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1.  Variants in two adjacent genes, EGLN2 and CYP2A6, influence smoking behavior related to disease risk via different mechanisms 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;23(2):555-561.
Genome-wide significant associations with cigarettes per day (CPD) and risk for lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were previously reported in a region of 19q13, including CYP2A6 (nicotine metabolism enzyme) and EGLN2 (hypoxia response). The associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were assumed to be proxies for functional variation in CYP2A6. Here, we demonstrate that when CYP2A6 and EGLN2 genotypes are analyzed together, the key EGLN2 variant, rs3733829, is not associated with nicotine metabolism independent of CYP2A6, but is nevertheless independently associated with CPD, and with breath carbon monoxide (CO), a phenotype associated with cigarette consumption and relevant to hypoxia. SNPs in EGLN2 are also associated with nicotine dependence and with smoking efficiency (CO/CPD). These results indicate a previously unappreciated novel mechanism behind genome-wide significant associations with cigarette consumption and disease risk unrelated to nicotine metabolism.
PMCID: PMC3869360  PMID: 24045616
2.  DSM-5 Cannabis Use Disorder: A Phenotypic and Genomic Perspective* 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2013;134:362-369.
We explore the factor structure of DSM-5 cannabis use disorders, examine its prevalence across European- and African-American respondents as well as its genetic underpinnings, utilizing data from a genome-wide study of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We also estimate the heritability of DSM-5 cannabis use disorders explained by these common SNPs.
Data on 3053 subjects reporting a lifetime history of cannabis use were utilized. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted to create a factor score, which was used in a genomewide association analysis. P-values from the single SNP analysis were examined for evidence of gene-based association. The aggregate effect of all SNPs was also estimated using Genome-Wide Complex Traits Analysis.
The unidimensionality of DSM-5 cannabis use disorder criteria was demonstrated. Comparing DSM-IV to DSM-5, a decrease in prevalence of cannabis use disorders was only noted in European-American respondents and was exceedingly modest. For the DSM-5 cannabis use disorders factor score, no SNP surpassed the genome-wide significance testing threshold. However, in the European-American subsample, gene-based association testing resulted in significant associations in 3 genes (C17orf58, BPTF and PPM1D) on chromosome 17q24. In aggregate, 21% of the variance in DSM-5 cannabis use disorders was explained by the genomewide SNPs; however, this estimate was not statistically significant.
DSM-5 cannabis use disorder represents a unidimensional construct, the prevalence of which is only modestly elevated above the DSM-IV version. Considerably larger sample sizes will be required to identify individual SNPs associated with cannabis use disorders and unequivocally establish its polygenic underpinnings.
PMCID: PMC3943464  PMID: 24315570
Cannabis; DSM-5; GWAS; association; genetics; heritability
3.  Intended and Unintended Effects of State-Mandated High School Science and Mathematics Course Graduation Requirements on Educational Attainment 
Mathematics and science course graduation requirement (CGR) increases in the 1980s and 1990s might have had both intended and unintended consequences. Using logistic regression with Census and American Community Survey (ACS) data (n = 2,892,444), we modeled CGR exposure on (a) high school dropout, (b) beginning college, and (c) obtaining any college degree. Possible between-groups differences were also assessed. We found that higher CGRs were associated with higher odds to drop out of high school, but results for the college-level outcomes varied by group. Some were less likely to enroll, whereas others who began college were more likely to obtain a degree. Increased high school dropout was consistent across the population, but some potential benefit was also observed, primarily for those reporting Hispanic ethnicity.
PMCID: PMC4275121  PMID: 25541563
dropouts; educational policy; high schools; higher education; mathematics education; policy analysis; regression analysis; science education
4.  The Contribution of Common UGT2B10 and CYP2A6 Alleles to Variation in Nicotine Glucuronidation among European Americans 
Pharmacogenetics and genomics  2013;23(12):706-716.
UDP-glucuronosytransferase-2B10 (UGT2B10) is the primary catalyst of nicotine glucuronidation. To develop a predictive genetic model of nicotine metabolism, the conversion of deuterated (D2)-nicotine to D2-nicotine-glucuronide, D2-cotinine, D2-cotinine-glucuronide, and D2-trans-3'-hydroxycotinine were quantified in 188 European Americans, and the contribution of UGT2B10 genotype to variability in first-pass nicotine glucuronidation assessed, following a procedure previously applied to nicotine C-oxidation. The proportion of total nicotine converted to nicotine-glucuronide (D2-nicotine-glucuronide/ (D2-nicotine +D2-nicotine-glucuronide +D2-cotinine +D2-cotinine-glucuronide +D2-trans-3'-hydroxycotinine)) was the primary phenotype. The variant, rs61750900T (D67Y) (minor allele frequency (MAF) = 10%), is confirmed to abolish nicotine glucuronidation activity. Another variant, rs112561475G (N397D) (MAF = 2%), is significantly associated with enhanced glucuronidation. rs112561475G is the ancestral allele of a well-conserved amino acid, indicating that the majority of human UGT2B10 alleles are derived hypomorphic alleles. CYP2A6 and UGT2B10 genotype explain 53% of the variance in oral nicotine glucuronidation in this sample. CYP2A6 and UGT2B10 genetic variants are also significantly associated with un-deuterated (D0) nicotine glucuronidation in subjects smoking ad libitum. We find no evidence for further common variation markedly influencing hepatic UGT2B10 expression in European Americans.
PMCID: PMC3919513  PMID: 24192532
UGT2B10; nicotine; cotinine; metabolism; glucuronidation; CYP2A6
5.  Measurement invariance of DSM-IV alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine dependence between community-sampled and clinically over-selected studies 
Addiction (Abingdon, England)  2013;108(10):1767-1776.
To examine whether DSM-IV symptoms of substance dependence are psychometrically equivalent between existing community-sampled and clinically over-selected studies.
2476 adult twins born in Minnesota; 4121 unrelated adult participants from a case-control study of alcohol dependence.
Lifetime DSM-IV alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine dependence symptoms and ever use of each substance.
We fit a hierarchical model to the data, in which ever use and dependence symptoms for each substance were indicators of alcohol, marijuana, or cocaine dependence, which were in turn indicators of a multi-substance dependence factor. We then tested the model for measurement invariance across participant groups, defined by study source and participant sex.
The hierarchical model fit well among males and females within each sample (CFI>0.96, TLI>0.95, and RMSEA<0.04 for all), and a multi-group model demonstrated that model parameters were equivalent across sample- and sex-defined groups (∆CFI=0.002 between constrained and unconstrained models). Differences between groups in symptom endorsement rates could be expressed solely as mean differences in the multi-substance dependence factor.
Lifetime substance dependence symptoms fit a dimensional model well. Although clinically over-selected participants on average endorsed more dependence symptoms than community-sampled participants, the pattern of symptom endorsement was similar across groups. From a measurement perspective, DSM-IV criteria are equally appropriate for describing substance dependence across different sampling methods.
PMCID: PMC3742679  PMID: 23651171
substance dependence; sampling comparison; sex differences; item response theory
6.  Genomics and personalized medicine: CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 and smoking cessation treatment 
Journal of food and drug analysis  2013;21(4):S87-S90.
Cigarette smoking is highly addictive, and modern genetic research has identified robust genetic influences on nicotine dependence. An important step in translating these genetic findings is to identify the genetic factors affecting smoking cessation in order to enhance current smoking cessation treatments. We review the significance of variants in the nicotinic receptor gene cluster (CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4) in the prediction of smoking quantity, smoking cessation, and response to cessation medication in multiple studies of smoking cessation. Three common haplotypes (low-risk, intermediate-risk, and high-risk) in the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 region are defined by rs16969968 and rs680244. The genetic variants in the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 region that predict nicotine dependence also predict a later age of smoking cessation in a community-based sample. In a smoking cessation trial, these variants predict abstinence at end of treatment in individuals receiving placebo medication, but not amongst individuals receiving active medication. Pharmacological treatments moderate the genetic risk in affecting cessation success. These pharmacogenetic interactions have been reproduced by a recent meta-analysis of smoking cessation trials. The number needed to treat (NNT) is 4 for smokers with the high-risk haplotype, 7 for smokers with the intermediate-risk haplotype, and >1000 for smokers with the low-risk haplotype. The wide variation in NNT between smokers with different haplotypes supports the notion that personalized smoking cessation intervention based upon genotype could meaningfully increase the efficiency of such treatment. In summary, variants in the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 region identify individuals at increased risk of cessation failure, and this increased risk can be ameliorated by cessation pharmacotherapy.
PMCID: PMC4158847  PMID: 25214750
Smoking cessation; personalized medicine; pharmacogenetics
7.  Smoking cessation is associated with lower rates of mood/anxiety and alcohol use disorder 
Psychological medicine  2014;44(12):2523-2535.
The psychological outcomes that accompany smoking cessation are not yet conclusive but positive outcomes could help to persuade quitting.
We use data from the longitudinal National Epidemiological Study of Alcohol and Related Conditions. Logistic regression was used to examine associations between cigarette smoking reduction and Wave 2 status of addiction/mental health disorder among daily smokers at Wave 1, stratified by status of the diagnosis of interest at Wave 1. We adjusted for differences in baseline covariates between smokers with different levels of smoking reduction between Wave 1 and Wave 2 using propensity score regression adjustment.
After adjusting for propensity scores and other mental health/addiction comorbidities at Wave 2, among daily smokers who had current or lifetime history diagnosis of the outcome of interest at Wave 1, quitting by Wave 2 predicted a decreased risk of mood/anxiety disorder (aOR 0.6, 95% CI 0.4, 0.9) and alcohol disorder (aOR 0.7, 95% CI 0.5, 0.99) at Wave 2. Among daily smokers with no lifetime history diagnosis of the outcome of interest at Wave 1, quitting smoking by Wave 2 predicted a decreased risk of drug use disorder at Wave 2 aOR 0.3, 95% CI 0.1, 0.9).
There is no support in our data for the concern that smoking cessation would result in smokers’ increased risk of some mental disorders. To the contrary, our data suggest that smoking cessation is associated with risk reduction for mood/anxiety or alcohol use disorder, even among smokers who have had a pre-existing disorder.
PMCID: PMC4122254  PMID: 25055171
smoking; mental health; cessation; psychiatry; substance use disorders; longitudinal data
8.  Long-term Effects of Laws Governing Youth Access to Tobacco 
American journal of public health  2013;103(8):1493-1499.
To examine the association between policies that govern access to tobacco during adolescence and subsequent adult smoking.
Adult smoking data from the 1998 through 2006–07 administrations of the U.S. Current Population Survey Tobacco Use Supplement were analyzed using a quasi-experimental approach. Subjects (n = 105,519) were adults, aged 18 to 34 at time of survey. Smoking outcomes included having ever smoked 100 cigarettes, smoking at time of survey, and having smoked 10 or more cigarettes a day conditioned on being an ever-smoker. These were predicted from exposure to state youth access policies at age 17.
Four of the nine policies exhibited significant associations with reduced prevalence of one or more smoking outcomes, primarily among women. Smaller effects for other policies could not be ruled out.
Restrictions on youth access to tobacco may lead to reduction in smoking prevalence later, in adulthood. The effect may be limited to women; we estimate that having all policies in place could be associated with an 14% reduction in lifetime smoking prevalence for women, and an additional 29% reduction in heavy smoking among ever-smokers.
PMCID: PMC3710295  PMID: 23763414
tobacco control; policy; adolescence
9.  Refining genome-wide linkage intervals using a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies identifies loci influencing personality dimensions 
Personality traits are complex phenotypes related to psychosomatic health. Individually, various gene finding methods have not achieved much success in finding genetic variants associated with personality traits. We performed a meta-analysis of four genome-wide linkage scans (N=6149 subjects) of five basic personality traits assessed with the NEO Five-Factor Inventory. We compared the significant regions from the meta-analysis of linkage scans with the results of a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) (N∼17 000). We found significant evidence of linkage of neuroticism to chromosome 3p14 (rs1490265, LOD=4.67) and to chromosome 19q13 (rs628604, LOD=3.55); of extraversion to 14q32 (ATGG002, LOD=3.3); and of agreeableness to 3p25 (rs709160, LOD=3.67) and to two adjacent regions on chromosome 15, including 15q13 (rs970408, LOD=4.07) and 15q14 (rs1055356, LOD=3.52) in the individual scans. In the meta-analysis, we found strong evidence of linkage of extraversion to 4q34, 9q34, 10q24 and 11q22, openness to 2p25, 3q26, 9p21, 11q24, 15q26 and 19q13 and agreeableness to 4q34 and 19p13. Significant evidence of association in the GWAS was detected between openness and rs677035 at 11q24 (P-value=2.6 × 10−06, KCNJ1). The findings of our linkage meta-analysis and those of the GWAS suggest that 11q24 is a susceptible locus for openness, with KCNJ1 as the possible candidate gene.
PMCID: PMC3722675  PMID: 23211697
personality; KCNJ1; NEO; linkage; GSMA
10.  Association of Adiposity Genetic Variants With Menarche Timing in 92,105 Women of European Descent 
Fernández-Rhodes, Lindsay | Demerath, Ellen W. | Cousminer, Diana L. | Tao, Ran | Dreyfus, Jill G. | Esko, Tõnu | Smith, Albert V. | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Harris, Tamara B. | Launer, Lenore | McArdle, Patrick F. | Yerges-Armstrong, Laura M. | Elks, Cathy E. | Strachan, David P. | Kutalik, Zoltán | Vollenweider, Peter | Feenstra, Bjarke | Boyd, Heather A. | Metspalu, Andres | Mihailov, Evelin | Broer, Linda | Zillikens, M. Carola | Oostra, Ben | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Lunetta, Kathryn L. | Perry, John R. B. | Murray, Anna | Koller, Daniel L. | Lai, Dongbing | Corre, Tanguy | Toniolo, Daniela | Albrecht, Eva | Stöckl, Doris | Grallert, Harald | Gieger, Christian | Hayward, Caroline | Polasek, Ozren | Rudan, Igor | Wilson, James F. | He, Chunyan | Kraft, Peter | Hu, Frank B. | Hunter, David J. | Hottenga, Jouke-Jan | Willemsen, Gonneke | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Byrne, Enda M. | Martin, Nicholas G. | Montgomery, Grant W. | Warrington, Nicole M. | Pennell, Craig E. | Stolk, Lisette | Visser, Jenny A. | Hofman, Albert | Uitterlinden, André G. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Lin, Peng | Fisher, Sherri L. | Bierut, Laura J. | Crisponi, Laura | Porcu, Eleonora | Mangino, Massimo | Zhai, Guangju | Spector, Tim D. | Buring, Julie E. | Rose, Lynda M. | Ridker, Paul M. | Poole, Charles | Hirschhorn, Joel N. | Murabito, Joanne M. | Chasman, Daniel I. | Widen, Elisabeth | North, Kari E. | Ong, Ken K. | Franceschini, Nora
American Journal of Epidemiology  2013;178(3):451-460.
Obesity is of global health concern. There are well-described inverse relationships between female pubertal timing and obesity. Recent genome-wide association studies of age at menarche identified several obesity-related variants. Using data from the ReproGen Consortium, we employed meta-analytical techniques to estimate the associations of 95 a priori and recently identified obesity-related (body mass index (weight (kg)/height (m)2), waist circumference, and waist:hip ratio) single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with age at menarche in 92,116 women of European descent from 38 studies (1970–2010), in order to estimate associations between genetic variants associated with central or overall adiposity and pubertal timing in girls. Investigators in each study performed a separate analysis of associations between the selected SNPs and age at menarche (ages 9–17 years) using linear regression models and adjusting for birth year, site (as appropriate), and population stratification. Heterogeneity of effect-measure estimates was investigated using meta-regression. Six novel associations of body mass index loci with age at menarche were identified, and 11 adiposity loci previously reported to be associated with age at menarche were confirmed, but none of the central adiposity variants individually showed significant associations. These findings suggest complex genetic relationships between menarche and overall obesity, and to a lesser extent central obesity, in normal processes of growth and development.
PMCID: PMC3816344  PMID: 23558354
adiposity; body mass index; genetic association studies; menarche; obesity; waist circumference; waist:hip ratio; women's health
11.  Common biological networks underlie genetic risk for alcoholism in African- and European-American populations 
Genes, brain, and behavior  2013;12(5):532-542.
Alcohol dependence (AD) is a heritable substance addiction with adverse physical and psychological consequences, representing a major health and economic burden on societies worldwide. Genes thus far implicated via linkage, candidate gene and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) account for only a small fraction of its overall risk, with effects varying across ethnic groups. Here we investigate the genetic architecture of alcoholism and report on the extent to which common, genome-wide SNPs collectively account for risk of AD in two US populations, African-Americans (AAs) and European-Americans (EAs). Analyzing GWAS data for two independent case-control sample sets, we compute polymarker scores that are significantly associated with alcoholism (P=1.64 × 10−3 and 2.08 × 10−4 for EAs and AAs, respectively), reflecting the small individual effects of thousands of variants derived from patterns of allelic architecture that are population-specific. Simulations show that disease models based on rare and uncommon causal variants (MAF<0.05) best fit the observed distribution of polymarker signals. When scoring bins were annotated for gene location and examined for constituent biological networks, gene enrichment is observed for several cellular processes and functions in both EA and AA populations, transcending their underlying allelic differences. Our results reveal key insights into the complex etiology of AD, raising the possibility of an important role for rare and uncommon variants, and identify polygenic mechanisms that encompass a spectrum of disease liability, with some, such as chloride transporters and glycine metabolism genes, displaying subtle, modifying effects that are likely to escape detection in most GWAS designs.
PMCID: PMC3709451  PMID: 23607416
alcohol dependence; GWAS; polymarker scores; synthetic association; rare variants; pathway analysis
12.  Imputation across genotyping arrays for genome-wide association studies: assessment of bias and a correction strategy 
Human genetics  2013;132(5):509-522.
A great promise of publicly sharing genome-wide association data is the potential to create composite sets of controls. However, studies often use different genotyping arrays, and imputation to a common set of SNPs has shown substantial bias: a problem which has no broadly applicable solution. Based on the idea that using differing genotyped SNP sets as inputs creates differential imputation errors and thus bias in the composite set of controls, we examined the degree to which each of the following occurs: (1) imputation based on the union of genotyped SNPs (i.e., SNPs available on one or more arrays) results in bias, as evidenced by spurious associations (type 1 error) between imputed genotypes and arbitrarily assigned case/control status; (2) imputation based on the intersection of geno-typed SNPs (i.e., SNPs available on all arrays) does not evidence such bias; and (3) imputation quality varies by the size of the intersection of genotyped SNP sets. Imputations were conducted in European Americans and African Americans with reference to HapMap phase II and III data. Imputation based on the union of genotyped SNPs across the Illumina 1M and 550v3 arrays showed spurious associations for 0.2 % of SNPs: ~2,000 false positives per million SNPs imputed. Biases remained problematic for very similar arrays (550v1 vs. 550v3) and were substantial for dissimilar arrays (Illumina 1M vs. Affymetrix 6.0). In all instances, imputing based on the intersection of genotyped SNPs (as few as 30 % of the total SNPs genotyped) eliminated such bias while still achieving good imputation quality.
PMCID: PMC3628082  PMID: 23334152
13.  A genome wide association study of alcohol dependence symptom counts in extended pedigrees identifies C15orf53 
Molecular psychiatry  2012;18(11):10.1038/mp.2012.143.
Several studies have identified genes associated with alcohol use disorders, but the variation in each of these genes explains only a small portion of the genetic vulnerability. The goal of the present study was to perform a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in extended families from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA) to identify novel genes affecting risk for alcohol dependence. To maximize the power of the extended family design we used a quantitative endophenotype, measured in all individuals: number of alcohol dependence symptoms endorsed (symptom count). Secondary analyses were performed to determine if the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with symptom count were also associated with the dichotomous phenotype, DSM-IV alcohol dependence. This family-based GWAS identified SNPs in C15orf53 that are strongly associated with DSM-IV alcohol (p=4.5×10−8, inflation corrected p=9.4×10−7). Results with DSM-IV alcohol dependence in the regions of interest support our findings with symptom count, though the associations were less significant. Attempted replications of the most promising association results were conducted in two independent samples: non-overlapping subjects from the Study of Addiction: Genes and Environment (SAGE) and the Australian twin-family study of alcohol use disorders (OZALC). Nominal association of C15orf53 with symptom count was observed in SAGE. The variant that showed strongest association with symptom count, rs12912251 and its highly correlated variants (D′=1, r2≥ 0.95), has previously been associated with risk for bipolar disorder.
PMCID: PMC3752321  PMID: 23089632
DSM-IV alcohol dependence symptoms; Family-based GWAS; C15orf53; Quantitative traits
14.  Inclusion of African Americans in Genetic Studies: What Is the Barrier? 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2011;174(3):336-344.
To facilitate an increase in the amount of data on minority subjects collected for genetic databases, the authors attempted to clarify barriers to African-American participation in genetic studies. They randomly sampled 78,072 subjects from the community (Missouri Family Registry, 2002–2007). Of these, 28,658 participated in a telephone screening interview, 3,179 were eligible to participate in the genetic study, and 1,919 participated in the genetic study. Response rates were examined in relation to the proportion of subjects in the area who were African-American according to US Census 2000 zip code demographic data. Compared with zip codes with fewer than 5% African Americans (average = 2% African-American), zip codes with at least 60% African Americans (average = 87% African-American) had higher proportions of subjects with an incorrect address or telephone number but lower proportions of subjects who did not answer the telephone and subjects who refused the telephone interview (P < 0.0001). Based on reported race from the telephone screening, 71% of eligible African Americans and 57% of eligible European Americans participated in the genetic study (P < 0.0001). The results of this study suggest that increasing the number of African Americans in genetic databases may be achieved by increasing efforts to locate and contact them.
PMCID: PMC3202157  PMID: 21633120
African Americans; consumer participation; data collection; genetic association studies; genetics; minority groups
15.  Distinct Loci in the CHRNA5/CHRNA3/CHRNB4 Gene Cluster Are Associated With Onset of Regular Smoking 
Stephens, Sarah H. | Hartz, Sarah M. | Hoft, Nicole R. | Saccone, Nancy L. | Corley, Robin C. | Hewitt, John K. | Hopfer, Christian J. | Breslau, Naomi | Coon, Hilary | Chen, Xiangning | Ducci, Francesca | Dueker, Nicole | Franceschini, Nora | Frank, Josef | Han, Younghun | Hansel, Nadia N. | Jiang, Chenhui | Korhonen, Tellervo | Lind, Penelope A. | Liu, Jason | Lyytikäinen, Leo-Pekka | Michel, Martha | Shaffer, John R. | Short, Susan E. | Sun, Juzhong | Teumer, Alexander | Thompson, John R. | Vogelzangs, Nicole | Vink, Jacqueline M. | Wenzlaff, Angela | Wheeler, William | Yang, Bao-Zhu | Aggen, Steven H. | Balmforth, Anthony J. | Baumeister, Sebastian E. | Beaty, Terri H. | Benjamin, Daniel J. | Bergen, Andrew W. | Broms, Ulla | Cesarini, David | Chatterjee, Nilanjan | Chen, Jingchun | Cheng, Yu-Ching | Cichon, Sven | Couper, David | Cucca, Francesco | Dick, Danielle | Foroud, Tatiana | Furberg, Helena | Giegling, Ina | Gillespie, Nathan A. | Gu, Fangyi | Hall, Alistair S. | Hällfors, Jenni | Han, Shizhong | Hartmann, Annette M. | Heikkilä, Kauko | Hickie, Ian B. | Hottenga, Jouke Jan | Jousilahti, Pekka | Kaakinen, Marika | Kähönen, Mika | Koellinger, Philipp D. | Kittner, Stephen | Konte, Bettina | Landi, Maria-Teresa | Laatikainen, Tiina | Leppert, Mark | Levy, Steven M. | Mathias, Rasika A. | McNeil, Daniel W. | Medland, Sarah E. | Montgomery, Grant W. | Murray, Tanda | Nauck, Matthias | North, Kari E. | Paré, Peter D. | Pergadia, Michele | Ruczinski, Ingo | Salomaa, Veikko | Viikari, Jorma | Willemsen, Gonneke | Barnes, Kathleen C. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Caporaso, Neil | Edenberg, Howard J. | Francks, Clyde | Gelernter, Joel | Grabe, Hans Jörgen | Hops, Hyman | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Johannesson, Magnus | Kendler, Kenneth S. | Lehtimäki, Terho | Magnusson, Patrik K.E. | Marazita, Mary L. | Marchini, Jonathan | Mitchell, Braxton D. | Nöthen, Markus M. | Penninx, Brenda W. | Raitakari, Olli | Rietschel, Marcella | Rujescu, Dan | Samani, Nilesh J. | Schwartz, Ann G. | Shete, Sanjay | Spitz, Margaret | Swan, Gary E. | Völzke, Henry | Veijola, Juha | Wei, Qingyi | Amos, Chris | Cannon, Dale S. | Grucza, Richard | Hatsukami, Dorothy | Heath, Andrew | Johnson, Eric O. | Kaprio, Jaakko | Madden, Pamela | Martin, Nicholas G. | Stevens, Victoria L. | Weiss, Robert B. | Kraft, Peter | Bierut, Laura J. | Ehringer, Marissa A.
Genetic epidemiology  2013;37(8):846-859.
Neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) genes (CHRNA5/CHRNA3/CHRNB4) have been reproducibly associated with nicotine dependence, smoking behaviors, and lung cancer risk. Of the few reports that have focused on early smoking behaviors, association results have been mixed. This meta-analysis examines early smoking phenotypes and SNPs in the gene cluster to determine: (1) whether the most robust association signal in this region (rs16969968) for other smoking behaviors is also associated with early behaviors, and/or (2) if additional statistically independent signals are important in early smoking. We focused on two phenotypes: age of tobacco initiation (AOI) and age of first regular tobacco use (AOS). This study included 56,034 subjects (41 groups) spanning nine countries and evaluated five SNPs including rs1948, rs16969968, rs578776, rs588765, and rs684513. Each dataset was analyzed using a centrally generated script. Meta-analyses were conducted from summary statistics. AOS yielded significant associations with SNPs rs578776 (beta = 0.02, P = 0.004), rs1948 (beta = 0.023, P = 0.018), and rs684513 (beta = 0.032, P = 0.017), indicating protective effects. There were no significant associations for the AOI phenotype. Importantly, rs16969968, the most replicated signal in this region for nicotine dependence, cigarettes per day, and cotinine levels, was not associated with AOI (P = 0.59) or AOS (P = 0.92). These results provide important insight into the complexity of smoking behavior phenotypes, and suggest that association signals in the CHRNA5/A3/B4 gene cluster affecting early smoking behaviors may be different from those affecting the mature nicotine dependence phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3947535  PMID: 24186853
CHRNA5; CHRNA3; CHRNB4; meta-analysis; nicotine; smoke
16.  The Persistent Effects of Minimum Legal Drinking Age Laws on Drinking Patterns Later in Life 
Exposure to permissive minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) laws not only affects young adults in the short term, but also later in life; for example, individuals who could legally purchase alcohol before age 21 are more likely to suffer from drinking problems as older adults, long after the laws had been changed. However, it is not known how permissive MLDA exposure affects specific drinking behavior. This present study uses changes in MLDA laws during the 1970s and 1980s as a natural experiment to investigate the potential impact of permissive MLDA exposure on average alcohol consumption, frequency of drinking, and on patterns of binging and more moderate, non-heavy drinking.
Policy exposure data were paired with alcohol use data from the 1991–1992 National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey and the 2001–2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Past-year drinkers born between 1949 and 1972 (n = 24,088) were included. Average daily intake, overall drinking frequency, and frequency of both binge episodes (5+ drinks) and days without a binge episode (non-heavy drinking) for the previous year at the time of interview were tracked for each respondent.
Exposure to permissive MLDAs was associated with higher odds to report frequent binging and lower odds to report any moderate drinking; these associations were largely driven by men and those who did not attend college. Overall drinking frequency and average alcohol consumption were not affected by MLDA exposure.
The ability to legally purchase alcohol before age 21 does not seem to increase overall drinking frequency, but our findings suggest that it is associated with certain types of problematic drinking behaviors that persist into later adulthood: more frequent binge episodes and less frequent non-heavy drinking. We also propose that policymakers and critics should not focus on college drinking when evaluating the effectiveness of MLDAs.
PMCID: PMC3586293  PMID: 23347177
Minimum legal drinking age; binge drinking; drinking patterns; moderate drinking
17.  Identifying Genetic Variation for Alcohol Dependence 
Researchers are using various strategies to identify the genes that may be associated with alcoholism. The initial efforts primarily relied on candidate gene and linkage studies; more recently, however, modern advances in genotyping have resulted in widespread use of genome-wide association studies for alcohol dependence. The key findings of the earlier studies were that variations (i.e., polymorphisms) in the DNA sequences of the genes encoding alcohol dehydrogenase 1B (i.e., the ADH1B gene), aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (i.e., the ALDH2 gene), and other alcohol-metabolizing enzymes mediate the risk for alcoholism; moreover, these polymorphisms also have an impact on the risk of alcohol-related cancers, such as esophageal cancer. In addition, a gene encoding one of the receptors for the neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) known as GABRA2 seems to have a role in the development of alcohol dependence. Genome-wide association studies now offer a host of emerging opportunities, as well as challenges, for discovering the genetic etiology of alcohol dependence and for unveiling new treatment strategies.
PMCID: PMC3662475  PMID: 23134043
Alcoholism; alcohol dependence; alcohol-metabolizing genes; genetic factors; genetic mapping; genome-wide association studies; candidate gene studies; genetic variants; alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH); alcohol-related cancers; esophageal cancer; γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA); DNA
18.  Genetic influences on craving for alcohol 
Addictive behaviors  2012;38(2):1501-1508.
Craving is being considered for inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) DSM-5. However, little is known of its genetic underpinnings – specifically, whether genetic influences on craving are distinct from those influencing DSM-IV alcohol dependence.
Analyses were conducted in a sample of unrelated adults ascertained for alcohol dependence (N=3976). Factor analysis was performed to examine how alcohol craving loaded with the existing DSM-IV alcohol dependence criteria. For genetic analyses, we first examined whether genes in the dopamine pathway, including dopamine receptor genes (DRD1, DRD2, DRD3, DRD4) and the dopamine transporter gene (SLC6A3), which have been implicated in neurobiological studies of craving, as well as alpha-synuclein (SNCA), which has been previously found to be associated with craving, were associated with alcohol craving in this sample. Second, in an effort to identify novel genetic variants associated with craving, we conducted a genomewide association study (GWAS). For variants that were implicated in the primary analysis of craving, we conducted additional comparisons - to determine if these variants were uniquely associated with alcohol craving as compared with alcohol dependence. We contrasted our results to those obtained for DSM-IV alcohol dependence, and also compared alcohol dependent individuals without craving to non-dependent individuals who also did not crave alcohol.
Twenty-one percent of the full sample reported craving alcohol. Of those reporting craving, 97.3% met criteria for DSM-IV alcohol dependence with 48% endorsing all 7 dependence criteria. Factor analysis found a high factor loading (0.89) for alcohol craving. When examining genes in the dopamine pathway, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in DRD3 and SNCA were associated with craving (p<0.05). There was evidence for association of these SNPs with DSM-IV alcohol dependence (p<0.05) but less evidence for dependence without craving (p>0.05), suggesting that the association was due in part to craving. In the GWAS, the greatest evidence of association with craving was for a SNP in the integrin alpha D (ITGAD) gene on chromosome 7 (rs2454908; p=1.8×10−6). The corresponding p-value for this SNP with DSM-IV alcohol dependence was similar (p=4.0×10−5) but was far less with dependence without craving (p=0.02), again suggesting the association was due to alcohol craving. Adjusting for dependence severity (number of endorsed criteria) attenuated p-values but did not eliminate association.
Craving is frequently reported by those who report multiple other alcohol dependence symptoms. We found that genes providing evidence of association with craving were also associated with alcohol dependence; however, these same SNPs were not associated with alcohol dependence in the absence of alcohol craving. These results suggest that there may be unique genetic factors affecting craving among those with alcohol dependence.
PMCID: PMC3394913  PMID: 22481050
19.  Fine-mapping of the 5p15.33, 6p22.1-p21.31 and 15q25.1 regions identifies functional and histology-specific lung cancer susceptibility loci in African-Americans 
Genome-wide association studies of European and East Asian populations have identified lung cancer susceptibility loci on chromosomes 5p15.33, 6p22.1-p21.31 and 15q25.1. We investigated whether these regions contain lung cancer susceptibly loci in African-Americans refined previous association signals by utilizing the reduced linkage disequilibrium observed in African-Americans.
1308 African-American cases and 1241 African-American controls from three centers were genotyped for 760 single nucleotide polymorphisms spanning three regions, and additional SNP imputation was performed. Associations between polymorphisms and lung cancer risk were estimated using logistic regression, stratified by tumor histology where appropriate.
The strongest associations were observed on 15q25.1 in/near CHRNA5, including a missense substitution (rs16969968: OR = 1.57, 95% CI = 1.25–1.97, P = 1.1 × 10−4) and variants in the 5′-UTR. Associations on 6p22.1-p21.31 were histology-specific and included a missense variant in BAT2 associated with squamous-cell carcinoma (rs2736158: OR = 0.64, 95% CI = 0.48–0.85, P = 1.82 × 10−3). Associations on 5p15.33 were detected near TERT, the strongest of which was rs2735940 (OR = 0.82, 95% CI = 0.73–0.93, P = 1.1 × 10−3). This association was stronger among cases with adenocarcinoma (OR = 0.75, 95% CI = 0.65–0.86, P = 8.1 × 10−5).
Polymorphisms in 5p15.33, 6p22.1-p21.31 and 15q25.1 are associated with lung cancer in African-Americans. Variants on 5p15.33 are stronger risk factors for adenocarcinoma and variants on 6p21.33 associated only with squamous-cell carcinoma.
Results implicate the BAT2, TERT and CHRNA5 genes in the pathogenesis of specific lung cancer histologies.
PMCID: PMC3565099  PMID: 23221128
Lung cancer; adenocarcinoma; squamous-cell carcinoma; fine-mapping; African-American; genetic association
20.  Cis-Regulatory Variants Affect CHRNA5 mRNA Expression in Populations of African and European Ancestry 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80204.
Variants within the gene cluster encoding α3, α5, and β4 nicotinic receptor subunits are major risk factors for substance dependence. The strongest impact on risk is associated with variation in the CHRNA5 gene, where at least two mechanisms are at work: amino acid variation and altered mRNA expression levels. The risk allele of the non-synonymous variant (rs16969968; D398N) primarily occurs on the haplotype containing the low mRNA expression allele. In populations of European ancestry, there are approximately 50 highly correlated variants in the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 gene cluster and the adjacent PSMA4 gene region that are associated with CHRNA5 mRNA levels. It is not clear which of these variants contribute to the changes in CHRNA5 transcript level. Because populations of African ancestry have reduced linkage disequilibrium among variants spanning this gene cluster, eQTL mapping in subjects of African ancestry could potentially aid in defining the functional variants that affect CHRNA5 mRNA levels. We performed quantitative allele specific gene expression using frontal cortices derived from 49 subjects of African ancestry and 111 subjects of European ancestry. This method measures allele-specific transcript levels in the same individual, which eliminates other biological variation that occurs when comparing expression levels between different samples. This analysis confirmed that substance dependence associated variants have a direct cis-regulatory effect on CHRNA5 transcript levels in human frontal cortices of African and European ancestry and identified 10 highly correlated variants, located in a 9 kb region, that are potential functional variants modifying CHRNA5 mRNA expression levels.
PMCID: PMC3841173  PMID: 24303001
21.  CYP2B6 Non-Coding Variation Associated with Smoking Cessation Is Also Associated with Differences in Allelic Expression, Splicing, and Nicotine Metabolism Independent of Common Amino-Acid Changes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79700.
The Cytochrome P450 2B6 (CYP2B6) enzyme makes a small contribution to hepatic nicotine metabolism relative to CYP2A6, but CYP2B6 is the primary enzyme responsible for metabolism of the smoking cessation drug bupropion. Using CYP2A6 genotype as a covariate, we find that a non-coding polymorphism in CYP2B6 previously associated with smoking cessation (rs8109525) is also significantly associated with nicotine metabolism. The association is independent of the well-studied non-synonymous variants rs3211371, rs3745274, and rs2279343 (CYP2B6*5 and *6). Expression studies demonstrate that rs8109525 is also associated with differences in CYP2B6 mRNA expression in liver biopsy samples. Splicing assays demonstrate that specific splice forms of CYP2B6 are associated with haplotypes defined by variants including rs3745274 and rs8109525. These results indicate differences in mRNA expression and splicing as potential molecular mechanisms by which non-coding variation in CYP2B6 may affect enzymatic activity leading to differences in metabolism and smoking cessation.
PMCID: PMC3829832  PMID: 24260284
22.  Protocol for a collaborative meta-analysis of 5-HTTLPR, stress, and depression 
BMC Psychiatry  2013;13:304.
Debate is ongoing about what role, if any, variation in the serotonin transporter linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) plays in depression. Some studies report an interaction between 5-HTTLPR variation and stressful life events affecting the risk for depression, others report a main effect of 5-HTTLPR variation on depression, while others find no evidence for either a main or interaction effect. Meta-analyses of multiple studies have also reached differing conclusions.
To improve understanding of the combined roles of 5-HTTLPR variation and stress in the development of depression, we are conducting a meta-analysis of multiple independent datasets. This coordinated approach utilizes new analyses performed with centrally-developed, standardized scripts. This publication documents the protocol for this collaborative, consortium-based meta-analysis of 5-HTTLPR variation, stress, and depression.
Study eligibility criteria: Our goal is to invite all datasets, published or unpublished, with 5-HTTLPR genotype and assessments of stress and depression for at least 300 subjects. This inclusive approach is to minimize potential impact from publication bias.
Data sources: This project currently includes investigators from 35 independent groups, providing data on at least N = 33,761 participants.
The analytic plan was determined prior to starting data analysis. Analyses of individual study datasets will be performed by the investigators who collected the data using centrally-developed standardized analysis scripts to ensure a consistent analytical approach across sites. The consortium as a group will review and interpret the meta-analysis results.
Variation in 5-HTTLPR is hypothesized to moderate the response to stress on depression. To test specific hypotheses about the role of 5-HTTLPR variation on depression, we will perform coordinated meta-analyses of de novo results obtained from all available data, using variables and analyses determined a priori. Primary analyses, based on the original 2003 report by Caspi and colleagues of a GxE interaction will be supplemented by secondary analyses to help interpret and clarify issues ranging from the mechanism of effect to heterogeneity among the contributing studies. Publication of this protocol serves to protect this project from biased reporting and to improve the ability of readers to interpret the results of this specific meta-analysis upon its completion.
PMCID: PMC3840571  PMID: 24219410
23.  CHRNB3 is more strongly associated with FTCD-based nicotine dependence than cigarettes per day: phenotype definition changes GWAS results 
Addiction (Abingdon, England)  2012;107(11):2019-2028.
Nicotine dependence is a highly heritable disorder associated with severe medical morbidity and mortality. Recent meta-analyses have found novel genetic loci associated with cigarettes per day (CPD), a proxy for nicotine dependence. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the importance of phenotype definition (i.e. CPD versus Fagerström Test for Cigarette Dependence (FTCD) score as a measure of nicotine dependence) on genome-wide association studies of nicotine dependence.
Genome-wide association study
Community sample
A total of 3,365 subjects who had smoked at least one cigarette were selected from the Study of Addiction: Genetics and Environment (SAGE). Of the participants, 2,267 were European Americans,999 were African Americans.
Nicotine dependence defined by FTCD score ≥4, CPD
The genetic locus most strongly associated with nicotine dependence was rs1451240 on chromosome 8 in the region of CHRNB3 (OR=0.65, p=2.4×10−8). This association was further strengthened in a meta-analysis with a previously published dataset (combined p=6.7 ×10−16, total n=4,200).When CPD was used as an alternate phenotype, the association no longer reached genome-wide significance (β=−0.08, p=0.0007).
Daily cigarette consumption and the Fagerstrom Test for Cigarette Dependence (FTCD) show different associations with polymorphisms in genetic loci.
PMCID: PMC3427406  PMID: 22524403
24.  Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for personality 
Molecular psychiatry  2010;17(3):337-349.
Personality can be thought of as a set of characteristics that influence people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviour across a variety of settings. Variation in personality is predictive of many outcomes in life, including mental health. Here we report on a meta-analysis of genome-wide association (GWA) data for personality in ten discovery samples (17 375 adults) and five in-silico replication samples (3 294 adults). All participants were of European ancestry. Personality scores for Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness were based on the NEO Five-Factor Inventory. Genotype data were available of ~2.4M Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs; directly typed and imputed using HAPMAP data). In the discovery samples, classical association analyses were performed under an additive model followed by meta-analysis using the weighted inverse variance method. Results showed genome-wide significance for Openness to Experience near the RASA1 gene on 5q14.3 (rs1477268 and rs2032794, P = 2.8 × 10−8 and 3.1 × 10−8) and for Conscientiousness in the brain-expressed KATNAL2 gene on 18q21.1 (rs2576037, P = 4.9 × 10−8). We further conducted a gene-based test that confirmed the association of KATNAL2 to Conscientiousness. In-silico replication did not, however, show significant associations of the top SNPs with Openness and Conscientiousness, although the direction of effect of the KATNAL2 SNP on Conscientiousness was consistent in all replication samples. Larger scale GWA studies and alternative approaches are required for confirmation of KATNAL2 as a novel gene affecting Conscientiousness.
PMCID: PMC3785122  PMID: 21173776
Personality; Five-Factor Model; Genome-wide association; Meta-analysis; Genetic variants
25.  Copy number variations in 6q14.1 and 5q13.2 are associated with alcohol dependence 
Excessive alcohol use is the third leading cause of preventable death and is highly correlated with alcohol dependence, a heritable phenotype. Many genetic factors for alcohol dependence have been found, but many remain unknown. In search of additional genetic factors, we examined the association between DSM-IV alcohol dependence and all common copy number variations (CNV) with good reliability in the Study of Addiction: Genetics and Environment (SAGE).
All participants in SAGE were interviewed using the Semi-Structured Assessment for the Genetics of Alcoholism (SSAGA), as a part of three contributing studies. 2,610 non-Hispanic European American samples were genotyped on the Illumina Human 1M array. We performed CNV calling by CNVpartition, PennCNV and QuantiSNP and only CNVs identified by all three software programs were examined. Association was conducted with the CNV (as a deletion/duplication) as well as with probes in the CNV region. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was used to validate the CNVs in the laboratory.
CNVs in 6q14.1 (P= 1.04 × 10−6) and 5q13.2 (P= 3.37 × 10−4) were significantly associated with alcohol dependence after adjusting multiple tests. On chromosome 5q13.2 there were multiple candidate genes previously associated with various neurological disorders. The region on chromosome 6q14.1 is a gene desert that has been associated with mental retardation, and language delay. The CNV in 5q13.2 was validated whereas only a component of the CNV on 6q14.1 was validated by qPCR. Thus, the CNV on 6q14.1 should be viewed with caution.
This is the first study to show an association between DSM-IV alcohol dependence and CNVs. CNVs in regions previously associated with neurological disorders may be associated with alcohol dependence.
PMCID: PMC3436997  PMID: 22702843
Copy Number Variations; Alcohol dependence; CNV Accuracy

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