Publications by authors named "Frank Geller"

95 Publications

Genetic regulation of spermine oxidase activity and cancer risk: a Mendelian randomization study.

Sci Rep 2021 Aug 31;11(1):17463. Epub 2021 Aug 31.

Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, Artillerivej 5, 2300, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Spermine oxidase (SMOX) catalyzes the oxidation of spermine to spermidine. Observational studies have reported SMOX as a source of reactive oxygen species associated with cancer, implying that inhibition of SMOX could be a target for chemoprevention. Here we test causality of SMOX levels with cancer risk using a Mendelian randomization analysis. We performed a GWAS of spermidine/spermine ratio to identify genetic variants associated with regulation of SMOX activity. Replication analysis was performed in two datasets of SMOX gene expression. We then did a Mendelian randomization analysis by testing the association between the SMOX genetic instrument and neuroblastoma, gastric, lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers using GWAS summary statistics. GWAS of spermidine/spermine ratio identified SMOX locus (P = 1.34 × 10) explaining 32% of the variance. The lead SNP rs1741315 was also associated with SMOX gene expression in newborns (P = 8.48 × 10) and adults (P = 2.748 × 10) explaining 37% and 6% of the variance, respectively. Genetically determined SMOX activity was not associated with neuroblastoma, gastric, lung, breast, prostate nor colorectal cancer (P > 0.05). A PheWAS of rs1741315 did not reveal any relevant associations. Common genetic variation in the SMOX gene was strongly associated with SMOX activity in newborns, and less strongly in adults. Genetic down-regulation of SMOX was not significantly associated with lower odds of neuroblastoma, gastric, lung, breast, prostate and colorectal cancer. These results may inform studies of SMOX inhibition as a target for chemoprevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-97069-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8408253PMC
August 2021

Acute and persistent symptoms in non-hospitalized PCR-confirmed COVID-19 patients.

Sci Rep 2021 06 23;11(1):13153. Epub 2021 Jun 23.

Department of Medical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Copenhagen University Hospital (Rigshospitalet), Copenhagen, Denmark.

Reports of persistent symptoms after hospitalization with COVID-19 have raised concern of a "long COVID" syndrome. This study aimed at determining the prevalence of and risk factors for acute and persistent symptoms in non-hospitalized patients with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) confirmed COVID-19. We conducted a cohort study of non-hospitalized participants identified via the Danish Civil Registration System with a SARS-CoV-2-positive PCR-test and available biobank samples. Participants received a digital questionnaire on demographics and COVID-19-related symptoms. Persistent symptoms: symptoms > 4 weeks (in sensitivity analyses > 12 weeks). We included 445 participants, of whom 34% were asymptomatic. Most common acute symptoms were fatigue, headache, and sneezing, while fatigue and reduced smell and taste were most severe. Persistent symptoms, most commonly fatigue and memory and concentration difficulties, were reported by 36% of 198 symptomatic participants with follow-up > 4 weeks. Risk factors for persistent symptoms included female sex (women 44% vs. men 24%, odds ratio 2.7, 95% CI 1.4-5.1, p = 0.003) and BMI (odds ratio 1.1, 95% CI 1.0-1.2, p = 0.001). In conclusion, among non-hospitalized PCR-confirmed COVID-19 patients one third were asymptomatic while one third of symptomatic participants had persistent symptoms illustrating the heterogeneity of disease presentation. These findings should be considered in health care planning and policy making related to COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-92045-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8222239PMC
June 2021

Shared genetic etiology between idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and COVID-19 severity.

EBioMedicine 2021 Mar 10;65:103277. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Background: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a complex lung disease, characterized by progressive lung scarring. Severe COVID-19 is associated with substantial pneumonitis and has a number of shared major risk factors with IPF. This study aimed to determine the genetic correlation between IPF and severe COVID-19 and assess a potential causal role of genetically increased risk of IPF on COVID-19 severity.

Methods: The genetic correlation between IPF and COVID-19 severity was estimated with linkage disequilibrium (LD) score regression. We performed a Mendelian randomization (MR) study for IPF causality in COVID-19. Genetic variants associated with IPF susceptibility (P<5 × 10) in previous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) were used as instrumental variables (IVs). Effect estimates of those IVs on COVID-19 severity were gathered from the GWAS meta-analysis by the COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative (4,336 cases & 623,902 controls).

Findings: We detected a positive genetic correlation of IPF with COVID-19 severity (rg=0·31 [95% CI 0·04-0·57], P = 0·023). The MR estimates for severe COVID-19 did not reveal any genetic association (OR 1·05, [95% CI 0·92-1·20], P = 0·43). However, outlier analysis revealed that the IPF risk allele rs35705950 at MUC5B had a different effect compared with the other variants. When rs35705950 was excluded, MR results provided evidence that genetically increased risk of IPF has a causal effect on COVID-19 severity (OR 1·21, [95% CI 1·06-1·38], P = 4·24 × 10). Furthermore, the IPF risk-allele at MUC5B showed an apparent protective effect against COVID-19 hospitalization only in older adults (OR 0·86, [95% CI 0·73-1·00], P = 2·99 × 10) .

Interpretation: The strongest genetic determinant of IPF, rs35705950 at MUC5B, seems to confer protection against COVID-19, whereas the combined effect of all other IPF risk loci seem to confer risk of COVID-19 severity. The observed effect of rs35705950 could either be due to protective effects of mucin over-production on the airways or a consequence of selection bias due to (1) a patient group that is heavily enriched for the rs35705950 T undertaking strict self-isolation and/or (2) due to survival bias of the rs35705950 non-IPF risk allele carriers. Due to the diverse impact of IPF causal variants on SARS-CoV-2 infection, with a possible selection bias as an explanation, further investigation is needed to address this apparent paradox between variance at MUC5B and other IPF genetic risk factors.

Funding: Novo Nordisk Foundation and Oak Foundation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2021.103277DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7946355PMC
March 2021

Integrating genetics with newborn metabolomics in infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis.

Metabolomics 2021 01 8;17(1). Epub 2021 Jan 8.

Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, Artillerivej 5, 2300, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Introduction: Infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis (IHPS) is caused by hypertrophy of the pyloric sphincter muscle.

Objectives: Since previous reports have implicated lipid metabolism, we aimed to (1) investigate associations between IHPS and a wide array of lipid-related metabolites in newborns, and (2) address whether detected differences in metabolite levels were likely to be driven by genetic differences between IHPS cases and controls or by differences in early life feeding patterns.

Methods: We used population-based random selection of IHPS cases and controls born in Denmark between 1997 and 2014. We randomly took dried blood spots of newborns from 267 pairs of IHPS cases and controls matched by sex and day of birth. We used a mixed-effects linear regression model to evaluate associations between 148 metabolites and IHPS in a matched case-control design.

Results: The phosphatidylcholine PC(38:4) showed significantly lower levels in IHPS cases (P = 4.68 × 10) as did six other correlated metabolites (four phosphatidylcholines, acylcarnitine AC(2:0), and histidine). Associations were driven by 98 case-control pairs born before 2009, when median age at sampling was 6 days. No association was seen in 169 pairs born in 2009 or later, when median age at sampling was 2 days. More IHPS cases than controls had a diagnosis for neonatal difficulty in feeding at breast (P = 6.15 × 10). Genetic variants known to be associated with PC(38:4) levels did not associate with IHPS.

Conclusions: We detected lower levels of certain metabolites in IHPS, possibly reflecting different feeding patterns in the first days of life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11306-020-01763-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7794101PMC
January 2021

Genetic predisposition to hypertension is associated with preeclampsia in European and Central Asian women.

Nat Commun 2020 11 25;11(1):5976. Epub 2020 Nov 25.

Medical and Clinical Genetics, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.

Preeclampsia is a serious complication of pregnancy, affecting both maternal and fetal health. In genome-wide association meta-analysis of European and Central Asian mothers, we identify sequence variants that associate with preeclampsia in the maternal genome at ZNF831/20q13 and FTO/16q12. These are previously established variants for blood pressure (BP) and the FTO variant has also been associated with body mass index (BMI). Further analysis of BP variants establishes that variants at MECOM/3q26, FGF5/4q21 and SH2B3/12q24 also associate with preeclampsia through the maternal genome. We further show that a polygenic risk score for hypertension associates with preeclampsia. However, comparison with gestational hypertension indicates that additional factors modify the risk of preeclampsia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19733-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7688949PMC
November 2020

Meeting report on the NIDDK/AUA Workshop on Congenital Anomalies of External Genitalia: challenges and opportunities for translational research.

J Pediatr Urol 2020 Dec 16;16(6):791-804. Epub 2020 Sep 16.

Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Department of Biology, And UF Genetics Institute, University of Florida, PO Box 103610, Gainesville, 32610, FL, USA. Electronic address:

Congenital anomalies of the external genitalia (CAEG) are a prevalent and serious public health concern with lifelong impacts on the urinary function, sexual health, fertility, tumor development, and psychosocial wellbeing of affected individuals. Complications of treatment are frequent, and data reflecting long-term outcomes in adulthood are limited. To identify a path forward to improve treatments and realize the possibility of preventing CAEG, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the American Urological Association convened researchers from a range of disciplines to coordinate research efforts to fully understand the different etiologies of these common conditions, subsequent variation in clinical phenotypes, and best practices for long term surgical success. Meeting participants concluded that a central data hub for clinical evaluations, including collection of DNA samples from patients and their parents, and short interviews to determine familial penetrance (small pedigrees), would accelerate research in this field. Such a centralized datahub will advance efforts to develop detailed multi-dimensional phenotyping and will enable access to genome sequence analyses and associated metadata to define the genetic bases for these conditions. Inclusion of tissue samples and integration of clinical studies with basic research using human cells and animal models will advance efforts to identify the developmental mechanisms that are disrupted during development and will add cellular and molecular granularity to phenotyping CAEG. While the discussion focuses heavily on hypospadias, this can be seen as a potential template for other conditions in the realm of CAEG, including cryptorchidism or the exstrophy-epispadias complex. Taken together with long-term clinical follow-up, these data could inform surgical choices and improve likelihood for long-term success.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpurol.2020.09.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7885182PMC
December 2020

Novel loci for childhood body mass index and shared heritability with adult cardiometabolic traits.

PLoS Genet 2020 10 12;16(10):e1008718. Epub 2020 Oct 12.

Department of Public Health, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The genetic background of childhood body mass index (BMI), and the extent to which the well-known associations of childhood BMI with adult diseases are explained by shared genetic factors, are largely unknown. We performed a genome-wide association study meta-analysis of BMI in 61,111 children aged between 2 and 10 years. Twenty-five independent loci reached genome-wide significance in the combined discovery and replication analyses. Two of these, located near NEDD4L and SLC45A3, have not previously been reported in relation to either childhood or adult BMI. Positive genetic correlations of childhood BMI with birth weight and adult BMI, waist-to-hip ratio, diastolic blood pressure and type 2 diabetes were detected (Rg ranging from 0.11 to 0.76, P-values <0.002). A negative genetic correlation of childhood BMI with age at menarche was observed. Our results suggest that the biological processes underlying childhood BMI largely, but not completely, overlap with those underlying adult BMI. The well-known observational associations of BMI in childhood with cardio-metabolic diseases in adulthood may reflect partial genetic overlap, but in light of previous evidence, it is also likely that they are explained through phenotypic continuity of BMI from childhood into adulthood.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1008718DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7581004PMC
October 2020

Genome-wide association study identifies 48 common genetic variants associated with handedness.

Nat Hum Behav 2021 01 28;5(1):59-70. Epub 2020 Sep 28.

Institute of Biological Psychiatry, Mental Health Services of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Handedness has been extensively studied because of its relationship with language and the over-representation of left-handers in some neurodevelopmental disorders. Using data from the UK Biobank, 23andMe and the International Handedness Consortium, we conducted a genome-wide association meta-analysis of handedness (N = 1,766,671). We found 41 loci associated (P < 5 × 10) with left-handedness and 7 associated with ambidexterity. Tissue-enrichment analysis implicated the CNS in the aetiology of handedness. Pathways including regulation of microtubules and brain morphology were also highlighted. We found suggestive positive genetic correlations between left-handedness and neuropsychiatric traits, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Furthermore, the genetic correlation between left-handedness and ambidexterity is low (r = 0.26), which implies that these traits are largely influenced by different genetic mechanisms. Our findings suggest that handedness is highly polygenic and that the genetic variants that predispose to left-handedness may underlie part of the association with some psychiatric disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41562-020-00956-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7116623PMC
January 2021

Genome-wide Study Identifies Association between HLA-B55:01 and Self-Reported Penicillin Allergy.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 10 3;107(4):612-621. Epub 2020 Sep 3.

Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen 2300, Denmark; Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University Diabetes Centre, 214 28 Malmö, Sweden; Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), University of Helsinki, Helsinki 00014, Finland.

Hypersensitivity reactions to drugs are often unpredictable and can be life threatening, underscoring a need for understanding their underlying mechanisms and risk factors. The extent to which germline genetic variation influences the risk of commonly reported drug allergies such as penicillin allergy remains largely unknown. We extracted data from the electronic health records of more than 600,000 participants from the UK, Estonian, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center's BioVU biobanks to study the role of genetic variation in the occurrence of self-reported penicillin hypersensitivity reactions. We used imputed SNP to HLA typing data from these cohorts to further fine map the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) association and replicated our results in 23andMe's research cohort involving a total of 1.12 million individuals. Genome-wide meta-analysis of penicillin allergy revealed two loci, including one located in the HLA region on chromosome 6. This signal was further fine-mapped to the HLA-B55:01 allele (OR 1.41 95% CI 1.33-1.49, p value 2.04 × 10) and confirmed by independent replication in 23andMe's research cohort (OR 1.30 95% CI 1.25-1.34, p value 1.00 × 10). The lead SNP was also associated with lower lymphocyte counts and in silico follow-up suggests a potential effect on T-lymphocytes at HLA-B55:01. We also observed a significant hit in PTPN22 and the GWAS results correlated with the genetics of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. We present robust evidence for the role of an allele of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) I gene HLA-B in the occurrence of penicillin allergy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.08.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7536643PMC
October 2020

GWAS on longitudinal growth traits reveals different genetic factors influencing infant, child, and adult BMI.

Sci Adv 2019 09 4;5(9):eaaw3095. Epub 2019 Sep 4.

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK.

Early childhood growth patterns are associated with adult health, yet the genetic factors and the developmental stages involved are not fully understood. Here, we combine genome-wide association studies with modeling of longitudinal growth traits to study the genetics of infant and child growth, followed by functional, pathway, genetic correlation, risk score, and colocalization analyses to determine how developmental timings, molecular pathways, and genetic determinants of these traits overlap with those of adult health. We found a robust overlap between the genetics of child and adult body mass index (BMI), with variants associated with adult BMI acting as early as 4 to 6 years old. However, we demonstrated a completely distinct genetic makeup for peak BMI during infancy, influenced by variation at the locus. These findings suggest that different genetic factors control infant and child BMI. In light of the obesity epidemic, these findings are important to inform the timing and targets of prevention strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aaw3095DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6904961PMC
September 2019

Variants in the fetal genome near pro-inflammatory cytokine genes on 2q13 associate with gestational duration.

Nat Commun 2019 09 2;10(1):3927. Epub 2019 Sep 2.

Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics, Department of Oral Biology School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

The duration of pregnancy is influenced by fetal and maternal genetic and non-genetic factors. Here we report a fetal genome-wide association meta-analysis of gestational duration, and early preterm, preterm, and postterm birth in 84,689 infants. One locus on chromosome 2q13 is associated with gestational duration; the association is replicated in 9,291 additional infants (combined P = 3.96 × 10). Analysis of 15,588 mother-child pairs shows that the association is driven by fetal rather than maternal genotype. Functional experiments show that the lead SNP, rs7594852, alters the binding of the HIC1 transcriptional repressor. Genes at the locus include several interleukin 1 family members with roles in pro-inflammatory pathways that are central to the process of parturition. Further understanding of the underlying mechanisms will be of great public health importance, since giving birth either before or after the window of term gestation is associated with increased morbidity and mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-11881-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6718389PMC
September 2019

Maternal and fetal genetic effects on birth weight and their relevance to cardio-metabolic risk factors.

Nat Genet 2019 05 1;51(5):804-814. Epub 2019 May 1.

Medical Research Council Integrative Epidemiology Unit, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.

Birth weight variation is influenced by fetal and maternal genetic and non-genetic factors, and has been reproducibly associated with future cardio-metabolic health outcomes. In expanded genome-wide association analyses of own birth weight (n = 321,223) and offspring birth weight (n = 230,069 mothers), we identified 190 independent association signals (129 of which are novel). We used structural equation modeling to decompose the contributions of direct fetal and indirect maternal genetic effects, then applied Mendelian randomization to illuminate causal pathways. For example, both indirect maternal and direct fetal genetic effects drive the observational relationship between lower birth weight and higher later blood pressure: maternal blood pressure-raising alleles reduce offspring birth weight, but only direct fetal effects of these alleles, once inherited, increase later offspring blood pressure. Using maternal birth weight-lowering genotypes to proxy for an adverse intrauterine environment provided no evidence that it causally raises offspring blood pressure, indicating that the inverse birth weight-blood pressure association is attributable to genetic effects, and not to intrauterine programming.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0403-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6522365PMC
May 2019

Co-occurrence of infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis and congenital heart defects: a nationwide cohort study.

Pediatr Res 2019 06 12;85(7):955-960. Epub 2019 Mar 12.

Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, 5 Artillerivej, DK-2300, Copenhagen S, Denmark.

Background: Recent studies suggest that infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis (IHPS) and congenital heart defects (CHDs) may share some genetic risk factors, but little is known about the co-occurrence of the two conditions in patients.

Methods: Our study cohort included 2,212,756 persons born in Denmark 1977-2013. We identified patients with IHPS and CHD in the National Patient Register. Using log-linear Poisson regression, we estimated the (incidence) rate ratios (RRs) comparing the rate of IHPS among children with a CHD diagnosis (exposed) and the rate among those without such a diagnosis.

Results: Twenty-seven thousand three hundred and fifty-seven children in the cohort were diagnosed with CHD out of whom 85 developed IHPS (RR = 2.62, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.09-3.22]). The results were similar for those with and without other congenital malformations, for preterm and term deliveries, and for both sexes. There was, however, a significant effect of calendar period (P = .003). In the period 1977-1996, the RR of IHPS given a CHD diagnosis was 1.96 (95% CI 1.41-2.64); in the period 1997-2014, the RR was 3.75 (95% CI 2.74-4.99).

Conclusion: CHD was associated with an increased risk of IHPS. Further research is needed to delineate molecular-level mechanisms that may affect both conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41390-019-0369-9DOI Listing
June 2019

Study of correlation between the NAT2 phenotype and genotype status among Greenlandic Inuit.

EXCLI J 2018 2;17:1043-1053. Epub 2018 Nov 2.

Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark.

-acetyltransferase 2 (NAT2) is the main enzyme metabolizing isoniazid and genotype-based treatment has been studied for years without becoming common practice. To investigate whether genotype-based isoniazid treatment is feasible in Greenland, we sequenced the coding sequence of and determined the NAT2 enzyme-activity by caffeine test. No additional genetic variants were identified in the coding sequence of , so that genotype status in 260 study participants could be assessed by a well-established 7-SNP panel. Studying the enzyme activity by the ratio of the two caffeine metabolites AFMU and 1X in 260 participants showed a high rate of slow phenotypes with intermediate or rapid genotype. These misclassifications were mainly observed in urine samples with pH<3, a deviation from the standard protocol due to the field work character of the study, where immediate pH adjustment to pH=3.5 was not possible. We excluded these samples. For the remaining 143 individuals with pH>3, we observed a moderate level of discrepancies (19 of the 116 individuals with intermediate or rapid genotype status having a slow phenotype). Further investigation showed that drinking coffee and not tea or cola was the most important factor for high levels of both metabolites. The concordance between phenotype and genotype status with regard to slow metabolism supported the recommendation of lower isoniazid doses in individuals with slow genotype status in order to avoid liver injury, a frequent side effect. The phenotypical variation observed for individuals with intermediate or rapid genotype status warrants further research before increased dosing of isoniazid can be recommended.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.17179/excli2018-1671DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6295636PMC
November 2018

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

Genome-wide meta-analysis identifies BARX1 and EML4-MTA3 as new loci associated with infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis.

Hum Mol Genet 2019 01;28(2):332-340

Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis (IHPS) is a disorder of young infants with a population incidence of ∼2/1000 live births, caused by hypertrophy of the pyloric sphincter smooth muscle. Reported genetic loci associated with IHPS explain only a minor proportion of IHPS risk. To identify new risk loci, we carried out a genome-wide meta-analysis on 1395 surgery-confirmed cases and 4438 controls, with replication in a set of 2427 cases and 2524 controls. We identified and replicated six independent genomic loci associated with IHPS risk at genome wide significance (P < 5 × 10-8), including novel associations with two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). One of these SNPs, rs6736913 [odds ratio (OR) = 2.32; P = 3.0 × 10-15], is a low frequency missense variant in EML4 at 2p21. The second SNP, rs1933683 (OR = 1.34; P = 3.1 × 10-9) is 1 kb downstream of BARX1 at 9q22.32, an essential gene for stomach formation in embryogenesis. Using the genome-wide complex trait analysis method, we estimated the IHPS SNP heritability to be 30%, and using the linkage disequilibrium score regression method, we found support for a previously reported genetic correlation of IHPS with lipid metabolism. By combining the largest collection of IHPS cases to date (3822 cases), with results generalized across populations of different ancestry, we elucidate novel mechanistic avenues of IHPS disease architecture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddy347DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6322072PMC
January 2019

Consortium-based genome-wide meta-analysis for childhood dental caries traits.

Hum Mol Genet 2018 09;27(17):3113-3127

Research Unit for Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Department of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark, Odense 5000, Denmark.

Prior studies suggest dental caries traits in children and adolescents are partially heritable, but there has been no large-scale consortium genome-wide association study (GWAS) to date. We therefore performed GWAS for caries in participants aged 2.5-18.0 years from nine contributing centres. Phenotype definitions were created for the presence or absence of treated or untreated caries, stratified by primary and permanent dentition. All studies tested for association between caries and genotype dosage and the results were combined using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Analysis included up to 19 003 individuals (7530 affected) for primary teeth and 13 353 individuals (5875 affected) for permanent teeth. Evidence for association with caries status was observed at rs1594318-C for primary teeth [intronic within ALLC, odds ratio (OR) 0.85, effect allele frequency (EAF) 0.60, P 4.13e-8] and rs7738851-A (intronic within NEDD9, OR 1.28, EAF 0.85, P 1.63e-8) for permanent teeth. Consortium-wide estimated heritability of caries was low [h2 of 1% (95% CI: 0%: 7%) and 6% (95% CI 0%: 13%) for primary and permanent dentitions, respectively] compared with corresponding within-study estimates [h2 of 28% (95% CI: 9%: 48%) and 17% (95% CI: 2%: 31%)] or previously published estimates. This study was designed to identify common genetic variants with modest effects which are consistent across different populations. We found few single variants associated with caries status under these assumptions. Phenotypic heterogeneity between cohorts and limited statistical power will have contributed; these findings could also reflect complexity not captured by our study design, such as genetic effects which are conditional on environmental exposure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddy237DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6097157PMC
September 2018

Genome-wide association study of Hirschsprung disease detects a novel low-frequency variant at the RET locus.

Eur J Hum Genet 2018 04 29;26(4):561-569. Epub 2018 Jan 29.

Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Hirschsprung disease (HSCR) is a congenital disorder with a population incidence of ~1/5000 live births, defined by an absence of enteric ganglia along variable lengths of the colon. HSCR genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have found common associated variants at RET, SEMA3, and NRG1, but they still fail to explain all of its heritability. To enhance gene discovery, we performed a GWAS of 170 cases identified from the Danish nationwide pathology registry with 4717 controls, based on 6.2 million variants imputed from the haplotype reference consortium panel. We found a novel low-frequency variant (rs144432435), which, when conditioning on the lead RET single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), was of genome-wide significance in the discovery analysis. This conditional association signal was replicated in a Swedish HSCR cohort with discovery plus replication meta-analysis conditional odds ratio of 6.6 (P = 7.7 × 10; 322 cases and 4893 controls). The conditional signal was, however, not replicated in two HSCR cohorts from USA and Finland, leading to the hypothesis that rs144432435 tags a rare haplotype present in Denmark and Sweden. Using the genome-wide complex trait analysis method, we estimated the SNP heritability of HSCR to be 88%, close to estimates based on classical family studies. Moreover, by using Lasso (least absolute shrinkage and selection operator) regression we were able to construct a genetic HSCR predictor with a area under the receiver operator characteristics curve of 76% in an independent validation set. In conclusion, we combined the largest collection of sporadic Hirschsprung cases to date (586 cases) to further elucidate HSCR's genetic architecture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-017-0053-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5891499PMC
April 2018

Genome-wide association study of offspring birth weight in 86 577 women identifies five novel loci and highlights maternal genetic effects that are independent of fetal genetics.

Hum Mol Genet 2018 02;27(4):742-756

FIMM Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, Helsinki University, Helsinki FI-00014, Finland.

Genome-wide association studies of birth weight have focused on fetal genetics, whereas relatively little is known about the role of maternal genetic variation. We aimed to identify maternal genetic variants associated with birth weight that could highlight potentially relevant maternal determinants of fetal growth. We meta-analysed data on up to 8.7 million SNPs in up to 86 577 women of European descent from the Early Growth Genetics (EGG) Consortium and the UK Biobank. We used structural equation modelling (SEM) and analyses of mother-child pairs to quantify the separate maternal and fetal genetic effects. Maternal SNPs at 10 loci (MTNR1B, HMGA2, SH2B3, KCNAB1, L3MBTL3, GCK, EBF1, TCF7L2, ACTL9, CYP3A7) were associated with offspring birth weight at P < 5 × 10-8. In SEM analyses, at least 7 of the 10 associations were consistent with effects of the maternal genotype acting via the intrauterine environment, rather than via effects of shared alleles with the fetus. Variants, or correlated proxies, at many of the loci had been previously associated with adult traits, including fasting glucose (MTNR1B, GCK and TCF7L2) and sex hormone levels (CYP3A7), and one (EBF1) with gestational duration. The identified associations indicate that genetic effects on maternal glucose, cytochrome P450 activity and gestational duration, and potentially on maternal blood pressure and immune function, are relevant for fetal growth. Further characterization of these associations in mechanistic and causal analyses will enhance understanding of the potentially modifiable maternal determinants of fetal growth, with the goal of reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with low and high birth weights.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddx429DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5886200PMC
February 2018

Multiancestry association study identifies new asthma risk loci that colocalize with immune-cell enhancer marks.

Nat Genet 2018 01 22;50(1):42-53. Epub 2017 Dec 22.

Hospital Infantil de Mexico Federico Gomez, Mexico City, Mexico.

We examined common variation in asthma risk by conducting a meta-analysis of worldwide asthma genome-wide association studies (23,948 asthma cases, 118,538 controls) of individuals from ethnically diverse populations. We identified five new asthma loci, found two new associations at two known asthma loci, established asthma associations at two loci previously implicated in the comorbidity of asthma plus hay fever, and confirmed nine known loci. Investigation of pleiotropy showed large overlaps in genetic variants with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. The enrichment in enhancer marks at asthma risk loci, especially in immune cells, suggested a major role of these loci in the regulation of immunologically related mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-017-0014-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5901974PMC
January 2018

CNV-association meta-analysis in 191,161 European adults reveals new loci associated with anthropometric traits.

Nat Commun 2017 09 29;8(1):744. Epub 2017 Sep 29.

Department of Genetics, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, 9713 GZ, The Netherlands.

There are few examples of robust associations between rare copy number variants (CNVs) and complex continuous human traits. Here we present a large-scale CNV association meta-analysis on anthropometric traits in up to 191,161 adult samples from 26 cohorts. The study reveals five CNV associations at 1q21.1, 3q29, 7q11.23, 11p14.2, and 18q21.32 and confirms two known loci at 16p11.2 and 22q11.21, implicating at least one anthropometric trait. The discovered CNVs are recurrent and rare (0.01-0.2%), with large effects on height (>2.4 cm), weight (>5 kg), and body mass index (BMI) (>3.5 kg/m). Burden analysis shows a 0.41 cm decrease in height, a 0.003 increase in waist-to-hip ratio and increase in BMI by 0.14 kg/m for each Mb of total deletion burden (P = 2.5 × 10, 6.0 × 10, and 2.9 × 10). Our study provides evidence that the same genes (e.g., MC4R, FIBIN, and FMO5) harbor both common and rare variants affecting body size and that anthropometric traits share genetic loci with developmental and psychiatric disorders.Individual SNPs have small effects on anthropometric traits, yet the impact of CNVs has remained largely unknown. Here, Kutalik and co-workers perform a large-scale genome-wide meta-analysis of structural variation and find rare CNVs associated with height, weight and BMI with large effect sizes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-00556-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5622064PMC
September 2017

Genetic Associations with Gestational Duration and Spontaneous Preterm Birth.

N Engl J Med 2017 09 6;377(12):1156-1167. Epub 2017 Sep 6.

From the Division of Human Genetics (G.Z., L.J.M.), Center for Autoimmune Genomics and Etiology (M.T.W., D.E.M., X.C., C.R.F., L.C.K.) and the Divisions of Biomedical Informatics and Developmental Biology (M.T.W.), Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and the Center for Prevention of Preterm Birth, Perinatal Institute, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center Ohio Collaborative (G.Z., L.M.M., M.P., J.M.H., L.J.M.), Cincinnati; the Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut (B.F., X.L., F.G., H.A.B., M.M.), and the Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Copenhagen (M.M.), Copenhagen, and the Research Unit of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Institute of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark, Odense (E.A.N.) - all in Denmark; the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital Östra (J.B., V.S.), the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Institute of Clinical Sciences (J.J.), and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (B.J.), Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; 23andMe, Mountain View (N.L., P.-P.J., L.R., D.A.H., Y.H.), and the Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford (M.M.) - both in California; the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University (A.R.C., G.P.W., M.C.N., J.M.), and the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, Yale Medical School (G.P.W.), New Haven, and the Yale Systems Biology Institute, West Haven (A.R.C., G.P.W., M.C.N., J.M.) - all in Connecticut; the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wayne State University, Detroit (G.P.W.); the PEDEGO Research Unit and Medical Research Center Oulu, University of Oulu, and the Department of Children and Adolescents, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu (M.K.K., M.R., J.M.H., M.H.), and the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, University of Helsinki (A.P.), and Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital (K.T.), Helsinki - all in Finland; the Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit, Department of Medicine, the Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit, Department of Psychiatry, and the Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston (A.P.), and the Program in Medical and Population Genetics and the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, Cambridge (A.P.) - both in Massachusetts; the Departments of Pediatrics (A.M., B.B.) and Epidemiology (K.K.R.), College of Public Health, and the Department of Pediatrics (K.K.R.), Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City; the Medical Research Council Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom (G.D.S.); and the Department of Genetics and Bioinformatics, Area of Health Data and Digitalization, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo (B.J.).

Background: Despite evidence that genetic factors contribute to the duration of gestation and the risk of preterm birth, robust associations with genetic variants have not been identified. We used large data sets that included the gestational duration to determine possible genetic associations.

Methods: We performed a genomewide association study in a discovery set of samples obtained from 43,568 women of European ancestry using gestational duration as a continuous trait and term or preterm (<37 weeks) birth as a dichotomous outcome. We used samples from three Nordic data sets (involving a total of 8643 women) to test for replication of genomic loci that had significant genomewide association (P<5.0×10) or an association with suggestive significance (P<1.0×10) in the discovery set.

Results: In the discovery and replication data sets, four loci (EBF1, EEFSEC, AGTR2, and WNT4) were significantly associated with gestational duration. Functional analysis showed that an implicated variant in WNT4 alters the binding of the estrogen receptor. The association between variants in ADCY5 and RAP2C and gestational duration had suggestive significance in the discovery set and significant evidence of association in the replication sets; these variants also showed genomewide significance in a joint analysis. Common variants in EBF1, EEFSEC, and AGTR2 showed association with preterm birth with genomewide significance. An analysis of mother-infant dyads suggested that these variants act at the level of the maternal genome.

Conclusions: In this genomewide association study, we found that variants at the EBF1, EEFSEC, AGTR2, WNT4, ADCY5, and RAP2C loci were associated with gestational duration and variants at the EBF1, EEFSEC, and AGTR2 loci with preterm birth. Previously established roles of these genes in uterine development, maternal nutrition, and vascular control support their mechanistic involvement. (Funded by the March of Dimes and others.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1612665DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5561422PMC
September 2017

Missense Mutation Associated With Fatty Acid Metabolism and Reduced Height in Greenlanders.

Circ Cardiovasc Genet 2017 Jun;10(3)

From the Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark (L.S., A.K., V.Y., B.S., M.A., S.W.M., J.E.N., J.M.M., M.L.B., F.G., M.M., B.F.); Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (S.Z., P.A.D., G.A.R.); Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (P.A.D., G.A.R.); Département de Médecine, Faculté de Médecine, Université de Montréal, Quebec, Canada (S.Z.); Greenland Center for Health Research, Institute of Nursing and Health Science, University of Greenland, Nuuk, Greenland (M.L.P.); Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Denmark (M.M.); and Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, California (M.M.).

Background: Inuit have lived for thousands of years in an extremely cold environment on a diet dominated by marine-derived fat. To investigate how this selective pressure has affected the genetic regulation of fatty acid metabolism, we assessed 233 serum metabolic phenotypes in a population-based sample of 1570 Greenlanders.

Methods And Results: Using array-based and targeted genotyping, we found that rs80356779, a p.Pro479Leu variant in , was strongly associated with markers of -3 fatty acid metabolism, including degree of unsaturation (=1.16×10), levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids, -3 fatty acids, and docosahexaoenic acid relative to total fatty acid levels (=2.35×10, =4.02×10, and =7.92×10). The derived allele (L479) occurred at a frequency of 76.2% in our sample while being absent in most other populations, and we found strong signatures of positive selection at the locus. Furthermore, we found that each copy of L479 reduced height by an average of 2.1 cm (=1.04×10). In exome sequencing data from a sister population, the Nunavik Inuit, we found no other likely causal candidate variant than rs80356779.

Conclusion: Our study shows that a common missense mutation is strongly associated with a range of metabolic phenotypes and reduced height in Greenlanders. These findings are important from a public health perspective and highlight the usefulness of complex trait genetic studies in isolated populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.116.001618DOI Listing
June 2017

Genome-wide association study identifies variants in associated with tonsillectomy.

J Med Genet 2017 05 9;54(5):358-364. Epub 2016 Dec 9.

Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Background: Inflammation of the tonsils is a normal response to infection, but some individuals experience recurrent, severe tonsillitis and massive hypertrophy of the tonsils in which case surgical removal of the tonsils may be considered.

Objective: To identify common genetic variants associated with tonsillectomy.

Methods: We used tonsillectomy information from Danish health registers and carried out a genome-wide association study comprising 1464 patients and 12 019 controls of Northwestern European ancestry, with replication in an independent sample set of 1575 patients and 1367 controls.

Results: The variant rs2412971, intronic in at chromosome 22q12.2, was robustly associated with tonsillectomy (OR=1.22; p=1.48×10) and is highly correlated with SNPs previously found to be associated with IgA nephropathy, Crohn's disease (CD) and early onset inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The risk allele for tonsillectomy corresponded to increased risk of IgA nephropathy and decreased risk of CD and IBD. We further performed lookup analyses of the top SNP for outcomes related to tonsillectomy in the combined discovery and replication sample and found that rs2412971 was associated with acute tonsillitis (OR=1.19; p=7.82×10), chronic disease of the tonsils (OR=1.19; p=2.32×10) and appendectomy (OR=1.18; p=1.13×10).

Conclusions: We identified and replicated a genetic association at 22q12.2 with tonsillectomy. Further functional investigation is required to illuminate whether the molecular mechanisms underlying the genetic association involve general lymphoid hyper-reaction throughout the mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jmedgenet-2016-104304DOI Listing
May 2017

Genome-wide associations for birth weight and correlations with adult disease.

Nature 2016 10 28;538(7624):248-252. Epub 2016 Sep 28.

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

Birth weight (BW) has been shown to be influenced by both fetal and maternal factors and in observational studies is reproducibly associated with future risk of adult metabolic diseases including type 2 diabetes (T2D) and cardiovascular disease. These life-course associations have often been attributed to the impact of an adverse early life environment. Here, we performed a multi-ancestry genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis of BW in 153,781 individuals, identifying 60 loci where fetal genotype was associated with BW (P < 5 × 10). Overall, approximately 15% of variance in BW was captured by assays of fetal genetic variation. Using genetic association alone, we found strong inverse genetic correlations between BW and systolic blood pressure (R = -0.22, P = 5.5 × 10), T2D (R = -0.27, P = 1.1 × 10) and coronary artery disease (R = -0.30, P = 6.5 × 10). In addition, using large -cohort datasets, we demonstrated that genetic factors were the major contributor to the negative covariance between BW and future cardiometabolic risk. Pathway analyses indicated that the protein products of genes within BW-associated regions were enriched for diverse processes including insulin signalling, glucose homeostasis, glycogen biosynthesis and chromatin remodelling. There was also enrichment of associations with BW in known imprinted regions (P = 1.9 × 10). We demonstrate that life-course associations between early growth phenotypes and adult cardiometabolic disease are in part the result of shared genetic effects and identify some of the pathways through which these causal genetic effects are mediated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature19806DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5164934PMC
October 2016

Common variants upstream of KDR encoding VEGFR2 and in TTC39B associate with endometriosis.

Nat Commun 2016 07 25;7:12350. Epub 2016 Jul 25.

deCODE Genetics/Amgen, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland.

We conducted a genome-wide association scan (GWAS) of endometriosis using 25.5 million sequence variants detected through whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of 8,453 Icelanders and imputed into 1,840 cases and 129,016 control women, followed by testing of associated variants in Danish samples. Here we report the discovery of a new endometriosis susceptibility locus on 4q12 (rs17773813[G], OR=1.28; P=3.8 × 10(-11)), upstream of KDR encoding vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2). The variant correlates with disease severity (P=0.0046) when moderate/severe endometriosis cases are tested against minimal/mild cases. We further report association of rs519664[T] in TTC39B on 9p22 with endometriosis (P=4.8 × 10(-10); OR=1.29). The involvement of KDR in endometriosis risk highlights the importance of the VEGF pathway in the pathogenesis of the disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms12350DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4962463PMC
July 2016

Genetic Evidence for Causal Relationships Between Maternal Obesity-Related Traits and Birth Weight.

JAMA 2016 Mar;315(11):1129-40

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Royal Brisbane Hospital, Herston, Australia.

Importance: Neonates born to overweight or obese women are larger and at higher risk of birth complications. Many maternal obesity-related traits are observationally associated with birth weight, but the causal nature of these associations is uncertain.

Objective: To test for genetic evidence of causal associations of maternal body mass index (BMI) and related traits with birth weight.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Mendelian randomization to test whether maternal BMI and obesity-related traits are potentially causally related to offspring birth weight. Data from 30,487 women in 18 studies were analyzed. Participants were of European ancestry from population- or community-based studies in Europe, North America, or Australia and were part of the Early Growth Genetics Consortium. Live, term, singleton offspring born between 1929 and 2013 were included.

Exposures: Genetic scores for BMI, fasting glucose level, type 2 diabetes, systolic blood pressure (SBP), triglyceride level, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) level, vitamin D status, and adiponectin level.

Main Outcome And Measure: Offspring birth weight from 18 studies.

Results: Among the 30,487 newborns the mean birth weight in the various cohorts ranged from 3325 g to 3679 g. The maternal genetic score for BMI was associated with a 2-g (95% CI, 0 to 3 g) higher offspring birth weight per maternal BMI-raising allele (P = .008). The maternal genetic scores for fasting glucose and SBP were also associated with birth weight with effect sizes of 8 g (95% CI, 6 to 10 g) per glucose-raising allele (P = 7 × 10(-14)) and -4 g (95% CI, -6 to -2 g) per SBP-raising allele (P = 1×10(-5)), respectively. A 1-SD ( ≈ 4 points) genetically higher maternal BMI was associated with a 55-g higher offspring birth weight (95% CI, 17 to 93 g). A 1-SD ( ≈ 7.2 mg/dL) genetically higher maternal fasting glucose concentration was associated with 114-g higher offspring birth weight (95% CI, 80 to 147 g). However, a 1-SD ( ≈ 10 mm Hg) genetically higher maternal SBP was associated with a 208-g lower offspring birth weight (95% CI, -394 to -21 g). For BMI and fasting glucose, genetic associations were consistent with the observational associations, but for systolic blood pressure, the genetic and observational associations were in opposite directions.

Conclusions And Relevance: In this mendelian randomization study, genetically elevated maternal BMI and blood glucose levels were potentially causally associated with higher offspring birth weight, whereas genetically elevated maternal SBP was potentially causally related to lower birth weight. If replicated, these findings may have implications for counseling and managing pregnancies to avoid adverse weight-related birth outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2016.1975DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4811305PMC
March 2016

Genome-wide association analysis identifies three new susceptibility loci for childhood body mass index.

Hum Mol Genet 2016 Jan 24;25(2):389-403. Epub 2015 Nov 24.

School of Women's and Infants' Health, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia.

A large number of genetic loci are associated with adult body mass index. However, the genetics of childhood body mass index are largely unknown. We performed a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of childhood body mass index, using sex- and age-adjusted standard deviation scores. We included 35 668 children from 20 studies in the discovery phase and 11 873 children from 13 studies in the replication phase. In total, 15 loci reached genome-wide significance (P-value < 5 × 10(-8)) in the joint discovery and replication analysis, of which 12 are previously identified loci in or close to ADCY3, GNPDA2, TMEM18, SEC16B, FAIM2, FTO, TFAP2B, TNNI3K, MC4R, GPR61, LMX1B and OLFM4 associated with adult body mass index or childhood obesity. We identified three novel loci: rs13253111 near ELP3, rs8092503 near RAB27B and rs13387838 near ADAM23. Per additional risk allele, body mass index increased 0.04 Standard Deviation Score (SDS) [Standard Error (SE) 0.007], 0.05 SDS (SE 0.008) and 0.14 SDS (SE 0.025), for rs13253111, rs8092503 and rs13387838, respectively. A genetic risk score combining all 15 SNPs showed that each additional average risk allele was associated with a 0.073 SDS (SE 0.011, P-value = 3.12 × 10(-10)) increase in childhood body mass index in a population of 1955 children. This risk score explained 2% of the variance in childhood body mass index. This study highlights the shared genetic background between childhood and adult body mass index and adds three novel loci. These loci likely represent age-related differences in strength of the associations with body mass index.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddv472DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4854022PMC
January 2016

Multi-ancestry genome-wide association study of 21,000 cases and 95,000 controls identifies new risk loci for atopic dermatitis.

Nat Genet 2015 Dec 19;47(12):1449-1456. Epub 2015 Oct 19.

Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland.

Genetic association studies have identified 21 loci associated with atopic dermatitis risk predominantly in populations of European ancestry. To identify further susceptibility loci for this common, complex skin disease, we performed a meta-analysis of >15 million genetic variants in 21,399 cases and 95,464 controls from populations of European, African, Japanese and Latino ancestry, followed by replication in 32,059 cases and 228,628 controls from 18 studies. We identified ten new risk loci, bringing the total number of known atopic dermatitis risk loci to 31 (with new secondary signals at four of these loci). Notably, the new loci include candidate genes with roles in the regulation of innate host defenses and T cell function, underscoring the important contribution of (auto)immune mechanisms to atopic dermatitis pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3424DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4753676PMC
December 2015
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