Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is a mesenchyme-derived pleiotropic factor that regulates cell growth, motility, mitogenesis, and morphogenesis in a variety of cells, and increased serum levels of HGF have been linked to a number of clinical and subclinical cardiovascular disease phenotypes. However, little is currently known regarding which genetic factors influence HGF levels, despite evidence of substantial genetic contributions to HGF variation. Based upon ethnicity-stratified single-variant association analysis and trans-ethnic meta-analysis of 6201 participants of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), we discovered five statistically significant common and low-frequency variants: HGF missense polymorphism rs5745687 (p.E299K) as well as four variants (rs16844364, rs4690098, rs114303452, rs3748034) within or in proximity to HGFAC. We also identified two significant ethnicity-specific gene-level associations (A1BG in African Americans; FASN in Chinese Americans) based upon low-frequency/rare variants, while meta-analysis of gene-level results identified a significant association for HGFAC. However, identified single-variant associations explained modest proportions of the total trait variation and were not significantly associated with coronary artery calcium or coronary heart disease. Our findings indicate that genetic factors influencing circulating HGF levels may be complex and ethnically diverse.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/University College London.
- Genetic association
- Genome-wide analysis