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By Luke C Pilling, Janice L Atkins, Kirsty Bowman, Samuel E. Jones, Jessica Tyrrell, RN Beaumont, Katherine S. Ruth, Marcus A. Tuke, Hanieh Yaghootkar, Andrew R. Wood, RM Freathy, Anna Murray, Michael N Weedon, Luting Xue, Kathryn Lunetta, Joanne M Murabito, Lorna W Harries, Jean-Marie Robine, Carol Brayne, George A Kuchel, Luigi Ferrucci, TM Frayling, David Melzer

Posted 01 Feb 2016
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/038430 (published DOI: 10.18632/aging.100930)

Variation in human lifespan is 20 to 30% heritable but few genetic variants have been identified. We undertook a Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) using age at death of parents of middle-aged UK Biobank participants of European decent (n=75,244 with father's and/or mother's data). Genetic risk scores for 19 phenotypes (n=777 proven variants) were also tested. Genotyped variants (n=845,997) explained 10.2% (SD=1.3%) of combined parental longevity. In GWAS, a locus in the nicotine receptor CHRNA3 - previously associated with increased smoking and lung cancer - was associated with paternal age at death, with each protective allele (rs1051730[G]) being associated with 0.03 years later age at father's death (p=3x10-8). Offspring of longer lived parents had more protective alleles (lower genetic risk scores) for coronary artery disease, systolic blood pressure, body mass index, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, type-1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and Alzheimer's disease. In candidate gene analyses, variants in the TOMM40/APOE locus were associated with longevity (including rs429358, p=3x10-5), but FOXO variants were not associated. These results support a multiple protective factors model for achieving longer lifespans in humans, with a prominent role for cardiovascular-related pathways. Several of these genetically influenced risks, including blood pressure and tobacco exposure, are potentially modifiable.

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