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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
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  4. Diabetes-related complications reflect longstanding damage to small and large vessels throughout the body. In addition to the duration of diabetes and poor glycemic control, genetic factors are important contributors to the variability in the development of vascular complications. Early heritability studies found strong familial clustering of both macrovascular and microvascular complications. However, they were limited by small sample sizes and large phenotypic heterogeneity, leading to less accurate estimates. We take advantage of two independent studies—UK Biobank and the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes trial—to survey the single nucleotide polymorphism heritability for diabetes microvascular (diabetic kidney disease and diabetic retinopathy) and macrovascular (cardiovascular events) complications. Heritability for diabetic kidney disease was estimated at 29%. The heritability estimate for microalbuminuria ranged from 24 to 60% and was 41% for macroalbuminuria. Heritability estimates of diabetic retinopathy ranged from 6 to 33%, depending on the phenotype definition. More severe diabetes retinopathy possessed higher genetic contributions. We show, for the first time, that rare variants account for much of the heritability of diabetic retinopathy. This study suggests that a large portion of the genetic risk of diabetes complications is yet to be discovered and emphasizes the need for additional genetic studies of diabetesmore »complications.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 8, 2023
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  6. Abstract Rationale: Genetic variation has a substantial contribution to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung function measurements. Heritability estimates using genome-wide genotyping data can be biased if analyses do not appropriately account for the nonuniform distribution of genetic effects across the allele frequency and linkage disequilibrium (LD) spectrum. In addition, the contribution of rare variants has been unclear. Objectives: We sought to assess the heritability of COPD and lung function using whole-genome sequence data from the Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine program. Methods: Using the genome-based restricted maximum likelihood method, we partitioned the genome into bins based on minor allele frequency and LD scores and estimated heritability of COPD, FEV1% predicted and FEV1/FVC ratio in 11 051 European ancestry and 5853 African-American participants. Measurements and Main Results: In European ancestry participants, the estimated heritability of COPD, FEV1% predicted and FEV1/FVC ratio were 35.5%, 55.6% and 32.5%, of which 18.8%, 19.7%, 17.8% were from common variants, and 16.6%, 35.8%, and 14.6% were from rare variants. These estimates had wide confidence intervals, with common variants and some sets of rare variants showing a statistically significant contribution (P-value < 0.05). In African-Americans, common variant heritability was similar to European ancestry participants, but lower sample sizemore »precluded calculation of rare variant heritability. Conclusions: Our study provides updated and unbiased estimates of heritability for COPD and lung function, and suggests an important contribution of rare variants. Larger studies of more diverse ancestry will improve accuracy of these estimates.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 29, 2023
  7. SARS-CoV-2 has caused symptomatic COVID-19 and widespread death across the globe. We sought to determine genetic variants contributing to COVID-19 susceptibility and hospitalization in a large biobank linked to a national United States health system. We identified 19,168 (3.7%) lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases among Million Veteran Program participants between March 1, 2020, and February 2, 2021, including 11,778 Whites, 4,893 Blacks, and 2,497 Hispanics. A multi-population genome-wide association study (GWAS) for COVID-19 outcomes identified four independent genetic variants (rs8176719, rs73062389, rs60870724, and rs73910904) contributing to COVID-19 positivity, including one novel locus found exclusively among Hispanics. We replicated eight of nine previously reported genetic associations at an alpha of 0.05 in at least one population-specific or the multi-population meta-analysis for one of the four MVP COVID-19 outcomes. We used rs8176719 and three additional variants to accurately infer ABO blood types. We found that A, AB, and B blood types were associated with testing positive for COVID-19 compared with O blood type with the highest risk for the A blood group. We did not observe any genome-wide significant associations for COVID-19 severity outcomes among those testing positive. Our study replicates prior GWAS findings associated with testing positive for COVID-19 among mostly White samplesmore »and extends findings at three loci to Black and Hispanic individuals. We also report a new locus among Hispanics requiring further investigation. These findings may aid in the identification of novel therapeutic agents to decrease the morbidity and mortality of COVID-19 across all major ancestral populations.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 3, 2023
  8. Abstract Aims The association of glycemic variability with microvascular disease complications in type 2 diabetes (T2D) has been under-studied and remains unclear. We investigated this relationship using both Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) and the Veteran Affairs Diabetes Trial (VADT). Methods In ACCORD, fasting plasma glucose (FPG) was measured 1 to 3 times/year for up to 84 months in 10 251 individuals. In the VADT, FPG was measured every 3 months for up to 87 months in 1791 individuals. Variability measures included coefficient of variation (CV) and average real variability (ARV) for fasting glucose. The primary composite outcome was time to either severe nephropathy or retinopathy event and secondary outcomes included each outcome individually. To assess the association, we considered variability measures as time-dependent covariates in Cox proportional hazard models. We conducted a meta-analysis across the 2 trials to estimate the risk of fasting glucose variability as well as to assess the heterogenous effects of FPG variability across treatment arms. Results In both ACCORD and the VADT, the CV and ARV of FPG were associated with development of future microvascular outcomes even after adjusting for other risk factors, including measures of average glycemic control (ie, cumulative averagemore »of HbA1c). Meta-analyses of these 2 trials confirmed these findings and indicated FPG variation may be more harmful in those with less intensive glucose control. Conclusions This post hoc analysis indicates that variability of FPG plays a role in, and/or is an independent and readily available marker of, development of microvascular complications in T2D.« less