[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Because APOE locus variants contribute to risk of late-onset Alzheimer disease (LOAD) and to differences in age at onset (AAO), it is important to know whether other established LOAD risk loci also affect AAO in affected participants.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related dementias are a major public health challenge and present a therapeutic imperative for which we need additional insight into molecular pathogenesis. We performed a genome-wide association study and analysis of known genetic risk loci for AD dementia using neuropathologic data from 4,914 brain autopsies. Neuropathologic data were used to define clinico-pathologic AD dementia or controls, assess core neuropathologic features of AD (neuritic plaques, NPs; neurofibrillary tangles, NFTs), and evaluate commonly co-morbid neuropathologic changes: cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA), Lewy body disease (LBD), hippocampal sclerosis of the elderly (HS), and vascular brain injury (VBI). Genome-wide significance was observed for clinico-pathologic AD dementia, NPs, NFTs, CAA, and LBD with a number of variants in and around the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE). GalNAc transferase 7 (GALNT7), ATP-Binding Cassette, Sub-Family G (WHITE), Member 1 (ABCG1), and an intergenic region on chromosome 9 were associated with NP score; and Potassium Large Conductance Calcium-Activated Channel, Subfamily M, Beta Member 2 (KCNMB2) was strongly associated with HS. Twelve of the 21 non-APOE genetic risk loci for clinically-defined AD dementia were confirmed in our clinico-pathologic sample: CR1, BIN1, CLU, MS4A6A, PICALM, ABCA7, CD33, PTK2B, SORL1, MEF2C, ZCWPW1, and CASS4 with 9 of these 12 loci showing larger odds ratio in the clinico-pathologic sample. Correlation of effect sizes for risk of AD dementia with effect size for NFTs or NPs showed positive correlation, while those for risk of VBI showed a moderate negative correlation. The other co-morbid neuropathologic features showed only nominal association with the known AD loci. Our results discovered new genetic associations with specific neuropathologic features and aligned known genetic risk for AD dementia with specific neuropathologic changes in the largest brain autopsy study of AD and related dementias.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hippocampal sclerosis of aging (HS-Aging) is a high-morbidity brain disease in the elderly but risk factors are largely unknown. We report the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) with HS-Aging pathology as an endophenotype. In collaboration with the Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium, data were analyzed from large autopsy cohorts: (#1) National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center (NACC); (#2) Rush University Religious Orders Study and Memory and Aging Project; (#3) Group Health Research Institute Adult Changes in Thought study; (#4) University of California at Irvine 90+ Study; and (#5) University of Kentucky Alzheimer's Disease Center. Altogether, 363 HS-Aging cases and 2,303 controls, all pathologically confirmed, provided statistical power to test for risk alleles with large effect size. A two-tier study design included GWAS from cohorts #1-3 (Stage I) to identify promising SNP candidates, followed by focused evaluation of particular SNPs in cohorts #4-5 (Stage II). Polymorphism in the ATP-binding cassette, sub-family C member 9 (ABCC9) gene, also known as sulfonylurea receptor 2, was associated with HS-Aging pathology. In the meta-analyzed Stage I GWAS, ABCC9 polymorphisms yielded the lowest p values, and factoring in the Stage II results, the meta-analyzed risk SNP (rs704178:G) attained genome-wide statistical significance (p = 1.4 × 10(-9)), with odds ratio (OR) of 2.13 (recessive mode of inheritance). For SNPs previously linked to hippocampal sclerosis, meta-analyses of Stage I results show OR = 1.16 for rs5848 (GRN) and OR = 1.22 rs1990622 (TMEM106B), with the risk alleles as previously described. Sulfonylureas, a widely prescribed drug class used to treat diabetes, also modify human ABCC9 protein function. A subsample of patients from the NACC database (n = 624) were identified who were older than age 85 at death with known drug history. Controlling for important confounders such as diabetes itself, exposure to a sulfonylurea drug was associated with risk for HS-Aging pathology (p = 0.03). Thus, we describe a novel and targetable dementia risk factor.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE While brain volume changes are used as surrogate markers for Alzheimer disease neuropathology in clinical studies, the extent to which these changes are due to pathologic features of Alzheimer disease in the aging brain is not well established. This study aims to clarify the neuropathologic correlates of longitudinal brain atrophy. OBJECTIVE To examine the association between brain atrophy during life and neuropathology in an elderly population. DESIGN Autopsy study of a cohort of elderly individuals. SETTING Community-based population. PARTICIPANTS Seventy-one healthy elderly individuals were selected from participants of the Oregon Brain Aging Study for having an autopsy, more than 1 magnetic resonance imaging scan, and the last magnetic resonance imaging scan within 36 months of death. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES The associations between brain volume trajectories (ventricular, total brain, and hippocampal) and time interaction terms for neurofibrillary tangles, neuritic plaques, gross infarcts, microinfarcts, amyloid angiopathy, Lewy bodies, APOE ϵ4 presence, and clinical diagnosis (no cognitive impairment, mild cognitive impairment, or dementia as time-varying covariates) were examined in mixed-effects models, adjusting for duration of follow-up and age at death. RESULTS Ventricular volume trajectory was significantly associated with age, presence of infarcts, neurofibrillary tangle and neuritic plaque scores, APOE ϵ4 allele presence, and dementia diagnosis. Total brain volume trajectory was significantly associated with age and mild cognitive impairment diagnosis. Hippocampal volume trajectory was significantly associated with amyloid angiopathy. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Ventricular volume trajectory is more sensitive than total brain and hippocampal volume trajectories as a marker of accruing Alzheimer disease and vascular pathology in elderly individuals. The association between brain volume trajectories and cognitive impairment (mild cognitive impairment and dementia) remained after controlling for the degree of neuropathology and other covariates. This suggests that there may be other factors not measured in this study that could be contributing to brain atrophy in those with cognitive impairment.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE To test for an association between the apolipoprotein E (APOE) ϵ4 allele and dementias with synucleinopathy. DESIGN Genetic case-control association study. SETTING Academic research. PATIENTS Autopsied subjects were classified into 5 categories: dementia with high-level Alzheimer disease (AD) neuropathologic changes (NCs) but without Lewy body disease (LBD) NCs (AD group; n = 244), dementia with LBDNCs and high-level ADNCs (LBD-AD group; n = 224), dementia with LBDNCs and no or low levels of ADNCs (pure DLB [pDLB] group; n = 91), Parkinson disease dementia (PDD) with no or low levels of ADNCs (n = 81), and control group (n = 269). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE The APOE allele frequencies. RESULTS The APOE ϵ4 allele frequency was significantly higher in the AD (38.1%), LBD-AD (40.6%), pDLB (31.9%), and PDD (19.1%) groups compared with the control group (7.2%; overall χ24 = 185.25; P = 5.56 × 10-39), and it was higher in the pDLB group than the PDD group (P = .01). In an age-adjusted and sex-adjusted dominant model, ϵ4 was strongly associated with AD (odds ratio, 9.9; 95% CI, 6.4-15.3), LBD-AD (odds ratio, 12.6; 95% CI, 8.1-19.8), pDLB (odds ratio, 6.1; 95% CI, 3.5-10.5), and PDD (odds ratio, 3.1; 95% CI, 1.7-5.6). CONCLUSIONS The APOE ϵ4 allele is a strong risk factor across the LBD spectrum and occurs at an increased frequency in pDLB relative to PDD. This suggests that ϵ4 increases the likelihood of presenting with dementia in the context of a pure synucleinopathy. The elevated ϵ4 frequency in the pDLB and PDD groups, in which the overall brain neuritic plaque burden was low, indicates that apoE might contribute to neurodegeneration through mechanisms unrelated to amyloid processing.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reconstructability Analysis (RA) is an information-and graph-theory-based method which has been successfully used in previous genomic studies. Here we apply it to genetic (14 SNPs) and non-genetic (Education, Age, Gender) data on Alzheimer disease in a well-characterized Case/Control sample of 424 individuals. We confirm the importance of APOE as a predictor of the disease, and identify one non-genetic factor, Education, and two SNPs, one in BINI and the other in SORCS1, as likely disease predictors. SORCS1 appears to be a common risk factor for people with or without APOE. We also identify a possible interaction effect between Education and BINI. Methodologically, we introduce and use to advantage some more powerful features of RA not used in prior genomic studies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pancreatitis is a complex, progressively destructive inflammatory disorder. Alcohol was long thought to be the primary causative agent, but genetic contributions have been of interest since the discovery that rare PRSS1, CFTR and SPINK1 variants were associated with pancreatitis risk. We now report two associations at genome-wide significance identified and replicated at PRSS1-PRSS2 (P < 1 × 10(-12)) and X-linked CLDN2 (P < 1 × 10(-21)) through a two-stage genome-wide study (stage 1: 676 cases and 4,507 controls; stage 2: 910 cases and 4,170 controls). The PRSS1 variant likely affects disease susceptibility by altering expression of the primary trypsinogen gene. The CLDN2 risk allele is associated with atypical localization of claudin-2 in pancreatic acinar cells. The homozygous (or hemizygous in males) CLDN2 genotype confers the greatest risk, and its alleles interact with alcohol consumption to amplify risk. These results could partially explain the high frequency of alcohol-related pancreatitis in men (male hemizygote frequency is 0.26, whereas female homozygote frequency is 0.07).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One of the recommendations of the 2010 Leon Thal Symposium, organized to develop strategies to prevent Alzheimer's disease, was to build a global database of longitudinal aging studies. Although several databases of longitudinal aging studies exist, none of these are comprehensive or complete. In this article, we review selected databases of longitudinal aging studies. We also make recommendations on future steps to create a comprehensive database. Additionally, we discuss issues related to data harmonization.
Alzheimer's & dementia: the journal of the Alzheimer's Association 11/2012; 8(6):584-9. · 14.48 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES: Mutations in the GBA gene occur in 7% of patients with Parkinson disease (PD) and are a well-established susceptibility factor for PD, which is characterized by Lewy body disease (LBD) neuropathologic changes (LBDNCs). We sought to determine whether GBA influences risk of dementia with LBDNCs, Alzheimer disease (AD) neuropathologic changes (ADNCs), or both. METHODS: We screened the entire GBA coding region for mutations in controls and in subjects with dementia and LBDNCs and no or low levels of ADNCs (pure dementia with Lewy bodies [pDLB]), LBDNCs and high-level ADNCs (LBD-AD), and high-level ADNCs but without LBDNCs (AD). RESULTS: Among white subjects, pathogenic GBA mutations were identified in 6 of 79 pDLB cases (7.6%), 8 of 222 LBD-AD cases (3.6%), 2 of 243 AD cases (0.8%), and 3 of 381 controls (0.8%). Subjects with pDLB and LBD-AD were more likely to carry mutations than controls (pDLB: odds ratio [OR] = 7.6; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.8-31.9; p = 0.006; LBD-AD: OR = 4.6; CI = 1.2-17.6; p = 0.025), but there was no significant difference in frequencies between the AD and control groups (OR = 1.1; CI = 0.2-6.6; p = 0.92). There was a highly significant trend test across groups (χ(2)(1) = 19.3; p = 1.1 × 10(-5)), with the likelihood of carrying a GBA mutation increasing in the following direction: control/AD < LBD-AD < pDLB. CONCLUSIONS: GBA is a susceptibility gene across the LBD spectrum, but not in AD, and appears to convey a higher risk for PD and pDLB than for LBD-AD. PD and pDLB might be more similar to one another in genetic determinants and pathophysiology than either disease is to LBD-AD.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The molecular events responsible for obstruction of aqueous humor outflow and the loss of retinal ganglion cells in glaucoma, one of the main causes of blindness worldwide, remain poorly understood. We identified a synonymous variant, c.765C>T (Thr255Thr), in ankyrin repeats and suppressor of cytokine signaling box-containing protein 10 (ASB10) in a large family with primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) mapping to the GLC1F locus. This variant affects an exon splice enhancer site and alters mRNA splicing in lymphoblasts of affected family members. Systematic sequence analysis in two POAG patient groups (195 US and 977 German) and their respective controls (85 and 376) lead to the identification of 26 amino acid changes in 70 patients (70 of 1172; 6.0%) compared with 9 in 13 controls (13 of 461; 2.8%; P = 0.008). Molecular modeling suggests that these missense variants change ASB10 net charge or destabilize ankyrin repeats. ASB10 mRNA and protein were found to be strongly expressed in trabecular meshwork, retinal ganglion cells and ciliary body. Silencing of ASB10 transcripts in perfused anterior segment organ culture reduced outflow facility by ∼50% compared with control-infected anterior segments (P = 0.02). In conclusion, genetic and molecular analyses provide evidence for ASB10 as a glaucoma-causing gene.
Human Molecular Genetics 12/2011; 21(6):1336-49. · 7.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Brain development in the early stages of life has been suggested to be one of the factors that may influence an individual's risk of Alzheimer disease (AD) later in life. Four microcephaly genes, which regulate brain development in utero and have been suggested to play a role in the evolution of the human brain, were selected as candidate genes that may modulate the risk of AD. We examined the association between single nucleotide polymorphisms tagging common sequence variations in these genes and risk of AD in two case-control samples. We found that the G allele of rs2442607 in microcephalin 1 was associated with an increased risk of AD (under an additive genetic model, P=0.01; odds ratio=3.41; confidence interval, 1.77-6.57). However, this association was not replicated using another case-control sample research participants from the Alzheimer Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. We conclude that the common variations we measured in the 4 microcephaly genes do not affect the risk of AD or that their effect size is small.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have leveraged a Drosophila model relevant to Alzheimer disease (AD) for functional screening of findings from a genome-wide scan for loci associated with a quantitative measure of AD pathology in humans. In six of the 15 genomic regions evaluated, we successfully identified a causal gene for the association, on the basis of in vivo interactions with the neurotoxicity of Tau, which forms neurofibrillary tangles in AD. Among the top results, rs10845990 within SLC2A14, encoding a glucose transporter, showed evidence of replication for association with AD pathology, and gain and loss of function in glut1, the Drosophila ortholog, was associated with suppression and enhancement of Tau toxicity, respectively. Our strategy of coupling genome-wide association in humans with functional screening in a model organism is likely to be a powerful approach for gene discovery in AD and other complex genetic disorders.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 02/2011; 88(2):232-8. · 11.20 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine whether genotypes at CLU, PICALM, and CR1 confer risk for Alzheimer disease (AD) and whether risk for AD associated with these genes is influenced by apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotypes.
Association study of AD and CLU, PICALM, CR1, and APOE genotypes.
Academic research institutions in the United States, Canada, and Israel.
Seven thousand seventy cases with AD, 3055 with autopsies, and 8169 elderly cognitively normal controls, 1092 with autopsies, from 12 different studies, including white, African American, Israeli-Arab, and Caribbean Hispanic individuals.
Unadjusted, CLU (odds ratio [OR], 0.91; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.85-0.96 for single-nucleotide polymorphism [SNP] rs11136000), CR1 (OR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.07-1.22; SNP rs3818361), and PICALM (OR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.84-0.94, SNP rs3851179) were associated with AD in white individuals. None were significantly associated with AD in the other ethnic groups. APOE ε4 was significantly associated with AD (ORs, 1.80-9.05) in all but 1 small white cohort and in the Arab cohort. Adjusting for age, sex, and the presence of at least 1 APOE ε4 allele greatly reduced evidence for association with PICALM but not CR1 or CLU. Models with the main SNP effect, presence or absence of APOE ε4, and an interaction term showed significant interaction between presence or absence of APOE ε4 and PICALM.
We confirm in a completely independent data set that CR1, CLU, and PICALM are AD susceptibility loci in European ancestry populations. Genotypes at PICALM confer risk predominantly in APOE ε4-positive subjects. Thus, APOE and PICALM synergistically interact.
Archives of neurology 12/2010; 67(12):1473-84. · 7.58 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To characterize the MYOC genotype correlation with phenotypes in an isolated Greek population with a high incidence of glaucoma.
Five hundred thirty-one villagers were enrolled in the study. Participants underwent a comprehensive ophthalmic examination. All three exons of myocilin were bidirectionally sequenced. Power calculations and measured genotype analysis was conducted using the genetic variance analysis program, SOLAR version 4.2, to account for the relatedness between individuals.
The participants, 376 of whom were linked in a single 11-generation pedigree, ranged in age from 10 to 95 years with a mean age of 49. Sixty-five individuals had POAG, and 27 of those carried the Thr377Met MYOC mutation. Both peak intraocular pressure and vertical cup-to dis- ratio were significantly associated with the MYOC Thr377Met variant (P = 9 x 10(-14) and P = 9 x 10(-8), respectively), whereas central corneal thickness showed no significant association (P < 0.7).
This village had a high frequency of glaucoma, with 12% of the participants aged 10 to 95 years having the disease. In this cohort, the Thr377Met MYOC mutation was significantly associated with both high intraocular pressures and high vertical cup-to-disc ratios. No association was found with central corneal thickness.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many elderly individuals remain dementia-free throughout their life. However, some of these individuals exhibit Alzheimer disease neuropathology on autopsy, evidenced by neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) in AD-specific brain regions. We conducted a genome-wide association study to identify genetic mechanisms that distinguish non-demented elderly with a heavy NFT burden from those with a low NFT burden. The study included 299 non-demented subjects with autopsy (185 subjects with low and 114 with high NFT levels). Both a genotype test, using logistic regression, and an allele test provided consistent evidence that variants in the RELN gene are associated with neuropathology in the context of cognitive health. Immunohistochemical data for reelin expression in AD-related brain regions added support for these findings. Reelin signaling pathways modulate phosphorylation of tau, the major component of NFTs, either directly or through β-amyloid pathways that influence tau phosphorylation. Our findings suggest that up-regulation of reelin may be a compensatory response to tau-related or beta-amyloid stress associated with AD even prior to the onset of dementia.
Neurobiology of aging 05/2010; 32(12):2113-22. · 5.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PURPOSE. Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is a complex disease with a genetic architecture that can be simplified through the investigation of individual traits underlying disease risk. It has been well studied in twin models, and this study was undertaken to investigate the heritability of some of these key endophenotypes in extended pedigrees. METHODS. These data are derived from a large, multicenter study of extended, Caucasian POAG families from Australia and the United States. The study included 1181 people from 22 extended pedigrees. Variance components modeling was used to determine the heritabilities of maximum intraocular pressure (IOP), maximum vertical cup-to-disc ratio (VCDR), and mean central corneal thickness (CCT). Bivariate quantitative genetic analysis between these eye-related phenotypes and POAG itself was performed to determine whether any of these traits represent true endophenotypes. RESULTS. Heritability estimates for IOP, VCDR, and CCT (0.42, 0.66, and 0.72, respectively) were significant and show strong concordance with data in previous studies. Bivariate analysis revealed that both IOP (RhoG = 0.80; P = 9.6 x 10(-6)) and VCDR (RhoG = 0.76; P = 4.8 x 10(-10)) showed strong evidence of genetic correlation with POAG susceptibility. These two traits also correlated genetically with each other (RhoG = 0.45; P = 0.0012). Alternatively, CCT did not correlate genetically with risk of POAG. CONCLUSIONS. All the proposed POAG-related traits have genetic components. However, the significant genetic correlations observed between IOP, VCDR, and POAG itself suggest that they most likely represent true endophenotypes that could aid in the identification of genes underlying POAG susceptibility. CCT did not correlate genetically with disease and is unlikely to be a useful surrogate endophenotype for POAG.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There are a number of common human diseases for which the genetic component may include an epistatic interaction of multiple genes. Detecting these interactions with standard statistical tools is difficult because there may be an interaction effect, but minimal or no main effect. Reconstructability analysis (RA) uses Shannon's information theory to detect relationships between variables in categorical datasets. We applied RA to simulated data for five different models of gene-gene interaction, and find that even with heritability levels as low as 0.008, and with the inclusion of 50 non-associated genes in the dataset, we can identify the interacting gene pairs with an accuracy of > or =80%. We applied RA to a real dataset of type 2 non-insulin-dependent diabetes (NIDDM) cases and controls, and closely approximated the results of more conventional single SNP disease association studies. In addition, we replicated prior evidence for epistatic interactions between SNPs on chromosomes 2 and 15.
Statistical Applications in Genetics and Molecular Biology 01/2010; 9(1):Article18. · 1.52 Impact Factor