The association between serum iron status and risk of asthma:
a 2-sample Mendelian randomization study
in descendants of Europeans.
Observational studies present conflicting results about a possible association of iron status with asthma risk, pointing to potential modifiable targets for prevention.
Scientists used the Genetics of Iron Status consortium to identify genetic variants that could be used as instrumental variables for the effect of systemic iron status. The following sets of instruments were used: a conservative set (instruments restricted to variants with concordant relations to 4 iron status biomarkers) and a liberal set (instruments selected using variants associated with at least 1 of 4 iron status biomarkers). Associations of these genetic variants with asthma risk were estimated in data from the Trans-National Asthma Genetics Consortium (TAGC) and the GABRIEL consortium (A Multidisciplinary Study to Identify the Genetic and Environmental Causes of Asthma in the European Community). Data on the association of genetic variants with iron status and with asthma were combined to assess the influence of iron status on asthma risk.
In the conservative approach, the MR OR of asthma was 1.00 (95% CI: 0.91, 1.10) per SD increase in iron, 0.96 (95% CI: 0.78, 1.18) in log-transformed ferritin, 0.99 (95% CI: 0.93, 1.06) in transferrin saturation, and 1.03 (95% CI: 0.93, 1.14) in transferrin in the TAGC dataset (none of the values were statistically significant). An age at onset-stratified analysis in the GABRIEL dataset suggested no effect of iron status in childhood onset, later onset, or unknown age at onset asthma. Findings from the liberal approach were similar, and the results persisted in sensitivity analyses (all P > 0.05).
This MR study does not provide evidence of an effect of iron status on asthma, suggesting that efforts to change iron concentrations will probably not result in decreased risk of asthma.
Huang L1,2,3, Li L1,2, Luo X1,2, Huang S1,2, Hou Q1,2, Ge X1,2, Lv Y1,2, Mo Z1, Yang X1,4.
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© 2019 American Society for Nutrition.