Cortical and cerebrovascular amyloid-? (A?) deposition is a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD), but also occurs in elderly people not affected by dementia. The apolipoprotein E (APOE) e4 is a major genetic modulator of A? deposition and AD risk. Variants of the amyloid-? protein precursor (A?PP) gene have been reported to contribute to AD and cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA). We analyzed the role of APOE and A?PP variants in cortical and cerebrovascular A? deposition, and neuropathologically verified AD (based on modified NIA-RI criteria) in a population-based autopsy sample of Finns aged = 85 years (Vantaa85 + Study; n = 282). Our updated analysis of APOE showed strong associations of the e4 allele with cortical (p = 4.91 ? 10-17) and cerebrovascular (p = 9.87 ? 10-11) A? deposition as well as with NIA-RI AD (p = 1.62 ? 10-8). We also analyzed 60 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at the A?PP locus. In single SNP or haplotype analyses there were no statistically significant A?PP locus associations with cortical or cerebrovascular A? deposition or with NIA-RI AD. We sequenced the promoter of the A?PP gene in 40 subjects with very high A? deposition, but none of these subjects had any of the previously reported or novel AD-associated mutations. These results suggest that cortical and cerebrovascular A? depositions are useful quantitative traits for genetic studies, as highlighted by the strong associations with the APOE e4 variant. Promoter mutations or common allelic variation in the A?PP gene do not have a major contribution to cortical or cerebrovascular A? deposition, or very late-onset AD in this Finnish population based study.
Cites: Nat Genet. 2009 Oct;41(10):1088-9319734902
Cites: CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2009 Mar;8(1):16-3019275634
We and others have recently reported an association between amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and single nucleotide polymorphisms on chromosome 9p21 in several populations. Here we show that the associated haplotype is the same in all populations and that several families previously shown to have genetic linkage to this region also share this haplotype. The most parsimonious explanation of these data are that there is a single founder for this form of disease.
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) as an important clinical entity was rediscovered in Lund and Manchester in the early 1990s. Here we show that the large Lund pedigree with behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia previously described with this disorder has an expansion in the recently described C9ORF72 locus on chromosome 9.
The chromosome 9p21 amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-frontotemporal dementia (ALS-FTD) locus contains one of the last major unidentified autosomal-dominant genes underlying these common neurodegenerative diseases. We have previously shown that a founder haplotype, covering the MOBKL2b, IFNK, and C9ORF72 genes, is present in the majority of cases linked to this region. Here we show that there is a large hexanucleotide (GGGGCC) repeat expansion in the first intron of C9ORF72 on the affected haplotype. This repeat expansion segregates perfectly with disease in the Finnish population, underlying 46.0% of familial ALS and 21.1% of sporadic ALS in that population. Taken together with the D90A SOD1 mutation, 87% of familial ALS in Finland is now explained by a simple monogenic cause. The repeat expansion is also present in one-third of familial ALS cases of outbred European descent, making it the most common genetic cause of these fatal neurodegenerative diseases identified to date.
Abeta peptide accumulation is thought to be the primary event in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD), with downstream neurotoxic effects including the hyperphosphorylation of tau protein. Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) is increasingly implicated as playing a pivotal role in this amyloid cascade. We have developed an adult-onset Drosophila model of AD, using an inducible gene expression system to express Arctic mutant Abeta42 specifically in adult neurons, to avoid developmental effects. Abeta42 accumulated with age in these flies and they displayed increased mortality together with progressive neuronal dysfunction, but in the apparent absence of neuronal loss. This fly model can thus be used to examine the role of events during adulthood and early AD aetiology. Expression of Abeta42 in adult neurons increased GSK-3 activity, and inhibition of GSK-3 (either genetically or pharmacologically by lithium treatment) rescued Abeta42 toxicity. Abeta42 pathogenesis was also reduced by removal of endogenous fly tau; but, within the limits of detection of available methods, tau phosphorylation did not appear to be altered in flies expressing Abeta42. The GSK-3-mediated effects on Abeta42 toxicity appear to be at least in part mediated by tau-independent mechanisms, because the protective effect of lithium alone was greater than that of the removal of tau alone. Finally, Abeta42 levels were reduced upon GSK-3 inhibition, pointing to a direct role of GSK-3 in the regulation of Abeta42 peptide level, in the absence of APP processing. Our study points to the need both to identify the mechanisms by which GSK-3 modulates Abeta42 levels in the fly and to determine if similar mechanisms are present in mammals, and it supports the potential therapeutic use of GSK-3 inhibitors in AD.
Senile systemic amyloidosis (SSA) is characterized by deposition of wild-type transthyretin (TTR)-based amyloid in parenchymal organs in elderly individuals. Previously, no population-based studies have been performed on SSA.
Here we have studied the prevalence and risk factors for SSA in a Finnish autopsied population aged 85 or over, as part of the population-based Vantaa 85+ Autopsy Study (n = 256). The diagnosis of SSA was based on histological examination of myocardial samples stained with Congo red and anti-TTR immunohistochemistry. The genotype frequencies of 20 polymorphisms in 9 genes in subjects with and without SSA were compared.
The prevalence of SSA was 25%. SSA was associated with age, myocardial infarctions, the G/G (Val/Val) genotype of the exon 24 polymorphism in the alpha2-macroglobulin (alpha2M), and the H2 haplotype of the tau gene (P-values 0.002, 0.004, 0.042, and 0.016).
This population-based study shows that SSA is very common in old individuals, affecting one-quarter of people aged over 85 years. Myocardial infarctions and variation in the genes for alpha2M and tau may be associated with SSA.
We investigated the association of Parkinson's disease (PD) with tau gene H1 haplotypes in the Norwegian population. In a sample of 96 unrelated PD cases and 68 control subjects, we observed an increased risk of PD for persons with the tau H1 haplotype (odds ratio=5.52; 95% confidence interval: 2.64-11.10; P=2.17x10(-6)). Findings provide evidence that tau participates in the PD pathogenic process and demonstrate the value of isolated populations in mapping complex traits.