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Risk genotypes at TMEM106B are associated with cognitive impairment in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

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Abstract

TMEM106B has recently been identified as a genetic risk factor for frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 inclusions (FTLD-TDP). Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), like FTLD-TDP, is characterized by pathological TDP-43 inclusions. We therefore investigated whether FTLD-TDP-associated risk genotypes at TMEM106B (1) contribute to risk of developing ALS or (2) modify the clinical presentation in ALS. Detailed clinical and pathological information from 61 postmortem ALS patients was collected by database query, retrospective chart review, and histopathological slide review. DNA from these patients, as well as 24 additional ALS patients, was genotyped for three TMEM106B single nucleotide polymorphisms known to confer increased risk of FTLD-TDP. Associations between TMEM106B genotype and ALS were investigated by comparing TMEM106B genotypes in ALS patients (n = 85) and normal controls (n = 553), and associations between TMEM106B genotype and clinical and pathologic features were explored using linear regression. Multivariate linear models were used to evaluate the contributions of TMEM106B genotype and TDP-43 pathology to cognitive performance in ALS as measured by a phonemic verbal fluency test. We found that TMEM106B genotypes did not differ between ALS patients and normal controls. However, protective alleles at TMEM106B were significantly associated with preserved cognition in ALS patients, with the strongest association seen under a major-allele-dominant genetic model. While lower TDP-43 pathology scores and protective alleles at TMEM106B both correlated with better cognitive scores, these factors were not correlated with each other and demonstrated independent effects. These findings implicate the FTLD-TDP risk gene TMEM106B in the development of cognitive impairment in ALS.

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Acknowledgments

We thank the patients who contributed samples to this study. We thank Robert Greene and Young Baek for technical assistance. This work was supported by the NIH (AG033101, AG17586, AG10124, AG17586, AG32953, NS44266), as well as a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists and the Benaroya Fund (to ACP), and the Koller Family Foundation. VMYL is the John H. Ware, 3rd, Professor of Alzheimer’s Disease Research. JQT is the William Maul Measey-Truman G. Schnabel, Jr., Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Alice S. Chen-Plotkin.

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R. Vass and E. Ashbridge contributed equally to this work.

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Vass, R., Ashbridge, E., Geser, F. et al. Risk genotypes at TMEM106B are associated with cognitive impairment in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Acta Neuropathol 121, 373–380 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00401-010-0782-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00401-010-0782-y

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