Differences in gene-wide DNA methylation of the Alzheimer's disease (AD)-associated genes BIN1, HLA-DRB5, SORL1, SLC24A4, and ABCA7 are reported to be associated with AD in post-mortem brain samples. We investigated whether the same associations could be found in leukocytes collected pre-mortem. Using cohort data of 544 Swedish twins (204 dementia diagnoses), we replicated the findings in HLA-DRB5 and SLC24A4 at P < 0.05. However, co-twin control analyses indicated that the associations were partly explained by familial confounding. Thus, DNA methylation differences in HLA-DRB5 and SLC24A4 are present in both neuronal cells and leukocytes, and not fully explained familial factors.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; DNA methylation; Dementia; twins.