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A Genome-wide Association Study for Concussion Risk

This study aimed to screen the entire genome for genetic markers associated with risk for concussion. A genome-wide association analyses was performed using data from the Kaiser Permanente Research Bank and the UK Biobank. Concussion cases were identified based on electronic health records from the Kaiser Permanente Research Bank and the UK Biobank from individuals of European ancestry. Genome-wide association analyses from both cohorts were tested for concussion using a logistic regression model adjusting for sex, height, weight, and race/ethnicity using allele counts for single nucleotide polymorphisms. Previously identified genes within the literature were also tested for association with concussion. There were a total of 4064 cases of concussion and 291,472 controls within the databases, with two single nucleotide polymorphisms demonstrating a genome-wide significant association with concussion. The first polymorphism, rs144663795 (P = 9.7 × 10-11; OR = 2.91 per allele copy), is located within the intron of SPATA5. Strong, deleterious mutations in SPATA5 cause intellectual disability, hearing loss, and vision loss. The second polymorphism, rs117985931 (P = 3.97 × 10-9; OR = 3.59 per allele copy), is located within PLXNA4. PLXNA4 plays a key role is axon outgrowth during neural development, and DNA variants in PLXNA4 are associated with risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Previous investigations have identified five candidate genes that may be associated with concussion, but none showed a significant association in the current model (P < 0.05). Two genetic markers were identified as potential risk factors for concussion and deserve further validation and investigation of molecular mechanisms.

Authors: Kim, Stuart K; Roche, Megan D; Fredericson, Michael; Dragoo, Jason L; Horton, Brandon H; Avins, Andy L; Belanger, Heather G; Ioannidis, John P A; Abrams, Geoffrey D

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2021 04 01;53(4):704-711.

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