GlycA and CRP Are Genetically Correlated: Insight into the Genetic Architecture of Inflammageing

Melody Kasher, Maxim B. Freidin, Frances M.K. Williams, Gregory Livshits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inflammageing is a condition of perpetual low-grade inflammation induced by ageing. Inflammageing may be predicted by the C-reactive protein (CRP) or by a recently described biomarker which measures N-glycosylated side chains of the carbohydrate component of several acute-phase proteins known as GlycA. The objective of this study was to examine in depth the genetic relationships between CRP and GlycA as well as between each of them and other selected cytokines, which may shed light on the mechanisms of inflammageing. Using the Olink 96 Inflammation panel, data on inflammatory mediators for 1518 twins from the TwinsUK dataset were acquired. Summary statistics for genome-wide association studies for several cytokines as well as CRP and GlycA were collected from public sources. Extensive genetic correlation analyses, colocalization and genetic enrichment analyses were carried out to detect the shared genetic architecture between GlycA and CRP. Mendelian randomization was carried out to assess potential causal relationships. GlycA predicted examined cytokines with a magnitude twice as great as that of CRP. GlycA and CRP were significantly genetically correlated (Rg = 0.4397 ± 0.0854, p-value = 2.60 × 10−7). No evidence of a causal relationship between GlycA and CRP, or between these two biomarkers and the cytokines assessed was obtained. However, the aforementioned relationships were explained well by horizontal pleiotropy. Five exonic genetic variants annotated to five genes explain the shared genetic architecture observed between GlycA and CRP: IL6R, GCKR, MLXIPL, SERPINA1, and MAP1A. GlycA and CRP possess a shared genetic architecture, but the relationship between them appears to be modest, which may imply the promotion of differing inflammatory pathways. GlycA appears to be a more robust predictor of cytokines compared to CRP.

Original languageEnglish
Article number563
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024


  • C-reactive protein
  • cytokines
  • genetic association
  • glycoprotein acetyls
  • inflammageing


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