Phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity among subjects with mild airflow obstruction in COPDGene

Jin Hwa Lee, Michael H. Cho, Merry Lynn N. McDonald, Craig P. Hersh, Peter J. Castaldi, James D. Crapo, Emily S. Wan, Jennifer G. Dy, Yale Chang, Elizabeth A. Regan, Megan Hardin, Dawn L. Demeo, Edwin K. Silverman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by marked phenotypic heterogeneity. Most previous studies have focused on COPD subjects with FEV1 < 80% predicted. We investigated the clinical and genetic heterogeneity in subjects with mild airflow limitation in spirometry grade 1 defined by the Global Initiative for chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD 1).

Methods Data from current and former smokers participating in the COPDGene Study (NCT00608764) were analyzed. K-means clustering was performed to explore subtypes within 794 GOLD 1 subjects. For all subjects with GOLD 1 and with each cluster, a genome-wide association study and candidate gene testing were performed using smokers with normal lung function as a control group. Combinations of COPD genome-wide significant single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were tested for association with FEV1 (% predicted) in GOLD 1 and in a combined group of GOLD 1 and smoking control subjects.

Results K-means clustering of GOLD 1 subjects identified putative "near-normal", "airway-predominant", "emphysema-predominant" and "lowest FEV1% predicted" subtypes. In non-Hispanic whites, the only SNP nominally associated with GOLD 1 status relative to smoking controls was rs7671167 (FAM13A) in logistic regression models with adjustment for age, sex, pack-years of smoking, and genetic ancestry. The emphysema-predominant GOLD 1 cluster was nominally associated with rs7671167 (FAM13A) and rs161976 (BICD1). The lowest FEV1% predicted cluster was nominally associated with rs1980057 (HHIP) and rs1051730 (CHRNA3). Combinations of COPD genome-wide significant SNPs were associated with FEV1 (% predicted) in a combined group of GOLD 1 and smoking control subjects.

Conclusions Our results indicate that GOLD 1 subjects show substantial clinical heterogeneity, which is at least partially related to genetic heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1469-1480
Number of pages12
JournalRespiratory Medicine
Volume108
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2014

Keywords

  • Chronic obstructive
  • Cluster analysis
  • Genetic association
  • Population characteristics
  • Pulmonary disease

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