Lack of replication of association findings in complex disease: an analysis of 15 polymorphisms in prior candidate genes for sporadic Alzheimer's disease

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There is considerable enthusiasm for the prospect of using common polymorphisms (primarily single nucleotide polymorphisms; SNPs) in candidate genes to unravel the genetics of complex disease. This approach has generated a number of findings of loci which are significantly associated with sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD). In the present study, a total of 15 genes of interest were chosen from among the previously published reports of significant association in AD. Genotyping was performed on polymorphisms within those genes (14 SNPs and one deletion) using Dynamic Allele Specific Hybridization (DASH) in 204 Swedish patients with sporadic late-onset AD and 186 Swedish control subjects. The genes chosen for analysis were; low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein (LRP1), angiotensin converting enzyme (DCP1), alpha-2-macroglobulin (A2M), bleomycin hydrolase (BLMH), dihydrolipoyl S-succinyltransferase (DLST), tumour necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 6 (TNFRSF6), nitric oxide synthase (NOS3), presenilin 1 (PSEN1), presenilin 2 (PSEN2), butyrylcholinesterase (BCHE), Fe65 (APBB1), oestrogen receptor alpha (ESR1), cathepsin D (CTSD), methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), and interleukin 1A (IL1A). We found no strong evidence of association for any of these loci with AD in this population. While the possibility exists that the genes analysed are involved in AD (ie they have weak effects and/or are population specific), results reinforce the need for extensive replication studies if we are to be successful in defining true risk factors in complex diseases.


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Generous financial support has been provided by; The Swedish Brain Fund, and the AMF Jubileum Fund, Tore Nilsons Foundation for Medical Research, Loo Ostermans Foundation, The Swedish Old Servants Foundation (Gamla Tjänarinnor), and Carl Tryggers Foundation for Scientific Research.

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Correspondence to Jonathan A Prince.

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  • SNP
  • DASH
  • polymorphism
  • Alzheimer's
  • sporadic
  • association

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