The latest list of publications from the Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre with a brief summary. 

Publication: Nature Communications

Stefan Gräf, Matthias Haimel, Marta Bleda, Charaka Hadinnapola, Laura Southgate, Wei Li, Joshua Hodgson, Bin Liu, Richard M. Salmon, Mark Southwood, Rajiv D. Machado, Jennifer M. Martin, Carmen M. Treacy, Katherine Yates, Louise C. Daugherty, Olga Shamardina, Deborah Whitehorn, Simon Holden, Micheala Aldred, Harm J. Bogaard, Colin Church, Gerry Coghlan, Robin Condliffe, Paul A. Corris, Cesare Danesino, Mélanie Eyries, Henning Gall, Stefano Ghio, Hossein-Ardeschir Ghofrani, J. Simon R. Gibbs, Barbara Girerd, Arjan C. Houweling, Luke Howard, Marc Humbert, David G. Kiely, Gabor Kovacs, Robert V. MacKenzie Ross, Shahin Moledina, David Montani, Michael Newnham, Andrea Olschewski, Horst Olschewski, Andrew J. Peacock, Joanna Pepke-Zaba, Inga Prokopenko, Christopher J. Rhodes, Laura Scelsi, Werner Seeger, Florent Soubrier, Dan F. Stein, Jay Suntharalingam, Emilia M. Swietlik, Mark R. Toshner, David A. van Heel, Anton Vonk Noordegraaf, Quinten Waisfisz, John Wharton, Stephen J. Wort, Willem H. Ouwehand, Nicole Soranzo, Allan Lawrie, Paul D. Upton, Martin R. Wilkins, Richard C. Trembath & Nicholas W. Morrell


Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) is a fatal lung disease and causes the walls of the arteries become thick and stiff, narrowing the space for blood to pass through and increasing blood pressure then leading to heart failure.

The disease kills 50% of those affected within five years, but little was known about what caused the condition in some people. Now experts say they have discovered five genes that cause the illness and could pave the way for more treatments.

Scientists carried out the largest ever genetic study of the disease by analysing the genomes – the unique sequence of a person’s DNA – of more than 1,000 PAH patients for whom the cause of the illness was unknown.

They found that mutations in five genes were responsible for causing the illness in these people, including in four genes that were not previously known to be involved in the disease. In people with the condition these genes fail to effectively produce the proteins that are required for the structure, function and regulation of the body’s tissues, researchers found.

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Publication: Annals

Linda M. O’Keeffe, PhD; Anna Ramond, DPharm; Clare Oliver-Williams, PhD; Peter Willeit, MD; Ellie Paige, PhD; Patrick Trotter, MBChB; Jonathan Evans, MBChB; Jonas Wadström, MD; Michael Nicholson, MD; Dave Collett, PhD; Emanuele Di Angelantonio, MD


Living kidney donors are not at increased risk for some health outcomes previously of concern, but do seem at risk for worse blood pressure and kidney function than nondonors. In addition, female donors seem to be at increased risk for preeclampsia.

A team lead by researchers reviewed 52 published studies comprising more than 100,000 living kidney donors and more than 110,000 nondonors to assess the mid- and long-term health risks associated with living kidney donation in adults.

The data showed that kidney donors had higher diastolic blood pressure, poorer renal function, and higher risk for ESRD than nondonors. Female donors had an almost two-fold higher risk than nondonors for pregnancy-related complications, such as preeclampsia.

There was no evidence that living kidney donors had higher risk for mortality, cardiovascular disease, or type 2 diabetes, or reduced quality of life.

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Publication: Nature Cell Biology

Vasileios I. Floros, Angela Pyle, Sabine Dietmann, Wei Wei, Walfred W. C. Tang, Naoko Irie, Brendan Payne, Antonio Capalbo, Laila Noli, Jonathan Coxhead, Gavin Hudson, Moira Crosier, Henrik Strahl, Yacoub Khalaf, Mitinori Saitou, Dusko Ilic, M. Azim Surani & Patrick F. Chinnery

 15 Jan 2018; DOI: 10.1038/41556-017-0017-8


Researchers have shown for the first time how children can inherit a severe – potentially fatal – mitochondrial disease from a healthy mother. The study reveals that healthy people harbour mutations in their mitochondrial DNA and explains how cases of severe mitochondrial disease can appear unexpectedly in previously unaffected families.

Mitochondrial diseases caused by mutations in mitochondrial DNA are rare, affecting approximately 1 in 10,000 births, but can cause severe conditions. Mitochondria are the powerhouses inside our cells, producing energy and carrying their own DNA instructions (separate from the DNA in the nucleus of every cell) and are inherited from a person’s mother via the egg.

In this study, the researchers found that a variety of mutations were present in the mitochondrial DNA in the developing egg cells of all 12 of the human embryos studied, showing that low levels of mitochondrial DNA mutations are carried by healthy humans.

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Publication: Brain

Thomas E Cope, Timothy Rittman, Robin J Borchert, P Simon, JonesDeniz Vatansever, Kieren Allinson Luca Passamonti, Patricia Vazquez Rodriguez, W Richard Bevan-Jones, John T O’Brien, James B Rowe

Brain, awx347,

Published: 05 January 2018

Recent advances in brain imaging have enabled scientists to show for the first time that a key protein which causes nerve cell death spreads throughout the brain in Alzheimer’s disease – and hence that blocking its spread may prevent the disease from taking hold.
A team led by scientists describe using a combination of imaging techniques to examine how patterns of tau relate to the wiring of the brain in 17 patients with Alzheimer’s disease, compared to controls.
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Publication: J Neurol

Underwood BR, Green-Thompson ZW, Pugh PJ, Lazic SE, Mason SL4, Griffin J, Jones PS, Rowe JB, Rubinsztein DC7,4, Barker RA.

2017 Oct 26. doi: 10.1007/s00415-017-8647-0. [Epub ahead of print]

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Publication: The Lancet Neurology

Prof Andrew I R Maas*,’Correspondence information about the author Prof Andrew I R MaasEmail the author Prof Andrew I R Maas, Prof David K Menon*,’Correspondence information about the author Prof David K MenonEmail the author Prof David K Menon, P David Adelson, Nada Andelic, Michael J Bell, Antonio Belli, Peter Bragge, Alexandra Brazinova, András Büki, Randall M Chesnut, Giuseppe Citerio, Mark Coburn, D Jamie Cooper, A Tamara Crowder, Endre Czeiter, Marek Czosnyka, Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, Jens P Dreier, Ann-Christine Duhaime, Ari Ercole, Thomas A van Essen, Valery L Feigin, Guoyi Gao, Joseph Giacino, Laura E Gonzalez-Lara, Russell L Gruen, Deepak Gupta, Jed A Hartings, Sean Hill, Ji-yao Jiang, Naomi Ketharanathan, Erwin J O Kompanje, Linda Lanyon, Steven Laureys, Fiona Lecky, Harvey Levin, Hester F Lingsma, Marc Maegele, Marek Majdan, Geoffrey Manley, Jill Marsteller, Luciana Mascia, Charles McFadyen, Stefania Mondello, Virginia Newcombe, Aarno Palotie, Paul M Parizel, Wilco Peul, James Piercy, Suzanne Polinder, Louis Puybasset, Todd E Rasmussen, Rolf Rossaint, Peter Smielewski, Jeannette Söderberg, Simon J Stanworth, Murray B Stein, Nicole von Steinbüchel, William Stewart, Ewout W Steyerberg, Nino Stocchetti, Anneliese Synnot, Braden Te Ao, Olli Tenovuo, Alice Theadom, Dick Tibboel, Walter Videtta, Kevin K W Wang, W Huw Williams, Lindsay Wilson, Kristine Yaffe for the show InTBIR Participants and Investigators

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Publication: Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences

Deniz Vatansever, David K. Menon, and Emmanuel A. Stamatakis

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Publication: Lancet

Schormair, B., Zhao, C., Bell, S. et al.

Lancet Neurology; 10th October 2017; DOI: 10.1016/S1474-4422(17)30327-7


A new study into the genetics underlying restless legs syndrome has identified 13 previously-unknown genetic risk variants, while helping inform potential new treatment options for the condition.

Studies of families and twins have shown that there is a strong genetic component to the disorder and led to the discovery of six genetic variants that increased the risk of developing the condition.

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Publication: Nature

Norah M. E. Fogarty, Afshan McCarthy, Kirsten E. Snijders, Benjamin E. Powell, Nada Kubikova, Paul Blakeley, Rebecca Lea, Kay Elder, Sissy E. Wamaitha, Daesik Kim, Valdone Maciulyte, Jens Kleinjung, Jin-Soo Kim, Dagan Wells, Ludovic Vallier, Alessandro Bertero10, James M. A. Turner & Kathy K. Niakan

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Publication: The Lancet

Emanuele Di Angelantonio, Prof Simon G Thompson, Stephen Kaptoge, Carmel Moore, Matthew Walker, Prof Jane Armitage, Prof Willem H Ouwehand, Prof David J Roberts, Prof John Danesh

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Publication: International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology

George Savulich, PhD; Thomas Piercy, BSc; Chris Fox, MD, MRCPsych; John Suckling, PhD; James B. Rowe, PhD; John T. O’Brien, DM, FMedSci; Barbara J. Sahakian, DSc, FMedSci doi:10.1093/ijnp/pyx040
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Publication: Nature

Danish Saleheen, Pradeep Natarajan, Irina M. Armean, Wei Zhao, Asif Rasheed, Sumeet A. Khetarpal, Hong-Hee Won, Konrad J. Karczewski, Anne H. O’Donnell-Luria, Kaitlin E. Samocha, Benjamin Weisburd, Namrata Gupta, Mozzam Zaidi, Maria Samuel, Atif Imran, Shahid Abbas, Faisal Majeed, Madiha Ishaq, Saba Akhtar, Kevin Trindade, Megan Mucksavage, Nadeem Qamar, Khan Shah Zaman, Zia Yaqoob, Tahir Saghir, Syed Nadeem Hasan Rizvi, Anis Memon, Nadeem Hayyat Mallick, Mohammad Ishaq, Syed Zahed Rasheed, Fazal-ur-Rehman Memon, Khalid Mahmood, Naveeduddin Ahmed,   Ron Do, Ronald M. Krauss, Daniel G. MacArthur, Stacey Gabriel,  Eric S. Lander, Mark J. Daly, Philippe Frossard, John Danesh, Daniel J. Rader  & Sekar Kathiresan

Online April 12, 2017. DOI: 10.1038/nature22034

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