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A recent observational study with almost 2 million men reported an association between low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and worse kidney function. The causality of this association would be strongly supported if genetic variants associated with HDL cholesterol were also associated with kidney function.
Approach and Results—
We used 68 genetic variants (single-nucleotide polymorphisms [SNPs]) associated with HDL cholesterol in genome-wide association studies including >188 000 subjects and tested their association with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) using summary statistics from another genome-wide association studies meta-analysis of kidney function including ≤133 413 subjects. Fourteen of the 68 SNPs (21%) had a P value <0.05 compared with the 5% expected by chance (Binomial test P=5.8×10−6). After Bonferroni correction, 6 SNPs were still significantly associated with eGFR. The genetic variants with the strongest associations with HDL cholesterol concentrations were not the same as those with the strongest association with kidney function and vice versa. An evaluation of pleiotropy indicated that the effects of the HDL-associated SNPs on eGFR were not mediated by HDL cholesterol. In addition, we performed a Mendelian randomization analysis. This analysis revealed a positive but nonsignificant causal effect of HDL cholesterol–increasing variants on eGFR.
In summary, our findings indicate that HDL cholesterol does not causally influence eGFR and propose pleiotropic effects on eGFR for some HDL cholesterol–associated SNPs. This may cause the observed association by mechanisms other than the mere HDL cholesterol concentration.
atherosclerosis; dyslipidemia; genetic association study; HDL cholesterol; kidney; Mendelian randomization analysis
Epigenetic mechanisms might be involved in the regulation of interindividual lipid level variability and thus may contribute to the cardiovascular risk profile. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between genome-wide DNA methylation and blood lipid levels high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol. Observed DNA methylation changes were also further analyzed to examine their relationship with previous hospitalized myocardial infarction.
Methods and Results
Genome-wide DNA methylation patterns were determined in whole blood samples of 1776 subjects of the Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg F4 cohort using the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip (Illumina). Ten novel lipid-related CpG sites annotated to various genes including ABCG1, MIR33B/SREBF1, and TNIP1 were identified. CpG cg06500161, located in ABCG1, was associated in opposite directions with both high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (β coefficient=−0.049; P=8.26E-17) and triglyceride levels (β=0.070; P=1.21E-27). Eight associations were confirmed by replication in the Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg F3 study (n=499) and in the Invecchiare in Chianti, Aging in the Chianti Area study (n=472). Associations between triglyceride levels and SREBF1 and ABCG1 were also found in adipose tissue of the Multiple Tissue Human Expression Resource cohort (n=634). Expression analysis revealed an association between ABCG1 methylation and lipid levels that might be partly mediated by ABCG1 expression. DNA methylation of ABCG1 might also play a role in previous hospitalized myocardial infarction (odds ratio, 1.15; 95% confidence interval=1.06–1.25).
Epigenetic modifications of the newly identified loci might regulate disturbed blood lipid levels and thus contribute to the development of complex lipid-related diseases.
ABCG1; DNA methylatio; epidemiology; gene expression; myocardial infarction
Estimates of biological age based on DNA methylation patterns, often referred to as “epigenetic age”, “DNAm age”, have been shown to be robust biomarkers of age in humans. We previously demonstrated that independent of chronological age, epigenetic age assessed in blood predicted all-cause mortality in four human cohorts. Here, we expanded our original observation to 13 different cohorts for a total sample size of 13,089 individuals, including three racial/ethnic groups. In addition, we examined whether incorporating information on blood cell composition into the epigenetic age metrics improves their predictive power for mortality. All considered measures of epigenetic age acceleration were predictive of mortality (p≤8.2×10−9), independent of chronological age, even after adjusting for additional risk factors (p<5.4×10−4), and within the racial/ethnic groups that we examined (non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics, African Americans). Epigenetic age estimates that incorporated information on blood cell composition led to the smallest p-values for time to death (p=7.5×10−43). Overall, this study a) strengthens the evidence that epigenetic age predicts all-cause mortality above and beyond chronological age and traditional risk factors, and b) demonstrates that epigenetic age estimates that incorporate information on blood cell counts lead to highly significant associations with all-cause mortality.
all-cause mortality; lifespan; epigenetics; epigenetic clock; DNA methylation; mortality
There is an ongoing debate about the appropriate spirometric criterion for airway obstruction to detect COPD. Furthermore, the association of different criteria with comorbidity prevalence and inflammatory biomarkers in advanced age is unclear.
Materials and methods
Spirometry was performed in a population-based study (n=2,256) covering an age range of 41–90 years. COPD was spirometrically determined either by a fixed ratio (FR) of <0.7 for forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1)/forced vital capacity (FVC) or by FEV1/FVC below the lower limit of normal (LLN). Comorbidity prevalences and circulating biomarker levels (C-reactive protein [CRP], interleukin [IL]-6) were compared between subjects with or without COPD by the two criteria using logistic and multiple regression models, adjusting for sex and age.
The prevalence of spirometrically defined COPD by FR increased with age from 10% in subjects aged <65 years to 26% in subjects aged ≥75 years. For LLN-defined COPD, it remained below 10% for all age groups. Overall, COPD diagnosis was not associated with specific comorbidities, except for a lower prevalence of obesity in both FR- and LLN-defined cases. Both CRP and IL-6 tended to be higher in cases by both criteria.
In a population-based cohort of adults up to the age of 90 years, the prevalence of spirometrically defined COPD was higher for the FR criterion than for the LLN criterion. This difference increased with age. Neither prevalences of common comorbidities nor levels of the biomarkers, CRP or IL-6, were conclusively associated with the selection of the COPD criterion. Results have to be considered in light of the predominantly mild cases of airway obstruction in the examined study population.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; spirometry; prevalence; comorbidity; biomarkers
Reduced glomerular filtration rate defines chronic kidney disease and is associated with cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), combining data across 133,413 individuals with replication in up to 42,166 individuals. We identify 24 new and confirm 29 previously identified loci. Of these 53 loci, nineteen associate with eGFR among individuals with diabetes. Using bioinformatics, we show that identified genes at eGFR loci are enriched for expression in kidney tissues and in pathways relevant for kidney development and transmembrane transporter activity, kidney structure, and regulation of glucose metabolism. Chromatin state mapping and DNase I hypersensitivity analyses across adult tissues demonstrate preferential mapping of associated variants to regulatory regions in kidney but not extra-renal tissues. These findings suggest that genetic determinants of eGFR are mediated largely through direct effects within the kidney and highlight important cell types and biologic pathways.
Apolipoprotein A-IV (apoA-IV) is a major component of HDL and chylomicron particles and is involved in reverse cholesterol transport. It is an early marker of impaired renal function. We aimed to identify genetic loci associated with apoA-IV concentrations and to investigate relationships with known susceptibility loci for kidney function and lipids. A genome-wide association meta-analysis on apoA-IV concentrations was conducted in five population-based cohorts (n = 13,813) followed by two additional replication studies (n = 2,267) including approximately 10 M SNPs. Three independent SNPs from two genomic regions were significantly associated with apoA-IV concentrations: rs1729407 near APOA4 (P = 6.77 × 10 − 44), rs5104 in APOA4 (P = 1.79 × 10−24) and rs4241819 in KLKB1 (P = 5.6 × 10−14). Additionally, a look-up of the replicated SNPs in downloadable GWAS meta-analysis results was performed on kidney function (defined by eGFR), HDL-cholesterol and triglycerides. From these three SNPs mentioned above, only rs1729407 showed an association with HDL-cholesterol (P = 7.1 × 10 − 07). Moreover, weighted SNP-scores were built involving known susceptibility loci for the aforementioned traits (53, 70 and 38 SNPs, respectively) and were associated with apoA-IV concentrations. This analysis revealed a significant and an inverse association for kidney function with apoA-IV concentrations (P = 5.5 × 10−05). Furthermore, an increase of triglyceride-increasing alleles was found to decrease apoA-IV concentrations (P = 0.0078). In summary, we identified two independent SNPs located in or next the APOA4 gene and one SNP in KLKB1. The association of KLKB1 with apoA-IV suggests an involvement of apoA-IV in renal metabolism and/or an interaction within HDL particles. Analyses of SNP-scores indicate potential causal effects of kidney function and by lesser extent triglycerides on apoA-IV concentrations.
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease. Little is known about practice patterns of anti-diabetic therapy in the presence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and correlates with glycaemic control. We therefore aimed to analyze current antidiabetic treatment and correlates of metabolic control in a large contemporary prospective cohort of patients with diabetes and CKD.
The German Chronic Kidney Disease (GCKD) study enrolled 5217 patients aged 18–74 years with an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) between 30–60 mL/min/1.73 m2 or proteinuria >0.5 g/d. The use of diet prescription, oral anti-diabetic medication, and insulin was assessed at baseline. HbA1c, measured centrally, was the main outcome measure.
At baseline, DM was present in 1842 patients (35 %) and the median HbA1C was 7.0 % (25th–75th percentile: 6.8–7.9 %), equalling 53 mmol/mol (51, 63); 24.2 % of patients received dietary treatment only, 25.5 % oral antidiabetic drugs but not insulin, 8.4 % oral antidiabetic drugs with insulin, and 41.8 % insulin alone. Metformin was used by 18.8 %. Factors associated with an HbA1C level >7.0 % (53 mmol/mol) were higher BMI (OR = 1.04 per increase of 1 kg/m2, 95 % CI 1.02–1.06), hemoglobin (OR = 1.11 per increase of 1 g/dL, 95 % CI 1.04–1.18), treatment with insulin alone (OR = 5.63, 95 % CI 4.26–7.45) or in combination with oral antidiabetic agents (OR = 4.23, 95 % CI 2.77–6.46) but not monotherapy with metformin, DPP-4 inhibitors, or glinides.
Within the GCKD cohort of patients with CKD stage 3 or overt proteinuria, antidiabetic treatment patterns were highly variable with a remarkably high proportion of more than 50 % receiving insulin-based therapies. Metabolic control was overall satisfactory, but insulin use was associated with higher HbA1C levels.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12882-016-0273-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Chronic kidney disease; Diabetes mellitus; Glycaemic control; Hemoglobin A1C; Insulin therapy; Oral antidiabetic drugs
Measurement of telomere length is widely used in epidemiologic studies. Insufficient standardization of the measurements processes has, however, complicated the comparison of results between studies. We aimed to investigate whether DNA extraction methods have an influence on measured values of relative telomere length (RTL) and whether this has consequences for epidemiological studies. We performed four experiments with RTL measurement in quadruplicate by qPCR using DNA extracted with different methods: 1) a standardized validation experiment including three extraction methods (magnetic-particle-method EZ1, salting-out-method INV, phenol-chloroform-isoamyl-alcohol PCI) each in the same 20 samples demonstrated pronounced differences in RTL with lowest values with EZ1 followed by INV and PCI-isolated DNA; 2) a comparison of 307 samples from an epidemiological study showing EZ1-measurements 40% lower than INV-measurements; 3) a matching-approach of two similar non-diseased control groups including 143 pairs of subjects revealed significantly shorter RTL in EZ1 than INV-extracted DNA (0.844 ± 0.157 vs. 1.357 ± 0.242); 4) an association analysis of RTL with prevalent cardiovascular disease detected a stronger association with INV than with EZ1-extracted DNA. In summary, DNA extraction methods have a pronounced influence on the measured RTL-values. This might result in spurious or lost associations in epidemiological studies under certain circumstances.
To critically evaluate the clinical implications of the use of non-fasting rather than fasting lipid profiles and to provide guidance for the laboratory reporting of abnormal non-fasting or fasting lipid profiles.
Methods and results
Extensive observational data, in which random non-fasting lipid profiles have been compared with those determined under fasting conditions, indicate that the maximal mean changes at 1–6 h after habitual meals are not clinically significant [+0.3 mmol/L (26 mg/dL) for triglycerides; −0.2 mmol/L (8 mg/dL) for total cholesterol; −0.2 mmol/L (8 mg/dL) for LDL cholesterol; +0.2 mmol/L (8 mg/dL) for calculated remnant cholesterol; −0.2 mmol/L (8 mg/dL) for calculated non-HDL cholesterol]; concentrations of HDL cholesterol, apolipoprotein A1, apolipoprotein B, and lipoprotein(a) are not affected by fasting/non-fasting status. In addition, non-fasting and fasting concentrations vary similarly over time and are comparable in the prediction of cardiovascular disease. To improve patient compliance with lipid testing, we therefore recommend the routine use of non-fasting lipid profiles, while fasting sampling may be considered when non-fasting triglycerides >5 mmol/L (440 mg/dL). For non-fasting samples, laboratory reports should flag abnormal concentrations as triglycerides ≥2 mmol/L (175 mg/dL), total cholesterol ≥5 mmol/L (190 mg/dL), LDL cholesterol ≥3 mmol/L (115 mg/dL), calculated remnant cholesterol ≥0.9 mmol/L (35 mg/dL), calculated non-HDL cholesterol ≥3.9 mmol/L (150 mg/dL), HDL cholesterol ≤1 mmol/L (40 mg/dL), apolipoprotein A1 ≤1.25 g/L (125 mg/dL), apolipoprotein B ≥1.0 g/L (100 mg/dL), and lipoprotein(a) ≥50 mg/dL (80th percentile); for fasting samples, abnormal concentrations correspond to triglycerides ≥1.7 mmol/L (150 mg/dL). Life-threatening concentrations require separate referral when triglycerides >10 mmol/L (880 mg/dL) for the risk of pancreatitis, LDL cholesterol >13 mmol/L (500 mg/dL) for homozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia, LDL cholesterol >5 mmol/L (190 mg/dL) for heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia, and lipoprotein(a) >150 mg/dL (99th percentile) for very high cardiovascular risk.
We recommend that non-fasting blood samples be routinely used for the assessment of plasma lipid profiles. Laboratory reports should flag abnormal values on the basis of desirable concentration cut-points. Non-fasting and fasting measurements should be complementary but not mutually exclusive.
Lipids; Lipoproteins; Cardiovascular disease; Stroke; Reference values; Normal values
Next generation sequencing (NGS) allows investigating mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) characteristics such as heteroplasmy (i.e. intra-individual sequence variation) to a higher level of detail. While several pipelines for analyzing heteroplasmies exist, issues in usability, accuracy of results and interpreting final data limit their usage. Here we present mtDNA-Server, a scalable web server for the analysis of mtDNA studies of any size with a special focus on usability as well as reliable identification and quantification of heteroplasmic variants. The mtDNA-Server workflow includes parallel read alignment, heteroplasmy detection, artefact or contamination identification, variant annotation as well as several quality control metrics, often neglected in current mtDNA NGS studies. All computational steps are parallelized with Hadoop MapReduce and executed graphically with Cloudgene. We validated the underlying heteroplasmy and contamination detection model by generating four artificial sample mix-ups on two different NGS devices. Our evaluation data shows that mtDNA-Server detects heteroplasmies and artificial recombinations down to the 1% level with perfect specificity and outperforms existing approaches regarding sensitivity. mtDNA-Server is currently able to analyze the 1000G Phase 3 data (n = 2,504) in less than 5 h and is freely accessible at https://mtdna-server.uibk.ac.at.
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) profiles can be classified into phylogenetic clusters (haplogroups), which is of great relevance for evolutionary, forensic and medical genetics. With the extensive growth of the underlying phylogenetic tree summarizing the published mtDNA sequences, the manual process of haplogroup classification would be too time-consuming. The previously published classification tool HaploGrep provided an automatic way to address this issue. Here, we present the completely updated version HaploGrep 2 offering several advanced features, including a generic rule-based system for immediate quality control (QC). This allows detecting artificial recombinants and missing variants as well as annotating rare and phantom mutations. Furthermore, the handling of high-throughput data in form of VCF files is now directly supported. For data output, several graphical reports are generated in real time, such as a multiple sequence alignment format, a VCF format and extended haplogroup QC reports, all viewable directly within the application. In addition, HaploGrep 2 generates a publication-ready phylogenetic tree of all input samples encoded relative to the revised Cambridge Reference Sequence. Finally, new distance measures and optimizations of the algorithm increase accuracy and speed-up the application. HaploGrep 2 can be accessed freely and without any registration at http://haplogrep.uibk.ac.at.
Air pollutants have been linked to type 2 diabetes (T2D), hypothesized to act through inflammatory pathways and may induce interleukin-6 gene (IL6) in the airway epithelium. The cytokine interleukin-6 may impact on glucose homeostasis. Recent meta-analyses showed the common polymorphisms, IL6 -572G > C and IL6 -174G > C to be associated with T2D risk. These IL6 variants also influence circulatory interleukin-6 levels. We hypothesize that these common functional variants may modify the association between air pollutants and T2D.
We cross-sectionally studied 4410 first follow-up participants of the Swiss Cohort Study on Air Pollution and Lung and Heart Diseases (SAPALDIA), aged 29 to 73 years who had complete data on genotypes, diabetes status and covariates. We defined diabetes as self-reported physician-diagnosed, or use of diabetes medication or non-fasting glucose >11.1 mmol/L or HbA1c > 0.065. Air pollution exposure was 10-year mean particulate matter <10 μm in diameter (PM10) assigned to participants’ residences using a combination of dispersion modelling, annual trends at monitoring stations and residential history. We derived interaction terms between PM10 and genotypes, and applied mixed logistic models to explore genetic interactions by IL6 polymorphisms on the odds of diabetes.
There were 252 diabetes cases. Respective minor allele frequencies of IL6 -572G > C and IL6 -174G > C were 7 and 39 %. Mean exposure to PM10 was 22 μg/m3. Both variants were not associated with diabetes in our study. We observed a significant positive association between PM10 and diabetes among homozygous carriers of the pro-inflammatory major G-allele of IL6 -572G > C [Odds ratio: 1.53; 95 % confidence interval (1.22, 1.92); Pinteraction (additive) = 0.003 and Pinteraction (recessive) = 0.006]. Carriers of the major G-allele of IL6 -174G > C also had significantly increased odds of diabetes, but interactions were statistically non-significant.
Our results on the interaction of PM10 with functionally well described polymorphisms in an important pro-inflammatory candidate gene are consistent with the hypothesis that air pollutants impact on T2D through inflammatory pathways. Our findings, if confirmed, are of high public health relevance considering the ubiquity of the major G allele, which puts a substantial proportion of the population at risk for the development of diabetes as a result of long-term exposure to air pollution.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12940-016-0120-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Particulate matter; Air pollution; Diabetes mellitus; Interleukin-6 gene; Gene-environment interactions; Single nucleotide polymorphisms; Cross-sectional epidemiology
Lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] is a highly atherogenic lipoprotein that is under strong genetic control by the LPA gene locus. Genetic variants including a highly polymorphic copy number variation of the so called kringle IV repeats at this locus have a pronounced influence on Lp(a) concentrations. High concentrations of Lp(a) as well as genetic variants which are associated with high Lp(a) concentrations are both associated with cardiovascular disease which very strongly supports causality between Lp(a) concetrations and cardiovascular disease. This method of using a genetic variant that has a pronounced influence on a biomarker to support causality with an outcome is called Mendelian randomization approach and was applied for the first time two decades ago with data from Lp(a) and cardiovascular disease. This approach was also used to demonstrate a causal association between high Lp(a) concentrations and aortic valve stenosis, between low concentrations and type-2 diabetes mellitus and to exclude a causal association between Lp(a) concentrations and venous thrombosis. Considering the high frequency of these genetic variants in the population makes Lp(a) the strongest genetic risk factor for cardiovascular disease identified so far. Promising drugs that lower Lp(a) are on the horizon but their efficacy in terms of reducing clinical outcomes still has to be shown.
lipoprotein(a); Apolipoprotein(a); Cardiovascular disease; Copy number variation; Association study; Mendelian randomization
Ovarian cancer is a devastating disease and biomarkers for its early diagnosis are urgently required. Serum may be a valuable source of biomarkers that may be revealed by proteomic profiling. Herein, complementary serum protein profiling strategies were employed for discovery of biomarkers that could discriminate cases of malignant and benign ovarian cancer.
Identically collected and processed serum samples from 22 cases of invasive epithelial ovarian cancer, 45 benign ovarian neoplasms, and 64 healthy volunteers were subjected to immunodepletion and protein equalization coupled to 2D‐DIGE/MS and multidimensional fractionation coupled to SELDI‐TOF profiling with MS/MS for protein identification. Selected candidates were verified by ELISA in samples from malignant (n = 70) and benign (n = 89) cases and combined marker panels tested against serum CA125.
Both profiling platforms were complementary in identifying biomarker candidates, four of which (A1AT, SLPI, APOA4, VDBP) significantly discriminated malignant from benign cases. However, no combination of markers was as good as CA125 for diagnostic accuracy. SLPI was further tested as an early marker using prediagnosis serum samples. While it rose in cases toward diagnosis, it did not discriminate prediagnosis cases from controls.
Conclusions and clinical relevance
The candidate biomarkers warrant further validation in independent sample sets.
Diagnostic biomarkers; MS; Ovarian cancer; Serum profiling
Reduced glomerular filtration rate defines chronic kidney disease and is associated with cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), combining data across 133,413 individuals with replication in up to 42,166 individuals. We identify 24 new and confirm 29 previously identified loci. Of these 53 loci, 19 associate with eGFR among individuals with diabetes. Using bioinformatics, we show that identified genes at eGFR loci are enriched for expression in kidney tissues and in pathways relevant for kidney development and transmembrane transporter activity, kidney structure, and regulation of glucose metabolism. Chromatin state mapping and DNase I hypersensitivity analyses across adult tissues demonstrate preferential mapping of associated variants to regulatory regions in kidney but not extra-renal tissues. These findings suggest that genetic determinants of eGFR are mediated largely through direct effects within the kidney and highlight important cell types and biological pathways.
Reduced glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) is a hallmark of chronic kidney disease. Here, Pattaro et al. conduct a meta-analysis to discover several new loci associated with variation in eGFR and find that genes associated with eGFR loci often encode proteins potentially related to kidney development.
Summary: The R package EasyStrata facilitates the evaluation and visualization of stratified genome-wide association meta-analyses (GWAMAs) results. It provides (i) statistical methods to test and account for between-strata difference as a means to tackle gene–strata interaction effects and (ii) extended graphical features tailored for stratified GWAMA results. The software provides further features also suitable for general GWAMAs including functions to annotate, exclude or highlight specific loci in plots or to extract independent subsets of loci from genome-wide datasets. It is freely available and includes a user-friendly scripting interface that simplifies data handling and allows for combining statistical and graphical functions in a flexible fashion.
Availability: EasyStrata is available for free (under the GNU General Public License v3) from our Web site www.genepi-regensburg.de/easystrata and from the CRAN R package repository cran.r-project.org/web/packages/EasyStrata/.
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
The enzyme heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) exerts cytoprotective effects in response to various cellular stressors. A variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) polymorphism in the HO-1 gene promoter region has previously been linked to cardiovascular disease (CVD). We examined this association prospectively in the general population.
Approach and Results
Incidence of stroke, myocardial infarction, or vascular death was registered between 1995 and 2010 in 812 participants of the Bruneck Study aged 45 to 84 years (49.4% males). Carotid atherosclerosis progression was quantified by high-resolution ultrasound. HO-1 VNTR length was determined by polymerase chain reaction. Subjects with ≥32 tandem repeats on both HO-1 alleles compared to the rest of the population (recessive trait) featured substantially increased CVD risk (hazard ratio [95% confidence interval], 5.45 (2.39, 12.42); P<0.0001), enhanced atherosclerosis progression (median difference in atherosclerosis score [interquartile range], 2.1 [0.8, 5.6] vs. 0.0 [0.0, 2.2] mm; P=0.0012), and a trend towards higher levels of oxidised phospholipids on apoB-100 (median OxPL/apoB level [interquartile range], 11364 [4160, 18330] vs. 4844 [3174, 12284] relative light units; P=0.0554). Increased CVD risk in those homozygous for ≥32 repeats was also detected in a pooled analysis of 7848 participants of the Bruneck, SAPHIR, and KORA prospective studies (HR [95% CI], 3.26 [1.50, 7.33]; P=0.0043).
This study found a strong association between the HO-1 VNTR polymorphism and CVD risk confined to subjects with a high number of repeats on both HO-1 alleles, and provides evidence for accelerated atherogenesis and decreased anti-oxidant defence in this vascular high-risk group.
genetic polymorphism; risk factor; cardiovascular events
Early mortality is high in hemodialysis (HD) patients, but little is known about early cardiovascular event (CVE) rates after HD initiation. To study this we analyzed data in the AROii cohort of incident HD patients from over 300 European Fresenius Medical Care dialysis centers. Weekly rates of a composite of CVEs during the first year and monthly rates of the composite and its constituents (coronary artery, cerebrovascular, peripheral arterial, congestive heart failure, and sudden cardiac death) during the first 2 years after HD initiation were assessed. Of 6308 patients that started dialysis within 7 days, 1449 patients experienced 2405 CVEs over the next 2 years. The first-year CVE rate (30.2/100 person-years; 95% CI, 28.7–31.7) greatly exceeded the second-year rate (19.4/100; 95% CI, 18.1–20.8). Composite CVEs were highest during the first week with increased risk compared with the second year, persisting until the fifth month. Except for sudden cardiac death, temporal patterns of rates for all CVE categories were very similar, with highest rates during the first month and a high-risk period extending to 4 months. Higher or lower cumulative weekly dialysis dose, lower blood flow, and lower net ultrafiltration during dialysis were associated with CVE during the high-risk period, but not during the post high-risk period. Thus, the incidence of CVE in the first weeks after HD initiation is much higher than during subsequent periods which raises concerns that HD initiation may trigger CVEs.
cardiovascular disease; cardiovascular events; chronic kidney disease; hemodialysis initiation
Psoriasis has been linked to cardiometabolic diseases, but epidemiological findings are inconsistent. We investigated the association between psoriasis and cardiometabolic outcomes in a German cross-sectional study (n=4.185) and a prospective cohort of German Health Insurance beneficiaries (n=1.811.098). A potential genetic overlap was explored using genome-wide data from >22.000 coronary artery disease (CAD) and >4.000 psoriasis cases, and with a dense genotyping study of cardiometabolic risk loci on 927 psoriasis cases and 3.717 controls. Controlling for major confounders, in the cross-sectional analysis psoriasis was significantly associated with type 2 diabetes (T2D, adjusted odd’s ratio OR=2.36; 95% confidence interval CI=1.26–4.41) and myocardial infarction (MI, OR=2.26, 95% CI=1.03–4.96). In the longitudinal study, psoriasis slightly increased the risk for incident T2D (adjusted relative risk RR=1.11; 95%CI=1.08–1.14) and MI (RR=1.14; 95%CI=1.06–1.22), with highest risk increments in systemically treated psoriasis, which accounted for 11 and 17 excess cases of T2D and MI per 10,000 person-years. Except for weak signals from within the MHC, there was no evidence for genetic risk loci shared between psoriasis and cardiometabolic traits. Our findings suggest that psoriasis, in particular severe psoriasis, increases risk for T2D and MI, and that the genetic architecture of psoriasis and cardiometabolic traits is largely distinct.
Genome wide association studies (GWAS) have identified multiple loci associated with cross-sectional eGFR, but a systematic genetic analysis of kidney function decline over time is missing. Here we conducted a GWAS meta-analysis among 63,558 participants of European descent, initially from 16 cohorts with serial kidney function measurements within the CKDGen Consortium, followed by independent replication among additional participants from 13 cohorts. In stage 1 GWAS meta-analysis, SNPs at MEOX2, GALNT11, IL1RAP, NPPA, HPCAL1 and CDH23 showed the strongest associations for at least one trait, in addition to the known UMOD locus which showed genome-wide significance with an annual change in eGFR. In stage 2 meta-analysis, the significant association at UMOD was replicated. Associations at GALNT11 with Rapid Decline (annual eGFRdecline of 3ml/min/1.73m2 or more), and CDH23 with eGFR change among those with CKD showed significant suggestive evidence of replication. Combined stage 1 and 2 meta-analyses showed significance for UMOD, GALNT11 and CDH23. Morpholino knockdowns of galnt11 and cdh23 in zebrafish embryos each had signs of severe edema 72 hours after gentamicin treatment compared to controls, but no gross morphological renal abnormalities before gentamicin administration. Thus, our results suggest a role in the deterioration of kidney function for the loci GALNT11 and CDH23, and show that the UMOD locus is significantly associated with kidney function decline.
chronic kidney disease; kidney development
The majority of patients suffering from chronic health disabilities is beyond 70 years of age. Typical late-onset chronic diseases include those affecting the heart, the kidney, cancer, and conditions of the eye such as age-related macular degeneration. These diseases disable patients for many years and largely compromise autonomy in daily life. Due to challenges in recruiting the elderly, the collection of population-based epidemiological data as a prerequisite to understand associated risk factors and mechanisms is commonly done in the general population within an age-range of 20 to 70 years.
We establish the German AugUR study (Age-related diseases: understanding genetic and non-genetic influences - a study at the University of Regensburg), a prospective study in the mobile elderly general population in and around Regensburg in eastern Bavaria. In the long term, we aim to recruit 3,000 persons of Caucasian ethnicity with at least 70 years of age via residents’ registration offices and conduct 3-year follow-ups.
The study protocol includes a standardized interview regarding social and life-style factors, medication history, quality-of-life, and existing diagnoses of common diseases. The participants undergo medical examinations for ophthalmological, cardiovascular or diabetes-related conditions, and general measurements of body shape and fitness. The program is particularly tailored for the elderly. Biobanking of whole blood, serum, plasma, and urine is conducted and standard laboratory measurements are performed in fresh samples.
AugUR is specifically designed as a research platform to host studies of late onset diseases. Consequently, this platform will help (1) to unravel the genetic and non-genetic etiology of disease development and progression, (2) to serve as control group of elderly individuals for comparisons with various patient groups, (3) to derive prevalence and incidence data on chronic diseases, and (4) to provide clinical reference parameters for the elderly mobile general population. This data will foster our understanding of disease mechanisms, which may ultimately help to improve prevention, diagnosis, and therapy for frequent chronic diseases. Here we present the baseline study protocol of AugUR.
Mobile elderly population; Cross-sectional study; Cohort study; Etiology of chronic diseases; Diseases of late onset; Study platform; Genetic and non-genetic risk factors
Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is mainly caused by smoking and alcohol abuse and shows a five-year survival rate of ~50%. We aimed to explore the variation of somatic mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations in primary oral tumors, recurrences and metastases.
We performed an in-depth validation of mtDNA next-generation sequencing (NGS) on an Illumina HiSeq 2500 platform for its application to cancer tissues, with the goal to detect low-level heteroplasmies and to avoid artifacts. Therefore we genotyped the mitochondrial genome (16.6 kb) from 85 tissue samples (tumors, recurrences, resection edges, metastases and blood) collected from 28 prospectively recruited OSCC patients applying both Sanger sequencing and high-coverage NGS (~35,000 reads per base).
We observed a strong correlation between Sanger sequencing and NGS in estimating the mixture ratio of heteroplasmies (r = 0.99; p<0.001). Non-synonymous heteroplasmic variants were enriched among cancerous tissues. The proportions of somatic and inherited variants in a given gene region were strongly correlated (r = 0.85; p<0.001). Half of the patients shared mutations between benign and cancerous tissue samples. Low level heteroplasmies (<10%) were more frequent in benign samples compared to tumor samples, where heteroplasmies >10% were predominant. Four out of six patients who developed a local tumor recurrence showed mutations in the recurrence that had also been observed in the primary tumor. Three out of five patients, who had tumor metastases in the lymph nodes of their necks, shared mtDNA mutations between primary tumors and lymph node metastases. The percentage of mutation heteroplasmy increased from the primary tumor to lymph node metastases.
We conclude that Sanger sequencing is valid for heteroplasmy quantification for heteroplasmies ≥10% and that NGS is capable of reliably detecting and quantifying heteroplasmies down to the 1%-level. The finding of shared mutations between primary tumors, recurrences and metastasis indicates a clonal origin of malignant cells in oral cancer.
The susceptibility for various diseases as well as the response to treatments differ considerably between men and women. As a basis for a gender-specific personalized healthcare, an extensive characterization of the molecular differences between the two genders is required. In the present study, we conducted a large-scale metabolomics analysis of 507 metabolic markers measured in serum of 1756 participants from the German KORA F4 study (903 females and 853 males). One-third of the metabolites show significant differences between males and females. A pathway analysis revealed strong differences in steroid metabolism, fatty acids and further lipids, a large fraction of amino acids, oxidative phosphorylation, purine metabolism and gamma-glutamyl dipeptides. We then extended this analysis by a network-based clustering approach. Metabolite interactions were estimated using Gaussian graphical models to get an unbiased, fully data-driven metabolic network representation. This approach is not limited to possibly arbitrary pathway boundaries and can even include poorly or uncharacterized metabolites. The network analysis revealed several strongly gender-regulated submodules across different pathways. Finally, a gender-stratified genome-wide association study was performed to determine whether the observed gender differences are caused by dimorphisms in the effects of genetic polymorphisms on the metabolome. With only a single genome-wide significant hit, our results suggest that this scenario is not the case. In summary, we report an extensive characterization and interpretation of gender-specific differences of the human serum metabolome, providing a broad basis for future analyses.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11306-015-0829-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Epidemiology; Metabolic networks; Metabolomics; Gender differences; Systems biology
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a highly progressive disease. We studied the association between relative telomere length (RTL) and CKD progression and tested whether this association is modified by smoking and diabetes mellitus. RTL was measured by qPCR in two prospective cohort studies, the MMKD-Study (n = 166) and the CRISIS-Study (n = 889) with a median follow-up of 4.5 and 2.8 years, respectively. Progression was defined as doubling of baseline serum creatinine (MMKD-Study) and/or end stage renal disease (both studies). 59 and 105 of the patients from MMKD and CRISIS experienced a progression of CKD. Mean standardized pooled RTL was 0.74 ± 0.29. In the meta-analysis shorter RTL at baseline showed a borderline association with CKD progression (HR = 1.07 [95%CI 1.00–1.15]; p = 0.06). We observed an effect modification of RTL and CKD progression by smoking and diabetes (p-values of interaction p = 0.02 and p = 0.09, respectively). Each 0.1 unit shorter RTL was significantly associated with an increased hazard for CKD progression in active-smokers by 44% (HR = 1.44 [1.16–1.81]; p = 0.001) and in patients with diabetes mellitus by 16% (HR = 1.16 [1.01–1.34]; p = 0.03). Estimates were adjusted for baseline age, sex, proteinuria and GFR. This study in two independent cohorts reinforces that RTL is a marker and potentially a pathogenetic factor for CKD progression.