Publications by authors named "Mario Brosch"

37 Publications

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease stratification by liver lipidomics.

J Lipid Res 2021 Aug 10;62:100104. Epub 2021 Aug 10.

Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany. Electronic address:

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common metabolic dysfunction leading to hepatic steatosis. However, NAFLD's global impact on the liver lipidome is poorly understood. Using high-resolution shotgun mass spectrometry, we quantified the molar abundance of 316 species from 22 major lipid classes in liver biopsies of 365 patients, including nonsteatotic patients with normal or excessive weight, patients diagnosed with NAFL (nonalcoholic fatty liver) or NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis), and patients bearing common mutations of NAFLD-related protein factors. We confirmed the progressive accumulation of di- and triacylglycerols and cholesteryl esters in the liver of NAFL and NASH patients, while the bulk composition of glycerophospho- and sphingolipids remained unchanged. Further stratification by biclustering analysis identified sphingomyelin species comprising n24:2 fatty acid moieties as membrane lipid markers of NAFLD. Normalized relative abundance of sphingomyelins SM 43:3;2 and SM 43:1;2 containing n24:2 and n24:0 fatty acid moieties, respectively, showed opposite trends during NAFLD progression and distinguished NAFL and NASH lipidomes from the lipidome of nonsteatotic livers. Together with several glycerophospholipids containing a C22:6 fatty acid moiety, these lipids serve as markers of early and advanced stages of NAFL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jlr.2021.100104DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8488246PMC
August 2021

Sex-dependent dynamics of metabolism in primary mouse hepatocytes.

Arch Toxicol 2021 09 9;95(9):3001-3013. Epub 2021 Jul 9.

Faculty of Medicine, Rudolf-Schönheimer-Institute of Biochemistry, Leipzig University, Leipzig, Germany.

The liver is one of the most sexually dimorphic organs. The hepatic metabolic pathways that are subject to sexual dimorphism include xenobiotic, amino acid and lipid metabolism. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma are among diseases with sex-dependent prevalence, progression and outcome. Although male and female livers differ in their abilities to metabolize foreign compounds, including drugs, sex-dependent treatment and pharmacological dynamics are rarely applied in all relevant cases. Therefore, it is important to consider hepatic sexual dimorphism when developing new treatment strategies and to understand the underlying mechanisms in model systems. We isolated primary hepatocytes from male and female C57BL6/N mice and examined the sex-dependent transcriptome, proteome and extracellular metabolome parameters in the course of culturing them for 96 h. The sex-specific gene expression of the general xenobiotic pathway altered and the female-specific expression of Cyp2b13 and Cyp2b9 was significantly reduced during culture. Sex-dependent differences of several signaling pathways increased, including genes related to serotonin and melatonin degradation. Furthermore, the ratios of male and female gene expression were inversed for other pathways, such as amino acid degradation, beta-oxidation, androgen signaling and hepatic steatosis. Because the primary hepatocytes were cultivated without the influence of known regulators of sexual dimorphism, these results suggest currently unknown modulatory mechanisms of sexual dimorphism in vitro. The large sex-dependent differences in the regulation and dynamics of drug metabolism observed during cultivation can have an immense influence on the evaluation of pharmacodynamic processes when conducting initial preclinical trials to investigate potential new drugs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00204-021-03118-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8380230PMC
September 2021

Loss of hepatic Mboat7 leads to liver fibrosis.

Gut 2021 May 26;70(5):940-950. Epub 2020 Jun 26.

Department of General, Visceral, Vascular and Transplantation Surgery, University of Rostock, Rostock, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.

Objective: The rs641738C>T variant located near the membrane-bound O-acyltransferase domain containing 7 (MBOAT7) locus is associated with fibrosis in liver diseases, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), alcohol-related liver disease, hepatitis B and C. We aim to understand the mechanism by which the rs641738C>T variant contributes to pathogenesis of NAFLD.

Design: Mice with hepatocyte-specific deletion of MBOAT7 (Mboat7) were generated and livers were characterised by histology, flow cytometry, qPCR, RNA sequencing and lipidomics. We analysed the association of rs641738C>T genotype with liver inflammation and fibrosis in 846 NAFLD patients and obtained genotype-specific liver lipidomes from 280 human biopsies.

Results: Allelic imbalance analysis of heterozygous human liver samples pointed to lower expression of the MBOAT7 transcript on the rs641738C>T haplotype. Mboat7 mice showed spontaneous steatosis characterised by increased hepatic cholesterol ester content after 10 weeks. After 6 weeks on a high fat, methionine-low, choline-deficient diet, mice developed increased hepatic fibrosis as measured by picrosirius staining (p0.05), hydroxyproline content (p0.05) and transcriptomics, while the inflammatory cell populations and inflammatory mediators were minimally affected. In a human biopsied NAFLD cohort, MBOAT7 rs641738C>T was associated with fibrosis (p0.004) independent of the presence of histological inflammation. Liver lipidomes of Mboat7 mice and human rs641738TT carriers with fibrosis showed increased total lysophosphatidylinositol levels. The altered lysophosphatidylinositol and phosphatidylinositol subspecies in MBOAT7 livers and human rs641738TT carriers were similar.

Conclusion: Mboat7 deficiency in mice and human points to an inflammation-independent pathway of liver fibrosis that may be mediated by lipid signalling and a potentially targetable treatment option in NAFLD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-320853DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8040158PMC
May 2021

Genome-Wide Association Study for Alcohol-Related Cirrhosis Identifies Risk Loci in MARC1 and HNRNPUL1.

Gastroenterology 2020 10 16;159(4):1276-1289.e7. Epub 2020 Jun 16.

Medical Department 1, University Hospital Dresden, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany.

Background And Aims: Little is known about genetic factors that affect development of alcohol-related cirrhosis. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of samples from the United Kingdom Biobank (UKB) to identify polymorphisms associated with risk of alcohol-related liver disease.

Methods: We performed a GWAS of 35,839 participants in the UKB with high intake of alcohol against markers of hepatic fibrosis (FIB-4, APRI, and Forns index scores) and hepatocellular injury (levels of aminotransferases). Loci identified in the discovery analysis were tested for their association with alcohol-related cirrhosis in 3 separate European cohorts (phase 1 validation cohort; n=2545). Variants associated with alcohol-related cirrhosis in the validation at a false discovery rate of less than 20% were then directly genotyped in 2 additional European validation cohorts (phase 2 validation, n=2068).

Results: In the GWAS of the discovery cohort, we identified 50 independent risk loci with genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10). Nine of these loci were significantly associated with alcohol-related cirrhosis in the phase 1 validation cohort; 6 of these 9 loci were significantly associated with alcohol-related cirrhosis in phase 2 validation cohort, at a false discovery rate below 5%. The loci included variants in the mitochondrial amidoxime reducing component 1 gene (MARC1) and the heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein U like 1 gene (HNRNPUL1). After we adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, and type-2 diabetes in the phase 2 validation cohort, the minor A allele of MARC1:rs2642438 was associated with reduced risk of alcohol-related cirrhosis (adjusted odds ratio, 0.76; P=.0027); conversely, the minor C allele of HNRNPUL1:rs15052 was associated with an increased risk of alcohol-related cirrhosis (adjusted odds ratio, 1.30; P=.020).

Conclusions: In a GWAS of samples from the UKB, we identified and validated (in 5 European cohorts) single-nucleotide polymorphisms that affect risk of alcohol-related cirrhosis in opposite directions: the minor A allele in MARC1:rs2642438 decreases risk, whereas the minor C allele in HNRNPUL1:rs15052 increases risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2020.06.014DOI Listing
October 2020

SETDB1 is required for intestinal epithelial differentiation and the prevention of intestinal inflammation.

Gut 2021 03 5;70(3):485-498. Epub 2020 Jun 5.

Department of Medicine I, University Medical Center Dresden, Technische Universität (TU) Dresden, Dresden, Germany

Objective: The intestinal epithelium is a rapidly renewing tissue which plays central roles in nutrient uptake, barrier function and the prevention of intestinal inflammation. Control of epithelial differentiation is essential to these processes and is dependent on cell type-specific activity of transcription factors which bind to accessible chromatin. Here, we studied the role of SET Domain Bifurcated Histone Lysine Methyltransferase 1, also known as ESET (SETDB1), a histone H3K9 methyltransferase, in intestinal epithelial homeostasis and IBD.

Design: We investigated mice with constitutive and inducible intestinal epithelial deletion of , studied the expression of SETDB1 in patients with IBD and mouse models of IBD, and investigated the abundance of variants in healthy individuals and patients with IBD.

Results: Deletion of intestinal epithelial in mice was associated with defects in intestinal epithelial differentiation, barrier disruption, inflammation and mortality. Mechanistic studies showed that loss of SETDB1 leads to de-silencing of endogenous retroviruses, DNA damage and intestinal epithelial cell death. Predicted loss-of-function variants in human were considerably less frequently observed than expected, consistent with a critical role of SETDB1 in human biology. While the vast majority of patients with IBD showed unimpaired mucosal SETDB1 expression, comparison of IBD and non-IBD exomes revealed over-representation of individual rare missense variants in in IBD, some of which are predicted to be associated with loss of function and may contribute to the pathogenesis of intestinal inflammation.

Conclusion: SETDB1 plays an essential role in intestinal epithelial homeostasis. Future work is required to investigate whether rare variants in contribute to the pathogenesis of IBD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-321339DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7873423PMC
March 2021

Mutual Zonated Interactions of Wnt and Hh Signaling Are Orchestrating the Metabolism of the Adult Liver in Mice and Human.

Cell Rep 2019 12;29(13):4553-4567.e7

Rudolf-Schönheimer-Institute of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Leipzig University, Leipzig 04103, Germany. Electronic address:

The Hedgehog (Hh) and Wnt/β-Catenin (Wnt) cascades are morphogen pathways whose pronounced influence on adult liver metabolism has been identified in recent years. How both pathways communicate and control liver metabolic functions are largely unknown. Detecting core components of Wnt and Hh signaling and mathematical modeling showed that both pathways in healthy liver act largely complementary to each other in the pericentral (Wnt) and the periportal zone (Hh) and communicate mainly by mutual repression. The Wnt/Hh module inversely controls the spatiotemporal operation of various liver metabolic pathways, as revealed by transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome analyses. Shifting the balance to Wnt (activation) or Hh (inhibition) causes pericentralization and periportalization of liver functions, respectively. Thus, homeostasis of the Wnt/Hh module is essential for maintaining proper liver metabolism and to avoid the development of certain metabolic diseases. With caution due to minor species-specific differences, these conclusions may hold for human liver as well.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2019.11.104DOI Listing
December 2019

Shotgun lipidomics-based characterization of the landscape of lipid metabolism in colorectal cancer.

Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Biol Lipids 2020 03 30;1865(3):158579. Epub 2019 Nov 30.

Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden, Technische Universität (TU) Dresden, Dresden, Germany; Department of Medicine I, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus, Technische Universität (TU) Dresden, Dresden, Germany. Electronic address:

Solid tumors are characterized by global metabolic alterations which contribute to their growth and progression. Altered gene expression profiles and plasma lipid composition suggested a role for metabolic reprogramming in colorectal cancer (CRC) development. However, a conclusive picture of CRC-associated lipidome alterations in the tumor tissue has not emerged. Here, we determined molar abundances of 342 species from 20 lipid classes in matched biopsies of CRC and adjacent normal mucosa. We demonstrate that in contrast to previous reports, CRC shows a largely preserved lipidome composition that resembles that of normal colonic mucosa. Important exceptions include increased levels of lyso-phosphatidylinositols in CRC and reduced abundance of ether phospholipids in advanced stages of CRC. As such, our observations challenge the concept of widespread alterations in lipid metabolism in CRC and rather suggest changes in the cellular lipid profile that are limited to selected lipids involved in signaling and the scavenging of reactive oxygen species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbalip.2019.158579DOI Listing
March 2020

Three-dimensional spatially resolved geometrical and functional models of human liver tissue reveal new aspects of NAFLD progression.

Nat Med 2019 12 2;25(12):1885-1893. Epub 2019 Dec 2.

Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany.

Early disease diagnosis is key to the effective treatment of diseases. Histopathological analysis of human biopsies is the gold standard to diagnose tissue alterations. However, this approach has low resolution and overlooks 3D (three-dimensional) structural changes resulting from functional alterations. Here, we applied multiphoton imaging, 3D digital reconstructions and computational simulations to generate spatially resolved geometrical and functional models of human liver tissue at different stages of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We identified a set of morphometric cellular and tissue parameters correlated with disease progression, and discover profound topological defects in the 3D bile canalicular (BC) network. Personalized biliary fluid dynamic simulations predicted an increased pericentral biliary pressure and micro-cholestasis, consistent with elevated cholestatic biomarkers in patients' sera. Our spatially resolved models of human liver tissue can contribute to high-definition medicine by identifying quantitative multiparametric cellular and tissue signatures to define disease progression and provide new insights into NAFLD pathophysiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-019-0660-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6899159PMC
December 2019

Genome-wide association analysis of diverticular disease points towards neuromuscular, connective tissue and epithelial pathomechanisms.

Gut 2019 05 19;68(5):854-865. Epub 2019 Jan 19.

University of Exeter Medical School, University of Exeter, United Kingdom, Exeter, UK.

Objective: Diverticular disease is a common complex disorder characterised by mucosal outpouchings of the colonic wall that manifests through complications such as diverticulitis, perforation and bleeding. We report the to date largest genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify genetic risk factors for diverticular disease.

Design: Discovery GWAS analysis was performed on UK Biobank imputed genotypes using 31 964 cases and 419 135 controls of European descent. Associations were replicated in a European sample of 3893 cases and 2829 diverticula-free controls and evaluated for risk contribution to diverticulitis and uncomplicated diverticulosis. Transcripts at top 20 replicating loci were analysed by real-time quatitative PCR in preparations of the mucosal, submucosal and muscular layer of colon. The localisation of expressed protein at selected loci was investigated by immunohistochemistry.

Results: We discovered 48 risk loci, of which 12 are novel, with genome-wide significance and consistent OR in the replication sample. Nominal replication (p<0.05) was observed for 27 loci, and additional 8 in meta-analysis with a population-based cohort. The most significant novel risk variant rs9960286 is located near with a p value of 2.3×10 and 0.002 (OR=1.14 (95% CI 1.05 to 1.24)) in the replication analysis. Four loci showed stronger effects for diverticulitis, (OR 1.32, 95% CI 1.12 to 1.56), (OR 1.21, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.42), (OR 1.17, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.33) and (OR 1.17, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.33).

Conclusion: In silico analyses point to diverticulosis primarily as a disorder of intestinal neuromuscular function and of impaired connective fibre support, while an additional diverticulitis risk might be conferred by epithelial dysfunction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2018-317619DOI Listing
May 2019

Epigenomic map of human liver reveals principles of zonated morphogenic and metabolic control.

Nat Commun 2018 10 8;9(1):4150. Epub 2018 Oct 8.

Medical Department 1, University Hospital Dresden, Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden), Dresden, Germany.

A deeper epigenomic understanding of spatial organization of cells in human tissues is an important challenge. Here we report the first combined positional analysis of transcriptomes and methylomes across three micro-dissected zones (pericentral, intermediate and periportal) of human liver. We identify pronounced anti-correlated transcriptional and methylation gradients including a core of 271 genes controlling zonated metabolic and morphogen networks and observe a prominent porto-central gradient of DNA methylation at binding sites of 46 transcription factors. The gradient includes an epigenetic and transcriptional Wnt signature supporting the concept of a pericentral hepatocyte regeneration pathway under steady-state conditions. While donors with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease show consistent gene expression differences corresponding to the severity of the disease across all zones, the relative zonated gene expression and DNA methylation patterns remain unchanged. Overall our data provide a wealth of new positional insights into zonal networks controlled by epigenetic and transcriptional gradients in human liver.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-06611-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6175862PMC
October 2018

Aberrant DNA methylation of ADAMTS16 in colorectal and other epithelial cancers.

BMC Cancer 2018 Aug 6;18(1):796. Epub 2018 Aug 6.

Department of Dermatology and Allergology, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, University of Kiel, Rosalind-Franklin-Straße 7, 24105, Kiel, Germany.

Background: ADAMs (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase) have long been associated with tumor progression. Recent findings indicate that members of the closely related ADAMTS (ADAMs with thrombospondin motifs) family are also critically involved in carcinogenesis. Gene silencing through DNA methylation at CpG loci around e.g. transcription start or enhancer sites is a major mechanism in cancer development. Here, we aimed at identifying genes of the ADAM and ADAMTS family showing altered DNA methylation in the development or colorectal cancer (CRC) and other epithelial tumors.

Methods: We investigated potential changes of DNA methylation affecting ADAM and ADAMTS genes in 117 CRC, 40 lung cancer (LC) and 15 oral squamous-cell carcinoma (SCC) samples. Tumor tissue was analyzed in comparison to adjacent non-malignant tissue of the same patients. The methylation status of 1145 CpGs in 51 ADAM and ADAMTS genes was measured with the HumanMethylation450 BeadChip Array. ADAMTS16 protein expression was analyzed in CRC samples by immunohistochemistry.

Results: In CRC, we identified 72 CpGs in 18 genes which were significantly affected by hyper- or hypomethylation in the tumor tissue compared to the adjacent non-malignant tissue. While notable/frequent alterations in methylation patterns within ADAM genes were not observed, conspicuous changes were found in ADAMTS16 and ADAMTS2. To figure out whether these differences would be CRC specific, additional LC and SCC tissue samples were analyzed. Overall, 78 differentially methylated CpGs were found in LC and 29 in SCC. Strikingly, 8 CpGs located in the ADAMTS16 gene were commonly differentially methylated in all three cancer entities. Six CpGs in the promoter region were hypermethylated, whereas 2 CpGs in the gene body were hypomethylated indicative of gene silencing. In line with these findings, ADAMTS16 protein was strongly expressed in globlet cells and colonocytes in control tissue but not in CRC samples. Functional in vitro studies using the colorectal carcinoma cell line HT29 revealed that ADAMTS16 expression restrained tumor cell proliferation.

Conclusions: We identified ADAMTS16 as novel gene with cancer-specific promoter hypermethylation in CRC, LC and SCC patients implicating ADAMTS16 as potential biomarker for these tumors. Moreover, our results provide evidence that ADAMTS16 may have tumor suppressor properties.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12885-018-4701-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6080380PMC
August 2018

Heterozygous carriage of the alpha1-antitrypsin Pi*Z variant increases the risk to develop liver cirrhosis.

Gut 2019 06 1;68(6):1099-1107. Epub 2018 Aug 1.

Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endocrinology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

Objective: Homozygous alpha1-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency increases the risk for developing cirrhosis, whereas the relevance of heterozygous carriage remains unclear. Hence, we evaluated the impact of the two most relevant AAT variants ('Pi*Z' and 'Pi*S'), present in up to 10% of Caucasians, on subjects with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or alcohol misuse.

Design: We analysed multicentric case-control cohorts consisting of 1184 people with biopsy-proven NAFLD and of 2462 people with chronic alcohol misuse, both cohorts comprising cases with cirrhosis and controls without cirrhosis. Genotyping for the Pi*Z and Pi*S variants was performed.

Results: The Pi*Z variant presented in 13.8% of patients with cirrhotic NAFLD but only in 2.4% of counterparts without liver fibrosis (p<0.0001). Accordingly, the Pi*Z variant increased the risk of NAFLD subjects to develop cirrhosis (adjusted OR=7.3 (95% CI 2.2 to 24.8)). Likewise, the Pi*Z variant presented in 6.2% of alcohol misusers with cirrhosis but only in 2.2% of alcohol misusers without significant liver injury (p<0.0001). Correspondingly, alcohol misusers carrying the Pi*Z variant were prone to develop cirrhosis (adjusted OR=5.8 (95% CI 2.9 to 11.7)). In contrast, the Pi*S variant was not associated with NAFLD-related cirrhosis and only borderline with alcohol-related cirrhosis (adjusted OR=1.47 (95% CI 0.99 to 2.19)).

Conclusion: The Pi*Z variant is the hitherto strongest single nucleotide polymorphism-based risk factor for cirrhosis in NAFLD and alcohol misuse, whereas the Pi*S variant confers only a weak risk in alcohol misusers. As 2%-4% of Caucasians are Pi*Z carriers, this finding should be considered in genetic counselling of affected individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2018-316228DOI Listing
June 2019

Evolutionary Distance Predicts Recurrence After Liver Transplantation in Multifocal Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Transplantation 2018 10;102(10):e424-e430

Department of General, Visceral-, Thoracic-, Transplantation- and Pediatric Surgery, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Germany.

Background: Liver transplantation (LTx) is a potentially curative treatment option for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in cirrhosis. However, patients, where HCC is already a systemic disease, LTx may be individually harmful and has a negative impact on donor organ usage. Thus, there is a need for improved selection criteria beyond nodule morphology to select patients with a favorable outcome for LTx in multifocal HCC. Evolutionary distance measured from genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism data between tumor nodules and the cirrhotic liver may be a prognostic marker of survival after LTx for multifocal HCC.

Methods: In a retrospective multicenter study, clinical data and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded specimens of the liver and 2 tumor nodules were obtained from explants of 30 patients in the discovery and 180 patients in the replication cohort. DNA was extracted from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded specimens followed by genome wide single-nucleotide polymorphism genotyping.

Results: Genotype quality criteria allowed for analysis of 8 patients in the discovery and 17 patients in the replication set. DNA concentrations of a total of 25 patients fulfilled the quality criteria and were included in the analysis. Both, in the discovery (P = 0.04) and in the replication data sets (P = 0.01), evolutionary distance was associated with the risk of recurrence of HCC after transplantation (combined P = 0.0002). In a univariate analysis, evolutionary distance (P = 7.4 × 10) and microvascular invasion (P = 1.31 × 10) were significantly associated with survival in a Cox regression analysis.

Conclusions: Evolutionary distance allows for the determination of a high-risk group of recurrence if preoperative liver biopsy is considered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/TP.0000000000002356DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7598094PMC
October 2018

Translational learning from clinical studies predicts drug pharmacokinetics across patient populations.

NPJ Syst Biol Appl 2017 28;3:11. Epub 2017 Mar 28.

Dr. Margarete Fischer-Bosch Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Tuebingen, Stuttgart, 70376 Germany.

Early indication of late-stage failure of novel candidate drugs could be facilitated by continuous integration, assessment, and transfer of knowledge acquired along pharmaceutical development programs. We here present a translational systems pharmacology workflow that combines drug cocktail probing in a specifically designed clinical study, physiologically based pharmacokinetic modeling, and Bayesian statistics to identify and transfer (patho-)physiological and drug-specific knowledge across distinct patient populations. Our work builds on two clinical investigations, one with 103 healthy volunteers and one with 79 diseased patients from which we systematically derived physiological information from pharmacokinetic data for a reference probe drug (midazolam) at the single-patient level. Taking into account the acquired knowledge describing (patho-)physiological alterations in the patient cohort allowed the successful prediction of the population pharmacokinetics of a second, candidate probe drug (torsemide) in the patient population. In addition, we identified significant relations of the acquired physiological processes to patient metadata from liver biopsies. The presented prototypical systems pharmacology approach is a proof of concept for model-based translation across different stages of pharmaceutical development programs. Applied consistently, it has the potential to systematically improve predictivity of pharmacokinetic simulations by incorporating the results of clinical trials and translating them to subsequent studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41540-017-0012-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5460240PMC
March 2017

Epigenome-wide association study of body mass index, and the adverse outcomes of adiposity.

Nature 2017 01 21;541(7635):81-86. Epub 2016 Dec 21.

German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), München-Neuherberg, Germany.

Approximately 1.5 billion people worldwide are overweight or affected by obesity, and are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and related metabolic and inflammatory disturbances. Although the mechanisms linking adiposity to associated clinical conditions are poorly understood, recent studies suggest that adiposity may influence DNA methylation, a key regulator of gene expression and molecular phenotype. Here we use epigenome-wide association to show that body mass index (BMI; a key measure of adiposity) is associated with widespread changes in DNA methylation (187 genetic loci with P < 1 × 10, range P = 9.2 × 10 to 6.0 × 10; n = 10,261 samples). Genetic association analyses demonstrate that the alterations in DNA methylation are predominantly the consequence of adiposity, rather than the cause. We find that methylation loci are enriched for functional genomic features in multiple tissues (P < 0.05), and show that sentinel methylation markers identify gene expression signatures at 38 loci (P < 9.0 × 10, range P = 5.5 × 10 to 6.1 × 10, n = 1,785 samples). The methylation loci identify genes involved in lipid and lipoprotein metabolism, substrate transport and inflammatory pathways. Finally, we show that the disturbances in DNA methylation predict future development of type 2 diabetes (relative risk per 1 standard deviation increase in methylation risk score: 2.3 (2.07-2.56); P = 1.1 × 10). Our results provide new insights into the biologic pathways influenced by adiposity, and may enable development of new strategies for prediction and prevention of type 2 diabetes and other adverse clinical consequences of obesity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature20784DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5570525PMC
January 2017

Comparison of Gene Expression Patterns Between Mouse Models of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Liver Tissues From Patients.

Gastroenterology 2016 09 16;151(3):513-525.e0. Epub 2016 Jun 16.

Medical Department 1, University Hospital Dresden, Technical University Dresden, Dresden, Germany.

Background & Aims: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disorder in industrialized countries. Mouse models of NAFLD have been used in studies of pathogenesis and treatment, and have certain features of the human disease. We performed a systematic transcriptome-wide analysis of liver tissues from patients at different stages of NAFLD progression (ranging from healthy obese individuals to those with steatosis), as well as rodent models of NAFLD, to identify those that most closely resemble human disease progression in terms of gene expression patterns.

Methods: We performed a systematic evaluation of genome-wide messenger RNA expression using liver tissues collected from mice fed a standard chow diet (controls) and 9 mouse models of NAFLD: mice on a high-fat diet (with or without fructose), mice on a Western-type diet, mice on a methionine- and choline-deficient diet, mice on a high-fat diet given streptozotocin, and mice with disruption of Pten in hepatocytes. We compared gene expression patterns with those of liver tissues from 25 patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), 27 patients with NAFLD, 15 healthy obese individuals, and 39 healthy nonobese individuals (controls). Liver samples were obtained from patients undergoing liver biopsy for suspected NAFLD or NASH, or during liver or bariatric surgeries. Data sets were analyzed using the limma R-package. Overlap of functional profiles was analyzed by gene set enrichment analysis profiles.

Results: We found differences between human and mouse transcriptomes to be significantly larger than differences between disease stages or models. Of the 65 genes with significantly altered expression in patients with NASH and 177 genes with significantly altered expression in patients with NAFLD, compared with controls, only 1-18 of these genes also differed significantly in expression between mouse models of NAFLD and control mice. However, expression of genes that regulate pathways associated with the development of NAFLD were altered in some mouse models (such as pathways associated with lipid metabolism). On a pathway level, gene expression patterns in livers of mice on the high-fat diet were associated more closely with human fatty liver disease than other models.

Conclusions: In comparing gene expression profiles between liver tissues from different mouse models of NAFLD and patients with different stages of NAFLD, we found very little overlap. Our data set is available for studies of pathways that contribute to the development of NASH and NAFLD and selection of the most applicable mouse models (http://www.nash-profiler.com).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2016.05.051DOI Listing
September 2016

A genome-wide association study confirms PNPLA3 and identifies TM6SF2 and MBOAT7 as risk loci for alcohol-related cirrhosis.

Nat Genet 2015 Dec 19;47(12):1443-8. Epub 2015 Oct 19.

Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatopancreatology and Digestive Oncology, Cliniques Universitaires de Bruxelles (CUB) Hôpital Erasme, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium.

Alcohol misuse is the leading cause of cirrhosis and the second most common indication for liver transplantation in the Western world. We performed a genome-wide association study for alcohol-related cirrhosis in individuals of European descent (712 cases and 1,426 controls) with subsequent validation in two independent European cohorts (1,148 cases and 922 controls). We identified variants in the MBOAT7 (P = 1.03 × 10(-9)) and TM6SF2 (P = 7.89 × 10(-10)) genes as new risk loci and confirmed rs738409 in PNPLA3 as an important risk locus for alcohol-related cirrhosis (P = 1.54 × 10(-48)) at a genome-wide level of significance. These three loci have a role in lipid processing, suggesting that lipid turnover is important in the pathogenesis of alcohol-related cirrhosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3417DOI Listing
December 2015

Obesity accelerates epigenetic aging of human liver.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2014 Oct 13;111(43):15538-43. Epub 2014 Oct 13.

Medical Department 1, University Hospital Dresden, Technical University Dresden, 01307 Dresden, Germany;

Because of the dearth of biomarkers of aging, it has been difficult to test the hypothesis that obesity increases tissue age. Here we use a novel epigenetic biomarker of aging (referred to as an "epigenetic clock") to study the relationship between high body mass index (BMI) and the DNA methylation ages of human blood, liver, muscle, and adipose tissue. A significant correlation between BMI and epigenetic age acceleration could only be observed for liver (r = 0.42, P = 6.8 × 10(-4) in dataset 1 and r = 0.42, P = 1.2 × 10(-4) in dataset 2). On average, epigenetic age increased by 3.3 y for each 10 BMI units. The detected age acceleration in liver is not associated with the Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Activity Score or any of its component traits after adjustment for BMI. The 279 genes that are underexpressed in older liver samples are highly enriched (1.2 × 10(-9)) with nuclear mitochondrial genes that play a role in oxidative phosphorylation and electron transport. The epigenetic age acceleration, which is not reversible in the short term after rapid weight loss induced by bariatric surgery, may play a role in liver-related comorbidities of obesity, such as insulin resistance and liver cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1412759111DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4217403PMC
October 2014

B Lymphocyte Stimulator (BLyS) is expressed in human adipocytes in vivo and is related to obesity but not to insulin resistance.

PLoS One 2014 11;9(4):e94282. Epub 2014 Apr 11.

Department I of Internal Medicine, University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany.

Inflammation and metabolism have been shown to be evolutionary linked and increasing evidence exists that pro-inflammatory factors are involved in the pathogenesis of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Until now, most data suggest that within adipose tissue these factors are secreted by cells of the innate immune system, e. g. macrophages. In the present study we demonstrate that B lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) is increased in human obesity. In contrast to several pro-inflammatory factors, we found the source of BLyS in human adipose tissue to be the adipocytes rather than immune cells. In grade 3 obese human subjects, expression of BLyS in vivo in adipose tissue is significantly increased (p<0.001). Furthermore, BLyS serum levels are elevated in grade 3 human obesity (862.5+222.0 pg/ml vs. 543.7+60.7 pg/ml in lean controls, p<0.001) and are positively correlated to the BMI (r = 0.43, p<0.0002). In the present study, bariatric surgery significantly altered serum BLyS concentrations. In contrast, weight loss due to a very-low-calorie-formula-diet (800 kcal/d) had no such effect. To examine metabolic activity of BLyS, in a translational research approach, insulin sensitivity was measured in human subjects in vivo before and after treatment with the human recombinant anti-BLyS antibody belimumab. Since BLyS is known to promote B-cell proliferation and immunoglobulin secretion, the present data suggest that adipocytes of grade 3 obese human subjects are able to activate the adaptive immune system, suggesting that in metabolic inflammation in humans both, innate and adaptive immunity, are of pathophysiological relevance.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0094282PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3984119PMC
January 2015

Metabolomic tissue signature in human non-alcoholic fatty liver disease identifies protective candidate metabolites.

Liver Int 2015 Jan 6;35(1):207-14. Epub 2014 Mar 6.

Department of General and Thoracic Surgery, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel, Germany.

Background: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disorder in industrialized countries, yet its pathophysiology is incompletely understood. Small-molecule metabolite screens may offer new insights into disease mechanisms and reveal new treatment targets.

Methods: Discovery (N = 33) and replication (N = 66) of liver biopsies spanning the range from normal liver histology to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) were ascertained ensuring rapid freezing under 30 s in patients. 252 metabolites were assessed using GC/MS. Replicated metabolites were evaluated in a murine high-fat diet model of NAFLD.

Results: In a two-stage metabolic screening, hydroquinone (HQ, p(combined) = 3.0 × 10(-4)) and nicotinic acid (NA, p(combined) = 3.9 × 10(-9)) were inversely correlated with histological NAFLD severity. A murine high-fat diet model of NAFLD demonstrated a protective effect of these two substances against NAFLD: Supplementation with 1% HQ reduced only liver steatosis, whereas 0.6% NA reduced both liver fat content and serum transaminase levels and induced a complex regulatory network of genes linked to NALFD pathogenesis in a global expression pathway analysis. Human nutritional intake of NA equivalent was also consistent with a protective effect of NA against NASH progression.

Conclusion: This first small-molecular screen of human liver tissue identified two replicated protective metabolites. Either the use of NA or targeting its regulatory pathways might be explored to treat or prevent human NAFLD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.12476DOI Listing
January 2015

DNA methylation analysis in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease suggests distinct disease-specific and remodeling signatures after bariatric surgery.

Cell Metab 2013 Aug;18(2):296-302

Department of General and Thoracic Surgery, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel/University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disorder in industrialized countries. Liver samples from morbidly obese patients (n = 45) with all stages of NAFLD and controls (n = 18) were analyzed by array-based DNA methylation and mRNA expression profiling. NAFLD-specific expression and methylation differences were seen for nine genes coding for key enzymes in intermediate metabolism (including PC, ACLY, and PLCG1) and insulin/insulin-like signaling (including IGF1, IGFBP2, and PRKCE) and replicated by bisulfite pyrosequening (independent n = 39). Transcription factor binding sites at NAFLD-specific CpG sites were >1,000-fold enriched for ZNF274, PGC1A, and SREBP2. Intraindividual comparison of liver biopsies before and after bariatric surgery showed NAFLD-associated methylation changes to be partially reversible. Postbariatric and NAFLD-specific methylation signatures were clearly distinct both in gene ontology and transcription factor binding site analyses, with >400-fold enrichment of NRF1, HSF1, and ESRRA sites. Our findings provide an example of treatment-induced epigenetic organ remodeling in humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2013.07.004DOI Listing
August 2013

Genetic and functional identification of the likely causative variant for cholesterol gallstone disease at the ABCG5/8 lithogenic locus.

Hepatology 2013 Jun 25;57(6):2407-17. Epub 2013 Jan 25.

Department of Internal Medicine I, Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel, Germany.

Unlabelled: The sterolin locus (ABCG5/ABCG8) confers susceptibility for cholesterol gallstone disease in humans. Both the responsible variant and the molecular mechanism causing an increased incidence of gallstones in these patients have as yet not been identified. Genetic mapping utilized patient samples from Germany (2,808 cases, 2,089 controls), Chile (680 cases, 442 controls), Denmark (366 cases, 766 controls), India (247 cases, 224 controls), and China (280 cases, 244 controls). Analysis of allelic imbalance in complementary DNA (cDNA) samples from human liver (n = 22) was performed using pyrosequencing. Transiently transfected HEK293 cells were used for [(3) H]-cholesterol export assays, analysis of protein expression, and localization of allelic constructs. Through fine mapping in German and Chilean samples, an ∼250 kB disease-associated interval could be defined for this locus. Lack of allelic imbalance or allelic splicing of the ABCG5 and ABCG8 transcripts in human liver limited the search to coding single nucleotide polymorphisms. Subsequent mutation detection and genotyping yielded two disease-associated variants: ABCG5-R50C (P = 4.94 × 10(-9) ) and ABCG8-D19H (P = 1.74 × 10(-10) ) in high pairwise linkage disequilibrium (r(2) = 0.95). [(3) H]-cholesterol export assays of allelic constructs harboring these genetic candidate variants demonstrated increased transport activity (3.2-fold, P = 0.003) only for the ABCG8-19H variant, which was also superior in nested logistic regression models in German (P = 0.018), Chilean (P = 0.030), and Chinese (P = 0.040) patient samples.

Conclusion: This variant thus provides a molecular basis for biliary cholesterol hypersecretion as the mechanism for cholesterol gallstone formation, thereby drawing a link between "postgenomic" and "pregenomic" pathophysiological knowledge about this common complex disorder. (HEPATOLOGY 2012).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep.26009DOI Listing
June 2013

Genome-wide search for novel human uORFs and N-terminal protein extensions using ribosomal footprinting.

Genome Res 2012 Nov 9;22(11):2208-18. Epub 2012 Aug 9.

Department of Internal Medicine I, University Hospital Schleswig Holstein, 24105 Kiel, Germany.

So far, the annotation of translation initiation sites (TISs) has been based mostly upon bioinformatics rather than experimental evidence. We adapted ribosomal footprinting to puromycin-treated cells to generate a transcriptome-wide map of TISs in a human monocytic cell line. A neural network was trained on the ribosomal footprints observed at previously annotated AUG translation initiation codons (TICs), and used for the ab initio prediction of TISs in 5062 transcripts with sufficient sequence coverage. Functional interpretation suggested 2994 novel upstream open reading frames (uORFs) in the 5' UTR, 1406 uORFs overlapping with the coding sequence, and 546 N-terminal protein extensions. The TIS detection method was validated on the basis of previously published alternative TISs and uORFs. Among primates, TICs in newly annotated TISs were significantly more conserved than control codons, both for AUGs and near-cognate codons. The transcriptome-wide map of novel candidate TISs derived as part of the study will shed further light on the way in which human proteome diversity is influenced by alternative translation initiation and regulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/gr.139568.112DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3483550PMC
November 2012

Distinct DNA methylation patterns in cirrhotic liver and hepatocellular carcinoma.

Int J Cancer 2012 Mar 21;130(6):1319-28. Epub 2011 Jul 21.

Institute of Human Genetics, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Christian-Albrechts-University, Kiel, Germany.

Abberrant DNA methylation is one of the hallmarks of cancerogenesis. Our study aims to delineate differential DNA methylation in cirrhosis and hepatic cancerogenesis. Patterns of methylation of 27,578 individual CpG loci in 12 hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs), 15 cirrhotic controls and 12 normal liver samples were investigated using an array-based technology. A supervised principal component analysis (PCA) revealed 167 hypomethylated loci and 100 hypermethylated loci in cirrhosis and HCC as compared to normal controls. Thus, these loci show a "cirrhotic" methylation pattern that is maintained in HCC. In pairwise supervised PCAs between normal liver, cirrhosis and HCC, eight loci were significantly changed in all analyses differentiating the three groups (p < 0.0001). Of these, five loci showed highest methylation levels in HCC and lowest in control tissue (LOC55908, CELSR1, CRMP1, GNRH2, ALOX12 and ANGPTL7), whereas two loci showed the opposite direction of change (SPRR3 and TNFSF15). Genes hypermethylated between normal liver to cirrhosis, which maintain this methylation pattern during the development of HCC, are depleted for CpG islands, high CpG content promoters and polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) targets in embryonic stem cells. In contrast, genes selectively hypermethylated in HCC as compared to nonmalignant samples showed an enrichment of CpG islands, high CpG content promoters and PRC2 target genes (p < 0.0001). Cirrhosis and HCC show distinct patterns of differential methylation with regards to promoter structure, PRC2 targets and CpG islands.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.26136DOI Listing
March 2012

Statistical inference of allelic imbalance from transcriptome data.

Hum Mutat 2011 Jan;32(1):98-106

Institute of Medical Informatics and Statistics, Christian-Albrechts University, Kiel, Germany.

Next-generation sequencing and the availability of high-density genotyping arrays have facilitated an analysis of somatic and meiotic mutations at unprecedented level, but drawing sensible conclusions about the functional relevance of the detected variants still remains a formidable challenge. In this context, the study of allelic imbalance in intermediate RNA phenotypes may prove a useful means to elucidate the likely effects of DNA variants of unknown significance. We developed a statistical framework for the assessment of allelic imbalance in next-generation transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) data that requires neither an expression reference nor the underlying nuclear genotype(s), and that allows for allele miscalls. Using extensive simulation as well as publicly available whole-transcriptome data from European-descent individuals in HapMap, we explored the power of our approach in terms of both genotype inference and allelic imbalance assessment under a wide range of practically relevant scenarios. In so doing, we verified a superior performance of our methodology, particularly at low sequencing coverage, compared to the more simplistic approach of completely ignoring allele miscalls. Because the proposed framework can be used to assess somatic mutations and allelic imbalance in one and the same set of RNA-seq data, it will be particularly useful for the analysis of somatic genetic variation in cancer studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.21396DOI Listing
January 2011

Loci from a genome-wide analysis of bilirubin levels are associated with gallstone risk and composition.

Gastroenterology 2010 Dec 15;139(6):1942-1951.e2. Epub 2010 Sep 15.

Department of Internal Medicine I, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel, Germany.

Background & Aims: Genome-wide association studies have mapped loci that are associated with serum levels of bilirubin. Bilirubin is a major component of gallstones so we investigated whether these variants predict gallstone bilirubin content and overall risk for gallstones.

Methods: Loci that were identified in a meta-analysis to attain a genome-wide significance level of a P value less than 1.0×10(-7) (UGT1A1, SLCO1B1, LST-3TM12, SLCO1A2) were analyzed in 1018 individuals with known gallstone composition. Gallstone risk was analyzed in 2606 German choleystecomized individuals and 1121 controls and was replicated in 210 cases and 496 controls from South America.

Results: By using the presence of bilirubin as a phenotype, variants rs6742078 (UGT1A1; P = .003), rs4149056 (SLCO1B1; P = .003), and rs4149000 (SLCO1A2; P = .015) were associated with gallstone composition. In regression analyses, only UGT1A1 and SLCO1B1 were independently retained in the model. UGT1A1 (rs6742078; P = .018) was associated with overall gallstone risk. In a sex-stratified analysis, only male carriers of rs6742078 had an increased risk for gallstone disease (P = 2.1×10(-7); odds ratio(recessive), 2.34; P(women) = .47). The sex-specific association of rs6742078 was confirmed in samples from South America (P(men) = .046; odds ratio(recessive), 2.19; P(women) = .96).

Conclusions: The UGT1A1 Gilbert syndrome variant rs6742078 is associated with gallstone disease in men; further studies are required regarding the sex-specific physiology of bilirubin and bile acid metabolism. Variants of ABCG8 and UGT1A1 are the 2 major risk factors for overall gallstone disease, they contribute a population attributable risk of 21.2% among men.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2010.09.003DOI Listing
December 2010

Investigation of innate immunity genes CARD4, CARD8 and CARD15 as germline susceptibility factors for colorectal cancer.

BMC Gastroenterol 2009 Oct 20;9:79. Epub 2009 Oct 20.

Department of General Internal Medicine Christian-Albrechts-University, Kiel, Germany.

Background: Variation in genes involved in the innate immune response may play a role in the predisposition to colorectal cancer (CRC). Several polymorphisms of the CARD15 gene (caspase activating recruitment domain, member 15) have been reported to be associated with an increased susceptibility to Crohn disease. Since the CARD15 gene product and other CARD proteins function in innate immunity, we investigated the impact of germline variation at the CARD4, CARD8 and CARD15 loci on the risk for sporadic CRC, using a large patient sample from Northern Germany.

Methods: A total of 1044 patients who had been operated with sporadic colorectal carcinoma (median age at diagnosis: 59 years) were recruited and compared to 724 sex-matched, population-based control individuals (median age: 68 years). Genetic investigation was carried out following both a coding SNP and haplotype tagging approach. Subgroup analyses for N = 143 patients with early manifestation of CRC (
Results: No significant differences were observed between the patient and control allelic or haplotypic spectra of the three genes under study for the total cohort (N = 1044 patients). None of the analysed SNPs was significantly associated with either tumour location or yielded significant association in the familial or non-familial CRC patient subgroups. However, in a patient subgroup (
Conclusion: Variation in the innate immunity genes CARD4, CARD8 and CARD15 is unlikely to play a major role in the susceptibility to CRC in the German population. But, we report a significant disease contribution of CARD15 for CRC patients with very early disease manifestation, mainly driven by variant R702W.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-230X-9-79DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2776017PMC
October 2009

Systematic evaluation of the effect of common SNPs on pre-mRNA splicing.

Hum Mutat 2009 Apr;30(4):625-32

Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel, Germany.

The evolutionary and biomedical importance of differential mRNA splicing is well established. Numerous studies have assessed patterns of differential splicing in different genes and correlated these patterns to the genotypes for adjacent single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Here, we have chosen a reverse approach and screened dbSNP for common SNPs at either canonical splice sites or exonic splice enhancers (ESEs) that would be classified as putatively splicing-relevant by bioinformatic tools. The 223 candidate SNPs retrieved from dbSNP were experimentally tested using a previously established panel of 92 matching DNAs and cDNAs. For each SNP, 16 cDNAs providing a balanced representation of the genotypes at the respective SNP were investigated by nested RT-PCR and subsequent sequencing. Putative allele-dependent splicing was verified by the cloning of PCR products. The positive predictive value of the bioinformatics tools turned out to be low, ranging from 0% for ESEfinder to 9% (in the case of acceptor-site SNPs) for a recently reported neural network. The results highlight the need for a better understanding of the sequence characteristics of functional splice-sites to improve our ability to predict in silico the splicing relevance of empirically observed DNA sequence variants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.20906DOI Listing
April 2009
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