KLOTHO heterozygosity attenuates APOE4-related amyloid burden in preclinical AD

Erickson CM, Schultz SA, Oh JM, Darst BF, Ma Y, Norton D, Betthauser T, Gallagher CL, Carlsson CM, Bendlin BB, Asthana S, Hermann BP, Sager MA, Blennow K, Zetterberg H, Engelman CD, Christian BT, Johnson SC, Dubal DB, Okonkwo OC.

Neurology. 2019 Mar 13. pii: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000007323. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000007323. [Epub ahead of print]


OBJECTIVE: To examine whether the KLOTHO gene variant KL-VS attenuates APOE4-associated β-amyloid (Aβ) accumulation in a late-middle-aged cohort enriched with Alzheimer disease (AD) risk factors. METHODS: Three hundred nine late-middle-aged adults from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention and the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center were genotyped to determine KL-VS and APOE4 status and underwent CSF sampling (n = 238) and/or 11C-Pittsburgh compound B (PiB)-PET imaging (n = 183). Covariate-adjusted regression analyses were used to investigate whether APOE4 exerted expected effects on Aβ burden. Follow-up regression analyses stratified by KL-VS genotype (i.e., noncarrier vs heterozygous; there were no homozygous individuals) evaluated whether the influence of APOE4 on Aβ was different among KL-VS heterozygotes compared to noncarriers. RESULTS: APOE4 carriers exhibited greater Aβ burden than APOE4-negative participants. This effect was stronger in CSF (t = -5.12, p < 0.001) compared with PiB-PET (t = 3.93, p < 0.001). In the stratified analyses, this APOE4 effect on Aβ load was recapitulated among KL-VS noncarriers (CSF: t = -5.09, p < 0.001; PiB-PET: t = 3.77, p < 0 .001). In contrast, among KL-VS heterozygotes, APOE4-positive individuals did not exhibit higher Aβ burden than APOE4-negative individuals (CSF: t = -1.03, p = 0.308; PiB-PET: t = 0.92, p = 0.363). These differential APOE4 effects remained after KL-VS heterozygotes and noncarriers were matched on age and sex. CONCLUSION: In a cohort of at-risk late-middle-aged adults, KL-VS heterozygosity was associated with an abatement of APOE4-associated Aβ aggregation, suggesting KL-VS heterozygosity confers protections against APOE4-linked pathways to disease onset in AD.

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