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1.  A variational Bayes discrete mixture test for rare variant association 
Genetic epidemiology  2014;38(1):21-30.
Recently, many statistical methods have been proposed to test for associations between rare genetic variants and complex traits. Most of these methods test for association by aggregating genetic variations within a predefined region, such as a gene. Although there is evidence that “aggregate” tests are more powerful than the single marker test, these tests generally ignore neutral variants and therefore are unable to identify specific variants driving the association with phenotype. We propose a novel aggregate rare-variant test that explicitly models a fraction of variants as neutral, tests associations at the gene-level, and infers the rare-variants driving the association. Simulations show that in the practical scenario where there are many variants within a given region of the genome with only a fraction causal our approach has greater power compared to other popular tests such as the Sequence Kernel Association Test (SKAT), the Weighted Sum Statistic (WSS), and the collapsing method of Morris and Zeggini (MZ). Our algorithm leverages a fast variational Bayes approximate inference methodology to scale to exome-wide analyses, a significant computational advantage over exact inference model selection methodologies. To demonstrate the efficacy of our methodology we test for associations between von Willebrand Factor (VWF) levels and VWF missense rare-variants imputed from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Exome Sequencing project into 2,487 African Americans within the VWF gene. Our method suggests that a relatively small fraction (~10%) of the imputed rare missense variants within VWF are strongly associated with lower VWF levels in African Americans.
PMCID: PMC4030763  PMID: 24482836
Exome sequencing study; approximate inference; von Willebrand Factor genetics
2.  No Evidence for Genome-Wide Interactions on Plasma Fibrinogen by Smoking, Alcohol Consumption and Body Mass Index: Results from Meta-Analyses of 80,607 Subjects 
Baumert, Jens | Huang, Jie | McKnight, Barbara | Sabater-Lleal, Maria | Steri, Maristella | Chu, Audrey Y. | Trompet, Stella | Lopez, Lorna M. | Fornage, Myriam | Teumer, Alexander | Tang, Weihong | Rudnicka, Alicja R. | Mälarstig, Anders | Hottenga, Jouke-Jan | Kavousi, Maryam | Lahti, Jari | Tanaka, Toshiko | Hayward, Caroline | Huffman, Jennifer E. | Morange, Pierre-Emmanuel | Rose, Lynda M. | Basu, Saonli | Rumley, Ann | Stott, David J. | Buckley, Brendan M. | de Craen, Anton J. M. | Sanna, Serena | Masala, Marco | Biffar, Reiner | Homuth, Georg | Silveira, Angela | Sennblad, Bengt | Goel, Anuj | Watkins, Hugh | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Rückerl, Regina | Taylor, Kent | Chen, Ming-Huei | de Geus, Eco J. C. | Hofman, Albert | Witteman, Jacqueline C. M. | de Maat, Moniek P. M. | Palotie, Aarno | Davies, Gail | Siscovick, David S. | Kolcic, Ivana | Wild, Sarah H. | Song, Jaejoon | McArdle, Wendy L. | Ford, Ian | Sattar, Naveed | Schlessinger, David | Grotevendt, Anne | Franzosi, Maria Grazia | Illig, Thomas | Waldenberger, Melanie | Lumley, Thomas | Tofler, Geoffrey H. | Willemsen, Gonneke | Uitterlinden, André G. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Räikkönen, Katri | Chasman, Daniel I. | Folsom, Aaron R. | Lowe, Gordon D. | Westendorp, Rudi G. J. | Slagboom, P. Eline | Cucca, Francesco | Wallaschofski, Henri | Strawbridge, Rona J. | Seedorf, Udo | Koenig, Wolfgang | Bis, Joshua C. | Mukamal, Kenneth J. | van Dongen, Jenny | Widen, Elisabeth | Franco, Oscar H. | Starr, John M. | Liu, Kiang | Ferrucci, Luigi | Polasek, Ozren | Wilson, James F. | Oudot-Mellakh, Tiphaine | Campbell, Harry | Navarro, Pau | Bandinelli, Stefania | Eriksson, Johan | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Dehghan, Abbas | Clarke, Robert | Hamsten, Anders | Boerwinkle, Eric | Jukema, J. Wouter | Naitza, Silvia | Ridker, Paul M. | Völzke, Henry | Deary, Ian J. | Reiner, Alexander P. | Trégouët, David-Alexandre | O'Donnell, Christopher J. | Strachan, David P. | Peters, Annette | Smith, Nicholas L.
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e111156.
Plasma fibrinogen is an acute phase protein playing an important role in the blood coagulation cascade having strong associations with smoking, alcohol consumption and body mass index (BMI). Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified a variety of gene regions associated with elevated plasma fibrinogen concentrations. However, little is yet known about how associations between environmental factors and fibrinogen might be modified by genetic variation. Therefore, we conducted large-scale meta-analyses of genome-wide interaction studies to identify possible interactions of genetic variants and smoking status, alcohol consumption or BMI on fibrinogen concentration. The present study included 80,607 subjects of European ancestry from 22 studies. Genome-wide interaction analyses were performed separately in each study for about 2.6 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the 22 autosomal chromosomes. For each SNP and risk factor, we performed a linear regression under an additive genetic model including an interaction term between SNP and risk factor. Interaction estimates were meta-analysed using a fixed-effects model. No genome-wide significant interaction with smoking status, alcohol consumption or BMI was observed in the meta-analyses. The most suggestive interaction was found for smoking and rs10519203, located in the LOC123688 region on chromosome 15, with a p value of 6.2×10−8. This large genome-wide interaction study including 80,607 participants found no strong evidence of interaction between genetic variants and smoking status, alcohol consumption or BMI on fibrinogen concentrations. Further studies are needed to yield deeper insight in the interplay between environmental factors and gene variants on the regulation of fibrinogen concentrations.
PMCID: PMC4281156  PMID: 25551457
3.  Pharmacogenetic meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of LDL cholesterol response to statins 
Postmus, Iris | Trompet, Stella | Deshmukh, Harshal A. | Barnes, Michael R. | Li, Xiaohui | Warren, Helen R. | Chasman, Daniel I. | Zhou, Kaixin | Arsenault, Benoit J. | Donnelly, Louise A. | Wiggins, Kerri L. | Avery, Christy L. | Griffin, Paula | Feng, QiPing | Taylor, Kent D. | Li, Guo | Evans, Daniel S. | Smith, Albert V. | de Keyser, Catherine E. | Johnson, Andrew D. | de Craen, Anton J. M. | Stott, David J. | Buckley, Brendan M. | Ford, Ian | Westendorp, Rudi G. J. | Eline Slagboom, P. | Sattar, Naveed | Munroe, Patricia B. | Sever, Peter | Poulter, Neil | Stanton, Alice | Shields, Denis C. | O’Brien, Eoin | Shaw-Hawkins, Sue | Ida Chen, Y.-D. | Nickerson, Deborah A. | Smith, Joshua D. | Pierre Dubé, Marie | Matthijs Boekholdt, S. | Kees Hovingh, G. | Kastelein, John J. P. | McKeigue, Paul M. | Betteridge, John | Neil, Andrew | Durrington, Paul N. | Doney, Alex | Carr, Fiona | Morris, Andrew | McCarthy, Mark I. | Groop, Leif | Ahlqvist, Emma | Bis, Joshua C. | Rice, Kenneth | Smith, Nicholas L. | Lumley, Thomas | Whitsel, Eric A. | Stürmer, Til | Boerwinkle, Eric | Ngwa, Julius S. | O’Donnell, Christopher J. | Vasan, Ramachandran S. | Wei, Wei-Qi | Wilke, Russell A. | Liu, Ching-Ti | Sun, Fangui | Guo, Xiuqing | Heckbert, Susan R | Post, Wendy | Sotoodehnia, Nona | Arnold, Alice M. | Stafford, Jeanette M. | Ding, Jingzhong | Herrington, David M. | Kritchevsky, Stephen B. | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Launer, Leonore J. | Harris, Tamara B. | Chu, Audrey Y. | Giulianini, Franco | MacFadyen, Jean G. | Barratt, Bryan J. | Nyberg, Fredrik | Stricker, Bruno H. | Uitterlinden, André G. | Hofman, Albert | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Emilsson, Valur | Franco, Oscar H. | Ridker, Paul M. | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Liu, Yongmei | Denny, Joshua C. | Ballantyne, Christie M. | Rotter, Jerome I. | Adrienne Cupples, L. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Palmer, Colin N. A. | Tardif, Jean-Claude | Colhoun, Helen M. | Hitman, Graham | Krauss, Ronald M. | Wouter Jukema, J | Caulfield, Mark J.
Nature Communications  2014;5:5068.
Statins effectively lower LDL cholesterol levels in large studies and the observed interindividual response variability may be partially explained by genetic variation. Here we perform a pharmacogenetic meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in studies addressing the LDL cholesterol response to statins, including up to 18,596 statin-treated subjects. We validate the most promising signals in a further 22,318 statin recipients and identify two loci, SORT1/CELSR2/PSRC1 and SLCO1B1, not previously identified in GWAS. Moreover, we confirm the previously described associations with APOE and LPA. Our findings advance the understanding of the pharmacogenetic architecture of statin response.
Statins are effectively used to prevent and manage cardiovascular disease, but patient response to these drugs is highly variable. Here, the authors identify two new genes associated with the response of LDL cholesterol to statins and advance our understanding of the genetic basis of drug response.
PMCID: PMC4220464  PMID: 25350695
4.  A Multi-Ethnic Meta-Analysis of Genome-Wide Association Studies in Over 100,000 Subjects Identifies 23 Fibrinogen-Associated Loci but no Strong Evidence of a Causal Association between Circulating Fibrinogen and Cardiovascular Disease 
Sabater-Lleal, Maria | Huang, Jie | Chasman, Daniel | Naitza, Silvia | Dehghan, Abbas | Johnson, Andrew D | Teumer, Alexander | Reiner, Alex P | Folkersen, Lasse | Basu, Saonli | Rudnicka, Alicja R | Trompet, Stella | Mälarstig, Anders | Baumert, Jens | Bis, Joshua C. | Guo, Xiuqing | Hottenga, Jouke J | Shin, So-Youn | Lopez, Lorna M | Lahti, Jari | Tanaka, Toshiko | Yanek, Lisa R | Oudot-Mellakh, Tiphaine | Wilson, James F | Navarro, Pau | Huffman, Jennifer E | Zemunik, Tatijana | Redline, Susan | Mehra, Reena | Pulanic, Drazen | Rudan, Igor | Wright, Alan F | Kolcic, Ivana | Polasek, Ozren | Wild, Sarah H | Campbell, Harry | Curb, J David | Wallace, Robert | Liu, Simin | Eaton, Charles B. | Becker, Diane M. | Becker, Lewis C. | Bandinelli, Stefania | Räikkönen, Katri | Widen, Elisabeth | Palotie, Aarno | Fornage, Myriam | Green, David | Gross, Myron | Davies, Gail | Harris, Sarah E | Liewald, David C | Starr, John M | Williams, Frances M.K. | Grant, P.J. | Spector, Timothy D. | Strawbridge, Rona J | Silveira, Angela | Sennblad, Bengt | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Uitterlinden, Andre G | Franco, Oscar H | Hofman, Albert | van Dongen, Jenny | Willemsen, G | Boomsma, Dorret I | Yao, Jie | Jenny, Nancy Swords | Haritunians, Talin | McKnight, Barbara | Lumley, Thomas | Taylor, Kent D | Rotter, Jerome I | Psaty, Bruce M | Peters, Annette | Gieger, Christian | Illig, Thomas | Grotevendt, Anne | Homuth, Georg | Völzke, Henry | Kocher, Thomas | Goel, Anuj | Franzosi, Maria Grazia | Seedorf, Udo | Clarke, Robert | Steri, Maristella | Tarasov, Kirill V | Sanna, Serena | Schlessinger, David | Stott, David J | Sattar, Naveed | Buckley, Brendan M | Rumley, Ann | Lowe, Gordon D | McArdle, Wendy L | Chen, Ming-Huei | Tofler, Geoffrey H | Song, Jaejoon | Boerwinkle, Eric | Folsom, Aaron R. | Rose, Lynda M. | Franco-Cereceda, Anders | Teichert, Martina | Ikram, M Arfan | Mosley, Thomas H | Bevan, Steve | Dichgans, Martin | Rothwell, Peter M. | Sudlow, Cathie L M | Hopewell, Jemma C. | Chambers, John C. | Saleheen, Danish | Kooner, Jaspal S. | Danesh, John | Nelson, Christopher P | Erdmann, Jeanette | Reilly, Muredach P. | Kathiresan, Sekar | Schunkert, Heribert | Morange, Pierre-Emmanuel | Ferrucci, Luigi | Eriksson, Johan G | Jacobs, David | Deary, Ian J | Soranzo, Nicole | Witteman, Jacqueline CM | de Geus, Eco JC | Tracy, Russell P. | Hayward, Caroline | Koenig, Wolfgang | Cucca, Francesco | Jukema, J Wouter | Eriksson, Per | Seshadri, Sudha | Markus, Hugh S. | Watkins, Hugh | Samani, Nilesh J | Wallaschofski, Henri | Smith, Nicholas L. | Tregouet, David | Ridker, Paul M. | Tang, Weihong | Strachan, David P. | Hamsten, Anders | O’Donnell, Christopher J.
Circulation  2013;128(12):10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.002251.
Estimates of the heritability of plasma fibrinogen concentration, an established predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD), range from 34 to 50%. Genetic variants so far identified by genome-wide association (GWA) studies only explain a small proportion (< 2%) of its variation.
Methods and Results
We conducted a meta-analysis of 28 GWA studies, including more than 90,000 subjects of European ancestry, the first GWA meta-analysis of fibrinogen levels in 7 African Americans studies totaling 8,289 samples, and a GWA study in Hispanic-Americans totaling 1,366 samples. Evaluation for association of SNPs with clinical outcomes included a total of 40,695 cases and 85,582 controls for coronary artery disease (CAD), 4,752 cases and 24,030 controls for stroke, and 3,208 cases and 46,167 controls for venous thromboembolism (VTE). Overall, we identified 24 genome-wide significant (P<5×10−8) independent signals in 23 loci, including 15 novel associations, together accounting for 3.7% of plasma fibrinogen variation. Gene-set enrichment analysis highlighted key roles in fibrinogen regulation for the three structural fibrinogen genes and pathways related to inflammation, adipocytokines and thyrotrophin-releasing hormone signaling. Whereas lead SNPs in a few loci were significantly associated with CAD, the combined effect of all 24 fibrinogen-associated lead SNPs was not significant for CAD, stroke or VTE.
We identify 23 robustly associated fibrinogen loci, 15 of which are new. Clinical outcome analysis of these loci does not support a causal relationship between circulating levels of fibrinogen and CAD, stroke or VTE.
PMCID: PMC3842025  PMID: 23969696
Fibrinogen; cardiovascular disease; genome-wide association study
5.  Ceruloplasmin and Heart Failure in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study 
Circulation. Heart failure  2013;6(5):936-943.
Ceruloplasmin (Cp) decreases nitric oxide bioavailability in blood and has been associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) in clinical studies. We assessed the association between Cp and incident heart failure (HF), death and CVD in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study.
Methods and Results
Cp was measured at ARIC visit 4 (1996–1998). We studied 9,240 individuals without HF or CVD at ARIC visit 4, and followed them for a mean of 10.5 years. Genome-wide association study was performed to identify genetic determinants of Cp levels and evaluate their association with incident HF. Cp levels (mean±standard deviation) were higher in women vs men (335±79 vs 258±44 mg/L, p<0.0001), women on vs not on hormone-replacement therapy (398±89 vs 291±60 mg/L, p<0.0001) and African Americans vs Caucasians (299±63 vs 293±74 mg/L, p=0.0005). After adjusting for traditional risk factors, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, N-terminal pro–B-type natriuretic peptide, and high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T, higher levels of Cp were associated with HF (hazard ratio [HR] 1.44, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.13–1.83) and mortality (HR 1.38, 95% CI 1.11–1.63). A locus on the ceruloplasmin gene on chromosome 3 was significantly associated with Cp levels (normal 295.56±77.60mg/L, heterozygote 316.72±88.02mg/L; homozygote 331.04±85.40mg/L, p=8.3×10−) but not with incident HF. After adjustment for traditional risk factors Cp levels were also weekly associated with CVD.
Cp was associated with incident, HF mortality and CVD in the ARIC population. A single locus on chromosome 3 was associated with Cp levels but not with HF.
PMCID: PMC3908901  PMID: 23861484
ceruloplasmin; heart failure; cardiovascular disease; single nucleotide polymorphism
6.  Genetic variation in F3 (tissue factor) and the risk of incident venous thrombosis: meta-analysis of 8 studies 
PMCID: PMC3397243  PMID: 22340074
Venous thrombosis; tissue factor; F3; D-dimer; epidemiology; meta-analysis
7.  Transforming Growth Factor Beta-1 and Incidence of Heart Failure in Older Adults: The Cardiovascular Health Study 
Cytokine  2012;60(2):341-345.
Transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-B1) is a highly pleiotropic cytokine whose functions include a central role in the induction of fibrosis.
To investigate the hypothesis that elevated plasma levels of TGF-B1 are positively associated with incident heart failure (HF).
Participants and Methods
The hypotheses were tested using a two-phase case-control study design, ancillary to the Cardiovascular Health Study – a longitudinal, population-based cohort study. Cases were defined as having an incident HF event after their 1992-93 exam and controls were free of HF at follow-up. TGF-B1 was measured using plasma collected in 1992-93 and data from 89 cases and 128 controls were used for analysis. The association between TGF-B1 and risk of HF was evaluated using the weighted likelihood method, and odds ratios (OR) for risk of HF were calculated for TGF-B1 as a continuous linear variable and across quartiles of TGF-B1.
The OR for HF was 1.88 (95% confidence intervals [CI] 1.26 to 2.81) for each nanogram increase in TGF-B1, and the OR for the highest quartile (compared to the lowest) of TGF-B1 was 5.79 (95% CI 1.65 – 20.34), after adjustment for age, sex, C-reactive protein, platelet count and digoxin use. Further adjustment with other covariates did not change the results.
Higher levels of plasma TGF-B1 were associated with an increased risk of incident heart failure among older adults. However, further study is needed in larger samples to confirm these findings.
PMCID: PMC4143419  PMID: 22878343
transforming growth factor-beta; heart failure; fibrosis; growth factors; cardiac remodeling
8.  Race, Gender, and Mortality in Adults ≥65 Years of Age With Incident Heart Failure (from the Cardiovascular Health Study) 
The American journal of cardiology  2009;103(8):1120-1127.
In patients with heart failure (HF), mortality is lower in women versus men. However, it is unknown whether the survival advantage in women compared with men is present in both whites and African Americans with HF. The inception cohort consisted of adults ≥65 years with incident HF after enrollment in the CHS, a prospective population-based study of cardiovascular disease. Of 5,888 CHS subjects, 1,264 developed new HF and were followed up for 3 years. Subjects were categorized into 4 race-gender groups, and Cox proportional hazard regression models were used to examine whether 3-year total and cardiovascular mortality differed among the 4 groups after adjusting for sociodemographic factors, co-morbidities, and treatment. A gender-race interaction was also tested for each outcome. In subjects with incident HF, African Americans had more hypertension and diabetes than whites, and white men had more coronary heart disease than other gender-race groups. Receipt of cardiovascular treatments among the 4 groups was similar. Mortality rates after HF were lower in women compared with men (for white women, African-American women, African-American men, and white men, total mortality was 35.5, 33.6, 44.4, and 40.5/100 person-years, and cardiovascular mortality was 18.4, 19.5, 20.2, and 22.7/100 person-years, respectively). After adjusting for covariates, women had a 15% to 20% lower risk of total and cardiovascular mortality compared with men, but there was no significant difference in outcome by race. The gender-race interaction for either outcome was not significant. In conclusion, in older adults with HF, women had significantly better survival than men irrespective of race, suggesting that gender-based survival differences may be more important than race-based differences.
PMCID: PMC4122325  PMID: 19361600
9.  A genome-wide association study for venous thromboembolism: the extended Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Consortium 
Genetic epidemiology  2013;37(5):512-521.
Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a common, heritable disease resulting in high rates of hospitalization and mortality. Yet few associations between VTE and genetic variants, all in the coagulation pathway, have been established. To identify additional genetic determinants of VTE, we conducted a 2-stage genome-wide association study (GWAS) among individuals of European ancestry in the extended CHARGE VTE consortium. The discovery GWAS comprised 1,618 incident VTE cases out of 44,499 participants from six community-based studies. Genotypes for genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were imputed to ~2.5 million SNPs in HapMap and association with VTE assessed using study-design appropriate regression methods. Meta-analysis of these results identified two known loci, in F5 and ABO. Top 1,047 tag SNPs (p≤0.0016) from the discovery GWAS were tested for association in an additional 3,231 cases and 3,536 controls from three case-control studies. In the combined data from these two stages, additional genome-wide significant associations were observed on 4q35 at F11 (top SNP rs4253399, intronic to F11) and on 4q28 at FGG (rs6536024, 9.7 kb from FGG) (p<5.0×10−13 for both). The associations at the FGG locus were not completely explained by previously reported variants. Loci at or near SUSD1 and OTUD7A showed borderline yet novel associations (p<5.0×10-6) and constitute new candidate genes. In conclusion, this large GWAS replicated key genetic associations in F5 and ABO, and confirmed the importance of F11 and FGG loci for VTE. Future studies are warranted to better characterize the associations with F11 and FGG and to replicate the new candidate associations.
PMCID: PMC3990406  PMID: 23650146
venous thrombosis; genetics; genome-wide association; genetic epidemiology
10.  Genetic predictors of fibrin D-dimer levels in healthy adults 
Circulation  2011;123(17):1864-1872.
Fibrin fragment D-dimer is one of several peptides produced when cross-linked fibrin is degraded by plasmin, and is the most widely-used clinical marker of activated blood coagulation. To identity genetic loci influencing D-dimer levels, we performed the first large-scale, genome-wide association search.
Methods and Results
A genome-wide investigation of the genomic correlates of plasma D-dimer levels was conducted among 21,052 European-ancestry adults. Plasma levels of D-dimer were measured independently in each of 13 cohorts. Each study analyzed the association between ~2.6 million genotyped and imputed variants across the 22 autosomal chromosomes and natural-log transformed D-dimer levels using linear regression in additive genetic models adjusted for age and sex. Among all variants, 74 exceeded the genome-wide significance threshold and marked 3 regions. At 1p22, rs12029080 (p-value 6.4×10−52) was 46.0 kb upstream from F3, coagulation factor III (tissue factor). At 1q24, rs6687813 (p-value 2.4×10−14) was 79.7 kb downstream of F5, coagulation factor V. At 4q32, rs13109457 (p-value 2.9×10−18) was located between 2 fibrinogen genes: 10.4 kb downstream from FGG and 3.0 kb upstream from FGA. Variants were associated with a 0.099, 0.096, and 0.061 unit difference, respectively, in natural-log transformed D-dimer and together accounted for 1.8% of the total variance. When adjusted for non-synonymous substitutions in F5 and FGA loci known to be associated with D-dimer levels, there was no evidence of an additional association at either locus.
Three genes were associated with fibrin D-dimer levels, of which the F3 association was the strongest and has not been previously reported.
PMCID: PMC3095913  PMID: 21502573
genome-wide variation; D-dimer; epidemiology; meta-analysis; thrombosis; hemostasis
11.  The Association of Genome-Wide Variation with the Risk of Incident Heart Failure in Adults of European and African Ancestry: A Prospective Meta-Analysis from the CHARGE Consortium 
Although genetic factors contribute to the onset of heart failure (HF), no large-scale genome-wide investigation of HF risk has been published to date. We investigated the association of 2,478,304 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with incident HF by meta-analyzing data from 4 community-based prospective cohorts: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, the Cardiovascular Health Study, the Framingham Heart Study, and the Rotterdam Study.
Methods and Results
Eligible participants for these analyses were of European or African ancestry and free of clinical HF at baseline. Each study independently conducted genome-wide scans and imputed data to the ~2.5 million SNPs in HapMap. Within each study, Cox proportional hazards regression models provided age- and sex-adjusted estimates of the association between each variant and time to incident HF. Fixed-effect meta-analyses combined results for each SNP from the 4 cohorts to produce an overall association estimate and p-value. A genome-wide significance p-value threshold was set a priori at 5.0×10−7. During a mean follow-up of 11.5 years, 2,526 incident HF events (12%) occurred in 20,926 European-ancestry participants. The meta-analysis identified a genome-wide significant locus at chromosomal position 15q22 (1.4×10−8), which was 58.8 kb from USP3. Among 2,895 African-ancestry participants, 466 incident HF events (16%) occurred during a mean follow-up of 13.7 years. One genome-wide significant locus was identified at 12q14 (6.7×10−8), which was 6.3 kb from LRIG3.
We identified 2 loci that were associated with incident HF and exceeded genome-wide significance. The findings merit replication in other community-based settings of incident HF.
PMCID: PMC3025695  PMID: 20445134
epidemiology; genetics; heart failure; genome-wide variation; incidence
12.  Novel associations of multiple genetic loci with plasma levels of factor VII, factor VIII, and von Willebrand factor: The CHARGE Consortium 
Circulation  2010;121(12):1382-1392.
Plasma levels of coagulation factors VII (FVII), VIII (FVIII), and von Willebrand factor (vWF) influence risk of hemorrhage and thrombosis. We conducted genome-wide association studies to identify new loci associated with plasma levels.
Methods and Results
Setting includes 5 community-based studies for discovery comprising 23,608 European-ancestry participants: ARIC, CHS, B58C, FHS, and RS. All had genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) scans and at least 1 phenotype measured: FVII activity/antigen, FVIII activity, and vWF antigen. Each study used its genotype data to impute to HapMap SNPs and independently conducted association analyses of hemostasis measures using an additive genetic model. Study findings were combined by meta-analysis. Replication was conducted in 7,604 participants not in the discovery cohort. For FVII, 305 SNPs exceeded the genome-wide significance threshold of 5.0×10-8 and comprised 5 loci on 5 chromosomes: 2p23 (smallest p-value 6.2×10-24), 4q25 (3.6×10-12), 11q12 (2.0×10-10), 13q34 (9.0×10-259), and 20q11.2 (5.7×10-37). Loci were within or near genes, including 4 new candidate genes and F7 (13q34). For vWF, 400 SNPs exceeded the threshold and marked 8 loci on 6 chromosomes: 6q24 (1.2×10-22), 8p21 (1.3×10-16), 9q34 (<5.0×10-324), 12p13 (1.7×10-32), 12q23 (7.3×10-10), 12q24.3 (3.8×10-11), 14q32 (2.3×10-10) and 19p13.2 (1.3×10-9). All loci were within genes, including 6 new candidate genes, as well as ABO (9q34) and VWF (12p13). For FVIII, 5 loci were identified and overlapped vWF findings. Nine of the 10 new findings replicated.
New genetic associations were discovered outside previously known biologic pathways and may point to novel prevention and treatment targets of hemostasis disorders.
PMCID: PMC2861278  PMID: 20231535
genome-wide variation; factor VII; factor VIII; von Willebrand factor; epidemiology; meta-analysis; thrombosis; hemostasis
13.  Gene expression in thiazide diuretic or statin users in relation to incident type 2 diabetes 
Thiazide diuretics and statins are used to improve cardiovascular outcomes, but may also cause type 2 diabetes (T2DM), although mechanisms are unknown. Gene expression studies may facilitate understanding of these associations. Participants from ongoing population-based studies were sampled for these longitudinal studies of peripheral blood microarray gene expression, and followed to incident diabetes. All sampled subjects were statin or thiazide users. Those who developed diabetes during follow-up comprised cases (44 thiazide users; 19 statin users), and were matched to drug-using controls who did not develop diabetes on several factors. Supervised normalization, surrogate variable analyses removed technical bias and confounding. Differentially-expressed genes were those with a false discovery rate Q-value<0.05. Among thiazide users, diabetes cases had significantly different expression of CCL14 (down-regulated 6%, Q-value=0.0257), compared with controls. Among statin users, diabetes cases had marginal but insignificantly different expression of ZNF532 (up-regulated 15%, Q-value=0.0584), CXORF21 (up-regulated 11%, Q-value=0.0584), and ZNHIT3 (up-regulated 19%, Q-value=0.0959), compared with controls. These genes comprise potential targets for future expression or mechanistic research on medication-related diabetes development.
PMCID: PMC3939004  PMID: 24596594
Type 2 diabetes; statins; thiazide diuretics; whole blood; gene expression; microarray; supervised normalization; surrogate variable analysis; chemokine ligand 14; zinc finger proteins
15.  Novel associations of multiple genetic loci with plasma levels of factor VII, factor VIII, and von Willebrand factor: The CHARGE Consortium 
Circulation  2010;121(12):1382-1392.
Plasma levels of coagulation factors VII (FVII), VIII (FVIII), and von Willebrand factor (vWF) influence risk of hemorrhage and thrombosis. We conducted genome-wide association studies to identify new loci associated with plasma levels.
Methods and Results
Setting includes 5 community-based studies for discovery comprising 23,608 European-ancestry participants: ARIC, CHS, B58C, FHS, and RS. All had genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) scans and at least 1 phenotype measured: FVII activity/antigen, FVIII activity, and vWF antigen. Each study used its genotype data to impute to HapMap SNPs and independently conducted association analyses of hemostasis measures using an additive genetic model. Study findings were combined by meta-analysis. Replication was conducted in 7,604 participants not in the discovery cohort. For FVII, 305 SNPs exceeded the genome-wide significance threshold of 5.0×10−8 and comprised 5 loci on 5 chromosomes: 2p23 (smallest p-value 6.2×10−24), 4q25 (3.6×10−12), 11q12 (2.0×10−10), 13q34 (9.0×10−259), and 20q11.2 (5.7×10−37). Loci were within or near genes, including 4 new candidate genes and F7 (13q34). For vWF, 400 SNPs exceeded the threshold and marked 8 loci on 6 chromosomes: 6q24 (1.2×10−22), 8p21 (1.3×10−16), 9q34 (<5.0×10−324), 12p13 (1.7×10−32), 12q23 (7.3×10−10), 12q24.3 (3.8×10−11), 14q32 (2.3×10−10) and 19p13.2 (1.3×10−9). All loci were within genes, including 6 new candidate genes, as well as ABO (9q34) and VWF (12p13). For FVIII, 5 loci were identified and overlapped vWF findings. Nine of the 10 new findings replicated.
New genetic associations were discovered outside previously known biologic pathways and may point to novel prevention and treatment targets of hemostasis disorders.
PMCID: PMC2861278  PMID: 20231535
genome-wide variation; factor VII; factor VIII; von Willebrand factor; epidemiology; meta-analysis; thrombosis; hemostasis
16.  Genome-Wide Association Study of Cardiac Structure and Systolic Function in African Americans: The Candidate Gene Association Resource (CARe) Study 
Using data from four community-based cohorts of African Americans (AA), we tested the association between genome-wide markers (SNPs) and cardiac phenotypes in the Candidate-gene Association REsource (CARe) study.
Methods and Results
Among 6,765 AA, we related age, sex, height and weight-adjusted residuals for nine cardiac phenotypes (assessed by echocardiogram or MRI) to 2.5 million SNPs genotyped using Genome-Wide Affymetrix Human SNP Array 6.0 (Affy6.0) and the remainder imputed. Within cohort genome-wide association analysis was conducted followed by meta-analysis across cohorts using inverse variance weights (genome-wide significance threshold=4.0 ×10−07). Supplementary pathway analysis was performed. We attempted replication in 3 smaller cohorts of African ancestry and tested look-ups in one consortium of European ancestry (EchoGEN). Across the 9 phenotypes, variants in 4 genetic loci reached genome-wide significance: rs4552931 in UBE2V2 (p=1.43 × 10−07) for left ventricular mass (LVM); rs7213314 in WIPI1 (p=1.68 × 10−07) for LV internal diastolic diameter (LVIDD); rs1571099 in PPAPDC1A (p= 2.57 × 10−08) for interventricular septal wall thickness (IVST); and rs9530176 in KLF5 (p=4.02 × 10−07) for ejection fraction (EF). Associated variants were enriched in three signaling pathways involved in cardiac remodeling. None of the 4 loci replicated in cohorts of African ancestry were confirmed in look-ups in EchoGEN.
In the largest GWAS of cardiac structure and function to date in AA, we identified 4 genetic loci related to LVM, IVST, LVIDD and EF that reached genome-wide significance. Replication results suggest that these loci may represent unique to individuals of African ancestry. Additional large-scale studies are warranted for these complex phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC3591479  PMID: 23275298
echocardiography; ethnic; genome-wide association studies; Left atrium genetics; left ventricular mass genetics
17.  Association of Body Mass Index, Diabetes, Hypertension, and Blood Pressure Levels with Risk of Permanent Atrial Fibrillation 
After an initial episode of atrial fibrillation (AF), AF may recur and become permanent. AF progression is associated with higher morbidity and mortality. Understanding the risk factors for permanent AF could help identify people who would benefit most from interventions.
To determine whether body mass index (BMI), diabetes, hypertension, and blood pressure levels are associated with permanent AF among people whose initial AF episode terminated.
Population-based inception cohort study.
Enrollees in Group Health, an integrated health care system, aged 30–84 with newly diagnosed AF in 2001–2004, whose initial AF terminated within 6 months and who had at least 6 months of subsequent follow-up (N = 1,385).
Clinical characteristics were determined from medical records. Permanent AF was determined from medical records and ECG and administrative databases. Permanent AF was defined as AF present on two separate occasions 6–36 months apart, without any documented sinus rhythm between the two occasions. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate adjusted hazard ratios (HRs).
Five-year cumulative incidence of permanent AF was 24 %. Compared with normal BMI (18.5–24.9 kg/m2), BMI levels of 25.0–29.9 (overweight), 30.0–34.9 (obese 1), 35.0–39.9 (obese 2), and ≥ 40.0 kg/m2 (obese 3) were associated with HRs of permanent AF of 1.26 (95 % CI: 0.92, 1.72); 1.35 (0.96, 1.91); 1.50 (0.97, 2.33); and 1.79 (1.13, 2.84), adjusted for age, sex, diabetes, hypertension, blood pressure, coronary heart disease, valvular heart disease, heart failure, and prior stroke. Diabetes, hypertension, and blood pressure were not associated with permanent AF.
For people whose initial AF episode terminates, benefits of having lower BMI may include a lower risk of permanent AF. Risk of permanent AF was similar for people with and without diabetes or hypertension and across blood pressure levels.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-012-2220-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3614136  PMID: 22972153
cohort study; anthropometry; electrocardiogram; atrial fibrillation
18.  Genetic Loci for Retinal Arteriolar Microcirculation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65804.
Narrow arterioles in the retina have been shown to predict hypertension as well as other vascular diseases, likely through an increase in the peripheral resistance of the microcirculatory flow. In this study, we performed a genome-wide association study in 18,722 unrelated individuals of European ancestry from the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology consortium and the Blue Mountain Eye Study, to identify genetic determinants associated with variations in retinal arteriolar caliber. Retinal vascular calibers were measured on digitized retinal photographs using a standardized protocol. One variant (rs2194025 on chromosome 5q14 near the myocyte enhancer factor 2C MEF2C gene) was associated with retinal arteriolar caliber in the meta-analysis of the discovery cohorts at genome-wide significance of P-value <5×10−8. This variant was replicated in an additional 3,939 individuals of European ancestry from the Australian Twins Study and Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (rs2194025, P-value = 2.11×10−12 in combined meta-analysis of discovery and replication cohorts). In independent studies of modest sample sizes, no significant association was found between this variant and clinical outcomes including coronary artery disease, stroke, myocardial infarction or hypertension. In conclusion, we found one novel loci which underlie genetic variation in microvasculature which may be relevant to vascular disease. The relevance of these findings to clinical outcomes remains to be determined.
PMCID: PMC3680438  PMID: 23776548
19.  A genome-wide approach accounting for body mass index identifies genetic variants influencing fasting glycemic traits and insulin resistance 
Manning, Alisa K. | Hivert, Marie-France | Scott, Robert A. | Grimsby, Jonna L. | Bouatia-Naji, Nabila | Chen, Han | Rybin, Denis | Liu, Ching-Ti | Bielak, Lawrence F. | Prokopenko, Inga | Amin, Najaf | Barnes, Daniel | Cadby, Gemma | Hottenga, Jouke-Jan | Ingelsson, Erik | Jackson, Anne U. | Johnson, Toby | Kanoni, Stavroula | Ladenvall, Claes | Lagou, Vasiliki | Lahti, Jari | Lecoeur, Cecile | Liu, Yongmei | Martinez-Larrad, Maria Teresa | Montasser, May E. | Navarro, Pau | Perry, John R. B. | Rasmussen-Torvik, Laura J. | Salo, Perttu | Sattar, Naveed | Shungin, Dmitry | Strawbridge, Rona J. | Tanaka, Toshiko | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | An, Ping | de Andrade, Mariza | Andrews, Jeanette S. | Aspelund, Thor | Atalay, Mustafa | Aulchenko, Yurii | Balkau, Beverley | Bandinelli, Stefania | Beckmann, Jacques S. | Beilby, John P. | Bellis, Claire | Bergman, Richard N. | Blangero, John | Boban, Mladen | Boehnke, Michael | Boerwinkle, Eric | Bonnycastle, Lori L. | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Böttcher, Yvonne | Bouchard, Claude | Brunner, Eric | Budimir, Danijela | Campbell, Harry | Carlson, Olga | Chines, Peter S. | Clarke, Robert | Collins, Francis S. | Corbatón-Anchuelo, Arturo | Couper, David | de Faire, Ulf | Dedoussis, George V | Deloukas, Panos | Dimitriou, Maria | Egan, Josephine M | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Erdos, Michael R. | Eriksson, Johan G. | Eury, Elodie | Ferrucci, Luigi | Ford, Ian | Forouhi, Nita G. | Fox, Caroline S | Franzosi, Maria Grazia | Franks, Paul W | Frayling, Timothy M | Froguel, Philippe | Galan, Pilar | de Geus, Eco | Gigante, Bruna | Glazer, Nicole L. | Goel, Anuj | Groop, Leif | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Hallmans, Göran | Hamsten, Anders | Hansson, Ola | Harris, Tamara B. | Hayward, Caroline | Heath, Simon | Hercberg, Serge | Hicks, Andrew A. | Hingorani, Aroon | Hofman, Albert | Hui, Jennie | Hung, Joseph | Jarvelin, Marjo Riitta | Jhun, Min A. | Johnson, Paul C.D. | Jukema, J Wouter | Jula, Antti | Kao, W.H. | Kaprio, Jaakko | Kardia, Sharon L. R. | Keinanen-Kiukaanniemi, Sirkka | Kivimaki, Mika | Kolcic, Ivana | Kovacs, Peter | Kumari, Meena | Kuusisto, Johanna | Kyvik, Kirsten Ohm | Laakso, Markku | Lakka, Timo | Lannfelt, Lars | Lathrop, G Mark | Launer, Lenore J. | Leander, Karin | Li, Guo | Lind, Lars | Lindstrom, Jaana | Lobbens, Stéphane | Loos, Ruth J. F. | Luan, Jian’an | Lyssenko, Valeriya | Mägi, Reedik | Magnusson, Patrik K. E. | Marmot, Michael | Meneton, Pierre | Mohlke, Karen L. | Mooser, Vincent | Morken, Mario A. | Miljkovic, Iva | Narisu, Narisu | O’Connell, Jeff | Ong, Ken K. | Oostra, Ben A. | Palmer, Lyle J. | Palotie, Aarno | Pankow, James S. | Peden, John F. | Pedersen, Nancy L. | Pehlic, Marina | Peltonen, Leena | Penninx, Brenda | Pericic, Marijana | Perola, Markus | Perusse, Louis | Peyser, Patricia A | Polasek, Ozren | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Province, Michael A. | Räikkönen, Katri | Rauramaa, Rainer | Rehnberg, Emil | Rice, Ken | Rotter, Jerome I. | Rudan, Igor | Ruokonen, Aimo | Saaristo, Timo | Sabater-Lleal, Maria | Salomaa, Veikko | Savage, David B. | Saxena, Richa | Schwarz, Peter | Seedorf, Udo | Sennblad, Bengt | Serrano-Rios, Manuel | Shuldiner, Alan R. | Sijbrands, Eric J.G. | Siscovick, David S. | Smit, Johannes H. | Small, Kerrin S. | Smith, Nicholas L. | Smith, Albert Vernon | Stančáková, Alena | Stirrups, Kathleen | Stumvoll, Michael | Sun, Yan V. | Swift, Amy J. | Tönjes, Anke | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Trompet, Stella | Uitterlinden, Andre G. | Uusitupa, Matti | Vikström, Max | Vitart, Veronique | Vohl, Marie-Claude | Voight, Benjamin F. | Vollenweider, Peter | Waeber, Gerard | Waterworth, Dawn M | Watkins, Hugh | Wheeler, Eleanor | Widen, Elisabeth | Wild, Sarah H. | Willems, Sara M. | Willemsen, Gonneke | Wilson, James F. | Witteman, Jacqueline C.M. | Wright, Alan F. | Yaghootkar, Hanieh | Zelenika, Diana | Zemunik, Tatijana | Zgaga, Lina | Wareham, Nicholas J. | McCarthy, Mark I. | Barroso, Ines | Watanabe, Richard M. | Florez, Jose C. | Dupuis, Josée | Meigs, James B. | Langenberg, Claudia
Nature genetics  2012;44(6):659-669.
Recent genome-wide association studies have described many loci implicated in type 2 diabetes (T2D) pathophysiology and beta-cell dysfunction, but contributed little to our understanding of the genetic basis of insulin resistance. We hypothesized that genes implicated in insulin resistance pathways may be uncovered by accounting for differences in body mass index (BMI) and potential interaction between BMI and genetic variants. We applied a novel joint meta-analytical approach to test associations with fasting insulin (FI) and glucose (FG) on a genome-wide scale. We present six previously unknown FI loci at P<5×10−8 in combined discovery and follow-up analyses of 52 studies comprising up to 96,496non-diabetic individuals. Risk variants were associated with higher triglyceride and lower HDL cholesterol levels, suggestive of a role for these FI loci in insulin resistance pathways. The localization of these additional loci will aid further characterization of the role of insulin resistance in T2D pathophysiology.
PMCID: PMC3613127  PMID: 22581228
20.  Common Genetic Variation in the 3-BCL11B Gene Desert Is Associated With Carotid-Femoral Pulse Wave Velocity and Excess Cardiovascular Disease Risk The AortaGen Consortium 
Mitchell, Gary F. | Verwoert, Germaine C. | Tarasov, Kirill V. | Isaacs, Aaron | Smith, Albert V. | Yasmin | Rietzschel, Ernst R. | Tanaka, Toshiko | Liu, Yongmei | Parsa, Afshin | Najjar, Samer S. | O’Shaughnessy, Kevin M. | Sigurdsson, Sigurdur | De Buyzere, Marc L. | Larson, Martin G. | Sie, Mark P.S. | Andrews, Jeanette S. | Post, Wendy S. | Mattace-Raso, Francesco U.S. | McEniery, Carmel M. | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Segers, Patrick | Vasan, Ramachandran S. | van Rijn, Marie Josee E. | Howard, Timothy D. | McArdle, Patrick F. | Dehghan, Abbas | Jewell, Elizabeth | Newhouse, Stephen J. | Bekaert, Sofie | Hamburg, Naomi M. | Newman, Anne B. | Hofman, Albert | Scuteri, Angelo | De Bacquer, Dirk | Ikram, Mohammad Arfan | Psaty, Bruce | Fuchsberger, Christian | Olden, Matthias | Wain, Louise V. | Elliott, Paul | Smith, Nicholas L. | Felix, Janine F. | Erdmann, Jeanette | Vita, Joseph A. | Sutton-Tyrrell, Kim | Sijbrands, Eric J.G. | Sanna, Serena | Launer, Lenore J. | De Meyer, Tim | Johnson, Andrew D. | Schut, Anna F.C. | Herrington, David M. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Uda, Manuela | Wilkinson, Ian B. | Aspelund, Thor | Gillebert, Thierry C. | Van Bortel, Luc | Benjamin, Emelia J. | Oostra, Ben A. | Ding, Jingzhong | Gibson, Quince | Uitterlinden, André G. | Abecasis, Gonçalo R. | Cockcroft, John R. | Gudnason, Vilmundur | De Backer, Guy G. | Ferrucci, Luigi | Harris, Tamara B. | Shuldiner, Alan R. | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Levy, Daniel | Lakatta, Edward G. | Witteman, Jacqueline C.M.
Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (CFPWV) is a heritable measure of aortic stiffness that is strongly associated with increased risk for major cardiovascular disease events.
Methods and Results
We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association data in 9 community-based European ancestry cohorts consisting of 20,634 participants. Results were replicated in 2 additional European ancestry cohorts involving 5,306 participants. Based on a preliminary analysis of 6 cohorts, we identified a locus on chromosome 14 in the 3′-BCL11B gene desert that is associated with CFPWV (rs7152623, minor allele frequency = 0.42, beta=−0.075±0.012 SD/allele, P = 2.8 x 10−10; replication beta=−0.086±0.020 SD/allele, P = 1.4 x 10−6). Combined results for rs7152623 from 11 cohorts gave beta=−0.076±0.010 SD/allele, P=3.1x10−15. The association persisted when adjusted for mean arterial pressure (beta=−0.060±0.009 SD/allele, P = 1.0 x 10−11). Results were consistent in younger (<55 years, 6 cohorts, N=13,914, beta=−0.081±0.014 SD/allele, P = 2.3 x 10−9) and older (9 cohorts, N=12,026, beta=−0.061±0.014 SD/allele, P=9.4x10−6) participants. In separate meta-analyses, the locus was associated with increased risk for coronary artery disease (hazard ratio [HR]=1.05, confidence interval [CI]=1.02 to 1.08, P=0.0013) and heart failure (HR=1.10, CI=1.03 to 1.16, P=0.004).
Common genetic variation in a locus in the BCL11B gene desert that is thought to harbor one or more gene enhancers is associated with higher CFPWV and increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Elucidation of the role this novel locus plays in aortic stiffness may facilitate development of therapeutic interventions that limit aortic stiffening and related cardiovascular disease events.
PMCID: PMC3288392  PMID: 22068335
aorta; arterial stiffness; pulse wave velocity; genetics; cardiovascular disease
21.  Eight genetic loci associated with variation in lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 mass and activity and coronary heart disease: meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies from five community-based studies 
European Heart Journal  2011;33(2):238-251.
Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) generates proinflammatory and proatherogenic compounds in the arterial vascular wall and is a potential therapeutic target in coronary heart disease (CHD). We searched for genetic loci related to Lp-PLA2 mass or activity by a genome-wide association study as part of the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Consortium.
Methods and results
In meta-analyses of findings from five population-based studies, comprising 13 664 subjects, variants at two loci (PLA2G7, CETP) were associated with Lp-PLA2 mass. The strongest signal was at rs1805017 in PLA2G7 [P = 2.4 × 10−23, log Lp-PLA2 difference per allele (beta): 0.043]. Variants at six loci were associated with Lp-PLA2 activity (PLA2G7, APOC1, CELSR2, LDL, ZNF259, SCARB1), among which the strongest signals were at rs4420638, near the APOE–APOC1–APOC4–APOC2 cluster [P = 4.9 × 10−30; log Lp-PLA2 difference per allele (beta): −0.054]. There were no significant gene–environment interactions between these eight polymorphisms associated with Lp-PLA2 mass or activity and age, sex, body mass index, or smoking status. Four of the polymorphisms (in APOC1, CELSR2, SCARB1, ZNF259), but not PLA2G7, were significantly associated with CHD in a second study.
Levels of Lp-PLA2 mass and activity were associated with PLA2G7, the gene coding for this protein. Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 activity was also strongly associated with genetic variants related to low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.
PMCID: PMC3258449  PMID: 22003152
Genome-wide association; Inflammation; Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2
22.  Effect of genetic variations in Syntaxin Binding Protein-5 and Syntaxin-2 on Von Willebrand Factor concentration and cardiovascular risk 
Elevated von Willebrand Factor (VWF) plasma levels are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. A meta-analysis of genome wide association studies on VWF identified novel candidate genes, i.e. syntaxin-binding protein 5 (STXBP5) and syntaxin 2 (STX2), which are possibly involved in the secretion of VWF. We investigated whether VWF antigen levels (VWF:Ag), VWF collagen-binding activity (VWF:CB), and the risk of arterial thrombosis are affected by common genetic variations in these genes.
Methods and Results
In 463 young Caucasian subjects (males ≤ 45 years, females ≤ 55 years), who were included one to three months after a first event of arterial thrombosis, and 406 controls, we measured VWF:Ag and VWF:CB. Nine haplotype tagging SNPs of STXBP5 and STX2 were selected and subsequently analysed using linear regression with additive genetic models adjusted for age, sex and ABO blood group. The minor alleles of rs9399599 and rs1039084 in STXBP5 were associated with lower VWF plasma levels and activity, whereas the minor allele of rs7978987 in STX2 was associated with higher VWF plasma levels and activity. The minor alleles of the SNPs in STX2 were associated with a reduced risk of arterial thrombosis (rs1236:OR 0.73 [95%CI 0.59, 0.89], rs7978987:OR 0.81 [95%CI 0.65, 1.00], rs11061158:OR 0.69 [95%CI 0.55, 0.88]).
Genetic variability in STXBP5 and STX2 affects both VWF concentration and activity in young individuals with premature arterial thrombosis. Furthermore, in our study genetic variability in STX2 is associated with the risk of arterial thrombosis. However, at this point the underlying mechanism remains unclear.
PMCID: PMC3511837  PMID: 21156930
Von Willebrand Factor; genetics; STX2; STXBP5; cardiovascular diseases
23.  Validation of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index as a measure of neighborhood greenness 
Annals of epidemiology  2011;21(12):946-952.
To assess the validity of a GIS measure, the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), as a measure of neighborhood greenness for epidemiologic research.
Using remote-sensing spectral data, NDVI was calculated for a 100-m radial distance around 124 residences in greater Seattle. The criterion standard was rating of greenness for corresponding residential areas by three environmental psychologists. Pearson correlations and regression models were used to assess the association between the psychologists’ ratings of greenness and NDVI. Analyses were also stratified by residential density to assess whether the correlations differed between low and high density.
Mean NDVI among this sample of residences was .27 (SD = 0.11; range: −.04 to .54), and the mean psychologist rating of greenness was 2.84 (SD = 0.98; range: 1 to 5). The correlation between NDVI and expert ratings of greenness was high (r = .69). The correlation was equivalently strong within each strata of residential density.
NDVI is a useful measure of neighborhood greenness. In addition to showing strong correlation with expert ratings, this measure has practical advantages including availability of data and ease of application to various boundaries which would aid in replication and comparability across studies.
PMCID: PMC3225119  PMID: 21982129
24.  Fasting and Post-Glucose Load Measures of Insulin Resistance and Risk of Ischemic Stroke in Older Adults 
Background and purpose
Few studies have assessed post-glucose load measures of insulin resistance and ischemic stroke risk, and data are sparse for older adults. We investigated whether fasting and post-glucose load measures of insulin resistance were related to incident ischemic stroke in non-diabetic older adults.
Participants were men and women in the Cardiovascular Health Study, aged 65+ and without prevalent diabetes or stroke at baseline, followed for 17 years for incident ischemic stroke. The Gutt insulin sensitivity index was calculated from baseline body weight and fasting and 2-hour post-load insulin and glucose; a lower Gutt index indicates higher insulin resistance.
Analyses included 3,442 participants (42% men) with a mean age of 73. Incidence of ischemic stroke was 9.8 strokes per 1,000 person years. The relative risk (RR) for lowest quartile vs. highest quartile of Gutt index was 1.64 (95% confidence interval: 1.24, 2.16), adjusted for demographics and prevalent cardiovascular and kidney disease. Similarly, the adjusted RR for highest quartile vs. lowest quartile of 2-hour glucose was 1.84 (95% CI: 1.39, 2.42). In contrast, the adjusted RR for highest quartile vs. lowest quartile of fasting insulin was 1.10 (95% CI: 0.84, 1.46).
In non-diabetic older adults, insulin resistance measured by Gutt index or 2-hour glucose, but not fasting insulin, was associated with risk of incident ischemic stroke.
PMCID: PMC3226936  PMID: 21998054
Non-diabetic older adults; Cohort study; Gutt insulin sensitivity index
25.  MAOA promoter methylation and susceptibility to carotid atherosclerosis: role of familial factors in a monozygotic twin sample 
BMC Medical Genetics  2012;13:100.
Atherosclerosis is a complex process involving both genetic and epigenetic factors. The monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene regulates the metabolism of key neurotransmitters and has been associated with cardiovascular risk factors. This study investigates whether MAOA promoter methylation is associated with atherosclerosis, and whether this association is confounded by familial factors in a monozygotic (MZ) twin sample.
We studied 84 monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs drawn from the Vietnam Era Twin Registry. Carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) was measured by ultrasound. DNA methylation in the MAOA promoter region was quantified by bisulfite pyrosequencing using genomic DNA isolated from peripheral blood leukocytes. The association between DNA methylation and IMT was first examined by generalized estimating equation, followed by matched pair analyses to determine whether the association was confounded by familial factors.
When twins were analyzed as individuals, increased methylation level was associated with decreased IMT at four of the seven studied CpG sites. However, this association substantially reduced in the matched pair analyses. Further adjustment for MAOA genotype also considerably attenuated this association.
The association between MAOA promoter methylation and carotid IMT is largely explained by familial factors shared by the twins. Because twins reared together share early life experience, which may leave a long-lasting epigenetic mark, aberrant MAOA methylation may represent an early biomarker for unhealthy familial environment. Clarification of familial factors associated with DNA methylation and early atherosclerosis will provide important information to uncover clinical correlates of disease.
PMCID: PMC3532355  PMID: 23116433
DNA methylation; MAOA; Carotid atherosclerosis; Monozygotic twins; Familial factors

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