The ß(2) -adrenergic receptor (ADRB2) is located on smooth muscle cells and is an important regulator of smooth muscle tone. The Thr164Ile polymorphism (rs1800888) in the ADRB2 gene is rare but has profound functional consequences on receptor function and could cause lifelong elevated smooth muscle tone. We tested the hypothesis that Thr164Ile is associated with increased blood pressure, increased frequency of hypertension and increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
A total of 66 750 individuals from two large Danish general population studies were genotyped, and 1943 Thr164Ile heterozygotes and 16 homozygotes were identified.
Thr164Ile genotype was associated with increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure in women (trend: P = 0.04 and 0.02): systolic and diastolic blood pressure increased by 5% and 2%, respectively, in female homozygotes compared with female noncarriers. All female Thr164Ile homozygotes had hypertension compared with 58% of female heterozygotes and 54% of female noncarriers (chi-square: P = 0.001). Female Thr164Ile homozygotes and heterozygotes had odds ratios for ischaemic heart disease (IHD) of 2.93 (0.56-15.5) and 1.28 (1.03-1.61), respectively, compared with female noncarriers (trend: P = 0.007). These differences were not observed in men. Furthermore, Gly16Arg (rs1042713) and Gln27Glu (rs1042714) in the ADRB2 gene were not associated with blood pressure, hypertension or CVD either in the population overall or in women and men separately.
ADRB2 Thr164Ile is associated with increased blood pressure, increased frequency of hypertension and increased risk of IHD amongst women in the general population. These findings, particularly for homozygotes, are novel.
The first genome-wide association study for BMI identified a polymorphism, rs7566605, 10 kb upstream of the insulin-induced gene 2 (INSIG2) transcription start site, as the most significantly associated variant in children and adults. Subsequent studies, however, showed inconsistent association of this polymorphism with obesity traits. This polymorphism has been hypothesized to alter INSIG2 expression leading to inhibition of fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis. Hence, we investigated the association of the INSIG2 rs7566605 polymorphism with obesity- and lipid-related traits in Danish and Estonian children (930 boys and 1,073 girls) from the European Youth Heart Study (EYHS), a school-based, cross-sectional study of pre- and early pubertal children. The association between the polymorphism and obesity traits was tested using additive and recessive models adjusted for age, age-group, gender, maturity and country. Interactions were tested by including the interaction terms in the model. Despite having sufficient power (98%) to detect the previously reported effect size for association with BMI, we did not find significant effects of rs7566605 on BMI (additive, P = 0.68; recessive, P = 0.24). Accordingly, the polymorphism was not associated with overweight (P = 0.87) or obesity (P = 0.34). We also did not find association with waist circumference (WC), sum of four skinfolds, or with total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein, or high-density lipoprotein. There were no gender-specific (P = 0.55), age-group-specific (P = 0.63) or country-specific (P = 0.56) effects. There was also no evidence of interaction between genotype and physical activity (P = 0.95). Despite an adequately powered study, our findings suggest that rs7566605 is not associated with obesity-related traits and lipids in the EYHS.
Increasing evidence suggests that alveolar macrophages (AM) are involved in asthma pathogenesis. To better understand the role that these cells play, we investigated the capacity of AM from allergy-resistant rat, Sprague Dawley (SD), to modulate airway hyperresponsiveness of allergy-susceptible rat, Brown Norway (BN). AM of ovalbumin (OVA)-sensitized BN rats were eliminated by intratracheal instillation of liposomes containing clodronate. AM from OVA-sensitized SD rats were transferred into AM-depleted BN rats 24 h before allergen challenge. Airway responsiveness to methacholine was measured the following day. Instillation of liposomes containing clodronate in BN rats eliminated 85% AM after 3 d compared with saline liposomes. Methacholine concentration needed to increase lung resistance by 200% (EC200RL) was significantly lower in OVA-challenged BN rats (27.9 +/- 2.8 mg/ml) compared with SD rats (63.9 +/- 8.6 mg/ml). However, when AM from SD rats were transferred into AM-depleted BN rats, airway responsiveness (64.0 +/- 11.3 mg/ml) was reduced to the level of naïve rats (54.4 +/- 3.7 mg/ml) in a dose-dependent manner. Interestingly, transfer of AM from BN rats into SD rats did not modulate airway responsiveness. To our knowledge, this is the first direct evidence showing that AM may protect against the development of airway hyperresponsiveness.
Comment In: Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2004 Jul;31(1):1-215208095
Comment In: Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2004 Jul;31(1):3-715208096
OBJECTIVES: Self-rated health has been shown to be a predictor for future health status and mortality. The purpose of this study was to investigate age-group and sex differences in genetic and environmental sources of variation for self-rated health. METHODS: A sample of twins from the Swedish Twin Registry participated in a computer-assisted telephone interview with assessment of self-rated health. Structural equation model analyses on 1,243 complete twin pairs provided estimates of genetic and environmental components of variance. RESULTS: Individual differences primarily reflected individual specific environmental influences at all ages. The increase in total variance across age groups was primarily due to genetic influences in the age groups 45--74 years and greater environmental influences in the oldest age group (>74). No significant sex differences were found in variance components. DISCUSSION: Genetic variance in the two middle age groups (45--74) could reflect genetic susceptibility to age-dependent illnesses not yet expressed in the youngest group. The findings suggest that it might be more fruitful to explore the origins of individual differences for self-rated health in the context of an individual's age and birth cohort rather than in the context of sex.
Narcolepsy usually starts around adolescence; however, there is great variability in the clinical presentation of narcolepsy.
To determine the age at onset in conjunction with severity of narcoleptic symptoms in two large populations of narcoleptic patients with a similar genetic background.
Information on age at onset and severity of the condition was obtained in 317 patients with well-defined narcolepsy-cataplexy from Montpellier (France) and in 202 from Montreal (Canada).
The mean age at onset was 23.4 years in Montpellier and 24.4 in Montreal. The age at onset was bimodal in two independent patient populations: a first peak occurring at 14.7 years, and a second peak occurring at 35. Age at onset clearly differentiates patients with a positive family history of narcolepsy (early onset) from those without a family history. Other clinical and polygraphic findings may indicate that young age at onset is associated with increased severity of the condition (higher frequency of cataplexy and decreased mean sleep latency on the Multiple Sleep Latency Test).
Bimodal distribution of age at onset of narcolepsy was found in two independent patient populations. Our data suggest that age at onset is genetically determined.
In 1984, Jean Aicardi and Françoise Goutières described 8 children showing both severe brain atrophy and chronic cerebrospinal fluid lymphocytosis, with basal ganglia calcification in at least one member of each affected family. The course was rapid to death or a vegetative outcome. Aicardi and Goutières correctly predicted that the disorder would be genetic, but emphasised that "some features, especially the pleocytosis, may erroneously suggest an inflammatory condition". The increased interferon-alpha in affected children (Pierre Lebon, Paris) mimicked congenital viral infection, but the associated chilblains (pernio) pointed to lupus erythematosus and an autoimmune mechanism. Genetic research led by Yanick Crow has clarified these puzzling relationships in Aicardi-Goutières syndrome, a syndrome that now includes conditions previously known as microcephaly-intracranial calcification syndrome, pseudo-TORCH and Cree encephalitis. At the time of writing, Crow's team has discovered that over 80% of families with Aicardi-Goutières syndrome have mutations in one of four nuclease genes, the exonuclease TREX1 and the genes for all three subunits of the ribonuclease H2 enzyme complex. Aicardi-Goutières syndrome is both genetically and phenotypically heterogeneous, with a range of severity from life-threatening perinatal illness to mild late infancy onset. All infants of whatever genotype have increased interferon-alpha in the first year of life and this appears to be the final common pathway that links Aicardi-Goutières syndrome, congenital virus infection and systemic lupus erythematosus.
Pain and Neurosensory Mechanisms Branch, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, DHHS, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
The neuropeptide galanin is widely expressed in the periphery and the central nervous system and mediates diverse physiological processes and behaviors including alcohol abuse, depression and anxiety. Four genes encoding galanin and its receptors have been identified (GAL, GALR1, GALR2 and GALR3). Recently we found that GAL haplotypes were associated with alcoholism, raising the possibility that genetic variation in GALR1, GALR2 and GALR3 might also alter alcoholism risk. Tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified by genotyping SNP panels in controls from five populations. For the association study with alcoholism, six GALR1, four GALR2 and four GALR3 SNPs were genotyped in a large cohort of Finnish alcoholics and non-alcoholics. GALR3 showed a significant association with alcoholism that was driven by one SNP (rs3,091,367). Moreover, the combination of the GALR3 rs3,091,367 risk allele and GAL risk haplotypes led to a modestly increased odds ratio (OR) for alcoholism (2.4) as compared with the effect of either GAL (1.9) or GALR3 alone (1.4). Likewise, the combination of the GALR3 and GAL risk diplotypes led to an increased OR for alcoholism (4.6) as compared with the effect of either GAL (2.0) or GALR3 alone (1.6). There was no effect of GALR1 or GALR2 on alcoholism risk. This evidence suggests that GALR3 mediates the alcoholism-related actions of galanin.
Excess alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are associated with substantially increased mortality. Efforts to reduce this toll require an understanding of their causes.
To clarify the degree to which the excess mortality associated with AUDs arises (1) from the predispositions of the person who develops AUD (and which would likely be shared by close relatives) and (2) as a direct result of AUD itself.
A prospective cohort and co-relative design study involving all individuals born in Sweden from 1940 to 1965 who had neither died nor migrated prior to 1973 or age 15 years (N?=?2?821?036). They were followed up from January 1, 1973, until December 31, 2010. Alcohol use disorder was assessed from medical, criminal, and pharmacy registries. Half-siblings, full-siblings, and monozygotic twin pairs discordant for AUD were obtained from the Multi-Generation and Twin Register.
Death obtained from the Swedish Death registry.
Our cohort (1?447?887 males and 1?373?149 females) included 131?895 males and 42?163 females registered with AUD. The mean (SD) age at first AUD registration was 39 (13.4) years. We ascertained 127?347 and 76?325 deaths in the male and female subsamples, respectively. Controlling for sex, educational status, and year of birth, the mortality hazard ratio associated with AUD was 5.83 (95% CI, 5.76-5.90) and varied-with an inverted U-shaped function-by age. Examining the AUD-mortality association in the general population and in relative pairs discordant for AUD exposure demonstrated substantial familial confounding in early to mid-adulthood: the AUD-associated mortality hazard ratio was much lower in discordant close relatives than in the general population. In middle to late adulthood, evidence for familial confounding decreased with increasing evidence for a direct effect of AUD on elevated mortality. In the oldest age group (65-70 years), the mortality hazard ratios were similar across the population and all relative pairs, suggesting that the excess mortality was largely a result of having AUD. Adding years since onset of AUD to the model showed that both increasing age and increasing years of duration of AUD contributed to the reduction of familial confounding in the association between AUD and elevated mortality.
Excess mortality associated with AUD arises both from the predispositions of the person who develops AUD and the direct result of having AUD. The effect of predisposition is more prominent early in the life course and in the early years of AUD. The direct effect of AUD becomes progressively more important later in life and with longer duration of AUD. These results have implications for interventions seeking to reduce the elevated AUD-associated mortality.
Numerous asthma and atopy loci have been reported in studies demonstrating associations of the asthma-related phenotypes atopy, elevated IgE levels, and bronchial hyperresponsiveness with alleles of microsatellite markers and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within specific cytokine/chemokine and IgE-regulating genes. Although the studies reporting these observations are compelling, most of them lack statistical power. We assessed the nature, pattern, and frequency of SNPs in 24 candidate genes in Iceland and looked for associations with asthma and atopy. We identified 42 SNPs with an average minor allele frequency of 20.3% (asthma) and 20.7% (control). Twenty SNPs (48%) were within coding sequences and 90% of those led to a predicted change in protein sequence. No differences were detected in the allelic frequencies of SNPs in any of these candidate genes between control subjects and the patients with atopic asthma. Moreover, linkage analysis that included 269 patients with atopic asthma uncovered no evidence of linkage to markers associated with these genes. We conclude that this study has failed to produce evidence in support of the notion that variations within these 24 candidate atopy and asthma genes significantly influence the expression of the atopic asthmatic phenotype or contribute to the susceptibility of atopic asthma.
Comment In: Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2001 Dec 1;164(11):2014-511739127