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1.  Multiple type 2 diabetes susceptibility genes following genome-wide association scan in UK samples 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2007;316(5829):1336-1341.
The molecular mechanisms involved in the development of type 2 diabetes are poorly understood. Starting from genome-wide genotype data for 1,924 diabetic cases and 2,938 population controls generated by the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, we set out to detect replicated diabetes association signals through analysis of 3,757 additional cases and 5,346 controls, and by integration of our findings with equivalent data from other international consortia. We detected diabetes susceptibility loci in and around the genes CDKAL1, CDKN2A/CDKN2B and IGF2BP2 and confirmed the recently described associations at HHEX/IDE and SLC30A8. Our findings provide insights into the genetic architecture of type 2 diabetes, emphasizing the contribution of multiple variants of modest effect. The regions identified underscore the importance of pathways influencing pancreatic beta cell development and function in the etiology of type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3772310  PMID: 17463249
2.  Underlying Genetic Models of Inheritance in Established Type 2 Diabetes Associations 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2009;170(5):537-545.
For most associations of common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with common diseases, the genetic model of inheritance is unknown. The authors extended and applied a Bayesian meta-analysis approach to data from 19 studies on 17 replicated associations with type 2 diabetes. For 13 SNPs, the data fitted very well to an additive model of inheritance for the diabetes risk allele; for 4 SNPs, the data were consistent with either an additive model or a dominant model; and for 2 SNPs, the data were consistent with an additive or recessive model. Results were robust to the use of different priors and after exclusion of data for which index SNPs had been examined indirectly through proxy markers. The Bayesian meta-analysis model yielded point estimates for the genetic effects that were very similar to those previously reported based on fixed- or random-effects models, but uncertainty about several of the effects was substantially larger. The authors also examined the extent of between-study heterogeneity in the genetic model and found generally small between-study deviation values for the genetic model parameter. Heterosis could not be excluded for 4 SNPs. Information on the genetic model of robustly replicated association signals derived from genome-wide association studies may be useful for predictive modeling and for designing biologic and functional experiments.
PMCID: PMC2732984  PMID: 19602701
Bayes theorem; diabetes mellitus, type 2; meta-analysis; models, genetic; polymorphism, genetic; population characteristics
3.  Underlying genetic models of inheritance in established type 2 diabetes associations 
American journal of epidemiology  2009;170(5):537-545.
For most associations of common polymorphisms with common diseases, the genetic model of inheritance is unknown. We extended and applied a Bayesian meta-analysis approach to data from 19 studies on 17 replicated associations for type 2 diabetes. For 13 polymorphisms, the data fit very well to an additive model, for 4 polymorphisms the data were consistent with either an additive or dominant model, and for 2 polymorphisms with an additive or recessive model of inheritance for the diabetes risk allele. Results were robust to using different priors and after excluding data where index polymorphisms had been examined indirectly through proxy markers. The Bayesian meta-analysis model yielded point estimates for the genetic effects that are very similar to those previously reported based on fixed or random effects models, but uncertainty about several of the effects was substantially larger. We also examined the extent of between-study heterogeneity in the genetic model and found generally small values of the between-study deviation for the genetic model parameter. Heterosis could not be excluded in 4 SNPs. Information on the genetic model of robustly replicated GWA-derived association signals may be useful for predictive modeling, and for designing biological and functional experiments.
PMCID: PMC2732984  PMID: 19602701
4.  Bioactive lipids sphingosine-1-phosphate and ceramide-1-phosphate are pro-metastatic factors in human rhabdomyosarcomas cell lines, and their tissue level increases in response to radio/chemotherapy 
Molecular cancer research : MCR  2013;11(7):793-807.
We observed that sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) and ceramide-1-phosphate (C1P) strongly enhance in vitro motility and adhesion of human rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) cells. This effect was observed at physiological concentrations of both bioactive lipids, which are present in biological fluids, and is much stronger than the effects observed in response to known RMS pro-metastatic factors such as stromal derived factors-1 (SDF-1) or hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF). We also present novel evidence that the levels of S1P and C1P increase in several organs after γ-irradiation or chemotherapy, which indicates induction of an unwanted pro-metastatic environment related to treatment. Most importantly, we found that the metastasis of RMS cells in response to S1P can be effectively inhibited in vivo with the S1P-specific binder NOX-S93 that is based on a high affinity Spiegelmer. We propose that bioactive lipids play a previously underappreciated role in dissemination of RMS and the unwanted side effects of radio/chemotherapy by creating a pro-metastatic microenvironment. Therefore, an anti-metastatic treatment with specific S1P-binding scavenger such as NOX-S93 could become a part of standard radio/chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3720846  PMID: 23615526
sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P); ceramide-1-phosphate (C1P); rhabdomyosarcomas; methastasis
5.  Phosphoinositides: Minor Lipids Make a Major Impact on Photoreceptor Cell Functions 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:5463.
Activation of the phosphoinositide (PI) cycle generates the second messengers that control various aspects of cellular signaling. We have previously shown that two PI cycle enzymes, type II phosphatidylinositol 5-phosphate 4-kinase (PIPK IIα) and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), are activated through light stimulation. In our earlier studies, we measured enzyme activities, instead of directly measuring the products, due to lack of sensitive analytical techniques. Cells have very low levels of PIs, compared to other lipids, so special techniques and sensitive analytical instruments are necessary for their identification and quantification. There are also other considerations, such as different responses in different cell types, which may complicate quantification of PIs. For example, although light activated PIPK IIα, there was no increase in PI-4,5-P2 measured by liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC/MS) This discrepancy is due to the heterogeneous nature of the retina, which is composed of various cell types. In this study, we examined PI generation in situ using immunohistochemistry with specific PI antibodies. PIs were generated in specific retinal cell layers, suggesting that analyzing PIs from the total retina by LC/MS underscores the significance. This suggests that PI-specific antibodies are useful tools to study the cell-specific regulation of PIs in the retina.
PMCID: PMC4071336  PMID: 24964953
6.  Targeted genetic testing for familial hypercholesterolaemia using next generation sequencing: a population-based study 
BMC Medical Genetics  2014;15:70.
Familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) is a common Mendelian condition which, untreated, results in premature coronary heart disease. An estimated 88% of FH cases are undiagnosed in the UK. We previously validated a method for FH mutation detection in a lipid clinic population using next generation sequencing (NGS), but this did not address the challenge of identifying index cases in primary care where most undiagnosed patients receive healthcare. Here, we evaluate the targeted use of NGS as a potential route to diagnosis of FH in a primary care population subset selected for hypercholesterolaemia.
We used microfluidics-based PCR amplification coupled with NGS and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) to detect mutations in LDLR, APOB and PCSK9 in three phenotypic groups within the Generation Scotland: Scottish Family Health Study including 193 individuals with high total cholesterol, 232 with moderately high total cholesterol despite cholesterol-lowering therapy, and 192 normocholesterolaemic controls.
Pathogenic mutations were found in 2.1% of hypercholesterolaemic individuals, in 2.2% of subjects on cholesterol-lowering therapy and in 42% of their available first-degree relatives. In addition, variants of uncertain clinical significance (VUCS) were detected in 1.4% of the hypercholesterolaemic and cholesterol-lowering therapy groups. No pathogenic variants or VUCS were detected in controls.
We demonstrated that population-based genetic testing using these protocols is able to deliver definitive molecular diagnoses of FH in individuals with high cholesterol or on cholesterol-lowering therapy. The lower cost and labour associated with NGS-based testing may increase the attractiveness of a population-based approach to FH detection compared to genetic testing with conventional sequencing. This could provide one route to increasing the present low percentage of FH cases with a genetic diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC4083361  PMID: 24956927
Familial hypercholesterolaemia; Total cholesterol; LDLR; Molecular diagnostic testing; Next-generation sequencing; Primary care; Generation Scotland
7.  Common Carotid Intima Media Thickness and Ankle-Brachial Pressure Index Correlate with Local but Not Global Atheroma Burden: A Cross Sectional Study Using Whole Body Magnetic Resonance Angiography 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99190.
Common carotid intima media thickness (CIMT) and ankle brachial pressure index (ABPI) are used as surrogate marker of atherosclerosis, and have been shown to correlate with arterial stiffness, however their correlation with global atherosclerotic burden has not been previously assessed. We compare CIMT and ABPI with atheroma burden as measured by whole body magnetic resonance angiography (WB-MRA).
50 patients with symptomatic peripheral arterial disease were recruited. CIMT was measured using ultrasound while rest and exercise ABPI were performed. WB-MRA was performed in a 1.5T MRI scanner using 4 volume acquisitions with a divided dose of intravenous gadolinium gadoterate meglumine (Dotarem, Guerbet, FR). The WB-MRA data was divided into 31 anatomical arterial segments with each scored according to degree of luminal narrowing: 0 = normal, 1 = <50%, 2 = 50–70%, 3 = 70–99%, 4 = vessel occlusion. The segment scores were summed and from this a standardized atheroma score was calculated.
The atherosclerotic burden was high with a standardised atheroma score of 39.5±11. Common CIMT showed a positive correlation with the whole body atheroma score (β 0.32, p = 0.045), however this was due to its strong correlation with the neck and thoracic segments (β 0.42 p = 0.01) with no correlation with the rest of the body. ABPI correlated with the whole body atheroma score (β −0.39, p = 0.012), which was due to a strong correlation with the ilio-femoral vessels with no correlation with the thoracic or neck vessels. On multiple linear regression, no correlation between CIMT and global atheroma burden was present (β 0.13 p = 0.45), while the correlation between ABPI and atheroma burden persisted (β −0.45 p = 0.005).
ABPI but not CIMT correlates with global atheroma burden as measured by whole body contrast enhanced magnetic resonance angiography in a population with symptomatic peripheral arterial disease. However this is primarily due to a strong correlation with ilio-femoral atheroma burden.
PMCID: PMC4059661  PMID: 24933122
8.  Bioactive Lipids and Cationic Antimicrobial Peptides as New Potential Regulators for Trafficking of Bone Marrow-Derived Stem Cells in Patients with Acute Myocardial Infarction 
Stem Cells and Development  2013;22(11):1645-1656.
Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) triggers mobilization of stem cells from bone marrow (BM) into peripheral blood (PB). Based on our observation that the bioactive sphingophospholipids, sphingosine-1 phosphate (S1P), and ceramide-1 phosphate (C1P) regulate trafficking of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), we explored whether they also direct trafficking of non-hematopoietic stem cells (non-HSCs). We detected a 3–6-fold increase in circulating CD34+, CD133+, and CXCR4+ lineage-negative (Lin−)/CD45− cells that are enriched in non-HSCs [including endothelial progenitors (EPCs) and very small embryonic-like stem cells (VSELs)] in PB from AMI patients (P<0.05 vs. controls). Concurrently, we measured a ∼3-fold increase in S1P and C1P levels in plasma from AMI patients. At the same time, plasma obtained at hospital admission and 6 h after AMI strongly chemoattracted human BM-derived CD34+/Lin− and CXCR4+/Lin− cells in Transwell chemotaxis assays. This effect of plasma was blunted after depletion of S1P level by charcoal stripping and was further inhibited by the specific S1P1 receptor antagonist such as W146 and VPC23019. We also noted that the expression of S1P receptor 1 (S1P1), which is dominant in naïve BM, is reduced after the exposure to S1P at concentrations similar to the plasma S1P levels in patients with AMI, thus influencing the role of S1P in homing to the injured myocardium. Therefore, we examined mechanisms, other than bioactive lipids, that may contribute to the homing of BM non-HSCs to the infarcted myocardium. Hypoxic cardiac tissue increases the expression of cathelicidin and β-2 defensin, which could explain why PB cells isolated from patients with AMI migrated more efficiently to a low, yet physiological, gradient of stromal-derived factor-1 in Transwell migration assays. Together, these observations suggest that while elevated S1P and C1P levels early in the course of AMI may trigger mobilization of non-HSCs into PB, cathelicidin and β-2 defensin could play an important role in their homing to damaged myocardium.
PMCID: PMC3657281  PMID: 23282236
Canadian Journal of Surgery  2014;57(3):214-216.
PMCID: PMC4035405  PMID: 24869615
11.  Clinical and genetic determinants of progression of type 2 diabetes: A DIRECT Study 
Diabetes care  2013;37(3):718-724.
The rate at which diabetes progresses following diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is highly variable between individuals.
Research Design and Methods
We studied 5250 patients with type 2 diabetes using comprehensive electronic medical records on all patients in Tayside, Scotland from 1992 onwards. We investigated the association of clinical, biochemical and genetic factors with the risk of progression of type 2 diabetes from diagnosis to requirement for insulin treatment (defined as insulin treatment or HbA1c ≥8.5%/69 mmol/mol treated with two or more non-insulin diabetes therapies).
Risk of progression was associated with both low and high BMI. In an analysis stratified by BMI and HbA1c at diagnosis, faster progression was independently associated with younger age at diagnosis, higher log triacylglyceride concentrations (Hazard Ratio (HR) 1.28 per mmol/L (95% CI 1.15-1.42)) and lower HDL concentrations (HR 0.70 per mmol/L (95% CI 0.55-0.87)). A high genetic risk score derived from 61 diabetes risk variants was associated with a younger age of diagnosis, a younger age at starting insulin, but was not associated with the progression rate from diabetes to requirement for insulin treatment.
Increased triacylglyceride and low HDL are independently associated with increased rate of progression of diabetes. The genetic factors that predispose to diabetes are different from those that cause rapid progression of diabetes suggesting a difference in biological process that needs further investigation.
PMCID: PMC4038744  PMID: 24186880
12.  Heritability of variation in glycaemic response to metformin: a genome-wide complex trait analysis 
Metformin is a first-line oral agent used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, but glycaemic response to this drug is highly variable. Understanding the genetic contribution to metformin response might increase the possibility of personalising metformin treatment. We aimed to establish the heritability of glycaemic response to metformin using the genome-wide complex trait analysis (GCTA) method.
In this GCTA study, we obtained data about HbA1c concentrations before and during metformin treatment from patients in the Genetics of Diabetes Audit and Research in Tayside Scotland (GoDARTS) study, which includes a cohort of patients with type 2 diabetes and is linked to comprehensive clinical databases and genome-wide association study data. We applied the GCTA method to estimate heritability for four definitions of glycaemic response to metformin: absolute reduction in HbA1c; proportional reduction in HbA1c; adjusted reduction in HbA1c; and whether or not the target on-treatment HbA1c of less than 7% (53 mmol/mol) was achieved, with adjustment for baseline HbA1c and known clinical covariates. Chromosome-wise heritability estimation was used to obtain further information about the genetic architecture.
5386 individuals were included in the final dataset, of whom 2085 had enough clinical data to define glycaemic response to metformin. The heritability of glycaemic response to metformin varied by response phenotype, with a heritability of 34% (95% CI 1–68; p=0·022) for the absolute reduction in HbA1c, adjusted for pretreatment HbA1c. Chromosome-wise heritability estimates suggest that the genetic contribution is probably from individual variants scattered across the genome, which each have a small to moderate effect, rather than from a few loci that each have a large effect.
Glycaemic response to metformin is heritable, thus glycaemic response to metformin is, in part, intrinsic to individual biological variation. Further genetic analysis might enable us to make better predictions for stratified medicine and to unravel new mechanisms of metformin action.
Wellcome Trust.
PMCID: PMC4038749  PMID: 24731673
13.  Gene-Lifestyle Interaction and Type 2 Diabetes: The EPIC InterAct Case-Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(5):e1001647.
In this study, Wareham and colleagues quantified the combined effects of genetic and lifestyle factors on risk of T2D in order to inform strategies for prevention. The authors found that the relative effect of a type 2 diabetes genetic risk score is greater in younger and leaner participants, and the high absolute risk associated with obesity at any level of genetic risk highlights the importance of universal rather than targeted approaches to lifestyle intervention.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Understanding of the genetic basis of type 2 diabetes (T2D) has progressed rapidly, but the interactions between common genetic variants and lifestyle risk factors have not been systematically investigated in studies with adequate statistical power. Therefore, we aimed to quantify the combined effects of genetic and lifestyle factors on risk of T2D in order to inform strategies for prevention.
Methods and Findings
The InterAct study includes 12,403 incident T2D cases and a representative sub-cohort of 16,154 individuals from a cohort of 340,234 European participants with 3.99 million person-years of follow-up. We studied the combined effects of an additive genetic T2D risk score and modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors using Prentice-weighted Cox regression and random effects meta-analysis methods. The effect of the genetic score was significantly greater in younger individuals (p for interaction  = 1.20×10−4). Relative genetic risk (per standard deviation [4.4 risk alleles]) was also larger in participants who were leaner, both in terms of body mass index (p for interaction  = 1.50×10−3) and waist circumference (p for interaction  = 7.49×10−9). Examination of absolute risks by strata showed the importance of obesity for T2D risk. The 10-y cumulative incidence of T2D rose from 0.25% to 0.89% across extreme quartiles of the genetic score in normal weight individuals, compared to 4.22% to 7.99% in obese individuals. We detected no significant interactions between the genetic score and sex, diabetes family history, physical activity, or dietary habits assessed by a Mediterranean diet score.
The relative effect of a T2D genetic risk score is greater in younger and leaner participants. However, this sub-group is at low absolute risk and would not be a logical target for preventive interventions. The high absolute risk associated with obesity at any level of genetic risk highlights the importance of universal rather than targeted approaches to lifestyle intervention.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Worldwide, more than 380 million people currently have diabetes, and the condition is becoming increasingly common. Diabetes is characterized by high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Blood sugar levels are usually controlled by insulin, a hormone released by the pancreas after meals (digestion of food produces glucose). In people with type 2 diabetes (the commonest type of diabetes), blood sugar control fails because the fat and muscle cells that normally respond to insulin by removing excess sugar from the blood become less responsive to insulin. Type 2 diabetes can often initially be controlled with diet and exercise (lifestyle changes) and with antidiabetic drugs such as metformin and sulfonylureas, but patients may eventually need insulin injections to control their blood sugar levels. Long-term complications of diabetes, which include an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, reduce the life expectancy of people with diabetes by about ten years compared to people without diabetes.
Why Was This Study Done?
Type 2 diabetes is thought to originate from the interplay between genetic and lifestyle factors. But although rapid progress is being made in understanding the genetic basis of type 2 diabetes, it is not known whether the consequences of adverse lifestyles (for example, being overweight and/or physically inactive) differ according to an individual's underlying genetic risk of diabetes. It is important to investigate this question to inform strategies for prevention. If, for example, obese individuals with a high level of genetic risk have a higher risk of developing diabetes than obese individuals with a low level of genetic risk, then preventative strategies that target lifestyle interventions to obese individuals with a high genetic risk would be more effective than strategies that target all obese individuals. In this case-cohort study, researchers from the InterAct consortium quantify the combined effects of genetic and lifestyle factors on the risk of type 2 diabetes. A case-cohort study measures exposure to potential risk factors in a group (cohort) of people and compares the occurrence of these risk factors in people who later develop the disease with those who remain disease free.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The InterAct study involves 12,403 middle-aged individuals who developed type 2 diabetes after enrollment (incident cases) into the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) and a sub-cohort of 16,154 EPIC participants. The researchers calculated a genetic type 2 diabetes risk score for most of these individuals by determining which of 49 gene variants associated with type 2 diabetes each person carried, and collected baseline information about exposure to lifestyle risk factors for type 2 diabetes. They then used various statistical approaches to examine the combined effects of the genetic risk score and lifestyle factors on diabetes development. The effect of the genetic score was greater in younger individuals than in older individuals and greater in leaner participants than in participants with larger amounts of body fat. The absolute risk of type 2 diabetes, expressed as the ten-year cumulative incidence of type 2 diabetes (the percentage of participants who developed diabetes over a ten-year period) increased with increasing genetic score in normal weight individuals from 0.25% in people with the lowest genetic risk scores to 0.89% in those with the highest scores; in obese people, the ten-year cumulative incidence rose from 4.22% to 7.99% with increasing genetic risk score.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that in this middle-aged cohort, the relative association with type 2 diabetes of a genetic risk score comprised of a large number of gene variants is greatest in individuals who are younger and leaner at baseline. This finding may in part reflect the methods used to originally identify gene variants associated with type 2 diabetes, and future investigations that include other genetic variants, other lifestyle factors, and individuals living in other settings should be undertaken to confirm this finding. Importantly, however, this study shows that young, lean individuals with a high genetic risk score have a low absolute risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Thus, this sub-group of individuals is not a logical target for preventative interventions. Rather, suggest the researchers, the high absolute risk of type 2 diabetes associated with obesity at any level of genetic risk highlights the importance of universal rather than targeted approaches to lifestyle intervention.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse provides information about diabetes for patients, health-care professionals and the general public, including detailed information on diabetes prevention (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information for patients and carers about type 2 diabetes and about living with diabetes; it also provides people's stories about diabetes
The charity Diabetes UK provides detailed information for patients and carers in several languages, including information on healthy lifestyles for people with diabetes
The UK-based non-profit organization Healthtalkonline has interviews with people about their experiences of diabetes
The Genetic Landscape of Diabetes is published by the US National Center for Biotechnology Information
More information on the InterAct study is available
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources and advice about diabetes and diabetes prevention (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC4028183  PMID: 24845081
14.  Genetic variation in the CYP2B6 Gene is related to circulating 2,2’,4,4’-tetrabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-47) concentrations: an observational population-based study 
Environmental Health  2014;13:34.
Since human CYP2B6 has been identified as the major CYP enzyme involved in the metabolism of 2,2’,4,4’-tetrabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-47) and that human 2B6 is a highly polymorphic CYP, with known functional variants, we evaluated if circulating concentrations of a major brominated flame retardant, BDE-47, were related to genetic variation in the CYP2B6 gene in a population sample.
In the population-based Prospective Investigation of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors (PIVUS) study (men and women all aged 70), 25 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the CYP2B6 gene were genotyped. Circulating concentrations of BDE-47 were analyzed by high-resolution gas chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRGC/ HRMS).
Several SNPs in the CYP2B6 gene were associated with circulating concentrations of BDE-47 (P = 10-4 to 10-9). The investigated SNPs came primarily from two haplotypes, although the correlation between the haplotypes was rather high. Conditional analyses adjusting for the SNP with the strongest association with the exposure (rs2014141) did not provide evidence for independent signals.
Circulating concentrations of BDE-47 were related to genetic variation in the CYP2B6 gene in an elderly population.
PMCID: PMC4024654  PMID: 24885815
2,2’,4,4’-tetrabromodiphenyl ether; BDE-47; CYP; Elderly; Epidemiology; Gene; SNP
15.  Omega-3 Fatty Acids Reduce Adipose Tissue Macrophages in Human Subjects With Insulin Resistance 
Diabetes  2013;62(5):1709-1717.
Fish oils (FOs) have anti-inflammatory effects and lower serum triglycerides. This study examined adipose and muscle inflammatory markers after treatment of humans with FOs and measured the effects of ω-3 fatty acids on adipocytes and macrophages in vitro. Insulin-resistant, nondiabetic subjects were treated with Omega-3-Acid Ethyl Esters (4 g/day) or placebo for 12 weeks. Plasma macrophage chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) levels were reduced by FO, but the levels of other cytokines were unchanged. The adipose (but not muscle) of FO-treated subjects demonstrated a decrease in macrophages, a decrease in MCP-1, and an increase in capillaries, and subjects with the most macrophages demonstrated the greatest response to treatment. Adipose and muscle ω-3 fatty acid content increased after treatment; however, there was no change in insulin sensitivity or adiponectin. In vitro, M1-polarized macrophages expressed high levels of MCP-1. The addition of ω-3 fatty acids reduced MCP-1 expression with no effect on TNF-α. In addition, ω-3 fatty acids suppressed the upregulation of adipocyte MCP-1 that occurred when adipocytes were cocultured with macrophages. Thus, FO reduced adipose macrophages, increased capillaries, and reduced MCP-1 expression in insulin-resistant humans and in macrophages and adipocytes in vitro; however, there was no measureable effect on insulin sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC3636648  PMID: 23328126
16.  Genome-Wide Association Study Identifies a Novel Locus Contributing to Type 2 Diabetes Susceptibility in Sikhs of Punjabi Origin From India 
Diabetes  2013;62(5):1746-1755.
We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and a multistage meta-analysis of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in Punjabi Sikhs from India. Our discovery GWAS in 1,616 individuals (842 case subjects) was followed by in silico replication of the top 513 independent single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (P < 10−3) in Punjabi Sikhs (n = 2,819; 801 case subjects). We further replicated 66 SNPs (P < 10−4) through genotyping in a Punjabi Sikh sample (n = 2,894; 1,711 case subjects). On combined meta-analysis in Sikh populations (n = 7,329; 3,354 case subjects), we identified a novel locus in association with T2D at 13q12 represented by a directly genotyped intronic SNP (rs9552911, P = 1.82 × 10−8) in the SGCG gene. Next, we undertook in silico replication (stage 2b) of the top 513 signals (P < 10−3) in 29,157 non-Sikh South Asians (10,971 case subjects) and de novo genotyping of up to 31 top signals (P < 10−4) in 10,817 South Asians (5,157 case subjects) (stage 3b). In combined South Asian meta-analysis, we observed six suggestive associations (P < 10−5 to < 10−7), including SNPs at HMG1L1/CTCFL, PLXNA4, SCAP, and chr5p11. Further evaluation of 31 top SNPs in 33,707 East Asians (16,746 case subjects) (stage 3c) and 47,117 Europeans (8,130 case subjects) (stage 3d), and joint meta-analysis of 128,127 individuals (44,358 case subjects) from 27 multiethnic studies, did not reveal any additional loci nor was there any evidence of replication for the new variant. Our findings provide new evidence on the presence of a population-specific signal in relation to T2D, which may provide additional insights into T2D pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3636649  PMID: 23300278
17.  Podoplanin maintains high endothelial venule integrity by interacting with platelet CLEC-2 
Nature  2013;502(7469):105-109.
Circulating lymphocytes continuously enter lymph nodes (LNs) for immune surveillance through specialised blood vessels named high endothelial venules (HEVs)1–5, a process that increases dramatically during immune responses. How HEVs permit lymphocyte transmigration while maintaining vascular integrity is unknown. Here, we report a role for the transmembrane O-glycoprotein podoplanin (PDPN, also known as gp38 and T1α)6–8 in maintaining HEV barrier function. Mice with postnatal deletion of PDPN lost HEV integrity and exhibited spontaneous bleeding in mucosal LNs, and bleeding in the draining peripheral LN after immunisation. Blocking lymphocyte homing rescued bleeding, indicating that PDPN is required to protect the barrier function of HEVs during lymphocyte trafficking. Further analyses demonstrated that PDPN expressed on fibroblastic reticular cells (FRCs)7, which surround HEVs, functions as an activating ligand for platelet C-type lectin-like receptor 2 (CLEC-2)9,10. Mice lacking FRC PDPN or platelet CLEC-2 exhibited significantly reduced levels of VE-cadherin (VE-cad), which is essential for overall vascular integrity11,12, on HEVs. Infusion of wild-type (WT) platelets restored HEV integrity in CLEC-2-deficient mice. Activation of CLEC-2 induced release of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P)13,14 from platelets, which promoted expression of VE-cad on HEVs ex vivo. Furthermore, draining peripheral LNs of immunised mice lacking S1P had impaired HEV integrity similar to PDPN- and CLEC-2-deficient mice. These data demonstrate that local S1P release after PDPN-CLEC-2-mediated platelet activation is critical for HEV integrity during immune responses.
PMCID: PMC3791160  PMID: 23995678
18.  Association Between BMI Measured Within a Year After Diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes and Mortality 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(4):887-893.
To describe the association of BMI with mortality in patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Using records of 106,640 patients in Scotland, we investigated the association between BMI recorded around the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and mortality using Cox proportional hazards regression adjusted for age and smoking status, with BMI 25 to <30 kg/m2 as a referent group. Deaths within 2 years of BMI determination were excluded. Mean follow-up to death or the end of 2007 was 4.7 years.
A total of 9,631 deaths occurred between 2001 and 2007. Compared with the reference group, mortality risk was higher in patients with BMI 20 to <25 kg/m2 (hazard ratio 1.22 [95% CI 1.13–1.32] in men, 1.32 [1.22–1.44] in women) and patients with BMI ≥35 kg/m2 (for example, 1.70 [1.24–2.34] in men and 1.81 [1.46–2.24] in women for BMI 45 to <50 kg/m2). Vascular mortality was higher for each 5-kg/m2 increase in BMI >30 kg/m2 by 24% (15–35%) in men and 23% (14–32%) in women, but was lower below this threshold. The results were similar after further adjustment for HbA1c, year of diagnosis, lipids, blood pressure, and socioeconomic status.
Patients categorized as normal weight or obese with T2DM within a year of diagnosis of T2DM exhibit variably higher mortality outcomes compared with the overweight group, confirming a U-shaped association of BMI with mortality. Whether weight loss interventions reduce mortality in all T2DM patients requires study.
PMCID: PMC3609520  PMID: 23139375
19.  Functional characterisation of human pulmonary monocyte-like cells in lipopolysaccharide-mediated acute lung inflammation 
We have previously reported the presence of novel subpopulations of pulmonary monocyte-like cells (PMLC) in the human lung; resident PMLC (rPMLC, HLA-DR+CD14++CD16+cells) and inducible PMLC (iPMLC, HLA-DR+CD14++CD16- cells). iPMLC are significantly increased in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid following inhalation of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). We have carried out the first functional evaluation of PMLC subpopulations in the inflamed lung, following the isolation of these cells, and other lineages, from BAL fluid using novel and complex protocols.
iPMLC, rPMLC, alveolar macrophages (AM), neutrophils, and regulatory T cells were quantified in BAL fluid of healthy subjects at 9 hours post-LPS inhalation (n = 15). Cell surface antigen expression by iPMLC, rPMLC and AM and the ability of each lineage to proliferate and to undergo phagocytosis were investigated using flow cytometry. Basal cytokine production by iPMLC compared to AM following their isolation from BAL fluid and the responsiveness of both cell types following in vitro treatment with the synthetic corticosteroid dexamethasone were assessed.
rPMLC have a significantly increased expression of mature macrophage markers and of the proliferation antigen Ki67, compared to iPMLC. Our cytokine data revealed a pro-inflammatory, corticosteroid-resistant phenotype of iPMLC in this model.
These data emphasise the presence of functionally distinct subpopulations of the monocyte/macrophage lineage in the human lung in experimental acute lung inflammation.
PMCID: PMC4032498  PMID: 24684897
Monocytes; Macrophages; Acute lung inflammation; Lipopolysaccharide; Multiparameter flow cytometry; Corticosteroid
20.  Insights Into the Molecular Mechanism for Type 2 Diabetes Susceptibility at the KCNQ1 Locus From Temporal Changes in Imprinting Status in Human Islets 
Diabetes  2013;62(3):987-992.
The molecular basis of type 2 diabetes predisposition at most established susceptibility loci remains poorly understood. KCNQ1 maps within the 11p15.5 imprinted domain, a region with an established role in congenital growth phenotypes. Variants intronic to KCNQ1 influence diabetes susceptibility when maternally inherited. By use of quantitative PCR and pyrosequencing of human adult islet and fetal pancreas samples, we investigated the imprinting status of regional transcripts and aimed to determine whether type 2 diabetes risk alleles influence regional DNA methylation and gene expression. The results demonstrate that gene expression patterns differ by developmental stage. CDKN1C showed monoallelic expression in both adult and fetal tissue, whereas PHLDA2, SLC22A18, and SLC22A18AS were biallelically expressed in both tissues. Temporal changes in imprinting were observed for KCNQ1 and KCNQ1OT1, with monoallelic expression in fetal tissues and biallelic expression in adult samples. Genotype at the type 2 diabetes risk variant rs2237895 influenced methylation levels of regulatory sequence in fetal pancreas but without demonstrable effects on gene expression. We demonstrate that CDKN1C, KCNQ1, and KCNQ1OT1 are most likely to mediate diabetes susceptibility at the KCNQ1 locus and identify temporal differences in imprinting status and methylation effects, suggesting that diabetes risk effects may be mediated in early development.
PMCID: PMC3581222  PMID: 23139357
21.  Ceramide-1-phosphate regulates migration of multipotent stromal cells (MSCs) and endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) – implications for tissue regeneration 
Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio)  2013;31(3):500-510.
Ceramide-1-phosphate (C1P) is a bioactive lipid that, in contrast to ceramide, is an anti-apoptotic molecule released from cells that are damaged and “leaky”. As reported recently, C1P promotes migration of hematopoietic cells. In the current paper, we tested the hypothesis that C1P released upon tissue damage may play an underappreciated role in chemoattraction of various types of stem cells and endothelial cells involved in tissue/organ regeneration. We show for a first time that C1P is upregulated in damaged tissues and chemoattracts BM-derived multipotent stroma cells (MSCs), endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), and very small embryonic-like stem cells (VSELs). Furthermore, compared to other bioactive lipids, C1P more potently chemoattracted human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and stimulated tube formation by these cells. C1P also promoted in vivo vascularization of Matrigel implants and stimulated secretion of stromal derived factor-1 (SDF-1) from BM-derived fibroblasts. Thus, our data demonstrate, for the first time, that C1P is a potent bioactive lipid released from damaged cells that potentially plays an important and novel role in recruitment of stem/progenitor cells to damaged organs and may promote their vascularization.
PMCID: PMC3582849  PMID: 23193025
C1P; MSC; HUVEC; chemoataxis; angiogenesis
22.  Anti-lysophosphatidic acid antibodies improve traumatic brain injury outcomes 
Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) is a bioactive phospholipid with a potentially causative role in neurotrauma. Blocking LPA signaling with the LPA-directed monoclonal antibody B3/Lpathomab is neuroprotective in the mouse spinal cord following injury.
Here we investigated the use of this agent in treatment of secondary brain damage consequent to traumatic brain injury (TBI). LPA was elevated in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with TBI compared to controls. LPA levels were also elevated in a mouse controlled cortical impact (CCI) model of TBI and B3 significantly reduced lesion volume by both histological and MRI assessments. Diminished tissue damage coincided with lower brain IL-6 levels and improvement in functional outcomes.
This study presents a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of TBI by blocking extracellular LPA signaling to minimize secondary brain damage and neurological dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC3996049  PMID: 24576351
Lysophosphatidic acid; Traumatic brain injury; Human cerebrospinal fluid; Control cortical impact; Magnetic resonance imaging; Anti-LPA antibody; IL-6
23.  The response regulator SypE controls biofilm formation and colonization through phosphorylation of the syp-encoded regulator SypA in Vibrio fischeri 
Molecular microbiology  2012;87(3):509-525.
Bacteria utilize multiple regulatory systems to modulate gene expression in response to environmental changes, including two-component signaling systems and partner-switching networks. We recently identified a novel regulatory protein SypE that combines features of both signaling systems. SypE contains a central response regulator receiver domain flanked by putative kinase and phosphatase effector domains with similarity to partner-switching proteins. SypE was previously shown to exert dual control over biofilm formation through the opposing activities of its terminal effector domains. Here, we demonstrate that SypE controls biofilms in Vibrio fischeri by regulating the activity of SypA, a STAS (sulphate transporter and anti-sigma antagonist) domain protein. Using biochemical and genetic approaches, we determined that SypE both phosphorylates and dephosphorylates SypA, and that phosphorylation inhibits SypA’s activity. Furthermore, we found that biofilm formation and symbiotic colonization required active, unphosphorylated SypA, and thus SypA phosphorylation corresponded with a loss of biofilms and impaired host colonization. Finally, expression of a non-phosphorylatable mutant of SypA suppressed both the biofilm and symbiosis defects of a constitutively inhibitory SypE mutant strain. This study demonstrates that regulation of SypA activity by SypE is a critical mechanism by which V. fischeri controls biofilm development and symbiotic colonization.
PMCID: PMC3556205  PMID: 23171087
24.  Clinical, biochemical, cellular and molecular characterization of mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome due to novel mutations in the MPV17 gene 
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) depletion syndromes (MDS) are severe autosomal recessive disorders associated with decreased mtDNA copy number in clinically affected tissues. The hepatocerebral form (mtDNA depletion in liver and brain) has been associated with mutations in the POLG, PEO1 (Twinkle), DGUOK and MPV17 genes, the latter encoding a mitochondrial inner membrane protein of unknown function. The aims of this study were to clarify further the clinical, biochemical, cellular and molecular genetic features associated with MDS due to MPV17 gene mutations. We identified 12 pathogenic mutations in the MPV17 gene, of which 11 are novel, in 17 patients from 12 families. All patients manifested liver disease. Poor feeding, hypoglycaemia, raised serum lactate, hypotonia and faltering growth were common presenting features. mtDNA depletion in liver was demonstrated in all seven cases where liver tissue was available. Mosaic mtDNA depletion was found in primary fibroblasts by PicoGreen staining. These results confirm that MPV17 mutations are an important cause of hepatocerebral mtDNA depletion syndrome, and provide the first demonstration of mosaic mtDNA depletion in human MPV17 mutant fibroblast cultures. We found that a severe clinical phenotype was associated with profound tissue-specific mtDNA depletion in liver, and, in some cases, mosaic mtDNA depletion in fibroblasts.
PMCID: PMC3895632  PMID: 23714749
MPV17; mitochondrial DNA depletion; hepatocerebral disease; neonatal liver disease
25.  Lipid phosphate phosphatase 3 negatively regulates smooth muscle cell phenotypic modulation to limit intimal hyperplasia 
The lipid phosphate phosphatase 3 (LPP3) degrades bioactive lysophospholipids including lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) and sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) and thereby terminates their signaling effects. While emerging evidence links LPA to atherosclerosis and vascular injury responses, little is known about the role of vascular LPP3.
The goal of this study was to determine the role of LPP3 in the development of vascular neointima formation and smooth muscle cells (SMC) responses.
Methods and Results
We report that LPP3 is expressed in vascular SMC following experimental arterial injury. Using gain- and loss-of-function approaches, we establish that a major function of LPP3 in isolated SMC cells is to attenuate proliferation, (ERK) activity, Rho activation, and migration in response to serum and LPA. These effects are at least partially a consequence of LPP3-catalyzed LPA hydrolysis. Mice with selective inactivation of LPP3 in SMC display an exaggerated neointimal response to injury.
Our observations suggest that LPP3 serves as an intrinsic negative regulator of SMC phenotypic modulation and inflammation after vascular injury, in part by regulating lysophospholipid signaling. These findings may provide a mechanistic link to explain the association between a PPAP2B polymorphism and coronary artery disease risk.
PMCID: PMC3524385  PMID: 23104851
intima; smooth muscle cells; restenosis; proliferation; LPP3

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