[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fetomaternal alloimmune thrombocytopenia, caused by the maternal generation of antibodies against fetal Human Platelet Antigen-1a (HPA-1a) can result in intracranial haemorrhage and intrauterine death. We have developed a therapeutic human recombinant high affinity HPA-1a antibody (B2G1Δnab) that competes for binding to the HPA-1a epitope but carries a modified constant region that does not bind to Fc gamma receptors. In vitro studies with a range of clinical anti-HPA-1a sera have shown that B2G1Δnab blocks monocyte chemiluminescence by >75%. In this first-in-man study, we demonstrate that HPA-1a1b autologous platelets (matching fetal phenotype) sensitized with B2G1Δnab have the same intravascular survival as unsensitised platelets (190 hours), whilst platelets sensitized with a destructive IgG1 version of the antibody (B2G1) are cleared from the circulation in 2 hours. Mimicking the situation in fetuses receiving B2G1Δnab as therapy, we show that platelets sensitized with a combination of B2G1 (representing destructive HPA-1a antibody) and B2G1Δnab survive three times as long in circulation compared to platelets sensitized with B2G1 alone. This confirms the therapeutic potential of B2G1Δnab. The efficient clearance of platelets sensitized with B2G1 also opens up the opportunity to carry out studies of prophylaxis to prevent alloimmunisation in HPA-1a negative mothers.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A large number of genome-wide association studies have been performed during the past five years to identify associations between SNPs and human complex diseases and traits. The assignment of a functional role for the identified disease-associated SNP is not straight-forward. Genome-wide expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) analysis is frequently used as the initial step to define a function while allele-specific gene expression (ASE) analysis has not yet gained a wide-spread use in disease mapping studies. We compared the power to identify cis-acting regulatory SNPs (cis-rSNPs) by genome-wide allele-specific gene expression (ASE) analysis with that of traditional expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) mapping. Our study included 395 healthy blood donors for whom global gene expression profiles in circulating monocytes were determined by Illumina BeadArrays. ASE was assessed in a subset of these monocytes from 188 donors by quantitative genotyping of mRNA using a genome-wide panel of SNP markers. The performance of the two methods for detecting cis-rSNPs was evaluated by comparing associations between SNP genotypes and gene expression levels in sample sets of varying size. We found that up to 8-fold more samples are required for eQTL mapping to reach the same statistical power as that obtained by ASE analysis for the same rSNPs. The performance of ASE is insensitive to SNPs with low minor allele frequencies and detects a larger number of significantly associated rSNPs using the same sample size as eQTL mapping. An unequivocal conclusion from our comparison is that ASE analysis is more sensitive for detecting cis-rSNPs than standard eQTL mapping. Our study shows the potential of ASE mapping in tissue samples and primary cells which are difficult to obtain in large numbers.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(12):e52260. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coronary artery disease (CAD) has a significant genetic contribution that is incompletely characterized. To complement genome-wide association (GWA) studies, we conducted a large and systematic candidate gene study of CAD susceptibility, including analysis of many uncommon and functional variants. We examined 49,094 genetic variants in ∼2,100 genes of cardiovascular relevance, using a customised gene array in 15,596 CAD cases and 34,992 controls (11,202 cases and 30,733 controls of European descent; 4,394 cases and 4,259 controls of South Asian origin). We attempted to replicate putative novel associations in an additional 17,121 CAD cases and 40,473 controls. Potential mechanisms through which the novel variants could affect CAD risk were explored through association tests with vascular risk factors and gene expression. We confirmed associations of several previously known CAD susceptibility loci (eg, 9p21.3:p<10(-33); LPA:p<10(-19); 1p13.3:p<10(-17)) as well as three recently discovered loci (COL4A1/COL4A2, ZC3HC1, CYP17A1:p<5×10(-7)). However, we found essentially null results for most previously suggested CAD candidate genes. In our replication study of 24 promising common variants, we identified novel associations of variants in or near LIPA, IL5, TRIB1, and ABCG5/ABCG8, with per-allele odds ratios for CAD risk with each of the novel variants ranging from 1.06-1.09. Associations with variants at LIPA, TRIB1, and ABCG5/ABCG8 were supported by gene expression data or effects on lipid levels. Apart from the previously reported variants in LPA, none of the other ∼4,500 low frequency and functional variants showed a strong effect. Associations in South Asians did not differ appreciably from those in Europeans, except for 9p21.3 (per-allele odds ratio: 1.14 versus 1.27 respectively; P for heterogeneity = 0.003). This large-scale gene-centric analysis has identified several novel genes for CAD that relate to diverse biochemical and cellular functions and clarified the literature with regard to many previously suggested genes.