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
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified thousands of loci associated wtih complex traits, but it is challenging to pinpoint causal genes in these loci and to exploit subtle association signals. We used tissue-specific quantitative interaction proteomics to map a network of five genes involved in the Mendelian disorder long QT syndrome (LQTS). We integrated the LQTS network with GWAS loci from the corresponding common complex trait, QT interval variation, to identify candidate genes that were subsequently confirmed in Xenopus laevis oocytes and zebrafish. We used the LQTS protein network to filter weak GWAS signals by identifying single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in proximity to genes in the network supported by strong proteomic evidence. Three SNPs passing this filter reached genome-wide significance after replication genotyping. Overall, we present a general strategy to propose candidates in GWAS loci for functional studies and to systematically filter subtle association signals using tissue-specific quantitative interaction proteomics.
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
Forced vital capacity (FVC), a spirometric measure of pulmonary function, reflects lung volume and is used to diagnose and monitor lung diseases. We performed genome-wide association study meta-analysis of FVC in 52,253 individuals from 26 studies and followed up the top associations in 32,917 additional individuals of European ancestry. We found six new regions associated at genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8) with FVC in or near EFEMP1, BMP6, MIR-129-2/HSD17B12, PRDM11, WWOX, and KCNJ2. Two (GSTCD and PTCH1) loci previously associated with spirometric measures were related to FVC. Newly implicated regions were followed-up in samples of African American, Korean, Chinese, and Hispanic individuals. We detected transcripts for all six newly implicated genes in human lung tissue. The new loci may inform mechanisms involved in lung development and pathogenesis of restrictive lung disease.
Plasma fibrinogen is an acute phase protein playing an important role in the blood coagulation cascade having strong associations with smoking, alcohol consumption and body mass index (BMI). Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified a variety of gene regions associated with elevated plasma fibrinogen concentrations. However, little is yet known about how associations between environmental factors and fibrinogen might be modified by genetic variation. Therefore, we conducted large-scale meta-analyses of genome-wide interaction studies to identify possible interactions of genetic variants and smoking status, alcohol consumption or BMI on fibrinogen concentration. The present study included 80,607 subjects of European ancestry from 22 studies. Genome-wide interaction analyses were performed separately in each study for about 2.6 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the 22 autosomal chromosomes. For each SNP and risk factor, we performed a linear regression under an additive genetic model including an interaction term between SNP and risk factor. Interaction estimates were meta-analysed using a fixed-effects model. No genome-wide significant interaction with smoking status, alcohol consumption or BMI was observed in the meta-analyses. The most suggestive interaction was found for smoking and rs10519203, located in the LOC123688 region on chromosome 15, with a p value of 6.2×10−8. This large genome-wide interaction study including 80,607 participants found no strong evidence of interaction between genetic variants and smoking status, alcohol consumption or BMI on fibrinogen concentrations. Further studies are needed to yield deeper insight in the interplay between environmental factors and gene variants on the regulation of fibrinogen concentrations.
Research on social inequalities in sports participation and unstructured physical activity among young children is scarce. This study aimed to assess the associations of family socioeconomic position (SEP) and ethnic background with children’s sports participation and outdoor play.
We analyzed data from 4726 ethnically diverse 6-year-old children participating in the Generation R Study. Variables were assessed by parent-reported questionnaires when the child was 6 years old. Low level of outdoor play was defined as outdoor play <1 hour per day. Series of multiple logistic regression analyses were performed to assess associations of family SEP and ethnic background with children’s sports participation and outdoor play.
Socioeconomic inequalities in children’s sports participation were found when using maternal educational level (p < 0.05), paternal educational level (p < 0.05), maternal employment status (p < 0.05), and household income (p < 0.05) as family SEP indicator (less sports participation among low SEP children). Socioeconomic inequalities in children’s outdoor play were found when using household income only (p < 0.05) (more often outdoor play <1 hour per day among children from low income household). All ethnic minority children were significantly more likely to not to participate in sports and play outdoor <1 hour per day compared with native Dutch children. Adjustment for family SEP attenuated associations considerably, especially with respect to sports participation.
Low SEP children and ethnic minority children are more likely not to participate in sports and more likely to display low levels of outdoor play compared with high SEP children and native Dutch children, respectively. In order to design effective interventions, further research, including qualitative studies, is needed to explore more in detail the pathways relating family SEP and ethnic background to children’s sports participation and outdoor play.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12966-014-0155-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Socioeconomic; Ethnic; Sports; Outdoor play; Inequalities; Physical activity
Prediction models for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) based on case-control studies have a tendency to overestimate risks. The aim of this study is to develop a prediction model for late AMD based on data from population-based studies.
Three population-based studies: the Rotterdam Study (RS), the Beaver Dam Eye Study (BDES), and the Blue Mountains Eye Study (BMES) from the Three Continent AMD Consortium (3CC).
People (n = 10106) with gradable fundus photographs, genotype data, and follow-up data without late AMD at baseline.
Features of AMD were graded on fundus photographs using the 3CC AMD severity scale. Associations with known genetic and environmental AMD risk factors were tested using Cox proportional hazard analysis. In the RS, the prediction of AMD was estimated for multivariate models by area under receiver operating characteristic curves (AUCs). The best model was validated in the BDES and BMES, and associations of variables were re-estimated in the pooled data set. Beta coefficients were used to construct a risk score, and risk of incident late AMD was calculated using Cox proportional hazard analysis. Cumulative incident risks were estimated using Kaplan–Meier product-limit analysis.
Main Outcome Measures
Incident late AMD determined per visit during a median follow-up period of 11.1 years with a total of 4 to 5 visits.
Overall, 363 participants developed incident late AMD, 3378 participants developed early AMD, and 6365 participants remained free of any AMD. The highest AUC was achieved with a model including age, sex, 26 single nucleotide polymorphisms in AMD risk genes, smoking, body mass index, and baseline AMD phenotype. The AUC of this model was 0.88 in the RS, 0.85 in the BDES and BMES at validation, and 0.87 in the pooled analysis. Individuals with low-risk scores had a hazard ratio (HR) of 0.02 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.01–0.04) to develop late AMD, and individuals with high-risk scores had an HR of 22.0 (95% CI, 15.2–31.8). Cumulative risk of incident late AMD ranged from virtually 0 to more than 65% for those with the highest risk scores.
Our prediction model is robust and distinguishes well between those who will develop late AMD and those who will not. Estimated risks were lower in these population-based studies than in previous case-control studies.
Statins effectively lower LDL cholesterol levels in large studies and the observed interindividual response variability may be partially explained by genetic variation. Here we perform a pharmacogenetic meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in studies addressing the LDL cholesterol response to statins, including up to 18,596 statin-treated subjects. We validate the most promising signals in a further 22,318 statin recipients and identify two loci, SORT1/CELSR2/PSRC1 and SLCO1B1, not previously identified in GWAS. Moreover, we confirm the previously described associations with APOE and LPA. Our findings advance the understanding of the pharmacogenetic architecture of statin response.
Statins are effectively used to prevent and manage cardiovascular disease, but patient response to these drugs is highly variable. Here, the authors identify two new genes associated with the response of LDL cholesterol to statins and advance our understanding of the genetic basis of drug response.
Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are thought to share a genetic background (“Dutch hypothesis”).
We investigated whether asthma and COPD have common underlying genetic factors, performing genome-wide association studies for both asthma and COPD and combining the results in meta-analyses.
Three loci showed potential involvement in both diseases: chr2p24.3, chr5q23.1 and chr13q14.2, containing DDX1, COMMD10 (both participating in the NFκβ pathway) and GNG5P5, respectively. SNP rs9534578 in GNG5P5 reached genome-wide significance after first stage replication (p=9.96·*10−9). The second stage replication in seven independent cohorts provided no significant replication. eQTL analysis in blood and lung on the top 20 associated SNPs identified two SNPs in COMMD10 influencing gene expression.
Inflammatory processes differ in asthma and COPD and are mediated by NFκβ, which could be driven by the same underlying genes, COMMD10 and DDX1. None of the SNPs reached genome-wide significance. Our eQTL studies support a functional role of two COMMD10 SNPs, since they influence gene expression in both blood cells and lung tissue. Our findings either suggest that there is no common genetic component in asthma and COPD or, alternatively, different environmental factors, like lifestyle and occupation in different countries and continents may have obscured the genetic common contribution.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have revealed 74 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) blood levels. This study is, to our knowledge, the first genome-wide interaction study (GWIS) to identify SNP×SNP interactions associated with HDL levels. We performed a GWIS in the Rotterdam Study (RS) cohort I (RS-I) using the GLIDE tool which leverages the massively parallel computing power of Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) to perform linear regression on all genome-wide pairs of SNPs. By performing a meta-analysis together with Rotterdam Study cohorts II and III (RS-II and RS-III), we were able to filter 181 interaction terms with a p-value<1 · 10−8 that replicated in the two independent cohorts. We were not able to replicate any of these interaction term in the AGES, ARIC, CHS, ERF, FHS and NFBC-66 cohorts (Ntotal = 30,011) when adjusting for multiple testing. Our GWIS resulted in the consistent finding of a possible interaction between rs774801 in ARMC8 (ENSG00000114098) and rs12442098 in SPATA8 (ENSG00000185594) being associated with HDL levels. However, p-values do not reach the preset Bonferroni correction of the p-values. Our study suggest that even for highly genetically determined traits such as HDL the sample sizes needed to detect SNP×SNP interactions are large and the 2-step filtering approaches do not yield a solution. Here we present our analysis plan and our reservations concerning GWIS.
Refractive error (RE) is a complex, multifactorial disorder characterized by a mismatch between the optical power of the eye and its axial length that causes object images to be focused off the retina. The two major subtypes of RE are myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness), which represent opposite ends of the distribution of the quantitative measure of spherical refraction. We performed a fixed effects meta-analysis of genome-wide association results of myopia and hyperopia from 9 studies of European-derived populations: AREDS, KORA, FES, OGP-Talana, MESA, RSI, RSII, RSIII and ERF. One genome-wide significant region was observed for myopia, corresponding to a previously identified myopia locus on 8q12 (p = 1.25×10−8), which has been reported by Kiefer et al. as significantly associated with myopia age at onset and Verhoeven et al. as significantly associated to mean spherical-equivalent (MSE) refractive error. We observed two genome-wide significant associations with hyperopia. These regions overlapped with loci on 15q14 (minimum p value = 9.11×10−11) and 8q12 (minimum p value 1.82×10−11) previously reported for MSE and myopia age at onset. We also used an intermarker linkage- disequilibrium-based method for calculating the effective number of tests in targeted regional replication analyses. We analyzed myopia (which represents the closest phenotype in our data to the one used by Kiefer et al.) and showed replication of 10 additional loci associated with myopia previously reported by Kiefer et al. This is the first replication of these loci using myopia as the trait under analysis. “Replication-level” association was also seen between hyperopia and 12 of Kiefer et al.'s published loci. For the loci that show evidence of association to both myopia and hyperopia, the estimated effect of the risk alleles were in opposite directions for the two traits. This suggests that these loci are important contributors to variation of refractive error across the distribution.
Estimates of the heritability of plasma fibrinogen concentration, an established predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD), range from 34 to 50%. Genetic variants so far identified by genome-wide association (GWA) studies only explain a small proportion (< 2%) of its variation.
Methods and Results
We conducted a meta-analysis of 28 GWA studies, including more than 90,000 subjects of European ancestry, the first GWA meta-analysis of fibrinogen levels in 7 African Americans studies totaling 8,289 samples, and a GWA study in Hispanic-Americans totaling 1,366 samples. Evaluation for association of SNPs with clinical outcomes included a total of 40,695 cases and 85,582 controls for coronary artery disease (CAD), 4,752 cases and 24,030 controls for stroke, and 3,208 cases and 46,167 controls for venous thromboembolism (VTE). Overall, we identified 24 genome-wide significant (P<5×10−8) independent signals in 23 loci, including 15 novel associations, together accounting for 3.7% of plasma fibrinogen variation. Gene-set enrichment analysis highlighted key roles in fibrinogen regulation for the three structural fibrinogen genes and pathways related to inflammation, adipocytokines and thyrotrophin-releasing hormone signaling. Whereas lead SNPs in a few loci were significantly associated with CAD, the combined effect of all 24 fibrinogen-associated lead SNPs was not significant for CAD, stroke or VTE.
We identify 23 robustly associated fibrinogen loci, 15 of which are new. Clinical outcome analysis of these loci does not support a causal relationship between circulating levels of fibrinogen and CAD, stroke or VTE.
Fibrinogen; cardiovascular disease; genome-wide association study
Since atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with increased risks of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular complications, estimations on the number of individuals with AF are relevant to healthcare planning. We aimed to project the number of individuals with AF in the Netherlands and in the European Union from 2000 to 2060.
Methods and results
Age- and sex-specific AF prevalence estimates were obtained from the prospective community-based Rotterdam Study. Population projections for the Netherlands and the European Union were obtained from the European Union's statistics office. In the age stratum of 55–59 years, the prevalence of AF was 1.3% in men (95% CI: 0.4–3.6%) and 1.7% in women (95% CI: 0.7–4.0%). The prevalence of AF increased to 24.2% in men (95% CI: 18.5–30.7%), and 16.1% in women (95% CI: 13.1–19.4%), for those >85 years of age. This age- and sex-specific prevalence remained stable during the years of follow-up. Furthermore, we estimate that in the European Union, 8.8 million adults over 55 years had AF in 2010 (95% CI: 6.5–12.3 million). We project that this number will double by 2060 to 17.9 million (95% CI: 13.6–23.7 million) if the age- and sex-specific prevalence remains stable.
We estimate that from 2010 to 2060, the number of adults 55 years and over with AF in the European Union will more than double. As AF is associated with significant morbidities and mortality, this increasing number of individuals with AF may have major public health implications.
Atrial fibrillation; Epidemiology
Childhood overweight and obesity is a major public health concern. Knowledge on modifiable risk factors is needed to design effective intervention programs. This study aimed to assess associations of children’s sedentary behaviors (television viewing and computer game use) and physical activity behaviors (sports participation, outdoor play, and active transport to/from school) with three indicators of body fat, i.e., percent fat mass, body mass index (BMI) standard deviation scores, and weight status (normal weight, overweight).
Cross-sectional data from 5913 6-year-old ethnically diverse children were analyzed. Children’s weight and height were objectively measured and converted to BMI. Weight status was defined according to age- and sex-specific cut-off points of the International Obesity Task Force. BMI standard deviation scores were created, based on Dutch reference growth curves. Fat mass was measured my dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Sedentary and physical activity behaviors were assessed by parent-reported questionnaires. Series of logistic and linear regression analyses were performed, controlling for confounders (i.e., socio-demographic factors, family lifestyle factors, and other sedentary behaviors and physical activity behaviors).
Sports participation was inversely associated with fat mass (p < 0.001), even after adjustment for socio-demographic factors, family lifestyle factors, and other sedentary behaviors and physical activity behaviors. No other independent associations were observed.
The results of this study indicate that sports participation is inversely associated with percent body fat among ethnically diverse 6-year-old children. More research in varied populations including objective measurements and longitudinal designs are needed to confirm these current results.
Body fat; Overweight; Lifestyle; Physical activity; Sedentary; Children
Parental harsh disciplining, like corporal punishment, has consistently been associated with adverse mental health outcomes in children. It remains a challenge to accurately assess the consequences of harsh discipline, as researchers and clinicians generally rely on parent report of young children's problem behaviors. If parents rate their parenting styles and their child's behavior this may bias results. The use of child self-report on problem behaviors is not common but may provide extra information about the relation of harsh parental discipline and problem behavior. We examined the independent contribution of young children's self-report above parental report of emotional and behavioral problems in a study of maternal and paternal harsh discipline in a birth cohort. Maternal and paternal harsh discipline predicted both parent reported behavioral and parent reported emotional problems, but only child reported behavioral problems. Associations were not explained by pre-existing behavioral problems at age 3. Importantly, the association with child reported outcomes was independent from parent reported problem behavior. These results suggest that young children's self-reports of behavioral problems provide unique information on the effects of harsh parental discipline. Inclusion of child self-reports can therefore help estimate the effects of harsh parental discipline more accurately.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) independently associates with an increased risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), but it has not been fully investigated whether this co-morbidity involves shared pathophysiological mechanisms. To identify potential common pathways across the two diseases, we tested all recently published single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with human lung function (spirometry) for association with carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) in 3,378 subjects with multiple CAD risk factors, and for association with CAD in a case-control study of 5,775 CAD cases and 7,265 controls. SNPs rs2865531, located in the CFDP1 gene, and rs9978142, located in the KCNE2 gene, were significantly associated with CAD. In addition, SNP rs9978142 and SNP rs3995090 located in the HTR4 gene, were associated with average and maximal cIMT measures. Genetic risk scores combining the most robustly spirometry–associated SNPs from the literature were modestly associated with CAD, (odds ratio (OR) (95% confidence interval (CI95) = 1.06 (1.03, 1.09); P-value = 1.5×10−4, per allele). In conclusion, our study suggests that some genetic loci implicated in determining human lung function also influence cIMT and susceptibility to CAD. The present results should help elucidate the molecular underpinnings of the co-morbidity observed across COPD and CAD.
Recent data from a population-based study in children and adolescents suggest that serum thyrotropin (TSH) levels are associated with arterial blood pressure and hypertension. These results are in agreement with some but not all population-based studies in adults. Discrepancies in results might be explained by drug intake, different iodine supplies, and sizes of populations investigated. In addition, it is not clear whether an association between TSH and hypertension exists longitudinally or only cross-sectionally. Thus, our aim was to investigate cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between thyroid function and arterial blood pressure in a large consortium of cohort studies in adults.
Data from five population-based studies were pooled resulting in 17,023 individuals being available for cross-sectional and 10,048 individuals for longitudinal analyses. Associations of baseline TSH with baseline blood pressure or hypertension were analyzed by multivariable median or logistic regression models. Multivariable median or Poisson regression models were used to investigate associations of baseline TSH with five-year change in arterial blood pressure or incident hypertension.
There was a cross-sectional positive association of TSH with arterial blood pressure (p<0.001) and hypertension (odds ratio [OR]=1.76 [confidence interval (CI) 1.24–2.50], p=0.002). Likewise, hypothyroidism was associated with systolic (β=1.1 [CI 0.1–2.1], p=0.040) and diastolic blood pressure (β=1.4 [CI 0.7–2.0], p<0.001). TSH, however, was not consistently associated with a five-year change in blood pressure or incident hypertension.
High serum TSH levels were associated with current hypertension and blood pressure but not with a five-year change in blood pressure and incident hypertension. This argues for only a short-term effect of thyroid hormone levels on arterial blood pressure or a spurious association that needs further evaluation in population-based studies.
Variability in response to drug use is common and heritable, suggesting that genome-wide pharmacogenomics studies may help explain the “missing heritability” of complex traits. Here, we describe four independent analyses in 33,781 participants of European ancestry from ten cohorts that were designed to identify genetic variants modifying the effects of drugs on QT interval duration (QT). Each analysis cross-sectionally examined four therapeutic classes: thiazide diuretics (prevalence of use=13.0%), tri/tetracyclic antidepressants (2.6%), sulfonylurea hypoglycemic agents (2.9%), and QT prolonging drugs as classified by the University of Arizona Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics (4.4%). Drug-gene interactions were estimated using covariable adjusted linear regression and results were combined with fixed-effects meta-analysis. Although drug-SNP interactions were biologically plausible and variables were well-measured, findings from the four cross-sectional meta-analyses were null (Pinteraction>5.0×10−8). Simulations suggested that additional efforts, including longitudinal modeling to increase statistical power, are likely needed to identify potentially important pharmacogenomic effects.
QT interval; pharmacogenomics; gene-environment interaction
Children with co-occurring internalizing and externalizing problems have higher levels of impairment and worse outcomes later in life, but it is unclear whether these children can be distinguished validly from children who have problems in a single domain. We used a person-centered statistical approach to examine whether a group of children with co-occurring internalizing and externalizing problems can be identified in a general-population sample of young children.
This study included a population-based sample of 6,131 children, aged 5 to 7 years. Mothers (92.6%) reported emotional and behavioral problems using the Child Behavior Checklist/1.5–5 (CBCL). A latent profile analysis was performed on the CBCL syndrome scales. Identified classes were compared on early socioeconomic and parental risk factors using multinomial logistic regression.
We identified 4 classes: 1) a class scoring high on all internalizing and externalizing scales (1.8%), 2) a class with internalizing problems (5.3%), 3) a class with externalizing problems and emotional reactivity (7.3%), and 4) a class without problems (85.6%). The first class, with co-occurring problems, was associated with higher levels of maternal and paternal affective symptoms and hostility than the other 3 classes.
The class with co-occurring internalizing and externalizing problems appears to be highly similar to the CBCL Dysregulation Profile described in older children. This empirically-based dysregulation profile offers a promise to the study of the development of poor self-regulation.
Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL); dysregulation; latent profile analysis (LPA); preschool; parental psychopathology
Obesity is of global health concern. There are well-described inverse relationships between female pubertal timing and obesity. Recent genome-wide association studies of age at menarche identified several obesity-related variants. Using data from the ReproGen Consortium, we employed meta-analytical techniques to estimate the associations of 95 a priori and recently identified obesity-related (body mass index (weight (kg)/height (m)2), waist circumference, and waist:hip ratio) single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with age at menarche in 92,116 women of European descent from 38 studies (1970–2010), in order to estimate associations between genetic variants associated with central or overall adiposity and pubertal timing in girls. Investigators in each study performed a separate analysis of associations between the selected SNPs and age at menarche (ages 9–17 years) using linear regression models and adjusting for birth year, site (as appropriate), and population stratification. Heterogeneity of effect-measure estimates was investigated using meta-regression. Six novel associations of body mass index loci with age at menarche were identified, and 11 adiposity loci previously reported to be associated with age at menarche were confirmed, but none of the central adiposity variants individually showed significant associations. These findings suggest complex genetic relationships between menarche and overall obesity, and to a lesser extent central obesity, in normal processes of growth and development.
adiposity; body mass index; genetic association studies; menarche; obesity; waist circumference; waist:hip ratio; women's health
Refractive errors are the most common ocular disorders worldwide and may lead to blindness. Although this trait is highly heritable, identification of susceptibility genes has been challenging. We conducted a genome-wide association study for refractive error in 5,328 individuals from a Dutch population-based study with replication in four independent cohorts (combined 10,280 individuals in the replication stage). We identified a significant association at chromosome 15q14 (rs634990, P = 2.21 × 10−14). The odds ratio of myopia compared to hyperopia for the minor allele (minor allele frequency = 0.47) was 1.41 (95% CI 1.16–1.70) for individuals heterozygous for the allele and 1.83 (95% CI 1.42–2.36) for individuals homozygous for the allele. The associated locus is near two genes that are expressed in the retina, GJD2 and ACTC1, and appears to harbor regulatory elements which may influence transcription of these genes. Our data suggest that common variants at 15q14 influence susceptibility for refractive errors in the general population.
Ethnic differences in childhood and adulthood are known, but ethnic differences in preschool overweight and associated factors are less studied. We assessed ethnic differences in pre-school age overweight, and studied the mediating role of early life factors in this association. Furthermore, we assessed body mass index (BMI) z-score development from birth to age 4 years to study ethnic-specific differences in BMI z-score trajectory.
We used data on 4581 children participating in a birth cohort who were born between 2002 and 2006 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Child’s ethnicity was defined according to country of birth of the parents. Weight and length/height was repeatedly measured between 1 and 45 months of age. Overweight at age 4 years was defined according to cut-off points for BMI from the international obesity task force. We performed logistic regression to obtain independent estimates of the association between ethnicity and preschool-age overweight, and to assess the mediating role of early life risk factors. Mixed models were used to describe BMI-z development for each ethnic group from birth to preschool age.
Relative to native Dutch children, non-Dutch children were more likely to be overweight at age 4 years, except for Surinamese-Hindustani children. Socio-demographic factors, parental BMI, and infant weight change in the first 6 months after birth reduced associations. After full adjustment, Turkish (OR: 2.02, 95% CI: 1.34-3.04) and Antillean/Surinamese Creole (OR: 1.78, 95% CI: 1.06-3.02) children were still more likely to be overweight at age 4 years.
Ethnic differences on the prevalence of overweight in preschool children can be partially explained by maternal educational level, parental overweight and early infant weight change. These may be possible targets to reduce ethnic inequalities in preschool age overweight.
Ethnicity; Preschool; Overweight; Epidemiology; Infant weight gain; Socio-economic status; Breastfeeding; BMI
Variation in plasma levels of cortisol, an essential hormone in the stress response, is associated in population-based studies with cardio-metabolic, inflammatory and neuro-cognitive traits and diseases. Heritability of plasma cortisol is estimated at 30–60% but no common genetic contribution has been identified. The CORtisol NETwork (CORNET) consortium undertook genome wide association meta-analysis for plasma cortisol in 12,597 Caucasian participants, replicated in 2,795 participants. The results indicate that <1% of variance in plasma cortisol is accounted for by genetic variation in a single region of chromosome 14. This locus spans SERPINA6, encoding corticosteroid binding globulin (CBG, the major cortisol-binding protein in plasma), and SERPINA1, encoding α1-antitrypsin (which inhibits cleavage of the reactive centre loop that releases cortisol from CBG). Three partially independent signals were identified within the region, represented by common SNPs; detailed biochemical investigation in a nested sub-cohort showed all these SNPs were associated with variation in total cortisol binding activity in plasma, but some variants influenced total CBG concentrations while the top hit (rs12589136) influenced the immunoreactivity of the reactive centre loop of CBG. Exome chip and 1000 Genomes imputation analysis of this locus in the CROATIA-Korcula cohort identified missense mutations in SERPINA6 and SERPINA1 that did not account for the effects of common variants. These findings reveal a novel common genetic source of variation in binding of cortisol by CBG, and reinforce the key role of CBG in determining plasma cortisol levels. In turn this genetic variation may contribute to cortisol-associated degenerative diseases.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone from the adrenal glands that is essential in the response to stress. Most cortisol in blood is bound to corticosteroid binding globulin (CBG). Diseases causing cortisol deficiency (Addison's disease) or excess (Cushing's syndrome) are life-threatening. Variations in plasma cortisol have been associated with cardiovascular and psychiatric diseases and their risk factors. To dissect the genetic contribution to variation in plasma cortisol, we formed the CORtisol NETwork (CORNET) consortium and recruited collaborators with suitable samples from more than 15,000 people. The results reveal that the major genetic influence on plasma cortisol is mediated by variations in the binding capacity of CBG. This is determined by differences in the circulating concentrations of CBG and also in the immunoreactivity of its ‘reactive centre loop’, potentially influencing not only binding affinity for cortisol but also the stability of CBG and hence the tissue delivery of cortisol. These findings provide the first evidence for a common genetic effect on levels of this clinically important hormone, suggest that differences in CBG between individuals are biologically important, and pave the way for further research to dissect causality in the associations of plasma cortisol with common diseases.
Deciduous Molar Hypomineralisation (DMH) and Molar Incisor Hypomineralisation (MIH) are common developmental disturbances in pediatric dentistry. Their occurrence is related. The same determinants as suggested for MIH are expected for DMH, though somewhat earlier in life. Perinatal medical problems may influence the prevalence of DMH but this has not been studied sufficiently.
This study aimed to identify possible determinants of DMH in a prospective cohort study among 6-year-old children.
This study was embedded in the Generation R Study, a population-based prospective cohort study from fetal life until young adulthood. The the data were used to identify the determinants of DMH. Clinical photographs of clean, moist teeth were taken with an intra-oral camera in 6690 children (mean age 6.2 years; 49.9% girls). Data on possible determinants that had occurred during pregnancy and/or the child's first year of life were on the basis of manual standardized measurements (like length and weight) and questionnaires. Multivariate analyse with backward and forward selection was performed.
A number of factors in the pre-, peri- and postnatal phase were found to be associated with DMH. After multivariate logistic regression analyses, Dutch ethnic background, low birth weight, maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy, and fever episodes in the first year of the child's life were found to play a role in the development of DMH in 6-year-old children.
This study shows that Dutch ethnicity, low birth weight, alcohol consumption by the mother during pregnancy and any fever in the first year of the child's life are associated with DMH. Not only childhood factors but also prenatal lifestyle factors need to be taken into account when studying determinants for DMH.
Visual refractive errors (REs) are complex genetic traits with a largely unknown etiology. To date, genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of moderate size have identified several novel risk markers for RE, measured here as mean spherical equivalent (MSE). We performed a GWAS using a total of 7280 samples from five cohorts: the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS); the KORA study (‘Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg’); the Framingham Eye Study (FES); the Ogliastra Genetic Park-Talana (OGP-Talana) Study and the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Genotyping was performed on Illumina and Affymetrix platforms with additional markers imputed to the HapMap II reference panel. We identified a new genome-wide significant locus on chromosome 16 (rs10500355, P = 3.9 × 10−9) in a combined discovery and replication set (26 953 samples). This single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) is located within the RBFOX1 gene which is a neuron-specific splicing factor regulating a wide range of alternative splicing events implicated in neuronal development and maturation, including transcription factors, other splicing factors and synaptic proteins.