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Villa San Pietro, Italy

Biino G.,National Research Council Italy | Parati G.,S.Luca Hospital | Parati G.,University of Milan Bicocca | Concas M.P.,National Research Council Italy | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Background and Objectives: Hypertension represents a major cause of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality worldwide but its prevalence has been shown to vary in different countries. The reasons for such differences are still matter of debate, the relative contributions given by environmental and genetic factors being still poorly defined. We estimated the current prevalence, distribution and determinants of hypertension in isolated Sardinian populations and also investigated the environmental and genetic contribution to hypertension prevalence taking advantage of the characteristics of such populations. Methods and Results: An epidemiological survey with cross-sectional design was carried out measuring blood pressure in 9845 inhabitants of 10 villages of Ogliastra region between 2002 and 2008. Regression analysis for assessing blood pressure determinants and variance component models for estimating heritability were performed. Overall 38.8% of this population had hypertension, its prevalence varying significantly by age, sex and among villages taking into account age and sex structure of their population. About 50% of hypertensives had prior cardiovascular disease. High blood pressure was independently associated with age, obesity related factors, heart rate, total cholesterol, alcohol consumption, low education and smoking status, all these factors contributing more in women than in men. Heritability was 27% for diastolic and 36% for systolic blood pressure, its contribution being significantly higher in men (57%) than in women (46%). Finally, the genetic correlation between systolic and diastolic blood pressure was 0.74, indicating incomplete pleiotropy. Conclusion: Genetic factors involved in the expression of blood pressure traits account for about 30% of the phenotypic variance, but seem to play a larger role in men; comorbidities and environmental factors remain of predominant importance, but seem to contribute much more in women. © 2013 Biino et al. Source

Biino G.,National Research Council Italy | Casula L.,National Research Council Italy | De Terlizzi F.,IGEA Spa | Adamo M.,Shardna Life science | And 6 more authors.
American Journal of Epidemiology | Year: 2011

This study aimed at estimating the prevalence of osteoporosis and osteopenia in a Sardinian isolated population using hand quantitative ultrasound and at investigating the associated factors. The authors utilized a subset of data from a large population-based epidemiologic survey carried out in the Ogliastra region of Sardinia between 2003 and 2008. The sample consists of 6,326 men and women aged ≥30 years, who underwent quantitative ultrasound at the phalanges, bioelectrical impedance, anthropometric measurements, blood tests, and a standardized epidemiologic questionnaire collecting sociodemographic, lifestyle, medical, physiologic, and pharmacologic data. The T-score thresholds for amplitude-dependent speed of sound of-3.2 standard deviations and between-3.2 and-1 standard deviations were used to diagnose osteoporosis and osteopenia, respectively. Prevalence of osteoporosis was 17.0% in women and 5.2% in men. Logistic regression analysis revealed that factors associated with osteoporosis were age, anthropometric and bioimpedance measures, alkaline phosphatase levels, and menopause in women. High education, exercise, and beer consumption seem to be protective factors, whereas a family history of osteoporosis is a risk factor. Results show that osteoporosis in this population is comparable with that found in different countries, suggesting that quantitative ultrasound could be used more widely to detect high-risk individuals for preventing osteoporotic fractures. © 2011 The Author. Source

Tore S.,CNR Institute of Population Genetics | Casula S.,CNR Institute of Population Genetics | Casu G.,CNR Institute of Population Genetics | Concas M.P.,CNR Institute of Population Genetics | And 11 more authors.
PLoS Genetics | Year: 2011

In contrast to large GWA studies based on thousands of individuals and large meta-analyses combining GWAS results, we analyzed a small case/control sample for uric acid nephrolithiasis. Our cohort of closely related individuals is derived from a small, genetically isolated village in Sardinia, with well-characterized genealogical data linking the extant population up to the 16th century. It is expected that the number of risk alleles involved in complex disorders is smaller in isolated founder populations than in more diverse populations, and the power to detect association with complex traits may be increased when related, homogeneous affected individuals are selected, as they are more likely to be enriched with and share specific risk variants than are unrelated, affected individuals from the general population. When related individuals are included in an association study, correlations among relatives must be accurately taken into account to ensure validity of the results. A recently proposed association method uses an empirical genotypic covariance matrix estimated from genome-screen data to allow for additional population structure and cryptic relatedness that may not be captured by the genealogical data. We apply the method to our data, and we also investigate the properties of the method, as well as other association methods, in our highly inbred population, as previous applications were to outbred samples. The more promising regions identified in our initial study in the genetic isolate were then further investigated in an independent sample collected from the Italian population. Among the loci that showed association in this study, we observed evidence of a possible involvement of the region encompassing the gene LRRC16A, already associated to serum uric acid levels in a large meta-analysis of 14 GWAS, suggesting that this locus might lead a pathway for uric acid metabolism that may be involved in gout as well as in nephrolithiasis. © 2011 Tore et al. Source

Piras D.,National Research Council Italy | Doro M.G.,National Research Council Italy | Casu G.,National Research Council Italy | Melis P.M.,National Research Council Italy | And 26 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Goat mtDNA haplogroup A is a poorly resolved lineage absorbing most of the overall diversity and is found in locations as distant as Eastern Asia and Southern Africa. Its phylogenetic dissection would cast light on an important portion of the spread of goat breeding. The aims of this work were 1) to provide an operational definition of meaningful mtDNA units within haplogroup A, 2) to investigate the mechanisms underlying the maintenance of diversity by considering the modes of selection operated by breeders and 3) to identify the peculiarities of Sardinian mtDNA types. We sequenced the mtDNA D-loop in a large sample of animals (1,591) which represents a non-trivial quota of the entire goat population of Sardinia. We found that Sardinia mirrors a large quota of mtDNA diversity of Western Eurasia in the number of variable sites, their mutational pattern and allele frequency. By using Bayesian analysis, a distance-based tree and a network analysis, we recognized demographically coherent groups of sequences identified by particular subsets of the variable positions. The results showed that this assignment system could be reproduced in other studies, capturing the greatest part of haplotype diversity. We identified haplotype groups overrepresented in Sardinian goats as a result of founder effects. We found that breeders maintain diversity of matrilines most likely through equalization of the reproductive potential. Moreover, the relevant amount of inter-farm mtDNA diversity found does not increase proportionally with distance. Our results illustrate the effects of breeding practices on the composition of maternal gene pool and identify mtDNA types that may be considered in projects aimed at retrieving the maternal component of the oldest breeds of Sardinia. © 2012 Piras et al. Source

Biino G.,National Research Council Italy | Balduini C.L.,University of Pavia | Casula L.,National Research Council Italy | Cavallo P.,University of Pavia | And 6 more authors.
Haematologica | Year: 2011

Background Thrombocytopenia is a common finding in several diseases but almost nothing is known about the prevalence of thrombocytopenia in the general population. We examined the prevalence of thrombocytopenia and determinants of platelet count in a healthy population with a wide age range. Design and Methods We performed a cross-sectional study on 12,517 inhabitants of ten villages (80% of residents) in a secluded area of Sardinia (Ogliastra). Participants underwent a complete blood count evaluation and a structured questionnaire, used to collect epidemiological data. Results We observed a platelet count lower than 150×109/L in 3.2% (2.8%-3.6%) of females and 4.8% (4.3%-5.4%) of males, with a value of 3.9% (3.6%-4.3%) in the entire population. Thrombocytopenia was mild (platelet count: 100×109/L -150×109L), asymptomatic and not associated with other cytopenias or overt disorders in most cases. Its standardized prevalence was quite different in different villages, with values ranging from 1.5% to 6.8%, and was negatively correlated with the prevalence of a mild form of thrombocytosis, which ranged from 0.9% to 4.5%. Analysis of platelet counts across classes of age revealed that platelet number decreased progressively with aging. As a consequence, thrombocytopenia was nearly absent in young people and its prevalence increased regularly during lifetime. The opposite occurred for thrombocytosis. Conclusions Given the high genetic differentiation among Ogliastra villages with "high" and "low" platelet counts and the substantial heritability of this quantitative trait (54%), we concluded that the propensity to present mild and transient thrombocytosis in youth and to acquire mild thrombocytopenia during aging are new genetic traits. © 2011 Ferrata Storti Foundation. Source

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