Air pollution exposure induces cardiovascular effects, possibly via systemic inflammation and coagulation misbalance. Genetic variation may determine individual susceptibility. Our aim was to investigate effect modification by inflammation (Interleukin6 (IL6), tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α)) and coagulation (fibrinogen Bβ, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1
(PAI-1)) gene variants on the effect of long-term or short-term air pollution exposure on both blood marker levels and non-fatal myocardial infarction (MI) risk.
Population-based case–control study with a nested case-crossover study. Gene-environment interactions for short-term and long-term air pollution on blood marker levels were studied in population controls, for long-term exposure on MI risk using case–control design, and for short-term exposure on MI onset using case-crossover design.
The Stockholm Heart Epidemiology Programme (SHEEP) conducted in 1992–1994 in Stockholm, Sweden. Spatial modelling was used to assess long-term (up to 30 years retrospectively) air pollution exposure to traffic-NO2 and heating-SO2 emissions at home addresses. Urban background NO2, SO2, PM10 and O3 measurements were used to estimate short-term (up to 5 days) air pollution exposure.
1192 MI cases and 1506 population controls aged 45–70 years.
The levels of blood markers of inflammation (IL-6, TNF-α) and coagulation (fibrinogen, PAI-1) and MI risk.
We observed gene–environment interaction for several IL6 and TNF SNPs in relation to inflammation blood marker levels. One-year traffic-NO2 exposure was associated with higher IL-6 levels with each additional IL6-174C allele, and 1-year heating-SO2 exposure with higher levels of TNF-α in TNF-308AA homozygotes versus −308G carriers. Short-term air pollution exposure also interacted with IL6 and TNF in relation to marker levels. The risk of MI followed the effect on blood markers in each genotype group.
Genetic variants in IL6 and TNF may modify effects of long-term and short-term air pollution exposure on inflammatory marker levels and MI risk.
Air pollution; Gene-environment interaction; inflammation; IL6; TNF
Low levels of free activated coagulation factor VII (VIIa) are normally present in plasma to prime the coagulation of blood in normal hemostasis and during thrombus formation. VIIa also circulates in inactive form, in complex with antithrombin (VIIaAT) formed when VIIa is bound to tissue factor (TF). This study evaluated VIIaAT in relation to cardiovascular disease (CVD).
We determined the plasma VIIaAT concentration in samples from the Stockholm Coronary Atherosclerosis Risk Factor (SCARF) study, a population-based case-control study of myocardial infarction (MI) and in samples from the Stockholm study of 60-years-old individuals, a prospective study of CVD. VIIaAT was measured with a sandwich ELISA that captures the complex between a monoclonal antibody to VIIa and a polyclonal antibody to AT.
In the SCARF study (200 post-MI cases, 340 controls), VIIaAT was statistically significantly associated with patient status [odds ratio (95% confidence interval (CI)] 1.51 (1.09–2.08), p=0.0126). The case-control differences were however small, with VIIaAT values that largely overlap between the two groups. When a nested case-control design (211 incident CVD cases and 633 matched controls) was applied on 5- to 7-year follow-up results of the Stockholm prospective study of 60-year-olds, plasma VIIaAT concentration was not associated with incident CVD (odds ratio (95% CI) 1.001 (0.997–1.005), p=0.5447).
Plasma VIIaAT concentration had no predictive value for future CVD in our study population. Slightly increased plasma VIIaAT concentrations observed after MI may reflect processes that occur in connection with the acute event when TF and VIIa availability is increased.
VIIaAT complexes; activated factor VII; factor VII; antithrombin; cardiovascular disease
To examine the relationship between sex, country of birth, level of education as an indicator of socioeconomic position, and the likelihood of treatment in a coronary care unit (CCU) for a first-time myocardial infarction.
Nationwide register based study.
199 906 patients (114 387 men and 85,519 women) of all ages who were admitted to hospital for first-time myocardial infarction between 2001 and 2009.
Main outcome measures
Admission to a coronary care unit due to myocardial infarction.
Despite the observed increasing access to coronary care units over time, the proportion of women treated in a coronary care unit was 13% less than for men. As compared with men, the multivariable adjusted odds ratio among women was 0.80 (95% confidence interval 0.77 to 0.82). This lower proportion of women treated in a CCU varied by age and year of diagnosis and country of birth. Overall, there was no evidence of a difference in likelihood of treatment in a coronary care unit between Sweden-born and foreign-born patients. As compared with patients with high education, the adjusted odds ratio among patients with a low level of education was 0.93 (95% confidence interval 0.89 to 0.96).
Foreign-born and Sweden-born first-time myocardial infarction patients had equal opportunity of being treated in a coronary care unit in Sweden; this is in contrast to the situation in many other countries with large immigrant populations. However, the apparent lower rate of coronary care unit admission after first-time myocardial infarction among women and patients with low socioeconomic position warrants further investigation.
Case-cohort and nested case-control designs are often used to select an appropriate subsample of individuals from prospective cohort studies. Despite the great attention that has been given to the calculation of association estimators, no formal methods have been described for estimating risk prediction measures from these 2 sampling designs. Using real data from the Swedish Twin Registry (2004–2009), the authors sampled unstratified and stratified (matched) case-cohort and nested case-control subsamples and compared them with the full cohort (as “gold standard”). The real biomarker (high density lipoprotein cholesterol) and simulated biomarkers (BIO1 and BIO2) were studied in terms of association with cardiovascular disease, individual risk of cardiovascular disease at 3 years, and main prediction metrics. Overall, stratification improved efficiency, with stratified case-cohort designs being comparable to matched nested case-control designs. Individual risks and prediction measures calculated by using case-cohort and nested case-control designs after appropriate reweighting could be assessed with good efficiency, except for the finely matched nested case-control design, where matching variables could not be included in the individual risk estimation. In conclusion, the authors have shown that case-cohort and nested case-control designs can be used in settings where the research aim is to evaluate the prediction ability of new markers and that matching strategies for nested case-control designs may lead to biased prediction measures.
cardiovascular diseases; case-cohort studies; nested case-control studies; risk prediction; sampling design
Genetic variation at 1p13 modulates serum lipid levels and the risk of coronary heart disease through the regulation of serum lipid levels. Here we investigate if the interaction between genetic variants at 1p13 and serum lipid levels affects the risk of non-fatal myocardial infarction (MI) in the Stockholm Heart Epidemiology Program (SHEEP), a large population based case control study.
In the present study only non fatal MI cases (n = 1213, men/women: 852/361) and controls (n = 1516, men/women =1054/507) matched by age, sex and residential area, were included. Three SNPs 12740374 G/T, rs599839A/G and rs646776T/C mapping at 1p13 were analysed for association with serum lipid levels and the risk of MI by a weighted least square regression and logistic regression analyses, respectively. To analyse the effect of the interaction between genetic variants and serum lipid levels on the risk of MI, we applied the biological model of interaction that estimates the difference in risk, expressed as OR (95%CI), observed in the presence and in the absence of both exposures. One derived measure is the Synergy index (S) and 95%CI, where S > 1 indicates synergy and S < 1 antagonism between the two interaction terms.
Rs12740374G/T and rs646776T/C were in strong linkage disequilibrium (LD) (r2 = 0.99), therefore only rs599839A/G and rs646776 were included in the analysis. Consistently with published data, presence of the rare genotypes was associated with reduced total-, LDL-cholesterol and ApoB serum levels (all p < 0.05) as compared to the reference genotype, but was not associated with the risk of MI.
However, the increased risk of MI observed in individual exposed to high (≥75th percentile) serum lipid levels was offset in subjects carrying the rare alleles G and C. In particular, the risk of MI associated with high ApoB serum levels OR (95%CI) 2.27 (1.86-2.77) was reduced to 1.76 (1.33-2.34) in the presence of the G allele at rs599839 with an S of 0.47 (0.20-0.90).
These results indicate that an antagonism between ApoB serum levels and genetic variants at 1p13 contributes to reduce the risk of non-fatal MI in the presence of high ApoB serum levels.
The risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and atherosclerosis is reported to be increased in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We recently reported a negative association between natural IgM-antibodies against phosphorylcholine (anti-PC) in the general population, high anti-PC levels leading to decreased atherosclerosis development and low levels to increased risk of CVD. Potential mechanisms include anti-inflammatory properties and inhibition of uptake of oxidized low density lipoprotein (LDL) in macrophages. The objective herein was to study atherosclerosis in SLE in detail and in relation to traditional and non-traditional risk factors.
A total of 114 patients with SLE were compared with 122 age- and sex-matched population-based controls. Common carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), calculated intima-media area (cIMa) and plaque occurrence were determined by B-mode ultrasound as a surrogate measure of atherosclerosis. Plaques were graded according to echogenicity and grouped as 1 to 4, with 1 being echoluscent, and considered most vulnerable. Anti-PC was studied by ELISA.
Hypertension, triglycerides and insulin resistance (determined by homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance) and C-reactive protein (CRP) were increased in SLE (P < 0.01) while smoking, LDL, high density lipoprotein (HDL) did not differ between groups. Low levels of anti-PC IgM (lowest tertile) were more common in SLE patients than in controls (P = 0.0022). IMT and cIMa did not differ significantly between groups. However, plaques were more often found in SLE patients (P = 0.029). Age, LDL and IgM anti-PC (lowest tertile) were independently associated with plaque occurrence in SLE. Further, in the left carotid arteries echoluscent plaques (grade 1) were more prevalent in SLE as compared to controls (P < 0.016).
Plaque occurrence in the carotid arteries is increased in SLE and is independently associated with age, LDL and low anti-PC levels. Vulnerable plaques were more common in SLE. Anti-PC could be a novel risk marker also with a therapeutic potential in SLE.
Epidemiologic studies suggest positive associations between poor oral health and cardiovascular disease. The authors undertook a prospective study among 15,273 Swedish twins (1963–2000) to examine whether genetic factors underlying the 2 diseases could explain previous associations. They estimated hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals controlling for individual factors and stratifying on twin pairs to control for familial effects. Quantitative genetic analyses estimated genetic correlations between oral diseases and cardiovascular disease outcomes. Tooth loss (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.2, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.1, 1.4) and periodontal disease (HR = 1.3, 95% CI: 1.0, 1.4) were associated with small excess risks of cardiovascular disease; periodontal disease was also associated with coronary heart disease (HR = 1.4, 95% CI: 1.1, 1.6). Adjustment for genetic factors in co-twin analyses did not appreciably change estimates. In contrast, tooth loss was more strongly associated with coronary heart disease in twin models (HR = 2.1, 95% CI: 1.2, 3.8) compared with adjusting for individual factors alone (HR = 1.3, 95% CI: 1.1, 1.4). There was evidence of shared genetic factors between cardiovascular disease and tooth loss (rG = 0.18) and periodontal disease (rG = 0.29). Oral disease was associated with excess cardiovascular disease risk, independent of genetic factors. There appear to be common pathogenetic mechanisms between poor oral health and cardiovascular disease.
cardiovascular diseases; oral health; periodontal diseases; tooth loss; twin study
The aim of the study was to investigate if the interaction between the coagulation factor 2 receptor (F2R) and the interleukin 6 (IL6) haplotypes modulates the risk of myocardial infarction (MI) in the Stockholm Heart Epidemiology Program (SHEEP). Seven SNPs at the F2R locus and three SNPs at the IL6 locus were genotyped. Haplotypes and haplotype pairs (IL6*F2R) were generated. A logistic regression analysis was performed to analyze the association of the haplotypes and haplotype pairs with the MI risk. Presence of an interaction between the two haplotypes in each haplotype pair was calculated using two different methods: the statistical, on a multiplicative scale, which includes the cross product of the two factors into the logistic regression model; the biological, on an additive scale, which evaluates the relative risk associated with the joint presence of both factors. The ratio between the observed and the predicted effect of the joint exposure, the synergy index (S), indicates the presence of a synergy (S>1) or of an antagonism (S<1). None of the haplotypes within the two loci was associated with the risk of MI. Out of 22 different haplotype pairs, the haplotype pair 17 GGG*ADGTCCT was associated with an increased risk of MI with an OR (95%CI) of 1.58 (1.05–2.41) (p = 0.02) in the crude and an OR of 1.72 (1.11–2.67) (p = 0.01) in the adjusted analysis. We observed the presence of an interaction on a multiplicative scale with an OR (95%CI) of 2.24 (1.27–3.95) (p = 0.005) and a slight interactive effect between the two haplotypes on an additive scale with an OR (95%CI) of 1.56 (1.02–2.37) (p = 0.03) and S of 1.66 (0.89–31). In conclusion, our results support the hypothesis that the interaction between these two functionally related genes may influence the risk of MI and suggest new mechanisms involved in the genetic susceptibility to MI.
Fatty acid composition of serum lipids and adipose tissue triacylglycerols (AT-TAG) partly reflect dietary fatty acid intake. The fatty acid composition is, besides the diet, also influenced by desaturating enzymes that can be estimated using product-to-precursor fatty acid ratios. The interrelationships between desaturase indices derived from different serum lipid fractions and adipose tissue are unclear, as well as their associations with obesity and insulin resistance. We aimed to investigate cross-sectional correlations between desaturase indices as measured in serum lipid fractions (phospholipids; PL and free fatty acids; FFA) and in adipose tissue (AT-TAG). In a population-based sample of 301 healthy 60-year-old men various desaturase indices were assessed: stearoyl-CoA-desaturase (16:1n-7/16:0; SCD-16 and 18:1n-9/18:0; SCD-18, respectively), delta-6-desaturase (20:3n-6/18:2n-6; D6D) and delta-5-desaturase (20:4n-6/20:3n-6; D5D). Correlations with BMI and insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) were also examined. SCD-16 and D5D were significantly correlated between fractions and tissues (all r > 0.30), whereas SCD-18 and D6D were not. Desaturase indices in serum FFA and AT-TAG were significantly correlated; SCD-16 (r = 0.63), SCD-18 (r = 0.37), and D5D (r = 0.43). In phospholipids, SCD-16 was positively correlated to BMI (r = 0.15), while D5D negatively to both BMI (r = -0.30) and HOMA-IR (r = -0.31), all p < 0.01. D6D in both phospholipids and AT-TAG was positively correlated to HOMA-IR and BMI (all p < 0.01). In conclusion, SCD-1 and D5D activity indices showed overall strong correlations between lipid pools. SCD-1 activity index in adipose tissue is best reflected by 16:1/16:0-ratio in serum FFA, but associations with obesity and insulin resistance differ between these pools. D5D in PL was inversely related to obesity and insulin resistance, whereas D6D index showed positive associations.
Studies in model organisms have demonstrated that components of insulin and insulin-like signaling pathways are involved in the regulation of lifespan but the relevance of those findings to humans has remained obscure. Here we provide evidence suggesting that variants of the gene encoding insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE) may be influencing human lifespan. We have employed a variety of models and diverse samples that reproducibly indicate the relative change in IDE genotype frequency across the age spectrum as well as allow the detection of association with age-at-death. A tenable molecular basis of this is suggested by the observation of genetic association with both fasting plasma insulin levels and IDE mRNA expression. Across populations the emergent genetic model is indicative of over-dominance, where heterozygotes of critical markers have increased IDE mRNA expression and insulin levels, and this is reflected in diminished heterozygosity at advanced age. A critical and replicating feature of this study is that change in IDE genotype frequency with advancing age appears to be occurring only in men, and this is supported in that insulin levels are only associated with IDE in men. Results suggest a relationship between a gene that is intimately involved in insulin metabolism and the determination of lifespan in humans, but over-dominance and gender specificity will be important parameters to consider clarifying the biological importance of these findings.
Studies in model organisms have demonstrated that components of insulin and insulin-like signaling pathways are involved in the regulation of lifespan but the relevance of those findings to humans has remained obscure. Here we provide evidence suggesting that variants of the gene encoding insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE) may be influencing human lifespan. We have employed a variety of models and diverse samples that reproducibly indicate the relative change in IDE genotype frequency across the age spectrum as well as allow the detection of association with ageat-death. A tenable molecular basis of this is suggested by the observation of genetic association with both fasting plasma insulin levels and IDE mRNA expression. Across populations the emergent genetic model is indicative of over-dominance, where heterozygotes of critical markers have increased IDE mRNA expression and insulin levels, and this is reflected in diminished heterozygosity at advanced age. A critical and replicating feature of this study is that change in IDE genotype frequency with advancing age appears to only be occurring in men, and this is supported in that insulin levels are only associated with IDE in men. Results suggest a relationship between a gene that is intimately involved in insulin metabolism and the determination of lifespan in humans, but over-dominance and gender specificity will be important parameters to consider towards clarifying the biological importance of these findings.
The relationship between mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) and hematocrit (Hct) was studied in pre- and postmenopause women in the city of Durango, Mexico. Premenopause women show a negative trend between parameters that is not statistically significant. MAP and Hct are directly related in postmenopause women (p < 0.01). It is proposed that that this MAP/Hct relationship is in part due to differences in endothelial function where menopause decreases the capacity of the endothelium to respond to increased blood viscosity and shears stress, leading to the increased production of vasodilator mediators to compensate for changes in blood viscosity due to changes in Hct. Comparison with a large group of postmenopause women in the city of Stockholm showed identical trends.
menopause; endothelial dysfunction; blood viscosity; blood pressure; hematocrit
High body mass index (BMI) and lack of physical activity have been recognized as important risk factors for coronary heart disease. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether leisure-time physical activity compensates for the increased risk of acute myocardial infarction associated with overweight and obesity.
Data from the SHEEP (Stockholm Heart Epidemiology Program) study were used. The SHEEP study is a large Swedish population-based case-control study, comprising 1204 male and 550 female cases, and 1538 male and 777 female controls, conducted in Stockholm County, Sweden, during the period 1992–1994. Odds ratios (OR), together with 95 % confidence intervals (95% CI), were calculated using unconditional logistic regression, as estimates of the relative risks.
Regular leisure-time physical activity was associated with a decreased risk of myocardial infarction among lean, normal-weight and overweight subjects, but not among obese subjects. Obese (BMI ≥ 30) and physically active persons had an almost twofold risk of myocardial infarction, compared with normal-weight and sedentary persons (OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.07–3.18). The results were similar for men and women.
While regular leisure-time physical activity seems to provide protection against myocardial infarction among lean, normal-weight and overweight subjects, this does not appear to be the case in obese subjects.
Interactions between genetic- and lifestyle factors may be of specific importance for the development of type 2 diabetes. Only a few earlier studies have evaluated interaction effects for the combination of family history of diabetes and presence of risk factors related to lifestyle. We explored whether 60-year-old men and women from Stockholm with a parental history of diabetes are more susceptible than their counterparts without a parental history of diabetes to the negative influence from physical inactivity, overweight or smoking regarding risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The study comprised 4232 participants of which 205 men and 113 women had diabetes (the vast majority type 2 diabetes considering the age of study participants) and 224 men and 115 women had prediabetes (fasting glucose 6.1–6.9 mmol/l). Prevalence odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated using logistic regression. Biologic interaction was analyzed using a Synergy index (S) score. The crude OR for type 2 diabetes associated with a parental history of diabetes was 2.4 (95% CI 1.7–3.5) in men and 1.4 (95% CI 0.9–2.3) in women. Adjustments for overweight, physical inactivity and current smoking had minimal effects on the association observed in men whereas in women it attenuated results. In men, but not in women, a significant interaction effect that synergistically increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes was observed for the combination of BMI>30 and a parental history of diabetes, S 2.4 (95% CI 1.1–5.1). No signs of interactions were noted for a parental history of diabetes combined with physical inactivity and smoking, respectively. In conclusion, obesity in combination with presence of a parental history of diabetes may be particularly hazardous in men as these two factors were observed to synergistically increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in men.
Expansive remodelling is the process of compensatory arterial enlargement in response to atherosclerotic stimuli. The genetic determinants of this process are poorly characterized.
Genetic association analyses of inter-adventitial common carotid artery diameter (ICCAD) in the IMPROVE study (n = 3427) using the Illumina 200k Metabochip was performed. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that met array-wide significance were taken forward for analysis in three further studies (n = 5704), and tested for association with Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA).
rs3768445 on Chromosome 1q24.3, in a cluster of protein coding genes (DNM3, PIGC, C1orf105) was associated with larger ICCAD in the IMPROVE study. For each copy of the rare allele carried, ICCAD was on average 0.13 mm greater (95% CI 0.08–0.18 mm, P = 8.2 × 10−8). A proxy SNP (rs4916251, R2 = 0.99) did not, however, show association with ICCAD in three follow-up studies (P for replication = 0.29). There was evidence of interaction between carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) and rs4916251 on ICCAD in two of the cohorts studies suggesting that it plays a role in the remodelling response to atherosclerosis. In meta-analysis of 5 case–control studies pooling data from 5007 cases and 43,630 controls, rs4916251 was associated with presence of AAA 1.10, 95% CI 1.03–1.17, p = 2.8 × 10−3, I2 = 18.8, Q = 0.30). A proxy SNP, rs4916251 was also associated with increased expression of PIGC in aortic tissue, suggesting that this may the mechanism by which this locus affects vascular remodelling.
Common variation at 1q24.3 is associated with expansive vascular remodelling and risk of AAA. These findings support a hypothesis that pathways involved in systemic vascular remodelling play a role in AAA development.
► In the IMPROVE study (n > 3000) variants at 1q24.3 were strongly associated with larger carotid diameters. ► The lead variant was associated with Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) in meta-analysis of 5 studies (n > 50,000). ► Variants at 1q24.3 appear to be associated with vascular remodelling and risk of AAA.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm; Genome-wide association studies; Vascular remodelling; Carotid artery
Antibodies against cardiolipin (aCL) are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). We here determine the role of antibodies against oxidized CL (aOxCL).
One third of sixty-year olds from the Stockholm County were screened (2039 men, 2193 women), where 211 incident CVD-cases and 633 age- and sex-matched controls were identified (5–7 year follow-up). Antibodies were determined by ELISA and uptake of oxLDL in macrophages by FACScan.
IgM aOxCL was lower among CVD cases than controls (p=0.024). aOxCL-levels were divided in quartiles with the highest quartile set as the reference group. After adjustment for smoking, BMI, type II diabetes, hypercholesterolaemia and hypertension, an increased risk was determined in the lowest quartile of IgM aOxCL (OR: 1.80, CI: 1.12–2.91, p=0.0159); OR for men in the lowest quartile was 2.46 (CI 1.34–4.53, p=0.0037) for CVD and for stroke: 12.28 (CI: 1.48-101.77, p=0.02). IgG aOxCL levels did not differ between quartiles in CVD-risk. High levels of IgM aOxCL (reaching significance above 86th) and IgG aOxCL (above 95th percentile) were associated with decreased risk of CVD (OR: 0.485, CI: 0.283-0.829; p=0.0082 and OR: 0.23, CI: 0.07-0.69; p=0.0091). aCL were not associated with CVD. oxCL but not CL competed out uptake of OxLDL in macrophages, and aOxLDL recognized oxCL but not CL. In contrast to aCL, aOxCL was not dependent on co-factor Beta2-glycoprotein-I.
aOxCL is a novel risk/protection marker for CVD, with therapeutic implications. OxCL competes with oxLDL for uptake in macrophages and the possibility that aOxCL inhibits such uptake by interfering with same or similar epitopes in oxCL and oxLDL should be further studied.
Cardiovascular disease; Cardiolipin; Oxidation; Antibodies
To identify novel loci for age at natural menopause, we performed a meta-analysis of 22 genome-wide association studies in 38,968 women of European descent, with replication in up to 14,435 women. In addition to four known loci, we identified 13 new age at natural menopause loci (P < 5 × 10−8). The new loci included genes implicated in DNA repair (EXO1, HELQ, UIMC1, FAM175A, FANCI, TLK1, POLG, PRIM1) and immune function (IL11, NLRP11, BAT2). Gene-set enrichment pathway analyses using the full GWAS dataset identified exodeoxyribonuclease, NFκB signalling and mitochondrial dysfunction as biological processes related to timing of menopause.
A sedentary lifestyle predisposes to cardiometabolic diseases. Lifestyle changes such as increased physical activity improve a range of cardiometabolic risk factors. The objective of this study was to examine whether functional changes in adipose tissue were related to these improvements.
Seventy-three sedentary, overweight (mean BMI 29.9 ± 3.2 kg/m2) and abdominally obese, but otherwise healthy men and women (67.6 ± 0.5 years) from a randomised controlled trial of physical activity on prescription over a 6-month period were included (control n = 43, intervention n = 30). Detailed examinations were carried out at baseline and at follow-up, including fasting blood samples, a comprehensive questionnaire and subcutaneous adipose tissue biopsies for fatty acid composition analysis (n = 73) and quantification of mRNA expression levels of 13 candidate genes (n = 51), including adiponectin, leptin and inflammatory cytokines.
At follow-up, the intervention group had a greater increase in exercise time (+137 min/week) and a greater decrease in body fat mass (−1.5 kg) compared to the control subjects (changes of 0 min/week and −0.5 kg respectively). Circulating concentrations of adiponectin were unchanged, but those of leptin decreased significantly more in the intervention group (−1.8 vs −1.1 ng/mL for intervention vs control, P < 0.05). The w6-polyunsaturated fatty acid content, in particular linoleic acid (18:2w6), of adipose tissue increased significantly more in the intervention group, but the magnitude of the change was small (+0.17 vs +0.02 percentage points for intervention vs control, P < 0.05). Surprisingly leptin mRNA levels in adipose tissue increased in the intervention group (+107% intervention vs −20% control, P < 0.05), but changes in expression of the remaining genes did not differ between the groups.
After a 6-month period of increased physical activity in overweight elderly individuals, circulating leptin concentrations decreased despite increased levels of leptin mRNA in adipose tissue. Otherwise, only minor changes occurred in adipose tissue, although several improvements in metabolic parameters accompanied the modest increase in physical activity.
Adipose tissue; Physical activity; Fatty acid composition; Gene expression
To evaluate the associations of emergent genome-wide-association study-derived coronary heart disease (CHD)-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with established and emerging risk factors, and the association of genome-wide-association study-derived lipid-associated SNPs with other risk factors and CHD events.
Methods and results
Using two case–control studies, three cross-sectional, and seven prospective studies with up to 25 000 individuals and 5794 CHD events we evaluated associations of 34 genome-wide-association study-identified SNPs with CHD risk and 16 CHD-associated risk factors or biomarkers. The Ch9p21 SNPs rs1333049 (OR 1.17; 95% confidence limits 1.11–1.24) and rs10757274 (OR 1.17; 1.09–1.26), MIA3 rs17465637 (OR 1.10; 1.04–1.15), Ch2q36 rs2943634 (OR 1.08; 1.03–1.14), APC rs383830 (OR 1.10; 1.02, 1.18), MTHFD1L rs6922269 (OR 1.10; 1.03, 1.16), CXCL12 rs501120 (OR 1.12; 1.04, 1.20), and SMAD3 rs17228212 (OR 1.11; 1.05, 1.17) were all associated with CHD risk, but not with the CHD biomarkers and risk factors measured. Among the 20 blood lipid-related SNPs, LPL rs17411031 was associated with a lower risk of CHD (OR 0.91; 0.84–0.97), an increase in Apolipoprotein AI and HDL-cholesterol, and reduced triglycerides. SORT1 rs599839 was associated with CHD risk (OR 1.20; 1.15–1.26) as well as total- and LDL-cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B. ANGPTL3 rs12042319 was associated with CHD risk (OR 1.11; 1.03, 1.19), total- and LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and interleukin-6.
Several SNPs predicting CHD events appear to involve pathways not currently indexed by the established or emerging risk factors; others involved changes in blood lipids including triglycerides or HDL-cholesterol as well as LDL-cholesterol. The overlapping association of SNPs with multiple risk factors and biomarkers supports the existence of shared points of regulation for these phenotypes.
Coronary disease; Lipids; Genes; Risk factors
Environmental exposures filtered through the genetic make-up of each individual alter the transcriptional repertoire in organs central to metabolic homeostasis, thereby affecting arterial lipid accumulation, inflammation, and the development of coronary artery disease (CAD). The primary aim of the Stockholm Atherosclerosis Gene Expression (STAGE) study was to determine whether there are functionally associated genes (rather than individual genes) important for CAD development. To this end, two-way clustering was used on 278 transcriptional profiles of liver, skeletal muscle, and visceral fat (n = 66/tissue) and atherosclerotic and unaffected arterial wall (n = 40/tissue) isolated from CAD patients during coronary artery bypass surgery. The first step, across all mRNA signals (n = 15,042/12,621 RefSeqs/genes) in each tissue, resulted in a total of 60 tissue clusters (n = 3958 genes). In the second step (performed within tissue clusters), one atherosclerotic lesion (n = 49/48) and one visceral fat (n = 59) cluster segregated the patients into two groups that differed in the extent of coronary stenosis (P = 0.008 and P = 0.00015). The associations of these clusters with coronary atherosclerosis were validated by analyzing carotid atherosclerosis expression profiles. Remarkably, in one cluster (n = 55/54) relating to carotid stenosis (P = 0.04), 27 genes in the two clusters relating to coronary stenosis were confirmed (n = 16/17, P<10−27and−30). Genes in the transendothelial migration of leukocytes (TEML) pathway were overrepresented in all three clusters, referred to as the atherosclerosis module (A-module). In a second validation step, using three independent cohorts, the A-module was found to be genetically enriched with CAD risk by 1.8-fold (P<0.004). The transcription co-factor LIM domain binding 2 (LDB2) was identified as a potential high-hierarchy regulator of the A-module, a notion supported by subnetwork analysis, by cellular and lesion expression of LDB2, and by the expression of 13 TEML genes in Ldb2–deficient arterial wall. Thus, the A-module appears to be important for atherosclerosis development and, together with LDB2, merits further attention in CAD research.
The WHO predicts that coronary artery disease (CAD) will become the leading cause of death worldwide in 2010. Currently, major research efforts are focused on understanding the genetics of CAD through multi-center, genome-wide association studies of tens of thousands of patients and controls. Such studies can identify common variants of general importance throughout the entire population, which are likely relatively few. The number of rare genetic variants and variants that act in the context of environmental risk factors for CAD is probably much higher. We performed whole-genome expression analyses in several organs to identify functionally associated genes important for CAD development. We found an atherosclerosis module (A-module) consisting of 128 genes, enriched with genetic risk for CAD, involving transendothelial migration of leukocytes (TEML) and LIM domain binding 2 (LDB2) as its high-hierarchy regulator. Our study design represents a novel way of understanding the molecular underpinnings of CAD, focusing on genome-wide expression sensing both environmental and genetic influences. Investigating the relative enrichment of genetic CAD risk in functional groups (modules and networks) is an alternative approach to extract additional relevant information from genome-wide association studies. The A-module and LDB2 are attractive targets for treatments to modulate TEML and atherosclerosis development.