Central obesity, measured by waist circumference (WC) or waist-hip ratio (WHR), is a marker of body fat distribution. Although obesity disproportionately affects minority populations, few studies have conducted genome-wide association study (GWAS) of fat distribution among those of predominantly African ancestry (AA). We performed GWAS of WC and WHR, adjusted and unadjusted for BMI, in up to 33,591 and 27,350 AA individuals, respectively. We identified loci associated with fat distribution in AA individuals using meta-analyses of GWA results for WC and WHR (stage 1). Overall, 25 SNPs with single genomic control (GC)-corrected p-values<5.0×10−6 were followed-up (stage 2) in AA with WC and with WHR. Additionally, we interrogated genomic regions of previously identified European ancestry (EA) WHR loci among AA. In joint analysis of association results including both Stage 1 and 2 cohorts, 2 SNPs demonstrated association, rs2075064 at LHX2, p = 2.24×10−8 for WC-adjusted-for-BMI, and rs6931262 at RREB1, p = 2.48×10−8 for WHR-adjusted-for-BMI. However, neither signal was genome-wide significant after double GC-correction (LHX2: p = 6.5×10−8; RREB1: p = 5.7×10−8). Six of fourteen previously reported loci for waist in EA populations were significant (p<0.05 divided by the number of independent SNPs within the region) in AA studied here (TBX15-WARS2, GRB14, ADAMTS9, LY86, RSPO3, ITPR2-SSPN). Further, we observed associations with metabolic traits: rs13389219 at GRB14 associated with HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and fasting insulin, and rs13060013 at ADAMTS9 with HDL-cholesterol and fasting insulin. Finally, we observed nominal evidence for sexual dimorphism, with stronger results in AA women at the GRB14 locus (p for interaction = 0.02). In conclusion, we identified two suggestive loci associated with fat distribution in AA populations in addition to confirming 6 loci previously identified in populations of EA. These findings reinforce the concept that there are fat distribution loci that are independent of generalized adiposity.
Central obesity is a marker of body fat distribution and is known to have a genetic underpinning. Few studies have reported genome-wide association study (GWAS) results among individuals of predominantly African ancestry (AA). We performed a collaborative meta-analysis in order to identify genetic loci associated with body fat distribution in AA individuals using waist circumference (WC) and waist to hip ratio (WHR) as measures of fat distribution, with and without adjustment for body mass index (BMI). We uncovered 2 genetic loci potentially associated with fat distribution: LHX2 in association with WC-adjusted-for-BMI and at RREB1 for WHR-adjusted-for-BMI. Six of fourteen previously reported loci for waist in EA populations were significant in AA studied here (TBX15-WARS2, GRB14, ADAMTS9, LY86, RSPO3, ITPR2-SSPN). These findings reinforce the concept that there are loci for body fat distribution that are independent of generalized adiposity.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the major cause of death in the United States. Coronary artery calcification (CAC) scores are independent predictors of CHD. African Americans (AA) have higher rates of CHD but are less well-studied in genomic studies. We assembled the largest AA data resource currently available with measured CAC to identify associated genetic variants.
We analyzed log transformed CAC quantity (ln(CAC + 1)), for association with ~2.5 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and performed an inverse-variance weighted meta-analysis on results for 5,823 AA from 8 studies. Heritability was calculated using family studies. The most significant SNPs among AAs were evaluated in European Ancestry (EA) CAC data; conversely, the significance of published SNPs for CAC/CHD in EA was queried within our AA meta-analysis.
Heritability of CAC was lower in AA (~30%) than previously reported for EA (~50%). No SNP reached genome wide significance (p < 5E-08). Of 67 SNPs with p < 1E-05 in AA there was no evidence of association in EA CAC data. Four SNPs in regions previously implicated in CAC/CHD (at 9p21 and PHACTR1) in EA reached nominal significance for CAC in AA, with concordant direction. Among AA, rs16905644 (p = 4.08E-05) had the strongest association in the 9p21 region.
While we observed substantial heritability for CAC in AA, we failed to identify loci for CAC at genome-wide significant levels despite having adequate power to detect alleles with moderate to large effects. Although suggestive signals in AA were apparent at 9p21 and additional CAC and CAD EA loci, overall the data suggest that even larger samples and an ethnic specific focus will be required for GWAS discoveries for CAC in AA populations.
Atherosclerosis; Coronary artery calcium; Genetics; Meta-analysis; African-American
Adiponectin is a protein hormone that can affect major metabolic processes including glucose regulation and fat metabolism. Our previous genome-wide association (GWA) study of circulating plasma adiponectin levels in Filipino women from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey (CLHNS) detected a 100 kb two-SNP haplotype at KNG1–ADIPOQ associated with reduced adiponectin (frequency = 0.050, P = 1.8 × 10−25). Subsequent genotyping of CLHNS young adult offspring detected an uncommon variant [minor allele frequency (MAF) = 0.025] located ∼800 kb from ADIPOQ that showed strong association with lower adiponectin levels (P = 2.7 × 10−15, n = 1695) and tagged a subset of KNG1–ADIPOQ haplotype carriers with even lower adiponectin levels. Sequencing of the ADIPOQ-coding region detected variant R221S (MAF = 0.015, P = 2.9 × 10−69), which explained 17.1% of the variance in adiponectin levels and largely accounted for the initial GWA signal in Filipinos. R221S was not present in 12 514 Europeans with previously sequenced exons. To explore the mechanism of this substitution, we re-measured adiponectin level in 20 R221S offspring carriers and 20 non-carriers using two alternative antibodies and determined that the presence of R221S resulted in artificially low quantification of adiponectin level using the original immunoassay. These data provide an example of an uncommon variant responsible for a GWA signal and demonstrate that genetic associations with phenotypes measured by antibody-based quantification methods can be affected by uncommon coding SNPs residing in the antibody target region.
Recent studies suggest that rare variants play an important role in the etiology of many traits. Although a number of methods have been developed for genetic association analysis of rare variants, they all assume a relatively homogeneous population under study. Such an assumption may not be valid for samples collected from admixed populations such as African Americans and Hispanic Americans as there is a great extent of local variation in ancestry in these populations. To ensure valid and more powerful rare variant association tests performed in admixed populations, we have developed a local ancestry-based weighted dosage test, which is able to take into account local ancestry of rare alleles, uncertainties in rare variant imputation when imputed data are included, and the direction of effect that rare variants exert on phenotypic outcome. We used simulated sequence data to show that our proposed test has controlled type I error rates, whereas naïve application of existing rare variants tests and tests that adjust for global ancestry lead to inflated type I error rates. We showed that our test has higher power than tests without proper adjustment of ancestry. We also applied the proposed method to a candidate gene study on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Our results suggest that it is important to appropriately control for potential population stratification induced by local ancestry difference in the analysis of rare variants in admixed populations.
admixed population; rare variants; population stratification
Red blood cell, white blood cell, and platelet measures, including their count, sub-type and volume, are important diagnostic and prognostic clinical parameters for several human diseases. To identify novel loci associated with hematological traits, and compare the architecture of these phenotypes between ethnic groups, the CARe Project genotyped 49,094 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that capture variation in ~2,100 candidate genes in DNA of 23,439 Caucasians and 7,112 African Americans from five population-based cohorts. We found strong novel associations between erythrocyte phenotypes and the glucose-6 phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) A-allele in African Americans (rs1050828, P < 2.0 × 10−13, T-allele associated with lower red blood cell count, hemoglobin, and hematocrit, and higher mean corpuscular volume), and between platelet count and a SNP at the tropomyosin-4 (TPM4) locus (rs8109288, P = 3.0 × 10−7 in Caucasians; P = 3.0 × 10−7 in African Americans, T-allele associated with lower platelet count). We strongly replicated many genetic associations to blood cell phenotypes previously established in Caucasians. A common variant of the α-globin (HBA2-HBA1) locus was associated with red blood cell traits in African Americans, but not in Caucasians (rs1211375, P < 7 × 10−8, A-allele associated with lower hemoglobin, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, and mean corpuscular volume). Our results show similarities but also differences in the genetic regulation of hematological traits in European- and African-derived populations, and highlight the role of natural selection in shaping these differences.
Polymorphisms in several distinct genomic regions, including the F7 gene, were recently associated with factor VII (FVII) levels in European Americans (EAs). The genetic determinants of FVII in African Americans (AAs) are unknown. We used a 50 000 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) gene-centric array having dense coverage of over 2 000 candidate genes for cardiovascular disease (CVD) pathways in a community-based sample of 16 324 EA and 3898 AA participants from the Candidate Gene Association Resource (CARe) consortium. Our aim was the discovery of new genomic loci and more detailed characterization of existing loci associated with FVII levels. In EAs, we identified three new loci associated with FVII, of which APOA5 on chromosome 11q23 and HNF4A on chromosome 20q12–13 were replicated in a sample of 4289 participants from the Whitehall II study. We confirmed four previously reported FVII-associated loci (GCKR, MS4A6A, F7 and PROCR) in CARe EA samples. In AAs, the F7 and PROCR regions were significantly associated with FVII. Several of the FVII-associated regions are known to be associated with lipids and other cardiovascular-related traits. At the F7 locus, there was evidence of at least five independently associated SNPs in EAs and three independent signals in AAs. Though the variance in FVII explained by the existing loci is substantial (20% in EA and 10% in AA), larger sample sizes and investigation of lower frequency variants may be required to identify additional FVII-associated loci in EAs and AAs and further clarify the relationship between FVII and other CVD risk factors.
Polymorphisms within the ICAM1 structural gene have been shown to influence circulating levels of soluble intercellular adhesion molecule -1 (sICAM-1) but their relation to atherosclerosis has not been clearly established. We sought to determine whether ICAM1 SNPs are associated with circulating sICAM-1 concentration, coronary artery calcium (CAC), and common and internal carotid intima medial thickness (IMT).
Methods and Results
3,550 black and white Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study subjects who participated in the year 15 and/or 20 examinations and were part of the Young Adult Longitudinal Study of Antioxidants (YALTA) ancillary study were included in this analysis. In whites, rs5498 was significantly associated with sICAM-1 (p < 0.001) and each G-allele of rs5498 was associated with 5% higher sICAM-1 concentration. In blacks, each C-allele of rs5490 was associated with 6 % higher sICAM-1 level; this SNP was in strong linkage disequilibrium with rs5491, a functional variant. Subclinical measurements of atherosclerosis in either year 15 or year 20 were not significantly related to ICAM1 SNPs.
In CARDIA, ICAM1 DNA segment variants were associated with sICAM-1 protein level including the novel finding that levels differ by the functional variant rs5491. However, ICAM1 SNPs were not strongly related to either IMT or CAC. Our findings in CARDIA suggest that ICAM1 variants are not major early contributors to subclinical atherosclerosis.
cell adhesion molecules; atherosclerosis; coronary calcium; genetics; inflammation
Recent genome-wide association (GWA) studies have related several genetic loci, including CRP, HNF1A and LEPR, to circulating C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in populations of European ancestry. The genetic effects in other populations and across varying levels of exposure to a pathogenic environment, an important environmental factor associated with CRP, remain to be determined. We tested 2,073,674 SNPs for association with plasma CRP (limited to ≤ 10 mg/L) in 1,709 unrelated Filipino women from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey (CLHNS). The strongest evidence of association was observed with variants at CRP (rs876537, P = 1.4 × 10−9) and HNF1A (rs7305618, P = 1.0 × 10−8). Among other previously reported CRP associated loci, the APOE ε4 haplotype was associated with decreased CRP level (P = 7.1 × 10−4), and modest association was observed with LEPR (rs1892534, P = 0.076), with direction of effects consistent with previous studies. The strongest signal at a locus not previously reported mapped to a gene desert region on chromosome 6q16.1 (rs1408282, P = 2.9 × 10−6). Finally, we observed nominal evidence of interaction with exposure to a pathogenic environment for top main effect SNPs at HNF1A (rs7305618, P = 0.031), LEPR (rs1892535, P = 0.030) and 6q16.1 (rs1408282, P = 0.046). Our findings demonstrate convincing evidence that genetic variants in CRP and HNF1A contribute to plasma CRP in Filipino women, and provide the first evidence that exposure to a pathogenic environment may modify the genetic influence at the HNF1A, LEPR and 6q16.1 loci on plasma CRP level.
C-reactive protein; genome-wide association; Filipino women; gene-environment interaction
Several genetic variants associated with platelet count and mean platelet volume
(MPV) were recently reported in people of European ancestry. In this
meta-analysis of 7 genome-wide association studies (GWAS) enrolling African
Americans, our aim was to identify novel genetic variants associated with
platelet count and MPV. For all cohorts, GWAS analysis was performed using
additive models after adjusting for age, sex, and population stratification. For
both platelet phenotypes, meta-analyses were conducted using inverse-variance
weighted fixed-effect models. Platelet aggregation assays in whole blood were
performed in the participants of the GeneSTAR cohort. Genetic variants in ten
independent regions were associated with platelet count
(N = 16,388) with p<5×10−8 of
which 5 have not been associated with platelet count in previous GWAS. The novel
genetic variants associated with platelet count were in the following regions
(the most significant SNP, closest gene, and p-value): 6p22 (rs12526480,
LRRC16A, p = 9.1×10−9), 7q11
(rs13236689, CD36, p = 2.8×10−9),
10q21 (rs7896518, JMJD1C,
p = 2.3×10−12), 11q13 (rs477895,
BAD, p = 4.9×10−8), and 20q13
(rs151361, SLMO2, p = 9.4×10−9).
Three of these loci (10q21, 11q13, and 20q13) were replicated in European
Americans (N = 14,909) and one (11q13) in Hispanic
Americans (N = 3,462). For MPV
(N = 4,531), genetic variants in 3 regions were significant
at p<5×10−8, two of which were also associated with
platelet count. Previously reported regions that were also significant in this
study were 6p21, 6q23, 7q22, 12q24, and 19p13 for platelet count and 7q22,
17q11, and 19p13 for MPV. The most significant SNP in 1 region was also
associated with ADP-induced maximal platelet aggregation in whole blood (12q24).
Thus through a meta-analysis of GWAS enrolling African Americans, we have
identified 5 novel regions associated with platelet count of which 3 were
replicated in other ethnic groups. In addition, we also found one region
associated with platelet aggregation that may play a potential role in
The majority of the variation in platelet count and mean platelet volume between
individuals is heritable. We performed genome-wide association studies in more
than 16,000 African American participants from seven population-based cohorts to
identify genetic variants that correlate with variation in platelet count and
mean platelet volume. We observed statistically significant evidence
(p-value<5×10−8) that 10 genomic regions were
associated with platelet count and 3 were associated with mean platelet volume.
Of the regions that were significantly associated, we found 5 novel regions that
were not reported previously in other populations. Three of these 5 regions were
also associated with platelet count in European Americans and Hispanic
Americans. All these regions contain genes that are either known to have or
potentially may have a role in determining platelet count and/or mean platelet
volume. We further found that one of these regions was also associated with
agonist-induced platelet aggregation. Further studies will determine the exact
role played by these genomic regions in platelet biology. The knowledge
generated by this and other studies will not only help us better understand
platelet biology but can also lead us to the discovery of new anti-platelet
C-reactive protein (CRP) is a component of non-specific immune defense and is a reliable marker of low-grade inflammation involved in obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in middle-aged and elderly populations, predominantly of European descent, demonstrated associations of CRP levels with SNPs at several loci. To examine whether the variants identified are replicated in Filipino young adults, we applied Tobit regression models to study the association of plasma CRP with 12 SNPs at seven loci in a cohort of 1,691 Filipino young adults (aged 21.5 ± 0.3 years) from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey (CLHNS). SNPs in or near CRP (P = 3.2 × 10-11), HNF1A, IL6R, APOE-APOC1 and LEPR showed significant associations (P < 0.05) and together explained 4.8% of the total variation in CRP. Modest interactions were observed between LEPR rs1892534 and waist circumference (uncorrected Pinteraction = 0.020) and between APOE rs769449 and pathogen exposure (uncorrected Pinteraction = 0.0073) in models predicting CRP. Our results demonstrated that variants in several loci are significantly associated with plasma CRP in Filipino young adults, suggesting shared genetic influences on circulating CRP across populations and age groups.
C-reactive protein (CRP); Filipinos; genetic association; interaction; SNP; young adults
Adiponectin is an adipocyte-secreted protein involved in a variety of metabolic processes, including glucose regulation and fatty acid catabolism. We conducted a genome-wide association study to investigate the genetic loci associated with plasma adiponectin in 1776 unrelated Filipino women from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey (CLHNS). Our strongest signal for adiponectin mapped to the gene CDH13 (rs3865188, P ≤ 7.2 × 10−16), which encodes a receptor for high-molecular-weight forms of adiponectin. Strong association was also detected near the ADIPOQ gene (rs864265, P = 3.8 × 10−9) and at a novel signal 100 kb upstream near KNG1 (rs11924390, P = 7.6 × 10−7). All three signals were also observed in 1774 young adult CLHNS offspring and in combined analysis including all 3550 mothers and offspring samples (all P ≤ 1.6 × 10−9). An uncommon haplotype of rs11924390 and rs864265 (haplotype frequency = 0.050) was strongly associated with lower adiponectin compared with the most common C–G haplotype in both CLHNS mothers (P = 1.8 × 10−25) and offspring (P = 8.7 × 10−32). Comprehensive imputation of 2653 SNPs in a 2 Mb region using as reference combined CHB, JPT and CEU haplotypes from the 1000 Genomes Project revealed no variants that perfectly tagged this haplotype. Our findings provide the first genome-wide significant evidence of association with plasma adiponectin at the CDH13 locus and identify a novel uncommon KNG1–ADIPOQ haplotype strongly associated with adiponectin levels in Filipinos.
Increased values of multiple adiposity-related anthropometric traits are important risk factors for many common complex diseases. We performed a genome-wide association (GWA) study for four quantitative traits related to body size and adiposity (body mass index [BMI], weight, waist circumference, and height) in a cohort of 1,792 adult Filipino women from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey. This is the first GWA study of anthropometric traits in Filipinos, a population experiencing a rapid transition into a more obesogenic environment. In addition to identifying suggestive evidence of additional SNP association signals (P < 10−5), we replicated (P < 0.05, same direction of additive effect) associations previously reported in European populations of both BMI and weight with MC4R and FTO, of BMI with BDNF, and of height with EFEMP1, ZBTB38, and NPPC, but none with waist circumference. We also replicated loci reported in Japanese or Korean populations as associated with BMI (OTOL1) and height (HIST1H1PS2, C14orf145, GPC5). A difference in local linkage disequilibrium between European and Asian populations suggests a narrowed association region for BDNF, while still including a proposed functional non-synonymous amino acid substitution variant (rs6265, Val66Met). Finally, we observed significant evidence (P < 0.0042) for age-by-genotype interactions influencing BMI for rs17782313 (MC4R) and rs9939609 (FTO), and for a study year-by-genotype interaction for rs4923461 (BDNF). Our results show that several genetic risk factors are associated with anthropometric traits in Filipinos and provide further insight into the effects of BDNF, FTO, and MC4R on BMI.
Total white blood cell (WBC) and neutrophil counts are lower among individuals of African descent due to the common African-derived “null” variant of the Duffy Antigen Receptor for Chemokines (DARC) gene. Additional common genetic polymorphisms were recently associated with total WBC and WBC sub-type levels in European and Japanese populations. No additional loci that account for WBC variability have been identified in African Americans. In order to address this, we performed a large genome-wide association study (GWAS) of total WBC and cell subtype counts in 16,388 African-American participants from 7 population-based cohorts available in the Continental Origins and Genetic Epidemiology Network. In addition to the DARC locus on chromosome 1q23, we identified two other regions (chromosomes 4q13 and 16q22) associated with WBC in African Americans (P<2.5×10−8). The lead SNP (rs9131) on chromosome 4q13 is located in the CXCL2 gene, which encodes a chemotactic cytokine for polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Independent evidence of the novel CXCL2 association with WBC was present in 3,551 Hispanic Americans, 14,767 Japanese, and 19,509 European Americans. The index SNP (rs12149261) on chromosome 16q22 associated with WBC count is located in a large inter-chromosomal segmental duplication encompassing part of the hydrocephalus inducing homolog (HYDIN) gene. We demonstrate that the chromosome 16q22 association finding is most likely due to a genotyping artifact as a consequence of sequence similarity between duplicated regions on chromosomes 16q22 and 1q21. Among the WBC loci recently identified in European or Japanese populations, replication was observed in our African-American meta-analysis for rs445 of CDK6 on chromosome 7q21 and rs4065321 of PSMD3-CSF3 region on chromosome 17q21. In summary, the CXCL2, CDK6, and PSMD3-CSF3 regions are associated with WBC count in African American and other populations. We also demonstrate that large inter-chromosomal duplications can result in false positive associations in GWAS.
Although recent genome-wide association studies have identified common genetic variants associated with total white blood cell (WBC) and WBC sub-type counts in European and Japanese ancestry populations, whether these or other loci account for differences in WBC count among African Americans is unknown. By examining >16,000 African Americans, we show that, in addition to the previously identified Duffy Antigen Receptor for Chemokines (DARC) locus on chromosome 1, another variant, rs9131, and other nearby variants on human chromosome 4 are associated with total WBC count in African Americans. The variants span the CXCL2 gene, which encodes an inflammatory mediator involved in WBC production and migration. We show that the association is not restricted to African Americans but is also present in independent samples of European Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Japanese. This finding is potentially important because WBC mediate or have altered counts in a variety of acute and chronic disorders.
Plasma homocysteine (Hcy) level is associated with cardiovascular disease and may play an etiologic role in vascular damage, a precursor for atherosclerosis. We performed a genome-wide association study for Hcy in 1786 unrelated Filipino women from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey (CLHNS). The most strongly associated single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (rs7422339, P = 4.7 × 10−13) encodes Thr1405Asn in the gene CPS1 and explained 3.0% of variation in the Hcy level. The widely studied MTHFR C677T SNP (rs1801133) was also highly significant (P = 8.7 × 10−10) and explained 1.6% of the trait variation. We also genotyped these two SNPs in 1679 CLHNS young adult offspring. The MTHFR C677T SNP was strongly associated with Hcy (P = 1.9 × 10−26) and explained ∼5.1% of the variation in the offspring. In contrast, the CPS1 variant was significant only in females (P = 0.11 in all; P = 0.0087 in females). Combined analysis of all samples confirmed that the MTHFR variant was more strongly associated with Hcy in the offspring (interaction P = 1.2 × 10−5). Furthermore, although there was evidence for a positive synergistic effect between the CPS1 and MTHFR SNPs in the offspring (interaction P = 0.0046), there was no significant evidence for an interaction in the mothers (P = 0.55). These data confirm a recent finding that CPS1 is a locus influencing Hcy levels in women and suggest that genetic effects on Hcy may differ across developmental stages.
While genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have primarily examined populations of European ancestry, more recent studies often involve additional populations, including admixed populations such as African Americans and Latinos. In admixed populations, linkage disequilibrium (LD) exists both at a fine scale in ancestral populations and at a coarse scale (admixture-LD) due to chromosomal segments of distinct ancestry. Disease association statistics in admixed populations have previously considered SNP association (LD mapping) or admixture association (mapping by admixture-LD), but not both. Here, we introduce a new statistical framework for combining SNP and admixture association in case-control studies, as well as methods for local ancestry-aware imputation. We illustrate the gain in statistical power achieved by these methods by analyzing data of 6,209 unrelated African Americans from the CARe project genotyped on the Affymetrix 6.0 chip, in conjunction with both simulated and real phenotypes, as well as by analyzing the FGFR2 locus using breast cancer GWAS data from 5,761 African-American women. We show that, at typed SNPs, our method yields an 8% increase in statistical power for finding disease risk loci compared to the power achieved by standard methods in case-control studies. At imputed SNPs, we observe an 11% increase in statistical power for mapping disease loci when our local ancestry-aware imputation framework and the new scoring statistic are jointly employed. Finally, we show that our method increases statistical power in regions harboring the causal SNP in the case when the causal SNP is untyped and cannot be imputed. Our methods and our publicly available software are broadly applicable to GWAS in admixed populations.
This paper presents improved methodologies for the analysis of genome-wide association studies in admixed populations, which are populations that came about by the mixing of two or more distant continental populations over a few hundred years (e.g., African Americans or Latinos). Studies of admixed populations offer the promise of capturing additional genetic diversity compared to studies over homogeneous populations such as Europeans. In admixed populations, correlation between genetic variants exists both at a fine scale in the ancestral populations and at a coarse scale due to chromosomal segments of distinct ancestry. Disease association statistics in admixed populations have previously considered either one or the other type of correlation, but not both. In this work we develop novel statistical methods that account for both types of genetic correlation, and we show that the combined approach attains greater statistical power than that achieved by applying either approach separately. We provide analysis of simulated and real data from major studies performed in African-American men and women to show the improvement obtained by our methods over the standard methods for analyzing association studies in admixed populations.
Thrombosis and inflammation are critical in stroke etiology, but associations of coagulation and inflammation gene variants with stroke, and particularly factor VII levels are inconclusive.
To test the associations between 736 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) between tagging haplotype patterns of 130 coagulation and inflammation genes, and stroke events in the 5,888 participants ≥ 65 of the observational Cardiovascular Health Study cohort.
/Methods: With 16 years of follow-up, age and sex-adjusted Cox models were used to estimate associations of SNPs and factor VIIc levels with future stroke.
815 strokes occurred in 5,255 genotyped participants without baseline stroke (748 ischemic strokes, 586 among whites). Among whites, 6 SNPs were associated with stroke with a nominal p <0.01: rs6046 and rs3093261 (F7 gene); rs4918851 and rs3781387 (HABP2 gene); rs3138055 (NFKB1A) and rs4648004 (NFKB1). Two of these SNPs were associated with factor VIIc levels (units = percent activity): rs6046 (β = −18.5, p = 2.38 × 10−83) and rs3093261 (β = 2.99, p = 3.93 × 10−6). Adjusting for age, sex, race, and cardiovascular risk factors, the association of factor VIIc quintiles (Q) with stroke were (HR: 95% CI): Q1 (reference); Q2 (1.4; 1.1, 1.9); Q3 (1.1; 0.8, 1.5); Q4 (1.5; 1.1, 2.0); Q5 (1.6; 1.2, 2.2). Associations between SNPs and stroke were independent of factor VIIc levels.
Variation in factor VII-related genes and factor VIIc levels were associated with risk of incident ischemic stroke in this elderly cohort, suggesting a potential causal role for factor VII in stroke etiology.
Stroke; Genetic Epidemiology; factor VII; hemostasis; inflammation; cardiovascular disease risk
Serum concentrations of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and triglycerides (TG) are among the most important risk factors for coronary artery disease (CAD) and are targets for therapeutic intervention. We screened the genome for common variants associated with serum lipids in >100,000 individuals of European ancestry. Here we report 95 significantly associated loci (P < 5 × 10-8), with 59 showing genome-wide significant association with lipid traits for the first time. The newly reported associations include single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) near known lipid regulators (e.g., CYP7A1, NPC1L1, and SCARB1) as well as in scores of loci not previously implicated in lipoprotein metabolism. The 95 loci contribute not only to normal variation in lipid traits but also to extreme lipid phenotypes and impact lipid traits in three non-European populations (East Asians, South Asians, and African Americans). Our results identify several novel loci associated with serum lipids that are also associated with CAD. Finally, we validated three of the novel genes—GALNT2, PPP1R3B, and TTC39B—with experiments in mouse models. Taken together, our findings provide the foundation to develop a broader biological understanding of lipoprotein metabolism and to identify new therapeutic opportunities for the prevention of CAD.
To identify genetic variants associated with birth weight, we meta-analyzed six genome-wide association (GWA) studies (N=10,623 Europeans from pregnancy/birth cohorts) and followed up two lead signals in thirteen replication studies (N=27,591). Rs900400 near LEKR1 and CCNL1 (P=2×10−35), and rs9883204 in ADCY5 (P=7×10−15) were robustly associated with birth weight. Correlated SNPs in ADCY5 were recently implicated in regulation of glucose levels and type 2 diabetes susceptibility,1 providing evidence that the well described association between lower birth weight and subsequent type 2 diabetes2,3 has a genetic component, distinct from the proposed role of programming by maternal nutrition. Using data from both SNPs, the 9% of Europeans with 4 birth weight-lowering alleles were, on average, 113g (95%CI 89-137g) lighter at birth than the 24% with 0 or 1 allele (Ptrend=7×10−30). The impact on birth weight is similar to that of a mother smoking 4-5 cigarettes per day in the third trimester of pregnancy.4
Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is an inflammatory cytokine that influences the development of inflammatory and aging-related disorders and ultimately longevity. In order to study the influence of variants in genes that regulate inflammatory response on IL-6 levels and longevity, we screened a panel of 477 tag SNPs across 87 candidate genes in >5,000 older participants from the population-based Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS). Baseline plasma IL-6 concentration was first confirmed as a strong predictor of all-cause mortality. Functional alleles of the IL6R and PARP1 genes were significantly associated with 15%-20% higher baseline IL-6 concentration per copy among CHS European-American (EA) participants (all p<10−4). In a case/control analysis nested within this EA cohort, the minor allele of PARP1 rs1805415 was nominally associated with decreased longevity (p=0.001), but there was no evidence of association between IL6R genotype and longevity. The PARP1 rs1805415 – longevity association was subsequently replicated in one of two independent case/control studies. In a pooled analysis of all 3 studies, the “risk” of longevity associated with the minor allele of PARP1 rs1805415 was 0.79 (95%CI 0.62 – 1.02; p=0.07). These findings warrant further study of the potential role of PARP1 genotype in inflammatory and aging-related phenotypes.
Inflammation; IL-6; PARP1; Longevity; Genetic Epidemiology
Background & Objectives
Genes encoding protein C anticoagulant pathways are candidates for athero-thrombotic and other aging-related disorders.
Using a tagSNP approach, and data from the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), we assessed associations of common polymorphisms of PROC, PROS1, and PROCR with (1) plasma protein C, soluble protein C receptor (sEPCR), and protein S levels measured in a sub-sample of 336 participants at study entry; (2) risk of incident clinical outcomes (coronary heart disease or CHD, stroke, and mortality) in 4,547 participants during follow-up. Secondarily, we explored associations between plasma protein C, S, and sEPCR levels and other candidate genes involved in thrombosis, inflammation, and aging.
The PROCR Ser219Gly polymorphism (rs867186) was strongly associated with higher sEPCR levels, explaining 75% of the phenotypic variation. The Ser219Gly variant was also associated with higher levels of circulating protein C antigen. An IL10 polymorphism was associated with higher free protein S levels. The minor alleles of PROC rs2069901 and PROS1 rs4857343 were weakly associated with lower protein C and free protein S levels, respectively. There was no association between PROCR Ser219Gly and risk of CHD, stroke, or mortality. The minor allele of another common PROCR tagSNP, rs2069948, was associated with lymphoid PROCR mRNA expression and with increased risk of incident stroke and all-cause mortality, and decreased healthy survival during follow-up.
A common PROCR variant may be associated with decreased healthy survival in older adults. Additional studies are warranted to establish the role of PROCR variants in ischemic and aging-related disorders.
protein C; protein C receptor; protein S; stroke; aging
The transcription factor hepatocyte nuclear factor 1 (HNF-1) α regulates the activity of a number of genes involved in innate immunity, blood coagulation, lipid and glucose transport and metabolism, and cellular detoxification. Common polymorphisms of the HNF-1α gene (HNF1A) were recently associated with plasma C-reactive protein (CRP) and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) concentration in middle-aged to older European-Americans (EA).
Methods and Results
We assessed whether common variants of HNF1A are associated with CRP, GGT, and other atherosclerotic and metabolic risk factors, in the large, population-based CARDIA study of healthy young European-American (EA; n=2,154) and African-American (AA; n=2,083) adults. The minor alleles of Ile27Leu (rs1169288) and Ser486Asn (rs2464196) were associated with 0.10 to 0.15 standard deviation units lower CRP and GGT levels in EA. The same HNF1A coding variants were associated with higher LDL cholesterol, apolipoprotein B, creatinine, and fibrinogen in EA. We replicated the associations between HNF1A coding variants and CRP, fibrinogen, LDL cholesterol, and renal function in a second population-based sample of EA adults 65 years and older from the Cardiovascular Health Study. The HNF1A Ser486Asn and/or Ile27Leu variants were also associated with increased risk of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis in CARDIA and with incident coronary heart disease in CHS. The Ile27Leu and Ser486Asn variants were 3-fold less common than in EA. There was little evidence of association between HNF1A genotype and atherosclerosis-related phenotypes in AA.
Common polymorphisms of HNF1A appear to influence multiple phenotypes related to cardiovascular risk in the general population of younger and older EA adults.
atherosclerosis; genetics; C-reactive protein; HNF-1; gamma glutamyl transferase
The INSIG2 rs7566605 polymorphism was identified for obesity (BMI≥30 kg/m2) in one of the first genome-wide association studies, but replications were inconsistent. We collected statistics from 34 studies (n = 74,345), including general population (GP) studies, population-based studies with subjects selected for conditions related to a better health status (‘healthy population’, HP), and obesity studies (OB). We tested five hypotheses to explore potential sources of heterogeneity. The meta-analysis of 27 studies on Caucasian adults (n = 66,213) combining the different study designs did not support overall association of the CC-genotype with obesity, yielding an odds ratio (OR) of 1.05 (p-value = 0.27). The I2 measure of 41% (p-value = 0.015) indicated between-study heterogeneity. Restricting to GP studies resulted in a declined I2 measure of 11% (p-value = 0.33) and an OR of 1.10 (p-value = 0.015). Regarding the five hypotheses, our data showed (a) some difference between GP and HP studies (p-value = 0.012) and (b) an association in extreme comparisons (BMI≥32.5, 35.0, 37.5, 40.0 kg/m2 versus BMI<25 kg/m2) yielding ORs of 1.16, 1.18, 1.22, or 1.27 (p-values 0.001 to 0.003), which was also underscored by significantly increased CC-genotype frequencies across BMI categories (10.4% to 12.5%, p-value for trend = 0.0002). We did not find evidence for differential ORs (c) among studies with higher than average obesity prevalence compared to lower, (d) among studies with BMI assessment after the year 2000 compared to those before, or (e) among studies from older populations compared to younger. Analysis of non-Caucasian adults (n = 4889) or children (n = 3243) yielded ORs of 1.01 (p-value = 0.94) or 1.15 (p-value = 0.22), respectively. There was no evidence for overall association of the rs7566605 polymorphism with obesity. Our data suggested an association with extreme degrees of obesity, and consequently heterogeneous effects from different study designs may mask an underlying association when unaccounted for. The importance of study design might be under-recognized in gene discovery and association replication so far.
A polymorphism of the INSIG2 gene was identified as being associated with obesity in one of the first genome-wide association studies. However, this association has since then been highly debated upon inconsistent subsequent reports. We collected association information from 34 studies including a total of 74,000 participants. In a meta-analysis of the 27 studies including 66,000 Caucasian adults, we found no overall association of this polymorphism rs7566605 with obesity, comparing subjects with a body-mass-index (BMI)≥30 kg/m2 with normal BMI subjects (BMI<30 kg/m2). Our data suggested an association of this polymorphism with extreme obesity (e.g., BMI≥37.5 kg/m2) compared to normal controls. Such an association with extreme obesity might induce heterogeneous effects from different study designs depending on the proportion of extreme obesity included by the design. However, further studies would be required to substantiate this finding. The importance of study design might be under-recognized in gene discovery and association replication so far.
Circulating levels of acute phase reactant proteins such as plasma C-reactive protein (CRP) are likely influenced by multiple genes regulating the innate immune response.
We screened a set of 16 inflammation-related genes for association with CRP in a large, population-based study of healthy young adults (n=1,627). Results were validated in two independent studies (n=1,208 and n=4,310), including a pooled analysis of all 3 studies.
In the pooled analysis, the minor allele of IL1RN 1018 (rs4251961) within the gene encoding interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA) was significantly associated with higher mean plasma log(CRP) level (p < 1 × 10−4). The same IL1RN 1018 allele was associated with higher mean plasma log(IL-6) levels (p=0.004). In the pooled analysis, the minor allele of IL1RN 13888 (rs2232354) was associated with higher fibrinogen, (p = 0.001). The IL1RN 1018 and 13888 variant alleles tag a clade of IL1RN haplotypes linked to allele 1 of a 86 bp VNTR polymorphism. We confirmed that the IL1RN 1018 variant (rs4251961) was associated with decreased cellular IL-1RA production ex vivo.
Common functional polymorphisms of the IL1RN gene are associated with several markers of systemic inflammation.
IL-1receptor antagonist; C-reactive protein; inflammation; fibrinogen
Over the past two decades, DNA samples from thousands of families have been collected and genotyped for linkage studies of common complex diseases such as type 2 diabetes, asthma and prostate cancer. Unfortunately, little success has been achieved in identifying genetic susceptibility risk factors through these considerable efforts. However, significant success in identifying common disease risk-associated variants has been recently achieved from genome-wide association (GWA) studies using unrelated case-control samples. These GWA studies are typically performed using population-based cases and controls that are ascertained irrespective of their family history for the disease of interest. Few genetic association studies have taken full advantage of the considerable resources that are available from the linkage-based family collections despite evidence showing cases that have a positive family history of disease are more likely to carry common genetic variants associated with disease susceptibility. Herein, we argue that population stratification is still a concern in case-control genetic association studies, despite the development of analytic methods designed to account for this source of confounding, for a subset of SNPs in the genome, most notably those SNPs in regions involved with natural selection. We note that current analytic approaches designed to address the issue of population stratification in case-control studies cannot definitively distinguish between true and false associations and we argue that family-based samples can still serve an invaluable role in following-up findings from case-control studies.
population stratification; prostate cancer; association; 8q24