Data_Sheet_1_Relationship of Soluble Interleukin-6 Receptors With Asthma: A Mendelian Randomization Study.docx
Purpose: Emerging evidence suggests a potential role of interleukin-6 pathways—trans-signaling with soluble interleukin-6 receptors—in the asthma pathobiology. Despite the evidence for their associations with asthma, the causal role of soluble interleukin-6 receptors remains uncertain. We investigated the relations of soluble interleukin-6 receptors with asthma and its major phenotypes.
Methods: We conducted a two-sample Mendelian randomization study. As genetic instruments, we selected 33 independent cis-acting variants strongly associated with the level of plasma soluble interleukin-6 receptor in the INTERVAL study. To investigate the association of variants with asthma and its phenotypes, we used genome-wide association study data from the UK Biobank. We combined variant-specific causal estimates by the inverse-variance weighted method for each outcome.
Results: Genetically-instrumented soluble interleukin-6 receptor level was associated with a significantly higher risk of overall asthma (OR per one standard deviation increment in inverse-rank normalized soluble interleukin-6 receptor level, 1.02; 95%CI, 1.01–1.03; P = 0.004). Sensitivity analyses demonstrated consistent results and indicated no directional pleiotropy—e.g., MR-Egger (OR, 1.03; 95%CI, 1.01–1.05; P = 0.002; Pintercept =0.37). In the stratified analysis, the significant association persisted across asthma phenotypes—e.g., childhood asthma (OR, 1.05; 95%CI, 1.02–1.08; P < 0.001) and obese asthma (OR, 1.02; 95%CI 1.01–1.03; P = 0.007). Sensitivity analysis using 16 variants selected with different thresholds also demonstrated significant associations with overall asthma and its phenotypes.
Conclusion: Genetically-instrumented soluble interleukin-6 receptor level was causally associated with modestly but significantly higher risks of asthma and its phenotypes. Our observations support further investigations into identifying specific endotypes in which interleukin-6 pathways may play major roles.
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