Recent genome-wide association studies identified a variant rs7575840 in the apolipoprotein B (APOB) gene region as associated with low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. However, the underlying functional mechanism of this variant, which resides 6.5 kb upstream of APOB, has remained unknown. Our objective was to investigate rs7575840 for association with refined apoB-containing lipid particles, for replication in a Mexican population, and for its underlying functional mechanism.
Our data show that rs7575840 is associated with serum apoB levels (P=4.85?10(-10)) and apoB-containing lipid particles, very small very-low-density lipoprotein, intermediate lipoprotein, and LDL particles (P=2?10(-5) to 9?10(-7)) in the Finnish Metabolic Syndrome in Men study sample (n=7710). Fine mapping of the APOB region using 43 single-nucleotide polymorphisms replicated the association of rs7575840 with apoB in a Mexican study sample (n=2666, P=3.33?10(-5)). Furthermore, our transcript analyses of adipose RNA samples from 175 subjects in the Finnish Metabolic Syndrome in Men study indicate that rs7575840 alters expression of APOB (P=1.13?10(-10)) and a regional noncoding RNA (BU630349) (P=7.86?10(-6)) in adipose tissue.
It has been difficult to convert genome-wide association study associations into mechanistic insights. Our data show that rs7575840 is associated with serum apoB levels and apoB-containing lipid particles, as well as influencing expression of APOB and a regional transcript BU630349 in adipose tissue. We thus provide evidence how a common genome-wide significant single-nucleotide polymorphism, rs7575840, may affect serum apoB, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels.
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