Amalia Diaz-Lacava

Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen, Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

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Publications (28)112.15 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Significant progress in elucidating the genetic etiology of anxiety and depression has been made during the last decade through a combination of human and animal studies. In this study, we aimed to discover genetic loci linked with anxiety as well as depression in order to reveal new candidate genes. Therefore, we initially tested the behavioral sensitivity of 543 F2 animals derived from an intercross of C57BL/6J and C3H/HeJ mice in paradigms for anxiety and depression. Next, all animals were genotyped with 269 microsatellite markers with a mean distance of 5.56 cM. Finally, a Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) analysis was carried out, followed by selection of candidate genes. The QTL analysis revealed several new QTL on chromosome 5 with a common core interval of 19 Mb. We further narrowed this interval by comparative genomics to a region of 15 Mb. A database search and gene prioritization revealed Enoph1 as the most significant candidate gene on the prioritization list for anxiety and also for depression fulfilling our selection criteria. The Enoph1 gene, which is involved in polyamine biosynthesis, is differently expressed in parental strains, which have different brain spermidine levels and show distinct anxiety and depression-related phenotype. Our result suggests a significant role in polyamines in anxiety and depression-related behaviors. Enoph1, an enzyme of the methionine salvage pathway involved in polyamine biosynthesis, was identified by QTL analysis as a candidate gene contributing to stress-sensitivity in a F2 population of mice derived from C57BL/6J × C3H/HeJ intercrosses. The parental strains express two different protein variants of Enoph1, show different Enoph1 expression levels, and have different brain spermidine levels. These findings suggest that Enoph1 modulates stress sensitivity in these strains.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 11/2013; DOI:10.1111/jnc.12517 · 4.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To investigate the familial correlations and intraclass correlation of age-related hearing impairment (ARHI) in specific frequencies. In addition, heritability estimates were calculated. STUDY DESIGN: Multicenter survey in 8 European centers. SUBJECTS: One hundred ninety-eight families consisting of 952 family members, screened by otologic examination and structured interviews. Subjects with general conditions, known to affect hearing thresholds or known otologic cause were excluded from the study. RESULTS: We detected familial correlation coefficients of 0.36, 0.37, 0.36, and 0.30 for 0.25, 0.5, 1, and 2 kHz, respectively, and correlation coefficients of 0.20 and 0.18 for 4 and 8 kHz, respectively. Variance components analyses showed that the proportion of the total variance attributable to family differences was between 0.32 and 0.40 for 0.25, 0.5, 1, and 2 kHz and below 0.20 for 4 and 8 kHz. When testing for homogeneity between sib pair types, we observed a larger familial correlation between female than male subjects. Heritability estimates ranged between 0.79 and 0.36 across the frequencies. DISCUSSION: Our results indicate that there is a substantial shared familial effect in ARHI. We found that familial aggregation of ARHI is markedly higher in the low frequencies and that there is a trend toward higher familial aggregation in female compared with male subjects.
    Otology & neurotology: official publication of the American Otological Society, American Neurotology Society [and] European Academy of Otology and Neurotology 06/2013; DOI:10.1097/MAO.0b013e318288646a · 1.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: The neuropeptide-Y (NP-Y) gene is a strong candidate gene in the pathophysiology of obesity-linked behavior, and several single-nucleotide polymorphisms of NP-Y have already been linked to body weight and appetite. However, the results from current studies remain inconclusive. The aim of the present study was to test whether a certain functional genetic variant (SNP rs16147) in the NP-Y promoter gene is associated with serum leptin levels and body fat distribution. Method: We genotyped and measured the serum leptin levels of the NP-Y rs16147 polymorphism in 1,097 Caucasian subjects in the context of a population-based, case-control multicenter study. We measured weight, height and waist circumference, from which we then calculated BMI and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). Results: We found the CT-genotype of the SNP rs16147 to be significantly associated with lower WHRs and higher serum leptin levels in women, compared to homozygote gene carriers. No association between rs16147, WHR and serum leptin levels was found in men. Conclusion: Our results provide evidence that the functionally relevant SNP in the NP-Y promoter gene affects body fat distribution and serum leptin levels in women, pointing towards possible behavioral effects of NPY in obesity.
    Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 05/2013; 62(4):271-276. DOI:10.1159/000346799 · 1.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) modulates dopaminergic neurotransmission in the prefrontal cortex as well as in the mesolimbic reward system. Since the reward system mediates addictive behavior, the COMT gene is a strong candidate gene regarding the pathophysiology of tobacco dependence and smoking behavior. Because of rather conflicting results in previous studies, the purpose of the present study was to test for association between a functional genetic variant in the COMT gene (single nucleotide polymorphism [SNP] rs4680) and tobacco smoking behavior. METHODS: In a population-based case-control multicenter study designed for tobacco addiction research, a total of 551 current smokers of European ancestry and 548 age-matched healthy volunteers (never-smokers) were genotyped for SNP rs4680 and extensively characterized concerning their smoking behavior. RESULTS: We found no association between smoking status and SNP rs4680 genotype nor did we find a significant association to the degree of tobacco dependence. CONCLUSIONS: Although prefrontal cortical and ventral striatal activity are highly relevant for addictive behavior, and under partial control of COMT rs4680 genotype, no association between COMT and smoking behavior was observed. Other genetic variants may account for the high heritability of behavioral smoking phenotypes.
    Nicotine & Tobacco Research 01/2013; DOI:10.1093/ntr/nts334 · 2.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cigarette smoking is a severe health burden being related to a number of chronic diseases. Frequently, smokers report about sleep problems. Sleep disturbance, in turn, has been demonstrated to be involved in the pathophysiology of several disorders related to smoking and may be relevant for the pathophysiology of nicotine dependence. Therefore, determining the frequency of sleep disturbance in otherwise healthy smokers and its association with degree of nicotine dependence is highly relevant. In a population-based case-control study, 1071 smokers and 1243 non-smokers without lifetime Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Axis I disorder were investigated. Sleep quality (SQ) of participants was determined by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. As possible confounders, age, sex and level of education and income, as well as depressiveness, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity, alcohol drinking behaviour and perceived stress, were included into multiple regression analyses. Significantly more smokers than non-smokers (28.1% versus 19.1%; P < 0.0001) demonstrated a disturbed global SQ. After controlling for the confounders, impaired scores in the component scores of sleep latency, sleep duration and global SQ were found significantly more often in smokers than non-smokers. Consistently, higher degrees of nicotine dependence and intensity of smoking were associated with shorter sleep duration. This study demonstrates for the first time an elevated prevalence of sleep disturbance in smokers compared with non-smokers in a population without lifetime history of psychiatric disorders even after controlling for potentially relevant risk factors. It appears likely that smoking is a behaviourally modifiable risk factor for the occurrence of impaired SQ and short sleep duration.
    Addiction Biology 08/2012; DOI:10.1111/j.1369-1600.2012.00487.x · 5.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a strong candidate gene regarding the pathophysiology of tobacco dependence. It has been associated with various addictive and psychiatric disorders, and closely interacts with the brain reward system. The aim of the present study was to test for association between a functional genetic variant in the NP-Y promoter gene (SNP rs16147) and tobacco smoking. In a population-based case-control multicenter study designed for tobacco addiction research, a total of 550 Caucasian current smokers, and 544 never-smokers were genotyped for SNP rs16147 and behaviorally characterized with the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Subjects with TT genotype of the SNP rs16147 were significantly more frequently smokers than never-smokers (p = 0.046). In addition, TT genotype exhibited increased state anxiety scores compared to carriers of the C allele (p = 0.037). Our results provide evidence for an involvement of the functionally relevant SNP rs16147 in the pathophysiology of tobacco dependence. Further studies are needed to confirm our findings.
    European Addiction Research 05/2012; 18(5):246-52. DOI:10.1159/000338276 · 2.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several polymorphisms of the transcription factor 4 (TCF4) have been shown to increase the risk for schizophrenia, particularly TCF4 rs9960767. This polymorphism is associated with impaired sensorimotor gating measured by prepulse inhibition--an established endophenotype of schizophrenia. We therefore investigated whether TCF4 polymorphisms also affect another proposed endophenotype of schizophrenia, namely sensory gating assessed by P50 suppression of the auditory evoked potential. Although sensorimotor gating and sensory gating are not identical, recent data suggest that they share genetic fundamentals. In a multicenter study at six academic institutions throughout Germany, we applied an auditory P50 suppression paradigm to 1,821 subjects (1,023 never-smokers, 798 smokers) randomly selected from the general population. Samples were genotyped for 21 TCF4 polymorphisms. Given that smoking is highly prevalent in schizophrenia and affects sensory gating, we also assessed smoking behavior, cotinine plasma concentrations, exhaled carbon monoxide, and the Fagerström Test (FTND). P50 suppression was significantly decreased in carriers of schizophrenia risk alleles of the TCF4 polymorphisms rs9960767, rs10401120rs, rs17597926, and 17512836 (P < 0.0002-0.00005). These gene effects were modulated by smoking behavior as indicated by significant interactions of TCF4 genotype and smoking status; heavy smokers (FTND score ≥ 4) showed stronger gene effects on P50 suppression than light smokers and never-smokers. Our finding suggests that sensory gating is modulated by an interaction of TCF4 genotype with smoking, and both factors may play a role in early information processing deficits also in schizophrenia. Consequently, considering smoking behavior may facilitate the search for genetic risk factors for schizophrenia.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2012; 109(16):6271-6. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1118051109 · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to examine neurocognitive function associated with chronic nicotine use. A total of 2163 healthy participants (1002 smokers, 1161 never-smoking controls) participated in a population-based case-control design. The main outcome measures were six cognitive domain factors derived from a neuropsychological test battery. In smokers, the battery was administered after controlled smoking of one cigarette. Analyses included age, sex and education as covariates. Results demonstrated small, but significant deficits in smokers for visual attention (P < 0.001) and cognitive impulsivity (P < 0.006), while verbal episodic memory, verbal fluency, verbal working memory, and Stroop-interference did not differ between groups. These attention/impulsivity deficits were also present in smokers with only a low amount of cigarette consumption. Lifetime nicotine use (pack-years) was not correlated with cognition in smokers. In conclusion, this study confirmed subtle and specific cognitive deficits in non-deprived smokers. The independence of these deficits from consumption intensity may argue for an a priori deficit of some cognitive abilities in smokers. These specific deficits may constitute intermediate phenotypes for genetic research on nicotine use.
    Addiction Biology 02/2012; DOI:10.1111/j.1369-1600.2011.00429.x · 5.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In recent years there has been much attention to Argentinean population stratification. We were interested in assessing population stratification from a geographical perspective and summarizing it in form of maps. We mapped the genetic admixture of the extant male population in central and northern Argentina on the basis of forensic Y-chromosomal haplotypes. We addressed the question which group of genetically similar individuals is predominant in this area. Haplotypes containing seven Y-chromosomal short tandem repeat polymorphisms (Y-STRs), also known as microsatellites - DYS19, DYS389I, DYS389II, DYS390, DYS391, DYS392, DYS393 - were constructed for 145 individuals, recruited in 10 provinces. 97 distinct haplotypes were clustered into four clusters according to molecular distances. A genetic geostatistical analysis was conducted with the open-source geographical information system GRASS GIS. For each haplotype cluster, the according frequency was spatially interpolated over the total study area. Juxtaposing the interpolation surfaces, we screened point-wisely the maximal frequency as well as the label of the respective cluster. The screening results were combined in one summary map. We repeated this procedure for the second maximal frequencies. The resulting maps subdivide the study area into continuous regions comprising one predominant group of similar haplotypes. The first summary map divides the study area into three regions and the second summary map divides the area into four regions. The results of our analysis indicate that two groups of similar European haplotypes alternatively dominate the largest extension of the Argentinean territory. A third group, including South-American haplotypes, dominates the indigenous northwestern Argentinean area. The last group, including worldwide dispersed haplotypes, preponderates in frequency in second place in central Argentina. Our findings confirm a widespread European paternal ancestry, a substantial Amerindian contribution in the northwest, as well as a considerable proportion of diverse paternal lineages. In this work, we further discuss these findings in reference to ethno-historical, genetic, and demographic information.
    Forensic Science International: Genetics 08/2011; 5(4):297-302. DOI:10.1016/j.fsigen.2010.05.003 · 3.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tobacco smoking is a major risk factor for most of the diseases leading in mortality. Nicotine dependence (ND), which sustains regular smoking, is now acknowledged to be under substantial genetic control with some environmental contribution. At present, however, genetic studies on ND are mostly conducted in populations that have been poorly characterized with regard to ND-related phenotypes for the simple reason that the respective populations were not primarily collected to study ND. The German multi-centre study 'Genetics of Nicotine Dependence and Neurobiological Phenotypes', which is funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) as part of the Priority Program (Schwerpunktprogramm) SPP1226: 'Nicotine-Molecular and Physiological Effects in CNS', was intended to overcome some of these inherent problems of current genetic studies of ND. The multi-centre study is a population-based case-control study of smokers and never-smokers (n = 2396). The study was unique worldwide because it was the first large-scale genetic study specifically addressing ND with the collection of a wide range of environmental, psychosocial and neurobiological phenotypes. Study design and major population characteristics with emphasis on risk prediction of smoking status were presented in this paper.
    Addiction Biology 04/2011; 16(4):638-53. DOI:10.1111/j.1369-1600.2011.00322.x · 5.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sarcoidosis is a systematic granulomatous disorder. Genetic susceptibility could play a central role in the disease development and progression. In this study, we investigated whether caspase recruitment domain 15 (CARD15) gene haplotypes are associated with the onset or the clinical course of sarcoidosis. Three hundred Caucasian sarcoidosis patients and 381 matched controls were included. Eight haplotype-tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the CARD15 gene were examined by mass spectrometry-based SNP genotyping. By haplotype analysis, mutations located in between tested SNPs can also be identified. Therefore, we can conclude that there is no association between the CARD15 gene and the development or a special phenotype of sarcoidosis in our cohort.
    Tissue Antigens 04/2011; 77(4):333-7. DOI:10.1111/j.1399-0039.2010.01628.x · 2.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACTP50 gating is a major functional biomarker in research on schizophrenia and other psychiatric conditions with high smoking prevalence. It is used as endophenotype for studying nicotinic systems genetics and as surrogate endpoint measure for drug development of nicotinic agonists. Surprisingly, little is known about P50 gating in the general population and the relationship to smoking-related characteristics. In this multicenter study at six academic institutions throughout Germany, n = 907 never-smokers (NS < 20 cigarettes/lifetime), n = 463 light smokers (LS) with Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND) ≥ 4 and n = 353 heavy smokers (HS, FTND < 4) were randomly selected from the general population. As part of a standardized protocol for investigating the genetics of nicotine dependence (ND), an auditory P50 paradigm was applied. The main outcome measure was P50-amplitude difference followed by time-frequency analyses and functional imaging (sLORETA). Reduced P50 gating was found in HS compared to NS with LS taking an intermediate position—correlating with the degree of ND. sLORETA and time-frequency analyses indicate that high-frequency oscillations in frontal brain regions are particularly affected. With growing age, P50 gating increased in (heavy) smokers. This is the first large-scale study (normative sample data) on P50 sensory gating and smoking in the general population. Diminished gating of P50 and associated high-frequency oscillations in the frontal brain region are indications of a deficient inhibitory cortical function in nicotine-dependent smokers. The suitability and application of sensory P50 gating as functional biomarker with regard to genetic and pharmacological studies is discussed.
    Addiction Biology 03/2011; 16(3):485 - 498. DOI:10.1111/j.1369-1600.2010.00302.x · 5.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previously, we reported on inter-individual and gender specific variations of LINE-1 methylation in healthy individuals. In this study, we investigated whether this variability could be influenced by age or sex hormones in humans. To this end, we studied LINE-1 methylation in vivo in blood-derived DNA from individuals aged 18 to 64 years and from young healthy females at various hormone levels during the menstrual cycle. Our results show that no significant association with age was observed. However, the previously reported increase of LINE-1 methylation in males was reconfirmed. In females, although no correlation between LINE-1 or Alu methylation and hormone levels was observed, a significant stable individual specific level of methylation was noted. In vitro results largely confirmed these findings, as neither estrogen nor dihydrotestosterone affected LINE-1 or Alu methylation in Hek293T, HUVEC, or MDA-kb2 cell lines. In contrast, a decrease in methylation was observed in estrogen-treated T47-Kbluc cell lines strongly expressing estrogen receptor. The very low expression of estrogen receptor in blood cells could explain the observed insensitivity of methylation at LINE-1 to natural hormonal variations in females. In conclusion, neither natural cycle of hormones nor age has a detectable effect on the LINE-1 methylation in peripheral blood cells, while gender remains an important factor.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(1):e16252. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0016252 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We examined the multifarious genetic heterogeneity of Europe and neighboring regions from a geographical perspective. We created composite maps outlining the estimated geographical distribution of major groups of genetically similar individuals on the basis of forensic Y-chromosomal markers. We analyzed Y-chromosomal haplotypes composed of 7 highly polymorphic STR loci, genotyped for 33,010 samples, collected at 249 sites in Europe, Western Asia and North Africa, deposited in the YHRD database ( The data set comprised 4176 different haplotypes, which we grouped into 20 clusters. For each cluster, the frequency per site was calculated. All geostatistical analysis was performed with the geographic information system GRASS-GIS. We interpolated frequency values across the study area separately for each cluster. Juxtaposing all 20 interpolated surfaces, we point-wisely screened for the highest cluster frequencies and stored it in parallel with the respective cluster label. We combined these two types of data in a composite map. We repeated this procedure for the second highest frequencies in Europe. Major groups were assigned to Northern, Western and Eastern Europe. North Africa built a separate region, Southeastern Europe, Turkey and Near East were divided into several regions. The spatial distribution of the groups accounting for the second highest frequencies in Europe overlapped with the territories of the largest countries. The genetic structure presented in the composite maps fits major historical geopolitical regions and is in agreement with previous studies of genetic frequencies, validating our approach. Our genetic geostatistical approach provides, on the basis of two composite maps, detailed evidence of the geographical distribution and relative frequencies of the most predominant groups of the extant male European population, examined on the basis of forensic Y-STR haplotypes. The existence of considerable genetic differences among geographic subgroups in Europe has important consequences for the statistical inference in forensic Y-STR haplotype analyses.
    Forensic Science International: Genetics 10/2010; 5(2):91-4. DOI:10.1016/j.fsigen.2010.09.010 · 3.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Variants in the interferon regulatory factor 6 (IRF6) gene have repeatedly been associated with non-syndromic cleft lip with or without cleft palate (NSCL/P). A recent study has suggested that the functionally relevant variant rs642961 is the underlying cause of the observed associations. We genotyped rs642961 in our Central European case-control sample of 460 NSCL/P patients and 952 controls. In order to investigate whether other IRF6 variants contribute independently to the etiology of NSCL/P, we also genotyped the non-synonymous coding variant V274I (rs2235371) and five IRF6-haplotype tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). A highly significant result was observed for rs642961 (P = 1.44 x 10(-6)) in our sample. The odds ratio was 1.75 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.38-2.22] for the heterozygous genotype and 1.94 (95% CI: 1.21-3.10) for the homozygous genotype, values that are similar to those reported in a previously published family-based study. Our results thus confirm the involvement of the IRF6 variant, rs642961, in the etiology of NSCL/P in the Central European population. We also found evidence suggestive of an independent protective effect of the coding variant V274I. In order to understand fully the genetic architecture of the IRF6 locus, it will be necessary to conduct additional SNP-based and resequencing studies using large samples of patients.
    European Journal Of Oral Sciences 12/2009; 117(6):766-9. DOI:10.1111/j.1600-0722.2009.00680.x · 1.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The cause of sarcoidosis is unclear. Evidence suggests that there is a genetic susceptibility toward the disease. In this study, we examined whether haplotypes of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptors VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2 are associated with the onset or the course of sarcoidosis. Three hundred white patients with sarcoidosis and 381 matched controls were included. Sixty-three haplotype-tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the VEGF and VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2 genes were selected from the HapMap Project phase 2. Mass spectrometry-based SNP genotyping was performed. Sarcoidosis, in general, was significantly associated with three SNPs in the VEGFR-1 gene: rs7337610 (P = .041), rs2296283 (P = .034), and rs12858139 (P = .027). In an acute course (defined as less than two episodes in a lifetime or a course lasting less than 2 years), an association of three SNPs in the VEGF gene was observed: rs833060 (P = .004), rs833068 (P = .008), and rs3025000 (P = .012). In the VEGFR-2 gene, one SNP was associated with an acute course of sarcoidosis (rs7667298, P = .023), whereas two SNPs were associated with a chronic course of sarcoidosis: rs7691507 (P = .029) and rs2125489 (P = .024). We then performed a haplotype analysis. After permutation-based correction, no significant haplotype association for the VEGF receptors was observed. However, we found two haplotypes associated with the onset of sarcoidosis in the VEGF gene. Even after correction for multiple testing, we obtained a P value of .0388. Moreover, patients with a chronic course of the disease showed a P value of .0103 for the same haplotype. There is strong evidence that VEGF and its receptors are involved in the onset of sarcoidosis and influence its course.
    Chest 10/2009; 137(1):156-63. DOI:10.1378/chest.09-1003 · 7.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Non-syndromic cleft lip with or without cleft palate (NSCL/P) is one of the most common birth defects and has a multifactorial etiology that includes both genetic and environmental components. MYH9, the gene coding for the heavy chain of non-muscle myosin II, has been considered as a good candidate gene in NSCL/P on the basis of its expression profile during craniofacial morphogenesis. Reports in an Italian sample, as well as in an ethnically mixed North American sample, of a positive association between single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the MYH9 gene and NSCL/P have provided further support for the role of MYH9 in the development of NSCL/P. In the present study, we aimed to replicate these findings by conducting a family-based association study with seven single nucleotide polymorphisms in MYH9 using a sample of 248 NSCL/P patients and their parents. Single marker analysis resulted in a highly significant association for rs7078. In haplotype analysis, the most significant result was obtained for the SNP combination (rs7078; rs2071731; rs739097; rs5995288). Our results thus confirm the potential involvement of MYH9 in the etiology of NSCL/P in our patients of Central European origin, although further studies are warranted to determine its exact pathogenetic role.
    European Journal Of Oral Sciences 05/2009; 117(2):200-3. DOI:10.1111/j.1600-0722.2008.00604.x · 1.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Causes underlying inter-individual variations in DNA methylation profiles among normal healthy populations are not thoroughly understood. To investigate the contribution of genetic variation in DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) genes to such epigenetic variation, we performed a systematic search for polymorphisms in all known human DNMT genes [DNMT1, DNMT3A, DNMT3B, DNMT3L and DNMT2 (TRDMT1)] in 192 healthy males and females. One hundred and eleven different polymorphisms were detected. Of these, 24 were located in coding regions and 10 resulted in an amino acid change that may affect the corresponding DNMT protein structure or function. Association analysis between all major polymorphisms (frequency > 1%) and quantitative DNA methylation profiles did not return significant results after correction for multiple testing. Polymorphisms leading to an amino acid change were further investigated for changes in global DNA methylation by differential methylation hybridization. This analysis revealed that a rare change at DNMT3L (R271Q) was associated with significant DNA hypomethylation. Biochemical characterization confirmed that DNMT3L(R271Q) is impaired in its ability to stimulate de novo DNA methylation by DNMT3A. Methylated DNA immunoprecipitation based analysis using CpG island microarrays revealed that the hypomethylation in this sample preferentially clustered to subtelomeric genomic regions with affected loci corresponding to a subset of repetitive CpG islands with low predicted promoter potential located outside of genes.
    Human Molecular Genetics 02/2009; 18(10):1755-68. DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddp088 · 6.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Modern forensic studies provide well-established neutral markers, suitable to explore genetic composition of extant populations. Argentinean population integrates indigenous and primarily European groups, mixed in different proportions in the distinct geographical regions. Fine-scale pattern of genetic variation of extant Argentinean population is spatially assessed based on Y-STR haplotype groups. Population genetic measurements are combined with geodesic analysis to detect spatial patterns of genetic variation: the genetic landscapes. A Genetic Geographical Information System (GenGIS) sets the framework to model and to analyze genetic landscapes. The observed northwest-rest gradient of genetic variation was quantified with transect profiles and confirmed with short-term Reynolds’ genetic distance.GenGIS assessment of genetic landscapes provides an insight into the spatial composition of extant, highly admixed Argentinean population.
    Forensic Science International Genetics Supplement Series 08/2008; 1(1):326-328. DOI:10.1016/j.fsigss.2007.11.017
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    ABSTRACT: A multicenter study was set up to elucidate the environmental and medical risk factors contributing to age-related hearing impairment (ARHI). Nine subsamples, collected by nine audiological centers across Europe, added up to a total of 4,083 subjects between 53 and 67 years. Audiometric data (pure-tone average [PTA]) were collected and the participants filled out a questionnaire on environmental risk factors and medical history. People with a history of disease that could affect hearing were excluded. PTAs were adjusted for age and sex and tested for association with exposure to risk factors. Noise exposure was associated with a significant loss of hearing at high sound frequencies (>1 kHz). Smoking significantly increased high-frequency hearing loss, and the effect was dose-dependent. The effect of smoking remained significant when accounting for cardiovascular disease events. Taller people had better hearing on average with a more pronounced effect at low sound frequencies (<2 kHz). A high body mass index (BMI) correlated with hearing loss across the frequency range tested. Moderate alcohol consumption was inversely correlated with hearing loss. Significant associations were found in the high as well as in the low frequencies. The results suggest that a healthy lifestyle can protect against age-related hearing impairment.
    Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology 06/2008; 9(3):264-76; discussion 261-3. DOI:10.1007/s10162-008-0123-1 · 2.55 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

793 Citations
112.15 Total Impact Points


  • 2013
    • Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen
      • RG Pharmacoepidemiology in Neurodegenerative Disorders (Bonn)
      Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
    • Central Institute of Mental Health
      • Klinik für Abhängiges Verhalten und Suchtmedizin
      Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 2007–2013
    • University of Bonn
      • • Institute of Molecular Psychiatry
      • • Institute of Biomedical Statistics, Computer Science and Epidemiology
      Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2012
    • Universität Heidelberg
      • Department of Addictive Behavior and Addiction Medicine
      Heidelberg, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany
  • 2011–2012
    • University of Cologne
      • Cologne Center for Genomics (CCG)
      Köln, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
    • Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
      • Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie der HHU, Rheinische Kliniken Düsseldorf
      Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany