Genetic evidence implicates the immune system and cholesterol metabolism in the aetiology of Alzheimer's disease

Lesley Jones, Peter A. Holmans, Marian L. Hamshere, Denise Harold, Valentina Moskvina, Dobril Ivanov, Andrew Pocklington, Richard Abraham, Paul Hollingworth, Rebecca Sims, Amy Gerrish, Jaspreet Singh Pahwa, Nicola Jones, Alexandra Stretton, Angharad R. Morgan, Simon Lovestone, John Powell, Petroula Proitsi, Michelle K. Lupton, Carol BrayneDavid C. Rubinsztein, Michael Gill, Brian Lawlor, Aoibhinn Lynch, Kevin Morgan, Kristelle S. Brown, Peter A. Passmore, David Craig, Bernadette Mcguinness, Stephen Todd, Clive Holmes, David Mann, A. David Smith, Seth Love, Patrick G. Kehoe, Simon Mead, Nick Fox, Martin Rossor, John Collinge, Wolfgang Maier, Frank Jessen, Britta Schürmann, Hendrik van den Bussche, Isabella Heuser, Oliver Peters, Johannes Kornhuber, Jens Wiltfang, Martin Dichgans, Lutz Frölich, Hampel Harald, Michael Hüll, Dan Rujescu, Alison M. Goate, John S.K. Kauwe, Carlos Cruchaga, Petra Nowotny, John C. Morris, Kevin Mayo, Gill Livingston, Nicholas J. Bass, Hugh Gurling, Andrew Mcquillin, Rhian Gwilliam, Panos Deloukas, Ammar Al-Chalabi, Christopher E. Shaw, Andrew B. Singleton, Rita Guerreiro, Thomas W. Mühleisen, Markus M. Nöthen, Susanne Moebus, Karl Heinz Jöckel, Norman Klopp, H. Erich Wichmann, Eckhard Rüther, Minerva M. Carrasquillo, V. Shane Pankratz, Steven G. Younkin, John Hardy, Michael C. O'Donovan, Michael J. Owen, Julie Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

255 Scopus citations


Background: Late Onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) is the leading cause of dementia. Recent large genome-wide association studies (GWAS) identified the first strongly supported LOAD susceptibility genes since the discovery of the involvement of APOE in the early 1990s. We have now exploited these GWAS datasets to uncover key LOAD pathophysiological processes. Methodology: We applied a recently developed tool for mining GWAS data for biologically meaningful information to a LOAD GWAS dataset. The principal findings were then tested in an independent GWAS dataset. Principal Findings: We found a significant overrepresentation of association signals in pathways related to cholesterol metabolism and the immune response in both of the two largest genome-wide association studies for LOAD. Significance: Processes related to cholesterol metabolism and the innate immune response have previously been implicated by pathological and epidemiological studies of Alzheimer's disease, but it has been unclear whether those findings reflected primary aetiological events or consequences of the disease process. Our independent evidence from two large studies now demonstrates that these processes are aetiologically relevant, and suggests that they may be suitable targets for novel and existing therapeutic approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13950
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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