Platelets are believed to be critical in pulmonary-origin ARDS as mediators of endothelial damage through their interactions with fibrinogen and multiple signal transduction pathways. A prior meta-analysis identified five loci for platelet count (PLT): BAD, LRRC16A, CD36, JMJD1C, and SLMO2. This study aims to validate the quantitative trait loci (QTLs) of PLT within BAD, LRRC16A, CD36, JMJD1C, and SLMO2 among critically ill patients and to investigate the associations of these QTLs with ARDS risk that may be mediated through PLT.
ARDS cases and at-risk control subjects were recruited from the intensive care unit of the Massachusetts General Hospital. Exome-wide genotyping data of 629 ARDS cases and 1,026 at-risk control subjects and genome-wide gene expression profiles of 18 at-risk control subjects were generated for analysis.
Single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs7766874 within LRRC16A was a significant locus for PLT among at-risk control subjects (β = −13.00; 95% CI, −23.22 to −2.77; P = .013). This association was validated using LRRC16A gene expression data from at-risk control subjects (β = 77.03 per 1 SD increase of log2-transformed expression; 95% CI, 27.26-126.80; P = .005). Further, rs7766874 was associated with ARDS risk conditioned on PLT (OR = 0.68; 95% CI, 0.51-0.90; P = .007), interacting with PLT (OR = 1.15 per effect allele per 100 × 103/μL of PLT; 95% CI, 1.03-1.30; P = .015), and mediated through PLT (indirect OR = 1.045; 95% CI, 1.007-1.085; P = .021).
Our findings support the role of LRRC16A in platelet formation and suggest the importance of LRRC16A in ARDS pathophysiology by interacting with, and being mediated through, platelets.