Genetic Analysis of Venous Thromboembolism in UK Biobank Identifies the ZFPM2 Locus and Implicates Obesity as a Causal Risk Factor

Circ Cardiovasc Genet. 2017 Apr;10(2):e001643. doi: 10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.116.001643.


Background: UK Biobank is the world's largest repository for phenotypic and genotypic information for individuals of European ancestry. Here, we leverage UK Biobank to understand the inherited basis for venous thromboembolism (VTE), a leading cause of cardiovascular mortality.

Methods and results: We identified 3290 VTE cases and 116 868 controls through billing code-based phenotyping. We performed a genome-wide association study for VTE with ≈9 000 000 imputed single-nucleotide polymorphisms. We performed a phenome-wide association study for a genetic risk score of 10 VTE-associated variants. To assess whether obesity is a causal factor for VTE, we performed Mendelian randomization analysis using a genetic risk score instrument composed of 68 body mass index-associated variants. The genome-wide association study for VTE replicated previous findings at the F5, F2, ABO, F11, and FGG loci. We identified 1 new locus-ZFPM2 rs4602861-at genome-wide significance (odds ratio, 1.11; 95% confidence interval, 1.07-1.15; P=4.9×10-10) and a new independent variant at the F2 locus (rs3136516; odds ratio, 1.10; 95% confidence interval, 1.06-1.13; P=7.60×10-9). In a phenome-wide association study, a 10 single-nucleotide polymorphism VTE genetic risk score was associated with coronary artery disease (odds ratio, 1.08; 95% confidence interval, 1.05-1.10 per unit increase in VTE odds; P=1.08×10-9). In a Mendelian randomization analysis, genetically elevated body mass index (a 1 SD increase) was associated with 57% higher risk of VTE (odds ratio, 1.57; 95% confidence interval, 1.08-1.97; P=0.003).

Conclusions: For common diseases such as VTE, biobanks provide potential to perform genetic discovery, explore the phenotypic consequences for disease-associated variants, and test causal inference.

Keywords: Mendelian randomization analysis; body mass index; epidemiology; genetics; venous thromboembolism.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biological Specimen Banks*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Loci*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Risk Factors
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • United Kingdom
  • Venous Thromboembolism / genetics*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • ZFPM2 protein, human