GWAS defines pathogenic signaling pathways and prioritizes drug targets for IgA nephropathy
Andrew S. Bomback,
Pietro A. Canetta,
Gerald B Appel,
Daniel C Cattran,
Tetyana L. Vasylyeva,
Scott E. Wenderfer,
Donna J. Claes,
Lucia Del Vecchio,
David A van Heel,
Peter K Gregersen,
Matthew T Weirauch,
John B. Harley,
Yon Su Kim,
Ans Van Wijk,
Philip A Kalra,
Daniel P Gale,
Arif B. Ekici,
Richard P Lifton,
Ruth J.F. Loos,
Eimear E. Kenny,
Ali G Gharavi
Posted 20 Nov 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.11.19.21265383
Posted 20 Nov 2021
IgA nephropathy (IgAN) is a progressive form of kidney disease defined by glomerular deposition of IgA. We performed a genome-wide association study involving 10,146 kidney biopsy-diagnosed IgAN cases and 28,751 matched controls across 17 international cohorts. We defined 30 independent genome-wide significant risk loci jointly explaining 11% of disease risk. A total of 16 loci were novel, including TNFSF4, REL, CD28, CXCL8/PF4V1, LY86, LYN, ANXA3, TNFSF8/15, REEP3, ZMIZ1, RELA, ETS1, IGH, IRF8, TNFRSF13B and FCAR. The SNP-based heritability of IgAN was estimated at 23%. We observed a positive genetic correlation between IgAN and total serum IgA levels, allergy, tonsillectomy, and several infections, and a negative correlation with inflammatory bowel disease. All significant non-HLA loci shared with serum IgA levels had a concordant effect on the risk of IgAN. Moreover, IgAN loci were globally enriched in gene orthologs causing abnormal IgA levels when genetically manipulated in mice. The explained heritability was enriched in the regulatory elements of cells from the immune and hematopoietic systems and intestinal mucosa, providing support for the pathogenic role of extra-renal tissues. The polygenic risk of IgAN was associated with early disease onset, increased lifetime risk of kidney failure, as well as hematuria and several other traits in a phenome-wide association study of 590,515 individuals. In the comprehensive functional annotation analysis of candidate causal genes across genome-wide significant loci, we observed the convergence of biological candidates on a common set of inflammatory signaling pathways and cytokine ligand-receptor pairs, prioritizing potential new drug targets.
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