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1.  Association of a rare NOTCH4 coding variant with systemic sclerosis: a family-based whole exome sequencing study 
Background
Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a rheumatologic disease with a multifactorial etiology. Genome-wide association studies imply a polygenic, complex mode of inheritance with contributions from variation at the human leukocyte antigen locus and non-coding variation at a locus on chromosome 6p21, among other modestly impactful loci. Here we describe an 8-year-old female proband presenting with diffuse cutaneous SSc/scleroderma and a family history of SSc in a grandfather and maternal aunt.
Methods
We employed whole exome sequencing (WES) of three members of this family. We examined rare missense, nonsense, splice-altering, and coding indels matching an autosomal dominant inheritance model. We selected one missense variant for Sanger sequencing confirmation based on its predicted impact on gene function and location in a known SSc genetic locus.
Results
Bioinformatic analysis found eight candidate variants meeting our criteria. We identified a very rare missense variant in the regulatory NODP domain of NOTCH4 located at the 6p21 locus, c.4245G > A:p.Met1415Ile, segregating with the phenotype. This allele has a frequency of 1.83 × 10−5 by the data of the Exome Aggregation Consortium.
Conclusion
This family suggests a novel mechanism of SSc pathogenesis in which a rare and penetrant coding variation can substantially elevate disease risk in contrast to the more modest non-coding variation typically found at this locus. These results suggest that modulation of the NOTCH4 gene might be responsible for the association signal at chromosome 6p21 in SSc.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12891-016-1320-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12891-016-1320-4
PMCID: PMC5103422  PMID: 27829420
Whole exome sequencing; Systemic sclerosis; Scleroderma; NOTCH4; Mendelian genetics
2.  Genomic copy number variation association study in Caucasian patients with nonsyndromic cryptorchidism 
BMC Urology  2016;16:62.
Background
Copy number variation (CNV) is a potential contributing factor to many genetic diseases. Here we investigated the potential association of CNV with nonsyndromic cryptorchidism, the most common male congenital genitourinary defect, in a Caucasian population.
Methods
Genome wide genotyping were performed in 559 cases and 1772 controls (Group 1) using Illumina HumanHap550 v1, HumanHap550 v3 or Human610-Quad platforms and in 353 cases and 1149 controls (Group 2) using the Illumina Human OmniExpress 12v1 or Human OmniExpress 12v1-1. Signal intensity data including log R ratio (LRR) and B allele frequency (BAF) for each single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) were used for CNV detection using PennCNV software. After sample quality control, gene- and CNV-based association tests were performed using cleaned data from Group 1 (493 cases and 1586 controls) and Group 2 (307 cases and 1102 controls) using ParseCNV software. Meta-analysis was performed using gene-based test results as input to identify significant genes, and CNVs in or around significant genes were identified in CNV-based association test results. Called CNVs passing quality control and signal intensity visualization examination were considered for validation using TaqMan CNV assays and QuantStudio® 3D Digital PCR System.
Results
The meta-analysis identified 373 genome wide significant (p < 5X10−4) genes/loci including 49 genes/loci with deletions and 324 with duplications. Among them, 17 genes with deletion and 1 gene with duplication were identified in CNV-based association results in both Group 1 and Group 2. Only 2 genes (NUCB2 and UPF2) containing deletions passed CNV quality control in both groups and signal intensity visualization examination, but laboratory validation failed to verify these deletions.
Conclusions
Our data do not support that structural variation is a major cause of nonsyndromic cryptorchidism.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12894-016-0180-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12894-016-0180-4
PMCID: PMC5073740  PMID: 27769252
Cryptorchidism; Genetics; CNV
3.  Pathway analysis supports association of nonsyndromic cryptorchidism with genetic loci linked to cytoskeleton-dependent functions 
Human Reproduction (Oxford, England)  2015;30(10):2439-2451.
STUDY QUESTION
What are the genetic loci that increase susceptibility to nonsyndromic cryptorchidism, or undescended testis?
SUMMARY ANSWER
A genome-wide association study (GWAS) suggests that susceptibility to cryptorchidism is heterogeneous, with a subset of suggestive signals linked to cytoskeleton-dependent functions and syndromic forms of the disease.
WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY
Population studies suggest moderate genetic risk of cryptorchidism and possible maternal and environmental contributions to risk. Previous candidate gene analyses have failed to identify a major associated locus, although variants in insulin-like 3 (INSL3), relaxin/insulin-like family peptide receptor 2 (RXFP2) and other hormonal pathway genes may increase risk in a small percentage of patients.
STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION
This is a case–control GWAS of 844 boys with nonsyndromic cryptorchidism and 2718 control subjects without syndromes or genital anomalies, all of European ancestry.
PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS
All boys with cryptorchidism were diagnosed and treated by a pediatric specialist. In the discovery phase, DNA was extracted from tissue or blood samples and genotyping performed using the Illumina HumanHap550 and Human610-Quad (Group 1) or OmniExpress (Group 2) platform. We imputed genotypes genome-wide, and combined single marker association results in meta-analyses for all cases and for secondary subphenotype analyses based on testis position, laterality and age, and defined genome-wide significance as P = 7 × 10−9 to correct for multiple testing. Selected markers were genotyped in an independent replication group of European cases (n = 298) and controls (n = 324). We used several bioinformatics tools to analyze top (P < 10−5) and suggestive (P < 10−3) signals for significant enrichment of signaling pathways, cellular functions and custom gene lists after multiple testing correction.
MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE
In the full analysis, we identified 20 top loci, none reaching genome-wide significance, but one passing this threshold in a subphenotype analysis of proximal testis position (rs55867206, near SH3PXD2B, odds ratio = 2.2 (95% confidence interval 1.7, 2.9), P = 2 × 10−9). An additional 127 top loci emerged in at least one secondary analysis, particularly of more severe phenotypes. Cytoskeleton-dependent molecular and cellular functions were prevalent in pathway analysis of suggestive signals, and may implicate loci encoding cytoskeletal proteins that participate in androgen receptor signaling. Genes linked to human syndromic cryptorchidism, including hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, and to hormone-responsive and/or differentially expressed genes in normal and cryptorchid rat gubernaculum, were also significantly overrepresented. No tested marker showed significant replication in an independent population. The results suggest heterogeneous, multilocus and potentially multifactorial susceptibility to nonsyndromic cryptorchidism.
LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION
The present study failed to identify genome-wide significant markers associated with cryptorchidism that could be replicated in an independent population, so further studies are required to define true positive signals among suggestive loci.
WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS
As the only GWAS to date of nonsyndromic cryptorchidism, these data will provide a basis for future efforts to understand genetic susceptibility to this common reproductive anomaly and the potential for additive risk from environmental exposures.
STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTERESTS
This work was supported by R01HD060769 (the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)), P20RR20173 (the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), currently P20GM103464 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)), an Institute Development Fund to the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and Nemours Biomedical Research. The authors have no competing interests to declare.
doi:10.1093/humrep/dev180
PMCID: PMC4573451  PMID: 26209787
cryptorchidism; genetics; cytoskeleton; testis; pathways
4.  Meta-analysis of shared genetic architecture across ten pediatric autoimmune diseases 
Nature medicine  2015;21(9):1018-1027.
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have identified hundreds of susceptibility genes, including shared associations across clinically distinct autoimmune diseases. We performed an inverse χ2 meta-analysis across ten pediatric-age-of-onset autoimmune diseases (pAIDs) in a case-control study including more than 6,035 cases and 10,718 shared population-based controls. We identified 27 genome-wide significant loci associated with one or more pAIDs, mapping to in silico–replicated autoimmune-associated genes (including IL2RA) and new candidate loci with established immunoregulatory functions such as ADGRL2, TENM3, ANKRD30A, ADCY7 and CD40LG. The pAID-associated single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were functionally enriched for deoxyribonuclease (DNase)-hypersensitivity sites, expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs), microRNA (miRNA)-binding sites and coding variants. We also identified biologically correlated, pAID-associated candidate gene sets on the basis of immune cell expression profiling and found evidence of genetic sharing. Network and protein-interaction analyses demonstrated converging roles for the signaling pathways of type 1, 2 and 17 helper T cells (TH1, TH2 and TH17), JAK-STAT, interferon and interleukin in multiple autoimmune diseases.
doi:10.1038/nm.3933
PMCID: PMC4863040  PMID: 26301688
5.  Variants in CXCR4 associate with juvenile idiopathic arthritis susceptibility 
BMC Medical Genetics  2016;17:24.
Background
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is the most common chronic rheumatic disease among children, the etiology of which involves a strong genetic component, but much of the underlying genetic determinants still remain unknown. Our aim was to identify novel genetic variants that predispose to JIA.
Methods
We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and replication in a total of 1166 JIA cases and 9500 unrelated controls of European ancestry. Correlation of SNP genotype and gene expression was investigated. Then we conducted targeted resequencing of a candidate locus, among a subset of 480 cases and 480 controls. SUM test was performed to evaluate the association of the identified rare functional variants.
Results
The CXCR4 locus on 2q22.1 was found to be significantly associated with JIA, peaking at SNP rs953387. However, this result is subjected to subpopulation stratification within the subjects of European ancestry. After adjusting for principal components, nominal significant association remained (p < 10−4). Because of its interesting known function in immune regulation, we carried out further analyses to assess its relationship with JIA. Expression of CXCR4 was correlated with CXCR4 rs953387 genotypes in lymphoblastoid cell lines (p = 0.014) and T-cells (p = 0.0054). In addition, rare non-synonymous and stop-gain sequence variants in CXCR4, putatively damaging for CXCR4 function, were significantly enriched in JIA cases (p = 0.015).
Conclusion
Our results suggest the association of CXCR4 variants with JIA, implicating that this gene may be involved in the pathogenesis of autoimmune disease. However, because this locus is subjected to population stratification within the subjects of European ancestry, additional replication is still necessary for this locus to be considered a true risk locus for JIA. This cell-surface chemokine receptor has already been targeted in other diseases and may serve as a tractable therapeutic target for a specific subset of pediatric arthritis patients with additional replication and functional validation of the locus.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12881-016-0285-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12881-016-0285-3
PMCID: PMC4804485  PMID: 27005825
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis; Genome-wide association study; CXCR4; Targeted resequencing
6.  Genetic sharing and heritability of paediatric age of onset autoimmune diseases 
Nature Communications  2015;6:8442.
Autoimmune diseases (AIDs) are polygenic diseases affecting 7–10% of the population in the Western Hemisphere with few effective therapies. Here, we quantify the heritability of paediatric AIDs (pAIDs), including JIA, SLE, CEL, T1D, UC, CD, PS, SPA and CVID, attributable to common genomic variations (SNP-h2). SNP-h2 estimates are most significant for T1D (0.863±s.e. 0.07) and JIA (0.727±s.e. 0.037), more modest for UC (0.386±s.e. 0.04) and CD (0.454±0.025), largely consistent with population estimates and are generally greater than that previously reported by adult GWAS. On pairwise analysis, we observed that the diseases UC-CD (0.69±s.e. 0.07) and JIA-CVID (0.343±s.e. 0.13) are the most strongly correlated. Variations across the MHC strongly contribute to SNP-h2 in T1D and JIA, but does not significantly contribute to the pairwise rG. Together, our results partition contributions of shared versus disease-specific genomic variations to pAID heritability, identifying pAIDs with unexpected risk sharing, while recapitulating known associations between autoimmune diseases previously reported in adult cohorts.
Autoimmune diseases are genetically complex disorders that affect up to 10% of the Western population. Here Li et al. quantify the heritability of a range of autoimmune diseases in the largest paediatric cohort examined to date, illustrating that genetic and non-genetic components variably contribute to the susceptibility of each disease.
doi:10.1038/ncomms9442
PMCID: PMC4633631  PMID: 26450413
8.  Phenotype-specific association of the TGFBR3 locus with nonsyndromic cryptorchidism 
The Journal of urology  2014;193(5):1637-1645.
Purpose
Based on a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of testicular dysgenesis syndrome (TDS) reporting possible association with TGFBR3, we analyzed GWAS data from a larger, phenotypically restricted cryptorchidism population for potential replication of this signal.
Materials and Methods
We excluded samples based on strict quality control criteria, leaving 844 cases and 2718 controls of European ancestry that were analyzed in 2 separate groups based on genotyping platform. Analyses included genotype imputation at the TGFBR3 locus, association analysis of imputed data with correction for population substructure, subsequent meta-analysis of Group 1 and 2 data and selective genotyping of independent cases (n=330) and controls (n=324) for replication. We also measured Tgfbr3 mRNA levels and performed TGFBR3/betaglycan immunostaining in rat fetal gubernaculum.
Results
We identified suggestive (p≤1×10−4) association of markers in/near TGFBR3 including rs9661103 (OR 1.40, 95% CI 1.20,1.64, p=2.71×10−5) and rs10782968 (OR 1.58, CI 1.26,1.98, p=9.36×10−5) in Groups 1 and 2, respectively. In subgroup analyses, we observed strongest association of rs17576372 (OR 1.42, CI 1.24,1.60; p=1.67×10−4) with proximal and rs11165059 (OR 1.32, CI 1.15,1.38; p=9.42×10−4) with distal testis position, signals in strong linkage disequilibrium with rs9661103 and rs10782968, respectively. Association of the prior GWAS signal (rs12082710) was marginal (OR 1.13, CI 0.99,1.28, p=0.09 for Group 1) and we were unable to replicate signals in our independent cohort. Tgfbr3/betaglycan was differentially expressed in wild type and cryptorchid rat fetal gubernaculum.
Conclusions
These data suggest complex or phenotype-specific association of cryptorchidism with TGFBR3 and the gubernaculum as a potential target of TGFβ signaling.
doi:10.1016/j.juro.2014.10.097
PMCID: PMC4406821  PMID: 25390077
Cryptorchidism; genetic association studies; TGFRB3; gubernaculum
9.  Mutations in SPECC1L, encoding sperm antigen with calponin homology and coiled-coil domains 1-like, are found in some cases of autosomal dominant Opitz G/BBB syndrome 
Journal of medical genetics  2014;52(2):104-110.
Background
Opitz G/BBB syndrome is a heterogeneous disorder characterised by variable expression of midline defects including cleft lip and palate, hypertelorism, laryngealtracheoesophageal anomalies, congenital heart defects, and hypospadias. The X-linked form of the condition has been associated with mutations in the MID1 gene on Xp22. The autosomal dominant form has been linked to chromosome 22q11.2, although the causative gene has yet to be elucidated.
Methods and results
In this study, we performed whole exome sequencing on DNA samples from a three-generation family with characteristics of Opitz G/BBB syndrome with negative MID1 sequencing. We identified a heterozygous missense mutation c.1189A>C (p.Thr397Pro) in SPECC1L, located at chromosome 22q11.23. Mutation screening of an additional 19 patients with features of autosomal dominant Opitz G/BBB syndrome identified a c.3247G>A ( p.Gly1083Ser) mutation segregating with the phenotype in another three-generation family.
Conclusions
Previously, SPECC1L was shown to be required for proper facial morphogenesis with disruptions identified in two patients with oblique facial clefts. Collectively, these data demonstrate that SPECC1L mutations can cause syndromic forms of facial clefting including some cases of autosomal dominant Opitz G/BBB syndrome and support the original linkage to chromosome 22q11.2.
doi:10.1136/jmedgenet-2014-102677
PMCID: PMC4393015  PMID: 25412741
10.  Genome-wide copy number variation study associates metabotropic glutamate receptor gene networks with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder 
Nature genetics  2011;44(1):78-84.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common, heritable neuropsychiatric disorder of unknown etiology. We performed a whole-genome copy number variation (CNV) study on 1,013 cases with ADHD and 4,105 healthy children of European ancestry using 550,000 SNPs. We evaluated statistically significant findings in multiple independent cohorts, with a total of 2,493 cases with ADHD and 9,222 controls of European ancestry, using matched platforms. CNVs affecting metabotropic glutamate receptor genes were enriched across all cohorts (P = 2.1 × 10−9). We saw GRM5 (encoding glutamate receptor, metabotropic 5) deletions in ten cases and one control (P = 1.36 × 10−6). We saw GRM7 deletions in six cases, and we saw GRM8 deletions in eight cases and no controls. GRM1 was duplicated in eight cases. We experimentally validated the observed variants using quantitative RT-PCR. A gene network analysis showed that genes interacting with the genes in the GRM family are enriched for CNVs in ~10% of the cases (P = 4.38 × 10−10) after correction for occurrence in the controls. We identified rare recurrent CNVs affecting glutamatergic neurotransmission genes that were overrepresented in multiple ADHD cohorts.
doi:10.1038/ng.1013
PMCID: PMC4310555  PMID: 22138692
11.  Association of variants of the interleukin-23 receptor (IL23R) gene with susceptibility to pediatric Crohn’s disease 
Background & Aims
Recently an association was demonstrated between the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs11209026, within the interleukin-23 receptor (IL23R) locus and Crohn’s disease (CD) as a consequence of a genome wide association study of this disease in adults. We examined the effects of this and other previously reported SNPs at this locus with respect to CD in children.
Methods
Utilizing data from our ongoing genome-wide association study in our cohort of 142 pediatric CD cases and 281 matched controls, we investigated the association of the previously reported SNPs at the IL23R locus with the childhood form of this disease.
Results
Using a Fisher’s exact test, the minor allele frequency (MAF) of rs1120902 in the cases was 1.75% while it was 6.61% in controls, yielding a protective odds ratio (OR) of 0.25 (95% CI 0.10 – 0.65; one-sided P = 9.2×10−4). Furthermore, of all the SNPs previously reported, rs11209026 was the most strongly associated. A subsequent family-based association test (which is more resistant to population stratification) with 65 sets of trios derived from our initial patient cohort yielded significant association with rs11209026 in a transmission disequilibrium test (one-sided P=0.0017). In contrast, no association was detected to the CARD15 gene for the IBD phenotype.
Conclusions
The OR of the IL23R variant in our pediatric study is highly comparable with that reported previously in a non-Jewish adult IBD case-control cohort (OR=0.26). As such, variants in IL23R gene confer a similar magnitude of risk of CD to children as for their adult counterparts.
doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2007.04.024
PMCID: PMC4287202  PMID: 17618837
IL23R; gene; association; Crohn’s Disease
12.  GWAS of blood cell traits identifies novel associated loci and epistatic interactions in Caucasian and African-American children 
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;22(7):1457-1464.
Hematological traits are important clinical indicators, the genetic determinants of which have not been fully investigated. Common measures of hematological traits include red blood cell (RBC) count, hemoglobin concentration (HGB), hematocrit (HCT), mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), MCH concentration (MCHC), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), platelet count (PLT) and white blood cell (WBC) count. We carried out a genome-wide association study of the eight common hematological traits among 7943 African-American children and 6234 Caucasian children. In African Americans, we report five novel associations of HBE1 variants with HCT and MCHC, the alpha-globin gene cluster variants with RBC and MCHC, and a variant at the ARHGEF3 locus with PLT, as well as replication of four previously reported loci at genome-wide significance. In Caucasians, we report a novel association of variants at the COPZ1 locus with PLT as well as replication of four previously reported loci at genome-wide significance. Extended analysis of an association observed between MCH and the alpha-globin gene cluster variants demonstrated independent effects and epistatic interaction at the locus, impacting the risk of iron deficiency anemia in African Americans with specific genotype states. In summary, we extend the understanding of genetic variants underlying hematological traits based on analyses in African-American children.
doi:10.1093/hmg/dds534
PMCID: PMC3657475  PMID: 23263863
13.  Common variants at 12q15 and 12q24 are associated with infant head circumference 
Taal, H Rob | Pourcain, Beate St | Thiering, Elisabeth | Das, Shikta | Mook-Kanamori, Dennis O | Warrington, Nicole M | Kaakinen, Marika | Kreiner-Møller, Eskil | Bradfield, Jonathan P | Freathy, Rachel M | Geller, Frank | Guxens, Mònica | Cousminer, Diana L | Kerkhof, Marjan | Timpson, Nicholas J | Ikram, M Arfan | Beilin, Lawrence J | Bønnelykke, Klaus | Buxton, Jessica L | Charoen, Pimphen | Chawes, Bo Lund Krogsgaard | Eriksson, Johan | Evans, David M | Hofman, Albert | Kemp, John P | Kim, Cecilia E | Klopp, Norman | Lahti, Jari | Lye, Stephen J | McMahon, George | Mentch, Frank D | Müller, Martina | O’Reilly, Paul F | Prokopenko, Inga | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Steegers, Eric A P | Sunyer, Jordi | Tiesler, Carla | Yaghootkar, Hanieh | Breteler, Monique M B | Debette, Stephanie | Fornage, Myriam | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Launer, Lenore J | van der Lugt, Aad | Mosley, Thomas H | Seshadri, Sudha | Smith, Albert V | Vernooij, Meike W | Blakemore, Alexandra IF | Chiavacci, Rosetta M | Feenstra, Bjarke | Fernandez-Benet, Julio | Grant, Struan F A | Hartikainen, Anna-Liisa | van der Heijden, Albert J | Iñiguez, Carmen | Lathrop, Mark | McArdle, Wendy L | Mølgaard, Anne | Newnham, John P | Palmer, Lyle J | Palotie, Aarno | Pouta, Annneli | Ring, Susan M | Sovio, Ulla | Standl, Marie | Uitterlinden, Andre G | Wichmann, H-Erich | Vissing, Nadja Hawwa | DeCarli, Charles | van Duijn, Cornelia M | McCarthy, Mark I | Koppelman, Gerard H. | Estivill, Xavier | Hattersley, Andrew T | Melbye, Mads | Bisgaard, Hans | Pennell, Craig E | Widen, Elisabeth | Hakonarson, Hakon | Smith, George Davey | Heinrich, Joachim | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Jaddoe, Vincent W V
Nature genetics  2012;44(5):532-538.
To identify genetic variants associated with head circumference in infancy, we performed a meta-analysis of seven genome-wide association (GWA) studies (N=10,768 from European ancestry enrolled in pregnancy/birth cohorts) and followed up three lead signals in six replication studies (combined N=19,089). Rs7980687 on chromosome 12q24 (P=8.1×10−9), and rs1042725 on chromosome 12q15 (P=2.8×10−10) were robustly associated with head circumference in infancy. Although these loci have previously been associated with adult height1, their effects on infant head circumference were largely independent of height (P=3.8×10−7 for rs7980687, P=1.3×10−7 for rs1042725 after adjustment for infant height). A third signal, rs11655470 on chromosome 17q21, showed suggestive evidence of association with head circumference (P=3.9×10−6). SNPs correlated to the 17q21 signal show genome-wide association with adult intra cranial volume2, Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases3-5, indicating that a common genetic variant in this region might link early brain growth with neurological disease in later life.
doi:10.1038/ng.2238
PMCID: PMC3773913  PMID: 22504419
14.  Common variants at 5q22associate with pediatric eosinophilic esophagitis 
Nature genetics  2010;42(4):289-291.
Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a polygenic disorder characterized by the accumulation of eosinophils in the esophagus. We carried out a genome-wide association study on clinically and biopsy confirmed EoE patients to identify common variants associated with the disease risk. One hundred and eighty one EoE samples from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital (CCHMC) and 170 EoE samples and ~3100 controls from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) were genotyped on the Illumina 550K BeadChip. All patients and controls were of European ancestry. Following standard quality control filtering of the genotype data we carried out Cochran-Armitage trend tests at each SNP using the CCHMC samples as a discovery cohort. We detected genome-wide association with variants on chr5q22 that mapped to a single LD block encompassing the TSLP and WDR36 genes. The most significantly associated SNP at that locus which maps upstream of the TSLP gene remained wide significant after Bonferroni correction (rs3806932, uncorrected P-value = 7.18×10−8, OR = 0.54). Eleven other SNPs in LD with rs3806932 were also significantly associated with EoE and mapped to the same LD block on 5q22. We subsequently replicated the association in the independent CHOP cohort (170 cases, 1130 controls) with rs3806932 P-value = 8×10−3 OR = 0.73; combined P-value for rs3806932 across CCHMC and CHOP cohorts = 3.19×10−9). In addition, TSLP was overexpressed in the esophagus of EoE patients compared with control individuals with no differences observed in the expression of WDR36. In conclusion, we have identified the first genetic association with EoE predisposition at 5q22 implicating TSLP and/or WDR36 as genes potentially involved in the pathogenesis of EoE.
doi:10.1038/ng.547
PMCID: PMC3740732  PMID: 20208534
15.  The missense variation landscape of FTO, MC4R and TMEM18 in obese children of African ancestry 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2013;21(1):159-163.
Common variation at the loci harboring FTO, MC4R and TMEM18 is consistently reported as being statistically the most strongly associated with obesity. We investigated if these loci also harbor rarer missense variants that confer substantially higher risk of common childhood obesity in African American (AA) children. We sequenced the exons of FTO, MC4R and TMEM18 in an initial subset of our cohort i.e. 200 obese (BMI≥95th percentile) and 200 lean AA children (BMI≤5th percentile). Any missense exonic variants that were uncovered went on to be further genotyped in a further 768 obese and 768 lean (BMI≤50th percentile) children of the same ethnicity. A number of exonic variants were observed from our sequencing effort: seven in FTO, of which four were non-synonymous (A163T, G182A, M400V and A405V), thirteen in MC4R, of which six were non-synonymous (V103I, N123S, S136A, F202L, N240S and I251L) and four in TMEM18, of which two were non-synonymous (P2S and V113L). Follow-up genotyping of these missense variants revealed only one significant difference in allele frequency between cases and controls, namely with N240S in MC4R(Fisher's Exact P = 0.0001). In summary, moderately rare missense variants within the FTO, MC4R and TMEM18 genes observed in our study did not confer risk of common childhood obesity in African Americans except for a degree of evidence for one known loss-of-function variant in MC4R.
doi:10.1002/oby.20147
PMCID: PMC3605748  PMID: 23505181
Obesity; Pediatrics; Genomics
16.  Common variants at five new loci associated with early-onset inflammatory bowel disease 
Nature Genetics  2009;41(12):1335-1340.
The inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are common causes of morbidity in children and young adults in the western world. Here we report the results of a genome-wide association study in early-onset IBD involving 3,426 affected individuals and 11,963 genetically matched controls recruited through international collaborations in Europe and North America, thereby extending the results from a previous study of 1,011 individuals with early-onset IBD1. We have identified five new regions associated with early-onset IBD susceptibility, including 16p11 near the cytokine gene IL27 (rs8049439, P = 2.41 × 10−9), 22q12 (rs2412973, P = 1.55 × 10−9), 10q22 (rs1250550, P = 5.63 × 10−9), 2q37 (rs4676410, P = 3.64 × 10−8) and 19q13.11 (rs10500264, P = 4.26 × 10−10). Our scan also detected associations at 23 of 32 loci previously implicated in adult-onset Crohn’s disease and at 8 of 17 loci implicated in adult-onset ulcerative colitis, highlighting the close pathogenetic relationship between early- and adult-onset IBD.
doi:10.1038/ng.489
PMCID: PMC3267927  PMID: 19915574
17.  A Genome-Wide Meta-Analysis of Six Type 1 Diabetes Cohorts Identifies Multiple Associated Loci 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(9):e1002293.
Diabetes impacts approximately 200 million people worldwide, of whom approximately 10% are affected by type 1 diabetes (T1D). The application of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) has robustly revealed dozens of genetic contributors to the pathogenesis of T1D, with the most recent meta-analysis identifying in excess of 40 loci. To identify additional genetic loci for T1D susceptibility, we examined associations in the largest meta-analysis to date between the disease and ∼2.54 million SNPs in a combined cohort of 9,934 cases and 16,956 controls. Targeted follow-up of 53 SNPs in 1,120 affected trios uncovered three new loci associated with T1D that reached genome-wide significance. The most significantly associated SNP (rs539514, P = 5.66×10−11) resides in an intronic region of the LMO7 (LIM domain only 7) gene on 13q22. The second most significantly associated SNP (rs478222, P = 3.50×10−9) resides in an intronic region of the EFR3B (protein EFR3 homolog B) gene on 2p23; however, the region of linkage disequilibrium is approximately 800 kb and harbors additional multiple genes, including NCOA1, C2orf79, CENPO, ADCY3, DNAJC27, POMC, and DNMT3A. The third most significantly associated SNP (rs924043, P = 8.06×10−9) lies in an intergenic region on 6q27, where the region of association is approximately 900 kb and harbors multiple genes including WDR27, C6orf120, PHF10, TCTE3, C6orf208, LOC154449, DLL1, FAM120B, PSMB1, TBP, and PCD2. These latest associated regions add to the growing repertoire of gene networks predisposing to T1D.
Author Summary
Despite the fact that there is clearly a large genetic component to type 1 diabetes (T1D), uncovering the genes contributing to this disease has proven challenging. However, in the past three years there has been relatively major progress in this regard, with advances in genetic screening technologies allowing investigators to scan the genome for variants conferring risk for disease without prior hypotheses. Such genome-wide association studies have revealed multiple regions of the genome to be robustly and consistently associated with T1D. More recent findings have been a consequence of combining of multiple datasets from independent investigators in meta-analyses, which have more power to pick up additional variants contributing to the trait. In the current study, we describe the largest meta-analysis of T1D genome-wide genotyped datasets to date, which combines six large studies. As a consequence, we have uncovered three new signals residing at the chromosomal locations 13q22, 2p23, and 6q27, which went on to be replicated in independent sample sets. These latest associated regions add to the growing repertoire of gene networks predisposing to T1D.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002293
PMCID: PMC3183083  PMID: 21980299
18.  Examination of All Type 2 Diabetes GWAS Loci Reveals HHEX-IDE as a Locus Influencing Pediatric BMI 
Diabetes  2009;59(3):751-755.
OBJECTIVE
A number of studies have found that BMI in early life influences the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Our goal was to investigate if any type 2 diabetes variants uncovered through genome-wide association studies (GWAS) impact BMI in childhood.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Using data from an ongoing GWAS of pediatric BMI in our cohort, we investigated the association of pediatric BMI with 20 single nucleotide polymorphisms at 18 type 2 diabetes loci uncovered through GWAS, consisting of ADAMTS9, CDC123-CAMK1D, CDKAL1, CDKN2A/B, EXT2, FTO, HHEX-IDE, IGF2BP2, the intragenic region on 11p12, JAZF1, KCNQ1, LOC387761, MTNR1B, NOTCH2, SLC30A8, TCF7L2, THADA, and TSPAN8-LGR5. We randomly partitioned our cohort exactly in half in order to have a discovery cohort (n = 3,592) and a replication cohort (n = 3,592).
RESULTS
Our data show that the major type 2 diabetes risk–conferring G allele of rs7923837 at the HHEX-IDE locus was associated with higher pediatric BMI in both the discovery (P = 0.0013 and survived correction for 20 tests) and replication (P = 0.023) sets (combined P = 1.01 × 10−4). Association was not detected with any other known type 2 diabetes loci uncovered to date through GWAS except for the well-established FTO.
CONCLUSIONS
Our data show that the same genetic HHEX-IDE variant, which is associated with type 2 diabetes from previous studies, also influences pediatric BMI.
doi:10.2337/db09-0972
PMCID: PMC2828649  PMID: 19933996
19.  Examination of Type 2 Diabetes Loci Implicates CDKAL1 as a Birth Weight Gene 
Diabetes  2009;58(10):2414-2418.
OBJECTIVE
A number of studies have found that reduced birth weight is associated with type 2 diabetes later in life; however, the underlying mechanism for this correlation remains unresolved. Recently, association has been demonstrated between low birth weight and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at the CDKAL1 and HHEX-IDE loci, regions that were previously implicated in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. In order to investigate whether type 2 diabetes risk–conferring alleles associate with low birth weight in our Caucasian childhood cohort, we examined the effects of 20 such loci on this trait.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Using data from an ongoing genome-wide association study in our cohort of 5,465 Caucasian children with recorded birth weights, we investigated the association of the previously reported type 2 diabetes–associated variation at 20 loci including TCF7L2, HHEX-IDE, PPARG, KCNJ11, SLC30A8, IGF2BP2, CDKAL1, CDKN2A/2B, and JAZF1 with birth weight.
RESULTS
Our data show that the minor allele of rs7756992 (P = 8 × 10−5) at the CDKAL1 locus is strongly associated with lower birth weight, whereas a perfect surrogate for variation previously implicated for the trait at the same locus only yielded nominally significant association (P = 0.01; r2 rs7756992 = 0.677). However, association was not detected with any of the other type 2 diabetes loci studied.
CONCLUSIONS
We observe association between lower birth weight and type 2 diabetes risk–conferring alleles at the CDKAL1 locus. Our data show that the same genetic locus that has been identified as a marker for type 2 diabetes in previous studies also influences birth weight.
doi:10.2337/db09-0506
PMCID: PMC2750235  PMID: 19592620
20.  The role of height-associated loci identified in genome wide association studies in the determination of pediatric stature 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:96.
Background
Human height is considered highly heritable and correlated with certain disorders, such as type 2 diabetes and cancer. Despite environmental influences, genetic factors are known to play an important role in stature determination. A number of genetic determinants of adult height have already been established through genome wide association studies.
Methods
To examine 51 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) corresponding to the 46 previously reported genomic loci for height in 8,184 European American children with height measurements. We leveraged genotyping data from our ongoing GWA study of height variation in children in order to query the 51 SNPs in this pediatric cohort.
Results
Sixteen of these SNPs yielded at least nominally significant association to height, representing fifteen different loci including EFEMP1-PNPT1, GPR126, C6orf173, SPAG17, Histone class 1, HLA class III and GDF5-UQCC. Other loci revealed no evidence for association, including HMGA1 and HMGA2. For the 16 associated variants, the genotype score explained 1.64% of the total variation for height z-score.
Conclusion
Among 46 loci that have been reported to associate with adult height to date, at least 15 also contribute to the determination of height in childhood.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-11-96
PMCID: PMC2894790  PMID: 20546612
21.  The role of obesity-associated loci identified in genome wide association studies in the determination of pediatric BMI 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2009;17(12):2254-2257.
The prevalence of obesity in children and adults in the United States has increased dramatically over the past decade. Besides environmental factors, genetic factors are known to play an important role in the pathogenesis of obesity. A number of genetic determinants of adult BMI have already been established through genome wide association studies. In this study, we examined 25 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) corresponding to thirteen previously reported genomic loci in 6,078 children with measures of BMI. Fifteen of these SNPs yielded at least nominally significant association to BMI, representing nine different loci including INSIG2, FTO, MC4R, TMEM18, GNPDA2, NEGR1, BDNF, KCTD15 and 1q25. Other loci revealed no evidence for association, namely at MTCH2, SH2B1, 12q13 and 3q27. For the 15 associated variants, the genotype score explained 1.12% of the total variation for BMI z-score. We conclude that among thirteen loci that have been reported to associate with adult BMI, at least nine also contribute to the determination of BMI in childhood as demonstrated by their associations in our pediatric cohort.
doi:10.1038/oby.2009.159
PMCID: PMC2860782  PMID: 19478790
22.  Investigation of the locus near MC4R with childhood obesity in Americans of European and African ancestry 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2009;17(7):1461-1465.
Recently a modest, but consistently, replicated association was demonstrated between obesity and the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs17782313, 3’ of the MC4R locus as a consequence of a meta-analysis of genome wide association (GWA) studies of the disease in Caucasian populations. We investigated the association in the context of the childhood form of the disease utilizing data from our ongoing GWA study in a cohort of 728 European American (EA) obese children (BMI ≥ 95th percentile) and 3,960 EA controls (BMI < 95th percentile), as well as 1,008 African American (AA) obese children and 2,715 AA controls. rs571312, rs10871777 and rs476828 (perfect surrogates for rs17782313) yielded odds ratios in the EA cohort of 1.142 (P = 0.045), 1.137 (P = 0.054) and 1.145 (P = 0.042); however, there was no significant association with these SNPs in the AA cohort. When investigating all thirty SNPs present on the Illumina BeadChip at this locus, again there was no evidence for association in AA cases when correcting for the number of tests employed. As such, variants 3’ to the MC4R locus present on the genotyping platform utilized confer a similar magnitude of risk of obesity in Caucasian children as to their adult Caucasian counterparts but this observation did not extend to African Americans.
doi:10.1038/oby.2009.53
PMCID: PMC2860794  PMID: 19265794
23.  Follow-Up Analysis of Genome-Wide Association Data Identifies Novel Loci for Type 1 Diabetes 
Diabetes  2009;58(1):290-295.
OBJECTIVE—Two recent genome-wide association (GWA) studies have revealed novel loci for type 1 diabetes, a common multifactorial disease with a strong genetic component. To fully utilize the GWA data that we had obtained by genotyping 563 type 1 diabetes probands and 1,146 control subjects, as well as 483 case subject–parent trios, using the Illumina HumanHap550 BeadChip, we designed a full stage 2 study to capture other possible association signals.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—From our existing datasets, we selected 982 markers with P < 0.05 in both GWA cohorts. Genotyping these in an independent set of 636 nuclear families with 974 affected offspring revealed 75 markers that also had P < 0.05 in this third cohort. Among these, six single nucleotide polymorphisms in five novel loci also had P < 0.05 in the Wellcome Trust Case-Control Consortium dataset and were further tested in 1,303 type 1 diabetes probands from the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (DCCT/EDIC) plus 1,673 control subjects.
RESULTS—Two markers (rs9976767 and rs3757247) remained significant after adjusting for the number of tests in this last cohort; they reside in UBASH3A (OR 1.16; combined P = 2.33 × 10−8) and BACH2 (1.13; combined P = 1.25 × 10−6).
CONCLUSIONS—Evaluation of a large number of statistical GWA candidates in several independent cohorts has revealed additional loci that are associated with type 1 diabetes. The two genes at these respective loci, UBASH3A and BACH2, are both biologically relevant to autoimmunity.
doi:10.2337/db08-1022
PMCID: PMC2606889  PMID: 18840781
24.  Association of the BANK 1 R61H variant with systemic lupus erythematosus in Americans of European and African ancestry 
Recently an association was demonstrated between the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs10516487, within the B-cell gene BANK1 and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) as a consequence of a genome wide association study of this disease in European and Argentinean populations. In a bid for replication, we examined the effects of the R61H non-synonymous variant with respect to SLE in our genotyped American cohorts of European and African ancestry. Utilizing data from our ongoing genome-wide association study in our cohort of 178 Caucasian SLE cases and 1808 Caucasian population-based controls plus 148 African American (AA) SLE cases and 1894 AA population-based controls we investigated the association of the previously described non-synonymous SNP at the BANK1 locus with the disease in the two ethnicities separately. Using a Fisher’s exact test, the minor allele frequency (MAF) of rs10516487 in the Caucasian cases was 22.6% while it was 31.2% in Caucasian controls, yielding a protective odds ratio (OR) of 0.64 (95% CI 0.49-0.85; one-sided p = 7.07 × 10−4). Furthermore, the MAF of rs10516487 in the AA cases was 18.7% while it was 23.3% in AA controls, yielding a protective OR of 0.75 (95% CI 0.55–1.034; one-sided p = 0.039). The OR of the BANK1 variant in our study cohorts is highly comparable with that reported previously in a South American/European SLE case-control cohort (OR = 0.72). As such, R61H in the BANK1 gene confers a similar magnitude of SLE protection, not only in European Americans, but also in African Americans.
PMCID: PMC3681036  PMID: 23776345
systemic lupus erythematosus; African Americans; European Americans; BANK1 gene
25.  Loci on 20q13 and 21q22 are associated with pediatric-onset inflammatory bowel disease 
Nature genetics  2008;40(10):1211-1215.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a common inflammatory disorder with complex etiology that involves both genetic and environmental triggers, including but not limited to defects in bacterial clearance, defective mucosal barrier and persistent dysregulation of the immune response to commensal intestinal bacteria. IBD is characterized by two distinct phenotypes: Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Previously reported GWA studies have identified genetic variation accounting for a small portion of the overall genetic susceptibility to CD and an even smaller contribution to UC pathogenesis. We hypothesized that stratification of IBD by age of onset might identify additional genes associated with IBD. To that end, we carried out a GWA analysis in a cohort of 1,011 individuals with pediatric-onset IBD and 4,250 matched controls. We identified and replicated significantly associated, previously unreported loci on chromosomes 20q13 (rs2315008[T] and rs4809330[A]; P = 6.30 × 10−8 and 6.95 × 10−8, respectively; odds ratio (OR) = 0.74 for both) and 21q22 (rs2836878[A]; P = 6.01 × 10−8; OR = 0.73), located close to the TNFRSF6B and PSMG1 genes, respectively.
doi:10.1038/ng.203
PMCID: PMC2770437  PMID: 18758464

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