More than 100 loci have been identified for age at menarche by genome-wide association studies; however, collectively these explain only ∼3% of the trait variance. Here we test two overlooked sources of variation in 192,974 European ancestry women: low-frequency protein-coding variants and X-chromosome variants. Five missense/nonsense variants (in ALMS1/LAMB2/TNRC6A/TACR3/PRKAG1) are associated with age at menarche (minor allele frequencies 0.08–4.6%; effect sizes 0.08–1.25 years per allele; P<5 × 10−8). In addition, we identify common X-chromosome loci at IGSF1 (rs762080, P=9.4 × 10−13) and FAAH2 (rs5914101, P=4.9 × 10−10). Highlighted genes implicate cellular energy homeostasis, post-transcriptional gene silencing and fatty-acid amide signalling. A frequently reported mutation in TACR3 for idiopathic hypogonatrophic hypogonadism (p.W275X) is associated with 1.25-year-later menarche (P=2.8 × 10−11), illustrating the utility of population studies to estimate the penetrance of reportedly pathogenic mutations. Collectively, these novel variants explain ∼0.5% variance, indicating that these overlooked sources of variation do not substantially explain the ‘missing heritability' of this complex trait.
Previous studies have linked over 100 genomic loci to age-at-menarche but that work was restricted to common autosomal variation. Here, Lunetta et al. identify associations with rare protein-coding and X-linked variants, implicating new mechanisms that regulate puberty timing.
Deleterious effects of prenatal tobacco smoking on fetal growth and newborn weight are well-established. One of the proposed mechanisms underlying this relationship is alterations in epigenetic programming. We selected 506 newborns from a population-based prospective birth cohort in the Netherlands. Prenatal parental tobacco smoking was assessed using self-reporting questionnaires. Information on birth outcomes was obtained from medical records. The deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) methylation of the growth genes IGF2DMR and H19 was measured in newborn umbilical cord white blood cells. Associations were assessed between parental tobacco smoking and DNA methylation using linear mixed models and adjusted for potential confounders.
The DNA methylation levels of IGF2DMR and H19 in the non-smoking group were median (90 % range), 54.0 % (44.6–62.0), and 30.0 % (25.5–34.0), in the first trimester only smoking group 52.2 % (44.5–61.1) and 30.8 % (27.1–34.1), and in the continued smoking group 51.6 % (43.9–61.3) and 30.2 % (23.7–34.8), respectively. Continued prenatal maternal smoking was inversely associated with IGF2DMR methylation (β = −1.03, 95 % CI −1.76; −0.30) in a dose-dependent manner (P-trend = 0.030). This association seemed to be slightly more profound among newborn girls (β = −1.38, 95 % CI −2.63; −0.14) than boys (β = −0.72, 95 % CI −1.68; 0.24). H19 methylation was also inversely associated continued smoking <5 cigarettes/day (β = −0.96, 95 % CI −1.78; −0.14). Moreover, the association between maternal smoking and newborns small for gestational age seems to be partially explained by IGF2DMR methylation (β = −0.095, 95 % CI −0.249; −0.018). Among non-smoking mothers, paternal tobacco smoking was not associated with IGF2DMR or H19 methylation.
Maternal smoking is inversely associated with IGF2DMR methylation in newborns, which can be one of the underlying mechanisms through which smoking affects fetal growth.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13148-015-0115-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Cigarettes; Cord blood; DNA methylation; Epigenetic epidemiology; H19; IGF2DMR; Maternal tobacco smoking; Paternal tobacco smoking
No diet score exists that summarizes the features of a diet that is optimal for bone mineral density (BMD) in the elderly. Our aims were (a) to develop a BMD-Diet Score reflecting a diet that may be beneficial for BMD based on the existing literature, and (b) to examine the association of the BMD-Diet Score and the Healthy Diet Indicator, a score based on guidelines of the World Health Organization, with BMD in Dutch elderly participating in a prospective cohort study, the Rotterdam Study (n = 5144). Baseline dietary intake, assessed using a food frequency questionnaire, was categorized into food groups. Food groups that were consistently associated with BMD in the literature were included in the BMD-Diet Score. BMD was measured repeatedly and was assessed using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. The BMD-Diet Score considered intake of vegetables, fruits, fish, whole grains, legumes/beans and dairy products as “high-BMD” components and meat and confectionary as “low-BMD” components. After adjustment, the BMD-Diet Score was positively associated with BMD (β (95% confidence interval) = 0.009 (0.005, 0.012) g/cm2 per standard deviation). This effect size was approximately three times as large as has been observed for the Healthy Diet Indicator. The food groups included in our BMD-Diet Score could be considered in the development of future dietary guidelines for healthy ageing.
dietary patterns; bone mineral density; BMD-Diet score; healthy diet indicator
Fasting glucose and insulin are intermediate traits for type 2 diabetes. Here we explore the role of coding variation on these traits by analysis of variants on the HumanExome BeadChip in 60,564 non-diabetic individuals and in 16,491 T2D cases and 81,877 controls. We identify a novel association of a low-frequency nonsynonymous SNV in GLP1R (A316T; rs10305492; MAF=1.4%) with lower FG (β=-0.09±0.01 mmol L−1, p=3.4×10−12), T2D risk (OR[95%CI]=0.86[0.76-0.96], p=0.010), early insulin secretion (β=-0.07±0.035 pmolinsulin mmolglucose−1, p=0.048), but higher 2-h glucose (β=0.16±0.05 mmol L−1, p=4.3×10−4). We identify a gene-based association with FG at G6PC2 (pSKAT=6.8×10−6) driven by four rare protein-coding SNVs (H177Y, Y207S, R283X and S324P). We identify rs651007 (MAF=20%) in the first intron of ABO at the putative promoter of an antisense lncRNA, associating with higher FG (β=0.02±0.004 mmol L−1, p=1.3×10−8). Our approach identifies novel coding variant associations and extends the allelic spectrum of variation underlying diabetes-related quantitative traits and T2D susceptibility.
Bone mineral density (BMD) is a heritable complex trait used in the clinical diagnosis of osteoporosis and the assessment of fracture risk. We performed meta-analysis of five genome-wide association studies of femoral neck and lumbar spine BMD in 19,195 subjects of Northern European descent. We identified 20 loci reaching genome-wide significance (GWS; P<5×10−8), of which 13 map to new regions including 1p31.3 (GPR177), 2p21 (SPTBN1), 3p22 (CTNNB1), 4q21.1 (MEPE), 5q14 (MEF2C), 7p14 (STARD3NL), 7q21.3 (FLJ42280), 11p11.2 (LRP4; ARHGAP1; F2), 11p14.1 (DCDC5), 11p15 (SOX6), 16q24 (FOXL1), 17q21 (HDAC5) and 17q12 (CRHR1). The metaanalysis also confirmed at GWS level, seven known BMD loci on 1p36 (ZBTB40), 6q25 (ESR1), 8q24 (TNFRSF11B), 11q13.4 (LRP5), 12q13 (SP7), 13q14 (TNFSF11), and 18q21 (TNFRSF11A). The numerous SNPs associated with BMD map to genes in signaling pathways with relevance to bone metabolism, and highlight the complex genetic architecture underlying osteoporosis and BMD variation.
Vitamin D deficiency is widely prevalent and has been associated with many diseases. It has been suggested that vitamin D has effects on the immune system and inhibits inflammation. The aim of our study was to investigate whether vitamin D has an inhibitory effect on systemic inflammation by assessing the association between serum levels of vitamin D and C-reactive protein. We studied the association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and C-reactive protein through linear regression in 9,649 participants of the Rotterdam Study, an observational, prospective population-based cohort study. We used genetic variants related to vitamin D and CRP to compute a genetic risk score and perform bi-directional Mendelian randomization analysis. In linear regression adjusted for age, sex, cohort and other confounders, natural log-transformed CRP decreased with 0.06 (95% CI: -0.08, -0.03) unit per standard deviation increase in 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Bi-directional Mendelian randomization analyses showed no association between the vitamin D genetic risk score and lnCRP (Beta per SD = -0.018; p = 0.082) or the CRP genetic risk score and 25-hydroxyvitamin D (Beta per SD = 0.001; p = 0.998). In conclusion, higher levels of Vitamin D are associated with lower levels of C-reactive protein. In this study we did not find evidence for this to be the result of a causal relationship.
Substantial clinical, pathological and genetic overlap exists between amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). TDP-43 inclusions have been found in both ALS and FTD cases (FTD-TDP). Recently, a repeat expansion in C9orf72 was identified as the causal variant in a proportion of ALS and FTD cases. We sought to identify additional evidence for a common genetic basis for the spectrum of ALS-FTD.
We used published GWAS data of 4,377 ALS patients and 13,017 controls and 435 pathology-proven FTD-TDP cases and 1,414 controls for genotype imputation. Data were analyzed in a joint meta-analysis, by replicating topmost associated hits of one disease in the other, and by using a conservative rank products analysis, allocating equal weight to ALS and FTD-TDP sample sizes.
Meta-analysis identified 19 genome-wide significant single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at C9orf72 on chromosome 9p21.2 (lowest p=2.6×10−12) and one SNP in UNC13A on chromosome 19p13.11 (p=1.0×10−11) as shared susceptibility loci for ALS and FTD-TDP. Conditioning on the 9p21.2 genotype increased statistical significance at UNC13A. A third signal, on chromosome 8q24.13 at the SPG8 locus coding for strumpellin, (p=3.91×10−7) was replicated in an independent cohort of 4,056 ALS patients and 3,958 controls (p=0.026; combined analysis p=1.01×10−7).
We identified common genetic variants at C9orf72, but in addition in UNC13A that are shared between ALS and FTD. UNC13A provides a novel link between ALS and FTD-TDP, and identifies changes in neurotransmitter release and synaptic function as a converging mechanism in the pathogenesis of ALS and FTD-TDP.
The fractional concentration of nitric oxide in exhaled air (FeNO) is a biomarker of eosinophilic airway inflammation and associated with childhood asthma. Identification of common genetic variants associated with childhood FeNO may help to define biological mechanisms related to specific asthma phenotypes.
To identify genetic variants associated with childhood FeNO, and their relation with asthma.
FeNO was measured in children aged 5 to 15 years. In 14 genome-wide association (GWA) studies (N = 8,858), we examined the associations of ~2.5 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with FeNO. Subsequently, we assessed whether significant SNPs were expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) in genome-wide expression datasets of lymphoblastoid cell lines (N = 1,830), and were related with asthma in a previously published GWA dataset (cases: n=10,365; controls: n=16,110).
We identified 3 SNPs associated with FeNO: rs3751972 in LYR motif containing 9 (LYRM9) (P = 1.97×10−10) and rs944722 in inducible nitric oxide synthase 2 (NOS2) (P = 1.28×10−9) both located at 17q11.2-q12, and rs8069176 near gasdermin B (GSDMB) (P = 1.88×10−8) at 17q12-q21. We found a cis eQTL for the transcript soluble galactoside-binding lectin 9 (LGALS9) that is in linkage disequilibrium with rs944722. Rs8069176 was associated with GSDMB and ORM1-like 3 (ORMDL3) expression. Rs8069176 at 17q12-q21, and not rs3751972 and rs944722 at 17q11.2-q12, were associated with physician-diagnosed asthma.
This study identified 3 variants associated with FeNO, explaining 0.95% of the variance. Identification of functional SNPs and haplotypes in these regions might provide novel insight in the regulation of FeNO. This study highlights that both shared and distinct genetic factors affect FeNO and childhood asthma.
airway inflammation; asthma phenotypes; biomarker; genetics; genome-wide association study
The association between metabolic syndrome (MS) and bone health remains unclear. We aimed to study the association between MS and hip bone geometry (HBG), femoral neck bone mineral density (FN-BMD), and the risk of osteoporosis and incident fractures. Data of 2040 women and 1510 men participants in the third visit (1997–1999) of the Rotterdam Study (RSI-3), a prospective population based cohort, were available (mean follow-up 6.7 years). MS was defined according to the recent harmonized definition. HBG parameters were measured at the third round visit whereas FN-BMD was assessed at the third round and 5 years later. Incident fractures were identified from medical registry data. After correcting for age, body mass index (BMI), lifestyle factors and medication use, individuals with MS had lower bone width (β = -0.054, P = 0.003), lower cortical buckling ratio (β = -0.81, P = 0.003) and lower odds of having osteoporosis (odds ratio =0.56, P = 0.007) in women but not in men. Similarly, MS was associated with higher FN-BMD only in women (β = 0.028, P=0.001). In the analyses of MS components, the glucose component (unrelated to diabetes status) was positively associated with FN-BMD in both genders (β = 0.016, P = 0.01 for women and β = 0.022, P = 0.004 for men). In men, waist circumference was inversely associated with FN-BMD (β = -0.03, P = 0.004). No association was observed with fracture risk in either sex. In conclusion, women with MS had higher FN-BMD independent of BMI. The glucose component of MS was associated with high FN-BMD in both genders, highlighting the need to preserve glycemic control to prevent skeletal complications.
Recently, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) and Barrett's esophagus (BE) were identified; rs10419226 (CRTC1), rs11789015 (BARX1), rs2687201 (FOXP1), rs2178146 (FOXF1), rs3111601 (FOXF1), and rs9936833 (FOXF1). These findings indicate that genetic susceptibility could play a role in the initiation of EAC in BE patients. The aim of this study was to validate the association between these previously identified SNPs and the risk of EAC in an independent and large case–control study.
Six SNPs found to be associated with EAC and BE were genotyped by a multiplex SNaPshot analysis in 1071 EAC patients diagnosed and treated in the Netherlands. Allele frequencies were compared to a control group derived from the Rotterdam Study, a population-based prospective cohort study (n = 6206). Logistic regression analysis and meta-analysis were performed to calculate odds ratios (OR).
Rs10419226 (CRTC1) showed a significantly increased EAC risk for the minor allele (OR = 1.17, P = 0.001), and rs11789015 (BARX1) showed a significantly decreased risk for the minor allele (OR = 0.85, P = 0.004) in the logistic regression analysis. The meta-analysis of the original GWAS and the current study revealed an improved level of significance for rs10419226 (CRTC1) (OR = 1.18, P = 6.66 × 10–10) and rs11789015 (BARX1) (OR = 0.83, P = 1.13 × 10–8).
This independent and large Dutch case–control study confirms the association of rs10419226 (CRTC1) and rs11789015 (BARX1) with the risk of EAC. These findings suggest a contribution of the patient genetic make-up to the development of EAC and might contribute to gain more insight in the etiology of this cancer.
Barrett's esophagus; esophageal adenocarcinoma; single nucleotide polymorphisms
Obesity is highly heritable. Genetic variants showing robust associations with obesity traits have been identified through genome-wide association studies. We investigated whether a composite score representing healthy diet modifies associations of these variants with obesity traits. Totally, 32 body mass index (BMI)- and 14 waist–hip ratio (WHR)-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms were genotyped, and genetic risk scores (GRS) were calculated in 18 cohorts of European ancestry (n = 68 317). Diet score was calculated based on self-reported intakes of whole grains, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds (favorable) and red/processed meats, sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages and fried potatoes (unfavorable). Multivariable adjusted, linear regression within each cohort followed by inverse variance-weighted, fixed-effects meta-analysis was used to characterize: (a) associations of each GRS with BMI and BMI-adjusted WHR and (b) diet score modification of genetic associations with BMI and BMI-adjusted WHR. Nominally significant interactions (P = 0.006–0.04) were observed between the diet score and WHR-GRS (but not BMI-GRS), two WHR loci (GRB14 rs10195252; LYPLAL1 rs4846567) and two BMI loci (LRRN6C rs10968576; MTIF3 rs4771122), for the respective BMI-adjusted WHR or BMI outcomes. Although the magnitudes of these select interactions were small, our data indicated that associations between genetic predisposition and obesity traits were stronger with a healthier diet. Our findings generate interesting hypotheses; however, experimental and functional studies are needed to determine their clinical relevance.
In the International Visible Trait Genetics (VisiGen) Consortium, we investigated the genetics of human skin color by combining a series of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in a total of 17,262 Europeans with functional follow-up of discovered loci. Our GWAS provide the first genome-wide significant evidence for chromosome 20q11.22 harboring the ASIP gene being explicitly associated with skin color in Europeans. In addition, genomic loci at 5p13.2 (SLC45A2), 6p25.3 (IRF4), 15q13.1 (HERC2/OCA2), and 16q24.3 (MC1R) were confirmed to be involved in skin coloration in Europeans. In follow-up gene expression and regulation studies of 22 genes in 20q11.22, we highlighted two novel genes EIF2S2 and GSS, serving as competing functional candidates in this region and providing future research lines. A genetically inferred skin color score obtained from the 9 top-associated SNPs from 9 genes in 940 worldwide samples (HGDP-CEPH) showed a clear gradual pattern in Western Eurasians similar to the distribution of physical skin color, suggesting the used 9 SNPs as suitable markers for DNA prediction of skin color in Europeans and neighboring populations, relevant in future forensic and anthropological
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00439-015-1559-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The functional consequences of trait associated SNPs are often investigated using expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) mapping. While trait-associated variants may operate in a cell-type specific manner, eQTL datasets for such cell-types may not always be available. We performed a genome-environment interaction (GxE) meta-analysis on data from 5,683 samples to infer the cell type specificity of whole blood cis-eQTLs. We demonstrate that this method is able to predict neutrophil and lymphocyte specific cis-eQTLs and replicate these predictions in independent cell-type specific datasets. Finally, we show that SNPs associated with Crohn’s disease preferentially affect gene expression within neutrophils, including the archetypal NOD2 locus.
Many variants in the genome, including variants associated with disease, affect the expression of genes. These so-called expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) can be used to gain insight in the downstream consequences of disease. While it has been shown that many disease-associated variants alter gene expression in a cell-type dependent manner, eQTL datasets for specific cell types may not always be available and their sample size is often limited. We present a method that is able to detect cell type specific effects within eQTL datasets that have been generated from whole tissues (which may be composed of many cell types), in our case whole blood. By combining numerous whole blood datasets through meta-analysis, we show that we are able to detect eQTL effects that are specific for neutrophils and lymphocytes (two blood cell types). Additionally, we show that the variants associated with some diseases may preferentially alter the gene expression in one of these cell types. We conclude that our method is an alternative method to detect cell type specific eQTL effects, that may complement generating cell type specific eQTL datasets and that may be applied on other cell types and tissues as well.
Background and objectives
Chronic widespread pain (CWP) is a common disorder affecting ∼10% of the general population and has an estimated heritability of 48–52%. In the first large-scale genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis, we aimed to identify common genetic variants associated with CWP.
We conducted a GWAS meta-analysis in 1308 female CWP cases and 5791 controls of European descent, and replicated the effects of the genetic variants with suggestive evidence for association in 1480 CWP cases and 7989 controls. Subsequently, we studied gene expression levels of the nearest genes in two chronic inflammatory pain mouse models, and examined 92 genetic variants previously described associated with pain.
The minor C-allele of rs13361160 on chromosome 5p15.2, located upstream of chaperonin-containing-TCP1-complex-5 gene (CCT5) and downstream of FAM173B, was found to be associated with a 30% higher risk of CWP (minor allele frequency=43%; OR=1.30, 95% CI 1.19 to 1.42, p=1.2×10−8). Combined with the replication, we observed a slightly attenuated OR of 1.17 (95% CI 1.10 to 1.24, p=4.7×10−7) with moderate heterogeneity (I2=28.4%). However, in a sensitivity analysis that only allowed studies with joint-specific pain, the combined association was genome-wide significant (OR=1.23, 95% CI 1.14 to 1.32, p=3.4×10−8, I2=0%). Expression levels of Cct5 and Fam173b in mice with inflammatory pain were higher in the lumbar spinal cord, not in the lumbar dorsal root ganglions, compared to mice without pain. None of the 92 genetic variants previously described were significantly associated with pain (p>7.7×10−4).
We identified a common genetic variant on chromosome 5p15.2 associated with joint-specific CWP in humans. This work suggests that CCT5 and FAM173B are promising targets in the regulation of pain.
Gene Polymorphism; Fibromyalgis/Pain Syndromes; Epidemiology
Age at menarche is a marker of timing of puberty in females. It varies widely between individuals, is a heritable trait and is associated with risks for obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and all-cause mortality1. Studies of rare human disorders of puberty and animal models point to a complex hypothalamic-pituitary-hormonal regulation2,3, but the mechanisms that determine pubertal timing and underlie its links to disease risk remain unclear. Here, using genome-wide and custom-genotyping arrays in up to 182,416 women of European descent from 57 studies, we found robust evidence (P<5×10−8) for 123 signals at 106 genomic loci associated with age at menarche. Many loci were associated with other pubertal traits in both sexes, and there was substantial overlap with genes implicated in body mass index and various diseases, including rare disorders of puberty. Menarche signals were enriched in imprinted regions, with three loci (DLK1/WDR25, MKRN3/MAGEL2 and KCNK9) demonstrating parent-of-origin specific associations concordant with known parental expression patterns. Pathway analyses implicated nuclear hormone receptors, particularly retinoic acid and gamma-aminobutyric acid-B2 receptor signaling, among novel mechanisms that regulate pubertal timing in humans. Our findings suggest a genetic architecture involving at least hundreds of common variants in the coordinated timing of the pubertal transition.
Aiming to identify novel genetic variants and to confirm previously identified genetic variants associated with bone mineral density (BMD), we conducted a three-stage genome-wide association (GWA) meta-analysis in 27 061 study subjects. Stage 1 meta-analyzed seven GWA samples and 11 140 subjects for BMDs at the lumbar spine, hip and femoral neck, followed by a Stage 2 in silico replication of 33 SNPs in 9258 subjects, and by a Stage 3 de novo validation of three SNPs in 6663 subjects. Combining evidence from all the stages, we have identified two novel loci that have not been reported previously at the genome-wide significance (GWS; 5.0 × 10−8) level: 14q24.2 (rs227425, P-value 3.98 × 10−13, SMOC1) in the combined sample of males and females and 21q22.13 (rs170183, P-value 4.15 × 10−9, CLDN14) in the female-specific sample. The two newly identified SNPs were also significant in the GEnetic Factors for OSteoporosis consortium (GEFOS, n = 32 960) summary results. We have also independently confirmed 13 previously reported loci at the GWS level: 1p36.12 (ZBTB40), 1p31.3 (GPR177), 4p16.3 (FGFRL1), 4q22.1 (MEPE), 5q14.3 (MEF2C), 6q25.1 (C6orf97, ESR1), 7q21.3 (FLJ42280, SHFM1), 7q31.31 (FAM3C, WNT16), 8q24.12 (TNFRSF11B), 11p15.3 (SOX6), 11q13.4 (LRP5), 13q14.11 (AKAP11) and 16q24 (FOXL1). Gene expression analysis in osteogenic cells implied potential functional association of the two candidate genes (SMOC1 and CLDN14) in bone metabolism. Our findings independently confirm previously identified biological pathways underlying bone metabolism and contribute to the discovery of novel pathways, thus providing valuable insights into the intervention and treatment of osteoporosis.
Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) is an important risk factor in developing glaucoma and IOP variability may herald glaucomatous development or progression. We report the results of a genome-wide association study meta-analysis of 18 population cohorts from the International Glaucoma Genetics Consortium (IGGC), comprising 35,296 multiethnic participants for IOP. We confirm genetic association of known loci for IOP and primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) and identify four new IOP loci located on chromosome 3q25.31 within the FNDC3B gene (p=4.19×10−08 for rs6445055), two on chromosome 9 (p=2.80×10−11 for rs2472493 near ABCA1 and p=6.39×10−11 for rs8176693 within ABO) and one on chromosome 11p11.2 (best p=1.04×10−11 for rs747782). Separate meta-analyses of four independent POAG cohorts, totaling 4,284 cases and 95,560 controls, show that three of these IOP loci are also associated with POAG.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have uncovered numerous genetic variants (SNPs) that are associated with blood pressure (BP). Genetic variants may lead to BP changes by acting on intermediate molecular phenotypes such as coded protein sequence or gene expression, which in turn affect BP variability. Therefore, characterizing genes whose expression is associated with BP may reveal cellular processes involved in BP regulation and uncover how transcripts mediate genetic and environmental effects on BP variability. A meta-analysis of results from six studies of global gene expression profiles of BP and hypertension in whole blood was performed in 7017 individuals who were not receiving antihypertensive drug treatment. We identified 34 genes that were differentially expressed in relation to BP (Bonferroni-corrected p<0.05). Among these genes, FOS and PTGS2 have been previously reported to be involved in BP-related processes; the others are novel. The top BP signature genes in aggregate explain 5%–9% of inter-individual variance in BP. Of note, rs3184504 in SH2B3, which was also reported in GWAS to be associated with BP, was found to be a trans regulator of the expression of 6 of the transcripts we found to be associated with BP (FOS, MYADM, PP1R15A, TAGAP, S100A10, and FGBP2). Gene set enrichment analysis suggested that the BP-related global gene expression changes include genes involved in inflammatory response and apoptosis pathways. Our study provides new insights into molecular mechanisms underlying BP regulation, and suggests novel transcriptomic markers for the treatment and prevention of hypertension.
The focus of blood pressure (BP) GWAS has been the identification of common DNA sequence variants associated with the phenotype; this approach provides only one dimension of molecular information about BP. While it is a critical dimension, analyzing DNA variation alone is not sufficient for achieving an understanding of the multidimensional complexity of BP physiology. The top loci identified by GWAS explain only about 1 percent of inter-individual BP variability. In this study, we performed a meta-analysis of gene expression profiles in relation to BP and hypertension in 7017 individuals from six studies. We identified 34 differentially expressed genes for BP, and discovered that the top BP signature genes explain 5%–9% of BP variability. We further linked BP gene expression signature genes with BP GWAS results by integrating expression associated SNPs (eSNPs) and discovered that one of the top BP loci from GWAS, rs3184504 in SH2B3, is a trans regulator of expression of 6 of the top 34 BP signature genes. Our study, in conjunction with prior GWAS, provides a deeper understanding of the molecular and genetic basis of BP regulation, and identifies several potential targets and pathways for the treatment and prevention of hypertension and its sequelae.
Multiple studies have identified single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are associated with coronary heart disease (CHD). We examined whether SNPs selected based on predefined criteria will improve CHD risk prediction when added to traditional risk factors (TRFs).
SNPs were selected from the literature based on association with CHD, lack of association with a known CHD risk factor, and successful replication. A genetic risk score (GRS) was constructed based on these SNPs. Cox proportional hazards model was used to calculate CHD risk based on the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) and Framingham CHD risk scores with and without the GRS.
The GRS was associated with risk for CHD (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.10; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.07–1.13). Addition of the GRS to the ARIC risk score significantly improved discrimination, reclassification, and calibration beyond that afforded by TRFs alone in non-Hispanic whites in the ARIC study. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) increased from 0.742 to 0.749 (Δ= 0.007; 95% CI, 0.004–0.013), and the net reclassification index (NRI) was 6.3%. Although the risk estimates for CHD in the Framingham Offspring (HR = 1.12; 95% CI: 1.10–1.14) and Rotterdam (HR = 1.08; 95% CI: 1.02–1.14) Studies were significantly improved by adding the GRS to TRFs, improvements in AUC and NRI were modest.
Addition of a GRS based on direct associations with CHD to TRFs significantly improved discrimination and reclassification in white participants of the ARIC Study, with no significant improvement in the Rotterdam and Framingham Offspring Studies.
Genetics; Risk factors; Coronary disease
Pleiotropic genetic variants have independent effects on different phenotypes. C-reactive protein (CRP) is associated with several cardiometabolic phenotypes. Shared genetic backgrounds may partially underlie these associations. We conducted a genome-wide analysis to identify the shared genetic background of inflammation and cardiometabolic phenotypes using published genome-wide association studies (GWAS). We also evaluated whether the pleiotropic effects of such loci were biological or mediated in nature. First, we examined whether 283 common variants identified for 10 cardiometabolic phenotypes in GWAS are associated with CRP level. Second, we tested whether 18 variants identified for serum CRP are associated with 10 cardiometabolic phenotypes. We used a Bonferroni corrected p-value of 1.1×10-04 (0.05/463) as a threshold of significance. We evaluated the independent pleiotropic effect on both phenotypes using individual level data from the Women Genome Health Study. Evaluating the genetic overlap between inflammation and cardiometabolic phenotypes, we found 13 pleiotropic regions. Additional analyses showed that 6 regions (APOC1, HNF1A, IL6R, PPP1R3B, HNF4A and IL1F10) appeared to have a pleiotropic effect on CRP independent of the effects on the cardiometabolic phenotypes. These included loci where individuals carrying the risk allele for CRP encounter higher lipid levels and risk of type 2 diabetes. In addition, 5 regions (GCKR, PABPC4, BCL7B, FTO and TMEM18) had an effect on CRP largely mediated through the cardiometabolic phenotypes. In conclusion, our results show genetic pleiotropy among inflammation and cardiometabolic phenotypes. In addition to reverse causation, our data suggests that pleiotropic genetic variants partially underlie the association between CRP and cardiometabolic phenotypes.
Fasting glucose and insulin are intermediate traits for type 2 diabetes. Here we explore the role of coding variation on these traits by analysis of variants on the HumanExome BeadChip in 60,564 non-diabetic individuals and in 16,491 T2D cases and 81,877 controls. We identify a novel association of a low-frequency nonsynonymous SNV in GLP1R (A316T; rs10305492; MAF=1.4%) with lower FG (β=−0.09±0.01 mmol l−1, P=3.4 × 10−12), T2D risk (OR[95%CI]=0.86[0.76–0.96], P=0.010), early insulin secretion (β=−0.07±0.035 pmolinsulin mmolglucose−1, P=0.048), but higher 2-h glucose (β=0.16±0.05 mmol l−1, P=4.3 × 10−4). We identify a gene-based association with FG at G6PC2 (pSKAT=6.8 × 10−6) driven by four rare protein-coding SNVs (H177Y, Y207S, R283X and S324P). We identify rs651007 (MAF=20%) in the first intron of ABO at the putative promoter of an antisense lncRNA, associating with higher FG (β=0.02±0.004 mmol l−1, P=1.3 × 10−8). Our approach identifies novel coding variant associations and extends the allelic spectrum of variation underlying diabetes-related quantitative traits and T2D susceptibility.
Both rare and common variants contribute to the aetiology of complex traits such as type 2 diabetes (T2D). Here, the authors examine the effect of coding variation on glycaemic traits and T2D, and identify low-frequency variation in GLP1R significantly associated with these traits.
High plasma homocysteine (Hcy) levels are associated with increased osteoporotic fracture incidence. However, the mechanism remains unclear. We investigated the effect of Hcy-lowering vitamin B12 and folic acid treatment on bone mineral density (BMD) and calcaneal quantitative ultrasound (QUS) parameters. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial included participants aged ≥65 years with plasma Hcy levels between 12 and 50 µmol/L. The intervention comprised 2-year supplementation with either a combination of 500 µg B12, 400 µg folic acid, and 600 IU vitamin D or placebo with 600 IU vitamin D only. In total, 1111 participants underwent repeated dual-energy X-ray assessment and 1165 participants underwent QUS. Femoral neck (FN) BMD, lumbar spine (LS) BMD, calcaneal broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA), and calcaneal speed of sound (SOS) were assessed. After 2 years, FN-BMD and BUA had significantly decreased, while LS-BMD significantly increased (all p < 0.01) and SOS did not change in either treatment arm. No statistically significant differences between the intervention and placebo group were present for FN-BMD (p = 0.24), LS-BMD (p = 0.16), SOS (p = 0.67), and BUA (p = 0.96). However, exploratory subgroup analyses revealed a small positive effect of the intervention on BUA at follow-up among compliant persons >80 years (estimated marginal mean 64.4 dB/MHz for the intervention group and 61.0 dB/MHz for the placebo group, p = 0.04 for difference). In conclusion, this study showed no overall effect of treatment with vitamin B12 and folic acid on BMD or QUS parameters in elderly, mildly hyperhomocysteinemic persons, but suggests a small beneficial effect on BUA in persons >80 years who were compliant in taking the supplement.
DXA; QUS; Vitamin B12; Folic acid; Homocysteine
The QT interval, an electrocardiographic measure reflecting myocardial repolarization, is a heritable trait. QT prolongation is a risk factor for ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death (SCD) and could indicate the presence of the potentially lethal Mendelian Long QT Syndrome (LQTS). Using a genome-wide association and replication study in up to 100,000 individuals we identified 35 common variant QT interval loci, that collectively explain ∼8-10% of QT variation and highlight the importance of calcium regulation in myocardial repolarization. Rare variant analysis of 6 novel QT loci in 298 unrelated LQTS probands identified coding variants not found in controls but of uncertain causality and therefore requiring validation. Several newly identified loci encode for proteins that physically interact with other recognized repolarization proteins. Our integration of common variant association, expression and orthogonal protein-protein interaction screens provides new insights into cardiac electrophysiology and identifies novel candidate genes for ventricular arrhythmias, LQTS,and SCD.
genome-wide association study; QT interval; Long QT Syndrome; sudden cardiac death; myocardial repolarization; arrhythmias
PAPSS2 (PAPS synthase 2) provides the universal sulfate donor PAPS (3′-phospho-adenosine-5′-phosphosulfate) to all human sulfotransferases, including SULT2A1, responsible for sulfation of the crucial androgen precursor dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Impaired DHEA sulfation is thought to increase the conversion of DHEA toward active androgens, a proposition supported by the previous report of a girl with inactivating PAPSS2 mutations who presented with low serum DHEA sulfate and androgen excess, clinically manifesting with premature pubarche and early-onset polycystic ovary syndrome.
Patients and Methods:
We investigated a family harboring two novel PAPSS2 mutations, including two compound heterozygous brothers presenting with disproportionate short stature, low serum DHEA sulfate, but normal serum androgens. Patients and parents underwent a DHEA challenge test comprising frequent blood sampling and urine collection before and after 100 mg DHEA orally, with subsequent analysis of DHEA sulfation and androgen metabolism by mass spectrometry. The functional impact of the mutations was investigated in silico and in vitro.
We identified a novel PAPSS2 frameshift mutation, c.1371del, p.W462Cfs*3, resulting in complete disruption, and a novel missense mutation, c.809G>A, p.G270D, causing partial disruption of DHEA sulfation. Both patients and their mother, who was heterozygous for p.W462Cfs*3, showed increased 5α-reductase activity at baseline and significantly increased production of active androgens after DHEA intake. The mother had a history of oligomenorrhea and chronic anovulation that required clomiphene for ovulation induction.
We provide direct in vivo evidence for the significant functional impact of mutant PAPSS2 on DHEA sulfation and androgen activation. Heterozygosity for PAPSS2 mutations can be associated with a phenotype resembling polycystic ovary syndrome.
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.