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1.  Signatures of Natural Selection at the FTO (Fat Mass and Obesity Associated) Locus in Human Populations 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0117093.
Background and aims
Polymorphisms in the first intron of FTO have been robustly replicated for associations with obesity. In the Sorbs, a Slavic population resident in Germany, the strongest effect on body mass index (BMI) was found for a variant in the third intron of FTO (rs17818902). Since this may indicate population specific effects of FTO variants, we initiated studies testing FTO for signatures of selection in vertebrate species and human populations.
Methods
First, we analyzed the coding region of 35 vertebrate FTO orthologs with Phylogenetic Analysis by Maximum Likelihood (PAML, ω = dN/dS) to screen for signatures of selection among species. Second, we investigated human population (Europeans/CEU, Yoruba/YRI, Chinese/CHB, Japanese/JPT, Sorbs) SNP data for footprints of selection using DnaSP version 4.5 and the Haplotter/PhaseII. Finally, using ConSite we compared transcription factor (TF) binding sites at sequences harbouring FTO SNPs in intron three.
Results
PAML analyses revealed strong conservation in coding region of FTO (ω<1). Sliding-window results from population genetic analyses provided highly significant (p<0.001) signatures for balancing selection specifically in the third intron (e.g. Tajima’s D in Sorbs = 2.77). We observed several alterations in TF binding sites, e.g. TCF3 binding site introduced by the rs17818902 minor allele.
Conclusion
Population genetic analysis revealed signatures of balancing selection at the FTO locus with a prominent signal in intron three, a genomic region with strong association with BMI in the Sorbs. Our data support the hypothesis that genes associated with obesity may have been under evolutionary selective pressure.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0117093
PMCID: PMC4315420  PMID: 25647475
2.  Role of genetic variants in ADIPOQ in human eating behavior 
Genes & Nutrition  2014;10(1):1.
The beneficial effects of adiponectin and its negative correlation with BMI are well described. Adiponectin serum levels are altered in eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or binge eating. Here, we tested the hypothesis that (1) adiponectin serum levels correlate with human eating behavior factors and (2) that genetic variants of the ADIPOQ locus influence both serum levels and eating behavior. We analyzed 11 SNPs within ADIPOQ and in the 5′ UTR and measured serum adiponectin levels in 1,036 individuals from the German Sorbs population. The German version of the three-factor eating questionnaire (FEV) was completed by 548 Sorbs. For replication purposes, we included an independent replication cohort from Germany (N = 350). In the Sorbs, we observed positive correlations of restraint with adiponectin serum levels (P = 0.001; r = 0.148) which, however, did not withstand adjustment for covariates (P = 0.083; r = 0.077). In addition, four SNPs were nominally associated with serum adiponectin levels (all P < 0.05). Of these, two variants (rs3774261; rs1501229, all P < 0.05) were also related to disinhibition. Furthermore, three variants were exclusively associated with hunger (rs2036373, P = 0.049) and disinhibition (rs822396; rs864265, all P < 0.05). However, none of these associations withstood Bonferroni corrections for multiple testing (all P > 9.3 × 10−4). In our replication cohort, we observed similar effect directions at rs1501229 for disinhibition and hunger. A meta-analysis resulted in nominal statistical significance P = 0.036 (Z score 2.086) and P = 0.017 (Z score 2.366), respectively. Given the observed relationship of the SNPs with adiponectin levels and eating behavior, our data support a potential role of adiponectin in human eating behavior. Whether the relationship with eating behavior is mediated by the effects of circulating adiponectin warrants further investigations.
doi:10.1007/s12263-014-0449-8
PMCID: PMC4277552  PMID: 25542302
Adiponectin serum levels; Genetics; Eating behavior; Human studies
3.  Genome Wide Meta-analysis Highlights the Role of Genetic Variation in RARRES2 in the Regulation of Circulating Serum Chemerin 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(12):e1004854.
Chemerin is an adipokine proposed to link obesity and chronic inflammation of adipose tissue. Genetic factors determining chemerin release from adipose tissue are yet unknown. We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for serum chemerin in three independent cohorts from Europe: Sorbs and KORA from Germany and PPP-Botnia from Finland (total N = 2,791). In addition, we measured mRNA expression of genes within the associated loci in peripheral mononuclear cells by micro-arrays, and within adipose tissue by quantitative RT-PCR and performed mRNA expression quantitative trait and expression-chemerin association studies to functionally substantiate our loci. Heritability estimate of circulating chemerin levels was 16.2% in the Sorbs cohort. Thirty single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at chromosome 7 within the retinoic acid receptor responder 2 (RARRES2)/Leucine Rich Repeat Containing (LRRC61) locus reached genome-wide significance (p<5.0×10−8) in the meta-analysis (the strongest evidence for association at rs7806429 with p = 7.8×10−14, beta = −0.067, explained variance 2.0%). All other SNPs within the cluster were in linkage disequilibrium with rs7806429 (minimum r2 = 0.43 in the Sorbs cohort). The results of the subgroup analyses of males and females were consistent with the results found in the total cohort. No significant SNP-sex interaction was observed. rs7806429 was associated with mRNA expression of RARRES2 in visceral adipose tissue in women (p<0.05 after adjusting for age and body mass index). In conclusion, the present meta-GWAS combined with mRNA expression studies highlights the role of genetic variation in the RARRES2 locus in the regulation of circulating chemerin concentrations.
Author Summary
Chemerin is an adipokine proposed to link obesity and chronic inflammation of adipose tissue. In the present study we show that circulating chemerin is a heritable trait. In a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of 2,791 individuals from Germany and Finland, we identified common genetic variants which associate with serum chemerin levels. The variants map within the retinoic acid receptor responder 2 (RARRES2)/Leucine Rich Repeat Containing (LRRC61) at chromosome 7. To better understand the potential functionality of the identified variants, we also provide insights into the mRNA expression of RARRES2 (encoding chemerin) in blood and adipose tissue. Our results highlight the role and function of genetic variation in the RARRES2 locus in the regulation of circulating chemerin concentrations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004854
PMCID: PMC4270463  PMID: 25521368
4.  A Central Role for GRB10 in Regulation of Islet Function in Man 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(4):e1004235.
Variants in the growth factor receptor-bound protein 10 (GRB10) gene were in a GWAS meta-analysis associated with reduced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) if inherited from the father, but inexplicably reduced fasting glucose when inherited from the mother. GRB10 is a negative regulator of insulin signaling and imprinted in a parent-of-origin fashion in different tissues. GRB10 knock-down in human pancreatic islets showed reduced insulin and glucagon secretion, which together with changes in insulin sensitivity may explain the paradoxical reduction of glucose despite a decrease in insulin secretion. Together, these findings suggest that tissue-specific methylation and possibly imprinting of GRB10 can influence glucose metabolism and contribute to T2D pathogenesis. The data also emphasize the need in genetic studies to consider whether risk alleles are inherited from the mother or the father.
Author Summary
In this paper, we report the first large genome-wide association study in man for glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) indices during an oral glucose tolerance test. We identify seven genetic loci and provide effects on GSIS for all previously reported glycemic traits and obesity genetic loci in a large-scale sample. We observe paradoxical effects of genetic variants in the growth factor receptor-bound protein 10 (GRB10) gene yielding both reduced GSIS and reduced fasting plasma glucose concentrations, specifically showing a parent-of-origin effect of GRB10 on lower fasting plasma glucose and enhanced insulin sensitivity for maternal and elevated glucose and decreased insulin sensitivity for paternal transmissions of the risk allele. We also observe tissue-specific differences in DNA methylation and allelic imbalance in expression of GRB10 in human pancreatic islets. We further disrupt GRB10 by shRNA in human islets, showing reduction of both insulin and glucagon expression and secretion. In conclusion, we provide evidence for complex regulation of GRB10 in human islets. Our data suggest that tissue-specific methylation and imprinting of GRB10 can influence glucose metabolism and contribute to T2D pathogenesis. The data also emphasize the need in genetic studies to consider whether risk alleles are inherited from the mother or the father.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004235
PMCID: PMC3974640  PMID: 24699409
5.  Contemporary paternal genetic landscape of Polish and German populations: from early medieval Slavic expansion to post-World War II resettlements 
Homogeneous Proto-Slavic genetic substrate and/or extensive mixing after World War II were suggested to explain homogeneity of contemporary Polish paternal lineages. Alternatively, Polish local populations might have displayed pre-war genetic heterogeneity owing to genetic drift and/or gene flow with neighbouring populations. Although sharp genetic discontinuity along the political border between Poland and Germany indisputably results from war-mediated resettlements and homogenisation, it remained unknown whether Y-chromosomal diversity in ethnically/linguistically defined populations was clinal or discontinuous before the war. In order to answer these questions and elucidate early Slavic migrations, 1156 individuals from several Slavic and German populations were analysed, including Polish pre-war regional populations and an autochthonous Slavic population from Germany. Y chromosomes were assigned to 39 haplogroups and genotyped for 19 STRs. Genetic distances revealed similar degree of differentiation of Slavic-speaking pre-war populations from German populations irrespective of duration and intensity of contacts with German speakers. Admixture estimates showed minor Slavic paternal ancestry (∼20%) in modern eastern Germans and hardly detectable German paternal ancestry in Slavs neighbouring German populations for centuries. BATWING analysis of isolated Slavic populations revealed that their divergence was preceded by rapid demographic growth, undermining theory that Slavic expansion was primarily linguistic rather than population spread. Polish pre-war regional populations showed within-group heterogeneity and lower STR variation within R-M17 subclades compared with modern populations, which might have been homogenised by war resettlements. Our results suggest that genetic studies on early human history in the Vistula and Oder basins should rely on reconstructed pre-war rather than modern populations.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2012.190
PMCID: PMC3598329  PMID: 22968131
Y chromosome; demography; admixture; Slavs; Poland; Germany
6.  Variants in CPA1 are strongly associated with early-onset chronic pancreatitis 
Nature genetics  2013;45(10):1216-1220.
Chronic pancreatitis is an inflammatory disorder of the pancreas. We analyzed CPA1 encoding carboxypeptidase A1 in subjects with non-alcoholic chronic pancreatitis and controls in a German discovery cohort and three replication cohorts. Functionally impaired variants were present in 29/944 (3.1%) German patients and in 5/3,938 (0.1%) controls (odds ratio [OR] = 24.9; P = 1.5 × 10-16). The association was strongest in subjects aged ≤10 years (9.7%; OR = 84.0; P = 4.1 × 10-24). In the replication cohorts, defective CPA1 variants were observed in 8/600 (1.3%) patients and in 9/2,432 (0.4%) controls from Europe (P = 0.01), in 5/230 (2.2%) patients and 0/264 controls from India (P = 0.02), and in 5/247 (2.0%) patients but 0/341 controls from Japan (P = 0.013). The mechanism of increased pancreatitis risk by CPA1 variants may involve misfolding-induced endoplasmic reticulum stress rather than elevated trypsin activity as seen with other genetic risk factors.
doi:10.1038/ng.2730
PMCID: PMC3909499  PMID: 23955596
7.  Serum Levels of the Adipokine Progranulin Depend on Renal Function 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(2):410-414.
OBJECTIVE
Progranulin has recently been introduced as a novel adipokine inducing insulin resistance and obesity. In the current study, we investigated renal elimination, as well as association of the adipokine with markers of the metabolic syndrome.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Progranulin serum levels were quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and correlated to anthropometric and biochemical parameters of renal function and glucose and lipid metabolism, as well as inflammation, in 532 patients with stages 1–5 of chronic kidney disease (CKD).
RESULTS
Median serum progranulin levels adjusted for age, sex, and BMI were significantly different between CKD stages with highest values detectable in stage 5 (stage 1, 58.3 µg/L; stage 2, 63.0 µg/L; stage 3, 65.4 µg/L; stage 4, 68.8 µg/L; and stage 5, 90.6 µg/L). Furthermore, CKD stage was the strongest independent predictor of circulating progranulin in our cohort. In addition, high-sensitivity interleukin-6 and adiponectin remained significantly and independently correlated with the adipokine.
CONCLUSIONS
We demonstrate that progranulin serum levels increase with deteriorating renal function. These findings are in accordance with the hypothesis that renal clearance is a major elimination route for circulating progranulin. Furthermore, the adipokine is positively and independently associated with markers of inflammation and adiponectin.
doi:10.2337/dc12-0220
PMCID: PMC3554312  PMID: 23033238
8.  Serum Levels of Acylcarnitines Are Altered in Prediabetic Conditions 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82459.
Objective
The role of mitochondrial function in the complex pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes is not yet completely understood. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate serum concentrations of short-, medium- and long-chain acylcarnitines as markers of mitochondrial function in volunteers with normal, impaired or diabetic glucose control.
Methods
Based on a 75 g oral glucose tolerance test, 1019 studied subjects were divided into a group with normal glucose tolerance (NGT; n = 636), isolated impaired fasting glycaemia (IFG; n = 184), impaired glucose tolerance (IGT; n = 87) or type 2 diabetes (T2D; n = 112). Serum concentrations of free carnitine and 24 acylcarnitines were measured by mass spectrometry.
Results
Serum levels of acetylcarnitine (C2), propionylcarnitine (C3), octanoylcarnitine (C8), malonylcarnitine/hydroxybutyrylcarnitine (C3DC+C4OH), hexanoylcarnitine (C6), octenoylcarnitine (C8:1), decanoylcarnitine (C10), decenoylcarnitine (C10:1), dodecanoylcarnitine (C12), tetradecenoylcarnitine (C14:1), tetradecadienylcarnitine (C14:2), hydroxytetradecanoylcarnitine (C14OH), hydroxyhexadecanoylcarnitine (C16OH) and octadecenoylcarnitine (C18:1) were significantly different among the groups (all p<0.05 adjusted for age, gender and BMI). Between the prediabetic states C14:1, C14:2 and C18:1 showed significantly higher serum concentrations in persons with IGT (p<0.05). Compared to T2D the IFG and the IGT subjects showed lower serum concentrations of malonylcarnitine/hydroxybutyrylcarnitine (C3DC+C4OH) (p<0.05).
Conclusion
Alterations in serum concentrations of several acylcarnitines, in particular tetradecenoylcarnitine (C14:1), tetradecadienylcarnitine (C14:2), octadecenoylcarnitine (C18:1) and malonylcarnitine/hydroxybutyrylcarnitine (C3DC+C4OH) are associated not only with T2D but also with prediabetic states.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082459
PMCID: PMC3865089  PMID: 24358186
9.  Integration of genome-wide association studies with biological knowledge identifies six novel genes related to kidney function 
Chasman, Daniel I. | Fuchsberger, Christian | Pattaro, Cristian | Teumer, Alexander | Böger, Carsten A. | Endlich, Karlhans | Olden, Matthias | Chen, Ming-Huei | Tin, Adrienne | Taliun, Daniel | Li, Man | Gao, Xiaoyi | Gorski, Mathias | Yang, Qiong | Hundertmark, Claudia | Foster, Meredith C. | O'Seaghdha, Conall M. | Glazer, Nicole | Isaacs, Aaron | Liu, Ching-Ti | Smith, Albert V. | O'Connell, Jeffrey R. | Struchalin, Maksim | Tanaka, Toshiko | Li, Guo | Johnson, Andrew D. | Gierman, Hinco J. | Feitosa, Mary F. | Hwang, Shih-Jen | Atkinson, Elizabeth J. | Lohman, Kurt | Cornelis, Marilyn C. | Johansson, Åsa | Tönjes, Anke | Dehghan, Abbas | Lambert, Jean-Charles | Holliday, Elizabeth G. | Sorice, Rossella | Kutalik, Zoltan | Lehtimäki, Terho | Esko, Tõnu | Deshmukh, Harshal | Ulivi, Sheila | Chu, Audrey Y. | Murgia, Federico | Trompet, Stella | Imboden, Medea | Coassin, Stefan | Pistis, Giorgio | Harris, Tamara B. | Launer, Lenore J. | Aspelund, Thor | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Mitchell, Braxton D. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Schmidt, Helena | Cavalieri, Margherita | Rao, Madhumathi | Hu, Frank | Demirkan, Ayse | Oostra, Ben A. | de Andrade, Mariza | Turner, Stephen T. | Ding, Jingzhong | Andrews, Jeanette S. | Freedman, Barry I. | Giulianini, Franco | Koenig, Wolfgang | Illig, Thomas | Meisinger, Christa | Gieger, Christian | Zgaga, Lina | Zemunik, Tatijana | Boban, Mladen | Minelli, Cosetta | Wheeler, Heather E. | Igl, Wilmar | Zaboli, Ghazal | Wild, Sarah H. | Wright, Alan F. | Campbell, Harry | Ellinghaus, David | Nöthlings, Ute | Jacobs, Gunnar | Biffar, Reiner | Ernst, Florian | Homuth, Georg | Kroemer, Heyo K. | Nauck, Matthias | Stracke, Sylvia | Völker, Uwe | Völzke, Henry | Kovacs, Peter | Stumvoll, Michael | Mägi, Reedik | Hofman, Albert | Uitterlinden, Andre G. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Aulchenko, Yurii S. | Polasek, Ozren | Hastie, Nick | Vitart, Veronique | Helmer, Catherine | Wang, Jie Jin | Stengel, Bénédicte | Ruggiero, Daniela | Bergmann, Sven | Kähönen, Mika | Viikari, Jorma | Nikopensius, Tiit | Province, Michael | Ketkar, Shamika | Colhoun, Helen | Doney, Alex | Robino, Antonietta | Krämer, Bernhard K. | Portas, Laura | Ford, Ian | Buckley, Brendan M. | Adam, Martin | Thun, Gian-Andri | Paulweber, Bernhard | Haun, Margot | Sala, Cinzia | Mitchell, Paul | Ciullo, Marina | Kim, Stuart K. | Vollenweider, Peter | Raitakari, Olli | Metspalu, Andres | Palmer, Colin | Gasparini, Paolo | Pirastu, Mario | Jukema, J. Wouter | Probst-Hensch, Nicole M. | Kronenberg, Florian | Toniolo, Daniela | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Shuldiner, Alan R. | Coresh, Josef | Schmidt, Reinhold | Ferrucci, Luigi | Siscovick, David S. | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Kardia, Sharon L.R. | Liu, Yongmei | Curhan, Gary C. | Rudan, Igor | Gyllensten, Ulf | Wilson, James F. | Franke, Andre | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Rettig, Rainer | Prokopenko, Inga | Witteman, Jacqueline | Hayward, Caroline | Ridker, Paul M | Parsa, Afshin | Bochud, Murielle | Heid, Iris M. | Kao, W.H. Linda | Fox, Caroline S. | Köttgen, Anna
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;21(24):5329-5343.
In conducting genome-wide association studies (GWAS), analytical approaches leveraging biological information may further understanding of the pathophysiology of clinical traits. To discover novel associations with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a measure of kidney function, we developed a strategy for integrating prior biological knowledge into the existing GWAS data for eGFR from the CKDGen Consortium. Our strategy focuses on single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) in genes that are connected by functional evidence, determined by literature mining and gene ontology (GO) hierarchies, to genes near previously validated eGFR associations. It then requires association thresholds consistent with multiple testing, and finally evaluates novel candidates by independent replication. Among the samples of European ancestry, we identified a genome-wide significant SNP in FBXL20 (P = 5.6 × 10−9) in meta-analysis of all available data, and additional SNPs at the INHBC, LRP2, PLEKHA1, SLC3A2 and SLC7A6 genes meeting multiple-testing corrected significance for replication and overall P-values of 4.5 × 10−4–2.2 × 10−7. Neither the novel PLEKHA1 nor FBXL20 associations, both further supported by association with eGFR among African Americans and with transcript abundance, would have been implicated by eGFR candidate gene approaches. LRP2, encoding the megalin receptor, was identified through connection with the previously known eGFR gene DAB2 and extends understanding of the megalin system in kidney function. These findings highlight integration of existing genome-wide association data with independent biological knowledge to uncover novel candidate eGFR associations, including candidates lacking known connections to kidney-specific pathways. The strategy may also be applicable to other clinical phenotypes, although more testing will be needed to assess its potential for discovery in general.
doi:10.1093/hmg/dds369
PMCID: PMC3607468  PMID: 22962313
10.  TAS2R38 and Its Influence on Smoking Behavior and Glucose Homeostasis in the German Sorbs 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e80512.
Background
Genetic variants within the bitter taste receptor gene TAS2R38 are associated with sensitivity to bitter taste and are related to eating behavior in the Amish population. Sensitivity to bitter taste is further related to anthropometric traits in an genetically isolated Italian population. We tested whether the TAS2R38 variants (rs713598; rs1726866 and rs10246939) may be related to eating behavior, anthropometric parameters, metabolic traits and consumer goods intake in the German Sorbs.
Materials and Methods
The three SNPs were genotyped in a total cohort of 1007 individuals (male/female: 405/602). The German version of the three-factor eating questionnaire was completed by 548 individuals. Genetic association analyses for smoking behavior, alcohol and coffee intake, eating behavior factors (restraint, disinhibition and hunger) and other metabolic traits were analyzed. Further, by combining the three SNPs we applied comparative haplotype analyses categorizing PAV (proline-alanine-valine) carriers (tasters) vs. homozygous AVI (alanin-valine-isoleucine) carriers (non-tasters).
Results
Significant associations of genetic variants within TAS2R38 were identified with percentage of body fat, which were driven by associations in women. In men, we observed significant associations with 30 min plasma glucose, and area under the curve for plasma glucose (0–120 min) (all adjusted P≤0.05). Further, we found that carriers of at least one PAV allele show significantly lower cigarette smoking per day (P = 0.002) as well as, albeit non-significant, lower alcohol intake. We did not confirm previously reported associations between genetic variants of TAS2R38 and eating behavior.
Conclusion
Our data suggest that genetic variation in TAS2R38 is related to individual body composition measures and may further influence consumer goods intake in the Sorbs possibly via individual sensitivity to bitter taste.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080512
PMCID: PMC3846558  PMID: 24312479
11.  Genetic analyses of bone morphogenetic protein 2, 4 and 7 in congenital combined pituitary hormone deficiency 
Background
The complex process of development of the pituitary gland is regulated by a number of signalling molecules and transcription factors. Mutations in these factors have been identified in rare cases of congenital hypopituitarism but for most subjects with combined pituitary hormone deficiency (CPHD) genetic causes are unknown. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) affect induction and growth of the pituitary primordium and thus represent plausible candidates for mutational screening of patients with CPHD.
Methods
We sequenced BMP2, 4 and 7 in 19 subjects with CPHD. For validation purposes, novel genetic variants were genotyped in 1046 healthy subjects. Additionally, potential functional relevance for most promising variants has been assessed by phylogenetic analyses and prediction of effects on protein structure.
Results
Sequencing revealed two novel variants and confirmed 30 previously known polymorphisms and mutations in BMP2, 4 and 7. Although phylogenetic analyses indicated that these variants map within strongly conserved gene regions, there was no direct support for their impact on protein structure when applying predictive bioinformatics tools.
Conclusions
A mutation in the BMP4 coding region resulting in an amino acid exchange (p.Arg300Pro) appeared most interesting among the identified variants. Further functional analyses are required to ultimately map the relevance of these novel variants in CPHD.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-13-56
PMCID: PMC4175098  PMID: 24289245
Combined pituitary hormone deficiency; Bone morphogenetic proteins; BMP2; BMP4; BMP7
12.  Common Genetic Variation near MC4R Has a Sex-Specific Impact on Human Brain Structure and Eating Behavior 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74362.
Obesity is associated with genetic and environmental factors but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) identified obesity- and type 2 diabetes-associated genetic variants located within or near genes that modulate brain activity and development. Among the top hits is rs17782313 near MC4R, encoding for the melanocortin-4-receptor, which is expressed in brain regions that regulate eating. Here, we hypothesized rs17782313-associated changes in human brain regions that regulate eating behavior. Therefore, we examined effects of common variants at rs17782313 near MC4R on brain structure and eating behavior. Only in female homozygous carriers of the risk allele we found significant increases of gray matter volume (GMV) in the right amygdala, a region known to influence eating behavior, and the right hippocampus, a structure crucial for memory formation and learning. Further, we found bilateral increases in medial orbitofrontal cortex, a multimodal brain structure encoding the subjective value of reinforcers, and bilateral prefrontal cortex, a higher order regulation area. There was no association between rs17782313 and brain structure in men. Moreover, among female subjects only, we observed a significant increase of ‘disinhibition’, and, more specifically, on ‘emotional eating’ scores of the Three Factor Eating Questionnaire in carriers of the variant rs17782313’s risk allele. These findings suggest that rs17782313’s effect on eating behavior is mediated by central mechanisms and that these effects are sex-specific.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074362
PMCID: PMC3774636  PMID: 24066140
13.  The role of rs2237781 within GRM8 in eating behavior 
Brain and Behavior  2013;3(5):495-502.
Introduction:The glutamate receptor, metabotropic 8 gene (GRM8) encodes a G-protein-coupled glutamate receptor and has been associated with smoking behavior and liability to alcoholism implying a role in addiction vulnerability. Data from animal studies suggest that GRM8 may be involved in the regulation of the neuropeptide Y and melanocortin pathways and might influence food intake and metabolism. This study aimed to investigate the effects of the genetic variant rs2237781 within GRM8 on human eating behavior. Methods:The initial analysis included 548 Sorbs from Germany who have been extensively phenotyped for metabolic traits and who completed the German version of the three-factor eating questionnaire. In addition, we analyzed two independent sample sets comprising 293 subjects from another German cohort and 430 Old Order Amish individuals. Genetic associations with restraint, disinhibition, and hunger were assessed in an additive linear regression model. Results:Among the Sorbs the major G allele of rs2237781 was significantly associated with increased restraint scores in eating behavior (P = 1.9 × 10−4; β = +1.936). The German cohort and the Old Order Amish population revealed a trend in the same direction for restraint (P = 0.242; β = +0.874; P = 0.908; β = +0.096; respectively). A meta-analysis resulted in a combined P = 3.1 × 10−3 (Z-score 2.948). Conclusion:Our data suggest that rs2237781 within GRM8 may influence human eating behavior factors probably via pathways involved in addictive behavior.
doi:10.1002/brb3.151
PMCID: PMC3869977  PMID: 24392270
Addiction; alcohol intake; food intake; human eating behavior; smoking behavior
14.  Sex-stratified Genome-wide Association Studies Including 270,000 Individuals Show Sexual Dimorphism in Genetic Loci for Anthropometric Traits 
Randall, Joshua C. | Winkler, Thomas W. | Kutalik, Zoltán | Berndt, Sonja I. | Jackson, Anne U. | Monda, Keri L. | Kilpeläinen, Tuomas O. | Esko, Tõnu | Mägi, Reedik | Li, Shengxu | Workalemahu, Tsegaselassie | Feitosa, Mary F. | Croteau-Chonka, Damien C. | Day, Felix R. | Fall, Tove | Ferreira, Teresa | Gustafsson, Stefan | Locke, Adam E. | Mathieson, Iain | Scherag, Andre | Vedantam, Sailaja | Wood, Andrew R. | Liang, Liming | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Dermitzakis, Emmanouil T. | Dimas, Antigone S. | Karpe, Fredrik | Min, Josine L. | Nicholson, George | Clegg, Deborah J. | Person, Thomas | Krohn, Jon P. | Bauer, Sabrina | Buechler, Christa | Eisinger, Kristina | Bonnefond, Amélie | Froguel, Philippe | Hottenga, Jouke-Jan | Prokopenko, Inga | Waite, Lindsay L. | Harris, Tamara B. | Smith, Albert Vernon | Shuldiner, Alan R. | McArdle, Wendy L. | Caulfield, Mark J. | Munroe, Patricia B. | Grönberg, Henrik | Chen, Yii-Der Ida | Li, Guo | Beckmann, Jacques S. | Johnson, Toby | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Teder-Laving, Maris | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Zhao, Jing Hua | Amin, Najaf | Oostra, Ben A. | Kraja, Aldi T. | Province, Michael A. | Cupples, L. Adrienne | Heard-Costa, Nancy L. | Kaprio, Jaakko | Ripatti, Samuli | Surakka, Ida | Collins, Francis S. | Saramies, Jouko | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Jula, Antti | Salomaa, Veikko | Erdmann, Jeanette | Hengstenberg, Christian | Loley, Christina | Schunkert, Heribert | Lamina, Claudia | Wichmann, H. Erich | Albrecht, Eva | Gieger, Christian | Hicks, Andrew A. | Johansson, Åsa | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Kathiresan, Sekar | Speliotes, Elizabeth K. | Penninx, Brenda | Hartikainen, Anna-Liisa | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Gyllensten, Ulf | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Campbell, Harry | Wilson, James F. | Chanock, Stephen J. | Farrall, Martin | Goel, Anuj | Medina-Gomez, Carolina | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Estrada, Karol | Uitterlinden, André G. | Hofman, Albert | Zillikens, M. Carola | den Heijer, Martin | Kiemeney, Lambertus A. | Maschio, Andrea | Hall, Per | Tyrer, Jonathan | Teumer, Alexander | Völzke, Henry | Kovacs, Peter | Tönjes, Anke | Mangino, Massimo | Spector, Tim D. | Hayward, Caroline | Rudan, Igor | Hall, Alistair S. | Samani, Nilesh J. | Attwood, Antony Paul | Sambrook, Jennifer G. | Hung, Joseph | Palmer, Lyle J. | Lokki, Marja-Liisa | Sinisalo, Juha | Boucher, Gabrielle | Huikuri, Heikki | Lorentzon, Mattias | Ohlsson, Claes | Eklund, Niina | Eriksson, Johan G. | Barlassina, Cristina | Rivolta, Carlo | Nolte, Ilja M. | Snieder, Harold | Van der Klauw, Melanie M. | Van Vliet-Ostaptchouk, Jana V. | Gejman, Pablo V. | Shi, Jianxin | Jacobs, Kevin B. | Wang, Zhaoming | Bakker, Stephan J. L. | Mateo Leach, Irene | Navis, Gerjan | van der Harst, Pim | Martin, Nicholas G. | Medland, Sarah E. | Montgomery, Grant W. | Yang, Jian | Chasman, Daniel I. | Ridker, Paul M. | Rose, Lynda M. | Lehtimäki, Terho | Raitakari, Olli | Absher, Devin | Iribarren, Carlos | Basart, Hanneke | Hovingh, Kees G. | Hyppönen, Elina | Power, Chris | Anderson, Denise | Beilby, John P. | Hui, Jennie | Jolley, Jennifer | Sager, Hendrik | Bornstein, Stefan R. | Schwarz, Peter E. H. | Kristiansson, Kati | Perola, Markus | Lindström, Jaana | Swift, Amy J. | Uusitupa, Matti | Atalay, Mustafa | Lakka, Timo A. | Rauramaa, Rainer | Bolton, Jennifer L. | Fowkes, Gerry | Fraser, Ross M. | Price, Jackie F. | Fischer, Krista | KrjutÅ¡kov, Kaarel | Metspalu, Andres | Mihailov, Evelin | Langenberg, Claudia | Luan, Jian'an | Ong, Ken K. | Chines, Peter S. | Keinanen-Kiukaanniemi, Sirkka M. | Saaristo, Timo E. | Edkins, Sarah | Franks, Paul W. | Hallmans, Göran | Shungin, Dmitry | Morris, Andrew David | Palmer, Colin N. A. | Erbel, Raimund | Moebus, Susanne | Nöthen, Markus M. | Pechlivanis, Sonali | Hveem, Kristian | Narisu, Narisu | Hamsten, Anders | Humphries, Steve E. | Strawbridge, Rona J. | Tremoli, Elena | Grallert, Harald | Thorand, Barbara | Illig, Thomas | Koenig, Wolfgang | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Peters, Annette | Boehm, Bernhard O. | Kleber, Marcus E. | März, Winfried | Winkelmann, Bernhard R. | Kuusisto, Johanna | Laakso, Markku | Arveiler, Dominique | Cesana, Giancarlo | Kuulasmaa, Kari | Virtamo, Jarmo | Yarnell, John W. G. | Kuh, Diana | Wong, Andrew | Lind, Lars | de Faire, Ulf | Gigante, Bruna | Magnusson, Patrik K. E. | Pedersen, Nancy L. | Dedoussis, George | Dimitriou, Maria | Kolovou, Genovefa | Kanoni, Stavroula | Stirrups, Kathleen | Bonnycastle, Lori L. | Njølstad, Inger | Wilsgaard, Tom | Ganna, Andrea | Rehnberg, Emil | Hingorani, Aroon | Kivimaki, Mika | Kumari, Meena | Assimes, Themistocles L. | Barroso, Inês | Boehnke, Michael | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Deloukas, Panos | Fox, Caroline S. | Frayling, Timothy | Groop, Leif C. | Haritunians, Talin | Hunter, David | Ingelsson, Erik | Kaplan, Robert | Mohlke, Karen L. | O'Connell, Jeffrey R. | Schlessinger, David | Strachan, David P. | Stefansson, Kari | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Abecasis, Gonçalo R. | McCarthy, Mark I. | Hirschhorn, Joel N. | Qi, Lu | Loos, Ruth J. F. | Lindgren, Cecilia M. | North, Kari E. | Heid, Iris M.
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(6):e1003500.
Given the anthropometric differences between men and women and previous evidence of sex-difference in genetic effects, we conducted a genome-wide search for sexually dimorphic associations with height, weight, body mass index, waist circumference, hip circumference, and waist-to-hip-ratio (133,723 individuals) and took forward 348 SNPs into follow-up (additional 137,052 individuals) in a total of 94 studies. Seven loci displayed significant sex-difference (FDR<5%), including four previously established (near GRB14/COBLL1, LYPLAL1/SLC30A10, VEGFA, ADAMTS9) and three novel anthropometric trait loci (near MAP3K1, HSD17B4, PPARG), all of which were genome-wide significant in women (P<5×10−8), but not in men. Sex-differences were apparent only for waist phenotypes, not for height, weight, BMI, or hip circumference. Moreover, we found no evidence for genetic effects with opposite directions in men versus women. The PPARG locus is of specific interest due to its role in diabetes genetics and therapy. Our results demonstrate the value of sex-specific GWAS to unravel the sexually dimorphic genetic underpinning of complex traits.
Author Summary
Men and women differ substantially regarding height, weight, and body fat. Interestingly, previous work detecting genetic effects for waist-to-hip ratio, to assess body fat distribution, has found that many of these showed sex-differences. However, systematic searches for sex-differences in genetic effects have not yet been conducted. Therefore, we undertook a genome-wide search for sexually dimorphic genetic effects for anthropometric traits including 133,723 individuals in a large meta-analysis and followed promising variants in further 137,052 individuals, including a total of 94 studies. We identified seven loci with significant sex-difference including four previously established (near GRB14/COBLL1, LYPLAL1/SLC30A10, VEGFA, ADAMTS9) and three novel anthropometric trait loci (near MAP3K1, HSD17B4, PPARG), all of which were significant in women, but not in men. Of interest is that sex-difference was only observed for waist phenotypes, but not for height or body-mass-index. We found no evidence for sex-differences with opposite effect direction for men and women. The PPARG locus is of specific interest due to its link to diabetes genetics and therapy. Our findings demonstrate the importance of investigating sex differences, which may lead to a better understanding of disease mechanisms with a potential relevance to treatment options.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003500
PMCID: PMC3674993  PMID: 23754948
15.  Substantial Increase in Incidence of Severe Hypoglycemia Between 1997–2000 and 2007–2010 
Diabetes Care  2012;35(5):972-975.
OBJECTIVE
To compare the incidences of severe hypoglycemia and corresponding clinical circumstances in a German population between 2007–2010 and 1997–2000.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
A screening for severe hypoglycemia was performed in the Lippe-Detmold area in Germany to sensitively detect severe hypoglycemia. This was defined as a symptomatic event requiring treatment with intravenous glucose and being confirmed by a blood glucose measurement of <50 mg/dL.
RESULTS
Severe hypoglycemia increased considerably from 264 events in 1997–2000 to 495 events in 2007–2010, which translated into an increase in frequency of severe hypoglycemia among all emergency admissions from 0.68 to 0.83% (P = 0.015). This was mostly related to intensification of antihyperglycemic therapy, particularly in the increasingly morbid group of hypoglycemic patients with type 2 diabetes indicated by lower HbA1c, more comedication (3.3 vs. 7.7 drugs), and more concomitant diseases (3.6 vs. 4.4) (all P values <0.001).
CONCLUSIONS
Within a 10-year period, there was an intensification of antihyperglycemic therapy in increasingly comorbid subjects, leading to a considerably higher incidence of severe hypoglycemia.
doi:10.2337/dc11-1470
PMCID: PMC3329832  PMID: 22410817
16.  No Interactions Between Previously Associated 2-Hour Glucose Gene Variants and Physical Activity or BMI on 2-Hour Glucose Levels 
Scott, Robert A. | Chu, Audrey Y. | Grarup, Niels | Manning, Alisa K. | Hivert, Marie-France | Shungin, Dmitry | Tönjes, Anke | Yesupriya, Ajay | Barnes, Daniel | Bouatia-Naji, Nabila | Glazer, Nicole L. | Jackson, Anne U. | Kutalik, Zoltán | Lagou, Vasiliki | Marek, Diana | Rasmussen-Torvik, Laura J. | Stringham, Heather M. | Tanaka, Toshiko | Aadahl, Mette | Arking, Dan E. | Bergmann, Sven | Boerwinkle, Eric | Bonnycastle, Lori L. | Bornstein, Stefan R. | Brunner, Eric | Bumpstead, Suzannah J. | Brage, Soren | Carlson, Olga D. | Chen, Han | Chen, Yii-Der Ida | Chines, Peter S. | Collins, Francis S. | Couper, David J. | Dennison, Elaine M. | Dowling, Nicole F. | Egan, Josephine S. | Ekelund, Ulf | Erdos, Michael R. | Forouhi, Nita G. | Fox, Caroline S. | Goodarzi, Mark O. | Grässler, Jürgen | Gustafsson, Stefan | Hallmans, Göran | Hansen, Torben | Hingorani, Aroon | Holloway, John W. | Hu, Frank B. | Isomaa, Bo | Jameson, Karen A. | Johansson, Ingegerd | Jonsson, Anna | Jørgensen, Torben | Kivimaki, Mika | Kovacs, Peter | Kumari, Meena | Kuusisto, Johanna | Laakso, Markku | Lecoeur, Cécile | Lévy-Marchal, Claire | Li, Guo | Loos, Ruth J.F. | Lyssenko, Valeri | Marmot, Michael | Marques-Vidal, Pedro | Morken, Mario A. | Müller, Gabriele | North, Kari E. | Pankow, James S. | Payne, Felicity | Prokopenko, Inga | Psaty, Bruce M. | Renström, Frida | Rice, Ken | Rotter, Jerome I. | Rybin, Denis | Sandholt, Camilla H. | Sayer, Avan A. | Shrader, Peter | Schwarz, Peter E.H. | Siscovick, David S. | Stančáková, Alena | Stumvoll, Michael | Teslovich, Tanya M. | Waeber, Gérard | Williams, Gordon H. | Witte, Daniel R. | Wood, Andrew R. | Xie, Weijia | Boehnke, Michael | Cooper, Cyrus | Ferrucci, Luigi | Froguel, Philippe | Groop, Leif | Kao, W.H. Linda | Vollenweider, Peter | Walker, Mark | Watanabe, Richard M. | Pedersen, Oluf | Meigs, James B. | Ingelsson, Erik | Barroso, Inês | Florez, Jose C. | Franks, Paul W. | Dupuis, Josée | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Langenberg, Claudia
Diabetes  2012;61(5):1291-1296.
Gene–lifestyle interactions have been suggested to contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. Glucose levels 2 h after a standard 75-g glucose challenge are used to diagnose diabetes and are associated with both genetic and lifestyle factors. However, whether these factors interact to determine 2-h glucose levels is unknown. We meta-analyzed single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) × BMI and SNP × physical activity (PA) interaction regression models for five SNPs previously associated with 2-h glucose levels from up to 22 studies comprising 54,884 individuals without diabetes. PA levels were dichotomized, with individuals below the first quintile classified as inactive (20%) and the remainder as active (80%). BMI was considered a continuous trait. Inactive individuals had higher 2-h glucose levels than active individuals (β = 0.22 mmol/L [95% CI 0.13–0.31], P = 1.63 × 10−6). All SNPs were associated with 2-h glucose (β = 0.06–0.12 mmol/allele, P ≤ 1.53 × 10−7), but no significant interactions were found with PA (P > 0.18) or BMI (P ≥ 0.04). In this large study of gene–lifestyle interaction, we observed no interactions between genetic and lifestyle factors, both of which were associated with 2-h glucose. It is perhaps unlikely that top loci from genome-wide association studies will exhibit strong subgroup-specific effects, and may not, therefore, make the best candidates for the study of interactions.
doi:10.2337/db11-0973
PMCID: PMC3331745  PMID: 22415877
17.  A genome-wide approach accounting for body mass index identifies genetic variants influencing fasting glycemic traits and insulin resistance 
Manning, Alisa K. | Hivert, Marie-France | Scott, Robert A. | Grimsby, Jonna L. | Bouatia-Naji, Nabila | Chen, Han | Rybin, Denis | Liu, Ching-Ti | Bielak, Lawrence F. | Prokopenko, Inga | Amin, Najaf | Barnes, Daniel | Cadby, Gemma | Hottenga, Jouke-Jan | Ingelsson, Erik | Jackson, Anne U. | Johnson, Toby | Kanoni, Stavroula | Ladenvall, Claes | Lagou, Vasiliki | Lahti, Jari | Lecoeur, Cecile | Liu, Yongmei | Martinez-Larrad, Maria Teresa | Montasser, May E. | Navarro, Pau | Perry, John R. B. | Rasmussen-Torvik, Laura J. | Salo, Perttu | Sattar, Naveed | Shungin, Dmitry | Strawbridge, Rona J. | Tanaka, Toshiko | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | An, Ping | de Andrade, Mariza | Andrews, Jeanette S. | Aspelund, Thor | Atalay, Mustafa | Aulchenko, Yurii | Balkau, Beverley | Bandinelli, Stefania | Beckmann, Jacques S. | Beilby, John P. | Bellis, Claire | Bergman, Richard N. | Blangero, John | Boban, Mladen | Boehnke, Michael | Boerwinkle, Eric | Bonnycastle, Lori L. | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Böttcher, Yvonne | Bouchard, Claude | Brunner, Eric | Budimir, Danijela | Campbell, Harry | Carlson, Olga | Chines, Peter S. | Clarke, Robert | Collins, Francis S. | Corbatón-Anchuelo, Arturo | Couper, David | de Faire, Ulf | Dedoussis, George V | Deloukas, Panos | Dimitriou, Maria | Egan, Josephine M | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Erdos, Michael R. | Eriksson, Johan G. | Eury, Elodie | Ferrucci, Luigi | Ford, Ian | Forouhi, Nita G. | Fox, Caroline S | Franzosi, Maria Grazia | Franks, Paul W | Frayling, Timothy M | Froguel, Philippe | Galan, Pilar | de Geus, Eco | Gigante, Bruna | Glazer, Nicole L. | Goel, Anuj | Groop, Leif | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Hallmans, Göran | Hamsten, Anders | Hansson, Ola | Harris, Tamara B. | Hayward, Caroline | Heath, Simon | Hercberg, Serge | Hicks, Andrew A. | Hingorani, Aroon | Hofman, Albert | Hui, Jennie | Hung, Joseph | Jarvelin, Marjo Riitta | Jhun, Min A. | Johnson, Paul C.D. | Jukema, J Wouter | Jula, Antti | Kao, W.H. | Kaprio, Jaakko | Kardia, Sharon L. R. | Keinanen-Kiukaanniemi, Sirkka | Kivimaki, Mika | Kolcic, Ivana | Kovacs, Peter | Kumari, Meena | Kuusisto, Johanna | Kyvik, Kirsten Ohm | Laakso, Markku | Lakka, Timo | Lannfelt, Lars | Lathrop, G Mark | Launer, Lenore J. | Leander, Karin | Li, Guo | Lind, Lars | Lindstrom, Jaana | Lobbens, Stéphane | Loos, Ruth J. F. | Luan, Jian’an | Lyssenko, Valeriya | Mägi, Reedik | Magnusson, Patrik K. E. | Marmot, Michael | Meneton, Pierre | Mohlke, Karen L. | Mooser, Vincent | Morken, Mario A. | Miljkovic, Iva | Narisu, Narisu | O’Connell, Jeff | Ong, Ken K. | Oostra, Ben A. | Palmer, Lyle J. | Palotie, Aarno | Pankow, James S. | Peden, John F. | Pedersen, Nancy L. | Pehlic, Marina | Peltonen, Leena | Penninx, Brenda | Pericic, Marijana | Perola, Markus | Perusse, Louis | Peyser, Patricia A | Polasek, Ozren | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Province, Michael A. | Räikkönen, Katri | Rauramaa, Rainer | Rehnberg, Emil | Rice, Ken | Rotter, Jerome I. | Rudan, Igor | Ruokonen, Aimo | Saaristo, Timo | Sabater-Lleal, Maria | Salomaa, Veikko | Savage, David B. | Saxena, Richa | Schwarz, Peter | Seedorf, Udo | Sennblad, Bengt | Serrano-Rios, Manuel | Shuldiner, Alan R. | Sijbrands, Eric J.G. | Siscovick, David S. | Smit, Johannes H. | Small, Kerrin S. | Smith, Nicholas L. | Smith, Albert Vernon | Stančáková, Alena | Stirrups, Kathleen | Stumvoll, Michael | Sun, Yan V. | Swift, Amy J. | Tönjes, Anke | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Trompet, Stella | Uitterlinden, Andre G. | Uusitupa, Matti | Vikström, Max | Vitart, Veronique | Vohl, Marie-Claude | Voight, Benjamin F. | Vollenweider, Peter | Waeber, Gerard | Waterworth, Dawn M | Watkins, Hugh | Wheeler, Eleanor | Widen, Elisabeth | Wild, Sarah H. | Willems, Sara M. | Willemsen, Gonneke | Wilson, James F. | Witteman, Jacqueline C.M. | Wright, Alan F. | Yaghootkar, Hanieh | Zelenika, Diana | Zemunik, Tatijana | Zgaga, Lina | Wareham, Nicholas J. | McCarthy, Mark I. | Barroso, Ines | Watanabe, Richard M. | Florez, Jose C. | Dupuis, Josée | Meigs, James B. | Langenberg, Claudia
Nature genetics  2012;44(6):659-669.
Recent genome-wide association studies have described many loci implicated in type 2 diabetes (T2D) pathophysiology and beta-cell dysfunction, but contributed little to our understanding of the genetic basis of insulin resistance. We hypothesized that genes implicated in insulin resistance pathways may be uncovered by accounting for differences in body mass index (BMI) and potential interaction between BMI and genetic variants. We applied a novel joint meta-analytical approach to test associations with fasting insulin (FI) and glucose (FG) on a genome-wide scale. We present six previously unknown FI loci at P<5×10−8 in combined discovery and follow-up analyses of 52 studies comprising up to 96,496non-diabetic individuals. Risk variants were associated with higher triglyceride and lower HDL cholesterol levels, suggestive of a role for these FI loci in insulin resistance pathways. The localization of these additional loci will aid further characterization of the role of insulin resistance in T2D pathophysiology.
doi:10.1038/ng.2274
PMCID: PMC3613127  PMID: 22581228
18.  Parabrachial coding of sapid sucrose: Relevance to reward and obesity 
Cumulative evidence in rats suggests that the pontine parabrachial nucleus (PBN) is necessary for assigning hedonic value to taste stimuli. In a series of studies, our laboratory has investigated the parabrachial coding of sapid sucrose in normal and obese rats. First, using chronic microdialysis, we demonstrated that sucrose intake increases dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens, an effect that is dependent on oral stimulation and on concentration. The dopamine response was independent of the thalamocortical gustatory system, but was blunted substantially by lesions of the PBN. Similar lesions of the PBN but not the thalamic taste relay diminished cFos activation by sucrose ingestion in the nucleus accumbens. Recent single neuron recording studies demonstrated that processing of sucrose-evoked activity in the PBN is altered in the Otsuka Long Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rats that develop obesity due to chronic overeating and express increased avidity to sweet. Compared with lean controls, taste neurons in OLETF rats had reduced overall sensitivity to sucrose and altered concentration responses: decreased responses to lower and augmented responses to higher concentrations. The decreased sensitivity to sucrose was specific to NaCl-best neurons that also responded to sucrose, but the concentration effects were carried by the sucrose-specific neurons. Collectively, these findings support the hypothesis that the PBN enables taste stimuli to engage the reward system and, in doing so, influences food intake and body weight regulation. Obesity, in turn, may further alter the gustatory code via forebrain connections to the taste relays or hormonal changes consequent to weight gain.
doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.03930.x
PMCID: PMC3607513  PMID: 19686159
taste; gustatory plasticity; pons; dopamine; appetite; obesity; diabetes
19.  Large-scale association analyses identify new loci influencing glycemic traits and provide insight into the underlying biological pathways 
Scott, Robert A | Lagou, Vasiliki | Welch, Ryan P | Wheeler, Eleanor | Montasser, May E | Luan, Jian’an | Mägi, Reedik | Strawbridge, Rona J | Rehnberg, Emil | Gustafsson, Stefan | Kanoni, Stavroula | Rasmussen-Torvik, Laura J | Yengo, Loïc | Lecoeur, Cecile | Shungin, Dmitry | Sanna, Serena | Sidore, Carlo | Johnson, Paul C D | Jukema, J Wouter | Johnson, Toby | Mahajan, Anubha | Verweij, Niek | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Hottenga, Jouke-Jan | Shah, Sonia | Smith, Albert V | Sennblad, Bengt | Gieger, Christian | Salo, Perttu | Perola, Markus | Timpson, Nicholas J | Evans, David M | Pourcain, Beate St | Wu, Ying | Andrews, Jeanette S | Hui, Jennie | Bielak, Lawrence F | Zhao, Wei | Horikoshi, Momoko | Navarro, Pau | Isaacs, Aaron | O’Connell, Jeffrey R | Stirrups, Kathleen | Vitart, Veronique | Hayward, Caroline | Esko, Tönu | Mihailov, Evelin | Fraser, Ross M | Fall, Tove | Voight, Benjamin F | Raychaudhuri, Soumya | Chen, Han | Lindgren, Cecilia M | Morris, Andrew P | Rayner, Nigel W | Robertson, Neil | Rybin, Denis | Liu, Ching-Ti | Beckmann, Jacques S | Willems, Sara M | Chines, Peter S | Jackson, Anne U | Kang, Hyun Min | Stringham, Heather M | Song, Kijoung | Tanaka, Toshiko | Peden, John F | Goel, Anuj | Hicks, Andrew A | An, Ping | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Franco-Cereceda, Anders | Folkersen, Lasse | Marullo, Letizia | Jansen, Hanneke | Oldehinkel, Albertine J | Bruinenberg, Marcel | Pankow, James S | North, Kari E | Forouhi, Nita G | Loos, Ruth J F | Edkins, Sarah | Varga, Tibor V | Hallmans, Göran | Oksa, Heikki | Antonella, Mulas | Nagaraja, Ramaiah | Trompet, Stella | Ford, Ian | Bakker, Stephan J L | Kong, Augustine | Kumari, Meena | Gigante, Bruna | Herder, Christian | Munroe, Patricia B | Caulfield, Mark | Antti, Jula | Mangino, Massimo | Small, Kerrin | Miljkovic, Iva | Liu, Yongmei | Atalay, Mustafa | Kiess, Wieland | James, Alan L | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Uitterlinden, Andre G | Palmer, Colin N A | Doney, Alex S F | Willemsen, Gonneke | Smit, Johannes H | Campbell, Susan | Polasek, Ozren | Bonnycastle, Lori L | Hercberg, Serge | Dimitriou, Maria | Bolton, Jennifer L | Fowkes, Gerard R | Kovacs, Peter | Lindström, Jaana | Zemunik, Tatijana | Bandinelli, Stefania | Wild, Sarah H | Basart, Hanneke V | Rathmann, Wolfgang | Grallert, Harald | Maerz, Winfried | Kleber, Marcus E | Boehm, Bernhard O | Peters, Annette | Pramstaller, Peter P | Province, Michael A | Borecki, Ingrid B | Hastie, Nicholas D | Rudan, Igor | Campbell, Harry | Watkins, Hugh | Farrall, Martin | Stumvoll, Michael | Ferrucci, Luigi | Waterworth, Dawn M | Bergman, Richard N | Collins, Francis S | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Watanabe, Richard M | de Geus, Eco J C | Penninx, Brenda W | Hofman, Albert | Oostra, Ben A | Psaty, Bruce M | Vollenweider, Peter | Wilson, James F | Wright, Alan F | Hovingh, G Kees | Metspalu, Andres | Uusitupa, Matti | Magnusson, Patrik K E | Kyvik, Kirsten O | Kaprio, Jaakko | Price, Jackie F | Dedoussis, George V | Deloukas, Panos | Meneton, Pierre | Lind, Lars | Boehnke, Michael | Shuldiner, Alan R | van Duijn, Cornelia M | Morris, Andrew D | Toenjes, Anke | Peyser, Patricia A | Beilby, John P | Körner, Antje | Kuusisto, Johanna | Laakso, Markku | Bornstein, Stefan R | Schwarz, Peter E H | Lakka, Timo A | Rauramaa, Rainer | Adair, Linda S | Smith, George Davey | Spector, Tim D | Illig, Thomas | de Faire, Ulf | Hamsten, Anders | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Kivimaki, Mika | Hingorani, Aroon | Keinanen-Kiukaanniemi, Sirkka M | Saaristo, Timo E | Boomsma, Dorret I | Stefansson, Kari | van der Harst, Pim | Dupuis, Josée | Pedersen, Nancy L | Sattar, Naveed | Harris, Tamara B | Cucca, Francesco | Ripatti, Samuli | Salomaa, Veikko | Mohlke, Karen L | Balkau, Beverley | Froguel, Philippe | Pouta, Anneli | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Wareham, Nicholas J | Bouatia-Naji, Nabila | McCarthy, Mark I | Franks, Paul W | Meigs, James B | Teslovich, Tanya M | Florez, Jose C | Langenberg, Claudia | Ingelsson, Erik | Prokopenko, Inga | Barroso, Inês
Nature genetics  2012;44(9):991-1005.
Through genome-wide association meta-analyses of up to 133,010 individuals of European ancestry without diabetes, including individuals newly genotyped using the Metabochip, we have raised the number of confirmed loci influencing glycemic traits to 53, of which 33 also increase type 2 diabetes risk (q < 0.05). Loci influencing fasting insulin showed association with lipid levels and fat distribution, suggesting impact on insulin resistance. Gene-based analyses identified further biologically plausible loci, suggesting that additional loci beyond those reaching genome-wide significance are likely to represent real associations. This conclusion is supported by an excess of directionally consistent and nominally significant signals between discovery and follow-up studies. Functional follow-up of these newly discovered loci will further improve our understanding of glycemic control.
doi:10.1038/ng.2385
PMCID: PMC3433394  PMID: 22885924
20.  An ACACB Variant Implicated in Diabetic Nephropathy Associates with Body Mass Index and Gene Expression in Obese Subjects 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56193.
Acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase B gene (ACACB) single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs2268388 is reproducibly associated with type 2 diabetes (T2DM)-associated nephropathy (DN). ACACB knock-out mice are also protected from obesity. This study assessed relationships between rs2268388, body mass index (BMI) and gene expression in multiple populations, with and without T2DM. Among subjects without T2DM, rs2268388 DN risk allele (T) associated with higher BMI in Pima Indian children (n = 2021; p-additive = 0.029) and African Americans (AAs) (n = 177; p-additive = 0.05), with a trend in European Americans (EAs) (n = 512; p-additive = 0.09), but not Germans (n = 858; p-additive = 0.765). Association with BMI was seen in a meta-analysis including all non-T2DM subjects (n = 3568; p-additive = 0.02). Among subjects with T2DM, rs2268388 was not associated with BMI in Japanese (n = 2912) or EAs (n = 1149); however, the T allele associated with higher BMI in the subset with BMI≥30 kg/m2 (n = 568 EAs; p-additive = 0.049, n = 196 Japanese; p-additive = 0.049). Association with BMI was strengthened in a T2DM meta-analysis that included an additional 756 AAs (p-additive = 0.080) and 48 Hong Kong Chinese (p-additive = 0.81) with BMI≥30 kg/m2 (n = 1575; p-additive = 0.0033). The effect of rs2268388 on gene expression revealed that the T risk allele associated with higher ACACB messenger levels in adipose tissue (41 EAs and 20 AAs with BMI>30 kg/m2; p-additive = 0.018) and ACACB protein levels in the liver tissue (mixed model p-additive = 0.03, in 25 EA bariatric surgery patients with BMI>30 kg/m2 for 75 exams). The T allele also associated with higher hepatic triglyceride levels. These data support a role for ACACB in obesity and potential roles for altered lipid metabolism in susceptibility to DN.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056193
PMCID: PMC3584087  PMID: 23460794
21.  Vaspin inhibits kallikrein 7 by serpin mechanism 
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences  2013;70(14):2569-2583.
The molecular target of the adipokine vaspin (visceral adipose tissue-derived serpin; serpinA12) and its mode of action are unknown. Here, we provide the vaspin crystal structure and identify human kallikrein 7 (hK7) as a first protease target of vaspin inhibited by classical serpin mechanism with high specificity in vitro. We detect vaspin–hK7 complexes in human plasma and find co-expression of both proteins in murine pancreatic β-cells. We further demonstrate that hK7 cleaves human insulin in the A- and B-chain. Vaspin treatment of isolated pancreatic islets leads to increased insulin concentration in the media upon glucose stimulation without influencing insulin secretion. By application of vaspin and generated inactive mutants, we find the significantly improved glucose tolerance in C57BL/6NTac and db/db mice treated with recombinant vaspin fully dependent on the vaspin serpin activity and not related to vaspin-mediated changes in insulin sensitivity as determined by euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp studies. Improved glucose metabolism could be mediated by increased insulin plasma concentrations 150 min after a glucose challenge in db/db mice, supporting the hypothesis that vaspin may inhibit insulin degradation by hK7 in the circulation. In conclusion, we demonstrate the inhibitory serpin nature and the first protease target of the adipose tissue-derived serpin vaspin, and our findings suggest hK7 inhibition by vaspin as an underlying physiological mechanism for its compensatory actions on obesity-induced insulin resistance.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00018-013-1258-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s00018-013-1258-8
PMCID: PMC3689916  PMID: 23370777
Vaspin; SerpinA12; Kallikrein 7; Crystal structure; Diabetes; Insulin
22.  Role of Vaspin in Human Eating Behaviour 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e54140.
Objective
The adipokine vaspin (visceral adipose tissue derived serine protease inhibitor, serpinA12) follows a meal-related diurnal variation in humans and intracerebroventricular vaspin administration leads to acutely reduced food intake in db/db mice. We therefore hypothesized that vaspin may play a role in human eating behaviour.
Materials and Methods
We measured serum vaspin concentrations in 548 subjects from a self-contained population of Sorbs (Germany) who underwent detailed metabolic testing including eating behaviour assessments using the three-factor eating questionnaire. In addition, genetic variation within vaspin was assessed by genotyping 28 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in all study subjects.
Results
Serum vaspin concentrations correlated positively with restraint, disinhibition and hunger (all P<0.05), although the correlations did not withstand further adjustments for age, gender and BMI (all P>0.05). Independent of observed correlations, genetic variants in vaspin were associated with serum vaspin levels but showed no significant association with any of the eating behaviour phenotypes after accounting for multiple testing (P≥0.05 after adjusting for age, gender and BMI).
Conclusion
Our data suggest that serum vaspin concentrations might modulate human eating behaviour, which does not seem to be affected by common genetic variation in vaspin.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054140
PMCID: PMC3544656  PMID: 23342091
23.  Genetic variation in the Sorbs of eastern Germany in the context of broader European genetic diversity 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2011;19(9):995-1001.
Population isolates have long been of interest to genetic epidemiologists because of their potential to increase power to detect disease-causing genetic variants. The Sorbs of Germany are considered as cultural and linguistic isolates and have recently been the focus of disease association mapping efforts. They are thought to have settled in their present location in eastern Germany after a westward migration from a largely Slavic-speaking territory during the Middle Ages. To examine Sorbian genetic diversity within the context of other European populations, we analyzed genotype data for over 30 000 autosomal single-nucleotide polymorphisms from over 200 Sorbs individuals. We compare the Sorbs with other European individuals, including samples from population isolates. Despite their geographical proximity to German speakers, the Sorbs showed greatest genetic similarity to Polish and Czech individuals, consistent with the linguistic proximity of Sorbian to other West Slavic languages. The Sorbs also showed evidence of subtle levels of genetic isolation in comparison with samples from non-isolated European populations. The level of genetic isolation was less than that observed for the Sardinians and French Basque, who were clear outliers on multiple measures of isolation. The finding of the Sorbs as only a minor genetic isolate demonstrates the need to genetically characterize putative population isolates, as they possess a wide range of levels of isolation because of their different demographic histories.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2011.65
PMCID: PMC3179365  PMID: 21559053
Sorbs; principle component analysis; genetic isolates; genetic diversity; population history; genetic distance
24.  Genetic Analyses of Heme Oxygenase 1 (HMOX1) in Different Forms of Pancreatitis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e37981.
Background
Heme oxygenase 1 (HMOX1) is the rate limiting enzyme in heme degradation and a key regulator of inflammatory processes. In animal models the course of pancreatitis was ameliorated by up-regulation of HMOX1 expression. Additionally, carbon monoxide released during heme breakdown inhibited proliferation of pancreatic stellate cells and might thereby prevent the development of chronic pancreatitis (CP). Transcription of HMOX1 in humans is influenced by a GT-repeat located in the promoter. As such, HMOX1 variants might be of importance in the pathogenesis of pancreatitis.
Methods
The GT-repeat and SNP rs2071746 were investigated with fluorescence labelled primers and by melting curve analysis in 285 patients with acute pancreatitis, 208 patients with alcoholic CP, 207 patients with idiopathic/hereditary CP, 147 patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis, and in 289 controls, respectively. GT-repeat analysis was extended to a total of 446 alcoholic CP patients. In addition, we performed DNA sequencing in 145 patients with alcoholic CP, 138 patients with idiopathic/hereditary CP, 147 patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis, and 151 controls. Exon 3 screening was extended to additional patients and controls.
Results
S- and L-alleles of the GT-repeat, genotypes and alleles of SNP rs2071746 and non-synonymous variants detected by sequencing were found with similar frequencies in all groups.
Conclusions
Although functional data implicate a potential influence of HMOX1 variants on the pathogenesis of pancreatitis, we did not find any association. As rare non-synonymous HMOX1 variants were found in patients and controls, it is rather unlikely that they will have functional consequences essential for pancreatitis development.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037981
PMCID: PMC3364204  PMID: 22666428
25.  Sequence variants at CYP1A1–CYP1A2 and AHR associate with coffee consumption 
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;20(10):2071-2077.
Coffee is the most commonly used stimulant and caffeine is its main psychoactive ingredient. The heritability of coffee consumption has been estimated at around 50%. We performed a meta-analysis of four genome-wide association studies of coffee consumption among coffee drinkers from Iceland (n = 2680), the Netherlands (n = 2791), the Sorbs Slavonic population isolate in Germany (n = 771) and the USA (n = 369) using both directly genotyped and imputed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (2.5 million SNPs). SNPs at the two most significant loci were also genotyped in a sample set from Iceland (n = 2430) and a Danish sample set consisting of pregnant women (n = 1620). Combining all data, two sequence variants significantly associated with increased coffee consumption: rs2472297-T located between CYP1A1 and CYP1A2 at 15q24 (P = 5.4 · 10−14) and rs6968865-T near aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) at 7p21 (P = 2.3 · 10−11). An effect of ∼0.2 cups a day per allele was observed for both SNPs. CYP1A2 is the main caffeine metabolizing enzyme and is also involved in drug metabolism. AHR detects xenobiotics, such as polycyclic aryl hydrocarbons found in roasted coffee, and induces transcription of CYP1A1 and CYP1A2. The association of these SNPs with coffee consumption was present in both smokers and non-smokers.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddr086
PMCID: PMC3080612  PMID: 21357676

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