Austin D E Swafford

University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (2)10.67 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Copy number variants (CNVs) have been proposed as a possible source of 'missing heritability' in complex human diseases. Two studies of type 1 diabetes (T1D) found null associations with common copy number polymorphisms, but CNVs of low frequency and high penetrance could still play a role. We used the Log-R-Ratio intensity data from a dense single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array, ImmunoChip, to detect rare CNV deletions (rDELs) and duplications (rDUPs) in 6,808 T1D cases, 9,954 controls, and 2,206 families with T1D-affected offspring. Initial analyses detected CNV associations. However, these were shown to be false positive findings, failing replication with PCR. We developed a pipeline of quality control (QC) tests that were calibrated using systematic testing of sensitivity and specificity. The case-control odds ratios (OR) of CNV burden on T1D risk resulting from this QC pipeline converged on unity, suggesting no global frequency difference in rDELs or rDUPs. There was evidence that deletions could impact T1D risk for a small minority of cases, with enrichment for rDELs longer than 400 kb (OR=1.57, p=0.005). There were also 18 de novo rDELs detected in affected offspring but none for unaffected siblings (p=0.03). No specific CNV regions showed robust evidence for association with T1D, although frequencies were lower than expected (most less than 0.1%), substantially reducing statistical power, which was examined in detail. We present an R-package, plumbCNV, which provides an automated approach for quality control (QC) and detection of rare CNVs that can facilitate equivalent analyses of large-scale SNP array datasets. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press.
    Human Molecular Genetics 11/2014; DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddu581 · 6.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The detection of insulin autoantibodies (IAA) aids in the prediction of autoimmune diabetes development. However, the long-standing, gold standard 125I-insulin radiobinding assay (RBA) has low reproducibility between laboratories, long sample processing times and requires the use of newly synthesized radiolabeled insulin for each set of assays. Therefore, a rapid, non-radioactive, and reproducible assay is highly desirable. We have developed electrochemiluminescence (ECL)-based assays that fulfill these criteria in the measurement of IAA and anti-insulin antibodies (IA) in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice and in type 1 diabetic individuals, respectively. Using the murine IAA ECL assay, we examined the correlation between IAA, histopathological insulitis, and blood glucose in a cohort of female NOD mice from 4 up to 36 weeks of age. We developed a human IA ECL assay that we compared to conventional RBA and validated using samples from 34 diabetic and 59 non-diabetic individuals in three independent laboratories. Our ECL assays were rapid and sensitive with a broad dynamic range and low background. In the NOD mouse model, IAA levels measured by ECL were positively correlated with insulitis severity, and the values measured at 8-10 weeks of age were predictive of diabetes onset. Using human serum and plasma samples, our IA ECL assay yielded reproducible and accurate results with an average sensitivity of 84% at 95% specificity with no statistically significant difference between laboratories. These novel, non-radioactive ECL-based assays should facilitate reliable and fast detection of antibodies to insulin and its precursors sera and plasma in a standardized manner between laboratories in both research and clinical settings. Our next step is to evaluate the human IA assay in the detection of IAA in prediabetic subjects or those at risk of type 1 diabetes and to develop similar assays for other autoantibodies that together are predictive for the diagnosis of this common disorder, in order to improve prediction and facilitate future therapeutic trials.
    Journal of Translational Medicine 11/2011; 9:203. DOI:10.1186/1479-5876-9-203 · 3.99 Impact Factor