[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
It has been well-established, both by population genetics theory and direct observation in many organisms, that increased genetic diversity provides a survival advantage. However, given the limitations of both sample size and genome-wide metrics, this hypothesis has not been comprehensively tested in human populations. Moreover, the presence of numerous segregating small effect alleles that influence traits that directly impact health directly raises the question as to whether global measures of genomic variation are themselves associated with human health and disease.ResultsWe performed a meta-analysis of 17 cohorts followed prospectively, with a combined sample size of 46,716 individuals, including a total of 15,234 deaths. We find a significant association between increased heterozygosity and survival (P¿=¿0.03). We estimate that within a single population, every standard deviation of heterozygosity an individual has over the mean decreases that person¿s risk of death by 1.57%.Conclusions
This effect was consistent between European and African ancestry cohorts, men and women, and major causes of death (cancer and cardiovascular disease), demonstrating the broad positive impact of genomic diversity on human survival.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genetic contribution to longevity in humans has been estimated to range from 15% to 25%. Only two genes, APOE and FOXO3, have shown association with longevity in multiple independent studies.
The Journals of Gerontology Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 09/2014; · 4.31 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the 9p21.3 genomic region have been consistently associated with coronary heart disease (CHD), myocardial infarction, and quantity of coronary artery calcification (CAC), a marker of subclinical atherosclerosis. Prior studies have established an association between blood pressure measures and CAC. To examine mechanisms by which the 9p21.3 genomic region may influence CHD risk, we investigated whether SNPs in 9p21.3 modified associations between blood pressure and CAC quantity.Methods
As part of the Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy (GENOA) Study, 974 participants underwent non-invasive computed tomography (CT) to measure CAC quantity. Linear mixed effects models were used to investigate whether seven SNPs in the 9p21.3 region modified the association between blood pressure levels and CAC quantity. Four SNPs of at least marginal significance in GENOA for a SNP-by-diastolic blood pressure (DBP) interaction were then tested for replication in the Framingham Heart Study¿s Offspring Cohort (N¿=¿1,140).ResultsWe found replicated evidence that one SNP, rs2069416, in CDKN2B-AS1, significantly modified the association between DBP and CAC quantity (combined P¿=¿0.0065; Bonferroni-corrected combined P¿=¿0.0455).Conclusions
Our results represent a novel finding that the relationship between DBP and CAC is dependent on genetic variation in the 9p21.3 region. Thus, variation in 9p21.3 may not only be an independent genetic risk factor for CHD, but also may modify the association between DBP levels and the extent of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis.
BMC Medical Genetics 09/2014; 15(1):89. · 2.45 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Metabolic syndrome (MetS) has become a health and financial burden worldwide. The MetS definition captures clustering of risk factors that predict higher risk for diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. Our study hypothesis is that additional to genes influencing individual MetS risk factors, genetic variants exist that influence MetS and inflammatory markers forming a predisposing MetS genetic network. To test this hypothesis a staged approach was undertaken. (a) We analyzed 17 metabolic and inflammatory traits in more than 85,500 participants from 14 large epidemiological studies within the Cross Consortia Pleiotropy Group. Individuals classified with MetS (NCEP definition), versus those without, showed on average significantly different levels for most inflammatory markers studied. (b) Paired average correlations between 8 metabolic traits and 9 inflammatory markers from the same studies as above, estimated with two methods, and factor analyses on large simulated data, helped in identifying 8 combinations of traits for follow-up in meta-analyses, out of 130,305 possible combinations between metabolic traits and inflammatory markers studied. (c) We performed correlated meta-analyses for 8 metabolic traits and 6 inflammatory markers by using existing GWAS published genetic summary results, with about 2.5 million SNPs from twelve predominantly largest GWAS consortia. These analyses yielded 130 unique SNPs/genes with pleiotropic associations (a SNP/gene associating at least one metabolic trait and one inflammatory marker). Of them twenty-five variants (seven loci newly reported) are proposed as MetS candidates. They map to genes MACF1, KIAA0754, GCKR, GRB14, COBLL1, LOC646736-IRS1, SLC39A8, NELFE, SKIV2L, STK19, TFAP2B, BAZ1B, BCL7B, TBL2, MLXIPL, LPL, TRIB1, ATXN2, HECTD4, PTPN11, ZNF664, PDXDC1, FTO, MC4R and TOMM40. Based on large data evidence, we conclude that inflammation is a feature of MetS and several gene variants show pleiotropic genetic associations across phenotypes and might explain a part of MetS correlated genetic architecture. These findings warrant further functional investigation.
Molecular Genetics and Metabolism 05/2014; · 2.83 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Kidney stones and their risk factors aggregate in families, yet few studies have systematically estimated heritabilities and genetic correlations of the numerous urinary traits associated with risk of kidney stones.
Twenty-four-hour urine samples were collected from the Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy cohort of families in Rochester, Minnesota, to measure urinary determinants of supersaturation. Diet was assessed using the Viocare food frequency questionnaire. Heritabilities and genetic correlations among the urinary traits were estimated using variance components methods.
Samples were available from 811 individuals (344 men, 467 women; mean age 66±9 years). Age, sex, and weight were significantly correlated with the majority of urinary traits. Many urine excretions (calcium, magnesium, citrate excretion) had strong evidence for heritability (P<0.01) both before and after adjusting for the identified covariates. Among significantly heritable urinary traits, genetic factors explained 20%-36% of interindividual variation after adjustment for covariates. Urinary calcium excretion was significantly genetically correlated with urinary magnesium and with urinary citrate excretion (P<0.05). Although eGFR influenced many urinary traits, controlling for eGFR did not greatly affect estimated heritabilities.
Evidence from this cohort suggests a strong heritable component to many urinary nephrolithiasis risk factors. Further study of genetic influences on urinary traits relevant for kidney stone pathogenesis is warranted.
Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 02/2014; 9(5). · 5.07 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The length of female reproductive lifespan is associated with multiple adverse outcomes, including breast cancer, cardiovascular disease and infertility. The biological processes that govern the timing of the beginning and end of reproductive life are not well understood. Genetic variants are known to contribute to ∼50% of the variation in both age at menarche and menopause, but to date the known genes explain <15% of the genetic component. We have used genome-wide association in a bivariate meta-analysis of both traits to identify genes involved in determining reproductive lifespan. We observed significant genetic correlation between the two traits using genome-wide complex trait analysis. However, we found no robust statistical evidence for individual variants with an effect on both traits. A novel association with age at menopause was detected for a variant rs1800932 in the mismatch repair gene MSH6 (P = 1.9 × 10(-9)), which was also associated with altered expression levels of MSH6 mRNA in multiple tissues. This study contributes to the growing evidence that DNA repair processes play a key role in ovarian ageing and could be an important therapeutic target for infertility.
Human Molecular Genetics 01/2014; · 6.68 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many GWAS have identified novel loci associated with common diseases, but have focused only on main effects of individual genetic variants rather than interactions with environmental factors (GxE). Identification of GxE interactions is particularly important for coronary heart disease (CHD), a major preventable source of morbidity and mortality with strong non-genetic risk factors. Atherosclerosis is the major cause of CHD, and coronary artery calcification (CAC) is directly correlated with quantity of coronary atherosclerotic plaque. In the current study, we tested for genetic variants influencing extent of CAC via interaction with smoking (GxS), by conducting a GxS discovery GWAS in Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy (GENOA) sibships (N = 915 European Americans) followed by replication in Framingham Heart Study (FHS) sibships (N = 1025 European Americans). Generalized estimating equations accounted for the correlation within sibships in strata-specific groups of smokers and nonsmokers, as well as GxS interaction. Primary analysis found SNPs that showed suggestive associations (p≤10(-5)) in GENOA GWAS, but these index SNPs did not replicate in FHS. However, secondary analysis was able to replicate candidate gene regions in FHS using other SNPs (+/-250 kb of GENOA index SNP). In smoker and nonsmoker groups, replicated genes included TCF7L2 (p = 6.0×10(-5)) and WWOX (p = 4.5×10(-6)); and TNFRSF8 (p = 7.8×10(-5)), respectively. For GxS interactions, replicated genes included TBC1D4 (p = 6.9×10(-5)) and ADAMTS9 (P = 7.1×10(-5)). Interestingly, these genes are involved in inflammatory pathways mediated by the NF-κB axis. Since smoking is known to induce chronic and systemic inflammation, association of these genes likely reflects roles in CAC development via inflammatory pathways. Furthermore, the NF-κB axis regulates bone remodeling, a key physiological process in CAC development. In conclusion, GxS GWAS has yielded evidence for novel loci that are associated with CAC via interaction with smoking, providing promising new targets for future population-based and functional studies of CAC development.
PLoS ONE 10/2013; 8(10):e74642. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A more thorough understanding of the differences in DNA methylation (DNAm) profiles in populations may hold promise for identifying molecular mechanisms through which genetic and environmental factors jointly contribute to human diseases. Inflammation is a key molecular mechanism underlying several chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, and it affects DNAm profile on both global and locus-specific levels. To understand the impact of inflammation on the DNAm of the human genome, we investigated DNAm profiles of peripheral blood leukocytes from 966 African American participants in the Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy (GENOA) study. By testing the association of DNAm sites on CpG islands of over 14,000 genes with C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammatory biomarker of cardiovascular disease, we identified 257 DNAm sites in 240 genes significantly associated with serum levels of CRP adjusted for age, sex, body mass index and smoking status, and corrected for multiple testing. Of the significantly associated DNAm sites, 80.5% were hypomethylated with higher CRP levels. The most significant Gene Ontology terms enriched in the genes associated with the CRP levels were immune system process, immune response, defense response, response to stimulus, and response to stress, which are all linked to the functions of leukocytes. While the CRP-associated DNAm may be cell-type specific, understanding the DNAm association with CRP in peripheral blood leukocytes of multi-ethnic populations can assist in unveiling the molecular mechanism of how the process of inflammation affects the risks of developing common disease through epigenetic modifications.
PLoS ONE 08/2013; 8(8):e73480. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the major cause of death in the United States. Coronary artery calcification (CAC) scores are independent predictors of CHD. African Americans (AA) have higher rates of CHD but are less well-studied in genomic studies. We assembled the largest AA data resource currently available with measured CAC to identify associated genetic variants.
We analyzed log transformed CAC quantity (ln(CAC + 1)), for association with ~2.5 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and performed an inverse-variance weighted meta-analysis on results for 5,823 AA from 8 studies. Heritability was calculated using family studies. The most significant SNPs among AAs were evaluated in European Ancestry (EA) CAC data; conversely, the significance of published SNPs for CAC/CHD in EA was queried within our AA meta-analysis.
Heritability of CAC was lower in AA (~30%) than previously reported for EA (~50%). No SNP reached genome wide significance (p < 5E-08). Of 67 SNPs with p < 1E-05 in AA there was no evidence of association in EA CAC data. Four SNPs in regions previously implicated in CAC/CHD (at 9p21 and PHACTR1) in EA reached nominal significance for CAC in AA, with concordant direction. Among AA, rs16905644 (p = 4.08E-05) had the strongest association in the 9p21 region.
While we observed substantial heritability for CAC in AA, we failed to identify loci for CAC at genome-wide significant levels despite having adequate power to detect alleles with moderate to large effects. Although suggestive signals in AA were apparent at 9p21 and additional CAC and CAD EA loci, overall the data suggest that even larger samples and an ethnic specific focus will be required for GWAS discoveries for CAC in AA populations.
BMC Medical Genetics 07/2013; 14(1):75. · 2.45 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cigarette smoking is an environmental risk factor for many chronic diseases, and disease risk can often be managed by smoking control. Smoking can induce cellular and molecular changes, including epigenetic modification, but the short- and long-term epigenetic modifications caused by cigarette smoking at the gene level have not been well understood. Recent studies have identified smoking-related DNA methylation (DNAm) sites in Caucasians. To determine whether the same DNAm sites associate with smoking in African Americans, and to identify novel smoking-related DNAm sites, we conducted a methylome-wide association study of cigarette smoking using a discovery sample of 972 African Americans, and a replication sample of 239 African Americans with two array-based methods. Among 15 DNAm sites significantly associated with smoking after correction for multiple testing in our discovery sample, 5 DNAm sites are replicated in an independent cohort, and 14 sites in the replication sample have effects in the same direction as in the discovery sample. The top two smoking-related DNAm sites in F2RL3 (factor II receptor-like 3) and GPR15 (G-protein-coupled receptor 15) observed in African Americans are consistent with previous findings in Caucasians. The associations between the replicated DNAm sites and smoking remain significant after adjusting for genetic background. Despite the distinct genetic background between African Americans and Caucasians, the DNAm from the two ethnic groups shares common associations with cigarette smoking, which suggests a common molecular mechanism of epigenetic modification influenced by environmental exposure.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use of body mass index (BMI) may not be the most appropriate measurement tool in determining obesity in diverse populations. We studied a convenience sample of 108 African American (AA) women to determine the best method for measuring obesity in this at-risk population. The purpose of this study was to determine if percent body fat (PBF) and percent body water (PBW) could be used as alternatives to BMI in predicting obesity and risk for hypertension (HTN) among AA women. After accounting for age, BMI, and the use of anti-hypertensive medication, PBF (p = 0.0125) and PBW (p = 0.0297) were significantly associated with systolic blood pressure, while BMI was not. Likewise, PBF (p = 0.0316) was significantly associated with diastolic blood pressure, while PBW and BMI were not. Thus, health care practitioners should consider alternative anthropometric measurements such as PBF when assessing obesity in AA women.
The Yale journal of biology and medicine 03/2013; 86(1):29-39.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction. Although African American (AA) women have the highest prevalence of hypertension and many genetic studies have been conducted to examine this disparity, no published studies have investigated their attitudes toward genetic testing for hypertension. The purpose of the present study was to use the health belief model as a guide to examine attitudes toward perceived barriers and benefits of genetic testing held by AA multigenerational triads and to determine whether they differed by generation, age, education, or income level. Methods. A descriptive correlational research design were used with 183 African American women and girls from Detroit. Correlations between triad membership, age, income, and education level were examined for association with attitudes toward genetic testing. Results. Increasing age and education were associated with significant differences in attitudes regarding benefits (F[2, 160] = 5.19, P = 0.007, d = 0.06) and awareness (F[2, 160] = 6.49, P = 0.002, d = 0.08). No statistically significant differences existed on the three subscales when compared by income levels or triad membership. Conclusions. This highlights the need for increased outreach to younger generations regarding benefits of genetic services. Further research is necessary to determine whether rural and male populations have similar beliefs.
Nursing research and practice. 01/2013; 2013:341374.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an increasing concern in the United States due to its rapidly rising prevalence, particularly among African Americans. Epigenetic DNA methylation markers are becoming important biomarkers of chronic diseases such as CKD. To better understand how these methylation markers play a role in kidney function, we measured 26,428 DNA methylation sites in 972 African Americans from the Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy (GENOA) study. We then evaluated (1) whether epigenetic markers are associated with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), (2) whether the significantly associated markers are also associated with traditional risk factors and/or novel biomarkers for eGFR, and (3) how much additional variation in eGFR is explained by epigenetic markers beyond established risk factors and biomarkers. The majority of methylation markers most significantly associated with eGFR (24 out of the top 30) appeared to function, at least in part, through pathways related to aging, inflammation, or cholesterol. However, six epigenetic markers were still able to significantly predict eGFR after adjustment for other risk factors. This work shows that epigenetic markers may offer valuable new insight into the complex pathophysiology of CKD in African Americans.
Nursing research and practice. 01/2013; 2013:687519.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent meta-analyses of European ancestry subjects show strong evidence for association between smoking quantity and multiple genetic variants on chromosome 15q25. This meta-analysis extends the examination of association between distinct genes in the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 region and smoking quantity to Asian and African American populations to confirm and refine specific reported associations. Association results for a dichotomized cigarettes smoked per day phenotype in 27 datasets (European ancestry (N = 14,786), Asian (N = 6,889), and African American (N = 10,912) for a total of 32,587 smokers) were meta-analyzed by population and results were compared across all three populations. We demonstrate association between smoking quantity and markers in the chromosome 15q25 region across all three populations, and narrow the region of association. Of the variants tested, only rs16969968 is associated with smoking (P < 0.01) in each of these three populations (odds ratio [OR] = 1.33, 95% CI = 1.25-1.42, P = 1.1 × 10(-17) in meta-analysis across all population samples). Additional variants displayed a consistent signal in both European ancestry and Asian datasets, but not in African Americans. The observed consistent association of rs16969968 with heavy smoking across multiple populations, combined with its known biological significance, suggests rs16969968 is most likely a functional variant that alters risk for heavy smoking. We interpret additional association results that differ across populations as providing evidence for additional functional variants, but we are unable to further localize the source of this association. Using the cross-population study paradigm provides valuable insights to narrow regions of interest and inform future biological experiments.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To newly identify loci for age at natural menopause, we carried out a meta-analysis of 22 genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in 38,968 women of European descent, with replication in up to 14,435 women. In addition to four known loci, we identified 13 loci newly associated with age at natural menopause (at P < 5 × 10(-8)). Candidate genes located at these newly associated loci include genes implicated in DNA repair (EXO1, HELQ, UIMC1, FAM175A, FANCI, TLK1, POLG and PRIM1) and immune function (IL11, NLRP11 and PRRC2A (also known as BAT2)). Gene-set enrichment pathway analyses using the full GWAS data set identified exoDNase, NF-κB signaling and mitochondrial dysfunction as biological processes related to timing of menopause.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epidemiological studies of DNA methylation (DNAm) profiles may hold substantial promise for identifying mechanisms through which genetic and environmental factors jointly contribute to disease risk. Different cell types are likely to have different DNAm patterns. We investigate the DNAm differences between two types of biospecimens available in many genetic epidemiology studies. We compared DNAm patterns in two different DNA samples from each of 34 participants in the Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy study (20 Caucasians and 14 African-Americans). One was extracted from peripheral blood cells (PBC) and the other from transformed B-lymphocytes (TBL). The genome-wide DNAm profiles were compared at over 27,000 genome-wide methylation sites. We found that 26 out of the 34 participants had correlation coefficients higher than 0.9 between methylation profiles of PBC and TBL. Although a high correlation was observed in the DNAm profile between PBC and TBL, we also observed variation across samples from different DNA resources and donors. Using principal component analysis of the DNAm profiles, the two sources of the DNA samples could be accurately predicted. We also identified 3,723 autosomal DNAm sites that had significantly different methylation statuses in PBC compared to TBL (Bonferroni corrected p value <0.05). Both PBC and TBL provide a rich resource for understanding the DNAm profiles in humans participating in epidemiologic studies. While the majority of DNAm findings in PBC and TBL may be consistent, caution must be used when interpreting results because of the possibility of cell type-specific methylation modification.
Human Genetics 03/2010; 127(6):651-8. · 4.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The KGraph is a data visualization system that has been developed to display the complex relationships between the univariate and bivariate associations among an outcome of interest, a set of covariates, and a set of genetic variations such as single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). It allows for easy simultaneous viewing and interpretation of genetic associations, correlations among covariates and SNPs, and information about the replication and cross-validation of these associations. The KGraph allows the user to more easily investigate multicollinearity and confounding through visualization of the multidimensional correlation structure underlying genetic associations. It emphasizes gene-environment interactions, gene-gene interactions, and correlations, all important components of the complex genetic architecture of most human traits. The KGraph was designed for use in gene-centric studies, but can be integrated into association analysis workflows as well. The software is available at http://www.epidkardia.sph.umich.edu/software/kgrapher.
Advances in genetics 01/2010; 72:181-93. · 5.41 Impact Factor