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1.  Analysis of Gene-Gene Interactions among Common Variants in Candidate Cardiovascular Genes in Coronary Artery Disease 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0117684.
Only a small fraction of coronary artery disease (CAD) heritability has been explained by common variants identified to date. Interactions between genes of importance to cardiovascular regulation may account for some of the missing heritability of CAD. This study aimed to investigate the role of gene-gene interactions in common variants in candidate cardiovascular genes in CAD.
Approach and Results
2,101 patients with CAD from the British Heart Foundation Family Heart Study and 2,426 CAD-free controls were included in the discovery cohort. All subjects were genotyped with the Illumina HumanCVD BeadChip enriched for genes and pathways relevant to the cardiovascular system and disease. The primary analysis in the discovery cohort examined pairwise interactions among 913 common (minor allele frequency >0.1) independent single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with at least nominal association with CAD in single locus analysis. A secondary exploratory interaction analysis was performed among all 11,332 independent common SNPs surviving quality control criteria. Replication analyses were conducted in 2,967 patients and 3,075 controls from the Myocardial Infarction Genetics Consortium. None of the interactions amongst 913 SNPs analysed in the primary analysis was statistically significant after correction for multiple testing (required P<1.2x10-7). Similarly, none of the pairwise gene-gene interactions in the secondary analysis reached statistical significance after correction for multiple testing (required P = 7.8x10-10). None of 36 suggestive interactions from the primary analysis or 31 interactions from the secondary analysis was significant in the replication cohort. Our study had 80% power to detect odds ratios > 1.7 for common variants in the primary analysis.
Moderately large additive interactions between common SNPs in genes relevant to cardiovascular disease do not appear to play a major role in genetic predisposition to CAD. The role of genetic interactions amongst less common SNPs and with medium and small magnitude effects remain to be investigated.
PMCID: PMC4320092  PMID: 25658981
2.  Urotensin-II System in Genetic Control of Blood Pressure and Renal Function 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e83137.
Urotensin-II controls ion/water homeostasis in fish and vascular tone in rodents. We hypothesised that common genetic variants in urotensin-II pathway genes are associated with human blood pressure or renal function. We performed family-based analysis of association between blood pressure, glomerular filtration and genes of the urotensin-II pathway (urotensin-II, urotensin-II related peptide, urotensin-II receptor) saturated with 28 tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms in 2024 individuals from 520 families; followed by an independent replication in 420 families and 7545 unrelated subjects. The expression studies of the urotensin-II pathway were carried out in 97 human kidneys. Phylogenetic evolutionary analysis was conducted in 17 vertebrate species. One single nucleotide polymorphism (rs531485 in urotensin-II gene) was associated with adjusted estimated glomerular filtration rate in the discovery cohort (p = 0.0005). It showed no association with estimated glomerular filtration rate in the combined replication resource of 8724 subjects from 6 populations. Expression of urotensin-II and its receptor showed strong linear correlation (r = 0.86, p<0.0001). There was no difference in renal expression of urotensin-II system between hypertensive and normotensive subjects. Evolutionary analysis revealed accumulation of mutations in urotensin-II since the divergence of primates and weaker conservation of urotensin-II receptor in primates than in lower vertebrates. Our data suggest that urotensin-II system genes are unlikely to play a major role in genetic control of human blood pressure or renal function. The signatures of evolutionary forces acting on urotensin-II system indicate that it may have evolved towards loss of function since the divergence of primates.
PMCID: PMC3877024  PMID: 24391740
3.  Inheritance of coronary artery disease in men: an analysis of the role of the Y chromosome 
Lancet  2012;379(9819):915-922.
A sexual dimorphism exists in the incidence and prevalence of coronary artery disease—men are more commonly affected than are age-matched women. We explored the role of the Y chromosome in coronary artery disease in the context of this sexual inequity.
We genotyped 11 markers of the male-specific region of the Y chromosome in 3233 biologically unrelated British men from three cohorts: the British Heart Foundation Family Heart Study (BHF-FHS), West of Scotland Coronary Prevention Study (WOSCOPS), and Cardiogenics Study. On the basis of this information, each Y chromosome was tracked back into one of 13 ancient lineages defined as haplogroups. We then examined associations between common Y chromosome haplogroups and the risk of coronary artery disease in cross-sectional BHF-FHS and prospective WOSCOPS. Finally, we undertook functional analysis of Y chromosome effects on monocyte and macrophage transcriptome in British men from the Cardiogenics Study.
Of nine haplogroups identified, two (R1b1b2 and I) accounted for roughly 90% of the Y chromosome variants among British men. Carriers of haplogroup I had about a 50% higher age-adjusted risk of coronary artery disease than did men with other Y chromosome lineages in BHF-FHS (odds ratio 1·75, 95% CI 1·20–2·54, p=0·004), WOSCOPS (1·45, 1·08–1·95, p=0·012), and joint analysis of both populations (1·56, 1·24–1·97, p=0·0002). The association between haplogroup I and increased risk of coronary artery disease was independent of traditional cardiovascular and socioeconomic risk factors. Analysis of macrophage transcriptome in the Cardiogenics Study revealed that 19 molecular pathways showing strong differential expression between men with haplogroup I and other lineages of the Y chromosome were interconnected by common genes related to inflammation and immunity, and that some of them have a strong relevance to atherosclerosis.
The human Y chromosome is associated with risk of coronary artery disease in men of European ancestry, possibly through interactions of immunity and inflammation.
British Heart Foundation; UK National Institute for Health Research; LEW Carty Charitable Fund; National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia; European Union 6th Framework Programme; Wellcome Trust.
PMCID: PMC3314981  PMID: 22325189
Hypertension  2010;56(6):1069-1076.
Genetic determinants of blood pressure are poorly defined. We undertook a large-scale gene-centric analysis to identify loci and pathways associated with ambulatory systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
We measured 24-hour ambulatory BP in 2020 individuals from 520 white European nuclear families (the GRAPHIC Study) and genotyped their DNA using the Illumina HumanCVD BeadChip array which contains approximately 50000 single nucleotide polymorphisms in >2000 cardiovascular candidate loci. We found a strong association between rs13306560 polymorphism in the promoter region of MTHFR and CLCN6 and mean 24-hour diastolic blood pressure - each minor allele copy of rs13306560 was associated with 2.6 mmHg lower mean 24-hour diastolic blood pressure (P=1.2×10−8). rs13306560 was also associated with clinic diastolic blood pressure in a combined analysis of 8129 subjects from the GRAPHIC Study, the CoLaus Study and the Silesian Cardiovascular Study (P=5.4×10−6). Additional analysis of associations between variants in Gene Ontology-defined pathways and mean 24-hour blood pressure in the GRAPHIC Study showed that cell survival control signalling cascades could play a role in blood pressure regulation. There was also a significant over-representation of rare variants (minor allele frequency <0.05) amongst polymorphisms showing at least nominal association with mean 24-hour blood pressure indicating that a considerable proportion of its heritability may be explained by uncommon alleles.
Through a large scale gene-centric analysis of ambulatory blood pressure, we identified an association of a novel variant at the MTHFR/CLNC6 locus with diastolic blood pressure and provided new insights into the genetic architecture of blood pressure.
PMCID: PMC3035934  PMID: 21060006
gene; genetics; blood pressure; single nucleotide polymorphism; association; heritability
5.  Large-Scale Candidate Gene Analysis of HDL Particle Features 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e14529.
HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) is an established marker of cardiovascular risk with significant genetic determination. However, HDL particles are not homogenous, and refined HDL phenotyping may improve insight into regulation of HDL metabolism. We therefore assessed HDL particles by NMR spectroscopy and conducted a large-scale candidate gene association analysis.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We measured plasma HDL-C and determined mean HDL particle size and particle number by NMR spectroscopy in 2024 individuals from 512 British Caucasian families. Genotypes were 49,094 SNPs in >2,100 cardiometabolic candidate genes/loci as represented on the HumanCVD BeadChip version 2. False discovery rates (FDR) were calculated to account for multiple testing. Analyses on classical HDL-C revealed significant associations (FDR<0.05) only for CETP (cholesteryl ester transfer protein; lead SNP rs3764261: p = 5.6*10−15) and SGCD (sarcoglycan delta; rs6877118: p = 8.6*10−6). In contrast, analysis with HDL mean particle size yielded additional associations in LIPC (hepatic lipase; rs261332: p = 6.1*10−9), PLTP (phospholipid transfer protein, rs4810479: p = 1.7*10−8) and FBLN5 (fibulin-5; rs2246416: p = 6.2*10−6). The associations of SGCD and Fibulin-5 with HDL particle size could not be replicated in PROCARDIS (n = 3,078) and/or the Women's Genome Health Study (n = 23,170).
We show that refined HDL phenotyping by NMR spectroscopy can detect known genes of HDL metabolism better than analyses on HDL-C.
PMCID: PMC3024972  PMID: 21283740

Results 1-5 (5)