Publications by authors named "Joanne E Curran"

189 Publications

Rare coding variants in 35 genes associate with circulating lipid levels-A multi-ancestry analysis of 170,000 exomes.

Am J Hum Genet 2022 Jan 20;109(1):81-96. Epub 2021 Dec 20.

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

Large-scale gene sequencing studies for complex traits have the potential to identify causal genes with therapeutic implications. We performed gene-based association testing of blood lipid levels with rare (minor allele frequency < 1%) predicted damaging coding variation by using sequence data from >170,000 individuals from multiple ancestries: 97,493 European, 30,025 South Asian, 16,507 African, 16,440 Hispanic/Latino, 10,420 East Asian, and 1,182 Samoan. We identified 35 genes associated with circulating lipid levels; some of these genes have not been previously associated with lipid levels when using rare coding variation from population-based samples. We prioritize 32 genes in array-based genome-wide association study (GWAS) loci based on aggregations of rare coding variants; three (EVI5, SH2B3, and PLIN1) had no prior association of rare coding variants with lipid levels. Most of our associated genes showed evidence of association among multiple ancestries. Finally, we observed an enrichment of gene-based associations for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol drug target genes and for genes closest to GWAS index single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Our results demonstrate that gene-based associations can be beneficial for drug target development and provide evidence that the gene closest to the array-based GWAS index SNP is often the functional gene for blood lipid levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.11.021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8764201PMC
January 2022

Genetic determinants of metabolic biomarkers and their associations with cardiometabolic traits in Hispanic/Latino adolescents.

Pediatr Res 2021 Oct 13. Epub 2021 Oct 13.

Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Background: Metabolic regulation plays a significant role in energy homeostasis, and adolescence is a crucial life stage for the development of cardiometabolic disease (CMD). This study aims to investigate the genetic determinants of metabolic biomarkers-adiponectin, leptin, ghrelin, and orexin-and their associations with CMD risk factors.

Methods: We characterized the genetic determinants of the biomarkers among Hispanic/Latino adolescents of the Santiago Longitudinal Study (SLS) and identified the cumulative effects of genetic variants on adiponectin and leptin using biomarker polygenic risk scores (PRS). We further investigated the direct and indirect effect of the biomarker PRS on downstream body fat percent (BF%) and glycemic traits using structural equation modeling.

Results: We identified putatively novel genetic variants associated with the metabolic biomarkers. A substantial amount of biomarker variance was explained by SLS-specific PRS, and the prediction was improved by including the putatively novel loci. Fasting blood insulin and insulin resistance were associated with PRS for adiponectin, leptin, and ghrelin, and BF% was associated with PRS for adiponectin and leptin. We found evidence of substantial mediation of these associations by the biomarker levels.

Conclusions: The genetic underpinnings of metabolic biomarkers can affect the early development of CMD, partly mediated by the biomarkers.

Impact: This study characterized the genetic underpinnings of four metabolic hormones and investigated their potential influence on adiposity and insulin biology among Hispanic/Latino adolescents. Fasting blood insulin and insulin resistance were associated with polygenic risk score (PRS) for adiponectin, leptin, and ghrelin, with evidence of some degree of mediation by the biomarker levels. Body fat percent (BF%) was also associated with PRS for adiponectin and leptin. This provides important insight on biological mechanisms underlying early metabolic dysfunction and reveals candidates for prevention efforts. Our findings also highlight the importance of ancestrally diverse populations to facilitate valid studies of the genetic architecture of metabolic biomarker levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41390-021-01729-7DOI Listing
October 2021

Multi-phenotype genome-wide association studies of the Norfolk Island isolate implicate pleiotropic loci involved in chronic kidney disease.

Sci Rep 2021 09 30;11(1):19425. Epub 2021 Sep 30.

School of Biomedical Sciences, Centre for Genomics and Personalised Health, Genomics Research Centre, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), 60 Musk Ave., Kelvin Grove, QLD, 4059, Australia.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a persistent impairment of kidney function. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have revealed multiple genetic loci associated with CKD susceptibility but the complete genetic basis is not yet clear. Since CKD shares risk factors with cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, there may be pleiotropic loci at play but may go undetected when using single phenotype GWAS. Here, we used multi-phenotype GWAS in the Norfolk Island isolate (n = 380) to identify new loci associated with CKD. We performed a principal components analysis on different combinations of 29 quantitative traits to extract principal components (PCs) representative of multiple correlated phenotypes. GWAS of a PC derived from glomerular filtration rate, serum creatinine, and serum urea identified a suggestive peak (p = 1.67 × 10) that mapped to KCNIP4. Inclusion of other secondary CKD measurements with these three kidney function traits identified the KCNIP4 locus with GWAS significance (p = 1.59 × 10). Finally, we identified a group of two SNPs with increased minor allele frequencies as potential functional variants. With the use of genetic isolate and the PCA-based multi-phenotype GWAS approach, we have revealed a potential pleotropic effect locus for CKD. Further studies are required to assess functional relevance of this locus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-98935-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8484585PMC
September 2021

Whole-genome sequencing in diverse subjects identifies genetic correlates of leukocyte traits: The NHLBI TOPMed program.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 10 27;108(10):1836-1851. Epub 2021 Sep 27.

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

Many common and rare variants associated with hematologic traits have been discovered through imputation on large-scale reference panels. However, the majority of genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have been conducted in Europeans, and determining causal variants has proved challenging. We performed a GWAS of total leukocyte, neutrophil, lymphocyte, monocyte, eosinophil, and basophil counts generated from 109,563,748 variants in the autosomes and the X chromosome in the Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) program, which included data from 61,802 individuals of diverse ancestry. We discovered and replicated 7 leukocyte trait associations, including (1) the association between a chromosome X, pseudo-autosomal region (PAR), noncoding variant located between cytokine receptor genes (CSF2RA and CLRF2) and lower eosinophil count; and (2) associations between single variants found predominantly among African Americans at the S1PR3 (9q22.1) and HBB (11p15.4) loci and monocyte and lymphocyte counts, respectively. We further provide evidence indicating that the newly discovered eosinophil-lowering chromosome X PAR variant might be associated with reduced susceptibility to common allergic diseases such as atopic dermatitis and asthma. Additionally, we found a burden of very rare FLT3 (13q12.2) variants associated with monocyte counts. Together, these results emphasize the utility of whole-genome sequencing in diverse samples in identifying associations missed by European-ancestry-driven GWASs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.08.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8546043PMC
October 2021

Whole genome sequence analysis of platelet traits in the NHLBI trans-omics for precision medicine initiative.

Hum Mol Genet 2021 Sep 6. Epub 2021 Sep 6.

Human Genetics Center, Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences, School of Public Health, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX, 77030, USA.

Platelets play a key role in thrombosis and hemostasis. Platelet count (PLT) and mean platelet volume (MPV) are highly heritable quantitative traits, with hundreds of genetic signals previously identified, mostly in European ancestry populations. We here utilize whole genome sequencing from NHLBI's Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine Initiative (TOPMed) in a large multi-ethnic sample to further explore common and rare variation contributing to PLT (n = 61 200) and MPV (n = 23 485). We identified and replicated secondary signals at MPL (rs532784633) and PECAM1 (rs73345162), both more common in African ancestry populations. We also observed rare variation in Mendelian platelet related disorder genes influencing variation in platelet traits in TOPMed cohorts (not enriched for blood disorders). For example, association of GP9 with lower PLT and higher MPV was partly driven by a pathogenic Bernard-Soulier syndrome variant (rs5030764, p.Asn61Ser), and the signals at TUBB1 and CD36 were partly driven by loss of function variants not annotated as pathogenic in ClinVar (rs199948010 and rs571975065). However, residual signal remained for these gene-based signals after adjusting for lead variants, suggesting that additional variants in Mendelian genes with impacts in general population cohorts remain to be identified. Gene-based signals were also identified at several GWAS identified loci for genes not annotated for Mendelian platelet disorders (PTPRH, TET2, CHEK2), with somatic variation driving the result at TET2. These results highlight the value of whole genome sequencing in populations of diverse genetic ancestry to identify novel regulatory and coding signals, even for well-studied traits like platelet traits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddab252DOI Listing
September 2021

APOC3 genetic variation, serum triglycerides, and risk of coronary artery disease in Asian Indians, Europeans, and other ethnic groups.

Lipids Health Dis 2021 Sep 21;20(1):113. Epub 2021 Sep 21.

Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore, 169857, Singapore.

Background: Hypertriglyceridemia has emerged as a critical coronary artery disease (CAD) risk factor. Rare loss-of-function (LoF) variants in apolipoprotein C-III have been reported to reduce triglycerides (TG) and are cardioprotective in American Indians and Europeans. However, there is a lack of data in other Europeans and non-Europeans. Also, whether genetically increased plasma TG due to ApoC-III is causally associated with increased CAD risk is still unclear and inconsistent. The objectives of this study were to verify the cardioprotective role of earlier reported six LoF variants of APOC3 in South Asians and other multi-ethnic cohorts and to evaluate the causal association of TG raising common variants for increasing CAD risk.

Methods: We performed gene-centric and Mendelian randomization analyses and evaluated the role of genetic variation encompassing APOC3 for affecting circulating TG and the risk for developing CAD.

Results: One rare LoF variant (rs138326449) with a 37% reduction in TG was associated with lowered risk for CAD in Europeans (p = 0.007), but we could not confirm this association in Asian Indians (p = 0.641). Our data could not validate the cardioprotective role of other five LoF variants analysed. A common variant rs5128 in the APOC3 was strongly associated with elevated TG levels showing a p-value 2.8 × 10. Measures of plasma ApoC-III in a small subset of Sikhs revealed a 37% increase in ApoC-III concentrations among homozygous mutant carriers than the wild-type carriers of rs5128. A genetically instrumented per 1SD increment of plasma TG level of 15 mg/dL would cause a mild increase (3%) in the risk for CAD (p = 0.042).

Conclusions: Our results highlight the challenges of inclusion of rare variant information in clinical risk assessment and the generalizability of implementation of ApoC-III inhibition for treating atherosclerotic disease. More studies would be needed to confirm whether genetically raised TG and ApoC-III concentrations would increase CAD risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12944-021-01531-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8456544PMC
September 2021

Association of HIV-1 Infection and Antiretroviral Therapy With Type 2 Diabetes in the Hispanic Population of the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, USA.

Front Med (Lausanne) 2021 5;8:676979. Epub 2021 Jul 5.

Valley AIDS Council, Harlingen, TX, United States.

The Rio Grande Valley (RGV) in South Texas has one of the highest prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D) in the United States (US). We report for the first time the T2D prevalence in persons with HIV (PWH) in the RGV and the interrelationship between T2D, cardiometabolic risk factors, HIV-related indices, and antiretroviral therapies (ART). The PWH in this study received medical care at Valley AIDS Council (VAC) clinic sites located in Harlingen and McAllen, Texas. Henceforth, this cohort will be referred to as Valley AIDS Council Cohort (VACC). Cross-sectional analyses were conducted using retrospective data obtained from 1,827 registries. It included demographic and anthropometric variables, cardiometabolic traits, and HIV-related virological and immunological indices. For descriptive statistics, we used mean values of the quantitative variables from unbalanced visits across 20 months. Robust regression methods were used to determine the associations. For comparisons, we used cardiometabolic trait data obtained from HIV-uninfected San Antonio Mexican American Family Studies (SAMAFS; = 2,498), and the Mexican American population in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HHANES; = 5,989). The prevalence of T2D in VACC was 51% compared to 27% in SAMAFS and 19% in HHANES, respectively. The PWH with T2D in VACC were younger (4.7 years) and had lower BMI (BMI 2.43 units less) when compared to SAMAFS individuals. In contrast, VACC individuals had increased blood pressure and dyslipidemia. The increased T2D prevalence in VACC was independent of BMI. Within the VACC, ART was associated with viral load and CD4+ T cell counts but not with metabolic dysfunction. Notably, we found that individuals with any INSTI combination had higher T2D risk: OR 2.08 (95%CI 1.67, 2.6; < 0.001). In summary, our results suggest that VACC individuals may develop T2D at younger ages independent of obesity. The high burden of T2D in these individuals necessitates rigorously designed longitudinal studies to draw potential causal inferences and develop better treatment regimens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2021.676979DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8287129PMC
July 2021

Genetic Overlap Profiles of Cognitive Ability in Psychotic and Affective Illnesses: A Multisite Study of Multiplex Pedigrees.

Biol Psychiatry 2021 09 17;90(6):373-384. Epub 2021 Mar 17.

Department of Psychiatry, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Olin Neuropsychiatric Research Center, Institute of Living, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut.

Background: Cognitive impairment is a key feature of psychiatric illness, making cognition an important tool for exploring of the genetics of illness risk. It remains unclear which measures should be prioritized in pleiotropy-guided research. Here, we generate profiles of genetic overlap between psychotic and affective disorders and cognitive measures in Caucasian and Hispanic groups.

Methods: Data were from 4 samples of extended pedigrees (N = 3046). Coefficient of relationship analyses were used to estimate genetic overlap between illness risk and cognitive ability. Results were meta-analyzed.

Results: Psychosis was characterized by cognitive impairments on all measures with a generalized profile of genetic overlap. General cognitive ability shared greatest genetic overlap with psychosis risk (average endophenotype ranking value [ERV] across samples from a random-effects meta-analysis = 0.32), followed by verbal memory (ERV = 0.24), executive function (ERV = 0.22), and working memory (ERV = 0.21). For bipolar disorder, there was genetic overlap with processing speed (ERV = 0.05) and verbal memory (ERV = 0.11), but these were confined to select samples. Major depressive disorder was characterized by enhanced working and face memory performance, as reflected in significant genetic overlap in 2 samples.

Conclusions: There is substantial genetic overlap between risk for psychosis and a range of cognitive abilities (including general intelligence). Most of these effects are largely stable across of ascertainment strategy and ethnicity. Genetic overlap between affective disorders and cognition, on the other hand, tends to be specific to ascertainment strategy, ethnicity, and cognitive test battery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2021.03.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8403107PMC
September 2021

Identifying the Lipidomic Effects of a Rare Loss-of-Function Deletion in .

Circ Genom Precis Med 2021 06 22;14(3):e003232. Epub 2021 Apr 22.

South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute (N.B.B., J.M.P., S.K., A.C.L., M.C.M., H.H.H.G., J.L.V., S.W.-B., R.D., J.B., J.E.C.), School of Medicine, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Brownsville, TX.

Background: The identification and understanding of therapeutic targets for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is of fundamental importance given its global health and economic burden. Inhibition of ANGPTL3 (angiopoietin-like 3) has demonstrated a cardioprotective effect, showing promise for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease treatment, and is currently the focus of ongoing clinical trials. Here, we assessed the genetic basis of variation in ANGPTL3 levels in the San Antonio Family Heart Study.

Methods: We assayed ANGPTL3 protein levels in ≈1000 Mexican Americans from extended pedigrees. By drawing upon existing plasma lipidome profiles and genomic data we conducted analyses to understand the genetic basis to variation in ANGPTL3 protein levels, and accordingly the correlation with the plasma lipidome.

Results: In a variance components framework, we identified that variation in ANGPTL3 was significantly heritable (h=0.33, =1.31×10). To explore the genetic basis of this heritability, we conducted a genome-wide linkage scan and identified significant linkage (logarithm of odds =6.18) to a locus on chromosome 1 at 90 centimorgans, corresponding to the gene location. In the genomes of 23 individuals from a single pedigree, we identified a loss-of-function variant, rs398122988 (N121Kfs*2), in , that was significantly associated with lower ANGPTL3 levels (β=-1.69 SD units, =3.367×10), and accounted for the linkage signal at this locus. Given the known role of ANGPTL3 as an inhibitor of endothelial and lipoprotein lipase, we explored the association of ANGPTL3 protein levels and rs398122988 with the plasma lipidome and related phenotypes, identifying novel associations with phosphatidylinositols.

Conclusions: Variation in ANGPTL3 protein levels is heritable and under significant genetic control. Both ANGPTL3 levels and loss-of-function variants in have significant associations with the plasma lipidome. These findings further our understanding of ANGPTL3 as a therapeutic target for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCGEN.120.003232DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8206021PMC
June 2021

Whole-genome sequencing association analysis of quantitative red blood cell phenotypes: The NHLBI TOPMed program.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 05 21;108(5):874-893. Epub 2021 Apr 21.

Department of Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS 39216, USA.

Whole-genome sequencing (WGS), a powerful tool for detecting novel coding and non-coding disease-causing variants, has largely been applied to clinical diagnosis of inherited disorders. Here we leveraged WGS data in up to 62,653 ethnically diverse participants from the NHLBI Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) program and assessed statistical association of variants with seven red blood cell (RBC) quantitative traits. We discovered 14 single variant-RBC trait associations at 12 genomic loci, which have not been reported previously. Several of the RBC trait-variant associations (RPN1, ELL2, MIDN, HBB, HBA1, PIEZO1, and G6PD) were replicated in independent GWAS datasets imputed to the TOPMed reference panel. Most of these discovered variants are rare/low frequency, and several are observed disproportionately among non-European Ancestry (African, Hispanic/Latino, or East Asian) populations. We identified a 3 bp indel p.Lys2169del (g.88717175_88717177TCT[4]) (common only in the Ashkenazi Jewish population) of PIEZO1, a gene responsible for the Mendelian red cell disorder hereditary xerocytosis (MIM: 194380), associated with higher mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC). In stepwise conditional analysis and in gene-based rare variant aggregated association analysis, we identified several of the variants in HBB, HBA1, TMPRSS6, and G6PD that represent the carrier state for known coding, promoter, or splice site loss-of-function variants that cause inherited RBC disorders. Finally, we applied base and nuclease editing to demonstrate that the sentinel variant rs112097551 (nearest gene RPN1) acts through a cis-regulatory element that exerts long-range control of the gene RUVBL1 which is essential for hematopoiesis. Together, these results demonstrate the utility of WGS in ethnically diverse population-based samples and gene editing for expanding knowledge of the genetic architecture of quantitative hematologic traits and suggest a continuum between complex trait and Mendelian red cell disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.04.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8206199PMC
May 2021

Chromosome Xq23 is associated with lower atherogenic lipid concentrations and favorable cardiometabolic indices.

Nat Commun 2021 04 12;12(1):2182. Epub 2021 Apr 12.

Division of Cardiology, George Washington University School of Medicine and Healthcare Sciences, Washington, DC, USA.

Autosomal genetic analyses of blood lipids have yielded key insights for coronary heart disease (CHD). However, X chromosome genetic variation is understudied for blood lipids in large sample sizes. We now analyze genetic and blood lipid data in a high-coverage whole X chromosome sequencing study of 65,322 multi-ancestry participants and perform replication among 456,893 European participants. Common alleles on chromosome Xq23 are strongly associated with reduced total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides (min P = 8.5 × 10), with similar effects for males and females. Chromosome Xq23 lipid-lowering alleles are associated with reduced odds for CHD among 42,545 cases and 591,247 controls (P = 1.7 × 10), and reduced odds for diabetes mellitus type 2 among 54,095 cases and 573,885 controls (P = 1.4 × 10). Although we observe an association with increased BMI, waist-to-hip ratio adjusted for BMI is reduced, bioimpedance analyses indicate increased gluteofemoral fat, and abdominal MRI analyses indicate reduced visceral adiposity. Co-localization analyses strongly correlate increased CHRDL1 gene expression, particularly in adipose tissue, with reduced concentrations of blood lipids.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22339-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8042019PMC
April 2021

Disease Modeling and Disease Gene Discovery in Cardiomyopathies: A Molecular Study of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Generated Cardiomyocytes.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 Mar 24;22(7). Epub 2021 Mar 24.

Department of Human Genetics and South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, Brownsville, TX 78520, USA.

The in vitro modeling of cardiac development and cardiomyopathies in human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes (CMs) provides opportunities to aid the discovery of genetic, molecular, and developmental changes that are causal to, or influence, cardiomyopathies and related diseases. To better understand the functional and disease modeling potential of iPSC-differentiated CMs and to provide a proof of principle for large, epidemiological-scale disease gene discovery approaches into cardiomyopathies, well-characterized CMs, generated from validated iPSCs of 12 individuals who belong to four sibships, and one of whom reported a major adverse cardiac event (MACE), were analyzed by genome-wide mRNA sequencing. The generated CMs expressed CM-specific genes and were highly concordant in their total expressed transcriptome across the 12 samples (correlation coefficient at 95% CI =0.92 ± 0.02). The functional annotation and enrichment analysis of the 2116 genes that were significantly upregulated in CMs suggest that generated CMs have a transcriptomic and functional profile of immature atrial-like CMs; however, the CMs-upregulated transcriptome also showed high overlap and significant enrichment in primary cardiomyocyte (-value = 4.36 × 10), primary heart tissue (-value = 1.37 × 10) and cardiomyopathy (-value = 1.13 × 10) associated gene sets. Modeling the effect of MACE in the generated CMs-upregulated transcriptome identified gene expression phenotypes consistent with the predisposition of the MACE-affected sibship to arrhythmia, prothrombotic, and atherosclerosis risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22073311DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8037452PMC
March 2021

Efficient Generation of Functional Hepatocytes from Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells for Disease Modeling and Disease Gene Discovery.

Methods Mol Biol 2021 Mar 27. Epub 2021 Mar 27.

Department of Human Genetics and South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, Brownsville, TX, USA.

In vitro hepatocyte cell models are being used to study the pathogenesis of liver disease and in the discovery and preclinical stages of drug development. The culture of hepatic cell lines and primary hepatocytes as in vitro cell models has been carried out for several decades. However, hepatic cell lines (hepatic carcinoma generated or immortalized) have limited accuracy when recapitulating complex physiological functions of the liver. Additionally, primary hepatocytes sourced from human cadavers or medical biopsies are difficult to obtain due to sourcing limitations, particularly for large-scale population studies or in applications requiring large number of cells. Hepatocyte cultures differentiated from human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSCs) overcome in large part the limitations of traditional hepatocyte in vitro models. In this chapter, we described an efficient protocol routinely used in our laboratory to differentiate human iPSCs into functional hepatocyte cultures for in vitro modeling of liver function and disease. The protocol uses a three-stage differentiation strategy to generate functional hepatocytes from human iPSCs. The differentiated cells show characteristic hepatocyte morphology including flat and polygonal shape, distinct round nuclei, and presence of biliary canaliculi and they express hepatic markers alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), albumin (ALB), E-cadherin (CHD1), hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 alpha (HNF4α), and actin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/7651_2021_375DOI Listing
March 2021

1q21.1 distal copy number variants are associated with cerebral and cognitive alterations in humans.

Transl Psychiatry 2021 03 22;11(1):182. Epub 2021 Mar 22.

Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, London, United Kingdom.

Low-frequency 1q21.1 distal deletion and duplication copy number variant (CNV) carriers are predisposed to multiple neurodevelopmental disorders, including schizophrenia, autism and intellectual disability. Human carriers display a high prevalence of micro- and macrocephaly in deletion and duplication carriers, respectively. The underlying brain structural diversity remains largely unknown. We systematically called CNVs in 38 cohorts from the large-scale ENIGMA-CNV collaboration and the UK Biobank and identified 28 1q21.1 distal deletion and 22 duplication carriers and 37,088 non-carriers (48% male) derived from 15 distinct magnetic resonance imaging scanner sites. With standardized methods, we compared subcortical and cortical brain measures (all) and cognitive performance (UK Biobank only) between carrier groups also testing for mediation of brain structure on cognition. We identified positive dosage effects of copy number on intracranial volume (ICV) and total cortical surface area, with the largest effects in frontal and cingulate cortices, and negative dosage effects on caudate and hippocampal volumes. The carriers displayed distinct cognitive deficit profiles in cognitive tasks from the UK Biobank with intermediate decreases in duplication carriers and somewhat larger in deletion carriers-the latter potentially mediated by ICV or cortical surface area. These results shed light on pathobiological mechanisms of neurodevelopmental disorders, by demonstrating gene dose effect on specific brain structures and effect on cognitive function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41398-021-01213-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7985307PMC
March 2021

Transcriptomic Profiling of Fibropapillomatosis in Green Sea Turtles () From South Texas.

Front Immunol 2021 24;12:630988. Epub 2021 Feb 24.

Department of Human Genetics, School of Medicine, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Brownsville, TX, United States.

Sea turtle fibropapillomatosis (FP) is a tumor promoting disease that is one of several threats globally to endangered sea turtle populations. The prevalence of FP is highest in green sea turtle () populations, and historically has shown considerable temporal growth. FP tumors can significantly affect the ability of turtles to forage for food and avoid predation and can grow to debilitating sizes. In the current study, based in South Texas, we have applied transcriptome sequencing to FP tumors and healthy control tissue to study the gene expression profiles of FP. By identifying differentially expressed turtle genes in FP, and matching these genes to their closest human ortholog we draw on the wealth of human based knowledge, specifically human cancer, to identify new insights into the biology of sea turtle FP. We show that several genes aberrantly expressed in FP tumors have known tumor promoting biology in humans, including and , and provide support that disruption of the Wnt signaling pathway is a feature of FP. Further, we profiled the expression of current targets of immune checkpoint inhibitors from human oncology in FP tumors and identified potential candidates for future studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.630988DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7943941PMC
September 2021

Sequencing of 53,831 diverse genomes from the NHLBI TOPMed Program.

Nature 2021 02 10;590(7845):290-299. Epub 2021 Feb 10.

The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA, USA.

The Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) programme seeks to elucidate the genetic architecture and biology of heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders, with the ultimate goal of improving diagnosis, treatment and prevention of these diseases. The initial phases of the programme focused on whole-genome sequencing of individuals with rich phenotypic data and diverse backgrounds. Here we describe the TOPMed goals and design as well as the available resources and early insights obtained from the sequence data. The resources include a variant browser, a genotype imputation server, and genomic and phenotypic data that are available through dbGaP (Database of Genotypes and Phenotypes). In the first 53,831 TOPMed samples, we detected more than 400 million single-nucleotide and insertion or deletion variants after alignment with the reference genome. Additional previously undescribed variants were detected through assembly of unmapped reads and customized analysis in highly variable loci. Among the more than 400 million detected variants, 97% have frequencies of less than 1% and 46% are singletons that are present in only one individual (53% among unrelated individuals). These rare variants provide insights into mutational processes and recent human evolutionary history. The extensive catalogue of genetic variation in TOPMed studies provides unique opportunities for exploring the contributions of rare and noncoding sequence variants to phenotypic variation. Furthermore, combining TOPMed haplotypes with modern imputation methods improves the power and reach of genome-wide association studies to include variants down to a frequency of approximately 0.01%.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03205-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7875770PMC
February 2021

Further evidence supporting a potential role for ADH1B in obesity.

Sci Rep 2021 01 21;11(1):1932. Epub 2021 Jan 21.

South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute Department of Human Genetics, School of Medicine, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg/Harlingen/Brownsville, TX, USA.

Insulin is an essential hormone that regulates glucose homeostasis and metabolism. Insulin resistance (IR) arises when tissues fail to respond to insulin, and it leads to serious health problems including Type 2 Diabetes (T2D). Obesity is a major contributor to the development of IR and T2D. We previously showed that gene expression of alcohol dehydrogenase 1B (ADH1B) was inversely correlated with obesity and IR in subcutaneous adipose tissue of Mexican Americans. In the current study, a meta-analysis of the relationship between ADH1B expression and BMI in Mexican Americans, African Americans, Europeans, and Pima Indians verified that BMI was increased with decreased ADH1B expression. Using established human subcutaneous pre-adipocyte cell lines derived from lean (BMI < 30 kg m) or obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg m) donors, we found that ADH1B protein expression increased substantially during differentiation, and overexpression of ADH1B inhibited fatty acid binding protein expression. Mature adipocytes from lean donors expressed ADH1B at higher levels than obese donors. Insulin further induced ADH1B protein expression as well as enzyme activity. Knockdown of ADH1B expression decreased insulin-stimulated glucose uptake. Our findings suggest that ADH1B is involved in the proper development and metabolic activity of adipose tissues and this function is suppressed by obesity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-80563-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7820614PMC
January 2021

Associations of cannabis use disorder with cognition, brain structure, and brain function in African Americans.

Hum Brain Mapp 2021 04 19;42(6):1727-1741. Epub 2020 Dec 19.

Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

Although previous studies have highlighted associations of cannabis use with cognition and brain morphometry, critical questions remain with regard to the association between cannabis use and brain structural and functional connectivity. In a cross-sectional community sample of 205 African Americans (age 18-70) we tested for associations of cannabis use disorder (CUD, n = 57) with multi-domain cognitive measures and structural, diffusion, and resting state brain-imaging phenotypes. Post hoc model evidence was computed with Bayes factors (BF) and posterior probabilities of association (PPA) to account for multiple testing. General cognitive functioning, verbal intelligence, verbal memory, working memory, and motor speed were lower in the CUD group compared with non-users (p < .011; 1.9 < BF < 3,217). CUD was associated with altered functional connectivity in a network comprising the motor-hand region in the superior parietal gyri and the anterior insula (p < .04). These differences were not explained by alcohol, other drug use, or education. No associations with CUD were observed in cortical thickness, cortical surface area, subcortical or cerebellar volumes (0.12 < BF < 1.5), or graph-theoretical metrics of resting state connectivity (PPA < 0.01). In a large sample collected irrespective of cannabis used to minimize recruitment bias, we confirm the literature on poorer cognitive functioning in CUD, and an absence of volumetric brain differences between CUD and non-CUD. We did not find evidence for or against a disruption of structural connectivity, whereas we did find localized resting state functional dysconnectivity in CUD. There was sufficient proof, however, that organization of functional connectivity as determined via graph metrics does not differ between CUD and non-user group.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25324DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7978126PMC
April 2021

Loss-of-function genomic variants highlight potential therapeutic targets for cardiovascular disease.

Nat Commun 2020 12 18;11(1):6417. Epub 2020 Dec 18.

The Institute for Translational Genomics and Population Sciences, Department of Pediatrics and Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, Harbor-UCLA, Torrance, CA, USA.

Pharmaceutical drugs targeting dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease (CVD) may increase the risk of fatty liver disease and other metabolic disorders. To identify potential novel CVD drug targets without these adverse effects, we perform genome-wide analyses of participants in the HUNT Study in Norway (n = 69,479) to search for protein-altering variants with beneficial impact on quantitative blood traits related to cardiovascular disease, but without detrimental impact on liver function. We identify 76 (11 previously unreported) presumed causal protein-altering variants associated with one or more CVD- or liver-related blood traits. Nine of the variants are predicted to result in loss-of-function of the protein. This includes ZNF529:p.K405X, which is associated with decreased low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (P = 1.3 × 10) without being associated with liver enzymes or non-fasting blood glucose. Silencing of ZNF529 in human hepatoma cells results in upregulation of LDL receptor and increased LDL uptake in the cells. This suggests that inhibition of ZNF529 or its gene product should be prioritized as a novel candidate drug target for treating dyslipidemia and associated CVD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-20086-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7749177PMC
December 2020

Inherited causes of clonal haematopoiesis in 97,691 whole genomes.

Nature 2020 10 14;586(7831):763-768. Epub 2020 Oct 14.

Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Age is the dominant risk factor for most chronic human diseases, but the mechanisms through which ageing confers this risk are largely unknown. The age-related acquisition of somatic mutations that lead to clonal expansion in regenerating haematopoietic stem cell populations has recently been associated with both haematological cancer and coronary heart disease-this phenomenon is termed clonal haematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP). Simultaneous analyses of germline and somatic whole-genome sequences provide the opportunity to identify root causes of CHIP. Here we analyse high-coverage whole-genome sequences from 97,691 participants of diverse ancestries in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Trans-omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) programme, and identify 4,229 individuals with CHIP. We identify associations with blood cell, lipid and inflammatory traits that are specific to different CHIP driver genes. Association of a genome-wide set of germline genetic variants enabled the identification of three genetic loci associated with CHIP status, including one locus at TET2 that was specific to individuals of African ancestry. In silico-informed in vitro evaluation of the TET2 germline locus enabled the identification of a causal variant that disrupts a TET2 distal enhancer, resulting in increased self-renewal of haematopoietic stem cells. Overall, we observe that germline genetic variation shapes haematopoietic stem cell function, leading to CHIP through mechanisms that are specific to clonal haematopoiesis as well as shared mechanisms that lead to somatic mutations across tissues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2819-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7944936PMC
October 2020

Role of miRNA-mRNA Interaction in Neural Stem Cell Differentiation of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Sep 23;21(19). Epub 2020 Sep 23.

Department of Human Genetics and South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, Brownsville, TX 78520, USA.

miRNA regulates the expression of protein coding genes and plays a regulatory role in human development and disease. The human iPSCs and their differentiated progenies provide a unique opportunity to identify these miRNA-mediated regulatory mechanisms. To identify miRNA-mRNA regulatory interactions in human nervous system development, well characterized NSCs were differentiated from six validated iPSC lines and analyzed for differentially expressed (DE) miRNome and transcriptome by RNA sequencing. Following the criteria, moderated statistics, FDR-corrected -value ≤ 0.05 and fold change-absolute (FC-abs) ≥2.0, 51 miRNAs and 4033 mRNAs were found to be significantly DE between iPSCs and NSCs. The miRNA target prediction analysis identified 513 interactions between 30 miRNA families (mapped to 51 DE miRNAs) and 456 DE mRNAs that were paradoxically oppositely expressed. These 513 interactions were highly enriched in nervous system development functions (154 mRNAs; FDR-adjusted -value range: 8.06 × 10-1.44 × 10). Furthermore, we have shown that the upregulated miR-10a-5p, miR-30c-5p, miR23-3p, miR130a-3p and miR-17-5p miRNA families were predicted to down-regulate several genes associated with the differentiation of neurons, neurite outgrowth and synapse formation, suggesting their role in promoting the self-renewal of undifferentiated NSCs. This study also provides a comprehensive characterization of iPSC-generated NSCs as dorsal neuroepithelium, important for their potential use in in vitro modeling of human brain development and disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21196980DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7582477PMC
September 2020

Dynamic incorporation of multiple in silico functional annotations empowers rare variant association analysis of large whole-genome sequencing studies at scale.

Nat Genet 2020 09 24;52(9):969-983. Epub 2020 Aug 24.

Department of Data Sciences, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.

Large-scale whole-genome sequencing studies have enabled the analysis of rare variants (RVs) associated with complex phenotypes. Commonly used RV association tests have limited scope to leverage variant functions. We propose STAAR (variant-set test for association using annotation information), a scalable and powerful RV association test method that effectively incorporates both variant categories and multiple complementary annotations using a dynamic weighting scheme. For the latter, we introduce 'annotation principal components', multidimensional summaries of in silico variant annotations. STAAR accounts for population structure and relatedness and is scalable for analyzing very large cohort and biobank whole-genome sequencing studies of continuous and dichotomous traits. We applied STAAR to identify RVs associated with four lipid traits in 12,316 discovery and 17,822 replication samples from the Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine Program. We discovered and replicated new RV associations, including disruptive missense RVs of NPC1L1 and an intergenic region near APOC1P1 associated with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-0676-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7483769PMC
September 2020

A White Matter Connection of Schizophrenia and Alzheimer's Disease.

Schizophr Bull 2021 01;47(1):197-206

Department of Psychiatry, Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.

Schizophrenia (SZ) is a severe psychiatric illness associated with an elevated risk for developing Alzheimer's disease (AD). Both SZ and AD have white matter abnormalities and cognitive deficits as core disease features. We hypothesized that aging in SZ patients may be associated with the development of cerebral white matter deficit patterns similar to those observed in AD. We identified and replicated aging-related increases in the similarity between white matter deficit patterns in patients with SZ and AD. The white matter "regional vulnerability index" (RVI) for AD was significantly higher in SZ patients compared with healthy controls in both the independent discovery (Cohen's d = 0.44, P = 1·10-5, N = 173 patients/230 control) and replication (Cohen's d = 0.78, P = 9·10-7, N = 122 patients/64 controls) samples. The degree of overlap with the AD deficit pattern was significantly correlated with age in patients (r = .21 and .29, P < .01 in discovery and replication cohorts, respectively) but not in controls. Elevated RVI-AD was significantly associated with cognitive measures in both SZ and AD. Disease and cognitive specificities were also tested in patients with mild cognitive impairment and showed intermediate overlap. SZ and AD have diverse etiologies and clinical courses; our findings suggest that white matter deficits may represent a key intersecting point for these 2 otherwise distinct diseases. Identifying mechanisms underlying this white matter deficit pattern may yield preventative and treatment targets for cognitive deficits in both SZ and AD patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbaa078DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7825012PMC
January 2021

Rapid, Phase-free Detection of Long Identity-by-Descent Segments Enables Effective Relationship Classification.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 04 19;106(4):453-466. Epub 2020 Mar 19.

Department of Computational Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA. Electronic address:

Identity-by-descent (IBD) segments are a useful tool for applications ranging from demographic inference to relationship classification, but most detection methods rely on phasing information and therefore require substantial computation time. As genetic datasets grow, methods for inferring IBD segments that scale well will be critical. We developed IBIS, an IBD detector that locates long regions of allele sharing between unphased individuals, and benchmarked it with Refined IBD, GERMLINE, and TRUFFLE on 3,000 simulated individuals. Phasing these with Beagle 5 takes 4.3 CPU days, followed by either Refined IBD or GERMLINE segment detection in 2.9 or 1.1 h, respectively. By comparison, IBIS finishes in 6.8 min or 7.8 min with IBD2 functionality enabled: speedups of 805-946× including phasing time. TRUFFLE takes 2.6 h, corresponding to IBIS speedups of 20.2-23.3×. IBIS is also accurate, inferring ≥7 cM IBD segments at quality comparable to Refined IBD and GERMLINE. With these segments, IBIS classifies first through third degree relatives in real Mexican American samples at rates meeting or exceeding other methods tested and identifies fourth through sixth degree pairs at rates within 0.0%-2.0% of the top method. While allele frequency-based approaches that do not detect segments can infer relationship degrees faster than IBIS, the fastest are biased in admixed samples, with KING inferring 30.8% fewer fifth degree Mexican American relatives correctly compared with IBIS. Finally, we ran IBIS on chromosome 2 of the UK Biobank dataset and estimate its runtime on the autosomes to be 3.3 days parallelized across 128 cores.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.02.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7118564PMC
April 2020

The genetic architecture of the human cerebral cortex.

Science 2020 03;367(6484)

The cerebral cortex underlies our complex cognitive capabilities, yet little is known about the specific genetic loci that influence human cortical structure. To identify genetic variants that affect cortical structure, we conducted a genome-wide association meta-analysis of brain magnetic resonance imaging data from 51,665 individuals. We analyzed the surface area and average thickness of the whole cortex and 34 regions with known functional specializations. We identified 199 significant loci and found significant enrichment for loci influencing total surface area within regulatory elements that are active during prenatal cortical development, supporting the radial unit hypothesis. Loci that affect regional surface area cluster near genes in Wnt signaling pathways, which influence progenitor expansion and areal identity. Variation in cortical structure is genetically correlated with cognitive function, Parkinson's disease, insomnia, depression, neuroticism, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aay6690DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7295264PMC
March 2020

Imaging local genetic influences on cortical folding.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2020 03 13;117(13):7430-7436. Epub 2020 Mar 13.

Department of Psychiatry, Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115.

Recent progress in deciphering mechanisms of human brain cortical folding leave unexplained whether spatially patterned genetic influences contribute to this folding. High-resolution in vivo brain MRI can be used to estimate genetic correlations (covariability due to shared genetic factors) in interregional cortical thickness, and biomechanical studies predict an influence of cortical thickness on folding patterns. However, progress has been hampered because shared genetic influences related to folding patterns likely operate at a scale that is much more local (<1 cm) than that addressed in prior imaging studies. Here, we develop methodological approaches to examine local genetic influences on cortical thickness and apply these methods to two large, independent samples. We find that such influences are markedly heterogeneous in strength, and in some cortical areas are notably stronger in specific orientations relative to gyri or sulci. The overall, phenotypic local correlation has a significant basis in shared genetic factors and is highly symmetric between left and right cortical hemispheres. Furthermore, the degree of local cortical folding relates systematically with the strength of local correlations, which tends to be higher in gyral crests and lower in sulcal fundi. The relationship between folding and local correlations is stronger in primary sensorimotor areas and weaker in association areas such as prefrontal cortex, consistent with reduced genetic constraints on the structural topology of association cortex. Collectively, our results suggest that patterned genetic influences on cortical thickness, measurable at the scale of in vivo MRI, may be a causal factor in the development of cortical folding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1912064117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7132284PMC
March 2020

Minimal Relationship between Local Gyrification and General Cognitive Ability in Humans.

Cereb Cortex 2020 05;30(6):3439-3450

Department of Psychiatry, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Previous studies suggest that gyrification is associated with superior cognitive abilities in humans, but the strength of this relationship remains unclear. Here, in two samples of related individuals (total N = 2882), we calculated an index of local gyrification (LGI) at thousands of cortical surface points using structural brain images and an index of general cognitive ability (g) using performance on cognitive tests. Replicating previous studies, we found that phenotypic and genetic LGI-g correlations were positive and statistically significant in many cortical regions. However, all LGI-g correlations in both samples were extremely weak, regardless of whether they were significant or nonsignificant. For example, the median phenotypic LGI-g correlation was 0.05 in one sample and 0.10 in the other. These correlations were even weaker after adjusting for confounding neuroanatomical variables (intracranial volume and local cortical surface area). Furthermore, when all LGIs were considered together, at least 89% of the phenotypic variance of g remained unaccounted for. We conclude that the association between LGI and g is too weak to have profound implications for our understanding of the neurobiology of intelligence. This study highlights potential issues when focusing heavily on statistical significance rather than effect sizes in large-scale observational neuroimaging studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhz319DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7233007PMC
May 2020

Neurocognitive impairment in type 2 diabetes: evidence for shared genetic aetiology.

Diabetologia 2020 05 4;63(5):977-986. Epub 2020 Feb 4.

Department of Psychiatry, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 1 Autumn Street, BCH 3428, Boston, MA, 02115, USA.

Aims/hypothesis: Type 2 diabetes is associated with cognitive impairments, but it is unclear whether common genetic factors influence both type 2 diabetes risk and cognition.

Methods: Using data from 1892 Mexican-American individuals from extended pedigrees, including 402 with type 2 diabetes, we examined possible pleiotropy between type 2 diabetes and cognitive functioning, as measured by a comprehensive neuropsychological test battery.

Results: Negative phenotypic correlations (ρ) were observed between type 2 diabetes and measures of attention (Continuous Performance Test [CPT d']: ρ = -0.143, p = 0.001), verbal memory (California Verbal Learning Test [CVLT] recall: ρ = -0.111, p = 0.004) and face memory (Penn Face Memory Test [PFMT]: ρ = -0.127, p = 0.002; PFMT Delayed: ρ = -0.148, p = 2 × 10), replicating findings of cognitive impairment in type 2 diabetes. Negative genetic correlations (ρ) were also observed between type 2 diabetes and measures of attention (CPT d': ρ = -0.401, p = 0.001), working memory (digit span backward test: ρ = -0.380, p = 0.005), and face memory (PFMT: ρ = -0.476, p = 2 × 10; PFMT Delayed: ρ = -0.376, p = 0.005), suggesting that the same genetic factors underlying risk for type 2 diabetes also influence poor cognitive performance in these domains. Performance in these domains was also associated with type 2 diabetes risk using an endophenotype ranking value approach. Specifically, on measures of attention (CPT d': β = -0.219, p = 0.005), working memory (digit span backward: β = -0.326, p = 0.035), and face memory (PFMT: β = -0.171, p = 0.023; PFMT Delayed: β = -0.215, p = 0.005), individuals with type 2 diabetes showed the lowest performance, while unaffected/unrelated individuals showed the highest performance, and those related to an individual with type 2 diabetes performed at an intermediate level.

Conclusions/interpretation: These findings suggest that cognitive impairment may be a useful endophenotype of type 2 diabetes and, therefore, help to elucidate the pathophysiological underpinnings of this chronic disease.

Data Availability: The data analysed in this study is available in dbGaP: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/projects/gap/cgi-bin/study.cgi?study_id=phs001215.v2.p2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00125-020-05101-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7150650PMC
May 2020
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