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1.  Functional Maturation of the Executive System during Adolescence 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2013;33(41):16249-16261.
Adolescence is characterized by rapid development of executive function. Working memory (WM) is a key element of executive function, but it is not known what brain changes during adolescence allow improved WM performance. Using a fractal n-back fMRI paradigm, we investigated brain responses to WM load in 951 human youths aged 8–22 years. Compared with more limited associations with age, WM performance was robustly associated with both executive network activation and deactivation of the default mode network. Multivariate patterns of brain activation predicted task performance with a high degree of accuracy, and also mediated the observed age-related improvements in WM performance. These results delineate a process of functional maturation of the executive system, and suggest that this process allows for the improvement of cognitive capability seen during adolescence.
doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2345-13.2013
PMCID: PMC3792462  PMID: 24107956
2.  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
3.  Copy number variation analysis in the context of electronic medical records and large-scale genomics consortium efforts 
The goal of this paper is to review recent research on copy number variations (CNVs) and their association with complex and rare diseases. In the latter part of this paper, we focus on how large biorepositories such as the electronic medical record and genomics (eMERGE) consortium may be best leveraged to systematically mine for potentially pathogenic CNVs, and we end with a discussion of how such variants might be reported back for inclusion in electronic medical records as part of medical history.
doi:10.3389/fgene.2014.00051
PMCID: PMC3957100  PMID: 24672537
CNV; copy number; structural variation; eMERGE; review
4.  TSLP-elicited basophil responses can mediate the pathogenesis of eosinophilic esophagitis 
Nature medicine  2013;19(8):1005-1013.
Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a food allergy-associated inflammatory disease characterized by esophageal eosinophilia. EoE has become increasingly common, but current management strategies are nonspecific. Thus, there is an urgent need to identify specific immunological pathways that could be targeted to treat this disease. EoE is associated with polymorphisms in the gene that encodes thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), a cytokine that promotes allergic inflammation, but how TSLP might contribute to EoE disease pathogenesis remains unknown. Here, we describe a new mouse model of EoE-like disease that developed independently of IgE but was dependent on TSLP-elicited basophils. Therapeutic TSLP neutralization or basophil depletion also ameliorated established EoE-like disease. Critically, in human subjects with EoE, we observed elevated TSLP levels and exaggerated basophil responses in esophageal biopsies, and a gain-of-function TSLP polymorphism was associated with increased basophil responses. Together, these data suggest that the TSLP-basophil axis could be therapeutically targeted to treat EoE.
doi:10.1038/nm.3281
PMCID: PMC3951204  PMID: 23872715
5.  Genetic Variation in Genes Encoding Airway Epithelial Potassium Channels Is Associated with Chronic Rhinosinusitis in a Pediatric Population 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e89329.
Background
Apical potassium channels regulate ion transport in airway epithelial cells and influence air surface liquid (ASL) hydration and mucociliary clearance (MCC). We sought to identify whether genetic variation within genes encoding airway potassium channels is associated with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS).
Methods
Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotypes for selected potassium channels were derived from data generated on the Illumnia HumanHap550 BeadChip or Illumina Human610-Quad BeadChip for 828 unrelated individuals diagnosed with CRS and 5,083 unrelated healthy controls from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Statistical analysis was performed with set-based tests using PLINK, and corrected for multiple testing.
Results
Set-based case control analysis revealed the gene KCNMA1 was associated with CRS in our Caucasian subset of the cohort (598 CRS cases and 3,489 controls; p = 0.022, based on 10,000 permutations). In addition there was borderline evidence that the gene KCNQ5 (p = 0.0704) was associated with the trait in our African American subset of the cohort (230 CRS cases and 1,594 controls). In addition to the top significant SNPs rs2917454 and rs6907229, imputation analysis uncovered additional genetic variants in KCNMA1 and in KCNQ5 that were associated with CRS.
Conclusions
We have implicated two airway epithelial potassium channels as novel susceptibility loci in contributing to the pathogenesis of CRS.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089329
PMCID: PMC3940609  PMID: 24595210
6.  Replication of GWAS-identified neuroblastoma risk loci strengthens the role of BARD1 and affirms the cumulative effect of genetic variations on disease susceptibility 
Carcinogenesis  2012;34(3):605-611.
Several neuroblastoma (NB) susceptibility loci have been identified within LINC00340, BARD1, LMO1, DUSP12, HSD17B12, DDX4, IL31RA, HACE1 and LIN28B by genome-wide association (GWA) studies including European American individuals. To validate and comprehensively evaluate the impact of the identified NB variants on disease risk and phenotype, we analyzed 16 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in an Italian population (370 cases and 809 controls). We assessed their regulatory activity on gene expression in lymphoblastoid (LCLs) and NB cell lines. We evaluated the cumulative effect of the independent loci on NB risk and high-risk phenotype development in Italian and European American (1627 cases and 2575 controls) populations. All NB susceptibility genes replicated in the Italian dataset except for DDX4 and IL31RA, and the most significant SNP was rs6435862 in BARD1 (P = 8.4×10–15). BARD1 showed an additional and independent SNP association (rs7585356). This variant influenced BARD1 mRNA expression in LCLs and NB cell lines. No evidence of epistasis among the NB-associated variants was detected, whereas a cumulative effect of risk variants on NB risk (European Americans: P trend = 6.9×10–30, Italians: P trend = 8.55×1013) and development of high-risk phenotype (European Americans: P trend = 6.9×10–13, Italians: P trend = 2.2×10–1) was observed in a dose-dependent manner. These results provide further evidence that the risk loci identified in GWA studies contribute to NB susceptibility in distinct populations and strengthen the role of BARD1 as major genetic contributor to NB risk. This study shows that even in the absence of interaction the combination of several low-penetrance alleles has potential to distinguish subgroups of patients at different risks of developing NB.
doi:10.1093/carcin/bgs380
PMCID: PMC3716226  PMID: 23222812
7.  A genome wide association study of plasma uric acid levels in obese cases and never-overweight controls 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2013;21(9):E490-E494.
Objective
To identify plasma uric acid related genes in extremely obese and normal weight individuals using genome wide association studies (GWAS).
Design and Methods
Using genotypes from a GWAS focusing on obesity and thinness, we performed quantitative trait association analyses (PLINK) for plasma uric acid levels in 1,060 extremely obese individuals [body mass index (BMI) >35 kg/m2] and normal-weight controls (BMI<25kg/m2). In 961 samples with uric acid data, 924 were females.
Results
Significant associations were found in SLC2A9 gene SNPs and plasma uric acid levels (rs6449213, P=3.15×10−12). DIP2C gene SNP rs877282 also reached genome wide significance(P=4,56×10−8). Weaker associations (P<1×10−5) were found in F5, PXDNL, FRAS1, LCORL, and MICAL2genes. Besides SLC2A9, 3 previously identified uric acid related genes ABCG2 (rs2622605, P=0.0026), SLC17A1 (rs3799344, P=0.0017), and RREB1 (rs1615495, P =0.00055) received marginal support in our study.
Conclusions
Two genes/chromosome regions reached genome wide association significance (P< 1× 10−7, 550K SNPs) in our GWAS : SLC2A9, the chromosome 2 60.1 Mb region (rs6723995), and the DIP2C gene region. Five other genes (F5, PXDNL, FRAS1, LCORL, and MICAL2) yielded P<1× 10−5. Four previous reported associations were replicated in our study, including SLC2A9, ABCG2, RREB, and SLC17A1.
doi:10.1002/oby.20303
PMCID: PMC3762924  PMID: 23703922
uric acid; genome wide association study; obesity
8.  Variability in the common genetic architecture of social-communication spectrum phenotypes during childhood and adolescence 
Molecular Autism  2014;5:18.
Background
Social-communication abilities are heritable traits, and their impairments overlap with the autism continuum. To characterise the genetic architecture of social-communication difficulties developmentally and identify genetic links with the autistic dimension, we conducted a genome-wide screen of social-communication problems at multiple time-points during childhood and adolescence.
Methods
Social-communication difficulties were ascertained at ages 8, 11, 14 and 17 years in a UK population-based birth cohort (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children; N ≤ 5,628) using mother-reported Social Communication Disorder Checklist scores. Genome-wide Complex Trait Analysis (GCTA) was conducted for all phenotypes. The time-points with the highest GCTA heritability were subsequently analysed for single SNP association genome-wide. Type I error in the presence of measurement relatedness and the likelihood of observing SNP signals near known autism susceptibility loci (co-location) were assessed via large-scale, genome-wide permutations. Association signals (P ≤ 10−5) were also followed up in Autism Genetic Resource Exchange pedigrees (N = 793) and the Autism Case Control cohort (Ncases/Ncontrols = 1,204/6,491).
Results
GCTA heritability was strongest in childhood (h2(8 years) = 0.24) and especially in later adolescence (h2(17 years) = 0.45), with a marked drop during early to middle adolescence (h2(11 years) = 0.16 and h2(14 years) = 0.08). Genome-wide screens at ages 8 and 17 years identified for the latter time-point evidence for association at 3p22.2 near SCN11A (rs4453791, P = 9.3 × 10−9; genome-wide empirical P = 0.011) and suggestive evidence at 20p12.3 at PLCB1 (rs3761168, P = 7.9 × 10−8; genome-wide empirical P = 0.085). None of these signals contributed to risk for autism. However, the co-location of population-based signals and autism susceptibility loci harbouring rare mutations, such as PLCB1, is unlikely to be due to chance (genome-wide empirical Pco-location = 0.007).
Conclusions
Our findings suggest that measurable common genetic effects for social-communication difficulties vary developmentally and that these changes may affect detectable overlaps with the autism spectrum.
doi:10.1186/2040-2392-5-18
PMCID: PMC3940728  PMID: 24564958
ALSPAC; ASD; Autism; GCTA heritability; GWAS; Social communication
9.  Gene-centric meta-analyses of 108 912 individuals confirm known body mass index loci and reveal three novel signals 
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;22(1):184-201.
Recent genetic association studies have made progress in uncovering components of the genetic architecture of the body mass index (BMI). We used the ITMAT-Broad-Candidate Gene Association Resource (CARe) (IBC) array comprising up to 49 320 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across ∼2100 metabolic and cardiovascular-related loci to genotype up to 108 912 individuals of European ancestry (EA), African-Americans, Hispanics and East Asians, from 46 studies, to provide additional insight into SNPs underpinning BMI. We used a five-phase study design: Phase I focused on meta-analysis of EA studies providing individual level genotype data; Phase II performed a replication of cohorts providing summary level EA data; Phase III meta-analyzed results from the first two phases; associated SNPs from Phase III were used for replication in Phase IV; finally in Phase V, a multi-ethnic meta-analysis of all samples from four ethnicities was performed. At an array-wide significance (P < 2.40E-06), we identify novel BMI associations in loci translocase of outer mitochondrial membrane 40 homolog (yeast) - apolipoprotein E - apolipoprotein C-I (TOMM40-APOE-APOC1) (rs2075650, P = 2.95E-10), sterol regulatory element binding transcription factor 2 (SREBF2, rs5996074, P = 9.43E-07) and neurotrophic tyrosine kinase, receptor, type 2 [NTRK2, a brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) receptor gene, rs1211166, P = 1.04E-06] in the Phase IV meta-analysis. Of 10 loci with previous evidence for BMI association represented on the IBC array, eight were replicated, with the remaining two showing nominal significance. Conditional analyses revealed two independent BMI-associated signals in BDNF and melanocortin 4 receptor (MC4R) regions. Of the 11 array-wide significant SNPs, three are associated with gene expression levels in both primary B-cells and monocytes; with rs4788099 in SH2B adaptor protein 1 (SH2B1) notably being associated with the expression of multiple genes in cis. These multi-ethnic meta-analyses expand our knowledge of BMI genetics.
doi:10.1093/hmg/dds396
PMCID: PMC3522401  PMID: 23001569
10.  Extended haplotype association study in Crohn’s disease identifies a novel, Ashkenazi Jewish-specific missense mutation in the NF-κB pathway gene, HEATR3 
Genes and immunity  2013;14(5):310-316.
The Ashkenazi Jewish population has a several-fold higher prevalence of Crohn’s disease compared to non-Jewish European ancestry populations and has a unique genetic history. Haplotype association is critical to Crohn’s disease etiology in this population, most notably at NOD2, in which three causal, uncommon, and conditionally independent NOD2 variants reside on a shared background haplotype. We present an analysis of extended haplotypes which showed significantly greater association to Crohn’s disease in the Ashkenazi Jewish population compared to a non-Jewish population (145 haplotypes and no haplotypes with P-value < 10−3, respectively). Two haplotype regions, one each on chromosomes 16 and 21, conferred increased disease risk within established Crohn’s disease loci. We performed exome sequencing of 55 Ashkenazi Jewish individuals and follow-up genotyping focused on variants in these two regions. We observed Ashkenazi Jewish-specific nominal association at R755C in TRPM2 on chromosome 21. Within the chromosome 16 region, R642S of HEATR3 and rs9922362 of BRD7 showed genome-wide significance. Expression studies of HEATR3 demonstrated a positive role in NOD2-mediated NF-κB signaling. The BRD7 signal showed conditional dependence with only the downstream rare Crohn’s disease-causal variants in NOD2, but not with the background haplotype; this elaborates NOD2 as a key illustration of synthetic association.
doi:10.1038/gene.2013.19
PMCID: PMC3785105  PMID: 23615072
haplotype association; Ashkenazi Jewish; Crohn’s disease; NF-κB signaling; synthetic association
11.  An Improved Framework for Confound Regression and Filtering for Control of Motion Artifact in the Preprocessing of Resting-State Functional Connectivity Data 
NeuroImage  2012;64:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.08.052.
Several recent reports in large, independent samples have demonstrated the influence of motion artifact on resting-state functional connectivity MRI (rsfc-MRI). Standard rsfc-MRI preprocessing typically includes regression of confounding signals and band-pass filtering. However, substantial heterogeneity exists in how these techniques are implemented across studies, and no prior study has examined the effect of differing approaches for the control of motion-induced artifacts. To better understand how in-scanner head motion affects rsfc-MRI data, we describe the spatial, temporal, and spectral characteristics of motion artifacts in a sample of 348 adolescents. Analyses utilize a novel approach for describing head motion on a voxelwise basis. Next, we systematically evaluate the efficacy of a range of confound regression and filtering techniques for the control of motion-induced artifacts. Results reveal that the effectiveness of preprocessing procedures on the control of motion is heterogeneous, and that improved preprocessing provides a substantial benefit beyond typical procedures. These results demonstrate that the effect of motion on rsfc-MRI can be substantially attenuated through improved preprocessing procedures, but not completely removed.
doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.08.052
PMCID: PMC3811142  PMID: 22926292
motion; artifact; fMRI; connectivity; development; adolescence; network; connectome; resting-state
12.  De novo mutations in histone modifying genes in congenital heart disease 
Nature  2013;498(7453):220-223.
Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most frequent birth defect, affecting 0.8% of live births1. Many cases occur sporadically and impair reproductive fitness, suggesting a role for de novo mutations. By analysis of exome sequencing of parent-offspring trios, we compared the incidence of de novo mutations in 362 severe CHD cases and 264 controls. CHD cases showed a significant excess of protein-altering de novo mutations in genes expressed in the developing heart, with an odds ratio of 7.5 for damaging mutations. Similar odds ratios were seen across major classes of severe CHD. We found a marked excess of de novo mutations in genes involved in production, removal or reading of H3K4 methylation (H3K4me), or ubiquitination of H2BK120, which is required for H3K4 methylation2–4. There were also two de novo mutations in SMAD2; SMAD2 signaling in the embryonic left-right organizer induces demethylation of H3K27me5. H3K4me and H3K27me mark `poised' promoters and enhancers that regulate expression of key developmental genes6. These findings implicate de novo point mutations in several hundred genes that collectively contribute to ~10% of severe CHD.
doi:10.1038/nature12141
PMCID: PMC3706629  PMID: 23665959
13.  A genome-wide association study of anorexia nervosa 
Boraska, Vesna | Franklin, Christopher S | Floyd, James AB | Thornton, Laura M | Huckins, Laura M | Southam, Lorraine | Rayner, N William | Tachmazidou, Ioanna | Klump, Kelly L | Treasure, Janet | Lewis, Cathryn M | Schmidt, Ulrike | Tozzi, Federica | Kiezebrink, Kirsty | Hebebrand, Johannes | Gorwood, Philip | Adan, Roger AH | Kas, Martien JH | Favaro, Angela | Santonastaso, Paolo | Fernández-Aranda, Fernando | Gratacos, Monica | Rybakowski, Filip | Dmitrzak-Weglarz, Monika | Kaprio, Jaakko | Keski-Rahkonen, Anna | Raevuori, Anu | Van Furth, Eric F | Slof-Op t Landt, Margarita CT | Hudson, James I | Reichborn-Kjennerud, Ted | Knudsen, Gun Peggy S | Monteleone, Palmiero | Kaplan, Allan S | Karwautz, Andreas | Hakonarson, Hakon | Berrettini, Wade H | Guo, Yiran | Li, Dong | Schork, Nicholas J. | Komaki, Gen | Ando, Tetsuya | Inoko, Hidetoshi | Esko, Tõnu | Fischer, Krista | Männik, Katrin | Metspalu, Andres | Baker, Jessica H | Cone, Roger D | Dackor, Jennifer | DeSocio, Janiece E | Hilliard, Christopher E | O’Toole, Julie K | Pantel, Jacques | Szatkiewicz, Jin P | Taico, Chrysecolla | Zerwas, Stephanie | Trace, Sara E | Davis, Oliver SP | Helder, Sietske | Bühren, Katharina | Burghardt, Roland | de Zwaan, Martina | Egberts, Karin | Ehrlich, Stefan | Herpertz-Dahlmann, Beate | Herzog, Wolfgang | Imgart, Hartmut | Scherag, André | Scherag, Susann | Zipfel, Stephan | Boni, Claudette | Ramoz, Nicolas | Versini, Audrey | Brandys, Marek K | Danner, Unna N | de Kovel, Carolien | Hendriks, Judith | Koeleman, Bobby PC | Ophoff, Roel A | Strengman, Eric | van Elburg, Annemarie A | Bruson, Alice | Clementi, Maurizio | Degortes, Daniela | Forzan, Monica | Tenconi, Elena | Docampo, Elisa | Escaramís, Geòrgia | Jiménez-Murcia, Susana | Lissowska, Jolanta | Rajewski, Andrzej | Szeszenia-Dabrowska, Neonila | Slopien, Agnieszka | Hauser, Joanna | Karhunen, Leila | Meulenbelt, Ingrid | Slagboom, P Eline | Tortorella, Alfonso | Maj, Mario | Dedoussis, George | Dikeos, Dimitris | Gonidakis, Fragiskos | Tziouvas, Konstantinos | Tsitsika, Artemis | Papezova, Hana | Slachtova, Lenka | Martaskova, Debora | Kennedy, James L. | Levitan, Robert D. | Yilmaz, Zeynep | Huemer, Julia | Koubek, Doris | Merl, Elisabeth | Wagner, Gudrun | Lichtenstein, Paul | Breen, Gerome | Cohen-Woods, Sarah | Farmer, Anne | McGuffin, Peter | Cichon, Sven | Giegling, Ina | Herms, Stefan | Rujescu, Dan | Schreiber, Stefan | Wichmann, H-Erich | Dina, Christian | Sladek, Rob | Gambaro, Giovanni | Soranzo, Nicole | Julia, Antonio | Marsal, Sara | Rabionet, Raquel | Gaborieau, Valerie | Dick, Danielle M | Palotie, Aarno | Ripatti, Samuli | Widén, Elisabeth | Andreassen, Ole A | Espeseth, Thomas | Lundervold, Astri | Reinvang, Ivar | Steen, Vidar M | Le Hellard, Stephanie | Mattingsdal, Morten | Ntalla, Ioanna | Bencko, Vladimir | Foretova, Lenka | Janout, Vladimir | Navratilova, Marie | Gallinger, Steven | Pinto, Dalila | Scherer, Stephen | Aschauer, Harald | Carlberg, Laura | Schosser, Alexandra | Alfredsson, Lars | Ding, Bo | Klareskog, Lars | Padyukov, Leonid | Finan, Chris | Kalsi, Gursharan | Roberts, Marion | Logan, Darren W | Peltonen, Leena | Ritchie, Graham RS | Barrett, Jeffrey C | Estivill, Xavier | Hinney, Anke | Sullivan, Patrick F | Collier, David A | Zeggini, Eleftheria | Bulik, Cynthia M
Molecular psychiatry  2010;16(9):10.1038/mp.2010.107.
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a complex and heritable eating disorder characterized by dangerously low body weight. Neither candidate gene studies nor an initial genome wide association study (GWAS) have yielded significant and replicated results. We performed a GWAS in 2,907 cases with AN from 14 countries (15 sites) and 14,860 ancestrally matched controls as part of the Genetic Consortium for AN (GCAN) and the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 3 (WTCCC3). Individual association analyses were conducted in each stratum and meta-analyzed across all 15 discovery datasets. Seventy-six (72 independent) SNPs were taken forward for in silico (two datasets) or de novo (13 datasets) replication genotyping in 2,677 independent AN cases and 8,629 European ancestry controls along with 458 AN cases and 421 controls from Japan. The final global meta-analysis across discovery and replication datasets comprised 5,551 AN cases and 21,080 controls. AN subtype analyses (1,606 AN restricting; 1,445 AN binge-purge) were performed. No findings reached genome-wide significance. Two intronic variants were suggestively associated: rs9839776 (P=3.01×10−7) in SOX2OT and rs17030795 (P=5.84×10−6) in PPP3CA. Two additional signals were specific to Europeans: rs1523921 (P=5.76×10−6) between CUL3 and FAM124B and rs1886797 (P=8.05×10−6) near SPATA13. Comparing discovery to replication results, 76% of the effects were in the same direction, an observation highly unlikely to be due to chance (P= 4×10−6), strongly suggesting that true findings exist but that our sample, the largest yet reported, was underpowered for their detection. The accrual of large genotyped AN case-control samples should be an immediate priority for the field.
doi:10.1038/mp.2010.107
PMCID: PMC3859494  PMID: 21079607
anorexia nervosa; eating disorders; GWAS; genome-wide association study; body mass index; metabolic
14.  Obesity-susceptibility loci and the tails of the pediatric BMI distribution 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2013;21(6):1256-1260.
Objective
We aimed to determine if previously identified adult obesity susceptibility loci were associated uniformly with childhood BMI across the BMI distribution.
Design and Methods
Children were recruited through the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (n=7225). Associations between the following loci and BMI were assessed using quantile regression: FTO (rs3751812), MC4R (rs12970134), TMEM18 (rs2867125), BDNF (rs6265), TNNI3K (rs1514175), NRXN3 (rs10146997), SEC16B (rs10913469), and GNPDA2 (rs13130484). BMI z-score (age and gender adjusted) was modeled as the dependent variable, and genotype risk score (sum of risk alleles carried at the 8 loci) was modeled as the independent variable.
Results
Each additional increase in genotype risk score was associated with an increase in BMI z-score at the 5th, 15th, 25th, 50th, 75th, 85th and 95th BMI z-score percentiles by 0.04 (±0.02, p=0.08), 0.07 (±0.01, p=9.58 × 10-7), 0.07 (±0.01, p=1.10 × 10-8), 0.09 (±0.01, p=3.13 × 10-22), 0.11 (±0.01, p=1.35 × 10-25), 0.11 (±0.01, p=1.98 × 10-20), and 0.06 (±0.01, p=2.44 × 10-6), respectively. Each additional increase in genotype risk score was associated with an increase in mean BMI z-score by 0.08 (±0.01, p=4.27 × 10-20).
Conclusion
Obesity risk alleles were more strongly associated with increases in BMI z-score at the upper tail compared to the lower tail of the distribution.
doi:10.1002/oby.20319
PMCID: PMC3661695  PMID: 23408508
15.  Perindopril treatment promote left ventricle remodeling in patients with heart failure screened positive for autoantibodies against angiotensin II type 1 receptor 
Background
Autoantibodies specific to the angiotensin II type I receptor (anti-AT1-AR) have been implicated in the pathology of congestive heart failure (CHF). Anti-AT1-AR may be associated with left ventricular function in CHF patients treated with perindopril.
Methods
Synthetic angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1-R) peptides served as the target antigen. ELISA was used to screen the sera of 156 CHF patients, which were divided into positive and negative groups based on their anti-AT1-AR reactivity. Echocardiography and a 6-minute walk test were performed at baseline and after one year of perindopril therapy. The end-point events were compared over a 5-year follow-up.
Results
Final analysis covered 138 patients, including 82 positive and 56 negative. The frequency and geometric mean titre of anti-AT1-AR were significantly lower in the positive group after one year of treatment (all P < 0.01, from 100% to 73.2% and from 1:125.3 ± 1.0 to 1:69.2 ± 1.1). Of these, 22 patients showed no antibodies. Both groups showed improvement in left ventricular end-diastole, end-systolic dimensions, ejection fraction, and a 6-minute walk test by perindopril in combination with standard treatment regime for one year (all P < 0.01). However, the 82 patients positive for anti-AT1-AR showed more pronounced improvement than the 56 negative patients (all P < 0.05). However, after 5 years of follow-up, the rate of all causes and cardiovascular mortality attributable to any cause and the re-hospitalisation rate showed no significant differences between the two groups (all P > 0.05).
Conclusions
Perindopril treatment significantly decreased the frequency and geometric mean titre in patients positive for anti-AT1-AR, even to complete ablation. These patients showed greater improvement in left ventricular remodeling and heart function than negative that in patients after one year of perindopril treatment in combination with standard treatment, but no significant differences in endpoint events were observed in the following 5 years. Anti-AT1-AR might be a useful biomarker of over-activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system for clinical medication.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-13-94
PMCID: PMC3816204  PMID: 24175973
Anti-AT1-AR; Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system; Biomarker
16.  GWAS meta analysis identifies TSNARE1 as a novel Schizophrenia / Bipolar susceptibility locus 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:3075.
We carried out a GWAS meta-analysis of combined mixed-ancestry schizophrenia, schizoaffective, and bipolar cohorts that resulted in the identification of six genome-wide significant loci, including one novel locus at chr8q24.3, encompassing TSNARE1 (P = 1.28 × 10−9). The analysis included a total of 13,394 cases and 34,676 controls. While the function of TSNARE1 remains unknown, bioinformatic predictions based on phylogenetic ancestry indicate it may have a vertebrate-specific function in intracellular protein transport and synaptic vesicle exocytosis.
doi:10.1038/srep03075
PMCID: PMC3810676  PMID: 24166486
17.  Impact of exome sequencing in inflammatory bowel disease 
Approaches to understanding the genetic contribution to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have continuously evolved from family- and population-based epidemiology, to linkage analysis, and most recently, to genome-wide association studies (GWAS). The next stage in this evolution seems to be the sequencing of the exome, that is, the regions of the human genome which encode proteins. The GWAS approach has been very fruitful in identifying at least 163 loci as being associated with IBD, and now, exome sequencing promises to take our genetic understanding to the next level. In this review we will discuss the possible contributions that can be made by an exome sequencing approach both at the individual patient level to aid with disease diagnosis and future therapies, as well as in advancing knowledge of the pathogenesis of IBD.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v19.i40.6721
PMCID: PMC3812471  PMID: 24187447
Sequencing; Exome; Genetics; Inflammatory bowel disease
18.  The Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) Network: Past, Present and Future 
The Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) Network is a National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)-funded consortium engaged in the development of methods and best-practices for utilizing the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) as a tool for genomic research. Now in its sixth year, its second funding cycle and comprising nine research groups and a coordinating center, the network has played a major role in validating the concept that clinical data derived from EMRs can be used successfully for genomic research. Current work is advancing knowledge in multiple disciplines at the intersection of genomics and healthcare informatics, particularly electronic phenotyping, genome-wide association studies, genomic medicine implementation and the ethical and regulatory issues associated with genomics research and returning results to study participants. Here we describe the evolution, accomplishments, opportunities and challenges of the network since its inception as a five-group consortium focused on genotype-phenotype associations for genomic discovery to its current form as a nine-group consortium pivoting towards implementation of genomic medicine.
doi:10.1038/gim.2013.72
PMCID: PMC3795928  PMID: 23743551
electronic medical records; personalized medicine; genome-wide association studies; genetics and genomics; collaborative research
19.  Both Rare and De Novo Copy Number Variants Are Prevalent in Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum but Not in Cerebellar Hypoplasia or Polymicrogyria 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(10):e1003823.
Agenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC), cerebellar hypoplasia (CBLH), and polymicrogyria (PMG) are severe congenital brain malformations with largely undiscovered causes. We conducted a large-scale chromosomal copy number variation (CNV) discovery effort in 255 ACC, 220 CBLH, and 147 PMG patients, and 2,349 controls. Compared to controls, significantly more ACC, but unexpectedly not CBLH or PMG patients, had rare genic CNVs over one megabase (p = 1.48×10−3; odds ratio [OR] = 3.19; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.89–5.39). Rare genic CNVs were those that impacted at least one gene in less than 1% of the combined population of patients and controls. Compared to controls, significantly more ACC but not CBLH or PMG patients had rare CNVs impacting over 20 genes (p = 0.01; OR = 2.95; 95% CI = 1.69–5.18). Independent qPCR confirmation showed that 9.4% of ACC patients had de novo CNVs. These, in comparison to inherited CNVs, preferentially overlapped de novo CNVs previously observed in patients with autism spectrum disorders (p = 3.06×10−4; OR = 7.55; 95% CI = 2.40–23.72). Interestingly, numerous reports have shown a reduced corpus callosum area in autistic patients, and diminished social and executive function in many ACC patients. We also confirmed and refined previously known CNVs, including significantly narrowing the 8p23.1-p11.1 duplication present in 2% of our current ACC cohort. We found six novel CNVs, each in a single patient, that are likely deleterious: deletions of 1p31.3-p31.1, 1q31.2-q31.3, 5q23.1, and 15q11.2-q13.1; and duplications of 2q11.2-q13 and 11p14.3-p14.2. One ACC patient with microcephaly had a paternally inherited deletion of 16p13.11 that included NDE1. Exome sequencing identified a recessive maternally inherited nonsense mutation in the non-deleted allele of NDE1, revealing the complexity of ACC genetics. This is the first systematic study of CNVs in congenital brain malformations, and shows a much higher prevalence of large gene-rich CNVs in ACC than in CBLH and PMG.
Author Summary
Here, we systematically test the genetic etiology of three common developmental brain malformations: agenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC), cerebellar hypoplasia (CBLH), and polymicrogyria (PMG) by copy number variation (CNV) analysis in a large cohort of brain malformation patients and controls. We found significantly more ACC but not CBLH or PMG patients with rare genic CNVs over one megabase and with rare CNVs impacting over 20 genes when compared with controls. De novo CNVs were found in 9.4% of ACC patients, and interestingly many such CNVs overlapped with de novo CNVs observed in autism. Notably, numerous studies have demonstrated a reduction in the corpus callosum area in autistic brains. Our analysis also refined previously known large CNVs that cause these malformations, and identified six novel CNVs that are likely deleterious. One ACC patient had inherited a deletion from the father which, through exome sequencing, was found to uncover a recessive nonsense mutation in NDE1 on the non-deleted allele inherited from the mother. Our study is the first to systematically evaluate the burden of rare genic CNVs in congenital brain malformations and shows that large gene-rich CNVs are more common in ACC than in CBLH and PMG.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003823
PMCID: PMC3789824  PMID: 24098143
20.  Genetic variance in Nitric Oxide Synthase and Endothelin Genes among children with and without Endothelial Dysfunction 
Background
The presence of endothelial dysfunction (ED) constitutes an early risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in children. Nitric oxide (NO) and endothelin (EDN) are generated in endothelial cells and are critical regulators of vascular function, with ED resulting from an imbalance between these two molecules. We hypothesized that genetic variants in NO synthase and EDN isoforms and its receptors (EDNRA and EDNRB) may account for a proportion of the risk for ED in developing children.
Methods
Consecutive children (ages 5–10 years) were prospectively recruited from the community. Time to peak post-occlusive reperfusion (Tmax) was considered as the indicator of either normal endothelial function (NEF; Tmax < 45 sec) or ED (Tmax ≥ 45 sec). Lipid profiles, high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), fasting glucose and insulin were assayed using ELISA. Genomic DNA from peripheral blood was extracted and genotyped for NOS1 (209 SNPs), NOS2 (122 SNPs), NOS3 (50 SNPs), EDN1 (43 SNPs), EDN2 (48 SNPs), EDN3 (14 SNPs), EDNRA (27 SNPs), and EDNRB (23 SNPs) using a custom SNPs array. Linkage disequilibrium was analyzed using Haploview version 4.2 software.
Results
The relative frequencies of SNPs were evaluated in 122 children, 84 with NEF and 38 with ED. The frequencies of NOS1 (11 SNPs), and EDN1 (2 SNPs) were differentially distributed between NEF vs. ED, and no significant differences emerged for all other genes. Significant SNPs for NOS1 and EDN1 SNPs were further validated with RT-PCR.
Conclusions
Genetic variants in the NOS1 and EDN1 genes appear to account for important components of the variance in endothelial function, particularly when concurrent risk factors such as obesity exist. Thus, analysis of genotype-phenotype interactions in children at risk for ED will be critical for more accurate formulation of categorical CVD risk estimates.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-11-227
PMCID: PMC3849009  PMID: 24063765
NOS; EDN; Endothelial; Endothelial dysfunction; SNP; Children
22.  Common variation contributes to the genetic architecture of social communication traits 
Molecular Autism  2013;4:34.
Background
Social communication difficulties represent an autistic trait that is highly heritable and persistent during the course of development. However, little is known about the underlying genetic architecture of this phenotype.
Methods
We performed a genome-wide association study on parent-reported social communication problems using items of the children’s communication checklist (age 10 to 11 years) studying single and/or joint marker effects. Analyses were conducted in a large UK population-based birth cohort (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and their Children, ALSPAC, N = 5,584) and followed-up within a sample of children with comparable measures from Western Australia (RAINE, N = 1364).
Results
Two of our seven independent top signals (P-discovery <1.0E-05) were replicated (0.009
Single-variant findings were complemented by estimations of the narrow-sense heritability in ALSPAC suggesting that approximately a fifth of the phenotypic variance in social communication traits is accounted for by joint additive effects of genotyped single nucleotide polymorphisms throughout the genome (h2(SE) = 0.18(0.066), P = 0.0027).
Conclusion
Overall, our study provides both joint and single-SNP-based evidence for the contribution of common polymorphisms to variation in social communication phenotypes.
doi:10.1186/2040-2392-4-34
PMCID: PMC3853437  PMID: 24047820
ALSPAC; RAINE; Autistic trait; GWAS; Social communication; Association
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e72899.
Lung function is a heritable trait and serves as an important clinical predictor of morbidity and mortality for pulmonary conditions in adults, however, despite its importance, no studies have focused on uncovering pediatric-specific loci influencing lung function. To identify novel genetic determinants of pediatric lung function, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of four pulmonary function traits, including FVC, FEV1, FEV1/FVC and FEF25–75% in 1556 children. Further, we carried out gene network analyses for each trait including all SNPs with a P-value of <1.0×10−3 from the individual GWAS. The GWAS identified SNPs with notable trends towards association with the pulmonary function measures, including the previously described INTS12 locus association with FEV1 (pmeta = 1.41×10−7). The gene network analyses identified 34 networks of genes associated with pulmonary function variables in Caucasians. Of those, the glycoprotein gene network reached genome-wide significance for all four variables. P-value range pmeta = 6.29×10−4 - 2.80×10−8 on meta-analysis. In this study, we report on specific pathways that are significantly associated with pediatric lung function at genome-wide significance. In addition, we report the first loci associated with lung function in both pediatric Caucasian and African American populations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072899
PMCID: PMC3759429  PMID: 24023788
Genes  2013;4(3):499-521.
Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is a chronic multifactorial disease with a strong genetic component, which, through interactions with specific environmental factors, triggers disease onset. T1D typically manifests in early to mid childhood through the autoimmune destruction of pancreatic β cells resulting in a lack of insulin production. Historically, prior to genome-wide association studies (GWAS), six loci in the genome were fully established to be associated with T1D. With the advent of high-throughput single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping array technologies, enabling investigators to perform high-density GWAS, many additional T1D susceptibility genes have been discovered. Indeed, recent meta-analyses of multiple datasets from independent investigators have brought the tally of well-validated T1D disease genes to almost 60. In this mini-review, we address recent advances in the genetics of T1D and provide an update on the latest susceptibility loci added to the list of genes involved in the pathogenesis of T1D.
doi:10.3390/genes4030499
PMCID: PMC3924830
Type 1 Diabetes (T1D); genome-wide association studies (GWAS); immune system; susceptibility loci; natural killer (NK) cells; pancreatic β-cells
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

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