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1.  Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) enhances lipopolysaccharide-stimulated tissue factor in human monocytes and monocyte-derived microvesicles 
Immunomodulatory effects in humans of Δ9−Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of marijuana are controversial. Tissue factor (TF), the activator of the extrinsic coagulation cascade, is increased on circulating activated monocytes and is expressed on microvesicles released from activated monocytes during inflammatory conditions, which perpetuate coagulopathies in a number of diseases. In view of the increased medicinal use of marijuana, effects of THC on human monocytes and monocyte-derived microvesicles activated by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) were investigated.
Peak levels of TF procoagulant activity developed in monocytes or microvesicles 6 h following LPS treatment and were unaltered by THC. After 24 h of LPS stimulation, TF activity declined in control-treated or untreated cells and microvesicles, but persisted with THC treatment. Peak TF protein occurred within 6 h of LPS treatment independent of THC; by 24 h, TF protein declined to almost undetectable levels without THC, but was about 4-fold greater with THC. Steady-state TF mRNA levels were similar up to 2 h in the presence of LPS with or without THC, while 10-fold greater TF mRNA levels persisted over 3–24 h with THC treatment. Activation of MAPK or NF-κB pathways was unaltered by THC treatment and inflammatory cytokine IL-6 levels were unchanged. In contrast, TNF and IL-8 levels were enhanced by 20–50 %.
THC enhances TF expression in activated monocytes resulting in elevated procoagulant activity. Marijuana use could potentiate coagulopathies in individuals with chronic immune activation such as HIV-1 infection or inflammatory bowel disease.
PMCID: PMC4469459  PMID: 26085816
Lipopolysaccharide; Marijuana; Monocyte; Tissue factor; THC
2.  Staff understanding of recovery-orientated mental health practice: a systematic review and narrative synthesis 
Mental health policy is for staff to transform their practice towards a recovery orientation. Staff understanding of recovery-orientated practice will influence the implementation of this policy. The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review and narrative synthesis of empirical studies identifying clinician and manager conceptualisations of recovery-orientated practice.
A systematic review of empirical primary research was conducted. Data sources were online databases (n = 8), journal table of contents (n = 5), internet, expert consultation (n = 13), reference lists of included studies and references to included studies. Narrative synthesis was used to integrate the findings.
A total of 10,125 studies were screened, 245 full papers were retrieved, and 22 were included (participants, n = 1163). The following three conceptualisations of recovery-orientated practice were identified: clinical recovery, personal recovery and service-defined recovery. Service-defined recovery is a new conceptualisation which translates recovery into practice according to the goals and financial needs of the organisation.
Organisational priorities influence staff understanding of recovery support. This influence is leading to the emergence of an additional meaning of recovery. The impact of service-led approaches to operationalising recovery-orientated practice has not been evaluated.
Trial Registration
The protocol for the review was pre-registered (PROSPERO 2013: CRD42013005942).
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13012-015-0275-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4464128  PMID: 26059397
Recovery-orientated practice; Staff perspective; System transformation
3.  Missense variant in TREML2 protects against Alzheimer’s Disease 
Neurobiology of aging  2013;35(6):1510.e19-1510.e26.
TREM and TREM-like receptors are a structurally similar protein family encoded by genes clustered on chromosome 6p21.11. Recent studies have identified a rare coding variant (p.R47H) in TREM2 that confers a high risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In addition, common SNPs in this genomic region are associated with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers for AD and a common intergenic variant found near the TREML2 gene has been identified to be protective for AD. However, little is known about the functional variant underlying the latter association or its relationship with the p.R47H. Here, we report comprehensive analyses using whole-exome sequencing data, CSF biomarker analyses, meta-analyses (16,254 cases and 20,052 controls) and cell-based functional studies to support the role of the TREML2 coding missense variant p.S144G (rs3747742) as a potential driver of the meta-analysis AD-associated GWAS signal. Additionally, we demonstrate that the protective role of TREML2 in AD is independent of the role of TREM2 gene as a risk factor for AD.
PMCID: PMC3961557  PMID: 24439484
4.  Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol treatment during human monocyte differentiation reduces macrophage susceptibility to HIV-1 infection 
The major psychoactive component of marijuana, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), also acts to suppress inflammatory responses. Receptors for THC, CB1, CB2, and GPR55, are differentially expressed on multiple cell types including monocytes and macrophages, which are important modulators of inflammation in vivo and target cells for HIV-1 infection. Use of recreational and medicinal marijuana is increasing, but the consequences of marijuana exposure on HIV-1 infection are unclear. Ex vivo studies were designed to investigate effects on HIV-1 infection in macrophages exposed to THC during or following differentiation. THC treatment of primary human monocytes during differentiation reduced HIV-1 infection of subsequent macrophages by replication competent or single cycle CCR5 using viruses. In contrast, treatment of macrophages with THC immediately prior to or continuously following HIV-1 exposure failed to alter infection. Specific receptor agonists indicated that the THC effect during monocyte differentiation was mediated primarily through CB2. THC reduced the number of p24 positive cells with little to no effect on virus production per infected cell, while quantitation of intracellular viral gag pinpointed the THC effect to an early event in the viral life cycle. Cells treated during differentiation with THC displayed reduced expression of CD14, CD16, and CD163 and donor dependent increases in mRNA expression of selected viral restriction factors, suggesting a fundamental alteration in phenotype. Ultimately, the mechanism of THC suppression of HIV-1 infection was traced to a reduction in cell surface HIV receptor (CD4, CCR5 and CXCR4) expression that diminished entry efficiency.
PMCID: PMC4019698  PMID: 24562630
Macrophage; THC; cannabinoid receptor; HIV; differentiation
5.  The feasibility of implementing recovery, psychosocial and pharmacological interventions for psychosis: comparison study 
Clinical guidelines for the treatment of people experiencing psychosis have existed for over a decade, but implementation of recommended interventions is limited. Identifying influences on implementation may help to reduce this translational gap. The Structured Assessment of Feasibility (SAFE) measure is a standardised assessment of implementation blocks and enablers. The aim of this study was to characterise and compare the implementation blocks and enablers for recommended psychosis interventions.
SAFE was used to evaluate and compare three groups of interventions recommended in the 2014 NICE psychosis guideline: pharmacological (43 trials testing 5 interventions), psychosocial (65 trials testing 5 interventions), and recovery (19 trials testing 5 interventions). The 127 trial reports rated with SAFE were supplemented by published intervention manuals, research protocols, trial registrations and design papers. Differences in the number of blocks and enablers across the three interventions were tested statistically, and feasibility profiles were generated.
There was no difference between psychosocial and recovery interventions in the number of blocks or enablers to implementation. Pharmacological interventions (a) had fewer blocks than both psychosocial interventions (χ2(3) = 133.77, p < 0.001) and recovery interventions (χ2(3) = 104.67, p < 0.001) and (b) did not differ in number of enablers from recovery interventions (χ2(3) = 0.74, p = 0.863) but had fewer enablers than psychosocial interventions (χ2(3) = 28.92, p < 0.001). Potential adverse events associated with the intervention tend to be a block for pharmacological interventions, whereas complexity of the intervention was the most consistent block for recovery and psychosocial interventions.
Feasibility profiles show that pharmacological interventions are relatively easy to implement but can sometimes involve risks. Psychosocial and recovery interventions are relatively complex but tend to be more flexible and more often manualised. SAFE ratings can contribute to tackling the current implementation challenges in mental health services, by providing a reporting guideline structure for researchers to maximise the potential for implementation and by informing prioritisation decisions by clinical guideline developers and service managers.
PMCID: PMC4453226  PMID: 26002350
Implementation science; Psychosis; Schizophrenia; Clinical guidelines; Interventions
6.  A genome-wide association meta-analysis identifies a novel locus at 17q11.2 associated with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 
Fogh, Isabella | Ratti, Antonia | Gellera, Cinzia | Lin, Kuang | Tiloca, Cinzia | Moskvina, Valentina | Corrado, Lucia | Sorarù, Gianni | Cereda, Cristina | Corti, Stefania | Gentilini, Davide | Calini, Daniela | Castellotti, Barbara | Mazzini, Letizia | Querin, Giorgia | Gagliardi, Stella | Del Bo, Roberto | Conforti, Francesca L. | Siciliano, Gabriele | Inghilleri, Maurizio | Saccà, Francesco | Bongioanni, Paolo | Penco, Silvana | Corbo, Massimo | Sorbi, Sandro | Filosto, Massimiliano | Ferlini, Alessandra | Di Blasio, Anna M. | Signorini, Stefano | Shatunov, Aleksey | Jones, Ashley | Shaw, Pamela J. | Morrison, Karen E. | Farmer, Anne E. | Van Damme, Philip | Robberecht, Wim | Chiò, Adriano | Traynor, Bryan J. | Sendtner, Michael | Melki, Judith | Meininger, Vincent | Hardiman, Orla | Andersen, Peter M. | Leigh, Nigel P. | Glass, Jonathan D. | Overste, Daniel | Diekstra, Frank P. | Veldink, Jan H. | van Es, Michael A. | Shaw, Christopher E. | Weale, Michael E. | Lewis, Cathryn M. | Williams, Julie | Brown, Robert H. | Landers, John E. | Ticozzi, Nicola | Ceroni, Mauro | Pegoraro, Elena | Comi, Giacomo P. | D'Alfonso, Sandra | van den Berg, Leonard H. | Taroni, Franco | Al-Chalabi, Ammar | Powell, John | Silani, Vincenzo | Brescia Morra, Vincenzo | Filla, Alessandro | Massimo, Filosto | Marsili, Angela | Viviana, Pensato | Puorro, Giorgia | La Bella, Vincenzo | Logroscino, Giancarlo | Monsurrò, Maria Rosaria | Quattrone, Aldo | Simone, Isabella Laura | Ahmeti, Kreshnik B. | Ajroud-Driss, Senda | Armstrong, Jennifer | Birve, Anne | Blauw, Hylke M. | Bruijn, Lucie | Chen, Wenjie | Comeau, Mary C. | Cronin, Simon | Soraya, Gkazi Athina | Grab, Josh D. | Groen, Ewout J. | Haines, Jonathan L. | Heller, Scott | Huang, Jie | Hung, Wu-Yen | Jaworski, James M. | Khan, Humaira | Langefeld, Carl D. | Marion, Miranda C. | McLaughlin, Russell L. | Miller, Jack W. | Mora, Gabriele | Pericak-Vance, Margaret A. | Rampersaud, Evadnie | Siddique, Nailah | Siddique, Teepu | Smith, Bradley N. | Sufit, Robert | Topp, Simon | Vance, Caroline | van Vught, Paul | Yang, Yi | Zheng, J.G.
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;23(8):2220-2231.
Identification of mutations at familial loci for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has provided novel insights into the aetiology of this rapidly progressing fatal neurodegenerative disease. However, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of the more common (∼90%) sporadic form have been less successful with the exception of the replicated locus at 9p21.2. To identify new loci associated with disease susceptibility, we have established the largest association study in ALS to date and undertaken a GWAS meta-analytical study combining 3959 newly genotyped Italian individuals (1982 cases and 1977 controls) collected by SLAGEN (Italian Consortium for the Genetics of ALS) together with samples from Netherlands, USA, UK, Sweden, Belgium, France, Ireland and Italy collected by ALSGEN (the International Consortium on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Genetics). We analysed a total of 13 225 individuals, 6100 cases and 7125 controls for almost 7 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We identified a novel locus with genome-wide significance at 17q11.2 (rs34517613 with P = 1.11 × 10−8; OR 0.82) that was validated when combined with genotype data from a replication cohort (P = 8.62 × 10−9; OR 0.833) of 4656 individuals. Furthermore, we confirmed the previously reported association at 9p21.2 (rs3849943 with P = 7.69 × 10−9; OR 1.16). Finally, we estimated the contribution of common variation to heritability of sporadic ALS as ∼12% using a linear mixed model accounting for all SNPs. Our results provide an insight into the genetic structure of sporadic ALS, confirming that common variation contributes to risk and that sufficiently powered studies can identify novel susceptibility loci.
PMCID: PMC3959809  PMID: 24256812
7.  Genetic Predisposition to Increased Blood Cholesterol and Triglyceride Lipid Levels and Risk of Alzheimer Disease: A Mendelian Randomization Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(9):e1001713.
In this study, Proitsi and colleagues use a Mendelian randomization approach to dissect the causal nature of the association between circulating lipid levels and late onset Alzheimer's Disease (LOAD) and find that genetic predisposition to increased plasma cholesterol and triglyceride lipid levels is not associated with elevated LOAD risk.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Although altered lipid metabolism has been extensively implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease (AD) through cell biological, epidemiological, and genetic studies, the molecular mechanisms linking cholesterol and AD pathology are still not well understood and contradictory results have been reported. We have used a Mendelian randomization approach to dissect the causal nature of the association between circulating lipid levels and late onset AD (LOAD) and test the hypothesis that genetically raised lipid levels increase the risk of LOAD.
Methods and Findings
We included 3,914 patients with LOAD, 1,675 older individuals without LOAD, and 4,989 individuals from the general population from six genome wide studies drawn from a white population (total n = 10,578). We constructed weighted genotype risk scores (GRSs) for four blood lipid phenotypes (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol [HDL-c], low-density lipoprotein cholesterol [LDL-c], triglycerides, and total cholesterol) using well-established SNPs in 157 loci for blood lipids reported by Willer and colleagues (2013). Both full GRSs using all SNPs associated with each trait at p<5×10−8 and trait specific scores using SNPs associated exclusively with each trait at p<5×10−8 were developed. We used logistic regression to investigate whether the GRSs were associated with LOAD in each study and results were combined together by meta-analysis. We found no association between any of the full GRSs and LOAD (meta-analysis results: odds ratio [OR] = 1.005, 95% CI 0.82–1.24, p = 0.962 per 1 unit increase in HDL-c; OR = 0.901, 95% CI 0.65–1.25, p = 0.530 per 1 unit increase in LDL-c; OR = 1.104, 95% CI 0.89–1.37, p = 0.362 per 1 unit increase in triglycerides; and OR = 0.954, 95% CI 0.76–1.21, p = 0.688 per 1 unit increase in total cholesterol). Results for the trait specific scores were similar; however, the trait specific scores explained much smaller phenotypic variance.
Genetic predisposition to increased blood cholesterol and triglyceride lipid levels is not associated with elevated LOAD risk. The observed epidemiological associations between abnormal lipid levels and LOAD risk could therefore be attributed to the result of biological pleiotropy or could be secondary to LOAD. Limitations of this study include the small proportion of lipid variance explained by the GRS, biases in case-control ascertainment, and the limitations implicit to Mendelian randomization studies. Future studies should focus on larger LOAD datasets with longitudinal sampled peripheral lipid measures and other markers of lipid metabolism, which have been shown to be altered in LOAD.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Currently, about 44 million people worldwide have dementia, a group of brain disorders characterized by an irreversible decline in memory, communication, and other “cognitive” functions. Dementia mainly affects older people and, because people are living longer, experts estimate that more than 135 million people will have dementia by 2050. The commonest form of dementia is Alzheimer disease. In this type of dementia, protein clumps called plaques and neurofibrillary tangles form in the brain and cause its degeneration. The earliest sign of Alzheimer disease is usually increasing forgetfulness. As the disease progresses, affected individuals gradually lose their ability to deal with normal daily activities such as dressing. They may become anxious or aggressive or begin to wander. They may also eventually lose control of their bladder and of other physical functions. At present, there is no cure for Alzheimer disease although some of its symptoms can be managed with drugs. Most people with the disease are initially cared for at home by relatives and other unpaid carers, but many patients end their days in a care home or specialist nursing home.
Why Was This Study Done?
Several lines of evidence suggest that lipid metabolism (how the body handles cholesterol and other fats) is altered in patients whose Alzheimer disease develops after the age of 60 years (late onset Alzheimer disease, LOAD). In particular, epidemiological studies (observational investigations that examine the patterns and causes of disease in populations) have found an association between high amounts of cholesterol in the blood in midlife and the risk of LOAD. However, observational studies cannot prove that abnormal lipid metabolism (dyslipidemia) causes LOAD. People with dyslipidemia may share other characteristics that cause both dyslipidemia and LOAD (confounding) or LOAD might actually cause dyslipidemia (reverse causation). Here, the researchers use “Mendelian randomization” to examine whether lifetime changes in lipid metabolism caused by genes have a causal impact on LOAD risk. In Mendelian randomization, causality is inferred from associations between genetic variants that mimic the effect of a modifiable risk factor and the outcome of interest. Because gene variants are inherited randomly, they are not prone to confounding and are free from reverse causation. So, if dyslipidemia causes LOAD, genetic variants that affect lipid metabolism should be associated with an altered risk of LOAD.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers investigated whether genetic predisposition to raised lipid levels increased the risk of LOAD in 10,578 participants (3,914 patients with LOAD, 1,675 elderly people without LOAD, and 4,989 population controls) using data collected in six genome wide studies looking for gene variants associated with Alzheimer disease. The researchers constructed a genotype risk score (GRS) for each participant using genetic risk markers for four types of blood lipids on the basis of the presence of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, a type of gene variant) in their DNA. When the researchers used statistical methods to investigate the association between the GRS and LOAD among all the study participants, they found no association between the GRS and LOAD.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the genetic predisposition to raised blood levels of four types of lipid is not causally associated with LOAD risk. The accuracy of this finding may be affected by several limitations of this study, including the small proportion of lipid variance explained by the GRS and the validity of several assumptions that underlie all Mendelian randomization studies. Moreover, because all the participants in this study were white, these findings may not apply to people of other ethnic backgrounds. Given their findings, the researchers suggest that the observed epidemiological associations between abnormal lipid levels in the blood and variation in lipid levels for reasons other than genetics, or to LOAD risk could be secondary to variation in lipid levels for reasons other than genetics, or to LOAD, a possibility that can be investigated by studying blood lipid levels and other markers of lipid metabolism over time in large groups of patients with LOAD. Importantly, however, these findings provide new information about the role of lipids in LOAD development that may eventually lead to new therapeutic and public-health interventions for Alzheimer disease.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information (including personal stories) about Alzheimer's disease
The UK not-for-profit organization Alzheimer's Society provides information for patients and carers about dementia, including personal experiences of living with Alzheimer's disease
The US not-for-profit organization Alzheimer's Association also provides information for patients and carers about dementia and personal stories about dementia
Alzheimer's Disease International is the international federation of Alzheimer disease associations around the world; it provides links to individual associations, information about dementia, and links to World Alzheimer Reports
MedlinePlus provides links to additional resources about Alzheimer's disease (in English and Spanish)
Wikipedia has a page on Mendelian randomization (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
PMCID: PMC4165594  PMID: 25226301
8.  Optimization and qualification of a memory B-cell ELISpot for the detection of vaccine-induced memory responses in HIV vaccine trials 
Journal of immunological methods  2013;394(0):84-93.
Various aspects of the human immune system can be analyzed to determine the efficacy of a vaccine. We have developed a B-cell ELISpot to measure HIV-specific antibody-secreting B cells in the peripheral blood as a result of vaccination or natural infection. Our method includes stimulating peripheral blood mononuclear cells with interleukin-2 and a polyclonal activator, R848, to induce memory B cells to differentiate into antibody-secreting cells. Total immunoglobulin-secreting as well as antigen-specific B cells are then quantified. We have tested several HIV Env gp120 and gp140 proteins from different HIV subtypes, as well as a sensitive consensus group M Env gp140. Our findings indicate that the B-cell ELISpot provides a sensitive and specific tool to detect antigen-specific memory B-cell responses, and it is equally suited to detect antibody-secreting plasmablasts present in the circulation shortly after infection or vaccination.
PMCID: PMC3736720  PMID: 23707324
B-cell ELISpot; Antibody-secreting cells; Memory B-cell responses; Vaccine; HIV; Mucosal responses
9.  The Role of Variation at AβPP, PSEN1, PSEN2, and MAPT in Late Onset Alzheimer’s Disease 
Gerrish, Amy | Russo, Giancarlo | Richards, Alexander | Moskvina, Valentina | Ivanov, Dobril | Harold, Denise | Sims, Rebecca | Abraham, Richard | Hollingworth, Paul | Chapman, Jade | Hamshere, Marian | Pahwa, Jaspreet Singh | Dowzell, Kimberley | Williams, Amy | Jones, Nicola | Thomas, Charlene | Stretton, Alexandra | Morgan, Angharad R. | Lovestone, Simon | Powell, John | Proitsi, Petroula | Lupton, Michelle K. | Brayne, Carol | Rubinsztein, David C. | Gill, Michael | Lawlor, Brian | Lynch, Aoibhinn | Morgan, Kevin | Brown, Kristelle S. | Passmore, Peter A. | Craig, David | McGuinness, Bernadette | Todd, Stephen | Johnston, Janet A. | Holmes, Clive | Mann, David | Smith, A. David | Love, Seth | Kehoe, Patrick G. | Hardy, John | Mead, Simon | Fox, Nick | Rossor, Martin | Collinge, John | Maier, Wolfgang | Jessen, Frank | Kölsch, Heike | Heun, Reinhard | Schürmann, Britta | van den Bussche, Hendrik | Heuser, Isabella | Kornhuber, Johannes | Wiltfang, Jens | Dichgans, Martin | Frölich, Lutz | Hampel, Harald | Hüll, Michael | Rujescu, Dan | Goate, Alison M. | Kauwe, John S. K. | Cruchaga, Carlos | Nowotny, Petra | Morris, John C. | Mayo, Kevin | Livingston, Gill | Bass, Nicholas J. | Gurling, Hugh | McQuillin, Andrew | Gwilliam, Rhian | Deloukas, Panagiotis | Davies, Gail | Harris, Sarah E. | Starr, John M. | Deary, Ian J. | Al-Chalabi, Ammar | Shaw, Christopher E. | Tsolaki, Magda | Singleton, Andrew B. | Guerreiro, Rita | Mühleisen, Thomas W. | Nöthen, Markus M. | Moebus, Susanne | Jöckel, Karl-Heinz | Klopp, Norman | Wichmann, H-Erich | Carrasquillo, Minerva M | Pankratz, V Shane | Younkin, Steven G. | Jones, Lesley | Holmans, Peter A. | O’Donovan, Michael C. | Owen, Michael J. | Williams, Julie
Rare mutations in AβPP, PSEN1, and PSEN2 cause uncommon early onset forms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and common variants in MAPT are associated with risk of other neurodegenerative disorders. We sought to establish whether common genetic variation in these genes confer risk to the common form of AD which occurs later in life (>65 years). We therefore tested single-nucleotide polymorphisms at these loci for association with late-onset AD (LOAD) in a large case-control sample consisting of 3,940 cases and 13,373 controls. Single-marker analysis did not identify any variants that reached genome-wide significance, a result which is supported by other recent genome-wide association studies. However, we did observe a significant association at the MAPT locus using a gene-wide approach (p = 0.009). We also observed suggestive association between AD and the marker rs9468, which defines the H1 haplotype, an extended haplotype that spans the MAPT gene and has previously been implicated in other neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, and corticobasal degeneration. In summary common variants at AβPP, PSEN1, and PSEN2 and MAPT are unlikely to make strong contributions to susceptibility for LOAD. However, the gene-wide effect observed at MAPT indicates a possible contribution to disease risk which requires further study.
PMCID: PMC4118466  PMID: 22027014
Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid-β protein precursor; genetics; human; MAPT protein; PSEN1 protein; PSEN2 protein
10.  The TRiC/CCT Chaperone Is Implicated in Alzheimer's Disease Based on Patient GWAS and an RNAi Screen in Aβ-Expressing Caenorhabditis elegans 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102985.
The human Aβ peptide causes progressive paralysis when expressed in the muscles of the nematode worm, C. elegans. We have exploited this model of Aβ toxicity by carrying out an RNAi screen to identify genes whose reduced expression modifies the severity of this locomotor phenotype. Our initial finding was that none of the human orthologues of these worm genes is identical with the genome-wide significant GWAS genes reported to date (the “white zone”); moreover there was no identity between worm screen hits and the longer list of GWAS genes which included those with borderline levels of significance (the “grey zone”). This indicates that Aβ toxicity should not be considered as equivalent to sporadic AD. To increase the sensitivity of our analysis, we then considered the physical interactors (+1 interactome) of the products of the genes in both the worm and the white+grey zone lists. When we consider these worm and GWAS gene lists we find that 4 of the 60 worm genes have a +1 interactome overlap that is larger than expected by chance. Two of these genes form a chaperonin complex, the third is closely associated with this complex and the fourth gene codes for actin, the major substrate of the same chaperonin.
PMCID: PMC4117641  PMID: 25080104
11.  Retinoic acid receptors are required for skeletal growth, matrix homeostasis and growth plate function in postnatal mouse 
Developmental biology  2009;328(2):315-327.
The retinoic acid receptors α, β and γ (RARα, RARβ and RARγ) are nuclear hormone receptors that regulate fundamental processes during embryogenesis, but their roles in skeletal development and growth remain unclear. To study skeletal-specific RAR function, we created conditional mouse mutants deficient in RAR expression in cartilage. We find that mice deficient in RARα and RARγ (or RARβ and RARγ) exhibit severe growth retardation obvious by about 3 weeks postnatally. Their growth plates are defective and, importantly, display a major drop in aggrecan expression and content. Mice deficient in RARα and RARβ, however, are virtually normal, suggesting that RARγ is essential. In good correlation, we find that RARγ is the most strongly expressed RAR in mouse growth plate and its expression characterizes the proliferative and pre-hypertrophic zones where aggrecan is strongly expressed also. By being avascular, those zones lack endogenous retinoids and thus RARγ is likely to exert ligand-less repressor function. Indeed, our data indicate that: aggrecan production is enhanced by RARγ over-expression in chondrocytes under retinoid-free culture conditions; production is further boosted by corepressor Zac1 or pharmacologic agents that enhance RAR repressor function; and RAR/Zac1 function on aggrecan expression may involve Sox proteins. In sum, our data reveal that RARs, and RARγ in particular, exert previously unappreciated roles in growth plate function and skeletal growth and regulate aggrecan expression and content. Since aggrecan is critical for growth plate function, its deficiency in RAR-mutant mice is likely to have contributed directly to their growth retardation.
PMCID: PMC4085816  PMID: 19389355
Retinoic acid receptors; Skeletal growth; Aggrecan; Growth plate; Zac1; Transcriptional repressors
12.  Gene-Wide Analysis Detects Two New Susceptibility Genes for Alzheimer's Disease 
Escott-Price, Valentina | Bellenguez, Céline | Wang, Li-San | Choi, Seung-Hoan | Harold, Denise | Jones, Lesley | Holmans, Peter | Gerrish, Amy | Vedernikov, Alexey | Richards, Alexander | DeStefano, Anita L. | Lambert, Jean-Charles | Ibrahim-Verbaas, Carla A. | Naj, Adam C. | Sims, Rebecca | Jun, Gyungah | Bis, Joshua C. | Beecham, Gary W. | Grenier-Boley, Benjamin | Russo, Giancarlo | Thornton-Wells, Tricia A. | Denning, Nicola | Smith, Albert V. | Chouraki, Vincent | Thomas, Charlene | Ikram, M. Arfan | Zelenika, Diana | Vardarajan, Badri N. | Kamatani, Yoichiro | Lin, Chiao-Feng | Schmidt, Helena | Kunkle, Brian | Dunstan, Melanie L. | Vronskaya, Maria | Johnson, Andrew D. | Ruiz, Agustin | Bihoreau, Marie-Thérèse | Reitz, Christiane | Pasquier, Florence | Hollingworth, Paul | Hanon, Olivier | Fitzpatrick, Annette L. | Buxbaum, Joseph D. | Campion, Dominique | Crane, Paul K. | Baldwin, Clinton | Becker, Tim | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Cruchaga, Carlos | Craig, David | Amin, Najaf | Berr, Claudine | Lopez, Oscar L. | De Jager, Philip L. | Deramecourt, Vincent | Johnston, Janet A. | Evans, Denis | Lovestone, Simon | Letenneur, Luc | Hernández, Isabel | Rubinsztein, David C. | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Sleegers, Kristel | Goate, Alison M. | Fiévet, Nathalie | Huentelman, Matthew J. | Gill, Michael | Brown, Kristelle | Kamboh, M. Ilyas | Keller, Lina | Barberger-Gateau, Pascale | McGuinness, Bernadette | Larson, Eric B. | Myers, Amanda J. | Dufouil, Carole | Todd, Stephen | Wallon, David | Love, Seth | Rogaeva, Ekaterina | Gallacher, John | George-Hyslop, Peter St | Clarimon, Jordi | Lleo, Alberto | Bayer, Anthony | Tsuang, Debby W. | Yu, Lei | Tsolaki, Magda | Bossù, Paola | Spalletta, Gianfranco | Proitsi, Petra | Collinge, John | Sorbi, Sandro | Garcia, Florentino Sanchez | Fox, Nick C. | Hardy, John | Naranjo, Maria Candida Deniz | Bosco, Paolo | Clarke, Robert | Brayne, Carol | Galimberti, Daniela | Scarpini, Elio | Bonuccelli, Ubaldo | Mancuso, Michelangelo | Siciliano, Gabriele | Moebus, Susanne | Mecocci, Patrizia | Zompo, Maria Del | Maier, Wolfgang | Hampel, Harald | Pilotto, Alberto | Frank-García, Ana | Panza, Francesco | Solfrizzi, Vincenzo | Caffarra, Paolo | Nacmias, Benedetta | Perry, William | Mayhaus, Manuel | Lannfelt, Lars | Hakonarson, Hakon | Pichler, Sabrina | Carrasquillo, Minerva M. | Ingelsson, Martin | Beekly, Duane | Alvarez, Victoria | Zou, Fanggeng | Valladares, Otto | Younkin, Steven G. | Coto, Eliecer | Hamilton-Nelson, Kara L. | Gu, Wei | Razquin, Cristina | Pastor, Pau | Mateo, Ignacio | Owen, Michael J. | Faber, Kelley M. | Jonsson, Palmi V. | Combarros, Onofre | O'Donovan, Michael C. | Cantwell, Laura B. | Soininen, Hilkka | Blacker, Deborah | Mead, Simon | Mosley, Thomas H. | Bennett, David A. | Harris, Tamara B. | Fratiglioni, Laura | Holmes, Clive | de Bruijn, Renee F. A. G. | Passmore, Peter | Montine, Thomas J. | Bettens, Karolien | Rotter, Jerome I. | Brice, Alexis | Morgan, Kevin | Foroud, Tatiana M. | Kukull, Walter A. | Hannequin, Didier | Powell, John F. | Nalls, Michael A. | Ritchie, Karen | Lunetta, Kathryn L. | Kauwe, John S. K. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Riemenschneider, Matthias | Boada, Mercè | Hiltunen, Mikko | Martin, Eden R. | Schmidt, Reinhold | Rujescu, Dan | Dartigues, Jean-François | Mayeux, Richard | Tzourio, Christophe | Hofman, Albert | Nöthen, Markus M. | Graff, Caroline | Psaty, Bruce M. | Haines, Jonathan L. | Lathrop, Mark | Pericak-Vance, Margaret A. | Launer, Lenore J. | Van Broeckhoven, Christine | Farrer, Lindsay A. | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Ramirez, Alfredo | Seshadri, Sudha | Schellenberg, Gerard D. | Amouyel, Philippe | Williams, Julie
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e94661.
Alzheimer's disease is a common debilitating dementia with known heritability, for which 20 late onset susceptibility loci have been identified, but more remain to be discovered. This study sought to identify new susceptibility genes, using an alternative gene-wide analytical approach which tests for patterns of association within genes, in the powerful genome-wide association dataset of the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project Consortium, comprising over 7 m genotypes from 25,580 Alzheimer's cases and 48,466 controls.
Principal Findings
In addition to earlier reported genes, we detected genome-wide significant loci on chromosomes 8 (TP53INP1, p = 1.4×10−6) and 14 (IGHV1-67 p = 7.9×10−8) which indexed novel susceptibility loci.
The additional genes identified in this study, have an array of functions previously implicated in Alzheimer's disease, including aspects of energy metabolism, protein degradation and the immune system and add further weight to these pathways as potential therapeutic targets in Alzheimer's disease.
PMCID: PMC4055488  PMID: 24922517
13.  Meta-analysis of 74,046 individuals identifies 11 new susceptibility loci for Alzheimer’s disease 
Lambert, Jean-Charles | Ibrahim-Verbaas, Carla A | Harold, Denise | Naj, Adam C | Sims, Rebecca | Bellenguez, Céline | Jun, Gyungah | DeStefano, Anita L | Bis, Joshua C | Beecham, Gary W | Grenier-Boley, Benjamin | Russo, Giancarlo | Thornton-Wells, Tricia A | Jones, Nicola | Smith, Albert V | Chouraki, Vincent | Thomas, Charlene | Ikram, M Arfan | Zelenika, Diana | Vardarajan, Badri N | Kamatani, Yoichiro | Lin, Chiao-Feng | Gerrish, Amy | Schmidt, Helena | Kunkle, Brian | Dunstan, Melanie L | Ruiz, Agustin | Bihoreau, Marie-Thérèse | Choi, Seung-Hoan | Reitz, Christiane | Pasquier, Florence | Hollingworth, Paul | Ramirez, Alfredo | Hanon, Olivier | Fitzpatrick, Annette L | Buxbaum, Joseph D | Campion, Dominique | Crane, Paul K | Baldwin, Clinton | Becker, Tim | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Cruchaga, Carlos | Craig, David | Amin, Najaf | Berr, Claudine | Lopez, Oscar L | De Jager, Philip L | Deramecourt, Vincent | Johnston, Janet A | Evans, Denis | Lovestone, Simon | Letenneur, Luc | Morón, Francisco J | Rubinsztein, David C | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Sleegers, Kristel | Goate, Alison M | Fiévet, Nathalie | Huentelman, Matthew J | Gill, Michael | Brown, Kristelle | Kamboh, M Ilyas | Keller, Lina | Barberger-Gateau, Pascale | McGuinness, Bernadette | Larson, Eric B | Green, Robert | Myers, Amanda J | Dufouil, Carole | Todd, Stephen | Wallon, David | Love, Seth | Rogaeva, Ekaterina | Gallacher, John | St George-Hyslop, Peter | Clarimon, Jordi | Lleo, Alberto | Bayer, Anthony | Tsuang, Debby W | Yu, Lei | Tsolaki, Magda | Bossù, Paola | Spalletta, Gianfranco | Proitsi, Petroula | Collinge, John | Sorbi, Sandro | Sanchez-Garcia, Florentino | Fox, Nick C | Hardy, John | Deniz Naranjo, Maria Candida | Bosco, Paolo | Clarke, Robert | Brayne, Carol | Galimberti, Daniela | Mancuso, Michelangelo | Matthews, Fiona | Moebus, Susanne | Mecocci, Patrizia | Zompo, Maria Del | Maier, Wolfgang | Hampel, Harald | Pilotto, Alberto | Bullido, Maria | Panza, Francesco | Caffarra, Paolo | Nacmias, Benedetta | Gilbert, John R | Mayhaus, Manuel | Lannfelt, Lars | Hakonarson, Hakon | Pichler, Sabrina | Carrasquillo, Minerva M | Ingelsson, Martin | Beekly, Duane | Alvarez, Victoria | Zou, Fanggeng | Valladares, Otto | Younkin, Steven G | Coto, Eliecer | Hamilton-Nelson, Kara L | Gu, Wei | Razquin, Cristina | Pastor, Pau | Mateo, Ignacio | Owen, Michael J | Faber, Kelley M | Jonsson, Palmi V | Combarros, Onofre | O’Donovan, Michael C | Cantwell, Laura B | Soininen, Hilkka | Blacker, Deborah | Mead, Simon | Mosley, Thomas H | Bennett, David A | Harris, Tamara B | Fratiglioni, Laura | Holmes, Clive | de Bruijn, Renee F A G | Passmore, Peter | Montine, Thomas J | Bettens, Karolien | Rotter, Jerome I | Brice, Alexis | Morgan, Kevin | Foroud, Tatiana M | Kukull, Walter A | Hannequin, Didier | Powell, John F | Nalls, Michael A | Ritchie, Karen | Lunetta, Kathryn L | Kauwe, John S K | Boerwinkle, Eric | Riemenschneider, Matthias | Boada, Mercè | Hiltunen, Mikko | Martin, Eden R | Schmidt, Reinhold | Rujescu, Dan | Wang, Li-san | Dartigues, Jean-François | Mayeux, Richard | Tzourio, Christophe | Hofman, Albert | Nöthen, Markus M | Graff, Caroline | Psaty, Bruce M | Jones, Lesley | Haines, Jonathan L | Holmans, Peter A | Lathrop, Mark | Pericak-Vance, Margaret A | Launer, Lenore J | Farrer, Lindsay A | van Duijn, Cornelia M | Van Broeckhoven, Christine | Moskvina, Valentina | Seshadri, Sudha | Williams, Julie | Schellenberg, Gerard D | Amouyel, Philippe
Nature genetics  2013;45(12):1452-1458.
Eleven susceptibility loci for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) were identified by previous studies; however, a large portion of the genetic risk for this disease remains unexplained. We conducted a large, two-stage meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in individuals of European ancestry. In stage 1, we used genotyped and imputed data (7,055,881 SNPs) to perform meta-analysis on 4 previously published GWAS data sets consisting of 17,008 Alzheimer’s disease cases and 37,154 controls. In stage 2,11,632 SNPs were genotyped and tested for association in an independent set of 8,572 Alzheimer’s disease cases and 11,312 controls. In addition to the APOE locus (encoding apolipoprotein E), 19 loci reached genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8) in the combined stage 1 and stage 2 analysis, of which 11 are newly associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
PMCID: PMC3896259  PMID: 24162737
14.  Polymorphisms in BACE2 may affect the age of onset Alzheimer's dementia in Down syndrome☆ 
Neurobiology of Aging  2014;35(6):1513.e1-1513.e5.
It is known that Alzheimer's disease (AD) presents at an early age in people with Down syndrome (DS). The trisomy 21 in DS provides an opportunity to study the effect of duplicated genes in AD. APP and BACE2 are 2 genes located in chromosome 21 and related to AD. We looked into our cohort of 67 DS cases with dementia for the effect of BACE2 variants in age of onset of dementia. Of the 83 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), 6 were associated with age of onset and another 8 SNPs were borderline associated. Our finding also replicated a previous study showing association of rs2252576 with AD.
PMCID: PMC3969241  PMID: 24462566
Down syndrome; BACE2; Alzheimer's disease; rs2252576
15.  Missense variant in TREML2 protects against Alzheimer's disease 
Neurobiology of Aging  2014;35(6):1510.e19-1510.e26.
TREM and TREM-like receptors are a structurally similar protein family encoded by genes clustered on chromosome 6p21.11. Recent studies have identified a rare coding variant (p.R47H) in TREM2 that confers a high risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD). In addition, common single nucleotide polymorphisms in this genomic region are associated with cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers for AD and a common intergenic variant found near the TREML2 gene has been identified to be protective for AD. However, little is known about the functional variant underlying the latter association or its relationship with the p.R47H. Here, we report comprehensive analyses using whole-exome sequencing data, cerebrospinal fluid biomarker analyses, meta-analyses (16,254 cases and 20,052 controls) and cell-based functional studies to support the role of the TREML2 coding missense variant p.S144G (rs3747742) as a potential driver of the meta-analysis AD-associated genome-wide association studies signal. Additionally, we demonstrate that the protective role of TREML2 in AD is independent of the role of TREM2 gene as a risk factor for AD.
PMCID: PMC3961557  PMID: 24439484
TREM2; Genome-wide association studies; Conditional analysis; Endophenotype; Gene; Alzheimer's disease; Association
16.  Implementing a Complex Intervention to Support Personal Recovery: A Qualitative Study Nested within a Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97091.
To investigate staff and trainer perspectives on the barriers and facilitators to implementing a complex intervention to help staff support the recovery of service users with a primary diagnosis of psychosis in community mental health teams.
Process evaluation nested within a cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT).
28 interviews with mental health care staff, 3 interviews with trainers, 4 focus groups with intervention teams and 28 written trainer reports.
14 community-based mental health teams in two UK sites (one urban, one semi-rural) who received the intervention.
The factors influencing the implementation of the intervention can be organised under two over-arching themes: Organisational readiness for change and Training effectiveness. Organisational readiness for change comprised three sub-themes: NHS Trust readiness; Team readiness; and Practitioner readiness. Training effectiveness comprised three sub-themes: Engagement strategies; Delivery style and Modelling recovery principles.
Three findings can inform future implementation and evaluation of complex interventions. First, the underlying intervention model predicted that three areas would be important for changing practice: staff skill development; intention to implement; and actual implementation behaviour. This study highlighted the importance of targeting the transition from practitioners' intent to implement to actual implementation behaviour, using experiential learning and target setting. Second, practitioners make inferences about organisational commitment by observing the allocation of resources, Knowledge Performance Indicators and service evaluation outcome measures. These need to be aligned with recovery values, principles and practice. Finally, we recommend the use of organisational readiness tools as an inclusion criteria for selecting both organisations and teams in cluster RCTs. We believe this would maximise the likelihood of adequate implementation and hence reduce waste in research expenditure.
Trial Registration ISRCTN02507940
PMCID: PMC4038471  PMID: 24875748
17.  Podocytes Regulate Neutrophil Recruitment by Glomerular Endothelial Cells via IL-6–Mediated Crosstalk 
Stromal cells actively modulate the inflammatory process, in part by influencing the ability of neighboring endothelial cells to support the recruitment of circulating leukocytes. We hypothesized that podocytes influence the ability of glomerular endothelial cells (GEnCs) to recruit neutrophils during inflammation. To address this, human podocytes and human GEnCs were cultured on opposite sides of porous inserts and then treated with or without increasing concentrations of TNF-α prior to addition of neutrophils. The presence of podocytes significantly reduced neutrophil recruitment to GEnCs by up to 50% when cultures were treated with high-dose TNF-α (100 U/ml), when compared with GEnC monocultures. Importantly, this phenomenon was dependent on paracrine actions of soluble IL-6, predominantly released by podocytes. A similar response was absent when HUVECs were cocultured with podocytes, indicating a tissue-specific phenomenon. Suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 elicited the immunosuppressive actions of IL-6 in a process that disrupted the presentation of chemokines on GEnCs by altering the expression of the duffy Ag receptor for chemokines. Interestingly, suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 knockdown in GEnCs upregulated duffy Ag receptor for chemokines and CXCL5 expression, thereby restoring the neutrophil recruitment. In summary, these studies reveal that podocytes can negatively regulate neutrophil recruitment to inflamed GEnCs by modulating IL-6 signaling, identifying a potential novel anti-inflammatory role of IL-6 in renal glomeruli.
PMCID: PMC4067868  PMID: 24872191
18.  GWAS of cerebrospinal fluid tau levels identifies novel risk variants for Alzheimer’s disease 
Neuron  2013;78(2):256-268.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tau, tau phosphorylated at threonine 181 (ptau) and Aβ42 are established biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), and have been used as quantitative traits for genetic analyses. We performed the largest genome-wide association study for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tau/ptau levels published to date (n=1,269), identifying three novel genome-wide significant loci for CSF tau and ptau: rs9877502 (P=4.89×10−9 for tau) located at 3q28 between GEMC1 and OSTN, rs514716 (P=1.07×10−8 and P=3.22×10−9 for tau and ptau respectively), located at 9p24.2 within GLIS3 and rs6922617 (P = 3.58×10−8 for CSF ptau) at 6p21.1 within the TREM gene cluster, a region recently reported to harbor rare variants that increase AD risk. In independent datasets rs9877502 showed a strong association with risk for AD, tangle pathology and global cognitive decline (P=2.67×10−4, 0.039, 4.86×10−5 respectively) illustrating how this endophenotype-based approach can be used to identify new AD risk loci.
PMCID: PMC3664945  PMID: 23562540
19.  Evidence that PICALM affects age at onset of Alzheimer's dementia in Down syndrome 
Neurobiology of Aging  2013;34(10):2441.e1-2441.e5.
It is known that individuals with Down syndrome develop Alzheimer’s disease with an early age at onset, although associated genetic risk factors have not been widely studied. We tested whether genes that increase the risk of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease influence the age at onset in Down syndrome using genome-wide association data for age at onset of dementia in a small sample of individuals (N = 67) with Down syndrome. We tested for association with loci previously associated with Alzheimer’s disease risk and, despite the small size of the study, we detected associations with age at onset of Alzheimer’s disease in Down syndrome with PICALM (β = 3.31, p = 0.011) and the APOE loci (β = 3.58, p = 0.014). As dementia in people with Down syndrome is relatively understudied, we make all of these data publicly available to encourage further analyses of the problem of Alzheimer’s disease in Down syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3898582  PMID: 23601808
Genome-wide association study; Down syndrome; Alzheimer’s disease; PICALM; APOE
21.  TREM2 Variants in Alzheimer's Disease 
The New England journal of medicine  2012;368(2):117-127.
Homozygous loss-of-function mutations in TREM2, encoding the triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 protein, have previously been associated with an autosomal recessive form of early-onset dementia.
We used genome, exome, and Sanger sequencing to analyze the genetic variability in TREM2 in a series of 1092 patients with Alzheimer's disease and 1107 controls (the discovery set). We then performed a meta-analysis on imputed data for the TREM2 variant rs75932628 (predicted to cause a R47H substitution) from three genomewide association studies of Alzheimer's disease and tested for the association of the variant with disease. We genotyped the R47H variant in an additional 1887 cases and 4061 controls. We then assayed the expression of TREM2 across different regions of the human brain and identified genes that are differentially expressed in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease and in control mice.
We found significantly more variants in exon 2 of TREM2 in patients with Alzheimer's disease than in controls in the discovery set (P = 0.02). There were 22 variant alleles in 1092 patients with Alzheimer's disease and 5 variant alleles in 1107 controls (P<0.001). The most commonly associated variant, rs75932628 (encoding R47H), showed highly significant association with Alzheimer's disease (P<0.001). Meta-analysis of rs75932628 genotypes imputed from genomewide association studies confirmed this association (P = 0.002), as did direct genotyping of an additional series of 1887 patients with Alzheimer's disease and 4061 controls (P<0.001). Trem2 expression differed between control mice and a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.
Heterozygous rare variants in TREM2 are associated with a significant increase in the risk of Alzheimer's disease. (Funded by Alzheimer's Research UK and others.)
PMCID: PMC3631573  PMID: 23150934
22.  Genome-wide Association Study of Alzheimer’s disease with Psychotic Symptoms 
Molecular psychiatry  2011;17(12):1316-1327.
Psychotic symptoms occur in approximately 40% of subjects with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and are associated with more rapid cognitive decline and increased functional deficits. They show heritability up to 61% and have been proposed as a marker for a disease subtype suitable for gene mapping efforts. We undertook a combined analysis of three genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to identify loci that a) increase susceptibility to an AD and subsequent psychotic symptoms; or b) modify risk of psychotic symptoms in the presence of neurodegeneration caused by AD. 1299 AD cases with psychosis (AD+P), 735 AD cases without psychosis (AD-P) and 5659 controls were drawn from GERAD1, the NIA-LOAD family study and the University of Pittsburgh ADRC GWAS. Unobserved genotypes were imputed to provide data on > 1.8 million SNPs. Analyses in each dataset were completed comparing a) AD+P to AD-P cases, and b) AD+P cases with controls (GERAD1, ADRC only). Aside from the APOE locus, the strongest evidence for association was observed in an intergenic region on chromosome 4 (rs753129; ‘AD+PvAD-P’ P=2.85 × 10−7; ‘AD+PvControls’ P=1.11 × 10−4). SNPs upstream of SLC2A9 (rs6834555, P=3.0×10−7) and within VSNL1 (rs4038131, P=5.9×10−7) showed strongest evidence for association with AD+P when compared to controls. These findings warrant further investigation in larger, appropriately powered samples in which the presence of psychotic symptoms in AD has been well characterised.
PMCID: PMC3272435  PMID: 22005930
Alzheimer’s disease; psychosis; behavioural symptoms; genome-wide association study; genetic
23.  A multi-centre study of ACE and the risk of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease 
A key pathological feature of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) is the abnormal extracellular accumulation of the amyloid beta (Aβ) peptide. Thus altered Aβ degradation could be a major contributor to the development of LOAD. Variants in the gene encoding the Aβ-degrading enzyme, angiotensin-1 converting enzyme (ACE) therefore represent plausible candidates for association with LOAD pathology and risk. Following Alzgene meta-analyses of all published case-control studies, the ACE variants rs4291 and rs1800764 showed significant association with LOAD risk. Furthermore ACE haplotypes are associated with both plasma ACE levels and LOAD risk. We tested three ACE variants (rs4291, rs4343 and rs1800764) for association with LOAD in ten Caucasian case-control populations (n=8,212). No association was found using multiple logistic models (all p>0.09). We found no population heterogeneity (all p>0.38) or evidence for association with LOAD risk following meta-analysis of the ten populations for rs4343 (OR=1.00), rs4291 (OR=0.97) or rs1800764 (OR=0.99). Although we found no haplotypic association in our complete dataset (p=0.51), a significant global haplotypic p-value was observed in one population (p=0.007) due to an association of the H3 haplotype (OR=0.72, p=0.02) and a trend towards an association of H4 (OR=1.38, p=0.09) and H7 (OR=2.07, p=0.08) although these did not survive Bonferroni correction. Previously reported associations of ACE variants with LOAD will be diminished following this study. At best, ACE variants have modest effect sizes, which are likely part of a complex interaction between genetic, phenotypic and pharmacological effects that would be undetected in traditional case-control studies.
PMCID: PMC3655234  PMID: 21297258
Alzheimer Disease; Late Onset; Angiotensin-1 Converting Enzyme; Haplotype; Heterogeneity; Meta-Analysis
24.  PAR-1 contributes to the innate immune response during viral infection 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2013;123(3):1310-1322.
Coagulation is a host defense system that limits the spread of pathogens. Coagulation proteases, such as thrombin, also activate cells by cleaving PARs. In this study, we analyzed the role of PAR-1 in coxsackievirus B3–induced (CVB3-induced) myocarditis and influenza A infection. CVB3-infected Par1–/– mice expressed reduced levels of IFN-β and CXCL10 during the early phase of infection compared with Par1+/+ mice that resulted in higher viral loads and cardiac injury at day 8 after infection. Inhibition of either tissue factor or thrombin in WT mice also significantly increased CVB3 levels in the heart and cardiac injury compared with controls. BM transplantation experiments demonstrated that PAR-1 in nonhematopoietic cells protected mice from CVB3 infection. Transgenic mice overexpressing PAR-1 in cardiomyocytes had reduced CVB3-induced myocarditis. We found that cooperative signaling between PAR-1 and TLR3 in mouse cardiac fibroblasts enhanced activation of p38 and induction of IFN-β and CXCL10 expression. Par1–/– mice also had decreased CXCL10 expression and increased viral levels in the lung after influenza A infection compared with Par1+/+ mice. Our results indicate that the tissue factor/thrombin/PAR-1 pathway enhances IFN-β expression and contributes to the innate immune response during single-stranded RNA viral infection.
PMCID: PMC3582138  PMID: 23391721
25.  Characterisation and Validation of Insertions and Deletions in 173 Patient Exomes 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51292.
Recent advances in genomics technologies have spurred unprecedented efforts in genome and exome re-sequencing aiming to unravel the genetic component of rare and complex disorders. While in rare disorders this allowed the identification of novel causal genes, the missing heritability paradox in complex diseases remains so far elusive. Despite rapid advances of next-generation sequencing, both the technology and the analysis of the data it produces are in its infancy. At present there is abundant knowledge pertaining to the role of rare single nucleotide variants (SNVs) in rare disorders and of common SNVs in common disorders. Although the 1,000 genome project has clearly highlighted the prevalence of rare variants and more complex variants (e.g. insertions, deletions), their role in disease is as yet far from elucidated.
We set out to analyse the properties of sequence variants identified in a comprehensive collection of exome re-sequencing studies performed on samples from patients affected by a broad range of complex and rare diseases (N = 173). Given the known potential for Loss of Function (LoF) variants to be false positive, we performed an extensive validation of the common, rare and private LoF variants identified, which indicated that most of the private and rare variants identified were indeed true, while common novel variants had a significantly higher false positive rate. Our results indicated a strong enrichment of very low-frequency insertion/deletion variants, so far under-investigated, which might be difficult to capture with low coverage and imputation approaches and for which most of study designs would be under-powered. These insertions and deletions might play a significant role in disease genetics, contributing specifically to the underlining rare and private variation predicted to be discovered through next generation sequencing.
PMCID: PMC3522676  PMID: 23251486

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