Background and aims
Polymorphisms in the first intron of FTO have been robustly replicated for associations with obesity. In the Sorbs, a Slavic population resident in Germany, the strongest effect on body mass index (BMI) was found for a variant in the third intron of FTO (rs17818902). Since this may indicate population specific effects of FTO variants, we initiated studies testing FTO for signatures of selection in vertebrate species and human populations.
First, we analyzed the coding region of 35 vertebrate FTO orthologs with Phylogenetic Analysis by Maximum Likelihood (PAML, ω = dN/dS) to screen for signatures of selection among species. Second, we investigated human population (Europeans/CEU, Yoruba/YRI, Chinese/CHB, Japanese/JPT, Sorbs) SNP data for footprints of selection using DnaSP version 4.5 and the Haplotter/PhaseII. Finally, using ConSite we compared transcription factor (TF) binding sites at sequences harbouring FTO SNPs in intron three.
PAML analyses revealed strong conservation in coding region of FTO (ω<1). Sliding-window results from population genetic analyses provided highly significant (p<0.001) signatures for balancing selection specifically in the third intron (e.g. Tajima’s D in Sorbs = 2.77). We observed several alterations in TF binding sites, e.g. TCF3 binding site introduced by the rs17818902 minor allele.
Population genetic analysis revealed signatures of balancing selection at the FTO locus with a prominent signal in intron three, a genomic region with strong association with BMI in the Sorbs. Our data support the hypothesis that genes associated with obesity may have been under evolutionary selective pressure.
The beneficial effects of adiponectin and its negative correlation with BMI are well described. Adiponectin serum levels are altered in eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or binge eating. Here, we tested the hypothesis that (1) adiponectin serum levels correlate with human eating behavior factors and (2) that genetic variants of the ADIPOQ locus influence both serum levels and eating behavior. We analyzed 11 SNPs within ADIPOQ and in the 5′ UTR and measured serum adiponectin levels in 1,036 individuals from the German Sorbs population. The German version of the three-factor eating questionnaire (FEV) was completed by 548 Sorbs. For replication purposes, we included an independent replication cohort from Germany (N = 350). In the Sorbs, we observed positive correlations of restraint with adiponectin serum levels (P = 0.001; r = 0.148) which, however, did not withstand adjustment for covariates (P = 0.083; r = 0.077). In addition, four SNPs were nominally associated with serum adiponectin levels (all P < 0.05). Of these, two variants (rs3774261; rs1501229, all P < 0.05) were also related to disinhibition. Furthermore, three variants were exclusively associated with hunger (rs2036373, P = 0.049) and disinhibition (rs822396; rs864265, all P < 0.05). However, none of these associations withstood Bonferroni corrections for multiple testing (all P > 9.3 × 10−4). In our replication cohort, we observed similar effect directions at rs1501229 for disinhibition and hunger. A meta-analysis resulted in nominal statistical significance P = 0.036 (Z score 2.086) and P = 0.017 (Z score 2.366), respectively. Given the observed relationship of the SNPs with adiponectin levels and eating behavior, our data support a potential role of adiponectin in human eating behavior. Whether the relationship with eating behavior is mediated by the effects of circulating adiponectin warrants further investigations.
Adiponectin serum levels; Genetics; Eating behavior; Human studies
Chemerin is an adipokine proposed to link obesity and chronic inflammation of adipose tissue. Genetic factors determining chemerin release from adipose tissue are yet unknown. We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for serum chemerin in three independent cohorts from Europe: Sorbs and KORA from Germany and PPP-Botnia from Finland (total N = 2,791). In addition, we measured mRNA expression of genes within the associated loci in peripheral mononuclear cells by micro-arrays, and within adipose tissue by quantitative RT-PCR and performed mRNA expression quantitative trait and expression-chemerin association studies to functionally substantiate our loci. Heritability estimate of circulating chemerin levels was 16.2% in the Sorbs cohort. Thirty single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at chromosome 7 within the retinoic acid receptor responder 2 (RARRES2)/Leucine Rich Repeat Containing (LRRC61) locus reached genome-wide significance (p<5.0×10−8) in the meta-analysis (the strongest evidence for association at rs7806429 with p = 7.8×10−14, beta = −0.067, explained variance 2.0%). All other SNPs within the cluster were in linkage disequilibrium with rs7806429 (minimum r2 = 0.43 in the Sorbs cohort). The results of the subgroup analyses of males and females were consistent with the results found in the total cohort. No significant SNP-sex interaction was observed. rs7806429 was associated with mRNA expression of RARRES2 in visceral adipose tissue in women (p<0.05 after adjusting for age and body mass index). In conclusion, the present meta-GWAS combined with mRNA expression studies highlights the role of genetic variation in the RARRES2 locus in the regulation of circulating chemerin concentrations.
Chemerin is an adipokine proposed to link obesity and chronic inflammation of adipose tissue. In the present study we show that circulating chemerin is a heritable trait. In a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of 2,791 individuals from Germany and Finland, we identified common genetic variants which associate with serum chemerin levels. The variants map within the retinoic acid receptor responder 2 (RARRES2)/Leucine Rich Repeat Containing (LRRC61) at chromosome 7. To better understand the potential functionality of the identified variants, we also provide insights into the mRNA expression of RARRES2 (encoding chemerin) in blood and adipose tissue. Our results highlight the role and function of genetic variation in the RARRES2 locus in the regulation of circulating chemerin concentrations.
This study addressed the long-term effect of various diets, particularly low-carbohydrate high-protein, on renal function on participants with or without type 2 diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
In the 2-year Dietary Intervention Randomized Controlled Trial (DIRECT), 318 participants (age, 51 years; 86% men; BMI, 31 kg/m2; mean estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR], 70.5 mL/min/1.73 m2; mean urine microalbumin-to-creatinine ratio, 12:12) with serum creatinine <176 μmol/L (eGFR ≥30 mL/min/1.73 m2) were randomized to low-fat, Mediterranean, or low-carbohydrate diets. The 2-year compliance was 85%, and the proportion of protein intake significantly increased to 22% of energy only in the low-carbohydrate diet (P < 0.05 vs. low-fat and Mediterranean). We examined changes in urinary microalbumin and eGFR, estimated by Modification of Diet in Renal Disease and Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration formulas.
Significant (P < 0.05 within groups) improvements in eGFR were achieved in low-carbohydrate (+5.3% [95% CI 2.1–8.5]), Mediterranean (+5.2% [3.0–7.4]), and low-fat diets (+4.0% [0.9–7.1]) with similar magnitude (P > 0.05) across diet groups. The increased eGFR was at least as prominent in participants with (+6.7%) or without (+4.5%) type 2 diabetes or those with lower baseline renal function of eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73 m2 (+7.1%) versus eGFR ≥60 mL/min/1.73 m2 (+3.7%). In a multivariable model adjusted for age, sex, diet group, type 2 diabetes, use of ACE inhibitors, 2-year weight loss, and change in protein intake (confounders and univariate predictors), only a decrease in fasting insulin (β = −0.211; P = 0.004) and systolic blood pressure (β = −0.25; P < 0.001) were independently associated with increased eGFR. The urine microalbumin-to-creatinine ratio improved similarly across the diets, particularly among participants with baseline sex-adjusted microalbuminuria, with a mean change of −24.8 (P < 0.05).
A low-carbohydrate diet is as safe as Mediterranean or low-fat diets in preserving/improving renal function among moderately obese participants with or without type 2 diabetes, with baseline serum creatinine <176 μmol/L. Potential improvement is likely to be mediated by weight loss–induced improvements in insulin sensitivity and blood pressure.
Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists such as exenatide are known to influence neural activity in the hypothalamus of animals and to reduce energy intake. In humans, however, significant weight loss has been observed in only a subgroup of patients. Why only some individuals respond with weight loss and others do not remains unclear. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we investigated differences in hypothalamic connectivity between “responders” (reduction in energy intake after exenatide infusion) and “nonresponders.”
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We performed a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, cross-over fMRI study with intravenous administration of exenatide in obese male volunteers. During brain scanning with continuous exenatide or placebo administration, participants rated food and nonfood images. After each scanning session, energy intake was measured using an ad libitum buffet. Functional hypothalamic connectivity was assessed by eigenvector centrality mapping, a measure of connectedness throughout the brain.
Responders showed significantly higher connectedness of the hypothalamus, which was specific for the food pictures condition, in the exenatide condition compared with placebo. Nonresponders did not show any significant exenatide-induced changes in hypothalamic connectedness.
Our results demonstrate a central hypothalamic effect of peripherally administered exenatide that occurred only in the group that showed an exenatide-dependent anorexigenic effect. These findings indicate that the hypothalamic response seems to be the crucial factor for the effect of exenatide on energy intake.
In obesity, elevated fat mass and ectopic fat accumulation are associated with changes in adipokine secretion, which may link obesity to inflammation and the development of insulin resistance. However, relationships among individual adipokines and between adipokines and parameters of obesity, glucose metabolism or inflammation are largely unknown. Serum concentrations of 20 adipokines were measured in 141 Caucasian obese men (n = 67) and women (n = 74) with a wide range of body weight, glycemia and insulin sensitivity. Unbiased, distance-based hierarchical cluster analyses were performed to recognize patterns among adipokines and their relationship with parameters of obesity, glucose metabolism, insulin sensitivity and inflammation. We identified two major adipokine clusters related to either (1) body fat mass and inflammation (leptin, ANGPTL3, DLL1, chemerin, Nampt, resistin) or insulin sensitivity/hyperglycemia, and lipid metabolism (vaspin, clusterin, glypican 4, progranulin, ANGPTL6, GPX3, RBP4, DLK1, SFRP5, BMP7, adiponectin, CTRP3 and 5, omentin). In addition, we found distinct adipokine clusters in subgroups of patients with or without type 2 diabetes (T2D). Logistic regression analyses revealed ANGPTL6, DLK1, Nampt and progranulin as strongest adipokine correlates of T2D in obese individuals. The panel of 20 adipokines predicted T2D compared to a combination of HbA1c, HOMA-IR and fasting plasma glucose with lower sensitivity (78% versus 91%) and specificity (76% versus 94%). Therefore, adipokine patterns may currently not be clinically useful for the diagnosis of metabolic diseases. Whether adipokine patterns are relevant for the predictive assessment of intervention outcomes needs to be further investigated.
Variants in the growth factor receptor-bound protein 10 (GRB10) gene were in a GWAS meta-analysis associated with reduced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) if inherited from the father, but inexplicably reduced fasting glucose when inherited from the mother. GRB10 is a negative regulator of insulin signaling and imprinted in a parent-of-origin fashion in different tissues. GRB10 knock-down in human pancreatic islets showed reduced insulin and glucagon secretion, which together with changes in insulin sensitivity may explain the paradoxical reduction of glucose despite a decrease in insulin secretion. Together, these findings suggest that tissue-specific methylation and possibly imprinting of GRB10 can influence glucose metabolism and contribute to T2D pathogenesis. The data also emphasize the need in genetic studies to consider whether risk alleles are inherited from the mother or the father.
In this paper, we report the first large genome-wide association study in man for glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) indices during an oral glucose tolerance test. We identify seven genetic loci and provide effects on GSIS for all previously reported glycemic traits and obesity genetic loci in a large-scale sample. We observe paradoxical effects of genetic variants in the growth factor receptor-bound protein 10 (GRB10) gene yielding both reduced GSIS and reduced fasting plasma glucose concentrations, specifically showing a parent-of-origin effect of GRB10 on lower fasting plasma glucose and enhanced insulin sensitivity for maternal and elevated glucose and decreased insulin sensitivity for paternal transmissions of the risk allele. We also observe tissue-specific differences in DNA methylation and allelic imbalance in expression of GRB10 in human pancreatic islets. We further disrupt GRB10 by shRNA in human islets, showing reduction of both insulin and glucagon expression and secretion. In conclusion, we provide evidence for complex regulation of GRB10 in human islets. Our data suggest that tissue-specific methylation and imprinting of GRB10 can influence glucose metabolism and contribute to T2D pathogenesis. The data also emphasize the need in genetic studies to consider whether risk alleles are inherited from the mother or the father.
Approaches exploiting extremes of the trait distribution may reveal novel loci for common traits, but it is unknown whether such loci are generalizable to the general population. In a genome-wide search for loci associated with upper vs. lower 5th percentiles of body mass index, height and waist-hip ratio, as well as clinical classes of obesity including up to 263,407 European individuals, we identified four new loci (IGFBP4, H6PD, RSRC1, PPP2R2A) influencing height detected in the tails and seven new loci (HNF4G, RPTOR, GNAT2, MRPS33P4, ADCY9, HS6ST3, ZZZ3) for clinical classes of obesity. Further, we show that there is large overlap in terms of genetic structure and distribution of variants between traits based on extremes and the general population and little etiologic heterogeneity between obesity subgroups.
Homogeneous Proto-Slavic genetic substrate and/or extensive mixing after World War II were suggested to explain homogeneity of contemporary Polish paternal lineages. Alternatively, Polish local populations might have displayed pre-war genetic heterogeneity owing to genetic drift and/or gene flow with neighbouring populations. Although sharp genetic discontinuity along the political border between Poland and Germany indisputably results from war-mediated resettlements and homogenisation, it remained unknown whether Y-chromosomal diversity in ethnically/linguistically defined populations was clinal or discontinuous before the war. In order to answer these questions and elucidate early Slavic migrations, 1156 individuals from several Slavic and German populations were analysed, including Polish pre-war regional populations and an autochthonous Slavic population from Germany. Y chromosomes were assigned to 39 haplogroups and genotyped for 19 STRs. Genetic distances revealed similar degree of differentiation of Slavic-speaking pre-war populations from German populations irrespective of duration and intensity of contacts with German speakers. Admixture estimates showed minor Slavic paternal ancestry (∼20%) in modern eastern Germans and hardly detectable German paternal ancestry in Slavs neighbouring German populations for centuries. BATWING analysis of isolated Slavic populations revealed that their divergence was preceded by rapid demographic growth, undermining theory that Slavic expansion was primarily linguistic rather than population spread. Polish pre-war regional populations showed within-group heterogeneity and lower STR variation within R-M17 subclades compared with modern populations, which might have been homogenised by war resettlements. Our results suggest that genetic studies on early human history in the Vistula and Oder basins should rely on reconstructed pre-war rather than modern populations.
Y chromosome; demography; admixture; Slavs; Poland; Germany
Chronic pancreatitis is an inflammatory disorder of the pancreas. We analyzed CPA1 encoding carboxypeptidase A1 in subjects with non-alcoholic chronic pancreatitis and controls in a German discovery cohort and three replication cohorts. Functionally impaired variants were present in 29/944 (3.1%) German patients and in 5/3,938 (0.1%) controls (odds ratio [OR] = 24.9; P = 1.5 × 10-16). The association was strongest in subjects aged ≤10 years (9.7%; OR = 84.0; P = 4.1 × 10-24). In the replication cohorts, defective CPA1 variants were observed in 8/600 (1.3%) patients and in 9/2,432 (0.4%) controls from Europe (P = 0.01), in 5/230 (2.2%) patients and 0/264 controls from India (P = 0.02), and in 5/247 (2.0%) patients but 0/341 controls from Japan (P = 0.013). The mechanism of increased pancreatitis risk by CPA1 variants may involve misfolding-induced endoplasmic reticulum stress rather than elevated trypsin activity as seen with other genetic risk factors.
Progranulin has recently been introduced as a novel adipokine inducing insulin resistance and obesity. In the current study, we investigated renal elimination, as well as association of the adipokine with markers of the metabolic syndrome.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Progranulin serum levels were quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and correlated to anthropometric and biochemical parameters of renal function and glucose and lipid metabolism, as well as inflammation, in 532 patients with stages 1–5 of chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Median serum progranulin levels adjusted for age, sex, and BMI were significantly different between CKD stages with highest values detectable in stage 5 (stage 1, 58.3 µg/L; stage 2, 63.0 µg/L; stage 3, 65.4 µg/L; stage 4, 68.8 µg/L; and stage 5, 90.6 µg/L). Furthermore, CKD stage was the strongest independent predictor of circulating progranulin in our cohort. In addition, high-sensitivity interleukin-6 and adiponectin remained significantly and independently correlated with the adipokine.
We demonstrate that progranulin serum levels increase with deteriorating renal function. These findings are in accordance with the hypothesis that renal clearance is a major elimination route for circulating progranulin. Furthermore, the adipokine is positively and independently associated with markers of inflammation and adiponectin.
The role of mitochondrial function in the complex pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes is not yet completely understood. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate serum concentrations of short-, medium- and long-chain acylcarnitines as markers of mitochondrial function in volunteers with normal, impaired or diabetic glucose control.
Based on a 75 g oral glucose tolerance test, 1019 studied subjects were divided into a group with normal glucose tolerance (NGT; n = 636), isolated impaired fasting glycaemia (IFG; n = 184), impaired glucose tolerance (IGT; n = 87) or type 2 diabetes (T2D; n = 112). Serum concentrations of free carnitine and 24 acylcarnitines were measured by mass spectrometry.
Serum levels of acetylcarnitine (C2), propionylcarnitine (C3), octanoylcarnitine (C8), malonylcarnitine/hydroxybutyrylcarnitine (C3DC+C4OH), hexanoylcarnitine (C6), octenoylcarnitine (C8:1), decanoylcarnitine (C10), decenoylcarnitine (C10:1), dodecanoylcarnitine (C12), tetradecenoylcarnitine (C14:1), tetradecadienylcarnitine (C14:2), hydroxytetradecanoylcarnitine (C14OH), hydroxyhexadecanoylcarnitine (C16OH) and octadecenoylcarnitine (C18:1) were significantly different among the groups (all p<0.05 adjusted for age, gender and BMI). Between the prediabetic states C14:1, C14:2 and C18:1 showed significantly higher serum concentrations in persons with IGT (p<0.05). Compared to T2D the IFG and the IGT subjects showed lower serum concentrations of malonylcarnitine/hydroxybutyrylcarnitine (C3DC+C4OH) (p<0.05).
Alterations in serum concentrations of several acylcarnitines, in particular tetradecenoylcarnitine (C14:1), tetradecadienylcarnitine (C14:2), octadecenoylcarnitine (C18:1) and malonylcarnitine/hydroxybutyrylcarnitine (C3DC+C4OH) are associated not only with T2D but also with prediabetic states.
In conducting genome-wide association studies (GWAS), analytical approaches leveraging biological information may further understanding of the pathophysiology of clinical traits. To discover novel associations with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a measure of kidney function, we developed a strategy for integrating prior biological knowledge into the existing GWAS data for eGFR from the CKDGen Consortium. Our strategy focuses on single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) in genes that are connected by functional evidence, determined by literature mining and gene ontology (GO) hierarchies, to genes near previously validated eGFR associations. It then requires association thresholds consistent with multiple testing, and finally evaluates novel candidates by independent replication. Among the samples of European ancestry, we identified a genome-wide significant SNP in FBXL20 (P = 5.6 × 10−9) in meta-analysis of all available data, and additional SNPs at the INHBC, LRP2, PLEKHA1, SLC3A2 and SLC7A6 genes meeting multiple-testing corrected significance for replication and overall P-values of 4.5 × 10−4–2.2 × 10−7. Neither the novel PLEKHA1 nor FBXL20 associations, both further supported by association with eGFR among African Americans and with transcript abundance, would have been implicated by eGFR candidate gene approaches. LRP2, encoding the megalin receptor, was identified through connection with the previously known eGFR gene DAB2 and extends understanding of the megalin system in kidney function. These findings highlight integration of existing genome-wide association data with independent biological knowledge to uncover novel candidate eGFR associations, including candidates lacking known connections to kidney-specific pathways. The strategy may also be applicable to other clinical phenotypes, although more testing will be needed to assess its potential for discovery in general.
Genetic variants within the bitter taste receptor gene TAS2R38 are associated with sensitivity to bitter taste and are related to eating behavior in the Amish population. Sensitivity to bitter taste is further related to anthropometric traits in an genetically isolated Italian population. We tested whether the TAS2R38 variants (rs713598; rs1726866 and rs10246939) may be related to eating behavior, anthropometric parameters, metabolic traits and consumer goods intake in the German Sorbs.
Materials and Methods
The three SNPs were genotyped in a total cohort of 1007 individuals (male/female: 405/602). The German version of the three-factor eating questionnaire was completed by 548 individuals. Genetic association analyses for smoking behavior, alcohol and coffee intake, eating behavior factors (restraint, disinhibition and hunger) and other metabolic traits were analyzed. Further, by combining the three SNPs we applied comparative haplotype analyses categorizing PAV (proline-alanine-valine) carriers (tasters) vs. homozygous AVI (alanin-valine-isoleucine) carriers (non-tasters).
Significant associations of genetic variants within TAS2R38 were identified with percentage of body fat, which were driven by associations in women. In men, we observed significant associations with 30 min plasma glucose, and area under the curve for plasma glucose (0–120 min) (all adjusted P≤0.05). Further, we found that carriers of at least one PAV allele show significantly lower cigarette smoking per day (P = 0.002) as well as, albeit non-significant, lower alcohol intake. We did not confirm previously reported associations between genetic variants of TAS2R38 and eating behavior.
Our data suggest that genetic variation in TAS2R38 is related to individual body composition measures and may further influence consumer goods intake in the Sorbs possibly via individual sensitivity to bitter taste.
The complex process of development of the pituitary gland is regulated by a number of signalling molecules and transcription factors. Mutations in these factors have been identified in rare cases of congenital hypopituitarism but for most subjects with combined pituitary hormone deficiency (CPHD) genetic causes are unknown. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) affect induction and growth of the pituitary primordium and thus represent plausible candidates for mutational screening of patients with CPHD.
We sequenced BMP2, 4 and 7 in 19 subjects with CPHD. For validation purposes, novel genetic variants were genotyped in 1046 healthy subjects. Additionally, potential functional relevance for most promising variants has been assessed by phylogenetic analyses and prediction of effects on protein structure.
Sequencing revealed two novel variants and confirmed 30 previously known polymorphisms and mutations in BMP2, 4 and 7. Although phylogenetic analyses indicated that these variants map within strongly conserved gene regions, there was no direct support for their impact on protein structure when applying predictive bioinformatics tools.
A mutation in the BMP4 coding region resulting in an amino acid exchange (p.Arg300Pro) appeared most interesting among the identified variants. Further functional analyses are required to ultimately map the relevance of these novel variants in CPHD.
Combined pituitary hormone deficiency; Bone morphogenetic proteins; BMP2; BMP4; BMP7
Obesity is associated with genetic and environmental factors but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) identified obesity- and type 2 diabetes-associated genetic variants located within or near genes that modulate brain activity and development. Among the top hits is rs17782313 near MC4R, encoding for the melanocortin-4-receptor, which is expressed in brain regions that regulate eating. Here, we hypothesized rs17782313-associated changes in human brain regions that regulate eating behavior. Therefore, we examined effects of common variants at rs17782313 near MC4R on brain structure and eating behavior. Only in female homozygous carriers of the risk allele we found significant increases of gray matter volume (GMV) in the right amygdala, a region known to influence eating behavior, and the right hippocampus, a structure crucial for memory formation and learning. Further, we found bilateral increases in medial orbitofrontal cortex, a multimodal brain structure encoding the subjective value of reinforcers, and bilateral prefrontal cortex, a higher order regulation area. There was no association between rs17782313 and brain structure in men. Moreover, among female subjects only, we observed a significant increase of ‘disinhibition’, and, more specifically, on ‘emotional eating’ scores of the Three Factor Eating Questionnaire in carriers of the variant rs17782313’s risk allele. These findings suggest that rs17782313’s effect on eating behavior is mediated by central mechanisms and that these effects are sex-specific.
Introduction:The glutamate receptor, metabotropic 8 gene (GRM8) encodes a G-protein-coupled glutamate receptor and has been associated with smoking behavior and liability to alcoholism implying a role in addiction vulnerability. Data from animal studies suggest that GRM8 may be involved in the regulation of the neuropeptide Y and melanocortin pathways and might influence food intake and metabolism. This study aimed to investigate the effects of the genetic variant rs2237781 within GRM8 on human eating behavior. Methods:The initial analysis included 548 Sorbs from Germany who have been extensively phenotyped for metabolic traits and who completed the German version of the three-factor eating questionnaire. In addition, we analyzed two independent sample sets comprising 293 subjects from another German cohort and 430 Old Order Amish individuals. Genetic associations with restraint, disinhibition, and hunger were assessed in an additive linear regression model. Results:Among the Sorbs the major G allele of rs2237781 was significantly associated with increased restraint scores in eating behavior (P = 1.9 × 10−4; β = +1.936). The German cohort and the Old Order Amish population revealed a trend in the same direction for restraint (P = 0.242; β = +0.874; P = 0.908; β = +0.096; respectively). A meta-analysis resulted in a combined P = 3.1 × 10−3 (Z-score 2.948). Conclusion:Our data suggest that rs2237781 within GRM8 may influence human eating behavior factors probably via pathways involved in addictive behavior.
Addiction; alcohol intake; food intake; human eating behavior; smoking behavior
Elevated serum urate concentrations can cause gout, a prevalent and painful inflammatory arthritis. By combining data from >140,000 individuals of European ancestry within the Global Urate Genetics Consortium (GUGC), we identified and replicated 28 genome-wide significant loci in association with serum urate concentrations (18 new regions in or near TRIM46, INHBB, SFMBT1, TMEM171, VEGFA, BAZ1B, PRKAG2, STC1, HNF4G, A1CF, ATXN2, UBE2Q2, IGF1R, NFAT5, MAF, HLF, ACVR1B-ACVRL1 and B3GNT4). Associations for many of the loci were of similar magnitude in individuals of non-European ancestry. We further characterized these loci for associations with gout, transcript expression and the fractional excretion of urate. Network analyses implicate the inhibins-activins signaling pathways and glucose metabolism in systemic urate control. New candidate genes for serum urate concentration highlight the importance of metabolic control of urate production and excretion, which may have implications for the treatment and prevention of gout.
Birth weight within the normal range is associated with a variety of adult-onset diseases, but the mechanisms behind these associations are poorly understood1. Previous genome-wide association studies identified a variant in the ADCY5 gene associated both with birth weight and type 2 diabetes, and a second variant, near CCNL1, with no obvious link to adult traits2. In an expanded genome-wide association meta-analysis and follow-up study (up to 69,308 individuals of European descent from 43 studies), we have now extended the number of genome-wide significant loci to seven, accounting for a similar proportion of variance to maternal smoking. Five of the loci are known to be associated with other phenotypes: ADCY5 and CDKAL1 with type 2 diabetes; ADRB1 with adult blood pressure; and HMGA2 and LCORL with adult height. Our findings highlight genetic links between fetal growth and postnatal growth and metabolism.
Recent studies revealed that autophagy is up-regulated in obese individuals, as evidenced by increased expression of autophagy related genes. As argued elsewhere, it is possible that initially insulin resistance functions as an adaptive mechanism to increase autophagy in order to protect cells against death. We have shown that Wistar Ottawa Karlsburg W (RT1u) rats (WOKW) develop a metabolic syndrome with insulin resistance in adipose tissue, closely resembling the human disease. Therefore, the aim of this study was to characterize the autophagy phenotype in WOKW rats to clarify the interrelation between insulin resistance and autophagy in adipose tissue.
Subcutaneous and epidydimal adipose tissue samples of 5-months-old WOKW and healthy LEW.1 W male rats were investigated and protein levels (Western blot and immunhistochemistry) of key autophagy genes, including Atg5, Atg7, LC3-II/LC3-I and apoptosis marker cleaved caspase-3 were analyzed.
WOKW rats displayed a significant increase of autophagy related proteins (Atg5, Atg7) in adipose tissue compared with LEW.1 W. This increase was predominantly found in epididymal adipose tissue. Furthermore, the LC3-II/LC3-I ratio as a marker of autophagosomes was significantly up-regulated in subcutaneous adipose tissue of WOKW rats. Cleaved caspase-3 was just slightly detectable in visceral adipose tissue and not detected in subcutaneous fat.
Insulin resistance in adipose tissue of obese WOKW rats is associated with up-regulation of differing autophagy markers in visceral and subcutaneous fat depots. This fact not only qualifies the WOKW rat for further detailed analysis of genetic determinants of metabolic syndrome but also highlights its suitability for autophagy research.
Autophagy; WOKW; Insulin resistance; Adipose tissue; Atg5; Atg7
To compare the incidences of severe hypoglycemia and corresponding clinical circumstances in a German population between 2007–2010 and 1997–2000.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
A screening for severe hypoglycemia was performed in the Lippe-Detmold area in Germany to sensitively detect severe hypoglycemia. This was defined as a symptomatic event requiring treatment with intravenous glucose and being confirmed by a blood glucose measurement of <50 mg/dL.
Severe hypoglycemia increased considerably from 264 events in 1997–2000 to 495 events in 2007–2010, which translated into an increase in frequency of severe hypoglycemia among all emergency admissions from 0.68 to 0.83% (P = 0.015). This was mostly related to intensification of antihyperglycemic therapy, particularly in the increasingly morbid group of hypoglycemic patients with type 2 diabetes indicated by lower HbA1c, more comedication (3.3 vs. 7.7 drugs), and more concomitant diseases (3.6 vs. 4.4) (all P values <0.001).
Within a 10-year period, there was an intensification of antihyperglycemic therapy in increasingly comorbid subjects, leading to a considerably higher incidence of severe hypoglycemia.
Gene–lifestyle interactions have been suggested to contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. Glucose levels 2 h after a standard 75-g glucose challenge are used to diagnose diabetes and are associated with both genetic and lifestyle factors. However, whether these factors interact to determine 2-h glucose levels is unknown. We meta-analyzed single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) × BMI and SNP × physical activity (PA) interaction regression models for five SNPs previously associated with 2-h glucose levels from up to 22 studies comprising 54,884 individuals without diabetes. PA levels were dichotomized, with individuals below the first quintile classified as inactive (20%) and the remainder as active (80%). BMI was considered a continuous trait. Inactive individuals had higher 2-h glucose levels than active individuals (β = 0.22 mmol/L [95% CI 0.13–0.31], P = 1.63 × 10−6). All SNPs were associated with 2-h glucose (β = 0.06–0.12 mmol/allele, P ≤ 1.53 × 10−7), but no significant interactions were found with PA (P > 0.18) or BMI (P ≥ 0.04). In this large study of gene–lifestyle interaction, we observed no interactions between genetic and lifestyle factors, both of which were associated with 2-h glucose. It is perhaps unlikely that top loci from genome-wide association studies will exhibit strong subgroup-specific effects, and may not, therefore, make the best candidates for the study of interactions.
There is evidence across several species for genetic control of phenotypic variation of complex traits1–4, such that the variance among phenotypes is genotype dependent. Understanding genetic control of variability is important in evolutionary biology, agricultural selection programmes and human medicine, yet for complex traits, no individual genetic variants associated with variance, as opposed to the mean, have been identified. Here we perform a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of phenotypic variation using 170,000 samples on height and body mass index (BMI) in human populations. We report evidence that the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs7202116 at the FTO gene locus, which is known to be associated with obesity (as measured by mean BMI for each rs7202116 genotype)5–7, is also associated with phenotypic variability. We show that the results are not due to scale effects or other artefacts, and find no other experiment-wise significant evidence for effects on variability, either at loci other than FTO for BMI or at any locus for height. The difference in variance for BMI among individuals with opposite homozygous genotypes at the FTO locus is approximately 7%, corresponding to a difference of 0.5 kilograms in the standard deviation of weight. Our results indicate that genetic variants can be discovered that are associated with variability, and that between-person variability in obesity can partly be explained by the genotype at the FTO locus. The results are consistent with reported FTO by environment interactions for BMI8, possibly mediated by DNA methylation9,10. Our BMI results for other SNPs and our height results for all SNPs suggest that most genetic variants, including those that influence mean height or mean BMI, are not associated with phenotypic variance, or that their effects on variability are too small to detect even with samples sizes greater than 100,000.
Anaemia is a chief determinant of globalill health, contributing to cognitive impairment, growth retardation and impaired physical capacity. To understand further the genetic factors influencing red blood cells, we carried out a genome-wide association study of haemoglobin concentration and related parameters in up to 135,367 individuals. Here we identify 75 independent genetic loci associated with one or more red blood cell phenotypes at P <10−8, which together explain 4–9% of the phenotypic variance per trait. Using expression quantitative trait loci and bioinformatic strategies, we identify 121 candidate genes enriched in functions relevant to red blood cell biology. The candidate genes are expressed preferentially in red blood cell precursors, and 43 have haematopoietic phenotypes in Mus musculus or Drosophila melanogaster. Through open-chromatin and coding-variant analyses we identify potential causal genetic variants at 41 loci. Our findings provide extensive new insights into genetic mechanisms and biological pathways controlling red blood cell formation and function.
Recent genome-wide association studies have described many loci implicated in type 2 diabetes (T2D) pathophysiology and beta-cell dysfunction, but contributed little to our understanding of the genetic basis of insulin resistance. We hypothesized that genes implicated in insulin resistance pathways may be uncovered by accounting for differences in body mass index (BMI) and potential interaction between BMI and genetic variants. We applied a novel joint meta-analytical approach to test associations with fasting insulin (FI) and glucose (FG) on a genome-wide scale. We present six previously unknown FI loci at P<5×10−8 in combined discovery and follow-up analyses of 52 studies comprising up to 96,496non-diabetic individuals. Risk variants were associated with higher triglyceride and lower HDL cholesterol levels, suggestive of a role for these FI loci in insulin resistance pathways. The localization of these additional loci will aid further characterization of the role of insulin resistance in T2D pathophysiology.