Genome-wide association reveals that common genetic variation in the kallikrein-kinin system is associated with serum L-arginine levels.
Thrombosis and haemostasis 2016 ; 116: 1041-1049.
DOI : 10.1160/TH16-02-0151
PubMed ID : 27656708
PMCID : PMC6215702
L-arginine is the essential precursor of nitric oxide, and is involved in multiple key physiological processes, including vascular and immune function. The genetic regulation of blood L-arginine levels is largely unknown. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify genetic factors determining serum L-arginine levels, amongst 901 Europeans and 1,394 Indian Asians. We show that common genetic variations at the KLKB1 and F12 loci are strongly associated with serum L-arginine levels. The G allele of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs71640036 (T/G) in KLKB1 is associated with lower serum L-arginine concentrations (10 µmol/l per allele copy, p=1×10), while allele T of rs2545801 (T/C) near the F12 gene is associated with lower serum L-arginine levels (7 µmol/l per allele copy, p=7×10). Together these two loci explain 7 % of the total variance in serum L-arginine concentrations. The associations at both loci were replicated in independent cohorts with plasma L-arginine measurements (p<0.004). The two sentinel SNPs are in nearly complete LD with the nonsynonymous SNP rs3733402 at KLKB1 and the 5'-UTR SNP rs1801020 at F12, respectively. SNPs at both loci are associated with blood pressure. Our findings provide new insight into the genetic regulation of L-arginine and its potential relationship with cardiovascular risk.