Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and cardiovascular disease risk: a Mendelian randomisation study.
OBJECTIVE: Observational studies show that hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDPs) are related to unfavourable maternal cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk profiles later in life. We investigated whether genetic liability to pre-eclampsia/eclampsia and gestational hypertension is associated with CVD risk factors and occurrence of CVD events. METHODS: We obtained genetic associations with HDPs from a genome-wide association study and used individual participant data from the UK Biobank to obtain genetic associations with CVD risk factors and CVD events (defined as myocardial infarction or stroke). In our primary analysis, we applied Mendelian randomisation using inverse-variance weighted regression analysis in ever pregnant women. In sensitivity analyses, we studied men and nulligravidae to investigate genetic liability to HDPs and CVD risk without the ability to experience the underlying phenotype. RESULTS: Our primary analysis included 221 155 ever pregnant women (mean age 56.8 (SD 7.9) years) with available genetic data. ORs for CVD were 1.20 (1.02 to 1.41) and 1.24 (1.12 to 1.38) per unit increase in the log odds of genetic liability to pre-eclampsia/eclampsia and gestational hypertension, respectively. Furthermore, genetic liability to HDPs was associated with higher levels of systolic and diastolic blood pressure and younger age at hypertension diagnosis. Sensitivity analyses revealed no statistically significant differences when comparing the findings with those of nulligravidae and men. CONCLUSIONS: Genetic liability to HDPs is associated with higher CVD risk, lower blood pressure levels and earlier hypertension diagnosis. Our study suggests similar findings in ever pregnant women, nulligravidae and men, implying biological mechanisms relating to HDPs are causally related to CVD risk.
Peer reviewed: True
Acknowledgements: This research has been conducted using the UKB Resource (application number 29916). We are extremely grateful to all participants in the UKB.