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Genetic susceptibility, elevated blood pressure, and risk of atrial fibrillation: a Mendelian randomization study

Nazarzadeh, M; Pinho-Gomes, AC; Bidel, Z; Canoy, D; Dehghan, A; Smith Byrne, K; Bennett, DA; ... Rahimi, K; + view all (2021) Genetic susceptibility, elevated blood pressure, and risk of atrial fibrillation: a Mendelian randomization study. Genome Medicine , 13 , Article 38. 10.1186/s13073-021-00849-3. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Whether elevated blood pressure (BP) is a modifiable risk factor for atrial fibrillation (AF) is not established. We tested (1) whether the association between BP and risk of AF is causal, (2) whether it varies according to individual’s genetic susceptibility for AF, and (3) the extent to which specific BP-lowering drugs are expected to reduce this risk. METHODS: First, causality of association was assessed through two-sample Mendelian randomization, using data from two independent genome-wide association studies that included a population of one million Europeans in total. Second, the UK Biobank data of 329,237 participants at baseline was used to study the effect of BP on AF according to genetic susceptibility of developing AF. Third, a possible treatment effect with major BP-lowering drug classes on AF risk was predicted through genetic variants in genes encode the therapeutic targets of each drug class. Estimated drug effects were compared with effects on incident coronary heart disease, for which direct trial evidence exists. RESULTS: The two-sample Mendelian randomization analysis indicated that, on average, exposure to a higher systolic BP increased the risk of AF by 19% (odds ratio per each 10-mmHg [OR] 1.19 [1.12 to 1.27]). This association was replicated in the UK biobank using individual participant data. However, in a further genetic risk-stratified analysis, there was evidence for a linear gradient in the relative effects of systolic BP on AF; while there was no conclusive evidence of an effect in those with low genetic risk, a strong effect was observed among those with high genetic susceptibility for AF. The comparison of predicted treatment effects using genetic proxies for three main drug classes (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, beta-blockers, and calcium channel blockers) suggested similar average effects for the prevention of atrial fibrillation and coronary heart disease. CONCLUSIONS: The effect of elevated BP on the risk of AF is likely to be causal, suggesting that BP-lowering treatment may be effective in AF prevention. However, average effects masked clinically important variations, with a more pronounced effect in individuals with high genetic susceptibility risk for AF.

Type: Article
Title: Genetic susceptibility, elevated blood pressure, and risk of atrial fibrillation: a Mendelian randomization study
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s13073-021-00849-3
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13073-021-00849-3
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Keywords: Blood pressure, Atrial fibrillation, Mendelian randomization
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 Health Informatics
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics > Infectious Disease Informatics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10176856
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