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1.  Genome-wide association study in people of South Asian ancestry identifies six novel susceptibility loci for type 2 diabetes 
Nature genetics  2011;43(10):984-989.
We carried out a genome wide association study of type-2 diabetes (T2D) amongst 20,119 people of South Asian ancestry (5,561 with T2D); we identified 20 independent SNPs associated with T2D at P<10−4 for testing amongst a further 38,568 South Asians (13,170 with T2D). In combined analysis, common genetic variants at six novel loci (GRB14, ST6GAL1, VPS26A, HMG20A, AP3S2 and HNF4A) were associated with T2D (P=4.1×10−8 to P=1.9×10−11); SNPs at GRB14 were also associated with insulin sensitivity, and at ST6GAL1 and HNF4A with pancreatic beta-cell function respectively. Our findings provide additional insight into mechanisms underlying T2D, and demonstrate the potential for new discovery from genetic association studies in South Asians who have increased susceptibility to T2D.
doi:10.1038/ng.921
PMCID: PMC3773920  PMID: 21874001
2.  Meta-analysis and imputation refines the association of 15q25 with smoking quantity 
Liu, Jason Z. | Tozzi, Federica | Waterworth, Dawn M. | Pillai, Sreekumar G. | Muglia, Pierandrea | Middleton, Lefkos | Berrettini, Wade | Knouff, Christopher W. | Yuan, Xin | Waeber, Gérard | Vollenweider, Peter | Preisig, Martin | Wareham, Nicholas J | Zhao, Jing Hua | Loos, Ruth J.F. | Barroso, Inês | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Grundy, Scott | Barter, Philip | Mahley, Robert | Kesaniemi, Antero | McPherson, Ruth | Vincent, John B. | Strauss, John | Kennedy, James L. | Farmer, Anne | McGuffin, Peter | Day, Richard | Matthews, Keith | Bakke, Per | Gulsvik, Amund | Lucae, Susanne | Ising, Marcus | Brueckl, Tanja | Horstmann, Sonja | Wichmann, H.-Erich | Rawal, Rajesh | Dahmen, Norbert | Lamina, Claudia | Polasek, Ozren | Zgaga, Lina | Huffman, Jennifer | Campbell, Susan | Kooner, Jaspal | Chambers, John C | Burnett, Mary Susan | Devaney, Joseph M. | Pichard, Augusto D. | Kent, Kenneth M. | Satler, Lowell | Lindsay, Joseph M. | Waksman, Ron | Epstein, Stephen | Wilson, James F. | Wild, Sarah H. | Campbell, Harry | Vitart, Veronique | Reilly, Muredach P. | Li, Mingyao | Qu, Liming | Wilensky, Robert | Matthai, William | Hakonarson, Hakon H. | Rader, Daniel J. | Franke, Andre | Wittig, Michael | Schäfer, Arne | Uda, Manuela | Terracciano, Antonio | Xiao, Xiangjun | Busonero, Fabio | Scheet, Paul | Schlessinger, David | St Clair, David | Rujescu, Dan | Abecasis, Gonçalo R. | Grabe, Hans Jörgen | Teumer, Alexander | Völzke, Henry | Petersmann, Astrid | John, Ulrich | Rudan, Igor | Hayward, Caroline | Wright, Alan F. | Kolcic, Ivana | Wright, Benjamin J | Thompson, John R | Balmforth, Anthony J. | Hall, Alistair S. | Samani, Nilesh J. | Anderson, Carl A. | Ahmad, Tariq | Mathew, Christopher G. | Parkes, Miles | Satsangi, Jack | Caulfield, Mark | Munroe, Patricia B. | Farrall, Martin | Dominiczak, Anna | Worthington, Jane | Thomson, Wendy | Eyre, Steve | Barton, Anne | Mooser, Vincent | Francks, Clyde | Marchini, Jonathan
Nature genetics  2010;42(5):436-440.
Smoking is a leading global cause of disease and mortality1. We performed a genomewide meta-analytic association study of smoking-related behavioral traits in a total sample of 41,150 individuals drawn from 20 disease, population, and control cohorts. Our analysis confirmed an effect on smoking quantity (SQ) at a locus on 15q25 (P=9.45e-19) that includes three genes encoding neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunits (CHRNA5, CHRNA3, CHRNB4). We used data from the 1000 Genomes project to investigate the region using imputation, which allowed analysis of virtually all common variants in the region and offered a five-fold increase in coverage over the HapMap. This increased the spectrum of potentially causal single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which included a novel SNP that showed the highest significance, rs55853698, located within the promoter region of CHRNA5. Conditional analysis also identified a secondary locus (rs6495308) in CHRNA3.
doi:10.1038/ng.572
PMCID: PMC3612983  PMID: 20418889
3.  South Asians Have Elevated Postexercise Blood Pressure and Myocardial Oxygen Consumption Compared to Europeans Despite Equivalent Resting Pressure 
Background
Stroke mortality rate is higher in South Asians than in Europeans, despite equivalent or lower resting blood pressure (BP). Elevated recovery BP after exercise predicts stroke, independently of resting values. We hypothesized that South Asians would have adverse postexercise hemodynamics and sought explanations for this.
Methods and Results
A population-based sample of 147 European and 145 South Asian middle-aged men and women performed the Dundee 3-minute step test. Cardiovascular risk factors were measured. BP, heart rate, and rate–pressure product, a measure of myocardial oxygen consumption, were compared. With 90% power and 5% significance, we could detect a difference of 0.38 of a standard deviation in any outcome measure. Resting systolic BP was similar in South Asians (144 mm Hg) and Europeans (142 mm Hg) (P=0.2), as was exercise BP (P=0.4). However, recovery systolic BP at 3 minutes after exercise was higher in South Asians by 4.3 mm Hg (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.2 to 8.3 mm Hg; P=0.04). This effect persisted when adjusted for exercise BP and work effort (5.4 mm Hg [95% CI, 2.2 to 8.7 mm Hg; P=0.001]). Adjustment for baroreflex insensitivity and greater aortic stiffness in South Asians contributes greatly to attenuating this ethnic difference (1.9 mm Hg [95% CI, −0.9 to 4.6 mm Hg; P=0.4]). Similarly, rate–pressure product recovery after exercise was impaired in South Asians by 735 mm Hg/min (95% CI, 137 to 1334 mm Hg/min; P=0.02); again, adjustment for baroreflex insensitivity and aortic stiffness attenuated this difference (261 mm Hg/min [95% CI, −39 to 561 mm Hg/min; P=0.3]).
Conclusion
Postexercise recovery of BP and rate–pressure product is impaired in South Asians compared to Europeans even though resting and exercise BP are similar. This is associated with the autonomic dysfunction and aortic stiffness in South Asians. (J Am Heart Assoc. 2012;1:e000281 doi: 10.1161/JAHA.111.000281.)
doi:10.1161/JAHA.111.000281
PMCID: PMC3541621  PMID: 23316281
autonomic function; blood pressure; epidemiology; glucose; pulse wave velocity
4.  A Replication Study of GWAS-Derived Lipid Genes in Asian Indians: The Chromosomal Region 11q23.3 Harbors Loci Contributing to Triglycerides 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e37056.
Recent genome-wide association scans (GWAS) and meta-analysis studies on European populations have identified many genes previously implicated in lipid regulation. Validation of these loci on different global populations is important in determining their clinical relevance, particularly for development of novel drug targets for treating and preventing diabetic dyslipidemia and coronary artery disease (CAD). In an attempt to replicate GWAS findings on a non-European sample, we examined the role of six of these loci (CELSR2-PSRC1-SORT1 rs599839; CDKN2A-2B rs1333049; BUD13-ZNF259 rs964184; ZNF259 rs12286037; CETP rs3764261; APOE-C1-C4-C2 rs4420638) in our Asian Indian cohort from the Sikh Diabetes Study (SDS) comprising 3,781 individuals (2,902 from Punjab and 879 from the US). Two of the six SNPs examined showed convincing replication in these populations of Asian Indian origin. Our study confirmed a strong association of CETP rs3764261 with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) (p = 2.03×10−26). Our results also showed significant associations of two GWAS SNPs (rs964184 and rs12286037) from BUD13-ZNF259 near the APOA5-A4-C3-A1 genes with triglyceride (TG) levels in this Asian Indian cohort (rs964184: p = 1.74×10−17; rs12286037: p = 1.58×10−2). We further explored 45 SNPs in a ∼195 kb region within the chromosomal region 11q23.3 (encompassing the BUD13-ZNF259, APOA5-A4-C3-A1, and SIK3 genes) in 8,530 Asian Indians from the London Life Sciences Population (LOLIPOP) (UK) and SDS cohorts. Five more SNPs revealed significant associations with TG in both cohorts individually as well as in a joint meta-analysis. However, the strongest signal for TG remained with BUD13-ZNF259 (rs964184: p = 1.06×10−39). Future targeted deep sequencing and functional studies should enhance our understanding of the clinical relevance of these genes in dyslipidemia and hypertriglyceridemia (HTG) and, consequently, diabetes and CAD.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037056
PMCID: PMC3356398  PMID: 22623978
5.  Novel Loci for Adiponectin Levels and Their Influence on Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Traits: A Multi-Ethnic Meta-Analysis of 45,891 Individuals 
Dastani, Zari | Hivert, Marie-France | Timpson, Nicholas | Perry, John R. B. | Yuan, Xin | Scott, Robert A. | Henneman, Peter | Heid, Iris M. | Kizer, Jorge R. | Lyytikäinen, Leo-Pekka | Fuchsberger, Christian | Tanaka, Toshiko | Morris, Andrew P. | Small, Kerrin | Isaacs, Aaron | Beekman, Marian | Coassin, Stefan | Lohman, Kurt | Qi, Lu | Kanoni, Stavroula | Pankow, James S. | Uh, Hae-Won | Wu, Ying | Bidulescu, Aurelian | Rasmussen-Torvik, Laura J. | Greenwood, Celia M. T. | Ladouceur, Martin | Grimsby, Jonna | Manning, Alisa K. | Liu, Ching-Ti | Kooner, Jaspal | Mooser, Vincent E. | Vollenweider, Peter | Kapur, Karen A. | Chambers, John | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Langenberg, Claudia | Frants, Rune | Willems-vanDijk, Ko | Oostra, Ben A. | Willems, Sara M. | Lamina, Claudia | Winkler, Thomas W. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Tracy, Russell P. | Brody, Jennifer | Chen, Ida | Viikari, Jorma | Kähönen, Mika | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Evans, David M. | St. Pourcain, Beate | Sattar, Naveed | Wood, Andrew R. | Bandinelli, Stefania | Carlson, Olga D. | Egan, Josephine M. | Böhringer, Stefan | van Heemst, Diana | Kedenko, Lyudmyla | Kristiansson, Kati | Nuotio, Marja-Liisa | Loo, Britt-Marie | Harris, Tamara | Garcia, Melissa | Kanaya, Alka | Haun, Margot | Klopp, Norman | Wichmann, H.-Erich | Deloukas, Panos | Katsareli, Efi | Couper, David J. | Duncan, Bruce B. | Kloppenburg, Margreet | Adair, Linda S. | Borja, Judith B. | Wilson, James G. | Musani, Solomon | Guo, Xiuqing | Johnson, Toby | Semple, Robert | Teslovich, Tanya M. | Allison, Matthew A. | Redline, Susan | Buxbaum, Sarah G. | Mohlke, Karen L. | Meulenbelt, Ingrid | Ballantyne, Christie M. | Dedoussis, George V. | Hu, Frank B. | Liu, Yongmei | Paulweber, Bernhard | Spector, Timothy D. | Slagboom, P. Eline | Ferrucci, Luigi | Jula, Antti | Perola, Markus | Raitakari, Olli | Florez, Jose C. | Salomaa, Veikko | Eriksson, Johan G. | Frayling, Timothy M. | Hicks, Andrew A. | Lehtimäki, Terho | Smith, George Davey | Siscovick, David S. | Kronenberg, Florian | van Duijn, Cornelia | Loos, Ruth J. F. | Waterworth, Dawn M. | Meigs, James B. | Dupuis, Josee | Richards, J. Brent | Visscher, Peter M.
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(3):e1002607.
Circulating levels of adiponectin, a hormone produced predominantly by adipocytes, are highly heritable and are inversely associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) and other metabolic traits. We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies in 39,883 individuals of European ancestry to identify genes associated with metabolic disease. We identified 8 novel loci associated with adiponectin levels and confirmed 2 previously reported loci (P = 4.5×10−8–1.2×10−43). Using a novel method to combine data across ethnicities (N = 4,232 African Americans, N = 1,776 Asians, and N = 29,347 Europeans), we identified two additional novel loci. Expression analyses of 436 human adipocyte samples revealed that mRNA levels of 18 genes at candidate regions were associated with adiponectin concentrations after accounting for multiple testing (p<3×10−4). We next developed a multi-SNP genotypic risk score to test the association of adiponectin decreasing risk alleles on metabolic traits and diseases using consortia-level meta-analytic data. This risk score was associated with increased risk of T2D (p = 4.3×10−3, n = 22,044), increased triglycerides (p = 2.6×10−14, n = 93,440), increased waist-to-hip ratio (p = 1.8×10−5, n = 77,167), increased glucose two hours post oral glucose tolerance testing (p = 4.4×10−3, n = 15,234), increased fasting insulin (p = 0.015, n = 48,238), but with lower in HDL-cholesterol concentrations (p = 4.5×10−13, n = 96,748) and decreased BMI (p = 1.4×10−4, n = 121,335). These findings identify novel genetic determinants of adiponectin levels, which, taken together, influence risk of T2D and markers of insulin resistance.
Author Summary
Serum adiponectin levels are highly heritable and are inversely correlated with the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D), coronary artery disease, stroke, and several metabolic traits. To identify common genetic variants associated with adiponectin levels and risk of T2D and metabolic traits, we conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of 45,891 multi-ethnic individuals. In addition to confirming that variants at the ADIPOQ and CDH13 loci influence adiponectin levels, our analyses revealed that 10 new loci also affecting circulating adiponectin levels. We demonstrated that expression levels of several genes in these candidate regions are associated with serum adiponectin levels. Using a powerful novel method to assess the contribution of the identified variants with other traits using summary-level results from large-scale GWAS consortia, we provide evidence that the risk alleles for adiponectin are associated with deleterious changes in T2D risk and metabolic syndrome traits (triglycerides, HDL, post-prandial glucose, insulin, and waist-to-hip ratio), demonstrating that the identified loci, taken together, impact upon metabolic disease.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002607
PMCID: PMC3315470  PMID: 22479202
6.  Homocysteine and Coronary Heart Disease: Meta-analysis of MTHFR Case-Control Studies, Avoiding Publication Bias 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(2):e1001177.
Robert Clarke and colleagues conduct a meta-analysis of unpublished datasets to examine the causal relationship between elevation of homocysteine levels in the blood and the risk of coronary heart disease. Their data suggest that an increase in homocysteine levels is not likely to result in an increase in risk of coronary heart disease.
Background
Moderately elevated blood levels of homocysteine are weakly correlated with coronary heart disease (CHD) risk, but causality remains uncertain. When folate levels are low, the TT genotype of the common C677T polymorphism (rs1801133) of the methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase gene (MTHFR) appreciably increases homocysteine levels, so “Mendelian randomization” studies using this variant as an instrumental variable could help test causality.
Methods and Findings
Nineteen unpublished datasets were obtained (total 48,175 CHD cases and 67,961 controls) in which multiple genetic variants had been measured, including MTHFR C677T. These datasets did not include measurements of blood homocysteine, but homocysteine levels would be expected to be about 20% higher with TT than with CC genotype in the populations studied. In meta-analyses of these unpublished datasets, the case-control CHD odds ratio (OR) and 95% CI comparing TT versus CC homozygotes was 1.02 (0.98–1.07; p = 0.28) overall, and 1.01 (0.95–1.07) in unsupplemented low-folate populations. By contrast, in a slightly updated meta-analysis of the 86 published studies (28,617 CHD cases and 41,857 controls), the OR was 1.15 (1.09–1.21), significantly discrepant (p = 0.001) with the OR in the unpublished datasets. Within the meta-analysis of published studies, the OR was 1.12 (1.04–1.21) in the 14 larger studies (those with variance of log OR<0.05; total 13,119 cases) and 1.18 (1.09–1.28) in the 72 smaller ones (total 15,498 cases).
Conclusions
The CI for the overall result from large unpublished datasets shows lifelong moderate homocysteine elevation has little or no effect on CHD. The discrepant overall result from previously published studies reflects publication bias or methodological problems.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death among adults in developed countries. With age, fatty deposits (atherosclerotic plaques) coat the walls of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen and nutrients. The resultant restriction of the heart's blood supply causes shortness of breath, angina (chest pains that are usually relieved by rest), and sometimes fatal heart attacks. Many established risk factors for CHD, including smoking, physical inactivity, being overweight, and eating a fat-rich diet, can be modified by lifestyle changes. Another possible modifiable risk factor for CHD is a high blood level of the amino acid homocysteine. Methylene tetrahydofolate reductase, which is encoded by the MTHFR gene, uses folate to break down and remove homocysteine so fortification of cereals with folate can reduce population homocysteine blood levels. Pooled results from prospective observational studies that have looked for an association between homocysteine levels and later development of CHD suggest that the reduction in homocysteine levels that can be achieved by folate supplementation is associated with an 11% lower CHD risk.
Why Was This Study Done?
Prospective observational studies cannot prove that high homocysteine levels cause CHD because of confounding, the potential presence of other unknown shared characteristics that really cause CHD. However, an approach called “Mendelian randomization” can test whether high blood homocysteine causes CHD. A common genetic variant of the MTHFR gene—the C677T polymorphism—reduces MTHFR efficiency so TT homozygotes (individuals in whom both copies of the MTHFR gene have the nucleotide thymine at position 677; the human genome contains two copies of most genes) have 25% higher blood homocysteine levels than CC homozygotes. In meta-analyses (statistical pooling of the results of several studies) of published Mendelian randomized studies, TT homozygotes have a higher CHD risk than CC homozygotes. Because gene variants are inherited randomly, they are not subject to confounding, so this result suggests that high blood homocysteine causes CHD. But what if only Mendelian randomization studies that found an association have been published? Such publication bias would affect this aggregate result. Here, the researchers investigate the association of the MTHFR C677T polymorphism with CHD in unpublished datasets that have analyzed this polymorphism incidentally during other genetic studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers obtained 19 unpublished datasets that contained data on the MTHFR C677T polymorphism in thousands of people with and without CHD. Meta-analysis of these datasets indicates that the excess CHD risk in TT homozygotes compared to CC homozygotes was 2% (much lower than predicted from the prospective observational studies), a nonsignificant difference (that is, it could have occurred by chance). When the probable folate status of the study populations (based on when national folic acid fortification legislation came into effect) was taken into account, there was still no evidence that TT homozygotes had an excess CHD risk. By contrast, in an updated meta-analysis of 86 published studies of the association of the polymorphism with CHD, the excess CHD risk in TT homozygotes compared to CC homozygotes was 15%. Finally, in a meta-analysis of randomized trials on the use of vitamin B supplements for homocysteine reduction, folate supplementation had no significant effect on the 5-year incidence of CHD.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These analyses of unpublished datasets are consistent with lifelong moderate elevation of homocysteine levels having no significant effect on CHD risk. In other words, these findings indicate that circulating homocysteine levels within the normal range are not causally related to CHD risk. The meta-analysis of the randomized trials of folate supplementation also supports this conclusion. So why is there a discrepancy between these findings and those of meta-analyses of published Mendelian randomization studies? The discrepancy is too large to be dismissed as a chance finding, suggest the researchers, but could be the result of publication bias—some studies might have been prioritized for publication because of the positive nature of their results whereas the unpublished datasets used in this study would not have been affected by any failure to publish null results. Overall, these findings reveal a serious example of publication bias and argue against the use of folate supplements as a means of reducing CHD risk.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001177.
The American Heart Association provides information about CHD and tips on keeping the heart healthy; it also provides information on homocysteine, folic acid, and CHD, general information on supplements and heart health, and personal stories about CHD
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about CHD, including personal stories about CHD
Information is available from the British Heart Foundation on heart disease and keeping the heart healthy
The US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute also provides information on CHD (in English and Spanish)
MedlinePlus provides links to many other sources of information on CHD (in English and Spanish)
Wikipedia has a page on Mendelian randomization (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001177
PMCID: PMC3283559  PMID: 22363213
7.  Genome-wide association study identifies variants in TMPRSS6 associated with hemoglobin levels 
Nature genetics  2009;41(11):1170-1172.
We carried out a genome-wide association study of hemoglobin levels in 16,001 individuals of European and Indian Asian ancestry. The most closely associated SNP (rs855791) results in nonsynonymous (V736A) change in the serine protease domain of TMPRSS6 and a blood hemoglobin concentration 0.13 (95% CI 0.09–0.17) g/dl lower per copy of allele A (P = 1.6 × 10−13). Our findings suggest that TMPRSS6, a regulator of hepcidin synthesis and iron handling, is crucial in hemoglobin level maintenance.
doi:10.1038/ng.462
PMCID: PMC3178047  PMID: 19820698
8.  Bio-Repository of DNA in stroke (BRAINS): A study protocol 
BMC Medical Genetics  2011;12:34.
Background
Stroke is one of the commonest causes of mortality in the world and anticipated to be an increasing burden to the developing world. Stroke has a genetic basis and identifying those genes may not only help us define the mechanisms that cause stroke but also identify novel therapeutic targets. However, large scale highly phenotyped DNA repositories are required in order for this to be achieved.
Methods
The proposed Bio-Repository of DNA in Stroke (BRAINS) will recruit all subtypes of stroke as well as controls from two different continents, Europe and Asia. Subjects recruited from the UK will include stroke patients of European ancestry as well as British South Asians. Stroke subjects from South Asia will be recruited from India and Sri Lanka. South Asian cases will also have control subjects recruited.
Discussion
We describe a study protocol to establish a large and highly characterized stroke biobank in those of European and South Asian descent. With different ethnic populations being recruited, BRAINS has the ability to compare and contrast genetic risk factors between those of differing ancestral descent as well as those who migrate into different environments.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-12-34
PMCID: PMC3061889  PMID: 21366918
9.  Common Genetic Variation Near Melatonin Receptor MTNR1B Contributes to Raised Plasma Glucose and Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Among Indian Asians and European Caucasians 
Diabetes  2009;58(11):2703-2708.
OBJECTIVE
Fasting plasma glucose and risk of type 2 diabetes are higher among Indian Asians than among European and North American Caucasians. Few studies have investigated genetic factors influencing glucose metabolism among Indian Asians.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We carried out genome-wide association studies for fasting glucose in 5,089 nondiabetic Indian Asians genotyped with the Illumina Hap610 BeadChip and 2,385 Indian Asians (698 with type 2 diabetes) genotyped with the Illumina 300 BeadChip. Results were compared with findings in 4,462 European Caucasians.
RESULTS
We identified three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with glucose among Indian Asians at P < 5 × 10−8, all near melatonin receptor MTNR1B. The most closely associated was rs2166706 (combined P = 2.1 × 10−9), which is in moderate linkage disequilibrium with rs1387153 (r2 = 0.60) and rs10830963 (r2 = 0.45), both previously associated with glucose in European Caucasians. Risk allele frequency and effect sizes for rs2166706 were similar among Indian Asians and European Caucasians: frequency 46.2 versus 45.0%, respectively (P = 0.44); effect 0.05 (95% CI 0.01–0.08) versus 0.05 (0.03–0.07 mmol/l), respectively, higher glucose per allele copy (P = 0.84). SNP rs2166706 was associated with type 2 diabetes in Indian Asians (odds ratio 1.21 [95% CI 1.06–1.38] per copy of risk allele; P = 0.006). SNPs at the GCK, GCKR, and G6PC2 loci were also associated with glucose among Indian Asians. Risk allele frequencies of rs1260326 (GCKR) and rs560887 (G6PC2) were higher among Indian Asians compared with European Caucasians.
CONCLUSIONS
Common genetic variation near MTNR1B influences blood glucose and risk of type 2 diabetes in Indian Asians. Genetic variation at the MTNR1B, GCK, GCKR, and G6PC2 loci may contribute to abnormal glucose metabolism and related metabolic disturbances among Indian Asians.
doi:10.2337/db08-1805
PMCID: PMC2768158  PMID: 19651812
10.  Subgroup differences in psychosocial factors relating to coronary heart disease in the UK South Asian population☆ 
Journal of Psychosomatic Research  2010;69(4-3):379-387.
Objectives
To explore the differences in psychosocial risk factors related to coronary heart disease (CHD) between South Asian subgroups in the UK. South Asian people suffer significantly higher rates of CHD than other ethnic groups, but vulnerability varies between South Asian subgroups, in terms of both CHD rates and risk profiles. Psychosocial factors may contribute to the excess CHD propensity that is observed; however, subgroup heterogeneity in psychosocial disadvantage has not previously been systematically explored.
Methods
With a cross-sectional design, 1065 healthy South Asian and 818 white men and women from West London, UK, completed psychosocial questionnaires. Psychosocial profiles were compared between South Asian religious groups and the white sample, using analyses of covariance and post hoc tests.
Results
Of the South Asian sample, 50.5% was Sikh, 28.0% was Hindu, and 15.8% was Muslim. Muslim participants were more socioeconomically deprived and experienced higher levels of chronic stress, including financial strain, low social cohesion, and racial discrimination, compared with other South Asian religious groups. In terms of health behaviors, Muslim men smoked more than Sikhs and Hindus, and Muslims also reported lower alcohol consumption and were less physically active than other groups.
Conclusion
This study found that Muslims were exposed to more psychosocial and behavioral adversity than Sikhs and Hindus, and highlights the importance of investigating subgroup heterogeneity in South Asian CHD risk.
doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2010.03.015
PMCID: PMC2946562  PMID: 20846539
Coronary heart disease; Psychosocial risk factors; South Asian; Subgroup differences
11.  Genome-Wide Meta-Analysis for Serum Calcium Identifies Significantly Associated SNPs near the Calcium-Sensing Receptor (CASR) Gene 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(7):e1001035.
Calcium has a pivotal role in biological functions, and serum calcium levels have been associated with numerous disorders of bone and mineral metabolism, as well as with cardiovascular mortality. Here we report results from a genome-wide association study of serum calcium, integrating data from four independent cohorts including a total of 12,865 individuals of European and Indian Asian descent. Our meta-analysis shows that serum calcium is associated with SNPs in or near the calcium-sensing receptor (CASR) gene on 3q13. The top hit with a p-value of 6.3×10-37 is rs1801725, a missense variant, explaining 1.26% of the variance in serum calcium. This SNP had the strongest association in individuals of European descent, while for individuals of Indian Asian descent the top hit was rs17251221 (p = 1.1×10-21), a SNP in strong linkage disequilibrium with rs1801725. The strongest locus in CASR was shown to replicate in an independent Icelandic cohort of 4,126 individuals (p = 1.02×10-4). This genome-wide meta-analysis shows that common CASR variants modulate serum calcium levels in the adult general population, which confirms previous results in some candidate gene studies of the CASR locus. This study highlights the key role of CASR in calcium regulation.
Author Summary
Calcium levels in blood serum play an important role in many biological processes. The regulation of serum calcium is under strong genetic control. This study describes the first meta-analysis of a genome-wide association study from four cohorts totaling 12,865 participants of European and Indian Asian descent. Confirming previous results in some candidate gene studies, we find that common polymorphisms at the calcium-sensing receptor (CASR) gene locus are associated with serum calcium concentrations. We show that CASR variants give rise to the strongest signals associated with serum calcium levels in both European and Indian Asian populations, while no other locus reaches genome-wide significance. Our results show that CASR is a key player in genetic regulation of serum calcium in the adult general population.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1001035
PMCID: PMC2908705  PMID: 20661308
12.  Common variants at 30 loci contribute to polygenic dyslipidemia 
Nature genetics  2008;41(1):56-65.
Blood low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and triglyceride levels are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. To dissect the polygenic basis of these traits, we conducted genome-wide association screens in 19,840 individuals and replication in up to 20,623 individuals. We identified 30 distinct loci associated with lipoprotein concentrations (each with P < 5 × 10-8), including 11 loci that reached genome-wide significance for the first time. The 11 newly defined loci include common variants associated with LDL cholesterol near ABCG8, MAFB, HNF1A and TIMD4; with HDL cholesterol near ANGPTL4, FADS1-FADS2-FADS3, HNF4A, LCAT, PLTP and TTC39B; and with triglycerides near AMAC1L2, FADS1-FADS2-FADS3 and PLTP. The proportion of individuals exceeding clinical cut points for high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides varied according to an allelic dosage score (P < 10-15 for each trend). These results suggest that the cumulative effect of multiple common variants contributes to polygenic dyslipidemia.
doi:10.1038/ng.291
PMCID: PMC2881676  PMID: 19060906
13.  Attenuation of microvascular function in those with cardiovascular disease is similar in patients of Indian Asian and European descent 
Background
Indian Asians are at increased risk of cardiovascular death which does not appear to be explained by conventional risk factors. As microvascular disease is also more prevalent in Indian Asians, and as it is thought to play a role in the development of macrovascular disease, we decided to determine whether impaired microcirculation could contribute to this increased cardiovascular risk in Indian Asians.
Methods
Forearm skin laser Doppler fluximetry in response to heating and ischaemia was assessed in 83 Europeans (41 with angiographically confirmed atherosclerotic coronary artery disease (CAD) and 42 from the general population) and 84 Indian Asians (41 with CAD). Explanations for differences in microvascular function were sought using multivariate analysis including conventional cardiovascular risk factors.
Results
Compared to ethnically matched control populations both Europeans and Indian Asians with CAD had poorer microvascular responses to heating than those without (117(95% CI 105-131) vs. 142(130-162) arbitrary units, (au) for Europeans and 111(101-122) vs. 141(131-153)au for Indian Asians) and to ischaemia (44(38-50) vs. 57(49-67)au & 39(34-45) vs. 49(43-56)au respectively). These differences were not accounted for by conventional cardiovascular risk factors. There was no ethnic difference in the attenuation of microvascular function associated with CAD.
Conclusion
Patients of European and Indian Asian descent with symptomatic CAD have poorer microvascular maximal tissue perfusion and reactive hyperaemia in the skin compared to ethnically matched asymptomatic control populations. Despite the increased cardiovascular risk in Indian Asians, the attenuation of microvascular function associated with CAD was equivalent in the ethic groups. This suggests that in Indian Asians microcirculation does not explain the increased susceptibility to CAD.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-3
PMCID: PMC2823616  PMID: 20078879
14.  Genetic Loci Influencing C-reactive Protein Levels and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease 
Context:
Plasma levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) are independently associated with risk of coronary heart disease, but whether CRP is causally associated with coronary heart disease or merely a marker of underlying atherosclerosis is uncertain.
Objective:
To investigate association of genetic loci with CRP levels and risk of coronary heart disease.
Design, setting and participants:
We first carried out a genome-wide association (n=17,967) and replication study (n=14,747) to identify genetic loci associated with plasma CRP concentrations. Data collection took place between 1989 and 2008 and genotyping between 2003 and 2008. We carried out a Mendelian randomisation study of the most closely associated SNP in the CRP locus and published data on other CRP variants involving a total of 28,112 cases and 100,823 controls, to investigate the association of CRP variants with coronary heart disease. We compared our finding with that predicted from meta-analysis of observational studies of CRP levels and risk of coronary heart disease. For the other loci associated with CRP levels, we selected the most closely associated SNP for testing against coronary heart disease among 14,365 cases and 32,069 controls.
Main outcome measure:
Risk of coronary heart disease.
Results:
Polymorphisms in five genetic loci were strongly associated with CRP levels (% difference per minor allele): SNP rs6700896 in LEPR (−14.7% [95% Confidence Interval {CI}], −17.5 – −11.9, P=1.6×10−21), rs4537545 in IL6R (−10.8% [95% CI, −13.8 – −7.7], P=5.1×10−11), rs7553007 in CRP locus (−20.7% [95% CI, −23.5 – −17.9], P=3.3×10−38), rs1183910 in HNF1A (−13.6% [95% CI, −16.4 – −10.6], P=1.2×10−17) and rs4420638 in APOE-CI-CII (−21.8% [95% CI, −25.4 – −18.1], P=2.1×10−25). Association of SNP rs7553007 in the CRP locus with coronary heart disease gave odds ratio (OR) 0.98 (95% CI, 0.94 – 1.01) per 20% lower CRP. Our Mendelian randomisation study of variants in the CRP locus showed no association with coronary heart disease: OR 1.00 (95% CI, 0.97 – 1.02) per 20% lower CRP, compared with OR 0.94 (95% CI, 0.94 – 0.95) predicted from meta-analysis of the observational studies of CRP levels and coronary heart disease (Z-score −3.45, P<.001). SNPs rs6700896 in LEPR (OR 1.06 [95% CI, 1.02 – 1.09] per minor allele), rs4537545 in IL6R (OR 0.94 [95% CI, 0.91 – 0.97]) and rs4420638 in the APOE-CI-CII cluster (OR 1.16 [95% CI, 1.12 – 1.21]) were all associated with risk of coronary heart disease.
Conclusions:
The lack of concordance between the effect on coronary heart disease risk of CRP genotypes and CRP levels argues against a causal association of CRP with coronary heart disease.
doi:10.1001/jama.2009.954
PMCID: PMC2803020  PMID: 19567438
15.  Polymorphisms in the WNK1 Gene Are Associated with Blood Pressure Variation and Urinary Potassium Excretion 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(4):e5003.
WNK1 - a serine/threonine kinase involved in electrolyte homeostasis and blood pressure (BP) control - is an excellent candidate gene for essential hypertension (EH). We and others have previously reported association between WNK1 and BP variation. Using tag SNPs (tSNPs) that capture 100% of common WNK1 variation in HapMap, we aimed to replicate our findings with BP and to test for association with phenotypes relating to WNK1 function in the British Genetics of Hypertension (BRIGHT) study case-control resource (1700 hypertensive cases and 1700 normotensive controls). We found multiple variants to be associated with systolic blood pressure, SBP (7/28 tSNPs min-p = 0.0005), diastolic blood pressure, DBP (7/28 tSNPs min-p = 0.002) and 24 hour urinary potassium excretion (10/28 tSNPs min-p = 0.0004). Associations with SBP and urine potassium remained significant after correction for multiple testing (p = 0.02 and p = 0.01 respectively). The major allele (A) of rs765250, located in intron 1, demonstrated the strongest evidence for association with SBP, effect size 3.14 mmHg (95%CI:1.23–4.9), DBP 1.9 mmHg (95%CI:0.7–3.2) and hypertension, odds ratio (OR: 1.3 [95%CI: 1.0–1.7]).We genotyped this variant in six independent populations (n = 14,451) and replicated the association between rs765250 and SBP in a meta-analysis (p = 7×10−3, combined with BRIGHT data-set p = 2×10−4, n = 17,851). The associations of WNK1 with DBP and EH were not confirmed. Haplotype analysis revealed striking associations with hypertension and BP variation (global permutation p<10−7). We identified several common haplotypes to be associated with increased BP and multiple low frequency haplotypes significantly associated with lower BP (>10 mmHg reduction) and risk for hypertension (OR<0.60). Our data indicates that multiple rare and common WNK1 variants contribute to BP variation and hypertension, and provide compelling evidence to initiate further genetic and functional studies to explore the role of WNK1 in BP regulation and EH.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005003
PMCID: PMC2661139  PMID: 19347040
16.  SLC2A9 Is a High-Capacity Urate Transporter in Humans 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(10):e197.
Background
Serum uric acid levels in humans are influenced by diet, cellular breakdown, and renal elimination, and correlate with blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, gout, and cardiovascular disease. Recent genome-wide association scans have found common genetic variants of SLC2A9 to be associated with increased serum urate level and gout. The SLC2A9 gene encodes a facilitative glucose transporter, and it has two splice variants that are highly expressed in the proximal nephron, a key site for urate handling in the kidney. We investigated whether SLC2A9 is a functional urate transporter that contributes to the longstanding association between urate and blood pressure in man.
Methods and Findings
We expressed both SLC2A9 splice variants in Xenopus laevis oocytes and found both isoforms mediate rapid urate fluxes at concentration ranges similar to physiological serum levels (200–500 μM). Because SLC2A9 is a known facilitative glucose transporter, we also tested whether glucose or fructose influenced urate transport. We found that urate is transported by SLC2A9 at rates 45- to 60-fold faster than glucose, and demonstrated that SLC2A9-mediated urate transport is facilitated by glucose and, to a lesser extent, fructose. In addition, transport is inhibited by the uricosuric benzbromarone in a dose-dependent manner (Ki = 27 μM). Furthermore, we found urate uptake was at least 2-fold greater in human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells overexpressing SLC2A9 splice variants than nontransfected kidney cells. To confirm that our findings were due to SLC2A9, and not another urate transporter, we showed that urate transport was diminished by SLC2A9-targeted siRNA in a second mammalian cell line. In a cohort of men we showed that genetic variants of SLC2A9 are associated with reduced urinary urate clearance, which fits with common variation at SLC2A9 leading to increased serum urate. We found no evidence of association with hypertension (odds ratio 0.98, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.9 to 1.05, p > 0.33) by meta-analysis of an SLC2A9 variant in six case–control studies including 11,897 participants. In a separate meta-analysis of four population studies including 11,629 participants we found no association of SLC2A9 with systolic (effect size −0.12 mm Hg, 95% CI −0.68 to 0.43, p = 0.664) or diastolic blood pressure (effect size −0.03 mm Hg, 95% CI −0.39 to 0.31, p = 0.82).
Conclusions
This study provides evidence that SLC2A9 splice variants act as high-capacity urate transporters and is one of the first functional characterisations of findings from genome-wide association scans. We did not find an association of the SLC2A9 gene with blood pressure in this study. Our findings suggest potential pathogenic mechanisms that could offer a new drug target for gout.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Blood is continually pumped around the human body to deliver the chemicals needed to keep the body's cells alive and to take cellular waste products to the kidneys where they are filtered out of the blood and excreted in the urine. In healthy people, the levels of nutrients and waste products in serum (the liquid part of blood) fall within “normal” ranges but in ill people these levels can be very different. For example, serum uric acid (urate) levels are usually increased in people with gout. In this arthritic condition, uric acid crystallizes in the joints (often those in the big toe) and causes swelling and intense pain. Increased serum urate levels, which are also associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, and several other important conditions, can be caused by eating food that is rich in chemicals called purines (for example, liver, dried beans, and port). The body also converts its own purines into uric acid so genetic variations in the enzymes involved in purine breakdown can alter serum urate levels, as can variations in the rate of urate removal from the body by the kidneys. Urinary urate excretion is controlled by urate transporters, proteins that carry urate into and out of the kidney cells. Uricosuric drugs, which are used to treat gout, reduce serum urate levels by inhibiting a urate transporter that reabsorbs urate from urine.
Why Was This Study Done?
Several urate transporters have already been identified but recently, using an approach called genome-wide association scanning, scientists found that some genetic variants of a human gene called SLC2A9 are more common in people with high serum urate levels than in people with normal levels. SLC2A9 encodes a glucose transporter (a protein that helps to move the sugar glucose through cell membranes) and is highly expressed in the kidney's main urate handling site. Given these facts, could SLC2A9 (the protein made from SLC2A9) be a urate transporter as well as a glucose transporter? In this study, the researchers investigate this possibility and also ask whether genetic variations in SLC2A9 might be responsible for the association between serum urate levels and high blood pressure.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers first expressed SLC2A9 in frog eggs, a type of cell that does not have its own urate transporter. They found that urate rapidly moved into eggs expressing SLC2A9 but not into control eggs, that SLC2A9 transported urate about 50 times faster than glucose, and that glucose stimulated SLC2A9-mediated urate transport. Similarly, overexpression of SLC2A9 in human embryonic kidney cells more than doubled their urate uptake. Conversely, when the researchers used a technique called RNA interference to reduce the expression of mouse SLC2A9 in mouse cells that normally makes this protein, urate transport was reduced. Next, the researchers looked at two small parts of SLC2A9 that vary between individuals (so-called single polynucleotide polymorphisms) in nearly 900 men who had had their serum urate levels and urinary urate excretion rates measured. They found that certain genetic variations at these two sites were associated with increased serum urate levels and decreased urinary urate excretion. Finally, the researchers used a statistical technique called meta-analysis to look for an association between one of the SLC2A9 gene variants and blood pressure. In two separate meta-analyses that together involved more than 20, 000 participants in several studies, there was no association between this gene variant and blood pressure.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Overall, these findings indicate that SLCA9 is a high capacity urate transporter and suggest that this protein plays an important part in controlling serum urate levels. They provide confirmation that common genetic variants in SLC2A9 affect serum urate levels to a marked degree, although they do not show exactly which genetic variant is responsible for increasing serum urate levels. They also provide important new insights into how the kidneys normally handle urate and suggest ways in which this essential process may sometimes go wrong. Thus, these findings could eventually lead to new treatments for gout and possibly for other diseases that are associated with increased serum urate levels.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050197.
The UK National Health Service Direct health encyclopedia provides detailed information for patients about gout
MedlinePlus provides links to many sources of information about gout (in English and Spanish), including “What is gout?”, an easy-to-read guide from the US National Institutes of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Wikipedia also has pages on gout, uric acid, and SCL2A9 (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The Arthritis Research Campaign also has information on gout
Mark Caulfield and colleagues show that theSLC2A9 gene, which encodes a facilitative glucose transporter, is also a high-capacity urate transporter.
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050197
PMCID: PMC2561076  PMID: 18842065

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