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1.  Novel variation and de novo mutation rates in population-wide de novo assembled Danish trios 
Nature Communications  2015;6:5969.
Building a population-specific catalogue of single nucleotide variants (SNVs), indels and structural variants (SVs) with frequencies, termed a national pan-genome, is critical for further advancing clinical and public health genetics in large cohorts. Here we report a Danish pan-genome obtained from sequencing 10 trios to high depth (50 × ). We report 536k novel SNVs and 283k novel short indels from mapping approaches and develop a population-wide de novo assembly approach to identify 132k novel indels larger than 10 nucleotides with low false discovery rates. We identify a higher proportion of indels and SVs than previous efforts showing the merits of high coverage and de novo assembly approaches. In addition, we use trio information to identify de novo mutations and use a probabilistic method to provide direct estimates of 1.27e−8 and 1.5e−9 per nucleotide per generation for SNVs and indels, respectively.
The generation of a national pan-genome, a population-specific catalogue of genetic variation, may advance the impact of clinical genetics studies. Here the Besenbacher et al. carry out deep sequencing and de novo assembly of 10 parent–child trios to generate a Danish pan-genome that provides insight into structural variation, de novo mutation rates and variant calling.
PMCID: PMC4309431  PMID: 25597990
2.  Identification and Functional Characterization of G6PC2 Coding Variants Influencing Glycemic Traits Define an Effector Transcript at the G6PC2-ABCB11 Locus 
Mahajan, Anubha | Sim, Xueling | Ng, Hui Jin | Manning, Alisa | Rivas, Manuel A. | Highland, Heather M. | Locke, Adam E. | Grarup, Niels | Im, Hae Kyung | Cingolani, Pablo | Flannick, Jason | Fontanillas, Pierre | Fuchsberger, Christian | Gaulton, Kyle J. | Teslovich, Tanya M. | Rayner, N. William | Robertson, Neil R. | Beer, Nicola L. | Rundle, Jana K. | Bork-Jensen, Jette | Ladenvall, Claes | Blancher, Christine | Buck, David | Buck, Gemma | Burtt, Noël P. | Gabriel, Stacey | Gjesing, Anette P. | Groves, Christopher J. | Hollensted, Mette | Huyghe, Jeroen R. | Jackson, Anne U. | Jun, Goo | Justesen, Johanne Marie | Mangino, Massimo | Murphy, Jacquelyn | Neville, Matt | Onofrio, Robert | Small, Kerrin S. | Stringham, Heather M. | Syvänen, Ann-Christine | Trakalo, Joseph | Abecasis, Goncalo | Bell, Graeme I. | Blangero, John | Cox, Nancy J. | Duggirala, Ravindranath | Hanis, Craig L. | Seielstad, Mark | Wilson, James G. | Christensen, Cramer | Brandslund, Ivan | Rauramaa, Rainer | Surdulescu, Gabriela L. | Doney, Alex S. F. | Lannfelt, Lars | Linneberg, Allan | Isomaa, Bo | Tuomi, Tiinamaija | Jørgensen, Marit E. | Jørgensen, Torben | Kuusisto, Johanna | Uusitupa, Matti | Salomaa, Veikko | Spector, Timothy D. | Morris, Andrew D. | Palmer, Colin N. A. | Collins, Francis S. | Mohlke, Karen L. | Bergman, Richard N. | Ingelsson, Erik | Lind, Lars | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Hansen, Torben | Watanabe, Richard M. | Prokopenko, Inga | Dupuis, Josee | Karpe, Fredrik | Groop, Leif | Laakso, Markku | Pedersen, Oluf | Florez, Jose C. | Morris, Andrew P. | Altshuler, David | Meigs, James B. | Boehnke, Michael | McCarthy, Mark I. | Lindgren, Cecilia M. | Gloyn, Anna L.
PLoS Genetics  2015;11(1):e1004876.
Genome wide association studies (GWAS) for fasting glucose (FG) and insulin (FI) have identified common variant signals which explain 4.8% and 1.2% of trait variance, respectively. It is hypothesized that low-frequency and rare variants could contribute substantially to unexplained genetic variance. To test this, we analyzed exome-array data from up to 33,231 non-diabetic individuals of European ancestry. We found exome-wide significant (P<5×10-7) evidence for two loci not previously highlighted by common variant GWAS: GLP1R (p.Ala316Thr, minor allele frequency (MAF)=1.5%) influencing FG levels, and URB2 (p.Glu594Val, MAF = 0.1%) influencing FI levels. Coding variant associations can highlight potential effector genes at (non-coding) GWAS signals. At the G6PC2/ABCB11 locus, we identified multiple coding variants in G6PC2 (p.Val219Leu, p.His177Tyr, and p.Tyr207Ser) influencing FG levels, conditionally independent of each other and the non-coding GWAS signal. In vitro assays demonstrate that these associated coding alleles result in reduced protein abundance via proteasomal degradation, establishing G6PC2 as an effector gene at this locus. Reconciliation of single-variant associations and functional effects was only possible when haplotype phase was considered. In contrast to earlier reports suggesting that, paradoxically, glucose-raising alleles at this locus are protective against type 2 diabetes (T2D), the p.Val219Leu G6PC2 variant displayed a modest but directionally consistent association with T2D risk. Coding variant associations for glycemic traits in GWAS signals highlight PCSK1, RREB1, and ZHX3 as likely effector transcripts. These coding variant association signals do not have a major impact on the trait variance explained, but they do provide valuable biological insights.
Author Summary
Understanding how FI and FG levels are regulated is important because their derangement is a feature of T2D. Despite recent success from GWAS in identifying regions of the genome influencing glycemic traits, collectively these loci explain only a small proportion of trait variance. Unlocking the biological mechanisms driving these associations has been challenging because the vast majority of variants map to non-coding sequence, and the genes through which they exert their impact are largely unknown. In the current study, we sought to increase our understanding of the physiological pathways influencing both traits using exome-array genotyping in up to 33,231 non-diabetic individuals to identify coding variants and consequently genes associated with either FG or FI levels. We identified novel association signals for both traits including the receptor for GLP-1 agonists which are a widely used therapy for T2D. Furthermore, we identified coding variants at several GWAS loci which point to the genes underlying these association signals. Importantly, we found that multiple coding variants in G6PC2 result in a loss of protein function and lower fasting glucose levels.
PMCID: PMC4307976  PMID: 25625282
3.  Intra-tumoural vessel area estimated by expression of epidermal growth factor-like domain 7 and microRNA-126 in primary tumours and metastases of patients with colorectal cancer: a descriptive study 
Understanding the biological properties of potential drug targets are important. This is especially true for anti-angiogenic therapies in the search for potential biomarkers. The aim of the present descriptive study was to analyse the intra-tumoural expressions of epidermal growth factor-like domain 7 (EGFL7) and microRNA-126 (miRNA-126) in primary tumours from patients with stage II-IV colorectal cancer (CRC) and in paired samples of primary tumours, regional lymph node metastases and distant metastases.
A total of 126 patients were included. Analyses were performed on resections of primary tumours, regional lymph node metastases, and large needle biopsies from distant metastases. EGFL7 was analysed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and miRNA-126 by in situ hybridization (ISH). Both biomarkers were quantified by image guided analyses to determine the relative fraction estimates of vessel areas (VA).
The intra-tumoural EGFL7 VA was significantly higher in primary tumours from patients with recurrent disease than in patients without relapse in both stage II and III, p = 0.019 and p = 0.001, respectively. The EGFL7 VA was significantly higher and the miRNA-126 VA significantly lower in regional lymph node metastases compared to primary tumours, p = 0.01 and p < 10−6, respectively. Furthermore, the miRNA-126 VA in liver metastases was significantly lower than in the primary tumours, p = 0.02.
The intra-tumoural expression of EGFL7 in early stages of CRC may influence the risk of post-surgical recurrence. Differential expression of miRNA-126 seems more pronounced in disseminated disease, which supports its role as a regulator in the metastatic process.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12967-014-0359-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4302134  PMID: 25592646
Angiogenesis; Colorectal neoplasms; Epidermal growth factor like domain 7; Metastases; microRNA-126
5.  Impact of Glucose Tolerance Status, Sex, and Body Size on Glucose Absorption Patterns During OGTTs 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(11):3691-3697.
We studied whether patterns of glucose absorption during oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTTs) were abnormal in individuals with impaired glucose regulation and whether they were related to sex and body size (height and fat-free mass). We also examined how well differences in insulin sensitivity and β-cell function measured by gold-standard tests were reflected in the corresponding OGTT-derived estimates.
With validated methods, various aspects of glucose absorption were estimated from 12-point, 3-h, 75-g OGTTs in 66 individuals with normal glucose tolerance (NGT), isolated impaired fasting glucose (i-IFG), or isolated impaired glucose tolerance (i-IGT). Insulin sensitivity and β-cell function were measured with the euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp and intravenous glucose tolerance tests, respectively. Surrogate markers of both conditions were calculated from OGTTs.
More rapid glucose absorption (P ≤ 0.036) and reduced late glucose absorption (P ≤ 0.039) were observed in the i-IFG group relative to NGT and i-IGT groups. Women with i-IGT had a lower early glucose absorption than did men with i-IGT (P = 0.041); however, this difference did not persist when differences in body size were taken into account (P > 0.28). Faster glucose absorption was related to higher fasting (P = 0.001) and lower 2-h (P = 0.001) glucose levels and to greater height and fat-free mass (P < 0.001). All OGTT-derived measures of insulin sensitivity, but only one of three measures of β-cell function, reflected the differences for these parameters between those with normal and impaired glucose regulation as measured by gold-standard tests.
Glucose absorption patterns during an OGTT are significantly related to plasma glucose levels and body size, which should be taken into account when estimating β-cell function from OGTTs in epidemiological studies.
PMCID: PMC3816886  PMID: 24062321
6.  Interaction between Genetic Predisposition to Adiposity and Dietary Protein in Relation to Subsequent Change in Body Weight and Waist Circumference 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110890.
Genetic predisposition to adiposity may interact with dietary protein in relation to changes of anthropometry.
To investigate the interaction between genetic predisposition to higher body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC) or waist-hip ratio adjusted for BMI (WHRBMI) and dietary protein in relation to subsequent change in body weight (ΔBW) or change in WC (ΔWC).
Three different Danish cohorts were used. In total 7,054 individuals constituted the study population with information on diet, 50 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with BMI, WC or WHRBMI, as well as potential confounders. Mean follow-up time was ∼5 years. Four genetic predisposition-scores were based on the SNPs; a complete-score including all selected adiposity- associated SNPs, and three scores including BMI, WC or WHRBMI associated polymorphisms, respectively. The association between protein intake and ΔBW or ΔWC were examined and interactions between SNP-score and protein were investigated. Analyses were based on linear regressions using macronutrient substitution models and meta-analyses.
When protein replaced carbohydrate, meta-analyses showed no associations with ΔBW (41.0 gram/y/5 energy% protein, [95% CI: −32.3; 114.3]) or ΔWC (<−0.1 mm/y/5 energy % protein, [−1.1; 1.1]). Similarly, there were no interactions for any SNP-scores and protein for either ΔBW (complete SNP-score: 1.8 gram/y/5 energy% protein/risk allele, [−7.0; 10.6]) or ΔWC (complete SNP-score: <0.1 mm/y/5 energy% protein/risk allele, [−0.1; 0.1]). Similar results were seen when protein replaced fat.
This study indicates that the genetic predisposition to general and abdominal adiposity, assessed by gene-scores, does not seem to modulate the influence of dietary protein on ΔBW or ΔWC.
PMCID: PMC4211714  PMID: 25350854
7.  Tissue MicroRNAs as Predictors of Outcome in Patients with Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Treated with First Line Capecitabine and Oxaliplatin with or without Bevacizumab 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109430.
We tested the hypothesis that expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) in cancer tissue can predict effectiveness of bevacizumab added to capecitabine and oxaliplatin (CAPEOX) in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).
Experimental Design
Patients with mCRC treated with first line CAPEOX and bevacizumab (CAPEOXBEV): screening (n = 212) and validation (n = 121) cohorts, or CAPEOX alone: control cohort (n = 127), were identified retrospectively and archival primary tumor samples were collected. Expression of 754 miRNAs was analyzed in the screening cohort using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) arrays and expression levels were related to time to disease progression (TTP) and overall survival (OS). Significant miRNAs from the screening study were analyzed in all three cohorts using custom PCR arrays. In situ hybridization (ISH) was done for selected miRNAs.
In the screening study, 26 miRNAs were significantly correlated with outcome in multivariate analyses. Twenty-two miRNAs were selected for further study. Higher miR-664-3p expression and lower miR-455-5p expression were predictive of improved outcome in the CAPEOXBEV cohorts and showed a significant interaction with bevacizumab effectiveness. The effects were strongest for OS. Both miRNAs showed high expression in stromal cells. Higher expression of miR-196b-5p and miR-592 predicted improved outcome regardless of bevacizumab treatment, with similar effect estimates in all three cohorts.
We have identified potentially predictive miRNAs for bevacizumab effectiveness and additional miRNAs that could be related to chemotherapy effectiveness or prognosis in patients with mCRC. Our findings need further validation in large cohorts, preferably from completed randomized trials.
PMCID: PMC4198118  PMID: 25329796
8.  Blood Pressure Levels in Male Carriers of Arg82Cys in CD300LG 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109646.
The genetics of hypertension has been scrutinized in large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) with a large number of common genetic variants identified, each exerting subtle effects on disease susceptibility. An amino acid polymorphism, p.Arg82Cys, in CD300LG was recently found to be associated with fasting HDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The polymorphism has not been detected in hypertension GWAS potentially due to its low frequency, but CD300LG has been linked to blood pressure as CD300LG knockout mice have changes in blood pressure. Twenty-four-hour ambulatory blood pressure was obtained in human CD300LG CT-carriers to follow up on these observations.
Twenty healthy male CD300LG rs72836561 CT-carriers matched for age and BMI with 20 healthy male CC-carriers. Office blood pressure, 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure, carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT), and fasting blood samples were evaluated. The clinical study was combined with a genetic-epidemiological study to replicate the association between blood pressure and CD300LG Arg82Cys in 2,637 men and 3,249 women.
CT-carriers had a higher 24-hour ambulatory systolic blood pressure (122 mmHg versus 115; p = 0.01) and diastolic blood pressure (77 mmHg versus 72; p<0.01) compared with CC-carriers. There were no differences in CIMT between the two groups. Metalloproteinase-9 level was higher in CT-carriers than in CC-carriers (P<0.01). However, no association between office blood pressure and CD300LG genotype was detected in the genetic-epidemiological study.
Although 24-hour blood pressure, measured with a sensitive method, in a small sample of CD300LG rs72836561 CT-carriers was higher than in CC-carriers, this did not translate into significant differences in office blood pressure in a larger cohort. This discrepancy which may reflect differences in methodological approach, underlines the importance of performing replication studies in a larger clinical context, but a formal rejection of a relation between blood pressure and CD300LG requires measurement of 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure in a larger cohort.
PMCID: PMC4196928  PMID: 25314291
9.  Genetic Risk Score of 46 Type 2 Diabetes Risk Variants Associates With Changes in Plasma Glucose and Estimates of Pancreatic β-Cell Function Over 5 Years of Follow-Up 
Diabetes  2013;62(10):3610-3617.
More than 40 genetic risk variants for type 2 diabetes have been validated. We aimed to test whether a genetic risk score associates with the incidence of type 2 diabetes and with 5-year changes in glycemic traits and whether the effects were modulated by changes in BMI and lifestyle. The Inter99 study population was genotyped for 46 variants, and a genetic risk score was constructed. During a median follow-up of 11 years, 327 of 5,850 individuals developed diabetes. Physical examinations and oral glucose tolerance tests were performed at baseline and after 5 years (n = 3,727). The risk of incident type 2 diabetes was increased with a hazard ratio of 1.06 (95% CI 1.03–1.08) per risk allele. While the population in general had improved glucose regulation during the 5-year follow-up period, each additional allele in the genetic risk score was associated with a relative increase in fasting, 30-min, and 120-min plasma glucose values and a relative decrease in measures of β-cell function over the 5-year period, whereas indices of insulin sensitivity were unaffected. The effect of the genetic risk score on 5-year changes in fasting plasma glucose was stronger in individuals who increased their BMI. In conclusion, a genetic risk score based on 46 variants associated strongly with incident type 2 diabetes and 5-year changes in plasma glucose and β-cell function. Individuals who gain weight may be more susceptible to the cumulative impact of type 2 diabetes risk variants on fasting plasma glucose.
PMCID: PMC3781471  PMID: 23835328
10.  Mendelian Randomization Studies Do Not Support a Causal Role for Reduced Circulating Adiponectin Levels in Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes 
Yaghootkar, Hanieh | Lamina, Claudia | Scott, Robert A. | Dastani, Zari | Hivert, Marie-France | Warren, Liling L. | Stancáková, Alena | Buxbaum, Sarah G. | Lyytikäinen, Leo-Pekka | Henneman, Peter | Wu, Ying | Cheung, Chloe Y.Y. | Pankow, James S. | Jackson, Anne U. | Gustafsson, Stefan | Zhao, Jing Hua | Ballantyne, Christie M. | Xie, Weijia | Bergman, Richard N. | Boehnke, Michael | el Bouazzaoui, Fatiha | Collins, Francis S. | Dunn, Sandra H. | Dupuis, Josee | Forouhi, Nita G. | Gillson, Christopher | Hattersley, Andrew T. | Hong, Jaeyoung | Kähönen, Mika | Kuusisto, Johanna | Kedenko, Lyudmyla | Kronenberg, Florian | Doria, Alessandro | Assimes, Themistocles L. | Ferrannini, Ele | Hansen, Torben | Hao, Ke | Häring, Hans | Knowles, Joshua W. | Lindgren, Cecilia M. | Nolan, John J. | Paananen, Jussi | Pedersen, Oluf | Quertermous, Thomas | Smith, Ulf | Lehtimäki, Terho | Liu, Ching-Ti | Loos, Ruth J.F. | McCarthy, Mark I. | Morris, Andrew D. | Vasan, Ramachandran S. | Spector, Tim D. | Teslovich, Tanya M. | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | van Dijk, Ko Willems | Viikari, Jorma S. | Zhu, Na | Langenberg, Claudia | Ingelsson, Erik | Semple, Robert K. | Sinaiko, Alan R. | Palmer, Colin N.A. | Walker, Mark | Lam, Karen S.L. | Paulweber, Bernhard | Mohlke, Karen L. | van Duijn, Cornelia | Raitakari, Olli T. | Bidulescu, Aurelian | Wareham, Nick J. | Laakso, Markku | Waterworth, Dawn M. | Lawlor, Debbie A. | Meigs, James B. | Richards, J. Brent | Frayling, Timothy M.
Diabetes  2013;62(10):3589-3598.
Adiponectin is strongly inversely associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, but its causal role remains controversial. We used a Mendelian randomization approach to test the hypothesis that adiponectin causally influences insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. We used genetic variants at the ADIPOQ gene as instruments to calculate a regression slope between adiponectin levels and metabolic traits (up to 31,000 individuals) and a combination of instrumental variables and summary statistics–based genetic risk scores to test the associations with gold-standard measures of insulin sensitivity (2,969 individuals) and type 2 diabetes (15,960 case subjects and 64,731 control subjects). In conventional regression analyses, a 1-SD decrease in adiponectin levels was correlated with a 0.31-SD (95% CI 0.26–0.35) increase in fasting insulin, a 0.34-SD (0.30–0.38) decrease in insulin sensitivity, and a type 2 diabetes odds ratio (OR) of 1.75 (1.47–2.13). The instrumental variable analysis revealed no evidence of a causal association between genetically lower circulating adiponectin and higher fasting insulin (0.02 SD; 95% CI −0.07 to 0.11; N = 29,771), nominal evidence of a causal relationship with lower insulin sensitivity (−0.20 SD; 95% CI −0.38 to −0.02; N = 1,860), and no evidence of a relationship with type 2 diabetes (OR 0.94; 95% CI 0.75–1.19; N = 2,777 case subjects and 13,011 control subjects). Using the ADIPOQ summary statistics genetic risk scores, we found no evidence of an association between adiponectin-lowering alleles and insulin sensitivity (effect per weighted adiponectin-lowering allele: −0.03 SD; 95% CI −0.07 to 0.01; N = 2,969) or type 2 diabetes (OR per weighted adiponectin-lowering allele: 0.99; 95% CI 0.95–1.04; 15,960 case subjects vs. 64,731 control subjects). These results do not provide any consistent evidence that interventions aimed at increasing adiponectin levels will improve insulin sensitivity or risk of type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3781444  PMID: 23835345
11.  The prognostic value of microRNA-126 and microvessel density in patients with stage II colon cancer: results from a population cohort 
Angiogenesis plays a pivotal role in malignant tumour growth and the metastatic process. We analysed the prognostic value of two angiogenesis parameters, microRNA-126 (miRNA-126) and microvessel density (MVD), in a population based cohort of patients operated for stage II colon cancer.
A total of 560 patients were included. Analyses were performed on formalin fixed paraffin embedded tissue from the primary tumours. The analysis of miRNA-126 expression was performed by qPCR. Microvessels were visualised by CD105 and quantified in hot spots using a light microscope. The analyses were correlated with recurrence-free cancer specific survival (RF-CSS) and overall survival (OS).
Low miRNA-126 expression was significantly correlated to T4, high malignancy grade, tumour perforation, fixation, and the presence of microsatellite instability. A prognostic impact on OS was detected in the simple analysis favouring patients with high miRNA-126 expression p = 0.03, and borderline significance as to RF-CSS, p = 0.08. The impact on OS demonstrated borderline significance in a following multiple Cox regression analysis, hazard ratio 0.76 (95% confidence interval, 0.58-1.00), p = 0.051. The MVD estimate was not associated with either RF-CSS, p = 0.49, or OS, p = 0.94.
The current population based study of patients operated for stage II colon cancer demonstrated correlations between several prognostic unfavourable characteristics and miRNA-126 and argues for a possible prognostic impact on overall survival. An influence on survival by the MVD estimate was not detected.
PMCID: PMC4174250  PMID: 25199818
Angiogenesis; Colon cancer; Duke’s B; microRNA-126; Microvessel density; Prognostic markers
12.  Genome-wide association study identifies a sequence variant within the DAB2IP gene conferring susceptibility to abdominal aortic aneurysm 
Gretarsdottir, Solveig | Baas, Annette F | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Holm, Hilma | den Heijer, Martin | de Vries, Jean-Paul P M | Kranendonk, Steef E | Zeebregts, Clark J A M | van Sterkenburg, Steven M | Geelkerken, Robert H | van Rij, Andre M | Williams, Michael J A | Boll, Albert P M | Kostic, Jelena P | Jonasdottir, Adalbjorg | Jonasdottir, Aslaug | Walters, G Bragi | Masson, Gisli | Sulem, Patrick | Saemundsdottir, Jona | Mouy, Magali | Magnusson, Kristinn P | Tromp, Gerard | Elmore, James R | Sakalihasan, Natzi | Limet, Raymond | Defraigne, Jean-Olivier | Ferrell, Robert E | Ronkainen, Antti | Ruigrok, Ynte M | Wijmenga, Cisca | Grobbee, Diederick E | Shah, Svati H | Granger, Christopher B | Quyyumi, Arshed A | Vaccarino, Viola | Patel, Riyaz S | Zafari, A Maziar | Levey, Allan I | Austin, Harland | Girelli, Domenico | Pignatti, Pier Franco | Olivieri, Oliviero | Martinelli, Nicola | Malerba, Giovanni | Trabetti, Elisabetta | Becker, Lewis C | Becker, Diane M | Reilly, Muredach P | Rader, Daniel J | Mueller, Thomas | Dieplinger, Benjamin | Haltmayer, Meinhard | Urbonavicius, Sigitas | Lindblad, Bengt | Gottsäter, Anders | Gaetani, Eleonora | Pola, Roberto | Wells, Philip | Rodger, Marc | Forgie, Melissa | Langlois, Nicole | Corral, Javier | Vicente, Vicente | Fontcuberta, Jordi | España, Francisco | Grarup, Niels | Jørgensen, Torben | Witte, Daniel R | Hansen, Torben | Pedersen, Oluf | Aben, Katja K | de Graaf, Jacqueline | Holewijn, Suzanne | Folkersen, Lasse | Franco-Cereceda, Anders | Eriksson, Per | Collier, David A | Stefansson, Hreinn | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Rafnar, Thorunn | Valdimarsson, Einar M | Magnadottir, Hulda B | Sveinbjornsdottir, Sigurlaug | Olafsson, Isleifur | Magnusson, Magnus Karl | Palmason, Robert | Haraldsdottir, Vilhelmina | Andersen, Karl | Onundarson, Pall T | Thorgeirsson, Gudmundur | Kiemeney, Lambertus A | Powell, Janet T | Carey, David J | Kuivaniemi, Helena | Lindholt, Jes S | Jones, Gregory T | Kong, Augustine | Blankensteijn, Jan D | Matthiasson, Stefan E | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Stefansson, Kari
Nature genetics  2010;42(8):692-697.
We performed a genome-wide association study on 1,292 individuals with abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) and 30,503 controls from Iceland and The Netherlands, with a follow-up of top markers in up to 3,267 individuals with AAAs and 7,451 controls. The A allele of rs7025486 on 9q33 was found to associate with AAA, with an odds ratio (OR) of 1.21 and P = 4.6 × 10−10. In tests for association with other vascular diseases, we found that rs7025486[A] is associated with early onset myocardial infarction (OR = 1.18, P = 3.1 × 10−5), peripheral arterial disease (OR = 1.14, P = 3.9 × 10−5) and pulmonary embolism (OR = 1.20, P = 0.00030), but not with intracranial aneurysm or ischemic stroke. No association was observed between rs7025486[A] and common risk factors for arterial and venous diseases—that is, smoking, lipid levels, obesity, type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Rs7025486 is located within DAB2IP, which encodes an inhibitor of cell growth and survival.
PMCID: PMC4157066  PMID: 20622881
13.  The CTRB1/2 Locus Affects Diabetes Susceptibility and Treatment via the Incretin Pathway 
Diabetes  2013;62(9):3275-3281.
The incretin hormone glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) promotes glucose homeostasis and enhances β-cell function. GLP-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs) and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors, which inhibit the physiological inactivation of endogenous GLP-1, are used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Using the Metabochip, we identified three novel genetic loci with large effects (30–40%) on GLP-1–stimulated insulin secretion during hyperglycemic clamps in nondiabetic Caucasian individuals (TMEM114; CHST3 and CTRB1/2; n = 232; all P ≤ 8.8 × 10−7). rs7202877 near CTRB1/2, a known diabetes risk locus, also associated with an absolute 0.51 ± 0.16% (5.6 ± 1.7 mmol/mol) lower A1C response to DPP-4 inhibitor treatment in G-allele carriers, but there was no effect on GLP-1 RA treatment in type 2 diabetic patients (n = 527). Furthermore, in pancreatic tissue, we show that rs7202877 acts as expression quantitative trait locus for CTRB1 and CTRB2, encoding chymotrypsinogen, and increases fecal chymotrypsin activity in healthy carriers. Chymotrypsin is one of the most abundant digestive enzymes in the gut where it cleaves food proteins into smaller peptide fragments. Our data identify chymotrypsin in the regulation of the incretin pathway, development of diabetes, and response to DPP-4 inhibitor treatment.
PMCID: PMC3749354  PMID: 23674605
14.  Risk of re-admission, reoperation, and mortality within 90 days of total hip and knee arthroplasty in fast-track departments in Denmark from 2005 to 2011 
Acta Orthopaedica  2014;85(5):493-500.
To compare the risks of re-admission, reoperation, and mortality within 90 days of surgery in orthopedic departments with well-documented fast-track arthroplasty programs with those in all other orthopedic departments in Denmark from 2005 to 2011.
We used the Danish hip and knee arthroplasty registers to identify patients with primary total hip arthroplasty or total knee arthroplasty. Information about re-admission, reoperation, and mortality within 90 days of surgery was obtained from administrative databases. The fast-track cohort consisted of 6 departments. The national comparison cohort consisted of all other orthopedic departments. Regression methods were used to calculate relative risk (RR) of adverse events, adjusting for age, sex, type of fixation, and comorbidity. Cohorts were divided into 3 time periods: 2005–2007, 2008–2009, and 2010–2011.
79,098 arthroplasties were included: 17,284 in the fast-track cohort and 61,814 in the national cohort. Median length of stay (LOS) was less for the fast-track cohort in all 3 time periods (4, 3, and 3 days as opposed to 6, 4, and 3 days). RR of re-admission due to infection was higher in the fast-track cohort in 2005–2007 (1.3, 95% CI: 1.1–1.6) than in the national cohort in the same time period. This was mainly due to urinary tract infections. RR of re-admission due to a thromboembolic event was lower in the fast-track cohort in 2010–2011 (0.7, CI: 0.6–0.9) than in the national cohort in the same time period. No differences were seen in the risk of reoperation and mortality between the 2 cohorts during any time period.
The general reduction in LOS indicates that fast-track arthroplasty programs have been widely implemented in Denmark. At the same time, it appears that dedicated fast-track departments have been able to optimize the fast-track program further without any rise in re-admission, reoperation, and mortality rates.
PMCID: PMC4164867  PMID: 25036718
15.  Role of preoperative pain, muscle function, and activity level in discharge readiness after fast-track hip and knee arthroplasty 
Acta Orthopaedica  2014;85(5):488-492.
Background and purpose
The concept of fast-track surgery has led to a decline in length of stay after total hip arthroplasty (THA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA) to about 2–4 days. However, it has been questioned whether this is only achievable in selected patients—or in all patients. We therefore investigated the role of preoperative pain and functional characteristics in discharge readiness and actual LOS in fast-track THA and TKA.
Before surgery, hip pain (THA) or knee pain (TKA), lower-extremity muscle power, functional performance, and physical activity were assessed in a sample of 150 patients and used as independent variables to predict the outcome (dependent variable)—readiness for hospital discharge —for each type of surgery. Discharge readiness was assessed twice daily by blinded assessors.
Median discharge readiness and actual length of stay until discharge were both 2 days. Univariate linear regression followed by multiple linear regression revealed that age was the only independent predictor of discharge readiness in THA and TKA, but the standardized coefficients were small (≤ 0.03).
These results support the idea that fast-track THA and TKA with a length of stay of about 2–4 days can be achieved for most patients independently of preoperative functional characteristics.
PMCID: PMC4164866  PMID: 24954491
16.  A Combined Analysis of 48 Type 2 Diabetes Genetic Risk Variants Shows No Discriminative Value to Predict Time to First Prescription of a Glucose Lowering Drug in Danish Patients with Screen Detected Type 2 Diabetes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104837.
To investigate the genetic influence of 48 type 2 diabetes susceptibility variants on disease progression measured as risk of early prescription redemption of glucose lowering drugs in screen-detected patients with type 2 diabetes.
We studied type 2 diabetes progression in 1,480 patients with screen-detected type 2 diabetes from the ADDITION-Denmark study using information of redeemed prescriptions from the Register of Medicinal Products Statistics from 2001–2009 in Denmark. Patients were cluster randomized by general practitioners, who were randomized to treat type 2 diabetes according to either a conventional or a multifactorial intensive treatment algorithm. We investigated the genetic influence on diabetes progression by constructing a genetic risk score (GRS) of all 48 validated type 2 diabetes susceptibility variants, a GRS of 11 variants linked to β-cell function and a GRS of 3 variants linked to insulin sensitivity and assessed the association between number of risk alleles and time from diagnosis until first redeemed prescription of either any glucose lowering drug or an insulin drug.
The GRS linked to insulin sensitivity only nominally increased the risk of an early prescription redemption with an insulin drug by 39% (HR [95% C.I.] = 1.39 [1.09–1.77], p = 0.009] in patients randomized to the intensive treatment group. Furthermore, the strongest univariate predictors of diabetes progression for the intensive treatment group (measured as time to first insulin) were younger age (HR [95% C.I.] = 0.96 [0.93–0.99]), increased BMI (1.05 [1.01–1.09]), increased HbA1c (1.50 [1.36–.66]), increased TG (1.24 [1.11–1.39]) and reduced fasting serum HDL (0.37 [0.17–0.80]) at baseline. Similar results were obtained for the conventional treatment group.
Higher levels of HbA1c, fasting circulating levels of triglyceride, lower HDL, larger BMI and younger age are significant determinants of early pharmacological intervention in type 2 diabetes. However, known common type 2 diabetes-associated gene variants do not appear to significantly affect disease progression.
PMCID: PMC4144838  PMID: 25157406
17.  Loss-of-function mutations in SLC30A8 protect against type 2 diabetes 
Flannick, Jason | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Beer, Nicola L. | Jacobs, Suzanne B. R. | Grarup, Niels | Burtt, Noël P. | Mahajan, Anubha | Fuchsberger, Christian | Atzmon, Gil | Benediktsson, Rafn | Blangero, John | Bowden, Don W. | Brandslund, Ivan | Brosnan, Julia | Burslem, Frank | Chambers, John | Cho, Yoon Shin | Christensen, Cramer | Douglas, Desirée A. | Duggirala, Ravindranath | Dymek, Zachary | Farjoun, Yossi | Fennell, Timothy | Fontanillas, Pierre | Forsén, Tom | Gabriel, Stacey | Glaser, Benjamin | Gudbjartsson, Daniel F. | Hanis, Craig | Hansen, Torben | Hreidarsson, Astradur B. | Hveem, Kristian | Ingelsson, Erik | Isomaa, Bo | Johansson, Stefan | Jørgensen, Torben | Jørgensen, Marit Eika | Kathiresan, Sekar | Kong, Augustine | Kooner, Jaspal | Kravic, Jasmina | Laakso, Markku | Lee, Jong-Young | Lind, Lars | Lindgren, Cecilia M | Linneberg, Allan | Masson, Gisli | Meitinger, Thomas | Mohlke, Karen L | Molven, Anders | Morris, Andrew P. | Potluri, Shobha | Rauramaa, Rainer | Ribel-Madsen, Rasmus | Richard, Ann-Marie | Rolph, Tim | Salomaa, Veikko | Segrè, Ayellet V. | Skärstrand, Hanna | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Stringham, Heather M. | Sulem, Patrick | Tai, E Shyong | Teo, Yik Ying | Teslovich, Tanya | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Trimmer, Jeff K. | Tuomi, Tiinamaija | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Vaziri-Sani, Fariba | Voight, Benjamin F. | Wilson, James G. | Boehnke, Michael | McCarthy, Mark I. | Njølstad, Pål R. | Pedersen, Oluf | Groop, Leif | Cox, David R. | Stefansson, Kari | Altshuler, David
Nature genetics  2014;46(4):357-363.
Loss-of-function mutations protective against human disease provide in vivo validation of therapeutic targets1,2,3, yet none are described for type 2 diabetes (T2D). Through sequencing or genotyping ~150,000 individuals across five ethnicities, we identified 12 rare protein-truncating variants in SLC30A8, which encodes an islet zinc transporter (ZnT8)4 and harbors a common variant (p.Trp325Arg) associated with T2D risk, glucose, and proinsulin levels5–7. Collectively, protein-truncating variant carriers had 65% reduced T2D risk (p=1.7×10−6), and non-diabetic Icelandic carriers of a frameshift variant (p.Lys34SerfsX50) demonstrated reduced glucose levels (−0.17 s.d., p=4.6×10−4). The two most common protein-truncating variants (p.Arg138X and p.Lys34SerfsX50) individually associate with T2D protection and encode unstable ZnT8 proteins. Previous functional study of SLC30A8 suggested reduced zinc transport increases T2D risk8,9, yet phenotypic heterogeneity was observed in rodent Slc30a8 knockouts10–15. Contrastingly, loss-of-function mutations in humans provide strong evidence that SLC30A8 haploinsufficiency protects against T2D, proposing ZnT8 inhibition as a therapeutic strategy in T2D prevention.
PMCID: PMC4051628  PMID: 24584071
18.  Functional Screening Identifies miRNAs Influencing Apoptosis and Proliferation in Colorectal Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e96767.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play a critical role in many biological processes and are aberrantly expressed in human cancers. Particular miRNAs function either as tumor suppressors or oncogenes and appear to have diagnostic and prognostic significance. Although numerous miRNAs are dys-regulated in colorectal cancer (CRC) only a small fraction has been characterized functionally. Using high-throughput functional screening and miRNA profiling of clinical samples the present study aims at identifying miRNAs important for the control of cellular growth and/or apoptosis in CRC. The high-throughput functional screening was carried out in six CRC cell lines transfected with a pre-miR library including 319 synthetic human pre-miRs. Phenotypic alterations were evaluated by immunostaining of cleaved cPARP (apoptosis) or MKI67 (proliferation). Additionally, TaqMan Human MicroRNA Array Set v2.0 was used to profile the expression of 667 miRNAs in 14 normal colon mucosa and 46 microsatellite stable stage II CRC patients. Among the miRNAs that induced growth arrest and apoptosis in the CRC cell lines, and at same time were dys-regulated in the clinical samples, miR-375 was selected for further analysis. Independent in vitro analysis of transient and stable transfected CRC cell lines confirmed that miR-375 reduces cell viability through the induction of apoptotic death. We identified YAP1 as a direct miR-375 target in CRC and show that HELLS and NOLC1 are down-stream targets. Knock-down of YAP1 mimicked the phenotype induced by miR-375 over-expression indicating that miR-375 most likely exerts its pro-apoptotic role through YAP1 and its anti-apoptotic down-stream targets BIRC5 and BCL2L1. Finally, in vivo analysis of mouse xenograft tumors showed that miR-375 expression significantly reduced tumor growth. We conclude that the high-throughput screening successfully identified miRNAs that induce apoptosis and/or inhibit proliferation in CRC cells. Finally, combining the functional screening with profiling of CRC tissue samples we identified clinically relevant miRNAs and miRNA targets in CRC.
PMCID: PMC4043686  PMID: 24892549
19.  Genetic Variants Associated With Glycine Metabolism and Their Role in Insulin Sensitivity and Type 2 Diabetes 
Diabetes  2013;62(6):2141-2150.
Circulating metabolites associated with insulin sensitivity may represent useful biomarkers, but their causal role in insulin sensitivity and diabetes is less certain. We previously identified novel metabolites correlated with insulin sensitivity measured by the hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp. The top-ranking metabolites were in the glutathione and glycine biosynthesis pathways. We aimed to identify common genetic variants associated with metabolites in these pathways and test their role in insulin sensitivity and type 2 diabetes. With 1,004 nondiabetic individuals from the RISC study, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 14 insulin sensitivity–related metabolites and one metabolite ratio. We replicated our results in the Botnia study (n = 342). We assessed the association of these variants with diabetes-related traits in GWAS meta-analyses (GENESIS [including RISC, EUGENE2, and Stanford], MAGIC, and DIAGRAM). We identified four associations with three metabolites—glycine (rs715 at CPS1), serine (rs478093 at PHGDH), and betaine (rs499368 at SLC6A12; rs17823642 at BHMT)—and one association signal with glycine-to-serine ratio (rs1107366 at ALDH1L1). There was no robust evidence for association between these variants and insulin resistance or diabetes. Genetic variants associated with genes in the glycine biosynthesis pathways do not provide consistent evidence for a role of glycine in diabetes-related traits.
PMCID: PMC3661655  PMID: 23378610
20.  Gene-Lifestyle Interaction and Type 2 Diabetes: The EPIC InterAct Case-Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(5):e1001647.
In this study, Wareham and colleagues quantified the combined effects of genetic and lifestyle factors on risk of T2D in order to inform strategies for prevention. The authors found that the relative effect of a type 2 diabetes genetic risk score is greater in younger and leaner participants, and the high absolute risk associated with obesity at any level of genetic risk highlights the importance of universal rather than targeted approaches to lifestyle intervention.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Understanding of the genetic basis of type 2 diabetes (T2D) has progressed rapidly, but the interactions between common genetic variants and lifestyle risk factors have not been systematically investigated in studies with adequate statistical power. Therefore, we aimed to quantify the combined effects of genetic and lifestyle factors on risk of T2D in order to inform strategies for prevention.
Methods and Findings
The InterAct study includes 12,403 incident T2D cases and a representative sub-cohort of 16,154 individuals from a cohort of 340,234 European participants with 3.99 million person-years of follow-up. We studied the combined effects of an additive genetic T2D risk score and modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors using Prentice-weighted Cox regression and random effects meta-analysis methods. The effect of the genetic score was significantly greater in younger individuals (p for interaction  = 1.20×10−4). Relative genetic risk (per standard deviation [4.4 risk alleles]) was also larger in participants who were leaner, both in terms of body mass index (p for interaction  = 1.50×10−3) and waist circumference (p for interaction  = 7.49×10−9). Examination of absolute risks by strata showed the importance of obesity for T2D risk. The 10-y cumulative incidence of T2D rose from 0.25% to 0.89% across extreme quartiles of the genetic score in normal weight individuals, compared to 4.22% to 7.99% in obese individuals. We detected no significant interactions between the genetic score and sex, diabetes family history, physical activity, or dietary habits assessed by a Mediterranean diet score.
The relative effect of a T2D genetic risk score is greater in younger and leaner participants. However, this sub-group is at low absolute risk and would not be a logical target for preventive interventions. The high absolute risk associated with obesity at any level of genetic risk highlights the importance of universal rather than targeted approaches to lifestyle intervention.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Worldwide, more than 380 million people currently have diabetes, and the condition is becoming increasingly common. Diabetes is characterized by high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Blood sugar levels are usually controlled by insulin, a hormone released by the pancreas after meals (digestion of food produces glucose). In people with type 2 diabetes (the commonest type of diabetes), blood sugar control fails because the fat and muscle cells that normally respond to insulin by removing excess sugar from the blood become less responsive to insulin. Type 2 diabetes can often initially be controlled with diet and exercise (lifestyle changes) and with antidiabetic drugs such as metformin and sulfonylureas, but patients may eventually need insulin injections to control their blood sugar levels. Long-term complications of diabetes, which include an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, reduce the life expectancy of people with diabetes by about ten years compared to people without diabetes.
Why Was This Study Done?
Type 2 diabetes is thought to originate from the interplay between genetic and lifestyle factors. But although rapid progress is being made in understanding the genetic basis of type 2 diabetes, it is not known whether the consequences of adverse lifestyles (for example, being overweight and/or physically inactive) differ according to an individual's underlying genetic risk of diabetes. It is important to investigate this question to inform strategies for prevention. If, for example, obese individuals with a high level of genetic risk have a higher risk of developing diabetes than obese individuals with a low level of genetic risk, then preventative strategies that target lifestyle interventions to obese individuals with a high genetic risk would be more effective than strategies that target all obese individuals. In this case-cohort study, researchers from the InterAct consortium quantify the combined effects of genetic and lifestyle factors on the risk of type 2 diabetes. A case-cohort study measures exposure to potential risk factors in a group (cohort) of people and compares the occurrence of these risk factors in people who later develop the disease with those who remain disease free.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The InterAct study involves 12,403 middle-aged individuals who developed type 2 diabetes after enrollment (incident cases) into the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) and a sub-cohort of 16,154 EPIC participants. The researchers calculated a genetic type 2 diabetes risk score for most of these individuals by determining which of 49 gene variants associated with type 2 diabetes each person carried, and collected baseline information about exposure to lifestyle risk factors for type 2 diabetes. They then used various statistical approaches to examine the combined effects of the genetic risk score and lifestyle factors on diabetes development. The effect of the genetic score was greater in younger individuals than in older individuals and greater in leaner participants than in participants with larger amounts of body fat. The absolute risk of type 2 diabetes, expressed as the ten-year cumulative incidence of type 2 diabetes (the percentage of participants who developed diabetes over a ten-year period) increased with increasing genetic score in normal weight individuals from 0.25% in people with the lowest genetic risk scores to 0.89% in those with the highest scores; in obese people, the ten-year cumulative incidence rose from 4.22% to 7.99% with increasing genetic risk score.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that in this middle-aged cohort, the relative association with type 2 diabetes of a genetic risk score comprised of a large number of gene variants is greatest in individuals who are younger and leaner at baseline. This finding may in part reflect the methods used to originally identify gene variants associated with type 2 diabetes, and future investigations that include other genetic variants, other lifestyle factors, and individuals living in other settings should be undertaken to confirm this finding. Importantly, however, this study shows that young, lean individuals with a high genetic risk score have a low absolute risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Thus, this sub-group of individuals is not a logical target for preventative interventions. Rather, suggest the researchers, the high absolute risk of type 2 diabetes associated with obesity at any level of genetic risk highlights the importance of universal rather than targeted approaches to lifestyle intervention.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse provides information about diabetes for patients, health-care professionals and the general public, including detailed information on diabetes prevention (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information for patients and carers about type 2 diabetes and about living with diabetes; it also provides people's stories about diabetes
The charity Diabetes UK provides detailed information for patients and carers in several languages, including information on healthy lifestyles for people with diabetes
The UK-based non-profit organization Healthtalkonline has interviews with people about their experiences of diabetes
The Genetic Landscape of Diabetes is published by the US National Center for Biotechnology Information
More information on the InterAct study is available
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources and advice about diabetes and diabetes prevention (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC4028183  PMID: 24845081
21.  Dietary ascorbic acid and subsequent change in body weight and waist circumference: associations may depend on genetic predisposition to obesity - a prospective study of three independent cohorts 
Nutrition Journal  2014;13:43.
Cross-sectional data suggests that a low level of plasma ascorbic acid positively associates with both Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist Circumference (WC). This leads to questions about a possible relationship between dietary intake of ascorbic acid and subsequent changes in anthropometry, and whether such associations may depend on genetic predisposition to obesity. Hence, we examined whether dietary ascorbic acid, possibly in interaction with the genetic predisposition to a high BMI, WC or waist-hip ratio adjusted for BMI (WHR), associates with subsequent annual changes in weight (∆BW) and waist circumference (∆WC).
A total of 7,569 participants’ from MONICA, the Diet Cancer and Health study and the INTER99 study were included in the study. We combined 50 obesity associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in four genetic scores: a score of all SNPs and a score for each of the traits (BMI, WC and WHR) with which the SNPs associate. Linear regression was used to examine the association between ascorbic acid intake and ΔBW or ΔWC. SNP-score × ascorbic acid interactions were examined by adding product terms to the models.
We found no significant associations between dietary ascorbic acid and ∆BW or ∆WC. Regarding SNP-score × ascorbic acid interactions, each additional risk allele of the 14 WHR associated SNPs associated with a ∆WC of 0.039 cm/year (P = 0.02, 95% CI: 0.005 to 0.073) per 100 mg/day higher ascorbic acid intake. However, the association to ∆WC only remained borderline significant after adjustment for ∆BW.
In general, our study does not support an association between dietary ascorbic acid and ∆BW or ∆WC, but a diet with a high content of ascorbic acid may be weakly associated to higher WC gain among people who are genetically predisposed to a high WHR. However, given the quite limited association any public health relevance is questionable.
PMCID: PMC4024624  PMID: 24886192
Ascorbic acid; Genetic predisposition; Gene-diet interaction; Weight change
22.  Discovery of biomarkers for glycaemic deterioration before and after the onset of type 2 diabetes: rationale and design of the epidemiological studies within the IMI DIRECT Consortium 
Diabetologia  2014;57(6):1132-1142.
The DIRECT (Diabetes Research on Patient Stratification) Study is part of a European Union Framework 7 Innovative Medicines Initiative project, a joint undertaking between four industry and 21 academic partners throughout Europe. The Consortium aims to discover and validate biomarkers that: (1) predict the rate of glycaemic deterioration before and after type 2 diabetes onset; (2) predict the response to diabetes therapies; and (3) help stratify type 2 diabetes into clearly definable disease subclasses that can be treated more effectively than without stratification. This paper describes two new prospective cohort studies conducted as part of DIRECT.
Prediabetic participants (target sample size 2,200–2,700) and patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes (target sample size ~1,000) are undergoing detailed metabolic phenotyping at baseline and 18 months and 36 months later. Abdominal, pancreatic and liver fat is assessed using MRI. Insulin secretion and action are assessed using frequently sampled OGTTs in non-diabetic participants, and frequently sampled mixed-meal tolerance tests in patients with type 2 diabetes. Biosamples include venous blood, faeces, urine and nail clippings, which, among other biochemical analyses, will be characterised at genetic, transcriptomic, metabolomic, proteomic and metagenomic levels. Lifestyle is assessed using high-resolution triaxial accelerometry, 24 h diet record, and food habit questionnaires.
DIRECT will yield an unprecedented array of biomaterials and data. This resource, available through managed access to scientists within and outside the Consortium, will facilitate the development of new treatments and therapeutic strategies for the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00125-014-3216-x) contains peer-reviewed but unedited supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.
PMCID: PMC4018481  PMID: 24695864
Epigenetic; Gene–environment interaction; Genome; Glycaemic control; Lifestyle; Microbiome; Prediabetes; Proteome; Transcriptome; Type 2 diabetes
23.  Mutations in HNF1A Result in Marked Alterations of Plasma Glycan Profile 
Diabetes  2013;62(4):1329-1337.
A recent genome-wide association study identified hepatocyte nuclear factor 1-α (HNF1A) as a key regulator of fucosylation. We hypothesized that loss-of-function HNF1A mutations causal for maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY) would display altered fucosylation of N-linked glycans on plasma proteins and that glycan biomarkers could improve the efficiency of a diagnosis of HNF1A-MODY. In a pilot comparison of 33 subjects with HNF1A-MODY and 41 subjects with type 2 diabetes, 15 of 29 glycan measurements differed between the two groups. The DG9-glycan index, which is the ratio of fucosylated to nonfucosylated triantennary glycans, provided optimum discrimination in the pilot study and was examined further among additional subjects with HNF1A-MODY (n = 188), glucokinase (GCK)-MODY (n = 118), hepatocyte nuclear factor 4-α (HNF4A)-MODY (n = 40), type 1 diabetes (n = 98), type 2 diabetes (n = 167), and nondiabetic controls (n = 98). The DG9-glycan index was markedly lower in HNF1A-MODY than in controls or other diabetes subtypes, offered good discrimination between HNF1A-MODY and both type 1 and type 2 diabetes (C statistic ≥0.90), and enabled us to detect three previously undetected HNF1A mutations in patients with diabetes. In conclusion, glycan profiles are altered substantially in HNF1A-MODY, and the DG9-glycan index has potential clinical value as a diagnostic biomarker of HNF1A dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC3609552  PMID: 23274891
24.  Chronic Family Stress Moderates the Association between a TOMM40 Variant and Triglyceride Levels in Two Independent Caucasian Samples 
Biological psychology  2013;93(1):184-189.
TOMM40 SNP rs157580 has been associated with triglyceride levels in Genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Chronic caregiving stress moderates the association between triglyceride levels and a nearby SNP rs439401 that is associated with triglyceride levels in GWAS. Here, we report data from two independent Caucasian samples (242 U.S. women and men; 466 Danish men) testing the hypothesis that chronic family stress also moderates the association between rs157580 and triglyceride levels. The interaction of rs157580 and family stress in predicting triglyceride levels was statistically significant in the U.S. sample (p = 0.004) and marginally significant (p = 0.075) in the Danish sample. The G allele of rs157580 was associated with increased triglyceride levels among family stressed cases in both samples compared with A/A cases, but not among controls. Chronic family stress moderates the association of rs157580 variants with triglyceride levels and should be taken into account for disease risk assessment and potential intervention.
PMCID: PMC3739426  PMID: 23435269
25.  Evaluation of a target region capture sequencing platform using monogenic diabetes as a study-model 
BMC Genetics  2014;15:13.
Monogenic diabetes is a genetic disease often caused by mutations in genes involved in beta-cell function. Correct sub-categorization of the disease is a prerequisite for appropriate treatment and genetic counseling. Target-region capture sequencing is a combination of genomic region enrichment and next generation sequencing which might be used as an efficient way to diagnose various genetic disorders. We aimed to develop a target-region capture sequencing platform to screen 117 selected candidate genes involved in metabolism for mutations and to evaluate its performance using monogenic diabetes as a study-model.
The performance of the assay was evaluated in 70 patients carrying known disease causing mutations previously identified in HNF4A, GCK, HNF1A, HNF1B, INS, or KCNJ11. Target regions with a less than 20-fold sequencing depth were either introns or UTRs. When only considering translated regions, the coverage was 100% with a 50-fold minimum depth. Among the 70 analyzed samples, 63 small size single nucleotide polymorphisms and indels as well as 7 large deletions and duplications were identified as being the pathogenic variants. The mutations identified by the present technique were identical with those previously identified through Sanger sequencing and Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification.
We hereby demonstrated that the established platform as an accurate and high-throughput gene testing method which might be useful in the clinical diagnosis of monogenic diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3943834  PMID: 24476040

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