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1.  Association of a Common G6PC2 Variant with Fasting Plasma Glucose Levels in Non-Diabetic Individuals 
Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) levels correlate with cardiovascular disease and mortality in both diabetic and non-diabetic subjects. G6PC2 encodes a pancreatic islet-specific glucose-6-phosphatase-related protein and G6pc2-null mice were reported to exhibit decreased blood glucose levels. Two recent genome-wide association studies have implicated a role for G6PC2 in regulation of FPGlevels in the general European population and reported the strongest association with the rs560887 SNP. The purpose of this study was to replicate this association in our independent epidemiological samples.
DNA samples from non-Hispanic white Americans (NHWs; n = 623), Hispanic Americans (n = 410) and black Africans (n = 787) were genotyped for rs560887 using TaqMan allelic discrimination.
While no minor allele A of rs560887 was observed among blacks, its frequency was 33% in NHWs and 17.5% in Hispanics. The rs560887 minor allele was associated with reduced FPG levels in non-diabetic NHWs (p = 0.002 under an additive model). A similar trend of association was observed in non-diabetic Hispanics (p = 0.076 under a dominant model), which was more pronounced in normoglycemic subjects (p = 0.036).
Our results independently confirm the robust association of G6PC2/rs560887 with FPG levels in non-diabetic NHWs. The observed evidence for association in Hispanics warrants further studies in larger samples.
PMCID: PMC2855271  PMID: 20029179
Blood glucose; Plasma glucose; Fasting plasma glucose; G6PC2; Single nucleotide polymorphism; Polymorphism; rs560887
2.  Whole exome sequencing of rare variants in EIF4G1 and VPS35 in Parkinson disease 
Neurology  2013;80(11):982-989.
Recently, vacuolar protein sorting 35 (VPS35) and eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4 gamma 1 (EIF4G1) have been identified as 2 causal Parkinson disease (PD) genes. We used whole exome sequencing for rapid, parallel analysis of variations in these 2 genes.
We performed whole exome sequencing in 213 patients with PD and 272 control individuals. Those rare variants (RVs) with <5% frequency in the exome variant server database and our own control data were considered for analysis. We performed joint gene-based tests for association using RVASSOC and SKAT (Sequence Kernel Association Test) as well as single-variant test statistics.
We identified 3 novel VPS35 variations that changed the coded amino acid (nonsynonymous) in 3 cases. Two variations were in multiplex families and neither segregated with PD. In EIF4G1, we identified 11 (9 nonsynonymous and 2 small indels) RVs including the reported pathogenic mutation p.R1205H, which segregated in all affected members of a large family, but also in 1 unaffected 86-year-old family member. Two additional RVs were found in isolated patients only. Whereas initial association studies suggested an association (p = 0.04) with all RVs in EIF4G1, subsequent testing in a second dataset for the driving variant (p.F1461) suggested no association between RVs in the gene and PD.
We confirm that the specific EIF4G1 variation p.R1205H seems to be a strong PD risk factor, but is nonpenetrant in at least one 86-year-old. A few other select RVs in both genes could not be ruled out as causal. However, there was no evidence for an overall contribution of genetic variability in VPS35 or EIF4G1 to PD development in our dataset.
PMCID: PMC3653206  PMID: 23408866
3.  Genetic Analysis of Serum Osteocalcin and Bone Mineral in Multigenerational Afro-Caribbean Families 
Osteocalcin (OC) is a protein constituent of bone matrix and a marker of bone formation. We characterized the heritability of serum OC measures and identified genomic regions potentially involved in the regulation of OC via high-density genome-wide linkage analysis in African ancestry individuals.
African ancestry individuals (n=459) were recruited, without regard to health status, from seven probands (mean family size = 66; 4,373 relative pairs). Residual heritability of serum OC measures was estimated and multipoint quantitative trait linkage analysis was performed using pedigree-based maximum likelihood methods.
Residual heritabilities of total OC, uncarboxylated OC, carboxylated OC and percent uncarboxylated OC were: 0.74±0.10, 0.89±0.08, 0.46±0.10 and 0.41±0.09, respectively. All OC measures were genetically correlated with whole body bone mineral content (BMC). We obtained strong evidence of bivariate linkage for percent uncarboxylated OC and whole body BMC on chromosome 17 (LOD=3.15, 99cM).
All forms of OC were highly heritable and genetically correlated with total body BMC in these African ancestry families. The identified linkage region contains several candidate genes for bone and energy metabolism including COL1A1 and TNFRSF11A. Further studies of this genomic region may reveal novel insight into the genetic regulation of OC and bone mineralization.
PMCID: PMC3768139  PMID: 21935688
osteocalcin; genome-wide linkage; African ancestry; bone mineral
4.  A Multiethnic Replication Study of Plasma Lipoprotein Levels-Associated SNPs Identified in Recent GWAS 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63469.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified a number of loci/SNPs associated with plasma total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and triglyceride (TG) levels. The purpose of this study was to replicate 40 recent GWAS-identified HDL-C-related new loci in 3 epidemiological samples comprising U.S. non-Hispanic Whites (NHWs), U.S. Hispanics, and African Blacks. In each sample, the association analyses were performed with all 4 major lipid traits regardless of previously reported specific associations with selected SNPs. A total of 22 SNPs showed nominally significant association (p<0.05) with at least one lipid trait in at least one ethnic group, although not always with the same lipid traits reported as genome-wide significant in the original GWAS. The total number of significant loci was 10 for TC, 12 for LDL-C, 10 for HDL-C, and 6 for TG levels. Ten SNPs were significantly associated with more than one lipid trait in at least one ethnic group. Six SNPs were significantly associated with at least one lipid trait in more than one ethnic group, although not always with the same trait across various ethnic groups. For 25 SNPs, the associations were replicated with the same genome-wide significant lipid traits in the same direction in at least one ethnic group; at nominal significance for 13 SNPs and with a trend for association for 12 SNPs. However, the associations were not consistently present in all ethnic groups. This observation was consistent with mixed results obtained in other studies that also examined various ethnic groups.
PMCID: PMC3661596  PMID: 23717430
5.  Bioactive Androgens and Glucuronidated Androgen Metabolites are Associated with Subcutaneous and Ectopic Skeletal Muscle Adiposity among Older Black Men 
Aging is associated with declining serum levels of androgenic hormones and with increased skeletal muscle fat infiltration, an emerging risk factor for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Androgens regulate fat mass and glucose homeostasis, but the effect of androgenic hormones on skeletal muscle fat infiltration is largely unknown. Thus, the aim of the current study was to examine the association of serum androgens and their precursors and metabolites with skeletal muscle fat infiltration and T2DM in a black male population group at high risk of T2DM. Serum androgens, estrogens, and androgen precursors and metabolites were measured using mass spectrometry, and calf skeletal muscle fat distribution [subcutaneous and intermuscular fat; skeletal muscle density] were measured using quantitative computed tomography in 472 Afro-Caribbean men aged 65 and older. Bioactive androgens, testosterone, free testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, were associated with less skeletal muscle fat infiltration (r=−0.14 to −0.18, P<0.05) and increased skeletal muscle density (r=0.10 to 0.14, P<0.05), independent of total adiposity. Additionally, glucuronidated androgen metabolites were associated with less subcutaneous fat (r=−0.11 to −0.15, P<0.05). Multivariate logistic regression analysis identified an increased level of 3α-diol-3 glucuronide (OR=1.38, P<0.01) and a decreased level of dihydrotestosterone (OR=0.66, P<0.01) to be significantly associated with T2DM. Our findings suggest that in elderly black men, independent of total adiposity, bioactive androgens and glucuronidated androgen metabolites may play previously unrecognized role in skeletal muscle fat distribution. Longitudinal studies are needed to further evaluate the relationship between androgens and androgen metabolites with changes in skeletal muscle fat distribution with aging and the incidence of T2DM.
PMCID: PMC3106138  PMID: 21353258
sex hormones; androgen; skeletal muscle; adipose tissue; type 2 diabetes mellitus; aging; black men
6.  Functional polymorphisms of the coagulation factor II gene (F2) and susceptibility to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) 
The Journal of rheumatology  2011;38(4):652-657.
Two F2 functional polymorphisms, rs1799963 (G20210A) and rs3136516 (A19911G), are known to be associated with elevated prothrombin (encoded by F2) levels/activity and thrombosis risk. Since systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients have high risk of thrombosis and accelerated atherosclerosis and also high prevalence of anti-prothrombin antibodies, we hypothesized that these two F2 polymorphisms could affect SLE risk.
We investigated these polymorphisms in 627 women with SLE (84% Caucasian Americans, 16% African Americans) and 657 female controls (78% Caucasian Americans, 22% African Americans).
While the rs1799963 A allele was almost absent in African Americans, it was present at ~2% frequency in Caucasian Americans and showed no significant association with SLE. The rs3136516 G allele frequency was significantly higher in Caucasian SLE cases than controls (48.4% vs. 43.7%) with a covariate-adjusted odds ratio (OR) of 1.22 (95%CI: 1.03–1.46; P = 0.023). The association was replicated in African Americans (rs3136516 G allele frequency: 91.2% in cases vs. 82.2% in controls) with an adjusted OR of 1.96 (95%CI: 1.08–3.58; P = 0.022). Stratification of Caucasian SLE patients based on the presence or absence of cardiac and vascular events (CVE) revealed stronger association with the CVE-positive SLE subgroup than the CVE-negative SLE subgroup (OR: 1.42 vs. 1.20). Prothrombin activity measurements in a subset of SLE cases demonstrated higher activity in the carriers of the rs3136516 G allele.
Our results suggest a potential role for prothrombin and the crosstalk between hemostatic and immune/inflammatory systems in SLE and SLE-associated cardiovascular events, which warrant further investigation in independent samples.
PMCID: PMC3073870  PMID: 21239755
lupus; prothrombin; F2; polymorphism; A19911G; G20210A
7.  Rate of bone loss is greater in young Mexican American men than women: The San Antonio Family Osteoporosis Study 
Bone  2010;47(1):49-54.
Little is known about the progression of bone loss during young adulthood and whether it differs between men and women. As part of the San Antonio Family Osteoporosis Study we tested whether bone mineral density (BMD) changed over time in men or women, and whether the rate of BMD change differed between the sexes. BMD of the proximal femur, spine, radius, and whole body was measured in 115 men and 202 pre-menopausal women (ages 25 to 45 years; Mexican American ancestry) by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry at two time points (5.6 years apart), from which annual percent change-in-BMD was calculated. Likelihood-based methods were used to test whether change-in-BMD differs from zero or differs between men and women. In men, percent change-in-BMD was significantly greater than zero for the 1/3 radius (i.e. indicating a gain of BMD; Bonferroni-adjusted p < 0.01), less than zero for the femoral neck, lumbar spine, ultradistal radius, and whole body (i.e. indicating a loss of BMD; p < 0.01 for all), and not different than zero for the total hip (p = 0.24). In women, percent change-in-BMD was greater than zero for the total hip, 1/3 radius, and whole body (p < 0.01 for all), less than zero for the ultradistal radius (p < 0.01), and not significantly different than zero for the femoral neck and lumbar spine (p = 1.0 for both). For all skeletal sites, men experienced greater decrease in BMD (or less increase in BMD) than women; this result was observed both with and without adjustment for age, BMI, and change-in-BMI (p < 0.05 for all). These results suggest that significant bone loss occurs at some skeletal sites in young men and women, and that loss of BMD is occurring significantly faster, or gain of BMD is occurring significantly slower, in young men compared to young women.
PMCID: PMC2891113  PMID: 20347056
bone mineral density; bone loss; osteoporosis; sex differences; dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry
8.  Association analysis of PON2 genetic variants with serum paraoxonase activity and systemic lupus erythematosus 
BMC Medical Genetics  2011;12:7.
Low serum paraoxonase (PON) activity is associated with the risk of coronary artery disease, diabetes and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Our prior studies have shown that the PON1/rs662 (p.Gln192Arg), PON1/rs854560 (p.Leu55Met), PON3/rs17884563 and PON3/rs740264 SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) significantly affect serum PON activity. Since PON1, PON2 and PON3 share high degree of structural and functional properties, in this study, we examined the role of PON2 genetic variation on serum PON activity, risk of SLE and SLE-related clinical manifestations in a Caucasian case-control sample.
PON2 SNPs were selected from HapMap and SeattleSNPs databases by including at least one tagSNP from each bin defined in these resources. A total of nineteen PON2 SNPs were successfully genotyped in 411 SLE cases and 511 healthy controls using pyrosequencing, restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) or TaqMan allelic discrimination methods.
Our pair-wise linkage disequilibrium (LD) analysis, using an r2 cutoff of 0.7, identified 14 PON2 tagSNPs that captured all 19 PON2 variants in our sample, 12 of which were not in high LD with known PON1 and PON3 SNP modifiers of PON activity. Stepwise regression analysis of PON activity, including the known modifiers, identified five PON2 SNPs [rs6954345 (p.Ser311Cys), rs13306702, rs987539, rs11982486, and rs4729189; P = 0.005 to 2.1 × 10-6] that were significantly associated with PON activity. We found no association of PON2 SNPs with SLE risk but modest associations were observed with lupus nephritis (rs11981433, rs17876205, rs17876183) and immunologic disorder (rs11981433) in SLE patients (P = 0.013 to 0.042).
Our data indicate that PON2 genetic variants significantly affect variation in serum PON activity and have modest effects on risk of lupus nephritis and SLE-related immunologic disorder.
PMCID: PMC3030528  PMID: 21223581
9.  Smoking behavior and opinions of French general practitioners. 
This report examines smoking prevalence, sociodemographic factors, and the opinions of French general practitioners (GPs) about tobacco control policies. Data from the CFES (Comité Français d'Education pour la Santé) national survey on general practitioners included 1013 respondents. The questionnaire was administered by telephone and a response rate of 65% was attained. Instrumentation included variables related to medical practice, sociodemographic characteristics, and opinions about health behavior. Thirty-four percent of physicians were current smokers. A higher proportion of males smoked compared to women (36.1% vs. 24.9%, p < 0.01), and they consumed on average more cigarettes per day (11.2 vs. 8 cigarettes/day, p < 0.05). Slightly more than 52% of physicians regarded their role in reducing nicotine addiction to be important. Doctors who believed that the physician's role was limited were less likely to advise pregnant women to stop smoking (odds ratio = 0.39, p < 0.001), and nonsmokers were more supportive of bans on smoking in public places. Despite the high prevalence of smoking among French physicians, they can still play an important role in reducing smoking among their patients. Medical school curriculum and continuing medical education programs focusing on prevention and cessation in France should be strengthened to help reduce smoking rates among physicians and the general population.
PMCID: PMC2608614  PMID: 10992683

Results 1-9 (9)