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J Am Heart Assoc ; 10(22): e022433, 2021 11 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1511553


Background The relationship between COVID-19 and ischemic stroke is poorly understood due to potential unmeasured confounding and reverse causation. We aimed to leverage genetic data to triangulate reported associations. Methods and Results Analyses primarily focused on critical COVID-19, defined as hospitalization with COVID-19 requiring respiratory support or resulting in death. Cross-trait linkage disequilibrium score regression was used to estimate genetic correlations of critical COVID-19 with ischemic stroke, other related cardiovascular outcomes, and risk factors common to both COVID-19 and cardiovascular disease (body mass index, smoking and chronic inflammation, estimated using C-reactive protein). Mendelian randomization analysis was performed to investigate whether liability to critical COVID-19 was associated with increased risk of any cardiovascular outcome for which genetic correlation was identified. There was evidence of genetic correlation between critical COVID-19 and ischemic stroke (rg=0.29, false discovery rate [FDR]=0.012), body mass index (rg=0.21, FDR=0.00002), and C-reactive protein (rg=0.20, FDR=0.00035), but no other trait investigated. In Mendelian randomization, liability to critical COVID-19 was associated with increased risk of ischemic stroke (odds ratio [OR] per logOR increase in genetically predicted critical COVID-19 liability 1.03, 95% CI 1.00-1.06, P-value=0.03). Similar estimates were obtained for ischemic stroke subtypes. Consistent estimates were also obtained when performing statistical sensitivity analyses more robust to the inclusion of pleiotropic variants, including multivariable Mendelian randomization analyses adjusting for potential genetic confounding through body mass index, smoking, and chronic inflammation. There was no evidence to suggest that genetic liability to ischemic stroke increased the risk of critical COVID-19. Conclusions These data support that liability to critical COVID-19 is associated with an increased risk of ischemic stroke. The host response predisposing to severe COVID-19 is likely to increase the risk of ischemic stroke, independent of other potentially mitigating risk factors.

Brain Ischemia , COVID-19 , Ischemic Stroke , Body Mass Index , Brain Ischemia/epidemiology , Brain Ischemia/genetics , Brain Ischemia/virology , C-Reactive Protein , COVID-19/epidemiology , Genome-Wide Association Study , Humans , Inflammation , Ischemic Stroke/epidemiology , Ischemic Stroke/genetics , Ischemic Stroke/virology , Mendelian Randomization Analysis , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , Risk Factors , Smoking
Nat Med ; 27(4): 668-676, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1174686


Drug repurposing provides a rapid approach to meet the urgent need for therapeutics to address COVID-19. To identify therapeutic targets relevant to COVID-19, we conducted Mendelian randomization analyses, deriving genetic instruments based on transcriptomic and proteomic data for 1,263 actionable proteins that are targeted by approved drugs or in clinical phase of drug development. Using summary statistics from the Host Genetics Initiative and the Million Veteran Program, we studied 7,554 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and >1 million controls. We found significant Mendelian randomization results for three proteins (ACE2, P = 1.6 × 10-6; IFNAR2, P = 9.8 × 10-11 and IL-10RB, P = 2.3 × 10-14) using cis-expression quantitative trait loci genetic instruments that also had strong evidence for colocalization with COVID-19 hospitalization. To disentangle the shared expression quantitative trait loci signal for IL10RB and IFNAR2, we conducted phenome-wide association scans and pathway enrichment analysis, which suggested that IFNAR2 is more likely to play a role in COVID-19 hospitalization. Our findings prioritize trials of drugs targeting IFNAR2 and ACE2 for early management of COVID-19.

COVID-19/genetics , Drug Repositioning , Mendelian Randomization Analysis/methods , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/physiology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Genome-Wide Association Study , Humans , Interleukin-10 Receptor beta Subunit/genetics , Interleukin-10 Receptor beta Subunit/physiology , Quantitative Trait Loci , Receptor, Interferon alpha-beta/genetics , Receptor, Interferon alpha-beta/physiology
R Soc Open Sci ; 7(11): 200958, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1005759


Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and serine protease TMPRSS2 have been implicated in cell entry for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus responsible for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 in the lung epithelium might have implications for the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and severity of COVID-19. We use human genetic variants that proxy angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor drug effects and cardiovascular risk factors to investigate whether these exposures affect lung ACE2 and TMPRSS2 gene expression and circulating ACE2 levels. We observed no consistent evidence of an association of genetically predicted serum ACE levels with any of our outcomes. There was weak evidence for an association of genetically predicted serum ACE levels with ACE2 gene expression in the Lung eQTL Consortium (p = 0.014), but this finding did not replicate. There was evidence of a positive association of genetic liability to type 2 diabetes mellitus with lung ACE2 gene expression in the Gene-Tissue Expression (GTEx) study (p = 4 × 10-4) and with circulating plasma ACE2 levels in the INTERVAL study (p = 0.03), but not with lung ACE2 expression in the Lung eQTL Consortium study (p = 0.68). There were no associations of genetically proxied liability to the other cardiometabolic traits with any outcome. This study does not provide consistent evidence to support an effect of serum ACE levels (as a proxy for ACE inhibitors) or cardiometabolic risk factors on lung ACE2 and TMPRSS2 expression or plasma ACE2 levels.