Germline burden of rare damaging variants negatively affects human healthspan and lifespan
Heritability of human lifespan is 23-33% as evident from twin studies. Genome-wide association studies explored this question by linking particular alleles to lifespan traits. However, genetic variants identified so far can explain only a small fraction of lifespan heritability in humans. Here, we report that the burden of rarest protein-truncating variants (PTVs) in two large cohorts is negatively associated with human healthspan and lifespan, accounting for 0.4 and 1.3 years of their variability, respectively. In addition, longer-living individuals possess both fewer rarest PTVs and less damaging PTVs. We further find that somatic accumulation of PTVs accounts for only a small fraction of mortality and morbidity acceleration and hence is unlikely to be causal in aging. We conclude that rare damaging mutations, both inherited and accumulated throughout life, contribute to the aging process, and that burden of ultra-rare variants in combination with common alleles better explain apparent heritability of human lifespan.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Source data files have been provided for Figures 1 and 3.
UK BiobankUK Bio Bank.
Article and author information
National Institute on Aging (AG047745)
- Vadim N Gladyshev
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: Deidentified exome sequences were analyzed
- Sara Hagg, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
- Received: November 8, 2019
- Accepted: March 20, 2020
- Accepted Manuscript published: April 7, 2020 (version 1)
- Version of Record published: June 24, 2020 (version 2)
© 2020, Shindyapina et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
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- Chromosomes and Gene Expression
- Cell Biology
eLife is pleased to present a Special Issue to highlight recent advances in the mechanistic understanding of aging and interventions that extend longevity.
- Genetics and Genomics
Background: Causality between plasma triglyceride (TG) levels and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk remains controversial despite more than four decades of study and two recent landmark trials, STRENGTH and REDUCE-IT. Further unclear is the association between TG levels and non-atherosclerotic diseases across organ systems.
Methods: Here, we conducted a phenome-wide, two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis using inverse-variance weighted (IVW) regression to systematically infer the causal effects of plasma TG levels on 2,600 disease traits in the European ancestry population of UK Biobank. For replication, we externally tested 221 nominally significant associations (p < 0.05) in an independent cohort from FinnGen. To account for potential horizontal pleiotropy and the influence of invalid instrumental variables, we performed sensitivity analyses using MR-Egger regression, weighted median estimator, and MR-PRESSO. Finally, we used multivariable MR controlling for correlated lipid fractions to distinguish the independent effect of plasma TG levels.
Results: Our results identified 7 disease traits reaching Bonferroni-corrected significance in both the discovery (p < 1.92 × 10-5) and replication analyses (p < 2.26 × 10-4), suggesting a causal relationship between plasma TG levels and ASCVDs, including coronary artery disease (OR 1.33, 95% CI 1.24-1.43, p = 2.47 × 10-13). We also identified 12 disease traits that were Bonferroni-significant in the discovery or replication analysis and at least nominally significant in the other analysis (p < 0.05), identifying plasma TG levels as a novel potential risk factor for 9 non-ASCVD diseases, including uterine leiomyoma (OR 1.19, 95% CI 1.10-1.29, p = 1.17 × 10-5).
Conclusions: Taking a phenome-wide, two-sample MR approach, we identified causal associations between plasma TG levels and 19 disease traits across organ systems. Our findings suggest unrealized drug repurposing opportunities or adverse effects related to approved and emerging TG-lowering agents, as well as mechanistic insights for future studies.
Funding: RD is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (R35-GM124836) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the NIH (R01-HL139865 and R01-HL155915).