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Genetically-predicted life-long lowering of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is associated with decreased frailty: A Mendelian randomization study in UK biobank

Wang, Q; Wang, Y; Lehto, K; Pedersen, NL; Williams, DM; Hagg, S; (2019) Genetically-predicted life-long lowering of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is associated with decreased frailty: A Mendelian randomization study in UK biobank. EBioMedicine , 45 pp. 487-494. 10.1016/j.ebiom.2019.07.007. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: High circulating low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is a major risk factor for atherosclerosis and age-associated cardiovascular events. Long-term dyslipidaemia could contribute to the development of frailty in older individuals through its role in determining cardiovascular health and potentially other physiological pathways. METHODS: We conducted Mendelian randomization (MR) analyses using genetic variants to estimate the effects of long-term LDL-C modification on frailty in UK Biobank (n = 378,161). Frailty was derived from health questionnaire and interview responses at baseline when participants were aged 40 to 69 years, and calculated using an accumulation-of-deficits approach, i.e. the frailty index (FI). Several aggregated instrumental variables (IVs) using 50 and 274 genetic variants were constructed from independent single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to instrument circulating LDL-C concentrations. Specific sets of variants in or near genes that encode six lipid-lowering drug targets (HMGCR, PCSK9, NPC1L1, APOB, APOC3, and LDLR) were used to index effects of exposure to related drug classes on frailty. SNP-LDL-C effects were available from previously published studies. SNP-FI effects were obtained using adjusted linear regression models. Two-sample MR analyses were performed with the IVs as instruments using inverse-variance weighted, MR-Egger, weighted median, and weighted mode methods. To address the stability of the findings, MR analyses were also performed using i) a modified FI excluding the cardiometabolic deficit items and ii) data from comparatively older individuals (aged ≥60 years) only. Several sensitivity analyses were also conducted. FINDINGS: On average 0.14% to 0.23% and 0.16% to 0.31% decrements in frailty were observed per standard deviation reduction in LDL-C exposure, instrumented by the general IVs consisting of 50 and 274 variants, respectively. Consistent, though less precise, associations were observed in the HMGCR-, APOC3-, NPC1L1-, and LDLR-specific IV analyses. In contrast, results for PCSK9 were in the same direction but more modest, and null for APOB. All sensitivity analyses produced similar findings. INTERPRETATION: A genetically-predicted life-long lowering of LDL-C is associated with decreased frailty in midlife and older age, representing supportive evidence for LDL-C's role in multiple health- and age-related pathways. The use of lipid-lowering therapeutics with varying mechanisms of action may differ by the extent to which they provide overall health benefits.

Type: Article
Title: Genetically-predicted life-long lowering of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is associated with decreased frailty: A Mendelian randomization study in UK biobank
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2019.07.007
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2019.07.007
Language: English
Additional information: © 2019 Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Keywords: Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, Frailty, Mendelian randomization, UK biobank
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine > MRC Unit for Lifelong Hlth and Ageing
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10086196
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