Urinary metabolite quantitative trait loci in children and their interaction with dietary factors

Hum Mol Genet. 2021 Feb 4;29(23):3830-3844. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddaa257.


Human metabolism is influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Previous studies have identified over 23 loci associated with more than 26 urine metabolites levels in adults, which are known as urinary metabolite quantitative trait loci (metabQTLs). The aim of the present study is the identification for the first time of urinary metabQTLs in children and their interaction with dietary patterns. Association between genome-wide genotyping data and 44 urine metabolite levels measured by proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy was tested in 996 children from the Human Early Life Exposome project. Twelve statistically significant urine metabQTLs were identified, involving 11 unique loci and 10 different metabolites. Comparison with previous findings in adults revealed that six metabQTLs were already known, and one had been described in serum and three were involved the same locus as other reported metabQTLs but had different urinary metabolites. The remaining two metabQTLs represent novel urine metabolite-locus associations, which are reported for the first time in this study [single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs12575496 for taurine, and the missense SNP rs2274870 for 3-hydroxyisobutyrate]. Moreover, it was found that urinary taurine levels were affected by the combined action of genetic variation and dietary patterns of meat intake as well as by the interaction of this SNP with beverage intake dietary patterns. Overall, we identified 12 urinary metabQTLs in children, including two novel associations. While a substantial part of the identified loci affected urinary metabolite levels both in children and in adults, the metabQTL for taurine seemed to be specific to children and interacted with dietary patterns.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolome*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*
  • Urinalysis / methods*