Multiallelic copy number variation in ORM1 is associated with plasma cell-free DNA levels as an intermediate phenotype for venous thromboembolism

Laura Martin-Fernandez, Iris Garcia-Martínez, Sonia Lopez, Angel Martinez-Perez, Noelia Vilalta, Melania Plaza, Carla Moret, Ana Viñuela, Andrew A. Brown, Nikolaos I. Panousis, Alfonso Buil, Emmanouil T. Dermitzakis, Irene Corrales, Juan Carlos Souto, Francisco Vidal, Jose Manuel Soria

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Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a common disease with high heritability. However, only a small portion of the genetic variance of VTE can be explained by known genetic risk factors. Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) have been associated with prothrombotic activity. Therefore, the genetic basis of NETs could reveal novel risk factors for VTE. A recent genome-wide association study of plasma cell-free DNA (cfDNA) levels in the Genetic Analysis of Idiopathic Thrombophilia 2 (GAIT-2) Project showed a significant associated locus near ORM1. We aimed to further explore this candidate region by next-generation sequencing, copy number variation (CNV) quantification, and expression analysis using an extreme phenotype sampling design involving 80 individuals from the GAIT-2 Project. The RETROVE study with 400 VTE cases and 400 controls was used to replicate the results. A total of 105 genetic variants and a multiallelic CNV (mCNV) spanning ORM1 were identified in GAIT-2. Of these, 17 independent common variants, a region of 22 rare variants, and the mCNV were significantly associated with cfDNA levels. In addition, eight of these common variants and the mCNV influenced ORM1 expression. The association of the mCNV and cfDNA levels was replicated in RETROVE (p-value = 1.19 × 10-6). Additional associations between the mCNV and thrombin generation parameters were identified. Our results reveal that increased mCNV dosages in ORM1 decreased gene expression and upregulated cfDNA levels. Therefore, the mCNV in ORM1 appears to be a novel marker for cfDNA levels, which could contribute to VTE risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-452
Number of pages15
JournalThrombosis and Haemostasis
Issue number4
Early online date25 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023


  • cell-free DNA
  • neutrophil extracellular traps
  • α-1-acid glycoprotein
  • venous thrombosis
  • genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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