Leveraging large multi-center cohorts of Alzheimer disease endophenotypes to understand the role of Klotho heterozygosity on disease risk

Muhammad Ali, Yun Ju Sung, Fengxian Wang, Maria V. Fernández, John C. Morris, Anne M. Fagan, Kaj Blennow, Henrik Zetterberg, Amanda Heslegrave, Per M. Johansson, Johan Svensson, Bengt Nellgård, Alberto Lleó, Daniel Alcolea, Jordi Clarimon, Lorena Rami, José Luis Molinuevo, Marc Suárez-Calvet, Estrella Morenas-Rodríguez, Gernot KleinbergerChristian Haass, Michael Ewers, Johannes Levin, Martin R. Farlow, Richard J. Perrin, Carlos Cruchaga

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8 Scopus citations



associated with brain resilience during normal aging, were recently shown to be associated with Alzheimer disease (AD) risk in cognitively normal participants who are APOE ε4 carriers. Specifically, the participants heterozygous for this variant (KL-SVHET+) showed lower risk of developing AD. Furthermore, a neuroprotective effect of KL-VSHET+ has been suggested against amyloid burden for cognitively normal participants, potentially mediated via the regulation of redox pathways. However, inconsistent associations and a smaller sample size of existing studies pose significant hurdles in drawing definitive conclusions. Here, we performed a well-powered association analysis between KL-VSHET+ and five different AD endophenotypes; brain amyloidosis measured by positron emission tomography (PET) scans (n = 5,541) or cerebrospinal fluid Aβ42 levels (CSF; n = 5,093), as well as biomarkers associated with tau pathology: the CSF Tau (n = 5,127), phosphorylated Tau (pTau181; n = 4,778) and inflammation: CSF soluble triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (sTREM2; n = 2,123) levels. Our results found nominally significant associations of KL-VSHET+ status with biomarkers for brain amyloidosis (e.g., CSF Aβ positivity; odds ratio [OR] = 0.67 [95% CI, 0.55–0.78], β = 0.72, p = 0.007) and tau pathology (e.g., biomarker positivity for CSF Tau; OR = 0.39 [95% CI, 0.19–0.77], β = -0.94, p = 0.007, and pTau; OR = 0.50 [95% CI, 0.27–0.96], β = -0.68, p = 0.04) in cognitively normal participants, 60–80 years old, who are APOE e4-carriers. Our work supports previous findings, suggesting that the KL-VSHET+ on an APOE ε4 genotype background may modulate Aβ and tau pathology, thereby lowering the intensity of neurodegeneration and incidence of cognitive decline in older controls susceptible to AD.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0267298
JournalPloS one
Issue number5 May
StatePublished - May 2022


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