[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most stroke is multifactorial with multiple polygenic risk factors each conferring small increases in risk interacting with environmental risk factors, but it can also arise from mutations in a single gene. This review covers single-gene disorders which lead to stroke as a major phenotype, with a focus on those which cause cerebral small vessel disease (SVD), an area where there has been significant recent progress with findings that may inform us about the pathogenesis of SVD more broadly. We also discuss the impact that next generation sequencing technology (NGST) is likely to have on clinical practice in this area. The most common form of monogenic SVD is cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy, due to the mutations in the NOTCH3 gene. Several other inherited forms of SVD include cerebral autosomal recessive arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy, retinal vasculopathy with cerebral leukodystrophy, collagen type IV α1 and α2 gene-related arteriopathy and FOXC1 deletion related arteriopathy. These monogenic forms of SVD, with overlapping clinical phenotypes, are beginning to provide insights into how the small arteries in the brain can be damaged and some of the mechanisms identified may also be relevant to more common sporadic SVD. Despite the discovery of these disorders, it is often challenging to clinically and radiologically distinguish between syndromes, while screening multiple genes for causative mutations that can be costly and time-consuming. The rapidly falling cost of NGST may allow quicker diagnosis of these rare causes of SVD, and can also identify previously unknown disease-causing variants.
No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Journal of Neurology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective:
To quantify genetic overlap between migraine and ischemic stroke (IS) with respect to common genetic variation.
We applied 4 different approaches to large-scale meta-analyses of genome-wide data on migraine (23,285 cases and 95,425 controls) and IS (12,389 cases and 62,004 controls). First, we queried known genome-wide significant loci for both disorders, looking for potential overlap of signals. We then analyzed the overall shared genetic load using polygenic scores and estimated the genetic correlation between disease subtypes using data derived from these models. We further interrogated genomic regions of shared risk using analysis of covariance patterns between the 2 phenotypes using cross-phenotype spatial mapping.
We found substantial genetic overlap between migraine and IS using all 4 approaches. Migraine without aura (MO) showed much stronger overlap with IS and its subtypes than migraine with aura (MA). The strongest overlap existed between MO and large artery stroke (LAS; p = 6.4 × 10(-28) for the LAS polygenic score in MO) and between MO and cardioembolic stroke (CE; p = 2.7 × 10(-20) for the CE score in MO).
Our findings indicate shared genetic susceptibility to migraine and IS, with a particularly strong overlap between MO and both LAS and CE pointing towards shared mechanisms. Our observations on MA are consistent with a limited role of common genetic variants in this subtype.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background Extracranial carotid and vertebral artery dissection is an important cause of stroke, especially in young people. In some observational studies it has been associated with a high risk of recurrent stroke. Both antiplatelet drugs and anticoagulant drugs are used to reduce risk of stroke but whether one treatment strategy is more effective than the other is unknown. We compared their efficacy in the Cervical Artery Dissection in Stroke Study (CADISS), with the additional aim of establishing the true risk of recurrent stroke. Methods We did this randomised trial at hospitals with specialised stroke or neurology services (39 in the UK and seven in Australia). We included patients with extracranial carotid and vertebral dissection with onset of symptoms within the past 7 days. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) by an automated telephone randomisation service to receive antiplatelet drugs or anticoagulant drugs (specific treatment decided by the local clinician) for 3 months. Patients and clinicians were not masked to allocation, but investigators assessing endpoints were. The primary endpoint was ipsilateral stroke or death in the intention-to-treat population. The trial was registered with EUDract (2006-002827-18) and ISRN (CTN44555237). Findings We enrolled 250 participants (118 carotid, 132 vertebral). Mean time to randomisation was 3.65 days (SD 1.91). The major presenting symptoms were stroke or transient ischaemic attack (n=224) and local symptoms (headache, neck pain, or Homer's syndrome; n=26). 126 participants were assigned to antiplatelet treatment versus 124 to anticoagulant treatment. Overall, four (2%) of 250 patients had stroke recurrence (all ipsilateral). Stroke or death occurred in three (2%) of 126 patients versus one (1%) of 124 (odds ratio [OR] 0.335, 95% CI 0.006-4.233; p=0.63). There were no deaths, but one major bleeding (subarachnoid haemorrhage) in the anticoagulant group. Central review of imaging failed to confirm dissection in 52 patients. Preplanned per-protocol analysis exduding these patients showed stroke or death in three (3%) of 101 patients in the antiplatelet group versus one (1%) of 96 patients in the anticoagulant group (OR 0.346,95% CI 0-006-4.390; p=0-66). Interpretation We found no difference in efficacy of antiplatelet and anticoagulant drugs at preventing stroke and death in patients with symptomatic carotid and vertebral artery dissection but stroke was rare in both groups, and much rarer than reported in some observational studies. Diagnosis of dissection was not confirmed after review in many cases, suggesting that radiographic criteria are not always correctly applied in routine clinical practice. Funding Stroke Association. Copyright (C)Markus et al. Open Access article distributed under the terms of CC BY.
No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · The Lancet Neurology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background To investigate potential cardiovascular and other eff ects of long-term pharmacological interleukin 1 (IL-1) inhibition, we studied genetic variants that produce inhibition of IL-1, a master regulator of infl ammation.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vascular factors are now established risk factors for cognitive decline, both for dementia and its two main subtypes: Alzheimer's disease (AD) and vascular dementia. Their impact likely goes beyond causing an increase in concurrent vascular pathology, since they have been associated with increasing the risk of degenerative Alzheimer (plaque and tangle) pathology, either by increasing its rate of formation or reducing elimination from the brain, or a mixture of the two. A comprehensive series of reviews published in BMC Medicine, investigates the relationship between AD and cardiovascular diseases and risk factors from a clinical, pathological and therapeutic perspective. Whilst links between vascular factors and AD have clearly been demonstrated at both the clinical and pathological level, the nature of the relationship remains to be fully established and there is a lack of high quality treatment studies examining the extent to which vascular risk modification alters AD disease course. Further longitudinal mechanistic and therapeutic studies are required, especially to determine whether treatment of vascular risk can prevent or delay the onset of AD and/or reduce its rate of clinical progression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
This study aimed to evaluate whether treatment with sodium valproate (SV) was associated with reduced risk of stroke or myocardial infarction (MI).
Electronic health records data were extracted from Clinical Practice Research Database for participants ever diagnosed with epilepsy and prescribed antiepileptic drugs. A nested case–control study was implemented with cases diagnosed with incident non-haemorrhagic stroke and controls matched for sex, year of birth, and study start date (ratio of 1:6). A second nested study was implemented with MI as outcome. The main exposure variable was SV therapy assessed as: ever prescribed, pre-stroke year treatment, number of SV prescriptions, and cumulative time on SV drug therapy. Odds ratios were estimated using conditional logistic regression.
Data were analysed for 2002 stroke cases and 13 098 controls. MI analyses included 1153 cases and 7109 controls. Pre-year stroke SV treatment (28%) was associated with increased stroke risk (odds ratio 1.22, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.09 to 1.38, p < 0.001). No association was observed between ever being prescribed SV with ischemic stroke (OR = 1.01, 95% CI: 0.91 to 1.12, p = 0.875). A significant association was observed between ever being prescribed SV with MI (OR = 0.78, 95% CI: 0.67 to 0.90, p < 0.001). Patients in the highest quarter of SV treatment duration had lower odds of ischemic stroke (OR = 0.57, 95% CI: 0.44 to 0.72, p < 0.001) and MI (OR = 0.29, 95% CI: 0.20 to 0.44, p < 0.001).
Sodium valproate exposure was associated with the risk of MI, but not ischemic stroke. However, longer exposure to SV was associated with lower odds of stroke, but this might be explained by survivor bias.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background and purpose:
Elevated total plasma homocysteine (tHcy) levels are known to be associated with increased risk of ischemic stroke (IS). Given that both tHcy and IS are heritable traits, we investigated a potential genetic relationship between homocysteine levels and stroke risk by assessing 18 polymorphisms previously associated with tHcy levels for their association with IS and its subtypes.
Previous meta-analysis results from an international stroke collaborative network, METASTROKE, were used to assess association of the 18 tHcy-associated single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 12 389 IS cases and 62 004 controls. We also investigated the associations in regions located within 50 kb from the 18 tHcy-related SNPs and the association of a genetic risk score, including the 18 SNPs.
One SNP located in the RASIP1 gene and a cluster of 3 SNPs located at and near SLC17A3 were significantly associated with IS (P<0.0003) after correcting for multiple testing. For stroke subtypes, the sentinel SNP located upstream of MUT was significantly associated with small-vessel disease (P=0.0022), whereas 1 SNP located in MTHFR was significantly associated with large-vessel disease (P=0.00019). A genetic risk score, including the 18 SNPs, did not show significant association with IS or its subtypes.
This study found several potential associations with IS and its subtypes: an association of an MUT variant with small-vessel disease, an MTHFR variant with large-vessel disease, and associations of RASIP1 and SLC17A3 variants with overall IS.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cerebral ischemia is thought to be an important disease mechanism in cerebral small vessel disease (SVD). It has been hypothesized that acute ischemia in the territory of the perforating artery results in lacunar stroke, while chronic ischemia occurring in the distal territories of the perforating arteries results in changes to cerebral white-matter, known as leukoaraiosis. The spatial pattern of leukoaraiosis, with changes first occurring in the brain regions furthest from the origin of the perforating arteries, would be consistent with disease occurring due to hypoperfusion. This has led to the suggestion that cerebral blood flow (CBF) is reduced in SVD, and many studies have been performed to investigate this issue. In addition, cerebral arteriopathy underlying SVD may also impair the ability of small cerebral vessels to vasodilate, leading to problems maintaining perfusion in response to drops in blood pressure and perfusion pressure. Impairments of cerebral reactivity to vasodilatory stimuli and of cerebral autoregulation have been shown in animal models of cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL), a genetic form of SVD. These processes have been investigated in patients with both sporadic SVD, as well as with CADASIL.
We review the different techniques that can be used to measure CBF, cerebral reactivity, and cerebral autoregulation. We then consider recent studies investigating cerebral hemodynamics in SVD.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE We investigated the variation in neuropsychological function explained by risk alleles at the psychosis susceptibility gene ZNF804A and its interacting partners using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), polygenic scores, and epistatic analyses. Of particular importance was the relative contribution of the polygenic score vs epistasis in variation explained. OBJECTIVES To (1) assess the association between SNPs in ZNF804A and the ZNF804A polygenic score with measures of cognition in cases with psychosis and (2) assess whether epistasis within the ZNF804A pathway could explain additional variation above and beyond that explained by the polygenic score. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Patients with psychosis (n = 424) were assessed in areas of cognitive ability impaired in schizophrenia including IQ, memory, attention, and social cognition. We used the Psychiatric GWAS Consortium 1 schizophrenia genome-wide association study to calculate a polygenic score based on identified risk variants within this genetic pathway. Cognitive measures significantly associated with the polygenic score were tested for an epistatic component using a training set (n = 170), which was used to develop linear regression models containing the polygenic score and 2-SNP interactions. The best-fitting models were tested for replication in 2 independent test sets of cases: (1) 170 individuals with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and (2) 84 patients with broad psychosis (including bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and other psychosis). MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Participants completed a neuropsychological assessment battery designed to target the cognitive deficits of schizophrenia including general cognitive function, episodic memory, working memory, attentional control, and social cognition. RESULTS Higher polygenic scores were associated with poorer performance among patients on IQ, memory, and social cognition, explaining 1% to 3% of variation on these scores (range, P = .01 to .03). Using a narrow psychosis training set and independent test sets of narrow phenotype psychosis (schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder), broad psychosis, and control participants (n = 89), the addition of 2 interaction terms containing 2 SNPs each increased the R2 for spatial working memory strategy in the independent psychosis test sets from 1.2% using the polygenic score only to 4.8% (P = .11 and .001, respectively) but did not explain additional variation in control participants. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE These data support a role for the ZNF804A pathway in IQ, memory, and social cognition in cases. Furthermore, we showed that epistasis increases the variation explained above the contribution of the polygenic score.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Personalized medicine is increasingly being employed across many areas of clinical practice, as genes associated with specific diseases are discovered and targeted therapies are developed. Mobile apps are also beginning to be used in medicine with the aim of providing a personalized approach to disease management. In some areas of medicine, patient-tailored risk prediction and treatment are applied routinely in the clinic, whereas in other fields, more work is required to translate scientific advances into individualized treatment. In this forum article, we asked specialists in oncology, neurology, endocrinology and mobile health technology to discuss where we are in terms of personalized medicine, and address their visions for the future and the challenges that remain in their respective fields.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Dual antiplatelet therapy with clopidogrel and aspirin reduces the presence and number of microembolic signals in patients with large artery disease. However, whether it is effective in patients with intracranial disease alone remains uncertain. We performed a subgroup analysis of the The CLopidogrel plus Aspirin for Infarction Reduction (CLAIR in acute stroke or transient ischemic attack patients with large artery stenosis and microembolic signals) study of only patients with intracranial occlusive disease, excluding those with extra cranial disease.
CLAIR was a randomized-controlled, open-label, multicenter clinical trial with blinded outcome evaluation, which recruited patients with symptoms of ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack within seven-days of onset, with large artery stenosis verified by transcranial Doppler and carotid ultrasound, and with microembolic signals detected by transcranial Doppler recording. All patients were randomized to receive clopidogrel plus aspirin daily for seven-days (dual treatment), or aspirin alone for seven-days (monotherapy). Repeated transcranial Doppler recordings for microembolic signals were made on day one, two, and seven. This subgroup study only analyzed the patients with purely intracranial large artery disease and excluded those with extra cranial stenosis.
There were 70 patients recruited with purely intracranial stenosis, 34 in the dual treatment group and 36 in the monotherapy group. The proportion of the patients with positive emboli at day seven in the dual treatment group was significantly lower than that in the monotherapy group (relative risk reduction 56·5%, 95% confidence interval 2·5-80·6; P = 0·029). The number of emboli in the dual treatment group decreased significantly at day two (P = 0·043) and day seven (P = 0·018) compared with the monotherapy group. After adjustment for the number of emboli at day one, the effect of dual treatment was still significant for the reduction of presence (relative risk reduction 56·0%; 95% confidence interval 5·4-79·6; P = 0·036) and number (adjusted mean difference -0·9; 95% confidence interval -1·5 to -0·3; P = 0·004) of positive emboli at day seven.
Dual treatment with clopidogrel and aspirin for seven-days is more effective than aspirin alone to reduce microembolic signals in patients with intracranial arterial stenosis.
No preview · Article · Nov 2013 · International Journal of Stroke
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia is an idiopathic mental disorder with a heritable component and a substantial public health impact. We conducted a multi-stage genome-wide association study (GWAS) for schizophrenia beginning with a Swedish national sample (5,001 cases and 6,243 controls) followed by meta-analysis with previous schizophrenia GWAS (8,832 cases and 12,067 controls) and finally by replication of SNPs in 168 genomic regions in independent samples (7,413 cases, 19,762 controls and 581 parent-offspring trios). We identified 22 loci associated at genome-wide significance; 13 of these are new, and 1 was previously implicated in bipolar disorder. Examination of candidate genes at these loci suggests the involvement of neuronal calcium signaling. We estimate that 8,300 independent, mostly common SNPs (95% credible interval of 6,300-10,200 SNPs) contribute to risk for schizophrenia and that these collectively account for at least 32% of the variance in liability. Common genetic variation has an important role in the etiology of schizophrenia, and larger studies will allow more detailed understanding of this disorder.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Estimates of the heritability of plasma fibrinogen concentration, an established predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD), range from 34 to 50%. Genetic variants so far identified by genome-wide association (GWA) studies only explain a small proportion (< 2%) of its variation.
We conducted a meta-analysis of 28 GWA studies, including more than 90,000 subjects of European ancestry, the first GWA meta-analysis of fibrinogen levels in 7 African Americans studies totaling 8,289 samples, and a GWA study in Hispanic-Americans totaling 1,366 samples. Evaluation for association of SNPs with clinical outcomes included a total of 40,695 cases and 85,582 controls for coronary artery disease (CAD), 4,752 cases and 24,030 controls for stroke, and 3,208 cases and 46,167 controls for venous thromboembolism (VTE). Overall, we identified 24 genome-wide significant (P<5x10(-8)) independent signals in 23 loci, including 15 novel associations, together accounting for 3.7% of plasma fibrinogen variation. Gene-set enrichment analysis highlighted key roles in fibrinogen regulation for the three structural fibrinogen genes and pathways related to inflammation, adipocytokines and thyrotrophin-releasing hormone signaling. Whereas lead SNPs in a few loci were significantly associated with CAD, the combined effect of all 24 fibrinogen-associated lead SNPs was not significant for CAD, stroke or VTE.
We identify 23 robustly associated fibrinogen loci, 15 of which are new. Clinical outcome analysis of these loci does not support a causal relationship between circulating levels of fibrinogen and CAD, stroke or VTE.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that are detectable in plasma and serum. Circulating levels of microRNAs have been measured in various studies related to cardiovascular disease. Heparin is a potential confounder of microRNA measurements due to its known interference with polymerase chain reactions. In this study, platelet-poor plasma was obtained from patients undergoing cardiac catheterisation for diagnostic coronary angiography, or for percutaneous coronary intervention, both before and after heparin administration. Heparin had pronounced effects on the assessment of the exogenous C. elegans spike-in control (decrease by >3 cycles), which disappeared 6 hours after the heparin bolus. Measurements of endogenous microRNAs were less sensitive to heparin medication. Normalization of individual microRNAs with the average cycle threshold value of all microRNAs provided a suitable alternative to normalisation with exogenous C. elegans spike-in control in this setting. Thus, both the timing of blood sampling relative to heparin dosing and the normalisation procedure are critical for reliable microRNA measurements in patients receiving intravenous heparin. This has to be taken into account when designing studies to investigate the relation of circulating microRNAs to acute cardiovascular events or coronary intervention.
No preview · Article · Jun 2013 · Thrombosis and Haemostasis
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background and purpose:
Recently, a novel locus at 17q25 was associated with white matter hyperintensities (WMH) on MRI in stroke-free individuals. We aimed to replicate the association with WMH volume (WMHV) in patients with ischemic stroke. If the association acts by promoting a small vessel arteriopathy, it might be expected to also associate with lacunar stroke.
We quantified WMH on MRI in the stroke-free hemisphere of 2588 ischemic stroke cases. Association between WMHV and 6 single-nucleotide polymorphisms at chromosome 17q25 was assessed by linear regression. These single-nucleotide polymorphisms were also investigated for association with lacunar stroke in 1854 cases and 51 939 stroke-free controls from METASTROKE. Meta-analyses with previous reports and a genetic risk score approach were applied to identify other novel WMHV risk variants and uncover shared genetic contributions to WMHV in community participants without stroke and ischemic stroke.
Single-nucleotide polymorphisms at 17q25 were associated with WMHV in ischemic stroke, the most significant being rs9894383 (P=0.0006). In contrast, there was no association between any single-nucleotide polymorphism and lacunar stroke. A genetic risk score analysis revealed further genetic components to WMHV shared between community participants without stroke and ischemic stroke.
This study provides support for an association between the 17q25 locus and WMH. In contrast, it is not associated with lacunar stroke, suggesting that the association does not act by promoting small-vessel arteriopathy or the same arteriopathy responsible for lacunar infarction.