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1.  Paternal RHD zygosity determination in Tunisians: evaluation of three molecular tests 
Blood Transfusion  2015;13(1):59-65.
Background
The choice of a molecular test for first intention determination of paternal RHD zygosity, before entering into invasive diagnostics, is important for the management of pregnancies at risk of haemolytic disease of the foetus and newborn related to anti-RhD.
Materials and methods
RHD zygosity was evaluated in 370 RH:1 Tunisian donors by polymerase chain reaction - sequence-specific polymorphism (PCR-SSP) analysis and polymerase chain reaction - restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) amplification of hybrid Rhesus box and by real time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RQ-PCR) specific for RHD exon 5. To evaluate the accuracy of molecular tests in the cases of discordant results, the ten exons of RHD and Rhesus boxes were amplified by PCR and sequenced.
Results
Molecular investigations revealed that our 370 donors comprise 193 dizygous and 145 hemizygous individuals and 32 subjects whose zygosity remains unknown. Positive predictive values were higher than 99% for all the methods, reaching 100% for RQ-PCR. Negative predictive values were 83.24%, 87.27% and 98% for PCR-SSP, PCR-RFLP and RQ-PCR respectively. This study also revealed 19 novel Rhesus box polymorphisms and three novel RHD alleles: RHD(Trp185Stop), RHD(Ala176Thr) and RHD(Ile342Ile).
Discussion
RQ-PCR is the most convenient method for first intention determination of paternal RHD zygosity in Tunisians. However, taking into account positive and negative predictive values, PCR-RFLP could be an alternative despite the heterogeneity of Rhesus boxes and the complexity of RHD.
doi:10.2450/2014.0308-13
PMCID: PMC4317091  PMID: 24960665
zygosity; RHD alleles; Rhesus box polymorphisms
2.  Common subclinical hypothyroidism during Whipple’s disease 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:370.
Background
Classic Whipple’s disease is caused by T. whipplei and likely involves genetic predispositions, such as the HLA alleles DRB1*13 and DQB1*06, that are more frequently observed in patients. T. whipplei carriage occurs in 2-4% of the general population in France. Subclinical hypothyroidism, characterized by high levels of TSH and normal free tetra-iodothyronine (fT4) dosage, has been rarely associated with specific HLA factors.
Methods
We retrospectively tested TSHus in 80 patients and 42 carriers. In cases of dysthyroidism, we tested the levels of free-T4 and anti-thyroid antibodies, and the HLA genotypes were also determined for seven to eight patients.
Results
In this study, 72-74% of patients and carriers were male, and among the 80 patients, 14 (17%) individuals had a high level of TSH, whereas none of the carriers did (p < 0 · 01). In the 14 patients with no clinical manifestations, the T4 levels were normal, and no specific antibodies were present. Four patients treated with antibiotics, without thyroxine supplementation, showed normal levels of TSHus after one or two years. One patient displayed a second episode of subclinical hypothyroidism during a Whipple’s disease relapse five years later, but the subclinical hypothyroidism regressed after antibiotic treatment. HLA typing revealed nine alleles that appeared more frequently in patients than in the control cohort, but none of these differences reached significance due to the small size of the patient group.
Conclusion
Regardless of the substratum, classic Whipple’s disease could lead to subclinical hypothyroidism. We recommend systematically testing the TSH levels in patients with Whipple’s disease.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-370
PMCID: PMC4099391  PMID: 24996424
Tropheryma whipplei; Whipple’s disease; Subclinical hypothyroidism; HLA
3.  HLA-G UTR Haplotype Conservation in the Malian Population: Association with Soluble HLA-G 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82517.
The HLA-G molecule plays an important role in immunomodulation. In a previous study carried out on a southern French population our team showed that HLA-G haplotypes, defined by SNPs in the coding region and specific SNPs located in 5′URR and 3′UTR regulatory regions, are associated with differential soluble HLA-G expression (sHLA-G). Furthermore, the structure of these HLA-G haplotypes appears to be conserved in geographically distant populations.
The aim of our study is to confirm these expectations in a sub-Saharan African population and to explore additional factors, such as HLA-A alleles, that might influence sHLA-G expression.
DNA and plasma samples were collected from 229 Malians; HLA-G and HLA-A genotyping were respectively performed by the Snap Shot® method and by Luminex™ technology. sHLA-G dosage was performed using an ELISA kit. HLA-G and HLA-A allelic and haplotypic frequencies were estimated using an EM algorithm from the Gene[Rate] program. Associations between genetic and non genetic parameters with sHLA-G were performed using a non-parametric test with GRAPH PAD Prism 5.
Our results reveal a good conservation of the HLA-G UTR haplotype structure in populations with different origins and demographic histories. These UTR haplotypes appear to be involved in different sHLA-G expression patterns. Specifically, the UTR-2 haplotype was associated with low sHLA-G levels, displaying a dominant negative effect. Furthermore, an allelic effect of both HLA-G and HLA-A, as well as non genetic parameters, such as age and gender possibly linked to osteogenesis and sexual hormones, also seem to be involved in the modulation of sHLA-G.
These data suggest that further investigation in larger cohorts and in populations from various ethnical backgrounds is necessary not only to detect new functional polymorphism in HLA-G regulatory regions, but also to reveal the extent of biological phenomena that influence sHLA-G secretion and this might therefore have an impact on transplantation practice.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082517
PMCID: PMC3871591  PMID: 24376542
4.  Distinguishing the co-ancestries of haplogroup G Y-chromosomes in the populations of Europe and the Caucasus 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2012;20(12):1275-1282.
Haplogroup G, together with J2 clades, has been associated with the spread of agriculture, especially in the European context. However, interpretations based on simple haplogroup frequency clines do not recognize underlying patterns of genetic diversification. Although progress has been recently made in resolving the haplogroup G phylogeny, a comprehensive survey of the geographic distribution patterns of the significant sub-clades of this haplogroup has not been conducted yet. Here we present the haplogroup frequency distribution and STR variation of 16 informative G sub-clades by evaluating 1472 haplogroup G chromosomes belonging to 98 populations ranging from Europe to Pakistan. Although no basal G-M201* chromosomes were detected in our data set, the homeland of this haplogroup has been estimated to be somewhere nearby eastern Anatolia, Armenia or western Iran, the only areas characterized by the co-presence of deep basal branches as well as the occurrence of high sub-haplogroup diversity. The P303 SNP defines the most frequent and widespread G sub-haplogroup. However, its sub-clades have more localized distribution with the U1-defined branch largely restricted to Near/Middle Eastern and the Caucasus, whereas L497 lineages essentially occur in Europe where they likely originated. In contrast, the only U1 representative in Europe is the G-M527 lineage whose distribution pattern is consistent with regions of Greek colonization. No clinal patterns were detected suggesting that the distributions are rather indicative of isolation by distance and demographic complexities.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2012.86
PMCID: PMC3499744  PMID: 22588667
Y-chromosome; haplogroup G; human evolution; population genetics
5.  Afghan Hindu Kush: Where Eurasian Sub-Continent Gene Flows Converge 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76748.
Despite being located at the crossroads of Asia, genetics of the Afghanistan populations have been largely overlooked. It is currently inhabited by five major ethnic populations: Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek and Turkmen. Here we present autosomal from a subset of our samples, mitochondrial and Y- chromosome data from over 500 Afghan samples among these 5 ethnic groups. This Afghan data was supplemented with the same Y-chromosome analyses of samples from Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and updated Pakistani samples (HGDP-CEPH). The data presented here was integrated into existing knowledge of pan-Eurasian genetic diversity. The pattern of genetic variation, revealed by structure-like and Principal Component analyses and Analysis of Molecular Variance indicates that the people of Afghanistan are made up of a mosaic of components representing various geographic regions of Eurasian ancestry. The absence of a major Central Asian-specific component indicates that the Hindu Kush, like the gene pool of Central Asian populations in general, is a confluence of gene flows rather than a source of distinctly autochthonous populations that have arisen in situ: a conclusion that is reinforced by the phylogeography of both haploid loci.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076748
PMCID: PMC3799995  PMID: 24204668
6.  Genetic diversity on the Comoros Islands shows early seafaring as major determinant of human biocultural evolution in the Western Indian Ocean 
The Comoros Islands are situated off the coast of East Africa, at the northern entrance of the channel of Mozambique. Contemporary Comoros society displays linguistic, cultural and religious features that are indicators of interactions between African, Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian (SEA) populations. Influences came from the north, brought by the Arab and Persian traders whose maritime routes extended to Madagascar by 700–900 AD. Influences also came from the Far East, with the long-distance colonisation by Austronesian seafarers that reached Madagascar 1500 years ago. Indeed, strong genetic evidence for a SEA, but not a Middle Eastern, contribution has been found on Madagascar, but no genetic trace of either migration has been shown to exist in mainland Africa. Studying genetic diversity on the Comoros Islands could therefore provide new insights into human movement in the Indian Ocean. Here, we describe Y chromosomal and mitochondrial genetic variation in 577 Comorian islanders. We have defined 28 Y chromosomal and 9 mitochondrial lineages. We show the Comoros population to be a genetic mosaic, the result of tripartite gene flow from Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. A distinctive profile of African haplogroups, shared with Madagascar, may be characteristic of coastal sub-Saharan East Africa. Finally, the absence of any maternal contribution from Western Eurasia strongly implicates male-dominated trade and religion as the drivers of gene flow from the North. The Comoros provides a first view of the genetic makeup of coastal East Africa.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2010.128
PMCID: PMC3039498  PMID: 20700146
Y chromosome; mitochondrion; Indian Ocean; East Africa; Comoros
7.  A major Y-chromosome haplogroup R1b Holocene era founder effect in Central and Western Europe 
The phylogenetic relationships of numerous branches within the core Y-chromosome haplogroup R-M207 support a West Asian origin of haplogroup R1b, its initial differentiation there followed by a rapid spread of one of its sub-clades carrying the M269 mutation to Europe. Here, we present phylogeographically resolved data for 2043 M269-derived Y-chromosomes from 118 West Asian and European populations assessed for the M412 SNP that largely separates the majority of Central and West European R1b lineages from those observed in Eastern Europe, the Circum-Uralic region, the Near East, the Caucasus and Pakistan. Within the M412 dichotomy, the major S116 sub-clade shows a frequency peak in the upper Danube basin and Paris area with declining frequency toward Italy, Iberia, Southern France and British Isles. Although this frequency pattern closely approximates the spread of the Linearbandkeramik (LBK), Neolithic culture, an advent leading to a number of pre-historic cultural developments during the past ≤10 thousand years, more complex pre-Neolithic scenarios remain possible for the L23(xM412) components in Southeast Europe and elsewhere.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2010.146
PMCID: PMC3039512  PMID: 20736979
Y-chromosome; haplogroup R1b; human evolution; population genetics
8.  The coming of the Greeks to Provence and Corsica: Y-chromosome models of archaic Greek colonization of the western Mediterranean 
Background
The process of Greek colonization of the central and western Mediterranean during the Archaic and Classical Eras has been understudied from the perspective of population genetics. To investigate the Y chromosomal demography of Greek colonization in the western Mediterranean, Y-chromosome data consisting of 29 YSNPs and 37 YSTRs were compared from 51 subjects from Provence, 58 subjects from Smyrna and 31 subjects whose paternal ancestry derives from Asia Minor Phokaia, the ancestral embarkation port to the 6th century BCE Greek colonies of Massalia (Marseilles) and Alalie (Aleria, Corsica).
Results
19% of the Phokaian and 12% of the Smyrnian representatives were derived for haplogroup E-V13, characteristic of the Greek and Balkan mainland, while 4% of the Provencal, 4.6% of East Corsican and 1.6% of West Corsican samples were derived for E-V13. An admixture analysis estimated that 17% of the Y-chromosomes of Provence may be attributed to Greek colonization. Using the following putative Neolithic Anatolian lineages: J2a-DYS445 = 6, G2a-M406 and J2a1b1-M92, the data predict a 0% Neolithic contribution to Provence from Anatolia. Estimates of colonial Greek vs. indigenous Celto-Ligurian demography predict a maximum of a 10% Greek contribution, suggesting a Greek male elite-dominant input into the Iron Age Provence population.
Conclusions
Given the origin of viniculture in Provence is ascribed to Massalia, these results suggest that E-V13 may trace the demographic and socio-cultural impact of Greek colonization in Mediterranean Europe, a contribution that appears to be considerably larger than that of a Neolithic pioneer colonization.
doi:10.1186/1471-2148-11-69
PMCID: PMC3068964  PMID: 21401952
9.  The emergence of Y-chromosome haplogroup J1e among Arabic-speaking populations 
Haplogroup J1 is a prevalent Y-chromosome lineage within the Near East. We report the frequency and YSTR diversity data for its major sub-clade (J1e). The overall expansion time estimated from 453 chromosomes is 10 000 years. Moreover, the previously described J1 (DYS388=13) chromosomes, frequently found in the Caucasus and eastern Anatolian populations, were ancestral to J1e and displayed an expansion time of 9000 years. For J1e, the Zagros/Taurus mountain region displays the highest haplotype diversity, although the J1e frequency increases toward the peripheral Arabian Peninsula. The southerly pattern of decreasing expansion time estimates is consistent with the serial drift and founder effect processes. The first such migration is predicted to have occurred at the onset of the Neolithic, and accordingly J1e parallels the establishment of rain-fed agriculture and semi-nomadic herders throughout the Fertile Crescent. Subsequently, J1e lineages might have been involved in episodes of the expansion of pastoralists into arid habitats coinciding with the spread of Arabic and other Semitic-speaking populations.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2009.166
PMCID: PMC2987219  PMID: 19826455
Y-chromosome haplogroup J1e; Neolithic; Arabic languages; pastoralism

Results 1-9 (9)