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ADRA2A and IRX1 are putative risk genes for Raynaud’s phenomenon

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Hartmann, Sylvia 
Jacobs, Benjamin M.  ORCID logo
Denaxas, Spiros 


Raynaud’s phenomenon (RP) is a common vasospastic disorder that causes severe pain and ulcers, but despite its high reported heritability, no causal genes have been robustly identified. We conducted a genome-wide association study including 5,147 RP cases and 439,294 controls, based on diagnoses from electronic health records, and identified three unreported genomic regions associated with the risk of RP (p < 5 × 10−8). We prioritized ADRA2A (rs7090046, odds ratio (OR) per allele: 1.26; 95%-CI: 1.20-1.31; p < 9.6 × 10−27) and IRX1 (rs12653958, OR: 1.17; 95%-CI: 1.12–1.22, p < 4.8 × 10−13) as candidate causal genes through integration of gene expression in disease relevant tissues. We further identified a likely causal detrimental effect of low fasting glucose levels on RP risk (rG = −0.21; p-value = 2.3 × 10−3), and systematically highlighted drug repurposing opportunities, like the antidepressant mirtazapine. Our results provide the first robust evidence for a strong genetic contribution to RP and highlight a so far underrated role of α2A-adrenoreceptor signalling, encoded at ADRA2A, as a possible mechanism for hypersensitivity to catecholamine-induced vasospasms.



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Nature Communications

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Nature Publishing Group UK