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26-07-2023 | Systemic Lupus Erythematosus | ORIGINAL ARTICLE

No evidence of genetic causal association between sex hormone-related traits and systemic lupus erythematosus: A two-sample Mendelian randomization study

Authors: Guolian Yuan, Mingyi Yang, Jiale Xie, Ke Xu, Feng Zhang

Published in: Clinical Rheumatology | Issue 12/2023

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Abstract

Objective

Previous studies have demonstrated an association between sex hormone-related traits and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). However, because of the difficulties in determining sequential temporality, the causal association remains elusive. In this study, we used two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR) to explore the genetic causal associations between sex hormone-related traits and SLE.

Methods

We used a two-sample MR to explore the causal association between sex hormone-related traits and SLE. The summarized data for sex hormone-related traits (including testosterone, estradiol (E2), sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), and bioavailable testosterone (BT)) originated from large genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of European descent. Aggregated data for SLE were derived from the FinnGen consortium (835 cases and 300,162 controls). Random-effects inverse-variance weighted (IVW), MR-Egger, weighted median, simple mode, weighted mode, and fixed-effects IVW methods were used for the MR analysis. Random-effects IVW was the primary method used to analyze the genetic causal association between sex hormone-related traits and SLE. Heterogeneity of the MR results was detected using the IVW Cochran’s Q estimates. The pleiotropy of MR results was detected using MR-Egger regression and the MR pleiotropy residual sum and outlier (MR-PRESSO) test. Finally, leave-one-out analysis was performed to determine whether MR results were affected by a single single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP).

Results

Random-effects IVW as the primary method showed that testosterone (odds ratio (OR), 0.87; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.41–1.82; P = 0.705), E2 (OR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.73–1.23; P = 0.693), SHBG (OR, 1.25; 95% CI, 0.74–2.13; P = 0.400), and BT (OR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.67–1.47; P = 0.959) had no potential causal association with SLE. The MR-Egger, weighted median, simple mode, weighted mode, and fixed-effects IVW methods all indicated consistent results. The results of the MR-Egger regression showed that there was no pleiotropy in our MR analysis (P > 0.05). The IVW Cochran’s Q estimates showed that the MR analysis results of E2, SHBG, and BT on SLE had no heterogeneity (P > 0.05), but testosterone and SLE had heterogeneity (P < 0.05). The leave-one-out analysis confirmed that a single SNP did not affect the MR results.

Conclusions

Our MR analysis demonstrated that genetically predicted testosterone, E2, SHBG, and BT levels were not associated with SLE risk, but the roles of other non-genetic pathways cannot be ruled out.
Key Points
This is the first MR study to explore the causal association of sex hormone-related traits with SLE.
No evidence to support causal associations between sex hormone-related traits and SLE.
Our MR analysis may provide novel insights into the causal association between sex hormone-related traits and SLE risk.
Appendix
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Metadata
Title
No evidence of genetic causal association between sex hormone-related traits and systemic lupus erythematosus: A two-sample Mendelian randomization study
Authors
Guolian Yuan
Mingyi Yang
Jiale Xie
Ke Xu
Feng Zhang
Publication date
26-07-2023
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Published in
Clinical Rheumatology / Issue 12/2023
Print ISSN: 0770-3198
Electronic ISSN: 1434-9949
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10067-023-06700-x

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