Genetic studies might provide new insights into the biological
mechanisms underlying lipid metabolism and risk of CAD. We therefore
conducted a genome-wide association study to identify novel genetic
determinants of LDL-c, HDL-c and triglycerides.
Methods and results
We combined genome-wide association data from eight studies,
comprising up to 17,723 participants with information on circulating lipid
concentrations. We did independent replication studies in up to 37,774
participants from eight populations and also in a population of Indian Asian
descent. We also assessed the association between SNPs at lipid loci and
risk of CAD in up to 9,633 cases and 38,684 controls.
We identified four novel genetic loci that showed reproducible
associations with lipids (P values 1.6 × 10−8 to
3.1 × 10−10). These include a potentially
functional SNP in the SLC39A8 gene for HDL-c, a SNP near
the MYLIP/GMPR and PPP1R3B genes for LDL-c
and at the AFF1 gene for triglycerides. SNPs showing strong
statistical association with one or more lipid traits at the
APOE-C1-C4-C2 cluster, LPL,
ZNF259-APOA5-A4-C3-A1 cluster and
TRIB1 loci were also associated with CAD risk (P values
1.1 × 10−3 to 1.2 ×
We have identified four novel loci associated with circulating
lipids. We also show that in addition to those that are largely associated
with LDL-c, genetic loci mainly associated with circulating triglycerides
and HDL-c are also associated with risk of CAD. These findings potentially
provide new insights into the biological mechanisms underlying lipid
metabolism and CAD risk.
lipids; lipoproteins; genetics; epidemiology
Urotensin-II controls ion/water homeostasis in fish and vascular tone in rodents. We hypothesised that common genetic variants in urotensin-II pathway genes are associated with human blood pressure or renal function. We performed family-based analysis of association between blood pressure, glomerular filtration and genes of the urotensin-II pathway (urotensin-II, urotensin-II related peptide, urotensin-II receptor) saturated with 28 tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms in 2024 individuals from 520 families; followed by an independent replication in 420 families and 7545 unrelated subjects. The expression studies of the urotensin-II pathway were carried out in 97 human kidneys. Phylogenetic evolutionary analysis was conducted in 17 vertebrate species. One single nucleotide polymorphism (rs531485 in urotensin-II gene) was associated with adjusted estimated glomerular filtration rate in the discovery cohort (p = 0.0005). It showed no association with estimated glomerular filtration rate in the combined replication resource of 8724 subjects from 6 populations. Expression of urotensin-II and its receptor showed strong linear correlation (r = 0.86, p<0.0001). There was no difference in renal expression of urotensin-II system between hypertensive and normotensive subjects. Evolutionary analysis revealed accumulation of mutations in urotensin-II since the divergence of primates and weaker conservation of urotensin-II receptor in primates than in lower vertebrates. Our data suggest that urotensin-II system genes are unlikely to play a major role in genetic control of human blood pressure or renal function. The signatures of evolutionary forces acting on urotensin-II system indicate that it may have evolved towards loss of function since the divergence of primates.
Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is a highly heritable condition and the most common form of hair loss in humans. Susceptibility loci have been described on the X chromosome and chromosome 20, but these loci explain a minority of its heritable variance. We conducted a large-scale meta-analysis of seven genome-wide association studies for early-onset AGA in 12,806 individuals of European ancestry. While replicating the two AGA loci on the X chromosome and chromosome 20, six novel susceptibility loci reached genome-wide significance (p = 2.62×10−9–1.01×10−12). Unexpectedly, we identified a risk allele at 17q21.31 that was recently associated with Parkinson's disease (PD) at a genome-wide significant level. We then tested the association between early-onset AGA and the risk of PD in a cross-sectional analysis of 568 PD cases and 7,664 controls. Early-onset AGA cases had significantly increased odds of subsequent PD (OR = 1.28, 95% confidence interval: 1.06–1.55, p = 8.9×10−3). Further, the AGA susceptibility alleles at the 17q21.31 locus are on the H1 haplotype, which is under negative selection in Europeans and has been linked to decreased fertility. Combining the risk alleles of six novel and two established susceptibility loci, we created a genotype risk score and tested its association with AGA in an additional sample. Individuals in the highest risk quartile of a genotype score had an approximately six-fold increased risk of early-onset AGA [odds ratio (OR) = 5.78, p = 1.4×10−88]. Our results highlight unexpected associations between early-onset AGA, Parkinson's disease, and decreased fertility, providing important insights into the pathophysiology of these conditions.
While most genome-wide association studies (GWAS) focus on the identification of susceptibility loci for a specific disease, this hypothesis-free approach also enables the identification of unexpected associations between different diseases by taking advantage of the previously published GWAS associations. Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA, also known as male pattern baldness) is the most common type of hair loss in humans. Parkinson's disease is reported to occur more commonly in men than in women; however, there are no studies investigating the link between AGA and Parkinson's disease. Here, we show that a specific genetic locus, chromosome 17q21.31, which is associated with Parkinson's disease, is also a susceptibility locus for early-onset AGA. We further investigate the association between early-onset AGA and Parkinson's disease, irrespective of genotype, directly in a large-scale web-based study. We find that men with early-onset AGA have 28% higher risk of developing Parkinson's disease. The early-onset AGA locus on chromosome 17q21.31 has also been linked to decreased fertility previously. Future studies of this locus may implicate novel biological pathways affecting these three conditions.
[11C]PBR28 binds the 18-kDa Translocator Protein (TSPO) and is used in positron emission tomography (PET) to detect microglial activation. However, quantitative interpretations of signal are confounded by large interindividual variability in binding affinity, which displays a trimodal distribution compatible with a codominant genetic trait. Here, we tested directly for an underlying genetic mechanism to explain this. Binding affinity of PBR28 was measured in platelets isolated from 41 human subjects and tested for association with polymorphisms in TSPO and genes encoding other proteins in the TSPO complex. Complete agreement was observed between the TSPO Ala147Thr genotype and PBR28 binding affinity phenotype (P value=3.1 × 10−13). The TSPO Ala147Thr polymorphism predicts PBR28 binding affinity in human platelets. As all second-generation TSPO PET radioligands tested hitherto display a trimodal distribution in binding affinity analogous to PBR28, testing for this polymorphism may allow quantitative interpretation of TSPO PET studies with these radioligands.
Ala147Thr; PBR28; polymorphism; radioligand binding; TSPO
Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) is a novel master regulator of metabolic profile. The biological actions of FGF21 are elicited upon its klotho beta (KLB)-facilitated binding to FGF receptor 1 (FGFR1), FGFR2 and FGFR3. We hypothesised that common polymorphisms in the FGF21 signalling pathway may be associated with metabolic risk. At the screening stage, we examined associations between 63 common single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in five genes of this pathway (FGF21, KLB, FGFR1, FGFR2, FGFR3) and four metabolic phenotypes (LDL cholesterol – LDL-C, HDL-cholesterol – HDL-C, triglycerides and body mass index) in 629 individuals from Silesian Hypertension Study (SHS). Replication analyses were performed in 5478 unrelated individuals of the Swiss CoLaus cohort (imputed genotypes) and in 3030 directly genotyped individuals of the German Myocardial Infarction Family Study (GerMIFS). Of 54 SNPs that met quality control criteria after genotyping in SHS, 4 (rs4733946 and rs7012413 in FGFR1; rs2071616 in FGFR2 and rs7670903 in KLB) showed suggestive association with LDL-C (P=0.0006, P=0.0013, P=0.0055, P=0.011, respectively) and 1 (rs2608819 in KLB) was associated with body mass index (P=0.011); all with false discovery rate q<0.5. Of these, only one FGFR2 polymorphism (rs2071616) showed replicated association with LDL-C in both CoLaus (P=0.009) and men from GerMIFS (P=0.017). The direction of allelic effect of rs2071616 upon LDL-C was consistent in all examined populations. These data show that common genetic variations in FGFR2 may be associated with LDL-C in subjects of white European ancestry.
fibroblast growth factor 21; fibroblast growth factor receptor 2; cholesterol; single-nucleotide polymorphism; genome-wide association studies
Genetic determinants of blood pressure are poorly defined. We undertook a large-scale gene-centric analysis to identify loci and pathways associated with ambulatory systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
We measured 24-hour ambulatory BP in 2020 individuals from 520 white European nuclear families (the GRAPHIC Study) and genotyped their DNA using the Illumina HumanCVD BeadChip array which contains approximately 50000 single nucleotide polymorphisms in >2000 cardiovascular candidate loci. We found a strong association between rs13306560 polymorphism in the promoter region of MTHFR and CLCN6 and mean 24-hour diastolic blood pressure - each minor allele copy of rs13306560 was associated with 2.6 mmHg lower mean 24-hour diastolic blood pressure (P=1.2×10−8). rs13306560 was also associated with clinic diastolic blood pressure in a combined analysis of 8129 subjects from the GRAPHIC Study, the CoLaus Study and the Silesian Cardiovascular Study (P=5.4×10−6). Additional analysis of associations between variants in Gene Ontology-defined pathways and mean 24-hour blood pressure in the GRAPHIC Study showed that cell survival control signalling cascades could play a role in blood pressure regulation. There was also a significant over-representation of rare variants (minor allele frequency <0.05) amongst polymorphisms showing at least nominal association with mean 24-hour blood pressure indicating that a considerable proportion of its heritability may be explained by uncommon alleles.
Through a large scale gene-centric analysis of ambulatory blood pressure, we identified an association of a novel variant at the MTHFR/CLNC6 locus with diastolic blood pressure and provided new insights into the genetic architecture of blood pressure.
gene; genetics; blood pressure; single nucleotide polymorphism; association; heritability
Although experimental studies have suggested that insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) and its binding protein IGFBP-3 might have a role in the aetiology of coronary artery disease (CAD), the relevance of circulating IGFs and their binding proteins in the development of CAD in human populations is unclear. We conducted a nested case-control study, with a mean follow-up of six years, within the EPIC-Norfolk cohort to assess the association between circulating levels of IGF-I and IGFBP-3 and risk of CAD in up to 1,013 cases and 2,055 controls matched for age, sex and study enrolment date. After adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors, we found no association between circulating levels of IGF-I or IGFBP-3 and risk of CAD (odds ratio: 0.98 (95% Cl 0.90-1.06) per 1 SD increase in circulating IGF-I; odds ratio: 1.02 (95% Cl 0.94-1.12) for IGFBP-3). We examined associations between tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (tSNPs) at the IGF1 and IGFBP3 loci and circulating IGF-I and IGFBP-3 levels in up to 1,133 cases and 2,223 controls and identified three tSNPs (rs1520220, rs3730204, rs2132571) that showed independent association with either circulating IGF-I or IGFBP-3 levels. In an assessment of 31 SNPs spanning the IGF1 or IGFBP3 loci, none were associated with risk of CAD in a meta-analysis that included EPIC-Norfolk and eight additional studies comprising up to 9,319 cases and 19,964 controls. Our results indicate that IGF-I and IGFBP-3 are unlikely to be importantly involved in the aetiology of CAD in human populations.
Epidemiology; Genetics of cardiovascular disease; Risk factors; IGF1; IGFBP3
Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) is a novel master regulator of metabolic profile. The biological actions of FGF21 are elicited upon its klotho beta (KLB)-facilitated binding to FGF receptor 1 (FGFR1), FGF receptor 2 (FGFR2) and FGF receptor 3 (FGFR3). We hypothesised that common polymorphisms in the FGF21 signalling pathway may be associated with metabolic risk. At the screening stage we examined associations between 63 common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 5 genes of this pathway (FGF21, KLB, FGFR1, FGFR2, FGFR3) and 4 metabolic phenotypes (LDL cholesterol - LDL-C, HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides and body mass index - BMI) in 629 individuals from Silesian Hypertension Study. Replication analyses were performed in 5,478 unrelated individuals of the Swiss CoLaus cohort (imputed genotypes) and in 3,030 directly genotyped individuals of the German Myocardial Infarction Family Study. Of 54 SNPs that met quality control criteria after genotyping in Silesian Hypertension Study, four (rs4733946 and rs7012413 in FGFR1; rs2071616 in FGFR2 and rs7670903 in KLB) showed suggestive association with LDL-C (p=0.0006, p=0.0013, p=0.0055, p=0.011, respectively) and one (rs2608819 in KLB) was associated with BMI (p=0.011); all with false discovery rate q<0.5. Of these, only one FGFR2 polymorphism (rs2071616) showed replicated association with LDL-C in both the CoLaus cohort (p=0.009) and men from the German Myocardial Infarction Family Study (p=0.017). The direction of allelic effect of rs2071616 upon LDL-C was consistent in all examined populations. These data show that common genetic variation in FGFR2 may be associated with LDL-C in subjects of white European ancestry.
fibroblast growth factor 21; fibroblast growth factor receptor 2; cholesterol; single nucleotide polymorphism; genome-wide association studies
The Asia-specific PLA2G7 994G-T transversion leads to V279F substitution within the lipoprotein-associated phospholipase-A2 (Lp-PLA2) and to absence of enzyme activity in plasma. This variant offers a unique natural experiment to assess the role of Lp-PLA2 in the pathogenesis of coronary artery disease (CAD) in humans. Given conflicting results from mostly small studies, a large two-stage case-control study was warranted.
PLA2G7 V279F genotypes were initially compared in 2890 male cases diagnosed with CAD before age 60 with 3128 male controls without CAD at age 50 and above and subsequently in a second independent male dataset of 877 CAD cases and 1230 controls. In the first dataset, the prevalence of the 279F null allele was 11.5% in cases and 12.8% in controls. After adjustment for age, body mass index, diabetes, smoking, glucose and lipid levels, the OR (95% CI) for CAD for this allele was 0.80 (0.66–0.97, p = 0.02). The results were very similar in the second dataset, despite lower power, with an allele frequency of 11.2% in cases and 12.5% in controls, leading to a combined OR of 0.80 (0.69–0.92), p = 0.002. The magnitude and direction of this genetic effect were fully consistent with large epidemiological studies on plasma Lp-PLA2 activity and CAD risk.
Natural deficiency in Lp-PLA2 activity due to carriage of PLA2G7 279F allele protects from CAD in Korean men. These results provide evidence for a causal relationship between Lp-PLA2 and CAD, and support pharmacological inhibition of this enzyme as an innovative way to prevent CAD.
Serum concentrations of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and triglycerides (TG) are among the most important risk factors for coronary artery disease (CAD) and are targets for therapeutic intervention. We screened the genome for common variants associated with serum lipids in >100,000 individuals of European ancestry. Here we report 95 significantly associated loci (P < 5 × 10-8), with 59 showing genome-wide significant association with lipid traits for the first time. The newly reported associations include single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) near known lipid regulators (e.g., CYP7A1, NPC1L1, and SCARB1) as well as in scores of loci not previously implicated in lipoprotein metabolism. The 95 loci contribute not only to normal variation in lipid traits but also to extreme lipid phenotypes and impact lipid traits in three non-European populations (East Asians, South Asians, and African Americans). Our results identify several novel loci associated with serum lipids that are also associated with CAD. Finally, we validated three of the novel genes—GALNT2, PPP1R3B, and TTC39B—with experiments in mouse models. Taken together, our findings provide the foundation to develop a broader biological understanding of lipoprotein metabolism and to identify new therapeutic opportunities for the prevention of CAD.
Plasma adiponectin is strongly associated with various components of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular outcomes. Concentrations are highly heritable and differ between men and women. We therefore aimed to investigate the genetics of plasma adiponectin in men and women.
We combined genome-wide association scans of three population-based studies including 4659 persons. For the replication stage in 13795 subjects, we selected the 20 top signals of the combined analysis, as well as the 10 top signals with p-values less than 1.0*10-4 for each the men- and the women-specific analyses. We further selected 73 SNPs that were consistently associated with metabolic syndrome parameters in previous genome-wide association studies to check for their association with plasma adiponectin.
The ADIPOQ locus showed genome-wide significant p-values in the combined (p=4.3*10-24) as well as in both women- and men-specific analyses (p=8.7*10-17 and p=2.5*10-11, respectively). None of the other 39 top signal SNPs showed evidence for association in the replication analysis. None of 73 SNPs from metabolic syndrome loci exhibited association with plasma adiponectin (p>0.01).
We demonstrated the ADIPOQ gene as the only major gene for plasma adiponectin, which explains 6.7% of the phenotypic variance. We further found that neither this gene nor any of the metabolic syndrome loci explained the sex differences observed for plasma adiponectin. Larger studies are needed to identify more moderate genetic determinants of plasma adiponectin.
adiponectin; genome-wide association study; polymorphism; cardiovascular disease; metabolic syndrome
Circulating glucose levels are tightly regulated. To identify novel glycemic loci, we performed meta-analyses of 21 genome-wide associations studies informative for fasting glucose (FG), fasting insulin (FI) and indices of β-cell function (HOMA-B) and insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) in up to 46,186 non-diabetic participants. Follow-up of 25 loci in up to 76,558 additional subjects identified 16 loci associated with FG/HOMA-B and two associated with FI/HOMA-IR. These include nine new FG loci (in or near ADCY5, MADD, ADRA2A, CRY2, FADS1, GLIS3, SLC2A2, PROX1 and FAM148B) and one influencing FI/HOMA-IR (near IGF1). We also demonstrated association of ADCY5, PROX1, GCK, GCKR and DGKB/TMEM195 with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Within these loci, likely biological candidate genes influence signal transduction, cell proliferation, development, glucose-sensing and circadian regulation. Our results demonstrate that genetic studies of glycemic traits can identify T2D risk loci, as well as loci that elevate FG modestly, but do not cause overt diabetes.
The timing of puberty is highly variable1. We carried out a genome-wide association study for age at menarche in 4,714 women and report an association in LIN28B on chromosome 6 (rs314276, minor allele frequency (MAF) = 0.33, P = 1.5 × 10−8). In independent replication studies in 16,373 women, each major allele was associated with 0.12 years earlier menarche (95% CI = 0.08–0.16; P = 2.8 × 10−10; combined P = 3.6 × 10−16). This allele was also associated with earlier breast development in girls (P = 0.001; N = 4,271); earlier voice breaking (P = 0.006, N = 1,026) and more advanced pubic hair development in boys (P = 0.01; N = 4,588); a faster tempo of height growth in girls (P = 0.00008; N = 4,271) and boys (P = 0.03; N = 4,588); and shorter adult height in women (P = 3.6 × 10−7; N = 17,274) and men (P = 0.006; N = 9,840) in keeping with earlier growth cessation. These studies identify variation in LIN28B, a potent and specific regulator of microRNA processing2, as the first genetic determinant regulating the timing of human pubertal growth and development.
Glucose levels 2 h after an oral glucose challenge are a clinical measure of glucose tolerance used in the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. We report a meta-analysis of nine genome-wide association studies (n = 15,234 nondiabetic individuals) and a follow-up of 29 independent loci (n = 6,958–30,620). We identify variants at the GIPR locus associated with 2-h glucose level (rs10423928, β (s.e.m.) = 0.09 (0.01) mmol/l per A allele, P = 2.0 × 10−15). The GIPR A-allele carriers also showed decreased insulin secretion (n = 22,492; insulinogenic index, P = 1.0 × 10−17; ratio of insulin to glucose area under the curve, P = 1.3 × 10−16) and diminished incretin effect (n = 804; P = 4.3 × 10−4). We also identified variants at ADCY5 (rs2877716, P = 4.2 × 10−16), VPS13C (rs17271305, P = 4.1 × 10−8), GCKR (rs1260326, P = 7.1 × 10−11) and TCF7L2 (rs7903146, P = 4.2 × 10−10) associated with 2-h glucose. Of the three newly implicated loci (GIPR, ADCY5 and VPS13C), only ADCY5 was found to be associated with type 2 diabetes in collaborating studies (n = 35,869 cases, 89,798 controls, OR = 1.12, 95% CI 1.09–1.15, P = 4.8 × 10−18).
The adipocyte-derived protein adiponectin is highly heritable and inversely associated with risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) and coronary heart disease (CHD). We meta-analyzed 3 genome-wide association studies for circulating adiponectin levels (n = 8,531) and sought validation of the lead single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 5 additional cohorts (n = 6,202). Five SNPs were genome-wide significant in their relationship with adiponectin (P≤5×10−8). We then tested whether these 5 SNPs were associated with risk of T2D and CHD using a Bonferroni-corrected threshold of P≤0.011 to declare statistical significance for these disease associations. SNPs at the adiponectin-encoding ADIPOQ locus demonstrated the strongest associations with adiponectin levels (P-combined = 9.2×10−19 for lead SNP, rs266717, n = 14,733). A novel variant in the ARL15 (ADP-ribosylation factor-like 15) gene was associated with lower circulating levels of adiponectin (rs4311394-G, P-combined = 2.9×10−8, n = 14,733). This same risk allele at ARL15 was also associated with a higher risk of CHD (odds ratio [OR] = 1.12, P = 8.5×10−6, n = 22,421) more nominally, an increased risk of T2D (OR = 1.11, P = 3.2×10−3, n = 10,128), and several metabolic traits. Expression studies in humans indicated that ARL15 is well-expressed in skeletal muscle. These findings identify a novel protein, ARL15, which influences circulating adiponectin levels and may impact upon CHD risk.
Through a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of 14,733 individuals, we identified common base-pair variants in the genome which influence circulating adiponectin levels. Since adiponectin is an adipocyte-derived circulating protein which has been inversely associated with risk of obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes (T2D) and coronary heart disease (CHD), we next sought to understand if the identified variants influencing adiponectin levels also influence risk of T2D, CHD, and several metabolic traits. In addition to confirming that variation at the ADIPOQ locus influences adiponectin levels, our analyses point to a variant in the ARL15 (ADP-ribosylation factor-like 15) locus which decreases adiponectin levels and increases risk of CHD and T2D. Further, this same variant was associated with increased fasting insulin levels and glycated hemoglobin. While the function of ARL15 is not known, we provide insight into the tissue specificity of ARL15 expression. These results thus provide novel insights into the physiology of the adiponectin pathway and obesity-related diseases.
We conducted a genome-wide association study for androgenic alopecia in 1,125 men and identified a newly associated locus at chromosome 20p11.22, confirmed in three independent cohorts (n = 1,650; OR = 1.60, P = 1.1 × 10−14 for rs1160312). The one man in seven who harbors risk alleles at both 20p11.22 and AR (encoding the androgen receptor) has a sevenfold-increased odds of androgenic alopecia (OR = 7.12, P = 3.7 × 10−15).
Cardiovascular diseases and their associated risk factors remain the main cause of mortality in western societies. In order to assess the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors (CVRFs) in the Caucasian population of Lausanne, Switzerland, we conducted a population-based study (Colaus Study). A secondary aim of the CoLaus study will be to determine new genetic determinants associated with CVRFs.
Single-center, cross-sectional study including a random sample of 6,188 extensively phenotyped Caucasian subjects (3,251 women and 2,937 men) aged 35 to 75 years living in Lausanne, and genotyped using the 500 K Affymetrix chip technology.
Obesity (body mass index ≥ 30 kg/m2), smoking, hypertension (blood pressure ≥ 140/90 mmHg and/or treatment), dyslipidemia (high LDL-cholesterol and/or low HDL-cholesterol and/or high triglyceride levels) and diabetes (fasting plasma glucose ≥ 7 mmol/l and/or treatment) were present in 947 (15.7%), 1673 (27.0%), 2268 (36.7%), 2113 (34.2%) and 407 (6.6%) of the participants, respectively, and the prevalence was higher in men than in women. In both genders, the prevalence of obesity, hypertension and diabetes increased with age.
The prevalence of major CVRFs is high in the Lausanne population in particular in men. We anticipate that given its size, the depth of the phenotypic analysis and the availability of dense genome-wide genetic data, the CoLaus Study will be a unique resource to investigate not only the epidemiology of isolated, or aggregated CVRFs like the metabolic syndrome, but can also serve as a discovery set, as well as replication set, to identify novel genes associated with these conditions.
LDL cholesterol has a causal role in the development of cardiovascular disease. Improved understanding of the biological mechanisms that underlie the metabolism and regulation of LDL cholesterol might help to identify novel therapeutic targets. We therefore did a genome-wide association study of LDL-cholesterol concentrations.
We used genome-wide association data from up to 11 685 participants with measures of circulating LDL-cholesterol concentrations across five studies, including data for 293 461 autosomal single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with a minor allele frequency of 5% or more that passed our quality control criteria. We also used data from a second genome-wide array in up to 4337 participants from three of these five studies, with data for 290 140 SNPs. We did replication studies in two independent populations consisting of up to 4979 participants. Statistical approaches, including meta-analysis and linkage disequilibrium plots, were used to refine association signals; we analysed pooled data from all seven populations to determine the effect of each SNP on variations in circulating LDL-cholesterol concentrations.
In our initial scan, we found two SNPs (rs599839 [p=1·7×10−15] and rs4970834 [p=3·0×10−11]) that showed genome-wide statistical association with LDL cholesterol at chromosomal locus 1p13.3. The second genome screen found a third statistically associated SNP at the same locus (rs646776 [p=4·3×10−9]). Meta-analysis of data from all studies showed an association of SNPs rs599839 (combined p=1·2×10−33) and rs646776 (p=4·8×10−20) with LDL-cholesterol concentrations. SNPs rs599839 and rs646776 both explained around 1% of the variation in circulating LDL-cholesterol concentrations and were associated with about 15% of an SD change in LDL cholesterol per allele, assuming an SD of 1 mmol/L.
We found evidence for a novel locus for LDL cholesterol on chromosome 1p13.3. These results potentially provide insight into the biological mechanisms that underlie the regulation of LDL cholesterol and might help in the discovery of novel therapeutic targets for cardiovascular disease.
A new type of test is presented for genome-wide association studies using a case-control design. It is referred to as the adaptive two-stage (ATS) analysis, being based on both the Hardy-Weinberg disequilibrium trend test (HWDTT) and the Cochran-Armitage trend test (CATT). The procedure for the ATS is to screen single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) using the HWDTT in a first stage, and then test a reduced number of SNPs that pass the screening step in a second stage using the CATT. In the Genetic Analysis Workshop 15 simulated data set, this ATS analysis captured, after Bonferroni correction, the region from 32447.149 kb to 32859.819 kb and the region around 37363.880 kb that are close to the actual trait loci on chromosome 6. We compared the ATS with other ways of combining the p-values of the HWDTT and the CATT, the classical form of Fisher's test and a weighted form of Fisher's test. Results showed that the proposed ATS has good performance and could detect the regions containing a susceptibility locus.
We present a new method for fine-mapping a disease susceptibility locus using a case-control design. The new method, termed the weighted average (WA) statistic, averages the Cochran-Armitage (CA) trend test statistic and the difference between the Hardy-Weinberg disequilibrium test statistic for cases and controls (the HWD trend). The main characteristics of the WA statistic are that it improves on the weaknesses, and maintains the strengths, of both the CA trend test and the HWD trend test. Data from three different populations in the Genetic Analysis Workshop 14 (GAW14) simulated dataset (Aipotu, Karangar, and Danacaa) were first subjected to model-free linkage analysis to find regions exhibiting linkage. Then, for fine-scale mapping, 140 SNPs within the significant linkage regions were analyzed with the WA test statistic on replicates of the three populations, both separately and combined. The regions that were significant in the multipoint linkage analysis were also significant in this fine-scale mapping. The most significant regions that were obtained using the WA statistic were regions in chromosome 3 (B03T3056–B03T3058, p-value < 1 × 10-10 ) and chromosome 9 (B09T8332–B09T8334, p-value 1 × 10-6 ). Based on the results of the simulated GAW14 data, the WA test statistic showed good performance and could narrow down the region containing the susceptibility locus. However, the strength of the signal depends on both the strength of the linkage disequilibrium and the heterozygosity of the linked marker.