Inter-ethnic differences in genetic variants within the transmembrane protease, serine 6 (TMPRSS6) gene associated with iron status indicators: a systematic review with meta-analyses

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 3
  • SDG 2
  • Abstract:

    Transmembrane protease, serine 6 (TMPRSS6), is likely to be involved in iron metabolism through its pleiotropic effect on hepcidin concentrations. Recently, genome-wide association studies have identified common variants in the TMPRSS6 gene to be linked to anaemia and low iron status. To get a more precise evaluation of identified TMPRSS6 single nucleotide polymorphism associations with iron status in cohorts of differing continental ancestry, we conducted a systematic review with meta-analyses. We searched the literature using HuGE Navigator, Pubmed and Scopus databases for primarily genome-wide association studies using TMPRSS6 as a free term. Fixed-effects meta-analysis was used to obtain summary estimates of associations. Eleven studies comprised Caucasian populations, four included an Asian population and one study included an African-American population. Differences in minor allele frequencies of 8 TMPRSS6 SNPs (rs855791, rs4820268, rs2111833, rs1421312, rs228921, rs228918, rs228919 and rs575620) across ethnic groups were observed, with the MAF of rs855791 significantly higher in Asian populations than in Caucasians (0.55 vs 0.42, P < 0.0001). In the meta-analysis, the A allele of rs855791 was associated with lower Hb and ferritin concentrations in all populations. This allele was also associated with increased serum transferrin receptor and transferrin concentrations. We observed similar associations for the G allele in rs4820268. Clear disparities in associations were found for the African-American population, although not statistically significant. Associations between TMPRSS6 SNPs and anaemia are consistent across Caucasian and Asian populations. This study highlights the need to conduct studies in African populations where iron deficiency is of utmost public health significance.