Publications by authors named "Yingchang Lu"

105 Publications

Multiethnic Genome-wide Association Study of Subclinical Atherosclerosis in Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes.

Circ Genom Precis Med 2021 Jul 9. Epub 2021 Jul 9.

Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.

- 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 (CVD). Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is an independent CVD risk factor that accelerates atherosclerosis. - We performed meta-analyses of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in up to 2,500 T2D individuals of European ancestry (EA) and 1,590 T2D individuals of African ancestry (AA) with or without exclusion of prevalent CVD, for CAC measured by cardiac computed tomography, and 3,608 EA and 838 AA with T2D for cIMT measured by ultrasonography within the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Consortium. - We replicated two 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 AA. The expression QTL analysis with nearby expressed genes derived from arterial wall and metabolic tissues from GTEx 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 three previously reported coronary artery disease loci for these subclinical atherosclerotic phenotypes (rs2891168 near and rs11170820 near for CAC, and rs7412 near for cIMT). - Our results provide potential biological mechanisms that could link CAC and cIMT to increased CVD risk in individuals with T2D.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCGEN.120.003258DOI Listing
July 2021

Discovery and fine-mapping of height loci via high-density imputation of GWASs in individuals of African ancestry.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 04 12;108(4):564-582. Epub 2021 Mar 12.

The Charles R. Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY 10029, USA.

Although many loci have been associated with height in European ancestry populations, very few have been identified in African ancestry individuals. Furthermore, many of the known loci have yet to be generalized to and fine-mapped within a large-scale African ancestry sample. We performed sex-combined and sex-stratified meta-analyses in up to 52,764 individuals with height and genome-wide genotyping data from the African Ancestry Anthropometry Genetics Consortium (AAAGC). We additionally combined our African ancestry meta-analysis results with published European genome-wide association study (GWAS) data. In the African ancestry analyses, we identified three novel loci (SLC4A3, NCOA2, ECD/FAM149B1) in sex-combined results and two loci (CRB1, KLF6) in women only. In the African plus European sex-combined GWAS, we identified an additional three novel loci (RCCD1, G6PC3, CEP95) which were equally driven by AAAGC and European results. Among 39 genome-wide significant signals at known loci, conditioning index SNPs from European studies identified 20 secondary signals. Two of the 20 new secondary signals and none of the 8 novel loci had minor allele frequencies (MAF) < 5%. Of 802 known European height signals, 643 displayed directionally consistent associations with height, of which 205 were nominally significant (p < 0.05) in the African ancestry sex-combined sample. Furthermore, 148 of 241 loci contained ≤20 variants in the credible sets that jointly account for 99% of the posterior probability of driving the associations. In summary, trans-ethnic meta-analyses revealed novel signals and further improved fine-mapping of putative causal variants in loci shared between African and European ancestry populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.02.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8059339PMC
April 2021

Discovery of rare variants associated with blood pressure regulation through meta-analysis of 1.3 million individuals.

Nat Genet 2020 12 23;52(12):1314-1332. Epub 2020 Nov 23.

Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Herlev, Denmark.

Genetic studies of blood pressure (BP) to date have mainly analyzed common variants (minor allele frequency > 0.05). In a meta-analysis of up to ~1.3 million participants, we discovered 106 new BP-associated genomic regions and 87 rare (minor allele frequency ≤ 0.01) variant BP associations (P < 5 × 10), of which 32 were in new BP-associated loci and 55 were independent BP-associated single-nucleotide variants within known BP-associated regions. Average effects of rare variants (44% coding) were ~8 times larger than common variant effects and indicate potential candidate causal genes at new and known loci (for example, GATA5 and PLCB3). BP-associated variants (including rare and common) were enriched in regions of active chromatin in fetal tissues, potentially linking fetal development with BP regulation in later life. Multivariable Mendelian randomization suggested possible inverse effects of elevated systolic and diastolic BP on large artery stroke. Our study demonstrates the utility of rare-variant analyses for identifying candidate genes and the results highlight potential therapeutic targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-00713-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7610439PMC
December 2020

Causal associations between urinary sodium with body mass, shape and composition: a Mendelian randomization study.

Sci Rep 2020 10 15;10(1):17475. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Department of Medicine, LKS Faculty of Medicine, Queen Mary Hospital, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China.

Observational studies have found associations between urinary sodium (UNa) with obesity, body shape and composition; but the findings may be biased by residual confounding. The objective of this two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR) study was to analyze their causal associations in both sex-combined and sex-specific models. Genome-wide association studies of UNa, body mass index (BMI), BMI-adjusted waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), body fat (BF) percentage and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) were identified. We initially extracted fifty SNPs associated with UNa at significance level of 5 × 10, but further removed those SNPs with potential horizontal pleiotropy. Univariable and multivariable MR with adjustment for eGFR were performed. Inverse-variance weighted MR was performed as the primary analysis, with MR-Egger methods as sensitivity analysis. The potential bidirectional association between BMI and UNa was investigated. All exposure and outcomes were continuous, and the effect measure was regression coefficients (beta) and their 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). The total sample size was up to 322 154. UNa was causally associated with increased BMI in both men [eGFR-adjusted beta 0.443 (0.163-0.724)] and women [0.594 (0.333-0.855)]. UNa caused BF percentage increase in men [0.622 (0.268-0.976)] and women [0.334 (0.007-0.662)]. UNa significantly elevated BMI-adjusted WHR in men [0.321 (0.094-0.548)], but not in women [0.170 (- 0.052 to 0.391)]. Additionally, we found that BMI causally increased UNa [0.043 (0.023-0.063)]. UNa increased BMI and BF percentage. Salt intake affects male body shape by increasing BMI-adjusted WHR, but showed no effects on female body shape. The bidirectional association between BMI and UNa suggested that salt reduction measures and weight reduction measures should be implemented simultaneously to break the vicious cycle and gain more health benefits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-74657-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7562909PMC
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

Evaluating the Utility of Polygenic Risk Scores in Identifying High-Risk Individuals for Eight Common Cancers.

JNCI Cancer Spectr 2020 Jun 12;4(3):pkaa021. Epub 2020 Mar 12.

Division of Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.

Background: Genome-wide association studies have identified common genetic risk variants in many loci associated with multiple cancers. We sought to systematically evaluate the utility of these risk variants in identifying high-risk individuals for eight common cancers.

Methods: We constructed polygenic risk scores (PRS) using genome-wide association studies-identified risk variants for each cancer. Using data from 400 812 participants of European descent in a population-based cohort study, UK Biobank, we estimated hazard ratios associated with PRS using Cox proportional hazard models and evaluated the performance of the PRS in cancer risk prediction and their ability to identify individuals at more than a twofold elevated risk, a risk level comparable to a moderate-penetrance mutation in known cancer predisposition genes.

Results: During a median follow-up of 5.8 years, 14 584 incident case patients of cancers were identified (ranging from 358 epithelial ovarian cancer case patients to 4430 prostate cancer case patients). Compared with those at an average risk, individuals among the highest 5% of the PRS had a two- to threefold elevated risk for cancer of the prostate, breast, pancreas, colorectal, or ovary, and an approximately 1.5-fold elevated risk of cancer of the lung, bladder, or kidney. The areas under the curve ranged from 0.567 to 0.662. Using PRS, 40.4% of the study participants can be classified as having more than a twofold elevated risk for at least one site-specific cancer.

Conclusions: A large proportion of the general population can be identified at an elevated cancer risk by PRS, supporting the potential clinical utility of PRS for personalized cancer risk prediction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jncics/pkaa021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7306192PMC
June 2020

Smoking-by-genotype interaction in type 2 diabetes risk and fasting glucose.

PLoS One 2020 7;15(5):e0230815. Epub 2020 May 7.

Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States of America.

Smoking is a potentially causal behavioral risk factor for type 2 diabetes (T2D), but not all smokers develop T2D. It is unknown whether genetic factors partially explain this variation. We performed genome-environment-wide interaction studies to identify loci exhibiting potential interaction with baseline smoking status (ever vs. never) on incident T2D and fasting glucose (FG). Analyses were performed in participants of European (EA) and African ancestry (AA) separately. Discovery analyses were conducted using genotype data from the 50,000-single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) ITMAT-Broad-CARe (IBC) array in 5 cohorts from from the Candidate Gene Association Resource Consortium (n = 23,189). Replication was performed in up to 16 studies from the Cohorts for Heart Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium (n = 74,584). In meta-analysis of discovery and replication estimates, 5 SNPs met at least one criterion for potential interaction with smoking on incident T2D at p<1x10-7 (adjusted for multiple hypothesis-testing with the IBC array). Two SNPs had significant joint effects in the overall model and significant main effects only in one smoking stratum: rs140637 (FBN1) in AA individuals had a significant main effect only among smokers, and rs1444261 (closest gene C2orf63) in EA individuals had a significant main effect only among nonsmokers. Three additional SNPs were identified as having potential interaction by exhibiting a significant main effects only in smokers: rs1801232 (CUBN) in AA individuals, rs12243326 (TCF7L2) in EA individuals, and rs4132670 (TCF7L2) in EA individuals. No SNP met significance for potential interaction with smoking on baseline FG. The identification of these loci provides evidence for genetic interactions with smoking exposure that may explain some of the heterogeneity in the association between smoking and T2D.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0230815PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7205201PMC
August 2020

Minority-centric meta-analyses of blood lipid levels identify novel loci in the Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) study.

PLoS Genet 2020 03 30;16(3):e1008684. Epub 2020 Mar 30.

Department of Medicine, University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.

Lipid levels are important markers for the development of cardio-metabolic diseases. Although hundreds of associated loci have been identified through genetic association studies, the contribution of genetic factors to variation in lipids is not fully understood, particularly in U.S. minority groups. We performed genome-wide association analyses for four lipid traits in over 45,000 ancestrally diverse participants from the Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) Study, followed by a meta-analysis with several European ancestry studies. We identified nine novel lipid loci, five of which showed evidence of replication in independent studies. Furthermore, we discovered one novel gene in a PrediXcan analysis, minority-specific independent signals at eight previously reported loci, and potential functional variants at two known loci through fine-mapping. Systematic examination of known lipid loci revealed smaller effect estimates in African American and Hispanic ancestry populations than those in Europeans, and better performance of polygenic risk scores based on minority-specific effect estimates. Our findings provide new insight into the genetic architecture of lipid traits and highlight the importance of conducting genetic studies in diverse populations in the era of precision medicine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1008684DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7145272PMC
March 2020

A Mendelian randomization analysis of circulating lipid traits and breast cancer risk.

Int J Epidemiol 2020 08;49(4):1117-1131

Division of Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN, USA.

Background: Conventional epidemiologic studies have evaluated associations between circulating lipid levels and breast cancer risk, but results have been inconsistent. As Mendelian randomization analyses may provide evidence for causal inference, we sought to evaluate potentially unbiased associations between breast cancer risk and four genetically predicted lipid traits.

Methods: Previous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified 164 discrete variants associated with high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), triglycerides and total cholesterol. We used 162 of these unique variants to construct weighted genetic scores (wGSs) for a total of 101 424 breast cancer cases and 80 253 controls of European ancestry from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). Unconditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for associations between per standard deviation increase in genetically predicted lipid traits and breast cancer risk. Additional Mendelian randomization analysis approaches and sensitivity analyses were conducted to assess pleiotropy and instrument validity.

Results: Corresponding to approximately 15 mg/dL, one standard deviation increase in genetically predicted HDL-C was associated with a 12% increased breast cancer risk (OR: 1.12, 95% CI: 1.08-1.16). Findings were consistent after adjustment for breast cancer risk factors and were robust in several sensitivity analyses. Associations with genetically predicted triglycerides and total cholesterol were inconsistent, and no association for genetically predicted LDL-C was observed.

Conclusions: This study provides strong evidence that circulating HDL-C may be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, whereas LDL-C may not be related to breast cancer risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyz242DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7750975PMC
August 2020

Identification of Novel Loci and New Risk Variant in Known Loci for Colorectal Cancer Risk in East Asians.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 02 11;29(2):477-486. Epub 2019 Dec 11.

Laboratory for Statistical Analysis, RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences, Kanagawa, Japan.

Background: Risk variants identified so far for colorectal cancer explain only a small proportion of familial risk of this cancer, particularly in Asians.

Methods: We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of colorectal cancer in East Asians, including 23,572 colorectal cancer cases and 48,700 controls. To identify novel risk loci, we selected 60 promising risk variants for replication using data from 58,131 colorectal cancer cases and 67,347 controls of European descent. To identify additional risk variants in known colorectal cancer loci, we performed conditional analyses in East Asians.

Results: An indel variant, rs67052019 at 1p13.3, was found to be associated with colorectal cancer risk at × 10 in Asians ( per allele deletion = 1.13, 95% confidence interval = 1.08-1.18). This association was replicated in European descendants using a variant (rs2938616) in complete linkage disequilibrium with rs67052019 ( = 7.7 × 10). Of the remaining 59 variants, 12 showed an association at < 0.05 in the European-ancestry study, including rs11108175 and rs9634162 at < 5 × 10 and two variants with an association near the genome-wide significance level (rs60911071, = 5.8 × 10; rs62558833, = 7.5 × 10) in the combined analyses of Asian- and European-ancestry data. In addition, using data from East Asians, we identified 13 new risk variants at 11 loci reported from previous GWAS.

Conclusions: In this large GWAS, we identified three novel risk loci and two highly suggestive loci for colorectal cancer risk and provided evidence for potential roles of multiple genes and pathways in the etiology of colorectal cancer. In addition, we showed that additional risk variants exist in many colorectal cancer risk loci identified previously.

Impact: Our study provides novel data to improve the understanding of the genetic basis for colorectal cancer risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-0755DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7571256PMC
February 2020

Associations of autozygosity with a broad range of human phenotypes.

Nat Commun 2019 10 31;10(1):4957. Epub 2019 Oct 31.

Department of Neurology, Brain Centre Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, 3584 CX, The Netherlands.

In many species, the offspring of related parents suffer reduced reproductive success, a phenomenon known as inbreeding depression. In humans, the importance of this effect has remained unclear, partly because reproduction between close relatives is both rare and frequently associated with confounding social factors. Here, using genomic inbreeding coefficients (F) for >1.4 million individuals, we show that F is significantly associated (p < 0.0005) with apparently deleterious changes in 32 out of 100 traits analysed. These changes are associated with runs of homozygosity (ROH), but not with common variant homozygosity, suggesting that genetic variants associated with inbreeding depression are predominantly rare. The effect on fertility is striking: F equivalent to the offspring of first cousins is associated with a 55% decrease [95% CI 44-66%] in the odds of having children. Finally, the effects of F are confirmed within full-sibling pairs, where the variation in F is independent of all environmental confounding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-12283-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6823371PMC
October 2019

Reply.

Gastroenterology 2019 09 12;157(3):896-897. Epub 2019 Jul 12.

Division of Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2019.07.009DOI Listing
September 2019

Genetic analyses of diverse populations improves discovery for complex traits.

Nature 2019 06 19;570(7762):514-518. Epub 2019 Jun 19.

Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have laid the foundation for investigations into the biology of complex traits, drug development and clinical guidelines. However, the majority of discovery efforts are based on data from populations of European ancestry. In light of the differential genetic architecture that is known to exist between populations, bias in representation can exacerbate existing disease and healthcare disparities. Critical variants may be missed if they have a low frequency or are completely absent in European populations, especially as the field shifts its attention towards rare variants, which are more likely to be population-specific. Additionally, effect sizes and their derived risk prediction scores derived in one population may not accurately extrapolate to other populations. Here we demonstrate the value of diverse, multi-ethnic participants in large-scale genomic studies. The Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) study conducted a GWAS of 26 clinical and behavioural phenotypes in 49,839 non-European individuals. Using strategies tailored for analysis of multi-ethnic and admixed populations, we describe a framework for analysing diverse populations, identify 27 novel loci and 38 secondary signals at known loci, as well as replicate 1,444 GWAS catalogue associations across these traits. Our data show evidence of effect-size heterogeneity across ancestries for published GWAS associations, substantial benefits for fine-mapping using diverse cohorts and insights into clinical implications. In the United States-where minority populations have a disproportionately higher burden of chronic conditions-the lack of representation of diverse populations in genetic research will result in inequitable access to precision medicine for those with the highest burden of disease. We strongly advocate for continued, large genome-wide efforts in diverse populations to maximize genetic discovery and reduce health disparities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1310-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6785182PMC
June 2019

Acute But Not Chronic Calorie Restriction Defends against Stress-Related Anxiety and Despair in a GHS-R1a-Dependent Manner.

Neuroscience 2019 08 8;412:94-104. Epub 2019 Jun 8.

Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Qingdao University, Qingdao, Shandong, 266071, China; Institute of Brain Sciences and Related Disorders, Qingdao University, Qingdao, Shandong, 266071, China. Electronic address:

Ghrelin is an important orexigenic brain-gut hormone that regulates feeding, metabolism and glucose homeostasis in human and rodents at multiple levels. Ghrelin functions by binding to its receptor, the growth hormone secretagogue receptor 1a (GHS-R1a), which is widely expressed both inside and outside of the brain. Both acute and chronic calorie restrictions (CRs) were reported to increase endogenous ghrelin levels and lead to beneficial effects on brain functions, including anti-anxiety effects, anti-depressive effects, and memory improvement. However, the causal relationship and underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Here, we introduced acute or chronic CR to both GHS-R1a KO (Ghsr) mice and WT (Ghsr) littermates, and investigated anxiety- and despair-related behaviors in the elevated plus maze (EPM), open field (OF) and forced swimming (FS) tests. We found that acute and chronic CR produced similar anxiolytic and anti-despair responses in Ghsr mice but opposite responses in Ghsr mice. In particular, acute CR enhanced while chronic CR reduced anxiety- and despair-like behaviors in Ghsr mice. Acute CR triggered anxiolytic and anti-despair responses in Ghsr mice. This effect was abolished by a GHS-R1a antagonist, suggesting a GHS-R1a dependent mechanism. Ad-libitum refeeding masked behavioral responses induced by acute CR in both Ghsr and Ghsr mice. Altogether, our findings indicate that acute and chronic CRs mitigate anxiety- and despair-like behaviors with different physiological mechanisms, with the former being dependent on endogenous ghrelin release and GHS-R1a signaling, while the latter may not be.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2019.05.067DOI Listing
August 2019

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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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.05.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6612516PMC
July 2019

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

Identification of Novel Susceptibility Loci and Genes for Prostate Cancer Risk: A Transcriptome-Wide Association Study in Over 140,000 European Descendants.

Cancer Res 2019 07 17;79(13):3192-3204. Epub 2019 May 17.

Division of Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee.

Genome-wide association study-identified prostate cancer risk variants explain only a relatively small fraction of its familial relative risk, and the genes responsible for many of these identified associations remain unknown. To discover novel prostate cancer genetic loci and possible causal genes at previously identified risk loci, we performed a transcriptome-wide association study in 79,194 cases and 61,112 controls of European ancestry. Using data from the Genotype-Tissue Expression Project, we established genetic models to predict gene expression across the transcriptome for both prostate models and cross-tissue models and evaluated model performance using two independent datasets. We identified significant associations for 137 genes at < 2.61 × 10, a Bonferroni-corrected threshold, including nine genes that remained significant at < 2.61 × 10 after adjusting for all known prostate cancer risk variants in nearby regions. Of the 128 remaining associated genes, 94 have not yet been reported as potential target genes at known loci. We silenced 14 genes and many showed a consistent effect on viability and colony-forming efficiency in three cell lines. Our study provides substantial new information to advance our understanding of prostate cancer genetics and biology. SIGNIFICANCE: This study identifies novel prostate cancer genetic loci and possible causal genes, advancing our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that drive prostate cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-3536DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6606384PMC
July 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

Genetic variant predictors of gene expression provide new insight into risk of colorectal cancer.

Hum Genet 2019 Apr 28;138(4):307-326. Epub 2019 Feb 28.

Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Genome-wide association studies have reported 56 independently associated colorectal cancer (CRC) risk variants, most of which are non-coding and believed to exert their effects by modulating gene expression. The computational method PrediXcan uses cis-regulatory variant predictors to impute expression and perform gene-level association tests in GWAS without directly measured transcriptomes. In this study, we used reference datasets from colon (n = 169) and whole blood (n = 922) transcriptomes to test CRC association with genetically determined expression levels in a genome-wide analysis of 12,186 cases and 14,718 controls. Three novel associations were discovered from colon transverse models at FDR ≤ 0.2 and further evaluated in an independent replication including 32,825 cases and 39,933 controls. After adjusting for multiple comparisons, we found statistically significant associations using colon transcriptome models with TRIM4 (discovery P = 2.2 × 10, replication P = 0.01), and PYGL (discovery P = 2.3 × 10, replication P = 6.7 × 10). Interestingly, both genes encode proteins that influence redox homeostasis and are related to cellular metabolic reprogramming in tumors, implicating a novel CRC pathway linked to cell growth and proliferation. Defining CRC risk regions as one megabase up- and downstream of one of the 56 independent risk variants, we defined 44 non-overlapping CRC-risk regions. Among these risk regions, we identified genes associated with CRC (P < 0.05) in 34/44 CRC-risk regions. Importantly, CRC association was found for two genes in the previously reported 2q25 locus, CXCR1 and CXCR2, which are potential cancer therapeutic targets. These findings provide strong candidate genes to prioritize for subsequent laboratory follow-up of GWAS loci. This study is the first to implement PrediXcan in a large colorectal cancer study and findings highlight the utility of integrating transcriptome data in GWAS for discovery of, and biological insight into, risk loci.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00439-019-01989-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6483948PMC
April 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

Trans-ethnic kidney function association study reveals putative causal genes and effects on kidney-specific disease aetiologies.

Nat Commun 2019 01 3;10(1):29. Epub 2019 Jan 3.

Department of Pathology, Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam, P.O. Box 2040, 3000 CA, Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects ~10% of the global population, with considerable ethnic differences in prevalence and aetiology. We assemble genome-wide association studies of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a measure of kidney function that defines CKD, in 312,468 individuals of diverse ancestry. We identify 127 distinct association signals with homogeneous effects on eGFR across ancestries and enrichment in genomic annotations including kidney-specific histone modifications. Fine-mapping reveals 40 high-confidence variants driving eGFR associations and highlights putative causal genes with cell-type specific expression in glomerulus, and in proximal and distal nephron. Mendelian randomisation supports causal effects of eGFR on overall and cause-specific CKD, kidney stone formation, diastolic blood pressure and hypertension. These results define novel molecular mechanisms and putative causal genes for eGFR, offering insight into clinical outcomes and routes to CKD treatment development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-07867-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6318312PMC
January 2019

Genetic Data from Nearly 63,000 Women of European Descent Predicts DNA Methylation Biomarkers and Epithelial Ovarian Cancer Risk.

Cancer Res 2019 02 17;79(3):505-517. Epub 2018 Dec 17.

The Center for Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California.

DNA methylation is instrumental for gene regulation. Global changes in the epigenetic landscape have been recognized as a hallmark of cancer. However, the role of DNA methylation in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) remains unclear. In this study, high-density genetic and DNA methylation data in white blood cells from the Framingham Heart Study ( = 1,595) were used to build genetic models to predict DNA methylation levels. These prediction models were then applied to the summary statistics of a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of ovarian cancer including 22,406 EOC cases and 40,941 controls to investigate genetically predicted DNA methylation levels in association with EOC risk. Among 62,938 CpG sites investigated, genetically predicted methylation levels at 89 CpG were significantly associated with EOC risk at a Bonferroni-corrected threshold of < 7.94 × 10. Of them, 87 were located at GWAS-identified EOC susceptibility regions and two resided in a genomic region not previously reported to be associated with EOC risk. Integrative analyses of genetic, methylation, and gene expression data identified consistent directions of associations across 12 CpG, five genes, and EOC risk, suggesting that methylation at these 12 CpG may influence EOC risk by regulating expression of these five genes, namely , and . We identified novel DNA methylation markers associated with EOC risk and propose that methylation at multiple CpG may affect EOC risk via regulation of gene expression. SIGNIFICANCE: Identification of novel DNA methylation markers associated with EOC risk suggests that methylation at multiple CpG may affect EOC risk through regulation of gene expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-2726DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6359948PMC
February 2019

Large-Scale Genome-Wide Association Study of East Asians Identifies Loci Associated With Risk for Colorectal Cancer.

Gastroenterology 2019 Apr 6;156(5):1455-1466. Epub 2018 Dec 6.

Clalit Health Services National Israeli Cancer Control Center, Haifa, Israel; Department of Community Medicine and Epidemiology, Carmel Medical Center, Haifa, Israel; Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.

Background & Aims: Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have associated approximately 50 loci with risk of colorectal cancer (CRC)-nearly one third of these loci were initially associated with CRC in studies conducted in East Asian populations. We conducted a GWAS of East Asians to identify CRC risk loci and evaluate the generalizability of findings from GWASs of European populations to Asian populations.

Methods: We analyzed genetic data from 22,775 patients with CRC (cases) and 47,731 individuals without cancer (controls) from 14 studies in the Asia Colorectal Cancer Consortium. First, we performed a meta-analysis of 7 GWASs (10,625 cases and 34,595 controls) and identified 46,554 promising risk variants for replication by adding them to the Multi-Ethnic Global Array (MEGA) for genotype analysis in 6445 cases and 7175 controls. These data were analyzed, along with data from an additional 5705 cases and 5961 controls genotyped using the OncoArray. We also obtained data from 57,976 cases and 67,242 controls of European descent. Variants at identified risk loci were functionally annotated and evaluated in correlation with gene expression levels.

Results: A meta-analyses of all samples from people of Asian descent identified 13 loci and 1 new variant at a known locus (10q24.2) associated with risk of CRC at the genome-wide significance level of P < 5 × 10. We did not perform experiments to replicate these associations in additional individuals of Asian ancestry. However, the lead risk variant in 6 of these loci was also significantly associated with risk of CRC in European descendants. A strong association (44%-75% increase in risk per allele) was found for 2 low-frequency variants: rs201395236 at 1q44 (minor allele frequency, 1.34%) and rs77969132 at 12p11.21 (minor allele frequency, 1.53%). For 8 of the 13 associated loci, the variants with the highest levels of significant association were located inside or near the protein-coding genes L1TD1, EFCAB2, PPP1R21, SLCO2A1, HLA-G, NOTCH4, DENND5B, and GNAS. For other intergenic loci, we provided evidence for the possible involvement of the genes ALDH7A1, PRICKLE1, KLF5, WWOX, and GLP2R. We replicated findings for 41 of 52 previously reported risk loci.

Conclusions: We showed that most of the risk loci previously associated with CRC risk in individuals of European descent were also associated with CRC risk in East Asians. Furthermore, we identified 13 loci significantly associated with risk for CRC in Asians. Many of these loci contained genes that regulate the immune response, Wnt signaling to β-catenin, prostaglandin E2 catabolism, and cell pluripotency and proliferation. Further analyses of these genes and their variants is warranted, particularly for the 8 loci for which the lead CRC risk variants were not replicated in persons of European descent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2018.11.066DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6441622PMC
April 2019

Overexpression of in Dorsal CA1 of Offspring Mice Rescues Hippocampal Dysfunction Caused by a Methyl Donor-Rich Paternal Diet.

Front Cell Neurosci 2018 23;12:360. Epub 2018 Oct 23.

Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Qingdao University, Qingdao, China.

BK channels are known regulators of neuronal excitability, synaptic plasticity, and memory. Our previous study showed that a paternal methyl donor-rich diet reduced the expression of , which encodes BK channel subunit beta 2, and caused memory deficits in offspring mice. To explore the underlying cellular mechanisms, we investigated the intrinsic and synaptic properties of CA1 pyramidal neurons of the F1 offspring mice whose fathers were fed with either a methyl donor-rich diet (MD) or regular control diet (CD) for 6 weeks before mating. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings of CA1 pyramidal neurons revealed a decrease in intrinsic excitability and reduced frequency of inhibitory post-synaptic currents in MD F1 mice compared to the CD F1 controls. AAV-based overexpression of in dorsal CA1 ameliorated changes in neuronal excitability, synaptic transmission, and plasticity in MD F1 mice. Our findings thus indicate that a transient paternal exposure to a methyl donor-rich diet prior to mating alters -sensitive hippocampal functions in offspring animals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fncel.2018.00360DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6206260PMC
October 2018

Combined linkage and association analysis identifies rare and low frequency variants for blood pressure at 1q31.

Eur J Hum Genet 2019 02 27;27(2):269-277. Epub 2018 Sep 27.

Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, 44106, USA.

High blood pressure (BP) is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and is more prevalent in African Americans as compared to other US groups. Although large, population-based genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified over 300 common polymorphisms modulating inter-individual BP variation, largely in European ancestry subjects, most of them do not localize to regions previously identified through family-based linkage studies. This discrepancy has remained unexplained despite the statistical power differences between current GWAS and prior linkage studies. To address this issue, we performed genome-wide linkage analysis of BP traits in African-American families from the Family Blood Pressure Program (FBPP) and genotyped on the Illumina Human Exome BeadChip v1.1. We identified a genomic region on chromosome 1q31 with LOD score 3.8 for pulse pressure (PP), a region we previously implicated in DBP studies of European ancestry families. Although no reported GWAS variants map to this region, combined linkage and association analysis of PP identified 81 rare and low frequency exonic variants accounting for the linkage evidence. Replication analysis in eight independent African ancestry cohorts (N = 16,968) supports this specific association with PP (P = 0.0509). Additional association and network analyses identified multiple potential candidate genes in this region expressed in multiple tissues and with a strong biological support for a role in BP. In conclusion, multiple genes and rare variants on 1q31 contribute to PP variation. Beyond producing new insights into PP, we demonstrate how family-based linkage and association studies can implicate specific rare and low frequency variants for complex traits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-018-0277-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6336803PMC
February 2019