2014 › Trails



GWAS: Gene-centric meta-analysis in 87,736 individuals of European ancestry identifies multiple blood-pressure-related loci

Authors: Tragante V, Barnes MR, Ganesh SK, Lanktree MB, Guo W, Franceschini N, Smith EN, et al.

Blood pressure (BP) is a heritable risk factor for cardiovascular disease. To investigate genetic associations with systolic BP (SBP), diastolic BP (DBP), mean arterial pressure (MAP), and pulse pressure (PP), we genotyped ~50,000 SNPs in up to 87,736 individuals of European ancestry and combined these in a meta-analysis. We replicated findings in an independent set of 68,368 individuals of European ancestry. Our analyses identified 11 previously undescribed associations in independent loci containing 31 genes including PDE1A, HLA-DQB1, CDK6, PRKAG2, VCL, H19, NUCB2, RELA, HOXC@ complex, FBN1, and NFAT5 at the Bonferroni-corrected array-wide significance threshold (p < 6 × 10(-7)) and confirmed 27 previously reported associations. Bioinformatic analysis of the 11 loci provided support for a putative role in hypertension of several genes, such as CDK6 and NUCB2. Analysis of potential pharmacological targets in databases of small molecules showed that ten of the genes are predicted to be a target for small molecules. In summary, we identified previously unknown loci associated with BP. Our findings extend our understanding of genes involved in BP regulation, which may provide new targets for therapeutic intervention or drug response stratification.

Copyright © 2014 The American Society of Human Genetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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GWAS: Parent-of-origin-specific allelic associations among 106 genomic loci for age at menarche

Authors: Perry JR, Day F, Elks CE, Sulem P, Thompson DJ, Ferreira T, He C, et al.

Age at menarche is a marker of timing of puberty in females. It varies widely between individuals, is a heritable trait and is associated with risks for obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and all-cause mortality. Studies of rare human disorders of puberty and animal models point to a complex hypothalamic-pituitary-hormonal regulation, but the mechanisms that determine pubertal timing and underlie its links to disease risk remain unclear. Here, using genome-wide and custom-genotyping arrays in up to 182,416 women of European descent from 57 studies, we found robust evidence (P < 5 × 10(-8)) for 123 signals at 106 genomic loci associated with age at menarche. Many loci were associated with other pubertal traits in both sexes, and there was substantial overlap with genes implicated in body mass index and various diseases, including rare disorders of puberty. Menarche signals were enriched in imprinted regions, with three loci (DLK1-WDR25, MKRN3-MAGEL2 and KCNK9) demonstrating parent-of-origin-specific associations concordant with known parental expression patterns. Pathway analyses implicated nuclear hormone receptors, particularly retinoic acid and γ-aminobutyric acid-B2 receptor signalling, among novel mechanisms that regulate pubertal timing in humans. Our findings suggest a genetic architecture involving at least hundreds of common variants in the coordinated timing of the pubertal transition.

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GWAS: Identifying Genetic Variants for Heart Rate Variability in the Acetylcholine Pathway

Authors: Harriëtte Riese, Loretto M. Muñoz, Catharina A. Hartman, Xiuhua Ding, Shaoyong Su, Albertine J. Oldehinkel, Arie M. van Roon, et al.

Heart rate variability is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. The acetylcholine pathway plays a key role in explaining heart rate variability in humans. We assessed whether 443 genotyped and imputed common genetic variants in eight key genes (CHAT, SLC18A3, SLC5A7, CHRNB4, CHRNA3, CHRNA, CHRM2 and ACHE) of the acetylcholine pathway were associated with variation in an established measure of heart rate variability reflecting parasympathetic control of the heart rhythm, the root mean square of successive differences (RMSSD) of normal RR intervals. The association was studied in a two stage design in individuals of European descent. First, analyses were performed in a discovery sample of four cohorts (n = 3429, discovery stage). Second, findings were replicated in three independent cohorts (n = 3311, replication stage), and finally the two stages were combined in a meta-analysis (n = 6740). RMSSD data were obtained under resting conditions. After correction for multiple testing, none of the SNPs showed an association with RMSSD. In conclusion, no common genetic variants for heart rate variability were identified in the largest and most comprehensive candidate gene study on the acetylcholine pathway to date. Future gene finding efforts for RMSSD may want to focus on hypothesis free approaches such as the genome-wide association study.

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GWAS: Defining the role of common variation in the genomic and biological architecture of adult human height

Authors: Wood AR, Esko T, Yang J, Vedantam S, Pers TH, Gustafsson S, Chu AY, et al.

Using genome-wide data from 253,288 individuals, we identified 697 variants at genome-wide significance that together explained one-fifth of the heritability for adult height. By testing different numbers of variants in independent studies, we show that the most strongly associated ∼2,000, ∼3,700 and ∼9,500 SNPs explained ∼21%, ∼24% and ∼29% of phenotypic variance. Furthermore, all common variants together captured 60% of heritability. The 697 variants clustered in 423 loci were enriched for genes, pathways and tissue types known to be involved in growth and together implicated genes and pathways not highlighted in earlier efforts, such as signaling by fibroblast growth factors, WNT/β-catenin and chondroitin sulfate-related genes. We identified several genes and pathways not previously connected with human skeletal growth, including mTOR, osteoglycin and binding of hyaluronic acid. Our results indicate a genetic architecture for human height that is characterized by a very large but finite number (thousands) of causal variants.

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