Genome-wide Association Study of Alcohol Consumption and Use Disorder in Multiple Populations (N = 274,424)
Henry R Kranzler,
Rachel L Kember,
Rachel Vickers Smith,
Amy C. Justice,
Philip S. Tsao,
Derek M. Klarin,
Regeneron Genetics Center Research Team,
Janet P. Tate,
William C. Becker,
on behalf of the VA Million Veteran Program
Posted 25 Jan 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/527929
Posted 25 Jan 2019
Although alcohol consumption level and alcohol use disorder (AUD) diagnosis are both moderately heritable, their genetic risks and overlap are not well understood. We conducted genome-wide association studies of these traits using longitudinal Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test-Consumption (AUDIT-C) scores (reflecting alcohol consumption) and AUD diagnoses from electronic health records (EHRs) in a single, large multi-ancestry Million Veteran Program sample. Meta-analysis across population groups (N = 274,424) identified 18 genome-wide significant loci, 5 of which were associated with both traits and 13 with either AUDIT-C (N = 8) or AUD (N = 5). A significant genetic correlation between the traits reflects this overlap. However, downstream analyses revealed biologically meaningful points of divergence. Cell-type group partitioning heritability enrichment analyses indicated that central nervous system was the most significant cell type for AUDIT-C and the only significant cell type for AUD. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) for both traits were associated with alcohol-related disorders in two independent samples. Genetic correlations for 188 non-alcohol-related traits were significantly different for the two traits, as were the phenotypes associated with the polygenic risk scores. We conclude that EHR-derived, longitudinal, repeated measures of alcohol consumption level and AUD diagnosis can facilitate genetic discovery and help to elucidate the relationship between drinking level and AUD risk. Finally, although heavy drinking is a key risk factor for AUD, it is not a sufficient cause of the disorder.
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