register interest

Professor Cecilia Lindgren

Research Area: Genetics and Genomics
Technology Exchange: Bioinformatics, Computational biology, SNP typing and Statistical genetics
Scientific Themes: Genetics & Genomics
Keywords: obesity, fat distribution, meta-analysis, genetic association and gene expression
Web Links:

Obesity and its consequences are major and growing challenges for health care worldwide. Recently, the first common variants have been identified which influence overall levels of adiposity and predispose to obesity at the population level: these findings should lead to improved understanding of the mechanisms involved in the regulation of overall energy balance. However, not all obese individuals are equally vulnerable to diabetes, insulin resistance and the other adverse consequences of obesity, and it has long been appreciated that the distribution of fat (particularly the degree of central or visceral obesity) is an additional and independent determinant of individual risk of metabolic and cardiovascular disease.

Our research seeks to advance understanding of the mechanisms involved in obesity and the regulation of differential central fat accumulation in the belief that an appreciation of these mechanisms will complement advances in understanding of overall energy balance.

By applying a range of genetic and genomic approaches, we expect to identify genetic variants influencing regional fat distribution, and to illuminate some of the biological pathways involved. Our specific objectives are:

  1. To undertake identification of genetic variants influencing obesity and individual patterns of fat distribution and central obesity through large-scale genome-wide association meta-analysis and fine-mapping;
  2. To examine the relationships between sequence variation, expression of mRNA, microRNAs and molecular and physiological phenotypes, in human adipose samples, to identify adipose-specific pathways relevant to individual differences in obesity and central fat distribution;
  3. To follow-up of the key findings from genetic, epidemiological and functional perspectives.

This knowledge should support translational advances in the management of obesity through development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic options.

There are no collaborations listed for this principal investigator.

Surendran P, Drenos F, Young R, Warren H, Cook JP, Manning AK, Grarup N, Sim X et al. 2016. Trans-ancestry meta-analyses identify rare and common variants associated with blood pressure and hypertension. Nat Genet, 48 (10), pp. 1151-1161. | Show Abstract | Read more

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and premature death. However, there is limited knowledge on specific causal genes and pathways. To better understand the genetics of blood pressure, we genotyped 242,296 rare, low-frequency and common genetic variants in up to 192,763 individuals and used ∼155,063 samples for independent replication. We identified 30 new blood pressure- or hypertension-associated genetic regions in the general population, including 3 rare missense variants in RBM47, COL21A1 and RRAS with larger effects (>1.5 mm Hg/allele) than common variants. Multiple rare nonsense and missense variant associations were found in A2ML1, and a low-frequency nonsense variant in ENPEP was identified. Our data extend the spectrum of allelic variation underlying blood pressure traits and hypertension, provide new insights into the pathophysiology of hypertension and indicate new targets for clinical intervention.

Mahajan A, Rodan AR, Le TH, Gaulton KJ, Haessler J, Stilp AM, Kamatani Y, Zhu G et al. 2016. Trans-ethnic Fine Mapping Highlights Kidney-Function Genes Linked to Salt Sensitivity. Am J Hum Genet, 99 (3), pp. 636-646. | Show Abstract | Read more

We analyzed genome-wide association studies (GWASs), including data from 71,638 individuals from four ancestries, for estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a measure of kidney function used to define chronic kidney disease (CKD). We identified 20 loci attaining genome-wide-significant evidence of association (p < 5 × 10(-8)) with kidney function and highlighted that allelic effects on eGFR at lead SNPs are homogeneous across ancestries. We leveraged differences in the pattern of linkage disequilibrium between diverse populations to fine-map the 20 loci through construction of "credible sets" of variants driving eGFR association signals. Credible variants at the 20 eGFR loci were enriched for DNase I hypersensitivity sites (DHSs) in human kidney cells. DHS credible variants were expression quantitative trait loci for NFATC1 and RGS14 (at the SLC34A1 locus) in multiple tissues. Loss-of-function mutations in ancestral orthologs of both genes in Drosophila melanogaster were associated with altered sensitivity to salt stress. Renal mRNA expression of Nfatc1 and Rgs14 in a salt-sensitive mouse model was also reduced after exposure to a high-salt diet or induced CKD. Our study (1) demonstrates the utility of trans-ethnic fine mapping through integration of GWASs involving diverse populations with genomic annotation from relevant tissues to define molecular mechanisms by which association signals exert their effect and (2) suggests that salt sensitivity might be an important marker for biological processes that affect kidney function and CKD in humans.

Fuchsberger C, Flannick J, Teslovich TM, Mahajan A, Agarwala V, Gaulton KJ, Ma C, Fontanillas P et al. 2016. The genetic architecture of type 2 diabetes. Nature, 536 (7614), pp. 41-47. | Show Abstract | Read more

The genetic architecture of common traits, including the number, frequency, and effect sizes of inherited variants that contribute to individual risk, has been long debated. Genome-wide association studies have identified scores of common variants associated with type 2 diabetes, but in aggregate, these explain only a fraction of the heritability of this disease. Here, to test the hypothesis that lower-frequency variants explain much of the remainder, the GoT2D and T2D-GENES consortia performed whole-genome sequencing in 2,657 European individuals with and without diabetes, and exome sequencing in 12,940 individuals from five ancestry groups. To increase statistical power, we expanded the sample size via genotyping and imputation in a further 111,548 subjects. Variants associated with type 2 diabetes after sequencing were overwhelmingly common and most fell within regions previously identified by genome-wide association studies. Comprehensive enumeration of sequence variation is necessary to identify functional alleles that provide important clues to disease pathophysiology, but large-scale sequencing does not support the idea that lower-frequency variants have a major role in predisposition to type 2 diabetes.

Walford GA, Gustafsson S, Rybin D, Stančáková A, Chen H, Liu CT, Hong J, Jensen RA et al. 2016. Genome-Wide Association Study of the Modified Stumvoll Insulin Sensitivity Index Identifies BCL2 and FAM19A2 as Novel Insulin Sensitivity Loci. Diabetes, 65 (10), pp. 3200-3211. | Show Abstract | Read more

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have found few common variants that influence fasting measures of insulin sensitivity. We hypothesized that a GWAS of an integrated assessment of fasting and dynamic measures of insulin sensitivity would detect novel common variants. We performed a GWAS of the modified Stumvoll Insulin Sensitivity Index (ISI) within the Meta-Analyses of Glucose and Insulin-Related Traits Consortium. Discovery for genetic association was performed in 16,753 individuals, and replication was attempted for the 23 most significant novel loci in 13,354 independent individuals. Association with ISI was tested in models adjusted for age, sex, and BMI and in a model analyzing the combined influence of the genotype effect adjusted for BMI and the interaction effect between the genotype and BMI on ISI (model 3). In model 3, three variants reached genome-wide significance: rs13422522 (NYAP2; P = 8.87 × 10(-11)), rs12454712 (BCL2; P = 2.7 × 10(-8)), and rs10506418 (FAM19A2; P = 1.9 × 10(-8)). The association at NYAP2 was eliminated by conditioning on the known IRS1 insulin sensitivity locus; the BCL2 and FAM19A2 associations were independent of known cardiometabolic loci. In conclusion, we identified two novel loci and replicated known variants associated with insulin sensitivity. Further studies are needed to clarify the causal variant and function at the BCL2 and FAM19A2 loci.

Pervjakova N, Kasela S, Morris AP, Kals M, Metspalu A, Lindgren CM, Salumets A, Mägi R. 2016. Imprinted genes and imprinting control regions show predominant intermediate methylation in adult somatic tissues. Epigenomics, 8 (6), pp. 789-799. | Show Abstract | Read more

Genomic imprinting is an epigenetic feature characterized by parent-specific monoallelic gene expression. The aim of this study was to compare the DNA methylation status of imprinted genes and imprinting control regions (ICRs), harboring differentially methylated regions (DMRs) in a comprehensive panel of 18 somatic tissues. The germline DMRs analyzed were divided into ubiquitously imprinted and placenta-specific DMRs, which show identical and different methylation imprints in adult somatic and placental tissues, respectively. We showed that imprinted genes and ICR DMRs maintain methylation patterns characterized by intermediate methylation levels in somatic tissues, which are pronounced in a specific region of the promoter area, located 200-1500 bp from the transcription start site. This intermediate methylation is concordant with gene expression from a single unmethylated allele and silencing of a reciprocal parental allele through DNA methylation. The only exceptions were seen for ICR DMRs of placenta-specific imprinted genes, which showed low levels of methylation, suggesting that these genes escape parent-specific epigenetic regulation in somatic tissues.

Laisk-Podar T, Lindgren CM, Peters M, Tapanainen JS, Lambalk CB, Salumets A, Mägi R. 2016. Ovarian Physiology and GWAS: Biobanks, Biology, and Beyond. Trends Endocrinol Metab, 27 (7), pp. 516-528. | Show Abstract | Read more

Ovarian function is central to female fertility, and several genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been carried out to elucidate the genetic background of traits and disorders that reflect and affect ovarian physiology. While GWAS have been successful in reporting numerous genetic associations and highlighting involved pathways relevant to reproductive aging, for ovarian disorders, such as premature ovarian insufficiency and polycystic ovary syndrome, research has lagged behind due to insufficient study sample size. Novel approaches to study design and analysis methods that help to fit GWAS findings into biological context will improve our knowledge about genetics governing ovarian function in fertility and disease, and provide input for clinical tools and better patient management.

Dumanski JP, Lambert JC, Rasi C, Giedraitis V, Davies H, Grenier-Boley B, Lindgren CM, Campion D et al. 2016. Mosaic Loss of Chromosome Y in Blood Is Associated with Alzheimer Disease. Am J Hum Genet, 98 (6), pp. 1208-1219. | Show Abstract | Read more

Men have a shorter life expectancy compared with women but the underlying factor(s) are not clear. Late-onset, sporadic Alzheimer disease (AD) is a common and lethal neurodegenerative disorder and many germline inherited variants have been found to influence the risk of developing AD. Our previous results show that a fundamentally different genetic variant, i.e., lifetime-acquired loss of chromosome Y (LOY) in blood cells, is associated with all-cause mortality and an increased risk of non-hematological tumors and that LOY could be induced by tobacco smoking. We tested here a hypothesis that men with LOY are more susceptible to AD and show that LOY is associated with AD in three independent studies of different types. In a case-control study, males with AD diagnosis had higher degree of LOY mosaicism (adjusted odds ratio = 2.80, p = 0.0184, AD events = 606). Furthermore, in two prospective studies, men with LOY at blood sampling had greater risk for incident AD diagnosis during follow-up time (hazard ratio [HR] = 6.80, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 2.16-21.43, AD events = 140, p = 0.0011). Thus, LOY in blood is associated with risks of both AD and cancer, suggesting a role of LOY in blood cells on disease processes in other tissues, possibly via defective immunosurveillance. As a male-specific risk factor, LOY might explain why males on average live shorter lives than females.

Karpe F, Lindgren CM. 2016. Obesity--On or Off? N Engl J Med, 374 (15), pp. 1486-1488. | Read more

Lessard S, Manning AK, Low-Kam C, Auer PL, Giri A, Graff M, Schurmann C, Yaghootkar H et al. 2016. Testing the role of predicted gene knockouts in human anthropometric trait variation. Hum Mol Genet, pp. ddw055-ddw055. | Show Abstract | Read more

Although the role of complete gene inactivation by two loss-of-function mutations inherited intransis well-established in recessive Mendelian diseases, we have not yet explored how such gene knockouts (KOs) could influence complex human phenotypes. Here, we developed a statistical framework to test the association between gene KOs and quantitative human traits. Our method is flexible, publicly available, and compatible with common genotype format files (e.g. PLINK and vcf). We characterized gene KOs in 4498 participants from the NHLBI Exome Sequence Project (ESP) sequenced at high coverage (>100×), 1976 French Canadians from the Montreal Heart Institute Biobank sequenced at low coverage (5.7×), and >100 000 participants from the Genetic Investigation of ANthropometric Traits (GIANT) Consortium genotyped on an exome array. We tested associations between gene KOs and three anthropometric traits: body mass index (BMI), height and BMI-adjusted waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). Despite our large sample size and multiple datasets available, we could not detect robust associations between specific gene KOs and quantitative anthropometric traits. Our results highlight several limitations and challenges for future gene KO studies in humans, in particular when there is no prior knowledge on the phenotypes that might be affected by the tested gene KOs. They also suggest that gene KOs identified with current DNA sequencing methodologies probably do not strongly influence normal variation in BMI, height, and WHR in the general human population.

Knowles JW, Xie W, Zhang Z, Chennamsetty I, Assimes TL, Paananen J, Hansson O, Pankow J et al. 2016. Identification and validation of N-acetyltransferase 2 as an insulin sensitivity gene. J Clin Invest, 126 (1), pp. 403. | Read more

Hayes MG, Urbanek M, Ehrmann DA, Armstrong LL, Lee JY, Sisk R, Karaderi T, Barber TM et al. 2016. Corrigendum: Genome-wide association of polycystic ovary syndrome implicates alterations in gonadotropin secretion in European ancestry populations. Nat Commun, 7 pp. 10762. | Read more

Kilpeläinen TO, Carli JF, Skowronski AA, Sun Q, Kriebel J, Feitosa MF, Hedman ÅK, Drong AW et al. 2016. Genome-wide meta-analysis uncovers novel loci influencing circulating leptin levels. Nat Commun, 7 pp. 10494. | Show Abstract | Read more

Leptin is an adipocyte-secreted hormone, the circulating levels of which correlate closely with overall adiposity. Although rare mutations in the leptin (LEP) gene are well known to cause leptin deficiency and severe obesity, no common loci regulating circulating leptin levels have been uncovered. Therefore, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of circulating leptin levels from 32,161 individuals and followed up loci reaching P<10(-6) in 19,979 additional individuals. We identify five loci robustly associated (P<5 × 10(-8)) with leptin levels in/near LEP, SLC32A1, GCKR, CCNL1 and FTO. Although the association of the FTO obesity locus with leptin levels is abolished by adjustment for BMI, associations of the four other loci are independent of adiposity. The GCKR locus was found associated with multiple metabolic traits in previous GWAS and the CCNL1 locus with birth weight. Knockdown experiments in mouse adipose tissue explants show convincing evidence for adipogenin, a regulator of adipocyte differentiation, as the novel causal gene in the SLC32A1 locus influencing leptin levels. Our findings provide novel insights into the regulation of leptin production by adipose tissue and open new avenues for examining the influence of variation in leptin levels on adiposity and metabolic health.

Lu Y, Day FR, Gustafsson S, Buchkovich ML, Na J, Bataille V, Cousminer DL, Dastani Z et al. 2016. New loci for body fat percentage reveal link between adiposity and cardiometabolic disease risk. Nat Commun, 7 pp. 10495. | Show Abstract | Read more

To increase our understanding of the genetic basis of adiposity and its links to cardiometabolic disease risk, we conducted a genome-wide association meta-analysis of body fat percentage (BF%) in up to 100,716 individuals. Twelve loci reached genome-wide significance (P<5 × 10(-8)), of which eight were previously associated with increased overall adiposity (BMI, BF%) and four (in or near COBLL1/GRB14, IGF2BP1, PLA2G6, CRTC1) were novel associations with BF%. Seven loci showed a larger effect on BF% than on BMI, suggestive of a primary association with adiposity, while five loci showed larger effects on BMI than on BF%, suggesting association with both fat and lean mass. In particular, the loci more strongly associated with BF% showed distinct cross-phenotype association signatures with a range of cardiometabolic traits revealing new insights in the link between adiposity and disease risk.

Saare M, Modhukur V, Suhorutshenko M, Rajashekar B, Rekker K, Sõritsa D, Karro H, Soplepmann P et al. 2016. The influence of menstrual cycle and endometriosis on endometrial methylome. Clin Epigenetics, 8 (1), pp. 2. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Alterations in endometrial DNA methylation profile have been proposed as one potential mechanism initiating the development of endometriosis. However, the normal endometrial methylome is influenced by the cyclic hormonal changes, and the menstrual cycle phase-dependent epigenetic signature should be considered when studying endometrial disorders. So far, no studies have been performed to evaluate the menstrual cycle influences and endometriosis-specific endometrial methylation pattern at the same time. RESULTS: Infinium HumanMethylation 450K BeadChip arrays were used to explore DNA methylation profiles of endometrial tissues from various menstrual cycle phases from 31 patients with endometriosis and 24 healthy women. The DNA methylation profile of patients and controls was highly similar and only 28 differentially methylated regions (DMRs) between patients and controls were found. However, the overall magnitude of the methylation differences between patients and controls was rather small (Δβ ranging from -0.01 to -0.16 and from 0.01 to 0.08, respectively, for hypo- and hypermethylated CpGs). Unsupervised hierarchical clustering of the methylation data divided endometrial samples based on the menstrual cycle phase rather than diseased/non-diseased status. Further analysis revealed a number of menstrual cycle phase-specific epigenetic changes with largest changes occurring during the late-secretory and menstrual phases when substantial rearrangements of endometrial tissue take place. Comparison of cycle phase- and endometriosis-specific methylation profile changes revealed that 13 out of 28 endometriosis-specific DMRs were present in both datasets. CONCLUSIONS: The results of our study accentuate the importance of considering normal cyclic epigenetic changes in studies investigating endometrium-related disease-specific methylation patterns.

Kim YJ, Lee J, Kim B-J, Park T. 2015. A new strategy for enhancing imputation quality of rare variants from next-generation sequencing data via combining SNP and exome chip data BMC Genomics, 16 (1), | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Kim et al.Background: Rare variants have gathered increasing attention as a possible alternative source of missing heritability. Since next generation sequencing technology is not yet cost-effective for large-scale genomic studies, a widely used alternative approach is imputation. However, the imputation approach may be limited by the low accuracy of the imputed rare variants. To improve imputation accuracy of rare variants, various approaches have been suggested, including increasing the sample size of the reference panel, using sequencing data from study-specific samples (i.e., specific populations), and using local reference panels by genotyping or sequencing a subset of study samples. While these approaches mainly utilize reference panels, imputation accuracy of rare variants can also be increased by using exome chips containing rare variants. The exome chip contains 250 K rare variants selected from the discovered variants of about 12,000 sequenced samples. If exome chip data are available for previously genotyped samples, the combined approach using a genotype panel of merged data, including exome chips and SNP chips, should increase the imputation accuracy of rare variants. Results: In this study, we describe a combined imputation which uses both exome chip and SNP chip data simultaneously as a genotype panel. The effectiveness and performance of the combined approach was demonstrated using a reference panel of 848 samples constructed using exome sequencing data from the T2D-GENES consortium and 5,349 sample genotype panels consisting of an exome chip and SNP chip. As a result, the combined approach increased imputation quality up to 11 %, and genomic coverage for rare variants up to 117.7 % (MAF < 1 %), compared to imputation using the SNP chip alone. Also, we investigated the systematic effect of reference panels on imputation quality using five reference panels and three genotype panels. The best performing approach was the combination of the study specific reference panel and the genotype panel of combined data. Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that combined datasets, including SNP chips and exome chips, enhances both the imputation quality and genomic coverage of rare variants.

Ek WE, Hedman ÅK, Enroth S, Morris AP, Lindgren CM, Mahajan A, Gustafsson S, Gyllensten U, Lind L, Johansson Å. 2016. Genome-wide DNA methylation study identifies genes associated with the cardiovascular biomarker GDF-15. Hum Mol Genet, 25 (4), pp. 817-827. | Show Abstract | Read more

Growth-differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15) is expressed in low to moderate levels in most healthy tissues and increases in response to inflammation. GDF-15 is associated with cardiovascular dysfunction and over-expressed in the myocardium of patients with myocardial infarction (MI). However, little is known about the function of GDF-15 in cardiovascular disease, and the underlying regulatory network of GDF-15 is not known. To investigate a possible association between GDF-15 levels and DNA methylation, we performed a genome-wide DNA methylation study of white blood cells in a population-based study (N = 717). Significant loci where replicated in an independent cohort (N = 963). We also performed a gene ontology (GO) enrichment analysis. We identified and replicated 16 CpG-sites (false discovery rate [FDR] < 0.05), at 11 independent loci including MIR21. MIR21 encodes a microRNA (miR-21) that has previously been shown to be associated with the development of heart disease. Interestingly, GDF15 mRNA contains a binding site for miR-21. Four sites were also differentially methylated in blood from participants previously diagnosed with MI and 14 enriched GO terms (FDR < 0.05, enrichment > 2) were identified, including 'cardiac muscle cell differentiation'. This study shows that GDF-15 levels are associated with differences in DNA methylation in blood cells, and a subset of the loci are also differentially methylated in participants with MI. However, there might be interactions between GDF-15 levels and methylation in other tissues not addressed in this study. These results provide novel links between GDF-15 and cardiovascular disease.

Gaulton KJ, Ferreira T, Lee Y, Raimondo A, Mägi R, Reschen ME, Mahajan A, Locke A et al. 2015. Genetic fine mapping and genomic annotation defines causal mechanisms at type 2 diabetes susceptibility loci. Nat Genet, 47 (12), pp. 1415-1425. | Show Abstract | Read more

We performed fine mapping of 39 established type 2 diabetes (T2D) loci in 27,206 cases and 57,574 controls of European ancestry. We identified 49 distinct association signals at these loci, including five mapping in or near KCNQ1. 'Credible sets' of the variants most likely to drive each distinct signal mapped predominantly to noncoding sequence, implying that association with T2D is mediated through gene regulation. Credible set variants were enriched for overlap with FOXA2 chromatin immunoprecipitation binding sites in human islet and liver cells, including at MTNR1B, where fine mapping implicated rs10830963 as driving T2D association. We confirmed that the T2D risk allele for this SNP increases FOXA2-bound enhancer activity in islet- and liver-derived cells. We observed allele-specific differences in NEUROD1 binding in islet-derived cells, consistent with evidence that the T2D risk allele increases islet MTNR1B expression. Our study demonstrates how integration of genetic and genomic information can define molecular mechanisms through which variants underlying association signals exert their effects on disease.

Karaderi T, Drong AW, Lindgren CM. 2015. Insights into the Genetic Susceptibility to Type 2 Diabetes from Genome-Wide Association Studies of Obesity-Related Traits. Curr Diab Rep, 15 (10), pp. 83. | Show Abstract | Read more

Obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D) are common and complex metabolic diseases, which are caused by an interchange between environmental and genetic factors. Recently, a number of large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have improved our knowledge of the genetic architecture and biological mechanisms of these diseases. Currently, more than ~250 genetic loci have been found for monogenic, syndromic, or common forms of T2D and/or obesity-related traits. In this review, we discuss the implications of these GWAS for obesity and T2D, and investigate the overlap of loci for obesity-related traits and T2D, highlighting potential mechanisms that affect T2D susceptibility.

Winkler TW, Justice AE, Graff M, Barata L, Feitosa MF, Chu S, Czajkowski J, Esko T et al. 2015. The Influence of Age and Sex on Genetic Associations with Adult Body Size and Shape: A Large-Scale Genome-Wide Interaction Study. PLoS Genet, 11 (10), pp. e1005378. | Show Abstract | Read more

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified more than 100 genetic variants contributing to BMI, a measure of body size, or waist-to-hip ratio (adjusted for BMI, WHRadjBMI), a measure of body shape. Body size and shape change as people grow older and these changes differ substantially between men and women. To systematically screen for age- and/or sex-specific effects of genetic variants on BMI and WHRadjBMI, we performed meta-analyses of 114 studies (up to 320,485 individuals of European descent) with genome-wide chip and/or Metabochip data by the Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Traits (GIANT) Consortium. Each study tested the association of up to ~2.8M SNPs with BMI and WHRadjBMI in four strata (men ≤50y, men >50y, women ≤50y, women >50y) and summary statistics were combined in stratum-specific meta-analyses. We then screened for variants that showed age-specific effects (G x AGE), sex-specific effects (G x SEX) or age-specific effects that differed between men and women (G x AGE x SEX). For BMI, we identified 15 loci (11 previously established for main effects, four novel) that showed significant (FDR<5%) age-specific effects, of which 11 had larger effects in younger (<50y) than in older adults (≥50y). No sex-dependent effects were identified for BMI. For WHRadjBMI, we identified 44 loci (27 previously established for main effects, 17 novel) with sex-specific effects, of which 28 showed larger effects in women than in men, five showed larger effects in men than in women, and 11 showed opposite effects between sexes. No age-dependent effects were identified for WHRadjBMI. This is the first genome-wide interaction meta-analysis to report convincing evidence of age-dependent genetic effects on BMI. In addition, we confirm the sex-specificity of genetic effects on WHRadjBMI. These results may provide further insights into the biology that underlies weight change with age or the sexually dimorphism of body shape.

Nikpay M, Goel A, Won HH, Hall LM, Willenborg C, Kanoni S, Saleheen D, Kyriakou T et al. 2015. A comprehensive 1,000 Genomes-based genome-wide association meta-analysis of coronary artery disease. Nat Genet, 47 (10), pp. 1121-1130. | Show Abstract | Read more

Existing knowledge of genetic variants affecting risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) is largely based on genome-wide association study (GWAS) analysis of common SNPs. Leveraging phased haplotypes from the 1000 Genomes Project, we report a GWAS meta-analysis of ∼185,000 CAD cases and controls, interrogating 6.7 million common (minor allele frequency (MAF) > 0.05) and 2.7 million low-frequency (0.005 < MAF < 0.05) variants. In addition to confirming most known CAD-associated loci, we identified ten new loci (eight additive and two recessive) that contain candidate causal genes newly implicating biological processes in vessel walls. We observed intralocus allelic heterogeneity but little evidence of low-frequency variants with larger effects and no evidence of synthetic association. Our analysis provides a comprehensive survey of the fine genetic architecture of CAD, showing that genetic susceptibility to this common disease is largely determined by common SNPs of small effect size.

Joshi PK, Esko T, Mattsson H, Eklund N, Gandin I, Nutile T, Jackson AU, Schurmann C et al. 2015. Directional dominance on stature and cognition in diverse human populations. Nature, 523 (7561), pp. 459-462. | Show Abstract | Read more

Homozygosity has long been associated with rare, often devastating, Mendelian disorders, and Darwin was one of the first to recognize that inbreeding reduces evolutionary fitness. However, the effect of the more distant parental relatedness that is common in modern human populations is less well understood. Genomic data now allow us to investigate the effects of homozygosity on traits of public health importance by observing contiguous homozygous segments (runs of homozygosity), which are inferred to be homozygous along their complete length. Given the low levels of genome-wide homozygosity prevalent in most human populations, information is required on very large numbers of people to provide sufficient power. Here we use runs of homozygosity to study 16 health-related quantitative traits in 354,224 individuals from 102 cohorts, and find statistically significant associations between summed runs of homozygosity and four complex traits: height, forced expiratory lung volume in one second, general cognitive ability and educational attainment (P < 1 × 10(-300), 2.1 × 10(-6), 2.5 × 10(-10) and 1.8 × 10(-10), respectively). In each case, increased homozygosity was associated with decreased trait value, equivalent to the offspring of first cousins being 1.2 cm shorter and having 10 months' less education. Similar effect sizes were found across four continental groups and populations with different degrees of genome-wide homozygosity, providing evidence that homozygosity, rather than confounding, directly contributes to phenotypic variance. Contrary to earlier reports in substantially smaller samples, no evidence was seen of an influence of genome-wide homozygosity on blood pressure and low density lipoprotein cholesterol, or ten other cardio-metabolic traits. Since directional dominance is predicted for traits under directional evolutionary selection, this study provides evidence that increased stature and cognitive function have been positively selected in human evolution, whereas many important risk factors for late-onset complex diseases may not have been.

Horikoshi M, Mӓgi R, van de Bunt M, Surakka I, Sarin AP, Mahajan A, Marullo L, Thorleifsson G et al. 2015. Discovery and Fine-Mapping of Glycaemic and Obesity-Related Trait Loci Using High-Density Imputation. PLoS Genet, 11 (7), pp. e1005230. | Show Abstract | Read more

Reference panels from the 1000 Genomes (1000G) Project Consortium provide near complete coverage of common and low-frequency genetic variation with minor allele frequency ≥0.5% across European ancestry populations. Within the European Network for Genetic and Genomic Epidemiology (ENGAGE) Consortium, we have undertaken the first large-scale meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS), supplemented by 1000G imputation, for four quantitative glycaemic and obesity-related traits, in up to 87,048 individuals of European ancestry. We identified two loci for body mass index (BMI) at genome-wide significance, and two for fasting glucose (FG), none of which has been previously reported in larger meta-analysis efforts to combine GWAS of European ancestry. Through conditional analysis, we also detected multiple distinct signals of association mapping to established loci for waist-hip ratio adjusted for BMI (RSPO3) and FG (GCK and G6PC2). The index variant for one association signal at the G6PC2 locus is a low-frequency coding allele, H177Y, which has recently been demonstrated to have a functional role in glucose regulation. Fine-mapping analyses revealed that the non-coding variants most likely to drive association signals at established and novel loci were enriched for overlap with enhancer elements, which for FG mapped to promoter and transcription factor binding sites in pancreatic islets, in particular. Our study demonstrates that 1000G imputation and genetic fine-mapping of common and low-frequency variant association signals at GWAS loci, integrated with genomic annotation in relevant tissues, can provide insight into the functional and regulatory mechanisms through which their effects on glycaemic and obesity-related traits are mediated.

Ng E, Lind PM, Lindgren C, Ingelsson E, Mahajan A, Morris A, Lind L. 2015. Genome-wide association study of toxic metals and trace elements reveals novel associations. Hum Mol Genet, 24 (16), pp. 4739-4745. | Show Abstract | Read more

The accumulation of toxic metals in the human body is influenced by exposure and mechanisms involved in metabolism, some of which may be under genetic control. This is the first genome-wide association study to investigate variants associated with whole blood levels of a range of toxic metals. Eleven toxic metals and trace elements (aluminium, cadmium, cobalt, copper, chromium, mercury, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, lead and zinc) were assayed in a cohort of 949 individuals using mass spectrometry. DNA samples were genotyped on the Infinium Omni Express bead microarray and imputed up to reference panels from the 1000 Genomes Project. Analyses revealed two regions associated with manganese level at genome-wide significance, mapping to 4q24 and 1q41. The lead single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the 4q24 locus was rs13107325 (P-value = 5.1 × 10(-11), β = -0.77), located in an exon of SLC39A8, which encodes a protein involved in manganese and zinc transport. The lead SNP in the 1q41 locus is rs1776029 (P-value = 2.2 × 10(-14), β = -0.46). The SNP lies within the intronic region of SLC30A10, another transporter protein. Among other metals, the loci 6q14.1 and 3q26.32 were associated with cadmium and mercury levels (P = 1.4 × 10(-10), β = -1.2 and P = 1.8 × 10(-9), β = -1.8, respectively). Whole blood measurements of toxic metals are associated with genetic variants in metal transporter genes and others. This is relevant in inferring metabolic pathways of metals and identifying subsets of individuals who may be more susceptible to metal toxicity.

Surakka I, Horikoshi M, Mägi R, Sarin AP, Mahajan A, Lagou V, Marullo L, Ferreira T et al. 2015. The impact of low-frequency and rare variants on lipid levels. Nat Genet, 47 (6), pp. 589-597. | Show Abstract | Read more

Using a genome-wide screen of 9.6 million genetic variants achieved through 1000 Genomes Project imputation in 62,166 samples, we identify association to lipid traits in 93 loci, including 79 previously identified loci with new lead SNPs and 10 new loci, 15 loci with a low-frequency lead SNP and 10 loci with a missense lead SNP, and 2 loci with an accumulation of rare variants. In six loci, SNPs with established function in lipid genetics (CELSR2, GCKR, LIPC and APOE) or candidate missense mutations with predicted damaging function (CD300LG and TM6SF2) explained the locus associations. The low-frequency variants increased the proportion of variance explained, particularly for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and total cholesterol. Altogether, our results highlight the impact of low-frequency variants in complex traits and show that imputation offers a cost-effective alternative to resequencing.

Ng E, Salihovic S, Lind PM, Mahajan A, Syvänen AC, Axelsson T, Ingelsson E, Lindgren CM, van Bavel B, Morris AP, Lind L. 2015. Genome-wide association study of plasma levels of polychlorinated biphenyls disclose an association with the CYP2B6 gene in a population-based sample. Environ Res, 140 pp. 95-101. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a group of man-made environmental pollutants which accumulate in humans with adverse health effects. To date, very little effort has been devoted to the study of the metabolism of PCBs on a genome-wide level. OBJECTIVES: Here, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify genomic regions involved in the metabolism of PCBs. METHODS: Plasma levels of 16 PCBs ascertained in a cohort of elderly individuals from Sweden (n=1016) were measured using gas chromatography-high resolution mass spectrophotometry (GC-HRMS). DNA samples were genotyped on the Infinium Omni Express bead microarray, and imputed up to reference panels from the 1000 Genomes Project. Association testing was performed in a linear regression framework under an additive model. RESULTS: Plasma levels of PCB-99 demonstrated genome-wide significant association with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) mapping to chromosome 19q13.2. The SNP with the strongest association was rs8109848 (p=3.7×10(-13)), mapping to an intronic region of CYP2B6. Moreover, when all PCBs were conditioned on PCB-99, further signals were revealed for PCBs -74, -105 and -118, mapping to the same genomic region. The lead SNPs were rs8109848 (p=3.8×10(-12)) for PCB-118, rs4802104 (p=1.4×10(-9)) for PCB-74 and rs4803413 (p=2.5×10(-9)) for PCB-105, all of which map to CYP2B6. CONCLUSIONS: In our study, we found plasma levels of four lower-chlorinated PCBs to be significantly associated with the genetic region mapping to the CYP2B6 locus. These findings show that CYP2B6 is of importance for the metabolism of PCBs in humans, and may help to identify individuals who may be susceptible to PCB toxicity.

Knowles JW, Xie W, Zhang Z, Chennamsetty I, Assimes TL, Paananen J, Hansson O, Pankow J et al. 2015. Identification and validation of N-acetyltransferase 2 as an insulin sensitivity gene. J Clin Invest, 125 (4), pp. 1739-1751. | Show Abstract | Read more

Decreased insulin sensitivity, also referred to as insulin resistance (IR), is a fundamental abnormality in patients with type 2 diabetes and a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. While IR predisposition is heritable, the genetic basis remains largely unknown. The GENEticS of Insulin Sensitivity consortium conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) for direct measures of insulin sensitivity, such as euglycemic clamp or insulin suppression test, in 2,764 European individuals, with replication in an additional 2,860 individuals. The presence of a nonsynonymous variant of N-acetyltransferase 2 (NAT2) [rs1208 (803A>G, K268R)] was strongly associated with decreased insulin sensitivity that was independent of BMI. The rs1208 "A" allele was nominally associated with IR-related traits, including increased fasting glucose, hemoglobin A1C, total and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and coronary artery disease. NAT2 acetylates arylamine and hydrazine drugs and carcinogens, but predicted acetylator NAT2 phenotypes were not associated with insulin sensitivity. In a murine adipocyte cell line, silencing of NAT2 ortholog Nat1 decreased insulin-mediated glucose uptake, increased basal and isoproterenol-stimulated lipolysis, and decreased adipocyte differentiation, while Nat1 overexpression produced opposite effects. Nat1-deficient mice had elevations in fasting blood glucose, insulin, and triglycerides and decreased insulin sensitivity, as measured by glucose and insulin tolerance tests, with intermediate effects in Nat1 heterozygote mice. Our results support a role for NAT2 in insulin sensitivity.

Rahmioglu N, Drong A, Lockstone H, Lindgren CM, Becker CM, Zondervan KT. 2015. Variability of Genome-Wide Gene Expression and DNA Methylation Profiles Across Tissue Samples From Women With and Without Endometriosis REPRODUCTIVE SCIENCES, 22 pp. 209A-209A.

Shungin D, Winkler TW, Croteau-Chonka DC, Ferreira T, Locke AE, Mägi R, Strawbridge RJ, Pers TH et al. 2015. New genetic loci link adipose and insulin biology to body fat distribution. Nature, 518 (7538), pp. 187-196. | Show Abstract | Read more

Body fat distribution is a heritable trait and a well-established predictor of adverse metabolic outcomes, independent of overall adiposity. To increase our understanding of the genetic basis of body fat distribution and its molecular links to cardiometabolic traits, here we conduct genome-wide association meta-analyses of traits related to waist and hip circumferences in up to 224,459 individuals. We identify 49 loci (33 new) associated with waist-to-hip ratio adjusted for body mass index (BMI), and an additional 19 loci newly associated with related waist and hip circumference measures (P < 5 × 10(-8)). In total, 20 of the 49 waist-to-hip ratio adjusted for BMI loci show significant sexual dimorphism, 19 of which display a stronger effect in women. The identified loci were enriched for genes expressed in adipose tissue and for putative regulatory elements in adipocytes. Pathway analyses implicated adipogenesis, angiogenesis, transcriptional regulation and insulin resistance as processes affecting fat distribution, providing insight into potential pathophysiological mechanisms.

Locke AE, Kahali B, Berndt SI, Justice AE, Pers TH, Day FR, Powell C, Vedantam S et al. 2015. Genetic studies of body mass index yield new insights for obesity biology. Nature, 518 (7538), pp. 197-206. | Show Abstract | Read more

Obesity is heritable and predisposes to many diseases. To understand the genetic basis of obesity better, here we conduct a genome-wide association study and Metabochip meta-analysis of body mass index (BMI), a measure commonly used to define obesity and assess adiposity, in up to 339,224 individuals. This analysis identifies 97 BMI-associated loci (P < 5 × 10(-8)), 56 of which are novel. Five loci demonstrate clear evidence of several independent association signals, and many loci have significant effects on other metabolic phenotypes. The 97 loci account for ∼2.7% of BMI variation, and genome-wide estimates suggest that common variation accounts for >20% of BMI variation. Pathway analyses provide strong support for a role of the central nervous system in obesity susceptibility and implicate new genes and pathways, including those related to synaptic function, glutamate signalling, insulin secretion/action, energy metabolism, lipid biology and adipogenesis.

den Hoed M, Strawbridge RJ, Almgren P, Gustafsson S, Axelsson T, Engström G, de Faire U, Hedblad B et al. 2015. GWAS-identified loci for coronary heart disease are associated with intima-media thickness and plaque presence at the carotid artery bulb. Atherosclerosis, 239 (2), pp. 304-310. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have so far identified 45 loci that are robustly associated with coronary heart disease (CHD) in data from adult men and women of European descent. OBJECTIVES: To examine whether the CHD-associated loci are associated with measures of atherosclerosis in data from up to 9582 individuals of European ancestry. METHODS: Forty-five SNPs representing the CHD-associated loci were genotyped in middle-aged to elderly individuals of European descent from four independent population-based studies (IMPROVE, MDC-CC, ULSAM and PIVUS). Intima-media thickness (IMT) was measured by external B-mode ultrasonography at the far wall of the bulb (sinus) and common carotid artery. Plaque presence was defined as a maximal IMT of the bulb >1.5 mm. We meta-analysed single-SNP associations across the four studies, and combined them in a genetic predisposition score. We subsequently examined the association of the genetic predisposition score with prevalent CHD and the three indices of atherosclerosis, adjusting for sex, age and Framingham risk factors. RESULTS: As anticipated, the genetic predisposition score was associated with prevalent CHD, with each additional risk allele increasing the odds of disease by 5.5% (p = 4.1 × 10(-6)). Moreover, each additional CHD-risk allele across the 45 loci was associated with a 0.24% increase in IMT (p = 4.0 × 10(-3)), and with a 2.8% increased odds of plaque presence (p = 7.4 × 10(-6)) at the far wall of the bulb. The genetic predisposition score was not associated with IMT of the common carotid artery (p = 0.47). CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that the association between the 45 previously identified loci and CHD at least partly acts through atherosclerosis.

Multhaup ML, Seldin MM, Jaffe AE, Lei X, Kirchner H, Mondal P, Li Y, Rodriguez V et al. 2015. Mouse-human experimental epigenetic analysis unmasks dietary targets and genetic liability for diabetic phenotypes. Cell Metab, 21 (1), pp. 138-149. | Show Abstract | Read more

Using a functional approach to investigate the epigenetics of type 2 diabetes (T2D), we combine three lines of evidence-diet-induced epigenetic dysregulation in mouse, epigenetic conservation in humans, and T2D clinical risk evidence-to identify genes implicated in T2D pathogenesis through epigenetic mechanisms related to obesity. Beginning with dietary manipulation of genetically homogeneous mice, we identify differentially DNA-methylated genomic regions. We then replicate these results in adipose samples from lean and obese patients pre- and post-Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, identifying regions where both the location and direction of methylation change are conserved. These regions overlap with 27 genetic T2D risk loci, only one of which was deemed significant by GWAS alone. Functional analysis of genes associated with these regions revealed four genes with roles in insulin resistance, demonstrating the potential general utility of this approach for complementing conventional human genetic studies by integrating cross-species epigenomics and clinical genetic risk.

Hayes MG, Urbanek M, Ehrmann DA, Armstrong LL, Lee JY, Sisk R, Karaderi T, Barber TM et al. 2015. Genome-wide association of polycystic ovary syndrome implicates alterations in gonadotropin secretion in European ancestry populations. Nat Commun, 6 pp. 7502. | Show Abstract | Read more

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common, highly heritable complex disorder of unknown aetiology characterized by hyperandrogenism, chronic anovulation and defects in glucose homeostasis. Increased luteinizing hormone relative to follicle-stimulating hormone secretion, insulin resistance and developmental exposure to androgens are hypothesized to play a causal role in PCOS. Here we map common genetic susceptibility loci in European ancestry women for the National Institutes of Health PCOS phenotype, which confers the highest risk for metabolic morbidities, as well as reproductive hormone levels. Three loci reach genome-wide significance in the case-control meta-analysis, two novel loci mapping to chr 8p23.1 [Corrected] and chr 11p14.1, and a chr 9q22.32 locus previously found in Chinese PCOS. The same chr 11p14.1 SNP, rs11031006, in the region of the follicle-stimulating hormone B polypeptide (FSHB) gene strongly associates with PCOS diagnosis and luteinizing hormone levels. These findings implicate neuroendocrine changes in disease pathogenesis.

Allum F, Shao X, Guénard F, Simon MM, Busche S, Caron M, Lambourne J, Lessard J et al. 2015. Characterization of functional methylomes by next-generation capture sequencing identifies novel disease-associated variants. Nat Commun, 6 pp. 7211. | Show Abstract | Read more

Most genome-wide methylation studies (EWAS) of multifactorial disease traits use targeted arrays or enrichment methodologies preferentially covering CpG-dense regions, to characterize sufficiently large samples. To overcome this limitation, we present here a new customizable, cost-effective approach, methylC-capture sequencing (MCC-Seq), for sequencing functional methylomes, while simultaneously providing genetic variation information. To illustrate MCC-Seq, we use whole-genome bisulfite sequencing on adipose tissue (AT) samples and public databases to design AT-specific panels. We establish its efficiency for high-density interrogation of methylome variability by systematic comparisons with other approaches and demonstrate its applicability by identifying novel methylation variation within enhancers strongly correlated to plasma triglyceride and HDL-cholesterol, including at CD36. Our more comprehensive AT panel assesses tissue methylation and genotypes in parallel at ∼4 and ∼3 M sites, respectively. Our study demonstrates that MCC-Seq provides comparable accuracy to alternative approaches but enables more efficient cataloguing of functional and disease-relevant epigenetic and genetic variants for large-scale EWAS.




Surakka I, Horikoshi M, Mägi R, Sarin AP, Mahajan A, Lagou V, Marullo L, Ferreira T et al. 2015. The impact of low-frequency and rare variants on lipid levels Nature Genetics, 47 (6), pp. 589-597. | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.Using a genome-wide screen of 9.6 million genetic variants achieved through 1000 Genomes Project imputation in 62,166 samples, we identify association to lipid traits in 93 loci, including 79 previously identified loci with new lead SNPs and 10 new loci, 15 loci with a low-frequency lead SNP and 10 loci with a missense lead SNP, and 2 loci with an accumulation of rare variants. In six loci, SNPs with established function in lipid genetics (CELSR2, GCKR, LIPC and APOE) or candidate missense mutations with predicted damaging function (CD300LG and TM6SF2) explained the locus associations. The low-frequency variants increased the proportion of variance explained, particularly for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and total cholesterol. Altogether, our results highlight the impact of low-frequency variants in complex traits and show that imputation offers a cost-effective alternative to resequencing.

Rantalainen M, Lindgren CM, Holmes CC. 2015. Robust Linear Models for Cis-eQTL Analysis. PLoS One, 10 (5), pp. e0127882. | Show Abstract | Read more

Expression Quantitative Trait Loci (eQTL) analysis enables characterisation of functional genetic variation influencing expression levels of individual genes. In outbread populations, including humans, eQTLs are commonly analysed using the conventional linear model, adjusting for relevant covariates, assuming an allelic dosage model and a Gaussian error term. However, gene expression data generally have noise that induces heavy-tailed errors relative to the Gaussian distribution and often include atypical observations, or outliers. Such departures from modelling assumptions can lead to an increased rate of type II errors (false negatives), and to some extent also type I errors (false positives). Careful model checking can reduce the risk of type-I errors but often not type II errors, since it is generally too time-consuming to carefully check all models with a non-significant effect in large-scale and genome-wide studies. Here we propose the application of a robust linear model for eQTL analysis to reduce adverse effects of deviations from the assumption of Gaussian residuals. We present results from a simulation study as well as results from the analysis of real eQTL data sets. Our findings suggest that in many situations robust models have the potential to provide more reliable eQTL results compared to conventional linear models, particularly in respect to reducing type II errors due to non-Gaussian noise. Post-genomic data, such as that generated in genome-wide eQTL studies, are often noisy and frequently contain atypical observations. Robust statistical models have the potential to provide more reliable results and increased statistical power under non-Gaussian conditions. The results presented here suggest that robust models should be considered routinely alongside other commonly used methodologies for eQTL analysis.

Cornelis MC, Byrne EM, Esko T, Nalls MA, Ganna A, Paynter N, Monda KL, Amin N et al. 2015. Genome-wide meta-analysis identifies six novel loci associated with habitual coffee consumption Molecular Psychiatry, 20 (5), pp. 647-656. | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited.Coffee, a major dietary source of caffeine, is among the most widely consumed beverages in the world and has received considerable attention regarding health risks and benefits. We conducted a genome-wide (GW) meta-analysis of predominately regular-type coffee consumption (cups per day) among up to 91 462 coffee consumers of European ancestry with top single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) followed-up in ∼30 062 and 7964 coffee consumers of European and African-American ancestry, respectively. Studies from both stages were combined in a trans-ethnic meta-analysis. Confirmed loci were examined for putative functional and biological relevance. Eight loci, including six novel loci, met GW significance (log 10 Bayes factor (BF)>5.64) with per-allele effect sizes of 0.03-0.14 cups per day. Six are located in or near genes potentially involved in pharmacokinetics (ABCG2, AHR, POR and CYP1A2) and pharmacodynamics (BDNF and SLC6A4) of caffeine. Two map to GCKR and MLXIPL genes related to metabolic traits but lacking known roles in coffee consumption. Enhancer and promoter histone marks populate the regions of many confirmed loci and several potential regulatory SNPs are highly correlated with the lead SNP of each. SNP alleles near GCKR, MLXIPL, BDNF and CYP1A2 that were associated with higher coffee consumption have previously been associated with smoking initiation, higher adiposity and fasting insulin and glucose but lower blood pressure and favorable lipid, inflammatory and liver enzyme profiles (P<5 × 10 -8).Our genetic findings among European and African-American adults reinforce the role of caffeine in mediating habitual coffee consumption and may point to molecular mechanisms underlying inter-individual variability in pharmacological and health effects of coffee.

Wessel J, Chu AY, Willems SM, Wang S, Yaghootkar H, Brody JA, Dauriz M, Hivert MF et al. 2015. Low-frequency and rare exome chip variants associate with fasting glucose and type 2 diabetes susceptibility. Nat Commun, 6 pp. 5897. | Show Abstract | Read more

Fasting glucose and insulin are intermediate traits for type 2 diabetes. Here we explore the role of coding variation on these traits by analysis of variants on the HumanExome BeadChip in 60,564 non-diabetic individuals and in 16,491 T2D cases and 81,877 controls. We identify a novel association of a low-frequency nonsynonymous SNV in GLP1R (A316T; rs10305492; MAF=1.4%) with lower FG (β=-0.09±0.01 mmol l(-1), P=3.4 × 10(-12)), T2D risk (OR[95%CI]=0.86[0.76-0.96], P=0.010), early insulin secretion (β=-0.07±0.035 pmolinsulin mmolglucose(-1), P=0.048), but higher 2-h glucose (β=0.16±0.05 mmol l(-1), P=4.3 × 10(-4)). We identify a gene-based association with FG at G6PC2 (pSKAT=6.8 × 10(-6)) driven by four rare protein-coding SNVs (H177Y, Y207S, R283X and S324P). We identify rs651007 (MAF=20%) in the first intron of ABO at the putative promoter of an antisense lncRNA, associating with higher FG (β=0.02±0.004 mmol l(-1), P=1.3 × 10(-8)). Our approach identifies novel coding variant associations and extends the allelic spectrum of variation underlying diabetes-related quantitative traits and T2D susceptibility.

Mahajan A, Sim X, Ng HJ, Manning A, Rivas MA, Highland HM, Locke AE, Grarup N et al. 2015. Identification and functional characterization of G6PC2 coding variants influencing glycemic traits define an effector transcript at the G6PC2-ABCB11 locus. PLoS Genet, 11 (1), pp. e1004876. | Show Abstract | Read more

Genome wide association studies (GWAS) for fasting glucose (FG) and insulin (FI) have identified common variant signals which explain 4.8% and 1.2% of trait variance, respectively. It is hypothesized that low-frequency and rare variants could contribute substantially to unexplained genetic variance. To test this, we analyzed exome-array data from up to 33,231 non-diabetic individuals of European ancestry. We found exome-wide significant (P<5×10-7) evidence for two loci not previously highlighted by common variant GWAS: GLP1R (p.Ala316Thr, minor allele frequency (MAF)=1.5%) influencing FG levels, and URB2 (p.Glu594Val, MAF = 0.1%) influencing FI levels. Coding variant associations can highlight potential effector genes at (non-coding) GWAS signals. At the G6PC2/ABCB11 locus, we identified multiple coding variants in G6PC2 (p.Val219Leu, p.His177Tyr, and p.Tyr207Ser) influencing FG levels, conditionally independent of each other and the non-coding GWAS signal. In vitro assays demonstrate that these associated coding alleles result in reduced protein abundance via proteasomal degradation, establishing G6PC2 as an effector gene at this locus. Reconciliation of single-variant associations and functional effects was only possible when haplotype phase was considered. In contrast to earlier reports suggesting that, paradoxically, glucose-raising alleles at this locus are protective against type 2 diabetes (T2D), the p.Val219Leu G6PC2 variant displayed a modest but directionally consistent association with T2D risk. Coding variant associations for glycemic traits in GWAS signals highlight PCSK1, RREB1, and ZHX3 as likely effector transcripts. These coding variant association signals do not have a major impact on the trait variance explained, but they do provide valuable biological insights.

Dumanski JP, Rasi C, Lönn M, Davies H, Ingelsson M, Giedraitis V, Lannfelt L, Magnusson PK et al. 2015. Mutagenesis. Smoking is associated with mosaic loss of chromosome Y. Science, 347 (6217), pp. 81-83. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tobacco smoking is a risk factor for numerous disorders, including cancers affecting organs outside the respiratory tract. Epidemiological data suggest that smoking is a greater risk factor for these cancers in males compared with females. This observation, together with the fact that males have a higher incidence of and mortality from most non-sex-specific cancers, remains unexplained. Loss of chromosome Y (LOY) in blood cells is associated with increased risk of nonhematological tumors. We demonstrate here that smoking is associated with LOY in blood cells in three independent cohorts [TwinGene: odds ratio (OR) = 4.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.8 to 6.7; Uppsala Longitudinal Study of Adult Men: OR = 2.4, 95% CI = 1.6 to 3.6; and Prospective Investigation of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors: OR = 3.5, 95% CI = 1.4 to 8.4] encompassing a total of 6014 men. The data also suggest that smoking has a transient and dose-dependent mutagenic effect on LOY status. The finding that smoking induces LOY thus links a preventable risk factor with the most common acquired human mutation.

Rahmioglu N, Macgregor S, Drong AW, Hedman ÅK, Harris HR, Randall JC, Prokopenko I, International Endogene Consortium (IEC), The GIANT Consortium et al. 2015. Genome-wide enrichment analysis between endometriosis and obesity-related traits reveals novel susceptibility loci. Hum Mol Genet, 24 (4), pp. 1185-1199. | Show Abstract | Read more

Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory condition in women that results in pelvic pain and subfertility, and has been associated with decreased body mass index (BMI). Genetic variants contributing to the heritable component have started to emerge from genome-wide association studies (GWAS), although the majority remain unknown. Unexpectedly, we observed an intergenic locus on 7p15.2 that was genome-wide significantly associated with both endometriosis and fat distribution (waist-to-hip ratio adjusted for BMI; WHRadjBMI) in an independent meta-GWAS of European ancestry individuals. This led us to investigate the potential overlap in genetic variants underlying the aetiology of endometriosis, WHRadjBMI and BMI using GWAS data. Our analyses demonstrated significant enrichment of common variants between fat distribution and endometriosis (P = 3.7 × 10(-3)), which was stronger when we restricted the investigation to more severe (Stage B) cases (P = 4.5 × 10(-4)). However, no genetic enrichment was observed between endometriosis and BMI (P = 0.79). In addition to 7p15.2, we identify four more variants with statistically significant evidence of involvement in both endometriosis and WHRadjBMI (in/near KIFAP3, CAB39L, WNT4, GRB14); two of these, KIFAP3 and CAB39L, are novel associations for both traits. KIFAP3, WNT4 and 7p15.2 are associated with the WNT signalling pathway; formal pathway analysis confirmed a statistically significant (P = 6.41 × 10(-4)) overrepresentation of shared associations in developmental processes/WNT signalling between the two traits. Our results demonstrate an example of potential biological pleiotropy that was hitherto unknown, and represent an opportunity for functional follow-up of loci and further cross-phenotype comparisons to assess how fat distribution and endometriosis pathogenesis research fields can inform each other.

Coffee and Caffeine Genetics Consortium, Cornelis MC, Byrne EM, Esko T, Nalls MA, Ganna A, Paynter N, Monda KL et al. 2015. Genome-wide meta-analysis identifies six novel loci associated with habitual coffee consumption. Mol Psychiatry, 20 (5), pp. 647-656. | Show Abstract | Read more

Coffee, a major dietary source of caffeine, is among the most widely consumed beverages in the world and has received considerable attention regarding health risks and benefits. We conducted a genome-wide (GW) meta-analysis of predominately regular-type coffee consumption (cups per day) among up to 91,462 coffee consumers of European ancestry with top single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) followed-up in ~30 062 and 7964 coffee consumers of European and African-American ancestry, respectively. Studies from both stages were combined in a trans-ethnic meta-analysis. Confirmed loci were examined for putative functional and biological relevance. Eight loci, including six novel loci, met GW significance (log10Bayes factor (BF)>5.64) with per-allele effect sizes of 0.03-0.14 cups per day. Six are located in or near genes potentially involved in pharmacokinetics (ABCG2, AHR, POR and CYP1A2) and pharmacodynamics (BDNF and SLC6A4) of caffeine. Two map to GCKR and MLXIPL genes related to metabolic traits but lacking known roles in coffee consumption. Enhancer and promoter histone marks populate the regions of many confirmed loci and several potential regulatory SNPs are highly correlated with the lead SNP of each. SNP alleles near GCKR, MLXIPL, BDNF and CYP1A2 that were associated with higher coffee consumption have previously been associated with smoking initiation, higher adiposity and fasting insulin and glucose but lower blood pressure and favorable lipid, inflammatory and liver enzyme profiles (P<5 × 10(-8)).Our genetic findings among European and African-American adults reinforce the role of caffeine in mediating habitual coffee consumption and may point to molecular mechanisms underlying inter-individual variability in pharmacological and health effects of coffee.

Wood AR, Esko T, Yang J, Vedantam S, Pers TH, Gustafsson S, Chu AY, Estrada K et al. 2014. Defining the role of common variation in the genomic and biological architecture of adult human height. Nat Genet, 46 (11), pp. 1173-1186. | Show Abstract | Read more

Using genome-wide data from 253,288 individuals, we identified 697 variants at genome-wide significance that together explained one-fifth of the heritability for adult height. By testing different numbers of variants in independent studies, we show that the most strongly associated ∼2,000, ∼3,700 and ∼9,500 SNPs explained ∼21%, ∼24% and ∼29% of phenotypic variance. Furthermore, all common variants together captured 60% of heritability. The 697 variants clustered in 423 loci were enriched for genes, pathways and tissue types known to be involved in growth and together implicated genes and pathways not highlighted in earlier efforts, such as signaling by fibroblast growth factors, WNT/β-catenin and chondroitin sulfate-related genes. We identified several genes and pathways not previously connected with human skeletal growth, including mTOR, osteoglycin and binding of hyaluronic acid. Our results indicate a genetic architecture for human height that is characterized by a very large but finite number (thousands) of causal variants.

Majithia AR, Flannick J, Shahinian P, Guo M, Bray MA, Fontanillas P, Gabriel SB, GoT2D Consortium et al. 2014. Rare variants in PPARG with decreased activity in adipocyte differentiation are associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 111 (36), pp. 13127-13132. | Show Abstract | Read more

Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARG) is a master transcriptional regulator of adipocyte differentiation and a canonical target of antidiabetic thiazolidinedione medications. In rare families, loss-of-function (LOF) mutations in PPARG are known to cosegregate with lipodystrophy and insulin resistance; in the general population, the common P12A variant is associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Whether and how rare variants in PPARG and defects in adipocyte differentiation influence risk of T2D in the general population remains undetermined. By sequencing PPARG in 19,752 T2D cases and controls drawn from multiple studies and ethnic groups, we identified 49 previously unidentified, nonsynonymous PPARG variants (MAF < 0.5%). Considered in aggregate (with or without computational prediction of functional consequence), these rare variants showed no association with T2D (OR = 1.35; P = 0.17). The function of the 49 variants was experimentally tested in a novel high-throughput human adipocyte differentiation assay, and nine were found to have reduced activity in the assay. Carrying any of these nine LOF variants was associated with a substantial increase in risk of T2D (OR = 7.22; P = 0.005). The combination of large-scale DNA sequencing and functional testing in the laboratory reveals that approximately 1 in 1,000 individuals carries a variant in PPARG that reduces function in a human adipocyte differentiation assay and is associated with a substantial risk of T2D.




Ng MCY, Shriner D, Chen BH, Li J, Chen W-M, Guo X, Liu J, Bielinski SJ et al. 2014. Meta-Analysis of Genome-Wide Association Studies in African Americans Provides Insights into the Genetic Architecture of Type 2 Diabetes PLoS Genetics, 10 (8), pp. e1004517-e1004517. | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2014.Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is more prevalent in African Americans than in Europeans. However, little is known about the genetic risk in African Americans despite the recent identification of more than 70 T2D loci primarily by genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in individuals of European ancestry. In order to investigate the genetic architecture of T2D in African Americans, the MEta-analysis of type 2 DIabetes in African Americans (MEDIA) Consortium examined 17 GWAS on T2D comprising 8,284 cases and 15,543 controls in African Americans in stage 1 analysis. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) association analysis was conducted in each study under the additive model after adjustment for age, sex, study site, and principal components. Meta-analysis of approximately 2.6 million genotyped and imputed SNPs in all studies was conducted using an inverse variance-weighted fixed effect model. Replications were performed to follow up 21 loci in up to 6,061 cases and 5,483 controls in African Americans, and 8,130 cases and 38,987 controls of European ancestry. We identified three known loci (TCF7L2, HMGA2 and KCNQ1) and two novel loci (HLA-B and INS-IGF2) at genome-wide significance (4.15×10−94<P<5×10−8, odds ratio (OR) = 1.09 to 1.36). Fine-mapping revealed that 88 of 158 previously identified T2D or glucose homeostasis loci demonstrated nominal to highly significant association (2.2×10−23 < locus-wide P<0.05). These novel and previously identified loci yielded a sibling relative risk of 1.19, explaining 17.5% of the phenotypic variance of T2D on the liability scale in African Americans. Overall, this study identified two novel susceptibility loci for T2D in African Americans. A substantial number of previously reported loci are transferable to African Americans after accounting for linkage disequilibrium, enabling fine mapping of causal variants in trans-ethnic meta-analysis studies.

Lim ET, Würtz P, Havulinna AS, Palta P, Tukiainen T, Rehnström K, Esko T, Mägi R et al. 2014. Distribution and medical impact of loss-of-function variants in the Finnish founder population. PLoS Genet, 10 (7), pp. e1004494. | Show Abstract | Read more

Exome sequencing studies in complex diseases are challenged by the allelic heterogeneity, large number and modest effect sizes of associated variants on disease risk and the presence of large numbers of neutral variants, even in phenotypically relevant genes. Isolated populations with recent bottlenecks offer advantages for studying rare variants in complex diseases as they have deleterious variants that are present at higher frequencies as well as a substantial reduction in rare neutral variation. To explore the potential of the Finnish founder population for studying low-frequency (0.5-5%) variants in complex diseases, we compared exome sequence data on 3,000 Finns to the same number of non-Finnish Europeans and discovered that, despite having fewer variable sites overall, the average Finn has more low-frequency loss-of-function variants and complete gene knockouts. We then used several well-characterized Finnish population cohorts to study the phenotypic effects of 83 enriched loss-of-function variants across 60 phenotypes in 36,262 Finns. Using a deep set of quantitative traits collected on these cohorts, we show 5 associations (p<5×10⁻⁸) including splice variants in LPA that lowered plasma lipoprotein(a) levels (P = 1.5×10⁻¹¹⁷). Through accessing the national medical records of these participants, we evaluate the LPA finding via Mendelian randomization and confirm that these splice variants confer protection from cardiovascular disease (OR = 0.84, P = 3×10⁻⁴), demonstrating for the first time the correlation between very low levels of LPA in humans with potential therapeutic implications for cardiovascular diseases. More generally, this study articulates substantial advantages for studying the role of rare variation in complex phenotypes in founder populations like the Finns and by combining a unique population genetic history with data from large population cohorts and centralized research access to National Health Registers.

Bolton JL, Hayward C, Direk N, Lewis JG, Hammond GL, Hill LA, Anderson A, Huffman J et al. 2014. Genome wide association identifies common variants at the SERPINA6/SERPINA1 locus influencing plasma cortisol and corticosteroid binding globulin. PLoS Genet, 10 (7), pp. e1004474. | Show Abstract | Read more

Variation in plasma levels of cortisol, an essential hormone in the stress response, is associated in population-based studies with cardio-metabolic, inflammatory and neuro-cognitive traits and diseases. Heritability of plasma cortisol is estimated at 30-60% but no common genetic contribution has been identified. The CORtisol NETwork (CORNET) consortium undertook genome wide association meta-analysis for plasma cortisol in 12,597 Caucasian participants, replicated in 2,795 participants. The results indicate that <1% of variance in plasma cortisol is accounted for by genetic variation in a single region of chromosome 14. This locus spans SERPINA6, encoding corticosteroid binding globulin (CBG, the major cortisol-binding protein in plasma), and SERPINA1, encoding α1-antitrypsin (which inhibits cleavage of the reactive centre loop that releases cortisol from CBG). Three partially independent signals were identified within the region, represented by common SNPs; detailed biochemical investigation in a nested sub-cohort showed all these SNPs were associated with variation in total cortisol binding activity in plasma, but some variants influenced total CBG concentrations while the top hit (rs12589136) influenced the immunoreactivity of the reactive centre loop of CBG. Exome chip and 1000 Genomes imputation analysis of this locus in the CROATIA-Korcula cohort identified missense mutations in SERPINA6 and SERPINA1 that did not account for the effects of common variants. These findings reveal a novel common genetic source of variation in binding of cortisol by CBG, and reinforce the key role of CBG in determining plasma cortisol levels. In turn this genetic variation may contribute to cortisol-associated degenerative diseases.

Lind L, Penell J, Syvänen AC, Axelsson T, Ingelsson E, Morris AP, Lindgren C, Salihovic S, van Bavel B, Lind PM. 2014. Genetic variation in the CYP1A1 gene is related to circulating PCB118 levels in a population-based sample. Environ Res, 133 pp. 135-140. | Show Abstract | Read more

Several of the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), i.e. the dioxin-like PCBs, are known to induce the P450 enzymes CYP1A1, CYP1A2 and CYP1B1 by activating the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (Ah)-receptor. We evaluated if circulating levels of PCBs in a population sample were related to genetic variation in the genes encoding these CYPs. In the population-based Prospective Investigation of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors (PIVUS) study (1016 subjects all aged 70), 21 SNPs in the CYP1A1, CYP1A2 and CYP1B1 genes were genotyped. Sixteen PCB congeners were analysed by high-resolution chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRGC/ HRMS). Of the investigated relationships between SNPs in the CYP1A1, CYP1A2 and CYP1B1 and six PCBs (congeners 118, 126, 156, 169, 170 and 206) that captures >80% of the variation of all PCBs measured, only the relationship between CYP1A1 rs2470893 was significantly related to PCB118 levels following strict adjustment for multiple testing (p=0.00011). However, there were several additional SNPs in the CYP1A2 and CYP1B1 that showed nominally significant associations with PCB118 levels (p-values in the 0.003-0.05 range). Further, several SNPs in the CYP1B1 gene were related to both PCB156 and PCB206 with p-values in the 0.005-0.05 range. Very few associations with p<0.05 were seen for PCB126, PCB169 or PCB170. Genetic variation in the CYP1A1 was related to circulating PCB118 levels in the general elderly population. Genetic variation in CYP1A2 and CYP1B1 might also be associated with other PCBs.

Penell J, Lind L, Fall T, Syvänen AC, Axelsson T, Lundmark P, Morris AP, Lindgren C et al. 2014. Genetic variation in the CYP2B6 gene is related to circulating 2,2',4,4'-tetrabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-47) concentrations: an observational population-based study. Environ Health, 13 (1), pp. 34. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Since human CYP2B6 has been identified as the major CYP enzyme involved in the metabolism of 2,2',4,4'-tetrabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-47) and that human 2B6 is a highly polymorphic CYP, with known functional variants, we evaluated if circulating concentrations of a major brominated flame retardant, BDE-47, were related to genetic variation in the CYP2B6 gene in a population sample. METHODS: In the population-based Prospective Investigation of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors (PIVUS) study (men and women all aged 70), 25 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the CYP2B6 gene were genotyped. Circulating concentrations of BDE-47 were analyzed by high-resolution gas chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRGC/ HRMS). RESULTS: Several SNPs in the CYP2B6 gene were associated with circulating concentrations of BDE-47 (P = 10-4 to 10-9). The investigated SNPs came primarily from two haplotypes, although the correlation between the haplotypes was rather high. Conditional analyses adjusting for the SNP with the strongest association with the exposure (rs2014141) did not provide evidence for independent signals. CONCLUSION: Circulating concentrations of BDE-47 were related to genetic variation in the CYP2B6 gene in an elderly population.

Forsberg LA, Rasi C, Malmqvist N, Davies H, Pasupulati S, Pakalapati G, Sandgren J, Diaz de Ståhl T et al. 2014. Mosaic loss of chromosome Y in peripheral blood is associated with shorter survival and higher risk of cancer. Nat Genet, 46 (6), pp. 624-628. | Show Abstract | Read more

Incidence and mortality for sex-unspecific cancers are higher among men, a fact that is largely unexplained. Furthermore, age-related loss of chromosome Y (LOY) is frequent in normal hematopoietic cells, but the phenotypic consequences of LOY have been elusive. From analysis of 1,153 elderly men, we report that LOY in peripheral blood was associated with risks of all-cause mortality (hazards ratio (HR) = 1.91, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.17-3.13; 637 events) and non-hematological cancer mortality (HR = 3.62, 95% CI = 1.56-8.41; 132 events). LOY affected at least 8.2% of the subjects in this cohort, and median survival times among men with LOY were 5.5 years shorter. Association of LOY with risk of all-cause mortality was validated in an independent cohort (HR = 3.66) in which 20.5% of subjects showed LOY. These results illustrate the impact of post-zygotic mosaicism on disease risk, could explain why males are more frequently affected by cancer and suggest that chromosome Y is important in processes beyond sex determination. LOY in blood could become a predictive biomarker of male carcinogenesis.

Flannick J, Thorleifsson G, Beer NL, Jacobs SB, Grarup N, Burtt NP, Mahajan A, Fuchsberger C et al. 2014. Loss-of-function mutations in SLC30A8 protect against type 2 diabetes. Nat Genet, 46 (4), pp. 357-363. | Show Abstract | Read more

Loss-of-function mutations protective against human disease provide in vivo validation of therapeutic targets, but none have yet been described for type 2 diabetes (T2D). Through sequencing or genotyping of ~150,000 individuals across 5 ancestry groups, we identified 12 rare protein-truncating variants in SLC30A8, which encodes an islet zinc transporter (ZnT8) and harbors a common variant (p.Trp325Arg) associated with T2D risk and glucose and proinsulin levels. Collectively, carriers of protein-truncating variants had 65% reduced T2D risk (P = 1.7 × 10(-6)), and non-diabetic Icelandic carriers of a frameshift variant (p.Lys34Serfs*50) demonstrated reduced glucose levels (-0.17 s.d., P = 4.6 × 10(-4)). The two most common protein-truncating variants (p.Arg138* and p.Lys34Serfs*50) individually associate with T2D protection and encode unstable ZnT8 proteins. Previous functional study of SLC30A8 suggested that reduced zinc transport increases T2D risk, and phenotypic heterogeneity was observed in mouse Slc30a8 knockouts. In contrast, loss-of-function mutations in humans provide strong evidence that SLC30A8 haploinsufficiency protects against T2D, suggesting ZnT8 inhibition as a therapeutic strategy in T2D prevention.

DIAbetes Genetics Replication And Meta-analysis (DIAGRAM) Consortium, Asian Genetic Epidemiology Network Type 2 Diabetes (AGEN-T2D) Consortium, South Asian Type 2 Diabetes (SAT2D) Consortium, Mexican American Type 2 Diabetes (MAT2D) Consortium, Type 2 Diabetes Genetic Exploration by Nex-generation sequencing in muylti-Ethnic Samples (T2D-GENES) Consortium, Mahajan A, Go MJ, Zhang W et al. 2014. Genome-wide trans-ancestry meta-analysis provides insight into the genetic architecture of type 2 diabetes susceptibility. Nat Genet, 46 (3), pp. 234-244. | Show Abstract | Read more

To further understanding of the genetic basis of type 2 diabetes (T2D) susceptibility, we aggregated published meta-analyses of genome-wide association studies (GWAS), including 26,488 cases and 83,964 controls of European, east Asian, south Asian and Mexican and Mexican American ancestry. We observed a significant excess in the directional consistency of T2D risk alleles across ancestry groups, even at SNPs demonstrating only weak evidence of association. By following up the strongest signals of association from the trans-ethnic meta-analysis in an additional 21,491 cases and 55,647 controls of European ancestry, we identified seven new T2D susceptibility loci. Furthermore, we observed considerable improvements in the fine-mapping resolution of common variant association signals at several T2D susceptibility loci. These observations highlight the benefits of trans-ethnic GWAS for the discovery and characterization of complex trait loci and emphasize an exciting opportunity to extend insight into the genetic architecture and pathogenesis of human diseases across populations of diverse ancestry.

Lange LA, Hu Y, Zhang H, Xue C, Schmidt EM, Tang ZZ, Bizon C, Lange EM et al. 2014. Whole-exome sequencing identifies rare and low-frequency coding variants associated with LDL cholesterol. Am J Hum Genet, 94 (2), pp. 233-245. | Show Abstract | Read more

Elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is a treatable, heritable risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have identified 157 variants associated with lipid levels but are not well suited to assess the impact of rare and low-frequency variants. To determine whether rare or low-frequency coding variants are associated with LDL-C, we exome sequenced 2,005 individuals, including 554 individuals selected for extreme LDL-C (>98(th) or <2(nd) percentile). Follow-up analyses included sequencing of 1,302 additional individuals and genotype-based analysis of 52,221 individuals. We observed significant evidence of association between LDL-C and the burden of rare or low-frequency variants in PNPLA5, encoding a phospholipase-domain-containing protein, and both known and previously unidentified variants in PCSK9, LDLR and APOB, three known lipid-related genes. The effect sizes for the burden of rare variants for each associated gene were substantially higher than those observed for individual SNPs identified from GWASs. We replicated the PNPLA5 signal in an independent large-scale sequencing study of 2,084 individuals. In conclusion, this large whole-exome-sequencing study for LDL-C identified a gene not known to be implicated in LDL-C and provides unique insight into the design and analysis of similar experiments.

Mohlke KL, Lindgren CM. 2014. Genome-wide association studies of obesity and related traits Frontiers in Diabetes, 23 pp. 58-70. | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of obesity-related traits are defining the genetic architecture of obesity, revealing genes and mechanisms for disease. GWAS have been performed for several measures of obesity including body mass index (BMI), body fat distribution, and fat mass. Adults, adolescents, and children have been studied, as have populations of differing ancestries. At least 78 loci have been identified, 7 of which include one of the 59 genes implicated in monogenic forms of obesity or lipodystrophy. Nine of the obesity loci co-localise with type 2 diabetes GWAS signals. Genetic associations with body size tend to be similar in males and females, while many associations with body fat distribution have stronger effects in females. In addition to GWAS, analyses of copynumber variation have identified additional obesity variants and genes. Different types of genes appear to influence body size versus fat distribution. Many variants associated with body size are located near neuronal genes, such as those that affect appetite regulation, while many variants associated with fat distribution are located near genes that affect insulin signalling, fat deposition and metabolic traits. Future studies will identify additional loci, dissect pleiotropic relationships, and reveal additional underlying genes and biological mechanisms.

Hoggart CJ, Venturini G, Mangino M, Gomez F, Ascari G, Zhao JH, Teumer A, Winkler TW et al. 2014. Novel approach identifies SNPs in SLC2A10 and KCNK9 with evidence for parent-of-origin effect on body mass index. PLoS Genet, 10 (7), pp. e1004508. | Show Abstract | Read more

The phenotypic effect of some single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) depends on their parental origin. We present a novel approach to detect parent-of-origin effects (POEs) in genome-wide genotype data of unrelated individuals. The method exploits increased phenotypic variance in the heterozygous genotype group relative to the homozygous groups. We applied the method to >56,000 unrelated individuals to search for POEs influencing body mass index (BMI). Six lead SNPs were carried forward for replication in five family-based studies (of ∼4,000 trios). Two SNPs replicated: the paternal rs2471083-C allele (located near the imprinted KCNK9 gene) and the paternal rs3091869-T allele (located near the SLC2A10 gene) increased BMI equally (beta = 0.11 (SD), P<0.0027) compared to the respective maternal alleles. Real-time PCR experiments of lymphoblastoid cell lines from the CEPH families showed that expression of both genes was dependent on parental origin of the SNPs alleles (P<0.01). Our scheme opens new opportunities to exploit GWAS data of unrelated individuals to identify POEs and demonstrates that they play an important role in adult obesity.

Tang W, Kowgier M, Loth DW, Soler Artigas M, Joubert BR, Hodge E, Gharib SA, Smith AV et al. 2014. Large-scale genome-wide association studies and meta-analyses of longitudinal change in adult lung function. PLoS One, 9 (7), pp. e100776. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified numerous loci influencing cross-sectional lung function, but less is known about genes influencing longitudinal change in lung function. METHODS: We performed GWAS of the rate of change in forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) in 14 longitudinal, population-based cohort studies comprising 27,249 adults of European ancestry using linear mixed effects model and combined cohort-specific results using fixed effect meta-analysis to identify novel genetic loci associated with longitudinal change in lung function. Gene expression analyses were subsequently performed for identified genetic loci. As a secondary aim, we estimated the mean rate of decline in FEV1 by smoking pattern, irrespective of genotypes, across these 14 studies using meta-analysis. RESULTS: The overall meta-analysis produced suggestive evidence for association at the novel IL16/STARD5/TMC3 locus on chromosome 15 (P  =  5.71 × 10(-7)). In addition, meta-analysis using the five cohorts with ≥3 FEV1 measurements per participant identified the novel ME3 locus on chromosome 11 (P  =  2.18 × 10(-8)) at genome-wide significance. Neither locus was associated with FEV1 decline in two additional cohort studies. We confirmed gene expression of IL16, STARD5, and ME3 in multiple lung tissues. Publicly available microarray data confirmed differential expression of all three genes in lung samples from COPD patients compared with controls. Irrespective of genotypes, the combined estimate for FEV1 decline was 26.9, 29.2 and 35.7 mL/year in never, former, and persistent smokers, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: In this large-scale GWAS, we identified two novel genetic loci in association with the rate of change in FEV1 that harbor candidate genes with biologically plausible functional links to lung function.

Schleinitz D, Kloeting N, Lindgren CM, Breitfeld J, Dietrich A, Schoen MR, Lohmann T, Dressler M et al. 2014. Fat depot-specific mRNA expression of novel loci associated with waist-hip ratio INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF OBESITY, 38 (1), pp. 120-125. | Show Abstract | Read more

Objective:We hypothesized that genes within recently identified loci associated with waist-hip ratio (WHR) exhibit fat depot-specific mRNA expression, which correlates with obesity-related traits.Methods:Adipose tissue (AT) mRNA expression of 6 genes (TBX15/WARS2, STAB1, PIGC, ZNRF3 and GRB14) within these loci showing coincident cis-expression quantitative trait loci was measured in 222 paired samples of human visceral (vis) and subcutaneous (sc) AT. The relationship of mRNA expression levels with obesity-related quantitative traits was assessed by Pearson's correlation analyses. Multivariate linear relationships were assessed by generalized linear regression models.Results:Whereas only PIGC, ZNFR3 and STAB1 mRNA expression in sc AT correlated nominally with WHR (P<0.05, adjusted for age and sex), mRNA expression of all studied genes in at least one of the fat depots correlated significantly with vis and/or sc fat area (P ranging from 0.05 to 4.0 × 106, adjusted for age and sex). Consistently, the transcript levels of WARS, PIGC and GRB14 were nominally associated with body mass index (BMI) (P ranging from 0.02 to 9.2 × 105, adjusted for age and sex). Moreover, independent of sex, obesity and diabetes status, differential expression between vis and sc AT was observed for all tested genes (P<0.01). Finally, the rs10195252 T-allele was nominally associated with increased GRB14 sc mRNA expression (P=0.025 after adjusting for age, sex and BMI).Conclusions:Our data including the inter-depot variability of mRNA expression suggests that genes within the WHR-associated loci might be involved in the regulation of fat distribution. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

Keildson S, Fadista J, Ladenvall C, Hedman ÅK, Elgzyri T, Small KS, Grundberg E, Nica AC et al. 2014. Expression of phosphofructokinase in skeletal muscle is influenced by genetic variation and associated with insulin sensitivity. Diabetes, 63 (3), pp. 1154-1165. | Show Abstract | Read more

Using an integrative approach in which genetic variation, gene expression, and clinical phenotypes are assessed in relevant tissues may help functionally characterize the contribution of genetics to disease susceptibility. We sought to identify genetic variation influencing skeletal muscle gene expression (expression quantitative trait loci [eQTLs]) as well as expression associated with measures of insulin sensitivity. We investigated associations of 3,799,401 genetic variants in expression of >7,000 genes from three cohorts (n = 104). We identified 287 genes with cis-acting eQTLs (false discovery rate [FDR] <5%; P < 1.96 × 10(-5)) and 49 expression-insulin sensitivity phenotype associations (i.e., fasting insulin, homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance, and BMI) (FDR <5%; P = 1.34 × 10(-4)). One of these associations, fasting insulin/phosphofructokinase (PFKM), overlaps with an eQTL. Furthermore, the expression of PFKM, a rate-limiting enzyme in glycolysis, was nominally associated with glucose uptake in skeletal muscle (P = 0.026; n = 42) and overexpressed (Bonferroni-corrected P = 0.03) in skeletal muscle of patients with T2D (n = 102) compared with normoglycemic controls (n = 87). The PFKM eQTL (rs4547172; P = 7.69 × 10(-6)) was nominally associated with glucose uptake, glucose oxidation rate, intramuscular triglyceride content, and metabolic flexibility (P = 0.016-0.048; n = 178). We explored eQTL results using published data from genome-wide association studies (DIAGRAM and MAGIC), and a proxy for the PFKM eQTL (rs11168327; r(2) = 0.75) was nominally associated with T2D (DIAGRAM P = 2.7 × 10(-3)). Taken together, our analysis highlights PFKM as a potential regulator of skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity.

Global Lipids Genetics Consortium, Willer CJ, Schmidt EM, Sengupta S, Peloso GM, Gustafsson S, Kanoni S, Ganna A et al. 2013. Discovery and refinement of loci associated with lipid levels. Nat Genet, 45 (11), pp. 1274-1283. | Show Abstract | Read more

Levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides and total cholesterol are heritable, modifiable risk factors for coronary artery disease. To identify new loci and refine known loci influencing these lipids, we examined 188,577 individuals using genome-wide and custom genotyping arrays. We identify and annotate 157 loci associated with lipid levels at P < 5 × 10(-8), including 62 loci not previously associated with lipid levels in humans. Using dense genotyping in individuals of European, East Asian, South Asian and African ancestry, we narrow association signals in 12 loci. We find that loci associated with blood lipid levels are often associated with cardiovascular and metabolic traits, including coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, blood pressure, waist-hip ratio and body mass index. Our results demonstrate the value of using genetic data from individuals of diverse ancestry and provide insights into the biological mechanisms regulating blood lipids to guide future genetic, biological and therapeutic research.

Do R, Willer CJ, Schmidt EM, Sengupta S, Gao C, Peloso GM, Gustafsson S, Kanoni S et al. 2013. Common variants associated with plasma triglycerides and risk for coronary artery disease. Nat Genet, 45 (11), pp. 1345-1352. | Show Abstract | Read more

Triglycerides are transported in plasma by specific triglyceride-rich lipoproteins; in epidemiological studies, increased triglyceride levels correlate with higher risk for coronary artery disease (CAD). However, it is unclear whether this association reflects causal processes. We used 185 common variants recently mapped for plasma lipids (P < 5 × 10(-8) for each) to examine the role of triglycerides in risk for CAD. First, we highlight loci associated with both low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglyceride levels, and we show that the direction and magnitude of the associations with both traits are factors in determining CAD risk. Second, we consider loci with only a strong association with triglycerides and show that these loci are also associated with CAD. Finally, in a model accounting for effects on LDL-C and/or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels, the strength of a polymorphism's effect on triglyceride levels is correlated with the magnitude of its effect on CAD risk. These results suggest that triglyceride-rich lipoproteins causally influence risk for CAD.

Rivas MA, Pirinen M, Neville MJ, Gaulton KJ, Moutsianas L, GoT2D Consortium, Lindgren CM, Karpe F, McCarthy MI, Donnelly P. 2013. Assessing association between protein truncating variants and quantitative traits. Bioinformatics, 29 (19), pp. 2419-2426. | Show Abstract | Read more

MOTIVATION: In sequencing studies of common diseases and quantitative traits, power to test rare and low frequency variants individually is weak. To improve power, a common approach is to combine statistical evidence from several genetic variants in a region. Major challenges are how to do the combining and which statistical framework to use. General approaches for testing association between rare variants and quantitative traits include aggregating genotypes and trait values, referred to as 'collapsing', or using a score-based variance component test. However, little attention has been paid to alternative models tailored for protein truncating variants. Recent studies have highlighted the important role that protein truncating variants, commonly referred to as 'loss of function' variants, may have on disease susceptibility and quantitative levels of biomarkers. We propose a Bayesian modelling framework for the analysis of protein truncating variants and quantitative traits. RESULTS: Our simulation results show that our models have an advantage over the commonly used methods. We apply our models to sequence and exome-array data and discover strong evidence of association between low plasma triglyceride levels and protein truncating variants at APOC3 (Apolipoprotein C3). AVAILABILITY: Software is available from

Yaghootkar H, Lamina C, Scott RA, Dastani Z, Hivert MF, Warren LL, Stancáková A, Buxbaum SG et al. 2013. Mendelian randomization studies do not support a causal role for reduced circulating adiponectin levels in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes, 62 (10), pp. 3589-3598. | Show Abstract | Read more

Adiponectin is strongly inversely associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, but its causal role remains controversial. We used a Mendelian randomization approach to test the hypothesis that adiponectin causally influences insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. We used genetic variants at the ADIPOQ gene as instruments to calculate a regression slope between adiponectin levels and metabolic traits (up to 31,000 individuals) and a combination of instrumental variables and summary statistics-based genetic risk scores to test the associations with gold-standard measures of insulin sensitivity (2,969 individuals) and type 2 diabetes (15,960 case subjects and 64,731 control subjects). In conventional regression analyses, a 1-SD decrease in adiponectin levels was correlated with a 0.31-SD (95% CI 0.26-0.35) increase in fasting insulin, a 0.34-SD (0.30-0.38) decrease in insulin sensitivity, and a type 2 diabetes odds ratio (OR) of 1.75 (1.47-2.13). The instrumental variable analysis revealed no evidence of a causal association between genetically lower circulating adiponectin and higher fasting insulin (0.02 SD; 95% CI -0.07 to 0.11; N = 29,771), nominal evidence of a causal relationship with lower insulin sensitivity (-0.20 SD; 95% CI -0.38 to -0.02; N = 1,860), and no evidence of a relationship with type 2 diabetes (OR 0.94; 95% CI 0.75-1.19; N = 2,777 case subjects and 13,011 control subjects). Using the ADIPOQ summary statistics genetic risk scores, we found no evidence of an association between adiponectin-lowering alleles and insulin sensitivity (effect per weighted adiponectin-lowering allele: -0.03 SD; 95% CI -0.07 to 0.01; N = 2,969) or type 2 diabetes (OR per weighted adiponectin-lowering allele: 0.99; 95% CI 0.95-1.04; 15,960 case subjects vs. 64,731 control subjects). These results do not provide any consistent evidence that interventions aimed at increasing adiponectin levels will improve insulin sensitivity or risk of type 2 diabetes.

Fall T, Hägg S, Mägi R, Ploner A, Fischer K, Horikoshi M, Sarin AP, Thorleifsson G et al. 2013. The role of adiposity in cardiometabolic traits: a Mendelian randomization analysis. PLoS Med, 10 (6), pp. e1001474. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The association between adiposity and cardiometabolic traits is well known from epidemiological studies. Whilst the causal relationship is clear for some of these traits, for others it is not. We aimed to determine whether adiposity is causally related to various cardiometabolic traits using the Mendelian randomization approach. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We used the adiposity-associated variant rs9939609 at the FTO locus as an instrumental variable (IV) for body mass index (BMI) in a Mendelian randomization design. Thirty-six population-based studies of individuals of European descent contributed to the analyses. Age- and sex-adjusted regression models were fitted to test for association between (i) rs9939609 and BMI (n  =  198,502), (ii) rs9939609 and 24 traits, and (iii) BMI and 24 traits. The causal effect of BMI on the outcome measures was quantified by IV estimators. The estimators were compared to the BMI-trait associations derived from the same individuals. In the IV analysis, we demonstrated novel evidence for a causal relationship between adiposity and incident heart failure (hazard ratio, 1.19 per BMI-unit increase; 95% CI, 1.03-1.39) and replicated earlier reports of a causal association with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, dyslipidemia, and hypertension (odds ratio for IV estimator, 1.1-1.4; all p < 0.05). For quantitative traits, our results provide novel evidence for a causal effect of adiposity on the liver enzymes alanine aminotransferase and gamma-glutamyl transferase and confirm previous reports of a causal effect of adiposity on systolic and diastolic blood pressure, fasting insulin, 2-h post-load glucose from the oral glucose tolerance test, C-reactive protein, triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (all p < 0.05). The estimated causal effects were in agreement with traditional observational measures in all instances except for type 2 diabetes, where the causal estimate was larger than the observational estimate (p  =  0.001). CONCLUSIONS: We provide novel evidence for a causal relationship between adiposity and heart failure as well as between adiposity and increased liver enzymes.

Randall JC, Winkler TW, Kutalik Z, Berndt SI, Jackson AU, Monda KL, Kilpeläinen TO, Esko T et al. 2013. Sex-stratified genome-wide association studies including 270,000 individuals show sexual dimorphism in genetic loci for anthropometric traits. PLoS Genet, 9 (6), pp. e1003500. | Show Abstract | Read more

Given the anthropometric differences between men and women and previous evidence of sex-difference in genetic effects, we conducted a genome-wide search for sexually dimorphic associations with height, weight, body mass index, waist circumference, hip circumference, and waist-to-hip-ratio (133,723 individuals) and took forward 348 SNPs into follow-up (additional 137,052 individuals) in a total of 94 studies. Seven loci displayed significant sex-difference (FDR<5%), including four previously established (near GRB14/COBLL1, LYPLAL1/SLC30A10, VEGFA, ADAMTS9) and three novel anthropometric trait loci (near MAP3K1, HSD17B4, PPARG), all of which were genome-wide significant in women (P<5×10(-8)), but not in men. Sex-differences were apparent only for waist phenotypes, not for height, weight, BMI, or hip circumference. Moreover, we found no evidence for genetic effects with opposite directions in men versus women. The PPARG locus is of specific interest due to its role in diabetes genetics and therapy. Our results demonstrate the value of sex-specific GWAS to unravel the sexually dimorphic genetic underpinning of complex traits.

Berndt SI, Gustafsson S, Mägi R, Ganna A, Wheeler E, Feitosa MF, Justice AE, Monda KL et al. 2013. Genome-wide meta-analysis identifies 11 new loci for anthropometric traits and provides insights into genetic architecture. Nat Genet, 45 (5), pp. 501-512. | Show Abstract | Read more

Approaches exploiting trait distribution extremes may be used to identify loci associated with common traits, but it is unknown whether these loci are generalizable to the broader population. In a genome-wide search for loci associated with the upper versus the lower 5th percentiles of body mass index, height and waist-to-hip ratio, as well as clinical classes of obesity, including up to 263,407 individuals of European ancestry, we identified 4 new loci (IGFBP4, H6PD, RSRC1 and PPP2R2A) influencing height detected in the distribution tails and 7 new loci (HNF4G, RPTOR, GNAT2, MRPS33P4, ADCY9, HS6ST3 and ZZZ3) for clinical classes of obesity. Further, we find a large overlap in genetic structure and the distribution of variants between traits based on extremes and the general population and little etiological heterogeneity between obesity subgroups.

Mägi R, Manning S, Yousseif A, Pucci A, Santini F, Karra E, Querci G, Pelosini C, McCarthy MI, Lindgren CM, Batterham RL. 2013. Contribution of 32 GWAS-identified common variants to severe obesity in European adults referred for bariatric surgery. PLoS One, 8 (8), pp. e70735. | Show Abstract | Read more

The prevalence of severe obesity, defined as body mass index (BMI) ≥ 35.0 kg/m(2), is rising rapidly. Given the disproportionately high health burden and healthcare costs associated with this condition, understanding the underlying aetiology, including predisposing genetic factors, is a biomedical research priority. Previous studies have suggested that severe obesity represents an extreme tail of the population BMI variation, reflecting shared genetic factors operating across the spectrum. Here, we sought to determine whether a panel of 32 known common obesity-susceptibility variants contribute to severe obesity in patients (n = 1,003, mean BMI 48.4 ± 8.1 kg/m(2)) attending bariatric surgery clinics in two European centres. We examined the effects of these 32 common variants on obesity risk and BMI, both as individual markers and in combination as a genetic risk score, in a comparison with normal-weight controls (n = 1,809, BMI 18.0-24.9 kg/m(2)); an approach which, to our knowledge, has not been previously undertaken in the setting of a bariatric clinic. We found strong associations with severe obesity for SNP rs9939609 within the FTO gene (P = 9.3 × 10(-8)) and SNP rs2815752 near the NEGR1 gene (P = 3.6 × 10(-4)), and directionally consistent nominal associations (P<0.05) for 12 other SNPs. The genetic risk score associated with severe obesity (P = 8.3 × 10(-11)) but, within the bariatric cohort, this score did not associate with BMI itself (P = 0.264). Our results show significant effects of individual BMI-associated common variants within a relatively small sample size of bariatric patients. Furthermore, the burden of such low-penetrant risk alleles contributes to severe obesity in this population. Our findings support that severe obesity observed in bariatric patients represents an extreme tail of the population BMI variation. Moreover, future genetic studies focused on bariatric patients may provide valuable insights into the pathogenesis of obesity at a population level.

Drong AW, Nicholson G, Hedman AK, Meduri E, Grundberg E, Small KS, Shin SY, Bell JT et al. 2013. The presence of methylation quantitative trait loci indicates a direct genetic influence on the level of DNA methylation in adipose tissue. PLoS One, 8 (2), pp. e55923. | Show Abstract | Read more

Genetic variants that associate with DNA methylation at CpG sites (methylation quantitative trait loci, meQTLs) offer a potential biological mechanism of action for disease associated SNPs. We investigated whether meQTLs exist in abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) and if CpG methylation associates with metabolic syndrome (MetSyn) phenotypes. We profiled 27,718 genomic regions in abdominal SAT samples of 38 unrelated individuals using differential methylation hybridization (DMH) together with genotypes at 5,227,243 SNPs and expression of 17,209 mRNA transcripts. Validation and replication of significant meQTLs was pursued in an independent cohort of 181 female twins. We find that, at 5% false discovery rate, methylation levels of 149 DMH regions associate with at least one SNP in a ±500 kilobase cis-region in our primary study. We sought to validate 19 of these in the replication study and find that five of these significantly associate with the corresponding meQTL SNPs from the primary study. We find that none of the 149 meQTL top SNPs is a significant expression quantitative trait locus in our expression data, but we observed association between expression levels of two mRNA transcripts and cis-methylation status. Our results indicate that DNA CpG methylation in abdominal SAT is partly under genetic control. This study provides a starting point for future investigations of DNA methylation in adipose tissue.

van de Bunt M, Gaulton KJ, Parts L, Moran I, Johnson PR, Lindgren CM, Ferrer J, Gloyn AL, McCarthy MI. 2013. The miRNA profile of human pancreatic islets and beta-cells and relationship to type 2 diabetes pathogenesis. PLoS One, 8 (1), pp. e55272. | Show Abstract | Read more

Recent advances in the understanding of the genetics of type 2 diabetes (T2D) susceptibility have focused attention on the regulation of transcriptional activity within the pancreatic beta-cell. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) represent an important component of regulatory control, and have proven roles in the development of human disease and control of glucose homeostasis. We set out to establish the miRNA profile of human pancreatic islets and of enriched beta-cell populations, and to explore their potential involvement in T2D susceptibility. We used Illumina small RNA sequencing to profile the miRNA fraction in three preparations each of primary human islets and of enriched beta-cells generated by fluorescence-activated cell sorting. In total, 366 miRNAs were found to be expressed (i.e. >100 cumulative reads) in islets and 346 in beta-cells; of the total of 384 unique miRNAs, 328 were shared. A comparison of the islet-cell miRNA profile with those of 15 other human tissues identified 40 miRNAs predominantly expressed (i.e. >50% of all reads seen across the tissues) in islets. Several highly-expressed islet miRNAs, such as miR-375, have established roles in the regulation of islet function, but others (e.g. miR-27b-3p, miR-192-5p) have not previously been described in the context of islet biology. As a first step towards exploring the role of islet-expressed miRNAs and their predicted mRNA targets in T2D pathogenesis, we looked at published T2D association signals across these sites. We found evidence that predicted mRNA targets of islet-expressed miRNAs were globally enriched for signals of T2D association (p-values <0.01, q-values <0.1). At six loci with genome-wide evidence for T2D association (AP3S2, KCNK16, NOTCH2, SCL30A8, VPS26A, and WFS1) predicted mRNA target sites for islet-expressed miRNAs overlapped potentially causal variants. In conclusion, we have described the miRNA profile of human islets and beta-cells and provide evidence linking islet miRNAs to T2D pathogenesis.

Travers ME, Mackay DJ, Dekker Nitert M, Morris AP, Lindgren CM, Berry A, Johnson PR, Hanley N, Groop LC, McCarthy MI, Gloyn AL. 2013. Insights into the molecular mechanism for type 2 diabetes susceptibility at the KCNQ1 locus from temporal changes in imprinting status in human islets. Diabetes, 62 (3), pp. 987-992. | Show Abstract | Read more

The molecular basis of type 2 diabetes predisposition at most established susceptibility loci remains poorly understood. KCNQ1 maps within the 11p15.5 imprinted domain, a region with an established role in congenital growth phenotypes. Variants intronic to KCNQ1 influence diabetes susceptibility when maternally inherited. By use of quantitative PCR and pyrosequencing of human adult islet and fetal pancreas samples, we investigated the imprinting status of regional transcripts and aimed to determine whether type 2 diabetes risk alleles influence regional DNA methylation and gene expression. The results demonstrate that gene expression patterns differ by developmental stage. CDKN1C showed monoallelic expression in both adult and fetal tissue, whereas PHLDA2, SLC22A18, and SLC22A18AS were biallelically expressed in both tissues. Temporal changes in imprinting were observed for KCNQ1 and KCNQ1OT1, with monoallelic expression in fetal tissues and biallelic expression in adult samples. Genotype at the type 2 diabetes risk variant rs2237895 influenced methylation levels of regulatory sequence in fetal pancreas but without demonstrable effects on gene expression. We demonstrate that CDKN1C, KCNQ1, and KCNQ1OT1 are most likely to mediate diabetes susceptibility at the KCNQ1 locus and identify temporal differences in imprinting status and methylation effects, suggesting that diabetes risk effects may be mediated in early development.

Drong AW, Lindgren CM, McCarthy MI. 2012. The genetic and epigenetic basis of type 2 diabetes and obesity. Clin Pharmacol Ther, 92 (6), pp. 707-715. | Show Abstract | Read more

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) and obesity are complex disorders that constitute major public health problems. The evidence for familial aggregation of both T2D and obesity is substantial. To date, more than 150 genetic loci are associated with the development of monogenic, syndromic, or multifactorial forms of T2D or obesity. However, the proportion of overall trait variance explained by these associated loci is modest (~5-10% for T2D, ~2% for body mass index (BMI)). Some of the familial aggregation not attributable to known genetic variation, as well as many of the effects of environmental exposures, may reflect epigenetic processes. In this review, we discuss the evidence concerning the genetic contribution to individual risk of T2D and obesity, and explore the potential role of epigenetic mechanisms. We also explain how genetics, epigenetics, and environment are likely to interact to define the individual risk of disease.

Ho JE, Mahajan A, Chen MH, Larson MG, McCabe EL, Ghorbani A, Cheng S, Johnson AD et al. 2012. Clinical and genetic correlates of growth differentiation factor 15 in the community. Clin Chem, 58 (11), pp. 1582-1591. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15), a stress-responsive cytokine produced in cardiovascular cells under conditions of inflammation and oxidative stress, is emerging as an important prognostic marker in individuals with and without existing cardiovascular disease (CVD). We therefore examined the clinical and genetic correlates of circulating GDF15 concentrations, which have not been investigated collectively. METHODS: Plasma GDF15 concentrations were measured in 2991 participants in the Framingham Offspring Study who were free of clinically overt CVD (mean age, 59 years; 56% women). Clinical correlates of GDF15 were examined in multivariable analyses. We then conducted a genomewide association study of the GDF15 concentration that included participants in the Framingham Offspring Study and participants in the PIVUS (Prospective Investigation of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors) study. RESULTS: GDF15 was positively associated with age, smoking, antihypertensive treatment, diabetes, worse kidney function, and use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), but it was negatively associated with total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. Clinical correlates accounted for 38% of interindividual variation in the circulating GDF15 concentration, whereas genetic factors accounted for up to 38% of the residual variability (h(2) = 0.38; P = 2.5 × 10(-11)). We identified 1 locus of genomewide significance. This locus, which is on chromosome 19p13.11 and includes the GDF15 gene, is associated with GDF15 concentration (smallest P = 2.74 × 10(-32) for rs888663). Conditional analyses revealed 2 independent association signals at this locus (rs888663 and rs1054564), which were associated with altered cis gene expression in blood cell lines. CONCLUSIONS: In ambulatory individuals, both cardiometabolic risk factors and genetic factors play important roles in determining circulating GDF15 concentrations and contribute similarly to the overall variation.

Yang J, Loos RJ, Powell JE, Medland SE, Speliotes EK, Chasman DI, Rose LM, Thorleifsson G et al. 2012. FTO genotype is associated with phenotypic variability of body mass index. Nature, 490 (7419), pp. 267-272. | Show Abstract | Read more

There is evidence across several species for genetic control of phenotypic variation of complex traits, such that the variance among phenotypes is genotype dependent. Understanding genetic control of variability is important in evolutionary biology, agricultural selection programmes and human medicine, yet for complex traits, no individual genetic variants associated with variance, as opposed to the mean, have been identified. Here we perform a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of phenotypic variation using ∼170,000 samples on height and body mass index (BMI) in human populations. We report evidence that the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs7202116 at the FTO gene locus, which is known to be associated with obesity (as measured by mean BMI for each rs7202116 genotype), is also associated with phenotypic variability. We show that the results are not due to scale effects or other artefacts, and find no other experiment-wise significant evidence for effects on variability, either at loci other than FTO for BMI or at any locus for height. The difference in variance for BMI among individuals with opposite homozygous genotypes at the FTO locus is approximately 7%, corresponding to a difference of ∼0.5 kilograms in the standard deviation of weight. Our results indicate that genetic variants can be discovered that are associated with variability, and that between-person variability in obesity can partly be explained by the genotype at the FTO locus. The results are consistent with reported FTO by environment interactions for BMI, possibly mediated by DNA methylation. Our BMI results for other SNPs and our height results for all SNPs suggest that most genetic variants, including those that influence mean height or mean BMI, are not associated with phenotypic variance, or that their effects on variability are too small to detect even with samples sizes greater than 100,000.

Elliott KS, Chapman K, Day-Williams A, Panoutsopoulou K, Southam L, Lindgren CM, Arden N, Aslam N et al. 2013. Evaluation of the genetic overlap between osteoarthritis with body mass index and height using genome-wide association scan data. Ann Rheum Dis, 72 (6), pp. 935-941. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Obesity as measured by body mass index (BMI) is one of the major risk factors for osteoarthritis. In addition, genetic overlap has been reported between osteoarthritis and normal adult height variation. We investigated whether this relationship is due to a shared genetic aetiology on a genome-wide scale. METHODS: We compared genetic association summary statistics (effect size, p value) for BMI and height from the GIANT consortium genome-wide association study (GWAS) with genetic association summary statistics from the arcOGEN consortium osteoarthritis GWAS. Significance was evaluated by permutation. Replication of osteoarthritis association of the highlighted signals was investigated in an independent dataset. Phenotypic information of height and BMI was accounted for in a separate analysis using osteoarthritis-free controls. RESULTS: We found significant overlap between osteoarthritis and height (p=3.3×10(-5) for signals with p≤0.05) when the GIANT and arcOGEN GWAS were compared. For signals with p≤0.001 we found 17 shared signals between osteoarthritis and height and four between osteoarthritis and BMI. However, only one of the height or BMI signals that had shown evidence of association with osteoarthritis in the arcOGEN GWAS was also associated with osteoarthritis in the independent dataset: rs12149832, within the FTO gene (combined p=2.3×10(-5)). As expected, this signal was attenuated when we adjusted for BMI. CONCLUSIONS: We found a significant excess of shared signals between both osteoarthritis and height and osteoarthritis and BMI, suggestive of a common genetic aetiology. However, only one signal showed association with osteoarthritis when followed up in a new dataset.

Grundberg E, Small KS, Hedman ÅK, Nica AC, Buil A, Keildson S, Bell JT, Yang TP et al. 2012. Mapping cis- and trans-regulatory effects across multiple tissues in twins. Nat Genet, 44 (10), pp. 1084-1089. | Show Abstract | Read more

Sequence-based variation in gene expression is a key driver of disease risk. Common variants regulating expression in cis have been mapped in many expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) studies, typically in single tissues from unrelated individuals. Here, we present a comprehensive analysis of gene expression across multiple tissues conducted in a large set of mono- and dizygotic twins that allows systematic dissection of genetic (cis and trans) and non-genetic effects on gene expression. Using identity-by-descent estimates, we show that at least 40% of the total heritable cis effect on expression cannot be accounted for by common cis variants, a finding that reveals the contribution of low-frequency and rare regulatory variants with respect to both transcriptional regulation and complex trait susceptibility. We show that a substantial proportion of gene expression heritability is trans to the structural gene, and we identify several replicating trans variants that act predominantly in a tissue-restricted manner and may regulate the transcription of many genes.

Scott RA, Lagou V, Welch RP, Wheeler E, Montasser ME, Luan J, Mägi R, Strawbridge RJ et al. 2012. Large-scale association analyses identify new loci influencing glycemic traits and provide insight into the underlying biological pathways. Nat Genet, 44 (9), pp. 991-1005. | Show Abstract | Read more

Through genome-wide association meta-analyses of up to 133,010 individuals of European ancestry without diabetes, including individuals newly genotyped using the Metabochip, we have increased the number of confirmed loci influencing glycemic traits to 53, of which 33 also increase type 2 diabetes risk (q < 0.05). Loci influencing fasting insulin concentration showed association with lipid levels and fat distribution, suggesting impact on insulin resistance. Gene-based analyses identified further biologically plausible loci, suggesting that additional loci beyond those reaching genome-wide significance are likely to represent real associations. This conclusion is supported by an excess of directionally consistent and nominally significant signals between discovery and follow-up studies. Functional analysis of these newly discovered loci will further improve our understanding of glycemic control.

Morris AP, Voight BF, Teslovich TM, Ferreira T, Segrè AV, Steinthorsdottir V, Strawbridge RJ, Khan H et al. 2012. Large-scale association analysis provides insights into the genetic architecture and pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes. Nat Genet, 44 (9), pp. 981-990. | Show Abstract | Read more

To extend understanding of the genetic architecture and molecular basis of type 2 diabetes (T2D), we conducted a meta-analysis of genetic variants on the Metabochip, including 34,840 cases and 114,981 controls, overwhelmingly of European descent. We identified ten previously unreported T2D susceptibility loci, including two showing sex-differentiated association. Genome-wide analyses of these data are consistent with a long tail of additional common variant loci explaining much of the variation in susceptibility to T2D. Exploration of the enlarged set of susceptibility loci implicates several processes, including CREBBP-related transcription, adipocytokine signaling and cell cycle regulation, in diabetes pathogenesis.

Myrseth H, Tverå R, Hagatun S, Lindgren C. 2012. A comparison of impulsivity and sensation seeking in pathological gamblers and skydivers. Scand J Psychol, 53 (4), pp. 340-346. | Show Abstract | Read more

The aim of this study was to compare pathological gamblers and skydivers in relation to measures of impulsivity and sensation seeking. The Eysenck Impulsivity Scale - Narrow Impulsiveness Subscale and the Arnett Inventory of Sensation Seeking were administered to pathological gamblers (n = 29), skydivers (n = 93), and a control group (n = 43). A two-way multivariate analysis of variance was conducted to explore differences in impulsivity and sensation seeking between the groups and possible group by gender and group by age interaction effects. The significant effects were further investigated using follow-up univariate analysis of variance. The results showed significant main effects of Group, Gender and Age, and a significant Group by Gender interaction effect. The results showed no statistically significant differences in impulsivity between pathological gamblers and skydivers; however, both groups scored higher than the controls. The skydivers scored higher compared to the pathological gamblers and controls on both sensation seeking subscales. Pathological gamblers scored higher than the controls on the subscale Need for Stimulus Intensity, although lower than the controls on the subscale Need for Novelty. We conclude that skydivers and pathological gamblers do not seem to differ in terms of impulsivity, but that the two groups differ in terms of sensation seeking. Skydivers are hence characterized by more sensation seeking compared to pathological gamblers. Skydiving, as opposed to pathological gambling, is not considered a psychiatric disorder, and skydiving may represent a more non-pathological way to fulfill the need for stimulus intensity.

Voight BF, Kang HM, Ding J, Palmer CD, Sidore C, Chines PS, Burtt NP, Fuchsberger C et al. 2012. The metabochip, a custom genotyping array for genetic studies of metabolic, cardiovascular, and anthropometric traits. PLoS Genet, 8 (8), pp. e1002793. | Show Abstract | Read more

Genome-wide association studies have identified hundreds of loci for type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease and myocardial infarction, as well as for related traits such as body mass index, glucose and insulin levels, lipid levels, and blood pressure. These studies also have pointed to thousands of loci with promising but not yet compelling association evidence. To establish association at additional loci and to characterize the genome-wide significant loci by fine-mapping, we designed the "Metabochip," a custom genotyping array that assays nearly 200,000 SNP markers. Here, we describe the Metabochip and its component SNP sets, evaluate its performance in capturing variation across the allele-frequency spectrum, describe solutions to methodological challenges commonly encountered in its analysis, and evaluate its performance as a platform for genotype imputation. The metabochip achieves dramatic cost efficiencies compared to designing single-trait follow-up reagents, and provides the opportunity to compare results across a range of related traits. The metabochip and similar custom genotyping arrays offer a powerful and cost-effective approach to follow-up large-scale genotyping and sequencing studies and advance our understanding of the genetic basis of complex human diseases and traits.

Kramer DS, Lindgren CL, High C, Ocon S, Sanchez R. 2012. The clinical practice collaborative support model for the graduate nurse. J Contin Educ Nurs, 43 (7), pp. 315-323. | Show Abstract | Read more

The collaborative support model for the graduate nurse is a proactive approach to supporting all aspects of nursing during the 18-week orientation. Weekly meetings include the unit manager, clinical learning educator, unit clinician, registered nurse (RN) resident, and preceptor. Weekly assessment tools containing goals are created and reviewed by the RN resident and preceptor. Learning needs are then addressed by the team. Because the support model was fully implemented, residents have been able to complete the training program successfully, demonstrating confidence, critical thinking, and a strong skill set. The most rewarding outcome has been the link with management, the clinical learning educator, clinicians, and staff.

MYRSETH HELGA, TVERÅ RENATE, HAGATUN SUSANNE, LINDGREN CAMILLA. 2012. Retracted: A comparison of impulsivity and sensation seeking in pathological gamblers and skydivers. Scand J Psychol, 53 (3), pp. I. | Show Abstract | Read more

The following article from Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, "A comparison of impulsivity and sensation seeking in pathological gamblers and skydivers" by Helga Myrseth, Renate Tverå, Susanne Hagatun and Camilla Lindgren, published online on 19th September 2011 in Wiley Online Library (, has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal Editor in Chief, Professor Jerker Rönnberg, and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. The retraction has been agreed due to the inclusion of certain data within the published work that has been used without confirming with Dr. Helge Molde that the data could be utilized in the study as it had been used in previous studies. © 2012 The Authors. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology © 2012 The Scandinavian Psychological Associations.

Sparger K, Selgas M, Collins PM, Lindgren CL, Massieu M, Castillo AS. 2012. The EBP rollout process. Nurs Manage, 43 (5), pp. 14-20. | Read more

Parts L, Hedman ÅK, Keildson S, Knights AJ, Abreu-Goodger C, van de Bunt M, Guerra-Assunção JA, Bartonicek N et al. 2012. Extent, causes, and consequences of small RNA expression variation in human adipose tissue. PLoS Genet, 8 (5), pp. e1002704. | Show Abstract | Read more

Small RNAs are functional molecules that modulate mRNA transcripts and have been implicated in the aetiology of several common diseases. However, little is known about the extent of their variability within the human population. Here, we characterise the extent, causes, and effects of naturally occurring variation in expression and sequence of small RNAs from adipose tissue in relation to genotype, gene expression, and metabolic traits in the MuTHER reference cohort. We profiled the expression of 15 to 30 base pair RNA molecules in subcutaneous adipose tissue from 131 individuals using high-throughput sequencing, and quantified levels of 591 microRNAs and small nucleolar RNAs. We identified three genetic variants and three RNA editing events. Highly expressed small RNAs are more conserved within mammals than average, as are those with highly variable expression. We identified 14 genetic loci significantly associated with nearby small RNA expression levels, seven of which also regulate an mRNA transcript level in the same region. In addition, these loci are enriched for variants significant in genome-wide association studies for body mass index. Contrary to expectation, we found no evidence for negative correlation between expression level of a microRNA and its target mRNAs. Trunk fat mass, body mass index, and fasting insulin were associated with more than twenty small RNA expression levels each, while fasting glucose had no significant associations. This study highlights the similar genetic complexity and shared genetic control of small RNA and mRNA transcripts, and gives a quantitative picture of small RNA expression variation in the human population.

Panagiotou OA, Ioannidis JP, Genome-Wide Significance Project. 2012. What should the genome-wide significance threshold be? Empirical replication of borderline genetic associations. Int J Epidemiol, 41 (1), pp. 273-286. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Robust replication is a sine qua non for the rigorous documentation of proposed associations in the genome-wide association (GWA) setting. Currently, associations of common variants reaching P ≤ 5 × 10(-8) are considered replicated. However, there is some ambiguity about the most suitable threshold for claiming genome-wide significance. METHODS: We defined as 'borderline' associations those with P > 5 × 10(-8) and P ≤ 1 × 10(-7). The eligible associations were retrieved using the 'Catalog of Published Genome-Wide Association Studies'. For each association we assessed whether it reached P ≤ 5 × 10(-8) with inclusion of additional data from subsequent GWA studies. RESULTS: Thirty-four eligible genotype-phenotype associations were evaluated with data and clarifications contributed from diverse investigators. Replication data from subsequent GWA studies could be obtained for 26 of them. Of those, 19 associations (73%) reached P ≤ 5 × 10(-8) for the same or a related trait implicating either the exact same allele or one in very high linkage disequilibrium and 17 reached P < 10(-8). If the seven associations that did not reach P ≤ 5 × 10(-8) when additional data were considered are assumed to have been false-positives, the false-discovery rate for borderline associations is estimated to be 27% [95% confidence interval (CI) 12-48%]. For five associations, the current P-value is > 10(-6) [corresponding false-discovery rate 19% (95% CI 7-39%)]. CONCLUSION: A substantial proportion, but not all, of the associations with borderline genome-wide significance represent replicable, possibly genuine associations. Our empirical evaluation suggests a possible relaxation in the current GWS threshold.

Min JL, Nicholson G, Halgrimsdottir I, Almstrup K, Petri A, Barrett A, Travers M, Rayner NW et al. 2012. Coexpression network analysis in abdominal and gluteal adipose tissue reveals regulatory genetic loci for metabolic syndrome and related phenotypes. PLoS Genet, 8 (2), pp. e1002505. | Show Abstract | Read more

Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) is highly prevalent and has considerable public health impact, but its underlying genetic factors remain elusive. To identify gene networks involved in MetS, we conducted whole-genome expression and genotype profiling on abdominal (ABD) and gluteal (GLU) adipose tissue, and whole blood (WB), from 29 MetS cases and 44 controls. Co-expression network analysis for each tissue independently identified nine, six, and zero MetS-associated modules of coexpressed genes in ABD, GLU, and WB, respectively. Of 8,992 probesets expressed in ABD or GLU, 685 (7.6%) were expressed in ABD and 51 (0.6%) in GLU only. Differential eigengene network analysis of 8,256 shared probesets detected 22 shared modules with high preservation across adipose depots (D(ABD-GLU) = 0.89), seven of which were associated with MetS (FDR P<0.01). The strongest associated module, significantly enriched for immune response-related processes, contained 94/620 (15%) genes with inter-depot differences. In an independent cohort of 145/141 twins with ABD and WB longitudinal expression data, median variability in ABD due to familiality was greater for MetS-associated versus un-associated modules (ABD: 0.48 versus 0.18, P = 0.08; GLU: 0.54 versus 0.20, P = 7.8×10(-4)). Cis-eQTL analysis of probesets associated with MetS (FDR P<0.01) and/or inter-depot differences (FDR P<0.01) provided evidence for 32 eQTLs. Corresponding eSNPs were tested for association with MetS-related phenotypes in two GWAS of >100,000 individuals; rs10282458, affecting expression of RARRES2 (encoding chemerin), was associated with body mass index (BMI) (P = 6.0×10(-4)); and rs2395185, affecting inter-depot differences of HLA-DRB1 expression, was associated with high-density lipoprotein (P = 8.7×10(-4)) and BMI-adjusted waist-to-hip ratio (P = 2.4×10(-4)). Since many genes and their interactions influence complex traits such as MetS, integrated analysis of genotypes and coexpression networks across multiple tissues relevant to clinical traits is an efficient strategy to identify novel associations.

Palmer ND, McDonough CW, Hicks PJ, Roh BH, Wing MR, An SS, Hester JM, Cooke JN et al. 2012. A genome-wide association search for type 2 diabetes genes in African Americans. PLoS One, 7 (1), pp. e29202. | Show Abstract | Read more

African Americans are disproportionately affected by type 2 diabetes (T2DM) yet few studies have examined T2DM using genome-wide association approaches in this ethnicity. The aim of this study was to identify genes associated with T2DM in the African American population. We performed a Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) using the Affymetrix 6.0 array in 965 African-American cases with T2DM and end-stage renal disease (T2DM-ESRD) and 1029 population-based controls. The most significant SNPs (n = 550 independent loci) were genotyped in a replication cohort and 122 SNPs (n = 98 independent loci) were further tested through genotyping three additional validation cohorts followed by meta-analysis in all five cohorts totaling 3,132 cases and 3,317 controls. Twelve SNPs had evidence of association in the GWAS (P<0.0071), were directionally consistent in the Replication cohort and were associated with T2DM in subjects without nephropathy (P<0.05). Meta-analysis in all cases and controls revealed a single SNP reaching genome-wide significance (P<2.5×10(-8)). SNP rs7560163 (P = 7.0×10(-9), OR (95% CI) = 0.75 (0.67-0.84)) is located intergenically between RND3 and RBM43. Four additional loci (rs7542900, rs4659485, rs2722769 and rs7107217) were associated with T2DM (P<0.05) and reached more nominal levels of significance (P<2.5×10(-5)) in the overall analysis and may represent novel loci that contribute to T2DM. We have identified novel T2DM-susceptibility variants in the African-American population. Notably, T2DM risk was associated with the major allele and implies an interesting genetic architecture in this population. These results suggest that multiple loci underlie T2DM susceptibility in the African-American population and that these loci are distinct from those identified in other ethnic populations.

Dastani Z, Hivert MF, Timpson N, Perry JR, Yuan X, Scott RA, Henneman P, Heid IM et al. 2012. Novel loci for adiponectin levels and their influence on type 2 diabetes and metabolic traits: a multi-ethnic meta-analysis of 45,891 individuals. PLoS Genet, 8 (3), pp. e1002607. | Show Abstract | Read more

Circulating levels of adiponectin, a hormone produced predominantly by adipocytes, are highly heritable and are inversely associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) and other metabolic traits. We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies in 39,883 individuals of European ancestry to identify genes associated with metabolic disease. We identified 8 novel loci associated with adiponectin levels and confirmed 2 previously reported loci (P = 4.5×10(-8)-1.2×10(-43)). Using a novel method to combine data across ethnicities (N = 4,232 African Americans, N = 1,776 Asians, and N = 29,347 Europeans), we identified two additional novel loci. Expression analyses of 436 human adipocyte samples revealed that mRNA levels of 18 genes at candidate regions were associated with adiponectin concentrations after accounting for multiple testing (p<3×10(-4)). We next developed a multi-SNP genotypic risk score to test the association of adiponectin decreasing risk alleles on metabolic traits and diseases using consortia-level meta-analytic data. This risk score was associated with increased risk of T2D (p = 4.3×10(-3), n = 22,044), increased triglycerides (p = 2.6×10(-14), n = 93,440), increased waist-to-hip ratio (p = 1.8×10(-5), n = 77,167), increased glucose two hours post oral glucose tolerance testing (p = 4.4×10(-3), n = 15,234), increased fasting insulin (p = 0.015, n = 48,238), but with lower in HDL-cholesterol concentrations (p = 4.5×10(-13), n = 96,748) and decreased BMI (p = 1.4×10(-4), n = 121,335). These findings identify novel genetic determinants of adiponectin levels, which, taken together, influence risk of T2D and markers of insulin resistance.




Scott RA, Lagou V, Welch RP, Wheeler E, Montasser ME, Luan J, MäGi R, Strawbridge RJ et al. 2012. Large-scale association analyses identify new loci influencing glycemic traits and provide insight into the underlying biological pathways Nature Genetics, 44 (9), pp. 991-1005. | Show Abstract | Read more

Through genome-wide association meta-analyses of up to 133,010 individuals of European ancestry without diabetes, including individuals newly genotyped using the Metabochip, we have increased the number of confirmed loci influencing glycemic traits to 53, of which 33 also increase type 2 diabetes risk (q < 0.05). Loci influencing fasting insulin concentration showed association with lipid levels and fat distribution, suggesting impact on insulin resistance. Gene-based analyses identified further biologically plausible loci, suggesting that additional loci beyond those reaching genome-wide significance are likely to represent real associations. This conclusion is supported by an excess of directionally consistent and nominally significant signals between discovery and follow-up studies. Functional analysis of these newly discovered loci will further improve our understanding of glycemic control. © 2012 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.

Ikram MA, Fornage M, Smith AV, Seshadri S, Schmidt R, Debette S, Vrooman HA, Sigurdsson S et al. 2012. Common variants at 6q22 and 17q21 are associated with intracranial volume. Nat Genet, 44 (5), pp. 539-544. | Show Abstract | Read more

During aging, intracranial volume remains unchanged and represents maximally attained brain size, while various interacting biological phenomena lead to brain volume loss. Consequently, intracranial volume and brain volume in late life reflect different genetic influences. Our genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 8,175 community-dwelling elderly persons did not reveal any associations at genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10(-8)) for brain volume. In contrast, intracranial volume was significantly associated with two loci: rs4273712 (P = 3.4 × 10(-11)), a known height-associated locus on chromosome 6q22, and rs9915547 (P = 1.5 × 10(-12)), localized to the inversion on chromosome 17q21. We replicated the associations of these loci with intracranial volume in a separate sample of 1,752 elderly persons (P = 1.1 × 10(-3) for 6q22 and 1.2 × 10(-3) for 17q21). Furthermore, we also found suggestive associations of the 17q21 locus with head circumference in 10,768 children (mean age of 14.5 months). Our data identify two loci associated with head size, with the inversion at 17q21 also likely to be involved in attaining maximal brain size.

Taal HR, St Pourcain B, Thiering E, Das S, Mook-Kanamori DO, Warrington NM, Kaakinen M, Kreiner-Møller E et al. 2012. Common variants at 12q15 and 12q24 are associated with infant head circumference. Nat Genet, 44 (5), pp. 532-538. | Show Abstract | Read more

To identify genetic variants associated with head circumference in infancy, we performed a meta-analysis of seven genome-wide association studies (GWAS) (N = 10,768 individuals of European ancestry enrolled in pregnancy and/or birth cohorts) and followed up three lead signals in six replication studies (combined N = 19,089). rs7980687 on chromosome 12q24 (P = 8.1 × 10(-9)) and rs1042725 on chromosome 12q15 (P = 2.8 × 10(-10)) were robustly associated with head circumference in infancy. Although these loci have previously been associated with adult height, their effects on infant head circumference were largely independent of height (P = 3.8 × 10(-7) for rs7980687 and P = 1.3 × 10(-7) for rs1042725 after adjustment for infant height). A third signal, rs11655470 on chromosome 17q21, showed suggestive evidence of association with head circumference (P = 3.9 × 10(-6)). SNPs correlated to the 17q21 signal have shown genome-wide association with adult intracranial volume, Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, indicating that a common genetic variant in this region might link early brain growth with neurological disease in later life.

Bradfield JP, Taal HR, Timpson NJ, Scherag A, Lecoeur C, Warrington NM, Hypponen E, Holst C et al. 2012. A genome-wide association meta-analysis identifies new childhood obesity loci. Nat Genet, 44 (5), pp. 526-531. | Show Abstract | Read more

Multiple genetic variants have been associated with adult obesity and a few with severe obesity in childhood; however, less progress has been made in establishing genetic influences on common early-onset obesity. We performed a North American, Australian and European collaborative meta-analysis of 14 studies consisting of 5,530 cases (≥95th percentile of body mass index (BMI)) and 8,318 controls (<50th percentile of BMI) of European ancestry. Taking forward the eight newly discovered signals yielding association with P < 5 × 10(-6) in nine independent data sets (2,818 cases and 4,083 controls), we observed two loci that yielded genome-wide significant combined P values near OLFM4 at 13q14 (rs9568856; P = 1.82 × 10(-9); odds ratio (OR) = 1.22) and within HOXB5 at 17q21 (rs9299; P = 3.54 × 10(-9); OR = 1.14). Both loci continued to show association when two extreme childhood obesity cohorts were included (2,214 cases and 2,674 controls). These two loci also yielded directionally consistent associations in a previous meta-analysis of adult BMI(1).

Small KS, Hedman ÅK, Grundberg E, Nica AC, Thorleifsson G, Kong A, Thorsteindottir U, Shin S-Y et al. 2011. Corrigendum: Identification of an imprinted master trans regulator at the KLF14 locus related to multiple metabolic phenotypes Nature Genetics, 43 (10), pp. 1040-1040. | Read more

Kilpeläinen TO, den Hoed M, Ong KK, Grøntved A, Brage S, Early Growth Genetics Consortium, Jameson K, Cooper C et al. 2011. Obesity-susceptibility loci have a limited influence on birth weight: a meta-analysis of up to 28,219 individuals. Am J Clin Nutr, 93 (4), pp. 851-860. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: High birth weight is associated with adult body mass index (BMI). We hypothesized that birth weight and BMI may partly share a common genetic background. OBJECTIVE: The objective was to examine the associations of 12 established BMI variants in or near the NEGR1, SEC16B, TMEM18, ETV5, GNPDA2, BDNF, MTCH2, BCDIN3D, SH2B1, FTO, MC4R, and KCTD15 genes and their additive score with birth weight. DESIGN: A meta-analysis was conducted with the use of 1) the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Norfolk, Hertfordshire, Fenland, and European Youth Heart Study cohorts (n(max) = 14,060); 2) data extracted from the Early Growth Genetics Consortium meta-analysis of 6 genome-wide association studies for birth weight (n(max) = 10,623); and 3) all published data (n(max) = 14,837). RESULTS: Only the MTCH2 and FTO loci showed a nominally significant association with birth weight. The BMI-increasing allele of the MTCH2 variant (rs10838738) was associated with a lower birth weight (β ± SE: -13 ± 5 g/allele; P = 0.012; n = 23,680), and the BMI-increasing allele of the FTO variant (rs1121980) was associated with a higher birth weight (β ± SE: 11 ± 4 g/allele; P = 0.013; n = 28,219). These results were not significant after correction for multiple testing. CONCLUSIONS: Obesity-susceptibility loci have a small or no effect on weight at birth. Some evidence of an association was found for the MTCH2 and FTO loci, ie, lower and higher birth weight, respectively. These findings may provide new insights into the underlying mechanisms by which these loci confer an increased risk of obesity.

Reilly MP, Li M, He J, Ferguson JF, Stylianou IM, Mehta NN, Burnett MS, Devaney JM et al. 2011. Identification of ADAMTS7 as a novel locus for coronary atherosclerosis and association of ABO with myocardial infarction in the presence of coronary atherosclerosis: two genome-wide association studies. Lancet, 377 (9763), pp. 383-392. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: We tested whether genetic factors distinctly contribute to either development of coronary atherosclerosis or, specifically, to myocardial infarction in existing coronary atherosclerosis. METHODS: We did two genome-wide association studies (GWAS) with coronary angiographic phenotyping in participants of European ancestry. To identify loci that predispose to angiographic coronary artery disease (CAD), we compared individuals who had this disorder (n=12,393) with those who did not (controls, n=7383). To identify loci that predispose to myocardial infarction, we compared patients who had angiographic CAD and myocardial infarction (n=5783) with those who had angiographic CAD but no myocardial infarction (n=3644). FINDINGS: In the comparison of patients with angiographic CAD versus controls, we identified a novel locus, ADAMTS7 (p=4·98×10(-13)). In the comparison of patients with angiographic CAD who had myocardial infarction versus those with angiographic CAD but no myocardial infarction, we identified a novel association at the ABO locus (p=7·62×10(-9)). The ABO association was attributable to the glycotransferase-deficient enzyme that encodes the ABO blood group O phenotype previously proposed to protect against myocardial infarction. INTERPRETATION: Our findings indicate that specific genetic predispositions promote the development of coronary atherosclerosis whereas others lead to myocardial infarction in the presence of coronary atherosclerosis. The relation to specific CAD phenotypes might modify how novel loci are applied in personalised risk assessment and used in the development of novel therapies for CAD. FUNDING: The PennCath and MedStar studies were supported by the Cardiovascular Institute of the University of Pennsylvania, by the MedStar Health Research Institute at Washington Hospital Center and by a research grant from GlaxoSmithKline. The funding and support for the other cohorts contributing to the paper are described in the webappendix.

Voight BF, Scott LJ, Steinthorsdottir V, Morris AP, Dina C, Welch RP, Zeggini E, Huth C et al. 2011. Corrigendum: Twelve type 2 diabetes susceptibility loci identified through large-scale association analysis. Nat Genet, 43 (4), pp. 388. | Read more

Heid IM, Jackson AU, Randall JC, Winkler TW, Qi L, Steinthorsdottir V, Thorleifsson G, Zillikens MC et al. 2011. Erratum: Meta-analysis identifies 13 new loci associated with waist-hip ratio and reveals sexual dimorphism in the genetic basis of fat distribution (Nature Genetics (2010) 42 (949-960)) Nature Genetics, 43 (11), pp. 1164. | Read more

Strawbridge RJ, Dupuis J, Prokopenko I, Barker A, Ahlqvist E, Rybin D, Petrie JR, Travers ME et al. 2011. Genome-wide association identifies nine common variants associated with fasting proinsulin levels and provides new insights into the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes, 60 (10), pp. 2624-2634. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: Proinsulin is a precursor of mature insulin and C-peptide. Higher circulating proinsulin levels are associated with impaired β-cell function, raised glucose levels, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Studies of the insulin processing pathway could provide new insights about T2D pathophysiology. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We have conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association tests of ∼2.5 million genotyped or imputed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and fasting proinsulin levels in 10,701 nondiabetic adults of European ancestry, with follow-up of 23 loci in up to 16,378 individuals, using additive genetic models adjusted for age, sex, fasting insulin, and study-specific covariates. RESULTS: Nine SNPs at eight loci were associated with proinsulin levels (P < 5 × 10(-8)). Two loci (LARP6 and SGSM2) have not been previously related to metabolic traits, one (MADD) has been associated with fasting glucose, one (PCSK1) has been implicated in obesity, and four (TCF7L2, SLC30A8, VPS13C/C2CD4A/B, and ARAP1, formerly CENTD2) increase T2D risk. The proinsulin-raising allele of ARAP1 was associated with a lower fasting glucose (P = 1.7 × 10(-4)), improved β-cell function (P = 1.1 × 10(-5)), and lower risk of T2D (odds ratio 0.88; P = 7.8 × 10(-6)). Notably, PCSK1 encodes the protein prohormone convertase 1/3, the first enzyme in the insulin processing pathway. A genotype score composed of the nine proinsulin-raising alleles was not associated with coronary disease in two large case-control datasets. CONCLUSIONS: We have identified nine genetic variants associated with fasting proinsulin. Our findings illuminate the biology underlying glucose homeostasis and T2D development in humans and argue against a direct role of proinsulin in coronary artery disease pathogenesis.

Rantalainen M, Herrera BM, Nicholson G, Bowden R, Wills QF, Min JL, Neville MJ, Barrett A et al. 2011. MicroRNA expression in abdominal and gluteal adipose tissue is associated with mRNA expression levels and partly genetically driven. PLoS One, 6 (11), pp. e27338. | Show Abstract | Read more

To understand how miRNAs contribute to the molecular phenotype of adipose tissues and related traits, we performed global miRNA expression profiling in subcutaneous abdominal and gluteal adipose tissue of 70 human subjects and characterised which miRNAs were differentially expressed between these tissues. We found that 12% of the miRNAs were significantly differentially expressed between abdominal and gluteal adipose tissue (FDR adjusted p<0.05) in the primary study, of which 59 replicated in a follow-up study of 40 additional subjects. Further, 14 miRNAs were found to be associated with metabolic syndrome case-control status in abdominal tissue and three of these replicated (primary study: FDR adjusted p<0.05, replication: p<0.05 and directionally consistent effect). Genome-wide genotyping was performed in the 70 subjects to enable miRNA expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) analysis. Candidate miRNA eQTLs were followed-up in the additional 40 subjects and six significant, independent cis-located miRNA eQTLs (primary study: p<0.001; replication: p<0.05 and directionally consistent effect) were identified. Finally, global mRNA expression profiling was performed in both tissues to enable association analysis between miRNA and target mRNA expression levels. We find 22% miRNAs in abdominal and 9% miRNAs in gluteal adipose tissue with expression levels significantly associated with the expression of corresponding target mRNAs (FDR adjusted p<0.05). Taken together, our results indicate a clear difference in the miRNA molecular phenotypic profile of abdominal and gluteal adipose tissue, that the expressions of some miRNAs are influenced by cis-located genetic variants and that miRNAs are associated with expression levels of their predicted mRNA targets.

Min JL, Taylor JM, Richards JB, Watts T, Pettersson FH, Broxholme J, Ahmadi KR, Surdulescu GL et al. 2011. The use of genome-wide eQTL associations in lymphoblastoid cell lines to identify novel genetic pathways involved in complex traits. PLoS One, 6 (7), pp. e22070. | Show Abstract | Read more

The integrated analysis of genotypic and expression data for association with complex traits could identify novel genetic pathways involved in complex traits. We profiled 19,573 expression probes in Epstein-Barr virus-transformed lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) from 299 twins and correlated these with 44 quantitative traits (QTs). For 939 expressed probes correlating with more than one QT, we investigated the presence of eQTL associations in three datasets of 57 CEU HapMap founders and 86 unrelated twins. Genome-wide association analysis of these probes with 2.2 m SNPs revealed 131 potential eQTLs (1,989 eQTL SNPs) overlapping between the HapMap datasets, five of which were in cis (58 eQTL SNPs). We then tested 535 SNPs tagging the eQTL SNPs, for association with the relevant QT in 2,905 twins. We identified nine potential SNP-QT associations (P<0.01) but none significantly replicated in five large consortia of 1,097-16,129 subjects. We also failed to replicate previous reported eQTL associations with body mass index, plasma low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides levels derived from lymphocytes, adipose and liver tissue. Our results and additional power calculations suggest that proponents may have been overoptimistic in the power of LCLs in eQTL approaches to elucidate regulatory genetic effects on complex traits using the small datasets generated to date. Nevertheless, larger tissue-specific expression data sets relevant to specific traits are becoming available, and should enable the adoption of similar integrated analyses in the near future.

Small KS, Hedman AK, Grundberg E, Nica AC, Thorleifsson G, Kong A, Thorsteindottir U, Shin SY et al. 2011. Identification of an imprinted master trans regulator at the KLF14 locus related to multiple metabolic phenotypes. Nat Genet, 43 (6), pp. 561-564. | Show Abstract | Read more

Genome-wide association studies have identified many genetic variants associated with complex traits. However, at only a minority of loci have the molecular mechanisms mediating these associations been characterized. In parallel, whereas cis regulatory patterns of gene expression have been extensively explored, the identification of trans regulatory effects in humans has attracted less attention. Here we show that the type 2 diabetes and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol-associated cis-acting expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) of the maternally expressed transcription factor KLF14 acts as a master trans regulator of adipose gene expression. Expression levels of genes regulated by this trans-eQTL are highly correlated with concurrently measured metabolic traits, and a subset of the trans-regulated genes harbor variants directly associated with metabolic phenotypes. This trans-eQTL network provides a mechanistic understanding of the effect of the KLF14 locus on metabolic disease risk and offers a potential model for other complex traits.




Herrera BM, Keildson S, Lindgren CM. 2011. Genetics and epigenetics of obesity Maturitas, 69 (1), pp. 41-49. | Show Abstract | Read more

Obesity results from interactions between environmental and genetic factors. Despite a relatively high heritability of common, non-syndromic obesity (40-70%), the search for genetic variants contributing to susceptibility has been a challenging task. Genome wide association (GWA) studies have dramatically changed the pace of detection of common genetic susceptibility variants. To date, more than 40 genetic variants have been associated with obesity and fat distribution. However, since these variants do not fully explain the heritability of obesity, other forms of variation, such as epigenetics marks, must be considered. Epigenetic marks, or "imprinting", affect gene expression without actually changing the DNA sequence. Failures in imprinting are known to cause extreme forms of obesity (e.g. Prader-Willi syndrome), but have also been convincingly associated with susceptibility to obesity. Furthermore, environmental exposures during critical developmental periods can affect the profile of epigenetic marks and result in obesity. We review the most recent evidence for genetic and epigenetic mechanisms involved in the susceptibility and development of obesity. Only a comprehensive understanding of the underlying genetic and epigenetic mechanisms, and the metabolic processes they govern, will allow us to manage, and eventually prevent, obesity. © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Magi R, Lindgren CM, Morris AP. 2010. Meta-analysis of sex-specific genome-wide association studies. Genet Epidemiol, 34 (8), pp. 846-853. | Show Abstract | Read more

Despite the success of genome-wide association studies, much of the genetic contribution to complex human traits is still unexplained. One potential source of genetic variation that may contribute to this "missing heritability" is that which differs in magnitude and/or direction between males and females, which could result from sexual dimorphism in gene expression. Such sex-differentiated effects are common in model organisms, and are becoming increasingly evident in human complex traits through large-scale male- and female-specific meta-analyses. In this article, we review the methodology for meta-analysis of sex-specific genome-wide association studies, and propose a sex-differentiated test of association with quantitative or dichotomous traits, which allows for heterogeneity of allelic effects between males and females. We perform detailed simulations to compare the power of the proposed sex-differentiated meta-analysis with the more traditional "sex-combined" approach, which is ambivalent to gender. The results of this study highlight only a small loss in power for the sex-differentiated meta-analysis when the allelic effects of the causal variant are the same in males and females. However, over a range of models of heterogeneity in allelic effects between genders, our sex-differentiated meta-analysis strategy offers substantial gains in power, and thus has the potential to discover novel loci contributing effects to complex human traits with existing genome-wide association data.

Bell CG, Finer S, Lindgren CM, Wilson GA, Rakyan VK, Teschendorff AE, Akan P, Stupka E et al. 2010. Integrated genetic and epigenetic analysis identifies haplotype-specific methylation in the FTO type 2 diabetes and obesity susceptibility locus. PLoS One, 5 (11), pp. e14040. | Show Abstract | Read more

Recent multi-dimensional approaches to the study of complex disease have revealed powerful insights into how genetic and epigenetic factors may underlie their aetiopathogenesis. We examined genotype-epigenotype interactions in the context of Type 2 Diabetes (T2D), focussing on known regions of genomic susceptibility. We assayed DNA methylation in 60 females, stratified according to disease susceptibility haplotype using previously identified association loci. CpG methylation was assessed using methylated DNA immunoprecipitation on a targeted array (MeDIP-chip) and absolute methylation values were estimated using a Bayesian algorithm (BATMAN). Absolute methylation levels were quantified across LD blocks, and we identified increased DNA methylation on the FTO obesity susceptibility haplotype, tagged by the rs8050136 risk allele A (p = 9.40×10(-4), permutation p = 1.0×10(-3)). Further analysis across the 46 kb LD block using sliding windows localised the most significant difference to be within a 7.7 kb region (p = 1.13×10(-7)). Sequence level analysis, followed by pyrosequencing validation, revealed that the methylation difference was driven by the co-ordinated phase of CpG-creating SNPs across the risk haplotype. This 7.7 kb region of haplotype-specific methylation (HSM), encapsulates a Highly Conserved Non-Coding Element (HCNE) that has previously been validated as a long-range enhancer, supported by the histone H3K4me1 enhancer signature. This study demonstrates that integration of Genome-Wide Association (GWA) SNP and epigenomic DNA methylation data can identify potential novel genotype-epigenotype interactions within disease-associated loci, thus providing a novel route to aid unravelling common complex diseases.

Lango Allen H, Estrada K, Lettre G, Berndt SI, Weedon MN, Rivadeneira F, Willer CJ, Jackson AU et al. 2010. Hundreds of variants clustered in genomic loci and biological pathways affect human height. Nature, 467 (7317), pp. 832-838. | Show Abstract | Read more

Most common human traits and diseases have a polygenic pattern of inheritance: DNA sequence variants at many genetic loci influence the phenotype. Genome-wide association (GWA) studies have identified more than 600 variants associated with human traits, but these typically explain small fractions of phenotypic variation, raising questions about the use of further studies. Here, using 183,727 individuals, we show that hundreds of genetic variants, in at least 180 loci, influence adult height, a highly heritable and classic polygenic trait. The large number of loci reveals patterns with important implications for genetic studies of common human diseases and traits. First, the 180 loci are not random, but instead are enriched for genes that are connected in biological pathways (P = 0.016) and that underlie skeletal growth defects (P < 0.001). Second, the likely causal gene is often located near the most strongly associated variant: in 13 of 21 loci containing a known skeletal growth gene, that gene was closest to the associated variant. Third, at least 19 loci have multiple independently associated variants, suggesting that allelic heterogeneity is a frequent feature of polygenic traits, that comprehensive explorations of already-discovered loci should discover additional variants and that an appreciable fraction of associated loci may have been identified. Fourth, associated variants are enriched for likely functional effects on genes, being over-represented among variants that alter amino-acid structure of proteins and expression levels of nearby genes. Our data explain approximately 10% of the phenotypic variation in height, and we estimate that unidentified common variants of similar effect sizes would increase this figure to approximately 16% of phenotypic variation (approximately 20% of heritable variation). Although additional approaches are needed to dissect the genetic architecture of polygenic human traits fully, our findings indicate that GWA studies can identify large numbers of loci that implicate biologically relevant genes and pathways.

Speliotes EK, Willer CJ, Berndt SI, Monda KL, Thorleifsson G, Jackson AU, Lango Allen H, Lindgren CM et al. 2010. Association analyses of 249,796 individuals reveal 18 new loci associated with body mass index. Nat Genet, 42 (11), pp. 937-948. | Show Abstract | Read more

Obesity is globally prevalent and highly heritable, but its underlying genetic factors remain largely elusive. To identify genetic loci for obesity susceptibility, we examined associations between body mass index and ∼ 2.8 million SNPs in up to 123,865 individuals with targeted follow up of 42 SNPs in up to 125,931 additional individuals. We confirmed 14 known obesity susceptibility loci and identified 18 new loci associated with body mass index (P < 5 × 10⁻⁸), one of which includes a copy number variant near GPRC5B. Some loci (at MC4R, POMC, SH2B1 and BDNF) map near key hypothalamic regulators of energy balance, and one of these loci is near GIPR, an incretin receptor. Furthermore, genes in other newly associated loci may provide new insights into human body weight regulation.

Heid IM, Jackson AU, Randall JC, Winkler TW, Qi L, Steinthorsdottir V, Thorleifsson G, Zillikens MC et al. 2010. Meta-analysis identifies 13 new loci associated with waist-hip ratio and reveals sexual dimorphism in the genetic basis of fat distribution. Nat Genet, 42 (11), pp. 949-960. | Show Abstract | Read more

Waist-hip ratio (WHR) is a measure of body fat distribution and a predictor of metabolic consequences independent of overall adiposity. WHR is heritable, but few genetic variants influencing this trait have been identified. We conducted a meta-analysis of 32 genome-wide association studies for WHR adjusted for body mass index (comprising up to 77,167 participants), following up 16 loci in an additional 29 studies (comprising up to 113,636 subjects). We identified 13 new loci in or near RSPO3, VEGFA, TBX15-WARS2, NFE2L3, GRB14, DNM3-PIGC, ITPR2-SSPN, LY86, HOXC13, ADAMTS9, ZNRF3-KREMEN1, NISCH-STAB1 and CPEB4 (P = 1.9 × 10⁻⁹ to P = 1.8 × 10⁻⁴⁰) and the known signal at LYPLAL1. Seven of these loci exhibited marked sexual dimorphism, all with a stronger effect on WHR in women than men (P for sex difference = 1.9 × 10⁻³ to P = 1.2 × 10⁻¹³). These findings provide evidence for multiple loci that modulate body fat distribution independent of overall adiposity and reveal strong gene-by-sex interactions.

Voight BF, Scott LJ, Steinthorsdottir V, Morris AP, Dina C, Welch RP, Zeggini E, Huth C et al. 2010. Twelve type 2 diabetes susceptibility loci identified through large-scale association analysis. Nat Genet, 42 (7), pp. 579-589. | Show Abstract | Read more

By combining genome-wide association data from 8,130 individuals with type 2 diabetes (T2D) and 38,987 controls of European descent and following up previously unidentified meta-analysis signals in a further 34,412 cases and 59,925 controls, we identified 12 new T2D association signals with combined P<5x10(-8). These include a second independent signal at the KCNQ1 locus; the first report, to our knowledge, of an X-chromosomal association (near DUSP9); and a further instance of overlap between loci implicated in monogenic and multifactorial forms of diabetes (at HNF1A). The identified loci affect both beta-cell function and insulin action, and, overall, T2D association signals show evidence of enrichment for genes involved in cell cycle regulation. We also show that a high proportion of T2D susceptibility loci harbor independent association signals influencing apparently unrelated complex traits.




Voight BF, Scott LJ, Steinthorsdottir V, Morris AP, Dina C, Welch RP, Zeggini E, Huth C et al. 2010. Twelve type 2 diabetes susceptibility loci identified through large-scale association analysis NATURE GENETICS, 42 (7), pp. 579-U155. | Show Abstract | Read more

By combining genome-wide association data from 8,130 individuals with type 2 diabetes (T2D) and 38,987 controls of European descent and following up previously unidentified meta-analysis signals in a further 34,412 cases and 59,925 controls, we identified 12 new T2D association signals with combined P 5 × 10 8. These include a second independent signal at the KCNQ1 locus; the first report, to our knowledge, of an X-chromosomal association (near DUSP9); and a further instance of overlap between loci implicated in monogenic and multifactorial forms of diabetes (at HNF1A). The identified loci affect both beta-cell function and insulin action, and, overall, T2D association signals show evidence of enrichment for genes involved in cell cycle regulation. We also show that a high proportion of T2D susceptibility loci harbor independent association signals influencing apparently unrelated complex traits. © 2010 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.

Freathy RM, Mook-Kanamori DO, Sovio U, Prokopenko I, Timpson NJ, Berry DJ, Warrington NM, Widen E et al. 2010. Variants in ADCY5 and near CCNL1 are associated with fetal growth and birth weight. Nat Genet, 42 (5), pp. 430-435. | Show Abstract | Read more

To identify genetic variants associated with birth weight, we meta-analyzed six genome-wide association (GWA) studies (n = 10,623 Europeans from pregnancy/birth cohorts) and followed up two lead signals in 13 replication studies (n = 27,591). rs900400 near LEKR1 and CCNL1 (P = 2 x 10(-35)) and rs9883204 in ADCY5 (P = 7 x 10(-15)) were robustly associated with birth weight. Correlated SNPs in ADCY5 were recently implicated in regulation of glucose levels and susceptibility to type 2 diabetes, providing evidence that the well-described association between lower birth weight and subsequent type 2 diabetes has a genetic component, distinct from the proposed role of programming by maternal nutrition. Using data from both SNPs, we found that the 9% of Europeans carrying four birth weight-lowering alleles were, on average, 113 g (95% CI 89-137 g) lighter at birth than the 24% with zero or one alleles (P(trend) = 7 x 10(-30)). The impact on birth weight is similar to that of a mother smoking 4-5 cigarettes per day in the third trimester of pregnancy.

Herrera BM, Lockstone HE, Taylor JM, Ria M, Barrett A, Collins S, Kaisaki P, Argoud K et al. 2010. Global microRNA expression profiles in insulin target tissues in a spontaneous rat model of type 2 diabetes. Diabetologia, 53 (6), pp. 1099-1109. | Show Abstract | Read more

AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: MicroRNAs regulate a broad range of biological mechanisms. To investigate the relationship between microRNA expression and type 2 diabetes, we compared global microRNA expression in insulin target tissues from three inbred rat strains that differ in diabetes susceptibility. METHODS: Using microarrays, we measured the expression of 283 microRNAs in adipose, liver and muscle tissue from hyperglycaemic (Goto-Kakizaki), intermediate glycaemic (Wistar Kyoto) and normoglycaemic (Brown Norway) rats (n = 5 for each strain). Expression was compared across strains and validated using quantitative RT-PCR. Furthermore, microRNA expression variation in adipose tissue was investigated in 3T3-L1 adipocytes exposed to hyperglycaemic conditions. RESULTS: We found 29 significantly differentiated microRNAs (p(adjusted) < 0.05): nine in adipose tissue, 18 in liver and two in muscle. Of these, five microRNAs had expression patterns that correlated with the strain-specific glycaemic phenotype. MiR-222 (p(adjusted) = 0.0005) and miR-27a (p(adjusted) = 0.006) were upregulated in adipose tissue; miR-195 (p(adjusted) = 0.006) and miR-103 (p(adjusted) = 0.04) were upregulated in liver; and miR-10b (p(adjusted) = 0.004) was downregulated in muscle. Exposure of 3T3-L1 adipocytes to increased glucose concentration upregulated the expression of miR-222 (p = 0.008), miR-27a (p = 0.02) and the previously reported miR-29a (p = 0.02). Predicted target genes of these differentially expressed microRNAs are involved in pathways relevant to type 2 diabetes. CONCLUSION: The expression patterns of miR-222, miR-27a, miR-195, miR-103 and miR-10b varied with hyperglycaemia, suggesting a role for these microRNAs in the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes, as modelled by the Gyoto-Kakizaki rat. We observed similar patterns of expression of miR-222, miR-27a and miR-29a in adipocytes as a response to increased glucose levels, which supports our hypothesis that altered expression of microRNAs accompanies primary events related to the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes.

Panasevich S, Lindgren C, Kere J, Wickman M, Pershagen G, Nyberg F, Melén E. 2010. Interaction between early maternal smoking and variants in TNF and GSTP1 in childhood wheezing. Clin Exp Allergy, 40 (3), pp. 458-467. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Children exposed to tobacco smoke early in life have a higher risk of wheeze. Individual susceptibility may depend on genetic factors. OBJECTIVE: We studied whether variations in single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the TNF, glutathione S transferase P1 (GSTP1) and beta2-adrenoreceptor (ADRB2) genes modify the effect of early maternal smoking on the development of childhood asthma, wheeze and allergic sensitization. METHODS: In the Swedish prospective birth cohort BAMSE (Children, Allergy, Milieu, Stockholm, Epidemiological Survey) (n=4089), data collection included questionnaires to measure tobacco smoke exposure and clinical outcomes up to age 4 and medical examinations with blood sampling for specific IgE measurements and genotyping. We defined early maternal smoking as daily smoking by the mother during pregnancy and/or postnatally. We investigated five TNF, six GSTP1 and three ADRB2 SNPs in 982 selected wheezers and non-wheezers. RESULTS: An interaction with early maternal smoking was found for three TNF SNPs (-857C/T, Intron 1, Intron 3) with respect to early wheeze (up to 2 years of age). For example, the odds ratio (OR) for developing early wheeze related to early maternal smoking was 2.4 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.6-3.7] in children with a wild-type CC homozygote genotype of the TNF-857 SNP, while no tobacco-related risk was seen in children carrying the rare T allele. A clear dose response was observed in children with the CC genotype, with an OR of 1.3 (95% CI 1.1-1.5) per each additional pack per week smoked by the mother during pregnancy. A suggestive interaction with early maternal smoking was also seen for three GSTP1 SNPs (Intron 5, Intron 6 and Ile105Val) with respect to transient wheeze, but not for ADRB2 and wheeze phenotypes. No effect modifications were observed for allergic sensitization. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that the risk of early childhood wheeze associated with early maternal smoking may be modified by TNF and GSTP1 polymorphisms.

Min JL, Barrett A, Watts T, Pettersson FH, Lockstone HE, Lindgren CM, Taylor JM, Allen M, Zondervan KT, McCarthy MI. 2010. Variability of gene expression profiles in human blood and lymphoblastoid cell lines. BMC Genomics, 11 (1), pp. 96. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Readily accessible samples such as peripheral blood or cell lines are increasingly being used in large cohorts to characterise gene expression differences between a patient group and healthy controls. However, cell and RNA isolation procedures and the variety of cell types that make up whole blood can affect gene expression measurements. We therefore systematically investigated global gene expression profiles in peripheral blood from six individuals collected during two visits by comparing five of the following cell and RNA isolation methods: whole blood (PAXgene), peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs), CD19 and CD20 specific B-cell subsets. RESULTS: Gene expression measurements were clearly discriminated by isolation method although the reproducibility was high for all methods (range rho = 0.90-1.00). The PAXgene samples showed a decrease in the number of expressed genes (P < 1*10(-16)) with higher variability (P < 1*10(-16)) compared to the other methods. Differentially expressed probes between PAXgene and PBMCs were correlated with the number of monocytes, lymphocytes, neutrophils or erythrocytes. The correlations (rho = 0.83; rho = 0.79) of the expression levels of detected probes between LCLs and B-cell subsets were much lower compared to the two B-cell isolation methods (rho = 0.98). Gene ontology analysis of detected genes showed that genes involved in inflammatory responses are enriched in B-cells CD19 and CD20 whereas genes involved in alcohol metabolic process and the cell cycle were enriched in LCLs. CONCLUSION: Gene expression profiles in blood-based samples are strongly dependent on the predominant constituent cell type(s) and RNA isolation method. It is crucial to understand the differences and variability of gene expression measurements between cell and RNA isolation procedures, and their relevance to disease processes, before application in large clinical studies.

Perry JR, Weedon MN, Langenberg C, Jackson AU, Lyssenko V, Sparsø T, Thorleifsson G, Grallert H et al. 2010. Genetic evidence that raised sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) levels reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Hum Mol Genet, 19 (3), pp. 535-544. | Show Abstract | Read more

Epidemiological studies consistently show that circulating sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) levels are lower in type 2 diabetes patients than non-diabetic individuals, but the causal nature of this association is controversial. Genetic studies can help dissect causal directions of epidemiological associations because genotypes are much less likely to be confounded, biased or influenced by disease processes. Using this Mendelian randomization principle, we selected a common single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) near the SHBG gene, rs1799941, that is strongly associated with SHBG levels. We used data from this SNP, or closely correlated SNPs, in 27 657 type 2 diabetes patients and 58 481 controls from 15 studies. We then used data from additional studies to estimate the difference in SHBG levels between type 2 diabetes patients and controls. The SHBG SNP rs1799941 was associated with type 2 diabetes [odds ratio (OR) 0.94, 95% CI: 0.91, 0.97; P = 2 x 10(-5)], with the SHBG raising allele associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. This effect was very similar to that expected (OR 0.92, 95% CI: 0.88, 0.96), given the SHBG-SNP versus SHBG levels association (SHBG levels are 0.2 standard deviations higher per copy of the A allele) and the SHBG levels versus type 2 diabetes association (SHBG levels are 0.23 standard deviations lower in type 2 diabetic patients compared to controls). Results were very similar in men and women. There was no evidence that this variant is associated with diabetes-related intermediate traits, including several measures of insulin secretion and resistance. Our results, together with those from another recent genetic study, strengthen evidence that SHBG and sex hormones are involved in the aetiology of type 2 diabetes.

Dupuis J, Langenberg C, Prokopenko I, Saxena R, Soranzo N, Jackson AU, Wheeler E, Glazer NL et al. 2010. New genetic loci implicated in fasting glucose homeostasis and their impact on type 2 diabetes risk. Nat Genet, 42 (2), pp. 105-116. | Show Abstract | Read more

Levels of circulating glucose are tightly regulated. To identify new loci influencing glycemic traits, we performed meta-analyses of 21 genome-wide association studies informative for fasting glucose, fasting insulin and indices of beta-cell function (HOMA-B) and insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) in up to 46,186 nondiabetic participants. Follow-up of 25 loci in up to 76,558 additional subjects identified 16 loci associated with fasting glucose and HOMA-B and two loci associated with fasting insulin and HOMA-IR. These include nine loci newly associated with fasting glucose (in or near ADCY5, MADD, ADRA2A, CRY2, FADS1, GLIS3, SLC2A2, PROX1 and C2CD4B) and one influencing fasting insulin and HOMA-IR (near IGF1). We also demonstrated association of ADCY5, PROX1, GCK, GCKR and DGKB-TMEM195 with type 2 diabetes. Within these loci, likely biological candidate genes influence signal transduction, cell proliferation, development, glucose-sensing and circadian regulation. Our results demonstrate that genetic studies of glycemic traits can identify type 2 diabetes risk loci, as well as loci containing gene variants that are associated with a modest elevation in glucose levels but are not associated with overt diabetes.

Dupuis J, Langenberg C, Prokopenko I, Saxena R, Soranzo N, Jackson AU, Wheeler E, Glazer NL et al. 2010. Erratum: New genetic loci implicated in fasting glucose homeostasis and their impact on type 2 diabetes risk Nature Genetics, 42 (5), pp. 464-464. | Read more




Speliotes EK, Willer CJ, Berndt SI, Monda KL, Thorleifsson G, Jackson AU, Allen HL, Lindgren CM et al. 2010. Association analyses of 249,796 individuals reveal 18 new loci associated with body mass index NATURE GENETICS, 42 (11), pp. 937-U53. | Show Abstract | Read more

Obesity is globaLy prevalent and highly heritable, but its underlying genetic factors remain largely elusive. To identify genetic loci for obesity susceptibility, we examined aSociations betwEn body maS index and ĝ̂1/42.8 miLion SNPs in up to 123,865 individuals with targeted foLow up of 42 SNPs in up to 125,931 aDitional individuals. We confirmed 14 known obesity susceptibility loci and identified 18 new loci aSociated with body maS index (P < 5-10-8), one of which includes a copy number variant near GPRC5B. Some loci (at MC4R, POMC, SH2B1 and BDNF) map near key hypothalamic regulators of energy balance, and one of these loci is near GIPR, an incretin receptor. Furthermore, genes in other newly aSociated loci may provide new insights into human body weight regulation. © 2010 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.

Morris AP, Lindgren CM, Zeggini E, Timpson NJ, Frayling TM, Hattersley AT, McCarthy MI. 2010. A powerful approach to sub-phenotype analysis in population-based genetic association studies. Genet Epidemiol, 34 (4), pp. 335-343. | Show Abstract | Read more

The ultimate goal of genome-wide association (GWA) studies is to identify genetic variants contributing effects to complex phenotypes in order to improve our understanding of the biological architecture underlying the trait. One approach to allow us to meet this challenge is to consider more refined sub-phenotypes of disease, defined by pattern of symptoms, for example, which may be physiologically distinct, and thus may have different underlying genetic causes. The disadvantage of sub-phenotype analysis is that large disease cohorts are sub-divided into smaller case categories, thus reducing power to detect association. To address this issue, we have developed a novel test of association within a multinomial regression modeling framework, allowing for heterogeneity of genetic effects between sub-phenotypes. The modeling framework is extremely flexible, and can be generalized to any number of distinct sub-phenotypes. Simulations demonstrate the power of the multinomial regression-based analysis over existing methods when genetic effects differ between sub-phenotypes, with minimal loss of power when these effects are homogenous for the unified phenotype. Application of the multinomial regression analysis to a genome-wide association study of type 2 diabetes, with cases categorized according to body mass index, highlights previously recognized differential mechanisms underlying obese and non-obese forms of the disease, and provides evidence of a potential novel association that warrants follow-up in independent replication cohorts.

Hellquist A, Zucchelli M, Lindgren CM, Saarialho-Kere U, Järvinen TM, Koskenmies S, Julkunen H, Onkamo P et al. 2009. Identification of MAMDC1 as a candidate susceptibility gene for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). PLoS One, 4 (12), pp. e8037. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex autoimmune disorder with multiple susceptibility genes. We have previously reported suggestive linkage to the chromosomal region 14q21-q23 in Finnish SLE families. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Genetic fine mapping of this region in the same family material, together with a large collection of parent affected trios from UK and two independent case-control cohorts from Finland and Sweden, indicated that a novel uncharacterized gene, MAMDC1 (MAM domain containing glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor 2, also known as MDGA2, MIM 611128), represents a putative susceptibility gene for SLE. In a combined analysis of the whole dataset, significant evidence of association was detected for the MAMDC1 intronic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) rs961616 (P -value = 0.001, Odds Ratio (OR) = 1.292, 95% CI 1.103-1.513) and rs2297926 (P -value = 0.003, OR = 1.349, 95% CI 1.109-1.640). By Northern blot, real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) and immunohistochemical (IHC) analyses, we show that MAMDC1 is expressed in several tissues and cell types, and that the corresponding mRNA is up-regulated by the pro-inflammatory cytokines tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) in THP-1 monocytes. Based on its homology to known proteins with similar structure, MAMDC1 appears to be a novel member of the adhesion molecules of the immunoglobulin superfamily (IgCAM), which is involved in cell adhesion, migration, and recruitment to inflammatory sites. Remarkably, some IgCAMs have been shown to interact with ITGAM, the product of another SLE susceptibility gene recently discovered in two independent genome wide association (GWA) scans. SIGNIFICANCE: Further studies focused on MAMDC1 and other molecules involved in these pathways might thus provide new insight into the pathogenesis of SLE.

Newton-Cheh C, Johnson T, Gateva V, Tobin MD, Bochud M, Coin L, Najjar SS, Zhao JH et al. 2009. Genome-wide association study identifies eight loci associated with blood pressure. Nat Genet, 41 (6), pp. 666-676. | Show Abstract | Read more

Elevated blood pressure is a common, heritable cause of cardiovascular disease worldwide. To date, identification of common genetic variants influencing blood pressure has proven challenging. We tested 2.5 million genotyped and imputed SNPs for association with systolic and diastolic blood pressure in 34,433 subjects of European ancestry from the Global BPgen consortium and followed up findings with direct genotyping (N ≤ 71,225 European ancestry, N ≤ 12,889 Indian Asian ancestry) and in silico comparison (CHARGE consortium, N = 29,136). We identified association between systolic or diastolic blood pressure and common variants in eight regions near the CYP17A1 (P = 7 × 10(-24)), CYP1A2 (P = 1 × 10(-23)), FGF5 (P = 1 × 10(-21)), SH2B3 (P = 3 × 10(-18)), MTHFR (P = 2 × 10(-13)), c10orf107 (P = 1 × 10(-9)), ZNF652 (P = 5 × 10(-9)) and PLCD3 (P = 1 × 10(-8)) genes. All variants associated with continuous blood pressure were associated with dichotomous hypertension. These associations between common variants and blood pressure and hypertension offer mechanistic insights into the regulation of blood pressure and may point to novel targets for interventions to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Dehghan A, Yang Q, Peters A, Basu S, Bis JC, Rudnicka AR, Kavousi M, Chen MH et al. 2009. Association of novel genetic Loci with circulating fibrinogen levels: a genome-wide association study in 6 population-based cohorts. Circ Cardiovasc Genet, 2 (2), pp. 125-133. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Fibrinogen is both central to blood coagulation and an acute-phase reactant. We aimed to identify common variants influencing circulation fibrinogen levels. METHODS AND RESULTS: We conducted a genome-wide association analysis on 6 population-based studies, the Rotterdam Study, the Framingham Heart Study, the Cardiovascular Health Study, the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, the Monitoring of Trends and Determinants in Cardiovascular Disease/KORA Augsburg Study, and the British 1958 Birth Cohort Study, including 22 096 participants of European ancestry. Four loci were marked by 1 or more single-nucleotide polymorphisms that demonstrated genome-wide significance (P<5.0 x 10(-8)). These included a single-nucleotide polymorphism located in the fibrinogen beta chain (FGB) gene and 3 single-nucleotide polymorphisms representing newly identified loci. The high-signal single-nucleotide polymorphisms were rs1800789 in exon 7 of FGB (P=1.8 x 10(-30)), rs2522056 downstream from the interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF1) gene (P=1.3 x 10(-15)), rs511154 within intron 1 of the propionyl coenzyme A carboxylase (PCCB) gene (P=5.9 x 10(-10)), and rs1539019 on the NLR family pyrin domain containing 3 isoforms (NLRP3) gene (P=1.04 x 10(-8)). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings highlight biological pathways that may be important in regulation of inflammation underlying cardiovascular disease.

Timpson NJ, Lindgren CM, Weedon MN, Randall J, Ouwehand WH, Strachan DP, Rayner NW, Walker M et al. 2009. Adiposity-related heterogeneity in patterns of type 2 diabetes susceptibility observed in genome-wide association data. Diabetes, 58 (2), pp. 505-510. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: This study examined how differences in the BMI distribution of type 2 diabetic case subjects affected genome-wide patterns of type 2 diabetes association and considered the implications for the etiological heterogeneity of type 2 diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We reanalyzed data from the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium genome-wide association scan (1,924 case subjects, 2,938 control subjects: 393,453 single-nucleotide polymorphisms [SNPs]) after stratifying case subjects (into "obese" and "nonobese") according to median BMI (30.2 kg/m(2)). Replication of signals in which alternative case-ascertainment strategies generated marked effect size heterogeneity in type 2 diabetes association signal was sought in additional samples. RESULTS: In the "obese-type 2 diabetes" scan, FTO variants had the strongest type 2 diabetes effect (rs8050136: relative risk [RR] 1.49 [95% CI 1.34-1.66], P = 1.3 x 10(-13)), with only weak evidence for TCF7L2 (rs7901695 RR 1.21 [1.09-1.35], P = 0.001). This situation was reversed in the "nonobese" scan, with FTO association undetectable (RR 1.07 [0.97-1.19], P = 0.19) and TCF7L2 predominant (RR 1.53 [1.37-1.71], P = 1.3 x 10(-14)). These patterns, confirmed by replication, generated strong combined evidence for between-stratum effect size heterogeneity (FTO: P(DIFF) = 1.4 x 10(-7); TCF7L2: P(DIFF) = 4.0 x 10(-6)). Other signals displaying evidence of effect size heterogeneity in the genome-wide analyses (on chromosomes 3, 12, 15, and 18) did not replicate. Analysis of the current list of type 2 diabetes susceptibility variants revealed nominal evidence for effect size heterogeneity for the SLC30A8 locus alone (RR(obese) 1.08 [1.01-1.15]; RR(nonobese) 1.18 [1.10-1.27]: P(DIFF) = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates the impact of differences in case ascertainment on the power to detect and replicate genetic associations in genome-wide association studies. These data reinforce the notion that there is substantial etiological heterogeneity within type 2 diabetes.

Morris AP, Zeggini E, Lindgren CM. 2009. Identification of novel putative rheumatoid arthritis susceptibility genes via analysis of rare variants. BMC Proc, 3 Suppl 7 (Suppl 7), pp. S131. | Show Abstract | Read more

Established loci for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), including HLA-DRB1 and PTPN22, do not fully account for the genetic component of susceptibility to the disease. One possible source of as yet undiscovered susceptibility genes are those mediated through effects of rare variants. We present a novel method for gene-based genome-wide scans of whole-genome association (WGA) data to identify accumulations of rare variants associated with disease. We apply our method to WGA SNP genotype data obtained from 868 RA cases and 1194 controls. Our results highlight novel putative RA susceptibility genes that have not previously been identified in large-scale WGA studies.

Herrera BM, Lockstone HE, Taylor JM, Wills QF, Kaisaki PJ, Barrett A, Camps C, Fernandez C et al. 2009. MicroRNA-125a is over-expressed in insulin target tissues in a spontaneous rat model of Type 2 Diabetes. BMC Med Genomics, 2 (1), pp. 54. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are non-coding RNA molecules involved in post-transcriptional control of gene expression of a wide number of genes, including those involved in glucose homeostasis. Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is characterized by hyperglycaemia and defects in insulin secretion and action at target tissues. We sought to establish differences in global miRNA expression in two insulin-target tissues from inbred rats of spontaneously diabetic and normoglycaemic strains. METHODS: We used a miRNA microarray platform to measure global miRNA expression in two insulin-target tissues: liver and adipose tissue from inbred rats of spontaneously diabetic (Goto-Kakizaki [GK]) and normoglycaemic (Brown-Norway [BN]) strains which are extensively used in genetic studies of T2D. MiRNA data were integrated with gene expression data from the same rats to investigate how differentially expressed miRNAs affect the expression of predicted target gene transcripts. RESULTS: The expression of 170 miRNAs was measured in liver and adipose tissue of GK and BN rats. Based on a p-value for differential expression between GK and BN, the most significant change in expression was observed for miR-125a in liver (FC = 5.61, P = 0.001, Padjusted = 0.10); this overexpression was validated using quantitative RT-PCR (FC = 13.15, P = 0.0005). MiR-125a also showed over-expression in the GK vs. BN analysis within adipose tissue (FC = 1.97, P = 0.078, Padjusted = 0.99), as did the previously reported miR-29a (FC = 1.51, P = 0.05, Padjusted = 0.99). In-silico tools assessing the biological role of predicted miR-125a target genes suggest an over-representation of genes involved in the MAPK signaling pathway. Gene expression analysis identified 1308 genes with significantly different expression between GK and BN rats (Padjusted < 0.05): 233 in liver and 1075 in adipose tissue. Pathways related to glucose and lipid metabolism were significantly over-represented among these genes. Enrichment analysis suggested that differentially expressed genes in GK compared to BN included more predicted miR-125a target genes than would be expected by chance in adipose tissue (FDR = 0.006 for up-regulated genes; FDR = 0.036 for down-regulated genes) but not in liver (FDR = 0.074 for up-regulated genes; FDR = 0.248 for down-regulated genes). CONCLUSION: MiR-125a is over-expressed in liver in hyperglycaemic GK rats relative to normoglycaemic BN rats, and our array data also suggest miR-125a is over-expressed in adipose tissue. We demonstrate the use of in-silico tools to provide the basis for further investigation of the potential role of miR-125a in T2D. In particular, the enrichment of predicted miR-125a target genes among differentially expressed genes has identified likely target genes and indicates that integrating global miRNA and mRNA expression data may give further insights into miRNA-mediated regulation of gene expression.




Kong A, Steinthorsdottir V, Masson G, Thorleifsson G, Sulem P, Besenbacher S, Jonasdottir A, Sigurdsson A et al. 2009. Parental origin of sequence variants associated with complex diseases Nature, 462 (7275), pp. 868-874. | Show Abstract | Read more

Effects of susceptibility variants may depend on from which parent they are inherited. Although many associations between sequence variants and human traits have been discovered through genome-wide associations, the impact of parental origin has largely been ignored. Here we show that for 38,167 Icelanders genotyped using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) chips, the parental origin of most alleles can be determined. For this we used a combination of genealogy and long-range phasing. We then focused on SNPs that associate with diseases and are within 500 kilobases of known imprinted genes. Seven independent SNP associations were examined. Fiveone with breast cancer, one with basal-cell carcinoma and three with type 2 diabeteshave parental-origin-specific associations. These variants are located in two genomic regions, 11p15 and 7q32, each harbouring a cluster of imprinted genes. Furthermore, we observed a novel association between the SNP rs2334499 at 11p15 and type 2 diabetes. Here the allele that confers risk when paternally inherited is protective when maternally transmitted. We identified a differentially methylated CTCF-binding site at 11p15 and demonstrated correlation of rs2334499 with decreased methylation of that site. © 2009 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Lappalainen T, Hannelius U, Salmela E, von Döbeln U, Lindgren CM, Huoponen K, Savontaus ML, Kere J, Lahermo P. 2009. Population structure in contemporary Sweden--a Y-chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA analysis. Ann Hum Genet, 73 (1), pp. 61-73. | Show Abstract | Read more

A population sample representing the current Swedish population was analysed for maternally and paternally inherited markers with the aim of characterizing genetic variation and population structure. The sample set of 820 females and 883 males were extracted and amplified from Guthrie cards of all the children born in Sweden during one week in 2003. 14 Y-chromosomal and 34 mitochondrial DNA SNPs were genotyped. The haplogroup frequencies of the counties closest to Finland, Norway, Denmark and the Saami region in the north exhibited similarities to the neighbouring populations, resulting from the formation of the Swedish nation during the past millennium. Moreover, the recent immigration waves of the 20th century are visible in haplogroup frequencies, and have led to increased diversity and divergence of the major cities. Signs of genetic drift can be detected in several counties in northern as well as in southern Sweden. With the exception of the most drifted subpopulations, the population structure in Sweden appears mostly clinal. In conclusion, our study yielded valuable information of the structure of the Swedish population, and demonstrated the usefulness of biobanks as a source of population genetic research. Our sampling strategy, nonselective on the current population rather than stratified according to ancestry, is informative for capturing the contemporary variation in the increasingly panmictic populations of the world.

Prokopenko I, Langenberg C, Florez JC, Saxena R, Soranzo N, Thorleifsson G, Loos RJ, Manning AK et al. 2009. Variants in MTNR1B influence fasting glucose levels. Nat Genet, 41 (1), pp. 77-81. | Show Abstract | Read more

To identify previously unknown genetic loci associated with fasting glucose concentrations, we examined the leading association signals in ten genome-wide association scans involving a total of 36,610 individuals of European descent. Variants in the gene encoding melatonin receptor 1B (MTNR1B) were consistently associated with fasting glucose across all ten studies. The strongest signal was observed at rs10830963, where each G allele (frequency 0.30 in HapMap CEU) was associated with an increase of 0.07 (95% CI = 0.06-0.08) mmol/l in fasting glucose levels (P = 3.2 x 10(-50)) and reduced beta-cell function as measured by homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-B, P = 1.1 x 10(-15)). The same allele was associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes (odds ratio = 1.09 (1.05-1.12), per G allele P = 3.3 x 10(-7)) in a meta-analysis of 13 case-control studies totaling 18,236 cases and 64,453 controls. Our analyses also confirm previous associations of fasting glucose with variants at the G6PC2 (rs560887, P = 1.1 x 10(-57)) and GCK (rs4607517, P = 1.0 x 10(-25)) loci.

Ekelund E, Bradley M, Weidinger S, Jovanovic DL, Johansson C, Lindgren CM, Todorova A, Jakob T et al. 2009. Lack of association between neuropeptide S receptor 1 gene (NPSR1) and eczema in five European populations. Acta Derm Venereol, 89 (2), pp. 115-121. | Show Abstract | Read more

Eczema is often associated with development of allergic asthma. The Neuropeptide S Receptor 1 (NPSR1) gene has previously been associated with asthma and elevated serum IgE levels. The aim of this study was to investigate a potential association between the NPSR1 gene and eczema in patients and healthy individuals from five different populations in Western Europe, in total 6275 individuals. Seven single nucleotide polymorphisms previously associated with allergic asthma were genotyped. The protein expression of NPSR1 in the skin was studied using immunohistochemistry in six eczema patients and eight healthy individuals. No association was found be tween eczema and the seven single nucleotide polymor phisms in NPSR1 in any of the populations, either independently or in combinations. In addition, no difference was detected in epidermal NPSR1 expression between eczema patients and healthy individuals. These results strongly suggest that NPSR1 is not involved in the pathogenesis of eczema.

Hellquist A, Zucchelli M, Lindgren CM, Saarialho-Kere U, Järvinen TM, Koskenmies S, Julkunen H, Onkamo P et al. 2009. Identification of MAMDC1 as a candidate susceptibility gene for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) PLoS ONE, 4 (12), | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex autoimmune disorder with multiple susceptibility genes. We have previously reported suggestive linkage to the chromosomal region 14q21-q23 in Finnish SLE families. Principal Findings: Genetic fine mapping of this region in the same family material, together with a large collection of parent affected trios from UK and two independent case-control cohorts from Finland and Sweden, indicated that a novel uncharacterized gene, MAMDC1 (MAM domain containing glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor 2, also known as MDGA2, MIM 611128), represents a putative susceptibility gene for SLE. In a combined analysis of the whole dataset, significant evidence of association was detected for the MAMDC1 intronic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) rs961616 (P - value= 0.001, Odds Ratio (OR)=1.292, 95% CI 1.103-1.513) and rs2297926 (P -value=0.003, OR=1.349, 95% CI 1.109-1.640). By Northern blot, real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) and immunohistochemical (IHC) analyses, we show that MAMDC1 is expressed in several tissues and cell types, and that the corresponding mRNA is up-regulated by the pro-inflammatory cytokines tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interferon gamma (IFN-γ) in THP-1 monocytes. Based on its homology to known proteins with similar structure, MAMDC1 appears to be a novel member of the adhesion molecules of the immunoglobulin superfamily (IgCAM), which is involved in cell adhesion, migration, and recruitment to inflammatory sites. Remarkably, some IgCAMs have been shown to interact with ITGAM, the product of another SLE susceptibility gene recently discovered in two independent genome wide association (GWA) scans. Significance: Further studies focused on MAMDC1 and other molecules involved in these pathways might thus provide new insight into the pathogenesis of SLE. © 2009 Hellquist et al.

Prokopenko I, McCarthy MI, Lindgren CM. 2008. Type 2 diabetes: new genes, new understanding. Trends Genet, 24 (12), pp. 613-621. | Show Abstract | Read more

Over the past two years, there has been a spectacular change in the capacity to identify common genetic variants that contribute to predisposition to complex multifactorial phenotypes such as type 2 diabetes (T2D). The principal advance has been the ability to undertake surveys of genome-wide association in large study samples. Through these and related efforts, approximately 20 common variants are now robustly implicated in T2D susceptibility. Current developments, for example in high-throughput resequencing, should help to provide a more comprehensive view of T2D susceptibility in the near future. Although additional investigation is needed to define the causal variants within these novel T2D-susceptibility regions, to understand disease mechanisms and to effect clinical translation, these findings are already highlighting the predominant contribution of defects in pancreatic beta-cell function to the development of T2D.

Hannelius U, Salmela E, Lappalainen T, Guillot G, Lindgren CM, von Döbeln U, Lahermo P, Kere J. 2008. Population substructure in Finland and Sweden revealed by the use of spatial coordinates and a small number of unlinked autosomal SNPs. BMC Genet, 9 (1), pp. 54. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Despite several thousands of years of close contacts, there are genetic differences between the neighbouring countries of Finland and Sweden. Within Finland, signs of an east-west duality have been observed, whereas the population structure within Sweden has been suggested to be more subtle. With a fine-scale substructure like this, inferring the cluster membership of individuals requires a large number of markers. However, some studies have suggested that this number could be reduced if the individual spatial coordinates are taken into account in the analysis. RESULTS: We genotyped 34 unlinked autosomal single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), originally designed for zygosity testing, from 2044 samples from Sweden and 657 samples from Finland, and 30 short tandem repeats (STRs) from 465 Finnish samples. We saw significant population structure within Finland but not between the countries or within Sweden, and isolation by distance within Finland and between the countries. In Sweden, we found a deficit of heterozygotes that we could explain by simulation studies to be due to both a small non-random genotyping error and hidden substructure caused by immigration. Geneland, a model-based Bayesian clustering algorithm, clustered the individuals into groups that corresponded to Sweden and Eastern and Western Finland when spatial coordinates were used, whereas in the absence of spatial information, only one cluster was inferred. CONCLUSION: We show that the power to cluster individuals based on their genetic similarity is increased when including information about the spatial coordinates. We also demonstrate the importance of estimating the size and effect of genotyping error in population genetics in order to strengthen the validity of the results.

Melén E, Nyberg F, Lindgren CM, Berglind N, Zucchelli M, Nordling E, Hallberg J, Svartengren M et al. 2008. Interactions between glutathione S-transferase P1, tumor necrosis factor, and traffic-related air pollution for development of childhood allergic disease. Environ Health Perspect, 116 (8), pp. 1077-1084. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Air pollutants may induce airway inflammation and sensitization due to generation of reactive oxygen species. The genetic background to these mechanisms could be important effect modifiers. OBJECTIVE: Our goal was to assess interactions between exposure to air pollution and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the beta2-adrenergic receptor (ADRB2), glutathione S-transferase P1 (GSTP1), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) genes for development of childhood allergic disease. METHODS: In a birth cohort originally of 4,089 children, we assessed air pollution from local traffic using nitrogen oxides (traffic NO(x)) as an indicator based on emission databases and dispersion modeling and estimated individual exposure through geocoding of home addresses. We measured peak expiratory flow rates and specific IgE for inhalant and food allergens at 4 years of age, and selected children with asthma symptoms up to 4 years of age (n = 542) and controls (n = 542) for genotyping. RESULTS: Interaction effects on allergic sensitization were indicated between several GSTP1 SNPs and traffic NO(x) exposure during the first year of life (p(nominal) < 0.001-0.06). Children with Ile105Val/Val105Val genotypes were at increased risk of sensitization to any allergen when exposed to elevated levels of traffic NO(x) (for a difference between the 5th and 95th percentile of exposure: odds ratio = 2.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.0-5.3). In children with TNF-308 GA/AA genotypes, the GSTP1-NO(x) interaction effect was even more pronounced. We observed no conclusive interaction effects for ADRB2. CONCLUSION: The effect of air pollution from traffic on childhood allergy appears to be modified by GSTP1 and TNF variants, supporting a role of genes controlling the antioxidative system and inflammatory response in allergy.

Barber TM, Bennett AJ, Groves CJ, Sovio U, Ruokonen A, Martikainen H, Pouta A, Hartikainen AL et al. 2008. Association of variants in the fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) gene with polycystic ovary syndrome. Diabetologia, 51 (7), pp. 1153-1158. | Show Abstract | Read more

AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Variants in the fat-mass and obesity-associated gene (FTO) influence susceptibility to type 2 diabetes via an effect on adiposity/obesity. Given the important role of obesity in the aetiology of both polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and type 2 diabetes mellitus, our aim was to establish whether FTO variants are also implicated in PCOS susceptibility. METHODS: We performed a genetic association study of FTO variant rs9939609 using case-control analyses, conducted in 463 PCOS patients (geometric mean BMI 27.5 kg/m(2)) and 1,336 female controls (geometric mean BMI 25.3 kg/m(2)) of UK British/Irish origin. We also sought evidence for associations between FTO variation and circulating testosterone levels in 324 UK PCOS patients and 1,000 women from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort of 1966. Outcome measures included FTO rs9939609 genotype frequencies by participant group and androgen measures (testosterone, free androgen index) by genotype. RESULTS: There was a significant association between FTO genotype and PCOS status in the UK case-control analysis, which was attenuated by adjustment for BMI (Cochran-Armitage test, odds ratio [per minor allele copy] 1.30 [95% CI 1.12, 1.51], p = 7.2 x 10(-4) [unadjusted], p = 2.9 x 10(-3) [adjusted]). This association was most evident in obese PCOS patients (PCOS patients below median BMI vs UK controls, p = 0.11; above median BMI vs controls, p = 2.9 x 10(-4)). No relationship between FTO genotype and androgen levels was seen. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: We provide the first evidence that variants that predispose to common obesity also result in altered susceptibility to PCOS, confirming the mechanistic link between these conditions. The predominant effect of FTO variants on PCOS susceptibility is probably mediated through adiposity.

Holmkvist J, Almgren P, Lyssenko V, Lindgren CM, Eriksson KF, Isomaa B, Tuomi T, Nilsson P, Groop L. 2008. Common variants in maturity-onset diabetes of the young genes and future risk of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes, 57 (6), pp. 1738-1744. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: Mutations in the hepatocyte nuclear factor (HNF)-1alpha, HNF-4alpha, glucokinase (GCK), and HNF-1beta genes cause maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY), but it is not known whether common variants in these genes predict future type 2 diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We tested 14 previously associated polymorphisms in HNF-1alpha, HNF-4alpha, GCK, and HNF-1beta for association with type 2 diabetes-related traits and future risk of type 2 diabetes in 2,293 individuals from the Botnia study (Finland) and in 15,538 individuals from the Malmö Preventive Project (Sweden) with a total follow-up >360,000 years. RESULTS: The polymorphism rs1169288 in HNF-1alpha strongly predicted future type 2 diabetes (hazard ratio [HR] 1.2, P = 0.0002). Also, SNPs rs4810424 and rs3212198 in HNF-4alpha nominally predicted future type 2 diabetes (HR 1.3 [95% CI 1.0-1.6], P = 0.03; and 1.1 [1.0-1.2], P = 0.04). The rs2144908 polymorphism in HNF-4alpha was associated with elevated rate of hepatic glucose production during a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp (P = 0.03) but not with deterioration of insulin secretion over time. The SNP rs1799884 in the GCK promoter was associated with elevated fasting plasma glucose (fPG) concentrations that remained unchanged during the follow-up period (P = 0.4; SE 0.004 [-0.003-0.007]) but did not predict future type 2 diabetes (HR 0.9 [0.8-1.0], P = 0.1). Polymorphisms in HNF-1beta (transcription factor 2 [TCF2]) did not significantly influence insulin or glucose values nor did they predict future type 2 diabetes. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, genetic variation in both HNF-1alpha and HNF-4alpha predict future type 2 diabetes, whereas variation in the GCK promoter results in a sustained but subtle elevation of fPG that is not sufficient to increase risk for future type 2 diabetes.

Loos RJ, Lindgren CM, Li S, Wheeler E, Zhao JH, Prokopenko I, Inouye M, Freathy RM et al. 2008. Common variants near MC4R are associated with fat mass, weight and risk of obesity. Nat Genet, 40 (6), pp. 768-775. | Show Abstract | Read more

To identify common variants influencing body mass index (BMI), we analyzed genome-wide association data from 16,876 individuals of European descent. After previously reported variants in FTO, the strongest association signal (rs17782313, P = 2.9 x 10(-6)) mapped 188 kb downstream of MC4R (melanocortin-4 receptor), mutations of which are the leading cause of monogenic severe childhood-onset obesity. We confirmed the BMI association in 60,352 adults (per-allele effect = 0.05 Z-score units; P = 2.8 x 10(-15)) and 5,988 children aged 7-11 (0.13 Z-score units; P = 1.5 x 10(-8)). In case-control analyses (n = 10,583), the odds for severe childhood obesity reached 1.30 (P = 8.0 x 10(-11)). Furthermore, we observed overtransmission of the risk allele to obese offspring in 660 families (P (pedigree disequilibrium test average; PDT-avg) = 2.4 x 10(-4)). The SNP location and patterns of phenotypic associations are consistent with effects mediated through altered MC4R function. Our findings establish that common variants near MC4R influence fat mass, weight and obesity risk at the population level and reinforce the need for large-scale data integration to identify variants influencing continuous biomedical traits.

Freathy RM, Timpson NJ, Lawlor DA, Pouta A, Ben-Shlomo Y, Ruokonen A, Ebrahim S, Shields B et al. 2008. Common variation in the FTO gene alters diabetes-related metabolic traits to the extent expected given its effect on BMI. Diabetes, 57 (5), pp. 1419-1426. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: Common variation in the FTO gene is associated with BMI and type 2 diabetes. Increased BMI is associated with diabetes risk factors, including raised insulin, glucose, and triglycerides. We aimed to test whether FTO genotype is associated with variation in these metabolic traits. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We tested the association between FTO genotype and 10 metabolic traits using data from 17,037 white European individuals. We compared the observed effect of FTO genotype on each trait to that expected given the FTO-BMI and BMI-trait associations. RESULTS: Each copy of the FTO rs9939609 A allele was associated with higher fasting insulin (0.039 SD [95% CI 0.013-0.064]; P = 0.003), glucose (0.024 [0.001-0.048]; P = 0.044), and triglycerides (0.028 [0.003-0.052]; P = 0.025) and lower HDL cholesterol (0.032 [0.008-0.057]; P = 0.009). There was no evidence of these associations when adjusting for BMI. Associations with fasting alanine aminotransferase, gamma-glutamyl-transferase, LDL cholesterol, A1C, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure were in the expected direction but did not reach P < 0.05. For all metabolic traits, effect sizes were consistent with those expected for the per allele change in BMI. FTO genotype was associated with a higher odds of metabolic syndrome (odds ratio 1.17 [95% CI 1.10-1.25]; P = 3 x 10(-6)). CONCLUSIONS: FTO genotype is associated with metabolic traits to an extent entirely consistent with its effect on BMI. Sample sizes of >12,000 individuals were needed to detect associations at P < 0.05. Our findings highlight the importance of using appropriately powered studies to assess the effects of a known diabetes or obesity variant on secondary traits correlated with these conditions.

Zeggini E, Scott LJ, Saxena R, Voight BF, Marchini JL, Hu T, de Bakker PI, Abecasis GR et al. 2008. Meta-analysis of genome-wide association data and large-scale replication identifies additional susceptibility loci for type 2 diabetes. Nat Genet, 40 (5), pp. 638-645. | Show Abstract | Read more

Genome-wide association (GWA) studies have identified multiple loci at which common variants modestly but reproducibly influence risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Established associations to common and rare variants explain only a small proportion of the heritability of T2D. As previously published analyses had limited power to identify variants with modest effects, we carried out meta-analysis of three T2D GWA scans comprising 10,128 individuals of European descent and approximately 2.2 million SNPs (directly genotyped and imputed), followed by replication testing in an independent sample with an effective sample size of up to 53,975. We detected at least six previously unknown loci with robust evidence for association, including the JAZF1 (P = 5.0 x 10(-14)), CDC123-CAMK1D (P = 1.2 x 10(-10)), TSPAN8-LGR5 (P = 1.1 x 10(-9)), THADA (P = 1.1 x 10(-9)), ADAMTS9 (P = 1.2 x 10(-8)) and NOTCH2 (P = 4.1 x 10(-8)) gene regions. Our results illustrate the value of large discovery and follow-up samples for gaining further insights into the inherited basis of T2D.

Weedon MN, Lango H, Lindgren CM, Wallace C, Evans DM, Mangino M, Freathy RM, Perry JR et al. 2008. Genome-wide association analysis identifies 20 loci that influence adult height. Nat Genet, 40 (5), pp. 575-583. | Show Abstract | Read more

Adult height is a model polygenic trait, but there has been limited success in identifying the genes underlying its normal variation. To identify genetic variants influencing adult human height, we used genome-wide association data from 13,665 individuals and genotyped 39 variants in an additional 16,482 samples. We identified 20 variants associated with adult height (P < 5 x 10(-7), with 10 reaching P < 1 x 10(-10)). Combined, the 20 SNPs explain approximately 3% of height variation, with a approximately 5 cm difference between the 6.2% of people with 17 or fewer 'tall' alleles compared to the 5.5% with 27 or more 'tall' alleles. The loci we identified implicate genes in Hedgehog signaling (IHH, HHIP, PTCH1), extracellular matrix (EFEMP1, ADAMTSL3, ACAN) and cancer (CDK6, HMGA2, DLEU7) pathways, and provide new insights into human growth and developmental processes. Finally, our results provide insights into the genetic architecture of a classic quantitative trait.

Lindgren CM, McCarthy MI. 2008. Mechanisms of disease: genetic insights into the etiology of type 2 diabetes and obesity. Nat Clin Pract Endocrinol Metab, 4 (3), pp. 156-163. | Show Abstract | Read more

Until recently, progress in identification of the genetic variants influencing predisposition to common forms of diabetes and obesity has been slow, a sharp contrast to the large number of genes implicated in rare monogenic forms of both conditions. Recent advances have transformed the situation, however, enabling researchers to undertake well-powered scans able to detect association signals across the entire genome. For type 2 diabetes, the six high-density genome-wide association studies so far performed have extended the number of loci harboring common variants implicated in diabetes susceptibility into double figures. One of these loci, mapping to the fat mass and obesity associated gene (FTO), influences diabetes risk through a primary effect on fat mass, making this the first common variant known to influence weight and individual risk of obesity. These findings offer two main avenues for clinical translation. First, the identification of new pathways involved in disease predisposition-for example, those influencing zinc transport and pancreatic islet regeneration in the case of type 2 diabetes-offers opportunities for development of novel therapeutic and preventative approaches. Second, with continuing efforts to identify additional genetic variants, it may become possible to use patterns of predisposition to tailor individual management of these conditions.

Bruce S, Hannula-Jouppi K, Lindgren CM, Lipsanen-Nyman M, Kere J. 2008. Restriction site-specific methylation studies of imprinted genes with quantitative real-time PCR. Clin Chem, 54 (3), pp. 491-499. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Epigenetic studies, such as the measurement of DNA methylation, are important in the investigation of syndromes influenced by imprinted genes. Quick and accurate quantification of methylation at such genes can be of appreciable diagnostic aid. METHODS: We first digested genomic DNA with methylation-sensitive restriction enzymes and used DNA without digestion as a control and nonmethylated lambda DNA as an internal control for digestion efficiency. We then performed quantitative real-time PCR analyses with 6 unique PCR assays to investigate 4 imprinting control regions on chromosomes 7 and 11 in individuals with uniparental disomy of chromosome 7 (UPD7) and in control individuals. RESULTS: Our validation of the method demonstrated both quantitative recovery and low methodologic imprecision. The imprinted loci on chromosome 7 behaved as expected in maternal UPD7 (100% methylation) and paternal UPD7 (<10% methylation). In controls, the mean (SD) for percent methylation at 2 previously well-studied restriction sites were 46% (6%) for both H19 and KCNQ1OT1, a result consistent with the previously observed methylation rate of approximately 50%. The methylation percentages of all investigated imprinted loci were normally distributed, implying that the mean and SD can be used as a reference for screening methylation loss or gain. CONCLUSION: The investigated loci are of particular importance for investigating the congenital Silver-Russell and Beckwith-Wiedemann syndromes; however, the method can also be applied to other imprinted regions. This method is easy to set up, has no PCR bias, requires small amounts of DNA, and can easily be applied to large patient populations for screening the loss or gain of methylation.

Holmkvist J, Tojjar D, Almgren P, Lyssenko V, Lindgren CM, Isomaa B, Tuomi T, Berglund G, Renström E, Groop L. 2007. Polymorphisms in the gene encoding the voltage-dependent Ca(2+) channel Ca (V)2.3 (CACNA1E) are associated with type 2 diabetes and impaired insulin secretion. Diabetologia, 50 (12), pp. 2467-2475. | Show Abstract | Read more

AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Glucose-stimulated insulin secretion is dependent on the electrical activity of beta cells; hence, genes encoding beta cell ion channels are potential candidate genes for type 2 diabetes. The gene encoding the voltage-dependent Ca(2+) channel Ca(V)2.3 (CACNA1E), telomeric to a region that has shown suggestive linkage to type 2 diabetes (1q21-q25), has been ascribed a role for second-phase insulin secretion. METHODS: Based upon the genotyping of 52 haplotype tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a type 2 diabetes case-control sample (n = 1,467), we selected five SNPs that were nominally associated with type 2 diabetes and genotyped them in the following groups (1) a new case-control sample of 6,570 individuals from Sweden; (2) 2,293 individuals from the Botnia prospective cohort; and (3) 935 individuals with insulin secretion data from an IVGTT. RESULTS: The rs679931 TT genotype was associated with (1) an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in the Botnia case-control sample [odds ratio (OR) 1.4, 95% CI 1.0-2.0, p = 0.06] and in the replication sample (OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.0-1.5, p = 0.01 one-tailed), with a combined OR of 1.3 (95% CI 1.1-1.5, p = 0.004 two-tailed); (2) reduced insulin secretion [insulinogenic index at 30 min p = 0.02, disposition index (D (I)) p = 0.03] in control participants during an OGTT; (3) reduced second-phase insulin secretion at 30 min (p = 0.04) and 60 min (p = 0.02) during an IVGTT; and (4) reduced D (I) over time in the Botnia prospective cohort (p = 0.05). CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: We conclude that genetic variation in the CACNA1E gene contributes to an increased risk of the development of type 2 diabetes by reducing insulin secretion.

Hannelius U, Gherman L, Mäkelä VV, Lindstedt A, Zucchelli M, Lagerberg C, Tybring G, Kere J, Lindgren CM. 2007. Large-scale zygosity testing using single nucleotide polymorphisms. Twin Res Hum Genet, 10 (4), pp. 604-625. | Show Abstract | Read more

A requirement for performing robust genetic and statistical analyses on twins is correctly assigned zygosities. In order to increase the power to detect small risk factors of disease, zygosity testing should also be amenable for high throughput screening. In this study we validate and implement the use of a panel of 50 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for reliable high throughput zygosity testing and compare it to a panel of 16 short tandem repeats (STRs). We genotyped both genomic (gDNA) and whole genome amplified DNA (WGA DNA), ending up with 47 SNP and 11 STR markers fulfilling our quality criteria. Out of 99 studied twin pairs, 2 were assigned a different zygosity using SNP and STR data as compared to self reported zygosity in a questionnaire. We also performed a sensitivity analysis based on simulated data where we evaluated the effects of genotyping error, shifts in allele frequencies and missing data on the qualitative zygosity assignments. The frequency of false positives was less than 0.01 when assuming a 1% genotyping error, a decrease of 10% of the observed minor allele frequency compared to the actual values and up to 10 missing markers. The SNP markers were also successfully genotyped on both gDNA and WGA DNA from whole blood, saliva and filter paper. In conclusion, we validate a robust panel of 47 highly multiplexed SNPs that provide reliable and high quality data on a range of different DNA templates.

Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium. 2007. Genome-wide association study of 14,000 cases of seven common diseases and 3,000 shared controls. Nature, 447 (7145), pp. 661-678. | Show Abstract | Read more

There is increasing evidence that genome-wide association (GWA) studies represent a powerful approach to the identification of genes involved in common human diseases. We describe a joint GWA study (using the Affymetrix GeneChip 500K Mapping Array Set) undertaken in the British population, which has examined approximately 2,000 individuals for each of 7 major diseases and a shared set of approximately 3,000 controls. Case-control comparisons identified 24 independent association signals at P < 5 x 10(-7): 1 in bipolar disorder, 1 in coronary artery disease, 9 in Crohn's disease, 3 in rheumatoid arthritis, 7 in type 1 diabetes and 3 in type 2 diabetes. On the basis of prior findings and replication studies thus-far completed, almost all of these signals reflect genuine susceptibility effects. We observed association at many previously identified loci, and found compelling evidence that some loci confer risk for more than one of the diseases studied. Across all diseases, we identified a large number of further signals (including 58 loci with single-point P values between 10(-5) and 5 x 10(-7)) likely to yield additional susceptibility loci. The importance of appropriately large samples was confirmed by the modest effect sizes observed at most loci identified. This study thus represents a thorough validation of the GWA approach. It has also demonstrated that careful use of a shared control group represents a safe and effective approach to GWA analyses of multiple disease phenotypes; has generated a genome-wide genotype database for future studies of common diseases in the British population; and shown that, provided individuals with non-European ancestry are excluded, the extent of population stratification in the British population is generally modest. Our findings offer new avenues for exploring the pathophysiology of these important disorders. We anticipate that our data, results and software, which will be widely available to other investigators, will provide a powerful resource for human genetics research.

Zeggini E, Weedon MN, Lindgren CM, Frayling TM, Elliott KS, Lango H, Timpson NJ, Perry JR et al. 2007. Replication of genome-wide association signals in UK samples reveals risk loci for type 2 diabetes. Science, 316 (5829), pp. 1336-1341. | Show Abstract | Read more

The molecular mechanisms involved in the development of type 2 diabetes are poorly understood. Starting from genome-wide genotype data for 1924 diabetic cases and 2938 population controls generated by the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, we set out to detect replicated diabetes association signals through analysis of 3757 additional cases and 5346 controls and by integration of our findings with equivalent data from other international consortia. We detected diabetes susceptibility loci in and around the genes CDKAL1, CDKN2A/CDKN2B, and IGF2BP2 and confirmed the recently described associations at HHEX/IDE and SLC30A8. Our findings provide insight into the genetic architecture of type 2 diabetes, emphasizing the contribution of multiple variants of modest effect. The regions identified underscore the importance of pathways influencing pancreatic beta cell development and function in the etiology of type 2 diabetes.

Frayling TM, Timpson NJ, Weedon MN, Zeggini E, Freathy RM, Lindgren CM, Perry JR, Elliott KS et al. 2007. A common variant in the FTO gene is associated with body mass index and predisposes to childhood and adult obesity. Science, 316 (5826), pp. 889-894. | Show Abstract | Read more

Obesity is a serious international health problem that increases the risk of several common diseases. The genetic factors predisposing to obesity are poorly understood. A genome-wide search for type 2 diabetes-susceptibility genes identified a common variant in the FTO (fat mass and obesity associated) gene that predisposes to diabetes through an effect on body mass index (BMI). An additive association of the variant with BMI was replicated in 13 cohorts with 38,759 participants. The 16% of adults who are homozygous for the risk allele weighed about 3 kilograms more and had 1.67-fold increased odds of obesity when compared with those not inheriting a risk allele. This association was observed from age 7 years upward and reflects a specific increase in fat mass.

Holmkvist J, Cervin C, Lyssenko V, Winckler W, Anevski D, Cilio C, Almgren P, Berglund G et al. 2006. Common variants in HNF-1 alpha and risk of type 2 diabetes. Diabetologia, 49 (12), pp. 2882-2891. | Show Abstract | Read more

AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Mutations in the hepatocyte nuclear factor 1-alpha gene (HNF-1alpha, now known as the transcription factor 1 gene [TCF1]) cause the most common monogenic form of diabetes, MODY3, but it is not known if common variants in HNF-1a are associated with decreased transcriptional activity or phenotypes related to type 2 diabetes, or whether they predict future type 2 diabetes. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: We studied the effect of four common polymorphisms (rs1920792, I27L, A98V and S487N) in and upstream of the HNF-1alpha gene on transcriptional activity in vitro, and their possible association with type 2 diabetes and insulin secretion in vivo. RESULTS: Certain combinations of the I27L and A98V polymorphisms in the HNF-1alpha gene showed decreased transcriptional activity on the target promoters glucose transporter 2 (now known as solute carrier family 2 [facilitated glucose transporter], member 2) and albumin in both HeLa and INS-1 cells. In vivo, these polymorphisms were associated with a modest but significant impairment in insulin secretion in response to oral glucose. Insulin secretion deteriorated over time in individuals carrying the V allele of the A98V polymorphism (n = 2,293; p = 0.003). In a new case-control (n = 1,511 and n = 2,225 respectively) data set, the I27L polymorphism was associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes, odds ratio (OR) = 1.5 (p = 0.002; multiple logistic regression), particularly in elderly (age > 60 years) and overweight (BMI > 25 kg/m(2)) patients (OR = 2.3, p = 0.002). CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: This study provides in vitro and in vivo evidence that common variants in the MODY3 gene, HNF-1alpha, influence transcriptional activity and insulin secretion in vivo. These variants are associated with a modestly increased risk of late-onset type 2 diabetes in subsets of elderly overweight individuals.

Lahermo P, Liljedahl U, Alnaes G, Axelsson T, Brookes AJ, Ellonen P, Groop PH, Halldén C et al. 2006. A quality assessment survey of SNP genotyping laboratories. Hum Mutat, 27 (7), pp. 711-714. | Show Abstract | Read more

To survey the quality of SNP genotyping, a joint Nordic quality assessment (QA) round was organized between 11 laboratories in the Nordic and Baltic countries. The QA round involved blinded genotyping of 47 DNA samples for 18 or six randomly selected SNPs. The methods used by the participating laboratories included all major platforms for small- to medium-size SNP genotyping. The laboratories used their standard procedures for SNP assay design, genotyping, and quality control. Based on the joint results from all laboratories, a consensus genotype for each DNA sample and SNP was determined by the coordinator of the survey, and the results from each laboratory were compared to this genotype. The overall genotyping accuracy achieved in the survey was excellent. Six laboratories delivered genotype data that were in full agreement with the consensus genotype. The average accuracy per SNP varied from 99.1 to 100% between the laboratories, and it was frequently 100% for the majority of the assays for which SNP genotypes were reported. Lessons from the survey are that special attention should be given to the quality of the DNA samples prior to genotyping, and that a conservative approach for calling the genotypes should be used to achieve a high accuracy.

Holmkvist J, Almgren P, Parikh H, Zucchelli M, Kere J, Groop L, Lindgren CM. 2005. Haplotype construction of the FRDA gene and evaluation of its role in type II diabetes. Eur J Hum Genet, 13 (7), pp. 849-855. | Show Abstract | Read more

A GAA-repeat in the X25 gene is causing Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA), a common neurodegenerative disease and >20% of FRDA patients develop type II diabetes (T2D). Linkage has previously been detected between T2D and chromosome 9p13-q21, the region that harbours the X25 gene, but association studies of this gene in T2D have been contradicting. Here, we examined whether genetic variation in the X25 gene is associated with risk for T2D. The GAA-repeat and 18 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) covering the X25 gene were genotyped in 220 trios in which the affected offspring had abnormal glucose tolerance. Any nominally significant findings were examined in an independent sample consisting of 523 individuals with T2D and 326 healthy controls. Previously reported results were analysed together with our data using a meta-analysis approach. There was no association between the GAA-repeat and T2D susceptibility in our study, which was supported by the meta-analysis including all previous publications. One SNP (rs2498429), 8.2 kb downstream of X25, was nominally associated with T2D in the trios (P=0.02) and showed a trend of association in the same direction in the case-controls (P=0.08; combined permuted P=0.01). Further analysis showed that the nine-marker haplotype containing the rare allele of rs2498429 was nominally associated with T2D in the trios (P<0.01) as well as in the case-controls (P=0.03). In conclusions, this study excludes a role of genetic variation within the X25 gene, but instead suggests that genetic variation downstream the X25 gene, may increase risk for T2D.

Swanberg M, Lidman O, Padyukov L, Eriksson P, Akesson E, Jagodic M, Lobell A, Khademi M et al. 2005. MHC2TA is associated with differential MHC molecule expression and susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and myocardial infarction. Nat Genet, 37 (5), pp. 486-494. | Show Abstract | Read more

Antigen presentation to T cells by MHC molecules is essential for adaptive immune responses. To determine the exact position of a gene affecting expression of MHC molecules, we finely mapped a previously defined rat quantitative trait locus regulating MHC class II on microglia in an advanced intercross line. We identified a small interval including the gene MHC class II transactivator (Mhc2ta) and, using a map over six inbred strains combined with gene sequencing and expression analysis, two conserved Mhc2ta haplotypes segregating with MHC class II levels. In humans, a -168A --> G polymorphism in the type III promoter of the MHC class II transactivator (MHC2TA) was associated with increased susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and myocardial infarction, as well as lower expression of MHC2TA after stimulation of leukocytes with interferon-gamma. We conclude that polymorphisms in Mhc2ta and MHC2TA result in differential MHC molecule expression and are associated with susceptibility to common complex diseases with inflammatory components.

von Wowern F, Bengtsson K, Lindgren CM, Orho-Melander M, Fyhrquist F, Lindblad U, Råstam L, Forsblom C et al. 2003. A genome wide scan for early onset primary hypertension in Scandinavians. Hum Mol Genet, 12 (16), pp. 2077-2081. | Show Abstract | Read more

With the aim of identifying hypertension susceptibility loci, we performed a genome wide scan in Scandinavian sib-pairs with early onset primary hypertension. To be classified as affected, a diagnosis of primary hypertension at age </=50 years was required. Two hundred and forty three patients with onset of primary hypertension at 40.0+/-7.7 (mean+/-SD) years from 91 families (91 sib-ships with a mean of 2.7 and a range of 2-6 affected members per sib-ship) were genotyped with 362 microsatellite markers with a density of approximately 10 cM. Loci obtaining nominal P</=0.016 (LOD score >/= 1.0) were fine mapped with additional markers. Multipoint non-parametric linkage analysis was performed using GENEHUNTER v 2.0. Using simulations, a nominal P</=0.0002 was determined to be a genome wide significant evidence of linkage. In the 10 cM genome wide scan, nominal P</=0.016 were found on chromosomes 1 at 81 cM (P=0.007), 2 at 115 cM (P=0.006), 3 at 108 cM (P=0.006), 14 at 45 cM (P=0.0002) and at 99 cM (P=0.001), 17 at 42 cM (P=0.015) and 19 at 89 cM (P=0.007). After fine mapping of these loci, one of the chromosome 14 loci just obtained the level of genome wide significance (P=0.0002 at 41 cM) and the chromosome 2 locus reached suggestive evidence of linkage (P=0.002 at 118 cM). Our data suggest a hypertension susceptibility locus on chromosome 14 around 41 cM. The locus on chromosome 2 is also promising as it has been implicated in hypertension and blood pressure regulation in earlier genome scans.

Demenais F, Kanninen T, Lindgren CM, Wiltshire S, Gaget S, Dandrieux C, Almgren P, Sjögren M et al. 2003. A meta-analysis of four European genome screens (GIFT Consortium) shows evidence for a novel region on chromosome 17p11.2-q22 linked to type 2 diabetes. Hum Mol Genet, 12 (15), pp. 1865-1873. | Show Abstract | Read more

Positional cloning is expected to identify novel susceptibility genes underlying complex traits, but replication of genome-wide linkage scan findings has proven erratic. To improve our ability to detect and prioritize chromosomal regions containing type 2 diabetes susceptibility genes, the GIFT consortium has implemented a meta-analysis of four scans conducted in European samples. These included the Botnia I and Botnia II scans, with respectively 58 and 353 pedigrees from Finland and Sweden, the Warren 2 scan performed in 573 multiplex sibships from the UK, and a scan of 143 families from France. The meta-analysis was implemented using the genome-search analysis method (GSMA), an exploratory data analysis technique which is robust across study designs. The analysis provided evidence for linkage of type 2 diabetes to six regions, with the strongest evidence on chromosome 17p11.2-q22 (P=0.0016), followed by 2p22.1-p13.2 (P=0.027), 1p13.1-q22 (P=0.028), 12q21.1-q24.12 (P=0.029), 6q21-q24.1 (P=0.033) and 16p12.3-q11.2 (P=0.033). Linkage analysis of the pooled raw genotype data generated maximum LOD scores in the same regions as identified by GSMA. Altogether, our results have indicated that GSMA is a valuable tool to identify chromosomal regions of interest and that accumulating evidence for linkage from small peaks detected across several samples may be more important than getting a high peak in a single sample. This meta-analysis has led to identification of a novel region on chromosome 17 linked to type 2 diabetes; this region has not been highlighted in any published scan to date but on the basis of these data justifies further exploration.

Mootha VK, Lindgren CM, Eriksson KF, Subramanian A, Sihag S, Lehar J, Puigserver P, Carlsson E et al. 2003. PGC-1alpha-responsive genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation are coordinately downregulated in human diabetes. Nat Genet, 34 (3), pp. 267-273. | Show Abstract | Read more

DNA microarrays can be used to identify gene expression changes characteristic of human disease. This is challenging, however, when relevant differences are subtle at the level of individual genes. We introduce an analytical strategy, Gene Set Enrichment Analysis, designed to detect modest but coordinate changes in the expression of groups of functionally related genes. Using this approach, we identify a set of genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation whose expression is coordinately decreased in human diabetic muscle. Expression of these genes is high at sites of insulin-mediated glucose disposal, activated by PGC-1alpha and correlated with total-body aerobic capacity. Our results associate this gene set with clinically important variation in human metabolism and illustrate the value of pathway relationships in the analysis of genomic profiling experiments.

Frayling TM, Lindgren CM, Chevre JC, Menzel S, Wishart M, Benmezroua Y, Brown A, Evans JC et al. 2003. A genome-wide scan in families with maturity-onset diabetes of the young: evidence for further genetic heterogeneity. Diabetes, 52 (3), pp. 872-881. | Show Abstract | Read more

Maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY) is a heterogeneous single gene disorder characterized by non-insulin-dependent diabetes, an early onset and autosomal dominant inheritance. Mutations in six genes have been shown to cause MODY. Approximately 15-20% of families fitting MODY criteria do not have mutations in any of the known genes. These families provide a rich resource for the identification of new MODY genes. This will potentially enable further dissection of clinical heterogeneity and bring new insights into mechanisms of beta-cell dysfunction. To facilitate the identification of novel MODY loci, we combined the results from three genome-wide scans on a total of 23 families fitting MODY criteria. We used both a strict parametric model of inheritance with heterogeneity and a model-free analysis. We did not identify any single novel locus but provided putative evidence for linkage to chromosomes 6 (nonparametric linkage [NPL]score 2.12 at 71 cM) and 10 (NPL score 1.88 at 169-175 cM), and to chromosomes 3 (heterogeneity LOD [HLOD] score 1.27 at 124 cM) and 5 (HLOD score 1.22 at 175 cM) in 14 more strictly defined families. Our results provide evidence for further heterogeneity in MODY.

Orho-Melander M, Klannemark M, Svensson MK, Ridderstråle M, Lindgren CM, Groop L. 2002. Variants in the calpain-10 gene predispose to insulin resistance and elevated free fatty acid levels. Diabetes, 51 (8), pp. 2658-2664. | Show Abstract | Read more

The calpain-10 gene (CAPN10) has been associated with type 2 diabetes, but information on molecular and physiological mechanisms explaining this association is limited. Here we addressed this question by studying the role of CAPN10 for phenotypes associated with type 2 diabetes and free fatty acid (FFA) metabolism. Among 395 type 2 diabetic patients and 298 nondiabetic control subjects from Finland, the SNP-43 allele 1 (P = 0.011), SNP-63 allele 2 (P = 0.010), and the haplotype combination SNP-44/43/19/63 1121/1121 (P = 0.028) were associated with type 2 diabetes. The SNP-43 genotypes 11 and 12 were associated with higher fasting insulin and homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) insulin resistance index among control subjects (P = 0.021 and P = 0.0076) and with elevated FFA among both control subjects (P = 0.0040) and type 2 diabetic patients (P = 0.0025). Multiple regression analysis further indicated that SNP-43 is an independent predictor of FFA levels (P = 0.0037). Among 80 genotype discordant sibling pairs, the SNP-43 allele 1 was associated with elevated fasting serum insulin and HOMA index (P = 0.013 and P = 0.0068). None of the four SNPs showed distorted transmission of alleles to patients with type 2 diabetes in a qualitative transmission disequilibrium test, including 108 trios. Because FFA and insulin resistance are known to predict type 2 diabetes, the finding that variation in the CAPN10 gene influences FFA levels and insulin resistance may provide an explanation for how the CAPN10 gene increases susceptibility to type 2 diabetes.

Lindgren CM, Widén E, Tuomi T, Li H, Almgren P, Kanninen T, Melander O, Weng J, Lehto M, Groop LC. 2002. Contribution of known and unknown susceptibility genes to early-onset diabetes in scandinavia: evidence for heterogeneity. Diabetes, 51 (5), pp. 1609-1617. | Show Abstract | Read more

In an attempt to identify novel susceptibility genes predisposing to early-onset diabetes (EOD), we performed a genome-wide scan using 433 markers in 222 individuals (119 with diabetes) from 29 Scandinavian families with > or =2 members with onset of diabetes < or =45 years. The highest nonparametric linkage (NPL) score, 2.7 (P < 0.01), was observed on chromosome 1p (D1S473/D1S438). Six other regions on chromosomes 3p, 7q, 11q, 18q, 20q, and 21q showed a nominal P value <0.05. Of the EOD subjects in these 29 families, 20% were GAD antibody positive and 68% displayed type 1 diabetes HLA risk alleles (DQB*02 or 0302). Mutations in maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY) 1-5 genes and the A3243G mitochondrial DNA mutation were detected by single-strand conformation polymorphism and direct sequencing. To increase homogeneity, we analyzed a subsample of five families with autosomal dominant inheritance of EOD (greater than or equal to two members with age at diagnosis < or =35 years). The highest NPL scores were found on chromosome 1p (D1S438-D1S1665; NPL 3.0; P < 0.01) and 16q (D16S419; NPL 2.9; P < 0.01). After exclusion of three families with MODY1, MODY3, and mitochondrial mutations, the highest NPL scores were observed on chromosomes 1p (D1S438; NPL 2.6; P < 0.01), 3p (D3S1620; NPL 2.2; P < 0.03), 5q (D5S1465; NPL 2.1; P < 0.03), 7q (D7S820; NPL 2.0; P < 0.03), 18q (D18S535; NPL 1.9; P < 0.04), 20q (D20S195; NPL 2.5; P < 0.02), and 21q (D21S1446; NPL 2.2; P < 0.03). We conclude that considerable heterogeneity exists in Scandinavian subjects with EOD; 24% had MODY or maternally inherited diabetes and deafness, and approximately 60% were GAD antibody positive or had type 1 diabetes-associated HLA genotypes. Our data also point at putative chromosomal regions, which could harbor novel genes that contribute to EOD.

Lindgren CM, Mahtani MM, Widén E, McCarthy MI, Daly MJ, Kirby A, Reeve MP, Kruglyak L et al. 2002. Genomewide search for type 2 diabetes mellitus susceptibility loci in Finnish families: the Botnia study. Am J Hum Genet, 70 (2), pp. 509-516. | Show Abstract | Read more

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a heterogeneous inherited disorder characterized by chronic hyperglycemia resulting from pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction and insulin resistance. Although the pathogenic mechanisms are not fully understood, manifestation of the disease most likely requires interaction between both environmental and genetic factors. In the search for such susceptibility genes, we have performed a genomewide scan in 58 multiplex families (comprising 440 individuals, 229 of whom were affected) from the Botnia region in Finland. Initially, linkage between chromosome 12q24 and impaired insulin secretion had been reported, by Mahtani et al., in a subsample of 26 families. In the present study, we extend the initial genomewide scan to include 32 additional families, update the affectation status, and fine map regions of interest, and we try to replicate the initial stratification analysis. In our analysis of all 58 families, we identified suggestive linkage to one region, chromosome 9p13-q21 (nonparametric linkage [NPL] score 3.9; P<.0002). Regions with nominal P values <.05 include chromosomes 2p11 (NPL score 2.0 [P<.03]), 3p24-p22 (NPL score 2.2 [P<.02]), 4q32-q33 (NPL score 2.5 [P<.01]), 12q24 (NPL score 2.1 [P<.03]), 16p12-11 (NPL score 1.7 [P<.05]), and 17p12-p11 (NPL score 1.9 [P<.03]). When chromosome 12q24 was analyzed in only the 32 additional families, a nominal P value <.04 was observed. Together with data from other published genomewide scans, these findings lend support to the hypothesis that regions on chromosome 9p13-q21 and 12q24 may harbor susceptibility genes for type 2 diabetes.

Lindgren CM, Nilsson A, Orho-Melander M, Almgren P, Groop LC. 2001. Characterization of the annexin I gene and evaluation of its role in type 2 diabetes. Diabetes, 50 (10), pp. 2402-2405. | Show Abstract | Read more

In a previous study, we identified suggestive linkage between type 2 diabetes and a locus on chromosome 9p13-q21. This region contains the gene annexin I (ANXA1), encoding a protein suggested to be involved in both insulin secretion and insulin action. In this study, we sequenced the exon/intron boundaries of the human ANXA1 gene and performed mutation screening in 41 individuals from the initial linkage study. We identified five single nucleotide polymorphisms A58G, A401G, intronic variance sequence (IVS)8-28A/G, IVS11 +31A/G, and IVS12-11T/G, which were further tested for association to diabetes in 197 parent/offspring trios using the transmission disequilibrium test. No significant association with type 2 diabetes was observed, although the common A allele of the +58A/G variant gave a 22:12 transmission distortion (P = 0.12). This variant was further genotyped in 481 case and control subjects, but no difference in allele, genotype, or haplotype frequencies were observed between the groups. Further, a novel polymorphic (CA)(15-25) repeat in intron 11 was genotyped in the subjects included in the initial linkage study. No improvement of the original finding was observed. We therefore concluded that the ANXA1 gene is unlikely to harbor variants that contribute to risk of type 2 diabetes.

Frayling TM, Menzel S, Wishart M, Vaxillaire M, Lindgren C, Tuomi T, Wang Y, Brown A et al. 2001. A genome scan reveals heterogeneity among European families with maturity onset diabetes of the young DIABETOLOGIA, 44 pp. A64-A64.

Hirschhorn JN, Lindgren CM, Daly MJ, Kirby A, Schaffner SF, Burtt NP, Altshuler D, Parker A et al. 2001. Genomewide linkage analysis of stature in multiple populations reveals several regions with evidence of linkage to adult height. Am J Hum Genet, 69 (1), pp. 106-116. | Show Abstract | Read more

Genomewide linkage analysis has been extremely successful at identification of the genetic variation underlying single-gene disorders. However, linkage analysis has been less successful for common human diseases and other complex traits in which multiple genetic and environmental factors interact to influence disease risk. We hypothesized that a highly heritable complex trait, in which the contribution of environmental factors was relatively limited, might be more amenable to linkage analysis. We therefore chose to study stature (adult height), for which heritability is approximately 75%-90% (Phillips and Matheny 1990; Carmichael and McGue 1995; Preece 1996; Silventoinen et al. 2000). We reanalyzed genomewide scans from four populations for which genotype and height data were available, using a variance-components method implemented in GENEHUNTER 2.0 (Pratt et al. 2000). The populations consisted of 408 individuals in 58 families from the Botnia region of Finland, 753 individuals in 183 families from other parts of Finland, 746 individuals in 179 families from Southern Sweden, and 420 individuals in 63 families from the Saguenay-Lac-St.-Jean region of Quebec. Four regions showed evidence of linkage to stature: 6q24-25, multipoint LOD score 3.85 at marker D6S1007 in Botnia (genomewide P<.06), 7q31.3-36 (LOD 3.40 at marker D7S2195 in Sweden, P<.02), 12p11.2-q14 (LOD 3.35 at markers D12S10990-D12S398 in Finland, P<.05) and 13q32-33 (LOD 3.56 at markers D13S779-D13S797 in Finland, P<.05). In a companion article (Perola et al. 2001 [in this issue]), strong supporting evidence is obtained for linkage to the region on chromosome 7. These studies suggest that highly heritable complex traits such as stature may be genetically tractable and provide insight into the genetic architecture of complex traits.

Lindgren CM, Hirschhorn JN. 2001. The genetics of type 2 diabetes ENDOCRINOLOGIST, 11 (3), pp. 178-187. | Show Abstract | Read more

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, affecting approximately 5-10% of the adult population in the United States [1, 2]. Diabetes is caused by the interaction of multiple environmental and genetic factors and is, therefore, referred to as a complex genetic, polygenic disorder. Despite a great deal of effort, understanding the underlying genetic causes of diabetes has proven difficult. Two main approaches have been taken to try to identify the genes influencing disease: linkage analysis followed by positional cloning and candidate gene association studies. We review the results of these studies and discuss chromosomal regions and genes implicated by using these approaches. We focus on two recent examples, the positional cloning of CAPN10, encoding the calpain 10 protease (originally identified by using linkage analysis and called NIDDM1) [3, 4], and the association between type 2 diabetes and the Pro12Ala variant in PPARG, encoding peroxisome proliferator activator receptor gamma (PPARγ) [5-7]. These two cases illustrate not only the challenges in determining the genetic causes of type 2 diabetes but also the great promise that modern approaches hold for understanding complex genetic diseases.

Parker A, Meyer J, Lewitzky S, Rennich JS, Chan G, Thomas JD, Orho-Melander M, Lehtovirta M et al. 2001. Erratum: A gene conferring susceptibility to type 2 diabetes in conjunction with obesty is located on chromosme 18p11 (Diabetes (2001) 50 (675-680)) Diabetes, 50 (6), pp. 1512.

Altshuler D, Hirschhorn JN, Klannemark M, Lindgren CM, Vohl MC, Nemesh J, Lane CR, Schaffner SF et al. 2000. The common PPARgamma Pro12Ala polymorphism is associated with decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. Nat Genet, 26 (1), pp. 76-80. | Show Abstract | Read more

Genetic association studies are viewed as problematic and plagued by irreproducibility. Many associations have been reported for type 2 diabetes, but none have been confirmed in multiple samples and with comprehensive controls. We evaluated 16 published genetic associations to type 2 diabetes and related sub-phenotypes using a family-based design to control for population stratification, and replication samples to increase power. We were able to confirm only one association, that of the common Pro12Ala polymorphism in peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma(PPARgamma) with type 2 diabetes. By analysing over 3,000 individuals, we found a modest (1.25-fold) but significant (P=0.002) increase in diabetes risk associated with the more common proline allele (85% frequency). Moreover, our results resolve a controversy about common variation in PPARgamma. An initial study found a threefold effect, but four of five subsequent publications failed to confirm the association. All six studies are consistent with the odds ratio we describe. The data implicate inherited variation in PPARgamma in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. Because the risk allele occurs at such high frequency, its modest effect translates into a large population attributable risk-influencing as much as 25% of type 2 diabetes in the general population.

Lehto M, Wipemo C, Ivarsson SA, Lindgren C, Lipsanen-Nyman M, Weng J, Wibell L, Widén E, Tuomi T, Groop L. 1999. High frequency of mutations in MODY and mitochondrial genes in Scandinavian patients with familial early-onset diabetes. Diabetologia, 42 (9), pp. 1131-1137. | Show Abstract | Read more

AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: To investigate the contribution of mutations in maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY) and mitochondrial genes to early-onset diabetes with a strong family history of diabetes in a cohort with a high prevalence of Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus. METHODS: Screening for sequence variants in the hepatocyte nuclear factor (HNF)-4alpha (MODY1), glucokinase (MODY2), HNF-1alpha (MODY3) genes and mitochondrial DNA was carried out in 115 Finnish and Swedish patients with early-onset ( </= 40 years) diabetes using the single strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) technique and direct sequencing. Allele frequencies were compared with 118 patients with onset of diabetes Type II (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus after the age of 40 and 92 non-diabetic control subjects without a family history of diabetes. RESULTS: In total 52 sequence variants were found in the HNF-1alpha, HNF-4alpha and glucokinase genes, 12 of which were considered as MODY mutations. Three families had the A3243G mutation in the mitochondrial tRNA(Leu) gene, which resulted in an overall prevalence of these mutations of 13 %. CONCLUSION/INTERPRETATION: Among 115 Scandinavian families, mutations in the HNF-1alpha gene represented the most common cause of familial early-onset ( </= 40 years) diabetes: MODY3 (5.2 %) more than MODY2 (3.5 %) more than MIDD (2.6 %) more than MODY1 (1.7 %).

Shungin D, Winkler TW, Croteau-Chonka DC, Ferreira T, Locke AE, Mägi R, Strawbridge RJ, Pers TH