[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genetic contribution to the variation in human lifespan is approximately 25%. Despite the large number of identified disease-susceptibility loci, it is not known which loci influence population mortality.We performed a genome-wide association meta-analysis of 7729 long-lived individuals of European descent (≥ 85 years) and 16121 younger controls (< 65 years) followed by replication in an additional set of 13060 long-lived individuals and 61156 controls. In addition, we performed a subset analysis in cases≥90 years.We observed genome-wide significant association with longevity, as reflected by survival to ages beyond 90 years, at a novel locus, rs2149954, on chromosome 5q33.3 (OR=1.10, P =1.74 x 10(-8)). We also confirmed association of rs4420638 on chromosome 19q13.32 (OR=0.72, P=3.40 x 10(-36)), representing the TOMM40/APOE/APOC1 locus. In a prospective meta-analysis (n=34103) the minor allele of rs2149954 (T) on chromosome 5q33.3 associates with increased survival (HR=0.95, P=0.003). This allele has previously been reported to associate with low blood pressure in middle age. Interestingly, the minor allele (T) associates with decreased cardiovascular mortality risk, independent of blood pressure.We report on the first GWAS-identified longevity locus on chromosome 5q33.3 influencing survival in the general European population. The minor allele of this locus associates with low blood pressure in middle age, although the contribution of this allele to survival may be less dependent on blood pressure. Hence, the pleiotropic mechanisms by which this intragenic variation contributes to lifespan regulation have to be elucidated.
Human Molecular Genetics 03/2014; · 7.69 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD) are common, affecting 2-5% of the general population. Individuals with positive thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAbs) have an increased risk of autoimmune hypothyroidism (Hashimoto's thyroiditis), as well as autoimmune hyperthyroidism (Graves' disease). As the possible causative genes of TPOAbs and AITD remain largely unknown, we performed GWAS meta-analyses in 18,297 individuals for TPOAb-positivity (1769 TPOAb-positives and 16,528 TPOAb-negatives) and in 12,353 individuals for TPOAb serum levels, with replication in 8,990 individuals. Significant associations (P<5×10(-8)) were detected at TPO-rs11675434, ATXN2-rs653178, and BACH2-rs10944479 for TPOAb-positivity, and at TPO-rs11675434, MAGI3-rs1230666, and KALRN-rs2010099 for TPOAb levels. Individual and combined effects (genetic risk scores) of these variants on (subclinical) hypo- and hyperthyroidism, goiter and thyroid cancer were studied. Individuals with a high genetic risk score had, besides an increased risk of TPOAb-positivity (OR: 2.18, 95% CI 1.68-2.81, P = 8.1×10(-8)), a higher risk of increased thyroid-stimulating hormone levels (OR: 1.51, 95% CI 1.26-1.82, P = 2.9×10(-6)), as well as a decreased risk of goiter (OR: 0.77, 95% CI 0.66-0.89, P = 6.5×10(-4)). The MAGI3 and BACH2 variants were associated with an increased risk of hyperthyroidism, which was replicated in an independent cohort of patients with Graves' disease (OR: 1.37, 95% CI 1.22-1.54, P = 1.2×10(-7) and OR: 1.25, 95% CI 1.12-1.39, P = 6.2×10(-5)). The MAGI3 variant was also associated with an increased risk of hypothyroidism (OR: 1.57, 95% CI 1.18-2.10, P = 1.9×10(-3)). This first GWAS meta-analysis for TPOAbs identified five newly associated loci, three of which were also associated with clinical thyroid disease. With these markers we identified a large subgroup in the general population with a substantially increased risk of TPOAbs. The results provide insight into why individuals with thyroid autoimmunity do or do not eventually develop thyroid disease, and these markers may therefore predict which TPOAb-positives are particularly at risk of developing clinical thyroid dysfunction.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human leukocyte telomere length (LTL) decreases with age and shorter LTL has previously been associated with increased prospective mortality. However, it is not clear whether LTL merely marks the health status of an individual by its association with parameters of immune function, for example, or whether telomere shortening also contributes causally to lifespan variation in humans.
We measured LTL in 870 nonagenarian siblings (mean age 93 years), 1580 of their offspring and 725 spouses thereof (mean age 59 years) from the Leiden Longevity Study (LLS).
We found that shorter LTL is associated with increased prospective mortality in middle (30-80 years; hazard ratio (HR) = 0.75, P = 0.001) and highly advanced age (≥90 years; HR = 0.92, P = 0.028), and show that this association cannot be explained by the association of LTL with the immune-related markers insulin-like growth factor 1 to insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 molar ratio, C-reactive protein, interleukin 6, cytomegalovirus serostatus or white blood cell counts. We found no difference in LTL between the middle-aged LLS offspring and their spouses (β = 0.006, P = 0.932). Neither did we observe an association of LTL-associated genetic variants with mortality in a prospective meta-analysis of multiple cohorts (n = 8165).
We confirm LTL to be a marker of prospective mortality in middle and highly advanced age and additionally show that this association could not be explained by the association of LTL with various immune-related markers. Furthermore, the approaches performed here do not further support the hypothesis that LTL variation contributes to the genetic propensity for longevity.
International Journal of Epidemiology 01/2014; · 6.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several clinical studies suggest the involvement of premature aging processes in COPD. Using an epidemiological approach we studied whether accelerated aging indicated by telomere length, a marker of biological age, is associated with COPD and asthma, and whether intrinsic age-related processes contribute to the inter-individual variability of lung function.Our meta-analysis of 14 studies included 934 COPD cases with 15,846 controls defined according to GLI criteria (or 1,189 COPD cases according to GOLD), 2,834 asthma cases with 28,195 controls, and spirometric parameters (FEV1, FVC and FEV1/FVC) of 12,595 individuals. Associations with telomere length were tested by linear regression, adjusting for age, sex, and smoking status.We observed negative associations between telomere length and asthma (β= -0.0452, p=0.024) as well as COPD (β= -0.0982, p=0.001), with associations being stronger and more significant when using GLI in comparison to GOLD. In both diseases, effects were stronger in females compared to males. The investigation of spirometric indices showed positive associations between telomere length and FEV1 (p=1.07×10(-7)), FVC (p=2.07×10(-5)), and their ratio FEV1/FVC (p=5.27×10(-3)). The effect was somewhat weaker in apparently healthy subjects compared to COPD or asthma patients.Our results provide indirect evidence for the hypothesis that cellular senescence may contribute to the pathogenesis of COPD and asthma and that lung function may reflect biological aging primarily due to intrinsic processes which are likely to be aggravated in lung diseases.
European Respiratory Journal 12/2013; · 6.36 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate whether 57 genetic risk loci recently identified in a large-scale genome-wide association study in adult patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) are also associated with a risk for pediatric-onset MS and whether they can predict MS diagnosis in children presenting with acquired demyelinating syndromes (ADS).
We included 188 children with ADS, of whom 53 were diagnosed with MS, 466 patients with adult-onset MS, and 2,046 adult controls in our cohort study. Weighted genetic risk scores (wGRS) were calculated to evaluate genetic effects.
Mean wGRS was significantly higher for patients with pediatric-onset MS (7.32 ± 0.53) as compared with patients with monophasic ADS (7.10 ± 0.47, p = 0.01) and controls (7.11 ± 0.53, p < 0.01). We found no difference in mean wGRS of participants with monophasic ADS (7.10 ± 0.47) and controls (7.11 ± 0.53). The ability of the wGRS for the 57 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to discriminate between children with MS and those with monophasic ADS was moderate (area under the curve [AUC] = 0.64), but improved with the addition of sex and HLA-DRB1*15 (AUC = 0.70). The combined effect of 57 SNPs exceeded the effect of HLA-DRB1*15 alone in our risk models for pediatric- and adult-onset MS.
The previously reported 57 SNPs for adult-onset MS also confer increased susceptibility to pediatric-onset MS, but not to monophasic ADS.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A recent genome-wide association study reported five loci for which there was strong, but sub-genome-wide significant evidence for association with multiple sclerosis risk. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of these potential risk loci in a large and independent data set of ∼20 000 subjects. We tested five single nucleotide polymorphisms rs228614 (MANBA), rs630923 (CXCR5), rs2744148 (SOX8), rs180515 (RPS6KB1), and rs6062314 (ZBTB46) for association with multiple sclerosis risk in a total of 8499 cases with multiple sclerosis, 8765 unrelated control subjects and 958 trios of European descent. In addition, we assessed the overall evidence for association by combining these newly generated data with the results from the original genome-wide association study by meta-analysis. All five tested single nucleotide polymorphisms showed consistent and statistically significant evidence for association with multiple sclerosis in our validation data sets (rs228614: odds ratio = 0.91, P = 2.4 × 10(-6); rs630923: odds ratio = 0.89, P = 1.2 × 10(-4); rs2744148: odds ratio = 1.14, P = 1.8 × 10(-6); rs180515: odds ratio = 1.12, P = 5.2 × 10(-7); rs6062314: odds ratio = 0.90, P = 4.3 × 10(-3)). Combining our data with results from the previous genome-wide association study by meta-analysis, the evidence for association was strengthened further, surpassing the threshold for genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10(-8)) in each case. Our study provides compelling evidence that these five loci are genuine multiple sclerosis susceptibility loci. These results may eventually lead to a better understanding of the underlying disease pathophysiology.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Obesity is of global health concern. There are well-described inverse relationships between female pubertal timing and obesity. Recent genome-wide association studies of age at menarche identified several obesity-related variants. Using data from the ReproGen Consortium, we employed meta-analytical techniques to estimate the associations of 95 a priori and recently identified obesity-related (body mass index (weight (kg)/height (m)(2)), waist circumference, and waist:hip ratio) single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with age at menarche in 92,116 women of European descent from 38 studies (1970-2010), in order to estimate associations between genetic variants associated with central or overall adiposity and pubertal timing in girls. Investigators in each study performed a separate analysis of associations between the selected SNPs and age at menarche (ages 9-17 years) using linear regression models and adjusting for birth year, site (as appropriate), and population stratification. Heterogeneity of effect-measure estimates was investigated using meta-regression. Six novel associations of body mass index loci with age at menarche were identified, and 11 adiposity loci previously reported to be associated with age at menarche were confirmed, but none of the central adiposity variants individually showed significant associations. These findings suggest complex genetic relationships between menarche and overall obesity, and to a lesser extent central obesity, in normal processes of growth and development.
American journal of epidemiology 04/2013; · 5.59 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interindividual variation in mean leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is associated with cancer and several age-associated diseases. We report here a genome-wide meta-analysis of 37,684 individuals with replication of selected variants in an additional 10,739 individuals. We identified seven loci, including five new loci, associated with mean LTL (P < 5 × 10(-8)). Five of the loci contain candidate genes (TERC, TERT, NAF1, OBFC1 and RTEL1) that are known to be involved in telomere biology. Lead SNPs at two loci (TERC and TERT) associate with several cancers and other diseases, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Moreover, a genetic risk score analysis combining lead variants at all 7 loci in 22,233 coronary artery disease cases and 64,762 controls showed an association of the alleles associated with shorter LTL with increased risk of coronary artery disease (21% (95% confidence interval, 5-35%) per standard deviation in LTL, P = 0.014). Our findings support a causal role of telomere-length variation in some age-related diseases.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Distinguishing true from false positive findings is a major challenge in human genetic epidemiology. Several strategies have been devised to facilitate this, including the positive predictive value (PPV) and a set of epidemiological criteria, known as the "Venice" criteria. The PPV measures the probability of a true association, given a statistically significant finding, while the Venice criteria grade the credibility based on the amount of evidence, consistency of replication and protection from bias. A vast majority of journals use significance thresholds to identify the true positive findings. We studied the effect of p value thresholds on the PPV and used the PPV and Venice criteria to define usable thresholds of statistical significance. Theoretical and empirical analyses of data published on AlzGene show that at a nominal p value threshold of 0.05 most "positive" findings will turn out to be false if the prior probability of association is below 0.10 even if the statistical power of the study is higher than 0.80. However, in underpowered studies (0.25) with a low prior probability of 1 × 10(-3), a p value of 1 × 10(-5) yields a high PPV (>96 %). Here we have shown that the p value threshold of 1 × 10(-5) gives a very strong evidence of association in almost all studies. However, in the case of a very high prior probability of association (0.50) a p value threshold of 0.05 may be sufficient, while for studies with very low prior probability of association (1 × 10(-4); genome-wide association studies for instance) 1 × 10(-7) may serve as a useful threshold to declare significance.
European Journal of Epidemiology 02/2013; · 5.12 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Telomere length (TL) has been associated with aging and mortality, but individual differences are also influenced by genetic factors, with previous studies reporting heritability estimates ranging from 34 to 82%. Here we investigate the heritability, mode of inheritance and the influence of parental age at birth on TL in six large, independent cohort studies with a total of 19 713 participants. The meta-analysis estimate of TL heritability was 0.70 (95% CI 0.64-0.76) and is based on a pattern of results that is highly similar for twins and other family members. We observed a stronger mother-offspring (r=0.42; P-value=3.60 × 10(-61)) than father-offspring correlation (r=0.33; P-value=7.01 × 10(-5)), and a significant positive association with paternal age at offspring birth (β=0.005; P-value=7.01 × 10(-5)). Interestingly, a significant and quite substantial correlation in TL between spouses (r=0.25; P-value=2.82 × 10(-30)) was seen, which appeared stronger in older spouse pairs (mean age ≥55 years; r=0.31; P-value=4.27 × 10(-23)) than in younger pairs (mean age<55 years; r=0.20; P-value=3.24 × 10(-10)). In summary, we find a high and very consistent heritability estimate for TL, evidence for a maternal inheritance component and a positive association with paternal age.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 16 January 2013; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2012.303.
European journal of human genetics: EJHG 01/2013; · 3.56 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many disorders are associated with altered serum protein concentrations, including malnutrition, cancer, and cardiovascular, kidney, and inflammatory diseases. Although these protein concentrations are highly heritable, relatively little is known about their underlying genetic determinants. Through transethnic meta-analysis of European-ancestry and Japanese genome-wide association studies, we identified six loci at genome-wide significance (p < 5 × 10(-8)) for serum albumin (HPN-SCN1B, GCKR-FNDC4, SERPINF2-WDR81, TNFRSF11A-ZCCHC2, FRMD5-WDR76, and RPS11-FCGRT, in up to 53,190 European-ancestry and 9,380 Japanese individuals) and three loci for total protein (TNFRS13B, 6q21.3, and ELL2, in up to 25,539 European-ancestry and 10,168 Japanese individuals). We observed little evidence of heterogeneity in allelic effects at these loci between groups of European and Japanese ancestry but obtained substantial improvements in the resolution of fine mapping of potential causal variants by leveraging transethnic differences in the distribution of linkage disequilibrium. We demonstrated a functional role for the most strongly associated serum albumin locus, HPN, for which Hpn knockout mice manifest low plasma albumin concentrations. Other loci associated with serum albumin harbor genes related to ribosome function, protein translation, and proteasomal degradation, whereas those associated with serum total protein include genes related to immune function. Our results highlight the advantages of transethnic meta-analysis for the discovery and fine mapping of complex trait loci and have provided initial insights into the underlying genetic architecture of serum protein concentrations and their association with human disease.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 09/2012; 91(4):744-753. · 11.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Chronic widespread pain (CWP) is a common disorder affecting ∼10% of the general population and has an estimated heritability of 48-52%. In the first large-scale genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis, we aimed to identify common genetic variants associated with CWP. METHODS: We conducted a GWAS meta-analysis in 1308 female CWP cases and 5791 controls of European descent, and replicated the effects of the genetic variants with suggestive evidence for association in 1480 CWP cases and 7989 controls. Subsequently, we studied gene expression levels of the nearest genes in two chronic inflammatory pain mouse models, and examined 92 genetic variants previously described associated with pain. RESULTS: The minor C-allele of rs13361160 on chromosome 5p15.2, located upstream of chaperonin-containing-TCP1-complex-5 gene (CCT5) and downstream of FAM173B, was found to be associated with a 30% higher risk of CWP (minor allele frequency=43%; OR=1.30, 95% CI 1.19 to 1.42, p=1.2×10(-8)). Combined with the replication, we observed a slightly attenuated OR of 1.17 (95% CI 1.10 to 1.24, p=4.7×10(-7)) with moderate heterogeneity (I2=28.4%). However, in a sensitivity analysis that only allowed studies with joint-specific pain, the combined association was genome-wide significant (OR=1.23, 95% CI 1.14 to 1.32, p=3.4×10(-8), I2=0%). Expression levels of Cct5 and Fam173b in mice with inflammatory pain were higher in the lumbar spinal cord, not in the lumbar dorsal root ganglions, compared to mice without pain. None of the 92 genetic variants previously described were significantly associated with pain (p>7.7×10(-4)). CONCLUSIONS: We identified a common genetic variant on chromosome 5p15.2 associated with joint-specific CWP in humans. This work suggests that CCT5 and FAM173B are promising targets in the regulation of pain.
Annals of the rheumatic diseases 09/2012; · 8.11 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Experimental mild heat shock is widely known as an intervention that results in extended longevity in various models along the evolutionary lineage. Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are highly upregulated immediately after a heat shock. The elevation in HSP levels was shown to inhibit stress-mediated cell death, and recent experiments indicate a highly versatile role for these proteins as inhibitors of programmed cell death. In this study, we examined common genetic variations in 31 genes encoding all members of the HSP70, small HSP, and heat shock factor (HSF) families for their association with all-cause mortality. Our discovery cohort was the Rotterdam study (RS1) containing 5,974 participants aged 55 years and older (3,174 deaths). We assessed 4,430 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) using the HumanHap550K Genotyping BeadChip from Illumina. After adjusting for multiple testing by permutation analysis, three SNPs showed evidence for association with all-cause mortality in RS1. These findings were followed in eight independent population-based cohorts, leading to a total of 25,007 participants (8,444 deaths). In the replication phase, only HSF2 (rs1416733) remained significantly associated with all-cause mortality. Rs1416733 is a known cis-eQTL for HSF2. Our findings suggest a role of HSF2 in all-cause mortality.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phospho- and sphingolipids are crucial cellular and intracellular compounds. These lipids are required for active transport, a number of enzymatic processes, membrane formation, and cell signalling. Disruption of their metabolism leads to several diseases, with diverse neurological, psychiatric, and metabolic consequences. A large number of phospholipid and sphingolipid species can be detected and measured in human plasma. We conducted a meta-analysis of five European family-based genome-wide association studies (N = 4034) on plasma levels of 24 sphingomyelins (SPM), 9 ceramides (CER), 57 phosphatidylcholines (PC), 20 lysophosphatidylcholines (LPC), 27 phosphatidylethanolamines (PE), and 16 PE-based plasmalogens (PLPE), as well as their proportions in each major class. This effort yielded 25 genome-wide significant loci for phospholipids (smallest P-value = 9.88×10−204) and 10 loci for sphingolipids (smallest P-value = 3.10×10−57). After a correction for multiple comparisons (P-value
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The size of the optic nerve head, referred to as disc area (DA), and the vertical cup-disc ratio (VCDR), are clinically relevant parameters for glaucomatous optic neuropathy. Although these measures have a high heritability, little is known about the underlying genes. Previously, the genes SALL1 and SIX1 were found to be genome-wide significantly associated with DA and VCDR. The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether genes encoding protein known to interact with protein encoded by SALL1 and SIX1 are also associated with either DA or VCDR.
A total of 38 candidate genes were chosen covering all known proteins interacting with SALL1 and SIX1. These were initially studied in the Rotterdam Study (RS)-I, including 5312 Caucasian subjects characterized for DA and VCDR. Positive findings were further investigated in two independent cohorts (RS-II and RS-III) and finally replicated in a fourth population (ERF). Bonferroni correction was applied to the meta-analyses.
Three loci were found to be associated with DA. The only locus significant after correcting for multiple testing is located on chromosome 11p13. Three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in ELP4, a gene which neighbors and plays a crucial role in the expression of PAX6, show association in meta-analysis of the four cohorts yielding P values of respectively 4.79 × 10(-6), 3.92 × 10(-6), and 4.88 × 10(-6) which is below the threshold dictated by the most conservative Bonferroni correction (P = 5.2 × 10(-6)).
This study suggests that the ELP4-PAX6 region plays a role in the DA. Further research to confirm this finding is needed.