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1.  Systemic Effects of Wood Smoke in a Short-Term Experimental Exposure Study of Atopic Volunteers 
To investigate whether short-term systemic effects of wood smoke occurred in atopic subjects after experimental wood smoke exposures.
A double-blind climate chamber study was conducted on 20 healthy atopic subjects with exposures to filtered air and wood smoke. Pneumoproteins, coagulation and adhesion factors, and cytokines were measured. Heart rate was monitored with pulse monitors. Data were analyzed with mixed models.
Few differences in the outcomes were observed. Plasma tissue factor remained elevated during filtered air exposure (P = 0.002). P-selectin declined independent of exposure (P = 0.0006). Interleukin-6 increased after filtered air (P = 0.03).
The study confirmed previous observations among nonatopics of limited changes after a 3-hour wood smoke exposure.
PMCID: PMC3921260  PMID: 24451613
2.  Systemic and Local Inflammatory Response in Women with Preterm Prelabor Rupture of Membranes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85277.
To evaluate the inflammatory pattern in maternal circulation, amniotic cavity, cervix and vagina from women with preterm prelabor rupture of membranes (PPROM) considering the occurrence of microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity (MIAC).
A prospective study was performed in 58 women with PPROM before 34+0 weeks of gestational age. Twenty-six proteins were analyzed by a multiple immunoassay in samples of amniotic fluid, serum, cervix and vagina. Association of an inflammatory response in the invasive and non-invasive samples with MIAC was investigated.
The rate of MIAC was 36.2% (21/58). Both amniotic fluid IL-6 and cervical C-reactive protein (CRP) showed to be independent predictors of MIAC. A cut-off level of cervical CRP≥1836 pg/mL showed a detection rate of 75%, false positive rate of 19% and positive and negative predictive values to predict MIAC of 67% and 87%, respectively. There were no independent biomarkers of MIAC either in the serum or vaginal compartment.
A cervical inflammatory response mediated by CRP was observed in PPROM women with MIAC. Evaluation of serum or vaginal samples did not add valuable information regarding the outcome evaluated.
PMCID: PMC3897420  PMID: 24465522
3.  Vitamin D Status during Pregnancy and the Risk of Subsequent Postpartum Depression: A Case-Control Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80686.
Epidemiological studies have provided evidence of an association between vitamin D insufficiency and depression and other mood disorders, and a role for vitamin D in various brain functions has been suggested. We hypothesized that low vitamin D status during pregnancy might increase the risk of postpartum depression (PPD). The objective of the study was thus to determine whether low vitamin D status during pregnancy was associated with postpartum depression. In a case-control study nested in the Danish National Birth Cohort, we measured late pregnancy serum concentrations of 25[OH]D3 in 605 women with PPD and 875 controls. Odds ratios [OR) for PPD were calculated for six levels of 25[OH]D3. Overall, we found no association between vitamin D concentrations and risk of PPD (p = 0.08). Compared with women with vitamin D concentrations between 50 and 79 nmol/L, the adjusted odds ratios for PPD were 1.35 (95% CI: 0.64; 2.85), 0.83 (CI: 0.50; 1.39) and 1.13 (CI: 0.84; 1.51) among women with vitamin D concentrations < 15 nmol/L, 15–24 nmol/L and 25–49 nmol/L, respectively, and 1.53 (CI: 1.04; 2.26) and 1.89 (CI: 1.06; 3.37) among women with vitamin D concentrations of 80–99 nmol/L and ≥ 100 nmol/L, respectively. In an additional analysis among women with sufficient vitamin D (≥ 50 nmol/L), we observed a significant positive association between vitamin D concentrations and PPD. Our results did not support an association between low maternal vitamin D concentrations during pregnancy and risk of PPD. Instead, an increased risk of PPD was found among women with the highest vitamin D concentrations.
PMCID: PMC3842313  PMID: 24312237
4.  Cytokines and Post-hemorrhagic Ventricular Dilation in Premature Infants 
American journal of perinatology  2012;29(9):731-740.
To determine in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants if elevated blood inteferon-γ (IFN-γ), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-18, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) are associated with need for shunt following severe intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), or with ventricular dilation following milder grades /no IVH.
Study design
Whole blood cytokines were measured on postnatal days 1, 3, 7, 14, and 21. Maximum IVH grade in the first 28d, and shunt surgery or ventricular dilation on subsequent ultrasound (28d -36 w PMA) were determined.
Of 902 infants in the NICHD NRN Cytokine study who survived to 36w/discharge, 3.1% had shunts. Of the 12% of infants with severe (Gr III–IV) IVH, 26% had a shunt associated with elevated TNF-α. None of the infants without IVH (69%) or with Gr I (12%) or II (7%) IVH received shunts, but 8.4% developed ventricular dilation, associated with lower IFN-γ and higher IL-18.
Statistically significant but clinically non-discriminatory alterations in blood cytokines were noted in infants with severe IVH who received shunts and in those without severe IVH who developed ventricular dilation. Blood cytokines are likely associated with brain injury but may not be clinically useful as biomarkers for white matter damage.
PMCID: PMC3619127  PMID: 22773292
Infant; premature; Cytokines; Hydrocephalus; Intraventricular hemorrhage; Intracranial hemorrhage
5.  Genome-wide Association Analysis Identifies 14 New Risk Loci for Schizophrenia 
Nature genetics  2013;45(10):10.1038/ng.2742.
Schizophrenia is a heritable disorder with substantial public health impact. We conducted a multi-stage genome-wide association study (GWAS) for schizophrenia beginning with a Swedish national sample (5,001 cases, 6,243 controls) followed by meta-analysis with prior schizophrenia GWAS (8,832 cases, 12,067 controls) and finally by replication of SNPs in 168 genomic regions in independent samples (7,413 cases, 19,762 controls, and 581 trios). In total, 22 regions met genome-wide significance (14 novel and one previously implicated in bipolar disorder). The results strongly implicate calcium signaling in the etiology of schizophrenia, and include genome-wide significant results for CACNA1C and CACNB2 whose protein products interact. We estimate that ∼8,300 independent and predominantly common SNPs contribute to risk for schizophrenia and that these collectively account for most of its heritability. Common genetic variation plays an important role in the etiology of schizophrenia, and larger studies will allow more detailed understanding of this devastating disorder.
PMCID: PMC3827979  PMID: 23974872
schizophrenia; genetics; genome-wide association; meta-analysis
7.  Cytokine Profiles of Preterm Neonates with Fungal and Bacterial Sepsis 
Pediatric research  2012;72(2):212-220.
Information on cytokine profiles in fungal sepsis (FS), an important cause of mortality in extremely low birthweight infants (ELBW), is lacking. We hypothesized that cytokine profiles in the 1st 21 days of life in ELBW with FS differ from those with bacterial sepsis (BS) or no sepsis (NS).
In a secondary analyses of the NICHD Cytokine study, three groups were defined - FS (≥1 episode of FS), BS (≥1 episode of BS without FS), and NS. Association between 11 cytokines assayed in dried blood spots obtained on days 0-1, 3±1, 7±2, 14±3, and 21±3 and sepsis group was explored.
Of 1066 infants, 89 had FS and 368 had BS. Compared to BS, FS was more likely to be associated with lower birthweight, vaginal delivery, patent ductus arteriosus, postnatal steroids, multiple central lines, longer respiratory support and hospital stay, and higher mortality (p<0.05). Analyses controlling for covariates showed significant group differences over time for IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-18, TGF-β and TNF-α (p<0.05).
Significant differences in profiles for IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-18, TGF-β and TNF-α in FS, BS or NS in this hypothesis-generating secondary study require validation in rigorously designed prospective studies and may have implications for diagnosis and treatment.
PMCID: PMC3629907  PMID: 22562288
8.  Testosterone therapy increased muscle mass and lipid oxidation in aging men 
Age  2011;34(1):145-156.
The indication for testosterone therapy in aging hypogonadal men without hypothalamic, pituitary, or testicular disease remains to be elucidated. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of testosterone therapy on insulin sensitivity, substrate metabolism, body composition, and lipids in aging men with low normal bioavailable testosterone levels using a predefined cutoff level for bioavailable testosterone. A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study of testosterone treatment (gel) was done on 38 men, aged 60–78 years, with bioavailable testosterone <7.3 nmol/l and a waist circumference >94 cm. Insulin-stimulated glucose disposal (Rd) and substrate oxidation were assessed by euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamps combined with indirect calorimetry. Lean body mass (LBM) and total fat mass (TFM) were measured by dual x-ray absorptiometry, and serum total testosterone was measured by tandem mass spectrometry. Bioavailable testosterone was calculated. Coefficients (b) represent the placebo-controlled mean effect of intervention. LBM (b = 1.9 kg, p = 0.003) increased while HDL–cholesterol (b = −0.12 mmol/l, p = 0.043) and TFM decreased (b = −1.2 kg, p = 0.038) in the testosterone group compared to placebo. Basal lipid oxidation (b = 5.65 mg/min/m2, p = 0.045) increased and basal glucose oxidation (b = −9.71 mg/min/m2, p = 0.046) decreased in response to testosterone therapy even when corrected for changes in LBM. No significant changes in insulin-stimulated Rd was observed (b = −0.01mg/min/m2, p = 0.92). Testosterone therapy increased muscle mass and lipid oxidation in aging men with low normal bioavailable testosterone levels; however, our data did not support an effect of testosterone on whole-body insulin sensitivity using the euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp technique.
PMCID: PMC3260358  PMID: 21347608
Testosterone therapy; Insulin sensitivity; Substrate oxidation; Aging men
9.  Cytokines and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants 
The Journal of pediatrics  2011;159(6):919-925.e3.
To determine if selected pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines/mediators of inflammation reported to be related to development of cerebral palsy predict neurodevelopmental outcome in extremely low birth weight infants.
Study design
Infants with birth weights ≤ 1000 g (n=1067) had blood samples collected at birth and on days 3±1, 7±1, 14±3, and 21±3 to examine the association between cytokines and neurodevelopmental outcomes. The analyses were focused on five cytokines (IL-1β, IL-8, TNF-α, RANTES, and IL-2) reported to be most predictive of CP in term and late preterm infants.
IL-8 was higher on days 0–4 and subsequently in infants who developed CP compared with infants who did not develop CP in both unadjusted and adjusted analyses. Other cytokines (IL-12, IL-17, TNF-β, SIL-rα, MIP-1β) were found to be altered on days 0–4 in infants who developed CP.
CP in former preterm infants may, in part, have a late perinatal and/or early neonatal inflammatory origin.
PMCID: PMC3215787  PMID: 21798559
10.  Intra-Amniotic Inflammatory Response in Subgroups of Women with Preterm Prelabor Rupture of the Membranes 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43677.
To evaluate the influence of microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity (MIAC) and histological chorioamnionitis (HCA) on the magnitude of intra-amniotic inflammatory response in preterm prelabor rupture of membranes (PPROM).
Methodology/Principal Finding
A prospective cohort study was performed in 107 women with PPROM between 23.0 and 36.6 weeks of gestational age. Twenty-six proteins were assayed by multiple immunoassay in amniotic fluid. The policy for PPROM in Czech Republic is active, and 90% of the women were delivered within 96 hours of membrane rupture. Histopathological placental findings were evaluated based on the Salafia classification. Data were analyzed in four subgroups of population according to the presence of MIAC and/or HCA. Results were stratified by gestational age at PPROM (< or ≥34.0 weeks). The rates of MIAC and HCA were 44% and 57%, respectively. Regardless of gestational age at PPROM, intra-amniotic inflammatory response was higher when MIAC and HCA were both present. There were no differences in the intra-amniotic inflammatory response between women with MIAC or HCA alone and women without infection.
A higher intra-amniotic inflammatory response was identified when both HCA and MIAC were detected.
PMCID: PMC3423392  PMID: 22916296
11.  Common Variant at 16p11.2 Conferring Risk of Psychosis 
Steinberg, Stacy | de Jong, Simone | Mattheisen, Manuel | Costas, Javier | Demontis, Ditte | Jamain, Stéphane | Pietiläinen, Olli P H | Lin, Kuang | Papiol, Sergi | Huttenlocher, Johanna | Sigurdsson, Engilbert | Vassos, Evangelos | Giegling, Ina | Breuer, René | Fraser, Gillian | Walker, Nicholas | Melle, Ingrid | Djurovic, Srdjan | Agartz, Ingrid | Tuulio-Henriksson, Annamari | Suvisaari, Jaana | Lönnqvist, Jouko | Paunio, Tiina | Olsen, Line | Hansen, Thomas | Ingason, Andres | Pirinen, Matti | Strengman, Eric | Hougaard, David M | Ørntoft, Torben | Didriksen, Michael | Hollegaard, Mads V | Nordentoft, Merete | Abramova, Lilia | Kaleda, Vasily | Arrojo, Manuel | Sanjuán, Julio | Arango, Celso | Etain, Bruno | Bellivier, Frank | Méary, Alexandre | Schürhoff, Franck | Szoke, Andrei | Ribolsi, Michele | Magni, Valentina | Siracusano, Alberto | Sperling, Swetlana | Rossner, Moritz | Christiansen, Claus | Kiemeney, Lambertus A | Franke, Barbara | van den Berg, Leonard H | Veldink, Jan | Curran, Sarah | Bolton, Patrick | Poot, Martin | Staal, Wouter | Rehnstrom, Karola | Kilpinen, Helena | Freitag, Christine M | Meyer, Jobst | Magnusson, Pall | Saemundsen, Evald | Martsenkovsky, Igor | Bikshaieva, Iana | Martsenkovska, Inna | Vashchenko, Olesya | Raleva, Marija | Paketchieva, Kamka | Stefanovski, Branislav | Durmishi, Naser | Milovancevic, Milica Pejovic | Tosevski, Dusica Lecic | Silagadze, Teimuraz | Naneishvili, Nino | Mikeladze, Nina | Surguladze, Simon | Vincent, John B | Farmer, Anne | Mitchell, Philip B | Wright, Adam | Schofield, Peter R | Fullerton, Janice M | Montgomery, Grant W | Martin, Nicholas G | Rubino, I Alex | van Winkel, Ruud | Kenis, Gunter | De Hert, Marc | Réthelyi, János M | Bitter, István | Terenius, Lars | Jönsson, Erik G | Bakker, Steven | van Os, Jim | Jablensky, Assen | Leboyer, Marion | Bramon, Elvira | Powell, John | Murray, Robin | Corvin, Aiden | Gill, Michael | Morris, Derek | O’Neill, F Anthony | Kendler, Ken | Riley, Brien | Craddock, Nick | Owen, Michael J | O’Donovan, Michael C | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Kong, Augustine | Ehrenreich, Hannelore | Carracedo, Angel | Golimbet, Vera | Andreassen, Ole A | Børglum, Anders D | Mors, Ole | Mortensen, Preben B | Werge, Thomas | Ophoff, Roel A | Nöthen, Markus M | Rietschel, Marcella | Cichon, Sven | Ruggeri, Mirella | Tosato, Sarah | Palotie, Aarno | St Clair, David | Rujescu, Dan | Collier, David A | Stefansson, Hreinn | Stefansson, Kari
Molecular psychiatry  2012;19(1):10.1038/mp.2012.157.
Epidemiological and genetic data support the notion that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder share genetic risk factors. In our previous genome-wide association (GWA) study, meta-analysis and follow-up (totaling as many as 18,206 cases and 42,536 controls), we identified four loci showing genome-wide significant association with schizophrenia. Here we consider a mixed schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (psychosis) phenotype (addition of 7,469 bipolar disorder cases, 1,535 schizophrenia cases, 333 other psychosis cases, 808 unaffected family members and 46,160 controls). Combined analysis reveals a novel variant at 16p11.2 showing genome-wide significant association (rs4583255[T], OR = 1.08, P = 6.6 × 10−11). The new variant is located within a 593 kb region that substantially increases risk of psychosis when duplicated. In line with the association of the duplication with reduced body mass index (BMI), rs4583255[T] is also associated with lower BMI (P = 0.0039 in the public GIANT consortium dataset; P = 0.00047 in 22,651 additional Icelanders).
PMCID: PMC3872086  PMID: 23164818
schizophrenia; bipolar disorder; association; 16p11.2; cross-disorder
12.  Phthalates and Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid in Human Amniotic Fluid: Temporal Trends and Timing of Amniocentesis in Pregnancy 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2012;120(6):897-903.
Background: Measures of prenatal environmental exposures are important, and amniotic fluid levels may directly reflect fetal exposures during hypothesized windows of vulnerability.
Objectives: We aimed to detect various phthalate metabolites and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) in human amniotic fluid, to study temporal exposure trends, and to estimate potential associations with gestational week of amniocentesis and maternal age and parity at amniocentesis.
Methods: We studied 300 randomly selected second-trimester amniotic fluid samples from a Danish pregnancy-screening biobank covering 1980 through 1996. We used only samples from male offspring pregnancies. We assayed the environmental pollutants by liquid chromatography/triple quadrupole mass spectrometry and analyzed data using generalized linear regression models.
Results: We detected the di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) metabolite mono(2-ethyl-5-carboxypentyl) phthalate (5cx-MEPP) at a median concentration of 0.27 ng/mL [interquartile range (IQR): 0.20–0.37 ng/mL], the diisononyl phthalate (DiNP) metabolite mono(4-methyl-7-carboxyheptyl) phthalate (7cx-MMeHP) at 0.07 ng/mL (IQR: 0.05–0.11 ng/mL), and PFOS at 1.1 ng/mL (IQR: 0.66–1.60 ng/mL). An increase of 1 calendar year was associated with 3.5% lower [95% confidence interval (CI): –4.8%, –2.1%] 5cx-MEPP levels and with 7.1% higher (95% CI: 5.3%, 9.0%) 7cx-MMeHP levels. For each later gestational week of amniocentesis, 5cx-MEPP was 9.9% higher (95% CI: 4.8%, 15.2%), 7cx-MMeHP was 8.6% higher (95: CI: 2.7%, 14.9%), and PFOS was 9.4% higher (95: CI: 3.3%, 15.9%). We observed no associations with maternal age or parity.
Conclusions: Measured metabolite levels appeared to parallel decreasing DEHP exposure and increasing DiNP exposure during the study period. The environmental pollutant levels were positively associated with later gestational age at amniocentesis during pregnancy weeks 12–22.
PMCID: PMC3385442  PMID: 22398305
amniocentesis; amniotic fluid; biobank; biomonitoring; perfluorinated compounds; phthalates; pregnancy; temporal trend
13.  T cell cytokines and the risk of blood stream infection in extremely low birth weight infants 
Cytokine  2010;53(2):249-255.
Cytokines mediate the host immune response to infectious microorganisms. The objective of this study was to determine whether immune regulatory interleukins (IL-4, IL-5, IL-6 and IL-10) and inflammatory cytokines (Interferon- [INF- ], tumor necrosis factor- [TNF- ], IL-2, and IL-17) are associated with an increased risk of developing blood stream bacterial/fungal infection (BSI) in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants. ELBW infants from 17 NICHD Neonatal Research Network centers without early onset sepsis were studied. Cytokines were measured from blood on days 1, 3, 7, 14, and 21 after birth. 996 ELBW infants contributed a minimum of 4080 unique measurements for each cytokine during the 5 sampling periods. Infants with BSI had lower levels of the inflammatory cytokines IL-17 (P=0.01), and higher levels of the regulatory cytokines, IL-6 (P=0.01) and IL-10 (P<0.001). Higher levels of regulatory cytokines relative to pro-inflammatory cytokines were associated with increased risk of BSI even after adjusting for confounding variables. In ELBW infants, the ratio of immune regulatory cytokines to inflammatory cytokines was associated with development of BSI. Altered maturation of regulatory and inflammatory cytokines may increase the risk of serious infection in this population.
PMCID: PMC3042892  PMID: 21145756
14.  Whole-genome amplified DNA from stored dried blood spots is reliable in high resolution melting curve and sequencing analysis 
BMC Medical Genetics  2011;12:22.
The use of dried blood spots (DBS) samples in genomic workup has been limited by the relative low amounts of genomic DNA (gDNA) they contain. It remains to be proven that whole genome amplified DNA (wgaDNA) from stored DBS samples, constitutes a reliable alternative to gDNA.
We wanted to compare melting curves and sequencing results from wgaDNA derived from DBS samples with gDNA derived from whole blood.
gDNA was extracted from whole blood obtained from 10 patients with lone atrial fibrillation (mean age 22.3 years). From their newborn DBS samples, stored at -24°C, genomic DNA was extracted and whole-genome amplified in triplicates. Using high resolution melting curve analysis and direct sequencing in both wgaDNA and gDNA samples, all coding regions and adjacent intron regions of the genes SCN5A and KCNA5 were investigated.
Altered melting curves was present in 85 of wgaDNA samples and 81 of gDNA samples. Sequence analysis identified a total of 31 variants in the 10 wgaDNA samples. The same 31 variants were found in the exact same pattern of samples in the gDNA group. There was no false positive or negative sequence variation in the wgaDNA group.
The use of DNA amplified in triplicates from DBS samples is reliable and can be used both for high resolution curve melting analysis as well as direct sequence analysis. DBS samples therefore can serve as an alternative to whole blood in sequence analysis.
PMCID: PMC3045282  PMID: 21306642
15.  Danish children born with glutamic acid decarboxylase-65 and islet antigen-2 autoantibodies at birth had an increased risk to develop type 1 diabetes 
European Journal of Endocrinology  2011;164(2):247-252.
A large, population-based case–control cohort was used to test the hypothesis that glutamic acid decarboxylase-65 (GAD65) and islet antigen-2 autoantibodies (IA-2A) at birth predict type 1 diabetes.
Design and methods
The design was an individually matched case–control study of all Danish type 1 diabetes patients born between 1981 and 2002 and diagnosed before May 1 2004 (median age at diagnosis was 8.8 years). Dried blood spot samples collected 5 days after birth in the 1981–2002 birth cohorts and stored at −25 °C were identified from 2023 patients and from two matched controls (n=4042). Birth data and information on parental age and diabetes were obtained from Danish registers. GAD65A and IA-2A were determined in a radiobinding assay. HLA-DQB1 alleles were analyzed by PCR using time-resolved fluorescence.
GAD65A and IA-2A were found in 70/2023 (3.5%) patients compared to 21/4042 (0.5%) controls resulting in a hazard ratio (HR) of 7.49 (P<0.0001). The HR decreased to 4.55 but remained significant (P<0.0003) after controlling for parental diabetes and HLA-DQB1 alleles. Conditional logistic regression analysis showed a HR of 2.55 (P<0.0001) for every tenfold increase in the levels of GAD65A and IA-2A. This HR decreased to 1.93 but remained significant (P<0.001) after controlling for parental diabetes and HLA-DQB1 alleles.
These data suggest that GAD65A and IA-2A positivity at birth are associated with an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes in Danish children diagnosed between 1981 and 2004.
PMCID: PMC3022336  PMID: 21097569
16.  Influences of the Common FTO rs9939609 Variant on Inflammatory Markers Throughout a Broad Range of Body Mass Index 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e15958.
A recent study reported that the fatness associated A-allele of FTO rs9939609 increased plasma high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) levels independent of fatness. We aimed to investigate if this gene variant had fatness-independent effects on plasma hs-CRP and 10 additional circulating obesity-related adipokines throughout a broad range of body mass index (BMI) among Danish men.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In a population of 362,200 young men, examined for military service between 1943 and 1977, two groups were identified: 1) a random 1% sample and 2) all obese men (BMI = 31.0 kg/m2, all of whom were above the 99th percentile of this population). At an average age of 49 years (range: 39 through 65 years), 551 men, hereof 231 of the obese, were re-examined, including genotyping and measurement of the fasting circulating inflammatory markers hs-CRP, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-10, IL-18, mip1α, mip1β, sTNFα-R1, TGF-β, TNF-α and leptin. Men with known disease were excluded from the examination. All the inflammatory markers were log-transformed to approximate a normal distribution. Genotype-phenotype relationships were studied using linear regression analyses with the inflammatory markers as the response variable. Significant positive associations between hs-CRP, leptin and a broad range of BMI were observed, but the associations did not significantly differ across FTO rs9939609 genotype. There were no significant associations between the other inflammatory markers, FTO rs9939609 genotype or BMI, respectively.
No fatness-independent effects of the FTO rs9939609 A-allele on a series of inflammatory markers were observed in this cohort of healthy middle-aged men representing a broad range of fatness.
PMCID: PMC3016333  PMID: 21246032
17.  Circulating β chemokine and MMP 9 as markers of oxidative injury in extremely low birth weight infants 
Pediatric research  2010;67(1):77-82.
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) and chemokines appear to be induced by hyperoxia in preclinical studies. We hypothesized that O2 exposure immediately after birth is associated with altered blood spot MMP 9 and β chemokine concentrations. The following analytes were measured on blood spots on days 1 and 3 of life, using luminex technology in 1059 infants (birth weights < 1000 grams) in the NICHD Neonatal Research Network: MMP 9, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP 1), macrophage inflammatory proteins (MIP 1α and β), and Regulated upon Activation, Normal T-cell Expressed and Secreted (RANTES). Infants administered O2 continually from 6 to 24 hours of life (n=729), when compared to those with < 6 hours exposure (n=330), had significantly lower mean birth weight and higher rate of respiratory distress syndrome (p≤ 0.002). On day 3, MCP 1 was higher and RANTES lower among infants with early prolonged O2 exposure. After adjusting for covariates, prolonged early O2 exposure retained a statistically significant association with higher MCP 1 on day 3 (p=0.003). The consistent association between O2 exposure and MCP 1 among extremely preterm infants suggests that further investigation of its role in oxidative injury is warranted.
PMCID: PMC2831535  PMID: 19755933
18.  Mid-pregnancy circulating cytokine levels, histologic chorioamnionitis and spontaneous preterm birth 
Some spontaneous preterm deliveries (PTD) are caused by occult infections of the fetal membranes (histologic chorioamnionitis [HCA]). High levels of infection-related markers, including some cytokines, sampled from maternal circulation in mid-pregnancy have been linked to PTD, but whether these specifically identify HCA has not been established. We have tested associations between thirteen Th1, Th2 and Th17 cytokines and PTD with and without HCA in a prospective cohort study. The study sample included 926 Pregnancy Outcomes and Community Health Study subcohort women; women with medically indicated PTD or incomplete data excluded. A panel of cytokines was assessed using a multiplex assay in maternal plasma collected at 15–27 weeks of gestation. Severe HCA was scored by a placental pathologist blinded to clinical variables. Multivariable polytomous logistic regression was used to estimate adjusted odds ratios (OR) per 1 standard deviation (SD) increase in cytokine levels using a 5 level outcome variable: PTD <35 weeks with HCA, PTD <35 weeks without HCA, PTD 35–36 weeks with HCA, PTD 35–36 weeks without HCA, and term (referent). Interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-2, IL-12, interferon-γ, IL-4, IL-6 and transforming growth factor-β were all significantly associated with PTD <35 weeks with HCA, with ORs of 1.6 – 2.3 per SD increase. None of these were associated with PTD <35 weeks without HCA or PTD 35–36 weeks with HCA. Although the tissues of origin of circulating cytokines are unclear, the observed elevations across many cytokines among women who later delivered <35 weeks with HCA may represent a robust immune response to infection within gestational tissues. These results suggest that women with HCA could be identified using relatively non-invasive means.
PMCID: PMC2683663  PMID: 18814919
pregnancy; cytokines; histologic chorioamnionitis; premature birth; inflammation
19.  Association Between Blood Spot Transforming Growth Factor-β and Patent Ductus Arteriosus in Extremely Low-Birth Weight Infants 
Pediatric cardiology  2012;34(1):149-154.
Permanent ductal closure involves anatomic remodeling, in which transforming growth factor (TGF)-β appears to play a role. Our objective was to evaluate the relationship, if any, between blood spot TGF-β on day 3 and day 7 of life and patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants. Prospective observational study involving ELBW infants (n = 968) in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network who had TGF-β measured on filter paper spot blood samples using a Luminex assay. Infants with a PDA (n = 493) were significantly more immature, had lower birth weights, and had higher rates of respiratory distress syndrome than those without PDA (n = 475). TGF-β on days 3 and 7 of life, respectively, were significantly lower among neonates with PDA (median 1,177 pg/ml [range 642–1,896]; median 1,386 pg/ml [range 868–1,913]) compared with others without PDA (median 1,334 pg/ml [range 760–2,064]; median 1,712 pg/ml [range 1,014–2,518 pg/ml]). The significant difference persisted when death or PDA was considered a composite outcome. TGF-β levels were not significantly different among subgroups of infants with PDA who were not treated (n = 51) versus those who were treated medically (n = 283) or by surgical ligation (n = 159). TGF-β was not a significant predictor of death or PDA (day 3 odds ratio [OR] 0.99, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 0.83–1.17; day 7 OR 0.88, 95 % CI 0.74–1.04) on adjusted analyses. Our results suggest that blood spot TGF-β alone is unlikely to be a reliable biomarker of a clinically significant PDA or its responsiveness to treatment.
PMCID: PMC3704212  PMID: 22684193
Transforming growth factor; Patent ductus arteriosus; Preterm; Neonate
20.  Attenuation of the Bacterial Load in Blood by Pretreatment with Granulocyte-Colony-Stimulating Factor Protects Rats from Fatal Outcome and Brain Damage during Streptococcus pneumoniae Meningitis  
Infection and Immunity  2004;72(8):4647-4653.
A model of pneumococcal meningitis in young adult rats receiving antibiotics once the infection was established was developed. The intent was to mimic clinical and histopathological features of pneumococcal meningitis in humans. The primary aim of the present study was to evaluate whether medical boosting of the peripheral neutrophil count affected the outcome of the meningitis. The risk of terminal illness over the first 7 days after infection was significantly reduced for rats who had elevated peripheral white blood cell counts after receiving granulocyte-colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) prior to the infection compared to that for untreated rats (P = 0.039 by the log rank test). The improved outcome was associated with reduced signs of cerebral cortical damage (P = 0.008). Furthermore, the beneficial effects of G-CSF were associated with reduced bacterial loads in the cerebrospinal fluid (median, 1.1 × 105 versus 2.9 × 105 CFU/ml; P = 0.023) and in blood (median, 2.9 × 102 versus 6.3 × 102 CFU/ml; P = 0.024), as well as attenuated pleocytosis (median, 800 × 106 versus 1,231 × 106 cells/liter; P = 0.025), 24 h after the infection. Conversely, initiation of G-CSF therapy 28 h postinfection did not alter the clinical or histological outcome relative to that for non-G-CSF-treated rats. The magnitude of bacteremia and pretreatment with G-CSF were found to be prognostic factors for both outcome and brain damage. In summary, elevated neutrophil levels prior to the development of meningitis result in reduced risks of death and brain damage. This beneficial effect is most likely achieved through improved control of the systemic disease.
PMCID: PMC470620  PMID: 15271925
21.  Amniotic Fluid Protein Profiles of Intraamniotic Inflammatory Response to Ureaplasma spp. and Other Bacteria 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e60399.
This study aimed to evaluate the amniotic fluid protein profiles and the intensity of intraamniotic inflammatory response to Ureaplasma spp. and other bacteria, using the multiplex xMAP technology.
A retrospective cohort study was undertaken in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic. A total of 145 pregnant women with preterm prelabor rupture of membranes between gestational age 24+0 and 36+6 weeks were included in the study. Amniocenteses were performed. The presence of Ureaplasma spp. and other bacteria was evaluated using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The levels of specific proteins were determined using multiplex xMAP technology.
The presence of Ureaplasma spp. and other bacteria in the amniotic fluid was associated with increased levels of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, IL-10, brain-derived neurotropic factor, granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor, monocyte chemotactic protein-1, macrophage inflammatory protein-1, and matrix metalloproteinasis-9. Ureaplasma spp. were also associated with increased levels of neurotropin-3 and triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells-1.
The presence of Ureaplasma spp. in the amniotic fluid is associated with a slightly different protein profile of inflammatory response, but the intensity of inflammatory response to Ureaplasma spp. is comparable with the inflammatory response to other bacteria.
PMCID: PMC3608618  PMID: 23555967
22.  Common variants at VRK2 and TCF4 conferring risk of schizophrenia 
Steinberg, Stacy | de Jong, Simone | Andreassen, Ole A. | Werge, Thomas | Børglum, Anders D. | Mors, Ole | Mortensen, Preben B. | Gustafsson, Omar | Costas, Javier | Pietiläinen, Olli P. H. | Demontis, Ditte | Papiol, Sergi | Huttenlocher, Johanna | Mattheisen, Manuel | Breuer, René | Vassos, Evangelos | Giegling, Ina | Fraser, Gillian | Walker, Nicholas | Tuulio-Henriksson, Annamari | Suvisaari, Jaana | Lönnqvist, Jouko | Paunio, Tiina | Agartz, Ingrid | Melle, Ingrid | Djurovic, Srdjan | Strengman, Eric | Jürgens, Gesche | Glenthøj, Birte | Terenius, Lars | Hougaard, David M. | Ørntoft, Torben | Wiuf, Carsten | Didriksen, Michael | Hollegaard, Mads V. | Nordentoft, Merete | van Winkel, Ruud | Kenis, Gunter | Abramova, Lilia | Kaleda, Vasily | Arrojo, Manuel | Sanjuán, Julio | Arango, Celso | Sperling, Swetlana | Rossner, Moritz | Ribolsi, Michele | Magni, Valentina | Siracusano, Alberto | Christiansen, Claus | Kiemeney, Lambertus A. | Veldink, Jan | van den Berg, Leonard | Ingason, Andres | Muglia, Pierandrea | Murray, Robin | Nöthen, Markus M. | Sigurdsson, Engilbert | Petursson, Hannes | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Kong, Augustine | Rubino, I. Alex | De Hert, Marc | Réthelyi, János M. | Bitter, István | Jönsson, Erik G. | Golimbet, Vera | Carracedo, Angel | Ehrenreich, Hannelore | Craddock, Nick | Owen, Michael J. | O'Donovan, Michael C. | Ruggeri, Mirella | Tosato, Sarah | Peltonen, Leena | Ophoff, Roel A. | Collier, David A. | St Clair, David | Rietschel, Marcella | Cichon, Sven | Stefansson, Hreinn | Rujescu, Dan | Stefansson, Kari
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;20(20):4076-4081.
Common sequence variants have recently joined rare structural polymorphisms as genetic factors with strong evidence for association with schizophrenia. Here we extend our previous genome-wide association study and meta-analysis (totalling 7 946 cases and 19 036 controls) by examining an expanded set of variants using an enlarged follow-up sample (up to 10 260 cases and 23 500 controls). In addition to previously reported alleles in the major histocompatibility complex region, near neurogranin (NRGN) and in an intron of transcription factor 4 (TCF4), we find two novel variants showing genome-wide significant association: rs2312147[C], upstream of vaccinia-related kinase 2 (VRK2) [odds ratio (OR) = 1.09, P = 1.9 × 10−9] and rs4309482[A], between coiled-coiled domain containing 68 (CCDC68) and TCF4, about 400 kb from the previously described risk allele, but not accounted for by its association (OR = 1.09, P = 7.8 × 10−9).
PMCID: PMC3298077  PMID: 21791550
23.  Robustness of genome-wide scanning using archived dried blood spot samples as a DNA source 
BMC Genetics  2011;12:58.
The search to identify disease-susceptible genes requires access to biological material from numerous well-characterized subjects. Archived residual dried blood spot (DBS) samples, also known as Guthrie cards, from national newborn screening programs may provide a DNA source for entire populations. Combined with clinical information from medical registries, DBS samples could provide a rich source for productive research. However, the amounts of DNA which can be extracted from these precious samples are minute and may be prohibitive for numerous genotypings. Previously, we demonstrated that DBS DNA can be whole-genome amplified and used for reliable genetic analysis on different platforms, including genome-wide scanning arrays. However, it remains unclear whether this approach is workable on a large sample scale. We examined the robustness of using DBS samples for whole-genome amplification following genome-wide scanning, using arrays from Illumina and Affymetrix.
This study is based on 4,641 DBS samples from the Danish Newborn Screening Biobank, extracted for three separate genome-wide association studies. The amount of amplified DNA was significantly (P < 0.05) affected by the year of storage and storage conditions. Nine (0.2%) DBS samples failed whole-genome amplification. A total of 4,586 (98.8%) samples met our criterion of success of a genetic call-rate above 97%. The three studies used different arrays, with mean genotyping call-rates of 99.385% (Illumina Infinium Human610-Quad), 99.722% (Illumina Infinium HD HumanOmni1-Quad), and 99.206% (Affymetrix Axiom Genome-Wide CEU). We observed a concordance rate of 99.997% in the 38 methodological replications, and 99.999% in the 27 technical replications. Handling variables such as time of storage, storage conditions and type of filter paper were shown too significantly (P < 0.05) affect the genotype call-rates in some of the arrays, although the effect was minimal.
Our study indicates that archived DBS samples from the Danish Newborn Screening Biobank represent a reliable resource of DNA for whole-genome amplification and subsequent genome-wide association studies. With call-rates equivalent to high quality DNA samples, our results point to new opportunities for using the neonatal biobanks available worldwide in the hunt for genetic components of disease.
PMCID: PMC3142526  PMID: 21726430
24.  Genome-wide scans using archived neonatal dried blood spot samples 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:297.
Identification of disease susceptible genes requires access to DNA from numerous well-characterised subjects. Archived residual dried blood spot samples from national newborn screening programs may provide DNA from entire populations and medical registries the corresponding clinical information. The amount of DNA available in these samples is however rarely sufficient for reliable genome-wide scans, and whole-genome amplification may thus be necessary. This study assess the quality of DNA obtained from different amplification protocols by evaluating fidelity and robustness of the genotyping of 610,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms, using the Illumina Infinium HD Human610-Quad BeadChip. Whole-genome amplified DNA from 24 neonatal dried blood spot samples stored between 15 to 25 years was tested, and high-quality genomic DNA from 8 of the same individuals was used as reference.
Using 3.2 mm disks from dried blood spot samples the optimal DNA-extraction and amplification protocol resulted in call-rates between 99.15% – 99.73% (mean 99.56%, N = 16), and conflicts with reference DNA in only three per 10,000 genotype calls.
Whole-genome amplified DNA from archived neonatal dried blood spot samples can be used for reliable genome-wide scans and is a cost-efficient alternative to collecting new samples.
PMCID: PMC2713266  PMID: 19575812

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