Conflicting results have been reported as to whether genetic variations (Val66Met and C270T) of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor gene (BDNF) confer susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease (AD). We genotyped these polymorphisms in a Japanese sample of 657 patients with AD and 525 controls, and obtained weak evidence of association for Val66Met (P = 0.063), but not for C270T. After stratification by sex, we found a significant allelic association between Val66Met and AD in women (P = 0.017), but not in men. To confirm these observations, we collected genotyping data for each sex from 16 research centers worldwide (4,711 patients and 4,537 controls in total). The meta-analysis revealed that there was a clear sex difference in the allelic association; the Met66 allele confers susceptibility to AD in women (odds ratio = 1.14, 95% CI 1.05-1.24, P = 0.002), but not in men. Our results provide evidence that the Met66 allele of BDNF has a sexually dimorphic effect on susceptibility to AD.
(c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.