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1.  Relationship between air pollution and positivity of RA-related autoantibodies in individuals without established RA: a report on SERA 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2013;72(12):10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-202949.
Studies suggest that respiratory exposures including smoking, proximity to traffic and air pollution might be associated with development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA-related autoantibodies are predictive of the development of RA.
We evaluated the relationship between RA-related autoantibodies and exposure to particulate matter (PM), a measure of air pollution of interest to health, in individuals without RA.
The Studies of the Etiology of Rheumatoid Arthritis (SERA) is a multicentre study following first-degree relatives (FDRs) of a proband with RA. FDRs are without the 1987 ACR (American College of Rheumatology) classifiable RA at enrolment and are followed for the development of RA-related autoimmunity. RA-related autoantibody outcomes as well as tender and swollen joint outcomes were assessed. Exposure to PM was assigned using ambient air pollution monitoring data and interpolated with inverse distance weighting spatial analyses using Geographic Information Systems. PM exposures were linked to FDR’s residential zip codes.
RA-related autoantibodies as well as tender or swollen joints are not associated with ambient PM concentrations.
While other respiratory exposures may be associated with increased risk of RA, our data suggest that ambient PM is not associated with autoantibodies and joint signs among individuals without RA, but at increased risk of developing RA.
PMCID: PMC3818364  PMID: 23572338
2.  Relatives Without Rheumatoid Arthritis Show Reactivity to Anti-Citrullinated Protein/Peptide Antibodies Which are Associated with Arthritis-Related Traits: Studies of the Etiology of Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2013;65(8):1995-2004.
Examine anti-citrullinated protein/peptide antibodies (ACPA) reactivity and determine associations between ACPA and other rheumatoid arthritis (RA)-related autoantibodies and clinically-assessed swollen or tender joints in first-degree relatives (FDRs) without 1987 and 2010 American College of Rheumatology classified RA.
A bead-based assay measured 16 separate ACPA in sera from 111 FDRs (Ab+) who were positive on at least one visit for any of 5 RA-related autoantibodies (RF, anti-CCP2, and RF isotypes), and 99 FDRs (Ab−) who were never autoantibody positive. Cut-offs for positivity for each ACPA were determined using receiver operating characteristic curves of data from 200 RA cases and 98 blood-bank controls, wherein positivity for ≥ 9 ACPA had 92% specificity and 62% sensitivity for RA. In FDRs, we assessed ACPA reactivity and examined associations between ACPA (number positive and positivity for ≥ 9 ACPA) and RA-related characteristics.
Four of 7 anti-CCP2 positive and 8% of anti-CCP2 negative FDRs were positive for ≥ 9 ACPA. After adjusting for age, gender, ethnicity and pack-years of smoking, increasing number of ACPA was directly associated with having ≥ 1 tender joint on exam (OR=1.18, 95% CI 1.04–1.34), with the greatest risk seen in FDRs positive for ≥ 9 ACPA (OR=5.00, 95% CI 1.37–18.18).
RA-free FDRs demonstrate reactivity to multiple ACPA, even in those negative for rheumatoid factor and anti-CCP2, and increasing ACPA may be associated with signs of joint inflammation. Prospective evaluation of the relationship between these findings and progression of classifiable RA is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3729718  PMID: 23754702
pre-clinical RA; autoantibodies; ACPA; rheumatoid arthritis
3.  Multiple cytokines and chemokines are associated with rheumatoid arthritis-related autoimmunity in first-degree relatives without rheumatoid arthritis: Studies of the Aetiology of Rheumatoid Arthritis (SERA) 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2012;72(6):901-907.
We investigated whether rheumatoid arthritis (RA)-related autoantibodies were associated with systemic inflammation in a prospective cohort of first-degree relatives (FDRs) of RA probands, a population without RA but at increased risk for its future development.
We studied 44 autoantibody positive FDRs, of whom 29 were rheumatoid factor (RF) positive, 25 were positive for the high risk autoantibody profile (HRP), that is, positive for anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide and/or for at least two RF IgM, IgG or IgA isotypes, and nine FDRs who were positive for both; and 62 FDRs who were never autoantibody positive. Twenty-five cytokines/chemokines were measured using a bead-based assay in serum. As a comprehensive measure of inflammation, we calculated a Cytokine Score by summing all cytokine/chemokine levels, weighted by their regression coefficients for RA-autoantibody association. We compared C-reactive protein, individual cytokines/chemokines and Cytokine Score to the outcomes: positivity for RF and for the HRP using logistic regression.
Adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity and ever smoking, the Cytokine Score and levels of IL-6 and IL-9 were associated with both RF and HRP. IL-2, granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), and interferon (IFN)-γ were associated with HRP only. Associations between the Cytokine Score and RF and HRP positivity were replicated in an independent military personnel cohort.
In first-degree relatives of patients with RA, RA-related autoimmunity is associated with inflammation, as evidenced by associations with multiple cytokines and chemokines.
PMCID: PMC3726193  PMID: 22915618
4.  Infant Exposures and Development of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus 
JAMA pediatrics  2013;167(9):808-815.
The incidence of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is increasing worldwide, with the most rapid increase among children younger than 5 years of age.
To examine the associations between perinatal and infant exposures, especially early infant diet, and the development of T1DM.
The Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young (DAISY) is a longitudinal, observational study.
Newborn screening for human leukocyte antigen (HLA) was done at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado. First-degree relatives of individuals with T1DM were recruited from the Denver metropolitan area.
A total of 1835 children at increased genetic risk for T1DM followed up from birth with complete prospective assessment of infant diet. Fifty-three children developed T1DM.
Early (<4 months of age) and late (≥6 months of age) first exposure to solid foods compared with first exposures at 4 to 5 months of age (referent).
Risk for T1DM diagnosed by a physician.
Both early and late first exposure to any solid food predicted development of T1DM (hazard ratio [HR], 1.91; 95% CI, 1.04–3.51, and HR, 3.02; 95% CI, 1.26–7.24, respectively), adjusting for the HLA-DR genotype, first-degree relative with T1DM, maternal education, and delivery type. Specifically, early exposure to fruit and late exposure to rice/oat predicted T1DM (HR, 2.23; 95% CI, 1.14–4.39, and HR, 2.88; 95% CI, 1.36–6.11, respectively), while breastfeeding at the time of introduction to wheat/barley conferred protection (HR, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.26–0.86). Complicated vaginal delivery was also a predictor of T1DM (HR, 1.93; 95% CI, 1.03–3.61).
These results suggest the safest age to introduce solid foods in children at increased genetic risk for T1DM is between 4 and 5 months of age. Breastfeeding while introducing new foods may reduce T1DM risk.
PMCID: PMC4038357  PMID: 23836309
5.  Exploring Differences in Adiposity in Two US Hispanic Populations of Mexican Origin Using Social, Behavioral, Physiologic and Genetic Markers: The IRAS Family Study 
Ethnicity & disease  2012;22(1):65-71.
The census classification of Hispanic origin is used in epidemiological studies to group individuals, even though there is geographical, cultural, and genetic diversity within Hispanic Americans of purportedly similar backgrounds. We observed differences in our measures of adiposity between our two Mexican American populations, and examined whether these differences were attributed to social, behavioral, physiologic or genetic differences between the two populations.
Research Design and Methods
In the IRAS Family Study, we examined 478 Hispanics from San Antonio, Texas and 447 Hispanics from the San Luis Valley, Colorado. Associations with body mass index (BMI), visceral adipose tissue area (VAT), and subcutaneous adipose tissue area (SAT) using social, behavioral, physiologic and genetic variables were examined.
Hispanics of Mexican origin in our clinic population in San Antonio had significantly higher mean BMI (31.09 vs 28.35 kg/m2), VAT (126.3 vs 105.5 cm2), and SAT (391.6 vs 336.9 cm2), than Hispanics of Mexican origin in the San Luis Valley. The amount of variation in adiposity explained by clinic population was 4.5% for BMI, 2.8% for VAT, and 2.7% for SAT. After adjustment, clinic population was no longer associated with VAT and SAT, but remained associated with BMI, although the amount of variation explained by population was substantially less (1.0% for BMI).
Adiposity differences within this population of Mexican origin can be largely explained by social, behavioral, physiologic and genetic differences. (Ethn Dis. 2012;22(1):65–71)
PMCID: PMC4020784  PMID: 22774311
Hispanics; Adiposity; Admixture; Environmental Differences; Social Factors; Behavior; Genetics
6.  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
7.  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
8.  Evidence of Stage- and Age-Related Heterogeneity of Non-HLA SNPs and Risk of Islet Autoimmunity and Type 1 Diabetes: The Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young 
Previously, we examined 20 non-HLA SNPs for association with islet autoimmunity (IA) and/or progression to type 1 diabetes (T1D). Our objective was to investigate fourteen additional non-HLA T1D candidate SNPs for stage- and age-related heterogeneity in the etiology of T1D. Of 1634 non-Hispanic white DAISY children genotyped, 132 developed IA (positive for GAD, insulin, or IA-2 autoantibodies at two or more consecutive visits); 50 IA positive children progressed to T1D. Cox regression was used to analyze risk of IA and progression to T1D in IA positive children. Restricted cubic splines were used to model SNPs when there was evidence that risk was not constant with age. C1QTNF6 (rs229541) predicted increased IA risk (HR: 1.57, CI: 1.20–2.05) but not progression to T1D (HR: 1.13, CI: 0.75–1.71). SNP (rs10517086) appears to exhibit an age-related effect on risk of IA, with increased risk before age 2 years (age 2 HR: 1.67, CI: 1.08–2.56) but not older ages (age 4 HR: 0.84, CI: 0.43–1.62). C1QTNF6 (rs229541), SNP (rs10517086), and UBASH3A (rs3788013) were associated with development of T1D. This prospective investigation of non-HLA T1D candidate loci shows that some SNPs may exhibit stage- and age-related heterogeneity in the etiology of T1D.
PMCID: PMC3866813  PMID: 24367383
9.  Rheumatoid factor seropositivity is inversely associated with oral contraceptive use in women without rheumatoid arthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2006;66(2):267-269.
To examine whether oral contraceptive use is associated with the presence of serum rheumatoid factor in women of reproductive age without rheumatoid arthritis.
304 women selected from parents of children who were at increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes were studied, because they were enriched with the human leucocyte antigen‐DR4 allele, a susceptibility marker for both type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Participants visited a clinic where blood was drawn for rheumatoid factor testing, and exposure data were collected via questionnaires. A medical history and joint examination were performed to rule out rheumatoid arthritis. Participants and examiners were unaware of the participants' rheumatoid factor status at the time of examination and questionnaire.
Use of oral contraceptives at any time was inversely associated with rheumatoid factor positivity (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 0.2, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.07 to 0.52) independent of age, education and smoking. Smoking ⩾20 pack‐years was also associated with rheumatoid factor positivity (adjusted OR 56.38, 95% CI 4.31 to 736.98) compared with never smoking. Smoking 1–19 pack‐years was not associated with a positive rheumatoid factor.
Our results suggest that oral contraceptive use, and possibly cigarette smoking, act early in the development of the immune dysregulation that occurs in rheumatoid arthritis.
PMCID: PMC1798510  PMID: 16868018
10.  Infant feeding patterns in families with a diabetes history – observations from The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) birth cohort study 
Public health nutrition  2013;17(12):2853-2862.
To assess the association between diabetes family history and infant feeding patterns.
Data on breast-feeding duration and age at first introduction of cow’s milk and gluten-containing cereals were collected in 3-month intervals during the first 24 months of life.
Data from the multicentre TEDDY (The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young) study, including centres in the USA, Sweden, Finland and Germany.
A total of 7026 children, including children with a mother with type 1 diabetes (T1D; n 292), gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM; n 404) or without diabetes but with a father and/or sibling with T1D (n 464) and children without diabetes family history (n 5866).
While exclusive breast-feeding ended earlier and cow’s milk was introduced earlier in offspring of mothers with T1D and GDM, offspring of non-diabetic mothers but a father and/or sibling with T1D were exclusively breast-fed longer and introduced to cow’s milk later compared with infants without diabetes family history. The association between maternal diabetes and shorter exclusive breast-feeding duration was attenuated after adjusting for clinical variables (delivery mode, gestational age, Apgar score and birth weight). Country-specific analyses revealed differences in these associations, with Sweden showing the strongest and Finland showing no association between maternal diabetes and breast-feeding duration.
Family history of diabetes is associated with infant feeding patterns; however, the associations clearly differ by country, indicating that cultural differences are important determinants of infant feeding behaviour. These findings need to be considered when developing strategies to improve feeding patterns in infants with a diabetes family history.
PMCID: PMC4162845  PMID: 24477208
Type 1 diabetes; Gestational diabetes; Infant diet; Breast-feeding
11.  RGS6 Variants Are Associated With Dietary Fat Intake in Hispanics: The IRAS Family Study 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2011;19(7):1433-1438.
Recently, a genome-wide association scan was completed in the IRAS (Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study) Family Study (IRASFS) Hispanic-American cohort. Multiple single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the G-protein signaling 6 (RGS6) gene were found to be associated with adiposity phenotypes. RGS6 has shown downstream antagonistic interplay with opioid receptors, targets of fatty/sugary food agonists. The possibility that RGS6 promotes tolerance and tachyphylaxis among the opioid receptor is a plausible pathway for overconsuming fat/sugar-laden food. Therefore, we hypothesized that RGS6 variants are associated with intake of fatty/sugary foods. In 932 Hispanics from San Antonio and San Luis Valley, CO, the following dietary intake variables were assessed using the Block Brief 2000 food frequency questionnaire: total calories, total fat, % calories from fat, % calories from saturated fat, protein, % calories from protein, carbohydrates, % calories from carbohydrates, and daily frequency of servings of fats/oils/sweets. We tested for association between 23 SNPs in RGS6 and dietary intake using a variance components measured genotype approach. All models were adjusted for gender, recruitment site, admixture, BMI, and age. Using an additive genetic model, rs1402064 was associated with higher intake of fats/oils/sweets, total calories, total fat and saturated fat (P = 0.0007, 0.026, 0.023, and 0.024). SNPs rs847330 and rs847354 were associated with higher intake of fats/oils/sweets (P = 0.002 and 0.018), total fat (P = 0.040 and 0.048) and saturated fat (P = 0.044 and 0.041). Finally, rs769148 was associated with higher intake of fats/oils/sweets (P = 0.002). RGS6 is a new candidate gene for adiposity traits that may be associated with a behavioral tendency toward fat-laden food intake.
PMCID: PMC3683650  PMID: 21233807
12.  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
13.  Erythrocyte membrane omega-3 fatty acid levels and omega-3 fatty acid intake are not associated with conversion to type 1 diabetes in children with islet autoimmunity: The Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young (DAISY) 
Pediatric diabetes  2011;12(8):669-675.
We investigated whether omega-3 fatty acid intake and erythrocyte membrane omega-3 fatty acid levels are associated with conversion to type 1 diabetes in children with islet autoimmunity (IA).
The Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young is following children at increased genetic risk for type 1 diabetes for the development of persistent IA, as defined as being positive for glutamic acid decarboxylase 65, i, or insulin autoantibodies on two consecutive visits, and then for the development of type 1 diabetes, as diagnosed by a physician. One hundred and sixty-seven children with persistent IA were followed for a mean of 4.8 yr, and 45 of these developed type 1 diabetes at a mean age of 8.7 yr. Erythrocyte membrane fatty acids (as a percent of total lipid) and dietary fatty acid intake (estimated via food frequency questionnaire) were analyzed as time-varying covariates in proportional hazards survival analysis, with follow-up time starting at detection of the first autoantibody.
Neither dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids nor omega-6 fatty acids were associated with conversion to type 1 diabetes, adjusting for human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR, family history of type 1 diabetes, age at first IA positivity, maternal age, maternal education, and maternal ethnicity. Adjusting for HLA-DR, family history of type 1 diabetes and age at first IA positivity, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid levels of erythrocyte membranes were not associated with conversion to type 1 diabetes.
In this observational study, omega-3 fatty acid intake and status are not associated with conversion to type 1 diabetes in children with IA.
PMCID: PMC3475955  PMID: 21435137
dietary intake; IA; omega-3 fatty acids; type 1 diabetes mellitus
14.  Characterization of European-ancestry NAFLD-Associated Variants in Individuals of African and Hispanic Descent 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2013;58(3):966-975.
Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is an obesity-related condition affecting over 50% of individuals in some populations and is expected to become the number one cause of liver disease worldwide by 2020. Common, robustly associated genetic variants in/near five genes were identified for hepatic steatosis, a quantifiable component of NAFLD, in European-ancestry individuals. Here we tested whether these variants were associated with hepatic steatosis in African and/or Hispanic Americans and fine-mapped the observed association signals. We measured hepatic steatosis using computed tomography in five African-American (n=3124) and one Hispanic-American (n=849) cohorts. All analyses controlled for variation in age, age2, gender, alcoholic drinks, and population substructure. Heritability of hepatic steatosis was estimated in three cohorts. Variants in/near PNPLA3, NCAN, LYPLAL1, GCKR, and PPP1R3B were tested for association with hepatic steatosis using a regression framework in each cohort and meta-analyzed. Fine-mapping across African-American cohorts was conducted using meta-analysis. African- and Hispanic-American cohorts were 33.9/37.5% male, with average age of 58.6/42.6 years and body mass index of 31.8/28.9kg/m2, respectively. Hepatic steatosis was 0.20–0.34 heritable in African-and Hispanic-American families (p<0.02 in each cohort). Variants in or near PNPLA3, NCAN, GCKR, PPP1R3B in African Americans and PNPLA3 and PPP1R3B in Hispanic Americans were significantly associated with hepatic steatosis; however, allele frequency and effect size varied across ancestries. Fine-mapping in African Americans highlighted missense variants at PNPLA3 and GCKR and redefined the association region at LYPLAL1.
We show for the first time that multiple genetic variants are associated with hepatic steatosis across ancestries and explain a substantial proportion of the genetic predisposition in African and Hispanic Americans. Missense variants in PNPLA3 and GCKR are likely functional across multiple ancestries.
PMCID: PMC3782998  PMID: 23564467
liver steatosis; single nucleotide polymorphisms; obesity; meta-analysis; genetic variance
15.  Anti-Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide Assays Differ in Subjects at Elevated Risk for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Subjects with Established Disease 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2013;65(9):2243-2252.
To compare commonly-available tests for antibodies to citrullinated protein antigens (ACPAs) for diagnostic accuracy and assay agreement in established rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and subjects at elevated risk for RA.
ELISA testing for anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies was performed using CCP2 (Axis-Shield) and CCP3.1 (IgA/IgG INOVA) in the following subjects: 1) probands with established RA (N=340) from the Studies of the Etiology of RA (SERA), 2) first degree relatives (FDRs) without RA (family members of SERA RA probands; N=681), 3) Department of Defense Serum Repository (DoDSR) RA cases with pre-diagnosis samples (N=83; 47/83 also had post-diagnosis samples), and 4) blood-donor and DoDSR controls (N=283).
In established RA, CCP2 was more specific (99.2% vs. 93.1%, p<0.01), but less sensitive (58.7% vs. 67.4%, p=0.01) than CCP3.1, with specificity of CCP3.1 increasing to 97.2% if levels ≥3 times the standard cut-off level were considered. In all subjects, at standard cut-off levels, CCP3.1 positivity was more prevalent. In DoDSR cases, CCP2 was more specific than CCP3.1 for a future diagnosis of RA, and higher CCP levels trended towards greater specificity for disease onset within 2 years. At standard cut-off levels, assay agreement was good in established RA (kappa=0.76), but poor in FDRs without inflammatory arthritis (kappa=0.25).
Anti-CCP assays differ to an extent that may be meaningful in diagnosing RA in patients with inflammatory arthritis, and in evaluating the natural history of RA development in subjects at-risk for future RA. Mechanisms underlying these differences in test performance need further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3776020  PMID: 23686569
Rheumatoid arthritis; autoantibodies; CCP; ACPA; preclinical
16.  Use of dietary supplements in pregnant women in relation to sociodemographic factors – a report from The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) study 
Public health nutrition  2013;16(8):1390-1402.
The aim of the present study was to examine the prevalence and associated factors of dietary supplement use, particularly supplements containing vitamin D and fatty acids, in pregnant women enrolled in a multi-national study.
The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) study is a prospective longitudinal cohort study. Maternal dietary supplement use was self-reported through questionnaires at month 3 to 4 postpartum.
Six clinical research centres; three in the USA (Colorado, Georgia/Florida and Washington) and three in Europe (Sweden, Finland and Germany).
Mothers (n 7326) to infants screened for high-risk HLA-DQ genotypes of type 1 diabetes.
Ninety-two per cent of the 7326 women used one or more types of supplement during pregnancy. Vitamin D supplements were taken by 65 % of the women, with the highest proportion of users in the USA (80·5 %). Overall, 16 % of the women reported taking fatty acid supplements and a growing trend was seen in all countries between 2004 and 2010 (P < 0·0001). The use was more common in Germany (32 %) and the USA (24 %) compared with Finland (8·5 %) and Sweden (7·0 %). Being pregnant with the first child was a strong predictor for any supplement use in all countries. Low maternal age (<25 years), higher education, BMI ≥ 25·0 kg/m2 and smoking during pregnancy were factors associated with supplement use in some but not all countries.
The majority of the women used dietary supplements during pregnancy. The use was associated with sociodemographic and behavioural factors, such as parity, maternal age, education, BMI and maternal smoking.
PMCID: PMC4112516  PMID: 23452986
Dietary supplements; Pregnancy; TEDDY; Vitamin D; Fatty acids
17.  Nutritional Factors and Preservation of C-Peptide in Youth With Recently Diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(7):1842-1850.
To test the novel hypothesis that nutritional factors previously associated with type 1 diabetes etiology or with insulin secretion are prospectively associated with fasting C-peptide (FCP) concentration among youth recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Included were 1,316 youth with autoantibody-positive type 1 diabetes who participated in the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study (baseline disease duration, 9.9 months; SD, 6.3). Nutritional exposures included breastfeeding and age at introduction of complementary foods, baseline plasma long-chain omega-3 fatty acids including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), vitamin D, vitamin E, and, from a baseline food frequency questionnaire, estimated intake of the branched-chain amino acid leucine and total carbohydrate. Multiple linear regression models were conducted to relate each nutritional factor to baseline FCP adjusted for demographics, disease-related factors, and other confounders. Prospective analyses included the subset of participants with preserved β-cell function at baseline (baseline FCP ≥0.23 ng/mL) with additional adjustment for baseline FCP and time (mean follow-up, 24.3 months; SD, 8.2; n = 656). FCP concentration was analyzed as log(FCP).
In adjusted prospective analyses, baseline EPA (P = 0.02), EPA plus DHA (P = 0.03), and leucine (P = 0.03) were each associated positively and significantly with FCP at follow-up. Vitamin D was unexpectedly inversely associated with FCP (P = 0.002).
Increased intake of branched-chain amino acids and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids may support preservation of β-cell function. This represents a new direction for research to improve prognosis for type 1 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3687285  PMID: 23801797
18.  The number of elevated cytokines/chemokines in pre-clinical seropositive rheumatoid arthritis predicts time to diagnosis in an age-dependent manner 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2010;62(11):3161-3172.
Pre-clinical rheumatoid arthritis (RA) biomarker elevations were evaluated and utilized to develop a model for the prediction of time to future diagnosis of seropositive RA.
Stored samples from 73 military seropositive RA cases (and controls) from pre-RA diagnosis (mean 2.9 samples per case; samples collected a mean of 6.6 years prior-to-diagnosis) were tested for rheumatoid factor (RF) isotypes, anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies, 14 cytokines/chemokines (bead-based assay) and C-reactive protein (CRP).
Pre-clinical positivity of anti-CCP and/or 2 or more RF isotypes was >96% specific for future RA. In pre-clinical RA, levels of the following were positive in a significantly greater proportion of RA cases versus controls: interleukin (IL)-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12p40, IL-12p70, IL-15, fibroblast growth factor-2, Flt-3 ligand, tumor necrosis factor-α, interferon gamma induced protein-10, granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor, and CRP. Also, increasing numbers of elevated cytokines/chemokines were present in cases nearer to the time of diagnosis. RA cases ≥40 years-old at diagnosis had a higher proportion of samples positive for cytokines/chemokines 5-10 years prior-to-diagnosis, compared to cases <40 at diagnosis (p<0.01). In regression modeling using only case samples positive for autoantibodies highly specific for future RA, increasing numbers of cytokines/chemokines predicted decreased time-to-diagnosis, and the predicted time-to-diagnosis based on cytokines/chemokines was longer in older compared to younger cases.
Autoantibodies, cytokines/chemokines and CRP are elevated in the pre-clinical period of RA development. In pre-clinical autoantibody positive cases, the number of elevated cytokines/chemokines predicts the time of diagnosis of future RA in an age-dependent manner.
PMCID: PMC2980824  PMID: 20597112
pre-clinical rheumatoid arthritis; rheumatoid arthritis; cytokines; chemokines; prediction model
19.  Erythrocyte Membrane Fatty Acid Content in Infants Consuming Formulas Supplemented with Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) and Arachidonic Acid (ARA): an Observational Study 
Maternal & child nutrition  2010;6(4):338-346.
In this observational study, we compared erythrocyte membrane fatty acids in infants consuming formula supplemented with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) with those consuming other types of milks. In 110 infants who were participants in a cohort study of otherwise healthy children at risk for developing type 1 diabetes, erythrocytes were collected at approximately 9 months of age, and fatty acid content was measured as a percent of total lipids. Parents reported the type of milk the infants consumed in the month of and prior to erythrocyte collection – infant formula supplemented with ARA and DHA (supplemented formula), formula with no ARA and DHA supplements (non-supplemented formula), breast-milk, or non-supplemented formula plus breast-milk. Membrane DHA (4.42 versus 1.79, p < 0.001) and omega-3 fatty acid (5.81 versus 3.43, p < 0.001) levels were higher in infants consuming supplemented versus non-supplemented formula. Omega-6 fatty acids were lower in infants consuming supplemented versus non-supplemented formula (26.32 versus 29.68, p = 0.023); ARA did not differ between groups. Infants given supplemented formula had higher DHA (4.42 versus 2.81, p < 0.001) and omega-3 fatty acids (5.81 versus 4.45, p = 0.008) than infants drinking breast-milk. In infants whose mothers did not receive any dietary advice, use of supplemented formula is associated with higher omega-3 and lower omega-6 fatty acid status.
PMCID: PMC2992442  PMID: 21050388
Arachidonic Acid; Docosahexaenoic Acid; Breastfeeding; Infant Feeding; Infant Formula; Infant Feeding Behavior
20.  Sputum Autoantibodies in Patients With Established Rheumatoid Arthritis and Subjects at Risk of Future Clinically Apparent Disease 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2013;65(10):2545-2554.
To evaluate the generation of rheumatoid arthritis (RA)–related autoantibodies in the lung.
Simultaneous collection of serum and induced sputum was performed in 21 healthy controls, 49 at-risk subjects without inflammatory arthritis but at risk of RA due to family history or seropositivity for anti–citrullinated protein antibodies, and 14 subjects with early RA. Samples were tested for anti–cyclic citrullinated peptide 2 (anti-CCP2), anti-CCP3, anti-CCP3.1, rheumatoid factor isotypes IgM, IgG, and IgA, and total IgM, IgG, and IgA.
One or more autoantibodies were present in sputum of 39% of at-risk seronegative subjects, 65% of at-risk seropositive subjects, and 86% of subjects with early RA. In at-risk seronegative subjects, the rate of anti-CCP3.1 positivity and the median number of autoantibodies were elevated in sputum versus serum. In subjects with early RA, the rate of positivity for several individual autoantibodies and the median number of autoantibodies were higher in serum than in sputum. Results in at-risk seropositive subjects were intermediate between these groups. In at-risk subjects with autoantibody positivity in sputum, the ratios of autoantibody to total Ig were higher in sputum than in serum, suggesting that these autoantibodies are generated or sequestered in the lung.
RA-related autoantibodies are detectable in sputum in subjects at risk of RA and in subjects with early RA. In a subset of at-risk subjects, the presence of sputum autoantibodies in the absence of seropositivity, and the increased autoantibody-to–total Ig ratios in sputum, suggest that the lung may be a site of autoantibody generation in the early development of RA. These findings suggest an important role of the lung in the pathogenesis of RA.
PMCID: PMC4066465  PMID: 23817979
21.  Early-Life Predictors of Higher Body Mass Index in Healthy Children 
Childhood obesity tracks into adulthood, and may increase diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk in adulthood. Prospective analyses may better define the pathways between early life factors and greater childhood body mass index (BMI), a measure of obesity.
The Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young (DAISY) prospectively follows children from birth that are at increased genetic risk for type 1 diabetes. We examined longitudinal data for 1,178 DAISY subjects (mean age at last follow-up: 6.59 years (range: 2.0–11.5 years). Birth size and diabetes exposure in utero were collected in the enrollment interview. Infant diet information was collected via interviews throughout infancy. Infant weight gain and childhood BMI were measured at clinic visits.
Female gender, diabetes exposure in utero, larger size for gestational age, shorter breastfeeding duration, and more rapid infant weight gain predicted higher childhood BMI. Formal mediation analysis suggests the effect of shorter breastfeeding duration on childhood BMI may be mediated by more rapid infant weight gain. Also, the effect of diabetes exposure in utero on childhood BMI may be mediated by larger size for gestational age.
We identified strong interrelationships between early life factors and childhood BMI. Understanding these pathways may aid childhood obesity prevention efforts.
PMCID: PMC2855270  PMID: 19940472
Breastfeeding duration; Infant weight gain; Diabetes exposure in utero; Birth size; Mediator
22.  Components of metabolic syndrome and 5-year change in insulin clearance - The Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study (IRAS) 
Diabetes, obesity & metabolism  2013;15(5):10.1111/dom.12049.
Cross-sectional evidence indicates that abdominal adiposity, hypertension, dyslipidemia and glycemia are associated with reduced metabolic clearance of insulin (MCRI). Little is known about the progression of MCRI and whether components of metabolic syndrome are associated with the change in MCRI. In this study, we examined the association between components of metabolic syndrome and the 5-year change of MCRI.
Methods and Materials
At baseline and 5-year follow-up, we measured fasting plasma triglycerides (TG), high density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol, blood pressure (BP), waist circumference (WC) and fasting blood glucose (FBG) in 784 non-diabetic participants in the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study. MCRI, insulin sensitivity (SI) and acute insulin response (AIR) were determined from frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance tests.
We observed a 29% decline of MCRI at follow-up. TG, systolic BP and WC at baseline were inversely associated with a decline of MCRI regression models adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, smoking, alcohol consumption, energy expenditure, family history of diabetes, BMI, SI and AIR (β= −0.057 [95% CI −0.11, −0.0084] for TG, β= −0.0019 [95% CI −0.0035, −0.00023] for systolic BP, β= −0.0084 [95% CI −0.013, −0.0039] for WC; all p<0.05). Higher HDL-cholesterol at baseline was associated with an increase in MCRI (multivariable-adjusted β= 0.0029 [95% CI 0.0010, 0.0048], p=0.002). FBG at baseline was not associated with MCRI at follow-up (multivariable-adjusted β= 0.0014 [95% CI −0.0026, 0.0029]).
MCRI declined progressively over 5 years in a non-diabetic cohort. Components of metabolic syndrome at baseline were associated with a significant change in MCRI.
PMCID: PMC3810428  PMID: 23216702
23.  A Metabolically Healthy Obese Phenotype in Hispanic Participants in the IRAS Family Study 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2013;21(11):2303-2309.
Some obese individuals appear to be protected from developing type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease (CVD). This has led to characterizing body size phenotypes based on cardiometabolic risk factors specifically as obese or overweight, and as metabolically healthy (MH) or metabolically abnormal (MA) based upon blood pressure, lipids, glucose homeostasis and inflammatory parameters. The aim of this study was to measure the prevalence of and describe fat distribution across these phenotypes in a minority population.
Design and Methods
Hispanic participants (N=1054) in the IRAS Family Study were categorized into different body size phenotypes. Computed tomography (CT) abdominal scans were evaluated for measures of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and abdominal fat distribution. Statistical models adjusting for familial relationships were estimated.
Seventy percent (70%) of the Hispanic cohort was overweight (32%) or obese (38%). Forty-one percent (n=138) of overweight participants and 19% (n=74) of obese participants met criteria for MH. Adjusted analyses showed the MH phenotype was associated with lower visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and higher liver density (indicating lower fat content) in obese participants (p=0.0005 and p=0.0002, respectively), and lower VAT but not liver density in overweight participants (p=0.008 and p=0.162, respectively) compared to their MA counterparts. Odds of NAFLD were reduced in MH obese (OR=0.34, p=0.0007) compared to MA obese. VAT did not differ between MH obese or overweight and normal weight groups.
These findings suggest that lower levels of visceral and liver fat, despite overall increased total body fat, may be a defining feature of MH obesity in Hispanic Americans.
PMCID: PMC3661693  PMID: 23418072
24.  Variant in the 3′ Region of the IκBα Gene Associated With Insulin Resistance in Hispanic Americans: The IRAS Family Study 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2009;18(3):555-562.
The IKKβ/NF-κB pathway is known to play an important role in inflammatory response and has also recently been implicated in the process of insulin resistance. We hypothesized that one or more variants in the IκBα gene (NFKBIA) or surrounding untranslated regions would be associated with insulin sensitivity (SI) in Hispanic-American families. We tested for association between 25 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in and near NFKBIA and SI in 981 individuals in 90 Hispanic-American families from the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis (IRAS) Family Study. SNP rs1951276 in the 3′ flanking region of NFKBIA was associated with SI in the San Antonio (SA) sample after adjusting for age, gender, and admixture (uncorrected P = 1.69 × 10−5; conservative Bonferroni correction P = 3.38 × 10−4). Subjects with at least one A allele for NFKBIA rs1951276 had ~29% lower SI compared to individuals homozygous for the G allele in the SA sample. Although not statistically significant, the effect was in the same direction in the San Luis Valley (SLV) sample alone (P = 0.348) and was significant in the combined SA and SLV samples (P = 5.37 × 10−4; presence of A allele associated with ~20% lower SI). In SA, when adjusted for subcutaneous adipose tissue area (SAT, cm2), the association was modestly attenuated (P = 1.25 × 10−3), but the association remained highly significant after adjustment for visceral adipose tissue area (VAT, cm2; P = 4.41 × 10−6). These results provide corroborating evidence that the NF-κB/IKKβ pathway may mediate obesity-induced insulin resistance in humans.
PMCID: PMC3992855  PMID: 19798070
25.  Comparison between omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid intakes as assessed by a food frequency questionnaire and erythrocyte membrane fatty acid composition in young children 
We conducted a dietary validation study in youth aged 1 to 11 years by comparing dietary intake of omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) as assessed by a parent-completed semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) over time to erythrocyte membrane composition of the same fatty acids.
The study population included youth aged 1 to 11 years who were participants in the Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young (DAISY), a longitudinal study in Denver, Colorado that is following a cohort of youth at risk for developing Type I diabetes. Four hundred four children who had erythrocyte membrane fatty acid data matched to an FFQ corresponding to the same time frame for a total of 917 visits (matches) were included. PUFA intake was expressed as both g/day (adjusted for total energy) and as percent of total fat intake. We used mixed models to test the association and calculate the correlation between the erythrocyte membrane estimates and PUFA intake using all records of data for each youth.
Intakes of total omega-3 fatty acids (β=0.52, p<0.0001, ρ=0.23) and marine PUFAs (β=1.62, p<0.0001, ρ=0.42), as a percent of total fat in the diet, were associated with percent of omega-3 and marine PUFAs in the erythrocyte membrane. Intakes of omega-6 PUFAs (β=0.04, p=0.418, ρ=0.05) and arachidonic acid (β=0.31, p=0.774, ρ=0.01) were not associated.
In these young children, a FFQ using parental report provided estimates of average long-term intakes of marine PUFAs that correlated well with their erythrocyte cell membrane fatty acid status.
PMCID: PMC2896066  PMID: 17440518

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