Genome-wide association scans with high-throughput metabolic profiling provide unprecedented insights into how genetic variation influences metabolism and complex disease. Here we report the most comprehensive exploration of genetic loci influencing human metabolism thus far, comprising 7,824 adult individuals from 2 European population studies. We report genome-wide significant associations at 145 metabolic loci and their biochemical connectivity with more than 400 metabolites in human blood. We extensively characterize the resulting in vivo blueprint of metabolism in human blood by integrating it with information on gene expression, heritability and overlap with known loci for complex disorders, inborn errors of metabolism and pharmacological targets. We further developed a database and web-based resources for data mining and results visualization. Our findings provide new insights into the role of inherited variation in blood metabolic diversity and identify potential new opportunities for drug development and for understanding disease.
Loss-of-function mutations protective against human disease provide in vivo validation of therapeutic targets, but none have yet been described for type 2 diabetes (T2D). Through sequencing or genotyping of ~150,000 individuals across 5 ancestry groups, we identified 12 rare protein-truncating variants in SLC30A8, which encodes an islet zinc transporter (ZnT8) and harbors a common variant (p.Trp325Arg) associated with T2D risk and glucose and proinsulin levels. Collectively, carriers of protein-truncating variants had 65% reduced T2D risk (P = 1.7 × 10(-6)), and non-diabetic Icelandic carriers of a frameshift variant (p.Lys34Serfs*50) demonstrated reduced glucose levels (-0.17 s.d., P = 4.6 × 10(-4)). The two most common protein-truncating variants (p.Arg138* and p.Lys34Serfs*50) individually associate with T2D protection and encode unstable ZnT8 proteins. Previous functional study of SLC30A8 suggested that reduced zinc transport increases T2D risk, and phenotypic heterogeneity was observed in mouse Slc30a8 knockouts. In contrast, loss-of-function mutations in humans provide strong evidence that SLC30A8 haploinsufficiency protects against T2D, suggesting ZnT8 inhibition as a therapeutic strategy in T2D prevention.
Using a nontargeted metabolomics approach of 447 fasting plasma metabolites, we searched for novel molecular markers that arise before and after hyperglycemia in a large population-based cohort of 2,204 females (115 type 2 diabetic [T2D] case subjects, 192 individuals with impaired fasting glucose [IFG], and 1,897 control subjects) from TwinsUK. Forty-two metabolites from three major fuel sources (carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins) were found to significantly correlate with T2D after adjusting for multiple testing; of these, 22 were previously reported as associated with T2D or insulin resistance. Fourteen metabolites were found to be associated with IFG. Among the metabolites identified, the branched-chain keto-acid metabolite 3-methyl-2-oxovalerate was the strongest predictive biomarker for IFG after glucose (odds ratio [OR] 1.65 [95% CI 1.39-1.95], P = 8.46 × 10(-9)) and was moderately heritable (h(2) = 0.20). The association was replicated in an independent population (n = 720, OR 1.68 [ 1.34-2.11], P = 6.52 × 10(-6)) and validated in 189 twins with urine metabolomics taken at the same time as plasma (OR 1.87 [1.27-2.75], P = 1 × 10(-3)). Results confirm an important role for catabolism of branched-chain amino acids in T2D and IFG. In conclusion, this T2D-IFG biomarker study has surveyed the broadest panel of nontargeted metabolites to date, revealing both novel and known associated metabolites and providing potential novel targets for clinical prediction and a deeper understanding of causal mechanisms.
Despite the central role of the liver in the regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism, there are currently no methods to directly assess hepatic oxidative metabolism in humans in vivo. By using a new (13)C-labeling strategy in combination with (13)C magnetic resonance spectroscopy, we show that rates of mitochondrial oxidation and anaplerosis in human liver can be directly determined noninvasively. Using this approach, we found the mean rates of hepatic tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle flux (VTCA) and anaplerotic flux (VANA) to be 0.43 ± 0.04 ?mol g(-1) min(-1) and 0.60 ± 0.11 ?mol g(-1) min(-1), respectively, in twelve healthy, lean individuals. We also found the VANA/VTCA ratio to be 1.39 ± 0.22, which is severalfold lower than recently published estimates using an indirect approach. This method will be useful for understanding the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as for assessing the effectiveness of new therapies targeting these pathways in humans.
Genome sequencing can identify individuals in the general population who harbor rare coding variants in genes for Mendelian disorders and who may consequently have increased disease risk. Previous studies of rare variants in phenotypically extreme individuals display ascertainment bias and may demonstrate inflated effect-size estimates. We sequenced seven genes for maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY) in well-phenotyped population samples (n = 4,003). We filtered rare variants according to two prediction criteria for disease-causing mutations: reported previously in MODY or satisfying stringent de novo thresholds (rare, conserved and protein damaging). Approximately 1.5% and 0.5% of randomly selected individuals from the Framingham and Jackson Heart Studies, respectively, carry variants from these two classes. However, the vast majority of carriers remain euglycemic through middle age. Accurate estimates of variant effect sizes from population-based sequencing are needed to avoid falsely predicting a substantial fraction of individuals as being at risk for MODY or other Mendelian diseases.
Stroke is a leading cause of death in the United States. As ?60% of strokes result from carotid plaque rupture, elucidating the mechanisms that underlie vulnerability is critical for therapeutic intervention. We tested the hypothesis that stable and vulnerable human plaques differentially express genes associated with matrix degradation. Examination established that femoral, and the distal region of carotid, plaques were histologically stable while the proximal carotid plaque regions were vulnerable. Quantitative RT-PCR was used to compare expression of 22 genes among these tissues. Distal carotid and femoral gene expression was not significantly different, permitting the distal carotid segments to be used as a paired control for their corresponding proximal regions. Analysis of the paired plaques revealed differences in 16 genes that impact plaque stability: matrix metalloproteinases (MMP, higher in vulnerable), MMP modulators (inhibitors: lower, activators: higher in vulnerable), activating Fc receptors (Fc?R, higher in vulnerable) and Fc?R signaling molecules (higher in vulnerable). Surprisingly, the relative expression of smooth muscle cell and macrophage markers in the three plaque types was not significantly different, suggesting that macrophage distribution and/or activation state correlates with (in)stability. Immunohistochemistry revealed that macrophages and smooth muscle cells localize to distinct and non-overlapping regions in all plaques. MMP protein localized to macrophage-rich regions. In vitro, treatment of macrophages with immune complexes, but not oxidized low density lipoprotein, C-reactive protein, or TNF-?, induced a gene expression profile similar to that of the vulnerable plaques. That ligation of Fc?R recapitulates the pattern of gene expression in vulnerable plaques suggests that the Fc?R ? macrophage activation pathway may play a greater role in human plaque vulnerability than previously appreciated.
Liver-specific ablation of cytochrome P450 reductase in mice (LCN) results in hepatic steatosis that can progress to steatohepatitis characterized by inflammation and fibrosis. The specific cause of the fatty liver phenotype is poorly understood but is hypothesized to result from elevated expression of genes encoding fatty acid synthetic genes. Since expression of these genes is known to be suppressed by polyunsaturated fatty acids, we performed physiological and genomics studies to evaluate the effects of dietary linoleic and linolenic fatty acids (PUFA) or arachidonic and decosahexaenoic acids (HUFA) on the hepatic phenotypes of control and LCN mice by comparison with a diet enriched in saturated fatty acids. The dietary interventions with HUFA reduced the fatty liver phenotype in livers of LCN mice and altered the gene expression patterns in these livers to more closely resemble those of control mice. Importantly, the expression of genes encoding lipid pathway enzymes were not different between controls and LCN livers, indicating a strong influence of diet over POR genotype. These analyses highlighted the impact of POR ablation on expression of genes encoding P450 enzymes and proteins involved in stress and inflammation. We also found that livers from animals of both genotypes fed diets enriched in PUFA had gene expression patterns more closely resembling those fed diets enriched in saturated fatty acids. These results strongly suggest only HUFA supplied from an exogenous source can suppress hepatic lipogenesis.
Overexpression of the adverse prognostic marker ERBB2 occurs in 30% of breast cancers; however, therapies targeting this gene have not proved to be as effective as was initially hoped. Transcriptional profiling meta-analyses have shown that there are approximately 150 genes co-overexpressed with ERBB2, suggesting that these genes may represent alternative factors influencing ERBB2-positive tumors. Here we describe an RNA interference-based analysis of these genes that identifies transcriptional regulators of fat synthesis and storage as being critical for the survival of these cells. These transcription factors, nuclear receptor subfamily 1, group D, member 1 (NR1D1) and peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma binding protein (PBP), both reside on ERBB2-containing 17q12-21 amplicons and are part of the ERBB2 expression signature. We show that NR1D1 and PBP act through a common pathway in upregulating several genes in the de novo fatty acid synthesis network, which is highly active in ERBB2-positive breast cancer cells. Malate dehydrogenase 1 and malic enzyme 1, enzymes that link glycolysis and fatty acid synthesis, are also regulated by NR1D1. The resulting high-level fat production from increased expression of these genes likely contributes to an abnormal cellular energy metabolism based on aerobic glycolysis. Together, these results show that the cells of this aggressive form of breast cancer are genetically preprogrammed to depend on NR1D1 and PBP for the energy production necessary for survival.
Accumulation of fatty acids and neutral lipids in nonadipose tissues is cytotoxic. We recently showed that ERBB2-positive breast cancer cells produce significantly high amounts of fats, because of overexpression of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)gamma-binding protein and the nuclear receptor NR1D1 (nuclear receptor subfamily 1, group D, member 1; Rev-erbalpha). These genes upregulate de novo fatty acid synthesis, which is a critical pathway for the energy production and survival of these cells. NR1D1 and PPARgamma-binding protein are functionally related to PPARgamma, a well established positive regulator of adipogenesis and lipid storage.
Atherosclerosis is responsible for the death of thousands of Americans each year. The carotid constriction model of plaque development has recently been presented as a model for unstable plaque formation in mice. In this study we 1) validate ultrasound biomicroscopy (UBM) for the determination of carotid plaque size, percent stenosis, and plaque development in live animals, 2) determine the sensitivity of UBM in detecting changes in blood flow induced by carotid constriction and 3) test whether plaque formation can be predicted from blood flow parameters measured by UBM. Carotid plaques were induced by surgical constriction in Apo E?/? mice. Arteries were imaged bi-weekly by UBM, at which time PW-Doppler measurements of proximal blood flow, as well as plaque length and percent stenosis were determined. Histology was performed 9 weeks post surgery. When compared to whole mount post-mortem measurements, UBM accurately reported carotid plaque length. Percent stenosis, based on transverse B-mode UBM measurements, correlated well with that calculated from histological sections. PW-Doppler revealed that constriction reduced maximum systolic velocity (v(max)) and duration of the systolic velocity peak (t(s)/t(t)). Pre-plaque (2 week post-surgery) PW-Doppler parameters (v(max) and t(s)/t(t)) were correlated with plaque length at 9 weeks, and were predictive of plaque formation. Correlation of initiating PW-Doppler parameters (v(max) and t(s)/t(t)) with resulting plaque length established the degree of flow disturbance required for subsequent plaque development and demonstrated its power for predicting plaque development.
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.