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Genet Epidemiol. 2013 Apr;37(3):293-300. doi: 10.1002/gepi.21711. Epub 2013 Jan 31.

A genome-wide association study for serum bilirubin levels and gene-environment interaction in a Chinese population.

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MOE Key Lab of Environment and Health, School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science & Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, China.


Bilirubin is an effective antioxidant and is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified multiple loci affecting serum total bilirubin levels. However, most of the studies were conducted in European populations and little attention has been devoted either to genetic variants associated with direct and indirect bilirubin levels or to the gene-environment interactions on bilirubin levels. In this study, a two-stage GWAS was performed to identify genetic variants associated with all types of bilirubin levels in 10,282 Han Chinese individuals. Gene-environment interactions were further examined. Briefly, two previously reported loci, UGT1A1 on 2q37 (rs6742078 and rs4148323, combined P = 1.44 × 10(-89) and P = 5.05 × 10(-69) , respectively) and SLCO1B3 on 12p12 (rs2417940, combined P = 6.93 × 10(-19) ) were successfully replicated. The two loci explained 9.2% and 0.9% of the total variations of total bilirubin levels, respectively. Ethnic genetic differences were observed between Chinese and European populations. More importantly, a significant interaction was found between rs2417940 in SLCO1B3 gene and smoking on total bilirubin levels (P = 1.99 × 10(-3) ). Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs2417940 had stronger effects on total bilirubin levels in nonsmokers than in smokers, suggesting that the effects of SLCO1B3 genotype on bilirubin levels were partly dependent on smoking status. Consistent associations and interactions were observed for serum direct and indirect bilirubin levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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