Publications by authors named "Joshua Bis"

233 Publications

Variant-specific inflation factors for assessing population stratification at the phenotypic variance level.

Nat Commun 2021 06 9;12(1):3506. Epub 2021 Jun 9.

Department of Biostatistics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.

In modern Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) epidemiological studies, participant-level data from multiple studies are often pooled and results are obtained from a single analysis. We consider the impact of differential phenotype variances by study, which we term 'variance stratification'. Unaccounted for, variance stratification can lead to both decreased statistical power, and increased false positives rates, depending on how allele frequencies, sample sizes, and phenotypic variances vary across the studies that are pooled. We develop a procedure to compute variant-specific inflation factors, and show how it can be used for diagnosis of genetic association analyses on pooled individual level data from multiple studies. We describe a WGS-appropriate analysis approach, implemented in freely-available software, which allows study-specific variances and thereby improves performance in practice. We illustrate the variance stratification problem, its solutions, and the proposed diagnostic procedure, in simulations and in data from the Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine Whole Genome Sequencing Program (TOPMed), used in association tests for hemoglobin concentrations and BMI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23655-2DOI Listing
June 2021

Common variants in Alzheimer's disease and risk stratification by polygenic risk scores.

Nat Commun 2021 06 7;12(1):3417. Epub 2021 Jun 7.

Servei de Neurologia, Hospital Universitari i Politècnic La Fe, Valencia, Spain.

Genetic discoveries of Alzheimer's disease are the drivers of our understanding, and together with polygenetic risk stratification can contribute towards planning of feasible and efficient preventive and curative clinical trials. We first perform a large genetic association study by merging all available case-control datasets and by-proxy study results (discovery n = 409,435 and validation size n = 58,190). Here, we add six variants associated with Alzheimer's disease risk (near APP, CHRNE, PRKD3/NDUFAF7, PLCG2 and two exonic variants in the SHARPIN gene). Assessment of the polygenic risk score and stratifying by APOE reveal a 4 to 5.5 years difference in median age at onset of Alzheimer's disease patients in APOE ɛ4 carriers. Because of this study, the underlying mechanisms of APP can be studied to refine the amyloid cascade and the polygenic risk score provides a tool to select individuals at high risk of Alzheimer's disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22491-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8184987PMC
June 2021

Meta-analysis of epigenome-wide association studies of carotid intima-media thickness.

Eur J Epidemiol 2021 Jun 6. Epub 2021 Jun 6.

Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, King's College London, London, UK.

Common carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) is an index of subclinical atherosclerosis that is associated with ischemic stroke and coronary artery disease (CAD). We undertook a cross-sectional epigenome-wide association study (EWAS) of measures of cIMT in 6400 individuals. Mendelian randomization analysis was applied to investigate the potential causal role of DNA methylation in the link between atherosclerotic cardiovascular risk factors and cIMT or clinical cardiovascular disease. The CpG site cg05575921 was associated with cIMT (beta = -0.0264, p value = 3.5 × 10) in the discovery panel and was replicated in replication panel (beta = -0.07, p value = 0.005). This CpG is located at chr5:81649347 in the intron 3 of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor repressor gene (AHRR). Our results indicate that DNA methylation at cg05575921 might be in the pathway between smoking, cIMT and stroke. Moreover, in a region-based analysis, 34 differentially methylated regions (DMRs) were identified of which a DMR upstream of ALOX12 showed the strongest association with cIMT (p value = 1.4 × 10). In conclusion, our study suggests that DNA methylation may play a role in the link between cardiovascular risk factors, cIMT and clinical cardiovascular disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10654-021-00759-zDOI Listing
June 2021

A System for Phenotype Harmonization in the NHLBI Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) Program.

Am J Epidemiol 2021 Apr 16. Epub 2021 Apr 16.

Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

Genotype-phenotype association studies often combine phenotype data from multiple studies to increase power. Harmonization of the data usually requires substantial effort due to heterogeneity in phenotype definitions, study design, data collection procedures, and data set organization. Here we describe a centralized system for phenotype harmonization that includes input from phenotype domain and study experts, quality control, documentation, reproducible results, and data sharing mechanisms. This system was developed for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine program, which is generating genomic and other omics data for >80 studies with extensive phenotype data. To date, 63 phenotypes have been harmonized across thousands of participants from up to 17 studies per phenotype (participants recruited 1948-2012). We discuss challenges in this undertaking and how they were addressed. The harmonized phenotype data and associated documentation have been submitted to National Institutes of Health data repositories for controlled-access by the scientific community. We also provide materials to facilitate future harmonization efforts by the community, which include (1) the code used to generate the 63 harmonized phenotypes, enabling others to reproduce, modify or extend these harmonizations to additional studies; and (2) results of labeling thousands of phenotype variables with controlled vocabulary terms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwab115DOI Listing
April 2021

Multi-ancestry genome-wide gene-sleep interactions identify novel loci for blood pressure.

Mol Psychiatry 2021 Apr 15. Epub 2021 Apr 15.

Department of Epidemiology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Long and short sleep duration are associated with elevated blood pressure (BP), possibly through effects on molecular pathways that influence neuroendocrine and vascular systems. To gain new insights into the genetic basis of sleep-related BP variation, we performed genome-wide gene by short or long sleep duration interaction analyses on four BP traits (systolic BP, diastolic BP, mean arterial pressure, and pulse pressure) across five ancestry groups in two stages using 2 degree of freedom (df) joint test followed by 1df test of interaction effects. Primary multi-ancestry analysis in 62,969 individuals in stage 1 identified three novel gene by sleep interactions that were replicated in an additional 59,296 individuals in stage 2 (stage 1 + 2 P < 5 × 10), including rs7955964 (FIGNL2/ANKRD33) that increases BP among long sleepers, and rs73493041 (SNORA26/C9orf170) and rs10406644 (KCTD15/LSM14A) that increase BP among short sleepers (P < 5 × 10). Secondary ancestry-specific analysis identified another novel gene by long sleep interaction at rs111887471 (TRPC3/KIAA1109) in individuals of African ancestry (P = 2 × 10). Combined stage 1 and 2 analyses additionally identified significant gene by long sleep interactions at 10 loci including MKLN1 and RGL3/ELAVL3 previously associated with BP, and significant gene by short sleep interactions at 10 loci including C2orf43 previously associated with BP (P < 10). 2df test also identified novel loci for BP after modeling sleep that has known functions in sleep-wake regulation, nervous and cardiometabolic systems. This study indicates that sleep and primary mechanisms regulating BP may interact to elevate BP level, suggesting novel insights into sleep-related BP regulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-021-01087-0DOI Listing
April 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

Multiomics integrative analysis identifies allele-specific blood biomarkers associated to Alzheimer's disease etiopathogenesis.

Aging (Albany NY) 2021 Apr 12;13(7):9277-9329. Epub 2021 Apr 12.

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.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia, currently affecting 35 million people worldwide. Apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele is the major risk factor for sporadic, late-onset AD (LOAD), which comprises over 95% of AD cases, increasing the risk of AD 4-12 fold. Despite this, the role of APOE in AD pathogenesis is still a mystery. Aiming for a better understanding of APOE-specific effects, the ADAPTED consortium analysed and integrated publicly available data of multiple OMICS technologies from both plasma and brain stratified by haplotype ( and ). Combining genome-wide association studies (GWAS) with differential mRNA and protein expression analyses and single-nuclei transcriptomics, we identified genes and pathways contributing to AD in both APOE dependent and independent fashion. Interestingly, we characterised a set of biomarkers showing plasma and brain consistent protein profiles and opposite trends in and AD cases that could constitute screening tools for a disease that lacks specific blood biomarkers. Beside the identification of APOE-specific signatures, our findings advocate that this novel approach, based on the concordance across OMIC layers and tissues, is an effective strategy for overcoming the limitations of often underpowered single-OMICS studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/aging.202950DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8064208PMC
April 2021

Genome-wide association study of circulating interleukin 6 levels identifies novel loci.

Hum Mol Genet 2021 Apr;30(5):393-409

Institute of Cardiovascular Science, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK.

Interleukin 6 (IL-6) is a multifunctional cytokine with both pro- and anti-inflammatory properties with a heritability estimate of up to 61%. The circulating levels of IL-6 in blood have been associated with an increased risk of complex disease pathogenesis. We conducted a two-staged, discovery and replication meta genome-wide association study (GWAS) of circulating serum IL-6 levels comprising up to 67 428 (ndiscovery = 52 654 and nreplication = 14 774) individuals of European ancestry. The inverse variance fixed effects based discovery meta-analysis, followed by replication led to the identification of two independent loci, IL1F10/IL1RN rs6734238 on chromosome (Chr) 2q14, (Pcombined = 1.8 × 10-11), HLA-DRB1/DRB5 rs660895 on Chr6p21 (Pcombined = 1.5 × 10-10) in the combined meta-analyses of all samples. We also replicated the IL6R rs4537545 locus on Chr1q21 (Pcombined = 1.2 × 10-122). Our study identifies novel loci for circulating IL-6 levels uncovering new immunological and inflammatory pathways that may influence IL-6 pathobiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddab023DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8098112PMC
April 2021

Cerebral small vessel disease genomics and its implications across the lifespan.

Nat Commun 2020 12 8;11(1):6285. Epub 2020 Dec 8.

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, Birmingham, AL, 35233, USA.

White matter hyperintensities (WMH) are the most common brain-imaging feature of cerebral small vessel disease (SVD), hypertension being the main known risk factor. Here, we identify 27 genome-wide loci for WMH-volume in a cohort of 50,970 older individuals, accounting for modification/confounding by hypertension. Aggregated WMH risk variants were associated with altered white matter integrity (p = 2.5×10-7) in brain images from 1,738 young healthy adults, providing insight into the lifetime impact of SVD genetic risk. Mendelian randomization suggested causal association of increasing WMH-volume with stroke, Alzheimer-type dementia, and of increasing blood pressure (BP) with larger WMH-volume, notably also in persons without clinical hypertension. Transcriptome-wide colocalization analyses showed association of WMH-volume with expression of 39 genes, of which four encode known drug targets. Finally, we provide insight into BP-independent biological pathways underlying SVD and suggest potential for genetic stratification of high-risk individuals and for genetically-informed prioritization of drug targets for prevention trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19111-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7722866PMC
December 2020

Discovery of rare variants associated with blood pressure regulation through meta-analysis of 1.3 million individuals.

Nat Genet 2020 12 23;52(12):1314-1332. Epub 2020 Nov 23.

Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Herlev, Denmark.

Genetic studies of blood pressure (BP) to date have mainly analyzed common variants (minor allele frequency > 0.05). In a meta-analysis of up to ~1.3 million participants, we discovered 106 new BP-associated genomic regions and 87 rare (minor allele frequency ≤ 0.01) variant BP associations (P < 5 × 10), of which 32 were in new BP-associated loci and 55 were independent BP-associated single-nucleotide variants within known BP-associated regions. Average effects of rare variants (44% coding) were ~8 times larger than common variant effects and indicate potential candidate causal genes at new and known loci (for example, GATA5 and PLCB3). BP-associated variants (including rare and common) were enriched in regions of active chromatin in fetal tissues, potentially linking fetal development with BP regulation in later life. Multivariable Mendelian randomization suggested possible inverse effects of elevated systolic and diastolic BP on large artery stroke. Our study demonstrates the utility of rare-variant analyses for identifying candidate genes and the results highlight potential therapeutic targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-00713-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7610439PMC
December 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catechol-O-Methyltransferase Genotype, Frailty, and Gait Speed in a Biracial Cohort of Older Adults.

J Am Geriatr Soc 2021 Feb 12;69(2):357-364. Epub 2020 Oct 12.

Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Objective: To examine whether the association between dopamine-related genotype and gait speed differs according to frailty status or race.

Design: Cross-sectional population-based study (Cardiovascular Health Study).

Setting: Multicenter study, four U.S. sites.

Participants: Volunteer community-dwelling adults aged 65 years and older, without evidence of Parkinson's disease (N = 3,744; 71 years; 82% White; 39% male).

Measurements: Gait speed (usual pace; m/s), physical frailty (Fried definition), and genetic polymorphism of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT; rs4680), an enzyme regulating tonic brain dopamine levels, were assessed. Interaction of COMT by frailty and by race predicting gait speed were tested, and, if significant, analyses were stratified. Multivariable regression models of COMT predicting gait speed were adjusted for demographics and locomotor risk factors. Sensitivity analyses were repeated, stratified by clinical cutoffs of gait speed (0.6 and 1.0 m/s) instead of frailty status.

Results: The interaction of COMT by frailty and COMT by race were P = .02 and P = .01, respectively. Compared with Met/Met (higher dopaminergic signaling), the Val/Val group (lower dopaminergic signaling) walked marginally more slowly in the full cohort (0.87 vs 0.89 m/s; P = .2). Gait speed differences were significant for frail (n = 220; 0.55 vs 0.63 m/s; P = .03), but not for prefrail (n = 1,691; 0.81 vs 0.81 m/s; P = .9) or nonfrail (n = 1,833; 0.98 vs 0.97 m/s; P = .7); results were similar in fully adjusted models. Among frail, associations were similar for Whites and Blacks, with statistical significance for Whites only. Associations stratified by clinical cutoffs of gait speed were not significant.

Conclusion: The association of dopamine-related genotype with gait speed is stronger among adults with frailty compared with those without frailty. The potential effects of dopaminergic signaling on preserving physical function in biracial cohorts of frail adults should be further examined.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jgs.16842DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7902408PMC
February 2021

Genetic correlations and genome-wide associations of cortical structure in general population samples of 22,824 adults.

Nat Commun 2020 09 22;11(1):4796. Epub 2020 Sep 22.

Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Cortical thickness, surface area and volumes vary with age and cognitive function, and in neurological and psychiatric diseases. Here we report heritability, genetic correlations and genome-wide associations of these cortical measures across the whole cortex, and in 34 anatomically predefined regions. Our discovery sample comprises 22,824 individuals from 20 cohorts within the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) consortium and the UK Biobank. We identify genetic heterogeneity between cortical measures and brain regions, and 160 genome-wide significant associations pointing to wnt/β-catenin, TGF-β and sonic hedgehog pathways. There is enrichment for genes involved in anthropometric traits, hindbrain development, vascular and neurodegenerative disease and psychiatric conditions. These data are a rich resource for studies of the biological mechanisms behind cortical development and aging.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18367-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7508833PMC
September 2020

Genome-Wide Association Study Meta-Analysis of Stroke in 22 000 Individuals of African Descent Identifies Novel Associations With Stroke.

Stroke 2020 08 22;51(8):2454-2463. Epub 2020 Jul 22.

Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC (C.D.L., C.L.).

Background And Purpose: Stroke is a complex disease with multiple genetic and environmental risk factors. Blacks endure a nearly 2-fold greater risk of stroke and are 2× to 3× more likely to die from stroke than European Americans.

Methods: The COMPASS (Consortium of Minority Population Genome-Wide Association Studies of Stroke) has conducted a genome-wide association meta-analysis of stroke in >22 000 individuals of African ancestry (3734 cases, 18 317 controls) from 13 cohorts.

Results: In meta-analyses, we identified one single nucleotide polymorphism (rs55931441) near the gene that reached genome-wide significance (=4.62×10) and an additional 29 variants with suggestive evidence of association (<1×10), representing 24 unique loci. For validation, a look-up analysis for a 100 kb region flanking the COMPASS single nucleotide polymorphism was performed in SiGN (Stroke Genetics Network) Europeans, SiGN Hispanics, and METASTROKE (Europeans). Using a stringent Bonferroni correction value of 2.08×10 (0.05/24 unique loci), we were able to validate associations at the locus in both SiGN (=8.18×10) and METASTROKE (=1.72×10) European populations. Overall, 16 of 24 loci showed evidence for validation across multiple populations. Previous studies have reported associations between variants in the gene and lipids, C-reactive protein, and risk of coronary artery disease and stroke. Suggestive associations with variants in the and genes represent potential novel ischemic stroke loci.

Conclusions: These findings represent the most thorough investigation of genetic determinants of stroke in individuals of African descent, to date.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.120.029123DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7387190PMC
August 2020

Twenty-seven-year time trends in dementia incidence in Europe and the United States: The Alzheimer Cohorts Consortium.

Neurology 2020 08 1;95(5):e519-e531. Epub 2020 Jul 1.

From the Department of Epidemiology (F.J.W., L.B.C., R.W., D. Blacker, D. Bos, J.G., A.H.), Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA; Departments of Epidemiology (F.J.W., D. Bos, S.K.L.D., M.A.I., M.K.I., A.H.), Radiology and Nuclear Medicine (D. Bos), and Neurology (M.K.I.), Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Department of Neurology (L.B.C.), Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology (R.A., F.d.W., C. Hadjichrysanthou, K.M.-M., M.M.W.), School of Public Health, Imperial College London, UK; Neuropsychiatry and Epidemiology and Clinical Research (C. Berr), INSERM, UMR 1061 Montpellier, Universite de Montpellier, France; Boston University School of Medicine (A.B., M.P.P., C.L.S., S.S.); Framingham Heart Study (A.B., M.P.P., C.L.S., S.S.), MA; Department of Biostatistics (A.B., K.L.D.-P.), Boston University School of Public Health, MA; Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, Departments of Medicine (J.C.B., B.M.P.) and Epidemiology and Health Services (B.M.P.), University of Washington, Seattle; Department of Psychiatry (D. Blacker), Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown; University of Cambridge (C. Brayne), UK; Bordeaux Population Health Research Center (J.-F.D., S.D., C.D., L.G., C. Helmer), INSERM, UMR 1219, University of Bordeaux; Department of Neurology (S.D.), Memory Clinic, Bordeaux University Hospital, France; McGovern Medical School (M.F.), University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; Icelandic Heart Association (V.G.), Kopavogur; Faculty of Medicine (V.G.), University of Iceland, Reykjavik; Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology (E.J., S.K., I.S., H.W., A.Z.), Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden; Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health (L.H.K.), and Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry (O.L.L.), University of Pittsburgh, PA; Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Sciences (L.L., O.M.), National Institute on Aging, Bethesda, MD; Institute of Health and Society (F.E.M., B.C.M.S.), Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; MIND Center (T.H.M.), University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson; Melbourne Dementia Research Centre (M.P.P.), The Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health, Melbourne, Australia; Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (B.M.P.), Seattle; and The Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer's & Neurodegenerative Diseases (C.L.S., S.S.), UT Health San Antonio, TX.

Objective: To determine changes in the incidence of dementia between 1988 and 2015.

Methods: This analysis was performed in aggregated data from individuals >65 years of age in 7 population-based cohort studies in the United States and Europe from the Alzheimer Cohort Consortium. First, we calculated age- and sex-specific incidence rates for all-cause dementia, and then defined nonoverlapping 5-year epochs within each study to determine trends in incidence. Estimates of change per 10-year interval were pooled and results are presented combined and stratified by sex.

Results: Of 49,202 individuals, 4,253 (8.6%) developed dementia. The incidence rate of dementia increased with age, similarly for women and men, ranging from about 4 per 1,000 person-years in individuals aged 65-69 years to 65 per 1,000 person-years for those aged 85-89 years. The incidence rate of dementia declined by 13% per calendar decade (95% confidence interval [CI], 7%-19%), consistently across studies, and somewhat more pronouncedly in men than in women (24% [95% CI 14%-32%] vs 8% [0%-15%]).

Conclusion: The incidence rate of dementia in Europe and North America has declined by 13% per decade over the past 25 years, consistently across studies. Incidence is similar for men and women, although declines were somewhat more profound in men. These observations call for sustained efforts to finding the causes for this decline, as well as determining their validity in geographically and ethnically diverse populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000010022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7455342PMC
August 2020

Common Genetic Variation Indicates Separate Causes for Periventricular and Deep White Matter Hyperintensities.

Stroke 2020 07 10;51(7):2111-2121. Epub 2020 Jun 10.

Department of Psychiatry (C.F.-N.), University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA.

Background And Purpose: Periventricular white matter hyperintensities (WMH; PVWMH) and deep WMH (DWMH) are regional classifications of WMH and reflect proposed differences in cause. In the first study, to date, we undertook genome-wide association analyses of DWMH and PVWMH to show that these phenotypes have different genetic underpinnings.

Methods: Participants were aged 45 years and older, free of stroke and dementia. We conducted genome-wide association analyses of PVWMH and DWMH in 26,654 participants from CHARGE (Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology), ENIGMA (Enhancing Neuro-Imaging Genetics Through Meta-Analysis), and the UKB (UK Biobank). Regional correlations were investigated using the genome-wide association analyses -pairwise method. Cross-trait genetic correlations between PVWMH, DWMH, stroke, and dementia were estimated using LDSC.

Results: In the discovery and replication analysis, for PVWMH only, we found associations on chromosomes 2 (), 10q23.1 (), and 10q24.33 ( In the much larger combined meta-analysis of all cohorts, we identified ten significant regions for PVWMH: chromosomes 2 (3 regions), 6, 7, 10 (2 regions), 13, 16, and 17q23.1. New loci of interest include 7q36.1 () and 16q24.2. In both the discovery/replication and combined analysis, we found genome-wide significant associations for the 17q25.1 locus for both DWMH and PVWMH. Using gene-based association analysis, 19 genes across all regions were identified for PVWMH only, including the new genes: (2q32.1), (3q27.1), (5q27.1), and (22q13.1). Thirteen genes in the 17q25.1 locus were significant for both phenotypes. More extensive genetic correlations were observed for PVWMH with small vessel ischemic stroke. There were no associations with dementia for either phenotype.

Conclusions: Our study confirms these phenotypes have distinct and also shared genetic architectures. Genetic analyses indicated PVWMH was more associated with ischemic stroke whilst DWMH loci were implicated in vascular, astrocyte, and neuronal function. Our study confirms these phenotypes are distinct neuroimaging classifications and identifies new candidate genes associated with PVWMH only.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.119.027544DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7365038PMC
July 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

Global and Regional Development of the Human Cerebral Cortex: Molecular Architecture and Occupational Aptitudes.

Cereb Cortex 2020 06;30(7):4121-4139

Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics and Epidemiology, University of Leipzig, 04109 Leipzig, Germany.

We have carried out meta-analyses of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) (n = 23 784) of the first two principal components (PCs) that group together cortical regions with shared variance in their surface area. PC1 (global) captured variations of most regions, whereas PC2 (visual) was specific to the primary and secondary visual cortices. We identified a total of 18 (PC1) and 17 (PC2) independent loci, which were replicated in another 25 746 individuals. The loci of the global PC1 included those associated previously with intracranial volume and/or general cognitive function, such as MAPT and IGF2BP1. The loci of the visual PC2 included DAAM1, a key player in the planar-cell-polarity pathway. We then tested associations with occupational aptitudes and, as predicted, found that the global PC1 was associated with General Learning Ability, and the visual PC2 was associated with the Form Perception aptitude. These results suggest that interindividual variations in global and regional development of the human cerebral cortex (and its molecular architecture) cascade-albeit in a very limited manner-to behaviors as complex as the choice of one's occupation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhaa035DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7947185PMC
June 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

Allelic Heterogeneity at the CRP Locus Identified by Whole-Genome Sequencing in Multi-ancestry Cohorts.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 01 26;106(1):112-120. Epub 2019 Dec 26.

Human Genome Sequencing Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) can improve assessment of low-frequency and rare variants, particularly in non-European populations that have been underrepresented in existing genomic studies. The genetic determinants of C-reactive protein (CRP), a biomarker of chronic inflammation, have been extensively studied, with existing genome-wide association studies (GWASs) conducted in >200,000 individuals of European ancestry. In order to discover novel loci associated with CRP levels, we examined a multi-ancestry population (n = 23,279) with WGS (∼38× coverage) from the Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) program. We found evidence for eight distinct associations at the CRP locus, including two variants that have not been identified previously (rs11265259 and rs181704186), both of which are non-coding and more common in individuals of African ancestry (∼10% and ∼1% minor allele frequency, respectively, and rare or monomorphic in 1000 Genomes populations of East Asian, South Asian, and European ancestry). We show that the minor (G) allele of rs181704186 is associated with lower CRP levels and decreased transcriptional activity and protein binding in vitro, providing a plausible molecular mechanism for this African ancestry-specific signal. The individuals homozygous for rs181704186-G have a mean CRP level of 0.23 mg/L, in contrast to individuals heterozygous for rs181704186 with mean CRP of 2.97 mg/L and major allele homozygotes with mean CRP of 4.11 mg/L. This study demonstrates the utility of WGS in multi-ethnic populations to drive discovery of complex trait associations of large effect and to identify functional alleles in noncoding regulatory regions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.12.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7042494PMC
January 2020

Use of >100,000 NHLBI Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) Consortium whole genome sequences improves imputation quality and detection of rare variant associations in admixed African and Hispanic/Latino populations.

PLoS Genet 2019 12 23;15(12):e1008500. Epub 2019 Dec 23.

Genomics Platform, Broad Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America.

Most genome-wide association and fine-mapping studies to date have been conducted in individuals of European descent, and genetic studies of populations of Hispanic/Latino and African ancestry are limited. In addition, these populations have more complex linkage disequilibrium structure. In order to better define the genetic architecture of these understudied populations, we leveraged >100,000 phased sequences available from deep-coverage whole genome sequencing through the multi-ethnic NHLBI Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) program to impute genotypes into admixed African and Hispanic/Latino samples with genome-wide genotyping array data. We demonstrated that using TOPMed sequencing data as the imputation reference panel improves genotype imputation quality in these populations, which subsequently enhanced gene-mapping power for complex traits. For rare variants with minor allele frequency (MAF) < 0.5%, we observed a 2.3- to 6.1-fold increase in the number of well-imputed variants, with 11-34% improvement in average imputation quality, compared to the state-of-the-art 1000 Genomes Project Phase 3 and Haplotype Reference Consortium reference panels. Impressively, even for extremely rare variants with minor allele count <10 (including singletons) in the imputation target samples, average information content rescued was >86%. Subsequent association analyses of TOPMed reference panel-imputed genotype data with hematological traits (hemoglobin (HGB), hematocrit (HCT), and white blood cell count (WBC)) in ~21,600 African-ancestry and ~21,700 Hispanic/Latino individuals identified associations with two rare variants in the HBB gene (rs33930165 with higher WBC [p = 8.8x10-15] in African populations, rs11549407 with lower HGB [p = 1.5x10-12] and HCT [p = 8.8x10-10] in Hispanics/Latinos). By comparison, neither variant would have been genome-wide significant if either 1000 Genomes Project Phase 3 or Haplotype Reference Consortium reference panels had been used for imputation. Our findings highlight the utility of the TOPMed imputation reference panel for identification of novel rare variant associations not previously detected in similarly sized genome-wide studies of under-represented African and Hispanic/Latino populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1008500DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6953885PMC
December 2019

Association of CD14 with incident dementia and markers of brain aging and injury.

Neurology 2020 01 9;94(3):e254-e266. Epub 2019 Dec 9.

From the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (M.P.P.), Boston; Department of Neurology (J.J.H., A.S.B., C.L.S., H.J.A., S.S.), Boston University School of Medicine; Framingham Heart Study (M.P.P., J.J.H., A.S.B., C.D., E.R.M., C.L.S., H.J.A., D.L., S.S.), MA; Centre for Human Psychopharmacology (M.P.P.), Swinburne University of Technology; Melbourne Dementia Research Centre (M.P.P.), The Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health & The University of Melbourne, Australia; Department of Biostatistics (J.J.H., A.S.B.), Boston University School of Public Health, MA; Department of Neurology (C.D.), School of Medicine & Imaging of Dementia and Aging Laboratory, Center for Neuroscience, University of California Davis, Sacramento; Departments of Epidemiology (H.H.H.A.) and Radiology and Nuclear Medicine (H.H.H.A.), Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Department of Epidemiology (A.P.R., W.T.L., B.M.P.), Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (A.P.R.), Department of Neurology (W.T.L.), Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, Department of Medicine (B.M.P., J.C.B.), and Department of Health Services (B.M.P.), University of Washington, Seattle; Human Genetics Center, Department of Epidemiology (M.F.), Human Genetics & Environmental Sciences, School of Public Health (M.F.), and The Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine, Research Center for Human Genetics (M.F.), University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston; Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (R.P.T.) and Biochemistry (R.P.T.), Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont, Burlington; Department of Neurology (O.L.), School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, PA; Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (B.M.P.), Seattle; The Population Sciences Branch of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (D.L.), NIH, Bethesda, MD; Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer's and Neurodegenerative Diseases (S.S.), University of Texas Health Sciences Center, San Antonio; Department of Neurology (E.R.M.), Brigham & Women's Hospital; and Harvard Medical School (E.R.M.), Boston, MA.

Objective: To test the hypothesis that the inflammatory marker plasma soluble CD14 (sCD14) associates with incident dementia and related endophenotypes in 2 community-based cohorts.

Methods: Our samples included the prospective community-based Framingham Heart Study (FHS) and Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) cohorts. Plasma sCD14 was measured at baseline and related to the incidence of dementia, domains of cognitive function, and MRI-defined brain volumes. Follow-up for dementia occurred over a mean of 10 years (SD 4) in the FHS and a mean of 6 years (SD 3) in the CHS.

Results: We studied 1,588 participants from the FHS (mean age 69 ± 6 years, 47% male, 131 incident events) and 3,129 participants from the CHS (mean age 72 ± 5 years, 41% male, 724 incident events) for the risk of incident dementia. Meta-analysis across the 2 cohorts showed that each SD unit increase in sCD14 was associated with a 12% increase in the risk of incident dementia (95% confidence interval 1.03-1.23; = 0.01) following adjustments for age, sex, ε4 status, and vascular risk factors. Higher levels of sCD14 were associated with various cognitive and MRI markers of accelerated brain aging in both cohorts and with a greater progression of brain atrophy and a decline in executive function in the FHS.

Conclusion: sCD14 is an inflammatory marker related to brain atrophy, cognitive decline, and incident dementia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000008682DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7108812PMC
January 2020

Genetic architecture of subcortical brain structures in 38,851 individuals.

Nat Genet 2019 11 21;51(11):1624-1636. Epub 2019 Oct 21.

Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA.

Subcortical brain structures are integral to motion, consciousness, emotions and learning. We identified common genetic variation related to the volumes of the nucleus accumbens, amygdala, brainstem, caudate nucleus, globus pallidus, putamen and thalamus, using genome-wide association analyses in almost 40,000 individuals from CHARGE, ENIGMA and UK Biobank. We show that variability in subcortical volumes is heritable, and identify 48 significantly associated loci (40 novel at the time of analysis). Annotation of these loci by utilizing gene expression, methylation and neuropathological data identified 199 genes putatively implicated in neurodevelopment, synaptic signaling, axonal transport, apoptosis, inflammation/infection and susceptibility to neurological disorders. This set of genes is significantly enriched for Drosophila orthologs associated with neurodevelopmental phenotypes, suggesting evolutionarily conserved mechanisms. Our findings uncover novel biology and potential drug targets underlying brain development and disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0511-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7055269PMC
November 2019

Genome-Wide Association Study of Apparent Treatment-Resistant Hypertension in the CHARGE Consortium: The CHARGE Pharmacogenetics Working Group.

Am J Hypertens 2019 11;32(12):1146-1153

Robertson Center for Biostatistics, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.

Background: Only a handful of genetic discovery efforts in apparent treatment-resistant hypertension (aTRH) have been described.

Methods: We conducted a case-control genome-wide association study of aTRH among persons treated for hypertension, using data from 10 cohorts of European ancestry (EA) and 5 cohorts of African ancestry (AA). Cases were treated with 3 different antihypertensive medication classes and had blood pressure (BP) above goal (systolic BP ≥ 140 mm Hg and/or diastolic BP ≥ 90 mm Hg) or 4 or more medication classes regardless of BP control (nEA = 931, nAA = 228). Both a normotensive control group and a treatment-responsive control group were considered in separate analyses. Normotensive controls were untreated (nEA = 14,210, nAA = 2,480) and had systolic BP/diastolic BP < 140/90 mm Hg. Treatment-responsive controls (nEA = 5,266, nAA = 1,817) had BP at goal (<140/90 mm Hg), while treated with one antihypertensive medication class. Individual cohorts used logistic regression with adjustment for age, sex, study site, and principal components for ancestry to examine the association of single-nucleotide polymorphisms with case-control status. Inverse variance-weighted fixed-effects meta-analyses were carried out using METAL.

Results: The known hypertension locus, CASZ1, was a top finding among EAs (P = 1.1 × 10-8) and in the race-combined analysis (P = 1.5 × 10-9) using the normotensive control group (rs12046278, odds ratio = 0.71 (95% confidence interval: 0.6-0.8)). Single-nucleotide polymorphisms in this locus were robustly replicated in the Million Veterans Program (MVP) study in consideration of a treatment-responsive control group. There were no statistically significant findings for the discovery analyses including treatment-responsive controls.

Conclusion: This genomic discovery effort for aTRH identified CASZ1 as an aTRH risk locus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajh/hpz150DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6856621PMC
November 2019

A genome-wide association study identifies genetic loci associated with specific lobar brain volumes.

Commun Biol 2019 2;2:285. Epub 2019 Aug 2.

17Department of Biomedical Data Sciences, Statistical Genetics, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, 2333ZA the Netherlands.

Brain lobar volumes are heritable but genetic studies are limited. We performed genome-wide association studies of frontal, occipital, parietal and temporal lobe volumes in 16,016 individuals, and replicated our findings in 8,789 individuals. We identified six genetic loci associated with specific lobar volumes independent of intracranial volume. Two loci, associated with occipital (6q22.32) and temporal lobe volume (12q14.3), were previously reported to associate with intracranial and hippocampal volume, respectively. We identified four loci previously unknown to affect brain volumes: 3q24 for parietal lobe volume, and 1q22, 4p16.3 and 14q23.1 for occipital lobe volume. The associated variants were located in regions enriched for histone modifications ( and ), or close to genes causing Mendelian brain-related diseases ( and ). No genetic overlap between lobar volumes and neurological or psychiatric diseases was observed. Our findings reveal part of the complex genetics underlying brain development and suggest a role for regulatory regions in determining brain volumes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s42003-019-0537-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6677735PMC
April 2020