Integrative genomics identifies 7p11.2 as a novel locus for fever and clinical stress response in humans.


Fever predicts clinical outcomes in sepsis, trauma and during cardiovascular stress, yet the genetic determinants are poorly understood. We used an integrative genomics approach to identify novel genomic determinants of the febrile response to experimental endotoxemia. We highlight multiple integrated lines of evidence establishing the clinical relevance of this novel fever locus. Through genome-wide association study (GWAS) of evoked endotoxemia (lipopolysaccharide (LPS) 1 ng/kg IV) in healthy subjects of European ancestry we discovered a locus on chr7p11.2 significantly associated with the peak febrile response to LPS (top single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs7805622, P = 2.4 × 10(-12)), as well as with temperature fluctuation over time. We replicated this association in a smaller independent LPS study (rs7805622, P = 0.03). In clinical translation, this locus was also associated with temperature and mortality in critically ill patients with trauma or severe sepsis. The top GWAS SNPs are not located within protein-coding genes, but have significant cis-expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) associations with expression of a cluster of genes ∼400 kb upstream, several of which (SUMF2, CCT6A, GBAS) are regulated by LPS in vivo in blood cells. LPS- and cold-treatment of adipose stromal cells in vitro suggest genotype-specific modulation of eQTL candidate genes (PSPH). Several eQTL genes were up-regulated in brown and white adipose following cold exposure in mice, highlighting a potential role in thermogenesis. Thus, through genomic interrogation of experimental endotoxemia, we identified and replicated a novel fever locus on chr7p11.2 that modulates clinical responses in trauma and sepsis, and highlight integrated in vivo and in vitro evidence for possible novel cis candidate genes conserved across human and mouse.