A multi-omics study of circulating phospholipid markers of blood pressure

Jun Liu, Paul S de Vries, Fabiola Del Greco M, Åsa Johansson, Katharina E Schraut, Caroline Hayward, Ko Willems van Dijk, Oscar H Franco, Andrew A Hicks, Veronique Vitart, Igor Rudan, Harry Campbell, Ozren Polašek, Peter P Pramstaller, James F Wilson, Ulf Gyllensten, Cornelia M van Duijn, Abbas Dehghan, Ayşe Demirkan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High-throughput techniques allow us to measure a wide-range of phospholipids which can provide insight into the mechanisms of hypertension. We aimed to conduct an in-depth multi-omics study of various phospholipids with systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP). The associations of blood pressure and 151 plasma phospholipids measured by electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry were performed by linear regression in five European cohorts (n = 2786 in discovery and n = 1185 in replication). We further explored the blood pressure-related phospholipids in Erasmus Rucphen Family (ERF) study by associating them with multiple cardiometabolic traits (linear regression) and predicting incident hypertension (Cox regression). Mendelian Randomization (MR) and phenome-wide association study (Phewas) were also explored to further investigate these association results. We identified six phosphatidylethanolamines (PE 38:3, PE 38:4, PE 38:6, PE 40:4, PE 40:5 and PE 40:6) and two phosphatidylcholines (PC 32:1 and PC 40:5) which together predicted incident hypertension with an area under the ROC curve (AUC) of 0.61. The identified eight phospholipids are strongly associated with triglycerides, obesity related traits (e.g. waist, waist-hip ratio, total fat percentage, body mass index, lipid-lowering medication, and leptin), diabetes related traits (e.g. glucose, insulin resistance and insulin) and prevalent type 2 diabetes. The genetic determinants of these phospholipids also associated with many lipoproteins, heart rate, pulse rate and blood cell counts. No significant association was identified by bi-directional MR approach. We identified eight blood pressure-related circulating phospholipids that have a predictive value for incident hypertension. Our cross-omics analyses show that phospholipid metabolites in the circulation may yield insight into blood pressure regulation and raise a number of testable hypothesis for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)574
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2022


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