Common genetic variants have been identified for adult height, but not much is known about the genetics of skeletal growth in early life. To identify common genetic variants that influence fetal skeletal growth, we meta-analyzed 22 genome-wide association studies (Stage 1; N = 28 459). We identified seven independent top single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (P < 1 × 10(-6)) for birth length, of which three were novel and four were in or near loci known to be associated with adult height (LCORL, PTCH1, GPR126 and HMGA2). The three novel SNPs were followed-up in nine replication studies (Stage 2; N = 11 995), with rs905938 in DC-STAMP domain containing 2 (DCST2) genome-wide significantly associated with birth length in a joint analysis (Stages 1 + 2; ? = 0.046, SE = 0.008, P = 2.46 × 10(-8), explained variance = 0.05%). Rs905938 was also associated with infant length (N = 28 228; P = 5.54 × 10(-4)) and adult height (N = 127 513; P = 1.45 × 10(-5)). DCST2 is a DC-STAMP-like protein family member and DC-STAMP is an osteoclast cell-fusion regulator. Polygenic scores based on 180 SNPs previously associated with human adult stature explained 0.13% of variance in birth length. The same SNPs explained 2.95% of the variance of infant length. Of the 180 known adult height loci, 11 were genome-wide significantly associated with infant length (SF3B4, LCORL, SPAG17, C6orf173, PTCH1, GDF5, ZNFX1, HHIP, ACAN, HLA locus and HMGA2). This study highlights that common variation in DCST2 influences variation in early growth and adult height.
We identify common genetic variants associated with cognitive performance using a two-stage approach, which we call the proxy-phenotype method. First, we conduct a genome-wide association study of educational attainment in a large sample (n = 106,736), which produces a set of 69 education-associated SNPs. Second, using independent samples (n = 24,189), we measure the association of these education-associated SNPs with cognitive performance. Three SNPs (rs1487441, rs7923609, and rs2721173) are significantly associated with cognitive performance after correction for multiple hypothesis testing. In an independent sample of older Americans (n = 8,652), we also show that a polygenic score derived from the education-associated SNPs is associated with memory and absence of dementia. Convergent evidence from a set of bioinformatics analyses implicates four specific genes (KNCMA1, NRXN1, POU2F3, and SCRT). All of these genes are associated with a particular neurotransmitter pathway involved in synaptic plasticity, the main cellular mechanism for learning and memory.
Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) is an important risk factor in developing glaucoma, and variability in IOP might herald glaucomatous development or progression. We report the results of a genome-wide association study meta-analysis of 18 population cohorts from the International Glaucoma Genetics Consortium (IGGC), comprising 35,296 multi-ancestry participants for IOP. We confirm genetic association of known loci for IOP and primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and identify four new IOP-associated loci located on chromosome 3q25.31 within the FNDC3B gene (P = 4.19 × 10(-8) for rs6445055), two on chromosome 9 (P = 2.80 × 10(-11) for rs2472493 near ABCA1 and P = 6.39 × 10(-11) for rs8176693 within ABO) and one on chromosome 11p11.2 (best P = 1.04 × 10(-11) for rs747782). Separate meta-analyses of 4 independent POAG cohorts, totaling 4,284 cases and 95,560 controls, showed that 3 of these loci for IOP were also associated with POAG.
Using genome-wide data from 253,288 individuals, we identified 697 variants at genome-wide significance that together explained one-fifth of the heritability for adult height. By testing different numbers of variants in independent studies, we show that the most strongly associated ?2,000, ?3,700 and ?9,500 SNPs explained ?21%, ?24% and ?29% of phenotypic variance. Furthermore, all common variants together captured 60% of heritability. The 697 variants clustered in 423 loci were enriched for genes, pathways and tissue types known to be involved in growth and together implicated genes and pathways not highlighted in earlier efforts, such as signaling by fibroblast growth factors, WNT/?-catenin and chondroitin sulfate-related genes. We identified several genes and pathways not previously connected with human skeletal growth, including mTOR, osteoglycin and binding of hyaluronic acid. Our results indicate a genetic architecture for human height that is characterized by a very large but finite number (thousands) of causal variants.
Genetic testing may be the next step in clinical medicine for a more personalized approach in determining risk of disease. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) personal genome tests may fulfill this role. We explored the practicability and predictive value of DTC tests from four companies (23andMe, deCODEme, Easy DNA, Genetic Testing Laboratories) for AMD.
Background: Down syndrome (DS) is the most prevalent genetic cause of intellectual disability. Early-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD) frequently develops in DS and is characterized by progressive memory loss and behavioral and psychological signs and symptoms of dementia (BPSD). Predicting and monitoring the progression of AD in DS is necessary to enable adaptive caretaking. Objective: Reliable blood biomarkers that aid the prediction of AD are necessary, since cerebrospinal fluid sampling is rather burdensome, particularly for people with DS. Here, we investigate serum levels of eight biogenic amines and their metabolites in relation to dementia staging and probable BPSD items. Methods: Using RP-HPLC with electrochemical detection, (nor)adrenergic (NA/A and MHPG), serotonergic (5-HT and 5-HIAA), and dopaminergic (DA, HVA, and DOPAC) compounds were quantified in the serum of DS subjects with established AD at baseline (n = 51), DS subjects without AD (n = 50), non-demented DS individuals that converted to AD over time (n = 50), and, finally, healthy non-DS controls (n = 22). Results: Serum MHPG levels were significantly lower in demented and converted DS subjects (p < 0.0001) compared to non-demented DS individuals and healthy controls. Those subjects with MHPG levels below median had a more than tenfold increased risk of developing dementia. Furthermore, significant correlations were observed between monoaminergic serum values and various probable BPSD items within each DS group. Conclusion: Decreased serum MHPG levels show great potential as biomarker to monitor and predict conversion to AD in DS. Moreover, significant monoaminergic alterations related to probable BPSD items, suggesting that monoaminergic dysregulation is an underlying biological mechanism, and demonstrating the need to develop a validated rating scale for BPSD in DS.
White blood cell (WBC) count is a common clinical measure used as a predictor of certain aspects of human health, including immunity and infection status. WBC count is also a complex trait that varies among individuals and ancestry groups. Differences in linkage disequilibrium structure and heterogeneity in allelic effects are expected to play a role in the associations observed between populations. Prior genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analyses have identified genomic loci associated with WBC and its subtypes, but much of the heritability of these phenotypes remains unexplained. Using GWAS summary statistics for over 50 000 individuals from three diverse populations (Japanese, African-American and European ancestry), a Bayesian model methodology was employed to account for heterogeneity between ancestry groups. This approach was used to perform a trans-ethnic meta-analysis of total WBC, neutrophil and monocyte counts. Ten previously known associations were replicated and six new loci were identified, including several regions harboring genes related to inflammation and immune cell function. Ninety-five percent credible interval regions were calculated to narrow the association signals and fine-map the putatively causal variants within loci. Finally, a conditional analysis was performed on the most significant SNPs identified by the trans-ethnic meta-analysis (MA), and nine secondary signals within loci previously associated with WBC or its subtypes were identified. This work illustrates the potential of trans-ethnic analysis and ascribes a critical role to multi-ethnic cohorts and consortia in exploring complex phenotypes with respect to variants that lie outside the European-biased GWAS pool.
Glaucoma is characterized by irreversible optic nerve degeneration and is the most frequent cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Here, the International Glaucoma Genetics Consortium conducts a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of vertical cup-disc ratio (VCDR), an important disease-related optic nerve parameter. In 21,094 individuals of European ancestry and 6,784 individuals of Asian ancestry, we identify 10 new loci associated with variation in VCDR. In a separate risk-score analysis of five case-control studies, Caucasians in the highest quintile have a 2.5-fold increased risk of primary open-angle glaucoma as compared with those in the lowest quintile. This study has more than doubled the known loci associated with optic disc cupping and will allow greater understanding of mechanisms involved in this common blinding condition.
Oxidative stress and inflammation are major contributors to accelerated age-related relative telomere length (RTL) shortening. Both conditions are strongly linked to leptin and adiponectin, the most prominent adipocyte-derived protein hormones. As high leptin levels and low levels of adiponectin have been implicated in inflammation, one expects adiponectin to be positively associated with RTL while leptin should be negatively associated. Within the ENGAGE consortium, we investigated the association of RTL with adiponectin and leptin in seven independent cohorts with a total of 11,448 participants. We performed partial correlation analysis on Z-transformed RTL and LN-transformed leptin/adiponectin, adjusting for age and sex. In extended models we adjusted for body mass index (BMI) and C-reactive protein (CRP). Adiponectin showed a borderline significant association with RTL. This appeared to be determined by a single study and when the outlier study was removed, this association disappeared. The association between RTL and leptin was highly significant (r = -0.05; p = 1.81 × 10(-7)). Additional adjustment for BMI or CRP did not change the results. Sex-stratified analysis revealed no difference between men and women. Our study suggests that high leptin levels are associated with short RTL.
Recent evidence suggests that the type I 3?-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, a steroidogenic enzyme encoded by the HSD3B1 gene, could be involved in aldosterone production and that genetic variation in HSD3B1 is associated with blood pressure. These findings challenge the long-standing hypothesis that all adrenocortical steroidogenesis is executed by the type II iso-enzyme, encoded by HSD3B2.
Age at menarche is a marker of timing of puberty in females. It varies widely between individuals, is a heritable trait and is associated with risks for obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and all-cause mortality. Studies of rare human disorders of puberty and animal models point to a complex hypothalamic-pituitary-hormonal regulation, but the mechanisms that determine pubertal timing and underlie its links to disease risk remain unclear. Here, using genome-wide and custom-genotyping arrays in up to 182,416 women of European descent from 57 studies, we found robust evidence (P?5?×?10(-8)) for 123 signals at 106 genomic loci associated with age at menarche. Many loci were associated with other pubertal traits in both sexes, and there was substantial overlap with genes implicated in body mass index and various diseases, including rare disorders of puberty. Menarche signals were enriched in imprinted regions, with three loci (DLK1-WDR25, MKRN3-MAGEL2 and KCNK9) demonstrating parent-of-origin-specific associations concordant with known parental expression patterns. Pathway analyses implicated nuclear hormone receptors, particularly retinoic acid and ?-aminobutyric acid-B2 receptor signalling, among novel mechanisms that regulate pubertal timing in humans. Our findings suggest a genetic architecture involving at least hundreds of common variants in the coordinated timing of the pubertal transition.
The QT interval, an electrocardiographic measure reflecting myocardial repolarization, is a heritable trait. QT prolongation is a risk factor for ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death (SCD) and could indicate the presence of the potentially lethal mendelian long-QT syndrome (LQTS). Using a genome-wide association and replication study in up to 100,000 individuals, we identified 35 common variant loci associated with QT interval that collectively explain ?8-10% of QT-interval variation and highlight the importance of calcium regulation in myocardial repolarization. Rare variant analysis of 6 new QT interval-associated loci in 298 unrelated probands with LQTS identified coding variants not found in controls but of uncertain causality and therefore requiring validation. Several newly identified loci encode proteins that physically interact with other recognized repolarization proteins. Our integration of common variant association, expression and orthogonal protein-protein interaction screens provides new insights into cardiac electrophysiology and identifies new candidate genes for ventricular arrhythmias, LQTS and SCD.
Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) is a pleiotropic hormone. Several studies have related IGF-I levels to dementia, but evidence remains inconclusive. IGF-I receptor stimulating activity is a more direct measure of biologically available IGF-I than total IGF-I levels.
Increases in throughput and decreases in costs have facilitated large scale metabolomics studies, the simultaneous measurement of large numbers of biochemical components in biological samples. Initial large scale studies focused on biomarker discovery for disease or disease progression and helped to understand biochemical pathways underlying disease. The first population-based studies that combined metabolomics and genome wide association studies (mGWAS) have increased our understanding of the (genetic) regulation of biochemical conversions. Measurements of metabolites as intermediate phenotypes are a potentially very powerful approach to uncover how genetic variation affects disease susceptibility and progression. However, we still face many hurdles in the interpretation of mGWAS data. Due to the composite nature of many metabolites, single enzymes may affect the levels of multiple metabolites and, conversely, levels of single metabolites may be affected by multiple enzymes. Here, we will provide a global review of the current status of mGWAS. We will specifically discuss the application of prior biological knowledge present in databases to the interpretation of mGWAS results and discuss the potential of mathematical models. As the technology continuously improves to detect metabolites and to measure genetic variation, it is clear that comprehensive systems biology based approaches are required to further our insight in the association between genes, metabolites and disease. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: From Genome to Function.
To identify genetic variants associated with refractive astigmatism in the general population, meta-analyses of genome-wide association studies were performed for: White Europeans aged at least 25 years (20 cohorts, N = 31,968); Asian subjects aged at least 25 years (7 cohorts, N = 9,295); White Europeans aged <25 years (4 cohorts, N = 5,640); and all independent individuals from the above three samples combined with a sample of Chinese subjects aged <25 years (N = 45,931). Participants were classified as cases with refractive astigmatism if the average cylinder power in their two eyes was at least 1.00 diopter and as controls otherwise. Genome-wide association analysis was carried out for each cohort separately using logistic regression. Meta-analysis was conducted using a fixed effects model. In the older European group the most strongly associated marker was downstream of the neurexin-1 (NRXN1) gene (rs1401327, P = 3.92E-8). No other region reached genome-wide significance, and association signals were lower for the younger European group and Asian group. In the meta-analysis of all cohorts, no marker reached genome-wide significance: The most strongly associated regions were, NRXN1 (rs1401327, P = 2.93E-07), TOX (rs7823467, P = 3.47E-07) and LINC00340 (rs12212674, P = 1.49E-06). For 34 markers identified in prior GWAS for spherical equivalent refractive error, the beta coefficients for genotype versus spherical equivalent, and genotype versus refractive astigmatism, were highly correlated (r = -0.59, P = 2.10E-04). This work revealed no consistent or strong genetic signals for refractive astigmatism; however, the TOX gene region previously identified in GWAS for spherical equivalent refractive error was the second most strongly associated region. Analysis of additional markers provided evidence supporting widespread genetic co-susceptibility for spherical and astigmatic refractive errors.
Mutations in the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) gene cause familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), a disorder characterized by coronary heart disease (CHD) at young age. We aimed to apply an extreme sampling method to enhance the statistical power to identify novel genetic risk variants for CHD in individuals with FH. We selected cases and controls with an extreme contrast in CHD risk from 17?000 FH patients from the Netherlands, whose functional LDLR mutation was unequivocally established. The genome-wide association (GWA) study was performed on 249 very young FH cases with CHD and 217 old FH controls without CHD (above 65 years for males and 70 years of age for females) using the Illumina HumanHap550K chip. In the next stage, two independent samples (one from the Netherlands and one from Italy, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom) of FH patients were used as replication samples. In the initial GWA analysis, we identified 29 independent single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with suggestive associations with premature CHD (P<1 × 10(-4)). We examined the association of these SNPs with CHD risk in the replication samples. After Bonferroni correction, none of the SNPs either replicated or reached genome-wide significance after combining the discovery and replication samples. Therefore, we conclude that the genetics of CHD risk in FH is complex and even applying an 'extreme genetics' approach we did not identify new genetic risk variants. Most likely, this method is not as effective in leveraging effect size as anticipated, and may, therefore, not lead to significant gains in statistical power.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 11 June 2014; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2014.101.
The genetic contribution to the variation in human lifespan is ? 25%. Despite the large number of identified disease-susceptibility loci, it is not known which loci influence population mortality. We performed a genome-wide association meta-analysis of 7729 long-lived individuals of European descent (? 85 years) and 16 121 younger controls (<65 years) followed by replication in an additional set of 13 060 long-lived individuals and 61 156 controls. In addition, we performed a subset analysis in cases aged ? 90 years. We observed genome-wide significant association with longevity, as reflected by survival to ages beyond 90 years, at a novel locus, rs2149954, on chromosome 5q33.3 (OR = 1.10, P = 1.74 × 10(-8)). We also confirmed association of rs4420638 on chromosome 19q13.32 (OR = 0.72, P = 3.40 × 10(-36)), representing the TOMM40/APOE/APOC1 locus. In a prospective meta-analysis (n = 34 103), the minor allele of rs2149954 (T) on chromosome 5q33.3 associates with increased survival (HR = 0.95, P = 0.003). This allele has previously been reported to associate with low blood pressure in middle age. Interestingly, the minor allele (T) associates with decreased cardiovascular mortality risk, independent of blood pressure. We report on the first GWAS-identified longevity locus on chromosome 5q33.3 influencing survival in the general European population. The minor allele of this locus associates with low blood pressure in middle age, although the contribution of this allele to survival may be less dependent on blood pressure. Hence, the pleiotropic mechanisms by which this intragenic variation contributes to lifespan regulation have to be elucidated.
Mega- or meta-analytic studies (e.g. genome-wide association studies) are increasingly used in behavior genetics. An issue in such studies is that phenotypes are often measured by different instruments across study cohorts, requiring harmonization of measures so that more powerful fixed effect meta-analyses can be employed. Within the Genetics of Personality Consortium, we demonstrate for two clinically relevant personality traits, Neuroticism and Extraversion, how Item-Response Theory (IRT) can be applied to map item data from different inventories to the same underlying constructs. Personality item data were analyzed in >160,000 individuals from 23 cohorts across Europe, USA and Australia in which Neuroticism and Extraversion were assessed by nine different personality inventories. Results showed that harmonization was very successful for most personality inventories and moderately successful for some. Neuroticism and Extraversion inventories were largely measurement invariant across cohorts, in particular when comparing cohorts from countries where the same language is spoken. The IRT-based scores for Neuroticism and Extraversion were heritable (48 and 49 %, respectively, based on a meta-analysis of six twin cohorts, total N = 29,496 and 29,501 twin pairs, respectively) with a significant part of the heritability due to non-additive genetic factors. For Extraversion, these genetic factors qualitatively differ across sexes. We showed that our IRT method can lead to a large increase in sample size and therefore statistical power. The IRT approach may be applied to any mega- or meta-analytic study in which item-based behavioral measures need to be harmonized.
Although age-dependent effects on blood pressure (BP) have been reported, they have not been systematically investigated in large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWASs). We leveraged the infrastructure of three well-established consortia (CHARGE, GBPgen, and ICBP) and a nonstandard approach (age stratification and metaregression) to conduct a genome-wide search of common variants with age-dependent effects on systolic (SBP), diastolic (DBP), mean arterial (MAP), and pulse (PP) pressure. In a two-staged design using 99,241 individuals of European ancestry, we identified 20 genome-wide significant (p ? 5 × 10(-8)) loci by using joint tests of the SNP main effect and SNP-age interaction. Nine of the significant loci demonstrated nominal evidence of age-dependent effects on BP by tests of the interactions alone. Index SNPs in the EHBP1L1 (DBP and MAP), CASZ1 (SBP and MAP), and GOSR2 (PP) loci exhibited the largest age interactions, with opposite directions of effect in the young versus the old. The changes in the genetic effects over time were small but nonnegligible (up to 1.58 mm Hg over 60 years). The EHBP1L1 locus was discovered through gene-age interactions only in whites but had DBP main effects replicated (p = 8.3 × 10(-4)) in 8,682 Asians from Singapore, indicating potential interethnic heterogeneity. A secondary analysis revealed 22 loci with evidence of age-specific effects (e.g., only in 20 to 29-year-olds). Age can be used to select samples with larger genetic effect sizes and more homogenous phenotypes, which may increase statistical power. Age-dependent effects identified through novel statistical approaches can provide insight into the biology and temporal regulation underlying BP associations.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by brain atrophy of the frontal and anterior temporal lobes. The associated frontotemporal dementia syndromes are clinically heterogeneous, and the pattern of affected cortical regions varies among subtypes. The TMEM106B rs1990622 polymorphism is associated with frontotemporal lobar degeneration, but little is known about how it affects the brain.
Metabolomics, defined as the comprehensive identification and quantification of low-molecular-weight metabolites to be found in a biological sample, has been put forward as a potential tool for classifying individuals according to their risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Here, we investigated whether a single-point blood measurement of the metabolome is associated with and predictive for the risk of CHD.
Although genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified many common variants associated with complex traits, low-frequency and rare variants have not been interrogated in a comprehensive manner. Imputation from dense reference panels, such as the 1000 Genomes Project (1000G), enables testing of ungenotyped variants for association. Here we present the results of imputation using a large, new population-specific panel: the Genome of The Netherlands (GoNL). We benchmarked the performance of the 1000G and GoNL reference sets by comparing imputation genotypes with 'true' genotypes typed on ImmunoChip in three European populations (Dutch, British, and Italian). GoNL showed significant improvement in the imputation quality for rare variants (MAF 0.05-0.5%) compared with 1000G. In Dutch samples, the mean observed Pearson correlation, r(2), increased from 0.61 to 0.71. We also saw improved imputation accuracy for other European populations (in the British samples, r(2) improved from 0.58 to 0.65, and in the Italians from 0.43 to 0.47). A combined reference set comprising 1000G and GoNL improved the imputation of rare variants even further. The Italian samples benefitted the most from this combined reference (the mean r(2) increased from 0.47 to 0.50). We conclude that the creation of a large population-specific reference is advantageous for imputing rare variants and that a combined reference panel across multiple populations yields the best imputation results.
The aim of our study is to investigate whether single-nucleotide dystrophin gene (DMD) variants associate with variability in cognitive functions in healthy populations. The study included 1240 participants from the Erasmus Rucphen family (ERF) study and 1464 individuals from the Rotterdam Study (RS). The participants whose exomes were sequenced and who were assessed for various cognitive traits were included in the analysis. To determine the association between DMD variants and cognitive ability, linear (mixed) modeling with adjustment for age, sex and education was used. Moreover, Sequence Kernel Association Test (SKAT) was used to test the overall association of the rare genetic variants present in the DMD with cognitive traits. Although no DMD variant surpassed the prespecified significance threshold (P<1 × 10(-4)), rs147546024:A>G showed strong association (?=1.786, P-value=2.56 × 10(-4)) with block-design test in the ERF study, while another variant rs1800273:G>A showed suggestive association (?=-0.465, P-value=0.002) with Mini-Mental State Examination test in the RS. Both variants are highly conserved, although rs147546024:A>G is an intronic variant, whereas rs1800273:G>A is a missense variant in the DMD which has a predicted damaging effect on the protein. Further gene-based analysis of DMD revealed suggestive association (P-values=0.087 and 0.074) with general cognitive ability in both cohorts. In conclusion, both single variant and gene-based analyses suggest the existence of variants in the DMD which may affect cognitive functioning in the general populations.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 17 September 2014; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2014.183.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have revealed 74 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) blood levels. This study is, to our knowledge, the first genome-wide interaction study (GWIS) to identify SNP×SNP interactions associated with HDL levels. We performed a GWIS in the Rotterdam Study (RS) cohort I (RS-I) using the GLIDE tool which leverages the massively parallel computing power of Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) to perform linear regression on all genome-wide pairs of SNPs. By performing a meta-analysis together with Rotterdam Study cohorts II and III (RS-II and RS-III), we were able to filter 181 interaction terms with a p-value<1 · 10-8 that replicated in the two independent cohorts. We were not able to replicate any of these interaction term in the AGES, ARIC, CHS, ERF, FHS and NFBC-66 cohorts (Ntotal?=?30,011) when adjusting for multiple testing. Our GWIS resulted in the consistent finding of a possible interaction between rs774801 in ARMC8 (ENSG00000114098) and rs12442098 in SPATA8 (ENSG00000185594) being associated with HDL levels. However, p-values do not reach the preset Bonferroni correction of the p-values. Our study suggest that even for highly genetically determined traits such as HDL the sample sizes needed to detect SNP×SNP interactions are large and the 2-step filtering approaches do not yield a solution. Here we present our analysis plan and our reservations concerning GWIS.
Refractive error (RE) is a complex, multifactorial disorder characterized by a mismatch between the optical power of the eye and its axial length that causes object images to be focused off the retina. The two major subtypes of RE are myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness), which represent opposite ends of the distribution of the quantitative measure of spherical refraction. We performed a fixed effects meta-analysis of genome-wide association results of myopia and hyperopia from 9 studies of European-derived populations: AREDS, KORA, FES, OGP-Talana, MESA, RSI, RSII, RSIII and ERF. One genome-wide significant region was observed for myopia, corresponding to a previously identified myopia locus on 8q12 (p?=?1.25×10(-8)), which has been reported by Kiefer et al. as significantly associated with myopia age at onset and Verhoeven et al. as significantly associated to mean spherical-equivalent (MSE) refractive error. We observed two genome-wide significant associations with hyperopia. These regions overlapped with loci on 15q14 (minimum p value?=?9.11×10(-11)) and 8q12 (minimum p value 1.82×10(-11)) previously reported for MSE and myopia age at onset. We also used an intermarker linkage- disequilibrium-based method for calculating the effective number of tests in targeted regional replication analyses. We analyzed myopia (which represents the closest phenotype in our data to the one used by Kiefer et al.) and showed replication of 10 additional loci associated with myopia previously reported by Kiefer et al. This is the first replication of these loci using myopia as the trait under analysis. "Replication-level" association was also seen between hyperopia and 12 of Kiefer et al.'s published loci. For the loci that show evidence of association to both myopia and hyperopia, the estimated effect of the risk alleles were in opposite directions for the two traits. This suggests that these loci are important contributors to variation of refractive error across the distribution.
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.
Chronic mucus hypersecretion (CMH) is associated with an increased frequency of respiratory infections, excess lung function decline, and increased hospitalisation and mortality rates in the general population. It is associated with smoking, but it is unknown why only a minority of smokers develops CMH. A plausible explanation for this phenomenon is a predisposing genetic constitution. Therefore, we performed a genome wide association (GWA) study of CMH in Caucasian populations.
Several clinical studies suggest the involvement of premature aging processes in COPD. Using an epidemiological approach we studied whether accelerated aging indicated by telomere length, a marker of biological age, is associated with COPD and asthma, and whether intrinsic age-related processes contribute to the inter-individual variability of lung function.Our meta-analysis of 14 studies included 934 COPD cases with 15,846 controls defined according to GLI criteria (or 1,189 COPD cases according to GOLD), 2,834 asthma cases with 28,195 controls, and spirometric parameters (FEV1, FVC and FEV1/FVC) of 12,595 individuals. Associations with telomere length were tested by linear regression, adjusting for age, sex, and smoking status.We observed negative associations between telomere length and asthma (?=?-0.0452, p=0.024) as well as COPD (?=?-0.0982, p=0.001), with associations being stronger and more significant when using GLI in comparison to GOLD. In both diseases, effects were stronger in females compared to males. The investigation of spirometric indices showed positive associations between telomere length and FEV1 (p=1.07×10(-7)), FVC (p=2.07×10(-5)), and their ratio FEV1/FVC (p=5.27×10(-3)). The effect was somewhat weaker in apparently healthy subjects compared to COPD or asthma patients.Our results provide indirect evidence for the hypothesis that cellular senescence may contribute to the pathogenesis of COPD and asthma and that lung function may reflect biological aging primarily due to intrinsic processes which are likely to be aggravated in lung diseases.
To investigate whether 57 genetic risk loci recently identified in a large-scale genome-wide association study in adult patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) are also associated with a risk for pediatric-onset MS and whether they can predict MS diagnosis in children presenting with acquired demyelinating syndromes (ADS).
The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region is strongly associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) susceptibility. HLA-DRB1*15:01 has the strongest effect, and several other alleles have been reported at different levels of validation. Using SNP data from genome-wide studies, we imputed and tested classical alleles and amino acid polymorphisms in 8 classical human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes in 5,091 cases and 9,595 controls. We identified 11 statistically independent effects overall: 6 HLA-DRB1 and one DPB1 alleles in class II, one HLA-A and two B alleles in class I, and one signal in a region spanning from MICB to LST1. This genomic segment does not contain any HLA class I or II genes and provides robust evidence for the involvement of a non-HLA risk allele within the MHC. Interestingly, this region contains the TNF gene, the cognate ligand of the well-validated TNFRSF1A MS susceptibility gene. The classical HLA effects can be explained to some extent by polymorphic amino acid positions in the peptide-binding grooves. This study dissects the independent effects in the MHC, a critical region for MS susceptibility that harbors multiple risk alleles.
Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is a hereditary neurodegenerative disease, characterized by optic nerve changes including increased excavation, notching and optic disc hemorrhages. The excavation can be described by the vertical cup-disc ratio (VCDR). Previously, genome-wide significant evidence for the association of rs10483727 in SIX1-SIX6 locus with VCDR and subsequent POAG was found. Using 1000 genomes-based imputation of four independent population-based cohorts in the Netherlands, we identified a missense variant rs33912345 (His141Asn) in SIX6 associated with VCDR (Pmeta = 7.74 × 10(-7), n = 11 473) and POAG (Pmeta = 6.09 × 10(-3), n = 292). Exome sequencing analysis revealed another missense variant rs146737847 (Glu129Lys) also in SIX6 associated with VCDR (P = 5.09 × 10(-3), n = 1208). These two findings point to SIX6 as the responsible gene for the previously reported association signal. Functional characterization of SIX6 in zebrafish revealed that knockdown of six6b led to a small eye phenotype. Histological analysis showed retinal lamination, implying an apparent normal development of the eye, but an underdeveloped lens, and reduced optic nerve diameter. Expression analysis of morphants at 3 dpf showed a 5.5-fold up-regulation of cdkn2b, a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, involved in cell cycle regulation and previously associated with VCDR and POAG in genome-wide association studies (GWASs). Since both six6b and cdkn2b play a key role in cell proliferation, we assessed the proliferative activity in the eye of morphants and found an alteration in the proliferative pattern of retinal cells. Our findings in humans and zebrafish suggest a functional involvement of six6b in early eye development, and open new insights into the genetic architecture of POAG.
Levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides and total cholesterol are heritable, modifiable risk factors for coronary artery disease. To identify new loci and refine known loci influencing these lipids, we examined 188,577 individuals using genome-wide and custom genotyping arrays. We identify and annotate 157 loci associated with lipid levels at P < 5 × 10(-8), including 62 loci not previously associated with lipid levels in humans. Using dense genotyping in individuals of European, East Asian, South Asian and African ancestry, we narrow association signals in 12 loci. We find that loci associated with blood lipid levels are often associated with cardiovascular and metabolic traits, including coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, blood pressure, waist-hip ratio and body mass index. Our results demonstrate the value of using genetic data from individuals of diverse ancestry and provide insights into the biological mechanisms regulating blood lipids to guide future genetic, biological and therapeutic research.
Many common genetic variants identified by genome-wide association studies for complex traits map to genes previously linked to rare inherited Mendelian disorders. A systematic analysis of common single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes responsible for Mendelian diseases with kidney phenotypes has not been performed. We thus developed a comprehensive database of genes for Mendelian kidney conditions and evaluated the association between common genetic variants within these genes and kidney function in the general population. Using the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man database, we identified 731 unique disease entries related to specific renal search terms and confirmed a kidney phenotype in 218 of these entries, corresponding to mutations in 258 genes. We interrogated common SNPs (minor allele frequency >5%) within these genes for association with the estimated GFR in 74,354 European-ancestry participants from the CKDGen Consortium. However, the top four candidate SNPs (rs6433115 at LRP2, rs1050700 at TSC1, rs249942 at PALB2, and rs9827843 at ROBO2) did not achieve significance in a stage 2 meta-analysis performed in 56,246 additional independent individuals, indicating that these common SNPs are not associated with estimated GFR. The effect of less common or rare variants in these genes on kidney function in the general population and disease-specific cohorts requires further research.
The Rotterdam Study is a prospective cohort study ongoing since 1990 in the city of Rotterdam in The Netherlands. The study targets cardiovascular, endocrine, hepatic, neurological, ophthalmic, psychiatric, dermatological, oncological, and respiratory diseases. As of 2008, 14,926 subjects aged 45 years or over comprise the Rotterdam Study cohort. The findings of the Rotterdam Study have been presented in over a 1,000 research articles and reports (see www.erasmus-epidemiology.nl/rotterdamstudy ). This article gives the rationale of the study and its design. It also presents a summary of the major findings and an update of the objectives and methods.
It is a longstanding puzzle why non-coding variants in the complement factor H (CFH) gene are more strongly associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) than functional coding variants that directly influence the alternative complement pathway. The situation is complicated by tight genetic associations across the region, including the adjacent CFH-related genes CFHR3 and CFHR1, which may themselves influence the alternative complement pathway and are contained within a common deletion (CNP147) which is associated with protection against AMD. It is unclear whether this association is mediated through a protective effect of low plasma CFHR1 concentrations, high plasma CFH or both. We examined the triangular relationships of CFH/CFHR3/CFHR1 genotype, plasma CFH or CFHR1 concentrations and AMD susceptibility in combined case-control (1256 cases, 1020 controls) and cross-sectional population (n = 1004) studies and carried out genome-wide association studies of plasma CFH and CFHR1 concentrations. A non-coding CFH SNP (rs6677604) and the CNP147 deletion were strongly correlated both with each other and with plasma CFH and CFHR1 concentrations. The plasma CFH-raising rs6677604 allele and raised plasma CFH concentration were each associated with AMD protection. In contrast, the protective association of the CNP147 deletion with AMD was not mediated by low plasma CFHR1, since AMD-free controls showed increased plasma CFHR1 compared with cases, but it may be mediated by the association of CNP147 with raised plasma CFH concentration. The results are most consistent with a regulatory locus within a 32 kb region of the CFH gene, with a major effect on plasma CFH concentration and AMD susceptibility.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified many common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that associate with clinical phenotypes, but these SNPs usually explain just a small part of the heritability and have relatively modest effect sizes. In contrast, SNPs that associate with metabolite levels generally explain a higher percentage of the genetic variation and demonstrate larger effect sizes. Still, the discovery of SNPs associated with metabolite levels is challenging since testing all metabolites measured in typical metabolomics studies with all SNPs comes with a severe multiple testing penalty. We have developed an automated workflow approach that utilizes prior knowledge of biochemical pathways present in databases like KEGG and BioCyc to generate a smaller SNP set relevant to the metabolite. This paper explores the opportunities and challenges in the analysis of GWAS of metabolomic phenotypes and provides novel insights into the genetic basis of metabolic variation through the re-analysis of published GWAS datasets.
Circulating levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides are recognized risk factors for cardiovascular disease. We tested the hypothesis that the cumulative effects of common genetic variants for lipids are collectively associated with subclinical atherosclerosis and incident coronary heart disease.
The association between adiposity and cardiometabolic traits is well known from epidemiological studies. Whilst the causal relationship is clear for some of these traits, for others it is not. We aimed to determine whether adiposity is causally related to various cardiometabolic traits using the Mendelian randomization approach.
Given the anthropometric differences between men and women and previous evidence of sex-difference in genetic effects, we conducted a genome-wide search for sexually dimorphic associations with height, weight, body mass index, waist circumference, hip circumference, and waist-to-hip-ratio (133,723 individuals) and took forward 348 SNPs into follow-up (additional 137,052 individuals) in a total of 94 studies. Seven loci displayed significant sex-difference (FDR<5%), including four previously established (near GRB14/COBLL1, LYPLAL1/SLC30A10, VEGFA, ADAMTS9) and three novel anthropometric trait loci (near MAP3K1, HSD17B4, PPARG), all of which were genome-wide significant in women (P<5×10(-8)), but not in men. Sex-differences were apparent only for waist phenotypes, not for height, weight, BMI, or hip circumference. Moreover, we found no evidence for genetic effects with opposite directions in men versus women. The PPARG locus is of specific interest due to its role in diabetes genetics and therapy. Our results demonstrate the value of sex-specific GWAS to unravel the sexually dimorphic genetic underpinning of complex traits.
A genome-wide association study (GWAS) of educational attainment was conducted in a discovery sample of 101,069 individuals and a replication sample of 25,490. Three independent single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are genome-wide significant (rs9320913, rs11584700, rs4851266), and all three replicate. Estimated effects sizes are small (coefficient of determination R(2) ? 0.02%), approximately 1 month of schooling per allele. A linear polygenic score from all measured SNPs accounts for ?2% of the variance in both educational attainment and cognitive function. Genes in the region of the loci have previously been associated with health, cognitive, and central nervous system phenotypes, and bioinformatics analyses suggest the involvement of the anterior caudate nucleus. These findings provide promising candidate SNPs for follow-up work, and our effect size estimates can anchor power analyses in social-science genetics.
Several aspects of sleep behavior such as timing, duration and quality have been demonstrated to be heritable. To identify common variants that influence sleep traits in the population, we conducted a genome-wide association study of six sleep phenotypes assessed by questionnaire in a sample of 2,323 individuals from the Australian Twin Registry. Genotyping was performed on the Illumina 317, 370, and 610K arrays and the SNPs in common between platforms were used to impute non-genotyped SNPs. We tested for association with more than 2,000,000 common polymorphisms across the genome. While no SNPs reached the genome-wide significance threshold, we identified a number of associations in plausible candidate genes. Most notably, a group of SNPs in the third intron of the CACNA1C gene ranked as most significant in the analysis of sleep latency (P = 1.3 × 10??). We attempted to replicate this association in an independent sample from the Chronogen Consortium (n = 2,034), but found no evidence of association (P = 0.73). We have identified several other suggestive associations that await replication in an independent sample. We did not replicate the results from previous genome-wide analyses of self-reported sleep phenotypes after correction for multiple testing.
Prediction models for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) based on case-control studies have a tendency to overestimate risks. The aim of this study is to develop a prediction model for late AMD based on data from population-based studies.
Primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) is a complex progressive optic nerve neuropathy triggered by both environmental and genetic risk factors. Several ocular tissues, including the ciliary body, trabecular meshwork and optic nerve head, and perhaps even brain tissues, are involved in a chain of pathological events leading to POAG. Genetic risk evidence for POAG came from family linkage-studies implicating a small number of disease genes (MYOC, OPTN, WDR36). Recent Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) identified a large number of new POAG loci and disease genes, such as CAV1, CDKN2B and GAS7. In the current study, we reviewed over 120 family and GWA studies. We selected in total 65 (candidate) POAG disease genes and proceeded to assess their function, mRNA expression in POAG relevant eye tissues and possible changes in disease state. We found that the proteins corresponding to these 65 (candidate) POAG disease genes take part in as few as four common functional molecular networks. Functions attributed to these 4 networks were developmental (dys)function, lipid metabolism, and inflammatory processes. For the 65 POAG disease genes, we reviewed the available (transgenic) mouse models of POAG, which may be useful for future functional studies. Finally, we showed that the 65 (candidate) POAG genes substantially increased the specificity and sensitivity of a discriminative POAG risk test. This suggests that personal risk assessment and personalized medicine for POAG are on the horizon. Taken together, the data presented are essential to comprehend the role of genetic variation in POAG, and may provide leads to understand the pathophysiology of POAG as well as other neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimers disease.
Refractive errors are common eye disorders of public health importance worldwide. Ocular axial length (AL) is the major determinant of refraction and thus of myopia and hyperopia. We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for AL, combining 12,531 Europeans and 8,216 Asians. We identified eight genome-wide significant loci for AL (RSPO1, C3orf26, LAMA2, GJD2, ZNRF3, CD55, MIP, and ALPPL2) and confirmed one previously reported AL locus (ZC3H11B). Of the nine loci, five (LAMA2, GJD2, CD55, ALPPL2, and ZC3H11B) were associated with refraction in 18 independent cohorts (n = 23,591). Differential gene expression was observed for these loci in minus-lens-induced myopia mouse experiments and human ocular tissues. Two of the AL genes, RSPO1 and ZNRF3, are involved in Wnt signaling, a pathway playing a major role in the regulation of eyeball size. This study provides evidence of shared genes between AL and refraction, but importantly also suggests that these traits may have unique pathways.
Triglycerides are transported in plasma by specific triglyceride-rich lipoproteins; in epidemiological studies, increased triglyceride levels correlate with higher risk for coronary artery disease (CAD). However, it is unclear whether this association reflects causal processes. We used 185 common variants recently mapped for plasma lipids (P < 5 × 10(-8) for each) to examine the role of triglycerides in risk for CAD. First, we highlight loci associated with both low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglyceride levels, and we show that the direction and magnitude of the associations with both traits are factors in determining CAD risk. Second, we consider loci with only a strong association with triglycerides and show that these loci are also associated with CAD. Finally, in a model accounting for effects on LDL-C and/or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels, the strength of a polymorphisms effect on triglyceride levels is correlated with the magnitude of its effect on CAD risk. These results suggest that triglyceride-rich lipoproteins causally influence risk for CAD.
Macular degeneration is a common cause of blindness in the elderly. To identify rare coding variants associated with a large increase in risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), we sequenced 2,335 cases and 789 controls in 10 candidate loci (57 genes). To increase power, we augmented our control set with ancestry-matched exome-sequenced controls. An analysis of coding variation in 2,268 AMD cases and 2,268 ancestry-matched controls identified 2 large-effect rare variants: previously described p.Arg1210Cys encoded in the CFH gene (case frequency (fcase) = 0.51%; control frequency (fcontrol) = 0.02%; odds ratio (OR) = 23.11) and newly identified p.Lys155Gln encoded in the C3 gene (fcase = 1.06%; fcontrol = 0.39%; OR = 2.68). The variants suggest decreased inhibition of C3 by complement factor H, resulting in increased activation of the alternative complement pathway, as a key component of disease biology.
Epistasis between interleukin-10 (IL10) and aromatase gene polymorphisms has previously been reported to modify the risk of Alzheimers disease (AD). However, although the main effects of aromatase variants suggest a sex-specific effect in AD, there has been insufficient power to detect sex-specific epistasis between these genes to date. Here we used the cohort of 1757 AD patients and 6294 controls in the Epistasis Project. We replicated the previously reported main effects of aromatase polymorphisms in AD risk in women, for example, adjusted odds ratio of disease for rs1065778 GG=1.22 (95% confidence interval: 1.01-1.48, P=0.03). We also confirmed a reported epistatic interaction between IL10 rs1800896 and aromatase (CYP19A1) rs1062033, again only in women: adjusted synergy factor=1.94 (1.16-3.25, 0.01). Aromatase, a rate-limiting enzyme in the synthesis of estrogens, is expressed in AD-relevant brain regions ,and is downregulated during the disease. IL-10 is an anti-inflammatory cytokine. Given that estrogens have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory activities and regulate microglial cytokine production, epistasis is biologically plausible. Diminishing serum estrogen in postmenopausal women, coupled with suboptimal brain estrogen synthesis, may contribute to the inflammatory state, that is a pathological hallmark of AD.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 5 June 2013; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2013.116.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) comprise a powerful tool for mapping genes of complex traits. However, an inflation of the test statistic can occur because of population substructure or cryptic relatedness, which could cause spurious associations. If information on a large number of genetic markers is available, adjusting the analysis results by using the method of genomic control (GC) is possible. GC was originally proposed to correct the Cochran-Armitage additive trend test. For non-additive models, correction has been shown to depend on allele frequencies. Therefore, usage of GC is limited to situations where allele frequencies of null markers and candidate markers are matched. In this work, we extended the capabilities of the GC method for non-additive models, which allows us to use null markers with arbitrary allele frequencies for GC. Analytical expressions for the inflation of a test statistic describing its dependency on allele frequency and several population parameters were obtained for recessive, dominant, and over-dominant models of inheritance. We proposed a method to estimate these required population parameters. Furthermore, we suggested a GC method based on approximation of the correction coefficient by a polynomial of allele frequency and described procedures to correct the genotypic (two degrees of freedom) test for cases when the model of inheritance is unknown. Statistical properties of the described methods were investigated using simulated and real data. We demonstrated that all considered methods were effective in controlling type 1 error in the presence of genetic substructure. The proposed GC methods can be applied to statistical tests for GWAS with various models of inheritance. All methods developed and tested in this work were implemented using R language as a part of the GenABEL package.
Genotyping arrays are a cost effective approach when typing previously-identified genetic polymorphisms in large numbers of samples. One limitation of genotyping arrays with rare variants (e.g., minor allele frequency [MAF] <0.01) is the difficulty that automated clustering algorithms have to accurately detect and assign genotype calls. Combining intensity data from large numbers of samples may increase the ability to accurately call the genotypes of rare variants. Approximately 62,000 ethnically diverse samples from eleven Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Consortium cohorts were genotyped with the Illumina HumanExome BeadChip across seven genotyping centers. The raw data files for the samples were assembled into a single project for joint calling. To assess the quality of the joint calling, concordance of genotypes in a subset of individuals having both exome chip and exome sequence data was analyzed. After exclusion of low performing SNPs on the exome chip and non-overlap of SNPs derived from sequence data, genotypes of 185,119 variants (11,356 were monomorphic) were compared in 530 individuals that had whole exome sequence data. A total of 98,113,070 pairs of genotypes were tested and 99.77% were concordant, 0.14% had missing data, and 0.09% were discordant. We report that joint calling allows the ability to accurately genotype rare variation using array technology when large sample sizes are available and best practices are followed. The cluster file from this experiment is available at www.chargeconsortium.com/main/exomechip.
Regional-based association analysis instead of individual testing of each SNP was introduced in genome-wide association studies to increase the power of gene mapping, especially for rare genetic variants. For regional association tests, the kernel machine-based regression approach was recently proposed as a more powerful alternative to collapsing-based methods. However, the vast majority of existing algorithms and software for the kernel machine-based regression are applicable only to unrelated samples. In this paper, we present a new method for the kernel machine-based regression association analysis of quantitative traits in samples of related individuals. The method is based on the GRAMMAR+ transformation of phenotypes of related individuals, followed by use of existing kernel machine-based regression software for unrelated samples. We compared the performance of kernel-based association analysis on the material of the Genetic Analysis Workshop 17 family sample and real human data by using our transformation, the original untransformed trait, and environmental residuals. We demonstrated that only the GRAMMAR+ transformation produced type I errors close to the nominal value and that this method had the highest empirical power. The new method can be applied to analysis of related samples by using existing software for kernel-based association analysis developed for unrelated samples.
Narrow arterioles in the retina have been shown to predict hypertension as well as other vascular diseases, likely through an increase in the peripheral resistance of the microcirculatory flow. In this study, we performed a genome-wide association study in 18,722 unrelated individuals of European ancestry from the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology consortium and the Blue Mountain Eye Study, to identify genetic determinants associated with variations in retinal arteriolar caliber. Retinal vascular calibers were measured on digitized retinal photographs using a standardized protocol. One variant (rs2194025 on chromosome 5q14 near the myocyte enhancer factor 2C MEF2C gene) was associated with retinal arteriolar caliber in the meta-analysis of the discovery cohorts at genome-wide significance of P-value <5×10(-8). This variant was replicated in an additional 3,939 individuals of European ancestry from the Australian Twins Study and Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (rs2194025, P-value?=?2.11×10(-12) in combined meta-analysis of discovery and replication cohorts). In independent studies of modest sample sizes, no significant association was found between this variant and clinical outcomes including coronary artery disease, stroke, myocardial infarction or hypertension. In conclusion, we found one novel loci which underlie genetic variation in microvasculature which may be relevant to vascular disease. The relevance of these findings to clinical outcomes remains to be determined.
Hypertension is an important determinant of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality and has a substantial heritability, which is likely of polygenic origin. The aim of this study was to assess to what extent multiple common genetic variants contribute to blood pressure regulation in both adults and children and to assess overlap in variants between different age groups, using genome-wide profiling. Single nucleotide polymorphism sets were defined based on a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies on systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure performed by the Cohort for Heart and Aging Research in Genome Epidemiology (n=29 136), using different P value thresholds for selecting single nucleotide polymorphisms. Subsequently, genetic risk scores for systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure were calculated in an independent adult population (n=2072) and a child population (n=1034). The explained variance of the genetic risk scores was evaluated using linear regression models, including sex, age, and body mass index. Genetic risk scores, including also many nongenome-wide significant single nucleotide polymorphisms, explained more of the variance than scores based only on very significant single nucleotide polymorphisms in adults and children. Genetic risk scores significantly explained ?1.2% (P=9.6*10(-8)) of the variance in adult systolic blood pressure and 0.8% (P=0.004) in children. For diastolic blood pressure, the variance explained was similar in adults and children (1.7% [P=8.9*10(-10)] and 1.4% [P=3.3*10(-5)], respectively). These findings suggest the presence of many genetic loci with small effects on blood pressure regulation both in adults and children, indicating also a (partly) common polygenic regulation of blood pressure throughout different periods of life.
Genetic determinants of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) remain largely unknown. To identify genetic variants associated with the ankle-brachial index (ABI), a noninvasive measure of PAD, we conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association study data from 21 population-based cohorts.
Coronary artery calcification (CAC) detected by computed tomography is a noninvasive measure of coronary atherosclerosis, which underlies most cases of myocardial infarction (MI). We sought to identify common genetic variants associated with CAC and further investigate their associations with MI.
Most studies investigating the genetics of dementia have focused on Alzheimer disease, but little is known about the genetics of vascular dementia. The aim of our study was to identify new loci associated with vascular dementia.
Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) generates proinflammatory and proatherogenic compounds in the arterial vascular wall and is a potential therapeutic target in coronary heart disease (CHD). We searched for genetic loci related to Lp-PLA2 mass or activity by a genome-wide association study as part of the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Consortium.
Fueled by the successes of genome-wide association studies, numerous studies have investigated the predictive ability of genetic risk models in type 2 diabetes. In this paper, we review these studies from a methodological perspective, focusing on the variables included in the risk models as well as the study designs and populations investigated. We argue and show that differences in study design and characteristics of the study population have an impact on the observed predictive ability of risk models. This observation emphasizes that genetic risk prediction studies should be conducted in those populations in which the prediction models will ultimately be applied, if proven useful. Of all genetic risk prediction studies to date, only a few were conducted in populations that might be relevant for targeting preventive interventions.
The aim of our study was to discover genomic variations related to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) susceptibility. A genome-wide association analysis with most vCJD samples available in the world was performed. A series of 93 vCJD UK patients and 1504 UK controls were included in the discovery stage. Our best findings were replicated in an independent population of 22 UK and 20 French vCJD cases. Post hoc analysis to assess our main results included 5711 French controls, 445 Dutch controls, and 446 sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) cases. We found 2 genome wide significant variants tagging PRNP: rs6107516 (p = 2.6 × 10(-18)) and rs2065706 (p = 8.8 × 10(-14)). Two other single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (rs4921542 and rs7565981) were successfully replicated in independent samples and reached genome-wide significance after pooling discovery and replication populations. Rs4921542 (p = 1.6 × 10(-8)) is an intronic variant in the myotubularin related protein 7 gene (MTMR7), which is specifically expressed in the central nervous system (CNS) and dephosphorylates phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate and inositol 1,3-bisphosphate. Rs7565981 (p = 4.2 × 10(-8)) is in an intergenic region upstream of the neuronal PAS (per-ARNT-sim) domain-containing protein 2 gene (NPAS2), a regulatory gene belonging to a family of transcription factors that has been implicated in memory, seasonal affective disorder, and the molecular clock in the mammalian forebrain. A proxy of rs7565981 (rs17024792; r(2) = 1.0) has been found to regulate the phospholipase C-delta-3 gene (PLCD3) in trans. This enzyme catalyzes the hydrolysis of phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate. Our study reveals 2 new genome-wide significant markers for vCJD outside PRNP and provides evidence supporting a role of the phosphatidylinositol pathway in vCJD susceptibility.
Copy-number variants (CNVs) are a source of genetic variation that increasingly are associated with human disease. However, the role of CNVs in human lifespan is to date unknown. To identify CNVs that influence mortality at old age, we analyzed genome-wide CNV data in 5178 participants of Rotterdam Study (RS1) and positive findings were evaluated in 1714 participants of the second cohort of the Rotterdam Study (RS2) and in 4550 participants of Framingham Heart Study (FHS). First, we assessed the total burden of rare (frequency <1%) and common (frequency >1%) CNVs for association with mortality during follow-up. These analyses were repeated by stratifying CNVs by type and size. Secondly, we assessed individual common CNV regions (CNVR) for association with mortality. We observed that the burden of common but not of rare CNVs influences mortality. A higher burden of large (? 500 kb) common deletions associated with 4% higher mortality [hazard ratio (HR) per CNV 1.04, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02-1.07, P = 5.82 × 10(-5)] in the 11 442 participants of RS1, RS2 and FHS. In the analysis of 312 individual common CNVRs, we identified two regions (11p15.5; 14q21.3) that associated with higher mortality in these cohorts. The 11p15.5 region (combined HR 1.59, 95% CI 1.31-1.93, P = 2.87 × 10(-6)) encompasses 41 genes, of which some have previously been related to longevity, whereas the 14q21.3 region (combined HR 1.57, 95% CI 1.19-2.07, P = 1.53 × 10(-3)) does not encompass any genes. In conclusion, the burden of large common deletions, as well as common CNVs in 11p15.5 and 14q21.3 region, associate with higher mortality.
Many genetic variants have been associated with glucose homeostasis and type 2 diabetes in genome-wide association studies. Zinc is an essential micronutrient that is important for ?-cell function and glucose homeostasis. We tested the hypothesis that zinc intake could influence the glucose-raising effect of specific variants.
Blood pressure is a heritable trait influenced by several biological pathways and responsive to environmental stimuli. Over one billion people worldwide have hypertension (?140?mm?Hg systolic blood pressure or? ?90?mm?Hg diastolic blood pressure). Even small increments in blood pressure are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events. This genome-wide association study of systolic and diastolic blood pressure, which used a multi-stage design in 200,000 individuals of European descent, identified sixteen novel loci: six of these loci contain genes previously known or suspected to regulate blood pressure (GUCY1A3-GUCY1B3, NPR3-C5orf23, ADM, FURIN-FES, GOSR2, GNAS-EDN3); the other ten provide new clues to blood pressure physiology. A genetic risk score based on 29 genome-wide significant variants was associated with hypertension, left ventricular wall thickness, stroke and coronary artery disease, but not kidney disease or kidney function. We also observed associations with blood pressure in East Asian, South Asian and African ancestry individuals. Our findings provide new insights into the genetics and biology of blood pressure, and suggest potential novel therapeutic pathways for cardiovascular disease prevention.
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a commonly occurring chronic skin disease with high heritability. Apart from filaggrin (FLG), the genes influencing atopic dermatitis are largely unknown. We conducted a genome-wide association meta-analysis of 5,606 affected individuals and 20,565 controls from 16 population-based cohorts and then examined the ten most strongly associated new susceptibility loci in an additional 5,419 affected individuals and 19,833 controls from 14 studies. Three SNPs reached genome-wide significance in the discovery and replication cohorts combined, including rs479844 upstream of OVOL1 (odds ratio (OR) = 0.88, P = 1.1 × 10(-13)) and rs2164983 near ACTL9 (OR = 1.16, P = 7.1 × 10(-9)), both of which are near genes that have been implicated in epidermal proliferation and differentiation, as well as rs2897442 in KIF3A within the cytokine cluster at 5q31.1 (OR = 1.11, P = 3.8 × 10(-8)). We also replicated association with the FLG locus and with two recently identified association signals at 11q13.5 (rs7927894; P = 0.008) and 20q13.33 (rs6010620; P = 0.002). Our results underline the importance of both epidermal barrier function and immune dysregulation in atopic dermatitis pathogenesis.
Altered glucose metabolism has been described in Alzheimers disease (AD). We re-investigated the interaction of the insulin (INS) and the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARA) genes in AD risk in the Epistasis Project, including 1,757 AD cases and 6,294 controls. Allele frequencies of both SNPs (PPARA L162V, INS intron 0 A/T) differed between Northern Europeans and Northern Spanish. The PPARA 162LL genotype increased AD risk in Northern Europeans (p = 0.04), but not in Northern Spanish (p = 0.2). There was no association of the INS intron 0 TT genotype with AD. We observed an interaction on AD risk between PPARA 162LL and INS intron 0 TT genotypes in Northern Europeans (Synergy factor 2.5, p = 0.016), but not in Northern Spanish. We suggest that dysregulation of glucose metabolism contributes to the development of AD and might be due in part to genetic variations in INS and PPARA and their interaction especially in Northern Europeans.
Recent genome-wide association (GWA) studies described 95 loci controlling serum lipid levels. These common variants explain ?25% of the heritability of the phenotypes. To date, no unbiased screen for gene-environment interactions for circulating lipids has been reported. We screened for variants that modify the relationship between known epidemiological risk factors and circulating lipid levels in a meta-analysis of genome-wide association (GWA) data from 18 population-based cohorts with European ancestry (maximum N?=?32,225). We collected 8 further cohorts (N?=?17,102) for replication, and rs6448771 on 4p15 demonstrated genome-wide significant interaction with waist-to-hip-ratio (WHR) on total cholesterol (TC) with a combined P-value of 4.79×10(-9). There were two potential candidate genes in the region, PCDH7 and CCKAR, with differential expression levels for rs6448771 genotypes in adipose tissue. The effect of WHR on TC was strongest for individuals carrying two copies of G allele, for whom a one standard deviation (sd) difference in WHR corresponds to 0.19 sd difference in TC concentration, while for A allele homozygous the difference was 0.12 sd. Our findings may open up possibilities for targeted intervention strategies for people characterized by specific genomic profiles. However, more refined measures of both body-fat distribution and metabolic measures are needed to understand how their joint dynamics are modified by the newly found locus.
The Rotterdam Study is a prospective cohort study ongoing since 1990 in the city of Rotterdam in The Netherlands. The study targets cardiovascular, endocrine, hepatic, neurological, ophthalmic, psychiatric, dermatological, oncological, and respiratory diseases. As of 2008, 14,926 subjects aged 45 years or over comprise the Rotterdam Study cohort. The findings of the Rotterdam Study have been presented in over a 1,000 research articles and reports (see www.erasmus-epidemiology.nl/rotterdamstudy ). This article gives the rationale of the study and its design. It also presents a summary of the major findings and an update of the objectives and methods.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.