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Gene-based aggregate SNP associations between candidate AD genes and cognitive decline


Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in and near ABCA7, BIN1, CASS4, CD2AP, CD33, CELF1, CLU, complement receptor 1 (CR1), EPHA1, EXOC3L2, FERMT2, HLA cluster (DRB5-DQA), INPP5D, MEF2C, MS4A cluster (MS4A3-MS4A6E), NME8, PICALM, PTK2B, SLC24A4, SORL1, and ZCWPW1 have been associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) in large meta-analyses. We aimed to determine whether established AD-associated genes are associated with longitudinal cognitive decline by examining aggregate variation across these gene regions. In two single-sex cohorts of older, community-dwelling adults, we examined the association between SNPs in previously implicated gene regions and cognitive decline (age-adjusted person-specific cognitive slopes) using a Sequence Kernel Association Test (SKAT). In regions which showed aggregate significance, we examined the univariate association between individual SNPs in the region and cognitive decline. Only two of the original AD-associated SNPs were significantly associated with cognitive decline in our cohorts. We identified significant aggregate-level associations between cognitive decline and the gene regions BIN1, CD33, CELF1, CR1, HLA cluster, and MEF2C in the all-female cohort and significant associations with ABCA7, HLA cluster, MS4A6E, PICALM, PTK2B, SLC24A4, and SORL1 in the all-male cohort. We also identified a block of eight correlated SNPs in CD33 and several blocks of correlated SNPs in CELF1 that were significantly associated with cognitive decline in univariate analysis in the all-female cohort.

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