Initial Assessment of the Pathogenic Mechanisms of the Recently Identified Alzheimer Risk Loci

Department of Molecular Neuroscience, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, UK.
Annals of Human Genetics (Impact Factor: 2.21). 01/2013; 77(2). DOI: 10.1111/ahg.12000
Source: PubMed


Recent genome wide association studies have identified CLU, CR1, ABCA7 BIN1, PICALM and MS4A6A/MS4A6E in addition to the long established APOE, as loci for Alzheimer's disease. We have systematically examined each of these loci to assess whether common coding variability contributes to the risk of disease. We have also assessed the regional expression of all the genes in the brain and whether there is evidence of an eQTL explaining the risk. In agreement with other studies we find that coding variability may explain the ABCA7 association, but common coding variability does not explain any of the other loci. We were not able to show that any of the loci had eQTLs within the power of this study. Furthermore the regional expression of each of the loci did not match the pattern of brain regional distribution in Alzheimer pathology. Although these results are mainly negative, they allow us to start defining more realistic alternative approaches to determine the role of all the genetic loci involved in Alzheimer's disease.

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Available from: Jason J Corneveaux, Sep 22, 2014
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    • "The exact relationship between CR1 function and LOAD is still unclear [20, 21]. Evidence for a role in brain vasculature as a means to mediate LOAD risk has been provided by Holton et al. [22], who were able to detect low CR1 expression in white matter and cerebellum. Individuals with the genotype pattern PICALM-GG, CR1-GG, APOE*4 had decreased episodic memory, an endophenotype of LOAD, regardless of their affection status, providing further evidence of CR1’s role in LOAD risk [23]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease with no effective treatment or cure. In addition to APOE, recent large genome-wide association studies have identified variation in over 20 loci that contribute to disease risk: CR1, BIN1, INPP5D, MEF2C, TREM2, CD2AP, HLA-DRB1/HLA-DRB5, EPHA1, NME8, ZCWPW1, CLU, PTK2B, PICALM, SORL1, CELF1, MS4A4/MS4A6E, SLC24A4/RIN3,FERMT2, CD33, ABCA7, CASS4. In addition, rare variants associated with LOAD have also been identified in APP, TREM2 and PLD3 genes. Previous research has identified inflammatory response, lipid metabolism and homeostasis, and endocytosis as the likely modes through which these gene products participate in Alzheimer's disease. Despite the clustering of these genes across a few common pathways, many of their roles in disease pathogenesis have yet to be determined. In this review, we examine both general and postulated disease functions of these genes and consider a comprehensive view of their potential roles in LOAD risk.
    06/2014; 2(2):85-101. DOI:10.1007/s40142-014-0034-x
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    • "ABCA7 protein, which is highly homologous to ABCA1, may be involved in the synthesis and transport of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and generate phospholipid and cholesterol efflux from the cells. It can also play a key role in sterol homeostasis and in the host defense system.171,172 The two variants (rs3752246 and rs3764650) in ABCA7 have been suggested to be associated with LOAD.171 "
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a complex and heterogeneous neurodegenerative disorder, classified as either early onset (under 65 years of age), or late onset (over 65 years of age). Three main genes are involved in early onset AD: amyloid precursor protein (APP), presenilin 1 (PSEN1), and presenilin 2 (PSEN2). The apolipoprotein E (APOE) E4 allele has been found to be a main risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer's disease. Additionally, genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have identified several genes that might be potential risk factors for AD, including clusterin (CLU), complement receptor 1 (CR1), phosphatidylinositol binding clathrin assembly protein (PICALM), and sortilin-related receptor (SORL1). Recent studies have discovered additional novel genes that might be involved in late-onset AD, such as triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) and cluster of differentiation 33 (CD33). Identification of new AD-related genes is important for better understanding of the pathomechanisms leading to neurodegeneration. Since the differential diagnoses of neurodegenerative disorders are difficult, especially in the early stages, genetic testing is essential for diagnostic processes. Next-generation sequencing studies have been successfully used for detecting mutations, monitoring the epigenetic changes, and analyzing transcriptomes. These studies may be a promising approach toward understanding the complete genetic mechanisms of diverse genetic disorders such as AD.
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    ABSTRACT: Designers of clinical trials for Alzheimer's disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are actively considering structural and functional neuroimaging, cerebrospinal fluid and genetic biomarkers to reduce the sample sizes needed to detect therapeutic effects. Genetic pre-selection, however, has been limited to Apolipoprotein E (ApoE). Recently discovered polymorphisms in the CLU, CR1 and PICALM genes are also moderate risk factors for AD; each affects lifetime AD risk by ~ 10-20%. Here, we tested the hypothesis that pre-selecting subjects based on these variants along with ApoE genotype would further boost clinical trial power, relative to considering ApoE alone, using an MRI-derived 2-year atrophy rate as our outcome measure. We ranked subjects from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) based on their cumulative risk from these four genes. We obtained sample size estimates in cohorts enriched in subjects with greater aggregate genetic risk. Enriching for additional genetic biomarkers reduced the required sample sizes by up to 50%, for MCI trials. Thus, AD drug trial enrichment with multiple genotypes may have potential implications for the timeliness, cost, and power of trials.
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