Publications by authors named "Linda Broer"

88 Publications

Genetic insights into biological mechanisms governing human ovarian ageing.

Nature 2021 08 4;596(7872):393-397. Epub 2021 Aug 4.

Genome Integrity and Instability Group, Institut de Biotecnologia i Biomedicina, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain.

Reproductive longevity is essential for fertility and influences healthy ageing in women, but insights into its underlying biological mechanisms and treatments to preserve it are limited. Here we identify 290 genetic determinants of ovarian ageing, assessed using normal variation in age at natural menopause (ANM) in about 200,000 women of European ancestry. These common alleles were associated with clinical extremes of ANM; women in the top 1% of genetic susceptibility have an equivalent risk of premature ovarian insufficiency to those carrying monogenic FMR1 premutations. The identified loci implicate a broad range of DNA damage response (DDR) processes and include loss-of-function variants in key DDR-associated genes. Integration with experimental models demonstrates that these DDR processes act across the life-course to shape the ovarian reserve and its rate of depletion. Furthermore, we demonstrate that experimental manipulation of DDR pathways highlighted by human genetics increases fertility and extends reproductive life in mice. Causal inference analyses using the identified genetic variants indicate that extending reproductive life in women improves bone health and reduces risk of type 2 diabetes, but increases the risk of hormone-sensitive cancers. These findings provide insight into the mechanisms that govern ovarian ageing, when they act, and how they might be targeted by therapeutic approaches to extend fertility and prevent disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03779-7DOI Listing
August 2021

Genome-wide association studies identify 137 genetic loci for DNA methylation biomarkers of aging.

Genome Biol 2021 06 29;22(1):194. Epub 2021 Jun 29.

Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine, McGovern Medical School, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX, USA.

Background: Biological aging estimators derived from DNA methylation data are heritable and correlate with morbidity and mortality. Consequently, identification of genetic and environmental contributors to the variation in these measures in populations has become a major goal in the field.

Results: Leveraging DNA methylation and SNP data from more than 40,000 individuals, we identify 137 genome-wide significant loci, of which 113 are novel, from genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analyses of four epigenetic clocks and epigenetic surrogate markers for granulocyte proportions and plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 levels, respectively. We find evidence for shared genetic loci associated with the Horvath clock and expression of transcripts encoding genes linked to lipid metabolism and immune function. Notably, these loci are independent of those reported to regulate DNA methylation levels at constituent clock CpGs. A polygenic score for GrimAge acceleration showed strong associations with adiposity-related traits, educational attainment, parental longevity, and C-reactive protein levels.

Conclusion: This study illuminates the genetic architecture underlying epigenetic aging and its shared genetic contributions with lifestyle factors and longevity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13059-021-02398-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8243879PMC
June 2021

A comparison of genotyping arrays.

Eur J Hum Genet 2021 Jun 18. Epub 2021 Jun 18.

Department of Internal Medicine, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Array technology to genotype single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) is widely used in genome-wide association studies (GWAS), clinical diagnostics, and linkage studies. Arrays have undergone a tremendous growth in both number and content over recent years making a comprehensive comparison all the more important. We have compared 28 genotyping arrays on their overall content, genome-wide coverage, imputation quality, presence of known GWAS loci, mtDNA variants and clinically relevant genes (i.e., American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) actionable genes, pharmacogenetic genes, human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes and SNV density). Our comparison shows that genome-wide coverage is highly correlated with the number of SNVs on the array but does not correlate with imputation quality, which is the main determinant of GWAS usability. Average imputation quality for all tested arrays was similar for European and African populations, indicating that this is not a good criterion for choosing a genotyping array. Rather, the additional content on the array, such as pharmacogenetics or HLA variants, should be the deciding factor. As the research question of a study will in large part determine which class of genes are of interest, there is not just one perfect array for all different research questions. This study can thus help as a guideline to determine which array best suits a study's requirements.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-021-00917-7DOI Listing
June 2021

Possible modification of BRSK1 on the risk of alkylating chemotherapy-related reduced ovarian function.

Hum Reprod 2021 03;36(4):1120-1133

German Childhood Cancer Registry, Institute of Medical Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics, University Medical Center, Mainz, Germany.

Study Question: Do genetic variations in the DNA damage response pathway modify the adverse effect of alkylating agents on ovarian function in female childhood cancer survivors (CCS)?

Summary Answer: Female CCS carrying a common BR serine/threonine kinase 1 (BRSK1) gene variant appear to be at 2.5-fold increased odds of reduced ovarian function after treatment with high doses of alkylating chemotherapy.

What Is Known Already: Female CCS show large inter-individual variability in the impact of DNA-damaging alkylating chemotherapy, given as treatment of childhood cancer, on adult ovarian function. Genetic variants in DNA repair genes affecting ovarian function might explain this variability.

Study Design, Size, Duration: CCS for the discovery cohort were identified from the Dutch Childhood Oncology Group (DCOG) LATER VEVO-study, a multi-centre retrospective cohort study evaluating fertility, ovarian reserve and risk of premature menopause among adult female 5-year survivors of childhood cancer. Female 5-year CCS, diagnosed with cancer and treated with chemotherapy before the age of 25 years, and aged 18 years or older at time of study were enrolled in the current study. Results from the discovery Dutch DCOG-LATER VEVO cohort (n = 285) were validated in the pan-European PanCareLIFE (n = 465) and the USA-based St. Jude Lifetime Cohort (n = 391).

Participants/materials, Setting, Methods: To evaluate ovarian function, anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) levels were assessed in both the discovery cohort and the replication cohorts. Using additive genetic models in linear and logistic regression, five genetic variants involved in DNA damage response were analysed in relation to cyclophosphamide equivalent dose (CED) score and their impact on ovarian function. Results were then examined using fixed-effect meta-analysis.

Main Results And The Role Of Chance: Meta-analysis across the three independent cohorts showed a significant interaction effect (P = 3.0 × 10-4) between rs11668344 of BRSK1 (allele frequency = 0.34) among CCS treated with high-dose alkylating agents (CED score ≥8000 mg/m2), resulting in a 2.5-fold increased odds of a reduced ovarian function (lowest AMH tertile) for CCS carrying one G allele compared to CCS without this allele (odds ratio genotype AA: 2.01 vs AG: 5.00).

Limitations, Reasons For Caution: While low AMH levels can also identify poor responders in assisted reproductive technology, it needs to be emphasized that AMH remains a surrogate marker of ovarian function.

Wider Implications Of The Findings: Further research, validating our findings and identifying additional risk-contributing genetic variants, may enable individualized counselling regarding treatment-related risks and necessity of fertility preservation procedures in girls with cancer.

Study Funding/competing Interest(s): This work was supported by the PanCareLIFE project that has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 602030. In addition, the DCOG-LATER VEVO study was funded by the Dutch Cancer Society (Grant no. VU 2006-3622) and by the Children Cancer Free Foundation (Project no. 20) and the St Jude Lifetime cohort study by NCI U01 CA195547. The authors declare no competing interests.

Trial Registration Number: N/A.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/humrep/deaa342DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7970730PMC
March 2021

Genome-wide association of phenotypes based on clustering patterns of hand osteoarthritis identify as novel osteoarthritis gene.

Ann Rheum Dis 2020 Oct 14. Epub 2020 Oct 14.

Department of Internal Medicine, Genetic Laboratories, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Background: Despite recent advances in the understanding of the genetic architecture of osteoarthritis (OA), only two genetic loci have been identified for OA of the hand, in part explained by the complexity of the different hand joints and heterogeneity of OA pathology.

Methods: We used data from the Rotterdam Study (RSI, RSII and RSIII) to create three hand OA phenotypes based on clustering patterns of radiographic OA severity to increase power in our modest discovery genome-wide association studies in the RS (n=8700), and sought replication in an independent cohort, the Framingham Heart Study (n=1203). We used multiple approaches that leverage different levels of information and functional data to further investigate the underlying biological mechanisms and candidate genes for replicated loci. We also attempted to replicate known OA loci at other joint sites, including the hips and knees.

Results: We found two novel genome-wide significant loci for OA in the thumb joints. We identified as a possible novel causal gene involved in OA pathogenesis. Furthermore, several previously identified genetic loci for OA seem to confer risk for OA across multiple joints: , , , , and loci.

Conclusions: We identified a robust novel genetic locus for hand OA on chromosome 1, of which is the most likely causal gene. In addition, multiple genetic loci were identified to be associated with OA across multiple joints. Our study confirms the potential for novel insight into the genetic architecture of OA by using biologically meaningful stratified phenotypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/annrheumdis-2020-217834DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7892373PMC
October 2020

Short-Term, Combined Fasting and Exercise Improves Body Composition in Healthy Males.

Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2020 Nov 30;30(6):386-395. Epub 2020 Sep 30.

Università degli Studi della Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli".

Fasting enhances the beneficial metabolic outcomes of exercise; however, it is unknown whether body composition is favorably modified on the short term. A baseline-follow-up study was carried out to assess the effect of an established protocol involving short-term combined exercise with fasting on body composition. One hundred seven recreationally exercising males underwent a 10-day intervention across 15 fitness centers in the Netherlands involving a 3-day gradual decrease of food intake, a 3-day period with extremely low caloric intake, and a gradual 4-day increase to initial caloric intake, with daily 30-min submaximal cycling. Using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry analysis, all subjects substantially lost total body mass (-3.9 ± 1.9 kg; p < .001) and fat mass (-3.3 ± 1.3 kg; p < .001). Average lean mass was lost (-0.6 ± 1.5 kg; p < .001), but lean mass as a percentage of total body mass was not reduced. The authors observed a loss of -3.9 ± 1.9% android fat over total fat mass (p < .001), a loss of -2.2 ± 1.9% gynoid over total fat mass (p < .001), and reduced android/gynoid ratios (-0.05 ± 0.1; p < .001). Analyzing 15 preselected single-nucleotide polymorphisms in 13 metabolism-related genes revealed trending associations for thyroid state-related single-nucleotide polymorphisms rs225014 (deiodinase 2) and rs35767 (insulin-like growth factor1), and rs1053049 (PPARD). In conclusion, a short period of combined fasting and exercise leads to a substantial loss of body and fat mass without a loss of lean mass as a percentage of total mass.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1123/ijsnem.2020-0058DOI Listing
November 2020

Association of candidate pharmacogenetic markers with platinum-induced ototoxicity: PanCareLIFE dataset.

Data Brief 2020 Oct 24;32:106227. Epub 2020 Aug 24.

Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

Genetic association studies suggest a genetic predisposition for cisplatin-induced ototoxicity. Among other candidate genes, thiopurine methyltransferase () is considered a critical gene for susceptibility to cisplatin-induced hearing loss in a pharmacogenetic guideline. The PanCareLIFE cross-sectional cohort study evaluated the genetic associations in a large pan-European population and assessed the diagnostic accuracy of the genetic markers. 1,112 pediatric cancer survivors who had provided biomaterial for genotyping were screened for participation in the pharmacogenetic association study. 900 participants qualified for inclusion. Based on the assessment of original audiograms, patients were assigned to three phenotype categories: no, minor, and clinically relevant hearing loss. Fourteen variants in eleven candidate genes ( and ) were genotyped. The genotype and phenotype data represent a resource for conducting meta-analyses to derive a more precise pooled estimate of the effects of genes on the risk of hearing loss due to platinum treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dib.2020.106227DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7477761PMC
October 2020

Genetic Studies of Leptin Concentrations Implicate Leptin in the Regulation of Early Adiposity.

Diabetes 2020 12 11;69(12):2806-2818. Epub 2020 Sep 11.

Department of Biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA.

Leptin influences food intake by informing the brain about the status of body fat stores. Rare mutations associated with congenital leptin deficiency cause severe early-onset obesity that can be mitigated by administering leptin. However, the role of genetic regulation of leptin in polygenic obesity remains poorly understood. We performed an exome-based analysis in up to 57,232 individuals of diverse ancestries to identify genetic variants that influence adiposity-adjusted leptin concentrations. We identify five novel variants, including four missense variants, in , , , and , and one intergenic variant near The missense variant Val94Met (rs17151919) in was common in individuals of African ancestry only, and its association with lower leptin concentrations was specific to this ancestry ( = 2 × 10, = 3,901). Using in vitro analyses, we show that the Met94 allele decreases leptin secretion. We also show that the Met94 allele is associated with higher BMI in young African-ancestry children but not in adults, suggesting that leptin regulates early adiposity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/db20-0070DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7679778PMC
December 2020

Usefulness of current candidate genetic markers to identify childhood cancer patients at risk for platinum-induced ototoxicity: Results of the European PanCareLIFE cohort study.

Eur J Cancer 2020 10 6;138:212-224. Epub 2020 Sep 6.

Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland; Paediatric Oncology, Dept. of Paediatrics, Inselspital, University of Bern, Switzerland.

Background: Irreversible sensorineural hearing loss is a common side effect of platinum treatment with the potential to significantly impair the neurocognitive, social and educational development of childhood cancer survivors. Genetic association studies suggest a genetic predisposition for cisplatin-induced ototoxicity. Among other candidate genes, thiopurine methyltransferase (TPMT) is considered a critical gene for susceptibility to cisplatin-induced hearing loss in a pharmacogenetic guideline. The aim of this cross-sectional cohort study was to confirm the genetic associations in a large pan-European population and to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of the genetic markers.

Methods: Eligibility criteria required patients to be aged less than 19 years at the start of chemotherapy, which had to include cisplatin and/or carboplatin. Patients were assigned to three phenotype categories: no, minor and clinically relevant hearing loss. Fourteen variants in eleven candidate genes (ABCC3, OTOS, TPMT, SLC22A2, NFE2L2, SLC16A5, LRP2, GSTP1, SOD2, WFS1 and ACYP2) were investigated. Multinomial logistic regression was performed to model the relationship between genetic predictors and platinum ototoxicity, adjusting for clinical risk factors. Additionally, measures of the diagnostic accuracy of the genetic markers were determined.

Results: 900 patients were included in this study. In the multinomial logistic regression, significant unique contributions were found from SLC22A2 rs316019, the age at the start of platinum treatment, cranial radiation and the interaction term [platinum compound]∗[cumulative dose of cisplatin]. The predictive performance of the genetic markers was poor compared with the clinical risk factors.

Conclusions: PanCareLIFE is the largest study of cisplatin-induced ototoxicity to date and confirmed a role for the polyspecific organic cation transporter SLC22A2. However, the predictive value of the current genetic candidate markers for clinical use is negligible, which puts the value of clinical factors for risk assessment of cisplatin-induced ototoxicity back into the foreground.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.07.019DOI Listing
October 2020

The Polygenic and Monogenic Basis of Blood Traits and Diseases.

Cell 2020 09;182(5):1214-1231.e11

Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Science, National Institute on Aging/NIH, Baltimore, MD, 21224, USA.

Blood cells play essential roles in human health, underpinning physiological processes such as immunity, oxygen transport, and clotting, which when perturbed cause a significant global health burden. Here we integrate data from UK Biobank and a large-scale international collaborative effort, including data for 563,085 European ancestry participants, and discover 5,106 new genetic variants independently associated with 29 blood cell phenotypes covering a range of variation impacting hematopoiesis. We holistically characterize the genetic architecture of hematopoiesis, assess the relevance of the omnigenic model to blood cell phenotypes, delineate relevant hematopoietic cell states influenced by regulatory genetic variants and gene networks, identify novel splice-altering variants mediating the associations, and assess the polygenic prediction potential for blood traits and clinical disorders at the interface of complex and Mendelian genetics. These results show the power of large-scale blood cell trait GWAS to interrogate clinically meaningful variants across a wide allelic spectrum of human variation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.08.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7482360PMC
September 2020

Trans-ethnic and Ancestry-Specific Blood-Cell Genetics in 746,667 Individuals from 5 Global Populations.

Cell 2020 09;182(5):1198-1213.e14

Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology Research and Information Center (MAVERIC), VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA 02130, USA; Department of Medicine, Division on Aging, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA; Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Most loci identified by GWASs have been found in populations of European ancestry (EUR). In trans-ethnic meta-analyses for 15 hematological traits in 746,667 participants, including 184,535 non-EUR individuals, we identified 5,552 trait-variant associations at p < 5 × 10, including 71 novel associations not found in EUR populations. We also identified 28 additional novel variants in ancestry-specific, non-EUR meta-analyses, including an IL7 missense variant in South Asians associated with lymphocyte count in vivo and IL-7 secretion levels in vitro. Fine-mapping prioritized variants annotated as functional and generated 95% credible sets that were 30% smaller when using the trans-ethnic as opposed to the EUR-only results. We explored the clinical significance and predictive value of trans-ethnic variants in multiple populations and compared genetic architecture and the effect of natural selection on these blood phenotypes between populations. Altogether, our results for hematological traits highlight the value of a more global representation of populations in genetic studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.06.045DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7480402PMC
September 2020

Reduced penetrance of pathogenic ACMG variants in a deeply phenotyped cohort study and evaluation of ClinVar classification over time.

Genet Med 2020 11 15;22(11):1812-1820. Epub 2020 Jul 15.

Department of Internal Medicine, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Purpose: We studied the penetrance of pathogenically classified variants in an elderly Dutch population from the Rotterdam Study, for which deep phenotyping is available. We screened the 59 actionable genes for which reporting of known pathogenic variants was recommended by the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG), and demonstrate that determining what constitutes a known pathogenic variant can be quite challenging.

Methods: We defined "known pathogenic" as classified pathogenic by both ClinVar and the Human Gene Mutation Database (HGMD). In 2628 individuals, we performed exome sequencing and identified known pathogenic variants. We investigated the clinical records of carriers and evaluated clinical events during 25 years of follow-up for evidence of variant pathogenicity.

Results: Of 3815 variants detected in the 59 ACMG genes, 17 variants were considered known pathogenic. For 14/17 variants the ClinVar classification had changed over time. Of 24 confirmed carriers of these variants, we observed at least one clinical event possibly caused by the variant in only three participants (13%).

Conclusion: We show that the definition of "known pathogenic" is often unclear and should be approached carefully. Additionally variants marked as known pathogenic do not always have clinical impact on their carriers. Definition and classification of true (individual) expected pathogenic impact should be defined carefully.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-020-0900-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7605437PMC
November 2020

LC3-associated phagocytosis in myeloid cells, a fireman that restrains inflammation and liver fibrosis, via immunoreceptor inhibitory signaling.

Autophagy 2020 08 31;16(8):1526-1528. Epub 2020 May 31.

Centre de Recherche Sur l'Inflammation (CRI), INSERM, Université de Paris , Paris, France.

Control of systemic and hepatic inflammation, in particular originating from monocytes/macrophages, is crucial to prevent liver fibrosis and its progression to end-stage cirrhosis. LC3-associated phagocytosis (LAP) is a non-canonical form of autophagy that shifts the monocyte/macrophage phenotype to an anti-inflammatory phenotype. In a recent study, we uncovered LAP as a protective mechanism against inflammation-driven liver fibrosis and systemic inflammation in the context of cirrhosis. We observed that LAP is enhanced in blood and liver monocytes from patients with liver fibrosis or those who progress to cirrhosis. Combining studies in which LAP was pharmacologically or genetically inactivated, we found that LAP limits inflammation in monocytes from cirrhotic patients, and the hepatic inflammatory profile in mice with chronic liver injury, resulting in anti-fibrogenic effects. Mechanistically, LAP-induced anti-inflammatory and antifibrogenic signaling results from enhanced expression of the Fc immunoreceptor FCGR2A/FcγRIIA and activation of an FCGR2A-mediated PTPN6/SHP-1 anti-inflammatory pathway, leading to increased engulfment of IgG into LC3 phagosomes. In patients with cirrhosis progressing to multi-organ failure (acute-on chronic liver failure), LAP is lost in monocytes, and can be restored by targeting FCGR2A-mediated PTPN6/SHP-1 signaling. These data suggest that sustaining LAP may open novel therapeutic perspectives for patients with end-stage liver disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15548627.2020.1770979DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7469543PMC
August 2020

Exome Sequencing Analysis Identifies Rare Variants in and That Are Associated With Shorter Telomere Length.

Front Genet 2020 30;11:337. Epub 2020 Apr 30.

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

Telomeres are important for maintaining genomic stability. Telomere length has been associated with aging, disease, and mortality and is highly heritable (∼82%). In this study, we aimed to identify rare genetic variants associated with telomere length using whole-exome sequence data. We studied 1,303 participants of the Erasmus Rucphen Family (ERF) study, 1,259 of the Rotterdam Study (RS), and 674 of the British Heart Foundation Family Heart Study (BHF-FHS). We conducted two analyses, first we analyzed the family-based ERF study and used the RS and BHF-FHS for replication. Second, we combined the summary data of the three studies in a meta-analysis. Telomere length was measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction in blood. We identified nine rare variants significantly associated with telomere length (-value < 1.42 × 10, minor allele frequency of 0.2-0.5%) in the ERF study. Eight of these variants (in , , , , , and ) were located on chromosome 11q22.3 that contains , a gene involved in telomere maintenance. Although we were unable to replicate the variants in the RS and BHF-FHS (-value ≥ 0.21), segregation analysis showed that all variants segregate with shorter telomere length in a family. In the meta-analysis of all studies, a nominally significant association with LTL was observed with a rare variant in (- = 1.48 × 10), which has previously been associated with age. Additionally, a novel rare variant in the known locus showed suggestive evidence for association (-value = 1.18 × 10) with LTL. To conclude, we identified novel rare variants associated with telomere length. Larger samples size are needed to confirm these findings and to identify additional variants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2020.00337DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7204400PMC
April 2020

Rapid Low-Cost Microarray-Based Genotyping for Genetic Screening in Primary Immunodeficiency.

Front Immunol 2020 15;11:614. Epub 2020 Apr 15.

Department of Immunology, Laboratory Medical Immunology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Genetic tests for primary immunodeficiency disorders (PIDs) are expensive, time-consuming, and not easily accessible in developing countries. Therefore, we studied the feasibility of a customized single nucleotide variant (SNV) microarray that we developed to detect disease-causing variants and copy number variation (CNV) in patients with PIDs for only 40 Euros. Probes were custom-designed to genotype 9,415 variants of 277 PID-related genes, and were added to the genome-wide Illumina Global Screening Array (GSA). Data analysis of GSA was performed using Illumina GenomeStudio 2.0, Biodiscovery Nexus 10.0, and R-3.4.4 software. Validation of genotype calling was performed by comparing the GSA with whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data of 56 non-PID controls. DNA samples of 95 clinically diagnosed PID patients, of which 60 patients (63%) had a genetically established diagnosis (by Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) PID panels or Sanger sequencing), were analyzed to test the performance of the GSA. The additional SNVs detected by GSA were validated by Sanger sequencing. Genotype calling of the customized array had an accuracy rate of 99.7%. The sensitivity for detecting rare PID variants was high (87%). The single sample replication in two runs was high (94.9%). The customized GSA was able to generate a genetic diagnosis in 37 out of 95 patients (39%). These 37 patients included 29 patients in whom the genetic variants were confirmed by conventional methods (26 patients by SNV and 3 by CNV analysis), while in 8 patients a new genetic diagnosis was established (6 patients by SNV and 2 patients suspected for leukemia by CNV analysis). Twenty-eight patients could not be detected due to the limited coverage of the custom probes. However, the diagnostic yield can potentially be increased when newly updated variants are added. Our robust customized GSA seems to be a promising first-line rapid screening tool for PIDs at an affordable price, which opens opportunities for low-cost genetic testing in developing countries. The technique is scalable, allows numerous new genetic variants to be added, and offers the potential for genetic testing not only in PIDs, but also in many other genetic diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.00614DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7179678PMC
March 2021

LC3-associated phagocytosis protects against inflammation and liver fibrosis via immunoreceptor inhibitory signaling.

Sci Transl Med 2020 04;12(539)

Université de Paris, Centre de Recherche sur l'Inflammation (CRI), INSERM, U1149, CNRS, ERL 8252, F-75018 Paris, France.

Sustained hepatic and systemic inflammation, particularly originating from monocytes/macrophages, is a driving force for fibrosis progression to end-stage cirrhosis and underlies the development of multiorgan failure. Reprogramming monocyte/macrophage phenotype has emerged as a strategy to limit inflammation during chronic liver injury. Here, we report that LC3-associated phagocytosis (LAP), a noncanonical form of autophagy, protects against hepatic and systemic inflammation during chronic liver injury in rodents, with beneficial antifibrogenic effects. LAP is enhanced in blood and liver monocytes from patients with fibrosis and cirrhosis. Pharmacological inhibition of LAP components in human monocytes from patients with cirrhosis or genetic disruption of LAP in mice with chronic liver injury exacerbates both the inflammatory signature in isolated human monocytes and the hepatic inflammatory profile in mice, resulting in enhanced liver fibrosis. Mechanistically, patients with cirrhosis showed increased monocyte expression of Fc fragment of IgG receptor IIA (FcγRIIA) and enhanced engulfment of immunoglobulin G in LC3 phagosomes that triggers an FcγRIIA/Src homology region 2 domain-containing phosphatase-1 (SHP-1) inhibitory immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAMi) anti-inflammatory pathway. Mice overexpressing human FcγRIIA in myeloid cells show enhanced LAP in response to chronic liver injury and resistance to inflammation and liver fibrosis. Activation of LAP is lost in monocytes from patients with multiorgan failure and restored by specifically targeting ITAMi signaling with anti-FcγRIIA F(ab') fragments, or with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg). These data suggest the existence of an ITAMi-mediated mechanism by which LAP might protect against inflammation. Sustaining LAP may open therapeutic perspectives for patients with chronic liver disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aaw8523DOI Listing
April 2020

Genome-wide Association Analysis in Humans Links Nucleotide Metabolism to Leukocyte Telomere Length.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 03 27;106(3):389-404. Epub 2020 Feb 27.

Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Leicester, LE3 9QP, United Kingdom; NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, LE3 9QP, United Kingdom.

Leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is a heritable biomarker of genomic aging. In this study, we perform a genome-wide meta-analysis of LTL by pooling densely genotyped and imputed association results across large-scale European-descent studies including up to 78,592 individuals. We identify 49 genomic regions at a false dicovery rate (FDR) < 0.05 threshold and prioritize genes at 31, with five highlighting nucleotide metabolism as an important regulator of LTL. We report six genome-wide significant loci in or near SENP7, MOB1B, CARMIL1, PRRC2A, TERF2, and RFWD3, and our results support recently identified PARP1, POT1, ATM, and MPHOSPH6 loci. Phenome-wide analyses in >350,000 UK Biobank participants suggest that genetically shorter telomere length increases the risk of hypothyroidism and decreases the risk of thyroid cancer, lymphoma, and a range of proliferative conditions. Our results replicate previously reported associations with increased risk of coronary artery disease and lower risk for multiple cancer types. Our findings substantially expand current knowledge on genes that regulate LTL and their impact on human health and disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.02.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7058826PMC
March 2020

Probody Therapeutic Design of Zr-CX-072 Promotes Accumulation in PD-L1-Expressing Tumors Compared to Normal Murine Lymphoid Tissue.

Clin Cancer Res 2020 08 17;26(15):3999-4009. Epub 2020 Jan 17.

Department of Medical Oncology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.

Purpose: Probody therapeutic CX-072 is a protease-activatable antibody that is cross-reactive with murine and human programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1). CX-072 can be activated by proteases present in the tumor microenvironment, thereby potentially reducing peripheral, anti-PD-L1-mediated toxicities. To study its targeting of PD-L1-expressing tissues, we radiolabeled CX-072 with the PET isotope zirconium-89 (Zr).

Experimental Design: Zr-labeled CX-072, nonspecific Probody control molecule (PbCtrl) and CX-072 parental antibody (CX-075) were injected in BALB/c nude mice bearing human MDA-MB-231 tumors or C57BL/6J mice bearing syngeneic MC38 tumors. Mice underwent serial PET imaging 1, 3, and 6 days after intravenous injection (pi), followed by biodistribution. Intratumoral Zr-CX-072 distribution was studied by autoradiography on tumor tissue sections, which were subsequently stained for PD-L1 by IHC. Activated CX-072 species in tissue lysates were detected by Western capillary electrophoresis.

Results: PET imaging revealed Zr-CX-072 accumulation in MDA-MB-231 tumors with 2.1-fold higher tumor-to-blood ratios at 6 days pi compared with Zr-PbCtrl. Tumor tissue autoradiography showed high Zr-CX-072 uptake in high PD-L1-expressing regions. Activated CX-072 species were detected in these tumors, with 5.3-fold lower levels found in the spleen. Furthermore, Zr-CX-072 uptake by lymphoid tissues of immune-competent mice bearing MC38 tumors was low compared with Zr-CX-075, which lacks the Probody design.

Conclusions: Zr-CX-072 accumulates specifically in PD-L1-expressing tumors with limited uptake in murine peripheral lymphoid tissues. Our data may enable clinical evaluation of Zr-CX-072 whole-body distribution as a tool to support CX-072 drug development (NCT03013491).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-3137DOI Listing
August 2020

Telomere Length and the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease: The Rotterdam Study.

J Alzheimers Dis 2020 ;73(2):707-714

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

There is a wide interest in biomarkers that capture the burden of detrimental factors as these accumulate with the passage of time, i.e., increasing age. Telomere length has received considerable attention as such a marker, because it is easily quantified and it may aid in disentangling the etiology of dementia or serve as predictive marker. We determined the association of telomere length with risk of Alzheimer's disease and all-cause dementia in a population-based setting. Within the Rotterdam Study, we performed quantitative PCR to measure mean leukocyte telomere length in blood. We determined the association of telomere length with risk of Alzheimer's disease until 2016, using Cox regression models. Of 1,961 participants (mean age 71.4±9.3 years, 57.1% women) with a median follow-up of 8.3 years, 237 individuals were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. We found a U-shaped association between telomere length and risk of Alzheimer's disease: compared to the middle tertile the adjusted hazard ratio was 1.59 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.13-2.23) for the lowest tertile and 1.47 (1.03-2.10) for the highest tertile. Results were similarly U-shaped but slightly attenuated for all-cause dementia. In conclusion, shorter and longer telomere length are both associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease in the general population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-190759DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7029372PMC
November 2020

Associations of autozygosity with a broad range of human phenotypes.

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

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

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

Genetic variation of cisplatin-induced ototoxicity in non-cranial-irradiated pediatric patients using a candidate gene approach: The International PanCareLIFE Study.

Pharmacogenomics J 2020 04 31;20(2):294-305. Epub 2019 Oct 31.

Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Ototoxicity is a common side effect of platinum treatment and manifests as irreversible, high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss. Genetic association studies have suggested a role for SNPs in genes related to the disposition of cisplatin or deafness. In this study, 429 pediatric patients that were treated with cisplatin were genotyped for 10 candidate SNPs. Logistic regression analyses revealed that younger age at treatment (≤5 years vs >15 years: OR: 9.1; 95% CI: 3.8-21.5; P = 5.6 × 10) and higher cumulative dose of cisplatin (>450 vs ≤300 mg/m: OR: 2.4; 95% CI: 1.3-4.6; P = 0.007) confer a significant risk of ototoxicity. Of the SNPs investigated, none of them were significantly associated with an increase of ototoxicity. In the meta-analysis, ACYP2 rs1872328 (OR: 3.94; 95% CI: 1.04-14.03; P = 0.04) and SLC22A2 rs316019 (OR: 1.46; 95% CI: 1.07-2.00; P = 0.02) were associated with ototoxicity. In order to increase the understanding of the association between SNPs and ototoxicity, we propose a polygenic model, which takes into account multiple interacting genes of the cisplatin pathway that together confer an increased risk of ototoxicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41397-019-0113-1DOI Listing
April 2020

Genome-wide association meta-analysis identifies five novel loci for age-related hearing impairment.

Sci Rep 2019 10 23;9(1):15192. Epub 2019 Oct 23.

Department of Medicine, Surgery and Health Sciences, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy.

Previous research has shown that genes play a substantial role in determining a person's susceptibility to age-related hearing impairment. The existing studies on this subject have different results, which may be caused by difficulties in determining the phenotype or the limited number of participants involved. Here, we have gathered the largest sample to date (discovery n = 9,675; replication n = 10,963; validation n = 356,141), and examined phenotypes that represented low/mid and high frequency hearing loss on the pure tone audiogram. We identified 7 loci that were either replicated and/or validated, of which 5 loci are novel in hearing. Especially the ILDR1 gene is a high profile candidate, as it contains our top SNP, is a known hearing loss gene, has been linked to age-related hearing impairment before, and in addition is preferentially expressed within hair cells of the inner ear. By verifying all previously published SNPs, we can present a paper that combines all new and existing findings to date, giving a complete overview of the genetic architecture of age-related hearing impairment. This is of importance as age-related hearing impairment is highly prevalent in our ageing society and represents a large socio-economic burden.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-51630-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6811684PMC
October 2019

Metabolomics reveals a link between homocysteine and lipid metabolism and leukocyte telomere length: the ENGAGE consortium.

Sci Rep 2019 08 12;9(1):11623. Epub 2019 Aug 12.

Department of Biological Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Telomere shortening has been associated with multiple age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and dementia. However, the biological mechanisms responsible for these associations remain largely unknown. In order to gain insight into the metabolic processes driving the association of leukocyte telomere length (LTL) with age-related diseases, we investigated the association between LTL and serum metabolite levels in 7,853 individuals from seven independent cohorts. LTL was determined by quantitative polymerase chain reaction and the levels of 131 serum metabolites were measured with mass spectrometry in biological samples from the same blood draw. With partial correlation analysis, we identified six metabolites that were significantly associated with LTL after adjustment for multiple testing: lysophosphatidylcholine acyl C17:0 (lysoPC a C17:0, p-value = 7.1 × 10), methionine (p-value = 9.2 × 10), tyrosine (p-value = 2.1 × 10), phosphatidylcholine diacyl C32:1 (PC aa C32:1, p-value = 2.4 × 10), hydroxypropionylcarnitine (C3-OH, p-value = 2.6 × 10), and phosphatidylcholine acyl-alkyl C38:4 (PC ae C38:4, p-value = 9.0 × 10). Pathway analysis showed that the three phosphatidylcholines and methionine are involved in homocysteine metabolism and we found supporting evidence for an association of lipid metabolism with LTL. In conclusion, we found longer LTL associated with higher levels of lysoPC a C17:0 and PC ae C38:4, and with lower levels of methionine, tyrosine, PC aa C32:1, and C3-OH. These metabolites have been implicated in inflammation, oxidative stress, homocysteine metabolism, and in cardiovascular disease and diabetes, two major drivers of morbidity and mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-47282-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6690953PMC
August 2019

Exome-Derived Adiponectin-Associated Variants Implicate Obesity and Lipid Biology.

Am J Hum Genet 2019 07 6;105(1):15-28. Epub 2019 Jun 6.

The Institute for Translational Genomics and Population Sciences, Department of Pediatrics, LABioMed at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA 90502, USA.

Circulating levels of adiponectin, an adipocyte-secreted protein associated with cardiovascular and metabolic risk, are highly heritable. To gain insights into the biology that regulates adiponectin levels, we performed an exome array meta-analysis of 265,780 genetic variants in 67,739 individuals of European, Hispanic, African American, and East Asian ancestry. We identified 20 loci associated with adiponectin, including 11 that had been reported previously (p < 2 × 10). Comparison of exome array variants to regional linkage disequilibrium (LD) patterns and prior genome-wide association study (GWAS) results detected candidate variants (r > .60) spanning as much as 900 kb. To identify potential genes and mechanisms through which the previously unreported association signals act to affect adiponectin levels, we assessed cross-trait associations, expression quantitative trait loci in subcutaneous adipose, and biological pathways of nearby genes. Eight of the nine loci were also associated (p < 1 × 10) with at least one obesity or lipid trait. Candidate genes include PRKAR2A, PTH1R, and HDAC9, which have been suggested to play roles in adipocyte differentiation or bone marrow adipose tissue. Taken together, these findings provide further insights into the processes that influence circulating adiponectin levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.05.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6612516PMC
July 2019

Genetic Determinants of Ototoxicity During and After Childhood Cancer Treatment: Protocol for the PanCareLIFE Study.

JMIR Res Protoc 2019 Mar 19;8(3):e11868. Epub 2019 Mar 19.

Princess Maxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, Utrecht, Netherlands.

Background: Survival rates after childhood cancer now reach nearly 80% in developed countries. However, treatments that lead to survival and cure can cause serious adverse effects with lifelong negative impacts on survivor quality of life. Hearing impairment is a common adverse effect in children treated with cisplatin-based chemotherapy or cranial radiotherapy. Ototoxicity can extend from high-tone hearing impairment to involvement of speech frequencies. Hearing impairment can impede speech and language and neurocognitive development. Although treatment-related risk factors for hearing loss following childhood cancer treatment have been identified, the individual variability in toxicity of adverse effects after similar treatment between childhood cancer patients suggests a role for genetic susceptibility. Currently, 12 candidate gene approach studies have been performed to identify polymorphisms predisposing to platinum-induced ototoxicity in children being treated for cancer. However, results were inconsistent and most studies were underpowered and/or lacked replication.

Objective: We describe the design of the PanCareLIFE consortium's work packages that address the genetic susceptibility of platinum-induced ototoxicity.

Methods: As a part of the PanCareLIFE study within the framework of the PanCare consortium, we addressed genetic susceptibility of treatment-induced ototoxicity during and after childhood cancer treatment in a large European cohort by a candidate gene approach and a genome-wide association screening.

Results: This study included 1124 survivors treated with cisplatin, carboplatin, or cranial radiotherapy for childhood cancer, resulting in the largest clinical European cohort assembled for this late effect to date. Within this large cohort we defined a group of 598 cisplatin-treated childhood cancer patients not confounded by cranial radiotherapy. The PanCareLIFE initiative provided, for the first time, a unique opportunity to confirm already identified determinants for hearing impairment during childhood cancer using a candidate gene approach and set up the first international genome-wide association study of cisplatin-induced direct ototoxicity in childhood cancer patients to identify novel allelic variants. Results will be validated in an independent replication cohort. Patient recruitment started in January 2015 and final inclusion was October 2017. We are currently performing the analyses and the first results are expected by the end of 2019 or the beginning of 2020.

Conclusions: Genetic factors identified as part of this pan-European project, PanCareLIFE, may contribute to future risk prediction models that can be incorporated in future clinical trials of platinum-based therapies for cancer and may help with the development of prevention strategies.

International Registered Report Identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/11868.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/11868DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6444213PMC
March 2019

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

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

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

Body-fat distribution is a risk factor for adverse cardiovascular health consequences. We analyzed the association of body-fat distribution, assessed by waist-to-hip ratio adjusted for body mass index, with 228,985 predicted coding and splice site variants available on exome arrays in up to 344,369 individuals from five major ancestries (discovery) and 132,177 European-ancestry individuals (validation). We identified 15 common (minor allele frequency, MAF ≥5%) and nine low-frequency or rare (MAF <5%) coding novel variants. Pathway/gene set enrichment analyses identified lipid particle, adiponectin, abnormal white adipose tissue physiology and bone development and morphology as important contributors to fat distribution, while cross-trait associations highlight cardiometabolic traits. In functional follow-up analyses, specifically in Drosophila RNAi-knockdowns, we observed a significant increase in the total body triglyceride levels for two genes (DNAH10 and PLXND1). We implicate novel genes in fat distribution, stressing the importance of interrogating low-frequency and protein-coding variants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0334-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6560635PMC
March 2019

Disentangling the genetics of lean mass.

Am J Clin Nutr 2019 02;109(2):276-287

Icelandic Heart Association Holtasmari, Kopavogur, Iceland.

Background: Lean body mass (LM) plays an important role in mobility and metabolic function. We previously identified five loci associated with LM adjusted for fat mass in kilograms. Such an adjustment may reduce the power to identify genetic signals having an association with both lean mass and fat mass.

Objectives: To determine the impact of different fat mass adjustments on genetic architecture of LM and identify additional LM loci.

Methods: We performed genome-wide association analyses for whole-body LM (20 cohorts of European ancestry with n = 38,292) measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) or bioelectrical impedance analysis, adjusted for sex, age, age2, and height with or without fat mass adjustments (Model 1 no fat adjustment; Model 2 adjustment for fat mass as a percentage of body mass; Model 3 adjustment for fat mass in kilograms).

Results: Seven single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in separate loci, including one novel LM locus (TNRC6B), were successfully replicated in an additional 47,227 individuals from 29 cohorts. Based on the strengths of the associations in Model 1 vs Model 3, we divided the LM loci into those with an effect on both lean mass and fat mass in the same direction and refer to those as "sumo wrestler" loci (FTO and MC4R). In contrast, loci with an impact specifically on LM were termed "body builder" loci (VCAN and ADAMTSL3). Using existing available genome-wide association study databases, LM increasing alleles of SNPs in sumo wrestler loci were associated with an adverse metabolic profile, whereas LM increasing alleles of SNPs in "body builder" loci were associated with metabolic protection.

Conclusions: In conclusion, we identified one novel LM locus (TNRC6B). Our results suggest that a genetically determined increase in lean mass might exert either harmful or protective effects on metabolic traits, depending on its relation to fat mass.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqy272DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6500901PMC
February 2019
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