Association of African Ancestry-Specific APOE Missense Variant R145C with Risk of Alzheimer Disease

Yann Le Guen, Ana Caroline Raulin, Mark W. Logue, Richard Sherva, Michael E. Belloy, Sarah J. Eger, Annabel Chen, Gabriel Kennedy, Lindsey Kuchenbecker, Justin P. O'Leary, Rui Zhang, Victoria C. Merritt, Matthew S. Panizzon, Richard L. Hauger, J. Michael Gaziano, Guojun Bu, Timothy A. Thornton, Lindsay A. Farrer, Valerio Napolioni, Zihuai HeMichael D. Greicius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Importance: Numerous studies have established the association of the common APOE ϵ2 and APOE ϵ4 alleles with Alzheimer disease (AD) risk across ancestries. Studies of the interaction of these alleles with other amino acid changes on APOE in non-European ancestries are lacking and may improve ancestry-specific risk prediction. Objective: To determine whether APOE amino acid changes specific to individuals of African ancestry modulate AD risk. Design, Setting, and Participants: Case-control study including 31929 participants and using a sequenced discovery sample (Alzheimer Disease Sequencing Project; stage 1) followed by 2 microarray imputed data sets derived from the Alzheimer Disease Genetic Consortium (stage 2, internal replication) and the Million Veteran Program (stage 3, external validation). This study combined case-control, family-based, population-based, and longitudinal AD cohorts, which recruited participants (1991-2022) in primarily US-based studies with 1 US/Nigerian study. Across all stages, individuals included in this study were of African ancestry. Exposures: Two APOE missense variants (R145C and R150H) were assessed, stratified by APOE genotype. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was AD case-control status, and secondary outcomes included age at AD onset. Results: Stage 1 included 2888 cases (median age, 77 [IQR, 71-83] years; 31.3% male) and 4957 controls (median age, 77 [IQR, 71-83] years; 28.0% male). In stage 2, across multiple cohorts, 1201 cases (median age, 75 [IQR, 69-81] years; 30.8% male) and 2744 controls (median age, 80 [IQR, 75-84] years; 31.4% male) were included. In stage 3, 733 cases (median age, 79.4 [IQR, 73.8-86.5] years; 97.0% male) and 19406 controls (median age, 71.9 [IQR, 68.4-75.8] years; 94.5% male) were included. In ϵ3/ϵ4-stratified analyses of stage 1, R145C was present in 52 individuals with AD (4.8%) and 19 controls (1.5%); R145C was associated with an increased risk of AD (odds ratio [OR], 3.01; 95% CI, 1.87-4.85; P = 6.0 × 10-6) and was associated with a reported younger age at AD onset (β, -5.87 years; 95% CI, -8.35 to -3.4 years; P = 3.4 × 10-6). Association with increased AD risk was replicated in stage 2 (R145C was present in 23 individuals with AD [4.7%] and 21 controls [2.7%]; OR, 2.20; 95% CI, 1.04-4.65; P =.04) and was concordant in stage 3 (R145C was present in 11 individuals with AD [3.8%] and 149 controls [2.7%]; OR, 1.90; 95% CI, 0.99-3.64; P =.051). Association with earlier AD onset was replicated in stage 2 (β, -5.23 years; 95% CI, -9.58 to -0.87 years; P =.02) and stage 3 (β, -10.15 years; 95% CI, -15.66 to -4.64 years; P = 4.0 × 10-4). No significant associations were observed in other APOE strata for R145C or in any APOE strata for R150H. Conclusions and Relevance: In this exploratory analysis, the APOE ϵ3[R145C] missense variant was associated with an increased risk of AD among individuals of African ancestry with the ϵ3/ϵ4 genotype. With additional external validation, these findings may inform AD genetic risk assessment in individuals of African ancestry..

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-560
Number of pages10
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 21 2023


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