Expansive remodelling is the process of compensatory arterial enlargement in response to atherosclerotic stimuli. The genetic determinants of this process are poorly characterized.
Genetic association analyses of inter-adventitial common carotid artery diameter (ICCAD) in the IMPROVE study (n = 3427) using the Illumina 200k Metabochip was performed. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that met array-wide significance were taken forward for analysis in three further studies (n = 5704), and tested for association with Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA).
rs3768445 on Chromosome 1q24.3, in a cluster of protein coding genes (DNM3, PIGC, C1orf105) was associated with larger ICCAD in the IMPROVE study. For each copy of the rare allele carried, ICCAD was on average 0.13 mm greater (95% CI 0.08–0.18 mm, P = 8.2 × 10−8). A proxy SNP (rs4916251, R2 = 0.99) did not, however, show association with ICCAD in three follow-up studies (P for replication = 0.29). There was evidence of interaction between carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) and rs4916251 on ICCAD in two of the cohorts studies suggesting that it plays a role in the remodelling response to atherosclerosis. In meta-analysis of 5 case–control studies pooling data from 5007 cases and 43,630 controls, rs4916251 was associated with presence of AAA 1.10, 95% CI 1.03–1.17, p = 2.8 × 10−3, I2 = 18.8, Q = 0.30). A proxy SNP, rs4916251 was also associated with increased expression of PIGC in aortic tissue, suggesting that this may the mechanism by which this locus affects vascular remodelling.
Common variation at 1q24.3 is associated with expansive vascular remodelling and risk of AAA. These findings support a hypothesis that pathways involved in systemic vascular remodelling play a role in AAA development.
► In the IMPROVE study (n > 3000) variants at 1q24.3 were strongly associated with larger carotid diameters. ► The lead variant was associated with Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) in meta-analysis of 5 studies (n > 50,000). ► Variants at 1q24.3 appear to be associated with vascular remodelling and risk of AAA.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm; Genome-wide association studies; Vascular remodelling; Carotid artery
An understanding of heart development is critical in any systems biology approach to cardiovascular disease. The interpretation of data generated from high-throughput technologies (such as microarray and proteomics) is also essential to this approach. However, characterizing the role of genes in the processes underlying heart development and cardiovascular disease involves the non-trivial task of data analysis and integration of previous knowledge. The Gene Ontology (GO) Consortium provides structured controlled biological vocabularies that are used to summarize previous functional knowledge for gene products across all species. One aspect of GO describes biological processes, such as development and signaling.
In order to support high-throughput cardiovascular research, we have initiated an effort to fully describe heart development in GO; expanding the number of GO terms describing heart development from 12 to over 280. This new ontology describes heart morphogenesis, the differentiation of specific cardiac cell types, and the involvement of signaling pathways in heart development and aligns GO with the current views of the heart development research community and its representation in the literature. This extension of GO allows gene product annotators to comprehensively capture the genetic program leading to the developmental progression of the heart. This will enable users to integrate heart development data across species, resulting in the comprehensive retrieval of information about this subject.
The revised GO structure, combined with gene product annotations, should improve the interpretation of data from high-throughput methods in a variety of cardiovascular research areas, including heart development, congenital cardiac disease, and cardiac stem cell research. Additionally, we invite the heart development community to contribute to the expansion of this important dataset for the benefit of future research in this area.
annotation; cardiovascular; development; Gene Ontology; heart
Evidence for the associations of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the F7 gene and factor VII (FVII) levels and with risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) is inconsistent. We examined whether F7 tagging SNPs and haplotypes were associated with FVII levels, coagulation activation markers (CAMs) and CHD risk in two cohorts of UK men.
Genotypes for eight SNPs and baseline levels of FVIIc, FVIIag, and CAMs (including FVIIa) were determined in 2773 healthy men from the Second Northwick Park Heart Study (NPHS-II). A second cohort, Whitehall II study (WH-II, n=4055), was used for replication analysis of FVIIc levels and CHD-risk.
In NPHS-II the minor alleles of three SNPs (rs555212, rs762635, and rs510317; haplotype H2) were associated with higher levels of FVIIag, FVIIc, and FVIIa, while the minor allele for two SNPs (I/D323, and rs6046; haplotype H5) were associated with lower levels. Adjusted for classical risk factors, H2 carriers had a CHD Hazard Ratio of 1.34 (CI 95%: 1.12–1.59; independent of FVIIc), while H5 carriers had a CHD-risk of 1.29 (CI 95%: 1.01–1.56; not independent of FVIIc) and significantly lower CAMs. Effects of haplotypes on FVIIc levels were replicated in WH-II, as was association of H5 with higher CHD-risk (pooled-estimate OR 1.16 [1.00–1.36], P=0.05), but surprisingly, H2 exhibited a reduced risk for CHD.
tSNPs in the F7 gene strongly influence FVII levels. The haplotype associated with low FVIIc level, with particularly reduced functional activity, was consistently associated with increased risk for CHD, while the haplotype associated with high FVIIc level was not.
Factor VII; F7 gene; tagging SNPs; haplotypes; incident coronary heart disease
The role of common APOE variants on plasma lipids, particularly low density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, and coronary heart disease (CHD) risk is well known; the influence of variation in the other nearby apolipoprotein genes APOC1, APOC4 and APOC2 is unclear. This study examines the association between APOE/C1/C4/C2 gene cluster variation using tagging SNPs and plasma lipid concentration along with risk of CHD in a prospective cohort. Genotypes for 11 common APOE/C1/C4/C2 SNPs were determined in 2,767 middle-aged (49 to 64 years) men from the Second Northwick Park Heart Study, with 275 CHD events over a 15-year follow-up period. Seven SNPs showed significant associations with one or more lipid trait in univariate analysis. Multivariate and haplotype analysis showed that the APOE genotypes are most strongly associated with effects on LDL-C and apoB concentration (explaining 3.4% of the LDL-C variance) while the other SNPs in this gene cluster explained an additional 1.2%. Haplotypes in APOC2 and APOC4 were associated with modest effects on HDL-C and apoAI (explaining respectively 1.4% and 1.2%). Carriers of the APOE ɛ2 SNP had a significantly lower risk of CHD hazard ratio (HR) of 0.63 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.42–0.95), as did carriers of the APOC2 SNP rs5127 (HR = 0.72, 95% CI: 0.56–0.93), while carriers of APOC1 SNP rs4803770 had higher risk of CHD (HR = 1.36, 95% CI: 1.04–1.78) compared with noncarriers. While the common APOE polymorphism explains the majority of the locus genetic determinants of plasma lipid levels, additional SNPs in the APOC1/C2 region may contribute to CHD risk, but these effects require confirmation.
Genome-wide association studies have proved very successful in identifying novel single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with disease or traits, but the related, functional SNP is usually unknown. In this paper, we describe a methodology to locate and validate candidate functional SNPs using lipoprotein lipase (LPL), a gene previously associated with triglyceride levels, as an exemplar. Two thousand seven hundred and eighty-six healthy middle-aged men from the NPHSII UK prospective study (with up to six measures of plasma lipid levels) were genotyped for 20 LPL tagging (t)SNPs using Illumina Bead technology. Using model-selection procedures and haplotypes, we identified eight SNPs that consistently maximized the fit of the model to the phenotype. Fifteen SNPs in high linkage disequilibrium with these were identified, and functional assays were carried out on all 23 SNPs. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) was used to identify SNPs that had the potential to alter DNA–protein interactions, reducing the number to eight possible candidate SNPs. These were examined for ability to alter expression using a luciferase reporter assay, and two regulatory SNPs, showing genotype differences, rs327 and rs3289, were identified. Finally, multiplexed-competitor-EMSA (MC-EMSA) and supershift EMSA identified FOXA2 to rs327T, and CREB-binding protein (CBP) and CCAAT displacement protein (CDP) to rs3289C as the factors responsible for transcription binding. We have identified two novel candidate functional SNPs in LPL and presented a procedure aimed to efficiently detect SNPs potentially causal to genetic association. We believe that this methodology could be successfully applied to future re-sequencing data.
Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) inhibitors raise HDL-cholesterol but torcetrapib, the first-in-class inhibitor tested in a large outcome trial caused unexpected blood pressure elevation and increased cardiovascular events. Whether the hypertensive effect resulted from CETP-inhibition or an off-target action of torcetrapib has been debated. We hypothesised that common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the CETP-gene could help distinguish mechanism-based from off-target actions of CETP-inhibitors to inform on the validity of CETP as a therapeutic target.
Methods and Results
We compared the effect of CETP SNPs and torcetrapib treatment on lipid fractions, blood pressure and electrolytes in up to 67,687 individuals from genetic studies and 17,911 from randomised trials. CETP SNPs and torcetrapib treatment reduced CETP activity and had directionally concordant effect on eight lipid and lipoprotein traits (total-, LDL- and HDL-cholesterol, HDL2, HDL3, apolipoproteins A-I, -B, and triglycerides), with the genetic effect on HDL-cholesterol (0.13 mmol/L; 95% CI: 0.11, 0.14) being consistent with that expected of a 10 mg dose of torcetrapib (0.13 mmol/L; 0.10, 0.15). In trials, 60mg torcetrapib elevated systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 4.47mmHg (4.10, 4.84) and 2.08mmHg (1.84, 2.31) respectively. However, the effect of CETP SNPs on systolic 0.16mmHg (−0.28, 0.60) and diastolic blood pressure −0.04mmHg (−0.36, 0.28) was null and significantly different from that expected of 10 mg torcetrapib.
Discordance in the effects of CETP SNPs and torcetrapib treatment on blood pressure despite the concordant effects on lipids indicates the hypertensive action of torcetrapib is unlikely to be due to CETP-inhibition, or shared by chemically dissimilar CETP inhibitors. Genetic studies could find use in drug development programmes as a new source of randomised evidence for drug target validation in man.
genetics; pharmacology; epidemiology
High oxidative stress potentially leads to accelerated telomere shortening and consequent premature cell senescence, implicated in type 2 diabetes (T2D) development. Therefore, we studied the association of leukocyte telomere length (LTL) with the presence of T2D, as well as the effect on the patients’ LTL of plasma oxidative stress and of variation in UCP2, a gene involved in the mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species.
Mean LTL was determined in 569 Caucasian, 103 South Asian and 70 Afro-Caribbean T2D patients aged from 24 to 92 years, 81 healthy Caucasian male students aged from 18 to 28 years and 367 healthy Caucasian men aged from 40 to 61 years by real-time PCR. Plasma total antioxidant status (TAOS) was measured in the T2D patients by a photometric microassay. The patients were also genotyped for the UCP2 functional variants −866G>A and A55V.
Afro-Carribeans had 510 bp longer mean length compared to Caucasians (p < 0.0001) and 500 bp longer than South Asians (p = 0.004). T2D subjects displayed shorter age-adjusted LTL compared to controls [6.94(6.8–7.03) vs. 7.72(7.53–7.9), p < 0.001] with subjects in the middle and the lowest tertile of LTL having significantly higher odds ratios for T2D compared to those in the highest tertile [1.50(1.08–2.07) and 5.04(3.63–6.99), respectively, p < 0.0001]. In the patients, LTL was correlated negatively with age (r = −0.18, p < 0.0001) and positively with TAOS measures (r = 0.12, p = 0.01) after adjusting for age, while carriers of the UCP2 −866A allele had shorter age-adjusted LTL than common homozygotes [6.86(6.76–6.96) kb vs. 7.03(6.91–7.15) kb, p = 0.04].
The present data suggest that shorter LTL is associated with the presence of T2D and this could be partially attributed to the high oxidative stress in these patients. The association of the UCP2 functional promoter variant with the LTL implies a link between mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species and shorter telomere length in T2D.
Telomere length; Type 2 diabetes; Oxidative stress; UCP2 gene; Ethnic diversity
Objectives To assess the performance of a panel of common single nucleotide polymorphisms (genotypes) associated with type 2 diabetes in distinguishing incident cases of future type 2 diabetes (discrimination), and to examine the effect of adding genetic information to previously validated non-genetic (phenotype based) models developed to estimate the absolute risk of type 2 diabetes.
Design Workplace based prospective cohort study with three 5 yearly medical screenings.
Participants 5535 initially healthy people (mean age 49 years; 33% women), of whom 302 developed new onset type 2 diabetes over 10 years.
Outcome measures Non-genetic variables included in two established risk models—the Cambridge type 2 diabetes risk score (age, sex, drug treatment, family history of type 2 diabetes, body mass index, smoking status) and the Framingham offspring study type 2 diabetes risk score (age, sex, parental history of type 2 diabetes, body mass index, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose)—and 20 single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with susceptibility to type 2 diabetes. Cases of incident type 2 diabetes were defined on the basis of a standard oral glucose tolerance test, self report of a doctor’s diagnosis, or the use of anti-diabetic drugs.
Results A genetic score based on the number of risk alleles carried (range 0-40; area under receiver operating characteristics curve 0.54, 95% confidence interval 0.50 to 0.58) and a genetic risk function in which carriage of risk alleles was weighted according to the summary odds ratios of their effect from meta-analyses of genetic studies (area under receiver operating characteristics curve 0.55, 0.51 to 0.59) did not effectively discriminate cases of diabetes. The Cambridge risk score (area under curve 0.72, 0.69 to 0.76) and the Framingham offspring risk score (area under curve 0.78, 0.75 to 0.82) led to better discrimination of cases than did genotype based tests. Adding genetic information to phenotype based risk models did not improve discrimination and provided only a small improvement in model calibration and a modest net reclassification improvement of about 5% when added to the Cambridge risk score but not when added to the Framingham offspring risk score.
Conclusion The phenotype based risk models provided greater discrimination for type 2 diabetes than did models based on 20 common independently inherited diabetes risk alleles. The addition of genotypes to phenotype based risk models produced only minimal improvement in accuracy of risk estimation assessed by recalibration and, at best, a minor net reclassification improvement. The major translational application of the currently known common, small effect genetic variants influencing susceptibility to type 2 diabetes is likely to come from the insight they provide on causes of disease and potential therapeutic targets.
Gene Ontology (GO) provides a controlled vocabulary to describe the attributes of genes and gene products in any organism. Although one might initially wonder what relevance a ‘controlled vocabulary’ might have for cardiovascular science, such a resource is proving highly useful for researchers investigating complex cardiovascular disease phenotypes as well as those interpreting results from high-throughput methodologies. GO enables the current functional knowledge of individual genes to be used to annotate genomic or proteomic datasets. In this way, the GO data provides a very effective way of linking biological knowledge with the analysis of the large datasets of post-genomics research. Consequently, users of high-throughput methodologies such as expression arrays or proteomics will be the main beneficiaries of such annotation sets. However, as GO annotations increase in quality and quantity, groups using small-scale approaches will gradually begin to benefit too. For example, genome wide association scans for coronary heart disease are identifying novel genes, with previously unknown connections to cardiovascular processes, and the comprehensive annotation of these novel genes might provide clues to their cardiovascular link. At least 4000 genes, to date, have been implicated in cardiovascular processes and an initiative is underway to focus on annotating these genes for the benefit of the cardiovascular community. In this article we review the current uses of Gene Ontology annotation to highlight why Gene Ontology should be of interest to all those involved in cardiovascular research.
Gene Ontology; Cardiovascular science; High-throughput analysis; Chromosome 9
Individuals at risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) show multiple correlations across blood biomarkers. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) indexing biomarker differences could help distinguish causal from confounded associations because of their random allocation prior to disease. We examined the association of 948 SNPs in 122 candidate genes with 12 CHD-associated phenotypes in 2775 middle aged men (a genic scan). Of these, 140 SNPs indexed differences in HDL- and LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, factor VII, apolipoproteins AI and B, lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2, homocysteine or folate, some with large effect sizes and highly significant P-values (e.g. 2.15 standard deviations at P = 9.2 × 10−140 for F7 rs6046 and FVII levels). Top ranking SNPs were then tested for association with additional biomarkers correlated with the index phenotype (phenome scan). Several SNPs (e.g. in APOE, CETP, LPL, APOB and LDLR) influenced multiple phenotypes, while others (e.g. in F7, CRP and FBB) showed restricted association to the index marker. SNPs influencing six blood proteins were used to evaluate the nature of the associations between correlated blood proteins utilizing Mendelian randomization. Multiple SNPs were associated with CHD-related quantitative traits, with some associations restricted to a single marker and others exerting a wider genetic ‘footprint’. SNPs indexing biomarkers provide new tools for investigating biological relationships and causal links with disease. Broader and deeper integrated analyses, linking genomic with transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic analysis, as well as clinical events could, in principle, better delineate CHD causing pathways amenable to treatment.
To replicate the associations of leukocyte telomere length (LTL) with variants at four loci and to investigate their associations with coronary heart disease (CHD) and type II diabetes (T2D), in order to examine possible causal effects of telomere maintenance machinery on disease aetiology.
Four SNPs at three loci BICD1 (rs2630578 GγC), 18q12.2 (rs2162440 GγT), and OBFC1 (rs10786775 CγG, rs11591710 AγC) were genotyped in four studies comprised of 2353 subjects out of which 1148 had CHD and 566 T2D. Three SNPs (rs12696304 CγG, rs10936601G>T and rs16847897 GγC) at the TERC locus were genotyped in these four studies, in addition to an offspring study of 765 healthy students. For all samples, LTL had been measured using a real-time PCR-based method.
Only one SNP was associated with a significant effect on LTL, with the minor allele G of OBFC1 rs10786775 SNP being associated with longer LTL (β=0.029, P=0.04). No SNPs were significantly associated with CHD or T2D. For OBFC1 the haplotype carrying both rare alleles (rs10786775G and rs11591710C, haplotype frequency 0.089) was associated with lower CHD prevalence (OR: 0.77; 95% CI: 0.61–0.97; P= 0.03). The TERC haplotype GTC (rs12696304G, rs10936601T and rs16847897C, haplotype frequency 0.210) was associated with lower risk for both CHD (OR: 0.86; 95% CI: 0.75-0.99; P=0.04) and T2D (OR: 0.74; 95% CI: 0.61–0.91; P= 0.004), with no effect on LTL. Only the last association remained after adjusting for multiple testing.
Of reported associations, only that between the OBFC1 rs10786775 SNP and LTL was confirmed, although our study has a limited power to detect modest effects. A 2-SNP OBFC1 haplotype was associated with higher risk of CHD, and a 3-SNP TERC haplotype was associated with both higher risk of CHD and T2D. Further work is required to confirm these results and explore the mechanisms of these effects.
Substantial advances have been made in identifying common genetic variants influencing cardiometabolic traits and disease outcomes through genome wide association studies. Nevertheless, gaps in knowledge remain and new questions have arisen regarding the population relevance, mechanisms, and applications for healthcare. Using a new high-resolution custom single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array (Metabochip) incorporating dense coverage of genomic regions linked to cardiometabolic disease, the University College-London School-Edinburgh-Bristol (UCLEB) consortium of highly-phenotyped population-based prospective studies, aims to: (1) fine map functionally relevant SNPs; (2) precisely estimate individual absolute and population attributable risks based on individual SNPs and their combination; (3) investigate mechanisms leading to altered risk factor profiles and CVD events; and (4) use Mendelian randomisation to undertake studies of the causal role in CVD of a range of cardiovascular biomarkers to inform public health policy and help develop new preventative therapies.
Following the widespread use of genome-wide association studies (GWAS), focus is turning towards identification of causal variants rather than simply genetic markers of diseases and traits. As a step towards a high-throughput method to identify genome-wide, non-coding, functional regulatory variants, we describe the technique of allele-specific FAIRE, utilising large-scale genotyping technology (FAIRE-gen) to determine allelic effects on chromatin accessibility and regulatory potential. FAIRE-gen was explored using lymphoblastoid cells and the 50,000 SNP Illumina CVD BeadChip. The technique identified an allele-specific regulatory polymorphism within NR1H3 (coding for LXR-α), rs7120118, coinciding with a previously GWAS-identified SNP for HDL-C levels. This finding was confirmed using FAIRE-gen with the 200,000 SNP Illumina Metabochip and verified with the established method of TaqMan allelic discrimination. Examination of this SNP in two prospective Caucasian cohorts comprising 15,000 individuals confirmed the association with HDL-C levels (combined beta = 0.016; p = 0.0006), and analysis of gene expression identified an allelic association with LXR-α expression in heart tissue. Using increasingly comprehensive genotyping chips and distinct tissues for examination, FAIRE-gen has the potential to aid the identification of many causal SNPs associated with disease from GWAS.
The identification of genetic variants associated with complex diseases has rapidly grown through lowering costs of genome sequencing and the use of large-scale genotyping chips based on this sequencing data. There have not been corresponding advances in the identification of causal genetic variants compared to variants simply associated with diseases or traits. Most of these causal variants are thought to be located not within regions coding for proteins, but within genomic regions that regulate the level of protein. We have combined the use of large-scale gene chips with functional analysis, to determine regions of the genome that confer a greater potential for controlling gene regulation dependent on the genotype of that individual. Combining this data with population data and gene expression data, we identify a potential causal variant that alters regulation of LXR-α, a key mediator in lipid metabolism, and show that this variant is associated with HDL-C levels. This methodology provides a model for future analyses to identify further causal variants for disease.
Secretory phospholipase A2 group IIA (sPLA2-IIA) has been identified as a biomarker of atherosclerosis in observational and animal studies. The protein is encoded by the PLA2G2A gene and the aim of this study was to test the functionality of two PLA2G2A non-coding SNPs, rs11573156 C>G and rs3767221 T>G where the rare alleles have been previously associated with higher and lower sPLA2-IIA levels respectively.
Luciferase assays, electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA), and RNA expression by RT-PCR were used to examine allelic differences. For rs3767221 the G allele showed ∼55% lower luciferase activity compared to the T allele (T = 62.1 (95% CI 59.1 to 65.1) G = 27.8 (95% CI 25.0 to 30.6), p = 1.22×10−35, and stronger EMSA binding of a nuclear protein compared to the T-allele. For rs11573156 C >G there were no luciferase or EMSA allelic differences seen. In lymphocyte cell RNA, from individuals of known rs11573156 genotype, there was no allelic RNA expression difference for exons 5 and 6, but G allele carriers (n = 7) showed a trend to lower exon 1–2 expression compared to CC individuals. To take this further, in the ASAP study (n = 223), an rs11573156 proxy (r2 = 0.91) showed ∼25% higher liver expression of PLA2G2A (1.67×10−17) associated with the G allele. However, considering exon specific expression, the association was greatly reduced for exon 2 (4.5×10−5) compared to exons 3–6 (10−10 to 10−20), suggesting rs11573156 G allele-specific exon 2 skipping.
Both SNPs are functional and provide useful tools for Mendelian Randomisation to determine whether the relationship between sPLA2-IIA and coronary heart disease is causal.
Higher Lp-PLA2 activity is associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), making Lp-PLA2 a potential therapeutic target. PLA2G7 variants associated with Lp-PLA2 activity could evaluate whether this relationship is causal.
Methods and Results
A meta-analysis including a total of 12 studies (5 prospective, 4 case-control, 1 case-only and 2 cross-sectional, n=26,118) was undertaken to examine the association of: (i) LpPLA2 activity vs. cardiovascular biomarkers and risk factors and CHD events (two prospective studies; n=4884); ii) PLA2G7 SNPs and Lp-PLA2 activity (3 prospective, 2 case-control, 2 cross-sectional studies; up to n=6094); and iii) PLA2G7 SNPs and angiographic coronary artery disease (2 case-control, 1 case-only study; n=4971 cases) and CHD events (5 prospective, 2 case-control studies; n=5523). Lp-PLA2 activity correlated with several CHD risk markers. Hazard ratio for CHD events top vs. bottom quartile of Lp-PLA2 activity was 1.61 (95%CI: 1.31, 1.99) and 1.17 (95%CI: 0.91, 1.51) after adjustment for baseline traits. Of seven SNPs, rs1051931 (A379V) showed the strongest association with Lp-PLA2 activity, VV subjects having 7.2% higher activity than AAs. Genotype was not associated with risk markers, angiographic coronary disease (OR 1.03 (95%CI 0.80, 1.32), or CHD events (OR 0.98 (95%CI 0.82, 1.17).
Unlike Lp-PLA2 activity, PLA2G7 variants associated with modest effects on Lp-PLA2 activity were not associated with cardiovascular risk markers, coronary atheroma or CHD. Larger association studies, identification of SNPs with larger effects, or randomised trials of specific Lp-PLA2 inhibitors are needed to confirm/refute a contributory role for Lp-PLA2 in CHD.
genetics; epidemiology; risk factors; Mendelian randomization
To investigate the relationship between Angiopoietin-like protein 4 (Angptl4) levels, CHD biomarkers and ANGPTL4 variants.
Methods and Results
Plasma Angptl4 was quantified in 666 subjects of the Northwick Park Heart Study II using a validated ELISA. Seven ANGPTL4 SNPs were genotyped and CHD biomarkers assessed in the whole cohort (n=2775). Weighted mean (±SD) plasma Angptl4 levels were 10.0(±11.0) ng/ml. Plasma Angptl4 concentration correlated positively with age (r=0.15, P<0.001), body fat mass (r=0.19, P=0.003) but negatively with plasma HDL-cholesterol (r=−0.13, P=0.01). No correlation with triglycerides was observed. T266M was independently associated with plasma Angptl4 levels (P<0.001), but not associated with triglycerides or with CHD risk in the meta-analysis of five studies (4,061 cases/15,395 controls). E40K showed no independent association with plasma Angptl4 levels. In HEK293 and Huh7 cells compared to wild-type, E40K and T266M showed significantly altered synthesis and secretion, respectively.
These data suggest that circulating Angptl4 levels do not influence triglyceride levels or CHD risk since (1) Angptl4 levels were not correlated with triglycerides, (2) T266M, although associated with Angptl4 levels, showed no association with plasma triglycerides (3) Triglyceride-lowering E40K did not influence Angptl4 levels. These results provide new insights into the role of Angptl4 in triglyceride metabolism.
Angplt4; E40K; T266M; cardiovascular disease; LPL
Polymorphisms in and around the Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein (CETP) gene have been associated with HDL levels, risk for coronary artery disease (CAD), and response to therapy. The mechanism of action of these polymorphisms has yet to be defined. We used mRNA allelic expression and splice isoform measurements in human liver tissues to identify the genetic variants affecting CETP levels. Allelic CETP mRNA expression ratios in 56 human livers were strongly associated with several variants 2.5–7 kb upstream of the transcription start site (e.g., rs247616 p = 6.4×10−5, allele frequency 33%). In addition, a common alternatively spliced CETP isoform lacking exon 9 (Δ9), has been shown to prevent CETP secretion in a dominant-negative manner. The Δ 9 expression ranged from 10 to 48% of total CETP mRNA in 94 livers. Increased formation of this isoform was exclusively associated with an exon 9 polymorphism rs5883-C>T (p = 6.8×10−10) and intron 8 polymorphism rs9930761-T>C (5.6×10−8) (in high linkage disequilibrium with allele frequencies 6–7%). rs9930761 changes a key splicing branch point nucleotide in intron 8, while rs5883 alters an exonic splicing enhancer sequence in exon 9.
The effect of these polymorphisms was evaluated in two clinical studies. In the Whitehall II study of 4745 subjects, both rs247616 and rs5883T/rs9930761C were independently associated with increased HDL-C levels in males with similar effect size (rs247616 p = 9.6×10−28 and rs5883 p = 8.6×10−10, adjusted for rs247616). In an independent multiethnic US cohort of hypertensive subjects with CAD (INVEST-GENE), rs5883T/rs9930761C alone were significantly associated with increased incidence of MI, stroke, and all-cause mortality in males (rs5883: OR 2.36 (CI 1.29–4.30), p = 0.005, n = 866). These variants did not reach significance in females in either study. Similar to earlier results linking low CETP activity with poor outcomes in males, our results suggest genetic, sex-dependent CETP splicing effects on cardiovascular risk by a mechanism independent of circulating HDL-C levels.
The Gene Ontology (GO) resource provides dynamic controlled vocabularies to provide an information-rich resource to aid in the consistent description of the functional attributes and subcellular locations of gene products from all taxonomic groups (www.geneontology.org). System-focused projects, such as the Renal and Cardiovascular GO Annotation Initiatives, aim to provide detailed GO data for proteins implicated in specific organ development and function. Such projects support the rapid evaluation of new experimental data and aid in the generation of novel biological insights to help alleviate human disease. This paper describes the improvement of GO data for renal and cardiovascular research communities and demonstrates that the cardiovascular-focused GO annotations, created over the past three years, have led to an evident improvement of microarray interpretation. The reanalysis of cardiovascular microarray datasets confirms the need to continue to improve the annotation of the human proteome.
GO annotation data is freely available from: ftp://ftp.geneontology.org/pub/go/gene-associations/
The MTHFR 677C→T polymorphism has been associated with raised homocysteine concentration and increased risk of stroke. A previous overview showed that the effects were greatest in regions with low dietary folate consumption, but differentiation between the effect of folate and small-study bias was difficult. A meta-analysis of randomised trials of homocysteine-lowering interventions showed no reduction in coronary heart disease events or stroke, but the trials were generally set in populations with high folate consumption. We aimed to reduce the effect of small-study bias and investigate whether folate status modifies the association between MTHFR 677C→T and stroke in a genetic analysis and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.
We established a collaboration of genetic studies consisting of 237 datasets including 59 995 individuals with data for homocysteine and 20 885 stroke events. We compared the genetic findings with a meta-analysis of 13 randomised trials of homocysteine-lowering treatments and stroke risk (45 549 individuals, 2314 stroke events, 269 transient ischaemic attacks).
The effect of the MTHFR 677C→T variant on homocysteine concentration was larger in low folate regions (Asia; difference between individuals with TT versus CC genotype, 3·12 μmol/L, 95% CI 2·23 to 4·01) than in areas with folate fortification (America, Australia, and New Zealand, high; 0·13 μmol/L, −0·85 to 1·11). The odds ratio (OR) for stroke was also higher in Asia (1·68, 95% CI 1·44 to 1·97) than in America, Australia, and New Zealand, high (1·03, 0·84 to 1·25). Most randomised trials took place in regions with high or increasing population folate concentrations. The summary relative risk (RR) of stroke in trials of homocysteine-lowering interventions (0·94, 95% CI 0·85 to 1·04) was similar to that predicted for the same extent of homocysteine reduction in large genetic studies in populations with similar folate status (predicted RR 1·00, 95% CI 0·90 to 1·11). Although the predicted effect of homocysteine reduction from large genetic studies in low folate regions (Asia) was larger (RR 0·78, 95% CI 0·68 to 0·90), no trial has evaluated the effect of lowering of homocysteine on stroke risk exclusively in a low folate region.
In regions with increasing levels or established policies of population folate supplementation, evidence from genetic studies and randomised trials is concordant in suggesting an absence of benefit from lowering of homocysteine for prevention of stroke. Further large-scale genetic studies of the association between MTHFR 677C→T and stroke in low folate settings are needed to distinguish effect modification by folate from small-study bias. If future randomised trials of homocysteine-lowering interventions for stroke prevention are undertaken, they should take place in regions with low folate consumption.
Full funding sources listed at end of paper (see Acknowledgments).
To evaluate the associations of emergent genome-wide-association study-derived coronary heart disease (CHD)-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with established and emerging risk factors, and the association of genome-wide-association study-derived lipid-associated SNPs with other risk factors and CHD events.
Methods and results
Using two case–control studies, three cross-sectional, and seven prospective studies with up to 25 000 individuals and 5794 CHD events we evaluated associations of 34 genome-wide-association study-identified SNPs with CHD risk and 16 CHD-associated risk factors or biomarkers. The Ch9p21 SNPs rs1333049 (OR 1.17; 95% confidence limits 1.11–1.24) and rs10757274 (OR 1.17; 1.09–1.26), MIA3 rs17465637 (OR 1.10; 1.04–1.15), Ch2q36 rs2943634 (OR 1.08; 1.03–1.14), APC rs383830 (OR 1.10; 1.02, 1.18), MTHFD1L rs6922269 (OR 1.10; 1.03, 1.16), CXCL12 rs501120 (OR 1.12; 1.04, 1.20), and SMAD3 rs17228212 (OR 1.11; 1.05, 1.17) were all associated with CHD risk, but not with the CHD biomarkers and risk factors measured. Among the 20 blood lipid-related SNPs, LPL rs17411031 was associated with a lower risk of CHD (OR 0.91; 0.84–0.97), an increase in Apolipoprotein AI and HDL-cholesterol, and reduced triglycerides. SORT1 rs599839 was associated with CHD risk (OR 1.20; 1.15–1.26) as well as total- and LDL-cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B. ANGPTL3 rs12042319 was associated with CHD risk (OR 1.11; 1.03, 1.19), total- and LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and interleukin-6.
Several SNPs predicting CHD events appear to involve pathways not currently indexed by the established or emerging risk factors; others involved changes in blood lipids including triglycerides or HDL-cholesterol as well as LDL-cholesterol. The overlapping association of SNPs with multiple risk factors and biomarkers supports the existence of shared points of regulation for these phenotypes.
Coronary disease; Lipids; Genes; Risk factors
Elevated triglyceride levels are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Angiopoietin-like protein 4 (Angptl4) is a metabolic factor that raises plasma triglyceride levels by inhibiting lipoprotein lipase (LPL). In non-diabetic individuals, the ANGPTL4 coding variant E40K has been associated with lower plasma triglyceride levels while the T266M variant has been associated with more modest effects on triglyceride metabolism. The objective of this study was to determine whether ANGPTL4 E40K and T266M are associated with triglyceride levels in the setting of obesity and T2D, and whether modification of triglyceride levels by these genetic variants is altered by a lifestyle intervention designed to treat T2D.
The association of ANGPTL4 E40K and T266M with fasting triglyceride levels was investigated in 2,601 participants from the Look AHEAD Clinical Trial, all of whom had T2D and were at least overweight. Further, we tested for an interaction between genotype and treatment effects on triglyceride levels.
Among non-Hispanic White Look AHEAD participants, ANGPTL4 K40 carriers had mean triglyceride levels of 1.61 ± 0.62 mmol/L, 0.33 mmol/L lower than E40 homozygotes (p = 0.001). Individuals homozygous for the minor M266 allele (MAF 30%) had triglyceride levels of 1.75 ± 0.58 mmol/L, 0.24 mmol/L lower than T266 homozygotes (p = 0.002). The association of the M266 with triglycerides remained significant even after removing K40 carriers from the analysis (p = 0.002). There was no interaction between the weight loss intervention and genotype on triglyceride levels.
This is the first study to demonstrate that the ANGPTL4 E40K and T266M variants are associated with lower triglyceride levels in the setting of T2D. In addition, our findings demonstrate that ANGPTL4 genotype status does not alter triglyceride response to a lifestyle intervention in the Look AHEAD study.
Inter-individual variability in telomere length is highly heritable and has been correlated with risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Our aim was to determine the association of mean leukocyte telomere length with paternal history of premature myocardial infarction (MI). Mean leukocyte telomere length was measured with real-time polymerase chain reactions in 369 male students (18–28 years) with a paternal history of MI before the age of 55, recruited from 14 European universities, serving as cases and 396 age-matched controls with no paternal history of CHD. Overall, cases had borderline significantly shorter mean length (~550 bp), adjusted for age and geographical region, than controls (p = 0.05). A significant difference in telomere length across the geographical regions of Europe was observed (p < 0.0001), with shorter mean length in the Baltic and South and the longest in the Middle. The case–control difference (∼2.24 kb) in mean length was highly significant only in the Baltic region (p < 0.0001). There is suggestive evidence that, in young men, the biological expression of a paternal history of premature MI is at least in part mediated through inherited short telomeres. The association with paternal history of MI is strongly seen only in the Baltic compared to the rest of Europe, but this is not explained by shorter telomere length in this region.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00109-008-0347-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Telomere length; Family history; Premature; Myocardial infarction; Europe