Publications by authors named "Sophie Molnos"

10 Publications

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Obesity Genes and Weight Loss During Lifestyle Intervention in Children With Obesity.

JAMA Pediatr 2021 Jan 4;175(1):e205142. Epub 2021 Jan 4.

Department of Prevention and Sports Medicine, Centre for Sports Cardiology, University Hospital "Klinikum rechts der Isar," Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany.

Importance: Genome-wide association studies have identified genetic loci influencing obesity risk in children. However, the importance of these loci in the associations with weight reduction through lifestyle interventions has not been investigated in large intervention trials.

Objective: To evaluate the associations between various obesity susceptibility loci and changes in body weight in children during an in-hospital, lifestyle intervention program.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Long-term Effects of Lifestyle Intervention in Obesity and Genetic Influence in Children (LOGIC), an interventional prospective cohort study, enrolled 1429 children with overweight or obesity to participate in an in-hospital lifestyle intervention program. Genotyping of 56 validated obesity single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) was performed, and the associations between the SNVs and body weight reduction during the intervention were evaluated using linear mixed-effects models for each SNV. The LOGIC study was conducted from January 6, 2006, to October 19, 2013; data analysis was performed from July 15, 2015, to November 6, 2016.

Exposures: A 4- to 6-week standardized in-hospital lifestyle intervention program (daily physical activity, calorie-restricted diet, and behavioral therapy).

Main Outcomes And Measures: The association between 56 obesity-relevant SNVs and changes in body weight and body mass index.

Results: Of 1429 individuals enrolled in the LOGIC Study, 1198 individuals (mean [SD] age, 14.0 [2.2] years; 670 [56%] girls) were genotyped. A mean (SD) decrease was noted in body weight of -8.7 (3.6) kg (95% CI, -15.7 to -1.8 kg), and body mass index (calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) decreased by -3.3 (1.1) (95% CI, -5.4 to -1.1) (both P < .05). Five of 56 obesity SNVs were statistically significantly associated with a reduction of body weight or body mass index (all P < 8.93 × 10-4 corresponding to Bonferroni correction for 56 tests). Compared with homozygous participants without the risk allele, homozygous carriers of the rs7164727 (LOC100287559: 0.42 kg; 95% CI, 0.31-0.53 kg, P = 4.00 × 10-4) and rs12940622 (RPTOR: 0.35 kg; 95% CI, 0.18-0.52 kg; P = 1.86 × 10-5) risk alleles had a lower reduction of body weight, whereas carriers of the rs13201877 (IFNGR1: 0.65 kg; 95% CI, 0.51-0.79 kg; P = 2.39 × 10-5), rs10733682 (LMX1B: 0.45 kg; 95% CI, 0.27-0.63 kg; P = 6.37 × 10-4), and rs2836754 (ETS2: 0.56 kg; 95% CI, 0.38-0.74 kg; P = 1.51 × 10-4) risk alleles were associated with a greater reduction of body weight after adjustment for age and sex.

Conclusions And Relevance: Genes appear to play a minor role in weight reduction by lifestyle in children with overweight or obesity. The findings suggest that environmental, social, and behavioral factors are more important to consider in obesity treatment strategies.
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January 2021

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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December 2020

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

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

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

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

Characterization of missing values in untargeted MS-based metabolomics data and evaluation of missing data handling strategies.

Metabolomics 2018 09 20;14(10):128. Epub 2018 Sep 20.

Institute of Computational Biology, Helmholtz-Zentrum München, Neuherberg, Germany.

Background: Untargeted mass spectrometry (MS)-based metabolomics data often contain missing values that reduce statistical power and can introduce bias in biomedical studies. However, a systematic assessment of the various sources of missing values and strategies to handle these data has received little attention. Missing data can occur systematically, e.g. from run day-dependent effects due to limits of detection (LOD); or it can be random as, for instance, a consequence of sample preparation.

Methods: We investigated patterns of missing data in an MS-based metabolomics experiment of serum samples from the German KORA F4 cohort (n = 1750). We then evaluated 31 imputation methods in a simulation framework and biologically validated the results by applying all imputation approaches to real metabolomics data. We examined the ability of each method to reconstruct biochemical pathways from data-driven correlation networks, and the ability of the method to increase statistical power while preserving the strength of established metabolic quantitative trait loci.

Results: Run day-dependent LOD-based missing data accounts for most missing values in the metabolomics dataset. Although multiple imputation by chained equations performed well in many scenarios, it is computationally and statistically challenging. K-nearest neighbors (KNN) imputation on observations with variable pre-selection showed robust performance across all evaluation schemes and is computationally more tractable.

Conclusion: Missing data in untargeted MS-based metabolomics data occur for various reasons. Based on our results, we recommend that KNN-based imputation is performed on observations with variable pre-selection since it showed robust results in all evaluation schemes.
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September 2018

pulver: an R package for parallel ultra-rapid p-value computation for linear regression interaction terms.

BMC Bioinformatics 2017 Sep 29;18(1):429. Epub 2017 Sep 29.

Research Unit of Molecular Epidemiology, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Neuherberg, Germany.

Background: Genome-wide association studies allow us to understand the genetics of complex diseases. Human metabolism provides information about the disease-causing mechanisms, so it is usual to investigate the associations between genetic variants and metabolite levels. However, only considering genetic variants and their effects on one trait ignores the possible interplay between different "omics" layers. Existing tools only consider single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-SNP interactions, and no practical tool is available for large-scale investigations of the interactions between pairs of arbitrary quantitative variables.

Results: We developed an R package called pulver to compute p-values for the interaction term in a very large number of linear regression models. Comparisons based on simulated data showed that pulver is much faster than the existing tools. This is achieved by using the correlation coefficient to test the null-hypothesis, which avoids the costly computation of inversions. Additional tricks are a rearrangement of the order, when iterating through the different "omics" layers, and implementing this algorithm in the fast programming language C++. Furthermore, we applied our algorithm to data from the German KORA study to investigate a real-world problem involving the interplay among DNA methylation, genetic variants, and metabolite levels.

Conclusions: The pulver package is a convenient and rapid tool for screening huge numbers of linear regression models for significant interaction terms in arbitrary pairs of quantitative variables. pulver is written in R and C++, and can be downloaded freely from CRAN at .
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September 2017

Metabolite ratios as potential biomarkers for type 2 diabetes: a DIRECT study.

Diabetologia 2018 Jan 25;61(1):117-129. Epub 2017 Oct 25.

Molecular Epidemiology Research Group, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin Buch, Germany.

Aims/hypothesis: Circulating metabolites have been shown to reflect metabolic changes during the development of type 2 diabetes. In this study we examined the association of metabolite levels and pairwise metabolite ratios with insulin responses after glucose, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and arginine stimulation. We then investigated if the identified metabolite ratios were associated with measures of OGTT-derived beta cell function and with prevalent and incident type 2 diabetes.

Methods: We measured the levels of 188 metabolites in plasma samples from 130 healthy members of twin families (from the Netherlands Twin Register) at five time points during a modified 3 h hyperglycaemic clamp with glucose, GLP-1 and arginine stimulation. We validated our results in cohorts with OGTT data (n = 340) and epidemiological case-control studies of prevalent (n = 4925) and incident (n = 4277) diabetes. The data were analysed using regression models with adjustment for potential confounders.

Results: There were dynamic changes in metabolite levels in response to the different secretagogues. Furthermore, several fasting pairwise metabolite ratios were associated with one or multiple clamp-derived measures of insulin secretion (all p < 9.2 × 10). These associations were significantly stronger compared with the individual metabolite components. One of the ratios, valine to phosphatidylcholine acyl-alkyl C32:2 (PC ae C32:2), in addition showed a directionally consistent positive association with OGTT-derived measures of insulin secretion and resistance (p ≤ 5.4 × 10) and prevalent type 2 diabetes (OR 2.64 [β 0.97 ± 0.09], p = 1.0 × 10). Furthermore, Val_PC ae C32:2 predicted incident diabetes independent of established risk factors in two epidemiological cohort studies (HR 1.57 [β 0.45 ± 0.06]; p = 1.3 × 10), leading to modest improvements in the receiver operating characteristics when added to a model containing a set of established risk factors in both cohorts (increases from 0.780 to 0.801 and from 0.862 to 0.865 respectively, when added to the model containing traditional risk factors + glucose).

Conclusions/interpretation: In this study we have shown that the Val_PC ae C32:2 metabolite ratio is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and measures of insulin secretion and resistance. The observed effects were stronger than that of the individual metabolites and independent of known risk factors.
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January 2018

Allele-specific quantitative proteomics unravels molecular mechanisms modulated by cis-regulatory PPARG locus variation.

Nucleic Acids Res 2017 04;45(6):3266-3279

Else Kroener-Fresenius-Center for Nutritional Medicine, Chair of Nutritional Medicine, Technische Universität München, 85354 Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany.

Genome-wide association studies identified numerous disease risk loci. Delineating molecular mechanisms influenced by cis-regulatory variants is essential to understand gene regulation and ultimately disease pathophysiology. Combining bioinformatics and public domain chromatin information with quantitative proteomics supports prediction of cis-regulatory variants and enabled identification of allele-dependent binding of both, transcription factors and coregulators at the type 2 diabetes associated PPARG locus. We found rs7647481A nonrisk allele binding of Yin Yang 1 (YY1), confirmed by allele-specific chromatin immunoprecipitation in primary adipocytes. Quantitative proteomics also found the coregulator RING1 and YY1 binding protein (RYBP) whose mRNA levels correlate with improved insulin sensitivity in primary adipose cells carrying the rs7647481A nonrisk allele. Our findings support a concept with diverse cis-regulatory variants contributing to disease pathophysiology at one locus. Proteome-wide identification of both, transcription factors and coregulators, can profoundly improve understanding of mechanisms underlying genetic associations.
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April 2017

Common eye diseases in older adults of southern Germany: results from the KORA-Age study.

Age Ageing 2017 05;46(3):481-486

Helmholtz Zentrum München, Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Umwelt und Gesundheit, Institute of Developmental Genetics, Neuherberg, Germany.

Purpose: a population-based study in the region of Augsburg (Germany, KORA) was used to identify the prevalence of eye diseases and their risk factors in a sample of aged individuals.

Methods: data originated from the KORA-Age study collected in 2012 and 822 participants (49.6% women, 50.4% men, aged 68-96 years) were asked standardised questions about eye diseases. Positive answers were validated and specified by treating ophthalmologists. Additional information came from laboratory data. Polymorphic markers were tested for candidate genes.

Results: we received validations and specifications for 339 participants. The most frequent eye diseases were cataracts (299 cases, 36%), dry eyes (120 cases, 15%), glaucoma (72 cases, 9%) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (68 cases, 8%). Almost all participants suffering from glaucoma or from AMD also had cataracts. Cataract surgery was associated with diabetes (in men; OR = 2.24; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.11-4.53; P = 0.025) and smoking (in women; OR = 6.77; CI 1.62-28.35; P = 0.009). In men, treatments in airway diseases was associated with cataracts (glucocorticoids: OR = 5.29, CI 1.20-23.37; P = 0.028; sympathomimetics: OR = 4.57, CI 1.39-15.00; P = 0.012). Polymorphisms in two genes were associated with AMD (ARMS2: OR = 2.28, CI 1.48-3.51; P = 0.005; CFH: OR = 2.03, CI 1.35-3.06; P = 0.010).

Conclusion: combinations of eye diseases were frequent at old age. The importance of classical risk factors like diabetes, hypertension and airway diseases decreased either due to a survivor bias leaving healthier survivors in the older age group, or due to an increased influence of other up to now unknown risk factors.
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May 2017

Association between DNA Methylation in Whole Blood and Measures of Glucose Metabolism: KORA F4 Study.

PLoS One 2016 28;11(3):e0152314. Epub 2016 Mar 28.

Research Unit of Molecular Epidemiology, Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Neuherberg, Germany.

Epigenetic regulation has been postulated to affect glucose metabolism, insulin sensitivity and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, we performed an epigenome-wide association study for measures of glucose metabolism in whole blood samples of the population-based Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg F4 study using the Illumina HumanMethylation 450 BeadChip. We identified a total of 31 CpG sites where methylation level was associated with measures of glucose metabolism after adjustment for age, sex, smoking, and estimated white blood cell proportions and correction for multiple testing using the Benjamini-Hochberg (B-H) method (four for fasting glucose, seven for fasting insulin, 25 for homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance [HOMA-IR]; B-H-adjusted p-values between 9.2x10(-5) and 0.047). In addition, DNA methylation at cg06500161 (annotated to ABCG1) was associated with all the aforementioned phenotypes and 2-hour glucose (B-H-adjusted p-values between 9.2x10(-5) and 3.0x10(-3)). Methylation status of additional three CpG sites showed an association with fasting insulin only after additional adjustment for body mass index (BMI) (B-H-adjusted p-values = 0.047). Overall, effect strengths were reduced by around 30% after additional adjustment for BMI, suggesting that this variable has an influence on the investigated phenotypes. Furthermore, we found significant associations between methylation status of 21 of the aforementioned CpG sites and 2-hour insulin in a subset of samples with seven significant associations persisting after additional adjustment for BMI. In a subset of 533 participants, methylation of the CpG site cg06500161 (ABCG1) was inversely associated with ABCG1 gene expression (B-H-adjusted p-value = 1.5x10(-9)). Additionally, we observed an enrichment of the top 1,000 CpG sites for diabetes-related canonical pathways using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis. In conclusion, our study indicates that DNA methylation and diabetes-related traits are associated and that these associations are partially BMI-dependent. Furthermore, the interaction of ABCG1 with glucose metabolism is modulated by epigenetic processes.
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August 2016