The metabolically healthy obesity (MHO) phenotype is an important obesity subtype in which obesity is not accompanied by any metabolic comorbidity. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain elusive. In this study, a shotgun proteomics approach to identify circulating biomolecules and pathways associated with MHO was used.
The subjects were 20 African‐American women: 10 MHO cases and 10 metabolically abnormal individuals with obesity (MAO) controls. Serum proteins were detected and quantified using label‐free proteomics. Differential expression of proteins between the two groups was analyzed, and the list of differentially expressed proteins was analyzed to determine enriched biological pathways.
Twenty proteins were differentially expressed between MHO and controls. These proteins included: hemoglobin subunits (HBA1, P = 6.00 × 10−18), haptoglobin‐related protein (HPR, P = 1.2 × 10−15), apolipoproteins (APOB‐100, P = 1.50 × 10−40; APOA4, P = 1.1 × 10−14), retinol‐binding protein 4 (RBP4, P = 7.1 × 10−08), and CRP (P = 2.0 × 10−04). MHO was associated with lower levels of proinflammatory and higher levels of anti‐inflammatory biomarkers when compared with MAO. Pathway analysis showed enrichment of lipids and inflammatory pathways, including LXR/RXR and FXR/RXR activation, and acute phase response signaling.
These findings suggested that protection from dysregulated inflammatory and lipid processes were primary molecular hallmarks of MHO. The candidate biomarkers (AHSG, RBP4, and APOA4) identified in this study are potential prognostic markers for MHO.
The recent feasibility of genome-wide studies of adaptation in human populations has provided novel insights into biological pathways that have been affected by adaptive pressures. However, only a few African populations have been investigated using these genome-wide approaches. Here, we performed a genome-wide analysis for evidence of recent positive selection in a sample of 120 individuals of Wolaita ethnicity belonging to Omotic-speaking people who have inhabited the mid- and high-land areas of southern Ethiopia for millennia. Using the 11 HapMap populations as the comparison group, we found Wolaita-specific signals of recent positive selection in several human leukocyte antigen (HLA) loci. Notably, the selected loci overlapped with HLA regions that we previously reported to be associated with podoconiosis–a geochemical lymphedema of the lower legs common in the Wolaita area. We found selection signals in PPARA, a gene involved in energy metabolism during prolonged food deficiency. This finding is consistent with the dietary use of enset, a crop with high-carbohydrate and low-fat and -protein contents domesticated in Ethiopia subsequent to food deprivation 10 000 years ago, and with metabolic adaptation to high-altitude hypoxia. We observed novel selection signals in CDKAL1 and NEGR1, well-known diabetes and obesity susceptibility genes. Finally, the SLC24A5 gene locus known to be associated with skin pigmentation was in the top selection signals in the Wolaita, and the alleles of single-nucleotide polymorphisms rs1426654 and rs1834640 (SLC24A5) associated with light skin pigmentation in Eurasian populations were of high frequency (47.9%) in this Omotic-speaking indigenous Ethiopian population.
Reduced glomerular filtration rate defines chronic kidney disease and is associated with cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), combining data across 133,413 individuals with replication in up to 42,166 individuals. We identify 24 new and confirm 29 previously identified loci. Of these 53 loci, nineteen associate with eGFR among individuals with diabetes. Using bioinformatics, we show that identified genes at eGFR loci are enriched for expression in kidney tissues and in pathways relevant for kidney development and transmembrane transporter activity, kidney structure, and regulation of glucose metabolism. Chromatin state mapping and DNase I hypersensitivity analyses across adult tissues demonstrate preferential mapping of associated variants to regulatory regions in kidney but not extra-renal tissues. These findings suggest that genetic determinants of eGFR are mediated largely through direct effects within the kidney and highlight important cell types and biologic pathways.
We surveyed 26 quantitative traits and disease outcomes to understand the proportion of phenotypic variance explained by local ancestry in admixed African Americans. After inferring local ancestry as the number of African-ancestry chromosomes at hundreds of thousands of genotyped loci across all autosomes, we used a linear mixed effects model to estimate the variance explained by local ancestry in two large independent samples of unrelated African Americans. We found that local ancestry at major and polygenic effect genes can explain up to 20 and 8% of phenotypic variance, respectively. These findings provide evidence that most but not all additive genetic variance is explained by genetic markers undifferentiated by ancestry. These results also inform the proportion of health disparities due to genetic risk factors and the magnitude of error in association studies not controlling for local ancestry.
ancestry; complex traits; health disparities; phenotypic variance explained; random effects
Translation of genomic discoveries into patient care is slowly becoming a reality in developed economies around the world. In contrast, low and middle income countries (LMIC) have participated minimally in genomic research for several reasons including lack of coherent national policies, limited number of well-trained genomic scientists, poor research infrastructure, and local economic and cultural challenges. Recent initiatives such as the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa), the Qatar Genome Project and the Mexico National Institute of Genomic Medicine (INMEGEN) that aim to address these problems through capacity building and empowerment of local researchers have sparked a paradigm shift. In this short communication, we describe experiences of small-scale medical genetics and translational genomics research programs in LMIC. The lessons drawn from these programs drive home the importance of addressing resource, policy, and socio-cultural dynamics to realize the promise of precision medicine driven by genomic science globally. By echoing lessons from a bench-to-community translational genomics research, we advocate that large-scale genomics research projects can be successfully linked with health care programs. To harness the benefits of genomics-led health care, LMIC governments should begin to develop national genomics policies that will address human and technology capacity development within the context of their national economic and socio-cultural uniqueness. These policies should encourage international collaboration and promote link between the public health program and genomics researchers. Finally, we highlight the potential catalytic roles of the global community to foster translational genomics in LMIC.
Genomics; translational research; genomic medicine; next-generation sequencing; genetic testing; family health history; global health
Diabetes is a leading risk factor for impaired kidney function, an indicator of chronic kidney disease. The aim of this study was to examine the association between type 2 diabetes (T2D) and impaired kidney function among adults in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
Participants were enrolled from Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria. Impaired kidney function was based on an estimated glomerular filtration rate <60 ml/min/1.73 m2. Using logistic regression models, we conducted case–control analyses to estimate the multivariate-adjusted association of T2D and kidney function.
We used data from 4815 participants for whom the mean (SD) age was 48 (15) years, 41% were male and 46% had T2D. Those with T2D were more likely to have impaired kidney function [13.4% (95% CI: 11.9–14.7)] compared to those without T2D [4.8% (95% CI: 4.0–5.6)], p-value <0.001. The multivariate odds ratio of impaired kidney function among those with type 2 diabetes was 1.50 (95% CI: 1.17–1.91) p-value = 0.001, compared to those without T2D. Also, individuals with T2D who were at least 60 years old, obese, hypertensive or dyslipidemic were more likely to have impaired kidney function compared to those without T2D.
T2D was associated with 50% increased risk of impaired kidney function in this sample of adults from SSA. Interventions targeted at prevention, early diagnosis, and management of T2D are likely to reduce the burden of kidney disease in SSA.
impaired kidney function; type 2 diabetes; kidney disease; sub-Saharan Africa; diabetic kidney disease
The serial founder model of modern human origins predicts that the phylogeny of ancestries exhibits bifurcating, tree-like behavior. Here, we tested this prediction using three methods designed to investigate gene flow in autosome-wide genotype data from 3,528 unrelated individuals from 163 global samples. Specifically, we investigated whether Cushitic ancestry has an East African or Middle Eastern origin. We found evidence for non-tree-like behavior in the form of four migration events. First, we found that Cushitic ancestry is a mixture of ancestries closely related to Arabian ancestry and Nilo-Saharan or Omotic ancestry. We found evidence for additional migration events in the histories of: 1) Indian and Arabian ancestries, 2) Kalash ancestry, and 3) Native American and Northern European ancestries. These findings, based on analysis of ancestry of present-day humans, reveal migration in the distant past and provide new insights into human history.
Genome wide association studies (GWAS) for type 2 diabetes (T2D) undertaken in European and Asian ancestry populations have yielded dozens of robustly associated loci. However, the genomics of T2D remains largely understudied in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where rates of T2D are increasing dramatically and where the environmental background is quite different than in these previous studies. Here, we evaluate 106 reported T2D GWAS loci in continental Africans. We tested each of these SNPs, and SNPs in linkage disequilibrium (LD) with these index SNPs, for an association with T2D in order to assess transferability and to fine map the loci leveraging the generally reduced LD of African genomes. The study included 1775 unrelated Africans (1035 T2D cases, 740 controls; mean age 54 years; 59% female) enrolled in Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya as part of the Africa America Diabetes Mellitus (AADM) study. All samples were genotyped on the Affymetrix Axiom PanAFR SNP array. Forty-one of the tested loci showed transferability to this African sample (p < 0.05, same direction of effect), 11 at the exact reported SNP and 30 others at SNPs in LD with the reported SNP (after adjustment for the number of tested SNPs). TCF7L2 SNP rs7903146 was the most significant locus in this study (p = 1.61 × 10−8). Most of the loci that showed transferability were successfully fine-mapped, i.e., localized to smaller haplotypes than in the original reports. The findings indicate that the genetic architecture of T2D in SSA is characterized by several risk loci shared with non-African ancestral populations and that data from African populations may facilitate fine mapping of risk loci. The study provides an important resource for meta-analysis of African ancestry populations and transferability of novel loci.
genetic association; replication; fine-mapping; type 2 diabetes; sub Saharan Africa
To determine whether genetic ancestry was associated with subclinical atherosclerosis measures after adjustment for traditional CVD risk factors, inflammatory marker, socioeconomic status (SES) and psychosocial factors in a large admixed African American population.
Approach and Results
Participants were drawn from Jackson Heart Study (JHS). Participant’s percent of European Ancestry (PEA) was estimated based on 1747 genetic markers using HAPMIX. Association of PEA with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and common carotid intima media thickness (cCIMT) were investigated among 2168 participants and with coronary artery calcification (CAC >0) and abdominal aortic calcification (AAC >0) among 1139 participants. The associations were evaluated using multivariable regression models. Our results showed a 1 standard deviation increase in PEA was associated with a lower PAD prevalence after adjusting for age and gender [Prevalence ratio (PR) = 0. 90 (95% CI: 0.82, 0.99); p=0.036]. Adjustments for traditional CVD risk factors, SES, and psychosocial factors attenuated this association [PR=0.91 (0.82, 1.00); p=0.046]. There was also a non-linear association between PEA and CAC and AAC. The lowest PEA was associated with a lower CAC [PR=0.75 (0.58, 0.96); p=0.022] and a lower AAC [PR=0. 80 (0.67, 0.96); p=0.016] compared to the reference group (10th–90th percentile) after adjusting for traditional CVD risk factors, inflammatory marker, SES and psychosocial factors. However, we found no significant association between PEA and cCIMT.
Overall, our findings indicate that genetic ancestry was associated with subclinical atherosclerosis, suggesting unmeasured risk factors and/or interactions with genetic factors might contribute to the distribution of subclinical atherosclerosis among African Americans.
African Americans; cardiovascular disease; epidemiology; genetic ancestry; subclinical atherosclerosis
The recent feasibility of genome-wide studies of adaptation in human populations has provided novel insights into biological pathways that have been affected by adaptive pressures. However, only a few African populations have been investigated using these genome-wide approaches. Here, we performed a genome-wide analysis for evidence of recent positive selection in a sample of 120 individuals of Wolaita ethnicity belonging to Omotic speaking people that have inhabited the mid- and high-land areas of southern Ethiopia for millennia. Using the eleven HapMap populations as the comparison group, we found Wolaita-specific signals of recent positive selection in several HLA loci. Notably, the selected loci overlapped with HLA regions that we previously reported to be associated with podoconiosis – a geochemical lymphedema of the lower legs common in the Wolaita area. We found selection signals in PPARA, a gene involved in energy metabolism during prolonged food deficiency. This finding is consistent with the dietary use of enset, a crop with high carbohydrate and low fat and protein contents domesticated in Ethiopia subsequent to food deprivation 10,000 years ago, and with metabolic adaptation to high altitude hypoxia. We observed novel selection signals in CDKAL1 and NEGR1, well-known diabetes and obesity susceptibility genes. Finally, the SLC24A5 gene locus known to be associated with skin pigmentation was in the top selection signals in the Wolaita, and the alleles of SNPs rs1426654 and rs1834640 (SLC24A5) associated with light skin pigmentation in Eurasian populations were of high frequency (47.9%) in this Omotic speaking indigenous Ethiopian population.
natural selection; population genetics; human leukocyte antigen (HLA); metabolism; podoconiosis; Ethiopia
Homozygosity has long been associated with rare, often devastating, Mendelian disorders1 and Darwin was one of the first to recognise that inbreeding reduces evolutionary fitness2. However, the effect of the more distant parental relatedness common in modern human populations is less well understood. Genomic data now allow us to investigate the effects of homozygosity on traits of public health importance by observing contiguous homozygous segments (runs of homozygosity, ROH), which are inferred to be homozygous along their complete length. Given the low levels of genome-wide homozygosity prevalent in most human populations, information is required on very large numbers of people to provide sufficient power3,4. Here we use ROH to study 16 health-related quantitative traits in 354,224 individuals from 102 cohorts and find statistically significant associations between summed runs of homozygosity (SROH) and four complex traits: height, forced expiratory lung volume in 1 second (FEV1), general cognitive ability (g) and educational attainment (nominal p<1 × 10−300, 2.1 × 10−6, 2.5 × 10−10, 1.8 × 10−10). In each case increased homozygosity was associated with decreased trait value, equivalent to the offspring of first cousins being 1.2 cm shorter and having 10 months less education. Similar effect sizes were found across four continental groups and populations with different degrees of genome-wide homozygosity, providing convincing evidence for the first time that homozygosity, rather than confounding, directly contributes to phenotypic variance. Contrary to earlier reports in substantially smaller samples5,6, no evidence was seen of an influence of genome-wide homozygosity on blood pressure and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or ten other cardio-metabolic traits. Since directional dominance is predicted for traits under directional evolutionary selection7, this study provides evidence that increased stature and cognitive function have been positively selected in human evolution, whereas many important risk factors for late-onset complex diseases may not have been.
Reduced glomerular filtration rate defines chronic kidney disease and is associated with cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), combining data across 133,413 individuals with replication in up to 42,166 individuals. We identify 24 new and confirm 29 previously identified loci. Of these 53 loci, 19 associate with eGFR among individuals with diabetes. Using bioinformatics, we show that identified genes at eGFR loci are enriched for expression in kidney tissues and in pathways relevant for kidney development and transmembrane transporter activity, kidney structure, and regulation of glucose metabolism. Chromatin state mapping and DNase I hypersensitivity analyses across adult tissues demonstrate preferential mapping of associated variants to regulatory regions in kidney but not extra-renal tissues. These findings suggest that genetic determinants of eGFR are mediated largely through direct effects within the kidney and highlight important cell types and biological pathways.
Reduced glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) is a hallmark of chronic kidney disease. Here, Pattaro et al. conduct a meta-analysis to discover several new loci associated with variation in eGFR and find that genes associated with eGFR loci often encode proteins potentially related to kidney development.
Hyperuricemia and associated cardio-metabolic disorders are more prevalent in African Americans than in European Americans. We used genome-wide admixture mapping and association testing to identify loci with ancestry effects on serum uric acid levels.
We analyzed 1,976 African Americans from Washington, D.C, including 1,322 individuals from 328 pedigrees and 654 unrelated individuals, enrolled in the Howard University Family Study. We performed admixture mapping and genome-wide association testing using ~800 k autosomal single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We performed fine mapping by dense genotyping. We assessed functionality by a combination of bioinformatic annotation, reporter gene assays, and gel shift experiments. We also analyzed 12,641 individuals enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
We detected a genome-wide significant locus on chromosome 11p15.4 at which serum uric acid levels increased with increasing African ancestry, independent of kidney function. Fine-mapping identified two independent signals in the β-globin locus. The ancestral allele at SNP rs2855126, located upstream of the hemoglobin, gamma A gene HBG1, was associated with increased serum uric acid levels and higher expression of a reporter gene relative to the derived allele. Hyperuricemia was associated with increased risk of hypertension in 3,767 African Americans (Odds Ratio = 2.48, p = 2.71 × 10− 19).
Given that increased expression of γ-globin leads to increased levels of fetal hemoglobin which confers protection against malaria, we hypothesize that evolution in Africa of protection against malaria may have occurred at the cost of increased serum uric acid levels, contributing to the high rates of hyperuricemia and associated cardio-metabolic disorders observed in African Americans.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12881-015-0249-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
African American; Ancestry; Gamma-globin; Health disparity; Hypertension; Malaria; Uric acid
Adipose tissues play important role in the pathophysiology of obesity-related diseases including type 2 diabetes (T2D). To describe gene expression patterns and functional pathways in obesity-related T2D, we performed global transcript profiling of omental adipose tissue (OAT) in morbidly obese individuals with or without T2D.
Twenty morbidly obese (mean BMI: about 54 kg/m2) subjects were studied, including 14 morbidly obese individuals with T2D (cases) and 6 morbidly obese individuals without T2D (reference group). Gene expression profiling was performed using the Affymetrix U133 Plus 2.0 human genome expression array. Analysis of covariance was performed to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs). Bioinformatics tools including PANTHER and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) were applied to the DEGs to determine biological functions, networks and canonical pathways that were overrepresented in these individuals.
At an absolute fold-change threshold of 2 and false discovery rate (FDR) < 0.05, 68 DEGs were identified in cases compared to the reference group. Myosin X (MYO10) and transforming growth factor beta regulator 1 (TBRG1) were upregulated. MYO10 encodes for an actin-based motor protein that has been associated with T2D. Telomere extension by telomerase (HNRNPA1, TNKS2), D-myo-inositol (1, 4, 5)-trisphosphate biosynthesis (PIP5K1A, PIP4K2A), and regulation of actin-based motility by Rho (ARPC3) were the most significant canonical pathways and overlay with T2D signaling pathway. Upstream regulator analysis predicted 5 miRNAs (miR-320b, miR-381-3p, miR-3679-3p, miR-494-3p, and miR-141-3p,) as regulators of the expression changes identified.
This study identified a number of transcripts and miRNAs in OAT as candidate novel players in the pathophysiology of T2D in African Americans.
Obesity; Global gene expression; Type 2 diabetes; African Americans
The burdens of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are increasingin Africa. T2D and CVD are the result of the complex interaction between inherited characteristics, lifestyle, and environmental factors. The epidemic of obesity is largely behind the exploding global incidence of T2D. However, not all obese individuals develop diabetes and positive family history is a powerful risk factor for diabetes and CVD. Recent implementations of high throughput genotyping and sequencing approaches have advanced our understanding of the genetic basis of diabetes and CVD by identifying several genomic loci that were not previously linked to the pathobiology of these diseases. However, African populations have not been adequately represented in these global genomic efforts. Here, we summarize the state of knowledge of the genetic epidemiology of T2D and CVD in Africa and highlight new genomic initiatives that promise to inform disease etiology, public health and clinical medicine in Africa.
Type 2 diabetes; cardiovascular diseases; genetics; epidemiology; Africa
The fixation index Fst plays a central role in ecological and evolutionary genetic studies. The estimators of Wright (F^st1), Weir and Cockerham (F^st2), and Hudson et al. (F^st3) are widely used to measure genetic differences among different populations, but all have limitations. We propose a minimum variance estimator F^stm using F^st1 and F^st2. We tested F^stm in simulations and applied it to 120 unrelated East African individuals from Ethiopia and 11 subpopulations in HapMap 3 with 464,642 SNPs. Our simulation study showed that F^stm has smaller bias than F^st2 for small sample sizes and smaller bias than F^st1 for large sample sizes. Also, F^stm has smaller variance than F^st2 for small Fst values and smaller variance than F^st1 for large Fst values. We demonstrated that approximately 30 subpopulations and 30 individuals per subpopulation are required in order to accurately estimate Fst.
Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is the most common etiology of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the industrialized world and accounts for much of the excess mortality in patients with diabetes mellitus. Approximately 45% of U.S. patients with incident end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) have DKD. Independent of glycemic control, DKD aggregates in families and has higher incidence rates in African, Mexican, and American Indian ancestral groups relative to European populations. The Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes (FIND) performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) contrasting 6,197 unrelated individuals with advanced DKD with healthy and diabetic individuals lacking nephropathy of European American, African American, Mexican American, or American Indian ancestry. A large-scale replication and trans-ethnic meta-analysis included 7,539 additional European American, African American and American Indian DKD cases and non-nephropathy controls. Within ethnic group meta-analysis of discovery GWAS and replication set results identified genome-wide significant evidence for association between DKD and rs12523822 on chromosome 6q25.2 in American Indians (P = 5.74x10-9). The strongest signal of association in the trans-ethnic meta-analysis was with a SNP in strong linkage disequilibrium with rs12523822 (rs955333; P = 1.31x10-8), with directionally consistent results across ethnic groups. These 6q25.2 SNPs are located between the SCAF8 and CNKSR3 genes, a region with DKD relevant changes in gene expression and an eQTL with IPCEF1, a gene co-translated with CNKSR3. Several other SNPs demonstrated suggestive evidence of association with DKD, within and across populations. These data identify a novel DKD susceptibility locus with consistent directions of effect across diverse ancestral groups and provide insight into the genetic architecture of DKD.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common cause of severe kidney disease worldwide and diabetic kidney disease (DKD) associates with premature death. Individuals of non-European ancestry have the highest burden of type 2 DKD; hence understanding the causes of DKD remains critical to reducing health disparities. Family studies demonstrate that genes regulate the onset and progression of DKD; however, identifying these genes has proven to be challenging. The Family Investigation of Diabetes and Nephropathy consortium (FIND) recruited a large multi-ethnic collection of individuals with type 2 diabetes with and without kidney disease in order to detect genes associated with DKD. FIND discovered and replicated a DKD-associated genetic locus on human chromosome 6q25.2 (rs955333) between the SCAF8 and CNKSR genes. Findings were supported by significantly different expression of genes in this region from kidney tissue of subjects with, versus without DKD. The present findings identify a novel kidney disease susceptibility locus in individuals with type 2 diabetes which is consistent across subjects of differing ancestries. In addition, FIND results provide a rich catalogue of genetic variation in DKD patients for future research on the genetic architecture regulating this common and devastating disease.
Africa is home to genetically diverse human populations. We compared the genetic structure of the Wolaita ethnic population from southern Ethiopia (WETH, n=120) with HapMap populations using genome-wide variants. We investigated allele frequencies of 443 clinically and pharmacogenomically relevant genetic variants in WETH compared to HapMap populations. We found that WETH were genetically most similar to the Kenya Maasai and least similar to the Japanese in HapMap. Variant alleles associated with increased risk of adverse reactions to drugs used for treating tuberculosis (rs1799929 and rs1495741 in NAT2), thromboembolism (rs7294, rs9923231 and rs9934438 in VKORC1), and HIV/AIDS and solid tumors (rs2242046 in SLC28A1) had significantly higher frequencies in WETH compared to African ancestry HapMap populations. Our results illustrate that clinically relevant pharmacogenomic loci display allele frequency differences among African populations. We conclude that drug dosage guidelines for important global health diseases should be validated in genetically diverse African populations.
pharmacogenomics; global health; tuberculosis; HIV/AIDS; warfarin; Ethiopia
Despite evidence of an association between variants at the apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) locus and a spectrum of related kidney diseases, underlying biological mechanisms remain unknown. An earlier preliminary study published by our group showed that an APOL1 variant (rs73885319) modified the association between high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLC) and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) in African Americans. To further understand this relationship, we evaluated the interaction in two additional large cohorts of African Americans for a total of 3,592 unrelated individuals from the Howard University Family Study (HUFS), the Natural History of APOL1-Associated Nephropathy Study (NHAAN), and the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC). The association between HDLC and eGFR was determined using linear mixed models, and the interaction between rs73885319 genotype and HDLC was evaluated using a multiplicative term.
Among individuals homozygous for the risk genotype, a strong inverse HDLC-eGFR association was observed, with a positive association in others (p for the interaction of the rs73885319 × HDLC =0.0001). The interaction was similar in HUFS and NHAAN, and attenuated in ARIC. Given that ARIC participants were older, we investigated an age effect; age was a significant modifier of the observed interaction. When older individuals were excluded, the interaction in ARIC was similar to that in the other studies.
Based on these findings, it is clear that the relationship between HDLC and eGFR is strongly influenced by the APOL1 rs73885319 kidney risk genotype. Moreover, the degree to which this variant modifies the association may depend on the age of the individual. More detailed physiological studies are warranted to understand how rs73885319 may affect the relationship between HDLC and eGFR in individuals with and without disease and across the lifespan.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1645-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Apolipoprotein L1; High-density lipoprotein cholesterol; African ancestry; Glomerular filtration rate
Although designed to predict cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus, the Metabolic Syndrome (MetSyn) under-predicts these conditions in African-Americans (AA). Failure of MetSyn in AA is often attributed to their relative absence of hypertriglyceridemia. It is unknown if the African experience with MetSyn will be similar or different to that in AA. Focusing on the lipid profile, our goal was to determine in West Africans (WA) and AA the pattern of variables that leads to the diagnosis of the MetSyn.
Cross-sectional analysis of 1296 subjects (364 WA, 44% male, 932 AA, 46% male). WA were from urban centers in Nigeria and Ghana and enrolled in the Africa America Diabetes Mellitus Study. AA lived in Washington, DC and participated in the Howard University Family Study.
The prevalence of MetSyn was different in WA women and men: 42% vs.19%, P<0.001, and in AA women and men: 25% vs.17%, P<0.01. The three variables that most often led to the diagnosis of MetSyn in WA and AA were: low HDL-C, central obesity and hypertension. Less than 40% of AA and less than 25% of WA with the MetSyn had hypertriglyceridemia.
Elevated triglyceride levels were uncommon in both WA and AA with MetSyn. As the relative absence of hypertriglyceridemia is associated with a lack of efficacy of MetSyn in AA, caution is warranted in diagnosing MetSyn in WA, the ancestral population of AA. Prospective studies are necessary to determine if an ethnic-specific reformulation of the MetSyn scoring system for lipids might optimize risk identification in black populations.
Interleukins (ILs) are key mediators of the immune response and inflammatory process. Plasma levels of IL-10, IL-1Ra, and IL-6 are associated with metabolic conditions, show large inter-individual variations, and are under strong genetic control. Therefore, elucidation of the genetic variants that influence levels of these ILs provides useful insights into mechanisms of immune response and pathogenesis of diseases. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of IL-10, IL-1Ra, and IL-6 levels in 707 non-diabetic African Americans using 5,396,780 imputed and directly genotyped single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with adjustment for gender, age, and body mass index. IL-10 levels showed genome-wide significant associations (p<5×10−8) with eight SNPs, the most significant of which was rs5743185 in thePMS1 gene (p=2.30×10−10). We tested replication of SNPs that showed genome-wide significance in 425 non-diabetic individuals from West Africa, and successfully replicated SNP rs17365948 in the YWHAZ gene (p=0.02). IL-1Ra levels showed suggestive associations with two SNPs in the ASB3 gene (p=2.55×10−7), 10 SNPs in the IL-1 gene family (IL1F5, IL1F8, IL1F10, and IL1Ra, p=1.04×10−6 to 1.75×10−6), and 23 SNPs near the IL1A gene (p=1.22×10−6 to 1.63×10−6). We also successfully replicated rs4251961 (p=0.009); this SNP was reported to be associated with IL-1Ra levels in a candidate gene study of Europeans. IL-6 levels showed genome-wide significant association with one SNP (RP11-314E23.1; chr6:133397598; p=8.63×10−9). To our knowledge, this is the first GWAS on IL-10, IL-1Ra, and IL-6 levels. Follow-up of these findings may provide valuable insight into the pathobiology of IL actions and dysregulations in inflammation and human diseases.
interleukin; interleukin-10; interleukin-1Ra; interleukin-6; genome-wide association study; African American
African American men have higher blood pressure levels and consequentially higher prevalence of hypertension compared to men from other ethnic groups in the United States. Socio-familial factors in childhood have been found to play an important role in hypertension, but few studies have examined this relationship among African American men. We investigated whether childhood family living arrangements are independently associated with mean blood pressure and hypertension in a cross-sectional sample of 515 unrelated African American male participants aged 20 years and older enrolled in the Howard University Family Study between 2001 and 2008. African American men who lived with both parents compared to the reference group of men who never lived with both parents during their lifetime had lower systolic blood pressure [−4.4 mmHg (95% Confidence Interval: −7.84, −0.96)], pulse pressure [−3.9 mmHg (95% Confidence Interval: −6.28, −1.51)] and mean arterial blood pressure [−2.0 mmHg (95% Confidence Interval: −4.44, 0.51)]. This protective effect was more pronounced among men who lived with both parents for 1 to 12 years of their lives; they had decreased systolic blood pressure [−6.5 mmHg, (95% Confidence Interval: −10.99, −1.95)], pulse pressure [−5.4 mmHg, (95% Confidence Interval: −8.48, −2.28)], mean arterial pressure [−3.3 mmHg, (95% Confidence Interval: −6.56, 0.00)], and a 46% decreased odds of developing hypertension (OR = 0.54; 95% Confidence Interval: 0.30, 0.99). No statistically significant associations were found for diastolic blood pressure. These results provide preliminary evidence that childhood family structure exerts a long-term influence on blood pressure among African American men.
Blood Pressure; Hypertension; African Americans; Family Characteristics; Social Environment
Low levels of high-density cholesterol (HDLc) accompany chronic kidney disease, but the association between HDLc and the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) in the general population is unclear. We investigated the HDLc-eGFR association in nondiabetic Han Chinese (HC, n = 1100), West Africans (WA, n = 1497), and African Americans (AA, n = 1539).
There were significant differences by ancestry: HDLc was positively associated with eGFR in HC (β = 0.13, P < 0.0001), but negatively associated among African ancestry populations (WA: −0.19, P < 0.0001; AA: −0.09, P = 0.02). These differences were also seen in nationally-representative NHANES data (among European Americans: 0.09, P = 0.005; among African Americans −0.14, P = 0.03). To further explore the findings in African ancestry populations, we investigated the role of an African ancestry-specific nephropathy risk variant, rs73885319, in the gene encoding HDL-associated APOL1. Among AA, an inverse HDLc-eGFR association was observed only with the risk genotype (−0.38 versus 0.001; P = 0.03). This interaction was not seen in WA.
In summary, counter to expectation, an inverse HDLc-eGFR association was observed among those of African ancestry. Given the APOL1 × HDLc interaction among AA, genetic factors may contribute to this paradoxical association. Notably, these findings suggest that the unexplained mechanism by which APOL1 affects kidney-disease risk may involve HDLc.
Several research studies in different populations indicate that inflammation may be the link between obesity and insulin resistance (IR). However, this relationship has not been adequately explored among African Americans, an ethnic group with disproportionately high rates of obesity and IR. In this study, we conducted a comparative study of the relationship among adiposity, inflammation, and IR in African Americans and West Africans, the ancestral source population for African Americans. The associations between obesity markers (BMI and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR)), inflammatory markers (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), haptoglobin, interleukin (IL)-6, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α), and IR (homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMAIR)) were evaluated in 247 West Africans and 315 African Americans. In average, African Americans were heavier than the West Africans (by an average of 1.6 BMI units for women and 3 BMI units for men). Plasma hsCRP, haptoglobin, and IL-6 (but not TNF-α level) were higher in African Americans than in West Africans. In both populations, BMI was associated with markers of inflammation and with HOMAIR, and these associations remained significant after adjusting for sex and age. However, the pattern of associations between measured inflammatory markers and IR was different between the two groups. In West Africans, hsCRP was the only inflammatory marker associated with IR. In contrast, hsCRP, haptoglobin, and IL-6 were all associated with IR in African Americans. Interestingly, none of the associations between markers of inflammation and IR remained significant after adjusting for BMI. This finding suggests that in African Americans, the relationship between inflammatory markers and IR is mediated by adiposity.
We investigated ancestry of 3,528 modern humans from 163 samples. We identified 19 ancestral components, with 94.4% of individuals showing mixed ancestry. After using whole genome sequences to correct for ascertainment biases in genome-wide genotype data, we dated the oldest divergence event to 140,000 years ago. We detected an Out-of-Africa migration 100,000–87,000 years ago, leading to peoples of the Americas, east and north Asia, and Oceania, followed by another migration 61,000–44,000 years ago, leading to peoples of the Caucasus, Europe, the Middle East, and south Asia. We dated eight divergence events to 33,000–20,000 years ago, coincident with the Last Glacial Maximum. We refined understanding of the ancestry of several ethno-linguistic groups, including African Americans, Ethiopians, the Kalash, Latin Americans, Mozabites, Pygmies, and Uygurs, as well as the CEU sample. Ubiquity of mixed ancestry emphasizes the importance of accounting for ancestry in history, forensics, and health.