Polygenic risk assessment reveals pleiotropy between sarcoidosis and inflammatory disorders in the context of genetic ancestry

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Genes and immunity


Sarcoidosis is a complex disease of unknown etiology characterized by the presence of granulomatous inflammation. Though various immune system pathways have been implicated in disease, the relationship between the genetic determinants of sarcoidosis and other inflammatory disorders has not been characterized. Herein, we examined the degree of genetic pleiotropy common to sarcoidosis and other inflammatory disorders to identify shared pathways and disease systems pertinent to sarcoidosis onset. To achieve this, we quantify the association of common variant polygenic risk scores from nine complex inflammatory disorders with sarcoidosis risk. Enrichment analyses of genes implicated in pleiotropic associations were further used to elucidate candidate pathways. In European-Americans, we identify significant pleiotropy between risk of sarcoidosis and risk of asthma (R2=2.03%; P=8.89 × 10-9), celiac disease (R2=2.03%; P=8.21 × 10-9), primary biliary cirrhosis (R2=2.43%; P=2.01 × 10-10) and rheumatoid arthritis (R2=4.32%; P=2.50 × 10-17). These associations validate in African Americans only after accounting for the proportion of genome-wide European ancestry, where we demonstrate similar effects of polygenic risk for African-Americans with the highest levels of European ancestry. Variants and genes implicated in European-American pleiotropic associations were enriched for pathways involving interleukin-12, interleukin-27 and cell adhesion molecules, corroborating the hypothesized immunopathogenesis of disease.

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Black or African American; Genetic Pleiotropy; Humans; Inflammation; Interleukin-12; Interleukins; Multifactorial Inheritance; Sarcoidosis; White People

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