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      Genome-wide meta-analysis identifies new loci and functional pathways influencing Alzheimer’s disease risk

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      Nature Genetics
      Springer Science and Business Media LLC
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          Abstract

          Alzheimer's disease (AD) is highly heritable and recent studies have identified over 20 disease-associated genomic loci. Yet these only explain a small proportion of the genetic variance, indicating that undiscovered loci remain. Here, we performed a large genome-wide association study of clinically diagnosed AD and AD-by-proxy (71,880 cases, 383,378 controls). AD-by-proxy, based on parental diagnoses, showed strong genetic correlation with AD (rg = 0.81). Meta-analysis identified 29 risk loci, implicating 215 potential causative genes. Associated genes are strongly expressed in immune-related tissues and cell types (spleen, liver, and microglia). Gene-set analyses indicate biological mechanisms involved in lipid-related processes and degradation of amyloid precursor proteins. We show strong genetic correlations with multiple health-related outcomes, and Mendelian randomization results suggest a protective effect of cognitive ability on AD risk. These results are a step forward in identifying the genetic factors that contribute to AD risk and add novel insights into the neurobiology of AD.

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          GWAS on family history of Alzheimer’s disease

          Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a public health priority for the 21st century. Risk reduction currently revolves around lifestyle changes with much research trying to elucidate the biological underpinnings. We show that self-report of parental history of Alzheimer’s dementia for case ascertainment in a genome-wide association study of 314,278 participants from UK Biobank (27,696 maternal cases, 14,338 paternal cases) is a valid proxy for an AD genetic study. After meta-analysing with published consortium data (n = 74,046 with 25,580 cases across the discovery and replication analyses), three new AD-associated loci (P < 5 × 10−8) are identified. These contain genes relevant for AD and neurodegeneration: ADAM10, BCKDK/KAT8 and ACE. Novel gene-based loci include drug targets such as VKORC1 (warfarin dose). We report evidence that the association of SNPs in the TOMM40 gene with AD is potentially mediated by both gene expression and DNA methylation in the prefrontal cortex. However, it is likely that multiple variants are affecting the trait and gene methylation/expression. Our discovered loci may help to elucidate the biological mechanisms underlying AD and, as they contain genes that are drug targets for other diseases and disorders, warrant further exploration for potential precision medicine applications.
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            Is Open Access

            Molecular genetics of early-onset Alzheimer's disease revisited.

            As the discovery of the Alzheimer's disease (AD) genes, APP, PSEN1, and PSEN2, in families with autosomal dominant early-onset AD (EOAD), gene discovery in familial EOAD came more or less to a standstill. Only 5% of EOAD patients are carrying a pathogenic mutation in one of the AD genes or a apolipoprotein E (APOE) risk allele ε4, most of EOAD patients remain unexplained. Here, we aimed at summarizing the current knowledge of EOAD genetics and its role in ongoing approaches to understand the biology of AD and disease symptomatology as well as developing new therapeutics. Next, we explored the possible molecular mechanisms that might underlie the missing genetic etiology of EOAD and discussed how the use of massive parallel sequencing technologies triggered novel gene discoveries. To conclude, we commented on the relevance of reinvestigating EOAD patients as a means to explore potential new avenues for translational research and therapeutic discoveries.
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              An xQTL map integrates the genetic architecture of the human brain’s transcriptome and epigenome

              We report a novel multi-omic resource generated by applying quantitative trait locus (xQTL) analyses to RNA sequence, DNA methylation, and histone acetylation data from the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of 411 older adult individuals that have all three data types. We identify SNPs significantly associated with gene expression, DNA methylation, and histone modification levels. Many of these SNPs influence multiple molecular features, and we demonstrate that SNP effects on RNA expression are fully mediated by epigenetic features in 9% of these loci. Further, we illustrate the utility of our new resource, xQTL Serve, by using it to prioritize the cell type(s) most affected by an xQTL. We also re-analyze published genome wide association studies (GWAS) using a xQTL-weighted analysis approach and identify 18 new schizophrenia and 2 new bipolar susceptibility variants, which is more than double the number of loci that can be discovered with a larger blood-based eQTL resource.
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                Journal
                Nature Genetics
                Nat Genet
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1061-4036
                1546-1718
                March 2019
                January 7 2019
                March 2019
                : 51
                : 3
                : 404-413
                Article
                10.1038/s41588-018-0311-9
                6836675
                30617256
                22664d8b-9f9b-4d73-9000-17d7bbf8a8a8
                © 2019

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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