Genetic variants associated with platelet count are predictive of human disease and physiological markers

Evgenia Mikaelsdottir*, Gudmar Thorleifsson, Lilja Stefansdottir, Gisli Halldorsson, Jon K. Sigurdsson, Sigrun H. Lund, Vinicius Tragante, Pall Melsted, Solvi Rognvaldsson, Kristjan Norland, Anna Helgadottir, Magnus K. Magnusson, Gunnar B. Ragnarsson, Sigurdur Y. Kristinsson, Sigrun Reykdal, Brynjar Vidarsson, Ingibjorg J. Gudmundsdottir, Isleifur Olafsson, Pall T. Onundarson, Olof SigurdardottirEmil L. Sigurdsson, Gerdur Grondal, Arni J. Geirsson, Gudmundur Geirsson, Julius Gudmundsson, Hilma Holm, Saedis Saevarsdottir, Ingileif Jonsdottir, Gudmundur Thorgeirsson, Daniel F. Gudbjartsson, Unnur Thorsteinsdottir, Thorunn Rafnar, Kari Stefansson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Platelets play an important role in hemostasis and other aspects of vascular biology. We conducted a meta-analysis of platelet count GWAS using data on 536,974 Europeans and identified 577 independent associations. To search for mechanisms through which these variants affect platelets, we applied cis-expression quantitative trait locus, DEPICT and IPA analyses and assessed genetic sharing between platelet count and various traits using polygenic risk scoring. We found genetic sharing between platelet count and counts of other blood cells (except red blood cells), in addition to several other quantitative traits, including markers of cardiovascular, liver and kidney functions, height, and weight. Platelet count polygenic risk score was predictive of myeloproliferative neoplasms, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, hypertension, and benign prostate hyperplasia. Taken together, these results advance understanding of diverse aspects of platelet biology and how they affect biological processes in health and disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1132
Pages (from-to)1132
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Other keywords

  • Biomarkers
  • Genetic Variation
  • Platelet Count
  • Phenotype
  • Biomarkers/analysis
  • Humans
  • Female
  • Male
  • Quantitative Trait Loci


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