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1.  Receiver Operating Characteristic Analysis of HLA, CTLA4, and Insulin Genotypes for Type 1 Diabetes 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(9):2504-2507.
This study assessed the ability to distinguish between type 1 diabetes–affected individuals and their unaffected relatives using HLA and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotypes.
Eight models, ranging from only the high-risk DR3/DR4 genotype to all significantly associated HLA genotypes and two SNPs mapping to the cytotoxic T-cell–associated antigen-4 gene (CTLA4) and insulin (INS) genes, were fitted to high-resolution class I and class II HLA genotyping data for patients from the Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium collection. Pairs of affected individuals and their unaffected siblings were divided into a “discovery” (n = 1,015 pairs) and a “validation” set (n = 318 pairs). The discriminating performance of various combinations of genetic information was estimated using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis.
The use of only the presence or absence of the high-risk DR3/DR4 genotype achieved very modest discriminating ability, yielding an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.62 in the discovery set and 0.59 in the validation set. The full model—which included HLA information from the class II loci DPB1, DRB1, and DQB1; selected alleles from HLA class I loci A and B; and SNPs from the CTLA4 and INS genes—increased the AUC to 0.74 in the discovery set and to 0.71 in the validation set. A cost-effective alternative is proposed, using genotype information equivalent to typing four SNPs (DR3, DR4-DQB1*03:02, CTLA-4, and INS), which achieved an AUC of 0.72 in the discovery set and 0.69 in the validation set.
Genotyping data sufficient to tag DR3, DR4-DQB1*03:02, CTLA4, and INS were shown to distinguish between subjects with type 1 diabetes and their unaffected siblings adequately to achieve clinically utility to identify children in multiplex families to be considered for early intervention.
PMCID: PMC3747897  PMID: 23628620
2.  An atlas of genetic influences on human blood metabolites 
Nature genetics  2014;46(6):543-550.
Genome-wide association scans with high-throughput metabolic profiling provide unprecedented insights into how genetic variation influences metabolism and complex disease. Here we report the most comprehensive exploration of genetic loci influencing human metabolism to date, including 7,824 adult individuals from two European population studies. We report genome-wide significant associations at 145 metabolic loci and their biochemical connectivity regarding more than 400 metabolites in human blood. We extensively characterize the resulting in vivo blueprint of metabolism in human blood by integrating it with information regarding gene expression, heritability, overlap with known drug targets, previous association with complex disorders and inborn errors of metabolism. We further developed a database and web-based resources for data mining and results visualization. Our findings contribute to a greater understanding of the role of inherited variation in blood metabolic diversity, and identify potential new opportunities for pharmacologic development and disease understanding.
PMCID: PMC4064254  PMID: 24816252
3.  HLA Class II Genotyping of African American Type 1 Diabetic Patients Reveals Associations Unique to African Haplotypes 
Diabetes  2013;62(9):3292-3299.
HLA genotyping was performed in African American type 1 diabetic patients (n = 772) and controls (n = 1,641) in the largest study of African Americans and type 1 diabetes reported to date. Cases were from Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland and from existing collections (Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium [T1DGC], Diabetes Control and Complications Trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications [DCCT/EDIC], and Genetics of Kidneys in Diabetes [GoKinD]). Controls were from the T1DGC and from newborn bloodspot cards. The diversity of HLA DRB1-DQA1-DQB1 haplotypes and genotypes is far greater than that found in Europeans and European Americans. Association analyses replicated many type 1 diabetes risk effects of European-derived haplotypes but also revealed novel effects for African-derived haplotypes. Notably, the African-specific “DR3” haplotype DRB1*03:02-DQA1*04:01-DQB1*04:02 is protective for type 1 diabetes, in contrast to the common and highly-susceptible DR3 DRB1*03:01-DQA1*05:01-DQB1*02:01. Both DRB1*07:01 and DRB1*13:03 haplotypes are predisposing when they include DQA1*03:01-DQB1*02:01g but are protective with DQA1*02:01-DQB1*02:01g. The heterozygous DR4/DR9 genotype, containing the African-derived “DR9” haplotype DRB1*09:01-DQA1*03:01-DQB1*02:01g, exhibits extremely high risk (odds ratio = 30.88), approaching that for DR3/DR4 in European populations. Disease risk assessment for African Americans differs greatly from risk assessment in European populations. This has profound implications on risk screening programs and underscores the need for high-resolution genotyping of multiple populations for the rational design of screening programs with tests that will fairly represent the population being screened.
PMCID: PMC3749336  PMID: 23801574
4.  The HLA Class I A Locus Affects Susceptibility to Type 1 Diabetes 
Human immunology  2002;63(8):657-664.
Human leukocyte antigen A (HLA-A) genotypes were determined for samples from 283 multiplex, Caucasian, type 1 diabetes families from the Human Biological Data Interchange (HBDI) using an immobilized probe assay. Distribution of HLA-A alleles transmitted to patients was significantly different from that in affected family-based controls (AFBAC) (p = 0.004). Transmission disequilibrium test (TDT) analysis revealed differential transmission of several HLA-A alleles from parents to affected offspring. HLA class II DRB1 and DQB1 loci were also typed, allowing assignment of HLA-A alleles to haplotypes and calculation of linkage disequilibrium values. Some of the apparent effects of HLA-A alleles on type 1 diabetes susceptibility were attributable to linkage disequilibrium with DR and DQ alleles, although others were not. The differences in frequencies between patients and controls of alleles A*0101, A*2402, and A*3002 could not be explained by linkage disequilibrium alone. Our results suggest an important role for class I antigens in modulating susceptibility to type 1 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC4049513  PMID: 12121673
HLA-A genotypes; type 1 diabetes
5.  Human Leukocyte Antigen Class I B and C Loci Contribute to Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) Susceptibility and Age at T1D Onset 
Human immunology  2005;66(3):301-313.
Alleles of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II genes are well known to affect susceptibility to type 1 diabetes (T1D), but less is known about the contribution of HLA class I alleles to T1D susceptibility. In this study, molecular genotyping was performed at the HLA-B and HLA-C loci for 283 multiplex Caucasian families, previously typed for HLA-A and the class II loci. Allele frequencies were compared between affected siblings and affected family-based controls. Linkage disequilibrium coefficients were calculated for HLA-B–HLA-C haplotypes and for class I–class II haplotypes. After adjustment for linkage disequilibrium, the following alleles remain associated with T1D: B*1801, B*3906, B*4403, C*0303, C*0802, and C*1601. B and C allele associations were tested for certain T1D-associated DRB1-DQB1 haplotypes, with the following results: B*3801 is protective on DRB1*0401-DQB1*0302 haplotypes, both C*0701 and C*0702 are predisposing on DRB1*0404-DQB1*0302 haplotypes, and B*3906 is predisposing on DRB1*0801-DQB1*0402 haplotypes. As with previous results for HLA-A, HLA-B and HLA-C are associated with age at T1D onset (mean 11.6 ± 0.3 years). The protective allele B*4403 was associated with older age at onset (15.1 years; p < 0.04), and the predisposing alleles C*0702 and B*3906 were associated with younger age at onset (9.5 years, p < 0.001; and 7.8 years, p < 0.002, respectively). These data support a role for HLA class I alleles in susceptibility to and age at onset of T1D.
PMCID: PMC4049521  PMID: 15784469
type 1 diabetes; HLA class I; HLA-B; HLA-C; age at onset
6.  SMAD3 Is Associated with the Total Burden of Radiographic Osteoarthritis: The Chingford Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97786.
A newly-described syndrome called Aneurysm-Osteoarthritis Syndrome (AOS) was recently reported. AOS presents with early onset osteoarthritis (OA) in multiple joints, together with aneurysms in major arteries, and is caused by rare mutations in SMAD3. Because of the similarity of AOS to idiopathic generalized OA (GOA), we hypothesized that SMAD3 is also associated with GOA and tested the hypothesis in a population-based cohort.
Study participants were derived from the Chingford study. Kellgren-Lawrence (KL) grades and the individual features of osteophytes and joint space narrowing (JSN) were scored from radiographs of hands, knees, hips, and lumbar spines. The total KL score, osteophyte score, and JSN score were calculated and used as indicators of the total burden of radiographic OA. Forty-one common SNPs within SMAD3 were genotyped using the Illumina HumanHap610Q array. Linear regression modelling was used to test the association between the total KL score, osteophyte score, and JSN score and each of the 41 SNPs, with adjustment for patient age and BMI. Permutation testing was used to control the false positive rate.
A total of 609 individuals were included in the analysis. All were Caucasian females with a mean age of 60.9±5.8. We found that rs3825977, with a minor allele (T) frequency of 20%, in the last intron of SMAD3, was significantly associated with total KL score (β = 0.14, Ppermutation = 0.002). This association was stronger for the total JSN score (β = 0.19, Ppermutation = 0.002) than for total osteophyte score (β = 0.11, Ppermutation = 0.02). The T allele is associated with a 1.47-fold increased odds for people with 5 or more joints to be affected by radiographic OA (Ppermutation = 0.046).
We found that SMAD3 is significantly associated with the total burden of radiographic OA. Further studies are required to reveal the mechanism of the association.
PMCID: PMC4031234  PMID: 24852296
7.  Identification of seven loci affecting mean telomere length and their association with disease 
Codd, Veryan | Nelson, Christopher P. | Albrecht, Eva | Mangino, Massimo | Deelen, Joris | Buxton, Jessica L. | Jan Hottenga, Jouke | Fischer, Krista | Esko, Tõnu | Surakka, Ida | Broer, Linda | Nyholt, Dale R. | Mateo Leach, Irene | Salo, Perttu | Hägg, Sara | Matthews, Mary K. | Palmen, Jutta | Norata, Giuseppe D. | O’Reilly, Paul F. | Saleheen, Danish | Amin, Najaf | Balmforth, Anthony J. | Beekman, Marian | de Boer, Rudolf A. | Böhringer, Stefan | Braund, Peter S. | Burton, Paul R. | de Craen, Anton J. M. | Denniff, Matthew | Dong, Yanbin | Douroudis, Konstantinos | Dubinina, Elena | Eriksson, Johan G. | Garlaschelli, Katia | Guo, Dehuang | Hartikainen, Anna-Liisa | Henders, Anjali K. | Houwing-Duistermaat, Jeanine J. | Kananen, Laura | Karssen, Lennart C. | Kettunen, Johannes | Klopp, Norman | Lagou, Vasiliki | van Leeuwen, Elisabeth M. | Madden, Pamela A. | Mägi, Reedik | Magnusson, Patrik K.E. | Männistö, Satu | McCarthy, Mark I. | Medland, Sarah E. | Mihailov, Evelin | Montgomery, Grant W. | Oostra, Ben A. | Palotie, Aarno | Peters, Annette | Pollard, Helen | Pouta, Anneli | Prokopenko, Inga | Ripatti, Samuli | Salomaa, Veikko | Suchiman, H. Eka D. | Valdes, Ana M. | Verweij, Niek | Viñuela, Ana | Wang, Xiaoling | Wichmann, H.-Erich | Widen, Elisabeth | Willemsen, Gonneke | Wright, Margaret J. | Xia, Kai | Xiao, Xiangjun | van Veldhuisen, Dirk J. | Catapano, Alberico L. | Tobin, Martin D. | Hall, Alistair S. | Blakemore, Alexandra I.F. | van Gilst, Wiek H. | Zhu, Haidong | Erdmann, Jeanette | Reilly, Muredach P. | Kathiresan, Sekar | Schunkert, Heribert | Talmud, Philippa J. | Pedersen, Nancy L. | Perola, Markus | Ouwehand, Willem | Kaprio, Jaakko | Martin, Nicholas G. | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Hovatta, Iiris | Gieger, Christian | Metspalu, Andres | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Slagboom, P. Eline | Thompson, John R. | Spector, Tim D. | van der Harst, Pim | Samani, Nilesh J.
Nature genetics  2013;45(4):422-427e2.
Inter-individual variation in mean leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is associated with cancer and several age-associated diseases. Here, in a genome-wide meta-analysis of 37,684 individuals with replication of selected variants in a further 10,739 individuals, we identified seven loci, including five novel loci, associated with mean LTL (P<5x10−8). Five of the loci contain genes (TERC, TERT, NAF1, OBFC1, RTEL1) that are known to be involved in telomere biology. Lead SNPs at two loci (TERC and TERT) associate with several cancers and other diseases, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Moreover, a genetic risk score analysis combining lead variants at all seven loci in 22,233 coronary artery disease cases and 64,762 controls showed an association of the alleles associated with shorter LTL with increased risk of CAD (21% (95% CI: 5–35%) per standard deviation in LTL, p=0.014). Our findings support a causal role of telomere length variation in some age-related diseases.
PMCID: PMC4006270  PMID: 23535734
8.  Prediction of Type 1 Diabetes 
Diabetes  2013;62(4):1020-1021.
PMCID: PMC3609574  PMID: 23520277
9.  Cohort Profile: TwinsUK and Healthy Ageing Twin Study 
The UK's largest registry of adult twins, or TwinsUK Registry, started in 1992 and encompasses about 12 000 volunteer twins from all over the United Kingdom. More than 70% of the registered twins have filled at least one detailed health questionnaire and about half of them undergone a baseline comprehensive assessment and two follow-up clinical evaluations. The most recent follow-up visit, known as Healthy Ageing Twin Study (HATS), involved 3125 female twins aged >40 years with at least one previous clinical assessment to enable inspection of longitudinal changes in ageing traits and their genetic and environmental components. The study benefits from several state-of-the-art OMICs studies including genome-wide association, next-generation genome and transcriptome sequencing, and epigenetic and metabolomic profiles. This makes our cohort as one of the most deeply phenotyped and genotyped in the world. Several collaborative projects in the field of epidemiology of complex disorders are ongoing in our cohort and interested researchers are encouraged to get in contact for future collaborations.
PMCID: PMC3600616  PMID: 22253318
10.  The Contribution of Diet and Genotype to Iron Status in Women: A Classical Twin Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e83047.
This is the first published report examining the combined effect of diet and genotype on body iron content using a classical twin study design. The aim of this study was to determine the relative contribution of genetic and environmental factors in determining iron status. The population was comprised of 200 BMI- and age-matched pairs of MZ and DZ healthy twins, characterised for habitual diet and 15 iron-related candidate genetic markers. Variance components analysis demonstrated that the heritability of serum ferritin (SF) and soluble transferrin receptor was 44% and 54% respectively. Measured single nucleotide polymorphisms explained 5% and selected dietary factors 6% of the variance in iron status; there was a negative association between calcium intake and body iron (p = 0.02) and SF (p = 0.04).
PMCID: PMC3876997  PMID: 24391736
11.  Glycosylation of Immunoglobulin G: Role of Genetic and Epigenetic Influences 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82558.
To determine the extent to which genetic and epigenetic factors contribute to variations in glycosylation of immunoglobulin G (IgG) in humans.
76  N-glycan traits in circulating IgG were analyzed by UPLC in 220 monozygotic and 310 dizygotic twin pairs from TwinsUK. A classical twin study design was used to derive the additive genetic, common and unique environmental components defining the variance in these traits. Epigenome-wide association analysis was performed using the Illumina 27k chip.
51 of the 76 glycan traits studied have an additive genetic component (heritability, h2)≥  0.5. In contrast, 12 glycan traits had a low genetic contribution (h2<0.35). We then tested for association between methylation levels and glycan levels (P<2 x10-6). Among glycan traits with low heritability probe cg08392591 maps to a CpG island 5’ from the ANKRD11 gene, a p53 activator on chromosome 16. Probe cg26991199 maps to the SRSF10 gene involved in regulation of RNA splicing and particularly in regulation of splicing of mRNA precursors upon heat shock. Among those with high heritability we found cg13782134 (mapping to the NRN1L gene) and cg16029957 mapping near the QPCT gene to be array-wide significant. The proportion of array-wide epigenetic associations was significantly larger (P<0.005) among glycans with low heritability (42%) than in those with high heritability (6.2%).
Glycome analyses might provide a useful integration of genetic and non-genetic factors to further our understanding of the role of glycosylation in both normal physiology and disease.
PMCID: PMC3855797  PMID: 24324808
12.  Genetic variation within the HLA class III influences T1D susceptibility conferred by high risk HLA haplotypes 
Genes and immunity  2010;11(3):209-218.
HLA class II DRB1 and DQB1 represent the major type 1 diabetes (T1D) genetic susceptibility loci; however, other genes in the HLA region are also involved in T1D risk. We analyzed 1411 pedigrees (2865 affected individuals) from the type 1 diabetes genetics consortium (T1DGC) genotyped for HLA classical loci and for 12 SNPs in the class III region previously shown to be associated with T1D in a subset of 886 pedigrees. Using the transmission disequilibrium test, we compared the proportion of SNP alleles transmitted from within the high risk DR3 and DR4 haplotypes to affected offspring. Markers rs4151659 (mapping to CFB) and rs7762619 (mapping 5′ of LTA) were the most strongly associated with T1D on DR3 (p=1.2 × 10−9 and p=2 × 10−12 respectively) and DR4 (p=4 × 10−15 and p= 8 × 10−8 respectively) haplotypes. They remained significantly associated after stratifying individuals in analyses for B*1801, A*0101-B*0801, DPB1*0301, DPB1*0202, DPB1*0401 or DPB1*0402. Rs7762619 and rs4151659 are in strong linkage disequilibrium (LD) (r2=0.82) with each other, but a joint analysis showed that the association for each SNP was not solely due to LD. Our data support a role for more than one locus in the class III region contributing to risk of T1D.
PMCID: PMC2858242  PMID: 20054343
Type 1 diabetes; DR3; DR4; linkage disequilibrium; fine mapping
13.  Variants near TERC are associated with mean telomere length. 
Nature genetics  2010;42(3):197-199.
We conducted genome-wide association analyses of mean leukocyte telomere length in 2,917 subjects and follow-up replication analyses in 9,492 and identified a locus on 3q26 encompassing the telomerase RNA component TERC, with compelling evidence for association (rs12696304, combined P value 3.72×10−14). Each copy of the minor allele of rs12696304 was associated with ≈75 base pairs shorter mean telomere length equivalent to ≈3.6 years of age-related attrition of mean telomere length.
PMCID: PMC3773906  PMID: 20139977
14.  Genome-wide association study meta-analysis of chronic widespread pain: evidence for involvement of the 5p15.2 region 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2012;72(3):427-436.
Chronic widespread pain (CWP) is a common disorder affecting ~10% of the general population and has an estimated heritability of 48-52%. In the first large-scale genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis, we aimed to identify common genetic variants associated with CWP.
We conducted a GWAS meta-analysis in 1,308 female CWP cases and 5,791 controls of European descent, and replicated the effects of the genetic variants with suggestive evidence for association in 1,480 CWP cases and 7,989 controls (P<1×10−5). Subsequently, we studied gene expression levels of the nearest genes in two chronic inflammatory pain mouse models, and examined 92 genetic variants previously described associated with pain.
The minor C-allele of rs13361160 on chromosome 5p15.2, located upstream of CCT5 and downstream of FAM173B, was found to be associated with a 30% higher risk of CWP (MAF=43%; OR=1.30, 95%CI=1.19-1.42, P=1.2×10−8). Combined with the replication, we observed a slightly attenuated OR of 1.17 (95%CI=1.10-1.24, P=4.7×10−7) with moderate heterogeneity (I2=28.4%). However, in a sensitivity analysis that only allowed studies with joint-specific pain, the combined association was genome-wide significant (OR=1.23, 95%CI=1.14-1.32, P=3.4×10−8, I2=0%). Expression levels of Cct5 and Fam173b in mice with inflammatory pain were higher in the lumbar spinal cord, not in the lumbar dorsal root ganglions, compared to mice without pain. None of the 92 genetic variants previously described were significantly associated with pain (P>7.7×10−4).
We identified a common genetic variant on chromosome 5p15.2 associated with joint-specific CWP in humans. This work suggests that CCT5 and FAM173B are promising targets in the regulation of pain.
PMCID: PMC3691951  PMID: 22956598
Gene Polymorphism; Fibromyalgia/Pain Syndromes; Epidemiology
15.  Metabolomic markers reveal novel pathways of ageing and early development in human populations 
Background Human ageing is a complex, multifactorial process and early developmental factors affect health outcomes in old age.
Methods Metabolomic profiling on fasting blood was carried out in 6055 individuals from the UK. Stepwise regression was performed to identify a panel of independent metabolites which could be used as a surrogate for age. We also investigated the association with birthweight overall and within identical discordant twins and with genome-wide methylation levels.
Results We identified a panel of 22 metabolites which combined are strongly correlated with age (R2 = 59%) and with age-related clinical traits independently of age. One particular metabolite, C-glycosyl tryptophan (C-glyTrp), correlated strongly with age (beta = 0.03, SE = 0.001, P = 7.0 × 10−157) and lung function (FEV1 beta = −0.04, SE = 0.008, P = 1.8 × 10−8 adjusted for age and confounders) and was replicated in an independent population (n = 887). C-glyTrp was also associated with bone mineral density (beta = −0.01, SE = 0.002, P = 1.9 × 10−6) and birthweight (beta = −0.06, SE = 0.01, P = 2.5 × 10−9). The difference in C-glyTrp levels explained 9.4% of the variance in the difference in birthweight between monozygotic twins. An epigenome-wide association study in 172 individuals identified three CpG-sites, associated with levels of C-glyTrp (P < 2 × 10−6). We replicated one CpG site in the promoter of the WDR85 gene in an independent sample of 350 individuals (beta = −0.20, SE = 0.04, P = 2.9 × 10−8). WDR85 is a regulator of translation elongation factor 2, essential for protein synthesis in eukaryotes.
Conclusions Our data illustrate how metabolomic profiling linked with epigenetic studies can identify some key molecular mechanisms potentially determined in early development that produce long-term physiological changes influencing human health and ageing.
PMCID: PMC3781000  PMID: 23838602
Ageing; metabolomics; epigenetics; twin studies; developmental origins of health and disease; birthweight
16.  A Role for PACE4 in Osteoarthritis Pain: Evidence from Human Genetic Association and Null Mutant Phenotype 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2012;71(6):1042-1048.
To assess if genetic variation in the PACE4 gene, PCSK6, influences the risk for symptomatic knee OA.
Ten PCSK6 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) were tested for association in a discovery cohort of radiographic knee OA (n= 156 asymptomatic and 600 symptomatic cases). Meta-analysis of the minor allele at rs900414 was performed in three additional independent cohorts (total n=674 asymptomatic and 2068 symptomatic). Pcsk6 knockout (KO) mice and wildtype C57BL/6 mice were compared in a battery of algesiometric assays, including hypersensitivity in response to intraplantar substance P; pain behaviours in response to intrathecal substance P; and pain behaviour in the abdominal constriction test.
In the discovery cohort of radiographic knee OA, an intronic SNP at rs900414 was significantly associated with symptomatic OA. Replication in three additional cohorts confirmed that the minor allele at rs900414 was consistently increased among asymptomatic compared to symptomatic radiographic knee OA cases in all four cohorts. A fixed-effects meta-analysis yielded an odds ratio =1.35 (95% CI 1.17, 1.56; p-value 4.3×10−5 and no significant between-study heterogeneity). Studies in mice revealed that Pcsk6 knockout (KO) mice were significantly protected against pain in a battery of algesiometric assays.
These results suggest that a variant in PCSK6 is strongly associated with protection against pain in knee OA, offering some insight as to why in the presence of the same structural damage, some individuals develop chronic pain and others are protected. Studies in Pcsk6 null mutant mice further implicate PACE4 in pain.
PMCID: PMC3603144  PMID: 22440827
Knee osteoarthritis; pain; PACE4; genetic association; SNP
17.  Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies confirms a susceptibility locus for knee osteoarthritis on chromosome 7q22 
Evangelou, Evangelos | Valdes, Ana M. | Kerkhof, Hanneke J.M | Styrkarsdottir, Unnur | Zhu, YanYan | Meulenbelt, Ingrid | Lories, Rik J. | Karassa, Fotini B. | Tylzanowski, Przemko | Bos, Steffan D. | Akune, Toru | Arden, Nigel K. | Carr, Andrew | Chapman, Kay | Cupples, L. Adrienne | Dai, Jin | Deloukas, Panos | Doherty, Michael | Doherty, Sally | Engstrom, Gunnar | Gonzalez, Antonio | Halldorsson, Bjarni V. | Hammond, Christina L. | Hart, Deborah J. | Helgadottir, Hafdis | Hofman, Albert | Ikegawa, Shiro | Ingvarsson, Thorvaldur | Jiang, Qing | Jonsson, Helgi | Kaprio, Jaakko | Kawaguchi, Hiroshi | Kisand, Kalle | Kloppenburg, Margreet | Kujala, Urho M. | Lohmander, L. Stefan | Loughlin, John | Luyten, Frank P. | Mabuchi, Akihiko | McCaskie, Andrew | Nakajima, Masahiro | Nilsson, Peter M. | Nishida, Nao | Ollier, William E.R. | Panoutsopoulou, Kalliope | van de Putte, Tom | Ralston, Stuart H. | Rivadeneira, Fernado | Saarela, Janna | Schulte-Merker, Stefan | Slagboom, P. Eline | Sudo, Akihiro | Tamm, Agu | Tamm, Ann | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Tsezou, Aspasia | Wallis, Gillian A. | Wilkinson, J. Mark | Yoshimura, Noriko | Zeggini, Eleftheria | Zhai, Guangju | Zhang, Feng | Jonsdottir, Ingileif | Uitterlinden, Andre G. | Felson, David T | van Meurs, Joyce B. | Stefansson, Kari | Ioannidis, John P.A. | Spector, Timothy D.
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2010;70(2):349-355.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most prevalent form of arthritis and accounts for substantial morbidity and disability, particularly in the elderly. It is characterized by changes in joint structure including degeneration of the articular cartilage and its etiology is multifactorial with a strong postulated genetic component. We performed a meta-analysis of four genome-wide association (GWA) studies of 2,371 knee OA cases and 35,909 controls in Caucasian populations. Replication of the top hits was attempted with data from additional ten replication datasets. With a cumulative sample size of 6,709 cases and 44,439 controls, we identified one genome-wide significant locus on chromosome 7q22 for knee OA (rs4730250, p-value=9.2×10−9), thereby confirming its role as a susceptibility locus for OA. The associated signal is located within a large (500kb) linkage disequilibrium (LD) block that contains six genes; PRKAR2B (protein kinase, cAMP-dependent, regulatory, type II, beta), HPB1 (HMG-box transcription factor 1), COG5 (component of oligomeric golgi complex 5), GPR22 (G protein-coupled receptor 22), DUS4L (dihydrouridine synthase 4-like), and BCAP29 (the B-cell receptor-associated protein 29). Gene expression analyses of the (six) genes in primary cells derived from different joint tissues confirmed expression of all the genes in the joint environment.
PMCID: PMC3615180  PMID: 21068099
18.  Genetics of the HLA Region in the Prediction of Type 1 Diabetes 
Current diabetes reports  2011;11(6):533-542.
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is one of the most widely studied complex genetic disorders, and the genes in HLA are reported to account for approximately 40% to 50% of the familial aggregation of T1D. The major genetic determinants of this disease are polymorphisms of class II HLA genes encoding DQ and DR. The DR-DQ haplotypes conferring the highest risk are DRB1*03:01-DQA1*05:01-DQB1*02:01 (abbreviated “DR3”) and DRB1*04:01/02/04/05/08-DQA1*03:01-DQB1*03:02/04 (or DQB1*02; abbreviated “DR4”). The risk is much higher for the heterozygote formed by these two haplotypes (OR = 16.59; 95% CI, 13.7–20.1) than for either of the homozygotes (DR3/DR3, OR = 6.32; 95% CI, 5.12–7.80; DR4/DR4, OR = 5.68; 95% CI, 3.91). In addition, some haplotypes confer strong protection from disease, such as DRB1*15:01-DQA1*01:02-DQB1*06:02 (abbreviated “DR2”; OR = 0.03; 95% CI, 0.01–0.07). After adjusting for the genetic correlation with DR and DQ, significant associations can be seen for HLA class II DPB1 alleles, in particular, DPB1*04:02, DPB1*03:01, and DPB1*02:02. Outside of the class II region, the strongest susceptibility is conferred by allele B*39:06 (OR =10.31; 95% CI, 4.21–25.1) and other HLA-B alleles. In addition, several loci in the class III region are reported to be associated with T1D, as are some loci telomeric to class I. Not surprisingly, current approaches for the prediction of T1D in screening studies take advantage of genotyping HLA-DR and HLA-DQ loci, which is then combined with family history and screening for autoantibodies directed against islet-cell antigens. Inclusion of additional moderate HLA risk haplotypes may help identify the majority of children with T1D before the onset of the disease.
PMCID: PMC3233362  PMID: 21912932
Type 1 diabetes; Genetic risk; HLA class II; HLA class I; HLA class III; Risk prediction
19.  Race-Specific Type 1 Diabetes Risk of HLA-DR7 Haplotypes 
Tissue antigens  2011;78(5):348-351.
To test the hypothesis that closely-related HLA haplotypes containing the DRB1*07:01 gene (“DR7” haplotypes) derived from European and African populations differ in their genetic susceptibility for type 1 diabetes (T1D) depending on the DQ-α molecule present.
Research Design and Methods
A combined total of ninety-eight African American T1D patients from the Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium and from Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland were genotyped for the HLA class II loci DRB1, DQA1, and DQB1. DNA samples extracted from newborn blood spot cards from African Americans born in California (n=947) were used as a population-based control group.
Among African American cases, the European-derived DRB1*07:01-DQA1*02:01-DQB1*02:01g haplotype was protective for T1D risk (odds ratio (OR)=0.34; 95% CI 0.14 - 0.78; p<0.011), but the African-derived DRB1*07:01-DQA1*03:01-DQB1*02:01g haplotype increased T1D risk (OR=3.96; 95% CI 1.94 - 8.08; p<5.5E-05).
The effect of DRB1*07:01-DQB1*02:01g on T1D susceptibility depends on the DQA1 allele. DRB1*07:01-DQA1*02:01-DQB1*02:01g is protective for T1D however, the presence of DQA1*03:01 on the DRB1*07:01-DQB1*02:01g haplotype not only renders the DR7 haplotype not protective, it creates a haplotype with significant T1D risk. These data underscore the importance of assessing genetic effects within ethnic context.
PMCID: PMC3193161  PMID: 21988721
type 1 diabetes; genetic risk; HLA class II; HLA DR7; African American
20.  Targeted metabolomics profiles are strongly correlated with nutritional patterns in women 
Metabolomics  2012;9(2):506-514.
Nutrition plays an important role in human metabolism and health. Metabolomics is a promising tool for clinical, genetic and nutritional studies. A key question is to what extent metabolomic profiles reflect nutritional patterns in an epidemiological setting. We assessed the relationship between metabolomic profiles and nutritional intake in women from a large cross-sectional community study. Food frequency questionnaires (FFQs) were applied to 1,003 women from the TwinsUK cohort with targeted metabolomic analyses of serum samples using the Biocrates Absolute-IDQ™ Kit p150 (163 metabolites). We analyzed seven nutritional parameters: coffee intake, garlic intake and nutritional scores derived from the FFQs summarizing fruit and vegetable intake, alcohol intake, meat intake, hypo-caloric dieting and a “traditional English” diet. We studied the correlation between metabolite levels and dietary intake patterns in the larger population and identified for each trait between 14 and 20 independent monozygotic twins pairs discordant for nutritional intake and replicated results in this set. Results from both analyses were then meta-analyzed. For the metabolites associated with nutritional patterns, we calculated heritability using structural equation modelling. 42 metabolite nutrient intake associations were statistically significant in the discovery samples (Bonferroni P < 4 × 10−5) and 11 metabolite nutrient intake associations remained significant after validation. We found the strongest associations for fruit and vegetables intake and a glycerophospholipid (Phosphatidylcholine diacyl C38:6, P = 1.39 × 10−9) and a sphingolipid (Sphingomyeline C26:1, P = 6.95 × 10−13). We also found significant associations for coffee (confirming a previous association with C10 reported in an independent study), garlic intake and hypo-caloric dieting. Using the twin study design we find that two thirds the metabolites associated with nutritional patterns have a significant genetic contribution, and the remaining third are solely environmentally determined. Our data confirm the value of metabolomic studies for nutritional epidemiologic research.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11306-012-0469-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3608890  PMID: 23543136
Metabolomics; Twins; Dietary pattern; Nutrition habits; Food questionnaires
21.  Genome-wide meta-analysis points to CTC1 and ZNF676 as genes regulating telomere homeostasis in humans 
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;21(24):5385-5394.
Leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is associated with a number of common age-related diseases and is a heritable trait. Previous genome-wide association studies (GWASs) identified two loci on chromosomes 3q26.2 (TERC) and 10q24.33 (OBFC1) that are associated with the inter-individual LTL variation. We performed a meta-analysis of 9190 individuals from six independent GWAS and validated our findings in 2226 individuals from four additional studies. We confirmed previously reported associations with OBFC1 (rs9419958 P = 9.1 × 10−11) and with the telomerase RNA component TERC (rs1317082, P = 1.1 × 10−8). We also identified two novel genomic regions associated with LTL variation that map near a conserved telomere maintenance complex component 1 (CTC1; rs3027234, P = 3.6 × 10−8) on chromosome17p13.1 and zinc finger protein 676 (ZNF676; rs412658, P = 3.3 × 10−8) on 19p12. The minor allele of rs3027234 was associated with both shorter LTL and lower expression of CTC1. Our findings are consistent with the recent observations that point mutations in CTC1 cause short telomeres in both Arabidopsis and humans affected by a rare Mendelian syndrome. Overall, our results provide novel insights into the genetic architecture of inter-individual LTL variation in the general population.
PMCID: PMC3510758  PMID: 23001564
22.  A Genome-Wide Association Study identifies a locus on chromosome 7q22 to influence susceptibility for osteoarthritis 
Arthritis and Rheumatism  2010;62(2):499-510.
To identify genes involved in osteoarthritis (OA), the most prevalent form of joint disease, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in which we tested 500,510 Single Nucelotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in 1341 OA cases and 3496 Dutch Caucasian controls. SNPs associated with at least two OA-phenotypes were analysed in 14,938 OA cases and approximately 39,000 controls. The C-allele of rs3815148 on chromosome 7q22 (MAF 23%, 172 kb upstream of the GPR22 gene) was consistently associated with a 1.14-fold increased risk (95%CI: 1.09–1.19) for knee- and/or hand-OA (p=8×10−8), and also with a 30% increased risk for knee-OA progression (95%CI: 1.03–1.64, p=0.03). This SNP is in almost complete linkage disequilibrium with rs3757713 (located 68 kb upstream of GPR22) which is associated with GPR22 expression levels in lymphoblast cell lines (p=4×10−12). GPR22 encodes an G-protein coupled receptor with unkown ligand (orphan receptor). Immunohistochemistry experiments showed absence of GPR22 in normal mouse articular cartilage or synovium. However, GPR22 positive chondrocytes were found in the upper layers of the articular cartilage of mouse knee joints that were challenged by in vivo papain treatment or in the presence of interleukin-1 driven inflammation. GRP22 positive chondrocyte-like cells were also found in osteophytes in instability-induced OA. In addition, GPR22 is also present in areas of the brain involved in locomotor function. Our findings reveal a novel common variant on chromosome 7q22 to influence susceptibility for prevalence and progression of OA.
PMCID: PMC3354739  PMID: 20112360
23.  Recommendations for standardization and phenotype definitions in genetic studies of osteoarthritis: the TREAT-OA consortium 
To address the need for standardization of osteoarthritis (OA) phenotypes by examining the effect of heterogeneity among symptomatic (SOA) and radiographic osteoarthritis (ROA) phenotypes.
Descriptions of OA phenotypes of the 28 studies involved in the TREAT-OA consortium were collected. To investigate whether different OA definitions result in different association results, we created hip OA definitions used within the consortium in the Rotterdam Study-I and tested the association of hip OA with gender, age and BMI using one-way ANOVA. For radiographic OA, we standardized the hip, knee and hand ROA definitions and calculated prevalence's of ROA before and after standardization in 9 cohort studies. This procedure could only be performed in cohort studies and standardization of SOA definitions was not feasible at this moment.
In this consortium, all studies with symptomatic OA phenotypes (knee, hip and hand) used a different definition and/or assessment of OA status. For knee, hip and hand radiographic OA 5, 4 and 7 different definitions were used, respectively. Different hip OA definitions do lead to different association results. For example, we showed in the Rotterdam Study-I that hip OA defined as “at least definite JSN and one definite osteophyte” was not associated with gender (p=0.22), but defined as “at least one definite osteophyte” was significantly associated with gender (p=3×10−9). Therefore, a standardization process was undertaken for radiographic OA definitions. Before standardization a wide range of ROA prevalence's was observed in the 9 cohorts studied. After standardization the range in prevalence of knee and hip ROA was small. Standardization of SOA phenotypes was not possible due to the case-control design of the studies.
Phenotype definitions influence the prevalence of OA and association with clinical variables. ROA phenotypes within the TREAT-OA consortium were standardized to reduce heterogeneity and improve power in future genetics studies.
PMCID: PMC3236091  PMID: 21059398
24.  The Ile585Val TRPV1 variant is involved in risk of painful knee osteoarthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2011;70(9):1556-1561.
To assess if a coding variant in the gene encoding transient receptor potential cation channel, subfamily V, member 1 (TRPV1) is associated with genetic risk of painful knee osteoarthritis (OA).
The Ile585Val TRPV1 variant encoded by rs8065080 was genotyped in 3270 cases of symptomatic knee OA, 1098 cases of asymptomatic knee OA and 3852 controls from seven cohorts from the UK, the USA and Australia. The genetic association between the low-pain genotype Ile–Ile and risk of symptomatic and asymptomatic knee OA was assessed.
The TRPV1 585 Ile–Ile genotype, reported to be associated with lower thermal pain sensitivity, was associated with a lower risk of symptomatic knee OA in a comparison of symptomatic cases with healthy controls, with an odds ratio (OR) of 0.75 (95% CI 0.64 to 0.88; p=0.00039 by meta-analysis) after adjustment for age, sex and body mass index. No difference was seen between asymptomatic OA cases and controls (OR=1.02, 95% CI 0.82 to 1.27 p=0.86) but the Ile–Ile genotype was associated with lower risk of symptomatic versus asymptomatic knee OA adjusting for covariates and radiographic severity (OR=0.73, 95% CI 0.57 to 0.94 p=0.0136). TRPV1 expression in articular cartilage was increased by inflammatory cytokines (tumour necrosis factor α and interleukin 1). However, there were no differences in TRPV1 expression in healthy and arthritic synovial tissue.
A genotype involved in lower peripheral pain sensitivity is significantly associated with a decreased risk of painful knee OA. This indicates a role for the pro-nociceptive gene TRPV1 in genetic susceptibility to symptomatic knee OA, which may also be influenced by a role for this molecule in cartilage function.
PMCID: PMC3147243  PMID: 21616913
25.  Genetic contribution to radiographic severity in osteoarthritis of the knee 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2012;71(9):1537-1540.
Knee osteoarthritis (OA) has a significant genetic component. The authors have assessed the role of three variants reported to influence risk of knee OA with p<5×10–8 in determining patellofemoral and tibiofemoral Kellgren Lawrence (K/L) grade in knee OA cases.
3474 knee OA cases with sky-line and weight-bearing antero-posterior x-rays of the knee were selected based on the presentation of K/L grade ≥2 at either the tibiofemoral or patellofemoral compartments for one or both knees. Patients belonging to three UK cohorts, were genotyped for rs143383, rs4730250 and rs11842874 mapping to the GDF5, COG5 and MCF2L genes, respectively. The association between tibiofemoral K/L grade and patellofemoral K/L grade was assessed after adjusting for age, gender and body mass index.
No significant association was found between the rs4730250 and radiographic severity. The rs11842874 mapping to MCF2L was found to be nominally significantly associated with patellofemoral K/L grade as a quantitative trait (p=0.027) but not as a binary trait. The GDF5 single nucleotide polymorphism rs143383 was associated with tibiofemoral K/L grade (β=0.05 (95% CI 0.02 to 0.08) p=0.0011).
Our data indicate that within individuals affected by radiographic knee OA, OAGDF5 has a modest but significant effect on radiographic severity after adjustment for the major risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3414227  PMID: 22615457

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