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1.  Genetic variants in Selenoprotein P plasma 1 gene (SEPP1) are associated with fasting insulin and first phase insulin response in Hispanics 
Gene  2013;534(1):10.1016/j.gene.2013.10.035.
Insulin resistance is not fully explained on a molecular level, though several genes and proteins have been tied to this defect. Knockdowns of the SEPP1 gene, which encodes the Selenoprotein P (SeP) protein, have been shown to increase insulin sensitivity in mice. SeP is a liver-derived plasma protein and a major supplier of selenium, which is a proposed insulin mimetic and antidiabetic agent.
SEPP1 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were selected for analysis with glucometabolic measures.
Participants and Measures
1424 Hispanics from families in the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study (IRASFS). Additionally, the multi-ethnic Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study was used. A frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test was used to obtain precise measures of acute insulin response (AIR) and the insulin sensitivity index (SI).
21 SEPP1 SNPs (tagging SNPs (n=12) from HapMap, 4 coding variants and 6 SNPs in the promoter region) were genotyped and analyzed for association.
Two highly correlated (r2=1) SNPs showed association with AIR (rs28919926; Cys368Arg; p=0.0028 and rs146125471; Ile293Met; p=0.0026) while rs16872779 (intronic) was associated with fasting insulin levels (p=0.0097). In the smaller IRAS Hispanic cohort, few of the associations seen in the IRASFS were replicated, but meta-analysis of IRASFS and all 3 IRAS cohorts (N= 2446) supported association of rs28919926 and rs146125471 with AIR (p=0.013 and 0.0047, respectively) as well as rs7579 with SI (p=0.047).
Overall, these results in a human sample are consistent with the literature suggesting a role for SEPP1 in insulin resistance.
PMCID: PMC3856675  PMID: 24161883
Acute Insulin Response (AIR); Selenium; Selenoproteins; Insulin Resistance; Fibrinogen; Hispanic Americans
2.  Genome-Wide Family-Based Linkage Analysis of Exome Chip Variants and Cardiometabolic Risk 
Genetic epidemiology  2014;38(4):345-352.
Linkage analysis of complex traits has had limited success in identifying trait-influencing loci. Recently, coding variants have been implicated as the basis for some biomedical associations. We tested whether coding variants are the basis for linkage peaks of complex traits in 42 African-American (n = 596) and 90 Hispanic (n = 1,414) families in the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study (IRASFS) using Illumina HumanExome Beadchips. A total of 92,157 variants in African Americans (34%) and 81,559 (31%) in Hispanics were polymorphic and tested using two-point linkage and association analyses with 37 cardiometabolic phenotypes. In African Americans 77 LOD scores greater than 3 were observed. The highest LOD score was 4.91 with the APOE SNP rs7412 (MAF = 0.13) with plasma apolipoprotein B (ApoB). This SNP was associated with ApoB (P-value = 4 × 10−19) and accounted for 16.2% of the variance in African Americans. In Hispanic families, 104 LOD scores were greater than 3. The strongest evidence of linkage (LOD = 4.29) was with rs5882 (MAF = 0.46) in CETP with HDL. CETP variants were strongly associated with HDL (0.00049 < P-value <4.6 × 10−12), accounting for up to 4.5% of the variance. These loci have previously been shown to have effects on the biomedical traits evaluated here. Thus, evidence of strong linkage in this genome wide survey of primarily coding variants was uncommon. Loci with strong evidence of linkage was characterized by large contributions to the variance, and, in these cases, are common variants. Less compelling evidence of linkage and association was observed with additional loci that may require larger family sets to confirm.
PMCID: PMC4281959  PMID: 24719370
Hispanic; African American; genetic variance
3.  Genetic Analysis of Adiponectin Variation and its Association with Type 2 Diabetes in African Americans 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2013;21(12):10.1002/oby.20419.
Adiponectin is an adipocytokine that has been implicated in a variety of metabolic disorders, including T2D and cardiovascular disease. Studies evaluating genetic variants in ADIPOQ have been contradictory when testing association with T2D in different ethnic groups.
Design and Methods
In this study, 18 SNPs in ADIPOQ were tested for association with plasma adiponectin levels and diabetes status. SNPs were examined in two independent African-American cohorts (nmax=1116) from the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study (IRASFS) and the African American-Diabetes Heart Study (AA-DHS).
Five polymorphisms were nominally associated with plasma adiponectin levels in the meta-analysis (p=0.035–1.02x10−6) including a low frequency arginine to cysteine mutation (R55C) which reduced plasma adiponectin levels to <15% of the mean. Variants were then tested for association with T2D in a meta-analysis of these and the Wake Forest T2D Case-Control study (n=3233 T2D, 2645 non-T2D). Association with T2D was not observed (p≥0.08), suggesting limited influence of ADIPOQ variants on T2D risk.
Despite identification of variants associated with adiponectin levels, a detailed genetic analysis of ADIPOQ revealed no association with T2D risk. This puts into question the role of adiponectin in T2D pathogenesis: whether low adiponectin levels are truly causal for or rather a consequence.
PMCID: PMC3690163  PMID: 23512866
4.  Coronary Calcium Score Predicts Cardiovascular Mortality in Diabetes 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(4):972-977.
In type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), it remains unclear whether coronary artery calcium (CAC) provides additional information about cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality beyond the Framingham Risk Score (FRS) factors.
A total of 1,123 T2DM participants, ages 34–86 years, in the Diabetes Heart Study followed up for an average of 7.4 years were separated using baseline computed tomography scans of CAC (0–9, 10–99, 100–299, 300–999, and ≥1,000). Logistic regression was performed to examine the association between CAC and CVD mortality adjusting for FRS. Areas under the curve (AUC) with and without CAC were compared. Net reclassification improvement (NRI) compared FRS (model 1) versus FRS+CAC (model 2) using 7.4-year CVD mortality risk categories 0% to <7%, 7% to <20%, and ≥20%.
Overall, 8% of participants died of cardiovascular causes during follow-up. In multivariate analysis, the odds ratios (95% CI) for CVD mortality using CAC 0–9 as the reference group were, CAC 10–99: 2.93 (0.74–19.55); CAC 100–299: 3.17 (0.70–22.22); CAC 300–999: 4.41(1.15–29.00); and CAC ≥1,000: 11.23 (3.24–71.00). AUC (95% CI) without CAC was 0.70 (0.67–0.73), AUC with CAC was 0.75 (0.72–0.78), and NRI was 0.13 (0.07–0.19).
In T2DM, CAC predicts CVD mortality and meaningfully reclassifies participants, suggesting clinical utility as a risk stratification tool in a population already at increased CVD risk.
PMCID: PMC3609509  PMID: 23230101
5.  Relationships between electrochemical skin conductance and kidney disease in type 2 diabetes 
Journal of diabetes and its complications  2013;28(1):10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2013.09.006.
SUDOSCAN® non-invasively measures peripheral small fiber and autonomic nerve activity using electrochemical skin conductance. Since neuropathy and nephropathy are microvascular type 2 diabetes (T2D) complications, relationships between skin conductance, estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), and urine albumin:creatinine ratio (UACR) were assessed.
205 African Americans (AA) with T2D, 93 AA non-diabetic controls, 185 European Americans (EA) with T2D, and 73 EA non-diabetic controls were evaluated. Linear models were fitted stratified by population ancestry and T2D, adjusted for covariates.
Relative to EA, AA had lower skin conductance (T2D cases p<0.0001; controls p<0.0001). Skin conductance was also lower in T2D cases vs. controls in each population (p<0.0001, AA and EA). Global skin conductance was significantly associated with eGFR in AA and EA with T2D; adjusting for age, gender, BMI, and HbA1c, positive association was detected between skin conductance and eGFR in AA T2D cases (parameter estimate 3.38, standard error 1.2; p=5.2E−3), without association in EA T2D cases (p=0.22).
Non-invasive measurement of skin conductance strongly associated with eGFR in AA with T2D, replicating results in Hong Kong Chinese. SUDOSCAN® may prove useful as a low cost, non-invasive screening tool to detect undiagnosed diabetic kidney disease in populations of African ancestry.
PMCID: PMC3877197  PMID: 24140119
African Americans; diabetes; kidney disease; neuropathy; skin conductance
Genetic epidemiology  2012;37(1):13-24.
Common genetic variation frequently accounts for only a modest amount of inter-individual variation in quantitative traits and complex disease susceptibility. Circulating adiponectin, an adipocytokine implicated in metabolic disease, is a model for assessing the contribution of genetic and clinical factors to quantitative trait variation. The adiponectin locus, ADIPOQ, is the primary source of genetically-mediated variation in plasma adiponectin levels. This study sought to define the genetic architecture of ADIPOQ in the comprehensively phenotyped Hispanic (n=1151) and African American (n=574) participants from the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study (IRASFS). Through resequencing and bioinformatic analysis, rare/low frequency (<5% MAF) and common variants (>5% MAF) in ADIPOQ were identified. Genetic variants and clinical variables were assessed for association with adiponectin levels and contribution to adiponectin variance in the Hispanic and African American cohorts. Clinical traits accounted for the greatest proportion of variance (POV) at 31% (p=1.16×10−47) and 47% (p=5.82×10−20), respectively. Rare/low frequency variants contributed more than common variants to variance in Hispanics: POV=18% (p= 6.40×10−15) and POV=5% (p=0.19), respectively. In African Americans, rare/low frequency and common variants both contributed approximately equally to variance: POV=6% (p=5.44×10−12) and POV=9% (P=1.44×10−10), respectively. Importantly, single low frequency alleles in each ethnic group were as important as, or more important than, common variants in explaining variation in adiponectin. Cumulatively, these clinical and ethnicity-specific genetic contributors explained half or more of the variance in Hispanic and African Americans and provide new insight into the sources of variation for this important adipocytokine.
PMCID: PMC3736586  PMID: 23032297
adiponectin; proportion of variation; rare variants; common variants; clinical traits
7.  Prediction of mortality using a multi-bed vascular calcification score in the Diabetes Heart Study 
Cardiovascular Diabetology  2014;13(1):160.
Vascular calcified plaque, a measure of subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD), is unlikely to be limited to a single vascular bed in patients with multiple risk factors. Consideration of vascular calcified plaque as a global phenomenon may allow for a more accurate assessment of the CVD burden. The aim of this study was to examine the utility of a combined vascular calcified plaque score in the prediction of mortality.
Vascular calcified plaque scores from the coronary, carotid, and abdominal aortic vascular beds and a derived multi-bed score were examined for associations with all-cause and CVD-mortality in 699 European-American type 2 diabetes (T2D) affected individuals from the Diabetes Heart Study. The ability of calcified plaque to improve prediction beyond Framingham risk factors was assessed.
Over 8.4 ± 2.3 years (mean ± standard deviation) of follow-up, 156 (22.3%) participants were deceased, 74 (10.6%) from CVD causes. All calcified plaque scores were significantly associated with all-cause (HR: 1.4-1.8; p < 1x10−5) and CVD-mortality (HR: 1.5-1.9; p < 1×10−4) following adjustment for Framingham risk factors. Associations were strongest for coronary calcified plaque. Improvement in prediction of outcome beyond Framingham risk factors was greatest using coronary calcified plaque for all-cause mortality (AUC: 0.720 to 0.757, p = 0.004) and the multi-bed score for CVD mortality (AUC: 0.731 to 0.767, p = 0.008).
Although coronary calcified plaque and the multi-bed score were the strongest predictors of all-cause mortality and CVD-mortality respectively in this T2D-affected sample, carotid and abdominal aortic calcified plaque scores also significantly improved prediction of outcome beyond traditional risk factors and should not be discounted as risk stratification tools.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12933-014-0160-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4266952  PMID: 25496604
Vascular calcified plaque; Mortality; Computed tomography; Type 2 diabetes
8.  Relevance of the ACTN4 gene in African Americans with non-diabetic ESRD 
American journal of nephrology  2012;36(3):252-260.
African Americans (AAs) are predisposed to non-diabetic (non-DM) end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and studies have shown a genetic component to this risk. Rare mutations in ACTN4 (α-actinin-4) an actin binding protein expressed in podocytes cause familial focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.
We assessed the contribution of coding variants in ACTN4 to non-DM ESRD risk in AAs. Nineteen exons, 2800 bases of the promoter and 392 bases of the 3’ untranslated region of ACTN4 were sequenced in 96 AA non-DM ESRD cases and 96 non-nephropathy controls (384 chromosomes). Sixty-seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) including 51 novel SNPs were identified. The SNPs comprised 33 intronic, 21 promoter, 12 exonic, and 1 3’ variant. Sixty-two of the SNPs were genotyped in 296 AA non-DM ESRD cases and 358 non-nephropathy controls.
One SNP, rs10404257, was associated with non-DM ESRD (p<1.0E-4, odds ratio (OR)=0.76, confidence interval (CI)=0.59–0.98; additive model). Forty-seven SNPs had minor allele frequencies less than 5%. These SNPs were segregated into risk and protective SNPs and each category was collapsed into a single marker, designated by the presence or absence of any rare allele. The presence of any rare allele at a risk SNP was significantly associated with non-DM ESRD (p = 0.001, dominant model). The SNPs with the strongest evidence for association (n = 20) were genotyped in an independent set of 467 non-DM ESRD cases and 279 controls. Although, rs10404257 was not associated in this replication sample, when the samples were combined rs10404257 was modestly associated (p=0.032, OR=0.78, CI=0.63–0.98; dominant model). SNPs were tested for interaction with markers in the APOL1 gene, previously associated with non-DM ESRD in AAs and rs10404257 was modestly associated (p = 0.0261, additive model).
This detailed evaluation of ACTN4 variation revealed limited evidence of association with non-DM ESRD in AAs.
PMCID: PMC3510331  PMID: 22965004
ACTN4; non-diabetic ESRD; FSGS; kidney; hypertensive nephrosclerosis; African Americans
9.  The Challenging Search for Diabetic Nephropathy Genes 
Diabetes  2012;61(8):1923-1924.
PMCID: PMC3402322  PMID: 22826311
10.  Relationship between genetic variants in myocardial sodium and potassium channel genes and QT interval duration in diabetics: the Diabetes Heart Study 
Genetic variants in myocardial sodium and potassium channel genes are associated with prolonged QT interval and increased risk of sudden death. It is unclear whether these genetic variants remain relevant in subjects with underlying conditions such as diabetes that are associated with prolonged QT interval.
We tested single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in five candidate genes for association with QT interval in a family-based study of subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Thirty-six previously reported SNPs were genotyped in KCNQ1, HERG, SCN5A, KCNE1, and KCNE2 in 901 European Americans from 366 families. The heart rate-corrected (QTc) durations were determined using the Marquette 12SL program. Associations between the QTc interval and the genotypes were evaluated using SOLAR adjusting for age, gender, T2DM status, and body mass index.
Within KCNQ1 there was weak evidence for association between the minor allele of IVS12+14T>C and increased QTc (p=0.02). The minor allele of rs2236609 in KCNE1 trended toward significance with longer QTc (p=0.06), while the minor allele of rs1805123 in HERG trended toward significance with shorter QTc (p=0.07). However, no statistically significant associations were observed between the remaining SNPs and QTc variation.
We found weak evidence of association between three previously-reported SNPs and QTc interval duration. While it appears as though genetic variants in previously identified candidate genes may be associated with QT duration in subjects with diabetes, the clinical implications of these associations in diabetic subjects at high risk for sudden death remains to be determined.
PMCID: PMC3650725  PMID: 19149796
QT interval; diabetes; association study; genetics; ion channels
11.  Insulin Sensitivity and Insulin Clearance are Heritable and Have Strong Genetic Correlation in Mexican Americans 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2014;22(4):1157-1164.
We describe the GUARDIAN (Genetics UndeRlying DIAbetes in HispaNics) consortium, along with heritability estimates and genetic and environmental correlations of insulin sensitivity and metabolic clearance rate of insulin (MCRI).
Design and Methods
GUARDIAN is comprised of seven cohorts, consisting of 4336 Mexican-American individuals in 1346 pedigrees. Insulin sensitivity (SI), MCRI, and acute insulin response (AIRg) were measured by frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test in four cohorts. Insulin sensitivity (M, M/I) and MCRI were measured by hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp in three cohorts. Heritability and genetic and environmental correlations were estimated within the family cohorts (totaling 3925 individuals) using variance components.
Across studies, age and gender-adjusted heritability of insulin sensitivity (SI, M, M/I) ranged from 0.23–0.48 and of MCRI from 0.35–0.73. The ranges for the genetic correlations were 0.91 to 0.93 between SI and MCRI; and −0.57 to −0.59 for AIRg and MCRI (all P<0.0001). The ranges for the environmental correlations were 0.54 to 0.74 for SI and MCRI (all P<0.0001); and −0.16 to −0.36 for AIRg and MCRI (P <0.0001−0.06).
These data support a strong familial basis for insulin sensitivity and MCRI in Mexican Americans. The strong genetic correlations between MCRI and SI suggest common genetic determinants.
PMCID: PMC3968231  PMID: 24124113
insulin sensitivity; insulin clearance; heritability; genetic correlation; environmental correlation
12.  Cerebral white matter hyperintensity in African Americans and European Americans with type 2 diabetes 
Prior studies involving inner city populations detected higher cerebral white matter hyperintensity (WMH) scores in African Americans (AAs), relative to European Americans (EAs). This finding may be attributable to excess cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in AAs and poorer access to healthcare. Despite racial differences in CVD risk factor profiles, AAs have paradoxically lower levels of subclinical CVD. We hypothesized that AAs with diabetes and access to healthcare would have comparable or lower levels of WMH as EAs.
Racial differences in the distribution of WMH were analyzed in 46 AAs and 156 EAs with type 2 diabetes (T2D) enrolled in the Diabetes Heart Study (DHS)-MIND, and replicated in a sample of 113 AAs and 61 EAs patients who had clinically-indicated cerebral MRIs. Wilcoxon two-sample tests and linear models were used to compare the distribution of WMH in AAs and EAs and test for association between WMH and race.
The unadjusted mean WMH score in AAs from DHS-MIND was 1.9, compared to 2.3 in EAs (p=0.3244). Among those with clinically-indicated MRIs, WMH scores were 2.9 in AAs and 3.9 in EAs (p=0.0503). Adjustment for age and gender showed no statistically significant differences in WMH score between AAs and EAs.
These independent datasets reveal comparable WMH scores between AAs and EAs. This result suggests that disparities in access to healthcare and environmental exposures likely underlie the previously reported excess burden of WMH in AAs.
PMCID: PMC3465633  PMID: 22608346
African American; cognitive performance; diabetes mellitus; MRI; race; white matter hyperintensity
13.  Polymorphisms in MYH9 are associated with diabetic nephropathy in European Americans 
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2011;27(4):1505-1511.
Polymorphisms in the non-muscle myosin IIA gene (MYH9) are associated with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and non-diabetic end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in African Americans and FSGS in European Americans. We tested for association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in MYH9 with T2DM–ESRD in European Americans; additionally, three APOL1 gene variants were evaluated.
Fifteen MYH9 SNPs and two APOL1 SNPs plus a 6-bp deletion were genotyped in 1963 European Americans, 536 cases with T2DM–ESRD and 1427 non-nephropathy controls (467 with T2DM and 960 without diabetes).
Comparing T2DM–ESRD cases with the 467 T2DM non-nephropathy controls, single variant associations trending toward significance were detected with SNPs rs4821480, rs2032487 and rs4281481 comprising part of the major MYH9 E1 risk haplotype [P-values 0.053–0.055 recessive, odds ratio (OR) 6.08–6.14]. Comparing T2DM–ESRD cases to all 1427 non-nephropathy controls, we confirmed evidence of association in these three SNPs as well as in the fourth E1 SNP (rs3752462) (P-values 0.017–0.035, OR 1.41–3.72). APOL1 G1/G2 nephropathy risk variants were rare in individuals of European American heritage, present in 0.28% of chromosomes in T2DM–ESRD cases and 0.32% of controls.
MYH9 SNPs rs4821480, rs2032487, rs4281481 and rs3752462 are associated with T2DM–ESRD susceptibility in European Americans. The APOL1 risk variants are not present at appreciable frequency in this cohort with T2DM–ESRD. Therefore, polymorphisms in MYH9 appear to influence nephropathy risk in this sample.
PMCID: PMC3315672  PMID: 21968013
APOL1; diabetic nephropathy; end-stage renal disease; MYH9; type 2 diabetes mellitus
14.  Genetic Risk Assessment of Type 2 Diabetes–Associated Polymorphisms in African Americans 
Diabetes Care  2012;35(2):287-292.
Multiple single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with type 2 diabetes (T2D) susceptibility have been identified in predominantly European-derived populations. These SNPs have not been extensively investigated for individual and cumulative effects on T2D risk in African Americans.
Seventeen index T2D risk variants were genotyped in 2,652 African American case subjects with T2D and 1,393 nondiabetic control subjects. Individual SNPs and cumulative risk allele loads were assessed for association with risk for T2D. Cumulative risk was assessed by counting risk alleles and evaluating the difference in cumulative risk scores between case subjects and control subjects. A second analysis weighted risk scores (ln [OR]) based on previously reported European-derived effect sizes.
Frequencies of risk alleles ranged from 8.6 to 99.9%. Eleven SNPs had ORs >1, and 5 from ADAMTS9, WFS1, CDKAL1, JAZF1, and TCF7L2 trended or had nominally significant evidence of T2D association (P < 0.05). Individuals carried between 13 and 29 risk alleles. Association was observed between T2D and increase in risk allele load (unweighted OR 1.04 [95% CI 1.01–1.08], P = 0.010; weighted 1.06 [1.03–1.10], P = 8.10 × 10−5). When TCF7L2 SNP rs7903146 was included as a covariate, the risk score was no longer associated with T2D in either model (unweighted 1.02 [0.98–1.05], P = 0.33; weighted 1.02 [0.98–1.06], P = 0.40).
The trend of increase in risk for T2D with increasing risk allele load is similar to observations in European-derived populations; however, these analyses indicate that T2D genetic risk is primarily mediated through the effect of TCF7L2 in African Americans.
PMCID: PMC3263882  PMID: 22275441
15.  The influence of subclinical cardiovascular disease and related risk factors on cognition in type 2 diabetes mellitus: The DHS-Mind study 
We hypothesized that measures of coronary artery calcified plaque (CAC) collected at baseline from the Diabetes Heart Study (DHS) would explain associations between cognition and diabetes collected at follow-up approximately 7 years later. The DHS is a sibling study of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in a cohort with a high prevalence of type 2 diabetes (~80%). Associations between baseline CAC and cognitive performance were tested using generalized estimating equations and mixed effects models to adjust for familial relationships. Diabetes status was associated (p<0.05) with poorer performance on tests of verbal memory, processing speed, and semantic fluency adjusting for age, sex, education, and hypertension status. As hypothesized, including CAC in the statistical model attenuated this association. Additionally, CAC and fasting glucose predicted performance in tasks not associated with diabetes status in this study (Stroop Task, Phonemic Fluency). These results confirm work attributing the heterogeneity of cognitive outcomes in type 2 diabetes to subclinical risk factors that combine to affect different aspects of brain function. Importantly, these results imply that risk factor intervention should begin before comorbidities, particularly CVD, become clinically apparent.
PMCID: PMC3770734  PMID: 23659774
type 2 diabetes; cardiovascular disease; atherosclerosis; cognition
16.  Examination of Rare Variants in HNF4 α in European Americans with Type 2 Diabetes 
Journal of diabetes & metabolism  2011;2(145):1000145.
The hepatocyte nuclear factor 4-α (HNF4α) gene codes for a transcription factor which is responsible for regulating gene transcription in pancreatic beta cells, in addition to its primary role in hepatic gene regulation. Mutations in this gene can lead to maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY), an uncommon, autosomal dominant, non-insulin dependent form of diabetes. Mutations in HNF4α have been found in few individuals, and infrequently have they segregated completely with MODY in families. In addition, due to similarity of phenotypes, it is unclear what proportion of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) in the general population is due to MODY or HNF4α mutations specifically. In this study, 27 documented rare and common variants were genotyped in a European American population of 1270 T2DM cases and 1017 controls from review of databases and literature implicating HNF4α variants in MODY and T2DM. Seventeen variants were found to be monomorphic. Two cases and one control subject had one copy of a 6-bp P2 promoter deletion. The intron 1 variant (rs6103716; MAF = 0.31) was not significantly associated with disease status (p>0.8) and the missense variant Thr130Ile (rs1800961; MAF = 0.027) was also not significantly different between cases and controls (p>0.2), but showed a trend consistent with association with T2DM. Four variants were found to be rare as heterozygotes in small numbers of subjects. Since many variants were infrequent, a pooled chi-squared analysis of rare variants was used to assess the overall burden of variants between cases and controls. This analysis revealed no significant difference (P=0.22). We conclude there is little evidence to suggest that HNF4α variants contribute significantly to risk of T2DM in the general population, but a modest contribution cannot be excluded. In addition, the observation of some mutations in controls suggests they are not highly penetrant MODY-causing variants.
PMCID: PMC3515062  PMID: 23227446
Type 2 Diabetes; HNF4A; Rare variants
17.  Meta-Analysis of Genome-Wide Association Studies in African Americans Provides Insights into the Genetic Architecture of Type 2 Diabetes 
Ng, Maggie C. Y. | Shriner, Daniel | Chen, Brian H. | Li, Jiang | Chen, Wei-Min | Guo, Xiuqing | Liu, Jiankang | Bielinski, Suzette J. | Yanek, Lisa R. | Nalls, Michael A. | Comeau, Mary E. | Rasmussen-Torvik, Laura J. | Jensen, Richard A. | Evans, Daniel S. | Sun, Yan V. | An, Ping | Patel, Sanjay R. | Lu, Yingchang | Long, Jirong | Armstrong, Loren L. | Wagenknecht, Lynne | Yang, Lingyao | Snively, Beverly M. | Palmer, Nicholette D. | Mudgal, Poorva | Langefeld, Carl D. | Keene, Keith L. | Freedman, Barry I. | Mychaleckyj, Josyf C. | Nayak, Uma | Raffel, Leslie J. | Goodarzi, Mark O. | Chen, Y-D Ida | Taylor, Herman A. | Correa, Adolfo | Sims, Mario | Couper, David | Pankow, James S. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Adeyemo, Adebowale | Doumatey, Ayo | Chen, Guanjie | Mathias, Rasika A. | Vaidya, Dhananjay | Singleton, Andrew B. | Zonderman, Alan B. | Igo, Robert P. | Sedor, John R. | Kabagambe, Edmond K. | Siscovick, David S. | McKnight, Barbara | Rice, Kenneth | Liu, Yongmei | Hsueh, Wen-Chi | Zhao, Wei | Bielak, Lawrence F. | Kraja, Aldi | Province, Michael A. | Bottinger, Erwin P. | Gottesman, Omri | Cai, Qiuyin | Zheng, Wei | Blot, William J. | Lowe, William L. | Pacheco, Jennifer A. | Crawford, Dana C. | Grundberg, Elin | Rich, Stephen S. | Hayes, M. Geoffrey | Shu, Xiao-Ou | Loos, Ruth J. F. | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Peyser, Patricia A. | Cummings, Steven R. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Fornage, Myriam | Iyengar, Sudha K. | Evans, Michele K. | Becker, Diane M. | Kao, W. H. Linda | Wilson, James G. | Rotter, Jerome I. | Sale, Michèle M. | Liu, Simin | Rotimi, Charles N. | Bowden, Donald W.
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(8):e1004517.
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is more prevalent in African Americans than in Europeans. However, little is known about the genetic risk in African Americans despite the recent identification of more than 70 T2D loci primarily by genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in individuals of European ancestry. In order to investigate the genetic architecture of T2D in African Americans, the MEta-analysis of type 2 DIabetes in African Americans (MEDIA) Consortium examined 17 GWAS on T2D comprising 8,284 cases and 15,543 controls in African Americans in stage 1 analysis. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) association analysis was conducted in each study under the additive model after adjustment for age, sex, study site, and principal components. Meta-analysis of approximately 2.6 million genotyped and imputed SNPs in all studies was conducted using an inverse variance-weighted fixed effect model. Replications were performed to follow up 21 loci in up to 6,061 cases and 5,483 controls in African Americans, and 8,130 cases and 38,987 controls of European ancestry. We identified three known loci (TCF7L2, HMGA2 and KCNQ1) and two novel loci (HLA-B and INS-IGF2) at genome-wide significance (4.15×10−94
Author Summary
Despite the higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in African Americans than in Europeans, recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) were examined primarily in individuals of European ancestry. In this study, we performed meta-analysis of 17 GWAS in 8,284 cases and 15,543 controls to explore the genetic architecture of T2D in African Americans. Following replication in additional 6,061 cases and 5,483 controls in African Americans, and 8,130 cases and 38,987 controls of European ancestry, we identified two novel and three previous reported T2D loci reaching genome-wide significance. We also examined 158 loci previously reported to be associated with T2D or regulating glucose homeostasis. While 56% of these loci were shared between African Americans and the other populations, the strongest associations in African Americans are often found in nearby single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) instead of the original SNPs reported in other populations due to differential genetic architecture across populations. Our results highlight the importance of performing genetic studies in non-European populations to fine map the causal genetic variants.
PMCID: PMC4125087  PMID: 25102180
Atherosclerosis  2013;229(1):155-160.
A negative relationship between total bilirubin concentration (TBili) and CVD risk has been documented in a series of epidemiological studies. In addition, TBili is thought to be under strong genetic regulation via the UGT1A gene family, suggesting it may be a heritable CVD risk factor. However, few studies directly relate TBili-associated UGT1A variants to CVD severity or outcome. This study replicated the genetic association for TBili in the Diabetes Heart Study (DHS), and examined the relationships of TBili-associated SNPs with measures of subclinical CVD and mortality.
This investigation included 1220 self-described European American (EA) individuals from the DHS, a family-based study examining risk for macrovascular complications in type 2 diabetes (T2D). Genetic associations with TBili were examined using the Affymetrix Genome-wide Human SNP Array 5.0 and the Illumina Infinium Human Exome beadchip v1.0. Subsequent analyses assessed the relationships of the top TBili-associated SNPs with measures of vascular calcified plaque and mortality.
A genome-wide association study (GWAS) detected 18 SNPs within the UGT1A gene family associated with TBili at p<5×10-8. The top hit was rs887829 (p=8.67×10-20). There was no compelling evidence of association between the top TBili-associated SNPs and vascular calcified plaque (p=0.05-0.88). There was, however, evidence of association with all-cause mortality (p=0.0004-0.06), the top hit being rs2741034.
These findings support a potential role for UGT1A genetic variants in risk for mortality in T2D. Further quantification of the extent of CVD risk conferred by UGT1A gene family variants in a high risk cohort with T2D is still required.
PMCID: PMC3691283  PMID: 23642732
bilirubin; genetics; cardiovascular disease; vascular calcified plaque
North Carolina medical journal  2013;74(6):530-533.
Obesity is a multifactorial disease resulting from the interaction between genetic factors and lifestyle. Identification of rare genetic variations with strong effects on obesity has been useful in diagnosing and designing personalized therapy for early-onset or syndromic obesity. However, common variants identified in recent genome-wide association studies have limited clinical value.
PMCID: PMC4073883  PMID: 24316784
Kidney international  2010;79(5):563-572.
A genome-wide association study was performed using the Affymetrix 6.0 chip to identify genes associated with diabetic nephropathy in African Americans. Association analysis was performed adjusting for admixture in 965 type 2 diabetic African American patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and in 1029 African Americans without type 2 diabetes or kidney disease as controls. The top 724 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with evidence of association to diabetic nephropathy were then genotyped in a replication sample of an additional 709 type 2 diabetes-ESRD patients and 690 controls. SNPs with evidence of association in both the original and replication studies were tested in additional African American cohorts consisting of 1246 patients with type 2 diabetes without kidney disease and 1216 with non-diabetic ESRD to differentiate candidate loci for type 2 diabetes-ESRD, type 2 diabetes, and/or all-cause ESRD. Twenty-five SNPs were significantly associated with type 2 diabetes-ESRD in the genome-wide association and initial replication. Although genome-wide significance with type 2 diabetes was not found for any of these 25 SNPs, several genes, including RPS12, LIMK2, and SFI1 are strong candidates for diabetic nephropathy. A combined analysis of all 2890 patients with ESRD showed significant association SNPs in LIMK2 and SFI1 suggesting that they also contribute to all-cause ESRD. Thus, our results suggest that multiple loci underlie susceptibility to kidney disease in African Americans with type 2 diabetes and some may also contribute to all-cause ESRD.
PMCID: PMC3056271  PMID: 21150874
Acta diabetologica  2012;50(3):391-399.
Selenoprotein S (SelS), has previously been associated with a range of inflammatory markers, particularly in the context of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The aim of this study was to examine the role of SELS genetic variants in risk for subclinical CVD and mortality in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The association between 10 polymorphisms tagging SELS and coronary (CAC), carotid (CarCP) and abdominal-aortic calcified plaque (AACP), carotid intima media thickness (IMT) and other known CVD risk factors was examined in 1220 European Americans from the family-based Diabetes Heart Study. The strongest evidence of association for SELS SNPs was observed for CarCP; rs28665122 (5′ region; β=0.329, p=0.044), rs4965814 (intron 5; β=0.329, p=0.036), rs28628459 (3′ region; β=0.331, p=0.039) and rs7178239 (downstream; β=0.375, p=0.016) were all associated. In addition, rs12917258 (intron 5) was associated with CAC (β =−0.230, p=0.032) and rs4965814, rs28628459 and rs9806366 were all associated with self reported history of prior CVD (p=0.020–0.043). These results suggest a potential role for the SELS region in the development subclinical CVD in this sample enriched for T2DM. Further understanding the mechanisms underpinning these relationships may prove important in predicting and managing CVD complications in T2DM.
PMCID: PMC3597768  PMID: 23161441
genetics; atherosclerosis; calcified plaque; diabetes mellitus
Kidney international  2013;84(6):10.1038/ki.2013.173.
Individuals with HIV infection and two apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) risk variants frequently develop nephropathy. Here we tested whether non-HIV viral infections influence nephropathy risk via interactions with APOL1 by assessing APOL1 genotypes and presence of urine JC and BK polyoma virus and plasma HHV6 and CMV by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. We analyzed 300 samples from unrelated and related first-degree relatives of African Americans with non-diabetic nephropathy using linear and non-linear mixed models to account for familial relationships. The four groups evaluated were APOL1 0/1 versus 2 risk alleles, with or without nephropathy. Urine JCV and BKV were detected in 90 and 29 patients while HHV6 and CMV were rare. Adjusting for family age at nephropathy, gender and ancestry, presence of JCV genomic DNA in urine and APOL1 risk alleles were significantly negatively associated with elevated serum cystatin C, albuminuria (albumin to creatinine ratio over 30 mg/g), and kidney disease defined as an eGFR under 60 ml/min per 1.73 m2 and/or albuminuria in an additive (APOL1 plus JCV) model. BK viruria was not associated with kidney disease. Thus, African Americans at increased risk for APOL1-associated nephropathy (two APOL1 risk variants) with JC viruria had a lower prevalence of kidney disease, suggesting that JCV interaction with APOL1 genotype may influence kidney disease risk.
PMCID: PMC3844025  PMID: 23677244
APOL1; BK polyomavirus; HIV; JC polyomavirus; kidney disease; proteinuria
Diabetes  2011;60(2):662-668.
Variation in the transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2) locus is associated with type 2 diabetes across multiple ethnicities. The aim of this study was to elucidate which variant in TCF7L2 confers diabetes susceptibility in African Americans.
Through the evaluation of tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), type 2 diabetes susceptibility was limited to a 4.3-kb interval, which contains the YRI (African) linkage disequilibrium (LD) block containing rs7903146. To better define the relationship between type 2 diabetes risk and genetic variation we resequenced this 4.3-kb region in 96 African American DNAs. Thirty-three novel and 13 known SNPs were identified: 20 with minor allele frequencies (MAF) >0.05 and 12 with MAF >0.10. These polymorphisms and the previously identified DG10S478 microsatellite were evaluated in African American type 2 diabetic cases (n = 1,033) and controls (n = 1,106).
Variants identified from direct sequencing and databases were genotyped or imputed. Fifteen SNPs showed association with type 2 diabetes (P < 0.05) with rs7903146 being the most significant (P = 6.32 × 10−6). Results of imputation, haplotype, and conditional analysis of SNPs were consistent with rs7903146 being the trait-defining SNP. Analysis of the DG10S478 microsatellite, which is outside the 4.3-kb LD block, revealed consistent association of risk allele 8 with type 2 diabetes (odds ratio [OR] = 1.33; P = 0.022) as reported in European populations; however, allele 16 (MAF = 0.016 cases and 0.032 controls) was strongly associated with reduced risk (OR = 0.39; P = 5.02 × 10−5) in contrast with previous studies.
In African Americans, these observations suggest that rs7903146 is the trait-defining polymorphism associated with type 2 diabetes risk. Collectively, these results support ethnic differences in type 2 diabetes associations.
PMCID: PMC3028368  PMID: 20980453
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2010;25(10):3348-3355.
Background. Non-diabetic forms of nephropathy commonly lead to end-stage renal disease (non-DM ESRD). Previous studies have demonstrated that African Americans are more susceptible to non-DM ESRD compared to other ethnic groups, and this risk has a strong genetic component. A genome-wide scan for ESRD in African American families enriched for non-DM ESRD showed evidence for linkage in chromosome 13q33.3, and a candidate gene in this region, klotho, was selected for a detailed analysis in a follow-up case-control association study.
Methods. Thirty-four single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the klotho gene were genotyped in 317 unrelated African American non-DM ESRD cases and 354 non-nephropathy controls, including 12 SNPs identified by re-sequencing a region around exon 4.
Results. Two SNPs demonstrated modest admixture-adjusted evidence of association with non-DM ESRD, rs650439 (P = 0.013, recessive model) and rs643780 (P = 0.017, recessive model), while rs17643698 approached significance (P = 0.0953, two degrees of freedom test). Eight of the most significant SNPs were tested for replication in a second case-control collection (557 African American non-DM ESRD cases and 187 controls), and there was no evidence of association in replicate cases and controls; nor when the samples were combined for a total of 874 non-DM cases and 541 controls. Cox proportional hazards models were computed to test for association between polymorphisms in klotho and age at onset of ESRD. A three-SNP haplotype, rs526906, rs525014 and rs571118 (T/T/A), was associated with age of onset of ESRD [P = 0.007, recessive model; hazard ratio (HR) = 0.70]. Subjects homozygous for this haplotype had a mean 4 years later onset of ESRD, suggesting a slower disease progression. HapMap subjects homozygous for this haplotype had increased expression of klotho, further supporting a protective role of this variant in ESRD.
Conclusion. We conclude that three SNPs in intron 1 of the klotho gene are associated with delayed age at onset of non-DM ESRD in African Americans.
PMCID: PMC2948839  PMID: 20466664
genetics; klotho; non-diabetic ESRD
Genomics  2010;96(4):211-219.
Chromosome 20q12-q13.1 has been linked to type 2 diabetes (T2D) in multiple populations. We examined the influence of genes in this region on T2D and BMI in two European American case-control populations. SNPs were genotyped in 300 diabetic patients and 310 controls. A subset of 72 SNPs were further genotyped in 470 cases and 442 controls. All genes examined showed evidence of association with T2D in the initial sample (additive P-value [Pa] =0.00090–0.045). SNPs near PREX1 were also associated in the second case-control population (Pa=0.017–0.042). The combined analysis resulted in the same SNPs, among others, associated with T2D (Pa=0.0013–0.041). Stratification analysis by T2D status showed that association with BMI was observed solely in cases (Pa=0.0018–0.041). Mediation testing revealed 30–40% of the effects of these SNPs on T2D were significantly mediated by BMI. SNPs near PREX1 may contribute to T2D susceptibility mediated through effects of adiposity in European Americans
PMCID: PMC2977534  PMID: 20650312
association; type 2 diabetes; genetics; adiposity; mediation analysis

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