations. With regard to the discriminant validity, there were medium correlations. With regard to the sensitivity of change, no significant differences between the scales were found.
Conclusions
In summary, the scales of the short versions show mostly satisfactory psychometric properties in comparison to the scales of the SCL-90-R. The results support the application of the short versions as screening instruments, especially the BSI-18, and more economic variants of the SCL-90-R covering a wide range of psychopathological symptoms.
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-104
PMCID: PMC3626675  PMID: 23537095
SCL-90-R; Short versions; Psychometric; Affective disorder; Symptom severity
18.  The MentDis_ICF65+ study protocol: prevalence, 1-year incidence and symptom severity of mental disorders in the elderly and their relationship to impairment, functioning (ICF) and service utilisation 
BMC Psychiatry  2013;13:62.
Background
The EU currently lacks reliable data on the prevalence and incidence of mental disorders in older people. Despite the availability of several national and international epidemiological studies, the size and burden of mental disorders in the elderly remain unclear due to various reasons. Therefore, the aims of the MentDis_ICF65+ study are (1) to adapt existing assessment instruments, and (2) to collect data on the prevalence, the incidence, and the natural course and prognosis of mental disorders in the elderly.
Method/design
Using a cross-sectional and prospective longitudinal design, this multi-centre study from six European countries and associated states (Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland) is based on age-stratified, random samples of elderly people living in the community. The study program consists of three phases: (1) a methodological phase devoted primarily to the adaptation of age- and gender-specific assessment tools for older people (e.g., the Composite International Diagnostic Interview, CIDI) as well as psychometric evaluations including translation, back translation; (2) a baseline community study in all participating countries to assess the lifetime, 12 month and 1 month prevalence and comorbidity of mental disorders, including prior course, quality of life, health care utilization and helpseeking, impairments and participation and, (3) a 12 month follow-up of all baseline participants to monitor course and outcome as well as examine predictors.
Discussion
The study is an essential step forward towards the further development and improvement of harmonised instruments for the assessment of mental disorders as well as the evaluation of activity impairment and participation in older adults. This study will also facilitate the comparison of cross-cultural results. These results will have bearing on mental health care in the EU and will offer a starting point for necessary structural changes to be initiated for mental health care policy at the level of mental health care politics.
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-62
PMCID: PMC3599756  PMID: 23418914
Mental health; Mental disorders; Elderly; Prevalence; Incidence; Health care use; ICF; Epidemiology
19.  Innovations in phenotyping of mouse models in the German Mouse Clinic 
Mammalian Genome  2012;23(9-10):611-622.
Under the label of the German Mouse Clinic (GMC), a concept has been developed and implemented that allows the better understanding of human diseases on the pathophysiological and molecular level. This includes better understanding of the crosstalk between different organs, pleiotropy of genes, and the systemic impact of envirotypes and drugs. In the GMC, experts from various fields of mouse genetics and physiology, in close collaboration with clinicians, work side by side under one roof. The GMC is an open-access platform for the scientific community by providing phenotypic analysis in bilateral collaborations (“bottom-up projects”) and as a partner and driver in international large-scale biology projects (“top-down projects”). Furthermore, technology development is a major topic in the GMC. Innovative techniques for primary and secondary screens are developed and implemented into the phenotyping pipelines (e.g., detection of volatile organic compounds, VOCs).
doi:10.1007/s00335-012-9415-1
PMCID: PMC3463795  PMID: 22926221
20.  Prevalence of mental disorders, psychosocial distress and need for psychosocial support in cancer patients – study protocol of an epidemiological multi-center study 
BMC Psychiatry  2012;12:70.
Background
Empirical studies investigating the prevalence of mental disorders and psychological distress in cancer patients have gained increasing importance during recent years, particularly with the objective to develop and implement psychosocial interventions within the cancer care system. Primary purpose of this epidemiological cross-sectional multi-center study is to detect the 4-week-, 12-month-, and lifetime prevalence rates of comorbid mental disorders and to further assess psychological distress and psychosocial support needs in cancer patients across all major tumor entities within the in- and outpatient oncological health care and rehabilitation settings in Germany.
Methods/Design
In this multicenter, epidemiological cross-sectional study, cancer patients across all major tumor entities will be enrolled from acute care hospitals, outpatient cancer care facilities, and rehabilitation centers in five major study centers in Germany: Freiburg, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Leipzig and Würzburg. A proportional stratified random sample based on the nationwide incidence of all cancer diagnoses in Germany is used. Patients are consecutively recruited in all centers. On the basis of a depression screener (PHQ-9) 50% of the participants that score below the cutoff point of 9 and all patients scoring above are assessed using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview for Oncology (CIDI-O). In addition, all patients complete validated questionnaires measuring emotional distress, information and psychosocial support needs as well as quality of life.
Discussion
Epidemiological data on the prevalence of mental disorders and distress provide detailed and valid information for the estimation of the demands for the type and extent of psychosocial support interventions. The data will provide information about specific demographic, functional, cancer- and treatment-related risk factors for mental comorbidity and psychosocial distress, specific supportive care needs and use of psychosocial support offers.
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-12-70
PMCID: PMC3434016  PMID: 22747671
21.  Long-term proteasomal inhibition in transgenic mice by UBB+1 expression results in dysfunction of central respiration control reminiscent of brainstem neuropathology in Alzheimer patients 
Acta Neuropathologica  2012;124(2):187-197.
Aging and neurodegeneration are often accompanied by a functionally impaired ubiquitin–proteasome system (UPS). In tauopathies and polyglutamine diseases, a mutant form of ubiquitin B (UBB+1) accumulates in disease-specific aggregates. UBB+1 mRNA is generated at low levels in vivo during transcription from the ubiquitin B locus by molecular misreading. The resulting mutant protein has been shown to inhibit proteasome function. To elucidate causative effects and neuropathological consequences of UBB+1 accumulation, we used a UBB+1 expressing transgenic mouse line that models UPS inhibition in neurons and exhibits behavioral phenotypes reminiscent of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In order to reveal affected organs and functions, young and aged UBB+1 transgenic mice were comprehensively phenotyped for more than 240 parameters. This revealed unexpected changes in spontaneous breathing patterns and an altered response to hypoxic conditions. Our findings point to a central dysfunction of respiratory regulation in transgenic mice in comparison to wild-type littermate mice. Accordingly, UBB+1 was strongly expressed in brainstem regions of transgenic mice controlling respiration. These regions included, e.g., the medial part of the nucleus of the tractus solitarius and the lateral subdivisions of the parabrachial nucleus. In addition, UBB+1 was also strongly expressed in these anatomical structures of AD patients (Braak stage #6) and was not expressed in non-demented controls. We conclude that long-term UPS inhibition due to UBB+1 expression causes central breathing dysfunction in a transgenic mouse model of AD. The UBB+1 expression pattern in humans is consistent with the contribution of bronchopneumonia as a cause of death in AD patients.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00401-012-1003-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s00401-012-1003-7
PMCID: PMC3400757  PMID: 22730000
Alzheimer’s disease (AD); Mouse model; Ubiquitin B (UBB+1); Ubiquitin–proteasome system (UPS); Hypoxic response; Central breathing control
22.  c-Kit Is Essential for Alveolar Maintenance and Protection from Emphysema-like Disease in Mice 
Rationale: Previously, we demonstrated a candidate region for susceptibility to airspace enlargement on mouse chromosome 5. However, the specific candidate genes within this region accounting for emphysema-like changes remain unrecognized. c-Kit is a receptor tyrosine kinase within this candidate gene region that has previously been recognized to contribute to the survival, proliferation, and differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells. Increases in the percentage of cells expressing c-Kit have previously been associated with protection against injury-induced emphysema.
Objectives: Determine whether genetic variants of c-Kit are associated with spontaneous airspace enlargement.
Methods: Perform single-nucleotide polymorphism association studies in the mouse strains at the extremes of airspace enlargement phenotype for variants in c-Kit tyrosine kinase. Characterize mice bearing functional variants of c-Kit compared with wild-type controls for the development of spontaneous airspace enlargement. Epithelial cell proliferation was measured in culture.
Measurements and Main Results: Upstream regulatory single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the divergent mouse strains were associated with the lung compliance difference observed between the extreme strains. c-Kit mutant mice (KitW-sh/W-sh), when compared with genetic controls, developed altered lung histology, increased total lung capacity, increased residual volume, and increased lung compliance that persist into adulthood. c-Kit inhibition with imatinib attenuated in vitro proliferation of cells expressing epithelial cell adhesion molecule.
Conclusions: Our findings indicate that c-Kit sustains and/or maintains normal alveolar architecture in the lungs of mice. In vitro data suggest that c-Kit can regulate epithelial cell clonal expansion. The precise mechanisms that c-Kit contributes to the development of airspace enlargement and increased lung compliance remain unclear and warrants further investigation.
doi:10.1164/rccm.201007-1157OC
PMCID: PMC3136992  PMID: 21471107
genetic; tyrosine kinase; SASH; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; aging
23.  Genome-wide association and large scale follow-up identifies 16 new loci influencing lung function 
Artigas, María Soler | Loth, Daan W | Wain, Louise V | Gharib, Sina A | Obeidat, Ma’en | Tang, Wenbo | Zhai, Guangju | Zhao, Jing Hua | Smith, Albert Vernon | Huffman, Jennifer E | Albrecht, Eva | Jackson, Catherine M | Evans, David M | Cadby, Gemma | Fornage, Myriam | Manichaikul, Ani | Lopez, Lorna M | Johnson, Toby | Aldrich, Melinda C | Aspelund, Thor | Barroso, Inês | Campbell, Harry | Cassano, Patricia A | Couper, David J | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Franceschini, Nora | Garcia, Melissa | Gieger, Christian | Gislason, Gauti Kjartan | Grkovic, Ivica | Hammond, Christopher J | Hancock, Dana B | Harris, Tamara B | Ramasamy, Adaikalavan | Heckbert, Susan R | Heliövaara, Markku | Homuth, Georg | Hysi, Pirro G | James, Alan L | Jankovic, Stipan | Joubert, Bonnie R | Karrasch, Stefan | Klopp, Norman | Koch, Beate | Kritchevsky, Stephen B | Launer, Lenore J | Liu, Yongmei | Loehr, Laura R | Lohman, Kurt | Loos, Ruth JF | Lumley, Thomas | Al Balushi, Khalid A | Ang, Wei Q | Barr, R Graham | Beilby, John | Blakey, John D | Boban, Mladen | Boraska, Vesna | Brisman, Jonas | Britton, John R | Brusselle, Guy G | Cooper, Cyrus | Curjuric, Ivan | Dahgam, Santosh | Deary, Ian J | Ebrahim, Shah | Eijgelsheim, Mark | Francks, Clyde | Gaysina, Darya | Granell, Raquel | Gu, Xiangjun | Hankinson, John L | Hardy, Rebecca | Harris, Sarah E | Henderson, John | Henry, Amanda | Hingorani, Aroon D | Hofman, Albert | Holt, Patrick G | Hui, Jennie | Hunter, Michael L | Imboden, Medea | Jameson, Karen A | Kerr, Shona M | Kolcic, Ivana | Kronenberg, Florian | Liu, Jason Z | Marchini, Jonathan | McKeever, Tricia | Morris, Andrew D | Olin, Anna-Carin | Porteous, David J | Postma, Dirkje S | Rich, Stephen S | Ring, Susan M | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Rochat, Thierry | Sayer, Avan Aihie | Sayers, Ian | Sly, Peter D | Smith, George Davey | Sood, Akshay | Starr, John M | Uitterlinden, André G | Vonk, Judith M | Wannamethee, S Goya | Whincup, Peter H | Wijmenga, Cisca | Williams, O Dale | Wong, Andrew | Mangino, Massimo | Marciante, Kristin D | McArdle, Wendy L | Meibohm, Bernd | Morrison, Alanna C | North, Kari E | Omenaas, Ernst | Palmer, Lyle J | Pietiläinen, Kirsi H | Pin, Isabelle | Polašek, Ozren | Pouta, Anneli | Psaty, Bruce M | Hartikainen, Anna-Liisa | Rantanen, Taina | Ripatti, Samuli | Rotter, Jerome I | Rudan, Igor | Rudnicka, Alicja R | Schulz, Holger | Shin, So-Youn | Spector, Tim D | Surakka, Ida | Vitart, Veronique | Völzke, Henry | Wareham, Nicholas J | Warrington, Nicole M | Wichmann, H-Erich | Wild, Sarah H | Wilk, Jemma B | Wjst, Matthias | Wright, Alan F | Zgaga, Lina | Zemunik, Tatijana | Pennell, Craig E | Nyberg, Fredrik | Kuh, Diana | Holloway, John W | Boezen, H Marike | Lawlor, Debbie A | Morris, Richard W | Probst-Hensch, Nicole | Kaprio, Jaakko | Wilson, James F | Hayward, Caroline | Kähönen, Mika | Heinrich, Joachim | Musk, Arthur W | Jarvis, Deborah L | Gläser, Sven | Järvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Stricker, Bruno H Ch | Elliott, Paul | O’Connor, George T | Strachan, David P | London, Stephanie J | Hall, Ian P | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Tobin, Martin D
Nature Genetics  2011;43(11):1082-1090.
Pulmonary function measures reflect respiratory health and predict mortality, and are used in the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We tested genome-wide association with the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and the ratio of FEV1 to forced vital capacity (FVC) in 48,201 individuals of European ancestry, with follow-up of top associations in up to an additional 46,411 individuals. We identified new regions showing association (combined P<5×10−8) with pulmonary function, in or near MFAP2, TGFB2, HDAC4, RARB, MECOM (EVI1), SPATA9, ARMC2, NCR3, ZKSCAN3, CDC123, C10orf11, LRP1, CCDC38, MMP15, CFDP1, and KCNE2. Identification of these 16 new loci may provide insight into the molecular mechanisms regulating pulmonary function and into molecular targets for future therapy to alleviate reduced lung function.
doi:10.1038/ng.941
PMCID: PMC3267376  PMID: 21946350
24.  Effect of Five Genetic Variants Associated with Lung Function on the Risk of Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, and Their Joint Effects on Lung Function 
Rationale: Genomic loci are associated with FEV1 or the ratio of FEV1 to FVC in population samples, but their association with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has not yet been proven, nor have their combined effects on lung function and COPD been studied.
Objectives: To test association with COPD of variants at five loci (TNS1, GSTCD, HTR4, AGER, and THSD4) and to evaluate joint effects on lung function and COPD of these single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and variants at the previously reported locus near HHIP.
Methods: By sampling from 12 population-based studies (n = 31,422), we obtained genotype data on 3,284 COPD case subjects and 17,538 control subjects for sentinel SNPs in TNS1, GSTCD, HTR4, AGER, and THSD4. In 24,648 individuals (including 2,890 COPD case subjects and 13,862 control subjects), we additionally obtained genotypes for rs12504628 near HHIP. Each allele associated with lung function decline at these six SNPs contributed to a risk score. We studied the association of the risk score to lung function and COPD.
Measurements and Main Results: Association with COPD was significant for three loci (TNS1, GSTCD, and HTR4) and the previously reported HHIP locus, and suggestive and directionally consistent for AGER and TSHD4. Compared with the baseline group (7 risk alleles), carrying 10–12 risk alleles was associated with a reduction in FEV1 (β = –72.21 ml, P = 3.90 × 10−4) and FEV1/FVC (β = –1.53%, P = 6.35 × 10−6), and with COPD (odds ratio = 1.63, P = 1.46 × 10−5).
Conclusions: Variants in TNS1, GSTCD, and HTR4 are associated with COPD. Our highest risk score category was associated with a 1.6-fold higher COPD risk than the population average score.
doi:10.1164/rccm.201102-0192OC
PMCID: PMC3398416  PMID: 21965014
FEV1; FVC; genome-wide association study; modeling risk
25.  Impaired resolution of inflammatory response in the lungs of JF1/Msf mice following carbon nanoparticle instillation 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):94.
Background
Declined lung function is a risk factor for particulate matter associated respiratory diseases like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Carbon nanoparticles (CNP) are a prominent component of outdoor air pollution that causes pulmonary toxicity mainly through inflammation. Recently we demonstrated that mice (C3H/HeJ) with higher than normal pulmonary function resolved the elicited pulmonary inflammation following CNP exposure through activation of defense and homeostasis maintenance pathways. To test whether CNP-induced inflammation is affected by declined lung function, we exposed JF1/Msf (JF1) mice with lower than normal pulmonary function to CNP and studied the pulmonary inflammation and its resolution.
Methods
5 μg, 20 μg and 50 μg CNP (Printex 90) were intratracheally instilled in JF1 mice to determine the dose response and the time course of inflammation over 7 days (20 μg dosage). Inflammation was assessed using histology, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) analysis and by a panel of 62 protein markers.
Results
24 h after instillation, 20 μg and 50 μg CNP caused a 25 fold and 19 fold increased polymorphonuclear leucocytes (PMN) respectively while the 5 μg represented the 'no observable adverse effect level' as reflected by PMN influx (9.7 × 10E3 vs 8.9 × 10E3), and BAL/lung concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Time course assessment of the inflammatory response revealed that compared to day1 the elevated BAL PMN counts (246.4 × 10E3) were significantly decreased at day 3 (72.9 × 10E3) and day 7 (48.5 × 10E3) but did not reach baseline levels indicating slow PMN resolution kinetics. Strikingly on day 7 the number of macrophages doubled (455.0 × 10E3 vs 204.7 × 10E3) and lymphocytes were 7-fold induced (80.6 × 10E3 vs 11.2 × 10E3) compared to day1. At day 7 elevated levels of IL1B, TNF, IL4, MDC/CCL22, FVII, and vWF were detected in JF1 lungs which can be associated to macrophage and lymphocyte activation.
Conclusion
This explorative study indicates that JF1 mice with impaired pulmonary function also exhibits delayed resolution of particle mediated lung inflammation as evident from elevated PMN and accumulation of macrophages and lymphocytes on day7. It is plausible that elevated levels of IL1B, IL4, TNF, CCL22/MDC, FVII and vWF counteract defense and homeostatic pathways thereby driving this phenomenon.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-12-94
PMCID: PMC3145576  PMID: 21756372

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