[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A multiplicity of study designs such as gene candidate analysis, genome wide search (GWS) and, recently, whole genome association studies have been employed for the identification of the genetic components of essential hypertension (EH). Several genome-wide linkage studies of EH and blood pressure-related phenotypes demonstrate that there is no single locus with a major effect while several genomic regions likely to contain EH-susceptibility loci were validated by multiple studies.
We carried out the clinical assessment of the entire adult population in a Sardinian village (Talana) and we analyzed 16 selected families with 62 hypertensive subjects out of 267 individuals. We carried out a double GWS using a set of 902 uniformly spaced microsatellites and a high-density SNPs map on the same group of families.
Three loci were identified by both microsatellites and SNP scans and the obtained linkage results showed a remarkable degree of similarity. These loci were identified on chromosome 2q24, 11q23.1-25 and 13q14.11-21.33. Further support to these findings is their broad description present in literature associated to EH or related phenotypes. Bioinformatic investigation of these loci shows several potential EH candidate genes, several of whom already associated to blood pressure regulation pathways.
Our search for major susceptibility EH genetic factors evidences that EH in the genetic isolate of Talana is due to the contribution of several genes contained in loci identified and replicated by earlier findings in different human populations.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2009 · BMC Medical Genetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To better design association studies for complex traits in isolated populations it's important to understand how history and isolation moulded the genetic features of different communities. Population isolates should not "a priori" be considered homogeneous, even if the communities are not distant and part of a small region. We studied a particular area of Sardinia called Ogliastra, characterized by the presence of several distinct villages that display different history, immigration events and population size. Cultural and geographic isolation characterized the history of these communities. We determined LD parameters in 8 villages and defined population structure through high density SNPs (about 360 K) on 360 unrelated people (45 selected samples from each village). These isolates showed differences in LD values and LD map length. Five of these villages show high LD values probably due to their reduced population size and extreme isolation. High genetic differentiation among villages was detected. Moreover population structure analysis revealed a high correlation between genetic and geographic distances. Our study indicates that history, geography and biodemography have influenced the genetic features of Ogliastra communities producing differences in LD and population structure. All these data demonstrate that we can consider each village an isolate with specific characteristics. We suggest that, in order to optimize the study design of complex traits, a thorough characterization of genetic features is useful to identify the presence of sub-populations and stratification within genetic isolates.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is a common heritable polygenic disorder whose genetics is not fully understood, even though it seems to be X-linked. We carried out an epidemiological survey for AGA on 9,000 people from 8 isolated villages of a secluded region of Sardinia (Ogliastra), and identified a large cohort of affected individuals. We genotyped 200 cases and 200 controls (mean kinship 0.001) with the 500k chip array and conducted case-control association analysis on the X chromosome. We identified Xq11-q12 as strongly associated with AGA. In particular, we found that rs1352015 located 8 kb from the EDA2R gene showed the best result (P=7.77e(-7)). This region also contains the AR gene, hence we tested both genes in 492 cases and 492 controls. We found that the non-synonymous SNP rs1385699 on EDA2R gave the best result (P=3.9e(-19)) whereas rs6152 on the AR gene is less significant (P=4.17e(-12)). Further statistical analysis carried out by conditioning each gene to the presence of the other showed that the association with EDA2R is independent while the association with AR seems to be the result of linkage disequilibrium. These results give insight into the pathways involved in AGA etiology.
Full-text · Article · May 2008 · Journal of Investigative Dermatology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Burkina Faso the levels of plasma homocysteine (Hcy) are lower and the methionine loading tests suggest a more effective Hcy metabolism. The polymorphisms of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) showed a relevant difference in the allele frequencies of T MTHFR-677 in young and in old subjects, while the allele frequency of C MTHFR-1298 was comparable in young and old subjects. The aim of this paper was to study the impact of the MTHFR polymorphisms on plasma fasting Hcy and after methionine loading in Burkina Faso. The young subjects with CC MTHFR-677 genotype had levels of Hcy significantly lower than CT and TT subjects. The level of Hcy in subjects who had AA, AC and CC MTHFR-1298 genotypes were comparable. The levels of Hcy after the methionine loading test were significantly higher in CT and TT MTHFR-677 genotype. These results suggest that the genetic situation in Burkina Faso is different from that of other Western countries and this guarantees the maintenance of lower plasma levels of Hcy in young and old Africans. The elevated levels of plasma Hcy in old subjects compared to young subjects, against the low prevalence of the T allele in elderly subjects, is discussed.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2007 · Clinical laboratory
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There are differences in the allele frequency of MTHFR polymorphism between Western and African population. The aim of this study is to determinate the prevalence of MTHFR C677T and A1298C polymorphisms in young and old people living in different areas from Mediterranean to sub-Saharan areas. The observed vs expected genotype frequencies of 677T were in Hardy Weinberg equilibrium, with the exception of old Sardinian subjects (P=0.02). Calculation of 677T allele frequency in young and old African subjects (8% and 3%, respectively) indicated that the 677T allele was disadvantaged in old Africans (P=0.02). The difference among young and old Sardinians and Sicilians were not significant at the same degree (43% vs 37% P=0.07 and 46% vs 42% P=0.28,respectively). However, the reproducible trend that showed the prevalence of 677T allele in the young subjects of the three studied areas confirms the disadvantage of this polymorphism with the age. There was a significant difference (P=0.005) on the observed vs expected frequency of 1298C homozygosity in African old subjects compared to younger ones, while the observed vs expected genotypefrequencies were in equilibrium in young and old Sardinian and Sicilian subjects. The frequencies of 1298C and 1298A alleles were comparable between young and old African, Sardinian and Siciliansubjects. The lower frequency of 677T allele in old African, Sardinian and Sicilian subjects compared to young ones and the absence of TT genotype among old African subjects, should be considered as a consequence of an elevated mortality of 677T carriers.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2006 · OnLine Journal of Biological Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: No genes influencing oculometric phenotypes have yet been identified, despite it being well known that eye morphometry is involved in refraction and that genetics may play an important role. We have therefore performed a heritability analysis and genome-wide search (GWS) of biometric ocular traits in an isolated Sardinian population, assessing the genetic contribution and identifying the associated genetic loci. A complete eye examination including refraction and ocular biometry measurements such as axial length (AL), anterior chamber depth (ACD) and corneal curvature (CC), was performed on 789 subjects. Heritability analysis was carried out by means of parent-offspring regression and variance component models. Univariate and bivariate linkage analysis was performed by using 654 microsatellite markers spanning the genome. CC showed a mean heritability of 57%. AL and ACD were found to have significantly different variances (P<0.01) in males and females, so that heritability was calculated separately for each sex. AL had an estimated heritability in females of 31% and in males of 60%, whereas ACD had an estimated heritability of 47% in females and of 44% in males. In the GWS, the most suggestive evidence of linkage was identified on chromosome 2 for AL (LOD 2.64), on chromosome 1 for ACD (LOD 2.32) and on chromosomes 7, 2 and 3 for CC (LOD 2.50, 2.44 and 2.34, respectively). High heritability of eye morphometry traits was thus revealed. The identified loci are the first linkage signals available in ocular biometry. Notably, the observed significant differences in parental transmission deserve further study.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recently, a major locus on chromosome 7q was found in association with the taste sensitivity to phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) in humans. This region contains the TAS2R38 gene that encodes a member of the TAS2R bitter taste receptor family. Three SNPs within this gene demonstrated a strong association with taster status in Utah families and in an additional sample of 85 unrelated individuals. We studied a small isolated village in eastern Sardinia and carried out a genome-wide scan to map the genetic basis of PTC perception in this population. We performed both qualitative and quantitative PTC-taste linkage analysis. Qualitative analysis was carried out by defining a cut-off from the bimodal distribution of the trait and classifying subjects as tasters and non-tasters (75 and 25%, respectively). Linkage analysis on 131 subjects belonging to a unique large multi-generation pedigree comprising 239 subjects confirmed significant evidence for linkage at 7q35 also in our population. Haplotype analyses of the three SNPs inside the PTC gene allowed us to identify only two haplotypes that were associated with the non-taster phenotype (80% AVI homozygous) and to taster phenotype (40% PAV homozygous and 56% PAV/AVI heterozygous). Sex, age and haplotype effect explained 77.2 % of the total variance in PTC sensitivity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human chitotriosidase (Chit) is a member of the chitinase family and it is synthesized by activated macrophages. Recently, a genetic polymorphism was found to be responsible for the common deficiency in Chit activity, frequently encountered in different populations. We analyzed the Chit gene in some ethnic groups from the Mediterranean and African areas, to evaluate whether the Chit gene polymorphism correlates with the changes in environmental features and the disappearance of parasitic diseases. We found a heterozygote frequency for the duplication of 24 bp in exon 10 of 44% in Sicily and 32.71% in Sardinia, whereas those homozygous Chit deficient were 5.45 and 3.73%, respectively. In contrast, in Benin and Burkina Faso, both mesoendemic regions for Plasmodium falciparum malaria and other infections due to intestinal parasites, a low incidence of Chit mutation was found (heterozygous 0 and 2%, respectively) and no subject was homozygous for Chit deficiency. Our results provide evidence of the fact that the low frequency or the absence of mutant Chit gene may represent a protective factor in the population still living in disadvantaged environmental conditions. The present study suggests that the disappearance of parasitic diseases and the improved environmental conditions may have ensued the occurrence of a high percentage of 24-bp mutation in Sicily, in Sardinia and in other Mediterranean countries, whereas in the sub-Saharan regions (Benin and Burkina Faso), the widespread parasitic diseases and the poor social status have contributed to maintenance of the wild-type Chit gene.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2004 · Genes and Immunity