Context: Alzheimer disease (AD) susceptibility genes have been identified on chromosomes 1, 14, 19, and 21, and a recent study has suggested a locus on chromosome 12.
Objective: To confirm or refute the existence of a familial AD susceptibility locus on chromosome 12 in an independent sample of familial AD cases.
Design: Retrospective cohort study. DNA data for 6 chromosome 12 genetic markers were evaluated using parametric lod score and nonparametric linkage methods and linkage heterogeneity tests. The latter include the admixture test of homogeneity in the total group of families and the predivided sample test in families stratified by the presence or absence of an apolipoprotein E (APOE) epsilon4 allele among affected members. Parametric analyses were repeated assuming autosomal dominant inheritance of AD and either age- and sex-dependent penetrance or zero penetrance for the analysis of unaffected relatives.
Setting: Clinical populations in the continental United States, Canada, Argentina, and Italy.
Patients: Fifty-three white families composed of multiple members affected with AD, from whom DNA samples were obtained from 173 patients with AD whose conditions were diagnosed using established criteria and from 146 nondemented relatives.
Main outcome measure: Presence of an APOE epsilon4 allele among affected family members.
Results: Using parametric methods, no evidence for linkage to the region spanned by the chromosome 12 markers could be detected if familial AD is assumed to arise from the same genetic locus in all 53 families. However, significant evidence for linkage was detected in the presence of locus heterogeneity using the admixture test (odds ratio, 15, 135:1). The estimated proportion of linked families within the 53 families examined varied between 0.40 and 0.65, depending on the genetic model assumed and APOE status. The precise location of the AD gene could not be determined, but includes the entire region suggested previously. Nonparametric linkage analysis confirmed linkage to chromosome 12 with the strongest evidence at D12S96 (P<.001).
Conclusions: Our data provide independent confirmation of the existence of an AD susceptibility locus on chromosome 12 and suggest the existence of AD susceptibility genes on other chromosomes. Screening a larger set of families with additional chromosome markers will be necessary for identifying the chromosome 12 AD gene.