Membrane expression of proteinase 3 is genetically determined
Schreiber A, Busjahn A, Luft FC, Kettritz R.
J Am Soc Nephrol 2003 Jan;14(1):68-75

Isolated human neutrophils exhibit a bimodal membrane proteinase 3 (PR3) expression. PR3 is the main target antigen in Wegener granulomatosis (WG). Cells with low expression can be easily distinguished from cell subsets with high expression. In a recent study, a large neutrophil subset expressing membrane PR3 (mPR3(+)) was a risk factor for systemic ANCA-associated vasculitis. PR3 membrane expression patterns are quite stable in a given individual, raising the possibility of genetic variance. The aims of this study were: (1) to investigate the association of mPR3 expression and the risk of WG in an independent German cohort; (2) to test the hypothesis that mPR3 expression on neutrophils is genetically influenced; and (3) to investigate whether or not mPR3 expression is a function of intracellular PR3 content. mPR3 expression was assessed by FACS analysis in isolated human neutrophils. Neutrophil mPR3 expression was studied in 35 patients with WG, 15 patients with other inflammatory diseases, 125 healthy volunteers, and 27 (15 monozygotic and 12 dizygotic) pairs of twins. The intracellular PR3 content was assessed by intracellular flow cytometry and by Western blotting after separating mPR3 low and high expressing cells by FACSort. FACS analysis in a subset of 16 healthy subjects showed a highly conserved PR3 phenotype in two independent investigations >12 mo apart (r = 0.937). Patients with WG demonstrated a significantly higher percentage of mPR3(+) neutrophils than healthy controls and patients with other inflammatory diseases. The mPR3(+) percentage was highly correlated in MZ twins (r = 0.99) compared with DZ twins (r = 0.06). The intracellular PR3 content was not different in persons with low or high mPR3 expression, nor was the PR3 content different in cells with low or high mPR3 expression within a given individual. These data indicate that WG patients have a higher percentage of mPR3-expressing neutrophils. Furthermore, mPR3 expression is influenced by genetic variance. Finally, mPR3 expression is independent of intracellular PR3 content.

Twin studies in the analysis of minor physiological differences between individuals
Busjahn A, Luft FC
Cell Physiol Biochem 2003;13(1):51-8
no abstract available
The BK channel beta 1 subunit gene is associated with human baroreflex and blood pressure regulation
Gollasch,M.; Tank,J.; Luft,F.C.; Jordan,J.; Maass,P.; Krasko,C.; Sharma,A.M.; Busjahn,A.; Bahring,S.
Journal of Hypertension 2002;20:927-33.

Background The baroreflex, which is important for the minute-to-minute regulation of blood pressure and heart rate, is influenced by genetic variance. Ion channels are important to baroreflex afferent and efferent function. Mice missing the beta1 subunit of the Ca2+-sensitive potassium channel (BK) are hypertensive and have a reset baroreflex. We tested the hypothesis that variants in the gene (KCNMB1) coding for the BK beta1 subunit are associated with baroreflex function.
Methods We studied six sing le-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in KCNMB1.
Results Four SNPs in intron 3, exon 4a, exon 4b and exon 4c gave significant results. For instance, exon 4b SNP AA individuals had higher heart rate variability, compared to CA, or CC persons, in particular in the high-frequency range. The low-frequency range showed no association. Consistent with the heart rate variability data, homozygous AA persons had greater baroreflex slopes than CA or CC persons, also in the high-frequency range. These associations could not be shown in the low-frequency range for heart rate variability and baroreflex slopes.
Conclusions These data support the notion that variants in channel genes may be responsible for the great range in heart rate variability and baroreflex function observed in humans. Such variation may also play a role in the development of hypertension.