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1.  Body composition and cardiometabolic disease risk factors in captive baboons (Papio hamadryas Sp.): sexual dimorphism 
Baboons (Papio hamadryas Sp.) exhibit significant sexual dimorphism in body size. Sexual dimorphism is also exhibited in a number of circulating factors associated with risk of cardiometabolic disease. We investigated whether sexual dimorphism in body size and composition underlie these differences. We examined data from 28 male and 24 female outdoor group-housed young adult baboons enrolled in a longitudinal observational study of cardiometabolic disease risk factors. Animals were sedated with ketamine HCl (10mg/Kg) before undergoing venous blood draws, basic body measurements, and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) body composition scans. Percentage glycated hemoglobin (%HbA1C) was measured in whole blood. Serum samples were analyzed for glucose, insulin, C-peptide, HDL-, and triglyceride concentrations. Males were heavier and had greater body length and lean tissue mass than females. Females had a greater body fat percentage relative to males (10.8 ±6.4 vs. 6.9 ±4.0, P=0.01). Although C-peptide, fasting glucose, and %HbA1C did not differ between the sexes, females had greater fasting insulin and triglyceride compared to their male counterparts. Insulin and percentage body fat were significantly correlated in males (r=0.61, P=0.001) and to a lesser extent in females (r=0.43, P=0.04). Overall, relations between adiposity and fasting insulin and fasting triglyceride were stronger in males. After accounting for differences in percentage body fat, fasting insulin and triglyceride were no longer statistically different between males and females. Despite stronger correlations between relative adiposity and insulin and triglyceride in males, the higher fasting insulin and triglyceride of female baboons may be underlain by their greater relative body fat masses.
PMCID: PMC4025923  PMID: 24318937
sex differences; baboon; body fat; triglyceride; insulin
2.  Baboons as a Model to Study Genetics and Epigenetics of Human Disease 
ILAR Journal  2013;54(2):106-121.
A major challenge for understanding susceptibility to common human diseases is determining genetic and environmental factors that influence mechanisms underlying variation in disease-related traits. The most common diseases afflicting the US population are complex diseases that develop as a result of defects in multiple genetically controlled systems in response to environmental challenges. Unraveling the etiology of these diseases is exceedingly difficult because of the many genetic and environmental factors involved. Studies of complex disease genetics in humans are challenging because it is not possible to control pedigree structure and often not practical to control environmental conditions over an extended period of time. Furthermore, access to tissues relevant to many diseases from healthy individuals is quite limited. The baboon is a well-established research model for the study of a wide array of common complex diseases, including dyslipidemia, hypertension, obesity, and osteoporosis. It is possible to acquire tissues from healthy, genetically characterized baboons that have been exposed to defined environmental stimuli. In this review, we describe the genetic and physiologic similarity of baboons with humans, the ability and usefulness of controlling environment and breeding, and current genetic and genomic resources. We discuss studies on genetics of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and intrauterine growth restriction using the baboon as a model for human disease. We also summarize new studies and resources under development, providing examples of potential translational studies for targeted interventions and therapies for human disease.
PMCID: PMC3924757  PMID: 24174436
cardiovascular disease; diabetes; genomics resources; hypertension; intrauterine growth restriction; metabolic syndrome; obesity; osteoporosis
3.  Genetics of kidney disease and related cardiometabolic phenotypes in Zuni Indians: the Zuni Kidney Project 
The objective of this study is to identify genetic factors associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and related cardiometabolic phenotypes among participants of the Genetics of Kidney Disease in Zuni Indians study. The study was conducted as a community-based participatory research project in the Zuni Indians, a small endogamous tribe in rural New Mexico. We recruited 998 members from 28 extended multigenerational families, ascertained through probands with CKD who had at least one sibling with CKD. We used the Illumina Infinium Human1M-Duo version 3.0 BeadChips to type 1.1 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Prevalence estimates for CKD, hyperuricemia, diabetes, and hypertension were 24%, 30%, 17% and 34%, respectively. We found a significant (p < 1.58 × 10-7) association for a SNP in a novel gene for serum creatinine (PTPLAD2). We replicated significant associations for genes with serum uric acid (SLC2A9), triglyceride levels (APOA1, BUD13, ZNF259), and total cholesterol (PVRL2). We found novel suggestive associations (p < 1.58 × 10-6) for SNPs in genes with systolic (OLFML2B), and diastolic blood pressure (NFIA). We identified a series of genes associated with CKD and related cardiometabolic phenotypes among Zuni Indians, a population with a high prevalence of kidney disease. Illuminating genetic variations that modulate the risk for these disorders may ultimately provide a basis for novel preventive strategies and therapeutic interventions.
PMCID: PMC4311707
single nucleotide polymorphisms; association; kidney function; serum uric acid; triglycerides
4.  Hyperglycemic Challenge and Distribution of Adipose Tissue in Obese Baboons 
Blood glucose levels regulate the rate of insulin secretion, which is the body’s mechanism for preventing excessive elevation in blood glucose. Impaired glucose metabolism and insulin resistance have been linked to excess body fat composition. Here, we quantify abdominal muscle and abdominal adipose tissue compartments in a large nonhuman primate, the baboon, and investigate their relationship with serum glucose response to a hyperglycemic challenge.
Five female baboons were fasted for 16 hours prior to 90 minute body imaging experiment that consisted of a 20-min baseline, followed by a bolus infusion of glucose (500mg/kg). The blood glucose was sampled at regular intervals. The total volumes of the muscle, visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue were measured.
Results and discussion
We found that adipose tissue composition predicted fluctuations in glucose responses to a hyperglycemic challenge of a non-human primate. Animals with higher visceral adiposity showed significantly reduced glucose elimination. The glucose responses were positively correlated with body weight, visceral and muscle fat (p < 0.005). Polynomial regression analysis showed that body weight, visceral and muscle were significant
These results reveal the similarity between humans and baboons with respect to glucose metabolism and strengthen the utility of baboon for biomedical research.
PMCID: PMC4241571  PMID: 25429366
Hyperglycemic Challenge; Perfusion Imaging; Body Fat Composition
5.  Replication of obesity and diabetes-related SNP associations in individuals from Yucatán, México 
Frontiers in Genetics  2014;5:380.
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) is rising rapidly and in Mexicans is ~19%. T2D is affected by both environmental and genetic factors. Although specific genes have been implicated in T2D risk few of these findings are confirmed in studies of Mexican subjects. Our aim was to replicate associations of 39 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 10 genes with T2D-related phenotypes in a community-based Mexican cohort. Unrelated individuals (n = 259) living in southeastern Mexico were enrolled in the study based at the University of Yucatan School of Medicine in Merida. Phenotypes measured included anthropometric measurements, circulating levels of adipose tissue endocrine factors (leptin, adiponectin, pro-inflammatory cytokines), and insulin, glucose, and blood pressure. Association analyses were conducted by measured genotype analysis implemented in SOLAR, adapted for unrelated individuals. SNP Minor allele frequencies ranged from 2.2 to 48.6%. Nominal associations were found for CNR1, SLC30A8, GCK, and PCSK1 SNPs with systolic blood pressure, insulin and glucose, and for CNR1, SLC30A8, KCNJ11, and PCSK1 SNPs with adiponectin and leptin (p < 0.05). P-values greater than 0.0014 were considered significant. Association of SNPs rs10485170 of CNR1 and rs5215 of KCNJ11 with adiponectin and leptin, respectively, reached near significance (p = 0.002). Significant association (p = 0.001) was observed between plasma leptin and rs5219 of KCNJ11.
PMCID: PMC4235406  PMID: 25477898
Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP); association analysis; minor allele frequency; type 2 diabetes; obesity
6.  Statistical genetic analysis of serological measures of common, chronic infections in Alaska Native participants in the GOCADAN study 
Genetic epidemiology  2013;37(7):751-757.
This paper describes genetic investigations of seroreactivity to five common infectious pathogens in the Genetics of Coronary Artery Disease in Alaska Natives (GOCADAN) study. Antibody titers and seroprevalence were available for 495 to 782 (depending on the phenotype) family members at two time points, approximately 15 years apart, for Chlamydophila pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1), and herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2). Seroprevalence rates indicate that infections with most of these pathogens are common (>=20% for all of them, >80% for H. pylori, CMV and HSV-1). Seropositive individuals typically remain seropositive over time, with seroreversion rates of <1% to 10% over ~15 years. Antibody titers were significantly heritable for most pathogens, with the highest estimate being 0.61 for C. pneumoniae. Significant genome-wide linkage evidence was obtained for C. pneumoniae on chromosome 15 (LOD of 3.13). These results demonstrate that individual host genetic differences influence antibody measures of common infections in this population, and further investigation may elucidate the underlying immunological processes and genes involved.
PMCID: PMC3969261  PMID: 23798484
Chlamydophila pneumoniae; Helicobacter pylori; cytomegalovirus; herpes simplex virus-1; herpes simplex virus-2; antibodies; heritability; linkage; Inupiaq
7.  Early endothelial damage detected by circulating particles in baboons fed a diet high in simple arbohydrates in conjunction with saturated or unsaturated fat 
Studies have shown that high-fat diets cause blood vessel damage, however, assessing pathological effects accurately and efficiently is difficult. In this study, we measured particle levels of static endothelium (CD31+ and CD105+) and activated endothelium (CD62E+, CD54+ and CD106+) in plasma. We determined individual responses to two dietary regimens in two groups of baboons. One group (n = 10), was fed a diet high in simple carbohydrates and saturated fats (the HSF diet) and the other (n = 8) received a diet high in simple carbohydrates and unsaturated fats (the HUF diet). Plasma samples were collected at 0, 3, and 7 weeks. The percentages of CD31+ and CD62E+ particles were elevated at 3 weeks in animals fed either diet, but these elevations were statistically significant only in animals fed the HUF diet. Surprisingly, both percentages and counts of CD31+ particles were significantly lower at week 7 compared to week 0 and 3 in the HSF group. The median absolute counts of CD105+ particles were progressively elevated over time in the HSF group with a significant increase from week 0 to 7; the pattern was somewhat different for the HUF group with significant increase from week 3 to 7. The counts of CD54+ particles exhibited wide variation in both groups during the dietary challenge, while the median counts of CD106+ particles were significantly lower at week 3 than at week 0 and week 7. Endothelial particles exhibited time-dependent changes, suggesting they were behaving as quantifiable surrogates for the early detection of vascular damage caused by dietary factors.
PMCID: PMC4212887  PMID: 25360390
Circulating endothelial particles; vascular damage; dietary challenge; biomarkers; nonhuman primate model
8.  Identification of Pleiotropic Genetic Effects on Obesity and Brain Anatomy 
Human heredity  2013;75(0):136-143.
Obesity is a major contributor to the global burden of chronic disease and disability, though current knowledge of causal biologic underpinnings is lacking. Through the regulation of energy homeostasis and interactions with adiposity and gut signals, the brain is thought to play a significant role in the development of this disorder. While neuroanatomic variation has been associated with obesity, it is unclear if this relationship is influenced by common genetic mechanisms. In this study, we sought genetic components that influence both brain anatomy and body mass index (BMI) to provide further insight into the role of the brain in energy homeostasis and obesity.
MRI images of brain anatomy were acquired in 839 Mexican American individuals from large extended pedigrees. Bivariate linkage and quantitative analyses were performed in SOLAR.
Genetic factors associated with increased BMI were also associated with reduced cortical surface area and subcortical volume. We identified two genome-wide quantitative trait loci that influenced BMI and ventral diencephalon volume, and BMI and supramarginal gyrus surface area, respectively.
This study represents the first genetic analyses seeking evidence of pleiotropic effects acting on both brain anatomy and BMI. Results suggest that a region on chromosome 17 contributes to the development of obesity, potentially through leptin-induced signaling in the hypothalamus, and that a region on chromosome 3 appears to jointly influences food-related reward circuitry and the supramarginal gyrus.
PMCID: PMC3889074  PMID: 24081229
BMI; obesity; imaging; brain; pleiotropy
9.  Linkage of Type 2 Diabetes on Chromosome 9p24 in Mexican Americans: Additional Evidence from the Veterans Administration Genetic Epidemiology Study (VAGES) 
Human heredity  2013;76(1):36-46.
Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is a complex metabolic disease and is more prevalent in certain ethnic groups such as the Mexican Americans. The goal of our study was to perform a genome-wide linkage analysis to localize T2DM susceptibility loci in Mexican Americans.
We used the phenotypic and genotypic data from 1,122 Mexican American individuals (307 families) who participated in the Veterans Administration Genetic Epidemiology Study (VAGES). Genome-wide linkage analysis was performed, using the variance components approach. Data from two additional Mexican American family studies, the San Antonio Family Heart Study (SAFHS) and the San Antonio Family Diabetes/Gallbladder Study (SAFDGS), were combined with the VAGES data to test for improved linkage evidence.
After adjusting for covariate effects, T2DM was found to be under significant genetic influences (h2 = 0.62, P = 2.7 × 10−6). The strongest evidence for linkage of T2DM occurred between markers D9S1871 and D9S2169 on chromosome 9p24.2-p24.1 (LOD = 1.8). Given that we previously reported suggestive evidence for linkage of T2DM at this region in SAFDGS also, we found the significant and increased linkage evidence (LOD = 4.3, empirical P = 1.0 × 10−5, genome-wide P = 1.6 × 10−3) for T2DM at the same chromosomal region when we performed genome-wide linkage analysis of the VAGES data combined with SAFHS and SAFDGS data.
Significant T2DM linkage evidence was found on chromosome 9p24 in Mexican Americans. Importantly, the chromosomal region of interest in this study overlaps with several recent genome-wide association studies (GWASs) involving T2DM related traits. Given its overlap with such findings and our own initial T2DM association findings in the 9p24 chromosomal region, high throughput sequencing of the linked chromosomal region could identify the potential causal T2DM genes.
PMCID: PMC3919448  PMID: 24060607
Type 2 diabetes; Linkage; Chromosome 9p24; Mexican Americans; VAGES
10.  Models of population-based analyses for data collected from large extended families 
European journal of epidemiology  2010;25(12):855-865.
Large studies of extended families usually collect valuable phenotypic data that may have scientific value for purposes other than testing genetic hypotheses if the families were not selected in a biased manner. These purposes include assessing population-based associations of diseases with risk factors/covariates and estimating population characteristics such as disease prevalence and incidence. Relatedness among participants however, violates the traditional assumption of independent observations in these classic analyses. The commonly used adjustment method for relatedness in population-based analyses is to use marginal models, in which clusters (families) are assumed to be independent (unrelated) with a simple and identical covariance (family) structure such as those called independent, exchangeable and unstructured covariance structures. However, using these simple covariance structures may not be optimally appropriate for outcomes collected from large extended families, and may under- or over-estimate the variances of estimators and thus lead to uncertainty in inferences. Moreover, the assumption that families are unrelated with an identical family structure in a marginal model may not be satisfied for family studies with large extended families. The aim of this paper is to propose models incorporating marginal models approaches with a covariance structure for assessing population-based associations of diseases with their risk factors/covariates and estimating population characteristics for epidemiological studies while adjusting for the complicated relatedness among outcomes (continuous/categorical, normally/non-normally distributed) collected from large extended families. We also discuss theoretical issues of the proposed models and show that the proposed models and covariance structure are appropriate for and capable of achieving the aim.
PMCID: PMC4167007  PMID: 20882324
Correlated outcomes; Marginal models; Family study; Large and inter-related extended families
11.  Genetic epidemiology of cardiometabolic risk ractors and their clustering patterns in Mexican American children and adolescents: The SAFARI Study 
Human genetics  2013;132(9):10.1007/s00439-013-1315-2.
Pediatric metabolic syndrome (MS) and its cardiometabolic components (MSCs) have become increasingly prevalent, yet little is known about the genetics underlying MS risk in children. We examined the prevalence and genetics of MS-related traits among 670 non-diabetic Mexican American (MA) children and adolescents, aged 6–17 years (49 % female), who were participants in the San Antonio Family Assessment of Metabolic Risk Indicators in Youth (SAFARI) study. These children are offspring or biological relatives of adult participants from three well-established Mexican American family studies in San Antonio, Texas, at increased risk of type 2 diabetes. MS was defined as ≥ 3 abnormalities among 6 MSC measures: waist circumference, systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure, fasting insulin, triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol, and fasting and/or 2-h OGTT glucose. Genetic analyses of MS, number of MSCs (MSC-N), MS factors, and bivariate MS traits were performed. Overweight/obesity (53 %), pre-diabetes (13 %), acanthosis nigricans (33 %), and MS (19 %) were strikingly prevalent, as were MS components, including abdominal adiposity (32 %) and low HDL-cholesterol (32 %). Factor analysis of MS traits yielded three constructs: adipo-insulin-lipid, blood pressure, and glucose factors, and their factor scores were highly heritable. MS itself exhibited 68 % heritability. MSC-N showed strong positive genetic correlations with obesity, insulin resistance, inflammation, and acanthosis nigricans, and negative genetic correlation with physical fitness. MS trait pairs exhibited strong genetic and/or environmental correlations. These findings highlight the complex genetic architecture of MS/MSCs in MA children, and underscore the need for early screening and intervention to prevent chronic sequelae in this vulnerable pediatric population.
PMCID: PMC3845827  PMID: 23736306
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2013;22(3):950-956.
Waist circumference (WC), the clinical marker of central obesity, is gaining popularity as a screening tool for type 2 diabetes (T2D). While there is epidemiologic evidence favoring the WC-T2D association, its biological substantiation is generally weak. Our objective was to determine the independent association of plasma lipid repertoire with WC.
Design and methods
We used samples and data from the San Antonio Family Heart Study of 1208 Mexican Americans from 42 extended families. We determined association of plasma lipidomic profiles with the cross-sectionally assessed WC. Plasma lipidomic profiling entailed liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry. Statistical analyses included multivariable polygenic regression models and bivariate trait analyses using the SOLAR software.
After adjusting for age and sex interactions, body mass index, homeostasis model of assessment – insulin resistance, total cholesterol, triglycerides, high density lipoproteins and use of lipid lowering drugs, dihydroceramides as a class were associated with WC. Dihydroceramide species 18:0, 20:0, 22:0 and 24:1 were significantly associated and genetically correlated with WC. Two sphingomyelin species (31:1 and 41:1) were also associated with WC.
Plasma dihydroceramide levels independently associate with WC. Thus, high resolution plasma lipidomic studies can provide further credence to the biological underpinnings of the association of WC with T2D.
PMCID: PMC3918249  PMID: 23929697
waist circumference; lipidomics; central obesity; family studies; Mexican Americans
14.  Evaluation of estimated genetic values and their application to genome-wide investigation of systolic blood pressure 
BMC Proceedings  2014;8(Suppl 1):S66.
The concept of breeding values, an individual's phenotypic deviation from the population mean as a result of the sum of the average effects of the genes they carry, is of great importance in livestock, aquaculture, and cash crop industries where emphasis is placed on an individual's potential to pass desirable phenotypes on to the next generation. As breeding or genetic values (as referred to here) cannot be measured directly, estimated genetic values (EGVs) are based on an individual's own phenotype, phenotype information from relatives, and, increasingly, genetic data. Because EGVs represent additive genetic variation, calculating EGVs in an extended human pedigree is expected to provide a more refined phenotype for genetic analyses. To test the utility of EGVs in genome-wide association, EGVs were calculated for 847 members of 20 extended Mexican American families based on 100 replicates of simulated systolic blood pressure. Calculations were performed in GAUSS to solve a variation on the standard Best Linear Unbiased Predictor (BLUP) mixed model equation with age, sex, and the first 3 principal components of sample-wide genetic variability as fixed effects and the EGV as a random effect distributed around the relationship matrix. Three methods of calculating kinship were considered: expected kinship from pedigree relationships, empirical kinship from common variants, and empirical kinship from both rare and common variants. Genome-wide association analysis was conducted on simulated phenotypes and EGVs using the additive measured genotype approach in the SOLAR software package. The EGV-based approach showed only minimal improvement in power to detect causative loci.
PMCID: PMC4143678  PMID: 25519398
15.  Increased waist circumference is independently associated with hypothyroidism in Mexican Americans: replicative evidence from two large, population-based studies 
Mexican Americans are at an increased risk of both thyroid dysfunction and metabolic syndrome (MS). Thus it is conceivable that some components of the MS may be associated with the risk of thyroid dysfunction in these individuals. Our objective was to investigate and replicate the potential association of MS traits with thyroid dysfunction in Mexican Americans.
We conducted association testing for 18 MS traits in two large studies on Mexican Americans – the San Antonio Family Heart Study (SAFHS) and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007–10. A total of 907 participants from 42 families in SAFHS and 1633 unrelated participants from NHANES 2007–10 were included in this study. The outcome measures were prevalence of clinical and subclinical hypothyroidism and thyroid function index (TFI) – a measure of thyroid function. For the SAFHS, we used polygenic regression analyses with multiple covariates to test associations in setting of family studies. For the NHANES 2007–10, we corrected for the survey design variables as needed for association analyses in survey data. In both datasets, we corrected for age, sex and their linear and quadratic interactions.
TFI was an accurate indicator of clinical thyroid status (area under the receiver-operating-characteristic curve to detect clinical hypothyroidism, 0.98) in both SAFHS and NHANES 2007–10. Of the 18 MS traits, waist circumference (WC) showed the most consistent association with TFI in both studies independently of age, sex and body mass index (BMI). In the SAFHS and NHANES 2007–10 datasets, each standard deviation increase in WC was associated with 0.13 (p < 0.001) and 0.11 (p < 0.001) unit increase in the TFI, respectively. In a series of polygenic and linear regression models, central obesity (defined as WC ≥ 102 cm in men and ≥88 cm in women) was associated with clinical and subclinical hypothyroidism independent of age, sex, BMI and type 2 diabetes in both datasets. Estimated prevalence of hypothyroidism was consistently high in those with central obesity, especially below 45y of age.
WC independently associates with increased risk of thyroid dysfunction. Use of WC to identify Mexican American subjects at high risk of thyroid dysfunction should be investigated in future studies.
PMCID: PMC4057819  PMID: 24913450
Waist circumference; Central obesity; Thyroid dysfunction; Mexican Americans
16.  Olfactomedin-like 3 (OLFML3) gene expression in baboon and human ocular tissues: cornea, lens, uvea and retina 
Journal of medical primatology  2013;42(3):105-111.
Olfactomedin-like is a polyfunctional polymeric glycoprotein. This family has at least four members. One member of this family is OLFML3, which is preferentially expressed in placenta but is also detected in other adult tissues including the liver and heart. However, the orthologous rat gene is expressed in the iris, sclera, trabecular meshwork, retina, and optic nerve.
OLFML3 amplification was performed by RT-PCR from human and baboon ocular tissues. The products were cloned and sequenced.
We report OFML3 expression in human and baboon eye. The full CDS has 1221 bp, from which a OFR of 406 amino acid was obtained. The baboon OLFML3 gene nucleotidic sequence has 98%, and amino acidic 99% similarity with humans.
OLFML3 expression in human and baboon ocular tissues and its high similarity make the baboon a powerful model to deduce the physiological and/or metabolic function of this protein in the eye.
PMCID: PMC3651808  PMID: 23398349
Olfactomedin; eye; Old World Monkey; gene expression; animal model; corneal vascularization
Lipids  2013;48(5):497-503.
Plasma lipidomic studies using high performance liquid chromatography and mass spectroscopy offer detailed insights into metabolic processes. Taking the example of the most abundant plasma lipid class (phosphatidylcholines) we used the rich phenotypic and lipidomic data from the ongoing San Antonio Family Heart Study of large extended Mexican American families to assess the variability of association of the plasma phosphatidylcholine species with metabolic syndrome. Using robust statistical analytical methods, our study made two important observations. First, there was a wide variability in the association of phosphatidylcholine species with risk measures of metabolic syndrome. Phosphatidylcholine 40:7 was associated with a low risk while phosphatidylcholines 32:1 and 38:3 were associated with a high risk of metabolic syndrome. Second, all the odd chain phosphatidylcholines were associated with a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome implying that phosphatidylcholines derived from dairy products might be beneficial against metabolic syndrome. Our results demonstrate the value of lipid species-specific information provided by the upcoming array of lipidomic studies and open potential avenues for prevention and control of metabolic syndrome in high prevalence settings.
PMCID: PMC3637399  PMID: 23494580
high performance liquid chromatography; mass spectroscopy; phosphatidylcholine; molecular biology
18.  Significant genotype by diet (GxD) interaction effects on cardiometabolic responses to a pedigree-wide, dietary challenge in vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus) 
American journal of primatology  2013;75(5):491-499.
Nutrient composition of a diet (D) has been shown to interact with genetic predispositions (G) to affect various lipid phenotypes. Our aim in this study was to confirm GxD interaction and determine whether the interaction extends to other cardiometabolic risk factors such as glycemic measures and body weight. Subjects were vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus) (n = 309) from a multigenerational pedigreed colony initially fed a plant-based diet, standard primate diet (18% calories from protein, 13% from fat, and 69% from carbohydrates) and subsequently challenged for eight weeks with a diet modeled on the typical American diet (18% calories from protein, 35% from fat, and 47% from carbohydrates). Our results showed that although exposure to the challenge diet did not result in significant changes in weight, most lipid and glycemic biomarkers moved in an adverse direction (p < 0.01). Quantitative genetic analyses showed that cardiometabolic phenotypes were significantly heritable under both dietary conditions (p < 0.05), and there was significant evidence of G x D interaction for these phenotypes. We observed significant differences in the additive genetic variances for most lipid phenotypes (p < 10−4), indicating that the magnitude of genetic effects varies by diet. Furthermore, genetic correlations between diets differed significantly from 1 with respect to insulin, body weight and some lipid phenotypes (p < 0.01). This implied that distinct genetic effects are involved in the regulation of these phenotypes under the two dietary conditions. These GxD effects confirm and extend previous observations in baboons (Papio sp.) and suggest that mimicking the typical human nutritional environment can reveal genetic influences that might not be observed in animals consuming standard, plant-based diets.
PMCID: PMC3609869  PMID: 23315630
Nutrient composition; Genetic predisposition; Quantitative genetic analysis
19.  Genetic Architecture of Carotid Artery Intima-Media Thickness in Mexican Americans 
Circulation. Cardiovascular genetics  2013;6(2):10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.113.000079.
Intima-media thickness (IMT) of the common and internal carotid arteries is an established surrogate for atherosclerosis and predicts risk of stroke and myocardial infarction. Often IMT is measured as the average of these two arteries, yet they are believed to result from separate biological mechanisms. The aim of this study was to conduct a family-based genome-wide association study (GWAS) for IMT to identify polymorphisms influencing IMT and to determine if distinct carotid artery segments are influenced by different genetic components.
Methods and Results
IMT for the common and internal carotid arteries was determined through B-mode ultrasound in 772 Mexican Americans from the San Antonio Family Heart Study. A GWAS utilizing 931,219 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) was undertaken with six internal and common carotid artery IMT phenotypes utilizing an additive measured genotype model. The most robust association detected was for two SNPs (rs16983261, rs6113474, p=1.60e−7) in complete linkage disequilibrium on chromosome 20p11 for the internal carotid artery near wall, next to the gene PAX1. We also replicated previously reported GWAS regions on chromosomes 19q13 and 7q22. We found no overlapping associations between internal and common carotid artery phenotypes at p<5.0e0−6. The genetic correlation between the two carotid IMT arterial segments was 0.51.
This study represents the first large scale GWAS of carotid IMT in a non-European population and identified several novel loci. We do not detect any shared GWAS signals between common and internal carotid arterial segments but the moderate genetic correlation implies both common and unique genetic components.
PMCID: PMC3865281  PMID: 23487405
intima-media thickness; carotid artery; GWAS; Hispanics
20.  Long-Term Changes in Adiposity and Glycemic Control Are Associated With Past Adenovirus Infection 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(3):701-707.
Ad36, a human adenovirus, increases adiposity but improves glycemic control in animal models. Similarly, natural Ad36 infection is cross-sectionally associated with greater adiposity and better glycemic control in humans. This study compared longitudinal observations in indices of adiposity (BMI and body fat percentage) and glycemic control (fasting glucose and insulin) in Ad36-infected versus uninfected adults.
Baseline sera from Hispanic men and women (n = 1,400) were screened post hoc for the presence of Ad36-specific antibodies. Indices of adiposity and glycemic control at baseline and at ∼10 years past the baseline were compared between seropositive and seronegative subjects, with adjustment for age and sex. In addition to age and sex, indices of glycemic control were adjusted for baseline BMI and were analyzed only for nondiabetic subjects.
Seropositive subjects (14.5%) had greater adiposity at baseline, compared with seronegative subjects. Longitudinally, seropositive subjects showed greater adiposity indices but lower fasting insulin levels. Subgroup analyses revealed that Ad36-seropositivity was associated with better baseline glycemic control and lower fasting insulin levels over time in the normal-weight group (BMI ≤25 kg/m2) and longitudinally, with greater adiposity in the overweight (BMI 25–30 kg/m2) and obese (BMI >30 kg/m2) men. Statistically, the differences between seropositive and seronegative individuals were modest in light of the multiple tests performed.
This study strengthens the plausibility that in humans, Ad36 increases adiposity and attenuates deterioration of glycemic control. Panoptically, the study raises the possibility that certain infections may modulate obesity or diabetes risk. A comprehensive understanding of these under-recognized factors is needed to effectively combat such metabolic disorders.
PMCID: PMC3579356  PMID: 23160725
21.  Genome-wide association analysis confirms and extends the association of SLC2A9 with serum uric acid levels to Mexican Americans 
Frontiers in Genetics  2013;4:279.
Increased serum uric acid (SUA) is a risk factor for gout and renal and cardiovascular disease (CVD). The purpose of this study was to identify genetic factors that affect the variation in SUA in 632 Mexican Americans participants of the San Antonio Family Heart Study (SAFHS). A genome-wide association (GWA) analysis was performed using the Illumina Human Hap 550K single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) microarray. We used a linear regression-based association test under an additive model of allelic effect, while accounting for non-independence among family members via a kinship variance component. All analyses were performed in the software package SOLAR. SNPs rs6832439, rs13131257, and rs737267 in solute carrier protein 2 family, member 9 (SLC2A9) were associated with SUA at genome-wide significance (p < 1.3 × 10−7). The minor alleles of these SNPs had frequencies of 36.2, 36.2, and 38.2%, respectively, and were associated with decreasing SUA levels. All of these SNPs were located in introns 3–7 of SLC2A9, the location of the previously reported associations in European populations. When analyzed for association with cardiovascular-renal disease risk factors, conditional on SLC2A9 SNPs strongly associated with SUA, significant associations were found for SLC2A9 SNPs with BMI, body weight, and waist circumference (p < 1.4 × 10−3) and suggestive associations with albumin-creatinine ratio and total antioxidant status (TAS). The SLC2A9 gene encodes an urate transporter that has considerable influence on variation in SUA. In addition to the primary association locus, suggestive evidence (p < 1.9 × 10−6) for joint linkage/association (JLA) was found at a previously-reported urate quantitative trait locus (Logarithm of odds score = 3.6) on 3p26.3. In summary, our GWAS extends and confirms the association of SLC2A9 with SUA for the first time in a Mexican American cohort and also shows for the first time its association with cardiovascular-renal disease risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3863993  PMID: 24379826
variance components decomposition approach; joint linkage/association analysis; kinship; hyperuricemia
22.  Genome-wide association replicates the association of Duffy antigen receptor for chemokines (DARC) polymorphisms with serum monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) levels in Hispanic children 
Cytokine  2012;60(3):634-638.
Obesity is associated with a chronic low inflammatory state characterized by elevated levels of chemokines. Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) is a member of the cysteine-cysteine (CC) chemokine family and is increased in obesity. The purpose of this study was to identify loci regulating serum MCP-1 in obese Hispanic children from the Viva La Familia Study. A genome-wide association (GWA) analysis was performed in 815 children, ages 4-19 years, using genotypes assayed with the Illumina HumanOmni1-Quad v1.0 BeadChips. All analyses were performed in SOLAR using a linear regression-based test under an additive model of allelic effect, while accounting for the relatedness of family members via a kinship variance component. The strongest association for MCP-1 levels was found with a non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs12075 resulting in an amino acid substitution (Asp42Gly) in the Duffy antigen receptor for chemokines (DARC) gene product (minor allele frequency = 43.6%, p = 1.3 × 10−21) on chromosome 1. Four other DARC SNPs were also significantly associated with MCP-1 levels(p < 10−16-10−6). The Asp42Gly variant was associated with higher levels of MCP-1 and accounted for approximately 10% of its variability. In addition, MCP-1 levels were significantly associated with SNPs in chemokine receptor 3 (CCR3) and caspase recruitment domain family, member 9 (CARD9). In summary, the association of the DARC Asp42Gly variant with MCP-1 levels replicates previous GWA results substantiating a potential role for DARC in the regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
PMCID: PMC3501981  PMID: 23017229
Obesity; inflammation; polymorphism; effect size; variance; kinship
24.  Renal Histopathology of a Baboon Model with Type-2 Diabetes 
Toxicologic pathology  2012;40(7):1020-1030.
Naturally occurring type-2 diabetes has been found in a colony of baboons. Ongoing characterization of the baboon colony maintained at the Southwest National Primate Research Center has revealed a significant range of glucose sensitivity with some animals clearly diabetic. Seven baboons, 4 with diabetes and 3 without diabetes underwent histopathological investigation. Three diabetic animals were diagnosed using fasting blood glucose, hemoglobin A1C and intravenous glucose tolerance test, and a fourth one was known to have hyperglycemia. One control baboon and 3 baboons with diabetes had microalbuminuria. On kidney biopsy, diabetic baboons had thickening of the glomerular basement membrane and mesangial matrix expansion compared to controls. Immunohistochemistry showed the diabetic animals had increased mesangial expression of cellular fibronectin ED-A. Two diabetic animals with microalbuminuria had evidence of mesangiolysis with formation of an early nodule. One diabetic animal had a Kimmestiel-Wilson nodule. We conclude that the baboon represents a useful primate model of diabetes and nephropathy that resembles the nephropathy associated with type-2 diabetes in humans.
PMCID: PMC3477873  PMID: 22552392
Glomerular basement membrane; mesangium; diabetic nephropathy; baboon; renal morphology
25.  Aging Does Not Reduce Heat Shock Protein 70 in the Absence of Chronic Insulin Resistance 
Heat shock protein (HSP)70 decreases with age. Often aging is associated with coincident insulin resistance and higher blood glucose levels, which also associate with lower HSP70. We aimed to understand how these factors interrelate through a series of experiments using vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeous). Monkeys (n = 284, 4–25 years) fed low-fat diets showed no association of muscle HSP70 with age (r = .04, p = .53), but levels were highly heritable. Insulin resistance was induced in vervet monkeys with high-fat diets, and muscle biopsies were taken after 0.3 or 6 years. HSP70 levels were significantly greater after 0.3 years (+72%, p < .05) but were significantly lower following 6 years of high-fat diet (−77%, p < .05). Associations with glucose also switched from being positive (r = .44, p = .03) to strikingly negative (r = −.84, p < .001) with increasing insulin resistance. In conclusion, a low-fat diet may preserve tissue HSP70 and health with aging, whereas high-fat diets, insulin resistance, and genetic factors may be more important than age for determining HSP70 levels.
PMCID: PMC3437965  PMID: 22403054
Heat shock protein 70; Aging; Nonhuman primate; Western diet; Insulin resistance; 

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