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
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.
We previously used a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the CHRNA5-A3-B4 gene cluster associated with heaviness of smoking within smokers to confirm the causal effect of smoking in reducing body mass index (BMI) in a Mendelian randomisation analysis. While seeking to extend these findings in a larger sample we found that this SNP is associated with 0.74% lower body mass index (BMI) per minor allele in current smokers (95% CI -0.97 to -0.51, P = 2.00×10−10), but also unexpectedly found that it was associated with 0.35% higher BMI in never smokers (95% CI +0.18 to +0.52, P = 6.38×10−5). An interaction test confirmed that these estimates differed from each other (P = 4.95×10−13). This difference in effects suggests the variant influences BMI both via pathways unrelated to smoking, and via the weight-reducing effects of smoking. It would therefore be essentially undetectable in an unstratified genome-wide association study of BMI, given the opposite association with BMI in never and current smokers. This demonstrates that novel associations may be obscured by hidden population sub-structure. Stratification on well-characterized environmental factors known to impact on health outcomes may therefore reveal novel genetic associations.
We found that a single nucleotide polymorphism in the CHRNA5-A3-B4 gene cluster, which is known to influence smoking heaviness, is associated with lower body mass index (BMI) in current smokers, but higher BMI in never smokers. This difference in effects suggests that the variant influences BMI both via pathways other than smoking, and via the weight-reducing effects of smoking, in opposite directions. The overall effect on BMI would therefore be undetectable in an unstratified genome-wide association study, indicating that novel associations may be obscured by hidden population sub-structure.
Background: Observational studies showed that circulating l-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is inversely associated with cardiometabolic traits. However, these studies were susceptible to confounding and reverse causation.
Objectives: We assessed the relation between l-ascorbic acid and 10 cardiometabolic traits by using a single nucleotide polymorphism in the solute carrier family 23 member 1 (SLC23A1) gene (rs33972313) associated with circulating l-ascorbic acid concentrations. The observed association between rs33972313 and cardiometabolic outcomes was compared with that expected given the rs33972313-l-ascorbic acid and l-ascorbic acid–outcome associations.
Design: A meta-analysis was performed in the following 5 independent studies: the British Women's Heart and Health Study (n = 1833), the MIDSPAN study (n = 1138), the Ten Towns study (n = 1324), the British Regional Heart Study (n = 2521), and the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (n = 3737).
Results: With the use of a meta-analysis of observational estimates, inverse associations were shown between l-ascorbic acid and systolic blood pressure, triglycerides, and the waist-hip ratio [the strongest of which was the waist-hip ratio (−0.13-SD change; 95% CI: −0.20-, −0.07-SD change; P = 0.0001) per SD increase in l-ascorbic acid], and a positive association was shown with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. The variation at rs33972313 was associated with a 0.18-SD (95% CI: 0.10-, 0.25-SD; P = 3.34 × 10−6) increase in l-ascorbic acid per effect allele. There was no evidence of a relation between the variation at rs33972313 and any cardiometabolic outcome. Although observed estimates were not statistically different from expected associations between rs33972313 and cardiometabolic outcomes, estimates for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, and body mass index were in the opposite direction to those expected.
Conclusions: The nature of the genetic association exploited in this study led to limited statistical application, but despite this, when all cardiometabolic traits were assessed, there was no evidence of any trend supporting a protective role of l-ascorbic acid. In the context of existing work, these results add to the suggestion that observational relations between l-ascorbic acid and cardiometabolic health may be attributable to confounding and reverse causation.
l-ascorbic acid; cardiometabolic traits; confounding; genetic variants; reverse causation
To examine associations between sarcopenia, obesity, and sarcopenic obesity and risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality in older men.
Prospective cohort study.
British Regional Heart Study.
Men aged 60–79 years (n = 4,252).
Baseline waist circumference (WC) and midarm muscle circumference (MAMC) measurements were used to classify participants into four groups: sarcopenic, obese, sarcopenic obese, or optimal WC and MAMC. The cohort was followed for a mean of 11.3 years for CVD and all-cause mortality. Cox regression analyses assessed associations between sarcopenic obesity groups and all-cause mortality, CVD mortality, CVD events, and coronary heart disease (CHD) events.
There were 1,314 deaths, 518 CVD deaths, 852 CVD events, and 458 CHD events during follow-up. All-cause mortality risk was significantly greater in sarcopenic (HR = 1.41, 95% CI = 1.22–1.63) and obese (HR = 1.21, 95% CI = 1.03–1.42) men than in the optimal reference group, with the highest risk in sarcopenic obese (HR = 1.72, 95% CI = 1.35–2.18), after adjustment for lifestyle characteristics. Risk of CVD mortality was significantly greater in sarcopenic and obese but not sarcopenic obese men. No association was seen between sarcopenic obesity groups and CHD or CVD events.
Sarcopenia and central adiposity were associated with greater cardiovascular mortality and all-cause mortality. Sarcopenic obese men had the highest risk of all-cause mortality but not CVD mortality. Efforts to promote healthy aging should focus on preventing obesity and maintaining muscle mass.
cardiovascular disease; mortality; muscle mass; obesity; sarcopenia
Falls affect approximately one third of community-dwelling older adults each year and have serious health and social consequences. Fear of falling (FOF) (lack of confidence in maintaining balance during normal activities) affects many older adults, irrespective of whether they have actually experienced falls. Both falls and fear of falls may result in restrictions of physical activity, which in turn have health consequences. To date the relation between (i) falls and (ii) fear of falling with physical activity have not been investigated using objectively measured activity data which permits examination of different intensities of activity and sedentary behaviour.
Cross-sectional study of 1680 men aged 71–92 years recruited from primary care practices who were part of an on-going population-based cohort. Men reported falls history in previous 12 months, FOF, health status and demographic characteristics. Men wore a GT3x accelerometer over the hip for 7 days.
Among the 12% of men who had recurrent falls, daily activity levels were lower than among non-fallers; 942 (95% CI 503, 1381) fewer steps/day, 12(95% CI 2, 22) minutes less in light activity, 10(95% CI 5, 15) minutes less in moderate to vigorous PA [MVPA] and 22(95% CI 9, 35) minutes more in sedentary behaviour. 16% (n = 254) of men reported FOF, of whom 52% (n = 133) had fallen in the past year. Physical activity deficits were even greater in the men who reported that they were fearful of falling than in men who had fallen. Men who were fearful of falling took 1766(95% CI 1391, 2142) fewer steps/day than men who were not fearful, and spent 27(95% CI 18, 36) minutes less in light PA, 18(95% CI 13, 22) minutes less in MVPA, and 45(95% CI 34, 56) minutes more in sedentary behaviour. The significant differences in activity levels between (i) fallers and non-fallers and (ii) men who were fearful of falling or not fearful, were mediated by similar variables; lower exercise self-efficacy, fewer excursions from home and more mobility difficulties.
Falls and in particular fear of falling are important barriers to older people gaining health benefits of walking and MVPA. Future studies should assess the longitudinal associations between falls and physical activity.
Falls; Fear of falls; Physical activity; Accelerometer; Older adults
To investigate whether associations of smoking with depression and anxiety are likely to be causal, using a Mendelian randomisation approach.
Mendelian randomisation meta-analyses using a genetic variant (rs16969968/rs1051730) as a proxy for smoking heaviness, and observational meta-analyses of the associations of smoking status and smoking heaviness with depression, anxiety and psychological distress.
Current, former and never smokers of European ancestry aged ≥16 years from 25 studies in the Consortium for Causal Analysis Research in Tobacco and Alcohol (CARTA).
Primary outcome measures
Binary definitions of depression, anxiety and psychological distress assessed by clinical interview, symptom scales or self-reported recall of clinician diagnosis.
The analytic sample included up to 58 176 never smokers, 37 428 former smokers and 32 028 current smokers (total N=127 632). In observational analyses, current smokers had 1.85 times greater odds of depression (95% CI 1.65 to 2.07), 1.71 times greater odds of anxiety (95% CI 1.54 to 1.90) and 1.69 times greater odds of psychological distress (95% CI 1.56 to 1.83) than never smokers. Former smokers also had greater odds of depression, anxiety and psychological distress than never smokers. There was evidence for positive associations of smoking heaviness with depression, anxiety and psychological distress (ORs per cigarette per day: 1.03 (95% CI 1.02 to 1.04), 1.03 (95% CI 1.02 to 1.04) and 1.02 (95% CI 1.02 to 1.03) respectively). In Mendelian randomisation analyses, there was no strong evidence that the minor allele of rs16969968/rs1051730 was associated with depression (OR=1.00, 95% CI 0.95 to 1.05), anxiety (OR=1.02, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.07) or psychological distress (OR=1.02, 95% CI 0.98 to 1.06) in current smokers. Results were similar for former smokers.
Findings from Mendelian randomisation analyses do not support a causal role of smoking heaviness in the development of depression and anxiety.
Mendelian randomisation; Smoking; Depression; Anxiety
Socioeconomic inequalities in cancer mortality in Britain have been shown to be present in the 1990s and early 2000s. Little is known about on-going patterns in such inequalities in cancer mortality. We examined time trends in socioeconomic inequalities in cancer mortality in Britain between 1978 and 2013.
A socially representative cohort of 7489 British men with data on longest-held occupational social class, followed up for 35 years, in whom 1484 cancer deaths occurred.
The hazard ratio for cancer mortality for manual vs. non-manual social classes remained unchanged; among men aged 50–59 years it was 1.62 (95%CI 1.17–2.24) between 1980–1990 and 1.65 (95%CI 1.14–2.40) between 1990–2000. The absolute difference (non-manual minus manual) in probability of surviving death from cancer to 70 years remained at 3% over the follow-up. The consistency of risks over time was similar for both smoking-related and non-smoking related cancer mortality.
Socioeconomic inequalities in cancer mortality in Britain remain unchanged over the last 35 years and need to be urgently addressed.
Socioeconomic inequalities; Cancer mortality; Trends
To investigate how smoking status is recorded in UK primary care; to evaluate whether appropriate multiple imputation (MI) of smoking status yields results consistent with health surveys.
UK primary care and a population survey conducted in the community.
We identified 354 204 patients aged 16 or over in The Health Improvement Network (THIN) primary care database registered with their general practice 2008–2009 and 15 102 individuals aged 16 or over in the Health Survey for England (HSE).
Age-standardised and age-specific proportions of smokers, ex-smokers and non-smokers in THIN and the HSE before and after MI. Using information on time since quitting in the HSE, we estimated when ex-smokers are typically recorded as non-smokers in primary care records.
In THIN, smoking status was recorded for 84% of patients within 1 year of registration. Of these, 28% were smokers (21% in the HSE). After MI of missing smoking data, the proportion of smokers was 25% (missing at random) and 20% (missing not at random). With increasing age, more were identified as ex-smokers in the HSE than THIN. It appears that those who quit before age 30 were less likely to be recorded as an ex-smoker in primary care than people who quit later.
Smoking status was relatively well recorded in primary care. Misclassification of ex-smokers as non-smokers is likely to occur in those quitting smoking at an early age and/or a long time ago. Those with no smoking status information are more likely to be ex-smokers or non-smokers than smokers.
PRIMARY CARE; STATISTICS & RESEARCH METHODS; EPIDEMIOLOGY
Although diet quality is implicated in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, few studies have investigated the relation between diet quality and the risks of CVD and mortality in older adults. This study examined the prospective associations between dietary scores and risk of CVD and all-cause mortality in older British men. A total of 3328 men (aged 60–79 y) from the British Regional Heart Study, free from CVD at baseline, were followed up for 11.3 y for CVD and mortality. Baseline food-frequency questionnaire data were used to generate 2 dietary scores: the Healthy Diet Indicator (HDI), based on WHO dietary guidelines, and the Elderly Dietary Index (EDI), based on a Mediterranean-style dietary intake, with higher scores indicating greater compliance with dietary recommendations. Cox proportional hazards regression analyses assessed associations between quartiles of HDI and EDI and risk of all-cause mortality, CVD mortality, CVD events, and coronary heart disease (CHD) events. During follow-up, 933 deaths, 327 CVD deaths, 582 CVD events, and 307 CHD events occurred. Men in the highest compared with the lowest EDI quartile had significantly lower risks of all-cause mortality (HR: 0.75; 95% CI: 0.60, 0.94; P-trend = 0.03), CVD mortality (HR: 0.63; 95% CI: 0.42, 0.94; P-trend = 0.03), and CHD events (HR: 0.66; 95% CI: 0.45, 0.97; P-trend = 0.05) but not CVD events (HR: 0.79; 95% CI: 0.60, 1.05; P-trend = 0.16) after adjustment for sociodemographic, behavioral, and cardiovascular risk factors. The HDI was not significantly associated with any of the outcomes. The EDI appears to be more useful than the HDI for assessing diet quality in relation to CVD and morality risk in older men. Encouraging older adults to adhere to the guidelines inherent in the EDI criteria may have public health benefits.
The ability to learn contingencies between actions and outcomes in a dynamic environment is critical for flexible, adaptive behavior. Goal-directed actions adapt to changes in action-outcome contingencies as well as to changes in the reward-value of the outcome. When networks involved in reward processing and contingency learning are maladaptive, this fundamental ability can be lost, with detrimental consequences for decision-making. Impaired decision-making is a core feature in a number of psychiatric disorders, ranging from depression to schizophrenia. The argument can be developed, therefore, that seemingly disparate symptoms across psychiatric disorders can be explained by dysfunction within common decision-making circuitry. From this perspective, gaining a better understanding of the neural processes involved in goal-directed action, will allow a comparison of deficits observed across traditional diagnostic boundaries within a unified theoretical framework. This review describes the key processes and neural circuits involved in goal-directed decision-making using evidence from animal studies and human neuroimaging. Select studies are discussed to outline what we currently know about causal judgments regarding actions and their consequences, action-related reward evaluation, and, most importantly, how these processes are integrated in goal-directed learning and performance. Finally, we look at how adaptive decision-making is impaired across a range of psychiatric disorders and how deepening our understanding of this circuitry may offer insights into phenotypes and more targeted interventions.
goal-directed action; basal ganglia; amygdala; schizophrenia; ADHD; depression
Individual participant time-to-event data from multiple prospective epidemiologic studies enable detailed investigation into the predictive ability of risk models. Here we address the challenges in appropriately combining such information across studies. Methods are exemplified by analyses of log C-reactive protein and conventional risk factors for coronary heart disease in the Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration, a collation of individual data from multiple prospective studies with an average follow-up duration of 9.8 years (dates varied). We derive risk prediction models using Cox proportional hazards regression analysis stratified by study and obtain estimates of risk discrimination, Harrell's concordance index, and Royston's discrimination measure within each study; we then combine the estimates across studies using a weighted meta-analysis. Various weighting approaches are compared and lead us to recommend using the number of events in each study. We also discuss the calculation of measures of reclassification for multiple studies. We further show that comparison of differences in predictive ability across subgroups should be based only on within-study information and that combining measures of risk discrimination from case-control studies and prospective studies is problematic. The concordance index and discrimination measure gave qualitatively similar results throughout. While the concordance index was very heterogeneous between studies, principally because of differing age ranges, the increments in the concordance index from adding log C-reactive protein to conventional risk factors were more homogeneous.
C index; coronary heart disease; D measure; individual participant data; inverse variance; meta-analysis; risk prediction; weighting
In humans, most drug use is initiated during adolescence and adolescent users are more likely to become drug-dependent than adult users. Repeated, high levels of use are required for the transition from use to addiction. Individual levels of drug use are thought to result from a balance between the pleasant or rewarding and the unpleasant or aversive properties of the drug. Repeated high levels of drug use are required for the transition from drug use to dependence. We hypothesized that diminished aversive effects of drugs of abuse during adolescence might be one reason for higher rates of use and addiction during this phase. We therefore tested adolescent and adult CD rats in single-dose cocaine conditioned taste aversion (CTA) at a range of doses (10–40 mg/kg), and examined whether various behavioral markers of addiction vulnerability were correlated to outcome in cocaine CTA. We found that adolescents are indeed less susceptible to cocaine CTA. In fact, age was the predominant predictor of CTA outcome, predominating over measures of novelty-seeking, anxiety, and stress hormone levels, which are all known to be related to drug intake in other models. Furthermore, we found that adolescent rats are also less susceptible to conditioned taste aversion to a low dose of a non-addictive substance, lithium chloride. These results suggest that one explanation for elevated drug use and addiction among adolescents is reduced aversive or use-limiting effects of the drugs. This contributes to our understanding of why adolescence is a particularly vulnerable period for development of drug abuse.
Cocaine; Conditioned taste aversion; Rat; Adolescent; Linear correlation; Anxiety; Novelty-seeking; Corticosterone; CRF; Vulnerability
This study sought to investigate the role of secretory phospholipase A2 (sPLA2)-IIA in cardiovascular disease.
Higher circulating levels of sPLA2-IIA mass or sPLA2 enzyme activity have been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events. However, it is not clear if this association is causal. A recent phase III clinical trial of an sPLA2 inhibitor (varespladib) was stopped prematurely for lack of efficacy.
We conducted a Mendelian randomization meta-analysis of 19 general population studies (8,021 incident, 7,513 prevalent major vascular events [MVE] in 74,683 individuals) and 10 acute coronary syndrome (ACS) cohorts (2,520 recurrent MVE in 18,355 individuals) using rs11573156, a variant in PLA2G2A encoding the sPLA2-IIA isoenzyme, as an instrumental variable.
PLA2G2A rs11573156 C allele associated with lower circulating sPLA2-IIA mass (38% to 44%) and sPLA2 enzyme activity (3% to 23%) per C allele. The odds ratio (OR) for MVE per rs11573156 C allele was 1.02 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.98 to 1.06) in general populations and 0.96 (95% CI: 0.90 to 1.03) in ACS cohorts. In the general population studies, the OR derived from the genetic instrumental variable analysis for MVE for a 1-log unit lower sPLA2-IIA mass was 1.04 (95% CI: 0.96 to 1.13), and differed from the non-genetic observational estimate (OR: 0.69; 95% CI: 0.61 to 0.79). In the ACS cohorts, both the genetic instrumental variable and observational ORs showed a null association with MVE. Instrumental variable analysis failed to show associations between sPLA2 enzyme activity and MVE.
Reducing sPLA2-IIA mass is unlikely to be a useful therapeutic goal for preventing cardiovascular events.
cardiovascular diseases; drug development; epidemiology; genetics; Mendelian randomization; ACS, acute coronary syndrome(s); CI, confidence interval; LDL-C, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol; MI, myocardial infarction; MVE, major vascular events; OR, odds ratio; RCT, randomized clinical trial; SNP, single-nucleotide polymorphism; sPLA2, secretory phospholipase A2
The Caribbean basin is home to some of the most complex interactions in recent history among previously diverged human populations. Here, we investigate the population genetic history of this region by characterizing patterns of genome-wide variation among 330 individuals from three of the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola), two mainland (Honduras, Colombia), and three Native South American (Yukpa, Bari, and Warao) populations. We combine these data with a unique database of genomic variation in over 3,000 individuals from diverse European, African, and Native American populations. We use local ancestry inference and tract length distributions to test different demographic scenarios for the pre- and post-colonial history of the region. We develop a novel ancestry-specific PCA (ASPCA) method to reconstruct the sub-continental origin of Native American, European, and African haplotypes from admixed genomes. We find that the most likely source of the indigenous ancestry in Caribbean islanders is a Native South American component shared among inland Amazonian tribes, Central America, and the Yucatan peninsula, suggesting extensive gene flow across the Caribbean in pre-Columbian times. We find evidence of two pulses of African migration. The first pulse—which today is reflected by shorter, older ancestry tracts—consists of a genetic component more similar to coastal West African regions involved in early stages of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The second pulse—reflected by longer, younger tracts—is more similar to present-day West-Central African populations, supporting historical records of later transatlantic deportation. Surprisingly, we also identify a Latino-specific European component that has significantly diverged from its parental Iberian source populations, presumably as a result of small European founder population size. We demonstrate that the ancestral components in admixed genomes can be traced back to distinct sub-continental source populations with far greater resolution than previously thought, even when limited pre-Columbian Caribbean haplotypes have survived.
Latinos are often regarded as a single heterogeneous group, whose complex variation is not fully appreciated in several social, demographic, and biomedical contexts. By making use of genomic data, we characterize ancestral components of Caribbean populations on a sub-continental level and unveil fine-scale patterns of population structure distinguishing insular from mainland Caribbean populations as well as from other Hispanic/Latino groups. We provide genetic evidence for an inland South American origin of the Native American component in island populations and for extensive pre-Columbian gene flow across the Caribbean basin. The Caribbean-derived European component shows significant differentiation from parental Iberian populations, presumably as a result of founder effects during the colonization of the New World. Based on demographic models, we reconstruct the complex population history of the Caribbean since the onset of continental admixture. We find that insular populations are best modeled as mixtures absorbing two pulses of African migrants, coinciding with the early and maximum activity stages of the transatlantic slave trade. These two pulses appear to have originated in different regions within West Africa, imprinting two distinguishable signatures on present-day Afro-Caribbean genomes and shedding light on the genetic impact of the slave trade in the Caribbean.
Background The extent to which adult height, a biomarker of the interplay of genetic endowment and early-life experiences, is related to risk of chronic diseases in adulthood is uncertain.
Methods We calculated hazard ratios (HRs) for height, assessed in increments of 6.5 cm, using individual–participant data on 174 374 deaths or major non-fatal vascular outcomes recorded among 1 085 949 people in 121 prospective studies.
Results For people born between 1900 and 1960, mean adult height increased 0.5–1 cm with each successive decade of birth. After adjustment for age, sex, smoking and year of birth, HRs per 6.5 cm greater height were 0.97 (95% confidence interval: 0.96–0.99) for death from any cause, 0.94 (0.93–0.96) for death from vascular causes, 1.04 (1.03–1.06) for death from cancer and 0.92 (0.90–0.94) for death from other causes. Height was negatively associated with death from coronary disease, stroke subtypes, heart failure, stomach and oral cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, mental disorders, liver disease and external causes. In contrast, height was positively associated with death from ruptured aortic aneurysm, pulmonary embolism, melanoma and cancers of the pancreas, endocrine and nervous systems, ovary, breast, prostate, colorectum, blood and lung. HRs per 6.5 cm greater height ranged from 1.26 (1.12–1.42) for risk of melanoma death to 0.84 (0.80–0.89) for risk of death from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. HRs were not appreciably altered after further adjustment for adiposity, blood pressure, lipids, inflammation biomarkers, diabetes mellitus, alcohol consumption or socio-economic indicators.
Conclusion Adult height has directionally opposing relationships with risk of death from several different major causes of chronic diseases.
Height; cardiovascular disease; cancer; cause-specific mortality; epidemiological study; meta-analysis
L-ascorbic acid is an essential part of the human diet and has been associated with a wide-range of chronic complex diseases including cardiovascular outcomes. To date, there are no confirmed genetic correlates of circulating levels of L-ascorbic acid.
We aimed to confirm the existence of association between common variation at the SLC23A1 gene locus and circulating levels of L-ascorbic acid.
We employed a two-stage design which used a discovery cohort (the British Women’s Heart and Health Study) and a series of follow-up cohorts and meta-analysis (totalling 15087 participants) to assess the relationship between variation at SLC23A1 and circulating levels of L-ascorbic acid.
In the discovery cohort, variation at rs33972313 was associated with a reduction in circulating levels of L-ascorbic acid (−4.15μmol/L (95%CI −0.49, −7.81), p=0.03 reduction per minor allele). Pooled analysis of the relationship between rs33972313 and circulating L-ascorbic acid across all studies confirmed this, showing that each additional rare allele was associated with a reduction in circulating levels of L-ascorbic acid of −5.98μmol/L (95%CI −8.23, −3.73), p=2.0×10−7 per minor allele.
Work here has identified a genetic variant (rs33972313) in the SLC23A1 vitamin C active transporter locus that is reliably associated with circulating levels of L-ascorbic acid in the general population. This finding has implications more generally for the epidemiological investigation of relationships between circulating L-ascorbic acid and health outcomes.
Vitamin C; genotype; L-ascorbic acid
Pulmonary function measures reflect respiratory health and predict mortality, and are used in the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We tested genome-wide association with the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and the ratio of FEV1 to forced vital capacity (FVC) in 48,201 individuals of European ancestry, with follow-up of top associations in up to an additional 46,411 individuals. We identified new regions showing association (combined P<5×10−8) with pulmonary function, in or near MFAP2, TGFB2, HDAC4, RARB, MECOM (EVI1), SPATA9, ARMC2, NCR3, ZKSCAN3, CDC123, C10orf11, LRP1, CCDC38, MMP15, CFDP1, and KCNE2. Identification of these 16 new loci may provide insight into the molecular mechanisms regulating pulmonary function and into molecular targets for future therapy to alleviate reduced lung function.
Two single-nucleotide polymorphisms, rs1051730 and rs16969968, located within the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor gene cluster on chromosome 15q25 locus, are associated with heaviness of smoking, risk for lung cancer, and other smoking-related health outcomes. Previous studies have typically relied on self-reported smoking behavior, which may not fully capture interindividual variation in tobacco exposure.
We investigated the association of rs1051730 and rs16969968 genotype (referred to as rs1051730–rs16969968, because these are in perfect linkage disequilibrium and interchangeable) with both self-reported daily cigarette consumption and biochemically measured plasma or serum cotinine levels among cigarette smokers. Summary estimates and descriptive statistical data for 12 364 subjects were obtained from six independent studies, and 2932 smokers were included in the analyses. Linear regression was used to calculate the per-allele association of rs1051730–rs16969968 genotype with cigarette consumption and cotinine levels in current smokers for each study. Meta-analysis of per-allele associations was conducted using a random effects method. The likely resulting association between genotype and lung cancer risk was assessed using published data on the association between cotinine levels and lung cancer risk. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Pooled per-allele associations showed that current smokers with one or two copies of the rs1051730–rs16969968 risk allele had increased self-reported cigarette consumption (mean increase in unadjusted number of cigarettes per day per allele = 1.0 cigarette, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.57 to 1.43 cigarettes, P = 5.22 × 10−6) and cotinine levels (mean increase in unadjusted cotinine levels per allele = 138.72 nmol/L, 95% CI = 97.91 to 179.53 nmol/L, P = 2.71 × 10−11). The increase in cotinine levels indicated an increased risk of lung cancer with each additional copy of the rs1051730–rs16969968 risk allele (per-allele odds ratio = 1.31, 95% CI = 1.21 to 1.42).
Our data show a stronger association of rs1051730–rs16969968 genotype with objective measures of tobacco exposure compared with self-reported cigarette consumption. The association of these variants with lung cancer risk is likely to be mediated largely, if not wholly, via tobacco exposure.
Rationale: Genomic loci are associated with FEV1 or the ratio of FEV1 to FVC in population samples, but their association with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has not yet been proven, nor have their combined effects on lung function and COPD been studied.
Objectives: To test association with COPD of variants at five loci (TNS1, GSTCD, HTR4, AGER, and THSD4) and to evaluate joint effects on lung function and COPD of these single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and variants at the previously reported locus near HHIP.
Methods: By sampling from 12 population-based studies (n = 31,422), we obtained genotype data on 3,284 COPD case subjects and 17,538 control subjects for sentinel SNPs in TNS1, GSTCD, HTR4, AGER, and THSD4. In 24,648 individuals (including 2,890 COPD case subjects and 13,862 control subjects), we additionally obtained genotypes for rs12504628 near HHIP. Each allele associated with lung function decline at these six SNPs contributed to a risk score. We studied the association of the risk score to lung function and COPD.
Measurements and Main Results: Association with COPD was significant for three loci (TNS1, GSTCD, and HTR4) and the previously reported HHIP locus, and suggestive and directionally consistent for AGER and TSHD4. Compared with the baseline group (7 risk alleles), carrying 10–12 risk alleles was associated with a reduction in FEV1 (β = –72.21 ml, P = 3.90 × 10−4) and FEV1/FVC (β = –1.53%, P = 6.35 × 10−6), and with COPD (odds ratio = 1.63, P = 1.46 × 10−5).
Conclusions: Variants in TNS1, GSTCD, and HTR4 are associated with COPD. Our highest risk score category was associated with a 1.6-fold higher COPD risk than the population average score.
FEV1; FVC; genome-wide association study; modeling risk
To estimate the contribution of risk factor trends to 20-year declines in myocardial infarction (MI) incidence in British men and women.
Methods and results
From 1985 to 2004, 6379 men and 3074 women in the Whitehall II cohort were followed for incident MI and risk factor trends. Over 20 years, the age–sex-adjusted hazard of MI fell by 74% (95% confidence interval 48–87%), corresponding to an average annual decline of 6.5% (3.2–9.7%). Thirty-four per cent (20–76%) of the decline in MI hazard could be statistically explained by declining non-HDL cholesterol levels, followed by increased HDL cholesterol (17%, 10–32%), reduced systolic blood pressure (13%, 7–24%), and reduced cigarette smoking prevalence (6%, 2–14%). Increased fruit and vegetable consumption made a non-significant contribution of 7% (−1–20%). In combination, these five risk factors explained 56% (34–112%). Rising body mass index (BMI) was counterproductive, reducing the scale of the decline by 11% (5–23%) in isolation. The MI decline and the impact of the risk factors appeared similar for men and women.
In men and women, over half of the decline in MI risk could be accounted for by favourable risk factor time trends. The adverse role of BMI emphasizes the importance of addressing the rising population BMI.
Myocardial infarction; Incidence; Time Trends; Population; Prevention; Risk factors
The incidence of myocardial infarction (MI) in Britain has fallen markedly in recent years. Few studies have investigated the extent to which this decline can be explained by concurrent changes in major cardiovascular risk factors.
Methods and Results
The British Regional Heart Study examined changes in cardiovascular risk factors and MI incidence over 25 years from 1978 in a cohort of 7735 men. During this time, the age-adjusted hazard of MI decreased by 3.8% (95% confidence interval 2.6% to 5.0%) per annum, which corresponds to a 62% decline over the 25 years. At the same time, after adjustment for age, cigarette smoking prevalence, mean systolic blood pressure, and mean non–high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol decreased, whereas mean HDL cholesterol, mean body mass index, and physical activity levels rose. No significant change occurred in alcohol consumption. The fall in cigarette smoking explained the greatest part of the decline in MI incidence (23%), followed by changes in blood pressure (13%), HDL cholesterol (12%), and non-HDL cholesterol (10%). In combination, 46% (approximate 95% confidence interval 23% to 164%) of the decline in MI could be explained by these risk factor changes. Physical activity and alcohol consumption had little influence, whereas the increase in body mass index would have produced a rise in MI risk.
Modest favorable changes in the major cardiovascular risk factors appear to have contributed to considerable reductions in MI incidence. This highlights the potential value of population-wide measures to reduce exposure to these risk factors in the prevention of coronary heart disease.
myocardial infarction; risk factors; population; epidemiology; prevention
To investigate the role of medication in 20-year trends in blood pressure (BP) and blood lipids in older British men.
Methods and results
BP and lipids were measured in 4231 men from a representative cohort at baseline (1978–1980, aged 40–59 years) and after 20 years (1998–2000). Cohort-wide age-adjusted 20-year mean changes were as follows: systolic BP − 7.6 mmHg (95% confidence interval: − 9.7 to − 5.4); diastolic BP + 3.3 mmHg ( + 2.2 to + 4.5); non-high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol − 0.4 mmol/l ( − 0.5 to − 0.2); HDL-cholesterol + 0.16 mmol/l ( + 0.13 to + 0.19). Much (79%) of the systolic BP fall occurred only among 1561 men (37%) reporting the use of BP-lowering medication during the follow-up; systolic BP changed by − 12.3 mmHg ( − 14.7 to − 9.9) and − 1.6 mmHg ( − 3.7 to + 0.5) among medication users and men not using medication, respectively (P < 0.001 for medication–time interaction). One-third of the non-HDL-cholesterol fall occurred only among 302 men (8%) reporting the use of lipid-regulating drugs; non-HDL-cholesterol changed by − 1.8 mmol/l ( − 2.0 to − 1.6) and − 0.2 mmol/l ( − 0.4 to − 0.1) among medication users and men not using medication, respectively (P< 0.001 for interaction). The HDL-cholesterol increase was not associated with lipid-regulating drug use (P=0.15 for interaction).
Decreases in BP were largely confined to medication users and overall changes in non-HDL-cholesterol were modest, suggesting the need for greater efforts to reduce BP and cholesterol among the general population. HDL-cholesterol increased among all men, likely reflecting cohort-wide improvements in associated health behaviours.
antihypertensive medication; blood pressure; cholesterol; epidemiology; lipid-regulating medication; time trends
To evaluate the associations of emergent genome-wide-association study-derived coronary heart disease (CHD)-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with established and emerging risk factors, and the association of genome-wide-association study-derived lipid-associated SNPs with other risk factors and CHD events.
Methods and results
Using two case–control studies, three cross-sectional, and seven prospective studies with up to 25 000 individuals and 5794 CHD events we evaluated associations of 34 genome-wide-association study-identified SNPs with CHD risk and 16 CHD-associated risk factors or biomarkers. The Ch9p21 SNPs rs1333049 (OR 1.17; 95% confidence limits 1.11–1.24) and rs10757274 (OR 1.17; 1.09–1.26), MIA3 rs17465637 (OR 1.10; 1.04–1.15), Ch2q36 rs2943634 (OR 1.08; 1.03–1.14), APC rs383830 (OR 1.10; 1.02, 1.18), MTHFD1L rs6922269 (OR 1.10; 1.03, 1.16), CXCL12 rs501120 (OR 1.12; 1.04, 1.20), and SMAD3 rs17228212 (OR 1.11; 1.05, 1.17) were all associated with CHD risk, but not with the CHD biomarkers and risk factors measured. Among the 20 blood lipid-related SNPs, LPL rs17411031 was associated with a lower risk of CHD (OR 0.91; 0.84–0.97), an increase in Apolipoprotein AI and HDL-cholesterol, and reduced triglycerides. SORT1 rs599839 was associated with CHD risk (OR 1.20; 1.15–1.26) as well as total- and LDL-cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B. ANGPTL3 rs12042319 was associated with CHD risk (OR 1.11; 1.03, 1.19), total- and LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and interleukin-6.
Several SNPs predicting CHD events appear to involve pathways not currently indexed by the established or emerging risk factors; others involved changes in blood lipids including triglycerides or HDL-cholesterol as well as LDL-cholesterol. The overlapping association of SNPs with multiple risk factors and biomarkers supports the existence of shared points of regulation for these phenotypes.
Coronary disease; Lipids; Genes; Risk factors
To estimate the extent to which increasing BMI may explain the rise in type 2 diabetes incidence in British men from 1984 to 2007.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
A representative cohort ratio of 6,460 British men was followed-up for type 2 diabetes incidence between 1984 (aged 45–65 years) and 2007 (aged 67–89 years). BMI was ascertained at regular intervals before and during the follow-up.
Between 1984–1992 and 1999–2007, the age-adjusted hazard of type 2 diabetes more than doubled (hazard ratio 2.33 [95% CI 1.75–3.10]). Mean BMI rose by 1.42 kg/m2 (95% CI 1.10–1.74) between 1984 and 1999; this could explain 26% (95% CI 17–38) of the type 2 diabetes increase.
An appreciable portion of the rise in type 2 diabetes can be attributed to BMI changes. A substantial portion remains unexplained, possibly associated with other determinants such as physical activity. This merits further research.