Genome-Wide Association Analysis of Blood Biomarkers in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

ECLIPSE Investigator, ICGN Investigator, COPDGene Investigator, Deog Kyeom Kim, Michael H. Cho, Craig P. Hersh, David A. Lomas, Bruce E. Miller, Xiangyang Kong, Per Bakke, Amund Gulsvik, Alvar Agusti, Emiel Wouters, Bartolome Celli, Harvey Coxson, Jorgen Vestbo, William MacNee, Julie C. Yates, Stephen Rennard, Augusto LitonjuaWeiliang Qiu, Terri H. Beaty, James D. Crapo, John H. Riley, Ruth Tal-Singer, Edwin K. Silverman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rationale: A genome-wide association study (GWAS) for circulating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) biomarkers could identify genetic determinants of biomarker levels and COPD susceptibility.

Objectives: To identify genetic variants of circulating protein biomarkers and novel genetic determinants of COPD.

Methods: GWAS was performed for two pneumoproteins, Clara cell secretory protein (CC16) and surfactant protein D (SP-D), and five systemic inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, IL-6, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha) in 1,951 subjects with COPD. For genome-wide significant single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (P <1 x 10(-8)), association with COPD susceptibility was tested in 2,939 cases with COPD and 1,380 smoking control subjects. The association of candidate SNPs with mRNA expression in induced sputum was also elucidated.

Measurements and Main Results: Genome-wide significant susceptibility loci affecting biomarker levels were found only for the two pneumoproteins. Two discrete loci affecting CC16, one region near the CC16 coding gene (SCGB1A1) on chromosome 11 and another locus approximately 25 Mb away from SCGB1A1, were identified, whereas multiple SNPs on chromosomes 6 and 16, in addition to SNPs near SFTPD, had genome-wide significant associations with SP-D levels. Several SNPs affecting circulating CC16 levels were significantly associated with sputum mRNA expression of SCGB1A1 (P = 0.009-0.03). Several SNPs highly associated with,CC16 or SP-D levels were nominally associated with COPD in a collaborative GWAS (P = 0.001-0.049), although these COPD associations were not replicated in two additional cohorts.

Conclusions: Distant genetic loci and biomarker-coding genes affect circulating levels of COPD-related pneumoproteins. A subset of these protein quantitative trait loci may influence their gene expression in the lung and/or COPD susceptibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1238-1247
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2012


  • genome-wide association study
  • biomarker
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • COPD


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