A genome-wide association study identifies risk loci for spirometric measures among smokers of European and African ancestry

Academic Article


  • Background: Pulmonary function decline is a major contributor to morbidity and mortality among smokers. Post bronchodilator FEV1 and FEV1/FVC ratio are considered the standard assessment of airflow obstruction. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 9919 current and former smokers in the COPDGene study (6659 non-Hispanic Whites [NHW] and 3260 African Americans [AA]) to identify associations with spirometric measures (post-bronchodilator FEV1 and FEV1/FVC). We also conducted meta-analysis of FEV1 and FEV1/FVC GWAS in the COPDGene, ECLIPSE, and GenKOLS cohorts (total n=13,532). Results: Among NHW in the COPDGene cohort, both measures of pulmonary function were significantly associated with SNPs at the 15q25 locus [containing CHRNA3/5, AGPHD1, IREB2, CHRNB4] (lowest p-value=2.17×10-11), and FEV1/FVC was associated with a genomic region on chromosome 4 [upstream of HHIP] (lowest p-value=5.94×10-10); both regions have been previously associated with COPD. For the meta-analysis, in addition to confirming associations to the regions near CHRNA3/5 and HHIP, genome-wide significant associations were identified for FEV1 on chromosome 1 [TGFB2] (p-value=8.99×10-9), 9 [DBH] (p-value=9.69×10-9) and 19 [CYP2A6/7] (p-value=3.49×10-8) and for FEV1/FVC on chromosome 1 [TGFB2] (p-value=8.99×10-9), 4 [FAM13A] (p-value=3.88×10-12), 11 [MMP3/12] (p-value=3.29×10-10) and 14 [RIN3] (p-value=5.64×10-9). Conclusions: In a large genome-wide association study of lung function in smokers, we found genome-wide significant associations at several previously described loci with lung function or COPD. We additionally identified a novel genome-wide significant locus with FEV1 on chromosome 9 [DBH] in a meta-analysis of three study populations.
  • Published In

  • BMC Genetics  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Lutz SM; Cho MH; Young K; Hersh CP; Castaldi PJ; McDonald ML; Regan E; Mattheisen M; DeMeo DL; Parker M
  • Volume

  • 16
  • Issue

  • 1