Trans-ethnic genome-wide association study of blood metabolites in the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) study

Kidney Int. 2022 Apr;101(4):814-823. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2022.01.014. Epub 2022 Feb 1.


Metabolomics genome wide association study (GWAS) help outline the genetic contribution to human metabolism. However, studies to date have focused on relatively healthy, population-based samples of White individuals. Here, we conducted a GWAS of 537 blood metabolites measured in the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study, with separate analyses in 822 White and 687 Black study participants. Trans-ethnic meta-analysis was then applied to improve fine-mapping of potential causal variants. Mean estimated glomerular filtration rate was 44.4 and 41.5 mL/min/1.73m2 in the White and Black participants, respectively. There were 45 significant metabolite associations at 19 loci, including novel associations at PYROXD2, PHYHD1, FADS1-3, ACOT2, MYRF, FAAH, and LIPC. The strength of associations was unchanged in models additionally adjusted for estimated glomerular filtration rate and proteinuria, consistent with a direct biochemical effect of gene products on associated metabolites. At several loci, trans-ethnic meta-analysis, which leverages differences in linkage disequilibrium across populations, reduced the number and/or genomic interval spanned by potentially causal single nucleotide polymorphisms compared to fine-mapping in the White participant cohort alone. Across all validated associations, we found strong concordance in effect sizes of the potentially causal single nucleotide polymorphisms between White and Black study participants. Thus, our study identifies novel genetic determinants of blood metabolites in chronic kidney disease, demonstrates the value of diverse cohorts to improve causal inference in metabolomics GWAS, and underscores the shared genetic basis of metabolism across race.

Keywords: GWAS; metabolomics; trans-ethnic meta-analysis.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Genome-Wide Association Study*
  • Humans
  • Linkage Disequilibrium
  • Male
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic* / genetics