Publications by authors named "Ioanna Ntalla"

61 Publications

A multi-layer functional genomic analysis to understand noncoding genetic variation in lipids.

Am J Hum Genet 2022 08;109(8):1366-1387

Division of Genome Science, Department of Precision Medicine, National Institute of Health, Chungbuk, South Korea.

A major challenge of genome-wide association studies (GWASs) is to translate phenotypic associations into biological insights. Here, we integrate a large GWAS on blood lipids involving 1.6 million individuals from five ancestries with a wide array of functional genomic datasets to discover regulatory mechanisms underlying lipid associations. We first prioritize lipid-associated genes with expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) colocalizations and then add chromatin interaction data to narrow the search for functional genes. Polygenic enrichment analysis across 697 annotations from a host of tissues and cell types confirms the central role of the liver in lipid levels and highlights the selective enrichment of adipose-specific chromatin marks in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides. Overlapping transcription factor (TF) binding sites with lipid-associated loci identifies TFs relevant in lipid biology. In addition, we present an integrative framework to prioritize causal variants at GWAS loci, producing a comprehensive list of candidate causal genes and variants with multiple layers of functional evidence. We highlight two of the prioritized genes, CREBRF and RRBP1, which show convergent evidence across functional datasets supporting their roles in lipid biology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2022.06.012DOI Listing
August 2022

Multi-ancestry genetic study of type 2 diabetes highlights the power of diverse populations for discovery and translation.

Nat Genet 2022 05 12;54(5):560-572. Epub 2022 May 12.

Public Health Informatics Unit, Department of Integrated Health Sciences, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan.

We assembled an ancestrally diverse collection of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in 180,834 affected individuals and 1,159,055 controls (48.9% non-European descent) through the Diabetes Meta-Analysis of Trans-Ethnic association studies (DIAMANTE) Consortium. Multi-ancestry GWAS meta-analysis identified 237 loci attaining stringent genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10), which were delineated to 338 distinct association signals. Fine-mapping of these signals was enhanced by the increased sample size and expanded population diversity of the multi-ancestry meta-analysis, which localized 54.4% of T2D associations to a single variant with >50% posterior probability. This improved fine-mapping enabled systematic assessment of candidate causal genes and molecular mechanisms through which T2D associations are mediated, laying the foundations for functional investigations. Multi-ancestry genetic risk scores enhanced transferability of T2D prediction across diverse populations. Our study provides a step toward more effective clinical translation of T2D GWAS to improve global health for all, irrespective of genetic background.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-022-01058-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9179018PMC
May 2022

The power of genetic diversity in genome-wide association studies of lipids.

Nature 2021 12 9;600(7890):675-679. Epub 2021 Dec 9.

Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Landspitali-National University Hospital of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland.

Increased blood lipid levels are heritable risk factors of cardiovascular disease with varied prevalence worldwide owing to different dietary patterns and medication use. Despite advances in prevention and treatment, in particular through reducing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, heart disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide. Genome-wideassociation studies (GWAS) of blood lipid levels have led to important biological and clinical insights, as well as new drug targets, for cardiovascular disease. However, most previous GWAS have been conducted in European ancestry populations and may have missed genetic variants that contribute to lipid-level variation in other ancestry groups. These include differences in allele frequencies, effect sizes and linkage-disequilibrium patterns. Here we conduct a multi-ancestry, genome-wide genetic discovery meta-analysis of lipid levels in approximately 1.65 million individuals, including 350,000 of non-European ancestries. We quantify the gain in studying non-European ancestries and provide evidence to support the expansion of recruitment of additional ancestries, even with relatively small sample sizes. We find that increasing diversity rather than studying additional individuals of European ancestry results in substantial improvements in fine-mapping functional variants and portability of polygenic prediction (evaluated in approximately 295,000 individuals from 7 ancestry groupings). Modest gains in the number of discovered loci and ancestry-specific variants were also achieved. As GWAS expand emphasis beyond the identification of genes and fundamental biology towards the use of genetic variants for preventive and precision medicine, we anticipate that increased diversity of participants will lead to more accurate and equitable application of polygenic scores in clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-04064-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8730582PMC
December 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

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

Global real-world evidence of sofosbuvir/velpatasvir as simple, effective HCV treatment: Analysis of 5552 patients from 12 cohorts.

Liver Int 2020 08 9;40(8):1841-1852. Epub 2020 Jun 9.

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, C.H.U. Pontevedra and IIS Galicia Sur, Pontevedra, Spain.

Background And Aims: Achieving sustained virological response (SVR; cure) in hepatitis C patients using a simple regimen is key to making elimination by 2030 possible. In the largest real-world analysis to date, the effectiveness of pangenotypic, panfibrotic, single-tablet, sofosbuvir/velpatasvir (SOF/VEL) once-daily for 12 weeks was assessed in 12 clinical real-world cohorts from various geographical areas, settings and treatment practices. Factors affecting risk of not achieving SVR were assessed.

Methods: Adults treated with SOF/VEL 400/100 mg, without ribavirin, were included. All HCV patients reaching Week 12 or 24 post-treatment were assessed for SVR12/24. Factors associated with not achieving SVR12/24 for virological reasons were evaluated using logistic regression analysis.

Results: Overall, 5552 patients were included: 13.3% treatment-experienced; 20.7% compensated cirrhotic; 30.2% genotype 1; 29.5% genotype 2; 32.9% genotype 3; 4.7% genotype 4; 3.7% HIV coinfection; 13.4% current/former intravenous drug use. Of the 5196 patients evaluated for effectiveness, 98.9% achieved SVR12/24. High SVR12/24 rates occurred in all genotypes including genotype 3 (98.3%; 1649/1677) and in those with compensated cirrhosis (97.9; 1055/1078). Only 55 patients did not achieve SVR12/24 due to a virological reason; the only factor statistically significantly associated with an increased risk of not achieving SVR12/24 was compensated cirrhosis (P = .002). Overall, 6% (332/5552) of patients did not achieve SVR12/24 for non-virological reasons (67% lost to follow-up; 26.5% early treatment discontinuation).

Conclusions: In this large cohort, representative of clinical practice, a simple 12-week regimen of SOF/VEL without ribavirin resulted in high SVR12/24 rates in diverse patient populations, even among those with compensated cirrhosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.14537DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7496473PMC
August 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Mol Psychiatry 2021 06 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

Shared genetic risk between eating disorder- and substance-use-related phenotypes: Evidence from genome-wide association studies.

Addict Biol 2021 01 16;26(1):e12880. Epub 2020 Feb 16.

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany.

Eating disorders and substance use disorders frequently co-occur. Twin studies reveal shared genetic variance between liabilities to eating disorders and substance use, with the strongest associations between symptoms of bulimia nervosa and problem alcohol use (genetic correlation [r ], twin-based = 0.23-0.53). We estimated the genetic correlation between eating disorder and substance use and disorder phenotypes using data from genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Four eating disorder phenotypes (anorexia nervosa [AN], AN with binge eating, AN without binge eating, and a bulimia nervosa factor score), and eight substance-use-related phenotypes (drinks per week, alcohol use disorder [AUD], smoking initiation, current smoking, cigarettes per day, nicotine dependence, cannabis initiation, and cannabis use disorder) from eight studies were included. Significant genetic correlations were adjusted for variants associated with major depressive disorder and schizophrenia. Total study sample sizes per phenotype ranged from ~2400 to ~537 000 individuals. We used linkage disequilibrium score regression to calculate single nucleotide polymorphism-based genetic correlations between eating disorder- and substance-use-related phenotypes. Significant positive genetic associations emerged between AUD and AN (r = 0.18; false discovery rate q = 0.0006), cannabis initiation and AN (r = 0.23; q < 0.0001), and cannabis initiation and AN with binge eating (r = 0.27; q = 0.0016). Conversely, significant negative genetic correlations were observed between three nondiagnostic smoking phenotypes (smoking initiation, current smoking, and cigarettes per day) and AN without binge eating (r = -0.19 to -0.23; qs < 0.04). The genetic correlation between AUD and AN was no longer significant after co-varying for major depressive disorder loci. The patterns of association between eating disorder- and substance-use-related phenotypes highlights the potentially complex and substance-specific relationships among these behaviors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/adb.12880DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7429266PMC
January 2021

Population-wide copy number variation calling using variant call format files from 6,898 individuals.

Genet Epidemiol 2020 01 14;44(1):79-89. Epub 2019 Sep 14.

Wellcome Sanger Institute, Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton, United Kingdom.

Copy number variants (CNVs) play an important role in a number of human diseases, but the accurate calling of CNVs remains challenging. Most current approaches to CNV detection use raw read alignments, which are computationally intensive to process. We use a regression tree-based approach to call germline CNVs from whole-genome sequencing (WGS, >18x) variant call sets in 6,898 samples across four European cohorts, and describe a rich large variation landscape comprising 1,320 CNVs. Eighty-one percent of detected events have been previously reported in the Database of Genomic Variants. Twenty-three percent of high-quality deletions affect entire genes, and we recapitulate known events such as the GSTM1 and RHD gene deletions. We test for association between the detected deletions and 275 protein levels in 1,457 individuals to assess the potential clinical impact of the detected CNVs. We describe complex CNV patterns underlying an association with levels of the CCL3 protein (MAF = 0.15, p = 3.6x10 ) at the CCL3L3 locus, and a novel cis-association between a low-frequency NOMO1 deletion and NOMO1 protein levels (MAF = 0.02, p = 2.2x10 ). This study demonstrates that existing population-wide WGS call sets can be mined for germline CNVs with minimal computational overhead, delivering insight into a less well-studied, yet potentially impactful class of genetic variant.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gepi.22260DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8653900PMC
January 2020

Genome-wide association study identifies eight risk loci and implicates metabo-psychiatric origins for anorexia nervosa.

Nat Genet 2019 08 15;51(8):1207-1214. Epub 2019 Jul 15.

Clinical Genetics Unit, Department of Woman and Child Health, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.

Characterized primarily by a low body-mass index, anorexia nervosa is a complex and serious illness, affecting 0.9-4% of women and 0.3% of men, with twin-based heritability estimates of 50-60%. Mortality rates are higher than those in other psychiatric disorders, and outcomes are unacceptably poor. Here we combine data from the Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative (ANGI) and the Eating Disorders Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC-ED) and conduct a genome-wide association study of 16,992 cases of anorexia nervosa and 55,525 controls, identifying eight significant loci. The genetic architecture of anorexia nervosa mirrors its clinical presentation, showing significant genetic correlations with psychiatric disorders, physical activity, and metabolic (including glycemic), lipid and anthropometric traits, independent of the effects of common variants associated with body-mass index. These results further encourage a reconceptualization of anorexia nervosa as a metabo-psychiatric disorder. Elucidating the metabolic component is a critical direction for future research, and paying attention to both psychiatric and metabolic components may be key to improving outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0439-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6779477PMC
August 2019

Genetic Risk Score for Coronary Disease Identifies Predispositions to Cardiovascular and Noncardiovascular Diseases.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2019 06;73(23):2932-2942

Deutsches Herzzentrum München, Klinik für Herz und Kreislauferkrankungen, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany; Deutsches Zentrum für Herz und Kreislauferkrankungen (DZHK), Partner Site Munich Heart Alliance, Munich, Germany.

Background: The taxonomy of cardiovascular (CV) diseases is divided into a broad spectrum of clinical entities. Many such diseases coincide in specific patient groups and suggest shared predisposition.

Objectives: This study focused on coronary artery disease (CAD) and investigated the genetic relationship to CV and non-CV diseases with reported CAD comorbidity.

Methods: This study examined 425,196 UK Biobank participants to determine a genetic risk score (GRS) based on 300 CAD associated variants (CAD-GRS). This score was associated with 22 traits, including risk factors, diseases secondary to CAD, as well as comorbid and non-CV conditions. Sensitivity analyses were performed in individuals free from CAD or stable angina diagnosis.

Results: Hypercholesterolemia (odds ratio [OR]: 1.27; 95% CI: 1.26 to 1.29) and hypertension (OR: 1.11; 95% CI: 1.10 to 1.12) were strongly associated with the CAD-GRS, which indicated that the score contained variants predisposing to these conditions. However, the CAD-GRS was also significant in patients with CAD who were free of CAD risk factors (OR: 1.37; 95% CI: 1.30 to 1.44). The study observed significant associations between the CAD-GRS and peripheral arterial disease (OR: 1.28; 95% CI: 1.23 to 1.32), abdominal aortic aneurysms (OR: 1.28; 95% CI: 1.20 to 1.37), and stroke (OR: 1.08; 95% CI: 1.05 to 1.10), which remained significant in sensitivity analyses that suggested shared genetic predisposition. The score was also associated with heart failure (OR: 1.25; 95% CI: 1.22 to 1.29), atrial fibrillation (OR: 1.08; 95% CI: 1.05 to 1.10), and premature death (OR: 1.04; 95% CI: 1.02 to 1.06). These associations were abolished in sensitivity analyses that indicated that they were secondary to prevalent CAD. Finally, an inverse association was observed between the score and migraine headaches (OR: 0.94; 95% CI: 0.93 to 0.96).

Conclusions: A wide spectrum of CV conditions, including premature death, might develop consecutively or in parallel with CAD for the same genetic roots. In conditions like heart failure, the study found evidence that the CAD-GRS could be used to stratify patients with no or limited genetic overlap with CAD risk. Increased genetic predisposition to CAD was inversely associated with migraine headaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2019.03.512DOI Listing
June 2019

Genetically modulated educational attainment and coronary disease risk.

Eur Heart J 2019 08;40(29):2413-2420

Deutsches Herzzentrum München, Klinik für Herz- und Kreislauferkrankungen, Technische Universität München, Lazarettstr. 36, Munich, Germany.

Aims: Genetic disposition and lifestyle factors are understood as independent components underlying the risk of multiple diseases. In this study, we aim to investigate the interplay between genetics, educational attainment-an important denominator of lifestyle-and coronary artery disease (CAD) risk.

Methods And Results: Based on the effect sizes of 74 genetic variants associated with educational attainment, we calculated a 'genetic education score' in 13 080 cases and 14 471 controls and observed an inverse correlation between the score and risk of CAD [P = 1.52 × 10-8; odds ratio (OR) 0.79, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.73-0.85 for the higher compared with the lowest score quintile]. We replicated in 146 514 individuals from UK Biobank (P = 1.85 × 10-6) and also found strong associations between the 'genetic education score' with 'modifiable' risk factors including smoking (P = 5.36 × 10-23), body mass index (BMI) (P = 1.66 × 10-30), and hypertension (P = 3.86 × 10-8). Interestingly, these associations were only modestly attenuated by adjustment for years spent in school. In contrast, a model adjusting for BMI and smoking abolished the association signal between the 'genetic education score' and CAD risk suggesting an intermediary role of these two risk factors. Mendelian randomization analyses performed with summary statistics from large genome-wide meta-analyses and sensitivity analysis using 1271 variants affecting educational attainment (OR 0.68 for the higher compared with the lowest score quintile; 95% CI 0.63-0.74; P = 3.99 × 10-21) further strengthened these findings.

Conclusion: Genetic variants known to affect educational attainment may have implications for a health-conscious lifestyle later in life and subsequently affect the risk of CAD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehz328DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6669407PMC
August 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

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

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

Protein-coding variants implicate novel genes related to lipid homeostasis contributing to body-fat distribution.

Nat Genet 2019 03 18;51(3):452-469. Epub 2019 Feb 18.

Department of Biostatistics and Center for Statistical Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Body-fat distribution is a risk factor for adverse cardiovascular health consequences. We analyzed the association of body-fat distribution, assessed by waist-to-hip ratio adjusted for body mass index, with 228,985 predicted coding and splice site variants available on exome arrays in up to 344,369 individuals from five major ancestries (discovery) and 132,177 European-ancestry individuals (validation). We identified 15 common (minor allele frequency, MAF ≥5%) and nine low-frequency or rare (MAF <5%) coding novel variants. Pathway/gene set enrichment analyses identified lipid particle, adiponectin, abnormal white adipose tissue physiology and bone development and morphology as important contributors to fat distribution, while cross-trait associations highlight cardiometabolic traits. In functional follow-up analyses, specifically in Drosophila RNAi-knockdowns, we observed a significant increase in the total body triglyceride levels for two genes (DNAH10 and PLXND1). We implicate novel genes in fat distribution, stressing the importance of interrogating low-frequency and protein-coding variants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0334-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6560635PMC
March 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

Trans-ethnic association study of blood pressure determinants in over 750,000 individuals.

Nat Genet 2019 01 21;51(1):51-62. Epub 2018 Dec 21.

MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, UK.

In this trans-ethnic multi-omic study, we reinterpret the genetic architecture of blood pressure to identify genes, tissues, phenomes and medication contexts of blood pressure homeostasis. We discovered 208 novel common blood pressure SNPs and 53 rare variants in genome-wide association studies of systolic, diastolic and pulse pressure in up to 776,078 participants from the Million Veteran Program (MVP) and collaborating studies, with analysis of the blood pressure clinical phenome in MVP. Our transcriptome-wide association study detected 4,043 blood pressure associations with genetically predicted gene expression of 840 genes in 45 tissues, and mouse renal single-cell RNA sequencing identified upregulated blood pressure genes in kidney tubule cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0303-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6365102PMC
January 2019

Author Correction: Cohort-wide deep whole genome sequencing and the allelic architecture of complex traits.

Nat Commun 2018 12 19;9(1):5460. Epub 2018 Dec 19.

Department of Human Genetics, Wellcome Sanger Institute, Hinxton, CB10 1SA, United Kingdom.

The original version of this Article contained an error in Fig. 2. In panel a, the two legend items "rare" and "common" were inadvertently swapped. This has been corrected in both the PDF and HTML versions of the Article.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-07730-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6300593PMC
December 2018

Cohort-wide deep whole genome sequencing and the allelic architecture of complex traits.

Nat Commun 2018 11 7;9(1):4674. Epub 2018 Nov 7.

Department of Human Genetics, Wellcome Sanger Institute, Hinxton, CB10 1SA, United Kingdom.

The role of rare variants in complex traits remains uncharted. Here, we conduct deep whole genome sequencing of 1457 individuals from an isolated population, and test for rare variant burdens across six cardiometabolic traits. We identify a role for rare regulatory variation, which has hitherto been missed. We find evidence of rare variant burdens that are independent of established common variant signals (ADIPOQ and adiponectin, P = 4.2 × 10; APOC3 and triglyceride levels, P = 1.5 × 10), and identify replicating evidence for a burden associated with triglyceride levels in FAM189B (P = 2.2 × 10), indicating a role for this gene in lipid metabolism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-07070-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6220258PMC
November 2018

Fine-mapping type 2 diabetes loci to single-variant resolution using high-density imputation and islet-specific epigenome maps.

Nat Genet 2018 11 8;50(11):1505-1513. Epub 2018 Oct 8.

Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore.

We expanded GWAS discovery for type 2 diabetes (T2D) by combining data from 898,130 European-descent individuals (9% cases), after imputation to high-density reference panels. With these data, we (i) extend the inventory of T2D-risk variants (243 loci, 135 newly implicated in T2D predisposition, comprising 403 distinct association signals); (ii) enrich discovery of lower-frequency risk alleles (80 index variants with minor allele frequency <5%, 14 with estimated allelic odds ratio >2); (iii) substantially improve fine-mapping of causal variants (at 51 signals, one variant accounted for >80% posterior probability of association (PPA)); (iv) extend fine-mapping through integration of tissue-specific epigenomic information (islet regulatory annotations extend the number of variants with PPA >80% to 73); (v) highlight validated therapeutic targets (18 genes with associations attributable to coding variants); and (vi) demonstrate enhanced potential for clinical translation (genome-wide chip heritability explains 18% of T2D risk; individuals in the extremes of a T2D polygenic risk score differ more than ninefold in prevalence).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0241-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6287706PMC
November 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Novel genetic associations for blood pressure identified via gene-alcohol interaction in up to 570K individuals across multiple ancestries.

PLoS One 2018 18;13(6):e0198166. Epub 2018 Jun 18.

Icelandic Heart Association, Kopavogur, Iceland.

Heavy alcohol consumption is an established risk factor for hypertension; the mechanism by which alcohol consumption impact blood pressure (BP) regulation remains unknown. We hypothesized that a genome-wide association study accounting for gene-alcohol consumption interaction for BP might identify additional BP loci and contribute to the understanding of alcohol-related BP regulation. We conducted a large two-stage investigation incorporating joint testing of main genetic effects and single nucleotide variant (SNV)-alcohol consumption interactions. In Stage 1, genome-wide discovery meta-analyses in ≈131K individuals across several ancestry groups yielded 3,514 SNVs (245 loci) with suggestive evidence of association (P < 1.0 x 10-5). In Stage 2, these SNVs were tested for independent external replication in ≈440K individuals across multiple ancestries. We identified and replicated (at Bonferroni correction threshold) five novel BP loci (380 SNVs in 21 genes) and 49 previously reported BP loci (2,159 SNVs in 109 genes) in European ancestry, and in multi-ancestry meta-analyses (P < 5.0 x 10-8). For African ancestry samples, we detected 18 potentially novel BP loci (P < 5.0 x 10-8) in Stage 1 that warrant further replication. Additionally, correlated meta-analysis identified eight novel BP loci (11 genes). Several genes in these loci (e.g., PINX1, GATA4, BLK, FTO and GABBR2) have been previously reported to be associated with alcohol consumption. These findings provide insights into the role of alcohol consumption in the genetic architecture of hypertension.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0198166PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6005576PMC
January 2019

Thirty loci identified for heart rate response to exercise and recovery implicate autonomic nervous system.

Nat Commun 2018 05 16;9(1):1947. Epub 2018 May 16.

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

Impaired capacity to increase heart rate (HR) during exercise (ΔHR), and a reduced rate of recovery post-exercise (ΔHR) are associated with higher cardiovascular mortality rates. Currently, the genetic basis of both phenotypes remains to be elucidated. We conduct genome-wide association studies (GWASs) for ΔHR and ΔHR in ~40,000 individuals, followed by replication in ~27,000 independent samples, all from UK Biobank. Six and seven single-nucleotide polymorphisms for ΔHR and ΔHR, respectively, formally replicate. In a full data set GWAS, eight further loci for ΔHR and nine for ΔHR are genome-wide significant (P ≤ 5 × 10). In total, 30 loci are discovered, 8 being common across traits. Processes of neural development and modulation of adrenergic activity by the autonomic nervous system are enriched in these results. Our findings reinforce current understanding of HR response to exercise and recovery and could guide future studies evaluating its contribution to cardiovascular risk prediction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-04148-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5955978PMC
May 2018
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