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The recruitment of participants for research studies may be subject to bias. The Prospective Imaging Study of Ageing (PISA) aims to characterize the phenotype and natural history of healthy adult Australians at high future risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Participants approached to take part in PISA were selected from existing cohort studies with available genomewide genetic data for both successfully and unsuccessfully recruited participants, allowing us to investigate the genetic contribution to voluntary recruitment, including the genetic predisposition to AD. We use a polygenic risk score (PRS) approach to test to what extent the genetic risk for AD, and related risk factors predict participation in PISA. We did not identify a significant association of genetic risk for AD with study participation, but we did identify significant associations with PRS for key causal risk factors for AD, IQ, household income and years of education. We also found that older and female participants were more likely to take part in the study. Our findings highlight the importance of considering bias in key risk factors for AD in the recruitment of individuals for cohort studies.
Pneumonia is a respiratory condition with complex etiology. Host genetic variation is thought to contribute to individual differences in susceptibility and symptom manifestation. Here, we analyze pneumonia data from the UK Biobank (14,780 cases and 439,096 controls) and FinnGen (9980 cases and 86,519 controls) and perform a genomewide association study meta-analysis. We use gene-based tests, colocalization, genetic correlation, latent causal variable (LCV) and polygenic prediction in an independent Australian sample (N = 5595) to draw insights into the etiology of pneumonia risk. We identify two independent loci on chromosome 15 (lead single-nucleotide polymorphisms rs2009746 and rs76474922) to be associated with pneumonia (p < 5e−8). Gene-based tests revealed 18 genes in chromosomes 15, 16 and 9, including IL127, PBX3, ApoB receptor (APOBR) and smoking related genes CHRNA3/5, statistically associated with pneumonia. We observed genetic correlations between pneumonia and cardiorespiratory, psychiatric and inflammatory related traits. LCV analysis suggests a strong genetic causal relationship with cardiovascular health phenotypes. Polygenic risk scores for pneumonia significantly predicted self-reported pneumonia in an independent sample, albeit with a small effect size (OR = 1.11 95% CI [1.04, 1.19], p < .05). Sensitivity analyses suggested the associations in chromosome 15 are mediated by smoking history, but the associations in chromosomes 16 and 9, and polygenic prediction were robust to adjustment for smoking. Altogether, our results highlight common genetic variants, genes and potential pathways that contribute to individual differences in susceptibility to pneumonia, and advance our understanding of the genetic factors underlying heterogeneity in respiratory medical outcomes.
Several neuroimaging studies have reported associations between brain white matter microstructure and chronotype. However, it is unclear whether those phenotypic relationships are causal or underlined by genetic factors. In the present study, we use genetic data to examine the genetic overlap and infer causal relationships between chronotype and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) measures. We identify 29 significant pairwise genetic correlations, of which 13 also show evidence for a causal association. Genetic correlations were identified between chronotype and brain-wide mean, axial and radial diffusivities. When exploring individual tracts, 10 genetic correlations were observed with mean diffusivity, 10 with axial diffusivity, 4 with radial diffusivity and 2 with mode of anisotropy. We found evidence for a possible causal association of eveningness with white matter microstructure measures in individual tracts including the posterior limb and the retrolenticular part of the internal capsule; the genu and splenium of the corpus callosum and the posterior, superior and anterior regions of the corona radiata. Our findings contribute to the understanding of how genes influence circadian preference and brain white matter and provide a new avenue for investigating the role of chronotype in health and disease.
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