Phenome-wide association study of TTR and RBP4 genes in 361,194 individuals reveals novel insights in the genetics of hereditary and wildtype transthyretin amyloidoses

Hum Genet. 2019 Dec;138(11-12):1331-1340. doi: 10.1007/s00439-019-02078-6. Epub 2019 Oct 29.


Transthyretin (TTR) gene has a causal role in a hereditary form of amyloidosis (ATTRm) and is potentially involved in the risk of wild-type transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTRwt). To understand the genetics of ATTRm and ATTRwt, we conducted a phenome-wide association study of TTR gene in 361,194 participants of European descent testing coding and non-coding variants. Among the 382 clinically relevant phenotypes tested, TTR non-coding variants were associated with 26 phenotypic traits after multiple testing correction. These included signs related to both ATTRm and ATTRwt such as chronic ischaemic heart disease (rs140226130, p = 2.00 × 10-6), heart failure (rs73956431, p = 2.74 × 10-6), atrial fibrillation (rs10163755, p = 4.63 × 10-6), dysphagia (rs2949506, p = 3.95 × 10-6), intestine diseases (rs970866, p = 7.14 × 10-6) and anxiety (rs554521234, p = 8.85 × 10-6). Consistent results were observed for TTR disease-causing mutation Val122Ile (rs76992529) with respect to carpal tunnel syndrome (p = 6.41 × 10-6) and mononeuropathies of upper limbs (p = 1.22 × 10-5). Sex differences were also observed in line with ATTRm and ATTRwt epidemiology. Additionally, we explored possible modifier genes related to TTR function, observing convergent associations of RBP4 variants with the clinical phenotypes associated with TTR locus. In conclusion, we provide novel insights regarding the molecular basis of ATTRm and ATTRwt based on large-scale cohort, expanding our understanding of the phenotypic spectrum associated with TTR gene variation.

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid Neuropathies, Familial / genetics*
  • Amyloid Neuropathies, Familial / metabolism*
  • Amyloid Neuropathies, Familial / pathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phenotype*
  • Prealbumin / genetics*
  • Prealbumin / metabolism*
  • Prognosis
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins, Plasma / genetics*
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins, Plasma / metabolism*


  • Prealbumin
  • RBP4 protein, human
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins, Plasma
  • TTR protein, human

Supplementary concepts

  • Amyloidosis, Hereditary, Transthyretin-Related