Background: Alzheimer's disease is multifactorial, having environmental, toxicological and genetic risk factors. Impaired folate and homocysteine metabolism has been hypothesised to increase risk. In addition to its xenobiotic-metabolising capacity, human arylamine N-acetyltransferase type-1 (NAT1) acetylates the folate catabolite para-aminobenzoylglutamate and is implicated in folate metabolism. The purpose of this study was to determine whether polymorphisms in the human NAT genes influence susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease.
Methods: Elderly individuals with and without Alzheimer's disease were genotyped at the polymorphic NAT1 (147 cases; 111 controls) and NAT2 (45 cases; 63 controls) loci by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism, and the genotype and allele frequencies were compared using the chi-squared test.
Results: Although a trend towards fast NAT2 acetylator-associated Alzheimer's disease susceptibility was indicated and the NAT1*10/1*10 genotype was observed only in cases of Alzheimer's disease (6/147, 4.1%), no significant difference in the frequency of NAT2 (p = 0.835) or NAT1 (p = 0.371) genotypes was observed between cases and controls. In addition, a novel NAT1 variant, NAT1*11B, was identified.
Conclusions: These results suggest that genetic polymorphisms in NAT1 and NAT2 do not influence susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease, although the increase in frequency of the NAT1*10 allele in Alzheimer's disease is worthy of further investigation. Due to its similarity with the NAT1*11A allele, NAT1*11B is likely to encode an enzyme with reduced NAT1 activity.