Background: Clostridioides difficile is a major cause of healthcare-associated and community-acquired diarrhea. Host genetic susceptibility to Clostridioides difficile infection has not been studied on a large-scale. Methods: A total of 1,160 Clostridioides difficile infection cases and 15,304 controls were identified by applying the eMERGE Clostridioides difficile infection algorithm to electronic health record data. A genome-wide association study was performed using a linear mixed model, adjusted for significant covariates in the full dataset and the antibiotic subgroup. Colocalization and MetaXcan were performed to identify potential target genes in Clostridioides difficile infection - relevant tissue types. Results: No significant genome-wide association was found in the meta-analyses of the full Clostridioides difficile infection dataset. One genome-wide significant variant, rs114751021, was identified (OR = 2.42; 95%CI = 1.84-3.11; p=4.50 x 10-8) at the major histocompatibility complex region associated with Clostridioides difficile infection in the antibiotic group. Colocalization and MetaXcan identified MICA, C4A/C4B, and NOTCH4 as potential target genes. Down-regulation of MICA, upregulation of C4A and NOTCH4 was associated with a higher risk for Clostridioides difficile infection. Conclusions: Leveraging the EHR and genetic data, genome-wide association, and fine-mapping techniques, this study identified variants and genes associated with Clostridioides difficile infection, provided insights into host immune mechanisms, and described the potential for novel treatment strategies for Clostridioides difficile infection. Future replication and functional validation are needed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy