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Stochastic imputation for integrated transcriptome association analysis of a longitudinally measured trait.

Abstract

The mechanistic pathways linking genetic polymorphisms and complex disease traits remain largely uncharacterized. At the same time, expansive new transcriptome data resources offer unprecedented opportunity to unravel the mechanistic underpinnings of complex disease associations. Two-stage strategies involving conditioning on a single, penalized regression imputation for transcriptome association analysis have been described for cross-sectional traits. In this manuscript, we propose an alternative two-stage approach based on stochastic regression imputation that additionally incorporates error in the predictive model. Application of a bootstrap procedure offers flexibility when a closed form predictive distribution is not available. The two-stage strategy is also generalized to longitudinally measured traits, using a linear mixed effects modeling framework and a composite test statistic to evaluate whether the genetic component of gene-level expression modifies the biomarker trajectory over time. Simulations studies are performed to evaluate relative performance with respect to type-1 error rates, coverage, estimation error, and power under a range of conditions. A case study is presented to investigate the association between whole blood expression for each of five inflammasome genes with inflammatory response over time after endotoxin challenge.

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