Publications by authors named "Franco Giulianini"

52 Publications

The genomics of heart failure: design and rationale of the HERMES consortium.

ESC Heart Fail 2021 Sep 3. Epub 2021 Sep 3.

Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Aims: The HERMES (HEart failure Molecular Epidemiology for Therapeutic targetS) consortium aims to identify the genomic and molecular basis of heart failure.

Methods And Results: The consortium currently includes 51 studies from 11 countries, including 68 157 heart failure cases and 949 888 controls, with data on heart failure events and prognosis. All studies collected biological samples and performed genome-wide genotyping of common genetic variants. The enrolment of subjects into participating studies ranged from 1948 to the present day, and the median follow-up following heart failure diagnosis ranged from 2 to 116 months. Forty-nine of 51 individual studies enrolled participants of both sexes; in these studies, participants with heart failure were predominantly male (34-90%). The mean age at diagnosis or ascertainment across all studies ranged from 54 to 84 years. Based on the aggregate sample, we estimated 80% power to genetic variant associations with risk of heart failure with an odds ratio of ≥1.10 for common variants (allele frequency ≥ 0.05) and ≥1.20 for low-frequency variants (allele frequency 0.01-0.05) at P < 5 × 10 under an additive genetic model.

Conclusions: HERMES is a global collaboration aiming to (i) identify the genetic determinants of heart failure; (ii) generate insights into the causal pathways leading to heart failure and enable genetic approaches to target prioritization; and (iii) develop genomic tools for disease stratification and risk prediction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ehf2.13517DOI Listing
September 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

Association of Genetic Variants With Migraine Subclassified by Clinical Symptoms in Adult Females.

Front Neurol 2020 12;11:617472. Epub 2021 Feb 12.

Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States.

Migraine is heritable and formally diagnosed by structured criteria that require presence of some but not all possible migraine symptoms which include aura, several distinct manifestations of pain, nausea/vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound. The most recent genome-wide genetic association study (GWAS) for migraine identified 38 loci. We investigated whether 46 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), i.e., genetic variants, at these loci may have especially pronounced, i.e., selective, association with migraine presenting with individual symptoms compared to absence of migraine. Selective genetic associations of SNPs were evaluated through a likelihood framework in the Women's Genome Health Study (WGHS), a population-based cohort of middle-aged women including 3,003 experiencing migraine and 18,108 not experiencing migraine, all with genetic information. SNPs at 12 loci displayed significant selective association for migraine subclassified by specific symptoms, among which six selective associations are novel. Symptoms showing selective association include aura, nausea/vomiting, photophobia, and phonophobia. The selective associations were consistent whether the women met all formal criteria for diagnostic for migraine or lacked one of the diagnostic criteria, formally termed probable migraine. Subsequently, we performed latent class analysis of migraine diagnostic symptoms among 69,861 women experiencing migraine from the WGHS recruitment sample to assess whether there were clusters of specific symptoms that might also have a genetic basis. However, no globally robust latent migraine substructures of diagnostic symptoms were observed nor were there selective genetic associations with specific combinations of symptoms revealed among weakly supported latent classes. The findings extend previously reported selective genetic associations with migraine diagnostic symptoms while supporting models for shared genetic susceptibility across all qualifying migraine at many loci.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2020.617472DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7907521PMC
February 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

Genetic loci associated with prevalent and incident myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Consortium.

PLoS One 2020 13;15(11):e0230035. Epub 2020 Nov 13.

The Institute for Translational Genomics and Population Sciences, Department of Pediatrics, The Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California, United States of America.

Background: Genome-wide association studies have identified multiple genomic loci associated with coronary artery disease, but most are common variants in non-coding regions that provide limited information on causal genes and etiology of the disease. To overcome the limited scope that common variants provide, we focused our investigation on low-frequency and rare sequence variations primarily residing in coding regions of the genome.

Methods And Results: Using samples of individuals of European ancestry from ten cohorts within the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) consortium, both cross-sectional and prospective analyses were conducted to examine associations between genetic variants and myocardial infarction (MI), coronary heart disease (CHD), and all-cause mortality following these events. For prevalent events, a total of 27,349 participants of European ancestry, including 1831 prevalent MI cases and 2518 prevalent CHD cases were used. For incident cases, a total of 55,736 participants of European ancestry were included (3,031 incident MI cases and 5,425 incident CHD cases). There were 1,860 all-cause deaths among the 3,751 MI and CHD cases from six cohorts that contributed to the analysis of all-cause mortality. Single variant and gene-based analyses were performed separately in each cohort and then meta-analyzed for each outcome. A low-frequency intronic variant (rs988583) in PLCL1 was significantly associated with prevalent MI (OR = 1.80, 95% confidence interval: 1.43, 2.27; P = 7.12 × 10-7). We conducted gene-based burden tests for genes with a cumulative minor allele count (cMAC) ≥ 5 and variants with minor allele frequency (MAF) < 5%. TMPRSS5 and LDLRAD1 were significantly associated with prevalent MI and CHD, respectively, and RC3H2 and ANGPTL4 were significantly associated with incident MI and CHD, respectively. No loci were significantly associated with all-cause mortality following a MI or CHD event.

Conclusion: This study identified one known locus (ANGPTL4) and four new loci (PLCL1, RC3H2, TMPRSS5, and LDLRAD1) associated with cardiovascular disease risk that warrant further investigation.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0230035PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7665790PMC
December 2020

One-Year Effects of Omega-3 Treatment on Fatty Acids, Oxylipins, and Related Bioactive Lipids and Their Associations with Clinical Lipid and Inflammatory Biomarkers: Findings from a Substudy of the Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial (VITAL).

Metabolites 2020 Oct 27;10(11). Epub 2020 Oct 27.

Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Omega-3 (n-3) treatment may lower cardiovascular risk, yet its effects on the circulating lipidome and relation to cardiovascular risk biomarkers are unclear. We hypothesized that n-3 treatment is associated with favorable changes in downstream fatty acids (FAs), oxylipins, bioactive lipids, clinical lipid and inflammatory biomarkers. We examined these VITAL200, a nested substudy of 200 subjects balanced on demographics and treatment and randomly selected from the Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial (VITAL). VITAL is a randomized double-blind trial of 840 mg/d eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) + docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) vs. placebo among 25,871 individuals. Small polar bioactive lipid features, oxylipins and FAs from plasma and red blood cells were measured using three independent assaying techniques at baseline and one year. The Women's Health Study (WHS) was used for replication with dietary n-3 intake. Randomized n-3 treatment led to changes in 143 FAs, oxylipins and bioactive lipids (False Discovery Rate (FDR) < 0.05 in VITAL200, validated (-values < 0.05)) in WHS with increases in 95 including EPA, DHA, n-3 docosapentaenoic acid (DPA-n3), and decreases in 48 including DPA-n6, dihomo gamma linolenic (DGLA), adrenic and arachidonic acids. N-3 related changes in the bioactive lipidome were heterogeneously associated with changes in clinical lipid and inflammatory biomarkers. N-3 treatment significantly modulates the bioactive lipidome, which may contribute to its clinical benefits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/metabo10110431DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7693376PMC
October 2020

A genome-wide cross-phenotype meta-analysis of the association of blood pressure with migraine.

Nat Commun 2020 07 6;11(1):3368. Epub 2020 Jul 6.

Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, 02215, USA.

Blood pressure (BP) was inconsistently associated with migraine and the mechanisms of BP-lowering medications in migraine prophylaxis are unknown. Leveraging large-scale summary statistics for migraine (N/N = 59,674/316,078) and BP (N = 757,601), we find positive genetic correlations of migraine with diastolic BP (DBP, r = 0.11, P = 3.56 × 10) and systolic BP (SBP, r = 0.06, P = 0.01), but not pulse pressure (PP, r = -0.01, P = 0.75). Cross-trait meta-analysis reveals 14 shared loci (P ≤ 5 × 10), nine of which replicate (P < 0.05) in the UK Biobank. Five shared loci (ITGB5, SMG6, ADRA2B, ANKDD1B, and KIAA0040) are reinforced in gene-level analysis and highlight potential mechanisms involving vascular development, endothelial function and calcium homeostasis. Mendelian randomization reveals stronger instrumental estimates of DBP (OR [95% CI] = 1.20 [1.15-1.25]/10 mmHg; P = 5.57 × 10) on migraine than SBP (1.05 [1.03-1.07]/10 mmHg; P = 2.60 × 10) and a corresponding opposite effect for PP (0.92 [0.88-0.95]/10 mmHg; P = 3.65 × 10). These findings support a critical role of DBP in migraine susceptibility and shared biology underlying BP and migraine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-17002-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7338361PMC
July 2020

Metabolic signatures associated with Western and Prudent dietary patterns in women.

Am J Clin Nutr 2020 08;112(2):268-283

Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

Background: The Western dietary pattern (WD) is positively associated with risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) and cancer, whereas the Prudent dietary pattern (PD) may be protective. Foods may influence metabolite concentrations as well as oxidative stress and lipid dysregulation, biological mechanisms associated with CAD and cancer.

Objective: The aim was to assess the association of 2 derived dietary pattern scores with serum metabolites and identify metabolic pathways associated with the metabolites.

Methods: We evaluated the cross-sectional association between each dietary pattern (WD, PD) and metabolites in 2199 Women's Health Initiative (WHI) participants. With FFQ and factor analysis, we determined 2 dietary patterns consistent with WD and PD. Metabolites were measured with LC-tandem MS. Metabolite discovery among 904 WHI Observational Study (WHI-OS) participants was replicated among 1295 WHI Hormone Therapy Trial (WHI-HT) participants. We analyzed each of 495 metabolites with each dietary score (WD, PD) in linear regression models.

Results: The PD included higher vegetables and fruit intake compared with the WD with higher saturated fat and meat intake. Independent of energy intake, BMI, physical activity, and other confounding variables, 45 overlapping metabolites were identified (WHI-OS) and replicated (WHI-HT) with an opposite direction of associations for the WD compared with the PD [false discovery rate (FDR) P < 0.05]. In metabolite set enrichment analyses, phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) plasmalogens were positively enriched for association with WD [normalized enrichment score (NES) = 2.01, P = 0.001, FDR P = 0.005], and cholesteryl esters (NES = -1.77, P = 0.005, FDR P = 0.02), and phosphatidylcholines (NES = -1.72, P = 0.01, P = 0.03) were negatively enriched for WD. PE plasmalogens were positively correlated with saturated fat and red meat. Phosphatidylcholines and cholesteryl esters were positively correlated with fatty fish.

Conclusions: Distinct metabolite signatures associated with Western and Prudent dietary patterns highlight the positive association of mitochondrial oxidative stress and lipid dysregulation with a WD and the inverse association with a PD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqaa131DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7398790PMC
August 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

Pleiotropy-Based Decomposition of Genetic Risk Scores: Association and Interaction Analysis for Type 2 Diabetes and CAD.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 05 16;106(5):646-658. Epub 2020 Apr 16.

Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA; Medical and Population Genetics Program, Broad Institute, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA; Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.

Genetic risk for a disease in the population may be represented as a genetic risk score (GRS) constructed as the sum of inherited risk alleles, weighted by allelic effects established in an independent population. While this formulation captures overall genetic risk, it typically does not address risk due to specific biological mechanisms or pathways that may nevertheless be important for interpretation or treatment response. Here, a GRS for disease is resolved into independent or nearly independent components pertaining to biological mechanisms inferred from pleiotropic relationships. The component GRSs' weights are derived from the singular value decomposition (SVD) of the matrix of appropriately scaled genetic effects, i.e., beta coefficients, of the disease variants across a panel of the disease-related phenotypes. The SVD-based formalism also associates combinations of disease-related phenotypes with inferred disease pathways. Applied to incident type 2 diabetes (T2D) in the Women's Genome Health Study (N = 23,294), component GRSs discriminate glycemic control and lipid-based genetic risk, while revealing significant interactions between specific components and BMI or physical activity, the latter not observed with a GRS for overall T2D genetic liability. Applied to coronary artery disease (CAD) in both the WGHS and in JUPITER (N = 8,749), a randomized trial of rosuvastatin for primary prevention of CVD, component GRSs discriminate genetic risk associated with LDL-C from risk associated with reciprocal genetic effects on triglycerides and HDL-C. They also inform the pharmacogenetics of statin treatment by demonstrating that benefit from rosuvastatin is as strongly related to genetic risk from triglycerides and HDL-C as from LDL-C.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.03.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7212269PMC
May 2020

Genome-wide association and Mendelian randomisation analysis provide insights into the pathogenesis of heart failure.

Nat Commun 2020 01 9;11(1):163. Epub 2020 Jan 9.

Department of Biostatistics, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.

Heart failure (HF) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. A small proportion of HF cases are attributable to monogenic cardiomyopathies and existing genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have yielded only limited insights, leaving the observed heritability of HF largely unexplained. We report results from a GWAS meta-analysis of HF comprising 47,309 cases and 930,014 controls. Twelve independent variants at 11 genomic loci are associated with HF, all of which demonstrate one or more associations with coronary artery disease (CAD), atrial fibrillation, or reduced left ventricular function, suggesting shared genetic aetiology. Functional analysis of non-CAD-associated loci implicate genes involved in cardiac development (MYOZ1, SYNPO2L), protein homoeostasis (BAG3), and cellular senescence (CDKN1A). Mendelian randomisation analysis supports causal roles for several HF risk factors, and demonstrates CAD-independent effects for atrial fibrillation, body mass index, and hypertension. These findings extend our knowledge of the pathways underlying HF and may inform new therapeutic strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-13690-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6952380PMC
January 2020

Associations of autozygosity with a broad range of human phenotypes.

Nat Commun 2019 10 31;10(1):4957. Epub 2019 Oct 31.

Department of Neurology, Brain Centre Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, 3584 CX, The Netherlands.

In many species, the offspring of related parents suffer reduced reproductive success, a phenomenon known as inbreeding depression. In humans, the importance of this effect has remained unclear, partly because reproduction between close relatives is both rare and frequently associated with confounding social factors. Here, using genomic inbreeding coefficients (F) for >1.4 million individuals, we show that F is significantly associated (p < 0.0005) with apparently deleterious changes in 32 out of 100 traits analysed. These changes are associated with runs of homozygosity (ROH), but not with common variant homozygosity, suggesting that genetic variants associated with inbreeding depression are predominantly rare. The effect on fertility is striking: F equivalent to the offspring of first cousins is associated with a 55% decrease [95% CI 44-66%] in the odds of having children. Finally, the effects of F are confirmed within full-sibling pairs, where the variation in F is independent of all environmental confounding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-12283-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6823371PMC
October 2019

Metabolomic profiles associated with all-cause mortality in the Women's Health Initiative.

Int J Epidemiol 2020 02;49(1):289-300

Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Background: Metabolomics profiling has shown promise in elucidating the biological pathways underpinning mortality, but there are limited data in female populations.

Methods: We applied a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry metabolomics platform to EDTA-plasma to measure 470 metabolites at baseline in a discovery set of 943 postmenopausal women (including 417 incident deaths, median time to death of 10.6 years) with validation in an independent set of 1355 postmenopausal women (including 685 deaths, median time to death of 9.1 years) in the Women's Health Initiative.

Results: Eight new metabolites were discovered to be associated with all-cause mortality. Findings included protective effects of increased levels of three amino acids (asparagine, homoarginine and tryptophan) and docosatrienoic acid; and detrimental effects of increased levels of C4-OH-carnitine, hexadecanedioate and two purine/pyrimidines (N2, N2-dimethylguanosine and N4-acetylcytidine). In addition, a set of nine previously published metabolite associations were replicated. A metabolite score comprising 17 metabolites was associated with mortality (P < 10-8) after adjustment for risk factors, with a hazard ratio of 1.95 (95% CI: 1.46-2.62) for women in the highest quartile compared with the lowest quartile of metabolite score. The score was robust among younger women and older women, for both cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular mortality, and associated with both early deaths (within the first 10 years of baseline) and later deaths.

Conclusions: Our study fills a gap in the literature by identifying eight novel metabolite associations with all-cause mortality in women, using a robust study design involving independent discovery and validation datasets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyz211DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7124492PMC
February 2020

Genomic and transcriptomic association studies identify 16 novel susceptibility loci for venous thromboembolism.

Blood 2019 11;134(19):1645-1657

Boston VA Healthcare System, Boston, MA.

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a significant contributor to morbidity and mortality. To advance our understanding of the biology contributing to VTE, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of VTE and a transcriptome-wide association study (TWAS) based on imputed gene expression from whole blood and liver. We meta-analyzed GWAS data from 18 studies for 30 234 VTE cases and 172 122 controls and assessed the association between 12 923 718 genetic variants and VTE. We generated variant prediction scores of gene expression from whole blood and liver tissue and assessed them for association with VTE. Mendelian randomization analyses were conducted for traits genetically associated with novel VTE loci. We identified 34 independent genetic signals for VTE risk from GWAS meta-analysis, of which 14 are newly reported associations. This included 11 newly associated genetic loci (C1orf198, PLEK, OSMR-AS1, NUGGC/SCARA5, GRK5, MPHOSPH9, ARID4A, PLCG2, SMG6, EIF5A, and STX10) of which 6 replicated, and 3 new independent signals in 3 known genes. Further, TWAS identified 5 additional genetic loci with imputed gene expression levels differing between cases and controls in whole blood (SH2B3, SPSB1, RP11-747H7.3, RP4-737E23.2) and in liver (ERAP1). At some GWAS loci, we found suggestive evidence that the VTE association signal for novel and previously known regions colocalized with expression quantitative trait locus signals. Mendelian randomization analyses suggested that blood traits may contribute to the underlying risk of VTE. To conclude, we identified 16 novel susceptibility loci for VTE; for some loci, the association signals are likely mediated through gene expression of nearby genes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2019000435DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6871304PMC
November 2019

Genome-wide analysis of dental caries and periodontitis combining clinical and self-reported data.

Nat Commun 2019 06 24;10(1):2773. Epub 2019 Jun 24.

Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 15219, USA.

Dental caries and periodontitis account for a vast burden of morbidity and healthcare spending, yet their genetic basis remains largely uncharacterized. Here, we identify self-reported dental disease proxies which have similar underlying genetic contributions to clinical disease measures and then combine these in a genome-wide association study meta-analysis, identifying 47 novel and conditionally-independent risk loci for dental caries. We show that the heritability of dental caries is enriched for conserved genomic regions and partially overlapping with a range of complex traits including smoking, education, personality traits and metabolic measures. Using cardio-metabolic traits as an example in Mendelian randomization analysis, we estimate causal relationships and provide evidence suggesting that the processes contributing to dental caries may have undesirable downstream effects on health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-10630-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6591304PMC
June 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

A multi-ancestry genome-wide study incorporating gene-smoking interactions identifies multiple new loci for pulse pressure and mean arterial pressure.

Hum Mol Genet 2019 08;28(15):2615-2633

Icelandic Heart Association, Kopavogur, Iceland.

Elevated blood pressure (BP), a leading cause of global morbidity and mortality, is influenced by both genetic and lifestyle factors. Cigarette smoking is one such lifestyle factor. Across five ancestries, we performed a genome-wide gene-smoking interaction study of mean arterial pressure (MAP) and pulse pressure (PP) in 129 913 individuals in stage 1 and follow-up analysis in 480 178 additional individuals in stage 2. We report here 136 loci significantly associated with MAP and/or PP. Of these, 61 were previously published through main-effect analysis of BP traits, 37 were recently reported by us for systolic BP and/or diastolic BP through gene-smoking interaction analysis and 38 were newly identified (P < 5 × 10-8, false discovery rate < 0.05). We also identified nine new signals near known loci. Of the 136 loci, 8 showed significant interaction with smoking status. They include CSMD1 previously reported for insulin resistance and BP in the spontaneously hypertensive rats. Many of the 38 new loci show biologic plausibility for a role in BP regulation. SLC26A7 encodes a chloride/bicarbonate exchanger expressed in the renal outer medullary collecting duct. AVPR1A is widely expressed, including in vascular smooth muscle cells, kidney, myocardium and brain. FHAD1 is a long non-coding RNA overexpressed in heart failure. TMEM51 was associated with contractile function in cardiomyocytes. CASP9 plays a central role in cardiomyocyte apoptosis. Identified only in African ancestry were 30 novel loci. Our findings highlight the value of multi-ancestry investigations, particularly in studies of interaction with lifestyle factors, where genomic and lifestyle differences may contribute to novel findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddz070DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6644157PMC
August 2019

Mendelian randomization evaluation of causal effects of fibrinogen on incident coronary heart disease.

PLoS One 2019 10;14(5):e0216222. Epub 2019 May 10.

Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Background: Fibrinogen is an essential hemostatic factor and cardiovascular disease risk factor. Early attempts at evaluating the causal effect of fibrinogen on coronary heart disease (CHD) and myocardial infraction (MI) using Mendelian randomization (MR) used single variant approaches, and did not take advantage of recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) or multi-variant, pleiotropy robust MR methodologies.

Methods And Findings: We evaluated evidence for a causal effect of fibrinogen on both CHD and MI using MR. We used both an allele score approach and pleiotropy robust MR models. The allele score was composed of 38 fibrinogen-associated variants from recent GWAS. Initial analyses using the allele score used a meta-analysis of 11 European-ancestry prospective cohorts, free of CHD and MI at baseline, to examine incidence CHD and MI. We also applied 2 sample MR methods with data from a prevalent CHD and MI GWAS. Results are given in terms of the hazard ratio (HR) or odds ratio (OR), depending on the study design, and associated 95% confidence interval (CI). In single variant analyses no causal effect of fibrinogen on CHD or MI was observed. In multi-variant analyses using incidence CHD cases and the allele score approach, the estimated causal effect (HR) of a 1 g/L higher fibrinogen concentration was 1.62 (CI = 1.12, 2.36) when using incident cases and the allele score approach. In 2 sample MR analyses that accounted for pleiotropy, the causal estimate (OR) was reduced to 1.18 (CI = 0.98, 1.42) and 1.09 (CI = 0.89, 1.33) in the 2 most precise (smallest CI) models, out of 4 models evaluated. In the 2 sample MR analyses for MI, there was only very weak evidence of a causal effect in only 1 out of 4 models.

Conclusions: A small causal effect of fibrinogen on CHD is observed using multi-variant MR approaches which account for pleiotropy, but not single variant MR approaches. Taken together, results indicate that even with large sample sizes and multi-variant approaches MR analyses still cannot exclude the null when estimating the causal effect of fibrinogen on CHD, but that any potential causal effect is likely to be much smaller than observed in epidemiological studies.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0216222PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6510421PMC
January 2020

Multi-ancestry genome-wide gene-smoking interaction study of 387,272 individuals identifies new loci associated with serum lipids.

Nat Genet 2019 04 29;51(4):636-648. Epub 2019 Mar 29.

Human Genomics Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.

The concentrations of high- and low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides are influenced by smoking, but it is unknown whether genetic associations with lipids may be modified by smoking. We conducted a multi-ancestry genome-wide gene-smoking interaction study in 133,805 individuals with follow-up in an additional 253,467 individuals. Combined meta-analyses identified 13 new loci associated with lipids, some of which were detected only because association differed by smoking status. Additionally, we demonstrate the importance of including diverse populations, particularly in studies of interactions with lifestyle factors, where genomic and lifestyle differences by ancestry may contribute to novel findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0378-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6467258PMC
April 2019

Multiancestry Genome-Wide Association Study of Lipid Levels Incorporating Gene-Alcohol Interactions.

Am J Epidemiol 2019 06;188(6):1033-1054

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.

A person's lipid profile is influenced by genetic variants and alcohol consumption, but the contribution of interactions between these exposures has not been studied. We therefore incorporated gene-alcohol interactions into a multiancestry genome-wide association study of levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides. We included 45 studies in stage 1 (genome-wide discovery) and 66 studies in stage 2 (focused follow-up), for a total of 394,584 individuals from 5 ancestry groups. Analyses covered the period July 2014-November 2017. Genetic main effects and interaction effects were jointly assessed by means of a 2-degrees-of-freedom (df) test, and a 1-df test was used to assess the interaction effects alone. Variants at 495 loci were at least suggestively associated (P < 1 × 10-6) with lipid levels in stage 1 and were evaluated in stage 2, followed by combined analyses of stage 1 and stage 2. In the combined analysis of stages 1 and 2, a total of 147 independent loci were associated with lipid levels at P < 5 × 10-8 using 2-df tests, of which 18 were novel. No genome-wide-significant associations were found testing the interaction effect alone. The novel loci included several genes (proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 5 (PCSK5), vascular endothelial growth factor B (VEGFB), and apolipoprotein B mRNA editing enzyme, catalytic polypeptide 1 (APOBEC1) complementation factor (A1CF)) that have a putative role in lipid metabolism on the basis of existing evidence from cellular and experimental models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwz005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6545280PMC
June 2019

Multi-ancestry study of blood lipid levels identifies four loci interacting with physical activity.

Nat Commun 2019 01 22;10(1):376. Epub 2019 Jan 22.

Laboratory of Genetics and Molecular Cardiology, Heart Institute (InCor), University of São Paulo Medical School, São Paulo, 01246903, SP, Brazil.

Many genetic loci affect circulating lipid levels, but it remains unknown whether lifestyle factors, such as physical activity, modify these genetic effects. To identify lipid loci interacting with physical activity, we performed genome-wide analyses of circulating HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in up to 120,979 individuals of European, African, Asian, Hispanic, and Brazilian ancestry, with follow-up of suggestive associations in an additional 131,012 individuals. We find four loci, in/near CLASP1, LHX1, SNTA1, and CNTNAP2, that are associated with circulating lipid levels through interaction with physical activity; higher levels of physical activity enhance the HDL cholesterol-increasing effects of the CLASP1, LHX1, and SNTA1 loci and attenuate the LDL cholesterol-increasing effect of the CNTNAP2 locus. The CLASP1, LHX1, and SNTA1 regions harbor genes linked to muscle function and lipid metabolism. Our results elucidate the role of physical activity interactions in the genetic contribution to blood lipid levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-08008-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6342931PMC
January 2019

Associations of Mitochondrial and Nuclear Mitochondrial Variants and Genes with Seven Metabolic Traits.

Am J Hum Genet 2019 01 27;104(1):112-138. Epub 2018 Dec 27.

School of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, and Program for Personalized and Genomic Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.

Mitochondria (MT), the major site of cellular energy production, are under dual genetic control by 37 mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genes and numerous nuclear genes (MT-nDNA). In the CHARGEmtDNA+ Consortium, we studied genetic associations of mtDNA and MT-nDNA associations with body mass index (BMI), waist-hip-ratio (WHR), glucose, insulin, HOMA-B, HOMA-IR, and HbA1c. This 45-cohort collaboration comprised 70,775 (insulin) to 170,202 (BMI) pan-ancestry individuals. Validation and imputation of mtDNA variants was followed by single-variant and gene-based association testing. We report two significant common variants, one in MT-ATP6 associated (p ≤ 5E-04) with WHR and one in the D-loop with glucose. Five rare variants in MT-ATP6, MT-ND5, and MT-ND6 associated with BMI, WHR, or insulin. Gene-based meta-analysis identified MT-ND3 associated with BMI (p ≤ 1E-03). We considered 2,282 MT-nDNA candidate gene associations compiled from online summary results for our traits (20 unique studies with 31 dataset consortia's genome-wide associations [GWASs]). Of these, 109 genes associated (p ≤ 1E-06) with at least 1 of our 7 traits. We assessed regulatory features of variants in the 109 genes, cis- and trans-gene expression regulation, and performed enrichment and protein-protein interactions analyses. Of the identified mtDNA and MT-nDNA genes, 79 associated with adipose measures, 49 with glucose/insulin, 13 with risk for type 2 diabetes, and 18 with cardiovascular disease, indicating for pleiotropic effects with health implications. Additionally, 21 genes related to cholesterol, suggesting additional important roles for the genes identified. Our results suggest that mtDNA and MT-nDNA genes and variants reported make important contributions to glucose and insulin metabolism, adipocyte regulation, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.12.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6323610PMC
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

Genetic analysis of over 1 million people identifies 535 new loci associated with blood pressure traits.

Nat Genet 2018 10 17;50(10):1412-1425. Epub 2018 Sep 17.

Laboratory of Genetics and Genomics, NIA/NIH, Baltimore, MD, USA.

High blood pressure is a highly heritable and modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease. We report the largest genetic association study of blood pressure traits (systolic, diastolic and pulse pressure) to date in over 1 million people of European ancestry. We identify 535 novel blood pressure loci that not only offer new biological insights into blood pressure regulation but also highlight shared genetic architecture between blood pressure and lifestyle exposures. Our findings identify new biological pathways for blood pressure regulation with potential for improved cardiovascular disease prevention in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0205-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6284793PMC
October 2018

An Empirical Dietary Inflammatory Pattern Score Is Associated with Circulating Inflammatory Biomarkers in a Multi-Ethnic Population of Postmenopausal Women in the United States.

J Nutr 2018 05;148(5):771-780

Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine.

Background: The empirical dietary inflammatory pattern (EDIP) score has been associated with concentrations of circulating inflammatory biomarkers in European Americans.

Objective: We used the EDIP score, a weighted sum of 18 food groups that characterizes dietary inflammatory potential based on circulating concentrations of inflammatory biomarkers, to test the hypothesis that a pro-inflammatory dietary pattern is associated with inflammatory biomarker concentrations in a US multi-ethnic population.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we calculated EDIP scores using baseline food frequency questionnaire data from 31,472 women, aged 50-79 y, in the Women's Health Initiative observational study and clinical trials. Circulating biomarkers outcomes at baseline were: C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, TNF receptor (TNFR) 1 and 2, and adiponectin. We used multivariable-adjusted linear regression analyses to estimate absolute concentrations and relative differences in biomarker concentrations, overall and in subgroups of race/ethnicity and BMI (body mass index) categories.

Results: Independent of energy intake, BMI, physical activity, and other potential confounding variables, higher EDIP scores were significantly associated with higher (lower for adiponectin) absolute concentrations of all 6 biomarkers. On the relative scale, the percentage of difference in the concentration of biomarkers, among women in the highest compared to the lowest EDIP quintile, was: CRP, +13% (P-trend < 0.0001); IL-6, +15% (P-trend < 0.0001); TNF-α, +7% (P-trend = 0.0007); TNFR1, +4% (P-trend = 0.0009); TNFR2, +5% (P-trend < 0.0001); and adiponectin, -13% (P-trend <0.0001). These associations differed by racial/ethnic groups and by BMI categories. Whereas the absolute biomarker concentrations were lower among European-American women and among normal-weight women, the associations with diet were stronger than among women of African-American or Hispanic/Latino origin and among overweight and obese women.

Conclusions: Findings demonstrate the successful replication of an empirical hypothesis-oriented a posteriori dietary pattern score in a multi-ethnic population of postmenopausal women, with subgroup differences by race/ethnicity and body weight. Future research needs to apply the score in non-US populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxy031DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5972616PMC
May 2018

Metabolic Predictors of Incident Coronary Heart Disease in Women.

Circulation 2018 02;137(8):841-853

Division of Preventive Medicine (N.P.P., F.G., J.E.M., N.R.C., C.M.A., K.M.R.).

Background: Although metabolomic profiling offers promise for the prediction of coronary heart disease (CHD), and metabolic risk factors are more strongly associated with CHD in women than men, limited data are available for women.

Methods: We applied a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry metabolomics platform to measure 371 metabolites in a discovery set of postmenopausal women (472 incident CHD cases, 472 controls) with validation in an independent set of postmenopausal women (312 incident CHD cases, 315 controls).

Results: Eight metabolites, primarily oxidized lipids, were significantly dysregulated in cases after the adjustment for matching and CHD risk factors in both the discovery and validation data sets. One oxidized phospholipid, C34:2 hydroxy-phosphatidylcholine, remained associated with CHD after further adjustment for other validated metabolites. Subjects with C34:2 hydroxy-phosphatidylcholine levels in the highest quartile had a 4.7-fold increase in CHD odds in comparison with the lowest quartile; C34:2 hydroxy-phosphatidylcholine also significantly improved the area under the curve (<0.01) for CHD. The C34:2 hydroxy-phosphatidylcholine findings were replicated in a third replication data set of 980 men and women (230 cardiovascular events) with a stronger association observed in women.

Conclusions: These data replicate known metabolite predictors, identify novel markers, and support the relationship between lipid oxidation and subsequent CHD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.029468DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5854187PMC
February 2018

A Large-Scale Multi-ancestry Genome-wide Study Accounting for Smoking Behavior Identifies Multiple Significant Loci for Blood Pressure.

Am J Hum Genet 2018 03 15;102(3):375-400. Epub 2018 Feb 15.

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

Genome-wide association analysis advanced understanding of blood pressure (BP), a major risk factor for vascular conditions such as coronary heart disease and stroke. Accounting for smoking behavior may help identify BP loci and extend our knowledge of its genetic architecture. We performed genome-wide association meta-analyses of systolic and diastolic BP incorporating gene-smoking interactions in 610,091 individuals. Stage 1 analysis examined ∼18.8 million SNPs and small insertion/deletion variants in 129,913 individuals from four ancestries (European, African, Asian, and Hispanic) with follow-up analysis of promising variants in 480,178 additional individuals from five ancestries. We identified 15 loci that were genome-wide significant (p < 5 × 10) in stage 1 and formally replicated in stage 2. A combined stage 1 and 2 meta-analysis identified 66 additional genome-wide significant loci (13, 35, and 18 loci in European, African, and trans-ancestry, respectively). A total of 56 known BP loci were also identified by our results (p < 5 × 10). Of the newly identified loci, ten showed significant interaction with smoking status, but none of them were replicated in stage 2. Several loci were identified in African ancestry, highlighting the importance of genetic studies in diverse populations. The identified loci show strong evidence for regulatory features and support shared pathophysiology with cardiometabolic and addiction traits. They also highlight a role in BP regulation for biological candidates such as modulators of vascular structure and function (CDKN1B, BCAR1-CFDP1, PXDN, EEA1), ciliopathies (SDCCAG8, RPGRIP1L), telomere maintenance (TNKS, PINX1, AKTIP), and central dopaminergic signaling (MSRA, EBF2).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.01.015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5985266PMC
March 2018

Exome-wide association study of plasma lipids in >300,000 individuals.

Nat Genet 2017 Dec 30;49(12):1758-1766. Epub 2017 Oct 30.

Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

We screened variants on an exome-focused genotyping array in >300,000 participants (replication in >280,000 participants) and identified 444 independent variants in 250 loci significantly associated with total cholesterol (TC), high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and/or triglycerides (TG). At two loci (JAK2 and A1CF), experimental analysis in mice showed lipid changes consistent with the human data. We also found that: (i) beta-thalassemia trait carriers displayed lower TC and were protected from coronary artery disease (CAD); (ii) excluding the CETP locus, there was not a predictable relationship between plasma HDL-C and risk for age-related macular degeneration; (iii) only some mechanisms of lowering LDL-C appeared to increase risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D); and (iv) TG-lowering alleles involved in hepatic production of TG-rich lipoproteins (TM6SF2 and PNPLA3) tracked with higher liver fat, higher risk for T2D, and lower risk for CAD, whereas TG-lowering alleles involved in peripheral lipolysis (LPL and ANGPTL4) had no effect on liver fat but decreased risks for both T2D and CAD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3977DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5709146PMC
December 2017
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