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Genetics of varicose veins reveals polygenic architecture and genetic overlap with arterial and venous disease

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Journal Name
Nature Cardiovascular Research
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Varicose veins represent a common cause of cardiovascular morbidity, with limited available medical therapies. Although varicose veins are heritable and epidemiologic studies have identified several candidate varicose vein risk factors, the molecular and genetic basis remains uncertain. Here we analyzed the contribution of common genetic variants to varicose veins using data from the Veterans Affairs Million Veteran Program and four other large biobanks. Among 49,765 individuals with varicose veins and 1,334,301 disease-free controls, we identified 139 risk loci. We identified genetic overlap between varicose veins, other vascular diseases and dozens of anthropometric factors. Using Mendelian randomization, we prioritized therapeutic targets via integration of proteomic and transcriptomic data. Finally, topological enrichment analyses confirmed the biologic roles of endothelial shear flow disruption, inflammation, vascular remodeling and angiogenesis. These findings may facilitate future efforts to develop nonsurgical therapies for varicose veins.