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Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 11;9(1):4076. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-40834-w.

Genetic overlap between birthweight and adult cardiometabolic diseases has implications for genomic medicine.

Author information

1
Epidemiology Branch, Division of Intramural Population Health Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA. ayeleft@mail.nih.gov.
2
Epidemiology Branch, Division of Intramural Population Health Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
3
Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Branch, Division of Intramural Population Health Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
4
School of Medicine, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia.

Abstract

Before implementing therapeutic genomic interventions for optimizing health in early life, comprehensive understanding of their effect on several traits across the life course is warranted. Abnorml  birthweight is associated with cardiometabolic disease risk in adulthood; however, the extent of genetic pleiotropy in the association has not been comprehensively investigated. We tested for pleiotropy and enrichment of functional loci between birthweight and 15 cardiometabolic disease traits (CMD). We found significantly abundant genetic pleiotropy (P < 3.3 × 10-3) and enrichment of functional annotations (P < 3.3 × 10-3) in loci influencing both birthweight and CMD. We did not observe consistent effect directions of pleiotropic loci on the traits. A total of 67 genetic loci, of which 65 loci have been reported in previous genome-wide association studies, were associated with both birthweight and CMD at a false discovery rate of 5%. Two novel loci were associated with birthweight and adult coronary artery disease (rs2870463 in CTRB1) and with birthweight and adult waist circumference (rs12704673 in CALCR). Both loci are known to have regulatory effects on expression of nearby genes. In all, our findings revealed pervasive genetic pleiotropy in early growth and adulthood cardiometabolic diseases, implying the need for caution when considering genetic loci as therapeutic targets.

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