Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is an unpredictable, potentially catastrophic adverse effect of heparin treatment resulting from an immune response to platelet factor 4 (PF4)/heparin complexes. No genome-wide evaluations have been performed to identify potential genetic influences on HIT. Here, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and candidate gene study using HIT cases and controls identified using electronic medical records (EMRs) coupled to a DNA biobank and attempted to replicate GWAS associations in an independent cohort. We subsequently investigated influences of GWAS-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on PF4/heparin antibodies in non-heparin treated individuals. In a recessive model, we observed significant SNP associations (odds ratio [OR] 18.52; 95% confidence interval [CI] 6.33–54.23; p=3.18×10–9) with HIT near the T-Cell Death-Associated Gene 8 (TDAG8). These SNPs are in linkage disequilibrium with a missense TDAG8 SNP. TDAG8 SNPs trended toward an association with HIT in replication analysis (OR 5.71; 0.47–69.22; p=0.17), and the missense SNP was associated with PF4/heparin antibody levels and positive PF4/heparin antibodies in non-heparin treated patients (OR 3.09; 1.14–8.13; p=0.02). In the candidate gene study, SNPs at HLA-DRA were nominally associated with HIT (OR 0.25; 0.15–0.44; p=2.06×10–6). Further study of TDAG8 and HLA-DRA SNPs is warranted to assess their influence on the risk of developing HIT.
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