A large-scale genome-wide association analysis of lung function in the Chinese population identifies novel loci and highlights shared genetic etiology with obesity.

Lung function is a heritable complex phenotype with obesity being one of its important risk factors. However, the knowledge of their shared genetic basis is limited. Most genome-wide association studies (GWASs) for lung function have been based on European populations, limiting the generalisability across populations. Large-scale lung function GWAS in other populations are lacking.We included 100 285 subjects from China Kadoorie Biobank (CKB). To identify novel loci for lung function, single-trait GWAS were performed on FEV1, FVC, FEV1/FVC in CKB. We then performed genome-wide cross-trait analysis between the lung function and obesity traits (body mass index [BMI], BMI-adjusted waist-to-hip ratio, and BMI-adjusted waist circumference) to investigate the shared genetic effects in CKB. Finally, polygenic risk scores (PRSs) of lung function were developed in CKB and its interaction with BMI's association on lung function were examined. We also conducted cross-trait analysis in parallel with CKB using 457 756 subjects from UK Biobank (UKB) for replication and investigation of ancestry specific effect.We identified 9 genome-wide significant novel loci for FEV1, 6 for FVC and 3 for FEV1/FVC in CKB. FEV1 and FVC showed significant negative genetic correlation with obesity traits in both CKB and UKB. Genetic loci shared between lung function and obesity traits highlighted important pathways, including cell proliferation, embryo and tissue development. Mendelian randomisation analysis suggested significant negative causal effect of BMI on FEV1 and on FVC in both CKB and UKB. Lung function PRSs significantly modified the effect of change-in-BMI on change-in-lung function during an average follow-up of 8 years.This large-scale GWAS of lung function identified novel loci and shared genetic etiology between lung function and obesity. Change-in-BMI might affect change-in-lung function differently according to a subject's polygenic background. These findings may open new avenue for the development of molecular-targeted therapies for obesity and lung function improvement.

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Authors: Zhaozhong Zhu, Jiachen Li, Jiahui Si, Baoshan Ma, Huwenbo Shi, Jun Lv, Weihua Cao, Yu Guo, Iona Y Millwood, Robin G Walters, Kuang Lin, Ling Yang, Yiping Chen, Huaidong Du, Bo Yu, Kohei Hasegawa, Carlos A Camargo, Miriam F Moffatt, William O C Cookson, Junshi Chen, Zhengming Chen, Liming Li, Canqing Yu, Liming Liang