The PR interval on the electrocardiogram reflects atrial depolarization and AV nodal delay which can be partially differentiated by P wave duration and PR segment, respectively. GWAS have identified a number of genetic loci for PR interval but it remains to be determined whether this is driven by P wave duration, PR segment or both.
Methods and Results
We replicated 7 of the 9 known PR interval loci in 16,468 individuals of European ancestry. Four loci were unambiguously associated with PR segment while the others were shared for P wave duration and PR segment. Next, we performed a genome-wide analysis on P wave duration and PR segment separately and identified five novel loci. SNPs in KCND3 (P=8.3×10−11) and FADS2 (P=2.7×10−8) were associated with P wave duration, whereas SNPs near IL17D (P=2.3×10−8), in EFHA1 (P=3.3×10−10) and LRCH1 (P=2.1×10−8) were associated with PR segment. Analysis on DNA elements indicated that genome-wide significant SNPs were enriched at genomic regions suggesting active gene transcription in the human right atrium. Quantitative-PCR showed that genes were significantly higher expressed in the right atrium and AV-node compared to left ventricle (P=5.6×10−6).
Genetic associations of PR interval appear to be mainly driven by genetic determinants of the PR segment. Some of the PR interval associations are strengthened by a directional consistent effect of genetic determinants of P wave duration. Through genome-wide association we also identified genetic variants specifically associated with P wave duration which might be relevant for cardiac biology.
genetics; electrocardiography; epigenetics; atrium; aging; PR interval
BACKGROUND: Glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive form of glioma, has a median survival time of just 15 months. Both inherited and acquired genetic variation influence gliomagenesis. Previous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have discovered seven glioma risk loci, including two in genes involved in telomere structure and function (TERT and RTEL1). METHODS: To identify novel high-grade glioma risk loci, we performed SNP imputation and meta-analysis of genome-wide array data from The University of California, San Francisco Adult Glioma Study (AGS), The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and the Wellcome Trust Case-Control Consortium (WTCCC) (1,013 cases and 6,595 controls). SNPs with P < 1.0x10-6 in the discovery meta-analysis underwent attempted replication in an additional 631 glioblastoma cases and 1141 controls from The Mayo Clinic and UCSF. To investigate potential functional mechanisms through which SNPs might promote gliomagenesis, we examined the relationship between mean leukocyte telomere length (LTL) and glioma risk loci using data from a recent GWAS of LTL (N = 37,684). RESULTS: One novel SNP association from the discovery phase meta-analysis met criteria for attempted replication. This SNP was significantly associated with high-grade glioma risk in the replication dataset (P = 3.4x10-3). The combined P-value for all 1644 cases and 7736 controls achieved genome-wide statistical significance (8.3x10-9). Glioma risk alleles in both our newly identified risk region and the known TERT risk locus were strongly associated with longer LTL (P < 5.0x10-8). In contrast, glioma risk alleles near RTEL1 were inconsistently associated with LTL and suggested the presence of distinct causal alleles underlying these two phenotypes. No other established glioma risk loci were associated with LTL. CONCLUSIONS: We identify a novel genome-wide significant association between a constitutive SNP and glioma risk. Because telomere maintenance is a universal requirement of oncogenic progression and telomere length displays substantial interindividual variability, telomere length is a promising epidemiologic risk factor for human cancers. We demonstrate that alleles in our novel locus and in TERT are associated with both longer mean LTL and with increased glioma risk. These results strongly implicate inherited variation near these two genes in facilitating gliomagenesis through a mechanism involving lengthened telomeres. SECONDARY CATEGORY: n/a.
Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a serine protease, catalyzes the conversion of plasminogen to plasmin, the major enzyme responsible for endogenous fibrinolysis. In some populations, elevated plasma levels of tPA have been associated with myocardial infarction and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD). We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to identify novel correlates of circulating levels of tPA.
Approach and Results
Fourteen cohort studies with tPA measures (N=26,929) contributed to the meta-analysis. Three loci were significantly associated with circulating tPA levels (P <5.0×10−8). The first locus is on 6q24.3, with the lead SNP (rs9399599, P=2.9×10−14) within STXBP5. The second locus is on 8p11.21. The lead SNP (rs3136739, P=1.3×10−9) is intronic to POLB and less than 200kb away from the tPA encoding gene PLAT. We identified a non-synonymous SNP (rs2020921) in modest LD with rs3136739 (r2 = 0.50) within exon 5 of PLAT (P=2.0×10−8). The third locus is on 12q24.33, with the lead SNP (rs7301826, P=1.0×10−9) within intron 7 of STX2. We further found evidence for association of lead SNPs in STXBP5 and STX2 with expression levels of the respective transcripts. In in vitro cell studies, silencing STXBP5 decreased release of tPA from vascular endothelial cells, while silencing of STX2 increased tPA release. Through an in-silico lookup, we found no associations of the three lead SNPs with coronary artery disease or stroke.
We identified three loci associated with circulating tPA levels, the PLAT region, STXBP5 and STX2. Our functional studies implicate a novel role for STXBP5 and STX2 in regulating tPA release.
tissue plasminogen activator; genome-wide association study; meta-analysis; cardiovascular disease risk; fibrinolysis; hemostasis
Variation in body iron is associated with or causes diseases, including anaemia and iron overload. Here we analyse genetic association data on biochemical markers of iron status from eleven European-population studies, with replication in eight additional cohorts (total up to 48,972 subjects). We find eleven genome-wide-significant (p < 5 × 10−8) loci, some including known iron-related genes (HFE, SLC40A1, TF, TFR2, TFRC, TMPRSS6) and others novel (ABO, ARNTL, FADS2, NAT2, TEX14). SNPs at ARNTL, TF, and TFR2 affect iron markers in HFE C282Y homozygotes at risk for hemochromatosis. There is substantial overlap between our iron loci and loci affecting erythrocyte and lipid phenotypes. These results will facilitate investigation of the roles of iron in disease.
Although erythropoietin has been used for decades in the treatment of anemia, data regarding endogenous levels in the general population are scarce. Therefore, we determined erythropoietin reference ranges and its clinical, biochemical and genetic associations in the general population.
We used data from 6,777 subjects enrolled in the Prevention of REnal and Vascular ENd-stage Disease (PREVEND) study. Fasting venous blood samples were obtained in the morning from all participants from 2001–2003. Serum erythropoietin concentrations were measured using a fully automated chemiluminescent enzyme-labeled immunometric assay. A genome-wide association study was performed to identify genetic determinants.
Mean age (± SD) was 53 ± 12 years and 50% were female. Median (IQR) erythropoietin concentrations were 7.6 (5.8–9.9) IU/L in men and 7.9 (6.0–10.6) IU/L in women. A strong positive correlation was found between erythropoietin and waist circumference, glucose and systolic blood pressure (all P < 0.05). In subjects with normal renal function there was a strong exponential relation between hemoglobin and erythropoietin, whereas in renal impairment (eGFR < 60 mL/min/1.73m²) this relation was linear (men) or absent (women) (P < 0.001 for interaction). Single-nucleotide polymorphisms at the HBS1L-MYB locus were shown to be related to erythropoietin levels (P < 9x10-21), more significantly than other erythrocyte parameters.
We provide age-specific reference ranges for endogenous serum erythropoietin. Erythropoietin levels are positively associated with the components of the metabolic syndrome, except cholesterol. We show that even mild renal failure blunts erythropoietin production and propose the HBS1L-MYB locus as a regulator of erythropoietin.
Circulating bilirubin, a natural antioxidant, is associated with decreased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D), but the nature of the relationship remains unknown. We performed Mendelian randomization in a prospective cohort of 3,381 participants free of diabetes at baseline (aged 28-75 years; women, 52.6%). We used rs6742078 located in UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT1A1) locus as instrumental variable (IV) to study a potential causal effect of serum total bilirubin on T2D risk. T2D developed in a total of 210 (6.2%) participants during a median follow-up of 7.8 years. In adjusted analyses, rs6742078, which explained 19.5% of bilirubin variation, was strongly associated with total bilirubin (a 0.68-SD increase in bilirubin levels per T allele; P<1×10−122) and was also associated with T2D risk (OR 0.69 [95%CI, 0.54-0.90]; P=0.006). Per 1-SD increase in log-transformed bilirubin levels, we observed a 25% (OR 0.75 [95%CI, 0.62-0.92]; P=0.004) lower risk of T2D. In Mendelian randomization analysis, the causal risk reduction for T2D was estimated to be 42% (causal ORIVestimation per 1-SD increase in log-transformed bilirubin 0.58 [95%CI, 0.39-0.84]; P=0.005), which was comparable to the observational estimate (Durbin-Wu-Hausman chi-square test Pfor difference =0.19). These novel results provide evidence that elevated bilirubin is causally associated with risk of T2D and support its role as a protective determinant.
Bilirubin; liver; epidemiology; type 2 diabetes; Mendelian randomization
Variants associated with blood lipid levels may be population-specific. To identify
low-frequency variants associated with this phenotype, population-specific reference
panels may be used. Here we impute nine large Dutch biobanks (~35,000
samples) with the population-specific reference panel created by the Genome of the
Netherlands Project and perform association testing with blood lipid levels. We
report the discovery of five novel associations at four loci (P value
<6.61 × 10−4), including a rare missense
variant in ABCA6
(rs77542162, p.Cys1359Arg, frequency 0.034), which is predicted to be deleterious.
The frequency of this ABCA6
variant is 3.65-fold increased in the Dutch and its effect
βTC=0.140) is estimated to be very similar to those
observed for single variants in well-known lipid genes, such as LDLR.
Frequencies of rare variants fluctuate over populations, hampering
gene discovery. Here the authors use a population-specific reference panel, the Genome
of the Netherlands, to discover four novel loci involved in lipid metabolism, including
an exonic variant in ABCA6.
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
Statins increase the risk of new-onset type 2 diabetes mellitus. We aimed to assess whether this increase in risk is a consequence of inhibition of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGCR), the intended drug target.
We used single nucleotide polymorphisms in the HMGCR gene, rs17238484 (for the main analysis) and rs12916 (for a subsidiary analysis) as proxies for HMGCR inhibition by statins. We examined associations of these variants with plasma lipid, glucose, and insulin concentrations; bodyweight; waist circumference; and prevalent and incident type 2 diabetes. Study-specific effect estimates per copy of each LDL-lowering allele were pooled by meta-analysis. These findings were compared with a meta-analysis of new-onset type 2 diabetes and bodyweight change data from randomised trials of statin drugs. The effects of statins in each randomised trial were assessed using meta-analysis.
Data were available for up to 223 463 individuals from 43 genetic studies. Each additional rs17238484-G allele was associated with a mean 0·06 mmol/L (95% CI 0·05–0·07) lower LDL cholesterol and higher body weight (0·30 kg, 0·18–0·43), waist circumference (0·32 cm, 0·16–0·47), plasma insulin concentration (1·62%, 0·53–2·72), and plasma glucose concentration (0·23%, 0·02–0·44). The rs12916 SNP had similar effects on LDL cholesterol, bodyweight, and waist circumference. The rs17238484-G allele seemed to be associated with higher risk of type 2 diabetes (odds ratio [OR] per allele 1·02, 95% CI 1·00–1·05); the rs12916-T allele association was consistent (1·06, 1·03–1·09). In 129 170 individuals in randomised trials, statins lowered LDL cholesterol by 0·92 mmol/L (95% CI 0·18–1·67) at 1-year of follow-up, increased bodyweight by 0·24 kg (95% CI 0·10–0·38 in all trials; 0·33 kg, 95% CI 0·24–0·42 in placebo or standard care controlled trials and −0·15 kg, 95% CI −0·39 to 0·08 in intensive-dose vs moderate-dose trials) at a mean of 4·2 years (range 1·9–6·7) of follow-up, and increased the odds of new-onset type 2 diabetes (OR 1·12, 95% CI 1·06–1·18 in all trials; 1·11, 95% CI 1·03–1·20 in placebo or standard care controlled trials and 1·12, 95% CI 1·04–1·22 in intensive-dose vs moderate dose trials).
The increased risk of type 2 diabetes noted with statins is at least partially explained by HMGCR inhibition.
The funding sources are cited at the end of the paper.
single nucleotide polymorphism; telomerase; telomere; glioma; TERT; TERC; RTEL1
Recent genome-wide association studies have identified multiple loci that are associated with an increased risk of developing coronary artery disease (CAD). The impact of these loci on the disease severity and prognosis of ischemic heart failure due to CAD is currently unknown.
We undertook association analysis of 7 single nucleotide polymorphism (rs599839, rs17465637, rs2972147, rs6922269, rs1333049, rs501120, and rs17228212) at 7 well established CAD risk loci (1p13.3, 1q41, 2q36.3, 6q25.1, 9p21.3, 10q11.21, and 15q22.33, respectively) in 3,320 subjects diagnosed with systolic heart failure of ischemic aetiology and participating in the COntrolled ROsuvastatin multiNAtional Trial in Heart Failure (CORONA) trial. The primary outcome was the composite of time to first event of cardiovascular death, non-fatal myocardial infarction and non-fatal stroke, secondary outcomes included mortality and hospitalization due to worsening heart failure.
None of the 7 loci were significantly associated with the primary composite endpoint of the CORONA trial (death from cardiovascular cases, nonfatal myocardial infarction, and nonfatal stroke). However, the 1p13.3 locus (rs599839) showed evidence for association with all-cause mortality (after adjustment for covariates; HR 0.74, 95%CI [0.61 to 0.90]; P = 0.0025) and we confirmed the 1p13.3 locus (rs599839) to be associated with lipid parameters (total cholesterol (P = 1.1x10−4), low-density lipoprotein levels (P = 3.5 × 10−7) and apolipoprotein B (P = 2.2 × 10−10)).
Genetic variants strongly associated with CAD risk are not associated with the severity and outcome of ischemic heart failure. The observed association of the 1p13.3 locus with all-cause mortality requires confirmation in further studies.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12881-014-0140-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Coronary artery disease; Heart failure; Genetics; Healthy ageing; SNP
Heart rate variability is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. The acetylcholine pathway plays a key role in explaining heart rate variability in humans. We assessed whether 443 genotyped and imputed common genetic variants in eight key genes (CHAT, SLC18A3, SLC5A7, CHRNB4, CHRNA3, CHRNA, CHRM2 and ACHE) of the acetylcholine pathway were associated with variation in an established measure of heart rate variability reflecting parasympathetic control of the heart rhythm, the root mean square of successive differences (RMSSD) of normal RR intervals. The association was studied in a two stage design in individuals of European descent. First, analyses were performed in a discovery sample of four cohorts (n = 3429, discovery stage). Second, findings were replicated in three independent cohorts (n = 3311, replication stage), and finally the two stages were combined in a meta-analysis (n = 6740). RMSSD data were obtained under resting conditions. After correction for multiple testing, none of the SNPs showed an association with RMSSD. In conclusion, no common genetic variants for heart rate variability were identified in the largest and most comprehensive candidate gene study on the acetylcholine pathway to date. Future gene finding efforts for RMSSD may want to focus on hypothesis free approaches such as the genome-wide association study.
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.
Skin fluorescence (SF) is a non-invasive marker of AGEs and is associated with the long-term complications of diabetes. SF increases with age and is also greater among individuals with diabetes. A familial correlation of SF suggests that genetics may play a role. We therefore performed parallel genome-wide association studies of SF in two cohorts.
Cohort 1 included 1,082 participants, 35–67 years of age with type 1 diabetes. Cohort 2 included 8,721 participants without diabetes, aged 18–90 years.
rs1495741 was significantly associated with SF in Cohort 1 (p < 6 × 10−10), which is known to tag the NAT2 acetylator phenotype. The fast acetylator genotype was associated with lower SF, explaining up to 15% of the variance. In Cohort 2, the top signal associated with SF (p = 8.3 × 10−42) was rs4921914, also in NAT2, 440 bases upstream of rs1495741 (linkage disequilibrium r2 = 1.0 for rs4921914 with rs1495741). We replicated these results in two additional cohorts, one with and one without type 1 diabetes. Finally, to understand which compounds are contributing to the NAT2–SF signal, we examined 11 compounds assayed from skin biopsies (n = 198): the fast acetylator genotype was associated with lower levels of the AGEs hydroimidazolones of glyoxal (p = 0.017).
We identified a robust association between NAT2 and SF in people with and without diabetes. Our findings provide proof of principle that genetic variation contributes to interindividual SF and that NAT2 acetylation status plays a major role.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00125-014-3286-9) contains peer-reviewed but unedited supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.
Acetylation; Genome-wide association study; NAT2; Skin autofluorescence; Skin fluorescence; Skin intrinsic fluorescence
Oxidative stress plays a key role in the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus. We previously showed that the circulating antioxidant peroxiredoxin 4 (Prx4) is associated with cardiometabolic risk factors. We aimed to evaluate the association of Prx4 with type 2 diabetes risk in the general population.
We analysed data on 7,972 individuals from the Prevention of Renal and Vascular End-stage Disease (PREVEND) study (49% men, aged 28–75 years) with no diabetes at baseline. Logistic regression models adjusted for age, sex, smoking, waist circumference, hypertension and family history of diabetes were used to estimate the ORs for type 2 diabetes.
During a median follow up of 7.7 years, 496 individuals (288 men; 58%) developed type 2 diabetes. The median (Q1–Q3) Prx4 level was 0.84 (0.53–1.40) U/l in individuals who developed type 2 diabetes and 0.68 (0.43–1.08) U/l in individuals who did not develop type 2 diabetes. For every doubling of Prx4 levels, the adjusted OR (95% CI) for type 2 diabetes was 1.16 (1.05–1.29) in the whole population; by sex, it was 1.31 (1.14–1.50) for men and 1.03 (0.87–1.21) for women. Further adjustment for other clinical measures did not materially change the results. The addition of Prx4 to a validated diabetes risk score significantly improved the prediction of type 2 diabetes in men (p = 0.002 for reclassification improvement).
Our findings suggest that elevated serum Prx4 levels are associated with a higher risk of incident type 2 diabetes. For men, taking Prx4 into consideration can improve type 2 diabetes prediction over a validated diabetes risk score; in contrast, there is no improvement in risk prediction for women.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00125-014-3278-9) contains peer-reviewed but unedited supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.
Epidemiology; Peroxiredoxin 4; Risk prediction; Sex difference; Type 2 diabetes
Elevated resting heart rate is associated with greater risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality. In a 2-stage meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies in up to 181,171 individuals, we identified 14 new loci associated with heart rate and confirmed associations with all 7 previously established loci. Experimental downregulation of gene expression in Drosophila melanogaster and Danio rerio identified 20 genes at 11 loci that are relevant for heart rate regulation and highlight a role for genes involved in signal transmission, embryonic cardiac development and the pathophysiology of dilated cardiomyopathy, congenital heart failure and/or sudden cardiac death. In addition, genetic susceptibility to increased heart rate is associated with altered cardiac conduction and reduced risk of sick sinus syndrome, and both heart rate–increasing and heart rate–decreasing variants associate with risk of atrial fibrillation. Our findings provide fresh insights into the mechanisms regulating heart rate and identify new therapeutic targets.
Inter-individual variation in mean leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is associated with cancer and several age-associated diseases. Here, in a genome-wide meta-analysis of 37,684 individuals with replication of selected variants in a further 10,739 individuals, we identified seven loci, including five novel loci, associated with mean LTL (P<5x10−8). Five of the loci contain genes (TERC, TERT, NAF1, OBFC1, RTEL1) that are known to be involved in telomere biology. Lead SNPs at two loci (TERC and TERT) associate with several cancers and other diseases, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Moreover, a genetic risk score analysis combining lead variants at all seven loci in 22,233 coronary artery disease cases and 64,762 controls showed an association of the alleles associated with shorter LTL with increased risk of CAD (21% (95% CI: 5–35%) per standard deviation in LTL, p=0.014). Our findings support a causal role of telomere length variation in some age-related diseases.
Blood pressure (BP) is a heritable determinant of risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). To investigate genetic associations with systolic BP (SBP), diastolic BP (DBP), mean arterial pressure (MAP) and pulse pressure (PP), we genotyped ∼50 000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that capture variation in ∼2100 candidate genes for cardiovascular phenotypes in 61 619 individuals of European ancestry from cohort studies in the USA and Europe. We identified novel associations between rs347591 and SBP (chromosome 3p25.3, in an intron of HRH1) and between rs2169137 and DBP (chromosome1q32.1 in an intron of MDM4) and between rs2014408 and SBP (chromosome 11p15 in an intron of SOX6), previously reported to be associated with MAP. We also confirmed 10 previously known loci associated with SBP, DBP, MAP or PP (ADRB1, ATP2B1, SH2B3/ATXN2, CSK, CYP17A1, FURIN, HFE, LSP1, MTHFR, SOX6) at array-wide significance (P < 2.4 × 10−6). We then replicated these associations in an independent set of 65 886 individuals of European ancestry. The findings from expression QTL (eQTL) analysis showed associations of SNPs in the MDM4 region with MDM4 expression. We did not find any evidence of association of the two novel SNPs in MDM4 and HRH1 with sequelae of high BP including coronary artery disease (CAD), left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) or stroke. In summary, we identified two novel loci associated with BP and confirmed multiple previously reported associations. Our findings extend our understanding of genes involved in BP regulation, some of which may eventually provide new targets for therapeutic intervention.
Not all obese subjects have an adverse metabolic profile predisposing them to developing type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease. The BioSHaRE-EU Healthy Obese Project aims to gain insights into the consequences of (healthy) obesity using data on risk factors and phenotypes across several large-scale cohort studies. Aim of this study was to describe the prevalence of obesity, metabolic syndrome (MetS) and metabolically healthy obesity (MHO) in ten participating studies.
Ten different cohorts in seven countries were combined, using data transformed into a harmonized format. All participants were of European origin, with age 18–80 years. They had participated in a clinical examination for anthropometric and blood pressure measurements. Blood samples had been drawn for analysis of lipids and glucose. Presence of MetS was assessed in those with obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) based on the 2001 NCEP ATP III criteria, as well as an adapted set of less strict criteria. MHO was defined as obesity, having none of the MetS components, and no previous diagnosis of cardiovascular disease.
Data for 163,517 individuals were available; 17% were obese (11,465 men and 16,612 women). The prevalence of obesity varied from 11.6% in the Italian CHRIS cohort to 26.3% in the German KORA cohort. The age-standardized percentage of obese subjects with MetS ranged in women from 24% in CHRIS to 65% in the Finnish Health2000 cohort, and in men from 43% in CHRIS to 78% in the Finnish DILGOM cohort, with elevated blood pressure the most frequently occurring factor contributing to the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome. The age-standardized prevalence of MHO varied in women from 7% in Health2000 to 28% in NCDS, and in men from 2% in DILGOM to 19% in CHRIS. MHO was more prevalent in women than in men, and decreased with age in both sexes.
Through a rigorous harmonization process, the BioSHaRE-EU consortium was able to compare key characteristics defining the metabolically healthy obese phenotype across ten cohort studies. There is considerable variability in the prevalence of healthy obesity across the different European populations studied, even when unified criteria were used to classify this phenotype.
Harmonization; Obesity; Metabolic syndrome; Cardiovascular disease; Metabolically healthy
This study sought to investigate the role of secretory phospholipase A2 (sPLA2)-IIA in cardiovascular disease.
Higher circulating levels of sPLA2-IIA mass or sPLA2 enzyme activity have been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events. However, it is not clear if this association is causal. A recent phase III clinical trial of an sPLA2 inhibitor (varespladib) was stopped prematurely for lack of efficacy.
We conducted a Mendelian randomization meta-analysis of 19 general population studies (8,021 incident, 7,513 prevalent major vascular events [MVE] in 74,683 individuals) and 10 acute coronary syndrome (ACS) cohorts (2,520 recurrent MVE in 18,355 individuals) using rs11573156, a variant in PLA2G2A encoding the sPLA2-IIA isoenzyme, as an instrumental variable.
PLA2G2A rs11573156 C allele associated with lower circulating sPLA2-IIA mass (38% to 44%) and sPLA2 enzyme activity (3% to 23%) per C allele. The odds ratio (OR) for MVE per rs11573156 C allele was 1.02 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.98 to 1.06) in general populations and 0.96 (95% CI: 0.90 to 1.03) in ACS cohorts. In the general population studies, the OR derived from the genetic instrumental variable analysis for MVE for a 1-log unit lower sPLA2-IIA mass was 1.04 (95% CI: 0.96 to 1.13), and differed from the non-genetic observational estimate (OR: 0.69; 95% CI: 0.61 to 0.79). In the ACS cohorts, both the genetic instrumental variable and observational ORs showed a null association with MVE. Instrumental variable analysis failed to show associations between sPLA2 enzyme activity and MVE.
Reducing sPLA2-IIA mass is unlikely to be a useful therapeutic goal for preventing cardiovascular events.
cardiovascular diseases; drug development; epidemiology; genetics; Mendelian randomization; ACS, acute coronary syndrome(s); CI, confidence interval; LDL-C, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol; MI, myocardial infarction; MVE, major vascular events; OR, odds ratio; RCT, randomized clinical trial; SNP, single-nucleotide polymorphism; sPLA2, secretory phospholipase A2
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
We conducted genome-wide association analyses of mean leukocyte telomere length in 2,917 subjects and follow-up replication analyses in 9,492 and identified a locus on 3q26 encompassing the telomerase RNA component TERC, with compelling evidence for association (rs12696304, combined P value 3.72×10−14). Each copy of the minor allele of rs12696304 was associated with ≈75 base pairs shorter mean telomere length equivalent to ≈3.6 years of age-related attrition of mean telomere length.