Background The extent to which adult height, a biomarker of the interplay of genetic endowment and early-life experiences, is related to risk of chronic diseases in adulthood is uncertain.
Methods We calculated hazard ratios (HRs) for height, assessed in increments of 6.5 cm, using individual–participant data on 174 374 deaths or major non-fatal vascular outcomes recorded among 1 085 949 people in 121 prospective studies.
Results For people born between 1900 and 1960, mean adult height increased 0.5–1 cm with each successive decade of birth. After adjustment for age, sex, smoking and year of birth, HRs per 6.5 cm greater height were 0.97 (95% confidence interval: 0.96–0.99) for death from any cause, 0.94 (0.93–0.96) for death from vascular causes, 1.04 (1.03–1.06) for death from cancer and 0.92 (0.90–0.94) for death from other causes. Height was negatively associated with death from coronary disease, stroke subtypes, heart failure, stomach and oral cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, mental disorders, liver disease and external causes. In contrast, height was positively associated with death from ruptured aortic aneurysm, pulmonary embolism, melanoma and cancers of the pancreas, endocrine and nervous systems, ovary, breast, prostate, colorectum, blood and lung. HRs per 6.5 cm greater height ranged from 1.26 (1.12–1.42) for risk of melanoma death to 0.84 (0.80–0.89) for risk of death from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. HRs were not appreciably altered after further adjustment for adiposity, blood pressure, lipids, inflammation biomarkers, diabetes mellitus, alcohol consumption or socio-economic indicators.
Conclusion Adult height has directionally opposing relationships with risk of death from several different major causes of chronic diseases.
Height; cardiovascular disease; cancer; cause-specific mortality; epidemiological study; meta-analysis
Increased circulating plasma urate concentration is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease, but the extent of any causative effect of urate on risk of coronary heart disease is still unclear. In this study, we aimed to clarify any causal role of urate on coronary heart disease risk using Mendelian randomisation analysis.
We first did a fixed-effects meta-analysis of the observational association of plasma urate and risk of coronary heart disease. We then used a conventional Mendelian randomisation approach to investigate the causal relevance using a genetic instrument based on 31 urate-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). To account for potential pleiotropic associations of certain SNPs with risk factors other than urate, we additionally did both a multivariable Mendelian randomisation analysis, in which the genetic associations of SNPs with systolic and diastolic blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides were included as covariates, and an Egger Mendelian randomisation (MR-Egger) analysis to estimate a causal effect accounting for unmeasured pleiotropy.
In the meta-analysis of 17 prospective observational studies (166 486 individuals; 9784 coronary heart disease events) a 1 SD higher urate concentration was associated with an odds ratio (OR) for coronary heart disease of 1·07 (95% CI 1·04–1·10). The corresponding OR estimates from the conventional, multivariable adjusted, and Egger Mendelian randomisation analysis (58 studies; 198 598 individuals; 65 877 events) were 1·18 (95% CI 1·08–1·29), 1·10 (1·00–1·22), and 1·05 (0·92–1·20), respectively, per 1 SD increment in plasma urate.
Conventional and multivariate Mendelian randomisation analysis implicates a causal role for urate in the development of coronary heart disease, but these estimates might be inflated by hidden pleiotropy. Egger Mendelian randomisation analysis, which accounts for pleiotropy but has less statistical power, suggests there might be no causal effect. These results might help investigators to determine the priority of trials of urate lowering for the prevention of coronary heart disease compared with other potential interventions.
UK National Institute for Health Research, British Heart Foundation, and UK Medical Research Council.
Little is known about early life determinants of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We examined associations of maternal pregnancy diabetes/glycosuria and pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) with offspring markers of NAFLD and liver pathology and examined mediation by birthweight and concurrent offspring adiposity.
We used data from a UK prospective pregnancy cohort. Offspring underwent abdominal ultrasonography (USS) at mean age 17.8 years. Outcomes included USS-assessed fatty liver, estimated liver volume and shear velocity, a variant of elastography (a marker of liver fibrosis) (N = 1 215) and blood-based markers of liver pathology [alanine amino transferase, aspartate amino transferase, gamma- glutamyltransferase and haptoglobin] (N = 2 359).
2.1 % (N = 25) of participants had USS-assessed fatty liver [maternal diabetes/glycosuria (N = 7) and no diabetes/glycosuria (N = 18)]. Maternal diabetes/glycosuria was associated with greater odds of offspring USS fatty liver in confounder adjusted models [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 6.74 (95 % confidence interval (CI) 2.47, 18.40)] and higher shear velocity [adjusted ratio of geometric mean (aRGM):1.10 (95 % CI 1.05, 1.15)]. These associations were not mediated by offspring birthweight or concurrent adiposity. Maternal diabetes/glycosuria was not associated with liver volume or blood-based outcomes. Greater maternal pre-pregnancy BMI was associated with greater odds of offspring USS fatty liver [aOR 2.72 (95 % CI: 1.20, 6.15)], higher liver volume [aRGM 1.03 (95 % CI 1.00, 1.07)] and shear velocity [aRGM1.03 (95 % CI: 1.01, 1.06)] in confounder adjusted models. These associations were largely mediated by offspring adiposity. Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI was not consistently associated with blood-based outcomes.
Results suggest that maternal pregnancy diabetes/glycosuria is associated with offspring NAFLD through mechanisms other than offspring’s own adiposity.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12887-016-0585-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Pregnancy diabetes; Glycosuria; Obesity; NAFLD; Fetal overnutrition; ALSPAC
Statins are first-line therapy for cardiovascular disease prevention, but their systemic effects across lipoprotein subclasses, fatty acids, and circulating metabolites remain incompletely characterized.
This study sought to determine the molecular effects of statin therapy on multiple metabolic pathways.
Metabolic profiles based on serum nuclear magnetic resonance metabolomics were quantified at 2 time points in 4 population-based cohorts from the United Kingdom and Finland (N = 5,590; 2.5 to 23.0 years of follow-up). Concentration changes in 80 lipid and metabolite measures during follow-up were compared between 716 individuals who started statin therapy and 4,874 persistent nonusers. To further understand the pharmacological effects of statins, we used Mendelian randomization to assess associations of a genetic variant known to mimic inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase (the intended drug target) with the same lipids and metabolites for 27,914 individuals from 8 population-based cohorts.
Starting statin therapy was associated with numerous lipoprotein and fatty acid changes, including substantial lowering of remnant cholesterol (80% relative to low-density lipoprotein cholesterol [LDL-C]), but only modest lowering of triglycerides (25% relative to LDL-C). Among fatty acids, omega-6 levels decreased the most (68% relative to LDL-C); other fatty acids were only modestly affected. No robust changes were observed for circulating amino acids, ketones, or glycolysis-related metabolites. The intricate metabolic changes associated with statin use closely matched the association pattern with rs12916 in the HMGCR gene (R2 = 0.94, slope 1.00 ± 0.03).
Statin use leads to extensive lipid changes beyond LDL-C and appears efficacious for lowering remnant cholesterol. Metabolomic profiling, however, suggested minimal effects on amino acids. The results exemplify how detailed metabolic characterization of genetic proxies for drug targets can inform indications, pleiotropic effects, and pharmacological mechanisms.
cholesterol lowering; drug development; lipoproteins; Mendelian randomization; metabolomics; CVD, cardiovascular disease; HDL, high-density lipoprotein; HMGCR, HMG-CoA reductase; IDL, intermediate-density lipoprotein; LDL-C, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol; NMR, nuclear magnetic resonance; VLDL, very-low-density lipoprotein
High-throughput profiling of circulating metabolites may improve cardiovascular risk prediction over established risk factors.
Methods and Results
We applied quantitative NMR metabolomics to identify biomarkers for incident cardiovascular disease during long-term follow-up. Biomarker discovery was conducted in the FINRISK study (n=7256; 800 events). Replication and incremental risk prediction was assessed in the SABRE study (n=2622; 573 events) and British Women’s Health and Heart Study (n=3563; 368 events). In targeted analyses of 68 lipids and metabolites, 33 measures were associated with incident cardiovascular events at P<0.0007 after adjusting for age, sex, blood pressure, smoking, diabetes and medication. When further adjusting for routine lipids, four metabolites were associated with future cardiovascular events in meta-analyses: higher serum phenylalanine (hazard ratio per standard deviation: 1.18 [95%CI 1.12–1.24]; P=4×10−10) and monounsaturated fatty acid levels (1.17 [1.11–1.24]; P=1×10−8) were associated with increased cardiovascular risk, while higher omega-6 fatty acids (0.89 [0.84–0.94]; P=6×10−5) and docosahexaenoic acid levels (0.90 [0.86–0.95]; P=5×10−5) were associated with lower risk. A risk score incorporating these four biomarkers was derived in FINRISK. Risk prediction estimates were more accurate in the two validation cohorts (relative integrated discrimination improvement 8.8% and 4.3%), albeit discrimination was not enhanced. Risk classification was particularly improved for persons in the 5–10% risk range (net reclassification 27.1% and 15.5%). Biomarker associations were further corroborated with mass spectrometry in FINRISK (n=671) and the Framingham Offspring Study (n=2289).
Metabolite profiling in large prospective cohorts identified phenylalanine, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids as biomarkers for cardiovascular risk. This study substantiates the value of high-throughput metabolomics for biomarker discovery and improved risk assessment.
biomarkers; metabolomics; risk prediction; amino acids; fatty acids
Blood pressure (BP) tends to increase across childhood and adolescence, but the genetic influences on rates of BP change are not known. Potentially important genetic influences could include genetic variants identified in genome-wide association studies of adults as being associated with BP, height, and body mass index. Understanding the contribution of these genetic variants to changes in BP across childhood and adolescence could yield understanding into the life course development of cardiovascular risk.
Methods and Results
Pooling data from 2 cohorts (the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children [n=7013] and the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort [n=1459]), we examined the associations of allelic scores of 29 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for adult BP, 180 height SNPs, and 32 body mass index SNPs, with trajectories of systolic BP (SBP) from 6 to 17 years of age, using linear spline multilevel models. The allelic scores of BP and body mass index SNPs were associated with SBP at 6 years of age (per-allele effect sizes, 0.097 mm Hg [SE, 0.039 mm Hg] and 0.107 mm Hg [SE, 0.037 mm Hg]); associations with age-related changes in SBP between 6 and 17 years of age were of small magnitude and imprecisely estimated. The allelic score of height SNPs was only weakly associated with SBP changes. No sex or cohort differences in genetic effects were observed.
Allelic scores of BP and body mass index SNPs demonstrated associations with SBP at 6 years of age with a similar magnitude but were not strongly associated with changes in SBP with age between 6 and 17 years. Further work is required to identify variants associated with changes with age in BP.
adolescent; blood pressure; genetics; humans
Active for life year 5 (AFLY5) is a school-based intervention, based on social cognitive theory, which aims to promote healthy levels of physical activity and healthy eating by improving a child’s self-efficacy to make healthy choices, their knowledge of how to make such choices and prompting parents to support their children to make healthy choices. Previously published results showed no effect on the three primary outcomes and beneficial effects on three of nine secondary outcomes (time spent screen-viewing at weekends, consumption of snacks and of high energy drinks). This paper aims to determine the effect of the intervention on potential mediators.
We conducted a cluster RCT of a school-based intervention, with allocation concealed by use of a remote system. The study was undertaken in the South West of England between 2011 and 2013. Participants were school children who were age 8–9 years at baseline assessment and 9–10 years during the intervention. Potential mediators were assessed at the end of the intervention. The intervention consisted of teacher training, provision of all materials required for lessons and homeworks and written materials for school newsletters and parents. The ten potential mediators were child-reported self-efficacy for physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption, perceived parental logistic support and modelling for their child’s physical activity, parental efforts to limit their child’s sedentary behaviour and modelling of healthy fruit and vegetable consumption, together with a knowledge assessment.
We successfully recruited 60 schools with over 2,221 children; valid data for the 10 mediators were available for 87 % to 96 % of participants. Three of the ten potential mediators were greater in the intervention, compared with the control group: fruit and vegetable self-efficacy 2.2 units (95 % CI: 0.7 to 3.8), assessed on a scale 26 to 130; child-reported maternal limitation of sedentary behaviour 0.5 (0.1 to 0.8), scale 4 to 16; and knowledge 0.5 (0.2, 0.7) scale 0 to 9. Reported maternal limitation of sedentary behaviour and the child’s knowledge explained 23 % of the effect of the intervention on reducing time spent on sedentary behaviour at the weekend. There was no effect on other mediators.
Our findings suggest that the effect of the AFLY5 intervention on reducing screen-viewing at weekends was partially mediated by an effect on mothers limiting their child’s time spent sedentary and on increasing the child’s knowledge about healthy behaviour. However, overall our findings suggest that theory driven interventions, like AFLY5, can fail to influence most potential mediators and this may explain the failure of the intervention to improve most primary and secondary outcomes.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN50133740. Registered 17/03/2011
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12889-016-2734-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Gallbladder disease (GBD) has an overall prevalence of 10-40% depending on factors such as age, gender, population, obesity and diabetes, and represents a major economic burden. While gallstones are composed of cholesterol by-products and are associated with obesity, presumed causal pathways remain unproven, although BMI reduction is typically recommended. We performed genetic studies to discover candidate genes and define pathways involved in GBD. We genotyped 15,241 women of European ancestry from three cohorts, including 3,216 with GBD, using the Human cardiovascular disease (HumanCVD) BeadChip (Illumina, San Diego, CA) containing up to ~53,000 SNPs. Effect sizes with p values for development of GBD were generated. We identify two new loci associated with GBD, GCKR rs1260326:T>C (P=5.88×10−7, ß=−0.146) and TTC39B rs686030:C>A (P=6.95×10−7, ß=0.271) and detect four independent SNP effects in ABCG8 rs4953023:G>A (P=7.41×10−47, ß=0.734), ABCG8 rs4299376:G>T (P=2.40×10−18, ß=0.278), ABCG5 rs6544718:T>C (P=2.08×10−14, ß=0.044) and ABCG5 rs6720173:G>C (P=3.81×10−12, ß=0.262) in conditional analyses taking genotypes of rs4953023:G>A as a covariate. We also delineate the risk effects among many genotypes known to influence lipids. These data, from the largest GBD genetic study to date, show that specific, mainly hepatocyte-centred, components of lipid metabolism are important to GBD risk in women. We discuss the potential pharmaceutical implications of our findings.
gallbladder disease; genetics; lipids; women; cardiovascular gene-centric 50K SNP array
The use of genetic markers as instrumental variables (IV) is receiving increasing attention from economists, statisticians, epidemiologists and social scientists. Although IV is commonly used in economics, the appropriate conditions for the use of genetic variants as instruments have not been well defined. The increasing availability of biomedical data, however, makes understanding of these conditions crucial to the successful use of genotypes as instruments. We combine the econometric IV literature with that from genetic epidemiology, and discuss the biological conditions and IV assumptions within the statistical potential outcomes framework. We review this in the context of two illustrative applications.
ALSPAC; Genetic variants; Instrumental variables; Mendelian randomization; Potential outcomes
Gallbladder disease (GBD) has an overall prevalence of 10–40% depending on factors such as age, gender, population, obesity and diabetes, and represents a major economic burden. Although gallstones are composed of cholesterol by-products and are associated with obesity, presumed causal pathways remain unproven, although BMI reduction is typically recommended. We performed genetic studies to discover candidate genes and define pathways involved in GBD. We genotyped 15 241 women of European ancestry from three cohorts, including 3216 with GBD, using the Human cardiovascular disease (HumanCVD) BeadChip containing up to ~53 000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Effect sizes with P-values for development of GBD were generated. We identify two new loci associated with GBD, GCKR rs1260326:T>C (P=5.88 × 10−7, ß=−0.146) and TTC39B rs686030:C>A (P=6.95x10−7, ß=0.271) and detect four independent SNP effects in ABCG8 rs4953023:G>A (P=7.41 × 10−47, ß=0.734), ABCG8 rs4299376:G>T (P=2.40 × 10−18, ß=0.278), ABCG5 rs6544718:T>C (P=2.08 × 10−14, ß=0.044) and ABCG5 rs6720173:G>C (P=3.81 × 10−12, ß=0.262) in conditional analyses taking genotypes of rs4953023:G>A as a covariate. We also delineate the risk effects among many genotypes known to influence lipids. These data, from the largest GBD genetic study to date, show that specific, mainly hepatocyte-centred, components of lipid metabolism are important to GBD risk in women. We discuss the potential pharmaceutical implications of our findings.
Previous studies have reported an inverse association between vitamin D and childhood dental caries, but whether this is causal is unclear.
To determine the causal effect of circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration on dental caries experience, early caries onset and the requirement for a dental general anesthetic.
A Mendelian randomization study was undertaken, using genetic variants known to be associated with circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in 5,545 European origin children from the South West of England. Data on caries and related characteristics were obtained from parental and child completed questionnaires between 38 and 91 months and clinical assessments in a random 10% sample at 31, 44 and 61 months.
In multivariable confounder adjusted analyses no strong evidence for an association of 25-hydroxyvitamin D with caries experience or severity was found but there was evidence for an association with early caries onset, or having a general anesthetic for dental problems. In Mendelian randomization analysis the odds ratio for caries experience per 10 nmol/L increase in 25-hydroxyvitamin D was 0.93 (95% confidence interval: 0.83, 1.05; P = 0.26) and the odds ratio for dental general anaesthetic per 10 nmol/L increase in 25-hydroxyvitamin D was 0.96 (95% confidence interval: 0.75, 1.22; P = 0.72).
This Mendelian randomization study provides little evidence to support an inverse causal effect of 25-hydroxyvitamin D on dental caries. However, the estimates are imprecise and a larger study is required to refine these analyses.
The etiology of major depressive disorder (MDD) is likely to be heterogeneous, but postpartum depression (PPD) is hypothesized to represent a more homogenous subset of MDD. We use genome-wide SNP data to explore this hypothesis.
We assembled a total cohort of 1,420 self-report cases of PPD and 9,473 controls with genome-wide genotypes from Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. We estimated the total variance attributable to genotyped variants. We used association results from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortia (PGC) of Bipolar Disorder (BPD) and MDD to create polygenic scores in PPD and related MDD data sets to estimate the genetic overlap between the disorders.
We estimated that the percentage of variance on the liability scale explained by common genetic variants to be 0.22 with a standard error of 0.12, p = 0.02. The R2 from a logistic regression of PPD case-control status in all four cohorts on a SNP profile score weighted by PGC-BPD association results was small (0.1%) but significant (p= 0.004) indicating a genetic overlap between BPD and PPD. The results were highly significant in the Australian and Dutch cohorts (R2 > 1.1%, p < 0.008), where the majority of cases met criteria for MDD. The genetic overlap between BPD and MDD was not significant in larger Australian and Dutch MDD case-control cohorts after excluding PPD cases (R2 =0.06%, p= 0.08), despite the larger MDD group affording more power.
Our results suggest empirical genetic evidence for a more important shared genetic etiology between BPD and PPD, than between BPD and MDD.
depression; postpartum; bipolar
To describe the feasibility, reliability and additional information gained from collecting additional body fatness measures (beyond height and weight) from UK reception year children.
Prospective cohort study.
2458 reception year children participating in the Born in Bradford (BiB) cohort study.
Main outcome measures
The feasibility and reliability of subscapular and triceps skinfold measurements and differences in adiposity between ethnic groups.
Of those children who were matched to their school, 91% had a subscapular skinfold measurement and 92% had a triceps skinfold measurement recorded. Reliability was generally over 90% for all measurers and both measurements. Pakistani children were slightly taller but weighed less and had lower triceps skinfold thickness (mean difference −1.8 mm, 95% CI −2.1 to −1.4 mm) but higher subscapular (mean difference 0.1 mm, 95% CI −0.1 to 0.4 mm) than white British children.
We have shown that it is feasible for school nurses to collect skinfold measurements in a similar way to the height and weight measurements collected from reception year children for the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP), and that these measurements are reliable. It is important for healthcare practice to acknowledge ethnic-specific risk and these additional measurements can provide important information to examine population-level risk in populations with large proportions of South Asian children.
Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) is an essential messenger of sexual differentiation in the foetus and is an emerging biomarker of postnatal reproductive function in females. Due to a paucity of adequately sized studies, the genetic determinants of circulating AMH levels are poorly characterized. In samples from 2815 adolescents aged 15 from the ALSPAC study, we performed the first genome-wide association study of serum AMH levels across a set of ∼9 m ‘1000 Genomes Reference Panel’ imputed genetic variants. Genetic variants at the AMH protein-coding gene showed considerable allelic heterogeneity, with both common variants [rs4807216 (PMale = 2 × 10−49, Beta: ∼0.9 SDs per allele), rs8112524 (PMale = 3 × 10−8, Beta: ∼0.25)] and low-frequency variants [rs2385821 (PMale = 6 × 10−31, Beta: ∼1.2, frequency 3.6%)] independently associated with apparently large effect sizes in males, but not females. For all three SNPs, we highlight mechanistic links to AMH gene function and demonstrate highly significant sex interactions (PHet 0.0003–6.3 × 10−12), culminating in contrasting estimates of trait variance explained (24.5% in males versus 0.8% in females). Using these SNPs as a genetic proxy for AMH levels, we found no evidence in additional datasets to support a biological role for AMH in complex traits and diseases in men.
Active for Life Year 5 (AFLY5) is an educational programme for Year 5 children (aged 9–10) designed to increase children’s physical activity, decrease sedentary behaviour and increase fruit and vegetable intake. This paper reports findings from a process evaluation embedded within a randomised controlled trial evaluating the programme’s effectiveness. It considers the fidelity of implementation of AFLY5 with a focus on three research questions:To what extent was the intervention delivered as planned?In what ways, if any, did the teachers amend the programme? andWhat were the reasons for any amendments?
Mixed methods were used including data collection via observation of the intervention delivery, questionnaire, teacher’s intervention delivery log and semi-structured interviews with teachers and parents. Qualitative data were analysed thematically and quantitative data were summarised using descriptive statistics.
Following training, 42 of the 43 intervention school teachers/teaching staff (98 %) were confident they could deliver the nutrition and physical activity lessons according to plan. The mean number of lessons taught was 12.3 (s.d. 3.7), equating to 77 % of the intervention. Reach was high with 95 % of children in intervention schools receiving lessons. A mean of 6.2 (s.d. 2.6) out of 10 homeworks were delivered. Median lesson preparation time was 10 min (IQR 10–20) and 28 % of lessons were reported as having been amended. Qualitative findings revealed that those who amended the lessons did so to differentiate for student ability, update them for use with new technologies and to enhance teacher and student engagement. Teachers endorsed the aims of the intervention, but some were frustrated with having to adapt the lesson materials. Teachers also a reported tendency to delegate the physical activity lessons to other staff not trained in the intervention.
Fidelity of intervention implementation was good but teachers’ enthusiasm for the AFLY5 programme was mixed despite them believing that the messages behind the lessons were important. This may have meant that the intervention messages were not delivered as anticipated and explain why the intervention was found not to be effective.
RCT; School-based intervention; Process evaluation; Fidelity; Mixed methods; Diet; Physical activity; UK
Background & Aims
Narrative reviews of paediatric NAFLD quote prevalences in the general population that range from 9% to 37%; however, no systematic review of the prevalence of NAFLD in children/adolescents has been conducted. We aimed to estimate prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in young people and to determine whether this varies by BMI category, gender, age, diagnostic method, geographical region and study sample size.
We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of all studies reporting a prevalence of NAFLD based on any diagnostic method in participants 1–19 years old, regardless of whether assessing NAFLD prevalence was the main aim of the study.
The pooled mean prevalence of NAFLD in children from general population studies was 7.6% (95%CI: 5.5% to 10.3%) and 34.2% (95% CI: 27.8% to 41.2%) in studies based on child obesity clinics. In both populations there was marked heterogeneity between studies (I2 = 98%). There was evidence that prevalence was generally higher in males compared with females and increased incrementally with greater BMI. There was evidence for differences between regions in clinical population studies, with estimated prevalence being highest in Asia. There was no evidence that prevalence changed over time. Prevalence estimates in studies of children/adolescents attending obesity clinics and in obese children/adolescents from the general population were substantially lower when elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) was used to assess NAFLD compared with biopsies, ultrasound scan (USS) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Our review suggests the prevalence of NAFLD in young people is high, particularly in those who are obese and in males.
brachial blood pressure; central blood pressure; cardiovascular disease risk factors; systolic function; diastolic function; heart structure; adolescents; ALSPAC
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common reproductive disorder in women, yet there is little consensus regarding its aetiology. Here we perform a genome-wide association study of PCOS in up to 5,184 self-reported cases of White European ancestry and 82,759 controls, with follow-up in a further ∼2,000 clinically validated cases and ∼100,000 controls. We identify six signals for PCOS at genome-wide statistical significance (P<5 × 10−8), in/near genes ERBB4/HER4, YAP1, THADA, FSHB, RAD50 and KRR1. Variants in/near three of the four epidermal growth factor receptor genes (ERBB2/HER2, ERBB3/HER3 and ERBB4/HER4) are associated with PCOS at or near genome-wide significance. Mendelian randomization analyses indicate causal roles in PCOS aetiology for higher BMI (P=2.5 × 10−9), higher insulin resistance (P=6 × 10−4) and lower serum sex hormone binding globulin concentrations (P=5 × 10−4). Furthermore, genetic susceptibility to later menopause is associated with higher PCOS risk (P=1.6 × 10−8) and PCOS-susceptibility alleles are associated with higher serum anti-Müllerian hormone concentrations in girls (P=8.9 × 10−5). This large-scale study implicates an aetiological role of the epidermal growth factor receptors, infers causal mechanisms relevant to clinical management and prevention, and suggests balancing selection mechanisms involved in PCOS risk.
This paper describes the largest genome-wide association study to date on polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a common reproductive disorder in women. Six genetic loci—including known targets of cancer chemotherapy—were identified, and the authors infer causal and balancing selection mechanisms involved in PCOS risk and susceptibility.
Diagnosis of gestational diabetes predicts risk of infants who are large for gestational age (LGA) and with high adiposity, which in turn aims to predict a future risk of obesity in the offspring. South Asian women have higher risk of gestational diabetes, lower risk of LGA, and on average give birth to infants with greater adiposity than do white European women. Whether the same diagnostic criteria for gestational diabetes should apply to both groups of women is unclear. We aimed to assess the association between maternal glucose and adverse perinatal outcomes to ascertain whether thresholds used to diagnose gestational diabetes should differ between south Asian and white British women. We also aimed to assess whether ethnic origin affected prevalence of gestational diabetes irrespective of criteria used.
We used data (including results of a 26–28 week gestation oral glucose tolerance test) of women from the Born in Bradford study, a prospective study that recruited women attending the antenatal clinic at the Bradford Royal Infirmary, UK, between 2007 and 2011 and who intended to give birth to their infant in that hospital. We studied the association between fasting and 2 h post-load glucose and three primary outcomes (LGA [defined as birthweight >90th percentile for gestational age], high infant adiposity [sum of skinfolds >90th percentile for gestational age], and caesarean section). We calculated adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for a 1 SD increase in fasting and post-load glucose. We established fasting and post-load glucose thresholds that equated to an OR of 1·75 for LGA and high infant adiposity in each group of women to identify ethnic-specific criteria for diagnosis of gestational diabetes.
Of 13 773 pregnancies, 3420 were excluded from analyses. Of 10 353 eligible pregnancies, 4088 women were white British, 5408 were south Asian, and 857 were of other ethnic origin. The adjusted ORs of LGA per 1 SD fasting glucose were 1·22 (95% CI 1·08–1·38) in white British women and 1·43 (1·23–1·67) in south Asian women (pinteraction with ethnicity = 0·39). Results for high infant adiposity were 1·35 (1·23–1·49) and 1·35 (1·18–1·54; pinteraction with ethnicity=0·98), and for caesarean section they were 1·06 (0·97–1·16) and 1·11 (1·02–1·20; pinteraction with ethnicity=0·47). Associations between post-load glucose and the three primary outcomes were weaker than for fasting glucose. A fasting glucose concentration of 5·4 mmol/L or a 2 h post-load level of 7·5 mmol/L identified white British women with 75% or higher relative risk of LGA or high infant adiposity; in south Asian women, the cutoffs were 5·2 mmol/L or 7·2 mml/L; in the whole cohort, the cutoffs were 5·3 mmol/L or 7·5 mml/L. The prevalence of gestational diabetes in our cohort ranged from 1·2% to 8·7% in white British women and 4% to 24% in south Asian women using six different criteria. Compared with the application of our whole-cohort criteria, use of our ethnic-specific criteria increased the prevalence of gestational diabetes in south Asian women from 17·4% (95% CI 16·4–18·4) to 24·2% (23·1–25·3).
Our data support the use of lower fasting and post-load glucose thresholds to diagnose gestational diabetes in south Asian than white British women. They also suggest that diagnostic criteria for gestational diabetes recommended by UK NICE might underestimate the prevalence of gestational diabetes compared with our criteria or those recommended by the International Association of Diabetes and Pregnancy Study Groups and WHO, especially in south Asian women.
The National Institute for Health Research.
To investigate, using a Mendelian randomisation approach, whether heavier smoking is associated with a range of regional adiposity phenotypes, in particular those related to abdominal adiposity.
Mendelian randomisation meta-analyses using a genetic variant (rs16969968/rs1051730 in the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 gene region) as a proxy for smoking heaviness, of the associations of smoking heaviness with a range of adiposity phenotypes.
148 731 current, former and never-smokers of European ancestry aged ≥16 years from 29 studies in the consortium for Causal Analysis Research in Tobacco and Alcohol (CARTA).
Primary outcome measures
Waist and hip circumferences, and waist-hip ratio.
The data included up to 66 809 never-smokers, 43 009 former smokers and 38 913 current daily cigarette smokers. Among current smokers, for each extra minor allele, the geometric mean was lower for waist circumference by −0.40% (95% CI −0.57% to −0.22%), with effects on hip circumference, waist-hip ratio and body mass index (BMI) being −0.31% (95% CI −0.42% to −0.19), −0.08% (−0.19% to 0.03%) and −0.74% (−0.96% to −0.51%), respectively. In contrast, among never-smokers, these effects were higher by 0.23% (0.09% to 0.36%), 0.17% (0.08% to 0.26%), 0.07% (−0.01% to 0.15%) and 0.35% (0.18% to 0.52%), respectively. When adjusting the three central adiposity measures for BMI, the effects among current smokers changed direction and were higher by 0.14% (0.05% to 0.22%) for waist circumference, 0.02% (−0.05% to 0.08%) for hip circumference and 0.10% (0.02% to 0.19%) for waist-hip ratio, for each extra minor allele.
For a given BMI, a gene variant associated with increased cigarette consumption was associated with increased waist circumference. Smoking in an effort to control weight may lead to accumulation of central adiposity.
More time outdoors is associated with a lesser risk of myopia, but the underlying mechanism is unclear. We tested the hypothesis that 25-hydroxyvitamin D (vitamin D) mediates the protective effects of time outdoors against myopia.
We analyzed data for children participating in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) population-based birth cohort: noncycloplegic autorefraction at age 7 to 15 years; maternal report of time outdoors at age 8 years and serum vitamin D2 and D3 at age 10 years. A survival analysis hazard ratio (HR) for incident myopia was calculated for children spending a high- versus low-time outdoors, before and after controlling for vitamin D level (N = 3677).
Total vitamin D and D3, but not D2, levels were higher in children who spent more time outdoors (mean [95% confidence interval (CI)] vitamin D in nmol/L: Total, 60.0 [59.4–60.6] vs. 56.9 [55.0–58.8], P = 0.001; D3, 55.4 [54.9–56.0] vs. 53.0 [51.3–54.9], P = 0.014; D2, 5.7 [5.5–5.8] vs. 5.4 [5.1–5.8], P = 0.23). In models including both time outdoors and sunlight-exposure–related vitamin D, there was no independent association between vitamin D and incident myopia (Total, HR = 0.83 [0.66–1.04], P = 0.11; D3, HR = 0.89 [0.72–1.10], P = 0.30), while time outdoors retained the same strong negative association with incident myopia as in unadjusted models (HR = 0.69 [0.55–0.86], P = 0.001).
Total vitamin D and D3 were biomarkers for time spent outdoors, however there was no evidence they were independently associated with future myopia.
In a birth cohort with longitudinal refractive error covering ages 7 to 15 years, the evidence did not support the hypothesis that vitamin D mediated the protective effects of time spent outdoors against incident myopia. This suggests an alternative mechanism underlies time outdoors' protective effects.
myopia; refractive error; epidemiology; vitamin D; light levels
Maternal diabetes in pregnancy results in greater offspring adiposity at birth. It is unclear whether it is associated with greater adiposity into adulthood, and if so whether this is via intrauterine mechanisms or shared familial characteristics.
Methods and Results
A record linkage prospective cohort study of 280,866 singleton-born Swedish men from 248,293 families was used to explore the intrauterine effect of maternal diabetes on offspring body mass index (BMI) in early adulthood. Maternal diabetes during pregnancy was associated with greater mean BMI at age 18 in their sons. The difference in BMI was similar within brothers and between non-siblings. BMI of men whose mothers had diabetes during their pregnancy was on average 0.94kg/m2 greater (95%CI: 0.35, 1.52) than in their brothers born before their mother was diagnosed with diabetes, after adjustment for birth year, maternal age, parity and education, birthweight, gestational age and age at assessment of BMI. Early-pregnancy BMI was positively associated with son’s BMI between non-siblings, but there was no association within brothers. Adjustment of the maternal diabetes-offspring BMI association for maternal BMI did not alter the association either within brothers or between non-siblings. Results were also robust to sensitivity analyses restricting the within sibling analyses to siblings born within 3 years of each other.
Maternal diabetes has long-term consequences for greater BMI in offspring and this association is likely to be via intrauterine mechanisms and is independent of maternal BMI in early pregnancy.
Pregnancy diabetes; developmental overnutrition; obesity; epidemiology
Background: Several studies have investigated the effect of known adult body mass index (BMI) associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on BMI in childhood. There has been no genome-wide association study (GWAS) of BMI trajectories over childhood.
Methods: We conducted a GWAS meta-analysis of BMI trajectories from 1 to 17 years of age in 9377 children (77 967 measurements) from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) and the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study. Genome-wide significant loci were examined in a further 3918 individuals (48 530 measurements) from Northern Finland. Linear mixed effects models with smoothing splines were used in each cohort for longitudinal modelling of BMI.
Results: A novel SNP, downstream from the FAM120AOS gene on chromosome 9, was detected in the meta-analysis of ALSPAC and Raine. This association was driven by a difference in BMI at 8 years (T allele of rs944990 increased BMI; PSNP = 1.52 × 10−8), with a modest association with change in BMI over time (PWald(Change) = 0.006). Three known adult BMI-associated loci (FTO, MC4R and ADCY3) and one childhood obesity locus (OLFM4) reached genome-wide significance (PWald < 1.13 × 10−8) with BMI at 8 years and/or change over time.
Conclusions: This GWAS of BMI trajectories over childhood identified a novel locus that warrants further investigation. We also observed genome-wide significance with previously established obesity loci, making the novel observation that these loci affected both the level and the rate of change in BMI. We have demonstrated that the use of repeated measures data can increase power to allow detection of genetic loci with smaller sample sizes.
Body mass index; genome-wide association study; trajectory; childhood; ALSPAC; Raine
Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are related to higher offspring blood pressure (BP), but it is not known whether this association strengthens or weakens as BP changes across childhood. Our aim was to assess the associations of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and maternal BP changes during pregnancy with trajectories of offspring BP from age 7 to 18 years.
Methods and Results
In a large UK cohort of maternal–offspring pairs (N=6619), we used routine antenatal BP measurements to derive hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and maternal BP trajectories. These were related to offspring BP trajectories, obtained from research clinic assessments, using linear spline random-effects models. After adjusting for maternal and offspring variables, including body mass index, offspring of women who had existing hypertension, gestational hypertension, or preeclampsia during pregnancy had on average higher BP at age 7 years compared to offspring of normotensive pregnancies (mean difference [95%CI] in systolic BP: 1.67 mm Hg [0.48, 2.86], 1.98 mm Hg [1.32, 2.65], and 1.22 mm Hg [−0.52, 2.97], respectively). These differences were consistent across childhood to age 18 years, as the patterns of BP change did not differ between offspring of hypertensive pregnancies and normotensive pregnancies. Maternal BP at 8 weeks’ gestation was also positively associated with offspring BP in childhood and adolescence, but changes in BP across pregnancy were not strongly associated.
The differences in BP between offspring of hypertensive pregnancies and offspring of normotensive pregnancies remain consistent across childhood and adolescence. These associations appear to be most contributed to by higher maternal BP in early pregnancy rather than by pregnancy-related BP changes.
ALSPAC; blood pressure; change; childhood; gestational hypertension; preeclampsia; pregnancy