Obesity and peripheral arterial disease: A Mendelian Randomization analysis

Atherosclerosis. 2016 Apr;247:218-24. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2015.12.034. Epub 2015 Dec 29.


Background and aims: Observational studies showed that obesity is a major risk factor for peripheral arterial disease (PAD). However, conventional epidemiology studies are vulnerable to residual bias from confounding factors. We aimed to explore the causality of obesity in development of PAD using Mendelian Randomization (MR) approach.

Methods: A MR analysis was performed in 11,477 community-dwelling adults aged 40 years and above recruited from two nearby communities during 2011-2013 in Shanghai, China. We genotyped 14 body mass index (BMI) associated common variants identified and validated in East Asians. PAD was defined as ankle-to-brachial index (ABI) <0.90 or >1.40. Weighted BMI genetic risk score (GRS) was used as the Instrumental Variable (IV).

Results: After adjusted for confounding factors, we found that each standard deviation (SD, 2.76 points) increase in BMI-GRS was associated with 0.43 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.36-0.49) kg/m(2) increase in BMI (P < 0.0001) and an odds ratio (OR) for PAD of 1.17 (95% CI: 1.07-1.27; P = 0.0004). Compared with the lowest quartile of BMI-GRS, the second, third and highest quartile associated with 9%, 19% and 45% increment of PAD risk, respectively (P for trend = 0.002). In the MR analysis, we demonstrated a causal relationship between obesity and PAD (OR = 1.44 per BMI-unit, 95% CI: 1.18-1.75; P = 0.0003).

Conclusions: This study suggested that obesity may be causally associated with PAD after controlling for the potential intermediate factors like hypertension, dyslipidemia and hyperglycemia.

Keywords: Body mass index; Genetic risk score; Mendelian Randomization; Peripheral arterial disease.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • China / epidemiology
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Logistic Models
  • Mendelian Randomization Analysis*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease / diagnosis
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease / epidemiology
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Pulse Wave Analysis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Vascular Stiffness