Publications by authors named "Mohsen Ghanbari"

79 Publications

The genomics of heart failure: design and rationale of the HERMES consortium.

ESC Heart Fail 2021 Sep 3. Epub 2021 Sep 3.

Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Aims: The HERMES (HEart failure Molecular Epidemiology for Therapeutic targetS) consortium aims to identify the genomic and molecular basis of heart failure.

Methods And Results: The consortium currently includes 51 studies from 11 countries, including 68 157 heart failure cases and 949 888 controls, with data on heart failure events and prognosis. All studies collected biological samples and performed genome-wide genotyping of common genetic variants. The enrolment of subjects into participating studies ranged from 1948 to the present day, and the median follow-up following heart failure diagnosis ranged from 2 to 116 months. Forty-nine of 51 individual studies enrolled participants of both sexes; in these studies, participants with heart failure were predominantly male (34-90%). The mean age at diagnosis or ascertainment across all studies ranged from 54 to 84 years. Based on the aggregate sample, we estimated 80% power to genetic variant associations with risk of heart failure with an odds ratio of ≥1.10 for common variants (allele frequency ≥ 0.05) and ≥1.20 for low-frequency variants (allele frequency 0.01-0.05) at P < 5 × 10 under an additive genetic model.

Conclusions: HERMES is a global collaboration aiming to (i) identify the genetic determinants of heart failure; (ii) generate insights into the causal pathways leading to heart failure and enable genetic approaches to target prioritization; and (iii) develop genomic tools for disease stratification and risk prediction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ehf2.13517DOI Listing
September 2021

Biological age in healthy elderly predicts aging-related diseases including dementia.

Sci Rep 2021 Aug 5;11(1):15929. Epub 2021 Aug 5.

Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, USA.

Application of biological age as a measure of an individual´s health status offers new perspectives into extension of both lifespan and healthspan. While algorithms predicting mortality and most aging-related morbidities have been reported, the major shortcoming has been an inability to predict dementia. We present a community-based cohort study of 1930 participants with a mean age of 72 years and a follow-up period of over 7 years, using two variants of a phenotypic blood-based algorithm that either excludes (BioAge1) or includes (BioAge2) neurofilament light chain (NfL) as a neurodegenerative marker. BioAge1 and BioAge2 predict dementia equally well, as well as lifespan and healthspan. Each one-year increase in BioAge1/2 was associated with 11% elevated risk (HR 1.11; 95%CI 1.08-1.14) of mortality and 7% elevated risk (HR 1.07; 95%CI 1.05-1.09) of first morbidities. We additionally tested the association of microRNAs with age and identified 263 microRNAs significantly associated with biological and chronological age alike. Top differentially expressed microRNAs based on biological age had a higher significance level than those based on chronological age, suggesting that biological age captures aspects of aging signals at the epigenetic level. We conclude that accelerated biological age for a given age is a predictor of major age-related morbidity, including dementia, among healthy elderly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-95425-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8342513PMC
August 2021

Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption May Modify Associations Between Genetic Variants in the CHREBP (Carbohydrate Responsive Element Binding Protein) Locus and HDL-C (High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol) and Triglyceride Concentrations.

Circ Genom Precis Med 2021 Aug 16;14(4):e003288. Epub 2021 Jul 16.

Department of Clinical Epidemiology (R.L.G., D.O.M.-K., F.R.R., R.dM.), Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands.

Background: ChREBP (carbohydrate responsive element binding protein) is a transcription factor that responds to sugar consumption. Sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption and genetic variants in the locus have separately been linked to HDL-C (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) and triglyceride concentrations. We hypothesized that SSB consumption would modify the association between genetic variants in the locus and dyslipidemia.

Methods: Data from 11 cohorts from the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology consortium (N=63 599) and the UK Biobank (N=59 220) were used to quantify associations of SSB consumption, genetic variants, and their interaction on HDL-C and triglyceride concentrations using linear regression models. A total of 1606 single nucleotide polymorphisms within or near were considered. SSB consumption was estimated from validated questionnaires, and participants were grouped by their estimated intake.

Results: In a meta-analysis, rs71556729 was significantly associated with higher HDL-C concentrations only among the highest SSB consumers (β, 2.12 [95% CI, 1.16-3.07] mg/dL per allele; <0.0001), but not significantly among the lowest SSB consumers (=0.81; <0.0001). Similar results were observed for 2 additional variants (rs35709627 and rs71556736). For triglyceride, rs55673514 was positively associated with triglyceride concentrations only among the highest SSB consumers (β, 0.06 [95% CI, 0.02-0.09] ln-mg/dL per allele, =0.001) but not the lowest SSB consumers (=0.84; =0.0005).

Conclusions: Our results identified genetic variants in the locus that may protect against SSB-associated reductions in HDL-C and other variants that may exacerbate SSB-associated increases in triglyceride concentrations. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT00005133, NCT00005121, NCT00005487, and NCT00000479.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCGEN.120.003288DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8373451PMC
August 2021

Multiethnic Genome-Wide Association Study of Subclinical Atherosclerosis in Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes.

Circ Genom Precis Med 2021 Aug 9;14(4):e003258. Epub 2021 Jul 9.

Department of Epidemiology (N.F., G.H.), University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Background: Coronary artery calcification (CAC) and carotid artery intima-media thickness (cIMT) are measures of subclinical atherosclerosis in asymptomatic individuals and strong risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is an independent cardiovascular disease risk factor that accelerates atherosclerosis.

Methods: We performed meta-analyses of genome-wide association studies in up to 2500 T2D individuals of European ancestry (EA) and 1590 T2D individuals of African ancestry with or without exclusion of prevalent cardiovascular disease, for CAC measured by cardiac computed tomography, and 3608 individuals of EA and 838 individuals of African ancestry with T2D for cIMT measured by ultrasonography within the CHARGE (Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology) Consortium.

Results: We replicated 2 loci (rs9369640 and rs9349379 near and rs10757278 near ) for CAC and one locus for cIMT (rs7412 and rs445925 near ) that were previously reported in the general EA populations. We identified one novel CAC locus (rs8000449 near at 13q13.3) at =2.0×10 in EA. No additional loci were identified with the meta-analyses of EA and African ancestry. The expression quantitative trait loci analysis with nearby expressed genes derived from arterial wall and metabolic tissues from the Genotype-Tissue Expression project pinpoints , encoding a matricellular protein involved in bone formation and bone matrix organization, as the potential candidate gene at this locus. In addition, we found significant associations (<3.1×10) for 3 previously reported coronary artery disease loci for these subclinical atherosclerotic phenotypes (rs2891168 near and rs11170820 near for CAC, and rs7412 near for cIMT).

Conclusions: Our results provide potential biological mechanisms that could link CAC and cIMT to increased cardiovascular disease risk in individuals with T2D.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCGEN.120.003258DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8435075PMC
August 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Epigenome-wide association meta-analysis of DNA methylation with coffee and tea consumption.

Nat Commun 2021 05 14;12(1):2830. Epub 2021 May 14.

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Coffee and tea are extensively consumed beverages worldwide which have received considerable attention regarding health. Intake of these beverages is consistently linked to, among others, reduced risk of diabetes and liver diseases; however, the mechanisms of action remain elusive. Epigenetics is suggested as a mechanism mediating the effects of dietary and lifestyle factors on disease onset. Here we report the results from epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS) on coffee and tea consumption in 15,789 participants of European and African-American ancestries from 15 cohorts. EWAS meta-analysis of coffee consumption reveals 11 CpGs surpassing the epigenome-wide significance threshold (P-value <1.1×10), which annotated to the AHRR, F2RL3, FLJ43663, HDAC4, GFI1 and PHGDH genes. Among them, cg14476101 is significantly associated with expression of the PHGDH and risk of fatty liver disease. Knockdown of PHGDH expression in liver cells shows a correlation with expression levels of genes associated with circulating lipids, suggesting a role of PHGDH in hepatic-lipid metabolism. EWAS meta-analysis on tea consumption reveals no significant association, only two CpGs annotated to CACNA1A and PRDM16 genes show suggestive association (P-value <5.0×10). These findings indicate that coffee-associated changes in DNA methylation levels may explain the mechanism of action of coffee consumption in conferring risk of diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22752-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8121846PMC
May 2021

Genetic analysis in European ancestry individuals identifies 517 loci associated with liver enzymes.

Nat Commun 2021 05 10;12(1):2579. Epub 2021 May 10.

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

Serum concentration of hepatic enzymes are linked to liver dysfunction, metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. We perform genetic analysis on serum levels of alanine transaminase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) using data on 437,438 UK Biobank participants. Replication in 315,572 individuals from European descent from the Million Veteran Program, Rotterdam Study and Lifeline study confirms 517 liver enzyme SNPs. Genetic risk score analysis using the identified SNPs is strongly associated with serum activity of liver enzymes in two independent European descent studies (The Airwave Health Monitoring study and the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966). Gene-set enrichment analysis using the identified SNPs highlights involvement in liver development and function, lipid metabolism, insulin resistance, and vascular formation. Mendelian randomization analysis shows association of liver enzyme variants with coronary heart disease and ischemic stroke. Genetic risk score for elevated serum activity of liver enzymes is associated with higher fat percentage of body, trunk, and liver and body mass index. Our study highlights the role of molecular pathways regulated by the liver in metabolic disorders and cardiovascular disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22338-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8110798PMC
May 2021

Herpes simplex virus 1 and the risk of dementia: a population-based study.

Sci Rep 2021 Apr 22;11(1):8691. Epub 2021 Apr 22.

Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus MC-University Medical Center Rotterdam, PO Box 2040, 3000CA, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1) is a neuroinvasive virus capable of entering the brain which makes it a candidate pathogen for increasing risk of dementia. Previous studies are inconsistent in their findings regarding the link between HSV1 and dementia, therefore, we investigated how HSV1 relates to cognitive decline and dementia risk using data from a population-based study. We measured HSV1 immunoglobulin (IgG) antibodies in serum collected between 2002 and 2005 from participants of the Rotterdam Study. We used linear regression to determine HSV1 in relation to change in cognitive performance during 2 consecutive examination rounds on average 6.5 years apart. Next, we determined the association of HSV1 with risk of dementia (until 2016) using a Cox regression model. We repeated analyses for Alzheimer's disease. All models were adjusted for age, sex, cardiovascular risk factors, and apolipoprotein E genotype. Of 1915 non-demented participants (mean age 71.3 years, 56.7% women), with an average follow-up time of 9.1 years, 244 participants developed dementia (of whom 203 Alzheimer's disease). HSV1 seropositivity was associated with decline in global cognition (mean difference of HSV1 seropositive vs seronegative per standard deviation decrease in global cognition - 0.16; 95% confidence interval (95%CI), - 0.26; - 0.07), as well as separate cognitive domains, namely memory, information processing, and executive function, but not motor function. Finally, HSV1 seropositivity was not associated with risk of dementia (adjusted hazard ratio 1.18, 95% CI 0.83; 1.68), similar for Alzheimer's disease. HSV1 is associated with cognitive decline but not with incident dementia in the general population. These data suggest HSV1 to be associated only with subtle cognitive disturbances but not with greater cognitive disorders that result in dementia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-87963-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8062537PMC
April 2021

Investigating the relationships between unfavourable habitual sleep and metabolomic traits: evidence from multi-cohort multivariable regression and Mendelian randomization analyses.

BMC Med 2021 03 18;19(1):69. Epub 2021 Mar 18.

Department of Human Genetics, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Background: Sleep traits are associated with cardiometabolic disease risk, with evidence from Mendelian randomization (MR) suggesting that insomnia symptoms and shorter sleep duration increase coronary artery disease risk. We combined adjusted multivariable regression (AMV) and MR analyses of phenotypes of unfavourable sleep on 113 metabolomic traits to investigate possible biochemical mechanisms linking sleep to cardiovascular disease.

Methods: We used AMV (N = 17,368) combined with two-sample MR (N = 38,618) to examine effects of self-reported insomnia symptoms, total habitual sleep duration, and chronotype on 113 metabolomic traits. The AMV analyses were conducted on data from 10 cohorts of mostly Europeans, adjusted for age, sex, and body mass index. For the MR analyses, we used summary results from published European-ancestry genome-wide association studies of self-reported sleep traits and of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) serum metabolites. We used the inverse-variance weighted (IVW) method and complemented this with sensitivity analyses to assess MR assumptions.

Results: We found consistent evidence from AMV and MR analyses for associations of usual vs. sometimes/rare/never insomnia symptoms with lower citrate (- 0.08 standard deviation (SD)[95% confidence interval (CI) - 0.12, - 0.03] in AMV and - 0.03SD [- 0.07, - 0.003] in MR), higher glycoprotein acetyls (0.08SD [95% CI 0.03, 0.12] in AMV and 0.06SD [0.03, 0.10) in MR]), lower total very large HDL particles (- 0.04SD [- 0.08, 0.00] in AMV and - 0.05SD [- 0.09, - 0.02] in MR), and lower phospholipids in very large HDL particles (- 0.04SD [- 0.08, 0.002] in AMV and - 0.05SD [- 0.08, - 0.02] in MR). Longer total sleep duration associated with higher creatinine concentrations using both methods (0.02SD per 1 h [0.01, 0.03] in AMV and 0.15SD [0.02, 0.29] in MR) and with isoleucine in MR analyses (0.22SD [0.08, 0.35]). No consistent evidence was observed for effects of chronotype on metabolomic measures.

Conclusions: Whilst our results suggested that unfavourable sleep traits may not cause widespread metabolic disruption, some notable effects were observed. The evidence for possible effects of insomnia symptoms on glycoprotein acetyls and citrate and longer total sleep duration on creatinine and isoleucine might explain some of the effects, found in MR analyses of these sleep traits on coronary heart disease, which warrant further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-021-01939-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7971964PMC
March 2021

Regulation of microRNA-21 expression by natural products in cancer.

Phytother Res 2021 Jul 16;35(7):3732-3746. Epub 2021 Mar 16.

Applied Biomedical Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

Natural products have been of much interest in research studies owing to their wide pharmacological applications, chemical diversity, low side effects, and multitarget activities. Examples of these compounds include matrine, sulforaphane, silibinin, curcumin, berberin, resveratrol, and quercetin. Some of the present anticancer drugs, such as taxol, vincristine, vinblastine, and doxorubicin are also derived from natural products. The anti-carcinogenic effects of these products are partly mediated through modulation of microRNA-21 (miR-21) expression. To date, numerous downstream targets of miR-21 have been recognized, which include phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), ras homolog gene family member B (RHOB), phosphoinositide 3-kinase/protein kinase B (PI3K/Akt), programmed cell death 4 (PDCD4), signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)-3, and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) pathways. These signaling pathways, their regulation by oncomiR-21 in cancer, and the modulating impact of natural products are the main focus of this review.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ptr.7069DOI Listing
July 2021

Common and Rare Variants Genetic Association Analysis of Circulating Neutrophil Extracellular Traps.

Front Immunol 2021 24;12:615527. Epub 2021 Feb 24.

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

Introduction: Neutrophils contribute to host defense through different mechanisms, including the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). The genetic background and underlying mechanisms contributing to NET formation remain unclear.

Materials And Methods: We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and exome-sequencing analysis to identify common and rare genetic variants associated with plasma myeloperoxidase (MPO)-DNA complex levels, a biomarker for NETs, in the population-based Rotterdam Study cohort. GWAS was performed using haplotype reference consortium(HRC)-imputed genotypes of common variants in 3,514 individuals from the first and 2,076 individuals from the second cohort of the Rotterdam Study. We additionally performed exome-sequencing analysis in 960 individuals to investigate rare variants in candidate genes.

Results: The GWAS yielded suggestive associations (p-value < 5.0 × 10) of SNPs annotated to four genes. In the exome-sequencing analysis, a variant in gene was significantly associated with MPO-DNA complex levels (p-value < 3.06×10). Moreover, gene-based analysis showed ten genes () to be associated with MPO-DNA complex levels (p-value between 4.48 × 10 and 1.05 × 10). Pathway analysis of the identified genes showed their involvement in cellular development, molecular transport, RNA trafficking, cell-to-cell signaling and interaction, cellular growth and proliferation. Cancer was the top disease linked to the NET-associated genes.

Conclusion: In this first GWAS and exome-sequencing analysis of NETs levels, we found several genes that were associated with NETs. The precise mechanism of how these genes may contribute to neutrophil function or the formation of NETs remains unclear and should be further investigated in experimental studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.615527DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7944992PMC
July 2021

Estimating Global Prevalence of Metabolic Dysfunction-Associated Fatty Liver Disease in Overweight or Obese Adults.

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021 Feb 20. Epub 2021 Feb 20.

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Erasmus MC-University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Biomedical Research Center, Northwest Minzu University, Lanzhou, China. Electronic address:

Background & Aims: Metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD) is a new terminology updated from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In this study, we aim to estimate the global prevalence of MAFLD specifically in overweight and obese adults from the general population by performing a systematic review and meta-analysis through mining the existing epidemiological data on fatty liver disease.

Methods: We searched Medline, Embase, Web of Science, Cochrane and google scholar database from inception to November, 2020. DerSimonian-Laird random-effects model with Logit transformation was performed for data analysis. Sensitivity analysis and meta-regression were used to explore predictors of MAFLD prevalence in pooled statistics with high heterogeneity.

Results: We identified 116 relevant studies comprised of 2,667,052 participants in general population with an estimated global MAFLD prevalence as 50.7% (95% CI 46.9-54.4) among overweight/obese adults regardless of diagnostic techniques. Ultrasound was the most commonly used diagnostic technique generating prevalence rate of 51.3% (95% CI, 49.1-53.4). Male (59.0%; 95% CI, 52.0-65.6) had a significantly higher MAFLD prevalence than female (47.5%; 95% CI, 40.7-54.5). Interestingly, MAFLD prevalence rates are comparable based on classical NAFLD and non-NAFLD studies in general population. The pooled estimate prevalence of comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome was 19.7% (95% CI, 12.8-29.0) and 57.5% (95% CI, 49.9-64.8), respectively.

Conclusions: MAFLD has an astonishingly high prevalence rate in overweight and obese adults. This calls for attention and dedicated action from primary care physicians, specialists, health policy makers and the general public alike.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2021.02.030DOI Listing
February 2021

Editorial: microRNAs for the diagnosis of fatty liver disease in the population-are we inching closer towards the target? Authors' reply.

Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2021 02;53(4):559-560

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

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/apt.16234DOI Listing
February 2021

Genome-wide transcriptome study using deep RNA sequencing for myocardial infarction and coronary artery calcification.

BMC Med Genomics 2021 02 10;14(1):45. Epub 2021 Feb 10.

Division of Intramural Research, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Background: Coronary artery calcification (CAC) is a noninvasive measure of coronary atherosclerosis, the proximal pathophysiology underlying most cases of myocardial infarction (MI). We sought to identify expression signatures of early MI and subclinical atherosclerosis in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS). In this study, we conducted paired-end RNA sequencing on whole blood collected from 198 FHS participants (55 with a history of early MI, 72 with high CAC without prior MI, and 71 controls free of elevated CAC levels or history of MI). We applied DESeq2 to identify coding-genes and long intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs) differentially expressed in MI and high CAC, respectively, compared with the control.

Results: On average, 150 million paired-end reads were obtained for each sample. At the false discovery rate (FDR) < 0.1, we found 68 coding genes and 2 lincRNAs that were differentially expressed in early MI versus controls. Among them, 60 coding genes were detectable and thus tested in an independent RNA-Seq data of 807 individuals from the Rotterdam Study, and 8 genes were supported by p value and direction of the effect. Immune response, lipid metabolic process, and interferon regulatory factor were enriched in these 68 genes. By contrast, only 3 coding genes and 1 lincRNA were differentially expressed in high CAC versus controls. APOD, encoding a component of high-density lipoprotein, was significantly downregulated in both early MI (FDR = 0.007) and high CAC (FDR = 0.01) compared with controls.

Conclusions: We identified transcriptomic signatures of early MI that include differentially expressed protein-coding genes and lincRNAs, suggesting important roles for protein-coding genes and lincRNAs in the pathogenesis of MI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12920-020-00838-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7874462PMC
February 2021

Circulatory MicroRNAs as Potential Biomarkers for Stroke Risk: The Rotterdam Study.

Stroke 2021 Mar 10;52(3):945-953. Epub 2021 Feb 10.

Department of Epidemiology (M.M.J.M., A.H., L.F., M.A.I., M.K.I., M.G.), Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Background And Purpose: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are post-transcriptionally regulators of gene expression that can be released extracellularly upon pathophysiological processes. By complementary binding of target transcripts, miRNAs can modulate the expression of an abundance of genes. Increasing evidence recognize miRNAs as promising biomarkers for complex traits, including cardiovascular disease and stroke. We conducted a longitudinal study to determine the association between circulatory miRNAs and incident stroke in a population-based setting.

Methods: Next-generation sequencing was used to measure expression levels of 2083 miRNAs in plasma samples, collected between 2002 and 2005, from 1914 stroke-free participants of the Rotterdam Study. Participants were assessed for incident stroke through continuous monitoring of medical records until January 1, 2016. Cox proportional hazards regression models adjusted for age, sex, and vascular risk factors were used to investigate the association between the levels of 591 miRNAs well-expressed in plasma and incident stroke. Furthermore, stroke subtype analysis was performed to assess the link between identified miRNAs and ischemic, hemorrhagic, and unspecified stroke. Subsequently, post hoc analyses were conducted to gain insight into the association between putative target genes of miRNAs and stroke.

Results: Of 1914 participants (mean age 71.5 years ±7.6; 57.7% women), 138 were diagnosed with incident stroke during a mean follow-up of 9.7±3.2 years. After adjusting for potential confounders, we found plasma levels of 3 miRNAs to be associated with incident stroke (false discovery rate-adjusted <0.05). These include miR-6124 (hazard ratio, 1.66 [95% CI, 1.31-2.09]), miR-5196-5p (hazard ratio, 1.90 [95% CI, 1.39-2.61]), and miR-4292 (hazard ratio, 2.65 [95% CI, 1.62-4.34]). In silico analysis of the putative target genes of these miRNAs showed associations of variants in several target genes with stroke.

Conclusions: This study indicates that plasma levels of 3 miRNAs are associated with the risk of stroke, proposing them as potential biomarkers for early detection of the disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.120.031543DOI Listing
March 2021

miR-142-3p regulates cortical oligodendrocyte gene co-expression networks associated with tauopathy.

Hum Mol Genet 2021 03;30(1):103-118

Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095 USA.

Oligodendrocytes exist in a heterogenous state and are implicated in multiple neuropsychiatric diseases including dementia. Cortical oligodendrocytes are a glial population uniquely positioned to play a key role in neurodegeneration by synchronizing circuit connectivity but molecular pathways specific to this role are lacking. We utilized oligodendrocyte-specific translating ribosome affinity purification and RNA-seq (TRAP-seq) to transcriptionally profile adult mature oligodendrocytes from different regions of the central nervous system. Weighted gene co-expression network analysis reveals distinct region-specific gene networks. Two of these mature myelinating oligodendrocyte gene networks uniquely define cortical oligodendrocytes and differentially regulate cortical myelination (M8) and synaptic signaling (M4). These two cortical oligodendrocyte gene networks are enriched for genes associated with dementia including MAPT and include multiple gene targets of the regulatory microRNA, miR-142-3p. Using a combination of TRAP-qPCR, miR-142-3p overexpression in vitro, and miR-142-null mice, we show that miR-142-3p negatively regulates cortical myelination. In rTg4510 tau-overexpressing mice, cortical myelination is compromised, and tau-mediated neurodegeneration is associated with gene co-expression networks that recapitulate both the M8 and M4 cortical oligodendrocyte gene networks identified from normal cortex. We further demonstrate overlapping gene networks in mature oligodendrocytes present in normal cortex, rTg4510 and miR-142-null mice, and existing datasets from human tauopathies to provide evidence for a critical role of miR-142-3p-regulated cortical myelination and oligodendrocyte-mediated synaptic signaling in neurodegeneration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddaa252DOI Listing
March 2021

Implications of microRNAs in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and prospects for therapy.

Curr Drug Targets 2021 Jan 20. Epub 2021 Jan 20.

Biotechnology Research Center, Pharmaceutical Technology Institute, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad. Iran.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are non-coding RNAs containing around 22 nucleotides, which are expressed in vertebrates and plants. They act as posttranscriptional gene expression regulators, fine-tuning various biological processes in different cell types. There is emerging evidence on their role in different stages of atherosclerosis. In addition to regulating the inflammatory cells involved in atherosclerosis, miRNAs play fundamental roles in the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis such as endothelial cell (EC) dysfunction, the aberrant function of the vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) and cholesterol metabolism. Moreover, miRNAs participate in several pathogenic pathways of atherosclerotic plaque development, including their effects on immune cell signaling receptors and lipid uptake. In this study, we review our current knowledge of the regulatory role of miRNAs in various pathogenic pathways underlying atherosclerosis development and also outline potential clinical applications of miRNAs in atherosclerosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1389450122666210120143450DOI Listing
January 2021

Deciphering the role of epigenetic modifications in fatty liver disease: A systematic review.

Eur J Clin Invest 2021 May 4;51(5):e13479. Epub 2021 Jan 4.

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

Background: Fatty liver disease (FLD), primarily nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is the most common liver disorder that affects a quarter of the global population. NAFLD is a spectrum of disease ranging from simple steatosis to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, which is associated with increased risk of developing liver cancer. Given that the pathogenic mechanisms of fatty liver remain largely elusive, it is important to further investigate potential underlying mechanisms including epigenetic modifications. Here, we performed a systematic review of human epigenetic studies on FLD presence.

Methods: Five bibliographic databases were screened until 28 August 2020. We included cross-sectional, case-control and cohort studies in humans that examined the association of epigenetic modifications including global, candidate or epigenome-wide methylation of DNA, noncoding RNAs and histone modifications with FLD.

Results: In total 36 articles, based on 33 unique studies, consisting of 12 112 participants met the inclusion criteria. Among these, two recent epigenome-wide association studies conducted among large population-based cohorts have reported the association between cg06690548 (SLC7A11) and FLD. Moreover, several studies have demonstrated the association between microRNAs (miRNAs) and FLD, in which miR-122, miR-34a and miR-192 were recognized as the most relevant miRNAs as biomarkers for FLD. We did not find any studies examining histone modifications in relation to FLD.

Conclusions: Cumulative evidence suggests a link between epigenetic mechanisms, specifically DNA methylation and miRNAs, and FLD. Further efforts should investigate the molecular pathways by which these epigenetic markers may regulate FLD and also the potential role of histone modifications in FLD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/eci.13479DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8243926PMC
May 2021

Circulatory microRNAs as potential biomarkers for fatty liver disease: the Rotterdam study.

Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2021 02 27;53(3):432-442. Epub 2020 Nov 27.

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

Background: Fatty liver disease (FLD) is the most common cause of liver dysfunction in developed countries. There is great interest in developing clinically valid and minimally invasive biomarkers to enhance early diagnosis of FLD.

Aim: To investigate the potential of circulatory microRNAs (miRNAs) as biomarkers of FLD at the population level.

Methods: Plasma levels of 2083 miRNAs were measured by RNA sequencing in 1999 participants from the prospective population-based Rotterdam Study cohort. The Hounsfield Unit (HU) attenuation of liver was measured using non-enhanced computed tomography (CT) scan. Logistic and linear regression models adjusting for potential confounders were used to examine the association of circulatory miRNAs with liver enzymes (n = 1991) and CT-based FLD (n = 954). Moreover, the association of miRNAs with hepatic steatosis and liver fibrosis was assessed longitudinally in individuals who underwent abdominal ultrasound (n = 1211) and transient elastography (n = 777) after a median follow-up of >6 years.

Results: Cross-sectional analysis showed 61 miRNAs significantly associated with serum gamma-glutamyl transferase and/or alkaline phosphatase levels (Bonferroni-corrected P < 8.46 × 10 ). Moreover, 17 miRNAs were significantly associated with CT-based FLD (P < 8.46 × 10 ); 14 were among miRNAs associated with liver enzymes. Longitudinal analysis showed that 4 of these 14 miRNAs (miR-193a-5p, miR-122-5p, miR-378d and miR-187-3p) were significantly associated with hepatic steatosis (P < 3.57 × 10 ) and three (miR-193a-5p, miR-122-5p and miR-193b-3p) were nominally associated with liver fibrosis (P < 0.05). Nine of the 14 identified miRNAs were involved in pathways underlying liver diseases.

Conclusions: Plasma levels of several miRNAs can be used as biomarkers of FLD, laying the groundwork for future clinical applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/apt.16177DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7839694PMC
February 2021

Sleep, 24-h activity rhythms, and plasma markers of neurodegenerative disease.

Sci Rep 2020 11 26;10(1):20691. Epub 2020 Nov 26.

Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center, Doctor Molewaterplein 40, 3015 GD, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Sleep and 24-h activity rhythm disturbances are associated with development of neurodegenerative diseases and related pathophysiological processes in the brain. We determined the cross-sectional relation of sleep and 24-h activity rhythm disturbances with plasma-based biomarkers that might signal neurodegenerative disease, in 4712 middle-aged and elderly non-demented persons. Sleep and activity rhythms were measured using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and actigraphy. Simoa assays were used to measure plasma levels of neurofilament light chain, and additionally β-amyloid 40, β-amyloid 42, and total-tau. We used linear regression, adjusting for relevant confounders, and corrected for multiple testing. We found no associations of self-rated sleep, actigraphy-estimated sleep and 24-h activity rhythms with neurofilament light chain after confounder adjustment and correction for multiple testing, except for a non-linear association of self-rated time in bed with neurofilament light chain (P = 2.5*10). Similarly, we observed no significant associations with β-amyloid 40, β-amyloid 42, and total-tau after multiple testing correction. We conclude that sleep and 24-h activity rhythm disturbances were not consistently associated with neuronal damage as indicated by plasma neurofilament light chain in this population-based sample middle-aged and elderly non-demented persons. Further studies are needed to determine the associations of sleep and 24-h activity rhythm disturbances with NfL-related neuronal damage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-77830-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7692474PMC
November 2020

Immunity and amyloid beta, total tau and neurofilament light chain: Findings from a community-based cohort study.

Alzheimers Dement 2021 03 20;17(3):446-456. Epub 2020 Nov 20.

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

Introduction: We investigated how components of immunity relate to biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in plasma and explored the influence of AD genetic risk factors in the population-based Rotterdam Study.

Methods: In 7397 persons, we calculated the granulocyte-to-lymphocyte ratio (GLR), platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio (PLR), and systemic immune-inflammation index (SII). In 3615 of these persons, plasma amyloid-beta (Aβ)42 and Aβ40 were measured. Next, we constructed an overall genetic risk score (GRS) based on genome-wide significant variants, both including and excluding APOE ε4.

Results: All innate immunity phenotypes were related to higher Aβ, most strongly with a doubling in GLR leading to a 1.9% higher Aβ42 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.4 to 3.3%) and 3.2% higher Aβ40 (95% CI 2.0 to 4.3%). Higher AD GRS including APOE ε4 was associated with higher immunity markers.

Discussion: Higher levels of immunity markers were associated with higher Aβ in plasma. Participants with a higher genetic predisposition to AD had higher immunity markers, where these effects were mainly driven by APOE ε4.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/alz.12212DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8048997PMC
March 2021

Meta-analysis uncovers genome-wide significant variants for rapid kidney function decline.

Kidney Int 2021 04 31;99(4):926-939. Epub 2020 Oct 31.

Division of Nephrology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA; Kidney Research Institute, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.

Rapid decline of glomerular filtration rate estimated from creatinine (eGFRcrea) is associated with severe clinical endpoints. In contrast to cross-sectionally assessed eGFRcrea, the genetic basis for rapid eGFRcrea decline is largely unknown. To help define this, we meta-analyzed 42 genome-wide association studies from the Chronic Kidney Diseases Genetics Consortium and United Kingdom Biobank to identify genetic loci for rapid eGFRcrea decline. Two definitions of eGFRcrea decline were used: 3 mL/min/1.73m/year or more ("Rapid3"; encompassing 34,874 cases, 107,090 controls) and eGFRcrea decline 25% or more and eGFRcrea under 60 mL/min/1.73m at follow-up among those with eGFRcrea 60 mL/min/1.73m or more at baseline ("CKDi25"; encompassing 19,901 cases, 175,244 controls). Seven independent variants were identified across six loci for Rapid3 and/or CKDi25: consisting of five variants at four loci with genome-wide significance (near UMOD-PDILT (2), PRKAG2, WDR72, OR2S2) and two variants among 265 known eGFRcrea variants (near GATM, LARP4B). All these loci were novel for Rapid3 and/or CKDi25 and our bioinformatic follow-up prioritized variants and genes underneath these loci. The OR2S2 locus is novel for any eGFRcrea trait including interesting candidates. For the five genome-wide significant lead variants, we found supporting effects for annual change in blood urea nitrogen or cystatin-based eGFR, but not for GATM or LARP4B. Individuals at high compared to those at low genetic risk (8-14 vs. 0-5 adverse alleles) had a 1.20-fold increased risk of acute kidney injury (95% confidence interval 1.08-1.33). Thus, our identified loci for rapid kidney function decline may help prioritize therapeutic targets and identify mechanisms and individuals at risk for sustained deterioration of kidney function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.kint.2020.09.030DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8010357PMC
April 2021

Smoking-related changes in DNA methylation and gene expression are associated with cardio-metabolic traits.

Clin Epigenetics 2020 10 22;12(1):157. Epub 2020 Oct 22.

Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam, 3015 GB, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: Tobacco smoking is a well-known modifiable risk factor for many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease (CVD). One of the proposed underlying mechanism linking smoking to disease is via epigenetic modifications, which could affect the expression of disease-associated genes. Here, we conducted a three-way association study to identify the relationship between smoking-related changes in DNA methylation and gene expression and their associations with cardio-metabolic traits.

Results: We selected 2549 CpG sites and 443 gene expression probes associated with current versus never smokers, from the largest epigenome-wide association study and transcriptome-wide association study to date. We examined three-way associations, including CpG versus gene expression, cardio-metabolic trait versus CpG, and cardio-metabolic trait versus gene expression, in the Rotterdam study. Subsequently, we replicated our findings in The Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg (KORA) study. After correction for multiple testing, we identified both cis- and trans-expression quantitative trait methylation (eQTM) associations in blood. Specifically, we found 1224 smoking-related CpGs associated with at least one of the 443 gene expression probes, and 200 smoking-related gene expression probes to be associated with at least one of the 2549 CpGs. Out of these, 109 CpGs and 27 genes were associated with at least one cardio-metabolic trait in the Rotterdam Study. We were able to replicate the associations with cardio-metabolic traits of 26 CpGs and 19 genes in the KORA study. Furthermore, we identified a three-way association of triglycerides with two CpGs and two genes (GZMA; CLDND1), and BMI with six CpGs and two genes (PID1; LRRN3). Finally, our results revealed the mediation effect of cg03636183 (F2RL3), cg06096336 (PSMD1), cg13708645 (KDM2B), and cg17287155 (AHRR) within the association between smoking and LRRN3 expression.

Conclusions: Our study indicates that smoking-related changes in DNA methylation and gene expression are associated with cardio-metabolic risk factors. These findings may provide additional insights into the molecular mechanisms linking smoking to the development of CVD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13148-020-00951-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7579899PMC
October 2020

The Polygenic and Monogenic Basis of Blood Traits and Diseases.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Higher Plasma Amyloid-β Levels Are Associated with a Higher Risk of Cancer: A Population-Based Prospective Cohort Study.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 10 29;29(10):1993-2001. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

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

Background: Various studies show an inverse relation between Alzheimer disease and cancer, but findings are likely to be biased by surveillance and survival bias. Plasma amyloid-β (Aβ) is defined as a preclinical feature of Alzheimer disease, with lower levels of Aβ42 being associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer disease. To get more insight into the biological link between Alzheimer disease and cancer, we investigated plasma Aβ levels in relation to the risk of cancer.

Methods: Between 2002 and 2005, we measured plasma Aβ40 and Aβ42 levels in 3,949 participants from the population-based Rotterdam Study. These participants were followed until the onset of cancer, all-cause dementia, death, loss to follow-up, or January 1, 2014, whichever came first. We used Cox proportional hazards models to investigate the association between plasma Aβ40 and Aβ42 levels, and the risk of cancer. Analyses were stratified by cancer site.

Results: During a median (interquartile range) follow-up of 9.0 years (6.9-10.1), 560 participants were diagnosed with cancer. Higher levels of log plasma Aβ40 and Aβ42 were associated with a higher risk of cancer [hazard ratio per standard deviation increase for Aβ40 = 1.12 (95% confidence interval, CI = 1.02-1.23) and Aβ42 = 1.12 (95% CI = 1.03-1.23)]. These effect estimates were most pronounced for hematologic cancers, urinary tract cancers, and cancers of unknown primary origin.

Conclusions: We found that higher levels of both plasma Aβ40 and Aβ42 were associated with a higher risk of cancer.

Impact: Our study suggests a potential biological link between Alzheimer disease and cancer. The pathophysiologic role of Aβ in cancer and its causality warrant further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0167DOI Listing
October 2020

Unique challenges to control the spread of COVID-19 in the Middle East.

J Infect Public Health 2020 Sep 13;13(9):1247-1250. Epub 2020 Jul 13.

Research Center, King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Electronic address:

The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading at unprecedented pace among the Middle East and neighboring countries. This region is geographically, economically, politically, culturally and religiously a very sensitive area, which impose unique challenges for effective control of this epidemic. These challenges include compromised healthcare systems, prolonged regional conflicts and humanitarian crises, suboptimal levels of transparency and cooperation, and frequent religious gatherings. These factors are interrelated and collectively determine the response to the pandemic in this region. Here, we in-depth emphasize these challenges and take a glimpse of possible solutions towards mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jiph.2020.06.034DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7357517PMC
September 2020

A cross-omics integrative study of metabolic signatures of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

BMC Pulm Med 2020 Jul 16;20(1):193. Epub 2020 Jul 16.

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

Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common lung disorder characterized by persistent and progressive airflow limitation as well as systemic changes. Metabolic changes in blood may help detect COPD in an earlier stage and predict prognosis.

Methods: We conducted a comprehensive study of circulating metabolites, measured by proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, in relation with COPD and lung function. The discovery sample consisted of 5557 individuals from two large population-based studies in the Netherlands, the Rotterdam Study and the Erasmus Rucphen Family study. Significant findings were replicated in 12,205 individuals from the Lifelines-DEEP study, FINRISK and the Prospective Investigation of the Vasculature in Uppsala Seniors (PIVUS) studies. For replicated metabolites further investigation of causality was performed, utilizing genetics in the Mendelian randomization approach.

Results: There were 602 cases of COPD and 4955 controls used in the discovery meta-analysis. Our logistic regression results showed that higher levels of plasma Glycoprotein acetyls (GlycA) are significantly associated with COPD (OR = 1.16, P = 5.6 × 10 in the discovery and OR = 1.30, P = 1.8 × 10 in the replication sample). A bi-directional two-sample Mendelian randomization analysis suggested that circulating blood GlycA is not causally related to COPD, but that COPD causally increases GlycA levels. Using the prospective data of the same sample of Rotterdam Study in Cox-regression, we show that the circulating GlycA level is a predictive biomarker of COPD incidence (HR = 1.99, 95%CI 1.52-2.60, comparing those in the highest and lowest quartile of GlycA) but is not significantly associated with mortality in COPD patients (HR = 1.07, 95%CI 0.94-1.20).

Conclusions: Our study shows that circulating blood GlycA is a biomarker of early COPD pathology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12890-020-01222-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7364599PMC
July 2020
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