Admixture mapping of quantitative trait loci for blood lipids in African-Americans

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Abstract

Blood lipid levels, including low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and triglycerides (TG), are highly heritable traits and major risk factors for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD). Using individual ancestry estimates at marker locations across the genome, we present a novel quantitative admixture mapping analysis of all three lipid traits in a large sample of African-Americans from the Family Blood Pressure Program. Regression analysis was performed with both total and marker-location-specific European ancestry as explanatory variables, along with demographic covariates. Robust permutation analysis was used to assess statistical significance. Overall European ancestry was significantly correlated with HDL-C (negatively) and TG (positively), but not with LDL-C. We found strong evidence for a novel locus underlying HDL-C on chromosome 8q, which correlated negatively with European ancestry (P=.0014); the same location also showed positive correlation of European ancestry with TG levels. A region on chromosome 14q also showed significant negative correlation between HDL-C levels and European ancestry. On chromosome 15q, a suggestive negative correlation of European ancestry with TG and positive correlation with HDL-C was observed. Results with LDL-C were less significant overall. We also found significant evidence for genome-wide ancestry effects underlying the joint distribution of HDL-C and TG, not fully explained by the locus on chromosome 8. Our results are consistent with a genetic contribution to and may explain the healthier HDL-C and TG profiles found in Blacks versus Whites. The identified regions provide locations for follow-up studies of genetic variants underlying lipid variation in African-Americans and possibly other populations.

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