Causal Association of Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Lifestyle Behaviors With Peripheral Artery Disease: A Mendelian Randomization Approach

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BACKGROUND: We investigated the causal associations between the genetic liability to cardiovascular and lifestyle risk factors and peripheral artery disease (PAD), using a Mendelian randomization approach. METHODS AND RESULTS: We performed a 2-sample inverse-variance weighted Mendelian randomization analysis, multiple sensitivity analyses to assess pleiotropy and multivariate Mendelian randomization analyses to assess mediating/confounding fac-tors. European-ancestry genomic summary data (P<5×10 −8) for type 2 diabetes, lipid-fractions, smoking, alcohol and coffee consumption, physical activity, sleep, and education level were selected. Genetic associations with PAD were extracted from the Million-Veteran-Program genome-wide association studies (cases=31 307, controls=211 753, 72% European-ancestry) and the GoLEAD-SUMMIT genome-wide association studies (11 independent genome-wide association studies, European-ancestry, cases=12 086, controls=449 548). Associations were categorized as robust (Bonferroni-significant (P<0.00294), consistent over PAD-cohorts/sensitivity analyses), suggestive (P value: 0.00294– 0.05, associations in 1 PAD-cohort/ inconsistent sensitivity analyses) or not present. Robust evidence for genetic liability to type 2 diabetes, smoking, insom-nia, and inverse associations for higher education level with PAD were found. Suggestive evidence for the genetic liability to higher low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglyceride-levels, alcohol consumption, and inverse associations for high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and increased sleep duration were found. No associations were found for physical activity and coffee consumption. However, effects fully attenuated for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides after correcting for apoB, and for insomnia after correcting for body mass index and lipid-fractions. Nonsignificant attenuation by potential media-tors was observed for education level and type 2 diabetes. CONCLUSIONS: Detrimental effects of smoking and type 2 diabetes, but not of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyc-erides, on PAD were confirmed. Lower education level and insomnia were identified as novel risk factors for PAD; however, complete mediation for insomnia and incomplete mediation for education level by downstream risk factors was observed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere025644
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2022


  • cardiometabolic risk factors
  • cigarette smoking
  • education
  • health risk behaviors
  • hypercholesterolemia
  • mendelian randomization analysis
  • peripheral artery disease

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