Shared genetic mechanism between type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 using pathway-based association analysis

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Original languageEnglish
Article number1063519
Journal / PublicationFrontiers in Genetics
Online published22 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022



Recent studies have shown that, compared with healthy individuals, patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) suffer a higher severity and mortality of COVID-19. When infected with this retrovirus, patients with T2D are more likely to face severe complications from cytokine storms and be admitted to high-dependency or intensive care units. Some COVID-19 patients are known to suffer from various forms of acute respiratory distress syndrome and have a higher mortality risk due to extreme activation of inflammatory cascades. Using a conditional false discovery rate statistical framework, an independent genome-wide association study data on individuals presenting with T2D (N = 62,892) and COVID-19 (N = 38,984) were analysed. Genome-wide association study data from 2,343,084 participants were analysed and a significant positive genetic correlation between T2D and COVID-19 was observed (T2D: r for genetic = 0.1511, p-value = 0.01). Overall, 2 SNPs (rs505922 and rs3924604) shared in common between T2D and COVID-19 were identified. Functional analyses indicated that the overlapping loci annotated into the ABO and NUS1 genes might be implicated in several key metabolic pathways. A pathway association analysis identified two common pathways within T2D and COVID-19 pathogenesis, including chemokines and their respective receptors. The gene identified from the pathway analysis (CCR2) was also found to be highly expressed in blood tissue via the GTEx database. To conclude, this study reveals that certain chemokines and their receptors, which are directly involved in the genesis of cytokine storms, may lead to exacerbated hyperinflammation in T2D patients infected by COVID-19.

Research Area(s)

  • chemokine, COVID-19, cytokine storm, immune system, pathway analysis, SARS- CoV-2, type 2 diabetes

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