Comprehensive identification of pleiotropic loci for body fat distribution using the NHGRI‐EBI Catalog of published genome‐wide association studies
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We conducted a hypothesis-free cross-trait analysis for waist-to-hip ratio adjusted for body mass index (WHRadjBMI ) loci derived through genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Summary statistics from published GWAS were used to capture all WHRadjBMI single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and their proxy SNPs were identified. These SNPs were used to extract cross-trait associations between WHRadjBMI SNPs and other traits through the NHGRI-EBI GWAS Catalog. Pathway analysis was conducted for pleiotropic WHRadjBMI SNPs. We found 160 WHRadjBMI SNPs and 3675 proxy SNPs. Cross-trait analysis identified 239 associations, of which 100 were for obesity traits. The remaining 139 associations were filtered down to 101 unique linkage disequilibrium block associations, which were grouped into 13 categories: lipids, red blood cell traits, white blood cell counts, inflammatory markers and autoimmune diseases, type 2 diabetes-related traits, adiponectin, cancers, blood pressure, height, neuropsychiatric disorders, electrocardiography changes, urea measurement, and others. The highest number of cross-trait associations were found for triglycerides (n = 10), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (n = 9), and reticulocyte counts (n = 8). Pathway analysis for WHRadjBMI pleiotropic SNPs found immune function pathways as the top canonical pathways. Results from our original methodology indicate a novel genetic association between WHRadjBMI and reticulocyte counts and highlight the pleiotropy between abdominal obesity, immune pathways, and other traits.
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