Genome-Wide Association Meta-Analysis of Individuals of European Ancestry Identifies Suggestive Loci for Sodium Intake, Potassium Intake, and Their Ratio Measured from 24-Hour or Half-Day Urine Samples

Minjung Kho, Jennifer A Smith, Niek Verweij, Lulu Shang, Kathleen A Ryan, Wei Zhao, Erin B Ware, Ron T Gansevoort, Marguerite R Irvin, Jung Eun Lee, Stephen T Turner, Joohon Sung, Pim van der Harst, Donna K Arnett, Ana Baylin, Sung Kyun Park, Young Ah Seo, Kristen M Kelly, Yen Pei C Chang, Xiang Zhou, John C Lieske, Sharon LR Kardia (2020). The Journal of Nutrition


Background Excess sodium intake and insufficient potassium intake are risk factors for hypertension, but there is limited knowledge regarding genetic factors that influence intake. Twenty-hour or half-day urine samples provide robust estimates of sodium and potassium intake, outperforming other measures such as spot urine samples and dietary self-reporting. The aim of this study was to investigate genomic regions associated with sodium intake, potassium intake, and sodium-to-potassium ratio measured from 24-h or half-day urine samples.

Materials and Methods Using samples of European ancestry (mean age: 54.2 y; 52.3% women), we conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies in 4 cohorts with 24-h or half-day urine samples (n = 6,519), followed by gene-based analysis. Suggestive loci (P < 10−6) were examined in additional European (n = 844), African (n = 1,246), and Asian (n = 2,475) ancestry samples.

Results We found suggestive loci (P < 10−6) for all 3 traits, including 7 for 24-h sodium excretion, 4 for 24-h potassium excretion, and 4 for sodium-to-potassium ratio. The most significant locus was rs77958157 near cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript prepropeptide (CARTPT) , a gene involved in eating behavior and appetite regulation (P = 2.3 × 10−8 with sodium-to-potassium ratio). Two suggestive loci were replicated in additional samples: for sodium excretion, rs12094702 near zinc finger SWIM-type containing 5 (ZSWIM5) was replicated in the Asian ancestry sample reaching Bonferroni-corrected significance (P = 0.007), and for potassium excretion rs34473523 near sodium leak channel (NALCN) was associated at a nominal P value with potassium excretion both in European (P = 0.043) and African (P = 0.043) ancestry cohorts. Gene-based tests identified 1 significant gene for sodium excretion, CDC42 small effector 1 (CDC42SE1), which is associated with blood pressure regulation.

Conclusion We identified multiple suggestive loci for sodium and potassium intake near genes associated with eating behavior, nervous system development and function, and blood pressure regulation in individuals of European ancestry. Further research is needed to replicate these findings and to provide insight into the underlying genetic mechanisms by which these genomic regions influence sodium and potassium intake.