Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology (Jan 2023)
Women's reproductive traits and ischemic stroke: a two‐sample Mendelian randomization study
Abstract Objective We conducted a Mendelian randomization (MR) study to disentangle causal associations between women's reproductive behaviors and ischemic stroke (IS) and investigate the roles of two modifiable risk factors (body mass index (BMI) and educational attainment (EA)) in these associations. Methods Using summary‐level data from large‐scale genome‐wide association studies, we performed univariable MR to examine whether there is genetic evidence that women's reproductive traits are causally associated with IS and its subtypes. Multivariable MR and MR mediation analysis were used to investigate whether BMI and EA are common mechanisms or mediators for these associations. A set of sensitivity analyses were conducted to test valid MR assumptions. Results We observed consistent and statistically significant associations across female and sex‐combined analyses for earlier age at first birth (AFB) and age at first sexual intercourse (AFS) with a higher risk of IS and large‐artery atherosclerotic stroke (LAS) risk in the primary analysis. The odds ratios of IS per 1 SD increase in genetically predicted early AFB and AFS were 0.93 (95% CI, 0.86–0.99; p = 0.046) and 0.83 (95% CI, 0.70–0.97, p = 0.020), respectively. Further analyses indicated that BMI played a shared role in AFS and IS/LAS while EA played a shared role in AFS/AFB and IS/LAS as well as a mediator in the path from AFS to IS/LAS. Interpretation These findings may inform prevention strategies and interventions directed toward relative women's reproductive behaviors and IS. Future studies are warranted to explore other factors related to EA which are responsible for these causalities.