Genome-wide association analysis identifies variants associated with nonalcoholic Fatty liver disease that have distinct effects on metabolic traits by Speliotes Elizabeth K, Yerges-Armstrong Laura M, Wu Jun, Hernaez Ruben, Kim Lauren J, Palmer Cameron D, Gudnason Vilmundur, Eiriksdottir Gudny, Garcia Melissa E, Launer Lenore J, Nalls Michael A, Clark Jeanne M, Mitchell Braxton D, Shuldiner Alan R, Butler Johannah L, Tomas Marta, Hoffmann Udo, Hwang Shih-Jen, Massaro Joseph M, O'Donnell Christopher J, Sahani Dushyant V, Salomaa Veikko, Schadt Eric E, Schwartz Stephen M, Siscovick David S, NASH CRN, GIANT Consortium, MAGIC Investigators, Voight Benjamin F, Carr J Jeffrey, Feitosa Mary F, Harris Tamara B, Fox Caroline S, Smith Albert V, Kao W H Linda, Hirschhorn Joel N, Borecki Ingrid B, GOLD Consortium in PLoS genetics (2011). PubMed

Abstract

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) clusters in families, but the only known common genetic variants influencing risk are near PNPLA3. We sought to identify additional genetic variants influencing NAFLD using genome-wide association (GWA) analysis of computed tomography (CT) measured hepatic steatosis, a non-invasive measure of NAFLD, in large population based samples. Using variance components methods, we show that CT hepatic steatosis is heritable (¿26%-27%) in family-based Amish, Family Heart, and Framingham Heart Studies (n¿=¿880 to 3,070). By carrying out a fixed-effects meta-analysis of genome-wide association (GWA) results between CT hepatic steatosis and ¿2.4 million imputed or genotyped SNPs in 7,176 individuals from the Old Order Amish, Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility-Reykjavik study (AGES), Family Heart, and Framingham Heart Studies, we identify variants associated at genome-wide significant levels (p<5×10(-8)) in or near PNPLA3, NCAN, and PPP1R3B. We genotype these and 42 other top CT hepatic steatosis-associated SNPs in 592 subjects with biopsy-proven NAFLD from the NASH Clinical Research Network (NASH CRN). In comparisons with 1,405 healthy controls from the Myocardial Genetics Consortium (MIGen), we observe significant associations with histologic NAFLD at variants in or near NCAN, GCKR, LYPLAL1, and PNPLA3, but not PPP1R3B. Variants at these five loci exhibit distinct patterns of association with serum lipids, as well as glycemic and anthropometric traits. We identify common genetic variants influencing CT-assessed steatosis and risk of NAFLD. Hepatic steatosis associated variants are not uniformly associated with NASH/fibrosis or result in abnormalities in serum lipids or glycemic and anthropometric traits, suggesting genetic heterogeneity in the pathways influencing these traits.

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