The insulin degrading enzyme (IDE) variant, v311 (rs6583817), is associated with increased post-mortem cerebellar IDE mRNA, decreased plasma β-amyloid (Aβ), decreased risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD) and increased reporter gene expression, suggesting that it is a functional variant driving increased IDE expression. To identify other functional IDE variants, we have tested v685, rs11187061 (associated with decreased cerebellar IDE mRNA) and variants on H6, the haplotype tagged by v311 (v10; rs4646958, v315; rs7895832, v687; rs17107734 and v154; rs4646957), for altered in vitro reporter gene expression. The reporter gene expression levels associated with the second most common haplotype (H2) successfully replicated the post-mortem findings in hepatocytoma (0.89 fold-change, p = 0.04) but not neuroblastoma cells. Successful in vitro replication was achieved for H6 in neuroblastoma cells when the sequence was cloned 5′ to the promoter (1.18 fold-change, p = 0.006) and 3′ to the reporter gene (1.29 fold change, p = 0.003), an effect contributed to by four variants (v10, v315, v154 and v311). Since IDE mediates Aβ degradation, variants that regulate IDE expression could represent good therapeutic targets for AD.
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