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.
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.
The adipokine vaspin (visceral adipose tissue derived serine protease inhibitor, serpinA12) follows a meal-related diurnal variation in humans and intracerebroventricular vaspin administration leads to acutely reduced food intake in db/db mice. We therefore hypothesized that vaspin may play a role in human eating behaviour.
Materials and Methods
We measured serum vaspin concentrations in 548 subjects from a self-contained population of Sorbs (Germany) who underwent detailed metabolic testing including eating behaviour assessments using the three-factor eating questionnaire. In addition, genetic variation within vaspin was assessed by genotyping 28 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in all study subjects.
Serum vaspin concentrations correlated positively with restraint, disinhibition and hunger (all P<0.05), although the correlations did not withstand further adjustments for age, gender and BMI (all P>0.05). Independent of observed correlations, genetic variants in vaspin were associated with serum vaspin levels but showed no significant association with any of the eating behaviour phenotypes after accounting for multiple testing (P≥0.05 after adjusting for age, gender and BMI).
Our data suggest that serum vaspin concentrations might modulate human eating behaviour, which does not seem to be affected by common genetic variation in vaspin.
Population isolates have long been of interest to genetic epidemiologists because of their potential to increase power to detect disease-causing genetic variants. The Sorbs of Germany are considered as cultural and linguistic isolates and have recently been the focus of disease association mapping efforts. They are thought to have settled in their present location in eastern Germany after a westward migration from a largely Slavic-speaking territory during the Middle Ages. To examine Sorbian genetic diversity within the context of other European populations, we analyzed genotype data for over 30 000 autosomal single-nucleotide polymorphisms from over 200 Sorbs individuals. We compare the Sorbs with other European individuals, including samples from population isolates. Despite their geographical proximity to German speakers, the Sorbs showed greatest genetic similarity to Polish and Czech individuals, consistent with the linguistic proximity of Sorbian to other West Slavic languages. The Sorbs also showed evidence of subtle levels of genetic isolation in comparison with samples from non-isolated European populations. The level of genetic isolation was less than that observed for the Sardinians and French Basque, who were clear outliers on multiple measures of isolation. The finding of the Sorbs as only a minor genetic isolate demonstrates the need to genetically characterize putative population isolates, as they possess a wide range of levels of isolation because of their different demographic histories.
Sorbs; principle component analysis; genetic isolates; genetic diversity; population history; genetic distance
Coffee is the most commonly used stimulant and caffeine is its main psychoactive ingredient. The heritability of coffee consumption has been estimated at around 50%. We performed a meta-analysis of four genome-wide association studies of coffee consumption among coffee drinkers from Iceland (n = 2680), the Netherlands (n = 2791), the Sorbs Slavonic population isolate in Germany (n = 771) and the USA (n = 369) using both directly genotyped and imputed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (2.5 million SNPs). SNPs at the two most significant loci were also genotyped in a sample set from Iceland (n = 2430) and a Danish sample set consisting of pregnant women (n = 1620). Combining all data, two sequence variants significantly associated with increased coffee consumption: rs2472297-T located between CYP1A1 and CYP1A2 at 15q24 (P = 5.4 · 10−14) and rs6968865-T near aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) at 7p21 (P = 2.3 · 10−11). An effect of ∼0.2 cups a day per allele was observed for both SNPs. CYP1A2 is the main caffeine metabolizing enzyme and is also involved in drug metabolism. AHR detects xenobiotics, such as polycyclic aryl hydrocarbons found in roasted coffee, and induces transcription of CYP1A1 and CYP1A2. The association of these SNPs with coffee consumption was present in both smokers and non-smokers.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an important public health problem with a genetic component. We performed genome-wide association studies in up to 130,600 European ancestry participants overall, and stratified for key CKD risk factors. We uncovered 6 new loci in association with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), the primary clinical measure of CKD, in or near MPPED2, DDX1, SLC47A1, CDK12, CASP9, and INO80. Morpholino knockdown of mpped2 and casp9 in zebrafish embryos revealed podocyte and tubular abnormalities with altered dextran clearance, suggesting a role for these genes in renal function. By providing new insights into genes that regulate renal function, these results could further our understanding of the pathogenesis of CKD.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an important public health problem with a hereditary component. We performed a new genome-wide association study in up to 130,600 European ancestry individuals to identify genes that may influence kidney function, specifically genes that may influence kidney function differently depending on sex, age, hypertension, and diabetes status of individuals. We uncovered 6 new loci associated with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), the primary measure of renal function, in or near MPPED2, DDX1, SLC47A1, CDK12, CASP9, and INO80. CDK12 effect was stronger in younger and absent in older individuals. MPPED2, DDX1, SLC47A1, and CDK12 loci were associated with eGFR in African ancestry samples as well, highlighting the cross-ethnicity validity of our findings. Using the zebrafish model, we performed morpholino knockdown of mpped2 and casp9 in zebrafish embryos and revealed podocyte and tubular abnormalities with altered dextran clearance, suggesting a role for these genes in renal function. These results further our understanding of the pathogenesis of CKD and provide insights into potential novel mechanisms of disease.
Chronic pancreatitis (CP) is an inflammatory disease that in some patients leads to exocrine and endocrine dysfunction. In industrialized countries the most common aetiology is chronic alcohol abuse. Descriptions of associated genetic alterations in alcoholic CP are rare. However, a common PNPLA3 variant (p.I148M) is associated with the development of alcoholic liver cirrhosis (ALC). Since, alcoholic CP and ALC share the same aetiology PNPLA3 variant (p.I148M) possibly influences the development of alcoholic CP.
Using melting curve analysis we genotyped the variant in 1510 patients with pancreatitis or liver disease (961 German and Dutch alcoholic CP patients, 414 German patients with idiopathic or hereditary CP, and 135 patients with ALC). In addition, we included in total 2781 healthy controls in the study.
The previously published overrepresentation of GG-genotype was replicated in our cohort of ALC (p-value <0.0001, OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.6–3.3). Distributions of genotype and allele frequencies of the p.I148M variant were comparable in patients with alcoholic CP, idiopathic and hereditary CP and in healthy controls.
The absence of an association of PNPLA3 p.I148M with alcoholic CP seems not to point to a common pathway in the development of alcoholic CP and alcoholic liver cirrhosis.
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) are involved in the regulation of numerous physiological functions. Therefore, GPCR variants may have conferred important selective advantages during periods of human evolution. Indeed, several genomic loci with signatures of recent selection in humans contain GPCR genes among them the X-chromosomally located gene for GPR82. This gene encodes a so-called orphan GPCR with unknown function. To address the functional relevance of GPR82 gene-deficient mice were characterized. GPR82-deficient mice were viable, reproduced normally, and showed no gross anatomical abnormalities. However, GPR82-deficient mice have a reduced body weight and body fat content associated with a lower food intake. Moreover, GPR82-deficient mice showed decreased serum triacylglyceride levels, increased insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, most pronounced under Western diet. Because there were no differences in respiratory and metabolic rates between wild-type and GPR82-deficient mice our data suggest that GPR82 function influences food intake and, therefore, energy and body weight balance. GPR82 may represent a thrifty gene most probably representing an advantage during human expansion into new environments.
Recently, a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs9514089 in SLC10A2 (apical sodium-dependent bile acid transporter gene) has been identified as a susceptibility variant for cholelithiasis in humans.
Here we assessed the effects of rs9514089 on gallstone risk and related phenotypes of the metabolic syndrome in the self-contained population of Sorbs (183 cases with gallstones/826 controls). Furthermore, we performed a meta-analysis for effects of rs9514089 on susceptibility for cholelithiasis in three independent cohorts (Stuttgart: 56 cases/71 controls, Aachen: 184 cases/184 controls and Sorbs).
There was no significant association of rs9514089 with gallstone risk, serum lipid parameters and BMI in the Sorbs and in the meta-analysis of all three cohorts (p > 0.05). There was an effect trend in the subgroup of lean subjects but based on different effect directions in the three cohorts there was no significant association in the meta-analysis.
We were not able to replicate the effect of rs9514089 on gallstone risk in the Sorbs. Further analyses in larger cohorts are required to finally assess the role of genetic variants in SLC10A2 in human gallstone development and lipid metabolism.
Recent genome-wide association (GWA) studies described 95 loci controlling serum lipid levels. These common variants explain ∼25% of the heritability of the phenotypes. To date, no unbiased screen for gene–environment interactions for circulating lipids has been reported. We screened for variants that modify the relationship between known epidemiological risk factors and circulating lipid levels in a meta-analysis of genome-wide association (GWA) data from 18 population-based cohorts with European ancestry (maximum N = 32,225). We collected 8 further cohorts (N = 17,102) for replication, and rs6448771 on 4p15 demonstrated genome-wide significant interaction with waist-to-hip-ratio (WHR) on total cholesterol (TC) with a combined P-value of 4.79×10−9. There were two potential candidate genes in the region, PCDH7 and CCKAR, with differential expression levels for rs6448771 genotypes in adipose tissue. The effect of WHR on TC was strongest for individuals carrying two copies of G allele, for whom a one standard deviation (sd) difference in WHR corresponds to 0.19 sd difference in TC concentration, while for A allele homozygous the difference was 0.12 sd. Our findings may open up possibilities for targeted intervention strategies for people characterized by specific genomic profiles. However, more refined measures of both body-fat distribution and metabolic measures are needed to understand how their joint dynamics are modified by the newly found locus.
Circulating serum lipids contribute greatly to the global health by affecting the risk for cardiovascular diseases. Serum lipid levels are partly inherited, and already 95 loci affecting high- and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides have been found. Serum lipids are also known to be affected by multiple epidemiological risk factors like body composition, lifestyle, and sex. It has been hypothesized that there are loci modifying the effects between risk factors and serum lipids, but to date only candidate gene studies for interactions have been reported. We conducted a genome-wide screen with meta-analysis approach to identify loci having interactions with epidemiological risk factors on serum lipids with over 30,000 population-based samples. When combining results from our initial datasets and 8 additional replication cohorts (maximum N = 17,102), we found a genome-wide significant locus in chromosome 4p15 with a joint P-value of 4.79×10−9 modifying the effect of waist-to-hip ratio on total cholesterol. In the area surrounding this genetic variant, there were two genes having association between the genotypes and the gene expression in adipose tissue, and we also found enrichment of association in genes belonging to lipid metabolism related functions.
Acetyl Coenzyme A carboxylase β (ACACB) is the rate-limiting enzyme in fatty acid oxidation, and continuous fatty acid oxidation in Acacb knock-out mice increases insulin sensitivity. Systematic human studies have not been performed to evaluate whether ACACB variants regulate gene expression and insulin sensitivity in skeletal muscle and adipose tissues. We sought to determine whether ACACB transcribed variants were associated with ACACB gene expression and insulin sensitivity in non-diabetic African American (AA) and European American (EA) adults.
ACACB transcribed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped in 105 EAs and 46 AAs whose body mass index (BMI), lipid profiles and ACACB gene expression in subcutaneous adipose and skeletal muscle had been measured. Allelic expression imbalance (AEI) was assessed in lymphoblast cell lines from heterozygous subjects in an additional EA sample (n = 95). Selected SNPs were further examined for association with insulin sensitivity in a cohort of 417 EAs and 153 AAs.
ACACB transcribed SNP rs2075260 (A/G) was associated with adipose ACACB messenger RNA expression in EAs and AAs (p = 3.8×10−5, dominant model in meta-analysis, Stouffer method), with the (A) allele representing lower gene expression in adipose and higher insulin sensitivity in EAs (p = 0.04). In EAs, adipose ACACB expression was negatively associated with age and sex-adjusted BMI (r = −0.35, p = 0.0002).
Common variants within the ACACB locus appear to regulate adipose gene expression in humans. Body fat (represented by BMI) may further regulate adipose ACACB gene expression in the EA population.
The Sorbs are an ethnic minority in Germany with putative genetic isolation, making the population interesting for disease mapping. A sample of N = 977 Sorbs is currently analysed in several genome-wide meta-analyses. Since genetic differences between populations are a major confounding factor in genetic meta-analyses, we compare the Sorbs with the German outbred population of the KORA F3 study (N = 1644) and other publically available European HapMap populations by population genetic means. We also aim to separate effects of over-sampling of families in the Sorbs sample from effects of genetic isolation and compare the power of genetic association studies between the samples.
The degree of relatedness was significantly higher in the Sorbs. Principal components analysis revealed a west to east clustering of KORA individuals born in Germany, KORA individuals born in Poland or Czech Republic, Half-Sorbs (less than four Sorbian grandparents) and Full-Sorbs. The Sorbs cluster is nearest to the cluster of KORA individuals born in Poland. The number of rare SNPs is significantly higher in the Sorbs sample. FST between KORA and Sorbs is an order of magnitude higher than between different regions in Germany. Compared to the other populations, Sorbs show a higher proportion of individuals with runs of homozygosity between 2.5 Mb and 5 Mb. Linkage disequilibrium (LD) at longer range is also slightly increased but this has no effect on the power of association studies.
Oversampling of families in the Sorbs sample causes detectable bias regarding higher FST values and higher LD but the effect is an order of magnitude smaller than the observed differences between KORA and Sorbs. Relatedness in the Sorbs also influenced the power of uncorrected association analyses.
Sorbs show signs of genetic isolation which cannot be explained by over-sampling of relatives, but the effects are moderate in size. The Slavonic origin of the Sorbs is still genetically detectable.
Regarding LD structure, a clear advantage for genome-wide association studies cannot be deduced. The significant amount of cryptic relatedness in the Sorbs sample results in inflated variances of Beta-estimators which should be considered in genetic association analyses.
Recent genome-wide association studies identified novel candidate genes for fasting and 2 h blood glucose and insulin levels in adults. We investigated the role of four of these loci (ADCY5, GIPR, GCKR and VPS13C) in early impairment of glucose and insulin metabolism in children.
Research Design and Methods
We genotyped four variants (rs2877716; rs1260326; rs10423928; rs17271305) in 638 Caucasian children with detailed metabolic testing including an oGTT and assessed associations with measures of glucose and insulin metabolism (including fasting blood glucose, insulin levels and insulin sensitivity/secretion indices) by linear regression analyses adjusted for age, sex, BMI-SDS and pubertal stage.
The major allele (C) of rs2877716 (ADCY5) was nominally associated with decreased fasting plasma insulin (P = 0.008), peak insulin (P = 0.009) and increased QUICKI (P = 0.016) and Matsuda insulin sensitivity index (P = 0.013). rs17271305 (VPS13C) was nominally associated with 2 h blood glucose (P = 0.009), but not with any of the insulin or insulin sensitivity parameters. We found no association of the GIPR and GCKR variants with parameters of glucose and insulin metabolism. None of the variants correlated with anthropometric traits such as height, WHR or BMI-SDS, which excluded potential underlying associations with obesity.
Our data on obese children indicate effects of genetic variation within ADCY5 in early impairment of insulin metabolism and VPS13C in early impairment of blood glucose homeostasis.
Smoking is a risk factor for most of the diseases leading in mortality1. We conducted genome-wide association (GWA) meta-analyses of smoking data within the ENGAGE consortium to search for common alleles associating with the number of cigarettes smoked per day (CPD) in smokers (N=31,266) and smoking initiation (N=46,481). We tested selected SNPs in a second stage (N=45,691 smokers), and assessed some in a third sample (N=9,040). Variants in three genomic regions associated with CPD (P< 5·10−8), including previously identified SNPs at 15q25 represented by rs1051730-A (0.80 CPD,P=2.4·10−69), and SNPs at 19q13 and 8p11, represented by rs4105144-C (0.39 CPD, P=2.2·10−12) and rs6474412-T (0.29 CPD,P= 1.4·10−8), respectively. Among the genes at the two novel loci, are genes encoding nicotine-metabolizing enzymes (CYP2A6 and CYP2B6), and nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunits (CHRNB3 and CHRNA6) highlighted in previous studies of nicotine dependence2-3. Nominal associations with lung cancer were observed at both 8p11 (rs6474412-T,OR=1.09,P=0.04) and 19q13 (rs4105144-C,OR=1.12,P=0.0006).
Obesity and type 2 diabetes are reaching epidemic proportions in Western societies and contribute to substantial morbidity and mortality. The PPARγ and PGC-1α system plays an important role in regulating efficient energy utilization and oxidative phosphorylation both of which are decreased in obesity and insulin resistance.
We measured metabolic parameters and the expression of PPARγ and PGC-1α mRNA using quantitative real-time PCR in omental and subcutaneous (SC) adipose tissue in an observational study of 153 individuals as well as in SC fat and skeletal muscle in an interventional study of 60 subjects (20 each with normal glucose tolerance, impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes) before and after intensive physical training for 4 weeks.
PPARγ and PGC-1α mRNA expression in both fat depots as well as in skeletal muscle is associated with markers of insulin resistance and cardiovascular risk. PGC-1α mRNA expression is significantly higher in SC compared to omental fat, whereas PPARγ expression is not significantly different between these fat depots. Skeletal muscle and SC fat PPARγ and PGC-1α mRNA expression increased significantly in response to physical training.
Gene expression of PPARγ and PGC-1α in human adipose tissue is related to markers of insulin resistance and cardiovascular risk. Increased muscle and adipose tissue PPARγ and PGC-1α expression in response to physical training may mediate the beneficial effects of exercise on insulin sensitivity.
PPARγ; PGC-1α; adipose tissue; obesity; diabetes; exercise training
Human bone morphogenetic protein receptor 2 (BMPR2) is essential for BMP signalling and may be involved in the regulation of adipogenesis. The BMPR2 locus has been suggested as target of recent selection in human populations. We hypothesized that BMPR2 might have a role in the pathophysiology of obesity.
Research Design and Methods
Evolutionary analyses (dN/dS, Fst, iHS) were conducted in vertebrates and human populations. BMPR2 mRNA expression was measured in 190 paired samples of visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue. The gene was sequenced in 48 DNA samples. Nine representative single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped for subsequent association studies on quantitative traits related to obesity in 1830 German Caucasians. An independent cohort of 925 Sorbs was used for replication. Finally, relation of genotypes to mRNA in fat was examined.
The evolutionary analyses indicated signatures of selection on the BMPR2 locus. BMPR2 mRNA expression was significantly increased both in visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue of 37 overweight (BMI>25 and <30 kg/m2) and 80 obese (BMI>30 kg/m2) compared with 44 lean subjects (BMI<25 kg/m2) (P<0.001). In a case-control study including lean and obese subjects, two intronic SNPs (rs6717924, rs13426118) were associated with obesity (adjusted P<0.05). Combined analyses including the initial cohort and the Sorbs confirmed a consistent effect for rs6717924 (combined P = 0.01) on obesity. Moreover, rs6717924 was associated with higher BMPR2 mRNA expression in visceral adipose tissue.
Combined BMPR2 genotype-phenotype-mRNA expression data as well as evolutionary aspects suggest a role of BMPR2 in the pathophysiology of obesity.
The association between common variants in the FTO gene with weight, adiposity and body mass index (BMI) has now been widely replicated. Although the causal variant has yet to be identified, it most likely maps within a 47 kb region of intron 1 of FTO. We performed a genome-wide association study in the Sorbian population and evaluated the relationships between FTO variants and BMI and fat mass in this isolate of Slavonic origin resident in Germany. In a sample of 948 Sorbs, we could replicate the earlier reported associations of intron 1 SNPs with BMI (eg, P-value=0.003, β=0.02 for rs8050136). However, using genome-wide association data, we also detected a second independent signal mapping to a region in intron 2/3 about 40–60 kb away from the originally reported SNPs (eg, for rs17818902 association with BMI P-value=0.0006, β=−0.03 and with fat mass P-value=0.0018, β=−0.079). Both signals remain independently associated in the conditioned analyses. In conclusion, we extend the evidence that FTO variants are associated with BMI by putatively identifying a second susceptibility allele independent of that described earlier. Although further statistical analysis of these findings is hampered by the finite size of the Sorbian isolate, these findings should encourage other groups to seek alternative susceptibility variants within FTO (and other established susceptibility loci) using the opportunities afforded by analyses in populations with divergent mutational and/or demographic histories.
FTO; BMI; Sorbs
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a significant public health problem, and recent genetic studies have identified common CKD susceptibility variants. The CKDGen consortium performed a meta-analysis of genome-wide association data in 67,093 Caucasian individuals from 20 population-based studies to identify new susceptibility loci for reduced renal function, estimated by serum creatinine (eGFRcrea), cystatin C (eGFRcys), and CKD (eGFRcrea <60 ml/min/1.73m2; n = 5,807 CKD cases). Follow-up of the 23 genome-wide significant loci (p<5×10−8) in 22,982 replication samples identified 13 novel loci for renal function and CKD (in or near LASS2, GCKR, ALMS1, TFDP2, DAB2, SLC34A1, VEGFA, PRKAG2, PIP5K1B, ATXN2, DACH1, UBE2Q2, and SLC7A9) and 7 creatinine production and secretion loci (CPS1, SLC22A2, TMEM60, WDR37, SLC6A13, WDR72, BCAS3). These results further our understanding of biologic mechanisms of kidney function by identifying loci potentially influencing nephrogenesis, podocyte function, angiogenesis, solute transport, and metabolic functions of the kidney.
genome-wide association; renal disease; population-based; genetics; chronic kidney disease
Recently, associations of several common genetic variants with height have been reported in different populations. We attempted to identify further variants associated with adult height in a self-contained population (the Sorbs in Eastern Germany) as discovery set. We performed a genome wide association study (GWAS) (∼390 000 genetic polymorphisms, Affymetrix gene arrays) on adult height in 929 Sorbian individuals. Subsequently, the best SNPs (P < 0.001) were taken forward to a meta-analysis together with two independent cohorts [Diabetes Genetics Initiative, British 1958 Birth Cohort, (58BC, publicly available)]. Furthermore, we genotyped our best signal for replication in two additional German cohorts (Leipzig, n = 1044 and Berlin, n = 1728). In the primary Sorbian GWAS, we identified 5 loci with a P-value < 10−5 and 455 SNPs with P-value < 0.001. In the meta-analysis on those 455 SNPs, only two variants in GPR133 (rs1569019 and rs1976930; in LD with each other) retained a P-value at or below 10−6 and were associated with height in the three cohorts individually. Upon replication, the SNP rs1569019 showed significant effects on height in the Leipzig cohort (P = 0.004, beta = 1.166) and in 577 men of the Berlin cohort (P = 0.049, beta = 1.127) though not in women. The combined analysis of all five cohorts (n = 6,687) resulted in a P-value of 4.7 × 10−8 (beta = 0.949). In conclusion, our GWAS suggests novel loci influencing height. In view of the robust replication in five different cohorts, we propose GPR133 to be a novel gene associated with adult height.
Elevated levels of acute-phase serum amyloid A (A-SAA) cause amyloidosis and are a risk factor for atherosclerosis and its clinical complications, type 2 diabetes, as well as various malignancies. To investigate the genetic basis of A-SAA levels, we conducted the first genome-wide association study on baseline A-SAA concentrations in three population-based studies (KORA, TwinsUK, Sorbs) and one prospective case cohort study (LURIC), including a total of 4,212 participants of European descent, and identified two novel genetic susceptibility regions at 11p15.5-p13 and 1p31. The region at 11p15.5-p13 (rs4150642; p = 3.20×10−111) contains serum amyloid A1 (SAA1) and the adjacent general transcription factor 2 H1 (GTF2H1), Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome 5 (HPS5), lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA), and lactate dehydrogenase C (LDHC). This region explains 10.84% of the total variation of A-SAA levels in our data, which makes up 18.37% of the total estimated heritability. The second region encloses the leptin receptor (LEPR) gene at 1p31 (rs12753193; p = 1.22×10−11) and has been found to be associated with CRP and fibrinogen in previous studies. Our findings demonstrate a key role of the 11p15.5-p13 region in the regulation of baseline A-SAA levels and provide confirmative evidence of the importance of the 1p31 region for inflammatory processes and the close interplay between A-SAA, leptin, and other acute-phase proteins.
An elevated level of acute-phase serum amyloid A (A-SAA), a sensitive marker of the acute inflammatory state with high heritability estimates, causes amyloidosis and is a risk factor for atherosclerosis and its clinical complications, type 2 diabetes, as well as various malignancies. This study describes the first genome-wide association study on baseline A-SAA concentrations. In a meta-analysis of four genome-wide scans totalling 4,212 participants of European descent, we identified two novel genetic susceptibility regions on chromosomes 11 and 1 to be associated with baseline A-SAA concentrations. The chromosome 11 region contains the serum amyloid A1 gene and the adjacent genes and explains a high percentage of the total estimated heritability. The chromosome 1 region is a known genetic susceptibility region for inflammation. Taken together, we identified one region, which seems to be of key importance in the regulation of A-SAA levels and represents a novel potential target for the investigation of related clinical entities. In addition, our findings indicate a close interplay between A-SAA and other inflammatory proteins, as well as a larger role of a known genetic susceptibility region for inflammatory processes as it has been assumed in the past.
Altered adipokine serum concentrations early reflect impaired adipose tissue function in obese patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D). It is not entirely clear whether these adipokine alterations are already present in prediabetic states and so far there is no comprehensive adipokine panel available. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess distinct adipokine profiles in patients with normal glucose tolerance (NGT), impaired fasting glucose (IFG), impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or T2D.
Based on 75 g oral glucose tolerance tests, 124 individuals were divided into groups of IFG (n = 35), IGT (n = 45), or NGT (n = 43). Furthermore, 56 subjects with T2D were included. Serum concentrations of adiponectin, chemerin, fetuin-A, leptin, interleukin (IL)-6, retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4), monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1, vaspin, progranulin, and soluble leptin receptor (sOBR) were measured by ELISAs.
Chemerin, progranulin, fetuin-A, and RBP4, IL-6, adiponectin and leptin serum concentrations were differentially regulated among the four investigated groups but only circulating chemerin was significantly different in patients with IGT compared to those with IFG. Compared to T2D the IFG subjects had higher serum chemerin, progranulin, fetuin-A and RBP4 levels which was not detectable in the comparison of the T2D and IGT group.
Alterations in adipokine serum concentrations are already detectable in prediabetic states, mainly for chemerin, and may reflect adipose tissue dysfunction as an early pathogenetic event in T2D development. In addition, distinct adipokine serum patterns in individuals with IFG and IGT suggest a specific role of adipose tissue in the pathogenesis of these prediabetic states.
Chemokine receptors control leukocyte chemotaxis and cell-cell communication but have also been associated with pathogen entry. GPR33, an orphan member of the chemokine-like receptor family, is a pseudogene in most humans. After the appearance of GPR33 in first mammalian genomes, this receptor underwent independent pseudogenization in humans, other hominoids and some rodent species. It was speculated that a likely cause of GPR33 inactivation was its interplay with a rodent–hominoid-specific pathogen. Simultaneous pseudogenization in several unrelated species within the last 1 million years (myr) caused by neutral drift appears to be very unlikely suggesting selection on the GPR33 null-allele. Although there are no signatures of recent selection on human GPR33 we found a significant increase in the pseudogene allele frequency in European populations when compared with African and Asian populations. Because its role in the immune system was still hypothetical expression analysis revealed that GPR33 is highly expressed in dendritic cells (DC). Murine GPR33 expression is regulated by the activity of toll-like receptors (TLR) and AP-1/NF-κB signaling pathways in cell culture and in vivo. Our data indicate an important role of GPR33 function in innate immunity which became dispensable during human evolution most likely due to past or balancing selection.
GPR33; GPCR; Innate immunity; Pseudogene; Dendritic cells; Population genetics
Members of the family of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are important regulators of adipogenesis. We examined the role of the BMP receptor 1A gene (BMPR1A) in the pathophysiology of human obesity.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We measured BMPR1A mRNA expression in paired samples of visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue from 297 subjects and sequenced the BMPR1A in 48 nonrelated white subjects. Twenty-one representative variants including HapMap tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were then genotyped for association studies in German whites (n = 1,907). For replication analyses, we used a population of Sorbs from Germany (n = 900) and German childhood cohorts (n = 1,029 schoolchildren and 270 obese children).
mRNA expression of the BMPR1A was significantly increased in both visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue of overweight and obese subjects compared with lean subjects (P < 0.05). In a case-control study, four SNPs (rs7095025, rs11202222, rs10788528, and rs7922846) were nominally associated with obesity (adjusted P < 0.05). For three SNPs (rs7095025, rs11202222, and rs10788528), the association with obesity was confirmed in the independent cohort of Sorbs (adjusted P < 0.005). Consistent with this, BMPR1A SNPs were nominally associated with obesity-related quantitative traits in nondiabetic subjects in both adult cohorts. Furthermore, homozygous carriers of the obesity risk alleles had higher BMPR1A mRNA expression in fat than noncarriers.
Our data suggest that genetic variation in the BMPR1A may play a role in the pathophysiology of human obesity, possibly mediated through effects on mRNA expression.