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Multi-ethnic analysis shows genetic risk and environmental predictors interact to influence 25(OH)D concentration and optimal vitamin D intake

By Kathryn E. Hatchell, Qiongshi Lu, Julie A. Mares, Erin D. Michos, Alexis C Wood, Corinne D Engelman

Posted 28 May 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/652941 (published DOI: 10.1002/gepi.22272)

Background: Vitamin D inadequacy affects almost 50% of adults in the United States and is associated with numerous adverse health effects. Vitamin D concentration [25(OH)D] is a complex trait with genetic and environmental predictors that work in tandem to influence 25(OH)D and may determine how much vitamin D intake is required to reach an optimal 25(OH)D concentration. To date, there has been little investigation into how genetics and environment interact to affect 25(OH)D. Objective: Interactions between continuous measures of a polygenic score (PGS) and vitamin D intake (PGS*intake) or available ultra-violet (UV) radiation (PGS*UV) were evaluated separately in individuals of African or European ancestry. Methods: Mega-analyses were performed using three independent cohorts (N=9,668; African ancestry n=1,099; European ancestry n=8,569). Interaction terms and joint effects (main and interaction terms) were tested using one-degree of freedom (DF) and 2-DF models, respectively. All models controlled for age, sex, body mass index (BMI), cohort, and dietary intake/available UV. Additionally, in participants achieving Institute of Medicine (IOM) vitamin D intake recommendations, 25(OH)D was evaluated by level of genetic risk of 25(OH)D deficiency. Results: The 2-DF PGS*intake, 1-DF PGS*UV and 2-DF PGS*UV results were statistically significant in participants of European ancestry (p=3.3x10-18, 2.1x10-2, and 2.4x10-19, respectively), but not in those of African ancestry. In European-ancestry participants who reached IOM vitamin D intake guidelines, the percent of participants achieving adequate 25(OH)D (>20ng/ml) increased as genetic risk decreased (72% vs 89% in the highest vs lowest risk categories; p=0.018). Conclusions: Available UV radiation and vitamin D intake interact with genetics to influence 25(OH)D. Individuals with higher genetic risk of deficiency may require more vitamin D exposure to maintain optimal 25(OH)D concentrations. Overall, the results showcase the importance of incorporating both environmental and genetic factors into analyses, as well as the potential for gene-environment interactions to inform personalized dosing of vitamin D.

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