Association of Acquired and Heritable Factors With Intergenerational Differences in Age at Symptomatic Onset of Alzheimer Disease Between Offspring and Parents With Dementia

Gregory S. Day, Carlos Cruchaga, Thomas Wingo, Suzanne E. Schindler, Dean Coble, John C. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Importance: Acquired and heritable traits are associated with dementia risk; however, how these traits are associated with age at symptomatic onset (AAO) of Alzheimer disease (AD) is unknown. Identifying the associations of acquired and heritable factors with variability in intergenerational AAO of AD could facilitate diagnosis, assessment, and counseling of the offspring of parents with AD. Objective: To quantify the associations of acquired and heritable factors with intergenerational differences in AAO of AD. Design, Setting, and Participants: This nested cohort study used data from the Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center that included community-dwelling participants with symptomatic AD, parental history of dementia, and available DNA data who were enrolled in prospective studies of memory and aging from September 1, 2005, to August 31, 2016. Clinical, biomarker, and genetic data were extracted on January 17, 2017, and data analyses were conducted from July 1, 2017, to August 20, 2019. Main Outcomes and Measures: The associations of acquired (ie, years of education; body mass index; history of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, active depression within 2 years, traumatic brain injury, tobacco use, and unhealthy alcohol use; and retrospective determination of AAO) and heritable factors (ie, ethnicity/race, paternal or maternal inheritance, parental history of early-onset dementia, APOE ε4 allele status, and AD polygenic risk scores) to intergenerational difference in AAO of AD were quantified using stepwise forward multivariable regression. Missense or frameshift variants within genes associated with AD pathogenesis were screened using whole-exome sequencing. Results: There were 164 participants with symptomatic AD, known parental history of dementia, and available DNA data (mean [SD] age, 70.9 [8.3] years; 90 [54.9%] women) included in this study. Offspring were diagnosed with symptomatic AD a mean (SD) 6.1 (10.7) years earlier than their parents (P < .001). The adjusted R2 for measured acquired and heritable factors for intergenerational difference in AAO of AD was 0.29 (F8,155 = 9.13; P < .001). Paternal (β = -9.52 [95% CI, -13.79 to -5.25]) and maternal (β = -6.68 [95% CI, -11.61 to -1.75]) history of dementia, more years of education (β = -0.58 [95% CI -1.08 to -0.09]), and retrospective determination of AAO (β = -3.46 [95% CI, -6.40 to -0.52]) were associated with earlier-than-expected intergenerational difference in AAO of AD. Parental history of early-onset dementia (β = 21.30 [95% CI, 15.01 to 27.59]), presence of 1 APOE ε4 allele (β = 5.00 [95% CI, 2.11 to 7.88]), and history of hypertension (β = 3.81 [95% CI, 0.88 to 6.74]) were associated with later-than-expected intergenerational difference in AAO of AD. Missense or frameshift variants within genes associated with AD pathogenesis were more common in participants with the greatest unexplained variability in intergenerational AAO of AD (19 of 48 participants [39.6%] vs 26 of 116 participants [22.4%]; P = .03). Conclusions and Relevance: Acquired and heritable factors were associated with a substantial proportion of variability in intergenerational AAO of AD. Variants in genes associated with AD pathogenesis may contribute to unexplained variability, justifying further study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1913491
JournalJAMA Network Open
Volume2
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2 2019

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