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Identification of Functional Genetic Determinants of Cardiac Troponin T and I in a Multiethnic Population and Causal Associations With Atrial Fibrillation



Elevated cardiac troponin levels in blood are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and mortality. Cardiac troponin levels are heritable, but their genetic architecture remains elusive.


We conducted a transethnic genome-wide association analysis on high-sensitivity cTnT (cardiac troponin T; hs-cTnT) and high-sensitivity cTnI (cardiac troponin I; hs-cTnI) levels in 24 617 and 14 336 participants free of coronary heart disease and heart failure from 6 population-based cohorts, followed by a series of bioinformatic analyses to decipher the genetic architecture of hs-cTnT and hs-cTnI.


We identified 4 genome-wide significant loci for hs-cTnT including a novel locus rs3737882 in PPFIA4 and 3 previously reported loci at NCOA2, TRAM1, and BCL2. One known locus at VCL was replicated for hs-cTnI. One copy of C allele for rs3737882 was associated with a 6% increase in hs-cTnT levels (minor allele frequency, 0.18; P=2.80×10-9). We observed pleiotropic loci located at BAG3 and ANO5. The proportions of variances explained by single-nucleotide polymorphisms were 10.15% and 7.74% for hs-cTnT and hs-cTnI, respectively. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms were colocalized with BCL2 expression in heart tissues and hs-cTnT and with ANO5 expression in artery, heart tissues, and whole blood and both troponins. Mendelian randomization analyses showed that genetically increased hs-cTnT and hs-cTnI levels were associated with higher odds of atrial fibrillation (odds ratio, 1.38 [95% CI, 1.25-1.54] for hs-cTnT and 1.21 [95% CI, 1.06-1.37] for hs-cTnI).


We identified a novel genetic locus associated with hs-cTnT in a multiethnic population and found that genetically regulated troponin levels were associated with atrial fibrillation.

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