Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (151)

Clipboard (0)

Select a Filter Below

more »
Year of Publication
more »
1.  Genetic variants modify the effect of age on APOE methylation in the Genetics of Lipid Lowering Drugs and Diet Network study 
Aging Cell  2014;14(1):49-59.
Although apolipoprotein E (APOE) variants are associated with age-related diseases, the underlying mechanism is unknown and DNA methylation may be a potential one. With methylation data, measured by the Infinium Human Methylation 450 array, from 993 participants (age ranging from 18 to 87 years) in the Genetics of Lipid Lowering Drugs and Diet Network (GOLDN) study, and from Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) consortium, combined with published methylation datasets, we described the methylation pattern of 13 CpG sites within APOE locus, their correlations with gene expression across cell types, and their relationships with age, plasma lipids, and sequence variants. Based on methylation levels and the genetic regions, we categorized the 13 APOE CpG sites into three groups: Group 1 showed hypermethylation (> 50%) and were located in the promoter region, Group 2 exhibited hypomethylation (< 50%) and were located in the first two exons and introns, and Group 3 showed hypermethylation (> 50%) and were located in the exon 4. APOE methylation was negatively correlated with gene expression (minimum r = −0.66, P = 0.004). APOE methylation was significantly associated with age (minimum P = 2.06E-08) and plasma total cholesterol (minimum P = 3.53E-03). Finally, APOE methylation patterns differed across APOE ε variants (minimum P = 3.51E-05) and the promoter variant rs405509 (minimum P = 0.01), which further showed a significant interaction with age (P = 0.03). These findings suggest that methylation may be a potential mechanistic explanation for APOE functions related to aging and call for further molecular mechanistic studies.
PMCID: PMC4324456  PMID: 25476875
apolipoprotein E; age; DNA methylation; variants; epidemiology; interaction
2.  The effects of angiotensinogen gene polymorphisms on cardiovascular disease outcomes during antihypertensive treatment in the GenHAT study 
Previous studies have reported that risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality substantially increases in hypertensive patients, especially among those with inadequate blood pressure control. Two common antihypertensive drug classes including thiazide diuretics and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors affect different enzymes in the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS). In the RAAS, angiotensinogen is converted into angiotensin II which increases blood pressure through vasoconstriction. Using a case-only design with 3448 high-risk hypertensive individuals from the Genetics of Hypertension Associated Treatment (GenHAT) study, we examined whether seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the angiotensinogen gene (AGT) interact with three classes of antihypertensive drugs including chlorthalidone (a thiazide diuretic), lisinopril (an ACE inhibitor), and amlodipine (a calcium channel blocker) to modify the risk of incident coronary heart disease (CHD) and heart failure (HF) among Caucasian and African American participants, separately. We found no gene by treatment interactions to be statistically significant after correction for multiple testing. However, some suggestive results were found. African American participants with the minor allele of rs11122576 had over two-fold higher risk of CHD when using chlorthalidone compared to using amlodipine, or lisinopril compared to amlodipine (p = 0.006 and p = 0.01, respectively). Other marginal associations are also reported among both race groups. The findings reported here suggest that rs11122576 could contribute to future personalization of antihypertensive treatment among African Americans though more studies are needed.
PMCID: PMC4165277  PMID: 25278896
AGT gene; antihypertensive drugs; hypertension; coronary heart disease; heart failure
3.  The SCARB1 gene is associated with lipid response to dietary and pharmacological interventions 
Journal of human genetics  2008;53(8):10.1007/s10038-008-0302-2.
The scavenger receptor class B type 1 (SCARB1) gene is a key component in the reverse cholesterol transport pathway and thus plays an important role in lipid metabolism. Studies suggested that the SCARB1 gene may contribute to variation in plasma lipid levels at the fasting; however, the results have been inconsistent and it is unclear if SCARB1 may also influence lipid response to dietary and pharmacologic interventions. In this study, we examined genetic variation in the SCARB1 gene in participants of the Genetics of Lipid Lowering Drugs and Diet Network (GOLDN) study for associations with basal lipid levels, changes in lipid measures after dietary fat intake and fenofibrate treatment. We found that the exon 1 variant SCARB1_G2S was significantly associated with post-fenofibrate change for triglyceride (TG) (P = 0.004). Subjects bearing SCARB1_G2S minor allele A tend to have higher responsiveness to fenofibrate in lowering TG. In summary, our study suggested that the SCARB1 gene may serve as a useful marker that predicts variation in baseline lipid levels, postprandial lipid response as well as response to fenofibrate intervention.
PMCID: PMC3836273  PMID: 18542840
Scavenger receptor class B type 1; lipid; genetics; fenofibrate; postprandial
4.  Divided States of America: Regional Variation in Cardiovascular Health 
PMCID: PMC3540676  PMID: 23316334
editorials; disparities; health status; heart; regional variation
5.  Genetic variation in NCAM1 contributes to left ventricular wall thickness in hypertensive families 
Circulation Research  2011;108(3):279-283.
Left ventricular (LV) mass and related phenotypes are heritable, important predictors of cardiovascular disease, particularly in hypertensive individuals.
Identify genetic predictors of echocardiographic phenotypes in hypertensive families.
Methods & Results
A multi-stage genome-wide association study (GWAS) was conducted in hypertensive-ascertained African American families (HyperGEN, Stage I; GENOA, Stage II); findings were replicated in HyperGEN Caucasian families (Stage III). Echocardiograms were collected using a common protocol, and participants were genotyped with the Affymetrix Genome-Wide Human SNP 6.0 Array. In Stages I and II, 1258 and 989 African Americans, and Stage III 1316 Caucasians, were analyzed using mixed models adjusted for ancestry. Phenotypes included LV mass, LV internal dimension (LVID), wall thicknesses (posterior (PWT) and intraventricular septum (IVST)), and relative wall thickness (RWT). In Stage I, 5 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) had P≤10−6. In Stage II, one SNP (rs1436109; NCAM1 intron 1) replicated with the same phenotype (PWT, P=0.025) in addition to RWT (P=0.032). In Stage III, rs1436109 was associated with RWT (P=5.47×10−4) and LVID (P=1.86×10−4). Fisher’s combined P-value for all stages was RWT=3.80×10−9, PWT=3.12×10−7, IVST=8.69×10−7, LV mass=2.52×10−3, and LVID=4.80×10−4.
This GWAS conducted in hypertensive families identified a variant in NCAM1 associated with LV wall thickness and RWT. NCAM is upregulated during the remodeling period of hypertrophy to heart failure in Dahl salt-sensitive rats. Our initial screening in hypertensive African-Americans may have provided the context for this novel locus.
PMCID: PMC3328104  PMID: 21212386
GWAS; NCAM1; hypertrophy; genomics
6.  Biomarkers of inflammation and hemostasis associated with left ventricular mass: The Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
Biomarkers of inflammation and hemostasis have been associated with left ventricular (LV) mass. We studied relationships of C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL6), D-dimer, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1), plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1), soluble thrombomodulin (sTM), soluble tumor necrosis factor type 1 receptor (sTNFR1), von Willebrand factor (vWF), soluble E-selectin (sE-selectin), factor VIII, fibrinogen, matrix metalloproteinase 3 (MMP3), and matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) with LV mass in an asymptomatic population. Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis participants underwent magnetic resonance imaging to characterize LV mass; biomarkers were measured using standardized protocols (N = 763 to 4979). Adjusted models were used to associate each biomarker with LV mass while correcting for potential confounding.
LV mass was associated with many biomarkers after adjustment for demographic characteristics and traditional cardiovascular risk factors. Although the demographic and risk factor adjustments attenuated the association of CRP and IL6 with LV mass, further adjustment for weight changed regression coefficients from positive to negative for CRP and IL6 for LV mass. sTM, Factor VIII, and vWF were directly associated with LV mass in fully-adjusted models. For sTNFR1, sICAM-1, D-dimer, fibrinogen, and PAI-1, adjustment for risk factors and weight rendered associations with LV mass nonsignificant.
In this large cohort free of clinical cardiovascular disease, several hemostasis and inflammation markers were associated with LV mass. The unusual finding of a negative relationship of CRP and IL6 with LV mass only after adjustment for weight suggests that the effects of inflammation on LV mass are strongly influenced by obesity.
PMCID: PMC3243453  PMID: 22200000
Left ventricle; biomarker; hemostasis; inflammation
Journal of hypertension  2009;27(8):1585-1593.
To identify genes contributing to variation in echocardiographic left ventricular (LV) mass and related traits using linkage and linkage disequilibrium analysis in sibships ascertained on hypertension.
The HyperGEN Study of LV hypertrophy characterized LV mass, relative wall thickness (RWT), and aortic root diameter (ARD) with echocardiograms collected using a standardized protocol at four HyperGEN field centers. A high-throughput scanning fluorescence detector system genotyped 387 polymorphisms distributed throughout the genome. Linkage analyses were conducted once genotyping results became available for 885 siblings from 382 sibships.
Although single LOD score peaks ≥ 1.2 were found on chromosomes 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 17, and 21, we observed a broad band of peaks in both ethnic groups (white and black) on chromosome 4 and selected candidate genes (NPY1R, NPY2R, NPY5R, SFPR2, CPE, IL15, EDNRA) from this region. Using cases and controls from extremes of the LV mass index, RWT, and ARD distributions, we assessed associations with these phenotypes and haplotype-tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the candidates. Among blacks, SNPs in IL15, NPY2R, and NPY5R showed strong evidence for association (p < 0.005); all candidates except EDNRA showed suggestive association (p < 0.05). In whites, NPY2R, NPY5R, and SFRP2 SNPs offered suggestive evidence of association with one or more traits (p < 0.05).
Genetic variation in NPY1R, NPY2R, NPY5R, CPE, IL15, and SFRP2, detected using linkage analysis in hypertensive siblings, was associated with LV phenotypes in blacks and/or whites.
PMCID: PMC2868312  PMID: 19593212
left ventricular hypertrophy; genetics; echocardiography
8.  Adducin 1 (alpha) Gly460Trp variant is associated with left ventricular geometry in Caucasians and African Americans: The HyperGEN Study 
Normal left ventricular (LV) mass and geometry is required for optimal LV functioning. Abnormalities in either result in increased morbidity and mortality. The adducing 1 (alpha) gene (ADD1) Gly460Trp polymorphism has been associated with high blood pressure and increased plasma volume, both predictors of LV mass and function. In this cross-sectional study, we evaluate the association between this polymorphism and LV mass and geometry. LV mass, relative wall thickness (RWT), and systolic and diastolic parameters were measured using echocardiography in 3483 African American and Caucasian subjects from the Hypertension Genetic Epidemiology Network (HyperGEN). Analysis of covariance was used to estimate the polymorphism's association with echocardiograph parameters, stratified by race. The model was adjusted for age, diastolic and systolic blood pressure, glomerular filtration rate, smoking, low and high density lipoprotein cholesterol, urinary sodium, and body mass index. In Caucasians, the Trp allele was associated with higher ejection fraction (EF) (P = .02), fractional shortening (FS) (P = .02), and RWT (P = .03). In African Americans, the Trp allele was negatively associated with RWT (P = .02), but no association was found with EF (P= .08) or FS (P= .09). The polymorphism was not associated with diastolic function parameters in either racial group. We found no association of ADD1 Gly460Trp with LV mass in Caucasians or African Americans; however, it was associated with unfavorable LV geometry (higher RWT) in Caucasians and favorable LV geometry (lower RWT) in African Americans after controlling for factors that would affect plasma volume.
PMCID: PMC3076776  PMID: 21532846
Adducin; genetic polymorphism; left ventricular mass; left ventricular geometry; hypertrophy
9.  Pharmacogenetic association of the APOA1/C3/A4/A5 gene cluster and lipid responses to fenofibrate: the Genetics of Lipid-Lowering Drugs and Diet Network study 
Pharmacogenetics and genomics  2009;19(2):161-169.
The apolipoproteins (APOA1/C3/A4/A5) are key components in modulating lipoprotein metabolism. It is unknown whether variants at the APOA1/C3/A4/A5 gene cluster are associated with lipid response to pharmacologic intervention.
Methods and results
Plasma triglycerides (TGs) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels were measured in 861 Genetics of Lipid-Lowering Drugs and Diet Network study participants who underwent a 3-week fenofibrate trial. We examined 18 common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) spanning the APOA1/C3/A4/A5 genes to investigate the effects of variants at the gene cluster on lipid response to fenofibrate treatment. We found that the minor alleles of the SNPs rs3135506 (APOA5_S19W), rs5104 (APOA4_N147S), rs4520 (APOC3_G34G), and rs5128 (APOC3_3U386) were associated with enhanced TG response to fenofibrate treatment (P = 0.0004–0.018). The minor allele of SNP rs2854117 (APOC3_M482) was associated with reduced rather than enhanced TG response (P = 0.026). The SNP rs3135506 (APOA5_S19W) was associated with HDL response, with minor allele related to reduced HDL response to fenofibrate (P = 0.002). Association analyses on haplotype provided corroborative evidence to single SNP association analyses. The common haplotypes H2, H3, and H5 were significantly associated with reduced TG response to fenofibrate.
The genetic variants at APOA1/C3/A4/A5 gene cluster may be useful markers to predict response of lipid-lowering therapy with fenofibrate. Further studies to replicate/confirm our findings are warranted.
PMCID: PMC2733171  PMID: 19057464
apolipoproteins gene cluster; fenofibrate; hypertriglyceridemia; pharmacogenetics
10.  PRKCZ methylation is associated with sunlight exposure in a North American but not a Mediterranean population 
Chronobiology international  2014;31(9):1034-1040.
Sunlight exposure has been shown to alter DNA methylation patterns across several human cell-types, including T-lymphocytes. Since epigenetic changes establish gene expression profiles, changes in DNA methylation induced by sunlight exposure warrant investigation. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of sunlight exposure on CD4+ T-cell methylation patterns on an epigenome-wide scale in a North American population of European origin (n = 991). In addition, we investigated the genetic contribution to epigenetic variation (methylQTL). We used linear regression to test the associations between methylation scores at 461 281 cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) sites and sunlight exposure, followed by a genome-wide association analysis (methylQTL) to test for associations between methylation at the top CpG locus and common genetic variants, assuming an additive genetic model. We observed an epigenome-wide significant association between sunlight exposure and methylation status at cg26930596 (p = 9.2 × 10−8), a CpG site located in protein kinase C zeta (PRKCZ), a gene previously shown to be entrained by light. MethylQTL analysis resulted in significant associations between cg26930596 and two intergenic single nucleotide polymorphisms on chromosome 3, rs4574216 (p = 1.5 × 10−10) and rs4405858 (p = 1.9 × 10−9). These common genetic variants reside downstream of WWTR1, a transcriptional co-activator of PRKCZ. Associations observed in the North American population, however, did not replicate in an independent Mediterranean cohort. Our preliminary results support the role of sunlight exposure in epigenetic processes, and lay the groundwork for future studies of the molecular link between sunlight and physiologic processes such as tumorigenesis and metabolism.
PMCID: PMC4587532  PMID: 25075435
Epigenetics; methylation; protein kinase C; sunlight
11.  A Whole-genome Scan for Pulse Pressure/Stroke Volume Ratio in African Americans: The HyperGEN Study 
American journal of hypertension  2007;20(4):398-402.
Arterial stiffness is reported in numerous family studies to be heritable; linkage analysis has identified genomic regions that likely harbor genes contributing to its phenotypic expression. We sought to identify loci contributing to arterial stiffness in a large group of African American hypertensive families.
We performed a genome scan on 1251 African Americans in families participating in the HyperGEN (Hypertension Genetic Epidemiology Network) study. Children of the hypertensive proband generation were also included in the analysis. Arterial stiffness was estimated as pulse pressure (PP: systolic –diastolic blood pressure) divided by echocardiographically determined stroke volume (SV). PP/SV ratio was adjusted for several non-genetic sources of variation, including demographic and lifestyle factors; the residual phenotype was analyzed using multipoint variance components linkage implemented in SOLAR 2.0.3.
Arterial stiffness was 20% heritable in African Americans. Two regions were highly suggestive of linkage, one between markers D1S1665 and D1S1728 in the 215 cM region of chromosome 1 (LOD = 3.08), and another between D14S588 and D14S606 in the 85 cM region of chromosome 14 (LOD = 2.42). Two candidate genes (GPR-25, SMOC-1) are located in the linked regions. SMOC-1 is of physiological interest because it codes a secreted glycoprotein with five domains, each containing regions homologous to those on other proteins that mediate cell-matrix interactions. GPR-25 is homologous to receptors involved in blood pressure regulation.
At least two chromosomal regions in humans are likely to harbor genes contributing to interindividual variation in PP/SV ratio, an index of arterial stiffness, in African Americans.
PMCID: PMC1997287  PMID: 17386346
Blood Pressure; Pulse Pressure; Arterial Stiffness; Genetic Linkage
12.  Epigenome-Wide Association Study of Fasting Blood Lipids in the Genetics of Lipid Lowering Drugs and Diet Network Study 
Circulation  2014;130(7):565-572.
Genetic research regarding blood lipids has largely focused on DNA sequence variation; few studies have explored epigenetic effects. Genome-wide surveys of DNA methylation may uncover epigenetic factors influencing lipid metabolism.
Methods and Results
To identify whether differential methylation of cytosine-guanine dinucleotides (CpGs) correlated with lipid phenotypes, we isolated DNA from CD4+ T-cells and quantified proportion of sample methylation at over 450,000 CpGs using the Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation450 Beadchip in 991 participants of the Genetics of Lipid Lowering Drugs and Diet Network. We modeled percent methylation at individual CpGs as a function of fasting very low density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C) and triglycerides (TG) using mixed linear regression adjusted for age, gender, study site, cell purity, and family structure. Four CpGs (cg00574958, cg17058475, cg01082498, cg09737197) in intron 1 of carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A (CPT1A) were strongly associated with VLDL-C (P=1.8*10-21 to 1.6*10-8) and TG (P=1.6*10-26 to 1.5*10-9). Array findings were validated by bisulfite sequencing. We performed qPCR experiments demonstrating that methylation of the top CpG (cg00574958) was correlated with CPT1A expression. The association of cg00574958 with TG and CPT1A expression were replicated in the Framingham Heart Study (P=4.1*10-14 and 3.1*10-13, respectively). DNA methylation at CPT1A cg00574958 explained 11.6% and 5.5% of the variation in TG in the discovery and replication cohorts, respectively.
This genome-wide epigenomic study identified CPT1A methylation as strongly and robustly associated with fasting VLDL-C and TG. Identifying novel epigenetic contributions to lipid traits may inform future efforts to identify new treatment targets and/or biomarkers of disease risk.
PMCID: PMC4209699  PMID: 24920721
lipids; lipoproteins; cholesterol; fatty acids; genetics
13.  Association of egg consumption and calcified atherosclerotic plaque in the coronary arteries: the NHLBI Family Heart Study 
e-SPEN journal  2014;9(3):e131-e135.
Background and Aims
Eggs are a ubiquitous and important source of dietary cholesterol and nutrients, yet their relationship to coronary heart disease (CHD) remains unclear. While some data have suggested a positive association between egg consumption and CHD, especially among diabetic subjects, limited data exist on the influence of egg consumption on subclinical disease. Thus, we sought to examine whether egg consumption is associated with calcified atherosclerotic plaques in the coronary arteries.
In a cross-sectional design, we studied 1848 participants of the NHLBI Family Heart Study without known CHD. Egg consumption was assessed by a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire and coronary-artery calcium (CAC) was measured by cardiac CT. We defined prevalent CAC using an Agatston score of at least 100 and fitted generalized estimating equations to calculate prevalence odds ratios of CAC.
Mean age was 56.5 years and 41% were male. Median consumption of eggs was 1/week. There was no association between frequency of egg consumption and prevalent CAC. Odds ratios (95% CI) for CAC were 1.0 (reference), 0.95 (0.66-1.38), 0.94 (0.63-1.40), and 0.90 (0.57-1.42) for egg consumption of almost never, 1-3 times per month, once per week, and 2+ times per week, respectively (p for trend 0.66), adjusting for age, sex, BMI, smoking, alcohol, physical activity, income, field center, total calories, and bacon.
Additional control for hypertension and diabetes mellitus, or restricting the analysis to subjects with diabetes mellitus or fasting glucose >126 mg/dL did not alter the findings.
These data do not provide evidence for an association between egg consumption and prevalent CAC in adult men and women.
PMCID: PMC4309282  PMID: 25642410
egg; diet; epidemiology; subclinical disease; coronary calcium; atherosclerosis
14.  Influence of Regular Physical Activity on Warfarin Dose and Risk of Hemorrhagic Complications 
Pharmacotherapy  2014;34(6):545-554.
To determine the influence of regular physical activity on stable warfarin dose and risk of major hemorrhage in patients on chronic anticoagulation therapy.
Design, setting and participants
Regular physical activity (maintained over >80% of visits) was ascertained by self-report at initiation of warfarin therapy (target INR = 2–3) in 1272 patients, with changes documented at monthly anticoagulation clinic visits in a population-based prospective cohort. Multi-variable linear regression and survival analysis, respectively, were used to assess influence on warfarin and risk of hemorrhage.
Warfarin dose (mg/day) and major hemorrhage.
There were 683 (53.7%) patients who were regularly physically active (≥30 minutes ≥3 times/week). Physically active patients required warfarin doses that were 6.9% higher (p=0.006) than in physically inactive patients after controlling for sociodemographic factors, vitamin K intake, clinical factors, and genetic variations.
The overall incidence of major hemorrhagic events was 7.6/100 person-years (p-yrs) (95% CI: 6.4 –8.9) in our population. The incidence was lower for physically active patients (5.6/100p-yrs; 95% CI: 4.2–7.2) than in inactive patients (10.3/100 p-yrs; 95% CI: 8.2–12.9; p=0.0004). Active patients had a 38% lower risk of hemorrhage (HR: 0.62; 95% CI: 0.42–0.98; p= 0.03) compared to inactive patients.
Regular physical activity is associated with higher warfarin dose requirements and lower risk of hemorrhage. The influence of physical activity on drug response needs to be further explored, and the mechanisms through which it exerts these effects need to be elucidated.
PMCID: PMC4109410  PMID: 25032265
Physical activity; warfarin; dose; bleeding risk; major hemorrhage
15.  An empirical comparison of meta-analysis and mega-analysis of individual participant data for identifying gene-environment interactions 
Genetic epidemiology  2014;38(4):369-378.
For analysis of the main effects of SNPs, meta-analysis of summary results from individual studies has been shown to provide comparable results as “mega-analysis” that jointly analyzes the pooled participant data from the available studies. This fact revolutionized the genetic analysis of complex traits through large GWAS consortia. Investigations of gene-environment (G×E) interactions are on the rise since they can potentially explain a part of the missing heritability and identify individuals at high risk for disease. However, for analysis of gene-environment interactions, it is not known whether these methods yield comparable results. In this empirical study, we report that the results from both methods were largely consistent for all four tests; the standard 1 degree of freedom (df) test of main effect only, the 1 df test of the main effect (in the presence of interaction effect), the 1 df test of the interaction effect, and the joint 2 df test of main and interaction effects. They provided similar effect size and standard error estimates, leading to comparable p-values. The genomic inflation factors and the number of SNPs with various thresholds were also comparable between the two approaches. Mega-analysis is not always feasible especially in very large and diverse consortia since pooling of raw data may be limited by the terms of the informed consent. Our study illustrates that meta-analysis can be an effective approach also for identifying interactions. To our knowledge, this is the first report investigating meta- versus mega-analyses for interactions.
PMCID: PMC4332385  PMID: 24719363
gene-environment interactions (GEI); meta-analysis; mega-analysis
16.  PCSK9 variation and association with blood pressure in African Americans: preliminary findings from the HyperGEN and REGARDS studies 
Frontiers in Genetics  2015;6:136.
Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (encoded by PCSK9) plays a well-known role in the regulation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors, and an inhibitor of this enzyme is a promising new therapeutic for hyperlipidemia. Recently, animal and human studies also implicate PCSK9 genetic variation in the regulation of blood pressure. The goal of this study was to examine if common and rare polymorphisms in PCSK9 are associated with blood pressure in an African-American population at high risk for cardiovascular disease. Using genomic data assayed on the Affymetrix 6.0 array (n = 1199) and the Illumina HumanExome Beadchip (n = 1966) from the Hypertension Genetic Epidemiology Network (HyperGEN), we tested the association of PCSK9 polymorphisms with blood pressure. We used linear mixed models and the sequence kernel association test (SKAT) to assess the association of 31 common and 19 rare variants with blood pressure. The models were adjusted for age, sex, center, smoking status, principal components for ancestry and diabetes as fixed effects and family as a random effect. The results showed a marginally significant effect of two genome-wide association study (GWAS) single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (rs12048828: β = 1.8, P = 0.05 and rs9730100: β = 1.0, P = 0.05) with diastolic blood pressure (DBP); however these results were not significant after correction for multiple testing. Rare variants were cumulatively associated with DBP (P = 0.04), an effect that was strengthened by restriction to non-synonymous or stop-gain SNPs (P = 0.02). While gene-based results for DBP did not replicate (P = 0.36), we found an association with SBP (P = 0.04) in the Reasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke study (REGARDS). The findings here suggest rare variants in PCSK9 may influence blood pressure among African Americans, laying the ground work for further validation studies.
PMCID: PMC4389541  PMID: 25904937
PCSK9; blood pressure; hypertension; dyslipidemia; low-density lipoprotein cholesterol
17.  REV-ERB-ALPHA circadian gene variant associates with obesity in two independent populations: Mediterranean and North American 
Despite the solid connection between REV-ERB and obesity, the information about whether genetic variations at this locus may be associated with obesity traits is scarce. Therefore our objective was to study the association between REV-ERB-ALPHA1 rs2314339 and obesity in two independent populations.
Methods and results
Participants were 2214 subjects from Spanish Mediterranean (n = 1404) and North American (n = 810) populations. Anthropometric, biochemical, dietary, and genotype analyses were performed. We found novel associations between the REV-ERB-ALPHA1 rs2314339 genotype and obesity in two independent populations: in Spanish Mediterranean and North American groups, the frequency of the minor-allele-carriers (AA+ AG) was significantly lower in the “abdominally obese” group than in those of the “nonabdominally obese” group (p < 0.05). Minor allele carriers had lower probability of abdominal obesity than noncarriers, and the effect was of similar magnitude for both populations (OR ≈ 1.50). There were consistent associations between REV-ERB-ALPHA1 genotype and obesity-related traits (p < 0.05). Energy intake was not significantly associated with REV-ERB-ALPHA1 rs2314339. However, physical activity significantly differed by genotype. A significant interaction between the REV-ERB-ALPHA1 variant and monounsaturated-fatty-acids (MUFA) intake for obesity was also detected in the Mediterranean population.
This new discovery highlights the importance of REV-ERB-ALPHA1 in obesity and provides evidence for the connection between our biological clock and obesity-related traits.
PMCID: PMC4059404  PMID: 24173768
Circadian; Clock genes; Obesity; REV-ERB-ALPHA-1; Single nucleotide Polymorphism
18.  ADAM17_i33708A>G polymorphism interacts with dietary n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids to modulate obesity risk in the Genetics of Lipid Lowering Drugs and Diet Network study 
Background and aims
The disintegrin and metalloproteinase ADAM17, also known as tumor necrosis factor alpha converting enzyme, is expressed in adipocytes. Importantly, elevated levels of ADAM17 expression have been linked to obesity and insulin resistance. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the association of six ADAM17 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (m1254A>G, i14121C>A, i33708A>G, i48827A>C, i53440C>T, and i62781G>T) with insulin-resistance phenotypes and obesity risk, and their potential interactions with dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA).
Methods and results
ADAM17 SNPs were genotyped in 936 subjects (448 men/488 women) who participated in the Genetics of Lipid Lowering Drugs and Diet Network (GOLDN) study. Anthropometrical and biochemical measurements were determined by standard procedures. PUFA intake was estimated using a validated questionnaire. G allele carriers at the ADAM17_m1254A>G polymorphism exhibited significantly higher risk of obesity (P=0.003), were shorter (P=0.017), had higher insulin (P=0.016), and lower HDL-C concentrations (P=0.027) than AA subjects. For the ADAM17_i33708A>G SNP, homozygotes for the A allele displayed higher risk of obesity (P=0.001), were heavier (P=0.011), had higher BMI (P=0.005), and higher waist measurements (P=0.023) than GG subjects. A significant gene-diet interaction was found (P=0.030), in which the deleterious association of the i33708A allele with obesity was observed in subjects with low intakes from (n-6) PUFA (P<0.001), whereas no differences in obesity risk were seen among subjects with high (n-6) PUFA intake (P>0.5)
These findings support that ADAM17 (m1254A>G and i33708A>G) SNPs may contribute to obesity risk. For the ADAM17_i33708A>G SNP, this risk may be further modulated by (n-6) PUFA intake.
PMCID: PMC4361226  PMID: 19819120
gene-diet interaction; obesity; BMI; HDL-cholesterol; insulin concentrations
19.  Sex-Specific Associations Between Screen Time and Lipoprotein Subfractions 
Time spent in sedentary activities (such as watching television) has previously been associated with several risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) such as increased low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). Little is known about associations with lipoprotein subfractions. Using television and computer screen time in hours per day as a measure of sedentary time, we examined the association of screen time with lipoprotein subfractions.
Data were used from men and women forming the Genetics of Lipid Lowering Drugs and Diet Network (GOLDN) study population. Mixed linear models specified lipoprotein measures as the outcome, and screen time as the predictor for fourteen lipoprotein subfraction measures, and included age, smoking status, pedigree, and fat, carbohydrate daily alcohol and energy intake as covariates. Analyses were run separately for men (n = 623) and women (n = 671). A step-down Bonferroni correction was applied to results. The analysis was repeated for significant results (p < .05), additionally controlling for body mass index (BMI) and moderate and vigorous physical activity.
Linear models indicated that screen time was associated with five lipoprotein parameters in women: the concentration of large VLDL particles (p = .01), LDL particle number (p = .01), concentration of small LDL particles (p = .04), the concentration of large HDL particles (p = .04), and HDL diameter (p = .02). All associations remained after controlling for moderate or vigorous physical activity and BMI.
We show that sedentary time is associated with lipoprotein measures, markers of cardiometabolic disease, independently of physical activity and BMI, in women but not men.
PMCID: PMC4251454  PMID: 23980250
sedentary time; diet; fat intake; lipoprotein size; BMI; exercise; television
20.  Association of Low-Grade Albuminuria with Adverse Cardiac Mechanics: Findings from the HyperGEN Study 
Circulation  2013;129(1):42-50.
Albuminuria is a marker of endothelial dysfunction and has been associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes. The reasons for this association are unclear, but may be due to the relationship between endothelial dysfunction and intrinsic myocardial dysfunction.
Methods and Results
In the HyperGEN study, a population- and family-based study of hypertension, we examined the relationship between urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (UACR) and cardiac mechanics (N=1894, all of whom had normal left ventricular ejection fraction and wall motion). We performed speckle-tracking echocardiographic analysis to quantify global longitudinal, circumferential, and radial strain (GLS, GCS, and GRS, respectively), and early diastolic (e′) tissue velocities. We used E/e′ ratio as a marker of increased LV filling pressures. We used multivariable-adjusted linear mixed effect models to determine independent associations between UACR and cardiac mechanics. The mean age was 50±14 years, 59% were female, and 46% were African-American. Comorbidities were increasingly prevalent among higher UACR quartiles. Albuminuria was associated with GLS, GCS, GRS, e′ velocity, and E/e′ ratio on unadjusted analyses. After adjustment for covariates, UACR was independently associated with lower absolute GLS (multivariable-adjusted mean GLS [95% CI] for UACR Quartile 1 = 15.3 [15.0–15.5]% vs. UACR Q4 = 14.6 [14.3–14.9]%, P for trend <0.001) and increased E/e′ ratio (Q1 = 25.3 [23.5–27.1] vs. Q4 = 29.0 [27.0–31.0], P= 0.003). The association between UACR and GLS was present even in participants with UACR < 30 mg/g (P<0.001 after multivariable adjustment).
Albuminuria, even at low levels, is associated with adverse cardiac mechanics and higher E/e′ ratio.
PMCID: PMC3888488  PMID: 24077169
albuminuria; cardiac mechanics; strain; echocardiography
21.  Hemodynamic and Echocardiographic Profiles in African American Compared With White Offspring of Hypertensive Parents: The HyperGEN Study 
Alterations in cardiovascular structure and function have been shown to precede the finding of elevated blood pressure.
This study is part of the Hypertension Genetic Epidemiologic Network (HyperGEN) in which genetic and environmental determinants of hypertension were investigated in 5 geographical field centers. All nonhypertensive offspring (n = 1,035) were included from the entire HyperGEN study population that consists of 2,225 hypertensive patients and 1,380 nonhypertensive patients who had adequate echocardiographic left ventricular (LV) mass measurements. Participants were compared by self-declared race (African American and white).
Nonhypertensive African American offspring were younger (aged 31 years vs. 38 years), more likely to be female, and had a higher body mass index (BMI) and higher systolic blood pressure (SBP) than their white counterparts. After adjusting for age, sex, SBP, pulse pressure (PP), BMI, diabetes status, and family effects, we observed statistically significant and potentially pathophysiological differences (all with P ≤ 0.001) with greater LV mass/height, relative wall thickness, and posterior wall thickness and with lesser midwall shortening, PP/stroke volume, and (PP/stroke volume)/fat-free body mass.
This study shows that ethnic differences in hemodynamic and echocardiographic profiles exist in a large, population-based cohort of nonhypertensive offspring of hypertensive parents.
PMCID: PMC3848631  PMID: 24242823
blood pressure; echocardiography hypertensive offspring; HyperGEN; hypertension; left ventricular mass.
22.  Adult Height and Prevalence of Coronary Artery Calcium: The NHLBI Family Heart Study 
Adult height has been hypothesized to be inversely associated with coronary heart disease but studies have produced conflicting results. We sought to examine the relationship between adult height and the prevalence of coronary artery calcium (CAC), a direct measure of subclinical atherosclerosis and surrogate marker of CHD.
Method and Results
We evaluated the relationship between adult height and CAC in 2,703 participants from the NHLBI Family Heart Study who underwent cardiac computed tomography. We used generalized estimating equations to calculate the prevalence odds ratios for the presence of CAC (CAC>0) across sex-specific quartiles of height. The mean age of the sample was 54.8 years and 60.2% were female. There was an inverse association between adult height and CAC. After adjusting for age, race, field center, waist circumference, smoking, alcohol, physical activity, systolic blood pressure, antihypertensive medications, diabetes, diabetic medications, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, lipid-lowering medications, and income, individuals in the tallest quartile had 30% lower odds of having prevalent CAC. The odds ratios (95% CI) for the presence of CAC across consecutive sex-specific quartiles of height were 1.0 (reference), 1.15 (0.86–1.53), 0.95(0.73–1.22), and 0.70 (0.53–0.93), p for trend <0.01. There was no evidence of effect modification for the relationship between adult height and CAC by age or socioeconomic status.
The results of our study suggest an inverse, independent association between adult height and CAC.
PMCID: PMC3970195  PMID: 24336983
risk factor; imaging; epidemiology
23.  Genetic loci associated with circulating levels of very long-chain saturated fatty acids[S] 
Journal of Lipid Research  2015;56(1):176-184.
Very long-chain saturated fatty acids (VLSFAs) are saturated fatty acids with 20 or more carbons. In contrast to the more abundant saturated fatty acids, such as palmitic acid, there is growing evidence that circulating VLSFAs may have beneficial biological properties. Whether genetic factors influence circulating levels of VLSFAs is not known. We investigated the association of common genetic variation with plasma phospholipid/erythrocyte levels of three VLSFAs by performing genome-wide association studies in seven population-based cohorts comprising 10,129 subjects of European ancestry. We observed associations of circulating VLSFA concentrations with common variants in two genes, serine palmitoyl-transferase long-chain base subunit 3 (SPTLC3), a gene involved in the rate-limiting step of de novo sphingolipid synthesis, and ceramide synthase 4 (CERS4). The SPTLC3 variant at rs680379 was associated with higher arachidic acid (20:0 , P = 5.81 × 10−13). The CERS4 variant at rs2100944 was associated with higher levels of 20:0 (P = 2.65 × 10−40) and in analyses that adjusted for 20:0, with lower levels of behenic acid (P = 4.22 × 10−26) and lignoceric acid (P = 3.20 × 10−21). These novel associations suggest an inter-relationship of circulating VLSFAs and sphingolipid synthesis.
PMCID: PMC4274065  PMID: 25378659
arachidic acid; behenic acid; lignoceric acid; sphingolipids
24.  Association of dietary omega-3 fatty acids with prevalence of metabolic syndrome: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Heart Study 
Clinical nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland)  2013;32(6):10.1016/j.clnu.2013.05.002.
Background & Aims
Metabolic syndrome (MetS), characterized by abdominal obesity, atherogenic dyslipidemia, elevated blood pressure, and insulin resistance is a major public health concern in the United States. Omega-3 fatty acids have been relatively well studied in relation to many individual cardiovascular risk factors; however, their effects on MetS are not well established.
We conducted a cross-sectional study consisting of 4,941 participants from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Family Heart Study to assess the relation of dietary omega-3 fatty acids with the prevalence of MetS. Omega-3 intake was assessed using a food frequency questionnaire and we used generalized estimating equations to estimate adjusted odds ratios for prevalent MetS.
Our study population had a mean age (SD) of 52.1 (13.9) years and 45.9% were men. The mean (SD) of dietary omega-3 fatty acids was 0.25g/day (0.27). From the lowest to the highest quintile of dietary omega-3 fatty acids, multivariable adjusted ORs (95% CI) for MetS were 1.00 (ref), 0.90 (0.72–1.13), 1.03 (0.82–1.28), 0.94 (0.74–1.18), and 0.99 (0.77–1.25), respectively. In a secondary analysis, neither fish consumption nor dietary alpha-linolenic acid was associated with MetS.
Our findings do not support an association between dietary omega-3 fatty acids and MetS in a large US population.
PMCID: PMC3791144  PMID: 23711994
Omega-3 fatty acids; fish; dietary alpha-linolenic acid (ALA); metabolic syndrome
25.  Diastolic wall strain: a simple marker of abnormal cardiac mechanics 
Diastolic wall strain (DWS), defined using posterior wall thickness (PWT) measurements from standard echocardiographic images (DWS = [PWT(systole)-PWT(diastole)]/PWT(systole)), has been proposed as a marker of left ventricular (LV) diastolic stiffness. However, the equation for DWS is closely related to systolic radial strain, and whether DWS is associated with abnormal cardiac mechanics (reduced systolic strains and diastolic tissue velocities) is unknown. We sought to determine the relationship between DWS and systolic and diastolic cardiac mechanics.
We calculated DWS and performed speckle-tracking analysis in a large population- and family-based study (Hypertension Genetic Epidemiology Network [HyperGEN]; N = 1907 after excluding patients with ejection fraction [EF] < 50% or posterior wall motion abnormalities). We measured global longitudinal, circumferential, and radial strain (GLS, GCS, and GRS, respectively) and early diastolic (e’) tissue velocities, and we determined the independent association of DWS with cardiac mechanics using linear mixed effects models to account for relatedness among study participants. We also prospectively performed receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) analysis of DWS for the detection of abnormal cardiac mechanics in a separate, prospective validation study (N = 35).
In HyperGEN (age 51 ± 14 years, 59% female, 45% African-American, 57% hypertensive), mean DWS was 0.38 ± 0.05. DWS decreased with increasing comorbidity burden (β-coefficient -0.013 [95% CI -0.015, -0.011]; P < 0.0001). DWS was independently associated with GLS, GCS, GRS, and e’ velocity (adjusted P < 0.05) but not LV chamber compliance (EDV20, P = 0.97). On prospective speckle-tracking analysis, DWS correlated well with GLS, GCS, and GRS (R = 0.61, 0.57, and 0.73, respectively; P < 0.001 for all comparisons). C-statistics for DWS as a diagnostic test for abnormal GLS, GCS, and GRS were: 0.78, 0.79, and 0.84, respectively.
DWS, a simple parameter than can be calculated from routine 2D echocardiography, is closely associated with systolic strain parameters and early diastolic (e’) tissue velocities but not LV chamber compliance.
PMCID: PMC4197332  PMID: 25277882
Strain; Speckle-tracking; Echocardiography; Cardiac mechanics; Diastolic dysfunction; Systolic dysfunction

Results 1-25 (151)