medRxiv. 2023 Sep 7:2023.09.05.23295093. doi: 10.1101/2023.09.05.23295093. Preprint.
Clonal hematopoiesis (CH), characterized by blood cells predominantly originating from a single mutated hematopoietic stem cell, is linked to diverse aging-related diseases, including hematologic malignancy and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). While CH is common among older adults, the underlying factors driving its development are largely unknown. To address this, we performed whole-exome sequencing on 8,374 blood DNA samples collected from 4,187 Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC) participants over a median follow-up of 21 years. During this period, 735 participants developed incident CH. We found that age at baseline, sex, and dyslipidemia significantly influence the incidence of CH, while ASCVD and other traditional risk factors for ASCVD did not exhibit such associations. Our study also revealed associations between germline genetic variants and incident CH, prioritizing genes in CH development. Our comprehensive longitudinal assessment yields novel insights into the factors contributing to incident CH in older adults.