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1.  Transcriptome Profiling of Human Ulcerative Colitis Mucosa Reveals Altered Expression of Pathways Enriched in Genetic Susceptibility Loci 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96153.
Human colonic mucosa altered by inflammation due to ulcerative colitis (UC) displays a drastically altered pattern of gene expression compared with healthy tissue. We aimed to understand the underlying molecular pathways influencing these differences by analyzing three publically-available, independently-generated microarray datasets of gene expression from endoscopic biopsies of the colon. Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) revealed that all three datasets share 87 gene sets upregulated in UC lesions and 8 gene sets downregulated (false discovery rate <0.05). The upregulated pathways were dominated by gene sets involved in immune function and signaling, as well as the control of mitosis. We applied pathway analysis to genotype data derived from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of UC, consisting of 5,584 cases and 11,587 controls assembled from eight European-ancestry cohorts. The upregulated pathways derived from the gene expression data showed a highly significant overlap with pathways derived from the genotype data (33 of 56 gene sets, hypergeometric P = 1.49×10–19). This study supports the hypothesis that heritable variation in gene expression as measured by GWAS signals can influence key pathways in the development of disease, and that comparison of genetic susceptibility loci with gene expression signatures can differentiate key drivers of inflammation from secondary effects on gene expression of the inflammatory process.
PMCID: PMC4006814  PMID: 24788701
2.  Genetic Susceptibility to Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity: Follow-Up of Findings from Genome-Wide Association Studies 
Elucidating the underlying genetic variations influencing various complex diseases is one of the major challenges currently facing clinical genetic research. Although these variations are often difficult to uncover, approaches such as genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have been successful at finding statistically significant associations between specific genomic loci and disease susceptibility. GWAS has been especially successful in elucidating genetic variants that influence type 2 diabetes (T2D) and obesity/body mass index (BMI). Specifically, several GWASs have confirmed that a variant in transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2) confers risk for T2D, while a variant in fat mass and obesity-associated protein (FTO) confers risk for obesity/BMI; indeed both of these signals are considered the most statistically associated loci discovered for these respective traits to date. The discovery of these two key loci in this context has been invaluable for providing novel insight into mechanisms of heritability and disease pathogenesis. As follow-up studies of TCF7L2 and FTO have typically lead the way in how to follow up a GWAS discovery, we outline what has been learned from such investigations and how they have implications for the myriad of other loci that have been subsequently reported in this disease context.
PMCID: PMC3955626  PMID: 24719615
3.  Understanding the Elusive Mechanism of Action of TCF7L2 in Metabolism 
Diabetes  2012;61(11):2657-2658.
PMCID: PMC3478546  PMID: 23093653
4.  The missense variation landscape of FTO, MC4R and TMEM18 in obese children of African ancestry 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2013;21(1):159-163.
Common variation at the loci harboring FTO, MC4R and TMEM18 is consistently reported as being statistically the most strongly associated with obesity. We investigated if these loci also harbor rarer missense variants that confer substantially higher risk of common childhood obesity in African American (AA) children. We sequenced the exons of FTO, MC4R and TMEM18 in an initial subset of our cohort i.e. 200 obese (BMI≥95th percentile) and 200 lean AA children (BMI≤5th percentile). Any missense exonic variants that were uncovered went on to be further genotyped in a further 768 obese and 768 lean (BMI≤50th percentile) children of the same ethnicity. A number of exonic variants were observed from our sequencing effort: seven in FTO, of which four were non-synonymous (A163T, G182A, M400V and A405V), thirteen in MC4R, of which six were non-synonymous (V103I, N123S, S136A, F202L, N240S and I251L) and four in TMEM18, of which two were non-synonymous (P2S and V113L). Follow-up genotyping of these missense variants revealed only one significant difference in allele frequency between cases and controls, namely with N240S in MC4R(Fisher's Exact P = 0.0001). In summary, moderately rare missense variants within the FTO, MC4R and TMEM18 genes observed in our study did not confer risk of common childhood obesity in African Americans except for a degree of evidence for one known loss-of-function variant in MC4R.
PMCID: PMC3605748  PMID: 23505181
Obesity; Pediatrics; Genomics
5.  Genetics of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in African Americans 
Journal of Obesity  2013;2013:396416.
Obesity and type 2 diabetes are highly prevalent and lead to significant morbidity and mortality. In the United States, the impact of these conditions may be worse on historically underserved minorities, particularly African Americans. Genetic ancestry and differences in physiology are unlikely to be the sole or primary determinants of these disparities. In addition, research in this area has the ethically problematic possibility of conflating race with biology. Despite these important considerations and the challenges of conducting this work, population-based approaches for investigating the etiology of obesity and T2D may yield useful information about the pathophysiology of disease, and have implications that extend to all affected individuals. The purpose of this paper is to describe what is understood about the genetic variation that underlies obesity and T2D in African Americans and other individuals of more recent African descent and to highlight several examples that illustrate how ensuring adequate minority representation in genetic research improves its quality. For a variety of reasons a number of unique insights have been possible as a result of these efforts.
PMCID: PMC3614120  PMID: 23577239
6.  Copy Number Variations in Alternative Splicing Gene Networks Impact Lifespan 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53846.
Longevity has a strong genetic component evidenced by family-based studies. Lipoprotein metabolism, FOXO proteins, and insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathways in model systems have shown polygenic variations predisposing to shorter lifespan. To test the hypothesis that rare variants could influence lifespan, we compared the rates of CNVs in healthy children (0–18 years of age) with individuals 67 years or older. CNVs at a significantly higher frequency in the pediatric cohort were considered risk variants impacting lifespan, while those enriched in the geriatric cohort were considered longevity protective variants. We performed a whole-genome CNV analysis on 7,313 children and 2,701 adults of European ancestry genotyped with 302,108 SNP probes. Positive findings were evaluated in an independent cohort of 2,079 pediatric and 4,692 geriatric subjects. We detected 8 deletions and 10 duplications that were enriched in the pediatric group (P = 3.33×10−8–1.6×10−2 unadjusted), while only one duplication was enriched in the geriatric cohort (P = 6.3×10−4). Population stratification correction resulted in 5 deletions and 3 duplications remaining significant (P = 5.16×10−5–4.26×10−2) in the replication cohort. Three deletions and four duplications were significant combined (combined P = 3.7×10−4−3.9×10−2). All associated loci were experimentally validated using qPCR. Evaluation of these genes for pathway enrichment demonstrated ∼50% are involved in alternative splicing (P = 0.0077 Benjamini and Hochberg corrected). We conclude that genetic variations disrupting RNA splicing could have long-term biological effects impacting lifespan.
PMCID: PMC3559729  PMID: 23382853
7.  Developmental Origins of Genotype-Phenotype Correlations in Chronic Diseases of Old Age 
Aging and Disease  2012;3(5):385-403.
In recent years, genome wide association studies have revolutionized the understanding of the genetic architecture of complex disease, particularly in the context of disorders that present in old age, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This new era is made all the more compelling by the fact that, through extensive validation efforts, there is now very strong consensus among human geneticists on what the key loci are that contribute to the pathogenesis of these traits. However, as these variants have been almost exclusively uncovered in an adult setting, there is the question of when these genetic variants start exerting their effects; indeed many may start setting up an individual’s predisposition to a disease of old age very early on in life. To this end, we review what breakthroughs have been made in elucidating which of these genetic factors are operating in childhood and conversely what discoveries have actually been made in the pediatric setting that have then been found subsequently to increase one’s risk of a late-onset disease. After all, it well known that complex traits like obesity, type 2 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease are strongly determined by genetic factors, but the isolation of genes in these complex phenotypes in adults has been impeded by interaction with strong environmental factors. Distillation of the genetic component in these complex traits, which will at least partially have origins in childhood, should be easier to determine in a pediatric setting, where the relatively short period of a child’s lifetime limits the impact of environmental exposure.
PMCID: PMC3501394  PMID: 23185719
Disease; late-onset; childhood; genetic; association
8.  Genetics of Childhood Obesity 
Journal of Obesity  2011;2011:845148.
Obesity is a major health problem and an immense economic burden on the health care systems both in the United States and the rest of the world. The prevalence of obesity in children and adults in the United States has increased dramatically over the past decade. Besides environmental factors, genetic factors are known to play an important role in the pathogenesis of obesity. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have revealed strongly associated genomic variants associated with most common disorders; indeed there is general consensus on these findings from generally positive replication outcomes by independent groups. To date, there have been only a few GWAS-related reports for childhood obesity specifically, with studies primarily uncovering loci in the adult setting instead. It is clear that a number of loci previously reported from GWAS analyses of adult BMI and/or obesity also play a role in childhood obesity.
PMCID: PMC3136227  PMID: 21773009
9.  Examination of All Type 2 Diabetes GWAS Loci Reveals HHEX-IDE as a Locus Influencing Pediatric BMI 
Diabetes  2009;59(3):751-755.
A number of studies have found that BMI in early life influences the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Our goal was to investigate if any type 2 diabetes variants uncovered through genome-wide association studies (GWAS) impact BMI in childhood.
Using data from an ongoing GWAS of pediatric BMI in our cohort, we investigated the association of pediatric BMI with 20 single nucleotide polymorphisms at 18 type 2 diabetes loci uncovered through GWAS, consisting of ADAMTS9, CDC123-CAMK1D, CDKAL1, CDKN2A/B, EXT2, FTO, HHEX-IDE, IGF2BP2, the intragenic region on 11p12, JAZF1, KCNQ1, LOC387761, MTNR1B, NOTCH2, SLC30A8, TCF7L2, THADA, and TSPAN8-LGR5. We randomly partitioned our cohort exactly in half in order to have a discovery cohort (n = 3,592) and a replication cohort (n = 3,592).
Our data show that the major type 2 diabetes risk–conferring G allele of rs7923837 at the HHEX-IDE locus was associated with higher pediatric BMI in both the discovery (P = 0.0013 and survived correction for 20 tests) and replication (P = 0.023) sets (combined P = 1.01 × 10−4). Association was not detected with any other known type 2 diabetes loci uncovered to date through GWAS except for the well-established FTO.
Our data show that the same genetic HHEX-IDE variant, which is associated with type 2 diabetes from previous studies, also influences pediatric BMI.
PMCID: PMC2828649  PMID: 19933996
10.  Examination of Type 2 Diabetes Loci Implicates CDKAL1 as a Birth Weight Gene 
Diabetes  2009;58(10):2414-2418.
A number of studies have found that reduced birth weight is associated with type 2 diabetes later in life; however, the underlying mechanism for this correlation remains unresolved. Recently, association has been demonstrated between low birth weight and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at the CDKAL1 and HHEX-IDE loci, regions that were previously implicated in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. In order to investigate whether type 2 diabetes risk–conferring alleles associate with low birth weight in our Caucasian childhood cohort, we examined the effects of 20 such loci on this trait.
Using data from an ongoing genome-wide association study in our cohort of 5,465 Caucasian children with recorded birth weights, we investigated the association of the previously reported type 2 diabetes–associated variation at 20 loci including TCF7L2, HHEX-IDE, PPARG, KCNJ11, SLC30A8, IGF2BP2, CDKAL1, CDKN2A/2B, and JAZF1 with birth weight.
Our data show that the minor allele of rs7756992 (P = 8 × 10−5) at the CDKAL1 locus is strongly associated with lower birth weight, whereas a perfect surrogate for variation previously implicated for the trait at the same locus only yielded nominally significant association (P = 0.01; r2 rs7756992 = 0.677). However, association was not detected with any of the other type 2 diabetes loci studied.
We observe association between lower birth weight and type 2 diabetes risk–conferring alleles at the CDKAL1 locus. Our data show that the same genetic locus that has been identified as a marker for type 2 diabetes in previous studies also influences birth weight.
PMCID: PMC2750235  PMID: 19592620
12.  SNP genotyping on a genome-wide amplified DOP-PCR template 
Nucleic Acids Research  2002;30(22):e125.
With the increasing demand for higher throughput single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping, the quantity of genomic DNA often falls short of the number of assays required. We investigated the use of degenerate oligonucleotide primed polymerase chain reaction (DOP-PCR) to generate a template for our SNP genotyping methodology of fluorescence polarization template-directed dye-terminator incorporation detection. DOP-PCR employs a degenerate primer (5′-CCGACTCGAGNNNNNNATGTGG-3′) to produce non-specific uniform amplification of DNA. This approach has been successfully applied to microsatellite genotyping. We compared genotyping of DOP-PCR-amplified genomic DNA to genomic DNA as a template. Results were analyzed with respect to feasibility, allele loss of alleles, genotyping accuracy and storage conditions in a high-throughput genotyping environment. DOP-PCR yielded overall satisfactory results, with a certain loss in accuracy and quality of the genotype assignments. Accuracy and quality of genotypes generated from the DOP-PCR template also depended on storage conditions. Adding carrier DNA to a final concentration of 10 ng/µl improved results. In conclusion, we have successfully used DOP-PCR to amplify our genomic DNA collection for subsequent SNP genotyping as a standard process.
PMCID: PMC137182  PMID: 12434007
13.  Genome-wide copy number variation study associates metabotropic glutamate receptor gene networks with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder 
Nature genetics  2011;44(1):78-84.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common, heritable neuropsychiatric disorder of unknown etiology. We performed a whole-genome copy number variation (CNV) study on 1,013 cases with ADHD and 4,105 healthy children of European ancestry using 550,000 SNPs. We evaluated statistically significant findings in multiple independent cohorts, with a total of 2,493 cases with ADHD and 9,222 controls of European ancestry, using matched platforms. CNVs affecting metabotropic glutamate receptor genes were enriched across all cohorts (P = 2.1 × 10−9). We saw GRM5 (encoding glutamate receptor, metabotropic 5) deletions in ten cases and one control (P = 1.36 × 10−6). We saw GRM7 deletions in six cases, and we saw GRM8 deletions in eight cases and no controls. GRM1 was duplicated in eight cases. We experimentally validated the observed variants using quantitative RT-PCR. A gene network analysis showed that genes interacting with the genes in the GRM family are enriched for CNVs in ~10% of the cases (P = 4.38 × 10−10) after correction for occurrence in the controls. We identified rare recurrent CNVs affecting glutamatergic neurotransmission genes that were overrepresented in multiple ADHD cohorts.
PMCID: PMC4310555  PMID: 22138692
14.  Association of variants of the interleukin-23 receptor (IL23R) gene with susceptibility to pediatric Crohn’s disease 
Background & Aims
Recently an association was demonstrated between the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs11209026, within the interleukin-23 receptor (IL23R) locus and Crohn’s disease (CD) as a consequence of a genome wide association study of this disease in adults. We examined the effects of this and other previously reported SNPs at this locus with respect to CD in children.
Utilizing data from our ongoing genome-wide association study in our cohort of 142 pediatric CD cases and 281 matched controls, we investigated the association of the previously reported SNPs at the IL23R locus with the childhood form of this disease.
Using a Fisher’s exact test, the minor allele frequency (MAF) of rs1120902 in the cases was 1.75% while it was 6.61% in controls, yielding a protective odds ratio (OR) of 0.25 (95% CI 0.10 – 0.65; one-sided P = 9.2×10−4). Furthermore, of all the SNPs previously reported, rs11209026 was the most strongly associated. A subsequent family-based association test (which is more resistant to population stratification) with 65 sets of trios derived from our initial patient cohort yielded significant association with rs11209026 in a transmission disequilibrium test (one-sided P=0.0017). In contrast, no association was detected to the CARD15 gene for the IBD phenotype.
The OR of the IL23R variant in our pediatric study is highly comparable with that reported previously in a non-Jewish adult IBD case-control cohort (OR=0.26). As such, variants in IL23R gene confer a similar magnitude of risk of CD to children as for their adult counterparts.
PMCID: PMC4287202  PMID: 17618837
IL23R; gene; association; Crohn’s Disease
15.  Two novel type 2 diabetes loci revealed through integration of TCF7L2 DNA occupancy and SNP association data 
The transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2) locus is strongly implicated in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes (T2D). We previously mapped the genomic regions bound by TCF7L2 using ChIP (chromatin immunoprecipitation)-seq in the colorectal carcinoma cell line, HCT116, revealing an unexpected highly significant over-representation of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) loci associated primarily with endocrine (in particular T2D) and cardiovascular traits.
In order to further explore if this observed phenomenon occurs in other cell lines, we carried out ChIP-seq in HepG2 cells and leveraged ENCODE data for five additional cell lines. Given that only a minority of the predicted genetic component to most complex traits has been identified to date, plus our GWAS-related observations with respect to TCF7L2 occupancy, we investigated if restricting association analyses to the genes yielded from this approach, in order to reduce the constraints of multiple testing, could reveal novel T2D loci.
We found strong evidence for the continued enrichment of endocrine and cardiovascular GWAS categories, with additional support for cancer. When investigating all the known GWAS loci bound by TCF7L2 in the shortest gene list, derived from HCT116, the coronary artery disease-associated variant, rs46522 at the UBE2Z-GIP-ATP5G1-SNF8 locus, yielded significant association with T2D within DIAGRAM. Furthermore, when we analyzed tag-SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) in genes not previously implicated by GWAS but bound by TCF7L2 within 5 kb, we observed a significant association of rs4780476 within CPPED1 in DIAGRAM.
ChIP-seq data generated with this GWAS-implicated transcription factor provided a biologically plausible method to limit multiple testing in the assessment of genome-wide genotyping data to uncover two novel T2D-associated loci.
PMCID: PMC4250976  PMID: 25469308
Genetic Association; Type 2; Transcription Factor; Gene
16.  Genome-wide association and longitudinal analyses reveal genetic loci linking pubertal height growth, pubertal timing and childhood adiposity 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;22(13):2735-2747.
The pubertal height growth spurt is a distinctive feature of childhood growth reflecting both the central onset of puberty and local growth factors. Although little is known about the underlying genetics, growth variability during puberty correlates with adult risks for hormone-dependent cancer and adverse cardiometabolic health. The only gene so far associated with pubertal height growth, LIN28B, pleiotropically influences childhood growth, puberty and cancer progression, pointing to shared underlying mechanisms. To discover genetic loci influencing pubertal height and growth and to place them in context of overall growth and maturation, we performed genome-wide association meta-analyses in 18 737 European samples utilizing longitudinally collected height measurements. We found significant associations (P < 1.67 × 10−8) at 10 loci, including LIN28B. Five loci associated with pubertal timing, all impacting multiple aspects of growth. In particular, a novel variant correlated with expression of MAPK3, and associated both with increased prepubertal growth and earlier menarche. Another variant near ADCY3-POMC associated with increased body mass index, reduced pubertal growth and earlier puberty. Whereas epidemiological correlations suggest that early puberty marks a pathway from rapid prepubertal growth to reduced final height and adult obesity, our study shows that individual loci associating with pubertal growth have variable longitudinal growth patterns that may differ from epidemiological observations. Overall, this study uncovers part of the complex genetic architecture linking pubertal height growth, the timing of puberty and childhood obesity and provides new information to pinpoint processes linking these traits.
PMCID: PMC3674797  PMID: 23449627
17.  Association of TCF7L2 variation with single islet autoantibody expression in children with type 1 diabetes 
The transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2) gene has the strongest genetic association with type 2 diabetes. TCF7L2 also associates with latent autoimmune diabetes in adults, which often presents with a single islet autoantibody, but not with classical type 1 diabetes.
We aimed to test if TCF7L2 is associated with single islet autoantibody expression in pediatric type 1 diabetes. We studied 71 prospectively recruited children who had newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes and evidence of islet autoimmunity, that is, expressed ≥1 islet autoantibody to insulin, glutamic acid decarboxylase 65, islet cell autoantigen 512, or zinc transporter 8. TCF7L2 rs7903146 alleles were identified. Data at diagnosis were cross-sectionally analyzed.
We found that 21.1% of the children with autoimmune type 1 diabetes expressed a single islet autoantibody. The distribution of TCF7L2 rs7903146 genotypes in children with a single autoantibody (n=15) was 40% CC, 26.7% CT and 33.3% TT, compared with children with ≥2 islet autoantibodies (50% CC, 42.9% CT and 7.1% TT, p=0.024). Furthermore, compared with children with ≥2 autoantibodies, single-autoantibody children had characteristics reflecting milder autoimmune destruction of β-cells. Restricting to lean children (body mass index<85th centile; n=36), 45.5% of those expressing a single autoantibody were rs7903146 TT homozygotes, compared with 0% of those with ≥2 autoantibodies (p<0.0001).
These results suggest that, in children with only mild islet autoimmunity, mechanisms associated with TCF7L2 genetic variation contribute to diabetogenesis, and this contribution is larger in the absence of obesity.
PMCID: PMC4212574  PMID: 25452857
Pediatric Type 1 Diabetes; Transcription Factor; LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults); Autoantibodies
18.  GWAS of blood cell traits identifies novel associated loci and epistatic interactions in Caucasian and African-American children 
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;22(7):1457-1464.
Hematological traits are important clinical indicators, the genetic determinants of which have not been fully investigated. Common measures of hematological traits include red blood cell (RBC) count, hemoglobin concentration (HGB), hematocrit (HCT), mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), MCH concentration (MCHC), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), platelet count (PLT) and white blood cell (WBC) count. We carried out a genome-wide association study of the eight common hematological traits among 7943 African-American children and 6234 Caucasian children. In African Americans, we report five novel associations of HBE1 variants with HCT and MCHC, the alpha-globin gene cluster variants with RBC and MCHC, and a variant at the ARHGEF3 locus with PLT, as well as replication of four previously reported loci at genome-wide significance. In Caucasians, we report a novel association of variants at the COPZ1 locus with PLT as well as replication of four previously reported loci at genome-wide significance. Extended analysis of an association observed between MCH and the alpha-globin gene cluster variants demonstrated independent effects and epistatic interaction at the locus, impacting the risk of iron deficiency anemia in African Americans with specific genotype states. In summary, we extend the understanding of genetic variants underlying hematological traits based on analyses in African-American children.
PMCID: PMC3657475  PMID: 23263863
19.  Genetic Variation in Genes Encoding Airway Epithelial Potassium Channels Is Associated with Chronic Rhinosinusitis in a Pediatric Population 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e89329.
Apical potassium channels regulate ion transport in airway epithelial cells and influence air surface liquid (ASL) hydration and mucociliary clearance (MCC). We sought to identify whether genetic variation within genes encoding airway potassium channels is associated with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS).
Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotypes for selected potassium channels were derived from data generated on the Illumnia HumanHap550 BeadChip or Illumina Human610-Quad BeadChip for 828 unrelated individuals diagnosed with CRS and 5,083 unrelated healthy controls from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Statistical analysis was performed with set-based tests using PLINK, and corrected for multiple testing.
Set-based case control analysis revealed the gene KCNMA1 was associated with CRS in our Caucasian subset of the cohort (598 CRS cases and 3,489 controls; p = 0.022, based on 10,000 permutations). In addition there was borderline evidence that the gene KCNQ5 (p = 0.0704) was associated with the trait in our African American subset of the cohort (230 CRS cases and 1,594 controls). In addition to the top significant SNPs rs2917454 and rs6907229, imputation analysis uncovered additional genetic variants in KCNMA1 and in KCNQ5 that were associated with CRS.
We have implicated two airway epithelial potassium channels as novel susceptibility loci in contributing to the pathogenesis of CRS.
PMCID: PMC3940609  PMID: 24595210
20.  Transferability and Fine Mapping of Type 2 Diabetes Loci in African Americans 
Diabetes  2013;62(3):965-976.
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) disproportionally affects African Americans (AfA) but, to date, genetic variants identified from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are primarily from European and Asian populations. We examined the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and locus transferability of 40 reported T2D loci in six AfA GWAS consisting of 2,806 T2D case subjects with or without end-stage renal disease and 4,265 control subjects from the Candidate Gene Association Resource Plus Study. Our results revealed that seven index SNPs at the TCF7L2, KLF14, KCNQ1, ADCY5, CDKAL1, JAZF1, and GCKR loci were significantly associated with T2D (P < 0.05). The strongest association was observed at TCF7L2 rs7903146 (odds ratio [OR] 1.30; P = 6.86 × 10−8). Locus-wide analysis demonstrated significant associations (Pemp < 0.05) at regional best SNPs in the TCF7L2, KLF14, and HMGA2 loci as well as suggestive signals in KCNQ1 after correction for the effective number of SNPs at each locus. Of these loci, the regional best SNPs were in differential linkage disequilibrium (LD) with the index and adjacent SNPs. Our findings suggest that some loci discovered in prior reports affect T2D susceptibility in AfA with similar effect sizes. The reduced and differential LD pattern in AfA compared with European and Asian populations may facilitate fine mapping of causal variants at loci shared across populations.
PMCID: PMC3581206  PMID: 23193183
21.  A genome wide association study of plasma uric acid levels in obese cases and never-overweight controls 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2013;21(9):E490-E494.
To identify plasma uric acid related genes in extremely obese and normal weight individuals using genome wide association studies (GWAS).
Design and Methods
Using genotypes from a GWAS focusing on obesity and thinness, we performed quantitative trait association analyses (PLINK) for plasma uric acid levels in 1,060 extremely obese individuals [body mass index (BMI) >35 kg/m2] and normal-weight controls (BMI<25kg/m2). In 961 samples with uric acid data, 924 were females.
Significant associations were found in SLC2A9 gene SNPs and plasma uric acid levels (rs6449213, P=3.15×10−12). DIP2C gene SNP rs877282 also reached genome wide significance(P=4,56×10−8). Weaker associations (P<1×10−5) were found in F5, PXDNL, FRAS1, LCORL, and MICAL2genes. Besides SLC2A9, 3 previously identified uric acid related genes ABCG2 (rs2622605, P=0.0026), SLC17A1 (rs3799344, P=0.0017), and RREB1 (rs1615495, P =0.00055) received marginal support in our study.
Two genes/chromosome regions reached genome wide association significance (P< 1× 10−7, 550K SNPs) in our GWAS : SLC2A9, the chromosome 2 60.1 Mb region (rs6723995), and the DIP2C gene region. Five other genes (F5, PXDNL, FRAS1, LCORL, and MICAL2) yielded P<1× 10−5. Four previous reported associations were replicated in our study, including SLC2A9, ABCG2, RREB, and SLC17A1.
PMCID: PMC3762924  PMID: 23703922
uric acid; genome wide association study; obesity
22.  Obesity-susceptibility loci and the tails of the pediatric BMI distribution 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2013;21(6):1256-1260.
We aimed to determine if previously identified adult obesity susceptibility loci were associated uniformly with childhood BMI across the BMI distribution.
Design and Methods
Children were recruited through the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (n=7225). Associations between the following loci and BMI were assessed using quantile regression: FTO (rs3751812), MC4R (rs12970134), TMEM18 (rs2867125), BDNF (rs6265), TNNI3K (rs1514175), NRXN3 (rs10146997), SEC16B (rs10913469), and GNPDA2 (rs13130484). BMI z-score (age and gender adjusted) was modeled as the dependent variable, and genotype risk score (sum of risk alleles carried at the 8 loci) was modeled as the independent variable.
Each additional increase in genotype risk score was associated with an increase in BMI z-score at the 5th, 15th, 25th, 50th, 75th, 85th and 95th BMI z-score percentiles by 0.04 (±0.02, p=0.08), 0.07 (±0.01, p=9.58 × 10-7), 0.07 (±0.01, p=1.10 × 10-8), 0.09 (±0.01, p=3.13 × 10-22), 0.11 (±0.01, p=1.35 × 10-25), 0.11 (±0.01, p=1.98 × 10-20), and 0.06 (±0.01, p=2.44 × 10-6), respectively. Each additional increase in genotype risk score was associated with an increase in mean BMI z-score by 0.08 (±0.01, p=4.27 × 10-20).
Obesity risk alleles were more strongly associated with increases in BMI z-score at the upper tail compared to the lower tail of the distribution.
PMCID: PMC3661695  PMID: 23408508
23.  A Meta-Analysis Identifies New Loci Associated with Body Mass index in Individuals of African Ancestry 
Monda, Keri L. | Chen, Gary K. | Taylor, Kira C. | Palmer, Cameron | Edwards, Todd L. | Lange, Leslie A. | Ng, Maggie C.Y. | Adeyemo, Adebowale A. | Allison, Matthew A. | Bielak, Lawrence F. | Chen, Guanji | Graff, Mariaelisa | Irvin, Marguerite R. | Rhie, Suhn K. | Li, Guo | Liu, Yongmei | Liu, Youfang | Lu, Yingchang | Nalls, Michael A. | Sun, Yan V. | Wojczynski, Mary K. | Yanek, Lisa R. | Aldrich, Melinda C. | Ademola, Adeyinka | Amos, Christopher I. | Bandera, Elisa V. | Bock, Cathryn H. | Britton, Angela | Broeckel, Ulrich | Cai, Quiyin | Caporaso, Neil E. | Carlson, Chris | Carpten, John | Casey, Graham | Chen, Wei-Min | Chen, Fang | Chen, Yii-Der I. | Chiang, Charleston W.K. | Coetzee, Gerhard A. | Demerath, Ellen | Deming-Halverson, Sandra L. | Driver, Ryan W. | Dubbert, Patricia | Feitosa, Mary F. | Freedman, Barry I. | Gillanders, Elizabeth M. | Gottesman, Omri | Guo, Xiuqing | Haritunians, Talin | Harris, Tamara | Harris, Curtis C. | Hennis, Anselm JM | Hernandez, Dena G. | McNeill, Lorna H. | Howard, Timothy D. | Howard, Barbara V. | Howard, Virginia J. | Johnson, Karen C. | Kang, Sun J. | Keating, Brendan J. | Kolb, Suzanne | Kuller, Lewis H. | Kutlar, Abdullah | Langefeld, Carl D. | Lettre, Guillaume | Lohman, Kurt | Lotay, Vaneet | Lyon, Helen | Manson, JoAnn E. | Maixner, William | Meng, Yan A. | Monroe, Kristine R. | Morhason-Bello, Imran | Murphy, Adam B. | Mychaleckyj, Josyf C. | Nadukuru, Rajiv | Nathanson, Katherine L. | Nayak, Uma | N’Diaye, Amidou | Nemesure, Barbara | Wu, Suh-Yuh | Leske, M. Cristina | Neslund-Dudas, Christine | Neuhouser, Marian | Nyante, Sarah | Ochs-Balcom, Heather | Ogunniyi, Adesola | Ogundiran, Temidayo O. | Ojengbede, Oladosu | Olopade, Olufunmilayo I. | Palmer, Julie R. | Ruiz-Narvaez, Edward A. | Palmer, Nicholette D. | Press, Michael F. | Rampersaud, Evandine | Rasmussen-Torvik, Laura J. | Rodriguez-Gil, Jorge L. | Salako, Babatunde | Schadt, Eric E. | Schwartz, Ann G. | Shriner, Daniel A. | Siscovick, David | Smith, Shad B. | Wassertheil-Smoller, Sylvia | Speliotes, Elizabeth K. | Spitz, Margaret R. | Sucheston, Lara | Taylor, Herman | Tayo, Bamidele O. | Tucker, Margaret A. | Van Den Berg, David J. | Velez Edwards, Digna R. | Wang, Zhaoming | Wiencke, John K. | Winkler, Thomas W. | Witte, John S. | Wrensch, Margaret | Wu, Xifeng | Yang, James J. | Levin, Albert M. | Young, Taylor R. | Zakai, Neil A. | Cushman, Mary | Zanetti, Krista A. | Zhao, Jing Hua | Zhao, Wei | Zheng, Yonglan | Zhou, Jie | Ziegler, Regina G. | Zmuda, Joseph M. | Fernandes, Jyotika K. | Gilkeson, Gary S. | Kamen, Diane L. | Hunt, Kelly J. | Spruill, Ida J. | Ambrosone, Christine B. | Ambs, Stefan | Arnett, Donna K. | Atwood, Larry | Becker, Diane M. | Berndt, Sonja I. | Bernstein, Leslie | Blot, William J. | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Bottinger, Erwin P. | Bowden, Donald W. | Burke, Gregory | Chanock, Stephen J. | Cooper, Richard S. | Ding, Jingzhong | Duggan, David | Evans, Michele K. | Fox, Caroline | Garvey, W. Timothy | Bradfield, Jonathan P. | Hakonarson, Hakon | Grant, Struan F.A. | Hsing, Ann | Chu, Lisa | Hu, Jennifer J. | Huo, Dezheng | Ingles, Sue A. | John, Esther M. | Jordan, Joanne M. | Kabagambe, Edmond K. | Kardia, Sharon L.R. | Kittles, Rick A. | Goodman, Phyllis J. | Klein, Eric A. | Kolonel, Laurence N. | Le Marchand, Loic | Liu, Simin | McKnight, Barbara | Millikan, Robert C. | Mosley, Thomas H. | Padhukasahasram, Badri | Williams, L. Keoki | Patel, Sanjay R. | Peters, Ulrike | Pettaway, Curtis A. | Peyser, Patricia A. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Redline, Susan | Rotimi, Charles N. | Rybicki, Benjamin A. | Sale, Michèle M. | Schreiner, Pamela J. | Signorello, Lisa B. | Singleton, Andrew B. | Stanford, Janet L. | Strom, Sara S. | Thun, Michael J. | Vitolins, Mara | Zheng, Wei | Moore, Jason H. | Williams, Scott M. | Zhu, Xiaofeng | Zonderman, Alan B. | Kooperberg, Charles | Papanicolaou, George | Henderson, Brian E. | Reiner, Alex P. | Hirschhorn, Joel N. | Loos, Ruth JF | North, Kari E. | Haiman, Christopher A.
Nature genetics  2013;45(6):690-696.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified 36 loci associated with body mass index (BMI), predominantly in populations of European ancestry. We conducted a meta-analysis to examine the association of >3.2 million SNPs with BMI in 39,144 men and women of African ancestry, and followed up the most significant associations in an additional 32,268 individuals of African ancestry. We identified one novel locus at 5q33 (GALNT10, rs7708584, p=3.4×10−11) and another at 7p15 when combined with data from the Giant consortium (MIR148A/NFE2L3, rs10261878, p=1.2×10−10). We also found suggestive evidence of an association at a third locus at 6q16 in the African ancestry sample (KLHL32, rs974417, p=6.9×10−8). Thirty-two of the 36 previously established BMI variants displayed directionally consistent effect estimates in our GWAS (binomial p=9.7×10−7), of which five reached genome-wide significance. These findings provide strong support for shared BMI loci across populations as well as for the utility of studying ancestrally diverse populations.
PMCID: PMC3694490  PMID: 23583978
24.  Common variants at 12q15 and 12q24 are associated with infant head circumference 
Taal, H Rob | Pourcain, Beate St | Thiering, Elisabeth | Das, Shikta | Mook-Kanamori, Dennis O | Warrington, Nicole M | Kaakinen, Marika | Kreiner-Møller, Eskil | Bradfield, Jonathan P | Freathy, Rachel M | Geller, Frank | Guxens, Mònica | Cousminer, Diana L | Kerkhof, Marjan | Timpson, Nicholas J | Ikram, M Arfan | Beilin, Lawrence J | Bønnelykke, Klaus | Buxton, Jessica L | Charoen, Pimphen | Chawes, Bo Lund Krogsgaard | Eriksson, Johan | Evans, David M | Hofman, Albert | Kemp, John P | Kim, Cecilia E | Klopp, Norman | Lahti, Jari | Lye, Stephen J | McMahon, George | Mentch, Frank D | Müller, Martina | O’Reilly, Paul F | Prokopenko, Inga | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Steegers, Eric A P | Sunyer, Jordi | Tiesler, Carla | Yaghootkar, Hanieh | Breteler, Monique M B | Debette, Stephanie | Fornage, Myriam | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Launer, Lenore J | van der Lugt, Aad | Mosley, Thomas H | Seshadri, Sudha | Smith, Albert V | Vernooij, Meike W | Blakemore, Alexandra IF | Chiavacci, Rosetta M | Feenstra, Bjarke | Fernandez-Benet, Julio | Grant, Struan F A | Hartikainen, Anna-Liisa | van der Heijden, Albert J | Iñiguez, Carmen | Lathrop, Mark | McArdle, Wendy L | Mølgaard, Anne | Newnham, John P | Palmer, Lyle J | Palotie, Aarno | Pouta, Annneli | Ring, Susan M | Sovio, Ulla | Standl, Marie | Uitterlinden, Andre G | Wichmann, H-Erich | Vissing, Nadja Hawwa | DeCarli, Charles | van Duijn, Cornelia M | McCarthy, Mark I | Koppelman, Gerard H. | Estivill, Xavier | Hattersley, Andrew T | Melbye, Mads | Bisgaard, Hans | Pennell, Craig E | Widen, Elisabeth | Hakonarson, Hakon | Smith, George Davey | Heinrich, Joachim | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Jaddoe, Vincent W V
Nature genetics  2012;44(5):532-538.
To identify genetic variants associated with head circumference in infancy, we performed a meta-analysis of seven genome-wide association (GWA) studies (N=10,768 from European ancestry enrolled in pregnancy/birth cohorts) and followed up three lead signals in six replication studies (combined N=19,089). Rs7980687 on chromosome 12q24 (P=8.1×10−9), and rs1042725 on chromosome 12q15 (P=2.8×10−10) were robustly associated with head circumference in infancy. Although these loci have previously been associated with adult height1, their effects on infant head circumference were largely independent of height (P=3.8×10−7 for rs7980687, P=1.3×10−7 for rs1042725 after adjustment for infant height). A third signal, rs11655470 on chromosome 17q21, showed suggestive evidence of association with head circumference (P=3.9×10−6). SNPs correlated to the 17q21 signal show genome-wide association with adult intra cranial volume2, Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases3-5, indicating that a common genetic variant in this region might link early brain growth with neurological disease in later life.
PMCID: PMC3773913  PMID: 22504419
25.  Genome-Wide Association of Body Fat Distribution in African Ancestry Populations Suggests New Loci 
Liu, Ching-Ti | Monda, Keri L. | Taylor, Kira C. | Lange, Leslie | Demerath, Ellen W. | Palmas, Walter | Wojczynski, Mary K. | Ellis, Jaclyn C. | Vitolins, Mara Z. | Liu, Simin | Papanicolaou, George J. | Irvin, Marguerite R. | Xue, Luting | Griffin, Paula J. | Nalls, Michael A. | Adeyemo, Adebowale | Liu, Jiankang | Li, Guo | Ruiz-Narvaez, Edward A. | Chen, Wei-Min | Chen, Fang | Henderson, Brian E. | Millikan, Robert C. | Ambrosone, Christine B. | Strom, Sara S. | Guo, Xiuqing | Andrews, Jeanette S. | Sun, Yan V. | Mosley, Thomas H. | Yanek, Lisa R. | Shriner, Daniel | Haritunians, Talin | Rotter, Jerome I. | Speliotes, Elizabeth K. | Smith, Megan | Rosenberg, Lynn | Mychaleckyj, Josyf | Nayak, Uma | Spruill, Ida | Garvey, W. Timothy | Pettaway, Curtis | Nyante, Sarah | Bandera, Elisa V. | Britton, Angela F. | Zonderman, Alan B. | Rasmussen-Torvik, Laura J. | Chen, Yii-Der Ida | Ding, Jingzhong | Lohman, Kurt | Kritchevsky, Stephen B. | Zhao, Wei | Peyser, Patricia A. | Kardia, Sharon L. R. | Kabagambe, Edmond | Broeckel, Ulrich | Chen, Guanjie | Zhou, Jie | Wassertheil-Smoller, Sylvia | Neuhouser, Marian L. | Rampersaud, Evadnie | Psaty, Bruce | Kooperberg, Charles | Manson, JoAnn E. | Kuller, Lewis H. | Ochs-Balcom, Heather M. | Johnson, Karen C. | Sucheston, Lara | Ordovas, Jose M. | Palmer, Julie R. | Haiman, Christopher A. | McKnight, Barbara | Howard, Barbara V. | Becker, Diane M. | Bielak, Lawrence F. | Liu, Yongmei | Allison, Matthew A. | Grant, Struan F. A. | Burke, Gregory L. | Patel, Sanjay R. | Schreiner, Pamela J. | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Evans, Michele K. | Taylor, Herman | Sale, Michele M. | Howard, Virginia | Carlson, Christopher S. | Rotimi, Charles N. | Cushman, Mary | Harris, Tamara B. | Reiner, Alexander P. | Cupples, L. Adrienne | North, Kari E. | Fox, Caroline S.
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(8):e1003681.
Central obesity, measured by waist circumference (WC) or waist-hip ratio (WHR), is a marker of body fat distribution. Although obesity disproportionately affects minority populations, few studies have conducted genome-wide association study (GWAS) of fat distribution among those of predominantly African ancestry (AA). We performed GWAS of WC and WHR, adjusted and unadjusted for BMI, in up to 33,591 and 27,350 AA individuals, respectively. We identified loci associated with fat distribution in AA individuals using meta-analyses of GWA results for WC and WHR (stage 1). Overall, 25 SNPs with single genomic control (GC)-corrected p-values<5.0×10−6 were followed-up (stage 2) in AA with WC and with WHR. Additionally, we interrogated genomic regions of previously identified European ancestry (EA) WHR loci among AA. In joint analysis of association results including both Stage 1 and 2 cohorts, 2 SNPs demonstrated association, rs2075064 at LHX2, p = 2.24×10−8 for WC-adjusted-for-BMI, and rs6931262 at RREB1, p = 2.48×10−8 for WHR-adjusted-for-BMI. However, neither signal was genome-wide significant after double GC-correction (LHX2: p = 6.5×10−8; RREB1: p = 5.7×10−8). Six of fourteen previously reported loci for waist in EA populations were significant (p<0.05 divided by the number of independent SNPs within the region) in AA studied here (TBX15-WARS2, GRB14, ADAMTS9, LY86, RSPO3, ITPR2-SSPN). Further, we observed associations with metabolic traits: rs13389219 at GRB14 associated with HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and fasting insulin, and rs13060013 at ADAMTS9 with HDL-cholesterol and fasting insulin. Finally, we observed nominal evidence for sexual dimorphism, with stronger results in AA women at the GRB14 locus (p for interaction = 0.02). In conclusion, we identified two suggestive loci associated with fat distribution in AA populations in addition to confirming 6 loci previously identified in populations of EA. These findings reinforce the concept that there are fat distribution loci that are independent of generalized adiposity.
Author Summary
Central obesity is a marker of body fat distribution and is known to have a genetic underpinning. Few studies have reported genome-wide association study (GWAS) results among individuals of predominantly African ancestry (AA). We performed a collaborative meta-analysis in order to identify genetic loci associated with body fat distribution in AA individuals using waist circumference (WC) and waist to hip ratio (WHR) as measures of fat distribution, with and without adjustment for body mass index (BMI). We uncovered 2 genetic loci potentially associated with fat distribution: LHX2 in association with WC-adjusted-for-BMI and at RREB1 for WHR-adjusted-for-BMI. Six of fourteen previously reported loci for waist in EA populations were significant in AA studied here (TBX15-WARS2, GRB14, ADAMTS9, LY86, RSPO3, ITPR2-SSPN). These findings reinforce the concept that there are loci for body fat distribution that are independent of generalized adiposity.
PMCID: PMC3744443  PMID: 23966867

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