Relation of genomic variants for Alzheimer disease dementia to common neuropathologies

Neurology. 2016 Aug 2;87(5):489-96. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000002909. Epub 2016 Jul 1.


Objective: To investigate the associations of previously reported Alzheimer disease (AD) dementia genomic variants with common neuropathologies.

Methods: This is a postmortem study including 1,017 autopsied participants from 2 clinicopathologic cohorts. Analyses focused on 22 genomic variants associated with AD dementia in large-scale case-control genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analyses. The neuropathologic traits of interest were a pathologic diagnosis of AD according to NIA-Reagan criteria, macroscopic and microscopic infarcts, Lewy bodies (LB), and hippocampal sclerosis. For each variant, multiple logistic regression was used to investigate its association with neuropathologic traits, adjusting for age, sex, and subpopulation structure. We also conducted power analyses to estimate the sample sizes required to detect genome-wide significance (p < 5 × 10(-8)) for pathologic AD for all variants.

Results: APOE ε4 allele was associated with greater odds of pathologic AD (odds ratio [OR] 3.82, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.67-5.46, p = 1.9 × 10(-13)), while ε2 allele was associated with lower odds of pathologic AD (OR 0.42, 95% CI 0.30-0.61, p = 3.1 × 10(-6)). Four additional genomic variants including rs6656401 (CR1), rs1476679 (ZCWPW1), rs35349669 (INPP5D), and rs17125944 (FERMT2) had p values less than 0.05. Remarkably, half of the previously reported AD dementia variants are not likely to be detected for association with pathologic AD with a sample size in excess of the largest GWAS meta-analyses of AD dementia.

Conclusions: Many recently discovered genomic variants for AD dementia are not associated with the pathology of AD. Some genomic variants for AD dementia appear to be associated with other common neuropathologies.

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alleles
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics
  • Cerebral Infarction / pathology*
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genome, Human / genetics*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Hippocampus / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Lewy Bodies / pathology*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Phosphatidylinositol-3,4,5-Trisphosphate 5-Phosphatases / genetics
  • Receptors, Complement 3b / genetics
  • Zinc Fingers / genetics


  • Apolipoproteins E
  • CR1 protein, human
  • FERMT3 protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Receptors, Complement 3b
  • INPP5D protein, human
  • Phosphatidylinositol-3,4,5-Trisphosphate 5-Phosphatases