A homopolymer polymorphism in the TOMM40 gene contributes to cognitive performance in aging.
INTRODUCTION: A highly polymorphic T homopolymer was recently found to be associated with late-onset Alzheimer's disease risk and age of onset. OBJECTIVE: To explore the effects of the polymorphic polyT tract (rs10524523, referred as '523') on cognitive performance in cognitively healthy elderly individuals. METHODS: One hundred eighty-one participants were recruited from local independent-living retirement communities. Informed consent was obtained, and participants completed demographic questionnaires, a conventional paper-and-pencil neuropsychological battery, and the computerized Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB). Saliva samples were collected for determination of the TOMM40 '523' (S, L, VL) and the apolipoprotein E (APOE) (ɛ2, 3, 4) genotypes. From the initial sample of 181 individuals, 127 were eligible for the association analysis. Participants were divided into three groups based on '523' genotypes (S/S, S/L-S/VL, and L/L-L/VL-VL/VL). Generalized linear models were used to evaluate the association between the '523' genotypes and neuropsychological test performance. Analyses were adjusted for age, sex, education, depression, and APOE ɛ4 status. A planned subanalysis was undertaken to evaluate the association between '523' genotypes and test performance in a sample restricted to APOE ɛ3 homozygotes. RESULTS: The S homozygotes performed better, although not significantly, than the S/L-S/VL and the VL/L-L/VL-VL/VL genotype groups on measures associated with memory (CANTAB Paired Associates Learning, Verbal Recognition Memory free recall) and executive function (CANTAB measures of Intra-Extra Dimensional Set Shift). Follow-up analysis of APOE ɛ3 homozygotes only showed that the S/S group performed significantly better than the S/VL group on measures of episodic memory (CANTAB Paired Associates Learning and Verbal Recognition Memory free recall), attention (CANTAB Rapid Visual Information Processing latency), and executive function (Digit Symbol Substitution). The S/S group performed marginally better than the VL/VL group on Intra-Extra Dimensional Set Shift. None of the associations remained significant after applying a Bonferroni correction for multiple testing. CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest important APOE-independent associations between the TOMM40 '523' polymorphism and specific cognitive domains of memory and executive control that are preferentially affected in early-stage Alzheimer's disease.
Hayden, KM; McEvoy, JM; Linnertz, C; Attix, D; Kuchibhatla, M; Saunders, AM; Lutz, MW; Welsh-Bohmer, KA; Roses, AD; Chiba-Falek, O
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