Genetic stratification to identify risk groups for Alzheimer's disease

Riccardo Marioni, Archibald Campbell, Saskia Hagenaars, Reka Nagy, Carmen Amador, Caroline Hayward, David Porteous, Peter M Visscher, Ian Deary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Stratification by genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) may help identify groups with the greatest disease risk. Biological changes that cause late-onset AD are likely to occur years, if not decades prior to diagnosis. Here, we select a subset of the Generation Scotland: Scottish Family Health Study cohort in a likely preclinical age-range of 60–70 years (subset n = 3,495 with cognitive and genetic data). We test for cognitive differences by polygenic risk scores for AD. The polygenic scores are constructed using all available SNPs, excluding those within a 500 kb distance of the APOE locus. Additive and multiplicative effects of APOE status on these associations are investigated. Small memory decrements were observed in those with high polygenic risk scores for AD (standardized beta –0.04, p = 0.020). These associations were independent of APOE status. There was no difference in AD polygenic scores across APOE haplotypes (p = 0.72). Individuals with high compared to low polygenic risk scores for AD (top and bottom 5% of the distribution) show cognitive decrements, albeit much smaller than for APOE ɛ4ɛ4 compared to ɛ3ɛ3 individuals (2.3 versus 3.5 fewer points on the processing speed test, and 1.8 versus 2.8 fewer points on the memory test). Polygenic risk scores for AD may help identify older individuals at greatest risk of cognitive decline and preclinical AD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-283
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number1
Early online date10 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2017


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