Publications by authors named "Sven J van der Lee"

79 Publications

Risk of dementia in ε4 carriers is mitigated by a polygenic risk score.

Alzheimers Dement (Amst) 2021 14;13(1):e12229. Epub 2021 Sep 14.

Alzheimer Center Amsterdam Department of Neurology Amsterdam Neuroscience Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Amsterdam UMC Amsterdam the Netherlands.

Introduction: We investigated relationships among genetic determinants of Alzheimer's disease (AD), amyloid/tau/neurodegenaration (ATN) biomarkers, and risk of dementia.

Methods: We studied cognitively normal individuals with subjective cognitive decline (SCD) from the Amsterdam Dementia Cohort and SCIENCe project. We examined associations between genetic variants and ATN biomarkers, and evaluated their predictive value for incident dementia. A polygenic risk score (PRS) was calculated based on 39 genetic variants. The was not included in the PRS and was analyzed separately.

Results: The PRS and ε4 were associated with amyloid-positive ATN profiles, and ε4 additionally with isolated increased tau (A-T+N-). A high PRS and ε4 separately predicted AD dementia. Combined, a high PRS increased while a low PRS attenuated the risk associated with ε4 carriers.

Discussion: Genetic variants beyond are clinically relevant and contribute to the pathophysiology of AD. In the future, a PRS might be used in individualized risk profiling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/dad2.12229DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8438688PMC
September 2021

Genome-wide association study of frontotemporal dementia identifies a C9ORF72 haplotype with a median of 12-G4C2 repeats that predisposes to pathological repeat expansions.

Transl Psychiatry 2021 Sep 2;11(1):451. Epub 2021 Sep 2.

Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Department of Neurology, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Genetic factors play a major role in frontotemporal dementia (FTD). The majority of FTD cannot be genetically explained yet and it is likely that there are still FTD risk loci to be discovered. Common variants have been identified with genome-wide association studies (GWAS), but these studies have not systematically searched for rare variants. To identify rare and new common variant FTD risk loci and provide more insight into the heritability of C9ORF72-related FTD, we performed a GWAS consisting of 354 FTD patients (including and excluding N = 28 pathological repeat carriers) and 4209 control subjects. The Haplotype Reference Consortium was used as reference panel, allowing for the imputation of rare genetic variants. Two rare genetic variants nearby C9ORF72 were strongly associated with FTD in the discovery (rs147211831: OR = 4.8, P = 9.2 × 10, rs117204439: OR = 4.9, P = 6.0 × 10) and replication analysis (P < 1.1 × 10). These variants also significantly associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in a publicly available dataset. Using haplotype analyses in 1200 individuals, we showed that these variants tag a sub-haplotype of the founder haplotype of the repeat expansion that was previously found to be present in virtually all pathological C9ORF72 GC repeat lengths. This new risk haplotype was 10 times more likely to contain a C9ORF72 pathological repeat length compared to founder haplotypes without one of the two risk variants (~22% versus ~2%; P = 7.70 × 10). In haplotypes without a pathologic expansion, the founder risk haplotype had a higher number of repeats (median = 12 repeats) compared to the founder haplotype without the risk variants (median = 8 repeats) (P = 2.05 × 10). In conclusion, the identified risk haplotype, which is carried by ~4% of all individuals, is a major risk factor for pathological repeat lengths of C9ORF72 GC. These findings strongly indicate that longer C9ORF72 repeats are unstable and more likely to convert to germline pathological C9ORF72 repeat expansions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41398-021-01577-3DOI Listing
September 2021

Genetics Contributes to Concomitant Pathology and Clinical Presentation in Dementia with Lewy Bodies.

J Alzheimers Dis 2021 ;83(1):269-279

Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Department of Neurology, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is a complex, progressive neurodegenerative disease with considerable phenotypic, pathological, and genetic heterogeneity.

Objective: We tested if genetic variants in part explain the heterogeneity in DLB.

Methods: We tested the effects of variants previously associated with DLB (near APOE, GBA, and SNCA) and polygenic risk scores for Alzheimer's disease (AD-PRS) and Parkinson's disease (PD-PRS). We studied 190 probable DLB patients from the Alzheimer's dementia cohort and compared them to 2,552 control subjects. The p-tau/Aβ1-42 ratio in cerebrospinal fluid was used as in vivo proxy to separate DLB cases into DLB with concomitant AD pathology (DLB-AD) or DLB without AD (DLB-pure). We studied the clinical measures age, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), and the presence of core symptoms at diagnosis and disease duration.

Results: We found that all studied genetic factors significantly associated with DLB risk (all-DLB). Second, we stratified the DLB patients by the presence of concomitant AD pathology and found that APOE ɛ4 and the AD-PRS associated specifically with DLB-AD, but less with DLB-pure. In addition, the GBA p.E365K variant showed strong associated with DLB-pure and less with DLB-AD. Last, we studied the clinical measures and found that APOE ɛ4 associated with reduced MMSE, higher odds to have fluctuations and a shorter disease duration. In addition, the GBA p.E365K variant reduced the age at onset by 5.7 years, but the other variants and the PRS did not associate with clinical features.

Conclusion: These finding increase our understanding of the pathological and clinical heterogeneity in DLB.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-210365DOI Listing
January 2021

SORL1 deficiency in human excitatory neurons causes APP-dependent defects in the endolysosome-autophagy network.

Cell Rep 2021 Jun;35(11):109259

UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children, 20 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1DZ, UK. Electronic address:

Dysfunction of the endolysosomal-autophagy network is emerging as an important pathogenic process in Alzheimer's disease. Mutations in the sorting receptor-encoding gene SORL1 cause autosomal-dominant Alzheimer's disease, and SORL1 variants increase risk for late-onset AD. To understand the contribution of SORL1 mutations to AD pathogenesis, we analyze the effects of a SORL1 truncating mutation on SORL1 protein levels and endolysosome function in human neurons. We find that truncating mutation results in SORL1 haploinsufficiency and enlarged endosomes in human neurons. Analysis of isogenic SORL1 wild-type, heterozygous, and homozygous null neurons demonstrates that, whereas SORL1 haploinsufficiency results in endosome dysfunction, complete loss of SORL1 leads to additional defects in lysosome function and autophagy. Neuronal endolysosomal dysfunction caused by loss of SORL1 is relieved by extracellular antisense oligonucleotide-mediated reduction of APP protein, demonstrating that PSEN1, APP, and SORL1 act in a common pathway regulating the endolysosome system, which becomes dysfunctional in AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109259DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8220253PMC
June 2021

Common variants in Alzheimer's disease and risk stratification by polygenic risk scores.

Nat Commun 2021 06 7;12(1):3417. Epub 2021 Jun 7.

Servei de Neurologia, Hospital Universitari i Politècnic La Fe, Valencia, Spain.

Genetic discoveries of Alzheimer's disease are the drivers of our understanding, and together with polygenetic risk stratification can contribute towards planning of feasible and efficient preventive and curative clinical trials. We first perform a large genetic association study by merging all available case-control datasets and by-proxy study results (discovery n = 409,435 and validation size n = 58,190). Here, we add six variants associated with Alzheimer's disease risk (near APP, CHRNE, PRKD3/NDUFAF7, PLCG2 and two exonic variants in the SHARPIN gene). Assessment of the polygenic risk score and stratifying by APOE reveal a 4 to 5.5 years difference in median age at onset of Alzheimer's disease patients in APOE ɛ4 carriers. Because of this study, the underlying mechanisms of APP can be studied to refine the amyloid cascade and the polygenic risk score provides a tool to select individuals at high risk of Alzheimer's disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22491-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8184987PMC
June 2021

Plasma amyloid β levels are driven by genetic variants near APOE, BACE1, APP, PSEN2: A genome-wide association study in over 12,000 non-demented participants.

Alzheimers Dement 2021 May 18. Epub 2021 May 18.

Human Genetics Center, Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences, School of Public Health, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas, USA.

Introduction: There is increasing interest in plasma amyloid beta (Aβ) as an endophenotype of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Identifying the genetic determinants of plasma Aβ levels may elucidate important biological processes that determine plasma Aβ measures.

Methods: We included 12,369 non-demented participants from eight population-based studies. Imputed genetic data and measured plasma Aβ1-40, Aβ1-42 levels and Aβ1-42/Aβ1-40 ratio were used to perform genome-wide association studies, and gene-based and pathway analyses. Significant variants and genes were followed up for their association with brain positron emission tomography Aβ deposition and AD risk.

Results: Single-variant analysis identified associations with apolipoprotein E (APOE) for Aβ1-42 and Aβ1-42/Aβ1-40 ratio, and BACE1 for Aβ1-40. Gene-based analysis of Aβ1-40 additionally identified associations for APP, PSEN2, CCK, and ZNF397. There was suggestive evidence for interaction between a BACE1 variant and APOE ε4 on brain Aβ deposition.

Discussion: Identification of variants near/in known major Aβ-processing genes strengthens the relevance of plasma-Aβ levels as an endophenotype of AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/alz.12333DOI Listing
May 2021

Polygenic risk scores for Alzheimer's disease are related to dementia risk in APOE ɛ4 negatives.

Alzheimers Dement (Amst) 2021 22;13(1):e12142. Epub 2021 Jan 22.

Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry Neuropsychiatric Epidemiology Unit Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology the Sahlgrenska Academy Centre for Ageing and Health (AGECAP) at the University of Gothenburg Mölndal Sweden.

Introduction: Studies examining the effect of polygenic risk scores (PRS) for Alzheimer's disease (AD) and apolipoprotein E () genotype on incident dementia in very old individuals are lacking.

Methods: A population-based sample of 2052 individuals ages 70 to 111, from Sweden, was followed in relation to dementia. AD-PRSs including 39, 57, 1333, and 13,942 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were used.

Results: AD-PRSs (including 39 or 57 SNPs) were associated with dementia (57-SNPs AD-PRS: hazard ratio 1.09, confidence interval 1.01-1.19, = .03), particularly in ɛ4 non-carriers (57-SNPs AD-PRS: 1.15, 1.05-1.27, 4 × 10, 39-SNPs AD-PRS: 1.22, 1.10-1.35, 2 × 10). No association was found with the other AD-PRSs. Further, ɛ4 was associated with increased risk of dementia (1.60, 1.35-1.92, = 1 × 10). In those aged ≥95 years, the results were similar for the AD-PRSs, while ɛ4 only predicted dementia in the low-risk tertile of AD-PRSs.

Discussion: These results provide information to identify individuals at increased risk of dementia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/dad2.12142DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7821873PMC
January 2021

The Right Temporal Variant of Frontotemporal Dementia Is Not Genetically Sporadic: A Case Series.

J Alzheimers Dis 2021 ;79(3):1195-1201

Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Department of Neurology, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: Right temporal variant frontotemporal dementia (rtvFTD) has been generally considered as a right sided variant of semantic variant primary progressive aphasia (svPPA), which is a genetically sporadic disorder. Recently, we have shown that rtvFTD has a unique clinical syndrome compared to svPPA and behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia.

Objective: We challenge the assumption that rtvFTD is a sporadic, non-familial variant of FTD by identifying potential autosomal dominant inheritance and related genes in rtvFTD.

Methods: We collected all subjects with a diagnosis of FTD or primary progressive aphasia who had undergone genetic screening (n = 284) and subsequently who had a genetic variant (n = 48) with a diagnosis of rtvFTD (n = 6) in 2 specialized memory clinics.

Results: Genetic variants in FTD related genes were found in 33% of genetically screened rtvFTD cases; including MAPT (n = 4), GRN (n = 1), and TARDBP (n = 1) genes, whereas only one svPPA case had a genetic variant in our combined cohorts. Additionally, 4 out of 6 rtvFTD subjects had a strong family history for dementia.

Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that rtvFTD, unlike svPPA, is not a pure sporadic, but a heterogeneous potential genetic variant of FTD, and screening for genetic causes for FTD should be performed in patients with rtvFTD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-201191DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7990443PMC
September 2021

Polygenic Risk Score of Longevity Predicts Longer Survival Across an Age Continuum.

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2021 04;76(5):750-759

Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Department of Neurology, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, The Netherlands.

Studying the genome of centenarians may give insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying extreme human longevity and the escape of age-related diseases. Here, we set out to construct polygenic risk scores (PRSs) for longevity and to investigate the functions of longevity-associated variants. Using a cohort of centenarians with maintained cognitive health (N = 343), a population-matched cohort of older adults from 5 cohorts (N = 2905), and summary statistics data from genome-wide association studies on parental longevity, we constructed a PRS including 330 variants that significantly discriminated between centenarians and older adults. This PRS was also associated with longer survival in an independent sample of younger individuals (p = .02), leading up to a 4-year difference in survival based on common genetic factors only. We show that this PRS was, in part, able to compensate for the deleterious effect of the APOE-ε4 allele. Using an integrative framework, we annotated the 330 variants included in this PRS by the genes they associate with. We find that they are enriched with genes associated with cellular differentiation, developmental processes, and cellular response to stress. Together, our results indicate that an extended human life span is, in part, the result of a constellation of variants each exerting small advantageous effects on aging-related biological mechanisms that maintain overall health and decrease the risk of age-related diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glaa289DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8087277PMC
April 2021

Immune response and endocytosis pathways are associated with the resilience against Alzheimer's disease.

Transl Psychiatry 2020 09 29;10(1):332. Epub 2020 Sep 29.

Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Department of Neurology, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Developing Alzheimer's disease (AD) is influenced by multiple genetic variants that are involved in five major AD-pathways. Per individual, these pathways may differentially contribute to the modification of the AD-risk. The pathways involved in the resilience against AD have thus far been poorly addressed. Here, we investigated to what extent each molecular mechanism associates with (i) the increased risk of AD and (ii) the resilience against AD until extreme old age, by comparing pathway-specific polygenic risk scores (pathway-PRS). We used 29 genetic variants associated with AD to develop pathway-PRS for five major pathways involved in AD. We developed an integrative framework that allows multiple genes to associate with a variant, and multiple pathways to associate with a gene. We studied pathway-PRS in the Amsterdam Dementia Cohort of well-phenotyped AD patients (N = 1895), Dutch population controls from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (N = 1654) and our unique 100-plus Study cohort of cognitively healthy centenarians who avoided AD (N = 293). Last, we estimated the contribution of each pathway to the genetic risk of AD in the general population. All pathway-PRS significantly associated with increased AD-risk and (in the opposite direction) with resilience against AD (except for angiogenesis, p < 0.05). The pathway that contributed most to the overall modulation of AD-risk was β-amyloid metabolism (29.6%), which was driven mainly by APOE-variants. After excluding APOE variants, all pathway-PRS associated with increased AD-risk (except for angiogenesis, p < 0.05), while specifically immune response (p = 0.003) and endocytosis (p = 0.0003) associated with resilience against AD. Indeed, the variants in these latter two pathways became the main contributors to the overall modulation of genetic risk of AD (45.5% and 19.2%, respectively). The genetic variants associated with the resilience against AD indicate which pathways are involved with maintained cognitive functioning until extreme ages. Our work suggests that a favorable immune response and a maintained endocytosis pathway might be involved in general neuro-protection, which highlight the need to investigate these pathways, next to β-amyloid metabolism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41398-020-01018-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7524800PMC
September 2020

Genetic correlations and genome-wide associations of cortical structure in general population samples of 22,824 adults.

Nat Commun 2020 09 22;11(1):4796. Epub 2020 Sep 22.

Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Cortical thickness, surface area and volumes vary with age and cognitive function, and in neurological and psychiatric diseases. Here we report heritability, genetic correlations and genome-wide associations of these cortical measures across the whole cortex, and in 34 anatomically predefined regions. Our discovery sample comprises 22,824 individuals from 20 cohorts within the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) consortium and the UK Biobank. We identify genetic heterogeneity between cortical measures and brain regions, and 160 genome-wide significant associations pointing to wnt/β-catenin, TGF-β and sonic hedgehog pathways. There is enrichment for genes involved in anthropometric traits, hindbrain development, vascular and neurodegenerative disease and psychiatric conditions. These data are a rich resource for studies of the biological mechanisms behind cortical development and aging.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18367-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7508833PMC
September 2020

Identification of novel risk loci and causal insights for sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: a genome-wide association study.

Lancet Neurol 2020 10 16;19(10):840-848. Epub 2020 Sep 16.

Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, Netherlands; Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Background: Human prion diseases are rare and usually rapidly fatal neurodegenerative disorders, the most common being sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD). Variants in the PRNP gene that encodes prion protein are strong risk factors for sCJD but, although the condition has similar heritability to other neurodegenerative disorders, no other genetic risk loci have been confirmed. We aimed to discover new genetic risk factors for sCJD, and their causal mechanisms.

Methods: We did a genome-wide association study of sCJD in European ancestry populations (patients diagnosed with probable or definite sCJD identified at national CJD referral centres) with a two-stage study design using genotyping arrays and exome sequencing. Conditional, transcriptional, and histological analyses of implicated genes and proteins in brain tissues, and tests of the effects of risk variants on clinical phenotypes, were done using deep longitudinal clinical cohort data. Control data from healthy individuals were obtained from publicly available datasets matched for country.

Findings: Samples from 5208 cases were obtained between 1990 and 2014. We found 41 genome-wide significant single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and independently replicated findings at three loci associated with sCJD risk; within PRNP (rs1799990; additive model odds ratio [OR] 1·23 [95% CI 1·17-1·30], p=2·68 × 10; heterozygous model p=1·01 × 10), STX6 (rs3747957; OR 1·16 [1·10-1·22], p=9·74 × 10), and GAL3ST1 (rs2267161; OR 1·18 [1·12-1·25], p=8·60 × 10). Follow-up analyses showed that associations at PRNP and GAL3ST1 are likely to be caused by common variants that alter the protein sequence, whereas risk variants in STX6 are associated with increased expression of the major transcripts in disease-relevant brain regions.

Interpretation: We present, to our knowledge, the first evidence of statistically robust genetic associations in sporadic human prion disease that implicate intracellular trafficking and sphingolipid metabolism as molecular causal mechanisms. Risk SNPs in STX6 are shared with progressive supranuclear palsy, a neurodegenerative disease associated with misfolding of protein tau, indicating that sCJD might share the same causal mechanisms as prion-like disorders.

Funding: Medical Research Council and the UK National Institute of Health Research in part through the Biomedical Research Centre at University College London Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(20)30273-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8220892PMC
October 2020

The coarse-grained plaque: a divergent Aβ plaque-type in early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

Acta Neuropathol 2020 12 14;140(6):811-830. Epub 2020 Sep 14.

Department of Pathology, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Amsterdam UMC - Location VUmc, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by amyloid-beta (Aβ) deposits, which come in myriad morphologies with varying clinical relevance. Previously, we observed an atypical Aβ deposit, referred to as the coarse-grained plaque. In this study, we evaluate the plaque's association with clinical disease and perform in-depth immunohistochemical and morphological characterization. The coarse-grained plaque, a relatively large (Ø ≈ 80 µm) deposit, characterized as having multiple cores and Aβ-devoid pores, was prominent in the neocortex. The plaque was semi-quantitatively scored in the middle frontal gyrus of Aβ-positive cases (n = 74), including non-demented cases (n = 15), early-onset (EO)AD (n = 38), and late-onset (LO)AD cases (n = 21). The coarse-grained plaque was only observed in cases with clinical dementia and more frequently present in EOAD compared to LOAD. This plaque was associated with a homozygous APOE ε4 status and cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA). In-depth characterization was done by studying the coarse-grained plaque's neuritic component (pTau, APP, PrP), Aβ isoform composition (Aβ, Aβ, Aβ, pSer8Aβ), its neuroinflammatory component (C4b, CD68, MHC-II, GFAP), and its vascular attribution (laminin, collagen IV, norrin). The plaque was compared to the classic cored plaque, cotton wool plaque, and CAA. Similar to CAA but different from classic cored plaques, the coarse-grained plaque was predominantly composed of Aβ. Furthermore, the coarse-grained plaque was distinctly associated with both intense neuroinflammation and vascular (capillary) pathology. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) and 3D analysis revealed for most coarse-grained plaques a particular Aβ shell structure and a direct relation with vessels. Based on its morphological and biochemical characteristics, we conclude that the coarse-grained plaque is a divergent Aβ plaque-type associated with EOAD. Differences in Aβ processing and aggregation, neuroinflammatory response, and vascular clearance may presumably underlie the difference between coarse-grained plaques and other Aβ deposits. Disentangling specific Aβ deposits between AD subgroups may be important in the search for disease-mechanistic-based therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-020-02198-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7666300PMC
December 2020

Association of common genetic variants with brain microbleeds: A genome-wide association study.

Neurology 2020 12 10;95(24):e3331-e3343. Epub 2020 Sep 10.

From the Departments of Epidemiology (M.J.K., H.H.H.A., D.V., S.J.v.d.L., P.Y., M.W.V., N.A., C.M.v.D., M.A.I.), Radiology and Nuclear Medicine (H.H.H.A., P.Y., A.v.d.L., M.W.V.), and Clinical Genetics (H.H.H.A.), Erasmus MC University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Stroke Research Group, Department of Clinical Neurosciences (D.L., M.T., J.L., D.J.T., H.S.M.), University of Cambridge, UK; Department of Neurology (J.R.J.R., C.L.S., J.J.H., A.S.B., C.D., S. Seshadri), Boston University School of Medicine; The Framingham Heart Study (J.R.J.R., C.L.S., J.J.H., A.S.B., S. Seshadri), MA; Department of Biostatistics (A.V.S.), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Icelandic Heart Association (A.V.S., S. Sigurdsson, V.G.), Kopavogur, Iceland; Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine, McGovern Medical School (M.F.), and Human Genetics Center, School of Public Health (M.F.), University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; Clinical Division of Neurogeriatrics, Department of Neurology (E.H., L.P., R.S.), Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics and Documentation (E.H.), and Gottfried Schatz Research Center, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (Y.S., H.S.), Medical University of Graz, Austria; Center of Cerebrovascular Diseases, Department of Neurology (J.L.), West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu; Stroke Research Centre, Queen Square Institute of Neurology (I.C.H., D.W., H.H., D.J.W.), University College London, UK; Department of Neurosurgery (I.C.H.), Klinikum rechts der Isar, University of Munich, Germany; Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, Psychology (M.L., D.C.M.L., M.E.B., I.J.D., J.M.W.), and Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, Edinburgh Imaging, UK Dementia Research Institute (M.E.B., J.M.W.), University of Edinburgh, UK; Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Gerontology and Geriatrics (S.T.), Department of Cardiology (S.T., J.v.d.G., J.W.J.), Section of Molecular Epidemiology, Biomedical Data Sciences (E.B.v.d.A., M.B., P.E.S.), Leiden Computational Biology Center, Biomedical Data Sciences (E.B.v.d.A.), Department of Radiology (J.v.d.G.), and Einthoven Laboratory for Experimental Vascular Medicine (J.W.J.), Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands; Department of Neurology (A.-K.G., N.S.R.), Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Memory Aging and Cognition Center (S.H., C.C.), National University Health System, Singapore; Department of Pharmacology (S.H., C.C.) and Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health (S.H.), National University of Singapore and National University Health System, Singapore; Pattern Recognition & Bioinformatics (E.B.v.d.A.), Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands; Department of Biostatistics (S.L., J.J.H., Q.Y., A.S.B.), Boston University School of Public Health, MA; Department of Radiology (C.R.J., K.K.), Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN; Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer's & Neurodegenerative Diseases (C.L.S., S. Seshadri), UT Health San Antonio, TX; Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics (B.G.W., T.H.M), and Memory Impairment and Neurodegenerative Dementia (MIND) Center (T.H.M.), University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson; Singapore Eye Research Institute (C.Y.C., J.Y.K., T.Y.W.); Department of Neuroradiology (Z.M., J.M.W.), NHS Lothian, Edinburgh; Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences (D.J.S.), College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, UK; Division of Cerebrovascular Neurology (R.F.G.), Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; Department of Neuroradiology (A.D.M.), Atkinson Morley Neurosciences Centre, St George's NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK; Department of Neurology (C.D.), University of California at Davis; Nuffield Department of Population Health (C.M.v.D.), University of Oxford, UK; Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Sciences (L.J.L.), National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, MD; and Faculty of Medicine (V.G.), University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland.

Objective: To identify common genetic variants associated with the presence of brain microbleeds (BMBs).

Methods: We performed genome-wide association studies in 11 population-based cohort studies and 3 case-control or case-only stroke cohorts. Genotypes were imputed to the Haplotype Reference Consortium or 1000 Genomes reference panel. BMBs were rated on susceptibility-weighted or T2*-weighted gradient echo MRI sequences, and further classified as lobar or mixed (including strictly deep and infratentorial, possibly with lobar BMB). In a subset, we assessed the effects of ε2 and ε4 alleles on BMB counts. We also related previously identified cerebral small vessel disease variants to BMBs.

Results: BMBs were detected in 3,556 of the 25,862 participants, of which 2,179 were strictly lobar and 1,293 mixed. One locus in the region reached genome-wide significance for its association with BMB (lead rs769449; odds ratio [OR] [95% confidence interval (CI)] 1.33 [1.21-1.45]; = 2.5 × 10). ε4 alleles were associated with strictly lobar (OR [95% CI] 1.34 [1.19-1.50]; = 1.0 × 10) but not with mixed BMB counts (OR [95% CI] 1.04 [0.86-1.25]; = 0.68). ε2 alleles did not show associations with BMB counts. Variants previously related to deep intracerebral hemorrhage and lacunar stroke, and a risk score of cerebral white matter hyperintensity variants, were associated with BMB.

Conclusions: Genetic variants in the region are associated with the presence of BMB, most likely due to the ε4 allele count related to a higher number of strictly lobar BMBs. Genetic predisposition to small vessel disease confers risk of BMB, indicating genetic overlap with other cerebral small vessel disease markers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000010852DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7836652PMC
December 2020

The Role of Age-Related Clonal Hematopoiesis in Genetic Sequencing Studies.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 09;107(3):575-576

Pattern Recognition & Bioinformatics, Delft University of Technology, Delft 2628CD, the Netherlands; Leiden Computational Biology Center, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden 2300RC, the Netherlands; Section of Molecular Epidemiology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden 2300RC, the Netherlands.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.07.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7477003PMC
September 2020

PLCG2 protective variant p.P522R modulates tau pathology and disease progression in patients with mild cognitive impairment.

Acta Neuropathol 2020 06 12;139(6):1025-1044. Epub 2020 Mar 12.

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Amsterdam UMC-Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

A rare coding variant (rs72824905, p.P522R) conferring protection against Alzheimer's disease (AD) was identified in the gene encoding the enzyme phospholipase-C-γ2 (PLCG2) that is highly expressed in microglia. To explore the protective nature of this variant, we employed latent process linear mixed models to examine the association of p.P522R with longitudinal cognitive decline in 3595 MCI patients, and in 10,097 individuals from population-based studies. Furthermore, association with CSF levels of pTau, total tau, and Aβ was assessed in 1261 MCI patients. We found that MCI patients who carried the p.P522R variant showed a slower rate of cognitive decline compared to non-carriers and that this effect was mediated by lower pTau levels in CSF. The effect size of the association of p.P522R with the cognitive decline and pTau was similar to that of APOE-ε4, the strongest genetic risk factor for AD. Interestingly, the protective effect of p.P522R was more pronounced in MCI patients with low Aβ levels suggesting a role of PLCG2 in the response to amyloid pathology. In line with this hypothesis, we observed no protective effect of the PLCG2 variant on the cognitive decline in population-based studies probably due to the lower prevalence of amyloid positivity in these samples compared to MCI patients. Concerning the potential biological underpinnings, we identified a network of co-expressed proteins connecting PLCG2 to APOE and TREM2 using unsupervised co-regulatory network analysis. The network was highly enriched for the complement cascade and genes differentially expressed in disease-associated microglia. Our data show that p.P522R in PLCG2 reduces AD disease progression by mitigating tau pathology in the presence of amyloid pathology and, as a consequence, maintains cognitive function. Targeting the enzyme PLCG2 might provide a new therapeutic approach for treating AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-020-02138-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7244617PMC
June 2020

Longitudinal Maintenance of Cognitive Health in Centenarians in the 100-plus Study.

JAMA Netw Open 2020 02 5;3(2):e200094. Epub 2020 Feb 5.

Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Department of Neurology, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Importance: Some individuals who reach ages beyond 100 years in good cognitive health may be resilient against risk factors associated with cognitive decline. Exploring the processes underlying resilience may contribute to the development of therapeutic strategies that help to maintain cognitive health while aging.

Objective: To identify individuals who escape cognitive decline until extreme ages and to investigate the prevalence of associated risk factors.

Design, Setting, And Participants: The 100-plus Study is a prospective observational cohort study of community-based Dutch centenarians enrolled between 2013 and 2019 who were visited annually until death or until participation was no longer possible. The centenarians self-reported their cognitive health, as confirmed by a proxy. Of the 1023 centenarians approached for study inclusion, 340 fulfilled the study criteria and were included in analyses. Data analysis was performed from April 2019 to December 2019.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Cognition was assessed using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). To identify centenarians who escape cognitive decline, this study investigated the association of baseline cognition with survivorship and cognitive trajectories for at least 2 years of follow-up using linear mixed models, adjusted for sex, age, and education. This study investigated the prevalence of apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotypes and cardiovascular disease as risk factors associated with cognitive decline.

Results: At baseline, the median age of 340 centenarians was 100.5 years (range, 100.0-108.2 years); 245 participants (72.1%) were female. The maximum survival estimate plateaued at 82% per year (95% CI, 77% to 87%) across centenarians who scored 26 to 30 points on the baseline MMSE (hazard ratio, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.42 to 0.75; P < .001), suggesting that an MMSE score of 26 or higher is representative of both cognitive and physical health. Among the 79 centenarians who were followed up for 2 years or longer, those with baseline MMSE score less than 26 experienced a decline in MMSE score of 1.68 points per year (95% CI, -2.45 to -0.92 points per year; P = .02), whereas centenarians with MMSE scores of 26 or higher at baseline experienced a decline of 0.71 point per year (95% CI, -1.08 to -0.35 points per year). For 73% of the centenarians with baseline MMSE scores of 26 or higher, no cognitive changes were observed, which often extended to ensuing years or until death. It is estimated that this group is representative of less than 10% of Dutch centenarians. In this group, 18.6% carried at least 1 APOE-ε4 allele, compared with 5.6% of the centenarians with lower and/or declining cognitive performance.

Conclusions And Relevance: Most centenarians who scored 26 or higher on the MMSE at baseline maintained high levels of cognitive performance for at least 2 years, in some cases despite the presence of risk factors associated with cognitive decline. Investigation of this group might reveal the processes underlying resilience against risk factors associated with cognitive decline.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.0094DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7137688PMC
February 2020

Genetic architecture of subcortical brain structures in 38,851 individuals.

Nat Genet 2019 11 21;51(11):1624-1636. Epub 2019 Oct 21.

Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA.

Subcortical brain structures are integral to motion, consciousness, emotions and learning. We identified common genetic variation related to the volumes of the nucleus accumbens, amygdala, brainstem, caudate nucleus, globus pallidus, putamen and thalamus, using genome-wide association analyses in almost 40,000 individuals from CHARGE, ENIGMA and UK Biobank. We show that variability in subcortical volumes is heritable, and identify 48 significantly associated loci (40 novel at the time of analysis). Annotation of these loci by utilizing gene expression, methylation and neuropathological data identified 199 genes putatively implicated in neurodevelopment, synaptic signaling, axonal transport, apoptosis, inflammation/infection and susceptibility to neurological disorders. This set of genes is significantly enriched for Drosophila orthologs associated with neurodevelopmental phenotypes, suggesting evolutionarily conserved mechanisms. Our findings uncover novel biology and potential drug targets underlying brain development and disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0511-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7055269PMC
November 2019

A meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies identifies multiple longevity genes.

Nat Commun 2019 08 14;10(1):3669. Epub 2019 Aug 14.

Department of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, 5000, Odense C, Denmark.

Human longevity is heritable, but genome-wide association (GWA) studies have had limited success. Here, we perform two meta-analyses of GWA studies of a rigorous longevity phenotype definition including 11,262/3484 cases surviving at or beyond the age corresponding to the 90th/99th survival percentile, respectively, and 25,483 controls whose age at death or at last contact was at or below the age corresponding to the 60th survival percentile. Consistent with previous reports, rs429358 (apolipoprotein E (ApoE) ε4) is associated with lower odds of surviving to the 90th and 99th percentile age, while rs7412 (ApoE ε2) shows the opposite. Moreover, rs7676745, located near GPR78, associates with lower odds of surviving to the 90th percentile age. Gene-level association analysis reveals a role for tissue-specific expression of multiple genes in longevity. Finally, genetic correlation of the longevity GWA results with that of several disease-related phenotypes points to a shared genetic architecture between health and longevity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-11558-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6694136PMC
August 2019

A genome-wide association study identifies genetic loci associated with specific lobar brain volumes.

Commun Biol 2019 2;2:285. Epub 2019 Aug 2.

17Department of Biomedical Data Sciences, Statistical Genetics, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, 2333ZA the Netherlands.

Brain lobar volumes are heritable but genetic studies are limited. We performed genome-wide association studies of frontal, occipital, parietal and temporal lobe volumes in 16,016 individuals, and replicated our findings in 8,789 individuals. We identified six genetic loci associated with specific lobar volumes independent of intracranial volume. Two loci, associated with occipital (6q22.32) and temporal lobe volume (12q14.3), were previously reported to associate with intracranial and hippocampal volume, respectively. We identified four loci previously unknown to affect brain volumes: 3q24 for parietal lobe volume, and 1q22, 4p16.3 and 14q23.1 for occipital lobe volume. The associated variants were located in regions enriched for histone modifications ( and ), or close to genes causing Mendelian brain-related diseases ( and ). No genetic overlap between lobar volumes and neurological or psychiatric diseases was observed. Our findings reveal part of the complex genetics underlying brain development and suggest a role for regulatory regions in determining brain volumes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s42003-019-0537-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6677735PMC
April 2020

A nonsynonymous mutation in PLCG2 reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia, and increases the likelihood of longevity.

Acta Neuropathol 2019 08 27;138(2):237-250. Epub 2019 May 27.

Centro de Investigacion Biomedica en Red en Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas (CIBERNED), Madrid, Spain.

The genetic variant rs72824905-G (minor allele) in the PLCG2 gene was previously associated with a reduced Alzheimer's disease risk (AD). The role of PLCG2 in immune system signaling suggests it may also protect against other neurodegenerative diseases and possibly associates with longevity. We studied the effect of the rs72824905-G on seven neurodegenerative diseases and longevity, using 53,627 patients, 3,516 long-lived individuals and 149,290 study-matched controls. We replicated the association of rs72824905-G with reduced AD risk and we found an association with reduced risk of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). We did not find evidence for an effect on Parkinson's disease (PD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and multiple sclerosis (MS) risks, despite adequate sample sizes. Conversely, the rs72824905-G allele was associated with increased likelihood of longevity. By-proxy analyses in the UK Biobank supported the associations with both dementia and longevity. Concluding, rs72824905-G has a protective effect against multiple neurodegenerative diseases indicating shared aspects of disease etiology. Our findings merit studying the PLCγ2 pathway as drug-target.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-019-02026-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6660501PMC
August 2019

The association of vascular disorders with incident dementia in different age groups.

Alzheimers Res Ther 2019 05 17;11(1):47. Epub 2019 May 17.

Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Department of Neurology, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, PO Box 7057, 1007 MB, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Background: There is increasing evidence that dementia risk associated with vascular disorders is age dependent. Large population-based studies of incident dementia are necessary to further elucidate this effect. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to determine the association of vascular disorders with incident dementia in different age groups in a large primary care database.

Methods: We included 442,428 individuals without dementia aged ≥ 65 years from the longitudinal primary care Integrated Primary Care Information (IPCI) database. We determined in 6 age groups (from 65-70 to ≥ 90 years) the risk of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, stroke, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation for all-cause dementia using incidence rate ratios, Cox regression, and Fine and Gray regression models.

Results: The mean age at inclusion of the total study sample was 72.4 years, 45.7% of the participants were male, and median follow-up was 3.6 years. During 1.4 million person-years of follow-up, 13,511 individuals were diagnosed with dementia. The risk for dementia decreased with increasing age for all risk factors and was no longer significant in individuals aged ≥ 90 years. Adjusting for mortality as a competing risk did not change the results.

Conclusions: We conclude that vascular disorders are no longer a risk factor for dementia at high age. Possible explanations include selective survival of individuals who are less susceptible to the negative consequences of vascular disorders and differences in follow-up time between individuals with and without a vascular disorder. Future research should focus on the identification of other risk factors than vascular disorders, for example, genetic or inflammatory processes, that can potentially explain the strong age-related increase in dementia risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13195-019-0496-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6524321PMC
May 2019

Author Correction: Study of 300,486 individuals identifies 148 independent genetic loci influencing general cognitive function.

Nat Commun 2019 May 1;10(1):2068. Epub 2019 May 1.

Department of Psychology and Logopedics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, 00014, Finland.

Christina M. Lill, who contributed to analysis of data, was inadvertently omitted from the author list in the originally published version of this article. This has now been corrected in both the PDF and HTML versions of the article.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-10160-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6494826PMC
May 2019

Genetic meta-analysis of diagnosed Alzheimer's disease identifies new risk loci and implicates Aβ, tau, immunity and lipid processing.

Nat Genet 2019 03 28;51(3):414-430. Epub 2019 Feb 28.

Research Center and Memory Clinic of Fundació ACE, Institut Català de Neurociències Aplicades-Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.

Risk for late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD), the most prevalent dementia, is partially driven by genetics. To identify LOAD risk loci, we performed a large genome-wide association meta-analysis of clinically diagnosed LOAD (94,437 individuals). We confirm 20 previous LOAD risk loci and identify five new genome-wide loci (IQCK, ACE, ADAM10, ADAMTS1, and WWOX), two of which (ADAM10, ACE) were identified in a recent genome-wide association (GWAS)-by-familial-proxy of Alzheimer's or dementia. Fine-mapping of the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) region confirms the neurological and immune-mediated disease haplotype HLA-DR15 as a risk factor for LOAD. Pathway analysis implicates immunity, lipid metabolism, tau binding proteins, and amyloid precursor protein (APP) metabolism, showing that genetic variants affecting APP and Aβ processing are associated not only with early-onset autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease but also with LOAD. Analyses of risk genes and pathways show enrichment for rare variants (P = 1.32 × 10), indicating that additional rare variants remain to be identified. We also identify important genetic correlations between LOAD and traits such as family history of dementia and education.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0358-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6463297PMC
March 2019

Genetic and lifestyle risk factors for MRI-defined brain infarcts in a population-based setting.

Neurology 2019 Jan 16. Epub 2019 Jan 16.

Objective: To explore genetic and lifestyle risk factors of MRI-defined brain infarcts (BI) in large population-based cohorts.

Methods: We performed meta-analyses of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and examined associations of vascular risk factors and their genetic risk scores (GRS) with MRI-defined BI and a subset of BI, namely, small subcortical BI (SSBI), in 18 population-based cohorts (n = 20,949) from 5 ethnicities (3,726 with BI, 2,021 with SSBI). Top loci were followed up in 7 population-based cohorts (n = 6,862; 1,483 with BI, 630 with SBBI), and we tested associations with related phenotypes including ischemic stroke and pathologically defined BI.

Results: The mean prevalence was 17.7% for BI and 10.5% for SSBI, steeply rising after age 65. Two loci showed genome-wide significant association with BI: FBN2, = 1.77 × 10; and LINC00539/ZDHHC20, = 5.82 × 10. Both have been associated with blood pressure (BP)-related phenotypes, but did not replicate in the smaller follow-up sample or show associations with related phenotypes. Age- and sex-adjusted associations with BI and SSBI were observed for BP traits ( value for BI, = 9.38 × 10; = 5.23 × 10 for hypertension), smoking ( = 4.4 × 10; = 1.2 × 10), diabetes ( = 1.7 × 10; = 2.8 × 10), previous cardiovascular disease ( = 1.0 × 10; = 2.3 × 10), stroke ( = 3.9 × 10; = 3.2 × 10), and MRI-defined white matter hyperintensity burden ( = 1.43 × 10; = 3.16 × 10), but not with body mass index or cholesterol. GRS of BP traits were associated with BI and SSBI ( ≤ 0.0022), without indication of directional pleiotropy.

Conclusion: In this multiethnic GWAS meta-analysis, including over 20,000 population-based participants, we identified genetic risk loci for BI requiring validation once additional large datasets become available. High BP, including genetically determined, was the most significant modifiable, causal risk factor for BI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000006851DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6369905PMC
January 2019
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