ABO blood group is associated with differences in lifespan, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers, for reasons which are incompletely understood. To gain sex-specific additional insight about potential mechanisms driving these common conditions for future interventions, we characterized associations of ABO blood group antigen across the phenotype sex-specifically.
We performed a phenome-wide association study (PheWAS) assessing the association of tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for ABO blood group antigens (O, B, A, and A) with 3873 phenotypes.
The tag SNP for the O antigen was inversely associated with diseases of the circulatory system (particularly deep vein thrombosis (DVT)), total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and ovarian cancer, and positively associated with erythrocyte traits, leukocyte counts, diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and healthy body composition; the tag SNP for the A antigen tended to have associations in reverse to O. Stronger associations were more apparent for men than women for DVT, DBP, leukocyte traits, and some body composition traits, whereas larger effect sizes were found for women than men for some erythrocyte and lipid traits.
Blood group has a complex association with cardiovascular diseases and its major risk factors, including blood pressure and lipids, as well as with blood cell traits and body composition, with some differences by sex. Lower LDL-C may underlie some of the benefits of blood group O, but the complexity of associations with blood group antigen suggests overlooked drivers of common chronic diseases.