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1.  Age-Related Clonal Hematopoiesis Associated with Adverse Outcomes 
The New England journal of medicine  2014;371(26):2488-2498.
BACKGROUND
The incidence of hematologic cancers increases with age. These cancers are associated with recurrent somatic mutations in specific genes. We hypothesized that such mutations would be detectable in the blood of some persons who are not known to have hematologic disorders.
METHODS
We analyzed whole-exome sequencing data from DNA in the peripheral-blood cells of 17,182 persons who were unselected for hematologic phenotypes. We looked for somatic mutations by identifying previously characterized single-nucleotide variants and small insertions or deletions in 160 genes that are recurrently mutated in hematologic cancers. The presence of mutations was analyzed for an association with hematologic phenotypes, survival, and cardiovascular events.
RESULTS
Detectable somatic mutations were rare in persons younger than 40 years of age but rose appreciably in frequency with age. Among persons 70 to 79 years of age, 80 to 89 years of age, and 90 to 108 years of age, these clonal mutations were observed in 9.5% (219 of 2300 persons), 11.7% (37 of 317), and 18.4% (19 of 103), respectively. The majority of the variants occurred in three genes: DNMT3A, TET2, and ASXL1. The presence of a somatic mutation was associated with an increase in the risk of hematologic cancer (hazard ratio, 11.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.9 to 32.6), an increase in all-cause mortality (hazard ratio, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.1 to 1.8), and increases in the risks of incident coronary heart disease (hazard ratio, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.2 to 3.4) and ischemic stroke (hazard ratio, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.4 to 4.8).
CONCLUSIONS
Age-related clonal hematopoiesis is a common condition that is associated with increases in the risk of hematologic cancer and in all-cause mortality, with the latter possibly due to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1408617
PMCID: PMC4306669  PMID: 25426837
2.  Association of Sickle Cell Trait With Chronic Kidney Disease and Albuminuria in African Americans 
JAMA  2014;312(20):2115-2125.
IMPORTANCE
The association between sickle cell trait (SCT) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) is uncertain.
OBJECTIVE
To describe the relationship between SCT and CKD and albuminuria in self-identified African Americans.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS
Using 5 large, prospective, US population-based studies (the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study [ARIC, 1987–2013; n = 3402], Jackson Heart Study [JHS, 2000–2012; n = 2105], Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults [CARDIA, 1985–2006; n = 848], Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis [MESA, 2000–2012; n = 1620], and Women’s Health Initiative [WHI, 1993–2012; n = 8000]), we evaluated 15 975 self-identified African Americans (1248 participants with SCT [SCT carriers] and 14 727 participants without SCT [noncarriers]).
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES
Primary outcomes were CKD (defined as an estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR] of <60 mL/min/1.73 m2 at baseline or follow-up), incident CKD, albuminuria (defined as a spot urine albumin:creatinine ratio of >30 mg/g or albumin excretion rate >30 mg/24 hours), and decline in eGFR (defined as a decrease of >3 mL/min/1.73 m2 per year). Effect sizes were calculated separately for each cohort and were subsequently meta-analyzed using a random-effects model.
RESULTS
A total of 2233 individuals (239 of 1247 SCT carriers [19.2%] vs 1994 of 14 722 noncarriers [13.5%]) had CKD, 1298 (140 of 675 SCT carriers [20.7%] vs 1158 of 8481 noncarriers [13.7%]) experienced incident CKD, 1719 (150 of 665 SCT carriers [22.6%] vs 1569 of 8249 noncarriers [19.0%]) experienced decline in eGFR, and 1322 (154 of 485 SCT carriers [31.8%] vs 1168 of 5947 noncarriers [19.6%]) had albuminuria during the study period. Individuals with SCT had an increased risk of CKD (odds ratio [OR], 1.57 [95% CI, 1.34–1.84]; absolute risk difference [ARD], 7.6% [95% CI, 4.7%–10.8%]), incident CKD (OR, 1.79 [95% CI, 1.45–2.20]; ARD, 8.5% [95% CI, 5.1%–12.3%]), and decline in eGFR (OR, 1.32 [95% CI, 1.07–1.61]; ARD, 6.1% [95% CI, 1.4%–13.0%]) compared with noncarriers. Sickle cell trait was also associated with albuminuria (OR, 1.86 [95% CI, 1.49–2.31]; ARD, 12.6% [95% CI, 7.7%–17.7%]).
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE
Among African Americans in these cohorts, the presence of SCT was associated with an increased risk of CKD, decline in eGFR, and albuminuria, compared with noncarriers. These findings suggest that SCT may be associated with the higher risk of kidney disease in African Americans.
doi:10.1001/jama.2014.15063
PMCID: PMC4356116  PMID: 25393378
3.  Association of Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol–Related Genetic Variants With Aortic Valve Calcium and Incident Aortic Stenosis 
JAMA  2014;312(17):1764-1771.
IMPORTANCE
Plasma low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) has been associated with aortic stenosis in observational studies; however, randomized trials with cholesterol-lowering therapies in individuals with established valve disease have failed to demonstrate reduced disease progression.
OBJECTIVE
To evaluate whether genetic data are consistent with an association between LDL-C, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), or triglycerides (TG) and aortic valve disease.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS
Using a Mendelian randomization study design, we evaluated whether weighted genetic risk scores (GRSs), a measure of the genetic predisposition to elevations in plasma lipids, constructed using single-nucleotide polymorphisms identified in genome-wide association studies for plasma lipids, were associated with aortic valve disease. We included community-based cohorts participating in the CHARGE consortium (n = 6942), including the Framingham Heart Study (cohort inception to last follow-up: 1971-2013; n = 1295), Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (2000-2012; n = 2527), Age Gene/Environment Study-Reykjavik (2000-2012; n = 3120), and the Malmö Diet and Cancer Study (MDCS, 1991-2010; n = 28 461).
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES
Aortic valve calcium quantified by computed tomography in CHARGE and incident aortic stenosis in the MDCS.
RESULTS
The prevalence of aortic valve calcium across the 3 CHARGE cohorts was 32% (n = 2245). In the MDCS, over a median follow-up time of 16.1 years, aortic stenosis developed in 17 per 1000 participants (n = 473) and aortic valve replacement for aortic stenosis occurred in 7 per 1000 (n = 205). Plasma LDL-C, but not HDL-C or TG, was significantly associated with incident aortic stenosis (hazard ratio [HR] per mmol/L, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.04-1.57; P = .02; aortic stenosis incidence: 1.3% and 2.4% in lowest and highest LDL-C quartiles, respectively). The LDL-C GRS, but not HDL-C or TG GRS, was significantly associated with presence of aortic valve calcium in CHARGE (odds ratio [OR] per GRS increment, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.09-1.74; P = .007) and with incident aortic stenosis in MDCS (HR per GRS increment, 2.78; 95% CI, 1.22-6.37; P = .02; aortic stenosis incidence: 1.9% and 2.6% in lowest and highest GRS quartiles, respectively). In sensitivity analyses excluding variants weakly associated with HDL-C or TG, the LDL-C GRS remained associated with aortic valve calcium (P = .03) and aortic stenosis (P = .009). In instrumental variable analysis, LDL-C was associated with an increase in the risk of incident aortic stenosis (HR per mmol/L, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.07-2.14; P = .02).
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE
Genetic predisposition to elevated LDL-C was associated with presence of aortic valve calcium and incidence of aortic stenosis, providing evidence supportive of a causal association between LDL-C and aortic valve disease. Whether earlier intervention to reduce LDL-C could prevent aortic valve disease merits further investigation.
doi:10.1001/jama.2014.13959
PMCID: PMC4280258  PMID: 25344734
4.  Small Dense LDL Cholesterol Concentrations Predict Risk for Coronary Heart Disease: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study 
Objective
To investigate the relationship between plasma levels of small dense low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (sdLDL-C) and risk for incident coronary heart disease (CHD) in a prospective study among Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study participants.
Approach and Results
Plasma sdLDL-C was measured in 11,419 men and women of the biracial ARIC study using a newly developed homogeneous assay. A proportional hazards model was used to examine the relationship between sdLDL-C, vascular risk factors, and risk for CHD events (n=1,158) over a period of ≈11 years. Plasma sdLDL-C levels were strongly correlated with an atherogenic lipid profile and were higher in diabetics than nondiabetics (49.6 vs. 42.3 mg/dL, p<0.0001). In a model that included established risk factors, sdLDL-C was associated with incident CHD with a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.51 (95%CI: 1.21–1.88) for the highest versus the lowest quartile, respectively. Even in individuals considered to be at low cardiovascular risk based on their LDL-C levels, sdLDL-C predicted risk for incident CHD (HR 1.61; 95% CI 1.04–2.49). Genome-wide association analyses identified genetic variants in 8 loci associated with sdLDL-C levels. These loci were in or close to genes previously associated with risk for CHD. We discovered 1 novel locus, PCSK7, for which genetic variation was significantly associated with sdLDL-C and other lipid factors.
Conclusions
sdLDL-C was associated with incident CHD in ARIC study participants. The novel association of genetic variants in PCSK7 with sdLDL-C and other lipid traits may provide new insights into the role of this gene in lipid metabolism.
doi:10.1161/ATVBAHA.114.303284
PMCID: PMC3999643  PMID: 24558110
small dense LDL; incident CHD; GWAS; ARIC; triglyceride
5.  Genome-Wide Association Study for Circulating Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA) Levels and Functional Follow-up Implicates Endothelial STXBP5 and STX2 
Huang, Jie | Huffman, Jennifer E. | Yamkauchi, Munekazu | Trompet, Stella | Asselbergs, Folkert W. | Sabater-Lleal, Maria | Trégouët, David-Alexandre | Chen, Wei-Min | Smith, Nicholas L. | Kleber, Marcus E. | Shin, So-Youn | Becker, Diane M. | Tang, Weihong | Dehghan, Abbas | Johnson, Andrew D. | Truong, Vinh | Folkersen, Lasse | Yang, Qiong | Oudot-Mellakh, Tiphaine | Buckley, Brendan M. | Moore, Jason H. | Williams, Frances M.K. | Campbell, Harry | Silbernagel, Günther | Vitart, Veronique | Rudan, Igor | Tofler, Geoffrey H. | Navis, Gerjan J. | DeStefano, Anita | Wright, Alan F. | Chen, Ming-Huei | de Craen, Anton J.M. | Worrall, Bradford B. | Rudnicka, Alicja R. | Rumley, Ann | Bookman, Ebony B. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Chen, Fang | Keene, Keith L. | Franco, Oscar H. | Böhm, Bernhard O. | Uitterlinden, Andre G. | Carter, Angela M. | Jukema, J. Wouter | Sattar, Naveed | Bis, Joshua C. | Ikram, Mohammad A. | Sale, Michèle M. | McKnight, Barbara | Fornage, Myriam | Ford, Ian | Taylor, Kent | Slagboom, P. Eline | McArdle, Wendy L. | Hsu, Fang-Chi | Franco-Cereceda, Anders | Goodall, Alison H. | Yanek, Lisa R. | Furie, Karen L. | Cushman, Mary | Hofman, Albert | Witteman, Jacqueline CM. | Folsom, Aaron R. | Basu, Saonli | Matijevic, Nena | van Gilst, Wiek H. | Wilson, James F. | Westendorp, Rudi G.J. | Kathiresan, Sekar | Reilly, Muredach P. | Tracy, Russell P. | Polasek, Ozren | Winkelmann, Bernhard R. | Grant, Peter J. | Hillege, Hans L. | Cambien, Francois | Stott, David J. | Lowe, Gordon D. | Spector, Timothy D. | Meigs, James B. | Marz, Winfried | Eriksson, Per | Becker, Lewis C. | Morange, Pierre-Emmanuel | Soranzo, Nicole | Williams, Scott M. | Hayward, Caroline | van der Harst, Pim | Hamsten, Anders | Lowenstein, Charles J. | Strachan, David P. | O'Donnell, Christopher J.
Objective
Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a serine protease, catalyzes the conversion of plasminogen to plasmin, the major enzyme responsible for endogenous fibrinolysis. In some populations, elevated plasma levels of tPA have been associated with myocardial infarction and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD). We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to identify novel correlates of circulating levels of tPA.
Approach and Results
Fourteen cohort studies with tPA measures (N=26,929) contributed to the meta-analysis. Three loci were significantly associated with circulating tPA levels (P <5.0×10−8). The first locus is on 6q24.3, with the lead SNP (rs9399599, P=2.9×10−14) within STXBP5. The second locus is on 8p11.21. The lead SNP (rs3136739, P=1.3×10−9) is intronic to POLB and less than 200kb away from the tPA encoding gene PLAT. We identified a non-synonymous SNP (rs2020921) in modest LD with rs3136739 (r2 = 0.50) within exon 5 of PLAT (P=2.0×10−8). The third locus is on 12q24.33, with the lead SNP (rs7301826, P=1.0×10−9) within intron 7 of STX2. We further found evidence for association of lead SNPs in STXBP5 and STX2 with expression levels of the respective transcripts. In in vitro cell studies, silencing STXBP5 decreased release of tPA from vascular endothelial cells, while silencing of STX2 increased tPA release. Through an in-silico lookup, we found no associations of the three lead SNPs with coronary artery disease or stroke.
Conclusions
We identified three loci associated with circulating tPA levels, the PLAT region, STXBP5 and STX2. Our functional studies implicate a novel role for STXBP5 and STX2 in regulating tPA release.
doi:10.1161/ATVBAHA.113.302088
PMCID: PMC4009733  PMID: 24578379
tissue plasminogen activator; genome-wide association study; meta-analysis; cardiovascular disease risk; fibrinolysis; hemostasis
6.  Exome Sequencing in Suspected Monogenic Dyslipidemias 
Background
Exome sequencing is a promising tool for gene mapping in Mendelian disorders. We utilized this technique in an attempt to identify novel genes underlying monogenic dyslipidemias.
Methods and Results
We performed exome sequencing on 213 selected family members from 41 kindreds with suspected Mendelian inheritance of extreme levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (after candidate gene sequencing excluded known genetic causes for high LDL cholesterol families) or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. We used standard analytic approaches to identify candidate variants and also assigned a polygenic score to each individual in order to account for their burden of common genetic variants known to influence lipid levels. In nine families, we identified likely pathogenic variants in known lipid genes (ABCA1, APOB, APOE, LDLR, LIPA, and PCSK9); however, we were unable to identify obvious genetic etiologies in the remaining 32 families despite follow-up analyses. We identified three factors that limited novel gene discovery: (1) imperfect sequencing coverage across the exome hid potentially causal variants; (2) large numbers of shared rare alleles within families obfuscated causal variant identification; and (3) individuals from 15% of families carried a significant burden of common lipid-related alleles, suggesting complex inheritance can masquerade as monogenic disease.
Conclusions
We identified the genetic basis of disease in nine of 41 families; however, none of these represented novel gene discoveries. Our results highlight the promise and limitations of exome sequencing as a discovery technique in suspected monogenic dyslipidemias. Considering the confounders identified may inform the design of future exome sequencing studies.
doi:10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.114.000776
PMCID: PMC4406825  PMID: 25632026
genetics; human; DNA sequencing; Exome sequencing; lipids; Mendelian Genetics
7.  Novel Genetic Markers Associate with Atrial Fibrillation Risk in Europeans and Japanese 
Objectives
To identify non-redundant atrial fibrillation (AF) genetic susceptibility signals and examine their cumulative relations with AF risk.
Background
AF-associated loci span broad genomic regions that may contain multiple susceptibility signals. Whether multiple signals exist at AF loci has not been systematically explored.
Methods
We performed association testing conditioned on the most significant, independently associated genetic markers at nine established AF loci using two complementary techniques in 64,683 individuals of European ancestry (3,869 incident and 3,302 prevalent AF cases). Genetic risk scores were created and tested for association with AF in Europeans and an independent sample of 11,309 individuals of Japanese ancestry (7,916 prevalent AF cases).
Results
We observed at least four distinct AF susceptibility signals on chromosome 4q25 upstream of PITX2, but not at the remaining eight AF loci. A multilocus score comprised of 12 genetic markers demonstrated an estimated 5-fold gradient in AF risk. We observed a similar spectrum of risk associated with these markers in Japanese. Regions containing AF signals on chromosome 4q25 displayed a greater degree of evolutionary conservation than the remainder of the locus, suggesting that they may tag regulatory elements.
Conclusions
The chromosome 4q25 AF locus is architecturally complex and harbors at least four AF susceptibility signals in individuals of European ancestry. Similar polygenic AF susceptibility exists between Europeans and Japanese. Future work is necessary to identify causal variants, determine mechanisms by which associated loci predispose to AF, and explore whether AF susceptibility signals classify individuals at risk for AF and related morbidity.
doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2013.12.015
PMCID: PMC4009240  PMID: 24486271
Atrial fibrillation; atrial flutter; genetic; risk; prognosis
8.  Genetic studies of body mass index yield new insights for obesity biology 
Locke, Adam E. | Kahali, Bratati | Berndt, Sonja I. | Justice, Anne E. | Pers, Tune H. | Day, Felix R. | Powell, Corey | Vedantam, Sailaja | Buchkovich, Martin L. | Yang, Jian | Croteau-Chonka, Damien C. | Esko, Tonu | Fall, Tove | Ferreira, Teresa | Gustafsson, Stefan | Kutalik, Zoltán | Luan, Jian’an | Mägi, Reedik | Randall, Joshua C. | Winkler, Thomas W. | Wood, Andrew R. | Workalemahu, Tsegaselassie | Faul, Jessica D. | Smith, Jennifer A. | Zhao, Jing Hua | Zhao, Wei | Chen, Jin | Fehrmann, Rudolf | Hedman, Åsa K. | Karjalainen, Juha | Schmidt, Ellen M. | Absher, Devin | Amin, Najaf | Anderson, Denise | Beekman, Marian | Bolton, Jennifer L. | Bragg-Gresham, Jennifer L. | Buyske, Steven | Demirkan, Ayse | Deng, Guohong | Ehret, Georg B. | Feenstra, Bjarke | Feitosa, Mary F. | Fischer, Krista | Goel, Anuj | Gong, Jian | Jackson, Anne U. | Kanoni, Stavroula | Kleber, Marcus E. | Kristiansson, Kati | Lim, Unhee | Lotay, Vaneet | Mangino, Massimo | Leach, Irene Mateo | Medina-Gomez, Carolina | Medland, Sarah E. | Nalls, Michael A. | Palmer, Cameron D. | Pasko, Dorota | Pechlivanis, Sonali | Peters, Marjolein J. | Prokopenko, Inga | Shungin, Dmitry | Stančáková, Alena | Strawbridge, Rona J. | Sung, Yun Ju | Tanaka, Toshiko | Teumer, Alexander | Trompet, Stella | van der Laan, Sander W. | van Setten, Jessica | Van Vliet-Ostaptchouk, Jana V. | Wang, Zhaoming | Yengo, Loïc | Zhang, Weihua | Isaacs, Aaron | Albrecht, Eva | Ärnlöv, Johan | Arscott, Gillian M. | Attwood, Antony P. | Bandinelli, Stefania | Barrett, Amy | Bas, Isabelita N. | Bellis, Claire | Bennett, Amanda J. | Berne, Christian | Blagieva, Roza | Blüher, Matthias | Böhringer, Stefan | Bonnycastle, Lori L. | Böttcher, Yvonne | Boyd, Heather A. | Bruinenberg, Marcel | Caspersen, Ida H. | Chen, Yii-Der Ida | Clarke, Robert | Daw, E. Warwick | de Craen, Anton J. M. | Delgado, Graciela | Dimitriou, Maria | Doney, Alex S. F. | Eklund, Niina | Estrada, Karol | Eury, Elodie | Folkersen, Lasse | Fraser, Ross M. | Garcia, Melissa E. | Geller, Frank | Giedraitis, Vilmantas | Gigante, Bruna | Go, Alan S. | Golay, Alain | Goodall, Alison H. | Gordon, Scott D. | Gorski, Mathias | Grabe, Hans-Jörgen | Grallert, Harald | Grammer, Tanja B. | Gräßler, Jürgen | Grönberg, Henrik | Groves, Christopher J. | Gusto, Gaëlle | Haessler, Jeffrey | Hall, Per | Haller, Toomas | Hallmans, Goran | Hartman, Catharina A. | Hassinen, Maija | Hayward, Caroline | Heard-Costa, Nancy L. | Helmer, Quinta | Hengstenberg, Christian | Holmen, Oddgeir | Hottenga, Jouke-Jan | James, Alan L. | Jeff, Janina M. | Johansson, Åsa | Jolley, Jennifer | Juliusdottir, Thorhildur | Kinnunen, Leena | Koenig, Wolfgang | Koskenvuo, Markku | Kratzer, Wolfgang | Laitinen, Jaana | Lamina, Claudia | Leander, Karin | Lee, Nanette R. | Lichtner, Peter | Lind, Lars | Lindström, Jaana | Lo, Ken Sin | Lobbens, Stéphane | Lorbeer, Roberto | Lu, Yingchang | Mach, François | Magnusson, Patrik K. E. | Mahajan, Anubha | McArdle, Wendy L. | McLachlan, Stela | Menni, Cristina | Merger, Sigrun | Mihailov, Evelin | Milani, Lili | Moayyeri, Alireza | Monda, Keri L. | Morken, Mario A. | Mulas, Antonella | Müller, Gabriele | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Musk, Arthur W. | Nagaraja, Ramaiah | Nöthen, Markus M. | Nolte, Ilja M. | Pilz, Stefan | Rayner, Nigel W. | Renstrom, Frida | Rettig, Rainer | Ried, Janina S. | Ripke, Stephan | Robertson, Neil R. | Rose, Lynda M. | Sanna, Serena | Scharnagl, Hubert | Scholtens, Salome | Schumacher, Fredrick R. | Scott, William R. | Seufferlein, Thomas | Shi, Jianxin | Smith, Albert Vernon | Smolonska, Joanna | Stanton, Alice V. | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Stirrups, Kathleen | Stringham, Heather M. | Sundström, Johan | Swertz, Morris A. | Swift, Amy J. | Syvänen, Ann-Christine | Tan, Sian-Tsung | Tayo, Bamidele O. | Thorand, Barbara | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Tyrer, Jonathan P. | Uh, Hae-Won | Vandenput, Liesbeth | Verhulst, Frank C. | Vermeulen, Sita H. | Verweij, Niek | Vonk, Judith M. | Waite, Lindsay L. | Warren, Helen R. | Waterworth, Dawn | Weedon, Michael N. | Wilkens, Lynne R. | Willenborg, Christina | Wilsgaard, Tom | Wojczynski, Mary K. | Wong, Andrew | Wright, Alan F. | Zhang, Qunyuan | Brennan, Eoin P. | Choi, Murim | Dastani, Zari | Drong, Alexander W. | Eriksson, Per | Franco-Cereceda, Anders | Gådin, Jesper R. | Gharavi, Ali G. | Goddard, Michael E. | Handsaker, Robert E. | Huang, Jinyan | Karpe, Fredrik | Kathiresan, Sekar | Keildson, Sarah | Kiryluk, Krzysztof | Kubo, Michiaki | Lee, Jong-Young | Liang, Liming | Lifton, Richard P. | Ma, Baoshan | McCarroll, Steven A. | McKnight, Amy J. | Min, Josine L. | Moffatt, Miriam F. | Montgomery, Grant W. | Murabito, Joanne M. | Nicholson, George | Nyholt, Dale R. | Okada, Yukinori | Perry, John R. B. | Dorajoo, Rajkumar | Reinmaa, Eva | Salem, Rany M. | Sandholm, Niina | Scott, Robert A. | Stolk, Lisette | Takahashi, Atsushi | Tanaka, Toshihiro | van ’t Hooft, Ferdinand M. | Vinkhuyzen, Anna A. E. | Westra, Harm-Jan | Zheng, Wei | Zondervan, Krina T. | Heath, Andrew C. | Arveiler, Dominique | Bakker, Stephan J. L. | Beilby, John | Bergman, Richard N. | Blangero, John | Bovet, Pascal | Campbell, Harry | Caulfield, Mark J. | Cesana, Giancarlo | Chakravarti, Aravinda | Chasman, Daniel I. | Chines, Peter S. | Collins, Francis S. | Crawford, Dana C. | Cupples, L. Adrienne | Cusi, Daniele | Danesh, John | de Faire, Ulf | den Ruijter, Hester M. | Dominiczak, Anna F. | Erbel, Raimund | Erdmann, Jeanette | Eriksson, Johan G. | Farrall, Martin | Felix, Stephan B. | Ferrannini, Ele | Ferrières, Jean | Ford, Ian | Forouhi, Nita G. | Forrester, Terrence | Franco, Oscar H. | Gansevoort, Ron T. | Gejman, Pablo V. | Gieger, Christian | Gottesman, Omri | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Gyllensten, Ulf | Hall, Alistair S. | Harris, Tamara B. | Hattersley, Andrew T. | Hicks, Andrew A. | Hindorff, Lucia A. | Hingorani, Aroon D. | Hofman, Albert | Homuth, Georg | Hovingh, G. Kees | Humphries, Steve E. | Hunt, Steven C. | Hyppönen, Elina | Illig, Thomas | Jacobs, Kevin B. | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Jöckel, Karl-Heinz | Johansen, Berit | Jousilahti, Pekka | Jukema, J. Wouter | Jula, Antti M. | Kaprio, Jaakko | Kastelein, John J. P. | Keinanen-Kiukaanniemi, Sirkka M. | Kiemeney, Lambertus A. | Knekt, Paul | Kooner, Jaspal S. | Kooperberg, Charles | Kovacs, Peter | Kraja, Aldi T. | Kumari, Meena | Kuusisto, Johanna | Lakka, Timo A. | Langenberg, Claudia | Marchand, Loic Le | Lehtimäki, Terho | Lyssenko, Valeriya | Männistö, Satu | Marette, André | Matise, Tara C. | McKenzie, Colin A. | McKnight, Barbara | Moll, Frans L. | Morris, Andrew D. | Morris, Andrew P. | Murray, Jeffrey C. | Nelis, Mari | Ohlsson, Claes | Oldehinkel, Albertine J. | Ong, Ken K. | Madden, Pamela A. F. | Pasterkamp, Gerard | Peden, John F. | Peters, Annette | Postma, Dirkje S. | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Price, Jackie F. | Qi, Lu | Raitakari, Olli T. | Rankinen, Tuomo | Rao, D. C. | Rice, Treva K. | Ridker, Paul M. | Rioux, John D. | Ritchie, Marylyn D. | Rudan, Igor | Salomaa, Veikko | Samani, Nilesh J. | Saramies, Jouko | Sarzynski, Mark A. | Schunkert, Heribert | Schwarz, Peter E. H. | Sever, Peter | Shuldiner, Alan R. | Sinisalo, Juha | Stolk, Ronald P. | Strauch, Konstantin | Tönjes, Anke | Trégouët, David-Alexandre | Tremblay, Angelo | Tremoli, Elena | Virtamo, Jarmo | Vohl, Marie-Claude | Völker, Uwe | Waeber, Gérard | Willemsen, Gonneke | Witteman, Jacqueline C. | Zillikens, M. Carola | Adair, Linda S. | Amouyel, Philippe | Asselbergs, Folkert W. | Assimes, Themistocles L. | Bochud, Murielle | Boehm, Bernhard O. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Bornstein, Stefan R. | Bottinger, Erwin P. | Bouchard, Claude | Cauchi, Stéphane | Chambers, John C. | Chanock, Stephen J. | Cooper, Richard S. | de Bakker, Paul I. W. | Dedoussis, George | Ferrucci, Luigi | Franks, Paul W. | Froguel, Philippe | Groop, Leif C. | Haiman, Christopher A. | Hamsten, Anders | Hui, Jennie | Hunter, David J. | Hveem, Kristian | Kaplan, Robert C. | Kivimaki, Mika | Kuh, Diana | Laakso, Markku | Liu, Yongmei | Martin, Nicholas G. | März, Winfried | Melbye, Mads | Metspalu, Andres | Moebus, Susanne | Munroe, Patricia B. | Njølstad, Inger | Oostra, Ben A. | Palmer, Colin N. A. | Pedersen, Nancy L. | Perola, Markus | Pérusse, Louis | Peters, Ulrike | Power, Chris | Quertermous, Thomas | Rauramaa, Rainer | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Saaristo, Timo E. | Saleheen, Danish | Sattar, Naveed | Schadt, Eric E. | Schlessinger, David | Slagboom, P. Eline | Snieder, Harold | Spector, Tim D. | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Stumvoll, Michael | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Uitterlinden, André G. | Uusitupa, Matti | van der Harst, Pim | Walker, Mark | Wallaschofski, Henri | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Watkins, Hugh | Weir, David R. | Wichmann, H-Erich | Wilson, James F. | Zanen, Pieter | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Deloukas, Panos | Fox, Caroline S. | Heid, Iris M. | O’Connell, Jeffrey R. | Strachan, David P. | Stefansson, Kari | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Abecasis, Gonçalo R. | Franke, Lude | Frayling, Timothy M. | McCarthy, Mark I. | Visscher, Peter M. | Scherag, André | Willer, Cristen J. | Boehnke, Michael | Mohlke, Karen L. | Lindgren, Cecilia M. | Beckmann, Jacques S. | Barroso, Inês | North, Kari E. | Ingelsson, Erik | Hirschhorn, Joel N. | Loos, Ruth J. F. | Speliotes, Elizabeth K.
Nature  2015;518(7538):197-206.
Obesity is heritable and predisposes to many diseases. To understand the genetic basis of obesity better, here we conduct a genome-wide association study and Metabochip meta-analysis of body mass index (BMI), a measure commonly used to define obesity and assess adiposity, in up to 339,224 individuals. This analysis identifies 97 BMI-associated loci (P < 5 × 10−8), 56 of which are novel. Five loci demonstrate clear evidence of several independent association signals, and many loci have significant effects on other metabolic phenotypes. The 97 loci account for ~2.7% of BMI variation, and genome-wide estimates suggest that common variation accounts for >20% of BMI variation. Pathway analyses provide strong support for a role of the central nervous system in obesity susceptibility and implicate new genes and pathways, including those related to synaptic function, glutamate signalling, insulin secretion/action, energy metabolism, lipid biology and adipogenesis.
doi:10.1038/nature14177
PMCID: PMC4382211  PMID: 25673413
9.  A Twelve-SNP Genetic Risk Score Identifies Individuals at Increased Risk for Future Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke 
Background and Purpose
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is prevalent and there is a clinical need for biomarkers to identify individuals at higher risk for AF. Fixed throughout a life course and assayable early in life, genetic biomarkers may meet this need. Here, we investigate whether multiple single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) together as an AF genetic risk score (AF-GRS) can improve prediction of one's risk for AF.
Methods
In 27,471 participants of the Malmö Diet and Cancer Study, a prospective, community-based cohort, we used Cox models that adjusted for established AF risk factors to assess the association of AF-GRS with incident AF and ischemic stroke. Median follow-up was 14.4 years for incident AF and 14.5 years for ischemic stroke. The AF-GRS comprised 12 SNPs that had been previously shown to be associated with AF at genome-wide significance.
Results
During follow-up, 2,160 participants experienced a first AF event and 1,495 had a first ischemic stroke event. Participants in the top AF-GRS quintile were at increased risk for incident AF (HR = 2.00; 95%CI = 1.73 to 2.31; P=2.7×10−21) and ischemic stroke (HR = 1.23; 95%CI = 1.04 to 1.46; P=0.02) when compared with the bottom quintile. Addition of the AF-GRS to established AF risk factors modestly improved both discrimination and reclassification (P<0.0001 for both).
Conclusions
An AF-GRS can identify 20% of individuals who are at approximately two-fold increased risk for incident AF and at 23% increased risk for ischemic stroke. Targeting diagnostic or therapeutic interventions to this subset may prove clinically useful.
doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.114.006072
PMCID: PMC4346099  PMID: 25123217
atrial fibrillation; stroke; genetic risk score; single nucleotide polymorphisms
10.  Increased Burden of Cardiovascular Disease in Carriers of APOL1 Genetic Variants 
Circulation research  2013;114(5):845-850.
Rationale
Two distinct alleles in the gene encoding apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1), a major component of HDL, confer protection against Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense infection and also increase risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD). Approximately 14% of African-Americans carry two APOL1 risk alleles, accounting for the high CKD burden in this population.
Objective
We tested whether APOL1 risk alleles significantly increase risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD) in African-Americans.
Methods and Results
We sequenced APOL1 in 1959 randomly selected African American participants in the Jackson Heart Study (JHS) and evaluated associations between APOL1 genotypes and renal and cardiovascular phenotypes. Previously identified association between APOL1 genotypes and CKD were confirmed (p=2.4 × 10−6). Among JHS participants with two APOL1 risk alleles, we observed increased risk for CVD (50/763 events among participants without vs. 37/280 events among participants with two risk alleles; odds ratio (OR): 2.17, p=9.4 × 10−4). We replicated this novel association of APOL1 genotype with CVD in Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) participants (66/292 events among participants without vs. 37/101 events among participants with two risk alleles; OR: 1.98, p=8.37 × 10−3; JHS and WHI combined, p=8.5 × 10−5; OR: 2.12). The increased risk for CVD conferred by APOL1 alleles was robust to correction for both traditional CVD risk factors and CKD.
Conclusions
APOL1 variants contribute to atherosclerotic CVD risk, indicating a genetic component to cardiovascular health disparities in individuals of African ancestry. The considerable population of African Americans with two APOL1 risk alleles may benefit from intensive interventions to reduce CVD.
doi:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.114.302347
PMCID: PMC3982584  PMID: 24379297
Genetics; risk factors; epidemiology; chronic kidney disease; atherosclerosis; genetic association; cardiovascular genomics; race; ethnicity
11.  Multiple associated variants increase the heritability explained for plasma lipids and coronary artery disease 
Background
Plasma lipid levels as well as coronary artery disease (CAD) have been shown to be highly heritable with estimates ranging from 40%–60%. However, top variants detected by large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) explain only a fraction of the total variance in plasma lipid phenotypes and CAD.
Methods and Results
We performed a conditional and joint association analysis using summary-level statistics from two large GWAS meta-analyses: (1) the Global Lipids Genetics Consortium (GLGC) study, and (2) the Coronary ARtery DIsease Genome-wide Replication and Meta-analysis (CARDIoGRAM) study. There were 100,184 individuals from 46 GLGC studies for plasma lipids, and 22,233 cases and 64,762 controls from 14 studies for CAD. We detected a number of loci where multiple independent SNPs were associated with lipid traits within a locus (12 out of 33 loci for high-density lipoprotein cholesterol [HDL-C], 10 of 35 loci for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol [LDL-C], 13 of 44 loci for total cholesterol [TC], and 8 of 28 loci for triglycerides [TG]), reaching genome-wide significance (P<5×10−8), nearly doubling the heritability explained by GWAS (3.6% to 7.6% for HDL-C, 5.0% to 8.8% for LDL-C, 5.5% to 8.8% for TC, and 5.7% to 8.5% for TG). Multiple SNPs were also associated with CAD (3 of 15 loci, 9.6% to 11.4% of increased heritability).
Conclusion
These results demonstrate that a portion of the missing heritability for lipid traits and CAD can be explained by multiple variants at each locus.
doi:10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.113.000420
PMCID: PMC4341828  PMID: 25170055
Genome-wide association study; Lipids; Genetics; Missing heritability; Coronary artery disease
12.  Analysis of Gene-Gene Interactions among Common Variants in Candidate Cardiovascular Genes in Coronary Artery Disease 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0117684.
Objective
Only a small fraction of coronary artery disease (CAD) heritability has been explained by common variants identified to date. Interactions between genes of importance to cardiovascular regulation may account for some of the missing heritability of CAD. This study aimed to investigate the role of gene-gene interactions in common variants in candidate cardiovascular genes in CAD.
Approach and Results
2,101 patients with CAD from the British Heart Foundation Family Heart Study and 2,426 CAD-free controls were included in the discovery cohort. All subjects were genotyped with the Illumina HumanCVD BeadChip enriched for genes and pathways relevant to the cardiovascular system and disease. The primary analysis in the discovery cohort examined pairwise interactions among 913 common (minor allele frequency >0.1) independent single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with at least nominal association with CAD in single locus analysis. A secondary exploratory interaction analysis was performed among all 11,332 independent common SNPs surviving quality control criteria. Replication analyses were conducted in 2,967 patients and 3,075 controls from the Myocardial Infarction Genetics Consortium. None of the interactions amongst 913 SNPs analysed in the primary analysis was statistically significant after correction for multiple testing (required P<1.2x10-7). Similarly, none of the pairwise gene-gene interactions in the secondary analysis reached statistical significance after correction for multiple testing (required P = 7.8x10-10). None of 36 suggestive interactions from the primary analysis or 31 interactions from the secondary analysis was significant in the replication cohort. Our study had 80% power to detect odds ratios > 1.7 for common variants in the primary analysis.
Conclusions
Moderately large additive interactions between common SNPs in genes relevant to cardiovascular disease do not appear to play a major role in genetic predisposition to CAD. The role of genetic interactions amongst less common SNPs and with medium and small magnitude effects remain to be investigated.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0117684
PMCID: PMC4320092  PMID: 25658981
13.  Systematic Cell-Based Phenotyping of Missense Alleles Empowers Rare Variant Association Studies: A Case for LDLR and Myocardial Infarction 
PLoS Genetics  2015;11(2):e1004855.
A fundamental challenge to contemporary genetics is to distinguish rare missense alleles that disrupt protein functions from the majority of alleles neutral on protein activities. High-throughput experimental tools to securely discriminate between disruptive and non-disruptive missense alleles are currently missing. Here we establish a scalable cell-based strategy to profile the biological effects and likely disease relevance of rare missense variants in vitro. We apply this strategy to systematically characterize missense alleles in the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) gene identified through exome sequencing of 3,235 individuals and exome-chip profiling of 39,186 individuals. Our strategy reliably identifies disruptive missense alleles, and disruptive-allele carriers have higher plasma LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C). Importantly, considering experimental data refined the risk of rare LDLR allele carriers from 4.5- to 25.3-fold for high LDL-C, and from 2.1- to 20-fold for early-onset myocardial infarction. Our study generates proof-of-concept that systematic functional variant profiling may empower rare variant-association studies by orders of magnitude.
Author Summary
Exome sequencing has proven powerful to identify protein-coding variation across the human genome, unravel the basis of monogenic diseases and discover rare alleles that confer risk for complex disease. Nevertheless, two key challenges limit its application to complex phenotypes: first, most alleles identified in a population are extremely rare; and second, most alleles are neutral on protein activities. Consequently, association tests that rely on enumerating rare alleles in cases and controls (termed rare variant association studies, RVAS) are typically underpowered, as the many neutral alleles dampen signals that arise from the few alleles that disrupt protein functions. Strategies to securely discriminate disruptive from neutral variants are immature, in particular for missense variants. Here we show that the statistical power of RVAS improves dramatically if variants are stratified according to their in vitro ascertained functions. We establish scalable technology to objectively profile the biological effects of exome-identified missense variants in the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) through systematic overexpression and complementation experiments in cells. We demonstrate that carriers of LDLR alleles, which our experiments identify as “disruptive-missense”, have higher plasma LDL-C, and that considering in vitro data may make it possible to reduce RVAS sample sizes by more than 2-fold.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004855
PMCID: PMC4409815  PMID: 25647241
14.  HMG-coenzyme A reductase inhibition, type 2 diabetes, and bodyweight: evidence from genetic analysis and randomised trials 
Swerdlow, Daniel I | Preiss, David | Kuchenbaecker, Karoline B | Holmes, Michael V | Engmann, Jorgen E L | Shah, Tina | Sofat, Reecha | Stender, Stefan | Johnson, Paul C D | Scott, Robert A | Leusink, Maarten | Verweij, Niek | Sharp, Stephen J | Guo, Yiran | Giambartolomei, Claudia | Chung, Christina | Peasey, Anne | Amuzu, Antoinette | Li, KaWah | Palmen, Jutta | Howard, Philip | Cooper, Jackie A | Drenos, Fotios | Li, Yun R | Lowe, Gordon | Gallacher, John | Stewart, Marlene C W | Tzoulaki, Ioanna | Buxbaum, Sarah G | van der A, Daphne L | Forouhi, Nita G | Onland-Moret, N Charlotte | van der Schouw, Yvonne T | Schnabel, Renate B | Hubacek, Jaroslav A | Kubinova, Ruzena | Baceviciene, Migle | Tamosiunas, Abdonas | Pajak, Andrzej | Topor-Madry, Romanvan | Stepaniak, Urszula | Malyutina, Sofia | Baldassarre, Damiano | Sennblad, Bengt | Tremoli, Elena | de Faire, Ulf | Veglia, Fabrizio | Ford, Ian | Jukema, J Wouter | Westendorp, Rudi G J | de Borst, Gert Jan | de Jong, Pim A | Algra, Ale | Spiering, Wilko | der Zee, Anke H Maitland-van | Klungel, Olaf H | de Boer, Anthonius | Doevendans, Pieter A | Eaton, Charles B | Robinson, Jennifer G | Duggan, David | Kjekshus, John | Downs, John R | Gotto, Antonio M | Keech, Anthony C | Marchioli, Roberto | Tognoni, Gianni | Sever, Peter S | Poulter, Neil R | Waters, David D | Pedersen, Terje R | Amarenco, Pierre | Nakamura, Haruo | McMurray, John J V | Lewsey, James D | Chasman, Daniel I | Ridker, Paul M | Maggioni, Aldo P | Tavazzi, Luigi | Ray, Kausik K | Seshasai, Sreenivasa Rao Kondapally | Manson, JoAnn E | Price, Jackie F | Whincup, Peter H | Morris, Richard W | Lawlor, Debbie A | Smith, George Davey | Ben-Shlomo, Yoav | Schreiner, Pamela J | Fornage, Myriam | Siscovick, David S | Cushman, Mary | Kumari, Meena | Wareham, Nick J | Verschuren, W M Monique | Redline, Susan | Patel, Sanjay R | Whittaker, John C | Hamsten, Anders | Delaney, Joseph A | Dale, Caroline | Gaunt, Tom R | Wong, Andrew | Kuh, Diana | Hardy, Rebecca | Kathiresan, Sekar | Castillo, Berta A | van der Harst, Pim | Brunner, Eric J | Tybjaerg-Hansen, Anne | Marmot, Michael G | Krauss, Ronald M | Tsai, Michael | Coresh, Josef | Hoogeveen, Ronald C | Psaty, Bruce M | Lange, Leslie A | Hakonarson, Hakon | Dudbridge, Frank | Humphries, Steve E | Talmud, Philippa J | Kivimäki, Mika | Timpson, Nicholas J | Langenberg, Claudia | Asselbergs, Folkert W | Voevoda, Mikhail | Bobak, Martin | Pikhart, Hynek | Wilson, James G | Reiner, Alex P | Keating, Brendan J | Hingorani, Aroon D | Sattar, Naveed
Lancet  2015;385(9965):351-361.
Summary
Background
Statins increase the risk of new-onset type 2 diabetes mellitus. We aimed to assess whether this increase in risk is a consequence of inhibition of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGCR), the intended drug target.
Methods
We used single nucleotide polymorphisms in the HMGCR gene, rs17238484 (for the main analysis) and rs12916 (for a subsidiary analysis) as proxies for HMGCR inhibition by statins. We examined associations of these variants with plasma lipid, glucose, and insulin concentrations; bodyweight; waist circumference; and prevalent and incident type 2 diabetes. Study-specific effect estimates per copy of each LDL-lowering allele were pooled by meta-analysis. These findings were compared with a meta-analysis of new-onset type 2 diabetes and bodyweight change data from randomised trials of statin drugs. The effects of statins in each randomised trial were assessed using meta-analysis.
Findings
Data were available for up to 223 463 individuals from 43 genetic studies. Each additional rs17238484-G allele was associated with a mean 0·06 mmol/L (95% CI 0·05–0·07) lower LDL cholesterol and higher body weight (0·30 kg, 0·18–0·43), waist circumference (0·32 cm, 0·16–0·47), plasma insulin concentration (1·62%, 0·53–2·72), and plasma glucose concentration (0·23%, 0·02–0·44). The rs12916 SNP had similar effects on LDL cholesterol, bodyweight, and waist circumference. The rs17238484-G allele seemed to be associated with higher risk of type 2 diabetes (odds ratio [OR] per allele 1·02, 95% CI 1·00–1·05); the rs12916-T allele association was consistent (1·06, 1·03–1·09). In 129 170 individuals in randomised trials, statins lowered LDL cholesterol by 0·92 mmol/L (95% CI 0·18–1·67) at 1-year of follow-up, increased bodyweight by 0·24 kg (95% CI 0·10–0·38 in all trials; 0·33 kg, 95% CI 0·24–0·42 in placebo or standard care controlled trials and −0·15 kg, 95% CI −0·39 to 0·08 in intensive-dose vs moderate-dose trials) at a mean of 4·2 years (range 1·9–6·7) of follow-up, and increased the odds of new-onset type 2 diabetes (OR 1·12, 95% CI 1·06–1·18 in all trials; 1·11, 95% CI 1·03–1·20 in placebo or standard care controlled trials and 1·12, 95% CI 1·04–1·22 in intensive-dose vs moderate dose trials).
Interpretation
The increased risk of type 2 diabetes noted with statins is at least partially explained by HMGCR inhibition.
Funding
The funding sources are cited at the end of the paper.
doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61183-1
PMCID: PMC4322187  PMID: 25262344
15.  Shared genetic susceptibility to ischemic stroke and coronary artery disease – a genome-wide analysis of common variants 
Summary
Background and Purpose
Ischemic stroke (IS) and coronary artery disease (CAD) share several risk factors and each have a substantial heritability. We conducted a genome-wide analysis to evaluate the extent of shared genetic determination of the two diseases.
Methods
Genome-wide association data were obtained from the METASTROKE, CARDIoGRAM, and C4D consortia. We first analyzed common variants reaching a nominal threshold of significance (p<0.01) for CAD for their association with IS and vice versa. We then examined specific overlap across phenotypes for variants that reached a high threshold of significance. Finally, we conducted a joint meta-analysis on the combined phenotype of IS or CAD. Corresponding analyses were performed restricted to the 2,167 individuals with the ischemic large artery stroke (LAS) subtype.
Results
Common variants associated with CAD at p<0.01 were associated with a significant excess risk for IS and for LAS and vice versa. Among the 42 known genome-wide significant loci for CAD, three and five loci were significantly associated with IS and LAS, respectively. In the joint meta-analyses, 15 loci passed genome-wide significance (p<5×10-8) for the combined phenotype of IS or CAD and 17 loci passed genome-wide significance for LAS or CAD. Since these loci had prior evidence for genome-wide significance for CAD we specifically analyzed the respective signals for IS and LAS and found evidence for association at chr12q24/SH2B3 (pIS=1.62×10-07) and ABO (pIS =2.6×10-4) as well as at HDAC9 (pLAS=2.32×10-12), 9p21 (pLAS =3.70×10-6), RAI1-PEMT-RASD1 (pLAS =2.69×10-5), EDNRA (pLAS =7.29×10-4), and CYP17A1-CNNM2-NT5C2 (pLAS =4.9×10-4).
Conclusions
Our results demonstrate substantial overlap in the genetic risk of ischemic stroke and particularly the large artery stroke subtype with coronary artery disease.
doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.113.002707
PMCID: PMC4112102  PMID: 24262325
16.  A Multi-Ethnic Meta-Analysis of Genome-Wide Association Studies in Over 100,000 Subjects Identifies 23 Fibrinogen-Associated Loci but no Strong Evidence of a Causal Association between Circulating Fibrinogen and Cardiovascular Disease 
Sabater-Lleal, Maria | Huang, Jie | Chasman, Daniel | Naitza, Silvia | Dehghan, Abbas | Johnson, Andrew D | Teumer, Alexander | Reiner, Alex P | Folkersen, Lasse | Basu, Saonli | Rudnicka, Alicja R | Trompet, Stella | Mälarstig, Anders | Baumert, Jens | Bis, Joshua C. | Guo, Xiuqing | Hottenga, Jouke J | Shin, So-Youn | Lopez, Lorna M | Lahti, Jari | Tanaka, Toshiko | Yanek, Lisa R | Oudot-Mellakh, Tiphaine | Wilson, James F | Navarro, Pau | Huffman, Jennifer E | Zemunik, Tatijana | Redline, Susan | Mehra, Reena | Pulanic, Drazen | Rudan, Igor | Wright, Alan F | Kolcic, Ivana | Polasek, Ozren | Wild, Sarah H | Campbell, Harry | Curb, J David | Wallace, Robert | Liu, Simin | Eaton, Charles B. | Becker, Diane M. | Becker, Lewis C. | Bandinelli, Stefania | Räikkönen, Katri | Widen, Elisabeth | Palotie, Aarno | Fornage, Myriam | Green, David | Gross, Myron | Davies, Gail | Harris, Sarah E | Liewald, David C | Starr, John M | Williams, Frances M.K. | Grant, P.J. | Spector, Timothy D. | Strawbridge, Rona J | Silveira, Angela | Sennblad, Bengt | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Uitterlinden, Andre G | Franco, Oscar H | Hofman, Albert | van Dongen, Jenny | Willemsen, G | Boomsma, Dorret I | Yao, Jie | Jenny, Nancy Swords | Haritunians, Talin | McKnight, Barbara | Lumley, Thomas | Taylor, Kent D | Rotter, Jerome I | Psaty, Bruce M | Peters, Annette | Gieger, Christian | Illig, Thomas | Grotevendt, Anne | Homuth, Georg | Völzke, Henry | Kocher, Thomas | Goel, Anuj | Franzosi, Maria Grazia | Seedorf, Udo | Clarke, Robert | Steri, Maristella | Tarasov, Kirill V | Sanna, Serena | Schlessinger, David | Stott, David J | Sattar, Naveed | Buckley, Brendan M | Rumley, Ann | Lowe, Gordon D | McArdle, Wendy L | Chen, Ming-Huei | Tofler, Geoffrey H | Song, Jaejoon | Boerwinkle, Eric | Folsom, Aaron R. | Rose, Lynda M. | Franco-Cereceda, Anders | Teichert, Martina | Ikram, M Arfan | Mosley, Thomas H | Bevan, Steve | Dichgans, Martin | Rothwell, Peter M. | Sudlow, Cathie L M | Hopewell, Jemma C. | Chambers, John C. | Saleheen, Danish | Kooner, Jaspal S. | Danesh, John | Nelson, Christopher P | Erdmann, Jeanette | Reilly, Muredach P. | Kathiresan, Sekar | Schunkert, Heribert | Morange, Pierre-Emmanuel | Ferrucci, Luigi | Eriksson, Johan G | Jacobs, David | Deary, Ian J | Soranzo, Nicole | Witteman, Jacqueline CM | de Geus, Eco JC | Tracy, Russell P. | Hayward, Caroline | Koenig, Wolfgang | Cucca, Francesco | Jukema, J Wouter | Eriksson, Per | Seshadri, Sudha | Markus, Hugh S. | Watkins, Hugh | Samani, Nilesh J | Wallaschofski, Henri | Smith, Nicholas L. | Tregouet, David | Ridker, Paul M. | Tang, Weihong | Strachan, David P. | Hamsten, Anders | O’Donnell, Christopher J.
Circulation  2013;128(12):10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.002251.
Background
Estimates of the heritability of plasma fibrinogen concentration, an established predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD), range from 34 to 50%. Genetic variants so far identified by genome-wide association (GWA) studies only explain a small proportion (< 2%) of its variation.
Methods and Results
We conducted a meta-analysis of 28 GWA studies, including more than 90,000 subjects of European ancestry, the first GWA meta-analysis of fibrinogen levels in 7 African Americans studies totaling 8,289 samples, and a GWA study in Hispanic-Americans totaling 1,366 samples. Evaluation for association of SNPs with clinical outcomes included a total of 40,695 cases and 85,582 controls for coronary artery disease (CAD), 4,752 cases and 24,030 controls for stroke, and 3,208 cases and 46,167 controls for venous thromboembolism (VTE). Overall, we identified 24 genome-wide significant (P<5×10−8) independent signals in 23 loci, including 15 novel associations, together accounting for 3.7% of plasma fibrinogen variation. Gene-set enrichment analysis highlighted key roles in fibrinogen regulation for the three structural fibrinogen genes and pathways related to inflammation, adipocytokines and thyrotrophin-releasing hormone signaling. Whereas lead SNPs in a few loci were significantly associated with CAD, the combined effect of all 24 fibrinogen-associated lead SNPs was not significant for CAD, stroke or VTE.
Conclusion
We identify 23 robustly associated fibrinogen loci, 15 of which are new. Clinical outcome analysis of these loci does not support a causal relationship between circulating levels of fibrinogen and CAD, stroke or VTE.
doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.002251
PMCID: PMC3842025  PMID: 23969696
Fibrinogen; cardiovascular disease; genome-wide association study
17.  Meta-Analysis of Gene Level Tests for Rare Variant Association 
Nature genetics  2013;46(2):200-204.
The vast majority of connections between complex disease and common genetic variants were identified through meta-analysis, a powerful approach that enables large sample sizes while protecting against common artifacts due to population structure, repeated small sample analyses, and/or limitations with sharing individual level data. As the focus of genetic association studies shifts to rare variants, genes and other functional units are becoming the unit of analysis. Here, we propose and evaluate new approaches for performing meta-analysis of rare variant association tests, including burden tests, weighted burden tests, variable threshold tests and tests that allow variants with opposite effects to be grouped together. We show that our approach retains useful features of single variant meta-analytic approaches and demonstrate its utility in a study of blood lipid levels in ∼18,500 individuals genotyped with exome arrays.
doi:10.1038/ng.2852
PMCID: PMC3939031  PMID: 24336170
18.  A novel APOB mutation identified by exome sequencing cosegregates with steatosis, liver cancer and hypocholesterolemia 
Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology  2013;33(8):10.1161/ATVBAHA.112.301101.
Objective
In familial hypobetalipoproteinemia (FHBL), fatty liver is a characteristic feature, and there are several reports of associated cirrhosis and hepatocarcinoma. We investigated a large kindred in which low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, fatty liver and hepatocarcinoma displayed an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance.
Approach and Results
The proband was a 25 year-old female with low plasma cholesterol and hepatic steatosis. Low plasma levels of total cholesterol and fatty liver were observed in 10 more family members; 1 member was affected by liver cirrhosis and four more subjects died of either hepatocarcinoma or carcinoma on cirrhosis. To identify the causal mutation in this family, we performed exome sequencing in two participants with hypocholesterolemia and fatty liver. Approximately 22,400 single nucleotide variants were identified in each sample. After variant filtering, 300 novel shared variants remained. A nonsense variant, p.K2240X due to an A>T mutation in exon 26 of APOB (c.6718A>T) was identified and this variant was confirmed by Sanger sequencing. The gentotypic analysis of 16 family members in total showed that this mutation segregated with the low cholesterol trait. In addition, genotyping of the PNPLA3 p.I148M did not show significant frequency differences between carriers and non-carriers of the c.6718A>T APOB gene mutation.
Conclusions
We used exome sequencing to discover a novel nonsense mutation in exon 26 of APOB (p.K2240X) responsible for low cholesterol and fatty liver in a large kindred.
This mutation may also be responsible for cirrhosis and liver cancer in this family.
doi:10.1161/ATVBAHA.112.301101
PMCID: PMC3870266  PMID: 23723369
Exome sequencing; FHBL; fatty liver; Hepatocarcinoma
19.  Distribution and Medical Impact of Loss-of-Function Variants in the Finnish Founder Population 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(7):e1004494.
Exome sequencing studies in complex diseases are challenged by the allelic heterogeneity, large number and modest effect sizes of associated variants on disease risk and the presence of large numbers of neutral variants, even in phenotypically relevant genes. Isolated populations with recent bottlenecks offer advantages for studying rare variants in complex diseases as they have deleterious variants that are present at higher frequencies as well as a substantial reduction in rare neutral variation. To explore the potential of the Finnish founder population for studying low-frequency (0.5–5%) variants in complex diseases, we compared exome sequence data on 3,000 Finns to the same number of non-Finnish Europeans and discovered that, despite having fewer variable sites overall, the average Finn has more low-frequency loss-of-function variants and complete gene knockouts. We then used several well-characterized Finnish population cohorts to study the phenotypic effects of 83 enriched loss-of-function variants across 60 phenotypes in 36,262 Finns. Using a deep set of quantitative traits collected on these cohorts, we show 5 associations (p<5×10−8) including splice variants in LPA that lowered plasma lipoprotein(a) levels (P = 1.5×10−117). Through accessing the national medical records of these participants, we evaluate the LPA finding via Mendelian randomization and confirm that these splice variants confer protection from cardiovascular disease (OR = 0.84, P = 3×10−4), demonstrating for the first time the correlation between very low levels of LPA in humans with potential therapeutic implications for cardiovascular diseases. More generally, this study articulates substantial advantages for studying the role of rare variation in complex phenotypes in founder populations like the Finns and by combining a unique population genetic history with data from large population cohorts and centralized research access to National Health Registers.
Author Summary
We explored the coding regions of 3,000 Finnish individuals with 3,000 non-Finnish Europeans (NFEs) using whole-exome sequence data, in order to understand how an individual from a bottlenecked population might differ from an individual from an out-bred population. We provide empirical evidence that there are more rare and low-frequency deleterious alleles in Finns compared to NFEs, such that an average Finn has almost twice as many low-frequency complete knockouts of a gene. As such, we hypothesized that some of these low-frequency loss-of-function variants might have important medical consequences in humans and genotyped 83 of these variants in 36,000 Finns. In doing so, we discovered that completely knocking out the TSFM gene might result in inviability or a very severe phenotype in humans and that knocking out the LPA gene might confer protection against coronary heart diseases, suggesting that LPA is likely to be a good potential therapeutic target.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004494
PMCID: PMC4117444  PMID: 25078778
20.  Integrative Genomics Reveals Novel Molecular Pathways and Gene Networks for Coronary Artery Disease 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(7):e1004502.
The majority of the heritability of coronary artery disease (CAD) remains unexplained, despite recent successes of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in identifying novel susceptibility loci. Integrating functional genomic data from a variety of sources with a large-scale meta-analysis of CAD GWAS may facilitate the identification of novel biological processes and genes involved in CAD, as well as clarify the causal relationships of established processes. Towards this end, we integrated 14 GWAS from the CARDIoGRAM Consortium and two additional GWAS from the Ottawa Heart Institute (25,491 cases and 66,819 controls) with 1) genetics of gene expression studies of CAD-relevant tissues in humans, 2) metabolic and signaling pathways from public databases, and 3) data-driven, tissue-specific gene networks from a multitude of human and mouse experiments. We not only detected CAD-associated gene networks of lipid metabolism, coagulation, immunity, and additional networks with no clear functional annotation, but also revealed key driver genes for each CAD network based on the topology of the gene regulatory networks. In particular, we found a gene network involved in antigen processing to be strongly associated with CAD. The key driver genes of this network included glyoxalase I (GLO1) and peptidylprolyl isomerase I (PPIL1), which we verified as regulatory by siRNA experiments in human aortic endothelial cells. Our results suggest genetic influences on a diverse set of both known and novel biological processes that contribute to CAD risk. The key driver genes for these networks highlight potential novel targets for further mechanistic studies and therapeutic interventions.
Author Summary
Sudden death due to heart attack ranks among the top causes of death in the world, and family studies have shown that genetics has a substantial effect on heart disease risk. Recent studies suggest that multiple genetic factors each with modest effects are necessary for the development of CAD, but the genes and molecular processes involved remain poorly understood. We conducted an integrative genomics study where we used the information of gene-gene interactions to capture groups of genes that are most likely to increase heart disease risk. We not only confirmed the importance of several known CAD risk processes such as the metabolism and transport of cholesterol, immune response, and blood coagulation, but also revealed many novel processes such as neuroprotection, cell cycle, and proteolysis that were not previously implicated in CAD. In particular, we highlight several genes such as GLO1 with key regulatory roles within these processes not detected by the first wave of genetic analyses. These results highlight the value of integrating population genetic data with diverse resources that functionally annotate the human genome. Such integration facilitates the identification of novel molecular processes involved in the pathogenesis of CAD as well as potential novel targets for the development of efficacious therapeutic interventions.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004502
PMCID: PMC4102418  PMID: 25033284
21.  Comparing strategies to fine map the association of common SNPs on chromosome 9p21 to Type 2 Diabetes and Myocardial Infarction 
Nature genetics  2011;43(8):801-805.
Non-coding variants at human chromosome 9p21 near CDKN2A and CDKN2B are associated with type 2 diabetes (T2D)1-4, myocardial infarction (MI)5-7, aneurysm8, vertical cup disc ratio9, and at least five cancers10-16. We compared approaches to more comprehensively assess genetic variation in the region. We performed targeted sequencing at high coverage in 47 individuals and compared the results to pilot data from the 1000 Genomes Project. We imputed variants into T2D and MI cohorts directly from targeted sequencing, from a genotyped reference panel derived from sequencing, and from 1000 Genomes low-coverage data. Common polymorphisms were captured similarly by all strategies. Imputation of intermediate frequency polymorphisms required a higher density of tag SNPs in disease samples than available on first generation Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) arrays. Association analyses identified more comprehensive sets of variants demonstrating equivalent statistical association to T2D or MI, but did not identify stronger associations the original GWAS signals.
doi:10.1038/ng.871
PMCID: PMC4096898  PMID: 21775993
22.  Multiple Inflammatory Biomarkers in Relation to Cardiovascular Events and Mortality in the Community 
Objective
Evidence suggests that chronic low-grade inflammation and oxidative stress are related to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality.
Approach and Results
We examined 11 established and novel biomarkers representing inflammation and oxidative stress (C-reactive protein [CRP], fibrinogen, interleukin-6, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 [ICAM-1], lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (mass and activity), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, myeloperoxidase, CD40 ligand, P-selectin, tumor necrosis factor receptor II [TNFRII]) in relation to incident major CVD and mortality in the community. We studied 3035 participants (mean age 61±9 years, 53% women). During follow-up (median 8.9 years), 253 participants experienced a CVD event and 343 died. CRP (hazard ratios [HR] reported per standard deviation ln-transformed biomarker, 1.18, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.02-1.35; nominal P=0.02) and TNFRII (HR 1.15, 95% CI; 1.01-1.32; nominal P=0.04) were retained in multivariable-adjusted models for major CVD, but were not significant after adjustment for multiple testing. The biomarkers related to mortality were TNFRII (HR 1.33, 95% CI: 1.19-1.49; P<0.0001); ICAM-1 (HR 1.24, 95% CI: 1.12-1.37; P<0.0001), and interleukin-6 (HR 1.25, 95% CI: 1.12-1.39; P<0.0001). The addition of these markers to the model including traditional risk factors increased discrimination and reclassification for risk of death (P<0.0001), but not for CVD.
Conclusions
Of 11 biomarkers, TNFRII was associated nominally with incident major CVD, and significantly with all-cause mortality, which renders it an interesting target for future research. The combination of TNFRII with CRP in relation to CVD and with interleukin-6 to mortality increased the predictive ability in addition to CVD risk factors for total mortality but not for incident CVD.
doi:10.1161/ATVBAHA.112.301174
PMCID: PMC3753537  PMID: 23640499
mortality; cardiovascular disease; inflammation; epidemiology; cohort
23.  Assessing the phenotypic effects in the general population of rare variants in genes for a dominant mendelian form of diabetes 
Nature genetics  2013;45(11):1380-1385.
Genome sequencing can identify individuals in the general population who harbor rare coding variants in genes for Mendelian disorders1–7 – and who consequently may have increased disease risk. However, previous studies of rare variants in phenotypically extreme individuals have ascertainment bias and may demonstrate inflated effect size estimates8–12. We sequenced seven genes for maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY)13 in well-phenotyped population samples14,15 (n=4,003). Rare variants were filtered according to prediction criteria used to identify disease-causing mutations: i) previously-reported in MODY, and ii) stringent de novo thresholds satisfied (rare, conserved, protein damaging). Approximately 1.5% and 0.5% of randomly selected Framingham and Jackson Heart Study individuals carried variants from these two classes, respectively. However, the vast majority of carriers remained euglycemic through middle age. Accurate estimates of variant effect sizes from population-based sequencing are needed to avoid falsely predicting a significant fraction of individuals as at risk for MODY or other Mendelian diseases.
doi:10.1038/ng.2794
PMCID: PMC4051627  PMID: 24097065
24.  Loss-of-function mutations in SLC30A8 protect against type 2 diabetes 
Flannick, Jason | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Beer, Nicola L. | Jacobs, Suzanne B. R. | Grarup, Niels | Burtt, Noël P. | Mahajan, Anubha | Fuchsberger, Christian | Atzmon, Gil | Benediktsson, Rafn | Blangero, John | Bowden, Don W. | Brandslund, Ivan | Brosnan, Julia | Burslem, Frank | Chambers, John | Cho, Yoon Shin | Christensen, Cramer | Douglas, Desirée A. | Duggirala, Ravindranath | Dymek, Zachary | Farjoun, Yossi | Fennell, Timothy | Fontanillas, Pierre | Forsén, Tom | Gabriel, Stacey | Glaser, Benjamin | Gudbjartsson, Daniel F. | Hanis, Craig | Hansen, Torben | Hreidarsson, Astradur B. | Hveem, Kristian | Ingelsson, Erik | Isomaa, Bo | Johansson, Stefan | Jørgensen, Torben | Jørgensen, Marit Eika | Kathiresan, Sekar | Kong, Augustine | Kooner, Jaspal | Kravic, Jasmina | Laakso, Markku | Lee, Jong-Young | Lind, Lars | Lindgren, Cecilia M | Linneberg, Allan | Masson, Gisli | Meitinger, Thomas | Mohlke, Karen L | Molven, Anders | Morris, Andrew P. | Potluri, Shobha | Rauramaa, Rainer | Ribel-Madsen, Rasmus | Richard, Ann-Marie | Rolph, Tim | Salomaa, Veikko | Segrè, Ayellet V. | Skärstrand, Hanna | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Stringham, Heather M. | Sulem, Patrick | Tai, E Shyong | Teo, Yik Ying | Teslovich, Tanya | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Trimmer, Jeff K. | Tuomi, Tiinamaija | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Vaziri-Sani, Fariba | Voight, Benjamin F. | Wilson, James G. | Boehnke, Michael | McCarthy, Mark I. | Njølstad, Pål R. | Pedersen, Oluf | Groop, Leif | Cox, David R. | Stefansson, Kari | Altshuler, David
Nature genetics  2014;46(4):357-363.
Loss-of-function mutations protective against human disease provide in vivo validation of therapeutic targets1,2,3, yet none are described for type 2 diabetes (T2D). Through sequencing or genotyping ~150,000 individuals across five ethnicities, we identified 12 rare protein-truncating variants in SLC30A8, which encodes an islet zinc transporter (ZnT8)4 and harbors a common variant (p.Trp325Arg) associated with T2D risk, glucose, and proinsulin levels5–7. Collectively, protein-truncating variant carriers had 65% reduced T2D risk (p=1.7×10−6), and non-diabetic Icelandic carriers of a frameshift variant (p.Lys34SerfsX50) demonstrated reduced glucose levels (−0.17 s.d., p=4.6×10−4). The two most common protein-truncating variants (p.Arg138X and p.Lys34SerfsX50) individually associate with T2D protection and encode unstable ZnT8 proteins. Previous functional study of SLC30A8 suggested reduced zinc transport increases T2D risk8,9, yet phenotypic heterogeneity was observed in rodent Slc30a8 knockouts10–15. Contrastingly, loss-of-function mutations in humans provide strong evidence that SLC30A8 haploinsufficiency protects against T2D, proposing ZnT8 inhibition as a therapeutic strategy in T2D prevention.
doi:10.1038/ng.2915
PMCID: PMC4051628  PMID: 24584071
25.  Exome sequencing and directed clinical phenotyping diagnose cholesterol ester storage disease presenting as autosomal recessive hypercholesterolemia 
Objective
Autosomal recessive hypercholesterolemia (ARH) is a rare inherited disorder characterized by extremely high total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels that has been previously linked to mutations in LDLRAP1. We identified a family with ARH not explained by mutations in LDLRAP1 or other genes known to cause monogenic hypercholesterolemia. The aim of this study was to identify the molecular etiology of ARH in this family.
Approach and Results
We used exome sequencing to assess all protein coding regions of the genome in three family members and identified a homozygous exon 8 splice junction mutation (c.894G>A, also known as E8SJM) in LIPA that segregated with the diagnosis of hypercholesterolemia. Since homozygosity for mutations in LIPA is known to cause cholesterol ester storage disease (CESD), we performed directed follow-up phenotyping by non-invasively measuring hepatic cholesterol content. We observed abnormal hepatic accumulation of cholesterol in the homozygote individuals, supporting the diagnosis of CESD. Given previous suggestions of cardiovascular disease risk in heterozygous LIPA mutation carriers, we genotyped E8SJM in >27,000 individuals and found no association with plasma lipid levels or risk of myocardial infarction, confirming a true recessive mode of inheritance.
Conclusions
By integrating observations from Mendelian and population genetics along with directed clinical phenotyping, we diagnosed clinically unapparent CESD in the affected individuals from this kindred and addressed an outstanding question regarding risk of cardiovascular disease in LIPA E8SJM heterozygous carriers.
doi:10.1161/ATVBAHA.113.302426
PMCID: PMC4002172  PMID: 24072694
hypercholesterolemia; genetics; myocardial infarction

Results 1-25 (107)