Combining Mendelian randomization and network deconvolution for inference of causal networks with GWAS summary data

Zhaotong Lin, Haoran Xue, Wei Pan

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1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mendelian randomization (MR) has been increasingly applied for causal inference with observational data by using genetic variants as instrumental variables (IVs). However, the current practice of MR has been largely restricted to investigating the total causal effect between two traits, while it would be useful to infer the direct causal effect between any two of many traits (by accounting for indirect or mediating effects through other traits). For this purpose we propose a two-step approach: we first apply an extended MR method to infer (i.e. both estimate and test) a causal network of total effects among multiple traits, then we modify a graph deconvolution algorithm to infer the corresponding network of direct effects. Simulation studies showed much better performance of our proposed method than existing ones. We applied the method to 17 large-scale GWAS summary datasets (with median N = 256879 and median IVs = 48) to infer the causal networks of both total and direct effects among 11 common cardiometabolic risk factors, 4 cardiometabolic diseases (coronary artery disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, atrial fibrillation), Alzheimer's disease and asthma, identifying some interesting causal pathways. We also provide an R Shiny app (https:// zhaotongl.shinyapps.io/cMLgraph/) for users to explore any subset of the 17 traits of interest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1010762
JournalPLoS genetics
Volume19
Issue number5 May
DOIs
StatePublished - May 18 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Lin et al.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

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