Publications by authors named "Archie Campbell"

131 Publications

Genome-wide Analysis Identifies Novel Gallstone-susceptibility Loci Including Genes Regulating Gastrointestinal Motility.

Hepatology 2021 Oct 15. Epub 2021 Oct 15.

Centre for Medical Informatics, Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh.

Background & Aims: Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified several risk loci for gallstone disease. As with most polygenic traits, it is likely many genetic determinants are undiscovered. The aim of this study was to identify novel genetic variants, representing new targets for gallstone research and treatment.

Approach & Results: We performed a GWAS of 28,627 gallstone cases and 348,373 controls in the UK Biobank, replicated findings in a Scottish cohort (1,089 cases, 5,228 controls) and conducted a GWA meta-analysis (43,639 cases,506,798 controls) with the FinnGen cohort. We assessed pathway enrichment using gene-based then gene-set analysis and tissue expression of identified genes in Genotype-Tissue Expression project data. We constructed a polygenic risk score (PRS) and evaluated phenotypic traits associated with the score. Seventy-five risk loci were identified (P < 5 * 10 ), of which forty-six were novel. Pathway enrichment revealed associations with lipid homeostasis, glucuronidation, phospholipid metabolism and gastrointestinal motility. ANO1 and TMEM147, both in novel, replicated loci, are expressed in the gallbladder and gastrointestinal tract. Both regulate gastrointestinal motility. The gallstone risk allele rs7599-A leads to suppression of hepatic TMEM147 expression suggesting the protein protects against gallstone formation. The highest decile of the PRS demonstrated a 6-fold increased odds of gallstones compared to the lowest decile. The PRS was strongly associated with increased body mass index, serum liver enzymes and C-reactive protein concentrations and decreased lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations.

Conclusions: This GWAS demonstrates the polygenic nature of gallstone risk and identifies 46 novel susceptibility loci. For the first time, we implicate genes influencing gastrointestinal motility in the pathogenesis of gallstones.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep.32199DOI Listing
October 2021

Hair glucocorticoids are associated with childhood adversity, depressive symptoms and reduced global and lobar grey matter in Generation Scotland.

Transl Psychiatry 2021 10 12;11(1):523. Epub 2021 Oct 12.

Division of Psychiatry, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis dysregulation has been commonly reported in major depressive disorder (MDD), but with considerable heterogeneity of results; potentially due to the predominant use of acute measures of an inherently variable/phasic system. Chronic longer-term measures of HPA-axis activity have yet to be systematically examined in MDD, particularly in relation to brain phenotypes, and in the context of early-life/contemporaneous stress. Here, we utilise a temporally stable measure of cumulative HPA-axis function (hair glucocorticoids) to investigate associations between cortisol, cortisone and total glucocorticoids with concurrent measures of (i) lifetime-MDD case/control status and current symptom severity, (ii) early/current-life stress and (iii) structural neuroimaging phenotypes, in N = 993 individuals from Generation Scotland (mean age = 59.1 yrs). Increased levels of hair cortisol were significantly associated with reduced global and lobar brain volumes with reductions in the frontal, temporal and cingulate regions (β = -0.057 to -0.104, all P < 0.05). Increased levels of hair cortisone were significantly associated with MDD (lifetime-MDD status, current symptoms, and severity; β = 0.071 to 0.115, all P = < 0.05), with early-life adversity (β = 0.083, P = 0.017), and with reduced global and regional brain volumes (global: β = -0.059, P = 0.043; nucleus accumbens: β = -0.075, P = 0.044). Associations with total glucocorticoids followed a similar pattern to the cortisol findings. In this large community-based sample, elevated glucocorticoids were significantly associated with MDD, with early, but not later-life stress, and with reduced global and regional brain phenotypes. These findings provide important foundations for future mechanistic studies to formally explore causal relationships between early adversity, chronic rather than acute measures of glucocorticoids, and neurobiological associations relevant to the aetiology of MDD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41398-021-01644-9DOI Listing
October 2021

Identification of plasma proteins relating to brain neurodegeneration and vascular pathology in cognitively normal individuals.

Alzheimers Dement (Amst) 2021 27;13(1):e12240. Epub 2021 Sep 27.

Department of Psychiatry University of Oxford Oxford UK.

Introduction: This study aims to first discover plasma proteomic biomarkers relating to neurodegeneration (N) and vascular (V) damage in cognitively normal individuals and second to discover proteins mediating sex-related difference in N and V pathology.

Methods: Five thousand and thirty-two plasma proteins were measured in 1061 cognitively normal individuals (628 females and 433 males), nearly 90% of whom had magnetic resonance imaging measures of hippocampal volume (as N) and white matter hyperintensities (as V).

Results: Differential protein expression analysis and co-expression network analysis revealed different proteins and modules associated with N and V, respectively. Furthermore, causal mediation analysis revealed four proteins mediated sex-related difference in N and one protein mediated such difference in V damage.

Discussion: Once validated, the identified proteins could help to select cognitively normal individuals with N and V pathology for Alzheimer's disease clinical trials and provide targets for further mechanistic studies on brain sex differences, leading to sex-specific therapeutic strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/dad2.12240DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8474123PMC
September 2021

Early life predictors of late life cerebral small vessel disease in four prospective cohort studies.

Brain 2021 Sep 28. Epub 2021 Sep 28.

Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Chancellor's Building, 49 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh, UK, EH16 4SB.

Development of cerebral small vessel disease, a major cause of stroke and dementia, may be influenced by early life factors. It is unclear whether these relationships are independent of each other, of adult socioeconomic status or of vascular risk factor exposures. We examined associations between factors from birth (ponderal index, birth weight), childhood (IQ, education, socioeconomic status), adult small vessel disease, and brain volumes, using data from four prospective cohort studies: STratifying Resilience And Depression Longitudinally (STRADL) (n = 1080; mean age = 59 years); The Dutch Famine Birth cohort (n = 118; mean age = 68 years); the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (LBC1936; n = 617; mean age = 73 years), and the Simpson's cohort (n = 110; mean age = 78 years). We analysed each small vessel disease feature individually and summed to give a total small vessel disease score (range 1-4) in each cohort separately, then in meta-analysis, adjusted for vascular risk factors and adult socioeconomic status. Higher birth weight was associated with fewer lacunes (OR per 100 g, 0.93 95%CI = 0.88-0.99), fewer infarcts (OR = 0.94 95%CI = 0.89-0.99), and fewer perivascular spaces (OR = 0.95 95%CI = 0.91-0.99). Higher childhood IQ was associated with lower white matter hyperintensity burden (OR per IQ point = 0.99 95%CI 0.98-0.998), fewer infarcts (OR = 0.98, 95%CI = 0.97-0.998), fewer lacunes (OR = 0.98, 95%CI = 0.97-0.999), and lower total small vessel disease burden (OR = 0.98, 95%CI = 0.96-0.999). Low education was associated with more microbleeds (OR = 1.90 95%CI = 1.33-2.72) and lower total brain volume (MD=-178.86 cm3, 95%CI=-325.07- -32.66). Low childhood socioeconomic status was associated with fewer lacunes (OR = 0.62, 95%CI = 0.40-0.95). Early life factors are associated with worse small vessel disease in later life, independent of each other, vascular risk factors and adult socioeconomic status. Risk for small vessel disease may originate in early life and provide a mechanistic link between early life factors and risk of stroke and dementia. Policies investing in early child development may contribute to improve lifelong brain health to prevent dementia and stroke in older age.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awab331DOI Listing
September 2021

Genome-Wide Association Study of NAFLD Using Electronic Health Records.

Hepatol Commun 2021 Sep 17. Epub 2021 Sep 17.

Centre for Global Health Research, Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh, Edingburgh, Scotland.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified several risk loci for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Previous studies have largely relied on small sample sizes and have assessed quantitative traits. We performed a case-control GWAS in the UK Biobank using recorded diagnosis of NAFLD based on diagnostic codes recommended in recent consensus guidelines. We performed a GWAS of 4,761 cases of NAFLD and 373,227 healthy controls without evidence of NAFLD. Sensitivity analyses were performed excluding other co-existing hepatic pathology, adjusting for body mass index (BMI) and adjusting for alcohol intake. A total of 9,723,654 variants were assessed by logistic regression adjusted for age, sex, genetic principal components, and genotyping batch. We performed a GWAS meta-analysis using available summary association statistics. Six risk loci were identified (P < 5*10 ) (apolipoprotein E [APOE], patatin-like phospholipase domain containing 3 [PNPLA3, transmembrane 6 superfamily member 2 [TM6SF2], glucokinase regulator [GCKR], mitochondrial amidoxime reducing component 1 [MARC1], and tribbles pseudokinase 1 [TRIB1]). All loci retained significance in sensitivity analyses without co-existent hepatic pathology and after adjustment for BMI. PNPLA3 and TM6SF2 remained significant after adjustment for alcohol (alcohol intake was known in only 158,388 individuals), with others demonstrating consistent direction and magnitude of effect. All six loci were significant on meta-analysis. Rs429358 (P = 2.17*10 ) is a missense variant within the APOE gene determining ϵ4 versus ϵ2/ϵ3 alleles. The ϵ4 allele of APOE offered protection against NAFLD (odds ratio for heterozygotes 0.84 [95% confidence interval 0.78-0.90] and homozygotes 0.64 [0.50-0.79]). Conclusion: This GWAS replicates six known NAFLD-susceptibility loci and confirms that the ϵ4 allele of APOE is associated with protection against NAFLD. The results are consistent with published GWAS using histological and radiological measures of NAFLD, confirming that NAFLD identified through diagnostic codes from consensus guidelines is a valid alternative to more invasive and costly approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep4.1805DOI Listing
September 2021

Methylome-wide association study of early life stressors and adult mental health.

Hum Mol Genet 2021 Sep 15. Epub 2021 Sep 15.

Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London, London, UK.

The environment and events that we are exposed to in utero, during birth and in early childhood influence our future physical and mental health. The underlying mechanisms that lead to these outcomes are unclear, but long-term changes in epigenetic marks, such as DNA methylation, could act as a mediating factor or biomarker. DNA methylation data was assayed at 713522 CpG sites from 9537 participants of the Generation Scotland: Scottish Family Health Study, a family-based cohort with extensive genetic, medical, family history and lifestyle information. Methylome-wide association studies of eight early life environment phenotypes and two adult mental health phenotypes (major depressive disorder and brief resilience scale) were conducted using DNA methylation data collected from adult whole blood samples. Two genes involved with different developmental pathways (PRICKLE2 and ABI1) were annotated to CpG sites associated with preterm birth (P < 1.27 × 10-9). A further two genes important to the development of sensory pathways (SOBP and RPGRIP1) were annotated to sites associated with low birth weight (P < 4.35 × 10-8). The examination of methylation profile scores and genes and gene-sets annotated from associated CpGs sites found no evidence of overlap between the early life environment and mental health conditions. Birth date was associated with a significant difference in estimated lymphocyte and neutrophil counts. Previous studies have shown that early life environments influence the risk of developing mental health disorders later in life; however, this study found no evidence that this is mediated by stable changes to the methylome detectable in peripheral blood.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddab274DOI Listing
September 2021

Genome-wide methylation data improves dissection of the effect of smoking on body mass index.

PLoS Genet 2021 Sep 9;17(9):e1009750. Epub 2021 Sep 9.

MRC Human Genetics Unit, Institute of Genetics and Cancer, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

Variation in obesity-related traits has a genetic basis with heritabilities between 40 and 70%. While the global obesity pandemic is usually associated with environmental changes related to lifestyle and socioeconomic changes, most genetic studies do not include all relevant environmental covariates, so the genetic contribution to variation in obesity-related traits cannot be accurately assessed. Some studies have described interactions between a few individual genes linked to obesity and environmental variables but there is no agreement on their total contribution to differences between individuals. Here we compared self-reported smoking data and a methylation-based proxy to explore the effect of smoking and genome-by-smoking interactions on obesity related traits from a genome-wide perspective to estimate the amount of variance they explain. Our results indicate that exploiting omic measures can improve models for complex traits such as obesity and can be used as a substitute for, or jointly with, environmental records to better understand causes of disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1009750DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8428545PMC
September 2021

Spectral clustering based on structural magnetic resonance imaging and its relationship with major depressive disorder and cognitive ability.

Eur J Neurosci 2021 09 2;54(6):6281-6303. Epub 2021 Sep 2.

Division of Psychiatry, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

There is increasing interest in using data-driven unsupervised methods to identify structural underpinnings of common mental illnesses, including major depressive disorder (MDD) and associated traits such as cognition. However, studies are often limited to severe clinical cases with small sample sizes and most do not include replication. Here, we examine two relatively large samples with structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), measures of lifetime MDD and cognitive variables: Generation Scotland (GS subsample, N = 980) and UK Biobank (UKB, N = 8,900), for discovery and replication, using an exploratory approach. Regional measures of FreeSurfer derived cortical thickness (CT), cortical surface area (CSA), cortical volume (CV) and subcortical volume (subCV) were input into a clustering process, controlling for common covariates. The main analysis steps involved constructing participant K-nearest neighbour graphs and graph partitioning with Markov stability to determine optimal clustering of participants. Resultant clusters were (1) checked whether they were replicated in an independent cohort and (2) tested for associations with depression status and cognitive measures. Participants separated into two clusters based on structural brain measurements in GS subsample, with large Cohen's d effect sizes between clusters in higher order cortical regions, commonly associated with executive function and decision making. Clustering was replicated in the UKB sample, with high correlations of cluster effect sizes for CT, CSA, CV and subCV between cohorts across regions. The identified clusters were not significantly different with respect to MDD case-control status in either cohort (GS subsample: p  = .2239-.6585; UKB: p  = .2003-.7690). Significant differences in general cognitive ability were, however, found between the clusters for both datasets, for CSA, CV and subCV (GS subsample: d = 0.2529-.3490, p  < .005; UKB: d = 0.0868-0.1070, p  < .005). Our results suggest that there are replicable natural groupings of participants based on cortical and subcortical brain measures, which may be related to differences in cognitive performance, but not to the MDD case-control status.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejn.15423DOI Listing
September 2021

Using symptom-based case predictions to identify host genetic factors that contribute to COVID-19 susceptibility.

PLoS One 2021 11;16(8):e0255402. Epub 2021 Aug 11.

Helix OpCo LLC, San Mateo, California, United States of America.

Epidemiological and genetic studies on COVID-19 are currently hindered by inconsistent and limited testing policies to confirm SARS-CoV-2 infection. Recently, it was shown that it is possible to predict COVID-19 cases using cross-sectional self-reported disease-related symptoms. Here, we demonstrate that this COVID-19 prediction model has reasonable and consistent performance across multiple independent cohorts and that our attempt to improve upon this model did not result in improved predictions. Using the existing COVID-19 prediction model, we then conducted a GWAS on the predicted phenotype using a total of 1,865 predicted cases and 29,174 controls. While we did not find any common, large-effect variants that reached genome-wide significance, we do observe suggestive genetic associations at two SNPs (rs11844522, p = 1.9x10-7; rs5798227, p = 2.2x10-7). Explorative analyses furthermore suggest that genetic variants associated with other viral infectious diseases do not overlap with COVID-19 susceptibility and that severity of COVID-19 may have a different genetic architecture compared to COVID-19 susceptibility. This study represents a first effort that uses a symptom-based predicted phenotype as a proxy for COVID-19 in our pursuit of understanding the genetic susceptibility of the disease. We conclude that the inclusion of symptom-based predicted cases could be a useful strategy in a scenario of limited testing, either during the current COVID-19 pandemic or any future viral outbreak.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0255402PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8357137PMC
August 2021

Genetic insights into biological mechanisms governing human ovarian ageing.

Nature 2021 08 4;596(7872):393-397. Epub 2021 Aug 4.

Genome Integrity and Instability Group, Institut de Biotecnologia i Biomedicina, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain.

Reproductive longevity is essential for fertility and influences healthy ageing in women, but insights into its underlying biological mechanisms and treatments to preserve it are limited. Here we identify 290 genetic determinants of ovarian ageing, assessed using normal variation in age at natural menopause (ANM) in about 200,000 women of European ancestry. These common alleles were associated with clinical extremes of ANM; women in the top 1% of genetic susceptibility have an equivalent risk of premature ovarian insufficiency to those carrying monogenic FMR1 premutations. The identified loci implicate a broad range of DNA damage response (DDR) processes and include loss-of-function variants in key DDR-associated genes. Integration with experimental models demonstrates that these DDR processes act across the life-course to shape the ovarian reserve and its rate of depletion. Furthermore, we demonstrate that experimental manipulation of DDR pathways highlighted by human genetics increases fertility and extends reproductive life in mice. Causal inference analyses using the identified genetic variants indicate that extending reproductive life in women improves bone health and reduces risk of type 2 diabetes, but increases the risk of hormone-sensitive cancers. These findings provide insight into the mechanisms that govern ovarian ageing, when they act, and how they might be targeted by therapeutic approaches to extend fertility and prevent disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03779-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7611832PMC
August 2021

Sex Differences in Cardiac Troponin I and T and the Prediction of Cardiovascular Events in the General Population.

Clin Chem 2021 Oct;67(10):1351-1360

Institute of Cardiovascular & Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.

Background: Cardiac troponin concentrations differ in women and men, but how this influences risk prediction and whether a sex-specific approach is required is unclear. We evaluated whether sex influences the predictive ability of cardiac troponin I and T for cardiovascular events in the general population.

Methods: High-sensitivity cardiac troponin (hs-cTn) I and T were measured in the Generation Scotland Scottish Family Health Study of randomly selected volunteers drawn from the general population between 2006 and 2011. Cox-regression models evaluated associations between hs-cTnI and hs-cTnT and the primary outcome of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, or stroke.

Results: In 19 501 (58% women, mean age 47 years) participants, the primary outcome occurred in 2.7% (306/11 375) of women and 5.1% (411/8126) of men during the median follow-up period of 7.9 (IQR, 7.1-9.2) years. Cardiac troponin I and T concentrations were lower in women than men (P < 0.001 for both), and both were more strongly associated with cardiovascular events in women than men. For example, at a hs-cTnI concentration of 10 ng/L, the hazard ratio relative to the limit of blank was 9.7 (95% CI 7.6-12.4) and 5.6 (95% CI 4.7-6.6) for women and men, respectively. The hazard ratio for hs-cTnT at a concentration of 10 ng/L relative to the limit of blank was 3.7 (95% CI 3.1-4.3) and 2.2 (95% CI 2.0-2.5) for women and men, respectively.

Conclusions: Cardiac troponin concentrations differ in women and men and are stronger predictors of cardiovascular events in women. Sex-specific approaches are required to provide equivalent risk prediction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/clinchem/hvab109DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8486023PMC
October 2021

A time-resolved proteomic and prognostic map of COVID-19.

Cell Syst 2021 08 14;12(8):780-794.e7. Epub 2021 Jun 14.

Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Department of Infectious Diseases and Respiratory Medicine, 10117 Berlin, Germany; Berlin Institute of Health, 10178 Berlin, Germany.

COVID-19 is highly variable in its clinical presentation, ranging from asymptomatic infection to severe organ damage and death. We characterized the time-dependent progression of the disease in 139 COVID-19 inpatients by measuring 86 accredited diagnostic parameters, such as blood cell counts and enzyme activities, as well as untargeted plasma proteomes at 687 sampling points. We report an initial spike in a systemic inflammatory response, which is gradually alleviated and followed by a protein signature indicative of tissue repair, metabolic reconstitution, and immunomodulation. We identify prognostic marker signatures for devising risk-adapted treatment strategies and use machine learning to classify therapeutic needs. We show that the machine learning models based on the proteome are transferable to an independent cohort. Our study presents a map linking routinely used clinical diagnostic parameters to plasma proteomes and their dynamics in an infectious disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cels.2021.05.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8201874PMC
August 2021

Variants associated with expression have sex-differential effects on lung function.

Wellcome Open Res 2020 24;5:111. Epub 2021 May 24.

Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, EH4 2XU, UK.

Lung function is highly heritable and differs between the sexes throughout life. However, little is known about sex-differential genetic effects on lung function. We aimed to conduct the first genome-wide genotype-by-sex interaction study on lung function to identify genetic effects that differ between males and females. We tested for interactions between 7,745,864 variants and sex on spirometry-based measures of lung function in UK Biobank (N=303,612), and sought replication in 75,696 independent individuals from the SpiroMeta consortium. Five independent single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) showed genome-wide significant (P<5x10 ) interactions with sex on lung function, and 21 showed suggestive interactions (P<1x10 ). The strongest signal, from rs7697189 (chr4:145436894) on forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV ) (P=3.15x10 ), was replicated (P=0.016) in SpiroMeta. The C allele increased FEV more in males (untransformed FEV β=0.028 [SE 0.0022] litres) than females (β=0.009 [SE 0.0014] litres), and this effect was not accounted for by differential effects on height, smoking or pubertal age. rs7697189 resides upstream of the hedgehog-interacting protein ( ) gene and was previously associated with lung function and lung expression. We found expression was significantly different between the sexes (P=6.90x10 ), but we could not detect sex differential effects of rs7697189 on expression. We identified a novel genotype-by-sex interaction at a putative enhancer region upstream of the gene. Establishing the mechanism by which SNPs have different effects on lung function in males and females will be important for our understanding of lung health and diseases in both sexes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.15846.2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7938335.2PMC
May 2021

The trans-ancestral genomic architecture of glycemic traits.

Nat Genet 2021 06 31;53(6):840-860. Epub 2021 May 31.

Department of Epidemiology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.

Glycemic traits are used to diagnose and monitor type 2 diabetes and cardiometabolic health. To date, most genetic studies of glycemic traits have focused on individuals of European ancestry. Here we aggregated genome-wide association studies comprising up to 281,416 individuals without diabetes (30% non-European ancestry) for whom fasting glucose, 2-h glucose after an oral glucose challenge, glycated hemoglobin and fasting insulin data were available. Trans-ancestry and single-ancestry meta-analyses identified 242 loci (99 novel; P < 5 × 10), 80% of which had no significant evidence of between-ancestry heterogeneity. Analyses restricted to individuals of European ancestry with equivalent sample size would have led to 24 fewer new loci. Compared with single-ancestry analyses, equivalent-sized trans-ancestry fine-mapping reduced the number of estimated variants in 99% credible sets by a median of 37.5%. Genomic-feature, gene-expression and gene-set analyses revealed distinct biological signatures for each trait, highlighting different underlying biological pathways. Our results increase our understanding of diabetes pathophysiology by using trans-ancestry studies for improved power and resolution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-021-00852-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7610958PMC
June 2021

Genome-wide association study of cardiac troponin I in the general population.

Hum Mol Genet 2021 Oct;30(21):2027-2039

Division of Research and Innovation, Akershus University Hospital, 1478 Lørenskog, Norway.

Circulating cardiac troponin proteins are associated with structural heart disease and predict incident cardiovascular disease in the general population. However, the genetic contribution to cardiac troponin I (cTnI) concentrations and its causal effect on cardiovascular phenotypes are unclear. We combine data from two large population-based studies, the Trøndelag Health Study and the Generation Scotland Scottish Family Health Study, and perform a genome-wide association study of high-sensitivity cTnI concentrations with 48 115 individuals. We further use two-sample Mendelian randomization to investigate the causal effects of circulating cTnI on acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and heart failure (HF). We identified 12 genetic loci (8 novel) associated with cTnI concentrations. Associated protein-altering variants highlighted putative functional genes: CAND2, HABP2, ANO5, APOH, FHOD3, TNFAIP2, KLKB1 and LMAN1. Phenome-wide association tests in 1688 phecodes and 83 continuous traits in UK Biobank showed associations between a genetic risk score for cTnI and cardiac arrhythmias, metabolic and anthropometric measures. Using two-sample Mendelian randomization, we confirmed the non-causal role of cTnI in AMI (5948 cases, 355 246 controls). We found indications for a causal role of cTnI in HF (47 309 cases and 930 014 controls), but this was not supported by secondary analyses using left ventricular mass as outcome (18 257 individuals). Our findings clarify the biology underlying the heritable contribution to circulating cTnI and support cTnI as a non-causal biomarker for AMI in the general population. Using genetically informed methods for causal inference helps inform the role and value of measuring cTnI in the general population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddab124DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8522636PMC
October 2021

Urinary peptides in heart failure: a link to molecular pathophysiology.

Eur J Heart Fail 2021 Apr 21. Epub 2021 Apr 21.

Non-Profit Research Institution Alliance for the Promotion of Preventive Medicine, Mechelen, Belgium.

Aims: Heart failure (HF) is a major public health concern worldwide. The diversity of HF makes it challenging to decipher the underlying complex pathological processes using single biomarkers. We examined the association between urinary peptides and HF with reduced (HFrEF), mid-range (HFmrEF) and preserved (HFpEF) ejection fraction, defined based on the European Society of Cardiology guidelines, and the links between these peptide biomarkers and molecular pathophysiology.

Methods And Results: Analysable data from 5608 participants were available in the Human Urinary Proteome database. The urinary peptide profiles from participants diagnosed with HFrEF, HFmrEF, HFpEF and controls matched for sex, age, estimated glomerular filtration rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, diabetes and hypertension were compared applying the Mann-Whitney test, followed by correction for multiple testing. Unsupervised learning algorithms were applied to investigate groups of similar urinary profiles. A total of 577 urinary peptides significantly associated with HF were sequenced, 447 of which (77%) were collagen fragments. In silico analysis suggested that urinary biomarker abnormalities in HF principally reflect changes in collagen turnover and immune response, both associated with fibrosis. Unsupervised clustering separated study participants into two clusters, with 83% of non-HF controls allocated to cluster 1, while 65% of patients with HF were allocated to cluster 2 (P < 0.0001). No separation based on HF subtype was detectable.

Conclusions: Heart failure, irrespective of ejection fraction subtype, was associated with differences in abundance of urinary peptides reflecting collagen turnover and inflammation. These peptides should be studied as tools in early detection, prognostication, and prediction of therapeutic response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ejhf.2195DOI Listing
April 2021

Creating and validating a DNA methylation-based proxy for interleukin-6.

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2021 Feb 17. Epub 2021 Feb 17.

Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

Background: Studies evaluating the relationship between chronic inflammation and cognitive functioning have produced heterogeneous results. A potential reason for this is the variability of inflammatory mediators which could lead to misclassifications of individuals' persisting levels of inflammation. DNA methylation has shown utility in indexing environmental exposures and could be leveraged to provide proxy signatures of chronic inflammation.

Methods: We conducted an elastic net regression of interleukin-6 (IL-6) in a cohort of 875 older adults (Lothian Birth Cohort 1936; mean age: 70 years) to develop a DNA methylation-based predictor. The predictor was tested in an independent cohort (Generation Scotland; n=7,028 [417 with measured IL-6], mean age: 51 years).

Results: A weighted score from 35 CpG sites optimally predicted IL-6 in the independent test set (Generation Scotland; R 2=4.4%, p=2.1x10 -5). In the independent test cohort, both measured IL-6 and the DNA methylation proxy increased with age (serum IL-6: n=417, β=0.02, SE=0.004 p=1.3x10 -7; DNAm IL-6 score: n=7,028, β=0.02, SE=0.0009, p<2x10 -16). Serum IL-6 did not associate with cognitive ability (n=417, β=-0.06, SE=0.05, p=0.19); however, an inverse association was identified between the DNA methylation score and cognitive functioning (n=7,028, β=-0.16, SE=0.02, pFDR<2x10 -16).

Conclusions: These results suggest methylation-based predictors can be used as proxies for inflammatory markers, potentially allowing for further insight into the relationship between inflammation and pertinent health outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glab046DOI Listing
February 2021

Breast Cancer Risk Genes - Association Analysis in More than 113,000 Women.

N Engl J Med 2021 02 20;384(5):428-439. Epub 2021 Jan 20.

The authors' affiliations are as follows: the Centre for Cancer Genetic Epidemiology, Departments of Public Health and Primary Care (L.D., S. Carvalho, J.A., K.A.P., Q.W., M.K.B., J.D., B.D., N. Mavaddat, K. Michailidou, A.C.A., P.D.P.P., D.F.E.) and Oncology (C.L., P.A.H., C. Baynes, D.M.C., L.F., V.R., M. Shah, P.D.P.P., A.M.D., D.F.E.), University of Cambridge, Cambridge, the Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine, MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (A. Campbell, D.J.P.), and the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, Department of Psychology (D.J.P.), University of Edinburgh, the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre (D.A.C., J.F.), and the Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, University of Edinburgh Medical School (A. Campbell, J.F.), Edinburgh, the Divisions of Informatics, Imaging, and Data Sciences (E.F.H.), Cancer Sciences (A. Howell), Population Health, Health Services Research, and Primary Care (A. Lophatananon, K. Muir), and Evolution and Genomic Sciences, School of Biological Sciences (W.G.N., E.M.V., D.G.E.), University of Manchester, the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Unit (E.F.H.) and the Nightingale Breast Screening Centre, Wythenshawe Hospital (E.F.H., H.I.), Academic Health Science Centre and North West Genomics Laboratory Hub, and the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, St. Mary's Hospital, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (W.G.N., E.M.V., D.G.E.), Manchester, the School of Cancer and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Guy's Campus, King's College London, London (E.J.S.), the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham (I.T.), and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics and Oxford NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, University of Oxford, Oxford (I.T.) - all in the United Kingdom; the Human Genotyping-CEGEN Unit, Human Cancer Genetic Program (A.G.-N., M.R.A., N.Á., B.H., R.N.-T.), and the Human Genetics Group (V.F., A.O., J.B.), Spanish National Cancer Research Center, Centro de Investigación en Red de Enfermedades Raras (A.O., J.B.), Servicio de Oncología Médica, Hospital Universitario La Paz (M.P.Z.), and Molecular Oncology Laboratory, Hospital Clinico San Carlos, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria del Hospital Clínico San Carlos (M. de la Hoya), Madrid, the Genomic Medicine Group, Galician Foundation of Genomic Medicine, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria de Santiago de Compostela, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Santiago (A. Carracedo, M.G.-D.), and Centro de Investigación en Red de Enfermedades Raras y Centro Nacional de Genotipado, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela (A. Carracedo), Santiago de Compostela, the Oncology and Genetics Unit, Instituto de Investigacion Sanitaria Galicia Sur, Xerencia de Xestion Integrada de Vigo-Servizo Galeo de Saúde, Vigo (J.E.C.), and Servicio de Cirugía General y Especialidades, Hospital Monte Naranco, Oviedo (J.I.A.P.) - all in Spain; the Division of Oncology and Pathology, Department of Clinical Sciences Lund, Lund University, Lund (C. Wahlström, J.V., M.L., T. Törngren, Å.B., A.K.), the Department of Oncology, Örebro University Hospital, Örebro (C. Blomqvist), and the Departments of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (K.C., M.E., M.G., P. Hall, W.H., K.H.), Oncology, Södersjukhuset (P. Hall, S. Margolin), Molecular Medicine and Surgery (A. Lindblom), and Clinical Science and Education, Södersjukhuset (S. Margolin, C. Wendt), Karolinska Institutet, and the Department of Clinical Genetics, Karolinska University Hospital (A. Lindblom), Stockholm - all in Sweden; the Department of Genetics and Computational Biology, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, QLD (M.T.P., C.F., G.C.-T., A.B.S.), the Cancer Epidemiology Division, Cancer Council Victoria (G.G.G., R.J.M., R.L.M.), the Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health (G.G.G., R.J.M., R.L.M.), and the Department of Clinical Pathology (M.C.S.), University of Melbourne, Anatomical Pathology, Alfred Hospital (C.M.), and the Cancer Epidemiology Division, Cancer Council Victoria (M.C.S.), Melbourne, VIC, and Precision Medicine, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Monash University, Clayton, VIC (G.G.G., M.C.S., R.L.M.) - all in Australia; the Division of Molecular Pathology (R.K., S. Cornelissen, M.K.S.), Family Cancer Clinic (F.B.L.H., L.E.K.), Department of Epidemiology (M.A.R.), and Division of Psychosocial Research and Epidemiology (M.K.S.), the Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, Amsterdam, Division Laboratories, Pharmacy and Biomedical Genetics, Department of Genetics, University Medical Center, Utrecht (M.G.E.M.A.), the Department of Clinical Genetics, Erasmus University Medical Center (J.M.C., A.M.W.O.), and the Department of Medical Oncology, Family Cancer Clinic, Erasmus MC Cancer Institute (B.A.M.H.-G., A. Hollestelle, M.J.H.), Rotterdam, the Department of Clinical Genetics, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht (E.B.G.G.), the Departments of Human Genetics (I.M.M.L., M.P.G.V., P.D.), Clinical Genetics (C.J.A.), and Pathology (P.D.), Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen (A.R.M.), and the Department of Genetics, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen (J.C.O.) - all in the Netherlands; the Cancer Genetics and Comparative Genomics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute (B.D.), and the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute (T.A., S.J.C., X.R.Y., M.G.-C.), National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD; the Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School (B.D.), and the Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (R.M.V.D.), Boston; the Departments of Clinical Genetics (K.A.), Oncology (C. Blomqvist), and Obstetrics and Gynecology (H.N., M. Suvanto), Helsinki University Hospital, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, and the Unit of Clinical Oncology, Kuopio University Hospital (P. Auvinen), the Institute of Clinical Medicine, Oncology (P. Auvinen), the Translational Cancer Research Area (J.M.H., V.-M.K., A. Mannermaa), and the Institute of Clinical Medicine, Pathology, and Forensic Medicine (J.M.H., V.-M.K., A. Mannermaa), University of Eastern Finland, and the Biobank of Eastern Finland, Kuopio University Hospital (V.-M.K., A. Mannermaa), Kuopio - both in Finland; the N.N. Alexandrov Research Institute of Oncology and Medical Radiology, Minsk, Belarus (N.N.A., N.V.B.); the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics and Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, University Hospital of Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Christian-Albrechts University Kiel, Kiel (N.A.), the Institute of Medical Biometry and Epidemiology (H. Becher) and Cancer Epidemiology Group (T.M., J.C.-C.), University Cancer Center Hamburg, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics (M.W.B., P.A.F., L.H.) and Institute of Human Genetics (A.B.E.), University Hospital Erlangen, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Comprehensive Cancer Center Erlangen-European Metropolitan Region of Nuremberg, Erlangen, the Division of Cancer Epidemiology (S.B., A. Jung, P.M.K., J.C.-C.), Molecular Epidemiology Group, C080 (B. Burwinkel, H.S.), Division of Pediatric Neurooncology (A.F.), and Molecular Genetics of Breast Cancer (U.H., M.M., M.U.R., D.T.), German Cancer Research Center, Molecular Biology of Breast Cancer, University Women's Clinic Heidelberg, University of Heidelberg (B. Burwinkel, A.S., H.S.), Hopp Children's Cancer Center (A.F.), Faculty of Medicine, University of Heidelberg (P.M.K.), and National Center for Tumor Diseases, University Hospital and German Cancer Research Center (A.S., C.S.), Heidelberg, the Department of Radiation Oncology (N.V.B., M. Bremer, H.C.) and the Gynecology Research Unit (N.V.B., T.D., P. Hillemanns, T.-W.P.-S., P.S.), Hannover Medical School, Hannover, the Institute of Human Genetics, University of Münster, Münster (N.B.-M.), Dr. Margarete Fischer-Bosch-Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Stuttgart (H. Brauch, W.-Y.L.), iFIT-Cluster of Excellence, University of Tübingen, and the German Cancer Consortium, German Cancer Research Center, Partner Site Tübingen (H. Brauch), and the University of Tübingen (W.-Y.L.), Tübingen, Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine of the German Social Accident Insurance, Institute of the Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum (T.B.), Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics, and Epidemiology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig (C.E.), Center for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (E.H., R.K.S.) and Center for Integrated Oncology (E.H., R.K.S.), Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne, the Department of Internal Medicine, Evangelische Kliniken Bonn, Johanniter Krankenhaus, Bonn (Y.-D.K.), the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University of Munich, Campus Großhadern, Munich (A. Meindl), and the Institute of Pathology, Städtisches Klinikum Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe (T.R.) - all in Germany; the Gynecological Cancer Registry, Centre Georges-François Leclerc, Dijon (P. Arveux), and the Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health, Team Exposome and Heredity, INSERM, University Paris-Saclay, Villejuif (E.C.-D., P.G., T. Truong) - both in France; the Institute of Biochemistry and Genetics, Ufa Federal Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences (M. Bermisheva, E.K.), the Department of Genetics and Fundamental Medicine, Bashkir State University (E.K., D.P., Y.V.), and the Ufa Research Institute of Occupational Health and Human Ecology (Y.V.), Ufa, Russia; the Department of Genetics and Pathology (K.B., A. Jakubowska, J. Lubiński, K.P.) and the Independent Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Genetic Diagnostics (A. Jakubowska), Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland; the Copenhagen General Population Study, the Department of Clinical Biochemistry (S.E.B., B.G.N.), and the Department of Breast Surgery (H.F.), Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Herlev, and the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen (S.E.B., B.G.N.) - both in Denmark; the Division of Cancer Prevention and Genetics, European Institute of Oncology Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico (IRCCS) (B. Bonanni), the Unit of Medical Genetics, Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori di Milano (S. Manoukian), the Genome Diagnostics Program, FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology (P.P.), and the Unit of Molecular Bases of Genetic Risk and Genetic Testing, Department of Research, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori (P.R.), Milan; the Department of Cancer Genetics, Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital-Radiumhospitalet (A.-L.B.-D., G.I.G.A., V.N.K.), and the Institute of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo (A.-L.B.-D., V.N.K.), Oslo; Medical Faculty, Universidad de La Sabana (I.B.), and the Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Department (F.G.) and Institute of Human Genetics (D.T.), Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogota, Colombia; the Department of Internal Medicine and Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah (N.J.C., M.J.M., J.A.W.), and the Intermountain Healthcare Biorepository and Department of Pathology, Intermountain Healthcare (M.H.C.), Salt Lake City; the David Geffen School of Medicine, Department of Medicine Division of Hematology and Oncology, University of California, Los Angeles (P.A.F.), and Moores Cancer Center (M.G.-D., M.E.M.) and the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health (M.E.M.), University of California San Diego, La Jolla; the Departments of Medical Oncology (V.G., D.M.) and Pathology (M.T.), University Hospital of Heraklion, Heraklion, and the Department of Oncology, University Hospital of Larissa, Larissa (E.S.) - both in Greece; the Fred A. Litwin Center for Cancer Genetics, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital (G.G., I.L.A.), the Departments of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology (A.M.M.) and Molecular Genetics (I.L.A.), University of Toronto, and the Laboratory Medicine Program, University Health Network (A.M.M.), Toronto, and the Genomics Center, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec-Université Laval Research Center, Québec City, QC (J.S.) - both in Canada; the Department of Electron Microscopy and Molecular Pathology (A. Hadjisavvas, K.K., M.A.L.), the Cyprus School of Molecular Medicine (A. Hadjisavvas, K.K., M.A.L., K. Michailidou), and the Biostatistics Unit (K. Michailidou), Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics, Nicosia, Cyprus; the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health (M. Hartman, R.M.V.D.) and the Department of Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (R.M.V.D.), National University of Singapore, the Department of Surgery, National University Health System (M. Hartman, J. Li), and the Human Genetics Division, Genome Institute of Singapore (J. Li), Singapore; the Department of Mathematical Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Nottingham Malaysia (W.K.H.), and the Breast Cancer Research Programme, Cancer Research Malaysia (W.K.H., P.S.N., S.-Y.Y., S.H.T.), Selangor, and the Breast Cancer Research Unit, Cancer Research Institute (N.A.M.T.), and the Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine (N.A.M.T., P.S.N., S.H.T.), University Malaya, Kuala Lumpur - both in Malaysia; Surgery, School of Medicine, National University of Ireland, Galway (M.J.K., N. Miller); the Department of Surgery, Daerim Saint Mary's Hospital (S.-W.K.), the Department of Surgery, Ulsan University College of Medicine and Asan Medical Center (J.W.L.), the Department of Surgery, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine and Soonchunhyang University Hospital (M.H.L.), Integrated Major in Innovative Medical Science, Seoul National University College of Medicine (S.K.P.), and the Cancer Research Institute, Seoul National University (S.K.P.), Seoul, South Korea; the Department of Basic Sciences, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Center, Lahore, Pakistan (M.U.R.); and the National Cancer Institute, Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi, Thailand (S.T.).

Background: Genetic testing for breast cancer susceptibility is widely used, but for many genes, evidence of an association with breast cancer is weak, underlying risk estimates are imprecise, and reliable subtype-specific risk estimates are lacking.

Methods: We used a panel of 34 putative susceptibility genes to perform sequencing on samples from 60,466 women with breast cancer and 53,461 controls. In separate analyses for protein-truncating variants and rare missense variants in these genes, we estimated odds ratios for breast cancer overall and tumor subtypes. We evaluated missense-variant associations according to domain and classification of pathogenicity.

Results: Protein-truncating variants in 5 genes (, , , , and ) were associated with a risk of breast cancer overall with a P value of less than 0.0001. Protein-truncating variants in 4 other genes (, , , and ) were associated with a risk of breast cancer overall with a P value of less than 0.05 and a Bayesian false-discovery probability of less than 0.05. For protein-truncating variants in 19 of the remaining 25 genes, the upper limit of the 95% confidence interval of the odds ratio for breast cancer overall was less than 2.0. For protein-truncating variants in and , odds ratios were higher for estrogen receptor (ER)-positive disease than for ER-negative disease; for protein-truncating variants in , , , , , and , odds ratios were higher for ER-negative disease than for ER-positive disease. Rare missense variants (in aggregate) in , , and were associated with a risk of breast cancer overall with a P value of less than 0.001. For , , and , missense variants (in aggregate) that would be classified as pathogenic according to standard criteria were associated with a risk of breast cancer overall, with the risk being similar to that of protein-truncating variants.

Conclusions: The results of this study define the genes that are most clinically useful for inclusion on panels for the prediction of breast cancer risk, as well as provide estimates of the risks associated with protein-truncating variants, to guide genetic counseling. (Funded by European Union Horizon 2020 programs and others.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1913948DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7611105PMC
February 2021

DNA methylation signatures of aggression and closely related constructs: A meta-analysis of epigenome-wide studies across the lifespan.

Mol Psychiatry 2021 06 8;26(6):2148-2162. Epub 2021 Jan 8.

Department of Clinical Chemistry, Fimlab Laboratories, and Finnish Cardiovascular Research Center-Tampere, Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology, Tampere University, Tampere, 33520, Finland.

DNA methylation profiles of aggressive behavior may capture lifetime cumulative effects of genetic, stochastic, and environmental influences associated with aggression. Here, we report the first large meta-analysis of epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS) of aggressive behavior (N = 15,324 participants). In peripheral blood samples of 14,434 participants from 18 cohorts with mean ages ranging from 7 to 68 years, 13 methylation sites were significantly associated with aggression (alpha = 1.2 × 10; Bonferroni correction). In cord blood samples of 2425 children from five cohorts with aggression assessed at mean ages ranging from 4 to 7 years, 83% of these sites showed the same direction of association with childhood aggression (r = 0.74, p = 0.006) but no epigenome-wide significant sites were found. Top-sites (48 at a false discovery rate of 5% in the peripheral blood meta-analysis or in a combined meta-analysis of peripheral blood and cord blood) have been associated with chemical exposures, smoking, cognition, metabolic traits, and genetic variation (mQTLs). Three genes whose expression levels were associated with top-sites were previously linked to schizophrenia and general risk tolerance. At six CpGs, DNA methylation variation in blood mirrors variation in the brain. On average 44% (range = 3-82%) of the aggression-methylation association was explained by current and former smoking and BMI. These findings point at loci that are sensitive to chemical exposures with potential implications for neuronal functions. We hope these results to be a starting point for studies leading to applications as peripheral biomarkers and to reveal causal relationships with aggression and related traits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-020-00987-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8263810PMC
June 2021

Identification of epigenome-wide DNA methylation differences between carriers of APOE ε4 and APOE ε2 alleles.

Genome Med 2021 01 4;13(1). Epub 2021 Jan 4.

Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH4 2XU, UK.

Background: The apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele is the strongest genetic risk factor for late onset Alzheimer's disease, whilst the ε2 allele confers protection. Previous studies report differential DNA methylation of APOE between ε4 and ε2 carriers, but associations with epigenome-wide methylation have not previously been characterised.

Methods: Using the EPIC array, we investigated epigenome-wide differences in whole blood DNA methylation patterns between Alzheimer's disease-free APOE ε4 (n = 2469) and ε2 (n = 1118) carriers from the two largest single-cohort DNA methylation samples profiled to date. Using a discovery, replication and meta-analysis study design, methylation differences were identified using epigenome-wide association analysis and differentially methylated region (DMR) approaches. Results were explored using pathway and methylation quantitative trait loci (meQTL) analyses.

Results: We obtained replicated evidence for DNA methylation differences in a ~ 169 kb region, which encompasses part of APOE and several upstream genes. Meta-analytic approaches identified DNA methylation differences outside of APOE: differentially methylated positions were identified in DHCR24, LDLR and ABCG1 (2.59 × 10 ≤ P ≤ 2.44 × 10) and DMRs were identified in SREBF2 and LDLR (1.63 × 10 ≤ P ≤ 3.01 × 10). Pathway and meQTL analyses implicated lipid-related processes and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol was identified as a partial mediator of the methylation differences in ABCG1 and DHCR24.

Conclusions: APOE ε4 vs. ε2 carrier status is associated with epigenome-wide methylation differences in the blood. The loci identified are located in trans as well as cis to APOE and implicate genes involved in lipid homeostasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13073-020-00808-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7784364PMC
January 2021

Mental health before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in two longitudinal UK population cohorts.

Br J Psychiatry 2020 Nov 24:1-10. Epub 2020 Nov 24.

MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol, UK; and Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, UK.

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic and mitigation measures are likely to have a marked effect on mental health. It is important to use longitudinal data to improve inferences.

Aims: To quantify the prevalence of depression, anxiety and mental well-being before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, to identify groups at risk of depression and/or anxiety during the pandemic.

Method: Data were from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) index generation (n = 2850, mean age 28 years) and parent generation (n = 3720, mean age 59 years), and Generation Scotland (n = 4233, mean age 59 years). Depression was measured with the Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire in ALSPAC and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 in Generation Scotland. Anxiety and mental well-being were measured with the Generalised Anxiety Disorder Assessment-7 and the Short Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale.

Results: Depression during the pandemic was similar to pre-pandemic levels in the ALSPAC index generation, but those experiencing anxiety had almost doubled, at 24% (95% CI 23-26%) compared with a pre-pandemic level of 13% (95% CI 12-14%). In both studies, anxiety and depression during the pandemic was greater in younger members, women, those with pre-existing mental/physical health conditions and individuals in socioeconomic adversity, even when controlling for pre-pandemic anxiety and depression.

Conclusions: These results provide evidence for increased anxiety in young people that is coincident with the pandemic. Specific groups are at elevated risk of depression and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is important for planning current mental health provisions and for long-term impact beyond this pandemic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1192/bjp.2020.242DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7844173PMC
November 2020

Structural brain correlates of serum and epigenetic markers of inflammation in major depressive disorder.

Brain Behav Immun 2021 02 19;92:39-48. Epub 2020 Nov 19.

Division of Psychiatry, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

Inflammatory processes are implicated in the aetiology of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD); however, the relationship between peripheral inflammation, brain structure and depression remains unclear, partly due to complexities around the use of acute/phasic inflammatory biomarkers. Here, we report the first large-scale study of both serological and methylomic signatures of CRP (considered to represent acute and chronic measures of inflammation respectively) and their associations with depression status/symptoms, and structural neuroimaging phenotypes (T1 and diffusion MRI) in a large community-based sample (Generation Scotland; N = 271, N = 609). Serum CRP was associated with overall MDD severity, and specifically with current somatic symptoms- general interest (β = 0.145, P = 6 × 10) and energy levels (β = 0.101, P = 0.027), along with reduced entorhinal cortex thickness (β = -0.095, P = 0.037). DNAm CRP was significantly associated with reduced global grey matter/cortical volume and widespread reductions in integrity of 16/24 white matter tracts (with greatest regional effects in the external and internal capsules, β= -0.12 to -0.14). In general, the methylation-based measures showed stronger associations with imaging metrics than serum-based CRP measures (βaverage = -0.15 versus βaverage = 0.01 respectively). These findings provide evidence for central effects of peripheral inflammation from both serological and epigenetic markers of inflammation, including in brain regions previously implicated in depression. This suggests that these imaging measures may be involved in the relationship between peripheral inflammation and somatic/depressive symptoms. Notably, greater effects on brain morphology were seen for methylation-based rather than serum-based measures of inflammation, indicating the importance of such measures for future studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2020.11.024DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7910280PMC
February 2021

Birth weight associations with DNA methylation differences in an adult population.

Epigenetics 2021 Jun-Jul;16(7):783-796. Epub 2020 Oct 20.

Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) theory predicts that prenatal and early life events shape adult health outcomes. Birth weight is a useful indicator of the foetal experience and has been associated with multiple adult health outcomes. DNA methylation (DNAm) is one plausible mechanism behind the relationship of birth weight to adult health. Through data linkage between Generation Scotland and historic Scottish birth cohorts, and birth records held through the NHS Information and Statistics Division, a sample of 1,757 individuals with available birth weight and DNAm data was derived. Epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS) were performed in two independently generated DNAm subgroups (n = 1,395, n = 362), relating adult DNAm from whole blood to birth weight. Meta-analysis yielded one genome-wide significant CpG site (p = 5.97x10), cg00966482. There was minimal evidence for attenuation of the effect sizes for the lead loci upon adjustment for numerous potential confounder variables (body mass index, educational attainment, and socioeconomic status). Associations between birth weight and epigenetic measures of biological age were also assessed. Associations between lower birth weight and higher Grim Age acceleration (p = 3.6x10) and shorter DNAm-derived telomere length (p = 1.7x10) are described, although results for three other epigenetic clocks were null. Our results provide support for an association between birth weight and DNAm both locally at one CpG site, and globally via biological ageing estimates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15592294.2020.1827713DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8216207PMC
October 2020

Epigenome-wide analyses identify DNA methylation signatures of dementia risk.

Alzheimers Dement (Amst) 2020 10;12(1):e12078. Epub 2020 Aug 10.

Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine University of Edinburgh Edinburgh UK.

Introduction: Dementia pathogenesis begins years before clinical symptom onset, necessitating the understanding of premorbid risk mechanisms. Here we investigated potential pathogenic mechanisms by assessing DNA methylation associations with dementia risk factors in Alzheimer's disease (AD)-free participants.

Methods: Associations between dementia risk measures (family history, AD genetic risk score [GRS], and dementia risk scores [combining lifestyle, demographic, and genetic factors]) and whole-blood DNA methylation were assessed in discovery and replication samples (n = ~400 to ~5000) from Generation Scotland.

Results: AD genetic risk and two dementia risk scores were associated with differential methylation. The GRS associated predominantly with methylation differences in but also identified a genomic region implicated in Parkinson disease. Loci associated with dementia risk scores were enriched for those previously associated with body mass index and alcohol consumption.

Discussion: Dementia risk measures show widespread association with blood-based methylation, generating several hypotheses for assessment by future studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/dad2.12078DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7416667PMC
August 2020

Epigenetic measures of ageing predict the prevalence and incidence of leading causes of death and disease burden.

Clin Epigenetics 2020 07 31;12(1):115. Epub 2020 Jul 31.

Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH4 2XU, UK.

Background: Individuals of the same chronological age display different rates of biological ageing. A number of measures of biological age have been proposed which harness age-related changes in DNA methylation profiles. These measures include five 'epigenetic clocks' which provide an index of how much an individual's biological age differs from their chronological age at the time of measurement. The five clocks encompass methylation-based predictors of chronological age (HorvathAge, HannumAge), all-cause mortality (DNAm PhenoAge, DNAm GrimAge) and telomere length (DNAm Telomere Length). A sixth epigenetic measure of ageing differs from these clocks in that it acts as a speedometer providing a single time-point measurement of the pace of an individual's biological ageing. This measure of ageing is termed DunedinPoAm. In this study, we test the association between these six epigenetic measures of ageing and the prevalence and incidence of the leading causes of disease burden and mortality in high-income countries (n ≤ 9537, Generation Scotland: Scottish Family Health Study).

Results: DNAm GrimAge predicted incidence of clinically diagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), type 2 diabetes and ischemic heart disease after 13 years of follow-up (hazard ratios = 2.22, 1.52 and 1.41, respectively). DunedinPoAm predicted the incidence of COPD and lung cancer (hazard ratios = 2.02 and 1.45, respectively). DNAm PhenoAge predicted incidence of type 2 diabetes (hazard ratio = 1.54). DNAm Telomere Length associated with the incidence of ischemic heart disease (hazard ratio = 0.80). DNAm GrimAge associated with all-cause mortality, the prevalence of COPD and spirometry measures at the study baseline. These associations were present after adjusting for possible confounding risk factors including alcohol consumption, body mass index, deprivation, education and tobacco smoking and surpassed stringent Bonferroni-corrected significance thresholds.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that epigenetic measures of ageing may have utility in clinical settings to complement gold-standard methods for disease assessment and management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13148-020-00905-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7394682PMC
July 2020

Characterisation of an inflammation-related epigenetic score and its association with cognitive ability.

Clin Epigenetics 2020 07 27;12(1):113. Epub 2020 Jul 27.

Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH4 2XU, UK.

Background: Chronic systemic inflammation has been associated with incident dementia, but its association with age-related cognitive decline is less clear. The acute responses of many inflammatory biomarkers mean they may provide an unreliable picture of the chronicity of inflammation. Recently, a large-scale epigenome-wide association study identified DNA methylation correlates of C-reactive protein (CRP)-a widely used acute-phase inflammatory biomarker. DNA methylation is thought to be relatively stable in the short term, marking it as a potentially useful signature of exposure.

Methods: We utilise a DNA methylation-based score for CRP and investigate its trajectories with age, and associations with cognitive ability in comparison with serum CRP and a genetic CRP score in a longitudinal study of older adults (n = 889) and a large, cross-sectional cohort (n = 7028).

Results: We identified no homogeneous trajectories of serum CRP with age across the cohorts, whereas the epigenetic CRP score was consistently found to increase with age (standardised β = 0.07 and 0.01) and to do so more rapidly in males compared to females. Additionally, the epigenetic CRP score had higher test-retest reliability compared to serum CRP, indicating its enhanced temporal stability. Higher serum CRP was not found to be associated with poorer cognitive ability (standardised β = - 0.08 and - 0.05); however, a consistent negative association was identified between cognitive ability and the epigenetic CRP score in both cohorts (standardised β = - 0.15 and - 0.08).

Conclusions: An epigenetic proxy of CRP may provide a more reliable signature of chronic inflammation, allowing for more accurate stratification of individuals, and thus clearer inference of associations with incident health outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13148-020-00903-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7385981PMC
July 2020

Genetic comorbidity between major depression and cardio-metabolic traits, stratified by age at onset of major depression.

Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 2020 09 18;183(6):309-330. Epub 2020 Jul 18.

Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany.

It is imperative to understand the specific and shared etiologies of major depression and cardio-metabolic disease, as both traits are frequently comorbid and each represents a major burden to society. This study examined whether there is a genetic association between major depression and cardio-metabolic traits and if this association is stratified by age at onset for major depression. Polygenic risk scores analysis and linkage disequilibrium score regression was performed to examine whether differences in shared genetic etiology exist between depression case control status (N cases = 40,940, N controls = 67,532), earlier (N = 15,844), and later onset depression (N = 15,800) with body mass index, coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes in 11 data sets from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, Generation Scotland, and UK Biobank. All cardio-metabolic polygenic risk scores were associated with depression status. Significant genetic correlations were found between depression and body mass index, coronary artery disease, and type 2 diabetes. Higher polygenic risk for body mass index, coronary artery disease, and type 2 diabetes was associated with both early and later onset depression, while higher polygenic risk for stroke was associated with later onset depression only. Significant genetic correlations were found between body mass index and later onset depression, and between coronary artery disease and both early and late onset depression. The phenotypic associations between major depression and cardio-metabolic traits may partly reflect their overlapping genetic etiology irrespective of the age depression first presents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.b.32807DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7991693PMC
September 2020

Ultra-High-Throughput Clinical Proteomics Reveals Classifiers of COVID-19 Infection.

Cell Syst 2020 07 2;11(1):11-24.e4. Epub 2020 Jun 2.

Charité Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, Department of Infectious Diseases and Respiratory Medicine, 10117 Berlin, Germany.

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global challenge, and point-of-care diagnostic classifiers are urgently required. Here, we present a platform for ultra-high-throughput serum and plasma proteomics that builds on ISO13485 standardization to facilitate simple implementation in regulated clinical laboratories. Our low-cost workflow handles up to 180 samples per day, enables high precision quantification, and reduces batch effects for large-scale and longitudinal studies. We use our platform on samples collected from a cohort of early hospitalized cases of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and identify 27 potential biomarkers that are differentially expressed depending on the WHO severity grade of COVID-19. They include complement factors, the coagulation system, inflammation modulators, and pro-inflammatory factors upstream and downstream of interleukin 6. All protocols and software for implementing our approach are freely available. In total, this work supports the development of routine proteomic assays to aid clinical decision making and generate hypotheses about potential COVID-19 therapeutic targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cels.2020.05.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7264033PMC
July 2020

Bayesian reassessment of the epigenetic architecture of complex traits.

Nat Commun 2020 06 8;11(1):2865. Epub 2020 Jun 8.

Institute of Science and Technology Austria, Klosterneuburg, Austria.

Linking epigenetic marks to clinical outcomes improves insight into molecular processes, disease prediction, and therapeutic target identification. Here, a statistical approach is presented to infer the epigenetic architecture of complex disease, determine the variation captured by epigenetic effects, and estimate phenotype-epigenetic probe associations jointly. Implicitly adjusting for probe correlations, data structure (cell-count or relatedness), and single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) marker effects, improves association estimates and in 9,448 individuals, 75.7% (95% CI 71.70-79.3) of body mass index (BMI) variation and 45.6% (95% CI 37.3-51.9) of cigarette consumption variation was captured by whole blood methylation array data. Pathway-linked probes of blood cholesterol, lipid transport and sterol metabolism for BMI, and xenobiotic stimuli response for smoking, showed >1.5 times larger associations with >95% posterior inclusion probability. Prediction accuracy improved by 28.7% for BMI and 10.2% for smoking over a LASSO model, with age-, and tissue-specificity, implying associations are a phenotypic consequence rather than causal.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-16520-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7280277PMC
June 2020
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