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1.  Prevalence and Incidence of Early Childhood Caries among African-American Children in Alabama 
To assess the prevalence and incidence of Early Childhood Caries (ECC) in African-American children.
A cohort of 96 African-American children approximately one year of age at baseline was recruited in Uniontown, Alabama, by word of mouth and followed for three years. Oral examinations were conducted annually by one of three trained/calibrated dentists using portable equipment, without radiographs. Dental examinations with WHO criteria assessed surface-level dmf.
The prevalence of dmfs was: 1.1% (all d) at approximately age 1 (n=90, six children were excluded for having no erupted teeth); 12.8% (d=10.5% & f=4.7%) at age 2 (n=86); 39.3% (d=21.4%, m=2.4% & f=22.6%) at age 3 (n=84); and 65.8% (d=28.8%, m=5.5 & f=46.6%) at age 4 (n=73). The percentages of incisors, canines, 1st molars and 2nd molars with dmfs were: 0.1%, 0.0%, 0.0% and 0.0%, at age 1; 2.4%, 0.1%, 0.8%, and 0.6% at age 2; 8.2%, 0.8%, 7.6%, and 6.3% at age 3; and 10.2%, 2.2%, 12.6% and 16.7% at age 4, respectively. The three, one-year, person-level incidence rates were 12.8% (from approximately age 1 to age 2), 38.6% (age 2 to age 3), and 56.2% (age 3 to age 4). From baseline, the two-year incidence was 39.3% and three-year incidence was 65.8%, while the two-year caries incidence from age 1 to age 3 was 66.7% (n=72).
The majority of children developed caries during the three-year follow-up, which is much higher than the 32% prevalence of caries among African-American children under age six years in National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999–2002.
PMCID: PMC4355321  PMID: 25213319
Early Childhood Caries; Prevalence and Incidence
2.  Mutans Streptococci Enumeration and Genotype Selection using Different Bacitracin-containing Media 
The primary etiological agents associated with dental caries include the mutans streptococci (MS) comprised of Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus. The effective cultivation and isolation of MS is necessary for the study of MS, including their proper clinical assessment in the epidemiological study of dental caries. Several selective media have been developed for the isolation, enumeration, and characterization of MS. However, inhibition of MS may occur, reducing counts and perhaps limiting selection of some strains. The purpose of this study was to compare five culture media containing bacitracin recommended for the isolation of MS.
Five commonly used bacitracin-containing media (MSB, MSKB, GTSB, TYS20B, and TYCSB) used for MS isolation were quantitatively evaluated. Standard plate counts were performed in duplicate for 2 prototype MS strains (S. mutans UA159 and S. sobrinus 6715) and for MS isolates from clinical saliva samples obtained from 16 children (approximate age 5 years) to determine total plate counts, and total S. mutans count. Selected isolates (n=249) from all of the five media from 5 saliva samples were further confirmed as S. mutans with real-time PCR then subsequently evaluated qualitatively with rep-PCR for genotype determination.
All media resulted in variable enumeration with no significant difference in MS counts. MS prototype strains grew well on all five media; clinical isolates demonstrated more variability in counts but no overall significant differences were found. MSB demonstrated comparable ability to grow S. mutans but allowed for more non-S. mutans growth. All 5 media identified a consistent predominant genotype by rep-PCR. Recovery of minor genotypes was not inhibited by media type.
PMCID: PMC4121667  PMID: 24878141
genotypes; rep-PCR; selective media; Streptococcus mutans; Streptococcus sobrinus; Total streptococci
3.  Fine mapping of the uterine leiomyoma locus on 1q43 close to a lncRNA in the RGS7-FH interval 
Endocrine-Related Cancer  2015;22(4):633-643.
Mutations in fumarate hydratase (FH) on chromosome 1q43 cause a rare cancer syndrome, hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer (HLRCC), but are rare in nonsyndromic and common uterine leiomyoma (UL) or fibroids. Studies suggested that variants in FH or in a linked gene may also predispose to UL. We re-sequenced 2.3 Mb of DNA spanning FH in 96 UL cases and controls from the multiethnic NIEHS-uterine fibroid study, and in 18 HLRCC-associated UL probands from European families then selected 221 informative SNPs for follow-up genotyping. We report promising susceptibility associations with UL peaking at rs78220092 (P=7.0×10−5) in the RGS7-FH interval in African Americans. In race-combined analyses and in meta-analyses (n=916), we identified promising associations with risk peaking upstream of a non-protein coding RNA (lncRNA) locus located in the RGS7-FH interval closer to RGS7, and associations with tumor size peaking in the distal phospholipase D family, member 5 (PLD5) gene at rs2654879 (P=1.7×10−4). We corroborated previously reported FH mutations in nine out of the 18 HLRCC-associated UL cases and identified two missense mutations in FH in only two nonsyndromic UL cases and one control. Our fine association mapping and integration of existing gene profiling data showing upregulated expression of the lncRNA and downregulation of PLD5 in fibroids, as compared to matched myometrium, suggest a potential role of this genomic region in UL pathogenesis. While the identified variations at 1q43 represent a potential risk locus for UL, future replication analyses are required to substantiate our observation.
PMCID: PMC4526794  PMID: 26113603
HLRCC; uterine fibroids; FH; fumarate hydratase; RGS7; PLD5
4.  High-density Genotyping of Immune Loci in Kawasaki Disease and IVIG Treatment Response in European-American Case-parent Trio Study 
Genes and immunity  2014;15(8):534-542.
Kawasaki disease (KD) is a diffuse and acute small-vessel vasculitis observed in children and has genetic and autoimmune components. We genotyped 112 case-parent trios of European decent (confirmed by AIMS) using the ImmunoChip array and performed association analyses with susceptibility to KD and IVIG non-response. KD susceptibility was assessed using the transmission disequilibrium test whereas IVIG non-response was evaluated using multivariable logistic regression analysis. We replicated SNPs in three gene regions (FCGR, CD40/CDH22, and HLA-DQB2/HLA-DOB) that have been previously associated with KD and provide support to other findings of several novel SNPs in genes with potential pathway in KD pathogenesis. SNP rs838143 in the 3′ UTR of FUT1 gene (2.7×10-5) and rs9847915 in the intergenic region of LOC730109 ∣ BRD7P2 (6.81×10-7) were the top hits for KD susceptibility in additive and dominant models, respectively. The top hits for IVIG responsiveness were rs1200332 in the intergenic region of BAZ1A ∣ C14orf19 (1.4×10-4) and rs4889606 in the intron of the STX1B gene (6.95×10-5) in additive and dominant models, respectively. Our study suggests that genes and biological pathways involved in autoimmune diseases play an important role in the pathogenesis of KD and IVIG response mechanism.
PMCID: PMC4257866  PMID: 25101798
Mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome; Kawasaki disease; intravenous immunoglobulins therapy; Immunogenetics; Immune-related genes
5.  FcγR gene copy number in Kawasaki disease and intravenous immunoglobulin treatment response 
Pharmacogenetics and genomics  2013;23(9):455-462.
Kawasaki disease (KD), response to intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) therapy, and associated coronary artery disease progression have been associated with genetic polymorphisms in Fc gamma receptor (FcγR) genes. However, it is not known whether the existing gene copy number (GCN) variability relates to KD treatment response, susceptibility, or associated sequelae.
The copy number of individuals with KD (n = 510) and their family members (n = 808) for three variable FcγRs was assessed using pyrosequencing. We performed the transmission disequilibrium test to examine the association of GCN for FcγRs (FcγR2C, FcγR3A, and FcγR3B) with susceptibility and used logistic regression models to determine its association with IVIG treatment outcomes.
FcγR2C and FcγR3B GCN were significantly associated with KD susceptibility. IVIG response was associated with GCN variations of FcγR3B in Whites and FcγR2C in Hispanics, and gene risk score based on single nucleotide polymorphism and GCN in FcγRs were significantly different between IVIG responders and nonresponders among Whites. We found no significant associations between coronary artery disease and any of the FcγR copy numbers.
GCN of FcγR2C and FcγR3B influences IVIG treatment response and predisposes individuals to KD, providing potential insights into understanding the mechanism of the FcγR gene family in the IVIG pathway.
PMCID: PMC4400828  PMID: 23778324
copy number variation; FcγR; genetic risk; intravenous immunoglobulin; Kawasaki disease
6.  RYR3 gene variants in subclinical atherosclerosis among HIV-infected women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) 
Atherosclerosis  2014;233(2):666-672.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the Ryanodine receptor 3 (RYR3) gene are associated with common carotid intima media thickness (CCA cIMT) in HIV-infected men. We evaluated SNPs in the RYR3 gene among HIV-infected women participating in Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).
CCA cIMT was measured using B-mode ultrasound and the 838 SNPs in the RYR3 gene region were genotyped using the Illumina HumanOmni2.5-quad beadchip. The CCA cIMT genetic association was assessed using linear regression analyses among 1213 women and also separately among White (n=139), Black (n=720) and Hispanic (n=354) women after adjusting for confounders. A summary measure of pooled association was estimated using a meta-analytic approach by combining the effect estimates from the three races. Haploblocks were inferred using Gabriel’s method and haplotype association analyses were conducted among the three races separately.
SNP rs62012610 was associated with CCA cIMT among the Hispanics (p=4.41× 10−5), rs11856930 among Whites (p=5.62× 10−4), and rs2572204 among Blacks (p=2.45× 10−3). Meta-analysis revealed several associations of SNPs in the same direction and of similar magnitude, particularly among Blacks and Hispanics. Additionally, several haplotypes within three haploblocks containing SNPs previously related with CCA cIMT were also associated in Whites and Hispanics.
Consistent with previous research among HIV-infected men, SNPs within the RYR3 region were associated with subclinical atherosclerosis among HIV-infected women. Allelic heterogeneity observed across the three races suggests that the contribution of the RYR3 gene to CCA cIMT is complex, and warrants future studies to better understand regional SNP function.
PMCID: PMC3965606  PMID: 24561552
RYR3; single nucleotide polymorphisms; HIV infection; CCA; cIMT; subclinical atherosclerosis
7.  Project Among African-Americans to Explore Risks for Schizophrenia (PAARTNERS): Evidence for Impairment and Heritability of Neurocognitive Functioning in Families of Schizophrenia Patients 
The American journal of psychiatry  2010;167(4):459-472.
Neurocognitive impairments in schizophrenia are well replicated and widely regarded as candidate endophenotypes that may facilitate understanding of schizophrenia genetics and pathophysiology. The Project Among African-Americans to Explore Risks for Schizophrenia (PAARTNERS) aims to identify genes underlying liability to schizophrenia. The unprecedented size of its study group (N=1,872), made possible through use of a computerized neurocognitive battery, can help further investigation of the genetics of neurocognition. The current analysis evaluated two characteristics not fully addressed in prior research: 1) heritability of neurocognition in African American families and 2) relationship between neurocognition and psychopathology in families of African American probands with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.
Across eight data collection sites, patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder (N=610), their biological relatives (N=928), and community comparison subjects (N=334) completed a standardized diagnostic evaluation and the computerized neurocognitive battery. Performance accuracy and response time (speed) were measured separately for 10 neurocognitive domains.
The patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder exhibited less accuracy and speed in most neurocognitive domains than their relatives both with and without other psychiatric disorders, who in turn were more impaired than comparison subjects in most domains. Estimated trait heritability after inclusion of the mean effect of diagnostic status, age, and sex revealed significant heritabilities for most neurocognitive domains, with the highest for accuracy of abstraction/ flexibility, verbal memory, face memory, spatial processing, and emotion processing and for speed of attention.
Neurocognitive functions in African American families are heritable and associated with schizophrenia. They show potential for gene-mapping studies.
PMCID: PMC4365798  PMID: 20194479
8.  SNP screening of central MHC identified HLA-DMB as a candidate susceptibility gene for HIV-related Kaposi’s sarcoma 
Genes and immunity  2014;15(6):424-429.
The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region on chromosome 6p21.3 is suspected to host susceptibility loci for HIV-related Kaposi’s sarcoma (HIV-KS). A nested case-control study in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study was designed to conduct fine genetic association mapping across central MHC. Individuals co-infected with HIV-1 and HHV-8 who later developed KS were defined as cases (n=354) and were matched 1:1 with co-infected KS-free controls.
We report data for new independent MHC class II and III susceptibility loci. In particular, class II HLA-DMB emerged as a strong candidate, with the intronic variant rs6902982 A>G associated with a 4-fold increase of risk (OR= 4.09; 95% CI: 1.90–8.80; p= 0.0003). A striking multiplicative effect on the estimated risk was associated with further carriage of two non-synonymous variants, rs1800453 A>G (Asp697Gly) and rs4148880 A>G (Ile393Val), in the linked TAP1 gene (OR=10.5; 95% CI: 2.54–43.6; p=0.0012). The class III susceptibility variant is moderately associated with HIV-KS and lies within a 120 Kb-long haplotype (OR=1.52; 95% CI: 1.01–2.28; p=0.047) formed by rs7029 A>G (GPANK1 3’UTR), rs1065356 G>A (LY6G6C), rs3749953 A>G (MSH5-SAPCD1 readthrough) and rs707926 G>A (VARS). Our data suggest that antigen processing by MHC class II molecules is a target pathway in the pathogenesis of HIV-KS.
PMCID: PMC4174341  PMID: 25008864
9.  A candidate gene approach for virally-induced cancer with application to HIV-related Kaposi’s sarcoma 
Like other members of the γ-herpesvirus family, human herpes virus 8 (HHV-8), the etiologic agent of classic and HIV-related Kaposi’s sarcoma (HIV-KS) acquired and evolved several human genes with key immune modulatory and cellular growth control functions. The encoded viral homologs substitute for their human counterparts but escape cellular regulation, leading to uncontrolled cell proliferation. We postulated that DNA variants in the human homologs of viral genes that potentially alter the expression or the binding of the encoded factors controlling the antiviral response may facilitate viral interference. To test whether cellular homologs are candidate susceptibility genes, we evaluated the association of DNA variants in 92 immune-related genes including 7 cellular homologs with the risk for HIV-KS in a matched case and control study nested in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study. Low- and high-risk gene-by-gene interactions were estimated by multifactor dimensionality reduction and used as predictors in conditional logistic models. Among the most significant gene interactions at risk (OR=2.84–3.92; Bonferroni-adjusted p= 9.9×10−3−2.6×10−4), three comprised human homologs of two latently expressed viral genes, cyclin D1 (CCND1) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), in conjunction with angiogenic genes (VEGF, EDN-1 and EDNRB). At lower significance thresholds (adjusted p < 0.05), human homologs related to apoptosis (CFLAR) and chemotaxis (CCL2) emerged as candidates. This “proof of concept” study identified human homologs involved in the regulation of type I interferon-induced signaling, cell cycle and apoptosis potentially as important determinants of HIV-KS
PMCID: PMC4007164  PMID: 23818101
Kaposi’s sarcoma; Immunodeficiency; Herpes Virus 8; Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction; Polymorphism; Genetic association
10.  Variants in Interleukin Family of Cytokines Genes Influence Clearance of High Risk HPV in HIV-1 Coinfected African-American Adolescents 
Human immunology  2013;74(12):10.1016/j.humimm.2013.08.010.
Our work aimed to examine the potential influence of variants in interleukin/interleukin receptors genes on high-risk (HR-HPV) HPV clearance. Clearance of genital HR-HPV infection was evaluated for 134 HIV-1 seropositive African-American female adolescents from the Reaching for Excellence in Adolescent Care and Health (REACH) cohort. Genotyping targeted 225 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the exons, 5′ untranslated region (UTR) and 3′ UTR sequences of 27 immune-related candidate genes encoding interleukin family of cytokines. Cox proportional hazard models were used to determine the association of type- specific HPV clearance adjusting for time-varying CD4+ T-cell count and low-risk (LR-HPV) HPV co-infections. HR-HPV clearance rates were significantly (p< 0.001) associated with five SNPs (rs228942, rs419598, rs315950, rs7737000, rs9292618) mapped to coding and regulatory regions in three genes (IL2RB, IL1RN, and IL7R). These data suggest that the analyzed genetic variants in interleukin family of cytokines modulate HR-HPV clearance in HIV-1 seropositive African-Americans that warrants replication.
PMCID: PMC3842375  PMID: 23973891
HPV clearance; genetic association; interleukins; HIV-1 seropositive; African American adolescents
11.  Evidence for novel genetic loci associated with metabolic traits in Yup’ik people 
To identify genomic regions associated with fasting plasma lipid profiles, insulin, glucose, and glycosylated hemoglobin in a Yup’ik study population, and to evaluate whether the observed associations between genetic factors and metabolic traits were modified by dietary intake of marine derived omega-3 polyunsaturated acids (n-3 PUFA).
A genome-wide linkage scan was conducted among 982 participants of the Center for Alaska Native Health Research study. n-3 PUFA intake was estimated using the nitrogen stable isotope ratio (δ15N) of erythrocytes. All genotyped SNPs located within genomic regions with LOD scores > 2 were subsequently tested for individual SNP associations with metabolic traits using linear models that account for familial correlation as well as age, sex, community group and n-3 PUFA intake. Separate linear models were fit to evaluate interactions between the genotype of interest and n-3 PUFA intake.
We identified several chromosomal regions linked to serum apolipoprotein A2, high density lipoprotein-, low density lipoprotein-, and total cholesterol, insulin, and glycosylated hemoglobin. Genetic variants found to be associated with total cholesterol mapped to a region containing previously validated lipid loci on chromosome 19, and additional novel peaks of biological interest were identified at 11q12.2-11q13.2. We did not observe any significant interactions between n-3 PUFA intake, genotypes, and metabolic traits.
We have completed a whole genome linkage scan for metabolic traits in Native Alaskans, confirming previously identified loci, and offering preliminary evidence of novel loci implicated in chronic disease pathogenesis in this population.
PMCID: PMC3785243  PMID: 23907821
Alaska Native; metabolism; multi-point linkage genome scan
12.  Estimating proportions of explained variance: a comparison of whole genome subsets 
BMC Proceedings  2014;8(Suppl 1):S102.
Following the publication of the ENCODE project results, there has been increasing interest in investigating different areas of the chromosome and evaluating the relative contribution of each area to expressed phenotypes. This study aims to evaluate the contribution of variants, classified by minor allele frequency and gene annotation, to the observed interindividual differences. In this study, we fitted Bayesian linear regression models to data from Genetic Analysis Workshop 18 (n = 395) to estimate the variance of standardized and log-transformed systolic blood pressure that can be explained by subsets of genetic markers. Rare and very rare variants explained an overall higher proportion of the variance, as did markers located within a gene rather than flanking regions. The proportion of variance explained by rare and very rare variants decreased when we controlled for the number of markers, suggesting that the number of contributing rare alleles plays an important role in the genetic architecture of chronic disease traits. Our findings lend support to the "common disease, rare variant" hypothesis for systolic blood pressure and highlight allele frequency and functional annotation of a polymorphism as potentially crucial considerations in whole genome study designs.
PMCID: PMC4143698  PMID: 25519356
13.  Dense Genotyping of Immune-Related Loci Identifies Variants Associated with Clearance of HPV among HIV-Positive Women in the HIV Epidemiology Research Study (HERS) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99109.
Persistent high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) is a necessary and causal factor of cervical cancer. Most women naturally clear HPV infections; however, the biological mechanisms related to HPV pathogenesis have not been clearly elucidated. Host genetic factors that specifically regulate immune response could play an important role. All HIV-positive women in the HIV Epidemiology Research Study (HERS) with a HR-HPV infection and at least one follow-up biannual visit were included in the study. Cervicovaginal lavage samples were tested for HPV using type-specific HPV hybridization assays. Type-specific HPV clearance was defined as two consecutive HPV-negative tests after a positive test. DNA from participants was genotyped for 196,524 variants within 186 known immune related loci using the custom ImmunoChip microarray. To assess the influence of each single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) with HR-HPV clearance, the Cox proportional hazards model with the Wei-Lin-Weissfeld approach was used, adjusting for CD4+ count, low risk HPV (LR-HPV) co-infection, and relevant confounders. Three analytical models were performed: race-specific (African Americans (n = 258), European Americans (n = 87), Hispanics (n = 55), race-adjusted combined analysis, and meta-analysis of pooled independent race-specific analyses. Women were followed for a median time of 1,617 days. Overall, three SNPs (rs1112085, rs11102637, and rs12030900) in the MAGI-3 gene and one SNP (rs8031627) in the SMAD3 gene were associated with HR-HPV clearance (p<10−6). A variant (rs1633038) in HLA-G were also significantly associated in African American. Results from this study support associations of immune-related genes, having potential biological mechanism, with differential cervical HR-HPV infection outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4053382  PMID: 24918582
14.  Characteristics of Streptococcus mutans genotypes and dental caries in children 
European journal of oral sciences  2013;121(3 0 1):148-155.
This longitudinal cohort study evaluated the diversity, commonality, and stability of Streptococcus mutans genotypes associated with dental caries history. Sixty-seven 5 and 6 yr-old children, considered being at high caries risk, had plaque collected from baseline through 36 months for S. mutans isolation and genotyping with repetitive extragenic palindromic-PCR (4,392 total isolates). Decayed, missing, filled surfaces (dmfs/DMFS) for each child were recorded at baseline. At baseline, 18 distinct genotypes were found among 911 S. mutans isolates from 67 children (diversity) and 13 genotypes were shared by at least 2 children (commonality). The number of genotypes per individual was positively associated with the proportion of decayed surfaces (p-ds) at baseline. Twenty-four of the 39 children who were available at follow-up visits maintained a predominant genotype for the follow-up periods (stability) and was negatively associated with p-ds. The observed diversity, commonality, and stability of S. mutans genotypes represent a pattern of dental caries epidemiology in this high caries risk community, which suggest fewer decayed surfaces are significantly associated with lower diversity and stability of S. mutans genotypes.
PMCID: PMC3652634  PMID: 23659236
Streptococcus mutans; genotype; Genetic Diversity; Dental Caries
15.  DC-SIGN gene promoter variants and IVIG treatment response in Kawasaki disease 
Genetic variants in the inhibiting FcγRIIB mediate anti-inflammatory responses and influence IVIG refractoriness (IVIG-R). However, these variants are rare in Asian and Hispanic populations so other genes in the pathway could be potentially involved. IVIG is ineffective in mice lacking SIGN-R1, a related molecule to human DC-SIGN. Further, DC-SIGN is a known receptor for sialylated Fc, the component responsible for the anti-inflammatory action of IVIG. Thus, we hypothesized that DC-SIGN would also be involved in the pathway of IVIG response in Kawasaki Disease (KD) patients.
A case-control approach was performed to examine the differential distribution of five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in DC-SIGN promoter with IVIG-R among White (158 vs. 62), Asian (64 vs. 12) and Hispanic (55 vs. 20) KD patients. Distinct differences in allele frequency distributions of several variants in the DC-SIGN promoter were observed in the three ethnic groups. Further, Asians with the major allele “A” in rs2287886 were more likely (OR = 1.76, p = 0.04) to be IVIG non-responder, but this allele is a minor allele in other two ethnic groups, where the association was not apparent.
DC-SIGN can potentially complement the role of FcγRIIB in the anti-inflammatory cascade involved in the IVIG response mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3847673  PMID: 24006904
Kawasaki disease; IVIG treatment response; FcγR; Coronary artery disease; DC-SIGN
16.  Genomic Copy Number Variants: Evidence for Association with Antibody Response to Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64813.
Anthrax and its etiologic agent remain a biological threat. Anthrax vaccine is highly effective, but vaccine-induced IgG antibody responses vary widely following required doses of vaccinations. Such variation can be related to genetic factors, especially genomic copy number variants (CNVs) that are known to be enriched among genes with immunologic function. We have tested this hypothesis in two study populations from a clinical trial of anthrax vaccination.
We performed CNV-based genome-wide association analyses separately on 794 European Americans and 200 African-Americans. Antibodies to protective antigen were measured at week 8 (early response) and week 30 (peak response) using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. We used DNA microarray data (Affymetrix 6.0) and two CNV detection algorithms, hidden markov model (PennCNV) and circular binary segmentation (GeneSpring) to determine CNVs in all individuals. Multivariable regression analyses were used to identify CNV-specific associations after adjusting for relevant non-genetic covariates.
Within the 22 autosomal chromosomes, 2,943 non-overlapping CNV regions were detected by both algorithms. Genomic insertions containing HLA-DRB5, DRB1 and DQA1/DRA genes in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region (chromosome 6p21.3) were moderately associated with elevated early antibody response (β = 0.14, p = 1.78×10−3) among European Americans, and the strongest association was observed between peak antibody response and a segmental insertion on chromosome 1, containing NBPF4, NBPF5, STXMP3, CLCC1, and GPSM2 genes (β = 1.66, p = 6.06×10−5). For African-Americans, segmental deletions spanning PRR20, PCDH17 and PCH68 genes on chromosome 13 were associated with elevated early antibody production (β = 0.18, p = 4.47×10−5). Population-specific findings aside, one genomic insertion on chromosome 17 (containing NSF, ARL17 and LRRC37A genes) was associated with elevated peak antibody response in both populations.
Multiple CNV regions, including the one consisting of MHC genes that is consistent with earlier research, can be important to humoral immune responses to anthrax vaccine adsorbed.
PMCID: PMC3669407  PMID: 23741398
17.  The Utility of Mitochondrial and Y Chromosome Phylogenetic Data to Improve Correction for Population Stratification 
Frontiers in Genetics  2012;3:301.
Genome-wide association (GWA) studies have become a standard approach for discovering and validating genomic polymorphisms putatively associated with phenotypes of interest. Accounting for population structure in GWA studies is critical to attain unbiased parameter measurements and control Type I error. One common approach to accounting for population structure is to include several principal components derived from the entire autosomal dataset, which reflects population structure signal. However, knowing which components to include is subjective and generally not conclusive. We examined how phylogenetic signal from mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and chromosome Y (chr:Y) markers is concordant with principal component data based on autosomal markers to determine whether mtDNA and chr:Y phylogenetic data can help guide principal component selection. Using HAPMAP and other original data from individuals of multiple ancestries, we examined the relationships of mtDNA and chr:Y phylogenetic signal with the autosomal PCA using best subset logistic regression. We show that while the two approaches agree at times, this is independent of the component order and not completely represented in the Eigen values. Additionally, we use simulations to demonstrate that our approach leads to a slightly reduced Type I error rate compared to the standard approach. This approach provides preliminary evidence to support the theoretical concept that mtDNA and chr:Y data can be informative in locating the PCs that are most associated with evolutionary history of populations that are being studied, although the utility of such information will depend on the specific situation.
PMCID: PMC3527715  PMID: 23267368
phylogeny; PCA; Y chromosome; mitochondria; population sub-structure
18.  Genes Linked to Energy Metabolism and Immunoregulatory Mechanisms are Associated with Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue Distribution in HIV-infected Men 
Pharmacogenetics and genomics  2011;21(12):798-807.
Genetic studies may help explain abnormalities of fat distribution in HIV-infected patients treated with antiretroviral therapy (ARV).
Subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) volume measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in leg, lower trunk, upper trunk, and arm was examined in 192 HIV-infected Caucasian men, ARV-treated from the Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV infection (FRAM) study. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were assayed using the Illumina HumanCNV370-quad beadchip. Multivariate and univariate genome wide association analyses of the four SAT depots were implemented in PLINK software adjusted for age and ARV duration. Functional annotation analysis (FAA) using Ingenuity Systems Pathway Analysis tool (IPA) was carried out for markers with P<10-3 near known genes identified by multivariate analysis.
Loci (rs10504906, rs13267998, rs921231) in or near the anion exchanger solute carrier family 26, member 7 isoform a (SLC26A7) were strongly associated with upper trunk and arm SAT (9.8*10-7≤P<7.8*10-6). Loci (rs193139, rs7523050, rs1761621) in and near a gene rich region including G-protein-signaling modulator 2 (GPSM2) and syntaxin binding protein 3 (STXBP3) were significantly associated with lower body SAT depots (9.9*10-7≤P<9.5*10-6). GPSM2 is associated with cell division and cancer while STXBP3 is associated with glucose metabolism in adipoctyes. IPA identified atherosclerosis, mitochondrial function and T-Cell mediated apoptosis as processes related to SAT volume in HIV-infected individuals (P<5*10-3).
Our results are limited by the small sample size and replication is needed, however this genomic scan uncovered new genes associated with metabolism and inflammatory pathways that may affect SAT volume in ARV-treated HIV-infected patients.
PMCID: PMC3210910  PMID: 21897333
HIV; HAART; GWAS; Subcutaneous Fat; SAT
19.  A Genome-wide Association Study of Carotid Atherosclerosis in HIV-infected Men 
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(4):583-592.
The role of host genetics in the development of subclinical atherosclerosis in the context of HIV infected persons who are being treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is not well understood.
The present genome-wide association study (GWAS) is based on 177 HIV-positive Caucasian males receiving HAART who participated in the Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM) Study. Common and internal carotid intima-media thicknesses (cIMT) measured by B-mode ultrasound were used as a subclinical measure of atherosclerosis. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were assayed using the Illumina HumanCNV370-quad beadchip. Copy Number Variants (CNV) were inferred using a hidden Markov Model (PennCNV). Regression analyses were used to assess the association of common and internal cIMT with individual SNPs and CNVs, adjusting for age, duration of antiretroviral treatment, and principal components to account for potential population stratification.
Two SNPs in tight linkage disequilibrium, rs2229116 (a missense, nonsynonymous polymorphism (IIe to Val)) and rs7177922, located in the Ryanodine receptor (RYR3) gene on chromosome 15 were significantly associated with common cIMT (p-value<1.61×10−7). The RYR gene family has been known to play a role in the etiology of cardiovascular disease and has been shown to be regulated by HIV TAT protein.
These results suggest that in the context of HIV infection and HAART, a functional SNP in a biologically plausible candidate gene, RYR3, is associated with increased common carotid IMT, which is a surrogate for atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC3072760  PMID: 20009918
HIV; HAART; atherosclerosis; GWAS; intima-media thickness
20.  Interleukin-10 (IL-10) Pathway: Genetic Variants and Outcomes of HIV-1 Infection in African American Adolescents 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(10):e13384.
Immunological and clinical outcomes can vary considerably at the individual and population levels during both treated and untreated HIV-1 infection. Cytokines encoded by the interleukin-10 gene (IL10) family have broad immunomodulatory function in viral persistence, and several SNPs in the IL10 promoter sequence have been reported to influence pathogenesis or acquisition of HIV-1 infection.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We examined 104 informative SNPs in IL10, IL19, IL20, IL24, IL10RA and IL10RB among 250 HIV-1 seropositive and 106 high-risk seronegative African American adolescents in the REACH cohort. In subsequent evaluation of five different immunological and virological outcomes related to HIV-1 infection, 25 SNPs were associated with a single outcome and three were associated with two different outcomes. One SNP, rs2243191 in the IL19 open reading frame (Ser to Phe substitution) was associated with CD4+ T-cell increase during treatment. Another SNP rs2244305 in IL10RB (in strong linkage disequilibrium with rs443498) was associated with an initial decrease in CD4+ T-cell by 23±9% and 29±9% every 3 months (for AA and AG genotypes, respectively, compared with GG) during ART-free period. These associations were reversed during treatment, as CD4+ T-cell increased by 31±0.9% and 17±8% every 3 months for AA and AG genotype, respectively.
In African Americans, variants in IL10 and related genes might influence multiple outcomes of HIV-1 infection, especially immunological response to HAART. Fine mapping coupled with analysis of gene expression and function should help reveal the immunological importance of the IL10 gene family to HIV-1/AIDS.
PMCID: PMC2954785  PMID: 20976276
21.  A Genomic Scan for Age at Onset of Alzheimer’s Disease in 437 Families From the NIMH Genetic Initiative 
We performed linkage analysis for age at onset (AAO) in the total Alzheimer’s disease (AD) NIMH sample (N = 437 families). Families were subset as late-onset (320 families, AAO ≥65) and early/ mixed (117 families, at least 1 member with 50< AAO <65). Treating AAO as a censored trait, we obtained the gender and APOE adjusted residuals in a parametric survival model and analyzed the residuals as the quantitative trait (QT) in variance-component linkage analysis. For comparison, AAO–age at exam (AAE) was analyzed as the QT adjusting for affection status, gender, and APOE. Heritabilities for residual and AAO–AAE outcomes were 66.3% and 74.0%, respectively for the total sample, 56.0% and 57.0% in the late-onset sample, and 33.0% for both models in the early/mixed sample. The residual model yielded the largest peaks onchromosome1 with LOD = 2.0 at 190 cM in the total set, LOD = 1.7 at 116 cM on chromosome 3 in the early/mixed subset, and LOD = 1.4 at 71 and 86 cM, respectively, on chromosome 6 in the late-onset subset. For the AAO–AAE outcome model the largest peaks were identified on chromosome 1 at 137 cM (LOD = 2.8) and chromosome 6 at 69 cM (LOD = 2.3) and 86 cM (LOD = 2.2) all in the late-onset subset. Additional peaks with LOD ≥1 were identified on chromosomes 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10, and 12 for the total sample and each subset. Results replicate previous findings, but identify additional suggestive peaks indicating the genetics of AAO in AD is complex with many chromosomal regions potentially containing modifying genes.
PMCID: PMC2661765  PMID: 18189239
Alzhiemer’s disease; censored quantitative trait; variance-component linkage analysis
22.  Hemoglobin binding to Aβ and HBG2 SNP association suggest a role in Alzheimer's disease 
Neurobiology of aging  2006;29(2):185-193.
From a normal human brain phage display library screen we identified the gamma (A)-globin chain of fetal hemoglobin (Hb F) as a protein that bound strongly to Aβ1-42. We showed the oxidized form of adult Hb (metHb A) binds with greater affinity to Aβ1-42 than metHb F. MetHb is more toxic than oxyhemoglobin because it loses its heme group more readily. Free Hb and heme readily damage vascular endothelial cells similar to Alzheimer's disease (AD) vascular pathology. The XmnI polymorphism (C→T) at −158 of the gamma (G)-globin promoter region can contribute to increased Hb F expression. Using family-based association testing, we found a significant protective association of this polymorphism in the NIMH sibling dataset (n=489) in families, with at least two affected and one unaffected sibling (p=0.006), with an age of onset >50 years (p=0.010) and >65 years (p=0.013), and families not homozygous for the APOE4 allele (p=0.041). We hypothesize that Hb F may be less toxic than adult Hb in its interaction with Aβ and may protect against the development of AD.
PMCID: PMC2266611  PMID: 17157413
fetal hemoglobin; gamma globin; methemoglobin; heme; neurological; vascular disease; polymorphism; amyloid
23.  Candidate Gene Discovery Procedure after Follow-Up Confirmatory Analyses of Candidate Regions of Interests for Alzheimer’s Disease in the NIMH Sibling Dataset 
Disease markers  2008;24(6):293-309.
The objective of this research was to develop a procedure to identify candidate genes under linkage peaks confirmed in a follow-up of candidate regions of interests (CRIs) identified in our original genome scan in the NIMH Alzheimer’s diseases (AD) Initiative families (Blacker et al. [1]). There were six CRIs identified that met the threshold of multipoint lod score (MLS) of ≥ 2.0 from the original scan. The most significant peak (MLS = 7.7) was at 19q13, which was attributed to APOE. The remaining CRIs with ‘suggestive’ evidence for linkage were identified at 9q22, 6q27, 14q22, 11q25, and 3p26. We have followed up and narrowed the 9q22 CRI signal using simple tandem repeat (STR) markers (Perry et al. [2]). In this confirmatory project, we have followed up the 6q27, 14q22, 11q25, and 3p26 CRIs with a total of 24 additional flanking STRs, reducing the mean interval marker distance (MID) in each CRI, and substantially increase in the information content (IC). The linkage signals at 6q27, 14q22 and 11q25 remain ‘suggestive’, indicating that these CRIs are promising and worthy of detailed fine mapping and assessment of candidate genes associated with AD.
We have developed a bioinformatics approach for identifying candidate genes in these confirmed regions based on the Gene Ontology terms that are annotated and enriched among the systematic meta-analyzed genes, confirmed by at least three case-control samples, and cataloged in the “AlzGene database” as potential Alzheimer disease susceptibility genes (
PMCID: PMC3850604  PMID: 18688078
Alzheimer; linkage; QTL; STR; SNP; Genomic scan; Candidate gene; bioinformatics; gene ontology; GO; Alzforum; Alzgene database
24.  COGA phenotypes and linkages on chromosome 2 
BMC Genetics  2005;6(Suppl 1):S125.
An initial linkage analysis of the alcoholism phenotype as defined by DSM-III-R criteria and alcoholism defined by DSM-IV criteria showed many, sometimes striking, inconsistencies. These inconsistencies are greatly reduced by making the definition of alcoholism more specific. We defined new phenotypes combining the alcoholism definitions and the latent variables, defining an individual as affected if that individual is alcoholic under one of the definitions (either DSM-III-R or DSM-IV), and indicated having a symptom defined by one of the latent variables. This was done for each of the two alcoholism definitions and five latent variables, selected from a canonical discriminant analyses indicating they formed significant groupings using the electrophysiological variables. We found that linkage analyses utilizing these latent variables were much more robust and consistent than the linkage results based on DSM-III-R or DSM-IV criteria for definition of alcoholism. We also performed linkage analyses on two first prinicipal components derived phenotypes, one derived from the electrophysiolocical variables, and the other derived from the latent variables. A region on chromosome 2 at 250 cM was found to be linked to both of these derived phenotypes. Further examination of the SNPs in this region identified several haplotypes strongly associated with these derived phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC1866812  PMID: 16451583
25.  Total blood lymphocyte counts in hemochromatosis probands with HFE C282Y homozygosity: relationship to severity of iron overload and HLA-A and -B alleles and haplotypes 
It has been reported that some persons with hemochromatosis have low total blood lymphocyte counts, but the reason for this is unknown.
We measured total blood lymphocyte counts using an automated blood cell counter in 146 hemochromatosis probands (88 men, 58 women) with HFE C282Y homozygosity who were diagnosed in medical care. Univariate and multivariate analyses of total blood lymphocyte counts were evaluated using these variables: sex; age, transferrin saturation, and serum ferritin concentration at diagnosis; units of blood removed by phlebotomy to achieve iron depletion; and human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A and -B alleles and haplotypes.
The mean age at diagnosis was 49 ± 14 years (range 18 – 80 years) in men and 50 ± 13 years (range 22 – 88 years) in women. The correlations of total blood lymphocyte counts with sex, age, transferrin saturation, and serum ferritin concentration at diagnosis, and units of blood removed by phlebotomy to achieve iron depletion were not significant at the 0.05 level. Univariate analyses revealed significant associations between total blood lymphocyte counts and presence of the HLA-A*01, -B*08, and -B*14 alleles, and the A*01-B*08 haplotype. Presence of the A*01 allele, B*08 allele, or A*01-B*08 haplotype were associated with a lower total blood lymphocyte count, whereas presence of the B*14 allele was associated with a greater total blood lymphocyte count. There was an inverse association of total blood lymphocyte count with units of phlebotomy to achieve iron depletion, serum ferritin concentration, and with presence of the A*01-B*08 haplotype.
We conclude that there is a significant inverse relationship of total blood lymphocyte counts and severity of iron overload in hemochromatosis probands with HFE C282Y homozygosity. The presence of the HLA-A*01 allele or the -B*08 allele was also associated with significantly lower total blood lymphocyte counts, whereas presence of the -B*14 allele was associated with significantly higher total blood lymphocyte counts. In univariate and multivariate analyses, total blood lymphocyte counts were significantly lower in probands with the HLA-A*01-B*08 haplotype than in probands without this haplotype.
PMCID: PMC1198220  PMID: 16042809

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