To date, liver biopsy is the only means of reliable diagnosis for fatty liver disease (FLD). Owing to the inevitable biopsy-associated health risks, however, the development of valid noninvasive diagnostic tools for FLD is well warranted.
We evaluated a particular metabolic profile with regard to its ability to diagnose FLD and compared its performance to that of established phenotypes, conventional biomarkers and disease-associated genotypes.
The study population comprised 115 patients with ultrasound-diagnosed FLD and 115 sex- and age-matched controls for whom the serum concentration was measured of 138 different metabolites, including acylcarnitines, amino acids, biogenic amines, hexose, phosphatidylcholines (PCs), lyso-PCs and sphingomyelins. Established phenotypes, biomarkers, disease-associated genotypes and metabolite data were included in diagnostic models for FLD using logistic regression and partial least-squares discriminant analysis. The discriminative power of the ensuing models was compared with respect to area under curve (AUC), integrated discrimination improvement (IDI) and by way of cross-validation (CV).
Use of metabolic markers for predicting FLD showed the best performance among all considered types of markers, yielding an AUC of 0.8993. Additional information on phenotypes, conventional biomarkers or genotypes did not significantly improve this performance. Phospholipids and branched-chain amino acids were most informative for predicting FLD.
We show that the inclusion of metabolite data may substantially increase the power to diagnose FLD over that of models based solely upon phenotypes and conventional biomarkers.
Background and Aims
High frequency electrosurgery has a key role in the broadening application of liver surgery. Its molecular signature, i.e. the metabolites evolving from electrocauterization which may inhibit hepatic wound healing, have not been systematically studied.
Human liver samples were thus obtained during surgery before and after electrosurgical dissection and subjected to a two-stage metabolomic screening experiment (discovery sample: N = 18, replication sample: N = 20) using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry.
In a set of 208 chemically defined metabolites, electrosurgical dissection lead to a distinct metabolic signature resulting in a separation in the first two dimensions of a principal components analysis. Six metabolites including glycolic acid, azelaic acid, 2-n-pentylfuran, dihydroactinidiolide, 2-butenal and n-pentanal were consistently increased after electrosurgery meeting the discovery (p<2.0×10−4) and the replication thresholds (p<3.5×10−3). Azelaic acid, a lipid peroxidation product from the fragmentation of abundant sn-2 linoleoyl residues, was most abundant and increased 8.1-fold after electrosurgical liver dissection (preplication = 1.6×10−4). The corresponding phospholipid hexadecyl azelaoyl glycerophosphocholine inhibited wound healing and tissue remodelling in scratch- and proliferation assays of hepatic stellate cells and cholangiocytes, and caused apoptosis dose-dependently in vitro, which may explain in part the tissue damage due to electrosurgery.
Hepatic electrosurgery generates a metabolic signature with characteristic lipid peroxidation products. Among these, azelaic acid shows a dose-dependent toxicity in liver cells and inhibits wound healing. These observations potentially pave the way for pharmacological intervention prior liver surgery to modify the metabolic response and prevent postoperative complications.
Genome-wide association studies and follow-up meta-analyses in Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) have recently identified 163 disease-associated loci that meet genome-wide significance for these two inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). These discoveries have already had a tremendous impact on our understanding of the genetic architecture of these diseases and have directed functional studies that have revealed some of the biological functions that are important to IBD (e.g. autophagy). Nonetheless, these loci can only explain a small proportion of disease variance (∼14% in CD and 7.5% in UC), suggesting that not only are additional loci to be found but that the known loci may contain high effect rare risk variants that have gone undetected by GWAS. To test this, we have used a targeted sequencing approach in 200 UC cases and 150 healthy controls (HC), all of French Canadian descent, to study 55 genes in regions associated with UC. We performed follow-up genotyping of 42 rare non-synonymous variants in independent case-control cohorts (totaling 14,435 UC cases and 20,204 HC). Our results confirmed significant association to rare non-synonymous coding variants in both IL23R and CARD9, previously identified from sequencing of CD loci, as well as identified a novel association in RNF186. With the exception of CARD9 (OR = 0.39), the rare non-synonymous variants identified were of moderate effect (OR = 1.49 for RNF186 and OR = 0.79 for IL23R). RNF186 encodes a protein with a RING domain having predicted E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase activity and two transmembrane domains. Importantly, the disease-coding variant is located in the ubiquitin ligase domain. Finally, our results suggest that rare variants in genes identified by genome-wide association in UC are unlikely to contribute significantly to the overall variance for the disease. Rather, these are expected to help focus functional studies of the corresponding disease loci.
Genetic studies of common diseases have seen tremendous progress in the last half-decade primarily due to recent technologies that enable a systematic examination of genetic markers across the entire genome in large numbers of patients and healthy controls. The studies, while identifying genomic regions that influence a person's risk for developing disease, often do not pinpoint the actual gene or gene variants that account for this risk (called a causal gene/variant). A prime example of this can be seen with the 163 genetic risk factors that have recently been associated with the chronic inflammatory bowel diseases known as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. For less than a handful of these 163 is the causative change in the genetic code known. The current study used an approach to directly look at the genetic code for a subset of these and identified a causative change in the genetic code for eight risk factors for ulcerative colitis. This finding is particularly important because it directs biological studies to understand the mechanisms that lead to this chronic life-long inflammatory disease.
Sporadic, genetically complex essential tremor (ET) is one of the most common movement disorders and may lead to severe impairment of the quality of life. Despite high heritability, the genetic determinants of ET are largely unknown. We performed the second genome-wide association study (GWAS) for ET to elucidate genetic risk factors of ET.
Using the Affymetrix Genome-Wide SNP Array 6.0 (1000K) we conducted a two-stage GWAS in a total of 990 subjects and 1,537 control subjects from Europe to identify genetic variants associated with ET.
We discovered association of an intronic variant of the main glial glutamate transporter (SLC1A2) gene with ET in the first-stage sample (rs3794087, p = 6.95 × 10−5, odds ratio [OR] = 1.46). We verified the association of rs3794087 with ET in a second-stage sample (p = 1.25 × 10−3, OR = 1.38). In the subgroup analysis of patients classified as definite ET, rs3794087 obtained genome-wide significance (p = 3.44 × 10−10, OR = 1.59) in the combined first- and second-stage sample. Genetic fine mapping using nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and SNPs in high linkage disequilibrium with rs3794087 did not reveal any SNP with a stronger association with ET than rs3794087.
We identified SLC1A2 encoding the major glial high-affinity glutamate reuptake transporter in the brain as a potential ET susceptibility gene. Acute and chronic glutamatergic overexcitation is implied in the pathogenesis of ET. SLC1A2 is therefore a good functional candidate gene for ET.
To gain further insight into the genetic architecture of psoriasis, we conducted a meta-analysis of three genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and two independent datasets genotyped on the Immunochip, involving 10,588 cases and 22,806 controls in total. We identified 15 new disease susceptibility regions, increasing the number of psoriasis-associated loci to 36 for Caucasians. Conditional analyses identified five independent signals within previously known loci. The newly identified shared disease regions encompassed a number of genes whose products regulate T-cell function (e.g. RUNX3, TAGAP and STAT3). The new psoriasis-specific regions were notable for candidate genes whose products are involved in innate host defense, encoding proteins with roles in interferon-mediated antiviral responses (DDX58), macrophage activation (ZC3H12C), and NF-κB signaling (CARD14 and CARM1). These results portend a better understanding of shared and distinctive genetic determinants of immune-mediated inflammatory disorders and emphasize the importance of the skin in innate and acquired host defense.
Population genetic studies on European populations have highlighted Italy as one of genetically most diverse regions. This is possibly due to the country's complex demographic history and large variability in terrain throughout the territory. This is the reason why Italy is enriched for population isolates, Sardinia being the best-known example. As the population isolates have a great potential in disease-causing genetic variants identification, we aimed to genetically characterize a region from northeastern Italy, which is known for isolated communities. Total of 1310 samples, collected from six geographically isolated villages, were genotyped at >145 000 single-nucleotide polymorphism positions. Newly genotyped data were analyzed jointly with the available genome-wide data sets of individuals of European descent, including several population isolates. Despite the linguistic differences and geographical isolation the village populations still show the greatest genetic similarity to other Italian samples. The genetic isolation and small effective population size of the village populations is manifested by higher levels of genomic homozygosity and elevated linkage disequilibrium. These estimates become even more striking when the detected substructure is taken into account. The observed level of genetic isolation in Friuli-Venezia Giulia region is more extreme according to several measures of isolation compared with Sardinians, French Basques and northern Finns, thus proving the status of an isolate.
population genetics; isolated population; genetic distance
Here we explore association with human longevity of common genetic variation in three major candidate pathways: GH/IGF-1/insulin signaling, DNA damage signaling and repair and pro/antioxidants by investigating 1273 tagging SNPs in 148 genes composing these pathways. In a case-control study of 1089 oldest-old (age 92–93) and 736 middle-aged Danes we found 1 pro/antioxidant SNP (rs1002149 (GSR)), 5 GH/IGF-1/INS SNPs (rs1207362 (KL), rs2267723 (GHRHR), rs3842755 (INS), rs572169 (GHSR), rs9456497 (IGF2R)) and 5 DNA repair SNPs (rs11571461 (RAD52), rs13251813 (WRN), rs1805329 (RAD23B), rs2953983 (POLB), rs3211994 (NTLH1)) to be associated with longevity after correction for multiple testing.
In a longitudinal study with 11 years of follow-up on survival in the oldest-old Danes we found 2 pro/antioxidant SNPs (rs10047589 (TNXRD1), rs207444 (XDH)), 1 GH/IGF-1/INS SNP (rs26802 (GHRL)) and 3 DNA repair SNPs (rs13320360 (MLH1), rs2509049 (H2AFX) and rs705649 (XRCC5)) to be associated with mortality in late life after correction for multiple testing.
When examining the 11 SNPs from the case-control study in the longitudinal data, rs3842755 (INS), rs13251813 (WRN) and rs3211994 (NTHL1) demonstrated the same directions of effect (p<0.05), while rs9456497 (IGF2R) and rs1157146 (RAD52) showed non-significant tendencies, indicative of effects also in late life survival. In addition, rs207444 (XDH) presented the same direction of effect when inspecting the 6 SNPs from the longitudinal study in the case-control data, hence, suggesting an effect also in survival from middle age to old age.
No formal replications were observed when investigating the 11 SNPs from the case-control study in 1613 oldest-old (age 95–110) and 1104 middle-aged Germans, although rs11571461 (RAD52) did show a supportive non-significant tendency (OR = 1.162, 95% CI = 0.927–1.457). The same was true for rs10047589 (TNXRD1) (HR = 0.758, 95%CI = 0.543–1.058) when examining the 6 SNPs from the longitudinal study in a Dutch longitudinal cohort of oldest-old (age 85+, N = 563).
In conclusion, the present candidate gene based association study, the largest to date applying a pathway approach, points to potential new longevity loci, but does also underline the difficulties of replicating association findings in independent study populations and thus the difficulties in identifying universal longevity polymorphisms.
human longevity; association study; case-control data; longitudinal data
CCX282-B, also called vercirnon, is a specific, orally-administered chemokine receptor CCR9 antagonist that regulates migration and activation of inflammatory cells in the intestine. This randomized, placebo-controlled trial was conducted to evaluate the safety and efficacy of CCX282-B in 436 patients with Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s Disease Activity Index (CDAI) scores were 250–450 and C-reactive protein >7.5 mg/L at study entry. In addition to stable concomitant Crohn’s medication (85% of subjects), subjects received placebo or CCX282-B (250 mg once daily, 250 mg twice daily, or 500 mg once daily) for 12 weeks. They then received 250 mg CCX282-B twice daily, open-label, through week 16. Subjects who had a clinical response (a ≥70 point drop in CDAI) at week 16 were randomly assigned to groups given placebo or CCX282-B (250 mg, twice daily) for 36 weeks. Primary endpoints were clinical response at Week 8 and sustained clinical response at Week 52. During the 12-week Induction period, the clinical response was highest in the group given 500 mg CCX282-B once daily. Response rates at week 8 were 49% in the placebo group, 52% in the group given CCX282-B 250 mg once daily (odds ratio [OR] = 1.12; p = .667 vs placebo), 48% in the group given CCX282-B 250 mg twice daily (OR = 0.95; p = .833), and 60% in the group given CCX282-B 500 mg once daily (OR = 1.53; p = .111). At week 12, response rates were 47%, 56% (OR = 1.44; p = .168), 49% (OR = 1.07; p = .792), and 61% (OR = 1.74; p = .039), respectively. At the end of the Maintenance period (week 52), 47% of subjects on CCX282-B were in remission, compared to 31% on placebo (OR = 2.01; p = .012); 46% showed sustained clinical responses, compared to 42% on placebo (OR = 1.14; p = .629). CCX282-B was well tolerated. Encouraging results from this clinical trial led to initiation of Phase 3 clinical trials in Crohn’s disease.
The human intestinal microbiota is a crucial factor in the pathogenesis of various diseases, such as metabolic syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Yet, knowledge about the role of environmental factors such as smoking (which is known to influence theses aforementioned disease states) on the complex microbial composition is sparse. We aimed to investigate the role of smoking cessation on intestinal microbial composition in 10 healthy smoking subjects undergoing controlled smoking cessation.
During the observational period of 9 weeks repetitive stool samples were collected. Based on abundance of 16S rRNA genes bacterial composition was analysed and compared to 10 control subjects (5 continuing smokers and 5 non-smokers) by means of Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism analysis and high-throughput sequencing.
Profound shifts in the microbial composition after smoking cessation were observed with an increase of Firmicutes and Actinobacteria and a lower proportion of Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria on the phylum level. In addition, after smoking cessation there was an increase in microbial diversity.
These results indicate that smoking is an environmental factor modulating the composition of human gut microbiota. The observed changes after smoking cessation revealed to be similar to the previously reported differences in obese compared to lean humans and mice respectively, suggesting a potential pathogenetic link between weight gain and smoking cessation. In addition they give rise to a potential association of smoking status and the course of IBD.
Several studies examined the fine-scale structure of human genetic variation in Europe. However, the European sets analyzed represent mainly northern, western, central, and southern Europe. Here, we report an analysis of approximately 166,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms in populations from eastern (northeastern) Europe: four Russian populations from European Russia, and three populations from the northernmost Finno-Ugric ethnicities (Veps and two contrast groups of Komi people). These were compared with several reference European samples, including Finns, Estonians, Latvians, Poles, Czechs, Germans, and Italians. The results obtained demonstrated genetic heterogeneity of populations living in the region studied. Russians from the central part of European Russia (Tver, Murom, and Kursk) exhibited similarities with populations from central–eastern Europe, and were distant from Russian sample from the northern Russia (Mezen district, Archangelsk region). Komi samples, especially Izhemski Komi, were significantly different from all other populations studied. These can be considered as a second pole of genetic diversity in northern Europe (in addition to the pole, occupied by Finns), as they had a distinct ancestry component. Russians from Mezen and the Finnic-speaking Veps were positioned between the two poles, but differed from each other in the proportions of Komi and Finnic ancestries. In general, our data provides a more complete genetic map of Europe accounting for the diversity in its most eastern (northeastern) populations.
Instability in the composition of gut bacterial communities (dysbiosis) has been linked to common human intestinal disorders, such as Crohn’s disease and colorectal cancer. Here, we show that dysbiosis caused by Nod2 deficiency gives rise to a reversible, communicable risk of colitis and colitis-associated carcinogenesis in mice. Loss of either Nod2 or RIP2 resulted in a proinflammatory microenvironment that enhanced epithelial dysplasia following chemically induced injury. The condition could be improved by treatment with antibiotics or an anti–interleukin-6 receptor–neutralizing antibody. Genotype-dependent disease risk was communicable via maternally transmitted microbiota in both Nod2-deficient and WT hosts. Furthermore, reciprocal microbiota transplantation reduced disease risk in Nod2-deficient mice and led to long-term changes in intestinal microbial communities. Conversely, disease risk was enhanced in WT hosts that were recolonized with dysbiotic fecal microbiota from Nod2-deficient mice. Thus, we demonstrated that licensing of dysbiotic microbiota is a critical component of disease risk. Our results demonstrate that NOD2 has an unexpected role in shaping a protective assembly of gut bacterial communities and suggest that manipulation of dysbiosis is a potential therapeutic approach in the treatment of human intestinal disorders.
In most adult patients, hepatitis B is a self-limiting disease leading to life-long protective immunity, which is the consequence of a robust adaptive immune response occurring weeks after HBV infection. Intriguingly, HBV-specific T cells can be detected shortly after infection but the mechanisms underlying this early immune priming and its consequences for subsequent control of viral replication are poorly understood. Using primary human and murine hepatocytes and mouse models of transgenic and adenoviral HBV expression, we show that HBV-expressing hepatocytes produce endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated endogenous antigenic lipids including lysophospholipids that are generated by HBV-induced secretory phospholipases and lead to activation of natural killer T (NKT) cells. The absence of NKT cells, CD1d or a defect in ER-associated transfer of lipids onto CD1d results in diminished HBV-specific T and B cell responses and delayed viral control. NKT cells may therefore contribute to control of HBV infection through sensing of HBV-induced modified self-lipids.
Objectives: Using a novel candidate SNP approach, we aimed to identify a possible genetic basis for the higher glioma incidence in Whites relative to East Asians and African-Americans. Methods: We hypothesized that genetic regions containing SNPs with extreme differences in allele frequencies across ethnicities are most likely to harbor susceptibility variants. We used International HapMap Project data to identify 3,961 candidate SNPs with the largest allele frequency differences in Whites compared to East Asians and Africans and tested these SNPs for association with glioma risk in a set of White cases and controls. Top SNPs identified in the discovery dataset were tested for association with glioma in five independent replication datasets. Results: No SNP achieved statistical significance in either the discovery or replication datasets after accounting for multiple testing or conducting meta-analysis. However, the most strongly associated SNP, rs879471, was found to be in linkage disequilibrium with a previously identified risk SNP, rs6010620, in RTEL1. We estimate rs6010620 to account for a glioma incidence rate ratio of 1.34 for Whites relative to East Asians. Conclusion: We explored genetic susceptibility to glioma using a novel candidate SNP method which may be applicable to other diseases with appropriate epidemiologic patterns.
glioma; candidate SNP association study; ancestry informative markers; admixture; race; ethnicity; brain cancer
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic inflammatory musculoskeletal disease affecting up to 30% of psoriasis vulgaris (PsV) cases and approximately 0.25% to 1% of the general population. To identify common susceptibility loci, we performed a meta-analysis of three imputed genome-wide association studies (GWAS) on psoriasis, stratified for PsA. A total of 1,160,703 SNPs were analyzed in the discovery set consisting of 535 PsA cases and 3,432 controls from Germany, the United States and Canada. We followed up two SNPs in 1,931 PsA cases and 6,785 controls comprising six independent replication panels from Germany, Estonia, the United States and Canada. In the combined analysis, a genome-wide significant association was detected at 2p16 near the REL locus encoding c-Rel (rs13017599, P=1.18×10−8, OR=1.27, 95% CI=1.18–1.35). The rs13017599 polymorphism is known to associate with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and another SNP near REL (rs702873) was recently implicated in PsV susceptibility. However, conditional analysis indicated that rs13017599, rather than rs702873, accounts for the PsA association at REL. We hypothesize that c-Rel, as a member of the Rel/NF-κB family, is associated with PsA in the context of disease pathways that involve other identified PsA and PsV susceptibility genes including TNIP1, TNFAIP3 and NFκBIA.
Genome-wide association studies of two main forms of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), have identified 99 susceptibility loci, but these explain only ∼23% of the genetic risk. Part of the ‘hidden heritability’ could be in transmissible genetic effects in which mRNA expression in the offspring depends on the parental origin of the allele (genomic imprinting), since children whose mothers have CD are more often affected than children with affected fathers. We analyzed parent-of-origin (POO) effects in Dutch and Indian cohorts of IBD patients.
We selected 28 genetic loci associated with both CD and UC, and tested them for POO effects in 181 Dutch IBD case-parent trios. Three susceptibility variants in NOD2 were tested in 111 CD trios and a significant finding was re-evaluated in 598 German trios. The UC-associated gene, BTNL2, reportedly imprinted, was tested in 70 Dutch UC trios. Finally, we used 62 independent Indian UC trios to test POO effects of five established Indian UC risk loci.
We identified POO effects for NOD2 (L1007fs; OR = 21.0, P-value = 0.013) for CD; these results could not be replicated in an independent cohort (OR = 0.97, P-value = 0.95). A POO effect in IBD was observed for IL12B (OR = 3.2, P-value = 0.019) and PRDM1 (OR = 5.6, P-value = 0.04). In the Indian trios the IL10 locus showed a POO effect (OR = 0.2, P-value = 0.03).
Little is known about the effect of genomic imprinting in complex diseases such as IBD. We present limited evidence for POO effects for the tested IBD loci. POO effects explain part of the hidden heritability for complex genetic diseases but need to be investigated further.
Many hypothesis-driven genetic studies require the ability to comprehensively and efficiently target specific regions of the genome to detect sequence variations. Often, sample availability is limited requiring the use of whole genome amplification (WGA). We evaluated a high-throughput microdroplet-based PCR approach in combination with next generation sequencing (NGS) to target 384 discrete exons from 373 genes involved in cancer. In our evaluation, we compared the performance of six non-amplified gDNA samples from two HapMap family trios. Three of these samples were also preamplified by WGA and evaluated. We tested sample pooling or multiplexing strategies at different stages of the tested targeted NGS (T-NGS) workflow.
The results demonstrated comparable sequence performance between non-amplified and preamplified samples and between different indexing strategies [sequence specificity of 66.0% ± 3.4%, uniformity (coverage at 0.2× of the mean) of 85.6% ± 0.6%]. The average genotype concordance maintained across all the samples was 99.5% ± 0.4%, regardless of sample type or pooling strategy. We did not detect any errors in the Mendelian patterns of inheritance of genotypes between the parents and offspring within each trio. We also demonstrated the ability to detect minor allele frequencies within the pooled samples that conform to predicted models.
Our described PCR-based sample multiplex approach and the ability to use WGA material for NGS may enable researchers to perform deep resequencing studies and explore variants at very low frequencies and cost.
High-throughput targeted next-generation resequencing; Microdroplet-based multiplex PCR; Sample pooling or multiplexing; Whole-genome amplified DNA samples; Cost reduction
The bivalve Arctica islandica is extremely long lived (>400 years) and can tolerate long periods of hypoxia and anoxia. European populations differ in maximum life spans (MLSP) from 40 years in the Baltic to >400 years around Iceland. Characteristic behavior of A. islandica involves phases of metabolic rate depression (MRD) during which the animals burry into the sediment for several days. During these phases the shell water oxygen concentrations reaches hypoxic to anoxic levels, which possibly support the long life span of some populations. We investigated gene regulation in A. islandica from a long-lived (MLSP 150 years) German Bight population and the short-lived Baltic Sea population, experimentally exposed to different oxygen levels. A new A. islandica transcriptome enabled the identification of genes important during hypoxia/anoxia events and, more generally, gene mining for putative stress response and (anti-) aging genes. Expression changes of a) antioxidant defense: Catalase, Glutathione peroxidase, manganese and copper-zinc Superoxide dismutase; b) oxygen sensing and general stress response: Hypoxia inducible factor alpha, Prolyl hydroxylase and Heat-shock protein 70; and c) anaerobic capacity: Malate dehydrogenase and Octopine dehydrogenase, related transcripts were investigated. Exposed to low oxygen, German Bight individuals suppressed transcription of all investigated genes, whereas Baltic Sea bivalves enhanced gene transcription under anoxic incubation (0 kPa) and, further, decreased these transcription levels again during 6 h of re-oxygenation. Hypoxic and anoxic exposure and subsequent re-oxygenation in Baltic Sea animals did not lead to increased protein oxidation or induction of apoptosis, emphasizing considerable hypoxia/re-oxygenation tolerance in this species. The data suggest that the energy saving effect of MRD may not be an attribute of Baltic Sea A. islandica chronically exposed to high environmental variability (oxygenation, temperature, salinity). Contrary, higher physiological flexibility and stress hardening may predispose these animals to perform a pronounced stress response at the expense of life span.
Scientists working with single-nucleotide variants (SNVs), inferred by next-generation sequencing software, often need further information regarding true variants, artifacts and sequence coverage gaps. In clinical diagnostics, e.g. SNVs must usually be validated by visual inspection or several independent SNV-callers. We here demonstrate that 0.5–60% of relevant SNVs might not be detected due to coverage gaps, or might be misidentified. Even low error rates can overwhelm the true biological signal, especially in clinical diagnostics, in research comparing healthy with affected cells, in archaeogenetic dating or in forensics. For these reasons, we have developed a package called pibase, which is applicable to diploid and haploid genome, exome or targeted enrichment data. pibase extracts details on nucleotides from alignment files at user-specified coordinates and identifies reproducible genotypes, if present. In test cases pibase identifies genotypes at 99.98% specificity, 10-fold better than other tools. pibase also provides pair-wise comparisons between healthy and affected cells using nucleotide signals (10-fold more accurately than a genotype-based approach, as we show in our case study of monozygotic twins). This comparison tool also solves the problem of detecting allelic imbalance within heterozygous SNVs in copy number variation loci, or in heterogeneous tumor sequences.
Background & Aims
A limited number of genetic risk factors have been reported in primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). To discover further genetic susceptibility factors for PSC, we followed up on a second tier of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from a genome-wide association study (GWAS).
We analyzed 45 SNPs in 1221 PSC cases and 3508 controls. The association results from the replication analysis and the original GWAS (715 PSC cases and 2962 controls) were combined in a meta-analysis comprising 1936 PSC cases and 6470 controls. We performed an analysis of bile microbial community composition in 39 PSC patients by 16S rRNA sequencing.
Seventeen SNPs representing 12 distinct genetic loci achieved nominal significance (Preplication<0.05) in the replication. The most robust novel association was detected at chromosome 1p36 (rs3748816; Pcombined=2.1×10−8) where the MMEL1 and TNFRSF14 genes represent potential disease genes. Eight additional novel loci showed suggestive evidence of association (Prepl<0.05). FUT2 at chromosome 19q13 (rs602662; Pcomb=1.9×10−6, rs281377; Pcomb = 2.1×10−6 and rs601338; Pcomb=2.7×10−6) is notable due to its implication in altered susceptibility to infectious agents. We found that FUT2 secretor status and genotype defined by rs601338 significantly influences biliary microbial community composition in PSC patients.
We identify multiple new PSC risk loci by extended analysis of a PSC GWAS. FUT2 genotype needs to be taken into account when assessing the influence from microbiota on biliary pathology in PSC.
primary sclerosing cholangitis; genome-wide association study; single nucleotide polymorphism; immunogenetics
Compared to classical genotyping, targeted next-generation sequencing (tNGS) can be custom-designed to interrogate entire genomic regions of interest, in order to detect novel as well as known variants. To bring down the per-sample cost, one approach is to pool barcoded NGS libraries before sample enrichment. Still, we lack a complete understanding of how this multiplexed tNGS approach and the varying performance of the ever-evolving analytical tools can affect the quality of variant discovery. Therefore, we evaluated the impact of different software tools and analytical approaches on the discovery of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in multiplexed tNGS data. To generate our own test model, we combined a sequence capture method with NGS in three experimental stages of increasing complexity (E. coli genes, multiplexed E. coli, and multiplexed HapMap BRCA1/2 regions).
We successfully enriched barcoded NGS libraries instead of genomic DNA, achieving reproducible coverage profiles (Pearson correlation coefficients of up to 0.99) across multiplexed samples, with <10% strand bias. However, the SNP calling quality was substantially affected by the choice of tools and mapping strategy. With the aim of reducing computational requirements, we compared conventional whole-genome mapping and SNP-calling with a new faster approach: target-region mapping with subsequent ‘read-backmapping’ to the whole genome to reduce the false detection rate. Consequently, we developed a combined mapping pipeline, which includes standard tools (BWA, SAMtools, etc.), and tested it on public HiSeq2000 exome data from the 1000 Genomes Project. Our pipeline saved 12 hours of run time per Hiseq2000 exome sample and detected ~5% more SNPs than the conventional whole genome approach. This suggests that more potential novel SNPs may be discovered using both approaches than with just the conventional approach.
We recommend applying our general ‘two-step’ mapping approach for more efficient SNP discovery in tNGS. Our study has also shown the benefit of computing inter-sample SNP-concordances and inspecting read alignments in order to attain more confident results.
Two-stage mapping; Read-backmapping; Software performance; SNP discovery; Multiplexed targeted next-generation sequencing
The purpose of this study was to examine the differing perspectives and perceptual gaps relating to ulcerative colitis (UC) symptoms and their management between patients and healthcare professionals (HCPs).
Structured, cross-sectional, Web-based questionnaires designed to assess a variety of disease indices were completed by adult patients with UC and HCPs involved in the care of patients with UC from Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
Surveys were completed by 775 patients, 475 physicians, and 50 nurses. Patient self-reported classification of disease severity revealed generally greater severity (mild, 32%; moderate, 53%) compared with physician and nurse estimates of UC severity among their caseloads (mild, 52% and 49%; moderate, 34% and 37%, respectively). Patients reported that an average of 5.5 (standard deviation, 11.0) flares (self-defined) occurred over the past year, compared with 3.4 and 3.8 flares per year estimated by physicians and nurses. Perceived flare triggers differed between patients (stress ranked first) and HCPs (natural disease course ranked first). Fifty-five percent of patients stated that UC symptoms over the past year had affected their quality of life, while physicians and nurses estimated that 35% to 37% of patients would have a reduced quality of life over the same period. Patients ranked urgency and pain as the most bothersome symptoms, while physicians and nurses ranked urgency and stool frequency highest. About half of patients (47%) defined remission as experiencing no symptoms; by comparison, 62% to 63% of HCPs defined remission as requiring the complete absence of symptoms. HCPs (doctors/nurses in general practice and/or hospital) were regarded by patients as their main source of UC information by 72%; however, 59% reported not arranging regular visits to see their HCPs.
This large survey identified important differences between patients' and HCPs' perceptions of the impact of UC symptoms on patients' lives. Notably, HCPs may underestimate the effect of specific UC symptoms on patients and may fail to recognize issues that are important to patients.
5-aminosalicyclic acid; Survey; Physicians; Nurses; Quality of life; Ulcerative colitis
The gene tyrosine hydroxylase 1 (TH01) has been suggested as a candidate for human longevity. A previous study has shown an association between longevity and specific alleles of the TH01 short tandem repeat (STR) polymorphism in an Italian population. This STR locus is also widely used in forensic genetics. If the TH01–longevity association could be confirmed in independent samples, this finding would have important ramifications for the use of this polymorphism in a forensic context. In the present study, we sought to replicate the previous association result by investigating 471 long-lived individuals (96–110 years) and 462 younger controls (19–75 years) from Germany. In the analyzed samples, the association between TH01 and longevity was not replicated. However, the obtained TH01 allele frequencies were consistent with published data. We observed considerable differences in the allele distribution between Germans and Italians, in particular with regard to allele 9.3, which displayed a previously undetected decreasing West–East and North–South cline across Europe. The discrepant TH01–longevity association results in Germans and Italians could therefore be due to population-specific effects. This finding highlights the need to take into consideration population genetic data when dealing with association studies.
TH01; human longevity; forensic; STR; allele 9.3
While gliomas are the most common primary brain tumors, their etiology is largely unknown. To identify novel risk loci for glioma, we conducted genome-wide association (GWA) analysis of two case–control series from France and Germany (2269 cases and 2500 controls). Pooling these data with previously reported UK and US GWA studies provided data on 4147 glioma cases and 7435 controls genotyped for 424 460 common tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms. Using these data, we demonstrate two statistically independent associations between glioma and rs11979158 and rs2252586, at 7p11.2 which encompasses the EGFR gene (population-corrected statistics, Pc = 7.72 × 10−8 and 2.09 × 10−8, respectively). Both associations were independent of tumor subtype, and were independent of EGFR amplification, p16INK4a deletion and IDH1 mutation status in tumors; compatible with driver effects of the variants on glioma development. These findings show that variation in 7p11.2 is a determinant of inherited glioma risk.
The fatty-acid-binding protein-2 (FABP2) gene has been proposed as a candidate gene for diabetes because the encoded protein is involved in fatty acid absorption and therefore may affect insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. The rare haplotype (B) of its promoter was shown to be associated with a lower risk for type 2 diabetes. The aim of this study was to investigate whether a polymorphism in the FABP2 promoter does affect the metabolic response to either an medium-chain triacylglycerol (MCT) or an long-chain triacylglycerol (LCT) diet, which were suggested to differ in transport mechanisms, in affinity to FABP2, in activating transcription factors binding to the FABP2 promoter and in their effects on insulin sensitivity. We studied 82 healthy male subjects varying in the FABP2 promoter (42 homozygous for common haplotype (A), 40 homozygous for the rare haplotype (B)) in an interventional study with either an MCT or LCT diet over 2 weeks to examine gene–nutrient interaction. The saturation grade of MCT was adjusted to that of the LCT fat. We determined glucose, insulin, triacylglycerols (TGs), chylomicron triacylglycerols and cholesterol before and after a standardised mixed meal before and after the intervention. HDL cholesterol increased in all groups, which was most pronounced in subjects homozygous for the common promoter haplotype A who received MCT diet (P = 0.001), but not significant in homozygous rare haplotype B subjects who received MCT fat. Subjects homozygous for FABP2 haplotype A showed a significant decrease in fasting and postprandial glucose (P = 0.01, 0.04, respectively) and a decrease in insulin resistance (HOMA-IR, P = 0.04) during LCT diet. After correction for multiple testing, those effects did not remain significant. Fasting and postprandial triacylglycerols, LDL cholesterol, chylomicron TGs and cholesterol were not affected by genotype or diet. MCT diet increased HDL cholesterol dependent on the FABP2 promoter haplotype. The effects of the promoter haplotype B could be mediated by PPARγ, which is upregulated by medium-chain fatty acids.
FABP2; Promoter; Polymorphism; Mutation; SNP; MCT; Gene diet interaction; Postprandial metabolism
We have validated the association of two genes on chromosome 20q13.31–33 with tuberculosis susceptibility. A previous genome-wide linkage study performed by Cooke et al identified the genes melanocortin-3-receptor (MC3R) and cathepsin Z (CTSZ) as possible candidates in tuberculosis susceptibility. MC3R has been implicated in obesity studies and is known to play a role in many biological systems including the regulation of energy homeostasis and fat metabolism. CTSZ has been detected in immune cells, such as macrophages and monocytes, and it is hypothesized that the protein may play a role in the immune response. In our South African population a case–control study confirmed the previously reported association with a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in CTSZ and found an association in MC3R with a SNP not previously implicated in tuberculosis susceptibility. Six SNPs in MC3R and eight in CTSZ were genotyped and haplotypes were inferred. SNP rs6127698 in the promoter region of MC3R (cases=498; controls=506) and rs34069356 in the 3′UTR of CTSZ (cases=396; controls=298) both showed significant association with tuberculosis susceptibility (P=0.0004 and <0.0001, respectively), indicating that pathways involving these proteins, not previously researched in this disease, could yield novel therapies for tuberculosis.
melanocortin-3-receptor; cathepsin Z; tuberculosis; polymorphism; South African Coloured