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1.  A Paired RNAi and RabGAP Overexpression Screen Identifies Rab11 as a Regulator of β-Amyloid Production 
Cell reports  2013;5(6):1536-1551.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by cerebral deposition of β-amyloid (Aβ) peptides, which are generated from amyloid precursor protein (APP) by β- and γ-secretases. APP and the secretases are membrane associated, but whether membrane trafficking controls Aβ levels is unclear. Here, we performed an RNAi screen of all human Rab-GTPases, which regulate membrane trafficking, complemented with a Rab-GTPase-activating protein screen, and present a road map of the membrane-trafficking events regulating Aβ production. We identify Rab11 and Rab3 as key players. Although retromers and retromer-associated proteins control APP recycling, we show that Rab11 controlled β-secretase endosomal recycling to the plasma membrane and thus affected Aβ production. Exome sequencing revealed a significant genetic association of Rab11A with late-onset AD, and network analysis identified Rab11A and Rab11B as components of the late-onset AD risk network, suggesting a causal link between Rab11 and AD. Our results reveal trafficking pathways that regulate Aβ levels and show how systems biology approaches can unravel the molecular complexity underlying AD.
PMCID: PMC4004174  PMID: 24373285
2.  A pathway-based analysis provides additional support for an immune-related genetic susceptibility to Parkinson's disease 
Holmans, Peter | Moskvina, Valentina | Jones, Lesley | Sharma, Manu | Vedernikov, Alexey | Buchel, Finja | Sadd, Mohamad | Bras, Jose M. | Bettella, Francesco | Nicolaou, Nayia | Simón-Sánchez, Javier | Mittag, Florian | Gibbs, J. Raphael | Schulte, Claudia | Durr, Alexandra | Guerreiro, Rita | Hernandez, Dena | Brice, Alexis | Stefánsson, Hreinn | Majamaa, Kari | Gasser, Thomas | Heutink, Peter | Wood, Nicholas W. | Martinez, Maria | Singleton, Andrew B. | Nalls, Michael A. | Hardy, John | Morris, Huw R. | Williams, Nigel M. | Arepalli, Sampath | Barker, Roger | Barrett, Jeffrey | Ben-Shlomo, Yoav | Berendse, Henk W. | Berg, Daniela | Bhatia, Kailash | de Bie, Rob M.A. | Biffi, Alessandro | Bloem, Bas | Brice, Alexis | Bochdanovits, Zoltan | Bonin, Michael | Bras, Jose M. | Brockmann, Kathrin | Brooks, Janet | Burn, David J. | Charlesworth, Gavin | Chen, Honglei | Chinnery, Patrick F. | Chong, Sean | Clarke, Carl E. | Cookson, Mark R. | Cooper, Jonathan M. | Corvol, Jen-Christophe | Counsell, Carl | Damier, Philippe | Dartigues, Jean Francois | Deloukas, Panagiotis | Deuschl, Günther | Dexter, David T. | van Dijk, Karin D. | Dillman, Allissa | Durif, Frank | Durr, Alexandra | Edkins, Sarah | Evans, Jonathan R. | Foltynie, Thomas | Gao, Jianjun | Gardner, Michelle | Gasser, Thomas | Gibbs, J. Raphael | Goate, Alison | Gray, Emma | Guerreiro, Rita | Gústafsson, Ómar | Hardy, John | Harris, Clare | Hernandez, Dena G. | Heutink, Peter | van Hilten, Jacobus J. | Hofman, Albert | Hollenbeck, Albert | Holmans, Peter | Holton, Janice | Hu, Michele | Huber, Heiko | Hudson, Gavin | Hunt, Sarah E. | Huttenlocher, Johanna | Illig, Thomas | Langford, Cordelia | Lees, Andrew | Lesage, Suzanne | Lichtner, Peter | Limousin, Patricia | Lopez, Grisel | Lorenz, Delia | Martinez, Maria | McNeill, Alisdair | Moorby, Catriona | Moore, Matthew | Morris, Huw | Morrison, Karen E. | Moskvina, Valentina | Mudanohwo, Ese | Nalls, Michael A. | Pearson, Justin | Perlmutter, Joel S. | Pétursson, Hjörvar | Plagnol, Vincent | Pollak, Pierre | Post, Bart | Potter, Simon | Ravina, Bernard | Revesz, Tamas | Riess, Olaf | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Rizzu, Patrizia | Ryten, Mina | Saad, Mohamad | Sawcer, Stephen | Schapira, Anthony | Scheffer, Hans | Sharma, Manu | Shaw, Karen | Sheerin, Una-Marie | Shoulson, Ira | Schulte, Claudia | Sidransky, Ellen | Simón-Sánchez, Javier | Singleton, Andrew B. | Smith, Colin | Stefánsson, Hreinn | Stefánsson, Kári | Steinberg, Stacy | Stockton, Joanna D. | Sveinbjornsdottir, Sigurlaug | Talbot, Kevin | Tanner, Carlie M. | Tashakkori-Ghanbaria, Avazeh | Tison, François | Trabzuni, Daniah | Traynor, Bryan J. | Uitterlinden, André G. | Velseboer, Daan | Vidailhet, Marie | Walker, Robert | van de Warrenburg, Bart | Wickremaratchi, Mirdhu | Williams, Nigel | Williams-Gray, Caroline H. | Winder-Rhodes, Sophie | Wood, Nicholas
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;22(5):1039-1049.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease affecting 1–2% in people >60 and 3–4% in people >80. Genome-wide association (GWA) studies have now implicated significant evidence for association in at least 18 genomic regions. We have studied a large PD-meta analysis and identified a significant excess of SNPs (P < 1 × 10−16) that are associated with PD but fall short of the genome-wide significance threshold. This result was independent of variants at the 18 previously implicated regions and implies the presence of additional polygenic risk alleles. To understand how these loci increase risk of PD, we applied a pathway-based analysis, testing for biological functions that were significantly enriched for genes containing variants associated with PD. Analysing two independent GWA studies, we identified that both had a significant excess in the number of functional categories enriched for PD-associated genes (minimum P = 0.014 and P = 0.006, respectively). Moreover, 58 categories were significantly enriched for associated genes in both GWA studies (P < 0.001), implicating genes involved in the ‘regulation of leucocyte/lymphocyte activity’ and also ‘cytokine-mediated signalling’ as conferring an increased susceptibility to PD. These results were unaltered by the exclusion of all 178 genes that were present at the 18 genomic regions previously reported to be strongly associated with PD (including the HLA locus). Our findings, therefore, provide independent support to the strong association signal at the HLA locus and imply that the immune-related genetic susceptibility to PD is likely to be more widespread in the genome than previously appreciated.
PMCID: PMC3561909  PMID: 23223016
3.  Exome sequencing in a consanguineous family clinically diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease identifies an homozygous CTSF mutation 
Neurobiology of aging  2016;46:236.e1-236.e6.
We have previously reported the whole genome genotyping analysis of two consanguineous siblings clinically diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. In this analysis we identified several large regions of homozygosity shared between both affected siblings, which we suggested could be candidate loci for a recessive genetic lesion underlying the early onset Alzheimer’s disease in these cases. We have now performed exome sequencing in one of these siblings and identified the potential cause of disease: the CTSF c.G1243A:p.Gly415Arg mutation in homozygosity. Bi-allelic mutations in this gene have been shown to cause Type B Kufs disease, an adult-onset neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis with some cases resembling the impairment seen in Alzheimer’s disease.
PMCID: PMC5166571  PMID: 27524508
Early onset Alzheimer’s disease; Kufs disease; Recessive; Exome sequencing; Homozygosity; CTSF
4.  Common polygenic variation enhances risk prediction for Alzheimer’s disease 
Brain  2015;138(12):3673-3684.
Heritability estimates for Alzheimer’s disease in genome-wide association studies increase substantially when weak effect loci are also considered. Escott-Price et al. investigate the polygenic architecture of Alzheimer’s disease and the accuracy of prediction models, and show that including the polygenic component of risk significantly improves accuracy of case prediction.
Heritability estimates for Alzheimer’s disease in genome-wide association studies increase substantially when weak effect loci are also considered. Escott-Price et al. investigate the polygenic architecture of Alzheimer’s disease and the accuracy of prediction models, and show that including the polygenic component of risk significantly improves accuracy of case prediction.
The identification of subjects at high risk for Alzheimer’s disease is important for prognosis and early intervention. We investigated the polygenic architecture of Alzheimer’s disease and the accuracy of Alzheimer’s disease prediction models, including and excluding the polygenic component in the model. This study used genotype data from the powerful dataset comprising 17 008 cases and 37 154 controls obtained from the International Genomics of Alzheimer’s Project (IGAP). Polygenic score analysis tested whether the alleles identified to associate with disease in one sample set were significantly enriched in the cases relative to the controls in an independent sample. The disease prediction accuracy was investigated in a subset of the IGAP data, a sample of 3049 cases and 1554 controls (for whom APOE genotype data were available) by means of sensitivity, specificity, area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) and positive and negative predictive values. We observed significant evidence for a polygenic component enriched in Alzheimer’s disease (P = 4.9 × 10−26). This enrichment remained significant after APOE and other genome-wide associated regions were excluded (P = 3.4 × 10−19). The best prediction accuracy AUC = 78.2% (95% confidence interval 77–80%) was achieved by a logistic regression model with APOE, the polygenic score, sex and age as predictors. In conclusion, Alzheimer’s disease has a significant polygenic component, which has predictive utility for Alzheimer’s disease risk and could be a valuable research tool complementing experimental designs, including preventative clinical trials, stem cell selection and high/low risk clinical studies. In modelling a range of sample disease prevalences, we found that polygenic scores almost doubles case prediction from chance with increased prediction at polygenic extremes.
PMCID: PMC5006219  PMID: 26490334
Alzheimer’s disease; polygenic score; predictive model
5.  A Drosophila Model of Neuronopathic Gaucher Disease Demonstrates Lysosomal-Autophagic Defects and Altered mTOR Signalling and Is Functionally Rescued by Rapamycin 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2016;36(46):11654-11670.
Glucocerebrosidase (GBA1) mutations are associated with Gaucher disease (GD), an autosomal recessive disorder caused by functional deficiency of glucocerebrosidase (GBA), a lysosomal enzyme that hydrolyzes glucosylceramide to ceramide and glucose. Neuronopathic forms of GD can be associated with rapid neurological decline (Type II) or manifest as a chronic form (Type III) with a wide spectrum of neurological signs. Furthermore, there is now a well-established link between GBA1 mutations and Parkinson's disease (PD), with heterozygote mutations in GBA1 considered the commonest genetic defect in PD. Here we describe a novel Drosophila model of GD that lacks the two fly GBA1 orthologs. This knock-out model recapitulates the main features of GD at the cellular level with severe lysosomal defects and accumulation of glucosylceramide in the fly brain. We also demonstrate a block in autophagy flux in association with reduced lifespan, age-dependent locomotor deficits and accumulation of autophagy substrates in dGBA-deficient fly brains. Furthermore, mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling is downregulated in dGBA knock-out flies, with a concomitant upregulation of Mitf gene expression, the fly ortholog of mammalian TFEB, likely as a compensatory response to the autophagy block. Moreover, the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin is able to partially ameliorate the lifespan, locomotor, and oxidative stress phenotypes. Together, our results demonstrate that this dGBA1-deficient fly model is a useful platform for the further study of the role of lysosomal-autophagic impairment and the potential therapeutic benefits of rapamycin in neuronopathic GD. These results also have important implications for the role of autophagy and mTOR signaling in GBA1-associated PD.
SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT We developed a Drosophila model of neuronopathic GD by knocking-out the fly orthologs of the GBA1 gene, demonstrating abnormal lysosomal pathology in the fly brain. Functioning lysosomes are required for autophagosome-lysosomal fusion in the autophagy pathway. We show in vivo that autophagy is impaired in dGBA-deficient fly brains. In response, mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) activity is downregulated in dGBA-deficient flies and rapamycin ameliorates the lifespan, locomotor, and oxidative stress phenotypes. dGBA knock-out flies also display an upregulation of the Drosophila ortholog of mammalian TFEB, Mitf, a response that is unable to overcome the autophagy block. Together, our results suggest that rapamycin may have potential benefits in the treatment of GD, as well as PD linked to GBA1 mutations.
PMCID: PMC5125225  PMID: 27852774
autophagy; Drosophila; Gaucher disease; glucocerebrosidase; mTOR; rapamycin
6.  Vascular disease and vascular risk factors in relation to motor features and cognition in early Parkinson's disease 
Movement Disorders  2016;31(10):1518-1526.
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between vascular disease (and vascular risk factors), cognition and motor phenotype in Parkinson's disease (PD).
Recently diagnosed PD cases were enrolled in a multicenter prospective observational longitudinal cohort study. Montreal cognitive assessment (normal >23, mild cognitive impairment 22 to 23 or lower but without functional impairment, and dementia 21 or less with functional impairment) and Movement Disorder Society Unified PD Rating Scale part 3 (UPDRS 3) scores were analyzed in relation to a history of vascular events and risk factors.
In 1759 PD cases, mean age 67.5 (standard deviation 9.3) years, mean disease duration 1.3 (standard deviation 0.9) years, 65.2% were men, 4.7% had a history of prior stroke or transient ischemic attack, and 12.5% had cardiac disease (angina, myocardial infarction, heart failure). In cases without a history of vascular disease, hypertension was recorded in 30.4%, high cholesterol 27.3%, obesity 20.7%, diabetes 7.2%, and cigarette smoking in 4.6%. Patients with prior stroke or transient ischemic attack were more likely to have cognitive impairment (42% vs 25%) and postural instability gait difficulty (53.5% vs 39.5%), but these findings were not significant after adjustment for age, sex, and disease duration (P = .075). The presence of more than 2 vascular risks was associated with worse UPDRS 3 motor scores (beta coefficient 4.05, 95% confidence interval 1.48, 6.61, p = .002) and with cognitive impairment (ordinal odds ratio 2.24, 95% confidence interval 1.34, 3.74, p = .002). In 842 patients (47.8%) with structural brain imaging, white matter leukoaraiosis, but not lacunar or territorial infarction, was associated with impaired cognition (p = .006) and postural instability gait difficulty (p = .010).
Vascular comorbidity is significantly associated with cognitive and gait impairment in patients with early PD, which may have prognostic and treatment implications. © 2016 The Authors. Movement Disorders published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.
PMCID: PMC5082556  PMID: 27324570
Parkinson's disease; gender; phenotype; diabetes; cerebrovascular
7.  mTOR independent regulation of macroautophagy by Leucine Rich Repeat Kinase 2 via Beclin-1 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:35106.
Leucine rich repeat kinase 2 is a complex enzyme with both kinase and GTPase activities, closely linked to the pathogenesis of several human disorders including Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease, leprosy and cancer. LRRK2 has been implicated in numerous cellular processes; however its physiological function remains unclear. Recent reports suggest that LRRK2 can act to regulate the cellular catabolic process of macroautophagy, although the precise mechanism whereby this occurs has not been identified. To investigate the signalling events through which LRRK2 acts to influence macroautophagy, the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)/Unc-51-like kinase 1 (ULK1) and Beclin-1/phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathways were evaluated in astrocytic cell models in the presence and absence of LRRK2 kinase inhibitors. Chemical inhibition of LRRK2 kinase activity resulted in the stimulation of macroautophagy in a non-canonical fashion, independent of mTOR and ULK1, but dependent upon the activation of Beclin 1-containing class III PI3-kinase.
PMCID: PMC5059726  PMID: 27731364
8.  A genome-wide association study in multiple system atrophy 
Neurology  2016;87(15):1591-1598.
To identify genetic variants that play a role in the pathogenesis of multiple system atrophy (MSA), we undertook a genome-wide association study (GWAS).
We performed a GWAS with >5 million genotyped and imputed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 918 patients with MSA of European ancestry and 3,864 controls. MSA cases were collected from North American and European centers, one third of which were neuropathologically confirmed.
We found no significant loci after stringent multiple testing correction. A number of regions emerged as potentially interesting for follow-up at p < 1 × 10−6, including SNPs in the genes FBXO47, ELOVL7, EDN1, and MAPT. Contrary to previous reports, we found no association of the genes SNCA and COQ2 with MSA.
We present a GWAS in MSA. We have identified several potentially interesting gene loci, including the MAPT locus, whose significance will have to be evaluated in a larger sample set. Common genetic variation in SNCA and COQ2 does not seem to be associated with MSA. In the future, additional samples of well-characterized patients with MSA will need to be collected to perform a larger MSA GWAS, but this initial study forms the basis for these next steps.
PMCID: PMC5067544  PMID: 27629089
9.  Diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease on the basis of clinical–genetic classification: a population-based modelling study 
The Lancet. Neurology  2015;14(10):1002-1009.
Accurate diagnosis and early detection of complex disease has the potential to be of enormous benefit to clinical trialists, patients, and researchers alike. We sought to create a non-invasive, low-cost, and accurate classification model for diagnosing Parkinson’s disease risk to serve as a basis for future disease prediction studies in prospective longitudinal cohorts.
We developed a simple disease classifying model within 367 patients with Parkinson’s disease and phenotypically typical imaging data and 165 controls without neurological disease of the Parkinson’s Progression Marker Initiative (PPMI) study. Olfactory function, genetic risk, family history of PD, age and gender were algorithmically selected as significant contributors to our classifying model. This model was developed using the PPMI study then tested in 825 patients with Parkinson’s disease and 261 controls from five independent studies with varying recruitment strategies and designs including the Parkinson’s Disease Biomarkers Program (PDBP), Parkinson’s Associated Risk Study (PARS), 23andMe, Longitudinal and Biomarker Study in PD (LABS-PD), and Morris K. Udall Parkinson’s Disease Research Center of Excellence (Penn-Udall).
Our initial model correctly distinguished patients with Parkinson’s disease from controls at an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.923 (95% CI = 0.900 – 0.946) with high sensitivity (0.834, 95% CI = 0.711 – 0.883) and specificity (0.903, 95% CI = 0.824 – 0.946) in PPMI at its optimal AUC threshold (0.655). The model is also well-calibrated with all Hosmer-Lemeshow simulations suggesting that when parsed into random subgroups, the actual data mirrors that of the larger expected data, demonstrating that our model is robust and fits well. Likewise external validation shows excellent classification of PD with AUCs of 0.894 in PDBP, 0.998 in PARS, 0.955 in 23andMe, 0.929 in LABS-PD, and 0.939 in Penn-Udall. Additionally, when our model classifies SWEDD as PD, they convert within one year to typical PD more than would be expected by chance, with 4 out of 17 classified as PD converting to PD during brief follow-up; while SWEDD not classified as PD showed one conversion to PD out of 38 participants (test of proportions, p-value = 0.003).
This model may serve as a basis for future investigations into the classification, prediction and treatment of Parkinson’s disease, particularly those planning on attempting to identify prodromal or preclinical etiologically typical PD cases in prospective cohorts for efficient interventional and biomarker studies.
Please see the acknowledgements and funding section at the end of the manuscript.
PMCID: PMC4575273  PMID: 26271532
10.  ABCA7 p.G215S as potential protective factor for Alzheimer's disease 
Neurobiology of Aging  2016;46:235.e1-235.e9.
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have been effective approaches to dissect common genetic variability underlying complex diseases in a systematic and unbiased way. Recently, GWASs have led to the discovery of over 20 susceptibility loci for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Despite the evidence showing the contribution of these loci to AD pathogenesis, their genetic architecture has not been extensively investigated, leaving the possibility that low frequency and rare coding variants may also occur and contribute to the risk of disease. We have used exome and genome sequencing data to analyze the single independent and joint effect of rare and low-frequency protein coding variants in 9 AD GWAS loci with the strongest effect sizes after APOE (BIN1, CLU, CR1, PICALM, MS4A6A, ABCA7, EPHA1, CD33, and CD2AP) in a cohort of 332 sporadic AD cases and 676 elderly controls of British and North-American ancestry. We identified coding variability in ABCA7 as contributing to AD risk. This locus harbors a low-frequency coding variant (p.G215S, rs72973581, minor allele frequency = 4.3%) conferring a modest but statistically significant protection against AD (p-value = 0.024, odds ratio = 0.57, 95% confidence interval = 0.41–0.80). Notably, our results are not driven by an enrichment of loss of function variants in ABCA7, recently reported as main pathogenic factor underlying AD risk at this locus. In summary, our study confirms the role of ABCA7 in AD and provides new insights that should address functional studies.
PMCID: PMC5024078  PMID: 27289440
Alzheimer's disease (AD); Genome-wide association studies (GWASs); ABCA7; Whole exome sequencing (WES); Whole genome sequencing (WGS); Protective variant
11.  Mutation Frequency of the Major Frontotemporal Dementia Genes, MAPT, GRN and C9ORF72 in a Turkish Cohort of Dementia Patients 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(9):e0162592.
‘Microtubule-associated protein tau’ (MAPT), ‘granulin’ (GRN) and ‘chromosome 9 open reading frame72’ (C9ORF72) gene mutations are the major known genetic causes of frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Recent studies suggest that mutations in these genes may also be associated with other forms of dementia. Therefore we investigated whether MAPT, GRN and C9ORF72 gene mutations are major contributors to dementia in a random, unselected Turkish cohort of dementia patients. A combination of whole-exome sequencing, Sanger sequencing and fragment analysis/Southern blot was performed in order to identify pathogenic mutations and novel variants in these genes as well as other FTD-related genes such as the ‘charged multivesicular body protein 2B’ (CHMP2B), the ‘FUS RNA binding protein’ (FUS), the ‘TAR DNA binding protein’ (TARDBP), the ‘sequestosome1’ (SQSTM1), and the ‘valosin containing protein’ (VCP). We determined one pathogenic MAPT mutation (c.1906C>T, p.P636L) and one novel missense variant (c.38A>G, p.D13G). In GRN we identified a probably pathogenic TGAG deletion in the splice donor site of exon 6. Three patients were found to carry the GGGGCC expansions in the non-coding region of the C9ORF72 gene. In summary, a complete screening for mutations in MAPT, GRN and C9ORF72 genes revealed a frequency of 5.4% of pathogenic mutations in a random cohort of 93 Turkish index patients with dementia.
PMCID: PMC5025192  PMID: 27632209
12.  Genetic Influences on Atrophy Patterns in Familial Alzheimer’s Disease: A Comparison of APP and PSEN1 Mutations 
Mutations in the presenilin1 (PSEN1) and amyloid β-protein precursor (APP) genes account for the majority of cases of autosomal dominantly inherited Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We wished to assess and compare the patterns of cerebral loss produced by these two groups of mutations. Volumetric magnetic resonance imaging and neuropsychological assessments were performed in individuals with clinical AD carrying mutations in the APP (n = 10) and PSEN1 (n = 18) genes and in healthy controls (n = 18). Voxel-based morphometry (VBM), cortical thickness, and region of interest analyses were performed. Mini-Mental State Examination scores were similar in the two disease groups suggesting similar levels of disease severity. There was evidence that APP subjects have smaller hippocampal volume compared with PSEN1 subjects (p = 0.007), and weak evidence that they have larger whole-brain and grey matter volumes (both p = 0.07). Although there was no evidence of statistically significant differences between APP and PSEN1 in VBM or cortical thickness analyses, effect-maps were suggestive of APP subjects having more medial temporal lobe atrophy and conversely PSEN1 subjects showing more neocortical loss. Neuropsychological data were consistent with these regional differences and suggested greater memory deficits in the APP patients and greater impairment in non-memory domains in the PSEN1 group, although these differences were not statistically significant. We conclude that the mechanisms by which APP and PSEN1 mutations cause neuronal loss may differ which furthers our understanding of the neuropathology underlying AD and may inform future therapeutic strategies and trial designs.
PMCID: PMC4982537  PMID: 23380992
Alzheimer’s disease; APP; atrophy; autosomal dominant; magnetic resonance imaging; PSEN1
13.  Genetic risk factors for the posterior cortical atrophy variant of Alzheimer's disease 
Alzheimer's & Dementia  2016;12(8):862-871.
The genetics underlying posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), typically a rare variant of Alzheimer's disease (AD), remain uncertain.
We genotyped 302 PCA patients from 11 centers, calculated risk at 24 loci for AD/DLB and performed an exploratory genome-wide association study.
We confirm that variation in/near APOE/TOMM40 (P = 6 × 10−14) alters PCA risk, but with smaller effect than for typical AD (PCA: odds ratio [OR] = 2.03, typical AD: OR = 2.83, P = .0007). We found evidence for risk in/near CR1 (P = 7 × 10−4), ABCA7 (P = .02) and BIN1 (P = .04). ORs at variants near INPP5D and NME8 did not overlap between PCA and typical AD. Exploratory genome-wide association studies confirmed APOE and identified three novel loci: rs76854344 near CNTNAP5 (P = 8 × 10−10 OR = 1.9 [1.5–2.3]); rs72907046 near FAM46A (P = 1 × 10−9 OR = 3.2 [2.1–4.9]); and rs2525776 near SEMA3C (P = 1 × 10−8, OR = 3.3 [2.1–5.1]).
We provide evidence for genetic risk factors specifically related to PCA. We identify three candidate loci that, if replicated, may provide insights into selective vulnerability and phenotypic diversity in AD.
PMCID: PMC4982482  PMID: 26993346
Posterior cortical atrophy; Alzheimer's disease; Genetics; GWAS; Selective vulnerability; APOE
14.  Polygenic Overlap Between C-Reactive Protein, Plasma Lipids and Alzheimer's Disease 
Circulation  2015;131(23):2061-2069.
Epidemiological findings suggest a relationship between Alzheimer's disease (AD), inflammation and dyslipidemia, although the nature of this relationship is not well understood. We investigated whether this phenotypic association arises from a shared genetic basis.
Methods and Results
Using summary statistics (p-values and odds ratios) from genome-wide association studies of over 200,000 individuals, we investigated overlap in single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with clinically diagnosed AD and C-reactive protein (CRP), triglycerides (TG), high- (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels. We found up to 50-fold enrichment of AD SNPs for different levels of association with CRP, LDL, HDL and TG SNPs using an FDR threshold < 0.05. By conditioning on polymorphisms associated with the four phenotypes, we identified 55 loci associated with increased AD risk. We then conducted a meta-analysis of these 55 variants across four independent AD cohorts (total n = 29,054 AD cases and 114,824 healthy controls) and discovered two genome-wide significant variants on chromosome 4 (rs13113697, closest gene HS3ST1, odds ratio (OR) = 1.07, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.05-1.11, p = 2.86 × 10−8) and chromosome 10 (rs7920721, closest gene ECHDC3, OR = 1.07, 95% CI = 1.04-1.11, p = 3.38 × 10−8). We also found that gene expression of HS3ST1 and ECHDC3 was altered in AD brains compared with control brains.
We demonstrate genetic overlap between AD, CRP, and plasma lipids. By conditioning on the genetic association with the cardiovascular phenotypes, we identify novel AD susceptibility loci including two genome-wide significant variants conferring increased risk for Alzheimer's disease.
PMCID: PMC4677995  PMID: 25862742
Alzheimer's disease; inflammation; plasma lipids; GWAS
15.  Convergent genetic and expression data implicate immunity in Alzheimer's disease 
Jones, Lesley | Lambert, Jean-Charles | Wang, Li-San | Choi, Seung-Hoan | Harold, Denise | Vedernikov, Alexey | Escott-Price, Valentina | Stone, Timothy | Richards, Alexander | Bellenguez, Céline | Ibrahim-Verbaas, Carla A | Naj, Adam C | Sims, Rebecca | Gerrish, Amy | Jun, Gyungah | DeStefano, Anita L | Bis, Joshua C | Beecham, Gary W | Grenier-Boley, Benjamin | Russo, Giancarlo | Thornton-Wells, Tricia A | Jones, Nicola | Smith, Albert V | Chouraki, Vincent | Thomas, Charlene | Ikram, M Arfan | Zelenika, Diana | Vardarajan, Badri N | Kamatani, Yoichiro | Lin, Chiao-Feng | Schmidt, Helena | Kunkle, Brian | Dunstan, Melanie L | Ruiz, Agustin | Bihoreau, Marie-Thérèse | Reitz, Christiane | Pasquier, Florence | Hollingworth, Paul | Hanon, Olivier | Fitzpatrick, Annette L | Buxbaum, Joseph D | Campion, Dominique | Crane, Paul K | Becker, Tim | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Cruchaga, Carlos | Craig, David | Amin, Najaf | Berr, Claudine | Lopez, Oscar L | De Jager, Philip L | Deramecourt, Vincent | Johnston, Janet A | Evans, Denis | Lovestone, Simon | Letteneur, Luc | Kornhuber, Johanes | Tárraga, Lluís | Rubinsztein, David C | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Sleegers, Kristel | Goate, Alison M | Fiévet, Nathalie | Huentelman, Matthew J | Gill, Michael | Emilsson, Valur | Brown, Kristelle | Kamboh, M Ilyas | Keller, Lina | Barberger-Gateau, Pascale | McGuinness, Bernadette | Larson, Eric B | Myers, Amanda J | Dufouil, Carole | Todd, Stephen | Wallon, David | Love, Seth | Kehoe, Pat | Rogaeva, Ekaterina | Gallacher, John | George-Hyslop, Peter St | Clarimon, Jordi | Lleὀ, Alberti | Bayer, Anthony | Tsuang, Debby W | Yu, Lei | Tsolaki, Magda | Bossù, Paola | Spalletta, Gianfranco | Proitsi, Petra | Collinge, John | Sorbi, Sandro | Garcia, Florentino Sanchez | Fox, Nick | Hardy, John | Naranjo, Maria Candida Deniz | Razquin, Cristina | Bosco, Paola | Clarke, Robert | Brayne, Carol | Galimberti, Daniela | Mancuso, Michelangelo | Moebus, Susanne | Mecocci, Patrizia | del Zompo, Maria | Maier, Wolfgang | Hampel, Harald | Pilotto, Alberto | Bullido, Maria | Panza, Francesco | Caffarra, Paolo | Nacmias, Benedetta | Gilbert, John R | Mayhaus, Manuel | Jessen, Frank | Dichgans, Martin | Lannfelt, Lars | Hakonarson, Hakon | Pichler, Sabrina | Carrasquillo, Minerva M | Ingelsson, Martin | Beekly, Duane | Alavarez, Victoria | Zou, Fanggeng | Valladares, Otto | Younkin, Steven G | Coto, Eliecer | Hamilton-Nelson, Kara L | Mateo, Ignacio | Owen, Michael J | Faber, Kelley M | Jonsson, Palmi V | Combarros, Onofre | O'Donovan, Michael C | Cantwell, Laura B | Soininen, Hilkka | Blacker, Deborah | Mead, Simon | Mosley, Thomas H | Bennett, David A | Harris, Tamara B | Fratiglioni, Laura | Holmes, Clive | de Bruijn, Renee FAG | Passmore, Peter | Montine, Thomas J | Bettens, Karolien | Rotter, Jerome I | Brice, Alexis | Morgan, Kevin | Foroud, Tatiana M | Kukull, Walter A | Hannequin, Didier | Powell, John F | Nalls, Michael A | Ritchie, Karen | Lunetta, Kathryn L | Kauwe, John SK | Boerwinkle, Eric | Riemenschneider, Matthias | Boada, Mercè | Hiltunen, Mikko | Martin, Eden R | Pastor, Pau | Schmidt, Reinhold | Rujescu, Dan | Dartigues, Jean-François | Mayeux, Richard | Tzourio, Christophe | Hofman, Albert | Nöthen, Markus M | Graff, Caroline | Psaty, Bruce M | Haines, Jonathan L | Lathrop, Mark | Pericak-Vance, Margaret A | Launer, Lenore J | Farrer, Lindsay A | van Duijn, Cornelia M | Van Broekhoven, Christine | Ramirez, Alfredo | Schellenberg, Gerard D | Seshadri, Sudha | Amouyel, Philippe | Williams, Julie | Holmans, Peter A
Late–onset Alzheimer's disease (AD) is heritable with 20 genes showing genome wide association in the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project (IGAP). To identify the biology underlying the disease we extended these genetic data in a pathway analysis.
The ALIGATOR and GSEA algorithms were used in the IGAP data to identify associated functional pathways and correlated gene expression networks in human brain.
ALIGATOR identified an excess of curated biological pathways showing enrichment of association. Enriched areas of biology included the immune response (p = 3.27×10-12 after multiple testing correction for pathways), regulation of endocytosis (p = 1.31×10-11), cholesterol transport (p = 2.96 × 10-9) and proteasome-ubiquitin activity (p = 1.34×10-6). Correlated gene expression analysis identified four significant network modules, all related to the immune response (corrected p 0.002 – 0.05).
The immune response, regulation of endocytosis, cholesterol transport and protein ubiquitination represent prime targets for AD therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC4672734  PMID: 25533204
Alzheimer's disease; dementia; neurodegeneration; immune response; endocytosis; cholesterol metabolism; uniquitination; pathway analysis; ALIGATOR; Weighted gene coexpression network analysis
16.  Influence of Coding Variability in APP-Aβ Metabolism Genes in Sporadic Alzheimer’s Disease 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(6):e0150079.
The cerebral deposition of Aβ42, a neurotoxic proteolytic derivate of amyloid precursor protein (APP), is a central event in Alzheimer’s disease (AD)(Amyloid hypothesis). Given the key role of APP-Aβ metabolism in AD pathogenesis, we selected 29 genes involved in APP processing, Aβ degradation and clearance. We then used exome and genome sequencing to investigate the single independent (single-variant association test) and cumulative (gene-based association test) effect of coding variants in these genes as potential susceptibility factors for AD, in a cohort composed of 332 sporadic and mainly late-onset AD cases and 676 elderly controls from North America and the UK. Our study shows that common coding variability in these genes does not play a major role for the disease development. In the single-variant association analysis, the main hits, none of which statistically significant after multiple testing correction (1.9e-4
PMCID: PMC4889076  PMID: 27249223
EMBO Molecular Medicine  2016;8(6):595-608.
Despite continuing debate about the amyloid β‐protein (or Aβ hypothesis, new lines of evidence from laboratories and clinics worldwide support the concept that an imbalance between production and clearance of Aβ42 and related Aβ peptides is a very early, often initiating factor in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Confirmation that presenilin is the catalytic site of γ‐secretase has provided a linchpin: all dominant mutations causing early‐onset AD occur either in the substrate (amyloid precursor protein, APP) or the protease (presenilin) of the reaction that generates Aβ. Duplication of the wild‐type APP gene in Down's syndrome leads to Aβ deposits in the teens, followed by microgliosis, astrocytosis, and neurofibrillary tangles typical of AD. Apolipoprotein E4, which predisposes to AD in > 40% of cases, has been found to impair Aβ clearance from the brain. Soluble oligomers of Aβ42 isolated from AD patients' brains can decrease synapse number, inhibit long‐term potentiation, and enhance long‐term synaptic depression in rodent hippocampus, and injecting them into healthy rats impairs memory. The human oligomers also induce hyperphosphorylation of tau at AD‐relevant epitopes and cause neuritic dystrophy in cultured neurons. Crossing human APP with human tau transgenic mice enhances tau‐positive neurotoxicity. In humans, new studies show that low cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) Aβ42 and amyloid‐PET positivity precede other AD manifestations by many years. Most importantly, recent trials of three different Aβ antibodies (solanezumab, crenezumab, and aducanumab) have suggested a slowing of cognitive decline in post hoc analyses of mild AD subjects. Although many factors contribute to AD pathogenesis, Aβ dyshomeostasis has emerged as the most extensively validated and compelling therapeutic target.
PMCID: PMC4888851  PMID: 27025652
Aβ; Alzheimer; genetics; cell biology; treatment; Neuroscience
Brain  2016;139(7):1904-1918.
High-throughput next-generation sequencing can identify disease-causing mutations in extremely heterogeneous disorders. Kara et al. investigate a series of 97 index cases with complex hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP). They identify SPG11 defects in 30 families, as well as mutations in other HSP genes and genes associated with disorders including Parkinson’s disease.
High-throughput next-generation sequencing can identify disease-causing mutations in extremely heterogeneous disorders. Kara et al. investigate a series of 97 index cases with complex hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP). They identify SPG11 defects in 30 families, as well as mutations in other HSP genes and genes associated with disorders including Parkinson’s disease.
The hereditary spastic paraplegias are a heterogeneous group of degenerative disorders that are clinically classified as either pure with predominant lower limb spasticity, or complex where spastic paraplegia is complicated with additional neurological features, and are inherited in autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive or X-linked patterns. Genetic defects have been identified in over 40 different genes, with more than 70 loci in total. Complex recessive spastic paraplegias have in the past been frequently associated with mutations in SPG11 (spatacsin), ZFYVE26/SPG15, SPG7 (paraplegin) and a handful of other rare genes, but many cases remain genetically undefined. The overlap with other neurodegenerative disorders has been implied in a small number of reports, but not in larger disease series. This deficiency has been largely due to the lack of suitable high throughput techniques to investigate the genetic basis of disease, but the recent availability of next generation sequencing can facilitate the identification of disease-causing mutations even in extremely heterogeneous disorders. We investigated a series of 97 index cases with complex spastic paraplegia referred to a tertiary referral neurology centre in London for diagnosis or management. The mean age of onset was 16 years (range 3 to 39). The SPG11 gene was first analysed, revealing homozygous or compound heterozygous mutations in 30/97 (30.9%) of probands, the largest SPG11 series reported to date, and by far the most common cause of complex spastic paraplegia in the UK, with severe and progressive clinical features and other neurological manifestations, linked with magnetic resonance imaging defects. Given the high frequency of SPG11 mutations, we studied the autophagic response to starvation in eight affected SPG11 cases and control fibroblast cell lines, but in our restricted study we did not observe correlations between disease status and autophagic or lysosomal markers. In the remaining cases, next generation sequencing was carried out revealing variants in a number of other known complex spastic paraplegia genes, including five in SPG7 (5/97), four in FA2H (also known as SPG35) (4/97) and two in ZFYVE26/SPG15. Variants were identified in genes usually associated with pure spastic paraplegia and also in the Parkinson’s disease-associated gene ATP13A2, neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis gene TPP1 and the hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy DNMT1 gene, highlighting the genetic heterogeneity of spastic paraplegia. No plausible genetic cause was identified in 51% of probands, likely indicating the existence of as yet unidentified genes.
PMCID: PMC4939695  PMID: 27217339
hereditary spastic paraplegia; SPG11; gene; mutation; Parkinson’s disease
Molecular psychiatry  2015;20(12):1588-1595.
We investigated genetic overlap between Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD). Using summary statistics (p-values) from large recent genomewide association studies (GWAS) (total n = 89,904 individuals), we sought to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associating with both AD and PD. We found and replicated association of both AD and PD with the A allele of rs393152 within the extended MAPT region on chromosome 17 (meta analysis p-value across 5 independent AD cohorts = 1.65 × 10−7). In independent datasets, we found a dose-dependent effect of the A allele of rs393152 on intra-cerebral MAPT transcript levels and volume loss within the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus. Our findings identify the tau-associated MAPT locus as a site of genetic overlap between AD and PD and extending prior work, we show that the MAPT region increases risk of Alzheimer’s neurodegeneration.
PMCID: PMC4539304  PMID: 25687773
Jun, Gyungah | Ibrahim-Verbaas, Carla A. | Vronskaya, Maria | Lambert, Jean-Charles | Chung, Jaeyoon | Naj, Adam C. | Kunkle, Brian W. | Wang, Li-San | Bis, Joshua C. | Bellenguez, Céline | Harold, Denise | Lunetta, Kathryn L. | Destefano, Anita L. | Grenier-Boley, Benjamin | Sims, Rebecca | Beecham, Gary W. | Smith, Albert V. | Chouraki, Vincent | Hamilton-Nelson, Kara L. | Ikram, M. Arfan | Fievet, Nathalie | Denning, Nicola | Martin, Eden R. | Schmidt, Helena | Kamatani, Yochiro | Dunstan, Melanie L | Valladares, Otto | Laza, Agustin Ruiz | Zelenika, Diana | Ramirez, Alfredo | Foroud, Tatiana M. | Choi, Seung-Hoan | Boland, Anne | Becker, Tim | Kukull, Walter A. | van der Lee, Sven J. | Pasquier, Florence | Cruchaga, Carlos | Beekly, Duane | Fitzpatrick, Annette L. | Hanon, Oliver | Gill, Michael | Barber, Robert | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Campion, Dominique | Love, Seth | Bennett, David A. | Amin, Najaf | Berr, Claudine | Tsolaki, Magda | Buxbaum, Joseph D. | Lopez, Oscar L. | Deramecourt, Vincent | Fox, Nick C | Cantwell, Laura B. | Tárraga, Lluis | Dufouil, Carole | Hardy, John | Crane, Paul K. | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Hannequin, Didier | Clarke, Robert | Evans, Denis | Mosley, Thomas H. | Letenneur, Luc | Brayne, Carol | Maier, Wolfgang | De Jager, Philip | Emilsson, Valur | Dartigues, Jean-François | Hampel, Harald | Kamboh, M. Ilyas | de Bruijn, Renee F.A.G. | Tzourio, Christophe | Pastor, Pau | Larson, Eric B. | Rotter, Jerome I. | O’Donovan, Michael C | Montine, Thomas J. | Nalls, Michael A. | Mead, Simon | Reiman, Eric M. | Jonsson, Palmi V. | Holmes, Clive | St George-Hyslop, Peter H. | Boada, Mercè | Passmore, Peter | Wendland, Jens R. | Schmidt, Reinhold | Morgan, Kevin | Winslow, Ashley R. | Powell, John F | Carasquillo, Minerva | Younkin, Steven G. | Jakobsdóttir, Jóhanna | Kauwe, John SK | Wilhelmsen, Kirk C. | Rujescu, Dan | Nöthen, Markus M | Hofman, Albert | Jones, Lesley | Haines, Jonathan L. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Van Broeckhoven, Christine | Holmans, Peter | Launer, Lenore J. | Mayeux, Richard | Lathrop, Mark | Goate, Alison M. | Escott-Price, Valentina | Seshadri, Sudha | Pericak-Vance, Margaret A. | Amouyel, Philippe | Williams, Julie | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Schellenberg, Gerard D. | Farrer, Lindsay A.
Molecular psychiatry  2015;21(1):108-117.
APOE ε4, the most significant genetic risk factor for Alzheimer disease (AD), may mask effects of other loci. We re-analyzed genome-wide association study (GWAS) data from the International Genomics of Alzheimer’s Project (IGAP) Consortium in APOE ε4+ (10,352 cases and 9,207 controls) and APOE ε4− (7,184 cases and 26,968 controls) subgroups as well as in the total sample testing for interaction between a SNP and APOE ε4 status. Suggestive associations (P<1x10−4) in stage 1 were evaluated in an independent sample (stage 2) containing 4,203 subjects (APOE ε4+: 1,250 cases and 536 controls; APOE ε4-: 718 cases and 1,699 controls). Among APOE ε4− subjects, novel genome-wide significant (GWS) association was observed with 17 SNPs (all between KANSL1 and LRRC37A on chromosome 17 near MAPT) in a meta-analysis of the stage 1 and stage 2 datasets (best SNP, rs2732703, P=5·8x10−9). Conditional analysis revealed that rs2732703 accounted for association signals in the entire 100 kilobase region that includes MAPT. Except for previously identified AD loci showing stronger association in APOE ε4+ subjects (CR1 and CLU) or APOE ε4− subjects (MS4A6A/MS4A4A/ MS4A6E), no other SNPs were significantly associated with AD in a specific APOE genotype subgroup. In addition, the finding in the stage 1 sample that AD risk is significantly influenced by the interaction of APOE with rs1595014 in TMEM106B (P=1·6x10−7) is noteworthy because TMEM106B variants have previously been associated with risk of frontotemporal dementia. Expression quantitative trait locus analysis revealed that rs113986870, one of the GWS SNPs near rs2732703, is significantly associated with four KANSL1 probes that target transcription of the first translated exon and an untranslated exon in hippocampus (P≤1.3x10−8), frontal cortex (P≤1.3x10−9), and temporal cortex (P≤1.2x10−11). Rs113986870 is also strongly associated with a MAPT probe that targets transcription of alternatively spliced exon 3 in frontal cortex (P=9.2x10−6) and temporal cortex (P=2.6x10−6). Our APOE-stratified GWAS is the first to show GWS association for AD with SNPs in the chromosome 17q21.31 region. Replication of this finding in independent samples is needed to verify that SNPs in this region have significantly stronger effects on AD risk in persons lacking APOE ε4 compared to persons carrying this allele, and if this is found to hold, further examination of this region and studies aimed at deciphering the mechanism(s) are warranted.
PMCID: PMC4573764  PMID: 25778476
F1000Research  2016;5:F1000 Faculty Rev-876.
Down syndrome (DS), which arises from trisomy of chromosome 21, is associated with deposition of large amounts of amyloid within the central nervous system. Amyloid accumulates in two compartments: as plaques within the brain parenchyma and in vessel walls of the cerebral microvasculature. The parenchymal plaque amyloid is thought to result in an early onset
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia, a phenomenon so common amongst people with DS that it could be considered a defining feature of the condition. The amyloid precursor protein ( APP) gene lies on chromosome 21 and its presence in three copies in DS is thought to largely drive the early onset AD. In contrast, intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH), the main clinical consequence of vascular amyloidosis, is a more poorly defined feature of DS. We review recent epidemiological data on stroke (including haemorrhagic stroke) in order to make comparisons with a rare form of familial AD due to duplication (i.e. having three copies) of the APP region on chromosome 21, here called ‘dup-APP’, which is associated with more frequent and severe ICH. We conclude that although people with DS are at increased risk of ICH, this is less common than in dup-APP, suggesting the presence of mechanisms that act protectively. We review these mechanisms and consider comparative research into DS and dup-APP that may yield further pathophysiological insight.
PMCID: PMC4870990  PMID: 27239286
Intracerebral haemorrhage; Down syndrome; trisomy; Alzheimer’s disease; Cerebral amyloid angiopathy
Traylor, Matthew | Adib‐Samii, Poneh | Harold, Denise | Dichgans, Martin | Williams, Julie | Lewis, Cathryn M. | Markus, Hugh S. | Fornage, Myriam | Holliday, Elizabeth G | Sharma, Pankaj | Bis, Joshua C | Psaty, Bruce M | Seshadri, Sudha | Nalls, Mike A | Devan, William J | Boncoraglio, Giorgio | Malik, Rainer | Mitchell, Braxton D | Kittner, Steven J | Ikram, M Arfan | Clarke, Robert | Rosand, Jonathan | Meschia, James F | Sudlow, Cathie | Rothwell, Peter M | Levi, Christopher | Bevan, Steve | Kilarski, Laura L | Walters, Matthew | Thijs, Vincent | Slowik, Agnieszka | Lindgren, Arne | de Bakker, Paul I W | Lambert, Jean‐Charles | Ibrahim‐Verbaas, Carla A | Harold, Denise | Naj, Adam C | Sims, Rebecca | Bellenguez, Céline | Jun, Gyungah | DeStefano, Anita L | Bis, Joshua C | Beecham, Gary W | Grenier‐Boley, Benjamin | Russo, Giancarlo | Thornton‐Wells, Tricia A | Jones, Nicola | Smith, Albert V | Chouraki, Vincent | Thomas, Charlene | Ikram, M Arfan | Zelenika, Diana | Vardarajan, Badri N | Kamatani, Yoichiro | Lin, Chiao‐Feng | Gerrish, Amy | Schmidt, Helena | Kunkle, Brian | Dunstan, Melanie L | Ruiz, Agustin | Bihoreau, Marie‐Thçrèse | Choi, Seung‐Hoan | Reitz, Christiane | Pasquier, Florence | Hollingworth, Paul | Ramirez, Alfredo | Hanon, Olivier | Fitzpatrick, Annette L | Buxbaum, Joseph D | Campion, Dominique | Crane, Paul K | Baldwin, Clinton | Becker, Tim | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Cruchaga, Carlos | Craig, David | Amin, Najaf | Berr, Claudine | Lopez, Oscar L | De Jager, Philip L | Deramecourt, Vincent | Johnston, Janet A | Evans, Denis | Lovestone, Simon | Letenneur, Luc | Morón, Francisco J | Rubinsztein, David C | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Sleegers, Kristel | Goate, Alison M | Fiçvet, Nathalie | Huentelman, Matthew J | Gill, Michael | Brown, Kristelle | Kamboh, M Ilyas | Keller, Lina | Barberger‐Gateau, Pascale | McGuinness, Bernadette | Larson, Eric B | Green, Robert | Myers, Amanda J | Dufouil, Carole | Todd, Stephen | Wallon, David | Love, Seth | Rogaeva, Ekaterina | Gallacher, John | St George‐Hyslop, Peter | Clarimon, Jordi | Lleo, Alberto | Bayer, Anthony | Tsuang, Debby W | Yu, Lei | Tsolaki, Magda | Bossù, Paola | Spalletta, Gianfranco | Proitsi, Petroula | Collinge, John | Sorbi, Sandro | Sanchez‐Garcia, Florentino | Fox, Nick C | Hardy, John | Deniz Naranjo, Maria Candida | Bosco, Paolo | Clarke, Robert | Brayne, Carol | Galimberti, Daniela | Mancuso, Michelangelo | Matthews, Fiona | Moebus, Susanne | Mecocci, Patrizia | Del Zompo, Maria | Maier, Wolfgang | Hampel, Harald | Pilotto, Alberto | Bullido, Maria | Panza, Francesco | Caffarra, Paolo | Nacmias, Benedetta | Gilbert, John R | Mayhaus, Manuel | Lannfelt, Lars | Hakonarson, Hakon | Pichler, Sabrina | Carrasquillo, Minerva M | Ingelsson, Martin | Beekly, Duane | Alvarez, Victoria | Zou, Fanggeng | Valladares, Otto | Younkin, Steven G | Coto, Eliecer | Hamilton‐Nelson, Kara L | Gu, Wei | Razquin, Cristina | Pastor, Pau | Mateo, Ignacio | Owen, Michael J | Faber, Kelley M | Jonsson, Palmi V | Combarros, Onofre | O'Donovan, Michael C | Cantwell, Laura B | Soininen, Hilkka | Blacker, Deborah | Mead, Simon | Mosley, Thomas H | Bennett, David A | Harris, Tamara B | Fratiglioni, Laura | Holmes, Clive | de Bruijn, Renee F A G | Passmore, Peter | Montine, Thomas J | Bettens, Karolien | Rotter, Jerome I | Brice, Alexis | Morgan, Kevin | Foroud, Tatiana M | Kukull, Walter A | Hannequin, Didier | Powell, John F | Nalls, Michael A | Ritchie, Karen | Lunetta, Kathryn L | Kauwe, John S K | Boerwinkle, Eric | Riemenschneider, Matthias | Boada, Mercè | Hiltunen, Mikko | Martin, Eden R | Schmidt, Reinhold | Rujescu, Dan | Wang, Li‐San | Dartigues, Jean‐François | Mayeux, Richard | Tzourio, Christophe | Hofman, Albert | Nöthen, Markus M | Graff, Caroline | Psaty, Bruce M | Jones, Lesley | Haines, Jonathan L | Holmans, Peter A | Lathrop, Mark | Pericak‐Vance, Margaret A | Launer, Lenore J | Farrer, Lindsay A | van Duijn, Cornelia M | Van Broeckhoven, Christine | Moskvina, Valentina | Seshadri, Sudha | Williams, Julie | Schellenberg, Gerard D | Amouyel, Philippe
Annals of Neurology  2016;79(5):739-747.
Increasing evidence suggests epidemiological and pathological links between Alzheimer's disease (AD) and ischemic stroke (IS). We investigated the evidence that shared genetic factors underpin the two diseases.
Using genome‐wide association study (GWAS) data from METASTROKE + (15,916 IS cases and 68,826 controls) and the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project (IGAP; 17,008 AD cases and 37,154 controls), we evaluated known associations with AD and IS. On the subset of data for which we could obtain compatible genotype‐level data (4,610 IS cases, 1,281 AD cases, and 14,320 controls), we estimated the genome‐wide genetic correlation (rG) between AD and IS, and the three subtypes (cardioembolic, small vessel, and large vessel), using genome‐wide single‐nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data. We then performed a meta‐analysis and pathway analysis in the combined AD and small vessel stroke data sets to identify the SNPs and molecular pathways through which disease risk may be conferred.
We found evidence of a shared genetic contribution between AD and small vessel stroke (rG [standard error] = 0.37 [0.17]; p = 0.011). Conversely, there was no evidence to support shared genetic factors in AD and IS overall or with the other stroke subtypes. Of the known GWAS associations with IS or AD, none reached significance for association with the other trait (or stroke subtypes). A meta‐analysis of AD IGAP and METASTROKE + small vessel stroke GWAS data highlighted a region (ATP5H/KCTD2/ICT1) associated with both diseases (p = 1.8 × 10−8). A pathway analysis identified four associated pathways involving cholesterol transport and immune response.
Our findings indicate shared genetic susceptibility to AD and small vessel stroke and highlight potential causal pathways and loci. Ann Neurol 2016;79:739–747
PMCID: PMC4864940  PMID: 26913989
The Lancet. Neurology  2016;15(6):585-596.
Parkinson's disease has been reported in a small number of patients with chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. In this study, we screened a series of large, independent Parkinson's disease case-control studies for deletions at 22q11.2.
We used data on deletions spanning the 22q11.2 locus from four independent case-control Parkinson's disease studies (UK Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 2, Dutch Parkinson's Disease Genetics Consortium, US National Institute on Aging, and International Parkinson's Disease Genomics Consortium studies), which were independent of the original reports of chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. We did case-control association analysis to compare the proportion of 22q11.2 deletions found, using the Fisher's exact test for the independent case-control studies and the Mantel-Haenszel test for the meta-analyses. We retrieved clinical details of patients with Parkinson's disease who had 22q11.2 deletions from the medical records of these patients.
We included array-based copy number variation data from 9387 patients with Parkinson's disease and 13 863 controls. Eight patients with Parkinson's disease and none of the controls had 22q11.2 deletions (p=0·00082). In the 8451 patients for whom age at onset data were available, deletions at 22q11.2 were associated with Parkinson's disease age at onset (Mann-Whitney U test p=0·001). Age at onset of Parkinson's disease was lower in patients carrying a 22q11.2 deletion (median 37 years, 95% CI 32·0–55·5; mean 42·1 years [SD 11·9]) than in those who did not carry a deletion (median 61 years, 95% CI 60·5–61·0; mean 60·3 years [SD 12·8]). A 22q11.2 deletion was present in more patients with early-onset (p<0·0001) and late-onset Parkinson's disease (p=0·016) than in controls, and in more patients with early-onset than late-onset Parkinson's disease (p=0·005).
Clinicians should be alert to the possibility of 22q11.2 deletions in patients with Parkinson's disease who have early presentation or features associated with the chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, or both.
UK Medical Research Council, UK Wellcome Trust, Parkinson's UK, Patrick Berthoud Trust, National Institutes of Health, “Investissements d'Avenir” ANR-10-IAIHU-06, Dutch Parkinson Foundation (Parkinson Vereniging), Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam, National Institute for Health Research, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health.
PMCID: PMC4828586  PMID: 27017469
Cell Reports  2016;15(3):638-650.
The quest to extend healthspan via pharmacological means is becoming increasingly urgent, both from a health and economic perspective. Here we show that lithium, a drug approved for human use, promotes longevity and healthspan. We demonstrate that lithium extends lifespan in female and male Drosophila, when administered throughout adulthood or only later in life. The life-extending mechanism involves the inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) and activation of the transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor (NRF-2). Combining genetic loss of the NRF-2 repressor Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1) with lithium treatment revealed that high levels of NRF-2 activation conferred stress resistance, while low levels additionally promoted longevity. The discovery of GSK-3 as a therapeutic target for aging will likely lead to more effective treatments that can modulate mammalian aging and further improve health in later life.
Graphical Abstract
•Lithium extends Drosophila lifespan independent of sex and genetic background•Lithium reduces triglycerides and confers stress-resistance•Genetic or pharmacological inhibition of GSK-3 activates NRF-2•NRF-2 activation is required for the longevity effects of lithium
The mood stabilizer lithium has been shown to extend lifespan in organisms ranging from yeast to flies. Castillo-Quan et al. show that lithium promotes longevity through GSK-3 inhibition and subsequent NRF-2 activation, suggesting that GSK3 is a possible drug target that might affect aging.
PMCID: PMC4850359  PMID: 27068460
GSK-3; NRF-2; aging; xenobiotic stress; Keap1; dietary restriction; triglycerides
F1000Research  2016;5:F1000 Faculty Rev-389.
In this article, we first present a summary of the general assumptions about Down syndrome (DS) still to be found in the literature. We go on to show how new research has modified these assumptions, pointing to a wide range of individual differences at every level of description. We argue that, in the context of significant increases in DS life expectancy, a focus on individual differences in trisomy 21 at all levels—genetic, cellular, neural, cognitive, behavioral, and environmental—constitutes one of the best approaches for understanding genotype/phenotype relations in DS and for exploring risk and protective factors for Alzheimer’s disease in this high-risk population.
PMCID: PMC4806704  PMID: 27019699
Down syndrome; Alzheimer’s disease; neurodevelopmental disorder; trisomy 21

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