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Genetic risk for Alzheimer`s disease predicts hippocampal volume through the lifespan

By Kristine B. Walhovd, Anders M. Fjell, Øystein Sørensen, Athanasia Monica Mowinckel, Céline Sonja Reinbold, Ane-Victoria Idland, Leiv Otto Watne, Andre Franke, Valerijia Dobricic, Fabian Kilpert, Lars Bertram, Yunpeng Wang

Posted 23 Jul 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/711689

INTRODUCTION: It is unknown whether genetic risk for Alzheimer`s disease (AD) represents a stable influence on the brain from early in life, or whether effects are age-dependent. It is critical to characterize the effects of genetic risk factors on the primary neural substrate of AD, the hippocampus, throughout life. METHODS: Relations of polygenic risk score (PGS) for AD, including variants in Apolipoprotein E (APOE) with hippocampal volume and its change were assessed in a healthy longitudinal lifespan sample (n = 1181, 4-95 years), followed for up to 11 years with a total of 2690 MRI scans. RESULTS: AD-PGS showed a significant negative effect on hippocampal volume. Offset effects of AD-PGS and APOE ϵ4 were present in hippocampal development, and interactions between age and genetic risk on volume change were not consistently observed. DISCUSSION: Endophenotypic manifestation of polygenic risk for AD may be seen across the lifespan in healthy persons.

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