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author:("Zou, fangfeng")
1.  Association of MAPT haplotypes with Alzheimer’s disease risk and MAPT brain gene expression levels 
Introduction
MAPT encodes for tau, the predominant component of neurofibrillary tangles that are neuropathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Genetic association of MAPT variants with late-onset AD (LOAD) risk has been inconsistent, although insufficient power and incomplete assessment of MAPT haplotypes may account for this.
Methods
We examined the association of MAPT haplotypes with LOAD risk in more than 20,000 subjects (n-cases = 9,814, n-controls = 11,550) from Mayo Clinic (n-cases = 2,052, n-controls = 3,406) and the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium (ADGC, n-cases = 7,762, n-controls = 8,144). We also assessed associations with brain MAPT gene expression levels measured in the cerebellum (n = 197) and temporal cortex (n = 202) of LOAD subjects. Six single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) which tag MAPT haplotypes with frequencies greater than 1% were evaluated.
Results
H2-haplotype tagging rs8070723-G allele associated with reduced risk of LOAD (odds ratio, OR = 0.90, 95% confidence interval, CI = 0.85-0.95, p = 5.2E-05) with consistent results in the Mayo (OR = 0.81, p = 7.0E-04) and ADGC (OR = 0.89, p = 1.26E-04) cohorts. rs3785883-A allele was also nominally significantly associated with LOAD risk (OR = 1.06, 95% CI = 1.01-1.13, p = 0.034). Haplotype analysis revealed significant global association with LOAD risk in the combined cohort (p = 0.033), with significant association of the H2 haplotype with reduced risk of LOAD as expected (p = 1.53E-04) and suggestive association with additional haplotypes. MAPT SNPs and haplotypes also associated with brain MAPT levels in the cerebellum and temporal cortex of AD subjects with the strongest associations observed for the H2 haplotype and reduced brain MAPT levels (β = -0.16 to -0.20, p = 1.0E-03 to 3.0E-03).
Conclusions
These results confirm the previously reported MAPT H2 associations with LOAD risk in two large series, that this haplotype has the strongest effect on brain MAPT expression amongst those tested and identify additional haplotypes with suggestive associations, which require replication in independent series. These biologically congruent results provide compelling evidence to screen the MAPT region for regulatory variants which confer LOAD risk by influencing its brain gene expression.
doi:10.1186/alzrt268
PMCID: PMC4198935  PMID: 25324900
2.  Gene-Wide Analysis Detects Two New Susceptibility Genes for Alzheimer's Disease 
Escott-Price, Valentina | Bellenguez, Céline | Wang, Li-San | Choi, Seung-Hoan | Harold, Denise | Jones, Lesley | Holmans, Peter | Gerrish, Amy | Vedernikov, Alexey | Richards, Alexander | DeStefano, Anita L. | Lambert, Jean-Charles | Ibrahim-Verbaas, Carla A. | Naj, Adam C. | Sims, Rebecca | Jun, Gyungah | Bis, Joshua C. | Beecham, Gary W. | Grenier-Boley, Benjamin | Russo, Giancarlo | Thornton-Wells, Tricia A. | Denning, 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. | Vronskaya, Maria | Johnson, Andrew D. | Ruiz, Agustin | Bihoreau, Marie-Thérèse | Reitz, Christiane | Pasquier, Florence | Hollingworth, Paul | 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 | Hernández, Isabel | Rubinsztein, David C. | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Sleegers, Kristel | Goate, Alison M. | Fiévet, Nathalie | Huentelman, Matthew J. | Gill, Michael | 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 | Rogaeva, Ekaterina | Gallacher, John | George-Hyslop, Peter St | Clarimon, Jordi | Lleo, Alberto | Bayer, Anthony | Tsuang, Debby W. | Yu, Lei | Tsolaki, Magda | Bossù, Paola | Spalletta, Gianfranco | Proitsi, Petra | Collinge, John | Sorbi, Sandro | Garcia, Florentino Sanchez | Fox, Nick C. | Hardy, John | Naranjo, Maria Candida Deniz | Bosco, Paolo | Clarke, Robert | Brayne, Carol | Galimberti, Daniela | Scarpini, Elio | Bonuccelli, Ubaldo | Mancuso, Michelangelo | Siciliano, Gabriele | Moebus, Susanne | Mecocci, Patrizia | Zompo, Maria Del | Maier, Wolfgang | Hampel, Harald | Pilotto, Alberto | Frank-García, Ana | Panza, Francesco | Solfrizzi, Vincenzo | Caffarra, Paolo | Nacmias, Benedetta | Perry, William | 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 | 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. | Van Broeckhoven, Christine | Farrer, Lindsay A. | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Ramirez, Alfredo | Seshadri, Sudha | Schellenberg, Gerard D. | Amouyel, Philippe | Williams, Julie
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e94661.
Background
Alzheimer's disease is a common debilitating dementia with known heritability, for which 20 late onset susceptibility loci have been identified, but more remain to be discovered. This study sought to identify new susceptibility genes, using an alternative gene-wide analytical approach which tests for patterns of association within genes, in the powerful genome-wide association dataset of the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project Consortium, comprising over 7 m genotypes from 25,580 Alzheimer's cases and 48,466 controls.
Principal Findings
In addition to earlier reported genes, we detected genome-wide significant loci on chromosomes 8 (TP53INP1, p = 1.4×10−6) and 14 (IGHV1-67 p = 7.9×10−8) which indexed novel susceptibility loci.
Significance
The additional genes identified in this study, have an array of functions previously implicated in Alzheimer's disease, including aspects of energy metabolism, protein degradation and the immune system and add further weight to these pathways as potential therapeutic targets in Alzheimer's disease.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094661
PMCID: PMC4055488  PMID: 24922517
3.  Meta-analysis of 74,046 individuals identifies 11 new susceptibility loci for Alzheimer’s disease 
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-Thérèse | 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 | Fiévet, 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 | Zompo, Maria Del | 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
Nature genetics  2013;45(12):1452-1458.
Eleven susceptibility loci for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) were identified by previous studies; however, a large portion of the genetic risk for this disease remains unexplained. We conducted a large, two-stage meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in individuals of European ancestry. In stage 1, we used genotyped and imputed data (7,055,881 SNPs) to perform meta-analysis on 4 previously published GWAS data sets consisting of 17,008 Alzheimer’s disease cases and 37,154 controls. In stage 2,11,632 SNPs were genotyped and tested for association in an independent set of 8,572 Alzheimer’s disease cases and 11,312 controls. In addition to the APOE locus (encoding apolipoprotein E), 19 loci reached genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8) in the combined stage 1 and stage 2 analysis, of which 11 are newly associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
doi:10.1038/ng.2802
PMCID: PMC3896259  PMID: 24162737
4.  ApoE variant p.V236E is associated with markedly reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease 
Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) have identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) which show significant association at the well-known APOE locus and at nineteen additional loci. Among the functional, disease-associated variants at these loci, missense variants are particularly important because they can be readily investigated in model systems to search for novel therapeutic targets. It is now possible to perform a low-cost search for these “actionable” variants by genotyping the missense variants at known LOAD loci already cataloged on the Exome Variant Server (EVS). In this proof-of-principle study designed to explore the efficacy of this approach, we analyzed three rare EVS variants in APOE, p.L28P, p.R145C and p.V236E, in our case control series of 9114 subjects. p.R145C proved to be too rare to analyze effectively. The minor allele of p.L28P, which was in complete linkage disequilibrium (D’ = 1) with the far more common APOE ϵ4 allele, showed no association with LOAD (P = 0.75) independent of the APOE ϵ4 allele. p.V236E was significantly associated with a marked reduction in risk of LOAD (P = 7.5×10−05; OR = 0.10, 0.03 to 0.45). The minor allele of p.V236E, which was in complete linkage disequilibrium (D’ = 1) with the common APOE ϵ3 allele, identifies a novel LOAD-associated haplotype (APOE ϵ3b) which is associated with decreased risk of LOAD independent of the more abundant APOE ϵ2, ϵ3 and ϵ4 haplotypes. Follow-up studies will be important to confirm the significance of this association and to better define its odds ratio. The ApoE p.V236E substitution is the first disease-associated change located in the lipid-binding, C-terminal domain of the protein. Thus our study (i) identifies a novel APOE missense variant which may profitably be studied to better understand how ApoE function may be modified to reduce risk of LOAD and (ii) indicates that analysis of protein-altering variants cataloged on the EVS can be a cost-effective way to identify actionable functional variants at recently discovered LOAD loci.
doi:10.1186/1750-1326-9-11
PMCID: PMC3995879  PMID: 24607147
5.  Novel late-onset Alzheimer disease loci variants associate with brain gene expression 
Neurology  2012;79(3):221-228.
Objective:
Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of late-onset Alzheimer disease (LOAD) identified 9 novel risk loci. Discovery of functional variants within genes at these loci is required to confirm their role in Alzheimer disease (AD). Single nucleotide polymorphisms that influence gene expression (eSNPs) constitute an important class of functional variants. We therefore investigated the influence of the novel LOAD risk loci on human brain gene expression.
Methods:
We measured gene expression levels in the cerebellum and temporal cortex of autopsied AD subjects and those with other brain pathologies (∼400 total subjects). To determine whether any of the novel LOAD risk variants are eSNPs, we tested their cis-association with expression of 6 nearby LOAD candidate genes detectable in human brain (ABCA7, BIN1, CLU, MS4A4A, MS4A6A, PICALM) and an additional 13 genes ±100 kb of these SNPs. To identify additional eSNPs that influence brain gene expression levels of the novel candidate LOAD genes, we identified SNPs ±100 kb of their location and tested for cis-associations.
Results:
CLU rs11136000 (p = 7.81 × 10−4) and MS4A4A rs2304933/rs2304935 (p = 1.48 × 10−4–1.86 × 10−4) significantly influence temporal cortex expression levels of these genes. The LOAD-protective CLU and risky MS4A4A locus alleles associate with higher brain levels of these genes. There are other cis-variants that significantly influence brain expression of CLU and ABCA7 (p = 4.01 × 10−5–9.09 × 10−9), some of which also associate with AD risk (p = 2.64 × 10−2–6.25 × 10−5).
Conclusions:
CLU and MS4A4A eSNPs may at least partly explain the LOAD risk association at these loci. CLU and ABCA7 may harbor additional strong eSNPs. These results have implications in the search for functional variants at the novel LOAD risk loci.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182605801
PMCID: PMC3398432  PMID: 22722634
6.  LRRTM3 Interacts with APP and BACE1 and Has Variants Associating with Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease (LOAD) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e64164.
Leucine rich repeat transmembrane protein 3 (LRRTM3) is member of a synaptic protein family. LRRTM3 is a nested gene within α-T catenin (CTNNA3) and resides at the linkage peak for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) risk and plasma amyloid β (Aβ) levels. In-vitro knock-down of LRRTM3 was previously shown to decrease secreted Aβ, although the mechanism of this is unclear. In SH-SY5Y cells overexpressing APP and transiently transfected with LRRTM3 alone or with BACE1, we showed that LRRTM3 co-localizes with both APP and BACE1 in early endosomes, where BACE1 processing of APP occurs. Additionally, LRRTM3 co-localizes with APP in primary neuronal cultures from Tg2576 mice transduced with LRRTM3-expressing adeno-associated virus. Moreover, LRRTM3 co-immunoprecipitates with both endogenous APP and overexpressed BACE1, in HEK293T cells transfected with LRRTM3. SH-SY5Y cells with knock-down of LRRTM3 had lower BACE1 and higher CTNNA3 mRNA levels, but no change in APP. Brain mRNA levels of LRRTM3 showed significant correlations with BACE1, CTNNA3 and APP in ∼400 humans, but not in LRRTM3 knock-out mice. Finally, we assessed 69 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within and flanking LRRTM3 in 1,567 LOADs and 2,082 controls and identified 8 SNPs within a linkage disequilibrium block encompassing 5′UTR-Intron 1 of LRRTM3 that formed multilocus genotypes (MLG) with suggestive global association with LOAD risk (p = 0.06), and significant individual MLGs. These 8 SNPs were genotyped in an independent series (1,258 LOADs and 718 controls) and had significant global and individual MLG associations in the combined dataset (p = 0.02–0.05). Collectively, these results suggest that protein interactions between LRRTM3, APP and BACE1, as well as complex associations between mRNA levels of LRRTM3, CTNNA3, APP and BACE1 in humans might influence APP metabolism and ultimately risk of AD.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064164
PMCID: PMC3672107  PMID: 23750206
7.  Linking Protective GAB2 Variants, Increased Cortical GAB2 Expression and Decreased Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64802.
GRB-associated binding protein 2 (GAB2) represents a compelling genome-wide association signal for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) with reported odds ratios (ORs) ranging from 0.75–0.85. We tested eight GAB2 variants in four North American Caucasian case-control series (2,316 LOAD, 2,538 controls) for association with LOAD. Meta-analyses revealed ORs ranging from (0.61–1.20) with no significant association (all p>0.32). Four variants were hetergeneous across the populations (all p<0.02) due to a potentially inflated effect size (OR = 0.61–0.66) only observed in the smallest series (702 LOAD, 209 controls). Despite the lack of association in our series, the previously reported protective association for GAB2 remained after meta-analyses of our data with all available previously published series (11,952-22,253 samples; OR = 0.82–0.88; all p<0.04). Using a freely available database of lymphoblastoid cell lines we found that protective GAB2 variants were associated with increased GAB2 expression (p = 9.5×10−7−9.3×10−6). We next measured GAB2 mRNA levels in 249 brains and found that decreased neurofibrillary tangle (r = −0.34, p = 0.0006) and senile plaque counts (r = −0.32, p = 0.001) were both good predictors of increased GAB2 mRNA levels albeit that sex (r = −0.28, p = 0.005) may have been a contributing factor. In summary, we hypothesise that GAB2 variants that are protective against LOAD in some populations may act functionally to increase GAB2 mRNA levels (in lymphoblastoid cells) and that increased GAB2 mRNA levels are associated with significantly decreased LOAD pathology. These findings support the hypothesis that Gab2 may protect neurons against LOAD but due to significant population heterogeneity, it is still unclear whether this protection is detectable at the genetic level.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064802
PMCID: PMC3665686  PMID: 23724096
8.  Replication of BIN1 association with Alzheimer’s disease and evaluation of genetic interactions 
The most recent late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) genome-wide association study revealed genome-wide significant association of two new loci: rs744373 near BIN1 (p=1.6×10−11) and rs597668 near EXOC3L2/BLOC1S3/MARK4 (p=6.5×10−9). We have genotyped these variants in a large (3,287 LOAD, 4,396 controls), independent dataset comprising eleven case-control series from the USA and Europe. We performed meta-analyses of the association of these variants with LOAD and also tested for association using logistic regression adjusted by age-at-diagnosis, sex and APOE ε4 status. Meta-analysis results showed no evidence of series heterogeneity and logistic regression analysis successfully replicated the association of BIN1 (rs744373) with LOAD with an odds ratio (OR=1.17, p=1.1×10−4) comparable to that previously reported (OR=1.15). The variant near EXOC3L2 (rs597668) showed only suggestive association with LOAD (p=0.09) after correcting for the presence of the APOE ε4 allele. Addition of our follow-up data to the results previously reported increased the strength of evidence for association with BIN1 (11,825 LOAD, 32,570 controls, rs744373 Fisher combined p=3.8×10−20). We also tested for epistatic interaction between these variants and APOEε4 as well as with the previously replicated LOAD GWAS genes (CLU: rs11136000, CR1; rs3818361, and PICALM: rs3851179). No significant interactions between these genes were detected. In summary, we provide additional evidence for the variant near BIN1 (rs744373) as a LOAD risk modifier, but our results indicate that the effect of EXOC3L2 independent of APOE ε4 should be studied further.
doi:10.3233/JAD-2011-101932
PMCID: PMC3489170  PMID: 21321396
Alzheimer Disease; Late Onset; Heterogeneity; Meta-Analysis; Case-Control Studies
9.  Brain Expression Genome-Wide Association Study (eGWAS) Identifies Human Disease-Associated Variants 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(6):e1002707.
Genetic variants that modify brain gene expression may also influence risk for human diseases. We measured expression levels of 24,526 transcripts in brain samples from the cerebellum and temporal cortex of autopsied subjects with Alzheimer's disease (AD, cerebellar n = 197, temporal cortex n = 202) and with other brain pathologies (non–AD, cerebellar n = 177, temporal cortex n = 197). We conducted an expression genome-wide association study (eGWAS) using 213,528 cisSNPs within ±100 kb of the tested transcripts. We identified 2,980 cerebellar cisSNP/transcript level associations (2,596 unique cisSNPs) significant in both ADs and non–ADs (q<0.05, p = 7.70×10−5–1.67×10−82). Of these, 2,089 were also significant in the temporal cortex (p = 1.85×10−5–1.70×10−141). The top cerebellar cisSNPs had 2.4-fold enrichment for human disease-associated variants (p<10−6). We identified novel cisSNP/transcript associations for human disease-associated variants, including progressive supranuclear palsy SLCO1A2/rs11568563, Parkinson's disease (PD) MMRN1/rs6532197, Paget's disease OPTN/rs1561570; and we confirmed others, including PD MAPT/rs242557, systemic lupus erythematosus and ulcerative colitis IRF5/rs4728142, and type 1 diabetes mellitus RPS26/rs1701704. In our eGWAS, there was 2.9–3.3 fold enrichment (p<10−6) of significant cisSNPs with suggestive AD–risk association (p<10−3) in the Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium GWAS. These results demonstrate the significant contributions of genetic factors to human brain gene expression, which are reliably detected across different brain regions and pathologies. The significant enrichment of brain cisSNPs among disease-associated variants advocates gene expression changes as a mechanism for many central nervous system (CNS) and non–CNS diseases. Combined assessment of expression and disease GWAS may provide complementary information in discovery of human disease variants with functional implications. Our findings have implications for the design and interpretation of eGWAS in general and the use of brain expression quantitative trait loci in the study of human disease genetics.
Author Summary
Genetic variants that regulate gene expression levels can also influence human disease risk. Discovery of genomic loci that alter brain gene expression levels (brain expression quantitative trait loci = eQTLs) can be instrumental in the identification of genetic risk underlying both central nervous system (CNS) and non–CNS diseases. To systematically assess the role of brain eQTLs in human disease and to evaluate the influence of brain region and pathology in eQTL mapping, we performed an expression genome-wide association study (eGWAS) in 773 brain samples from the cerebellum and temporal cortex of ∼200 autopsied subjects with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and ∼200 with other brain pathologies (non–AD). We identified ∼3,000 significant associations between cisSNPs near ∼700 genes and their cerebellar transcript levels, which replicate in ADs and non–ADs. More than 2,000 of these associations were reproducible in the temporal cortex. The top cisSNPs are enriched for both CNS and non–CNS disease-associated variants. We identified novel and confirmed previous cisSNP/transcript associations for many disease loci, suggesting gene expression regulation as their mechanism of action. These findings demonstrate the reproducibility of the eQTL approach across different brain regions and pathologies, and advocate the combined use of gene expression and disease GWAS for identification and functional characterization of human disease-associated variants.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002707
PMCID: PMC3369937  PMID: 22685416
10.  Glutathione S-transferase omega genes in Alzheimer and Parkinson disease risk, age-at-diagnosis and brain gene expression: an association study with mechanistic implications 
Background
Glutathione S-transferase omega-1 and 2 genes (GSTO1, GSTO2), residing within an Alzheimer and Parkinson disease (AD and PD) linkage region, have diverse functions including mitigation of oxidative stress and may underlie the pathophysiology of both diseases. GSTO polymorphisms were previously reported to associate with risk and age-at-onset of these diseases, although inconsistent follow-up study designs make interpretation of results difficult. We assessed two previously reported SNPs, GSTO1 rs4925 and GSTO2 rs156697, in AD (3,493 ADs vs. 4,617 controls) and PD (678 PDs vs. 712 controls) for association with disease risk (case-controls), age-at-diagnosis (cases) and brain gene expression levels (autopsied subjects).
Results
We found that rs156697 minor allele associates with significantly increased risk (odds ratio = 1.14, p = 0.038) in the older ADs with age-at-diagnosis > 80 years. The minor allele of GSTO1 rs4925 associates with decreased risk in familial PD (odds ratio = 0.78, p = 0.034). There was no other association with disease risk or age-at-diagnosis. The minor alleles of both GSTO SNPs associate with lower brain levels of GSTO2 (p = 4.7 × 10-11-1.9 × 10-27), but not GSTO1. Pathway analysis of significant genes in our brain expression GWAS, identified significant enrichment for glutathione metabolism genes (p = 0.003).
Conclusion
These results suggest that GSTO locus variants may lower brain GSTO2 levels and consequently confer AD risk in older age. Other glutathione metabolism genes should be assessed for their effects on AD and other chronic, neurologic diseases.
doi:10.1186/1750-1326-7-13
PMCID: PMC3393625  PMID: 22494505
GSTO genes; Disease risk; Gene expression; Association
11.  Association of common KIBRA variants with episodic memory and AD risk 
Neurobiology of aging  2010;32(3):557.e1-557.e9.
KIBRA SNP rs17070145 was identified in a GWAS of memory performance, with some but not all follow-up studies confirming association of its T allele with enhanced memory. This allele was associated with reduced Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk in one study, which also found overexpression of KIBRA in memory-related brain regions of ADs. We genotyped rs17070145 and 14 additional SNPs in 2571 LOADs vs. 2842 controls, including African-Americans. We found significantly reduced risk for rs17070145 T allele in the older African-American subjects (p=0.007) and a suggestive effect in the older Caucasian series. Meta-analysis of this allele in >8000 subjects from our and published series showed a suggestive protective effect (p=0.07). Analysis of episodic memory in control subjects did not identify associations with rs17070145, though other SNPs showed significant associations in one series. KIBRA showed evidence of overexpression in the AD temporal cortex (p=0.06) but not cerebellum. These results suggest a modest role for KIBRA as a cognition and AD risk gene, and also highlight the multifactorial complexity of its genetic associations.
doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2010.11.004
PMCID: PMC3065956  PMID: 21185624
Alzheimer's disease; Association studies in genetics; Case control studies
12.  Evaluation of the global association between cholesterol-associated polymorphisms and Alzheimer's disease suggests a role for rs3846662 and HMGCR splicing in disease risk 
Background
Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP)s that are essentially unequivocally associated with peripheral cholesterol. Since the alleles of the APOE gene, which modulate peripheral cholesterol metabolism, and midlife plasma cholesterol are both associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk, we have evaluated the hypothesis that SNPs associated with plasma cholesterol are also associated with AD.
Results
Seventeen non-APOE SNPs reproducibly associated with cholesterol per GWAS were tested for association with AD in ~2,000 AD and ~4,000 non-AD subjects. As a group, these SNPs are associated with AD. Two SNPs in particular, rs3846662 and rs1532085, are associated with AD risk and age-of-onset. Additionally, rs3846662 was associated with HMGCR exon 13 splicing in human liver but not brain, possibly obscured by CNS cell-type heterogeneity. However, rs3846662 was associated with HMGCR exon 13 splicing in liver- and brain-derived cell lines.
Conclusions
Cholesterol-associated SNPs outside of APOE confer a global risk for AD. Rs3846662 and rs1532085 are associated with both AD risk and age-of-onset. Rs3846662 is associated with HMGCR exon 13 inclusion. Since rs3846662 affects AD risk and age-of-onset as well as statin responsiveness, this SNP may confound clinical trials evaluating the protective effects of statins on AD.
doi:10.1186/1750-1326-6-62
PMCID: PMC3180274  PMID: 21867541
Alzheimer; genetics; cholesterol; GWAS; SNP; HMGCR; statin
13.  Replication of CLU, CR1 and PICALM associations with Alzheimer’s disease 
Archives of neurology  2010;67(8):961-964.
Background
Harold et al. and Lambert et al. recently published two large genome-wide association studies of late onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) in which CLU, CR1, and PICALM were identified as novel LOAD genes.
Objective
To test for replication of the association between variants in the CLU, CR1 and PICALM genes with Alzheimer’s disease.
Design
Case-control association study
Setting
Community-based ascertainment of patients seen at the Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, FL and Rochester, MN, and autopsy-confirmed cases and controls whose pathology was evaluated at the Mayo Clinic Jacksonville. Additional samples were obtained from the National Cell Repository for Alzheimer’s Disease (NCRAD).
Participants
LOAD case-control series of European descent consisting of 1,829 LOAD cases and 2,576 controls
Main Outcome Measure
Clinical or pathology-confirmed diagnosis of LOAD
Results
In our follow-up study of 1,829 LOAD cases and 2,576 controls, the most significant SNPs in CLU (rs11136000), CR1 (rs3818361), and PICALM (rs3851179) were tested for allelic association and gave ORs of 0.82, 1.15, and 0.80 respectively that were comparable in direction and magnitude to those originally reported with p values of 8.6×10−5, 0.014, and 1.3×10−5 that were significant even after Bonferroni correction for 3 SNPs tested.
Conclusion
These results showing near perfect replication provide the first additional evidence that CLU, CR1, and PICALM are LOAD genes.
doi:10.1001/archneurol.2010.147
PMCID: PMC2919638  PMID: 20554627
14.  Replication of EPHA1 and CD33 associations with late-onset Alzheimer's disease: a multi-centre case-control study 
Background
A recently published genome-wide association study (GWAS) of late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) revealed genome-wide significant association of variants in or near MS4A4A, CD2AP, EPHA1 and CD33. Meta-analyses of this and a previously published GWAS revealed significant association at ABCA7 and MS4A, independent evidence for association of CD2AP, CD33 and EPHA1 and an opposing yet significant association of a variant near ARID5B. In this study, we genotyped five variants (in or near CD2AP, EPHA1, ARID5B, and CD33) in a large (2,634 LOAD, 4,201 controls), independent dataset comprising six case-control series from the USA and Europe. We performed meta-analyses of the association of these variants with LOAD and tested for association using logistic regression adjusted by age-at-diagnosis, gender, and APOE ε4 dosage.
Results
We found no significant evidence of series heterogeneity. Associations with LOAD were successfully replicated for EPHA1 (rs11767557; OR = 0.87, p = 5 × 10-4) and CD33 (rs3865444; OR = 0.92, p = 0.049), with odds ratios comparable to those previously reported. Although the two ARID5B variants (rs2588969 and rs494288) showed significant association with LOAD in meta-analysis of our dataset (p = 0.046 and 0.008, respectively), the associations did not survive adjustment for covariates (p = 0.30 and 0.11, respectively). We had insufficient evidence in our data to support the association of the CD2AP variant (rs9349407, p = 0.56).
Conclusions
Our data overwhelmingly support the association of EPHA1 and CD33 variants with LOAD risk: addition of our data to the results previously reported (total n > 42,000) increased the strength of evidence for these variants, providing impressive p-values of 2.1 × 10-15 (EPHA1) and 1.8 × 10-13 (CD33).
doi:10.1186/1750-1326-6-54
PMCID: PMC3157442  PMID: 21798052
15.  Rheumatoid arthritis-associated polymorphisms are not protective against Alzheimer's disease 
Background
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) are inversely associated. To test the hypothesis that genetic elements associated with increased RA risk are associated with decreased AD risk, we evaluated RA genetic risk factors recently identified in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for their association with AD in a two-stage, case-control analysis.
Results
In our Stage 1 analysis of ~800 AD and ~1,200 non-AD individuals, three of seventeen RA-associated SNPs were nominally associated with AD (p < 0.05) with one SNP, rs2837960, retaining significance after correction for multiple testing (p = 0.03). The rs2837960_G (minor) allele, which is associated with increased RA risk, was associated with increased AD risk. Analysis of these three SNPs in a Stage 2 population, consisting of ~1,100 AD and ~2,600 non-AD individuals, did not confirm their association with AD. Analysis of Stage 1 and 2 combined suggested that rs2837960 shows a trend for association with AD. When the Stage 2 population was age-matched for the Stage 1 population, rs2837960 exhibited a non-significant trend with AD. Combined analysis of Stage 1 and the age-matched Stage 2 subset showed a significant association of rs2837960 with AD (p = 0.002, OR 1.24) that retained significance following correction for age, sex and APOE (p = 0.02, OR = 1.20). Rs2837960 is near BACE2, which encodes an aspartic protease capable of processing the AD-associated amyloid precursor protein. Testing for an association between rs2837960 and the expression of BACE2 isoforms in human brain, we observed a trend between rs2837960 and the total expression of BACE2 and the expression of a BACE2 transcript lacking exon 7 (p = 0.07 and 0.10, respectively).
Conclusions
RA-associated SNPs are generally not associated with AD. Moreover, rs2837960_G is associated with increased risk of both RA and, in individuals less than 80 years of age, with AD. Overall, these results contest the hypothesis that genetic variants associated with RA confer protection against AD. Further investigation of rs2837960 is necessary to elucidate the mechanism by which rs2837960 contributes to both AD and RA risk, likely via modulation of BACE2 expression.
doi:10.1186/1750-1326-6-33
PMCID: PMC3120711  PMID: 21595938
16.  Meta-analysis of the Association Between Variants in SORL1 and Alzheimer Disease 
Archives of neurology  2011;68(1):99-106.
Objective
To reexamine the association between the neuronal sortilin-related receptor gene (SORL1) and Alzheimer disease (AD).
Design
Comprehensive and unbiased meta-analysis of all published and unpublished data from case-control studies for the SORL1 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that had been repeatedly assessed across studies.
Setting
Academic research institutions in the United States, the Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan, Sweden, Germany, France, and Italy.
Participants
All published white and Asian case-control data sets, which included a total of 12 464 cases and 17 929 controls.
Main Outcome Measures
Alzheimer disease according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition) and the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke and the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association (now known as the Alzheimer’s Association).
Results
In the white data sets, several markers were associated with AD after correction for multiple testing, including previously reported SNPs 8, 9, and 10 (P<.001). In addition, the C-G-C haplotype at SNPs 8 through 10 was associated with AD risk (P<.001). In the combined Asian data sets, SNPs 19 and 23 through 25 were associated with AD risk (P<.001). The disease-associated alleles at SNPs 8, 9, and 10 (120 873 131-120 886 175 base pairs [bp]; C-G-C alleles), at SNP 19 (120 953 300 bp; G allele), and at SNPs 24 through 25 (120 988 611 bp; T and C alleles) were the same previously reported alleles. The SNPs 4 through 5, 8 through 10, 12, and 19 through 25 belong to distinct linkage disequilibrium blocks. The same alleles at SNPs 8 through 10 (C-G-C), 19 (G), and 24 and 25 (T and C) have also been associated with AD endophenotypes, including white matter hyperintensities and hippocampal atrophy on magnetic resonance imaging, cerebrospinal fluid measures of amyloid β-peptide 42, and full-length SORL1 expression in the human brain.
Conclusion
This comprehensive meta-analysis provides confirmatory evidence that multiple SORL1 variants in distinct linkage disequilibrium blocks are associated with AD.
doi:10.1001/archneurol.2010.346
PMCID: PMC3086666  PMID: 21220680
17.  Investigation of 15 of the top candidate genes for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease 
Human Genetics  2010;129(3):273-282.
The 12 genome-wide association studies (GWAS) published to-date for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) have identified over 40 candidate LOAD risk modifiers, in addition to apolipoprotein (APOE) ε4. A few of these novel LOAD candidate genes, namely BIN1, CLU, CR1, EXOC3L2 and PICALM, have shown consistent replication, and are thus credible LOAD susceptibility genes. To evaluate other promising LOAD candidate genes, we have added data from our large, case–control series (n = 5,043) to meta-analyses of all published follow-up case–control association studies for six LOAD candidate genes that have shown significant association across multiple studies (TNK1, GAB2, LOC651924, GWA_14q32.13, PGBD1 and GALP) and for an additional nine previously suggested candidate genes. Meta-analyses remained significant at three loci after addition of our data: GAB2 (OR = 0.78, p = 0.007), LOC651924 (OR = 0.91, p = 0.01) and TNK1 (OR = 0.92, p = 0.02). Breslow–Day tests revealed significant heterogeneity between studies for GAB2 (p < 0.0001) and GWA_14q32.13 (p = 0.006). We have also provided suggestive evidence that PGBD1 (p = 0.04) and EBF3 (p = 0.03) are associated with age-at-onset of LOAD. Finally, we tested for interactions between these 15 genes, APOE ε4 and the five novel LOAD genes BIN1, CLU, CR1, EXOC3L2 and PICALM but none were significant after correction for multiple testing. Overall, this large, independent follow-up study for 15 of the top LOAD candidate genes provides support for GAB2 and LOC651924 (6q24.1) as risk modifiers of LOAD and novel associations between PGBD1 and EBF3 with age-at-onset.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00439-010-0924-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s00439-010-0924-2
PMCID: PMC3036835  PMID: 21132329
18.  Genetic variation in PCDH11X is associated with susceptibility to late onset Alzheimer's disease 
Nature genetics  2009;41(2):192-198.
By analyzing late onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) in a genome wide association study (313,504 SNPs, 3 series, 844 cases/1,255 controls) and evaluating the 25 SNPs with most significant allelic association in 4 additional series (1,547 cases/1,209 controls), we identified a SNP (rs5984894) on Xq21.3 in PCDH11X that is strongly associated with LOAD in American Caucasians. Analysis of rs5984894 by multivariable logistic regression adjusted for sex gave global P values of 5.7×10-5 in stage I, 4.8×10-6 in stage II, and 3.9×10-12 in the combined data. Odds ratios were 1.75 (95% CI 1.42-2.16) for female homozygotes (P=2.0×10-7) and 1.26 (95% CI 1.05-1.51) for female heterozygotes (P=0.01) compared to female non-carriers. For male hemizygotes (P=0.07) compared to male non-carriers the odds ratio was 1.18 (95% CI 0.99-1.41).
doi:10.1038/ng.305
PMCID: PMC2873177  PMID: 19136949
19.  Concordant Association of Insulin Degrading Enzyme Gene (IDE) Variants with IDE mRNA, Aß, and Alzheimer's Disease 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(1):e8764.
Background
The insulin-degrading enzyme gene (IDE) is a strong functional and positional candidate for late onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD).
Methodology/Principal Findings
We examined conserved regions of IDE and its 10 kb flanks in 269 AD cases and 252 controls thereby identifying 17 putative functional polymorphisms. These variants formed eleven haplotypes that were tagged with ten variants. Four of these showed significant association with IDE transcript levels in samples from 194 LOAD cerebella. The strongest, rs6583817, which has not previously been reported, showed unequivocal association (p = 1.5×10−8, fold-increase = 2.12,); the eleven haplotypes were also significantly associated with transcript levels (global p = 0.003). Using an in vitro dual luciferase reporter assay, we found that rs6583817 increases reporter gene expression in Be(2)-C (p = 0.006) and HepG2 (p = 0.02) cell lines. Furthermore, using data from a recent genome-wide association study of two Croatian isolated populations (n = 1,879), we identified a proxy for rs6583817 that associated significantly with decreased plasma Aβ40 levels (ß = −0.124, p = 0.011) and total measured plasma Aβ levels (b = −0.130, p = 0.009). Finally, rs6583817 was associated with decreased risk of LOAD in 3,891 AD cases and 3,605 controls. (OR = 0.87, p = 0.03), and the eleven IDE haplotypes (global p = 0.02) also showed significant association.
Conclusions
Thus, a previously unreported variant unequivocally associated with increased IDE expression was also associated with reduced plasma Aß40 and decreased LOAD susceptibility. Genetic association between LOAD and IDE has been difficult to replicate. Our findings suggest that targeted testing of expression SNPs (eSNPs) strongly associated with altered transcript levels in autopsy brain samples may be a powerful way to identify genetic associations with LOAD that would otherwise be difficult to detect.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008764
PMCID: PMC2808243  PMID: 20098734
20.  Sex-dependent Association of a Common Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor Polymorphism with RNA Splicing Efficiency in the Brain and Alzheimers Disease 
Human molecular genetics  2007;17(7):929-935.
Since apoE allele status is the predominant Alzheimers disease (AD) genetic risk factor, functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP)s in brain apoE receptors represent excellent candidates for association with AD. Recently, we identified a SNP, rs688, as modulating the splicing efficiency of low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) exon 12 in the female human liver and in minigene transfected HepG2 cells. Moreover, the rs688T minor allele associated with significantly higher LDL and total cholesterol in women in the Framingham Offspring Study. Since LDLR is a major apoE receptor in the brain, we hypothesized that rs688 modulates LDLR splicing in neural tissues and associates with AD. To evaluate this hypothesis, we first transfected LDLR minigenes into SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells and found that rs688T reduces exon 12 inclusion in this neural model. We then evaluated rs688 association with exon 12 splicing efficiency in vivo by quantifying LDLR splicing in human anterior cingulate tissue obtained at autopsy; the rs688T allele associated with decreased LDLR exon 12 splicing efficiency in aged men but not women. Lastly, we evaluated whether rs688 associates with AD by genotyping DNA from 1,457 men and 2,055 women drawn from three case-control series. The rs688T/T genotype was associated with increased AD odds in males (recessive model, odds ratio (OR) of 1.49, 95% confidence interval (CI) of 1.13−1.97, uncorrected p=0.005), but not in females. In summary, these studies identify a functional apoE receptor SNP that is associated with AD in a sex-dependent fashion.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddm365
PMCID: PMC2361153  PMID: 18065781
21.  The neuronal sortilin-related receptor SORL1 is genetically associated with Alzheimer’s Disease 
Nature genetics  2007;39(2):168-177.
The recycling of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) from the cell surface via the endocytic pathways plays a key role in the generation of amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). We report here that inherited variants in the SORL1 neuronal sorting receptor are associated with late-onset AD. These variants, which occur in at least two different clusters of intronic sequences may regulate tissue-specific expression of SORL1. We also show that SORL1 directs trafficking of APP into recycling pathways, and that when SORL1 is under-expressed, APP is sorted into Aβ-generating compartments. These data suggest that inherited or acquired changes in SORL1 expression or function are mechanistically involved in causing AD.
doi:10.1038/ng1943
PMCID: PMC2657343  PMID: 17220890
22.  BRI2 (ITM2b) Inhibits Aβ Deposition in Vivo 
Analyses of the biologic effects of mutations in the BRI2 (ITM2b) and the amyloid β precursor protein (APP) genes support the hypothesis that cerebral accumulation of amyloidogenic peptides in familial British and familial Danish dementias and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is associated with neurodegeneration. We have used somatic brain transgenic technology to express the BRI2 and BRI2-Aβ1-40 transgenes in amyloid β protein precursor (APP) mouse models. Expression of BRI2-Aβ1-40 mimics the suppressive effect previously observed using conventional transgenic methods, further validating the somatic brain transgenic methodology. Unexpectedly, we also find that expression of wild type human BRI2 reduces cerebral Aβ deposition in an AD mouse model. Additional data indicate that the 23 amino acid peptide, Bri23, released from BRI2 by normal processing is present in human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), inhibits Aβ aggregation in vitro, and mediates its anti-amyloidogenic effect in vivo. These studies demonstrate that BRI2 is a novel mediator of Aβ deposition in vivo.
doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0891-08.2008
PMCID: PMC2586000  PMID: 18524908
BRI2; ITM2b; Amyloid Beta protein; Alzheimer’s disease; Somatic brain transgenesis; Adeno-associated virus

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