College of Public Health students graduating

Biostatistics: Genes Linked to Aging Neuropathology

Dr. David Fardo, associate professor, Department of Biostatistics, and Yuriko Katsumata, Biostatistics graduate research assistant, worked with other UK researchers on the paper“Gene-based association study of genes linked to hippocampal sclerosis of aging neuropathology: GRN, TMEM106B, ABCC9, and KCNMB2,” which appeared online inNeurobiology of Aging on January 9, 2017. Dr. Fardo is also faculty associate of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, a federally-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Center.

Hippocampal sclerosis of aging (HS-Aging) is a common neurodegenerative condition associated with dementia. To learn more about genetic risk of HS-Aging pathology, researchers tested gene-based associations of the GRNTMEM106BABCC9, and KCNMB2 genes, which were reported to be associated with HS-Aging pathology in previous studies. Genetic data were obtained from the Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium, linked to autopsy-derived neuropathological outcomes from the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center.

Of the 3251 subjects included in the study, 271 (8.3%) were identified as an HS-Aging case. The significant gene-based association between the ABCC9 gene and HS-Aging appeared to be driven by a region in which a significant haplotype-based association was found. The researchers tested this haplotype as an expression quantitative trait locus using 2 different public-access brain gene expression databases. The HS-Aging pathology protective ABCC9 haplotype was associated with decreased ABCC9 expression, indicating a possible toxic gain of function.