Elevated body mass index (BMI) associates with cardiometabolic traits on observational analysis, yet the underlying causal relationships remain unclear. We conducted Mendelian randomization analyses by using a genetic score (GS) comprising 14 BMI-associated SNPs from a recent discovery analysis to investigate the causal role of BMI in cardiometabolic traits and events. We used eight population-based cohorts, including 34,538 European-descent individuals (4,407 type 2 diabetes (T2D), 6,073 coronary heart disease (CHD), and 3,813 stroke cases). A 1 kg/m(2) genetically elevated BMI increased fasting glucose (0.18 mmol/l; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.12-0.24), fasting insulin (8.5%; 95% CI = 5.9-11.1), interleukin-6 (7.0%; 95% CI = 4.0-10.1), and systolic blood pressure (0.70 mmHg; 95% CI = 0.24-1.16) and reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (-0.02 mmol/l; 95% CI = -0.03 to -0.01) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C; -0.04 mmol/l; 95% CI = -0.07 to -0.01). Observational and causal estimates were directionally concordant, except for LDL-C. A 1 kg/m(2) genetically elevated BMI increased the odds of T2D (odds ratio [OR] = 1.27; 95% CI = 1.18-1.36) but did not alter risk of CHD (OR 1.01; 95% CI = 0.94-1.08) or stroke (OR = 1.03; 95% CI = 0.95-1.12). A meta-analysis incorporating published studies reporting 27,465 CHD events in 219,423 individuals yielded a pooled OR of 1.04 (95% CI = 0.97-1.12) per 1 kg/m(2) increase in BMI. In conclusion, we identified causal effects of BMI on several cardiometabolic traits; however, whether BMI causally impacts CHD risk requires further evidence.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.ajhg.2013.12.014

Type

Journal article

Journal

Am J Hum Genet

Publication Date

06/02/2014

Volume

94

Pages

198 - 208

Keywords

Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Blood Glucose, Blood Pressure, Body Mass Index, Cholesterol, HDL, Cholesterol, LDL, Coronary Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, European Continental Ancestry Group, Fasting, Female, Genetic Association Studies, Humans, Insulin, Interleukin-6, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Mendelian Randomization Analysis, Meta-Analysis as Topic, Middle Aged, Odds Ratio, Phenotype, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Prospective Studies, Risk Factors, Selection, Genetic, Sensitivity and Specificity, Stroke, Young Adult