The effect of rare variants in TREM2 and PLD3 on longitudinal cognitive function in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention

Engelman CD, Darst BF, Bilgel M, Vasiljevic E, Koscik RL, Jedynak BM, Johnson SC.

Neurobiol Aging. 2017 Dec 29. pii: S0197-4580(17)30422-0. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2017.12.025. [Epub ahead of print]


Recent studies have found an association between functional variants in TREM2 and PLD3 and Alzheimer's disease (AD), but their effect on cognitive function is unknown. We examined the effect of these variants on cognitive function in 1449 participants from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention, a longitudinal study of initially asymptomatic adults, aged 36-73 years at baseline, enriched for a parental history of AD. A comprehensive cognitive test battery was performed at up to 5 visits. A factor analysis resulted in 6 cognitive factors that were standardized into z scores (~N [0, 1]); the mean of these z scores was also calculated. In linear mixed models adjusted for age, gender, practice effects, and self-reported race/ethnicity, PLD3 V232M carriers had significantly lower mean z scores (p = 0.02) and lower z scores for story recall (p = 0.04), visual learning and memory (p = 0.049), and speed and flexibility (p = 0.02) than noncarriers. TREM2 R47H carriers had marginally lower z scores for speed and flexibility (p = 0.06). In conclusion, a functional variant in PLD3 was associated with significantly lower cognitive function in individuals carrying the variant than in noncarriers.


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