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1.  Host APOL1 genotype is independently associated with proteinuria in HIV infection 
Kidney international  2013;84(4):834-840.
Proteinuria is associated with adverse clinical outcomes in HIV infection. Here we evaluated whether APOL1 risk alleles, previously associated with advanced kidney disease, is independently associated with proteinuria in HIV infection in a cross-sectional study of HIV-infected women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. We estimated the percent difference in urine protein excretion and odds of proteinuria (200 mg/g and higher) associated with two versus one or no APOL1 risk allele using linear and logistic regression, respectively. Of 1285 women successfully genotyped, 379 carried one and 80 carried two risk alleles. Proteinuria was present in 124 women; 78 of whom had proteinuria confirmed on a second sample. In women without prior AIDS, two risk alleles were independently associated with a 69% higher urine protein excretion (95% CI: 36%, 108%) and 5-fold higher odds of proteinuria (95% CI: 2.45, 10.37) versus one or no risk allele. No association was found in women with prior AIDS. Analyses in which women with impaired kidney function were excluded and proteinuria was confirmed by a second urine sample yielded similar estimates. Thus, APOL1 risk alleles are associated with significant proteinuria in HIV-infected persons without prior clinical AIDS, independent of clinical factors traditionally associated with proteinuria. Trials are needed to determine whether APOL1 genotyping identifies individuals who could benefit from earlier intervention to prevent overt renal disease.
PMCID: PMC3788838  PMID: 23715117
2.  DNA repair gene variants in relation to overall cancer risk: a population-based study 
Carcinogenesis  2012;34(1):86-92.
The hypothesis that germ-line polymorphisms in DNA repair genes influence cancer risk has previously been tested primarily on a cancer site-specific basis. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that DNA repair gene allelic variants contribute to globally elevated cancer risk by measuring associations with risk of all cancers that occurred within a population-based cohort. In the CLUE II cohort study established in 1989 in Washington County, MD, this study was comprised of all 3619 cancer cases ascertained through 2007 compared with a sample of 2296 with no cancer. Associations were measured between 759 DNA repair gene single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and risk of all cancers. A SNP in O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase, MGMT, (rs2296675) was significantly associated with overall cancer risk [per minor allele odds ratio (OR) 1.30, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.19–1.43 and P-value: 4.1 × 10−8]. The association between rs2296675 and cancer risk was stronger among those aged ≤54 years old than those who were ≥55 years at baseline (P-for-interaction = 0.021). OR were in the direction of increased risk for all 15 categories of malignancies studied (P < 0.0001), ranging from 1.22 (P = 0.42) for ovarian cancer to 2.01 (P = 0.008) for urinary tract cancers; the smallest P-value was for breast cancer (OR 1.45, P = 0.0002). The results indicate that the minor allele of MGMT SNP rs2296675, a common genetic marker with 37% carriers, was significantly associated with increased risk of cancer across multiple tissues. Replication is needed to more definitively determine the scientific and public health significance of this observed association.
PMCID: PMC3534189  PMID: 23027618
3.  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
4.  A population-based study of hedgehog pathway gene variants in relation to the dual risk of basal cell carcinoma plus another cancer 
Cancer epidemiology  2012;36(5):e288-e293.
A personal history of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is associated with increased risk of other malignancies, but the reason is unknown. The hedgehog pathway is critical to the etiology of BCC, and is also believed to contribute to susceptibility to other cancers. This study tested the hypothesis that hedgehog pathway and pathway-related gene variants contribute to the increased risk of subsequent cancers among those with a history of BCC.
The study was nested within the ongoing CLUE II cohort study, established in 1989 in Washington County, Maryland, USA. The study consisted of a cancer-free control group (n=2,296) compared to three different groups of cancer cases ascertained through 2007, those diagnosed with: 1) Other (non-BCC) cancer only (n=2,349); 2) BCC only (n=534); and 3) BCC plus other cancer (n=446). The frequencies of variant alleles were compared among these four groups for 20 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 6 hedgehog pathway genes (SHH, IHH, PTCH2, SMO, GLI1, SUFU), and also 22 SNPs in VDR and 8 SNPs in FAS, which have cross-talk with the hedgehog pathway.
Comparing those with both BCC and other cancer versus those with no cancer, no significant associations were observed for any of the hedgehog pathway SNPs, or for the FAS SNPs. One VDR SNP was nominally significantly associated with the BCC cancer-prone phenotype, rs11574085 [per minor allele odds ratio (OR) 1.38, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.05–1.82; p-value=0.02].
The hedgehog pathway gene SNPs studied, along with the VDR and FAS SNPs studied, are not strongly associated with the BCC cancer-prone phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3438291  PMID: 22677152
skin cancer; genetics; polymorphisms; hedgehog; vitamin D receptor; fas
5.  A Population-based Study of DNA Repair Gene Variants in Relation to Non-melanoma Skin Cancer as a Marker of a Cancer-prone Phenotype 
Carcinogenesis  2012;33(9):1692-1698.
For unknown reasons, non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is associated with increased risk of other malignancies. Focusing solely on DNA repair or DNA repair-related genes, this study tested the hypothesis that DNA repair gene variants contribute to the increased cancer risk associated with a personal history of NMSC. From the parent CLUE II cohort study, established in 1989 in Washington County, MD, the study consisted of a cancer-free control group (n 5 2296) compared with three mutually exclusive groups of cancer cases ascertained through 2007: (i) Other (non-NMSC) cancer only (n 5 2349); (ii) NMSC only (n 5 694) and (iii) NMSC plus other cancer (n 5 577). The frequency of minor alleles in 759 DNA repair gene single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) was compared in these four groups. Comparing those with both NMSC and other cancer versus those with no cancer, 10 SNPs had allelic trend P-values <0.01. The two top-ranked SNPs were both within the thymine DNA glycosylase gene (TDG). One was a non-synonymous coding SNP (rs2888805) [per allele odds ratio (OR) 1.40, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.16–1.70; P-value 5 0.0006] and the other was an intronic SNP in high linkage disequilibrium with rs2888805 (rs4135150). None of the associations had a P-value <6.6310−5, the threshold for statistical significance after correcting for multiple comparisons. The results pinpoint DNA repair genes most likely to contribute to the NMSC cancer-prone phenotype. A promising lead is genetic variants in TDG, important not only in base excision repair but also in regulating the epigenome and gene expression, which may contribute to the NMSC-associated increase in overall cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC3514896  PMID: 22581838
6.  Apolipoprotein L1 gene variants associate with hypertension-attributed nephropathy and the rate of kidney function decline in African Americans 
Kidney international  2012;83(1):114-120.
Despite intensive anti-hypertensive therapy there was a high incidence of renal end-points in participants of the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK) cohort. To better understand this, coding variants in the apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) and the non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 (MYH9) genes were evaluated for an association with hypertension-attributed nephropathy and clinical outcomes in a case-control study. Clinical data and DNA were available for 675 AASK participant cases and 618 African American non-nephropathy control individuals. APOL1 G1 and G2, and MYH9 E1 variants along with 44 ancestry informative markers were genotyped with allele frequency differences between cases and controls analyzed by logistic regression multivariable models adjusting for ancestry, age, and gender. In recessive models, APOL1 risk variants were significantly associated with kidney disease in all cases compared to controls with an odds ratio of 2.57. In AASK cases with more advanced disease, such as a baseline urine protein to creatinine ratio over 0.6 g/g or a serum creatinine over 3 mg/dL during follow-up, the association was strengthened with odds ratios of 6.29 and 4.61, respectively. APOL1 risk variants were consistently associated with renal disease progression across medication classes and blood pressure targets. Thus, kidney disease in AASK participants was strongly associated with APOL1 renal risk variants.
PMCID: PMC3484228  PMID: 22832513
7.  Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein Genetic Polymorphisms, HDL Cholesterol, and Subclinical Cardiovascular Disease in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Atherosclerosis  2008;200(2):359-367.
The cholesteryl ester transport protein (CETP) plays a key role in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) metabolism. Genetic variants that alter CETP activity and concentration may cause significant alterations in HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) concentration; however, controversies remain about whether these genetic variants are associated with atherosclerosis. We genotyped the CETP R451Q, A373P, -629C/A, Taq1B, and -2505C/A polymorphisms in a cohort of Caucasian, Chinese, African-American, and Hispanic individuals within the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Genotypes were examined in relationship to HDL-C, CETP activity, CETP concentration, and three measures of subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD): coronary artery calcium (CAC) measured by fast CT scanning, and carotid intimal-medial thickness (IMT) and carotid artery plaque, measured by ultrasonography. Carriers of the 451Q and 373P alleles have significantly higher CETP concentration (22.4% and 19.5%, respectively; p<0.001) and activity (13.1% and 9.4%, respectively; p<0.01) and lower HDL-C (5.6% and 6.0%, respectively; p<0.05). The minor alleles of the R451Q and A373P polymorphisms are associated with the presence of CAC, even after adjusting for CVD risk factors and HDL-C (p=0.006 and p=0.01, respectively). The R451Q polymorphism is also associated with presence of carotid artery plaque (p=0.036). Neither polymorphism is associated with common or internal carotid IMT. We confirmed that the -629A, Taq1B B2, and -2505A alleles are significantly associated with lower CETP concentration (20.8%, 25.0%, and 23.7%, respectively; p<0.001) and activity (14.8%, 19.8%, and 18.4%, respectively; p<0.001) and higher HDL-C concentration (9.7%, 11.5%, and 10.4%, respectively; p<0.01). However, we did not find any associations between these non-coding polymorphisms and subclinical CVD.
PMCID: PMC3612981  PMID: 18243217
8.  Genetic Association and Gene-Gene Interaction Analyses in African American Dialysis Patients With Nondiabetic Nephropathy 
African Americans (AAs) have increased susceptibility to non-diabetic nephropathy relative to European Americans.
Study Design
Follow-up of a pooled genome-wide association study (GWAS) in AA dialysis patients with nondiabetic nephropathy; novel gene-gene interaction analyses.
Setting & Participants
Wake Forest sample: 962 AA nondiabetic nephropathy cases; 931 non-nephropathy controls. Replication sample: 668 Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes (FIND) AA nondiabetic nephropathy cases; 804 non-nephropathy controls.
Individual genotyping of top 1420 pooled GWAS-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 54 SNPs in six nephropathy susceptibility genes.
APOL1 genetic association and additional candidate susceptibility loci interacting with, or independently from, APOL1.
The strongest GWAS associations included two non-coding APOL1 SNPs, rs2239785 (odds ratio [OR], 0.33; dominant; p = 5.9 × 10−24) and rs136148 (OR, 0.54; additive; p = 1.1 × 10−7) with replication in FIND (p = 5.0 × 10−21 and 1.9 × 10−05, respectively). Rs2239785 remained significantly associated after controlling for the APOL1 G1 and G2 coding variants. Additional top hits included a CFH SNP(OR from meta-analysis in above 3367 AA cases and controls, 0.81; additive; p = 6.8 × 10−4). The 1420 SNPs were tested for interaction with APOL1 G1 and G2 variants. Several interactive SNPs were detected, the most significant was rs16854341 in the podocin gene (NPHS2) (p = 0.0001).
Non-pooled GWAS have not been performed in AA nondiabetic nephropathy.
This follow-up of a pooled GWAS provides additional and independent evidence that APOL1 variants contribute to nondiabetic nephropathy in AAs and identified additional associated and interactive non-diabetic nephropathy susceptibility genes.
PMCID: PMC3259209  PMID: 22119407
African American; APOL1; CFH; end-stage renal disease; FIND; FSGS; hypertension
10.  A community-based study of nucleotide excision repair polymorphisms in relation to risk of non-melanoma skin cancer 
Nucleotide excision repair (NER) is responsible for protecting DNA in skin cells against ultraviolet radiation-induced damage. Using a candidate pathway approach, a matched case-control study nested within a prospective, community-based cohort was carried out to test the hypothesis that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in NER genes are associated with susceptibility to non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). Histologically-confirmed cases of NMSC (n=900) were matched to controls (n=900) on age, gender, and skin type. Associations were measured between NMSC and 221 SNPs in 26 NER genes. Using the additive model, two tightly linked functional SNPs in ERCC6 were significantly associated with increased risk of NMSC: rs2228527 (odds ratio (OR) 1.57, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.20 – 2.05), and rs2228529 (OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.20 – 2.05). These associations were confined to basal cell carcinoma of the skin (BCC) (rs2228529, OR 1.78, 95% CI 1.30 – 2.44; rs2228527 OR 1.78, 95% CI 1.31 – 2.43). These hypothesis-generating findings suggest functional variants in ERCC6 may be associated with an increased risk of NMSC that may be specific to BCC.
PMCID: PMC3326207  PMID: 22336945
11.  Hypertension Status, Treatment, and Control Among Spousal Pairs in a Middle-aged Adult Cohort 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2011;174(7):790-796.
Hypertension status among spouses is known to be concordant, but previous studies relied on history rather than direct measurement, and few data exist on treatment and control between spouses. The goal of this study was to estimate the spousal association of hypertension status, treatment, and control in adults. The authors identified and analyzed data on 4,500 pairs from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) cohort, which sampled middle-aged adults and their spouses in 1986–1989, with 3 follow-up visits 3 years apart. Generalized estimating equations were used in logistic regression analyses to calculate the odds ratio of a spouse's being hypertensive on the basis of the other spouse's hypertension status across 4 visits, adjusting for age, race, body mass index, smoking status, and sodium intake in both individuals. There are marginally increased odds of hypertension for spouses married to someone with hypertension (odds ratio (OR) = 1.15, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.06, 1.25). Treatment was positively associated between spouses (OR = 1.35, 95% CI: 1.10, 1.67). Control was suggestive of an association, although it was not statistically significant (OR = 1.21, 95% CI: 0.93, 1.56). In middle-aged adults, hypertension status and treatment were moderately associated between spouses after controlling for shared environment. Physicians may target hypertension education and prevention to spouses as a pair rather than as 2 separate patients.
PMCID: PMC3203378  PMID: 21841158
control; hypertension; spouses; therapeutics
12.  Does Genetic Ancestry Explain Higher Values of Glycated Hemoglobin in African Americans? 
Diabetes  2011;60(9):2434-2438.
Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) values are higher in African Americans than whites, raising the question of whether classification of diabetes status by HbA1c should differ for African Americans. We investigated the relative contribution of genetic ancestry and nongenetic factors to HbA1c values and the effect of genetic ancestry on diabetes classification by HbA1c in African Americans.
We performed a cross-sectional analysis of data from the community-based Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. We estimated percentage of European genetic ancestry (PEA) for each of the 2,294 African Americans without known diabetes using 1,350 ancestry-informative markers. HbA1c was measured from whole-blood samples and categorized using American Diabetes Association diagnostic cut points (<5.7, 5.7–6.4, and ≥6.5%).
PEA was inversely correlated with HbA1c (adjusted r = −0.07; P < 0.001) but explained <1% of its variance. Age and socioeconomic and metabolic factors, including fasting glucose, explained 13.8% of HbA1c variability. Eleven percent of participants were classified as having diabetes; adjustment for fasting glucose decreased this to 4.4%. Additional adjustment for PEA did not significantly reclassify diabetes status (net reclassification index = 0.034; P = 0.94) nor did further adjustment for demographic, socioeconomic, and metabolic risk factors.
The relative contribution of demographic and metabolic factors far outweighs the contribution of genetic ancestry to HbA1c values in African Americans. Moreover, the impact of adjusting for genetic ancestry when classifying diabetes by HbA1c is minimal after taking into account fasting glucose levels, thus supporting the use of currently recommended HbA1c categories for diagnosis of diabetes in African Americans.
PMCID: PMC3161314  PMID: 21788574
13.  The MYH9/APOL1 region and chronic kidney disease in European-Americans 
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;20(12):2450-2456.
Polymorphisms in the MYH9 and adjacent APOL1 gene region demonstrate a strong association with non-diabetic kidney disease in African-Americans. However, it is not known to what extent these polymorphisms are present in other ethnic groups. To examine the association of genetic polymorphisms in this region with chronic kidney disease (CKD; estimated glomerular filtration rate <60 ml/min/1.73 m2) in individuals of European ancestry, we examined rs4821480, an MYH9 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) recently identified as associated with kidney disease in African-Americans, in 13 133 participants from the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) and Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. In addition, we further interrogated the MYH9/APOL1 gene region using 282 SNPs for association with CKD using age-, sex- and center-adjusted models and performed a meta-analysis of the results from both studies. Because of prior data linking rs4821480 and kidney disease, we used a P-value of <0.05 to test the association with CKD. In the meta-analysis, rs4821480 (minor allele frequency 4.45 and 3.96% in FHS and ARIC, respectively) was associated with higher CKD prevalence in participants free of diabetes (odds ratio 1.44; 95% confidence interval 1.15–1.80; P = 0.001). No other SNPs achieved significance after adjusting for multiple testing. Results utilizing directly genotyped data confirmed the results of the primary analysis. Recently identified APOL1 risk variants were also directly genotyped, but did not account for the observed MYH9 signal. These data suggest that the MYH9 polymorphism rs4821480 is associated with an increased risk of non-diabetic CKD in individuals of European ancestry.
PMCID: PMC3098737  PMID: 21429915
14.  Association of Scavenger Receptor Class B Type I Polymorphisms with Subclinical Atherosclerosis: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Little is known regarding the association of scavenger receptor class B type I (SCARB1) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and subclinical atherosclerosis (SCA), particularly in subjects of different racial/ethnic backgrounds. We examined this relationship in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
Methods and Results
Forty-three SCARB1 tagging SNPs were genotyped. Baseline examinations included fasting lipids and SCA phenotypes (coronary artery calcium [CAC], and common and internal carotid artery thickness [CCIMT and ICIMT]). Examining SNP associations with different SCA phenotypes across multiple racial/ethnic groups with adjustment for multiple covariates, we found the C allele of SNP rs10846744 was associated with higher CCIMT in African American (P=0.03), Chinese (P=0.02), European American (P=0.05), and Hispanic participants (P=0.03), and was strongly associated in pooled analyses (P=0.0002). The results also showed that the association of this SNP with CCIMT was independent of lipids and other well-established cardiovascular risk factors. Stratifying by sex, there appeared to be a strong association of rs10846744 with CCIMT in females, but no genotype-sex interactions were observed.
Variation in SCARB1 at rs10846744 was significantly associated with CCIMT across racial/ethnic groups in MESA.
PMCID: PMC3359098  PMID: 20160195
genetics; atherosclerosis; cholesterol; lipids; prospective cohort study; genetic association
15.  Soluble P-Selectin Levels Are Associated with Cardiovascular Mortality and Sudden Cardiac Death in Male Dialysis Patients 
American Journal of Nephrology  2011;33(3):224-230.
P-selectin is released by activated platelets and endothelium contributing to inflammation and thrombosis. We evaluated the association between soluble P-selectin and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) in dialysis patients.
We measured soluble P-selectin in serum from 824 incident dialysis patients. Using Cox proportional hazards models, we modeled the association of P-selectin levels with ASCVD events, cardiovascular mortality and sudden cardiac death.
After adjustment for demographics, comorbidity and traditional cardiovascular risk factors, higher P-selectin levels were associated with increased risk of ASCVD and cardiovascular mortality among males (p = 0.02 and p = 0.01, respectively), but not females (p = 0.52 and p = 0.31, respectively; p interaction = 0.003), over a median of 38.2 months. Higher P-selectin was associated with a greater risk of sudden cardiac death among males (p = 0.05). The associations between increasing P-selectin and cardiovascular mortality as well as sudden cardiac death in males persisted after adjustment for C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, serum albumin and platelet count (p = 0.01 and p = 0.03, respectively). The risk for sudden cardiac death was more than 3 times greater for males in the highest tertile of soluble P-selectin compared with the lowest tertile after adjustment (HR: 3.19; 95% CI: 1.18 – 8.62; p = 0.02).
P-selectin is associated with ASCVD, cardiovascular mortality and sudden cardiac death among male dialysis patients.
PMCID: PMC3064942  PMID: 21346329
Cardiovascular disease; Dialysis; End-stage renal disease; Inflammation; Sudden cardiac death; P-selectin
16.  Common variants in the calcium-sensing receptor gene are associated with total serum calcium levels 
Human Molecular Genetics  2010;19(21):4296-4303.
Serum calcium levels are tightly regulated. We performed genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in population-based studies participating in the CHARGE Consortium to uncover common genetic variations associated with total serum calcium levels. GWAS of serum calcium concentrations was performed in 20 611 individuals of European ancestry for ∼2.5 million genotyped and imputed single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The SNP with the lowest P-value was rs17251221 (P = 2.4 * 10−22, minor allele frequency 14%) in the calcium-sensing receptor gene (CASR). This lead SNP was associated with higher serum calcium levels [0.06 mg/dl (0.015 mmol/l) per copy of the minor G allele] and accounted for 0.54% of the variance in serum calcium concentrations. The identification of variation in CASR that influences serum calcium concentration confirms the results of earlier candidate gene studies. The G allele of rs17251221 was also associated with higher serum magnesium levels (P = 1.2 * 10−3), lower serum phosphate levels (P = 2.8 * 10−7) and lower bone mineral density at the lumbar spine (P = 0.038), but not the femoral neck. No additional genomic loci contained SNPs associated at genome-wide significance (P < 5 * 10−8). These associations resemble clinical characteristics of patients with familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia, an autosomal-dominant disease arising from rare inactivating mutations in the CASR gene. We conclude that common genetic variation in the CASR gene is associated with similar but milder features in the general population.
PMCID: PMC2951868  PMID: 20705733
17.  Genetic basis of non-diabetic end-stage renal disease 
Seminars in nephrology  2010;30(2):101-110.
Recent breakthroughs in genomics have led to a critical reappraisal of factors once thought to initiate common complex forms of kidney disease. The tenet that diabetes mellitus and hypertension routinely initiate kidney disease whenever blood glucose concentrations or systemic blood pressures reach critical levels for prolonged periods is falling from favor, although it remains important to control hypertension and hyperglycemia to slow nephropathy progression and prevent cardiovascular disease. Many patients with systemic diseases that may potentially involve their kidneys never develop nephropathy. In addition, severe forms of several common kidney diseases cluster tightly in families. This manuscript discusses the existence of differential nephropathy susceptibility based on an individual's genetic make-up, in the context of environmental exposures. Novel genetic analysis methods and recently identified major kidney disease susceptibility genes are discussed, including novel perspectives for categorizing complex forms of nephropathy based on the expanding spectrum of MYH9-associated disease. Genetic screening, gene-environment and gene-gene interactions are also addressed.
PMCID: PMC2909624  PMID: 20347640
African American; chronic kidney disease; focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; hypertension; genetics; MYH9
18.  The Effects of Macronutrient Intake on Total and High Molecular Weight Adiponectin: Results from the OMNI-Heart Trial 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2009;18(8):1632-1637.
Higher levels of the adipocyte-specific hormone adiponectin have been linked to increased HDL and lower insulin resistance. This study was conducted to determine the influence of macronutrient intake on adiponectin levels. One hundred and sixty-four pre- and stage-1 hypertensive adults participated in OMNI-Heart, a cross-over feeding study originally testing the effects of macronutrients on blood pressure. Participants underwent three 6-week feeding periods: one rich in carbohydrates (CARB), one rich in monounsaturated fat (MUFA), and one rich in protein (PROT), while maintaining body weight. Their median plasma high molecular weight (HMW) and total adiponectin levels were 2.3 and 8.2 μg/ml, respectively, resulting in an average of 27% HMW adiponectin. Both HMW and total adiponectin levels decreased after baseline while the percent HMW adiponectin remained unchanged. Between diets, the MUFA diet maintained a higher level of both HMW and total adiponectin level than either the CARB (HMW: +6.8%, p=0.02; total: +4.5%, p=0.001) or PROT (HMW: +8.4%, p=0.003; total: +5.6%, p<0.001) diets. Changes in total adiponectin levels were positively correlated to changes in HDL cholesterol irrespective of diets (Spearman r = 0.22–0.40). No correlation was found between changes in lipids, blood pressure, or insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). Macronutrient intake has effects on HMW and total adiponectin levels independent of weight loss. A diet rich in monounsaturated fat was associated with higher levels of total and HMW adiponectin in comparison to a carbohydrate- or protein- rich diet. Effects seen in adiponectin paralleled those found with HDL cholesterol.
PMCID: PMC3045829  PMID: 19876001
adiponectin; cholesterol; diet; obesity
19.  Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms in LPA Explain Most of the Ancestry-Specific Variation in Lp(a) Levels in African Americans 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e14581.
Lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)) is an important causal cardiovascular risk factor, with serum Lp(a) levels predicting atherosclerotic heart disease and genetic determinants of Lp(a) levels showing association with myocardial infarction. Lp(a) levels vary widely between populations, with African-derived populations having nearly 2-fold higher Lp(a) levels than European Americans. We investigated the genetic basis of this difference in 4464 African Americans from the Jackson Heart Study (JHS) using a panel of up to 1447 ancestry informative markers, allowing us to accurately estimate the African ancestry proportion of each individual at each position in the genome. In an unbiased genome-wide admixture scan for frequency-differentiated genetic determinants of Lp(a) level, we found a convincing peak (LOD = 13.6) at 6q25.3, which spans the LPA locus. Dense fine-mapping of the LPA locus identified a number of strongly associated, common biallelic SNPs, a subset of which can account for up to 7% of the variation in Lp(a) level, as well as >70% of the African-European population differences in Lp(a) level. We replicated the association of the most strongly associated SNP, rs9457951 (p = 6×10−22, 27% change in Lp(a) per allele, ∼5% of Lp(a) variance explained in JHS), in 1,726 African Americans from the Dallas Heart Study and found an even stronger association after adjustment for the kringle(IV) repeat copy number. Despite the strong association with Lp(a) levels, we find no association of any LPA SNP with incident coronary heart disease in 3,225 African Americans from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.
PMCID: PMC3025914  PMID: 21283670
20.  Genome-wide linkage scans for type 2 diabetes mellitus in four ethnically diverse populations; significant evidence for linkage on chromosome 4q in African Americans: the Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes (FIND) Research Group 
Previous studies have shown that, in addition to environmental influences, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has a strong genetic component. The goal of the current study is to identify regions of linkage for T2DM in ethnically diverse populations.
Phenotypic and genotypic data were obtained from African American (AA; total number of individuals (N)=1004), American Indian (AI; N=883), European American (EA; N=537), and Mexican American (MA; N=1634) individuals from the Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes. Nonparametric linkage analysis, using an average of 4,404 SNPs, was performed in relative pairs affected with T2DM in each ethnic group. In addition, family-based tests were performed to detect association with T2DM.
Statistically significant evidence for linkage was observed on chromosomes 4q21.1 (LOD=3.13; genome-wide p=0.04) in AA. In addition, a total of eleven regions showed suggestive evidence for linkage (estimated at LOD>1.71), with the highest LOD scores on chromosomes 12q21.31 (LOD=2.02) and 22q12.3 (LOD=2.38) in AA, 2p11.1 (LOD=2.23) in AI, 6p12.3 (LOD=2.77) in EA, and 13q21.1 (LOD=2.24) in MA. While no region overlapped across all ethnic groups, at least five loci showing LOD>1.71 have been identified in previously published studies.
The results from this study provide evidence for the presence of genes affecting T2DM on chromosomes 4q, 12q, and 22q in AA, 6p in EA, 2p in AI, and 13q in MA. The strong evidence for linkage on chromosome 4q in AA provides important information given the paucity of diabetes genetic studies in this population.
PMCID: PMC2783577  PMID: 19795399
FIND; Type 2 Diabetes; linkage analysis; ethnicity
21.  Genetic variation in GIPR influences the glucose and insulin responses to an oral glucose challenge 
Saxena, Richa | Hivert, Marie-France | Langenberg, Claudia | Tanaka, Toshiko | Pankow, James S | Vollenweider, Peter | Lyssenko, Valeriya | Bouatia-Naji, Nabila | Dupuis, Josée | Jackson, Anne U | Kao, W H Linda | Li, Man | Glazer, Nicole L | Manning, Alisa K | Luan, Jian’an | Stringham, Heather M | Prokopenko, Inga | Johnson, Toby | Grarup, Niels | Boesgaard, Trine W | Lecoeur, Cécile | Shrader, Peter | O’Connell, Jeffrey | Ingelsson, Erik | Couper, David J | Rice, Kenneth | Song, Kijoung | Andreasen, Camilla H | Dina, Christian | Köttgen, Anna | Le Bacquer, Olivier | Pattou, François | Taneera, Jalal | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Rybin, Denis | Ardlie, Kristin | Sampson, Michael | Qi, Lu | van Hoek, Mandy | Weedon, Michael N | Aulchenko, Yurii S | Voight, Benjamin F | Grallert, Harald | Balkau, Beverley | Bergman, Richard N | Bielinski, Suzette J | Bonnefond, Amelie | Bonnycastle, Lori L | Borch-Johnsen, Knut | Böttcher, Yvonne | Brunner, Eric | Buchanan, Thomas A | Bumpstead, Suzannah J | Cavalcanti-Proença, Christine | Charpentier, Guillaume | Chen, Yii-Der Ida | Chines, Peter S | Collins, Francis S | Cornelis, Marilyn | Crawford, Gabriel J | Delplanque, Jerome | Doney, Alex | Egan, Josephine M | Erdos, Michael R | Firmann, Mathieu | Forouhi, Nita G | Fox, Caroline S | Goodarzi, Mark O | Graessler, Jürgen | Hingorani, Aroon | Isomaa, Bo | Jørgensen, Torben | Kivimaki, Mika | Kovacs, Peter | Krohn, Knut | Kumari, Meena | Lauritzen, Torsten | Lévy-Marchal, Claire | Mayor, Vladimir | McAteer, Jarred B | Meyre, David | Mitchell, Braxton D | Mohlke, Karen L | Morken, Mario A | Narisu, Narisu | Palmer, Colin N A | Pakyz, Ruth | Pascoe, Laura | Payne, Felicity | Pearson, Daniel | Rathmann, Wolfgang | Sandbaek, Annelli | Sayer, Avan Aihie | Scott, Laura J | Sharp, Stephen J | Sijbrands, Eric | Singleton, Andrew | Siscovick, David S | Smith, Nicholas L | Sparsø, Thomas | Swift, Amy J | Syddall, Holly | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Tönjes, Anke | Tuomi, Tiinamaija | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Valle, Timo T | Waeber, Gérard | Walley, Andrew | Waterworth, Dawn M | Zeggini, Eleftheria | Zhao, Jing Hua | Illig, Thomas | Wichmann, H Erich | Wilson, James F | van Duijn, Cornelia | Hu, Frank B | Morris, Andrew D | Frayling, Timothy M | Hattersley, Andrew T | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Stefansson, Kari | Nilsson, Peter | Syvänen, Ann-Christine | Shuldiner, Alan R | Walker, Mark | Bornstein, Stefan R | Schwarz, Peter | Williams, Gordon H | Nathan, David M | Kuusisto, Johanna | Laakso, Markku | Cooper, Cyrus | Marmot, Michael | Ferrucci, Luigi | Mooser, Vincent | Stumvoll, Michael | Loos, Ruth J F | Altshuler, David | Psaty, Bruce M | Rotter, Jerome I | Boerwinkle, Eric | Hansen, Torben | Pedersen, Oluf | Florez, Jose C | McCarthy, Mark I | Boehnke, Michael | Barroso, Inês | Sladek, Robert | Froguel, Philippe | Meigs, James B | Groop, Leif | Wareham, Nicholas J | Watanabe, Richard M
Nature genetics  2010;42(2):142-148.
Glucose levels 2 h after an oral glucose challenge are a clinical measure of glucose tolerance used in the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. We report a meta-analysis of nine genome-wide association studies (n = 15,234 nondiabetic individuals) and a follow-up of 29 independent loci (n = 6,958–30,620). We identify variants at the GIPR locus associated with 2-h glucose level (rs10423928, β (s.e.m.) = 0.09 (0.01) mmol/l per A allele, P = 2.0 × 10−15). The GIPR A-allele carriers also showed decreased insulin secretion (n = 22,492; insulinogenic index, P = 1.0 × 10−17; ratio of insulin to glucose area under the curve, P = 1.3 × 10−16) and diminished incretin effect (n = 804; P = 4.3 × 10−4). We also identified variants at ADCY5 (rs2877716, P = 4.2 × 10−16), VPS13C (rs17271305, P = 4.1 × 10−8), GCKR (rs1260326, P = 7.1 × 10−11) and TCF7L2 (rs7903146, P = 4.2 × 10−10) associated with 2-h glucose. Of the three newly implicated loci (GIPR, ADCY5 and VPS13C), only ADCY5 was found to be associated with type 2 diabetes in collaborating studies (n = 35,869 cases, 89,798 controls, OR = 1.12, 95% CI 1.09–1.15, P = 4.8 × 10−18).
PMCID: PMC2922003  PMID: 20081857
22.  Genome-wide association study of PR interval 
Nature genetics  2010;42(2):153-159.
The electrocardiographic PR interval reflects atrial and atrioventricular nodal conduction, disturbances of which increase risk of atrial fibrillation (AF). To identify underlying common genetic variation, we meta-analyzed genome-wide association results for PR interval from seven community-based studies of European-ancestry individuals in the CHARGE consortium: AGES, ARIC, CHS, FHS, KORA, Rotterdam Study, and SardiNIA (N=28,517). Statistically significant loci (P<5×10-8) were tested for association with AF (N=5,741 cases). We identified nine loci associated with PR interval. At chromosome 3p22.2, we observed two independent associations in voltage gated sodium channel genes SCN10A and SCN5A, while six loci were near cardiac developmental genes CAV1/CAV2, NKX2-5 (CSX1), SOX5, WNT11, MEIS1, and TBX5/TBX3. Another signal was at ARHGAP24, a locus without known relevance to the heart. Five of the nine loci, SCN5A, SCN10A, NKX2-5, CAV1/CAV2, and SOX5, were also associated with AF (P<0.0056). Common genetic variation, particularly in ion channel and developmental genes, contributes significantly to atrial and atrioventricular conduction and to AF risk.
PMCID: PMC2850197  PMID: 20062060
genome-wide association study; quantitative trait; PR interval; PQ interval; developmental genes; voltage gated sodium channel; atrial fibrillation
23.  Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity Is Differentially Associated with Variation in FTO in Whites and African-Americans in the ARIC Study 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(5):e10521.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) gene are associated with body mass index (BMI) in populations of European descent. The FTO rs9939609 variant, first detected in a genome-wide association study of diabetes, conferred an increased disease risk that was abolished after adjustment for BMI, suggesting that the association may be due to variation in adiposity. The relationship between diabetes, four previously identified FTO polymorphisms that span a 19.6-kb genomic region, and obesity was therefore evaluated in the biracial population-based Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study with the goal of further refining the association by comparing results between the two ethnic groups. The prevalence of diabetes and obesity (BMI ≥30 kg/m2) was established at baseline, and diabetes was determined by either self-report, a fasting glucose level ≥126 mg/dL, or non-fasting glucose ≥200 mg/dL. There were 1,004 diabetes cases and 10,038 non-cases in whites, and 670 cases and 2,780 non-cases in African-Americans. Differences in mean BMI were assessed by a general linear model, and multivariable logistic regression was used to predict the risk of diabetes and obesity. For white participants, the FTO rs9939609 A allele was associated with an increased risk of diabetes (odds ratio (OR)  = 1.19, p<0.001) and obesity (OR = 1.22, p<0.001) under an additive genetic model that was similar for all of the SNPs analyzed. In African-Americans, only the rs1421085 C allele was a determinant of obesity risk (OR = 1.17, p = 0.05), but was found to be protective against diabetes (OR = 0.79, p = 0.03). Adjustment for BMI did not eliminate any of the observed associations with diabetes. Significant statistical interaction between race and the FTO variants suggests that the effect on diabetes susceptibility may be context dependent.
PMCID: PMC2873943  PMID: 20502638
24.  The Association of Cell Cycle Checkpoint 2 Variants and Kidney Function: Findings of the Family Blood Pressure Program and the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study 
American journal of hypertension  2009;22(5):552-558.
Recent experimental evidence suggests that DNA damage and cell cycle regulatory proteins are involved in kidney injury and apoptosis. The checkpoint 2 gene (CHEK2) is an important transducer in DNA damage signaling pathways in response to injury, and therefore, CHEK2 variants may affect susceptibility to kidney disease.
We used tag-single-nucleotide polymorphisms (tag-SNPs) to evaluate the association of the CHEK2 with kidney function (estimated glomerular filtration rate, eGFR) in 1,549 African-American and 1,423 white Hypertension Genetic Epidemiology Network (HyperGEN) participants. We performed replication analyses in the Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy (GENOA) participants (1,746 African Americans and 1,418 whites), GenNet participants (706 whites), and Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study participants (3,783 African Americans and 10,936 whites). All analyses were race-stratified and used additive genetic models with adjustments for covariates and for family structure, if needed.
One tag-SNP, rs5762764, was associated with eGFR in HyperGEN P = (0.003) and GENOA white participants (P = 0.009), and it was significantly associated with eGFR in meta-analyses (P = 0.002). The associations were independent of type 2 diabetes.
These results suggest that CHEK2 variants may influence eGFR in the context of hypertension.
PMCID: PMC2727134  PMID: 19265784
25.  Admixture Mapping of 15,280 African Americans Identifies Obesity Susceptibility Loci on Chromosomes 5 and X 
PLoS Genetics  2009;5(5):e1000490.
The prevalence of obesity (body mass index (BMI) ≥30 kg/m2) is higher in African Americans than in European Americans, even after adjustment for socioeconomic factors, suggesting that genetic factors may explain some of the difference. To identify genetic loci influencing BMI, we carried out a pooled analysis of genome-wide admixture mapping scans in 15,280 African Americans from 14 epidemiologic studies. Samples were genotyped at a median of 1,411 ancestry-informative markers. After adjusting for age, sex, and study, BMI was analyzed both as a dichotomized (top 20% versus bottom 20%) and a continuous trait. We found that a higher percentage of European ancestry was significantly correlated with lower BMI (ρ = −0.042, P = 1.6×10−7). In the dichotomized analysis, we detected two loci on chromosome X as associated with increased African ancestry: the first at Xq25 (locus-specific LOD = 5.94; genome-wide score = 3.22; case-control Z = −3.94); and the second at Xq13.1 (locus-specific LOD = 2.22; case-control Z = −4.62). Quantitative analysis identified a third locus at 5q13.3 where higher BMI was highly significantly associated with greater European ancestry (locus-specific LOD = 6.27; genome-wide score = 3.46). Further mapping studies with dense sets of markers will be necessary to identify the alleles in these regions of chromosomes X and 5 that may be associated with variation in BMI.
Author Summary
Obesity is about 1.5-fold more prevalent in African Americans than European Americans. To determine whether genetic background may contribute to this observed disparity, we scanned the genomes of African Americans, searching for genomic regions where obese individuals have a difference from the average proportion of African ancestry. By examining genetic data from more than 15,000 African Americans, we show that the proportion of European ancestry is inversely correlated with BMI. In obese individuals, we detect two loci with increased African ancestry on chromosome X (Xq13.1 and Xq25) and one locus with increased European ancestry on chromosome 5 (5q13.3). The 5q13.3 and Xq25 regions both contain genes that are known to be involved in appetite regulation. Our results suggest that genetic factors may contribute to the difference in obesity prevalence between African Americans and European Americans. Further studies of the regions may identify the causative variants affecting susceptibility to obesity.
PMCID: PMC2679192  PMID: 19461885

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