• The genetics of blood pressure regulation and its target organs from association studies in 342,415 individuals

      Ehret, Georg B; Ferreira, Teresa; Chasman, Daniel I; Jackson, Anne U; Schmidt, Ellen M; Johnson, Toby; Thorleifsson, Gudmar; Luan, Jian'an; Donnelly, Louise A; Kanoni, Stavroula; et al. (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2016-09-12)
      To dissect the genetic architecture of blood pressure and assess effects on target organ damage, we analyzed 128,272 SNPs from targeted and genome-wide arrays in 201,529 individuals of European ancestry, and genotypes from an additional 140,886 individuals were used for validation. We identified 66 blood pressure-associated loci, of which 17 were new; 15 harbored multiple distinct association signals. The 66 index SNPs were enriched for cis-regulatory elements, particularly in vascular endothelial cells, consistent with a primary role in blood pressure control through modulation of vascular tone across multiple tissues. The 66 index SNPs combined in a risk score showed comparable effects in 64,421 individuals of non-European descent. The 66-SNP blood pressure risk score was significantly associated with target organ damage in multiple tissues but with minor effects in the kidney. Our findings expand current knowledge of blood pressure-related pathways and highlight tissues beyond the classical renal system in blood pressure regulation.
    • Large meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies identifies five loci for lean body mass

      Zillikens, M. Carola; Demissie, Serkalem; Hsu, Yi-Hsiang; Yerges-Armstrong, Laura M.; Chou, Wen-Chi; Stolk, Lisette; Livshits, Gregory; Broer, Linda; Johnson, Toby; Koller, Daniel L.; et al. (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2017-07-19)
      Lean body mass, consisting mostly of skeletal muscle, is important for healthy aging. We performed a genome-wide association study for whole body (20 cohorts of European ancestry with n = 38,292) and appendicular (arms and legs) lean body mass (n = 28,330) measured using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry or bioelectrical impedance analysis, adjusted for sex, age, height, and fat mass. Twenty-one single-nucleotide polymorphisms were significantly associated with lean body mass either genome wide (p < 5 x 10(-8)) or suggestively genome wide (p < 2.3 x 10(-6)). Replication in 63,475 (47,227 of European ancestry) individuals from 33 cohorts for whole body lean body mass and in 45,090 (42,360 of European ancestry) subjects from 25 cohorts for appendicular lean body mass was successful for five single-nucleotide polymorphisms in/ near HSD17B11, VCAN, ADAMTSL3, IRS1, and FTO for total lean body mass and for three single-nucleotide polymorphisms in/ near VCAN, ADAMTSL3, and IRS1 for appendicular lean body mass. Our findings provide new insight into the genetics of lean body mass.