[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Changes in an individual’s human metabolic phenotype (metabotype) over time can be indicative of disorder-related modifications. Studies covering several months to a few years have shown that metabolic profiles are often specific for an individual. This “metabolic individuality” and detected changes may contribute to personalized approaches in human health care. However, it is not clear whether such individual metabotypes persist over longer time periods. Here we investigate the conservation of metabotypes characterized by 212 different metabolites of 818 participants from the Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg; Germany population, taken within a 7-year time interval. For replication, we used paired samples from 83 non-related individuals from the TwinsUK study. Results indicated that over 40 % of all study participants could be uniquely identified after 7 years based on their metabolic profiles alone. Moreover, 95 % of the study participants showed a high degree of metabotype conservation (>70 %) whereas the remaining 5 % displayed major changes in their metabolic profiles over time. These latter individuals were likely to have undergone important biochemical changes between the two time points. We further show that metabolite conservation was positively associated with heritability (rank correlation 0.74), although there were some notable exceptions. Our results suggest that monitoring changes in metabotypes over several years can trace changes in health status and may provide indications for disease onset. Moreover, our study findings provide a general reference for metabotype conservation over longer time periods that can be used in biomarker discovery studies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To elucidate the proteomic features of aging in plasma, the subproteome targeted by the SOMAscan assay was profiled in blood samples from 202 females from the TwinsUK cohort. Findings were replicated in 677 independent individuals from the AddNeuroMed, Alzheimer's Research UK, and Dementia Case Registry cohorts. Results were further validated using RNAseq data from whole blood in TwinsUK and the most significant proteins were tested for association with aging-related phenotypes after adjustment for age. Eleven proteins were associated with chronological age and were replicated at protein level in an independent population. These were further investigated at gene expression level in 384 females from the TwinsUK cohort. The two most strongly associated proteins were chordin-like protein 1 (meta-analysis β [SE] = 0.013 [0.001], p = 3.66 × 10(-46)) and pleiotrophin (0.012 [0.005], p = 3.88 × 10(-41)). Chordin-like protein 1 was also significantly correlated with birthweight (0.06 [0.02], p = 0.005) and with the individual Framingham 10-years cardiovascular risk scores in TwinsUK (0.71 [0.18], p = 9.9 × 10(-5)). Pleiotrophin is a secreted growth factor with a plethora of functions in multiple tissues and known to be a marker for cardiovascular risk and osteoporosis. Our study highlights the importance of proteomics to identify some molecular mechanisms involved in human health and aging.
The Journals of Gerontology Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 08/2014; · 4.31 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 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.
European Journal of Epidemiology 07/2014; · 5.12 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hearing function is known to be heritable but few significant and reproducible associations of genetic variants have been identified to date in the adult population. In this study, genome-wide association results of hearing function from the G-EAR consortium and TwinsUK were used for meta-analysis. Hearing ability in 8 population samples of Northern and Southern European ancestry (n=4591) and the Silk Road (n=348) was measured using pure-tone audiometry, and summarized using principal component (PC) analysis. Genome-wide association analyses for PC1-3 were conducted separately in each sample assuming an additive model adjusted for age, sex and relatedness of subjects. Meta-analysis was performed using 2.3 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) tested against each of the three PCs of hearing ability in 4939 individuals. A single SNP lying in intron 6 of the salt-inducible kinase 3 (SIK3) gene was found to be associated with hearing PC2 (p=3.7x10(-8)) and further supported by whole genome sequence in a subset. To determine the relevance of this gene in the ear, expression of the Sik3 protein was studied in mouse cochlea of different ages. Sik3 was expressed in murine hair cells during early development and in cells of the spiral ganglion during early development and adulthood. Our results suggest a developmental role of Sik3 in hearing and may be required for maintenance of adult auditory function.
Human Molecular Genetics 07/2014; · 7.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Research for the use of biomarkers in osteoarthritis (OA) is promising, however, adequate discrimination between patients and controls may be hampered due to innate differences. We set out to identify loci influencing levels of serum cartilage oligomeric protein (sCOMP) and urinary C-telopeptide of type II collagen (uCTX-II).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HMIP-2 is a human quantitative trait locus affecting peripheral numbers, size and hemoglobin composition of red blood cells, with a marked effect on the persistence of the fetal form of hemoglobin, HbF, in adults. The locus consists of multiple common variants in an enhancer region for MYB (chr 6q23.3), which encodes the hematopoietic transcription factor cMYB. Studying a European population cohort and four African-descended groups of patients with sickle cell anemia, we found that all share a set of two spatially separate HbF-promoting alleles at HMIP-2, termed “A” and “B.” These typically occurred together (“A–B”) on European chromosomes, but existed on separate homologous chromosomes in Africans. Using haplotype signatures for “A” and “B,” we interrogated public population datasets. Haplotypes carrying only “A” or “B” were typical for populations in Sub-Saharan Africa. The “A–B” combination was frequent in European, Asian, and Amerindian populations. Both alleles were infrequent in tropical regions, possibly undergoing negative selection by geographical factors, as has been reported for malaria with other hematological traits. We propose that the ascertainment of worldwide distribution patterns for common, HbF-promoting alleles can aid their further genetic characterization, including the investigation of gene–environment interaction during human migration and adaptation.
Annals of Human Genetics 07/2014; · 2.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Low plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) concentration is associated with high arterial blood pressure and hypertension risk, but whether this association is causal is unknown. We used a mendelian randomisation approach to test whether 25(OH)D concentration is causally associated with blood pressure and hypertension risk.
In this mendelian randomisation study, we generated an allele score (25[OH]D synthesis score) based on variants of genes that affect 25(OH)D synthesis or substrate availability (CYP2R1 and DHCR7), which we used as a proxy for 25(OH)D concentration. We meta-analysed data for up to 108 173 individuals from 35 studies in the D-CarDia collaboration to investigate associations between the allele score and blood pressure measurements. We complemented these analyses with previously published summary statistics from the International Consortium on Blood Pressure (ICBP), the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) consortium, and the Global Blood Pressure Genetics (Global BPGen) consortium.
In phenotypic analyses (up to n=49 363), increased 25(OH)D concentration was associated with decreased systolic blood pressure (β per 10% increase, −0·12 mm Hg, 95% CI −0·20 to −0·04; p=0·003) and reduced odds of hypertension (odds ratio [OR] 0·98, 95% CI 0·97—0·99; p=0·0003), but not with decreased diastolic blood pressure (β per 10% increase, −0·02 mm Hg, −0·08 to 0·03; p=0·37). In meta-analyses in which we combined data from D-CarDia and the ICBP (n=146 581, after exclusion of overlapping studies), each 25(OH)D-increasing allele of the synthesis score was associated with a change of −0·10 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure (−0·21 to −0·0001; p=0·0498) and a change of −0·08 mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure (−0·15 to −0·02; p=0·01). When D-CarDia and consortia data for hypertension were meta-analysed together (n=142 255), the synthesis score was associated with a reduced odds of hypertension (OR per allele, 0·98, 0·96—0·99; p=0·001). In instrumental variable analysis, each 10% increase in genetically instrumented 25(OH)D concentration was associated with a change of −0·29 mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure (−0·52 to −0·07; p=0·01), a change of −0·37 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure (−0·73 to 0·003; p=0·052), and an 8·1% decreased odds of hypertension (OR 0·92, 0·87—0·97; p=0·002).
Increased plasma concentrations of 25(OH)D might reduce the risk of hypertension. This finding warrants further investigation in an independent, similarly powered study.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Low weight at birth has previously been shown to be associated with a number of adult diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and obesity later in life. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been published for singleton-born individuals, but the role of genetic variation in birth weight (BW) in twins has not yet been fully investigated. A GWAS was performed in 4,593 female study participants with BW data available from the TwinsUK cohort. A genome-wide significant signal was found in chromosome 9, close to the NTRK2 gene (OMIM: 600456). QIMR, an Australian twin cohort (n = 3,003), and UK-based singleton-birth individuals from the Hertfordshire cohort (n = 2,997) were used as replication for the top two single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) underpinning this signal, rs12340987 and rs7849941. The top SNP, rs12340987, was found to be in the same direction in the Australian twins and in the singleton-born females (fixed effects meta-analysis beta = -0.13, SE = 0.02, and p = 1.48 × 10-8) but not in the singleton-born males tested. These findings provide an important insight into the genetic component of BW in twins who are normally excluded due to their lower BW when compared with singleton births, as well as the difference in BW between twins. The NTRK2 gene identified in this study has previously been associated with obesity.
Twin research and human genetics : the official journal of the International Society for Twin Studies. 06/2014;
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Availability of standardized metabolite panels and genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data endorse the comprehensive analysis of gene-metabolite association. Currently, many studies use genome-wide association analysis to investigate the genetic effects on single metabolites (mGWAS) separately. Such studies have identified several loci that are associated not only with one but with multiple metabolites, facilitated by the fact that metabolite panels often include metabolites of the same or related pathways. Strategies that analyse several phenotypes in a combined way were shown to be able to detect additional genetic loci. One of those methods is the phenotype set enrichment analysis (PSEA) that tests sets of metabolites for enrichment at genes. Here we applied PSEA on two different panels of serum metabolites together with genome-wide data. All analyses were performed as a two-step identification-validation approach, using data from the population-based KORA cohort and the TwinsUK study. In addition to confirming genes that were already known from mGWAS, we were able to identify and validate twelve new genes. Knowledge about gene function was supported by the enriched metabolite sets. For loci with unknown gene functions, the results suggest a function that is interrelated with the metabolites, and hint at the underlying pathways.
Human Molecular Genetics 06/2014; · 7.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cardiac sodium channel SCN5A regulates atrioventricular and ventricular conduction. Genetic variants in this gene are associated with PR and QRS intervals. We sought to characterize further the contribution of rare and common coding variation in SCN5A to cardiac conduction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 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.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 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 deve
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: -Telomere length is a heritable trait and short telomere length has been associated with multiple chronic diseases. We investigated the relationship of relative leukocyte telomere length (RTL) with cardiometabolic risk and performed the first GWAS and meta-analysis to identify variants influencing RTL in a population of Sikhs from South Asia.
-Our results revealed a significant independent association of shorter RTL with type 2 diabetes (T2D) and heart disease. Our discovery GWAS (n=1,616) was followed by Stage 1 replication of 25 top signals (P<10(-6)) in an additional Sikhs (n=2,397). On combined discovery and Stage 1 meta-analysis (n= 4013), we identified a novel RTL locus at chromosome 16q21 represented by an intronic variant (rs74019828) in the CSNK2A2 gene (β -0.38, P=4.5x10(-8)). We further tested 3 top variants by genotyping in UKCVD (Caucasians n=2,952) for Stage 2. Next we performed in silico replication of 139 top signals (p<10(-5)) in UKTWIN, NHS, PLCO and MDACC (n=10,033) and joint meta-analysis (n=16,998). The observed signal in CSNK2A2 was confined to South Asians and could not be replicated in Caucasians due to significant difference in allele frequencies (P<0.001). CSNK2A2 phosphorylates TRF1 and plays an important role for regulation of telomere length homoeostasis.
-By identification of a novel signal in telomere pathway genes, our study provides new molecular insight into the underlying mechanism that may regulate telomere length and its association with human aging and cardiometabolic pathophysiology.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a leading cause of global morbidity and mortality and, whilst smoking remains the single most important risk factor, COPD risk is heritable. Of 26 independent genomic regions showing association with lung function in genome-wide association studies, eleven have been reported to show association with airflow obstruction. Although the main risk factor for COPD is smoking, some individuals are observed to have a high forced expired volume in 1 second (FEV1) despite many years of heavy smoking. We hypothesised that these "resistant smokers" may harbour variants which protect against lung function decline caused by smoking and provide insight into the genetic determinants of lung health. We undertook whole exome re-sequencing of 100 heavy smokers who had healthy lung function given their age, sex, height and smoking history and applied three complementary approaches to explore the genetic architecture of smoking resistance. Firstly, we identified novel functional variants in the "resistant smokers" and looked for enrichment of these novel variants within biological pathways. Secondly, we undertook association testing of all exonic variants individually with two independent control sets. Thirdly, we undertook gene-based association testing of all exonic variants. Our strongest signal of association with smoking resistance for a non-synonymous SNP was for rs10859974 (P = 2.34×10-4) in CCDC38, a gene which has previously been reported to show association with FEV1/FVC, and we demonstrate moderate expression of CCDC38 in bronchial epithelial cells. We identified an enrichment of novel putatively functional variants in genes related to cilia structure and function in resistant smokers. Ciliary function abnormalities are known to be associated with both smoking and reduced mucociliary clearance in patients with COPD. We suggest that genetic influences on the development or function of cilia in the bronchial epithelium may affect growth of cilia or the extent of damage caused by tobacco smoke.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and is a major cause of pain and disability in the elderly. To search for sequence variants that confer risk of osteoarthritis of the hand, we carried out a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in subjects with severe hand osteoarthritis, using variants identified through the whole-genome sequencing of 2,230 Icelanders. We found two significantly associated loci in the Icelandic discovery set: at 15q22 (frequency of 50.7%, odds ratio (OR) = 1.51, P = 3.99 × 10(-10)) in the ALDH1A2 gene and at 1p31 (frequency of 0.02%, OR = 50.6, P = 9.8 × 10(-10)). Among the carriers of the variant at 1p31 is a family with several members in whom the risk allele segregates with osteoarthritis. The variants within the ALDH1A2 gene were confirmed in replication sets from The Netherlands and the UK, yielding an overall association of OR = 1.46 and P = 1.1 × 10(-11) (rs3204689).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although genetic variation is believe to contribute to an individual's susceptibility to major depressive disorder, genome-wide association studies have not yet identified associations that could explain the full etiology of the disease. Epigenetics is increasingly believed to play a major role in the development of common clinical phenotypes, including major depressive disorder.
Genome-wide MeDIP-Sequencing was carried out on a total of 50 monozygotic twin pairs from the UK and Australia that are discordant for depression. We show that major depressive disorder is associated with significant hypermethylation within the coding region of ZBTB20, and is replicated in an independent cohort of 356 unrelated case-control individuals. The twins with major depressive disorder also show increased global variation in methylation in comparison with their unaffected co-twins. ZBTB20 plays an essential role in the specification of the Cornu Ammonis-1 field identity in the developing hippocampus, a region previously implicated in the development of major depressive disorder.
Our results suggest that aberrant methylation profiles affecting the hippocampus are associated with major depressive disorder and show the potential of the epigenetic twin model in neuro-psychiatric disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Emerging technologies based on mass spectrometry or nuclear magnetic resonance enable the monitoring of hundreds of small metabolites from tissues or body fluids. Profiling of metabolites can help elucidate causal pathways linking established genetic variants to known disease risk factors such as blood lipid traits.
We applied statistical methodology to dissect causal relationships between single nucleotide polymorphisms, metabolite concentrations and serum lipid traits, focusing on 95 genetic loci reproducibly associated with the four main serum lipids (total-, low-density lipoprotein- and high-density lipoprotein- cholesterol and triglycerides). The dataset used included 2,973 individuals from two independent population-based cohorts with data for 151 small molecule metabolites and four main serum lipids. Three statistical approaches, namely conditional analysis, Mendelian Randomization and Structural Equation Modelling, were compared to investigate causal relationship at sets of a single nucleotide polymorphism, a metabolite and a lipid trait associated with one another.
A subset of three lipid-associated loci (FADS1, GCKR and LPA) have a statistically significant association with at least one main lipid and one metabolite concentration in our data, defining a total of 38 cross-associated sets of a single nucleotide polymorphism, a metabolite and a lipid trait. Structural Equation Modelling provided sufficient discrimination to indicate that the association of a single nucleotide polymorphism with a lipid trait was mediated through a metabolite at 15 of the 38 sets, and involving variants at the FADS1 and GCKR loci.
These data provide a framework for evaluating the causal role of components of the metabolome (or other intermediate factors) in mediating the association between established genetic variants and diseases or traits.
Genome Medicine 03/2014; 6(3):25. · 4.94 Impact Factor