The QT interval, an electrocardiographic measure reflecting myocardial repolarization, is a heritable trait. QT prolongation is a risk factor for ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death (SCD) and could indicate the presence of the potentially lethal Mendelian Long QT Syndrome (LQTS). Using a genome-wide association and replication study in up to 100,000 individuals we identified 35 common variant QT interval loci, that collectively explain ∼8-10% of QT variation and highlight the importance of calcium regulation in myocardial repolarization. Rare variant analysis of 6 novel QT loci in 298 unrelated LQTS probands identified coding variants not found in controls but of uncertain causality and therefore requiring validation. Several newly identified loci encode for proteins that physically interact with other recognized repolarization proteins. Our integration of common variant association, expression and orthogonal protein-protein interaction screens provides new insights into cardiac electrophysiology and identifies novel candidate genes for ventricular arrhythmias, LQTS,and SCD.
genome-wide association study; QT interval; Long QT Syndrome; sudden cardiac death; myocardial repolarization; arrhythmias
Background: Both air pollution and genetic variation have been shown to affect lung function. Their interaction has not been studied on a genome-wide scale to date.
Objectives: We aimed to identify, in an agnostic fashion, genes that modify the association between long-term air pollution exposure and annual lung function decline in an adult population-based sample.
Methods: A two-stage genome-wide interaction study was performed. The discovery (n = 763) and replication (n = 3,896) samples were derived from the multi-center SAPALDIA cohort (Swiss Cohort Study on Air Pollution and Lung Disease in Adults). Annual rate of decline in the forced mid-expiratory flow (FEF25–75%) was the main end point. Multivariate linear regression analyses were used to identify potential multiplicative interactions between genotypes and 11-year cumulative PM10 exposure.
Results: We identified a cluster of variants intronic to the CDH13 gene as the only locus with genome-wide significant interactions. The strongest interaction was observed for rs2325934 (p = 8.8 × 10–10). Replication of the interaction between this CDH13 variant and cumulative PM10 exposure on annual decline in FEF25–75% was successful (p = 0.008). The interaction was not sensitive to adjustment for smoking or body weight.
Conclusions: CDH13 is functionally linked to the adipokine adiponectin, an inflammatory regulator. Future studies need to confirm the interaction and assess how the result relates to previously observed interactions between air pollution and obesity on respiratory function.
Citation: Imboden M, Kumar A, Curjuric I, Adam M, Thun GA, Haun M, Tsai MY, Pons M, Bettschart R, Turk A, Rochat T, Künzli N, Schindler C, Kronenberg F, Probst-Hensch NM. 2015. Modification of the association between PM10 and lung function decline by cadherin 13 polymorphisms in the SAPALDIA cohort: a genome-wide interaction analysis. Environ Health Perspect 123:72–79; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1307398
Studies on the association between iron supplementation and mortality in dialysis patients are rare and conflicting.
In our observational single-center cohort study (INVOR study) we prospectively studied 235 incident dialysis patients. Time-dependent Cox proportional hazards models using all measured laboratory values for up to 7.6 years were applied to study the association between iron supplementation and all-cause mortality, cardiovascular and sepsis-related mortality. Furthermore, the time-dependent association of ferritin levels with mortality in patients with normal C-reactive protein (CRP) levels (<0.5 mg/dL) and elevated CRP levels (≧0.5 mg/dL) was evaluated by using non-linear P-splines to allow flexible modeling of the association.
One hundred and ninety-one (81.3%) patients received intravenous iron, 13 (5.5%) patients oral iron, whereas 31 (13.2%) patients were never supplemented with iron throughout the observation period. Eighty-two (35%) patients died during a median follow-up of 34 months, 38 patients due to cardiovascular events and 21 patients from sepsis. Baseline CRP levels were not different between patients with and without iron supplementation. However, baseline serum ferritin levels were lower in patients receiving iron during follow up (median 93 vs 251 ng/mL, p<0.001). Iron supplementation was associated with a significantly reduced all-cause mortality [HR (95%CI): 0.22 (0.08–0.58); p = 0.002] and a reduced cardiovascular and sepsis-related mortality [HR (95%CI): 0.31 (0.09–1.04); p = 0.06]. Increasing ferritin concentrations in patients with normal CRP were associated with a decreasing mortality, whereas in patients with elevated CRP values ferritin levels>800 ng/mL were linked with increased mortality.
Iron supplementation is associated with reduced all-cause mortality in incident dialysis patients. While serum ferritin levels up to 800 ng/mL appear to be safe, higher ferritin levels are associated with increased mortality in the setting of concomitant inflammation.
Short telomeres have been linked to various age-related diseases. We aimed to assess the association of telomere length with incident type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in prospective cohort studies.
Leucocyte relative telomere length (RTL) was measured using quantitative polymerase chain reaction in 684 participants of the prospective population-based Bruneck Study (1995 baseline), with repeat RTL measurements performed in 2005 (n = 558) and 2010 (n = 479). Hazard ratios for T2DM were calculated across quartiles of baseline RTL using Cox regression models adjusted for age, sex, body-mass index, smoking, socio-economic status, physical activity, alcohol consumption, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, log high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, and waist-hip ratio. Separate analyses corrected hazard ratios for within-person variability using multivariate regression calibration of repeated measurements. To contextualise findings, we systematically sought PubMed, Web of Science and EMBASE for relevant articles and pooled results using random-effects meta-analysis.
Over 15 years of follow-up, 44 out of 606 participants free of diabetes at baseline developed incident T2DM. The adjusted hazard ratio for T2DM comparing the bottom vs. the top quartile of baseline RTL (i.e. shortest vs. longest) was 2.00 (95% confidence interval: 0.90 to 4.49; P = 0.091), and 2.31 comparing the bottom quartile vs. the remainder (1.21 to 4.41; P = 0.011). The corresponding hazard ratios corrected for within-person RTL variability were 3.22 (1.27 to 8.14; P = 0.014) and 2.86 (1.45 to 5.65; P = 0.003). In a random-effects meta-analysis of three prospective cohort studies involving 6,991 participants and 2,011 incident T2DM events, the pooled relative risk was 1.31 (1.07 to 1.60; P = 0.010; I2 = 69%).
Low RTL is independently associated with the risk of incident T2DM. To avoid regression dilution biases in observed associations of RTL with disease risk, future studies should implement methods correcting for within-person variability in RTL. The causal role of short telomeres in T2DM development remains to be determined.
Adiponectin is strongly inversely associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, but its causal role remains controversial. We used a Mendelian randomization approach to test the hypothesis that adiponectin causally influences insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. We used genetic variants at the ADIPOQ gene as instruments to calculate a regression slope between adiponectin levels and metabolic traits (up to 31,000 individuals) and a combination of instrumental variables and summary statistics–based genetic risk scores to test the associations with gold-standard measures of insulin sensitivity (2,969 individuals) and type 2 diabetes (15,960 case subjects and 64,731 control subjects). In conventional regression analyses, a 1-SD decrease in adiponectin levels was correlated with a 0.31-SD (95% CI 0.26–0.35) increase in fasting insulin, a 0.34-SD (0.30–0.38) decrease in insulin sensitivity, and a type 2 diabetes odds ratio (OR) of 1.75 (1.47–2.13). The instrumental variable analysis revealed no evidence of a causal association between genetically lower circulating adiponectin and higher fasting insulin (0.02 SD; 95% CI −0.07 to 0.11; N = 29,771), nominal evidence of a causal relationship with lower insulin sensitivity (−0.20 SD; 95% CI −0.38 to −0.02; N = 1,860), and no evidence of a relationship with type 2 diabetes (OR 0.94; 95% CI 0.75–1.19; N = 2,777 case subjects and 13,011 control subjects). Using the ADIPOQ summary statistics genetic risk scores, we found no evidence of an association between adiponectin-lowering alleles and insulin sensitivity (effect per weighted adiponectin-lowering allele: −0.03 SD; 95% CI −0.07 to 0.01; N = 2,969) or type 2 diabetes (OR per weighted adiponectin-lowering allele: 0.99; 95% CI 0.95–1.04; 15,960 case subjects vs. 64,731 control subjects). These results do not provide any consistent evidence that interventions aimed at increasing adiponectin levels will improve insulin sensitivity or risk of type 2 diabetes.
Exposure to particulate matter (PM) has been associated with an increase in many inflammatory markers, including interleukin 6 (IL6). Air pollution exposure has also been suggested to induce an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system (ANS), such as a decrease in heart rate variability (HRV). In this study we aimed to investigate the modifying effect of polymorphisms in a major proinflammatory marker gene, interleukin 6 (IL6), on the relationship between long-term exposure to traffic-related PM10 (TPM10) and HRV.
For this cross-sectional study we analysed 1552 participants of the SAPALDIA cohort aged 50 years and older. Included were persons with valid genotype data, who underwent ambulatory 24-hr electrocardiogram monitoring, and reported on medical history and lifestyle. Main effects of annual average TPM10 and IL6 gene variants (rs1800795; rs2069827; rs2069840; rs10242595) on HRV indices and their interaction with average annual exposure to TPM10 were tested, applying a multivariable mixed linear model.
No overall association of TPM10 on HRV was found. Carriers of two proinflammatory G-alleles of the functional IL6 -174 G/C (rs1800795) polymorphism exhibited lower HRV. An inverse association between a 1 µg/m3 increment in yearly averaged TPM10 and HRV was restricted to GG genotypes at this locus with a standard deviation of normal-to-normal intervals (SDNN) (GG-carriers: −1.8%; 95% confidence interval −3.5 to 0.01; pinteraction(additive) = 0.028); and low frequency power (LF) (GG-carriers: −5.7%; 95%CI: −10.4 to −0.8; pinteraction(dominant) = 0.049).
Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that traffic-related air pollution decreases heart rate variability through inflammatory mechanisms.
Structural genetic variants as short tandem repeats (STRs) are not targeted in SNP-based association studies and thus, their possible association signals are missed. We systematically searched for STRs in gene regions known to contribute to total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in two independent studies (KORA F4, n = 2553 and SAPHIR, n = 1648), resulting in 16 STRs that were finally evaluated. In a combined dataset of both studies, the sum of STR alleles was regressed on each phenotype, adjusted for age and sex. The association analyses were repeated for SNPs in a 200 kb region surrounding the respective STRs in the KORA F4 Study. Three STRs were significantly associated with total cholesterol (within LDLR, the APOA1/C3/A4/A5/BUD13 gene region and ABCG5/8), five with HDL cholesterol (3 within CETP, one in LPL and one inAPOA1/C3/A4/A5/BUD13), three with LDL cholesterol (LDLR, ABCG5/8 and CETP) and two with triglycerides (APOA1/C3/A4/A5/BUD13 and LPL). None of the investigated STRs, however, showed a significant association after adjusting for the lead or adjacent SNPs within that gene region. The evaluated STRs were found to be well tagged by the lead SNP within the respective gene regions. Therefore, the STRs reflect the association signals based on surrounding SNPs. In conclusion, none of the STRs contributed additionally to the SNP-based association signals identified in GWAS on lipid traits.
Haptoglobin (Hp) is an abundant plasma protein with antioxidant properties. The Hp 2‐2 genotype has previously been linked to coronary heart disease risk in individuals with elevated glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c). We investigated the association of Hp and HbA1c with cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the longitudinal, population‐based Bruneck Study.
Methods and Results
Hp genotype was determined by polymerase chain reaction according to standard procedures and HbA1c concentration by a Diabetes Control and Complications Trial‐aligned assay. HbA1c was measured in 1995, 2000, and 2005. Occurrence of the combined CVD endpoint of myocardial infarction or stroke was recorded between 1995 and 2010. Outcome analyses employed the Cox proportional hazards model with HbA1c category as time‐varying covariate. At baseline in 1995, 806 subjects (male sex, 49.3%; age, mean±standard deviation, 62.70±11.08 years) were included. During follow‐up, 123 subjects experienced at least 1 CVD event (48 suffered myocardial infarction, 68 stroke, and 7 both). Among subjects with HbA1c≥6.5% (≥48 mmol/mol), those with the Hp 2‐2 genotype did not show an elevated risk of incident CVD compared with those with other genotypes (age‐ and sex‐adjusted hazard ratio [95% CI], 0.47 [0.19, 1.13], P=0.092) and a null association was also observed in subjects with HbA1c<6.5% (1.10 [0.75, 1.62], P=0.629) (P for interaction=0.082).
Subjects with the Hp 2‐2 genotype and elevated HbA1c compared with subjects with other Hp genotypes and elevated HbA1c did not show increased CVD risk.
cardiovascular diseases; diabetes mellitus; genetics
The relevance of lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] concentrations and low-molecular-weight (LMW) apo(a) phenotypes in peripheral arterial disease (PAD) has only been investigated by few studies. Therefore, we analysed this association in three independent cohorts and performed a Mendelian Randomization approach using instrumental variable regression.
Methods and results
Lp(a) concentrations, apo(a) phenotypes, and one SNP in the LPA gene (rs10455872) were measured in the CAVASIC study, including 241 male patients with intermittent claudication and 246 age- and diabetes-matched controls as well as in the two population-based studies KORA F3 (n = 3184) and KORA F4 (n = 3080). In KORA F3/F4, 109/80 persons suffered from intermittent claudication, 200/144 from PAD, and 128/103 showed an ankle–brachial index (ABI) <0.9. In CAVASIC, adjusted logistic regression analyses revealed significant associations between an increase of log-Lp(a) per one standard deviation (SD) (OR = 1.28, P = 0.02) as well as LMW apo(a) phenotypes and symptomatic PAD (OR = 1.65, P = 0.03). Linear regression models with continuous ABI showed a significant association in the combined analyses of KORA F3/F4: an increase in log-Lp(a) per one SD (β = −0.006, P = 0.005) and the presence of LMW apo(a) phenotypes (β = −0.011, P = 0.02) or the minor allele of rs10455872 (ß = −0.016, P = 0.03) were associated with a decrease in ABI in the fully adjusted linear and instrumental variable regression models.
Analyses in three independent populations showed significant associations of Lp(a) concentrations, LMW apo(a) phenotypes, and rs10455872 with PAD. This points to a causal relationship between Lp(a) and PAD since the genetically determined apo(a) phenotypes and SNP alleles are indeed associated with PAD.
Lp(a) concentrations; Apolipoprotein(a) phenotypes; Peripheral arterial disease; Ankle-brachial index; Mendelian randomization; Causality
Both genome-wide association studies and candidate gene studies have reported that the major determinant of plasma levels of the Lipoprotein (a) [Lp(a)] reside within the LPA locus on chromosome 6. We have used data from the Human CVD bead chip to explore the contribution of other candidate genes determining Lp(a) levels.
48,032 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from the Illumina Human CVD bead chip were genotyped in 5,059 participants of the Whitehall II study (WHII) of randomly ascertained healthy men and women. SNPs showing association with Lp(a) levels of p< 10−4 outside the LPA locus were selected for replication in a total of an additional 9,463 participants of five European based studies (EAS, EPIC-Norfolk, NPHSII, PROCARDIS, and SAPHIR)
In Whitehall II, apart from the LPA locus (where p values for several SNPs were < 10−30) there was significant association at four loci GALNT2, FABP1, PPARGC1A and TNFRSFF11A. However, a meta-analysis of the six studies did not confirm any of these findings.
Results from this meta analysis of 14,522 participants revealed no candidate genes from the Human CVD bead chip outside the LPA locus to have an effect on Lp(a) levels. Further studies with genome-wide and denser SNP coverage are required to confirm or refute this finding.
Lipoprotein(a); LPA; Illumina Human CVD bead chip; genetic association
In conducting genome-wide association studies (GWAS), analytical approaches leveraging biological information may further understanding of the pathophysiology of clinical traits. To discover novel associations with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a measure of kidney function, we developed a strategy for integrating prior biological knowledge into the existing GWAS data for eGFR from the CKDGen Consortium. Our strategy focuses on single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) in genes that are connected by functional evidence, determined by literature mining and gene ontology (GO) hierarchies, to genes near previously validated eGFR associations. It then requires association thresholds consistent with multiple testing, and finally evaluates novel candidates by independent replication. Among the samples of European ancestry, we identified a genome-wide significant SNP in FBXL20 (P = 5.6 × 10−9) in meta-analysis of all available data, and additional SNPs at the INHBC, LRP2, PLEKHA1, SLC3A2 and SLC7A6 genes meeting multiple-testing corrected significance for replication and overall P-values of 4.5 × 10−4–2.2 × 10−7. Neither the novel PLEKHA1 nor FBXL20 associations, both further supported by association with eGFR among African Americans and with transcript abundance, would have been implicated by eGFR candidate gene approaches. LRP2, encoding the megalin receptor, was identified through connection with the previously known eGFR gene DAB2 and extends understanding of the megalin system in kidney function. These findings highlight integration of existing genome-wide association data with independent biological knowledge to uncover novel candidate eGFR associations, including candidates lacking known connections to kidney-specific pathways. The strategy may also be applicable to other clinical phenotypes, although more testing will be needed to assess its potential for discovery in general.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified many risk loci for complex diseases, but effect sizes are typically small and information on the underlying biological processes is often lacking. Associations with metabolic traits as functional intermediates can overcome these problems and potentially inform individualized therapy. Here we report a comprehensive analysis of genotype-dependent metabolic phenotypes using a GWAS with non-targeted metabolomics. We identified 37 genetic loci associated with blood metabolite concentrations, of which 25 exhibit effect sizes that are unusually high for GWAS and account for 10-60% of metabolite levels per allele copy. Our associations provide new functional insights for many disease-related associations that have been reported in previous studies, including cardiovascular and kidney disorders, type 2 diabetes, cancer, gout, venous thromboembolism, and Crohn’s disease. Taken together our study advances our knowledge of the genetic basis of metabolic individuality in humans and generates many new hypotheses for biomedical and pharmaceutical research.
Several studies have investigated associations between the -174G>C polymorphism (rs1800795) of the IL6-gene, but presented inconsistent results.
This joint analysis aimed to clarify whether IL6 -174G>C was associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) related quantitative phenotypes.
Individual-level data from all studies of the IL6-T2DM consortium on Caucasian subjects with available BMI were collected. As study-specific estimates did not show heterogeneity (P>0.1), they were combined by using the inverse-variance fixed-effect model.
The main analysis included 9440, 7398, 24,117, or 5659 nondiabetic and manifest T2DM subjects for fasting glucose, 2-hour glucose, BMI or circulating interleukin-6 levels, respectively. IL6 -174 C-allele carriers had significantly lower fasting glucose (−0.091mmol/L, P=0.014). There was no evidence for association between IL6 -174G>C and BMI or interleukin-6. In an additional analysis of 641 subjects known to develop T2DM later on, the IL6 -174 CC-genotype was associated with higher baseline interleukin-6 (+0.75pg/mL, P=0.004), which was consistent with higher interleukin-6 in the 966 manifest T2DM subjects (+0.50pg/mL, P=0.044).
Our data suggest association between IL6 -174G>C and quantitative glucose, and exploratory analysis indicated modulated interleukin-6 levels in pre-diabetic subjects, being in-line with this SNP’s previously reported T2DM association and a role of circulating interleukin-6 as intermediate phenotype.
blood glucose; body mass index; diabetes mellitus; type 2; epidemiology; molecular; genes; inflammation mediators; interleukin-6; intermediate phenotype; meta-analysis; polymorphism; single nucleotide
Comparative proteomics has recently identified afamin, the newest member of the albumin gene family, as a potential biomarker for ovarian cancer. The aim of this study was the analytical and clinical evaluation of a sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the determination of afamin in human plasma.
We evaluated precision, linearity, and detection limit of the assay, analyte stability and biological variability, determined reference values and quantified afamin concentrations in various diseases.
Within-run and total coefficients of variation were < 10%. The method was linear across the tested measurement range. Detection limit was 7 mg/L for the assay. The analyte was stable for 24 h at room temperature, for 48 h at 4 °C, and for at least one year at − 20 °C and − 80 °C. The reference change value for healthy individuals was 24%. Age- and sex-independent reference values in healthy blood donors were 45–99 mg/L (median 68 mg/L). In the clinical assay evaluation afamin plasma concentrations were modestly decreased in patients with heart failure. Patients with pneumonia or sepsis exhibited markedly decreased afamin plasma concentrations. However, patients with chronic renal disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease showed no difference in afamin plasma concentrations as compared to healthy individuals. Correlation analyses revealed an inverse association between afamin and inflammatory biomarkers.
The afamin assay meets quality specifications for laboratory medicine. The results of the clinical assay evaluation revealed novel insights with respect to afamin as a potential negative acute phase protein and should encourage further studies.
•The aim of this study was the analytical and clinical evaluation of a human afamin ELISA.•The afamin assay meets the needs of quality specifications of laboratory medicine.•Afamin exerts a good in vitro stability which is important of preanalytical issues.•The RCV was 24% and reference values in healthy blood donors were 45–99 mg/L.•We revealed novel insights with respect to afamin as a potential negative acute phase protein.
ELISA, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; CRP, C-reactive protein; PCT, procalcitonin; IL-6, interleukin-6; BNP, B-type natriuretic peptide; eGFR, estimated glomerular filtration rate; PBS, phosphate-buffered-saline; CLSI, Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute; RT, room temperature; CV, coefficient of variation; RCV, reference change value; HF, heart failure; COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Tumor marker; Diagnosis; C-reactive protein; Interleukin-6; Prognosis; Vitamin E
High serum uric acid levels are associated with gout, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Three genes (SLC2A9, ABCG2, and SLC17A3) were reported to be involved in the regulation of uric acid levels.
Design and Methods: SNPs rs2231142 (ABCG2) and rs1165205 (SLC17A3) were genotyped in three cohorts (n = 4492) and combined with previously genotyped SNPs within SLC2A9 (rs6855911, rs7442295, rs6449213, rs12510549).
Each copy of the minor allele decreased uric acid levels by 0.30–0.38 mg/dL for SLC2A9 (p values: 10−20–10−36) and increased levels by 0.34 mg/dL for ABCG2 (p = 1.1×10−16). SLC17A3 influenced uric acid levels only modestly. Together the SNPs showed graded associations with uric acid levels of 0.111 mg/dL per risk allele (p = 3.8×10−42). In addition, we observed a sex-specific interaction of age with the association of SLC2A9 SNPs with uric acid levels, where increasing age strengthened the association of SNPs in women and decreased the association in men.
Genetic variants within SLC2A9, ABCG2 and SLC17A3 show highly significant associations with uric acid levels, and for SNPs within SLC2A9 this association is strongly modified by age and sex.
Epidemiology; Genetics; Uric acid; Copy number variation; Sex-specific effect; Genetic risk score
Serum metabolite concentrations provide a direct readout of biological processes in the human body, and are associated with disorders such as cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Here we present a genome-wide association study with 163 metabolic traits using 1809 participants from the KORA population, followed up in the TwinsUK cohort with 422 participants. In eight out of nine replicated loci (FADS1, ELOVL2, ACADS, ACADM, ACADL, SPTLC3, ETFDH, SLC16A9) the genetic variant is located in or near enzyme or solute carrier coding genes, where the associating metabolic traits match the proteins’ function. Many of these loci are located in rate limiting steps of important enzymatic reactions. Use of metabolite concentration ratios as proxies for enzymatic reaction rates reduces the variance and yields robust statistical associations with p-values between 3×10−24 and 6.5×10−179. These loci explained 5.6% to 36.3% of the observed variance. For several loci, associations with clinically relevant parameters have previously been reported.
Two recent genome-wide association studies identified the liver-expressed transmembrane protein adiponutrin to be associated with liver-related phenotypes such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and liver function enzymes. These associations were not uniformly reported for various ethnicities. The aim of this study was to investigate a common nonsynonymous variant within adiponutrin (rs738409, exon 3) with parameters of liver function in three independent West-Eurasian study populations including a total of 4290 participants.
The study was performed in 1) the population-based Bruneck Study (n=783), 2) the SAPHIR Study from Austria based on a healthy working population (n=1705), and the Utah Obesity Case-Control Study including a group of 1019 severely obese individuals (average BMI 46.0 kg/m2) and 783 controls from the same geographical region of Utah. Liver enzymes measured were alanine-aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate-aminotransferase (AST) and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT).
Results and Discussion
We found a strong recessive association of this polymorphism with age- and gender-adjusted ALT and AST levels: being homozygous for the minor allele resulted in a highly significant increase of ALT levels of 3.53 U/L (p=1.86×10−9) and of AST levels of 2.07 U/L (p=9.58×10−6), respectively. The associations were consistently found in all three study populations. In conclusion, the highly significant associations of this transversion polymorphism within the adiponutrin gene with increased ALT and AST levels support a role for adiponutrin as a susceptibility gene for hepatic dysfunction.
PNPLA3; rs738409; genetic association; hepatic dysfunction
Several infrequent genetic polymorphisms in the SERPINA1 gene are known to substantially reduce concentration of alpha1-antitrypsin (AAT) in the blood. Since low AAT serum levels fail to protect pulmonary tissue from enzymatic degradation, these polymorphisms also increase the risk for early onset chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The role of more common SERPINA1 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in respiratory health remains poorly understood.
We present here an agnostic investigation of genetic determinants of circulating AAT levels in a general population sample by performing a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 1392 individuals of the SAPALDIA cohort.
Five common SNPs, defined by showing minor allele frequencies (MAFs) >5%, reached genome-wide significance, all located in the SERPINA gene cluster at 14q32.13. The top-ranking genotyped SNP rs4905179 was associated with an estimated effect of β = −0.068 g/L per minor allele (P = 1.20*10−12). But denser SERPINA1 locus genotyping in 5569 participants with subsequent stepwise conditional analysis, as well as exon-sequencing in a subsample (N = 410), suggested that AAT serum level is causally determined at this locus by rare (MAF<1%) and low-frequent (MAF 1–5%) variants only, in particular by the well-documented protein inhibitor S and Z (PI S, PI Z) variants. Replication of the association of rs4905179 with AAT serum levels in the Copenhagen City Heart Study (N = 8273) was successful (P<0.0001), as was the replication of its synthetic nature (the effect disappeared after adjusting for PI S and Z, P = 0.57). Extending the analysis to lung function revealed a more complex situation. Only in individuals with severely compromised pulmonary health (N = 397), associations of common SNPs at this locus with lung function were driven by rarer PI S or Z variants. Overall, our meta-analysis of lung function in ever-smokers does not support a functional role of common SNPs in the SERPINA gene cluster in the general population.
Low levels of alpha1-antitrypsin (AAT) in the blood are a well-established risk factor for accelerated loss in lung function and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. While a few infrequent genetic polymorphisms are known to influence the serum levels of this enzyme, the role of common genetic variants has not been examined so far. The present genome-wide scan for associated variants in approximately 1400 Swiss inhabitants revealed a chromosomal locus containing the functionally established variants of AAT deficiency and variants previously associated with lung function and emphysema. We used dense genotyping of this genetic region in more than 5500 individuals and subsequent conditional analyses to unravel which of these associated variants contribute independently to the phenotype's variability. All associations of common variants could be attributed to the rarer functionally established variants, a result which was then replicated in an independent population-based Danish cohort. Hence, this locus represents a textbook example of how a large part of a trait's heritability can be hidden in infrequent genetic polymorphisms. The attempt to transfer these results to lung function furthermore suggests that effects of common variants in this genetic region in ever-smokers may also be explained by rarer variants, but only in individuals with hampered pulmonary health.
Homoarginine is an amino acid derivative mainly synthesized in the kidney. It is suggested to increase nitric oxide availability, enhance endothelial function and to protect against cardiovascular diseases. We aimed to investigate the relation between homoarginine, kidney function and progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD).
We measured plasma homoarginine concentrations in baseline samples of the Mild to Moderate Kidney Disease (MMKD) Study, a prospective cohort study of 227 patients with CKD in Europe. Homoarginine concentrations were available in 182 of the baseline samples and in 139 of the prospectively-followed patients. We correlated homoarginine concentrations to parameters of kidney function. The association between homoarginine and progression of CKD was assessed during a follow-up of up to seven years (median 4.45 years, interquartile range 2.54–5.19) using Cox regression analysis. Progression of CKD was defined as doubling of baseline serum creatinine and/or end-stage renal disease.
Study participants were at baseline on average 47±13 years old and 65% were male. Mean±standard deviation of homoarginine concentrations were 2.5±1.1 µmol/L and concentrations were incrementally lower at lower levels of GFR with mean concentrations of 2.90±1.02 µmol/L (GFR>90 ml/min), 2.64±1.06 µmol/L (GFR 60–90 ml/min), 2.52±1.24 µmol/L (GFR 30–60 ml/min) and 2.05±0.78 µmol/L (GFR<30 ml/min), respectively (p = 0.002). The age- and sex-adjusted risk to reach the renal endpoint was significantly higher by 62% with each decrease by one standard deviation (1.1 µmol/L) of homoarginine (HR 1.62, 95% CI 1.16–2.27, p = 0.005). This association was independent of proteinuria (HR 1.56, 95% CI 1.11–2.20, p = 0.01), and was slightly attenuated when adjusting for GFR (HR 1.40 (95% CI 0.98–1.98, p = 0.06).
Homoarginine concentrations are directly correlated with kidney function and are significantly associated with the progression of CKD. Low homoarginine concentrations might be an early indicator of kidney failure and a potential target for the prevention of disease progression which needs further investigations.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified determinants of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and lung function level, however none addressed decline in lung function.
We conducted the first GWAS on age-related decline in forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) and in its ratio to forced vital capacity (FVC) stratified a priori by asthma status.
Discovery cohorts included adults of European ancestry (1441 asthmatics, 2677 non-asthmatics; Epidemiological Study on the Genetics and Environment of Asthma (EGEA); Swiss Cohort Study on Air Pollution And Lung And Heart Disease In Adults (SAPALDIA); European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS)). The associations of FEV1 and FEV1/FVC decline with 2.5 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were estimated. Thirty loci were followed-up by in silico replication (1160 asthmatics, 10858 non-asthmatics: Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC); Framingham Heart Study (FHS); British 1958 Birth Cohort (B58C); Dutch asthma study).
Main signals identified differed between asthmatics and non-asthmatics. None of the SNPs reached genome-wide significance. The association between the height related gene DLEU7 and FEV1 decline suggested for non-asthmatics in the discovery phase was replicated (discovery P=4.8×10−6; replication P=0.03) and additional sensitivity analyses point to a relation to growth. The top ranking signal, TUSC3, associated with FEV1/FVC decline in asthmatics (P=5.3×10−8) did not replicate. SNPs previously associated with cross-sectional lung function were not prominently associated with decline.
Genetic heterogeneity of lung function may be extensive. Our results suggest that genetic determinants of longitudinal and cross-sectional lung function differ and vary by asthma status.
Asthma; cohort studies; genome-wide association; lung function decline; heterogeneity
Candidate gene association studies for peripheral artery disease (PAD), including subclinical disease assessed with the ankle-brachial index (ABI), have been limited by the modest number of genes examined. We conducted a two stage meta-analysis of ~50,000 SNPs across ~2100 candidate genes to identify genetic variants for ABI.
Methods and results
We studied subjects of European ancestry from 8 studies (n = 21,547, 55% women, mean age 44–73 years) and African American ancestry from 5 studies (n = 7267, 60% women, mean age 41–73 years) involved in the candidate gene association resource (CARe) consortium. In each ethnic group, additive genetic models were used (with each additional copy of the minor allele corresponding to the given beta) to test each SNP for association with continuous ABI (excluding ABI > 1.40) and PAD (defined as ABI < 0.90) using linear or logistic regression with adjustment for known PAD risk factors and population stratification. We then conducted a fixed-effects inverse-variance weighted meta-analyses considering a p < 2 × 10−6 to denote statistical significance.
In the European ancestry discovery meta-analyses, rs2171209 in SYTL3 (β = −0.007, p = 6.02 × 10−7) and rs290481 in TCF7L2 (β = −0.008, p = 7.01 × 10−7) were significantly associated with ABI. None of the SNP associations for PAD were significant, though a SNP in CYP2B6 (p = 4.99 × 10−5) was among the strongest associations. These 3 genes are linked to key PAD risk factors (lipoprotein(a), type 2 diabetes, and smoking behavior, respectively). We sought replication in 6 population-based and 3 clinical samples (n = 15,440) for rs290481 and rs2171209. However, in the replication stage (rs2171209, p = 0.75; rs290481, p = 0.19) and in the combined discovery and replication analysis the SNP–ABI associations were no longer significant (rs2171209, p = 1.14 × 10−3; rs290481, p = 8.88 × 10−5). In African Americans, none of the SNP associations for ABI or PAD achieved an experiment-wide level of significance.
Genetic determinants of ABI and PAD remain elusive. Follow-up of these preliminary findings may uncover important biology given the known gene-risk factor associations. New and more powerful approaches to PAD gene discovery are warranted.
Ankle brachial index; Peripheral artery disease; Genetics; Candidate gene array; Meta-analysis; Ethnicity
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) play a prominent role in modern genetics. Current genotyping technologies such as Sequenom iPLEX, ABI TaqMan and KBioscience KASPar made the genotyping of huge SNP sets in large populations straightforward and allow the generation of hundreds of thousands of genotypes even in medium sized labs. While data generation is straightforward, the subsequent data conversion, storage and quality control steps are time-consuming, error-prone and require extensive bioinformatic support. In order to ease this tedious process, we developed SNPflow. SNPflow is a lightweight, intuitive and easily deployable application, which processes genotype data from Sequenom MassARRAY (iPLEX) and ABI 7900HT (TaqMan, KASPar) systems and is extendible to other genotyping methods as well. SNPflow automatically converts the raw output files to ready-to-use genotype lists, calculates all standard quality control values such as call rate, expected and real amount of replicates, minor allele frequency, absolute number of discordant replicates, discordance rate and the p-value of the HWE test, checks the plausibility of the observed genotype frequencies by comparing them to HapMap/1000-Genomes, provides a module for the processing of SNPs, which allow sex determination for DNA quality control purposes and, finally, stores all data in a relational database. SNPflow runs on all common operating systems and comes as both stand-alone version and multi-user version for laboratory-wide use. The software, a user manual, screenshots and a screencast illustrating the main features are available at http://genepi-snpflow.i-med.ac.at.
Genetic determinants of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) remain largely unknown. To identify genetic variants associated with the ankle-brachial index (ABI), a noninvasive measure of PAD, we conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association study data from 21 population-based cohorts.
Methods and Results
Continuous ABI and PAD (ABI≤0.9) phenotypes adjusted for age and sex were examined. Each study conducted genotyping and imputed data to the ~2.5 million SNPs in HapMap. Linear and logistic regression models were used to test each SNP for association with ABI and PAD using additive genetic models. Study-specific data were combined using fixed-effects inverse variance weighted meta-analyses. There were a total of 41,692 participants of European ancestry (~60% women, mean ABI 1.02 to 1.19), including 3,409 participants with PAD and with GWAS data available. In the discovery meta-analysis, rs10757269 on chromosome 9 near CDKN2B had the strongest association with ABI (β= −0.006, p=2.46x10−8). We sought replication of the 6 strongest SNP associations in 5 population-based studies and 3 clinical samples (n=16,717). The association for rs10757269 strengthened in the combined discovery and replication analysis (p=2.65x10−9). No other SNP associations for ABI or PAD achieved genome-wide significance. However, two previously reported candidate genes for PAD and one SNP associated with coronary artery disease (CAD) were associated with ABI : DAB21P (rs13290547, p=3.6x10−5); CYBA (rs3794624, p=6.3x10−5); and rs1122608 (LDLR, p=0.0026).
GWAS in more than 40,000 individuals identified one genome-wide significant association on chromosome 9p21 with ABI. Two candidate genes for PAD and 1 SNP for CAD are associated with ABI.
cohort study; genetic association; genome-wide association study; meta-analysis; peripheral vascular disease
The late endosomal LAMTOR complex serves as a convergence point for both the RAF/MEK/ERK and the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathways. Interestingly, both of these signalling cascades play a significant role in the aetiology of breast cancer. Our aim was to address the possible role of genetic polymorphisms in LAMTOR2 and LAMTOR3 as genetic risk factors for breast cancer.
We sequenced the exons and exon–intron boundaries of LAMTOR2 (p14) and LAMTOR3 (MP1) in 50 prospectively collected pairs of cancerous tissue and blood samples from breast cancer patients and compared their genetic variability. We found one single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in LAMTOR2 (rs7541) and two SNPs in LAMTOR3 (rs2298735 and rs148972953) in both tumour and blood samples, but no somatic mutations in cancerous tissues. In addition, we genotyped all three SNPs in 296 samples from the Risk Prediction of Breast Cancer Metastasis Study and found evidence of a genetic association between rs148972953 and oestrogen (ER) and progesterone receptor negative status (PR) (ER: OR = 3.60 (1.15–11.28); PR: OR = 4.27 (1.43–12.72)). However, when we additionally genotyped rs148972953 in the MARIE study including 2,715 breast cancer cases and 5,216 controls, we observed neither a difference in genotype frequencies between patients and controls nor was the SNP associated with ER or PR. Finally, all three SNPs were equally frequent in breast cancer samples and female participants (n = 640) of the population-based SAPHIR Study.
The identified polymorphisms in LAMTOR2 and LAMTOR3 do not seem to play a relevant role in breast cancer. Our work does not exclude a role of other not yet identified SNPs or that the here annotated polymorphism may in fact play a relevant role in other diseases. Our results underscore the importance of replication in association studies.
Neuro-immune alterations in the peripheral and central nervous system play a role in the pathophysiology of chronic pain, and non-coding RNAs – and microRNAs (miRNAs) in particular – regulate both immune and neuronal processes. Specifically, miRNAs control macromolecular complexes in neurons, glia and immune cells and regulate signals used for neuro-immune communication in the pain pathway. Therefore, miRNAs may be hypothesized as critically important master switches modulating chronic pain. In particular, understanding the concerted function of miRNA in the regulation of nociception and endogenous analgesia and defining the importance of miRNAs in the circuitries and cognitive, emotional and behavioral components involved in pain is expected to shed new light on the enigmatic pathophysiology of neuropathic pain, migraine and complex regional pain syndrome. Specific miRNAs may evolve as new druggable molecular targets for pain prevention and relief. Furthermore, predisposing miRNA expression patterns and inter-individual variations and polymorphisms in miRNAs and/or their binding sites may serve as biomarkers for pain and help to predict individual risks for certain types of pain and responsiveness to analgesic drugs. miRNA-based diagnostics are expected to develop into hands-on tools that allow better patient stratification, improved mechanism-based treatment, and targeted prevention strategies for high risk individuals.
chronic pain; biomarker; polymorphism; miRNA-based diagnostics; miRNA expression patterns; miRNA polymorphisms; antagomir; miRNA-based analgesic