Publications by authors named "Bram P Prins"

32 Publications

Actionable druggable genome-wide Mendelian randomization identifies repurposing opportunities for COVID-19.

Nat Med 2021 04 9;27(4):668-676. Epub 2021 Apr 9.

Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology Research and Information Center (MAVERIC), VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA, USA.

Drug repurposing provides a rapid approach to meet the urgent need for therapeutics to address COVID-19. To identify therapeutic targets relevant to COVID-19, we conducted Mendelian randomization analyses, deriving genetic instruments based on transcriptomic and proteomic data for 1,263 actionable proteins that are targeted by approved drugs or in clinical phase of drug development. Using summary statistics from the Host Genetics Initiative and the Million Veteran Program, we studied 7,554 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and >1 million controls. We found significant Mendelian randomization results for three proteins (ACE2, P = 1.6 × 10; IFNAR2, P = 9.8 × 10 and IL-10RB, P = 2.3 × 10) using cis-expression quantitative trait loci genetic instruments that also had strong evidence for colocalization with COVID-19 hospitalization. To disentangle the shared expression quantitative trait loci signal for IL10RB and IFNAR2, we conducted phenome-wide association scans and pathway enrichment analysis, which suggested that IFNAR2 is more likely to play a role in COVID-19 hospitalization. Our findings prioritize trials of drugs targeting IFNAR2 and ACE2 for early management of COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-021-01310-zDOI Listing
April 2021

Genome-wide association study of circulating interleukin 6 levels identifies novel loci.

Hum Mol Genet 2021 04;30(5):393-409

Institute of Cardiovascular Science, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK.

Interleukin 6 (IL-6) is a multifunctional cytokine with both pro- and anti-inflammatory properties with a heritability estimate of up to 61%. The circulating levels of IL-6 in blood have been associated with an increased risk of complex disease pathogenesis. We conducted a two-staged, discovery and replication meta genome-wide association study (GWAS) of circulating serum IL-6 levels comprising up to 67 428 (ndiscovery = 52 654 and nreplication = 14 774) individuals of European ancestry. The inverse variance fixed effects based discovery meta-analysis, followed by replication led to the identification of two independent loci, IL1F10/IL1RN rs6734238 on chromosome (Chr) 2q14, (Pcombined = 1.8 × 10-11), HLA-DRB1/DRB5 rs660895 on Chr6p21 (Pcombined = 1.5 × 10-10) in the combined meta-analyses of all samples. We also replicated the IL6R rs4537545 locus on Chr1q21 (Pcombined = 1.2 × 10-122). Our study identifies novel loci for circulating IL-6 levels uncovering new immunological and inflammatory pathways that may influence IL-6 pathobiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddab023DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8098112PMC
April 2021

Discovery of rare variants associated with blood pressure regulation through meta-analysis of 1.3 million individuals.

Nat Genet 2020 12 23;52(12):1314-1332. Epub 2020 Nov 23.

Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Herlev, Denmark.

Genetic studies of blood pressure (BP) to date have mainly analyzed common variants (minor allele frequency > 0.05). In a meta-analysis of up to ~1.3 million participants, we discovered 106 new BP-associated genomic regions and 87 rare (minor allele frequency ≤ 0.01) variant BP associations (P < 5 × 10), of which 32 were in new BP-associated loci and 55 were independent BP-associated single-nucleotide variants within known BP-associated regions. Average effects of rare variants (44% coding) were ~8 times larger than common variant effects and indicate potential candidate causal genes at new and known loci (for example, GATA5 and PLCB3). BP-associated variants (including rare and common) were enriched in regions of active chromatin in fetal tissues, potentially linking fetal development with BP regulation in later life. Multivariable Mendelian randomization suggested possible inverse effects of elevated systolic and diastolic BP on large artery stroke. Our study demonstrates the utility of rare-variant analyses for identifying candidate genes and the results highlight potential therapeutic targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-00713-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7610439PMC
December 2020

Neurology-related protein biomarkers are associated with cognitive ability and brain volume in older age.

Nat Commun 2020 02 10;11(1):800. Epub 2020 Feb 10.

Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, University of Edinburgh, 7 George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9JZ, UK.

Identifying biological correlates of late life cognitive function is important if we are to ascertain biomarkers for, and develop treatments to help reduce, age-related cognitive decline. Here, we investigated the associations between plasma levels of 90 neurology-related proteins (Olink® Proteomics) and general fluid cognitive ability in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (LBC1936, N = 798), Lothian Birth Cohort 1921 (LBC1921, N = 165), and the INTERVAL BioResource (N = 4451). In the LBC1936, 22 of the proteins were significantly associated with general fluid cognitive ability (β between -0.11 and -0.17). MRI-assessed total brain volume partially mediated the association between 10 of these proteins and general fluid cognitive ability. In an age-matched subsample of INTERVAL, effect sizes for the 22 proteins, although smaller, were all in the same direction as in LBC1936. Plasma levels of a number of neurology-related proteins are associated with general fluid cognitive ability in later life, mediated by brain volume in some cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-14161-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7010796PMC
February 2020

Genome-wide association meta-analyses and fine-mapping elucidate pathways influencing albuminuria.

Nat Commun 2019 09 11;10(1):4130. Epub 2019 Sep 11.

Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.

Increased levels of the urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio (UACR) are associated with higher risk of kidney disease progression and cardiovascular events, but underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood. Here, we conduct trans-ethnic (n = 564,257) and European-ancestry specific meta-analyses of genome-wide association studies of UACR, including ancestry- and diabetes-specific analyses, and identify 68 UACR-associated loci. Genetic correlation analyses and risk score associations in an independent electronic medical records database (n = 192,868) reveal connections with proteinuria, hyperlipidemia, gout, and hypertension. Fine-mapping and trans-Omics analyses with gene expression in 47 tissues and plasma protein levels implicate genes potentially operating through differential expression in kidney (including TGFB1, MUC1, PRKCI, and OAF), and allow coupling of UACR associations to altered plasma OAF concentrations. Knockdown of OAF and PRKCI orthologs in Drosophila nephrocytes reduces albumin endocytosis. Silencing fly PRKCI further impairs slit diaphragm formation. These results generate a priority list of genes and pathways for translational research to reduce albuminuria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-11576-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6739370PMC
September 2019

A catalog of genetic loci associated with kidney function from analyses of a million individuals.

Nat Genet 2019 06 31;51(6):957-972. Epub 2019 May 31.

Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease-Genetic Epidemiology, Department of Clincial Sciences in Malmö, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is responsible for a public health burden with multi-systemic complications. Through trans-ancestry meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and independent replication (n = 1,046,070), we identified 264 associated loci (166 new). Of these, 147 were likely to be relevant for kidney function on the basis of associations with the alternative kidney function marker blood urea nitrogen (n = 416,178). Pathway and enrichment analyses, including mouse models with renal phenotypes, support the kidney as the main target organ. A genetic risk score for lower eGFR was associated with clinically diagnosed CKD in 452,264 independent individuals. Colocalization analyses of associations with eGFR among 783,978 European-ancestry individuals and gene expression across 46 human tissues, including tubulo-interstitial and glomerular kidney compartments, identified 17 genes differentially expressed in kidney. Fine-mapping highlighted missense driver variants in 11 genes and kidney-specific regulatory variants. These results provide a comprehensive priority list of molecular targets for translational research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0407-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6698888PMC
June 2019

Genome-wide association meta-analysis of 30,000 samples identifies seven novel loci for quantitative ECG traits.

Eur J Hum Genet 2019 06 24;27(6):952-962. Epub 2019 Jan 24.

Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital-The Capital Region, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of quantitative electrocardiographic (ECG) traits in large consortia have identified more than 130 loci associated with QT interval, QRS duration, PR interval, and heart rate (RR interval). In the current study, we meta-analyzed genome-wide association results from 30,000 mostly Dutch samples on four ECG traits: PR interval, QRS duration, QT interval, and RR interval. SNP genotype data was imputed using the Genome of the Netherlands reference panel encompassing 19 million SNPs, including millions of rare SNPs (minor allele frequency < 5%). In addition to many known loci, we identified seven novel locus-trait associations: KCND3, NR3C1, and PLN for PR interval, KCNE1, SGIP1, and NFKB1 for QT interval, and ATP2A2 for QRS duration, of which six were successfully replicated. At these seven loci, we performed conditional analyses and annotated significant SNPs (in exons and regulatory regions), demonstrating involvement of cardiac-related pathways and regulation of nearby genes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-018-0295-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6777533PMC
June 2019

Low-frequency variation in TP53 has large effects on head circumference and intracranial volume.

Nat Commun 2019 01 21;10(1):357. Epub 2019 Jan 21.

School of Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, 2308, Australia.

Cranial growth and development is a complex process which affects the closely related traits of head circumference (HC) and intracranial volume (ICV). The underlying genetic influences shaping these traits during the transition from childhood to adulthood are little understood, but might include both age-specific genetic factors and low-frequency genetic variation. Here, we model the developmental genetic architecture of HC, showing this is genetically stable and correlated with genetic determinants of ICV. Investigating up to 46,000 children and adults of European descent, we identify association with final HC and/or final ICV + HC at 9 novel common and low-frequency loci, illustrating that genetic variation from a wide allele frequency spectrum contributes to cranial growth. The largest effects are reported for low-frequency variants within TP53, with 0.5 cm wider heads in increaser-allele carriers versus non-carriers during mid-childhood, suggesting a previously unrecognized role of TP53 transcripts in human cranial development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-07863-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6341110PMC
January 2019

Genome Analyses of >200,000 Individuals Identify 58 Loci for Chronic Inflammation and Highlight Pathways that Link Inflammation and Complex Disorders.

Am J Hum Genet 2018 11;103(5):691-706

Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University Health Sciences, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a sensitive biomarker of chronic low-grade inflammation and is associated with multiple complex diseases. The genetic determinants of chronic inflammation remain largely unknown, and the causal role of CRP in several clinical outcomes is debated. We performed two genome-wide association studies (GWASs), on HapMap and 1000 Genomes imputed data, of circulating amounts of CRP by using data from 88 studies comprising 204,402 European individuals. Additionally, we performed in silico functional analyses and Mendelian randomization analyses with several clinical outcomes. The GWAS meta-analyses of CRP revealed 58 distinct genetic loci (p < 5 × 10). After adjustment for body mass index in the regression analysis, the associations at all except three loci remained. The lead variants at the distinct loci explained up to 7.0% of the variance in circulating amounts of CRP. We identified 66 gene sets that were organized in two substantially correlated clusters, one mainly composed of immune pathways and the other characterized by metabolic pathways in the liver. Mendelian randomization analyses revealed a causal protective effect of CRP on schizophrenia and a risk-increasing effect on bipolar disorder. Our findings provide further insights into the biology of inflammation and could lead to interventions for treating inflammation and its clinical consequences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.09.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6218410PMC
November 2018

Exome-chip meta-analysis identifies novel loci associated with cardiac conduction, including ADAMTS6.

Genome Biol 2018 07 17;19(1):87. Epub 2018 Jul 17.

Clinical Pharmacology, William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, EC1M 6BQ, UK.

Background: Genome-wide association studies conducted on QRS duration, an electrocardiographic measurement associated with heart failure and sudden cardiac death, have led to novel biological insights into cardiac function. However, the variants identified fall predominantly in non-coding regions and their underlying mechanisms remain unclear.

Results: Here, we identify putative functional coding variation associated with changes in the QRS interval duration by combining Illumina HumanExome BeadChip genotype data from 77,898 participants of European ancestry and 7695 of African descent in our discovery cohort, followed by replication in 111,874 individuals of European ancestry from the UK Biobank and deCODE cohorts. We identify ten novel loci, seven within coding regions, including ADAMTS6, significantly associated with QRS duration in gene-based analyses. ADAMTS6 encodes a secreted metalloprotease of currently unknown function. In vitro validation analysis shows that the QRS-associated variants lead to impaired ADAMTS6 secretion and loss-of function analysis in mice demonstrates a previously unappreciated role for ADAMTS6 in connexin 43 gap junction expression, which is essential for myocardial conduction.

Conclusions: Our approach identifies novel coding and non-coding variants underlying ventricular depolarization and provides a possible mechanism for the ADAMTS6-associated conduction changes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13059-018-1457-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6048820PMC
July 2018

Genomic atlas of the human plasma proteome.

Nature 2018 06 6;558(7708):73-79. Epub 2018 Jun 6.

MRL, Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA.

Although plasma proteins have important roles in biological processes and are the direct targets of many drugs, the genetic factors that control inter-individual variation in plasma protein levels are not well understood. Here we characterize the genetic architecture of the human plasma proteome in healthy blood donors from the INTERVAL study. We identify 1,927 genetic associations with 1,478 proteins, a fourfold increase on existing knowledge, including trans associations for 1,104 proteins. To understand the consequences of perturbations in plasma protein levels, we apply an integrated approach that links genetic variation with biological pathway, disease, and drug databases. We show that protein quantitative trait loci overlap with gene expression quantitative trait loci, as well as with disease-associated loci, and find evidence that protein biomarkers have causal roles in disease using Mendelian randomization analysis. By linking genetic factors to diseases via specific proteins, our analyses highlight potential therapeutic targets, opportunities for matching existing drugs with new disease indications, and potential safety concerns for drugs under development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0175-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6697541PMC
June 2018

ExomeChip-Wide Analysis of 95 626 Individuals Identifies 10 Novel Loci Associated With QT and JT Intervals.

Circ Genom Precis Med 2018 01;11(1):e001758

From the Predoctoral Training Program in Human Genetics (N.A.B.) and McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine (N.A.B., D.E.A.), Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD; Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, Department of Medicine (J.A.B., J.C.B., T.A., N.S.), Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, Departments of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Services (B.M.P.), and Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, Department of Epidemiology (S.R.H.), University of Washington, Seattle; Icelandic Heart Association, Kopavogur (A.V.S., V.G.); Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, Reykavik (A.V.S., V.G.); Clinical Pharmacology Department, William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and London School of Medicine and Dentistry (H.R.W., P.B.M.) and NIHR Barts Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit (H.R.W., P.B.M.), Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom; Section of Computational Biomedicine, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, MA (H.L., Z.X.); School for Cardiovascular Diseases, Maastricht Center for Systems Biology and Department of Biochemistry, Maastricht University, The Netherlands (A.I.); Genetic Epidemiology Unit, Department of Epidemiology (A.I., C.M.v.D.) and Department of Medical Informatics (J.A.K.), Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Biostatistics Department, Boston University School of Public Health, MA (C.-T.L.); Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (J.M., C.H.), Medical Genetics Section, Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (A.C.), and Usher Institute for Population Health Sciences and Informatics (I.R.), University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom; Program in Medical and Population Genetics, Broad Institute, Cambridge, MA (F.R., P.T.E., S.A.L., J.R.); Center for Human Genetic Research (F.R., J.R.), Cardiovascular Research Center (P.L.H., P.T.E., S.A.L.), and Center for Human Genetic Research and Cardiovascular Research Center (C.H.N.-C.), Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Department of Cardiovascular Sciences (L.M.H., C.P.N., N.J.S.) and Genetic Epidemiology Group, Department of Health Sciences (M.D.T.), University of Leicester, United Kingdom; NIHR Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit (L.M.H., C.P.N.) and NIHR Leicester Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit (M.D.T.), Glenfield Hospital, United Kingdom; Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (N.G., J.B.-J., T.H., O.P.), Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (A.L.), and Laboratory of Experimental Cardiology (J.K.K.), University of Copenhagen, Denmark; Department of Data Science, School of Population Health (H.M.) and Physiology and Biophysics (J.G.W.), University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson; Institute of Genetic Epidemiology (M.M.-N.), Institute of Epidemiology II (A.P., M.W., S.P.), Research Unit of Molecular Epidemiology (M.W.), and Institute of Human Genetics (T.M.), Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health, Neuherberg; Department of Medicine I, University Hospital Munich, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Germany (M.M.-N., M.F.S., S.K.); DZHK (German Centre for Cardiovascular Research), partner site Munich Heart Alliance (M.M.-N., M.F.S., A.P., T.M., S.K.); MRC Human Genetics Unit, MRC IGMM, University of Edinburgh, Scotland (J.E.H.); Department of Cardiology (N.V., R.A.d.B., P.v.d.M., P.v.d.H.) and Department of Internal Medicine (M.E.), University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, The Netherlands; Institute for Translational Genomics and Population Sciences and Department of Pediatrics, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance (X.G., J.Y., Y.-D.I.C.); Department of Clinical Epidemiology (R.L.-G., R.d.M.) and University of Split School of Medicine (I.K., O.P.), University of Split, Croatia; Departments of Cardiology (S.T., J.W.J., A.C.M.), Gerontology and Geriatrics (S.T.), and Public Health and Primary Care (D.O.M.-K.), Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands; Departments of Medical Informatics (M.v.d.B.), Epidemiology (B.H.C.S.), and Epidemiology (M.E.), Erasmus MC - University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Interfaculty Institute for Genetics and Functional Genomics, University Medicine and Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University, Greifswald, Germany (S.W., U.V., G.H.); DZHK (German Centre for Cardiovascular Research), partner site Greifswald (S.W., U.V., H.V., S.B.F., M.D.); Cardiogenetics Lab, Genetics and Molecular Cell Sciences Research Centre, Cardiovascular and Cell Sciences Institute, St George's, University of London, United Kingdom (B.P.P., Y.J.); Division Heart and Lungs, Department of Cardiology, (J.v.S., F.W.A.) and Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care (M.L.B.), University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands; Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA (J.H., C.K.); Department of Clinical Chemistry, Fimlab Laboratories, Tampere, Finland (L.-P.L., N.M., T.L.); Department of Clinical Physiology, Tampere University Hospital, University of Tampere School of Medicine, Finland (M.K.); Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City (M.L.); Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA (A.A.); Epidemiological Cardiology Research Center (EPICARE), Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC (E.Z.S.); Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and Biometry, National Institute on Aging, Bethesda, MD (T.B.H., L.J.L.); Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom (S.P., A.D.); Institute of Medical Sciences, Aberdeen Biomedical Imaging Centre, University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom (A.D.M.); Research Centre for Prevention and Health, Capital Region of Denmark, Copenhagen (A.L.); Department of Clinical Experimental Research, Rigshospitalet, Glostrup, Denmark (A.L.); German Center for Diabetes Research, Neuherberg (A.P.); Institute of Human Genetics, Technische Universität München, Germany (T.M.); Durrer Center for Cardiogenetic Research, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (J.W.J.); Interuniversity Cardiology Institute of Netherlands, Utrecht (J.W.J.); Inspectorate of Health Care, Utrecht, The Netherlands (B.H.C.S.); Human Genomics Facility (F.R.) and Human Genotyping Facility (A.U.), Erasmus MC - University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Institute for Community Medicine (H.V.) and Department of Internal Medicine B (S.B.F., M.D.), University Medicine Greifswald, Germany; Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, King's College London, United Kingdom (M.M., T.D.S.); Stanford School of Medicine, CA (M.P.); Department of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine, Turku University Hospital and Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Turku, Finland (O.T.R.); Program in Medical and Population Genetics, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Cambridge (C.H.N.-C.); NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Unit in Cardiovascular Disease, United Kingdom (N.J.S.); Durrer Center for Cardiogenetic Research, ICIN-Netherlands Heart Institute, Utrecht (F.W.A.); and Institute of Cardiovascular Science, Faculty of Population Health Sciences, University College London, United Kingdom (F.W.A.).

Background: QT interval, measured through a standard ECG, captures the time it takes for the cardiac ventricles to depolarize and repolarize. JT interval is the component of the QT interval that reflects ventricular repolarization alone. Prolonged QT interval has been linked to higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest.

Methods And Results: We performed an ExomeChip-wide analysis for both QT and JT intervals, including 209 449 variants, both common and rare, in 17 341 genes from the Illumina Infinium HumanExome BeadChip. We identified 10 loci that modulate QT and JT interval duration that have not been previously reported in the literature using single-variant statistical models in a meta-analysis of 95 626 individuals from 23 cohorts (comprised 83 884 European ancestry individuals, 9610 blacks, 1382 Hispanics, and 750 Asians). This brings the total number of ventricular repolarization associated loci to 45. In addition, our approach of using coding variants has highlighted the role of 17 specific genes for involvement in ventricular repolarization, 7 of which are in novel loci.

Conclusions: Our analyses show a role for myocyte internal structure and interconnections in modulating QT interval duration, adding to previous known roles of potassium, sodium, and calcium ion regulation, as well as autonomic control. We anticipate that these discoveries will open new paths to the goal of making novel remedies for the prevention of lethal ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac arrest.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCGEN.117.001758DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5992491PMC
January 2018

Common and Rare Coding Genetic Variation Underlying the Electrocardiographic PR Interval.

Circ Genom Precis Med 2018 05;11(5):e002037

Section of Computational Biomedicine (H.L.) and Section of Cardiovascular Medicine (E.J.B.), Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, MA. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute's and Boston University's Framingham Heart Study, MA (H.L., E.J.B.). Department of Cardiology, Division Heart & Lungs, University Medical Center Utrecht, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands (J.v.S., F.W.A.). Icelandic Heart Association, Kopavogur (A.V.S., V.G.). Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, Reykjavik (A.V.S., V.G.). Predoctoral Training Program in Human Genetics, McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine (N.A.B.) and McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine (D.E.A.), Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. William Harvey Research Institute (H.R.W., P.B.M.) and NIHR Barts Cardiovascular Research Unit (H.R.W., P.B.M.), Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom. Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, Department of Medicine (J.A.B., J.C.B., C.M.S.), Department of Biostatistics (K.M.R.), Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, Division of Cardiology, Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology (N.S.), Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, Departments of Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Services (B.M.P.), and Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, Department of Epidemiology (S.R.H.), University of Washington, Seattle. Center for Human Genetic Research (F. Radmanesh, J.R.) and Cardiovascular Research Center (P.L.H., L.-C.W., H.S.J., W.H., A.H., N.R.T., P.T.E., S.A.L.), Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. Program in Medical and Population Genetics, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Cambridge, MA (L.-C.W., P.T.E., S.A.L.). Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Leicester, United Kingdom (L.H., C.P.N., N.J.S.). NIHR Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit, Glenfield Hospital, United Kingdom (L.H., C.P.N., N.J.S.). The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (N.G., J.B.-J., O. Pedersen, T.H.), Laboratory of Experimental Cardiology (J.K.K.), and Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (A.L.), University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Department of Medicine I, University Hospital Munich, Ludwig Maximilian's University Munich, Germany (M.M.-N., M.F.S., S.K.). Chair of Genetic Epidemiology, IBE, Faculty of Medicine, LMU Munich, Germany (K.S.). DZHK (German Cardiovascular Research Centre), Partner Site: Munich Heart Alliance, Germany (M.M.-N., M.F.S., A.P., T.M., S.K.). Institute of Genetic Epidemiology (M.M.-N., K.S.), Institute of Epidemiology II (A.P., M.W.), Research Unit of Molecular Epidemiology (M.W.), and Institute of Human Genetics (T.M.), Helmholtz Zentrum München-German Research Center for Environmental Health, Neuherberg, Germany. Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (T.B., J.M., C.H.) and Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics (I.R.), University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Department of Cardiology, The Netherlands (N.V., R.A.d.B., P.v.d.M., P.v.d.H.). Institute for Translational Genomics and Population Sciences and Department of Pediatrics, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA (H.J.L., Y.-D.I.C., J.Y., X.G., K.D.T., J.I.R.). Department of Clinical Epidemiology (R.L.-G., D.O.M.-K.) and Department of Cardiology (S.T., J.W.J.), Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands. Department of Medical Informatics (M.E.v.d.B.), Human Genomics Facility (F. Rivadeneira), Human Genotyping Facility (A.U.), and Department of Epidemiology (M.E., B.H. Stricker), Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Interfaculty Institute for Genetics and Functional Genomics, University Medicine and Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University Greifswald, Germany (S.W., G.H., U.V.). DZHK (German Cardiovascular Research Centre), Partner Site Greifswald, Germany (S.W., H.V., S.B.F., U.V., M.D.). Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA (J.H., C.K.). Department of Clinical Chemistry, Fimlab Laboratories and Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences (L.-P.L., T.L.) and Department of Clinical Physiology, Tampere University Hospital and Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences (M.K.), University of Tampere, Finland. Department of Data Science (H.M.) and Physiology and Biophysics (J.G.W.), University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson. Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Sciences, National Institute on Aging, Intramural Research Program, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD (T.B.H., L.J.L.). Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City (M.L.). Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA (A.A.). Epidemiological Cardiology Research Center (EPICARE), Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston Salem, NC (E.Z.S.). Medical Research Institute (J.M.C.) and Division of Population Health Sciences (B.H. Smith), Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, University of Dundee, United Kingdom. Department of Medical Informatics (J.A.K.) and Genetic Epidemiology Unit, Department of Epidemiology (C.M.v.D.), Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. TCM Clinical Basis Institute, Zhejiang Chinese Medicine University, Hangzhou, China (Z.X., C.W.). Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, University of Pittsburgh, PA (J.W.M.). German Center for Diabetes Research, Neuherberg, Germany (A.P.). Institute of Human Genetics, Technische Universität München, Germany (T.M.). Research Centre for Prevention and Health, Capital Region of Denmark, Copenhagen (A.L.). Department of Clinical Experimental Research, Rigshospitalet, Denmark (A.L.). British Heart Foundation Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre, Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Scotland (S.P.). Institute for Community Medicine (H.V.) and Department of Internal Medicine B (S.B.F., M.D.), University Medicine Greifswald, Germany. Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, King's College London, United Kingdom (M.M., T.D.S.). Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands (M.L.B.). Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA (M.P.). Department of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine, Turku University Hospital, and Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Turku, Finland (O.T.R.). Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington, Seattle (B.M.P., S.R.H.). Faculty of Medicine, University of Split, Croatia (O. Polasek). Cardiogenetics Lab, Genetics and Molecular Cell Sciences Research Centre, Cardiovascular and Cell Sciences Institute, St George's, University of London, Cranmer Terrace, United Kingdom (B.P.P., Y.J.). Durrer Center for Cardiovascular Research, Netherlands Heart Institute, Utrecht, The Netherlands (F.W.A.). Institute of Cardiovascular Science, Faculty of Population Health Sciences, University College London, London, United Kingdom (F.W.A.). Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research and Institute of Health Informatics, University College London, London, United Kingdom; CARIM School for Cardiovascular Diseases, Maastricht Centre for Systems Biology (MaCSBio) and Department of Biochemistry, Maastricht University, The Netherlands (A.I.).

Background: Electrical conduction from the cardiac sinoatrial node to the ventricles is critical for normal heart function. Genome-wide association studies have identified more than a dozen common genetic loci that are associated with PR interval. However, it is unclear whether rare and low-frequency variants also contribute to PR interval heritability.

Methods: We performed large-scale meta-analyses of the PR interval that included 83 367 participants of European ancestry and 9436 of African ancestry. We examined both common and rare variants associated with the PR interval.

Results: We identified 31 genetic loci that were significantly associated with PR interval after Bonferroni correction (<1.2×10), including 11 novel loci that have not been reported previously. Many of these loci are involved in heart morphogenesis. In gene-based analysis, we found that multiple rare variants at (=5.9×10) and (=1.1×10) were associated with PR interval. locus also was implicated in the common variant analysis, whereas was a novel locus.

Conclusions: We identified common variants at 11 novel loci and rare variants within 2 gene regions that were significantly associated with PR interval. Our findings provide novel insights to the current understanding of atrioventricular conduction, which is critical for cardiac activity and an important determinant of health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCGEN.117.002037DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5951629PMC
May 2018

Blood Eosinophil Count and Metabolic, Cardiac and Pulmonary Outcomes: A Mendelian Randomization Study.

Twin Res Hum Genet 2018 04 6;21(2):89-100. Epub 2018 Mar 6.

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

Blood eosinophil count is associated with a variety of common complex outcomes in epidemiological observation. The aim of this study was to explore the causal association between determined blood eosinophil count and 20 common complex outcomes (10 metabolic, 6 cardiac, and 4 pulmonary). Through Mendelian randomization, we investigated genetic evidence for the genetically determined eosinophil in association with each outcomes using individual-level LifeLines cohort data (n = 13,301), where a weighted eosinophil genetic risk score comprising five eosinophil associated variants was created. We further examined the associations of the genetically determined eosinophil with those outcomes using summary statistics obtained from genome-wide association study consortia (6 consortia and 14 outcomes). Blood eosinophil count, by a 1-SD genetically increased, was not statistically associated with common complex outcomes in the LifeLines. Using the summary statistics, we showed that a higher genetically determined eosinophil count had a significant association with lower odds of obesity (odds ratio (OR) 0.81, 95% confidence interval (CI) [0.74, 0.89]) but not with the other traits and diseases. To conclude, an elevated eosinophil count is unlikely to be causally associated to higher risk of metabolic, cardiac, and pulmonary outcomes. Further studies with a stronger genetic risk score for eosinophil count may support these results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/thg.2018.6DOI Listing
April 2018

Genome-wide analysis of health-related biomarkers in the UK Household Longitudinal Study reveals novel associations.

Sci Rep 2017 09 8;7(1):11008. Epub 2017 Sep 8.

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, UK.

Serum biomarker levels are associated with the risk of complex diseases. Here, we aimed to gain insights into the genetic architecture of biomarker traits which can reflect health status. We performed genome-wide association analyses for twenty serum biomarkers involved in organ function and reproductive health. 9,961 individuals from the UK Household Longitudinal Study were genotyped using the Illumina HumanCoreExome array and variants imputed to the 1000 Genomes Project and UK10K haplotypes. We establish a polygenic heritability for all biomarkers, confirm associations of fifty-four established loci, and identify five novel, replicating associations at genome-wide significance. A low-frequency variant, rs28929474, (beta = 0.04, P = 2 × 10) was associated with levels of alanine transaminase, an indicator of liver damage. The variant is located in the gene encoding serine protease inhibitor, low levels of which are associated with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency which leads to liver disease. We identified novel associations (rs78900934, beta = 0.05, P = 6 × 10; rs2911280, beta = 0.09, P = 6 × 10) for dihydroepiandrosterone sulphate, a precursor to major sex-hormones, and for glycated haemoglobin (rs12819124, beta = -0.03, P = 4 × 10; rs761772, beta = 0.05, P = 5 × 10). rs12819124 is nominally associated with risk of type 2 diabetes. Our study offers insights into the genetic architecture of well-known and less well-studied biomarkers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-10812-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5591265PMC
September 2017

Novel Blood Pressure Locus and Gene Discovery Using Genome-Wide Association Study and Expression Data Sets From Blood and the Kidney.

Hypertension 2017 Jul 24. Epub 2017 Jul 24.

From the Department of Health Sciences (L.V.W., A.M.E., N. Shrine, C.B., T.B., M.D.T.), and Department of Cardiovascular Sciences and NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre (C.P.N., P.S.B., N.J.S.), University of Leicester, United Kingdom; Department of Epidemiology (A.V., P.J.v.d.M., I.M.N., H. Snieder), Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine (M.H.d.B., M.A.S.), Interdisciplinary Center Psychopathology and Emotion Regulation (IPCE) (A.J.O., H.R., C.A.H.), Department of Genetics, (M.S.), and Department of Cardiology (P.v.d.H.), University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands; Research Institute for Primordial Prevention of Non-Communicable Disease, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Iran (A.V.); Department of Psychiatry, VU University Medical Center, Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam, The Netherlands (R. Jansen); Hebrew SeniorLife, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (R. Joehanes); National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's Framingham Heart Study, MA (R. Joehanes, A.D.J., M. Larson); Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (P.F.O.), and Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology (M.M., C. Menni, T.D.S.), King's College London, United Kingdom; Clinical Pharmacology, William Harvey Research Institute (C.P.C., H.R.W., M.R.B., M. Brown, B.M., M.R., P.B.M., M.J.C.) and NIHR Barts Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit (C.P.C., H.R.W., M.R.B., M. Brown, P.B.M., M.J.C.), Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom; Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA (L.M.R., F.G., P.M.R., D.I.C.); Department of Epidemiology (G.C.V., A. Hofman, A.G.U., O.H.F.), Genetic Epidemiology Unit, Department of Epidemiology (N.A., B.A.O., C.M.v.D.), and Department of Internal Medicine (A.G.U.), Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Department of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, EMGO+ Institute, VU University Medical Center, The Netherlands (J.-J.H., E.J.d.G., G.W., D.I.B.); Cardiovascular Medicine Unit, Department of Medicine Solna, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden (R.J.S., M. Frånberg, A. Hamsten); Centre for Molecular Medicine, Karolinska Universitetsjukhuset, Solna, Sweden (R.J.S., M. Frånberg, A. Hamsten); Estonian Genome Center (T.E., E.O., A. Metspalu), Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine (S.S., M. Laan), and Estonian Genome Center (M.P.), University of Tartu, Estonia; Divisions of Endocrinology/Children's Hospital, Boston, MA (T.E.); Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Cambridge, MA (T.E., C.M.L., C.N.-C.); Center for Complex Disease Genomics, McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD (D.E.A., P.N., A. Chakravarti, G.B.E.); The Population Science Branch, Division of Intramural Research, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (S.-J.H., D.L.), Laboratory of Neurogenetics, National Institute on Aging (M.A.N.), Medical Genomics and Metabolic Genetics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute (F.C.), and Center for Information Technology (Y.D., P.J.M., Q.T.N.), National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD; The Framingham Heart Study, Framingham, MA (S.-J.H., D.L.); The Institute for Translational Genomics and Population Sciences, Department of Pediatrics (X.G., J.Y.), and The Institute for Translational Genomics and Population Sciences, Departments of Pediatrics and Medicine (J.I.R.), LABioMed at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA; Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland (Z.K., M. Bochud); Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Lausanne, Switzerland (Z.K.); Department of Cardiology (S. Trompet, J.W.J.) Department of Gerontology and Geriatrics (S. Trompet), Department of Clinical Epidemiology (R.L.-G., R.d.M., D.O.M.-K.), Department of Molecular Epidemiology (J.D.), and Department of Public Health and Primary Care (D.O.M.-K.), Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands; Institute for Community Medicine (A.T.), Department of Internal Medicine B (M.D.), and Interfaculty Institute for Genetics and Functional Genomics (U.V.), University Medicine Greifswald, Germany; DZHK (German Centre for Cardiovascular Research), partner site Greifswald, Germany (A.T., M.D., U.V.); Institute of Epidemiology II, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Neuherberg, Germany (J.S.R., A. Peters); Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, Department of Medicine (J.C.B., B.M.P.) and Departments of Biostatistics (K.R.), Epidemiology (B.M.P.), and Health Services (B.M.P.), University of Washington, Seattle; Icelandic Heart Association, Kopavogur, Iceland (A.V.S., V. Gudnason); Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland (A.V.S., V. Gudnason); Department of Clinical Chemistry, Fimlab Laboratories, Tampere, Finland (L.-P.L., T.L.); Department of Clinical Chemistry, Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences, University of Tampere, Finland (L.-P.L., T.L.); Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics (A. Mahajan, A.G., M. Farrall, T.F., C.M.L., H.W., A.P.M.), and Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Radcliffe Department of Medicine (A.G., M. Farrall, H.W.), University of Oxford, United Kingdom; MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Institute of Metabolic Science, United Kingdom (N.J.W., J.L., C.L., R.J.F.L., R.A.S., J.H.Z.); Clinical Division of Neurogeriatrics, Department of Neurology (E.H., R. Schmidt), Institute of Medical Informatics, Statistics and Documentation (E.H.), and Department of Neurology (H. Schmidt), Medical University Graz, Austria; Centre for Global Health Research, Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics (P.K.J., H.C., I.R., S.W., J.F.W.), Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology (L.M.L., S.E.H., G.D., A.J.G., D.C.M.L., J.M.S., I.J.D.), Medical Genetics Section, Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (A. Campbell), Generation Scotland, Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine (A. Campbell, S.P., C.H.), Department of Psychology (G.D., D.C.M.L., A. Pattie, I.J.D.), Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre (J.M.S.), and Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (C.H.), University of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom; Department of Health (K.K., A.S.H., T. Niiranen, P.J., A.J., S. Koskinen, P.K., V.S., M.P.), and Chronic Disease Prevention Unit (J.T.), National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Helsinki, Finland; Division of Genetics and Cell Biology, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milano, Italy (M.T., C.M.B., C.F.S., D.T.); Data Tecnica International, Glen Echo, MD (M.A.N.); Medical Genetics, IRCCS-Burlo Garofolo Children Hospital, Trieste, Italy (D.V., G.G., P.G.); Department of Medical, Surgical and Health Sciences, University of Trieste, Italy (D.V., I.G., M. Brumat, M. Cocca, A. Morgan, G.G., P.G.); Institute for Biomedicine, Eurac Research, Affiliated Institute of the University of Lübeck, Bolzano, Italy (F.D.G.M., P.P.P., A.S.P., A.A.H.); Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences (K.L.A.), The Charles Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine (Y.L., E.P.B., R.J.F.L.), and Mindich Child health Development Institute (R.J.F.L.), Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York; Cardiovascular Epidemiology and Genetics, IMIM, and CIBERCV, Barcelona, Spain (J. Marrugat, R.E.); Institute of Genetics and Biophysics A. Buzzati-Traverso, CNR, Napoli, Italy (D.R., T. Nutile, R. Sorice, M. Ciullo); Department of Psychiatry, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Education and Research Centre, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin (L.M.L.); UCD Conway Institute, Centre for Proteome Research (L.M.L.), and School of Medicine, Conway Institute (D.C.S.), University College Dublin, Belfield, Ireland; Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Uppsala Universitet, Science for Life Laboratory, Sweden (S.E., Å. Johansson, U.G.); Department of Biostatistics and Center for Statistical Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (A.U.J., M. Boehnke); NIHR Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit, Glenfield Hospital, Leicester United Kingdom (C.P.N., P.S.B., N.J.S.); MRC Human Genetics Unit, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (J.E.H., V.V., J. Marten, A.F.W., J.F.W.), and Medical Genetics Section, Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine and MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (S.E.H.), University of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital, Scotland, United Kingdom; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health (W.Z., E.E., J.C.C., H.G., B.L., I.T., A.-C.V.), MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health (M.-R.J., P.E.), School of Public Health (N.P.), International Centre for Circulatory Health (S. Thom), and National Heart and Lung Institute (P.S.), Imperial College London, United Kingdom; Department of Cardiology, Ealing Hospital, London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, Southall, United Kingdom (W.Z., J.C.C., J.S.K.); Department of Medical Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Split, Croatia (T.Z.); Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, University of Ioannina Medical School, Greece (E.E.); Medical Research Institute, University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Scotland, United Kingdom (N. Shah, A.S.F.D., C.N.A.P.); Department of Pharmacy, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Abbottabad, Pakistan (N. Shah); National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre, London, United Kingdom (M.M.); Department of Human Genetics, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, United Kingdom (B.P.P., E.Z.); INSERM U 1219, Bordeaux Population Health Center, France (G.C., C.T., S.D.); Bordeaux University, France (G.C., C.T., S.D.); Hunter Medical Research Institute, New Lambton, NSW, Australia (C.O., E.G.H., R. Scott, J.A.); Center for Statistical Genetics, Department of Biostatistics, Ann Arbor, MI (G.A.); Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Iran (M.A.); Busselton Population Medical Research Institute, Western Australia (J.B., J.H.); PathWest Laboratory Medicine of Western Australia, Nedlands (J.B., J.H.); School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (J.B., J.H.), School of Population and Global Health (J.H.), and School of Medicine and Pharmacology (A. James), The University of Western Australia, Nedlands; Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, United Kingdom (J.C.C., J.S.K.); University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital & Medical School, United Kingdom (J.C.); Institute of Genetic Medicine (H.J.C.), and Institute of Health and Society (C. Mamasoula), Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom; Department of Pathology, Amsterdam Medical Center, The Netherlands (J.J.D.); Department of Numerical Analysis and Computer Science, Stockholm University, Sweden (M. Frånberg); Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Geriatrics, Uppsala, Sweden (V. Giedraitis); Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen, Deutsches Forschungszentrum fuer Gesundheit und Umwelt (GmbH), Neuherberg, Germany (C.G.); Department of Psychology, School of Social Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom (A.J.G.); Intramural Research Program, Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and Biometry, National Institute on Aging (T.B.H., L.J.L.); Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA (A. Hofman); Center For Life-Course Health Research (M.-R.J.), and Biocenter Oulu (M.-R.J.), University of Oulu, Finland; Unit of Primary Care, Oulu University Hospital, Finland (M.-R.J.); National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Cardiovascular Epidemiology and Human Genomics Branch, Bethesda, MD (A.D.J.); Department of Clinical Physiology, Tampere University Hospital, Finland (M.K.); Department of Clinical Physiology, Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences, University of Tampere, Finland (M.K.); Cardiovascular Research Center (S. Kathiresan, C.N.-C.); Center for Human Genetics (S. Kathiresan), and Center for Human Genetic Research (C.N.-C.), Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Program in Medical and Population Genetics, Broad Institute, Cambridge, MA (S. Kathiresan, C.N.-C.); Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (K.-T.K.); Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Split, Croatia (I.K., O.P.); Cardiology, Department of Specialties of Medicine, Geneva University Hospital, Switzerland (L. Lin, F.M., G.B.E.); Department of Medical Sciences, Cardiovascular Epidemiology (L. Lind, J.S.), and Department of Medical Sciences, Molecular Epidemiology and Science for Life Laboratory (E.I.), Uppsala University, Sweden; Department of Psychiatry, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Y.M., B.W.J.H.P.); School of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Medical School, Teviot Place, Scotland, United Kingdom (A.D.M.); Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (A.C.M.); British Heart Foundation Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre, Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences (S.P.), and Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine (D.J.S.), University of Glasgow, United Kingdom; Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), University of Helsinki, Finland (A. Palotie, S.R., A.-P.S., M.P.); Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada (G.P., S. Thériault); Department of Neurology, General Central Hospital, Bolzano, Italy (P.P.P.); Department of Neurology, University of Lübeck, Germany (P.P.P.); Department of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine, Turku University Hospital, Finland (O.T.R.); Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Turku, Finland (O.T.R.); Department of Cardiology, Fujian Provincial Hospital, Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou, China (M.R.); Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (P.M.R., D.I.C.); Institute for Maternal and Child Health IRCCS Burlo Garofolo, Trieste, Italy (A.R.); Institute of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Centre for Molecular Medicine, Medical University of Graz, Austria (Y.S., H. Schmidt); INSERM U1078, Etablissement Français du Sang, Brest Cedex, France (A.S.P.); Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia (R. Scott, J.A.); John Hunter Hospital, New Lambton, NSW, Australia (R. Scott, J.A.); The New York Academy of Medicine, New York (D.S.); IRCCS Neuromed, Pozzilli, Isernia, Italy (R. Sorice, M. Ciullo); Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin 2, Ireland (A.S.); Institute for Translational Genomics and Population Sciences, Los Angeles BioMedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA (K.D.T.); Division of Genetic Outcomes, Department of Pediatrics, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA (K.D.T.); Department of Public Health (C.T.), and Department of Neurology (S.D.), Bordeaux University Hospital, France; Department of Internal Medicine, Lausanne University Hospital, CHUV, Switzerland (P.V.); Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton Ontario, Canada (D.C.); National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital Campus, United Kingdom (J.S.K.); Dasman Diabetes Institute, Kuwait (J.T.); Diabetes Research Group, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (J.T.); Department of Neurosciences and Preventive Medicine, Danube-University Krems, Austria (J.T.); Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, The University of Manchester and Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, United Kingdom (B.D.K.); Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem (Y.M.L.); Kaiser Permanent Washington Health Research Institute, Seattle, WA (B.M.P.); Institute of Physiology, University Medicine Greifswald, Karlsburg, Germany (R.R); Department of Pulmonary Physiology and Sleep, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, Western Australia (A. James); Population Health Research Institute, St George's, University of London, United Kingdom (D.P.S.); Department of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, New York (W.P.); Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA (E.I.); Data Science Institute and Lancaster Medical School, Lancaster University, United Kingdom (J.K.); and Department of Biostatistics, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom (A.P.M.).

Elevated blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and has a substantial genetic contribution. Genetic variation influencing blood pressure has the potential to identify new pharmacological targets for the treatment of hypertension. To discover additional novel blood pressure loci, we used 1000 Genomes Project-based imputation in 150 134 European ancestry individuals and sought significant evidence for independent replication in a further 228 245 individuals. We report 6 new signals of association in or near , , , , , and , and provide new replication evidence for a further 2 signals in and Combining large whole-blood gene expression resources totaling 12 607 individuals, we investigated all novel and previously reported signals and identified 48 genes with evidence for involvement in blood pressure regulation that are significant in multiple resources. Three novel kidney-specific signals were also detected. These robustly implicated genes may provide new leads for therapeutic innovation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.117.09438DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5783787PMC
July 2017

Discovery of novel heart rate-associated loci using the Exome Chip.

Hum Mol Genet 2017 06;26(12):2346-2363

Genetic Epidemiology Unit, Dept. of Epidemiology, Erasmus University Medical Center, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, NL.

Resting heart rate is a heritable trait, and an increase in heart rate is associated with increased mortality risk. Genome-wide association study analyses have found loci associated with resting heart rate, at the time of our study these loci explained 0.9% of the variation. This study aims to discover new genetic loci associated with heart rate from Exome Chip meta-analyses.Heart rate was measured from either elecrtrocardiograms or pulse recordings. We meta-analysed heart rate association results from 104 452 European-ancestry individuals from 30 cohorts, genotyped using the Exome Chip. Twenty-four variants were selected for follow-up in an independent dataset (UK Biobank, N = 134 251). Conditional and gene-based testing was undertaken, and variants were investigated with bioinformatics methods.We discovered five novel heart rate loci, and one new independent low-frequency non-synonymous variant in an established heart rate locus (KIAA1755). Lead variants in four of the novel loci are non-synonymous variants in the genes C10orf71, DALDR3, TESK2 and SEC31B. The variant at SEC31B is significantly associated with SEC31B expression in heart and tibial nerve tissue. Further candidate genes were detected from long-range regulatory chromatin interactions in heart tissue (SCD, SLF2 and MAPK8). We observed significant enrichment in DNase I hypersensitive sites in fetal heart and lung. Moreover, enrichment was seen for the first time in human neuronal progenitor cells (derived from embryonic stem cells) and fetal muscle samples by including our novel variants.Our findings advance the knowledge of the genetic architecture of heart rate, and indicate new candidate genes for follow-up functional studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddx113DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5458336PMC
June 2017

Genome-wide association analyses for lung function and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease identify new loci and potential druggable targets.

Nat Genet 2017 Mar 6;49(3):416-425. Epub 2017 Feb 6.

Department of Internal Medicine B-Cardiology, Intensive Care, Pulmonary Medicine and Infectious Diseases, University Medicine Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by reduced lung function and is the third leading cause of death globally. Through genome-wide association discovery in 48,943 individuals, selected from extremes of the lung function distribution in UK Biobank, and follow-up in 95,375 individuals, we increased the yield of independent signals for lung function from 54 to 97. A genetic risk score was associated with COPD susceptibility (odds ratio per 1 s.d. of the risk score (∼6 alleles) (95% confidence interval) = 1.24 (1.20-1.27), P = 5.05 × 10), and we observed a 3.7-fold difference in COPD risk between individuals in the highest and lowest genetic risk score deciles in UK Biobank. The 97 signals show enrichment in genes for development, elastic fibers and epigenetic regulation pathways. We highlight targets for drugs and compounds in development for COPD and asthma (genes in the inositol phosphate metabolism pathway and CHRM3) and describe targets for potential drug repositioning from other clinical indications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3787DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5326681PMC
March 2017

Evidence for large-scale gene-by-smoking interaction effects on pulmonary function.

Int J Epidemiol 2017 06;46(3):894-904

Genetic Epidemiology Group, Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK.

Background: Smoking is the strongest environmental risk factor for reduced pulmonary function. The genetic component of various pulmonary traits has also been demonstrated, and at least 26 loci have been reproducibly associated with either FEV 1 (forced expiratory volume in 1 second) or FEV 1 /FVC (FEV 1 /forced vital capacity). Although the main effects of smoking and genetic loci are well established, the question of potential gene-by-smoking interaction effect remains unanswered. The aim of the present study was to assess, using a genetic risk score approach, whether the effect of these 26 loci on pulmonary function is influenced by smoking.

Methods: We evaluated the interaction between smoking exposure, considered as either ever vs never or pack-years, and a 26-single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) genetic risk score in relation to FEV 1 or FEV 1 /FVC in 50 047 participants of European ancestry from the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) and SpiroMeta consortia.

Results: We identified an interaction ( βint  = -0.036, 95% confidence interval, -0.040 to -0.032, P  = 0.00057) between an unweighted 26 SNP genetic risk score and smoking status (ever/never) on the FEV 1 /FVC ratio. In interpreting this interaction, we showed that the genetic risk of falling below the FEV /FVC threshold used to diagnose chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is higher among ever smokers than among never smokers. A replication analysis in two independent datasets, although not statistically significant, showed a similar trend in the interaction effect.

Conclusions: This study highlights the benefit of using genetic risk scores for identifying interactions missed when studying individual SNPs and shows, for the first time, that persons with the highest genetic risk for low FEV 1 /FVC may be more susceptible to the deleterious effects of smoking.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyw318DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5837518PMC
June 2017

Eosinophil Count Is a Common Factor for Complex Metabolic and Pulmonary Traits and Diseases: The LifeLines Cohort Study.

PLoS One 2016 15;11(12):e0168480. Epub 2016 Dec 15.

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

There is ongoing debate on the association between eosinophil count and diseases, as previous studies were inconsistent. We studied the relationship of eosinophil count with 22 complex metabolic, cardiac, and pulmonary traits and diseases. From the population-based LifeLines Cohort Study (N = 167,729), 13,301 individuals were included. We focused on relationship of eosinophil count with three classes of metabolic (7 traits, 2 diseases), cardiac (6 traits, 2 diseases), and pulmonary (2 traits, 2 diseases) outcomes. Regression analyses were applied in overall, women and men, while adjusted for age, sex, BMI and smoking. A p-value of <0.00076 was considered statistically significant. 58.2% of population were women (mean±SD 51.3±11.1 years old). In overall, one-SD higher of ln-eosinophil count was associated with a 0.04 (±SE ±0.002;p = 6.0×10-6) SD higher levels in ln-BMI, 0.06 (±0.007;p = 3.1×10-12) SD in ln-TG, 0.04 (±0.003;p = 7.0×10-6) SD in TC, 0.04 (±0.004;p = 6.3×10-7) SD in LDL, 0.04 (±0.006;p = 6.0×10-6) SD in HbA1c; and with a 0.05 (±0.004;p = 1.7×10-8) SD lower levels in HDL, 0.05 (±0.007;p = 3.4×10-23) SD in FEV1, and 0.09 (±0.001;p = 6.6×10-28) SD in FEV1/FVC. A higher ln-eosinophil count was associated with 1.18 (95%CI 1.09-1.28;p = 2.0×10-5) odds ratio of obesity, 1.29 (1.19-1.39;p = 1.1×10-10) of metabolic syndrome, 1.40 (1.25-1.56;p = 2.7×10-9) of COPD and 1.81 (1.61-2.03;p = 1.0×10-23) of asthma. Similar results were found in women. We found no association between ln-eosinophil count either with blood pressure indices in overall, women and men; or with BMI, LDL, HbA1c and obesity in men. In a large population based cohort, we confirmed eosinophil count as a potential factor implicated in metabolic and pulmonary outcomes.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0168480PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5158313PMC
July 2017

52 Genetic Loci Influencing Myocardial Mass.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2016 09;68(13):1435-1448

Department of Medical Genetics, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands; Department of Cardiology, Division Heart and Lungs, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Background: Myocardial mass is a key determinant of cardiac muscle function and hypertrophy. Myocardial depolarization leading to cardiac muscle contraction is reflected by the amplitude and duration of the QRS complex on the electrocardiogram (ECG). Abnormal QRS amplitude or duration reflect changes in myocardial mass and conduction, and are associated with increased risk of heart failure and death.

Objectives: This meta-analysis sought to gain insights into the genetic determinants of myocardial mass.

Methods: We carried out a genome-wide association meta-analysis of 4 QRS traits in up to 73,518 individuals of European ancestry, followed by extensive biological and functional assessment.

Results: We identified 52 genomic loci, of which 32 are novel, that are reliably associated with 1 or more QRS phenotypes at p < 1 × 10(-8). These loci are enriched in regions of open chromatin, histone modifications, and transcription factor binding, suggesting that they represent regions of the genome that are actively transcribed in the human heart. Pathway analyses provided evidence that these loci play a role in cardiac hypertrophy. We further highlighted 67 candidate genes at the identified loci that are preferentially expressed in cardiac tissue and associated with cardiac abnormalities in Drosophila melanogaster and Mus musculus. We validated the regulatory function of a novel variant in the SCN5A/SCN10A locus in vitro and in vivo.

Conclusions: Taken together, our findings provide new insights into genes and biological pathways controlling myocardial mass and may help identify novel therapeutic targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2016.07.729DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5478167PMC
September 2016

Investigating the Causal Relationship of C-Reactive Protein with 32 Complex Somatic and Psychiatric Outcomes: A Large-Scale Cross-Consortium Mendelian Randomization Study.

PLoS Med 2016 06 21;13(6):e1001976. Epub 2016 Jun 21.

Program in Medical and Population Genetics, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America.

Background: C-reactive protein (CRP) is associated with immune, cardiometabolic, and psychiatric traits and diseases. Yet it is inconclusive whether these associations are causal.

Methods And Findings: We performed Mendelian randomization (MR) analyses using two genetic risk scores (GRSs) as instrumental variables (IVs). The first GRS consisted of four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the CRP gene (GRSCRP), and the second consisted of 18 SNPs that were significantly associated with CRP levels in the largest genome-wide association study (GWAS) to date (GRSGWAS). To optimize power, we used summary statistics from GWAS consortia and tested the association of these two GRSs with 32 complex somatic and psychiatric outcomes, with up to 123,865 participants per outcome from populations of European ancestry. We performed heterogeneity tests to disentangle the pleiotropic effect of IVs. A Bonferroni-corrected significance level of less than 0.0016 was considered statistically significant. An observed p-value equal to or less than 0.05 was considered nominally significant evidence for a potential causal association, yet to be confirmed. The strengths (F-statistics) of the IVs were 31.92-3,761.29 and 82.32-9,403.21 for GRSCRP and GRSGWAS, respectively. CRP GRSGWAS showed a statistically significant protective relationship of a 10% genetically elevated CRP level with the risk of schizophrenia (odds ratio [OR] 0.86 [95% CI 0.79-0.94]; p < 0.001). We validated this finding with individual-level genotype data from the schizophrenia GWAS (OR 0.96 [95% CI 0.94-0.98]; p < 1.72 × 10-6). Further, we found that a standardized CRP polygenic risk score (CRPPRS) at p-value thresholds of 1 × 10-4, 0.001, 0.01, 0.05, and 0.1 using individual-level data also showed a protective effect (OR < 1.00) against schizophrenia; the first CRPPRS (built of SNPs with p < 1 × 10-4) showed a statistically significant (p < 2.45 × 10-4) protective effect with an OR of 0.97 (95% CI 0.95-0.99). The CRP GRSGWAS showed that a 10% increase in genetically determined CRP level was significantly associated with coronary artery disease (OR 0.88 [95% CI 0.84-0.94]; p < 2.4 × 10-5) and was nominally associated with the risk of inflammatory bowel disease (OR 0.85 [95% CI 0.74-0.98]; p < 0.03), Crohn disease (OR 0.81 [95% CI 0.70-0.94]; p < 0.005), psoriatic arthritis (OR 1.36 [95% CI 1.00-1.84]; p < 0.049), knee osteoarthritis (OR 1.17 [95% CI 1.01-1.36]; p < 0.04), and bipolar disorder (OR 1.21 [95% CI 1.05-1.40]; p < 0.007) and with an increase of 0.72 (95% CI 0.11-1.34; p < 0.02) mm Hg in systolic blood pressure, 0.45 (95% CI 0.06-0.84; p < 0.02) mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure, 0.01 ml/min/1.73 m2 (95% CI 0.003-0.02; p < 0.005) in estimated glomerular filtration rate from serum creatinine, 0.01 g/dl (95% CI 0.0004-0.02; p < 0.04) in serum albumin level, and 0.03 g/dl (95% CI 0.008-0.05; p < 0.009) in serum protein level. However, after adjustment for heterogeneity, neither GRS showed a significant effect of CRP level (at p < 0.0016) on any of these outcomes, including coronary artery disease, nor on the other 20 complex outcomes studied. Our study has two potential limitations: the limited variance explained by our genetic instruments modeling CRP levels in blood and the unobserved bias introduced by the use of summary statistics in our MR analyses.

Conclusions: Genetically elevated CRP levels showed a significant potentially protective causal relationship with risk of schizophrenia. We observed nominal evidence at an observed p < 0.05 using either GRSCRP or GRSGWAS-with persistence after correction for heterogeneity-for a causal relationship of elevated CRP levels with psoriatic osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, knee osteoarthritis, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, serum albumin, and bipolar disorder. These associations remain yet to be confirmed. We cannot verify any causal effect of CRP level on any of the other common somatic and neuropsychiatric outcomes investigated in the present study. This implies that interventions that lower CRP level are unlikely to result in decreased risk for the majority of common complex outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001976DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4915710PMC
June 2016

lodGWAS: a software package for genome-wide association analysis of biomarkers with a limit of detection.

Bioinformatics 2016 05 22;32(10):1552-4. Epub 2016 Jan 22.

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

Unlabelled: Genome-wide association study (GWAS) of a biomarker is complicated when the assay procedure of the biomarker is restricted by a Limit of Detection (LOD). Those observations falling outside the LOD cannot be simply discarded, but should be included into the analysis by applying an appropriate statistical method. However, the problem of LOD in GWAS analysis of such biomarkers is usually overlooked. 'lodGWAS' is a flexible, easy-to-use R package that provides a simple and elegant way for GWAS analysis of such biomarkers while simultaneously accommodating the problem of LOD by applying a parametric survival analysis method.

Availability And Implementation: http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/lodGWAS CONTACTS: [email protected] or [email protected]

Supplementary Information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btw021DOI Listing
May 2016

In Silico Post Genome-Wide Association Studies Analysis of C-Reactive Protein Loci Suggests an Important Role for Interferons.

Circ Cardiovasc Genet 2015 Jun 9;8(3):487-97. Epub 2015 Mar 9.

From the Department of Epidemiology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen (A.V., B.P.P., I.M.N., H.S., B.Z.A.); Department of Psychiatry, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam (R.J., B.W.J.H.P.); and Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam, VU University and VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam (R.J., J.-J.H., E.J.C.d.G., D.I.B., B.W.J.H.P.), EMGO+ Institute, VU University and VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam (J.-J.H., E.J.C.d.G., D.I.B., B.W.J.H.P.), Department of Biological Psychology, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (J.-J.H., E.J.C.d.G., D.I.B.); and School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran (A.V.).

Background: Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have successfully identified several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). An important limitation of GWASs is that the identified variants merely flag the nearby genomic region and do not necessarily provide a direct link to the biological mechanisms underlying their corresponding phenotype. Here we apply a bioinformatics-based approach to uncover the functional characteristics of the 18 SNPs that had previously been associated with CRP at a genome-wide significant level.

Methods And Results: In the first phase of in silico sequencing, we explore the vicinity of GWAS SNPs to identify all linked variants. In the second phase of expression quantitative trait loci analysis, we attempt to identify all nearby genes whose expression levels are associated with the corresponding GWAS SNPs. These 2 phases generate several relevant genes that serve as input to the next phase of functional network analysis. Our in silico sequencing analysis using 1000 Genomes Project data identified 7 nonsynonymous SNPs, which are in moderate to high linkage disequilibrium (r(2)>0.5) with the GWAS SNPs. Our expression quantitative trait loci analysis, which was based on one of the largest single data sets of genome-wide expression probes (n>5000) identified 23 significantly associated expression probes belonging to 15 genes (false discovery rate <0.01). The final phase of functional network analysis revealed 93 significantly enriched biological processes (false discovery rate <0.01).

Conclusions: Our post-GWAS analysis of CRP GWAS SNPs confirmed the previously known overlap between CRP and lipids biology. Additionally, it suggested an important role for interferons in the metabolism of CRP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.114.000714DOI Listing
June 2015

Role of common and rare variants in SCN10A: results from the Brugada syndrome QRS locus gene discovery collaborative study.

Cardiovasc Res 2015 Jun 17;106(3):520-9. Epub 2015 Feb 17.

Inserm, UMR S1166, Faculté de Médecine Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ Paris 06, UMR S1166, Paris, France Institute of Cardiometabolism & Nutrition, ICAN, Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, France.

Aims: Brugada syndrome (BrS) remains genetically heterogeneous and is associated with slowed cardiac conduction. We aimed to identify genetic variation in BrS cases at loci associated with QRS duration.

Methods And Results: A multi-centre study sequenced seven candidate genes (SCN10A, HAND1, PLN, CASQ2, TKT, TBX3, and TBX5) in 156 Caucasian SCN5A mutation-negative BrS patients (80% male; mean age 48) with symptoms (64%) and/or a family history of sudden death (47%) or BrS (18%). Forty-nine variants were identified: 18 were rare (MAF <1%) and non-synonymous; and 11/18 (61.1%), mostly in SCN10A, were predicted as pathogenic using multiple bioinformatics tools. Allele frequencies were compared with the Exome Sequencing and UK10K Projects. SKAT methods tested rare variation in SCN10A finding no statistically significant difference between cases and controls. Co-segregation analysis was possible for four of seven probands carrying a novel pathogenic variant. Only one pedigree (I671V/G1299A in SCN10A) showed co-segregation. The SCN10A SNP V1073 was, however, associated strongly with BrS [66.9 vs. 40.1% (UK10K) OR (95% CI) = 3.02 (2.35-3.87), P = 8.07 × 10-19]. Voltage-clamp experiments for NaV1.8 were performed for SCN10A common variants V1073, A1073, and rare variants of interest: A200V and I671V. V1073, A200V and I671V, demonstrated significant reductions in peak INa compared with ancestral allele A1073 (rs6795970).

Conclusion: Rare variants in the screened QRS-associated genes (including SCN10A) are not responsible for a significant proportion of SCN5A mutation negative BrS. The common SNP SCN10A V1073 was strongly associated with BrS and demonstrated loss of NaV1.8 function, as did rare variants in isolated patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cvr/cvv042DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4447806PMC
June 2015

Sequencing of SCN5A identifies rare and common variants associated with cardiac conduction: Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Consortium.

Circ Cardiovasc Genet 2014 Jun;7(3):365-73

Background: The cardiac sodium channel SCN5A regulates atrioventricular and ventricular conduction. Genetic variants in this gene are associated with PR and QRS intervals. We sought to characterize further the contribution of rare and common coding variation in SCN5A to cardiac conduction.

Methods And Results: In Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Consortium Targeted Sequencing Study, we performed targeted exonic sequencing of SCN5A (n=3699, European ancestry individuals) and identified 4 common (minor allele frequency >1%) and 157 rare variants. Common and rare SCN5A coding variants were examined for association with PR and QRS intervals through meta-analysis of European ancestry participants from CHARGE, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Exome Sequencing Project (n=607), and the UK10K (n=1275) and by examining Exome Sequencing Project African ancestry participants (n=972). Rare coding SCN5A variants in aggregate were associated with PR interval in European and African ancestry participants (P=1.3×10(-3)). Three common variants were associated with PR and QRS interval duration among European ancestry participants and one among African ancestry participants. These included 2 well-known missense variants: rs1805124 (H558R) was associated with PR and QRS shortening in European ancestry participants (P=6.25×10(-4) and P=5.2×10(-3), respectively) and rs7626962 (S1102Y) was associated with PR shortening in those of African ancestry (P=2.82×10(-3)). Among European ancestry participants, 2 novel synonymous variants, rs1805126 and rs6599230, were associated with cardiac conduction. Our top signal, rs1805126 was associated with PR and QRS lengthening (P=3.35×10(-7) and P=2.69×10(-4), respectively) and rs6599230 was associated with PR shortening (P=2.67×10(-5)).

Conclusions: By sequencing SCN5A, we identified novel common and rare coding variants associated with cardiac conduction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.113.000098DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4177904PMC
June 2014

QCGWAS: A flexible R package for automated quality control of genome-wide association results.

Bioinformatics 2014 04 5;30(8):1185-1186. Epub 2014 Jan 5.

Department of Epidemiology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, P.O. box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, The Netherlands and Cardiogenetics Lab, Human Genetics Research Centre, St. George's Hospital Medical School, London SW17 0RE, UK.

QCGWAS is an R package that automates the quality control of genome-wide association result files. Its main purpose is to facilitate the quality control of a large number of such files before meta-analysis. Alternatively, it can be used by individual cohorts to check their own result files. QCGWAS is flexible and has a wide range of options, allowing rapid generation of high-quality input files for meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies.

Availability: http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/QCGWAS CONTACT: [email protected] Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btt745DOI Listing
April 2014

Discovery and fine mapping of serum protein loci through transethnic meta-analysis.

Am J Hum Genet 2012 Oct 27;91(4):744-53. Epub 2012 Sep 27.

Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.

Many disorders are associated with altered serum protein concentrations, including malnutrition, cancer, and cardiovascular, kidney, and inflammatory diseases. Although these protein concentrations are highly heritable, relatively little is known about their underlying genetic determinants. Through transethnic meta-analysis of European-ancestry and Japanese genome-wide association studies, we identified six loci at genome-wide significance (p < 5 × 10(-8)) for serum albumin (HPN-SCN1B, GCKR-FNDC4, SERPINF2-WDR81, TNFRSF11A-ZCCHC2, FRMD5-WDR76, and RPS11-FCGRT, in up to 53,190 European-ancestry and 9,380 Japanese individuals) and three loci for total protein (TNFRS13B, 6q21.3, and ELL2, in up to 25,539 European-ancestry and 10,168 Japanese individuals). We observed little evidence of heterogeneity in allelic effects at these loci between groups of European and Japanese ancestry but obtained substantial improvements in the resolution of fine mapping of potential causal variants by leveraging transethnic differences in the distribution of linkage disequilibrium. We demonstrated a functional role for the most strongly associated serum albumin locus, HPN, for which Hpn knockout mice manifest low plasma albumin concentrations. Other loci associated with serum albumin harbor genes related to ribosome function, protein translation, and proteasomal degradation, whereas those associated with serum total protein include genes related to immune function. Our results highlight the advantages of transethnic meta-analysis for the discovery and fine mapping of complex trait loci and have provided initial insights into the underlying genetic architecture of serum protein concentrations and their association with human disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2012.08.021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3484648PMC
October 2012

Genetics of coronary artery disease: genome-wide association studies and beyond.

Atherosclerosis 2012 Nov 23;225(1):1-10. Epub 2012 May 23.

Unit of Genetic Epidemiology and Bioinformatics, Department of Epidemiology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Genome-wide association (GWA) studies on coronary artery disease (CAD) have been very successful, identifying a total of 32 susceptibility loci so far. Although these loci have provided valuable insights into the etiology of CAD, their cumulative effect explains surprisingly little of the total CAD heritability. In this review, we first highlight and describe the type of genetic variants potentially underlying the missing heritability of CAD: single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) or structural variants, each of which may either be common or rare. Although finding missing heritability is important, we further argue in this review that it constitutes only a first step towards a fuller understanding of the etiology of CAD development. To close the gap between the genotype and phenotype, we propose a systems genetics approach in the post-GWA study era. This approach that integrates genetic, epigenetic, transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolic and intermediate outcome variables has potential to significantly aid the understanding of CAD etiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2012.05.015DOI Listing
November 2012
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