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Trans-biobank analysis with 676,000 individuals elucidates the association of polygenic risk scores of complex traits with human lifespan

By Saori Sakaue, Masahiro Kanai, Juha Karjalainen, Masato Akiyama, Mitja Kurki, Nana Matoba, Atsushi Takahashi, Makoto Hirata, Michiaki Kubo, Koichi Matsuda, Yoshinori Murakami, FinnGen, Mark J Daly, Yoichiro Kamatani, Yukinori Okada

Posted 29 Nov 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/856351 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41591-020-0785-8)

Human genetics seeks a way to improve human health on a global scale. Expectations are running high for polygenic risk scores (PRSs) to be translated into clinical practice to predict an inborn susceptibility to health risks. While risk stratification based on PRS is one way to promote population health, a strategy to utilize genetics to prioritize modifiable risk factors and biomarkers driving heath outcome is also warranted. To this end, here we utilized PRSs to comprehensively investigate the association of the genetic susceptibility to complex traits with human lifespan in collaboration with three worldwide biobanks (ntotal = 675,898). First, we conducted genome-wide association studies for 45 quantitative clinical phenotypes, constructed the individual PRSs, and associated them with the age at death of 179,066 participants in BioBank Japan. The PRSs revealed that the genetic susceptibility of high systolic blood pressure (sBP) was strongly associated with a shorter lifespan (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.03, P = 1.4×10-7). Next, we sought to replicate these associations in individuals of European ancestry in UK Biobank (n = 361,194) and the FinnGen cohort (n = 135,638). Among the investigated traits, the individuals with higher blood pressure-related PRSs were trans-ethnically associated with a shorter lifespan (HR = 1.03, Pmeta = 3.9×10-13 for sBP) and parental lifespan (HR = 1.06, PUKBB = 2.0×10-86 for sBP). Further, our trans-biobank study identified additional complex traits associated with lifespan (e.g., obesity, height, serum lipids, and platelet counts). Of them, obesity-related traits showed strikingly heterogeneous effects on lifespan between Japanese and European populations (Pheterogeneity = 9.5×10-8 for body mass index). Through trans-ethnic biobank collaboration, we elucidated the novel value of the PRS study in genetics-driven prioritization of risk factors and biomarkers which can be medically intervened to improve population health.

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