The genetic landscape of Alzheimer disease: clinical implications and perspectives

Genet Med. 2016 May;18(5):421-30. doi: 10.1038/gim.2015.117. Epub 2015 Aug 27.


The search for the genetic factors contributing to Alzheimer disease (AD) has evolved tremendously throughout the years. It started from the discovery of fully penetrant mutations in Amyloid precursor protein, Presenilin 1, and Presenilin 2 as a cause of autosomal dominant AD, the identification of the ɛ4 allele of Apolipoprotein E as a strong genetic risk factor for both early-onset and late-onset AD, and evolved to the more recent detection of at least 21 additional genetic risk loci for the genetically complex form of AD emerging from genome-wide association studies and massive parallel resequencing efforts. These advances in AD genetics are positioned in light of the current endeavor directing toward translational research and personalized treatment of AD. We discuss the current state of the art of AD genetics and address the implications and relevance of AD genetics in clinical diagnosis and risk prediction, distinguishing between monogenic and multifactorial AD. Furthermore, the potential and current limitations of molecular reclassification of AD to streamline clinical trials in drug development and biomarker studies are addressed.Genet Med 18 5, 421-430.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics*
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / genetics*
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Precision Medicine
  • Presenilin-1 / genetics*
  • Presenilin-2 / genetics*


  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Apolipoproteins E
  • PSEN1 protein, human
  • Presenilin-1
  • Presenilin-2