Infection in pregnancy may be involved in the aetiology of pre-eclampsia. However, a clear association between acute maternal infection and pre-eclampsia has not been established. We assessed whether acute urinary tract infection, respiratory tract infection, and antibiotic drug prescriptions in pregnancy (a likely proxy for maternal infection) are associated with an increased risk of pre-eclampsia.
Methods and Findings
We used a matched nested case-control design and data from the UK General Practice Research Database to examine the association between maternal infection and pre-eclampsia. Primiparous women aged at least 13 years and registered with a participating practice between January 1987 and October 2007 were eligible for inclusion. We selected all cases of pre-eclampsia and a random sample of primiparous women without pre-eclampsia (controls). Cases (n = 1533) were individually matched with up to ten controls (n = 14236) on practice and year of delivery. We calculated odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for pre-eclampsia comparing women exposed and unexposed to infection using multivariable conditional logistic regression. After adjusting for maternal age, pre-gestational hypertension, diabetes, renal disease and multifetal gestation, the odds of pre-eclampsia were increased in women prescribed antibiotic drugs (adjusted odds ratio 1.28;1.14–1.44) and in women with urinary tract infection (adjusted odds ratio 1.22;1.03–1.45). We found no association with maternal respiratory tract infection (adjusted odds ratio 0.91;0.72–1.16). Further adjustment for maternal smoking and pre-pregnancy body mass index made no difference to our findings.
Women who acquire a urinary infection during pregnancy, but not those who have a respiratory infection, are at an increased risk of pre-eclampsia. Maternal antibiotic prescriptions are also associated with an increased risk. Further research is required to elucidate the underlying mechanism of this association and to determine whether, among women who acquire infections in pregnancy, prompt treatment or prophylaxis against infection might reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia.
Recent studies on the association between CD14-159C/T polymorphism and sepsis showed inconclusive results. Accordingly, we conducted a comprehensive literature search and a meta-analysis to determine whether the CD14-159C/T polymorphism conferred susceptibility to sepsis or was associated with increased risk of death from sepsis.
Data were collected from the following electronic databases: PubMed, Embase, Medline, Web of Knowledge, and HuGE Navigator, with the last report up to June 15, 2012. The odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were used to assess the strength of association. We summarized the data on the association between CD14-159C/T polymorphism and sepsis in the overall population and subgroup by ethnicity and sepsis subtype.
A total of 16 studies on sepsis morbidity (1369 cases and 2382 controls) and 4 studies on sepsis mortality (731 sepsis patients) met the inclusion criteria for meta-analysis. Overall analysis showed no strong evidences of association with sepsis susceptibility under any genetic model. However, slight associations were found in Asian populations (dominant model: OR = 1.38, 95%CI = 0.96–1.98, P = 0.08) and septic shock patients (dominant model: OR = 1.72, 95%CI 1.05–2.83, P = 0.03; allelic model: OR = 1.52, 95%CI 1.09–2.12, P = 0.01) in the stratified analysis. Moreover, there was borderline association between CD14-159C/T and sepsis mortality under the dominant genetic model (OR = 1.44, 95%CI = 0.98–2.11, P = 0.06).
This meta-analysis suggests that the CD14-159C/T polymorphism may not be a significant susceptibility factor in the risk of sepsis and mortality. Only weak associations were observed in Asian populations and septic shock patients. More studies based on larger sample sizes and homogeneous sepsis patients are needed to confirm these findings.
Coronary restenosis after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) still remains a significant limitation of the procedure. The causative mechanisms of restenosis have not yet been fully identified. The goal of the current study was to perform gene-set analysis of biological pathways related to inflammation, proliferation, vascular function and transcriptional regulation on coronary restenosis to identify novel genes and pathways related to this condition.
The GENetic DEterminants of Restenosis (GENDER) databank contains genotypic data of 556,099SNPs of 295 cases with restenosis and 571 matched controls. Fifty-four pathways, related to known restenosis-related processes, were selected. Gene-set analysis was performed using PLINK, GRASS and ALIGATOR software. Pathways with a p<0.01 were fine-mapped and significantly associated SNPs were analyzed in an independent replication cohort.
Six pathways (cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) interactions pathway, IL2 signaling pathway, IL6 signaling pathway, platelet derived growth factor pathway, vitamin D receptor pathway and the mitochondria pathway) were significantly associated in one or two of the software packages. Two SNPs in the cell-ECM interactions pathway were replicated in an independent restenosis cohort. No replication was obtained for the other pathways.
With these results we demonstrate a potential role of the cell-ECM interactions pathway in the development of coronary restenosis. These findings contribute to the increasing knowledge of the genetic etiology of restenosis formation and could serve as a hypothesis-generating effort for further functional studies.
The etiology of pre-eclampsia (PE) is unknown; but it is accepted that normal pregnancy represents a distinctive challenge to the maternal immune system. C-reactive protein is a prominent component of the innate immune system; and we previously reported an association between PE and the CRP polymorphism, rs1205. Our aim was to explore the effects of additional CRP variants. The IBC (Cardiochip) genotyping microarray focuses on candidate genes and pathways related to the pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease.
This study recruited 140 cases of PE and 270 matched controls, of which 95 cases met criteria as severe PE, from an American Indian community. IBC array genotypes from 10 suitable CRP SNPs were analyzed. A replication sample of 178 cases and 427 controls of European ancestry was also genotyped.
A nominally significant difference (p value <0.05) was seen in the distribution of discordant matched pairs for rs3093068; and Bonferroni corrected differences (P<0.005) were seen for rs876538, rs2794521, and rs3091244. Univariate conditional logistic regression odds ratios (OR) were nominally significant for rs3093068 and rs876538 models only. Multivariate logistic models with adjustment for mother's age, nulliparity and BMI attenuated the effect (OR 1.58, P = 0.066, 95% CI 0.97–2.58) for rs876538 and (OR 2.59, P = 0.050, 95% CI 1.00–6.68) for rs3093068. An additive risk score of the above two risk genotypes shows a multivariate adjusted OR of 2.04 (P = 0.013, 95% CI 1.16–3.56). The replication sample also demonstrated significant association between PE and the rs876538 allele (OR = 1.55, P = 0.01, 95% CI 2.16–1.10). We also show putative functionality for the rs876538 and rs3093068 CRP variants.
The CRP variants, rs876538 and rs3093068, previously associated with other cardiovascular disease phenotypes, show suggestive association with PE in this American Indian population, further supporting a possible role for CRP in PE.
Our bloodstream is considered to be an environment well separated from the outside world and the digestive tract. According to the standard paradigm large macromolecules consumed with food cannot pass directly to the circulatory system. During digestion proteins and DNA are thought to be degraded into small constituents, amino acids and nucleic acids, respectively, and then absorbed by a complex active process and distributed to various parts of the body through the circulation system. Here, based on the analysis of over 1000 human samples from four independent studies, we report evidence that meal-derived DNA fragments which are large enough to carry complete genes can avoid degradation and through an unknown mechanism enter the human circulation system. In one of the blood samples the relative concentration of plant DNA is higher than the human DNA. The plant DNA concentration shows a surprisingly precise log-normal distribution in the plasma samples while non-plasma (cord blood) control sample was found to be free of plant DNA.
Deep vein thrombosis is one of the common complications of orthopedic surgery. Studies indicated that genetic factors played a considerable role in the pathogenesis of deep vein thrombosis. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase which encoded by nitric oxide synthase 3 (NOS3), can generate nitric oxide in endothelial cells. As a predominant regulator for vascular homeostasis, nitric oxide might be involved in the pathogenesis of thrombosis. It had been proved that the NOS3 polymorphism (rs1799983) was associated with the development of cardiovascular diseases. Our objective was to evaluate the association between the NOS3 polymorphism (rs1799983) and deep vein thrombosis after orthopedic surgery in Chinese Han population. The polymorphism was genotyped in 224 subjects with deep vein thrombosis after orthopedic surgery and 580 controls. Allele and genotype frequencies were compared between subjects with deep vein thrombosis and control subjects. The allele and genotype frequencies of the NOS3 polymorphism (rs1799983) were significantly different between subjects with deep vein thrombosis and control subjects. There were also significant differences when the subjects were stratified by gender, surgery type and hypertension status. These findings suggested that the NOS3 polymorphism (rs1799983) was associated with susceptibility to the deep vein thrombosis after orthopedic surgery in Chinese Han population, and NOS3 might play a role in the development of deep vein thrombosis after orthopedic surgery.
The relative contributions of genetics and environment to asthma in Hispanics or to asthma in children younger than 3 years are not well understood.
To examine the relative contributions of genetics and environment to early-childhood asthma by performing a longitudinal twin study of asthma in Puerto Rican children ≤3 years old.
678 twin infants from the Puerto Rico Neo-Natal Twin Registry were assessed for asthma at age 1 year, with follow-up data obtained for 624 twins at age 3 years. Zygosity was determined by DNA microsatellite profiling. Structural equation modeling was performed for three phenotypes at ages 1 and 3 years: physician-diagnosed asthma, asthma medication use in the past year, and ≥1 hospitalization for asthma in the past year. Models were additionally adjusted for early-life environmental tobacco smoke exposure, sex, and age.
The prevalences of physician-diagnosed asthma, asthma medication use, and hospitalization for asthma were 11.6%, 10.8%, 4.9% at age 1 year, and 34.1%, 40.1%, and 8.5% at 3 years, respectively. Shared environmental effects contributed to the majority of variance in susceptibility to physician-diagnosed asthma and asthma medication use in the first year of life (84%–86%), while genetic effects drove variance in all phenotypes (45%–65%) at age 3 years. Early-life environmental tobacco smoke, sex, and age contributed to variance in susceptibility.
Our longitudinal study in Puerto Rican twins demonstrates a changing contribution of shared environmental effects to liability for physician-diagnosed asthma and asthma medication use between ages 1 and 3 years. Early-life environmental tobacco smoke reduction could markedly reduce asthma morbidity in young Puerto Rican children.
Previous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in multiple populations identified several genetic loci for coronary heart diseases (CHD). Here we utilized a 2-stage candidate gene association strategy in Chinese Han population to shed light on the putative association between several metabolic-related candidate genes and CHD. At the 1st stage, 190 patients with CHD and 190 controls were genotyped through the MassARRAY platform. At the 2nd stage, a larger sample including 400 patients and 392 controls was genotyped by the High Resolution Melt (HRM) method to confirm or rule out the associations with CHD. MLXIP expression level was quantified by the real time PCR in 65 peripheral blood samples. From the 21 studied single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of seven candidate genes: MLXIPL, MLXIP, MLX, ADIPOR1, VDR, SREBF1 and NR1H3, only one tag SNP rs4758685 (T→C) was found to be statistically associated with CHD (P-value = 0.02, Odds ratio (OR) of 0.83). After adjustment for the age, sex, lipid levels and diabetes, the association remained significant (P-value = 0.03). After adjustment for the hypertension, P-value became 0.20 although there was a significant difference in the allele distribution between the CHD patients with hypertension and the controls (P-value = 0.04, 406 vs 582). In conclusion, among the 21 tested SNPs, we identified a novel association between rs4758685 of MLXIP gene and CHD. The C allele of common variant rs4758685 interacted with hypertension, and was found to be protective against CHD in both allelic and genotypic models in Chinese Han population.
Nulliparity is a major risk factor of preeclampsia investigated in numerous trials of its prevention.
We aimed to assess whether these trials considered nulliparity in subject selection or analysis of results.
01 April 2013 search of MEDLINE via PubMed, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library. 01 April 2013 search of trials registered in Clinicaltrials.gov.
Randomised controlled trials and metaanalyses of preeclampsia prevention with no restriction to period of publication or language. Metaanalyses were selected to fully identify relevant trials.
Data Collection and Analysis
One reader appraised each selected article/registered protocol using a pretested, standardized data abstraction form developed in a pilot test. For each article, he recorded whether both nulliparous and multiparous were included and, in case of mixed populations, whether randomisation was stratified, and whether subgroup analyses had been reported. For registered protocols, he only assessed whether it was planned to include mixed populations.
88 randomised controlled trials were identified, representing 83,396 included women. In 58 of the 88 articles identified (65.9%), preeclampsia was the primary outcome. In 31 of these (53.4%), the investigation combined nulliparous and multiparous women; only two reports in 31 (6.5%) stated that randomisation was stratified on parity and only four (12.9%) described a subgroup analysis by parity. Of the 30 registered trials, 20 (66.6%) planned to include both nulliparous and multiparous women.
Parity is largely ignored in randomised controlled trials of preeclampsia prevention, which raises difficulties in interpreting the results.
Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a chronic musculoskeletal pain disorder affecting 2% to 5% of the general population. Both genetic and environmental factors may be involved. To ascertain in an unbiased manner which genes play a role in the disorder, we performed complete exome sequencing on a subset of FMS patients. Out of 150 nuclear families (trios) DNA from 19 probands was subjected to complete exome sequencing. Since >80,000 SNPs were found per proband, the data were further filtered, including analysis of those with stop codons, a rare frequency (<2.5%) in the 1000 Genomes database, and presence in at least 2/19 probands sequenced. Two nonsense mutations, W32X in C11orf40 and Q100X in ZNF77 among 150 FMS trios had a significantly elevated frequency of transmission to affected probands (p = 0.026 and p = 0.032, respectively) and were present in a subset of 13% and 11% of FMS patients, respectively. Among 9 patients bearing more than one of the variants we have described, 4 had onset of symptoms between the ages of 10 and 18. The subset with the C11orf40 mutation had elevated plasma levels of the inflammatory cytokines, MCP-1 and IP-10, compared with unaffected controls or FMS patients with the wild-type allele. Similarly, patients with the ZNF77 mutation have elevated levels of the inflammatory cytokine, IL-12, compared with controls or patients with the wild type allele. Our results strongly implicate an inflammatory basis for FMS, as well as specific cytokine dysregulation, in at least 35% of our FMS cohort.
Spots of blood are routinely collected from newborn babies onto filter paper called Guthrie cards and used to screen for metabolic and genetic disorders. The archived dried blood spots are an important and precious resource for genomic research. Whole genome amplification of dried blood spot DNA has been used to provide DNA for genome-wide SNP genotyping. Here we describe a 96 well format procedure to extract DNA from a portion of a dried blood spot that provides sufficient unamplified genomic DNA for genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping. We show that SNP genotyping of the unamplified DNA is more robust than genotyping amplified dried blood spot DNA, is comparable in cost, and can be done with thousands of samples. This procedure can be used for genome-wide association studies and other large-scale genomic analyses that require robust, high-accuracy genotyping of dried blood spot DNA.
We tested the hypothesis that patients with difficult asthma have an increased frequency of certain genotypes that predispose them to asthma exacerbations and poor asthma control.
A total of 180 Caucasian children with confirmed asthma diagnosis were selected from two phenotypic groups; difficult (n = 112) versus mild/moderate asthma (n = 68) groups. All patients were screened for 19 polymorphisms in 9 candidate genes to evaluate their association with difficult asthma.
The results indicated that LTA4H A-9188>G, TNFα G-308>A and IL-4Rα A1727>G polymorphisms were significantly associated with the development of difficult asthma in paediatric patients (p<0.001, p = 0.019 and p = 0.037, respectively). Haplotype analysis also revealed two haplotypes (ATA haplotype of IL-4Rα A1199>C, IL-4Rα T1570>C and IL-4Rα A1727>G and CA haplotype of TNFα C-863>A and TNFα G-308>A polymorphisms) which were significantly associated with difficult asthma in children (p = 0.04 and p = 0.018, respectively).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance
The study revealed multiple SNPs and haplotypes in LTA4H, TNFα and IL4-Rα genes which constitute risk factors for the development of difficult asthma in children. Of particular interest is the LTA4H A-9188>G polymorphism which has been reported, for the first time, to have strong association with severe asthma in children. Our results suggest that screening for patients with this genetic marker could help characterise the heterogeneity of responses to leukotriene-modifying medications and, hence, facilitate targeting these therapies to the subset of patients who are most likely to gain benefit.
Abnormal placenta trophoblast proliferation and apoptosis is related to the pathogenesis of preeclampsia. Emerging evidence has also indicated that key pregnancy-associated hormones, such as hCG, progesterone, are found in high concentration at the maternal-fetal interface. The purpose of this study was to investigate the expression of CYP11A, a key enzyme in steroid hormone synthesis and metabolism, in normal pregnancy and severe preeclampsia placenta and to explore the underlying mechanism of the relationship between the altered CYP11A expression and onset of preeclampsia. Immunohistochemistry method was used to study the localization of CYP11A-encoded protein P450scc in the placenta; reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Western blotting were used to examine CYP11A expression at mRNA and protein levels in patients with severe preeclampsia and normal placental tissue. CYP11A overexpression in trophoblastic cells was used to evaluate the effect on viability. TUNEL staining was used to determine whether overexpression of CYP11A could affect trophoblastic cell apoptosis. The results showed that CYP11A was selectively expressed in the cytoplasm of the placental trophoblastic cells. CYP11A expression were significantly increased in severe preeclampsia compared with normal pregnancy in both mRNA and protein levels. Multiple regression analysis indicated that CYP11A gene expression was positively correlated to ALT level and Plt, while negatively correlated to INR. Overexpression of CYP11A reduced trophoblastic cell proliferation and induced HTR8/SVneo cells apoptosis through activation of activated caspase-3 expression. These results suggest that abnormally high expression of CYP11A inhibits trophoblastic proliferation and increases apoptosis and therefore could be involved in the pathogenesis of preeclampsia.
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a syndrome of multiple metabolic disorders and is genetically heterogeneous. India comprises one of the largest global populations with highest number of reported type 2 diabetes cases. However, limited information about T2D associated loci is available for Indian populations. It is, therefore, pertinent to evaluate the previously associated candidates as well as identify novel genetic variations in Indian populations to understand the extent of genetic heterogeneity. We chose to do a cost effective high-throughput mass-array genotyping and studied the candidate gene variations associated with T2D in literature. In this case-control candidate genes association study, 91 SNPs from 55 candidate genes have been analyzed in three geographically independent population groups from India. We report the genetic variants in five candidate genes: TCF7L2, HHEX, ENPP1, IDE and FTO, are significantly associated (after Bonferroni correction, p<5.5E−04) with T2D susceptibility in combined population. Interestingly, SNP rs7903146 of the TCF7L2 gene passed the genome wide significance threshold (combined P value = 2.05E−08) in the studied populations. We also observed the association of rs7903146 with blood glucose (fasting and postprandial) levels, supporting the role of TCF7L2 gene in blood glucose homeostasis. Further, we noted that the moderate risk provided by the independently associated loci in combined population with Odds Ratio (OR)<1.38 increased to OR = 2.44, (95%CI = 1.67–3.59) when the risk providing genotypes of TCF7L2, HHEX, ENPP1 and FTO genes were combined, suggesting the importance of gene-gene interactions evaluation in complex disorders like T2D.
The aim of this study was to determine a genetic basis for IgA concentration in milk of Bos taurus. We used a Holstein-Friesian x Jersey F2 crossbred pedigree to undertake a genome-wide search for QTL influencing IgA concentration and yield in colostrum and milk. We identified a single genome-wide significant QTL on chromosome 16, maximising at 4.8 Mbp. The polymeric immunoglobulin receptor gene (PIGR) was within the confidence interval of the QTL. In addition, mRNA expression analysis revealed a liver PIGR expression QTL mapping to the same locus as the IgA quantitative trait locus. Sequencing and subsequent genotyping of the PIGR gene revealed three divergent haplotypes that explained the variance of both the IgA QTL and the PIGR expression QTL. Genetic selection based on these markers will facilitate the production of bovine herds producing milk with higher concentrations of IgA.
Allergic rhinitis (AR) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the nasal mucosa, involving a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors. Evidence suggests that polymorphisms in the gene coding for mitochondrial ribosomal protein L4 (MRPL4), located in close proximity to intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) gene on chromosome location 19p13.2, may influence the risk factor for the development of AR.
The aim of our study was to investigate any association between AR susceptibility and polymorphisms in ICAM-1 gene, as well as associations between AR risk and polymorphisms in MRPL4, nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) and tumor necrosis factor alpha(TNF-α) genes, associated with ICAM-1 expression.
A cohort of 414 patients with AR and 293 healthy controls was enrolled from the Han Chinese population in Beijing, China. Blood was drawn for DNA extraction and total serum immunoglobulin E (IgE). A total of 14 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in ICAM-1, NF-κB, TNF-α, and MRPL4 genes were selected using the CHB genotyping data from the International Haplotype Mapping (HapMap) and assessed for differences in frequencies of the alleles and genotypes between the AR patients and control subjects.
TNF-α SNP rs1799964 and MRPL4 SNP rs11668618 were found to occur in significantly greater frequencies in the AR group compared to control group. There were no significant associations between SNPs in NF-κB, ICAM-1 and AR. The SNP-SNP interaction information analysis further indicated that there were no synergistic effects among the selected sets of polymorphisms.
Our results suggest a strong association between AR risk and polymorphisms of MRPL4 and TNF-α genes in Han Chinese population.
Music perception and practice represent complex cognitive functions of the human brain. Recently, evidence for the molecular genetic background of music related phenotypes has been obtained. In order to further elucidate the molecular background of musical phenotypes we analyzed genome wide copy number variations (CNVs) in five extended pedigrees and in 172 unrelated subjects characterized for musical aptitude and creative functions in music. Musical aptitude was defined by combination of the scores of three music tests (COMB scores): auditory structuring ability, Seashores test for pitch and for time. Data on creativity in music (herein composing, improvising and/or arranging music) was surveyed using a web-based questionnaire.
Several CNVRs containing genes that affect neurodevelopment, learning and memory were detected. A deletion at 5q31.1 covering the protocadherin-α gene cluster (Pcdha 1-9) was found co-segregating with low music test scores (COMB) in both sample sets. Pcdha is involved in neural migration, differentiation and synaptogenesis. Creativity in music was found to co-segregate with a duplication covering glucose mutarotase gene (GALM) at 2p22. GALM has influence on serotonin release and membrane trafficking of the human serotonin transporter. Interestingly, genes related to serotonergic systems have been shown to associate not only with psychiatric disorders but also with creativity and music perception. Both, Pcdha and GALM, are related to the serotonergic systems influencing cognitive and motor functions, important for music perception and practice. Finally, a 1.3 Mb duplication was identified in a subject with low COMB scores in the region previously linked with absolute pitch (AP) at 8q24. No differences in the CNV burden was detected among the high/low music test scores or creative/non-creative groups. In summary, CNVs and genes found in this study are related to cognitive functions. Our result suggests new candidate genes for music perception related traits and supports the previous results from AP study.
In genomic research phenotype transformations are commonly used as a straightforward way to reach normality of the model outcome. Many researchers still believe it to be necessary for proper inference. Using regression simulations, we show that phenotype transformations are typically not needed and, when used in phenotype with heteroscedasticity, result in inflated Type I error rates. We further explain that important is to address a combination of rare variant genotypes and heteroscedasticity. Incorrectly estimated parameter variability or incorrect choice of the distribution of the underlying test statistic provide spurious detection of associations. We conclude that it is a combination of heteroscedasticity, minor allele frequency, sample size, and to a much lesser extent the error distribution, that matter for proper statistical inference.
Objectives: Using a novel candidate SNP approach, we aimed to identify a possible genetic basis for the higher glioma incidence in Whites relative to East Asians and African-Americans. Methods: We hypothesized that genetic regions containing SNPs with extreme differences in allele frequencies across ethnicities are most likely to harbor susceptibility variants. We used International HapMap Project data to identify 3,961 candidate SNPs with the largest allele frequency differences in Whites compared to East Asians and Africans and tested these SNPs for association with glioma risk in a set of White cases and controls. Top SNPs identified in the discovery dataset were tested for association with glioma in five independent replication datasets. Results: No SNP achieved statistical significance in either the discovery or replication datasets after accounting for multiple testing or conducting meta-analysis. However, the most strongly associated SNP, rs879471, was found to be in linkage disequilibrium with a previously identified risk SNP, rs6010620, in RTEL1. We estimate rs6010620 to account for a glioma incidence rate ratio of 1.34 for Whites relative to East Asians. Conclusion: We explored genetic susceptibility to glioma using a novel candidate SNP method which may be applicable to other diseases with appropriate epidemiologic patterns.
glioma; candidate SNP association study; ancestry informative markers; admixture; race; ethnicity; brain cancer
The epigenetic contribution to neurogenesis is largely unknown. There is, however, growing evidence that posttranslational modification of histones is a dynamic process that shows many correlations with gene expression. Here we have followed the genome-wide distribution of two important histone H3 modifications, H3K4me2 and H3K27me3 during late mouse retina development. The retina provides an ideal model for these studies because of its well-characterized structure and development and also the extensive studies of the retinal transcriptome and its development. We found that a group of genes expressed only in mature rod photoreceptors have a unique signature consisting of de-novo accumulation of H3K4me2, both at the transcription start site (TSS) and over the whole gene, that correlates with the increase in transcription, but no accumulation of H3K27me3 at any stage. By in silico analysis of this unique signature we have identified a larger group of genes that may be selectively expressed in mature rod photoreceptors. We also found that the distribution of H3K4me2 and H3K27me3 on the genes widely expressed is not always associated with their transcriptional levels. Different histone signatures for retinal genes with the same gene expression pattern suggest the diversities of epigenetic regulation. Genes without H3K4me2 and H3K27me3 accumulation at any stage represent a large group of transcripts never expressed in retina. The epigenetic signatures defined by H3K4me2 and H3K27me3 can distinguish cell-type specific genes from widespread transcripts and may be reflective of cell specificity during retina maturation. In addition to the developmental patterns seen in wild type retina, the dramatic changes of histone modification in the retinas of mutant animals lacking rod photoreceptors provide a tool to study the epigenetic changes in other cell types and thus describe a broad range of epigenetic events in a solid tissue in vivo.
Despite the success of genome-wide association studies for asthma, few, if any, definitively causal variants have been identified and there is still a substantial portion of the heritability of the disease yet to be discovered. Some of this “missing heritability” may be accounted for by family-specific coding variants found to be segregating with asthma.
To identify family-specific variants segregating with asthma, we recruited one family from a previous study of asthma as reporting multiple asthmatic and non-asthmatic children. We performed whole-exome sequencing on all four children and both parents and identified coding variants segregating with asthma that were not found in other variant databases.
Ten novel variants were identified that were found in the two affected offspring and affected mother, but absent in the unaffected father and two unaffected offspring. Of these ten, variants in three genes (PDE4DIP, CBLB, and KALRN) were deemed of particular interest based on their functional prediction scores and previously reported function or asthma association. We did not identify any common risk variants segregating with asthma, however, we did observe an increase in the number of novel, nonsynonymous variants in asthma candidate genes in the asthmatic children compared to the non-asthmatic children.
This is the first report applying exome sequencing to identify asthma susceptibility variants. Despite having sequenced only one family segregating asthma, we have identified several potentially functional variants in interesting asthma candidate genes. This will provide the basis for future work in which more families will be sequenced to identify variants across families that cluster within genes.
Asthma; Whole-exome sequencing; PDE4DIP; CBLB; KALRN
Specific genetic contributions for preeclampsia (PE) are currently unknown. This genome-wide association study (GWAS) aims to identify maternal single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and copy-number variants (CNVs) involved in the etiology of PE.
A genome-wide scan was performed on 177 PE cases (diagnosed according to National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute guidelines) and 116 normotensive controls. White female study subjects from Iowa were genotyped on Affymetrix SNP 6.0 microarrays. CNV calls made using a combination of four detection algorithms (Birdseye, Canary, PennCNV, and QuantiSNP) were merged using CNVision and screened with stringent prioritization criteria. Due to limited DNA quantities and the deleterious nature of copy-number deletions, it was decided a priori that only deletions would be selected for assay on the entire case-control dataset using quantitative real-time PCR.
The top four SNP candidates had an allelic or genotypic p-value between 10-5 and 10-6, however, none surpassed the Bonferroni-corrected significance threshold. Three recurrent rare deletions meeting prioritization criteria detected in multiple cases were selected for targeted genotyping. A locus of particular interest was found showing an enrichment of case deletions in 19q13.31 (5/169 cases and 1/114 controls), which encompasses the PSG11 gene contiguous to a highly plastic genomic region. All algorithm calls for these regions were assay confirmed.
CNVs may confer risk for PE and represent interesting regions that warrant further investigation. Top SNP candidates identified from the GWAS, although not genome-wide significant, may be useful to inform future studies in PE genetics.
Copy-number variant; Genome-wide association study; Microarray analysis; Preeclampsia; Single nucleotide polymorphism
Population stratification is an important issue in case–control studies of disease-marker association. Failure to properly account for population structure can lead to spurious association or reduced power. In this article, we compare the performance of six methods correcting for population stratification in case–control association studies. These methods include genomic control (GC), EIGENSTRAT, principal component-based logistic regression (PCA-L), LAPSTRUCT, ROADTRIPS, and EMMAX. We also include the uncorrected Armitage test for comparison. In the simulation studies, we consider a wide range of population structure models for unrelated samples, including admixture. Our simulation results suggest that PCA-L and LAPSTRUCT perform well over all the scenarios studied, whereas GC, ROADTRIPS, and EMMAX fail to correct for population structure at single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that show strong differentiation across ancestral populations. The Armitage test does not adjust for confounding due to stratification thus has inflated type I error. Among all correction methods, EMMAX has the greatest power, based on the population structure settings considered for samples with unrelated individuals. The three methods, EIGENSTRAT, PCA-L, and LAPSTRUCT, are comparable, and outperform both GC and ROADTRIPS in almost all situations.
Population structure; association testing; type I error; power
Genetic studies of midgut carcinoid cancer have exclusively focused on genomic changes of the tumor cells. We investigated the role of constitutional genetic polymorphisms in predisposing individuals to ileal carcinoids. In all, 239 cases and 110 controls were collected from three institutions: the Uppsala University Hospital; the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; and the MD Anderson Cancer Center, and were genotyped using microarrays assaying >300 000 single nucleotide polymorphisms. Association with rs2208059 in KIF16B approached statistical significance (Mantel-Haenszel odds ratio=2.42, P=4.16×10−7) at a Bonferroni-corrected level (<1.62×10−7). Using two computational algorithms, four copy-number variants (CNVs) were identified in multiple cases that were absent in study controls and markedly less frequent in ~1500 population-based controls. Of these four constitutional CNVs identified in blood-derived DNA, a 40 kb heterozygous deletion in Chr18q22.1 corresponded with a region frequently showing loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in ileal carcinoid tumor cells based on our meta-analysis of previously published cytogenetic studies (69.7% LOH, 95% confidence interval=60.0–77.9%). We analyzed the constitutional 40 kb deletion on chr18 in our study samples with a real-time quantitative PCR assay; 14/226 cases (6.19%) and 2/97 controls (2.06%) carried the CNV, although the exact boundaries of each deletion have not been determined. Given the small sample size, our findings warrant an independent cohort for a replication study. Owing to the rarity of this disease, we believe these results will provide a valuable resource for future work on this serious condition by allowing others to make efficient use of their samples in targeted studies.
Like most complex phenotypes, exceptional longevity is thought to reflect a combined influence of environmental (e.g., lifestyle choices, where we live) and genetic factors. To explore the genetic contribution, we undertook a genome-wide association study of exceptional longevity in 801 centenarians (median age at death 104 years) and 914 genetically matched healthy controls. Using these data, we built a genetic model that includes 281 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and discriminated between cases and controls of the discovery set with 89% sensitivity and specificity, and with 58% specificity and 60% sensitivity in an independent cohort of 341 controls and 253 genetically matched nonagenarians and centenarians (median age 100 years). Consistent with the hypothesis that the genetic contribution is largest with the oldest ages, the sensitivity of the model increased in the independent cohort with older and older ages (71% to classify subjects with an age at death>102 and 85% to classify subjects with an age at death>105). For further validation, we applied the model to an additional, unmatched 60 centenarians (median age 107 years) resulting in 78% sensitivity, and 2863 unmatched controls with 61% specificity. The 281 SNPs include the SNP rs2075650 in TOMM40/APOE that reached irrefutable genome wide significance (posterior probability of association = 1) and replicated in the independent cohort. Removal of this SNP from the model reduced the accuracy by only 1%. Further in-silico analysis suggests that 90% of centenarians can be grouped into clusters characterized by different “genetic signatures” of varying predictive values for exceptional longevity. The correlation between 3 signatures and 3 different life spans was replicated in the combined replication sets. The different signatures may help dissect this complex phenotype into sub-phenotypes of exceptional longevity.