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1.  Deceased donor multidrug resistance protein 1 and caveolin 1 gene variants may influence allograft survival in kidney transplantation 
Kidney international  2015;88(3):584-592.
Variants in donor multidrug resistance protein 1 (ABCB1) and caveolin 1 (CAV1) genes are associated with renal allograft failure after transplantation in Europeans. Here we assessed transplantation outcomes of kidneys from 368 African American (AA) and 314 European American (EA) deceased donors based on 38 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) spanning ABCB1 and 16 SNPs spanning CAV1, including previously associated index and haplotype-tagging SNPs. Tests for association with time to allograft failure were performed for the 1,233 resultant kidney transplantations, adjusting for recipient age, sex, ethnicity, cold ischemia time, PRA, HLA match, expanded-criteria donation, and APOL1- nephropathy variants in AA donors. Interaction analyses between APOL1 with ABCB1 and CAV1 were performed. In a meta-analysis of all transplantations, ABCB1 index SNP rs1045642 was associated with time to allograft failure and other ABCB1 SNPs were nominally associated, but not CAV1 SNPs. ABCB1 SNP rs1045642 showed consistent effects with the 558 transplantations from EA donors, but not with the 675 transplantations from AA donors. ABCB1 SNP rs956825 and CAV1 SNP rs6466583 interacted with APOL1 in transplants from AA donors. Thus, the T allele at ABCB1 rs1045642 is associated with shorter renal allograft survival for kidneys from American donors. Interactions between ABCB1 and CAV1 with APOL1 may influence allograft failure for transplanted kidneys from AA donors.
PMCID: PMC4556550  PMID: 25853335
African American; allograft failure; ABCB1; APOL1; CAV1; kidney transplantation
2.  Prevalence and Determinants of Electrocardiographic Abnormalities in African Americans with Type 2 Diabetes 
Electrocardiographic (ECG) abnormalities are independently associated with poor outcomes in the general population. Their prevalence and determinants were assessed in the understudied African American population with type 2 diabetes.
Standard 12-lead ECGs were digitally recorded in 635 unrelated African American-Diabetes Heart Study (AA-DHS) participants, automatically processed at a central lab, read, and coded using standard Minnesota ECG Classification. Age- and sex-specific prevalence rates of ECG abnormalities were calculated and logistic regression models were fitted to examine cross-sectional associations between participant characteristics and ECG abnormalities.
Participants were 56% women with a mean age of 56 years; 60% had at least one minor or major ECG abnormality [23% ≥1 major (or major plus minor), and 37% ≥1 minor (with no major)]. Men had a higher prevalence of ≥1 minor or major ECG abnormality (66.1% men vs. 55.6% women, p=0.0089). In univariate analyses, age, past history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes duration, systolic blood pressure, sex and statin use were associated with the presence of any (major or minor) ECG abnormalities. In a multivariate model including variables, female sex (OR [95% CI] 0.79 [0.67,0.93]), statin use (0.79 [0.67,0.93]) and diabetes duration (1.03 [1.0,1.05]) remained statistically significant.
Nearly three out of five African Americans with diabetes had at least one ECG abnormality. Female sex and statin use were significantly associated with lower odds of any ECG abnormality and diabetes duration was significantly associated with higher odds of any ECG abnormality in the multivariable model.
PMCID: PMC4254487  PMID: 25455646
Electrocardiogram; Diabetes; African Americans; Heart; Hypertension; Cardiovascular Disease
3.  Montreal Cognitive Assessment and Modified Mini Mental State Examination in African Americans 
Journal of Aging Research  2015;2015:872018.
Background. Sparse data limit the interpretation of Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) scores, particularly in minority populations. Additionally, there are no published data on how MoCA scores compare to the widely used Modified Mini Mental State Examination (3MSE). We provide performance data on the MoCA in a large cohort of African Americans and compare 3MSE and MoCA scores, providing a “crosswalk” for interpreting scores. Methods. Five hundred and thirty African Americans with type 2 diabetes were enrolled in African American-Diabetes Heart Study-MIND, a cross-sectional study of cognition and structural and functional brain imaging. After excluding participants with possible cognitive impairment (n = 115), mean (SD) MoCA and 3MSE scores are presented stratified by age and education. Results. Participant mean age was 58.2 years (range: 35-83); 61% were female; and 64.9% had >12 years of education. Mean (SD) 3MSE and MoCA scores were 86.9 (8.2) and 19.8 (3.8), respectively. 93.5% of the cohort had a “positive” screen on the MoCA, scoring <26 (education-adjusted), compared with 47.5% on the 3MSE (cut-point < 88). A 3MSE score of 88 corresponded to a MoCA score of 20 in this population. Conclusion. The present data suggest the need for caution when applying proposed MoCA cutoffs to African Americans.
PMCID: PMC4649096  PMID: 26618003
4.  APOL1 associations with nephropathy, atherosclerosis, and all-cause mortality in African Americans with type 2 diabetes 
Kidney international  2014;87(1):176-181.
Albuminuria and reduced eGFR associate with two apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) variants in non-diabetic African Americans. Whether APOL1 associates with subclinical atherosclerosis and survival remains unclear. To determine this, 717 African American-Diabetes Heart Study participants underwent computed tomography to determine coronary artery, carotid artery, and aorta calcified atherosclerotic plaque mass scores in addition to the urine albumin:creatinine ratio (UACR), eGFR, and C-reactive protein. Associations between mass scores and APOL1 were assessed adjusting for age, gender, African ancestry, BMI, HbA1c, smoking, hypertension, use of statins and ACE inhibitors, albuminuria, and eGFR. Participants were 58.9% female with mean age 56.5 years, eGFR 89.5 ml/min/1.73m2, UACR 169.6 mg/g, coronary artery, carotid artery and aorta calcified plaque mass scores of 610, 171 and 5378, respectively. In fully adjusted models, APOL1 risk variants were significantly associated with lower levels of carotid artery calcified plaque (β −0.42, SE 0.18, dominant model), and marginally lower coronary artery plaque (β −0.36, SE 0.21; dominant model), but not with aorta calcified plaque, C-reactive protein, UACR, or eGFR. After a mean follow-up of 5.0 years, 89 participants died. APOL1 nephropathy risk variants were significantly associated with improved survival (hazard ratio 0.67 for 1 copy; 0.44 for 2 copies). Thus, APOL1 nephropathy variants associate with lower levels of subclinical atherosclerosis and reduced risk of death in African Americans with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
PMCID: PMC4281283  PMID: 25054777
African Americans; apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1); atherosclerosis; calcified atherosclerotic plaque; diabetes mellitus; kidney disease
5.  Apolipoprotein L1 gene variants associate with prevalent kidney but not prevalent cardiovascular disease in the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial 
Kidney international  2014;87(1):169-175.
Apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) G1 and G2 coding variants are strongly associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD) in African Americans. Here APOL1 association was tested with baseline estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), urine albumin:creatinine ratio (UACR), and prevalent cardiovascular disease (CVD) in 2,571 African Americans from the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT), a trial assessing effects of systolic blood pressure reduction on renal and CVD outcomes. Logistic regression models that adjusted for potentially important confounders tested for association between APOL1 risk variants and baseline clinical CVD (myocardial infarction, coronary or carotid artery revascularization) and CKD (eGFR under 60 ml/min/1.73m2 and/or UACR over 30 mg/g). African American SPRINT participants were 45.3% female with mean (median) age of 64.3 (63) years, mean arterial pressure 100.7 (100) mmHg, eGFR 76.3 (77.1) ml/min/1.73m2, UACR 49.9 (9.2) mg/g, and 8.2% had clinical CVD. APOL1 (recessive inheritance) was positively associated with CKD (odds ratio 1.37, 95% confidence interval 1.08–1.73) and log UACR estimated slope [β] 0.33) and negatively associated with eGFR (β −3.58), all significant. APOL1 risk variants were not significantly associated with prevalent CVD (1.02, 0.82–1.27). Thus, SPRINT data show that APOL1 risk variants are associated with mild CKD but not prevalent CVD in African American with a UACR under 1000 mg/g.
PMCID: PMC4281289  PMID: 25029429
African Americans; albuminuria; APOL1; cardiovascular disease; chronic kidney disease; SPRINT
6.  APOL1 G1 genotype modifies the association between HDLC and kidney function in African Americans 
BMC Genomics  2015;16(1):421.
Despite evidence of an association between variants at the apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) locus and a spectrum of related kidney diseases, underlying biological mechanisms remain unknown. An earlier preliminary study published by our group showed that an APOL1 variant (rs73885319) modified the association between high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLC) and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) in African Americans. To further understand this relationship, we evaluated the interaction in two additional large cohorts of African Americans for a total of 3,592 unrelated individuals from the Howard University Family Study (HUFS), the Natural History of APOL1-Associated Nephropathy Study (NHAAN), and the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC). The association between HDLC and eGFR was determined using linear mixed models, and the interaction between rs73885319 genotype and HDLC was evaluated using a multiplicative term.
Among individuals homozygous for the risk genotype, a strong inverse HDLC-eGFR association was observed, with a positive association in others (p for the interaction of the rs73885319 × HDLC =0.0001). The interaction was similar in HUFS and NHAAN, and attenuated in ARIC. Given that ARIC participants were older, we investigated an age effect; age was a significant modifier of the observed interaction. When older individuals were excluded, the interaction in ARIC was similar to that in the other studies.
Based on these findings, it is clear that the relationship between HDLC and eGFR is strongly influenced by the APOL1 rs73885319 kidney risk genotype. Moreover, the degree to which this variant modifies the association may depend on the age of the individual. More detailed physiological studies are warranted to understand how rs73885319 may affect the relationship between HDLC and eGFR in individuals with and without disease and across the lifespan.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1645-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4448293  PMID: 26025194
Apolipoprotein L1; High-density lipoprotein cholesterol; African ancestry; Glomerular filtration rate
7.  Transcriptomic profiles of aging in purified human immune cells 
BMC Genomics  2015;16(1):333.
Transcriptomic studies hold great potential towards understanding the human aging process. Previous transcriptomic studies have identified many genes with age-associated expression levels; however, small samples sizes and mixed cell types often make these results difficult to interpret.
Using transcriptomic profiles in CD14+ monocytes from 1,264 participants of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (aged 55–94 years), we identified 2,704 genes differentially expressed with chronological age (false discovery rate, FDR ≤ 0.001). We further identified six networks of co-expressed genes that included prominent genes from three pathways: protein synthesis (particularly mitochondrial ribosomal genes), oxidative phosphorylation, and autophagy, with expression patterns suggesting these pathways decline with age. Expression of several chromatin remodeler and transcriptional modifier genes strongly correlated with expression of oxidative phosphorylation and ribosomal protein synthesis genes. 17% of genes with age-associated expression harbored CpG sites whose degree of methylation significantly mediated the relationship between age and gene expression (p < 0.05). Lastly, 15 genes with age-associated expression were also associated (FDR ≤ 0.01) with pulse pressure independent of chronological age.
Comparing transcriptomic profiles of CD14+ monocytes to CD4+ T cells from a subset (n = 423) of the population, we identified 30 age-associated (FDR < 0.01) genes in common, while larger sets of differentially expressed genes were unique to either T cells (188 genes) or monocytes (383 genes). At the pathway level, a decline in ribosomal protein synthesis machinery gene expression with age was detectable in both cell types.
An overall decline in expression of ribosomal protein synthesis genes with age was detected in CD14+ monocytes and CD4+ T cells, demonstrating that some patterns of aging are likely shared between different cell types. Our findings also support cell-specific effects of age on gene expression, illustrating the importance of using purified cell samples for future transcriptomic studies. Longitudinal work is required to establish the relationship between identified age-associated genes/pathways and aging-related diseases.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1522-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4417516  PMID: 25898983
Aging; Monocyte; T cell; Transcriptome; Mitochondrial ribosome; Translation; Protein synthesis; Ribonucleoprotein complex; Oxidative phosphorylation; Autophagy; Methylation
8.  Prevalence of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Among Children and Adolescents From 2001 to 2009 
JAMA  2014;311(17):1778-1786.
Despite concern about an “epidemic,” there are limited data on trends in prevalence of either type 1 or type 2 diabetes across US race and ethnic groups.
To estimate changes in the prevalence of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in US youth, by sex, age, and race/ethnicity between 2001 and 2009.
Case patients were ascertained in 4 geographic areas and 1 managed health care plan. The study population was determined by the 2001 and 2009 bridged-race intercensal population estimates for geographic sites and membership counts for the health plan.
Prevalence (per 1000) of physician-diagnosed type 1 diabetes in youth aged 0 through 19 years and type 2 diabetes in youth aged 10 through 19 years.
In 2001, 4958 of 3.3 million youth were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes for a prevalence of 1.48 per 1000 (95% CI, 1.44–1.52). In 2009, 6666 of 3.4 million youth were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes for a prevalence of 1.93 per 1000 (95% CI, 1.88–1.97). In 2009, the highest prevalence of type 1 diabetes was 2.55 per 1000 among white youth (95% CI, 2.48–2.62) and the lowest was 0.35 per 1000 in American Indian youth (95% CI, 0.26–0.47) and type 1 diabetes increased between 2001 and 2009 in all sex, age, and race/ethnic subgroups except for those with the lowest prevalence (age 0–4 years and American Indians). Adjusted for completeness of ascertainment, there was a 21.1% (95% CI, 15.6%–27.0%) increase in type 1 diabetes over 8 years. In 2001, 588 of 1.7 million youth were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes for a prevalence of 0.34 per 1000 (95% CI, 0.31–0.37). In 2009, 819 of 1.8 million were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes for a prevalence of 0.46 per 1000 (95% CI, 0.43–0.49). In 2009, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes was 1.20 per 1000 among American Indian youth (95% CI, 0.96–1.51); 1.06 per 1000 among black youth (95% CI, 0.93–1.22); 0.79 per 1000 among Hispanic youth (95% CI, 0.70–0.88); and 0.17 per 1000 among white youth (95% CI, 0.15–0.20). Significant increases occurred between 2001 and 2009 in both sexes, all age-groups, and in white, Hispanic, and black youth, with no significant changes for Asian Pacific Islanders and American Indians. Adjusted for completeness of ascertainment, there was a 30.5% (95% CI, 17.3%–45.1%) overall increase in type 2 diabetes.
Between 2001 and 2009 in 5 areas of the United States, the prevalence of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes among children and adolescents increased. Further studies are required to determine the causes of these increases.
PMCID: PMC4368900  PMID: 24794371
9.  Gene–gene interactions in APOL1-associated nephropathy 
Two APOL1 nephropathy variants confer substantial risk for non-diabetic end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) in African Americans (AAs). Since not all genetically high-risk individuals develop ESKD, modifying factors likely contribute. Forty-two potentially interactive single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from a genome-wide association study in non-diabetic ESKD were tested for interaction with APOL1 to identify genes modifying risk for non-diabetic nephropathy.
SNPs were examined in an expanded sample of 1367 AA non-diabetic ESKD cases and 1504 AA non-nephropathy controls, with validation in an independent family-based cohort containing 608 first-degree relatives of index cases with non-diabetic ESKD. Logistic regression and mixed models were fitted to test for interaction effects with APOL1 on ESKD, estimated kidney function and albuminuria.
Among ESKD samples, 14 of 42 SNPs demonstrated suggestive APOL1 interaction with P-values <0.05. After Bonferroni correction, significant interactions with APOL1 were seen with SNPs in podocin (rs16854341; NPHS2, P = 8.0 × 10−4), in SDCCAG8 (rs2802723; P = 5.0 × 10−4) and near BMP4 (rs8014363; P = 1.0 × 10−3); with trends for ENOX1 (rs9533534; P = 2.2 × 10−3) and near TRIB1 (rs4457349; P = 5.7 × 10−3). The minor allele in NPHS2 markedly changed the APOL1-ESKD association odds ratio (OR) from 7.03 to 1.76 (∼50% reduction in effect per copy of the minor allele), rs2802723 changed the OR from 5.1 to 10.5, and rs8014363 increased the OR from 4.8 to 9.5. NPHS2 (P = 0.05) and SDCCAG8 (P = 0.03) SNPs demonstrated APOL1 interaction with albuminuria in independent family-based samples.
Variants in NPHS2, SDCCAG8 and near BMP4 appear to interact with APOL1 to modulate the risk for non-diabetic ESKD in AAs.
PMCID: PMC3938297  PMID: 24157943
African American; APOL1; bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4); kidney disease; podocin (NPHS2); serologically defined colon cancer antigen 8 (SDCCAG8)
10.  Relationships Between Calcified Atherosclerotic Plaque and Bone Mineral Density in African Americans With Type 2 Diabetes 
Inverse relationships have been reported between bone mineral density (BMD) and calcified atherosclerotic plaque (CP). This suggests these processes may be related. We examined relationships between BMD and CP in 753 African Americans with type 2 diabetes from 664 families, accounting for the effects of modifiable cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. Association analyses were performed using generalized estimating equations (GEEs) to assess cross-sectional relationships between computed tomography–determined measures of thoracic and lumbar vertebral volumetric BMD (vBMD) and CP in the coronary and carotid arteries and infrarenal aorta. Significant inverse associations were seen between thoracic and lumbar vBMD and CP in all three vascular beds in unadjusted analyses. A fully adjusted model accounting for age, sex, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, C-reactive protein, hemoglobin A1c, smoking, and hormone-replacement therapy revealed significant inverse associations between thoracic vBMD and CP in coronary and carotid arteries and aorta, whereas lumbar vBMD was associated with CP in coronary artery and aorta. Inverse associations exist between vertebral BMD and calcified atherosclerotic plaque in African-American men and women with type 2 diabetes. This relationship was independent of conventional CVD risk factors and supports the hypothesis that bone metabolism and atherosclerotic plaque mineralization are related processes.
PMCID: PMC4341826  PMID: 21437982
11.  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
12.  Peripheral Neuropathy in Adolescents and Young Adults With Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes From the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Follow-up Cohort 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(12):3903-3908.
To estimate the prevalence of and risk factors for diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) in a pilot study among youth participating in the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study.
DPN was assessed using the Michigan Neuropathy Screening Instrument (MNSI) (examination for foot abnormalities, distal vibration perception, and ankle reflexes). An MNSI exam (MNSIE) score >2 is diagnostic for DPN.
The MNSIE was completed in 399 subjects, including 329 youth with type 1 diabetes (mean age 15.7 ± 4.3 years, duration 6.2 ± 0.9 years) and 70 with type 2 diabetes (mean age 21.6 ± 4.1 years, duration 7.6 ± 1.8 years). Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) was similar in both groups (8.8 ± 1.8% for type 1 vs. 8.5 ± 2.9% for type 2). The prevalence of DPN was significantly higher in youth with type 2 compared with those with type 1 diabetes (25.7 vs. 8.2%; P < 0.0001). In unadjusted analyses, diabetes type, older age, longer duration of diabetes, increased waist circumference, elevated blood pressure, lower HDL cholesterol, and presence of microalbuminuria (urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio >30 mg/g) were associated with DPN. The association between diabetes type and DPN remained significant after adjustment for age and sex (odds ratio 2.29 [95% CI 1.05–5.02], P = 0.03).
DPN prevalence among youth with type 2 diabetes approached rates reported in adult populations with diabetes. Our findings suggest not only that youth with diabetes are at risk for DPN but also that many already show measurable signs of DPN.
PMCID: PMC3836139  PMID: 24144652
13.  Population Ancestry and Genetic Risk for Diabetes and Kidney, Cardiovascular, and Bone Disease: Modifiable Environmental Factors May Produce the Cures 
Variable rates of disease observed between members of different continental population groups may be mediated by inherited factors, environmental exposures, or their combination. This manuscript provides evidence in support of differential allele frequency distributions that underlie the higher rates of non-diabetic kidney disease in the focal segmental glomerulosclerosis spectrum of disease and lower rates of coronary artery calcified atherosclerotic plaque and osteoporosis in populations of African ancestry. With recognition that these and other common complex diseases are affected by biologic factors comes the realization that targeted manipulation of environmental exposures and pharmacologic treatments will have different effects based on genotype. The current era of precision medicine will couple one’s genetic make-up with specific therapies to reduce rates of disease based on presence of disease-specific alleles.
PMCID: PMC3840048  PMID: 23896482
ancestry; APOL1; cardiovascular disease; diabetes mellitus; genetics; kidney disease
14.  Response to “JC polyoma virus and kidney disease” 
Kidney international  2014;85(5):1242-1243.
PMCID: PMC4143177  PMID: 24786886
15.  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
16.  Genetic Ancestry and the Relationship of Cigarette Smoking to Lung Function and Percent Emphysema in Four Race/Ethnic Groups: a Cross-sectional Study 
Thorax  2013;68(7):634-642.
Cigarette smoking is the major cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema. Recent studies suggest that susceptibility to cigarette smoke may vary by race/ethnicity; however, they were generally small and relied on self-reported race/ethnicity.
To test the hypothesis that relationships of smoking to lung function and percent emphysema differ by genetic ancestry and self-reported race/ethnicity among Whites, African-Americans, Hispanics and Chinese-Americans.
Cross-sectional population-based study of adults age 45-84 years in the United States
Principal components of genetic ancestry and continental ancestry estimated from one-million genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms. Pack-years calculated as years smoking cigarettes-per-day/20. Spirometry measured for 3,344 and percent emphysema on computed tomography for 8,224 participants.
The prevalence of ever-smoking was: Whites, 57.6%; African-Americans, 56.4%; Hispanics, 46.7%; and Chinese-Americans, 26.8%. Every 10 pack-years was associated with −0.73% (95% CI −0.90%, −0.56%) decrement in the forced expiratory volume in one second to forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC) and a 0.23% (95% CI 0.08%, 0.38%) increase in percent emphysema. There was no evidence that relationships of pack-years to the FEV1/FVC, airflow obstruction and percent emphysema varied by genetic ancestry (all p>0.10), self-reported race/ethnicity (all p>0.10) or, among African-Americans, African ancestry. There were small differences in relationships of pack-years to the FEV1 among male Chinese-Americans and to the FEV1/FVC with African and Native American ancestry among male Hispanics only.
In this large cohort, there was little-to-no evidence that the associations of smoking to lung function and percent emphysema differed by genetic ancestry or self-reported race/ethnicity.
PMCID: PMC4020409  PMID: 23585509
cigarette smoke; genetic ancestry; lung function; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; COPD; emphysema; FVC; Forced Vital Capacity; FEV1; Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second
17.  JC polyoma virus interacts with APOL1 in African Americans with non-diabetic nephropathy 
Kidney international  2013;84(6):1207-1213.
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
Nature reviews. Nephrology  2013;10(2):69-70.
In 2013, substantial progress was made in uncovering the genetic basis of a variety of kidney and urological disorders, including congenital and developmental diseases. The new findings will lead to an increased understanding of the pathophysiology of these diseases, improved risk prediction and the development of novel therapies.
PMCID: PMC4003456  PMID: 24296626
20.  Admixture Mapping of Coronary Artery Calcified Plaque in African Americans with Type 2 Diabetes 
The presence and severity of coronary artery calcified plaque (CAC) differs markedly between individuals of African and European descent, suggesting that admixture mapping (AM) may be informative for identifying genetic variants associated with subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Methods and Results
AM of CAC was performed in 1,040 unrelated African Americans with type 2 diabetes mellitus from the African American-Diabetes Heart Study (AA-DHS), Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), and Family Heart Study (FamHS) using the Illumina custom ancestry informative marker (AIM) panel. All cohorts obtained computed tomography scanning of the coronary arteries using identical protocols. For each AIM, the probability of inheriting 0, 1, and 2 copies of a European-derived allele was determined. Linkage analysis was performed by testing for association between each AIM using these probabilities and CAC, accounting for global ancestry, age, gender and study. Markers on 1p32.3 in the GLIS1 gene (rs6663966, LOD=3.7), 1q32.1 near CHIT1 (rs7530895, LOD=3.1), 4q21.2 near PRKG2 (rs1212373, LOD=3.0) and 11q25 in the OPCML gene (rs6590705, LOD=3.4) had statistically significant LOD scores, while markers on 8q22.2 (rs6994682, LOD=2.7), 9p21.2 (rs439314, LOD=2.7), and 13p32.1 (rs7492028, LOD=2.8) manifested suggestive evidence of linkage. These regions were uniformly characterized by higher levels of European ancestry associating with higher levels or odds of CAC. Findings were replicated in 1,350 AAs without diabetes and 2,497 diabetic European Americans from MESA and the Diabetes Heart Study.
Fine mapping these regions will likely identify novel genetic variants that contribute to CAC and clarify racial differences in susceptibility to subclinical CVD.
PMCID: PMC3578054  PMID: 23233742
ancestry; cardiovascular disease risk factors; type 2 diabetes; admixture mapping
21.  Associations Between NOS1AP Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) and QT Interval Duration in Four Racial/Ethnic Groups in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
QT is a risk factor for sudden cardiac death (SCD). A genome wide association study identified NOS1AP variants associated with QT, which have been replicated in predominantly Caucasian (CAU) populations. We used MESA to examine association of QT with NOS1AP variants in an ethnically diverse cohort.
Twenty-eight tagging SNPs spanning NOS1AP were genotyped in 2847 MESA participants (approximately equal numbers of CAU, African-Americans (AFA), Hispanics (HIS) and Chinese (CHN)), age 45–84 years, without cardiovascular disease. QT was measured using 12-lead ECG. Associations between QT and NOS1AP variants were evaluated using linear regression, adjusted for heart rate, age, gender, and field center stratified by ancestry, using an additive inheritance model. Ancestry informative markers (AIMs) and principal components using AIMs were used as additional covariates.
More NOS1AP SNPs were associated with QT in CAU than the other races. In CAU, each copy of rs1932933 risk allele was associated with an increase in QT (4.9msec, p= 7.20×10-7). Significant associations in CAU and HIS were located at the 5′ end, while associations in CHN were located at the 3′ end.
NOS1AP variants were associated with QT in CAU, with weaker evidence for selected variants in HIS and CHN. Location of significant SNPs varied across ancestry. We identified possible novel associations at the 3′ end of NOS1AP, where we observed significant association with QT in CHN only. Genotyping within these regions may determine functional variants affecting QT and SCD risk. Further investigations are needed across ethnically diverse population cohorts.
PMCID: PMC3642094  PMID: 23347024
Genetics; Electrocardiography; Arrhythmia; Electrophysiology
22.  A Genome-Wide Search for Linkage of Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR) in the Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes (FIND) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81888.
Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a measure of kidney function, is heritable, suggesting that genes influence renal function. Genes that influence eGFR have been identified through genome-wide association studies. However, family-based linkage approaches may identify loci that explain a larger proportion of the heritability. This study used genome-wide linkage and association scans to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) that influence eGFR.
Genome-wide linkage and sparse association scans of eGFR were performed in families ascertained by probands with advanced diabetic nephropathy (DN) from the multi-ethnic Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes (FIND) study. This study included 954 African Americans (AA), 781 American Indians (AI), 614 European Americans (EA) and 1,611 Mexican Americans (MA). A total of 3,960 FIND participants were genotyped for 6,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) using the Illumina Linkage IVb panel. GFR was estimated by the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) formula.
The non-parametric linkage analysis, accounting for the effects of diabetes duration and BMI, identified the strongest evidence for linkage of eGFR on chromosome 20q11 (log of the odds [LOD] = 3.34; P = 4.4×10−5) in MA and chromosome 15q12 (LOD = 2.84; P = 1.5×10−4) in EA. In all subjects, the strongest linkage signal for eGFR was detected on chromosome 10p12 (P = 5.5×10−4) at 44 cM near marker rs1339048. A subsequent association scan in both ancestry-specific groups and the entire population identified several SNPs significantly associated with eGFR across the genome.
The present study describes the localization of QTL influencing eGFR on 20q11 in MA, 15q21 in EA and 10p12 in the combined ethnic groups participating in the FIND study. Identification of causal genes/variants influencing eGFR, within these linkage and association loci, will open new avenues for functional analyses and development of novel diagnostic markers for DN.
PMCID: PMC3866106  PMID: 24358131
23.  How to estimate the measurement error variance associated with ancestry proportion estimates 
Statistics and its interface  2011;4(3):327-337.
To show how the variance of the measurement error (ME) associated with individual ancestry proportion estimates can be estimated, especially when the number of ancestral populations (k) is greater than 2.
We extend existing internal consistency measures to estimate the ME variance, and we compare these estimates with the ME variance estimated by use of the repeated measurement (RM) approach. Both approaches work by dividing the genotyped markers into subsets. We examine the effect of the number of subsets and of the allocation of markers to each subset on the performance of each approach. We used simulated data for all comparisons.
Independently of the value of k, the measures of internal reliability provided less biased and more precise estimates of the ME variance than did those obtained with the RM approach. Both methods tend to perform better when a large number of subsets of markers with similar sizes are considered.
Our results will facilitate the use of ME correction methods to address the ME problem in individual ancestry proportion estimates. Our method will improve the ability to control for type I error inflation and loss of power in association tests and other genomic research involving ancestry estimates.
PMCID: PMC3786624  PMID: 24089627
Population stratification; admixture; type I error inflation; reliability; Cronbach’s alpha; measurement errors; measurement error variance
24.  Genome-wide association scan in women with systemic lupus erythematosus identifies susceptibility variants in ITGAM, PXK, KIAA1542 and other loci 
Nature genetics  2008;40(2):204-210.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a common systemic autoimmune disease with complex etiology but strong clustering in families (λS = ~30). We performed a genome-wide association scan using 317,501 SNPs in 720 women of European ancestry with SLE and in 2,337 controls, and we genotyped consistently associated SNPs in two additional independent sample sets totaling 1,846 affected women and 1,825 controls. Aside from the expected strong association between SLE and the HLA region on chromosome 6p21 and the previously confirmed non-HLA locus IRF5 on chromosome 7q32, we found evidence of association with replication (1.1 × 10−7 < Poverall < 1.6 × 10−23; odds ratio 0.82–1.62)in four regions: 16p11.2 (ITGAM), 11p15.5 (KIAA1542), 3p14.3 (PXK) and 1q25.1 (rs10798269). We also found evidence for association (P < 1 × 10−5) at FCGR2A, PTPN22 and STAT4, regions previously associated with SLE and other autoimmune diseases, as well as at ≥9 other loci (P < 2 × 10−7). Our results show that numerous genes, some with known immune-related functions, predispose to SLE.
PMCID: PMC3712260  PMID: 18204446
25.  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

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