[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genetic architecture of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) remains poorly understood with the vast majority of genetic association studies reporting on single candidate genes. We conducted a large genetic study in trauma exposed European American women (N=2538; 845 PTSD cases, 1693 controls) by testing 3742 SNPs across more than 300 genes and conducting polygenic analyses using results from the Psychiatric GWAS Consortium. We tested the association between each SNP and two measures of PTSD, a severity score and diagnosis. We found a significant association between PTSD (diagnosis) and SNPs (top SNP: rs363276, OR=1.4, p=2.1E-05) in SLC18A2 (vesicular monoamine transporter 2). A haplotype analysis of 9 SNPs in SLC18A2, including rs363276, identified a risk haplotype (CGGCGGAAG, p=0.0046), and the same risk haplotype was associated with PTSD in an independent cohort of trauma-exposed African Americans (p=0.049; N=748, men and women). SLC18A2 is involved in transporting monoamines to synaptic vesicles and has been implicated in a number of neuropsychiatric disorders including major depression. Eight genes previously associated with PTSD had SNPs with nominally significant associations (p<0.05). The polygenic analyses suggested that there are SNPs in common between PTSD severity and bipolar disorder. Our data are consistent with a genetic architecture for PTSD that is highly polygenic, influenced by numerous SNPs with weak effects, and may overlap with mood disorders. Genome-wide studies with very large samples sizes are needed to detectthese types of effects.Neuropsychopharmacology accepted article preview online, 14 February 2014; doi:10.1038/npp.2014.34.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia is a common disease with a complex aetiology, probably involving multiple and heterogeneous genetic factors. Here, by analysing the exome sequences of 2,536 schizophrenia cases and 2,543 controls, we demonstrate a polygenic burden primarily arising from rare (less than 1 in 10,000), disruptive mutations distributed across many genes. Particularly enriched gene sets include the voltage-gated calcium ion channel and the signalling complex formed by the activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated scaffold protein (ARC) of the postsynaptic density, sets previously implicated by genome-wide association and copy-number variation studies. Similar to reports in autism, targets of the fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP, product of FMR1) are enriched for case mutations. No individual gene-based test achieves significance after correction for multiple testing and we do not detect any alleles of moderately low frequency (approximately 0.5 to 1 per cent) and moderately large effect. Taken together, these data suggest that population-based exome sequencing can discover risk alleles and complements established gene-mapping paradigms in neuropsychiatric disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is considerable variation in psychological reactions to natural disasters, with responses ranging from relatively mild and transitory symptoms to severe and persistent posttraumatic stress (PTS). Some survivors also report post-traumatic growth (PTG), or positive psychological changes due to the experience and processing of the disaster and its aftermath. Gene-environment interaction (GxE) studies could offer new insight into the factors underlying variability in post-disaster psychological responses. However, few studies have explored GxE in a disaster context.
We examined whether ten common variants in seven genes (BDNF, CACNA1C, CRHR1, FKBP5, OXTR, RGS2, SLC6A4) modified associations between Hurricane Katrina exposure and PTS and PTG. Data were from a prospective study of 205 low-income non-Hispanic Black parents residing in New Orleans prior to and following Hurricane Katrina.
We found a significant association (after correction) between RGS2 (rs4606; p=0.0044) and PTG, which was mainly driven by a cross-over GxE (p=0.006), rather than a main genetic effect (p=0.071). The G (minor allele) was associated with lower PTG scores for low levels of Hurricane exposure and higher PTG scores for moderate and high levels of exposure. We also found a nominally significant association between variation in FKBP5 (rs1306780, p=0.0113) and PTG, though this result did not survive correction for multiple testing.
Although the inclusion of low-income non-Hispanic Black parents allowed us to examine GxE among a highly vulnerable group, our findings may not generalize to other populations or groups experiencing other natural disasters. Moreover, not all participants invited to participate in the genetic study provided saliva.
To our knowledge, this is the first study to identify GxE in the context of post-traumatic growth. Future studies are needed to clarify the role of GxE in PTS and PTG and post-disaster psychological responses, especially among vulnerable populations.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Journal of Affective Disorders
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common and debilitating mental disorder with a particularly high burden for women. Emerging evidence suggests PTSD may be more heritable among women and evidence from animal models and human correlational studies suggest connections between sex-linked biology and PTSD vulnerability, which may extend to the disorder's genetic architecture. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of PTSD in a primarily African American sample of women from the Detroit Neighborhood Health Study (DNHS) and tested for replication in an independent cohort of primarily European American women from the Nurses Health Study II (NHSII). We genotyped 413 DNHS women - 94 PTSD cases and 319 controls exposed to at least one traumatic event - on the Illumina HumanOmniExpress BeadChip for >700,000 markers and tested 578 PTSD cases and 1963 controls from NHSII for replication. We performed a network-based analysis integrating data from GWAS-derived independent regions of association and the Reactome database of functional interactions. We found genome-wide significant association for one marker mapping to a novel RNA gene, lincRNA AC068718.1, for which we found suggestive evidence of replication in NHSII. Our network-based analysis indicates that our top GWAS results were enriched for pathways related to telomere maintenance and immune function. Our findings implicate a novel RNA gene, lincRNA AC068718.1, as risk factor for PTSD in women and add to emerging evidence that non-coding RNA genes may play a crucial role in shaping the landscape of gene regulation with putative pathological effects that lead to phenotypic differences.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ankyrin 3 gene (ANK3) produces the ankyrin G protein that plays an integral role in regulating neuronal activity. Previous studies have linked ANK3 to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. A recent mouse study suggests that ANK3 may regulate behavioral disinhibition and stress reactivity. This led us to hypothesize that ANK3 might also be associated with stress-related psychopathology such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as disorders of the externalizing spectrum such as antisocial personality disorder and substance-related disorders that are etiologically linked to impulsivity and temperamental disinhibition.
We examined the possibility of association between ANK3 SNPs and both PTSD and externalizing (defined by a factor score representing a composite of adult antisociality and substance abuse) in a cohort of white non-Hispanic combat veterans and their intimate partners (n=554). Initially, we focused on rs9804190-a SNP previously reported to be associated with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and ankyrin G expression in brain. Then we examined 358 additional ANK3 SNPs utilizing a multiple-testing correction.
rs9804190 was associated with both externalizing and PTSD (p=0.028 and p=0.042 respectively). Analysis of other ANK3 SNPs identified several that were more strongly associated with either trait. The most significant association with externalizing was observed at rs1049862 (p=0.00040, pcorrected=0.60). The most significant association with PTSD (p=0.00060, pcorrected=0.045) was found with three SNPs in complete linkage disequilibrium (LD)-rs28932171, rs11599164, and rs17208576.
These findings support a role of ANK3 in risk of stress-related and externalizing disorders, beyond its previous associations with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Psychoneuroendocrinology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genome-wide association studies have identified many variants that each affects multiple traits, particularly across autoimmune diseases, cancers and neuropsychiatric disorders, suggesting that pleiotropic effects on human complex traits may be widespread. However, systematic detection of such effects is challenging and requires new methodologies and frameworks for interpreting cross-phenotype results. In this Review, we discuss the evidence for pleiotropy in contemporary genetic mapping studies, new and established analytical approaches to identifying pleiotropic effects, sources of spurious cross-phenotype effects and study design considerations. We also outline the molecular and clinical implications of such findings and discuss future directions of research.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Nature Reviews Genetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sickle cell anemia is common in the Middle East and India where the HbS gene is sometimes associated with the Arab-Indian (AI) β-globin gene (HBB) cluster haplotype. In this haplotype of sickle cell anemia, fetal hemoglobin (HbF) levels are 3-4 fold higher than those found in patients with HbS haplotypes of African origin. Little is known about the genetic elements that modulate HbF in AI haplotype patients. We therefore studied Saudi HbS homozygotes with the AI haplotype (mean HbF 19.2±7.0%, range 3.6 to 39.6%) and employed targeted genotyping of polymorphic sites to explore cis- and trans- acting elements associated with high HbF expression. We also described sequences which appear to be unique to the AI haplotype for which future functional studies are needed to further define their role in HbF modulation. All cases, regardless of HbF concentration, were homozygous for AI haplotype-specific elements cis to HBB. SNPs in BCL11A and HBS1L-MYB that were associated with HbF in other populations explained only 8.8% of the variation in HbF. KLF1 polymorphisms associated previously with high HbF were not present in the 44 patients tested. More than 90% of the HbF variance in sickle cell patients with the AI haplotype remains unexplained by the genetic loci that we studied. The dispersion of HbF levels among AI haplotype patients suggests that other genetic elements modulate the effects of the known cis- and trans-acting regulators. These regulatory elements, which remain to be discovered, might be specific in the Saudi and some other populations where HbF levels are especially high.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Blood Cells Molecules and Diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most sickle cell anemia (SCA) patients indigenous to the Eastern Province of
Saudi Arabia have their HbS gene on the Arab-Indian (AI) HBB gene cluster
haplotype. Their fetal hemoglobin (HbF) levels are near 20% and they have milder
disease compared with SCA where the HbS gene is on African origin HBB
haplotypes [1-9]. The AI haplotype is characterized by an Xmn1 restriction site at
position -158 5' to HBG2 (rs7482144), a Hinc2 site 5' to HBE (rs3834466) and other
polymorphisms . The causal elements that modify HbF might be in linkage
disequilibrium (LD) with the βS globin gene in this Saudi population. We first
performed homozygosity mapping using genome-wide single nucleotide
polymorphisms (SNPs) in AI HbS homozygotes [11, 12] and identified a single
large autozygous region including the HBB cluster and surrounding genes. By
next generation sequencing we examined this region in these same individuals
and identified several variants that included a SNP in the HBD promoter region at
position -68 bp 5' to HBD (CCAAC>TCAAC). We found this SNP only when the HbS
gene was on an AI haplotype and not in sickle cell anemia with other haplotypes.
This SNP was functional in reporter assays in K562 cells and is an AI haplotypespecific
Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · American Journal of Hematology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Serum bilirubin levels have been associated with polymorphisms in the UGT1A1 promoter in normal populations and in patients with hemolytic anemias, including sickle cell anemia. When hemolysis occurs circulating heme increases, leading to elevated bilirubin levels and an increased incidence of cholelithiasis. We performed the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) of bilirubin levels and cholelithiasis risk in a discovery cohort of 1,117 sickle cell anemia patients. We found 15 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with total bilirubin levels at the genome-wide significance level (p value <5 × 10(-8)). SNPs in UGT1A1, UGT1A3, UGT1A6, UGT1A8 and UGT1A10, different isoforms within the UGT1A locus, were identified (most significant rs887829, p = 9.08 × 10(-25)). All of these associations were validated in 4 independent sets of sickle cell anemia patients. We tested the association of the 15 SNPs with cholelithiasis in the discovery cohort and found a significant association (most significant p value 1.15 × 10(-4)). These results confirm that the UGT1A region is the major regulator of bilirubin metabolism in African Americans with sickle cell anemia, similar to what is observed in other ethnicities.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One of the most popular modeling approaches to genetic risk prediction is to use a summary of risk alleles in the form of an unweighted or a weighted genetic risk score, with weights that relate to the odds for the phenotype in carriers of the individual alleles. Recent contributions have proposed the use of Bayesian classification rules using Naïve Bayes classifiers. We examine the relation between the two approaches for genetic risk prediction and show that the methods are mathematically related. In addition, we study the properties of the two approaches and describe how they can be generalized to include various models of inheritance.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · Frontiers in Genetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A mutation in the LMNA gene is responsible for the most dramatic form of premature aging, Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS). Several recent studies have suggested that protein products of this gene might have a role in normal physiological cellular senescence. To explore further LMNA's possible role in normal aging, we genotyped 16 SNPs over a span of 75.4 kb of the LMNA gene on a sample of long-lived individuals (LLI) (US Caucasians with age ≥ 95 years, N=873) and genetically matched younger controls (N=443). We tested all common nonredundant haplotypes (frequency ≥ 0.05) based on subgroups of these 16 SNPs for association with longevity. The most significant haplotype, based on four SNPs, remained significant after adjustment for multiple testing (OR=1.56, P=2.5 × 10(-5) , multiple-testing-adjusted P=0.0045). To attempt to replicate these results, we genotyped 3619 subjects from four independent samples of LLI and control subjects from (i) the New England Centenarian Study (NECS) (N=738), (ii) the Southern Italian Centenarian Study (SICS) (N=905), (iii) France (N=1103), and (iv) the Einstein Ashkenazi Longevity Study (N= 702). We replicated the association with the most significant haplotype from our initial analysis in the NECS sample (OR=1.60, P=0.0023), but not in the other three samples (P > 0.15). In a meta-analysis combining all five samples, the best haplotype remained significantly associated with longevity after adjustment for multiple testing in the initial and follow-up samples (OR=1.18, P=7.5 × 10(-4) , multiple-testing-adjusted P=0.037). These results suggest that LMNA variants may play a role in human lifespan.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fetal hemoglobin (HbF) is a major modifier of disease severity in sickle cell anemia (SCA). Threemajor HbF quantitative trait loci (QTL) are known: the Xmn I site upstream of G g-globin gene (HBG2) on chromosome 11p15, BCL11A on chromosome 2p16, and HBS1L-MYB intergenic polymorphism (HMIP) on chromosome 6q23. However, the roles of these QTLs in patients with SCA with uncharacteristically high HbF are not known. We studied 20 African American patients with SCA with markedly elevated HbF (mean 17.2%). They had significantly higher minor allele frequencies (MAF) in two HbF QTLs, BCL11A, and HMIP, compared with those with low HbF. A 3-bp (TAC) deletion in complete linkage disequilibrium (LD) with the minor allele of rs9399137 in HMIP was also present significantly more often in these patients. To further explore other genetic loci that might be responsible for this high HbF, we sequenced a 14.1 kb DNA fragment between the (A)gamma-(HBG1) and delta-globin genes (HBD). Thirty-eight SNPs were found. Four SNPs had significantly higher major allele frequencies in the unusually high HbF group. In silico analyses of these four polymorphisms predicted alteration in transcription factor binding sites in 3.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · American Journal of Hematology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Like most complex phenotypes, exceptional longevity is thought to reflect a combined influence of environmental (e.g., lifestyle choices, where we live) and genetic factors. To explore the genetic contribution, we undertook a genome-wide association study of exceptional longevity in 801 centenarians (median age at death 104 years) and 914 genetically matched healthy controls. Using these data, we built a genetic model that includes 281 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and discriminated between cases and controls of the discovery set with 89% sensitivity and specificity, and with 58% specificity and 60% sensitivity in an independent cohort of 341 controls and 253 genetically matched nonagenarians and centenarians (median age 100 years). Consistent with the hypothesis that the genetic contribution is largest with the oldest ages, the sensitivity of the model increased in the independent cohort with older and older ages (71% to classify subjects with an age at death>102 and 85% to classify subjects with an age at death>105). For further validation, we applied the model to an additional, unmatched 60 centenarians (median age 107 years) resulting in 78% sensitivity, and 2863 unmatched controls with 61% specificity. The 281 SNPs include the SNP rs2075650 in TOMM40/APOE that reached irrefutable genome wide significance (posterior probability of association = 1) and replicated in the independent cohort. Removal of this SNP from the model reduced the accuracy by only 1%. Further in-silico analysis suggests that 90% of centenarians can be grouped into clusters characterized by different "genetic signatures" of varying predictive values for exceptional longevity. The correlation between 3 signatures and 3 different life spans was replicated in the combined replication sets. The different signatures may help dissect this complex phenotype into sub-phenotypes of exceptional longevity.