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1.  Genome-wide linkage analysis of longitudinal phenotypes using σ2A random effects (SSARs) fitted by Gibbs sampling 
BMC Genetics  2003;4(Suppl 1):S12.
The study of change in intermediate phenotypes over time is important in genetics. In this paper we explore a new approach to phenotype definition in the genetic analysis of longitudinal phenotypes. We utilized data from the longitudinal Framingham Heart Study Family Cohort to investigate the familial aggregation and evidence for linkage to change in systolic blood pressure (SBP) over time. We used Gibbs sampling to derive sigma-squared-A-random-effects (SSARs) for the longitudinal phenotype, and then used these as a new phenotype in subsequent genome-wide linkage analyses.
Additive genetic effects (σ2A.time) were estimated to account for ~9.2% of the variance in the rate of change of SBP with age, while additive genetic effects (σ2A) were estimated to account for ~43.9% of the variance in SBP at the mean age. The linkage results suggested that one or more major loci regulating change in SBP over time may localize to chromosomes 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, 11, 17, and 19. The results also suggested that one or more major loci regulating level of SBP may localize to chromosomes 3, 8, and 14.
Our results support a genetic component to both SBP and change in SBP with age, and are consistent with a complex, multifactorial susceptibility to the development of hypertension. The use of SSARs derived from quantitative traits as input to a conventional linkage analysis appears to be valuable in the linkage analysis of genetically complex traits. We have now demonstrated in this paper the use of SSARs in the context of longitudinal family data.
PMCID: PMC1866446  PMID: 14975080
2.  Lack of reproducibility of linkage results in serially measured blood pressure data 
BMC Genetics  2003;4(Suppl 1):S37.
Using the longitudinal Framingham Heart Study data on blood pressure, we analyzed the reproducibility of linkage measures from serial cross-sectional surveys of a defined population by performing genome-wide model-free linkage analyses to systolic blood pressure (SBP) and history of hypertension (HTN) measured at five separate time points.
The heritability of SBP was relatively stable over time, ranging from 11.6 to 23.5% (coefficient of variation = 25.7%). However, the variability in linkage results was much greater. The average correlation in LOD scores at any pair of time points was 0.46 for HTN (NPL All LOD) and 0.17 for SBP (Variance Components LOD). No evidence of reproducible linkage results was found, with a mean κ of 0.02 for linkage to HTN and -0.03 for SBP linkage. At loci with potential evidence for linkage (LOD > 1.0 at one or more time points), the correlation was even lower. The coefficient of variation at loci with potential evidence of linkage was 126% for HTN and 135% for SBP. None of 15 chromosomal regions for HTN and only one of 28 regions for SBP with potential evidence for linkage had a LOD > 1.0 at more than two of the five time points.
These data suggest that, although heritability estimates at different time points are relatively robust, the reproducibility of linkage results in serial cross-sectional samples of a geographically defined population at successive time points is poor. This may explain in part the difficulty encountered in replicating linkage studies of complex phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC1866472  PMID: 14975105
3.  A delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALAD) polymorphism may modify the relationship of low-level lead exposure to uricemia and renal function: the normative aging study. 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2003;111(3):335-341.
In this study we investigated whether a known delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALAD) exon 4 polymorphism has a modifying effect on the association of blood or bone lead level with uricemia and indices of renal function among middle-aged and elderly men. We performed a cross-sectional study of subjects who participated between 1991 and 1995 in the Department of Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study. Information on blood lead levels, bone lead levels (measured by K-shell X-ray fluorescence), serum uric acid, serum creatinine, estimated creatinine clearance, and ALAD polymorphism status was available in 709 subjects. Regression models were constructed to examine the relationships of serum uric acid, serum creatinine, and estimated creatinine clearance to blood or bone lead level, stratified by genotype. We also adjusted for age, body mass index, blood pressure, smoking, alcohol consumption, and ingestion of analgesic medications (n = 638). Of the 709 subjects, 7 (1%) and 107 (15%) were homozygous and heterozygous for the variant (ALAD-2) allele, respectively. The mean (range) serum uric acid and creatinine levels were 6.5 (2.9-10.6) and 1.2 (0.6-2.5) mg/dL. No significant differences were found in serum uric acid, serum creatinine, or estimated creatinine clearance by ALAD genotype. However, after adjusting for other potential confounders, we found a significant linear relationship between serum uric acid and patella bone lead (p = 0.040) among the ALAD 1-2/2-2 genotype individuals above a threshold patellar lead level of 15 micro g/g. In contrast, among the wild-type (ALAD 1-1) individuals, there was a suggestion of a significant linear relationship of serum uric acid with patella bone lead (p = 0.141), but only after a threshold of 101 micro g/g. There was evidence of a significant (p = 0.025) interaction of tibia lead with genotype (ALAD 1-1 vs. ALAD 1-2/2-2) regarding serum creatinine as an outcome, but in the same linear regression model tibia lead alone was not a significant predictor of serum creatinine. Conversely, for estimated creatinine clearance, patella lead, but not the interaction of patella lead with genotype, was a significantly independent predictor (p = 0.026). Our findings suggest that ALAD genotype may modify the effect of lead on the renal excretion of uric acid as well as overall renal function among middle-aged and elderly men who had community (nonoccupational) exposures to lead. Additional research is needed to ascertain whether this constitutes a true gene-environment interaction and, if so, its clinical impact.
PMCID: PMC1241391  PMID: 12611663

Results 1-3 (3)