GWAS of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Highlights Pleiotropic Effects and Inverse Association with Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is critical for normal development and metabolism. To better understand the genetic contribution to TSH levels, we conduct a GWAS meta-analysis at 22.4 million genetic markers in up to 119,715 individuals and identify 74 genome-wide significant loci for TSH, of which 28 are previously unreported. Functional experiments show that the thyroglobulin protein-altering variants P118L and G67S impact thyroglobulin secretion. Phenome-wide association analysis in the UK Biobank demonstrates the pleiotropic effects of TSH-associated variants and a polygenic score for higher TSH levels is associated with a reduced risk of thyroid cancer in the UK Biobank and three other independent studies. Two-sample Mendelian randomization using TSH index variants as instrumental variables suggests a protective effect of higher TSH levels (indicating lower thyroid function) on risk of thyroid cancer and goiter. Our findings highlight the pleiotropic effects of TSH-associated variants on thyroid function and growth of malignant and benign thyroid tumors.
Zhou, W., Brumpton, B., Kabil, O. et al. GWAS of thyroid stimulating hormone highlights pleiotropic effects and inverse association with thyroid cancer. Nat Commun 11, 3981 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-17718-z
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