Background The prevalence of non-tuberculous mycobacterial pulmonary disease (NTM-PD) is increasing in South Korea and many parts of the world. However, the genetic factors underlying susceptibility to this disease remain elusive. Methods To identify genetic variants in patients with NTM-PD, we performed a genome-wide association study with 403 Korean patients with NTM-PD and 306 healthy controls from the Healthy Twin Study, Korea cohort. Candidate variants from the discovery cohort were subsequently validated in an independent cohort. The Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) database was used to identify expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) and to conduct Mendelian randomisation (MR). Results We identified a putatively significant locus on chromosome 7p13, rs849177 (OR, 2.34; 95% CI, 1.71 to 3.21; p=1.36×10-7), as the candidate genetic variant associated with NTM-PD susceptibility. Its association was subsequently replicated and the combined p value was 4.92×10-8. The eQTL analysis showed that a risk allele at rs849177 was associated with lower expression levels of STK17A, a proapoptotic gene. In the MR analysis, a causal effect of STK17A on NTM-PD development was identified (β,-4.627; 95% CI,-8.768 to-0.486; p=0.029). Conclusions The 7p13 genetic variant might be associated with susceptibility to NTM-PD in the Korean population by altering the expression level of STK17A.
- atypical mycobacterial infection