Genetic Associations Between Fibrinogen and Cognitive Performance in Three Scottish Cohorts
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There is increasing evidence to suggest that elevated plasma levels of fibrinogen are associated with late-life cognitive performance. This study tested the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms in the fibrinogen α (FGA) and β (FGB) genes with cognitive performance. Data were analysed from three community-dwelling populations of older persons (>50 years) in central Scotland: the Aspirin for Asymptomatic Atherosclerosis (AAA) Trial (n = 2,091), the Edinburgh Type 2 Diabetes Study (ET2DS, n = 1,066), and the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (LBC1936, n = 1,091). Cognition was assessed using a battery of five, seven, and four psychometric tests, respectively. This information was used to derive a general cognitive factor. Weakly significant associations were found between the rs4220 (FGB), and rs2227412 (FGB) SNPs and a single test of cognitive performance in the AAA Trial (p < 0.05). These findings did not replicate in the LBC1936 or ET2DS cohorts, except for the rs2227412 SNP, which was significantly associated with the general cognitive factor in the ET2DS (p = 3.3 × 10−4). A summary term that combined results from all three studies suggested that the rs2227412 genotype associated with reduced cognitive ability also associated with higher plasma fibrinogen levels. These findings suggest a tentative role for fibrinogen as a determinant of late-life cognitive performance and justify further attempts at replication in older persons.