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1.  Genetic analyses of smoking initiation, persistence, quantity, and age-at-onset of regular cigarette use in Brazilian families: the Baependi Heart Study 
BMC Medical Genetics  2012;13:9.
Background
The purpose of this study was to estimate the genetic influences on the initiation of cigarette smoking, the persistence, quantity and age-at-onset of regular cigarette use in Brazilian families.
Methods
The data set consisted of 1,694 individuals enrolled in the Baependi Heart Study. The heritability and the heterogeneity in genetic and environmental variance components by gender were estimated from variance components approaches, using the SOLAR (Sequential Oligogenic Linkage Analysis Routines) computer package. The mixed-effects Cox model was used for the genetic analysis of the age-at onset of regular cigarette use.
Results
The heritability estimates were high (> 50%) for smoking initiation and were intermediate, ranging from 23.4 to 31.9%, for smoking persistence and quantity. Significant evidence for heterogeneity in variance components by gender was observed for smoking initiation and age-at-onset of regular cigarette use. Genetic factors play an important role in the interindividual variation of these phenotypes in females, while in males there is a predominant environmental component, which could be explained by greater social influences in the initiation of tobacco use.
Conclusions
Significant heritabilities were observed in smoking phenotypes for both males and females from the Brazilian population. These data add to the literature and are concordant with the notion of significant biological determination in smoking behavior. Samples from the Baependi Heart Study may be valuable for the mapping of genetic loci that modulate this complex biological trait.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-13-9
PMCID: PMC3395823  PMID: 22289947
2.  Heritability of physical activity traits in Brazilian families: the Baependi Heart Study 
BMC Medical Genetics  2011;12:155.
Background
It is commonly recognized that physical activity has familial aggregation; however, the genetic influences on physical activity phenotypes are not well characterized. This study aimed to (1) estimate the heritability of physical activity traits in Brazilian families; and (2) investigate whether genetic and environmental variance components contribute differently to the expression of these phenotypes in males and females.
Methods
The sample that constitutes the Baependi Heart Study is comprised of 1,693 individuals in 95 Brazilian families. The phenotypes were self-reported in a questionnaire based on the WHO-MONICA instrument. Variance component approaches, implemented in the SOLAR (Sequential Oligogenic Linkage Analysis Routines) computer package, were applied to estimate the heritability and to evaluate the heterogeneity of variance components by gender on the studied phenotypes.
Results
The heritability estimates were intermediate (35%) for weekly physical activity among non-sedentary subjects (weekly PA_NS), and low (9-14%) for sedentarism, weekly physical activity (weekly PA), and level of daily physical activity (daily PA). Significant evidence for heterogeneity in variance components by gender was observed for the sedentarism and weekly PA phenotypes. No significant gender differences in genetic or environmental variance components were observed for the weekly PA_NS trait. The daily PA phenotype was predominantly influenced by environmental factors, with larger effects in males than in females.
Conclusions
Heritability estimates for physical activity phenotypes in this sample of the Brazilian population were significant in both males and females, and varied from low to intermediate magnitude. Significant evidence for heterogeneity in variance components by gender was observed. These data add to the knowledge of the physical activity traits in the Brazilian study population, and are concordant with the notion of significant biological determination in active behavior.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-12-155
PMCID: PMC3247825  PMID: 22126647
3.  SLCO1B1 rs4149056 polymorphism associated with statin-induced myopathy is differently distributed according to ethnicity in the Brazilian general population: Amerindians as a high risk ethnic group 
BMC Medical Genetics  2011;12:136.
Background
Recent studies reported the association between SLCO1B1 polymorphisms and the development of statin-induced myopathy. In the scenario of the Brazilian population, being one of the most heterogeneous in the world, the main aim here was to evaluate SLCO1B1 polymorphisms according to ethnic groups as an initial step for future pharmacogenetic studies.
Methods
One hundred and eighty-two Amerindians plus 1,032 subjects from the general urban population were included. Genotypes for the SLCO1B1 rs4149056 (c.T521C, p.V174A, exon 5) and SLCO1B1 rs4363657 (g.T89595C, intron 11) polymorphisms were detected by polymerase chain reaction followed by high resolution melting analysis with the Rotor Gene 6000® instrument.
Results
The frequencies of the SLCO1B1 rs4149056 and rs4363657 C variant allele were higher in Amerindians (28.3% and 26.1%) and were lower in African descent subjects (5.7% and 10.8%) compared with Mulatto (14.9% and 18.2%) and Caucasian descent (14.8% and 15.4%) ethnic groups (p < 0.001 and p < 0.001, respectively). Linkage disequilibrium analysis show that these variant alleles are in different linkage disequilibrium patterns depending on the ethnic origin.
Conclusion
Our findings indicate interethnic differences for the SLCO1B1 rs4149056 C risk allele frequency among Brazilians. These data will be useful in the development of effective programs for stratifying individuals regarding adherence, efficacy and choice of statin-type.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-12-136
PMCID: PMC3204270  PMID: 21992719
SLCO1B1; rs4149056; statins; myopathy; Amerindian; pharmacogenetic
4.  The C242T polymorphism of the p22-phox gene (CYBA) is associated with higher left ventricular mass in Brazilian hypertensive patients 
BMC Medical Genetics  2011;12:114.
Background
Reactive oxygen species have been implicated in the physiopathogenesis of hypertensive end-organ damage. This study investigated the impact of the C242T polymorphism of the p22-phox gene (CYBA) on left ventricular structure in Brazilian hypertensive subjects.
Methods
We cross-sectionally evaluated 561 patients from 2 independent centers [Campinas (n = 441) and Vitória (n = 120)] by clinical history, physical examination, anthropometry, analysis of metabolic and echocardiography parameters as well as p22-phox C242T polymorphism genotyping. In addition, NADPH-oxidase activity was quantified in peripheral mononuclear cells from a subgroup of Campinas sample.
Results
Genotype frequencies in both samples were consistent with the Hardy- Weinberg equilibrium. Subjects with the T allele presented higher left ventricular mass/height2.7 than those carrying the CC genotype in Campinas (76.8 ± 1.6 vs 70.9 ± 1.4 g/m2.7; p = 0.009), and in Vitória (45.6 ± 1.9 vs 39.9 ± 1.4 g/m2.7; p = 0.023) samples. These results were confirmed by stepwise regression analyses adjusted for age, gender, blood pressure, metabolic variables and use of anti-hypertensive medications. In addition, increased NADPH-oxidase activity was detected in peripheral mononuclear cells from T allele carriers compared with CC genotype carriers (p = 0.03).
Conclusions
The T allele of the p22-phox C242T polymorphism is associated with higher left ventricular mass/height2.7 and increased NADPH-oxidase activity in Brazilian hypertensive patients. These data suggest that genetic variation within NADPH-oxidase components may modulate left ventricular remodeling in subjects with systemic hypertension.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-12-114
PMCID: PMC3182137  PMID: 21884584
p22-phox; left ventricle; hypertension; polymorphism; NADPH-oxidase
5.  CYP2C19 and ABCB1 gene polymorphisms are differently distributed according to ethnicity in the Brazilian general population 
BMC Medical Genetics  2011;12:13.
Background
Recent studies have reported the clinical importance of CYP2C19 and ABCB1 polymorphisms in an individualized approach to clopidogrel treatment. The aims of this study were to evaluate the frequencies of CYP2C19 and ABCB1 polymorphisms and to identify the clopidogrel-predicted metabolic phenotypes according to ethnic groups in a sample of individuals representative of a highly admixtured population.
Methods
One hundred and eighty-three Amerindians and 1,029 subjects of the general population of 4 regions of the country were included. Genotypes for the ABCB1c.C3435T (rs1045642), CYP2C19*2 (rs4244285), CYP2C19*3 (rs4986893), CYP2C19*4 (rs28399504), CYP2C19*5 (rs56337013), and CYP2C19*17 (rs12248560) polymorphisms were detected by polymerase chain reaction followed by high resolution melting analysis. The CYP2C19*3, CYP2C19*4 and CYP2C19*5 variants were genotyped in a subsample of subjects (300 samples randomly selected).
Results
The CYP2C19*3 and CYP2C19*5 variant alleles were not detected and the CYP2C19*4 variant allele presented a frequency of 0.3%. The allelic frequencies for the ABCB1c.C3435T, CYP2C19*2 and CYP2C19*17 polymorphisms were differently distributed according to ethnicity: Amerindian (51.4%, 10.4%, 15.8%); Caucasian descent (43.2%, 16.9%, 18.0%); Mulatto (35.9%, 16.5%, 21.3%); and African descent (32.8%, 20.2%, 26.3%) individuals, respectively. As a result, self-referred ethnicity was able to predict significantly different clopidogrel-predicted metabolic phenotypes prevalence even for a highly admixtured population.
Conclusion
Our findings indicate the existence of inter-ethnic differences in the ABCB1 and CYP2C19 variant allele frequencies in the Brazilian general population plus Amerindians. This information could help in stratifying individuals from this population regarding clopidogrel-predicted metabolic phenotypes and design more cost-effective programs towards individualization of clopidogrel therapy.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-12-13
PMCID: PMC3033793  PMID: 21247447
6.  Evaluating gene by sex and age interactions on cardiovascular risk factors in Brazilian families 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:132.
Background
In family studies, it is important to evaluate the impact of genes and environmental factors on traits of interest. In particular, the relative influences of both genes and the environment may vary in different strata of the population of interest, such as young and old individuals, or males and females.
Methods
In this paper, extensions of the variance components model are used to evaluate heterogeneity in the genetic and environmental variance components due to the effects of sex and age (the cutoff between young and old was 43 yrs). The data analyzed were from 81 Brazilian families (1,675 individuals) of the Baependi Family Heart Study.
Results
The models allowing for heterogeneity of variance components by sex suggest that genetic and environmental variances are not different in males and females for diastolic blood pressure, LDL-cholesterol, and HDL-cholesterol, independent of the covariates included in the models. However, for systolic blood pressure, fasting glucose and triglycerides, the evidence for heterogeneity was dependent on the covariates in the model. For instance, in the presence of sex and age covariates, heterogeneity in the genetic variance component was suggested for fasting glucose. But, for systolic blood pressure, there was no evidence of heterogeneity in any of the two variance components. Except for the LDL-cholesterol, models allowing for heterogeneity by age provide evidence of heterogeneity in genetic variance for triglycerides and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. There was evidence of heterogeneity in environmental variance in fasting glucose and HDL-cholesterol.
Conclusions
Our results suggest that heterogeneity in trait variances should not be ignored in the design and analyses of gene-finding studies involving these traits, as it may generate additional information about gene effects, and allow the investigation of more sophisticated models such as the model including sex-specific oligogenic variance components.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-11-132
PMCID: PMC2955567  PMID: 20854676
7.  Nuclear Factor (NF) κB polymorphism is associated with heart function in patients with heart failure 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:89.
Background
Cardiac remodeling is generally an adverse sign and is associated with heart failure (HF) progression. NFkB, an important transcription factor involved in many cell survival pathways, has been implicated in the remodeling process, but its role in the heart is still controversial. Recently, a promoter polymorphism associated with a lesser activation of the NFKB1 gene was also associated with Dilated Cardiomyopathy. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the association of this polymorphism with clinical and functional characteristics of heart failure patients of different etiologies.
Methods
A total of 493 patients with HF and 916 individuals from a cohort of individuals from the general population were investigated. The NFKB1 -94 insertion/deletion ATTG polymorphism was genotyped by High Resolution Melt discrimination. Allele and genotype frequencies were compared between groups. In addition, frequencies or mean values of different phenotypes associated with cardiovascular disease were compared between genotype groups. Finally, patients were prospectively followed-up for death incidence and genotypes for the polymorphism were compared regarding disease onset and mortality incidence in HF patients.
Results
We did not find differences in genotype and allelic frequencies between cases and controls. Interestingly, we found an association between the ATTG1/ATTG1 genotype with right ventricle diameter (P = 0.001), left ventricle diastolic diameter (P = 0.04), and ejection fraction (EF) (P = 0.016), being the genotype ATTG1/ATTG1 more frequent in patients with EF lower than 50% (P = 0.01). Finally, we observed a significantly earlier disease onset in ATTG1/ATTG1 carriers.
Conclusion
There is no genotype or allelic association between the studied polymorphism and the occurrence of HF in the tested population. However, our data suggest that a diminished activation of NFKB1, previously associated with the ATTG1/ATTG1 genotype, may act modulating on the onset of disease and, once the individual has HF, the genotype may modulate disease severity by increasing cardiac remodeling and function deterioration.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-11-89
PMCID: PMC2897791  PMID: 20534156
8.  ALDH1A2 (RALDH2) genetic variation in human congenital heart disease 
BMC Medical Genetics  2009;10:113.
Background
Signaling by the vitamin A-derived morphogen retinoic acid (RA) is required at multiple steps of cardiac development. Since conversion of retinaldehyde to RA by retinaldehyde dehydrogenase type II (ALDH1A2, a.k.a RALDH2) is critical for cardiac development, we screened patients with congenital heart disease (CHDs) for genetic variation at the ALDH1A2 locus.
Methods
One-hundred and thirty-three CHD patients were screened for genetic variation at the ALDH1A2 locus through bi-directional sequencing. In addition, six SNPs (rs2704188, rs1441815, rs3784259, rs1530293, rs1899430) at the same locus were studied using a TDT-based association approach in 101 CHD trios. Observed mutations were modeled through molecular mechanics (MM) simulations using the AMBER 9 package, Sander and Pmemd programs. Sequence conservation of observed mutations was evaluated through phylogenetic tree construction from ungapped alignments containing ALDH8 s, ALDH1Ls, ALDH1 s and ALDH2 s. Trees were generated by the Neighbor Joining method. Variations potentially affecting splicing mechanisms were cloned and functional assays were designed to test splicing alterations using the pSPL3 splicing assay.
Results
We describe in Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) the mutations Ala151Ser and Ile157Thr that change non-polar to polar residues at exon 4. Exon 4 encodes part of the highly-conserved tetramerization domain, a structural motif required for ALDH oligomerization. Molecular mechanics simulation studies of the two mutations indicate that they hinder tetramerization. We determined that the SNP rs16939660, previously associated with spina bifida and observed in patients with TOF, does not affect splicing. Moreover, association studies performed with classical models and with the transmission disequilibrium test (TDT) design using single marker genotype, or haplotype information do not show differences between cases and controls.
Conclusion
In summary, our screen indicates that ALDH1A2 genetic variation is present in TOF patients, suggesting a possible causal role for this gene in rare cases of human CHD, but does not support the hypothesis that variation at the ALDH1A2 locus is a significant modifier of the risk for CHD in humans.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-10-113
PMCID: PMC2779186  PMID: 19886994
9.  Heritability of cardiovascular risk factors in a Brazilian population: Baependi Heart Study 
BMC Medical Genetics  2008;9:32.
Background
The heritability of cardiovascular risk factors is expected to differ between populations because of the different distribution of environmental risk factors, as well as the genetic make-up of different human populations.
Methods
The purpose of this analysis was to evaluate genetic and environmental influences on cardiovascular risk factor traits, using a variance component approach, by estimating the heritability of these traits in a sample of 1,666 individuals in 81 families ascertained randomly from a highly admixed population of a city in a rural area in Brazil.
Results
Before adjustment for sex, age, age2, and age × sex interaction, polygenic heritability of systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) blood pressure were 15.0% and 16.4%, waist circumference 26.1%, triglycerides 25.7%, fasting glucose 32.8%, HDL-c 31.2%, total cholesterol 28.6%, LDL-c 26.3%, BMI 39.1%. Adjustment for covariates increased polygenic heritability estimates for all traits mainly systolic and diastolic blood pressure (25.9 and 26.2%, respectively), waist circumference (40.1%), and BMI (51.0%).
Conclusion
Heritability estimates for cardiovascular traits in the Brazilian population are high and not significantly different from other studied worldwide populations. Mapping efforts to identify genetic loci associated with variability of these traits are warranted.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-9-32
PMCID: PMC2386446  PMID: 18430212
10.  Genetic mapping of a new heart rate QTL on chromosome 8 of spontaneously hypertensive rats 
BMC Medical Genetics  2007;8:17.
Background
Tachycardia is commonly observed in hypertensive patients, predominantly mediated by regulatory mechanisms integrated within the autonomic nervous system. The genetic loci and genes associated with increased heart rate in hypertension, however, have not yet been identified.
Methods
An F2 intercross of Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats (SHR) × Brown Norway (BN) linkage analysis of quantitative trait loci mapping was utilized to identify candidate genes associated with an increased heart rate in arterial hypertension.
Results
Basal heart rate in SHR was higher compared to that of normotensive BN rats (365 ± 3 vs. 314 ± 6 bpm, p < 0.05 for SHR and BN, respectively). A total genome scan identified one quantitative trait locus in a 6.78 cM interval on rat chromosome 8 (8q22–q24) that was responsible for elevated heart rate. This interval contained 241 genes, of which 65 are known genes.
Conclusion
Our data suggest that an influential genetic region located on the rat chromosome 8 contributes to the regulation of heart rate. Candidate genes that have previously been associated with tachycardia and/or hypertension were found within this QTL, strengthening our hypothesis that these genes are, potentially, associated with the increase in heart rate in a hypertension rat model.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-8-17
PMCID: PMC1865373  PMID: 17419875
11.  Gene by environment QTL mapping through multiple trait analyses in blood pressure salt-sensitivity: identification of a novel QTL in rat chromosome 5 
BMC Medical Genetics  2006;7:47.
Background
The genetic mechanisms underlying interindividual blood pressure variation reflect the complex interplay of both genetic and environmental variables. The current standard statistical methods for detecting genes involved in the regulation mechanisms of complex traits are based on univariate analysis. Few studies have focused on the search for and understanding of quantitative trait loci responsible for gene × environmental interactions or multiple trait analysis. Composite interval mapping has been extended to multiple traits and may be an interesting approach to such a problem.
Methods
We used multiple-trait analysis for quantitative trait locus mapping of loci having different effects on systolic blood pressure with NaCl exposure. Animals studied were 188 rats, the progenies of an F2 rat intercross between the hypertensive and normotensive strain, genotyped in 179 polymorphic markers across the rat genome. To accommodate the correlational structure from measurements taken in the same animals, we applied univariate and multivariate strategies for analyzing the data.
Results
We detected a new quantitative train locus on a region close to marker R589 in chromosome 5 of the rat genome, not previously identified through serial analysis of individual traits. In addition, we were able to justify analytically the parametric restrictions in terms of regression coefficients responsible for the gain in precision with the adopted analytical approach.
Conclusion
Future work should focus on fine mapping and the identification of the causative variant responsible for this quantitative trait locus signal. The multivariable strategy might be valuable in the study of genetic determinants of interindividual variation of antihypertensive drug effectiveness.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-7-47
PMCID: PMC1522018  PMID: 16716221

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