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A genomic approach to therapeutic target validation identifies a glucose-lowering GLP1R variant protective for coronary heart disease

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mark Walker


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Regulatory authorities have indicated that new drugs to treat type 2 diabetes (T2D) should not be associated with an unacceptable increase in cardiovascular risk. Human genetics may be able to guide development of antidiabetic therapies by predicting cardiovascular and other health endpoints. We therefore investigated the association of variants in six genes that encode drug targets for obesity or T2D with a range of metabolic traits in up to 11,806 individuals by targeted exome sequencing and follow-up in 39,979 individuals by targeted genotyping, with additional in silico follow-up in consortia. We used these data to first compare associations of variants in genes encoding drug targets with the effects of pharmacological manipulation of those targets in clinical trials. We then tested the association of those variants with disease outcomes, including coronary heart disease, to predict cardiovascular safety of these agents. A low-frequency missense variant (Ala316Thr; rs10305492) in the gene encoding glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP1R), the target of GLP1R agonists, was associated with lower fasting glucose and T2D risk, consistent with GLP1R agonist therapies. The minor allele was also associated with protection against heart disease, thus providing evidence that GLP1R agonists are not likely to be associated with an unacceptable increase in cardiovascular risk. Our results provide an encouraging signal that these agents may be associated with benefit, a question currently being addressed in randomized controlled trials. Genetic variants associated with metabolic traits and multiple disease outcomes can be used to validate therapeutic targets at an early stage in the drug development process.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Scott RA, Freitag DF, Li L, Chu AY, Surendran P, Young R, Grarup N, Stancakova A, Chen YN, Varga TV, Yaghootkar H, Luan JA, Zhao JH, Willems SM, Wessel J, Wang S, Maruthur N, Michailidou K, Pirie A, van der Lee SJ, Gillson C, Al Olama AA, Amouyel P, Arriola L, Arveiler D, Aviles-Olmos I, Balkau B, Barricarte A, Barroso I, Garcia SB, Bis JC, Blankenberg S, Boehnke M, Boeing H, Boerwinkle E, Borecki IB, Bork-Jensen J, Bowden S, Caldas C, Caslake M, Cupples LA, Cruchaga C, Czajkowski J, den Hoed M, Dunn JA, Earl HM, Ehret GB, Ferrannini E, Ferrieres J, Foltynie T, Ford I, Forouhi NG, Gianfagna F, Gonzalez C, Grioni S, Hiller L, Jansson JH, Jorgensen ME, Jukema JW, Kaaks R, Kee F, Kerrison ND, Key TJ, Kontto J, Kote-Jarai Z, Kraja AT, Kuulasmaa K, Kuusisto J, Linneberg A, Liu CY, Marenne G, Mohlke KL, Morris AP, Muir K, Muller-Nurasyid M, Munroe PB, Navarro C, Nielsen SF, Nilsson PM, Nordestgaard BG, Packard CJ, Palli D, Panico S, Peloso GM, Perola M, Peters A, Poole CJ, Quiros JR, Rolandsson O, Sacerdote C, Salomaa V, Sanchez MJ, Sattar N, Sharp SJ, Sims R, Slimani N, Smith JA, Thompson DJ, Trompet S, Tumino R, van der A DL, van der Schouw YT, Virtamo J, Walker M, Walter K, Abraham JE, Amundadottir LT, Aponte JL, Butterworth A, Dupuis J, Easton DF, Eeles RA, Erdmann J, Franks PW, Frayling TM, Hansen T, Howson JMM, Jorgensen T, Kooner J, Laakso M, Langenberg C, McCarthy MI, Pankow JS, Pedersen O, Riboli E, Rotter JI, Saleheen D, Samani NJ, Schunkert H, Vollenweider P, O'Rahilly S, Deloukas P, Danesh J, Goodarzi MO, Kathiresan S, Meigs JB, Ehm MG, Wareham NJ, Waterworth DM, CVD50 Consortium, GERAD-EC Consortium, Neurology Working Grp, CHARGE, Alzheimer's Dis Genetics Consortiu, Pancreatic Canc Cohort Consortium, European Prospective Invest Into C, EPIC-InterAct, CHARGE Consortium, CHD Exome Consortium, CARDIOGRAM Exome Consortium

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Science Translational Medicine

Year: 2016

Volume: 8

Issue: 341

Print publication date: 01/06/2016

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

ISSN (print): 1946-6234

ISSN (electronic): 1946-6242

Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science


DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aad3744


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Funder referenceFunder name
MC_UU_12015/1Medical Research Council
R01 AG033193