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1.  Rare coding variants and X-linked loci associated with age at menarche 
Lunetta, Kathryn L. | Day, Felix R. | Sulem, Patrick | Ruth, Katherine S. | Tung, Joyce Y. | Hinds, David A. | Esko, Tõnu | Elks, Cathy E | Altmaier, Elisabeth | He, Chunyan | Huffman, Jennifer E. | Mihailov, Evelin | Porcu, Eleonora | Robino, Antonietta | Rose, Lynda M. | Schick, Ursula M. | Stolk, Lisette | Teumer, Alexander | Thompson, Deborah J. | Traglia, Michela | Wang, Carol A. | Yerges-Armstrong, Laura M. | Antoniou, Antonis C. | Barbieri, Caterina | Coviello, Andrea D. | Cucca, Francesco | Demerath, Ellen W. | Dunning, Alison M. | Gandin, Ilaria | Grove, Megan L. | Gudbjartsson, Daniel F. | Hocking, Lynne J. | Hofman, Albert | Huang, Jinyan | Jackson, Rebecca D. | Karasik, David | Kriebel, Jennifer | Lange, Ethan M. | Lange, Leslie A. | Langenberg, Claudia | Li, Xin | Luan, Jian’an | Mägi, Reedik | Morrison, Alanna C. | Padmanabhan, Sandosh | Pirie, Ailith | Polasek, Ozren | Porteous, David | Reiner, Alex P. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Rudan, Igor | Sala, Cinzia F. | Schlessinger, David | Scott, Robert A. | Stöckl, Doris | Visser, Jenny A. | Völker, Uwe | Vozzi, Diego | Wilson, James G. | Zygmunt, Marek | Boerwinkle, Eric | Buring, Julie E. | Crisponi, Laura | Easton, Douglas F. | Hayward, Caroline | Hu, Frank B. | Liu, Simin | Metspalu, Andres | Pennell, Craig E. | Ridker, Paul M. | Strauch, Konstantin | Streeten, Elizabeth A. | Toniolo, Daniela | Uitterlinden, André G. | Ulivi, Sheila | Völzke, Henry | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Wellons, Melissa | Franceschini, Nora | Chasman, Daniel I. | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Murray, Anna | Stefansson, Kari | Murabito, Joanne M. | Ong, Ken K. | Perry, John R.B.
Nature communications  2015;6:7756.
More than one hundred loci have been identified for age at menarche by genome-wide association studies (GWAS), but collectively these explain only ~3% of the trait variance. Here, we test two overlooked sources of variation in 192,974 European ancestry women: low-frequency protein-coding variants and X-chromosome variants. Five missense/nonsense variants (in ALMS1/LAMB2/TNRC6A/TACR3/PRKAG1) are associated with age at menarche (minor allele frequencies 0.08%-4.6%; effect sizes 0.08-1.25 years/allele; P<5×10−8). Additionally, we identify common X-chromosome loci at IGSF1 (rs762080, P=9.4×10−13) and FAAH2 (rs5914101, P=4.9×10−10). Highlighted genes implicate cellular energy homeostasis, post-transcriptional gene silencing and fatty acid amide signalling. A frequently reported mutation in TACR3 for idiopathic hypogonatrophic hypogonadism (p.W275X) is associated with 1.25-years later menarche (P=2.8×10−11), illustrating the utility of population studies to estimate the penetrance of reportedly pathogenic mutations. Collectively these novel variants explain ~0.5% variance, indicating these overlooked sources of variation do not substantially explain the ‘missing heritability’ of this complex trait.
doi:10.1038/ncomms8756
PMCID: PMC4538850  PMID: 26239645
2.  Subclinical Thyroid Dysfunction and Fracture Risk 
JAMA  2015;313(20):2055-2065.
IMPORTANCE
Associations between subclinical thyroid dysfunction and fractures are unclear and clinical trials are lacking.
OBJECTIVE
To assess the association of subclinical thyroid dysfunction with hip, nonspine, spine, or any fractures.
DATA SOURCES AND STUDY SELECTION
The databases of MEDLINE and EMBASE (inception to March 26, 2015) were searched without language restrictions for prospective cohort studies with thyroid function data and subsequent fractures.
DATA EXTRACTION
Individual participant data were obtained from 13 prospective cohorts in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Japan. Levels of thyroid function were defined as euthyroidism (thyroid-stimulating hormone [TSH], 0.45–4.49 mIU/L), subclinical hyperthyroidism (TSH <0.45 mIU/L), and subclinical hypothyroidism (TSH ≥4.50–19.99 mIU/L) with normal thyroxine concentrations.
MAIN OUTCOME AND MEASURES
The primary outcome was hip fracture. Any fractures, nonspine fractures, and clinical spine fractures were secondary outcomes.
RESULTS
Among 70 298 participants, 4092 (5.8%) had subclinical hypothyroidism and 2219 (3.2%) had subclinical hyperthyroidism. During 762 401 person-years of follow-up, hip fracture occurred in 2975 participants (4.6%; 12 studies), any fracture in 2528 participants (9.0%; 8 studies), nonspine fracture in 2018 participants (8.4%; 8 studies), and spine fracture in 296 participants (1.3%; 6 studies). In age- and sex-adjusted analyses, the hazard ratio (HR) for subclinical hyperthyroidism vs euthyroidism was 1.36 for hip fracture (95% CI, 1.13–1.64; 146 events in 2082 participants vs 2534 in 56 471); for any fracture, HR was 1.28 (95% CI, 1.06–1.53; 121 events in 888 participants vs 2203 in 25 901); for nonspine fracture, HR was 1.16 (95% CI, 0.95–1.41; 107 events in 946 participants vs 1745 in 21 722); and for spine fracture, HR was 1.51 (95% CI, 0.93–2.45; 17 events in 732 participants vs 255 in 20 328). Lower TSH was associated with higher fracture rates: for TSH of less than 0.10 mIU/L, HR was 1.61 for hip fracture (95% CI, 1.21–2.15; 47 events in 510 participants); for any fracture, HR was 1.98 (95% CI, 1.41–2.78; 44 events in 212 participants); for nonspine fracture, HR was 1.61 (95% CI, 0.96–2.71; 32 events in 185 participants); and for spine fracture, HR was 3.57 (95% CI, 1.88–6.78; 8 events in 162 participants). Risks were similar after adjustment for other fracture risk factors. Endogenous subclinical hyperthyroidism (excluding thyroid medication users) was associated with HRs of 1.52 (95% CI, 1.19–1.93) for hip fracture, 1.42 (95% CI, 1.16–1.74) for any fracture, and 1.74 (95% CI, 1.01–2.99) for spine fracture. No association was found between subclinical hypothyroidism and fracture risk.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE
Subclinical hyperthyroidism was associated with an increased risk of hip and other fractures, particularly among those with TSH levels of less than 0.10 mIU/L and those with endogenous subclinical hyperthyroidism. Further study is needed to determine whether treating subclinical hyperthyroidism can prevent fractures.
doi:10.1001/jama.2015.5161
PMCID: PMC4729304  PMID: 26010634
3.  Trans-ancestry genome-wide association study identifies 12 genetic loci influencing blood pressure and implicates a role for DNA methylation 
Kato, Norihiro | Loh, Marie | Takeuchi, Fumihiko | Verweij, Niek | Wang, Xu | Zhang, Weihua | Kelly, Tanika N | Saleheen, Danish | Lehne, Benjamin | Leach, Irene Mateo | Drong, Alexander W | Abbott, James | Wahl, Simone | Tan, Sian-Tsung | Scott, William R | Campanella, Gianluca | Chadeau-Hyam, Marc | Afzal, Uzma | Ahluwalia, Tarunveer S | Bonder, Marc Jan | Chen, Peng | Dehghan, Abbas | Edwards, Todd L | Esko, Tõnu | Go, Min Jin | Harris, Sarah E | Hartiala, Jaana | Kasela, Silva | Kasturiratne, Anuradhani | Khor, Chiea-Chuen | Kleber, Marcus E | Li, Huaixing | Yu Mok, Zuan | Nakatochi, Masahiro | Sapari, Nur Sabrina | Saxena, Richa | Stewart, Alexandre F R | Stolk, Lisette | Tabara, Yasuharu | Teh, Ai Ling | Wu, Ying | Wu, Jer-Yuarn | Zhang, Yi | Aits, Imke | Da Silva Couto Alves, Alexessander | Das, Shikta | Dorajoo, Rajkumar | Hopewell, Jemma C | Kim, Yun Kyoung | Koivula, Robert W | Luan, Jian’an | Lyytikäinen, Leo-Pekka | Nguyen, Quang N | Pereira, Mark A | Postmus, Iris | Raitakari, Olli T | Bryan, Molly Scannell | Scott, Robert A | Sorice, Rossella | Tragante, Vinicius | Traglia, Michela | White, Jon | Yamamoto, Ken | Zhang, Yonghong | Adair, Linda S | Ahmed, Alauddin | Akiyama, Koichi | Asif, Rasheed | Aung, Tin | Barroso, Inês | Bjonnes, Andrew | Braun, Timothy R | Cai, Hui | Chang, Li-Ching | Chen, Chien-Hsiun | Cheng, Ching-Yu | Chong, Yap-Seng | Collins, Rory | Courtney, Regina | Davies, Gail | Delgado, Graciela | Do, Loi D | Doevendans, Pieter A | Gansevoort, Ron T | Gao, Yu-Tang | Grammer, Tanja B | Grarup, Niels | Grewal, Jagvir | Gu, Dongfeng | Wander, Gurpreet S | Hartikainen, Anna-Liisa | Hazen, Stanley L | He, Jing | Heng, Chew-Kiat | Hixson, James E | Hofman, Albert | Hsu, Chris | Huang, Wei | Husemoen, Lise L N | Hwang, Joo-Yeon | Ichihara, Sahoko | Igase, Michiya | Isono, Masato | Justesen, Johanne M | Katsuya, Tomohiro | Kibriya, Muhammad G | Kim, Young Jin | Kishimoto, Miyako | Koh, Woon-Puay | Kohara, Katsuhiko | Kumari, Meena | Kwek, Kenneth | Lee, Nanette R | Lee, Jeannette | Liao, Jiemin | Lieb, Wolfgang | Liewald, David C M | Matsubara, Tatsuaki | Matsushita, Yumi | Meitinger, Thomas | Mihailov, Evelin | Milani, Lili | Mills, Rebecca | Mononen, Nina | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Nabika, Toru | Nakashima, Eitaro | Ng, Hong Kiat | Nikus, Kjell | Nutile, Teresa | Ohkubo, Takayoshi | Ohnaka, Keizo | Parish, Sarah | Paternoster, Lavinia | Peng, Hao | Peters, Annette | Pham, Son T | Pinidiyapathirage, Mohitha J | Rahman, Mahfuzar | Rakugi, Hiromi | Rolandsson, Olov | Ann Rozario, Michelle | Ruggiero, Daniela | Sala, Cinzia F | Sarju, Ralhan | Shimokawa, Kazuro | Snieder, Harold | Sparsø, Thomas | Spiering, Wilko | Starr, John M | Stott, David J | Stram, Daniel O | Sugiyama, Takao | Szymczak, Silke | Tang, W H Wilson | Tong, Lin | Trompet, Stella | Turjanmaa, Väinö | Ueshima, Hirotsugu | Uitterlinden, André G | Umemura, Satoshi | Vaarasmaki, Marja | van Dam, Rob M | van Gilst, Wiek H | van Veldhuisen, Dirk J | Viikari, Jorma S | Waldenberger, Melanie | Wang, Yiqin | Wang, Aili | Wilson, Rory | Wong, Tien-Yin | Xiang, Yong-Bing | Yamaguchi, Shuhei | Ye, Xingwang | Young, Robin D | Young, Terri L | Yuan, Jian-Min | Zhou, Xueya | Asselbergs, Folkert W | Ciullo, Marina | Clarke, Robert | Deloukas, Panos | Franke, Andre | Franks, Paul W | Franks, Steve | Friedlander, Yechiel | Gross, Myron D | Guo, Zhirong | Hansen, Torben | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Jørgensen, Torben | Jukema, J Wouter | kähönen, Mika | Kajio, Hiroshi | Kivimaki, Mika | Lee, Jong-Young | Lehtimäki, Terho | Linneberg, Allan | Miki, Tetsuro | Pedersen, Oluf | Samani, Nilesh J | Sørensen, Thorkild I A | Takayanagi, Ryoichi | Toniolo, Daniela | Ahsan, Habibul | Allayee, Hooman | Chen, Yuan-Tsong | Danesh, John | Deary, Ian J | Franco, Oscar H | Franke, Lude | Heijman, Bastiaan T | Holbrook, Joanna D | Isaacs, Aaron | Kim, Bong-Jo | Lin, Xu | Liu, Jianjun | März, Winfried | Metspalu, Andres | Mohlke, Karen L | Sanghera, Dharambir K | Shu, Xiao-Ou | van Meurs, Joyce B J | Vithana, Eranga | Wickremasinghe, Ananda R | Wijmenga, Cisca | Wolffenbuttel, Bruce H W | Yokota, Mitsuhiro | Zheng, Wei | Zhu, Dingliang | Vineis, Paolo | Kyrtopoulos, Soterios A | Kleinjans, Jos C S | McCarthy, Mark I | Soong, Richie | Gieger, Christian | Scott, James | Teo, Yik-Ying | He, Jiang | Elliott, Paul | Tai, E Shyong | van der Harst, Pim | Kooner, Jaspal S | Chambers, John C
Nature genetics  2015;47(11):1282-1293.
We carried out a trans-ancestry genome-wide association and replication study of blood pressure phenotypes among up to 320,251 individuals of East Asian, European and South Asian ancestry. We find genetic variants at 12 new loci to be associated with blood pressure (P = 3.9 × 10−11 to 5.0 × 10−21). The sentinel blood pressure SNPs are enriched for association with DNA methylation at multiple nearby CpG sites, suggesting that, at some of the loci identified, DNA methylation may lie on the regulatory pathway linking sequence variation to blood pressure. The sentinel SNPs at the 12 new loci point to genes involved in vascular smooth muscle (IGFBP3, KCNK3, PDE3A and PRDM6) and renal (ARHGAP24, OSR1, SLC22A7 and TBX2) function. The new and known genetic variants predict increased left ventricular mass, circulating levels of NT-proBNP, and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality (P = 0.04 to 8.6 × 10−6). Our results provide new evidence for the role of DNA methylation in blood pressure regulation.
doi:10.1038/ng.3405
PMCID: PMC4719169  PMID: 26390057
4.  Corrigendum: Rare coding variants and X-linked loci associated with age at menarche 
Lunetta, Kathryn L. | Day, Felix R. | Sulem, Patrick | Ruth, Katherine S. | Tung, Joyce Y. | Hinds, David A. | Esko, Tõnu | Elks, Cathy E. | Altmaier, Elisabeth | He, Chunyan | Huffman, Jennifer E. | Mihailov, Evelin | Porcu, Eleonora | Robino, Antonietta | Rose, Lynda M. | Schick, Ursula M. | Stolk, Lisette | Teumer, Alexander | Thompson, Deborah J. | Traglia, Michela | Wang, Carol A. | Yerges-Armstrong, Laura M. | Antoniou, Antonis C. | Barbieri, Caterina | Coviello, Andrea D. | Cucca, Francesco | Demerath, Ellen W. | Dunning, Alison M. | Gandin, Ilaria | Grove, Megan L. | Gudbjartsson, Daniel F. | Hocking, Lynne J. | Hofman, Albert | Huang, Jinyan | Jackson, Rebecca D. | Karasik, David | Kriebel, Jennifer | Lange, Ethan M. | Lange, Leslie A. | Langenberg, Claudia | Li, Xin | Luan, Jian'an | Mägi, Reedik | Morrison, Alanna C. | Padmanabhan, Sandosh | Pirie, Ailith | Polasek, Ozren | Porteous, David | Reiner, Alex P. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Rudan, Igor | Sala, Cinzia F. | Schlessinger, David | Scott, Robert A. | Stöckl, Doris | Visser, Jenny A. | Völker, Uwe | Vozzi, Diego | Wilson, James G. | Zygmunt, Marek | Boerwinkle, Eric | Buring, Julie E. | Crisponi, Laura | Easton, Douglas F. | Hayward, Caroline | Hu, Frank B. | Liu, Simin | Metspalu, Andres | Pennell, Craig E. | Ridker, Paul M. | Strauch, Konstantin | Streeten, Elizabeth A. | Toniolo, Daniela | Uitterlinden, André G. | Ulivi, Sheila | Völzke, Henry | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Wellons, Melissa | Franceschini, Nora | Chasman, Daniel I. | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Murray, Anna | Stefansson, Kari | Murabito, Joanne M. | Ong, Ken K. | Perry, John R. B.
Nature Communications  2015;6:10257.
doi:10.1038/ncomms10257
PMCID: PMC4703878  PMID: 26674845
5.  GWAS of Longevity in CHARGE Consortium Confirms APOE and FOXO3 Candidacy 
Background.
The genetic contribution to longevity in humans has been estimated to range from 15% to 25%. Only two genes, APOE and FOXO3, have shown association with longevity in multiple independent studies.
Methods.
We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies including 6,036 longevity cases, age ≥90 years, and 3,757 controls that died between ages 55 and 80 years. We additionally attempted to replicate earlier identified single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) associations with longevity.
Results.
In our meta-analysis, we found suggestive evidence for the association of SNPs near CADM2 (odds ratio [OR] = 0.81; p value = 9.66 × 10−7) and GRIK2 (odds ratio = 1.24; p value = 5.09 × 10−8) with longevity. When attempting to replicate findings earlier identified in genome-wide association studies, only the APOE locus consistently replicated. In an additional look-up of the candidate gene FOXO3, we found that an earlier identified variant shows a highly significant association with longevity when including published data with our meta-analysis (odds ratio = 1.17; p value = 1.85×10−10).
Conclusions.
We did not identify new genome-wide significant associations with longevity and did not replicate earlier findings except for APOE and FOXO3. Our inability to find new associations with survival to ages ≥90 years because longevity represents multiple complex traits with heterogeneous genetic underpinnings, or alternatively, that longevity may be regulated by rare variants that are not captured by standard genome-wide genotyping and imputation of common variants.
doi:10.1093/gerona/glu166
PMCID: PMC4296168  PMID: 25199915
Longevity; GWAS; FOXO3; APOE.
6.  Trans-ethnic meta-analysis of white blood cell phenotypes 
Human Molecular Genetics  2014;23(25):6944-6960.
White blood cell (WBC) count is a common clinical measure used as a predictor of certain aspects of human health, including immunity and infection status. WBC count is also a complex trait that varies among individuals and ancestry groups. Differences in linkage disequilibrium structure and heterogeneity in allelic effects are expected to play a role in the associations observed between populations. Prior genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analyses have identified genomic loci associated with WBC and its subtypes, but much of the heritability of these phenotypes remains unexplained. Using GWAS summary statistics for over 50 000 individuals from three diverse populations (Japanese, African-American and European ancestry), a Bayesian model methodology was employed to account for heterogeneity between ancestry groups. This approach was used to perform a trans-ethnic meta-analysis of total WBC, neutrophil and monocyte counts. Ten previously known associations were replicated and six new loci were identified, including several regions harboring genes related to inflammation and immune cell function. Ninety-five percent credible interval regions were calculated to narrow the association signals and fine-map the putatively causal variants within loci. Finally, a conditional analysis was performed on the most significant SNPs identified by the trans-ethnic meta-analysis (MA), and nine secondary signals within loci previously associated with WBC or its subtypes were identified. This work illustrates the potential of trans-ethnic analysis and ascribes a critical role to multi-ethnic cohorts and consortia in exploring complex phenotypes with respect to variants that lie outside the European-biased GWAS pool.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddu401
PMCID: PMC4245044  PMID: 25096241
7.  FTO genetic variants, dietary intake and body mass index: insights from 177 330 individuals 
Qi, Qibin | Kilpeläinen, Tuomas O. | Downer, Mary K. | Tanaka, Toshiko | Smith, Caren E. | Sluijs, Ivonne | Sonestedt, Emily | Chu, Audrey Y. | Renström, Frida | Lin, Xiaochen | Ängquist, Lars H. | Huang, Jinyan | Liu, Zhonghua | Li, Yanping | Asif Ali, Muhammad | Xu, Min | Ahluwalia, Tarunveer Singh | Boer, Jolanda M.A. | Chen, Peng | Daimon, Makoto | Eriksson, Johan | Perola, Markus | Friedlander, Yechiel | Gao, Yu-Tang | Heppe, Denise H.M. | Holloway, John W. | Houston, Denise K. | Kanoni, Stavroula | Kim, Yu-Mi | Laaksonen, Maarit A. | Jääskeläinen, Tiina | Lee, Nanette R. | Lehtimäki, Terho | Lemaitre, Rozenn N. | Lu, Wei | Luben, Robert N. | Manichaikul, Ani | Männistö, Satu | Marques-Vidal, Pedro | Monda, Keri L. | Ngwa, Julius S. | Perusse, Louis | van Rooij, Frank J.A. | Xiang, Yong-Bing | Wen, Wanqing | Wojczynski, Mary K | Zhu, Jingwen | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Bouchard, Claude | Cai, Qiuyin | Cooper, Cyrus | Dedoussis, George V. | Deloukas, Panos | Ferrucci, Luigi | Forouhi, Nita G. | Hansen, Torben | Christiansen, Lene | Hofman, Albert | Johansson, Ingegerd | Jørgensen, Torben | Karasawa, Shigeru | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Kim, Mi-Kyung | Kristiansson, Kati | Li, Huaixing | Lin, Xu | Liu, Yongmei | Lohman, Kurt K. | Long, Jirong | Mikkilä, Vera | Mozaffarian, Dariush | North, Kari | Pedersen, Oluf | Raitakari, Olli | Rissanen, Harri | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | van der Schouw, Yvonne T. | Uitterlinden, André G. | Zillikens, M. Carola | Franco, Oscar H. | Shyong Tai, E. | Ou Shu, Xiao | Siscovick, David S. | Toft, Ulla | Verschuren, W.M. Monique | Vollenweider, Peter | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Witteman, Jacqueline C.M. | Zheng, Wei | Ridker, Paul M. | Kang, Jae H. | Liang, Liming | Jensen, Majken K. | Curhan, Gary C. | Pasquale, Louis R. | Hunter, David J. | Mohlke, Karen L. | Uusitupa, Matti | Cupples, L. Adrienne | Rankinen, Tuomo | Orho-Melander, Marju | Wang, Tao | Chasman, Daniel I. | Franks, Paul W. | Sørensen, Thorkild I.A. | Hu, Frank B. | Loos, Ruth J. F. | Nettleton, Jennifer A. | Qi, Lu
Human Molecular Genetics  2014;23(25):6961-6972.
FTO is the strongest known genetic susceptibility locus for obesity. Experimental studies in animals suggest the potential roles of FTO in regulating food intake. The interactive relation among FTO variants, dietary intake and body mass index (BMI) is complex and results from previous often small-scale studies in humans are highly inconsistent. We performed large-scale analyses based on data from 177 330 adults (154 439 Whites, 5776 African Americans and 17 115 Asians) from 40 studies to examine: (i) the association between the FTO-rs9939609 variant (or a proxy single-nucleotide polymorphism) and total energy and macronutrient intake and (ii) the interaction between the FTO variant and dietary intake on BMI. The minor allele (A-allele) of the FTO-rs9939609 variant was associated with higher BMI in Whites (effect per allele = 0.34 [0.31, 0.37] kg/m2, P = 1.9 × 10−105), and all participants (0.30 [0.30, 0.35] kg/m2, P = 3.6 × 10−107). The BMI-increasing allele of the FTO variant showed a significant association with higher dietary protein intake (effect per allele = 0.08 [0.06, 0.10] %, P = 2.4 × 10−16), and relative weak associations with lower total energy intake (−6.4 [−10.1, −2.6] kcal/day, P = 0.001) and lower dietary carbohydrate intake (−0.07 [−0.11, −0.02] %, P = 0.004). The associations with protein (P = 7.5 × 10−9) and total energy (P = 0.002) were attenuated but remained significant after adjustment for BMI. We did not find significant interactions between the FTO variant and dietary intake of total energy, protein, carbohydrate or fat on BMI. Our findings suggest a positive association between the BMI-increasing allele of FTO variant and higher dietary protein intake and offer insight into potential link between FTO, dietary protein intake and adiposity.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddu411
PMCID: PMC4271061  PMID: 25104851
8.  Assessment of Osteoarthritis Candidate Genes in a Meta-Analysis of Nine Genome-Wide Association Studies 
Objective
To assess candidate genes for association with osteoarthritis (OA) and identify promising genetic factors and, secondarily, to assess the candidate gene approach in OA.
Methods
A total of 199 candidate genes for association with OA were identified using Human Genome Epidemiology (HuGE) Navigator. All of their single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with an allele frequency of >5% were assessed by fixed-effects meta-analysis of 9 genome-wide association studies (GWAS) that included 5,636 patients with knee OA and 16,972 control subjects and 4,349 patients with hip OA and 17,836 control subjects of European ancestry. An additional 5,921 individuals were genotyped for significantly associated SNPs in the meta-analysis. After correction for the number of independent tests, P values less than 1.58 × 10−5 were considered significant.
Results
SNPs at only 2 of the 199 candidate genes (COL11A1 and VEGF) were associated with OA in the meta-analysis. Two SNPs in COL11A1 showed association with hip OA in the combined analysis: rs4907986 (P = 1.29 × 10−5, odds ratio [OR] 1.12, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.06−1.17) and rs1241164 (P = 1.47 × 10−5, OR 0.82, 95% CI 0.74−0.89). The sex-stratified analysis also showed association of COL11A1 SNP rs4908291 in women (P = 1.29 × 10−5, OR 0.87, 95% CI 0.82−0.92); this SNP showed linkage disequilibrium with rs4907986. A single SNP of VEGF, rs833058, showed association with hip OA in men (P = 1.35 × 10−5, OR 0.85, 95% CI 0.79−0.91). After additional samples were genotyped, association at one of the COL11A1 signals was reinforced, whereas association at VEGF was slightly weakened.
Conclusion
Two candidate genes, COL11A1 and VEGF, were significantly associated with OA in this focused meta-analysis. The remaining candidate genes were not associated.
doi:10.1002/art.38300
PMCID: PMC4660891  PMID: 24757145
9.  The effects of long-term daily folic acid and vitamin B12 supplementation on genome-wide DNA methylation in elderly subjects 
Clinical Epigenetics  2015;7:121.
Background
Folate and its synthetic form folic acid function as donor of one-carbon units and have been, together with other B-vitamins, implicated in programming of epigenetic processes such as DNA methylation during early development. To what extent regulation of DNA methylation can be altered via B-vitamins later in life, and how this relates to health and disease, is not exactly known. The aim of this study was to identify effects of long-term supplementation with folic acid and vitamin B12 on genome-wide DNA methylation in elderly subjects.
This project was part of a randomized, placebo-controlled trial on effects of supplemental intake of folic acid and vitamin B12 on bone fracture incidence (B-vitamins for the PRevention Of Osteoporotic Fractures (B-PROOF) study). Participants with mildly elevated homocysteine levels, aged 65–75 years, were randomly assigned to take 400 μg folic acid and 500 μg vitamin B12 per day or a placebo during an intervention period of 2 years. DNA was isolated from buffy coats, collected before and after intervention, and genome-wide DNA methylation was determined in 87 participants (n = 44 folic acid/vitamin B12, n = 43 placebo) using the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip.
Results
After intervention with folic acid and vitamin B12, 162 (versus 14 in the placebo group) of the 431,312 positions were differentially methylated as compared to baseline. Comparisons of the DNA methylation changes in the participants receiving folic acid and vitamin B12 versus placebo revealed one single differentially methylated position (cg19380919) with a borderline statistical significance. However, based on the analyses of differentially methylated regions (DMRs) consisting of multiple positions, we identified 6 regions that differed statistically significantly between the intervention and placebo group. Pronounced changes were found for regions in the DIRAS3, ARMC8, and NODAL genes, implicated in carcinogenesis and early embryonic development.
Furthermore, serum levels of folate and vitamin B12 or plasma homocysteine were related to DNA methylation of 173, 425, and 11 regions, respectively. Interestingly, for several members of the developmental HOX genes, DNA methylation was related to serum levels of folate.
Conclusions
Long-term supplementation with folic acid and vitamin B12 in elderly subjects resulted in effects on DNA methylation of several genes, among which genes implicated in developmental processes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13148-015-0154-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s13148-015-0154-5
PMCID: PMC4644301  PMID: 26568774
DNA methylation; Folic acid; Vitamin B12; B-vitamins; One-carbon metabolism; Intervention trial; Infinium 450k BeadChip; Elderly; Cancer; Development; Epigenetics
10.  The transcriptional landscape of age in human peripheral blood 
Peters, Marjolein J. | Joehanes, Roby | Pilling, Luke C. | Schurmann, Claudia | Conneely, Karen N. | Powell, Joseph | Reinmaa, Eva | Sutphin, George L. | Zhernakova, Alexandra | Schramm, Katharina | Wilson, Yana A. | Kobes, Sayuko | Tukiainen, Taru | Ramos, Yolande F. | Göring, Harald H. H. | Fornage, Myriam | Liu, Yongmei | Gharib, Sina A. | Stranger, Barbara E. | De Jager, Philip L. | Aviv, Abraham | Levy, Daniel | Murabito, Joanne M. | Munson, Peter J. | Huan, Tianxiao | Hofman, Albert | Uitterlinden, André G. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | van Rooij, Jeroen | Stolk, Lisette | Broer, Linda | Verbiest, Michael M. P. J. | Jhamai, Mila | Arp, Pascal | Metspalu, Andres | Tserel, Liina | Milani, Lili | Samani, Nilesh J. | Peterson, Pärt | Kasela, Silva | Codd, Veryan | Peters, Annette | Ward-Caviness, Cavin K. | Herder, Christian | Waldenberger, Melanie | Roden, Michael | Singmann, Paula | Zeilinger, Sonja | Illig, Thomas | Homuth, Georg | Grabe, Hans-Jörgen | Völzke, Henry | Steil, Leif | Kocher, Thomas | Murray, Anna | Melzer, David | Yaghootkar, Hanieh | Bandinelli, Stefania | Moses, Eric K. | Kent, Jack W. | Curran, Joanne E. | Johnson, Matthew P. | Williams-Blangero, Sarah | Westra, Harm-Jan | McRae, Allan F. | Smith, Jennifer A. | Kardia, Sharon L. R. | Hovatta, Iiris | Perola, Markus | Ripatti, Samuli | Salomaa, Veikko | Henders, Anjali K. | Martin, Nicholas G. | Smith, Alicia K. | Mehta, Divya | Binder, Elisabeth B. | Nylocks, K Maria | Kennedy, Elizabeth M. | Klengel, Torsten | Ding, Jingzhong | Suchy-Dicey, Astrid M. | Enquobahrie, Daniel A. | Brody, Jennifer | Rotter, Jerome I. | Chen, Yii-Der I. | Houwing-Duistermaat, Jeanine | Kloppenburg, Margreet | Slagboom, P. Eline | Helmer, Quinta | den Hollander, Wouter | Bean, Shannon | Raj, Towfique | Bakhshi, Noman | Wang, Qiao Ping | Oyston, Lisa J. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Tracy, Russell P. | Montgomery, Grant W. | Turner, Stephen T. | Blangero, John | Meulenbelt, Ingrid | Ressler, Kerry J. | Yang, Jian | Franke, Lude | Kettunen, Johannes | Visscher, Peter M. | Neely, G. Gregory | Korstanje, Ron | Hanson, Robert L. | Prokisch, Holger | Ferrucci, Luigi | Esko, Tonu | Teumer, Alexander | van Meurs, Joyce B. J. | Johnson, Andrew D.
Nature Communications  2015;6:8570.
Disease incidences increase with age, but the molecular characteristics of ageing that lead to increased disease susceptibility remain inadequately understood. Here we perform a whole-blood gene expression meta-analysis in 14,983 individuals of European ancestry (including replication) and identify 1,497 genes that are differentially expressed with chronological age. The age-associated genes do not harbor more age-associated CpG-methylation sites than other genes, but are instead enriched for the presence of potentially functional CpG-methylation sites in enhancer and insulator regions that associate with both chronological age and gene expression levels. We further used the gene expression profiles to calculate the ‘transcriptomic age' of an individual, and show that differences between transcriptomic age and chronological age are associated with biological features linked to ageing, such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, fasting glucose, and body mass index. The transcriptomic prediction model adds biological relevance and complements existing epigenetic prediction models, and can be used by others to calculate transcriptomic age in external cohorts.
Ageing increases the risk of many diseases. Here the authors compare blood cell transcriptomes of over 14,000 individuals and identify a set of about 1,500 genes that are differently expressed with age, shedding light on transcriptional programs linked to the ageing process and age-associated diseases.
doi:10.1038/ncomms9570
PMCID: PMC4639797  PMID: 26490707
11.  Genome-wide association study of kidney function decline in individuals of European descent 
Gorski, Mathias | Tin, Adrienne | Garnaas, Maija | McMahon, Gearoid M. | Chu, Audrey Y. | Tayo, Bamidele O. | Pattaro, Cristian | Teumer, Alexander | Chasman, Daniel I. | Chalmers, John | Hamet, Pavel | Tremblay, Johanne | Woodward, Marc | Aspelund, Thor | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Harris, Tammara B. | Launer, Lenore J. | Smith, Albert V. | Mitchell, Braxton D. | O'Connell, Jeffrey R. | Shuldiner, Alan R. | Coresh, Josef | Li, Man | Freudenberger, Paul | Hofer, Edith | Schmidt, Helena | Schmidt, Reinhold | Holliday, Elizabeth G. | Mitchell, Paul | Wang, Jie Jin | de Boer, Ian H. | Li, Guo | Siscovick, David S. | Kutalik, Zoltan | Corre, Tanguy | Vollenweider, Peter | Waeber, Gérard | Gupta, Jayanta | Kanetsky, Peter A. | Hwang, Shih-Jen | Olden, Matthias | Yang, Qiong | de Andrade, Mariza | Atkinson, Elizabeth J. | Kardia, Sharon L.R. | Turner, Stephen T. | Stafford, Jeanette M. | Ding, Jingzhong | Liu, Yongmei | Barlassina, Cristina | Cusi, Daniele | Salvi, Erika | Staessen, Jan A | Ridker, Paul M | Grallert, Harald | Meisinger, Christa | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Krämer, Bernhard K. | Kramer, Holly | Rosas, Sylvia E. | Nolte, Ilja M. | Penninx, Brenda W. | Snieder, Harold | Del Greco, Fabiola | Franke, Andre | Nöthlings, Ute | Lieb, Wolfgang | Bakker, Stephan J.L. | Gansevoort, Ron T. | van der Harst, Pim | Dehghan, Abbas | Franco, Oscar H. | Hofman, Albert | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Sedaghat, Sanaz | Uitterlinden, André G. | Coassin, Stefan | Haun, Margot | Kollerits, Barbara | Kronenberg, Florian | Paulweber, Bernhard | Aumann, Nicole | Endlich, Karlhans | Pietzner, Mike | Völker, Uwe | Rettig, Rainer | Chouraki, Vincent | Helmer, Catherine | Lambert, Jean-Charles | Metzger, Marie | Stengel, Benedicte | Lehtimäki, Terho | Lyytikäinen, Leo-Pekka | Raitakari, Olli | Johnson, Andrew | Parsa, Afshin | Bochud, Murielle | Heid, Iris M. | Goessling, Wolfram | Köttgen, Anna | Kao, H. Linda | Fox, Caroline S. | Böger, Carsten A.
Kidney international  2014;87(5):1017-1029.
Genome wide association studies (GWAS) have identified multiple loci associated with cross-sectional eGFR, but a systematic genetic analysis of kidney function decline over time is missing. Here we conducted a GWAS meta-analysis among 63,558 participants of European descent, initially from 16 cohorts with serial kidney function measurements within the CKDGen Consortium, followed by independent replication among additional participants from 13 cohorts. In stage 1 GWAS meta-analysis, SNPs at MEOX2, GALNT11, IL1RAP, NPPA, HPCAL1 and CDH23 showed the strongest associations for at least one trait, in addition to the known UMOD locus which showed genome-wide significance with an annual change in eGFR. In stage 2 meta-analysis, the significant association at UMOD was replicated. Associations at GALNT11 with Rapid Decline (annual eGFRdecline of 3ml/min/1.73m2 or more), and CDH23 with eGFR change among those with CKD showed significant suggestive evidence of replication. Combined stage 1 and 2 meta-analyses showed significance for UMOD, GALNT11 and CDH23. Morpholino knockdowns of galnt11 and cdh23 in zebrafish embryos each had signs of severe edema 72 hours after gentamicin treatment compared to controls, but no gross morphological renal abnormalities before gentamicin administration. Thus, our results suggest a role in the deterioration of kidney function for the loci GALNT11 and CDH23, and show that the UMOD locus is significantly associated with kidney function decline.
doi:10.1038/ki.2014.361
PMCID: PMC4425568  PMID: 25493955
chronic kidney disease; kidney development
12.  Causal mechanisms and balancing selection inferred from genetic associations with polycystic ovary syndrome 
Nature Communications  2015;6:8464.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common reproductive disorder in women, yet there is little consensus regarding its aetiology. Here we perform a genome-wide association study of PCOS in up to 5,184 self-reported cases of White European ancestry and 82,759 controls, with follow-up in a further ∼2,000 clinically validated cases and ∼100,000 controls. We identify six signals for PCOS at genome-wide statistical significance (P<5 × 10−8), in/near genes ERBB4/HER4, YAP1, THADA, FSHB, RAD50 and KRR1. Variants in/near three of the four epidermal growth factor receptor genes (ERBB2/HER2, ERBB3/HER3 and ERBB4/HER4) are associated with PCOS at or near genome-wide significance. Mendelian randomization analyses indicate causal roles in PCOS aetiology for higher BMI (P=2.5 × 10−9), higher insulin resistance (P=6 × 10−4) and lower serum sex hormone binding globulin concentrations (P=5 × 10−4). Furthermore, genetic susceptibility to later menopause is associated with higher PCOS risk (P=1.6 × 10−8) and PCOS-susceptibility alleles are associated with higher serum anti-Müllerian hormone concentrations in girls (P=8.9 × 10−5). This large-scale study implicates an aetiological role of the epidermal growth factor receptors, infers causal mechanisms relevant to clinical management and prevention, and suggests balancing selection mechanisms involved in PCOS risk.
This paper describes the largest genome-wide association study to date on polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a common reproductive disorder in women. Six genetic loci—including known targets of cancer chemotherapy—were identified, and the authors infer causal and balancing selection mechanisms involved in PCOS risk and susceptibility.
doi:10.1038/ncomms9464
PMCID: PMC4598835  PMID: 26416764
13.  A Randomized Controlled Trial to Examine the Effect of 2-Year Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid Supplementation on Physical Performance, Strength, and Falling: Additional Findings from the B-PROOF Study 
Elevated homocysteine concentrations are associated with a decline in physical function in elderly persons. Homocysteine-lowering therapy may slow down this decline. This study aimed to examine the effect of a 2-year intervention of vitamin B12 and folic acid supplementation on physical performance, handgrip strength, and risk of falling in elderly subjects in a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial. Participants aged ≥65 years with elevated plasma homocysteine concentrations [12–50 µmol/L (n = 2919)] were randomly assigned to daily supplementation of 500 µg vitamin B12, 400 µg folic acid, and 600 IU vitamin D3, or to placebo with 600 IU vitamin D3. Physical performance (range 0–12) and handgrip strength (kg) were measured at baseline and after 2 years. Falls were reported prospectively on a research calendar. Intention-to-treat (primary) and per-protocol (secondary) analyses were performed. Physical performance level and handgrip strength significantly decreased during the follow-up period, but this decline did not differ between groups. Moreover, time to first fall was not significantly different (HR: 1.0, 95 % CI 0.9–1.2). Secondary analyses on a per-protocol base identified an interaction effect with age on physical performance. In addition, the treatment was associated with higher follow-up scores on the walking test (cumulative OR: 1.3, 95 % CI 1.1–1.5). Two-year supplementation of vitamin B12 and folic acid was neither effective in reducing the age-related decline in physical performance and handgrip strength, nor in the prevention of falling in elderly persons. Despite the overall null-effect, the results provide indications for a positive effect of the intervention on gait, as well as on physical performance among compliant persons >80 years. These effects should be further tested in future studies.
doi:10.1007/s00223-015-0059-5
PMCID: PMC4703626  PMID: 26412463
Homocysteine; Aging; Falling; Physical function; Vitamin B12; Folic acid
14.  The Rotterdam Study: 2016 objectives and design update 
The Rotterdam Study is a prospective cohort study ongoing since 1990 in the city of Rotterdam in The Netherlands. The study targets cardiovascular, endocrine, hepatic, neurological, ophthalmic, psychiatric, dermatological, otolaryngological, locomotor, and respiratory diseases. As of 2008, 14,926 subjects aged 45 years or over comprise the Rotterdam Study cohort. The findings of the Rotterdam Study have been presented in over 1200 research articles and reports (see www.erasmus-epidemiology.nl/rotterdamstudy). This article gives the rationale of the study and its design. It also presents a summary of the major findings and an update of the objectives and methods.
doi:10.1007/s10654-015-0082-x
PMCID: PMC4579264  PMID: 26386597
Biomarkers; Cardiovascular diseases; Cohort study; Dermatological diseases; Endocrine diseases; Epidemiologic methods; Genetic epidemiology; Liver diseases; Neurological diseases; Oncology; Ophthalmic diseases; Otolaryngological diseases; Pharmacoepidemiology; Renal diseases; Psychiatric diseases; Respiratory diseases
15.  Rare coding variants and X-linked loci associated with age at menarche 
Lunetta, Kathryn L. | Day, Felix R. | Sulem, Patrick | Ruth, Katherine S. | Tung, Joyce Y. | Hinds, David A. | Esko, Tõnu | Elks, Cathy E. | Altmaier, Elisabeth | He, Chunyan | Huffman, Jennifer E. | Mihailov, Evelin | Porcu, Eleonora | Robino, Antonietta | Rose, Lynda M. | Schick, Ursula M. | Stolk, Lisette | Teumer, Alexander | Thompson, Deborah J. | Traglia, Michela | Wang, Carol A. | Yerges-Armstrong, Laura M. | Antoniou, Antonis C. | Barbieri, Caterina | Coviello, Andrea D. | Cucca, Francesco | Demerath, Ellen W. | Dunning, Alison M. | Gandin, Ilaria | Grove, Megan L. | Gudbjartsson, Daniel F. | Hocking, Lynne J. | Hofman, Albert | Huang, Jinyan | Jackson, Rebecca D. | Karasik, David | Kriebel, Jennifer | Lange, Ethan M. | Lange, Leslie A. | Langenberg, Claudia | Li, Xin | Luan, Jian'an | Mägi, Reedik | Morrison, Alanna C. | Padmanabhan, Sandosh | Pirie, Ailith | Polasek, Ozren | Porteous, David | Reiner, Alex P. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Rudan, Igor | Sala, Cinzia F. | Schlessinger, David | Scott, Robert A. | Stöckl, Doris | Visser, Jenny A. | Völker, Uwe | Vozzi, Diego | Wilson, James G. | Zygmunt, Marek | Boerwinkle, Eric | Buring, Julie E. | Crisponi, Laura | Easton, Douglas F. | Hayward, Caroline | Hu, Frank B. | Liu, Simin | Metspalu, Andres | Pennell, Craig E. | Ridker, Paul M. | Strauch, Konstantin | Streeten, Elizabeth A. | Toniolo, Daniela | Uitterlinden, André G. | Ulivi, Sheila | Völzke, Henry | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Wellons, Melissa | Franceschini, Nora | Chasman, Daniel I. | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Murray, Anna | Stefansson, Kari | Murabito, Joanne M. | Ong, Ken K. | Perry, John R. B.
Nature Communications  2015;6:7756.
More than 100 loci have been identified for age at menarche by genome-wide association studies; however, collectively these explain only ∼3% of the trait variance. Here we test two overlooked sources of variation in 192,974 European ancestry women: low-frequency protein-coding variants and X-chromosome variants. Five missense/nonsense variants (in ALMS1/LAMB2/TNRC6A/TACR3/PRKAG1) are associated with age at menarche (minor allele frequencies 0.08–4.6%; effect sizes 0.08–1.25 years per allele; P<5 × 10−8). In addition, we identify common X-chromosome loci at IGSF1 (rs762080, P=9.4 × 10−13) and FAAH2 (rs5914101, P=4.9 × 10−10). Highlighted genes implicate cellular energy homeostasis, post-transcriptional gene silencing and fatty-acid amide signalling. A frequently reported mutation in TACR3 for idiopathic hypogonatrophic hypogonadism (p.W275X) is associated with 1.25-year-later menarche (P=2.8 × 10−11), illustrating the utility of population studies to estimate the penetrance of reportedly pathogenic mutations. Collectively, these novel variants explain ∼0.5% variance, indicating that these overlooked sources of variation do not substantially explain the ‘missing heritability' of this complex trait.
Previous studies have linked over 100 genomic loci to age-at-menarche but that work was restricted to common autosomal variation. Here, Lunetta et al. identify associations with rare protein-coding and X-linked variants, implicating new mechanisms that regulate puberty timing.
doi:10.1038/ncomms8756
PMCID: PMC4538850  PMID: 26239645
16.  Prenatal parental tobacco smoking, gene specific DNA methylation, and newborns size: the Generation R study 
Clinical Epigenetics  2015;7(1):83.
Background
Deleterious effects of prenatal tobacco smoking on fetal growth and newborn weight are well-established. One of the proposed mechanisms underlying this relationship is alterations in epigenetic programming. We selected 506 newborns from a population-based prospective birth cohort in the Netherlands. Prenatal parental tobacco smoking was assessed using self-reporting questionnaires. Information on birth outcomes was obtained from medical records. The deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) methylation of the growth genes IGF2DMR and H19 was measured in newborn umbilical cord white blood cells. Associations were assessed between parental tobacco smoking and DNA methylation using linear mixed models and adjusted for potential confounders.
Results
The DNA methylation levels of IGF2DMR and H19 in the non-smoking group were median (90 % range), 54.0 % (44.6–62.0), and 30.0 % (25.5–34.0), in the first trimester only smoking group 52.2 % (44.5–61.1) and 30.8 % (27.1–34.1), and in the continued smoking group 51.6 % (43.9–61.3) and 30.2 % (23.7–34.8), respectively. Continued prenatal maternal smoking was inversely associated with IGF2DMR methylation (β = −1.03, 95 % CI −1.76; −0.30) in a dose-dependent manner (P-trend = 0.030). This association seemed to be slightly more profound among newborn girls (β = −1.38, 95 % CI −2.63; −0.14) than boys (β = −0.72, 95 % CI −1.68; 0.24). H19 methylation was also inversely associated continued smoking <5 cigarettes/day (β = −0.96, 95 % CI −1.78; −0.14). Moreover, the association between maternal smoking and newborns small for gestational age seems to be partially explained by IGF2DMR methylation (β = −0.095, 95 % CI −0.249; −0.018). Among non-smoking mothers, paternal tobacco smoking was not associated with IGF2DMR or H19 methylation.
Conclusions
Maternal smoking is inversely associated with IGF2DMR methylation in newborns, which can be one of the underlying mechanisms through which smoking affects fetal growth.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13148-015-0115-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s13148-015-0115-z
PMCID: PMC4531498  PMID: 26265957
Cigarettes; Cord blood; DNA methylation; Epigenetic epidemiology; H19; IGF2DMR; Maternal tobacco smoking; Paternal tobacco smoking
17.  Twenty bone mineral density loci identified by large-scale meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies 
Nature genetics  2009;41(11):1199-1206.
Bone mineral density (BMD) is a heritable complex trait used in the clinical diagnosis of osteoporosis and the assessment of fracture risk. We performed meta-analysis of five genome-wide association studies of femoral neck and lumbar spine BMD in 19,195 subjects of Northern European descent. We identified 20 loci reaching genome-wide significance (GWS; P<5×10−8), of which 13 map to new regions including 1p31.3 (GPR177), 2p21 (SPTBN1), 3p22 (CTNNB1), 4q21.1 (MEPE), 5q14 (MEF2C), 7p14 (STARD3NL), 7q21.3 (FLJ42280), 11p11.2 (LRP4; ARHGAP1; F2), 11p14.1 (DCDC5), 11p15 (SOX6), 16q24 (FOXL1), 17q21 (HDAC5) and 17q12 (CRHR1). The metaanalysis also confirmed at GWS level, seven known BMD loci on 1p36 (ZBTB40), 6q25 (ESR1), 8q24 (TNFRSF11B), 11q13.4 (LRP5), 12q13 (SP7), 13q14 (TNFSF11), and 18q21 (TNFRSF11A). The numerous SNPs associated with BMD map to genes in signaling pathways with relevance to bone metabolism, and highlight the complex genetic architecture underlying osteoporosis and BMD variation.
doi:10.1038/ng.446
PMCID: PMC2783489  PMID: 19801982
18.  Development of a Food Group-Based Diet Score and Its Association with Bone Mineral Density in the Elderly: The Rotterdam Study 
Nutrients  2015;7(8):6974-6990.
No diet score exists that summarizes the features of a diet that is optimal for bone mineral density (BMD) in the elderly. Our aims were (a) to develop a BMD-Diet Score reflecting a diet that may be beneficial for BMD based on the existing literature, and (b) to examine the association of the BMD-Diet Score and the Healthy Diet Indicator, a score based on guidelines of the World Health Organization, with BMD in Dutch elderly participating in a prospective cohort study, the Rotterdam Study (n = 5144). Baseline dietary intake, assessed using a food frequency questionnaire, was categorized into food groups. Food groups that were consistently associated with BMD in the literature were included in the BMD-Diet Score. BMD was measured repeatedly and was assessed using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. The BMD-Diet Score considered intake of vegetables, fruits, fish, whole grains, legumes/beans and dairy products as “high-BMD” components and meat and confectionary as “low-BMD” components. After adjustment, the BMD-Diet Score was positively associated with BMD (β (95% confidence interval) = 0.009 (0.005, 0.012) g/cm2 per standard deviation). This effect size was approximately three times as large as has been observed for the Healthy Diet Indicator. The food groups included in our BMD-Diet Score could be considered in the development of future dietary guidelines for healthy ageing.
doi:10.3390/nu7085317
PMCID: PMC4555156  PMID: 26295256
dietary patterns; bone mineral density; BMD-Diet score; healthy diet indicator
19.  BMD Loci Contribute to Ethnic and Developmental Differences in Skeletal Fragility across Populations: Assessment of Evolutionary Selection Pressures 
Molecular Biology and Evolution  2015;32(11):2961-2972.
Bone mineral density (BMD) is a highly heritable trait used both for the diagnosis of osteoporosis in adults and to assess bone health in children. Ethnic differences in BMD have been documented, with markedly higher levels in individuals of African descent, which partially explain disparity in osteoporosis risk across populations. To date, 63 independent genetic variants have been associated with BMD in adults of Northern-European ancestry. Here, we demonstrate that at least 61 of these variants are predictive of BMD early in life by studying their compound effect within two multiethnic pediatric cohorts. Furthermore, we show that within these cohorts and across populations worldwide the frequency of those alleles associated with increased BMD is systematically elevated in individuals of Sub-Saharan African ancestry. The amount of differentiation in the BMD genetic scores among Sub-Saharan and non-Sub-Saharan populations together with neutrality tests, suggest that these allelic differences are compatible with the hypothesis of selective pressures acting on the genetic determinants of BMD. These findings constitute an explorative contribution to the role of selection on ethnic BMD differences and likely a new example of polygenic adaptation acting on a human trait.
doi:10.1093/molbev/msv170
PMCID: PMC4651235  PMID: 26226985
genome-wide association studies; bone mineral density; polygenic; adaptation; ethnic differences; selective pressures
20.  Vitamin D and C-Reactive Protein: A Mendelian Randomization Study 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0131740.
Vitamin D deficiency is widely prevalent and has been associated with many diseases. It has been suggested that vitamin D has effects on the immune system and inhibits inflammation. The aim of our study was to investigate whether vitamin D has an inhibitory effect on systemic inflammation by assessing the association between serum levels of vitamin D and C-reactive protein. We studied the association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and C-reactive protein through linear regression in 9,649 participants of the Rotterdam Study, an observational, prospective population-based cohort study. We used genetic variants related to vitamin D and CRP to compute a genetic risk score and perform bi-directional Mendelian randomization analysis. In linear regression adjusted for age, sex, cohort and other confounders, natural log-transformed CRP decreased with 0.06 (95% CI: -0.08, -0.03) unit per standard deviation increase in 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Bi-directional Mendelian randomization analyses showed no association between the vitamin D genetic risk score and lnCRP (Beta per SD = -0.018; p = 0.082) or the CRP genetic risk score and 25-hydroxyvitamin D (Beta per SD = 0.001; p = 0.998). In conclusion, higher levels of Vitamin D are associated with lower levels of C-reactive protein. In this study we did not find evidence for this to be the result of a causal relationship.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0131740
PMCID: PMC4492676  PMID: 26147588
21.  C9orf72 and UNC13A are shared risk loci for ALS and FTD: a genome-wide meta-analysis 
Annals of neurology  2014;76(1):120-133.
Objective
Substantial clinical, pathological and genetic overlap exists between amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). TDP-43 inclusions have been found in both ALS and FTD cases (FTD-TDP). Recently, a repeat expansion in C9orf72 was identified as the causal variant in a proportion of ALS and FTD cases. We sought to identify additional evidence for a common genetic basis for the spectrum of ALS-FTD.
Methods
We used published GWAS data of 4,377 ALS patients and 13,017 controls and 435 pathology-proven FTD-TDP cases and 1,414 controls for genotype imputation. Data were analyzed in a joint meta-analysis, by replicating topmost associated hits of one disease in the other, and by using a conservative rank products analysis, allocating equal weight to ALS and FTD-TDP sample sizes.
Results
Meta-analysis identified 19 genome-wide significant single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at C9orf72 on chromosome 9p21.2 (lowest p=2.6×10−12) and one SNP in UNC13A on chromosome 19p13.11 (p=1.0×10−11) as shared susceptibility loci for ALS and FTD-TDP. Conditioning on the 9p21.2 genotype increased statistical significance at UNC13A. A third signal, on chromosome 8q24.13 at the SPG8 locus coding for strumpellin, (p=3.91×10−7) was replicated in an independent cohort of 4,056 ALS patients and 3,958 controls (p=0.026; combined analysis p=1.01×10−7).
Interpretation
We identified common genetic variants at C9orf72, but in addition in UNC13A that are shared between ALS and FTD. UNC13A provides a novel link between ALS and FTD-TDP, and identifies changes in neurotransmitter release and synaptic function as a converging mechanism in the pathogenesis of ALS and FTD-TDP.
doi:10.1002/ana.24198
PMCID: PMC4137231  PMID: 24931836
22.  Fractional exhaled nitric oxide in childhood is associated with 17q11.2-q12 and 17q12-q21 variants 
Background
The fractional concentration of nitric oxide in exhaled air (FeNO) is a biomarker of eosinophilic airway inflammation and associated with childhood asthma. Identification of common genetic variants associated with childhood FeNO may help to define biological mechanisms related to specific asthma phenotypes.
Objective
To identify genetic variants associated with childhood FeNO, and their relation with asthma.
Methods
FeNO was measured in children aged 5 to 15 years. In 14 genome-wide association (GWA) studies (N = 8,858), we examined the associations of ~2.5 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with FeNO. Subsequently, we assessed whether significant SNPs were expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) in genome-wide expression datasets of lymphoblastoid cell lines (N = 1,830), and were related with asthma in a previously published GWA dataset (cases: n=10,365; controls: n=16,110).
Results
We identified 3 SNPs associated with FeNO: rs3751972 in LYR motif containing 9 (LYRM9) (P = 1.97×10−10) and rs944722 in inducible nitric oxide synthase 2 (NOS2) (P = 1.28×10−9) both located at 17q11.2-q12, and rs8069176 near gasdermin B (GSDMB) (P = 1.88×10−8) at 17q12-q21. We found a cis eQTL for the transcript soluble galactoside-binding lectin 9 (LGALS9) that is in linkage disequilibrium with rs944722. Rs8069176 was associated with GSDMB and ORM1-like 3 (ORMDL3) expression. Rs8069176 at 17q12-q21, and not rs3751972 and rs944722 at 17q11.2-q12, were associated with physician-diagnosed asthma.
Conclusion
This study identified 3 variants associated with FeNO, explaining 0.95% of the variance. Identification of functional SNPs and haplotypes in these regions might provide novel insight in the regulation of FeNO. This study highlights that both shared and distinct genetic factors affect FeNO and childhood asthma.
doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2013.08.053
PMCID: PMC4334587  PMID: 24315451
airway inflammation; asthma phenotypes; biomarker; genetics; genome-wide association study
23.  The Association between Metabolic Syndrome, Bone Mineral Density, Hip Bone Geometry and Fracture Risk: The Rotterdam Study 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0129116.
The association between metabolic syndrome (MS) and bone health remains unclear. We aimed to study the association between MS and hip bone geometry (HBG), femoral neck bone mineral density (FN-BMD), and the risk of osteoporosis and incident fractures. Data of 2040 women and 1510 men participants in the third visit (1997–1999) of the Rotterdam Study (RSI-3), a prospective population based cohort, were available (mean follow-up 6.7 years). MS was defined according to the recent harmonized definition. HBG parameters were measured at the third round visit whereas FN-BMD was assessed at the third round and 5 years later. Incident fractures were identified from medical registry data. After correcting for age, body mass index (BMI), lifestyle factors and medication use, individuals with MS had lower bone width (β = -0.054, P = 0.003), lower cortical buckling ratio (β = -0.81, P = 0.003) and lower odds of having osteoporosis (odds ratio =0.56, P = 0.007) in women but not in men. Similarly, MS was associated with higher FN-BMD only in women (β = 0.028, P=0.001). In the analyses of MS components, the glucose component (unrelated to diabetes status) was positively associated with FN-BMD in both genders (β = 0.016, P = 0.01 for women and β = 0.022, P = 0.004 for men). In men, waist circumference was inversely associated with FN-BMD (β = -0.03, P = 0.004). No association was observed with fracture risk in either sex. In conclusion, women with MS had higher FN-BMD independent of BMI. The glucose component of MS was associated with high FN-BMD in both genders, highlighting the need to preserve glycemic control to prevent skeletal complications.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0129116
PMCID: PMC4466576  PMID: 26066649
24.  Single nucleotide polymorphisms in CRTC1 and BARX1 are associated with esophageal adenocarcinoma 
Objective:
Recently, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) and Barrett's esophagus (BE) were identified; rs10419226 (CRTC1), rs11789015 (BARX1), rs2687201 (FOXP1), rs2178146 (FOXF1), rs3111601 (FOXF1), and rs9936833 (FOXF1). These findings indicate that genetic susceptibility could play a role in the initiation of EAC in BE patients. The aim of this study was to validate the association between these previously identified SNPs and the risk of EAC in an independent and large case–control study.
Design:
Six SNPs found to be associated with EAC and BE were genotyped by a multiplex SNaPshot analysis in 1071 EAC patients diagnosed and treated in the Netherlands. Allele frequencies were compared to a control group derived from the Rotterdam Study, a population-based prospective cohort study (n = 6206). Logistic regression analysis and meta-analysis were performed to calculate odds ratios (OR).
Results:
Rs10419226 (CRTC1) showed a significantly increased EAC risk for the minor allele (OR = 1.17, P = 0.001), and rs11789015 (BARX1) showed a significantly decreased risk for the minor allele (OR = 0.85, P = 0.004) in the logistic regression analysis. The meta-analysis of the original GWAS and the current study revealed an improved level of significance for rs10419226 (CRTC1) (OR = 1.18, P = 6.66 × 10–10) and rs11789015 (BARX1) (OR = 0.83, P = 1.13 × 10–8).
Conclusions:
This independent and large Dutch case–control study confirms the association of rs10419226 (CRTC1) and rs11789015 (BARX1) with the risk of EAC. These findings suggest a contribution of the patient genetic make-up to the development of EAC and might contribute to gain more insight in the etiology of this cancer.
doi:10.4103/1477-3163.157441
PMCID: PMC4453126  PMID: 26085818
Barrett's esophagus; esophageal adenocarcinoma; single nucleotide polymorphisms
25.  Gene × dietary pattern interactions in obesity: analysis of up to 68 317 adults of European ancestry 
Human Molecular Genetics  2015;24(16):4728-4738.
Obesity is highly heritable. Genetic variants showing robust associations with obesity traits have been identified through genome-wide association studies. We investigated whether a composite score representing healthy diet modifies associations of these variants with obesity traits. Totally, 32 body mass index (BMI)- and 14 waist–hip ratio (WHR)-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms were genotyped, and genetic risk scores (GRS) were calculated in 18 cohorts of European ancestry (n = 68 317). Diet score was calculated based on self-reported intakes of whole grains, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds (favorable) and red/processed meats, sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages and fried potatoes (unfavorable). Multivariable adjusted, linear regression within each cohort followed by inverse variance-weighted, fixed-effects meta-analysis was used to characterize: (a) associations of each GRS with BMI and BMI-adjusted WHR and (b) diet score modification of genetic associations with BMI and BMI-adjusted WHR. Nominally significant interactions (P = 0.006–0.04) were observed between the diet score and WHR-GRS (but not BMI-GRS), two WHR loci (GRB14 rs10195252; LYPLAL1 rs4846567) and two BMI loci (LRRN6C rs10968576; MTIF3 rs4771122), for the respective BMI-adjusted WHR or BMI outcomes. Although the magnitudes of these select interactions were small, our data indicated that associations between genetic predisposition and obesity traits were stronger with a healthier diet. Our findings generate interesting hypotheses; however, experimental and functional studies are needed to determine their clinical relevance.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddv186
PMCID: PMC4512626  PMID: 25994509

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