Multi-Ancestry Genome-Wide Association Study of Lipid Levels Incorporating Gene-Alcohol Interactions
An individual's lipid profile is influenced by genetic variants and alcohol consumption, but the contribution of interactions between these exposures has not been studied. We therefore incorporated gene-alcohol interactions into a multi-ancestry genome-wide association study of levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides. We included 45 studies in Stage 1 (genome-wide discovery) and 66 studies in Stage 2 (focused follow-up), for a total of 394,584 individuals from five ancestry groups. Genetic main and interaction effects were jointly assessed by a 2 degrees of freedom (DF) test, and a 1 DF test was used to assess the interaction effects alone. Variants at 495 loci were at least suggestively associated (P < 1 × 10-6) with lipid levels in Stage 1 and were evaluated in Stage 2, followed by combined analyses of Stage 1 and Stage 2. In the combined analysis of Stage 1 and Stage 2, 147 independent loci were associated with lipid levels at P < 5 × 10-8 using 2 DF tests, of which 18 were novel. No genome-wide significant associations were found testing the interaction effect alone. The novel loci included several genes (PCSK5, VEGFB, and A1CF) with a putative role in lipid metabolism based on existing evidence from cellular and experimental models.