Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk in observational studies. Whether these associations are causal is not clear. Loss-of-function mutations in the filaggrin gene result in up to 10% higher serum vitamin D concentrations, supposedly due to a decreased UV-protection of the keratinocytes. We used a Mendelian randomization approach to estimate the causal effect of vitamin D status on serum lipids, blood pressure, body mass index, waist circumference, and the metabolic syndrome.
Three population based studies were included, Monica10 (2,656 individuals aged 40–71 years), Inter99 (6,784 individuals aged 30–60 years), and Health2006 (3,471 individuals aged 18–69 years) conducted in 1993–94, 1999–2001, and 2006–2008, respectively. Participants were genotyped for the two most common filaggrin gene mutations in European descendants R501X and 2282del4, in all three studies and further for the R2447X mutation in the Inter99 and Health2006 studies. Filaggrin genotype was used as instrumental variable for vitamin D status. Baseline measurements of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D were performed in all three studies.
Instrumental variable analyses showed a 23.8% (95% confidence interval, CI 3.0, 48.6) higher HDL cholesterol level and a 30.5% (95% CI: 0.8, 51.3) lower serum level of triglycerides per doubling of vitamin D. These associations were, however, not statistically significant when applying the Bonferroni adjusted significance level. The remaining lipids showed non-significant changes in a favorable direction. Doubling of vitamin D gave a non-significantly lower odds ratio = 0.26 (95% CI: 0.06, 1.17) of the metabolic syndrome. There were no statistically significant causal effects of vitamin D status on blood pressure, body mass index, or waist circumference.
Our results support a causal effect of higher vitamin D status on a more favorable lipid profile, although more studies in other populations are needed to confirm our results.
Serum homocysteine, when studied singly, has been reported to be positively associated both with the endogenous nitric oxide synthase inhibitor asymmetric dimethylarginine [ADMA, via inhibition of dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH) activity] and with symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA). We investigated combined associations between transsulfuration pathway thiols, including homocysteine, and serum ADMA and SDMA concentrations at population level.
Data on clinical and demographic characteristics, medication exposure, C-reactive protein, serum ADMA and SDMA (LC-MS/MS), and thiols (homocysteine, cysteine, taurine, glutamylcysteine, total glutathione, and cysteinylglycine; capillary electrophoresis) were collected from a sample of the Hunter Community Study on human ageing [n = 498, median age (IQR) = 64 (60–70) years].
Regression analysis showed that: a) age (P = 0.001), gender (P = 0.03), lower estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR, P = 0.08), body mass index (P = 0.008), treatment with beta-blockers (P = 0.03), homocysteine (P = 0.02), and glutamylcysteine (P = 0.003) were independently associated with higher ADMA concentrations; and b) age (P = 0.001), absence of diabetes (P = 0.001), lower body mass index (P = 0.01), lower eGFR (P<0.001), cysteine (P = 0.007), and glutamylcysteine (P<0.001) were independently associated with higher SDMA concentrations. No significant associations were observed between methylated arginines and either glutathione or taurine concentrations.
After adjusting for clinical, demographic, biochemical, and pharmacological confounders the combined assessment of transsulfuration pathway thiols shows that glutamylcysteine has the strongest and positive independent associations with ADMA and SDMA. Whether this reflects a direct effect of glutamylcysteine on DDAH activity (for ADMA) and/or cationic amino acid transport requires further investigations.
The late endosomal LAMTOR complex serves as a convergence point for both the RAF/MEK/ERK and the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathways. Interestingly, both of these signalling cascades play a significant role in the aetiology of breast cancer. Our aim was to address the possible role of genetic polymorphisms in LAMTOR2 and LAMTOR3 as genetic risk factors for breast cancer.
We sequenced the exons and exon–intron boundaries of LAMTOR2 (p14) and LAMTOR3 (MP1) in 50 prospectively collected pairs of cancerous tissue and blood samples from breast cancer patients and compared their genetic variability. We found one single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in LAMTOR2 (rs7541) and two SNPs in LAMTOR3 (rs2298735 and rs148972953) in both tumour and blood samples, but no somatic mutations in cancerous tissues. In addition, we genotyped all three SNPs in 296 samples from the Risk Prediction of Breast Cancer Metastasis Study and found evidence of a genetic association between rs148972953 and oestrogen (ER) and progesterone receptor negative status (PR) (ER: OR = 3.60 (1.15–11.28); PR: OR = 4.27 (1.43–12.72)). However, when we additionally genotyped rs148972953 in the MARIE study including 2,715 breast cancer cases and 5,216 controls, we observed neither a difference in genotype frequencies between patients and controls nor was the SNP associated with ER or PR. Finally, all three SNPs were equally frequent in breast cancer samples and female participants (n = 640) of the population-based SAPHIR Study.
The identified polymorphisms in LAMTOR2 and LAMTOR3 do not seem to play a relevant role in breast cancer. Our work does not exclude a role of other not yet identified SNPs or that the here annotated polymorphism may in fact play a relevant role in other diseases. Our results underscore the importance of replication in association studies.
Adiponectin serum concentrations are an important biomarker in cardiovascular epidemiology with heritability etimates of 30–70%. However, known genetic variants in the adiponectin gene locus (ADIPOQ) account for only 2%–8% of its variance. As transcription factors are thought to play an under-acknowledged role in carrying functional variants, we hypothesized that genetic polymorphisms in genes coding for the main transcription factors for the ADIPOQ promoter influence adiponectin levels. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at these genes were selected based on the haplotype block structure and previously published evidence to be associated with adiponectin levels. We performed association analyses of the 24 selected SNPs at forkhead box O1 (FOXO1), sterol-regulatory-element-binding transcription factor 1 (SREBF1), sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARG) and transcription factor activating enhancer binding protein 2 beta (TFAP2B) gene loci with adiponectin levels in three different European cohorts: SAPHIR (n = 1742), KORA F3 (n = 1636) and CoLaus (n = 5355). In each study population, the association of SNPs with adiponectin levels on log-scale was tested using linear regression adjusted for age, sex and body mass index, applying both an additive and a recessive genetic model. A pooled effect size was obtained by meta-analysis assuming a fixed effects model. We applied a significance threshold of 0.0033 accounting for the multiple testing situation. A significant association was only found for variants within SREBF1 applying an additive genetic model (smallest p-value for rs1889018 on log(adiponectin) = 0.002, β on original scale = −0.217 µg/ml), explaining ∼0.4% of variation of adiponectin levels. Recessive genetic models or haplotype analyses of the FOXO1, SREBF1, SIRT1, TFAPB2B genes or sex-stratified analyses did not reveal additional information on the regulation of adiponectin levels. The role of genetic variations at the SREBF1 gene in regulating adiponectin needs further investigation by functional studies.
To assess the individual and combined effect of 46 type 2 diabetes related risk alleles on incidence of a composite CVD endpoint.
Data from the first Danish MONICA study (N = 3523) and the Inter99 study (N = 6049) was used. Using Cox proportional hazard regression the individual effect of each risk allele on incident CVD was analyzed. Risk was presented as hazard ratios (HR) per risk allele.
During 80,859 person years 1441 incident cases of CVD (fatal and non-fatal) occurred in the MONICA study. In Inter99 942 incident cases were observed during 61,239 person years.
In the Danish MONICA study four gene variants were significantly associated with incident CVD independently of known diabetes status at baseline; SLC2A2 rs11920090 (HR 1.147, 95% CI 1.027–1.283 , P = 0.0154), C2CD4A rs7172432 (1.112, 1.027–1.205 , P = 0.0089), GCKR rs780094 (1.094, 1.007–1.188 , P = 0.0335) and C2CD4B rs11071657 (1.092, 1.007–1.183 , P = 0.0323). The genetic score was significantly associated with increased risk of CVD (1.025, 1.010–1.041, P = 0.0016). In Inter99 two gene variants were associated with risk of CVD independently of diabetes; SLC2A2 (HR 1.180, 95% CI 1.038–1.341 P = 0.0116) and FTO (0.909, 0.827–0.998, P = 0.0463). Analysing the two populations together we found SLC2A2 rs11920090 (HR 1.164, 95% CI 1.070–1.267, P = 0.0004) meeting the Bonferroni corrected threshold for significance. GCKR rs780094 (1.076, 1.010–1.146, P = 0.0229), C2CD4B rs11071657 (1.067, 1.003–1.135, P = 0.0385) and NOTCH2 rs10923931 (1.104 (1.001 ; 1.217 , P = 0.0481) were found associated with CVD without meeting the corrected threshold. The genetic score was significantly associated with increased risk of CVD (1.018, 1.006–1.031, P = 0.0043).
This study showed that out of the 46 genetic variants examined only the minor risk allele of SLC2A2 rs11920090 was significantly (P = 0.0005) associated with a composite endpoint of incident CVD below the threshold for statistical significance corrected for multiple testing. This potential pathway needs further exploration.
Previous studies exploring the association between 25[OH]D levels and mortality in adults with and without kidney disease utilized 25[OH]D thresholds that have recently been scrutinized by the Institute of Medicine Committee to Review Dietary References Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium.
We explored all-cause mortality rates across the spectrum of 25[OH]D levels over an eighteen-year follow-up among adults with and without an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) <60 ml/min/1.73 m2.
The study included 1,097 U.S. adults with eGFR <60 ml/min/1.73 m2 and 14, 002 adults with eGFR ≥60 ml/min/1.73 m2. Mortality rates and rate ratios (RR) across 25[OH]D groups were calculated with Poisson regression and restricted cubic splines while adjusting for covariates.
Prevalence of 25[OH]D levels <30 and <20 ng/ml among adults with eGFR <60 ml/min/1.73 m2 was 76.5% (population estimate 6.2 million) and 35.4% (population estimate 2.9 million), respectively. Among adults with eGFR ≥60 ml/min/1.73 m2, 70.5% had 25[OH]D levels <30 ng/ml (population estimate 132.2 million) while 30.3% had 25[OH]D levels <20 ng/ml (population estimate 56.8 million). Significantly higher mortality rates were noted among individuals with 25[OH]D levels <12 ng/ml compared to referent group (24 to <30 ng/ml): RR1.41 (95% CI 1.17, 1.71) among individuals with eGFR <60 ml/min/1.73 m2 and RR 1.32 (95% CI 1.13, 1.56) among individuals with eGFR ≥60 ml/min/1.73 m2 after adjustment for covariates including co-morbid conditions. Mortality rates were fairly similar across all 25[OH]D groups with levels >20 ng/ml after adjustment for all covariates.
Regardless of presence of eGFR <60 ml/min/1.73 m2, mortality rates across groups with 25[OH]D levels 20–40 ng/ml are similar.
Severe alpha1-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency is a strong risk factor for COPD. But the impact of gene variants resulting in mild or intermediate AAT deficiency on the longitudinal course of respiratory health remains controversial. There is indication from experimental studies that pro-inflammatory agents like cigarette smoke can interact with these variants and thus increase the risk of adverse respiratory health effects. Therefore, we tested the effect of the presence of a protease inhibitor (Pi) S or Z allele (PiMS and PiMZ) on the change in lung function in different inflammation-exposed subgroups of a large, population-based cohort study.
Methodology and Principal Findings
The SAPALDIA population includes over 4600 subjects from whom SERPINA1 genotypes for S and Z alleles, spirometry and respiratory symptoms at baseline and after 11 years follow-up, as well as proxies for inflammatory conditions, such as detailed smoking history, obesity and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), were available. All analyses were performed by applying multivariate regression models. There was no overall unfavourable effect of PiMS or PiMZ genotype on lung function change. We found indication that PiZ heterozygosity interacted with inflammatory stimuli leading to an accelerated decline in measures in use as indices for assessing mild airway obstruction. Obese individuals with genotype PiMM had an average annual decline in the forced mid expiratory flow (ΔFEF25-75%) of 58.4 ml whereas in obese individuals with PiMZ it amounted to 92.2 ml (p = 0.03). Corresponding numbers for persistent smokers differed even more strongly (66.8 ml (PiMM) vs. 108.2 ml (PiMZ), p = 0.005). Equivalent, but less strong associations were observed for the change in the FEV1/FVC ratio.
We suggest that, in addition to the well established impact of the rare PiZZ genotype, one Z allele may be sufficient to accelerate lung function decline in population subgroups characterized by elevated levels of low grade inflammation.
The MapReduce framework enables a scalable processing and analyzing of large datasets by distributing the computational load on connected computer nodes, referred to as a cluster. In Bioinformatics, MapReduce has already been adopted to various case scenarios such as mapping next generation sequencing data to a reference genome, finding SNPs from short read data or matching strings in genotype files. Nevertheless, tasks like installing and maintaining MapReduce on a cluster system, importing data into its distributed file system or executing MapReduce programs require advanced knowledge in computer science and could thus prevent scientists from usage of currently available and useful software solutions.
Here we present Cloudgene, a freely available platform to improve the usability of MapReduce programs in Bioinformatics by providing a graphical user interface for the execution, the import and export of data and the reproducibility of workflows on in-house (private clouds) and rented clusters (public clouds). The aim of Cloudgene is to build a standardized graphical execution environment for currently available and future MapReduce programs, which can all be integrated by using its plug-in interface. Since Cloudgene can be executed on private clusters, sensitive datasets can be kept in house at all time and data transfer times are therefore minimized.
Our results show that MapReduce programs can be integrated into Cloudgene with little effort and without adding any computational overhead to existing programs. This platform gives developers the opportunity to focus on the actual implementation task and provides scientists a platform with the aim to hide the complexity of MapReduce. In addition to MapReduce programs, Cloudgene can also be used to launch predefined systems (e.g. Cloud BioLinux, RStudio) in public clouds. Currently, five different bioinformatic programs using MapReduce and two systems are integrated and have been successfully deployed. Cloudgene is freely available at
Oxidative stress related genes modify the effects of ambient air pollution or tobacco smoking on lung function decline. The impact of interactions might be substantial, but previous studies mostly focused on main effects of single genes.
We studied the interaction of both exposures with a broad set of oxidative-stress related candidate genes and pathways on lung function decline and contrasted interactions between exposures.
For 12679 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), change in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), FEV1 over forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC), and mean forced expiratory flow between 25 and 75% of the FVC (FEF25-75) was regressed on interval exposure to particulate matter <10 µm in diameter (PM10) or packyears smoked (a), additive SNP effects (b), and interaction terms between (a) and (b) in 669 adults with GWAS data. Interaction p-values for 152 genes and 14 pathways were calculated by the adaptive rank truncation product (ARTP) method, and compared between exposures. Interaction effect sizes were contrasted for the strongest SNPs of nominally significant genes (pinteraction<0.05). Replication was attempted for SNPs with MAF>10% in 3320 SAPALDIA participants without GWAS.
On the SNP-level, rs2035268 in gene SNCA accelerated FEV1/FVC decline by 3.8% (pinteraction = 2.5×10−6), and rs12190800 in PARK2 attenuated FEV1 decline by 95.1 ml pinteraction = 9.7×10−8) over 11 years, while interacting with PM10. Genes and pathways nominally interacting with PM10 and packyears exposure differed substantially. Gene CRISP2 presented a significant interaction with PM10 (pinteraction = 3.0×10−4) on FEV1/FVC decline. Pathway interactions were weak. Replications for the strongest SNPs in PARK2 and CRISP2 were not successful.
Consistent with a stratified response to increasing oxidative stress, different genes and pathways potentially mediate PM10 and tobacco smoke effects on lung function decline. Ignoring environmental exposures would miss these patterns, but achieving sufficient sample size and comparability across study samples is challenging.
The relationship between hypertension and kidney disease is complicated. Clinical trials found intense blood pressure control was not associated with alterations in glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in all patients but did slow the rate of GFR decline among those with a higher baseline proteinuria. However, the underlying mechanism has been unclear.
We tested the hypothesis that the association between high blood pressure and renal function is modified by albuminuria status by conducting analyses in a cross-sectional study with 12,440 adult participants without known kidney diseases, diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999–2006.
1226 out of 12440 were found to have unknown high blood pressure and 4494 were found to have reduced renal function. Overall, a moderate association was found between high blood pressure and renal function insufficiency in all participants analyzed. However, among participants with albuminuria, the prevalence of moderate-severe renal insufficiency substantially and progressively increased from normal subjects to prehypertensive and undiagnosed hypertensive subjects (1.43%, 3.44%, 10.96%, respectively, P for trend<0.0001); on the other hand, the prevalence of undiagnosed hypertension was also significantly higher among subjects with moderate-severe renal insufficiency than those with mild renal insufficiency (35.54% Vs 19.09%, P value <0.05), supporting an association between hypertension and renal function damage. In contrast, no association between hypertension and renal insufficiency was observed among those without albuminuria in this population. Similar findings were observed when the CKD-EPI equation was used.
The association between high blood pressure and reduced renal function could be dependent upon the albuminuria status. This finding may provide a possible explanation for results observed in clinical trials of intensive blood pressure control. Further studies are warranted to confirm our findings.
Interleukin-1B (IL-1B) is a key pro-inflammatory cytokine that has been associated with the development of atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction. However, the prospective associations between functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in IL1B and incident acute coronary syndrome (ACS) have not been thoroughly investigated. The aims of this study were to examine the associations between individual SNPs in and SNP haplotypes of the promoter region of IL1B and incident ACS in a prospective study. Furthermore, we wanted to explore potential interactions with other risk factors for ACS on an additive scale.
The present study was based on the Danish prospective study Diet, Cancer and Health comprising more than 57 000 participants aged 50–64 at baseline. During a median follow-up of 7.2 years we identified 989 cases of incident ACS (755 men and 234 women). All cases were validated by review of medical records, and information on covariates was collected by study technicians. The study was conducted according to a case-cohort study design including ACS cases and a sex-stratified sub cohort of 1663 participants drawn randomly from the entire cohort. Weighted Cox proportional hazard models with age as time axis were used in the statistical analyses. Individual IL1B SNPs, SNP haplotypes, or haplotype combinations were not significantly associated with incident ACS, and, likewise, we found no evidence of interaction on an additive scale between IL1B haplotypes and risk factors, respectively.
Genetic variation in the promoter region of IL1B may not be associated with incident ACS in men or women above the age of 50 years.
Although the relationship between serum uric acid (SUA) and adiposity is well established, the direction of the causality is still unclear in the presence of conflicting evidences. We used a bidirectional Mendelian randomization approach to explore the nature and direction of causality between SUA and adiposity in a population-based study of Caucasians aged 35 to 75 years.
Methods and Findings
We used, as instrumental variables, rs6855911 within the SUA gene SLC2A9 in one direction, and combinations of SNPs within the adiposity genes FTO, MC4R and TMEM18 in the other direction. Adiposity markers included weight, body mass index, waist circumference and fat mass. We applied a two-stage least squares regression: a regression of SUA/adiposity markers on our instruments in the first stage and a regression of the response of interest on the fitted values from the first stage regression in the second stage. SUA explained by the SLC2A9 instrument was not associated to fat mass (regression coefficient [95% confidence interval]: 0.05 [−0.10, 0.19] for fat mass) contrasting with the ordinary least square estimate (0.37 [0.34, 0.40]). By contrast, fat mass explained by genetic variants of the FTO, MC4R and TMEM18 genes was positively and significantly associated to SUA (0.31 [0.01, 0.62]), similar to the ordinary least square estimate (0.27 [0.25, 0.29]). Results were similar for the other adiposity markers.
Using a bidirectional Mendelian randomization approach in adult Caucasians, our findings suggest that elevated SUA is a consequence rather than a cause of adiposity.
Late-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common sight-threatening disease of the central retina affecting approximately 1 in 30 Caucasians. Besides age and smoking, genetic variants from several gene loci have reproducibly been associated with this condition and likely explain a large proportion of disease. Here, we developed a genetic risk score (GRS) for AMD based on 13 risk variants from eight gene loci. The model exhibited good discriminative accuracy, area-under-curve (AUC) of the receiver-operating characteristic of 0.820, which was confirmed in a cross-validation approach. Noteworthy, younger AMD patients aged below 75 had a significantly higher mean GRS (1.87, 95% CI: 1.69–2.05) than patients aged 75 and above (1.45, 95% CI: 1.36–1.54). Based on five equally sized GRS intervals, we present a risk classification with a relative AMD risk of 64.0 (95% CI: 14.11–1131.96) for individuals in the highest category (GRS 3.44–5.18, 0.5% of the general population) compared to subjects with the most common genetic background (GRS −0.05–1.70, 40.2% of general population). The highest GRS category identifies AMD patients with a sensitivity of 7.9% and a specificity of 99.9% when compared to the four lower categories. Modeling a general population around 85 years of age, 87.4% of individuals in the highest GRS category would be expected to develop AMD by that age. In contrast, only 2.2% of individuals in the two lowest GRS categories which represent almost 50% of the general population are expected to manifest AMD. Our findings underscore the large proportion of AMD cases explained by genetics particularly for younger AMD patients. The five-category risk classification could be useful for therapeutic stratification or for diagnostic testing purposes once preventive treatment is available.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a complex disorder. As genome-wide association studies identified cubilin gene CUBN as a locus for albuminuria, and urinary protein loss is a risk factor for progressive CKD, we tested the hypothesis that common genetic variants in CUBN are associated with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and proteinuria. First, a total of 1142 patients with ESRD, admitted for renal transplantation, and 1186 donors were genotyped for SNPs rs7918972 and rs1801239 (case-control study). The rs7918972 minor allele frequency (MAF) was higher in ESRD patients comparing to kidney donors, implicating an increased risk for ESRD (OR 1.39, p = 0.0004) in native kidneys. Second, after transplantation recipients were followed for 5.8 [3.8–9.2] years (longitudinal study) documenting ESRD in transplanted kidneys – graft failure (GF). During post-transplant follow-up 92 (9.6%) cases of death-censored GF occurred. Donor rs7918972 MAF, representing genotype of the transplanted kidney, was 16.3% in GF vs 10.7% in cases with functioning graft. Consistently, a multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that donor rs7918972 is a predictor of GF, although statistical significance was not reached (HR 1.53, p = 0.055). There was no association of recipient rs7918972 with GF. Rs1801239 was not associated with ESRD or GF. In line with an association with the outcome, donor rs7918972 was associated with elevated proteinuria levels cross-sectionally at 1 year after transplantation. Thus, we identified CUBN rs7918972 as a novel risk variant for renal function loss in two independent settings: ESRD in native kidneys and GF in transplanted kidneys.
Iron-refractory iron deficiency anaemia (IRIDA) is a rare disorder which was linked to mutations in two genes (SLC11A2 and TMPRSS6). Common polymorphisms within these genes were associated with serum iron levels. We identified a family of Serbian origin with asymptomatic non-consanguineous parents with three of four children presenting with IRIDA not responding to oral but to intravenous iron supplementation. After excluding all known causes responsible for iron deficiency anaemia we searched for mutations in SLC11A2 and TMPRSS6 that could explain the severe anaemia in these children.
We sequenced the exons and exon–intron boundaries of SLC11A2 and TMPRSS6 in all six family members. Thereby, we found seven known and fairly common SNPs, but no new mutation. We then genotyped these seven SNPs in the population-based SAPHIR study (n = 1,726) and performed genetic association analysis on iron and ferritin levels. Only two SNPs, which were top-hits from recent GWAS on iron and ferritin, exhibited an effect on iron and ferritin levels in SAPHIR. Six SAPHIR participants carrying the same TMPRSS6 genotypes and haplotype-pairs as one anaemic son showed lower ferritin and iron levels than the average. One individual exhibiting the joint SLC11A2/TMPRSS6 profile of the anaemic son had iron and ferritin levels lying below the 5th percentile of the population's iron and ferritin level distribution. We then checked the genotype constellations in the Nijmegen Biomedical Study (n = 1,832), but the profile of the anaemic son did not occur in this population.
We cannot exclude a gene-gene interaction between SLC11A2 and TMPRSS6, but we can also not confirm it. As in this case candidate gene sequencing did not reveal causative rare mutations, the samples will be subjected to whole exome sequencing.
Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have found a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP, rs2274223 A>G) in PLCE1 to be associated with risk of gastric adenocarcinoma. In the present study, we validated this finding and also explored the risk associated with another unreported potentially functional SNP (rs11187870 G>C) of PLCE1 in a hospital-based case-control study of 1059 patients with pathologically confirmed gastric adenocarcinoma and 1240 frequency-matched healthy controls.
We determined genotypes of these two SNPs by the Taqman assay and used logistic regression models to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). We found that a significant higher gastric adenocarcinoma risk was associated with rs2274223 variant G allele (adjusted OR = 1.35, 95% CI = 1.14–1.60 for AG+GG vs. AA) and rs11187870 variant C allele (adjusted OR = 1.26, 95% CI = 1.05–1.50 for CG+CC vs. GG). We also found that the number of combined risk alleles (i.e., rs2274223G and rs11187870C) was associated with risk of gastric adenocarcinoma in an allele-dose effect manner (Ptrend = 0.0002). Stratification analysis indicated that the combined effect of rs2274223G and rs11187870C variant alleles was more evident in subgroups of males, non-smokers, non-drinkers and patients with gastric cardia adenocarcinoma. Further real-time PCR results showed that expression levels of PLCE1 mRNA were significantly lower in tumors than in adjacent noncancerous tissues (0.019±0.002 vs. 0.008±0.001, P<0.05).
Our results further confirmed that genetic variations in PLCE1 may contribute to gastric adenocarcinoma risk in an eastern Chinese population.
Statin therapy reduces the risk of occlusive vascular events, but uncertainty remains about potential effects on cancer. We sought to provide a detailed assessment of any effects on cancer of lowering LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) with a statin using individual patient records from 175,000 patients in 27 large-scale statin trials.
Methods and Findings
Individual records of 134,537 participants in 22 randomised trials of statin versus control (median duration 4.8 years) and 39,612 participants in 5 trials of more intensive versus less intensive statin therapy (median duration 5.1 years) were obtained. Reducing LDL-C with a statin for about 5 years had no effect on newly diagnosed cancer or on death from such cancers in either the trials of statin versus control (cancer incidence: 3755 [1.4% per year [py]] versus 3738 [1.4% py], RR 1.00 [95% CI 0.96-1.05]; cancer mortality: 1365 [0.5% py] versus 1358 [0.5% py], RR 1.00 [95% CI 0.93–1.08]) or in the trials of more versus less statin (cancer incidence: 1466 [1.6% py] vs 1472 [1.6% py], RR 1.00 [95% CI 0.93–1.07]; cancer mortality: 447 [0.5% py] versus 481 [0.5% py], RR 0.93 [95% CI 0.82–1.06]). Moreover, there was no evidence of any effect of reducing LDL-C with statin therapy on cancer incidence or mortality at any of 23 individual categories of sites, with increasing years of treatment, for any individual statin, or in any given subgroup. In particular, among individuals with low baseline LDL-C (<2 mmol/L), there was no evidence that further LDL-C reduction (from about 1.7 to 1.3 mmol/L) increased cancer risk (381 [1.6% py] versus 408 [1.7% py]; RR 0.92 [99% CI 0.76–1.10]).
In 27 randomised trials, a median of five years of statin therapy had no effect on the incidence of, or mortality from, any type of cancer (or the aggregate of all cancer).
African Americans are disproportionately affected by type 2 diabetes (T2DM) yet few studies have examined T2DM using genome-wide association approaches in this ethnicity. The aim of this study was to identify genes associated with T2DM in the African American population. We performed a Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) using the Affymetrix 6.0 array in 965 African-American cases with T2DM and end-stage renal disease (T2DM-ESRD) and 1029 population-based controls. The most significant SNPs (n = 550 independent loci) were genotyped in a replication cohort and 122 SNPs (n = 98 independent loci) were further tested through genotyping three additional validation cohorts followed by meta-analysis in all five cohorts totaling 3,132 cases and 3,317 controls. Twelve SNPs had evidence of association in the GWAS (P<0.0071), were directionally consistent in the Replication cohort and were associated with T2DM in subjects without nephropathy (P<0.05). Meta-analysis in all cases and controls revealed a single SNP reaching genome-wide significance (P<2.5×10−8). SNP rs7560163 (P = 7.0×10−9, OR (95% CI) = 0.75 (0.67–0.84)) is located intergenically between RND3 and RBM43. Four additional loci (rs7542900, rs4659485, rs2722769 and rs7107217) were associated with T2DM (P<0.05) and reached more nominal levels of significance (P<2.5×10−5) in the overall analysis and may represent novel loci that contribute to T2DM. We have identified novel T2DM-susceptibility variants in the African-American population. Notably, T2DM risk was associated with the major allele and implies an interesting genetic architecture in this population. These results suggest that multiple loci underlie T2DM susceptibility in the African-American population and that these loci are distinct from those identified in other ethnic populations.
Several studies have reported that carriers of the 103I allele of the MC4R gene had lower body weight when compared to the wild-type genotype. A recent study found an association of the MC4R 103I variant with carbohydrate intake which possibly mediates some of the association of this variant with leanness.
The purpose of our study was to investigate the association between the MC4R V103I polymorphism and dietary intake derived by the Willett food frequency questionnaire in individuals with severe obesity.
The MC4R V103I polymorphism was genotyped in a group of 1029 severely obese white subjects with an average BMI of 46.0 kg/m² (range 33–92 kg/m²).
Carriers of the 103I allele showed a significantly higher daily energy (+364 kcal/day or +19%, p=0.03) and carbohydrate intake (+57 g/day or +27%, p=0.01), but there was no relationship with BMI. No notable association of this polymorphism with lipid and glucose parameters of the metabolic syndrome was observed as indicated in a previous study.
The higher dietary intake of carbohydrates in severely obese individuals with the MC4R 103I variant is in line with previous findings and might indicate a differential consequence on body size measures in extremely obese subjects when compared to the general population.
melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R); genetic association; obesity; lipoprotein metabolism; dietary intake
Recent genome-wide association (GWA) studies described 95 loci controlling serum lipid levels. These common variants explain ∼25% of the heritability of the phenotypes. To date, no unbiased screen for gene–environment interactions for circulating lipids has been reported. We screened for variants that modify the relationship between known epidemiological risk factors and circulating lipid levels in a meta-analysis of genome-wide association (GWA) data from 18 population-based cohorts with European ancestry (maximum N = 32,225). We collected 8 further cohorts (N = 17,102) for replication, and rs6448771 on 4p15 demonstrated genome-wide significant interaction with waist-to-hip-ratio (WHR) on total cholesterol (TC) with a combined P-value of 4.79×10−9. There were two potential candidate genes in the region, PCDH7 and CCKAR, with differential expression levels for rs6448771 genotypes in adipose tissue. The effect of WHR on TC was strongest for individuals carrying two copies of G allele, for whom a one standard deviation (sd) difference in WHR corresponds to 0.19 sd difference in TC concentration, while for A allele homozygous the difference was 0.12 sd. Our findings may open up possibilities for targeted intervention strategies for people characterized by specific genomic profiles. However, more refined measures of both body-fat distribution and metabolic measures are needed to understand how their joint dynamics are modified by the newly found locus.
Circulating serum lipids contribute greatly to the global health by affecting the risk for cardiovascular diseases. Serum lipid levels are partly inherited, and already 95 loci affecting high- and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides have been found. Serum lipids are also known to be affected by multiple epidemiological risk factors like body composition, lifestyle, and sex. It has been hypothesized that there are loci modifying the effects between risk factors and serum lipids, but to date only candidate gene studies for interactions have been reported. We conducted a genome-wide screen with meta-analysis approach to identify loci having interactions with epidemiological risk factors on serum lipids with over 30,000 population-based samples. When combining results from our initial datasets and 8 additional replication cohorts (maximum N = 17,102), we found a genome-wide significant locus in chromosome 4p15 with a joint P-value of 4.79×10−9 modifying the effect of waist-to-hip ratio on total cholesterol. In the area surrounding this genetic variant, there were two genes having association between the genotypes and the gene expression in adipose tissue, and we also found enrichment of association in genes belonging to lipid metabolism related functions.
Family studies suggest a genetic component to the etiology of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end stage renal disease (ESRD). Previously, we identified 16 loci for eGFR in genome-wide association studies, but the associations of these single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for incident CKD or ESRD are unknown. We thus investigated the association of these loci with incident CKD in 26,308 individuals of European ancestry free of CKD at baseline drawn from eight population-based cohorts followed for a median of 7.2 years (including 2,122 incident CKD cases defined as eGFR <60ml/min/1.73m2 at follow-up) and with ESRD in four case-control studies in subjects of European ancestry (3,775 cases, 4,577 controls). SNPs at 11 of the 16 loci (UMOD, PRKAG2, ANXA9, DAB2, SHROOM3, DACH1, STC1, SLC34A1, ALMS1/NAT8, UBE2Q2, and GCKR) were associated with incident CKD; p-values ranged from p = 4.1e-9 in UMOD to p = 0.03 in GCKR. After adjusting for baseline eGFR, six of these loci remained significantly associated with incident CKD (UMOD, PRKAG2, ANXA9, DAB2, DACH1, and STC1). SNPs in UMOD (OR = 0.92, p = 0.04) and GCKR (OR = 0.93, p = 0.03) were nominally associated with ESRD. In summary, the majority of eGFR-related loci are either associated or show a strong trend towards association with incident CKD, but have modest associations with ESRD in individuals of European descent. Additional work is required to characterize the association of genetic determinants of CKD and ESRD at different stages of disease progression.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects about 6%–11% of the general population, and progression to end stage renal disease (ESRD) has a significant public health impact. Family studies suggest that the risk for CKD and ESRD is heritable. Unraveling the genetic underpinning of risk for these diseases may lead to the identification of novel mechanisms and thus diagnostic and therapeutic tools. We have previously identified 16 genetic markers in association with kidney function and prevalent CKD in general population studies. However, little is known about the relevance of these SNPs to the initial development of CKD or to ESRD risk. Therefore, we have now analyzed the association of these markers with the initiation of CKD in more than 26,000 individuals from the general population using serial estimations of kidney function, and with ESRD in four case-control studies in subjects of European ancestry (3,775 cases, 4,577 controls). We show that many of the 16 markers are also associated or show a strong trend towards association with initiation of CKD, while only 2 markers are nominally associated with ESRD. Further work is required to characterize the association of genetic determinants of different stages of CKD progression.
MMP-9 and -12 function in tissue remodeling and may play roles in cardiovascular disease (CVD). We assessed associations of four MMP polymorphisms and three antihypertensive drugs with cardiovascular outcomes.
Hypertensives (n = 42,418) from a double-blind, randomized, clinical trial were randomized to chlorthalidone, amlodipine, lisinopril, or doxazosin treatment (mean follow up, 4.9 years). The primary outcome was coronary heart disease (CHD). Secondary outcomes included combined CHD, all CVD outcomes combined, stroke, heart failure (HF), and mortality. Genotype-treatment interactions were tested.
There were 38,698 participants genotyped for at least one of the polymorphisms included here. For MMP9 R668Q (rs2274756), lower hazard ratios (HRs) were found for AA subjects for most outcomes when treated with chlorthalidone versus amlodipine (eg., CCHD: GG = 1.00, GA = 1.01, AA = 0.64; P = 0.038). For MMP9 R279Q (rs17576), modest pharmacogenetic findings were observed for combined CHD and the composite CVD outcome. For MMP12 N122S (rs652438), lower HRs were observed for CHD in subjects carrying at least one G allele and being treated with chlorthalidone versus lisinopril (CHD: AA = 1.07, AG = 0.80, GG = 0.49; P = 0.005). In the lisinopril-amlodipine comparison, higher HRs were observed for participants having at least one G allele at the MMP12 N122S locus (CHD: AA = 0.94, AG = 1.19, GG = 1.93; P = 0.041). For MMP12 −82A>G (rs2276109), no pharmacogenetic effect was found for the primary outcome, although lower HRs were observed for AA homozygotes in the chlorthalidone-amlodipine comparison for HF (P = 0.015).
We observed interactions between antihypertensive drugs and MMP9 and MMP12 for CHD and composite CVD. The data suggest that these genes may provide useful clinical information with respect to treatment decisions.
Metabolomic profiling and the integration of whole-genome genetic association data has proven to be a powerful tool to comprehensively explore gene regulatory networks and to investigate the effects of genetic variation at the molecular level. Serum metabolite concentrations allow a direct readout of biological processes, and association of specific metabolomic signatures with complex diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and cardiovascular and metabolic disorders has been shown. There are well-known correlations between sex and the incidence, prevalence, age of onset, symptoms, and severity of a disease, as well as the reaction to drugs. However, most of the studies published so far did not consider the role of sexual dimorphism and did not analyse their data stratified by gender. This study investigated sex-specific differences of serum metabolite concentrations and their underlying genetic determination. For discovery and replication we used more than 3,300 independent individuals from KORA F3 and F4 with metabolite measurements of 131 metabolites, including amino acids, phosphatidylcholines, sphingomyelins, acylcarnitines, and C6-sugars. A linear regression approach revealed significant concentration differences between males and females for 102 out of 131 metabolites (p-values<3.8×10−4; Bonferroni-corrected threshold). Sex-specific genome-wide association studies (GWAS) showed genome-wide significant differences in beta-estimates for SNPs in the CPS1 locus (carbamoyl-phosphate synthase 1, significance level: p<3.8×10−10; Bonferroni-corrected threshold) for glycine. We showed that the metabolite profiles of males and females are significantly different and, furthermore, that specific genetic variants in metabolism-related genes depict sexual dimorphism. Our study provides new important insights into sex-specific differences of cell regulatory processes and underscores that studies should consider sex-specific effects in design and interpretation.
The combination of genomic and metabolic studies during the last years has provided astonishing results. However, most of the studies published so far did not consider the role of sexual dimorphism and did not analyse their data stratified by sex. The investigation of 131 serum metabolite concentrations of >3,300 population-based samples (KORA F3/F4) revealed significant differences in the metabolite profile of males and females. Furthermore, a genome-wide picture of sex-specific genetic variations in human metabolism (>2,000 subjects from KORA F3/F4 cohorts) was investigated. Sex-specific genome-wide association studies (GWAS) showed differences in the effect of genetic variations on metabolites in men and women. SNPs in the CPS1 (carbamoyl-phosphate synthase 1) locus showed genome-wide significant differences in beta-estimates of sex-specific association analysis (significance level: 3.8×10−10) for glycine. As global metabolomic techniques are more and more refined to identify more compounds in single biological samples, the predictive power of this new technology will greatly increase. This suggests that metabolites, which may be used as predictive biomarkers to indicate the presence or severity of a disease, have to be used selectively depending on sex.
Human plasma and serum are widely used matrices in clinical and biological studies. However, different collecting procedures and the coagulation cascade influence concentrations of both proteins and metabolites in these matrices. The effects on metabolite concentration profiles have not been fully characterized.
We analyzed the concentrations of 163 metabolites in plasma and serum samples collected simultaneously from 377 fasting individuals. To ensure data quality, 41 metabolites with low measurement stability were excluded from further analysis. In addition, plasma and corresponding serum samples from 83 individuals were re-measured in the same plates and mean correlation coefficients (r) of all metabolites between the duplicates were 0.83 and 0.80 in plasma and serum, respectively, indicating significantly better stability of plasma compared to serum (p = 0.01). Metabolite profiles from plasma and serum were clearly distinct with 104 metabolites showing significantly higher concentrations in serum. In particular, 9 metabolites showed relative concentration differences larger than 20%. Despite differences in absolute concentration between the two matrices, for most metabolites the overall correlation was high (mean r = 0.81±0.10), which reflects a proportional change in concentration. Furthermore, when two groups of individuals with different phenotypes were compared with each other using both matrices, more metabolites with significantly different concentrations could be identified in serum than in plasma. For example, when 51 type 2 diabetes (T2D) patients were compared with 326 non-T2D individuals, 15 more significantly different metabolites were found in serum, in addition to the 25 common to both matrices.
Our study shows that reproducibility was good in both plasma and serum, and better in plasma. Furthermore, as long as the same blood preparation procedure is used, either matrix should generate similar results in clinical and biological studies. The higher metabolite concentrations in serum, however, make it possible to provide more sensitive results in biomarker detection.
Cardiovascular risk increases with the presence of both metabolic syndrome (MetS) and hypertension (HTN). Although the adiponectin (ADIPOQ) gene has been reported to be involved in MetS, its association with HTN remained undetermined. This study aimed to investigate the association of ADIPOQ gene with the phenotypes of HTN and MetS.
A total of 962 participants from 302 families from the Taiwan young-onset hypertension genetic study were enrolled. Plasma adiponectin were measured, and association analysis was conducted by using GEE regression-based method. Another study, of 1448 unrelated participants, was conducted to replicate the association between ADIPOQ gene and variable phenotypes of MetS with or without HTN.
Among 962 subjects from family samples, the lowest plasma adiponectin value was observed in MetS with HTN component (9.3±0.47 µg/ml) compared with hypertensives (13.4±0.74 µg /ml) or MetS without HTN (11.9±0.60 µg/ml, P<0.05). The SNP rs1501299 (G276T) in ADIPOQ gene was found associated with the presence of HTN in MetS (odds ratio for GG+GT vs. TT = 2.46; 95% CI: 1.14-5.3, p = 0.02), but not rs2241766 (T45G). No association of ADIPOQ gene with HTN alone or MetS without HTN was observed. The significant association of the SNP rs1501299 (G276T) with the phenotype of presence of HTN in MetS was confirmed (odds ratio for GG+GT vs. TT = 2.15; 95% CI: 1.1–4.3) in the replication study.
ADIPOQ genetic variants were selectively and specifically associated with the concomitant presence of MetS and HTN, suggesting potential genetic linkage between MetS and HTN.