Immune-mediated inflammatory diseases and leukocyte telomere length: A Mendelian randomization study

Author: Meiling Liu1, Ping Luo1, Lihua Liu1, Xianping Wei1, Xue Bai1, Jicui Li1, Linlin Wu1, Manyu Luo1
1 Department of Nephrology and Rheumatology, The Second Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun, China.
Conference/Journal: Front Genet
Date published: 2023 Apr 17
Other: Volume ID: 14 , Pages: 1129247 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3389/fgene.2023.1129247. , Word Count: 376

Objective: To elucidate the potential causality of leukocyte telomere length (LTL) with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs), we conducted a Mendelian randomization (MR) study. Methods: The genetically predicted causation between LTL and IMIDs was evaluated using a two-sample MR method. We analyzed 16 major IMIDs, which included systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcerative colitis (UC), Crohn's disease (CD), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), sicca syndrome (SS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), type 1 diabetes (T1D), primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), atopic dermatitis (AD), sarcoidosis, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, psoriasis, and childhood asthma. The random-effects inverse-variance weighted (IVW) method was performed as the main analytical approach in MR. Various sensitivity analyses, including MR-Egger, MR robust adjusted profile score (MR-RAPS), weighted median, MR pleiotropy residual sum and outlier (MR-PRESSO) methods, weighted mode, radial plot, and radial regression, were used to guarantee the robustness of the results and detect horizontal pleiotropy. Cochran's Q value was calculated to check for heterogeneity, and the MR Steiger approach was used to test the causal direction. Results: The MR results indicated significant inverse associations of LTL with risks of psoriasis (OR: 0.77, 95% CI: 0.66-0.89, and p = 3.66 × 10-4), SS (OR: 0.75, CI: 0.58-0.98, and p = 0.03), RA (OR: 0.77, 95% CI: 0.68-0.88, and p = 9.85 × 10-5), hypothyroidism (OR: 0.84, 95% CI: 0.78-0.91, and p = 7,08 × 10-6), hyperthyroidism (OR: 0.60, 95% CI: 0.44-0.83, and p = 1.90 × 10-3), sarcoidosis (OR: 0.67, 95% CI: 0.54-0.83, and p = 2.60 × 10-4), and IPF (OR: 0.41, 95% CI: 0.29-0.58, and p = 4.11 × 10-7) in the FinnGen study. We observed that longer LTL was associated with an increased risk of AS susceptibility (OR: 1.51, 95% CI: 1.18-1.94, and p = 9.66 × 10-4). The results of the IVW method showed no causal relationship between TL and SLE (OR: 0.92, 95% CI: 0.62-1.38, and p = 0.69) in the FinnGen study; however, a significantly positive correlation was shown between LTL and SLE in another larger GWAS (OR: 1.87, 95% CI: 1.37-2.54, and p = 8.01 × 10-5). Conclusion: Our findings reveal that abnormal LTL has the potential to increase the risk of IMIDs. Therefore, it could be treated as a predictor and may provide new potential treatment targets for IMIDs. However, the change of LTL may not be the direct cause of IMIDs. Further studies should aim at the pathogenic mechanism or potential protective effects of LTL in IMIDs.

Keywords: Mendelian randomization; causal effect; genetic variants; immune-mediated inflammatory diseases; telomere length.

PMID: 37139230 PMCID: PMC10150136 DOI: 10.3389/fgene.2023.1129247