Wei Ang

University of Western Australia, Perth City, Western Australia, Australia

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Publications (24)267.77 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Rationale: Vitamin D deficiency is associated with chronic lung disease. We have previously shown in an in vivo mouse model that maternal vitamin D deficiency is associated with alterations in early life lung structure and function. However, there are limited data to support a relationship between maternal vitamin D deficiency during the early stages of lung development and post-natal lung function in human populations. Objectives: To assess the association between maternal vitamin D deficiency, post-natal lung function and asthmatic status in a longitudinal birth cohort. Methods: Serum was collected at 16-20 weeks gestation at the time of recruitment in a community based prospective birth cohort for measurement of vitamin D (25(OH)D). Lung function was assessed by spirometry according to ATS guidelines in children at 6 and 14 years of age. Demographic and clinical history data were collected by questionnaire at recruitment and at the follow up visits. Measurements and Main Results: FVC Z-scores in both sexes (β; 0.007[0.001, 0.013], p = 0.02) and FEV1 Z-scores in females (β; 0.007[0.001, 0.013], p = 0.02) were positively associated with maternal serum 25(OH)D at 6 years of age. These associations were mostly absent at 14 years of age. Maternal vitamin D deficiency was positively associated with asthma at 6 years of age but only in males (OR; 3.03(1.02-9.02), p = 0.04). Conclusions: This study supports the notion that vitamin D deficiency during lung development may impact on post-natal lung growth and increase the risk of developing lung disease.
    Annals of the American Thoracic Society. 03/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Objective Four putative single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) risk variants at the preeclampsia susceptibility locus on chromosome 2q22; rs2322659 (LCT), rs35821928 (LRP1B), rs115015150 (RND3) and rs17783344 (GCA), were recently shown to associate with known cardiovascular risk factors in a Mexican American cohort. This study aimed to further evaluate the pleiotropic effects of these preeclampsia risk variants in an independent Australian population-based cohort. Methods The four SNPs were genotyped in the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study that included DNA, clinical and biochemical data from 1246 mothers and 1404 of their now adolescent offspring. Genotype association analyses were undertaken using the SOLAR software. Results Nominal associations (P < 0.05) with cardiovascular risk factors were detected for all four SNPs. The LCT SNP was associated with decreased maternal height (P = 0.005) and decreased blood glucose levels in adolescents (P = 0.022). The LRP1B SNP was associated with increased maternal height (P = 0.026) and decreased maternal weight (P = 0.044). The RND3 SNP was associated with decreased triglycerides in adolescents (P = 0.001). The GCA SNP was associated with lower risk in adolescents to be born of a preeclamptic pregnancy (P = 0.003) and having a mother with prior preeclamptic pregnancy (P = 0.033). Conclusions Our collective findings support the hypothesis that genetic mechanisms for preeclampsia and CVD are, at least in part, shared, but need to be interpreted with some caution as a Bonferroni correction for multiple testing adjusted the statistical significance threshold (adjusted P < 0.001).
    Pregnancy Hypertension: An International Journal of Women's Cardiovascular Health. 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract BACKGROUND: To date, no genome-wide association study (GWAS) has considered the combined phenotype of asthma with hay fever. Previous analyses of family data from the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study provide evidence that this phenotype has a stronger genetic cause than asthma without hay fever. OBJECTIVE: We sought to perform a GWAS of asthma with hay fever to identify variants associated with having both diseases. METHODS: We performed a meta-analysis of GWASs comparing persons with both physician-diagnosed asthma and hay fever (n = 6,685) with persons with neither disease (n = 14,091). RESULTS: At genome-wide significance, we identified 11 independent variants associated with the risk of having asthma with hay fever, including 2 associations reaching this level of significance with allergic disease for the first time: ZBTB10 (rs7009110; odds ratio [OR], 1.14; P = 4 × 10-9) and CLEC16A (rs62026376; OR, 1.17; P = 1 × 10-8). The rs62026376:C allele associated with increased asthma with hay fever risk has been found to be associated also with decreased expression of the nearby DEXI gene in monocytes. The 11 variants were associated with the risk of asthma and hay fever separately, but the estimated associations with the individual phenotypes were weaker than with the combined asthma with hay fever phenotype. A variant near LRRC32 was a stronger risk factor for hay fever than for asthma, whereas the reverse was observed for variants in/near GSDMA and TSLP. Single nucleotide polymorphisms with suggestive evidence for association with asthma with hay fever risk included rs41295115 near IL2RA (OR, 1.28; P = 5 × 10-7) and rs76043829 in TNS1 (OR, 1.23; P = 2 × 10-6). CONCLUSION: By focusing on the combined phenotype of asthma with hay fever, variants associated with the risk of allergic disease can be identified with greater efficiency.
    Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 12/2013; · 12.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Social communication difficulties represent an autistic trait that is highly heritable and persistent during the course of development. However, little is known about the underlying genetic architecture of this phenotype. We performed a genome-wide association study on parent-reported social communication problems using items of the children's communication checklist (age 10 to 11 years) studying single and/or joint marker effects. Analyses were conducted in a large UK population-based birth cohort (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and their Children, ALSPAC, N = 5,584) and followed-up within a sample of children with comparable measures from Western Australia (RAINE, N = 1364). Two of our seven independent top signals (P-discovery <1.0E-05) were replicated (0.009 < P-replication <=0.02) within RAINE and suggested evidence for association at 6p22.1 (rs9257616, meta-P = 2.5E-07) and 14q22.1 (rs2352908, meta-P = 1.1E-06). The signal at 6p22.1 was identified within the olfactory receptor gene cluster within the broader major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region. The strongest candidate locus within this genomic area was TRIM27. This gene encodes an ubiquitin E3 ligase, which is an interaction partner of methyl-CpG-binding domain (MBD) proteins, such as MBD3 and MBD4, and rare protein-coding mutations within MBD3 and MBD4 have been linked to autism. The signal at 14q22.1 was found within a gene-poor region.Single-variant findings were complemented by estimations of the narrow-sense heritability in ALSPAC suggesting that approximately a fifth of the phenotypic variance in social communication traits is accounted for by joint additive effects of genotyped single nucleotide polymorphisms throughout the genome (h2(SE) = 0.18(0.066), P = 0.0027). Overall, our study provides both joint and single-SNP-based evidence for the contribution of common polymorphisms to variation in social communication phenotypes.
    Molecular autism. 09/2013; 4(1):34.
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    ABSTRACT: During aging, intracranial volume remains unchanged and represents maximally attained brain size, while various interacting biological phenomena lead to brain volume loss. Consequently, intracranial volume and brain volume in late life reflect different genetic influences. Our genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 8,175 community-dwelling elderly persons did not reveal any associations at genome-wide significance (P < 5 x 10(-8)) for brain volume. In contrast, intracranial volume was significantly associated with two loci: rs4273712 (P = 3.4 x 10(-11)), a known height-associated locus on chromosome 6q22, and rs9915547 (P = 1.5 x 10(-12)), localized to the inversion on chromosome 17q21. We replicated the associations of these loci with intracranial volume in a separate sample of 1,752 elderly persons (P = 1.1 x 10(-3) for 6q22 and 1.2 x 10(-3) for 17q21). Furthermore, we also found suggestive associations of the 17q21 locus with head circumference in 10,768 children (mean age of 14.5 months). Our data identify two loci associated with head size, with the inversion at 17q21 also likely to be involved in attaining maximal brain size.
    Nature Genetics 07/2013; 44:539-544. · 35.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction It is well established that preeclampsia (PE) increases later life cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Consequently, PE has started to gain a role as an early screening criterion for CVD. PE and CVD share several risk factors, pathological features and metabolic abnormalities. These common antecedents have drawn attention to the likelihood of shared genetic susceptibility. Objectives Results from our previous PE GWAS identified a significant association with the rs7579169 SNP and maternal PE susceptibility (odds ratio 1.57). This SNP resides near the Inhibin, beta B (INHBB) gene on chromosome 2q14. Therefore, this study sought to interrogate this PE susceptibility SNP against several CVD risk traits in an effort to highlight additional empirical evidence of likely shared PE/CVD genetic mechanisms. Methods The rs7579169 SNP was genotyped in a large independent Australian cohort rich in quantitative CVD risk traits; The Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study. This cohort comprises of fasting blood samples from 1246 mothers and 1461 adolescents (14- and 17-year-old) and clinical parameters pertaining, but not limited, to anthropometric measures of adiposity and lipid-related measures. Genetic association analyses of rs7579169 against the Raine CVD-related risk traits were performed using the software package R. All statistical analyses assumed an additive model of gene action. Results Significant associations (p < 0.05) for rs7579169 with CVD-related risk traits were detected, both for the mothers and the adolescents. Specifically, the minor rs7579169-T allele (MAF 0.400) was found to be significantly associated with elevated levels of triglycerides, total and LDL cholesterol, a greater average waist:hip circumference ratio and a greater average hip circumference. Conclusion We have previously identified rs7579169 located near the INHBB gene on chromosome 2q14 to significantly associate with maternal PE susceptibility. We have now demonstrated that this SNP is also significantly associated with several CVD-related risk traits in an independent Caucasian population. We hereby present additional empirical evidence of possible shared genetic risk factors underlying both PE and CVD related traits.
    Pregnancy Hypertension: An International Journal of Women's Cardiovascular Health. 04/2013; 3(2):63.
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    ABSTRACT: The pubertal height growth spurt is a distinctive feature of childhood growth reflecting both the central onset of puberty and local growth factors. While little is known about the underlying genetics, growth variability during puberty correlates with adult risks for hormone-dependent cancer and adverse cardiometabolic health. The only gene so far associated with pubertal height growth, LIN28B, pleiotropically influences childhood growth, puberty, and cancer progression, pointing to shared underlying mechanisms.To discover genetic loci influencing pubertal height and growth and place them in context of overall growth and maturation, we performed genome-wide association (GWA) meta-analyses in up to 18,737 European samples utilizing longitudinally collected height measurements. We found significant associations (P<1.67 x 10-8) at 10 loci, including LIN28B. Five loci associated with pubertal timing, all impacting multiple aspects of growth. In particular, a novel variant correlated with expression of MAPK3, and associated both with increased prepubertal growth and earlier menarche. Another variant near ADCY3-POMC associated with increased BMI, reduced pubertal growth, and earlier puberty.While epidemiological correlations suggest that early puberty marks a pathway from rapid prepubertal growth to reduced final height and adult obesity, our study shows that individual loci associating with pubertal growth have variable longitudinal growth patterns that may differ from epidemiological observations. Overall this study uncovers part of the complex genetic architecture linking pubertal height growth, the timing of puberty, and childhood obesity, and provides new information to pinpoint processes linking these traits.
    Human Molecular Genetics 02/2013; · 7.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Refractive error is the most common eye disorder worldwide and is a prominent cause of blindness. Myopia affects over 30% of Western populations and up to 80% of Asians. The CREAM consortium conducted genome-wide meta-analyses, including 37,382 individuals from 27 studies of European ancestry and 8,376 from 5 Asian cohorts. We identified 16 new loci for refractive error in individuals of European ancestry, of which 8 were shared with Asians. Combined analysis identified 8 additional associated loci. The new loci include candidate genes with functions in neurotransmission (GRIA4), ion transport (KCNQ5), retinoic acid metabolism (RDH5), extracellular matrix remodeling (LAMA2 and BMP2) and eye development (SIX6 and PRSS56). We also confirmed previously reported associations with GJD2 and RASGRF1. Risk score analysis using associated SNPs showed a tenfold increased risk of myopia for individuals carrying the highest genetic load. Our results, based on a large meta-analysis across independent multiancestry studies, considerably advance understanding of the mechanisms involved in refractive error and myopia.
    Nature Genetics 02/2013; · 35.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT Purpose: The Raine Eye Health Study (REHS) was conceived to determine the prevalence of and risk factors for eye disease in young adults, and to characterize ocular biometric parameters in a young adult cohort. This article summarizes the rationale and study design of REHS and outlines the baseline prevalence of ophthalmic disease in this population. Methods: The Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study originated as a randomized-controlled trial of 2900 women recruited from the state's largest maternity hospital. Their offspring (N = 2868) have been followed at birth, ages 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 10, 14, 17 and 20 years of age in a prospective cohort study. DNA has been collected from participants for genome-wide association studies. At the 20-year follow-up participants completed a comprehensive eye assessment that included visual acuity, orthoptic assessment and cycloplegic autorefraction, as well as several ocular biometric variables and multiple ophthalmic photographs of the anterior and posterior segments. Results: A total of 1344 participants (51.3% male) were assessed over a 24-month period. For the majority of examined participants (85.5%) both parents were Caucasian, 63.3% had completed school year 12 or equivalent, 5.5% had myopia (spherical equivalent ≤-3 diopters) and 15 participants (1.2%) had unilateral or bilateral pterygia. Keratoconus, cataract, keratitis and uveitis were rare. Conclusion: The REHS design and methodology allow comparison with other population-based studies of eye disease. The study established the prevalence of eye disorders in a large sample of predominantly Caucasian young Australian adults.
    Ophthalmic Genetics 01/2013; · 1.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A r t i c l e s Human ocular biometric parameters comprise a set of highly herit-able and often correlated quantitative traits. One notable example is CCT, which has an estimated heritability of up to 95% (ref. 1). Whereas extreme corneal thinning is a dramatic clinical feature for rare congenital connective tissue disorders, including brittle cornea syndrome (BCS) and several types of osteogenesis imperfecta 2,3 , mildly reduced CCT is involved in more common and late-onset eye diseases. It is a hallmark of keratoconus and a risk factor for primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) in individuals with ocular hypertension 4,5 . Previous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) conducted on both European and Asian populations have identi-fied 11 CCT-associated loci 6–9 . Among these loci, mutations in ZNF469 (refs. 10–12), COL5A1 (ref. 13) and COL8A2 (refs. 14,15) are known to cause rare disorders of BCS, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) and corneal dystrophy, respectively. However, none was found to be associated with common eye diseases. Keratoconus is a common corneal ectasia, affecting 1 in 2,000 in the general population 16 . It is a progressive eye disease character-ized by thinning and asymmetrical conical protrusion of the cornea, which causes variable and severe visual impairment. Owing to the limited availability of medical treatments, keratoconus is one of the leading causes of corneal transplantation worldwide 17 . Two GWAS have been conducted on susceptibility for keratoconus, and these studies suggested some new genetic associations, but neither study reported genome-wide significant loci 18,19 . POAG is the most com-mon form of glaucoma, which is the second leading cause of blind-ness worldwide 20 . Several risk loci for POAG have been identified through early linkage and candidate gene studies 21,22 and recent Genome-wide association analyses identify multiple loci associated with central corneal thickness and keratoconus
    Nature Genetics 01/2013; · 35.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Central corneal thickness (CCT) is associated with eye conditions including keratoconus and glaucoma. We performed a meta-analysis on >20,000 individuals in European and Asian populations that identified 16 new loci associated with CCT at genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10(-8)). We further showed that 2 CCT-associated loci, FOXO1 and FNDC3B, conferred relatively large risks for keratoconus in 2 cohorts with 874 cases and 6,085 controls (rs2721051 near FOXO1 had odds ratio (OR) = 1.62, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.4-1.88, P = 2.7 × 10(-10), and rs4894535 in FNDC3B had OR = 1.47, 95% CI = 1.29-1.68, P = 4.9 × 10(-9)). FNDC3B was also associated with primary open-angle glaucoma (P = 5.6 × 10(-4); tested in 3 cohorts with 2,979 cases and 7,399 controls). Further analyses implicate the collagen and extracellular matrix pathways in the regulation of CCT.
    Nature Genetics 01/2013; · 35.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Corneal astigmatism is a common eye disorder characterized by irregularities in corneal curvature. Recently, the rs7677751 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) at the platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRA) locus was found to be associated with corneal astigmatism in people of Asian ancestry. In the present study, we sought to replicate this finding and identify other genetic markers of corneal astigmatism in an Australian population of Northern European ancestry. Data from two cohorts were included in this study. The first cohort consisted of 1,013 individuals who were part of the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study: 20-year follow-up Eye Study. The second cohort comprised 1,788 individuals of 857 twin families who were recruited through the Twins Eye Study in Tasmania and the Brisbane Adolescent Twin Study. Corneal astigmatism was calculated as the absolute difference between the keratometry readings in two meridians, and genotype data were extracted from genome-wide arrays. Initially, each cohort was analyzed separately, before being combined for meta- and subsequent genome-wide pathway analysis. Following meta-analysis, SNP rs7677751 at the PDGFRA locus had a combined p=0.32. No variant was found to be statistically significantly associated with corneal astigmatism at the genome-wide level (p<5.0×10(-8)). The SNP with strongest association was rs1164064 (p=1.86×10(-6)) on chromosome 3q13. Gene-based pathway analysis identified a significant association between the Gene Ontology "segmentation" (GO:0035282) pathway, corrected p=0.009. Our data suggest that the PDGFRA locus does not transfer a major risk of corneal astigmatism in people of Northern European ancestry. Better-powered studies are required to validate the novel putative findings of our study.
    Molecular vision 01/2013; 19:1238-46. · 1.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose. Irregularity in the corneal curvature (CC) is highly associated with various eye disorders such as keratoconus and myopia. The sample had limited power to find genomewide significant (5 × 10(-8)) hits but good power for replication. Thus, an attempt was made to test whether alleles in the FRAP1 and PDGFRA genes, recently found to be associated with CC in Asian populations, also influence CC in Australians of North European ancestry. Results of initial genomewide association studies (GWAS) for CC in Australians were also reported. Methods. Two population-based cohorts of 1788 Australian twins and their families, as well as 1013 individuals from a birth cohort from Western Australia, were genotyped using genomewide arrays. Following separate individual analysis and quality control, the results from each cohort underwent meta-analysis. Results. Meta-analysis revealed significant replication of association between rs2114039 and corneal curvature (P = 0.0045). The SNP rs2114039 near PDGFRA has been previously implicated in Asians. No SNP at the FRAP1 locus was found to be associated in our Australian samples. No SNP surpassed the genomewide significance threshold of 5 × 10(-8). The SNP with strongest association was rs2444240 (P = 3.658 × 10(-7)), which is 31 kb upstream to the TRIM29 gene. Conclusions. A significant role of the PDGFRA gene in determining corneal curvature in the Australian population was confirmed in this study, also highlighting the putative association of the TRIM29 locus with CC.
    Investigative ophthalmology & visual science 09/2012; 53(11):7131-6. · 3.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The male-to-female sex ratio at birth is constant across world populations with an average of 1.06 (106 male to 100 female live births) for populations of European descent. The sex ratio is considered to be affected by numerous biological and environmental factors and to have a heritable component. The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of common allele modest effects at autosomal and chromosome X variants that could explain the observed sex ratio at birth. We conducted a large-scale genome-wide association scan (GWAS) meta-analysis across 51 studies, comprising overall 114 863 individuals (61 094 women and 53 769 men) of European ancestry and 2 623 828 common (minor allele frequency >0.05) single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Allele frequencies were compared between men and women for directly-typed and imputed variants within each study. Forward-time simulations for unlinked, neutral, autosomal, common loci were performed under the demographic model for European populations with a fixed sex ratio and a random mating scheme to assess the probability of detecting significant allele frequency differences. We do not detect any genome-wide significant (P < 5 × 10(-8)) common SNP differences between men and women in this well-powered meta-analysis. The simulated data provided results entirely consistent with these findings. This large-scale investigation across ∼115 000 individuals shows no detectable contribution from common genetic variants to the observed skew in the sex ratio. The absence of sex-specific differences is useful in guiding genetic association study design, for example when using mixed controls for sex-biased traits.
    Human Molecular Genetics 07/2012; 21(21):4805-15. · 7.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Environmental factors including excessive caloric intake lead to disordered lipid metabolism and fatty liver disease (FLD). However, FLD demonstrates heritability suggesting genetic factors are also important. We aimed to use a candidate gene approach to examine the association between FLD and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in lipid metabolism genes in the adolescent population-based Western Australian Pregnancy (Raine) Cohort. A total 951 seventeen year-olds underwent hepatic ultrasound, anthropometric and biochemical characterization, DNA extraction and genotyping for 57 SNPs in seven lipid metabolism genes (ApoB100, ATGL, ABHD5, MTTP, CETP, SREBP-1c, PPARα). Associations were adjusted for metabolic factors and Bonferroni corrected. The prevalence of FLD was 16.2% (11.4% male vs 21.2% female, P=0.001). Multivariate analysis of metabolic factors found suprailiac skinfold thickness (SST) to be the major predictor of FLD in females and males (odds ratio [OR] 1.11, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.08-1.15, P=1.7×10(-10) and OR 1.17, 95%CI 1.13-1.22, P=2.4×10(-11) , respectively). In females, two SNPs in linkage disequilibrium from the CETP gene were associated with FLD: rs12447924 (OR 2.16, 95%CI 1.42-3.32, P=0.0003) and rs12597002 (OR=2.22, 95%CI 1.46-3.41 P=0.0002). In lean homozygotes, the probability of FLD was over 30%, compared with 10-15% in lean heterozygotes and 3-5% in lean wild-types. However, these associations were modified by SST, such that for obese individuals, the probability of FLD was over 30% in all genotype groups. Cholesteryl ester transfer protein gene polymorphisms are associated with an increased risk of FLD in adolescent females. The effect is independent of adiposity in homozygotes, thereby placing lean individuals at a significant risk of FLD.
    Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 03/2012; 27(9):1520-7. · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: X-linked megalocornea (MGC1) is an ocular anterior segment disorder characterized by an increased cornea diameter and deep anterior chamber evident at birth and later onset of mosaic corneal degeneration (shagreen), arcus juvenilis, and presenile cataracts. We identified copy-number variation, frameshift, missense, splice-site and nonsense mutations in the Chordin-like 1 gene (CHRDL1) on Xq23 as the cause of the condition in seven MGC1 families. CHRDL1 encodes ventroptin, a bone morphogenic protein antagonist with a proposed role in specification of topographic retinotectal projections. Electrophysiological evaluation revealed mild generalized cone system dysfunction and, in one patient, an interhemispheric asymmetry in visual evoked potentials. We show that CHRDL1 is expressed in the developing human cornea and anterior segment in addition to the retina. We explored the impact of loss of ventroptin function on brain function and morphology in vivo. CHRDL1 is differentially expressed in the human fetal brain, and there is high expression in cerebellum and neocortex. We show that MGC1 patients have a superior cognitive ability despite a striking focal loss of myelination of white matter. Our findings reveal an unexpected requirement for ventroptin during anterior segment development and the consequences of a lack of function in the retina and brain.
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 02/2012; 90(2):247-59. · 11.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pulmonary function measures reflect respiratory health and are used in the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We tested genome-wide association with forced expiratory volume in 1 second and the ratio of forced expiratory volume in 1 second to forced vital capacity in 48,201 individuals of European ancestry with follow up of the top associations in up to an additional 46,411 individuals. We identified new regions showing association (combined P < 5 × 10(-8)) with pulmonary function in or near MFAP2, TGFB2, HDAC4, RARB, MECOM (also known as EVI1), SPATA9, ARMC2, NCR3, ZKSCAN3, CDC123, C10orf11, LRP1, CCDC38, MMP15, CFDP1 and KCNE2. Identification of these 16 new loci may provide insight into the molecular mechanisms regulating pulmonary function and into molecular targets for future therapy to alleviate reduced lung function.
    Nature Genetics 09/2011; 43(11):1082-90. · 35.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We aimed to identify novel genetic variants affecting asthma risk, since these might provide novel insights into molecular mechanisms underlying the disease. We did a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 2669 physician-diagnosed asthmatics and 4528 controls from Australia. Seven loci were prioritised for replication after combining our results with those from the GABRIEL consortium (n=26,475), and these were tested in an additional 25,358 independent samples from four in-silico cohorts. Quantitative multi-marker scores of genetic load were constructed on the basis of results from the GABRIEL study and tested for association with asthma in our Australian GWAS dataset. Two loci were confirmed to associate with asthma risk in the replication cohorts and reached genome-wide significance in the combined analysis of all available studies (n=57,800): rs4129267 (OR 1·09, combined p=2·4×10(-8)) in the interleukin-6 receptor (IL6R) gene and rs7130588 (OR 1·09, p=1·8×10(-8)) on chromosome 11q13.5 near the leucine-rich repeat containing 32 gene (LRRC32, also known as GARP). The 11q13.5 locus was significantly associated with atopic status among asthmatics (OR 1·33, p=7×10(-4)), suggesting that it is a risk factor for allergic but not non-allergic asthma. Multi-marker association results are consistent with a highly polygenic contribution to asthma risk, including loci with weak effects that might be shared with other immune-related diseases, such as NDFIP1, HLA-B, LPP, and BACH2. The IL6R association further supports the hypothesis that cytokine signalling dysregulation affects asthma risk, and raises the possibility that an IL6R antagonist (tocilizumab) may be effective to treat the disease, perhaps in a genotype-dependent manner. Results for the 11q13.5 locus suggest that it directly increases the risk of allergic sensitisation which, in turn, increases the risk of subsequent development of asthma. Larger or more functionally focused studies are needed to characterise the many loci with modest effects that remain to be identified for asthma. National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. A full list of funding sources is provided in the webappendix.
    The Lancet 09/2011; 378(9795):1006-14. · 39.06 Impact Factor