Publications by authors named "Robert A Scott"

231 Publications

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

Pleiotropic associations of heterozygosity for the Z allele in the UK Biobank.

ERJ Open Res 2021 Apr 10;7(2). Epub 2021 May 10.

Division of Respiratory Medicine, University of Nottingham, and NIHR Nottingham BRC, NUH NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK.

Homozygosity for the Z allele causes α-antitrypsin deficiency, a rare condition that can cause lung and liver disease. However, the effects of Z allele heterozygosity on nonrespiratory phenotypes, and on lung function in the general population, remain unclear. We conducted a large, population-based study to determine Z allele effects on >2400 phenotypes in the UK Biobank (N=303 353). Z allele heterozygosity was strongly associated with increased height (β=1.02 cm, p=3.91×10), and with other nonrespiratory phenotypes including increased risk of gall bladder disease, reduced risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure, reduced risk of osteoarthritis and reduced bone mineral density, increased risk of headache and enlarged prostate, as well as with blood biomarkers of liver function. Heterozygosity was associated with higher height-adjusted forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV) (β=19.36 mL, p=9.21×10) and FEV/forced vital capacity (β=0.0031, p=1.22×10) in nonsmokers, whereas in smokers, this protective effect was abolished. Furthermore, we show for the first time that sex modifies the association of the Z allele on lung function. We conclude that Z allele heterozygosity and homozygosity exhibit opposing effects on lung function in the UK population, and that these associations are modified by smoking and sex. In exploratory analyses, heterozygosity for the Z allele also showed pleiotropic associations with nonrespiratory health-related traits and disease risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1183/23120541.00049-2021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8107350PMC
April 2021

Mendelian randomization for studying the effects of perturbing drug targets.

Wellcome Open Res 2021 10;6:16. Epub 2021 Feb 10.

Medical Research Council Integrative Epidemiology Unit, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.

Drugs whose targets have genetic evidence to support efficacy and safety are more likely to be approved after clinical development. In this paper, we provide an overview of how natural sequence variation in the genes that encode drug targets can be used in Mendelian randomization analyses to offer insight into mechanism-based efficacy and adverse effects. Large databases of summary level genetic association data are increasingly available and can be leveraged to identify and validate variants that serve as proxies for drug target perturbation. As with all empirical research, Mendelian randomization has limitations including genetic confounding, its consideration of lifelong effects, and issues related to heterogeneity across different tissues and populations. When appropriately applied, Mendelian randomization provides a useful empirical framework for using population level data to improve the success rates of the drug development pipeline.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.16544.2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7903200PMC
February 2021

A cross-platform approach identifies genetic regulators of human metabolism and health.

Nat Genet 2021 01 7;53(1):54-64. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Metabolic Research Laboratories, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

In cross-platform analyses of 174 metabolites, we identify 499 associations (P < 4.9 × 10) characterized by pleiotropy, allelic heterogeneity, large and nonlinear effects and enrichment for nonsynonymous variation. We identify a signal at GLP2R (p.Asp470Asn) shared among higher citrulline levels, body mass index, fasting glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide and type 2 diabetes, with β-arrestin signaling as the underlying mechanism. Genetically higher serine levels are shown to reduce the likelihood (by 95%) and predict development of macular telangiectasia type 2, a rare degenerative retinal disease. Integration of genomic and small molecule data across platforms enables the discovery of regulators of human metabolism and translation into clinical insights.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-00751-5DOI Listing
January 2021

MR Measures of Small Bowel Wall T2 Are Associated With Increased Permeability.

J Magn Reson Imaging 2021 05 16;53(5):1422-1431. Epub 2020 Dec 16.

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre at the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.

Background: Increased small bowel permeability leads to bacterial translocation, associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Biomarkers are needed to evaluate these changes in vivo, stratify an individual's risk, and evaluate the efficacy of interventions. MRI is an established biomarker of small bowel inflammation.

Purpose: To characterize changes in the small bowel with quantitative MRI measures associated with increased permeability induced by indomethacin.

Study Type: Prospective single-center, double-blind, two-way crossover provocation study.

Subjects: A provocation cohort (22 healthy volunteers) and intrasubject reproducibility cohort (8 healthy volunteers).

Field Strength/sequence: 2D balanced turbo field echo sequences to measure small bowel wall thickness, T , and motility acquired at 3T.

Assessment: Participants were randomized to receive indomethacin or placebo prior to assessment. After a minimum 2-week washout, measures were repeated with the alternative allocation. MR measures (wall thickness, T , motility) at each study visit were compared to the reference standard 2-hour lactulose/mannitol urinary excretion ratio (LMR) test performed by a lab technician. All analyses were performed blind.

Statistical Tests: Normality was tested (Shapiro-Wilk's test). Paired testing (Student's t-test or Wilcoxon) determined the significance of paired differences with indomethacin provocation. Pearson's correlation coefficient compared significant measures with indomethacin provocation to LMR. Intrasubject (intraclass correlation) and interrater variability (Bland-Altman) were assessed.

Results: Indomethacin provocation induced a significant increase in LMR compared to placebo (P < 0.05) and a significant increase in small bowel T (0.12 seconds compared to placebo 0.07 seconds, P < 0.05). Small bowel wall thickness (P = 0.17) and motility (P = 0.149) showed no significant change. T and LMR were positively correlated (r = 0.68, P < 0.05). T measurements were robust to interobserver (intraclass correlation 0.89) and intrasubject variability (Bland-Altman bias of 0.005 seconds, 95% confidence interval [CI] -0.04 to +0.05 seconds, and 0.0006 seconds, 95% CI -0.05 to +0.06 seconds).

Data Conclusion: MR measures of small bowel wall T were significantly increased following indomethacin provocation and correlated with 2-hour LMR test results.

Level Of Evidence: 1 TECHNICAL EFFICACY STAGE: 2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jmri.27463DOI Listing
May 2021

Exome sequencing and characterization of 49,960 individuals in the UK Biobank.

Nature 2020 10 21;586(7831):749-756. Epub 2020 Oct 21.

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

The UK Biobank is a prospective study of 502,543 individuals, combining extensive phenotypic and genotypic data with streamlined access for researchers around the world. Here we describe the release of exome-sequence data for the first 49,960 study participants, revealing approximately 4 million coding variants (of which around 98.6% have a frequency of less than 1%). The data include 198,269 autosomal predicted loss-of-function (LOF) variants, a more than 14-fold increase compared to the imputed sequence. Nearly all genes (more than 97%) had at least one carrier with a LOF variant, and most genes (more than 69%) had at least ten carriers with a LOF variant. We illustrate the power of characterizing LOF variants in this population through association analyses across 1,730 phenotypes. In addition to replicating established associations, we found novel LOF variants with large effects on disease traits, including PIEZO1 on varicose veins, COL6A1 on corneal resistance, MEPE on bone density, and IQGAP2 and GMPR on blood cell traits. We further demonstrate the value of exome sequencing by surveying the prevalence of pathogenic variants of clinical importance, and show that 2% of this population has a medically actionable variant. Furthermore, we characterize the penetrance of cancer in carriers of pathogenic BRCA1 and BRCA2 variants. Exome sequences from the first 49,960 participants highlight the promise of genome sequencing in large population-based studies and are now accessible to the scientific community.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2853-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7759458PMC
October 2020

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

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

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

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

Phenome-wide Mendelian randomization mapping the influence of the plasma proteome on complex diseases.

Nat Genet 2020 10 7;52(10):1122-1131. Epub 2020 Sep 7.

MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit (IEU), Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.

The human proteome is a major source of therapeutic targets. Recent genetic association analyses of the plasma proteome enable systematic evaluation of the causal consequences of variation in plasma protein levels. Here we estimated the effects of 1,002 proteins on 225 phenotypes using two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR) and colocalization. Of 413 associations supported by evidence from MR, 130 (31.5%) were not supported by results of colocalization analyses, suggesting that genetic confounding due to linkage disequilibrium is widespread in naïve phenome-wide association studies of proteins. Combining MR and colocalization evidence in cis-only analyses, we identified 111 putatively causal effects between 65 proteins and 52 disease-related phenotypes ( https://www.epigraphdb.org/pqtl/ ). Evaluation of data from historic drug development programs showed that target-indication pairs with MR and colocalization support were more likely to be approved, evidencing the value of this approach in identifying and prioritizing potential therapeutic targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-0682-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7610464PMC
October 2020

Inflammatory and Fibrogenic Factors in Proliferative Vitreoretinopathy Development.

Transl Vis Sci Technol 2020 02 21;9(3):23. Epub 2020 Feb 21.

Neuroscience and Ophthalmology, Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.

Purpose: Proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) occurs in 5%-10% of rhegmatogenous retinal detachment cases and is the principle cause for failure of retinal reattachment surgery. Although there are a number of surgical adjunctive agents available for preventing the development of PVR, all have limited efficacy. Discovering predictive molecular biomarkers to determine the probability of PVR development after retinal reattachment surgery will allow better patient stratification for more targeted drug evaluations.

Methods: Narrative literature review.

Results: We provide a summary of the inflammatory and fibrogenic factors found in ocular fluid samples during the development of retinal detachment and PVR and discuss their possible use as molecular PVR predictive biomarkers.

Conclusions: Studies monitoring the levels of the above factors have found that few if any have predictive biomarker value, suggesting that widening the phenotype of potential factors and a combinatorial approach are required to determine predictive biomarkers for PVR.

Translational Relevance: The identification of relevant biomarkers relies on an understanding of disease signaling pathways derived from basic science research. We discuss the extent to which those molecules identified as biomarkers and predictors of PVR relate to disease pathogenesis and could function as useful disease predictors. (http://www.umin.ac.jp/ctr/ number, UMIN000005604).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1167/tvst.9.3.23DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7357815PMC
February 2020

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

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

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

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

Genetic predisposition to mosaic Y chromosome loss in blood.

Nature 2019 11 20;575(7784):652-657. Epub 2019 Nov 20.

Genetics of Complex Traits, University of Exeter Medical School, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK.

Mosaic loss of chromosome Y (LOY) in circulating white blood cells is the most common form of clonal mosaicism, yet our knowledge of the causes and consequences of this is limited. Here, using a computational approach, we estimate that 20% of the male population represented in the UK Biobank study (n = 205,011) has detectable LOY. We identify 156 autosomal genetic determinants of LOY, which we replicate in 757,114 men of European and Japanese ancestry. These loci highlight genes that are involved in cell-cycle regulation and cancer susceptibility, as well as somatic drivers of tumour growth and targets of cancer therapy. We demonstrate that genetic susceptibility to LOY is associated with non-haematological effects on health in both men and women, which supports the hypothesis that clonal haematopoiesis is a biomarker of genomic instability in other tissues. Single-cell RNA sequencing identifies dysregulated expression of autosomal genes in leukocytes with LOY and provides insights into why clonal expansion of these cells may occur. Collectively, these data highlight the value of studying clonal mosaicism to uncover fundamental mechanisms that underlie cancer and other ageing-related diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1765-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6887549PMC
November 2019

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

Phenome-wide association analysis of LDL-cholesterol lowering genetic variants in PCSK9.

BMC Cardiovasc Disord 2019 10 29;19(1):240. Epub 2019 Oct 29.

Department Primary Care & Population Health, University College London, London, UK.

Background: We characterised the phenotypic consequence of genetic variation at the PCSK9 locus and compared findings with recent trials of pharmacological inhibitors of PCSK9.

Methods: Published and individual participant level data (300,000+ participants) were combined to construct a weighted PCSK9 gene-centric score (GS). Seventeen randomized placebo controlled PCSK9 inhibitor trials were included, providing data on 79,578 participants. Results were scaled to a one mmol/L lower LDL-C concentration.

Results: The PCSK9 GS (comprising 4 SNPs) associations with plasma lipid and apolipoprotein levels were consistent in direction with treatment effects. The GS odds ratio (OR) for myocardial infarction (MI) was 0.53 (95% CI 0.42; 0.68), compared to a PCSK9 inhibitor effect of 0.90 (95% CI 0.86; 0.93). For ischemic stroke ORs were 0.84 (95% CI 0.57; 1.22) for the GS, compared to 0.85 (95% CI 0.78; 0.93) in the drug trials. ORs with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) were 1.29 (95% CI 1.11; 1.50) for the GS, as compared to 1.00 (95% CI 0.96; 1.04) for incident T2DM in PCSK9 inhibitor trials. No genetic associations were observed for cancer, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or Alzheimer's disease - outcomes for which large-scale trial data were unavailable.

Conclusions: Genetic variation at the PCSK9 locus recapitulates the effects of therapeutic inhibition of PCSK9 on major blood lipid fractions and MI. While indicating an increased risk of T2DM, no other possible safety concerns were shown; although precision was moderate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12872-019-1187-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6820948PMC
October 2019

Epigenome-Wide Association Study of Incident Type 2 Diabetes in a British Population: EPIC-Norfolk Study.

Diabetes 2019 12 10;68(12):2315-2326. Epub 2019 Sep 10.

MRC Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, U.K.

Epigenetic changes may contribute substantially to risks of diseases of aging. Previous studies reported seven methylation variable positions (MVPs) robustly associated with incident type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). However, their causal roles in T2DM are unclear. In an incident T2DM case-cohort study nested within the population-based European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Norfolk cohort, we used whole blood DNA collected at baseline, up to 11 years before T2DM onset, to investigate the role of methylation in the etiology of T2DM. We identified 15 novel MVPs with robust associations with incident T2DM and robustly confirmed three MVPs identified previously (near to , , and ). All 18 MVPs showed directionally consistent associations with incident and prevalent T2DM in independent studies. Further conditional analyses suggested that the identified epigenetic signals appear related to T2DM via glucose and obesity-related pathways acting before the collection of baseline samples. We integrated genome-wide genetic data to identify methylation-associated quantitative trait loci robustly associated with 16 of the 18 MVPs and found one MVP, cg00574958 at , with a possible direct causal role in T2DM. None of the implicated genes were previously highlighted by genetic association studies, suggesting that DNA methylation studies may reveal novel biological mechanisms involved in tissue responses to glycemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/db18-0290DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6868468PMC
December 2019

Effects of siRNA-Mediated Knockdown of GSK3β on Retinal Ganglion Cell Survival and Neurite/Axon Growth.

Cells 2019 08 22;8(9). Epub 2019 Aug 22.

Neuroscience and Ophthalmology, Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK.

There are contradictory reports on the role of the serine/threonine kinase isoform glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK3β) after injury to the central nervous system (CNS). Some report that GSK3 activity promotes axonal growth or myelin disinhibition, whilst others report that GSK3 activity prevents axon regeneration. In this study, we sought to clarify if suppression of GSK3β alone and in combination with the cellular-stress-induced factor RTP801 (also known as REDD1: regulated in development and DNA damage response protein), using translationally relevant siRNAs, promotes retinal ganglion cell (RGC) survival and neurite outgrowth/axon regeneration. Adult mixed retinal cell cultures, prepared from rats at five days after optic nerve crush (ONC) to activate retinal glia, were treated with siRNA to GSK3β (siGSK3β) alone or in combination with siRTP801 and RGC survival and neurite outgrowth were quantified in the presence and absence of Rapamycin or inhibitory Nogo-A peptides. In in vivo experiments, either siGSK3β alone or in combination with siRTP801 were intravitreally injected every eight days after ONC and RGC survival and axon regeneration was assessed at 24 days. Optimal doses of siGSK3β alone promoted significant RGC survival, increasing the number of RGC with neurites without affecting neurite length, an effect that was sensitive to Rapamycin. In addition, knockdown of GSK3β overcame Nogo-A-mediated neurite growth inhibition. Knockdown of GSK3β after ONC in vivo enhanced RGC survival but not axon number or length, without potentiating glial activation. Knockdown of RTP801 increased both RGC survival and axon regeneration, whilst the combined knockdown of GSK3β and RTP801 significantly increased RGC survival, neurite outgrowth, and axon regeneration over and above that observed for siGSK3β or siRTP801 alone. These results suggest that GSK3β suppression promotes RGC survival and axon initiation whilst, when in combination with RTP801, it also enhanced disinhibited axon elongation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells8090956DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6769828PMC
August 2019

Interleukin-18 as a drug repositioning opportunity for inflammatory bowel disease: A Mendelian randomization study.

Sci Rep 2019 06 28;9(1):9386. Epub 2019 Jun 28.

Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

Support from human genetics increases the probability of success in drug development. However, few examples exist of successful genomically-driven drug repositioning. Given that a Mendelian form of severe enterocolitis is due to up-regulation of the interleukin-18 (IL18) signaling pathway, and pharmacologic inhibition of IL18 has been shown to reverse this enterocolitis, we undertook a Mendelian randomization study to test the causal effect of elevated IL18 levels on inflammatory bowel disease susceptibility (IBD) in 12,882 cases and 21,770 controls. Mendelian randomization is an established method to assess the role of biomarkers in disease etiology in a manner that minimizes confounding and prevents reverse causation. Using three SNPs that explained almost 7% of the variance in IL18 level, we found that each genetically predicted standard deviation increase in IL18 was associated with an increase in IBD susceptibility (odds ratio = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.11-1.34, P-value = 6 × 10). This association was further validated in 25,042 IBD cases and 34,915 controls (odds ratio = 1.13, 95% CI = 1.05-1.20). Recently, an anti-IL18 monoclonal antibody, which decreased free IL18 levels, was found to be safe, yet ineffective in a phase II trial for type 2 diabetes. Taken together, these genomic findings implicated IBD as an alternative indication for anti-IL18 therapy, which should be tested in randomized controlled trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-45747-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6599045PMC
June 2019

Regional fat depot masses are influenced by protein-coding gene variants.

PLoS One 2019 30;14(5):e0217644. Epub 2019 May 30.

Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Radcliffe Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is a prominent cardiometabolic risk factor that increases cardio-metabolic disease risk independently of BMI and for which multiple genetic loci have been identified. However, WHR is a relatively crude proxy for fat distribution and it does not capture all variation in fat distribution. We here present a study of the role of coding genetic variants on fat mass in 6 distinct regions of the body, based on dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry imaging on more than 17k participants. We find that the missense variant CCDC92S70C, previously associated with WHR, is associated specifically increased leg fat mass and reduced visceral but not subcutaneous central fat. The minor allele-carrying transcript of CCDC92 is constitutively more highly expressed in adipose tissue samples. In addition, we identify two coding variants in SPATA20 and UQCC1 that are associated with arm fat mass. SPATA20K422R is a low-frequency variant with a large effect on arm fat only, and UQCC1R51Q is a common variant reaching significance for arm but showing similar trends in other subcutaneous fat depots. Our findings support the notion that different fat compartments are regulated by distinct genetic factors.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0217644PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6542527PMC
February 2020

A multi-ancestry genome-wide study incorporating gene-smoking interactions identifies multiple new loci for pulse pressure and mean arterial pressure.

Hum Mol Genet 2019 08;28(15):2615-2633

Icelandic Heart Association, Kopavogur, Iceland.

Elevated blood pressure (BP), a leading cause of global morbidity and mortality, is influenced by both genetic and lifestyle factors. Cigarette smoking is one such lifestyle factor. Across five ancestries, we performed a genome-wide gene-smoking interaction study of mean arterial pressure (MAP) and pulse pressure (PP) in 129 913 individuals in stage 1 and follow-up analysis in 480 178 additional individuals in stage 2. We report here 136 loci significantly associated with MAP and/or PP. Of these, 61 were previously published through main-effect analysis of BP traits, 37 were recently reported by us for systolic BP and/or diastolic BP through gene-smoking interaction analysis and 38 were newly identified (P < 5 × 10-8, false discovery rate < 0.05). We also identified nine new signals near known loci. Of the 136 loci, 8 showed significant interaction with smoking status. They include CSMD1 previously reported for insulin resistance and BP in the spontaneously hypertensive rats. Many of the 38 new loci show biologic plausibility for a role in BP regulation. SLC26A7 encodes a chloride/bicarbonate exchanger expressed in the renal outer medullary collecting duct. AVPR1A is widely expressed, including in vascular smooth muscle cells, kidney, myocardium and brain. FHAD1 is a long non-coding RNA overexpressed in heart failure. TMEM51 was associated with contractile function in cardiomyocytes. CASP9 plays a central role in cardiomyocyte apoptosis. Identified only in African ancestry were 30 novel loci. Our findings highlight the value of multi-ancestry investigations, particularly in studies of interaction with lifestyle factors, where genomic and lifestyle differences may contribute to novel findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddz070DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6644157PMC
August 2019

Maternal and fetal genetic effects on birth weight and their relevance to cardio-metabolic risk factors.

Nat Genet 2019 05 1;51(5):804-814. Epub 2019 May 1.

Medical Research Council Integrative Epidemiology Unit, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.

Birth weight variation is influenced by fetal and maternal genetic and non-genetic factors, and has been reproducibly associated with future cardio-metabolic health outcomes. In expanded genome-wide association analyses of own birth weight (n = 321,223) and offspring birth weight (n = 230,069 mothers), we identified 190 independent association signals (129 of which are novel). We used structural equation modeling to decompose the contributions of direct fetal and indirect maternal genetic effects, then applied Mendelian randomization to illuminate causal pathways. For example, both indirect maternal and direct fetal genetic effects drive the observational relationship between lower birth weight and higher later blood pressure: maternal blood pressure-raising alleles reduce offspring birth weight, but only direct fetal effects of these alleles, once inherited, increase later offspring blood pressure. Using maternal birth weight-lowering genotypes to proxy for an adverse intrauterine environment provided no evidence that it causally raises offspring blood pressure, indicating that the inverse birth weight-blood pressure association is attributable to genetic effects, and not to intrauterine programming.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0403-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6522365PMC
May 2019

Multi-ancestry genome-wide gene-smoking interaction study of 387,272 individuals identifies new loci associated with serum lipids.

Nat Genet 2019 04 29;51(4):636-648. Epub 2019 Mar 29.

Human Genomics Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.

The concentrations of high- and low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides are influenced by smoking, but it is unknown whether genetic associations with lipids may be modified by smoking. We conducted a multi-ancestry genome-wide gene-smoking interaction study in 133,805 individuals with follow-up in an additional 253,467 individuals. Combined meta-analyses identified 13 new loci associated with lipids, some of which were detected only because association differed by smoking status. Additionally, we demonstrate the importance of including diverse populations, particularly in studies of interactions with lifestyle factors, where genomic and lifestyle differences by ancestry may contribute to novel findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0378-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6467258PMC
April 2019

Assessing the causal association of glycine with risk of cardio-metabolic diseases.

Nat Commun 2019 03 5;10(1):1060. Epub 2019 Mar 5.

MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ, UK.

Circulating levels of glycine have previously been associated with lower incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) and type 2 diabetes (T2D) but it remains uncertain if glycine plays an aetiological role. We present a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for glycine in 80,003 participants and investigate the causality and potential mechanisms of the association between glycine and cardio-metabolic diseases using genetic approaches. We identify 27 genetic loci, of which 22 have not previously been reported for glycine. We show that glycine is genetically associated with lower CHD risk and find that this may be partly driven by blood pressure. Evidence for a genetic association of glycine with T2D is weaker, but we find a strong inverse genetic effect of hyperinsulinaemia on glycine. Our findings strengthen evidence for a protective effect of glycine on CHD and show that the glycine-T2D association may be driven by a glycine-lowering effect of insulin resistance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-08936-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6400990PMC
March 2019

New genetic signals for lung function highlight pathways and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease associations across multiple ancestries.

Nat Genet 2019 03 25;51(3):481-493. Epub 2019 Feb 25.

Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

Reduced lung function predicts mortality and is key to the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In a genome-wide association study in 400,102 individuals of European ancestry, we define 279 lung function signals, 139 of which are new. In combination, these variants strongly predict COPD in independent populations. Furthermore, the combined effect of these variants showed generalizability across smokers and never smokers, and across ancestral groups. We highlight biological pathways, known and potential drug targets for COPD and, in phenome-wide association studies, autoimmune-related and other pleiotropic effects of lung function-associated variants. This new genetic evidence has potential to improve future preventive and therapeutic strategies for COPD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0321-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6397078PMC
March 2019

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

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

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

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

Multiancestry Genome-Wide Association Study of Lipid Levels Incorporating Gene-Alcohol Interactions.

Am J Epidemiol 2019 06;188(6):1033-1054

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.

A person's lipid profile is influenced by genetic variants and alcohol consumption, but the contribution of interactions between these exposures has not been studied. We therefore incorporated gene-alcohol interactions into a multiancestry genome-wide association study of levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides. We included 45 studies in stage 1 (genome-wide discovery) and 66 studies in stage 2 (focused follow-up), for a total of 394,584 individuals from 5 ancestry groups. Analyses covered the period July 2014-November 2017. Genetic main effects and interaction effects were jointly assessed by means of a 2-degrees-of-freedom (df) test, and a 1-df test was used to assess the interaction effects alone. Variants at 495 loci were at least suggestively associated (P < 1 × 10-6) with lipid levels in stage 1 and were evaluated in stage 2, followed by combined analyses of stage 1 and stage 2. In the combined analysis of stages 1 and 2, a total of 147 independent loci were associated with lipid levels at P < 5 × 10-8 using 2-df tests, of which 18 were novel. No genome-wide-significant associations were found testing the interaction effect alone. The novel loci included several genes (proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 5 (PCSK5), vascular endothelial growth factor B (VEGFB), and apolipoprotein B mRNA editing enzyme, catalytic polypeptide 1 (APOBEC1) complementation factor (A1CF)) that have a putative role in lipid metabolism on the basis of existing evidence from cellular and experimental models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwz005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6545280PMC
June 2019

Multi-ancestry study of blood lipid levels identifies four loci interacting with physical activity.

Nat Commun 2019 01 22;10(1):376. Epub 2019 Jan 22.

Laboratory of Genetics and Molecular Cardiology, Heart Institute (InCor), University of São Paulo Medical School, São Paulo, 01246903, SP, Brazil.

Many genetic loci affect circulating lipid levels, but it remains unknown whether lifestyle factors, such as physical activity, modify these genetic effects. To identify lipid loci interacting with physical activity, we performed genome-wide analyses of circulating HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in up to 120,979 individuals of European, African, Asian, Hispanic, and Brazilian ancestry, with follow-up of suggestive associations in an additional 131,012 individuals. We find four loci, in/near CLASP1, LHX1, SNTA1, and CNTNAP2, that are associated with circulating lipid levels through interaction with physical activity; higher levels of physical activity enhance the HDL cholesterol-increasing effects of the CLASP1, LHX1, and SNTA1 loci and attenuate the LDL cholesterol-increasing effect of the CNTNAP2 locus. The CLASP1, LHX1, and SNTA1 regions harbor genes linked to muscle function and lipid metabolism. Our results elucidate the role of physical activity interactions in the genetic contribution to blood lipid levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-08008-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6342931PMC
January 2019

Identification of new therapeutic targets for osteoarthritis through genome-wide analyses of UK Biobank data.

Nat Genet 2019 02 21;51(2):230-236. Epub 2019 Jan 21.

Human Genetics, Wellcome Genome Campus, Wellcome Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK.

Osteoarthritis is the most common musculoskeletal disease and the leading cause of disability globally. Here, we performed a genome-wide association study for osteoarthritis (77,052 cases and 378,169 controls), analyzing four phenotypes: knee osteoarthritis, hip osteoarthritis, knee and/or hip osteoarthritis, and any osteoarthritis. We discovered 64 signals, 52 of them novel, more than doubling the number of established disease loci. Six signals fine-mapped to a single variant. We identified putative effector genes by integrating expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) colocalization, fine-mapping, and human rare-disease, animal-model, and osteoarthritis tissue expression data. We found enrichment for genes underlying monogenic forms of bone development diseases, and for the collagen formation and extracellular matrix organization biological pathways. Ten of the likely effector genes, including TGFB1 (transforming growth factor beta 1), FGF18 (fibroblast growth factor 18), CTSK (cathepsin K), and IL11 (interleukin 11), have therapeutics approved or in clinical trials, with mechanisms of action supportive of evaluation for efficacy in osteoarthritis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0327-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6400267PMC
February 2019

Meta-analysis of up to 622,409 individuals identifies 40 novel smoking behaviour associated genetic loci.

Mol Psychiatry 2020 10 7;25(10):2392-2409. Epub 2019 Jan 7.

Department of Complex Trait Genetics, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, Amsterdam Neuroscience, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Smoking is a major heritable and modifiable risk factor for many diseases, including cancer, common respiratory disorders and cardiovascular diseases. Fourteen genetic loci have previously been associated with smoking behaviour-related traits. We tested up to 235,116 single nucleotide variants (SNVs) on the exome-array for association with smoking initiation, cigarettes per day, pack-years, and smoking cessation in a fixed effects meta-analysis of up to 61 studies (up to 346,813 participants). In a subset of 112,811 participants, a further one million SNVs were also genotyped and tested for association with the four smoking behaviour traits. SNV-trait associations with P < 5 × 10 in either analysis were taken forward for replication in up to 275,596 independent participants from UK Biobank. Lastly, a meta-analysis of the discovery and replication studies was performed. Sixteen SNVs were associated with at least one of the smoking behaviour traits (P < 5 × 10) in the discovery samples. Ten novel SNVs, including rs12616219 near TMEM182, were followed-up and five of them (rs462779 in REV3L, rs12780116 in CNNM2, rs1190736 in GPR101, rs11539157 in PJA1, and rs12616219 near TMEM182) replicated at a Bonferroni significance threshold (P < 4.5 × 10) with consistent direction of effect. A further 35 SNVs were associated with smoking behaviour traits in the discovery plus replication meta-analysis (up to 622,409 participants) including a rare SNV, rs150493199, in CCDC141 and two low-frequency SNVs in CEP350 and HDGFRP2. Functional follow-up implied that decreased expression of REV3L may lower the probability of smoking initiation. The novel loci will facilitate understanding the genetic aetiology of smoking behaviour and may lead to the identification of potential drug targets for smoking prevention and/or cessation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-018-0313-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7515840PMC
October 2020

Associations of Mitochondrial and Nuclear Mitochondrial Variants and Genes with Seven Metabolic Traits.

Am J Hum Genet 2019 01 27;104(1):112-138. Epub 2018 Dec 27.

School of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, and Program for Personalized and Genomic Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.

Mitochondria (MT), the major site of cellular energy production, are under dual genetic control by 37 mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genes and numerous nuclear genes (MT-nDNA). In the CHARGEmtDNA+ Consortium, we studied genetic associations of mtDNA and MT-nDNA associations with body mass index (BMI), waist-hip-ratio (WHR), glucose, insulin, HOMA-B, HOMA-IR, and HbA1c. This 45-cohort collaboration comprised 70,775 (insulin) to 170,202 (BMI) pan-ancestry individuals. Validation and imputation of mtDNA variants was followed by single-variant and gene-based association testing. We report two significant common variants, one in MT-ATP6 associated (p ≤ 5E-04) with WHR and one in the D-loop with glucose. Five rare variants in MT-ATP6, MT-ND5, and MT-ND6 associated with BMI, WHR, or insulin. Gene-based meta-analysis identified MT-ND3 associated with BMI (p ≤ 1E-03). We considered 2,282 MT-nDNA candidate gene associations compiled from online summary results for our traits (20 unique studies with 31 dataset consortia's genome-wide associations [GWASs]). Of these, 109 genes associated (p ≤ 1E-06) with at least 1 of our 7 traits. We assessed regulatory features of variants in the 109 genes, cis- and trans-gene expression regulation, and performed enrichment and protein-protein interactions analyses. Of the identified mtDNA and MT-nDNA genes, 79 associated with adipose measures, 49 with glucose/insulin, 13 with risk for type 2 diabetes, and 18 with cardiovascular disease, indicating for pleiotropic effects with health implications. Additionally, 21 genes related to cholesterol, suggesting additional important roles for the genes identified. Our results suggest that mtDNA and MT-nDNA genes and variants reported make important contributions to glucose and insulin metabolism, adipocyte regulation, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.12.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6323610PMC
January 2019
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