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1.  Ethnic characterization of a population of children exposed to high doses of arsenic via drinking water and a possible correlation with metabolic processes 
Because the ratio between the two major arsenic metabolites is related to the adverse health effects of arsenic, numerous studies have been performed to establish a relationship between the ability to metabolically detoxify arsenic and other variables, including exposure level, gender, age and ethnicity. Because ethnicity may play a key role and provide relevant information for heterogeneous populations, we characterized a group of 70 children from rural schools in the Argentinean provinces of Chaco and Santiago del Estero who were exposed to high levels of arsenic. We used genetic markers for maternal, paternal and bi-parental ancestry to achieve this goal. Our results demonstrate that the Amerindian maternal linages are present in 100% of the samples, whereas the Amerindian component transmitted through the paternal line is less than 10%. Informative markers for autosomal ancestry show a predominantly European ancestry, in which 37% of the samples contained between 90 and 99% European ancestry. The native American component ranged from 50 to 80% in 15.7% of the samples, and in all but four samples, the African component was less than 10%. Correlation analysis demonstrated that the ethnicity and the ratio of the excreted arsenic metabolites monomethyl arsenic and dimethyl arsenic are not associated, dismissing a relationship between ethnic origin and differential metabolism.
PMCID: PMC3939002  PMID: 24596592
Arsenic; children; ethnic characterization; ancestral informative markers
2.  Strategies for genetic study of hearing loss in the Brazilian northeastern region 
The overall aim of this study was to estimate the contribution of genetic factors to the etiology of hearing loss (HL) in two counties in the Brazilian northeastern region. A cross-sectional study, based on the key informant approach (KI) was conducted in Queimadas and Gado Bravo counties (Paraíba, Northeast Brazil). The sample consisted of 182 patients with HL. Genetic screening of the most frequent mutations associated with HL was performed for all samples. DFNB1 mutations were the most frequently found in both counties. The c.35delG mutation was detected in homozygosis in seven non-syndromic probands in Queimadas (7/76, 9.2%) and only a single homozygote with this mutation was found in Gado Bravo (1/44, 2.3%). We also detected the del(GJB6-D13S1854) mutation in non-syndromic probands from Gado Bravo (2/44, 4.5%). The c.189C>A (p.TyrY63*) mutation in the CLRN1 gene was detected in homozygosis in 21/23 Usher syndrome patients from Gado Bravo and it was not found in Queimadas. Cases with probable genetic etiology contributed approximately to half of HL probands in each county (54.6% in Gado Bravo and 45.7% in Queimadas). We confirm the importance of DFNB1 locus to non-syndromic HL but we show that the frequency of mutations in the northeastern region differs somewhat from those reported in southeastern Brazil and other populations. In addition, the extremely high frequency of individuals with Usher syndrome with c.189C>A variation in CLRN1 indicates the need for a specific screening of this mutation.
PMCID: PMC3939003  PMID: 24596593
Epidemiology; hearing loss; DFNB1; GB2; Usher syndrome; CLRN1
3.  Gene expression in thiazide diuretic or statin users in relation to incident type 2 diabetes 
Thiazide diuretics and statins are used to improve cardiovascular outcomes, but may also cause type 2 diabetes (T2DM), although mechanisms are unknown. Gene expression studies may facilitate understanding of these associations. Participants from ongoing population-based studies were sampled for these longitudinal studies of peripheral blood microarray gene expression, and followed to incident diabetes. All sampled subjects were statin or thiazide users. Those who developed diabetes during follow-up comprised cases (44 thiazide users; 19 statin users), and were matched to drug-using controls who did not develop diabetes on several factors. Supervised normalization, surrogate variable analyses removed technical bias and confounding. Differentially-expressed genes were those with a false discovery rate Q-value<0.05. Among thiazide users, diabetes cases had significantly different expression of CCL14 (down-regulated 6%, Q-value=0.0257), compared with controls. Among statin users, diabetes cases had marginal but insignificantly different expression of ZNF532 (up-regulated 15%, Q-value=0.0584), CXORF21 (up-regulated 11%, Q-value=0.0584), and ZNHIT3 (up-regulated 19%, Q-value=0.0959), compared with controls. These genes comprise potential targets for future expression or mechanistic research on medication-related diabetes development.
PMCID: PMC3939004  PMID: 24596594
Type 2 diabetes; statins; thiazide diuretics; whole blood; gene expression; microarray; supervised normalization; surrogate variable analysis; chemokine ligand 14; zinc finger proteins
4.  Genetic variants and non-genetic factors predict circulating vitamin D levels in Hispanic and non-Hispanic White women: the Breast Cancer Health Disparities Study 
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified common polymorphisms in or near GC, CYP2R1, CYP24A1, and NADSYN1/DHCR7 genes to be associated with circulating levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] in European populations. To replicate these GWAS findings, we examined six selected polymorphisms from these regions and their relation with circulating 25(OH)D levels in 1,605 Hispanic women (629 U.S. Hispanics and 976 Mexicans) and 354 non-Hispanic White (NHW) women. We also assessed the potential interactions between these variants and known non-genetic predictors of 25(OH)D levels, including body mass index (BMI), sunlight exposure and vitamin D intake from diet and supplements. The minor alleles of the two GC polymorphisms (rs7041 and rs2282679) were significantly associated with lower 25(OH)D levels in both Hispanic and NHW women. The CYP2R1 polymorphism, rs2060793, also was significantly associated with 25(OH)D levels in both groups. We found no significant associations for the polymorphisms in the CYP24A1. In Hispanic controls, 25(OH)D levels were significantly associated with the rs12785878T and rs1790349G haplotype in the NADSYN1/DHCR7 region. Significant interactions between GC rs2282679 and BMI and between rs12785878 and time spent in outdoor activities were observed. These results provide further support for the contribution of common genetic variants to individual variability in circulating 25(OH)D levels. The observed interactions between SNPs and non-genetic factors warrant confirmation.
PMCID: PMC3939005  PMID: 24596595
Circulating levels; Hispanics; genetic polymorphisms; SNPs; genotype-phenotype correlation; vitamin D
5.  Genetic screening for AZF Y chromosome microdeletions in Jordanian azoospermic infertile men 
The azoospermia factor (AZF) region of the human Y chromosome contains essential genes for spermatogenesis. Microdeletions in AZF region has been shown to cause male infertility. The aim of this investigation was to determine the frequency of AZF microdeletions in Jordanian infertile males. A sample of 100 infertile males (36 with azoospermia and 64 with oligozoospermia) was screened for microdeletions using 16 AZF markers and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique. Two subjects were found to have microdeletions in AZFc region and one subject has microdeletion that includes AZFb and part of AZFc and AZFa. The three deletions were found in azoospermic subjects (8.3%). No microdeletions were found in oligozoospermic group. The frequency of AZF microdeletions in Jordanian azoospermic infertile males is comparable to that observed in other populations (1%-15%). The results suggest the importance of AZF microdeletion analysis for genetic counseling prior to providing assisted reproduction technique.
PMCID: PMC3939006  PMID: 24596596
AZF; microdeletion; Jordan; infertility; male
7.  Evaluation of the effect of genetic variation on the relationship between statins, cardiovascular disease and cancer 
Statins are a class of medications that are competitive inhibitors of Hydroxy Methyl Glutaryl Co-enzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase which is the rate-limiting enzyme in the cholesterol bio-synthesis pathway. As a result, statins lower total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol thus impacting cardiovascular mortality. The downstream effects of statins are not limited to inhibition of cholesterol synthesis alone. Statins have anti-inflammatory effects thought to be important in the setting of acute myocardial infarction which also may be a mechanism involved in anti-carcinogenic properties of statins. Furthermore, statin inhibition of the mevalonate pathway may impact Ras and RhoGTPases that are important in cell proliferation, migration and apoptosis. These alterations may also play a role in the anti-cancer effect of statins. In this article we will review the literature on how genetic variation modifies the effect of statins on the risk of cardiovascular disease and how genetic variation may impact the relationship between statins and the risk of a number of different cancers.
PMCID: PMC3852638  PMID: 24319534
Statins; blood lipids; cancer risk; cardiovascular disease; genetic variation
8.  Fine mapping of variants associated with endometriosis in the WNT4 region on chromosome 1p36 
Genome-wide association studies show strong evidence of association with endometriosis for markers on chromosome 1p36 spanning the potential candidate genes WNT4, CDC42 and LINC00339. WNT4 is involved in development of the uterus, and the expression of CDC42 and LINC00339 are altered in women with endometriosis. We conducted fine mapping to examine the role of coding variants in WNT4 and CDC42 and determine the key SNPs with strongest evidence of association in this region. We identified rare coding variants in WNT4 and CDC42 present only in endometriosis cases. The frequencies were low and cannot account for the common signal associated with increased risk of endometriosis. Genotypes for five common SNPs in the region of chromosome 1p36 show stronger association signals when compared with rs7521902 reported in published genome scans. Of these, three SNPs rs12404660, rs3820282, and rs55938609 were located in DNA sequences with potential functional roles including overlap with transcription factor binding sites for FOXA1, FOXA2, ESR1, and ESR2. Functional studies will be required to identify the gene or genes implicated in endometriosis risk.
PMCID: PMC3852639  PMID: 24319535
Endometriosis; WNT4; CDC42; chromosome 1p36; rare variants; common variants
9.  CYP2E1 and NQO1 genotypes and bladder cancer risk in a Lebanese population 
Urinary bladder cancer incidence in Lebanon ranks among the highest in the world. Cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1), NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase1 (NQO1), and N-Acetyltransferase1 (NAT1), are drug-metabolizing enzymes (DMEs) involved in the metabolism of carcinogens, such as arylamines and heterocyclic amines, implicated in bladder cancer. The present study attempts to investigate the role of these DMEs genetic polymorphism in bladder cancer risk among Lebanese men. 54 cases and 106 controls were recruited from two hospitals in Beirut. An interview-based questionnaire was administered to assess suspected environmental and occupational risk factors. PCR-RFLP was performed on blood-based DNA samples to determine DMEs genotypes. Associations between bladder cancer and putative risk factors were measured using adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results showed CYP2E1 c1/c1, NAT1*14A, and smoking, to be risk factors for bladder cancer. No significant differences in frequency distribution of the NQO1 genotypes were found in cases versus controls. The odds of carrying the CYP2E1 c1/c1 genotype were 4 times higher in cases compared to controls (OR=3.97, 95% CI: 0.48-32.7). The odds of carrying at least one NAT1*14A allele were 14 times higher in cases versus controls (OR=14.4, 95% CI: 1.016-204.9). Our study suggests CYP2E1 c1/c1, NAT1*14A, and smoking, as potential risk factors for bladder cancer in Lebanese. Further studies with larger samples must be conducted to confirm these findings.
PMCID: PMC3852640  PMID: 24319536
Cytochrome P450 CYP2E1; NQO1; N-Acetyltransferase NAT1; bladder cancer; Lebanese
10.  Common sequence variants in chemokine-related genes and risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women 
Chemokines are small molecules that when secreted by tissues under pathological conditions such as inflammation are believed to be involved in carcinogenesis. Recent reports have found that the genetic variation in chemokine encoding genes are associated with risk of breast cancer. Methods: Using data from a population-based case-control study of 845 invasive breast cases and 807 controls, we genotyped 34 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 8 chemokine candidate genes (CCL3, CCL4, CCL5, CCL20, CCR5, CCR6, CXCL12 and CXCR4). Associations with breast cancer were computed for individual SNPs, groups of SNPs within genes, and in a gene-set analysis. We also performed a meta-analysis of CXCL12 rs1801157 and a haplotype analysis for two SNPs: CXCR4 rs2228014 and CXCL12 rs1801157. Results: We found no significant associations between the risk of breast cancer and any individual SNPs, single genes, or combined gene sets. Some individual variants were marginally associated with some histologic subtypes, but these associations were not significant after adjustment for multiple comparisons. In the meta-analysis of five studies of European ancestry, CXCL12 rs1801157 was marginally associated with breast cancer risk (OR=1.14, 95% CI: 1.00, 1.30). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that genetic variants in the 8 candidate genes coding for chemotactic cytokines have little influence in the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Additional examination of the relationship between CXCL12 rs1801157 and breast cancer risk is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3852641  PMID: 24319537
Breast cancer; chemokines; genetic variation; epidemiology
11.  LHRH and LHR genotypes and prostate cancer incidence and survival 
Despite their crucial role in initiating steroid-hormone synthesis, the hypothalamic and pituitary hormones (LH, LHRH) and their receptors have received scant attention in genetic studies of hormone-related diseases. This study included 1,170 men diagnosed with prostate cancer (PC) in Los Angeles County between 1999 and 2003. LHRH and LH receptor genotypes were examined for association with PC survival. Additionally, associations with PC incidence were examined by comparing PC cases to control men of similar age and race/ethnicity. The LHR 312 G allele was found to be associated with increased PC mortality (p=0.01). Ten years after diagnosis, 16% of men carrying two copies of the G allele (genotype GG) had died of PC, compared to 11% of those with genotype AG and 9% of those with AA. In a case-control comparison, this same allele was significantly associated with decreased PC risk: OR=0.68 (95% CI: 0.49, 0.93) for genotype GG vs. AA. These results suggest that androgens may play opposing roles in PC initiation and progression, and highlight the need to include these important but overlooked genes in future studies of PC etiology, prognosis, and treatment.
PMCID: PMC3852642  PMID: 24319538
Prostate cancer; LHRH; LHR; genetic polymorphism; survival; association study
12.  Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) polymorphisms and breast cancer among Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women: the Breast Cancer Health Disparities Study 
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), a member of the ErbB family of receptor tyrosine kinases, functions in cellular processes essential to the development of cancer. Overexpression of EGFR in primary breast tumors has been linked with poor prognosis. We investigated the associations between 34 EGFR tagging SNPs and breast cancer risk and breast cancer-specific mortality in 4,703 Hispanic and 3,030 non-Hispanic white women from the Breast Cancer Health Disparities Study. We evaluated associations with risk of breast cancer defined by estrogen/progesterone receptor (ER/PR) tumor phenotype. Only one association remained statistically significant after adjusting for multiple comparisons. Rs2075112GA/AA was associated with reduced risk for ER-/PR+ tumor phenotype (odds ratio (OR), 0.34; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.18-0.63, p adj=0.01). All additional results were significant prior to adjustment for multiple comparisons. Two of the EGFR polymorphisms were associated with breast cancer risk in the overall study population (rs11770531TT: OR, 0.56, 95% CI 0.37-0.84; and rs2293348AA: OR, 1.20, 95% CI 1.04-1.38) and two polymorphisms were associated with risk among Hispanics: rs6954351AA: OR, 2.50, 95% CI 1.32-4.76; and rs845558GA/AA: OR, 1.15, 95% CI 1.01-1.30. With regard to breast cancer-specific mortality, we found positive associations with rs6978771TT hazard ratio (HR), 1.68; 95% CI 1.11-2.56; rs9642391CC HR, 1.64; 95% CI 1.04-2.58; rs4947979AG/GG HR, 1.36; 95% CI 1.03-1.79; and rs845552GG HR, 1.62; 95% CI 1.05-2.49. Our findings provide additional insight for the role of EGFR in breast cancer development and prognosis. Further research is needed to elucidate EGFR’s contribution to ethnic disparities in breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3852643  PMID: 24319539
Breast cancer; Hispanic; epidermal growth factor receptor; polymorphisms; tumor phenotype
13.  Intrafamilial spread of hepatitis B virus in Guilan Province-North of Iran 
The aim of the present study was to determine the intrafamilial spread of HBV in the family members of patients with Hepatitis B in Guilan Province, North of Iran. In a descriptive-comparative study, 156 patients with Hepatitis B, 415 family members of the index cases and 599 age and gender matched people as a control group were enrolled. Blood samples were taken from the participants and were checked for HBs Ag, HBC Ab, HBs Ab, and HBV DNA. Totally 44 (10.6%) of family members and only 1 (0.2%) of control group were HBs Ag positive (P=0.0001, OR=70.92). The overall prevalence in members of the original family was 5.3% (1.2% of the mothers, 2.2% of the brothers, 1.9% of the sisters), in sexual partners it was 1.4%, in offsprings it was 2.4% and in other households it was 1.4%. The mean age of HBs Ag positive family members was 35.3 ± 12.9 years old. Among them 27 (61.4%) were female. Only 8 (18.2%) of all HBsAg-positive reported previous HBV vaccination but just one person had the vaccine titer checked. The present survey indicates that there is a significant difference in the prevalence of Hepatitis B in the general population and family members of Hepatitis B patients and this is an evidence for horizontal transmission of HBV in household contacts.
PMCID: PMC3852644  PMID: 24319540
Hepatitis B virus; familial
14.  Association of SERPINA9 gene variants with carotid artery atherosclerosis: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Carotid MRI Study 
The SNP rs11628722 in the SERPINA9 gene was previously associated with incident ischemic stroke in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. Centerin, the protein encoded by SERPINA9, is involved in maturation and maintenance of naïve B cells, which play a role in atherogenesis. We investigated whether 21 tag SNPs in the SERPINA9 gene are associated with features of carotid artery atherosclerotic plaque measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Carotid MRI data were obtained from 1,282 European Americans and 341 African Americans of the ARIC Carotid MRI study, which recruited participants from ARIC by a stratified sampling plan that over-sampled participants with carotid intima-media thickening. Five MRI measures, focused on carotid wall volume, wall thickness, and lipid core, were analyzed. Genetic associations between the MRI measurements and each of the 21 SNPs were analyzed in linear regression models with adjustment for sample weights and traditional risk factors. Rs11628722 was tested a priori. In African Americans, rs11628722 was significantly associated with carotid wall volume (p < 0.05). Among the other 20 SNPs, adjusted for multiple testing, rs4905204, which encodes an Ala to Val amino acid change, was significantly associated with maximum wall thickness (p < 0.000625) and suggestively associated with total wall volume (p < 0.0026) in European Americans. In conclusion, SNPs in the SERPINA9 gene showed race-specific associations with characteristics of carotid atherosclerotic plaques. Replications in other populations are needed to validate findings of this study and to establish the SERPINA9 gene as a candidate in the etiology of carotid atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC3852645  PMID: 24319541
SERPINA9 gene; carotid atherosclerosis; MRI; genetic association
15.  Genome-wide and candidate gene association studies of placental abruption 
Placental abruption (PA), a pregnancy-related vascular disorder, is a leading cause of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality. The success of identifying genetic susceptibility loci for PA, a multi-factorial heritable disorder, has been limited. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and candidate gene association study using 470 PA cases and 473 controls from Lima, Peru. Genotyping for common genetic variations (single nucleotide polymorphisms, SNPs) was conducted using the Illumina Cardio-Metabo Chip platform. Common variations in 35 genes that participate in mitochondrial biogenesis (MB) and oxidative phosphorylation (OS) were selected for the candidate gene study. Regression models were fit to examine associations of each SNP with risk of PA. In pathway analyses, we examined functions and functional relationships of genes represented by the top GWAS hits. Genetic risk scores (GRS), based on top hits of the GWAS and candidate gene analyses, respectively, were computed using the risk allele counting method. The top hit in the GWAS analyses was rs1238566 (empirical P-value=1.04e-4 and FDR-adjusted P-value=5.65E-04) in FLI-1 gene, a megakaryocyte-specific transcription factor. Networks of genes involved in lipid metabolism and cell signaling were significantly enriched by the 51 genes whose SNPs were among the top 200 GWAS hits (P-value <2.1e-3). SNPs known to regulate MB (e.g. CAMK2B, NR1H3, PPARG, PRKCA, and THRB) and OP (e.g., COX5A, and NDUF family of genes) were associated with PA risk (P-value <0.05). GRS was significantly associated with PA risk (trend P-value <0.001 and 0.01 for GWAS and candidate gene based GRS, respectively). Our study suggests that integrating multiple analytical strategies in genetic association studies can provide opportunities for identifying genetic risk factors and novel molecular mechanisms that underlie PA.
PMCID: PMC3773564  PMID: 24046805
Placental abruption; genome-wide association study; pathway analyses; candidate gene; genetic risk score
16.  Phospholipase A2G1B polymorphisms and risk of colorectal neoplasia 
Pancreatic phospholipase A2, product of PLA2G1B, catalyzes the release of fatty acids from dietary phospholipids.Diet is the ultimate source of arachidonic acid in cellular phospholipids, precursor of eicosanoid signaling molecules, linked to inflammation, cell proliferation and colorectal carcinogenesis. We evaluated the association of PLA2G1B tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms with colorectal neoplasia risk. A linkage-disequilibrium-based tagSNP algorithm (r2=0.90, MAF≥4%) identified three tagSNPs. The SNPs were genotyped on the Illumina platform in three population-based, case-control studies: colon cancer (1424 cases/1780 controls); rectal cancer (583/775); colorectal adenomas (485/578). Evaluating gene-wide associations, principal-component and haplotype analysis were conducted, individual SNPs were evaluated by logistic regression. Two PLA2G1B variants were statistically significantly associated with reduced risk of rectal cancer (rs5637, 3702 G>A Ser98Ser, p-trend=0.03; rs9657930, 1593 C>T, p-trend=0.01); principal component analysis showed that genetic variation in the gene overall was statistically significantly associated with rectal cancer (p=0.02). NSAID users with the rs2070873 variant had a reduced rectal cancer risk (P-inter=0.02). Specific associations were observed with tumor subtypes (TP53/KRAS). The results suggest that genetic polymorphisms in PLA2G1B affect susceptibility to rectal cancer.
PMCID: PMC3773565  PMID: 24046806
Phospholipase A2G1B; polymorphism; colorectal neoplasia; case-control study
17.  Implication of androgen receptor in urinary bladder cancer: a critical mini review 
Cancer is probably the most dreaded disease of mankind and the bladder cancer is the fifth most common type of cancer worldwide. It is a major cause of cancer morbidity and mortality. From amongst the bladder cancer, the Transitional Cell Carcinoma (TCC) is the most prevalent cancer of the bladder and accounts for 90% of all bladder cancer cases. Despite such a high prevalence, the molecular mechanism involved in the induction of bladder carcinoma and its progression are poorly understood. Tumorigenesis and tumor progression of bladder carcinomas are thought to result from the accumulation of multiple genetic alterations. The Androgen Receptor (AR) gene is located on the q arm of X chromosome (q11-12) and considered as a ligand-inducible transcription factor that regulates target gene expression. The Androgen plays a vital role in the development and maintenance of the normal urinary bladder. The AR is also involved in the development and progression of urinary bladder carcinoma, which is the most common type of carcinoma. Mutation in AR alters the ligand binding ability that may cause the progression and development of bladder cancer. Tumorigenesis and tumor progression are thought to result from changes in the function of hormonal receptor gene. The accumulation of the changes in AR expressions, determines the tumor’s phenotype and ultimately the patient’s clinical outcome. The early detection of which may help in management and prediction, how will it behave and respond to the therapeutic regimen. The present review aimed to study the mechanism and alteration of AR gene that play a vital role in the tumorIgenesis of bladder carcinoma
PMCID: PMC3773566  PMID: 24046807
Androgen receptors; TCC; DNA-binding domain; tumour progression; CAG repeat
18.  Obesity-related markers and breast cancer in CPS-II Nutrition Cohort 
Low circulating levels of adiponectin and high levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), C-reactive protein (CRP), and C-peptide have been shown to be related to postmenopausal breast cancer risk, and to partially mediate the obesity-postmenopausal breast cancer association; however, data from prospective studies, especially those limited to non-users of postmenopausal hormones, are sparse. To further evaluate these associations, we measured these markers in a case-control study nested in the Cancer Prevention Study-II (CPS-II) Nutrition Cohort. Plasma samples from 302 postmenopausal breast cancer cases and matched controls were analyzed. None of the women were taking postmenopausal hormones at blood draw. Multivariable-adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using conditional logistic regression models. Low levels of total adiponectin and high levels of total IGF-1 and CRP were associated with increased breast cancer risk, but associations were not statistically significant. The association with C-peptide was statistically significant (T3 vs. T1: OR=1.63, 95% CI 1.08-2.45; p-value for linear trend=0.001), but was slightly attenuated after further adjustment for BMI (T3 vs. T1: OR=1.51, 95% CI 0.99-2.31; p-value for linear trend=0.004). The association between BMI and breast cancer risk was attenuated toward the null after controlling for C-peptide (from OR=1.43 to OR=1.25 for BMI ≥30 kg/m2 compared to <25 kg/m>2). The elevated risk of postmenopausal breast cancer associated with higher circulating levels of C-peptide is consistent with a role of hyperinsulinemia in breast carcinogenesis, and might account for some of the higher risk associated with obesity.
PMCID: PMC3773567  PMID: 24046808
Breast cancer; obesity; C-peptide; risk
19.  Molecular epidemiology of selected sexually transmitted infections 
Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG), Chlamydia trachomatis (CT), Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) and Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) are established pathogens for human genital tract. However, the role of Ureaplasma urealyticum (UU) and Ureaplasma parvum (UP) in genital pathology is poorly unerstood. A prospective study to investigate the prevalence of above infections was performed on a cohort of 1,718 consecutive patients attending a Genitourinary Medicine (GUM) clinic. A previously published in-house real-time PCR assay, for the detection of CT DNA in genital swabs, was modified for this study. Two amplification reactions detected the DNAs of TV, NG, MG, CT, UU and UP in genital swabs from 4 (0.2%), 11 (0.6%), 17 (1%), 129 (8%), 282 (16%) and 636 (37%) patients, respectively. 594 (70%) of 848 women and 333 (38%) of 870 men were infected with at least one type of microorganism. Among 594 infected females, 485 (82%) had a single infection, 97 (16%) had a double infection, and 12 (2%) had a triple infection. Of the 333 infected men, 304 (91%) had a single infection, 27 (8%) had a double infection, and 2 (1%) had a triple infection. The prevalence of infection in both genders decreased with increasing age. The prevalence proportion of UP was significantly higher in women (54%) compared with men (18%). The high prevalence of UU and UP suggests that these bacteria are commensals of genital tract.
PMCID: PMC3773568  PMID: 24046809
Neisseria gonorrhoeae; Chlamydia trachomatis; Trichomonas vaginalis; Mycoplasma genitalium; Ureaplasma urealyticu; Ureaplasma parvum; epidemiology; PCR
20.  The epidemiology of gastroesophageal reflux disease: a survey on the prevalence and the associated factors in a random sample of the general population in the Northern part of Iran 
Many people with gastro-esophageal reflux symptoms do not consult a physician; therefore studies on gastro-esophageal reflux in general practice or in hospitals may not accurately describe the burden of gastro-esophageal reflux symptoms in the general population. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of gastro-esophageal reflux disease and its association with some life-style parameters in Rasht-Iran. A telephone survey was performed. Phone numbers was randomly collected from the telecommunication service center of Rasht. 1473 people (Mean age: 38.31 ± 13.09) were included in the study. People who didn’t answer the phone after three times or didn’t have consent to enter the study were excluded. Data were collected by an examiner using a GerdQ questionnaire. The validity and reliability of the questionnaire was tested by translation and retranslation and a pilot study was performed to assess its appropriateness. The prevalence of gastro-esophageal reflux was achieved 2.4% daily, 9.1% weekly and 11.3% monthly. Among the patients with gastro-esophageal reflux, 69.5% were female. There was a significant positive association between gastro-esophageal reflux prevalence and body mass index, smoking habits, eating salted or smoked foods, lying down immediately after the meal, taking certain drugs as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs/Amino salicylic acid and the age group of 30-45 year old. Overall, the prevalence of the weekly gastro-esophageal reflux in the present survey was 9.1% which was less than other similar studies in Iran and some other countries.
PMCID: PMC3773569  PMID: 24046810
Gastroesophageal reflux disease; general population; Iran
21.  Meta-analysis diagnostic accuracy of SNP-based pathogenicity detection tools: a case of UTG1A1 gene mutations 
Crigler-Najjar syndrome (CNS) type I and type II are usually inherited as autosomal recessive conditions that result from mutations in the UGT1A1 gene. The main objective of the present review is to summarize results of all available evidence on the accuracy of SNP-based pathogenicity detection tools compared to published clinical result for the prediction of in nsSNPs that leads to disease using prediction performance method. A comprehensive search was performed to find all mutations related to CNS. Database searches included dbSNP, SNPdbe, HGMD, Swissvar, ensemble, and OMIM. All the mutation related to CNS was extracted. The pathogenicity prediction was done using SNP-based pathogenicity detection tools include SIFT, PHD-SNP, PolyPhen2, fathmm, Provean, and Mutpred. Overall, 59 different SNPs related to missense mutations in the UGT1A1 gene, were reviewed. Comparing the diagnostic OR, PolyPhen2 and Mutpred have the highest detection 4.983 (95% CI: 1.24 – 20.02) in both, following by SIFT (diagnostic OR: 3.25, 95% CI: 1.07 – 9.83). The highest MCC of SNP-based pathogenicity detection tools, was belong to SIFT (34.19%) followed by Provean, PolyPhen2, and Mutpred (29.99%, 29.89%, and 29.89%, respectively). Hence the highest SNP-based pathogenicity detection tools ACC, was fit to SIFT (62.71%) followed by PolyPhen2, and Mutpred (61.02%, in both). Our results suggest that some of the well-established SNP-based pathogenicity detection tools can appropriately reflect the role of a disease-associated SNP in both local and global structures.
PMCID: PMC3709112  PMID: 23875061
Crigler-Najjar syndrome (CNS); UGT1A1 gene; SIFT; PHD-SNP; PolyPhen2; fathmm; Provean; Mutpred
22.  The methylation of the LEPR/LEPROT genotype at the promoter and body regions influence concentrations of leptin in girls and BMI at age 18 years if their mother smoked during pregnancy 
To determine whether DNA methylation (DNA-M) of the leptin receptor genotype (LEPR/LEPROT) links gestational smoking and leptin serum levels and BMI later in life, we focused on female offspring, 18 years of age, from the Isle of Wight Birth Cohort (IOWBC). Leptin binds to the leptin receptor encoded by the LEPR/LEPROT genotype. Using general linear models, we tested a two-stage model. First, we investigated whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) acting as methylation quantitative trait loci (methQTLs) depending on gestational smoking were related to differentially methylated cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) sites. In stage 2, we tested whether the selected CpG sites, in interaction with other SNPs (modifiable genetic variants, modGV), are associated with serum leptin and BMI (stage 2). Children from the IOWBC were followed from birth to age 18. Information on gestational smoking was gathered upon delivery. SNPs tagging LEPR and LEPROT genes were genotyped. Data on LEPR/LEPROT DNA-M and leptin were obtained from blood samples drawn at age 18; to determine BMI, height and weight were ascertained. Blood samples were provided by 238 girls. Of the 21 CpG sites, interactions between gestational smoking and SNPs were detected for 16 CpGs. Methylation of seven of the 16 CpGs were, in interaction with modGVs, associated with leptin levels at age 18 years. Two CpGs survived a multiple testing penalty and were also associated with BMI. This two-stage model may explain why maternal smoking has a long-term effect on leptin levels and BMI in girls at age 18 years.
PMCID: PMC3709113  PMID: 23875062
LEPR; LEPROT; leptin; CpG sites; in utero smoking exposure; rs12059300; BMI
23.  Genetic epidemiology of osteoporosis across four microsatellite markers near the VDR gene 
The large amount of positive genetic association data in a number of bone diseases suggests functional consequences of Vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene polymorphism. In the present study, four microsatellite markers viz., D12S1633, D12S1635, D12S347, and D12S96, that lie in the vicinity of the VDR gene on chromosome 12 were selected to assess the allele distribution pattern and diversity among three groups of individuals - normal, osteopenia and osteoporosis. Genetic association study was performed using allele frequency data. Total genomic DNA was isolated from the whole blood of 226 individuals, after recording their bone mineral density (BMD) using Dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). All DNA samples were subjected to multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) - genotyping. Allele frequencies and genetic diversity parameters like - number of alleles, average variance and average heterozygosity across all the four markers among three groups were computed. Effect of population stratification was excluded by investigating population structure. A trend of decreasing genetic diversity across four loci from normal to pre- and post-disease condition has been observed. Lesser recombination rate (θ) indicates linkage between studied microsatellite markers and VDR gene. Statistically significant linkage disequilibrium was detected for the allele - 22 of locus D12S96 with osteoporosis. A positive association of allele - 22 suggests susceptibility to disease whereas predominance of allele - 27 among non - diseased group implicates its association with normal bone health.
PMCID: PMC3709114  PMID: 23875063
Genetic diversity; microsatellites; osteopenia; osteoporosis; VDR
24.  Scrutiny of the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 smoking behavior locus reveals a novel association with alcohol use in a Finnish population based study 
The CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 gene cluster on chromosome 15q25.1 encoding the cholinergic nicotinic receptor subunits is robustly associated with smoking behavior and nicotine dependence. Only a few studies to date have examined the locus with alcohol related traits and found evidence of association with alcohol abuse and dependence. Our main goal was to examine the role of three intensively studied single nucleotide polymorphisms, rs16969968, rs578776 and rs588765, tagging three distinct loci, in alcohol use. Our sample was drawn from two independent Finnish population-based surveys, the National FINRISK Study and the Health 2000 (Health Examination) Survey. The combined sample included a total of 32,592 adult Finns (54% women) of whom 8,356 were assessed for cigarettes per day (CPD). Data on alcohol use were available for 31,812 individuals. We detected a novel association between rs588765 and alcohol use defined as abstainers and low-frequency drinkers versus drinkers (OR=1.15, p=0.00007). Additionally, we provide precise estimates of strength of the association between the three loci and smoking quantity in a very large population based sample. As a conclusion, our results provide further evidence for the nicotine-specific role of rs16969968 (locus 1). Further, our data suggest that the effect of rs588765 (locus 3) may be specific to alcohol use as the effect is seen also in never smokers.
PMCID: PMC3709115  PMID: 23875064
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors; 15q25.1; alcohol use; smoking behavior; public health; population-based sample; genetic association
25.  Maternal blood mitochondrial DNA copy number and placental abruption risk: results from a preliminary study 
Oxidative stress and impaired placental function – pathways implicated in the pathogenesis of placental abruption – have their origins extending to mitochondrial dysfunction. To the best of our knowledge, there are no published reports of associations of placental abruption with circulating mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number – a novel biomarker of systemic mitochondrial dysfunction. This pilot case-control study was comprised of 233 placental abruption cases and 238 non-abruption controls. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to assess the relative copy number of mtDNA in maternal whole blood samples collected at delivery. Logistic regression procedures were used to estimate adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). There was some evidence of an increased odds of placental abruption with the highest quartile of mtDNA copy number (P for trend = 0.09) after controlling for confounders. The odds of placental abruption was elevated among women with higher mtDNA copy number (≥336.9) as compared with those with lower values (<336.9) (adjusted OR = 1.60; 95% CI 1.04-2.46). Women diagnosed with preeclampsia and with elevated mtDNA copy number had a dramatically increased odds of placental abruption as compared with normotensive women without elevated mtDNA copy number (adjusted OR = 6.66; 95% CI 2.58-17.16). Maternal mitochondrial dysfunction appears to be associated with placental abruption in the presence of preeclampsia. Replication in other studies, particularly prospective cohort studies and those that allow for tissue specific assessment of mitochondrial dysfunction (e.g., the placenta) are needed to further understand cellular and genomic biomarkers of normal and abnormal placental function.
PMCID: PMC3709116  PMID: 23875065
Placental abruption; mitochondrion; mitochondrial DNA; pregnancy; biomarkers

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