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Polygenic Hyperlipidemias and Coronary Artery Disease Risk

By Pietari Ripatti, Joel T. Rämö, Nina Mars, Sanni Söderlund, Christian Benner, Ida Surakka, Tuomo Kiiskinen, Aki S. Havulinna, Priit Palta, Nelson B. Freimer, Veikko Salomaa, Matti Pirinen, Aarno Palotie, Marja-Riitta Taskinen, Samuli Ripatti

Posted 15 Aug 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/735167 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2017.06.039)

Background: Hyperlipidemia is a highly heritable risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD). Monogenic familial hypercholesterolemia associates with higher increase in CAD risk than expected from a single LDL-C measurement, likely due to lifelong cumulative exposure to high LDL-C. It remains unclear to what extent a high polygenic load of LDL-C or TG-increasing variants associates with increased CAD risk. Methods and Results: We derived polygenic risk scores (PRS) with ~6M variants for LDL-C and TG with weights from a UK biobank-based genome-wide association study with ~500K samples. We evaluated the impact of polygenic hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia to lipid levels in 27 039 individuals from the FINRISK cohort, and to CAD risk in 135 300 individuals (13 695 CAD cases) from the FinnGen project. In FINRISK, LDL-C ranged from 2.83 (95% CI 2.79-2.89) to 3.80 (3.72-3.88) and TG from 0.99 (0.95-1.01) to 1.52 (1.48-1.58) mmol/l between the lowest and highest 5% of the respective PRS distributions. The corresponding CAD prevalences ranged from 8.2% to 12.7% for the LDL-C PRS and from 8.2% to 12.1% for the TG PRS in FinnGen. Furthermore, CAD risk was 1.36-fold higher (OR, 95% CI 1.24-1.49) for the LDL-C PRS and 1.31-fold higher (1.20-1.44) for the TG PRS for those with the PRS >95th percentile vs those without. These estimates were only slightly attenuated when adjusting for a CAD PRS (OR 1.26 [95% CI 1.15-1.39] for LDL-C and 1.21 [1.10-1.32] for TG PRS). Conclusions: The CAD risk associated with a high polygenic load for lipid-increasing variants was proportional to their impact on lipid levels and mostly independent of a CAD PRS. In contrast with a PRS for CAD, the lipid PRSs point to known and directly modifiable risk factors providing more direct guidance for clinical translation.

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