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Importance: There is some support for the existence of genetic associations between adiposity and certain hepatobiliary diseases in Western populations. However, there is little evidence of such genetic associations in China, where the causes of these diseases may differ from those in Western populations and the mean body mass index (BMI) is much lower. Objectives: To compare the observational associations of BMI with hepatobiliary diseases and liver biomarkers with the genetic associations between BMI and these factors and to assess whether the genetic associations of BMI with liver diseases differed by hepatitis B virus infection status. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study used data from the prospective China Kadoorie Biobank, including 473 938 adults aged 30 to 79 years without hepatobiliary diseases at baseline from 10 diverse areas in China from June 25, 2004, to July 15, 2008. A random sample of 75 736 participants with genotyping data was included in the Mendelian randomization analysis. Follow-up was completed January 1, 2017 (median [interquartile range] length of follow-up, 10.2 [9.2-11.1] years). Data were analyzed from January to October 2019. Exposures: Measured BMI obtained during the baseline survey and genetically instrumented BMI derived using 92 single-nucleotide variations. Main Outcomes and Measures: Incident cases of hepatobiliary diseases, liver enzymes, fatty liver index, and fibrosis score. Results: Among 473 938 individuals (276 041 [58.2%] women), the mean (SD) age was 52 (10.9) years and mean (SD) BMI was 23.8 (3.4). Baseline BMI was associated with higher risks of chronic liver disease (adjusted risk ratio per 1-SD increase, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.11 to 1.17) and gallbladder disease (adjusted risk ratio per 1-SD increase, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.27 to 1.31), with heterogeneity by disease subtype (P < .001). Genetically instrumented BMI was associated with higher risks of chronic liver disease (risk ratio per 1-SD increase, 1.55; 95% CI, 1.08 to 2.24) and gallbladder disease (risk ratio per 1-SD increase, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.11 to 1.76), with no heterogeneity between subtypes. A meta-analysis of the genetic associations in China Kadoorie Biobank and those calculated in UK Biobank gave a risk ratio of 1.55 (95% CI, 1.30 to 1.84) for chronic liver disease and 1.42 (95% CI, 1.22 to 1.64) for gallbladder disease. In the China Kadoorie Biobank study, there were positive genetic associations of BMI with liver enzymes, steatosis, and fibrosis scores, consistent with observational associations. The genetic associations of BMI with liver diseases and biomarkers did not differ by hepatitis B virus infection status. Conclusions and Relevance: In this cohort study of a relatively lean Chinese population, there were positive genetic associations of BMI with hepatobiliary diseases. These results suggest that maintaining a healthy weight through diet and physical activity may help prevent hepatobiliary diseases.

Original publication

DOI

10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.18721

Type

Journal article

Journal

JAMA Netw Open

Publication Date

01/10/2020

Volume

3