A multi-center study of ACE and the risk of late-onset Alzheimer's disease

Department of Clinical Chemistry, Institute of Genetics, Queen's Medical Centre, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.
Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD (Impact Factor: 4.15). 02/2011; 24(3):587-97. DOI: 10.3233/JAD-2011-101914
Source: PubMed


A key pathological feature of late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) is the abnormal extracellular accumulation of the amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide. Thus, altered Aβ degradation could be a major contributor to the development of LOAD. Variants in the gene encoding the Aβ-degrading enzyme, angiotensin-1 converting enzyme (ACE) therefore represent plausible candidates for association with LOAD pathology and risk. Following Alzgene meta-analyses of all published case-control studies, the ACE variants rs4291 and rs1800764 showed significant association with LOAD risk. Furthermore ACE haplotypes are associated with both plasma ACE levels and LOAD risk. We tested three ACE variants (rs4291, rs4343, and rs1800764) for association with LOAD in ten Caucasian case-control populations (n = 8,212). No association was found using multiple logistic models (all p > 0.09). We found no population heterogeneity (all p > 0.38) or evidence for association with LOAD risk following meta-analysis of the ten populations for rs4343 (OR = 1.00), rs4291 (OR = 0.97), or rs1800764 (OR = 0.99). Although we found no haplotypic association in our complete dataset (p = 0.51), a significant global haplotypic p-value was observed in one population (p = 0.007) due to an association of the H3 haplotype (OR = 0.72, p = 0.02) and a trend towards an association of H4 (OR = 1.38, p = 0.09) and H7 (OR = 2.07, p = 0.08) although these did not survive Bonferroni correction. Previously reported associations of ACE variants with LOAD will be diminished following this study. At best, ACE variants have modest effect sizes, which are likely part of a complex interaction between genetic, phenotypic and pharmacological effects that would be undetected in traditional case-control studies.

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    • "In the last decade, the role of the renin–angiotensin system (RAS) in the etiology of AD has received increasing attention. Inheritance of the I-allele – associated with lower plasma angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) levels [2] – was related to increased risk of AD [3,4], although these findings have not been supported by recent genome-wide association studies [5,6] and large haplotype studies [7]. Further, in vitro studies showed that ACE functions to degrade Aβ, and administration of ACE inhibitors promoted the accumulation of Aβ [8-10], while in vivo studies on various mouse models of AD showed indirect evidence that ACE can degrade Aβ (reviewed in [11]). "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction Lower angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) activity could increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) as ACE functions to degrade amyloid-β (Aβ). Therefore, we investigated whether ACE protein and activity levels in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum were associated with CSF Aβ, total tau (tau) and tau phosphorylated at threonine 181 (ptau). Methods We included 118 subjects from our memory clinic-based Amsterdam Dementia Cohort (mean age 66 ± 8 years) with subjective memory complaints (n = 40) or AD (n = 78), who did not use antihypertensive drugs. We measured ACE protein levels (ng/ml) and activity (RFU) in CSF and serum, and amyloid β1–42, tau and ptau (pg/ml) in CSF. Results Cross-sectional regression analyses showed that ACE protein level and activity in CSF and serum were lower in patients with AD compared to controls. Lower CSF ACE protein level, and to a lesser extent serum ACE protein level and CSF ACE activity, were associated with lower CSF Aβ, indicating more brain Aβ pathology; adjusted regression coefficients (B) (95% CI) per SD increase were 0.09 (0.04; 0.15), 0.06 (0.00; 0.12) and 0.05 (0.00; 0.11), respectively. Further, lower CSF ACE protein level was associated with lower CSF tau and ptau levels; adjusted B’s (95% CI) per SD increase were 0.15 (0.06; 0.25) and 0.17 (0.10; 0.25), respectively. Conclusions These results strengthen the hypothesis that ACE degrades Aβ. This could suggest that lowering ACE levels by for example ACE-inhibitors might have adverse consequences for patients with, or at risk for AD.
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