Genetic variants in COL13A1, ADIPOQ and SAMM50, in addition to the PNPLA3 gene, confer susceptibility to elevated transaminase levels in an admixed Mexican population.Exp Mol Pathol 2018; 104(1):50-58EM
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the accumulation of extra fat in liver cells not caused by alcohol. Elevated transaminase levels are common indicators of liver disease, including NAFLD. Previously, we demonstrated that PNPLA3 (rs738409), LYPLAL1 (rs12137855), PPP1R3B (rs4240624), and GCKR (rs780094) are associated with elevated transaminase levels in overweight/obese Mexican adults. We investigated the association between 288 SNPs identified in genome-wide association studies and risk of elevated transaminase levels in an admixed Mexican-Mestizo sample of 178 cases of NAFLD and 454 healthy controls. The rs2896019, rs12483959, and rs3810622 SNPs in PNPLA3 and rs1227756 in COL13A1 were associated with elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT, ≥40IU/L). A polygenic risk score (PRS) based on six SNPs in the ADIPOQ, COL13A1, PNPLA3, and SAMM50 genes was also associated with elevated ALT. Individuals carrying 9-12 risk alleles had 65.8% and 48.5% higher ALT and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels, respectively, than those with 1-4 risk alleles. The PRS showed the greatest risk of elevated ALT levels, with a higher level of significance than the individual variants. Our findings suggest a significant association between variants in COL13A1, ADIPOQ, SAMM50, and PNPLA3, and risk of NAFLD/elevated transaminase levels in Mexican adults with an admixed ancestry. This is the first study to examine high-density single nucleotide screening for genetic variations in a Mexican-Mestizo population. The extent of the effect of these variations on the development and progression of NAFLD in Latino populations requires further analysis.