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1.  A genomewide scan for quantitative trait loci underlying areal bone size variation in 451 Caucasian families 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2006;43(11):873-880.
Bone size is an important determinant of bone strength and is under strong genetic control.
To identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) for areal bone size variation, a large‐scale genomewide linkage scan was carried out in 451 Caucasian families.
Participants and methods
Of 4124 people with phenotypes, 3899 were genotyped with 410 microsatellite markers. Multipoint linkage analyses were carried out in the entire sample, as well as in men and women separately. Potential epistatic interactions between identified genomic regions were also assessed.
Several potentially important genomic regions were identified, such as 8q24 for hip bone size (logarithm of the ratio of the odds that two loci are linked (LOD) 3.27) and 2p24 (LOD 2.04) for spine bone size. 8q24 may also interact with 19p13 to affect hip bone size. Several sex‐specific QTL were also detected, such as 14q21 (LOD 2.94) for wrist bone size in women and 16q12 (LOD 2.19) for hip bone size in men.
Together with previous findings, this study has further delineated the genetic basis of bone size and laid a foundation for future studies to eventually elucidate the mechanisms of bone size regulation and associated fracture risks.
PMCID: PMC2563191  PMID: 16825438
3.  Response to comment on ‘TAp63 suppress metastasis via miR-133b in colon cancer cells' 
Lin, C W | Li, X R | Zhang, Y | Hu, G | Guo, Y H | Zhou, J Y | Du, J | Lv, L | Gao, K | Zhang, Y | Deng, H
British Journal of Cancer  2014;111(12):2369-2370.
PMCID: PMC4264430  PMID: 25490679
4.  A family-based association study identified CYP17 as a candidate gene for obesity susceptibility in Caucasians 
The cytochrome P450c17α gene (CYP17) encodes a key biosynthesis enzyme of estrogen, which is critical in regulating adipogenesis and adipocyte development in humans. We therefore hypothesized that CYP17 is a candidate gene for predicting obesity. In order to test this hypothesis, we performed a family-based association test to investigate the relationship between the CYP17 gene and obesity phenotypes in a large sample comprising 1873 subjects from 405 Caucasian nuclear families of European origin recruited by the Osteoporosis Research Center of Creighton University, USA. Both single SNPs and haplotypes were tested for associations with obesity-related phenotypes, including body mass index (BMI) and fat mass. We identifiedthree SNPs to be significantly associated with BMI, including rs3740397, rs6163, and rs619824. We further characterized the linkage disequilibrium structure for CYP17 and found that the whole CYP17 gene was located in a single-linkage disequilibrium block. This block was observed to be significantly associated with BMI. A major haplotype in this block was significantly associated with both BMI and fat mass. In conclusion, we suggest that the CYP17 gene has an effect on obesity in the Caucasian population. Further independent studies will be needed to confirm our findings.
PMCID: PMC4181562  PMID: 22653668
CYP17; Body mass index; Obesity; Association study
5.  Genetic variants in the SOX6 gene are associated with bone mineral density in both Caucasian and Chinese populations 
Given the biological function of SOX6 and recent genome-wide association finding, we performed a fine-mapping association analyses to investigate the relationship between SOX6 and BMD both in Caucasian and Chinese populations. We identified many single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within or near the SOX6 gene to be significantly associated with hip bone mineral density (BMD).
SOX6 gene is an essential transcription factor in chondrogenesis and cartilage formation. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) detected a SNP (rs7117858) located at the downstream of SOX6 significantly associated with hip BMD.
Given the biological function of SOX6 and the GWAS finding, we considered SOX6 as a new candidate for BMD and osteoporosis. Therefore, in this study, we performed a fine-mapping association analyses to investigate the relationship between SNPs within and near the SOX6 gene and BMD at both hip and spine. A total of 301 SNPs were tested in two independent US Caucasian populations (2,286 and 1,000 unrelated subjects, respectively) and a Chinese population (1,627 unrelated Han subjects).
We confirmed that the previously reported rs7117858-A was associated with reduced hip BMD, with combined P value of 2.45×10−4. Besides this SNP, we identified another 19 SNPs within or near the SOX6 gene to be significantly associated with hip BMD after false discovery rate adjustment. The most significant SNP was rs1347677 located at the intron 3 (P=3.15×10−7). Seven additional SNPs in high linkage disequilibrium with rs1347677 were also significantly associated with hip BMD. SNPs in SOX6 showed significant skeletal site specificity since no SNP was detected to be associated with spine BMD.
Our study identified many SNPs in the SOX6 gene associated with hip BMD even across different ethnicities, which further highlighted the importance of the SOX6 gene influencing BMD variation and provided more information to the understanding of the genetic architecture of osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC4171834  PMID: 21625884
Association; BMD; Osteoporosis; SOX6
6.  A stress-induced cellular aging model with postnatal neural stem cells 
Cell Death & Disease  2014;5(3):e1116-.
Aging refers to the physical and functional decline of the tissues over time that often leads to age-related degenerative diseases. Accumulating evidence implicates that the senescence of neural stem cells (NSCs) is of paramount importance to the aging of central neural system (CNS). However, exploration of the underlying molecular mechanisms has been hindered by the lack of proper aging models to allow the mechanistic examination within a reasonable time window. In the present study, we have utilized a hydroxyurea (HU) treatment protocol and effectively induced postnatal subventricle NSCs to undergo cellular senescence as determined by augmented senescence-associated-β-galactosidase (SA-β-gal) staining, decreased proliferation and differentiation capacity, increased G0/G1 cell cycle arrest, elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) level and diminished apoptosis. These phenotypic changes were accompanied by a significant increase in p16, p21 and p53 expression, as well as a decreased expression of key proteins in various DNA repair pathways such as xrcc2, xrcc3 and ku70. Further proteomic analysis suggests that multiple pathways are involved in the HU-induced NSC senescence, including genes related to DNA damage and repair, mitochondrial dysfunction and the increase of ROS level. Intriguingly, compensatory mechanisms may have also been initiated to interfere with apoptotic signaling pathways and to minimize the cell death by downregulating Bcl2-associated X protein (BAX) expression. Taken together, we have successfully established a cellular model that will be of broad utilities to the molecular exploration of NSC senescence and aging.
PMCID: PMC3973228  PMID: 24625975
aging; neural stem cells; cellular senescence model; stress; DNA damage
7.  Single-cell clones of liver cancer stem cells have the potential of differentiating into different types of tumor cells 
Liu, H | Zhang, W | Jia, Y | Yu, Q | Grau, G E | Peng, L | Ran, Y | Yang, Z | Deng, H | Lou, J
Cell Death & Disease  2013;4(10):e857-.
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are believed to be a promising target for cancer therapy because these cells are responsible for tumor development, maintenance and chemotherapy resistance. Finding out the critical factors regulating CSC fate is the key for target therapy of CSCs. Just as normal stem cells are regulated by their microenvironment (niche), CSCs are also regulated by cells in the tumor microenvironment. However, whether various tumor microenvironments can induce CSCs to differentiate into different cancer cells is not clear. Here, we show that single-cell-cloned CSCs, accidentally obtained from a human liver cancer microvascular endothelial cells, express classic stem cell markers, genes associated with self-renewal and pluripotent factors and possess colony-forming ability in vitro and the ability of serial transplantation in vivo. The single-cell-cloned CSCs treated with the different tumor cell/tissue-derived conditioned culture medium, which is a mimic of carcinoma microenvironment, could differentiate into corresponding tumor cells and express specific markers of the respective type of tumor cells at the gene, protein and cell levels, respectively. Interestingly, this multilineage differentiation potential of single-cell-cloned liver CSCs sharply declined after the specific knockdown of octamer-binding transcription factor 4 (Oct4) alone, even though they were under the same induction conditions (carcinoma microenvironments). These data support the hypothesis that single-cell-cloned liver CSCs have the potential of differentiating into different types of tumor cells, and the tumor microenvironment does play a crucial role in deciding differentiation directions. Simultaneously, Oct4 in CSCs is indispensable in this process. These factors are promising targets for liver CSC-specific therapy.
PMCID: PMC3824650  PMID: 24136221
CSCs; carcinoma/cancer microenvironments; multilineage differentiation potential; Oct4; microvascular endothelial cells
8.  Haplotype-dependent HLA susceptibility to nasopharyngeal carcinoma in a Southern Chinese population 
Genes and immunity  2010;11(4):334-342.
We have conducted a comprehensive case–control study of a nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) population cohort from Guangxi Province of Southern China, a region with one of the highest NPC incidences on record. A total of 1407 individuals including NPC patients, healthy controls, and their adult children were examined for the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) association, which is so far the largest NPC cohort reported for such studies. Stratified analysis performed in this study clearly demonstrated that while NPC protection is associated with independent HLA alleles, most NPC susceptibility is strictly associated with HLA haplotypes. Our study also detected for the first time that A*0206, a unique A2 subtype to South and Southeast Asia is also associated with a high risk for NPC. HLA-A*0206, HLA-B*3802 alleles plus the A*0207–B*4601 and A*3303–B*5801 haplotypes conferred high risk for NPC showing a combined odds ratio (OR) of 2.6 (P<0.0001). HLA alleles that associate with low risk for NPC include HLA-A*1101, B*27, and B*55 with a combined OR of 0.42 (P<0.0001). The overall high frequency of NPC-susceptible HLA factors in the Guangxi population is likely to have contributed to the high-NPC incidence in this region.
PMCID: PMC3737777  PMID: 20072141
HLA; nasopharyngeal carcinoma; haplotype; stratified analysis
9.  Are bone mineral density loci associated with hip osteoporotic fractures? A validation study on previously reported genome-wide association loci in a Chinese population 
Osteoporosis is a heritable disease characterized mainly by low bone mineral density (BMD) and/or osteoporotic fractures (OF). Most genome-wide association studies on osteoporosis have focused on BMD, whereas little effort has been expended to identify genetic variants directly linked to OF. To determine whether BMD-loci are also associated with OF risk, we performed a validation study to examine 23 BMD-loci reported by recent genome-wide association studies for association with hip OF risk. Our sample consisted of 700 elderly Chinese Han subjects, 350 with hip OF and 350 healthy matched controls. We identified four BMD-loci that were significantly associated with hip OF in this Chinese population, including 7q21 (FLJ42280, P = 1.17 × 10−4 for rs4729260; P = 0.008 for rs7781370), 6p21 (MHC, P = 0.004 for rs3130340), 13q14 (TNFSF11, P = 0.012 for rs9533090; P = 0.018 for rs9594759; P = 0.020 for rs9594738; P = 0.044 for rs9594751), and 18q21 (TNFRSF11A, P = 0.015 for rs884205). The SNP rs4729260 at 7q21 remained significantly associated, even after conservative Bonferroni’s correction. Our results further highlight the importance of these loci in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis, and demonstrate that it is feasible and useful to use OF as the direct phenotype to conduct genetic studies, to enhance our understanding of the genetic architecture of osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC3682464  PMID: 22370887
Osteoporotic fractures; Genome-wide association studies; BMD; SNP
10.  A follow-up association study of two genetic variants for bone mineral density variation in Caucasians 
We tested whether two genetic variants were associated with BMD at multiple clinically relevant skeletal sites in Caucasians. We found that variant rs7776725 is consistently associated with hip, spine, wrist and whole-body BMD, which highlights the potential importance of this variant or linked variants for osteoporosis.
A recent genome-wide association study identified two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), rs7776725 and rs1721400, that were associated with bone mineral density (BMD) variation at the radius, tibia and calcaneus in a Korean population. In this study, we aimed to test whether the association of these two genetic variants can be replicated in Caucasians and whether their association with BMD can be extended to other clinically relevant skeletal sites.
We performed this study in two large cohorts of unrelated US Caucasians. Area BMD at the hip, spine, wrist (ultra-distal radius) and whole body were measured with Hologic dual-energy X-ray absorptiometer. SNPs were genotyped with Affymetrix human genome-wide genotyping arrays. Association analyses were performed using PLINK.
We detected highly significant association (combined p=1.42×10−16) of rs7776725 with wrist BMD but only borderline association signal (combined p=0.017) for rs1721400 with wrist BMD. In addition, we found that rs7776725 was associated with BMD at the hip, spine and whole body. At the FAM3C gene locus where rs7776725 was located, we identified several other SNPs (rs4727922, rs1803389, rs718766 and rs7793554) that were also associated with BMD.
This is the first follow-up association study of rs7776725 and rs1721400 with BMD. The rs7776725 showed consistent association with BMD at multiple clinically important skeletal sites, which highlighted the potential importance of rs7776725 or linked SNPs for risk of osteoporosis. Further in-depth re-sequencing studies and functional assays are necessary to elucidate the underlying mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3682467  PMID: 22159821
Bone mineral density; FAM3C; Osteoporosis; Single nucleotide polymorphisms
11.  Association analyses suggest the effects of RANK and RANKL on age at menarche in Chinese women 
Age at menarche (AAM), the time of the first menstrual bleeding, is an important developmental milestone in the female life. It marks the beginning of the reproductive period. AAM is implicated in the risk of many health complications in later life. In this study, we conducted an analysis for association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and common haplotypes of two candidate genes, RANK (receptor activator of the NF-κB) and RANKL (receptor activator of the NF-κB ligand), with AAM in 825 unrelated Chinese women.
In total, 73 SNPs of RANKL and 23 SNPs of RANK were genotyped. The SNPs and common haplotypes were then analyzed for their association with AAM. Age and age2 were used as covariates.
We found five individual SNPs (rs7239261, rs8094884, rs3826620, rs8089829, and rs9956850) of RANK significantly associated with AAM (p < 0.05). Although no significant association was identified for the RANKL gene, three polymorphisms showed nearly significant (0.05 < p < 0.08) association with AAM. Seven haplotypes of RANK were significantly associated with AAM (p < 0.05); the most significant association of the AT haplotype composed by rs1805034 and rs4524034 (p = 9.4 × 10−4) remained significant (p = 0.0235) after the Bonferroni correction for multiple testing. Three haplotypes of RANKL were significantly associated with AAM (p < 0.05). Importantly, the association of rs3826620 replicated our previous findings for Caucasian females.
The results of the present study suggest that the RANK and RANKL are two candidate genes for AAM in Chinese women.
PMCID: PMC3682470  PMID: 22023082
12.  Ethnic differentiation of copy number variation on chromosome 16p12.3 for association with obesity phenotypes in European and Chinese populations 
Genomic copy number variations (CNVs) have been strongly implicated as important genetic factors for obesity. A recent genome-wide association study identified a novel variant, rs12444979, which is in high linkage disequilibrium with CNV 16p12.3, for association with obesity in Europeans. The aim of this study was to directly examine the relationship between the CNV 16p12.3 and obesity phenotypes, including body mass index (BMI) and body fat mass.
Subjects were a multi-ethnic sample, including 2286 unrelated subjects from a European population and 1627 unrelated Han subjects from a Chinese population. Body fat mass was measured using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry.
Using Affymetrix Genome-Wide Human SNP Array 6.0, we directly detected CNV 16p12.3, with the deletion frequency of 27.26 and 0.8% in the European and Chinese populations, respectively. We confirmed the significant association between this CNV and obesity (BMI: P = 1.38 × 10−2; body fat mass: P = 2.13 × 10−3) in the European population. Less copy numbers were associated with lower BMI and body fat mass, and the effect size was estimated to be 0.62 (BMI) and 1.41 (body fat mass), respectively. However, for the Chinese population, we did not observe significant association signal, and the frequencies of this deletion CNV are quite different between the European and Chinese populations (P<0.001).
Our findings first suggest that CNV 16p12.3 might be ethnic specific and cause ethnic phenotypic diversity, which may provide some new clues into the understanding of the genetic architecture of obesity.
PMCID: PMC3682477  PMID: 22391884
CNV; 16p12.3; BMI; body fat mass; association
13.  TRPV4 mutations and cytotoxic hypercalcemia in axonal Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathies 
Neurology  2011;76(10):887-894.
To improve understanding of TRPV4-associated axonal Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) neuropathy phenotypes and their debated pathologic mechanism.
A total of 17 CMT2C phenotypic families with vocal cord and diaphragmatic involvement and 36 clinically undifferentiated CMT2 subjects underwent sequencing analysis of the coding region of TRPV4. Functional studies of mutant proteins were performed using transiently transfected cells for TRPV4 subcellular localization, basal and stimulated Ca2+ channel analysis, and cell viability assay with or without channel blockade.
Two TRPV4 mutations R232C and R316H from 17 CMT2C families were identified in the ankyrin repeat domains. The R316H is a novel de novo mutation found in a patient with CMT2C phenotype. The family with R232C mutation had individuals with and without vocal cord and diaphragm involvement. Both mutant TRPV4 proteins had normal subcellular localization in HEK293 and HeLa cells. Cells transfected with R232C and R316H displayed increased intracellular Ca2+ levels and reversible cell death by the TRPV channel antagonist, ruthenium red.
TRPV4 ankyrin domain alterations including a novel de novo mutation cause axonal CMT2. Individuals with the same mutation may have nondistinct CMT2 or have phenotypic CMT2C with vocal cord paresis. Reversible hypercalcemic gain-of-function of mutant TRPV4 instead of loss-of-function appears to be pathologically important. The reversibility of cell death by channel blockade provides an attractive area of investigation in consideration of treatable axonal degeneration.
PMCID: PMC3059145  PMID: 21288981
14.  Association of genetic variation in FTO with risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes with data from 96,551 East and South Asians 
Diabetologia  2011;55(4):981-995.
FTO harbours the strongest known obesity-susceptibility locus in Europeans. While there is growing evidence for a role for FTO in obesity risk in Asians, its association with type 2 diabetes, independently of BMI, remains inconsistent. To test whether there is an association of the FTO locus with obesity and type 2 diabetes, we conducted a meta-analysis of 32 populations including 96,551 East and South Asians.
All studies published on the association between FTO-rs9939609 (or proxy [r2 > 0.98]) and BMI, obesity or type 2 diabetes in East or South Asians were invited. Each study group analysed their data according to a standardised analysis plan. Association with type 2 diabetes was also adjusted for BMI. Random-effects meta-analyses were performed to pool all effect sizes.
The FTO-rs9939609 minor allele increased risk of obesity by 1.25-fold/allele (p = 9.0 × 10−19), overweight by 1.13-fold/allele (p = 1.0 × 10−11) and type 2 diabetes by 1.15-fold/allele (p = 5.5 × 10−8). The association with type 2 diabetes was attenuated after adjustment for BMI (OR 1.10-fold/allele, p = 6.6 × 10−5). The FTO-rs9939609 minor allele increased BMI by 0.26 kg/m2 per allele (p = 2.8 × 10−17), WHR by 0.003/allele (p = 1.2 × 10−6), and body fat percentage by 0.31%/allele (p = 0.0005). Associations were similar using dominant models. While the minor allele is less common in East Asians (12–20%) than South Asians (30–33%), the effect of FTO variation on obesity-related traits and type 2 diabetes was similar in the two populations.
FTO is associated with increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, with effect sizes similar in East and South Asians and similar to those observed in Europeans. Furthermore, FTO is also associated with type 2 diabetes independently of BMI.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00125-011-2370-7) contains peer-reviewed but unedited supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.
PMCID: PMC3296006  PMID: 22109280
Asians; FTO; Meta-analysis; Obesity; Type 2 diabetes
15.  Frameshift and novel mutations in FUS in familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and ALS/dementia(e–Pub ahead of print) 
Neurology  2010;75(9):807-814.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive paralytic disorder caused by degeneration of motor neurons. Mutations in the FUS gene were identified in patients with familial ALS (FALS) and patients with sporadic ALS (SALS) from a variety of genetic backgrounds. This work further explores the spectrum of FUS mutations in patients with FALS and patients with FALS with features of frontotemporal dementia (FALS/FTD) or parkinsonism and dementia (FALS/PD/DE).
All exons of the FUS gene were sequenced in 476 FALS index cases negative for mutations in SOD1 and TARDBP. A total of 561–726 controls were analyzed for genetic variants observed. Clinical data from patients with FUS mutations were compared to those of patients with known SOD1 and TARDBP mutations.
We identified 17 FUS mutations in 22 FALS families, 2 FALS/FTD families, and 1 FALS/PD/DE family from diverse genetic backgrounds; 11 mutations were novel. There were 4 frameshift, 1 nonsense, and 1 possible alternate splicing mutation. Patients with FUS mutations appeared to have earlier symptom onset, a higher rate of bulbar onset, and shorter duration of symptoms than those with SOD1 mutations.
FUS gene mutations are not an uncommon cause in patients with FALS from diverse genetic backgrounds, and have a prevalence of 5.6% in non-SOD1 and non-TARDBP FALS, and ∼4.79% in all FALS. The pathogenicity of some of these novel mutations awaits further studies. Patients with FUS mutations manifest earlier symptom onset, a higher rate of bulbar onset, and shorter duration of symptoms.
= amyotrophic lateral sclerosis;
= familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis;
= familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with features of frontotemporal dementia;
= familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with features of parkinsonism and dementia;
= sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
PMCID: PMC2938970  PMID: 20668259
16.  The differences of femoral neck geometric parameters: effects of age, gender and race 
This study aims at investigating the effects of age, sex, and ethnicity on five femoral neck geometric parameters (FNGPs): femoral neck periosteal diameter, cross-sectional area, cortical thickness, sectional modulus, and buckling ratio and found that the three factors would influence the FNGPs.
Bone geometry is one of the most important predictors of bone strength and osteoporotic fractures. This study aims at investigating the effects of age, sex, and ethnicity on five femoral neck geometric parameters (FNGPs): femoral neck periosteal diameter (W), cross-sectional area (CSA), cortical thickness (CT), sectional modulus (Z), and buckling ratio (BR).
In the studied 861 Caucasian subjects and 3,021 Chinese individuals, CSA, CT, and Z displayed trends of decrease with age, but W and BR showed increasing trends with age in both Chinese and Caucasian females and males (p < 0.05). W, CSA, CT, and Z were significantly higher (p ≤ 0.001) in Caucasians than in Chinese and higher in males than in females except for BR between Chinese males and Chinese females.
In conclusion, the differences of FNGPs according to gender and ethnicity provide important implications in the different prevalence of osteoporotic fracture among different gender and ethnic groups.
PMCID: PMC2921984  PMID: 19802512
Age; Femoral neck geometric parameters; Race; Sex
17.  Replication study of candidate genes/loci associated with osteoporosis based on genome-wide screening 
Osteoporosis is a major public health problem characterized by low bone mineral density (BMD). This replication study confirmed 38 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) out of 139 SNPs previously reported in three recent genome-wide association studies (GWASs) in an independent US white sample. Ten SNPs achieved combined p<3.6×10−4.
BMD is under strong genetic control. This study aims to verify the potential associations between BMD and candidate genes/loci reported by GWAS of FHS100K, Icelandic deCODE, and UK-NL.
Eight promising (at the genome-wide significant level after Bonferroni correction) and 131 available sub-promising (at the most stringent p value, p<5.5×10−5 in the three GWASs reports) SNPs were selected. By using genotypic information from Affymetrix 500 K SNP arrays, we tested their associations with BMD in 1,000 unrelated US whites. Fisher’s combined probability method was used to quantify the overall evidence of association. BMD was measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry.
Two promising SNPs, rs3762397 and rs3736228, were replicated in the current study with p<0.05. Besides, 36 sub-promising SNPs were replicated at the same significant level. Ten SNPs achieved significant combined p<3.6×10−4 (0.05/139 SNPs, corrected for multiple testing).
Osteoporosis susceptibility of 38 SNPs was replicated in 1,000 unrelated US whites. This study showed promise for replication of some initial genome-wide association signals.
PMCID: PMC2917903  PMID: 19629617
Bone mineral density; Genome-wide association; Osteoporosis; Replication
18.  Association analyses of vitamin D-binding protein gene with compression strength index variation in Caucasian nuclear families 
This study was conducted to test whether there exists an association between vitamin D-binding protein (DBP) gene and compression strength index (CSI) phenotype. Candidate gene association analyses were conducted in total sample, male subgroup, and female subgroup, respectively. Two single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with significant association results were found in males, suggesting the importance of DBP gene polymorphisms on the variation in CSI especially in Caucasian males.
CSI of the femoral neck (FN) is a newly developed phenotype integrating information about bone size, body size, and bone mineral density. It is considered to have the potential to improve the performance of risk assessment for hip fractures because it is based on a combination of phenotypic traits influencing hip fractures rather than a single trait. CSI is under moderate genetic determination (with a heritability of ~44% found in this study), but the relevant genetic study is still rather scarce.
Based on the known physiological role of DBP in bone biology and the relatively high heritability of CSI, we tested 12 SNPs of the DBP gene for association with CSI variation in 405 Caucasian nuclear families comprising 1,873 subjects from the Midwestern US. Association analyses were performed in the total sample, male and female subgroups, respectively.
Significant associations with CSI were found with two SNPs (rs222029, P=0.0019; rs222020, P=0.0042) for the male subgroup. Haplotype-based association tests corroborated the single-SNP results.
Our findings suggest that the DBP gene might be one of the genetic factors influencing CSI phenotype in Caucasians, especially in males.
PMCID: PMC2914268  PMID: 19543766
Association; Compression strength index; DBP; Haplotype; SNP
19.  Age and founder effect of SOD1 A4V mutation causing ALS 
Neurology  2009;72(19):1634-1639.
The alanine to valine mutation at codon 4 (A4V) of SOD1 causes a rapidly progressive dominant form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) with exclusively lower motor neuron disease and is responsible for 50% of SOD1 mutations associated with familial ALS in North America. This mutation is rare in Europe. The authors investigated the origin (geographic and time) of the A4V mutation.
Several cohorts were genotyped: North American patients with confirmed A4V mutation (n = 54), Swedish (n = 3) and Italian (n = 6) A4V patients, patients with ALS with SOD1 non-A4V mutations (n = 66) and patients with sporadic ALS (n = 96), healthy white (n = 96), African American (n = 17), Chinese (n = 53), Amerindian (n = 11), and Hispanic (n = 12) subjects. High-throughput SNP genotyping was performed using Taqman assay in 384-well format. A novel biallelic CA repeat in exon 5 of SOD1, tightly linked to A4V, was genotyped on sequencing gels. Association statistics were estimated using Haploview. p Values less than 0.05 were considered significant. Age of A4V was estimated using a novel method based on r2 degeneration with genetic distance and a Bayesian method incorporated in DMLE+.
A single haplotype of 10 polymorphisms across a 5.86-cM region was associated with A4V (p = 3.0e-11) when white controls were used, suggesting a founder effect. The strength of association of this haplotype progressively decreased when African American, Chinese, Hispanic, and Amerindian subjects were used as controls. The associated European haplotype was different from the North American haplotype, indicating two founder effects for A4V (Amerindian and European). The estimated age of A4V with the r2 degeneration method was 458 ± 59 years (range 398–569) and in agreement with the Bayesian method (554–734 years with 80–90% posterior probability).
North American SOD1 alanine to valine mutation at codon 4 descended from two founders (Amerindian and European) 400–500 years ago.
= alanine to valine mutation at codon 4;
= amyotrophic lateral sclerosis;
= familial ALS;
= linkage disequilibrium;
= sequence detection system;
= single nucleotide polymorphisms.
PMCID: PMC2683645  PMID: 19176896
20.  The development of atypical haemolytic-uraemic syndrome is influenced by susceptibility factors in factor H and membrane cofactor protein: evidence from two independent cohorts 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2005;42(11):852-856.
Background: In both familial and sporadic atypical haemolytic-uraemic syndrome (aHUS), mutations have been reported in regulators of the alternative complement pathway including factor H (CFH), membrane cofactor protein (MCP), and the serine protease factor I (IF). A characteristic feature of both MCP and CFH associated HUS is reduced penetrance and variable inheritance; one possible explanation for this is that functional changes in complement proteins act as modifiers.
Objective: To examine single nucleotide polymorphisms in both CFH and MCP genes in two large cohorts of HUS patients (Newcastle and Paris).
Results: In both cohorts there was an association with HUS for both CFH and MCP alleles. CFH and MCP haplotypes were also significantly different in HUS patients compared with controls.
Conclusions: This study suggests that there are naturally occurring susceptibility factors in CFH and MCP for the development of atypical HUS.
PMCID: PMC1735946  PMID: 15784724
21.  The oestrogen receptor α gene is linked and/or associated with age of menarche in different ethnic groups 
Long, J | Xu, H | Zhao, L | Liu, P | Shen, H | Liu, Y | Xiong, D | Xiao, P | Liu, Y | Dvornyk, V | Li, J | Recker, R | Deng, H
Journal of Medical Genetics  2005;42(10):796-800.
PMCID: PMC1735934  PMID: 16199553
22.  A survey of haplotype variants at several disease candidate genes: the importance of rare variants for complex diseases 
Liu, P | Zhang, Y | Lu, Y | Long, J | Shen, H | Zhao, L. | Xu, F | Xiao, P | Xiong, D | Liu, Y | Recker, R | Deng, H
Journal of Medical Genetics  2005;42(3):221-227.
Background: The haplotype based association method offers a powerful approach to complex disease gene mapping. In this method, a few common haplotypes that account for the vast majority of chromosomes in the populations are usually examined for association with disease phenotypes. This brings us to a critical question of whether rare haplotypes play an important role in influencing disease susceptibility and thus should not be ignored in the design and execution of association studies.
Methods: To address this question we surveyed, in a large sample of 1873 white subjects, six candidate genes for osteoporosis (a common late onset bone disorder), which had 29 SNPs, an average marker density of 13 kb, and covered a total of 377 kb of the DNA sequence.
Results: Our empirical data demonstrated that two rare haplotypes of the parathyroid hormone (PTH)/PTH related peptide receptor type 1 and vitamin D receptor genes (PTHR1 and VDR) with frequencies of 1.1% and 2.9%, respectively, had significant effects on osteoporosis phenotypes (p = 4.2 x 10–6 and p = 1.6 x 10–4, respectively). Large phenotypic differences (4.0∼5.0%) were observed between carriers of these rare haplotypes and non-carriers. Carriers of the two rare haplotypes showed quantitatively continuous variation in the population and were derived from a wide spectrum rather than from one extreme tail of the population phenotype distribution.
Conclusions: These findings indicate that rare haplotypes/variants are important for disease susceptibility and cannot be ignored in genetics studies of complex diseases. The study has profound implications for association studies and applications of the HapMap project.
PMCID: PMC1736011  PMID: 15744035
23.  Vitamin D receptor gene polymorphisms are linked to and associated with adult height 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2005;42(3):228-234.
Background: The vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene is important to human stature, as it mediates metabolic pathways, calcium homeostasis, and phosphate homeostasis, which influence growth.
Methods: We examined the relationship between VDR and adult height in 1873 white subjects from 406 nuclear families. Four SNPs, namely –4817A/G at intron 1, FokI C/T at exon 2 start codon, BsmI A/G at intron 8, and TaqI T/C at exon 9 in VDR were tested for linkage and association with adult height variation by the program QTDT (quantitative transmission disequilibrium test). The bT haplotype of the BsmI and TaqI loci was further tested for its association with height in unrelated samples randomly chosen from the 406 nuclear families by traditional population association methods.
Results: All four tested SNPs were linked to adult height. Within family associations with height were detected at BsmI and TaqI loci (p = 0.048 and 0.039, respectively). Analyses based on BsmI/TaqI haplotypes also revealed evidence for linkage (p = 0.05) and association (p = 0.001) with height. The bT haplotype was significantly associated with higher adult height (p = 0.033, within family association test). Such an association might be female specific and influenced by menstrual status.
Conclusions: Our results strongly suggest that VDR may be linked to and associated with adult height variation in white popuations.
PMCID: PMC1736013  PMID: 15744036
24.  Common variants at the PCOL2 and Sp1 binding sites of the COL1A1 gene and their interactive effect influence bone mineral density in Caucasians 
Liu, P | Lu, Y | Long, J | Xu, F | Shen, H | Recker, R | Deng, H
Journal of Medical Genetics  2004;41(10):752-757.
Background: Osteoporosis, mainly characterised by low bone mineral density (BMD), is a serious public health problem. The collagen type I alpha 1 (COL1A1) gene is a prominent candidate gene for osteoporosis. Here, we examined whether genetic variants at the COL1A1 gene can influence BMD variation.
Methods: BMD was measured at nine skeletal sites in 313 Caucasian males and 308 Caucasian females. We screened four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at the COL1A1 gene: PCOL2 (-1997 G/T) in the promoter, Sp1 (1546 G/T) in the intron 1, Gly19Cys (3911 G/A) in exon 8, and Ala897Thr (13 773 G/A) in exon 45. Univariate and multivariate association approaches were used in the analyses.
Results: In multivariate analyses, we found a strong association between the PCOL2 SNP and BMD (p = 0.007 to 0.024) and a suggestive association between the Sp1 SNP and BMD (p = 0.023 to 0.048) in elderly Caucasian females. Interestingly, the interaction of these two SNPs was highly significantly associated with BMD variation (p = 0.001 to 0.003). The haplotype GG at the two SNPs had, on average, 2.7% higher BMD than non-carriers (p = 0.006 to 0.026).
Conclusions: Our data suggested that the common genetic variants at the PCOL2 and Sp1 sites, and importantly, their interactive effects, may contribute to BMD variation in elderly Caucasian females. Further studies are necessary to delineate the mechanisms underlying the effects of these common variants on BMD variation and to test their clinical relevance for general populations. In addition, our study highlighted the importance of multivariate analyses when multiple correlated phenotypes are under study.
PMCID: PMC1735608  PMID: 15466008
25.  A genome-wide linkage scan for bone mineral density in an extended sample: evidence for linkage on 11q23 and Xq27 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2004;41(10):743-751.
Background: Osteoporosis is a major public health problem, mainly quantified by low bone mineral density (BMD). The majority of BMD variation is determined by genetic effects. A pilot whole genome linkage scan (WGS) was previously reported in 53 white pedigrees with 630 subjects. Several genomic regions were suggested to be linked to BMD variation.
Objective: To substantiate these previous findings and detect new genomic regions.
Methods: A WGS was conducted on an extended sample where the size was almost tripled (1816 subjects from 79 pedigrees). All the subjects were genotyped with 451 microsatellite markers spaced ∼8.1 cM apart across the human genome. Two point and multipoint linkage analyses were carried out using the variance component method.
Results: The strongest linkage signal was obtained on Xq27 with two point LOD scores of 4.30 for wrist BMD, and 2.57 for hip BMD, respectively. Another important region was 11q23, which achieved a maximum LOD score of 3.13 for spine BMD in multipoint analyses, confirming the results on this region in two earlier independent studies. Suggestive linkage evidence was also found on 7p14 and 20p12.
Conclusions: Together with the findings from other studies, the current study has further delineated the genetic basis of bone mass and highlights the importance of increasing sample size to confirm linkage findings and to identify new regions of linkage.
PMCID: PMC1735607  PMID: 15466007

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