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Effects of pathogenic CNVs on biochemical markers: a study on the UK Biobank

By Matthew Bracher-Smith, Kimberley M Kendall, Elliott Rees, Mark Einon, Michael C O’Donovan, Michael J. Owen, George Kirov

Posted 06 Aug 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/723270

Background Pathogenic copy number variants (CNVs) increase risk for medical disorders, even among carriers free from neurodevelopmental disorders. The UK Biobank recruited half a million adults who provided samples for biochemical and haematology tests which have recently been released. We wanted to assess how the presence of pathogenic CNVs affects these biochemical test results. Methods We called all CNVs from the Affymetrix microarrays and selected a set of 54 CNVs implicated as pathogenic (including their reciprocal deletions/duplications) and present in five or more persons. We used linear regression analysis to establish their association with 28 biochemical and 23 haematology tests. Results We analysed 421k participants who passed our CNV quality control filters and self-reported as white British or Irish descent. There were 268 associations between CNVs and biomarkers that were significant at a false discovery rate of 0.05. Deletions at 16p11.2 had the highest number of significant associations, but several rare CNVs had higher effect sizes indicating that the lack of significance was likely due to the reduced statistical power for rarer events. The distribution of values can be visualised on our interactive website: <http://kirov.psycm.cf.ac.uk/>. Conclusions Carriers of many pathogenic CNVs have changes in biochemical and haematology tests, and many of those are associated with adverse health consequences. These changes did not always correlate with increases in diagnosed medical disorders in this population. Carriers should have regular blood tests in order to identify and treat adverse medical consequences early. Levels of cholesterol and related lipids were unexpectedly lower in carriers of CNVs associated with increased weight gain, most likely due to the use of statins by such people.

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