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1.  Insulin Clearance and the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in Hispanics and African Americans 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(4):901-907.
We aimed to identify factors that are independently associated with the metabolic clearance rate of insulin (MCRI) and to examine the association of MCRI with incident type 2 diabetes in nondiabetic Hispanics and African Americans.
We investigated 1,116 participants in the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study (IRAS) Family Study with baseline examinations from 2000 to 2002 and follow-up examinations from 2005 to 2006. Insulin sensitivity (SI), acute insulin response (AIR), and MCRI were determined at baseline from frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance tests. MCRI was calculated as the ratio of the insulin dose over the incremental area under the curve of insulin. Incident diabetes was defined as fasting glucose ≥126 mg/dL or antidiabetic medication use by self-report.
We observed that SI and HDL cholesterol were independent positive correlates of MCRI, whereas fasting insulin, fasting glucose, subcutaneous adipose tissue, visceral adipose tissue, and AIR were independent negative correlates (all P < 0.05) at baseline. After 5 years of follow-up, 71 (6.4%) participants developed type 2 diabetes. Lower MCRI was associated with a higher risk of incident diabetes after adjusting for demographics, lifestyle factors, HDL cholesterol, indexes of obesity and adiposity, and insulin secretion (odds ratio 2.01 [95% CI 1.30–3.10], P = 0.0064, per one-SD decrease in loge-transformed MCRI).
Our data showed that lower MCRI predicts the incidence of type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3609510  PMID: 23223351
2.  The long-term effectiveness of a lifestyle intervention in severely obese individuals 
The American journal of medicine  2013;126(3):236-242.e2.
Severe obesity (BMI≥40kg/m2) is a serious public health concern. Although bariatric surgery is an efficacious treatment approach, it is limited in reach; thus non-surgical treatment alternatives are needed. We examined the 4-year effects of an intensive lifestyle intervention on body weight and cardiovascular disease risk factors among severely obese, compared to overweight (25≤BMI<30), class I (30≤BMI<35), and class II obese (35≤BMI<40) participants.
5,145 individuals with type 2 diabetes (45–76 years, BMI≥25kg/m2) were randomized to an intensive lifestyle intervention or diabetes support and education. The lifestyle intervention received a behavioral weight loss program which included group and individuals meetings, a ≥10% weight loss goal, calorie restriction, and increased physical activity. Diabetes support and education received a less intense educational intervention. 4-year changes in body weight and cardiovascular disease risk factors were assessed.
Across BMI categories, 4-year changes in body weight were significantly greater in lifestyle participants compared to diabetes support and education (p’s<0.05). At year 4, severely obese lifestyle participants lost 4.9±8.5% which was similar to class I (4.8±7.2%) and class II obese (4.4±7.6%) and significantly greater than overweight (3.4±7.0%; p<0.05). 4-year changes in LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, diastolic blood pressure, HbA1c, and blood glucose were similar across BMI categories in lifestyle participants; however the severely obese had less favorable improvements in HDL-cholesterol (3.1±0.4mg/dL) and systolic blood pressure (−1.4±0.7mmHg) compared to the less obese (p’s<0.05).
Lifestyle interventions can result in important long-term weight losses and improvements in cardiovascular disease risk factors among a significant proportion of severely obese individuals.
PMCID: PMC3574274  PMID: 23410564
Severe obesity; weight loss; lifestyle intervention; diabetes; cardiovascular disease
4.  Relationship of Insulin Sensitivity, Insulin Secretion, and Adiposity With Insulin Clearance in a Multiethnic Population 
Diabetes Care  2012;36(1):101-103.
We aimed to examine insulin clearance, a compensatory mechanism to changes in insulin sensitivity, across sex, race/ethnicity populations, and varying states of glucose tolerance.
We measured insulin sensitivity index (SI), acute insulin response (AIR), and metabolic clearance rate of insulin (MCRI) by the frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test in 1,295 participants in the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study.
MCRI was positively related to SI and negatively to AIR and adiposity across sex, race/ethnicity populations, and varying states of glucose tolerance, adiposity, and family history of diabetes. Differences in MCRI by race/ethnicity (lower in African Americans and Hispanics compared with non-Hispanic whites) and glucose tolerance were largely explained by differences in adiposity, SI, and AIR.
Insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion, and adiposity are correlates of insulin clearance and appear to explain differences in insulin clearance by race/ethnicity and glucose tolerance status.
PMCID: PMC3526225  PMID: 22933441
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
6.  Lifestyle Factors and 5-Year Abdominal Fat Accumulation in a Minority Cohort: The IRAS Family Study 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2011;20(2):10.1038/oby.2011.171.
The objective of this study was to examine whether lifestyle factors were associated with 5-year change in abdominal fat measured by computed tomography (CT) in the Insulin Resistance and Atherosclerosis (IRAS) Family Study. We obtained abdominal CT scans at baseline and at 5 years, from African Americans (AA) (N = 339) and Hispanic Americans (N = 775), aged 18–81 years. Visceral (VAT) and subcutaneous (SAT) adipose tissue was measured at the L4/L5 vertebral level. Physical activity was documented by self-report of vigorous activity and a 1-year recall instrument. Dietary intake was assessed at follow-up using a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire referencing the previous year. Generalized linear models, accounting for family structure, were used to assess the associations between percent change in fat accumulation and smoking, physical activity, total calories, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, protein, and saturated fat intake, percent of calories from sweets, and soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber intake and participation in vigorous activity were inversely related to change in VAT, independent of change in BMI. For each 10 g increase in soluble fiber, rate of VAT accumulation decreased by 3.7% (P = 0.01). Soluble fiber was not associated with change in SAT (0.2%, P = 0.82). Moderately active participants had a 7.4% decrease in rate of VAT accumulation and a 3.6% decrease in rate of SAT accumulation versus less active participants (P = 0.003 and P = 0.01, respectively). Total energy expenditure was also inversely associated with accumulation of VAT. Soluble fiber intake and increased physical activity were related to decreased VAT accumulation over 5 years.
PMCID: PMC3856431  PMID: 21681224
Molecular genetics and metabolism  2012;107(4):721-728.
Adiponectin is an adipocytokine associated with a variety of metabolic traits. These associations in human studies, in conjunction with functional studies in model systems, have implicated adiponectin in multiple metabolic processes.
We hypothesize that genetic variants associated with plasma adiponectin would also be associated with glucose homeostasis and adiposity phenotypes.
Design and Setting
The Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study was designed to identify the genetic and environmental basis of insulin resistance and adiposity in the Hispanic- (n=1,424) and African-American (n=604) population.
Main Outcome Measures
High quality metabolic phenotypes, e.g. insulin sensitivity (SI), acute insulin response (AIR), disposition index (DI), fasting glucose, body mass index (BMI), visceral adipose tissue (VAT), subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), and waist circumference, were explored.
Based on association analysis of more than 40 genetic polymorphisms in the adiponectin gene (ADIPOQ), we found no consistent association of ADIPOQ variants with plasma adiponectin levels and adiposity phenotypes. However, there were two promoter variants, rs17300539 and rs822387, associated with plasma adiponectin levels (P=0.0079 and 0.021, respectively) in the Hispanic-American cohort that were also associated with SI (P=0.0067 and 0.013, respectively). In contrast, there was only a single promoter SNP, rs17300539, associated with plasma adiponectin levels (P=0.0018) and fasting glucose (P=0.042) in the African-American cohort. Strikingly, high impact coding variants did not show evidence of association.
The lack of consistent patterns of association between variants, adiponectin levels, glucose homeostasis, and adiposity phenotypes suggests a reassessment of the influence of adiponectin in these pathways.
PMCID: PMC3504195  PMID: 23102667
adiponectin; single nucleotide polymorphisms; glucose homeostasis; adiposity; African Americans; Hispanic Americans
8.  Association ofPNPLA3 with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in a minority cohort: the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study 
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a highly prevalent condition, particularly among Hispanic Americans. A genetic variant in PNPLA3 (rs738409) has been identified as a strong predictor of hepatic fat content.
To confirm the association of this variant with NAFLD in two minority cohorts, Hispanic Americans and African Americans, in whom liver density was quantified by computed tomography (CT).
This analysis was conducted in the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis (IRAS) Family Study. Participants were recruited from the general community and included 843 Hispanic American and 371 African American adults aged 18–81 years. A single variant in PNPLA3 (rs738409) was genotyped. Liver density was calculated in Hounsfield Units from abdominal CT scans.
Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs738409 was strongly associated with reduced liver density (i.e. NAFLD) in Hispanic Americans (1.18 × 10−9) and in African Americans (P = 4.99 × 10−6). The association followed an additive genetic model with the G allele conferring risk. The allele was two times more common in Hispanic Americans than in African Americans (40 vs 19%), consistent with the greater prevalence of NAFLD in Hispanic Americans (24 vs 9%). The SNP explained 4.4 and 5.6% of the variance of the adjusted liver density outcome in Hispanic Americans and African Americans, respectively.
We confirmed the association of a PNPLA3 variant with NAFLD in Hispanic Americans and African Americans, suggesting that PNPLA3 contributes to the variation in NAFLD across multiple ethnicities. This study adds to the growing evidence that some of the ethnic variation in NAFLD is genetic.
PMCID: PMC3703938  PMID: 21281435
African Americans; computed tomography; genetic epidemiology; hepatic steatosis; Hispanic Americans; non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; PNPLA3
9.  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
10.  Racial differences in urinary F2-isoprostane levels and the cross-sectional association with BMI 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2012;20(10):2147-2150.
Levels of four urinary F2-isoprostanes (F2-IsoPs) were examined in a large sample of the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study (IRAS) multiethnic cohort: 237 African Americans (AAs), 342 non-Hispanic Whites (NHWs), and 275 Hispanic Whites (HWs). F2-IsoP isomers – iPF2a-III, 2,3-dinor-iPF2a-III, iPF2a-VI, and 8,12-iso-iPF2a-VI – were measured in 854 urine samples using liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry detection. In AAs, levels of all four F2-IsoPs were lower compared with NHWs and HWs (p-values < 0.05). When stratified by BMI, this gap was not observed among participants with normal BMI but appeared among overweight and increased among obese participants. Examining the slopes of the associations between BMI and F2-IsoPs showed no association between these variables among AAs (p-values > 0.2), and positive associations among Caucasians (p-values < 0.05). Taking into account that positive cross-sectional associations between systemic F2-IsoP levels and BMI have been consistently demonstrated in many study populations, the lack of such an association among AAs reveals a new facet of racial/ethnic differences in obesity-related risk profiles.
PMCID: PMC3458154  PMID: 22836686
F2-isoprostanes; BMI; racial differences; epidemiology
11.  Occupation and the Prevalence of Respiratory Health Symptoms and Conditions: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study 
To examine associations between occupation and respiratory health in a large, population-based cohort of adults in the United States.
Data from 15,273 participants, aged 45-64 years, in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study were used to examine associations of current or most recent job held with the prevalence of self-reported chronic cough, chronic bronchitis, wheeze, asthma, and measures of lung function collected by spirometry.
Eleven percent of participants reported wheeze and 9% were classified as having airway obstruction. Compared to individuals in managerial and administrative jobs, increased prevalences of respiratory outcomes were observed among participants in selected occupations, including construction and extractive trades (wheeze: prevalence ratio [PR]: 1.92, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.35, 2.73; airway obstruction: PR: 1.31, 95% CI: 1.05, 1.65).
Specific occupations are associated with adverse respiratory health.
PMCID: PMC3275692  PMID: 22157701
ARIC study; epidemiology; occupation; respiratory tract disease
12.  Urinary F2-Isoprostanes as a Biomarker of Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes 
Diabetes Care  2011;35(1):173-174.
We have previously reported evidence of an inverse association between a urinary F2-isoprostane and type 2 diabetes risk in a pilot case-control study nested within the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study (IRAS). Here, we report the results from the study extended to the entire IRAS cohort.
This prospective study included 138 incident type 2 diabetes case and 714 noncase subjects. Four F2-isoprostanes (iPF2α-III; 2,3-dinor-iPF2α-III; iPF2α-VI; and 8,12-iso-iPF2α-VI) were assayed in baseline urine samples using liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry.
Three F2-isoprostanes showed significant inverse associations with type 2 diabetes risk: the adjusted odds ratios were 0.52 (95% CI 0.39–0.67), 0.56 (0.42–0.73), 0.62 (0.48–0.79), and 0.91 (0.72–1.12) for iPF2α-III; 2,3-dinor-iPF2α-III; iPF2α-VI; and 8,12-iso-iPF2α-VI, respectively.
Our findings indicate that urinary F2-isoprostanes are inversely associated with type 2 diabetes risk beyond the traditional risk factors and may be useful in identifying high-risk populations.
PMCID: PMC3241306  PMID: 22100959
13.  Impact of the Look AHEAD intervention on NT-pro Brain Natriuretic Peptide in overweight and obese adults with diabetes 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2011;20(7):1511-1518.
Look AHEAD is a randomized trial determining whether intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) aimed at long-term weight loss and increased physical fitness reduces cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in overweight and obese individuals with type 2 diabetes compared to control (diabetes support and education, DSE). We investigated the correlates of NT-proBNP, a biomarker associated with heart failure risk, in a subsample from 15 of 16 participating centers and tested the hypothesis that ILI decreased NT-proBNP levels. Baseline and one-year blood samples were assayed for NT-proBNP in a random sample of 1500 without, and all 628 with, self-reported baseline CVD (N=2128). Linear models were used to assess relationships that logtransformed NT-proBNP had with CVD risk factors at baseline and that 1-year changes in NT-proBNP had with intervention assignment. At baseline, the mean (SD) age, BMI, and hemoglobin A1c were 59.6 (6.8) years, 36.0 kg/m2 (5.8), and 7.2% (1.1), respectively. Baseline geometric mean NT-proBNP was not different by condition (ILI 53.3 vs DSE 51.5, p=0.45), was not associated with BMI, and was inversely associated with hemoglobin A1c. At 1 year, ILI participants achieved an average weight loss of 8.3% compared to 0.7% in DSE. At 1 year, NT-proBNP levels increased to a greater extent in the intervention arm (ILI +21.3% vs. DSE +14.2%, p=0.046). The increased NT-proBNP associated with ILI was correlated with changes in A1c, BMI, and body composition. In conclusion, among overweight and obese persons with diabetes, an intensive lifestyle intervention that reduced weight was associated with an increased NT-proBNP.
PMCID: PMC3509930  PMID: 21959345
natriuretic peptides; diabetes mellitus; obesity
Diabetes & metabolism  2011;37(5):452-455.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is commonly diagnosed in patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), and has been associated with the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs738409 in the PNPLA3 gene. This association remains to be investigated in African Americans with T2DM, a group at lower risk for hepatic steatosis relative to European Americans with T2DM.
We examined 422 African Americans with T2DM (40.3% male; age: 56.4 ± 9.6 years; BMI: 35.2 ± 8.2 kg/m2), all with measures of liver density reflecting hepatic fat content on abdominal computed tomography, and blood glucose and lipid profiles. Associations between rs738409 and phenotypes of interest were determined using SOLAR, assuming an additive model of inheritance with covariates age, sex, BMI and use of lipid-lowering medications.
Mean ± SD liver density was 55.4 ± 10.2 Hounsfield Units. SNP rs738409 in PNPLA3 was significantly associated with liver density (P=0.0075) and hepatic steatosis (P=0.0350), but not with blood glucose, HbA1c, total cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density or low-density lipoprotein levels or liver function tests (P=0.15–0.96).
These findings provide evidence that the PNPLA3 SNP rs738409 contributes to risk for increased liver fat content in African Americans with T2DM, an effect that appears to be independent from serum lipids. Although African Americans are less susceptible to fatty liver than European Americans, PNPLA3 appears to be a risk locus for hepatic steatosis in diabetic African Americans.
PMCID: PMC3215942  PMID: 21665509
type 2 diabetes; genetics; fatty liver disease; African American
15.  Adiponectin and the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in Hispanics and African Americans 
Diabetes Care  2011;34(10):2231-2236.
A recent meta-analysis of 13 prospective studies reported that higher levels of adiponectin were significantly associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Most previous studies, however, were limited in their ability to adjust for appropriate confounding variables. Our objective, therefore, was to study this association after adjustment for directly measured adiposity and insulin sensitivity, expressed as the insulin sensitivity index (SI).
The study included 1,096 Hispanic and African American participants free of diabetes at baseline (2000–2002) who returned for follow-up after 5 years. SI was determined from frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance tests with minimal model analysis. Visceral adipose tissue (VAT) area was determined by computed tomography. Diabetes and impaired fasting glucose (IFG) were defined using American Diabetes Association criteria. Multivariate generalized estimating equation logistic regression models were used to account for correlations within families.
A total of 82 subjects met criteria for incident diabetes. After adjustment for age, sex, ethnicity, and smoking, adiponectin was significantly inversely associated with diabetes (odds ratio [OR] 0.54 per 1 SD difference [95% CI 0.38–0.76]). The association remained significant after additional adjustment in individual models for BMI, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, or VAT (all P < 0.05). However, adiponectin was no longer associated in separate models adjusted for SI or IFG (OR 0.81 [0.56–1.16] and 0.75 [0.53–1.06], respectively).
Adiponectin was inversely associated with incident diabetes after adjustment for conventional anthropometric and metabolic variables or VAT. Adjustment for detailed measures of SI attenuated this relationship, however, suggesting that the link between adiponectin and diabetes may operate at least in part through insulin resistance.
PMCID: PMC3177725  PMID: 21816973
16.  Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Changes of Glucose Effectiveness in Relation to Glucose Tolerance 
Diabetes Care  2011;34(9):1959-1964.
Glucose effectiveness (SG), the capacity of glucose to enhance its own disposition, is an independent predictor of future diabetes. However, there are data on cross-sectional and longitudinal changes of SG and its components, basal insulin effect on SG (BIE) and SG at zero insulin (GEZI), but the natural course of SG has not been described in a large population.
SG was measured at baseline in 1,265 participants (aged 40–69 years) and at the 5-year examination in 827 participants in the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study (IRAS) using the frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test. None of these participants were treated with glucose-lowering agents.
In cross-sectional analyses, SG, BIE, and GEZI deteriorated with worsening of glucose tolerance (P < 0.001 for all three associations). In longitudinal analyses among subjects with normal glucose tolerance (NGT) at baseline, SG, BIE, and GEZI declined in those who progressed to impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or diabetes (P < 0.001 for all three measures). More modest longitudinal changes were demonstrated in individuals with IGT. The transition back to NGT (as opposed to no change) compared with the transition to diabetes was statistically significant for SG (P = 0.049) and BIE (P = 0.042) and was not a statistically significant trend for GEZI (P = 0.332). In individuals with diabetes, only BIE had a significant decline (P = 0.003).
SG, BIE, and GEZI decline in subjects whose glycemic status worsens. SG and GEZI deteriorate more in the initial stages of the disease process.
PMCID: PMC3161274  PMID: 21788626
17.  Association of Type 2 Diabetes Susceptibility Loci With One-Year Weight Loss in the Look AHEAD Clinical Trial 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2012;20(8):1675-1682.
The importance of lifestyle intervention for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes (T2D) has been underscored by the limited benefit of pharmacologic therapies. We sought to determine whether genetic variants that contribute to T2D risk modify the response of weight and waist circumference to an intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) in patients with obesity and T2D. Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) is a randomized clinical trial comparing an ILI with a control condition on the risk of cardiovascular disease in overweight adults with T2D. We analyzed 28 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at/near 17 T2D-susceptibility genes in 3,903 consented participants. We genetically characterized the cohort by assessing whether T2D-susceptibility loci were overrepresented compared with a nondiabetic community-based cohort (N = 1,016). We evaluated the association of individual variants and a composite genetic risk score (GRS) with anthropometric traits at baseline and after 1-year of intervention. Look AHEAD subjects carried more T2D-susceptibility alleles than the control population. At baseline, TCF7L2 risk alleles and the highest GRS were associated with lower BMI and waist circumference. Nominally significant genotype-by-intervention interactions were detected for 1-year change in waist circumference with JAZF1, MTNR1B, and IRS1, and BMI with JAZF1. Highest GRS was associated with a greater reduction in waist circumference at year 1, although the variance in change attributable to the GRS was small. This study shows that the genetic burden associated with T2D risk does not undermine the effect of lifestyle intervention and suggests the existence of additional genomic regions, distinct from the T2D-susceptibility loci, which may enhance or mitigate weight loss.
PMCID: PMC3406235  PMID: 22307069
18.  Intensive Lifestyle Intervention Improves Physical Function Among Obese Adults With Knee Pain: Findings From the Look AHEAD Trial 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2010;19(1):83-93.
Lifestyle interventions have resulted in weight loss or improved physical fitness among individuals with obesity, which may lead to improved physical function. This prospective investigation involved participants in the Action for Health in Diabetes (Look AHEAD) trial who reported knee pain at baseline (n = 2,203). The purposes of this investigation were to determine whether an Intensive Lifestyle Intervention (ILI) condition resulted in improvement in self-reported physical function from baseline to 12 months vs. a Diabetes Support and Education (DSE) condition, and whether changes in weight or fitness mediated the effect of the ILI. Outcome measures included the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) pain, stiffness, and physical function subscales, and WOMAC summary score. ILI participants exhibited greater adjusted mean weight loss (s.e.) vs. DSE participants (−9.02 kg (0.48) vs. −0.78 kg (0.49); P < 0.001)). ILI participants also demonstrated more favorable change in WOMAC summary scores vs. DSE participants (β (s.e.) = −1.81 (0.63); P = 0.004). Multiple regression mediation analyses revealed that weight loss was a mediator of the effect of the ILI intervention on change in WOMAC pain, function, and summary scores (P < 0.001). In separate analyses, increased fitness also mediated the effect of the ILI intervention upon WOMAC summary score (P < 0.001). The ILI condition resulted in significant improvement in physical function among overweight and obese adults with diabetes and knee pain. The ILI condition also resulted in significant weight loss and improved fitness, which are possible mechanisms through which the ILI condition improved physical function.
PMCID: PMC3408003  PMID: 20559303
19.  Association of the platelet GPIIb/IIIa polymorphism with atherosclerotic plaque morphology. The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study 
Atherosclerosis  2011;216(1):151-156.
Platelet activation and aggregation play an important role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease. We examined the association of a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the GPIIIa platelet glycoprotein (Leu33Pro) with carotid artery plaque morphology and with expression of platelet markers using data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Carotid MRI study.
The study sample consisted of 1,202 Caucasian members of the ARIC study cohort recruited in 2004-2005 to participate in the Carotid MRI Substudy under stratified sampling based on maximum carotid artery wall thickness. The Leu33Pro polymorphism was identified as SNP rs5918 in the ITGB3 gene. Plaque visualization was accomplished with contrast enhanced MRI examination of the thickest segment of the carotid artery. Expression of platelet markers was measured using fasting whole blood flow cytometry.
This cross-sectional analysis based on age and gender adjusted weighted linear regression models suggests that those homozygous for the Leu33Pro risk allele (C) have decreased mean and minimum fibrous cap thickness. We did not observe differences in plaque lipid volume or maximum carotid artery wall thickness across SNP rs5918 genotypes. Carriers of the Leu33Pro polymorphism, as compared to major allele homozygotes, had greater percent of platelets expressing P-selectin, a platelet glycoprotein indicating activation status. Prevalent coronary heart disease did not affect estimates of fibrous cap thickness or of platelet activation.
Our results suggest that individuals with Leu33Pro polymorphism of the GPIIIa glycoprotein may be predisposed to increased risk of atherosclerotic plaque rupture.
PMCID: PMC3089705  PMID: 21353223
plaque; platelets; atherosclerosis; coronary heart disease; Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
20.  Occupation and three-year incidence of respiratory symptoms and lung function decline: the ARIC Study 
Respiratory Research  2012;13(1):24.
Specific occupations are associated with adverse respiratory health. Inhalation exposures encountered in these jobs may place workers at risk of new-onset respiratory disease.
We analyzed data from 8,967 participants from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, a longitudinal cohort study. Participants included in this analysis were free of chronic cough and phlegm, wheezing, asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and other chronic lung conditions at the baseline examination, when they were aged 45-64 years. Using data collected in the baseline and first follow-up examination, we evaluated associations between occupation and the three-year incidence of cough, phlegm, wheezing, and airway obstruction and changes in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) measured by spirometry. All associations were adjusted for age, cigarettes per day, race, smoking status, and study center.
During the approximately three-year follow-up, the percentage of participants developing chronic cough was 3%; chronic phlegm, 3%; wheezing, 3%; and airway obstruction, defined as FEV1 < lower limit of normal (LLN) and FEV1/FVC < LLN, 2%. The average annual declines in FEV1 and FVC were 56 mL and 66 mL, respectively, among men and 40 mL and 52 mL, respectively, among women. Relative to a referent category of managerial and administrative support occupations, elevated risks of new-onset chronic cough and chronic phlegm were observed for mechanics and repairers (chronic cough: RR: 1.81, 95% CI: 1.02, 3.21; chronic phlegm: RR: 2.10, 95% CI: 1.23, 3.57) and cleaning and building service workers (chronic cough: RR: 1.85, 95% CI: 1.01, 3.37; chronic phlegm: RR: 2.28, 95% CI: 1.27, 4.08). Despite the elevated risk of new-onset symptoms, employment in cleaning and building services was associated with attenuated lung function decline, particularly among men, who averaged annual declines in FEV1 and FVC of 14 mL and 23 mL, respectively, less than the declines observed in the referent population.
Employment in mechanic and repair jobs and cleaning and building service occupations are associated with increased incidence of respiratory symptoms. Specific occupations affect the respiratory health of adults without pre-existing respiratory health symptoms and conditions, though long-term health consequences of inhalation exposures in these jobs remain largely unexplored.
PMCID: PMC3352304  PMID: 22433119
ARIC study; epidemiology; occupation; respiratory tract disease
Annals of epidemiology  2011;21(1):34-41.
To examine whether the relationship between cardiovascular disease risk factors and coronary artery calcification (CAC) is modified by race among those with diabetes.
Data were pooled data from three studies (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, Family Heart Study, Diabetes Heart Study) for a total of 835 blacks and 1122 whites with diabetes. CAC was quantified by cardiac computed tomography and risk factors were obtained using standard methods. Regression models examined the relationship between risk factors and presence and quantity of CAC.
The average age of the cohort was 60 years; 57% were women. Presence of CAC was lower in blacks compared to whites (odds ratio = 0.22 for men, 0.57 for women, p<0.01). HbA1c, duration of diabetes, LDL, smoking, and BMI were independently associated with presence of CAC; HDL, triglycerides and CRP were not. Race did not modify these associations. Adjustment for multiple risk factors did not explain the race disparity in CAC.
CAC was reduced in blacks compared to whites in persons with diabetes. This effect was most pronounced in men. The relationship between risk factors and CAC did not differ between races. Racial differences in CAC are likely due to unmeasured risk factors and/or genetic susceptibility.
PMCID: PMC3026318  PMID: 21130367
coronary artery disease; diabetes mellitus; epidemiology; African Americans; cohort studies
22.  Molecular basis of a linkage peak: exome sequencing and family-based analysis identify a rare genetic variant in the ADIPOQ gene in the IRAS Family Study 
Human Molecular Genetics  2010;19(20):4112-4120.
Family-based linkage analysis has been a powerful tool for identification of genes contributing to traits with monogenic patterns of inheritance. These approaches have been of limited utility in identification of genes underlying complex traits. In contrast, searches for common genetic variants associated with complex traits have been highly successful. It is now widely recognized that common variations frequently explain only part of the inter-individual variation in populations. ‘Rare’ genetic variants have been hypothesized to contribute significantly to phenotypic variation in the population. We have developed a combination of family-based linkage, whole-exome sequencing, direct sequencing and association methods to efficiently identify rare variants of large effect. Key to the successful application of the method was the recognition that only a few families in a sample contribute significantly to a linkage signal. Thus, a search for mutations can be targeted to a small number of families in a chromosome interval restricted to the linkage peak. This approach has been used to identify a rare (1.1%) G45R mutation in the gene encoding adiponectin, ADIPOQ. This variant explains a strong linkage signal (LOD > 8.0) and accounts for ∼17% of the variance in plasma adiponectin levels in a sample of 1240 Hispanic Americans and 63% of the variance in families carrying the mutation. Individuals carrying the G45R mutation have mean adiponectin levels that are 19% of non-carriers. We propose that rare variants may be a common explanation for linkage peaks observed in complex trait genetics. This approach is applicable to a wide range of family studies and has potential to be a discovery tool for identification of novel genes influencing complex traits.
PMCID: PMC2947405  PMID: 20688759
23.  Effect of a 12-Month Intensive Lifestyle Intervention on Hepatic Steatosis in Adults With Type 2 Diabetes 
Diabetes Care  2010;33(10):2156-2163.
Weight loss through lifestyle changes is recommended for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). However, its efficacy in patients with type 2 diabetes is unproven.
Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) is a 16-center clinical trial with 5,145 overweight or obese adults with type 2 diabetes, who were randomly assigned to an intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) to induce a minimum weight loss of 7% or a control group who received diabetes support and education (DSE). In the Fatty Liver Ancillary Study, 96 participants completed proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy to quantify hepatic steatosis and tests to exclude other causes of liver disease at baseline and 12 months. We defined steatosis >5.5% as NAFLD.
Participants were 49% women and 68% white. The mean age was 61 years, mean BMI was 35 kg/m2, mean steatosis was 8.0%, and mean aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) were 20.5 and 24.2 units/l, respectively. After 12 months, participants assigned to ILI (n = 46) lost more weight (−8.5 vs. −0.05%; P < 0.01) than those assigned to DSE and had a greater decline in steatosis (−50.8 vs. −22.8%; P = 0.04) and in A1C (−0.7 vs. −0.2%; P = 0.04). There were no significant 12-month changes in AST or ALT levels. At 12 months, 26% of DSE participants and 3% (1 of 31) of ILI participants without NAFLD at baseline developed NAFLD (P < 0.05).
A 12-month intensive lifestyle intervention in patients with type 2 diabetes reduces steatosis and incident NAFLD.
PMCID: PMC2945152  PMID: 20664019
24.  Genome-wide association study of vitamin D concentrations in Hispanic Americans: The IRAS Family Study 
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with many adverse health outcomes. There are several well established environmental predictors of vitamin D concentrations, yet studies of the genetic determinants of vitamin D concentrations are in their infancy. Our objective was to conduct a pilot genome-wide association (GWA) study of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25[OH]2D) concentrations in a subset of 229 Hispanic subjects, followed by replication genotyping of 50 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the entire sample of 1,190 Hispanics from San Antonio, Texas and San Luis Valley, Colorado. Of the 309,200 SNPs that met all quality control criteria, three SNPs in high linkage disequilibrium (LD) with each other were significantly associated with 1,25[OH]2D (rs6680429, rs9970802, and rs10889028) at a Bonferroni corrected P-value threshold of 1.62 × 10−7, however none met the threshold for 25[OH]D. Of the 50 SNPs selected for replication genotyping, five for 25[OH]D (rs2806508, rs10141935, rs4778359, rs1507023, and rs9937918) and eight for 1,25[OH]2D (rs6680429, rs1348864, rs4559029, rs12667374, rs7781309, rs10505337, rs2486443, and rs2154175) were replicated in the entire sample of Hispanics (P < 0.01). In conclusion, we identified several SNPs that were associated with vitamin D metabolite concentrations in Hispanics. These candidate polymorphisms merit further investigation in independent populations and other ethnicities.
PMCID: PMC2949505  PMID: 20600896
Vitamin D; 25-hydroxyvitamin D; 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D; genome-wide association study; Hispanic
25.  Disposition Index, Glucose Effectiveness, and Conversion to Type 2 Diabetes 
Diabetes Care  2010;33(9):2098-2103.
Disposition index (DI) and glucose effectiveness (SG) are risk factors for diabetes. However, the effect of DI and SG on future diabetes has not been examined in large epidemiological studies using direct measures.
Insulin sensitivity index (SI), acute insulin response (AIR), and SG were measured in 826 participants (aged 40–69 years) in the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study (IRAS) by the frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test. DI was expressed as SI × AIR. At the 5-year follow-up examination, 128 individuals (15.5%) had developed diabetes.
The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of a model with SI and AIR was similar to that of DI (0.767 vs. 0.774, P = 0.543). In a multivariate logistic regression model that included both DI and SG, conversion to diabetes was predicted by both SG (odds ratio × 1 SD, 0.61 [0.47–0.80]) and DI (0.68 [0.54–0.85]) after adjusting for demographic variables, fasting and 2-h glucose concentrations, family history of diabetes, and measures of obesity. Age, sex, race/ethnicity, glucose tolerance status, obesity, and family history of diabetes did not have a significant modifying impact on the relation of SG and DI to incident diabetes.
The predictive power of DI is comparable to that of its components, SI and AIR. SG and DI independently predict conversion to diabetes similarly across race/ethnic groups, varying states of glucose tolerance, family history of diabetes, and obesity.
PMCID: PMC2928371  PMID: 20805282

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