- Sex-stratified Genome-wide Association Studies Including 270,000 Individuals Show Sexual Dimorphism in Genetic Loci for Anthropometric Traits (2013)
- Men and women differ substantially regarding height, weight, and body fat. Interestingly, previous work detecting genetic effects for waist-to-hip ratio, to assess body fat distribution, has found that many of these showed sex-differences. However, systematic searches for sex-differences in genetic effects have not yet been conducted. Therefore, we undertook a genome-wide search for sexually dimorphic genetic effects for anthropometric traits including 133,723 individuals in a large meta-analysis and followed promising variants in further 137,052 individuals, including a total of 94 studies. We identified seven loci with significant sex-difference including four previously established (near GRB14/COBLL1, LYPLAL1/SLC30A10, VEGFA, ADAMTS9) and three novel anthropometric trait loci (near MAP3K1, HSD17B4, PPARG), all of which were significant in women, but not in men. Of interest is that sex-difference was only observed for waist phenotypes, but not for height or body-mass-index. We found no evidence for sex-differences with opposite effect direction for men and women. The PPARG locus is of specific interest due to its link to diabetes genetics and therapy. Our findings demonstrate the importance of investigating sex differences, which may lead to a better understanding of disease mechanisms with a potential relevance to treatment options.
- Pattern recognition receptors as key players in adrenal gland dysfunction during sepsis (2012)
- Background: Undergoing systemic inflammation, the innate immune system releases excessive proinflammatory mediators, which finally can lead to organ failure. Pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), such as Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and NOD-like receptors (NLRs), form the interface between bacterial and viral toxins and innate immunity. During sepsis, patients with diagnosed adrenal gland insufficiency are at high risk of developing a multiorgan dysfunction syndrome, which dramatically increases the risk of mortality. To date, little is known about the mechanisms leading to adrenal dysfunction under septic conditions. Here, we investigated the sepsis-related activation of the PRRs, cell inflammation, and apoptosis within adrenal glands. Methods: Two sepsis models were performed: the polymicrobial sepsis model (caecal ligation and puncture (CLP)) and the LTA-induced intoxication model. All experiments received institutional approval by the Regierungspräsidium Darmstadt. CLP was performed as previously described , wherein one-third of the caecum was ligated and punctured with a 20-gauge needle. For LTA-induced systemic inflammation, TLR2 knockout (TLR2-/-) and WT mice were injected intraperitoneally with pure LTA (pLTA; 1 mg/kg) or PBS for 2 hours. To detect potential direct adrenal dysfunction, mice were additionally injected with adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH; 100 μg/kg) 1 hour after pLTA or PBS. Adrenals and plasma samples were taken. Gene expressions in the adrenals (rt-PCR), cytokine release (multiplex assay), and the apoptosis rate (TUNEL assay) within the adrenals were determined. Results: In both models, adrenals showed increased mRNA expression of TLR2 and TLR4, various NLRs, cytokines as well as inflammasome components, NADPH oxidase subunits, and nitric oxide synthases (data not shown). In WT mice, ACTH alone had no effect on inflammation, while pLTA or pLTA/ACTH administration showed increased levels of the cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, and TNFα. TLR2-/- mice indicated no response as expected (Figure 1, left). Interestingly, surviving CLP mice showed no inflammatory adrenal response, whereas nonsurvivors had elevated cytokine levels (Figure 1, right). Additionally, we identified a marked increase in apoptosis of both chromaffin and steroid-producing cells in adrenal glands obtained from mice with sepsis as compared with their controls (Figure 2). ... Conclusion: Taken together, sepsis-induced activation of the PRRs may contribute to adrenal impairment by enhancing tissue inflammation, oxidative stress and culminate in cellular apoptosis, while mortality seems to be associated with adrenal inflammation.
- Genetic variation of TLR4 influences immunoendocrine stress response: an observational study in cardiac surgical patients (2011)
- Introduction: Systemic inflammation (e.g. following surgery) involves Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling and leads to an endocrine stress response. This study aims to investigate a possible influence of TLR2 and TLR4 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on perioperative adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol regulation in serum of cardiac surgical patients. To investigate the link to systemic inflammation in this context, we additionally measured 10 different cytokines in the serum. Methods: 338 patients admitted for elective cardiac surgery were included in this prospective observational clinical cohort study. Genomic DNA of patients was screened for TLR2 and TLR4 SNPs. Serum concentrations of ACTH, cortisol, interferon (IFN)-, interleukin (IL)-1, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)- and granulocyte macro-phage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) were determined before surgery, immediately post surgery and on the first postoperative day. Results: 13 patients were identified as TLR2 SNP carrier, 51 as TLR4 SNP carrier and 274 pa-tients as non-carrier. Basal levels of ACTH, cortisol and cytokines did not differ between groups. In all three groups a significant, transient perioperative rise of cortisol could be ob-served. However, only in the non-carrier group this was accompanied by a significant ACTH rise, TLR4 SNP carriers had significant lower ACTH levels compared to non-carriers ((mean[95% confidence intervals]) non-carriers: 201.9[187.7 to 216.1]pg/ml; TLR4 SNP car-riers: 149.9[118.4 to 181.5]pg/ml; TLR2 SNP carriers: 176.4[110.5 to 242.3]pg/ml). Compared to non-carriers, TLR4 SNP carriers showed significant lower serum IL-8, IL-10 and GM-CSF peaks ((mean[95% confidence intervals]): IL-8: non-carriers: 42.6[36.7 to 48.5]pg/ml, TLR4 SNP carriers: 23.7[10.7 to 36.8]pg/ml; IL-10: non-carriers: 83.8[70.3 to 97.4]pg/ml, TLR4 SNP carriers: 54.2[24.1 to 84.2]pg/ml; GM-CSF: non-carriers: 33.0[27.8 to 38.3]pg/ml, TLR4 SNP carriers: 20.2[8.6 to 31.8]pg/ml). No significant changes over time or between the groups were found for the other cytokines. Conclusions: Regulation of the immunoendocrine stress response during systemic inflamma-tion is influenced by the presence of a TLR4 SNP. Cardiac surgical patients carrying this ge-notype showed decreased serum concentrations of ACTH, IL-8, IL-10 and GM-CSF. This finding might have impact on interpreting previous and designing future trials on diagnosing and modulating immunoendocrine dysregulation (e.g. adrenal insufficiency) during systemic inflammation and sepsis.