Chronic respiratory disorders are important contributors to the global burden of disease. Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of lung function measures have identified several trait-associated loci, but explain only a modest portion of the phenotypic variability. We postulated that integrating pathway-based methods with GWASs of pulmonary function and airflow obstruction would identify a broader repertoire of genes and processes influencing these traits. We performed two independent GWASs of lung function and applied gene set enrichment analysis to one of the studies and validated the results using the second GWAS. We identified 131 significantly enriched gene sets associated with lung function and clustered them into larger biological modules involved in diverse processes including development, immunity, cell signaling, proliferation and arachidonic acid. We found that enrichment of gene sets was not driven by GWAS-significant variants or loci, but instead by those with less stringent association P-values. Next, we applied pathway enrichment analysis to a meta-analyzed GWAS of airflow obstruction. We identified several biologic modules that functionally overlapped with those associated with pulmonary function. However, differences were also noted, including enrichment of extracellular matrix (ECM) processes specifically in the airflow obstruction study. Network analysis of the ECM module implicated a candidate gene, matrix metalloproteinase 10 (MMP10), as a putative disease target. We used a knockout mouse model to functionally validate MMP10's role in influencing lung's susceptibility to cigarette smoke-induced emphysema. By integrating pathway analysis with population-based genomics, we unraveled biologic processes underlying pulmonary function traits and identified a candidate gene for obstructive lung disease.
Lung function measures reflect the physiological state of the lung, and are essential to the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The SpiroMeta-CHARGE consortium undertook the largest genome-wide association study (GWAS) so far (n=48 201) for forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) and the ratio of FEV1 to forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC) in the general population. The lung expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) study mapped the genetic architecture of gene expression in lung tissue from 1111 individuals. We used a systems genetics approach to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with lung function that act as eQTLs and change the level of expression of their target genes in lung tissue; termed eSNPs.
The SpiroMeta-CHARGE GWAS results were integrated with lung eQTLs to map eSNPs and the genes and pathways underlying the associations in lung tissue. For comparison, a similar analysis was done in peripheral blood. The lung mRNA expression levels of the eSNP-regulated genes were tested for associations with lung function measures in 727 individuals. Additional analyses identified the pleiotropic effects of eSNPs from the published GWAS catalogue, and mapped enrichment in regulatory regions from the ENCODE project. Finally, the Connectivity Map database was used to identify potential therapeutics in silico that could reverse the COPD lung tissue gene signature.
SNPs associated with lung function measures were more likely to be eQTLs and vice versa. The integration mapped the specific genes underlying the GWAS signals in lung tissue. The eSNP-regulated genes were enriched for developmental and inflammatory pathways; by comparison, SNPs associated with lung function that were eQTLs in blood, but not in lung, were only involved in inflammatory pathways. Lung function eSNPs were enriched for regulatory elements and were over-represented among genes showing differential expression during fetal lung development. An mRNA gene expression signature for COPD was identified in lung tissue and compared with the Connectivity Map. This in-silico drug repurposing approach suggested several compounds that reverse the COPD gene expression signature, including a nicotine receptor antagonist. These findings represent novel therapeutic pathways for COPD.
The system genetics approach identified lung tissue genes driving the variation in lung function and susceptibility to COPD. The identification of these genes and the pathways in which they are enriched is essential to understand the pathophysiology of airway obstruction and to identify novel therapeutic targets and biomarkers for COPD, including drugs that reverse the COPD gene signature in silico.
The research reported in this article was not specifically funded by any agency. See Acknowledgments for a full list of funders of the lung eQTL study and the Spiro-Meta CHARGE GWAS.
The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, prostate cancer prevention study funded by the National Cancer Institute and conducted by SWOG (Southwest Oncology Group). A total of 35,533 men were assigned randomly to one of four treatment groups (vitamin E + placebo, selenium + placebo, vitamin E + selenium, placebo + placebo). At the time of the trial’s development, NIH had invested substantial resources in evaluating the potential benefits of these antioxidants. To capitalize on the knowledge gained from following a large cohort of healthy, aging males on the effects of selenium and/or vitamin E, ancillary studies with other disease endpoints were solicited.
Four ancillary studies were added. Each drew from the same population but had independent objectives and an endpoint other than prostate cancer. These studies fell into two categories: those prospectively enrolling and following participants (studies of Alzheimer’s disease and respiratory function) and those requiring a retrospective medical record review after a reported event (cataracts/age-related macular degeneration and colorectal screening). An examination of the challenges and opportunities of adding ancillary studies is provided. The impact of the ancillary studies on adherence to SELECT was evaluated using a Cox proportional hazards model.
While the addition of ancillary studies appears to have improved participant adherence to the primary trial, this did not come without added complexity. Activation of the ancillary studies happened after the SELECT randomizations had begun resulting in accrual problems to some of the studies. Study site participation in the ancillary trials varied greatly and depended on the interest of the study site principal investigator. Procedures for each were integrated into the primary trial and all monitoring was done by the SELECT Data and Safety Monitoring Committee. The impact of the early closure of the primary trial was different for each of the ancillary trials.
The ancillary studies allowed study sites to broaden the research opportunities for their participants. Their implementation was efficient because of the established infrastructure of the primary trial. Implementation of these ancillary trials took substantial planning and coordination but enriched the overall primary trial.
NCT00006392-S0000: Selenium and Vitamin E in Preventing Prostate Cancer (SELECT) (4 October 2000).
NCT00780689-S0000A: Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease by Vitamin E and Selenium (PREADVISE) (25 June 2002).
NCT00784225-S0000B: Vitamin E and/or Selenium in Preventing Cataract and Age-Related Macular Degeneration in Men on SELECT SWOG-S0000 (SEE) (31 October 2008).
NCT00706121-S0000D: Effect of Vitamin E and/or Selenium on Colorectal Polyps in Men Enrolled on SELECT Trial SWOG-S0000 (ACP) (26 June 2008).
NCT00063453-S0000C: Vitamin E and/or Selenium in Preventing Loss of Lung Function in Older Men Enrolled on SELECT Clinical Trial SWOG-S0000 (26 June 2003).
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13063-016-1524-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Prostate cancer; Ancillary studies; Randomized controlled trial; Study implementation
Vitamin D is associated with lung function in cross-sectional studies, and vitamin D inadequacy is hypothesized to play a role in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Further data are needed to clarify the relation between vitamin D status, genetic variation in vitamin D metabolic genes, and cross-sectional and longitudinal changes in lung function in healthy adults.
We estimated the association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] and cross-sectional forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) in Framingham Heart Study (FHS) Offspring and Third Generation participants and the association between serum 25(OH)D and longitudinal change in FEV1 in Third Generation participants using linear mixed-effects models. Using a gene-based approach, we investigated the association between 241 SNPs in 6 select vitamin D metabolic genes in relation to longitudinal change in FEV1 in Offspring participants and pursued replication of these findings in a meta-analyzed set of 4 independent cohorts.
We found a positive cross-sectional association between 25(OH)D and FEV1 in FHS Offspring and Third Generation participants (P = 0.004). There was little or no association between 25(OH)D and longitudinal change in FEV1 in Third Generation participants (P = 0.97). In Offspring participants, the CYP2R1 gene, hypothesized to influence usual serum 25(OH)D status, was associated with longitudinal change in FEV1 (gene-based P < 0.05). The most significantly associated SNP from CYP2R1 had a consistent direction of association with FEV1 in the meta-analyzed set of replication cohorts, but the association did not reach statistical significance thresholds (P = 0.09).
Serum 25(OH)D status was associated with cross-sectional FEV1, but not longitudinal change in FEV1. The inconsistent associations may be driven by differences in the groups studied. CYP2R1 demonstrated a gene-based association with longitudinal change in FEV1 and is a promising candidate gene for further studies.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12931-015-0238-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Vitamin D; 25-hydroxyvitamin D; FEV1; CYP2R1; Lung function; Framingham Heart Study
The intake of nutrients with antioxidant properties is hypothesized to augment antioxidant defenses, decrease oxidant damage to tissues, and attenuate age-related rate of decline in lung function. The objective was to determine whether long-term intervention with selenium and/or vitamin E supplements attenuates the annual rate of decline in lung function, particularly in cigarette smokers.
The Respiratory Ancillary Study (RAS) tested the single and joint effects of selenium (200 μg/d L-selenomethionine) and vitamin E (400 IU/day all rac-α-tocopheryl acetate) in a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. At the end of the intervention, 1,641 men had repeated pulmonary function tests separated by an average of 3 years. Linear mixed-effects regression models estimated the effect of intervention on annual rate of decline in lung function.
Compared to placebo, intervention had no main effect on either forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) or forced expiratory flow (FEF25–75). There was no evidence for a smoking by treatment interaction for FEV1, but selenium attenuated rate of decline in FEF25–75 in current smokers (P = 0.0219). For current smokers randomized to selenium, annual rate of decline in FEF25–75 was similar to the annual decline experienced by never smokers randomized to placebo, with consistent effects for selenium alone and combined with vitamin E.
Among all men, there was no effect of selenium and/or vitamin E supplementation on rate of lung function decline. However, current smokers randomized to selenium had an attenuated rate of decline in FEF25–75, a marker of airflow.
Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT00241865.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12931-015-0195-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Spirometry; Vitamin E; Selenium; Forced expiratory volume; Forced expiratory flow rate
Forced vital capacity (FVC), a spirometric measure of pulmonary function, reflects lung volume and is used to diagnose and monitor lung diseases. We performed genome-wide association study meta-analysis of FVC in 52,253 individuals from 26 studies and followed up the top associations in 32,917 additional individuals of European ancestry. We found six new regions associated at genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8) with FVC in or near EFEMP1, BMP6, MIR-129-2/HSD17B12, PRDM11, WWOX, and KCNJ2. Two (GSTCD and PTCH1) loci previously associated with spirometric measures were related to FVC. Newly implicated regions were followed-up in samples of African American, Korean, Chinese, and Hispanic individuals. We detected transcripts for all six newly implicated genes in human lung tissue. The new loci may inform mechanisms involved in lung development and pathogenesis of restrictive lung disease.
To provide evidence on the comparative effectiveness of oral diabetes drug combinations.
We performed a retrospective, observational cohort study of glycosylated hemoglobin change in outpatients newly exposed to dual- or triple-drug oral diabetes treatment.
Adjusted response to a second drug added to metformin ranged from 0.85 to 1.21% glycosylated hemoglobin decline. Response to a third drug was smaller (0.53–0.91%). Higher baseline glycosylated hemoglobin was associated with larger response; sulfonylurea effectiveness declined over time; and thiazolidinediones were more effective in obese patients and women.
Observational data provide results qualitatively consistent with the limited available randomized data on diabetes drug effectiveness, and extend these findings into common clinical scenarios where randomized data are unavailable. Sex and BMI influence the comparative effectiveness of diabetes drug combinations.
biomarker; combination therapy; comparative effectiveness; diabetes; HbA1c
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified numerous loci influencing cross-sectional lung function, but less is known about genes influencing longitudinal change in lung function.
We performed GWAS of the rate of change in forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) in 14 longitudinal, population-based cohort studies comprising 27,249 adults of European ancestry using linear mixed effects model and combined cohort-specific results using fixed effect meta-analysis to identify novel genetic loci associated with longitudinal change in lung function. Gene expression analyses were subsequently performed for identified genetic loci. As a secondary aim, we estimated the mean rate of decline in FEV1 by smoking pattern, irrespective of genotypes, across these 14 studies using meta-analysis.
The overall meta-analysis produced suggestive evidence for association at the novel IL16/STARD5/TMC3 locus on chromosome 15 (P = 5.71 × 10-7). In addition, meta-analysis using the five cohorts with ≥3 FEV1 measurements per participant identified the novel ME3 locus on chromosome 11 (P = 2.18 × 10-8) at genome-wide significance. Neither locus was associated with FEV1 decline in two additional cohort studies. We confirmed gene expression of IL16, STARD5, and ME3 in multiple lung tissues. Publicly available microarray data confirmed differential expression of all three genes in lung samples from COPD patients compared with controls. Irrespective of genotypes, the combined estimate for FEV1 decline was 26.9, 29.2 and 35.7 mL/year in never, former, and persistent smokers, respectively.
In this large-scale GWAS, we identified two novel genetic loci in association with the rate of change in FEV1 that harbor candidate genes with biologically plausible functional links to lung function.
Vitamin D is associated with lung health in epidemiologic studies, but mechanisms mediating observed associations are poorly understood. This study explores mechanisms for an effect of vitamin D in lung through an in vivo gene expression study, an expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) analysis in lung tissue, and a population-based cohort study of sequence variants.
Microarray analysis investigated the association of gene expression in small airway epithelial cells with serum 25(OH)D in adult non-smokers. Sequence variants in candidate genes identified by the microarray were investigated in a lung tissue eQTL database, and also in relation to cross-sectional pulmonary function in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) study, stratified by race, with replication in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS).
13 candidate genes had significant differences in expression by serum 25(OH)D (nominal p < 0.05), and a genome-wide significant eQTL association was detected for SGPP2. In Health ABC, SGPP2 SNPs were associated with FEV1 in both European- and African-Americans, and the gene-level association was replicated in European-American FHS participants. SNPs in 5 additional candidate genes (DAPK1, FSTL1, KAL1, KCNS3, and RSAD2) were associated with FEV1 in Health ABC participants.
SGPP2, a sphingosine-1-phosphate phosphatase, is a novel vitamin D-responsive gene associated with lung function. The identified associations will need to be followed up in further studies.
Vitamin D; Airflow obstruction; FEV1; SGPP2; FEV1/FVC
Not all cigarette smokers develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and discovering susceptibility factors is an important research priority. The oxidative burden of smoking may overwhelm antioxidant defenses, and vulnerabilities may exist as a result of sequence variants in genes encoding antioxidant enzymes. This study explored the association between genetic variation in a network of antioxidant enzymes and lung phenotypes. Linear models evaluated single locus marker associations in 2,387 European and African American participants in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) Study. After correcting for multiple comparisons, 15 statistically significant associations were identified, all of which were for SNP by smoking interactions. The most statistically significant findings were in genes encoding members of the isocitrate dehydrogenase gene family (IDH3A, IDH3B, IDH2). For rs6107100 (IDH3B) the variant genotype was associated with a difference of 6% in the FEV1/FVC ratio in African American current smokers, but the SNP had little or no association with FEV1/FVC in former and never smokers (nominal pinteraction=5 × 10−6). A variant in peroxiredoxin gene (rs9787810, PRDX5) was associated with lower %predicted FEV1 and a lower ratio in European American current smokers, with little or no association in other smoking groups (nominal pinteraction=0.0001 and 0.0003, respectively). The studied genes have not been reported in previous candidate gene association studies, and thus the findings suggest novel mechanisms and targets for future research, and provide evidence for a contribution of sequence variation in genes encoding antioxidant enzymes to susceptibility in smokers.
Antioxidant enzymes; Lung function
Increased antioxidant defenses are hypothesized to decrease age- and smoking-related decline in lung function.
The relation of dietary antioxidants, smoking, and forced expiratory volume in the 1st second of effort (FEV1) was investigated in community-dwelling older adults in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study. 1,443 participants completed a food frequency questionnaire, self-reported smoking history, and had measurements of FEV1 at both baseline and after 4 years of follow-up. The association of dietary intake of nutrients and foods with antioxidant properties and rate of FEV1 decline was investigated using hierarchical linear regression models.
In continuing smokers (current smokers at both time points), higher vitamin C and higher intake of fruits and vegetables were associated with an 18 and 24 ml/year slower rate of FEV1 decline compared to lower intake (P<0.0001 and 0.003, respectively). In quitters (current smoker at study baseline, quit during follow-up), higher intake was associated with an attenuated rate of decline for each nutrient studied (p<0.003, all models). In non-smoking participants, there was little or no association of diet and rate of decline in FEV1.
The intake of nutrients with antioxidant properties may modulate lung function decline in older adults exposed to cigarette smoke.
Aging; Dietary Intake; Lung Function Measurements; Oxidants/Antioxidants; Smoking and Health
Rationale: Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified loci influencing lung function, but fewer genes influencing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are known.
Objectives: Perform meta-analyses of GWAS for airflow obstruction, a key pathophysiologic characteristic of COPD assessed by spirometry, in population-based cohorts examining all participants, ever smokers, never smokers, asthma-free participants, and more severe cases.
Methods: Fifteen cohorts were studied for discovery (3,368 affected; 29,507 unaffected), and a population-based family study and a meta-analysis of case-control studies were used for replication and regional follow-up (3,837 cases; 4,479 control subjects). Airflow obstruction was defined as FEV1 and its ratio to FVC (FEV1/FVC) both less than their respective lower limits of normal as determined by published reference equations.
Measurements and Main Results: The discovery meta-analyses identified one region on chromosome 15q25.1 meeting genome-wide significance in ever smokers that includes AGPHD1, IREB2, and CHRNA5/CHRNA3 genes. The region was also modestly associated among never smokers. Gene expression studies confirmed the presence of CHRNA5/3 in lung, airway smooth muscle, and bronchial epithelial cells. A single-nucleotide polymorphism in HTR4, a gene previously related to FEV1/FVC, achieved genome-wide statistical significance in combined meta-analysis. Top single-nucleotide polymorphisms in ADAM19, RARB, PPAP2B, and ADAMTS19 were nominally replicated in the COPD meta-analysis.
Conclusions: These results suggest an important role for the CHRNA5/3 region as a genetic risk factor for airflow obstruction that may be independent of smoking and implicate the HTR4 gene in the etiology of airflow obstruction.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; single-nucleotide polymorphism; genes
Genome-wide association studies have identified numerous genetic loci for spirometic measures of pulmonary function, forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), and its ratio to forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC). Given that cigarette smoking adversely affects pulmonary function, we conducted genome-wide joint meta-analyses (JMA) of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and SNP-by-smoking (ever-smoking or pack-years) associations on FEV1 and FEV1/FVC across 19 studies (total N = 50,047). We identified three novel loci not previously associated with pulmonary function. SNPs in or near DNER (smallest PJMA = 5.00×10−11), HLA-DQB1 and HLA-DQA2 (smallest PJMA = 4.35×10−9), and KCNJ2 and SOX9 (smallest PJMA = 1.28×10−8) were associated with FEV1/FVC or FEV1 in meta-analysis models including SNP main effects, smoking main effects, and SNP-by-smoking (ever-smoking or pack-years) interaction. The HLA region has been widely implicated for autoimmune and lung phenotypes, unlike the other novel loci, which have not been widely implicated. We evaluated DNER, KCNJ2, and SOX9 and found them to be expressed in human lung tissue. DNER and SOX9 further showed evidence of differential expression in human airway epithelium in smokers compared to non-smokers. Our findings demonstrated that joint testing of SNP and SNP-by-environment interaction identified novel loci associated with complex traits that are missed when considering only the genetic main effects.
Measures of pulmonary function provide important clinical tools for evaluating lung disease and its progression. Genome-wide association studies have identified numerous genetic risk factors for pulmonary function but have not considered interaction with cigarette smoking, which has consistently been shown to adversely impact pulmonary function. In over 50,000 study participants of European descent, we applied a recently developed joint meta-analysis method to simultaneously test associations of gene and gene-by-smoking interactions in relation to two major clinical measures of pulmonary function. Using this joint method to incorporate genetic main effects plus gene-by-smoking interaction, we identified three novel gene regions not previously related to pulmonary function: (1) DNER, (2) HLA-DQB1 and HLA-DQA2, and (3) KCNJ2 and SOX9. Expression analyses in human lung tissue from ours or prior studies indicate that these regions contain genes that are plausibly involved in pulmonary function. This work highlights the utility of employing novel methods for incorporating environmental interaction in genome-wide association studies to identify novel genetic regions.
Pulmonary function measures reflect respiratory health and predict mortality, and are used in the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We tested genome-wide association with the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and the ratio of FEV1 to forced vital capacity (FVC) in 48,201 individuals of European ancestry, with follow-up of top associations in up to an additional 46,411 individuals. We identified new regions showing association (combined P<5×10−8) with pulmonary function, in or near MFAP2, TGFB2, HDAC4, RARB, MECOM (EVI1), SPATA9, ARMC2, NCR3, ZKSCAN3, CDC123, C10orf11, LRP1, CCDC38, MMP15, CFDP1, and KCNE2. Identification of these 16 new loci may provide insight into the molecular mechanisms regulating pulmonary function and into molecular targets for future therapy to alleviate reduced lung function.
The oxidant/antioxidant balance in lung tissue is hypothesised to contribute to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) risk. Observational studies consistently report higher antioxidant status associated with lower COPD risk, but few randomised studies have been reported.
A post-hoc analysis of 38,597 women without chronic lung disease at baseline was conducted in the Women’s Health Study (WHS) to test the effect of vitamin E on risk of incident chronic lung disease. The WHS was a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, factorial trial of vitamin E (600 IU every other day) and aspirin (100 mg every other day) in female health professionals aged ≥45. Using Cox proportional hazards models, the effect of randomised vitamin E assignment on self-reported, physician-diagnosed chronic lung disease was evaluated.
During 10 years of follow-up (376,710 person-years), 760 first occurrences of chronic lung disease were reported in the vitamin E arm compared to 846 in the placebo arm (Hazard Ratio [HR] 0.90; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.81–0.99; p=0.029). This 10% reduction in the risk of incident chronic lung disease was not modified by cigarette smoking, age, randomised aspirin assignment, multivitamin use, or dietary vitamin E intake (minimum P for interaction = 0.19). Current cigarette smoking was a strong predictor of chronic lung disease risk (HR 4.17; 95% CI 3.70–4.70; versus never smokers).
In this large, randomised trial, assignment to 600 IU of vitamin E led to a 10% reduction in the risk of chronic lung disease in women.
pulmonary disease; chronic obstructive; antioxidants; tocopherols; intervention studies; randomised controlled trial
Sequence variants in genes functioning in folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism are hypothesized to lead to changes in levels of homocysteine and DNA methylation, which, in turn, are associated with risk of cardiovascular disease.
330 SNPs in 52 genes were studied in relation to plasma homocysteine and global genomic DNA methylation. SNPs were selected based on functional effects and gene coverage, and assays were completed on the Illumina Goldengate platform. Age-, smoking-, and nutrient-adjusted genotype--phenotype associations were estimated in regression models.
Using a nominal P ≤ 0.005 threshold for statistical significance, 20 SNPs were associated with plasma homocysteine, 8 with Alu methylation, and 1 with LINE-1 methylation. Using a more stringent false discovery rate threshold, SNPs in FTCD, SLC19A1, and SLC19A3 genes remained associated with plasma homocysteine. Gene by vitamin B-6 interactions were identified for both Alu and LINE-1 methylation, and epistatic interactions with the MTHFR rs1801133 SNP were identified for the plasma homocysteine phenotype. Pleiotropy involving the MTHFD1L and SARDH genes for both plasma homocysteine and Alu methylation phenotypes was identified.
No single gene was associated with all three phenotypes, and the set of the most statistically significant SNPs predictive of homocysteine or Alu or LINE-1 methylation was unique to each phenotype. Genetic variation in folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism, other than the well-known effects of the MTHFR c.665C>T (known as c.677 C>T, rs1801133, p.Ala222Val), is predictive of cardiovascular disease biomarkers.
Particulate air pollution is associated with cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. To help identify mechanisms of action and protective/susceptibility factors, we evaluated whether the effect of particulate matter <2.5 µm in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5) on heart rate variability (HRV) was modified by dietary intakes of methyl nutrients (folate, vitamin B6, B12, methionine) and related gene polymorphisms (C677T MTHFR and C1420T cSHMT).
Methods and Results
HRV and dietary data were obtained between 2000–2005 from 549 elderly men from the Normative Aging Study. In carriers of [CT/TT] MTHFR genotypes, the standard deviation of normal-to-normal intervals (SDNN) was 17.1% (95% CI, 6.5, 26.4; p=0.002) lower than in CC MTHFR subjects. In the same [CT/TT] MTHFR subjects, each 10 µg/m3 increase in PM2.5 in the 48 hours before the examination was associated with a further 8.8% (95%CI: 0.2, 16.7; p=0.047) decrease in SDDN. In [CC] cSHMT carriers, PM2.5 was associated with a 11.8% (95%CI: 1.8, 20.8; p=0.02) decrease in SDDN. No PM2.5-SSDN association was found in subjects with either [CC] MTHFR or [CT/TT] cSHMT genotypes. The negative effects of PM2.5 were abrogated in subjects with higher intakes (>median levels) of B6, B12, or methionine. PM2.5 was negatively associated with HRV in subjects with lower intakes, but no PM2.5 effect was found in the higher intake groups.
Genetic and nutritional variations in the methionine cycle affect HRV, either independently or by modifying the effects of PM2.5.
heart rate; nervous system; autonomic; metabolism; aging; epidemiology
Increased breast cancer risk has been observed with both low folate status and a functional polymorphism in methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR 677C→T). Cytoplasmic serine hydroxymethyltransferase (cSHMT) affects the flow of one-carbon units through the folate metabolic network, but there is little research on a role for genetic variation in cSHMT in determining breast cancer risk.
A nested case-control study within the Nurses’ Health Study was used to investigate an association between cSHMT (1420C→T) and breast cancer risk.
No evidence for an association of cSHMT genotype and breast cancer was 10 observed. There was also no evidence of a gene-gene interaction between cSHMT and MTHFR.
There was no evidence of an association between cSHMT genotype and breast cancer occurrence. Further research in populations with differing average folate intake may be needed to fully understand the interactions of folate nutrition, sequence variation in folate genes, and breast cancer risk.
breast cancer; cSHMT; MTHFR; folate
Observational epidemiologic studies of dietary antioxidant intake, serum antioxidant concentration, and lung outcomes suggest that lower levels of antioxidant defenses are associated with decreased lung function. Another approach to understanding the role of oxidant/antioxidant imbalance in risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is to investigate the role of genetic variation in antioxidant enzymes, and indeed family-based studies suggest a heritable component to lung disease. Many studies of the genes encoding antioxidant enzymes have considered COPD or COPD-related outcomes, and a systematic review is needed to summarise the evidence to date, and to provide insights for further research.
Genetic association studies of antioxidant enzymes and COPD/COPD-related traits, and comparative gene expression studies with disease or smoking as the exposure were systematically identified and reviewed. Antioxidant enzymes considered included enzymes involved in glutathione (GSH) metabolism, in the thioredoxin (TXN) system, superoxide dismutases (SOD), and catalase (CAT).
A total of 29 genetic association and 15 comparative gene expression studies met the inclusion criteria. The strongest and most consistent effects were in the genes GCL, GSTM1, GSTP1, and SOD3. This review also highlights the lack of studies for genes of interest, particularly GSR, GGT, and those related to TXN. There were limited opportunities to evaluate a gene’s contribution to disease risk through a synthesis of results from different study designs, as the majority of studies considered either association of sequence variants with disease or effect of disease on gene expression. Network-driven approaches that consider potential interaction between genes and amoung genes, smoke exposure, and antioxidant intake are needed to fully characterise the role of oxidant/antioxidant balance in pathogenesis.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD); Antioxidants; Oxidative Stress
The small airway epithelium and alveolar macrophages are exposed to oxidants in cigarette smoke leading to epithelial dysfunction and macrophage activation. In this context, we asked: what is the transcriptome of oxidant-related genes in small airway epithelium and alveolar macrophages, and does their response differ substantially to inhaled cigarette smoke?
Using microarray analysis, with TaqMan RT-PCR confirmation, we assessed oxidant-related gene expression in small airway epithelium and alveolar macrophages from the same healthy nonsmoker and smoker individuals.
Of 155 genes surveyed, 87 (56%) were expressed in both cell populations in nonsmokers, with higher expression in alveolar macrophages (43%) compared to airway epithelium (24%). In smokers, there were 15 genes (10%) up-regulated and 7 genes (5%) down-regulated in airway epithelium, but only 3 (2%) up-regulated and 2 (1%) down-regulated in alveolar macrophages. Pathway analysis of airway epithelium showed oxidant pathways dominated, but in alveolar macrophages immune pathways dominated.
Thus, the response of different cell-types with an identical genome exposed to the same stress of smoking is different; responses of alveolar macrophages are more subdued than those of airway epithelium. These findings are consistent with the observation that, while the small airway epithelium is vulnerable, alveolar macrophages are not "diseased" in response to smoking.
ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT00224185 and NCT00224198
There is mounting evidence that estimates of intakes of a range of dietary nutrients are related to both lung function level and rate of decline, but far less evidence on the relation between lung function and objective measures of serum levels of individual nutrients. The aim of this study was to conduct a comprehensive examination of the independent associations of a wide range of serum markers of nutritional status with lung function, measured as the one-second forced expiratory volume (FEV1).
Using data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a US population-based cross-sectional study, we investigated the relation between 21 serum markers of potentially relevant nutrients and FEV1, with adjustment for potential confounding factors. Systematic approaches were used to guide the analysis.
In a mutually adjusted model, higher serum levels of antioxidant vitamins (vitamin A, beta-cryptoxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E), selenium, normalized calcium, chloride, and iron were independently associated with higher levels of FEV1. Higher concentrations of potassium and sodium were associated with lower FEV1.
Maintaining higher serum concentrations of dietary antioxidant vitamins and selenium is potentially beneficial to lung health. In addition other novel associations found in this study merit further investigation.