Publications by authors named "May Montasser"

42 Publications

A multi-ethnic epigenome-wide association study of leukocyte DNA methylation and blood lipids.

Nat Commun 2021 06 28;12(1):3987. Epub 2021 Jun 28.

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

Here we examine the association between DNA methylation in circulating leukocytes and blood lipids in a multi-ethnic sample of 16,265 subjects. We identify 148, 35, and 4 novel associations among Europeans, African Americans, and Hispanics, respectively, and an additional 186 novel associations through a trans-ethnic meta-analysis. We observe a high concordance in the direction of effects across racial/ethnic groups, a high correlation of effect sizes between high-density lipoprotein and triglycerides, a modest overlap of associations with epigenome-wide association studies of other cardio-metabolic traits, and a largely non-overlap with lipid loci identified to date through genome-wide association studies. Thirty CpGs reached significance in at least 2 racial/ethnic groups including 7 that showed association with the expression of an annotated gene. CpGs annotated to CPT1A showed evidence of being influenced by triglycerides levels. DNA methylation levels of circulating leukocytes show robust and consistent association with blood lipid levels across multiple racial/ethnic groups.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23899-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8238961PMC
June 2021

The trans-ancestral genomic architecture of glycemic traits.

Nat Genet 2021 06 31;53(6):840-860. Epub 2021 May 31.

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

Glycemic traits are used to diagnose and monitor type 2 diabetes and cardiometabolic health. To date, most genetic studies of glycemic traits have focused on individuals of European ancestry. Here we aggregated genome-wide association studies comprising up to 281,416 individuals without diabetes (30% non-European ancestry) for whom fasting glucose, 2-h glucose after an oral glucose challenge, glycated hemoglobin and fasting insulin data were available. Trans-ancestry and single-ancestry meta-analyses identified 242 loci (99 novel; P < 5 × 10), 80% of which had no significant evidence of between-ancestry heterogeneity. Analyses restricted to individuals of European ancestry with equivalent sample size would have led to 24 fewer new loci. Compared with single-ancestry analyses, equivalent-sized trans-ancestry fine-mapping reduced the number of estimated variants in 99% credible sets by a median of 37.5%. Genomic-feature, gene-expression and gene-set analyses revealed distinct biological signatures for each trait, highlighting different underlying biological pathways. Our results increase our understanding of diabetes pathophysiology by using trans-ancestry studies for improved power and resolution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-021-00852-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7610958PMC
June 2021

A System for Phenotype Harmonization in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) Program.

Am J Epidemiol 2021 10;190(10):1977-1992

Genotype-phenotype association studies often combine phenotype data from multiple studies to increase statistical power. Harmonization of the data usually requires substantial effort due to heterogeneity in phenotype definitions, study design, data collection procedures, and data-set organization. Here we describe a centralized system for phenotype harmonization that includes input from phenotype domain and study experts, quality control, documentation, reproducible results, and data-sharing mechanisms. This system was developed for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) program, which is generating genomic and other -omics data for more than 80 studies with extensive phenotype data. To date, 63 phenotypes have been harmonized across thousands of participants (recruited in 1948-2012) from up to 17 studies per phenotype. Here we discuss challenges in this undertaking and how they were addressed. The harmonized phenotype data and associated documentation have been submitted to National Institutes of Health data repositories for controlled access by the scientific community. We also provide materials to facilitate future harmonization efforts by the community, which include 1) the software code used to generate the 63 harmonized phenotypes, enabling others to reproduce, modify, or extend these harmonizations to additional studies, and 2) the results of labeling thousands of phenotype variables with controlled vocabulary terms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwab115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8485147PMC
October 2021

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

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

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

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

Robust, flexible, and scalable tests for Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium across diverse ancestries.

Genetics 2021 05;218(1)

Department of Biochemistry, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.

Traditional Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE) tests (the χ2 test and the exact test) have long been used as a metric for evaluating genotype quality, as technical artifacts leading to incorrect genotype calls often can be identified as deviations from HWE. However, in data sets composed of individuals from diverse ancestries, HWE can be violated even without genotyping error, complicating the use of HWE testing to assess genotype data quality. In this manuscript, we present the Robust Unified Test for HWE (RUTH) to test for HWE while accounting for population structure and genotype uncertainty, and to evaluate the impact of population heterogeneity and genotype uncertainty on the standard HWE tests and alternative methods using simulated and real sequence data sets. Our results demonstrate that ignoring population structure or genotype uncertainty in HWE tests can inflate false-positive rates by many orders of magnitude. Our evaluations demonstrate different tradeoffs between false positives and statistical power across the methods, with RUTH consistently among the best across all evaluations. RUTH is implemented as a practical and scalable software tool to rapidly perform HWE tests across millions of markers and hundreds of thousands of individuals while supporting standard VCF/BCF formats. RUTH is publicly available at https://www.github.com/statgen/ruth.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/genetics/iyab044DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8128395PMC
May 2021

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

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

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

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

Sex-dimorphic genetic effects and novel loci for fasting glucose and insulin variability.

Nat Commun 2021 01 5;12(1):24. Epub 2021 Jan 5.

Department of Biostatistics and Data Science, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.

Differences between sexes contribute to variation in the levels of fasting glucose and insulin. Epidemiological studies established a higher prevalence of impaired fasting glucose in men and impaired glucose tolerance in women, however, the genetic component underlying this phenomenon is not established. We assess sex-dimorphic (73,089/50,404 women and 67,506/47,806 men) and sex-combined (151,188/105,056 individuals) fasting glucose/fasting insulin genetic effects via genome-wide association study meta-analyses in individuals of European descent without diabetes. Here we report sex dimorphism in allelic effects on fasting insulin at IRS1 and ZNF12 loci, the latter showing higher RNA expression in whole blood in women compared to men. We also observe sex-homogeneous effects on fasting glucose at seven novel loci. Fasting insulin in women shows stronger genetic correlations than in men with waist-to-hip ratio and anorexia nervosa. Furthermore, waist-to-hip ratio is causally related to insulin resistance in women, but not in men. These results position dissection of metabolic and glycemic health sex dimorphism as a steppingstone for understanding differences in genetic effects between women and men in related phenotypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19366-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7785747PMC
January 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A lipidome-wide association study of the lipoprotein insulin resistance index.

Lipids Health Dis 2020 Jun 25;19(1):153. Epub 2020 Jun 25.

Department of Epidemiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1665 University Blvd, Birmingham, AL, 35294, USA.

Background: The lipoprotein insulin resistance (LPIR) score was shown to predict insulin resistance (IR) and type 2 diabetes (T2D) in healthy adults. However, the molecular basis underlying the LPIR utility for classification remains unclear.

Objective: To identify small molecule lipids associated with variation in the LPIR score, a weighted index of lipoproteins measured by nuclear magnetic resonance, in the Genetics of Lipid Lowering Drugs and Diet Network (GOLDN) study (n = 980).

Methods: Linear mixed effects models were used to test the association between the LPIR score and 413 lipid species and their principal component analysis-derived groups. Significant associations were tested for replication with homeostatic model assessment-IR (HOMA-IR), a phenotype correlated with the LPIR score (r = 0.48, p <  0.001), in the Heredity and Phenotype Intervention (HAPI) Heart Study (n = 590).

Results: In GOLDN, 319 lipids were associated with the LPIR score (false discovery rate-adjusted p-values ranging from 4.59 × 10 to 49.50 × 10). Factors 1 (triglycerides and diglycerides/storage lipids) and 3 (mixed lipids) were positively (β = 0.025, p = 4.52 × 10 and β = 0.021, p = 5.84 × 10, respectively) and factor 2 (phospholipids/non-storage lipids) was inversely (β = - 0.013, p = 2.28 × 10) associated with the LPIR score. These findings were replicated for HOMA-IR in the HAPI Heart Study (β = 0.10, p = 1.21 × 10 for storage, β = - 0.13, p = 3.14 × 10 for non-storage, and β = 0.19, p = 8.40 × 10 for mixed lipids).

Conclusions: Non-storage lipidomics species show a significant inverse association with the LPIR metabolic dysfunction score and present a promising focus for future therapeutic and prevention studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12944-020-01321-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7318473PMC
June 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Leveraging linkage evidence to identify low-frequency and rare variants on 16p13 associated with blood pressure using TOPMed whole genome sequencing data.

Hum Genet 2019 Feb 22;138(2):199-210. Epub 2019 Jan 22.

Division of General Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, 10032, USA.

In this study, we investigated low-frequency and rare variants associated with blood pressure (BP) by focusing on a linkage region on chromosome 16p13. We used whole genome sequencing (WGS) data obtained through the NHLBI Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) program on 395 Cleveland Family Study (CFS) European Americans (CFS-EA). By analyzing functional coding variants and non-coding rare variants with CADD score > 10 residing within the chromosomal region in families with linkage evidence, we observed 25 genes with nominal statistical evidence (burden or SKAT p < 0.05). One of the genes is RBFOX1, an evolutionarily conserved RNA-binding protein that regulates tissue-specific alternative splicing that we previously reported to be associated with BP using exome array data in CFS. After follow-up analysis of the 25 genes in ten independent TOPMed studies with individuals of European, African, and East Asian ancestry, and Hispanics (N = 29,988), we identified variants in SLX4 (p = 2.19 × 10) to be significantly associated with BP traits when accounting for multiple testing. We also replicated the associations previously reported for RBFOX1 (p = 0.007). Follow-up analysis with GTEx eQTL data shows SLX4 variants are associated with gene expression in coronary artery, multiple brain tissues, and right atrial appendage of the heart. Our study demonstrates that linkage analysis of family data can provide an efficient approach for detecting rare variants associated with complex traits in WGS data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00439-019-01975-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6404531PMC
February 2019

Deep-coverage whole genome sequences and blood lipids among 16,324 individuals.

Nat Commun 2018 08 23;9(1):3391. Epub 2018 Aug 23.

School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, 21201, USA.

Large-scale deep-coverage whole-genome sequencing (WGS) is now feasible and offers potential advantages for locus discovery. We perform WGS in 16,324 participants from four ancestries at mean depth >29X and analyze genotypes with four quantitative traits-plasma total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides. Common variant association yields known loci except for few variants previously poorly imputed. Rare coding variant association yields known Mendelian dyslipidemia genes but rare non-coding variant association detects no signals. A high 2M-SNP LDL-C polygenic score (top 5th percentile) confers similar effect size to a monogenic mutation (~30 mg/dl higher for each); however, among those with severe hypercholesterolemia, 23% have a high polygenic score and only 2% carry a monogenic mutation. At these sample sizes and for these phenotypes, the incremental value of WGS for discovery is limited but WGS permits simultaneous assessment of monogenic and polygenic models to severe hypercholesterolemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-05747-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6107638PMC
August 2018

An APOO Pseudogene on Chromosome 5q Is Associated With Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Levels.

Circulation 2018 09;138(13):1343-1355

Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition (M.E.M., E.A.O., X.W., A.D.H., R.M., J.A.P., K.A.R., A.R.S., B.D.M., N.A.Z., Y.-P.C.C.), Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore.

Background: Elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) are a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease via its contribution to the development and progression of atherosclerotic lesions. Although the genetic basis of LDL-C has been studied extensively, currently known genetic variants account for only ≈20% of the variation in LDL-C levels.

Methods: Through an array-based association analysis in 1102 Amish subjects, we identified a variant strongly associated with LDL-C levels. Using a combination of genetic analyses, zebrafish models, and in vitro experiments, we sought to identify the causal gene driving this association.

Results: We identified a founder haplotype associated with a 15 mg/dL increase in LDL-C on chromosome 5. After recombination mapping, the associated region contained 8 candidate genes. Using a zebrafish model to evaluate the relevance of these genes to cholesterol metabolism, we found that expression of the transcribed pseudogene, APOOP1, increased LDL-C and vascular plaque formation.

Conclusions: Based on these data, we propose that APOOP1 regulates levels of LDL-C in humans, thus identifying a novel mechanism of lipid homeostasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.118.034016DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6162188PMC
September 2018

Epigenetic Signature of Impaired Fasting Glucose in the Old Order Amish.

J Clin Epigenet 2017 16;3(2). Epub 2017 Jun 16.

Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Introduction: Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) is a common chronic disease with substantial disease burden and economic impact. Lifestyle changes can significantly alter the course of the disease, if detected at an early stage. DNA methylation signature may serve as a biomarker for early detection of increased T2D risk.

Design: DNA methylation profiling was performed using the Illumina Infinium Human Methylation 450K Bead chip array in 24 normoglycemic Old Order Amish (OOA) individuals who later developed Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG) (cases), and 24 OOA individuals who remained normoglycemic after an average follow up of 10 years (controls). Cases and controls were matched on age, sex, BMI, baseline fasting glucose, and glucose level after 2 h from 75 g Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT).

Results: Association analysis found no significant difference in either global methylation or individual probe methylation between cases and controls, however, the top 34 suggestive significant sites were located in genes with interesting biological links to T2D and glycemic traits. These genes include that plays a role in pancreatic cell proliferation and insulin secretion, a known bone mineral density gene that was recently found to be associated also with T2D and glycemic traits, and may explain the link between T2D and BMD, and and both of which are part of insulin signaling pathway.

Conclusions: These results may shed light on the initiation and development of hyperglycemia and T2D and help to identify high risk individuals for early intervention; however, further studies are required for validation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21767/2472-1158.100052DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5784439PMC
June 2017

DNA Methylation Analysis Identifies Loci for Blood Pressure Regulation.

Am J Hum Genet 2017 Dec 30;101(6):888-902. Epub 2017 Nov 30.

Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, Departments of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98101, USA; Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Unit, Seattle, WA 98101, USA.

Genome-wide association studies have identified hundreds of genetic variants associated with blood pressure (BP), but sequence variation accounts for a small fraction of the phenotypic variance. Epigenetic changes may alter the expression of genes involved in BP regulation and explain part of the missing heritability. We therefore conducted a two-stage meta-analysis of the cross-sectional associations of systolic and diastolic BP with blood-derived genome-wide DNA methylation measured on the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip in 17,010 individuals of European, African American, and Hispanic ancestry. Of 31 discovery-stage cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) dinucleotides, 13 replicated after Bonferroni correction (discovery: N = 9,828, p < 1.0 × 10; replication: N = 7,182, p < 1.6 × 10). The replicated methylation sites are heritable (h > 30%) and independent of known BP genetic variants, explaining an additional 1.4% and 2.0% of the interindividual variation in systolic and diastolic BP, respectively. Bidirectional Mendelian randomization among up to 4,513 individuals of European ancestry from 4 cohorts suggested that methylation at cg08035323 (TAF1B-YWHAQ) influences BP, while BP influences methylation at cg00533891 (ZMIZ1), cg00574958 (CPT1A), and cg02711608 (SLC1A5). Gene expression analyses further identified six genes (TSPAN2, SLC7A11, UNC93B1, CPT1A, PTMS, and LPCAT3) with evidence of triangular associations between methylation, gene expression, and BP. Additional integrative Mendelian randomization analyses of gene expression and DNA methylation suggested that the expression of TSPAN2 is a putative mediator of association between DNA methylation at cg23999170 and BP. These findings suggest that heritable DNA methylation plays a role in regulating BP independently of previously known genetic variants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2017.09.028DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5812919PMC
December 2017

Multisite Investigation of Outcomes With Implementation of CYP2C19 Genotype-Guided Antiplatelet Therapy After Percutaneous Coronary Intervention.

JACC Cardiovasc Interv 2018 01 1;11(2):181-191. Epub 2017 Nov 1.

Department of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland.

Objectives: This multicenter pragmatic investigation assessed outcomes following clinical implementation of CYP2C19 genotype-guided antiplatelet therapy after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

Background: CYP2C19 loss-of-function alleles impair clopidogrel effectiveness after PCI.

Methods: After clinical genotyping, each institution recommended alternative antiplatelet therapy (prasugrel, ticagrelor) in PCI patients with a loss-of-function allele. Major adverse cardiovascular events (defined as myocardial infarction, stroke, or death) within 12 months of PCI were compared between patients with a loss-of-function allele prescribed clopidogrel versus alternative therapy. Risk was also compared between patients without a loss-of-function allele and loss-of-function allele carriers prescribed alternative therapy. Cox regression was performed, adjusting for group differences with inverse probability of treatment weights.

Results: Among 1,815 patients, 572 (31.5%) had a loss-of-function allele. The risk for major adverse cardiovascular events was significantly higher in patients with a loss-of-function allele prescribed clopidogrel versus alternative therapy (23.4 vs. 8.7 per 100 patient-years; adjusted hazard ratio: 2.26; 95% confidence interval: 1.18 to 4.32; p = 0.013). Similar results were observed among 1,210 patients with acute coronary syndromes at the time of PCI (adjusted hazard ratio: 2.87; 95% confidence interval: 1.35 to 6.09; p = 0.013). There was no difference in major adverse cardiovascular events between patients without a loss-of-function allele and loss-of-function allele carriers prescribed alternative therapy (adjusted hazard ratio: 1.14; 95% confidence interval: 0.69 to 1.88; p = 0.60).

Conclusions: These data from real-world observations demonstrate a higher risk for cardiovascular events in patients with a CYP2C19 loss-of-function allele if clopidogrel versus alternative therapy is prescribed. A future randomized study of genotype-guided antiplatelet therapy may be of value.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcin.2017.07.022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5775044PMC
January 2018

A principal component meta-analysis on multiple anthropometric traits identifies novel loci for body shape.

Nat Commun 2016 11 23;7:13357. Epub 2016 Nov 23.

Department of Kinesiology, Laval University, Québec, Québec, Canada G1V 0A6.

Large consortia have revealed hundreds of genetic loci associated with anthropometric traits, one trait at a time. We examined whether genetic variants affect body shape as a composite phenotype that is represented by a combination of anthropometric traits. We developed an approach that calculates averaged PCs (AvPCs) representing body shape derived from six anthropometric traits (body mass index, height, weight, waist and hip circumference, waist-to-hip ratio). The first four AvPCs explain >99% of the variability, are heritable, and associate with cardiometabolic outcomes. We performed genome-wide association analyses for each body shape composite phenotype across 65 studies and meta-analysed summary statistics. We identify six novel loci: LEMD2 and CD47 for AvPC1, RPS6KA5/C14orf159 and GANAB for AvPC3, and ARL15 and ANP32 for AvPC4. Our findings highlight the value of using multiple traits to define complex phenotypes for discovery, which are not captured by single-trait analyses, and may shed light onto new pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms13357DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5114527PMC
November 2016

The genetics of blood pressure regulation and its target organs from association studies in 342,415 individuals.

Nat Genet 2016 10 12;48(10):1171-1184. Epub 2016 Sep 12.

Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, Oakland, CA 94609, USA.

To dissect the genetic architecture of blood pressure and assess effects on target organ damage, we analyzed 128,272 SNPs from targeted and genome-wide arrays in 201,529 individuals of European ancestry, and genotypes from an additional 140,886 individuals were used for validation. We identified 66 blood pressure-associated loci, of which 17 were new; 15 harbored multiple distinct association signals. The 66 index SNPs were enriched for cis-regulatory elements, particularly in vascular endothelial cells, consistent with a primary role in blood pressure control through modulation of vascular tone across multiple tissues. The 66 index SNPs combined in a risk score showed comparable effects in 64,421 individuals of non-European descent. The 66-SNP blood pressure risk score was significantly associated with target organ damage in multiple tissues but with minor effects in the kidney. Our findings expand current knowledge of blood pressure-related pathways and highlight tissues beyond the classical renal system in blood pressure regulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3667DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5042863PMC
October 2016

Genome-Wide Association Study of the Modified Stumvoll Insulin Sensitivity Index Identifies BCL2 and FAM19A2 as Novel Insulin Sensitivity Loci.

Diabetes 2016 10 14;65(10):3200-11. Epub 2016 Jul 14.

Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, University of Washington, Seattle, WA Department of Biostatistics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have found few common variants that influence fasting measures of insulin sensitivity. We hypothesized that a GWAS of an integrated assessment of fasting and dynamic measures of insulin sensitivity would detect novel common variants. We performed a GWAS of the modified Stumvoll Insulin Sensitivity Index (ISI) within the Meta-Analyses of Glucose and Insulin-Related Traits Consortium. Discovery for genetic association was performed in 16,753 individuals, and replication was attempted for the 23 most significant novel loci in 13,354 independent individuals. Association with ISI was tested in models adjusted for age, sex, and BMI and in a model analyzing the combined influence of the genotype effect adjusted for BMI and the interaction effect between the genotype and BMI on ISI (model 3). In model 3, three variants reached genome-wide significance: rs13422522 (NYAP2; P = 8.87 × 10(-11)), rs12454712 (BCL2; P = 2.7 × 10(-8)), and rs10506418 (FAM19A2; P = 1.9 × 10(-8)). The association at NYAP2 was eliminated by conditioning on the known IRS1 insulin sensitivity locus; the BCL2 and FAM19A2 associations were independent of known cardiometabolic loci. In conclusion, we identified two novel loci and replicated known variants associated with insulin sensitivity. Further studies are needed to clarify the causal variant and function at the BCL2 and FAM19A2 loci.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/db16-0199DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5033262PMC
October 2016

The Influence of Age and Sex on Genetic Associations with Adult Body Size and Shape: A Large-Scale Genome-Wide Interaction Study.

PLoS Genet 2015 Oct 1;11(10):e1005378. Epub 2015 Oct 1.

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, Huntsville, Alabama, United States of America.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified more than 100 genetic variants contributing to BMI, a measure of body size, or waist-to-hip ratio (adjusted for BMI, WHRadjBMI), a measure of body shape. Body size and shape change as people grow older and these changes differ substantially between men and women. To systematically screen for age- and/or sex-specific effects of genetic variants on BMI and WHRadjBMI, we performed meta-analyses of 114 studies (up to 320,485 individuals of European descent) with genome-wide chip and/or Metabochip data by the Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Traits (GIANT) Consortium. Each study tested the association of up to ~2.8M SNPs with BMI and WHRadjBMI in four strata (men ≤50y, men >50y, women ≤50y, women >50y) and summary statistics were combined in stratum-specific meta-analyses. We then screened for variants that showed age-specific effects (G x AGE), sex-specific effects (G x SEX) or age-specific effects that differed between men and women (G x AGE x SEX). For BMI, we identified 15 loci (11 previously established for main effects, four novel) that showed significant (FDR<5%) age-specific effects, of which 11 had larger effects in younger (<50y) than in older adults (≥50y). No sex-dependent effects were identified for BMI. For WHRadjBMI, we identified 44 loci (27 previously established for main effects, 17 novel) with sex-specific effects, of which 28 showed larger effects in women than in men, five showed larger effects in men than in women, and 11 showed opposite effects between sexes. No age-dependent effects were identified for WHRadjBMI. This is the first genome-wide interaction meta-analysis to report convincing evidence of age-dependent genetic effects on BMI. In addition, we confirm the sex-specificity of genetic effects on WHRadjBMI. These results may provide further insights into the biology that underlies weight change with age or the sexually dimorphism of body shape.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1005378DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4591371PMC
October 2015

Directional dominance on stature and cognition in diverse human populations.

Nature 2015 Jul 1;523(7561):459-462. Epub 2015 Jul 1.

Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Harokopio University of Athens, 70, El. Venizelou Ave, Athens, 17671, Greece.

Homozygosity has long been associated with rare, often devastating, Mendelian disorders, and Darwin was one of the first to recognize that inbreeding reduces evolutionary fitness. However, the effect of the more distant parental relatedness that is common in modern human populations is less well understood. Genomic data now allow us to investigate the effects of homozygosity on traits of public health importance by observing contiguous homozygous segments (runs of homozygosity), which are inferred to be homozygous along their complete length. Given the low levels of genome-wide homozygosity prevalent in most human populations, information is required on very large numbers of people to provide sufficient power. Here we use runs of homozygosity to study 16 health-related quantitative traits in 354,224 individuals from 102 cohorts, and find statistically significant associations between summed runs of homozygosity and four complex traits: height, forced expiratory lung volume in one second, general cognitive ability and educational attainment (P < 1 × 10(-300), 2.1 × 10(-6), 2.5 × 10(-10) and 1.8 × 10(-10), respectively). In each case, increased homozygosity was associated with decreased trait value, equivalent to the offspring of first cousins being 1.2 cm shorter and having 10 months' less education. Similar effect sizes were found across four continental groups and populations with different degrees of genome-wide homozygosity, providing evidence that homozygosity, rather than confounding, directly contributes to phenotypic variance. Contrary to earlier reports in substantially smaller samples, no evidence was seen of an influence of genome-wide homozygosity on blood pressure and low density lipoprotein cholesterol, or ten other cardio-metabolic traits. Since directional dominance is predicted for traits under directional evolutionary selection, this study provides evidence that increased stature and cognitive function have been positively selected in human evolution, whereas many important risk factors for late-onset complex diseases may not have been.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature14618DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4516141PMC
July 2015

Disruption of ldlr causes increased LDL-c and vascular lipid accumulation in a zebrafish model of hypercholesterolemia.

J Lipid Res 2014 Nov 8;55(11):2242-53. Epub 2014 Sep 8.

Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.

Hyperlipidemia and arterial cholesterol accumulation are primary causes of cardiovascular events. Monogenic forms of hyperlipidemia and recent genome-wide association studies indicate that genetics plays an important role. Zebrafish are a useful model for studying the genetic susceptibility to hyperlipidemia owing to conservation of many components of lipoprotein metabolism, including those related to LDL, ease of genetic manipulation, and in vivo observation of lipid transport and vascular calcification. We sought to develop a genetic model for lipid metabolism in zebrafish, capitalizing on one well-understood player in LDL cholesterol (LDL-c) transport, the LDL receptor (ldlr), and an established in vivo model of hypercholesterolemia. We report that morpholinos targeted against the gene encoding ldlr effectively suppressed its expression in embryos during the first 8 days of development. The ldlr morphants exhibited increased LDL-c levels that were exacerbated by feeding a high cholesterol diet. Increased LDL-c was ameliorated in morphants upon treatment with atorvastatin. Furthermore, we observed significant vascular and liver lipid accumulation, vascular leakage, and plaque oxidation in ldlr-deficient embryos. Finally, upon transcript analysis of several cholesterol-regulating genes, we observed changes similar to those seen in mammalian systems, suggesting that cholesterol regulation may be conserved in zebrafish. Taken together, these observations indicate conservation of ldlr function in zebrafish and demonstrate the utility of transient gene knockdown in embryos as a genetic model for hyperlipidemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1194/jlr.M046540DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4617127PMC
November 2014

A potentially functional variant in the serotonin transporter gene is associated with premenopausal and perimenopausal hot flashes.

Menopause 2015 Jan;22(1):108-13

From the 1Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD; 2Department of Comparative Biosciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL; and Departments of 3Epidemiology and Public Health and 4Anatomy and Neurobiology, School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD.

Objective: An increase in the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and/or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) to relieve menopausal hot flashes (HFs) has been observed recently. However, response to them has been heterogeneous. We hypothesized that this heterogeneity might be partially attributed to genetic variations in genes encoding the serotonin and/or norepinephrine transporters (SLC6A4 and SLC6A2). As a first step in testing the role of genetics in response to SSRIs/SNRIs, we examined the association between HFs and genetic variants within these two genes.

Methods: We tested 29 haplotype-tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms within SLC6A4 and SLC6A2 for their association with HFs separately for European-American (396 cases and 392 controls) and African-American (125 cases and 81 controls) premenopausal and perimenopausal women.

Results: We found that the minor allele of SLC6A4_rs11080121 was associated with protection against HFs (odds ratio, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.60-0.94) only in European-American women. Bioinformatics analyses indicated that rs11080121 is fully correlated with rs1042173 in the 3' untranslated region of SLC6A4. The minor allele of rs1042173 seems to disrupt a conserved binding site for hsa-miR-590-3p microRNA.

Conclusions: Disruption of a microRNA binding site leads to higher expression of SLC6A4, higher expression of SLC6A4 leads to depletion of serotonin in synaptic clefts, and depletion of serotonin triggers the presynaptic autoreceptor feedback mechanism to produce more serotonin, which is protective against HFs. This is the first study to test the association between HFs in both European-American and African-American premenopausal and perimenopausal women and genetic variants in two neurotransmitter transporter genes, SLC6A2 and SLC6A4. This information can be used in tailoring the pharmaceutical use of SSRIs/SNRIs for HF relief.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/GME.0000000000000291DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4270913PMC
January 2015

Variation in genes that regulate blood pressure are associated with glomerular filtration rate in Chinese.

PLoS One 2014 21;9(3):e92468. Epub 2014 Mar 21.

Human Genetics Center, School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas, United States of America.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) can be a consequence of diabetes, hypertension, immunologic disorders, and other exposures, as well as genetic factors that are still largely unknown. Glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which is widely used to measure kidney function, has a heritability ranging from 25% to 75%, but only 1.5% of this heritability is explained by genetic loci that have been identified to date. In this study we tested for associations between GFR and 234 SNPs in 26 genes from pathways of blood pressure regulation in 3,025 rural Chinese participants of the "Genetic Epidemiology Network of Salt Sensitivity" (GenSalt) study. We estimated GFR (eGFR) using baseline serum creatinine measurements obtained prior to dietary intervention. We identified significant associations between eGFR and 12 SNPs in 6 genes (ACE, ADD1, AGT, GRK4, HSD11B1, and SCNN1G). The cumulative effect of the protective alleles was an increase in mean eGFR of 4 mL/min per 1.73 m2, while the cumulative effect of the risk alleles was a decrease in mean eGFR of 3 mL/min per 1.73 m2. In addition, we identified a significant interaction between SNPs in CYP11B1 and ADRB2. We have identified common variants in genes from pathways that regulate blood pressure and influence kidney function as measured by eGFR, providing new insights into the genetic determinants of kidney function. Complex genetic effects on kidney function likely involve interactions among genes as we observed for CYP11B1 and ADRB2.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0092468PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3962404PMC
January 2015
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