Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 27854507
Link to DOI – 10.1165/rcmb.2016-0172OC
Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 2017 03; 56(3): 332-341
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a complex disease with strong environmental and genetic influences and sexually dimorphic features. Although genetic risk factors for COPD have been identified, much of the heritability remains unexplained. Sex-based genetic association studies may uncover additional COPD genetic risk factors. We studied current and former smokers from COPD case-control cohorts (COPDGene non-Hispanic whites and African Americans, Evaluation of COPD Longitudinally to Identify Predictive Surrogate End-Points, and Genetics of Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease). COPD was defined as post-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 second/forced vital capacity less than 0.70 and forced expiratory volume in 1 second percent predicted less than 80. Testing was performed across all cohorts and combined in a meta-analysis adjusted for age, pack-years, and genetic ancestry. We first performed genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-by-sex interaction testing on the outcome of COPD affection status. We performed sex-stratified association testing for SNPs with interaction P less than 10-6. We examined over 8 million SNPs in four populations, including 6,260 subjects with COPD (40.6% female) and 5,269 smoking control subjects (47.3% female). The SNP rs9615358 in the cadherin gene CELSR1 approached genome-wide significance for an interaction with sex (P = 1.24 × 10-7). In the sex-stratified meta-analysis, this SNP was associated with COPD among females (odds ratio, 1.37 [95% confidence interval, 1.25-1.49]; P = 3.32 × 10-7) but not males (odds ratio, 0.90 [95% confidence interval, 0.79-1.01]; P = 0.06). CELSR1 is involved in fetal lung development. In a human fetal lung tissue dataset, we observed greater CELSR1 expression in female compared with male samples. This SNP-by-sex genome-wide association analysis identified the fetal lung development gene, CELSR1, as a potential sex-specific risk factor for COPD. Identifying sex-specific genetic risk factors may reveal new insights into sexually dimorphic features of COPD.