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Previous studies found lipid levels, especially triglycerides (TG), are associated with acute pancreatitis, but their causalities and bi-directions were not fully examined. We determined whether abnormal levels of TG, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) are precursors and/or consequences of acute pancreatitis using bidirectional two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR) with two non-overlapping genome-wide association study (GWAS) summary statistics for lipid levels and acute pancreatitis. We found phenotypic associations that both higher TG levels and lower HDL-C levels contributed to increased risk of acute pancreatitis. Our GWAS meta-analysis of acute pancreatitis identified seven independent signals. Genetically predicted TG was positively associated with acute pancreatitis when using the variants specifically associated with TG using univariable MR [Odds ratio (OR), 95% CI 2.02, 1.22-3.31], but the reversed direction from acute pancreatitis to TG was not observed (mean difference = 0.003, SE = 0.002, P-value = 0.138). However, a bidirectional relationship of HDL-C and acute pancreatitis was observed: A 1-SD increment of genetically predicted HDL-C was associated with lower risk of acute pancreatitis (OR, 95% CI 0.84, 0.76-0.92) and genetically predisposed individuals with acute pancreatitis have, on average, 0.005 SD lower HDL-C (mean difference = - 0.005, SE = 0.002, P-value = 0.004). Our MR analysis confirms the evidence of TG as a risk factor of acute pancreatitis but not a consequence. A potential bidirectional relationship of HDL-C and acute pancreatitis occurs and raises the prospect of HDL-C modulation in the acute pancreatitis prevention and treatment. © 2024. The Author(s).


Biqi Wang, Jacqueline S Dron, Yuxuan Wang, Seung Hoan Choi, Jennifer E Huffman, Kelly Cho, Peter W F Wilson, Pradeep Natarajan, Gina M Peloso. Lipid levels and risk of acute pancreatitis using bidirectional Mendelian randomization. Scientific reports. 2024 Mar 15;14(1):6267

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PMID: 38491158

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