[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Epigenetic modifications, including DNA methylation, represent a potential mechanism for environmental impacts on human disease. Maternal smoking in pregnancy remains an important public health problem that impacts child health in a myriad of ways and has potential lifelong consequences. The mechanisms are largely unknown, but epigenetics most likely plays a role. We formed the Pregnancy And Childhood Epigenetics (PACE) consortium and meta-analyzed, across 13 cohorts (n = 6,685), the association between maternal smoking in pregnancy and newborn blood DNA methylation at over 450,000 CpG sites (CpGs) by using the Illumina 450K BeadChip. Over 6,000 CpGs were differentially methylated in relation to maternal smoking at genome-wide statistical significance (false discovery rate, 5%), including 2,965 CpGs corresponding to 2,017 genes not previously related to smoking and methylation in either newborns or adults. Several genes are relevant to diseases that can be caused by maternal smoking (e.g., orofacial clefts and asthma) or adult smoking (e.g., certain cancers). A number of differentially methylated CpGs were associated with gene expression. We observed enrichment in pathways and processes critical to development. In older children (5 cohorts, n = 3,187), 100% of CpGs gave at least nominal levels of significance, far more than expected by chance (p value < 2.2 × 10(-16)). Results were robust to different normalization methods used across studies and cell type adjustment. In this large scale meta-analysis of methylation data, we identified numerous loci involved in response to maternal smoking in pregnancy with persistence into later childhood and provide insights into mechanisms underlying effects of this important exposure.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2016 · The American Journal of Human Genetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Background High salt intake may be associated with pro-inflammatory changes in the immune response, and increased clinical and MRI activity in adults with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Objective We sought to determine if dietary salt intake is associated with pediatric-onset MS risk in a multicenter, case-control study. Methods Pediatric-onset CIS/MS cases within four years of onset and controls less than 22 years old recruited from 14 pediatric-MS centers were studied. Dietary sodium intake was assessed using the validated Block Kids Food Screener (NutritionQuest). Sodium intake, excess sodium, and sodium terciles were compared between cases and controls. Logistic regression models were adjusted for age, gender, ethnicity, body mass index, and socioeconomic status. Results Among 170 cases (mean age=15.2±3.5) and 331 controls (mean age=14.0±3.7), no significant difference in unadjusted mean sodium intake was found between cases (2044 mg/d) and controls (2030 mg/d, p=0.99). The proportion of subjects consuming excess sodium, based on the adequate intake for age and gender, was similar between cases and controls (65% versus 69%, p=0.34). There were no increased odds of higher sodium intake among cases as compared to controls (for each 100 mg/d increase in sodium, OR=1.00, 95% CI 0.98, 1.02; p=0.93, for excess sodium intake, OR=1.05, 95% CI 0.67, 1.64; p=0.84). Conclusions Our results show no strong association between dietary salt intake and pediatric-onset MS risk, suggesting that salt intake may not play a prominent role in susceptibility to MS in children.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2016 · Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Background:
Genetic ancestry, sex, and individual alleles have been associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) susceptibility.
To determine whether established risk factors for disease onset are associated with relapse rate in pediatric MS.
Whole-genome genotyping was performed for 181 MS or high-risk clinically isolated syndrome patients from two pediatric MS centers. Relapses and disease-modifying therapies were recorded as part of continued follow-up. Participants were characterized for 25-hydroxyvitamin D serum status. Ancestral estimates (STRUCTURE v2.3.1), human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DRB1*15 carrier status (direct sequencing), sex, and a genetic risk score (GRS) of 110 non-HLA susceptibility single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were evaluated for association with relapse rate with Cox and negative binomial regression models.
Over 622 patient-years, 408 relapses were captured. Girls had greater relapse rate than boys (incident rate ratio (IRR) = 1.40, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.04-1.87, p = 0.026). Participants were genetically diverse; ~40% (N = 75) had <50% European ancestry. HLA-DRB1*15 status modified the association of vitamin D status (pixn = 0.022) with relapse rate (per 10 ng/mL, in DRB1*15+ hazard ratio (HR) = 0.72, 95% CI = 0.58-0.88, p = 0.002; in DRB1*15- HR = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.83-1.12, p = 0.64). Neither European ancestry nor GRS was associated with relapse rate.
We demonstrate that HLA-DRB1*15 modifies the association of vitamin D status with relapse rate. Our findings emphasize the need to pursue disease-modifying effects of MS genes in the context of environmental factors.
No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Multiple Sclerosis
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Background
DNA methylation is an important epigenetic mark that can potentially link early life exposures to adverse health outcomes later in life. Host factors like sex and age strongly influence biological variation of DNA methylation, but characterization of these relationships is still limited, particularly in young children.
In a sample of 111 Mexican-American subjects (58 girls , 53 boys), we interrogated DNA methylation differences by sex at birth using the 450 K BeadChip in umbilical cord blood specimens, adjusting for cell composition.
We observed that ~3 % of CpG sites were differentially methylated between girls and boys at birth (FDR P < 0.05). Of those CpGs, 3031 were located on autosomes, and 82.8 % of those were hypermethylated in girls compared to boys. Beyond individual CpGs, we found 3604 sex-associated differentially methylated regions (DMRs) where the majority (75.8 %) had higher methylation in girls. Using pathway analysis, we found that sex-associated autosomal CpGs were significantly enriched for gene ontology terms related to nervous system development and behavior. Among hits in our study, 35.9 % had been previously reported as sex-associated CpG sites in other published human studies. Further, for replicated hits, the direction of the association with methylation was highly concordant (98.5–100 %) with previous studies.
To our knowledge, this is the first reported epigenome-wide analysis by sex at birth that examined DMRs and adjusted for confounding by cell composition. We confirmed previously reported trends that methylation profiles are sex-specific even in autosomal genes, and also identified novel sex-associated CpGs in our methylome-wide analysis immediately after birth, a critical yet relatively unstudied developmental window.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-015-2034-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is characterized by the development of autoantibodies associated with specific clinical manifestations. Previous studies have shown an association between differential DNA methylation and SLE susceptibility, but have not investigated SLE-related autoantibodies. Our goal was to determine whether DNA methylation is associated with production of clinically relevant SLE-related autoantibodies, with an emphasis on the anti-dsDNA autoantibody. In this study, we characterized the methylation status of 467,314 CpG sites in 326 women with SLE. Using a discovery and replication study design, we identified and replicated significant associations between anti-dsDNA autoantibody production and the methylation status of 16 CpG sites (pdiscovery<1.07E-07 and preplication<0.0029) in 11 genes. Associations were further investigated using multivariable regression to adjust for estimated leukocyte cell proportions and population substructure. The adjusted mean DNA methylation difference between anti-dsDNA positive and negative cases ranged from 1.2% to 19%, and the adjusted odds ratio for anti-dsDNA autoantibody production comparing the lowest and highest methylation tertiles ranged from 6.8 to 18.2. Differential methylation for these CpG sites was also associated with anti-SSA, anti-Sm, and anti-RNP autoantibody production. Overall, associated CpG sites were hypomethylated in autoantibody positive compared to autoantibody negative cases. Differential methylation of CpG sites within the major histocompatibility region was not strongly associated with autoantibody production. Genes with differentially methylated CpG sites represent multiple biologic pathways, and have not been associated with autoantibody production in genetic association studies. In conclusion, hypomethylation of CpG sites within genes from different pathways is associated with anti-dsDNA, anti-SSA, anti-Sm, and anti-RNP production in SLE, and these associations are not explained by genetic variation. Thus, studies of epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation represent a complementary method to genetic association studies to identify biologic pathways that may contribute to the clinical heterogeneity of autoimmune diseases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Genome-wide association studies focusing on European-ancestry populations have identified ALL risk loci on IKZF1, ARID5B, and CEBPE. To capture the impacts of these genes on ALL risk in the California Hispanic population, we comprehensively assessed the variation within the genes and further assessed the joint effects between the genetic variation and surrogates for early-life infections (the presence of older siblings, daycare attendance, and ear infections).
Genotypic data for 323 Hispanic ALL cases and 454 controls from the California Childhood Leukemia Study were generated using Illumina OmniExpress v1 platform. Logistic regression assuming a log-additive model estimated odds ratios (OR) associated with each SNP, adjusted for age, sex, and the first five principal components. In addition, we examined potential interactions between six ALL risk alleles and surrogates for early-life infections using logistic regression models that included an interaction term.
Significant associations between genotypes at IKZF1, ARID5B, and CEBPE and ALL risk were identified: rs7780012, OR 0.50, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.35-0.71 (p = 0.004); rs7089424, OR 2.12, 95 % CI 1.70-2.65 (p = 1.16 × 10(-9)); rs4982731, OR 1.69, 95 % CI 1.37-2.08 (p = 2.35 × 10(-6)), respectively. Evidence for multiplicative interactions between genetic variants and surrogates for early-life infections with ALL risk was not observed.
Consistent with findings in non-Hispanic White population, our study showed that variants within IKZF1, ARID5B, and CEBPE were associated with increased ALL risk, and the effects for ARID5B and CEBPE were most prominent in the high-hyperdiploid ALL subtype in the California Hispanic population. Results implicate the ARID5B, CEBPE, and IKZF1 genes in the pathogenesis of childhood ALL.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Cancer Causes and Control
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Determine whether MS-specific DNA methylation profiles can be identified in whole blood or purified immune cells from untreated MS patients.
Whole blood, CD4+ and CD8+ T cell DNA from 16 female, treatment naïve MS patients and 14 matched controls was profiled using the HumanMethylation450K BeadChip. Genotype data were used to assess genetic homogeneity of our sample and to exclude potential SNP-induced DNA methylation measurement errors.
As expected, significant differences between CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells and whole blood DNA methylation profiles were observed, regardless of disease status. Strong evidence for hypermethylation of CD8+ T cell, but not CD4+ T cell or whole blood DNA in MS patients compared to controls was observed. Genome-wide significant individual CpG-site DNA methylation differences were not identified. Furthermore, significant differences in gene DNA methylation of 148 established MS-associated risk genes were not observed.
While genome-wide significant DNA methylation differences were not detected for individual CpG-sites, strong evidence for DNA hypermethylation of CD8+ T cells for MS patients was observed, indicating a role for DNA methylation in MS. Further, our results suggest that large DNA methylation differences for CpG-sites tested here do not contribute to MS susceptibility. In particular, large DNA methylation differences for CpG-sites within 148 established MS candidate genes tested in our study cannot explain missing heritability. Larger studies of homogenous MS patients and matched controls are warranted to further elucidate the impact of CD8+ T cell and more subtle DNA methylation changes in MS development and pathogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: We conducted a case-control study among members of Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) born between 1980 and 2003 to determine the prevalence of immune-mediated conditions in individuals with autism, investigate whether these conditions occur more often than expected, and explore the timing of onset relative to autism diagnosis. Cases were children and young adults with at least two autism diagnoses recorded in outpatient records (n = 5565). Controls were children without autism randomly sampled at a ratio of 5 to 1, matched to cases on birth year, sex, and length of KPNC membership (n = 27,825). The main outcomes – asthma, allergies, and autoimmune diseases – were identified from KPNC inpatient and outpatient databases. Chi-square tests were used to evaluate case-control differences. Allergies and autoimmune diseases were diagnosed significantly more often among children with autism than among controls (allergy: 20.6% vs. 17.7%, Crude odds ratio (OR) = 1.22, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.13–1.31; autoimmune disease: 1% vs. 0.76%, OR = 1.36, 95% CI 1.01–1.83), and asthma was diagnosed significantly less often (13.7% vs. 15.9%; OR = 0.83, 95% CI 0.76–0.90). Psoriasis occurred more than twice as often in cases than in controls (0.34% vs. 0.15%; OR = 2.35, 95% CI 1.36–4.08). Our results support previous observations that children with autism have elevated prevalence of specific immune-related comorbidities.
No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · Brain Behavior and Immunity
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Converging evidence implicates immune abnormalities in schizophrenia (SCZ), and recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified immune-related single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with SCZ. Using the conditional false discovery rate (FDR) approach, we evaluated pleiotropy in SNPs associated with SCZ (n=21 856) and multiple sclerosis (MS) (n=43 879), an inflammatory, demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. Because SCZ and bipolar disorder (BD) show substantial clinical and genetic overlap, we also investigated pleiotropy between BD (n=16 731) and MS. We found significant genetic overlap between SCZ and MS and identified 21 independent loci associated with SCZ, conditioned on association with MS. This enrichment was driven by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Importantly, we detected the involvement of the same human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles in both SCZ and MS, but with an opposite directionality of effect of associated HLA alleles (that is, MS risk alleles were associated with decreased SCZ risk). In contrast, we found no genetic overlap between BD and MS. Considered together, our findings demonstrate genetic pleiotropy between SCZ and MS and suggest that the MHC signals may differentiate SCZ from BD susceptibility.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Molecular Psychiatry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Genetic susceptibility to type 1 diabetes (T1D) is well supported by epidemiologic evidence; however, disease risk cannot be entirely explained by established genetic variants identified so far. This study addresses the question of whether epigenetic modification of the inherited DNA sequence may contribute to T1D susceptibility. Using the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip array (450k), a total of seven long-term disease-discordant monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs and five pairs of HLA-identical, disease-discordant non-twin siblings (NTS) were examined for associations between DNA methylation (DNAm) and T1D. Strong evidence for global hypomethylation of CpG sites within promoter regions in MZ twins with TID compared to twins without T1D was observed. DNA methylation data were then grouped into three categories of CpG sites for further analysis, including those within: 1) the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region, 2) non-MHC genes with reported T1D association through genome wide association studies (GWAS), and 3) the epigenome, or remainder of sites that did not include MHC and T1D associated genes. Initial results showed modest methylation differences between discordant MZ twins for the MHC region and T1D-associated CpG sites, BACH2, INS-IGF2, and CLEC16A (DNAm difference range: 2.2%-5.0%). In the epigenome CpG set, the greatest methylation differences were observed in MAGI2, FANCC, and PCDHB16, (DNAm difference range: 6.9%-16.1%). These findings were not observed in the HLA-identical NTS pairs. Targeted pyrosequencing of five candidate CpG loci identified using the 450k array in the original discordant MZ twins produced similar results using control DNA samples, indicating strong agreement between the two DNA methylation profiling platforms. However, findings for the top five candidate CpG loci were not replicated in six additional T1D-discordant MZ twin pairs. Our results indicate global DNA hypomethylation within gene promoter regions may contribute to T1D; however, findings do not support the involvement of large DNAm differences at single CpG sites alone in T1D.
No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Autoimmunity
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Background: The recently described interaction between smoking, human leukocyte antigen (HLA) DRB1*15 and absence of HLA-A*02 with regard to multiple sclerosis (MS) risk shows that the risk conveyed by smoking differs depending on genetic background. We aimed to investigate whether a similar interaction exists between passive smoking and HLA genotype.
Methods: We used one case-control study with incident cases of MS (736 cases, 1195 controls) and one with prevalent cases (575 cases, 373 controls). Never-smokers with different genotypes and passive smoking status were compared with regard to occurrence of MS, by calculating odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). The potential interaction between different genotypes and passive smoking was evaluated by calculating the attributable proportion (AP) due to interaction.
Results: An interaction was observed between passive smoking and carriage of HLA-DRB1*15 (AP 0.3, 95% CI 0.02–0.5 in the incident study, and AP 0.4, 95% CI 0.1–0.7 in the prevalent study), as well as between passive smoking and absence of HLA-A*02. Compared with non-smokers without any of these two genetic risk factors, non-exposed subjects with the two risk genotypes displayed an OR of 4.5 (95% CI 3.3–6.1) whereas the same genotype for subjects exposed to passive smoking rendered an OR of 7.7 (95% CI 5.5–10.8).
Conclusions: The risk of developing MS associated with different HLA genotypes may be influenced by exposure to passive smoking. The finding supports our hypothesis that priming of the immune response in the lungs may subsequently lead to MS in people with a genetic susceptibility to the disease.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · International Journal of Epidemiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Importance
Using an aquaporin-4 (AQP4) M1-isoform–specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and a fixed transfected cell-based assay (CBA), we tested AQP4-IgG in a northern California population representative cohort of 3293 potential cases with multiple sclerosis (MS). Seropositive cases were tested additionally by fluorescence-activated cell sorting, a live transfected cell-based assay.Observations
Sera samples were available in 1040 cases; 7 yielded positive results, 4 by ELISA alone and 3 by both ELISA and CBA. Clinical data (episodes of optic neuritis and longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis [reported on at least 1 magnetic resonance imaging spine]) supported the alternative diagnosis of neuromyelitis optica for 2 patients as seropositive by both ELISA and CBA. These 2 patients alone tested positive by a fluorescence-activated cell-sorting assay. The diagnosis of MS was considered correct in the other 5 patients. Thus, 5 ELISA results and 1 fixed CBA result were false positive.Conclusions and Relevance
Sensitive serological evaluation for AQP4-IgG in this large population-representative cohort of predominantly white non-Hispanic patients with MS reveals that neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder is rarely misdiagnosed as MS in contemporary US neurological practice (0.2%). The frequency of a false-positive result for ELISA and CBA in this MS cohort were 0.5% and 0.1%, respectively. This finding reflects the superior specificity of CBA and justifies caution in interpreting AQP4-IgG results obtained by ELISA.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Objective
To investigate the association between obesity and multiple sclerosis (MS) while accounting for established genetic and environmental risk factors.
Participants included members of Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Plan, Northern California Region (KPNC) (1235 MS cases and 697 controls). Logistic regression models were used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). Body mass index (BMI) or body size was the primary predictor of each model. Both incident and prevalent MS cases were studied.
In analyses stratified by gender, being overweight at ages 10 and 20 were associated with MS in females (p < 0.01). Estimates trended in the same direction for males, but were not significant. BMI in 20s demonstrated a linear relationship with MS (p-trend = 9.60 × 10−4), and a twofold risk of MS for females with a BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 was observed (OR = 2.15, 95% CI 1.18, 3.92). Significant associations between BMI in 20s and MS in males were not observed. Multivariate modelling demonstrated that significant associations between BMI or body size with MS in females persisted after adjusting for history of infectious mononucleosis and genetic risk factors, including HLA-DRB1*15:01 and established non-HLA risk alleles.
Results show that childhood and adolescence obesity confer increased risk of MS in females beyond established heritable and environmental risk factors. Strong evidence for a dose-effect of BMI in 20s and MS was observed. The magnitude of BMI association with MS is as large as other known MS risk factors.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Obesity Research & Clinical Practice
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Background: Hispanic children have a higher incidence of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) than non-Hispanic whites, but tend to be diagnosed at older ages. In genome-wide association studies, Native American ancestry and polymorphisms in six genes have been associated with ALL risk.Methods: In multivariable regression models, we investigated whether genomic ancestry, inherited risk SNPs, or acquired somatic alterations were associated with differences in age at diagnosis in Hispanic children with B-cell ALL. Genome-wide array data were used to estimate each participant's percent membership in the three Hispanic ancestral populations: Native American, African, and European.Results: Each 20% increase in European ancestry was associated with a six month younger age at diagnosis (95% CI=0.36-11.6 months, P=0.037). Correspondingly, each 20% increase in Native American ancestry was associated with a six month older age at diagnosis (P=0.037). Both the TEL-AML1 translocation and high-hyperdiploidy were associated with younger age at diagnosis (24.4 months, P=2.0x10-4 and 12.4 months, P=0.011, respectively), while CDKN2A and IKZF1 deletions were associated with older age at diagnosis (19.7 months, P=7.0x10-4 and 18.1 months, P=0.012, respectively). No associations with age at diagnosis were observed for RAS mutation, PAX5 deletion or for known heritable risk alleles in IKZF1, CDKN2A, PIP4K2A, GATA3, ARID5B or CEBPE.Conclusion: Because younger age at diagnosis is associated with improved treatment outcomes for children with ALL, the effect of European ancestry on ALL survival may be mediated by its effect on age at diagnosis, or by proxy, its association with more treatable molecular subtypes of ALL.
Preview · Article · Jul 2014 · American Journal of Hematology