Publications by authors named "David J Porteous"

241 Publications

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

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

Clin Chem 2021 Jul 8. Epub 2021 Jul 8.

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
July 2021

Genome-wide association studies identify 137 genetic loci for DNA methylation biomarkers of aging.

Genome Biol 2021 06 29;22(1):194. Epub 2021 Jun 29.

Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine, McGovern Medical School, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX, USA.

Background: Biological aging estimators derived from DNA methylation data are heritable and correlate with morbidity and mortality. Consequently, identification of genetic and environmental contributors to the variation in these measures in populations has become a major goal in the field.

Results: Leveraging DNA methylation and SNP data from more than 40,000 individuals, we identify 137 genome-wide significant loci, of which 113 are novel, from genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analyses of four epigenetic clocks and epigenetic surrogate markers for granulocyte proportions and plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 levels, respectively. We find evidence for shared genetic loci associated with the Horvath clock and expression of transcripts encoding genes linked to lipid metabolism and immune function. Notably, these loci are independent of those reported to regulate DNA methylation levels at constituent clock CpGs. A polygenic score for GrimAge acceleration showed strong associations with adiposity-related traits, educational attainment, parental longevity, and C-reactive protein levels.

Conclusion: This study illuminates the genetic architecture underlying epigenetic aging and its shared genetic contributions with lifestyle factors and longevity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13059-021-02398-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8243879PMC
June 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

Contribution of common risk variants to multiple sclerosis in Orkney and Shetland.

Eur J Hum Genet 2021 Jun 4. Epub 2021 Jun 4.

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

Orkney and Shetland, the population isolates that make up the Northern Isles of Scotland, are of particular interest to multiple sclerosis (MS) research. While MS prevalence is high in Scotland, Orkney has the highest global prevalence, higher than more northerly Shetland. Many hypotheses for the excess of MS cases in Orkney have been investigated, including vitamin D deficiency and homozygosity: neither was found to cause the high prevalence of MS. It is possible that this excess prevalence may be explained through unique genetics. We used polygenic risk scores (PRS) to look at the contribution of common risk variants to MS. Analyses were conducted using ORCADES (97/2118 cases/controls), VIKING (15/2000 cases/controls) and Generation Scotland (30/8708 cases/controls) data sets. However, no evidence of a difference in MS-associated common variant frequencies was found between the three control populations, aside from HLA-DRB1*15:01 tag SNP rs9271069. This SNP had a significantly higher risk allele frequency in Orkney (0.23, p value = 8 × 10) and Shetland (0.21, p value = 2.3 × 10) than mainland Scotland (0.17). This difference in frequency is estimated to account for 6 (95% CI 3, 8) out of 150 observed excess cases per 100,000 individuals in Shetland and 9 (95% CI 8, 11) of the observed 257 excess cases per 100,000 individuals in Orkney, compared with mainland Scotland. Common variants therefore appear to account for little of the excess burden of MS in the Northern Isles of Scotland.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-021-00914-wDOI Listing
June 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 May 7. Epub 2021 May 7.

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 is 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 and HF development 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
May 2021

Functional brain defects in a mouse model of a chromosomal t(1;11) translocation that disrupts DISC1 and confers increased risk of psychiatric illness.

Transl Psychiatry 2021 02 19;11(1):135. Epub 2021 Feb 19.

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

A balanced t(1;11) translocation that directly disrupts DISC1 is linked to schizophrenia and affective disorders. We previously showed that a mutant mouse, named Der1, recapitulates the effect of the translocation upon DISC1 expression. Here, RNAseq analysis of Der1 mouse brain tissue found enrichment for dysregulation of the same genes and molecular pathways as in neuron cultures generated previously from human t(1;11) translocation carriers via the induced pluripotent stem cell route. DISC1 disruption therefore apparently accounts for a substantial proportion of the effects of the t(1;11) translocation. RNAseq and pathway analysis of the mutant mouse predicts multiple Der1-induced alterations converging upon synapse function and plasticity. Synaptosome proteomics confirmed that the Der1 mutation impacts synapse composition, and electrophysiology found reduced AMPA:NMDA ratio in hippocampal neurons, indicating changed excitatory signalling. Moreover, hippocampal parvalbumin-positive interneuron density is increased, suggesting that the Der1 mutation affects inhibitory control of neuronal circuits. These phenotypes predict that neurotransmission is impacted at many levels by DISC1 disruption in human t(1;11) translocation carriers. Notably, genes implicated in schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder by large-scale genetic studies are enriched among the Der1-dysregulated genes, just as we previously observed for the t(1;11) translocation carrier-derived neurons. Furthermore, RNAseq analysis predicts that the Der1 mutation primarily targets a subset of cell types, pyramidal neurons and interneurons, previously shown to be vulnerable to the effects of common schizophrenia-associated genetic variants. In conclusion, DISC1 disruption by the t(1;11) translocation may contribute to the psychiatric disorders of translocation carriers through commonly affected pathways and processes in neurotransmission.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41398-021-01256-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7895946PMC
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

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

Genetic mechanisms of critical illness in COVID-19.

Nature 2021 03 11;591(7848):92-98. Epub 2020 Dec 11.

Intensive Care Unit, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

Host-mediated lung inflammation is present, and drives mortality, in the critical illness caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Host genetic variants associated with critical illness may identify mechanistic targets for therapeutic development. Here we report the results of the GenOMICC (Genetics Of Mortality In Critical Care) genome-wide association study in 2,244 critically ill patients with COVID-19 from 208 UK intensive care units. We have identified and replicated the following new genome-wide significant associations: on chromosome 12q24.13 (rs10735079, P = 1.65 × 10) in a gene cluster that encodes antiviral restriction enzyme activators (OAS1, OAS2 and OAS3); on chromosome 19p13.2 (rs74956615, P = 2.3 × 10) near the gene that encodes tyrosine kinase 2 (TYK2); on chromosome 19p13.3 (rs2109069, P = 3.98 ×  10) within the gene that encodes dipeptidyl peptidase 9 (DPP9); and on chromosome 21q22.1 (rs2236757, P = 4.99 × 10) in the interferon receptor gene IFNAR2. We identified potential targets for repurposing of licensed medications: using Mendelian randomization, we found evidence that low expression of IFNAR2, or high expression of TYK2, are associated with life-threatening disease; and transcriptome-wide association in lung tissue revealed that high expression of the monocyte-macrophage chemotactic receptor CCR2 is associated with severe COVID-19. Our results identify robust genetic signals relating to key host antiviral defence mechanisms and mediators of inflammatory organ damage in COVID-19. Both mechanisms may be amenable to targeted treatment with existing drugs. However, large-scale randomized clinical trials will be essential before any change to clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-03065-yDOI Listing
March 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

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

Using a knowledge exchange event to assess study participants' attitudes to research in a rapidly evolving research context.

Wellcome Open Res 2020 28;5:24. Epub 2020 Aug 28.

Division of Psychiatry, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH10 5HF, UK.

The UK hosts some of the world's longest-running longitudinal cohort studies, which make repeated observations of their participants and use these data to explore health outcomes. An alternative method for data collection is record linkage; the linking together of electronic health and administrative records. Applied nationally, this could provide unrivalled opportunities to follow a large number of people in perpetuity. However, public attitudes to the use of data in research are currently unclear. Here we report on an event where we collected attitudes towards recent opportunities and controversies within health data science. The event was attended by ~250 individuals (cohort members and their guests), who had been invited through the offices of their participating cohort studies. There were a series of presentations describing key research results and the audience participated in 15 multiple-choice questions using interactive voting pads. Our participants showed a high level of trust in researchers (87% scoring them 4/5 or 5/5) and doctors (81%); but less trust in commercial companies (35%). They supported the idea of researchers using information from both neonatal blood spots (Guthrie spots) (97% yes) and from electronic health records (95% yes). Our respondents were willing to wear devices like a 'Fit-bit' (88% agreed) or take a brain scan that might predict later mental illness (73%). However, they were less willing to take a new drug for research purposes (45%). They were keen to encourage others to take part in research; whether that be offering the opportunity to pregnant mothers (97% agreed) or extending invitations to their own children and grandchildren (98%). Our participants were broadly supportive of research access to data, albeit less supportive when commercial interests were involved. Public engagement events that facilitate two-way interactions can influence and support future research and public engagement efforts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.15651.2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7361507PMC
August 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

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

Epigenetic prediction of major depressive disorder.

Mol Psychiatry 2020 Jun 10. Epub 2020 Jun 10.

Division of Psychiatry, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

Variation in DNA methylation (DNAm) is associated with lifestyle factors such as smoking and body mass index (BMI) but there has been little research exploring its ability to identify individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD). Using penalised regression on genome-wide CpG methylation, we tested whether DNAm risk scores (MRS), trained on 1223 MDD cases and 1824 controls, could discriminate between cases (n = 363) and controls (n = 1417) in an independent sample, comparing their predictive accuracy to polygenic risk scores (PRS). The MRS explained 1.75% of the variance in MDD (β = 0.338, p = 1.17 × 10) and remained associated after adjustment for lifestyle factors (β = 0.219, p = 0.001, R = 0.68%). When modelled alongside PRS (β = 0.384, p = 4.69 × 10) the MRS remained associated with MDD (β = 0.327, p = 5.66 × 10). The MRS was also associated with incident cases of MDD who were well at recruitment but went on to develop MDD at a later assessment (β = 0.193, p = 0.016, R = 0.52%). Heritability analyses found additive genetic effects explained 22% of variance in the MRS, with a further 19% explained by pedigree-associated genetic effects and 16% by the shared couple environment. Smoking status was also strongly associated with MRS (β = 0.440, p ≤ 2 × 10). After removing smokers from the training set, the MRS strongly associated with BMI (β = 0.053, p = 0.021). We tested the association of MRS with 61 behavioural phenotypes and found that whilst PRS were associated with psychosocial and mental health phenotypes, MRS were more strongly associated with lifestyle and sociodemographic factors. DNAm-based risk scores of MDD significantly discriminated MDD cases from controls in an independent dataset and may represent an archive of exposures to lifestyle factors that are relevant to the prediction of MDD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-020-0808-3DOI Listing
June 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

Multi-ancestry GWAS of the electrocardiographic PR interval identifies 202 loci underlying cardiac conduction.

Nat Commun 2020 05 21;11(1):2542. Epub 2020 May 21.

Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

The electrocardiographic PR interval reflects atrioventricular conduction, and is associated with conduction abnormalities, pacemaker implantation, atrial fibrillation (AF), and cardiovascular mortality. Here we report a multi-ancestry (N = 293,051) genome-wide association meta-analysis for the PR interval, discovering 202 loci of which 141 have not previously been reported. Variants at identified loci increase the percentage of heritability explained, from 33.5% to 62.6%. We observe enrichment for cardiac muscle developmental/contractile and cytoskeletal genes, highlighting key regulation processes for atrioventricular conduction. Additionally, 8 loci not previously reported harbor genes underlying inherited arrhythmic syndromes and/or cardiomyopathies suggesting a role for these genes in cardiovascular pathology in the general population. We show that polygenic predisposition to PR interval duration is an endophenotype for cardiovascular disease, including distal conduction disease, AF, and atrioventricular pre-excitation. These findings advance our understanding of the polygenic basis of cardiac conduction, and the genetic relationship between PR interval duration and cardiovascular disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-15706-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7242331PMC
May 2020

Gene-educational attainment interactions in a multi-ancestry genome-wide meta-analysis identify novel blood pressure loci.

Mol Psychiatry 2021 Jun 5;26(6):2111-2125. Epub 2020 May 5.

Health Disparities Research Section, Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Sciences, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD, 21224, USA.

Educational attainment is widely used as a surrogate for socioeconomic status (SES). Low SES is a risk factor for hypertension and high blood pressure (BP). To identify novel BP loci, we performed multi-ancestry meta-analyses accounting for gene-educational attainment interactions using two variables, "Some College" (yes/no) and "Graduated College" (yes/no). Interactions were evaluated using both a 1 degree of freedom (DF) interaction term and a 2DF joint test of genetic and interaction effects. Analyses were performed for systolic BP, diastolic BP, mean arterial pressure, and pulse pressure. We pursued genome-wide interrogation in Stage 1 studies (N = 117 438) and follow-up on promising variants in Stage 2 studies (N = 293 787) in five ancestry groups. Through combined meta-analyses of Stages 1 and 2, we identified 84 known and 18 novel BP loci at genome-wide significance level (P < 5 × 10). Two novel loci were identified based on the 1DF test of interaction with educational attainment, while the remaining 16 loci were identified through the 2DF joint test of genetic and interaction effects. Ten novel loci were identified in individuals of African ancestry. Several novel loci show strong biological plausibility since they involve physiologic systems implicated in BP regulation. They include genes involved in the central nervous system-adrenal signaling axis (ZDHHC17, CADPS, PIK3C2G), vascular structure and function (GNB3, CDON), and renal function (HAS2 and HAS2-AS1, SLIT3). Collectively, these findings suggest a role of educational attainment or SES in further dissection of the genetic architecture of BP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-020-0719-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7641978PMC
June 2021

DNA methylation in APOE: The relationship with Alzheimer's and with cardiovascular health.

Alzheimers Dement (N Y) 2020 27;6(1):e12026. Epub 2020 Apr 27.

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

Introduction: Genetic variation in the apolipoprotein E () gene is associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). DNA methylationat has been associated with altered cognition and AD. It is unclear if epigenetic marks could be used for predicting future disease.

Methods: We assessed blood-based DNA methylation at 13 CpGs in the gene in 5828 participants from the Generation Scotland (GS) cohort. Using linear mixed models regression, we examined the relationships among methylation, cognition, cholesterol, the family history of AD and the risk for CVD.

Results: DNA methylation at two CpGs was associated with the ratio of total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol, but not with cognition, family history of AD, or the risk of CVD.

Discussion: methylation is associated with the levels of blood cholesterol, but there is no evidence for the utility of methylation as a biomarker for predicting AD or CVD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/trc2.12026DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7185210PMC
April 2020

The Dementias Platform UK (DPUK) Data Portal.

Eur J Epidemiol 2020 Jun 23;35(6):601-611. Epub 2020 Apr 23.

Translational and Clinical Research Institute, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

The Dementias Platform UK Data Portal is a data repository facilitating access to data for 3 370 929 individuals in 42 cohorts. The Data Portal is an end-to-end data management solution providing a secure, fully auditable, remote access environment for the analysis of cohort data. All projects utilising the data are by default collaborations with the cohort research teams generating the data. The Data Portal uses UK Secure eResearch Platform infrastructure to provide three core utilities: data discovery, access, and analysis. These are delivered using a 7 layered architecture comprising: data ingestion, data curation, platform interoperability, data discovery, access brokerage, data analysis and knowledge preservation. Automated, streamlined, and standardised procedures reduce the administrative burden for all stakeholders, particularly for requests involving multiple independent datasets, where a single request may be forwarded to multiple data controllers. Researchers are provided with their own secure 'lab' using VMware which is accessed using two factor authentication. Over the last 2 years, 160 project proposals involving 579 individual cohort data access requests were received. These were received from 268 applicants spanning 72 institutions (56 academic, 13 commercial, 3 government) in 16 countries with 84 requests involving multiple cohorts. Projects are varied including multi-modal, machine learning, and Mendelian randomisation analyses. Data access is usually free at point of use although a small number of cohorts require a data access fee.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10654-020-00633-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7320955PMC
June 2020

Molecular Genetic Risk for Psychosis Is Associated With Psychosis Risk Symptoms in a Population-Based UK Cohort: Findings From Generation Scotland.

Schizophr Bull 2020 Mar 27. Epub 2020 Mar 27.

Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond, VA.

Objective: Subthreshold psychosis risk symptoms in the general population may be associated with molecular genetic risk for psychosis. This study sought to optimize the association of risk symptoms with genetic risk for psychosis in a large population-based cohort in the UK (N = 9104 individuals 18-65 years of age) by properly accounting for population stratification, factor structure, and sex.

Methods: The newly expanded Generation Scotland: Scottish Family Health Study includes 5391 females and 3713 males with age M [SD] = 45.2 [13] with both risk symptom data and genetic data. Subthreshold psychosis symptoms were measured using the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire-Brief (SPQ-B) and calculation of polygenic risk for schizophrenia was based on 11 425 349 imputed common genetic variants passing quality control. Follow-up examination of other genetic risks included attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, bipolar disorder, major depression, and neuroticism.

Results: Empirically derived symptom factor scores reflected interpersonal/negative symptoms and were positively associated with polygenic risk for schizophrenia. This signal was largely sex specific and limited to males. Across both sexes, scores were positively associated with neuroticism and major depressive disorder.

Conclusions: A data-driven phenotypic analysis enabled detection of association with genetic risk for schizophrenia in a population-based sample. Multiple polygenic risk signals and important sex differences suggest that genetic data may be useful in improving future phenotypic risk assessment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbaa042DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7505177PMC
March 2020
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