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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
The increased risk of type 2 diabetes noted with statins is at least partially explained by HMGCR inhibition.
The funding sources are cited at the end of the paper.
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.
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.
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).
Our results demonstrate substantial overlap in the genetic risk of ischemic stroke and particularly the large artery stroke subtype with coronary artery disease.
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.
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.
Fibrinogen; cardiovascular disease; genome-wide association study
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.
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.
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.
Exome sequencing; FHBL; fatty liver; Hepatocarcinoma
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
mortality; cardiovascular disease; inflammation; epidemiology; cohort
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.
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.
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.
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.
hypercholesterolemia; genetics; myocardial infarction
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol are heritable, modifiable, risk factors for coronary artery disease. To identify new loci and refine known loci influencing these lipids, we examined 188,578 individuals using genome-wide and custom genotyping arrays. We identify and annotate 157 loci associated with lipid levels at P < 5×10−8, including 62 loci not previously associated with lipid levels in humans. Using dense genotyping in individuals of European, East Asian, South Asian, and African ancestry, we narrow association signals in 12 loci. We find that loci associated with blood lipids are often associated with cardiovascular and metabolic traits including coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, blood pressure, waist-hip ratio, and body mass index. Our results illustrate the value of genetic data from individuals of diverse ancestries and provide insights into biological mechanisms regulating blood lipids to guide future genetic, biological, and therapeutic research.
Hypertension is a risk factor for coronary artery disease. Recent genome-wide association studies have identified 30 genetic variants associated with higher blood pressure at genome-wide significance (p<5×10−8). If elevated blood pressure is a causative factor for coronary artery disease, these variants should also increase coronary artery disease risk. Analyzing genome-wide association data from 22,233 coronary artery disease cases and 64,762 controls, we observed in the Coronary artery disease Genome-Wide Replication And Meta-Analysis (CARDIoGRAM) consortium that 88% of these blood pressure-associated polymorphisms were likewise positively associated with coronary artery disease, i.e. they had an odds ratio >1 for coronary artery disease, a proportion much higher than expected by chance (p=4.10−5). The average relative coronary artery disease risk increase per each of the multiple blood pressure-raising alleles observed in the consortium was 3.0% for systolic blood pressure-associated polymorphisms (95% confidence interval, 1.8 to 4.3%) and 2.9% for diastolic blood pressure-associated polymorphisms (95% confidence interval, 1.7 to 4.1%). In sub-studies, individuals carrying most systolic blood pressure- and diastolic blood pressure-related risk alleles (top quintile of a genetic risk score distribution) had 70% (95% confidence interval, 50-94%) and 59% (95% confidence interval, 40-81%) higher odds of having coronary artery disease, respectively, as compared to individuals in the bottom quintile. In conclusion, most blood pressure-associated polymorphisms also confer an increased risk for coronary artery disease. These findings are consistent with a causal relationship of increasing blood pressure to coronary artery disease. Genetic variants primarily affecting blood pressure contribute to the genetic basis of coronary artery disease.
Blood pressure; polymorphism; genetics; coronary artery disease
Triglycerides are transported in plasma by specific triglyceride-rich lipoproteins; in epidemiologic studies, increased triglyceride levels correlate with higher risk for coronary artery disease (CAD). However, it is unclear whether this association reflects causal processes. We used 185 common variants recently mapped for plasma lipids (P<5×10−8 for each) to examine the role of triglycerides on risk for CAD. First, we highlight loci associated with both low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglycerides, and show that the direction and magnitude of both are factors in determining CAD risk. Second, we consider loci with only a strong magnitude of association with triglycerides and show that these loci are also associated with CAD. Finally, in a model accounting for effects on LDL-C and/or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, a polymorphism's strength of effect on triglycerides is correlated with the magnitude of its effect on CAD risk. These results suggest that triglyceride-rich lipoproteins causally influence risk for CAD.
Inter-individual variation in mean leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is associated with cancer and several age-associated diseases. Here, in a genome-wide meta-analysis of 37,684 individuals with replication of selected variants in a further 10,739 individuals, we identified seven loci, including five novel loci, associated with mean LTL (P<5x10−8). Five of the loci contain genes (TERC, TERT, NAF1, OBFC1, RTEL1) that are known to be involved in telomere biology. Lead SNPs at two loci (TERC and TERT) associate with several cancers and other diseases, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Moreover, a genetic risk score analysis combining lead variants at all seven loci in 22,233 coronary artery disease cases and 64,762 controls showed an association of the alleles associated with shorter LTL with increased risk of CAD (21% (95% CI: 5–35%) per standard deviation in LTL, p=0.014). Our findings support a causal role of telomere length variation in some age-related diseases.
Approaches exploiting extremes of the trait distribution may reveal novel loci for common traits, but it is unknown whether such loci are generalizable to the general population. In a genome-wide search for loci associated with upper vs. lower 5th percentiles of body mass index, height and waist-hip ratio, as well as clinical classes of obesity including up to 263,407 European individuals, we identified four new loci (IGFBP4, H6PD, RSRC1, PPP2R2A) influencing height detected in the tails and seven new loci (HNF4G, RPTOR, GNAT2, MRPS33P4, ADCY9, HS6ST3, ZZZ3) for clinical classes of obesity. Further, we show that there is large overlap in terms of genetic structure and distribution of variants between traits based on extremes and the general population and little etiologic heterogeneity between obesity subgroups.
Purpose of review
In this review, we will highlight recent advances in identifying genes and gene regions responsible for the variation in serum lipid levels. We will also consider the next directions for research based on these advances.
Large-scale genome-wide association studies have successfully screened common variants across the genome for association with serum lipids and have generated novel hypotheses about the causes of serum lipid variation.
Deep sequencing of GWA signals promises to expand the catalog of variants responsible for serum lipid variation and with a full catalog of variants, we may develop a panel of polymorphisms with clinical utility. In parallel, functional exploration of the GWA signals should expand our knowledge of lipoprotein metabolism and generate targets for pharmacologic intervention.
genetics; cholesterol; genome-wide association; lipids; triglycerides
We performed a meta-analysis of 2 genome-wide association studies of
coronary artery disease comprising 1,515 cases with coronary artery disease and
5,019 controls, followed by de novo replication studies in
15,460 cases and 11,472 controls, all of Chinese Han descent. We successfully
identified four new loci for coronary artery disease reaching genome-wide
significance (P < 5 × 10−8),
which mapped in or near TTC32-WDR35, GUCY1A3,
C6orf10-BTNL2 and ATP2B1. We also
replicated four loci previously identified in European populations
(PHACTR1, TCF21, CDKN2A/B
and C12orf51). These findings provide new insights into
biological pathways for the susceptibility of coronary artery disease in Chinese
Diabetes mellitus is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD), renal failure, retinopathy, and neuropathy. Lowering glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) as well as low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) has been associated with a decreased risk of these complications. We evaluated the utility of glycated albumin (GA) and direct LDL-C, 2 novel assays, as compared to HbA1c and calculated LDL-C, in evaluating diabetes control and lipid in a heterogeneous population and in specific subgroups of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
We obtained fasting blood samples and measured HbA1c, GA, and direct LDL-C, as well as other parameters, in a multi-ethnic population of 616 male and female patients with type 2 diabetes and 895 non-diabetic controls.
HbA1c and GA levels, which measure different periods of glycemia, had a correlation of r=0.70 (p<0.001), and mean values in patients were 38.7% and 43.4% higher, respectively, than controls in men, and 41.1% and 40.1% higher, respectively, than controls, in women (both p<0.001). Calculated and direct LDL-C values correlated very highly (r=0.96, p<0.001). The correlations between HbA1c and GA, and between calculated and direct LDL-C were similar for subgroups defined by gender, race, age, and other factors.
Calculated LDL-C provides an accurate assessment of fasting LDL-C compared with a direct measurement in most subjects, except for those with hypertriglyceridemia, and GA correlates with HbA1c in diabetic and non-diabetic subjects and may serve as a reasonable marker of short term diabetic control.
glycated albumin; low density lipoprotein cholesterol; type 2 diabetes
Apo E mutants are associated with type III hyperlipoproteinemia characterized by high cholesterol and triglycerides levels. Autosomal Dominant Hypercholesterolemia (ADH), due to mutations in the LDLR, APOB or PCSK9 genes, is characterized by an isolated elevation of cholesterol due to high levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL).
We now report an exceptionally large family including 14 members with ADH. Through genome wide mapping, analysis of regional/functional candidate genes and whole exome sequencing, we identified a mutation in the APOE gene, p.Leu167del previously reported associated with sea-blue histiocytosis and familial combined hyperlipidemia. We confirmed the involvement of the APOE p.Leu167del in ADH, with (1) a predicted destabilization of an alpha-helix in the binding domain; (2) a decreased apo E level in LDL; and (3) a decreased catabolism of LDL.
Our results show that mutations in the APOE gene can be associated with bona fide ADH.
Apolipoproteine E; Autosomal Dominant Hypercholesterolemia (ADH); mutation; low-density lipoproteins (LDL); linkage analysis
This study evaluated the association of timing of lipid levels and lipid genetic risk score (GRS) with subclinical atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a slowly progressive disorder influenced by suboptimal lipid levels. Long-term versus contemporary lipid levels may more strongly impact the development of coronary artery calcium (CAC).
Framingham Heart Study (FHS) Offspring Cohort participants (n=1156, 44%M, 63±9 years) underwent serial fasting lipids [low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein, and triglycerides], Exam 1 (1971–1975) – Exam 7 (1998–2001). FHS Third Generation Cohort participants (n=1954, 55%M, 45±6 years) had fasting lipid profiles assessed, 2002–2005. Computed tomography (2002–2005) measured CAC. Lipid GRSs were computed from significantly associated single nucleotide polymorphisms. The association between early, long-term average, and contemporary lipids, and lipid GRS, with elevated CAC was assessed using logistic regression.
In FHS Offspring, Exam 1 and long-term average versus Exam 7 lipid measurements, including untreated lipid levels, were strongly associated with elevated CAC. In the FHS Third Generation, contemporary lipids were associated with CAC. The LDL-C GRS was associated with CAC (age/sex-adjusted OR 1.14, 95%CI 1.00–1.29, p=0.04). However, addition of the GRS to the lipid models did not result in a significant increase in the OR or C-statistic for any lipid measure.
Early and long-term average lipid levels, as compared with contemporary measures, are more strongly associated with elevated CAC. Lipid GRS was associated with lipid levels but did not predict elevated CAC. Adult early and long-term average lipid levels provide important information when assessing subclinical atherosclerosis and cardiovascular risk.
Lipids; Genetic risk score; Coronary artery calcium
Diminished serum paraoxonase and arylesterase activities (measures of paraoxonase-1 [PON-1] function) in humans have been linked to heightened systemic oxidative stress and atherosclerosis risk. The clinical prognostic utility of measuring distinct PON1 activities has not been established, and the genetic determinants of PON-1 activities are not known.
Methods and Results
We established analytically robust high throughput assays for serum paraoxonase and arylesterase activities and measured these in 3,668 stable subjects undergoing elective coronary angiography without acute coronary syndrome, and were prospectively followed for major adverse cardiac events (MACE = death, myocardial infarction, stroke) over 3 years. Low serum arylesterase and paraoxonase activities were both associated with increased risk for MACE, with arylesterase activity showing greatest prognostic value (Q4 versus Q1, Hazard Ratio [HR] 2.63, 95%CI 1.97–3.50, p<0.01). Arylesterase remained significant after adjusting for traditional risk factors, C-reactive protein, and creatinine clearance (HR 2.20, 95%CI 1.60–3.02, p<0.01), predicted future development of MACE in both primary and secondary prevention populations, and reclassified risk categories incrementally to traditional clinical variables. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) identified distinct SNPs within the PON-1 gene that were highly significantly associated with serum paraoxonase (1.18×10−303) or arylesterase (4.99×10−116) activity but these variants were not associated with either 3-year MACE risk in an angiographic cohort (n=2,136) or history of either coronary artery disease or myocardial infarction in the CARDIoGRAM consortium (n~80,000 subjects).
Diminished serum arylesterase activity, but not the genetic determinants of PON-1 functional measures, provides incremental prognostic value and clinical reclassification of stable subjects at risk of developing MACE.
paraoxonase 1 gene; coronary artery disease; oxidative stress; arylesterase activity
Limited information is available regarding genetic contributions to valvular calcification, which is an important precursor of clinical valve disease.
We determined genomewide associations with the presence of aorticvalve calcification (among 6942 participants) and mitral annular calcification (among 3795 participants), as detected by computed tomographic (CT) scanning; the study population for this analysis included persons of white European ancestry from three cohorts participating in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology consortium (discovery population). Findings were replicated in independent cohorts of persons with either CT-detected valvular calcification or clinical aortic stenosis.
One SNP in the lipoprotein(a) (LPA) locus (rs10455872) reached genomewide significance for the presence of aorticvalve calcification (odds ratio per allele, 2.05; P = 9.0×10−10), a finding that was replicated in additional white European, African-American, and Hispanic-American cohorts (P<0.05 for all comparisons). Genetically determined Lp(a) levels, as predicted by LPA genotype, were also associated with aorticvalve calcification, supporting a causal role for Lp(a). In prospective analyses, LPA genotype was associated with incident aortic stenosis (hazard ratio per allele, 1.68; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.32 to 2.15) and aortic-valve replacement (hazard ratio, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.05 to 2.27) in a large Swedish cohort; the association with incident aortic stenosis was also replicated in an independent Danish cohort. Two SNPs (rs17659543 and rs13415097) near the proinflammatory gene IL1F9 achieved genomewide significance for mitral annular calcification (P = 1.5×10−8 and P = 1.8×10−8, respectively), but the findings were not replicated consistently.
Genetic variation in the LPA locus, mediated by Lp(a) levels, is associated with aorticvalve calcification across multiple ethnic groups and with incident clinical aortic stenosis. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and others.)