INTRODUCTION - African Americans have a higher incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) than European descent individuals. However, the typical genetic risk factors in populations of European descent are nearly absent in African Americans, and population-specific genetic factors influencing the higher VTE rate are not well characterized.
METHODS - We performed a candidate gene analysis on an exome-sequenced African American family with recurrent VTE and identified a variant in Protein S (PROS1) V510M (rs138925964). We assessed the population impact of PROS1 V510M using a multicenter African American cohort of 306 cases with VTE compared to 370 controls. Additionally, we compared our case cohort to a background population cohort of 2203 African Americans in the NHLBI GO Exome Sequencing Project (ESP).
RESULTS - In the African American family with recurrent VTE, we found prior laboratories for our cases indicating low free Protein S levels, providing functional support for PROS1 V510M as the causative mutation. Additionally, this variant was significantly enriched in the VTE cases of our multicenter case-control study (Fisher's Exact Test, P = 0.0041, OR = 4.62, 95% CI: 1.51-15.20; allele frequencies - cases: 2.45%, controls: 0.54%). Similarly, PROS1 V510M was also enriched in our VTE case cohort compared to African Americans in the ESP cohort (Fisher's Exact Test, P = 0.010, OR = 2.28, 95% CI: 1.26-4.10).
CONCLUSIONS - We found a variant, PROS1 V510M, in an African American family with VTE and clinical laboratory abnormalities in Protein S. Additionally, we found that this variant conferred increased risk of VTE in a case-control study of African Americans. In the ESP cohort, the variant is nearly absent in ESP European descent subjects (n = 3, allele frequency: 0.03%). Additionally, in 1000 Genomes Phase 3 data, the variant only appears in African descent populations. Thus, PROS1 V510M is a population-specific genetic risk factor for VTE in African Americans.