[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Herpes zoster, commonly referred to as shingles, is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV). VZV initially manifests as chicken pox, most commonly in childhood, can remain asymptomatically latent in nerve tissues for many years and often re-emerges as shingles. Although reactivation may be related to immune suppression, aging and female sex, most inter-individual variability in re-emergence risk has not been explained to date. We performed a genome-wide association analyses in 22 981 participants (2280 shingles cases) from the electronic Medical Records and Genomics Network. Using Cox survival and logistic regression, we identified a genomic region in the combined and European ancestry groups that has an age of onset effect reaching genome-wide significance (P>1.0 × 10(-8)). This region tags the non-coding gene HCP5 (HLA Complex P5) in the major histocompatibility complex. This gene is an endogenous retrovirus and likely influences viral activity through regulatory functions. Variants in this genetic region are known to be associated with delay in development of AIDS in people infected by HIV. Our study provides further suggestion that this region may have a critical role in viral suppression and could potentially harbor a clinically actionable variant for the shingles vaccine.Genes and Immunity advance online publication, 9 October 2014; doi:10.1038/gene.2014.51.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Genes and immunity
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Integrating genetic data from families with highly penetrant forms of disease together with genetic data from outbred populations represents a promising strategy to uncover the complete frequency spectrum of risk alleles for complex traits such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Here, we demonstrate that rare, low-frequency and common alleles at one gene locus, phospholipase B1 (PLB1), might contribute to risk of RA in a 4-generation consanguineous pedigree (Middle Eastern ancestry) and also in unrelated individuals from the general population (European ancestry). Through identity-by-descent (IBD) mapping and whole-exome sequencing, we identified a non-synonymous c.2263G>C (p.G755R) mutation at the PLB1 gene on 2q23, which significantly co-segregated with RA in family members with a dominant mode of inheritance (P = 0.009). We further evaluated PLB1 variants and risk of RA using a GWAS meta-analysis of 8,875 RA cases and 29,367 controls of European ancestry. We identified significant contributions of two independent non-coding variants near PLB1 with risk of RA (rs116018341 [MAF = 0.042] and rs116541814 [MAF = 0.021], combined P = 3.2×10(-6)). Finally, we performed deep exon sequencing of PLB1 in 1,088 RA cases and 1,088 controls (European ancestry), and identified suggestive dispersion of rare protein-coding variant frequencies between cases and controls (P = 0.049 for C-alpha test and P = 0.055 for SKAT). Together, these data suggest that PLB1 is a candidate risk gene for RA. Future studies to characterize the full spectrum of genetic risk in the PLB1 genetic locus are warranted.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A major challenge in human genetics is to devise a systematic strategy to integrate disease-associated variants with diverse genomic and biological data sets to provide insight into disease pathogenesis and guide drug discovery for complex traits such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Here we performed a genome-wide association study meta-analysis in a total of >100,000 subjects of European and Asian ancestries (29,880 RA cases and 73,758 controls), by evaluating ∼10 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms. We discovered 42 novel RA risk loci at a genome-wide level of significance, bringing the total to 101 (refs 2, 3, 4). We devised an in silico pipeline using established bioinformatics methods based on functional annotation, cis-acting expression quantitative trait loci and pathway analyses-as well as novel methods based on genetic overlap with human primary immunodeficiency, haematological cancer somatic mutations and knockout mouse phenotypes-to identify 98 biological candidate genes at these 101 risk loci. We demonstrate that these genes are the targets of approved therapies for RA, and further suggest that drugs approved for other indications may be repurposed for the treatment of RA. Together, this comprehensive genetic study sheds light on fundamental genes, pathways and cell types that contribute to RA pathogenesis, and provides empirical evidence that the genetics of RA can provide important information for drug discovery.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Maternal metabolism during pregnancy impacts the developing fetus, affecting offspring birth weight and adiposity. This has important implications for metabolic health later in life (e.g., offspring of mothers with pre-existing or gestational diabetes mellitus have an increased risk of metabolic disorders in childhood). To identify genetic loci associated with measures of maternal metabolism obtained during an oral glucose tolerance test at ∼28 weeks' gestation, we performed a genome-wide association study of 4,437 pregnant mothers of European (n = 1,367), Thai (n = 1,178), Afro-Caribbean (n = 1,075), and Hispanic (n = 817) ancestry, along with replication of top signals in three additional European ancestry cohorts. In addition to identifying associations with genes previously implicated with measures of glucose metabolism in nonpregnant populations, we identified two novel genome-wide significant associations: 2-h plasma glucose and HKDC1, and fasting C-peptide and BACE2. These results suggest that the genetic architecture underlying glucose metabolism may differ, in part, in pregnancy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The feasibility of using imperfectly phenotyped "silver standard" samples identified from electronic medical record diagnoses is considered in genetic association studies when these samples might be combined with an existing set of samples phenotyped with a gold standard technique. An analytic expression is derived for the power of a chi-square test of independence using either research-quality case/control samples alone, or augmented with silver standard data. The subset of the parameter space where inclusion of silver standard samples increases statistical power is identified. A case study of dementia subjects identified from electronic medical records from the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) network, combined with subjects from two studies specifically targeting dementia, verifies these results.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives: While genetic determinants of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels are well characterised in the general population, they are understudied in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Our objective was to determine the association of established LDL and RA genetic alleles with LDL levels in RA cases compared with non-RA controls.
Methods: Using data from electronic medical records, we linked validated RA cases and non-RA controls to discarded blood samples. For each individual, we extracted data on: first LDL measurement, age, gender and year of LDL measurement. We genotyped subjects for 11 LDL and 44 non-HLA RA alleles, and calculated RA and LDL genetic risk scores (GRS). We tested the association between each GRS and LDL level using multivariate linear regression models adjusted for age, gender, year of LDL measurement and RA status.
Results: Among 567 RA cases and 979 controls, 80% were female and mean age at the first LDL measurement was 55 years. RA cases had significantly lower mean LDL levels than controls (117.2 vs 125.6 mg/dl, respectively, p<0.0001). Each unit increase in LDL GRS was associated with 0.8 mg/dl higher LDL levels in both RA cases and controls (p=3.0×10[superscript −7]). Each unit increase in RA GRS was associated with 4.3 mg/dl lower LDL levels in both groups (p=0.01).
Conclusions: LDL alleles were associated with higher LDL levels in RA. RA alleles were associated with lower LDL levels in both RA cases and controls. As RA cases carry more RA alleles, these findings suggest a genetic basis for epidemiological observations of lower LDL levels in RA.
Preview · Article · May 2013 · Annals of the rheumatic diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Large and small for gestational age newborns are not only at risk for increased mortality and morbidity during the first year of life, but also at risk of obesity and dysglycemia as children and adults. The intrauterine environment and fetal genes contribute to fetal size at birth. To define the genetic architecture underlying newborn size, we performed GWAS in 4465 newborns in four ethnic groups from the Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome Study. We tested for association with newborn anthropometric traits (birth length, head circumference, birth weight, percent fat mass, and sum of skinfolds) and newborn metabolic traits (cord glucose and C-peptide) under three models. Model 1 adjusted for field center, ancestry, neonatal gender, gestational age at delivery, parity, maternal age at OGTT; model 2 adjusted for model 1 covariates, maternal BMI at OGTT, maternal height at OGTT, maternal mean arterial pressure at OGTT, maternal smoking and drinking; model 3 adjusted for model 2 covariates, maternal glucose and C-peptide at OGTT. Strong evidence for association was observed with measures of newborn adiposity [sum of skinfolds Model 3 Z-score 6.81, p-value=9.83 x 10(-12), and to a lesser degree fatmass and birthweight] and a region on Chr3q25.31 mapping between CCNL and LEKR1. These findings were replicated in an independent cohort of 2296 newborns. This region has previously been shown to be associated with birth weight in Europeans. The current study suggests that association of this locus with birth weight is secondary to an effect on fat as opposed to lean body mass.
No preview · Article · Apr 2013 · Human Molecular Genetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective:
Low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) is associated with cardiometabolic pathologies. In this study, we investigate the biological pathways and individual genes behind low HDL-C by integrating results from 3 high-throughput data sources: adipose tissue transcriptomics, HDL lipidomics, and dense marker genotypes from Finnish individuals with low or high HDL-C (n=450).
Approach and results:
In the pathway analysis of genetic data, we demonstrate that genetic variants within inflammatory pathways were enriched among low HDL-C associated single-nucleotide polymorphisms, and the expression of these pathways upregulated in the adipose tissue of low HDL-C subjects. The lipidomic analysis highlighted the change in HDL particle quality toward putatively more inflammatory and less vasoprotective state in subjects with low HDL-C, as evidenced by their decreased antioxidative plasmalogen contents. We show that the focal point of these inflammatory pathways seems to be the HLA region with its low HDL-associated alleles also associating with more abundant local transcript levels in adipose tissue, increased plasma vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM1) levels, and decreased HDL particle plasmalogen contents, markers of adipose tissue inflammation, vascular inflammation, and HDL antioxidative potential, respectively. In a population-based look-up of the inflammatory pathway single-nucleotide polymorphisms in a large Finnish cohorts (n=11 211), no association of the HLA region was detected for HDL-C as quantitative trait, but with extreme HDL-C phenotypes, implying the presence of low or high HDL genes in addition to the population-genomewide association studies-identified HDL genes.
Our study highlights the role of inflammation with a genetic component in subjects with low HDL-C and identifies novel cis-expression quantitative trait loci (cis-eQTL) variants in HLA region to be associated with low HDL-C.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recommendations and guidance on how to handle the return of genetic results to patients have offered limited insight into how to approach incidental genetic findings in the context of clinical trials. This paper provides the Genomics and Randomized Trials Network (GARNET) recommendations on incidental genetic findings in the context of clinical trials, and discusses the ethical and practical issues considered in formulating our recommendations. There are arguments in support of as well as against returning incidental genetic findings in clinical trials. For instance, reporting incidental findings in clinical trials may improve the investigator-participant relationship and the satisfaction of participation, but it may also blur the line between clinical care and research. The issues of whether and how to return incidental genetic findings, including the costs of doing so, should be considered when developing clinical trial protocols. Once decided, plans related to sharing individual results from the aim(s) of the trial, as well as incidental findings, should be discussed explicitly in the consent form. Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) and other study-specific governing bodies should be part of the decision as to if, when, and how to return incidental findings, including when plans in this regard are being reconsidered.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With white blood cell count (WBC) emerging as an important risk factor for chronic inflammatory diseases, genetic associations of differential leukocyte types, specifically monocyte count, are providing novel candidate genes and pathways to further investigate. Circulating monocytes play a critical role in vascular diseases, such as in the formation of atherosclerotic plaque. We performed a joint and ancestry-stratified genome-wide association analyses to identify variants specifically associated with monocyte count in 11,014 subjects in the electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) Network. In the joint and European ancestry samples, we identified novel associations in the chromosome 16 interferon regulatory factor 8 (IRF8) gene (p-value=2.78e-16, β=-0.22). Other monocyte associations include novel missense variants in the chemokine binding protein 2 (CCBP2) gene (p-value=1.88e-7, β=0.30) and a region of replication found in ribophorin I (RPN1) (p-value=2.63e-16, β=-0.23) on chromosome 3. The CCBP2 and RPN1 region is located near GATA2 gene, which has been previously shown to be associated with coronary heart disease. On chromosome 9 we found a novel association in the prostaglandin reductase 1 (PTGR1) gene (p-value=2.29e-7, β=0.16), which is downstream from lysophosphatidic acid receptor 1 (LPAR1). This region has previously been shown to be associated with monocyte count. We also replicated monocyte associations of genome-wide significance (p-value=5.68e-17, β=-0.23) at the ITGA4 gene on chromosome 2. The novel IRF8 results and further replications provide supporting evidence of genetic regions associated with monocyte count.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · Human Molecular Genetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The plasma glycoprotein von Willebrand factor (VWF) exhibits fivefold antigen level variation across the normal human population determined by both genetic and environmental factors. Low levels of VWF are associated with bleeding and elevated levels with increased risk for thrombosis, myocardial infarction, and stroke. To identify additional genetic determinants of VWF antigen levels and to minimize the impact of age and illness-related environmental factors, we performed genome-wide association analysis in two young and healthy cohorts (n = 1,152 and n = 2,310) and identified signals at ABO (P < 7.9E-139) and VWF (P < 5.5E-16), consistent with previous reports. Additionally, linkage analysis based on sibling structure within the cohorts, identified significant signals at chromosome 2q12-2p13 (LOD score 5.3) and at the ABO locus on chromosome 9q34 (LOD score 2.9) that explained 19.2% and 24.5% of the variance in VWF levels, respectively. Given its strong effect, the linkage region on chromosome 2 could harbor a potentially important determinant of bleeding and thrombosis risk. The absence of a chromosome 2 association signal in this or previous association studies suggests a causative gene harboring many genetic variants that are individually rare, but in aggregate common. These results raise the possibility that similar loci could explain a significant portion of the "missing heritability" for other complex genetic traits.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genome-wide association studies have identified numerous genetic loci for spirometic measures of pulmonary function, forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV(1)), and its ratio to forced vital capacity (FEV(1)/FVC). Given that cigarette smoking adversely affects pulmonary function, we conducted genome-wide joint meta-analyses (JMA) of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and SNP-by-smoking (ever-smoking or pack-years) associations on FEV(1) and FEV(1)/FVC across 19 studies (total N = 50,047). We identified three novel loci not previously associated with pulmonary function. SNPs in or near DNER (smallest P(JMA = )5.00×10(-11)), HLA-DQB1 and HLA-DQA2 (smallest P(JMA = )4.35×10(-9)), and KCNJ2 and SOX9 (smallest P(JMA = )1.28×10(-8)) were associated with FEV(1)/FVC or FEV(1) in meta-analysis models including SNP main effects, smoking main effects, and SNP-by-smoking (ever-smoking or pack-years) interaction. The HLA region has been widely implicated for autoimmune and lung phenotypes, unlike the other novel loci, which have not been widely implicated. We evaluated DNER, KCNJ2, and SOX9 and found them to be expressed in human lung tissue. DNER and SOX9 further showed evidence of differential expression in human airway epithelium in smokers compared to non-smokers. Our findings demonstrated that joint testing of SNP and SNP-by-environment interaction identified novel loci associated with complex traits that are missed when considering only the genetic main effects.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Longitudinal analyses in FinnDiane for rs7583877 (AFF3) and rs12437854 (chromosome 15q26). Analyses assume an additive model of the SNP effects. The plotted survival curves have been truncated at the point at which fewer than five participants remained with the corresponding genotype. The genotype legend in each figure indicates the number of samples with the corresponding genotype, shown in parentheses. The P-value is indicated for the nominally significant associations (P<0.05). ns = not significant. The bottom part of each figure indicates the number of samples at risk at ten-year intervals.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gene expression in early DN versus living donor kidney biopsies. All genes within a 2 Mb window (1 Mb upstream and downstream) of the three main signals (rs7583877/AFF3, rs12437854/15q26, rs7588550/ERBB4) were studied.