Validation of external and internal exposome of the findings associated to cerebral small vessel disease: A Mendelian randomization study
The exposome characterizes all environmental exposures and their impact on a disease. To determine the causally-associated components of the exposome for cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD), we performed mendelian randomization analysis of 5365 exposures on six clinical and subclinical CSVD measures. We found statistically significant evidence (FDR-corrected P < 0.05) that hypertension, high cholesterol, longer television-watching time, lower educational qualifications, younger age of first sexual intercourse, smoking, reduced pulmonary function, higher subjective overall health rating, and frequent tiredness were associated with increased risk of intracerebral hemorrhage or small vessel stroke. Adiposity, diabetes, frequent alcoholic drinks, higher white blood cell count and neutrophil count were significantly associated with higher risk of non-lobar hemorrhage or small vessel stroke, but not lobar hemorrhage. Hypertension, higher arm or leg fat-free mass and higher sitting height were significantly associated with higher white matter hyperintensities. The results were robust to sensitivity analyses and showed no evidence of horizontal pleiotropy. We also identified 41 exposures suggestively associated (uncorrected P < 0.05) with multiple CSVD measures as the “the CSVD exposome”. This exposome-wide association study provides insight into CSVD development and prevention.